Norwegian Breakaway Coming to New Orleans For 2018/19 Winter Season

October 3, 2017.

As the largest ship to sail from New Orleans, Norwegian Breakaway will offer seven, 10- and 11-day cruises to the Caribbean, all including a port of call at the Caribbean’s premier resort-style destination in Southern Belize, Harvest Caye

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced an update to the line’s 2018/2019 deployment, offering guests a new opportunity to set sail from the Port of New Orleans to their Caribbean destinations on one of the line’s newest and largest ships. After returning from her summer  2018 season in the Baltic, the 4,000 passenger Norwegian Breakaway will reposition from the Big Apple to the Big Easy for her winter 2018/19 season and cruise to the Caribbean, visiting  ports of call including Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and the beautiful island destination of Harvest Caye, Belize. Harvest Caye offers a diverse, enriching experience highlighting the natural beauty and culture of Belize along with lush native landscaping, a swim up pool bar, luxury beach villas, private pool cabanas, thrilling aerial activities and water sports. The destination also features the first ever pier in Belize that allows guests to walk straight off the ship and into paradise.

By repositioning the Norwegian Breakaway to New Orleans, Norwegian is offering a more convenient departure port along with a newer and larger ship for cruisers sailing from the Crescent City to explore. Norwegian Breakaway features a wide variety of accommodations, from Studios for the solo cruiser to the exclusive, all-suite luxurious enclave, The Haven by Norwegian®; more than 25 different dining venues; an exhilarating aqua park with five slides and a thrilling ropes course with zip lines and The Plank; signature Broadway entertainment including Rock of Ages and so much more. Norwegian Breakaway, which debuted in 2013, was the first ship in the line’s signature Breakaway class, and features The Waterfront, a quarter-mile promenade deck with waterfront dining, shopping and entertainment, along with 678 Ocean Place, a three-story complex at the heart of the ship where guests can enjoy nightlife, gaming and more. The ship will undergo a two-week dry dock next spring, and will receive a full refresh in public spaces, including new flooring, updated furniture, new décor and new carpeting in staterooms. Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her new homeport of New Orleans on November 11, 2018 and will sail a variety of cruises to the Caribbean through April 7, 2019.

The recently refurbished Norwegian Gem will remain in New York City and sail a series of cruises to the Caribbean, Canada & New England and the Bahamas & Florida.  She will share her Manhattan homeport with Norwegian Escape, which will reposition for summer 2018 for the first time since she was christened in 2015, sailing from New York City to Bermuda on seven-day cruises every Sunday beginning April 22, 2018. Norwegian Escape features entertainment from the Tony-award winning After Midnight and critically-acclaimed For the Record: The Brat Pack, along with a bevy of food and beverage concepts including the District Brewhouse featuring 25 beers on tap and including a selection of popular craft beers; the upscale food emporium, Food Republic; and The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine bar.

Guests currently booked onboard Norwegian Gem from New Orleans will have their reservations protected and will be automatically moved to the new vessel and itinerary. Norwegian Breakaway’s new Caribbean itineraries from New Orleans will open for sale on October 24.

Carnival Corporation ‘MedallionNet’ Broadband Wi-Fi Announced

September 28, 2017.

Carnival Corporation today announced a major upgrade to the company’s shipboard internet service with MedallionNet, a connectivity service enabled by SES Networks that they say will deliver the best Wi-Fi experience in the cruise industry.

MedallionNet will provide guests with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency.

The connectivity service – to be delivered in connection with SES Networks – will collectively leverage the leading global satellite operator’s geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) constellations, managed services, antenna and shipboard technology to significantly enhance the guest experience by providing high-performance and reliable broadband connectivity at sea. This innovative service is enabled by hardware and software shipboard technology advances associated with Carnival Corporation’s proprietary O·C·E·A·N Experience Platform.

MedallionNet is another development to emerge from Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation Center located in Miami and is the first end-to-end Wi-Fi service development formulated with a focus on exceeding guest expectations through “GuestCentricity” – an initiative to enhance all aspects of the vacation experience by delivering guests what they want, when, where and how they want it.

MedallionNet leverages multi-band antennas uniquely configured in an innovative shipboard formation to minimize any potential impact to guest connectivity due to seasonal weather or ship positioning, and it fuses multi-orbit satellite bandwidth to deliver a truly immersive guest connectivity experience.

By combining multiple sources of bandwidth to achieve the highest capacity shipboard network ever brought to a cruise ship with an unprecedented volume of shipboard access points, MedallionNet introduces a level of service reliability and signal pervasiveness not previously achieved on ships sailing at sea.

More specifics about MedallionNet and cruise brand implementation will be announced later this year.

MSC Cruises Celebrates “Plan A Cruise Month”

September 28, 2017.

Plan a Cruise Month is a campaign by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the voice and leading authority of the global cruise community and takes places every October.

MSC Cruises USA  is celebrating the month by offering travelers 50% savings until October 31 on brochure rates in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe and United Arab Emirates, plus bonus perks in the Caribbean like onboard credit, internet and drink packages. And a big bonus for many families – Kids 11 and under sail free on select sailings.

MSC Cruises Two for One Plus Deal For Caribbean

Guests have the chance to enjoy half off  7+ night sailings in the Caribbean between December 2017 and March 2019 on MSC Divina and the hottest new ship to sail the Caribbean, MSC Seaside, arriving to Miami in December 2017. Plus, cruisers can enjoy perks like $50-$150 onboard credit, free WiFi packages and drink packages, depending on category of stateroom booked.

Sample itineraries for sailings on MSC Seaside and MSC Divina include:

  • MSC Seaside: December 23, 2017 – Guests can experience the first 7-night Caribbean sailing of the revolutionary MSC Seaside as she departs for the first time from Miami, Fla with ports of call in St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, Bahamas. Prices start at $958 per person.
  • MSC Seaside: January 27, 2018 – 7-night cruise departing from Miami, Fla with ports of call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico. Prices start at $589 per person.
  • MSC Divina: February 15, 2018 – 11-night cruise departing from Miami, Fla with ports of call in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadaloupe; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Fort de France, Martinique; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Freeport, Grand Bahama. Prices start at $829 per person.

MSC Cruises Two for One Mediterranean, Northern Europe and United Arab Emirates Cruise Deals

Cruisers can save 50% off brochure rates, and reduced deposits of $99 for all Mediterranean, Northern Europe and United Arab Emirates sailings.

Mediterranean:

For those looking to explore the Mediterranean, 50% savings apply to all sailings between November 2017 to November 2018, including MSC Cruises’ newest ships — the sparkling new MSC Meraviglia, which debuted in June 2017, and MSC Seaview, which will debut in June 2018 — as well as MSC Orchestra, MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia, MSC Musica, MSC Opera, MSC Poesia, and MSC Sinfonia.

Sample itineraries for sailings in the Mediterranean include:

  • MSC Meraviglia: January 19, 2018 – 7-night cruise departing from Barcelona, Spain with ports of call in Marseille, France; Genoa, Italy; Civitavecchia, Italy; Palermo, Italy; and Valleta, Malta. Prices start at $439 per person.
  • MSC Seaview: June 17, 2018 – 7-night cruise on MSC Cruises’ newest Seaside-class ship, arriving June 2018, departing from Genoa, Italy with ports of call in Naples, Italy; Messina, Italy; Valleta, Malta; Barcelona, Spain; and Marseille, France. Prices start at $908 per person.

Northern Europe:

Northern Europe sailings from March 2018 through October 2018 are eligible for half off, including MSC Meraviglia, which after sailing her inaugural season in the Mediterranean will be repositioned to Northern Europe for the summer 2018 season. Sailings are also available on board MSC Magnifica, MSC Orchestra and MSC Preziosa.

Sample itineraries for sailings in Northern Europe include:

  • MSC Meraviglia: May 20, 2018 – 11-night cruise departing from Hamburg, Germany with ports of call in Kirkwall, United Kingdom; Akureyri, Iceland; Isafjordur, Iceland; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Invergordon, United Kingdom. Prices start at $1,329 per person.
  • MSC Magnifica: April 23, 2018 – 7-night cruise departing from Southampton, United Kingdom with ports of call in Le Havre, France; Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Hamburg, Germany. Prices start at $429 per person.

United Arab Emirates:

Cruises to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and MSC Cruises’ newest private destination, Sir Bani Yas Island Beach Oasis, are also reduced by 50% between December 2017 and March 2019 on the magnificent MSC Splendida.

Sample itineraries for sailings in the United Arab Emirates include:

  • MSC Splendida: February 3, 2018 – 7-night cruise departing from Dubai with ports of call in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Sir Bani Yas Island, United Arab Emirates; Muscat, Oman; and Khor al Fakkan, United Arab Emirates. Prices start at $499 per person.
  • MSC Splendida: February 10, 2018 –   7-night cruise departing from Dubai with ports of call in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Sir Bani Yas Island, United Arab Emirates; Bahrain; and Doha, Qatar. Prices start at $499 per person.

For more information on all of MSC Cruises’ Plan a Cruise Month 2 for 1 deals, see here.

 

 

 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Partners with All Hands Volunteers for Hope Starts Here Hurricane Relief

September 26, 2017.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCHL), which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today announced a partnership with All Hands Volunteers, the world’s leading disaster relief organization powered by volunteers, and set a goal to raise $2.5 million for the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program. Under Hope Starts Here, the company is committing to match up to $1.25 million of donations from its valued guests, team members, suppliers and partners in order to substantially help All Hands Volunteers (hands.org), a 501(c)3 non-profit relief organization, and Happy Hearts Fund (happyheartsfund.org) deliver early relief response for the Florida Keys, and rebuild safe, resilient schools in the Caribbean islands impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“The Caribbean is part of our family, and we are grateful to work with All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund to create the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program and do our part in giving back to these destinations, said Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCHL. We’re proud to start our campaign with a $600,000 donation to help begin the rebuilding efforts.”

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, NCHL immediately deployed Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas, USVI to bring 35 pallets of much-needed supplies and assist in humanitarian efforts to evacuate residents and visitors. Additionally, one of the company’s newest ships, Norwegian Escape, also housed approximately 4,000 displaced guests who were unable to secure flights home due to hurricane closures. The company is continuing to collect essential items, including medical supplies, diapers, baby formula, water, food, construction materials, blankets, sleeping pods and more, and is working with partners on the ground to support disaster relief efforts. To help hurricane relief and recovery, and to make a donation that will be matched by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., please visit http://www.ncl.com/hope-starts-here.

Azamara Adding 3rd Ship To Fleet

September 26, 2017.

Azamara Club Cruises announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

The new addition will be named the Azamara Pursuit and most recently sailed as the P&O Cruises Adonia and also was the ship used by the short-lived “fathom” brand of Carnival Corporation, which did social impact cruises to Cuba and Dominican Republic.   All three of these ships began their service as one of the eight identical “R” ships of the defunct Renaissance Cruise Line.

The ship’s décor will be updated to match the brand’s upmarket position.  These updates will be similar to the renovations recently introduced on the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, bringing guests the experience of a boutique hotel at sea.

Information about deployment and itineraries for Azamara Pursuit will be available in October. For additional information please visit www.azamara.com/pursuit.

 

 

Carnival, Miami HEAT & Arison Family Pledge up to $10 Million for Hurricane Irma Relief

September 14, 2017.

Carnival Corporation & plc, the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging up to $10 million in funding and support for relief and rebuilding efforts in Florida and throughout the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma.

The Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation will make an immediate donation of $2.5 million to Direct Relief, UNICEF and the United Way of Miami-Dade County to support the most timely and urgent relief needs in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Carnival Foundation — the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation — and the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund are each pledging to raise a combined $5 million in funding for relief and recovery efforts. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine will match that commitment up to a total of $5 million from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, including the organization’s initial donation aimed at supporting the most immediate needs in Florida and the Caribbean.

Carnival Cruise Line is embarking on efforts to deliver critical supplies to the most deeply affected areas of Florida and the island nations in the Caribbean.   11 ships will be delivering crucial supplies and the most immediate necessities, including food, water, clothing, diapers, medical supplies and generators, among other items.

Scheduled as part of ongoing cruise itineraries, the efforts will benefit Grand Turk, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Antigua- Barbuda and affected Bahamian islands.

Carnival Corporation remains in touch with leaders throughout the Caribbean to be able to support each country’s quickly evolving recovery needs. The company also initiated a multi-faceted plan to begin providing relief to areas of the U.S. mainland, including Florida and the Florida Keys, which will begin as soon as all impacted areas are accessible.

Carnival Corporation’s cruise brands are contributing additional global fundraising efforts. Carnival Cruise Line set up a relief program enabling guests to donate directly to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts through its donation page available at Carnival Hurricane Relief.

Princess Cruises’ Princess Foundation has also pledged to match donations made through its donation page, which will be available soon through the brand’s website.

Additionally, P&O Cruises UK is setting up a campaign to support hurricane relief through donations directly to UNICEF.

Carnival Corporation and its global brands are also encouraging employees to support the recovery efforts in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, while also matching some individual donations.

The Hurricane Irma support and relief efforts follow the recent announcement that Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation provided a minimum of $2 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery across the Gulf Coast region.

Support following Hurricane Harvey has been committed to Direct Relief, Houston Food Bank, Operation Homefront, Save the Children and the United Way of Greater Houston.

Azamara Club Cruises ‘Double Upgrade’ Promotion

September 5, 2017.

Azamara Club Cruises’ latest offer – the Double Upgrade promotion – offers travelers a complimentary upgrade from a Club Interior to a Club Veranda Stateroom for select bookings between now and November 30, 2017.

Azamara Club Cruises offers immersive itineraries that allow you to “Cruise Global” and “Connect Local” with unique Shore Excursions that dive deep into local cultures.  With the Double Upgrade promotion, guests can relax on their private balcony after a day or night exploring on shore, for an interior stateroom price.

The Double Upgrade Deal

  • Offer – The Double Upgrade: The Veranda room with the inside price
    • Guests booking a Club Interior room on select 2018 and 2019 voyages will automatically be upgraded to a Club Veranda Stateroom
    • Offer can be combined with onboard savings, reduced single supplements and the early booking bonus
  • Booking window: Now through November 30th, 2017
  • Featured voyages:
    • 10 Night Islands of the Western Med, Azamara Quest – June 2018: After starting the voyage with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, island hop around the Mediterranean, with an overnight on the island of Malta and a sail down the canal into the city of Mahon, only accessible to smaller ships.
    • 11 Night Cities of Northern Europe, Azamara Journey – August 2018: Take an urban voyage throughout Northern Europe, visiting cities like Arhus, Denmark and Oslo, Norway, that offer old-world charm with modern efficiency.
    • 10 Night Circle Cuba Voyage, Azamara Journey – November 2018: Travel from one end of the island of Cuba to the other, taking in all vibrant culture including the Afro-Cuban heritage and art deco architecture before spending a day in the Cayman islands followed by an overnight in Cozumel Mexico.

 

Carnival Horizon’s Bonsai Teppanyaki Menu

August 31, 2017.

A few days ago I announced that the new Carnival Horizon will debut the first teppanyaki Japanese restaurant on a Carnival ship.  You can read that article here.

Today Carnival provided me with the menu for Bonsai Teppanyaki, and it looks great.  I’d have to go with a combination entree.

Bonsai Teppanyaki Dinner Menu

Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe next March and then moves to the United States in May 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and Micky Arison’s Family Foundation Donate $2 Million to Hurricane Harvey Relief

August 30, 2017.

 

Carnival Cruise Line, and its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging a minimum of $2 million to relief and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2004.

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation, are each donating $500,000 to Harvey disaster relief efforts, for a total donation of $1 million from the company. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine are matching the corporation’s commitment with a $1 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.

To help generate additional relief funds, cruise guests sailing on certain Carnival Cruise Line cruises will have the option to make a donation when they check in for their cruise, while the corporation’s brands and employees will be participating as well.

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation are working together with emergency response authorities, community leaders, and key relief and recovery organizations to identify the most urgent needs and immediate allocations for the donated funds. The donation will be used to maximize positive impacts on recovery efforts and support on-the-ground teams that are distributing emergency supplies and aiding rebuilding efforts targeting the most affected families in the region

Carnival Horizon To Feature Teppanyaki Dining Venue

August 28, 2017.

Carnival Cruise Line will introduce its first-ever teppanyaki dining venue when the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe in spring 2018.

If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of Teppanyaki,  the name is derived from the combination of the words “teppan” or iron plate with “yaki” meaning grilled or pan-fried.

Located on Carnival Horizon’s Promenade Deck, Bonsai Teppanyaki will offer a wide-ranging menu with authentic delicacies from the Far East prepared by highly skilled chefs who will create tantalizing dishes on custom-built stations that form the center of the venue’s two eight-seat tables.   With only 16 seats available reservations will be highly recommended.  The restaurant will offer both a lunch and dinner service.

In keeping with Carnival’s atmosphere of spirited and participatory fun, dinner at Bonsai Teppanyaki will be a fun culinary experience with chefs engaging with diners and dazzling them with their amazing knife skills and other performance elements.

Each meal will begin with an appetizer sampler of five items such as Miso Soup, Pork Belly Yakitori with Sesame Asparagus Fries,  and Spicy Tuna on the Rocks with Onion Sesame Sauce and Den Miso.  Guests will then choose an entree with choices including Lobster Tail with Yuzu Cream and Citrus Kosho, Filet Mignon with Truffle Salt, Garlic Chips and Champagne Cognac Flambe, and Black Cod with Soy Reduction, plus other items.  For dessert a Chocolate Bento Box with Green Tea Ice Cream will be featured.

“Carnival is all about providing our guests with a wide array of choices and that, of course, includes a seemingly endless array of delicious culinary options,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “The new Bonsai Teppanyaki promises to be a wonderful addition to the Carnival Horizon, offering delectable cuisine from the Far East enhanced by show-stopping performances by our talented and engaging chefs,” she added.

More news on Carnival Horizon soon.