Royal Caribbean Welcomes Symphony Of The Seas

March 24, 2018.

Launch of Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International’s newest and largest ship.
Delivery Ceremony In the Royal Theater.

Thirty-six months, 4,700 shipbuilders and crew, and one common goal: to deliver the ultimate family adventure.  Royal Caribbean International honored the instrumental project team of Symphony of the Seas during the highly anticipated delivery event at STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France yesterday.  Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship’s official delivery from the ship builder to Royal Caribbean.  The maritime ritual was followed by a celebration of the industry’s best, the crew whose hard work and meticulous collaboration came together to create the world’s largest cruise ship.

Launch of Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest ship.
Handover ceremony on the bridge of Symphony of the Seas.
L-R – Jean-Yves Jaouen, (CEO STX France) Laurent Castaing ( General Manager STX France)Harri Kulovaara, (executive vice president, Maritime & Newbuilding) Captain Rob Hempstead, Richard Fain ( Chairman and CEO Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD) Michael Bayley ( President and CEO Royal Caribbean International)

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas is 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighborhood.  One Oasis Class ship, seven distinctive neighborhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn.

New Culinary Adventures

  • Hooked Seafood: This upscale eatery atop of the world’s largest cruise ship in the Solarium serves up the real taste of New England-inspired seafood and unparalleled ocean vistas to match. Approachable and unassuming, the menu offers classic coastal favorites, such as lobster rolls, crab claws, signature fish sandwich, and a raw bar where oysters are shucked to order.
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Stretching the length of a reimagined Boardwalk, now touting fresh energy and swagger, the whole family can watch the home team play across 31 big-screen TVs, during the day and into the late night. The indoor and outdoor arcade, packed with over 20 games, offers the opportunity for friendly competition. The on-point menu of classic American bar food features everything from wings, burgers and popcorn shrimp to picture-perfect sundaes; as well as craft beers and cocktails.
  • El Loco Fresh: Made-to-order tacos and burritos wrapped with fresh tortillas are among the Mexican “street food” favorites that will hit the spot for adventure seekers looking to fuel up with minimal downtime.
  • Sugar Beach: The signature candy and ice cream shop is the sweet spot on the Boardwalk with more than 100 types of candies, a lineup of ice cream flavors and even DIY activities for the aspiring culinary artist.

New Ways to Play

  • Battle for Planet Z: Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game brings two teams of eight head to head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.
  • Escape the Rubicon: In the ultimate race against the clock, friends old and new must band together in the Rubicon submarine – a sophisticated, custom-built escape room – to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out.

Unparalleled Family Accommodations

  • Ultimate Family Suite: A two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with awesome thrills offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool. Complete with a Royal Genie, who caters to every whim, there are many more surprises awaiting guests along the way.

Symphony of the Seas will welcome her first guests on Saturday, March 31 for a one-time-only, 5-night preview sailing, calling on Naples and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy.

The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain, where the crescendo of thrills will be brought to life by the 2,200 international crew members who proudly represent 77 countries around the world. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.

Beginning Nov. 10, Miami, FL. will become the ship’s year-round homeport, making Symphony of the Seas the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world using Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A.

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.

 

Symphony Of The Seas To Elevate The Way Families ‘Stay and Play’

March 14, 2018.

Royal Caribbean International says they are redefining family and adventure travel with its newest ship, Symphony Of The Seas.   Families can go head to head in a glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure, take the plunge down the tallest slide at sea, or soak up some sun after getting drenched on the ship’s waterslides and surf simulators, discovering exactly how Symphony of the Seas is the new sound of adventure for the whole family.

The Ultimate Family Suite
The new Ultimate Family Suite is two decks high and full of things never before seen in a cruise ship stateroom.  The 1,346-square-foot interactive space is designed for both the young and young at heart, providing a space for families to come together during their cruise vacation, while also offering enough room and amenities to relax during “me time.”

Highlights:

  • Accommodates up to eight guests across the two bedrooms – with a “Magic Door” crawl space in between – and a living room
  • In-suite slide, where even the biggest of kids can slide into fun from one level to the next
  • Private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, featuring the ultimate family movie library (streaming services included) and video games on multiple consoles
  • LEGO wall, spanning floor to ceiling, for the smallest of aspiring architects
  • Hidden nooks to chill and recharge and enjoy some privacy
  • Royal Genie, the epitome of an ultimate insider and concierge extraordinaire, on hand to deliver surprise and delights as part of the many services and premium amenities included in the luxurious experience

And that’s just the inside; the 212-square-foot balcony touts table tennis, an interactive, three-dimensional vertical maze for kids called the Lucky Climber, and a full-size whirlpool that provides unmatched ocean views while guests soak in the sun.

Palate-Pleasing Menus
Symphony will make it easy for families to taste the ultimate kid’s menus at sea across more than 20 restaurants found on board, four of which are new concepts for the cruise line.

  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is where families cheer on their home team playing on any of more than 30 big-screen TVs, while they munch on American classics like wings, popcorn shrimp, sliders, burgers and picture-perfect sundaes. After finding inspiration in celebrating a win, it is game on at the arcade with Ms. Pac-Man, Star Wars Battle Pod, Ice Skee-ball and a lineup of other popular arcade games.
  • El Loco Fresh is perfect for the family on the go with a fiesta of flavors, from made-from-scratch mole sauce and tangy salsa verde to the made-to-order tacos and burritos. This crazy delicious Mexican fare is fresh and fast for those looking to fuel up for their next onboard adventure.
  • Hooked Seafood is the ultimate catch for families looking for fresh seafood. Those angling for a real taste of New England-inspired classics can enjoy lobster and crab claws, or take their pick of local fish and just-shucked oysters at the ice-cold raw bar.
  • Sugar Beach candy and ice cream shop is the ultimate spot for that sweet tooth. Adults and kids alike can take their pick from a family’s favorite confections and ice creams, alongside a few sugarcoated surprises. The sweetest place on the high seas also features family-friendly DIY activities for aspirational culinary artists.

Entertainment Amped Up
Travelers will discover a variety of entertainment, with a lineup of high-tech, high-energy original productions that will captivate children and grownups alike. Shows spanning ice, water, air and stage will keep guests wowed, while brand new live-action adventures will bring out the kid in everyone.

  • Battle for Planet Z has family, friends and foes go head to head for control of the last planet in the galaxy in this new glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience, complete with state-of-the-art technology and special effects.
  • Puzzle Break: Escape the Rubicon challenges teams to race against the clock as they learn to work together toward one common goal – to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.

Adventure for All Ages
Alongside new experiences, Royal Caribbean continues to offer family favorites like the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides; two FlowRider surf simulators; Splashaway Bay, a vibrant waterscape for kids and toddlers; skating in a real-ice rink at Studio B, a mini-golf course, a nine-deck-high zip line, two rock-climbing walls that stand 43 feet high, a full-size basketball court, table tennis, and 19 pools across 1,188 feet. The adventure extends on land for the whole crew. From grandchild to grandparent, guests can create lasting memories and discover new destinations together with a variety of shore excursions specifically designed with families in mind.

The cruise line’s robust and complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program continues to offer young vacationers, ages 3 to 17, a wide array of entertaining and educational experiences and activities infused with innovative fun and excitement. Highlights include:

  • Royal Babies (ages 6-18 months) offers the tiniest guests and their parents interactive classes filled with enriching activities developed by early childhood experts.
  • Royal Tots (ages 18-36 months) provides 45-minute interactive playground sessions filled with age-appropriate activities and toys.
  • Aquanauts (ages 3-5 years) serves up cool experiments and the chance to become Certified Jr. Adventure Scientists.
  • Explorers (ages 6-8 years) includes fun events and adventures, such as themed parties.
  • Voyagers (ages 9-11 years) offers a range of activities that puts the “cool” back into learning.

Tweens & Teens Program (ages 12-17 years) allows older kids the freedom to come and go from their dedicated spaces on board, while checking out games, sports and parties with others their age.

First Look at the New Rapunzel’s Royal Table on the Disney Magic

March 14, 2018.

Exclusive to the Disney Magic, Rapunzel’s Royal Table is an all-new dining experience inspired by the beloved story of Disney’s “Tangled.” The festivities include live musical performances from Rapunzel and the Snuggly Duckling Thugs. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Rapunzel’s Royal Table is now open aboard the Disney Magic with an all-new dining experience inspired by the story of Disney’s “Tangled.” The first table service restaurant themed to “Tangled” that features characters and live entertainment transports Disney Magic guests to the kingdom of Corona for an evening of music and interactive fun featuring Rapunzel and the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs.

(Matt Stroshane, photographer)

The new restaurant, along with other enhancements to the Disney Magic, debuted March 9, 2018, on sailings from Miami.

Here’s a couple of food photos:

Exclusive to the Disney Magic at Rapunzel’s Royal Table is the Tangled Pasta entrée. Angel hair pasta tossed in basil pesto with caramelized sea scallops, roasted vine tomatoes and a sun-dried tomato tapenade, served with roasted Meyer lemon. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)
Exclusive to the Disney Magic at Rapunzel’s Royal Table is the Flynn Rider Platter entrée. Grilled, smoked pork loin served with roasted smoked pork belly, bockwurst, braised red cabbage, fried potato dumpling and a Spätburgunder wine jus. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Queen Latifah Named Godmother Of Carnival Horizon

March 1, 2018.

 

Queen Latifah – Grammy award-winning musical artist, acclaimed television and film actress, label president, author and entrepreneur – has been named the godmother to Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon.

Latifah will participate in the ship’s official naming ceremony as well as a special “Lip Sync Battle: Horizon” showcase that is part of the line’s authentic shipboard reproduction of the hit Paramount Network series. The event will be held during an invitation-only overnight gala onboard Carnival Horizon in New York City on May 23, 2018.

Currently starring in the FOX series “STAR,” Latifah earned an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award nomination for her portrayal as Mama Morton in the hit show ‘Chicago’. She also received an Emmy nomination, a Golden Globe win and a SAG Award win for performances in both “Life Support” and “Bessie,” an HBO biopic on the legendary jazz artist Bessie Smith as well as accolades for her performance as the title character in NBC’s The Wiz Live!

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has earned six Grammy nominations and a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance. Her production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, has quickly grown to prominence, producing award-winning television shows, blockbuster hits and independent films for a variety of Hollywood studios.

The May 23 gala will recognize long-time Carnival partner St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a check presentation from funds raised via various activities and events, both on board and ashore, leading up to the event. Additionally, Carnival will unveil special custom-designed artwork created by more than 30 St. Jude patients that will appear on the Carnival Horizon’s “Dreamscape,” a stunning three-deck-high LED sculpture that takes center stage in the ship’s atrium.

Following the event, Carnival Horizon begins her summer schedule from New York that runs through September followed by the launch year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami later that month.

 

Princess Completes Renovations and Enhancements to Princess Cays

 

February 15, 2018.

 

 

C:\Users\pc09847\Downloads\PRINCESS_CAY_DETAILS_6255.jpg  C:\Users\pc09847\Downloads\PRINCESS_CAY_DETAILS_6295.jpg

 

The private island resort of Princess Cays  has received several enhancements and renovated areas, which include the new MedallionNet™ Wi-Fi, the only cruise industry private island to offer connectivity ashore.  So now you can post photos and videos live from the beach to your Facebook or Instagram page, just like you are on the ship.

Located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in the outer Bahamas, Princess Cays has offered a beachside hideaway to guests since 1992. The beach is situated on approximately 40 acres, including more than a mile and a half of some really pristine, white-sand shoreline.  This is a featured call on Princess’ Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

Additional Princess Cays enhancements include new shore excursions, refurbished retail and bar areas, shopping, landscape and infrastructure:

  • Shore Excursions – On February 17, the new Lagoon Clear-Bottom Kayaking Adventure, a guided paddle through the Island’s lagoon that allows guests to explore the flora and fauna of this unique habitat debuts. In addition, Island Bicycle Adventure offers guests Princess Cays’ scenery and history with a leisurely bike ride to some of the town’s popular sites. Construction of a new “Davy Jones” water sports rental equipment provides snorkeling and water gear. And new Stingray Beach Encounter allows guests to feed, touch and hold live stingrays. Animal trainers teach guests interesting facts about the behavior of these animals as they reach out to touch their soft wings.
  • Princess Cays Shopping – Princess guests will enjoy adding meaningful mementos to their journey by visiting the new nautical-themed and “pick-a-pearl” jewelry section within the Bahama Treasure store.
  • New Marina – Completion of the marina expansion, including new channel and turning basin depth which can accommodate larger tenders and offers smoother disembarkation and embarkation of guests, including a shaded security pre-clearance area.
  • Guest Experience Improvements – Guests also will enjoy a new information booth with shaded waiting lounge area and a new public announcement and music system; newly painted structures both inside and out with tropical pastel colors; guest services station for towel and water distributions at the Welcome Center; extensive landscaping of all guest areas, including additional planters and newly planted palm trees; and refitted beach bungalows.

 

Norwegian Announces New Cruises To Cuba & Caribbean From Miami

February 13, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line has opened brand-new cruises to Cuba and the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Sun round trip from Miami.  For a limited season this fall, Norwegian Sun will offer cruisers a chance to discover the rich history of Cuba and explore some of the brand’s most popular tropical destinations in just one journey on 7, 9, and 13-day cruises.

Norwegian Sun will sail six 7-day cruises from Miami departing on Sundays from September 9 through October 14. The ship will cruise to ports including Havana, Cuba, Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas; Costa Maya, Mexico and Harvest Caye, Belize. The ship’s nine-day Cuba and the Caribbean cruises will expand upon the 7-day sailings and also include additional visits to Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico.

Those wishing to visit the Panama Canal can do so aboard Norwegian Sun’s new 13-day Cuba, Caribbean and the Panama Canal cruise departing from Miami on October 30. This bucket-list cruise will visit eight destinations including Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia and Oranjestad, Aruba, among others.

Norwegian Cruise Line has also added a new 5-day cruise to Cuba and the Bahamas from Port Canaveral on September 3. The new cruise will round out the ship’s season sailing from the Space Coast with an afternoon visit to the southernmost city of Key West, Florida then head to Havana for an overnight stay in the historical city, followed by a beach day at the private-island paradise of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

All of Norwegian Sun’s recently released cruises will visit the popular destinations of Havana, Cuba and Harvest Caye, Belize. While in Cuba, Norwegian Sun sails into the very heart of Havana, providing guests with the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and visit Cuba’s warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges – all just steps away from the comfort of the ship. Norwegian offers a selection of 13 half and full-day OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests have the chance to have a farm-to-table dining experience or explore modern Havana in an American classic car and discover the arts, culture, dance and cinematic masterpieces of Fabrica de Arte Cubano on an exclusive private tour.

Located one mile off the coast of Southern Belize, Harvest Caye, is a resort-style destination where guests can lounge along the expansive beach or at the 15,000 square-foot pool with a swim-up bar, enjoy a nature center with wildlife and reptiles or opt for an adrenalin rush zip line adventure at the 130 ft. tall Flighthouse, among many other on-island attractions. Those who want to explore mainland Belize have several convenient options from Harvest Caye including the island ferry, rainforest tubing or private boat excursions.

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam To Sail Northern Europe & Mediterranean In Summer/Fall 2019

February 7, 2018.


Following an inaugural season island-hopping the Caribbean, Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam will cross the Atlantic Ocean in late April 2019 and spend the summer and fall exploring northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

The new Pinnacle Class ship will homeport in Amsterdam for the summer. Offering a collection of 7- and 14-day itineraries to the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic, Iceland and North Cape.

In September the ship will head to the Mediterranean on a 12-day cruise from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Three 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia will visit the eastern and western Mediterranean. The ship then departs Civitavecchia Oct. 27 for a 14-day cruise back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Nieuw Statendam Showcases Norway in Summer 2019
Once arriving in Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam will cruise 7- and 14-day itineraries. There will be two different seven-day itineraries offering nine departures from May through September.

A longer 14-day Norwegian exploration departs June 9 and July 7, featuring eight ports in Norway while crossing into the Arctic Circle.  Guests also will enjoy scenic cruising in Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord, the North Cape and Sognefjord.

British Isles and Baltic Round Out Nieuw Statendam Europe Highlights
The Baltic awaits Nieuw Statendam guests on two 14-day itineraries in May and August, also sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam. The ship calls at  Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Warnemünde (Berlin) and Kiel (Hamburg), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg (overnight), Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden.

Travelers looking to visit the British Isles and Iceland can embark Nieuw Statendam August 4 for a 14-day cruise to Newcastle upon Tyne, England; South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland, for an overnight permitting guests to attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo if they would like; Reykjavik (overnight), Isafjordur and Akureyri, Iceland; and Ålesund and Bergen, Norway.

Mediterranean Cruises in the Fall Span the Region
In September, Nieuw Statendam sails from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia on a 12-day journey that visits Ireland, Portugal and four ports in Spain. The ship then offers two 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia to Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Italy, while another 10-day itinerary visits ports in Spain, Gibraltar, France, Monaco and Italy.

On Oct. 27 the ship repositions to Fort Lauderdale on a 14-day voyage that crosses the Atlantic Ocean following calls at Cartagena, Málaga (Granada) and Cádiz, Spain; and Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Fares for Nieuw Statendam Europe cruises begin at $1,199 per person, double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional.

The Premiere Voyage and Inaugural Caribbean Season
Nieuw Statendam’s Premiere voyage will depart Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, Dec. 5, 2018, for a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. The ship will spend the winter, holiday and spring seasons cruising roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on three or four-day Bahamas sailings, seven-day eastern or western Caribbean cruises and one 10-day southern Caribbean itinerary.

Travelers looking to spend more time on board and experience the new ship can choose from 11- to 17-day Collectors’ Voyages that combine back-to-back Caribbean itineraries. All of Nieuw Statendam’s Caribbean cruises feature a call at Holland America Line’s award-winning private Bahamian island, Half Moon Cay.

About Nieuw Statendam
Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam currently is under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. While much of the ship’s design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company’s history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for “new” with the classic “Statendam,” Holland America Line celebrates the company’s past, present and future.

Royal Caribbean International Wants Cruisers To “Amp Up Their Weekends” On Reimagined Mariner Of The Seas

February 1, 2018.

Royal Caribbean International is inviting adventure seekers to break out of their ordinary routine and take their weekends to new heights with the debut of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas. After an extensive $90 million makeover, Mariner will offer the chance to do, see and experience more than any quick getaway has ever done before. Beginning in June 2018,  adventurers can enjoy 3- and 4-night Bahamas escapes from PortMiami to Nassau and CocoCay – Royal Caribbean’s private island destination – where they will experience a variety of new thrills, nightlife and culinary creations.

Out-of-this-World Thrills

SkyPad Interior

Thrill-seekers won’t want to miss Sky Pad, a brand new virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience on Mariner of the Seas. Guests will strap in and don their virtual reality headset to transport them to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.

Mariner will see the addition of several recent Royal Caribbean innovations following the extensive modernization, including The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon, and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience in Studio Bwhere friends and family can team up to play “Battle for Planet Z.” Mariner will offer Puzzle Break: The Observatorium, a new escape room experience where competitors can put their minds to the test, working together to find hidden clues and solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. With only 60 minutes of play, the excitement builds with each tick of the clock. Guests also will have the chance to catch a wave with another added Royal Caribbean-favorite, the new 40-foot-long FlowRider surf simulator.

Re-invented Nightlife

Bamboo Room Bar

The adventure doesn’t stop when the sun goes down – The Bamboo Room, an all-new Polynesian-themed watering hole found only on Mariner, will be the coolest bar on anyone’s must-do list. The retro lounge will heat up the ship’s already vibrant nightlife scene with its tiki-chic décor. Guests can choose their favorite specialty handcrafted cocktails to sip and savor, plus, make their friends jealous with Instagram worthy moments throughout the kitschy-cool, uniquely styled space. For sports fans, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is the place to be on game nights, where they can enjoy all the biggest live sporting events over ice-cold brews, wings, sliders and more.

Playmakers Bar

Can’t Miss Culinary Creations

For those looking for an adventure of the taste buds on their getaway, Mariner will not disappoint with new culinary offerings added to its lineup.Jamie’s Italian offers Chef Jamie Oliver’s rustic Italian dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, including delicious pastas made in-house daily. Caffeine junkies will be able to get their fix at Starbucks even at sea, and sushi fans can enjoy Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, offering exotic made-to-order hot and cold dishes á la carte.

The 15-guest deck Mariner of the Seas will continue to offer an array of signature Royal Caribbean experiences, including a Studio B ice-skating rink, a 40-foot rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole miniature golf course, three pools, a full-sized basketball court and “Dive-In” outdoor movie nights poolside.

Norwegian Celebrates Construction Milestone For Newest Ship

January 31, 2018. 

Named Norwegian Encore, the new vessel will sail the Caribbean from Miami seasonally beginning fall 2019

Today Norwegian Cruise Line marked the start of construction for its newest ship. Named Norwegian Encore, Norwegian’s latest addition to its young, modern fleet will sail the Caribbean from Miami seasonally beginning fall 2019.

The big takeaway from this news for North American cruisers is this ship was initially slated to go straight to China upon completion, and now that plan has been dropped.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and MEYER WERFT executives gathered at the MEYER WERFT Laser Center in Papenburg, Germany and cut the first plate of steel, marking the ceremonial start of construction of Norwegian Encore, which is due for delivery on October 31, 2019.

Norwegian Encore will be the seventeenth ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and the line’s fourth and final ship in the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful Class in the brand’s history.

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will sail weekly seven-day Caribbean cruises each Sunday from PortMiami.   The ship will be available for reservations in March 2018.