Costa Concordia Wreck Could Be Upright This Month

Costa Concordia
Carlo Mirante/Flickr

It was a very unlucky Friday the 13th in 2012 when the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Italy, sending shock waves through the world of cruise travel. After the event, which took 32 lives, cruise lines took a hard look at everything they were doing. Back at the scene of the wreck, environmentalists voiced concerns about long-term damage to the delicate marine environment. It would be a long, difficult process to remove the ship, one that may take a big step forward this month.

Last year Gadling explained the process of removing the wreck. First, the grounded ship was stabilized to keep it from sinking further into the ocean. Next, an underwater support system was installed. Now, the process of standing the ship upright, called parbuckling, should take place later this month. Once that delicate operation is complete, the ship will be floated away.

After the grounding of Costa Concordia, the governing organizations of the cruise industry ordered an operational safety review both in response to the grounding and as part of the industry’s continuous efforts to review and improve safety measures. The Costa Concordia event also contributed to the birth of the so-called Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights, which details rights cruise travelers have when things go wrong.Follow along on the wreck removal progress at The Parbuckling Project website and see a great Reuters slide show, with aerial view of Costa Concordia as it lies on its side next to Giglio Island.

Crews Work To Move Shipwrecked Costa Concordia

When A Cruise Ship Crashes, How Much Does Cleanup Cost?

European Commission DG ECHO, Flickr

When a crash or accident happens, there are the immediate, often horrendous, effects, like death. But in the face of destruction, there are the long term effects that many of us never give a second thought to. Like the removal of wreckage.

Such is the case with Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Italy in early 2012, killing 32 people. Since then, the boat has remained grounded, partially submerged in the waters near the Tuscan island of Giglio, and a constant visual reminder of the travel tragedy. Certainly not “out of sight, out of mind.”

But next month, the boat will rise from the seas, to remove the wreckage and start the restoration process of the surrounding waters.

At 114,500 tons, removing the Concordia is no small feat, and will require cables attached to hydraulic pumps that will help lift the wreckage from the seabed and onto an underwater platform. From there, repairs will be made to the submerged sized, and eventually giant steel boxes on the sides of the ship will be pumped full of air, in theory floating the top to the top of the water. A detailed example of how all of this works can be found on the restoration project’s website.

Overall the salvage work is coming in at $400 million, which some might say is a small price to pay for the horror and pain caused by the accident.

How Drunk Will Self-Service Make Cruises?

star5112, Flickr

Not only are cruises working on being more transparent and increasing your safety, they’re also committed to making sure a non-stop party is always within reach. We’re talking about self-service.

Not laundry silly; pouring your own drinks. Don’t worry, you’re not expected to replace the bartender, but on cruise lines like Norwegian, Carnival and and Celebrity Cruises you can now find wine dispensers.

Built on the idea that at home, if you’re in the mood for a drink you can just go pour yourself one, the dispensers allow travelers to get their own libations whenever they want to.There is of course no mention of how drinks are limited, which begs the question: how drunk are cruisers likely to get? That depends on how easy it is to use the dispensers. While wine dispensers are fairly simple for the general public to use, beer is another story. On Carnival, travelers have access to a tap that serves both Budweiser and Carnival’s own branded beer, but it’s helpful to have some experience pouring from an actual tap. No one likes a glass full of foam after all.

But once travelers have mastered the art of pouring from a tap, the possibilities of self-serve could actually be quite promising. In terms of wine, on Norwegian the wine dispensers allow passengers to sample small tastes of wine that otherwise would run up the bill. “The whole philosophy behind this with wine is pretty cool and on the beer side too when you start talking about craft beers, the idea of trying a small sampling. You could try two ounces of Opus One (the Bordeaux blend) and it’s not $200 per bottle,” Court told USA Today.

And when it comes to beer, what’s to stop cruise lines from serving artisan craft brews on tap? The future of cruise drinking is bright.

The Love Boat Makes Final Voyage

Quail Love Boat
StefanoF, Flickr

The iconic MS Pacific, better known as “The Love Boat,” has made her final voyage.

Purchased for 2.5 million euro by a Turkish ship recycling company and taken to a scrapyard on the Aegean Sea coast of Turkey, the cruise ship will be stripped for metal and parts, as a renovation of the 42-year-old ship would have been too costly.

On the Aaron Spelling comedy, the Pacific Princess sailed between California and the Mexican Riviera from 1977 to 1986, with cruise director Julie, bartender Isaac and Captain Stubing at the helm. The actual ship had been decommissioned years ago and was languishing in Italy’s Genoa port, after sailing for Princess Cruises until 2002 and later Quail Cruises.Take a photo tour of the ship in its glory days here.

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#OnTheRoad: River Cruising In Germany

Viking River Cruise Germany
Jess Moss, AOL

Guten Tag from the Danube River! I’m Jess, an editor at Gadling and AOL Travel, and am on my first river cruise (actually, my first cruise of any kind). I’m chugging along the Danube on Viking River Cruises’ Bragi longship from Nuremberg to Budapest. Our stops include Regensburg, Passau, Melk and Vienna – I’ve never been to any of these places so am excited to explore. I’ll be seeing how much local beer, wine, wurst and culture I can sample, and I’d love some tips on what to do! If you’ve been to any of these places, or have river cruising tips please share what you liked and I’ll try to post a picture of it.

I’ll be posting updates along the river on Gadling’s Instagram account @GadlingTravel under the hashtag #OnTheRoad so please follow along and let me know what you’d like to see.Gadling has a policy against keeping any free or promotional items valued at more than $25 that are provided by companies to the editorial staff for review. In order to access the latest products and technology for review, we sometimes accept travel and accommodations (along with other members of the press). Our opinions and criticisms are always our own. Our editorial is not for sale, and never will be.