Holland America Line Celebrates 145th Anniversary

April 18, 2018.

Holland America Line is celebrating its 145th anniversary today,  marking its place in history as one of the most experienced cruise lines in the world. What started as shipping and passenger line Netherlands-American Steamship Company in 1873, is today a premium cruise line taking guests to more than 400 ports around the world, sailing to all seven continents.

Within 25 years of its founding, the company owned a fleet of six cargo and passenger ships and operated between Holland and the Dutch East Indies. Because it was headquartered in Rotterdam and provided service to the Americas, over time the company became known as Holland America Line.

Though transportation and shipping were the primary sources of revenue, in 1895 the company offered its first vacation cruise. The line was primarily a carrier of immigrants from Europe to the United States until well after the turn of the century, bringing nearly one million people to new lives in the New World. It supported the Allied cause during two world wars and several ships served as troop carriers. In 1973, the company sold its cargo shipping division.
Through the early ‘70s, Holland America Line was the first to establish schools in Indonesia and the Philippines to train future employees, thereby making its shipboard service renowned in the industry.  Holland America Line has been headquartered in Seattle since 1983.  Purchased by Carnival Corporation in 1989, the company grew to new heights, embarking upon a shipbuilding path that has seen the introduction of 16 new vessels over the years to the line’s fleet.

The Legacy Continues with Nieuw Statendam
In December 2018, Holland America Line will welcome Nieuw Statendam to the fleet. Nieuw Statendam is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America Line, joining Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016. A third Pinnacle Class ship will set sail for the cruise line in 2021.

The new 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of the company. Holland America Line’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company’s history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for “new” with the classic Statendam, Holland America Line is celebrating the company’s past, present and future.

Carnival Adding Late Night Lido Buffet Snack Menu

April 9, 2018.

Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald announced today that the cruise line is rolling out a new late night snack menu, offering a small selection of sandwiches, pasta, a soup, and some cookies.  John said it will be offered in the Lido Buffets and will be available from 11:30pm until 1:00am.  This is in addition to the 24 hour Pizza Pirate which will continue to serve made-to-order pizzas.

This comes on the heels of Carnival announcing fees for late night room service orders, which didn’t go over well with many Carnival fans.  This offers another option that is included in the cruise price.

New Menu

 

Carnival Horizon Retail Venues Are Most Expansive In Fleet

April 9, 2018. 

Two-Deck-High, Mall-Style Space Features World-Renowned Brands Such as Kate Spade, Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors, Hublot and More

Carnival Cruise Line has dramatically expanded its retail offerings with its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, featuring the fleet’s most expansive retail space showcasing major brands like LeVian, Victoria’s Secret and, for the first time, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Breitling and Hublot.

The venues are two-level, mall-style shops and are located along the ship’s atrium on decks 4 and 5.  The retail space is unique in that it is divided into areas dedicated to a particular shopping experience, each designed around guests’ interaction with the various interests.

The areas include:

  • Hip Fish: fashion jewelry, accessories, beauty and fragrances
  • Front Street: fine jewelry and  timepieces
  • Cherry on Top: the “sweetest spot on board” with an assortment of candies, novelty items and fanciful gifts
  • Carnival Store: the latest logo items and Carnival Horizon inaugural season memorabilia, as well as Carnival Adventures merchandise offering everything guests need for fun onboard and ashore, such as sunscreen and apparel
  • Portside Liquor & Tobacco: popular duty-free items, including the most extensive spirits display at sea 

Carnival Horizon brings these areas to life by offering an immersive shopping experience including a Beauty and Fragrance Bar that allows guests to try out cosmetics, skincare and fragrances and even get a makeover before a night out on board.  Port Side Liquor & Tobacco features a Spirits Tasting Bar where guests can sample and purchase the liquors, including the coveted Hennessey White currently not available outside of travel retail. Guests can also take home their own personal keepsake at the Create Your Own jewelry experience within the Hip Fish outlet where they can custom-design jewelry made of Swarovski crystals. There’s also the Wearable Tech outlet featuring the latest wearable technology with onboard experts on hand to match guests’ style with a variety of watch brands tied to fitness tracking.

There will be special events, giveaways, in-store parties and entertainment, among other promotions. Promotions change daily with flexible pop-up spaces that showcase new fashion and jewelry.

Carnival Horizon is currently sailing on its inaugural voyage which departed April 2 from Barcelona – the first of four voyages from that port.  The ship repositions to New York in May to launch a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures then shifts to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning in September.

Carnival Paradise Adds 20 Cuba Cruises From Tampa In 2019

April 6, 2018.

Vintage cars pass the Carnival Paradise while the cruise ship is docked in Havana, Cuba. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

This News Follows Recently Announced Series of 17 Cuba Voyages Aboard Carnival Sensation from Miami in 2019-20

Carnival Cruise Line announced today it has added another 20 voyages to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa in 2019, complementing the 11 cruises to the island taking place aboard the vessel through next year.

The new voyages aboard Carnival Paradise are in addition to the 17 recently announced Cuba cruises aboard Carnival Sensation departing from Miami in 2019, indicating that more and more travelers view cruising as a great way to experience Cuba.

The newly added five-day voyages will depart Tampa on Saturdays and feature a day-long or a full day and overnight call in the Cuban capital of Havana, along with stops at tropical destinations Key West and Cozumel.

Carnival Paradise’s new Cuba cruise schedule includes:

  • 10, five-day cruises overnighting in Havana with a visit to Key West – departing March 2, April 13, May 25, June 22, July 6, Aug. 3 and 17, Sept. 14 and 28 and Oct. 26, 2019;
  • Six, five-day voyages featuring a day-long call in Havana and a visit to Cozumel – departure dates include Jan. 5, March 16, May 11, Aug. 31, Nov. 9 and Dec. 7, 2019;
  • Four, five-day sailings featuring day-long calls to Havana, Key West and Cozumel – departing Feb. 16, June 8, July 20 and Oct. 12, 2019.

Guests sailing on Carnival’s Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursions.  A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, including the excellent Amor Cubano:  A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered.  There’s also an onboard Cuba expert who discusses the country’s rich history and culture.

Carnival Paradise just completed an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment last month that added a water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and an a host of food and beverage venues.  New spaces include Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery,  a new Camp Ocean marine-themed play area, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a Pixels-branded digital photo platform and enhanced retail offerings including boutiques from Pandora and Guess.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Carnival’s shore excursions meet all U.S. government regulations and provide a convenient means for complying with the people-to-people requirements of cruises to Cuba.

MSC Cruises Offering “Drinks On Us” Promotion

April 5, 2018.

 

Guests sailing on MSC Seaside and MSC Divina Caribbean Cruises to enjoy complimentary beverage package included with their cruise 

MSC Cruises USA has launched a new “Drinks on Us” promotion for MSC Seaside and MSC Divina Caribbean sailings that includes a wide-selection of complimentary drinks included with their cruise fare.

For new bookings made now through May 31, guests sailing in the Caribbean can stay refreshed with a selection of free unlimited non-alcoholic beverages including canned or fountain soda, bottled or canned juices and bottled water as well as alcoholic drinks including bottled and draft beers, wines by the glass and house brands of vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey (a value of more than $250 per person).

Specific details related to the Drinks on Us promotion include: 

Ships included in Promotion: MSC Seaside and MSC Divina

Itinerary: Caribbean itineraries only

Eligible sail dates: April 14, 2018 forward

Pricing: Eligible MSC Seaside and MSC Divina Caribbean sailings start at $509 per person for an interior stateroom, with the Drinks on Us package included as part of the cruise fare

Booking instructions: Guests must book by May 31, 2018. Guests can book by contacting their travel agent, calling MSC Cruises at 844-311-6465, or visiting the web site at msccruisesusa.com

Web page for more info: For more information on the Drinks on Us promotion and to view all eligible sailings visit: https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/Cruise-Deals/Drinks-On-Us.aspx

Norwegian Cruise Line “Tax-Free Spree” Promotion

April 3, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line invites guests to take advantage of a Tax-Free Spree* available now through April 17.  For a limited time only when guests book select three-day or longer cruise in an ocean view category stateroom or above, government taxes, fees and port expenses will be waived.  This  offer is available on over 430 cruises and combinable with the Free at Sea promotion, which offers guests even more value for the amenities of their choice.

Additional April value offers include:

  • FREE AT SEA – EXTENDED: Guests can take advantage of Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion, now extended through April 30. This value-added promotion provides guests who book a new three-day or longer cruise their choice of up to five free offers that feature onboard amenities, including free unlimited open bar, $50 credit per stateroom that can be applied towards shore excursions in each port, a free specialty dining package, 250-minute internet package, or Norwegian’s Friends & Family Sail Free offer which allows the third and fourth guests to sail for complimentary on select cruises.

The number of offers available is based on the stateroom category selected.

o   Reserve an inside cabin or Norwegian’s studio staterooms – designed specifically with the solo traveler in mind – and receive one free offer.

o   Book an ocean view, balcony or mini-suite category stateroom and choose up to two free offers.

o   Book a suite and receive all five free amenities†, providing them up to $2,700 in overall value on their cruise.

  • DISTINCTIVE VOYAGES OFFER – EXTENDED: Guests looking to cruise to new and exotic destinations can take advantage of Norwegian’s Distinctive Voyages** offer, now extended through May 31, 2018. On select seven-day or longer cruises, guests receive five additional amenities that include 120-minute phone call package, 250-minute Internet package, $50 credit per stateroom that can be applied towards shore excursions in each port, up to $400 in air credit and $100 hotel credit for a pre- or post-cruise stay. The offer is also combinable with Free at Sea, providing up to $5,000 in value on their next cruise vacation.

 

  • FREE AT SEA ALL-INCLUSIVE – EXTENDED: Now through April 30, guests who reserve a new three, four or five-day Bahamas or Cuba voyage on Norwegian Sun or Norwegian Sky can take advantage of Norwegian’s Free at Sea All-Inclusive** promotion, in addition to the already included complimentary unlimited open bar. With this incredible offer, guests will choose up to five onboard amenities including a $50 specialty dining credit per stateroom, $50 credit per stateroom that can be applied towards shore excursions in each port, 100-minute Internet package, a photo package with ten free images, or Norwegian’s Friends & Family Sail Free offer that allows the third and fourth guests to sail complimentary on select sailings.

 

  • FREE AT SEA HAWAII – EXTENDED: Guests looking to find their paradise in the South Pacific can take advantage of Norwegian’s Free at Sea Hawaii offer, now extended through April 30. For those who book a new cruise vacation aboard Pride of America, the only ship to sail an incredible seven-day inter-island itinerary roundtrip from Honolulu all year, have the freedom to choose from five offers†* to enrich their cruising experience, including a free one-night pre-cruise hotel stay with an option to select reduced airfare starting at $399 from select gateways, a free specialty dining package, free pre-paid service charges for the first and second guest in the stateroom, free $50 credit per stateroom that can be applied towards shore excursions in each port, or Norwegian’s Friends & Family Sail Free offer, allowing the third and fourth guests in each stateroom to sail for free on many 2018 sail dates. Guests who book a suite aboard Pride of America will enjoy all five offers.

All offers are subject to availability at the time of reservation. Additional terms and conditions may apply.


*Offer only applicable to the first and second guest and not applicable to Sail Away Categories (categories IX, OX, BX or MX).

**Offer not applicable to Sail Away Categories (categories IX, OX, BX or MX).

All sailings 3 nights or longer. Offer is not applicable to categories IX, OX, BX, MX (Sail Away Categories). Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Joy, Pride of America, and Norwegian Sun’s all-inclusive sailings from Port Canaveral are not eligible for this offer. Friends & Family sail free applicable only on select sail dates.  Guests are responsible for the service charges on Specialty Dining Package, Unlimited Beverage Package, and/ or the Soda Package, with pricing based on number of cruise nights. Number of meals for specialty dining package based on length of itinerary. $50 USD per port shore excursion credit is per stateroom and is applicable for each port; it is not transferable to other ports. Overnight stays count as one port, except Bermuda sailings which can receive up to 3 individual days of shore excursion credit. Wifi package offers one login per stateroom. On Norwegian Breakaway, stateroom receives an internet package of 250 minutes or 1000 MB of data.

†*Pride of America offer available for bookings for cruises through April 27, 2019. Offer is not applicable to categories IX, OX, BX (Sail Away Categories). Cruises must be booked more than 30 days prior sailing, when selecting hotel option; if choosing hotel option with air option cruises must be made more than 60 days prior to sailing. Offer valid for Waikiki Marriott Resort-city view room. In the event that the hotel scheduled to be used in package is unavailable, for any reason, Norwegian Cruise Line reserves the right to substitute the hotel included in package. One night pre-hotel offer is available on reservations with 4 guests or less.

Holland America “Ready Set Sail” Promotion

April 3, 2018.

Travelers looking to plan ahead and book their future Holland America Line cruise can take advantage of the Ready Set Sail promotion featuring pre-paid gratuities, reduced deposits and excellent rates on nearly all of the cruise line’s worldwide itineraries. Guests who book by June 14, 2018, will be eligible to receive the offer, and guests who book a suite also will receive up to $300 onboard spending money per stateroom.

All cruises between Sept. 1, 2018, and Aug. 1, 2019, excluding Grand Voyages and Grand Voyage segments, are eligible for the Ready Set Sail promotion.

 

Carnival Horizon Officially Joins The Fleet

March 28, 2018.

Line’s Newest Ship to Sail on Inaugural Voyage from Barcelona April 2

In a traditional maritime handover ceremony held earlier today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Carnival Cruise Line officially took delivery of the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, the 26th ship in its fleet.

The 3,954-passenger ship will reposition to Barcelona, Spain, where it will depart April 2 on an inaugural 13-day voyage – the first of four sailings from the European port.  The ship will then operate a trans-Atlantic crossing before arriving in New York May 23, 2018, for a pier side overnight gala and naming ceremony featuring the ship’s godmother, Grammy award-winning musical artist and acclaimed actress Queen Latifah.

Following a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean sailings from New York, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami for a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018.

Carnival Horizon offers several unique and exciting features, including a new Dr. Seuss-themed WaterWorks aqua park, part of the line’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Bonsai Teppanyaki, the line’s first teppanyaki venue, and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse|Brewhouse serving up “real deal” barbecue favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, as well as four new craft beers brewed on board.

The second in the line’s highly successful Vista-class, Carnival Horizon also offers fun innovations like the bike-ride-in-the-sky aerial attraction SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, the Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own pool, and Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge.    Like its name implies, Carnival Horizon also includes food and beverage outlets offering amazing views with both indoor and al fresco seating options at venues such as Bonsai Sushi, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse and Library Bar.

 

Carnival Paradise Completes Extensive Makeover

 

March 26, 2018.

Carnival Paradise returned to year-round cruise service Monday from Port Tampa Bay following an extensive month-long dry dock.  The renovation added several new features, including a water park, 38 new staterooms, 98 balconies added to existing accommodations, and an array of food and beverage venues.

Carnival Paradise departed on a five-day Caribbean cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman – part of the ship’s year-round sailings from Tampa that also include four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Key West or Grand Cayman.  The ship also offers four- to eight-day cruises to Cuba featuring day-long and overnight calls in Havana, as well as visits to popular ports throughout the Caribbean.

The new features added during dry dock include:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: everyone’s favorite burger at sea, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries.

    Guests aboard the Carnival Freedom load up their Guy Fieri-inspired hamburgers with pickles and other condiments at Guy’s Burger Joint. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines)
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside bar offering Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a Mexican-themed atmosphere with tequila-based frozen drinks and beers.
  • Camp Ocean: a play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the sea through engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities and science-oriented programming.
  • Circle “C”: designed for the 12- to 14-year-old set, this colorful space offers the perfect space for kids to chill and connect as well as enjoy dance parties, video games and more.
  • New Staterooms and Enhancements: Thirty-eight staterooms have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic oceanview and 12 interior accommodations.  Private verandahs have also been added to 98 existing accommodations, creating spacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by the ship’s tropical itineraries.
  • WaterWorks Aqua Park: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a kiddie splash zone. 
  • Miniature Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.
  • Retail and Photo Enhancements: The retail shops have been completely reimagined with a new design and enhanced product offerings with multiple branded boutiques, including Pandora and Guess.  The printed photo gallery has been replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.

In addition to Carnival Paradise’s short cruise program, Carnival’s Tampa-based offerings include Carnival Miracle’s year-round six- and seven-day cruises visiting beautiful ports throughout the western Caribbean, as well as eight-day voyages that include a partial transit of the Panama Canal.

Reservations are currently open for all of Carnival’s departures from Tampa.

Royal Caribbean Welcomes Symphony Of The Seas

March 24, 2018.

Launch of Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International’s newest and largest ship.
Delivery Ceremony In the Royal Theater.

Thirty-six months, 4,700 shipbuilders and crew, and one common goal: to deliver the ultimate family adventure.  Royal Caribbean International honored the instrumental project team of Symphony of the Seas during the highly anticipated delivery event at STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France yesterday.  Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship’s official delivery from the ship builder to Royal Caribbean.  The maritime ritual was followed by a celebration of the industry’s best, the crew whose hard work and meticulous collaboration came together to create the world’s largest cruise ship.

Launch of Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest ship.
Handover ceremony on the bridge of Symphony of the Seas.
L-R – Jean-Yves Jaouen, (CEO STX France) Laurent Castaing ( General Manager STX France)Harri Kulovaara, (executive vice president, Maritime & Newbuilding) Captain Rob Hempstead, Richard Fain ( Chairman and CEO Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD) Michael Bayley ( President and CEO Royal Caribbean International)

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas is 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighborhood.  One Oasis Class ship, seven distinctive neighborhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn.

New Culinary Adventures

  • Hooked Seafood: This upscale eatery atop of the world’s largest cruise ship in the Solarium serves up the real taste of New England-inspired seafood and unparalleled ocean vistas to match. Approachable and unassuming, the menu offers classic coastal favorites, such as lobster rolls, crab claws, signature fish sandwich, and a raw bar where oysters are shucked to order.
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Stretching the length of a reimagined Boardwalk, now touting fresh energy and swagger, the whole family can watch the home team play across 31 big-screen TVs, during the day and into the late night. The indoor and outdoor arcade, packed with over 20 games, offers the opportunity for friendly competition. The on-point menu of classic American bar food features everything from wings, burgers and popcorn shrimp to picture-perfect sundaes; as well as craft beers and cocktails.
  • El Loco Fresh: Made-to-order tacos and burritos wrapped with fresh tortillas are among the Mexican “street food” favorites that will hit the spot for adventure seekers looking to fuel up with minimal downtime.
  • Sugar Beach: The signature candy and ice cream shop is the sweet spot on the Boardwalk with more than 100 types of candies, a lineup of ice cream flavors and even DIY activities for the aspiring culinary artist.

New Ways to Play

  • Battle for Planet Z: Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game brings two teams of eight head to head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.
  • Escape the Rubicon: In the ultimate race against the clock, friends old and new must band together in the Rubicon submarine – a sophisticated, custom-built escape room – to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out.

Unparalleled Family Accommodations

  • Ultimate Family Suite: A two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with awesome thrills offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool. Complete with a Royal Genie, who caters to every whim, there are many more surprises awaiting guests along the way.

Symphony of the Seas will welcome her first guests on Saturday, March 31 for a one-time-only, 5-night preview sailing, calling on Naples and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy.

The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain, where the crescendo of thrills will be brought to life by the 2,200 international crew members who proudly represent 77 countries around the world. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.

Beginning Nov. 10, Miami, FL. will become the ship’s year-round homeport, making Symphony of the Seas the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world using Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A.