It was a historic day for Royal Caribbean International yesterday when the cruise line made its inaugural visit to Cuba with the Empress of the Seas as part of a 5-night sailing from Miami.
Guests participated in curated excursions throughout Havana, including rides in 1950s classic American cars to the city’s most famous locales, including the old quarter and the Havana Club Museum.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of Cuba’s future, ushering in Royal Caribbean’s next big adventure with Empress of the Seas’ first visit to Havana. Vacationers will now be able to experience a destination like no other, with authentic and immersive experiences that bring to life the vibrancy of Havana and its traditions,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
The Cuban culture extends beyond land to the experience onboard Empress of the Seas. From cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal to salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, guests enjoyed a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life throughout the entire journey.
After returning to Miami, Florida, Empress of the Seas will reposition to Tampa for the summer season – the cruise line’s first ever summer program from the destination – offering a series of four, five and six-night sailings, including day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West and Belize City as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel.
Sailings from Tampa are available through Nov. 4, 2017 when Empress returns to Miami for the winter season, adding calls to CocoCay and Nassau in The Bahamas.
Norwegian Bliss to feature Tony Award®-Winning Musical “Jersey Boys” along with an original Cuban-inspired Broadway-style musical, reimagined comedy club and more when she debuts next summer
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the entertainment programming for Norwegian Bliss.
Norwegian will once again bring the best of Broadway to sea, with the 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 comedy club and nightlife venue, a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition- The Musical, an outpost of the legendary Beatles’ venue The Cavern Club and much more.
Headlining in the Bliss Theater will be the 2006 Tony Award®-winner for Best Musical, Jersey Boys. The show goes behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and follows four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys features all of their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.” Jersey Boys will hit the high seas for its first production at sea after 11 record-breaking years on Broadway. As one of the longest running shows in Broadway history, including many world tours, Jersey Boys has been seen by more than 24 million people worldwide. Jersey Boys is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.
Norwegian Cruise Line is currently developing an exclusive original musical theater show created and produced specifically for Norwegian Bliss. The new show will be a Cuban-inspired Broadway-style musical created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle. More details on this incredible new show will be shared this fall.
In a new concept exclusive to Norwegian Bliss, the Alibi is a reimagined comedy and nightclub space that will feature sets from today’s most popular stand-up comedians, and then transform to a nightclub late in the evening. Alibi will feature two comedy performances six nights a week, offering both family-friendly and mature comedy shows. Guests who visit the club will find intimate seating and cocktail tables during comedy performances, while those who visit Alibi after 10 p.m. will see a black and white chevron patterned dance floor, LED disco lighting and a DJ spinning today’s hits.
Norwegian Bliss’ guests will have the opportunity to travel back in time to January 16, 1919 – the eve of the Prohibition era – for a rowdy good time with the new show, Happy Hour Prohibition- The Musical. Created by Broadway sensations Holly-Anne Palmer, whose creative talent has been featured in hits like Bring It On and Jersey Boys, among others, as well as Liz Muller and Collin Simon of Pipe Dream Theatre, Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical will hit the high seas after delighting audiences for nearly two years in New Orleans and New York City. Guests will join the talented cast in Miss Lulu’s infamous New Orleans speakeasy, Mahogany Hall, as they entertain with tales of bootleggers and intoxicating choreography by Broadway veteran Lauren Lim Jackson, set to some of the era’s most famous tunes including Let’s Misbehave, Happy Feet and Makin’ Whoopee. During the one hour performance, guests will savor their own Prohibition era specialty cocktails, each with a modern twist. The show will be performed on select evenings as a happy hour pre-dinner show and once each cruise as a late night adults-only show in the Alibi Comedy and Nightclub.
In an expansion of the successful partnership that began during Norwegian Epic’s recent renovation through the Norwegian Edge™ program, the extremely popular rock and roll venue The Cavern Club will delight guests aboard Norwegian Bliss. The Cavern Club is inspired by the Liverpool club where the Beatles performed frequently in the 1960’s. The lounge brings rock and roll to life with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.
About Norwegian Bliss
At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss is currently being constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018. The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for Alaska cruises.
During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.
Norwegian Bliss 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.
Additional details on the ship’s dining and recreational activities will be shared in the coming months.
First-Ever Dr. Seuss-Themed Water Park to Feature Slides, Water Toys and Attractions Inspired By World’s Most Popular Children’s Author
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, a water park inspired by the whimsical world and words of the legendary children’s author. The 3,934-passenger vessel is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018.
The announcement was made by Carnival President Christine Duffy and Dr. Seuss Enterprises President Susan Brandt at Cruise3Sixty, an annual gathering of travel agents held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Located on Deck 12, Carnival Horizon’s Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will offer two distinctly different slides.
The Cat in the Hat slide will feature an enclosed raft slide offering more than 450 feet of heart-racing twists and turns. The entrance resembles The Cat’s famous red and white hat with the distinctive color pattern carried throughout the slide in alternating translucent and opaque sections.
The Fun Things slide, an enclosed body slide with polka dots and special lighting effects and named after the mischievous duo Thing 1 and Thing 2 is 213 feet in length.
Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will also include a 150-gallon tipping bucket patterned after The Cat’s hat, along with a kiddie splash zone with dozens of water spray toys.
Larger-than-life images of famous Dr. Seuss characters – including The Cat in the Hat holding an inner tube, The Grinch sporting a surf board tucked under his arm, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 frolicking atop their namesake slide – will greet visitors as they enter the park, with memorable Dr. Seuss phrases displayed on clear partitions that surround the facility.
Dr. Seuss WaterWorks is just one of several family-friendly features on Carnival Horizon which will also feature the bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and the SportSquare outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course. A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, which will include a Family Lounge area with large screen TVs, board games and complimentary breakfast, cookies and other snacks.
Carnival Horizon will also feature the Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading and play venue and popular Seuss at Sea activities like The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time.
Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from this 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 a 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.
It appears the resistance by the major cruise lines to employing lifeguards is fading quickly.
Norwegian Cruise Line will begin employing certified lifeguards at all of the family pools. This news comes shortly after Royal Caribbean International announced that they would start using lifeguards. Disney Cruises has had them for a while. Carnival is still holding out.
The Norwegian Cruise Line lifeguards will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours. The lifeguards will begin service this summer on the line’s four largest ships – Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic – and on the remainder of the fleet by early 2018.
“Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet.”
In addition to uniformed lifeguards, Norwegian will also begin offering complimentary swim vests for both adults and children on the line’s four largest ships. Parents can obtain the safety vests at the towel station on the ship’s pool deck during daytime hours.
Newly Designed Menu, Decor and Handmade Pasta Dishes from Award-winning Italian Chef Angelo Auriana
Celebrating the cruise line’s Italian heritage, specialty restaurantSabatini’s Italian Trattoria has been delighting millions of Princess Cruises guests with traditional and innovative cuisine since it first debuted aboard Grand Princess in 1998. Nearly 20 years later, Princess Cruises today unveiled a fleetwide enhancement to its signature restaurant in collaboration with acclaimed Italian Chef Angelo Auriana.
Introducing a fresh new design and menu featuring antipasti and handmade pasta dishes from Chef Auriana, as well as family recipes curated from Italian Princess executive chefs across the fleet, the transformed Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria debuts aboard Caribbean Princess following a multi-million-dollar drydock. Recognized as one of the “Best Specialty Restaurants at Sea,” the Sabatini locations on Caribbean Princess and Grand Princess will offer the new inspired menu this April, with the newly refreshed menu coming across the fleet in the coming months.
Chef Auriana, Executive Chef and partner at the authentic Italian restaurants, The Factory Kitchen and Officine BRERA, in Los Angeles, is inspired by fresh Northern Italian flavors and childhood roots from his hometown of Bergamo.
“Sabatini’s has always been a Princess guest favorite and this new collaboration with Chef Auriana elevates our Italian heritage, continuing our fresh approach to authentic Italian dining,” said Mario Siebaldi, Princess Cruises senior vice president guest operations. “Also featuring a beautifully transformed ambience, the new Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria will delight new and returning guests alike.”
Chef Auriana relies on using old world grains like buckwheat and durum that gives semolina the signature pale yellow color and high-protein strength necessary to hold the shape of house made pasta. Non-traditional ingredients—like mint and marjoram—are also infused to showcase Chef Auriana’s contemporary flair.
Picagge – marjoram-infused long pasta, white prawns, clams, artichoke pesto, ligurian olive oil
“In my hometown of Bergamo, Italy, I was born with an appreciation for the beautiful flavors of Northern Italy that I love to incorporate into my cooking,” said Chef Auriana. “Now I’m pleased to share that appreciation through delicious new Sabatini’s menu items made fresh daily and served exclusively onboard Princess.”
More Princess chefs hail from Italy than any other country and their family favorite recipes are featured on the new menu, including:
Roman Seafood al Cartoccio – grouper, shrimp, black mussels, scallops, potato, artichoke
The re-envisioned Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria features a new interior design that reinforces the fresh dining experiences that await guests. A contemporary look reflects the innovative efforts of the Princess culinary staff, while rustic touches serve as a reminder of the traditional Italian specialties that always have been a Sabatini’s hallmark.
A superb all Italian wine menu, iconic Italian cocktails and Limoncello liqueurs are available to complement the menu. A $25 per person cover charge includes a four-course dinner, plus dessert.
Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria will soon feature pasta making classes for guests, with more details coming soon.
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it will further extend its offering of weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba through 2018, with 33 new voyages. The all-inclusive Norwegian Sky will begin her 2018 Cuba cruise season in March, sailing four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami, with 32 of the cruises to include an overnight stay in Cuba’s capital of Havana, as well as a call on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas. These new cruises will begin on March 26, 2018 and are in addition to the previously announced 30 calls that Norwegian will offer through December 2017. Guests sailing on Norwegian Sky enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program.
Norwegian will offer a selection of 15 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.
Norwegian Sky’s sailings to Cuba will also feature a call to Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island destination in the Bahamas. Great Stirrup Cay was recently enhanced to offer 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.
Norwegian Sky’s four-day cruises to Cuba will open for sale on April 20.
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.
Our favorite all-inclusive cruise line is offering an Aza-mazing deal and we are including the promo codes to use, so please read on!
Azamara Club Cruises latest travel deal – the Twice as Nice Deal – lets travelers save $1,000 and spend $2,000 for voyages in 2017 and 2018. New and returning cruisers can see savings of up to $3,000 in value on some of Azamaras most popular voyages, booked now through May 31, 2017.
Book a Club Veranda stateroom or higher and receive $1,000 off the cruise fare and a $2,000 on board credit. Guests in a Club Interior or Club Ocean view stateroom can choose the $1,000 per stateroom savings OR $2,000 on board credit.
The line’s fleet has recently received bow to stern upgrades for a contemporary and modern look as the brand continues to enhance the onboard experience.
TWICE AS NICE DEAL DETAILS
o $1,000 off the cruise fare per stateroom
o $2,000 on board credit per stateroom
o Suites and Veranda Staterooms get both
o Ocean view and Interior can choose between the 2
Offer good for new bookings made 4/1/17 – 5/31/17
o To get savings amount – code SAVINGS
o To get On board credit – code ONBCREDIT
o For Suites and Veranda to get both the savings and OBC – code SAVOBC
Cuban Officials and Azamara Executives Celebrate Historical Event with a Keys & Plaques Ceremony
Azamara Quest arrived at Cuba’s Sierra Maestra terminal for the first time today. The ship sailed down the Bahía de la Habana alongside Havana’s famous El Malecón providing guests magnificent views of the local shoreline before turning alongside Cuba’s Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro through the Canal de Entrada to dock.
Azamara Club Cruises President & CEO, Larry Pimentel, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD. President & COO Adam Goldstein, and Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD. Vice President of Business Development, Global Government and Community Relations, Jorge Delgado joined Captain Angel Albertini, Chief of Havana Cruise Terminal and a contingent of Cuban Dignitaries to toast the arrival of Azamara Quest, and this important moment in the brand’s history, during a Keys & Plaques ceremony.
Azamara created a variety of unique people-to-people land programs, by night and by day, to enable guests a fully immersed experience in the destination and have the opportunity to connect with the great culture and people of Cuba. Azamara is able to do this because of our overnight stay in Havana. All tour programs offered by Azamara are designed to meet United States’ requirements for travel to Cuba. Highlights include:
Tropicana Cabaret Extravaganza: The most spectacular of the open-air cabarets showcase Caribbean rhythms and sultry dancers. An English speaking guide shares history of the famous show while on the ride to the Tropicana. Once there guests sip on rum cocktails surrounded by lush tropical gardens and enjoy the folklore and music of Cuba.
Nelson Dominguez Art Gallery Tour: Located next to the pier, guests can join Larry Pimentel for a private gallery tour of renowned artist Nelson Dominguez followed by the chance to browse and shop artwork to take home as a souvenir.
Evening Stroll and El Cañonazo Ceremony: A guided walk through the cobblestone streets of Old Havana at night allows travelers to appreciate the city’s rustic charm and rich history. A brief bus ride transports the group to the nearby Morro Castle with a ceremonial firing of the cannon at 9 pm.
Best of Havana – a full-day, all-encompassing trip through Havana exploring the city’s beautiful sprawling cemetery, notable squares, artsy neighborhoods, literary connections and authentic cuisine.
Havana By Classic American Car – Guests can venture back to 1950’s Cuba in a vintage American automobile for a panoramic ride to a historic luxury hotel and along the quintessential Malecón waterfront.
Hemingway’s Havana – Guests get to explore the literary connections between Cuba and the late American novelist Ernest Hemingway on a dynamic four-hour tour that offers the chance to see where he lived, dined and sipped his favorite cocktails.
Following this Hemingway Hideaways voyage which also visits ports in New Orleans and Florida, Azamara is offering two additional sailings for 2017:
Havana Discovery: Departing on November 20, 2017, the Havana Discovery voyage begins and ends in Miami with a journey that visits laid-back Key West, followed by an overnight stay in the bustling city of Havana with a historic exploration of Vieja Havana (Old Havana) and dive into the aquamarine waters of Cozumel, the Caribbean jewel. Rates start at $1,699.00 USD.
Havana Getaway: Departing November 27, 2017, the four-night Havana Getaway packs a lot of adventure into a little time. The voyage explores the colorful buildings and eclectic plazas of Havana with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site and overnight stays allow for guests to experience the quintessential Cuban nightlife. Rates start at $1,499.00 USD.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade sailed into her seasonal homeport of Tampa as an essentially new vessel this morning, following a three week dry dock period that added numerous enhancements to every part of the ship.
Norwegian Jade’s extensive renovation is a part of The Norwegian Edge™, an investment program that sets a high standard of excellence encompassing the entire guest experience across Norwegian’s fleet.
Norwegian’s 24-hour neighborhood pub-style restaurant, O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill, has been added to deck eight. Serving up cold brews and snack-time favorites in a relaxed atmosphere, the new venue features modern flooring, refurbished front and back bars and new banquet seating.
The Pit Stop, a newly installed concept for Norwegian Jade, will serve up poolside fare in a 1950s-style American diner atmosphere, clad with vintage license plates, gas station signage and classic car elements.
Moderno Churrascaria received a new home on deck 13 and features a new glass door entrance, floor-to-ceiling windows, new flooring, wall coverings and upgraded furniture.
Cagney’s Steakhouse has added additional seating to the completely refurbished space, which offers a new color scheme, upgraded flooring, new wall linings and a new virtual fireplace.
La Cucina Italian specialty restaurant received a modernization with several new features including updated décor and furniture, flooring, a new decorative bar and a wine display wall.
Teppanyaki Japanese hibachi grill restaurant was enhanced with updated furnishings and fittings while complimentary favorites Jasmine Garden and the Garden Café also received extensive enhancements including newly designed spaces with upgrades to furniture, new flooring and much more.
Those looking to dance the night away can now do so in the new Bliss Ultra Lounge on deck seven, which has the feel of an upscale Miami nightclub and features a cool color palette of silvers, greys and black.
Guests can enjoy a favorite mojito, or opt for a flight and try them all, at the new Sugarcane Mojito Bar on deck 13 adjacent to Moderno Churrascaria. Sugarcane features granite bar fronts, as well as new furnishings and finishes. Spinnaker Lounge also received a complete redesign of the entire space to include new flooring and window treatments, decorative chandeliers, re-upholstered seating and refurbished bars with contemporary mosaic tiling and LED lighting.
Every stateroom on the ship was enhanced during this renovation, with all receiving new carpets, furniture, flat screen TVs, new larger headboards with USB charging outlets and more than 2000 new pieces of artwork.
Guests sailing in The Haven®, Norwegian’s ship-within-a-ship luxury suite concept, will now enjoy a more modern chic atmosphere in all suites and villas, as they now feature new finishes to walls and ceilings, new flooring throughout the suites and balconies, plus new soft goods and drapery. Norwegian Jade’s villas and suites also received more than 250 new pieces of artwork alone.
Luxury has been taken to the next level aboard Norwegian Jade with a complete refurbishment of the ship’s Haven Courtyard. Guests of the ship’s top villas and suites can soak up the sun in style one of the Haven’s four new plush cabanas nestled at the top of the ship or take a dip in the newly refinished pool surrounded by modern furnishings and new artwork.
Other enhancements were made to The Atrium, with a new look and custom-designed marquee chandelier.
Norwegian Jade will also now offers guests easier ways to view and purchase mementos of their cruise vacation with an upgraded Photo Gallery featuring new individual digital monitors.
Norwegian Jade has all-new TechnoGym fitness equipment and new rubber flooring, ideal for weightlifting and plyometric workouts.
Junior cruisers can now enjoy playtime with new floorings in Splash Academy that include new noise reducing mats so kids are free to play into the evening hours. The ship’s elevator landings were also all refurbished with updated interior finishes and flooring, new wall coverings, new carpet and updated light fixtures. In addition, the ship’s stairways all received new carpeting featuring a new contemporary designed featuring new modern artwork in in all mid-stairwell landings.
Norwegian Jade is currently sailing the final part of her winter season, cruising from Tampa to the Western Caribbean. On April 30, she will relocate to her summer homeports of Southampton and Hamburg, where the ship will visit the Norwegian Fjords as well as Norway & North Cape itineraries.
Members can now play aboard all 24 ships under the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands
Casino players now have the upper hand with the enhanced and expanded Casinos At Sea rewards program aboard Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Casinos At Sea now offers members the opportunity to play and earn rewards across the three brands in 24 casinos. Players can elevate their status and redeem benefits across all three cruise lines, including stateroom and suite discounts, free play, special birthday and promotional offers, ship-to-ship point transfer, and onboard credit.
Members will receive a new, personalized Players Card, with which they can claim benefits and rewards whenever they play in the casinos of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Joining Casinos at Sea is easy. Guests can sign up for their complimentary Players Card on board at the Players Club desk, and start playing their way to complimentary amenities and extras when they use their Players Card, while playing favorite slot machines and table games. Members also earn status just by playing, and progress through tiers named Jade, Pearl, Sapphire, Ruby and Elite, which qualify them for up to nearly 20 benefits and rewards, depending on the cruise line.