Carnival Adding Late Night Lido Buffet Snack Menu

April 9, 2018.

Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald announced today that the cruise line is rolling out a new late night snack menu, offering a small selection of sandwiches, pasta, a soup, and some cookies.  John said it will be offered in the Lido Buffets and will be available from 11:30pm until 1:00am.  This is in addition to the 24 hour Pizza Pirate which will continue to serve made-to-order pizzas.

This comes on the heels of Carnival announcing fees for late night room service orders, which didn’t go over well with many Carnival fans.  This offers another option that is included in the cruise price.

New Menu

 

Carnival Horizon Retail Venues Are Most Expansive In Fleet

April 9, 2018. 

Two-Deck-High, Mall-Style Space Features World-Renowned Brands Such as Kate Spade, Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors, Hublot and More

Carnival Cruise Line has dramatically expanded its retail offerings with its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, featuring the fleet’s most expansive retail space showcasing major brands like LeVian, Victoria’s Secret and, for the first time, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Breitling and Hublot.

The venues are two-level, mall-style shops and are located along the ship’s atrium on decks 4 and 5.  The retail space is unique in that it is divided into areas dedicated to a particular shopping experience, each designed around guests’ interaction with the various interests.

The areas include:

  • Hip Fish: fashion jewelry, accessories, beauty and fragrances
  • Front Street: fine jewelry and  timepieces
  • Cherry on Top: the “sweetest spot on board” with an assortment of candies, novelty items and fanciful gifts
  • Carnival Store: the latest logo items and Carnival Horizon inaugural season memorabilia, as well as Carnival Adventures merchandise offering everything guests need for fun onboard and ashore, such as sunscreen and apparel
  • Portside Liquor & Tobacco: popular duty-free items, including the most extensive spirits display at sea 

Carnival Horizon brings these areas to life by offering an immersive shopping experience including a Beauty and Fragrance Bar that allows guests to try out cosmetics, skincare and fragrances and even get a makeover before a night out on board.  Port Side Liquor & Tobacco features a Spirits Tasting Bar where guests can sample and purchase the liquors, including the coveted Hennessey White currently not available outside of travel retail. Guests can also take home their own personal keepsake at the Create Your Own jewelry experience within the Hip Fish outlet where they can custom-design jewelry made of Swarovski crystals. There’s also the Wearable Tech outlet featuring the latest wearable technology with onboard experts on hand to match guests’ style with a variety of watch brands tied to fitness tracking.

There will be special events, giveaways, in-store parties and entertainment, among other promotions. Promotions change daily with flexible pop-up spaces that showcase new fashion and jewelry.

Carnival Horizon is currently sailing on its inaugural voyage which departed April 2 from Barcelona – the first of four voyages from that port.  The ship repositions to New York in May to launch a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures then shifts to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning in September.

Carnival Paradise Adds 20 Cuba Cruises From Tampa In 2019

April 6, 2018.

Vintage cars pass the Carnival Paradise while the cruise ship is docked in Havana, Cuba. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

This News Follows Recently Announced Series of 17 Cuba Voyages Aboard Carnival Sensation from Miami in 2019-20

Carnival Cruise Line announced today it has added another 20 voyages to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa in 2019, complementing the 11 cruises to the island taking place aboard the vessel through next year.

The new voyages aboard Carnival Paradise are in addition to the 17 recently announced Cuba cruises aboard Carnival Sensation departing from Miami in 2019, indicating that more and more travelers view cruising as a great way to experience Cuba.

The newly added five-day voyages will depart Tampa on Saturdays and feature a day-long or a full day and overnight call in the Cuban capital of Havana, along with stops at tropical destinations Key West and Cozumel.

Carnival Paradise’s new Cuba cruise schedule includes:

  • 10, five-day cruises overnighting in Havana with a visit to Key West – departing March 2, April 13, May 25, June 22, July 6, Aug. 3 and 17, Sept. 14 and 28 and Oct. 26, 2019;
  • Six, five-day voyages featuring a day-long call in Havana and a visit to Cozumel – departure dates include Jan. 5, March 16, May 11, Aug. 31, Nov. 9 and Dec. 7, 2019;
  • Four, five-day sailings featuring day-long calls to Havana, Key West and Cozumel – departing Feb. 16, June 8, July 20 and Oct. 12, 2019.

Guests sailing on Carnival’s Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursions.  A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, including the excellent Amor Cubano:  A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered.  There’s also an onboard Cuba expert who discusses the country’s rich history and culture.

Carnival Paradise just completed an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment last month that added a water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and an a host of food and beverage venues.  New spaces include Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery,  a new Camp Ocean marine-themed play area, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a Pixels-branded digital photo platform and enhanced retail offerings including boutiques from Pandora and Guess.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Carnival’s shore excursions meet all U.S. government regulations and provide a convenient means for complying with the people-to-people requirements of cruises to Cuba.

MSC Cruises Offering “Drinks On Us” Promotion

April 5, 2018.

 

Guests sailing on MSC Seaside and MSC Divina Caribbean Cruises to enjoy complimentary beverage package included with their cruise 

MSC Cruises USA has launched a new “Drinks on Us” promotion for MSC Seaside and MSC Divina Caribbean sailings that includes a wide-selection of complimentary drinks included with their cruise fare.

For new bookings made now through May 31, guests sailing in the Caribbean can stay refreshed with a selection of free unlimited non-alcoholic beverages including canned or fountain soda, bottled or canned juices and bottled water as well as alcoholic drinks including bottled and draft beers, wines by the glass and house brands of vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey (a value of more than $250 per person).

Specific details related to the Drinks on Us promotion include: 

Ships included in Promotion: MSC Seaside and MSC Divina

Itinerary: Caribbean itineraries only

Eligible sail dates: April 14, 2018 forward

Pricing: Eligible MSC Seaside and MSC Divina Caribbean sailings start at $509 per person for an interior stateroom, with the Drinks on Us package included as part of the cruise fare

Booking instructions: Guests must book by May 31, 2018. Guests can book by contacting their travel agent, calling MSC Cruises at 844-311-6465, or visiting the web site at msccruisesusa.com

Web page for more info: For more information on the Drinks on Us promotion and to view all eligible sailings visit: https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/Cruise-Deals/Drinks-On-Us.aspx

Norwegian Cruise Line “Tax-Free Spree” Promotion

April 3, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line invites guests to take advantage of a Tax-Free Spree* available now through April 17.  For a limited time only when guests book select three-day or longer cruise in an ocean view category stateroom or above, government taxes, fees and port expenses will be waived.  This  offer is available on over 430 cruises and combinable with the Free at Sea promotion, which offers guests even more value for the amenities of their choice.

Additional April value offers include:

  • FREE AT SEA – EXTENDED: Guests can take advantage of Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion, now extended through April 30. This value-added promotion provides guests who book a new three-day or longer cruise their choice of up to five free offers that feature onboard amenities, including free unlimited open bar, $50 credit per stateroom that can be applied towards shore excursions in each port, a free specialty dining package, 250-minute internet package, or Norwegian’s Friends & Family Sail Free offer which allows the third and fourth guests to sail for complimentary on select cruises.

The number of offers available is based on the stateroom category selected.

o   Reserve an inside cabin or Norwegian’s studio staterooms – designed specifically with the solo traveler in mind – and receive one free offer.

o   Book an ocean view, balcony or mini-suite category stateroom and choose up to two free offers.

o   Book a suite and receive all five free amenities†, providing them up to $2,700 in overall value on their cruise.

  • DISTINCTIVE VOYAGES OFFER – EXTENDED: Guests looking to cruise to new and exotic destinations can take advantage of Norwegian’s Distinctive Voyages** offer, now extended through May 31, 2018. On select seven-day or longer cruises, guests receive five additional amenities that include 120-minute phone call package, 250-minute Internet package, $50 credit per stateroom that can be applied towards shore excursions in each port, up to $400 in air credit and $100 hotel credit for a pre- or post-cruise stay. The offer is also combinable with Free at Sea, providing up to $5,000 in value on their next cruise vacation.

 

  • FREE AT SEA ALL-INCLUSIVE – EXTENDED: Now through April 30, guests who reserve a new three, four or five-day Bahamas or Cuba voyage on Norwegian Sun or Norwegian Sky can take advantage of Norwegian’s Free at Sea All-Inclusive** promotion, in addition to the already included complimentary unlimited open bar. With this incredible offer, guests will choose up to five onboard amenities including a $50 specialty dining credit per stateroom, $50 credit per stateroom that can be applied towards shore excursions in each port, 100-minute Internet package, a photo package with ten free images, or Norwegian’s Friends & Family Sail Free offer that allows the third and fourth guests to sail complimentary on select sailings.

 

  • FREE AT SEA HAWAII – EXTENDED: Guests looking to find their paradise in the South Pacific can take advantage of Norwegian’s Free at Sea Hawaii offer, now extended through April 30. For those who book a new cruise vacation aboard Pride of America, the only ship to sail an incredible seven-day inter-island itinerary roundtrip from Honolulu all year, have the freedom to choose from five offers†* to enrich their cruising experience, including a free one-night pre-cruise hotel stay with an option to select reduced airfare starting at $399 from select gateways, a free specialty dining package, free pre-paid service charges for the first and second guest in the stateroom, free $50 credit per stateroom that can be applied towards shore excursions in each port, or Norwegian’s Friends & Family Sail Free offer, allowing the third and fourth guests in each stateroom to sail for free on many 2018 sail dates. Guests who book a suite aboard Pride of America will enjoy all five offers.

All offers are subject to availability at the time of reservation. Additional terms and conditions may apply.


*Offer only applicable to the first and second guest and not applicable to Sail Away Categories (categories IX, OX, BX or MX).

**Offer not applicable to Sail Away Categories (categories IX, OX, BX or MX).

All sailings 3 nights or longer. Offer is not applicable to categories IX, OX, BX, MX (Sail Away Categories). Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Joy, Pride of America, and Norwegian Sun’s all-inclusive sailings from Port Canaveral are not eligible for this offer. Friends & Family sail free applicable only on select sail dates.  Guests are responsible for the service charges on Specialty Dining Package, Unlimited Beverage Package, and/ or the Soda Package, with pricing based on number of cruise nights. Number of meals for specialty dining package based on length of itinerary. $50 USD per port shore excursion credit is per stateroom and is applicable for each port; it is not transferable to other ports. Overnight stays count as one port, except Bermuda sailings which can receive up to 3 individual days of shore excursion credit. Wifi package offers one login per stateroom. On Norwegian Breakaway, stateroom receives an internet package of 250 minutes or 1000 MB of data.

†*Pride of America offer available for bookings for cruises through April 27, 2019. Offer is not applicable to categories IX, OX, BX (Sail Away Categories). Cruises must be booked more than 30 days prior sailing, when selecting hotel option; if choosing hotel option with air option cruises must be made more than 60 days prior to sailing. Offer valid for Waikiki Marriott Resort-city view room. In the event that the hotel scheduled to be used in package is unavailable, for any reason, Norwegian Cruise Line reserves the right to substitute the hotel included in package. One night pre-hotel offer is available on reservations with 4 guests or less.

Holland America “Ready Set Sail” Promotion

April 3, 2018.

Travelers looking to plan ahead and book their future Holland America Line cruise can take advantage of the Ready Set Sail promotion featuring pre-paid gratuities, reduced deposits and excellent rates on nearly all of the cruise line’s worldwide itineraries. Guests who book by June 14, 2018, will be eligible to receive the offer, and guests who book a suite also will receive up to $300 onboard spending money per stateroom.

All cruises between Sept. 1, 2018, and Aug. 1, 2019, excluding Grand Voyages and Grand Voyage segments, are eligible for the Ready Set Sail promotion.

 

Carnival Paradise Completes Extensive Makeover

 

March 26, 2018.

Carnival Paradise returned to year-round cruise service Monday from Port Tampa Bay following an extensive month-long dry dock.  The renovation added several new features, including a water park, 38 new staterooms, 98 balconies added to existing accommodations, and an array of food and beverage venues.

Carnival Paradise departed on a five-day Caribbean cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman – part of the ship’s year-round sailings from Tampa that also include four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Key West or Grand Cayman.  The ship also offers four- to eight-day cruises to Cuba featuring day-long and overnight calls in Havana, as well as visits to popular ports throughout the Caribbean.

The new features added during dry dock include:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: everyone’s favorite burger at sea, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries.

    Guests aboard the Carnival Freedom load up their Guy Fieri-inspired hamburgers with pickles and other condiments at Guy’s Burger Joint. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines)
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside bar offering Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a Mexican-themed atmosphere with tequila-based frozen drinks and beers.
  • Camp Ocean: a play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the sea through engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities and science-oriented programming.
  • Circle “C”: designed for the 12- to 14-year-old set, this colorful space offers the perfect space for kids to chill and connect as well as enjoy dance parties, video games and more.
  • New Staterooms and Enhancements: Thirty-eight staterooms have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic oceanview and 12 interior accommodations.  Private verandahs have also been added to 98 existing accommodations, creating spacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by the ship’s tropical itineraries.
  • WaterWorks Aqua Park: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a kiddie splash zone. 
  • Miniature Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.
  • Retail and Photo Enhancements: The retail shops have been completely reimagined with a new design and enhanced product offerings with multiple branded boutiques, including Pandora and Guess.  The printed photo gallery has been replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.

In addition to Carnival Paradise’s short cruise program, Carnival’s Tampa-based offerings include Carnival Miracle’s year-round six- and seven-day cruises visiting beautiful ports throughout the western Caribbean, as well as eight-day voyages that include a partial transit of the Panama Canal.

Reservations are currently open for all of Carnival’s departures from Tampa.

MSC Cruises Will Feature A Shipboard Artificial Intelligence Personal Assistant

March 21, 2018.

MSC Cruises revealed today the introduction of a digital cruise personal assistant as a new feature of MSC for Me, the Company’s digital innovation program. This new guest service, developed in partnership with HARMAN International, a  subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, will debut on MSC Bellissima, which is currently under construction at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. 

The Company also announced that MSC Bellissima, which will be MSC Cruises’ next flagship, will be christened in the port of Southampton, UK on March 2, 2019. The two announcements were made today in London at the launch of MSC Cruises’ new 2019-2020 brochure to travel agent partners and media.

The virtual personal assistant for MSC Cruises guests is a conversational, voice-enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation that can communicate, learn and intelligently predict guests’ needs to make relevant suggestions. This new and unique offering will provide guests with tailored information to help simplify and enhance their MSC Cruises experience by providing quick and easy answers to questions from the comfort of their own stateroom.

Industry-Leading Digital Innovation

Unlike other home digital assistants that rely on cloud-based programs with internet-connected devices or applications, this digital offering will be designed around a ship-based solution, customized especially for MSC Cruises’ guests’ needs. The current ways in which guests seek their information on board will be further enhanced, allowing for a uniquely personalized experience.  Guests will be able to communicate with the new digital personal assistant device in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Mandarin. The personal assistant will initially launch on MSC Bellissima, but will be available on all future new ships and plans are in place to introduce the feature on the rest of the fleet.

The unique service is the latest feature of MSC for Me, a multi-channel digital experience that is designed to connect guests to their cruise with cutting-edge technology. It includes the MSC for Me App, in-cabin connected television, and interactive information screens around the ship, among other features. MSC for Me was first launched on board MSC Bellissima’s award-winning sister ship, MSC Meraviglia.

 

Royal Caribbean Investing $900 Million in Ship Modernization

March 19, 2018.

Royal Caribbean International is spending $900 million on the ‘Royal Amplified’ program, which will cover 10 ships in four years, and touches every facet of the guest experience on Oasis and Allure of the Seas, as well as all Freedom and Voyager Class ships.

In developing Royal Amplified, the cruise line analyzed multiple years of guest satisfaction ratings, venue utilization data and crew interviews to focus the major investment on key features and experiences that matter most to travelers. Full details on each ship’s new amenities will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.

Iconic Pools and Attractions
With Royal Amplified, outside decks will be reimagined, from pools specifically designed for family fun and relaxing spa-like environments, to new activities day and night.   More specialized pool spaces will cater to diverse preferences.  Upper decks will be amped up and evolved with new attractions and first-of-its-kind attractions such as Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience along with waterslides, and waterparks.

Elevated Dining and Nightlife
Guests crave cornerstone cuisines, like Italian, seafood and Mexican, and Royal Caribbean will deliver on that with the introduction of more experiential dining concepts.  Travelers also will see more of the cruise line’s recently unveiled experiences, including Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean’s New England-style restaurant; Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, and family-friendly El Loco Fresh with popular Mexican fare. Additional casual, grab-and-go eateries to keep guests fueled between their adventures will also make their debut.

Additionally, cruisers will have the opportunity to live it up in distinct new bars and nightlife spots that deliver on the three tenets of a great night out: unique drinks, delicious food and live entertainment. This makes for more multidimensional nightlife venues offering food, live music and craft cocktails, like The Bamboo Room, and a signature outdoor Caribbean Bar. Other new concepts include a world-class music hall, a go-to spot for karaoke, and a lounge-style nightclub that will take the nightlife to a whole new level.

Redefined Short Caribbean Getaways
Royal Caribbean’s new mantra for millennials is that a cruise should provide maximum levels of adventure no matter how long or short. With quick getaways becoming increasingly popular and necessary for today’s traveler, the cruise line will strive to make its 3- and 4-night cruises just as alluring as longer escapes.

The cruise line is also set to raise the bar in vacation adventures on land with the introduction of its Perfect Day Island Collection of  private island destinations around the world. The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, scheduled for completion in fall 2019, will offer a number of distinct experiences and features giving guests first-time experiences.  Four Royal Caribbean ships in the Royal Amplified program, departing from New York, Maryland,  and Florida, will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas.

A Look Ahead at Royal Amplified

  • Freedom Class – Independence of the Seas will be the first ship in the Royal Amplified program to reveal multimillion-dollar upgrades, including Sky PadBattle for Planet Z, a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides and a new Escape Room: The Observatorium challenge, where competitors can solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. Not to mention the addition of new dining venues, from Fish and Ships – a seaside seafood spot with freshly battered fish and chips and other guest favorites – to Playmakers Sports Bar & ArcadeIzumi Hibachi and Sushi and Sugar BeachIndependence will offer 3- to 14-night sailings from Southampton, England beginning in May 2018, before she heads across the pond in Nov. 2018 to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on 4- to 5-night Caribbean cruises. Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.
  • Voyager Class – In summer 2018, the transformation of Royal Caribbean’s short Caribbean cruises will begin with the $90 million amp-up of Mariner of the Seas. Mariner will redefine the quick getaway by giving guests the chance to take their weekends to new heights with the addition of new thrills, such as Sky Pad and laser tag; The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with its tiki-chic décor; and the fun and vibrant Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned to specifically cater to those who seek a quick getaway.
  • Oasis Class – Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, ten years after her revolutionary debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, as well as introduce new restaurants and onboard adventures found on the newest Oasis Class ship, Symphony of the Seas. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020, making every ship in the class more adventurous than ever.

Update On The Royal Caribbean New Website Rollout

March 16, 2018.

Royal Caribbean has finally issued an official response over the inept rollout of their new website.  It only took a week.

This came in the form of a letter from Royal Caribbean International (RCI) President and CEO Michael Bayley, posted on Facebook this morning.


A Letter from Michael Bayley
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CROWN & ANCHOR SOCIETY·FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018
Good morning everyone,
I wanted to write our loyal Crown & Anchor members to both acknowledge and apologize for the issues you are experiencing with our new Guest Account functionality and more importantly update you with the current status. I know that many of you are wasting valuable time and energy migrating to our new Guest Account system. Please know that we hear you, we read everything and we have mobilized the necessary resources to fix the problems.
Our new Guest Account capability is well-intended and will ultimately make everyone’s life easier by having one username and password and a unified account that will make using our various systems seamless whether onshore or at sea. We’ve also invested in upgrading our security capabilities to provide additional protection. The root cause of everyone’s frustration is a combination of many guests having created multiple accounts over the years, the elimination of being able to select amenities and preferences online for our loyal Crown & Anchor members, and mistakes we made in developing and implementing the first release of this new capability. Long story short, we simply did not deliver on this implementation despite our best intentions.
Recognizing all of this, we have assembled a focused team to fix every possible issue. We have a clear list of fixes and the team is working fast to implement solutions to resolve both data issues and restore functionality. They’re making progress and you will see an improved experience in the coming days. If you are continuing to have issues, we’ve also created an email account at guestaccounthelp@rccl.com to reach the dedicated team directly versus having to call customer service.
We realize that none of what I’ve said changes the fact that we’ve added complication and frustration for our loyal guests. Please know that we value your loyalty and rather than try to give you some vague excuses as to what’s taken place, I want you to know that we recognize our mistakes and are working hard to fix them quickly.
Thank you for your patience and your loyalty. We don’t take it for granted and are working hard and fast to address the situation.
Michael