MSC Seaside’s Entertainment Options Are Sure To Please

November 20, 2017.

MSC Cruises today announced more details of the new entertainment options aboard its latest flagship, MSC Seaside.

Late-Night Fun and Laughter with BeerProv, New Improvised Comedy Concept

For the first time on the MSC Cruises fleet, guests will be able to enjoy improvised comedy at sea. The well-known North American comedy troupe BeerProv, famed for instantly creating hilarious, unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, offering guests an entirely unique and unexpected show every performance. This new 45-minute concept features four comedians and includes a high level of audience participation.

Seven Brand New Broadway-Style Shows

MSC Cruises places a large emphasis on delivering quality entertainment, and has been recognized multiple times for its top-notch productions. The cruise line received the award for Best Production Shows in Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Editor in Chief Awards for 2017 and earned a spot under Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment in USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice 2016 Awards, as well as the Cruisers’ Choice in the CruiseCritic 2016 Awards.

MSC Cruises has worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another eye-catching show, The Wizard, will feature breathtaking illusions, and Peter Punk provides a fresh new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano and tenor, for fans of live music.

More Flexible Theater Show Sittings

Also for the first time in MSC Cruises’ fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility to fit a fantastic show around even the busiest schedule. The shows will feature 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

Activities Kids Will Love

Lego Experience

As a family-owned company, MSC Cruises is dedicated to creating unique moments for families, and each and every new ship offers an even greater family offering. Two special LEGO® rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, will allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world’s most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club – LEGO® Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship’s Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO®, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club – LEGO® Pirates is for kids aged seven to eleven, filled with the latest LEGO® toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO®.

Parents can enjoy a night to themselves, by dropping their kids off at late night group babysitting services, available for ages 3 to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am to enjoy everything the ship has to offer by night. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm, for a full, stress free day. Each kids’ club will be equipped with the latest, cutting-edge equipment, including 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

To create more opportunities for together-time for the whole family, the Metropolitan Theatre will host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids’ clubs for both kids and their parents, so that the “big kids” can join in on the fun!

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

Interactive Entertainment

An entertainment area offers guests high-tech thrills, including an authentic F1 racing simulator, immersive XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a whole host of arcade games. Two of the longest zips line at sea will also take guests on a high-speed thrill ride, finishing at the back of the ship. Guests can either take the plunge on their own or race a friend side-by-side.

New shows in the ship’s atrium will also offer surprise performances. Game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more will make up the varied line-up in this uniquely designed space.

Carnival Increasing Capacity on Short Cruises From Galveston & New Orleans in 2019

November 16, 2017.

Carnival Dream, Carnival Valor to Operate Four- and Five-Day Mexico Cruises From Galveston and New Orleans, Respectively, Providing New Exciting Choices in Two Popular Homeports

Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from Galveston and New Orleans  in 2019.

Carnival Dream will launch four- and five-day cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning in May 2019, becoming the newest and largest Carnival ship to operate a short cruise program from that port.

In turn, Carnival Valor, currently based in Galveston, will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round four- and five-day cruises from the Big Easy beginning May 2019.  It will be the largest ship to offer a year-round short cruise schedule from New Orleans.

Four- day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso.  Some five-day itineraries from Galveston feature Cozumel and Costa Maya.

Carnival Dream from Galveston

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream will kick off its year-round four- and five-day schedule from Galveston beginning May 23, 2019, representing a 22 percent increase in capacity on this program.

Carnival Dream recently underwent an extensive makeover that added a number of exciting food and beverage options, including Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare and the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant.  These complement such attractions as a WaterWorks aqua park, luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and more.

Carnival Dream will join Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018, and together these three ships are expected to carry nearly 650,000 passengers annually from Galveston – more than any cruise line.

Carnival Valor from New Orleans

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will kick off its new year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises from New Orleans May 16, 2019, replacing Carnival Triumph and representing a nearly 10 percent increase in capacity on the line’s short cruise program from that port.  Carnival Triumph will be deployed to another homeport to be announced at a later date.   Also in May 2019, Carnival Glory will take over the New Orleans-based year-round seven-day schedule of Carnival Dream.  Together, Carnival Valor and Carnival Glory are expected to carry nearly 400,000 passengers from New Orleans.

Carnival Valor last year underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that added such popular highlights as Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, SkyBox sports bar, Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.   Other features on Carnival Valor include an adults-only Serenity retreat, a 214-foot-long water slide and Scarlett’s, a classic American steakhouse.

Princess Cruises “Cyber Sale” Offers Two Can’t-Miss Steals to All Destinations

November 16, 2017.

Holiday “Cyber Sale” Runs November 17-29

In anticipation of the busy holiday shopping season, Princess Cruises is launching its annual Cyber Sale, with two offers to the more than 360 worldwide destinations the cruise line visits. The sale runs November 17-29, with more details found at www.princess.com/deals.

With a Sail Soon offer for cruises departing in Winter 2017 – Spring 2018 and a Sail Later deal for Summer 2018 – Spring 2019 sailings, guests will enjoy plenty of perks, including:

Sail Soon – Winter 2017 – Spring 2018

Guests can select six- to 60-day cruises and cruisetours sailing from Winter 2017-Spring 2018 to the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Panama Canal, California Coast, Australia & New Zealand, Southeast Asia, South America and Grand Voyages. Bookings made during the sale save up to $1,000 per stateroom or $500 per guest.

Sail Later – Winter 2018 – Spring 2019

On six- to 60-day cruises and cruisetours booked for Summer 2018-Spring 2019 voyages to all destinations, the sale offers three desired amenities for everyone in the stateroom, including:

  • FREE Stateroom Location Upgrade – preferred stateroom location for the lowest fare within the room type booked
  • FREE Gratuities – paid on behalf of all guests in a stateroom
  • FREE Onboard Spending Money – up to $600 per stateroom, as follows for up to four guests:
    • Cruise length six to nine days: $75 per guest
    • Cruise length 10-12 days: $100 per guest
    • Cruise length 13+ days: $150 per guest

Princess Cruises’ Cyber Sale runs November 17, 2017 (12 am PST) through November 29, 2017 (11:59 pm PST) and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bermuda and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older.

MSC Cruises Celebrates Black Friday and Cyber Monday with 50%+ Savings

 November 14, 2017.

MSC Cruises USA  is kicking off the holiday season’s most popular shopping extravaganza with free upgrades from ocean view to balcony staterooms, meaning 50 percent plus savings on select sailings. Beginning on Monday, November 20 and extended through Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Wednesday, November 29, cruisers can take advantage of these incredible reduced rates, especially for those looking to get away during the holidays or kick off the new year with a vacation.

MSC Seaside   is the company’s newest ship, featuring a revolutionary “beach condo” design, and will sail year round from  Miami to the Caribbean when she arrives in December.  Guests can be one of the first to experience the stunning, innovative cruise ship by booking one of the last few available staterooms on MSC Seaside’s first 7-night cruise from Miami. Departing December 23, MSC Seaside will be decked out for the holidays for this sailing, with special holiday décor, menus and activities.

The MSC Divina will also depart on a holiday sailing on December 23, with themed events, decorations and culinary celebrations. Additionally, guests can enjoy incredible lower rates and be the first to experience the ship’s new 10 and 11-night Caribbean itineraries, which kick off on December 23.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deal

From November 20-29, 2017, guests can book a balcony stateroom at an ocean view rate on both MSC Divina and MSC Seaside select sailings starting December 23, 2017 extending through May 12, 2018, offering the potential for 50%+ savings.

7-night cruises qualifying for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion on MSC Seaside include, but are not limited to:

  • December 23, 2017: Guests booking on this sailing can be among the first to experience the innovative MSC Seaside as she embarks on her first 7-night voyage from Miami. Ports of call include St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau Bahamas. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $929 per person.
  • December 30, 2017: Celebrate New Year’s on the brand new, revolutionary flagship with stops in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Nassau Bahamas. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $1,199 per person.
  • January 6, 2018: 7-night sailing with stops in Nassau, Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; and Costa Maya, Mexico. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $699 per person.

10 and 11-night cruises qualifying for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Promotion on MSC Divina include, but are not limited to:

  • December 23, 2017: Guests can ring in the holidays onboard MSC Divina as she sails her first 11-night itinerary. The stunning ship will be adorned with holiday décor and feature special festivities throughout the week with stops in Nassau, Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; and Belize City, Belize. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $1,609 per person.
  • January 3, 2018: 11-night sailing with stops in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Bridgetown, Barbados; Saint George, Grenada; Willemstad, Curaçao; Oranjestad, Aruba. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $599 per person.
  • January 25, 2018: 10-night sailing with stops in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Basseterre, St Kitts & Nevis; Fort de France, Martinique; Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe; Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $649 per person.

Disney Cruise Line Adds New Spaces and Experiences For All Ages to Disney Magic in 2018

November 14, 2017.

The Disney Magic embodies the Disney Cruise Line tradition of blending the elegant grace of early 20th century transatlantic ocean liners with contemporary design to create a stylish and spectacular cruise ship. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)
A Tangled-themed family restaurant, a fresh new space for teens and a redesigned café for adults means something new for every member of the family aboard the Disney Magic

Exciting new spaces and new experiences designed for guests of all ages are coming to the Disney Magic in March 2018.

The ship’s newest highlights include:

An Enchanting Dining Experience for Families

At Rapunzel’s Royal Table, families will delight in an all-new dining experience inspired by the beloved story of Disney’s “Tangled.” The first table service restaurant themed to “Tangled” that features characters and live entertainment will transport Disney Magic guests to the kingdom of Corona for an evening of music and interactive fun featuring Rapunzel and the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs.

Guests will step inside a regal ballroom in the royal castle, lit by glowing wish lanterns and adorned with colorful drawings that reflect Rapunzel’s artistic talents. Here, the King and Queen of Corona invite everyone to take part in a festive celebration of Rapunzel’s birthday and the anniversary of her return to the kingdom.

Throughout dinner, guests of all ages will be treated to live entertainment, including spirited singing and dancing led by the maître d’, a merry band of musicians, the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs and of course, Princess Rapunzel herself.

The family fun is complete with themed menus, special activities and a lively parade to cap off the evening in Corona. The charm and enchantment of “Tangled” in Rapunzel’s Royal Table is the perfect pairing to “Tangled: The Musical” – the spellbinding original production that delights guests during each Disney Magic sailing.

Redesigned Retreat Just for Teens

Vibe, the space on the ship reserved for teens ages 14-17, is being transformed into a trendy urban loft environment. At Vibe, teens can enjoy a new coffee and smoothie bar, play video and virtual reality games, and check out other cool activities like a DJ spin-off and movie making. Activities at Vibe are organized and hosted by trained Disney counselors who facilitate the fun and interaction among teen guests.

Refined Escape Exclusively for Adults

Adults can relax at Cove Café, an adult-exclusive retreat that will be redesigned in a sophisticated tropical style. It’s the perfect place to sip a specialty coffee or tea throughout the day, or indulge in wine or a cocktail and light bites during the evening hours.

In this serene setting by the Quiet Cove Pool, adult beverage tastings are also available at select times for an additional fee. Just steps away, the adjacent Signals Bar will also be transformed with a similar look.

Elsewhere around the Disney Magic, other enhancement highlights include the addition of Club Disney Junior in Disney’s Oceaneer Club for children and a redesigned Rainforest Room with steam and hydrotherapy in Senses Spa for adults.

The new enhancements debut on Disney Magic starting March 9, 2018, on sailings from Miami, Fla. The four- and five-night Disney Magic sailings from Miami visit Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Beginning on May 14, 2018, the Disney Magic repositions to Europe for the summer season.

The Frustration-Free Cruise is Arriving on Royal Caribbean

November 8, 2017.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  is rolling out an unprecedented wave of digital innovations touching every aspect of its business, charting a course for a world where travel frustrations have disappeared, erased by technology that is transforming cruise ships from stem to stern.

Most visible to consumers through a guest-empowering app that will blanket the company’s 48-ship fleet over the next two years, the surge of innovation will also banish check-in lines at ports, equip crew members to anticipate guests’ needs, and enable giant cruise ships to sail through the water on a fuel-saving curtain of air.

Jay Schneider, RCL’s senior vice president, digital, said one focus of RCL’s company-wide innovation initiative is zeroing in on wasted effort and wasted energy. “We are finding ways to eliminate friction and frustration, giving guests more time to make the memories that make vacations special,” said Schneider. For example, guests will:

  • Board ships in the time it takes to order fries from the drive-through, skipping check-in lines thanks to facial recognition technology that knows who they are on arrival.
  • Sign up for shore excursions, order drinks and make dinner reservations without ever leaving their chairs by the pool thanks to an intuitive app on a device most of them already have—a smartphone.
  • Indulge in VR and AR experiences that transform ship spaces into virtual environments and interactive games, where stateroom ceilings might be replaced by starry skies, the walls of a restaurant can transform into the sights and sounds of an outdoor café and digital signs challenge you to play an arcade game.

The technological transformation also encompasses areas beyond the guest experience, including innovations to make ships more energy-efficient, enhance ship management and put more connectivity into the hands of crew members than ever before.

 

For guests: less friction, more time to make memories

One specific focus is removing time-stealing moments from the cruise experience. “Time spent in line—whether you’re waiting for your food, waiting for your bags to arrive, waiting on a table, or booking an excursion—is time stolen from your time off,” Schneider said. To return that time to guests, the company is combining technologies ranging from facial recognition to RFID tagging to GPS mapping to Bluetooth-enabled beacons to streamline boarding, manage check-ins automatically and improve wayfinding.

Many of these same technologies are being deployed to put the power to manage your vacation in the palm of your hand, said Schneider. “Our new app will make it simpler than ever to book and plan your cruise vacation from home or with a travel agent. Once on board, you can navigate our ships with interactive maps and guides, explore the ship with cool features like x-ray vision, or order drinks that can be delivered to you wherever you are on the ship.” The app, along with the next generation of the company’s WOW Bands, will also unlock guest staterooms and enable guests to control stateroom lighting and temperature.

An initial release of the cruise guest app is already available on selected ships in RCL’s fleet. Schneider said RCL will continue to refine the app, adding new ship-specific features and capabilities, with each subsequent release.

For crew: better interaction with guests and home

The innovations enriching the cruise guest experience will be complemented by a suite of tools for crews, as well. For example, the app-enabled offerings for guests will be mirrored on the crew side by mobile applications that help crew members check-in guests, complete required paperwork, track delivery of guests’ bags to their staterooms, and interact with guests and anticipate their needs throughout their vacations.

In addition, crews will have access to easier means to manage their own schedules, stay connected to friends and family while onboard, and stay connected to RCL during their off-contract periods.

For the RCL fleet: smarter, safer ships and a reduced environmental footprint

Forthcoming command centers will use augmented reality to assist with navigation and maneuvering.

In addition, in a safety-related application of the same technologies that will help servers deliver a drink to a guest anywhere on board, next generation bridge technology will allow officers to track guests on their way to muster stations to ensure all are accounted for and locate stragglers.

RCL is also innovating to reduce fuel consumption across its fleet, which not only lowers operating costs but also lightens stack emissions that are part of cruising’s environmental footprint. Historically, each new class of RCL ships is significantly more fuel efficient than its predecessors as new high efficiency appliances, window tinting and improved lighting, heating and cooling technologies help reduce energy needs. The company continues to evolve hull designs to reduce drag, an evolution most evident in the “bulbous bows” now common on cruise ships. In addition, RCL is pioneering the use of an air lubrication system that coats the hulls of its ships with millions of microscopic air bubbles to further reduce resistance and drag. In initial uses, air lubrication has reduced fuel consumption at speed by 7 to 8 percent.

Complementing RCL’s energy conservation efforts are initiatives to use alternative energy sources. Some RCL ships are already equipped with solar panels that generate sufficient power for limited onboard needs. At Sea Beyond, RCL will be previewing the use of fuel cells for power generation. Fuel cell use could fundamentally change ship design by distributing power sources throughout the ship. Furthermore, adoption of fuel cells would also mean producing less energy from diesel generators, reducing ships’ environmental footprints. The company is planning fuel cell experiments on existing ships, with an eye to extensive use of fuel cells and liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion on its upcoming Icon class of ships. “We are fully embracing the expectation that we run an environmentally sustainable business,” said Fain. “Experimenting with new ways to power our ships is just part of our broad commitment to being a responsible environmental steward.”

 

Carnival Horizon Completes Final Sea Trials

November 7, 2017.

Photo by Filippo Vinardi

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, successfully completed its final sea trials in the Adriatic Sea earlier this week in anticipation of its inaugural cruise from Barcelona on April 2, 2018.

Currently in the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the 3,974-passenger vessel had a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers on board who thoroughly tested Carnival Horizon’s sophisticated technical, mechanical and navigation systems.

As the newest ship in the fleet, Carnival Horizon will offer a number of unique innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss WaterWorks aqua park, a new teppanyaki dining venue, and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse, a new BBQ restaurant offering mouth-watering favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri along with a four different kinds of craft beer brewed at a brewery on board.

Carnival Horizon will also offer such popular Vista-class features as an IMAX Theatre, a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, the tropics-inspired Havana section with colorful staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, and Family Harbor with extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge.

Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port.  Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Royal Caribbean Announces 2019-2020 Deployments

November 7, 2017.

Royal Caribbean International has revealed the 2019-2020 deployment plans, with new offerings in the Caribbean, four new ports of call in Europe, and the first-ever Quantum Class ship to visit  Alaska.

More Ways to See the Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is changing the game when it comes to short Caribbean cruise vacation offerings.  Newly modernized and purposefully redesigned with families in mind, two of the cruise line’s Voyager Class ships – Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas – will sail 3- and 4-night itineraries to The Bahamas.

Mariner will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, while Navigator will be based in Miami where guests will be welcomed through Royal Caribbean’s new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in PortMiami.

Travelers from the Southwest also seeking short Caribbean getaways can take advantage of 4- and 5-night sailings on Enchantment of the Seas from Galveston, Texas to various destinations in Mexico, year-round.  Short Caribbean itineraries will be available to book the week of Nov. 20, 2017.  All itineraries will be available to book by Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members one day prior to the general opening date.

All four of the world’s largest cruise ships – Oasis of the SeasAllure of the SeasHarmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas – will set sail from Florida in 2019 through April 2020.  Oasis of the Seas, the first ship in its class, will undergo a bow-to-stern transformation before homeporting at Royal Caribbean’s custom-built Terminal A at PortMiami for the fall and winter seasons, alongside her newest record-setting sister ship, Symphony of the Seas, which will be a year-round Miami resident.
After spending the previous year in Miami, Allure of the Seas will return to Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, while Harmony of the Seas will make Port Canaveral her new home.  This move to Central Florida brings first of its kind innovations like the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea – within driving distance for markets throughout Florida, Georgia and the southeast region.
All four Oasis Class ships will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, Liberty of the Seas will sail 7-night Western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas and Freedom of the Seas will sail 7-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The 7-night Caribbean itineraries are available to book the week of Nov. 13, 2017.

Royal Caribbean will continue to have a strong footprint in the Northeast with Anthem of the Seas, sailing from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey.  The Anthem will sail 5- to 9-night summer itineraries to Bermuda, The Bahamas and the Caribbean. For the fall season, Anthem of the Seas will offer 9-night itineraries to Canada and New England. For the second consecutive year, Royal Caribbean is doubling up on fan favorites in the New York metro area.

Anthem will be joined by the recently upgraded Adventure of the Seas, offering 6- to 8-night itineraries to The Bahamas and Caribbean. Adventure also will offer select 6-night itineraries to Canada and New England during the summer, and longer 10- to 11-night fall foliage cruises beginning in September.  Northeast, Canada and Bermuda itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 4, 2017.

The Views of Alaska Just Got Wilder

Making her U.S. debut for the 2019 Alaska summer season, Ovation of the Seas will transition from Sydney, Australia to her new summer homeport in Seattle, Washington.  Only on Ovation will guests glimpse the Northern Lights and other Alaskan wonders from the North Star, the ship’s signature glass observation capsule with panoramic views from 300 feet above sea level – the best views possible without taking flight.  Ovation guests also will have the chance to skydive, surf and swim alongside glaciers from the comfort of the ship’s thrilling indoor SeaPlex sports complex, Solarium and indoor or outdoor pools.

Ovation will sail 7-night itineraries to destinations from Juneau to Victoria, British Columbia, showcasing Alaska’s natural treasures and luring adventure seekers with stately spruce forests, island-studded waters, native wildlife and awe-inspiring glaciers.  Ovation will join Radiance of the Seas in the Alaska market, which sails 7- night open-jaw itineraries between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia. Alaska itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 11, 2017.

New Northern Europe and Mediterranean Adventures

Royal Caribbean will discover the untold stories of four new European ports of call. Travelers can now visit the world’s best preserved medieval city and UNESCO World Heritage site, Visby, Sweden; Zadar, Croatia, offering national parks, waterfalls and Roman-era history; the glamorous, picture-perfect fishing village of Portofino on the Italian Rivera; and Porto, Portugal, the country’s second largest city, famed for its charming, breathtaking scenery steeped in history.

For the first time since 2014, Oasis of the Seas will spend the summer season in Europe, sailing from the iconic port city of Barcelona, Spain, known for its world-class art, architecture, design and culinary scene.  As the largest ship sailing in the Mediterranean, Oasis will bring together old world destinations and modern experiences only found on board Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships – the distinct seven-neighborhood concept, imaginative and sophisticated dining, Broadway entertainment and the iconic waterfront AquaTheater.  Oasis will sail 7-night itineraries, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseille, France; and Florence, Rome and Naples, Italy.  Europe itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 11, 2017.

For additional information, itinerary details and a peek into the Royal Caribbean adventures coming in May 2019 through April 2020, visit royalcaribbean.com/cruise-itineraries-2019.

Holland America Receives 8 Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards

November 6, 2017.

Holland America Line dominated  Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards, garnering  eight honors.  Readers from Porthole recognized Holland America Line in areas that covered everything from destinations to onboard and shoreside experiences.

The awards include Best Canada/New England and Northern Europe Itineraries; Best Shore Excursions; Best Spa Facilities; Most Eco-Friendly Line; Best Medical Facilities; Best Facilities for Guests with Disabilities; and Best Private Island for Half Moon Cay, the line’s exclusive island in the Bahamas.

Porthole Cruise Magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards are determined by thousands of the publication’s readers who vote both online and via paper ballot on their favorite cruise lines in more than 50 categories.

Half Moon Cay: Best Private Island in its 20th Anniversary Year
For the past 17 years, Porthole Cruise Magazine’s readers have named Half Moon Cay the industry’s Best Private Island. In 2017 the island is celebrating its 20th anniversary with special events, upgrades and new facilities. Half Moon Cay features lovely beaches, a natural 700-acre lagoon,  two-story villas and private cabanas, as well as a variety of shore excursions.

Best Shore Excursions
Holland America Line guests can participate in EXC Tours (shore excursions) that are designed to help guests deeply connect with the people and places they are visiting. To help make the most of time ashore, Holland America Line’s expertly curated EXC Tours provide a wide variety of ways to explore and learn about the cultures of each port of call. Guests looking for a more tailored experience can delve deeper into The Collections tours and choose a shore excursion that has a particular focus.

Top Itineraries Earn Top Honors
Holland America Line earned a win for its Canada/New England itineraries. Stretching from April through October, the line offers the longest Canada/New England season in the industry. In 2018, four ships will feature cruises from seven to 15 days, with many able to combine with a Bermuda, Cuba or back-to-back Canada/New England cruise to form a longer Collectors’ Voyage.

The line’s northern Europe cruises garnered an additional honor for top itineraries. While visiting some of the most charming, scenic and historic ports, guests can marvel at the fjords of Norway, attend an evening ballet at St. Petersburg, Russia, or traverse the Arctic Circle to welcome the splendor of the midnight sun. In 2018, Holland America Line will have four ships sailing throughout the region from April through September.

Best Spa Facilities
Holland America Line’s Greenhouse Spa and Salon is a retreat that nurtures every aspect of well-being with renowned spa rituals and healing touches. Guests can relax and rejuvenate their mind, body and soul with a massage, facial or a dip in the hydropool. With the introduction of the two-story spa on ms Koningsdam, Holland America Line took the shipboard spa experience to a whole new level of pampering. It is the first in the fleet to feature a Medi-Spa and Barber Shop. The serene Spa Staterooms and Suites on select ships are spacious havens of peace and quiet, conveniently located steps away from the spa facilities.

Most Eco-Friendly Cruise Line
Holland America Line understands the great responsibility in safeguarding the oceans and environment. Through the “Our Marvelous Oceans” partnership with Marine Conservation Institute that began in 2010, Holland America Line educates guests and crew about marine conservation issues, including marine protected areas. Responsible energy, water and waste management are important components of the company’s sustainability strategy. Six of the 14 Holland America Line ships use shore power at the ports of Quebec, Seattle, San Diego and Vancouver.

State-of-the-Art Medical Facilities and Facilities for Guests with Disabilities
Once again, Holland America Line received recognition for its accessibility and medical facilities. Holland America ships accommodate guests with a variety of special needs and feature state-of-the-art shipboard medical facilities and equipment.

About Porthole Cruise Magazine
Porthole Cruise Magazine is published bimonthly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The nation’s leading consumer cruise publication, it features cruise and destination articles for both first-time and experienced cruisers. Available on newsstands as well as by both print and digital subscriptions, each issue includes ship reviews, cruise destination features and other editorial about cruise trends, food and wine, spas and well-being, entertainment, kids’ activities, and other onboard amenities. To learn more, visit Porthole.com.

Carnival Garners 6 Readers Choice Awards From Porthole Cruise Magazine

November 6, 2017.

Carnival Cruise Line has earned six Porthole Cruise Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards, including Best Value for the Money Line for the 19th consecutive year.

Since the awards were established in 1999, Carnival Cruise Line has earned an unprecedented 152 individual honors – the most of any cruise operator.

Carnival’s six Porthole Cruise Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards include:

  • Best Value-For-The-Money Line
  • Best Cruise Line for Teens
  • Best Computer Facilities
  • Best Website
  • Best Nightlife
  • Best Mexican Riviera Itineraries

Carnival’s six Porthole Awards encompass a variety of categories, everything from providing a superior value with an array of free-of-charge dining and entertainment options to the line’s legendary nightlife, which includes fun-filled deck parties, sizzling dance clubs, high energy production shows and live music throughout the ship.

The line’s top-rated Club O2 teen program, which features designated facilities, enthusiastic counselors and activities aimed at 15-17 year olds, along with its immersive www.carnival.com web site that makes planning for a cruise vacation fun and easy, were also recognized as was the line’s fleetwide computer facilities with standalone workstations that provide convenient access for keeping in touch with friends and families back home.

Carnival is also the West Coast cruise leader, with three year-round ships operating 250 three- to 15-day cruises annually from Long Beach, Calif., visiting spectacular ports in Mexico and Hawaii. The line will increase capacity by more than 40 percent on its longer length cruises from Southern California when the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor repositions to Long Beach in January 2018.

“Considering our awards cover such a diverse array of areas – from our teen program and nightlife to onboard computer facilities and itineraries – it’s truly gratifying to be recognized for the efforts we put forth in providing fun and memorable cruises for our guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.  “Plus, exceeding guests expectations is one of our brand pillars and earning Best Value honors for the 19th consecutive year is a testament to the value and affordability of the Carnival vacation experience.”