Royal Caribbean’s Mariner Of The Seas Arrives Home In Miami

June 21, 2018.

Coinciding with the first day of summer, Royal Caribbean International’s much-hyped reimagined Mariner of the Seas sailed into its new home at PortMiami today amped up with $120 million of new attractions, restaurants, staterooms and entertainment.  The ship will begin doing short getaways of 4-night weekday and 3-night weekend cruises from Miami to The Bahamas.

New Ways to Play

  • Sky Pad – The gravity-defying bungee trampoline experience amped up with virtual reality
  • The Perfect Storm – An exhilarating  pair of three-story-high racer waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon
  • Laser Tag: Battle for Planet Z – A glow-in-the-dark battle for the last planet in the galaxy
  • Escape Room: The Observatorium – Royal Caribbean’s newest escape room challenge
  • FlowRider – The cruise line’s signature 40-foot-long surf simulator

    Perfect Storm, Flowrider and Sky Pad on the new amped up Mariner of the Seas.

New Ways to Dine and Drink

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is the go-to spot for live sporting events on the new amped up Mariner of the Seas.
  • The Bamboo Room – A quiet Polynesian watering hole with a throwback vibe and kitschy-cool craft cocktails like the Island Old Fashioned and Tiki Tea – the first in Royal Caribbean’s fleet
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – For fans watching their home team on one of more than 25 TV screens, making their own plays at the arcade, or refueling on game-day favorite drinks and bar food
  • Jamie’s Italian – Serving fresh, handmade and rustic Italian fare by Chef Jamie Oliver, one of Britain’s most famous celebrity chefs
  • Izumi Hibachi and Sushi – Asian-inspired dining featuring hibachi, sushi and sashimi and more – made to order with authentic flavors, the freshest ingredients and impeccable presentation

After a long weekend of travel agent and media access, Mariner of the Seas will welcome guests for the first time on Monday, June 25, as it sets sail on a 4-night cruise to The Bahamas. The newly reimagined ship will continue to offer 4-night weekday and 3-night weekend itineraries from Miami, with visits to Nassau and CocoCay. Beginning May 2019, Mariner will sail to the new Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first destination in Royal Caribbean’s recently announced collection of private island experiences around the world.

Along with the recently enhanced Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean’s $900 million commitment to reimagine its fleet through a new effort called Royal Amplified. The program spans 10 ships in four years.

Royal Caribbean ‘Perfect Day Island Collection’ Announced

March 15, 2018

It was a busy evening in New York on Wednesday, as several huge changes were revealed that will change the landscape of cruising – literally.

Royal Caribbean International unveiled the first details of the new ‘Perfect Day Island Collection‘, a series of private island destinations around the world.

The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, will boast a number of distinct experiences and new features.  Coco Cay – the company’s private island in The Bahamas – will be getting:

  • The tallest  waterslide in North America
  • The Caribbean’s largest wave pool
  • The highest view in The Bahamas from a helium balloon 450 feet in the air
  • The largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean

Scheduled for completion in fall 2019, the new Perfect Day at CocoCay will offer seven distinctive island experiences.

The Perfect Day Starts Here

Setting the stage for the perfect day is the arrivals plaza, visible to guests as soon as they step ashore.  A welcoming party of live music will be playing as cruisers come ashore.  A zip line ride will fly across the harbor, and you can get soaked by more than 30 water cannons on a shipwrecked Galleon, or by the Sprayaway Geyser, spraying water 82 feet in the air.   Splashaway Bay will give kids fountains, pools, sprinklers, geysers, water cannons and whirlpools – plus five kid-size waterslides and two massive drench buckets.

At Captain Jack’s, the island hangout and meet-up spot, guests can grab a drink at the rowboat bar and enjoy waterfront views or chow down on chicken wings and crispy steak fries – the house specialty. For a nautical, world-traveled vibe, guests can opt to head to Skipper’s Grill for lunchtime favorites like burgers, sandwiches, tacos and salads.  Some food items will incur an added fee.

Thrill Waterpark will lie at the heart of Perfect Day at CocoCay, with two water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – as well as the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.

Key features of Thrill Waterpark will include:

  • Daredevil’s Tower – seven slides, including twin Dueling Demons drop slides and the duo of Manta Raycers; the high-speed, fully vertical Screeching Serpent; the coiling Green Mamba; and the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak – the tallest waterslide in North America.
  • Family Tower – Adventurous squads will share the thrill with six multi-rider slides, including The Twister, a winding tube slide for two sharing a raft; The Slingshot, a zero-gravity slide for four; and the four-lane Splash Speedway racing slides. 

    Guests can ride the tide at the largest wave pool in the Caribbean, and soar above it all on the 1,600-foot zip line – ending with the only splash water landing in the region.

    At Adventure Pool, youngsters will find an obstacle course with lily pads, a rock-climbing wall and swing ropes to bounce, climb and swing to their heart’s content.

    At Oasis Lagoon, guests of all ages can explore the coves of the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool.  Guests can make their way through three distinct coves, each with a vibe of their own.  Guests can splash right in at the kid-friendly beach entry, have drinks at the swim-up bar before catching some rays on one of three mini swim-up islands with in-water loungers, or treat themselves to total relaxation in a private cabana, complete with its own cabana attendant. ($)

A Sky-High Perspective

With Up, Up and Away, cruisers will go airborne 450 feet above in a colorful helium balloon, allowing them to take in the island from the highest vantage point in The Bahamas. The sure-to-be iconic attraction will be visible from anywhere on the island as well as ships docked in port.  This will be tethered to prevent any Wizard Of Oz moments from happening.

Discover an Out-of-Office Oasis

Guests will find a beach escape on Chill Island.   Chill Grill, the largest dining venue on the island, will offer beachside dining with fresh bites. Guests will also find beach day favorites here, including wave runner excursions, boat tours, snorkeling to see the spectacular marine life, as well as plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation under the shade.

Amp Up and Wind Down

South Beach will feature volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball. After working up an appetite, guests will be able to grab a bite at the Snack Shack or wade out to the floating bar to cool off with a drink. If relaxation is more their speed, photo-worthy teepee cabanas, as well as daybeds, are perfect for napping and snapping in the shade.

Elevate the Perfect Day

At the exclusive Coco Beach Club, the first and only overwater cabanas in The Bahamas will offer guests a luxury stay at Coco Cay.  With an overwater hammock, waterslide, and private attendant, guests will have everything they need for a few hours of complete indulgence.

In addition, beachside cabanas and daybeds will offer up a private slice of paradise. Elsewhere, guests can find  a freshwater infinity edge pool and bar, spanning an expansive 2,600-plus feet, or enjoy an exclusive dining venue that serves up freshly made Mediterranean fare with a side of ocean views.  The Coco Beach Club will be extra fee, and will be available for reservations by all guests regardless of their cabin category.

Perfect Day at CocoCay will roll out in phases, beginning September 2018 with the completion of the pier, and the majority of the island will launch spring 2019.  Coco Beach Club, the final experience to be completed, is set to open Nov. 2019. Additional Perfect Day Island Collection destinations in Asia, Australia and Caribbean will be announced at a later date.

 

Norwegian Announces Summer 2019 Itineraries

December 19, 2017.

Highlights include Norwegian Breakaway sailing to the Caribbean from Miami; Norwegian Getaway returning to Copenhagen to cruise the Baltic; Norwegian Gem sailing to Bermuda from Boston; and the youngest fleet sailing to Alaska including a new Glacier Bay itinerary for Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the fleet’s lineup of summer 2019 itineraries.  Norwegian will have five ships sailing in Europe; three cruising to Alaska; two calling on Bermuda; as well as itineraries that include the Bahamas & Florida, the Caribbean, Canada & New England and the Hawaiian islands.  The new itineraries are open for sale now for returning guests and will be available tomorrow, December 20, to the general public.

Alaska

Norwegian will once again return to the region in summer 2019, with Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel all cruising to the Last Frontier.

After making her debut in summer 2018, Norwegian Bliss will return for her second Alaska season, sailing new seven-day Glacier Bay voyages departing each Sunday from Seattle beginning May 5 through September 22, 2019.

Norwegian Pearl, which recently underwent an extensive renovation earlier this year as a part of the Norwegian Edge® program, will sail seven-day Alaska cruises from Seattle departing on Saturdays from May 18 through September 21.

Rounding out the Alaska fleet, Norwegian Jewel will return to Vancouver and Seward after a bow to stern enhancement in fall 2018 to sail the popular seven-day Glacier Bay northbound and Inside Passage southbound Alaska highlights voyages, offering guests the opportunity to combine back-to-back sailings for an immersive 14-day roundtrip cruise.

Bahamas & Florida

For the first time since 2010, Norwegian Dawn will return to her very first homeport of New York City as essentially a new ship, after undergoing bow to stern enhancements in late 2016. Norwegian Dawn will set sail from Manhattan on seven-day cruises to the Bahamas & Florida from May 25 to August 31, 2019.

Bermuda

In summer 2019, Norwegian will once again offer guests two convenient departure ports from which to set sail for the pink sand beaches and turquoise blue waters of Bermuda.  Guests sailing from Boston will enjoy exploring this exotic Atlantic island from a newer and larger ship, Norwegian Gem,  from March 29 through November 8, 2019.

Norwegian Escape, which moves to New York City for summer 2018, will continue her stay in the Big Apple through the summer 2019 season, sailing to Bermuda from April 14 until October 20, 2019.

Canada & New England

Early summer is the best time to enjoy the beauty and stunning scenery of New England and coastal Canada.  Norwegian Dawn will offer four, seven-day cruises to this spectacular coast line in May and June 2019, with calls in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island.

Caribbean

After returning from her first winter season in New Orleans, Norwegian Breakaway will reposition from the Big Easy to PortMiami for the first time ever.  The ship will homeport in Miami for her summer 2019 season and cruise a mix of Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Norwegian Breakaway’s seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries will visit Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and  Harvest Caye, Belize. Norwegian Breakaway’s seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary will feature  St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI;  Nassau, Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Europe

Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Spirit will all be cruising Europe in 2019.

After a one year hiatus, Norwegian Getaway will once again return to the Baltic, sailing  incredibly popular bucket list itineraries departing from Copenhagen that feature several calls in Scandinavia with an overnight in Russia.  From June 7 through August 27, 2019, Norwegian Getaway will sail a variety of nine-day sailings with ports-of-call that include Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia and a day cruising past the Stockholm Archipelago.

The Norwegian Epic will return to Europe in summer 2019 to sail seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises, with embarkation available in either Barcelona and Rome (Civitavecchia), with departures from May 12 through November 3, 2019.

Following an extensive renovation in 2017, Norwegian Jade will spend her summer 2019 season cruising the Greek Isles & Italy from May 12 through October 24, 2019.  Norwegian Jade’s 10- and 11-day itineraries from Rome (Civitavecchia) will feature a look into some of the world’s most ancient civilizations with calls in Santorini, Athens (Piraeus), Mykonos, and Crete (Chania), Greece; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sicily; as well as Naples and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy.

Norwegian Star, which will undergo a refurbishment in spring 2018, will also sail the Greek Isles and Eastern Mediterranean, offering primarily seven-day cruises with a small selection of nine-, 10-, 11-, and 12-day sailings departing from Venice, Italy from May 12 through November 10, 2019. Norwegian Star will call on some of Greece’s most enchanting island destinations including Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Cephalonia, as well as the outstanding Adriatic destinations of Kotor, Montenegro and Dubrovnik, Croatia on the glimmering Dalmatian Coast.

Norwegian Spirit will home port in Southampton for the summer of 2019 and sail a selection of 10-day or longer itineraries journeying to the British Isles, Iceland, Norwegian Fjords, the Arctic Circle, and the Baltics. Full itinerary details will be released when the ship opens for sale in mid-January.

Hawaii

Norwegian is the only cruise line that offers a seven-day inter-island itinerary, on the US-flagged Pride of America. Guests will have an itinerary that offers nearly 100 hours of port time in Hawaii’s main islands, including an overnight in Kahului, Maui; a call in Hilo; Kailua, Kona; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kauai; and an afternoon cruising past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast. Norwegian’s Pride of America will depart from Honolulu every Saturday through April 2021.

Carnival Elation Getting Extensive Renovation

October 4, 2017.

Carnival Elation is in the final stages of a multi-million-dollar makeover that includes the addition of an expansive new WaterWorks park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies added to existing staterooms, and a variety exciting food and beverage concepts.

Following the extensive renovation, Carnival Elation will resume its year-round schedule of four- to eight-day cruises from Jacksonville, Florida, on October 7.  The ship’s new features include:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: In my opinion the best burger at sea regardless of the cruise line, Guy’s is a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draft beer, ThirstyFrog Red. (excellent beer)
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.  There is also a breakfast menu that offers made-to-order burritos filled with eggs, sausage, cheese, and many other things.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers.
  • Camp Ocean: a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the wonders of the sea through fun and engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities, including arts and crafts, science-oriented  programming, and more.
  • New Cabins, Stateroom Enhancements: Thirty-eight cabins have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic ocean view cabins and 12 interior accommodations.  Additionally, private verandahs have been added to 98 existing staterooms, creating spacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms will offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by Carnival Elation’s tropical itineraries.
  • WaterWorks: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids.
  • Mini-Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.

Carnival is Jacksonville’s only year-round cruise ship offering four- and five-day cruises to The Bahamas featuring stops at Freeport, Nassau and the private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.  Carnival Elation will also offer a special six-day Bahamas cruise and an eight-day Bermuda voyage in April 2018 as well as a one-time seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise the following month.

Carnival Elation Sailing Unique 8-Day Bermuda and Bahamas Cruise April 2018

 

May 17, 2017.

Carnival Elation will offer a unique cruise from Jacksonville next spring – an eight-day voyage that visits scenic ports in both Bermuda and The Bahamas.  The voyage will operate round-trip from Jacksonville April 7-15, 2018, and will feature an overnight call in Heritage Wharf, Bermuda, as well as an extended stay at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

Including the newly added cruise on the Carnival Elation from Jacksonville, in the coming year Carnival Cruise Line will offer 19 four- to eight-day Bermuda departing from six East Coast U.S. ports, including New York, Baltimore, Charleston, Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale.

Carnival Elation will also offer a special three-port, six-day Bahamas cruise round-trip from Jacksonville April 15-21, 2018, visiting visit Freeport, Nassau and Half Moon Cay.

The new voyages are in addition to the ship’s year-round four- and five-day schedule from Jacksonville.  Carnival Elation is Jacksonville’s only year-round ship and carries approximately 170,000 passengers annually from that port.

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.