The Disney Wonder transited the Panama Canal on April 29, making it the first passenger vessel to go through the canal’s new set of locks, marking a milestone for the cruise industry.
I transited the original locks just a couple weeks ago and didn’t realize the new locks are just a few hundred feet east. In the above photo you can see a red and white ship in the background preparing to enter the “old” Gatun Locks.
For some background on Disney Wonder, the ship was transformed in late 2016, expanding the length of the Disney Wonder to 984 feet and accommodating 2713 guests. Headlining the ship’s enhancements are new imaginative spaces for children – including areas themed to the Marvel Universe and Disney’s “Frozen” – a jazzy restaurant inspired by Disney’s “Princess and the Frog,” and an authentic neighborhood English pub with subtle nods to classic Disney films.
The Disney Wonder Panama Canal crossing is part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Diego, where the ship will sail cruises to Baja, Mexico, before a summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.
Holland America Line is changing the way guests digitally access shipboard experiences and information across the fleet with the launch of Holland America Line Navigator, a free mobile-friendly tool. Navigator does not need to be downloaded in advance, does not require a paid internet connection and works on the browsers of most personal devices including phones, tablets and laptops. You simply connect to the ship’s Wi-Fi and open a browser window. The Navigator screen will automatically appear as the homepage.
Using Navigator, guests can plan their daily activities, explore and book shore excursions, view restaurant menus and make dining reservations, view spa treatments, connect to paid internet and look at their shipboard account balance. Additional features include access to ship deck plans, a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and links to complimentary internet sites such as hollandamerica.com.
To access the full functionality of Navigator, guests can create an account by following a simple registration process. Registering allows guests to plan a personal itinerary, make dining reservations, book shore excursions, view shipboard account information and connect to paid internet. There are no charges to register or use Navigator.
One of the key features of Navigator is that it allows guests to select and save specific activities to a personalized “my itinerary” to plan out their cruise days up to a week in advance. Those activities show up alongside booked dining reservations and shore excursions to truly help the guest get the most out of their time aboard.
Celebrity has named 19-year old Nobel Laureate and U.N. Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai as the Godmother of their newest ship, Celebrity Edge, debuting late in 2018.
The company also announced a two-year partnership with the Malala Fund. With the shared commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equality, the brand is partnering with Malala Fund whose mission is to secure 12 years of safe, free quality education for every girl.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said that Malala’s dedication to girls’ education sets an example worth following. “Partnering with Malala Fund was a natural fit as we share the same passion and commitment to an incredible cause. We believe in opportunities for all, especially as our crew onboard represent more than 50 different cultures – and amazing stories of achievement, education and economic advancement.”
“Malala is an inspiration and a voice of hope,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This young woman is on a powerful mission, and we support it 100 percent. We are deeply honored to name Malala the Godmother of Celebrity Edge, and we’re excited to team up with her and the Malala Fund to champion the global right to education.”
Fain added: “Malala Fund also advances one of our company’s key philosophies: that education is a great equalizer, providing opportunities to people who need it most.”
“We cannot get 130 million out-of-school girls into classrooms on our own. We are grateful to generous partners like Celebrity Cruises who support our work to help every girl learn and lead without fear,” said Philippa Lei, Malala Fund interim CEO.
A centuries-old maritime tradition, the role of Godmother is a lifetime title and honor. During the launch of a ship, the Godmother is responsible for bestowing good luck over a seagoing vessel and inspiring all that sail aboard by breaking a bottle over the bow as the ship is named, officiating the ceremony.
Malala began her life as an activist at 11 years old, writing a secret blog about life under the Taliban, who would not permit girls to go to school. She was targeted for her advocacy and, at 15, was shot on her school bus. Malala survived the attack and continued her campaign for girls’ education around the world.
In 2014, Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, donating her entire prize earnings to finance a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. With Malala Fund, she continues to fight for every girl’s right to education.
Norwegian Cruise Line today took delivery of Norwegian Joy, the brand’s fifteenth ship and the first custom-designed for the Chinese cruise market, from MEYER WERFT during an on board ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany.
At 167,725–gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is the second ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class and features an innovative design with amenities tailored to provide a “First Class at Sea” experience for Chinese guests.
“As Norwegian Cruise Line continues our global growth, Norwegian Joy’s delivery marks a momentous occasion in our company’s history, signifying our official entry into the Chinese cruise market,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are very grateful for the outstanding team at MEYER WERFT, along with our operations teams and more than 1,800 crew members, whom once again have delivered an exceptional vessel.”
“With this incredible ship, we have taken Norwegian’s signature on board experience and expanded and customized it with exciting features, services and amenities that combine the best of the East and the West,” said David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China. “We are honored to deliver this spectacular ship to our Chinese guests and we can’t wait to see Norwegian Joy come to life when she welcomes her first guests upon her arrival in China this June.”
In advance of the delivery, Herrera and executives from Norwegian’s offices in China gathered for a traditional blessing from the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, Mazu, to ask for safe and pleasant voyages for the ship and all its guests. The ceremony was held at the Mazu Temple in Shanghai where, one year ago, the Norwegian team held a ceremony to obtain a blessing for the coins that were used in Norwegian Joy’s Keel laying ceremony. During the visit, a ceramic statue of Mazu was gifted to the company by the temple representatives and brought to Germany for the ship’s delivery. The statue has been given a place of honor aboard Norwegian Joy and will carry the blessings of Mazu on the journey to China.
Following her delivery, Norwegian Joy will begin her journey to China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Beijing (Tianjin). The ship will be christened in an exclusive star-studded event for honored guests on June 27, led by her Godfather, the‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom.
For more information on Norwegian Joy, please contact an authorized Norwegian travel partner or visit www.goncl.cn (in China) or https://www.ncl.com/norwegian-joy (in US). Reservations for Norwegian Joy from June 28 onwards are currently available through travel agent partners across China.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S NEWEST QUANTUM ULTRA-CLASS SHIP TO SAIL FROM ASIA-PACIFIC IN 2019
Royal Caribbean International has unveiled future plans for the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named ship will be the next evolution of the groundbreaking Quantum class and will join her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. The announcement was made as Royal Caribbean unveiled its full roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries.
As part of the deployment plans for 2018-19, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to a new home in Miami, Florida embarking on a “Global Odyssey” from Asia that features three long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. The “Global Odyssey” opens for sale on May 2, 2017. Voyager of the Seas will have her first full season in Singapore in 2018-19, offering 3- to 7-night cruises throughout Southeast Asia with stops that include ports in Thailand and Malaysia.
The new 2018-19 deployment season presents additional highlights, including an expanded offering of open-jaw itineraries for adventure-seekers traveling down under with new 10-night open-jaw itineraries between Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne or Sydney, Australia on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for her longest season in Australia, reclaiming the title as the largest ship based in the region.
Royal Caribbean’s China 2018-19 itineraries for Quantum and Voyager will be available to book beginning April 26, 2017, followed by Ovation on April 27. Australia and Singapore sailings will be open as of May 16, 2017.
2018-19 China, Singapore, Australia Deployment Highlights
Adventures from China and Singapore
Available to book April 26 and April 27
Quantum of the Seas will continue to sail from Shanghai for the fourth consecutive season, offering 78 sailings to and from Japan, beginning January 2018. Highlights include:
6-night Japan itinerary: Visiting the historic city of Nagasaki and overnighting in Okinawa, Japan, guests can dive into the unique culture of the nation’s southernmost prefecture
8-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Showcasing the best of the nation with stops in Kobe, Tokyo and Nagasaki, Japan
Ovation of the Seas will return to Tianjin, China for its second season, offering a rich lineup to explore the best of Japan, including two new ports for the ship: Sasaebo and Shimonoseki. The season begins April 2018. Highlights include:
5-night Japan itinerary: Sailing to Sasaebo and Shimonoseki, Japan, travelers will venture to what many know as “The Gateway to Japan.”
7-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Guest uncover far-flung locales in Japan, including the scenic ports of Sakaiminato, Maizuru and Nagasaki, Japan
Voyager of the Seas will offer a combined total of 77 sailings from Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, offering countless adventures across Southeast Asia, beginning April 30, 2018. Itinerary highlights include:
4-night Malaysia itinerary: Sailing from Singapore and visiting Penang and Phuket, Malaysia, a hub of vibrant neighborhoods and heritage architecture
5-night Vietnam itinerary: From Hong Kong to far-flung destinations, including Chan May and Nha Trang, Vietnam, guests will discover a country of breathtaking beauty and a storied past
Journeys in Australia and South Pacific Available to book May 16
Ovation of the Seas – the largest and most technologically advanced ship to sail in Australian waters – will sail from Sydney, Australia for its third and longest season in the country, offering 13 sailings beginning November 2018. Highlights include:
10-night New Zealand itinerary: Departing Sydney, featuring the country’s endemic wildlife and Maori heritage with stops in Milford Sound, Napier and Picton, New Zealand
14-night Singapore to Sydney, open-jaw itinerary: Setting sail this Fall to ports of call including Adelaide and Hobart, Tasmania
Radiance of the Seas will have an expanded open-jaw program with three new itineraries venturing out into Australia in 2019. Highlights include:
New – 10-night, open-jaw itinerary: Departing from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia, travelers will visit various captivating destinations throughout the Tasman Sea.
Explorer of the Seas will join Ovation of the Seas for her fourth season based in Sydney with 23 sailings exploring the island destinations of the South Pacific and Fiji. The ship’s cruises range from 3- to 14-night itineraries, and will begin in October 2018. Highlights include:
12-night South Pacific and Fiji itinerary: Visiting a lineup of exotic destinations, including Noumea, Caledonia; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Lautoka and Suva, Fiji.
Holland America has introduced a new Elite Beverage Package for guests that features premium beverage selections. With this new package, guests may now also enjoy libations from Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff’s collection of unique, classic cocktails, such as The Ritz Cocktail, The Hemingway Daiquiri and his latest masterpiece the Midnight Sun, created to celebrate Holland America Line’s 70th year of exploring Alaska.
The Elite Beverage Package features any premium spirits, cocktails, wines, beers, coffees, nonalcoholic beverages, bottled water and sodas up to a value of $15 each. On ms Koningsdam, the package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program, where guests can enjoy more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors. The price for the Elite Beverage Package is $54.95 per person, per day.
Holland America has also introduced discounted pricing for its existing Signature Beverage Package, where guests save five dollars when they purchase the package online for $44.95 per person, per day, before their cruise; the same package when purchased aboard ship is priced at $49.95 per person, per day. The Signature Beverage Package includes standard selections of wine, beer, spirits, sodas, coffees and cocktails up to a value of $8 each.
In addition to the Elite and Signature beverage packages, Holland America Line also offers two nonalcoholic beverage options and a Water package.
–Quench Beverage Package features unlimited nonalcoholic beverages that include any juices, bottled water, non alcoholic cocktails, non alcoholic beers and specialty coffees for a price of $17.95 per person, per day.
–The Coca-Cola Package includes unlimited fountain sodas for $8.00 per person, per day. On ms Koningsdam this package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program with more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors.
–The Water Package offers 12 liter bottles for a price of $32.
Wine enthusiasts can opt for the Cellar Master Package, consisting of a choice of five wine bottles, a standard and a premium wine tasting, one Pinnacle Grill dinner, a wine accessory gift set and a Holland America Line commemorative bottle of wine. Cellar Master Package prices begin at $252 per person.
All beverage packages and cards can be purchased online in advance of sailing or as gifts for other sailing guests. Unless otherwise noted, beverage packages must be purchased for the duration of the cruise and for all occupants of a stateroom. A 15 percent service charge is automatically added to all beverage purchases.
It was a historic day for Royal Caribbean International yesterday when the cruise line made its inaugural visit to Cuba with the Empress of the Seas as part of a 5-night sailing from Miami.
Guests participated in curated excursions throughout Havana, including rides in 1950s classic American cars to the city’s most famous locales, including the old quarter and the Havana Club Museum.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of Cuba’s future, ushering in Royal Caribbean’s next big adventure with Empress of the Seas’ first visit to Havana. Vacationers will now be able to experience a destination like no other, with authentic and immersive experiences that bring to life the vibrancy of Havana and its traditions,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
The Cuban culture extends beyond land to the experience onboard Empress of the Seas. From cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal to salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, guests enjoyed a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life throughout the entire journey.
After returning to Miami, Florida, Empress of the Seas will reposition to Tampa for the summer season – the cruise line’s first ever summer program from the destination – offering a series of four, five and six-night sailings, including day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West and Belize City as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel.
Sailings from Tampa are available through Nov. 4, 2017 when Empress returns to Miami for the winter season, adding calls to CocoCay and Nassau in The Bahamas.
Norwegian Bliss to feature Tony Award®-Winning Musical “Jersey Boys” along with an original Cuban-inspired Broadway-style musical, reimagined comedy club and more when she debuts next summer
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the entertainment programming for Norwegian Bliss.
Norwegian will once again bring the best of Broadway to sea, with the 2006 Tony Award® winner for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys, and a completely new and original show created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, headlining on the ship’s main stage, the Bliss Theater. Norwegian Bliss will also feature a new comedy club and nightlife venue, a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition- The Musical, an outpost of the legendary Beatles’ venue The Cavern Club and much more.
Headlining in the Bliss Theater will be the 2006 Tony Award®-winner for Best Musical, Jersey Boys. The show goes behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and follows four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys features all of their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.” Jersey Boys will hit the high seas for its first production at sea after 11 record-breaking years on Broadway. As one of the longest running shows in Broadway history, including many world tours, Jersey Boys has been seen by more than 24 million people worldwide. Jersey Boys is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.
Norwegian Cruise Line is currently developing an exclusive original musical theater show created and produced specifically for Norwegian Bliss. The new show will be a Cuban-inspired Broadway-style musical created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle. More details on this incredible new show will be shared this fall.
In a new concept exclusive to Norwegian Bliss, the Alibi is a reimagined comedy and nightclub space that will feature sets from today’s most popular stand-up comedians, and then transform to a nightclub late in the evening. Alibi will feature two comedy performances six nights a week, offering both family-friendly and mature comedy shows. Guests who visit the club will find intimate seating and cocktail tables during comedy performances, while those who visit Alibi after 10 p.m. will see a black and white chevron patterned dance floor, LED disco lighting and a DJ spinning today’s hits.
Norwegian Bliss’ guests will have the opportunity to travel back in time to January 16, 1919 – the eve of the Prohibition era – for a rowdy good time with the new show, Happy Hour Prohibition- The Musical. Created by Broadway sensations Holly-Anne Palmer, whose creative talent has been featured in hits like Bring It On and Jersey Boys, among others, as well as Liz Muller and Collin Simon of Pipe Dream Theatre, Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical will hit the high seas after delighting audiences for nearly two years in New Orleans and New York City. Guests will join the talented cast in Miss Lulu’s infamous New Orleans speakeasy, Mahogany Hall, as they entertain with tales of bootleggers and intoxicating choreography by Broadway veteran Lauren Lim Jackson, set to some of the era’s most famous tunes including Let’s Misbehave, Happy Feet and Makin’ Whoopee. During the one hour performance, guests will savor their own Prohibition era specialty cocktails, each with a modern twist. The show will be performed on select evenings as a happy hour pre-dinner show and once each cruise as a late night adults-only show in the Alibi Comedy and Nightclub.
In an expansion of the successful partnership that began during Norwegian Epic’s recent renovation through the Norwegian Edge™ program, the extremely popular rock and roll venue The Cavern Club will delight guests aboard Norwegian Bliss. The Cavern Club is inspired by the Liverpool club where the Beatles performed frequently in the 1960’s. The lounge brings rock and roll to life with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.
About Norwegian Bliss
At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss is currently being constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018. The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for Alaska cruises.
During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.
Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.
Additional details on the ship’s dining and recreational activities will be shared in the coming months.
First-Ever Dr. Seuss-Themed Water Park to Feature Slides, Water Toys and Attractions Inspired By World’s Most Popular Children’s Author
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, a water park inspired by the whimsical world and words of the legendary children’s author. The 3,934-passenger vessel is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018.
The announcement was made by Carnival President Christine Duffy and Dr. Seuss Enterprises President Susan Brandt at Cruise3Sixty, an annual gathering of travel agents held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Located on Deck 12, Carnival Horizon’s Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will offer two distinctly different slides.
The Cat in the Hat slide will feature an enclosed raft slide offering more than 450 feet of heart-racing twists and turns. The entrance resembles The Cat’s famous red and white hat with the distinctive color pattern carried throughout the slide in alternating translucent and opaque sections.
The Fun Things slide, an enclosed body slide with polka dots and special lighting effects and named after the mischievous duo Thing 1 and Thing 2 is 213 feet in length.
Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will also include a 150-gallon tipping bucket patterned after The Cat’s hat, along with a kiddie splash zone with dozens of water spray toys.
Larger-than-life images of famous Dr. Seuss characters – including The Cat in the Hat holding an inner tube, The Grinch sporting a surf board tucked under his arm, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 frolicking atop their namesake slide – will greet visitors as they enter the park, with memorable Dr. Seuss phrases displayed on clear partitions that surround the facility.
Dr. Seuss WaterWorks is just one of several family-friendly features on Carnival Horizon which will also feature the bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and the SportSquare outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course. A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, which will include a Family Lounge area with large screen TVs, board games and complimentary breakfast, cookies and other snacks.
Carnival Horizon will also feature the Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading and play venue and popular Seuss at Sea activities like The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time.
Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from this 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 a 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.
It appears the resistance by the major cruise lines to employing lifeguards is fading quickly.
Norwegian Cruise Line will begin employing certified lifeguards at all of the family pools. This news comes shortly after Royal Caribbean International announced that they would start using lifeguards. Disney Cruises has had them for a while. Carnival is still holding out.
The Norwegian Cruise Line lifeguards will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours. The lifeguards will begin service this summer on the line’s four largest ships – Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic – and on the remainder of the fleet by early 2018.
“Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet.”
In addition to uniformed lifeguards, Norwegian will also begin offering complimentary swim vests for both adults and children on the line’s four largest ships. Parents can obtain the safety vests at the towel station on the ship’s pool deck during daytime hours.