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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dejavu for Carnival Dream

The world's largest cruise line, Carnival, is having issues again - this time with their Dream ship, according to media reports from St. Maarten in the Caribbean.

They say that bad things come in threes and that seems to be the case here: Carnival first had issues in mid-February with the Triumph stranding 4,200 passengers. Then, at the end of February, a Saratoga Springs teen was found dead in his room on the day he arrived back in NYC on the ship from a Caribbean trip (kinda surprised that hasn't gotten more national attention, by the way. Maybe it will soon once we get the toxicology results back, which should be soon, actually.)

But now, lucky number three, Carnival Cruise Lines said the Dream had a "technical issue" with its backup emergency diesel generator that was discovered during a test Wednesday. A company statement said that the ship did not lose power but that there were periodic interruptions to elevators and restrooms.

The AP reported that, after talking with multiple passengers, they said the conditions on the ship were "fine."

Even so, the company is not taking any chances with the more than 3,600 passengers and is flying people home from St. Maarten, which was the last stop on a 7-day trip from Port Canaveral, Fl.

Though, according to reviews from, the Triumph incident was not as bad as reported. But, at the same token, a lawsuit has been filed by 17 passengers.

The March 16 trip on the Dream has been canceled, fyi. For those looking for a replacement cruise, may I suggest Norwegian?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Destination: Mars

How about a 501-day trip of a lifetime? Heck of a millennium? ---to Mars.

Dennis Tito, who became the first space tourist in 2001, is funding a project called Inspiration Mars in which a married couple - one man and one woman in this case - will be sent on a mission to Mars in which they will orbit the red planet at an altitude of 100 miles in Aug. 2018.

”This is not a commercial mission,” Tito said in an ExtremeTech article from March 4. “Let me guarantee you, I will come out to be a lot poorer as a result of this mission. But my grandchildren will come out to be a lot wealthier through the inspiration that this will give them.”

According to an Inspiration Mars press release, "the mission will be built around proven, existing space transportation systems and technologies derived from industry, NASA and the International Space Station that can be available in time to support the launch date."

I first read about this in the Knickerbocker Ledger. But they left out at least one pretty interesting detail that's included in the ExtremeTech piece: "Spending so long in space will result in the astronauts being bombarded by a lot of solar radiation, increasing their risk of developing cancer by 3% — but Tito’s CTO has a plan: creating a radiation shield out of the astronauts’ poop." Now that's extreme technology.

And the best part: they're looking for volunteers.

The couple's accomodations will be a tad small ( an 8.5 foot inflatible cube) so they'll have to be really, really happily married. Or, as the ExtremeTech author points out, this could lead to the first interplanetary homicide.

You can email the Inspiration Mars folks here:

The target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018 - so you have a little time to think about it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Civil War and Waterford, NY

From a press release - looks like something fun to do on March 12:

Who: The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center

What: -"Divided by War: the Confederate Flag that Almost Flew Over Waterford in 1861," Science and Technology Lecture Series

Where: McGreiveys, 91 Broad Street, Waterford, NY 12188
When: March 12th, 7-8pm
Admission: Suggested donation is $6 per person ($5 members)
The WaterfordHistorical Museumand Cultural Centerannounces its next exciting program "Divided by War: the Confederate Flag that Almost Flew Over Waterfordin 1861." Independent Historian, Paul Schneider, will explore the impact that the Civil War had on a local family who was divided geographically and possibly in other ways due to the war. Schneider will feature a collection of fascinating letters exchanged between the Eddy family of Waterfordand some of their relatives in Columbia, South Carolina.
Join us March 12th for splendid food and a fun time at McGreivey’s in Waterford, one of this area’s finest restaurants. Registration starts at 6:30pm and food and drink will be available for purchase all evening. Space is limited and pre-registration is recommended by calling 518-238-0809, or by e-mail Please check our website, website blog and/or Facebook for the latest news.
The WaterfordHistorical Museumand Cultural Centeris located in the 1830 Hugh White Homestead on Museum Lane in the Town of Waterford. The Museum offers various programs and exhibits year round. For more information about the Museum and its programs please contact the Museum at 238-0809 or check our website .

Reviews of the Triumph Cruise on Cruise Critic Site

Finally, some - overall - objective thoughts and reviews of what happened on the Carnival Triumph without all of the hype from media (granted, I am a member of the media but I have to admit my colleagues definitely overhype things - heck, even I overhype things).

There are a few reviews on about the infamous four day trip that turned into a much longer ordeal (sounds kinda like the three hour tour in Gilligan's Island - only without the radio made out of coconuts).

We all heard the quotes from people talking about sewage and waste in areas of the ship, and the lack of food due to hoarding. So, part of me thinks that a couple of these reviews are a bit toooo objective, and too kind (I mean, some gave the cruise Five Stars)  and therefore kinda suspicious given the emotional anguish these people must have gone through - but that is the conspiracy theorist in me.

For those interested, the reviews can be found here:

Some highlights:

From Cruise Critic member semichigan:
"Then, Sunday.5:30 am the announcement (in the cabin) "alpha team, alpha team, engine room 1, alpha team engine room 1"Well I can tell you that is scary. I don't know how I knew, maybe I had read it on cruise critic, buti knew that the alpha team meant there was a fire. "

From Cruise Critic member TXregulator:
"I had a GREAT time on my first cruise!! And yes...I was on the Triumph!! It was NOT THAT BAD!! It was akin to camping in one's own backyard as a kid. The crew was great, we were well treated, food was plentiful, water was restored quickly and the toilet issue was a minor inconvenience."