Carnival To Develop New Cruise Facility On Grand Bahama Island

 

May 2, 2017.

Officials from Carnival Cruise Line and the Bahamian government signed an agreement today during a ceremony in Freeport, Grand Bahama, for the construction of a new cruise port facility to be funded and operated by Carnival Cruise Line on Grand Bahama Island.

The as-yet-unnamed planned port will be the largest purpose-built cruise facility ever constructed in The Bahamas and will take inspiration from the Bahamian people and their islands. Features will include a one-mile stretch of beach, food, beverage and shopping outlets, a wide array of water-based amenities and other recreational facilities. The port will also feature a pier capable of accommodating two of Carnival’s largest cruise ships simultaneously and is expected to eventually host up to 1 million guests annually.

The multimillion-dollar project will provide a significant economic benefit for the country of The Bahamas, including many employment and economic opportunities throughout the development, construction and ongoing operation once completed.

“Carnival Cruise Line is the leader in year-round cruising to The Bahamas and this new development will not only provide a truly extraordinary and one-of-a-kind destination experience for our guests but it will further solidify our partnership with the people of The Bahamas,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “In 2017, along with Carnival’s sister lines, Carnival Corporation will bring close to 3 million guests to The Bahamas via calls to Nassau, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, the latter two of which were developed and are operated by Carnival Corporation brands Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.  Collectively, we represent the single largest cruise company investor in The Bahamas,” Duffy added.

During the signing ceremony, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald said, “When Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival and the modern day cruise industry, embarked on his first cruise, it was to The Bahamas. From that day until now, The Bahamas continues to be one of the most strategic and important destinations for our company.” Donald continued, “Signing this agreement today is especially meaningful to me, as we strive to further contribute to the prosperity of the people of The Bahamas through providing experiences that continue to exceed our guests’ expectations.”

Prime Minister the Right Honourable Perry G. Christie stated, “The Government of The Bahamas has had a long and close association with Carnival which has been of great economic benefit to both parties.” He continued, “This new cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama will deliver a cruise port in the traditional sense, but more than that, its shore project will create a new ‘destination’ with a distinctive flavour and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama as a viable tourist centre.”

The project is subject to a detailed public discussion process, environmental studies and permitting.

Norwegian Sky Makes Inaugural Call In Havana

May 2, 2017.

Norwegian Sky Enters Havana Harbor

Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship to sail to Cuba, made her maiden call in the capital city of Havana this morning.  Norwegian Cruise Line executives were onboard to celebrate the voyage, including Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President & CEO Frank Del Rio and Norwegian Cruise Line President & CEO Andy Stuart.

“Today is a momentous day for Norwegian Cruise Line, our guests and our travel agent partners, as we open our doors to Cuba’s natural beauty, warm people and historical treasures,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. “Sailing into the Havana Harbor today, we were welcomed by the Cuban people with open arms and excitement to share their incredible culture with our guests.”

Today’s call was the first of Norwegian Sky’s weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba.  The ship will sail a total of 53 four-day voyages to Cuba, with 52 including an overnight stay in Havana. Norwegian offers a selection of 14 half and full-day OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests aboard Norwegian Sky will have the opportunity to have a farm to table dining experience, explore the flora and fauna of Soroa, see modern Havana in an American classic car and much more.

The all-inclusive Norwegian Sky will also call on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas, during her four-day cruises to Cuba.  Great Stirrup Cay was recently enhanced to offer guests new ways to enjoy the island with additional pathways, seating and shaded lounge areas, with additional features still to come, including a private luxury lagoon enclave for suite guests and guests of The Haven.

Guests sailing on Norwegian Sky receive unlimited complimentary beverages as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program.

For additional information or to book a cruise to Cuba on Norwegian, as well as documentation requirements, Frequently Asked Questions and more, please visit www.ncl.com/cruises-to/cuba-cruises.

Newest Princess Cruises Stage Shows Are Hits With Guests

May 2, 2017.

Two new Broadway-style stage shows offered to Princess Cruises guests are receiving rave reviews – “Born to Dance,” the latest show to debut in the cruise line’s Stephen Schwartz partnership and “Encore,” based on the highly popular opera performance “Bravo”.  I recently saw Encore on Island Princess and it was an excellent production.

“Born to Dance”

Born To Dance

Created in partnership with Stephen Schwartz, the Oscar®, Grammy® and Tony Award®-winning composer of “Wicked,”“Godspell,” and “Pippin,” “Born to Dance” is the second offering in the cruise line’s exclusive partnership. The show celebrates the aspirations, hurdles and triumphs of professional dancers, as told through tributes to Broadway’s greatest choreography in a feel-good story.

“We’re proud of our dynamic collaboration with Stephen Schwartz bringing our second revered show to life with ‘Born to Dance.’ Guests love the high-energy music and dancing,” added Saviss.

Princess audiences get a glimpse of what it takes to be a dancer, the highs and lows and that driving need to dance brought to life by some of Broadway’s most famous hits including “West Side Story,” “A Chorus Line,” “Chicago” and more. A who’s-who of acclaimed choreographers and dancers virtually join the multi-media production, tracing the journey of the great artists and shows that made musical theater history.

Overseeing the creative development of four brand new shows for Princess Cruises, Schwartz brings together a team of Broadway talent to support the productions through direction and design. “Born to Dance” is created and directed by Daniel C. Levine from Broadways’ “Les Misérables” and “Mamma Mia!” and is now showing aboard Golden Princess, Grand Princess and Star Princess. Additional talent includes costume design by six time Tony Award® winner William Ivey Long, musical arrangement by Bryan Perri, conductor for Broadway’s Wicked, choreography by Al Blackstone from the hit show So You Think You Can Dance, and scenic design by Tony Award® winner Beowulf Boritt.

The show will premiere next on Regal Princess in October.

“Encore”

Encore

“Encore” is inspired by the cruise line’s top-rated show “Bravo” and accompanied by an immensely talented onstage orchestra.

The show pays homage to the traditions of pop, opera and musical theater set amidst the romantic splendor of a beautiful Montecito garden. Showcasing new songs performed by a true soprano guest artist and combined with elaborate costumes and stunning sets, the show is conceived, directed and choreographed by American Idol’s Danny Teeson, with musical direction by Academy Awards arranger Nelson Kole and set design by Emmy® award-winner John Iacovelli.

Coral Princess, Island Princess and Sea Princess are currently showing “Encore,” with Royal Princess the next ship to receive the show in December.

Royal Caribbean Moving Two Ships To Gulf Coast In 2018

May 1, 2017.

I am really excited about this news and the opportunity to sail from New Orleans on Royal Caribbean again.  After a three-year hiatus, the cruise line will return to New Orleans with the newly announced repositioning of Vision of the Seas for the 2018-2019 winter season. The ship will sail 7-night itineraries to the Bahamas and Yucatan Peninsula.  Her sister ship Enchantment of the Seas will move from Miami, Florida to join Liberty of the Seas in Galveston offering 4- and 5-night Caribbean cruises that will complement Liberty’s 7-night Caribbean vacations. The two new offerings bring more options and easy access from the Gulf Coast to fans of Royal Caribbean…like me.

Before repositioning to its new home in “The Big Easy” on December 15, 2018, Vision of the Seas will offer two 16-night sailings through the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles and then from Los Angeles to New Orleans. This will be the first time in three years that Royal Caribbean will journey through the canal.

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas also will embark on new adventures in 2018 when the longtime resident of Asia-Pacific returns to the United States to homeport in Miami.  Mariner will be the first Voyager-class ship to offer short Caribbean sailings perfect for first-time cruise travelers. The 3- and 4-night itineraries from PortMiami to the Bahamas begin on June 21, 2018, following the ship’s extensive, 32-day revitalization. Prior to going into drydock and her arrival to Miami, Mariner will embark on a previously announced “Global Odyssey,” consisting of three 13- to 15-night sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami.

Enchantment of the Seas arrives to Galveston on June 23, 2018. Guests currently booked on Enchantment for sailings departing Miami after June 23 will be contacted individually to transition the original booking to the freshly revitalized Mariner of the Seas from her new homeport in Miami.

Sailings onboard Mariner of the Seas will be available to book on May 1, 2017, Enchantment of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will be available to book as of May 5.

 

Disney Wonder Becomes First Passenger Vessel To Transit New Panama Canal Locks

 

April 30, 2017.

The Disney Wonder transited the Panama Canal on April 29, making it the first passenger vessel to go through the canal’s new set of locks, marking a milestone for the cruise industry.

I transited the original locks just a couple weeks ago and didn’t realize the new locks are just a few hundred feet east.  In the above photo you can see a red and white ship in the background preparing to enter the “old” Gatun Locks.

For some background on Disney Wonder, the ship was transformed in late 2016, expanding the length of the Disney Wonder to 984 feet and accommodating 2713 guests.  Headlining the ship’s enhancements are new imaginative spaces for children – including areas themed to the Marvel Universe and Disney’s “Frozen” –  a jazzy restaurant inspired by Disney’s “Princess and the Frog,” and an authentic neighborhood English pub with subtle nods to classic Disney films.

The Disney Wonder Panama Canal crossing is part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Diego, where the ship will sail cruises to Baja, Mexico, before a summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.

 

Holland America Has A New Shipboard App

 April 28, 2107.

Holland America Line is changing the way guests digitally access shipboard experiences and information across the fleet with the launch of Holland America Line Navigator, a free mobile-friendly tool. Navigator does not need to be downloaded in advance, does not require a paid internet connection and works on the browsers of most personal devices including phones, tablets and laptops.  You simply connect to the ship’s Wi-Fi and open a browser window.  The Navigator screen will automatically appear as the homepage.

Smartphone view of Navigator web app

Using Navigator, guests can plan their daily activities, explore and book shore excursions, view restaurant menus and make dining reservations, view spa treatments, connect to paid internet and look at their shipboard account balance. Additional features include access to ship deck plans, a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and links to complimentary internet sites such as hollandamerica.com.

 

To access the full functionality of Navigator, guests can create an account by following a simple registration process. Registering allows guests to plan a personal itinerary, make dining reservations, book shore excursions, view shipboard account information and connect to paid internet. There are no charges to register or use Navigator.

Computer desktop image of Navigator

One of the key features of Navigator is that it allows guests to select and save specific activities to a personalized “my itinerary” to plan out their cruise days up to a week in advance. Those activities show up alongside booked dining reservations and shore excursions to truly help the guest get the most out of their time aboard.

 

Malala Yousafzai Named Godmother of Celebrity Edge

April 27, 2017 .

Celebrity has named 19-year old Nobel Laureate and U.N. Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai as the Godmother of their newest ship, Celebrity Edge, debuting late in 2018.

The company also announced a two-year partnership with the Malala Fund. With the shared commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equality, the brand is partnering with Malala Fund whose mission is to secure 12 years of safe, free quality education for every girl.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said that Malala’s dedication to girls’ education sets an example worth following. “Partnering with Malala Fund was a natural fit as we share the same passion and commitment to an incredible cause. We believe in opportunities for all, especially as our crew onboard represent more than 50 different cultures – and amazing stories of achievement, education and economic advancement.”

“Malala is an inspiration and a voice of hope,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This young woman is on a powerful mission, and we support it 100 percent. We are deeply honored to name Malala the Godmother of Celebrity Edge, and we’re excited to team up with her and the Malala Fund to champion the global right to education.”

Fain added: “Malala Fund also advances one of our company’s key philosophies: that education is a great equalizer, providing opportunities to people who need it most.”

“We cannot get 130 million out-of-school girls into classrooms on our own. We are grateful to generous partners like Celebrity Cruises who support our work to help every girl learn and lead without fear,” said Philippa Lei, Malala Fund interim CEO.

A centuries-old maritime tradition, the role of Godmother is a lifetime title and honor. During the launch of a ship, the Godmother is responsible for bestowing good luck over a seagoing vessel and inspiring all that sail aboard by breaking a bottle over the bow as the ship is named, officiating the ceremony.

Malala began her life as an activist at 11 years old, writing a secret blog about life under the Taliban, who would not permit girls to go to school. She was targeted for her advocacy and, at 15, was shot on her school bus. Malala survived the attack and continued her campaign for girls’ education around the world.

In 2014, Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, donating her entire prize earnings to finance a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. With Malala Fund, she continues to fight for every girl’s right to education.

Celebrity will continue to reveal details regarding the partnership throughout 2017 and 2018. For more information, visit www.celebritycruises.com. To donate to Malala Fund visit www.malala.org/donate/celebritycruises.

Norwegian Joy Delivered

April 27, 2017.

Norwegian Joy sea trial

Norwegian Cruise Line today took delivery of Norwegian Joy, the brand’s fifteenth ship and the first custom-designed for the Chinese cruise market, from MEYER WERFT during an on board ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany.

At 167,725–gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is the second ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class and features an innovative design with amenities tailored to provide a “First Class at Sea” experience for Chinese guests.

“As Norwegian Cruise Line continues our global growth, Norwegian Joy’s delivery marks a momentous occasion in our company’s history, signifying our official entry into the Chinese cruise market,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are very grateful for the outstanding team at MEYER WERFT, along with our operations teams and more than 1,800 crew members, whom once again have delivered an exceptional vessel.”

“With this incredible ship, we have taken Norwegian’s signature on board experience and expanded and customized it with exciting features, services and amenities that combine the best of the East and the West,” said David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China.  “We are honored to deliver this spectacular ship to our Chinese guests and we can’t wait to see Norwegian Joy come to life when she welcomes her first guests upon her arrival in China this June.”

Go Kart Racetrack on Norwegian Joy

In advance of the delivery, Herrera and executives from Norwegian’s offices in China gathered for a traditional blessing from the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, Mazu, to ask for safe and pleasant voyages for the ship and all its guests.  The ceremony was held at the Mazu Temple in Shanghai where, one year ago, the Norwegian team held a ceremony to obtain a blessing for the coins that were used in Norwegian Joy’s Keel laying ceremony. During the visit, a ceramic statue of Mazu was gifted to the company by the temple representatives and brought to Germany for the ship’s delivery. The statue has been given a place of honor aboard Norwegian Joy and will carry the blessings of Mazu on the journey to China.

Casino

Following her delivery, Norwegian Joy will begin her journey to China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and  Beijing (Tianjin). The ship will be christened in an exclusive star-studded event for honored guests on June 27, led by her Godfather, the‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom.

 

For more information on Norwegian Joy, please contact an authorized Norwegian travel partner or visit www.goncl.cn (in China) or https://www.ncl.com/norwegian-joy (in US). Reservations for Norwegian Joy from June 28 onwards are currently available through travel agent partners across China.

Royal Caribbean’s 2018-19 Deployments For China, Singapore, Australia.

April 26, 2017.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S NEWEST QUANTUM ULTRA-CLASS SHIP TO SAIL FROM ASIA-PACIFIC IN 2019

Royal Caribbean International has unveiled future plans for the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named ship will be the next evolution of the groundbreaking Quantum class and will join her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. The announcement was made as Royal Caribbean unveiled its full roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries.

As part of the deployment plans for 2018-19, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to a new home in Miami, Florida embarking on a “Global Odyssey” from Asia that features three long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. The “Global Odyssey” opens for sale on May 2, 2017.  Voyager of the Seas will have her first full season in Singapore in 2018-19, offering 3- to 7-night cruises throughout Southeast Asia with stops that include ports in Thailand and Malaysia.

The new 2018-19 deployment season presents additional highlights, including an expanded offering of open-jaw itineraries for adventure-seekers traveling down under with new 10-night open-jaw itineraries between Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne or Sydney, Australia on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for her longest season in Australia, reclaiming the title as the largest ship based in the region.

Royal Caribbean’s China 2018-19 itineraries for Quantum and Voyager will be available to book beginning April 26, 2017, followed by Ovation on April 27. Australia and Singapore sailings will be open as of May 16, 2017.

2018-19 China, Singapore, Australia Deployment Highlights

Adventures from China and Singapore

Available to book April 26 and April 27

  • Quantum of the Seas will continue to sail from Shanghai for the fourth consecutive season, offering 78 sailings to and from Japan, beginning January 2018. Highlights include:
    • 6-night Japan itinerary: Visiting the historic city of Nagasaki and overnighting in Okinawa, Japan,  guests can dive into  the unique culture of the nation’s southernmost prefecture
    • 8-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Showcasing the best of the nation with stops in Kobe, Tokyo and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Ovation of the Seas will return to Tianjin, China for its second season, offering a rich lineup to explore the best of Japan, including two new ports for the ship: Sasaebo and Shimonoseki.  The season begins April 2018. Highlights include:
    • 5-night Japan itinerary: Sailing to Sasaebo and Shimonoseki, Japan, travelers will venture to what many know as “The Gateway to Japan.”
    • 7-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Guest uncover far-flung locales in Japan, including the scenic ports of Sakaiminato, Maizuru and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Voyager of the Seas will offer a combined total of 77 sailings from Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, offering countless adventures across Southeast Asia, beginning April 30, 2018.  Itinerary highlights include:
    • 4-night Malaysia itinerary: Sailing from Singapore and visiting Penang and Phuket, Malaysia, a hub of vibrant neighborhoods and heritage architecture
    • 5-night Vietnam itinerary: From Hong Kong to far-flung destinations, including Chan May and Nha Trang, Vietnam, guests will discover a country of breathtaking beauty and a storied past

Journeys in Australia and South Pacific
Available to book May 16

  • Ovation of the Seasthe largest and most technologically advanced ship to sail in Australian waters – will sail from Sydney, Australia for its third and longest season in the country, offering 13 sailings beginning November 2018. Highlights include:
    • 10-night New Zealand itinerary: Departing Sydney, featuring the country’s endemic wildlife and Maori heritage with stops in Milford Sound, Napier and Picton, New Zealand
    • 14-night Singapore to Sydney, open-jaw itinerary: Setting sail this Fall to ports of call including Adelaide and Hobart, Tasmania
  • Radiance of the Seas will have an expanded open-jaw program with three new itineraries venturing out into Australia in 2019. Highlights include:
    • New – 10-night, open-jaw itinerary: Departing from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia, travelers will visit various captivating destinations throughout the Tasman Sea.
  • Explorer of the Seas will join Ovation of the Seas for her fourth season based in Sydney with 23 sailings exploring the island destinations of the South Pacific and Fiji. The ship’s cruises range from 3- to 14-night itineraries, and will begin in October 2018. Highlights include:
    • 12-night South Pacific and Fiji itinerary: Visiting a lineup of exotic destinations, including Noumea, Caledonia; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Lautoka and Suva, Fiji.

Holland America Line Introduces New Beverage Packages

April 24, 2017. 

Holland America has introduced a new Elite Beverage Package for guests that features premium beverage selections. With this new package, guests may now also enjoy libations from Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff’s collection of unique, classic cocktails, such as The Ritz Cocktail, The Hemingway Daiquiri and his latest masterpiece the Midnight Sun, created to celebrate Holland America Line’s 70th year of exploring Alaska.

The Elite Beverage Package features any premium spirits, cocktails, wines, beers, coffees, nonalcoholic beverages, bottled water and sodas up to a value of $15 each. On ms Koningsdam, the package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program, where guests can enjoy more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors. The price for the Elite Beverage Package is $54.95 per person, per day.

Holland America has also introduced discounted pricing for its existing Signature Beverage Package, where guests save five dollars when they purchase the package online for $44.95 per person, per day, before their cruise; the same package when purchased aboard ship is priced at $49.95 per person, per day. The Signature Beverage Package includes standard selections of wine, beer, spirits, sodas, coffees and cocktails up to a value of $8 each.

In addition to the Elite and Signature beverage packages, Holland America Line also offers two nonalcoholic beverage options and a Water package.

Quench Beverage Package features unlimited nonalcoholic beverages that include any juices, bottled water, non alcoholic cocktails, non alcoholic beers and specialty coffees for a price of $17.95 per person, per day.

The Coca-Cola Package includes unlimited fountain sodas for $8.00 per person, per day. On ms Koningsdam this package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program with more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors.

The Water Package offers 12 liter bottles for a price of $32.

Wine enthusiasts can opt for the Cellar Master Package, consisting of a choice of five wine bottles, a standard and a premium wine tasting, one Pinnacle Grill dinner, a wine accessory gift set and a Holland America Line commemorative bottle of wine.  Cellar Master Package prices begin at $252 per person.

All beverage packages and cards can be purchased online in advance of sailing or as gifts for other sailing guests. Unless otherwise noted, beverage packages must be purchased for the duration of the cruise and for all occupants of a stateroom. A 15 percent service charge is automatically added to all beverage purchases.