Cruise Lines To Plug In Ships, Finally

cruise shipMore than a year ago, Brooklyn’s Red Hook cruise ship terminal was to become the first East Coast cruise operation with the capability to let ships “plug in” and access power off the grid. A year later, ships have still not plugged in to cleaner, shore-side electric power and continue to spew fumes due to a $4 million price increase along the way. Now, Port Authority officials say they will approve the project and get going on it this month.

“The shore power project I expect will be on the Port Authority agenda for the June meeting,” Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye told the New York Daily News. “We’re working with our colleagues in city government to see what help they can provide and those discussions are ongoing. The environmental impacts to the local community – obviously it is an immensely populated area – are real and we’re focused on them.”

Concerned parties including state and local officials, Con Ed, Carnival Corporation and owners of ships that will use the facility, worked and debated for years to figure out how much electricity would cost and how to pay for it, before finally announcing a deal last April to split the cost.

Plugging in cruise ships is a big focus of cruise line environmental efforts, with several west coast ports already equipped to do so. When cruise ships come in to the Brooklyn Cruise Ship Terminal they bring a lot of travelers. That business is great for the local economy. Each cruise ship also brings some 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide, 95 tons of nitrous oxide and 6.5 tons of particulate matter annually when they park and burn their diesel engines – bad news for the humans that live near by.

“It will be the equivalent of removing 5,000 cars per year from the road annually,” Seth W. Pinsky, the president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation told the New York Times.

In California, the ports of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco already have the ability for ships to plug in.

Port of San Diego Completes Shore Power System from Port of San Diego on Vimeo.

Photo by Ian Barbour via Compfight

Bring Your Augmented Travel Agent Along For The Ride

travel agentOften, planning a trip can call for using a travel agent. Venturing to unknown lands armed with the advice of someone who has been there before is always a good idea. Now, one travel organization is making it possible to take their agents along with you on your trip.

Travel Leaders Franchise Group will soon be releasing a travel app designed to arm their customers, and only their customers, with customized travel information.

At the time of booking, agents at Travel Leaders will provide a link that enables their clients to download the app prior to their departures. Armed with an augmented reality function, travelers point their devices at a landmark or location to instantly learn about the area’s top sites to visit, along with admission prices, hours of operation and reviews.

The app enables clients to “take their agents with them virtually on a trip,” Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group told Travel Weekly.

Destination content will be fully loaded at the time of the download so clients won’t incur any international roaming charges.

Feeling left out because you don’t have a Travel Leaders agent in your back pocket? Don’t. While this agent-loaded app is personal, so is the do-it-yourself version from TripIt.

The TripIt app takes travel-booking information – via direct entry or by forwarding confirmations from airlines, hotels and other travel service providers – and forms its own itineraries, complete with destination information.

CES 2012: The Aurasma IPhone App Takes Augmented Reality to Another Level

[Flickr photo by U.S. Army via Compfight]