Royal Caribbean Announces 5th Oasis Class Ship “Wonder Of The Seas”

October 10, 2019.

World’s Largest Cruise Ship to Sail from China

Excitement was in the air today as Royal Caribbean International announced the homeport and name of its fifth Oasis Class ship. The next ship to join the leading cruise line’s innovative lineup will be named Wonder of the Seas and set sail from Shanghai, China.  The details were revealed by Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley at a global cruise industry conference event held in Shanghai.  Slated for a debut In 2021, the world’s largest cruise ship will introduce a new era of cruising as the first of the renowned Oasis Class to sail the Asia Pacific.

“Royal Caribbean is known for its innovation and constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, and an Oasis Class ship in China is proof of that,” said Bayley. “Wonder of the Seas will redefine the ultimate vacation and be revolutionary in her own right, and she marks one of Royal Caribbean’s most exciting chapters to come.”

Today also marked an important milestone for Wonder of the Seas. Halfway around the world in Saint-Nazaire, France, Wonder’s keel was lowered into place at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard, marking the start of the ship’s physical construction. During what is known as the keel-laying ceremony, a 970-ton block, measuring 155 feet by 65 feet, was lifted onto the building dock with a 1,400-ton crane.

“Royal Caribbean International has been a market leader in China for more than 10 years by consistently showcasing bold deployment strategies and driving growth of the new to cruise market,” said Dr. Zinan Liu, Chairman, Royal Caribbean Asia. “The deployment of Wonder of the Seas is a manifesto of new era for Royal Caribbean.”

Wonder of the Seas will be part of the Oasis class of ships, the largest in the world, and will combine the iconic seven-neighborhood concept that her sister ships feature along with a bold lineup of thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology. More information on Wonder’s itineraries and brand-new adventures will be announced soon.

Now Spraying: The Reef Family Splash Zone Onboard Caribbean Princess

July 18, 2019.

The Reef Family Splash Zone, now featured onboard Caribbean Princess, offers guests a fun water play pad, newly refurbished pool, jacuzzi, and bar serving up kid-friendly mocktails. It also features a relaxing lounge area, complete with plush seating, for families to gather, relax and enjoy the sun, shade and water. Winnie the Whale takes center stage in The Reef, spouting and raining from her fluke to cool off cruisers sailing to the sun-drenched Caribbean.

The Reef offers many features, including:

Splashpad featuring Winnie the Whale – this interactive and inviting water playground features a splash pool, assorted water sprays and showers where families can enjoy a day of splashing, laughing and playing. The focal point is an interactive Winnie the Whale featurewhich “rains” from its fluke and sprays from her spout. Winne is also part of the cruise line’s Animal Planet™ endangered species program in the Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers where the kids learn about the anatomy of humpback whales.

Whale Fluke Mural Photo Walls – colorful and vibrant murals of a whale’s fluke have been painted at both entrances to The Reef for guests to pose and take fun photos.

Game Zone – bringing family competition to a whole new level with oversized backyard games comfy lounge sectionals, and a kid-friendly bar setting, families can enjoy special drinks while challenging the kids to a game of oversized backyard games like cornhole.

Refurbished Pool, Jacuzzi and Bar – the pool, spa and bar have been updated to match the newly designed space featuring updated signage and contemporary artwork. Morgan’s Bar opened with a new kid-friendly and fruity mocktail menu, including “Crazy Coconut” and “Berry Nice to Meet You” thirst-quenching drinks.

New Outdoor Spaces – with a variety of plush seating and lounging options, from single sun loungers to sectional chairs and couches with tables, The Reef transforms into an inviting space for groups of all sizes aimed to be comfortable and conversational. The space also features new fixtures, finishes and canopies offering plenty of shade.

In addition, just below The Reef on deck 16 in the Camp Discovery outdoor area, kids can interact and explore with a destination themed water table. This educational offering features the many destinations and iconic landmarks Princess visits, including the Sydney Opera House and Golden Gate Bridge and also highlights how a cruise ship moves through water, waves and weather. It even showcases how ships navigate the Panama Canal locks.

Over the last few years Caribbean Princess has undergone a major revitalization, with many family-oriented features and amenities including family accommodations, new dining experiences and entertainment offerings.

Caribbean Princess was the first ship in the Princess Cruises fleet to deliver Princess MedallionClass vacations. Enabled by OceanMedallion, a complimentary wearable device that elevates the guest experience by delivering enhanced experiences and personalized service resulting in high guest satisfaction scores.

Additional programming geared towards younger cruisers includes:

Stanley the Bear Experiences- Princess’ friendly and furry mascot, also inhabits Caribbean Princess and makes several appearances for kid cruisers to interact with and take photos including Stanley the Bear Storytime and Stanley the Bear Breakfast with specially-made bear pancakes in the dining room.

Jr.CHEF@Sea – Princess Chefs host a hands-on food preparation workshop for junior guests, ages 8-12, in the main galley area. Suitedup in mini toques and chef aprons, participants learn how to decorate a cake with a member of the ship’s pastry team and receive a certificate and photo.

With family travelers in mind, Caribbean Princess offers 87 connecting staterooms keeping the whole family together. All stateroom types can accommodate up to 4 guests. Families of 5 or more can also be accommodated in a two-bedroom family suite which feature new sofa beds. Each stateroom features the cruise line’s award-winning Princess Luxury Bed, designed in collaboration with sleep exert Dr. Michael Breus for the ultimate night of sleep at sea.

Carnival Panorama Completes Sea Trials

July 18, 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Panorama, successfully completed its sea trials in the Adriatic Sea earlier this week in anticipation of its inaugural cruise from Long Beach, Calif.,  Dec. 11, 2019, becoming the line’s first new ship on the West Coast in 20 years.

Currently in the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Panorama had a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers on board who thoroughly tested the ship’s sophisticated technical, mechanical and navigation systems.

As the newest ship in the fleet, Carnival Panorama will offer innovations such as the first Sky Zone trampoline park at sea and a new ChooseFun WaterWorks aqua park inspired by the line’s Chief Fun Officer, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, as well as popular onboard venues like Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse, featuring BBQ favorites created by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri and craft beers brewed on board.

Carnival Panorama will also offer a variety of accommodation choices, including the tropics-inspired Havana area with colorful staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool; Family Harbor with extra-roomy staterooms and the Family Harbor Lounge; and luxurious Cloud 9 Spa staterooms with special amenities and privileges.

Following an inaugural three-day voyage to Ensenada, Carnival Panorama will launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach Dec. 14. The week-long adventures will visit spectacular seaside resort towns including Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan.

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.

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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.