The Port of Galveston, the fourth most active cruise port in North America, has signed a long-term contract with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) for a new $100 million cruise terminal. Through the joint partnership RCL will build the terminal and then lease it from the port for an initial term of 20 years, with four 10-year extension options.
The two-story terminal will have a footprint of approximately 170,000 square feet on 10 acres in the eastern section of the port known as Pier 10. Construction is expected to begin in April 2020. Anticipated to open in fall 2021, the facility will feature state-of-the-art technology, including mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guest arrival. The terminal will be designed and developed sustainably to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) certification standards.
Assuming on-time completion, in November 2021 the new terminal will welcome Allure of the Seas to Galveston.
Improvements to the pier bulkhead and apron will be made to safely accommodate the cruise line’s largest vessels. In addition, a staging and loading area, bus and taxi staging areas and substantial parking will be constructed.
The port will be responsible for items including maintenance, parking, and improvements to the dock so that it can accommodate the larger vessels. RCL will contribute to the cost of improving the docks.
Following her $165 million amplification, Allure Of The Seas will pump up the adventure with the addition of the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea that touts a 10-story plunge; The Perfect Storm, a thrilling trio of multistory waterslides; and an array of culinary possibilities with more restaurants, including the introduction of Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar and returning favorites Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and El Loco Fresh; and more. Allure will sail 7-night Caribbean itineraries from Galveston and will be the biggest and boldest ship sailing form the Lone Star state.
Royal Caribbean International’s iconic Oasis of the Seas has made a splash in its return to South Florida with a $165 million new look. The ship that stood the cruise industry on it’s head in 2009 offers many new experiences, including the cruise line’s first barbecue restaurant, Portside BBQ; and guest favorites, from the tallest slide at sea–the Ultimate Abyss–to popular live music venue Music Hall, and a reimagined Caribbean pool deck.
Oasis is now sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami before heading to the Big Apple in May 2020, where it will become the first of its kind and the largest cruise ship to sail from the area.
Pool Deck Changes
The Ultimate Abyss – A 10-story test of courage and the tallest slide at sea that twists and turns for the optimal thrill factor.
The Perfect Storm – The action-packed trio of multistory waterslides known as Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell punch up the level of excitement on the pool deck.
A reimagined, Caribbean pool deck – With Splashaway Bay kids aquapark, signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut, hammocks, casitas, in-pool loungers and live music, days and nights at sea take on a whole new meaning.
Portside BBQ – Royal Caribbean’s very first barbecue restaurant serves up an authentic, meat-packed menu inspired by the barbecue from across the United States.
Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – With 80 big-screen TVs, tabletop games, arcade classics, an Owner’s Box VIP area, bar fare and ice-cold brews, Playmakers is where everyone in the family can enjoy themselves.
Bionic Bar by Makr Shakr – A dynamic duo of robotic bartenders mans this guest-favorite venue.
El Loco Fresh – Offering Mexican street fare to go, the casual spot’s menu includes made-to-order tacos, burritos, quesadillas, mini salads and more.
Sugar Beach – More than 220 types of candy and a new walk-up ice cream window.
New Entertainment & Hot Spots
Aqua80 – In the unparalleled AquaTheater, Oasis debuts a brand-new aqua show of thrilling feats, high dives and acrobatics to iconic tunes from the 80s.
One Sky – A new, full-scale production takes center stage in the Royal Theater. This Royal Caribbean original guides travelers through a journey of discovery with music and choreography that explores human connections.
Spotlight Karaoke – The dedicated karaoke spot where daredevil singers can rock out to their favorite tunes at the venue’s main stage or in one of two private rooms.
Music Hall – The live music venue that first appeared on the Quantum Class ships makes its Oasis Class debut with a roster of live cover bands, an expansive dance floor, a pool table and intimate lounge seating across two levels.
All-new Adventure Ocean – Featuring interactive, personalized and immersive experiences, the award-winning program’s major makeover encourages young guests to choose their own adventures across an entirely new layout.
Social298 – A 360-degree transformation debuts a new, maxed-out teens lounge with gaming consoles, music, movies, places to hang out and a new outdoor deck known as The Patio.
Glow-in-the-dark laser tag – In Clash for the Crystal City, two teams on the brink of extinction– the Yetis and Snowshifters–go head to head to take control of the mythical ice city.
Royal Escape Room – Mission Control: Apollo 18 – Guests walk into a replica of the original Apollo Mission Control Room, take their stations, and must maneuver a series of mind-bending puzzles to successfully launch Apollo 18.
The newly amplified Oasis also sets sail with the Royal Caribbean International mobile app. Guests can now check in for their cruise vacation from their phone, and once on board, enjoy a lineup of capabilities. With the easy-to-use digital stateroom key and in-app TV remote features, the ability to explore and plan activities for each day, and make dining, shore excursion and show reservations, travelers can seamlessly transition into vacation mode.
Oasis is the first of the cruise line’s renowned Oasis Class–the world’s largest cruise ships–to be modernized as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort. An investment of more than $1 billion, across 10 ships in four years, the program touches every facet of the guest experience on board.
Carnival Cruise Line today revealed additional details on BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, and the centerpiece of the Ultimate Playground, an expansive open-air recreation area on Mardi Gras, set to debut in August 2020.
The announcement was made at the annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Conference in Orlando by Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy who was joined by the line’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal. Carnival partnered with Munich-based Maurer Rides, to showcase BOLT at IAAPA which brings together innovators from the world’s largest theme parks and attractions.
Duffy revealed that BOLT’s all-electric, motorcycle-inspired vehicles will be adorned with metallic red and blue stripes and an eye-catching yellow lightning bolt. The vehicle will also feature a digital speedometer display and speakers with new sound effects that will activate to enhance the experience.
Cameras will be located along the 800-foot-long track, as well as within the vehicle itself, providing riders with unique photo keepsakes as they take in 360-degree views and race 187 feet above the sea with drops, dips and hairpin turns achieving speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Guests choose their own speed so no two rides will ever be the same.
BOLT will be the main attraction in the Ultimate Playground, one of Mardi Gras’ six themed zones, spanning Decks 18-20 and home to the largest WaterWorks aqua park in the Carnival fleet featuring three unique slides designed for all ages.
Blue Lightning will offer 312 feet of high-speed twists and turns, while the 229-foot-long Orange Thunder drop-down slide will propel guests into a wet ‘n wild splash zone. Back by popular demand, Carnival’s signature Twister slide encompasses 265 feet of thrills for the young and young at heart. Other features will include a splash-tastic zone just for kids with a 150-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket and numerous water toys.
The expanded SportSquare recreation complex features a 600-foot-long suspended ropes course – the longest in the fleet – a nine-hole miniature golf course, a jogging track and outdoor fitness equipment, and a basketball court.
Further details on Mardi Gras’ features and themed zones will be announced in the coming months.
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 October 2020.
Royal Caribbean International is offering European cruises for the summer 2021 with 70% new itineraries on seven ships. All 2021 Europe itineraries are now available for booking.
New itineraries from Southampton
Anthem Of The Seas will make its way to Southampton and sail 7- to 14-night cruises to Norway, including new port of call Stavanger, where guests can hike up the 1969-foot-Prekestol “Preacher’s Pulpit” to take in the breathtaking views, or embark on a fjord safari for an up-close-and-personal look at the stunning scenery.
Other new ports of call for Anthem include Copenhagen, Denmark – home to the Prince’s Palace and National Museum galleries that showcase centuries-old collections of antiques and art; Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, and one of France’s most iconic destinations, Bordeaux.
Select sailings will also include late-night visits in Paris, as well as overnights in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Lisbon, Portugal.
Explore Europe from Barcelona
Oasis Class returns with Harmony Of The Seas setting sail for the Western Mediterranean on 7-night cruises that include late nights in Florence/Pisa and Rome, Italy. For those wishing to start and end their trip in Italy, round-trip sailings from Rome are also available.
Vision of the Seas will continue to offer 12-night Mediterranean itineraries. The ship will visit destinations including the Greek Isles, Kotor, Montenegro; Nice, France; Rome and Florence/Pisa; an overnight in Venice, and late-night calls in Split, Croatia.
Jewel of the Seas will close out the summer homeported in Barcelona, where she’ll transport vacationers to the Iberian Peninsula and Greek Isles, including visits to Cannes, France; and Athens and Santorini, Greece.
Rhapsody of the Seas will spend another summer in Venice offering 7-night sailings that alternate between Greece, Croatia and the Greek Isles with select late-night calls in Kotor and Santorini.
Odyssey of the Seas, set to debut in November 2020, will be Royal Caribbean’s first Quantum Ultra Class ship to visit the spectacular shores of both Turkey and Greece on numerous itineraries. Odyssey will open for bookings the week of Dec. 9, 2019.
British and Baltic Exploration
Select Jewel itineraries from Amsterdam, the Netherlands and visiting the British Isles and the Baltics will include overnights in Edinburgh (S. Queensferry), Scotland and in St. Petersburg, Russia; as well as late-night visits in Liverpool, England.
This season marks the first time a Radiance Class ship calls on Liverpool and Bordeaux.
Adventure of the Seas, departing from Stockholm and Copenhagen will offer 7- to 11-night sailings that feature overnights in St. Petersburg and visits to Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia and Visby, Sweden. Adventure will be open for bookings the week of Dec. 9, 2019.
In 2021, Carnival Cruise Line will have Carnival Legend in Europe, offering a schedule of voyages that includes visits to 58 ports across 21 countries, including the line’s first cruises to the Greek Isles and a return to Iceland, Norway and the Baltic.
Following its European season, Carnival Legend will shift to year-round deployment from Baltimore beginning in November 2021. In turn, Carnival Pride, currently based in Baltimore, with reposition to Tampa.
European Season aboard Carnival Legend
Carnival Legend will reposition for its European season with a 15-day transatlantic crossing from Tampa to Barcelona March 26-April 10, 2021, with stops in Nassau, The Bahamas; Bermuda; Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal; and Malaga and Valencia, Spain.
From there, the ship will operate a wide range of voyages from Barcelona, London (Dover) and Rome (Civitavecchia), including:
Norwegian Fjords, Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic
June 4 and July 16 from London (Dover): Nine-day Norwegian Fjords with stops at popular scenic towns like Stavanger, Flaam, Alesund, Andalsnes, Olden, Molde, Geiranger; Hellsylt, and Bergen, and opportunities to cruise majestic fjords such as Geirangerfjord, Sognefjord and Nordfjord.
July 25 and Aug. 15 from London (Dover): 12-day Scandinavia & Russia cruise with ports including Gothenburg, Sweden; Berlin (Warnemunde) Germany; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia (overnight call); Tallinn, Estonia; and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Iceland & British Isles
June 25 and Aug. 6 from London (Dover): Nine-day British Isles voyages calling at Edinburgh, Invergordon and Isle of Skye, Scotland; Belfast (Northern Ireland), UK; Liverpool, England; and Cork (Cobh), Ireland.
June 13 and July 4 London (Dover): 12-day Iceland & British Isles cruises with calls at Reykjavik, Grundafjordur, Akureyri, and Seydisfjordur, Iceland; Belfast (Northern Ireland), UK; Isle of Skye, Scotland; and Kirkwall, Orkney Islands or Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland/UK.
Greek Isles and Italy
Sept. 5 and 24 from Rome (Civitavecchia): 10-day Greek Isles and Italy voyages calling at Mykonos, Santorini, Athens and Katakolon, Greece; Messina or Catania (Sicily), Naples, Italy; and Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey. An 11-day cruise departing Oct. 4 adds a stop in Corfu, Greece.
Western Europe and the Mediterranean
May 17 and Oct. 23 from Barcelona: Eight-day Mediterranean voyage visiting Valletta, Malta; Messina (Sicily), Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Livorno, Italy; and Marseilles, France or Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
May 25 from Barcelona: 10-day western Europe cruise featuring Malaga, Spain; Gibraltar; Lisbon and Leixoes (Porto), Portugal; La Coruna, Spain; Paris (Le Havre), and Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium.
Aug. 27 from London(Dover): Nine-day western Europe cruise featuring Paris (Le Havre), La Coruna, Spain; Leixoesnd Lisbon, Portugal; Seville (Cadiz) and Cartagena, Spain.
Sept. 15 and Oct. 15 from Rome (Civitavecchia): Eight- and nine-day Mediterranean voyages calling at ports such as Naples, Italy; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Greece; Messina or Catania (Sicily), Livorno, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Marseilles, France.
The program concludes with a 14-day transatlantic crossing from Barcelona to Baltimore Oct. 31-Nov. 14 with stops at Cartagena (Murcia) and Seville (Cadiz), Spain; Funchal (Madeira) and Ponta Delgada and Praia da Vitoria, Azores, Portugal.
Carnival Legend from Baltimore
Carnival Legend will kick off its year-round schedule from Baltimore Nov. 14, 2021, operating seven-day cruises departing every Sunday. A variety of week-long cruises will be offered visiting destinations including Nassau, Freeport and the private Bahamian destinations of Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays as well as Grand Turk.
The ship’s Baltimore-based program also includes a special 14-day Carnival Journeys – Panama Canal voyage departing Jan. 9, 2022 calling at Half Moon Cay, The Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Limon, Costa Rica; partial Panama Canal transit; and Grand Turk. Carnival Journeys cruises offer special onboard enrichment programming and fun activities like the 1980s-style Throw Back Sea Day.
Carnival Pride to Operate from Tampa
Carnival Pride will assume Carnival Legend’s schedule of six-, seven-and eight-day cruises beginning Nov. 14, 2021. The sailings feature popular western Caribbean destinations, including Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize, Mahogany Bay, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal and Grand Cayman.
The ship will also offer a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise from Baltimore to Tampa Oct. 31- Nov. 14, 2021, featuring a partial transit of the Panama Canal, along with visits to Grand Turk; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; Limon (Costa Rica); Mahogany Bay, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico.
Carnival Cruise Line is partnering with Uplift to offer flexible pay-over-time options to Carnival guests. Instead of paying for the cruise at the time of booking, Uplift Pay Monthly gives guests the option to finance their trip and pay over time.
Cruisers can budget for their trip by making monthly payments for up to 24 months. According to the press release, Carnival’s guests will be able to book the ship, stateroom and itinerary of their choice while having clarity on the total cost with a predetermined payment schedule and payment amounts.
Available through any travel advisor, carnival.com, or via Carnival’s call centers, Uplift Pay Monthly can be used by U.S. residents for all Carnival ships and itineraries. Canadian residents will be able to use Uplift soon, but no date has been announced.
According to Carnival’s chief commercial officer Ken Tate, “Carnival is already the most affordable vacation in cruising, and with Uplift, guests can enjoy the vacation of a lifetime by spreading the cost of their trip into affordable monthly payments. Uplift’s zero money down option with up to 24 monthly payments and its pure focus on travel made Uplift a natural choice for Carnival to partner with.”
Uplift Pay Monthly seamlessly integrates into Carnival’s existing booking engine and payment processing, and guests should expect to receive an instant decision on approval of the loan. There are no prepayment penalties and guests clearly see the total cost of their trip at the time of booking, enabling them to easily budget for their dream cruise vacation.
Carnival Cruise Line will increase its presence in Alaska, deploying Carnival Freedom from Seattle beginning in April 2021, operating on week-long Glacier Route voyages, and joining Carnival Miracle which will operate 10- and 11-day Alaska cruises from San Francisco beginning in May 2021.
Carnival Freedom’s Week-Long Alaska Voyages from Seattle
Carnival Freedom will operate 21 Alaska cruises from the Port of Seattle April 27 to Sept. 22, 2021, departing every Tuesday. Port calls on the week-long Glacier Route voyages include Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, as well as Victoria, B.C., and scenic cruising of Tracy Arm Fjord. There’s also an eight-day cruise featuring Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Victoria and cruising Tracy Arm Fjord.
Prior to its Alaska program, Carnival Freedom will operate a 17-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal cruise from Galveston to Seattle April 10-27, 2021, with stops in Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico. Following its summer in Alaska, Carnival Freedom will reposition from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale with a 17-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal sailing Sept. 22-Oct. 9, 2021, calling in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico before launching a winter schedule of six- and eight-day eastern and southern Caribbean cruises beginning Oct. 9, 2021.
Carnival Miracle’s Two- to 16-Day Voyages from San Francisco and San Diego
Carnival Miracle, which launches Carnival’s first-ever service from San Francisco in March 2020, will return to San Francisco in 2021 to operate a summer schedule of 10- and 11-day Alaska cruises that visit some of the region’s most beautiful and popular ports. Ten-day cruises call at Juneau, Skagway, and Icy Strait Point or Ketchikan, Victoria, and scenic cruising of Tracy Arm while the 11-day cruises include calls in both Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. The ship will also operate a series of 16-day Carnival Journeys Hawaii cruises. The program also includes unique four-day long weekend cruises to Ensenada.
Carnival Miracle will also sail from San Diego in 2021-22 offering two- to six-day voyages visiting a variety of destinations in Mexico and Baja California, including Ensenada, Catalina Island, and Cabo San Lucas, as well as series of 15-day Carnival Journeys cruises to Hawaii. Carnival Miracle’s San Diego-based schedule runs from Oct. 3, 2021 to April 18, 2022.
Additional Information and Reservations
Reservations for these sailings open today. To book a sailing, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL.
Carnival Cruise Line today announced additional details on the first-ever Sky Zone trampoline park at sea aboard Carnival Panorama, debuting this December in Long Beach.
Located on Decks 6 and 7, the two-deck-high facility encompasses more than 3,000 square feet across a 12-lane trampoline court.
Sky Zone will be open all day on sea days with late afternoon and evening sessions on port days. One-hour sessions will be held throughout the cruise and available for three different age groups – 6 months to 5 years; 6-14; and 15 and older.
During “toddler time” sessions, younger cruisers can participate in the bouncy fun, accompanied by an adult. The fee is $5 per child and $5 per adult.
Older kids can check out a “challenge zone” equipped with a climbing wall, balance/jousting beam, Sky Ladder climbing apparatus, gravity-defying dodgeball games and above-the-rim basketball experiences. The one-hour sessions are $12. Custom Sky Zone socks are included in the price.
There’s also a nighttime all-ages blacklight glow party for $18 and includes a custom T-shirt. All activities can be conveniently booked once on board at the Sky Zone kiosk located adjacent to the facility.
Sky Zone is one of many family-friendly amenities that will be featured on Carnival Panorama when it debuts in Long Beach Dec. 11 – the first new Carnival ship to be homeported on the West Coast in 20 years. Also featured will be a massive WaterWorks aqua park, extra-roomy Family Harbor staterooms, a suspended ropes course, and the line’s Seuss at Sea program, part of an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
Carnival Panorama will sail year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises beginning on Dec. 14.
As Chief Fun Officer, Shaq Drives Home the Message that ‘Safety is Serious Fun’ with Engaging Discussion of Onboard Safety Guidelines and Policies
Taking safety as seriously as it takes fun, Carnival Cruise Line is debuting an entertaining and creative new safety briefing video that outlines its onboard safety regulations.
Produced with the important goals of getting and keeping guests’ attention and improving the knowledge of safety policies, it is being shown in all 34,000-plus staterooms throughout the fleet and captioned in English and Spanish, as well as in English with audio descriptions for visually impaired guests.
“Safety is Serious Fun” stars the line’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, who appears in his nautical-themed “CFO office” and guides guests through the safety messages delivered by three Carnival crew members as they tour the ship and experience the dining, entertainment and recreation features that await the 5.2 million guests who annually sail with the world’s most popular cruise line.
Shaq is joined by Entertainment Team members Estevan Velasco-Romero of Clovis, N.M.; Katelyn Stillman of Kilmarnock, Va.; and AJ Tabaldo of Santa Barbara, Calif., who encounter colleagues – and even a few towel animals – along the way, all working together to ensure that guests understand and follow safety policies.
Holland America Line is adding “Top Chef” season 10 winner and acclaimed restaurateur Kristen Kish to its award-winning Culinary Council — a collection of elite, international celebrity chefs who bring global influence to dining experiences across the fleet.
Kish’s playful yet refined cuisine will be featured on the menus in the Dining Room, showcasing French and Italian traditions with a nod to her world travels and diverse upbringing. Kish’s dishes also will be featured exclusively at Pinnacle Gala, a new, luxurious pop-up dining experience in The Pinnacle Grill for cruises of 10 days or longer. The Pinnacle Gala will deliver an exquisite experience for guests to delight in an exceptional, multi-course, dinner event where the ambiance and settings are as refined as the cuisine.
Kish recently partnered with Sydell Group to launch her first restaurant, Arlo Grey, in Austin, Texas. The restaurant melds Kish’s precise technique and experience with a nostalgia for dishes from her upbringing, world travels and the bountiful ingredients of Central Texas.
Kish was born in South Korea and adopted into a family in Kentwood, Michigan. She showed an affinity for cooking at a young age and attended the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Chicago, Illinois.
Early in her career, Kish worked in many high-profile restaurants including Michelin-star Chef Guy Martin’s Sensing and Barbara Lynch’s Stir. Kish competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef” season 10, filmed in Seattle, where she won the coveted title, becoming the second female to win the prestigious competition. She went on to become chef de cuisine at Menton, a Relais & Chateaux restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, and left in 2014 to travel the world and write a cookbook.
Kish was co-host of “36 Hours,” a Travel Channel show that partnered with The New York Times to bring the hit newspaper column to television. She also toured with her first cookbook – “Kristen Kish Cooking” – which launched in 2017.