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.

‘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. 

‘Emeril’s Bistro 1396’ by Emeril Lagasse To Debut On Carnival’s Mardi Gras

March 6, 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line today announced that it has partnered with world-renowned chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse on his first-ever seagoing restaurant aboard Carnival’s Mardi Gras, setting sail in summer 2020.

Located in the heart of Mardi Gras’ French Quarter zone, Emeril’s Bistro 1396 will showcase the chef’s signature dishes that earned him the reputation as one of New Orleans’ most acclaimed and respected chefs.

“I’ve developed restaurants all over the country, but to create my first restaurant at sea – on a ship named Mardi Gras with its own French Quarter, no less – was an opportunity I simply could not pass up,” said Lagasse. “I’m excited to be a part of this brand new ship and bring a taste of the flavors of New Orleans cuisine to the guests sailing on Mardi Gras.”

Mardi Gras’ hull number at the Meyer Turku shipyard is 1396, hence the name of the restaurant.  The bistro will celebrate New Orleans’ rich culture with Creole favorites and daily specials.

The menu will include: oyster and cochon de lait po-boys, muffaletta sandwiches, Emeril’s signature barbecue shrimp, fresh seafood ceviche, roasted duck & Andouille sausage gumbo, jambalaya, and complements such as Creole potato salad with diced scallions, and red beans and “jazz-man” rice.  Breakfast offerings will feature shrimp and grits and a shrimp Creole omelet. The New Orleans classic Bananas Foster and lemon ice box pie will be available for dessert.   According to Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald, prices will range from $2 for appetizers to $12 for entrees, from an a la carte menu.

Emeril’s Bistro 1396 will take center stage in Mardi Gras’ French Quarter, one of the ship’s six themed zones where guests will find fun, memorable ways to create their own personalized vacations. The French Quarter will capture the festive spirit of Louisiana with food, cocktails and, of course, live jazz.

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.

Princess Cruises Celebrates Progress on 3 New Royal-Class Ships Under Construction at Fincantieri Shipyard

February 14, 2019.

Sky Princess Madrina and Princess Cruises 2nd Officer Ms. Kerry Ann Wright and Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz at special ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

Princess Cruises is growing and today major milestones for three ships under construction at the same time were celebrated, at Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

The three milestones included the introduction of the Sky Princess crew member who was nominated by her peers to serve as Madrina to celebrate the recent float out of the ship which will enter service in October 2019; the keel laying ceremony for Enchanted Princess launching June 2020 and the steel-cutting ceremony for the sixth and final Royal-Class ship, yet to be named, debuting 2022. With two additional ships on order for delivery in 2023 and 2025, Princess Cruises will increase its capacity by 32 percent over the next six years, adding to its current fleet of 17 ships.

Sky Princess is the first new ship to join the fleet activated with Princess MedallionClass™ Vacations enabled by the OceanMedallion, the industry’s most advanced wearable technology delivering guests hassle-free, personalized cruise vacations. Sky Princess will also feature MedallionNet, “the best Wi-Fi at sea” delivering land-like internet speeds for watching sports, movies or making video calls from a smart-phone.

Steel-Cutting Ceremony for the final Royal Class ship
The steel-cutting ceremony for the sixth and final Royal-class ship, was broadcast live to the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone from the builder’s yard in Naples, Italy. This ceremony marked the cutting of the first plates of steel to begin the building phase of the ship, which is scheduled to launch in 2022.

Enchanted Princess Keel Laying Ceremony
Princess Cruises and Fincantieri executives started the countdown to the launch of Enchanted Princess as the keel – the bottom-most part of the ship – was ceremoniously lowered into position in the dry dock. Following a traditional blessing, the ship’s keel – which weighs approximately 500 tons – was lifted then lowered into position by a huge crane onto the keel blocks. Representatives and invited guests participated in a traditional coin ceremony, and for this occasion, welding an OceanMedallion into the ship believed to bring good luck to the vessel and all who sail on her.

Sky Princess Madrina Celebration in Honor of the recent Sky Princess Float Out
Ms. Kerry Ann Wright, 2nd officer for Princess Cruises, nominated by her fellow crew members will serve as the Madrina recognizing her “Reach for the Sky” story and the career she is forging in the cruise industry. Sky Princess is nearing the final construction and interior outfitting phase before joining the fleet in October 2019.

Recently announced features to debut onboard Sky Princess, include:
Largest Balconies at Sea for guests in the Sky Suites accommodations, featuring the largest continuous private balconies ever offered by any cruise line. Measuring 1,012 square feet (starboard side Sky Suite) and 947 square feet (port side Sky Suite), the furnished balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship’s Movie Under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer 270-degree panorama views and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more room for gathering — making them ideal for families.

Princess MedallionClass™ Vacations enabled by the OceanMedallion, this complimentary wearable device is the most advanced in the vacation industry. Delivering a hassle-free, personalized vacation giving guests more time to enjoy what they love most about cruising.

Award-winning entertainment offerings, including new jazz lounge Take Five, the popular Vista Lounge, an enhanced Princess Theatre, and new exclusive entertainment options.

World-class dining with more than 25 restaurants and bars onboard. From the World Fresh Marketplace to guest favorites like the Crown Grill Steakhouse and Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria, offering the Northern Italian flavors of acclaimed chef, Angelo Auriana and La Mer, a French Bistro by Chef Emmanuel Renaut whose Flocons de Sel restaurant has received three Michelin stars.

Contemporary-designed Sanctuary with eight private cabanas – offering an adults-only area for rest and relaxation.

The Enclave at Lotus Spa. Sky Princess will include Princess’s largest thermal suite at sea – featuring a stunning hydrotherapy pool, heated stone beds, Turkish bath and dry, steam, and aromatherapy chambers.

Sky Princess is scheduled to launch in the Mediterranean in October 2019, before debuting in North America in December 2019 marked with the traditional naming ceremony before sailing a season of Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale.

First Photos Of New “Perfect Day At Coco Cay” Attractions

February 8, 2019.

Royal Caribbean released a couple photos of the new attractions under construction at the private island of Coco Cay.  The small Bahamian island is being totally revamped with the initial phase set to open this coming May.

Here is the foot bridge over the Oasis Lagoon which will be the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean according to Royal Caribbean.  (Strictly speaking, Coco Cay is not geographically in the Caribbean, it’s in the Atlantic Ocean.)

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

The water slides for Splash Summit are also being installed.  (the image seems to be the Splash Speedway slides although the press image didn’t specify.)

Splash Summit will include six slides, including:

The Twister:  a winding tube slide for two people aboard a raft

The Slingshot:  a zero-gravity slide for four

Splash Speedway: four separate racing slides

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Although opening in May 2019 with some of the new features, the full Perfect Day At Coco Cay experience will not be completed until December 2019.  In the end it will cost $200 million dollars and will boast the Thrill Waterpark, Oasis Lagoon, Up, Up and Away helium balloon (yes, it’ll be tethered), Chill Island beach, and South Beach.

Carnival Expands Hub App Features To Include ‘Pizza Anywhere’ & Pre-Cruise Purchases

February 5, 2019.

The Carnival Cruise Line Hub App has received more enhancements which were announced today with the launch of pre-cruise purchasing functionality and online check-in for its North American-based ships.  The app’s popular “Pizza Anywhere” on board function is now available on 11 ships with a fleetwide rollout expected to be completed later this year.

New Pre-Cruise Functionality 

With the Hub App’s new pre-cruise capabilities, guests can now manage their booking, complete their online check-in, and purchase a wide variety of items and experiences before departure, including shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty dining reservations, Wi-Fi packages and Fun Shop orders for stateroom delivery. 

Expanded ‘Pizza Anywhere’ Feature

First available on Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista, the Hub App’s popular “Pizza Anywhere” feature has been added to nine other ships, including Carnival Victory, Carnival Magic, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Glory, Carnival Ecstasy, and Carnival Liberty.

With the “Pizza Anywhere” function, guests can order a made-to-order pizza for delivery anywhere on the ship.  To place an order, guests simply click on the ship’s map to mark their location, take a selfie to identify themselves and select their desired pizza and toppings. Five hand-tossed pizzas are available: margherita, funghi, prosciutto, pepperoni and quattro formaggi.

Pizzas are cooked to order and delivered hot to the guest’s location on board. Cost is $5 per pizza and automatically charged to guests’ Sail & Sign shipboard accounts.   Carnival is now working towards a pilot to expand “Pizza Anywhere” deliveries with the addition of beverages.

Launched in 2015, Carnival’s Hub App has become the leading app in the cruise industry with a 4.6+ rating in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and more than 5.1 million total downloads. Hub App is designed to serve as a one-stop-shop for making the Carnival vacation experience seamless and convenient from beginning to end, allowing guests to track daily happenings on board, view food, beverage and entertainment offerings, chat with family and friends, follow the ship’s route in real time, and access their Sail & Sign account.