Princess Cruises 2019 Europe Season Announced

November 29, 2017.

Program Highlights include New Dublin Departures, Return to Greenland, Grand Mediterranean and Access to More Than 50 Must-See UNESCO World Heritage Sites

New Elite Member Benefit Allows Booking a Day Earlier than Public Sale Date

 

Princess Cruises today announced its 2019 cruises and cruisetours, open for sale December 14, 2017.

Noteworthy itineraries for the 2019 season include Northern Europe, with the cruise line’s return to Greenland on Pacific Princess, new departures out of Dublin on the popular British Isles itineraries aboard Crown Princess and the opportunity to search for the Northern Lights in Norway on Sapphire Princess, sailing the longest season ever out of London (Southampton), England.

All cruises also include the cruise line’s exclusive and award-winning Local Connections program, bringing storytellers aboard to share their personal insights about upcoming ports, offering guests an insider’s guide to their next destination.

The 2019 season features five ships sailing to 130 destinations from the corners of the Mediterranean to the northernmost tip of Europe.Guests can choose from 85 unique itineraries on 211 cruise departures, visiting 37 countries, featuring 30 ports with longer time ashore, including five ports with overnight stays.

Highlights of the 2019 Europe season include:

New Itineraries and Cruisetours

  • Greenland & Iceland (with Optional Edinburgh Military Tattoo) 18-day voyage on Pacific Princess, roundtrip from London (Dover), calling to Greenland, Iceland, and Edinburgh (Rosyth) for the opportunity to see the world-famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  • Search for the Northern Lights 12-day voyage on Sapphire Princess, roundtrip from London (Southampton), with an overnight in Alta and a late-night stay in Tromso, to enhance the chance of seeing one of Mother Nature’s greatest wonders
  • Scandinavia & Russia 11-day sailings from Helsinki (in addition to Copenhagen and Berlin (Warnemunde)
  • British Isles 12-day cruises departing from Dublin (in addition to London (Southampton) and Paris/Normandy (Le Havre)
  • Grand Mediterranean and Grand Western Mediterranean 11-day voyages on Emerald Princess, combinable for a 22-day Grand Mediterranean Collection voyage
  • Spanish Passage & Panama Canal 29-day Adventure from Barcelona to Los Angeles on Emerald Princess
  • Ireland, Scottish Highlands & Wales on 14-day cruises aboard Pacific Princess, with maiden calls to Portland (for Stonehenge), Portree (Isle of Skye), and Aberdeen

Northern Europe

  • Scandinavia & Russia 11-day sailings from Copenhagen, Berlin (Warnemunde), or Helsinki on Ocean Medallion-enabled Regal Princess, featuring overnights in St. Petersburg and late evening stays in Berlin (Warnemunde)
  • Scandinavia & Russia 14-day sailings from London (Southampton) on Sapphire Princess or from London (Dover) on Pacific Princess, featuring overnights in St. Petersburg
  • British Isles 12-day sailings on Ocean Medallion-enabled Crown Princess, with round-trip departures from London (Southampton), Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), or Dublin
  • Overnight stays in Dublin on select British Isles sailings, in addition to late departures from Belfast on every 12-day British Isles sailing
  • Two opportunities on Pacific Princess and three opportunities on Crown Princess to see the Edinburgh Military Tattoo from either Greenock, Rosyth, or South Queensferry
  • Round-trip London (Dover) sailings on Pacific Princess, visiting a variety of boutique Northern Europe destinations, including Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Shetland Islands, and the Faroe Islands
  • Additional opportunity to visit Greenland on a 16-day Greenland & Canada voyage on Ocean Medallion-enabled Caribbean Princess, roundtrip New York

Mediterranean

  • Emerald Princess offers 58 sailings in the Mediterranean, ranging from seven to 22 days and departing from Barcelona, Rome (Civitavecchia), and Athens (Piraeus)
  • More Ashore late-night stay in Chania (Crete) and Mykonos on every seven-day Mediterranean & Aegean and late-night stay in Barcelona and Genoa on every seven-day Mediterranean on Emerald Princess
  • Two unique 14-day itineraries from London (Southampton) to the Western Mediterranean on Sapphire Princess
  • Pacific Princess 11- to 28-day voyages, visiting a variety of destinations throughout the Mediterranean such as Croatia, Greece, Malta, and Corsica, with overnight stays in Venice on all 12-day voyages between Rome (Civitavecchia) and Venice
  • European Explorer 10-day sailings between Rome (Civitavecchia) and London (Southampton) on Sapphire Princess, combinable with the 27-day Mediterranean & Southeast Asia voyages between Rome (Civitavecchia) and Singapore for an epic 37-day Indian Ocean & Europe Grand Adventure
  • Opportunity to visit one of the newly inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Sites of 2017, the “Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar,” which include the Fort of St. Nikola in Sibenik and the Fortified City of Kotor

Europe Cruisetours

To further enhance guests’ European vacation, Princess Cruises is offering four unique cruisetours to choose from in 2019:

  • NEW – Highlights of Spain: Offered with the seven-day Mediterranean or 11-day Grand Western Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona, visiting Madrid, Valencia, Toledo and featuring the sights and tastes of Spain
  • Ring of Kerry: offered with the 12-day British Isles cruise, includes a traditional Ceili dinner and highlights the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney and Cork
  • Classic Italy: visit Venice, Florence and Rome’s greatest sights: Venice’s St. Mark’s Square and Doge’s Palace, Rome’s Coliseum and Vatican museums, the Duomo and Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in Florence. All sights are offered with the seven-day Mediterranean & Aegean cruise or the 11-day Grand Central Mediterranean cruise
  • Imperial Treasures: brings guests to Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Berlin for a memorable introduction to these historic European cities and is offered with the 11-day Scandinavia & Russia cruise.

Captain’s Circle Savings and Early Booking Deposit

As new benefit under the Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle loyalty program, guests who have reached Elite status will have the opportunity to secure their booking a day earlier than the general public, which goes on sale December 14, 2017. A reduced deposit of 10 percent is available for bookings made by August 31, 2018.

Carnival Bringing Top Brands and Transformed Shopping Spaces To Fleet

November 21, 2017.

Grand opening of Pandora on Carnival Breeze

As part of an ongoing effort to provide its guests with the widest variety of choices at sea, Carnival Cruise Line is totally transforming its shipboard shopping experience with renovated spaces and popular items from some of the world’s best-known retailers, including Victoria’s Secret, Swarovski, Pandora, TAG and others.

According to Carnival’s Vice President of Retail William Butler, the upgraded retail venues and expanded offerings are the result of months of intensive research and data gathering to customize its onboard shopping options to match the preferences of Carnival guests.

“We’re committed to enhancing every aspect of our operations – which includes, of course, onboard shopping – and our expanded and enhanced retail offerings provide guests with an opportunity to enjoy some ‘retail therapy’ and take home a unique and memorable keepsake from their Carnival vacation,” he said.

Here’s a breakdown on some of the many new offerings available across the fleet:

  • Effy (12 ships) – one of the largest manufactures of fine jewelry in the U.S., Effy’s tax- and duty-free items feature a lifetime guarantee and run the gamut from colored gemstones and diamonds to tanzanite and other top-of-the-line products.
  • Swarovski (25 ships) – one of the world’s leading retailers of fashion jewelry offering custom jewelry, pearls, sterling silver and more.
  • TAG (24 ships) – a leading manufacturer of high-end luxury timepieces, TAG’s constantly evolving line of fine watches are worn by celebrities and sports stars the world over.
  • Pandora (10 ships) – the nation’s top costume jewelry provider offers a selection of custom bracelets, rings, necklaces, and charms, including, appropriately enough, some tied to a vacation theme with cruise ships, palm trees and sandals.
  • Invicta (25 ships) – this high-end retailer offers a full line of fashion watches with hundreds of different styles to choose from – from exercise to every day and special occasions – providing consumers with a watch to suit any mood or taste.
  • Victoria’s Secret (22 ships) – purveyor of top beauty products offering a variety of popular items and accessories, including mists, lotions and perfumes, with convenient displays divided by the categories of Prestige, VS Fantasies and Rollerballs.
  • Los Cincos Soles (4 ships) – this Mexican-themed retailer offers sterling silver jewelry, souvenirs, T-shirts, authentic arts and crafts created by local artisans.

Additionally, the line’s Cherry on Top sweets shops offering bulk candies, novelty items and apparel are currently available on 20 ships.

Carnival’s shipboard retail experience has also been enhanced with fun activities, special promotions, and giveaways, in-store parties and more.  Select ships also feature stand-alone kiosks with “wearable tech” accessories that include the latest fitness trackers, pedometers, and heart rate monitors by brands like Fossil and others.

Carnival has also made a significant investment in digital marketing across the fleet directing guests to marquee retail events and upcoming deals during their cruise.

Over the past year, Carnival has completely renovated the shopping outlets on Carnival Sensation, Carnival Elation, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Valor with Carnival Victory, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Legend and Carnival Paradise scheduled for retail refurbishments in the coming year.

The new Carnival Horizon, set to debut in spring 2018, will take the line’s retail offerings to the next level with the line’s largest, most elaborate and diverse shopping experience to date with two decks of shops, boutiques and displays featuring top-name retailers.

Royal Caribbean 3 Day Cyber Monday Sale

November 21, 2017.

Royal Caribbean is having a three day Cyber Monday sale starting November 24 and running through November 27.

The deal offers the following:

  • 50% off second guest; 25% Savings for 3/4 guests “Kids Sail for Less”
  • Up to $400 Onboard Credit per stateroom:
  • 5 Nights or Less:

o   $50 Onboard Credit for an Interior/Oceanview Stateroom

o   $100 Onboard Credit for a Balcony Stateroom

o   $150 Onboard Credit for a Deluxe Stateroom

  • 6 Nights or More:

o   $75 Onboard Credit for an Interior/Oceanview Stateroom

o   $200 Onboard Credit for a Balcony Stateroom

o   $300 Onboard Credit for a Deluxe Stateroom

  • Early birds will score up to an additional $100 to spend at sea on sailings booked 6+ months in advance with our Non-Refundable Deposit program (this is how you can get the ‘up to $400 Onboard Credit)

Booking Window: November 24-27, 2017 11:59 p.m. EST

Sailing Window: All sailings departing on or after December 24, 2017. Offer excludes China departures.

MSC Seaside’s Entertainment Options Are Sure To Please

November 20, 2017.

MSC Cruises today announced more details of the new entertainment options aboard its latest flagship, MSC Seaside.

Late-Night Fun and Laughter with BeerProv, New Improvised Comedy Concept

For the first time on the MSC Cruises fleet, guests will be able to enjoy improvised comedy at sea. The well-known North American comedy troupe BeerProv, famed for instantly creating hilarious, unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, offering guests an entirely unique and unexpected show every performance. This new 45-minute concept features four comedians and includes a high level of audience participation.

Seven Brand New Broadway-Style Shows

MSC Cruises places a large emphasis on delivering quality entertainment, and has been recognized multiple times for its top-notch productions. The cruise line received the award for Best Production Shows in Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Editor in Chief Awards for 2017 and earned a spot under Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment in USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice 2016 Awards, as well as the Cruisers’ Choice in the CruiseCritic 2016 Awards.

MSC Cruises has worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another eye-catching show, The Wizard, will feature breathtaking illusions, and Peter Punk provides a fresh new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano and tenor, for fans of live music.

More Flexible Theater Show Sittings

Also for the first time in MSC Cruises’ fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility to fit a fantastic show around even the busiest schedule. The shows will feature 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

Activities Kids Will Love

Lego Experience

As a family-owned company, MSC Cruises is dedicated to creating unique moments for families, and each and every new ship offers an even greater family offering. Two special LEGO® rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, will allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world’s most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club – LEGO® Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship’s Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO®, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club – LEGO® Pirates is for kids aged seven to eleven, filled with the latest LEGO® toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO®.

Parents can enjoy a night to themselves, by dropping their kids off at late night group babysitting services, available for ages 3 to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am to enjoy everything the ship has to offer by night. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm, for a full, stress free day. Each kids’ club will be equipped with the latest, cutting-edge equipment, including 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

To create more opportunities for together-time for the whole family, the Metropolitan Theatre will host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids’ clubs for both kids and their parents, so that the “big kids” can join in on the fun!

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

Interactive Entertainment

An entertainment area offers guests high-tech thrills, including an authentic F1 racing simulator, immersive XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a whole host of arcade games. Two of the longest zips line at sea will also take guests on a high-speed thrill ride, finishing at the back of the ship. Guests can either take the plunge on their own or race a friend side-by-side.

New shows in the ship’s atrium will also offer surprise performances. Game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more will make up the varied line-up in this uniquely designed space.

Carnival Increasing Capacity on Short Cruises From Galveston & New Orleans in 2019

November 16, 2017.

Carnival Dream, Carnival Valor to Operate Four- and Five-Day Mexico Cruises From Galveston and New Orleans, Respectively, Providing New Exciting Choices in Two Popular Homeports

Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from Galveston and New Orleans  in 2019.

Carnival Dream will launch four- and five-day cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning in May 2019, becoming the newest and largest Carnival ship to operate a short cruise program from that port.

In turn, Carnival Valor, currently based in Galveston, will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round four- and five-day cruises from the Big Easy beginning May 2019.  It will be the largest ship to offer a year-round short cruise schedule from New Orleans.

Four- day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso.  Some five-day itineraries from Galveston feature Cozumel and Costa Maya.

Carnival Dream from Galveston

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream will kick off its year-round four- and five-day schedule from Galveston beginning May 23, 2019, representing a 22 percent increase in capacity on this program.

Carnival Dream recently underwent an extensive makeover that added a number of exciting food and beverage options, including Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare and the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant.  These complement such attractions as a WaterWorks aqua park, luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and more.

Carnival Dream will join Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018, and together these three ships are expected to carry nearly 650,000 passengers annually from Galveston – more than any cruise line.

Carnival Valor from New Orleans

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will kick off its new year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises from New Orleans May 16, 2019, replacing Carnival Triumph and representing a nearly 10 percent increase in capacity on the line’s short cruise program from that port.  Carnival Triumph will be deployed to another homeport to be announced at a later date.   Also in May 2019, Carnival Glory will take over the New Orleans-based year-round seven-day schedule of Carnival Dream.  Together, Carnival Valor and Carnival Glory are expected to carry nearly 400,000 passengers from New Orleans.

Carnival Valor last year underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that added such popular highlights as Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, SkyBox sports bar, Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.   Other features on Carnival Valor include an adults-only Serenity retreat, a 214-foot-long water slide and Scarlett’s, a classic American steakhouse.

Princess Cruises “Cyber Sale” Offers Two Can’t-Miss Steals to All Destinations

November 16, 2017.

Holiday “Cyber Sale” Runs November 17-29

In anticipation of the busy holiday shopping season, Princess Cruises is launching its annual Cyber Sale, with two offers to the more than 360 worldwide destinations the cruise line visits. The sale runs November 17-29, with more details found at www.princess.com/deals.

With a Sail Soon offer for cruises departing in Winter 2017 – Spring 2018 and a Sail Later deal for Summer 2018 – Spring 2019 sailings, guests will enjoy plenty of perks, including:

Sail Soon – Winter 2017 – Spring 2018

Guests can select six- to 60-day cruises and cruisetours sailing from Winter 2017-Spring 2018 to the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Panama Canal, California Coast, Australia & New Zealand, Southeast Asia, South America and Grand Voyages. Bookings made during the sale save up to $1,000 per stateroom or $500 per guest.

Sail Later – Winter 2018 – Spring 2019

On six- to 60-day cruises and cruisetours booked for Summer 2018-Spring 2019 voyages to all destinations, the sale offers three desired amenities for everyone in the stateroom, including:

  • FREE Stateroom Location Upgrade – preferred stateroom location for the lowest fare within the room type booked
  • FREE Gratuities – paid on behalf of all guests in a stateroom
  • FREE Onboard Spending Money – up to $600 per stateroom, as follows for up to four guests:
    • Cruise length six to nine days: $75 per guest
    • Cruise length 10-12 days: $100 per guest
    • Cruise length 13+ days: $150 per guest

Princess Cruises’ Cyber Sale runs November 17, 2017 (12 am PST) through November 29, 2017 (11:59 pm PST) and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bermuda and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older.

MSC Cruises Celebrates Black Friday and Cyber Monday with 50%+ Savings

 November 14, 2017.

MSC Cruises USA  is kicking off the holiday season’s most popular shopping extravaganza with free upgrades from ocean view to balcony staterooms, meaning 50 percent plus savings on select sailings. Beginning on Monday, November 20 and extended through Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Wednesday, November 29, cruisers can take advantage of these incredible reduced rates, especially for those looking to get away during the holidays or kick off the new year with a vacation.

MSC Seaside   is the company’s newest ship, featuring a revolutionary “beach condo” design, and will sail year round from  Miami to the Caribbean when she arrives in December.  Guests can be one of the first to experience the stunning, innovative cruise ship by booking one of the last few available staterooms on MSC Seaside’s first 7-night cruise from Miami. Departing December 23, MSC Seaside will be decked out for the holidays for this sailing, with special holiday décor, menus and activities.

The MSC Divina will also depart on a holiday sailing on December 23, with themed events, decorations and culinary celebrations. Additionally, guests can enjoy incredible lower rates and be the first to experience the ship’s new 10 and 11-night Caribbean itineraries, which kick off on December 23.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deal

From November 20-29, 2017, guests can book a balcony stateroom at an ocean view rate on both MSC Divina and MSC Seaside select sailings starting December 23, 2017 extending through May 12, 2018, offering the potential for 50%+ savings.

7-night cruises qualifying for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion on MSC Seaside include, but are not limited to:

  • December 23, 2017: Guests booking on this sailing can be among the first to experience the innovative MSC Seaside as she embarks on her first 7-night voyage from Miami. Ports of call include St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau Bahamas. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $929 per person.
  • December 30, 2017: Celebrate New Year’s on the brand new, revolutionary flagship with stops in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Nassau Bahamas. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $1,199 per person.
  • January 6, 2018: 7-night sailing with stops in Nassau, Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; and Costa Maya, Mexico. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $699 per person.

10 and 11-night cruises qualifying for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Promotion on MSC Divina include, but are not limited to:

  • December 23, 2017: Guests can ring in the holidays onboard MSC Divina as she sails her first 11-night itinerary. The stunning ship will be adorned with holiday décor and feature special festivities throughout the week with stops in Nassau, Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; and Belize City, Belize. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $1,609 per person.
  • January 3, 2018: 11-night sailing with stops in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Bridgetown, Barbados; Saint George, Grenada; Willemstad, Curaçao; Oranjestad, Aruba. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $599 per person.
  • January 25, 2018: 10-night sailing with stops in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Basseterre, St Kitts & Nevis; Fort de France, Martinique; Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe; Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Prices for balcony staterooms start at $649 per person.

Disney Cruise Line Adds New Spaces and Experiences For All Ages to Disney Magic in 2018

November 14, 2017.

The Disney Magic embodies the Disney Cruise Line tradition of blending the elegant grace of early 20th century transatlantic ocean liners with contemporary design to create a stylish and spectacular cruise ship. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)
A Tangled-themed family restaurant, a fresh new space for teens and a redesigned café for adults means something new for every member of the family aboard the Disney Magic

Exciting new spaces and new experiences designed for guests of all ages are coming to the Disney Magic in March 2018.

The ship’s newest highlights include:

An Enchanting Dining Experience for Families

At Rapunzel’s Royal Table, families will delight in an all-new dining experience inspired by the beloved story of Disney’s “Tangled.” The first table service restaurant themed to “Tangled” that features characters and live entertainment will transport Disney Magic guests to the kingdom of Corona for an evening of music and interactive fun featuring Rapunzel and the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs.

Guests will step inside a regal ballroom in the royal castle, lit by glowing wish lanterns and adorned with colorful drawings that reflect Rapunzel’s artistic talents. Here, the King and Queen of Corona invite everyone to take part in a festive celebration of Rapunzel’s birthday and the anniversary of her return to the kingdom.

Throughout dinner, guests of all ages will be treated to live entertainment, including spirited singing and dancing led by the maître d’, a merry band of musicians, the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs and of course, Princess Rapunzel herself.

The family fun is complete with themed menus, special activities and a lively parade to cap off the evening in Corona. The charm and enchantment of “Tangled” in Rapunzel’s Royal Table is the perfect pairing to “Tangled: The Musical” – the spellbinding original production that delights guests during each Disney Magic sailing.

Redesigned Retreat Just for Teens

Vibe, the space on the ship reserved for teens ages 14-17, is being transformed into a trendy urban loft environment. At Vibe, teens can enjoy a new coffee and smoothie bar, play video and virtual reality games, and check out other cool activities like a DJ spin-off and movie making. Activities at Vibe are organized and hosted by trained Disney counselors who facilitate the fun and interaction among teen guests.

Refined Escape Exclusively for Adults

Adults can relax at Cove Café, an adult-exclusive retreat that will be redesigned in a sophisticated tropical style. It’s the perfect place to sip a specialty coffee or tea throughout the day, or indulge in wine or a cocktail and light bites during the evening hours.

In this serene setting by the Quiet Cove Pool, adult beverage tastings are also available at select times for an additional fee. Just steps away, the adjacent Signals Bar will also be transformed with a similar look.

Elsewhere around the Disney Magic, other enhancement highlights include the addition of Club Disney Junior in Disney’s Oceaneer Club for children and a redesigned Rainforest Room with steam and hydrotherapy in Senses Spa for adults.

The new enhancements debut on Disney Magic starting March 9, 2018, on sailings from Miami, Fla. The four- and five-night Disney Magic sailings from Miami visit Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Beginning on May 14, 2018, the Disney Magic repositions to Europe for the summer season.

The Frustration-Free Cruise is Arriving on Royal Caribbean

November 8, 2017.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  is rolling out an unprecedented wave of digital innovations touching every aspect of its business, charting a course for a world where travel frustrations have disappeared, erased by technology that is transforming cruise ships from stem to stern.

Most visible to consumers through a guest-empowering app that will blanket the company’s 48-ship fleet over the next two years, the surge of innovation will also banish check-in lines at ports, equip crew members to anticipate guests’ needs, and enable giant cruise ships to sail through the water on a fuel-saving curtain of air.

Jay Schneider, RCL’s senior vice president, digital, said one focus of RCL’s company-wide innovation initiative is zeroing in on wasted effort and wasted energy. “We are finding ways to eliminate friction and frustration, giving guests more time to make the memories that make vacations special,” said Schneider. For example, guests will:

  • Board ships in the time it takes to order fries from the drive-through, skipping check-in lines thanks to facial recognition technology that knows who they are on arrival.
  • Sign up for shore excursions, order drinks and make dinner reservations without ever leaving their chairs by the pool thanks to an intuitive app on a device most of them already have—a smartphone.
  • Indulge in VR and AR experiences that transform ship spaces into virtual environments and interactive games, where stateroom ceilings might be replaced by starry skies, the walls of a restaurant can transform into the sights and sounds of an outdoor café and digital signs challenge you to play an arcade game.

The technological transformation also encompasses areas beyond the guest experience, including innovations to make ships more energy-efficient, enhance ship management and put more connectivity into the hands of crew members than ever before.

 

For guests: less friction, more time to make memories

One specific focus is removing time-stealing moments from the cruise experience. “Time spent in line—whether you’re waiting for your food, waiting for your bags to arrive, waiting on a table, or booking an excursion—is time stolen from your time off,” Schneider said. To return that time to guests, the company is combining technologies ranging from facial recognition to RFID tagging to GPS mapping to Bluetooth-enabled beacons to streamline boarding, manage check-ins automatically and improve wayfinding.

Many of these same technologies are being deployed to put the power to manage your vacation in the palm of your hand, said Schneider. “Our new app will make it simpler than ever to book and plan your cruise vacation from home or with a travel agent. Once on board, you can navigate our ships with interactive maps and guides, explore the ship with cool features like x-ray vision, or order drinks that can be delivered to you wherever you are on the ship.” The app, along with the next generation of the company’s WOW Bands, will also unlock guest staterooms and enable guests to control stateroom lighting and temperature.

An initial release of the cruise guest app is already available on selected ships in RCL’s fleet. Schneider said RCL will continue to refine the app, adding new ship-specific features and capabilities, with each subsequent release.

For crew: better interaction with guests and home

The innovations enriching the cruise guest experience will be complemented by a suite of tools for crews, as well. For example, the app-enabled offerings for guests will be mirrored on the crew side by mobile applications that help crew members check-in guests, complete required paperwork, track delivery of guests’ bags to their staterooms, and interact with guests and anticipate their needs throughout their vacations.

In addition, crews will have access to easier means to manage their own schedules, stay connected to friends and family while onboard, and stay connected to RCL during their off-contract periods.

For the RCL fleet: smarter, safer ships and a reduced environmental footprint

Forthcoming command centers will use augmented reality to assist with navigation and maneuvering.

In addition, in a safety-related application of the same technologies that will help servers deliver a drink to a guest anywhere on board, next generation bridge technology will allow officers to track guests on their way to muster stations to ensure all are accounted for and locate stragglers.

RCL is also innovating to reduce fuel consumption across its fleet, which not only lowers operating costs but also lightens stack emissions that are part of cruising’s environmental footprint. Historically, each new class of RCL ships is significantly more fuel efficient than its predecessors as new high efficiency appliances, window tinting and improved lighting, heating and cooling technologies help reduce energy needs. The company continues to evolve hull designs to reduce drag, an evolution most evident in the “bulbous bows” now common on cruise ships. In addition, RCL is pioneering the use of an air lubrication system that coats the hulls of its ships with millions of microscopic air bubbles to further reduce resistance and drag. In initial uses, air lubrication has reduced fuel consumption at speed by 7 to 8 percent.

Complementing RCL’s energy conservation efforts are initiatives to use alternative energy sources. Some RCL ships are already equipped with solar panels that generate sufficient power for limited onboard needs. At Sea Beyond, RCL will be previewing the use of fuel cells for power generation. Fuel cell use could fundamentally change ship design by distributing power sources throughout the ship. Furthermore, adoption of fuel cells would also mean producing less energy from diesel generators, reducing ships’ environmental footprints. The company is planning fuel cell experiments on existing ships, with an eye to extensive use of fuel cells and liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion on its upcoming Icon class of ships. “We are fully embracing the expectation that we run an environmentally sustainable business,” said Fain. “Experimenting with new ways to power our ships is just part of our broad commitment to being a responsible environmental steward.”

 

Carnival Horizon Completes Final Sea Trials

November 7, 2017.

Photo by Filippo Vinardi

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, successfully completed its final sea trials in the Adriatic Sea earlier this week in anticipation of its inaugural cruise from Barcelona on April 2, 2018.

Currently in the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the 3,974-passenger vessel had a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers on board who thoroughly tested Carnival Horizon’s sophisticated technical, mechanical and navigation systems.

As the newest ship in the fleet, Carnival Horizon will offer a number of unique innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss WaterWorks aqua park, a new teppanyaki dining venue, and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse, a new BBQ restaurant offering mouth-watering favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri along with a four different kinds of craft beer brewed at a brewery on board.

Carnival Horizon will also offer such popular Vista-class features as an IMAX Theatre, a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, the tropics-inspired Havana section with colorful staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, and Family Harbor with extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge.

Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port.  Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.