December 21, 2012 Updated December 21, 2012
Judgment Day Coming Soon
Italian prosecutors have finished investigating the Costa Concordia tragedy and are preparing to bring charges against the captain and seven other people, Reuters reports. The captain will be accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. The head investigator said he expects to file a request for an indictment at the end of January, at which point a judge will decide if there is enough evidence for a trial. Captain Francesco Schettino faces up to 20 years in jail. Five other crew members, as well as three Costa employees also face indictment and trial.
The Yea's Have It
The fierce debate over whether Charleston, South Carolina, should get a new cruise terminal finally came to an end December 18, when South Carolina environmental regulators issued the needed permit. As reported by The Republic, the regulators said the $35 million cruise terminal does not change the waterfront of a city that has had a port for centuries. The debate between those who believe the terminal will destroy Charleston's old-town charm and those who believe its commercial impact is too important raged for two years and sparked several lawsuits. The permit includes a clause limiting the terminal to 104 cruise stops a year.
Disney Homecoming Only Temporary
Though Disney recently announced it was pulling all its ships back to Florida for the first half of 2014, Cruise Critic has learned the move isn't permanent. When asked if cruisers can anticipate ship movement for the rest of 2014, a Disney spokesperson said, "Yes, stay tuned." In the early part of 2014, Disney Magic will return to Port Canaveral, joining Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, while Disney Wonder will homeport in Miami. Over the past year, Disney has invested in exploring new ports including New York City and Galveston.
Cruisers in desperate need of three- or four-day weekends take note: Carnival Cruise Lines is expanding its offering of year-round short-break cruises from Long Beach starting January 2014. The expansion comes via the arrival of Carnival Imagination, which begins its three- and four-day Mexico sailings January 26, 2014. The ship joins Carnival Inspiration, which already offers the short cruises.
More Ships, More Cheer
Carnival Cruise Lines has expanded the Cheers! beverage program to two more ships – Carnival Glory and Carnival Legend. The package is now available on eight of the cruise line's ships.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor