Carnival Says Goodbye To Tenders

September 27, 2018.

No, this doesn’t mean Carnival will be docking everywhere from now on.  The cruise line is replacing the word ‘tender’ with ‘water shuttle’.

According to Brand Ambassador John Heald on his Facebook page this morning:

“It seems many first time cruisers did not quite understand what a tender is and this caused confusion and therefore hindered the smooth operation of the operation.”

“This means you will be taking a water shuttle ashore and will collect a water shuttle ticket and will hear the CD’s reference the same in their announcements”

The change takes effect immediately.

Carnival Horizon Arrives At PortMiami

September 21, 2018.

Carnival Horizon’s arrival at PortMiami, its new year-round homeport, was marked with a larger-than-life celebration highlighted by a fun basketball-themed event featuring the company’s Chief Fun Officer – NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal – along with Miami HEAT legends Alonzo Mourning, Shane Battier and Glen Rice.

The festivities, which took place prior to Carnival Horizon’s inaugural two-day cruise, included the unveiling of a large Choose Fun bumper sticker on the ship’s stern, as well as a flyover from the Carnival AirShip – a massive 128-foot-long red, white and blue blimp that has been traveling the Southeast to bring awareness of new ship deployments in several key markets as part of the line’s monthlong Homeport Advantage campaign.

The Carnival Airship floats over Carnival Vista, bottom, and Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon, second from top, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Miami. Following a two-day cruise, Horizon is to kick off kicks off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from PortMiami beginning Saturday, Sept. 22. The 128-foot-long red, white, and blue blimp is traveling the southeast to promote ship deployments in several key markets including in Miami. Vista and Horizon have “Choose Fun” stern signage promoting the line’s newest marketing campaign. Carnival Sensation is at top. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

During the event, Carnival presented a $25,000 donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital representing funds from an online promotion in which consumers who posted a photo of the AirShip in social media with the hashtag #ChooseFun triggered a donation to the hospital and entered them in a drawing for free cruises and other prizes.

Following the two-day cruise, Carnival Horizon kicks off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from PortMiami beginning Sept. 22, 2018.

 

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Summer 2020 Itineraries

September 18, 2018.

Norwegian Encore

 Norwegian Cruise Line today opened for sale the summer 2020 itineraries for 11 of its 17 ships, including upcoming voyages for Norwegian Encore, the debuting in 2019. The cruise line also opened summer 2021 through spring 2022 sailings on its Hawaii-based Pride of America.

The summer 2020 schedule includes three ships cruising to Alaska, four ships in Europe and two sailing to Bermuda from New York City and Boston, including Norwegian Encore, which begins sailing from the city that never sleeps on April 22, 2020.

Alaska – Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Jewel

Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Jewel will sail to Alaska in summer 2020. Sister ships, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss, return to the state with seven-day cruises from Seattle, Washington beginning May 9 and May 10 respectively. In Alaska, Norwegian Joy will call to Holkham Bay, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, and in British Columbia, she will call in Victoria. Norwegian Bliss will call to Glacier Bay, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, Alaska as well as Victoria, British Columbia.

Rounding out the Alaskan fleet, beginning May 11, Norwegian Jewel returns to Vancouver, British Columbia and Seward, Alaska to sail her popular seven-day Glacier Bay Northbound and Inside Passage itineraries.

Europe – Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Escape will make her European debut on May 29 offering nine-day cruises to the Baltic region from Copenhagen, Denmark with calls to Warnemünde, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia, Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm(Nynashamn), Sweden and an overnight in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Norwegian Escape will be one of the newest and largest Norwegian ships to homeport in Europe offering guests flexibility and choice with over 27 dining options, 21 bars and lounges, Broadway-style entertainment and more.

For the first time, beginning May 15, Norwegian Dawn will cruise from Europe offering seven-to-eleven-day sailings to the Greek Isles from Venice, Italy. From May 8, Norwegian Getaway will offer ten-and-eleven-day cruises to the Greek Isles and Italy from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. Both Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Getaway will visit Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos, Greece, among other Mediterranean cities. Norwegian Epic’s European summer 2020 itineraries will open for sale on October 16, 2018.

Bermuda – Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Gem

Following her inaugural season in the Caribbean, Norwegian Encore will reposition from Miami, Florida to New York City offering seven-day cruises to Bermuda beginning April 22, while Norwegian Gem will offer seven-day voyages from Boston to Bermuda beginning May 1. Both ships’ seven-day itineraries overnight in port offering guests three days in Bermuda.

Caribbean – Norwegian Breakaway

Beginning April 23, Norwegian Breakaway returns to Miami with a selection of five-and-seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean visiting Roatan and Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and the resort-style island destination of Harvest Caye in Southern Belize. She will also sail a variety of three-and-four-day cruises to the Bahamas calling to Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island.

Bahamas & Florida / Canada & New England – Norwegian Pearl

As of May 23, for the first time, Norwegian Pearl will homeport in New York City offering select seven, ten and eleven-day cruises to Canada and New England with calls to Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island. She will also offer seven-day voyages to Bahamas and Florida with visits to Port Canaveral, Florida; Nassau and Norwegian’s private island paradise, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, which will have recently undergone enhancements as part of Norwegian Edge®, the company’s commitment to elevating the standard of excellence across its fleet and resort-style destinations.

Hawaii – Pride of America

Pride of America will continue cruising her seven-day inter-island itinerary that offers nearly 100 hours of port time in Hawaii’s main islands, including calls in Hilo, Kona, and overnight stays in Kahului, Maui and Nãwiliwili, Kauai with an afternoon cruising past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast. Norwegian’s Pride of America will depart from Honolulu every Saturday beginning May 1, 2021 through April 2022.

 

Royal Caribbean Ending In-Cabin Babysitting Program

September 15, 2018.

Booked cruise guests with young children have started receiving notification from Royal Caribbean that, effective September 30, 2018, the cruise line will be ending it’s “Sitters At Sea” program.  This service has been around for many years, where volunteer crew members could sign up to earn extra money by being private babysitters, watching children in the guest cabins.  The program has always relied on these volunteers and thus it’s availability was always subject to having enough staff willing to do it.

Here is the letter being received:

I’ve seen reports that there simply aren’t enough crew willing to participate in the babysitting service, making it no longer a viable program.  Also, I’ll speculate that the liability issues involved have made it untenable from a legal perspective.

As noted in the letter, Royal Caribbean does have many group programs available such as their innovative Royal Babies & Tots activity.

Carnival “Homeport Advantage” Airship Flying Over Southeast U.S.

August 29, 2018.

Read how you can win prizes including free cruises

(Photo by Gary Miller/Carnival Cruise Line)

 

Carnival Cruise Line took to the sky today with the Carnival AirShip – a 128-foot-long red, white, and blue blimp that takes center stage as part of the line’s innovative Homeport Advantage campaign, designed to raise awareness of new cruise ship deployments in several key markets along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

The AirShip made its aerial debut today at Carnival’s Sixth Annual Day of Play at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. – the first stop in a 30-day airborne journey across seven U.S. states.  After departing Memphis, the AirShip will proceed to Dallas before heading down to Houston then continue the journey with visits to homeports in Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile, Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Jacksonville and Charleston before ending in Atlanta.

As part of the campaign, consumers will have a chance to win free cruises, Carnival swag, VIP event passes and Carnival cruise gift cards when they take a picture or video of the AirShip and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #ChooseFun. The hashtag will also trigger a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ®, Carnival’s longtime charitable partner.

As part of its journey, the Carnival Airship will stop in Miami on Sept. 20 to welcome the new Carnival Horizon to its year-round homeport.  Shipboard festivities will include fun events hosted by NBA Hall of Famer and Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal and featuring Miami Heat players.

The Homeport Advantage campaign is also designed to raise awareness for the variety of Carnival’s U.S. embarkation options, with 18 year-round and seasonal ports – the most in cruising – along the East and West Coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. Roughly half of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive of a Carnival homeport.

Four ships will be arriving at new homeports in September. The new ships and itineraries include:

  • Carnival Horizon (Miami): Carnival’s newest ship that made her U.S. debut in New York in May will launch year-round home six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami beginning Sept. 22 following a special two-day cruise to Nassau Sept. 20. Carnival Horizon introduced several new innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss water park, Guy Fieri’s Bar-B-Que Smokehouse | Brewhouse with BBQ favorites from Food Network star and longtime Carnival partner Guy Fieri, and the line’s first teppanyaki venue.
  • Carnival Vista (Galveston): Launched in 2016, Carnival Vista moves to Galveston, offering features such as the SkyRide, an IMAX theatre, Family Harbor staterooms and suites, and a Cuban-themed Havana section with its own pool and bar. Carnival Vista kicks off her  new year-round sailing seven-day Caribbean schedule from Galveston Sept. 23.
  • Carnival Breeze (Port Canaveral): Carnival Breeze will offer a diverse Caribbean schedule from Port Canaveral with seven-day and 14-day itineraries starting Sept. 30. Popular features on Carnival Breeze include a massive WaterWorks aqua park, the interactive Thrill Theater, and dining options ranging from casual options like Guy’s Burger Joint to the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse.
  • Carnival Magic (Miami): Also new to Miami is Carnival Magic, which kicks off a new schedule of week-long Caribbean cruises Sept. 30. Guests can enjoy such features as a Serenity adults-only retreat, a Cloud 9 Spa, the Caribbean-inspired Red Frog Pub and the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant.

Additional information on the Homeport Advantage campaign and how you can participate for prizes is available at carnival.com/ChooseFun.

Royal Caribbean To Officially Allow Guests To Carry Non-Alcoholic Beverages Aboard (Again)

August 28, 2018.

What has been going on regardless of the rule prohibiting it is now okay, again.  Royal Caribbean is going to allow guests to bring non-alcoholic beverages aboard on embarkation day.  The cruise line used to allow this until a few years ago when the rule was changed to prohibit it.  Despite that official ban, guests were still doing it quite openly, and it was rare that port security or the cruise line personnel confiscated anything.  So it seems Royal Caribbean has acquiesced.

As reported at Royal Caribbean Blog, there are restrictions on quantities and container size.  Also, the new policy appears to prohibit handing off beverages to the cruise terminal porters to load along with checked luggage.  It is common to see guests tape luggage tags to cases of soda and water, drop them off with the actual luggage, and see them arrive at the cabin door unscathed.  Whether the cruise line will crack down on this practice, and porters will refuse to accept beverages as luggage, remains to be seen.

The revised policy, starting September 1, will be no more than 12 standard size cans, cartons, or bottles per cabin (not per person).   No alcoholic beverages are allowed other than the previously approved two 750ml bottles of wine per cabin.

Carnival Panorama To Have First Ever Female Cruise Director/Entertainment Director Duo

August 28, 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line has announced that for the first time ever, a female cruise director and entertainment director tandem will bring out a new ship – Carnival Panorama, set to debut in December 2019.  British-born Emma Nixon will serve as cruise director and Canadian native Brittany Boyd entertainment director when the 133,500-ton cruise ship sets sail next year from Long Beach, Calif., becoming Carnival’s first new ship homeported on the West Coast in more than 20 years.

Emma Nixon

The dynamic duo will lead all of the ship’s entertainment offerings, everything from deck parties to Hasbro, The Game Show; Lip Sync Battle; performances at the Punchliner Comedy Club,  and new Playlist Productions shows created especially for Carnival Panorama.

A six-year Carnival veteran, Nixon joined as a member of the Fun Squad and quickly moved up the ranks within the entertainment department serving as comedy club manager and assistant cruise director before being named cruise director of Carnival Spirit in 2015.  Known for her positive nature and infectious laugh, Emma’s role as cruise director is to create the fun, spirited environment on board and make sure that guests go home with a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories.

Brittany Boyd

Boyd joined Carnival in 2011 as a Fun Squad Host and was named entertainment director in 2014.   As Carnival Panorama’s entertainment director, Boyd will oversee all of the ship’s entertainment and will put her incredible organizational skills and keen attention to detail, planning, organizing and scheduling the literally hundreds of activity and entertainment choices that will be featured during its week-long cruises.

Nixon and Boyd will join the nearly 1,400 team members who will travel to Italy to prepare the ship for its Dec. 11, 2019, maiden voyage from the renovated Long Beach Cruise Terminal, home to three year-round Carnival Cruise Line ships and hosting upwards of 600,000 guests a year.

Following its inaugural three-day voyage departing Dec. 11, 2019, Carnival Panorama will launch year-round seven-day cruises Dec. 14, 2019 departing every Saturday to stunning seaside destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.

Carnival Panorama sailings are currently open for reservations.

Carnival And Port Canaveral Reach Agreement In Principle For State-Of-The-Art Terminal

August 21, 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line has reached an agreement in principle with the Canaveral Port Authority on a new state-of-the-art terminal able to accommodate its new 180,000-ton Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) powered ship, the largest ever constructed for the line, set to debut in 2020.

The terms of the agreement are expected to be included on the agenda of the Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018.  If approved, the agreement will clear the way for Carnival Cruise Line’s plans to homeport the as-yet-unnamed 5,286-lower berth ship at Port Canaveral, further bolstering the line’s position as the port’s number one cruise operator.

The vessel will offer an array of groundbreaking, never-before-seen features and attractions while also being the first North American-based cruise ship to be powered by LNG, part of Carnival Corporation’s “green cruising” design platform.

Construction of the 180,000-ton cruise ship is scheduled to begin in November 2018 with the official steel-cutting ceremony at the Meyer-Werft shipyard in Turku, Finland.  Further ship details, along with itineraries from Port Canaveral, are expected to be announced in 2019.

The decision to base the new ship on the Space Coast continues a decades-long relationship and reinforces Carnival Cruise Line’s position as Port Canaveral’s number one cruise operator.  The line currently has three year-round ships based in Port Canaveral carrying upwards of 650,000 passengers a year. In October, Carnival Cruise Line will also reposition the newer Carnival Breeze to homeport at Port Canaveral.

Princess Cruises Reveals Name of Fifth Royal-Class Ship As Fleet Expansion Continues

August 20, 2018.

As Princess Cruises fleet expansion continues, the cruise line reveals the name of the ship it will launch in 2020 – Enchanted Princess.

Enchanted Princess is scheduled to debut on June 15, 2020 sailing on a series of European voyages. Bookings for her maiden season, summer 2020, will open on November 8, 2018.

“The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising,” said Jan Swartz president of Princess Cruises. “We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise vacation.”

The arrival of Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of the sixth Royal-Class vessel for Princess Cruises in 2021. The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.

Construction of the 143,700-ton, 3,660-passenger Enchanted Princess will take place in the  Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard with the ship set to feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s previous Royal-Class ships.

For more Enchanted Princess updates visit www.princess.com/enchantedprincess

Royal Caribbean International Bans Emotional Support Animals

August 14, 2018.

Royal Caribbean International announced today that effective immediately, emotional support animals are no longer allowed aboard any of the cruise lines ships.  This does not effect fully trained and documented animals such as seeing eye dogs, medical alert animals, and others that meet legal requirements such as the Americans With Disability Act (ADA).  In short, those cruisers who bought a fake “support animal” vest on eBay so they can put it on Fifi and take her along on the cruise need to look elsewhere.  Those who booked a cruise prior to July 30, 2018, will still be allowed to bring their animal on those cruises.  That is the only grandfathering being allowed.

The news if rife with reports of incidents involving alleged service animals, that in fact are not trained for specific tasks or needs and often not basically trained at all.   This abuse of the system has caused a lot of grief and frustration on both sides of the issue.  Recently there were several reports on various cruise forums about pseudo-service animals snapping at cruise guests, the owners feeding them from the buffet while holding the animals in the serving line, and in at least one instance, defecating on the deck at the guest relations desk aboard one Royal Caribbean ship.

I’m sure this isn’t the end of this and a vigorous push back effort is in the offing.  I’ll be watching for it.  But I can say that I applaud Royal Caribbean for finally taking a stand.