Carnival Mixologist Named ‘Bartender of the Year’ at the 2019 Bacardi Cruise Competition

Carnival Cruise Line bartender Sanja Cvijetic won the 2019 BACARDÍ® Legacy Cruise Competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico, competing against more than 2,000 entries from major cruise lines’ top bartenders worldwide. This marks the fourth time in the past eight years that a Carnival mixologist has earned the coveted award.

The BACARDÍ® Legacy Cruise Competition is an annual global search to find the best bartender in the cruise industry with a cocktail that can stand among Bacardí’s heritage classics. This was Cvijetic’s first bartender competition.

Cvijetic, a 31-year-old from Bosnia who is currently aboard Carnival Conquest, took home the gold for her custom-created libation, “Purple Sunset,” a signature cocktail mix of Bacardí Superior, Monin® Lavender Syrup, lemonade, fresh lime juice, MARTINI Prosecco® and fresh rosemary.

In addition to a $4,000 cash award and an etched trophy, Cvijetic’s victory earned her a spot in Bacardí’s global finals this May in Amsterdam where she’ll compete against 38 domestic market winners for the ultimate title.

“Winning the BACARDÍ® Legacy Cruise Bartender of the Year 2019 is beyond everything I ever dreamed,” said Cvijetic. “Working for Carnival has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities, and I am so grateful for the unique opportunity to compete against such talented professionals.”

“Sanja is a fantastic role model for our team of bartenders across the fleet and shows a great level of professionalism and talent,” added Edward Allen, vice president of beverage operations for Carnival Cruise Line. “Joining us in January 2018 on Carnival Pride, she has made a positive impression on our guests who enjoy her warm hospitality and amazing bartending skills. We are very proud of her and look forward to supporting her at the global finals.”

Purple Sunset®

Ingredients:

  • 60ml BACARDÍ Superior
  • 22ml Monin® Lavender Syrup
  • 15ml lemonade
  • 15ml fresh lime juice
  • Splash of MARTINI Prosecco®
  • Fresh rosemary bunch

Preparation Method:

  • Gently muddle fresh rosemary bunch
  • Place all ingredients (except MARTINI Prosecco) into shaker
  • Add ice, and shake 10 seconds
  • Double strain into a chilled glass
  • Add a few more drops of lavender syrup and a splash of MARTINI Prosecco
  • Garnish with fresh rosemary

Royal Caribbean Orders Sixth Oasis-Class Vessel

February 18, 2019.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today announced that it has entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique to order a sixth Oasis-class ship for delivery in the fall of 2023.

“It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Oasis-class ship,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This order is a reflection of the exceptional performance of this vessel class and the extraordinary partnership between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.”

“This is the twenty-third cruise ship that RCL will be building at our shipyard, and we are especially proud of it,” said Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique. “The order reflects the confidence our customer puts on us, based on the exceptional quality of our long-term co-operation between the two companies and on our capacity to bring innovative solutions to meet our customer’s expectations.”

This order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of this year.

Virgin Voyages Sailings Now Open for Bookings

February 14, 2019.

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin announced today that Virgin Voyages is officially open for business, with the company’s first ship, Scarlet Lady, now open for bookings for her inaugural season, with voyages departing from April 1 through October 25, 2020 now on sale.

Virgin Voyages will offer a new approach to service, as well as an inclusive approach to sea travel that removes the always annoying nickel and diming so prevalent on other cruise lines.  Virgin calls cruise guests “Sailors”, and the cruise price paid for each sailor will feature all the food at the 20+ eateries onboard,  group fitness classes, no gratuities or service charges, free Wifi and free basic beverages like soda, teas, and drip coffee, as well as still and sparkling water.

In conjunction with opening bookings for sale, Virgin Voyages revealed that all voyages will feature The Beach Club at Bimini, a Virgin Voyages experience in Bimini, Bahamas. There, Sailors can enjoy a  beach day and/or explore the island flavor and culture of Bimini and its
turquoise blue waters.

While on ship, Virgin Voyages Sailors will have the opportunity to choose from a festival-like lineup of all-new completely original Events & Gigs developed by some of the world’s most-talked about producers, directors and artists in the expansion of the company’s Creative Collective. Virgin Voyages’ entertainment Creative Collective includes Jenny Gersten, Randy Weiner, Sam Pinkleton, Ani Taj, PigPen Theatre Co, The 7 Fingers, Roslyn Hart and Alfredo Guenzani and the Spark Cooperative.

The Beach Club at Bimini

A cornerstone of every voyage will be The Beach Club at Bimini, where sailors can feel the sand in their toes in a stylish setting with white-sand and crystal clear waters and programming that will rival the best beach clubs in Ibiza and Saint-Tropez.

Just a short transfer from the pier, and built by Resorts World Bimini, The Beach Club at Bimini is designed with Miami-based architects EOA, Inc., featuring natural materials and soft earth tones that organically blend into the seascape. The Beach Club at Bimini will overlook the ocean and cascade down to the sea with an expansive lagoon-style pool as the central anchor of the club.

In the spirit of Vitamin Sea, the brand’s ethos of well-being, there will be moments of retox and detox throughout the day. Sailors will find areas of high energy and quiet spots for complete relaxation and introspection. Mornings at The Beach Club at Bimini will begin with yoga and meditation as Sailors enjoy the sounds of the ocean. The energy at The Beach Club at Bimini will be gradually amplified as the day progresses and turned back down as dusk settles in. Sailors will reach the high point of the day by the afternoon where DJ-led pool and flotilla parties will be center of the action. The night’s energy will wind down with a beach bonfire to close out the evening with an acoustic musical performance.

With music at the heart of the Virgin brand, Virgin Voyages will carefully curate the soundtrack for The Beach Club at Bimini, with seven-time Grammy-Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson named founding DJ, where he will be among the first talent to grace the turntables. Ronson, the British-born DJ, producer and songwriter, has topped the charts and collaborated with artists like Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Adele, Miley Cyrus and Bruno Mars. Ronson will have four performances in 2020, with specific performance dates to be announced soon.

 

The Beach Club will also have complimentary food that is thoughtfully sourced. Its locally inspired menus will serve up island favorites such as conch and mango salad, banana leaf-wrapped queen snapper, Bahamian rum cake and more.

As Sailors start to explore the club they will be pleased to discover creative social spaces with hammock groves and six bars where Sailors can congregate in groups of friends. Those looking for a home base for the
day can enjoy the many beach loungers, or opt for a more private place to cuddle up, with beach-side and poolside cabanas available for rent. The Beach Club at Bimini will also feature active areas for watersports and beach play.

Sailors staying in RockStar Suites will have their exclusive slice of paradise at The Beach Club at Bimini, with a dedicated bar, complimentary food service, an outdoor terrace lounge, sun loungers and beach cabanas. Sailors looking to explore the island of Bimini will have ample opportunities to do so in this off-the-beaten path tropical destination. The island is a beach-lovers paradise with welcoming and warm residents. It was a known favorite of author Ernest Hemingway, who described it as “like the end of the world.” This intimate seven-mile island offers extraordinary sea experiences such as boating, snorkeling, and even wreck diving, with the SS Sapona just a few miles off the coast of the southern part of the island.

Events & Gigs

Scarlet Lady will feature a festival of choice in entertainment made up of bespoke intimate and authentic Events & Gigs created exclusively for Virgin Voyages, with the goal of providing Sailors with an alternative perspective on the world and play that ignites the spirit within. Sailors won’t just sit and watch shows, they may be asked to participate with the cast or become immersed in the world of the performance. In keeping with Virgin Voyages’ rebellious nature, the company will have no traditional cruise director on board the ship, and instead will have a dynamic group of individuals dedicated to making “Happenings” around the ship completely epic. From modern takes on classic stories, to interactive dance parties and off-the wall participatory acts, the experiences will break down the fourth wall and push the boundaries of traditional stage performances. Virgin Voyages’ entertainment goes beyond Broadway with first run experiences that have never been seen before on land or at sea.

To accommodate its variety of entertainment opportunities Virgin Voyages created The Red Room — designed by renowned architects WorkAC and theater consultants Auerbach Pollock Friedlander — as the first transformational multi-form theater at sea. It will transform into four different configurations – a traditional Proscenium stage, an alley stage used in fashion shows, a dance flat-floor configuration, and finally a unique reverse stage setup. This first at-sea theater will enable Virgin Voyages to create completely different experiences for each day of the voyage.

Scarlet Lady will feature six original shows that include a soon to be announced production by award-winning producer Randy Weiner (Queen of the Night, The Donkey Show, Sleep No More).

Sam Pinkleton & Ani Taj have created a hype music video disguised as an absurdist style dance party, called UNTITLED DANCESHOWPARTYTHING.

Phantom Folktales is a collection of song driven micro plays throughout the ship that seemingly appear out of thin air, and disappear just as quickly, created by PigPen Theatre Co.

Ships in the Night is an emotion-filled contemporary experience telling its story through the use of cutting edge digital projection interwoven with the authenticity of the human condition, and Duel Reality examines the age-old tale of Romeo & Juliet with a modern twist featuring acrobatic storytelling. Both performances were made possible through our collaboration with the innovative circus company, The 7 Fingers.

Never Sleep Alone is a participatory show featuring the hysterically funny,
straight-talking relationship therapist, Dr. Alex Shiller, by producers Roslyn Hart and Alfredo Guenzani.

Additionally the creative development, production and installation of “happenings” that will take place throughout the ship were created by Spark Cooperative.

To add to the overall vision, Tony Award winning creative producer, Jenny Gersten, will serve as an artistic and production liaison between the core in-house Virgin Voyages Entertainment team and other members of the Collective.

Sir Richard Branson’s Birthday Voyage

Sir Richard Branson will celebrate his birthday bash among celebrity friends and fellow Sailors aboard a four-night Havana After Dark voyage departing July 15, 2020. Sailors are invited to book their passage aboard this one-of-a-kind trip by visiting www.virginvoyages.com. Sailors willing to test their luck can enter for a chance to win a cabin for two now through March
31, 2019 by visiting RichardsBirthday.VirginVoyages.com.

Scarlet Lady is a boutique-style, mid-sized ship designed to reflect a yacht’s sleek luxury and will set sail from PortMiami for her 2020 inaugural season on unforgettable four and five-night voyages to Havana, Cuba; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and Costa Maya, Mexico.

You can follow Virgin Voyages on social media via @virginvoyages on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam Christened By Godmother Oprah Winfrey

February 4, 2019.

Nieuw Statendam Dedication with Godmother Oprah Winfrey at Port Everglades on February 2, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In an event rich with inspiration and tradition, Holland America Line held a dedication ceremony for Nieuw Statendam Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.   Oprah Winfrey officially named the ship in a ceremony on board in the ship’s World Stage.

During the daytime celebration, Winfrey was joined by Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Stein Kruse, Holland America Group and Carnival UK chief executive officer; and Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

Nieuw Statendam’s dedication ceremony followed the three-day Girls’ Getaway cruise to the Caribbean that celebrated the power of female relationships. Gayle King, editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine and Winfrey’s best friend, joined her on the cruise, along with several other senior editors from the magazine.

During the ceremony, Ashford highlighted the connection between Nieuw Statendam, the legacy of the ship’s name and the stories of life-changing travel experiences for the officers and crew, travel professionals and guests, saying: “Nieuw Statendam represents our highest aspirations for connection and understanding in our world. She is a vessel for exploration and adventure across countries, languages, cultures and peoples, and — we hope — a source of joy for our guests for many years to come.”

Winfrey reflected on the Girls’ Getaway cruise that had just concluded, saying “It’s been an incredible experience to see people from across the world come together with one mind and celebrate themselves, honor themselves and honor each other. Everybody gathered, made friends and connected to people they didn’t know because they felt like they had met themselves on some level. I have never seen anything like it.” She then officially dedicated the ship as its godmother with the traditional statement, “I name this ship Nieuw Statendam. May God bless her and all who sail on her.” The ceremony concluded when Winfrey triggered the release of the traditional bottle of Champagne that broke against the ship’s bow.

Following the ceremony, a Gala Dinner was held on board. During the evening celebration, guests were invited to participate in a maritime tradition of pouring Champagne over the ship’s bell as a blessing.  This ceremony was a recreation of the bell ceremony on Holland America Line’s s.s. Statendam IV on January 23, 1957, when a then-18-year-old Dutch Crown Princess Beatrix poured Champagne over the bell to officially dedicate that new ship as it sailed in the North Sea. Nieuw Statendam is the sixth ship in the company’s history to bear the name.

About Nieuw Statendam
Nieuw Statendam was delivered from Fincantieri’s Marghera, Italy, shipyard Nov. 30, 2018, and currently is sailing its inaugural season from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean through April 2019.  Following a transatlantic crossing, the ship will spend the summer exploring Norway, the Baltic and Iceland on cruises sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Come fall, the ship will make its way to the Mediterranean and offer a series of cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.

The new 2,666-guest ship has an ambiance that balances fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line’s renowned classic elegance. At the helm of the design and interiors are internationally acclaimed hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten, one of the world’s leading architects working in the cruise industry.

Nieuw Statendam offers an abundance of unforgettable dining options. Award-winning cuisine is served in the stunning Dining Room; and an array of specialty restaurants feature exclusive experiences such as steak and seafood at Pinnacle Grill, authentic Italian cuisine in Canaletto, the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia at Tamarind and Nami Sushi, and a contemporary twist on French seafood classics in Rudi’s Sel de Mer.

The innovative Music Walk on Nieuw Statendam showcases a variety of live musicalexperiences and genres unlike any other at sea, including Rolling Stone Rock Room, Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King’s Blues Club.

Carnival Airship Begins Month-Long Tour Of California

December 31, 2018.

Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings you and yours happiness and hopefully some fun cruising.

Carnival is kicking things off  with a year-long celebration welcoming the new Carnival Panorama to the West Coast.   Carnival Cruise Line’s popular Carnival AirShip makes its aerial debut in Southern California.

Inviting everyone to “Choose Fun,” the 120-foot-long AirShip will fly over and visit culture and entertainment locations across the state throughout January including The Rose Parade: A Showcase of Floats on Jan. 2 as well as sporting events; local schools; Carnival’s homeports in Long Beach on Jan. 5, San Diego on Jan. 13 and San Francisco on Jan. 25; travel agent viewing parties; and select Sky Zone trampoline park locations, Carnival Panorama’s newest announced attraction, starting with the Anaheim location on Jan 11.

In conjunction with the AirShip’s California tour, consumers have a chance to win a free cruise as well as additional prizes each week throughout the month of January that give them a taste of Carnival fun when they enter the AirShip Sweepstakes at carnival.com/choosefun.

The AirShip also creates the opportunity to raise money for a great cause. For anyone who takes a picture of the AirShip and posts it on social media with the hashtag #ChooseFun, Carnival will make a $2 donation to its longtime charity partner St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® up to a maximum donation of $20,000.

This past summer, the AirShip made its inaugural journey in the southeast U.S. to celebrate the arrival of new ships in multiple homeports. It proved to be popular on social and news media channels as well as with thousands of cruise fans who posted photos on their own social media platforms.

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 sailings on Dec. 14, 2019. The ship joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration to carry upwards of 600,000 guests annually from the West Coast.

The New Mardi Gras From Carnival Will Feature First-Ever Roller Coaster At Sea

December 13, 2018.

Get ready to ride!   In another cruise industry first, Carnival Cruise Line’s new Mardi Gras™ will feature the first-ever roller coaster at sea when it debuts in 2020.

Built by Munich-based Maurer Rides, BOLT™: Ultimate Sea Coaster™ offers nearly 800 feet of twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.

BOLT is an all-electric roller coaster that allows two riders in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along a track 187 feet above sea level.

BOLT begins with a launch where riders can achieve race car-like levels of acceleration and culminates with a high-powered hair-pin turn around Carnival’s iconic funnel.  Riders’ speeds are posted after the race, and just like land-based roller coasters, guests have their photo taken during the ride for a memorable keepsake.  And since guests choose their own speed, each ride is unique.

Carnival has teased in social media that the BOLT roller coaster is just the first of other new features coming to the ship.

Mardi Gras will be based in Port Canaveral, Fla., which will feature a new state-of-the-art terminal.  Itinerary information will be revealed early next month with additional details about Mardi Gras’ groundbreaking features announced throughout the year.  A second XL-class ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line’s founding.

MSC Cruises 2019 World Cruise To Have Line-up Of Nine All-Star Chefs

December 3, 2018.

MSC Cruises today revealed the all-star cast of international chefs on board its first ever World Cruise in January 2019. Delivering a one-of-a-kind gourmet dining experience on board, the line-up includes current as well as former Michelin-starred chefs, chefs of the year, award-winning cookbook authors as well as recipients of other international culinary recognition.

MSC Magnifica will depart for the 2019 World Cruise on January 5, 2019 from Genoa, Italy.

Bringing flavors and inspiration from their native countries and beyond, the impressive group of all-star chefs will create their own special dishes for MSC Cruises guests while also joining for a portion of the cruise. The roster includes chefs from every corner of the globe representing some of the world’s most popular cuisines, including:

–          Michelin-starred Spanish chef, Ramón Freixa

–          Decorated Indian-American chef, Vikas Khanna

–          Award-winning Italian chef, Carlo Cracco

–          Two-time World Champion in pastry, French chef Jean-Philippe Maury

–          Restauranteur, cookbook author and chef, Roy Yamaguchi

–          Expert in all four schools of Chinese cooking, Chef Jereme Leung

–          Veteran chef and restauranteur, Brazilian chef, Allan Vila Espejo

–          MasterChef Colombia jury member Chef Jorge Rausch

–          And, Sydney Morning Herald’s “Chef of the Year,” French-Canadian chef, Serge Dansereau

Each acclaimed chef will develop a three- or four-course menu for guests to savor during a dedicated evening, each reflecting the chef’s own particular skill and flair. For his exclusive evening on board, Pastry Chef Jean-Philippe Maury will instead prepare a decadent dessert. Most of the chefs will embark on board with a select team for a portion of the cruise, working with the on-board chefs to prepare their personalized creations. During these uniquely exclusive meals, the chefs will be able to greet and interact with guests in person while they enjoy their dishes.

The next MSC World Cruise in 2020

While the 2019 World Cruise is long sold out, for those who wish to join the ship for her next journey around the globe, a few choice staterooms are still available on the 2020 World Cruise departing January 5, 2020.

The 2020 World Cruise will visit 43 destinations across 23 countries, with many brand new and exotic destinations including, among others:

  • Ushuaia, Argentina: The most southern city in the world, this Argentinian fishing village offers stunning water scenery with often snow-topped mountains.
  • Rapa Nui, Easter Island: This storied island is famed globally for its unique collection of carved-stone figurines dating back to the 13th century.
  • Darwin, Australia: Located at the northern tip of the country, the region allows guests to experience the true Australia, with beaches, lagoons, sports and local wildlife in close proximity.
  • Valparaiso, Chile: Recognized for its small, bright-colored houses on its coastal hills, Valparaiso offers visitors spectacular views out to the Pacific or exploration in the city, marveling at photo-worthy walls of art
  • Mumbai/Bombay, India: The bustling city of Mumbai (previously called Bombay) offers endless tastes, scents and sights around every corner.
  • Salalah, Oman: With multiple waterfalls, exotic lush flora and unusual animals, Salalah is an unforgettable destination.

 

 

 

Princess Cruises Readies Full Activation of Second MedallionClass™ Ship

December 3, 2018.

Princess Cruises announced today that it is now preparing Regal Princess as the second ship fully activated with the Princess MedallionClassTM technology.  Regal Princess will be fully activated for her Caribbean Season starting February 17, 2019. The Princess OceanMedallion, included complimentary, is a wearable device that elevates the guest experience by delivering enhanced experiences and personalized service resulting in high guest satisfaction scores.

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 vacations offer guests a portfolio of experiences specifically designed to enhance their cruise vacation, including:

  • Fast ship boarding with OceanReady™ – 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.
  • On demand beverage delivery: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks using OceanNowTM and have them delivered directly to them throughout the ship and even in their stateroom.
  • 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.  With MedallionNet guests easily share vacation experiences with friends and family back home, stream TV shows, movies and sports events, and even make voice and video calls.

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 and the door automatically unlocks with personalized greetings displayed on the door portal.
  • OceanCompass™: OceanCompass leverages the Princess Medallion to enable point-to-point wayfinding through-out the ship. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest.
  • 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.
  • OceanViewTM: 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.
  • PlayOceanTM: On portals located throughout the ship, guests play family games, including trivia, word jumble, a matching game and Ocean Treks Adventure – an interactive, ship wide digital scavenger hunt. PlayOcean also transforms guests’ mobile devices into game controllers for interactive gaming on the massive Movies Under the Stars screen. And, guests can enjoy big screen interactive fun with Games Under the Stars where players enjoy arcade and trivia fun on our “Movies Under the Stars” screen.

 

Symphony Of The Seas Officially Named

November 16, 2018.

Symphony of the Seas US inaugurals.
Naming Ceremony.
God family Alexa and Carlos PenaVega with their son Ocean.

Royal Caribbean International celebrated the homecoming of the world’s largest cruise ship with the naming ceremony of Symphony of the Seas, the 25th ship in the cruise line’s fleet. Symphony was named by Royal Caribbean’s first-ever Godfamily, actors Alexa and Carlos PenaVega, who along with 23-month-old son Ocean, were on hand to christen the ship and bestow a blessing of safekeeping over her crew and guests. Having celebrated many happy occasions onboard the cruise line’s Oasis Class ships, the naming ceremony marks the avid Royal Caribbean fans’ biggest adventure yet with the cruise line.

With almost 1,000 guests in attendance, Symphony of the Seas was christened while dockside at the cruise line’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A at PortMiami, making for the largest naming ceremony in Royal Caribbean’s history. The customary event was infused with modern day elements – ranging from an electronic violinist who serenaded the crowd throughout the ceremony, to a stunning sail away performance by nearly 400 choreographed drones – and also incorporated a number of local Miami touches. Florida International University’s Marching Band kicked off the celebration, while students from Miami Southridge Senior High headlined the occasion on stage with a rousing drumline performance. Through Royal Caribbean’s partnership with the GRAMMY® Museum, Miami Southridge Senior High was one of 20 high schools within the Miami-Dade County Public School District that received a Royal Caribbean-funded grant through the GRAMMY Museum® Signature Schools program, which supports music education programs in underserved high schools.

 

Windstar Cruises Announces Plans To Renovate & Lengthen Star-Class Ships

November 15, 2018.

Windstar Cruises today announces the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative.  The multi-million dollar, multi-year undertaking will impact and enhance all aspects of the guest experience for the highly awarded small ship cruise line’s three Star Class vessels.  All three ships were originally built for Seabourn Cruise Line and sold to Windstar over the past few years.

The initiative will expand guest accommodations on the all-suite vessels, increasing capacity from 212 to 312 guests per ship following the lengthening.  The work will be done to Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride in succession between October 2019 and November 2020, and take place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. The project represents an overall capacity increase of 24% for the small ship line.

The project is expected to be partially financed through an export credit facility guaranteed by SACE, Italy’s export credit agency.

Each Star Class ship will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new section of ship that will lengthen each vessel approximately 25.6 meters bringing the total length to just over 138 meters.  The project adds 50 new suites, bringing the total number of suites per ship to 156, and represents an investment of more than $267,000 per passenger berth.

Also involved is the creation of new public spaces including two new dining locations; new shop and retail space; a much enlarged fitness center; and a new world-class spa.

The renovation includes a comprehensive re-engine project for each ship. This will involve the removal of the seven currently installed engines and replacing them with four more efficient and environmentally friendly engines.

Windstar has partnered with designer Ray Chung, Director of Design at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, to create modern and inviting design aesthetics for the new public spaces and new suites.

Among new guest amenities and accommodations in the planning phase are:

  • 50 new suites featuring new suite categories and open floor plan configurations.
  • Creation of two brand new, larger Owner’s Suites, that combines existing suites to create up to a three-bedroom, two-balcony suite – the first of its kind in the cruise industry.
  • Two brand new dining experiences including: an intimate, alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar, perfect for outdoor grilling during Windstar’s Signature Onboard Barbecue celebration or enjoying while spending time on deck.
  • Expanded Veranda Restaurant to offer more seating and upgraded dining area.
  • For existing suites, all-new bathrooms and installation of new sliding doors for the Balcony Suites.
  • Larger pool and hot tub that will be reconfigured and elevated offering better views, along with more and enhanced outdoor deck area.
  • A completely re-imagined and enlarged spa and fitness center.
  • A new elevator mid-ship, making access to all decks easy from anywhere on board.
  • A comfortable, new tender loading area located mid-ship and two new 90-passenger tenders that will ferry guests to port when ships are at anchor.

In addition, ship staff and crew areas and accommodations will be expanded and upgraded. Additional crew will be hired and the increase will maintain the line’s 1.5:1 guest to hotel staff ratio.

As planning on the project progresses, additional details will be revealed in press releases and on a dedicated microsite that will launch in 2019.