(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (Sept. 26, 2019) – Reaffirming its longstanding commitment to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, Carnival Cruise Line has announced that it will raise its pledge to a total of $33 million by 2024.
The announcement was made yesterday at the St. Jude campus in Memphis, Tennessee, during Carnival’s seventh annual Day of Play where patient families enjoyed a variety of fun activities hosted by the line’s team members. The Day of Play was held in conjunction with the cruise line’s hotel directors conference, where the leaders responsible for the guest operations on Carnival’s 26 ships traveled to St. Jude for business meetings and a tour of the hospital.
At the event, Carnival announced an additional $15 million pledge to the hospital over the next five years after achieving its initial fundraising goal early. Since the partnership began in 2010, Carnival has raised more than $18 million in support of the lifesaving mission of St. Jude: Finding cures. Saving children.®
“Because of the generosity of our guests and team members, we are able to increase our fundraising goal and look forward to continuing to support our friends at St. Jude,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line and member of the St. Jude Professional Advisory Board. “For the second year in a row, we have brought a group of shipboard leaders to St. Jude to see the work being done first-hand and to help incorporate the mission in meaningful ways with our guests, team members and travel agent partners. I know our hotel directors will leave Memphis inspired to do more for the kids and the health professionals who take care of them as we look for new ways to integrate our support into our shipboard and shoreside activities.”
“The Carnival Day of Play is always an unforgettable and fun event for our patient families, but today was especially meaningful as we celebrated an incredible milestone and Carnival’s expanded commitment to support our lifesaving mission to find cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. “We’re so grateful for the wonderful partnership we’ve built with Carnival, their remarkable team members and their generous guests over the years, and we look forward to continuing our collective efforts to ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”
As the Official Celebration Partner of St. Jude, Carnival hosts events at the hospital and raises money through a variety of fundraising initiatives, both on board and ashore, including the Groove for St. Jude dance party and Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sea where kids can create their own St. Jude-themed keepsake bear. Carnival Horizon also boasts a stunning three-deck-high “Dreamscape” LED atrium sculpture that displays artwork from St. Jude patients while guests on Carnival Vista can satisfy their sweet tooth with a Brownie Buoy, a delicious ice cream concoction designed by the children of St. Jude with all profits donated to the hospital.
Duffy also announced that Carnival’s new ship arriving next year, Mardi Gras, will feature a sculpture and other artwork designed by St. Jude patients. Mardi Gras is a highly anticipated ship that will boast a number of groundbreaking features and experiences, including BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, the first seagoing restaurant from famed New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse, and six themed zones offering a variety of food, beverage and entertainment choices. Mardi Gras will also be the first ship in North America powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), part of Carnival Corporation’s “green cruising” platform.
Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras is slated to enter service in Europe on Aug. 31, 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in October 2020.
Disney Returning to New Orleans
(PRESS RELEASE)_CELEBRATION, Fla. (Sept. 26, 2019) – In early 2021, Disney Cruise Line will return to New Orleans for a limited-time engagement with sailings to the Bahamas and Caribbean, including visits to Disney’s private island paradise, Castaway Cay. A lineup of popular itineraries will continue across the Disney fleet with cruises to tropical destinations from Texas, California and Florida.
Bookings open to the public on Oct. 3, 2019. More details on the itineraries spanning from January through May 2021 can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2021 page of disneycruise.com.
Return to New Orleans
Back by popular demand, the Disney Wonder will return to the bayou from late January through February 2021 with a series of magical voyages. A pair of four- and five-night cruises to the Western Caribbean kick off the season from New Orleans. The five-night voyage includes a visit to Progreso, Mexico, a new port of call for Disney Cruise Line on the Yucatan Peninsula. This quaint town is filled with treasures for families to explore together, from ancient Mayan ruins to hidden swimming holes filled with crystal-clear water.
Three seven-night sailings to the Bahamas with a stop at Castaway Cay, plus a 14-night Panama Canal cruise, round out the departures from the Crescent City in early 2021.
Guests sailing from New Orleans will experience the flavors and flair of the Big Easy both onboard the Disney Wonder and ashore. The sounds and sights of New Orleans come to life at Tiana’s Place restaurant, where families are transported to an era of southern charm, spirited jazz and street party celebrations with live music and other surprises inspired by the Disney animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” Before or after their cruise, guests can savor the city’s distinct cuisine, visit family-friendly museums and parks, and take in the sounds of world-renowned live jazz music.
Popular Itineraries from Texas and California
The Disney Wonder will also return to the popular home ports of Galveston and San Diego in early 2021. Guests sailing from Texas can enjoy the white-sand beaches of the Western Caribbean on a series of four- and six-night cruises to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. One seven-night departure will feature stops at Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay.
Following the season in New Orleans, the Disney Wonder heads to the West Coast for a variety of sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera departing from San Diego. Families can hunt for gold aboard a pirate ship in Cabo San Lucas, embark on an off-road adventure in Ensenada or sunbathe on glittering sand beaches on cruises ranging from three to seven nights.
Bahamian and Caribbean Getaways from Florida
Disney Cruise Line will have three ships sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida in early 2021, and every cruise includes a day at Disney’s private island paradise, Castaway Cay. This award-winning destination, reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, is the ultimate escape for everyone in the family. A day at Castaway Cay offers opportunities for adventure and relaxation in a lush, tropical setting filled with classic Disney storytelling.
From Miami, the Disney Magic will sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian and Western Caribbean cruises.
From Port Canaveral, the Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
From Port Canaveral, the Disney Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises.
With a variety of options from Florida, guests can experience spectacular cruises full of fun and relaxation – featuring Broadway-style shows, immersive themed dining, imaginative kids clubs, character encounters and spaces for everyone in the family.
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.
Carnival, Cousteau Partner
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Sept. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world's largest leisure travel company, today announced a new partnership with renowned ocean explorer and life-long environmental advocate Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society, a nonprofit marine conservation and education organization that serves as a "Voice for the Ocean" on the importance of effective environmental and sustainability policy. In addition, Cousteau will provide valuable external expertise on environmental initiatives.
"We are all connected to the ocean in some way no matter where we live, and it is clear that the health and vitality of the world's oceans depend on our collective global commitment to preserving the environment that we all share," said Cousteau. "As we look to the future, we have a responsibility and opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the world's oceans, while supporting and protecting them with sound environmental policies. We look forward to working with Carnival Corporation to further enhance its environmental initiatives, and we commend the company's long-term commitment to environmental stewardship and excellence."
"With over 120,000 dedicated employees, most of whom live and work at sea, our commitment to protecting and sustaining the oceans on which we sail and the communities we visit around the world is a top priority for our company," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. "We enthusiastically welcome the Ocean Futures Society and Jean-Michel's passion and insights to help us strengthen our efforts, along with the support of our employees and guests."
In recent years, Carnival Corporation and its nine global cruise line brands have introduced several new environmental partnerships and initiatives.
Amped-Up Nagivator of the Seas Sets Sail
(ROYAL CARIBBEAN)_Royal Caribbean International’s newly amplified Navigator of the Seas is sailing from her year-round home in Miami with a $115 million new look. Guests can choose from an adventure-packed lineup of bold, new experiences and Royal Caribbean favorites, from adrenaline-inducing features to an array of elevated dining and nightlife. With 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday cruises to the cruise line’s new private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, and highlights on board like The Blaster, the longest aquacoaster at sea; a redesigned Caribbean poolscape; the new three-level bar, The Lime & Coconut; and the first blow-dry bar at sea – To Dry For, Navigator has been reimagined into the ultimate short getaway.
Royal Explorer's $110M Makeover
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Sept. 24, 2019 – From coast to coast and bow to stern, Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas will sail the Eastern Mediterranean in style come summer 2020. The cruise line has released details of the ship’s upcoming $110 million amplification that will debut a mix of unparalleled feats and Royal Caribbean hits. Guests can embark on historic adventures ashore and on board with new thrills, tastes and sights on deck, including The Perfect Storm racer waterslides, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, a fresh twist on a guest-favorite; a redesigned, resort-style poolscape with signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut; and transformed kids and teens spaces. Beginning May 7, 2020, Explorer – the first amplified ship to cruise from Rome (Civitavecchia) – sets sail on 7- and 9-night itineraries to the best of Italy and the Greek isles, from Santorini to Mykonos and Crete.
Vacationers will soak up a new scene on Explorer’s maxed-out top decks. Adventures of every kind and for every guest will join the lineup of Royal Caribbean favorites already in play, like the FlowRider surf simulator, a decked-out Sports Court – complete with basketball, soccer and volleyball; rock-climbing wall, and mini-golf. The noteworthy experiences are:
AmaWaterways Wine Cruises for 2020
(PRESS RELEASE)_CALABASAS, CA – (September 25, 2019) – AmaWaterways—acclaimed luxury river cruise line and leader in specialty Wine Cruises—will offer 67 Wine Cruises during the 2020 cruise season, including two new itineraries showcasing the famed vineyards and historic sights of France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Hosted by notable North American wine experts, certified sommeliers, and vineyard owners, the specialty wine-themed sailings offer guests onboard lectures and tastings to complement the extensive array of included shore excursions.
“This has been a record-breaking year for AmaWaterways, and our specialty Wine Cruise program continues to evolve and flourish,” said Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways’ executive vice president and co-founder. “As demand for these sailings grows, our focus is to partner with engaging hosts and craft new wine-themed experiences that encourage our guests to discover the most beautiful wine-growing regions in the world.”
AmaWaterways’ Specialty Wine Cruises immerse guests in the vibrant terroir of some of the world’s most prestigious wine capitals. In 2020, it will debut Treasures of the Main & Rhine, taking guests on a seven-night sailing between Nuremberg, Germany, and Amsterdam—showcasing the best of the Main and Rhine rivers. Itinerary highlights include a visit to Würzburg, set in the middle of Germany’s largest wine-producing region; sampling Hornla pastry, a regional favorite whose recipe dates back to 1427; touring a local bakery to learn the art of pretzel making; and wine-tasting with a local Rüdesheim vintner. Another new itinerary is Vineyards of the Rhine & Moselle, which provides wine enthusiasts with a seven-night journey between Luxembourg and Amsterdam, melding culinary and vinicultural adventure. Guests will enjoy soaring gondola rides over Rüdesheim’s vineyards, delectable samples of Reibekuchen—German potato pancakes—and Kölsch beer found exclusively in Cologne, and a Bernkastel winery visit and tasting.
Guests looking for an enhanced wine experience through these two new itineraries can join wine hosts Susanne Sapier, owner of Vineyard Grant James, on the August 6 Treasures of the Main & Rhine sailing; Dan McDonnal and Alix Bosch, co-owners of De Tierra Vineyards, on the April 2 Vineyards of the Rhine & Moselle sailing; and Cindy and Nicholas Palumbo, co-owners of Palumbo Family Vineyards, on the October 14 Vineyards of Rhine & Moselle sailing.
Featuring seminars, wine-paired dinners, tasting events, private cellar tours, and visits to iconic vineyards, each specialty Wine Cruise is hosted by hand-selected North American wine aficionados who share their expertise and insights with guests—offering unique experiences that blend Europe’s old-world palate with North America’s new-world taste. For the 2020 cruise season, AmaWaterways partners with an esteemed group of hosts from across the US including:
· Frank Ostini, Hitching Post Winery (March 26 Rhine & Moselle Splendors) and Kathy Joseph, Fiddlehead Cellars (March 30 Romantic Danube); two wineries showcased in the iconic movie Sideways
· Paul Wagner, renowned wine expert, author, and recipient of the 2018 Award of Merit from the American Wine Society (April 9 Taste of Bordeaux)
· Jody Bogle, co-owner of Bogle Vineyards & Winery (August 20 Taste of Bordeaux)
· Roman Roth, Wolffer Estate Vineyard (July 30 Colors of Provence)
· Wilson Family, returning favorite hosts from Wilson Creek Winery (November 1 Manga on the Danube on board the double-width AmaMagna)
For full details on all 67 specialty Wine Cruises and hosts visit https://www.amawaterways.ca/explore/wine-hosts/2020, or to book any AmaWaterways river cruise, contact your preferred Travel Advisor, call 1.800.626.0126 or visit AmaWaterways.com. Follow AmaWaterways on Facebook at Facebook.com/AmaWaterways, Instagram @AmaWaterways and Twitter @AmaWaterways.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (Sept. 25, 2019) – Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in global cruise travel with a 52-year history of breaking boundaries, today announced another first as a result of its partnership with JUST® Goods, Inc., which will enable the Cruise Line to replace all single-use plastic bottles across its fleet by January 1, 2020, beginning with its newest innovative ship, Norwegian Encore.
The decision is the latest sustainable step forward for Norwegian Cruise Line. In 2018, the Company eliminated single-use plastic straws across its 16-ship fleet and private destinations, and as a result of this most recent initiative, it will replace over six million single-use plastic bottles every year. These efforts are driven by the Company’s Sail & Sustain Environmental Program which is its commitment to minimize waste to landfills, reduce its CO2 emissions rate, increase sustainable sourcing and invest in emerging technologies.
“We are a leading Company – one that is in the business of creating memorable experiences for our guests,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “It is imperative that we take meaningful steps to preserve our oceans and the destinations we visit. Partnering with JUST is one of my proudest moments as the head of our pioneering brand. This latest effort – the elimination of single-use plastic bottles across our fleet – is just the latest environmentally responsible action we are taking to reduce our footprint and encourage others to protect our natural resources. While we are aware that this is just the beginning of what we and others need to do to be good stewards of our environment, we are committed to our Sail & Sustain initiatives and will continue to innovate for the overall benefit of the planet and its future.”
Envisioned and founded by American rapper, songwriter, actor and activist Jaden Smith and family, JUST takes an innovative approach to sourcing and packaging the world’s most valued resource - water. The revolutionary company focuses on an impact model, taking into consideration both how the water is sourced and packaged. JUST is 100% spring water in a plant-based carton. The carton is made of 82% renewable materials – the paper carton is made from trees grown in responsibly-managed forests and the cap and shoulder are made from a sugarcane-based plastic. It is refillable and recyclable. JUST has a global presence with bottling facilities in Glenn Falls, NY; Ballymena, Northern Ireland; and Ballarat, Australia, thus allowing the company to meet demand around the world without shipping water from a single production source. JUST takes care to use the most efficient shipping options available.
“It’s critical that businesses take a leading role in efforts to lighten the impact we have on our planet,” said JUST Goods, Inc. CEO Ira Laufer. “We created JUST to do just that – to be a better option in a category that has created a lot of the damage and continues to do so. The JUST team couldn’t be happier to now share this goal with our partner, Norwegian Cruise Line. We’re deeply appreciative of Norwegian’s commitment that’s so similar to ours – the Company is pushing the boundaries of what’s always been done because it knows we all need to do better. We’re thrilled to be taking steps in the right direction alongside NCL.”
(PRESS RELEASE)_DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – September 24, 2019 – Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, which was the first cruise line to dock in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island following Hurricane Dorian - transporting critical humanitarian aid and hundreds of volunteers - today announced it will resume commercial operations with two-night round-trip sailings from Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island beginning Friday, September 27. With its return to Freeport, the company becomes the first cruise line to bring leisure travelers back to Grand Bahama Island following the storm. As part of today’s announcement, the company also revealed the addition of a second destination, Nassau, with sailings onboard Grand Classica, the cruise line’s second ship, beginning October 12.
“After ongoing discussions with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, we are thrilled to have been given official approval to resume leisure cruises to Grand Bahama Island, as well as to introduce Nassau as a second destination for our guests,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “Tourism is the most important industry in the Bahamas, and we all know the lifeline it brings to residents across the islands. While we remain focused on providing aid to our friends and family on Grand Bahama Island, we also know that returning to a traditional sailing schedule will make an incredibly positive impact. After hosting two successful humanitarian sailings, we are excited to bring our guests back to the Bahamas.”
Revitalizing Tourism to Grand Bahama Island
Beginning September 27, travelers can set sail from the Port of Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island aboard Grand Celebration with cruise fares starting at just $109 per person, and 50 percent off the second guest for all sailings this fall. Guests will enjoy award-winning dining, ocean-class entertainment, a smoke-free casino, and more. Once in Freeport, travelers can enjoy a Beach Getaway excursion, experiencing the south side of the island. Known as some of the best beaches in the Bahamas, those on the island’s south side feature long stretches of pristine sands, where sand forms into ripples at low tide, often referred to as the island’s “welcome mat.” Local flavor will abound with island-inspired food, Junkanoo-style entertainment and the opportunity to interact with Grand Bahama Island locals, known for their warm hospitality.
Travelers interested in joining the island’s rebuilding effort may forgo the Beach Getaway excursion and instead participate in a volunteer excursion, which Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is currently planning with local organizations. Volunteer excursions are expected to include light manual labor, and as such, participants are required to wear athletic clothing and appropriate closed-toe footwear as a safety precaution. Volunteer excursions must be requested and booked in advance, through Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and its official partners only.
Diversifying Bahamas Vacation Opportunities with a Second Destination
Beginning October 12, guests will have the option to cruise to Nassau aboard Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Classica, which is currently on its way home from a one-time Western Caribbean and Panama Canal cruise and private group sailing. Nassau has long been a destination of great interest for the cruise line, and the decision to add it as a port of call was based on current demand and guest feedback.
Cruise-only fares start at just $159 per person for round-trip Nassau sailings and departures will be available to book starting September 25. Travelers can expect details on shore excursions soon.
Cruise & Stay Program in Nassau
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s unique Cruise & Stay Program will soon be added as an option for guests sailing to Nassau to complement its existing and successful program on Grand Bahama Island. Travelers booking this option can cruise to Nassau aboard Grand Classica, where they’ll enjoy either an all-inclusive vacation or hotel stay at one of the cruise line’s partner resorts.
“Our Cruise & Stay options for guests are currently being finalized, but based on feedback from our guests who have enjoyed this option in the past on Grand Bahama, we know the demand is there and this will start a new chapter for many destination hotels in Nassau, as well as the outlying islands,” said Khosa.
The Cruise & Stay Program includes round-trip cruises from Palm Beach to Nassau, round-trip resort transfers, unlimited food and drinks at the all-inclusive properties, water sports, and activities, and daily and nightly entertainment.
Bahamians currently in the United States and looking to return to the Bahamas may book a one-way sailing to Freeport aboard Grand Celebration at just $105 per person, beginning with the September 27 departure. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will continue to deliver donated supplies from its warehouse to Freeport during future commercial sailings.
For more information on Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line or to book a cruise, please visit: www.BahamasParadiseCruise.com or call 888-530-2775 (English) / 888-530-2776 (Español). Follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, and InstagraM.
Crystal Earns Gold from Travel Weekly
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, September 23, 2019 – The world’s most awarded luxury ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, have been awarded once more, this time by Travel Weekly in the industry publication’s annual Magellan Awards. Crystal Cruises’ ships earned gold, along with Crystal’s recently launched new website. The ships have continued to dazzle discerning global travelers since their dramatic redesigns in 2017 and 2018, offering more butler-serviced penthouse accommodations, new dining experiences and streamlined technology throughout the ships, while the website was completely reimagined to encompass the company’s philosophy of numerous choices and an anticipatory, intuitive experience.
Also winning gold was a promotional video spotlighting the aspirational Crystal Yachting Lifestyle, complete with Michelin-inspired cuisine and a bevy of active pursuits at guests’ fingertips. Crystal River Cruises’ four new sister ships and Crystal Yacht Cruises’ Crystal Esprit won silver in the 2019 Magellan Awards, which are voted on by a panel of leading industry executives and experts.
A bevy of Crystal’s creative marketing materials – 12 in all – also earned silver acclaim, including the print advertising and overall design for “Where Luxury is Personal”, which showcases the company’s credo that true luxury anticipates and caters to the individual wishes and style of each guest. The campaign features artful photography focused on the meaningful moments and elements of the Crystal luxury experience, as well as the ships’ crew members, celebrated by travelers worldwide for their genuine, personalized service.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (Sept. 19, 2019) – Carnival Cruise Line expressed appreciation today to the Miami-Dade County Commission for approving a proposal for a complete renovation and major expansion of Cruise Terminal F at PortMiami that will be capable of supporting the operations of Carnival’s new Excel class ship – clearing the way for the yet-to-be-named sister ship of Mardi Gras to be homeported in Miami when it is delivered in 2022.
“With today’s approval, we will move quickly on a plan to remodel and expand Terminal F so that it will accommodate the most innovative class of ship to join our fleet,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Over the last several months, we have had very constructive discussions with PortMiami and Miami-Dade leaders about our plans for Miami and our goal to enhance and grow our capacity and operations in our hometown. Everyone is very excited about Miami being home to our next liquefied natural gas (LNG) ship in North America and the sister ship to Mardi Gras, which arrives next August and is generating tremendous enthusiasm. Today’s vote assures that the new ship and terminal expansion will both arrive in time for Carnival’s 50th anniversary in 2022.”
Carnival Cruise Line is the largest cruise operator in Miami with more year-round ships sailing from PortMiami than any other cruise line. The redesigned Terminal F will allow Carnival to continue to be the leader in the market, accommodating not only its largest and newest class of ship, but also allowing the line to bring its next LNG ship to south Florida. Duffy thanked local officials for their efforts to work cooperatively with the company to reach agreement on scope, timing and design work so that construction can be completed in time for the ship’s late 2022 arrival. Mardi Gras, the first Carnival Excel class ship for the line, will be delivered in August 2020 and be homeported at Port Canaveral after inaugural sailings from Europe and New York.
When completed, Terminal F will be the third cruise terminal at PortMiami dedicated to Carnival operations. The agreement includes a commitment by Carnival to keep ships at Terminal F for 20 years, with the option of two additional seven-year extensions.
The terminal’s simple and open design by Berenblum Busch Architects of Miami will allow for exceptional efficiency and flexibility to accommodate Carnival’s largest class of ships, maximizing use of facial recognition technology and other elements to move guests through the embarkation process.
Expansion plans will result in Terminal F being Carnival’s largest terminal in North America. All renovations are set for completion by October 2022 to welcome the Carnival Excel class ship arriving in late 2022.
Stay current with the latest news from the cruise lines.
Follow Gerry Barker
on All Things Cruise.