Tauck Building New Ship For First-Ever Douro River Cruises in Portugal For 2020

January 22, 2019.

And now for something new and different…

Tauck has announced that it will offer its first-ever cruises on the Douro River in Portugal next year, and that the three itineraries will sail aboard a riverboat that’s being designed and built specifically for the Douro.

With the new ship, the ms Andorinha, Tauck will continue to defy the standard industry practice of maximizing passenger capacity to boost revenue, and will instead offer more suites, more spacious public areas, and the more intimate ambiance that naturally results from having fewer guests on board. In fact, Tauck is proudly noting that with a capacity of just 84 guests, the ms Andorinha will carry fewer guests than any other vessel currently operated by a major line on the Douro.

Even though the ms Andorinha will have far fewer guests than other ships, it will still have more director-level personnel to ensure Tauck’s guests enjoy the highest levels of care and service. As on Tauck riverboats fleet-wide, the newbuild will be staffed by a Tauck Cruise Director and three Tauck Director guides.

The new ship will have a crew of 36, and it will measure 263 feet in length with a beam of 38 feet. Guests will be accommodated in 42 cabins, including 12 300-square-foot suites on the upper Diamond Deck, and 20 225-square-foot staterooms primarily on the vessel’s Ruby or mid-level deck. The remaining accommodations – six 200-square-foot cabins and four 150-square-foot cabins – will be on the lower or Emerald Deck. The ms Andorinha will also feature a Panorama Lounge, Compass Rose restaurant for fine dining, and a second dining venue, Arthur’s (named for company chairman Arthur Tauck Jr.), serving more casual fare.

Tauck will offer three new Douro River itineraries aboard the ms Andorinha; a 12-day journey that bookends a seven-night Douro cruise with two-night hotel stays in Lisbon and Madrid, an eight-day “cruise-only” itinerary along the river, and an eight-day Tauck Bridges cruise designed specifically for families with four departures slated for late June/early July 2020. Itinerary details and pricing will be announced later this year.

Those interested in more information can contact their local travel professional, call Tauck at 800-468-2825, or visit the company’s website at www.tauck.com

Princess Cruises to Activate Three More MedallionClass™ Ships in 2019

January 22, 2019.

 

Princess Cruises announced today the expansion of its Princess MedallionClass™ experience to three additional ships – Royal Princess, Crown Princess and Sky Princess – building on the enhanced and personalized cruise vacations guests are currently enjoying on the Caribbean Princess.   Regal Princess will be next with a starting date of February 17, 2019.

Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry and recently honored with a CES® 2019 Innovation Award, the OceanMedallion features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, eliminates friction points and enables interactive entertainment.

Princess MedallionClass features include:

  • From curbside to poolside in a breeze – guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile have a personalized check-in process that starts their vacation with ease. Personalization starts pre-cruise by guests becoming OceanReady™ while at home.
  • The best Wi-Fi at sea: MedallionNet is fast, reliable, affordable and unlimited. MedallionNet provides land-like speeds that allow guests to stay connected from anywhere on the ship including staterooms which are each equipped with a Wi-Fi access point.
  • On demand beverage delivery: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks using OceanNow and have them delivered directly throughout the ship or in their stateroom.
  • Hands-Free Keyless Stateroom Entry: Access to staterooms is a seamless experience where each guest is securely validated as the door automatically unlocks. Personalized greetings including loyalty level recognition welcome the guest on their door portal.
  • OceanCompass: Available on guests’ smart devices and portals throughout the ships, OceanCompass leverages the OceanMedallion to enable point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship.
  • JourneyView: Available now on ship portals and coming soon to smart devices, this interactive timeline lets guests scroll through all of the events available on board during their voyage. Functionality will also soon give guests the ability to bookmark and add activities that appeal most to them to their own personalized itinerary.
  • MedallionPay: An easy to use payment feature, enabling crew members to focus on meaningful guest interactions.
  • OceanCasino: On smart devices and select portals, guests can wager real money on games, including slots, poker, bingo, roulette, keno and lottery from anywhere on board.
  • PlayOcean: On portals located shipwide and using smart devices, PlayOcean offers guests a new level of fun with interactive games, a digital scavenger hunt, customizable avatars, and more. PlayOcean also transforms guests’ mobile devices into game controllers for interactive gaming on the massive Movies Under the Stars screen.
  • OceanView: Guests can stream more than 100 hours of award-winning Ocean Original travel shows to their smart device anywhere on the ship at no cost – content which airs nationally on weekends on ABC and NBC. OceanView is also available on stateroom TVs as well as on Roku, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

 

 

MSC Cruises Reveals Details About ‘Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve’

January 16, 2018.

Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay (pronounced “key”) MSC Marine Reserve, the private island being developed by MSC Cruises,  opens on November 9, 2019.  The cruise line revealed more details about the new port this morning.

Here is a synopsis:

  • Creating a flourishing marine reserve: With Ocean Cay, MSC Cruises is transforming a former industrial sand-extraction site into a vibrant marine reserve. The company has hauled tons of debris out of the surrounding waters and a coral nursery is being established to encourage and sustain the growth of new coral. Overall, the vision is to create a sustainable destination that allow guests to connect with the surrounding nature.
  • Guest Experience: On the island guests will enjoy,

Seven beaches, including a smaller family lagoon for younger guests to enjoy.

– A variety of shore excursions to explore nature’s beauty, including snorkel safaris, kayak tours and paddle boarding.  This includes being able to rent your own private island nearby for the day ($$$$).

Entertainment activities day and night.

Docking at the island, so guests can easily move on and off the ship to refresh and enjoy evenings on Ocean Cay.

A variety of food and drink options including a buffet, casual food carts with handhelds such as tacos and conch fritters,  a variety of bars with different atmospheres, and an ice cream parlor.

Island shopping with a Bahamian Shop & Market, hosting authentic arts and crafts by local artisans.

Spa services on the island with a selection of body and facial treatments.

Wi-Fi will be available on the island (that will be a first among all cruise line private islands).

Here are the details (with images!):

With over two miles of  white sandy beach shore formed from the world’s best aragonite sand, guests will have a choice of seven distinct beach areas, each with their own character. Guests can either escape with warm sand between their toes and the sound of the ocean, or be more active with beach games and water sports.

Sun beds will be available on all beaches, and some beaches will offer cabanas that can be rented for the day. The Great Lagoon’s shallow crystal-clear water is perfect for protected swimming and water sports, while the smaller family lagoon is designed for younger guests to enjoy, offering very shallow, calm water and plenty of games. At over half a mile long, the Great Bimini Beach is the largest stretch of beach on the island, as well as the place to go to enjoy a variety of water sports.

Excursions

The Ocean Cay excursions will allow visitors to explore, discover, relax and enjoy nature’s beauty at it’s very best. Discover the waters around the island through snorkel safaris, kayak tours and paddle boarding. The Family Explorer club will also offer fun activities for the entire family.

For those looking for a really special experience, Ocean Cay guests are able to privately rent a smaller island close to the main body of land for the day, which will include: a private boat that will take the group to the island and remain at their disposal; and a marquee, sun beds and loungers and food and drinks. Near the island is an old shipwreck, making it a wonderful spot for snorkeling.

In addition to the excursions, guests can participate in a wide range of entertainment activities including sports games and tournaments, dance lessons as well activities for the entire family.

One of the key highlights of Ocean Cay is that the ship will remain in port into the evening since the island is conveniently located just 65 miles south of Miami, allowing for a range of incredible evening experiences. Once the sun goes down guests can enjoy night time activities such as stargazing on the beach or romantic sunset catamaran tours to bring the day to a very special close. The entertainment on the island will focus around the iconic Lighthouse with breathtaking sunsets and with live music or DJs and a surprising visual experience that will further enhance the atmosphere.

Food And Drink

The choice of options for food and drink ashore will include:

  • Buffet: Conveniently located near the family lagoon, at the buffet guests will get  freshly prepared meals from a variety of international culinary traditions, including American classics and authentic Bahamian flavors as well as some kids’ favorites.
  • Food carts: For guests not seeking a sit-down meal, food carts with casual street food will be available including a taco truck, conch fritter truck, and more. The trucks will be stationary during the day around the beaches and will move to the Marina area at night creating an atmospheric food festival-style feel.

Food and beverage services will be offered at an additional cost with upgrades available to the beverage package. As the ship is easily accessible guests are able to walk on and off at their leisure, allowing them to also be able to freely dine on board as they choose.

A range of different bars with varying atmospheres and ambiences are spread across the island. These include:

  • Authentic Bahamian Bar: Located in the Marina, this friendly bar offers cocktails and drinks in an authentic Bahamian style.
  • Lighthouse Bar: This Hemingway-style cocktail bar offers an ample selection of rums, other spirits and delicious cocktails, all with  incredible sea views. It’s the perfect spot to take a break from one of the island’smany activities during the day.
  • Beach Bars: There are seven beach bars spread across the island, each with its own personality and its own special look and feel.
  • Ice Cream Parlor and Coffee Bar: Located in the Marina, this venue offers different kinds of ice cream, from classics to more innovative flavors. The coffee bar serves freshly brewed whole bean and ground coffee, espresso and cappuccino for an energetic start or a quick afternoon boost.

Shopping

The Bahamian Shop & Market hosts authentic arts and crafts by local artisans and Bahamian companies to perfectly complement the spirit of the Bahamas. Meanwhile the Ocean Cay Trading Post offers a wide selection of exclusive Ocean Cay souvenirs and gifts inspired by nature with items for adults and children ranging from T-shirts, caps, beach items, towels and accessories.

Guests will be able to purchase essentials for the whole family from the MSC Shop, with a range of MSC Cruises branded products such as hats, flip flops, towels, beach bags, sunscreen and lip balms.  Guests will also find a number of exclusive partnership products highlighting the marine and sustainable values of the island. Finally guests can collect pre-ordered essential items at the Welcome Center including Ocean Cay survival kits and other essentials and at the same time gather top tips for a day on Ocean Cay.

Spa Treatments

For those guests looking to relax and rejuvenate on the island, there will be services provided by the award-winning MSC Aurea Spa with a selection of relaxing body and facial treatments. All the beauty products used on the island are bio-degradable and eco-friendly. Some of the specially-designed treatments include the Ocean Cay Breeze Boost massage, which uses aromatic spray waters with soothing and refreshing properties, mainly aimed at the legs, feet and back — the areas of the body normally more exposed to sun. The Ocean Cay Breeze Facial offers the soothing properties of a calming mask and refreshing spray waters, providing relief for delicate facial skin exposed to the sun.

The island will welcome its first guests on November 9, 2019. To find out more visit www.msccruises.com.

 

Carnival Changing Pricing For Room Service & ‘Bottomless Bubbles’ Soft Drink Package

December 31, 2018.

Carnival is ringing in the new year by announcing a $1 per day increase for the Bottomless Bubbles soft drink package, and also will be charging for all room service orders other than continental breakfast.

Previously, Carnival had a blend of room service items with some being complimentary and some with a fee.  But that will be changing in a couple weeks.

The news was reported by Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald on his Facebook page.  John posted the following:

“Starting January 1, 2019, Carnival Cruise Line will be increasing the cost for the Bottomless Bubbles package program by $1 per day to $5.95 per day for kids and $8.50 per day for adults, plus gratuity. The change will be fleetwide, including Australia.”

“Starting mid-January 2019, we will be starting an a la carte stateroom service menu fleetwide. A wide variety of menu items will be available with a nominal cost ranging from $2 to $5 per item. Charges apply to lunch, dinner and late-night menu items. Over the last several years, we have heavily invested in bringing more variety to our complimentary food choices across our fleet, while at the same time trying to find effective means to continue to reduce food waste. This new pricing structure positions Carnival on par with similar charges by other cruise operators in the contemporary market.” (Editor’s Note:  Royal Caribbean charges a flat fee per order, no matter the quantity of food ordered. $7.95 for one sandwich or $7.95 for ten sandwiches.)

The new room service menu is as follows:

Cunard Unveils First Full Season of Alaska Voyages in 2020

December 21, 2018.

Queen Elizabeth in Alaska

Cunard has announced that it will spend a full season in Alaska from June through September 2020 on the newly-refit Queen Elizabeth. Cunard is making its return to Alaska in May 2019 – and due to high demand, the line will double their program in 2020.

This expanded program will offer ten round trip voyages out of Vancouver ranging from nine to twelve nights and one getaway cruise to San Francisco for an overnight stay on Independence Day.

Passengers have the opportunity to combine voyages together, including the Alaska roundtrips, Independence Day cruise and the North Pacific Crossings from Yokohama or to Tokyo. These 2020 voyages include:

  • Alaska Voyage, roundtrip from Vancouver, 10 nights from June 2-12, 2019 (Q017), fares starting at $1,599
  • Independence Day Celebration, Vancouver to San Francisco with an overnight in port, 3 nights from July 2-5 (Q020A), fares starting at $599
  • San Francisco to Vancouver, 16 nights from July 5-21 (Q020D), fares starting at $2,659
  • Vancouver to Tokyo, 29 nights from August 29-September 28 (Q026A), fares starting at $4,459

Queen Elizabeth, the youngest ship in the fleet, has just come out of refit this November, launching a new spa concept onboard: Mareel Wellness & Beauty, developed in partnership with industry innovator Canyon Ranch. The new brand will offer a holistic approach with a focus on the healing energy of the sea. The spa offers an extensive new treatment menu with mineral-rich seawater and marine-based experiences as well as a redesign of the entire spa facility. In addition, many public spaces, bars and lounges have been updated and all Grill Suites and Britannia Staterooms have new carpets and soft furnishings. The Royal Court Theatre had a complete technical overhaul; the Royal Arcade has been enhanced to offer an elevated shopping experience; and the outdoor decks have new furniture with a new layout on the Sun Deck.

Cunard continues its partnership with Rocky Mountaineer, offering pre- and post-cruise tours on the famous railroad. Tours include either three- to five-nights’ accommodation, plus two full days aboard the train. The expedition travels through an array of scenery with glacier and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, through winding river canyons, mountain passes and remarkable tunnels. Highlights include the Continental Divide, Kicking Horse Canyon, Spiral Tunnels and the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon.

Guests will also be able to take advantage of the three-night pre-cruise tour Vancouver and Whistler Highlights, taking in the best of Vancouver including Grouse Mountain and Stanley Park, and a full day in Whistler and Shannon Falls via the Sea-to-Sky Corridor.

Early Booking Benefits

Guests who book launch fares in Britannia accommodations on voyages seven nights or longer by February 28, 2019 will receive free Onboard Credit up to $600 per stateroom, and third and fourth guests in the same stateroom will pay only $100 per person.

Grill Suite guests who book voyages seven nights or longer by February 28, 2019 will receive:

  • Free Onboard Credit up to $2,000 per stateroom†
  • Free Drinks Package♦
  • Free Gratuities‡
  • Third and Fourth guests in the same stateroom pay only $500 per person^

Detailed information about promo code ZED/ZEB and disclaimers about these benefits can be found here.

World Club Member Early Booking Savings

World Club members will benefit from an additional 5% discount off launch fares, available for past guests only, applicable on all cruises until April 30, 2019. This discount is not applicable to third and fourth berth guests.

Value Fares

Cunard is offering Value Fares featuring:

  • Up to 20% off Launch Fares
  • 3rd and 4th guests receive up to 50% off the Value Fares double occupancy rates
  • Reduced Non-Refundable and Non-Transferable Deposit (12.5% of the cruise fare instead of 25%)
  • Cunard Care is available for bookings with Value Fares

Fares are capacity controlled, subject to change, and may not be combined with any other public, group or past guest discount. Schedule of final payments and cancellation fees will follow the standard terms and conditions. Cabin assignment and dining options are not available for guests booking Value Fares. Guests will be booked on a Guarantee status. Value Fares are not available in the Grills.

 

Carnival To Offer First-Ever Voyages From San Francisco – Plus A Return To San Diego In Winter 2020-21

December 18, 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line today announced that for the first time, it will offer a series of cruises from San Francisco, with Carnival Miracle operating a schedule that includes four- to 15-day voyages to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico in 2020.

Following strong reception to a previously announced program from San Diego in 2019, Carnival Miracle will also return to the port for a winter 2020-21 schedule of three- to 15-day voyages.

These deployments further bolster Carnival Cruise Line’s position as the West Coast cruise leader, carrying more passengers than any other cruise operator. That number will continue to increase with the debut of Carnival Panorama from Long Beach in December 2019, the first new Carnival ship on the West Coast in 20 years.

With the addition of San Francisco, Carnival operates from 19 North American homeports.  Roughly half of the U.S. population is within a five-hour drive of a Carnival homeport.

Carnival’s Inaugural Schedule from San Francisco

Carnival’s schedule from San Francisco kicks off March 19, 2020, aboard Carnival Miracle, and will include four-day long weekend voyages to Ensenada departing Thursdays and returning Mondays throughout the spring and summer, as well as five-day and six-day cruises to Ensenada, Catalina Island and San Diego in the spring.

The ship will also offer a summer schedule of 10-day Alaska cruises round-trip from San Francisco featuring destinations including Juneau, Skagway, and Icy Strait Point as well as opportunities to visit Sitka and cruise Tracy Arm Fjord.  There’s also a special one-time 11-day Alaska cruise departing Aug. 9, 2020.

Longer Length Voyages

A 15-day Carnival Journeys Hawaii cruise round-trip from San Francisco departs April 16, 2020, calling at destinations including Maui (Kahului), Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai, as well as a stop in Ensenada.

Prior to its West Coast deployment, Carnival Miracle will offer a 17-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal transit March 2-19, 2020, calling at Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; and Limon, Costa Rica prior to the Panama Canal transit followed by calls at Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Carnival Journeys cruises offer unique local culinary and entertainment experiences as well as special activities, including a 1980s-themed Throwback Sea Day.

Winter Schedule from San Diego

Carnival Miracle will operate a winter schedule of voyages from San Diego beginning Oct. 4, 2020.  The program includes convenient three-day getaways to Ensenada, four-day sailings to Ensenada and Catalina Island, and five-day departures that spend two full days in the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas.

Also offered are four 15-day Carnival Journeys Hawaii cruises round-trip from San Diego departing Oct. 16 and Nov. 28, 2020, and Jan. 9 and Feb. 20, 2021.  Featured ports include Hilo, Kona, Kauai (Nawiliwili), Maui (Kahului) and Honolulu, as well as stop in Ensenada, providing guests with a variety of landside experiences in this tropical Polynesian paradise.

Princess Cruises Begins 100 Day Countdown to Royal Princess Arrival In Los Angeles

December 13, 2018.

In just 100 days, the Port of Los Angeles will welcome  Royal Princess  – taking guests to Mexico, the California Coast and Alaska.  The ship just completed a multi-million-dollar refurbishment including several new features and offer West Coasters convenient, round-trip Los Angeles cruises starting March 23, 2019.

Things Added During The Renovation:

Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Royal Princess, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus. The plush bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design and recently received the highest ranking for “Best Cruise Ship Beds” by Cruise Critic.  (yes, there’s even an award for cruise ship beds)

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center –  new equipment is now available in salon and treatment rooms and the latest in fitness machines is now available.

In addition, Royal Princess has new production shows  in the Princess Theater:

The Secret Silk – the newest production show developed in partnership with award-winning composer of “Wicked,” “Godspell” and “Pippin” – Stephen Schwartz.

Encore – inspired by the cruise line’s “Bravo!” and accompanied by an  onstage orchestra, “Encore” celebrates the traditions of pop, opera and musical theater. The show was directed and choreographed by Disney Channel Creative Director Danny Teeson, with musical direction by Academy Awards® Arranger Nelson Kole and set design by Emmy® award-winner John Iacovelli.

Royal Princess West Coast Itineraries, Dates and Special Promotions

Royal Princess will sail on a series of cruises from Los Angeles (San Pedro) to the Mexican Riviera with port calls in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.

Inaugural spring 2019 voyages include:

· March 23, 2019

· March 30, 2019

· April 6, 2019

·April 13, 2019

·April 20, 2019

·April 27, 2019

Royal Princess will sail up the Pacific Coast on a seven-day Coastal voyage departing May 4, 2019 to Vancouver to begin her maiden voyages to Alaska.

The Alaska season begins on May 11, 2019 and Royal Princess will offer 18 “Voyage of the Glaciers,” seven-day cruises, sailing between Vancouver, B.C. and Anchorage (Whittier) with port stops in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway with scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park, plus an additional glacier viewing experience at either Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord. Guests can also spend time in the interior of Alaska with a variety of cruisetour offerings, with stays at Princess Wilderness Lodges and visit Denali National Park. A recognized leader in Alaska, hosting more guests to the Great Land than other cruise line, 2019 marks 50 years of cruising to this bucket-list destination.

Royal Princess will depart Vancouver on September 14, 2019 on a three-day Coastal cruise, returning to Los Angeles on September 17, 2019 to offer a 12-day roundtrip cruise to Alaska, including Glacier Bay National Park. September 29, 2019 marks the return of Royal Princess to Los Angeles for cruises to the Mexican Riviera with several five-, seven- and 10-day options; seven-day California Coastal cruises and shorter four-day West Coast Getaway voyages, visiting Catalina Island.

Now through Dec. 31, 2018, Princess Cruises is offering a special “Anniversary Sale” including cruises and cruisetours to all destinations sailing from February 2019 – May 2020. The sale includes the following perks:

  • Gratuities – paid on behalf of each guest, up to a $15.50 value per day per guest for all guests in a stateroom, up to four.
  • Up to $800 per Stateroom to Spend Onboard – based on the cruise length, guests booking an interior or oceanview stateroom will receive up to $400 per stateroom to spend during their cruise vacation. Those booking a balcony, mini-suite or suite will be given up to $800 per stateroom.

 

Holland America Line’s ‘Why Not Now?’ Promotion Has Upgrades, Air Credit, Reduced Deposits and Shore Excursion Savings

December 12, 2018.

In anticipation of the upcoming Wave season, Holland America Line is launching a Why Not Now? promotion.  The special offer on cruises from summer 2019 through winter/spring 2020 includes free stateroom upgrades, shore excursion discounts, up to $1,000 air credit per stateroom and deposits from $99 person if booked by Feb. 28, 2019.

Guests who book a suite with Why Not Now? also receive up to $600 in onboard spending money, in addition to the other perks.

The Wave promotion comes just after the announcement by Cruise Critic that Holland America Line received the 2018 Editors’ Pick Award for Best Value for Money.   The Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards are chosen by Cruise Critic’s international team of editors, based on the lines and ships they feel best represent excellence in each of the designated categories.

As part of the promotion, depending on departure and ship, guests who book an interior stateroom will be upgraded free to an ocean view stateroom and those booking an ocean view stateroom will get upgraded free to a verandah. Free upgrades are based on available space at the time of booking and may differ based on sailing date. Every effort will be made to accommodate.

By booking air through Holland America Line’s Flight Ease program from offered gateways, guests are eligible to receive an air credit up to $1,000 per stateroom. Reduced deposits starting from $99 are available with the Why Not Now? offer, and booked guests who also reserve select shore excursions by Feb. 28 can take advantage of up to 10 percent savings.

The bonus $600 onboard spending money for suite bookings can be spent on a variety of amenities, including specialty dining, spa services, shore excursions, gift shop purchases, beverages and more.

MSC Armonia Arrives In Miami For Cuba Sailings

December 10, 2018.

 

MSC Cruises welcomed MSC Armonia to Miami today in preparation for her first ever sailing from the United States to Cuba.  Starting today, MSC Armonia will begin sailing 7-night Caribbean itineraries year-round departing from Miami and calling at Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico before arriving in Havana, the Cuban capital, on Saturday and staying overnight to Sunday. And, with only one day at sea in this itinerary, cruisers are given more time to explore these sun-soaked ports of call.

With two full days in Havana, guests will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in the Cuban culture both during the day and in the evening through a variety of distinctive tours. Shore excursions will explore local highlights from music, art and architecture to classic cigar rolling, rum distilling and much more. Guests can:

  • Ride in vintage American cars, a staple of the Havana experience. On this excursion, guests will tour the city in classic vehicles down the seafront Malecón boulevards and Quinta Avenida. Guests will stop for a historic photo opportunity at Plaza de la Revolución, and then head to the famous Christopher Columbus Cemetery. As the drive continues, participants will marvel at some of the city’s key landmarks.
  • Sip on local rum and try classic Habanos cigars to learn about a key part of Cuban culture. Guests will visit a cigar factory to watch highly-skilled torcedors as they hand-roll Cuban cigars. Then, cruisers will head to the Havana Club Museum to learn about how freshly cut sugarcane is distilled into rum and then try some of the final product.
  • Dance at Havana’s largest nightclub, the renowned Tropicana Club. Founded in 1939 in Havana’s Marianao suburb, the Tropicana Club is an iconic celebration of Cuban culture with tropical surroundings. Visitors will listen to live music and see a variety of performers in vibrant costumes, while sipping on a local cocktail and dancing the night away.

These on shore experiences are complemented by the variety of on board enhancements to MSC Armonia, including new dining and entertainment concepts and special features paying homage to Cuba.

GETTING A TASTE FOR LA HAVANA ON BOARD

Local entertainment while in port

On Saturday evenings, during MSC Armonia’s overnight stay in Havana, a highlight of MSC Armonia’s entertainment offering will be the addition of local Cuban music while in port in Cuba. Straight from the city of Havana, various musicians will join guests on board to play local Cuban music and dance the evening away.

Havana-inspired Mojito Bar

Bringing the Cuban experience on board, MSC Armonia will transform one of its bars into a Havana haven, with a wide range of Mojito cocktails to choose from, whether traditional or out-of-the-box. These include, to name a few:

  • Classic Mojito, made in traditional style with mint leaves, sugar, lime, club soda and rum.
  • Guava Mojito, with rum mixed with sweet guava, fresh lime and sprigs of mint, topped with crushed ice and club soda.
  • Cape Cod Mojito, mixing rum, muddled mint and dried cranberries, splashed with cranberry juice and topped with club soda.
  • Flightless Bird Mojito, featuring kiwi with rum, muddled mint and topped with club soda.

For Families

MSC Armonia is offering families an opportunity to explore and learn together with the Kids Sail Free promotion available on many sailings.

Additional enhancements made as part of the Renaissance Program include exquisite, varied dining offerings; outstanding, all-hours entertainment; a broad choice of relaxation and wellness options, and more, all with the European flair MSC Cruises is known for.

New Dining Choices

MSC Armonia is introducing a brand new specialty restaurant to the culinary line-up. The 38-seat “Surf & Turf” costs $35 per person, where guests can select an appetizer, main course and dessert.

Sample  items include an appetizer of slow braised pork belly, paired with Jalapenos, radish slaw and topped with a pineapple BBQ sauce. For main courses, the Surf & Turf has a 6 oz filet mignon and 7 oz cold water lobster tail. Additional entrée highlights include a Lobster Thermidor, baked in shell with a mushroom cream sauce, and the 18 oz Certified Angus Beef Bone-in Ribeye. Desserts include items such as Guava cheese cake, dressed in a warm Rum sauce, a Red Velvet Cake, and a Seven Layers Mexican Chocolate cake.

Enhanced Pub Menu

MSC Armonia’s White Lion Pub will introduce a new and complimentary menu featuring hand-helds like the befitting Cuban sandwich, a Mojo Chicken Quesadilla, an Avocado and Tuna Salad Wrap, and Spinach and Artichoke Dip to share. The pub will also continue serving a wide selection of beers, including four new additions — Heineken, Newcastle Brown Ale, Murphy’s Irish Stout, and Lagunitas IPA.

New included delights

MSC Armonia will also introduce a few items on board that come complimentary with the cruise experience. MSC Cruises is already known for offering some of the best gelato at sea, and now, every creamy bite comes included with the cruise cost, leaving guests plenty of opportunity to try every flavor on board.

 

In the main dining room, guests will be able to order cold water lobster as part of a special seafood dish at no additional cost. And, while dining on these elevated offerings, Aurea experience guests will have the option to dine al fresco, with a reserved outdoor area, featuring the open water as the backdrop.

THEATRICAL ENHANCEMENTS

MSC Armonia’s evening theater entertainment has undergone a complete change, with an entire line-up of new performances introduced on board.  Shows include:

  • ABYSS: A mermaid’s spectacular adventures under the sea.
  • THE TIME OF MY LIFE: Inspired by the famous 80s film, Dirty Dancing, the show features songs, dances and a story that still captures audiences to this day.
  • ADDAMS FAMILY: The famous quirky family stars in this hilarious show, inspired by the satirical and ironic portrayal of the 20th century American Dream family.
  • FRENCH FOLLIES: An all-French variety show, with artists, dancers, singers that come together for an elegant and joyful show.
  • THE GREATEST: Featuring the best of Broadway, guests are taken through the most iconic pieces of musical theater.
  • ITALIAN TOUCH: True to MSC Cruises’ Mediterranean heritage, this show will feature Italian music and the most unforgettable Italian songs.

MSC Armonia will continue to sail year round from Miami to the Caribbean and Cuba, with balcony stateroom prices starting at $1,169 per person. For more information on MSC Cruises’ Cuba program, MSC Armonia and to book, contact a preferred travel agent or visit www.msccruises.com/cuba.

 

Carnival Airship Coming To California For A Month-Long Tour

December 10, 2018.

The Carnival Airship floats near the Carnival Vista Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, off Miami Beach. 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 is repositioning to Galveston, Texas, to sail on Western Caribbean cruises. The blimp and the ship are emblazoned with “Choose Fun” stern signage promoting the line’s newest marketing campaign. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

Look up in the sky! You could win prizes including a free cruise.  As part of the year-long celebration welcoming the new Carnival Panorama to the West Coast, Carnival Cruise Line today announced that its #ChooseFun AirShip will return with a month-long journey across California, launching on Dec. 31 in conjunction with the line’s first-ever Rose Parade float on New Year’s Day.

The 120-foot Carnival AirShip will travel throughout Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside counties and then to Northern California, heralding the December 2019 launch of Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Panorama and inviting everyone to “Choose Fun.” The AirShip will fly over major cultural events and venues including The Rose Parade: A Showcase of Floats and sporting events, as well as visit schools, Carnival’s home ports in Long Beach and San Diego, travel agent viewing parties, and select trampoline park locations of Sky Zone, Carnival Panorama’s newest all-ages attraction.  The AirShip will also be incorporated into the design of the Carnival Cruise Line float which will sail in the Rose Parade on Jan. 1.

In conjunction with AirShip’s aerial tour of California, consumers will have a chance to win prizes that give them a taste of Carnival fun, including a Carnival cruise for two, when they enter the sweepstakes that begins on Dec. 31. Details on the sweepstakes will be announced later this month.

Additionally, for those who take a picture of the blimp using the hashtags #ChooseFun and #JumpIntoFun, inspired by the first-ever Sky Zone at sea on Carnival Panorama, Carnival will make a donation to one of its favorites charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Carnival AirShip made its inaugural journey this past summer when it toured the southeast U.S. in August and September to celebrate the arrival of new ships in multiple home ports.  The AirShip proved to be a popular topic on social and news media channels, as well as with thousands of cruise fans who posted photos of the blimp on their own social media profiles.

Carnival Panorama will debut with a special three-day inaugural cruise from Long Beach on Dec. 11, 2019, followed by the launch of year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera service on Dec. 14, 2019. The ship joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration to carry upwards of 600,000 guests annually from the West Coast