2018/19 Sailings For Azamara Pursuit Announced

October 25, 2017.

Azamara Club Cruises today revealed its 2018-19 sailings for the brand’s newest addition, Azamara Pursuit.

Azamara Pursuit will increase the brand’s destination offerings by 40% and will add 61 more destinations. Guests will also stay longer and experience more with 48 late nights and 26 overnights. Guests will get to experience some of the most unique destinations worldwide, including 15 maiden calls:

  • Agadir, Morocco
  • Antofagasta, Chile
  • Chilean Fjords
  • Cruising Beagle Channel
  • Fowey, United Kingdom
  • Laguna San Rafael, Chile
  • Lima (Callao), Peru
  • Maceió, Brazil
  • Monemvasia, Greece
  • Pisco (San Martin), Peru
  • Salaverry (Trujillo), Peru
  • Samos, Greece
  • San Antonio, Chile
  • Seyðisfjörður, Iceland
  • Spetses, Greece

South America Featured Experiences

Travelers sailing through South America will dock in marquee destinations such as Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, while also traversing through scenic channels such as the Fjords of Chile and Ushuaia, Argentina, the furthest south deep-water port.  Guests can also expect holiday stops in Rio de Janeiro for New Year’s Eve 2018 and for Carnaval in 2019. Like all Azamara voyages, the South American voyages will fully immerse guests in the most photo-worthy experiences, including:

Stargazing in Atacama Desert (Antofagasta, Chile): Sit back, look up and enjoy the peace, vastness and beauty of the stars in the Atacama Desert, the world’s driest desert.  Our three-day/two-night stargazing experience offers unparalleled views of millions of tiny diamonds against a black sky. Considered one of the best locations on earth to appreciate the Milky Way’s brilliant collection of stars. Azamara will take you via chartered plane from Antofagasta to San Pedro de Atacama for a two-night stay at the 5-star Tierra Atacama (or similar). You’ll visit Moon Valley, Quitor Fortress, Toconao Village & Chaxa Lagoon, then fly from Calama to La Serena via Santiago (on commercial air).

Casa de Aliaga (Lima, Peru): Guests will explore and embrace Peru when they dine in the oldest inhabited house in all of the Americas. This manor was built in 1536 during the Spanish conquest expedition of Peru. Your 17th generation family member and host will share this rich history of her family’s manor and the experiences of living there since she was seven.

A Culinary Experience in Bohemian Barranco (Lima, Peru): As one of the world’s top culinary destinations, guests will join a local foodie in Bohemian Barranco for a truly local experience. Walk through a typical Peruvian market, experience inspiring flavors and even prepare their own trademark Peruvian dishes like ceviche, while sipping Pisco Sours.

Yoga in the Paracas Desert (Pisco, Peru): While sailing on Azamara’s South American itineraries through its Cruise Global, Connect LocalSM experience, travelers are in touch with nature and oneself as they take part in open-air yoga classes at Atenas Beach in the Paracas National Reserve.

Europe Featured Experiences

Inside the Volcano (Reykjavik,Iceland): Take an elevator into the magma chamber of dormant volcano, Thrihnukagigur – once filled with hot lava. The Three Peaks Crater erupted 4,000 years ago and is truly a unique natural phenomenon.

Cruise Global Stay Local – (Akureyri, Iceland to Seydisfjordur, Iceland): In a 2days/1 night excursion, guests can enjoy spectacular views of the Godafoss waterfall (the “Waterfall of the Gods”). See the natural wonders of Lake Mývatn including Skútustaðir craters, Dimmuborgir lava labyrinth and Námaskarð thermal field before ending the day in total relaxation at Mývatn Nature Baths health spa. Float in the bubbling warm lagoon or relax with a natural sulfur-free steam bath as you experience true calm. On day two, guests will also travel alongside Jökulsárgljúfur Glacial canyon to Seyðisfjörður, to see the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. Passing Húsavík village, they’ll visit Hljóðaklettar and their echoing cliffs known for basalt columns. This place is known to be the meeting place of the pagan Gods. The last stop on this one-night excursion will be at Dettifoss waterfall, the biggest waterfall in Iceland and believed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

Greece Day Tour (Nauplion, Greece): Guests will visit the Monastery of St. John (Prodromos), built on the side of a rock face around 1167. They’ll enjoy a spectacular Greek lunch at a wealthy Arcadian mansion of the 1840’s, where guests will meet with the hotel owners.

Followed by a complimentary AzAmazing Evening in Rhodes, Greece where they’ll spend the evening at Tafros Theater seeing an exclusive performance of the ancient Greek drama, Antigone by Sophocles (in English).

Azamara Pursuit is comparable in size to the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, allowing guests access to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will now offer guests the opportunity to visit 7 continents and 217 ports from August 28, 2018 to April 5, 2019.

Royal Caribbean Sets Return To San Juan and St. Maarten

October 25, 2017.

Royal Caribbean International today announced the cruise line’s return to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, marking a major milestone towards the revival of these Caribbean islands which were impacted by the recent hurricanes. On Nov. 30, Freedom of the Seas will be the first ship in the fleet to call on San Juan, Puerto Rico, arriving with approximately 3,782 visitors to the island that is renowned for its passionate, welcoming spirit. Grandeur of the Seas will follow suit on Dec. 17 as the first cruise ship to sail into, St. Maarten since Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas arrived to provide humanitarian relief last month. This announcement comes on the heels of Royal Caribbean’s recent news that Adventure of the Seas will be the first ship to call on St. Thomas on Nov. 10.

“Royal Caribbean is encouraged by the commendable progress that has been made by the governments of Puerto Rico and St. Maarten towards the recovery of these destinations and it means a lot to us that we are heading back home. We have been part of the Caribbean community for almost 50 years, and for all of us it has been paramount that we focus on supporting our long-standing partners – who feel more like family after so many years,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Supporting these destinations that are so reliant on tourism is key to the future of the islands and the best thing we – as travelers and businesses – can do for the islands.”

With power and transportation on track to be readily available in San Juan by Nov. 30, guests can tour the city by foot, bike, Segway or bus; explore the fortresses of El Morro and San Cristobal in Old San Juan; spend the day on the beach at VIVO Beach Club; or admire the countryside through Cueva Ventana – the Window Cave – which sits atop an 800-foot limestone cliff.

Similarly, the return of power and water to most of St. Maarten means that a majority of the shops, restaurants and bars, and tour operators around Philipsburg will be fully operational for guests to experience a diverse and extensive array of dining, shopping and activities in the area. The sun and vistas of the region’s best beaches, Great Bay Beach and Kimshaw Beach, will be a beacon for guests wanting to dive into the turquoise blue waters and admire the sea life, whether by boat or catamaran, or from the relaxing comfort of a beach lounger.

As of Nov. 30, all scheduled calls to San Juan and St. Thomas across 10 ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet will operate as planned – including calls from the world’s largest cruise ships each sailing with nearly 6,000 new visitors each week – Oasis of the SeasAllure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. The scheduled visits to St. Maarten will operate as planned starting on Dec. 17 with the exception of Oasis of the Seas, which will make its first call to the island on January 1 during her New Year’s Eve cruise.

Additionally, the cruise line will return to St. Croix on January 8 with the arrival of Jewel of the Seas, which will sail from San Juan. All calls to Dominica are cancelled through June 2018 and the cruise line is working closely with the local government on a return date to the destination. For more information on Royal Caribbean’s newly updated Caribbean itineraries, visit RoyalCaribbean.com

Carnival & Brees Dream Foundation Team Up for Fun Sweepstakes

October 19, 2017.

Awarding Free Cruise Each Game Saints Throw for 300 Yards This Season

Carnival Cruise Line – the Official Cruise Line of the New Orleans Saints – and the Brees Dream Foundation have teamed up for a fun sweepstakes awarding a different lucky fan a free cruise each time the Saints pass for more than 300 yards in a game during the 2017 season.

A 17-year veteran and the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV, Brees is one of the most prolific passers in NFL history with an NFL record 113 career 300-yard passing games, including the playoffs.

Fans who register at www.carnival.com/saints are automatically entered into the promotion which runs for the entire 2017 regular season.

The contest is designed to raise funds and bring awareness to the mission of the Brees Dream Foundation which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer patients and providing care, education and opportunities for children and families in need. Since its inception 12 years ago, the Foundation has contributed over $25 million to charitable causes globally. Carnival will make a cash donation to the Brees Dream Foundation.

The sweepstakes also continues Carnival’s ongoing support of the New Orleans community.  Carnival is the city’s number one cruise operator with two year-round ships carrying more than 400,000 passengers annually from the Erato Street Cruise Terminal – the most of any cruise line.

For full sweepstakes rules and regulations, visit www.carnival.com/saints.  Additional information on the Brees Dream Foundation is available at www.drewbrees.com.

Princess Cruises Announces 3rd Annual Culinary Cruise Series

October 17, 2017.

Princess Cruises has officially announced its third annual Culinary Cruise Series, featuring famed Miami-based chefs Brad Kilgore and Scott Linquist.

Sailing on Regal Princess out of Fort Lauderdale from February 11 – 18, 2018 to the Western Caribbean, these two chefs will team up to offer guests a variety of curated culinary experiences and demonstrations for travelers looking for an exclusive foodie experience.

This seven-day, four-port Western Caribbean cruise will include a selection of daily activities and adventures for cruisers to participate in with the acclaimed chefs. Guests will be able to participate in chef-led cooking demonstrations, cookbook signings, Q+A sessions, experience special menus featured throughout the ship’s restaurant and bars, and learn valuable cuisine skills to bring home with them.

Guests will also be able to explore parts of the Caribbean and Mexico alongside these chefs as each lead a customized excursion. Noted for his Mexican cuisine, Chef Linquist will lead the Cozumel excursion in Mexico, while Chef Kilgore will lead the Jamaican excursion. Other port stops include Princess Cays Bahamas and Grand Cayman.

Named Food & Wine’s 2016 Best New Chef, Brad Kilgore launched onto Miami’s culinary scene in 2015 with the opening of Alter in Miami’s hottest new neighborhood – Wynwood. After winning countless awards with Alter including Restaurant of the Year by Eater, he set his sights on Downtown Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center and opened BRAVA by Brad Kilgore inside the famed cultural institution. Showing no signs of slowing down, Kilgore plans to debut two new restaurants in Miami in the next coming year. Bringing his progressive American cuisine to Regal Princess, Kilgore will showcase some of his favorites including Short Rib Wellington with Truffled Mushrooms and Free-Range Chicken, with Popcorn Hollandaise.

Joining Chef Brad Kilgore will be fellow Miami-based Chef Scott Linquist. Linquist, founder of the wildly successful Coyo Taco located in Miami’s buzzing Brickell Financial District, as well as famed Wynwood arts district, will bring his upscale Mexican flair to the seven-day excursion featuring some of his most unique taco creations such as Coyo’s charred octopus tacos with salsa veracruzana and pickled jalapeños. Chef Linquist plans to expand the success of Coyo Taco with new locations coming in Miami Beach, West Palm Beach and Panama.

Adding a touch of sweetness to this cruise will be one of Princess Cruises culinary partners, Norman Love, owner of Norman Love Confections, based in Fort Myers, FL. Trained in France, and named the Inaugural Inductee into the Chocolatier Hall of Fame by Dessert Professional Magazine, Love’s creations blend premium quality chocolate, unique flavors and artful designs that are perfect for chocolate lovers. Love will be leading several cooking demonstrations and curate chocolate tastings.

Royal Caribbean Sets Return to St. Thomas 

October 16, 2017.

Cruise Line’s Ongoing Commitment to the Caribbean Starts With Visits to St. Thomas On November 10 and Spearheads Restoration of Famed Magens Bay

Royal Caribbean International has set the date for its much-awaited return to St. Thomas since the Caribbean destination was impacted by the hurricanes last month. On November 10, the cruise line will make its way to St. Thomas for the first time since early September with Adventure of the Seas.

In partnership with the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Royal Caribbean also has committed to undertaking the complete restoration of Magens Bay, one of St. Thomas’ most popular tourist attractions – with plans for a grand re-opening of the pristine destination during the November 10 visit by the Adventure.

“We are very excited to get back home to our friends in St. Thomas. The Caribbean is our family, having cruised there for nearly 50 years, and the long-standing relationships created in all this time are unwavering,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We are committed to doing everything we can to help and proud to support the restoration of the iconic Magens Bay.”

In addition to returning to St. Thomas, Royal Caribbean has committed to returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten by the end of November and is working closely with local governments to announce the exact dates.

By December 1, all scheduled calls to the three islands will operate as planned – including calls from the world’s largest cruise ships each sailing with nearly 6,000 new visitors each week – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.

Guy Fieri’s ‘Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse/Brewhouse’ To Debut Aboard Carnival Horizon

October 11, 2017.

Guy Fieri – a member of the American Royal National Barbecue Hall of Fame whose namesake burger joints are featured on 19 Carnival Cruise Line ships – will introduce a brand new full-service barbecue venue aboard Carnival Horizon when it debuts in spring 2018.

An expansion of Fieri’s casual barbecue eateries on several Carnival ships, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse combines the best of both worlds: authentic, down-home smoked-on-board barbecue and traditional sides created by the renowned chef, along with a selection of distinctive craft beers brewed on board at a brewery located within the restaurant.

The announcement will be made by Fieri at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas during the “Carnival’s BBQ Challenge with Guy Fieri” event during which kids from the local 4H Club were tasked to come up with unique barbecue recipes inspired by Pig & Anchor.

The three finalists will each receive a free cruise and Carnival is making a $20,000 donation to the 4H Club of Texas in support of its mission of engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.

The new dining venue will feature Guy’s favorites such as brisket custom-smoked for 12 hours, Memphis-style baby back ribs, dry-rubbed and grill-finished chicken, pulled pork, and cedar-smoked salmon with an apricot glaze.  All Smoke House items are served with coleslaw, sweet pickles, and golden honey cornbread or Texas toast.

The restaurant will also offer Fieri’s signature dishes like Dragon Chili Cheese Fries featuring smoked beef brisket, cheddar cheese, onions and jalapenos; Trash Can Nachos topped with pulled pork, Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ sauce and melted cheese; and The Smokehouse Melt, with pulled pork, sliced brisket, double smoked pork belly bacon, two slices of cheddar cheese, homemade pickles and donkey sauce.

Side dishes feature Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese, Beer-Braised Cowboy Pinto Beans, Sweet Potato Bourbon Mash, Mashed Potatoes with Red Eye Gravy and Burnt Ends, and Buttermilk Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Almonds.

BBQ fans can spice up their dishes with the chef’s own sauces, including Kansas City (smoky and sweet), Sriracha BBQ (spicy and tangy), Carolina #6 (tangy and sweet heat) and award-winning Bourbon Brown Sugar (sweet and sticky), along with exclusive-to-Carnival sauces like Smokey Chipotle, Gold Coast Yellow Mustard, Black Pepper, and Burning Tomato.

Paired perfectly with barbecue is a delicious and refreshing craft beer created by Carnival’s award-winning beverage team which includes Colin Presby, the only brew master in the North American cruise industry. Presby and team are developing four distinctive micro-brews specifically designed to pair with the venue’s wide-ranging menu. Specific details will be announced at a later date.

Classic desserts like freshly baked cobbler,  banana cream pie, and pecan pie will top off the meals.

indoor seating

The new 138-seat BBQ venue will be located along the ship’s Promenade with indoor and outdoor seating and authentic touches like ceiling tiles made of weathered galvanized siding, red brick walls, hardwood floors and booth and high-top seating with Fieri’s signature FLAVORTOWN catch phrase illuminating the full-service bar.

The restaurant will be open from 5 pm ‘til late every night of the cruise with menu items offered on an a la carte basis and live music nightly. Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse will offer a free-of-charge self-service BBQ lunch buffet from noon to 2:30 p.m. on embarkation day and sea days.

outdoor self-service BBQ lunch buffet

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse will be among the dozens of different dining and beverage venues available aboard Carnival Horizon. These include the line’s first teppanyaki restaurant, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic tacos and burritos, the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano, and the New England-inspired Seafood Shack.

Other features include the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, and the first Dr. Seuss-themed water park at sea

A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.

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 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 Reveals The ‘WOWs’ Coming To Symphony Of The Seas

October 11, 2017.

Royal Caribbean International has a well-deserved and hard earned reputation for delivering the “WOW” with their new ships and has done it again with today’s reveal of Symphony Of The Seas.   New dining concepts and family activities, awe-inspiring theater, aerial, ice and aqua entertainment, and the most dynamic suite in family travel will join the lineup of Royal Caribbean exclusives.

Symphony of the Seas will claim the title of the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in April 2018 for her inaugural season in Europe. The ship will accommodate more balcony staterooms overlooking the open ocean and legendary Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods than her popular sister ship Harmony of the Seas. But there is much more to this ship than her impressive size.

Boardwalk Reimagined
Symphony of the Seas will introduce a new generation of Royal Caribbean’s renowned Boardwalk neighborhood, infused with new energy, interactive experiences and lively venues conceptualized for endless entertainment for all ages.

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will be the place to watch the “big game” from around the world across 30 big-screen TVs, ensuring everyone has the best seat in the house to cheer on their favorite team.

Spanning the length of the Boardwalk, the sports bar and arcade will be a hot spot for families to enjoy wings, burgers and craft beer on draft, as well as friendly competitions of Ms. Pacman, Star Wars Battle Pod, Ice Skee-ball and other popular games.

Across the way, adjacent to the Boardwalk’s iconic hand-carved carousel, Sugar Beach candy and ice cream shop will bring a variety of sweet treats to adults and kids alike, with colorful candy-packed walls and ice cream and toppings. The venue will also feature family-friendly activities for aspirational bakers.

The highly anticipated additions to the Boardwalk will round out the signature offerings that propelled the neighborhood’s popularity. The Ultimate Abyss will catapult the brave from the tallest slide at sea into the heart of the Boardwalk to revel in their adrenaline rush.

Johnny Rockets is still there with great burgers, fries and milkshakes in all it’s 1950s diner splendor.

The impressive AquaTheater will activate the ocean backdrop and starry nights with aquatic acrobatics and stunning high-diving aerial performances exclusive to Symphony of the Seas.

The Ultimate Family Suite
Symphony will introduce the world’s most adventurous and interactive family suite. The next generation of family accommodations, the two-level Ultimate Family Suite is a dream come true for kids of all ages and will debut eye-popping features, including: an exclusive slide from the kid’s only bedroom to the living room below; a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, an air-hockey table and hidden nooks for chilling.

A separate 3D movie theater-style TV room, complete with a popcorn machine and a library of video games across multiple gaming systems will bring a new level of euphoria and competition to gamers in every family. And that’s just the inside; the 212-square-foot wraparound balcony touts a bumper pool table, a climbing experience and a full-size whirlpool that will provide unmatched ocean views.

The Ultimate Family Suite covers 1,346 square feet, accommodating a family of up to eight in two bedrooms, and uses every inch of space to activate the imagination and provide the most brag-worthy accommodations imaginable. And if that wasn’t enough, guests in the Ultimate Family Suite will have their own personal Royal Genie to take care of their every need while they enjoy all the services and premium amenities of the Royal Suite Class.

All New Culinary Creations
Symphony will debut new food and beverage concepts adding to an already diverse lineup of more than 20 specialty and complimentary restaurants across the ship’s seven neighborhoods.

Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean’s first New England-style seafood restaurant, will feature fresh seafood and a robust raw bar complete with oysters shucked to order. Located at the front of the ship in the Solarium, the casually sophisticated restaurant will offer expansive views of the open water, serving lunch and dinner.

El Loco Fresh will offer mouthwatering made-to-order tacos, burritos and other popular Mexican fare. The open-air restaurant in the Sports Zone will seat more than 100 guests.

The cruise line’s signature culinary favorites, including Wonderland Imaginative CuisineJamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, 150 Central Park with its American seasonal menu, Park Café and Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, also will introduce refreshed designs and new menu specialties on Symphony, offering guests the widest choice and variety of dining options.

Entertainment Elevated
Royal Caribbean’s unparalleled entertainment will once again raise the bar, touting immersive shows where theater magic extends beyond the stage and into the audience.

Back by popular demand, the hugely successful “Hairspray” – the brand’s first Broadway musical at sea – will return on Symphony with a total refresh to headline the Royal Theater along with a new original Royal Caribbean show, “Flight” a historical satire on the evolution of air travel that ends with homage to the famed Wright Brothers.

In the iconic AquaTheater open-air amphitheater, a new aqua show, “HiRo” offers serious wow factor with high-diving and acrobatics. Studio B will showcase a new time-travel adventure.

A high-tech ice-skating show,“1977” will bring guests to London on the eve of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee when her Crown Jewels are stolen in the heist of the century.

For thrilling live-action adventure at sea, guests can gear up for an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience like no other. State-of-the-art technology and special effects will transform Studio B into the world’s largest and ultimate laser tag arena as family, friends and foes battle over the fate of the last planet in the galaxy. Vacationers looking for a challenge can experience a new Puzzle Break experience on Symphony, where teams will race against the clock and learn to work together toward a common goal – to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.

All New Mobile Check-in Debuts on Symphony
The latest technological innovations will be integrated throughout Symphony, including a redesigned check-in experience that eliminates lines and bypasses the counter. The new process will leverage a combination of facial recognition, bar codes and beacons to make boarding fast and frictionless.

Guests will check-in via the brand’s new mobile app and seamlessly upload their security “selfie” to create their onboard account from the comfort of their home. Upon arrival, guests will go through a security screening and then head straight to their stateroom, where their key will be ready and waiting. In addition to mobile check-in, Symphony will feature all of the pioneering and award-winning guest technology the cruise line is known for, including VOOM – the fastest internet at sea, state-of-the-art way-finding and virtual balconies.

As with all Oasis-class ships, the neighborhood concept carries forward on Symphony Of The Seas.

  • Boardwalk– Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and the Sugar Beach candy and ice-cream shop bring a new spin to this outdoor space inspired by the nostalgic seaside piers of yesteryear. The Boardwalk, with its original hand-carved carousel, will offer classic family fun combined with a high-energy vibe felt throughout its casual eateries, retail shops and activities for a day of family fun. The signature AquaTheater, located at the stern of the ship with a distinct ocean backdrop, is a dazzling amphitheater-style venue where guests can experience stunning aquatic acrobatics and high-diving aerial performances.
  • Central Park With more than 12,000 lush tropical plants, this open-air neighborhood is a serene retreat that features meandering walkways with quiet nooks for reading and relaxing, retail boutiques and specialty restaurants including Chops Grille, Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, 150 Central Park and Vintages wine bar. The expanded Park Café, with its communal table and additional outdoor bistro seating overlooking a central piazza, is the perfect spot for meeting friends and people watching.
  • Entertainment Place A contemporary night club district, where more intimate venues cater to different moods and preferences, is anchored by Casino Royale, which will take the title of the largest casino at sea, and Studio B, home to a full-scale ice rink and newly introduced glow-in-the-dark laser tag game.  The Attic exudes the vibe of a downtown comedy club and transforms into a lounge for late-night drinks and dancing, while Jazz on 4 features live jazz and blues performances with the convenience of table service for couples and groups.
  • Pool and Sports Zone Home to the ship’s most active adventures, including the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea, The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, two FlowRider surf simulators, a mini-golf course, a nine-deck-high zip line, and the beach pool, plus the all new El Loco Fresh.
  • Royal Promenade Dining, bar-hopping and shopping abound on this bustling main street at sea. The Promenade features a café, the industry-changing robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar, powered by Makr Shakr, and the Rising Tide Bar that transports guests up to Central Park.
  • Youth Zone From adventurous tots to teens, young travelers can dive into the widest array of youth facilities and innovative programming at sea, including a yet-to-be-revealed new Puzzle Break challenge where teams will race against the clock to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.
  • Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center Chill out or work out at the largest spa and fitness center on the high seas.

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas will set sail in April 2018 to kick off a summer season in the Mediterranean, calling on ports in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. Beginning Nov. 24, 2018, the adventure-packed ship will make Miami, FL her year-round home, sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages from the state-of-the-art new Terminal A at PortMiami.

MSC Cruises Has New ‘Man Overboard’ Detection Technology

October 10, 2017.

Today MSC Cruises’ has announced an innovative, industry-first technological advancement in man overboard detection. The video surveillance system was developed in collaboration with global leaders in security technology, Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and will allow for rapid intervention in the unlikely event a person or object falls overboard.

The integrated system is part of a bigger MSC Cruises operation to further optimize security monitoring on board and will allow, among other features, for the speediest intervention in the unlikely event a person or object falls overboard. After a successful pilot phase of extensive stress-testing and continuous software upgrades, the intelligent video capturing and analysis system is now operational – initially on MSC Cruises’ latest flagship, MSC Meraviglia.

Key highlights of the system include:

  • 1,200 HD CCTV cameras on board the ship
  • These intelligent optical and thermal video cameras provide nonstop comprehensive surveillance of the relevant exterior parts of the ship.
  • Captured video images are streamed in real time to a Central Security Room where the video stream is monitored together with all other inputs from the 1,200 HD CCTV cameras on board the ship.

Through over 25,000 hours of video analysis, extensive software testing and continuous algorithmic updates, the system has now reached a confirmed accuracy level of 97%.

In case of alarm, an acoustic signal and light will alert the ship’s Security Officer in the Central Security Room who can immediately connect to the system and acquire all images and data and, if necessary, retrieve or review the relevant video images. With direct access to the ship command at the Bridge, the Security Officer can drive immediate action if necessary.

The system is now operational on MSC Meraviglia and is the first of its kind in the industry. Over time, similar integrated systems will be developed and deployed across MSC Cruises’ global fleet.

Carnival & Dr. Seuss Partner To Introduce ‘Be Kind/Dare To Care’ Program

October 9, 2017.

 

 

Carnival Cruise Line and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have teamed up to offer a series of fun, educational shipboard activities designed to promote kindness, compassion and generosity among its younger cruisers and inspired by Dr. Seuss’ beloved children’s book Horton Hears a Who!

Part of an annual national campaign by Dr. Seuss, the new “Be Kind/Dare to Care” activities are rolling out this month across the Carnival fleet and complement existing programming within Seuss at Sea, the line’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Published in 1940, Horton Hears a Who! is one of Dr. Seuss’ most famous and cherished books.  It tells the story of Horton the Elephant, a loyal and faithful creature who discovers a tiny planet that is home to a community called Whoville.  Despite objections from his disbelieving friends, Horton vows to protect Whoville, proclaiming throughout the book that “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Patterned after the book’s universal message of love and acceptance, the new shipboard programming will include a “pledge to be kind” activity where kids and their families are encouraged to write down their kindness pledges that will be posted on a special banner on board with prizes awarded for the most creative and heartfelt submissions.  Kids can also create friendship bracelets and other keepsakes as part of the Horton Hears a Who!-themed arts and crafts with screenings of the iconic movie shown on board throughout the month of October.

Horton Hears a Who! also takes center stage as part of the line’s ongoing Seuss-a-Palooza Parade and Story Time during which kids and their families participate in a swirly parade down the ships’ promenade followed by an interactive reading of the book in the main show lounge where the young and the young at heart portray different characters in the book.

 

In addition to the new “Be Kind/Dare to Care” shipboard activities, other offerings within Seuss at Sea include The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, Dr. Seuss Bookville, a family reading venue on select ships, including the new Carnival Horizon set to debut next year, as well as character interactions, Dr. Seuss toys and games, and popular movies shown on board.

Royal Caribbean Returning To “All Adults Must Buy” Rule For Booze Package

October 4, 2017.

As previously reported, Royal Caribbean announced a ‘test’ of returning to their previous policy of requiring all adults in a cabin to purchase the alcohol drink package.  The cruise line changed that policy in 2015 and since then has been allowing individual adults to buy a drink package.  The test started on September 30 (all of 5 days ago) and it was claimed that it would run for eight sailings and only on Harmony Of The Seas.

So today, half way through the first week for the test run, Royal Caribbean announced quietly, via an edit to their website and by booked guests noticing it when they tried to buy a drink package online, that indeed, effective December 31, 2017, all those 21 and older in the same cabin will have to buy the Deluxe Beverage Package, or nobody can.

The new language from RoyalCaribbean.com states:

“Onboard, the all-inclusive packages are available for purchase throughout the voyage with at least 4 days remaining. Must be purchased for the duration of the cruise; prorated price based on date of purchase. Any guest wishing to purchase a Deluxe Beverage Package must do so for all other guests 21 years and older in the same stateroom, for sailings on or after December 31st, 2017.

All other beverage packages can be purchased by individual guests, however all packages are for single guest use and cannot be shared by multiple people.”