The woman was traveling on the Carnival Miracle ship and went overboard near the coast of Ensenada, Mexico, shortly after 3 a.m., multiple outlets reported.
Josh Zufelt, a passenger aboard the ship told NBC News that passengers were notified of the situation shortly afterwards. By 3.30 a.m., the ship was almost at a standstill and a lifeboat was launched by crew members, Zufelt said.
US Coast Guard crews and the Mexican Navy are trying to locate the woman, officials said in a tweet.
Carnival Cruise Line did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The ship set sail from Long Beach Cruise Terminal on Thursday for a routine trip to Ensenada. It was scheduled to return on Saturday, but was delayed to return early Sunday morning, according to CBS Los Angeles.
In a statement to the outlet, Carnival Cruise Line said: “We advised Carnival Miracle guests this morning of an overboard incident involving one of our guests from the balcony of her statesroom. Our thoughts are with the guest and her family, and our care team is providing support.”
JetBlue is adding air and cruise packages to its lineup of JetBlue Vacations travel products.
Customers will also be encouraged to book JetBlue flights directly on its website for additional benefits than online travel agents can provide.
A new “monster sale” will drop fares to $31 on 31 routes across the US.
JetBlue Airways wants to sell vacationers more than just their flights, it wants to sell them their entire vacation.
JetBlue Vacations, the platform through which travelers can book package deals for air, hotel, and car rentals, just added cruises to its lineup. The goal is to maximize simplicity in the vacation planning process by allowing travelers to keep more of their bookings under one umbrella, and provide the benefits and protections that come through booking directly with an airline.
Travelers can book air and cruise packages through JetBlue for three lines: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line, with plans to soon grow that list.
Enticing cruise-goers to book with JetBlue is a new “plane to port commitment” where JetBlue will safeguard against trip disruptions from delayed or canceled flights. If a JetBlue flight is responsible for a traveler missing their cruise’s departure, JetBlue will fly them to the next port of call.
JetBlue will also help pay for an entirely new vacation if travelers decide they don’t want to continue with their cruise package in the event of a delayed or canceled flight. Up to 150% of what customers initially paid will be applied to the new vacation.
“If something doesn’t go quite according to plan, we’ll find a way to make you whole whether it’s putting it on a slightly different itinerary, or if that doesn’t work, finding a solution,” Andres Barry, president of JetBlue Travel Products, told Insider of the trip protections JetBlue is offering. “Maybe [that means] even taking a different type of vacation, but something that we can service entirely.
Other options include rebooking the flights and cruise for a later date and only paying for the difference in the package price.
Adding cruise packages marks not only a new JetBlue offering but also a larger shift toward encouraging travelers to book directly with their airlines as opposed to online travel agencies, or OTAs for short.
JetBlue’s latest initiative seeks to get travelers to book directly on its website, which it says will provide the best price and be the most informative about its varying fare rules, as well as keep travelers up to date on delays, cancellations, and schedule changes.
Customers are finding themselves with more choices when booking with JetBlue than ever before, namely in its basic economy and Mint business class fares. And the airline says that the intricacies of each fare aren’t always properly conveyed with booking with an OTA.
“The vast, vast, vast majority of the time that the customer shows up and doesn’t realize they don’t have seats and they end up scattered across the plane or in the back of the plane in the middle seat, is almost always booked through some other OTA or travel agent,” Dave Clark, JetBlue’s vice president of sales and revenue management, told Insider.
Promoting the buy direct strategy is a Halloween-themed “monster sale,” where prices on 31 routes will be brought down to $31. The fares, which will be featured on routes such as New York-Denver, Boston-Miami, and Chicago-Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are only available for booking on JetBlue’s website.
“Being able to get a lower fare on JetBlue.com for customers as a whole is the number one benefit,” Clark said of the push for more direct bookings.
The buy direct model will also be beneficial to JetBlue Travel Products as website prompts encourage passengers to book vacation packages, with incentives including complimentary early boarding, a free alcoholic beverage on the plane, and customer support that only the airline can provide for its flights.
And if travelers don’t opt for a vacation package or simply don’t want to bundle their bookings, another new JetBlue travel product, Paisly, can help make standalone hotel and car rental arrangements. Paisly was rolled out in May and travelers that make new JetBlue bookings receive an email immediately following their confirmation email.
“We see this as an opportunity to deepen our relationships with customers and we think we can serve them better if we have visibility into their entire trip,” Barry said, adding that the JetBlue Vacations and Paisly platforms are “capital-light” ways of adding new revenue streams.
Carnival Corp, the world’s biggest cruise line, recorded a $2.8 billion loss in the third quarter of this year as concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19 impacted sales.
Associated Press reported that shares rose 3% on Friday, however, after the cruise line operator said bookings for the second half of next year are running ahead of 2019 levels.
The average ship was only 59% full in August, Carnival told AP. That was an improvement from 39% in June.
The cruise industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors following the huge disruption caused by the pandemic. Former and current cruise employees recently told Insider how they had to reckon with loneliness, fear, and uncertainty while being stuck in mandatory quarantines.
But the future for Carnival looks more assured, thanks to pent-up demand for cruises. In July, it said advance bookings for 2022 were already higher than in 2019, Insider’s Grace Dean reported.
“We reported a significant loss, so we haven’t recovered yet, obviously, but as we look ahead we see brighter days,” Carnival CEO Arnold Donald told AP. “If things continue to trend the way they are (with COVID-19 cases), we should see positive cash flow as we get our fleet sailing broadly again.”
People are spending a lot of money on board, too. The company told AP that while there were fewer passengers on board this summer, they spent 20% more onboard than before the pandemic.
According to Donald, the fact that people haven’t been able to cruise, or travel at all, could be behind the increased spending. “So they are in a mood to spend more because they haven’t had a chance to in a while,” he said.
Eight of Carnival’s nine cruise lines have resumed sailing with reduced schedules, AP reported. The company said it anticipated its full fleet to be operating by spring 2022.
After nearly 18 months of halted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cruises are finally returning to the seas.
So what has it been like working in the cruise industry during the pandemic? We asked former and current cruise ship staff to explain how the unprecedented disruption has affected them.
A ‘difficult and sad’ experience
For crew members who remained on board during the pandemic, it was a “difficult and sad” time, said Eva Pavlou, a bridge officer for Celebrity Cruises.
“Seeing the Celebrity Edge ship empty for so many months was devastating,” she said. “We were wandering around the empty ship and it was devastating seeing all these venues being empty with lights off and sheets on top like an abandoned house.”
Ioanna Tzovara, also a bridge officer for Celebrity, agreed that working on an empty ship was unpleasant at times.
Buffets have long been a tradition on cruise ships. But in an age where social distancing and hygiene take precedence, where do they stand?
Buffets are still available on Celebrity’s ships, said Tzovara, “but guests are being served by the crew members so they won’t touch any surface that can potentially be infected by COVID.”
The number of people on each table does not exceed six people in an effort to maintain social-distancing rules, Tzovara added.
Meanwhile, Carnival recently announced it would only serve bacon to guests on alternate days as it’s struggling with a shortage of the breakfast-buffet staple.
Mandatory quarantine for cruise ship workers
Staff were obliged to stay in quarantine for 14 days before they performed any working duties at the start of the pandemic, Tzovara said.
For her, this was an enjoyable experience. “In my point of view, quarantine gave me time and space to think, read, and complete all my training. So, I spent quality time with myself.”
This was also the case for Pavlou, who listed some benefits of quarantining onboard a cruise ship. “In these 14 days, you have the opportunity to enjoy a guest stateroom with a balcony or a veranda. You get three meals every day, and [can] relax until these 14 days pass.”
Only essential crew members were allowed to work during this time, including the deck-engine department, Tzovara said.
But a former cruise ship staffer who worked aboard Carnival Cruise Line told Insider that his friends who still work on ships found quarantine experiences frustrating.
“My friends that still work on ships were stuck aboard with no money for many, many months. They were confined to their cabins, which is literally like jail,” said Brian David Bruns.
They were able to walk the ship for a single two-hour period throughout the day, he added. Otherwise, food was delivered to their cabins.
In a statement to Insider, Carnival said: “We are very proud of our efforts to take care of our team last year during unprecedented times. We safely repatriated more than 30,000 crew members during a time when borders were closed and travel options were limited or non-existent.”
Suspended shore leaves
Part of the appeal of working on a cruise ship is visiting many different destinations for the day. But due to the pandemic, the perk has been suspended for crew members aboard Celebrity’s ships.
“Before the pandemic, all crew were allowed to enjoy a shore leave, something that these days has been suspended due to COVID,” said Tzovara.
In its statement to Insider, Carnival said: “We took guidance from public health experts to keep our crew safe, which required sacrifice at times. If there are a few team members that were unhappy, we are sorry to hear that, but the health and safety of our guests and crew is always front and center in everything we do.”
Building close relationships
While living and working on a cruise ship during a pandemic can undoubtedly be difficult, there are also some silver linings for staffers. These include building tighter friendships with other crew members.
“I definitely did bond with my colleagues because we spend such long contracts together and we have to deal with all these difficulties in our daily lives, away from our families,” said Tzovara.
“I gained great friends for life during this pandemic,” she added.
This was similarly the case for Bruns. Despite the hardships, a lot of crew members love ship life, he said.
“The whole world is below decks – in the form of people. This is why we love it.” He said the pressure-cooker environment, due to all the experiences he previously mentioned, “makes us brothers-in-arms.”
Bacon is in short supply on the menus of the world’s biggest cruise company, Carnival Cruise.
In a video posted to Facebook, Carnival’s brand ambassador John Heald said suppliers who service the cruise industry are facing challenges sourcing bacon for their ships.
Due to the shortage, Heald said the cruise line will set up a schedule for when bacon is served to passengers. “We are going to have to temporarily move to an every-other-day schedule for bacon at the Lido buffet,” he said.
He added: “If you see a sign saying ‘Today, we’re not serving bacon, don’t worry, it’s going to be back the next day.”
Bacon – and its potential lack of availability – has made further headlines recently. Earlier this month, some restaurant owners raised fears about how a change in animal-welfare rules taking force next year could make bacon difficult to find and more expensive to buy in California.
The idea is that all of those animals should have sufficient space to stretch out their wings, claws, and paws, as Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported. Welfare campaigners have been pushing for the change for years.
Courts or the state could try and intervene between now and January but if they don’t, California could lose almost all of its pork supply and pork producers will likely face higher costs to regain the market, AP reported.
Bacon costs are already rising. Insider’s Anna Cooban reported in June that it cost 13% more than last year, which is apparently due to supply shortages and rising costs of pig feed.
The cost of bacon rose 1.8% between April and May, according to BLS data, although this was a slower increase than March to April, when bacon prices jumped 3.4%.
Despite a shortage of the popular breakfast item on Carnival’s cruise lines, Heald made it clear that the company won’t be rationing bacon. “We are not going to ration you and say you can only have one piece. But if we serve it every day, we will have run out by the end of the week,” he said.
He also added that the new schedule will not be permanent. “This is not a cutback, this is a genuine problem that we, as a company, are having.”
The bacon shortage will not impact Carnival’s ability to stock other breakfast favorites, Heald said. Items such as ham and sausage will still be in good supply.
The cruise industry recently opened its doors to the public following an almost year-long halt in operations due to the pandemic.
Guests were eager to return to the sea and Carnival said that booking volumes skyrocketed as a result.
In a second-quarter business update, the company said that booking volumes for future cruises were 45% higher than during the first quarter, Insider’s Grace Dean reported. Advance bookings for 2022 were already higher than in 2019, according to the report.