Royal Caribbean International Wants Cruisers To “Amp Up Their Weekends” On Reimagined Mariner Of The Seas

February 1, 2018.

Royal Caribbean International is inviting adventure seekers to break out of their ordinary routine and take their weekends to new heights with the debut of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas. After an extensive $90 million makeover, Mariner will offer the chance to do, see and experience more than any quick getaway has ever done before. Beginning in June 2018,  adventurers can enjoy 3- and 4-night Bahamas escapes from PortMiami to Nassau and CocoCay – Royal Caribbean’s private island destination – where they will experience a variety of new thrills, nightlife and culinary creations.

Out-of-this-World Thrills

SkyPad Interior

Thrill-seekers won’t want to miss Sky Pad, a brand new virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience on Mariner of the Seas. Guests will strap in and don their virtual reality headset to transport them to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.

Mariner will see the addition of several recent Royal Caribbean innovations following the extensive modernization, including The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon, and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience in Studio Bwhere friends and family can team up to play “Battle for Planet Z.” Mariner will offer Puzzle Break: The Observatorium, a new escape room experience where competitors can put their minds to the test, working together to find hidden clues and solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. With only 60 minutes of play, the excitement builds with each tick of the clock. Guests also will have the chance to catch a wave with another added Royal Caribbean-favorite, the new 40-foot-long FlowRider surf simulator.

Re-invented Nightlife

Bamboo Room Bar

The adventure doesn’t stop when the sun goes down – The Bamboo Room, an all-new Polynesian-themed watering hole found only on Mariner, will be the coolest bar on anyone’s must-do list. The retro lounge will heat up the ship’s already vibrant nightlife scene with its tiki-chic décor. Guests can choose their favorite specialty handcrafted cocktails to sip and savor, plus, make their friends jealous with Instagram worthy moments throughout the kitschy-cool, uniquely styled space. For sports fans, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is the place to be on game nights, where they can enjoy all the biggest live sporting events over ice-cold brews, wings, sliders and more.

Playmakers Bar

Can’t Miss Culinary Creations

For those looking for an adventure of the taste buds on their getaway, Mariner will not disappoint with new culinary offerings added to its lineup.Jamie’s Italian offers Chef Jamie Oliver’s rustic Italian dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, including delicious pastas made in-house daily. Caffeine junkies will be able to get their fix at Starbucks even at sea, and sushi fans can enjoy Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, offering exotic made-to-order hot and cold dishes á la carte.

The 15-guest deck Mariner of the Seas will continue to offer an array of signature Royal Caribbean experiences, including a Studio B ice-skating rink, a 40-foot rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole miniature golf course, three pools, a full-sized basketball court and “Dive-In” outdoor movie nights poolside.

Carnival Triumph To Offer Wide Variety Of 2019-2020 Cruises

January 16, 2018.

Carnival Triumph will operate a diverse schedule in 2019-20, with a wide variety of 4 to 14 night cruises from New York, Fort Lauderdale, and Norfolk, Va., visiting nearly two dozen destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Canada, New England, Bermuda and the Panama Canal (not entering the locks).

4 to 14 Night Cruises from New York

Carnival Triumph will sail from New York in the summer and fall 2019 visiting Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada and New England, as well as the Panama Canal.

Five “long weekend” 4-night Bermuda cruises depart May 23, June 20, July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 12, 2019, and offer guests a full day to experience the island while a 6-night Bermuda cruise departs Sept. 16, 2019, and spends two full days at the island.   An 8-night cruise departing June 24, 2019 offers two full days in Bermuda, as well as a stop in Grand Turk.

Three 7-night cruises will also be offered, departing Sept. 22 and 29 and Oct. 6, 2019 and featuring day-long calls in throughout New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

Carnival Triumph’s schedule from New York also includes two distinctly different exotic 8 night Caribbean itineraries: one featuring Grand Turk, San Juan and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) with departure dates of July 2, 10 and 30, Aug. 7 and 27, Sept. 4, 2019, the other visiting San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk and departing July 22 and Aug. 19, 2019.

There’s also a 10-night exotic eastern Caribbean itinerary departing June 10, 2019, calling at San Juan, Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk, as well as a 14-night Carnival Journeys cruise that departs May 27, 2019, and includes the opportunity to visit the Panama Canal during a call in Colon (Panama), as well as visits to Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Limon (Costa Rica), and Half Moon Cay.  Guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique local dining and entertainment experiences and a number of shipboard enrichment activities.

4 and 5 Night Cruises From Fort Lauderdale

As part of its new schedule, Carnival Triumph will offer a series of 4 and 5 night cruises from Fort Lauderdale in April 2019 and, following its summer schedule of cruises from New York, will also operate these itineraries from November 2019 through April 2020.  Carnival Triumph will be the only Carnival ship to operate a short cruise itinerary from this port.   On this route, the “long weekend” voyages depart Thursdays and visit Nassau and the private Bahamian destinations of Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays.  5-night sailings departing Saturdays call at Grand Turk, Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays, while 5-night voyages departing Mondays feature Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.

5 and 6 Night Cruises From Norfolk 

Carnival Triumph’s schedule will also include 5 and 6 night Bahamas voyages departing from Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise Center.   Two 5 night voyages will depart May 12 and 17, 2019 calling at Nassau and Freeport while 6-night cruises depart May 6, and October 14 and 20, 2019, visiting Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport.

Wide Variety of Onboard Amenities

Carnival Triumph currently has Guy’s Burger Join,  Alchemy Bar,  RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Cantina Tequila Bar, and the BlueIguana Cantina.  The ship also features hundreds of balcony staterooms,  health and wellness facility, complimentary children’s programs for kids in three age groups, and a 214-foot-long cascading water slide.

Prior to the launch of this program, Carnival Triumph will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar refurbishment that will add additional food and entertainment options.  Details will be announced at a later date. 

Shaquille O’Neal Is Carnival’s New CFO (Chief Fun Officer)

January 12, 2018.

NBA Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Shaquille O’Neal – known by millions of fans as “Shaq” – announced on last night’s TNT  NBA Tipoff broadcast that he has been given a new title, joining Carnival Cruise Line as their newly appointed “CFO.”

The announcement was made with a tongue-in-cheek video that features Shaq and Carnival President Christine Duffy but omits one minor detail: CFO stands for “Chief Fun Officer,” personifying the cruise line’s newest brand campaign, “Choose Fun,” which launched earlier this week.

As the newly appointed “CFO,” O’Neal has partnered with the cruise line, lending his fun, larger-than-life personality and playful spirit to inspire America to Choose Fun with Carnival when planning their next vacation, and in their everyday lives.

Shaq’s role will be brought to life via engaging video content, social media and experiential activations, beginning today.

In the first piece of advertising that introduces Shaq as Carnival’s Chief Fun Officer, he takes viewers on a whirlwind 30-second tour of Carnival Vista, showing his playful self as he enjoys the ship’s many attractions and experiences, including SkyRide, Havana pool, Cloud 9 Spa, a burger at Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint and, of course, the basketball court.

“We are very excited to have Shaq as part of the Carnival team! He will serve as a great partner ensuring everyone knows all about our one-of-a-kind brand of fun,” said Duffy.  “We’re confident that his embodiment of our brand values will inspire America to Choose Fun and discover the authentic, participatory and social atmosphere that Carnival offers.”

“In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to choose fun, especially when everyone is busy with work, family, and life in general,” says O’Neal. “So, I’m honored to be appointed the Chief Fun Officer at Carnival – a company that lives and breathes fun.”

Azamara Pursuit To Undergo Refit At Historic Belfast Shipyard

January 8, 2018.

Boutique cruise line Azamara Club Cruises announced today that its new ship, Azamara Pursuit, will undergo its transformation to be almost identical to sister ships Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey.  Azamara Pursuit will be refitted in the U.K. as it prepares to go into wet dock in Belfast in Spring 2018. The ship’s maiden voyage will begin in Southampton, England in August and visit eight destinations throughout Norway as part of its Destination Immersion® country-intensive series.

The refit will take place at the iconic Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland and be completed by one of the world’s top outfitting specialist MJM Group. Work will begin in Spring 2018 and will be completed by the end of July.

The maiden voyage will depart Southampton on August 1, 2018 and travel to eight Norwegian destinations, including Kristiansand, Flam and Haugesund, with overnight stays in Oslo and Bergen. Azamara Pursuit’s sister ship, Azamara Journey, will also be dock in Haugesund on the same day, marking their first meeting. Azamara Pursuit will then depart Southampton for an Iceland-intensive voyage on 13 August 2018, before a special christening voyage on 28 August 2018. The ship will then depart Southampton once more on 30 August 2018 for its 13 Night Wine & Romance Voyage.

Carnival Announces “Choose Fun” Brand Campaign

January 8, 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line and its newly appointed ad agency of record, Anomaly, are launching a new brand campaign called “Choose Fun.”

After robust research on Carnival guests, Anomaly determined that the Carnival brand, guests, and crew all share the common belief that fun is a choice and whether on board or ashore, those vacationing with Carnival choose to be their truest self, embrace positivity and have fun with others.

With guests possessing their own definitions of fun, and Carnival offering an array of onboard attractions and experiences, Anomaly created a campaign to connect the same activities that vacationers enjoy on land with those offered on board on a one-to-one personalized level.  Driven by these consumer insights, Choose Fun is designed to attract those who have never cruised, but share the same values and passions.

The Choose Fun campaign launches with two distinctly different sets of advertising. First, longer-length testimonials depict first-time cruisers who were initially reluctant to set sail but were liberated on a Carnival cruise, making the vacation more fun and memorable for everyone. These testimonials are viewed in unexpected situations such as sliding down a water slide, posing for photos and even conversing with family members under water.   The three testimonials include:  “Excursions”, “Stacy Tracy” and “Insta-worthy”.

Additionally, six-second video snippets will be customized to match content on various websites and viewer preferences delivering the ultimate one-to-one marketing. Each pod showcases a fun activity aboard a Carnival ship including biking in the sky on SkyRide, getting a massage at the Cloud 9 Spa, performing at Lip Sync Battle, enjoying the Punchliner Comedy Club and feasting on burgers by Food Network star and Carnival partner Guy Fieri as well as fun activities ashore.

Choose Fun will come to life in digital display, paid social and modular online videos on platforms such as Amazon Video, Hulu, Roku and Vevo. The new advertising will also air on television in the Atlanta, Houston Dallas and LA markets during high profile events like the GRAMMY’s Red Carpet and NFL Playoff Games.

In these key regional markets, large and disruptive out of home placements will also showcase Carnival’s signature bold visual identity and uncommon text-only communications to break through the sea of sameness in the category.

 

Carnival Named ‘Best Ocean Cruise Line’ In USA Today Reader’s Choice Awards

January 3, 2018.

Photo by Filippo Vinardi

Carnival Cruise Line was the big winner in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice awards, taking top honors in the Best Ocean Cruise Line and Best Cruise Line For Families categories while Carnival Vista was named Best Cruise Ship for Entertainment.

The awards were based on nominations from a team of cruise industry experts and the winners were determined by an online vote of USA Today readers.

Carnival Cruise Line enjoyed a successful and memorable 2017 highlighted by the line’s first-ever voyages to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise as well as the continued rollout of new culinary offerings such as the New England-inspired Seafood Shack and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri.  Carnival also continues to invest in its product with seven ships undergoing extensive dry docks that added a wide variety of food, beverage and entertainment concepts with some ships receiving new staterooms and suites and expansive water parks.  The line’s 26th ship, Carnival Horizon, is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018.

Carnival Vista was named Best Cruise Ship for Entertainment for its wide variety of captivating entertainment options.  These include the high-tech Playlist Productions shows where performers seamlessly interact with massive LED screens, the Punchliner Comedy Club offering both adults-only and family-friendly performances, and Lip Sync Battle Carnival, an authentic shipboard recreation of the hit SpikeTV series.  Engaging and talented live bands, solo acts in lounges and along the promenade, lively DJs, and legendary deck events and late-night parties are also featured throughout the ship.

Carnival Vista also placed second in the Best Cruise Ship for Dining category for its vast array of culinary choices, including Ji Ji Asian Kitchen with a diverse menu of Far East favorites, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant and Fahrenheit 555, a classic American steakhouse.

Carly Rae Jepsen To Perform Aboard Carnival Splendor

December 27, 2017.

Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum, singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen will perform a free concert aboard Carnival Splendor in February 2018, as part of the Carnival LIVE Concert Series. The concert marks the first time the cruise line is collaborating with Universal Music Group and Brands (UMGB), the brand strategy and partnership division of Universal Music Group.

While the concert is a departure from previous Carnival LIVE performances in that it is free and open to all guests sailing on Carnival Splendor’s February 17, 2018, seven-day voyage, it continues the line’s mission of bringing the best in live entertainment to the seas and providing guests an opportunity to enjoy captivating performances by top artists in a memorable setting.

The concert will take place on Carnival Splendor’s Lido Deck February 18 while the ship is at sea during a week-long Mexican Riviera cruise that operates round-trip from Long Beach, California. The voyage features a day-long call at Puerto Vallarta and two days at Cabo San Lucas.

Jepsen broke onto the music scene in 2012 with her major label debut Kiss that included the smash hit “Call Me Maybe” which climbed to #1 on the iTunes Singles charts in more than 47 countries and earned her Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year.   After earning rave reviews starring in the Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Jepsen released her next album, E·MO·TION, which received critical acclaim and featured the Billboard Top 40 hit “I Really Like You.”

Jepsen also starred as the iconic Pink Lady, “Frenchy,” in FOX’s four-time EMMY award winning musical GREASE: LIVE and most recently voiced the character of Odette in the animated movie “LEAP!”.  “LEAP!” featured Jepsen’s song “Cut To The Feeling” which has been hailed by critics as a top song of 2017 showing up on year end lists for Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard, Noisey and more.

Jepsen joins an impressive lineup of Carnival LIVE artists who run the gamut of musical genres, from rock, country, R&B, and pop, as well as some of the biggest names in comedy.  Previous Carnival LIVE artists include music superstars Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood and comedians Jim Gaffigan and Chris Tucker.

 

Carnival Fascination Getting Major Upgrades Prior to Return To Service

December 14, 2017.

New Spaces Include Guy’s Burger Joint, Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina,

RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, Cherry on Top and Bonsai Sushi Express

Carnival Fascination will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that will add a variety of popular food and beverage innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, Cherry on Top sweets shop, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and a Bonsai Sushi Express venue.

The spaces will be added during a two-week dry dock taking place Feb. 4-17, 2018, in Freeport, The Bahamas, prior to the ship resuming its year-round schedule of seven-day southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning Feb. 18, 2018.   Carnival Fascination is currently being chartered to FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

The new F&B options aboard Carnival Fascination include:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.
  • Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.
  • Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.
  • Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

These new options complement popular attractions like a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide, Seuss at Sea operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and myriad entertainment choices including the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions shows, and Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic games.

Carnival Fascination’s year-round schedule from San Juan encompasses week-long sailings to five Caribbean islands:  St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

 

Norwegian Cruise Line Introduces New Cruise Norwegian App

 

December 4, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today the introduction of the next generation of its booked guest mobile application, the Cruise Norwegian app.

With the Cruise Norwegian app, a guest can  preview and book shore excursions, make dining and entertainment reservations, purchase onboard packages such as dining and beverage packages or special occasion packages before they cruise.  Helping provide a stress-free embarkation day, the Cruise Norwegian app provides directions to the port and with mobile online check-in functionality  guests can save time at the pier and have a paperless boarding process with mobile e-docs.

Once on board, guests can use the Cruise Norwegian app complimentary by connecting to the ship’s wifi to stay up-to-date on what’s happening on board. The app allows guests to make reservations for their favorite Broadway-style shows, snag a seat for a  dinner at one of Norwegian’s many Freestyle dining restaurants and book their next in-port adventure on a shore excursion. Friends and family can stay connected on board using the Cruise Norwegian app, which features unlimited onboard calls and messages for a one-time fee of $9.95. Groups can organize meet ups and share their favorite photos with everyone in their party with group messaging through the app. Those wishing to check-in with loved ones back home can make calls through the Cruise Norwegian app for a nominal fee of $0.79 per minute for outbound calls to nearly every country in the world.

Before disembarking the ship, guests using the app can track and review their onboard purchases, as well as view helpful disembarkation information including immigration and Easy Walk-off details. Those thinking of their next cruise can view information about Norwegian’s Cruise Next program and review their Latitudes Rewards points and learn about onboard tier benefits.

The free Cruise Norwegian app is currently available for use on cruises aboard Norwegian Sky. The new app will be available on board Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, when she launches in summer 2018, and will be available fleet wide by yearend 2018.

Next Carnival Vista-class Ship To Be Named ‘Carnival Panorama’

December 1, 2017.

3,934-Passenger Vessel Scheduled to Enter Service in Fall 2019

Carnival Panorama has been chosen as the name of Carnival Cruise Line’s new 133,500-ton ship scheduled to debut in fall 2019.

Carnival Panorama is the third in the line’s Vista-class series, which are all named to reflect the connection between the vessels and the sea and highlighted by indoor/outdoor spaces that create a truly unique seagoing vacation experience.

Carnival Panorama will join its sister ships – Carnival Vista, which entered service in 2016, and Carnival Horizon, set to debut April 2, 2018.  The three 3,954-passenger Vista-class ships are the largest ever constructed for Carnival Cruise Line.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will offer venues with both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi, along with open-air attractions like the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area.

Also featured will be a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge, a luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and Ocean Plaza, a spacious dining and entertainment venue with indoor and outdoor seating.

“Carnival Panorama is the perfect name to reflect the design inspiration of our Vista-class ships providing more venues and opportunities to connect with the sea,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Carnival Panorama will offer a wide variety of fun indoor and outdoor experiences along with exciting one-of-a-kind features that will provide our guests with a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories,” she added.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, Carnival Panorama is scheduled to enter service in November 2019.   Homeport and itinerary, along with other new features of this ship, will be announced at a later date.