Norwegian Bliss Keel Laying Ceremony Held

 

May 24, 2017.

Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT today celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss at the yard’s facility in Papenburg, Germany. During the ceremony, one of the keel blocks of the 167,800 gross ton vessel was lifted into the covered building hall, signifying a major milestone in the ship’s construction. Norwegian Bliss is due for delivery in April 2018 and will be the first cruise ship custom built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience.

Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer, was present in the hall and laid the traditional “lucky coin”, etched with the outline of the ship’s signature hull designed by wildlife artist Wyland, before the block was lowered into place.

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will accommodate 4,000 guests and will be the 12th ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to be built by MEYER WERFT.

During her inaugural summer 2018 season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from the recently expanded Pier 66 Cruise Terminal in Seattle.

The ship will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Bliss will feature 2006 Tony Award® winner for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys, and a completely new and original show created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, headlining on the ship’s main stage, the Bliss Theater. Norwegian Bliss will also feature a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical. Alibi, the ship’s reimagined comedy club and nightlife venue will feature two comedy performances six nights a week. Rock and roll will take center stage at The Cavern Club, an outpost of the legendary Liverpool club where the Beatles’ performed frequently in the 1960s, with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.

Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ships’ hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line has commissioned Wyland, one of the world’s premier marine life artists, to design the hull art for Norwegian Bliss; the artwork will feature images of humpback whales, found in every ocean around the world. The ship’s hull will serve as a large canvas to showcase the importance of ocean conservation and preservation.

For more information on Norwegian Bliss, including an animated video of the ship’s accommodations and features, please visit bliss.ncl.com. Additional details on the ship’s dining and recreational activities will be shared in the coming months.

Princess Cruises Announces 2018-2019 Americas Season

 May 23, 2017.

 

Princess Cruises has announced its 2018-2019 Americas cruise itineraries including sailings to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, the California Coast, and Alaska.

Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Caribbean Princess and Island Princess will be OCEAN Medallion enabled for this fall 2018-spring 2019 season. Guests will experience the highly anticipated, wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network™ (O·C·E·A·N™), making possible a new level of personalization that delivers an enhanced guest experience.

Americas program highlights of the upcoming 2018-2019 season include:

  • The debut of Royal Princess on the West Coast as the cruise line’s largest ship ever to sail to Mexico.
  • Two new seven-day Pacific Coast itineraries featuring 7-day roundtrip departures from Seattle along the California Coast and 7-day roundtrip San Francisco to British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.
  • Largest offering of 5-day Cabo San Lucas Getaways with nine all including overnight stays in the most popular port of Mexico.
  • An expanded program of our Caribbean 7-day itineraries, now with departures on both Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Returning season of three ways to see the Panama Canal – from the East Coast, from the West Coast or Ocean to Ocean.
  • More sailings to Alaska roundtrip from Los Angeles with Ruby Princess and Star Princess both sailing on a 12-day itinerary in April 2019.
  • MORE ASHORE evening stays will be offered on select itineraries in the Caribbean, California and Hawaii, including Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas, Cozumel, San Francisco, San Diego, Long Beach and Honolulu – and overnight stays in Cabo San Lucas on the 5- and 10-day voyages from Los Angeles.
  • UNESCO World Cruise Heritage Site opportunities offered, including the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park in St. Kitts, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from Hilo, Casco Viejo in Panama City and Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.

 

Mexico

Royal Princess debuts sailing from Los Angeles as the largest Princess ship to sail the Mexican Riviera on a series of seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises. The ever-popular Mexican Riviera voyages return, and are available as seven-day cruises from Los Angeles visiting the ports of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas, or as 10-day voyages from San Francisco with the added port of Manzanillo.

The 10-day Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez cruise returns on Star Princess, sailing from Los Angeles to the ports of La Paz, Loreto, Puerto Vallarta with an overnight stay in Cabo San Lucas.

Princess Cruises is offering more 5-day Cabo San Lucas Getaways than ever which include MORE ASHORE evening stays in Cabo San Lucas on Emerald Princess and Star Princess.

California Coast

Royal Princess will sail for the first time along the California Coast from Los Angeles to Vancouver, B.C. on a seven-day Pacific California Coast visiting San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco for a MORE ASHORE evening and overnight.

Ruby Princess sails a brand new seven-day Northern California Coast voyage sailing roundtrip from Seattle with stops in Monterey, Astoria, and MORE ASHORE late evening stays in San Francisco and Victoria, B.C.

Also new for 2018 is a seven-day Pacific Northwest Coast cruise on Grand Princess sailing roundtrip from San Francisco visiting Astoria, Vancouver, B.C. , Victoria, B.C. and a More Ashore late evening stay in Seattle.

The Classic California Coast sailings return with seven-day voyages roundtrip from Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as a 10-day voyage from Vancouver.  Star Princess and Emerald Princess will also sail on select four-day West Coast Getaway voyages from Los Angeles including Santa Barbara or Catalina Island as well as Ensenada, Mexico.

MORE ASHORE longer evening stays are featured on every call to San Francisco on these Coastal itineraries.

Caribbean

The newly renovated Caribbean Princess sails 14-day Circle Caribbean voyages cruising roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, including visits to Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad, Aruba, Curacao, Antigua, St. Thomas, Amber Cove and St. Kitts. Guests can choose a special sailing spanning both Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Small ship Pacific Princess sails a holiday 14-day Caribbean Connoisseur voyage, visiting islands not typically included on other Caribbean itineraries, for an off-the-beaten path exploration including St. Barthelemy, Iles Des Saintes (maiden call), Grenadines, Tobago, and Virgin Gorda.

Crown Princess returns to the popular 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley and 10-day Eastern Caribbean Voyager which can be combined for a 20-day vacation. Seven-day Eastern Caribbean voyages will be offered on Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess with the choice of Saturday and Sunday departures. Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess will also offer a new 7-day Caribbean Explorer itinerary on select dates visiting San Juan, Amber Cove, Grand Turk and a stop at our private beach resort Princess Cays.

Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess will all offer seven-day Western Caribbean voyages departing on Saturday or Sunday all visiting Grand Cayman and Cozumel, with two itinerary options including Roatan and Belize City or Jamaica (Falmouth) and Princess Cays.

Ports of calls with MORE ASHORE evening calls include Barbados, St Thomas, Aruba, St. Maarten and Curacao.

Panama Canal

Caribbean Princess and Island Princess both offer a transit through the locks and a day of scenic cruising through Gatun Lake from the Atlantic Ocean roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on 10-day Panama Canal with Costa Rica & Caribbean voyages.  Caribbean Princess will sail via the expanded Agua Clara locks while Island Princess transits the historic Gatun locks.

Coral Princess, Island Princess and Pacific Princess all sail 15-day Panama Canal – Ocean to Ocean cruises with a full transit through all three sets of the historic locks – Gatun, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks.

Coral Princess sails roundtrip from Los Angeles for transits through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks for a 19-day Panama Canal Pacific Adventure.

Hawaiian Islands and Tahiti

Every 15-day Hawaiian Islands departure includes the four most popular islands – Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the big island of Hawaii, with roundtrip departures from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.  Every voyage features a MORE ASHORE evening stay in Honolulu.  (Editor’s Note: Ruby Princess sails from Los Angeles on a 15-night cruise and I am already booked for the March 11, 2019, sailing!)

Emerald Princess and Star Princess will sail on two 28-day departures to Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa in fall and spring roundtrip from Los Angeles.  Both departures feature MORE ASHORE in Honolulu and Tahiti (Papeete).

Alaska – 12-day Alaska Inside Passage – Roundtrip Los Angeles

Returning due to popular demand, Ruby Princess and Star Princess will sail on 12-day Inside Passage Alaska sailings roundtrip from Los Angeles in April 2019. Port calls include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria, B.C. with scenic cruising of Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Carnival Hosting 25,000 Punchliner Comedy Shows In 2017

May 23, 2017.

British comedian Phil Walker entertains guests in Carnival Vista’s Comedy Club. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line will provide its guests with more laughs than ever in 2017, hosting a record 25,000 shows at its Punchliner Comedy Clubs .

Boasting more comedians and performances than any land-based comedy club in the U.S., Carnival’s Punchliner Comedy Clubs feature a lineup of top-notch comedians who perform 30-minute shows multiple times each voyage with at least two comedians performing each night.   All shows are offered on a complimentary basis.

Two early-evening PG-rated shows offer all-ages fun for the whole family while later performances feature more R-rated, adult-oriented comedy. Approximately 10 shows are presented during short cruise itineraries and with roughly 20 shows per cruise on longer length voyages.

Carnival’s position as the leader in comedy has also extended to its popular Carnival LIVE concert series which has added top-name comedians to its diverse entertainment lineup.  Recent comedy performances include Jay Leno, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Tucker and Kathy Griffin. Jeff Foxworthy will also be performing two shows next month aboard Carnival Freedom and Carnival Ecstasy while those ships are docked in Nassau.

Carnival Celebrates American Craft Beer Week

May 22, 2017.

Carnival Vista brewmaster Colin Presby, shows off his new Miami Guava Wheat beer Saturday, May 20, 2017, on deck 12 of the Carnival Vista while docked in Miami. (Photo provided by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

To celebrate American Craft Beer Week, Carnival Cruise Line has created a special one-of-a-kind tropical-flavored beer served exclusively at Carnival Vista’s RedFrog Pub & Brewery, the first brewery aboard a North American-based cruise ship.

The Miami Guava Wheat beer was unveiled this weekend at a shipboard ceremony during which Carnival Vista’s brewmaster Colin Presby tapped the first cask.  Guests on board were the first to sample the highly drinkable beer, hand-crafted by Presby using the finest ingredients and inspired by Carnival Vista’s Miami homeport.  Miami Guava Wheat reflects the tropics with a light body and palate-pleasing notes of tangy pink guava, the primary ingredient in Miami’s ever-popular guava pastries.

Carnival Vista brewmaster Colin Presby, left, and hotel director Pierre Camilleri tap a traditional 10-gallon firkin cast of the new Miami Guava Wheat beer Saturday, May 20, 2017, on the Carnival Vista in Miami. (Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

Available on a limited basis, Miami Guava Wheat joins the three other original draft beers brewed only onboard Carnival Vista — ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin’ IPA with aromatic, floral, and hoppy notes with tropical and citrus overtones; ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat, an unfiltered wheat beer with flavors of orange and spices; and FriskyFrog Java Stout, a take on a traditional stout, rich and creamy with hints of coffee.

Carnival Vista operates six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from PortMiami to the Caribbean and will shift to Galveston, Texas, in fall 2018 when its sister ship, Carnival Horizon, launches year-round service from Miami.

Carnival Named ‘Most Trusted Cruise Line in America’ By Reader’s Digest

May 16, 2017.

For the third consecutive year, Carnival Cruise Line has been named Most Trusted Cruise Line in America by Reader’s Digest.

The Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Survey®* is an independent, online survey conducted in partnership with Ipsos Connect. This year’s survey polled 5,500 Americans nationwide who were asked to rate products they trust across 40 different categories in areas such as quality, value and reliability. Carnival received more votes than any other cruise line.

The full list of Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands can be found in the publication’s June issue, which goes on sale today, May 16, and online at rd.com/trustedbrands.

Carnival continues to introduce exciting onboard features and programming to build upon its brand promise of providing fun, memorable vacations at a great value, while keeping up with changing consumer trends and preferences.

Last year marked the launch of the new Carnival Vista, a groundbreaking 133,500-ton ship that introduced such one-of-a-kind features as SkyRide, a bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction, as well as the first IMAX Theatre at sea, the first brewery on a North American-based cruise ship and Family Harbor, with special family-friendly accommodations and a private lounge.

To commemorate Carnival Vista’s U.S. arrival, the company hosted an overnight event aboard the ship in New York for military families in support of Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit that builds strong, stable and secure military families.  The event included a concert by country music superstar Carrie Underwood and the ship’s official naming with Deshauna Barber – the first woman serving in the U.S. military to be named Miss USA – presiding over the ceremonies as godmother.

Throughout its fleet, Carnival continues to build upon its commitment to providing exceptional, friendly and attentive service through initiatives such as the Carnival Service Values, a comprehensive program that has redefined the company’s culture of service and reinforces the importance of  offering a fun, welcoming environment, both on board and ashore.

Additionally, Carnival and its employees support a wide range of charitable and social service agencies and organizations in its homeports throughout the U.S.  The company also serves as the Official Celebration Partner of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, its primary charitable partner. Since launching Care to Play: Carnival for St. Jude Kids program in 2010, Carnival has donated more than $13 million in the fight against childhood cancer.

“We work very hard to maintain our distinction as ‘America’s Cruise Line’ and being named ‘Most Trusted Cruise Line in America’ three years running is a wonderful validation of our efforts at providing fun, quality and memorable vacations our guests,” said  Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Disney Cruise Line Sails to Bermuda for the First Time and Visits Quebec City, Canada, in Fall 2018

May 11, 2017.

Disney Cruise Line returns to New York in fall 2018 with new five-night sailings to Bermuda. Two seven-night Disney Magic cruises between New York and Quebec City, Canada, a new port for Disney Cruise Line, include stops at new Canadian ports Saguenay and Baie-Comeau. Three seven-night sailings from New York take guests to Walt Disney World and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. (Chloe Rice, photographer)

In fall 2018, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to new ports, including first-time visits to Bermuda and Quebec City, Canada – both with multiple days to experience these captivating destinations. In addition to the new itineraries from New York to Bermuda and Canada, three special sailings from New York will take guests to Walt Disney World and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. Sailings from California, Texas and Florida round out the 2018 fall season.

Starting fall 2018, the Disney Magic will sail between New York and Quebec City, Canada, a new port for Disney Cruise Line. These two seven-night Disney Magic cruises will include stops at breathtaking Canadian ports Saguenay and Baie-Comeau. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

Bookings open to the public on May 18, 2017. More details on 2018 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2018 page of disneycruise.com.

Holland America Line Introduces Rudi’s Sel de Mer French Brasserie Pop-Up Restaurant to Six Ships in the Fleet

Intimate dining venue to feature classic French cuisine with a contemporary twist

March 12, 2017 Holland America Line is honoring its Master Chef and culinary consultant Rudi Sodamin, the creator of Sel de Mer aboard ms Koningsdam, by launching the French brasserie as a pop-up in the Pinnacle Grill and naming it Rudi’s Sel de Mer. Six ships in the fleet will feature the pop-up, including ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam.

Since it launched on Koningsdam as a stand-alone venue, Sel de Mer has garnered both guest and industry acclaim. Rudi’s Sel de Mer will build on this success with a version of the menu of classic French dishes including locally sourced seafood served in a setting that will transform the Pinnacle Grill alternative dining venue into an intimate brasserie with custom décor, plates, menus and uniforms reflecting the ambiance of the original Koningsdam restaurant. A specially crafted cocktail and wine menu also will be featured. Rudi’s Sel de Mer will be offered once on seven-day cruises and twice on cruises longer than 10 days.

For Rudi’s Sel de Mer, Chef Rudi also has created Food Faces art for the exclusive show plates made by Bernardaud, the leading French manufacturer of Limoges porcelain.  Each artistic culinary plate portrays a work of art — from food.

 “Sel de Mer onboard Koningsdam is extremely popular among our guests and one of the most talked about dining experiences in the industry,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The restaurant showcases our commitment to providing our guests with unrivaled dining options, and launching it as Rudi’s Sel de Mer on six more ships as a pop-up will allow more of our guests to see what the buzz is all about and indulge in its phenomenal cuisine.”   

Rudi’s Sel de Mer is set to debut in 2017 on ms Nieuw Amsterdam March 31, ms Oosterdam May 11, ms Eurodam May 24, ms Westerdam June 12, ms Noordam Oct. 2 and ms Zuiderdam Nov. 10.

Indulge in the Freshest Seafood at Rudi’s Sel de Mer

Rudi’s Sel de Mer will serve a classic selection of French seafood dishes with a contemporary twist. After an amuse-bouche of Seared Scallops on Seaweed Salad and Light Saffron Vinaigrette Foam, guests can select appetizers including Steak Tartare, Bouillabaisse Marseillaise, Rudi’s Seafood Tower and the classic Fruits de Mer (serves two).

Bouillabaisse Marseillaise

For an entrée, guests can dine on Broiled Maine Lobster, Whole Dover Sole Meunière, Rack of Lamb Persillade, Duck Cassoulet, Steak Frites, Soufflé au Fromage and the popular Salt Crust Baked Branzino. The chefs also will go ashore to the local fish market whenever possible and personally select the catch of the day as a featured dish for the menu.

Fruits de Mer

Side dishes include French fries, cauliflower puree, green beans, wild rice, truffled mashed potatoes and ratatouille.

No meal at Rudi’s Sel de Mer would be complete without a delectable dessert. Choices include Crêpes Suzette, Apple Tarte Tatin, Profiteroles with Hot Chocolate Sauce, Artisanal French Cheese Plate and Rudi’s famed Souffle – a version of the Salzburg Nockerl.

Rudi’s Sel de Mer will be offered for a set price of $49 per person for dinner, and reservations are recommended.