Holland America Line Takes Delivery of Nieuw Statendam from Fincantieri Shipyard

November 29, 2018.

Holland America took delivery of Nieuw Statendam today,  officially making it the 15th ship in the fleet. A hand-over ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s Marghera, Italy, shipyard, and Nieuw Statendam will set sail for Venice tomorrow en route to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, for its Premiere Voyage with guests departing Dec. 5.

The delivery was attended by Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president; Carnival Corporation’s Micky Arison, chairman of the board, and Arnold Donald, president and CEO; and Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK. Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, and several other executives from both companies also attended.

Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Holland America Line 

Following its transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia, Nieuw Statendam will spend a full season in the Caribbean sailing round trip from Fort Lauderdale. Nieuw Statendam’s official naming ceremony will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 2.

The ship will head to its summer homeport of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in May and sail a series of northern Europe, Baltic and Iceland cruises before making its way to the Mediterranean in September for cruises out of Civitavecchia.

The 99,902-ton vessel accommodates 2,666 guests and features purpose-built staterooms for families and solo travelers among its 1,377 guest accommodations.

While much of the ship’s design will be similar to the first Pinnacle Class ship ms Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature light-filled spaces, visual drama and interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

In addition to the Dining Room, guests will dine in specialty restaurants that include newly designed Rudi’s Sel de Mer, a French seafood brasserie; pan-Asian Tamarind, with a new al fresco dining area where guests can enjoy the ocean breeze; Nami Sushi, a new sushi experience within Tamarind; the award-winning Pinnacle Grill; Canaletto, with family-style Italian dining; and the new Club Orange restaurant exclusively for guests in the Club Orange program.

Additional culinary venues include Grand Dutch Cafe featuring traditional Dutch coffee and treats and European beer; Dive-In, serving up gourmet burgers and fries poolside; New York Deli & Pizza, offering made-to-order sandwiches and pies; and Lido Market, with themed serving stations that revolutionize the buffet experience.

Onboard entertainment features the innovative Music Walk offering a variety of authentic live musical experiences and genres.   These include the debut of the new Rolling Stone Rock Room with classic rock hits; Lincoln Center Stage, with chamber music; Billboard Onboard, with chart-topping hits; and the popular B.B. King’s Blues Club, bringing the best of Memphis music to sea. With the 270-degree LED projection at World Stage and expanded seating on Nieuw Statendam, even more guests will enjoy performances with panoramic visuals and sound effects.

More Details On The “Royal Up” Cabin Upgrade Bidding Program From Royal Caribbean

November 27, 2018.

Yesterday I posted about the new Royal Up program from Royal Caribbean, which is a bidding program where, on select cruises, booked guests may receive an email invitation to submit bids on available cabin upgrades.  Images of sample screens that bidders will see are available and I’m posting them here.

The offer email will look like this image:

When you select the ‘Request Upgrade’ link in the email you will see this next screen:

Next up will be the screen where you can place your bids, and you can bid on several categories.  A  meter gauges the strength of the bid.

Finally you will get a screen to submit your payment information and then another similar screen to submit the bids:

So with this program beginning I think it’s safe to say that the ‘Upgrade Fairy’ is dead and buried.  Although they had become rare, getting a phone call and offer of a free upgrade still happened.  Not anymore.

Holland America Line Announces 2019 Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises

November 26, 2018.

World-renowned celebrity chefs, vintners and cocktail collaborator host select 2019 cruises

Following the success of the 2018 series, Holland America Line is announcing dates for the 2019 Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises that showcase the talents of the members of its highly regarded Culinary Council, Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff and the line’s Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker partners. The Culinary Council comprises a collection of elite international celebrity chefs who bring global influence to every dining venue across Holland America Line’s fleet of premium ships.

The Culinary Council is led by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, who is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, Andy Matsuda, Ethan Stowell and Jacques Torres. James Suckling, world-renowned wine critic and Holland America Line’s wine curator, has created an extensive new wine list featured on all ships in the premium fleet. The cruise line also collaborates with Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff on its cocktail program and vintners from its home state of Washington, including Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, which helped develop the BLEND wine experience on board Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.

During each Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruise, guests will have the opportunity to attend cooking, cocktail or wine demonstrations; get to know the experts at presentations; meet them at photo opportunities; and join an intimate, reservation-only dinner in the Pinnacle Grill.

Guests who wish to make reservations for the specialty dinner can contact Holland America Line’s Ship Services Department upon booking to secure their spot.

The 2019 schedule (and it’s a lengthy schedule) of Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises:

Rudi Sodamin, Culinary Council Chairman
Sodamin was born in Austria and trained in France. The Master Chef recently released his latest culinary masterpiece, an art table book called “Food Faces” featuring more than 150 images of edible creations that display a whimsical spectrum of human emotion. His “Food Faces” have also been immortalized on Bernardaud porcelain and are on display in Rudi’s Sel de Mer, a sea brasserie available on all Holland America Line ships. Sodamin’s innovative approach has made him the most decorated chef on the world’s oceans.

  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Feb. 17, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Veendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Nov. 13, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
David Burke
Burke is a restaurateur, cookbook author, inventor and consultant at ESquared Hospitality, which owns and operates the BLT restaurant brand. He has been featured on “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters.” He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked with legendary chefs in France and New York.
  • Rotterdam, 7-Day Western Caribbean, March 3, 2019, roundtrip Tampa, Florida
  • Veendam, 7-Day Canada & New England, Sept. 7, 2019, Boston, Massachusetts, to Montréal, Québec, Canada
Andy Matsuda
The Japanese-born Matsuda is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques. At Matsuda’s Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, California, he teaches aspiring chefs and professionals about sushi and Japanese cuisine.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, March 3, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
  • Eurodam, 7-Day Mexican Riviera, Oct. 19, 2019, roundtrip San Diego, California
Ethan Stowell
With an impressive roster of highly acclaimed restaurants, Stowell has helped to change the face of the Seattle food scene. He was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by FOOD & WINE magazine in 2008 and chosen as one of the Best New Chef All-Stars in 2013.
  • Eurodam, 7-Day Alaskan Explorer, May 11, 2019, roundtrip Seattle, Washington
  • Noordam, 7-Day Alaska Glacier Discovery, July 21, 2019, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to Seward, Alaska
Jacques Torres
A French-trained Master Chef and artisan chocolatier, Torres is a James Beard award winner. After rising to executive pastry chef at New York’s legendary Le Cirque, he opened a chocolate factory and stores throughout New York. Torres is co-hosting and co-host on the Netflix culinary show “Nailed It” with Nicole Byer.
  • Zaandam, 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery, June 1, 2019, Montréal to Boston
  • Veendam, 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery, Sept. 28, 2019, Montréal to Boston
Dale DeGroff
DeGroff received the James Beard Award for Wine & Spirits, was inducted into the prestigious James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 2015 and is author of “The Essential Cocktail” and “The Craft of the Cocktail.” He is a partner in the award-winning Beverage Alcohol Resource bar-training program and founding president of the Museum of the American Cocktail.
  • Zuiderdam, 11-Day Panama Canal Sunfarer, April 10, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
  • Westerdam, 7-Day Alaska Glacier Discovery, Aug. 4, 2019, Seward to Vancouver
Top Vintners Share Their Love of Wine
The spotlight is on wine — and its fascinating journey from vine to table — on selectNieuw Statendam and Koningsdam itineraries throughout 2019. On each of these special cruises, a different Chateau Ste. Michelle expert will join the onboard vinologist for several one-hour sessions each day at BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle. They’ll also be present for the ship’s special Cellar Master’s Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center, where the accent will be on perfect wine and food pairings. There is a modest fee for this dinner.

BLEND — the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea — has a tasting table that accommodates 10 guests who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine. In addition to participating in the blending process, guests also will learn about wine from each wine expert. BLEND has a small fee.

Al Portney, Vice President, International Sales
Portney is a veteran of the wine industry with 43 years of experience. He became vice president, international sales, for Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2006 after running his own company. Portney travels more than 200 days a year assisting the many people representing the wines of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and their associated wineries.

  • Nieuw Statendam, 14-Day Azores & Normandy Expedition, April 21, 2019, Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cary Kloster, Vice President, Group Brand Director
Kloster joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in August of 2005 as Marketing Manager supporting Chateau Ste. Michelle and Domain Ste. Michelle brands. She has worked in roles touching all of the Washington brands, including Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest, Spring Valley Vineyard, Northstar and Col Solare.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Vikings Saga, Aug. 18, 2019, roundtrip Amsterdam
Paul Asikainen, National Wine Educator
As National Wine Educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Asikainen is responsible for a wide breadth of educational activities representing the entire portfolio of domestic and import wines. Asikainen is certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers and Society of Wine Educators.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Nov. 24, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Tristan Butterfield, Winemaking
As an enologist, Butterfield describes his role as “caretaker” of the red wines at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate Winery in Paterson, Washington. The winery houses over 85,000 oak barrels filled with wine from Washington state. He keeps track and monitors each lot of wine from harvest to bottle.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Dec. 15, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Natalie Guillen, Marketing Manager
Guillen develops and supports the annual marketing plans and cross-functional project management for Chateau Ste. Michelle, Eroica and Anew brands. Guillen is a long-time wine enthusiast and loves experiencing new cultures, cuisine and people. Her favorite travel destinations are wineries and vineyards around the world.
  • Koningsdam, 10-Day Southern Caribbean, Feb. 3, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Tracey Keller, Winemaking
President and winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Keller oversees the winery operations and collaborates with her winemaking team to develop blends and tastes for the acclaimed winery.
  • Koningsdam, 11-Day Ancient Empires, June 1, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Kara Koh, Winemaking
Koh is assistant winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and has been with the winery for more than 20 years, working in most aspects of the business. Koh regularly shares her knowledge and experience at tastings and wine-pairing meals.
  • Koningsdam, 13-Day Mediterranean Legends, June 24, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome)
Brett Scallan, Senior Vice President, Marketing
Scallan joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in September 2000 as Director of Marketing for Columbia Crest Winery. Prior to his current role, he served as vice president of domestic brands and vice president group brand director, with responsibilities including innovation.
  • Koningsdam, 12-Day Mediterranean Legends, July 29, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome)
Thom Horsey, Wine Educator
As National Wine Educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Horsey is responsible for a variety of educational activities representing the entire portfolio of wines. Horsey is a 35-year veteran of the wine industry and has conducted more than 2,000 seminars on all aspects of wine.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 14-Day Premiere Voyage, Dec. 5, 2018, Transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, to Fort Lauderdale
Lacey Steffey, Winemaking
Steffey is the assistant traveling winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and works with partner facilities in Washington to ensure quality with daily tastings and assesses grape maturity.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Vikings Sagas, May 5, 2019, roundtrip Amsterdam
Linda Chauncey, Director of Education
With more than 30 years’ experience in the wine and culinary industry, Chauncey oversees Chateau Ste. Michelle’s new Visitor Center and corporate education program, and creates a wide array of winetasting experiences for the more than 300,000 guests who visit the winery each year.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Feb. 17, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale

 

Year-Long Celebration for California-Based Carnival Panorama Begins at Rose Parade

November 26, 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line will kick off its 2019 West Coast expansion plans on New Year’s Day with its first-ever float in the Rose Parade.  The float is just the beginning of a year-long celebration of its first new ship to homeport in California in 20 years, Carnival Panorama, which will arrive in December 2019.

As it prepares for the arrival of Carnival Panorama in Long Beach next December, Carnival will preview a floral replica of the ship to 700,000 spectators on hand to view the 130th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, as well as a worldwide television audience of more than 80 million parade fans.  The float will include many of the signature features of Carnival’s ships – including the red and blue funnel, a water park and Lido Deck party – as well as the line’s newest fun feature, and first-ever trampoline park at sea, in partnership with Sky Zone.

Sky Zone Boston

Comprised of tens of thousands of flower petals meticulously applied by hand, the 55-foot-long float will sail the five-mile parade route and show off signature touches, such as flowers from more than 100 countries to represent the number of nations that Carnival employees hail from, snorkelers enjoying a shore excursion, and a RedFrog and a BlueIguana from their namesake poolside watering holes.  Additionally, as a replica of the Carnival AirShip flies over the float, fitness enthusiasts will be jumping into the fun on a Sky Zone trampoline built directly into the front of the float.

Celebrating its role as the cruise line that carries the most military personnel, the float also salutes the brave men and women of the Armed Forces with a special appearance by Former Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, godmother of Carnival Panorama’s sister ship, Carnival Vista, and the first active member of the military to serve as Miss USA. Every Carnival cruise includes a special onboard tribute to honor guests that have served or currently serve in the U.S. armed forces.

Designed by Carnival’s in-house creative team and Fiesta Parade Floats, construction of the maritime marvel will begin in mid-November and is expected to encompass 10 designers collectively working hundreds of hours. This year’s Rose Parade is themed “The Melody of Life” and Carnival will encourage parade fans to “Come Sail Away.”

Carnival Panorama will debut with a special three-day inaugural cruise from Long Beach on Dec. 11, 2019, followed by the launch of year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera service on Dec. 14, 2019.  The ship joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration to carry upwards of 600,000 guests annually from the West Coast – more than any other cruise operator.

Royal Caribbean Introduces “Royal Up” Bid-based Cabin Upgrade Program

November 26, 2018.

In an email to travel partners, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has announced the Royal Up cabin upgrade bidding program.  The program will begin on November 28, 2018.

This type of sales program was first rolled out by Norwegian Cruise Line and then Celebrity Cruises started its own version, so it was a matter of time before RCI jumped on the auction bandwagon.

How does RoyalUp work?

According to the travel partner email the program works as follows:

  • booked clients will receive an email if their sailing is eligible and will have the opportunity to browse through various stateroom options with associated minimum bids.
  • They will select the dollar amount they are willing to pay for the upgrade. Making a bid on multiple categories will increase their chance of being upgraded — but they’ll only pay for one upgrade.
  • Their bid is priced per person and based on two guests per stateroom for the entire length of their cruse. Only the first and second guest will be charged, even if four are sailing.
  • Offers will be accepted up to 2 days prior to sailing and charged to the credit card used when the upgrade was submitted.
  • The travel agent will also have the ability to handle the bidding on the clients’ behalf.  The agent will be notified of the bidding opportunity at the same time as the client.

So – RCI will contact clients directly even if they didn’t book direct with the cruise line, but instead used a travel agent.  The client (you) will see a minimum bid for each available upgrade and can submit that minimum (a sure way to lose the auction), or go higher, and you can bid on one or several upgrades depending on how many higher categories are available.  And, bidding will stay open until 2 days prior to sailing so the process could last for several days or more.  The words “how high can it go?” spring to mind.

For travel partners the deal is good if a client’s bid is accepted, because they’ll get whatever higher commission is involved, even if the client did all the work for the bidding.

However, the fine print is always worth reading and this new program has lengthy fine print.  It’s longer than the actual message in the email, by far.

Key points in the fine print are:  you pay any higher gratuities associated with the winning bid for a higher category cabin (in other words, you “win” a suite upgrade).  However, even though you are paying for an upgrade by bidding for it, you will NOT get additional Crown & Anchor points if the upgrade moves you to a suite.  C&A points will still be based on the cabin category initially booked.

Put me down as being “not a fan” of this.  You can read the original email and significantly long fine print at this link.

MSC Cruises Offers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

November 20, 2018.

Beginning on Wednesday, November 21,  and extended through Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Tuesday, November 27, guests booking a balcony stateroom or above on select Caribbean sailings on MSC Seaside, MSC Divina, and MSC Meraviglia will enjoy $100 shipboard credit per stateroom on top of the cruise line’s already attractive Drinks on Us promotion — offering cruisers a total of $500 added value per stateroom with a selection of complimentary drinks throughout the cruise. In total, this means cruisers can save up to $600 for two guests.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deal

From November 21-27, 2018, guests will receive $100 shipboard credit per stateroom — on top of Drinks on Us — when booking a balcony stateroom or above on select sailings on board MSC Seaside, MSC Divina, and MSC Meraviglia in the Caribbean. Guests can select from a range of cruise options beginning November 24, 2018 all the way through April 5, 2020.

SAMPLE ITINERARIES

MSC Seaside Sailings

  • January 26, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami to Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Costa Maya, Mexico. Prices start at $829 per person for a balcony stateroom.
  • February 16, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Prices start at $838 for a balcony stateroom.

MSC Divina sailings:

  • December 9, 2018: 11-night sailing from Miami to Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Oranjestad, Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico. Prices start at $979 per person for a balcony stateroom.
  • January 10, 2019: 10-night sailing from Miami to St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Road Town/Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Prices start at $1,039 per person for a balcony stateroom.

MSC Meraviglia sailings:

  • December 1, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami to Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $779 per person for a balcony stateroom.
  • January 5, 2020: 7-night sailing from Miami to Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Isla de Roatan, Honduras; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $869 per person for a balcony stateroom.

Guests can also book a cruise on board MSC Armonia with MSC Cruises’ 2 for 1 promotion and receive $100 shipboard credit per stateroom when booking a balcony stateroom or above.

For more details on applicable itineraries and rates and to book the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal please visit www.msccruises.com/blackfriday-cybermonday or contact your preferred travel agent.

NOTE: Specific sailings and rates will not be available on the web site until the sale opens on November 21.

Princess Cruises Cyber Event Includes Two Great Offers

November 20, 2018.

 

Holiday shoppers looking for cruise vacation deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday can take advantage of Princess Cruises Cyber Event, with two great offers on cruises to the more than 380 worldwide destinations the cruise line visits. The sale runs Nov. 20 through Dec. 3, 2018.

Guests booking winter 2018 through spring 2019 sailings can save up to $900 per stateroom, or $450 per guest based on double occupancy. Cruise savings include:

  • Caribbean Cruises on Caribbean Princess sailings from Fort Lauderdale to the Eastern Caribbean – 7 days; starting at $779
  • Mexico Cruise Vacations from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera – 7 days; starting at $799

Cruisers booking summer 2019 through spring 2020 sailings receive three free perks, including:

  • FREE Stateroom Location Upgrade – the preferred stateroom location for the lowest fare available within selected room type.
  • FREE Gratuities – paid on the guest’s behalf, up to a $15.50 value per day, per guest for all guests in a stateroom, up to four guests.
  • FREE Onboard Spending Money for All Guests – up to $800 per stateroom, based on the length of the voyage.

Enjoy these perks on cruises including:

  • Alaska “Voyage of the Glaciers” cruises, from Vancouver to Anchorage (Whittier) — 7 days: starting at $699
  • Scandinavia & Russia (From Copenhagen) – 11 days; starting at $2,299

Guests booking select seven-day cruises aboard Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess, departing February through July 2019, also receive free MedallionNet for one guest, usable on up to four devices, per stateroom. This offer is redeemable onboard and details will be delivered to the stateroom. MedallionNet offers land-like connectivity for streaming sports, movies, music and videos, communicating on video phone calls from anywhere on the ship, and sharing their vacation experiences in real time with friends and family back home on social media platforms.

“The Cyber Event” cruise sale starts at 12 am PST on November 20, 2018 and runs through 11:59 p.m. PST on December 3, 2018, and is available to residents of the 50 United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bermuda and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

Symphony Of The Seas Production Shows Take Center Stage

November 20, 2018.

Symphony of the Seas US inaugurals.
Flight…..Dare To Dream.

Royal Caribbean International continues to push the entertainment boundaries with the debut of cutting-edge productions on stage, in the air, under water and on ice on board Symphony of the Seas.

Headlining is the all-new show ‘Flight: Dare to Dream,’ a one-of-a-kind journey through the past, present and future of air travel and space exploration that makes history as one of the most ambitious stage productions to date. Guests take off on an adventure through time, chronicling key milestones in aeronautics, beginning with the first leisure voyage to Mars and ending with a stunning homage to the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk.

International Space Station set piece

‘Flight: Dare to Dream’ introduces cutting-edge 3D flying technology, video and automation to the 1,401-seat Royal Theater. Going where no stage has gone before, space and zero gravity is simulated as actors “float” within a detailed replica of the International Space Station (ISS). The first theater set piece of its kind, the detailed design of Royal Caribbean’s ISS involved consultation by Astronaut Clayton C. Anderson, who lived 167 days in space and completed 38 hours and 28 minutes over 6 spacewalks in two separate missions. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the first launch of the ISS into space, Royal Caribbean shares a behind-the-scenes video look into the making of ‘Flight.’

Royal Caribbean is the first to consult with an astronaut that lived in space for a live theatrical production. Complex, high-impact choreography and production also take form in 3D flying with a custom-built recreation of the Wright Flyer that takes off into the house; the set piece has a 22-foot wingspan and single-seat “cockpit.”

Three additional headline shows across three distinct stage venues on Symphony of the Seas, include:

  • 1977 in Studio B is the continuation to “1877,” the ice-skating show introduced on sister-ship Harmony of the Seas, featuring the time-traveling hero, Tempus. In his latest adventure, Tempus heads to London where a mysterious jewel thief with special powers has stolen the Queen’s crown jewels on the eve of her Silver Jubilee. Timing is everything in this imaginative original ice show, featuring 48 perfectly choreographed performing drones, high-tech 5K projection mapping images that bring the ‘70s to life on the ice.
  • Hairspray, a guest favorite, gets a makeover for Symphony of the Seas with new choreography and staging of the Tony Award- winning musical. The larger-than-life, Royal Caribbean Productions’ original introduces revolutionary set design, taking the story of loveable teen Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore, to the next level.
  • HiRO raises the bar on Royal Caribbean’s aqua shows with more high flying feats, unexpected stunts and extraordinary acrobatics than ever before. Brought to life by the world’s best extreme-sport athletes, HiRO pushes the limits of an outdoor theatrical production with cutting-edge technology and choreography; no two shows are the same, making it worth seeing twice. The show features 3D flying technology used by aerialists as they literally soar above the crowd, plus acrobats and professional divers.

Symphony Of The Seas Officially Named

November 16, 2018.

Symphony of the Seas US inaugurals.
Naming Ceremony.
God family Alexa and Carlos PenaVega with their son Ocean.

Royal Caribbean International celebrated the homecoming of the world’s largest cruise ship with the naming ceremony of Symphony of the Seas, the 25th ship in the cruise line’s fleet. Symphony was named by Royal Caribbean’s first-ever Godfamily, actors Alexa and Carlos PenaVega, who along with 23-month-old son Ocean, were on hand to christen the ship and bestow a blessing of safekeeping over her crew and guests. Having celebrated many happy occasions onboard the cruise line’s Oasis Class ships, the naming ceremony marks the avid Royal Caribbean fans’ biggest adventure yet with the cruise line.

With almost 1,000 guests in attendance, Symphony of the Seas was christened while dockside at the cruise line’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A at PortMiami, making for the largest naming ceremony in Royal Caribbean’s history. The customary event was infused with modern day elements – ranging from an electronic violinist who serenaded the crowd throughout the ceremony, to a stunning sail away performance by nearly 400 choreographed drones – and also incorporated a number of local Miami touches. Florida International University’s Marching Band kicked off the celebration, while students from Miami Southridge Senior High headlined the occasion on stage with a rousing drumline performance. Through Royal Caribbean’s partnership with the GRAMMY® Museum, Miami Southridge Senior High was one of 20 high schools within the Miami-Dade County Public School District that received a Royal Caribbean-funded grant through the GRAMMY Museum® Signature Schools program, which supports music education programs in underserved high schools.

 

Windstar Cruises Announces Plans To Renovate & Lengthen Star-Class Ships

November 15, 2018.

Windstar Cruises today announces the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative.  The multi-million dollar, multi-year undertaking will impact and enhance all aspects of the guest experience for the highly awarded small ship cruise line’s three Star Class vessels.  All three ships were originally built for Seabourn Cruise Line and sold to Windstar over the past few years.

The initiative will expand guest accommodations on the all-suite vessels, increasing capacity from 212 to 312 guests per ship following the lengthening.  The work will be done to Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride in succession between October 2019 and November 2020, and take place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. The project represents an overall capacity increase of 24% for the small ship line.

The project is expected to be partially financed through an export credit facility guaranteed by SACE, Italy’s export credit agency.

Each Star Class ship will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new section of ship that will lengthen each vessel approximately 25.6 meters bringing the total length to just over 138 meters.  The project adds 50 new suites, bringing the total number of suites per ship to 156, and represents an investment of more than $267,000 per passenger berth.

Also involved is the creation of new public spaces including two new dining locations; new shop and retail space; a much enlarged fitness center; and a new world-class spa.

The renovation includes a comprehensive re-engine project for each ship. This will involve the removal of the seven currently installed engines and replacing them with four more efficient and environmentally friendly engines.

Windstar has partnered with designer Ray Chung, Director of Design at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, to create modern and inviting design aesthetics for the new public spaces and new suites.

Among new guest amenities and accommodations in the planning phase are:

  • 50 new suites featuring new suite categories and open floor plan configurations.
  • Creation of two brand new, larger Owner’s Suites, that combines existing suites to create up to a three-bedroom, two-balcony suite – the first of its kind in the cruise industry.
  • Two brand new dining experiences including: an intimate, alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar, perfect for outdoor grilling during Windstar’s Signature Onboard Barbecue celebration or enjoying while spending time on deck.
  • Expanded Veranda Restaurant to offer more seating and upgraded dining area.
  • For existing suites, all-new bathrooms and installation of new sliding doors for the Balcony Suites.
  • Larger pool and hot tub that will be reconfigured and elevated offering better views, along with more and enhanced outdoor deck area.
  • A completely re-imagined and enlarged spa and fitness center.
  • A new elevator mid-ship, making access to all decks easy from anywhere on board.
  • A comfortable, new tender loading area located mid-ship and two new 90-passenger tenders that will ferry guests to port when ships are at anchor.

In addition, ship staff and crew areas and accommodations will be expanded and upgraded. Additional crew will be hired and the increase will maintain the line’s 1.5:1 guest to hotel staff ratio.

As planning on the project progresses, additional details will be revealed in press releases and on a dedicated microsite that will launch in 2019.