Royal Caribbean Debuts “Coco Beach Club” at Perfect Day At CocoCay

January 31, 2020.

Coco Beach Club opened today as Royal Caribbean welcomes its first guests to indulge in new, one-of-a-kind ways to chill at the private island destination’s newly opened retreat.  The opening of Coco Beach Club marks the completion of the $250 million transformation – and phase one – of Perfect Day at CocoCay. The exclusive beach club touts the first floating cabanas in The Bahamas, an oceanfront infinity pool, beach cabanas, a dedicated restaurant with upscale dining and an exclusive bar. Rounding out Perfect Day at CocoCay is the opening of two refreshed beaches – Breezy Bay at Chill Island and South Beach – open to all guests on the island.

CHILL LUXURY
Vacationers can soak up endless ocean views at this beachside escape filled with ways to lounge for every type of traveler. On deck – over the clear blue waters – 20 floating cabanas bring a bit of Bora Bora to the island as the first of their kind in The Bahamas. Each floating cabana features a private slide into the ocean, overwater hammock, dining area, freshwater shower, wet bar and an unbeatable ocean vista for a day of uninterrupted indulgence. Guests can also choose from 10 beach cabanas, luxe hideaways nestled on shore for optimal relaxation and awe-inspiring views. All cabanas in Coco Beach Club accommodate up to eight guests and feature loungers, a dining area, charging outlets, a minifridge, snorkel gear and a dedicated cabana attendant that will tend to a guest’s every need, from beachside drink to delicious bites.

Floating Cabana on Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day Coco Cay in the Bahamas. (Photo by Tim Aylen)

SURF, TURF AND SEA
The clubhouse is the center of social activity at Coco Beach Club with a bar serving specialty cocktails, including the Coco Cuvee signature drink, and a 2,600-square-foot, oceanfront infinity pool with in-pool loungers, daybeds and poolside service. The exclusive restaurant, complimentary and only for beach club guests, serves up an elevated menu that features fresh lobster, grouper and steak, plus a spread of salads, fruits and starters.

Clubhouse and Deck on Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day Coco Cay in the Bahamas. (Photo by Tim Aylen)

ACTION-PACKED DAY
Guests looking to fuel their competitive fire can visit South Beach, the revamped action-packed beach destination for guests that features volleyball and beachside basketball. After working up an appetite, vacationers can grab a bite at the island’s third Snack Shack and a drink at any one of three bars, including the floating bar just offshore. If relaxation is the game plan, there are 10 new beachfront cabanas perfect for lounging in the shade.

To visit Coco Beach Club, guests must book a sailing calling on Perfect Day at CocoCay. This year, the private island will welcome 16 Royal Caribbean ships from more ports than ever, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; Bayonne, New Jersey; and Galveston, Texas.

Carnival Cruise Line Wins 2019 ‘Best Domestic Cruise Line’ and ‘Best Family Experience’ Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards

December 16, 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line was a big winner at the 17th annual Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards,  earning top honors in three categories including Best Domestic Cruise Line for the fourth year in a row, repeating its Best Family Experience award, and for Best Travel Advisor Educational Program with the “Carnival Learn & Earn” training program.

The Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards recognize travel industry suppliers who were “the best of the best” in product and service during 2019, as determined by tens of thousands of travel advisors.

Carnival Cruise Line enjoyed a successful 2019 highlighted by last week’s debut of Carnival Panorama — the first new ship to debut and be dedicated to year-round cruises on the West Coast in nearly 25 years.  Also notable this year was the launch of a new national trade campaign, “Why Use a Travel Agent”  (WUATA), an initiative to communicate to consumers the value of using a travel advisor that had local events across the U.S. and in Canada.

Carnival will carry more than 900,000 children in 2020. Carnival’s offerings include family-friendly programs at Camp Ocean, Circle C, Club O2, and partnerships with such brands as Dr. Seuss Enterprise for the line’s Seuss at Sea program, Sky Zone and Zumbini.  Popular features like WaterWorks, SportsSquare and Dive-In movies keep kids of all ages engaged, active and entertained throughout their cruise.

The “Carnival Learn and Earn” program, which is a part of the Loyalty Rocks Initiative, was also recognized as the best Travel Advisor Educational Program. The program recognizes and rewards travel advisors for investing in their professional development. The training content is video-based and puts travel advisors on an 80 percent faster path to program graduation.

Royal Caribbean Wins Travel Weekly ‘Best Cruise Line Overall’ Award For 17th Consecutive Year

December 13, 2019.

Royal Caribbean International closed out another record-breaking year with five wins at the prestigious Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards last night.  The company received top recognition in the major cruise categories for “Best Cruise Line Overall” and “Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean” for the 17th year in a row and “Best Cruise Line Sales & Service” for the 12th consecutive year.

The 2019 awards gala in New York City, recognizing the best of the best in travel as voted on by the growing travel advisor community, also honored the cruise line with the following awards once again: “Best Overall Individual Cruise Ship” for Symphony of the Seas and “Best Entertainment.”

Travel Weekly recognized the 17th annual Readers’ Choice Awards honorees at the Conrad New York.  Winners were selected in 79 categories in the airline, car, hospitality, rail, agent education, tour, cruise, destination, loyalty program and theme park sectors. The awards are presented to suppliers considered by Travel Weekly readers as those that have led the way in product and service in the past year.

‘Heroes Tribute Bar’ on Carnival Panorama Supports Operation Homefront for Military Families

December 12, 2019.

Continuing its longstanding support of military women and men, Carnival Cruise Line debuted the “Heroes Tribute Bar,” a first-of-its-kind venue on the new Carnival Panorama that salutes our military personnel.

Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, was joined by military personnel and veterans on Carnival Panorama’s inaugural sailing for the grand opening celebration and toast Carnival’s extended military family of guests and employees.

She also said that a portion of the proceeds from the new entertainment and gathering spot will benefit Carnival partner, Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building strong, stable and secure military families.

The venue features a distinctive All-American décor with logos of the five armed service branches of the U.S. military as well as patriotic and military memorabilia throughout the room. The venue’s walls are lined with photos and messages centering on three main themes:  Welcome Home, Thank You for Your Service and America’s Heroes. 

Specialty cocktails will be offered and served in a custom pint glass with a portion of each sale benefiting Operation Homefront.  Pint glasses are also available for purchase.  While the concept will initially be a feature exclusively on Carnival Panorama, Duffy said that the line will look to amplify the spirit of the Heroes Tribute Bar at special moments across the Carnival fleet.

Carnival has been a longtime supporter of the military, hosting a military appreciation reception each cruise, shipboard concerts for military personnel, and events at U.S. bases.  Carnival received the U.S. Honor Flag in recognition of its military support and Duffy participated in the 88th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, the oldest and most prestigious public liaison program in the Department of Defense.

Carnival Panorama sailed on its inaugural voyage yesterday and will launch year-round seven-day cruises to the Mexican Riviera December 14, calling at destinations such as Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

Vanna White Named Godmother For Carnival Panorama

November 22, 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line has selected one of the most popular television hostesses ever – Vanna White – as godmother for Carnival Panorama when the ship is officially named during a ceremony in Long Beach on December 10.

Carnival Panorama departed from the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy on Nov. 1, and is en route to Long Beach for her naming ceremony on Dec. 10 and inaugural sailing Dec. 11.  The vessel is the first new ship Carnival has deployed to the West Coast in 20 years, and is the third in Carnival’s popular Vista Class, joining her sister ships Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon.

Vanna and her colleague Pat Sajak are no strangers to Carnival Cruise Line.  The Wheel of Fortune slot machines are popular attractions in the casinos across the Carnival fleet, and Pat and Vanna have been on board to tape segments for Wheel of Fortune as part of several successful cross-promotions between the brands over the years.

Over the course of her 37 years on Wheel of Fortune, Vanna has appeared in more than 7,000 episodes, cheering on contestants and dazzling in a new outfit each night.  Her success has provided a foundation to help others in need.   Combining her passion for crocheting and helping children, the Myrtle Beach, S.C. native launched her own line of yarn called “Vanna’s Choice,” with a portion of the proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, of which Carnival is a longtime supporter.

Following an inaugural three-day cruise, Carnival Panorama will launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera service from Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 14, departing every Saturday on week-long voyages to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

Rudi’s Seagrill To Debut On Carnival’s Mardi Gras

November 21, 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line announced today that a new seafood restaurant designed by renowned culinary artist Rudi Sodamin will be among the varied dining options on Mardi Gras when it debuts next summer.

Sodamin’s reputation for curating unique dining experiences will lend itself to Rudi’s Seagrill . In addition to an extensive selection of seafood entrees and sides, there will also be several dishes presented as playful “food faces” that double as Instagram-worthy pieces of art.

“We wanted to offer our guests a new and exciting dinner-time option that is as sophisticated as our steakhouses but takes our tradition of fun to the next level,” said Cyrus Marfatia, vice president of culinary and dining for Carnival Cruise Line. “Rudi’s Seagrill will feature next-level seafood delicacies and showcase Rudi’s innovative artistry and ‘plates with personalities’ where guests can feast their eyes on a new personable presentation every time they dine – we’re sure everyone will enjoy them.”

“I’ve spent decades perfecting dishes for my restaurants both onboard and ashore, but it has been such a special experience to partner with Carnival to bring this exciting restaurant concept to life,” said Sodamin. “I believe the quality of a restaurant starts on the plate, so with Rudi’s Seagrill, I want guests to enjoy the food and feel connected to their meals in a fun and engaging way.”

The menu at Rudi’s Seagrill will feature a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts presented as food faces including big eye tuna, grilled branzino, seared scallops and apple cheese cake.

Guests can also choose from a full menu of dishes including crab cake, salt-roasted prawns, broiled lobster tail, and chocolate truffle cake. For guests who prefer non-seafood options, there will be plenty of alternatives, as well.

Sodamin’s “entrée” into the culinary world began with an apprenticeship in Austria at age 14 which led to earning the title as youngest chef at sea leading a team of 260 culinary professionals.  Sodamin serves as Holland America Line’s Master Chef, is a member of a number of prestigious culinary organizations including the Club des Chefs des Chefs and has authored a dozen cookbooks including “Food Faces” which features 150 vibrant images of his edible creations.  The book as well as other merchandise will be sold onboard Mardi Gras.

Situated on Deck 8 between La Piazza and Summer Landing, Rudi’s Seagrill will have an 80-seat indoor dining room as well as an al fresco area on The Lanai.  Rudi’s Seagrill will carry a per-person reservations fee of $38 for adults and $12 for children.

Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras is slated to enter service in Europe August 31, 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in October 2020.

Royal Caribbean Announces 2021-2022 Caribbean Sailings

November 20, 2019.

In Summer 2021 Symphony and Allure of the Seas will sail alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay. Both Oasis Class ships will do 7-night cruises, with Symphony sailing from Miami and Allure from Port Canaveral.  Following her $165 million amplification, Allure will see the addition of the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea that touts a 10-story plunge; The Perfect Storm, a trio of multistory waterslides; and an array of culinary options with more restaurants, including the introduction of Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar and returning favorites Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and El Loco Fresh.  In November 2021, Allure will depart for her winter season, making way for Harmony of the Seas’ return to Port Canaveral. Sailing from Central Florida, Harmony will offer 7-night alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, all calling on Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Summer 2021 Caribbean sailings on board Symphony, Harmony and Allure open for bookings today.

The newly amplified Oasis of the Seas will return to Cape Liberty NJ for her 2021 summer season.   The updated ship offers new dining options, including Portside BBQ – another first for the cruise line,  as well as new entertainment venues Spotlight Karaoke and Music Hall.

After spending a summer in Southampton, England, in October 2021 Anthem of the Seas will make her way back to Cape Liberty to offer 7-night cruises to The Bahamas, along with a handful of Southern Caribbean sailings for the holidays.  Guests can begin to book sailings on Oasis today and sailings on Anthem the week of Dec. 2, 2019.

Also cruising from South Florida is Vision of the Seas.  Vision will sail another winter season in Fort Lauderdale, offering 10- and 11-night Southern Caribbean itineraries.  Rhapsody of the Seas will spend her winter in Tampa on 7-night Western Caribbean cruises.  Sailings on board Vision and Rhapsody are now open.

Sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico will feature Freedom of the Seas and Empress of the Seas.  Both ships will take guests on 7-night itineraries for winter 2021-2022, which include visits to Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, Bridgetown, Barbados and St. George’s, Grenada.  These cruises are also open for booking today.

New Ways to See Bermuda & Canada

Freedom of the Seas will homeport in Cape Liberty for the first time in summer 2021, touting brand-new features and fan favorites following a major $116 million amplification.  For the second consecutive summer, Empress will offer 7-night itineraries from Bayonne to Bermuda and select sailings that feature New England and Quebec City, Canada. Just in time for leaf viewing season, she will sail to Montreal offering 10- and 11-night Canadian adventure cruises.

Enchantment of the Seas will call Baltimore home, offering 5- and 9-night sailings to Bermuda and Perfect Day at CocoCay in the summer as well as a mix of 8- and 12-night sailings to The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay and the Southern Caribbean in the winter.  She will take vacationers to enjoy the fall foliage in Canada during select fall sailings.  Adding to the Canadian offerings from the brand, Brilliance of the Seas will spend the fall of 2021 offering 7-night Canada sailings from Boston.  Sailings will open the week of December 2.

Short Getaways

The amplified Mariner of the Seas will sail from Port Canaveral year-round, offering 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay itineraries in the summer.  She will then transition to 4- and 5-night itineraries in the winter.  Sailing from Miami in the summer and Fort Lauderdale in the winter, the amplified Navigator of the Seas will also offer 3- and 4-night getaways to The Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay.  Sailings on board Mariner and Navigator will open the week of December 16.

Texas Sailings

Finally (!),   Liberty of the Seas will sail roundtrip from Galveston, Texas.  The guest favorite will set course for the Western Caribbean on 7-night sailings before she transitions to Miami for the winter to offer 3-and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay itineraries.  Liberty’s 7-night itineraries are open for bookings today and her shorter itineraries will open the week of December 2

‘Carnival Kitchen’ Culinary Studio To Debut on Carnival Panorama

November 14, 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line today announced Carnival Kitchen, a hands-on culinary experience led by the line’s chefs, debuting on Carnival Panorama in December. Guests sailing on Carnival’s newest ship can enjoy more than 15 onboard cooking classes inspired by the expansive array of international cuisines showcased on Carnival Panorama.

Sample Carnival Kitchen offerings include:

  • Carnival Classics Workshop Class with Dinner: discover the secrets behind Carnival’s most beloved dishes including tuna tartare from Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, saffron risotto from the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, and of course, the cruise industry’s most popular dessert, Carnival’s warm chocolate melting cake.
  • The Orient Unknown Class with Dinner: master the flavors of the Far East by exploring the world of savory noodle dishes, silky soups, succulent satays and divine desserts that take participants on a journey through the cuisines of Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines and more.
  • Cake Workshop: follow step-by-step instructions to create a confectionary masterpiece from layering and filling to using hand-made fondant, ornate and edible decorations and more.
  • Pasta Master Class: explore the art of Italian cooking and preparing homemade pasta by mixing, rolling and molding fresh dough into creative and unique shapes and pair them with delicious sauces from scratch.

Additional classes include sushi rolling, pizza making and pie baking, among many others, and participants have the opportunity to indulge in tastings and sample their creations. One-hour and two-hour morning, afternoon and early evening sessions are available primarily on sea days and can accommodate up to 18 guests at a time. Reservations can be made on Carnival.com pre-cruise or at any restaurant once on board.

Located on Deck 4 aft, Carnival Kitchen boasts nine marbled-granite cooking and prep stations with individual sinks, refrigerators and stove tops as well as all tools, utensils and ingredients necessary to create a memorable meal. The space is accented with white and grey pattern-tiled floors and steel ceilings and walls as well as a dedicated dining area within the Carnival Kitchen for guests in the evening classes to enjoy a themed sit-down dinner included in the price once the classes commence. Class prices range between $30 and $59, and Carnival Kitchen-branded items are available for purchase onboard.

A look at Carnival Kitchen can be viewed in the virtual video here: https://youtu.be/Bb9YRYU2hOA

Carnival Panorama debuts with a special three-day voyage on Dec. 11, 2019, followed by year-round Mexican Riviera cruises beginning Dec. 14, 2019. Voyages depart from the newly renovated Long Beach Cruise Terminal and feature stunning destinations including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

MSC Cruises Delays Opening of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

November 13, 2019.

MSC Cruises today announced that Ocean Cay’s opening date is now set for December 5, 2019.   The island was scheduled to open last weekend but the inaugural cruises to the new private resort were rerouted to other ports.

The development of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve has been a multiyear project in which MSC Cruises worked with multiple contractors and partners to transform what was once an industrial sand excavation site into a new destination, including designating the surrounding waters as a marine reserve.

According to MSC Cruises, “This has been an extremely complex project as MSC Cruises has been fully committed to developing the destination in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way. At the same time, while the Company anticipated that the island would be ready to receive guests mid-November, as it reached the final stages of readying the island for its opening, some adverse weather conditions and unexpected last-minute operational challenges slowed down the completion of the island.”

First, despite Hurricane Dorian and the demobilization of 600 workers, the Company took measures to remain on track and deliver the project on time. However, in the weeks that followed, further adverse weather conditions with strong winds and heavy swell caused several days of interruptions and created additional delays. This included heavy weather in early November which required part of one of the beaches to be further reinforced.

Secondly, last-minute issues with the leveling of the sand in certain areas of the island, the completion of the second breakwater and the landscaping aspects to be fully in line with the Company’s exceeding environmental criteria, have created further last-minute operational issues that could impact the guest experience.

The ships that were scheduled to call the island before December 5, 2019 will be rerouted to alternative Caribbean destinations or will add a day at sea to their schedule. Guests will be compensated for the missed call at Ocean Cay.  Those on the first cruises to be rerouted received $100 onboard credit and 20% off a future booking, so I’d expect the same for the newly revised cruises.

 

Carnival Cruise Line Selects PepsiCo as Preferred Beverage Partner

November 13, 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line will begin serving PepsiCo products in January 2020

PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) is partnering with Carnival Cruise Line to become the preferred beverage partner for its North American fleet. Beginning in January 2020, Carnival Cruise Line will begin serving a variety of beverages from the PepsiCo portfolio.

Carnival guests will see some of their favorite PepsiCo brands such as bubly, Pure Leaf, Naked Juice, Gatorade, MTN Dew, Starbucks, Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar, Sierra Mist and Sierra Mist Zero Sugar among others.