Carnival Sunrise Departs On Inaugural Voyage

April 29, 2019.

 

Following an extensive $200 million renovation that added a variety of food, beverage and entertainment innovations as well as stateroom upgrades, Carnival Sunrise made her debut Monday at Norfolk’s Decker Half Moone Cruise Center.

Carnival Sunrise is kicking off an inaugural season of four- to 14-day voyages that visit destinations in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, the Panama Canal, New England and Canada with the first four cruises from Norfolk.

Part of a fleetwide $2 billion ship enhancement program, Carnival Sunrise  (formerly Carnival Triumph) now includes popular features, such as:

  • Casual F&B options: Poolside venues like Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, in collaboration with Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, BlueIguana Cantina & Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, as well as upgrades to the Lido Marketplace, an expanded ice cream station, the Java Blue coffee bar and 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano.
  • Specialty dining: The Chef’s Table fine dining experience, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, as well as Italian, sushi and seafood options.
  • Shopping and Personal CareA Cherry on Top sweet shop, Pixels photo gallery, expanded retail outlets and renovated fitness and spa facilities.
  • Outdoor Decks and Attractions: A new water park with slides and a kiddie splash zone, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and a SportSquare recreation area with ropes course and mini golf.
  • Youth & Family EntertainmentDedicated Camp Ocean, Circle “C” and Club O2 facilities hosting supervised children’s programming for kids 2-17, as well as an arcade.
  • Theater & Live Entertainment: The Punchliner Comedy Club in the new Limelight Lounge, Playlist Productions shows in the Liquid Lounge, live entertainment, deck parties, onboard programming and the popular sing-along piano bar.
  •  Two redesigned Captain’s Suites and updates to all staterooms.

Carnival Sunrise’s Inaugural Season

Beginning May 23, Carnival Sunrise will set sail from New York through mid-October on a series of four- to 14-day voyages.  An invitation-only naming ceremony will be held on board prior to the May 23 departure with Kelly Arison, daughter of Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine, serving as the ship’s godmother.

Carnival Sunrise will return to Norfolk in October for two six-day cruises then reposition to Fort Lauderdale for four- and five-day cruises beginning Oct. 28.

Royal Caribbean Welcomes Spectrum Of The Seas To The Fleet

April 12, 2019.

Royal Caribbean International officially took delivery of the 26th ship in its fleet, Spectrum of the Seas, in a ceremony held yesterday in Bremerhaven, Germany.  The first in the Quantum Ultra class of ships, Spectrum will homeport from Shanghai starting June 2019.

Spectrum’s highlights include:

  • Royal Caribbean’s first exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the  Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave at the forward end of the ship on decks 13 through 16. Vacationers booked in these luxury suites will have special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge. In addition to a range of exclusive amenities, guests will have access to The Balcony – a private outdoor space for sunbathing and relaxing – that offers the best views on board; and The Boutique, a shopping area where travelers can book private shopping experiences.
  • The two-level, 2,809-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite accommodating up to 11 guests. The three-bedroom suite includes a master bedroom and two additional bedrooms for grandparents and other family members. Kids have their own kid-friendly space on the upper level, complete with an in-suite slide that will transport them to the living area below. Everyone in the family can enjoy time together in the recreation room, featuring surround-sound equipment for a night of karaoke, movies and video games.
  • Innovative dining concepts Sichuan Red– with authentic cuisine from the Sichuan province of China, Wonderland’s Dadong – a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck; and the Leaf and Bean traditional tea room and café parlor offering a range of authentic Chinese teas, classic coffee drinks as well as freshly baked Chinese and western desserts and pastries.
  • Debuting on Spectrum, a new karaoke venue, Star Moment, where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars (well, in their own minds).
  • An enhanced SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, where families can enjoy bumper cars, roller skating, basketball, and new augmented reality walls and floors, providing guests with high-tech interactive experiences.
  • The Sky Pad, a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship, as well as Quantum Class favorites: the North Star, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views; RipCord by iFly, a heart-pounding skydiving simulator experience; and the FlowRider surfing simulator.
  • Other venues, such as Two70 with its expansive floor-to-ceiling windows offering breathtaking 270-degree views of the ocean. Two70 features its signature Vistarama technology, which transforms the panoramic windows into a projection surface more than 100 feet wide and over 20 feet tall to showcase spectacular digital shows. Six agile Roboscreens, measuring over 7 feet tall and controlled by powerful, yet nimble robotic arms, create scenes as they soar and twist solo or as one. Two70 will also feature new room-scale augmented reality experiences that transport vacationers to new worlds of adventure.

Accommodating 4,246 guests at double occupancy and 1,551 international crew members, Spectrum will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she arrives to her new home in Shanghai on June 3, 2019. Before Spectrum arrives to her new home this summer, she will sail a 46-night Global Odyssey from Barcelona, Spain to Shanghai, taking guests to an array of ports, including Aqaba, Jordan; Dubai, UAE; Muscat, Oman; Cochin, India and Georgetown, Malaysia. In winter 2019, the ship will reposition to Hong Kong to offer special holiday cruises.

Royal Caribbean Adds Map Of ‘Perfect Day At Coco Cay’ Private Island

April 10, 2019.

We’ve all been anticipating the transformation of Royal Caribbean’s Coco Cay private island in The Bahamas, as it becomes Perfect Day At Coco Cay after a $200 million dollar remodeling.  Royal Caribbean has released a map of the new layout and it is going to be spectacular.

The remake includes installing a pier so the days of tender rides, and quite often a cancellation of the port due to sea conditions, will be history.

The island has the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, a hot air balloon ride, water slides, a wave pool, but also quiet beach areas that carry on the original look of the resort.

Here is the map:

MSC Cruises To Build Multi-Ship Terminal At PortMiami

April 9, 2019.

MSC Cruises announced today details of a new highly-innovative cruise terminal at PortMiami that will support its expanding presence in North America and in the Caribbean in particular.

As per the terms of the agreement, which has today received approval from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, MSC Cruises will design, construct, operate and maintain a large building that hosts two cruise terminals (AA and AAA) as well as two berths. Designed by the award-winning global architecture firm Arquitectonica, MSC Cruises’ exclusive new PortMiami terminals will be capable of hosting two mega cruise ships at the same time, allowing the Company to conduct two turnaround operations simultaneously, handling up to 28,000 passenger movements per day.

MSC Cruises currently operates four vessels out of PortMiami: MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia year-round; MSC Divina seasonally; and MSC Meraviglia, which will join the ships sailing from Miami this fall, seasonally.  With the new cruise facilities, MSC Cruises will bring a total 1 million guests through PortMiami each year.

Work on the new terminals is due to commence in early 2020. MSC Cruises currently estimates that the work will be completed by late 2022, at which time the Company will transfer all its PortMiami operations to the new Terminal.

Windstar Cruises’ Reveals Details of $250 Million Star Plus Initiative

April 9, 2019.

Windstar Cruises revealed big news today about the award-winning line’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative at Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s most celebrated worldwide event.

At a press conference today, the Seattle-based cruise line’s President John Delaney, revealed 360-degree “views” and vibrant renderings of what guests will experience on the line’s three renovated vessels, Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride. Delaney was joined by Giorgio Rizzo and Lawrence Zammit, respectively Fincantieri Services Executive Vice President and Vice President Merchant Market Strategies and Sales for partnered shipbuilder and ship conversions specialists Fincantieri. Zammit shared technical details and video on the complex project in the wake of last week’s “Steel Cutting Ceremony” that began creation of the first new section of ship, proving the project is moving from renderings to reality at Fincantieri’s Shipyards in Trieste and later in Palermo, Italy.

The Star Plus Initiative is the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project in cruising.  You can see a video here.

Windstar will take half of its fleet – Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride – and renovate each ship in succession. Work on the ships begins in October 2019 and ends in November 2020. The total capacity of the expanded ships will be 312 guests, with additional staff hired to maintain the line’s impressive 1.5 to 1 guest-to-staff ratio. The ships’ new engines will meet and exceed new global International Maritime Organization (IMO) limits – one of the requirements being the engines produce no more than .5 percent sulphur content. In addition, the new engines are designed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, supporting the company’s goals of traveling with a softer environmental footprint.

An inviting new infinity pool was also revealed, along with a reimagined Veranda restaurant with all new layout and more seating. More news and reveals will be announced in the coming months, including two highly anticipated new dining spaces and new dining concepts on board, a world-class spa and fitness center, and enhanced “living room-esque” deck space, where guests will no doubt congregate.

The just-released renderings and 360-degree views are available to the public and travel advisors by visiting Windstar’s updated webpage at https://www.windstarcruises.com/starplus/.

The renovated ships will chart courses to some of the most popular, aspirational, and legendary destinations in the world including Iceland, Northern Europe, the British Isles, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Crete, Israel, Egypt, Malta, the Cote D’Azur, Alaska, the Panama Canal, Mexico, Baja, the West Coast of the U.S., and the Caribbean. Itineraries will continue to feature transits of the famous Corinth Canal – a feat only small ships can fathom – along with a plethora of other “small ship only” experiences.

FAMILY FEUD LIVE™ Coming To The Mardi Gras

April 9, 2019.

Let’s play Family Feud Live! Carnival Cruise Line today announced it will debut the seagoing version of the iconic TV game show Family Feud as part of the entertainment lineup on the highly anticipated  Mardi Gras, when it enters service in 2020.

An exclusive partnership with Fremantle, Family Feud Live aboard Mardi Gras will feature the same format and signature set as the TV show. Two five-person teams will battle it out in rounds including Face Off and Fast Money by naming the most popular answers to survey questions for a chance to win a host of prizes in a high-energy gameplay.

The onboard version of Family Feud Live on Mardi Gras will be hosted by the ship’s cruise director. Several variations of the show will be played and designed to be both family-friendly and adult-oriented. Family Feud Live will be just one of the many all-ages entertainment offerings presented in Mardi Gras’ Grand Central zone and other new venues.

‘Carnival Excel’ Premium Suites Coming To Carnival’s New Mardi Gras

April 9, 2019.

(Tons of news is being unveiled this week at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami.  I’ll start with this item)

Carnival Cruise Line today unveiled more details on the numerous accommodation choices guests will have on its highly-anticipated new ship, Mardi Gras, which will feature more than 180 suites across 11 styles, including the new premium category Carnival Excel suites with select amenities and access to a new resort-style, open-air enclave called Loft 19. Link to a video of the suites can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/KdQWBKZJNBg

New Premium Level Carnival Excel Suites

Presidential Suite Balcony

The new premium suite level on Mardi Gras includes 32 suites in four categories:

  • Carnival Excel Presidential Suite –Two Presidential Suites – the largest in the fleet – located on Deck 17 that feature spacious living, dining and sleeping areas along with the fleet’s most expansive balconies with vast sea views, large sunbed and lounging areas, as well as a private outdoor hot tub and shower. These suites also include access to the spa’s thermal suite and the Havana pool area.
  • Carnival Excel Aft Suite – Twelve suites overlooking Summer Landing and boasting separate living rooms and bedrooms with large wraparound balconies offering impressive ocean views, as well as a private outdoor hot tub and areas for al fresco dining and relaxing.
  • Carnival Excel Corner Suite – Twelve suites on the port and starboard sides of the ship featuring separate sleeping and lounging areas, a wet bar and wraparound balconies with lounging and dining areas.
  • Carnival Excel Suite – Six suites on Decks 10, 11 and 12 with sleeping, dining and relaxing areas. The spacious balconies include loungers and a dining area.
    Aft Suite Balcony

     

Exclusive New Suite-Level Amenities

Corner Suite

All suites onboard Mardi Gras will include an amenities package that includes priority boarding and debarkation, priority main dining room seating, plush bathrobes and bottled water upon arrival.

Guests in the 32 Carnival Excel suites will enjoy standard suite amenities plus the following:

  • Unlimited access to Loft 19
  • Dedicated concierge phone line
  • Guaranteed specialty dining times (with the exception of Bonsai Teppanyaki and the Chef’s Table)
  • Complimentary Bottomless Bubbles soda package, room service and laundry
  • Sparkling wine and fresh fruit basket upon arrival
  • Upgraded bathroom amenities

All New ‘Loft 19’

Loft 19

Located on the ship’s highest deck, Loft 19 is a brand new concept for Carnival Cruise Line – a secluded retreat modeled after the world’s finest resorts with full bar service, a private pool surrounded by sun loungers and spacious cabanas, available for rent. Cabanas are fully stocked with beverages, plush robes and chilled towels, fresh fruit, lunch delivery and dedicated concierge service. Carnival Excel suite guests will receive priority when reserving Loft 19 cabanas.

Loft 19 Cabanas

Additional Suite Options

In addition to the Carnival Excel class suites, Mardi Gras will also feature:

  • Ocean Suites –separate sleeping and lounging areas with ergonomically-friendly design.
  • Tropics-inspired Havana Suites – private patios with a swing chair and direct access to The Lanai.
  • Extra-roomy Family Harbor Suites – nautical décor, large-scale windows and toddler benches.
  • Cloud 9 Spa Suites – with special spa privileges such as two fitness classes, access to the ship’s Thermal Suite and a scrub kit.

Innovative and Spacious Stateroom Design

The new suite options are in addition to the wide ranging Mardi Gras accommodations previously announced, which are distinguished by turquoise hues and enhanced by design touches like floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors; new sofas that “flip” into beds; more 110V power outlets and USB connections than on any other ship; flexible bedside reading lamps; a larger, more customizable wardrobe with extensive storage options; and spacious bathrooms with glass shower doors, a first for the line, along with an in-shower shaving bar.

Itinerary Information and Reservations

Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras is slated to enter service in Europe Aug. 31, 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in Oct. 2020.

Holland America Line to Call Next Pinnacle Class Ship Ryndam

April 8, 2019.

M/S Ryndam

In a nod to its long line of historic ships that helped build the foundation for cruising as we know it today, Holland America Line announced that its next Pinnacle Class ship will be called Ryndam. The newbuild, due for delivery in May 2021, will be the fourth ship in the company’s history to carry the name.

Ryndam will be similar to sister ships Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, measuring 99,500 tons and carrying 2,662 guests. As the third in the series, Ryndam will feature enhanced Pinnacle Class amenities and innovations, along with Holland America Line hallmarks that drive one of the highest guest repeat rates in the industry.

The steel cutting for Ryndam, signifying the official beginning of the building process, was held March 13, 2019 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy. This will be the 17th ship constructed for Holland America Line by the Italian shipbuilder, which most recently delivered Nieuw Statendam.

The first Ryndam was part of the Holland America Line fleet from 1901 to 1929, starting as Rijndam before receiving the English spelling in 1923. In 1927 Ryndam Ibecame the first Holland America Line ship to sail a world cruise, although it was chartered as a floating school at sea for that voyage. The second Ryndam served from 1951 to 1973, and the third sailed in the fleet from 1993 through 2015, when it was transferred to sister brand P&O Australia and now cruises as Pacific Aria.

Holland America Line Introduces New Craft Cocktail Menu Created by Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff

April 1, 2019.

Holland America Line is introducing an exclusive craft cocktail menu developed by Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff — known as King Cocktail, author of two bestselling cocktail books and founding president of The Museum of the American Cocktail.

Since 2016 DeGroff has directed Holland America Line’s cocktail program to introduce new, innovative libations in the bars on board. Holland America Line ships currently feature a contemporary menu of artfully prepared signature cocktails, as well as some unique originals developed by the 2015 James Beard Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America inductee.

Foggy Boulevardier

The new craft cocktail menu includes:

  • Foggy Boulevardier: As impressive as it is delicious, this eclectic drink has a mysterious vibe thanks to its smoky presentation. This twist on a Boulevardier will be served in the Ocean Bar and feature Ratafia, a wine-based cherry liquor from Italy.
  • Alliance: An original drink by DeGroff and Tony Abou-Ganim, an industry veteran and author of The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails. The Alliance was created for the Trade Board of Peru to feature the unique Peruvian brandy, pisco. 
  • Flor de Jerez: Created by Joaquin Simó at the famous Death & Co. craft cocktail bar in New York City. 
  • Oaxaca Old Fashioned: Phil Ward is an alumnus of both Death & Co. and Pegu Club, bars that defined the recent craft cocktail movement in New York City. He created this classic Old Fashioned variation that features agave spirits in place of whiskey. 
  • Penicillin: This is one of the rare, successful cocktails based on malt scotch whisky. Australian bartender Sam Ross paired an Islay whisky and a blended scotch with honey, lemon and ginger and created a modern classic. 
  • Red Hook: Enzo Enrico began as a barback at Milk & Honey in London and then moved to bartending at Milk & Honey, New York City. This is Enrico’s tribute to New York’s Red Hook neighborhood made famous by the 1954 classic movie On the Waterfront. 
  • Strange Brew: This unusual combination of a hoppy IPA brew, gin and pineapple was created by bartender Thomas Waugh at Death & Co in New York. Waugh is also director of bar operations at Major Food Group.