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.

Carnival Salutes Military With New Perks Plus A November Promotion

November 5, 2018.


In honor of Veterans Day, Carnival Cruise Line is offering special savings and bonuses in November to members of the U.S. and Canadian Armed Forces. 

The promotion, which provides up to $50 onboard credit per stateroom, a complimentary two-category upgrade, and 50 percent reduced deposits, can be combined with Carnival’s highly attractive Early Saver rates*.  In addition, guests who qualify for the promotion can book up to two additional staterooms with the same bonuses and pricing. The promotion can be booked from Nov. 5-12, 2018, and is applicable for a wide range of three- to 24-day sailings departing through 2021 from a multitude of North American homeports.

Later this month, the company will be rolling out a new Military Meet & Greet event on cruises of six days and longer, providing members of the Armed Forces an opportunity to connect with their fellow service members. This will be in addition to the military appreciation reception hosted on every cruise. The company is also introducing special commemorative pins that will be given to military members acknowledging their service.

Carnival is a partner of Operation Homefront, an organization whose goal is to build strong, stable and secure military families. The line also hosted Humor for Heroes at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego this summer that included an on-site comedy performance for 500 military members and their families in support of Operation Homefront.

Carnival Victory To Be Transformed And Renamed Carnival Radiance

October 21, 2018.

Carnival Victory will undergo a bow-to-stern refurbishment in 2020 that will add a wide variety of popular branded food, beverage and entertainment innovations.  A surprise new dining option will make its debut on Carnival Radiance as well, to be announced later.

The renovation will complete a $200 million enhancement program and the ship will be renamed Carnival Radiance following a 38-day dry dock which will take place in Cadiz, Spain, from March 18 to April 26, 2020.

Itineraries for the newly renamed Carnival Radiance will be announced and go on sale in mid-November.  Carnival Cruise Line fans who want to be the first to book on Carnival Radiance can get a head start by clicking here where they can register to get a “first to know” alert and special promotional offer when itineraries are opened for sale.

The announcement follows previously announced plans to transform Carnival Triumph into Carnival Sunrise next year, part of the company’s eight-year, $2 billion fleetwide modernization program – the largest in cruising.

Carnival Radiance’s wide-ranging enhancements will include the following:

  • Cucina del Capitano: offering delicious Italian favorites and new Carnival classics served family-style in an engaging atmosphere reminiscent of a cozy Italian home.
  • JavaBlue Café: this expanded version of the line’s popular coffee bars will offer lattes, cappuccinos and other caffeinated favorites, as well as “spiked” coffees made with liqueurs, and decadent confections.
  • Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse: a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks, gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts, with impeccable service and understated ambiance.
  • Bonsai Sushi: a full-service Asian restaurant offering a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and other delicacies from the Far East.
  • The Chef’s Table: a new multi-course dining experience hosted in a special glass-enclosed venue in the forward dining room.
  • Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse: a open-air eatery featuring “real deal” BBQ favorites created by Food Network start and longtime partner Guy Fieri.
  • Lido Marketplace:  a casual poolside eatery boasting favorites like Seafood Shack offering lobster rolls and other New England-inspired fare; Pizzeria del Capitano serving hand-tossed artisanal-style pies free of charge 24/7, and an expanded Swirls venue with complimentary ice cream and frozen yogurt.
  • RedFrog Pub: featuring the Caribbean’s best rums and beers – including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red – enjoyed in a distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West atmosphere.
  • Piano Bar 88: a new twist on Carnival’s popular piano bar concept that amps up the excitement with themed nights, engaging new décor and spontaneous sing-along fun.
  • Limelight Lounge: home to the Punchliner Comedy Club featuring a hilarious line-up of comics which later transforms into a sizzling night club where guests can dance the night away.
  • New Multi-Purpose Liquid Lounge: an expansive theater that’s home to captivating daytime and nighttime entertainment, including the line’s high-tech Playlist Productions revues and audience participation favorite Hasbro, The Game Show.
  • SportSquare: a suspended ropes course offering heart-racing views to the sea 150 feet below, basketball court, jogging track, ping pong, foosball, pool tables, and a nine-hole miniature golf course highlight this open-area recreation complex.
  • WaterWorks: featuring a 203-foot-long AquaTunnel slide and Carnival’s signature 212-foot-long Twister slide along with a 75-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket and kiddie area.
  • Serenity Adult Only Retreat: an adults-only oasis offering plush chaise lounges, whirlpools and oversized umbrellas, enhanced by dramatic sea views.

Wait, There’s More!

  • Cloud 9 Spa:  designed as the ultimate refuge for rest and relaxation, the health and wellness center offers an elaborate thermal suite, private treatment rooms, and the latest cardio and weight-training equipment.
  • The Warehouse:  promising fun for all ages with a variety of the latest video and arcade games.
  • Expanded Retail Spaces:  a mall-style shopping experience featuring reimagined retail outlets with an expanded assortment of jewelry, watches, fragrances, along with the line’s own branded spaces including The Carnival Store.

These new spaces will complement a wide variety of existing food and beverage outlets, including Guy’s Burger Joint offering hand-crafted burgers and fries, The Deli serving piled-high sandwiches and traditional sides, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina offering authentic Mexican tacos and burritos, an expanded Cherry on Top sweets shop, and the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar.  The ship’s staterooms were also recently renovated with a new tropical color palette and new accommodation choices, including luxurious Captain’s Suites with floor to ceiling windows.

Carnival Recognized By The Honor Network For Support of Military Personnel

October 4, 2018.

 

First Cruise Line Presented with Prestigious ‘U.S. Honor Flag’ That Flew Over Ground Zero Following Sept. 11 Attacks and Pays Tribute to Fallen Heroes

Carnival Cruise Line carries more military personnel and their families than any other cruise operator and is steadfast in their support of the troops and their families.  As a military veteran myself,  this means a great deal to me personally.

To recognize this, the company has been presented with the prestigious U.S. Honor Flag bestowed by the Miami-Dade Police Department Honor Guard.

Carnival is the first cruise company to receive this honor.

The U.S. Honor Flag flew over Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 attacks and since then has traveled 7 million miles, flying on the space shuttle Atlantis, and over the Pentagon, state capitols, presidential libraries, state and national memorials as well as funerals and tributes to fallen soldiers, police officers and first responders.

The presentation was made during a ceremony today at the cruise line’s Miami headquarters during which The Honor Flag was ceremoniously escorted by the Miami-Dade Police Department Honor Guard and positioned prominently on stage.  

Following the official presentation of The Honor Flag and a poignant tribute to fallen heroes, The Honor Network President Chris Heisler presented Carnival President Christine Duffy with a pair of U.S. Honor Foundation embroidered gloves that are used every time the U.S. Honor Flag is handled.  The custom gloves are now on permanent display at the company’s offices.

Carnival has been a longtime supporter of the military, hosting a military appreciation reception on every cruise and a proud partner of Operation Homefront, an organization whose goal is to build strong, stable and secure military families.   The line recently hosted Humor for Heroes at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego that included an on-site comedy performance for 500 military members and their families and a sizable donation to Operation Homefront.   Earlier this year, Duffy participated in the 88th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, an intensive weeklong exercise that is the oldest and most prestigious public liaison program in the Department of Defense.

Norwegian Cruise Line Hosting Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Runaway To Paradise’ Cruises In 2019

October 4, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced it will host Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and Grammy® Award-winner Jon Bon Jovi’s Runaway To Paradise cruise vacations in partnership with Runaway Tours, creators of world-class intimate artists experiences, and Sixthman, the industry leader in music festival vacation experiences.

Norwegian Jade will be hosting Runaway To Paradise’s Caribbean cruise, which will be sailing from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas on April 12-16, while Norwegian Pearl will host the Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Palma, Majorca on August 26-30.

The Runaway To Paradise immersive fan experience will feature Jon Bon Jovi joining cruisers on board the ship at each destination port. Guests will be treated to a full rock show on the pool deck starring Jon Bon Jovi and the 11-piece Kings of Suburbia band, a second acoustic storyteller set where cruisers can ask Jon all of their burning questions, multiple shows from support artists (to be announced), and panels with key figures from Bon Jovi’s history, all the while sipping Jon and Jesse Bongiovi’s new wine, Hampton Water rosé and enjoying the amenities of Norwegian Cruise Line Jewel class ships.

Guests will get up close with historic memorabilia in the Jon Bon Jovi Gallery, shop for new looks in the Hart N Dagger pop up shop, and even enjoy a meal while giving back to those in need at The JBJ Soul Kitchen that will be brought to life on board. All guests will take home an autographed event lithograph, and fans who book in the first 400 staterooms on each cruise will get an opportunity to take a picture with Jon Bon Jovi.

Double occupancy staterooms on Runaway To Paradise begin at $1,895 (USD) per person for the Caribbean sailing, and $2,221 (USD) per person for the Mediterranean sailing, plus taxes and fees. Low deposits and flexible payment plans are available. For the best selection of staterooms, fans are encouraged to register for the cruise pre-sale at runawaytoparadise.com

Disney Cruise Line Announces Sailings from New Orleans for 2020

September 27, 2018.

Disney Cruise Line guests sailing aboard most Caribbean and Bahamian voyages in early 2020 will spend a day ashore at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. In a setting of crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white-sand beaches and lush landscapes, the island offers activities for every member of the family. (David Roark, photographer)

In early 2020, Disney Cruise Line will offer a brand-new home port in New Orleans and a highly anticipated return to the Hawaiian Islands. Disney Cruise Line will also return to Puerto Rico for a limited time and continue  itineraries to tropical destinations from Florida and California.

Bookings open to the public on Oct. 4, 2018. More details on 2020 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2020 page of disneycruise.com.

First-time Home Port in New Orleans

In 2020, the Disney Wonder will embark on a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from New Orleans – the first time Disney Cruise Line will have a home port in Louisiana.

The Disney Wonder will embark on six cruises during this limited-time season from New Orleans, including four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean sailings; a seven-night Bahamian cruise; and a 14-night Panama Canal voyage, departing Feb. 7 through March 6.

Long-Awaited Return to Hawaii

After a five-year hiatus, the Disney Wonder will return to Hawaii in early 2020 for two special cruises: a nine-night voyage to Honolulu from Vancouver, Canada, on April 29, and a 10-night sailing back to Vancouver on May 8.

Itineraries from Puerto Rico and California

The Disney Wonder continues its season with returns to home ports on both coasts. First, the ship sets sail for the Southern Caribbean during two seven-night voyages departing Jan. 19 and 26 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed by a five-night Bahamian cruise. Then beginning on March 20, the ship embarks on seven sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera, ranging in length from two to seven nights, from San Diego, California.

Tropical Getaways from Florida

Disney Cruise Line will have three ships sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida in early 2020, and every cruise includes a day of fun in the sun on Disney’s private Bahamian island reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, Castaway Cay.

  • From Miami, the Disney Magic will sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises and five-night Western Caribbean cruises.
  • From Port Canaveral, the Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, plus two special sailings at six- and eight-nights each.
  • From Port Canaveral, the Disney Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay.

Carnival Vista Arrives At New Homeport Of Galveston

September 23, 2018.

Together with Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor, Carnival Cruise Line Now Carries More Than 600,000 Passengers from Port of Galveston Annually– The Most of Any Cruise Operator

Carnival Cruise Line solidified its place as the cruise leader in Texas with Sunday’s arrival of Carnival Vista – the largest ship ever homeported in Galveston. The arrival was celebrated with Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy and ship Godmother Deshauna Barber, the first member of the U.S. military to be named Miss USA, before the ship left on its first voyage from Galveston Sunday afternoon.

Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown presents the key to the City to Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Lines and Deshauna Barber, Godmother of Carnival Vista.

Carnival Vista offers two different week-long western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston.  The first itinerary includes calls at Montego Bay; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, while the other features visits to Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan); Belize; and Cozumel.

The homecoming event was attended by local officials, travel agents and military families supported by Operation Homefront.  Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown presented Duffy with a key to the city and proclaimed Sept. 23 “Choose Fun Day” in recognition of Carnival’s brand campaign.  In support of the local community, Carnival made a $10,000 donation to Houston SPCA and an additional $10,000 to the Houston Food Bank.

“Choose Fun” is a key component of Carnival’s ongoing Homeport Advantage campaign designed to heighten awareness of new ship deployments.  A bumper sticker adorned with the “Choose Fun” tag line was unveiled on Carnival Vista’s stern during the event.

The Homeport Advantage campaign also included a flyover in Houston, Galveston and the surrounding area earlier this month by the Carnival AirShip, a 128-foot long red, white and blue blimp emblazoned with #ChooseFun. Consumers who posted a photo of the AirShip in social media with #ChooseFun were entered into a sweepstakes awarding free cruises and other prizes and triggering a donation to St. Jude.