Carnival Names Cruise & Entertainment Directors For Mardi Gras

June 18, 2019.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Matt Mitcham and Hugo Hidalgo attend Carnival Cruise Line’s NYC Cruise Into Summer Event To Celebrate The Arrival Of Mardi Gras In 2020 at Pier 59 on June 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Carnival Cruise Line)

Fun is a huge part of Carnival Cruise Line’s DNA, and with the line’s new ship Mardi Gras offering an unparalleled array of entertainment choices, the company has selected fan favorites Matt Mitcham as cruise director and Hugo Hidalgo as entertainment director to help guests maximize their fun.

The dynamic duo will lead a 125-member team who will amp up the excitement and raise the bar for next-level entertainment when Mardi Gras sets sail in summer 2020.

Entertainment will be at the heart of Mardi Gras’ onboard experience with never-before-seen offerings including a first-in-fleet partnership with Family Feud, new high-tech Playlist Productions shows, a dedicated Punchliner Comedy Club, and new live music and entertainment options to be announced shortly, providing guests with even more ways to Choose Fun.

A native of Birmingham, England, and a 10-year Carnival veteran, Mitcham joined the company as an entertainment host and quickly moved through the ranks becoming a cruise director in 2012. One of the most popular cruise directors in the industry, Mitcham is loved for his engaging personality, friendly demeanor and incredible passion and energy, and chronicles his adventures for his fans on his popular Instagram and Facebook pages which have a combined 100,000 followers.

After working at resorts in his native Mexico, Hidalgo joined Carnival in 2012 as a Fun Squad member and has since held many entertainment positions allowing him to gain a thorough understanding of what it takes to “wow” guests. Known for his hands-on leadership approach and attention to detail, Hidalgo has earned a number of accolades, including Entertainment Director Rookie of the Year and Team Leader of the Month, as well as recognition for his team’s efforts in raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Keel-Laying Ceremony Held for Carnival’s New Ship ‘Mardi Gras’

June 18, 2019.

In keeping with maritime tradition, a keel-laying ceremony was held today at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, for Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras, which is scheduled to enter service in August 2020.

The ceremony, which dates back hundreds of years, was highlighted by the placement of coins placed on top of a 750-ton keel block called 3C signifying good luck for the ship and the official start of construction.

Carnival’s Senior Vice President of Newbuilds Ben Clement and Mardi Gras Captain Giuseppe Giusa, Chief Engineer Ferdinando Ruocco and Hotel Director Pierre Camilleri joined Meyer Turku CEO Jan Meyer at the festivities.

Mardi Gras will offer a variety of groundbreaking innovations, including BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea; the first seagoing restaurant by legendary chef Emeril Lagasse; and six themed zones with a wide range of culinary, beverage and activity choices.   Mardi Gras will also be the first cruise ship in North America to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), part of Carnival Corporation’s “green cruising” platform.

Mardi Gras is set to debut in Europe Aug. 31, 2020, then reposition to New York for a series of voyages before shifting to Port Canaveral, Fla., for year-round Caribbean departures.

 

Carnival Teams Up With Harlem Globetrotters

May 21, 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line announced today an exclusive partnership with the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, serving as the group’s official cruise line sponsor worldwide.

Combining the Harlem Globetrotters’ high-flying athleticism, theatrical stunts and comedic acts with Carnival’s role as the family cruise leader, the two ambassadors of fun will bring a new level of excitement to more than 150 of the team’s shows across the country.

The Harlem Globetrotters’ exhibition games will be enhanced by Carnival’s signature brand of fun through in-game integrations, giveaways and joint marketing efforts such as a designated Choose Fun Zone seating area with branded signage, playful décor, special player interactions and more. This partnership will also provide Carnival with traditional marketing assets to support their charitable partners’ initiatives.

To celebrate the partnership, Carnival is launching an exclusive “Trot the Globe” sales event from May 21 – 23 which can be accessed at https://www.carnival.com/.

A video shot on board Carnival Horizon featuring Harlem Globetrotters stars Hammer Harrison and Dragon Taylor showcases the dynamic duo’s impressive skills as they make shots from high above Carnival’s SkyRide aerial attraction and Lido Deck. The video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/Ke36j-QUMto.

 

5 Reasons to Join MSC Voyagers Club

May 21, 2019.

MSC Cruises has revealed details of additional discounts and benefits to their MSC Voyagers Club loyalty program

Here are five reasons why you should join:

1.   DIFFERENT MEMBERSHIP LEVELS OFFER INCREASING REWARDS

The MSC Voyagers club is free and easy to join.  All guests who have traveled with MSC Cruises since 2006 or have a current confirmed booking can apply to the Voyagers Club before boarding, aboard the ship or following the cruise to begin taking advantage of increasing benefits and rewards.

There are five different levels of membership, offering increasing rewards — Welcome, Classic, Silver, Gold, and Black. Guests can earn points that raise both their privileges and status progressively.

Classic card members can enjoy benefits like a special “welcome back” cocktail and an informative newsletter. Silver Card Members also receive this as well as a complimentary fruit basket and free $50 shipboard credit on Voyages Selection cruises to spend on board.

Gold Card Members also enjoy a one-hour complimentary visit to the Thermal Area in the MSC Aurea Spa as well as free gifts and priority disembarkation in ports where tender boats are necessary.

Black Card Members receive all the benefits of other levels of membership, with a host of extras, including in-stateroom complimentary Prosecco and strawberries, slippers and a luxurious bathrobe, a tasting menu dinner for two in one of the Specialty Restaurants, a free dance class, a complimentary chocolate ship model, late check-out times and priority disembarkation at the end of the cruise, as well as an exclusive Black Card Member party during the cruise. As of September 2019, Black Card level membership will be renamed Diamond.

2.    STATUS MATCH PROGRAM

For members of other hotel, cruise line, or tour operator loyalty programs, MSC Voyagers Club will match their current status, offering these members similar or higher privilege status than their current loyalty program.

3.   5% DISCOUNT ON ALL BOOKINGS, EARLY ACCESS AND POINTS TO REACH EXCITING REWARDS

Following their first cruise, all members of the MSC Voyagers Club will automatically benefit from a 5% discount on all future cruise bookings, early access to all sales openings and different opportunities to earn points.* As guests collect more points, their membership levels increase and consequently, their privileges multiply.

4.   EXTRA DISCOUNTS AND DOUBLE POINTS ON VOYAGES SELECTION CRUISES

On top of the regular 5% discount, a range of exclusive Voyages Selection cruise discounts are available to MSC Voyagers Club members of all levels, from Classic to Black. These regularly curated travel selections are discounted by 5%, 10% (NEW! since March 10, 2019) or 15%, meaning members can save big for their next getaway.

As of the end of June 2019, Voyagers Club members have yet another reason to book their next vacations on Voyages Selection cruises. In addition to discounted rates, each of these cruises will allow guests to double their points, depending on the Experience that they book. This offers members the chance to boost their membership level twice as quickly and take advantage of ever-increasing benefits.

5.   BOOK A WORLD CRUISE AND INSTANTLY BOOST YOUR STATUS

For guests aiming to reach Black Card Member status in a fraction of the time and also wishing to become world travelers, MSC Voyagers Club members of Classic status or above who book a full MSC World Cruise will triple the points of the type of Experience they choose. Even lucky Welcome level members can benefit from this offer if their enrollment date is earlier than their World Cruise booking date!

Unlike other cruises, these points will be automatically added to a member’s account prior to departure, allowing them to enjoy all the added privileges right away. On top of this, membership will automatically be extended for a further three years. Travel the world in ever greater comfort!

Members can book Voyages Selection departures through all MSC Cruises channels.   For more on MSC Voyagers Club, visit here.

NOTES:

*Points vary depending on the type of stateroom or Experience booked, the length of the cruise and the amount spent on onboard services (both booked in advance and on board) and purchases. For instance, booking a MSC Yacht Club stateroom will receive more points than a Fantastica stateroom and booking a 10-day cruise will receive more points than a 5-day cruise, and so forth.

 

New EZpay Allows Holland America Guests to Make Monthly Interest-Free Cruise Payments

May 15, 2019.

Holland America Line’s new EZpay offers a way to budget for a cruise vacation and pay it off over time.  EZpay spreads out the cruise balance into equal, interest-free monthly payments leading up to final payment. The plan gives guests the flexibility to pay for their cruise at their own pace, with the ability to opt out at any time without penalty.

Nearly all of Holland America Line’s worldwide itineraries are eligible for EZpay, as long as they are not within the final payment deadline. Following the payment of a cruise deposit, EZpay charges a supplied credit card once a month to pay for the cruise balance in full by the final payment deadline, and there are no additional fees.

Guests can choose the date of the monthly charge and a confirmation is sent following each payment. Extra funds also can be added to a payment, with the remaining balance recalculated into equal amounts.

To sign up for EZpay, guests can request it when booking a cruise with a travel advisor or a Holland America Line representative. EZpay may be requested at any time leading up to final payment.

Park, Ride, Cruise with Brightline and MSC Cruises

May 8, 2019.

Brightline (soon to be rebranded Virgin Trains) announced today a strategic partnership with MSC Cruises.  MSC Cruises is the official cruise line partner of Brightline.  The partnership offers travelers a carefree, bag-free experience prior to setting sail in addition to a convenient travel option between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale to PortMiami when traveling on the rail system.

Brightline will now offer special Train to Port bundle packages that allow MSC Cruises’ guests sailing from PortMiami to park their car, check-in and check their luggage at Brightline stations before boarding the cruise.  Brightline will deliver riders’ luggage directly to guest staterooms on the ship.  The packages will also include a Lyft ride from Virgin MiamiCentral station to PortMiami. Train to Port package fares may vary and will include train tickets, bag check, a roundtrip Lyft ride and parking services.  To view and book Train to Port bundle packages, go to: gobrightline.com/traintoport/MSC. Packages start at $95.00 per every 2 passengers.

MSC Cruises currently operates four cruise ships out of PortMiami: MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia, which sail year-round; MSC Divina, which sails seasonally; and MSC Meraviglia, which will join the ships sailing from Miami this fall, seasonally. Guests sailing on any of the four ships can take advantage of MSC Cruises and Brightline’s  new Train to Port  offerings.

Princess Cruises Continues Activation of MedallionClass™ on Six More Ships in 2020

May 7, 2019.

S:\Press Releases\1- Press Releases\0000- 2019\Princess MedallionClass\Five Ships\MedallionClass Hero-Dancing_On_Deck_0184.jpg

Princess Cruises today announced the expansion of its MedallionClass  to six additional ships in 2020 – Ruby Princess (January 27), Grand Princess (March 29), Enchanted Princess (June 15), Emerald Princess (August 16), Coral Princess (October 16), and Island Princess (December 20) – bringing the enhanced and personalized cruise experience to Australia, New Zealand and a World Cruise for the first time.

MedallionClass vacations are currently available on Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess, with Crown Princess starting July 24 and Sky Princess beginning October 12, 2019 when the newest ship in the Princess fleet departs the shipyard as the first to be built from the ground up with the Ocean® Guest Experience Platform. By the end of 2020, guests sailing in the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Mexico, California Coast and on the World Cruise will have the elevated guest experience powered by the OceanMedallion™.

The  OceanMedallion is a complimentary wearable device that elevates the guest experience by enhancing guest-crew interactions, eliminating friction points and enabling interactive entertainment to deliver a high level of service and personalized attention on a large scale.

Princess MedallionClass vacations are resulting in high guest satisfaction scores, thanks to a portfolio of experiences specifically designed to save precious time and enhance their cruise vacation, including:

Expedited Arrival – From curbside to poolside in a breeze: Guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile enjoy a streamlined and expedited check-in process that gets their vacation started even sooner. Personalization starts pre-cruise as guests become OceanReady™ before arriving at the port.

On-Demand Services – Food, beverage, retail order and hospitality services delivered to your location: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks, food and retail items like sunscreen with OceanNowTM and have them delivered directly anywhere on board, including to their stateroom.

Family and Friends Locator – Finding travel companions and directional ship information: Accessible on portals throughout the ships and via guests’ smart devices, OceanCompassTM leverages the OceanMedallion to easily locate and chat with friends and family on board, as well as enables point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest.

Other innovative features of the Princess MedallionClass experience include:

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 and celebrations, welcome the guest on their door portal.

Interactive voyage timeline: Available now on ship portals, JourneyViewTM is an interactive timeline that lets guests scroll through all of the events available on board during their voyage.

Wager-based gaming: On smart devices via Ocean Casino™ and on select portals, guests can wager real money on games including slots, poker, bingo, roulette, keno and lottery from anywhere on board.

Interactive game play: On portals located shipwide and using smart devices with PlayOcean™, guests can enjoy 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.

Royal Caribbean Opens “Perfect Day At CocoCay”

May 6, 2019.

Royal Caribbean International’s highly anticipated Perfect Day at CocoCay – the first in the cruise line’s new Perfect Day Island Collection of next-level private destinations around the world – is now open. The $250 million transformation of the line’s private island in The Bahamas debuts a combination of new and innovative experiences that redefine what a cruise line private island can be.

Perfect Day at CocoCay is exclusive to guests of Royal Caribbean.

Thrill Waterpark
At the heart of Perfect Day at CocoCay is Thrill Waterpark, daring the most adrenaline-seeking guests to conquer two brag-worthy towers with 13 waterslides – as well as the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and the Adventure Pool with a family friendly obstacle course. Key features include:

  • Daredevil’s Tower – Guests can take their turn on seven single-rider waterslides of various heights, including the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak– the tallest waterslide in North America.  Additional highlights are the twin Dueling Demon drop slides, launching riders from a vertical position; the Manta Raycers, where friends can race down twin open flume slides; the high-speed, fully vertical Screeching Serpent; and the coiling Green Mamba, a massive aqua tube slide.
  • Splash Summit – Adventurous families will share the thrill with six multi-rider slides, including The Slingshot, a zero-gravity slide for four; The Twister, a winding tube slide for two on a tandem raft; and the four-lane Splash Speedway racing slides.
  • Wave Pool – Vacationers can ride the tide at the largest wave pool in the Caribbean, where a timer on the back wall counts down to the start of big waves.
  • Adventure Pool – This interactive obstacle course on water features floating lily pads, a rock-climbing wall and two swing ropes for guests to bounce, climb and swing to their heart’s content.

Above and Beyond with Up, Up and Away
On Up, Up and Away, everyone scores a view unlike any other from a colorful helium balloon securely tethered to the ground by cable. The signature attraction floats up to 450 feet above Perfect Day at CocoCay, allowing guests to take in the island from the highest vantage point in The Bahamas and capture the ultimate selfie with the private island and the pristine blue waters of The Bahamas as their backdrop.

Playing it Cool at Oasis Lagoon
Guests can explore the coves of Oasis Lagoon, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean – whether looking to spend time with family, share a few cocktails with friends or simply sit back under the tropical sun. Sunbathers can make their way through three distinct coves, each with a vibe of their own, and swim to the beat of the underwater sound system. Families with small children can splash through water features and jump right into the excitement at the kid-friendly beach entry. On the south side of Oasis Lagoon, pool-goers can sip a frosty Coco Loco at the expansive swim-up bar, catch some sunrays on one of three swim-up islands with in-water loungers, or treat themselves to total relaxation in a private cabana, complete with its own cabana attendant.

Dining Harborside
At Captain Jack’s, the island hangout and meet-up spot, guests can grab a drink at the rowboat bar, settle into a rope swing seat or snack on the house specialty – chicken wings and fries dipped in signature sauces like mango-habanero and Caribbean jerk. Live jams and harborside views put vacationers in an island state of mind in no time. For more delicious eats, vacationers can also head to Skipper’s Grill for complimentary lunchtime favorites like salads, sandwiches, tacos, burgers, fresh fruit and desserts.

Small Hands on Deck at Captain Jill’s Galleon and Splashaway Bay
Perfect Day at CocoCay features an array of exciting features for kids of all ages. From three dry slides and 16 water cannons, to rope features and a splash pad, Captain Jill’s Galleon is an interactive play structure loaded with swashbuckling thrills.

Splashaway Bay, the coolest aqua park at sea, is breaking out beyond the deck and coming ashore as the largest one yet. Kids can enjoy bigger adventures than ever before with more fountains, sprinklers and geysers – plus two massive drench buckets and five waterslides, including three racers. Located along the harbor between Captain Jack’s and Skipper’s Grill, this complimentary attraction offers plenty of seating and tables for families.

High-Flying Hangout at the Zip Line
Leave cares on the ground and soar on the 1,600-foot-long zip-line course that crisscrosses the island, beginning near the arrivals plaza and ending across the harbor.

An Out-of-Office Oasis at Chill Island
Miles away from ordinary with pristine, crystal-clear tropical waters and white powder-like sand is Chill Island, the island escape travelers dream about. Chill Grill, the largest dining venue on the island, serves up beachside dining at shaded picnic tables on the sand. Guests can also find beach day favorites here, including snorkeling, jet-skiing excursions as well as plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation under the shade. Add in beach bars with roaming bartenders, and guests will truly wish they lived here.

It’s Game on at South Beach
Vacationers can fuel their competitive fire on the action-packed South Beach with volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer and paddle boarding. After working up an appetite, grab a bite at the Snack Shack or wade out to the floating bar to cool off with a drink. If relaxation is the game plan, beachfront cabanas are perfect for lounging in the shade.

Elevating the Perfect Beach Day
Among the final experiences to be completed, Coco Beach Club is set to open in December. Here, travelers will experience an upscale take on the island’s authentic Caribbean vibes.

The following areas will be open by December 2019

  • Overwater Cabanas The first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas will offer discerning guests a new level of laidback luxury. Each with its own slide into the ocean, overwater hammock, shower and dedicated attendant, the exclusive cabanas will have everything vacationers would want for a day of complete indulgence.
  • Infinity Pool – Spanning an expansive 2,600-plus feet, this beachfront infinity pool is at the center of Zen with in-water loungers.
  • Club and Deck Area – Beachside cabanas and daybeds will provide a private slice of paradise. Elsewhere, guests can enjoy an exclusive dining venue that serves up freshly made Mediterranean fare with a side of ocean views.

Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey Of The Seas Keel Laid

May 3, 2019.

Excitement was in the air at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, today, as Royal Caribbean International marked an important milestone in the development of Odyssey of the Seas. Scheduled to be delivered in fall 2020, Odyssey received its first block as the keel was officially lowered and put into place.  The ship is the second Quantum Ultra Class vessel to be built.

The keel laying marks an important milestone for Odyssey of the Seas, as it signifies the beginning of the ship’s physical construction.   During the ceremony, a 79-ton block was lifted into the building dock with an 800-ton crane. Newly minted coins were placed under the keel, which then stays in place until the end of construction. Once the ship is nearing completion, the coins are retrieved and presented to the ship’s Captain and crew, to be placed on board the ship. According to maritime tradition, the coins are said to bring luck to the ship during its construction and then to its Captain and crew when she is at sea.

Odyssey of the Seas’ deployment and itineraries will be revealed later this year.

Carnival Sunrise Departs On Inaugural Voyage

April 29, 2019.

 

Following an extensive $200 million renovation that added a variety of food, beverage and entertainment innovations as well as stateroom upgrades, Carnival Sunrise made her debut Monday at Norfolk’s Decker Half Moone Cruise Center.

Carnival Sunrise is kicking off an inaugural season of four- to 14-day voyages that visit destinations in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, the Panama Canal, New England and Canada with the first four cruises from Norfolk.

Part of a fleetwide $2 billion ship enhancement program, Carnival Sunrise  (formerly Carnival Triumph) now includes popular features, such as:

  • Casual F&B options: Poolside venues like Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, in collaboration with Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, BlueIguana Cantina & Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, as well as upgrades to the Lido Marketplace, an expanded ice cream station, the Java Blue coffee bar and 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano.
  • Specialty dining: The Chef’s Table fine dining experience, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, as well as Italian, sushi and seafood options.
  • Shopping and Personal CareA Cherry on Top sweet shop, Pixels photo gallery, expanded retail outlets and renovated fitness and spa facilities.
  • Outdoor Decks and Attractions: A new water park with slides and a kiddie splash zone, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and a SportSquare recreation area with ropes course and mini golf.
  • Youth & Family EntertainmentDedicated Camp Ocean, Circle “C” and Club O2 facilities hosting supervised children’s programming for kids 2-17, as well as an arcade.
  • Theater & Live Entertainment: The Punchliner Comedy Club in the new Limelight Lounge, Playlist Productions shows in the Liquid Lounge, live entertainment, deck parties, onboard programming and the popular sing-along piano bar.
  •  Two redesigned Captain’s Suites and updates to all staterooms.

Carnival Sunrise’s Inaugural Season

Beginning May 23, Carnival Sunrise will set sail from New York through mid-October on a series of four- to 14-day voyages.  An invitation-only naming ceremony will be held on board prior to the May 23 departure with Kelly Arison, daughter of Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine, serving as the ship’s godmother.

Carnival Sunrise will return to Norfolk in October for two six-day cruises then reposition to Fort Lauderdale for four- and five-day cruises beginning Oct. 28.