Brazilians are New Year party favourites

The nationality that the rest of the world wants to party with at New Year are Brazilians, according to the findings of a recent survey.

The survey, which was carried out by Badoo.com, a social network site that has 168 million users in more than 180 countries, and which claims to offer a platform for chatting, dating, and meeting new people, was conducted with 17,000 people from 17 countries. It asked which nationality the rest of the world would most like to share their New Year celebrations with. Brazilians emerged as the clear favourites, followed in order by Americans, Spaniards, Italians and French. Belgians and Swiss took the bottom two positions.

Reuters quoted Badoo director, Louise Thompson, as saying, ‘This seems harsh on the Swiss and Belgians, but I can understand that most people would rather celebrate New Year’s Eve on a beach in Brazil than by huddling against the cold in northern Europe.’

The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro celebrates the New Year with a massive firework display above Copacabana Beach, and over one million revellers take to the streets in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo.

Australia will be among the first countries to celebrate the New Year, with a firework display around its famous Sydney harbour. Then 2013 will be welcomed in a succession of countries and across all continents as the midnight deadline moves around the globe. London will commence its celebrations a full 11 hours after Sydney, and New York’s revelries will begin five hours later still.

 

QM2 passengers hit by norovirus

Up to 200 passengers aboard the luxury cruise liner, Queen Mary 2 have contracted norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug.

The ship, which is owned by British-American cruise line company, Cunard, is on a 13-night luxury Christmas tour of the Caribbean, after leaving New York on Saturday, December 22. Approximately 2,600 passengers are on the GBP550m ship, with ticket prices costing as much as GBP5,000 per person.

Reports claim that several of the 200 victims of the illness began to suffer the symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea within hours of the ship leaving port. Efforts are being made to contain the infection by isolating those that have been diagnosed in their cabins, and hand-to-hand contact with other passengers and items such as salt and pepper shakers is being discouraged.

The Daily Mail quoted Michele Andjel, spokeswoman for Carnival, as saying, ‘Enhanced sanitation protocols have been employed to help minimise transmission to other passengers. The safety and comfort of passengers and crew is always our number one priority. As is currently standard procedure across our fleet, all the ship’s passengers were provided with a precautionary health notice advising of widespread norovirus activity and the health measures to avoid contraction and spread, both on board and whilst ashore.’

The infection aboard the QM2 is the latest in a number of similar incidents that have plagued the cruise industry of late. It also follows a report last year by US sanitation inspectors who, following a spot-check on the QM2, described it as ‘filthy’ due to a number of problems including dirty water in a splash pool and fruit flies and cockroaches in a storage locker.

The liner, which is currently in the Dominican Republic, is due to return to New York on January 4, following further stopovers in St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Kitts.

 

Royal Caribbean orders mega cruise liner

Royal Caribbean International, a subsidiary of Norwegian-American global cruise company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE:RCL, OSE:RCL), has ordered a third Oasis-class ship that is to be built in France.

The new vessel is to be built at STX France’s St. Nazaire shipyard and be delivered by mid-2016, and the company has an option for a fourth vessel with a 2018 delivery.

The Oasis-class vessels are 225,282 tons, have 16 decks and 2,700 staterooms to accommodate 5,400 passengers. Like its two sister ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, the new ship is expected to have twelve or more restaurants, four swimming pools, tree-lined promenades and a wide range of leisure activities to suit all age groups.

The chairman of Royal Caribbean, Richard Fain, said, ‘The Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas have fundamentally transformed the cruise experience for our guests. These ships have consistently generated outstanding guest satisfaction ratings and continue to produce superior financial results. We are thrilled to be adding a sister to this extraordinary class of vessels at a compelling price. Being back building in France just adds to the pleasure.’

The company’s president and chief executive, Adam Goldstein, commented, ‘As the cruise line that revolutionised the industry with the FlowRider surf simulator, ice-skating rinks, cantilevered whirlpools and rock climbing walls, we are eager to add this third award winning Oasis-class ship to our brand portfolio. This addition will allow us to showcase our legacy of innovation and imagination to even more guests around the world.’

Royal Caribbean’s existing vessels sail from Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on a weekly basis.