Carnival Victory To Be Transformed And Renamed Carnival Radiance

October 21, 2018.

Carnival Victory will undergo a bow-to-stern refurbishment in 2020 that will add a wide variety of popular branded food, beverage and entertainment innovations.  A surprise new dining option will make its debut on Carnival Radiance as well, to be announced later.

The renovation will complete a $200 million enhancement program and the ship will be renamed Carnival Radiance following a 38-day dry dock which will take place in Cadiz, Spain, from March 18 to April 26, 2020.

Itineraries for the newly renamed Carnival Radiance will be announced and go on sale in mid-November.  Carnival Cruise Line fans who want to be the first to book on Carnival Radiance can get a head start by clicking here where they can register to get a “first to know” alert and special promotional offer when itineraries are opened for sale.

The announcement follows previously announced plans to transform Carnival Triumph into Carnival Sunrise next year, part of the company’s eight-year, $2 billion fleetwide modernization program – the largest in cruising.

Carnival Radiance’s wide-ranging enhancements will include the following:

  • 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 Sushi: a full-service Asian restaurant offering a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and other delicacies from the Far East.
  • The Chef’s Table: a new multi-course dining experience hosted in a special glass-enclosed venue in the forward dining room.
  • Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse: a open-air eatery featuring “real deal” BBQ favorites created by Food Network start and longtime partner Guy Fieri.
  • Lido Marketplace:  a casual poolside eatery boasting favorites like Seafood Shack offering lobster rolls and other New England-inspired fare; 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 adults-only oasis offering plush chaise lounges, whirlpools and oversized umbrellas, enhanced by dramatic sea views.

Wait, There’s 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.
  • The Warehouse:  promising fun for all ages with a variety of the latest video and arcade games.
  • Expanded Retail Spaces:  a mall-style shopping experience featuring reimagined retail outlets with an expanded assortment of jewelry, watches, fragrances, along with the line’s own branded spaces including The Carnival Store.

These new spaces will complement a wide variety of existing food and beverage outlets, including Guy’s Burger Joint offering hand-crafted burgers and fries, The Deli serving piled-high sandwiches and traditional sides, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina offering authentic Mexican tacos and burritos, an expanded Cherry on Top sweets shop, and the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar.  The ship’s staterooms were also recently renovated with a new tropical color palette and new accommodation choices, including luxurious Captain’s Suites with floor to ceiling windows.

MSC Armonia Prepares For First Miami To Cuba Cruise

October 11, 2018.

Today marks the 60-day countdown until MSC Armonia arrives in Miami for the first time. Beginning December 10, 2018, the ship will offer unique 7-night Caribbean sailings departing from Miami and calling Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, before arriving in Havana on Saturday and staying overnight to Sunday.

MSC Cruises’ 7-night itinerary to Cuba will include two days in Havana over the weekend.

Highlights of the Cuba cruises will include:

NEW ON BOARD CULINARY ENHANCEMENTS

A new specialty restaurant

MSC Armonia will introduce a brand new specialty restaurant to the culinary line-up. The 38-seat “Surf & Turf” will offer a $35 per person menu, where guests can select an appetizer, main course and dessert from an assortment of gourmet options.  Items include Surf & Turf of course, Lobster Thermidor, an 18 oz Ribeye, Pork Belly, and Guava Cheesecake.

Havana-inspired Mojito Bar

Bringing the Cuban experience on board, MSC Armonia will transform one of its bars into a Havana haven, with a wide range of Mojito cocktails to choose from, whether traditional or out-of-the-box.

Enhanced Pub Menu

MSC Armonia’s White Lion Pub will introduce a new and complimentary menu featuring hand-helds like the Cuban sandwich, a Mojo Chicken Quesadilla, an Avocado and Tuna Salad Wrap, and Spinach and Artichoke Dip to share. The pub will also continue serving a wide selection of beers.

New included delights

MSC Armonia will also introduce a few items on board that come complimentary with the cruise. MSC Cruises is already known for offering some of the best gelato at sea, and now the gelato bar will be included in the cruise price.

In the main dining room, guests will be able to order cold water lobster as part of a special seafood dish at no additional cost.

NEW ENTERTAINMENT

Local Cuban music will be featured while in Havana.  Various local musicians will join guests on board to play the best of local Cuban music during the Saturday evening of the ship’s overnight stay in Havana.

MSC Armonia’s evening theater entertainment will undergo a complete review, with an entire line-up of new performances to be introduced on board.

  • ABYSS: A mermaid’s spectacular adventures under the sea.
  • THE TIME OF MY LIFE: Inspired by the famous 80s film, Dirty Dancing, the show features songs, dances and a story that still captures audiences to this day.
  • ADDAMS FAMILY: The famous quirky family stars in this hilarious show, inspired by the satirical and ironic portrayal of the 20th century American Dream family.
  • FRENCH FOLLIES: An all-French variety show, with artists, dancers, singers that come together for an elegant and joyful show.
  • THE GREATEST: Featuring the best of Broadway, guests are taken through the most iconic pieces of musical theater.
  • ITALIAN TOUCH: True to MSC Cruises’ Mediterranean heritage, this show will feature Italian music and the most unforgettable Italian songs.

MORE TIME TO EXPERIENCE LA HAVANA

Shore excursions will explore local highlights from music, art and architecture to classic cigar rolling, rum distilling and much more. Guests can:

  • Ride in vintage American cars, a staple of the Havana experience.
  • Sip on local rum and classic Habanos cigars to learn about a key part of Cuban culture.
  • Dance at Havana’s largest nightclub, the renowned Tropicana Club.

 

Holland America Raising Daily Gratuity Rates

October 9, 2018.

Holland America Line is increasing the automatic gratuity fees effective for sailings that depart on or after December 1, 2018.  This was quietly announced in an update to the cruise line’s website FAQ for Hotel Service Charge.  The increase is $1.00 per person/per day.

The current rate, which was set in May 2017 – a little over 18 months ago – is $13.50 per guest per day for non-suite staterooms and $15.00 per guest per day for suites.

After December 1, 2018, the rates will be $14.50 for non-suites and $16.00 for suites.

Curiously, the FAQ has an asterisk denoting that the rates can change at any time without notice.

Holland America is not unique in having more frequent gratuity increases.  All of the mainstream cruise lines have been doing it for the past few years.

I’ll go on record again and say it’s time to end this shell game and roll these service charges into the basic cruise fare.

 

1st School Built With Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings “Hope Starts Here” Hurricane Relief Funds Opens

October 8, 2018.

Ivan Dawson Primary School Opened Its Doors Today on Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), operator of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, today announced the opening of Ivan Dawson Primary School, the first school to be constructed as a result of the company’s Hope Starts Here hurricane relief campaign.

Together with All Hearts and Hands – Smart Response, the company raised over $2.5 million dollars to deliver early relief response and rebuild safe, resilient schools in the Caribbean communities impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  A portion of the proceeds was used to build the primary school on Tortola, British Virgin Islands. On October 5, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings officials attended the grand opening celebration of the Kindergarten through sixth grade school, which will open its doors to students on October 31.

The Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program launched in late September 2017, when the company partnered with relief organization All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response to help provide immediate relief in Key West and reconstruct schools and critical infrastructure in affected islands in the Caribbean including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Tortola. It has been the largest fundraising campaign in the company’s history. Within 90 days of the launch, Hope Starts Here reached its goal of raising $2.5 million to assist All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response.  The program has received more than $1.25 million in donations from the company’s valued team members, loyal guests, travel partners and business partners, which Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has matched.

 

1st Modern Riverboat in U.S. History, the American Song, Begins Service

October 8, 2018.

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American Cruise Lines’ new riverboat American Song departed from the Port of New Orleans this past Saturday, October 6, 2018.  Underway at 100% capacity, this new riverboat is off to a great start and is cruising the Mississippi River on its 8-day inaugural sailing between New Orleans and Memphis.  American Song’s 184 guests are enjoying the cruise with stops at Oak Alley, Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, Natchez, and Vicksburg, arriving in Memphis Friday, October 12th.

American Song is the first ship in American Cruise Lines’ new modern riverboat series—the 2nd ship in the series, American Harmony, is under construction and will be launched in a few weeks. American Cruise Lines also operates a fleet of classic paddle wheelers.

After this week’s inaugural cruise, American Song will continue to cruise the Mississippi throughout 2018. In 2019, American Song will reposition out West to the Columbia & Snake Rivers and American Harmony will begin cruising the Mississippi.

American Song is equipped with many modern features, including a unique bow with a retractable gangway.  The interior design offers a five-story glass atrium with spacious lounges and sweeping views throughout the ship. The vessel offers the largest staterooms in the riverboat industry, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, and private furnished balconies.

Silversea Cruises Orders 3 New Ships

October 8, 2018.

Silversea Cruises and corporate partner Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) today announced agreements to build three new ships for the ultra-luxury and expedition cruise brand that recently joined the RCL family.

Silversea signed a memorandum of understanding with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to build two new vessels in a new “Evolution Class.” The first Evolution-class ship is expected to deliver in 2022.

Silversea also signed a contract with Dutch shipbuilder Shipyard De Hoop to construct a new expedition vessel, named Silver Origin, that will serve the Galapagos Islands itinerary currently sailed by Silver Galapagos. The new ship is expected for delivery in March 2020.

The inflow of capital from RCL was a key factor in the decision by Silverseas to enter into a partnership.

The agreements are subject to certain contingencies which are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

Norwegian Offering Free Airfare For Hawaii & Caribbean Cruises

October 5, 2018.

Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced an expansion of the free and reduced round trip airfare offer for new reservations on select cruises sailing from November 2018 through September 2019.  But you need to act fast because you must book by October 16 to get the offer.

The promotion includes free or reduced round trip economy class airfare for up to two guests from over 100 airports across the U.S. and Canada flying to homeports including Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Port Canaveral, San Juan, Seattle and Tampa. Guests reserving an oceanview, balcony and mini-suite stateroom receive free or discounted airfare from select gateways.  The Haven and Concierge level receive complimentary airfare at all eligible airports. The Free Air promotion is also combinable with Norwegian’s Unlimited Internet Package, and Norwegian’s Free at Sea offer, which allows guests to select up to five specified amenities of their choosing.

Available on 12 of Norwegian’s ships, including Norwegian’s newest sister ships Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss, the promotion applies to select sailings including Alaska, Bahamas and Florida; Bermuda; the Caribbean; Canada and New England; Hawaii; Mexican Riviera; and the Panama Canal.

The limited-time Free Air offer is also available for new reservations on Pride of America, the only ship to offer seven-day inter-island Hawaii cruises from Honolulu.  The promotion is available in all stateroom categories, excluding Sail Away categories and must be combined with a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay.

Additional terms and conditions may apply.

Carnival Recognized By The Honor Network For Support of Military Personnel

October 4, 2018.

 

First Cruise Line Presented with Prestigious ‘U.S. Honor Flag’ That Flew Over Ground Zero Following Sept. 11 Attacks and Pays Tribute to Fallen Heroes

Carnival Cruise Line carries more military personnel and their families than any other cruise operator and is steadfast in their support of the troops and their families.  As a military veteran myself,  this means a great deal to me personally.

To recognize this, the company has been presented with the prestigious U.S. Honor Flag bestowed by the Miami-Dade Police Department Honor Guard.

Carnival is the first cruise company to receive this honor.

The U.S. Honor Flag flew over Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 attacks and since then has traveled 7 million miles, flying on the space shuttle Atlantis, and over the Pentagon, state capitols, presidential libraries, state and national memorials as well as funerals and tributes to fallen soldiers, police officers and first responders.

The presentation was made during a ceremony today at the cruise line’s Miami headquarters during which The Honor Flag was ceremoniously escorted by the Miami-Dade Police Department Honor Guard and positioned prominently on stage.  

Following the official presentation of The Honor Flag and a poignant tribute to fallen heroes, The Honor Network President Chris Heisler presented Carnival President Christine Duffy with a pair of U.S. Honor Foundation embroidered gloves that are used every time the U.S. Honor Flag is handled.  The custom gloves are now on permanent display at the company’s offices.

Carnival has been a longtime supporter of the military, hosting a military appreciation reception on every cruise and a proud partner of Operation Homefront, an organization whose goal is to build strong, stable and secure military families.   The line recently hosted Humor for Heroes at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego that included an on-site comedy performance for 500 military members and their families and a sizable donation to Operation Homefront.   Earlier this year, Duffy participated in the 88th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, an intensive weeklong exercise that is the oldest and most prestigious public liaison program in the Department of Defense.

Norwegian Cruise Line Hosting Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Runaway To Paradise’ Cruises In 2019

October 4, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced it will host Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and Grammy® Award-winner Jon Bon Jovi’s Runaway To Paradise cruise vacations in partnership with Runaway Tours, creators of world-class intimate artists experiences, and Sixthman, the industry leader in music festival vacation experiences.

Norwegian Jade will be hosting Runaway To Paradise’s Caribbean cruise, which will be sailing from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas on April 12-16, while Norwegian Pearl will host the Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Palma, Majorca on August 26-30.

The Runaway To Paradise immersive fan experience will feature Jon Bon Jovi joining cruisers on board the ship at each destination port. Guests will be treated to a full rock show on the pool deck starring Jon Bon Jovi and the 11-piece Kings of Suburbia band, a second acoustic storyteller set where cruisers can ask Jon all of their burning questions, multiple shows from support artists (to be announced), and panels with key figures from Bon Jovi’s history, all the while sipping Jon and Jesse Bongiovi’s new wine, Hampton Water rosé and enjoying the amenities of Norwegian Cruise Line Jewel class ships.

Guests will get up close with historic memorabilia in the Jon Bon Jovi Gallery, shop for new looks in the Hart N Dagger pop up shop, and even enjoy a meal while giving back to those in need at The JBJ Soul Kitchen that will be brought to life on board. All guests will take home an autographed event lithograph, and fans who book in the first 400 staterooms on each cruise will get an opportunity to take a picture with Jon Bon Jovi.

Double occupancy staterooms on Runaway To Paradise begin at $1,895 (USD) per person for the Caribbean sailing, and $2,221 (USD) per person for the Mediterranean sailing, plus taxes and fees. Low deposits and flexible payment plans are available. For the best selection of staterooms, fans are encouraged to register for the cruise pre-sale at runawaytoparadise.com

Princess Cruises Announces “Sea to Sky Princess” Destination-Inspired Photo Contest

October 4, 2018.

Majestic Princess at Sea Trials

 

Princess Cruises invites guests to send in their images of destinations across the globe in its “Sea to Sky Princess” photo contest. One thousand images will be chosen, framed and displayed throughout the stateroom corridors aboard the new Sky Princess when the cruise ship debuts in October 2019.

The contest is open to guests and runs through November 13, 2018. The contest is open to entrants 21 years of age or older, residing in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

One entry and its photographer will be awarded a grand-prize cruise for two, up to seven days, aboard the new Sky Princess.

The contest will be judged by a panel looking for scenic beauty, creativity, originality, style and high-quality images that capture the spirit of connecting to a destination in a meaningful way through discovery and exploration.

Winners will be announced in early 2019. Full entry details for the contest can be found at www.princess.com/skyphotocontest.

About The Sky Princess

The new 3,660-guest Sky Princess debuts in October 2019, sailing a series of Mediterranean cruises, followed by a season of Caribbean voyages from Ft. Lauderdale. More details can be found at www.princess.com/skyprincess.