American Cruise Lines ‘American Song’ Riverboat Receiving Final Outfitting

August 1, 2018.

While we spend most of our time talking about ocean going cruise ships and lines, I’ve been keeping an eye on the growing river boat market in the United States.  While this has traditionally been dominated by classic design paddlewheelers, modern river boats are debuting and American Song will be the first.

American Cruise Lines is pleased to announce that the first modern riverboat in U.S. history is nearly complete. This week, American Song, under its own power, moved from the East Outfitting Basin at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD, to the yard’s outfitting pier for the final touches.  The vessel is set to make its inaugural cruise October 6, 2018 on the Mississippi River from New Orleansduring the city’s Tri-centennial year.

 

American Song’s sister ship, American Harmony, the 2nd riverboat in the series, is currently five and a half weeks ahead of schedule and will be launched later this fall.  American Harmony will go into service in the spring of 2019 on the Mississippi River where it will join two of American’s Victorian-style paddlewheelers, Queen of the Mississippi and America.

When it debuts this October 2018, American Song will cruise the Line’s Lower Mississippi River itineraries for the remainder of the year (including American’s holiday-themed cruises throughout December) and reposition to the West Coast on the Columbia & Snake Rivers in 2019.

American Song and American Harmony are both designed and built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland. 

American Cruise Lines was recently awarded Cruise Critic’s 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Award for Best River Line in the U.S. & Canada.  In 2018, American operates the largest and newest fleet of authentic paddlewheelers, coastal cruise ships, and of course the American Song in 2018 & American Harmony in 2019.  With over 35 itineraries visiting 25 states, the company cruises along the rivers, as well as the coastal and inland waterways of New England, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi River system, and the Southeast.

You can read more about American Song, including deck plans, here.

 

 

Carnival To Transform Carnival Triumph Into A New Ship (ala Carnival Sunshine)

July 31, 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line today revealed plans for a nearly $200 million bow-to-stern makeover for Carnival Triumph in the spring of 2019 that will include renaming the ship to reflect its significant transformation.  The ship will join Carnival’s Sunshine class and will be named Carnival Sunrise after a two-month-long refurbishment that will take place in Cadiz, Spain, starting March 1. The dry dock makeover will add all of Carnival’s popular branded food, beverage and entertainment innovations, as well as update all staterooms in a broad spectrum of new accommodations providing guests fresh and exciting seagoing vacation choices.

Following a renaming ceremony, Carnival Sunrise will re-enter service with a series of five- to seven-day voyages from Norfolk, Va., beginning April 29, 2019, a summer schedule of four- to 14-day departures from New York commencing May 23, 2019, then move to Fort Lauderdale in October.

Carnival Sunrise enhancements include the redesign of two luxury Captain’s Suites adjacent to the navigational bridge offering floor-to-ceiling windows and extended balcony grand suites.  All of the ship’s staterooms will be updated to offer island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by the line’s Caribbean itineraries.  Other new features will include:

Cucina del Capitano

Food Glorious Food!

  • 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 Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual spot, featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.
  • The Chef’s Table: a new multi-course dining experience hosted in a special glass-enclosed venue in the forward dining room.
  • Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” an expanded Cherry on Top features bulk candy, fanciful gifts, custom apparel and a Carnival Adventures shop.
  • Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse: a casual open-air eatery featuring “real deal” BBQ favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri.
  • Lido Marketplace: A casual poolside eatery boasting favorites like Seafood Shack offering lobster rolls and other New England-inspired fare; The Deli with sandwiches and paninis; 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

Raising the Bar

  • 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.

Open-Air Fun and Relaxation

  • 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 adult only oasis offering plush chaise lounges, whirlpools and oversized umbrellas, enhanced by dramatic sea views.

Expanded Cloud 9 Spa and 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.
  • Modern, Spacious Facilities for Kids and Teens: including a new Camp Ocean, a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11, along with new spaces for Circle “C” aimed at 12- to 14-year olds and Club O2 geared to those 15-17.
  • The Warehouse:  promising fun for all ages with a variety of the latest video and arcade games.
  • Expanded Retail Spaces:  a mall-style shopping area lined with retail outlets offering fine jewelry, watches, fragrances, and more along with the line’s own branded spaces like Hip Fish and The Carnival Store.

Carnival Sunrise’s Inaugural Season from Norfolk, New York and Fort Lauderdale

Carnival Sunrise’s inaugural schedule from Norfolk kicks off with a seven-day cruise departing the Half Moone Cruise Center visiting Grand Turk, the private island of Half Moon Cay and Freeport departing April 29, 2019.   A pair of five-day voyages departs May 12 and 17, 2019 calling at Nassau and Freeport and three six-day cruises departing May 6, and Oct. 14 and 20, 2019, visiting Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport.

The ship will then reposition to New York for a series of four- to 14-day voyages beginning May 23, 2019. The program includes four- to eight-day Bermuda cruises, including long weekend sailings to the island departing Thursdays and returning Mondays, along with seven-day fall foliage cruises to New England and the Canadian Maritimes, and two different eight-day Caribbean itineraries with stops at the region’s top destinations.  Several longer voyages will also be offered, including a 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean itinerary and a 14-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal cruise highlighted by local dining and entertainment experiences and unique shipboard enrichment activities.

Carnival Sunrise will then reposition to Fort Lauderdale for four- and five-day cruises beginning Oct. 28, 2019.  Four-day long weekend cruises will call at tropical ports like Half Moon Cay, Princess Cays, Grand Turk and Nassau, while five-day cruises will visit Cuba, as well as seaside destinations in The Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Grand Turk.

Norwegian Joy Moving From China To West Coast in 2019

July 18, 2018.

Norwegian Joy sea trial

Norwegian Joy will sail seasonally in Alaska in summer 2019 and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020.  This is significant because the cruise line built Norwegian Joy specifically for the China cruise market, incorporating unique venues and features such as a tea room and noodle bar.  This after the ship was initially announced as Norwegian Bliss under construction, then renamed and redesigned.

Norwegian Pearl will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while Norwegian Jade and Jewel will significantly expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter 2019/2020.  Maintaining Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to serving the Chinese cruise market, Norwegian Spirit will sail seasonally in China beginning summer 2020.

From the press release:

Norwegian Joy to Sail Year-Round on the West Coast of the United States

Seasonal offerings to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera and the Panama Canal

In April 2019, Norwegian Joy will reposition to Seattle to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing Norwegian Pearl as Norwegian Cruise Line’s third ship in the region, joining Norwegian Bliss and Jewel.  Prior to her arrival in Seattle, Norwegian Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in upgrades to enhance her already popular features and bring her designs and offerings to be virtually identical to those of her sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, the newest and most successful ship in the line’s 51-year history. To complement Norwegian Bliss’ itineraries and provide guests with more places to explore and experience the natural beauty of Alaska, Norwegian Joy will cruise a variety of itineraries featuring Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point, long recognized for its untouched wilderness, rich culture and fresh seafood. She will also call into Victoria, British Columbia.

Following her inaugural Alaska season, Norwegian Joy will sail to Los Angeles for a season of Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020.This move will mark a turning point in the historically underserved winter cruise market on the West Coast of the United States with the arrival of a premier, state-of-the-art cruise ship.

Norwegian Joy’s new itineraries will be open for sale on July 24, 2018 at www.ncl.com.

 

 

Holland America Line Doing Extended Cruises To Hawaii in 2018-19

July 12, 2018.

 

From fall 2018 through spring 2019, two Holland America Line ships will say “Aloha” to Hawaii.  Guests can choose from nine cruises with itineraries ranging from 16 to 20 days aboard Eurodam and Amsterdam.  Hawaii sailings depart from Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; and San Diego and Los Angeles, California.

Most itineraries feature an overnight call in Honolulu, which is huge since it allows guests to have extra time to do it all – visit Pearl Harbor, relax on Waikiki Beach, take in Diamond Head State Monument or spend the evening at an authentic luau. The cruises also call at Hilo, Nawiliwili and Lahaina, with most adding a call at Kona.

To kick off the season, Eurodam departs Seattle Sept. 29, 2018, for an 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise that calls at Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, before heading to the Hawaiian ports of Nawiliwili, Honolulu, Lahaina and Hilo. Guests also can choose to embark two days later, Oct. 1, and sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a 16-day sailing.

A second 18-day voyage is available aboard Eurodam Nov. 11, 2018, conveniently sailing roundtrip from San Diego. Guests will visit the same Hawaiian ports, as well as calls at Kona, Hawaii, and Ensenada, Mexico. Those planning for a holiday getaway can enjoy a comparable itinerary on Amsterdam’s 17-day Hawaii Holiday cruise, sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles Dec. 21, 2018.

In 2019, three similar itineraries are available aboard Eurodam, including two 17-day sailings departing Feb. 3 and Feb. 20, as well as a 16-day sailing, embarking April 13. Cruisers interested in extending their vacation can lengthen the April 13 cruise and disembark in Vancouver after visiting Victoria for a 20-day voyage.

Guests who wish to dive deeper into the South Pacific can select Eurodam’s 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas voyage March 9, 2019. Sailing roundtrip from San Diego, cruisers will enjoy visits to six ports in French Polynesia – including overnights in both Bora Bora and Papeete – as well as two ports in Hawaii and a call at Fanning Island. Cruisers can further their exploration of the region on the Amsterdam’s 51-day Tales of the South Pacific voyage Oct. 28, 2019. Sailing roundtrip San Diego, the ship will visit Hawaii, Tahiti, as well as calls in America Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Cruise fares for the 16-, 17- and 18-day Hawaii cruises begin at $1,999; fares for the 20-day Hawaii cruise begin at $2,399; and fares for the 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas Voyage begin at $5,179. Cruise fare for the 51-day Tales of the South Pacific voyage begin at $6,899. All rates are per person, double occupancy.

Explorations Central Brings Hawaiian Culture on board
Throughout the voyages, Explorations Central programming brings Hawaii’s local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life onboard. Guided by locals, guests can immerse in Polynesian culture through lei making, ukulele lessons, hula dancing classes and Hawaiian language classes. EXC Talks, led by resident EXC Guides provide new perspectives on the region’s stories, while those with an adventurous palate can head to America’s Test Kitchen for a cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare. The Dining Room and Lido Market will showcase the flavors of Hawaii, while a poolside Hawaiian Luau and Hawaiian beer tastings add to guests’ experience of regional fare.

When journeying ashore, the EXC Team’s insider knowledge of each port helps guests to tailor their experiences, whether exploring independently or on an EXC Tour. Printed EXC Port Maps present a simple view of the best each port has to offer, while EXC Port Guides, featuring tips and information from AFAR Media, allow for a deeper examination of each destination. The in-stateroom EXC Channel features a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows that explores the destinations on the ship’s itinerary.

Princess Cruises MONOPOLY Cruise for Cash Promotion – a Chance to Play Slots to Win $200,777 in Cash and Prizes

July 11, 2018.

Princess Cruises has announced it will be offering the cruise line’s largest hosted slot tournament with the highest cash and prizes ever offered through a partnership with Scientific Games Corporation. The MONOPOLY Cruise for Cash promotion will be available on hundreds of cruises throughout 2018, culminating in a $200,000 slot tournament onboard Regal Princess departing Dec. 9, 2018.

Princess Cruises guests have two ways to qualify for a chance to win a seat in the final slot tournament:

  • Winner’s Wheel Promotion – Open to everyone who plays in Princess casinos. For every 100 points earned in gaming, each guest earns one e-ticket. Guests are then automatically entered into the raffle for a chance to spin the Winner’s Wheel. A total of three winners will be selected on each cruise to spin the wheel for a prize, with a chance to win a seat on the Dec. 9 cruise, among other cash and prizes, including a lucky sevens $777 Princess Cruises MONOPOLY-themed gift card.
  • Cruises with Qualifying Tournaments – Qualifying slot tournaments are available now to all guests sailing aboard Princess cruise ships with the MONOPOLY Millionaire slot machines, which include Crown Princess, Caribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess, Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Star Princess and Grand Princess. Winners will receive a seat certificate for the Dec. 9 grand finale event aboard Regal Princess.

The final tournament onboard Regal Princess, which has the largest slot floor throughout the fleet, departs Ft. Lauderdale on Dec. 9 for a seven-day, Eastern Caribbean cruise. Stops include Princess Cays, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. In addition to the MONOPOLY Cruise for Cash tournament, guests have other chances to ‘win big,’ including the popular Paradise Lotto and MONOPOLY scratch tickets.

 

Holland America Line’s Prinsendam to Leave the Fleet July 1, 2019

July 2, 2018.

Holland America Line announced that Prinsendam has been sold and will transfer to the German cruise company Phoenix Reisen.   But fear not if you are booked for a cruise in the next year.  Following the sale, the 37,983-ton, 835-guest Prinsendam is being chartered back to Holland America Line to continue sailing its planned voyages through July 1, 2019.

Prinsendam’s itineraries from July 1, 2019, onward are scheduled to be assimilated by Rotterdam, Volendam and Veendam. Holland America Line is reaching out to booked guests and their travel professionals to re-accommodate guests on these cruises.

Prinsendam was built in 1988 as Royal Viking Sun for Royal Viking Line.  At that time it was often listed as the highest rated ship in the world by various travel experts.  The ship was operated by Cunard Line from 1994 through 1998 and then transferred to Seabourn Cruise Line, where it became Seabourn Sun in 1999. In 2002 the ship joined the Holland America Line fleet and was renamed Prinsendam.

Phoenix Reisen is a Germany-based travel agency that also operates a fleet of cruise ships and first began operating cruises under its own brand in 1988. Today, its ships include ms Amadea, ms Artania, ms Albatros and ms Deutschland, and the company also operates approximately 50 riverboats.

Carnival Glory Rescues NCL Crew Member

July 1, 2018.

On Sunday, July 1 at approximately 2:15 pm EDT, the crew of Carnival Glory rescued a 33-year-old crew member from Norwegian Getaway who had been drifting in the water approximately 21 miles north of Cuba.  Norwegian Cruise Line had reported him missing on Saturday.  The NCL crew member is being treated by Carnival Glory’s shipboard medical team.

Carnival Glory departed Miami on Saturday, June 30 and was at sea en route to Cozumel.  At 1 pm EDT, a hotel steward aboard the ship reported seeing a person in the water and notified bridge officers who quickly started rescue operations, including reducing speed, reversing course, and lowering a lifeboat to retrieve the man.  The Coast Guard said the Filipino crew member fell overboard around 3:30 p.m. Saturday about 28 miles northwest of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, so he had survived almost 24 hours floating in the Caribbean.

“This is nothing short of miraculous,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.  “Kudos to the Carnival Glory team for this amazing effort to rescue a fellow seafarer.”

Carnival Glory is on a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise

Carnival Hosts ‘Humor For Heroes’ Event At Naval Base Point Loma

June 29, 2018.

 

Carnival Cruise Line – which carries more active and retired military personnel than any other cruise operator – last night partnered with Operation Homefront to honor the brave men and women of the Armed Forces to host “Humor for Heroes” at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego featuring stand-up comedy performances, BBQ, fun activities and more.

(I’m former military so I’m not sure what’s going on with the ribbon location on the sailor to the left. They are supposed to be on the left side)

Featured comedians included “Workaholics” star Adam Devine, who last year performed several shows overseas for the USO, as well as two comedians from Carnival’s Punchliner Comedy Clubs, keeping the crowd of 500 service members and families laughing throughout the show.

In recognition of its long standing partnership with Operation Homefront, Carnival Cruise Line donated $25,000 to help the organization fulfill its mission of building strong, stable and secure military families.

 

Carnival Miracle To Do Winter Sailings From San Diego in 2019-20

June 28, 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line today announced that it will return to the Port of San Diego for the first time in seven years when Carnival Miracle arrives in late 2019.

The ship will operate a winter schedule of three- to 15-day voyages from San Diego from December 2019 to February 2020. The schedule kicks off with a seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera departing Dec. 1, 2019, and also includes two longer-length Carnival Journeys voyages – 14- and 15-day Hawaii adventures visiting popular destinations throughout the Aloha State departing Dec. 8, 2019 and Jan. 17, 2020, respectively.

Carnival Miracle’s San Diego-based program also includes two five-day voyages that spend two days in Cabo San Lucas departing Dec. 22, 2019 and Jan. 12, 2020, along with two three-day getaways visiting Ensenada Dec. 27, 2019 and Jan. 3, 2020.

There’s also a special four-day New Year’s Baja Mexico cruise departing Dec. 30, 2019, as well as a six-day cruise that includes two days in Cabo San Lucas and a day-long visit to Ensenada departing Jan. 6, 2020.

The schedule concludes with a 13-day Panama Canal Carnival Journeys cruise that departs San Diego Feb. 1 and arrives in Miami Feb. 14, 2020.
In addition to visiting some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique on-board activities during which they can sample local cuisine and enjoy entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking, arts and crafts and celestial navigation, along with a 1980s-themed “Throwback Sea Day,” are also offered.

Princess Cruises 2019-2020 California Coast Sailings

June 27, 2018.

Cruises that visit U.S. ports are unique and they have a distinctively different feel to them that I like.  Princess Cruises has been a leader for them on the west coast and they continue this effort in 2019-2020 with itineraries visiting Monterey, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and San Diego.

Highlights for the 2019-2020 season include the introduction of one of the line’s newest ships to the California Coast, Royal Princess, for her first full season based in Los Angeles. Royal Princess will offer nine coastal departures including the Classic California Coast itinerary. Royal Princess itineraries offer guests a variety of More Ashore opportunities, allowing guests to spend more time in port , as well as the opportunity to enjoy evenings in San Francisco and San Diego.

As the only cruise line to sail year-round out of San Francisco, Princess offers Grand Princess sailing along the west coast once again in 2019. San Francisco departures for the season include a new five-day West Coast Getaway itinerary featuring a late night departure in San Diego, and a call to Ensenada, Mexico (to comply with the Passenger Vessel Services Act).  The ship will also offer two variations of coastal sailings including the Classic California Coast itinerary featuring More Ashore late night calls in Los Angeles and San Diego, and the Pacific Northwest Coast itinerary featuring More Ashore late night calls in Seattle and Vancouver, Canada.

Star Princess will make her return to the west coast in 2019 featuring departures from Seattle and Vancouver. Itineraries include a seven-day Northern California Coast sailing from Seattle with late night calls in San Francisco and Victoria,Canada and a 10-day Coastal sailing from Vancouver with a late night call in Los Angeles and overnight stay in San Francisco.

Other west coast cruises offered in 2019 include six or seven-day Pacific Wine Country voyages between Los Angles and Vancouver aboard Royal Princess, Ruby Princess, Star Princess, and Island Princess. For those guests with less time to get away, Princess also offers shorter coastal sailings of less than five days on eight ships in the region.

Princess has also developed enhanced shore excursion offerings in collaboration with Bill Esparza, noted author and leading expert on Latin American cuisine. Guests sailing the California coast are invited to sample local cuisine, specifically focused on the Latin American influence in California. Esparza has developed exclusive culinary shore excursions for Princess in Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Ensenada. In addition, Princess offers excursions to the California wine country, visiting local vineyards and winemakers throughout the region.

More details about California Coast offerings can be found at https://www.princess.com/learn/cruise-destinations/california-coastal-cruises/