As Princess Cruises fleet expansion continues, the cruise line reveals the name of the ship it will launch in 2020 – Enchanted Princess.
Enchanted Princess is scheduled to debut on June 15, 2020 sailing on a series of European voyages. Bookings for her maiden season, summer 2020, will open on November 8, 2018.
“The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising,” said Jan Swartz president of Princess Cruises. “We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise vacation.”
The arrival of Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of the sixth Royal-Class vessel for Princess Cruises in 2021. The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.
Construction of the 143,700-ton, 3,660-passenger Enchanted Princess will take place in the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard with the ship set to feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s previous Royal-Class ships.
Royal Caribbean International announced today that effective immediately, emotional support animals are no longer allowed aboard any of the cruise lines ships. This does not effect fully trained and documented animals such as seeing eye dogs, medical alert animals, and others that meet legal requirements such as the Americans With Disability Act (ADA). In short, those cruisers who bought a fake “support animal” vest on eBay so they can put it on Fifi and take her along on the cruise need to look elsewhere. Those who booked a cruise prior to July 30, 2018, will still be allowed to bring their animal on those cruises. That is the only grandfathering being allowed.
The news if rife with reports of incidents involving alleged service animals, that in fact are not trained for specific tasks or needs and often not basically trained at all. This abuse of the system has caused a lot of grief and frustration on both sides of the issue. Recently there were several reports on various cruise forums about pseudo-service animals snapping at cruise guests, the owners feeding them from the buffet while holding the animals in the serving line, and in at least one instance, defecating on the deck at the guest relations desk aboard one Royal Caribbean ship.
I’m sure this isn’t the end of this and a vigorous push back effort is in the offing. I’ll be watching for it. But I can say that I applaud Royal Caribbean for finally taking a stand.
Princess Cruises has revealed the line’s newly enhanced beverage menus, featuring globally inspired signature cocktail offerings created by master mixologist Rob Floyd. As one of the most significant beverage changes in the history of the company, destination-specific ingredients have been carefully selected to tantalize guests’ taste buds with flavors from every corner of the world. In addition to the new cocktails, the line has added 20 new high-end and exotic spirits, 39 new wines by the glass, and 17 new international and craft beers to the new menu.
Highlights of the new onboard offerings include a set of signature cocktails designed by Floyd, who used fresh ingredients and destination inspiration to develop a portfolio of new drinks for Princess Cruises. Bars and lounges throughout the ships will also feature new, themed menus, so guests can have fun exploring the different offerings at the various bars on board.
Floyd believes spectacular drinks combine the best of “The Three T’s.” First and foremost is “Taste,” as interesting ingredient combinations produce delicious flavors. The second element, “Technique,” refers to the skill and craft that goes into creating each drink. And last but not least the “Tale;” a creative and fascinating inspiration behind each unique cocktail.
Whether traveling to Mexico, Italy, or the South Pacific, the globally designed cocktails by Rob Floyd have the flavors to inspire. Initial offerings include:
● The Egyptian Zombie: Bacardi Superior rum, Gosling’s Dark rum, blackberry brandy, sweet and sour, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine
Rounding out the new drinks are “zero-proof cocktails,” made without alcohol. These light, fruity and refreshing drinks skimp on the alcohol, but miss none of the flavor:
● Zero Mojito: Fresh mint, lime, simple syrup, Sprite
● Strawberries on Fire: Fresh strawberries, lime juice, agave syrup, jalapeño, soda
The new beverage menu offerings will be available aboard all ships in fall 2018.
In addition to adding the new wines by the glass, Princess Cruises worked with Doug Frost, one of only four people in the world to hold both the prestigious ranks of Master Sommelier and Master of Wine to refresh the wine menus onboard. More specific details will be shortly announced.
To whet guests whistles even more, Princess Cruises also unveiled this summer a thirst-quenching deal with theSip and Sail promotion, offering complimentary beverages for balcony, mini-suite and suite bookings. More information about the Sip and Sail offer is available atprincess.com/cruisedeals.
All prices are per person based on double occupancy. The Sip and Sail cruise deal runs through 11:59 p.m. PDT on September 5, 2018 and is available to residents of United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Bermuda who are 21 years of age or older.
SoundSeeker Produces Original Soundtracks Based on Mood and Content of Pictures, Powered by Music Theory from Berklee College of Music
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but what if it was possible to “hear” what it sounds like? Royal Caribbean International has designed and built a first-of-its-kind tool that transforms travelers’ photos into an original, shareable soundtrack with a video to match. More than a year in the making, SoundSeeker™ is a groundbreaking, patent-pending digital experience powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The innovative tool is specifically designed to use machine learning to seamlessly create original soundtracks based on the content of each photograph.
By visiting www.royalcaribbean.com/soundseeker, users can upload three photos of their choice, and the AI analyzes them based on color, landscape, backdrop, emotion, body language and facial expression. SoundSeeker then turns them into a shareable and one-of-a kind soundtrack – virtually DJing life’s moments. Fans can follow along on Royal Caribbean’s social channels, and by searching #SoundSeeker.
Royal Caribbean teamed up with experts from Berklee College of Music, and technologists from around the world, to create the unique song generator. Berklee leveraged music theory to create a roadmap for the tool that helps determine the musical pairing to photos, accounting for pitch, tempo and instrumental combinations, among others.
SoundSeeker uses machine learning, an artificial intelligence technique that enables computers to simulate human intelligence and make decisions on their own without explicit instructions. The learning process entailed more than 600 hours in which Royal Caribbean and a team of musicians and technologists reviewed hundreds of music tracks along with 10,000 photos, matching each of the 2.5 million combinations to one of 10 moods.
The AI in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colors in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee. SoundSeeker then finds the musical elements corresponding to each mood in the photo to compose a genuinely distinct audio and visual photo album. The Royal Caribbean tool is equipped to generate over one million unique tracks, based on custom base tracks, composed exclusively for the cruise line. The customized tracks take inspiration from a wide variety of music, including 90s hip-hop, rock, modern and electronic dance music.
Royal Caribbean fans listen up: Effective November 1, 2018, the cruise line will end the current practice of offering an onboard credit for new cruises booked with the non-refundable deposit option. Onboard credits for cruises booked prior to that date will still be honored. This new policy does not affect onboard credit for refundable deposits (at least not yet).
Royal Caribbean made the announcement in a letter to travel partners. The salient part of the letter states:
“We would like to inform you of an upcoming change to our Non-Refundable Deposit Program, resulting from a review of booking analytics over the past year. Based on this research, the onboard credit earned when booking six months or more prior to sailing will no longer apply. This update will take effect on all new bookings made on or after November 1st, 2018.
We are confident that this change will not impact your business. The Non-Refundable Deposit Program continues to offer the best pricing available — and will always be priced lower than the standard fare during brand promotions.”
Typically this credit has been $100 for a 7-night cruise, $50 for shorter cruises. But it will soon be history. Refundable bookings typically have an onboard credit of half that amount. The non-refundable cruise pricing is lower than prices for cruises booked with a refundable deposit. I would not be surprised if another “review of booking analytics” eventually gives them justification to end the credit for the refundable deposits as well.
I think refundable deposits will eventually go the way of the dodo bird and cruises will only come with a no-refund requirement for the deposit and change fees that are heftier than the current $100 per person. This has long been the policy for people living in the UK, Australia, and other regions. It’s only a matter of time before it comes to America.
While we spend most of our time talking about ocean going cruise ships and lines, I’ve been keeping an eye on the growing river boat market in the United States. While this has traditionally been dominated by classic design paddlewheelers, modern river boats are debuting and American Song will be the first.
American Cruise Lines is pleased to announce that the first modern riverboat in U.S. history is nearly complete. This week, American Song, under its own power, moved from the East Outfitting Basin at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD, to the yard’s outfitting pier for the final touches. The vessel is set to make its inaugural cruise October 6, 2018 on the Mississippi River from New Orleans—during the city’s Tri-centennial year.
American Song’s sister ship, American Harmony, the 2nd riverboat in the series, is currently five and a half weeks ahead of schedule and will be launched later this fall. American Harmony will go into service in the spring of 2019 on the Mississippi River where it will join two of American’s Victorian-style paddlewheelers, Queen of the Mississippi and America.
When it debuts this October 2018, American Song will cruise the Line’s Lower Mississippi River itineraries for the remainder of the year (including American’s holiday-themed cruises throughout December) and reposition to the West Coast on the Columbia & Snake Rivers in 2019.
American Song and American Harmony are both designed and built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland.
American Cruise Lines was recently awarded Cruise Critic’s 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Award for Best River Line in the U.S. & Canada. In 2018, American operates the largest and newest fleet of authentic paddlewheelers, coastal cruise ships, and of course the American Song in 2018 & American Harmony in 2019. With over 35 itineraries visiting 25 states, the company cruises along the rivers, as well as the coastal and inland waterways of New England, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi River system, and the Southeast.
You can read more about American Song, including deck plans, here.
Carnival Cruise Line today revealed plans for a nearly $200 million bow-to-stern makeover for Carnival Triumph in the spring of 2019 that will include renaming the ship to reflect its significant transformation. The ship will join Carnival’s Sunshine class and will be named Carnival Sunrise after a two-month-long refurbishment that will take place in Cadiz, Spain, starting March 1. The dry dock makeover will add all of Carnival’s popular branded food, beverage and entertainment innovations, as well as update all staterooms in a broad spectrum of new accommodations providing guests fresh and exciting seagoing vacation choices.
Following a renaming ceremony, Carnival Sunrise will re-enter service with a series of five- to seven-day voyages from Norfolk, Va., beginning April 29, 2019, a summer schedule of four- to 14-day departures from New York commencing May 23, 2019, then move to Fort Lauderdale in October.
Carnival Sunrise enhancements include the redesign of two luxury Captain’s Suites adjacent to the navigational bridge offering floor-to-ceiling windows and extended balcony grand suites. All of the ship’s staterooms will be updated to offer island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by the line’s Caribbean itineraries. Other new features will include:
Food Glorious Food!
Cucina del Capitano: offering delicious Italian favorites and new Carnival classics served family-style in an engaging atmosphere reminiscent of a cozy Italian home.
JavaBlue Café: this expanded version of the line’s popular coffee bars will offer lattes, cappuccinos and other caffeinated favorites, as well as “spiked” coffees made with liqueurs, and decadent confections.
Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse: a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks, gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts, with impeccable service and understated ambiance.
Bonsai Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual spot, featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.
The Chef’s Table: a new multi-course dining experience hosted in a special glass-enclosed venue in the forward dining room.
Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” an expanded Cherry on Top features bulk candy, fanciful gifts, custom apparel and a Carnival Adventures shop.
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse: a casual open-air eatery featuring “real deal” BBQ favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri.
Lido Marketplace: A casual poolside eatery boasting favorites like Seafood Shack offering lobster rolls and other New England-inspired fare; The Deli with sandwiches and paninis; Pizzeria del Capitano serving hand-tossed artisanal-style pies free of charge 24/7, and an expanded Swirls venue with complimentary ice cream and frozen yogurt.
Raising the Bar
RedFrog Pub: Featuring the Caribbean’s best rums and beers – including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red – enjoyed in a distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West atmosphere.
Piano Bar 88: A new twist on Carnival’s popular piano bar concept that amps up the excitement with themed nights, engaging new décor and spontaneous sing-along fun.
Limelight Lounge: Home to the Punchliner Comedy Club featuring a hilarious line-up of comics which later transforms into a sizzling night club where guests can dance the night away.
New Multi-Purpose Liquid Lounge: an expansive theater that’s home to captivating daytime and nighttime entertainment, including the line’s high-tech Playlist Productions revues and audience participation favorite Hasbro, The Game Show.
Open-Air Fun and Relaxation
SportSquare: A suspended ropes course offering heart-racing views to the sea 150 feet below, basketball court, jogging track, ping pong, foosball, pool tables, and a nine-hole miniature golf course highlight this open-area recreation complex.
WaterWorks: Featuring a 203-foot-long AquaTunnel slide and Carnival’s signature 212-foot-long Twister slide along with a 75-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket and kiddie area.
Serenity Adult Only Retreat: An adult only oasis offering plush chaise lounges, whirlpools and oversized umbrellas, enhanced by dramatic sea views.
Expanded Cloud 9 Spa and More
Cloud 9 Spa: Designed as the ultimate refuge for rest and relaxation, the health and wellness center offers an elaborate thermal suite, private treatment rooms, and the latest cardio and weight-training equipment.
Modern, Spacious Facilities for Kids and Teens: including a new Camp Ocean, a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11, along with new spaces for Circle “C” aimed at 12- to 14-year olds and Club O2 geared to those 15-17.
The Warehouse: promising fun for all ages with a variety of the latest video and arcade games.
Expanded Retail Spaces: a mall-style shopping area lined with retail outlets offering fine jewelry, watches, fragrances, and more along with the line’s own branded spaces like Hip Fish and The Carnival Store.
Carnival Sunrise’s Inaugural Season from Norfolk, New York and Fort Lauderdale
Carnival Sunrise’s inaugural schedule from Norfolk kicks off with a seven-day cruise departing the Half Moone Cruise Center visiting Grand Turk, the private island of Half Moon Cay and Freeport departing April 29, 2019. A pair of five-day voyages departs May 12 and 17, 2019 calling at Nassau and Freeport and three six-day cruises departing May 6, and Oct. 14 and 20, 2019, visiting Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport.
The ship will then reposition to New York for a series of four- to 14-day voyages beginning May 23, 2019. The program includes four- to eight-day Bermuda cruises, including long weekend sailings to the island departing Thursdays and returning Mondays, along with seven-day fall foliage cruises to New England and the Canadian Maritimes, and two different eight-day Caribbean itineraries with stops at the region’s top destinations. Several longer voyages will also be offered, including a 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean itinerary and a 14-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal cruise highlighted by local dining and entertainment experiences and unique shipboard enrichment activities.
Carnival Sunrise will then reposition to Fort Lauderdale for four- and five-day cruises beginning Oct. 28, 2019. Four-day long weekend cruises will call at tropical ports like Half Moon Cay, Princess Cays, Grand Turk and Nassau, while five-day cruises will visit Cuba, as well as seaside destinations in The Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Grand Turk.
Norwegian Joy will sail seasonally in Alaska in summer 2019 and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020. This is significant because the cruise line built Norwegian Joy specifically for the China cruise market, incorporating unique venues and features such as a tea room and noodle bar. This after the ship was initially announced as Norwegian Bliss under construction, then renamed and redesigned.
Norwegian Pearl will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while Norwegian Jade and Jewel will significantly expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter 2019/2020. Maintaining Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to serving the Chinese cruise market, Norwegian Spirit will sail seasonally in China beginning summer 2020.
From the press release:
Norwegian Joy to Sail Year-Round on the West Coast of the United States
Seasonal offerings to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera and the Panama Canal
In April 2019, Norwegian Joy will reposition to Seattle to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing Norwegian Pearl as Norwegian Cruise Line’s third ship in the region, joining Norwegian Bliss and Jewel. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, Norwegian Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in upgrades to enhance her already popular features and bring her designs and offerings to be virtually identical to those of her sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, the newest and most successful ship in the line’s 51-year history. To complement Norwegian Bliss’ itineraries and provide guests with more places to explore and experience the natural beauty of Alaska, Norwegian Joy will cruise a variety of itineraries featuring Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point, long recognized for its untouched wilderness, rich culture and fresh seafood. She will also call into Victoria, British Columbia.
Following her inaugural Alaska season, Norwegian Joy will sail to Los Angeles for a season of Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020.This move will mark a turning point in the historically underserved winter cruise market on the West Coast of the United States with the arrival of a premier, state-of-the-art cruise ship.
Norwegian Joy’s new itineraries will be open for sale on July 24, 2018 at www.ncl.com.
From fall 2018 through spring 2019, two Holland America Line ships will say “Aloha” to Hawaii. Guests can choose from nine cruises with itineraries ranging from 16 to 20 days aboard Eurodam and Amsterdam. Hawaii sailings depart from Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; and San Diego and Los Angeles, California.
Most itineraries feature an overnight call in Honolulu, which is huge since it allows guests to have extra time to do it all – visit Pearl Harbor, relax on Waikiki Beach, take in Diamond Head State Monument or spend the evening at an authentic luau. The cruises also call at Hilo, Nawiliwili and Lahaina, with most adding a call at Kona.
To kick off the season, Eurodam departs Seattle Sept. 29, 2018, for an 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise that calls at Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, before heading to the Hawaiian ports of Nawiliwili, Honolulu, Lahaina and Hilo. Guests also can choose to embark two days later, Oct. 1, and sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a 16-day sailing.
A second 18-day voyage is available aboard Eurodam Nov. 11, 2018, conveniently sailing roundtrip from San Diego. Guests will visit the same Hawaiian ports, as well as calls at Kona, Hawaii, and Ensenada, Mexico. Those planning for a holiday getaway can enjoy a comparable itinerary on Amsterdam’s 17-day Hawaii Holiday cruise, sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles Dec. 21, 2018.
In 2019, three similar itineraries are available aboard Eurodam, including two 17-day sailings departing Feb. 3 and Feb. 20, as well as a 16-day sailing, embarking April 13. Cruisers interested in extending their vacation can lengthen the April 13 cruise and disembark in Vancouver after visiting Victoria for a 20-day voyage.
Guests who wish to dive deeper into the South Pacific can select Eurodam’s 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas voyage March 9, 2019. Sailing roundtrip from San Diego, cruisers will enjoy visits to six ports in French Polynesia – including overnights in both Bora Bora and Papeete – as well as two ports in Hawaii and a call at Fanning Island. Cruisers can further their exploration of the region on the Amsterdam’s 51-day Tales of the South Pacific voyage Oct. 28, 2019. Sailing roundtrip San Diego, the ship will visit Hawaii, Tahiti, as well as calls in America Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.
Cruise fares for the 16-, 17- and 18-day Hawaii cruises begin at $1,999; fares for the 20-day Hawaii cruise begin at $2,399; and fares for the 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas Voyage begin at $5,179. Cruise fare for the 51-day Tales of the South Pacific voyage begin at $6,899. All rates are per person, double occupancy.
Explorations Central Brings Hawaiian Culture on board
Throughout the voyages, Explorations Central programming brings Hawaii’s local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life onboard. Guided by locals, guests can immerse in Polynesian culture through lei making, ukulele lessons, hula dancing classes and Hawaiian language classes. EXC Talks, led by resident EXC Guides provide new perspectives on the region’s stories, while those with an adventurous palate can head to America’s Test Kitchen for a cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare. The Dining Room and Lido Market will showcase the flavors of Hawaii, while a poolside Hawaiian Luau and Hawaiian beer tastings add to guests’ experience of regional fare.
When journeying ashore, the EXC Team’s insider knowledge of each port helps guests to tailor their experiences, whether exploring independently or on an EXC Tour. Printed EXC Port Maps present a simple view of the best each port has to offer, while EXC Port Guides, featuring tips and information from AFAR Media, allow for a deeper examination of each destination. The in-stateroom EXC Channel features a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows that explores the destinations on the ship’s itinerary.
Princess Cruises has announced it will be offering the cruise line’s largest hosted slot tournament with the highest cash and prizes ever offered through a partnership with Scientific Games Corporation. The MONOPOLY Cruise for Cash promotion will be available on hundreds of cruises throughout 2018, culminating in a $200,000 slot tournament onboard Regal Princess departing Dec. 9, 2018.
Princess Cruises guests have two ways to qualify for a chance to win a seat in the final slot tournament:
Winner’s Wheel Promotion – Open to everyone who plays in Princess casinos. For every 100 points earned in gaming, each guest earns one e-ticket. Guests are then automatically entered into the raffle for a chance to spin the Winner’s Wheel. A total of three winners will be selected on each cruise to spin the wheel for a prize, with a chance to win a seat on the Dec. 9 cruise, among other cash and prizes, including a lucky sevens $777 Princess Cruises MONOPOLY-themed gift card.
Cruises with Qualifying Tournaments – Qualifying slot tournaments are available now to all guests sailing aboard Princess cruise ships with the MONOPOLY Millionaire slot machines, which include Crown Princess, Caribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess, Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Star Princess and Grand Princess. Winners will receive a seat certificate for the Dec. 9 grand finale event aboard Regal Princess.
The final tournament onboard Regal Princess, which has the largest slot floor throughout the fleet, departs Ft. Lauderdale on Dec. 9 for a seven-day, Eastern Caribbean cruise. Stops include Princess Cays, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. In addition to the MONOPOLY Cruise for Cash tournament, guests have other chances to ‘win big,’ including the popular Paradise Lotto and MONOPOLY scratch tickets.