Disney Provides Free Texting to Crew
(PRESS RELEASE)_CELEBRATION, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2019) – Today, Disney Cruise Line announced it will provide complimentary texting to crew members onboard its ships, making it easier for shipboard teams to stay connected to their loved ones while working away from home.
“We recognize how important it is for our crew members to be able to stay in touch with their families and friends, and we’re proud to provide this benefit,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line. “This is another way Disney continues to provide a great crew experience for our shipboard teams.”
Disney Cruise Line is the first major cruise line to provide this complimentary service. Crew members with iOS and Android devices will be able to send and receive text messages while onboard for free. The service will launch today onboard the Disney Magic and will be available fleet wide in the next few weeks.
Disney Cruise Line crew members represent more than 80 different nationalities. Crew members and Officers enjoy highly competitive benefits and employment advantages as well as ongoing training and development opportunities, as they sail aboard award-winning ships to the world’s most celebrated destinations. Recognized as the top cruise line for families and a leader in hospitality and entertainment, Disney Cruise Line offers unique career opportunities for those seeking to grow, innovate and succeed with one of the world’s most creative companies.
Since its launch in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has established itself as a leader in the cruise industry, providing a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and children can experience all Disney has to offer. Disney Cruise Line features a fleet of four ships – the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Guests can sail out of ports around the world on exciting itineraries to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Hawaii, Alaska and Europe, among others.
NCL Takes Delivery of 'Encore'
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (Oct. 30, 2019) – Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in global cruise travel, today took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in Bremerhaven, Germany.
This highly anticipated milestone begins a nearly month-long tour with preview events scheduled in Europe, New York and Miami, including the ship’s naming ceremony on Nov. 21, 2019. In attendance were Norwegian Cruise Line and Meyer Werft executives.
“Today we celebrate the delivery of our 17th ship and the close of our history-making Breakaway Plus class – a feat that was made possible through a special collaboration with our partners at Meyer Werft,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Our dedication to creating next-level offerings on board, will allow us to continue to deliver meaningful experiences for our guests, when Norwegian Encore arrives home to Miami.”
The nearly 1,100-foot-long Norwegian Encore, with a gross tonnage of almost 170,000 and a guest capacity of nearly 4,000, will embark on her first preview cruise from Bremerhaven, Germany on Oct.31, arriving to Southampton, England on Nov. 2. During the two-day voyage, guests will enjoy the Company’s newest offerings including the largest and most exciting race track in the industry, the new Onda by Scarpetta, enhanced Galaxy Pavilion and open-air laser tag attractions, and the at-sea debut of the Tony Award®-winning Kinky Boots.
“We’re happy to deliver another world-class ship to Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Tim Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft. “We are extremely proud of our partnership of over 16 years and honored to have been part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s most successful class of ships. We are confident that Norwegian Encore will continue the Company’s legacy of exceeding the expectations of its guests.”
On Nov. 2, Norwegian Encore will commence her transatlantic voyage to the U.S., arriving to New York on Nov. 10 with a two-day preview scheduled from Nov. 11 to 13. She will then voyage to Miami for a series of events, concluding with the christening ceremony and celebration on Nov. 21, which includes a live performance by Norwegian Encore’s godmother and Grammy Award-winning singer and television host Kelly Clarkson.
“Taking the brand’s exclusive, stand-out attractions to the next level, Norwegian Encore will feature the world’s longest race track at sea at 1,100 feet with four high-speed curves extending up to 13 feet over the side of the ship; the largest outdoor laser tag arena at nearly 10,000 square feet with the addition of augmented reality elements; and new immersive escape room and interactive theatre experiences in the 10,000-square-foot Galaxy Pavilion.
In addition to featuring many of the highly rated restaurants and lounges that have made the Breakaway Plus class one of the most innovative and successful in the Company’s history, Norwegian Encore will debut a new elevated Italian dining experience, Onda by Scarpetta, in collaboration with LDV Hospitality. The Tony Award®-winning musical, “Kinky Boots” will headline the world-class entertainment on board, with returning guest favorites “The Choir of Man,” “Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical” and the rocking Beatles cover band of The Cavern Club.
As part of a recent partnership with JUST Goods, Inc., Norwegian Encore will be the first ship in the Company to be plastic bottle free when she debuts. By Jan. 1, 2020 Norwegian Cruise Line will be the first major cruise line to eliminate plastic bottles across its entire fleet, a significant effort towards providing guests with more sustainable options at sea.
Launching this fall, Norwegian Encore will offer seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami beginning Nov. 24, 2019; Bermuda, and Canada and New England itineraries from New York City beginning Apr. 22, 2020; and voyages to the Western Caribbean from Miami beginning Dec. 12, 2020. In the spring of 2021, she will make her West Coast debut and sail to Alaska from Seattle.
Carnival Takes Delivery of 'Panorama'
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (Oct. 30, 2019) – With this week’s delivery of Carnival Panorama at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Cruise Line officially welcomes its 27th ship and the third vessel in the popular Vista class. Carnival Panorama will now head to Long Beach, Calif. for its naming ceremony and inaugural sailing in December.
“Carnival Panorama is the 15th ship built by Fincantieri for Carnival Cruise Line and once again, the skill and hard work of hundreds of talented craftspeople are on display here aboard the beautiful Carnival Panorama,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Our guests absolutely love Carnival Vista and Horizon and we are certain they are going to love their sister Carnival Panorama.”
Carnival Panorama will launch year-round service from Long Beach, Calif., on Dec. 11, becoming the line’s first new ship homeported on the West Coast in more than 20 years.
As the name implies, Carnival Panorama reflects design inspiration with more opportunities to connect with the sea. The ship features a number of innovations including the first Sky Zone trampoline park at sea as well as a first-in-fleet culinary studio where guests can participate in hands-on cooking classes, tastings and other food-related activities hosted by the ship’s chefs.
Carnival Panorama also offers a variety of longtime guest favorites such as a massive WaterWorks aqua park, Sky Ride, the popular bike in the sky with breathtaking views, a suspended ropes course and dining venues like Bonsai Teppanyaki and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse with barbecue favorites from Food Network star and longtime Carnival partner Guy Fieri along with craft beers brewed on board.
A wide range of staterooms and suites are available as well, including spa staterooms with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-spacious staterooms in Family Harbor and tropical-inspired Havana staterooms with access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.
USVI, Cruise Lines Strengthen Ties
(PRESS RELEASE)_SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (October 27, 2019) - The U.S. Virgin Islands continues to strengthen its relationship with cruise line partners as the region prepares for the strong growth forecast for the cruise ship industry.
Speaking at the annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference and Trade Show, USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr. reported that the delegation gathered much valuable information about the evolving form of the massive cruise industry.
The Governor added that the USVI delegation, which included Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte, his team at the Department of Tourism and representatives from The West Indian Company Limited and the Virgin Islands Port Authority, was so well briefed by the cruise industry leaders that they can confidently plan how the Territory should further respond to the needs of the changing marine sector.
Underscoring the timeliness of the meetings, the Governor said that with friendly competition throughout the region and the world, the face-to-face sessions were "a good checkup on our health to see what we're doing right and most importantly, what we're not doing enough of."
Sustained infrastructural investment was continuing apace, stated Governor Bryan, adding that dredging projects, the addition of a new port in the Charlotte Amalie harbor, the improvements on Main Street and the upland plans for Crown Bay were important developments for ensuring the Virgin Islands product was trending alongside cruise sector growth.
The Governor also stressed the importance of regional collaboration with its neighbors. The USVI delegation attended the meeting alongside several Caribbean heads of government, including Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie, and Prime Minister of St. Lucia Allen Chastanet.
Governor Bryan said areas of opportunity include responding to demand from the European market as well as revitalizing the visitor experience. He also said it was important to collaborate with the federal authorities: "Working through our visa issues with the U.S. Government to allow those (international) passengers to disembark very quickly and enjoy our islands, brings a whole new flock of tourists that have never been (to the USVI) for the first time, not only to enjoy their daytime experience but to come back again and enjoy overnight stays."
The Governor also referred to the need to rebalance the industry: "We have a very mature tourism product in St. Thomas and we have an emerging market in St. Croix (and) St. John. (We must determine) how do we combine those things in the right way that not only gives us the spend that we want, but also attracts the type of customer that's going to have the vacation that they want in the U.S. Virgin Islands."
During the convention, representatives from Coral World Ocean Park, Cruise Ship Excursions, Island Networks, Leatherback Brewing Company, Pirates Treasure Museum, Skyride To Paradise Point, and the Virgin Islands 'Bush Tea Lady', featured their products and attractions.
Commissioner Boschulte led an interactive session with Virgin Islands operators and cruise line executives to help strengthen the bonds between the cruise industry and the Territory's private sector. "We are very satisfied with our progress on bolstering this very important cruise pillar," the Commissioner stated, thanking private sector partners and especially his tourism team for all that they do in delivering an exceptional experience to visitors to the Territory. "We have a lot of work to do, and look forward to elevating our game in the weeks and months ahead."
First Royal Beach Club Announced
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Oct. 29, 2019 – Royal Caribbean International has announced its newest mission: delivering the ultimate beach day.
The company said its first Royal Beach Club will launch in Antigua, along a half-mile of beachfront near Fort James. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Antigua and Barbuda for the project, which is scheduled to open in 2021.
Built for Royal Caribbean International guests, The Royal Beach Club at Fort James will combine the island’s striking beaches with the cruise line’s signature service and amenities.
Curated as the ultimate beach experience, the Royal Beach Club Collection will bring the unique features and flavors of each destination to life. In Antigua, guests can take in the island’s exceptional views from private cabanas or plunge into a stunning pool and swim up to the bar to order a classic rum punch.
“The Royal Beach Club Collection is an adventure we cannot wait to reveal to our guests,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We have incredible partners in the government of Antigua and Barbuda to bring the first of our collection to life. Together, we are designing an experience that will bring more visitors to these idyllic islands and will create significant economic benefits and opportunities for local employment for years to come.”
The Honorable Charles Fernandez, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development and Investments, Government of Antigua and Barbuda, said: “The government of Antigua and Barbuda welcomes this multimillion-dollar investment into our tourism product by Royal Caribbean. The economic impact into our economy is projected to be approximately $80 million USD from direct revenue to the Government over the next 30 years and over $1 billion USD in indirect revenue during the same period.”
Fernandez continued: “The project will also provide meaningful employment to Antiguans and Barbudans for both the construction phase and the operations of the project for years to come. We are truly grateful and appreciative that Royal Caribbean’s first Royal Beach Club will be in Antigua, which confirms confidence in our twin island state.”
The Royal Beach Club concept builds on the remarkable success of Royal Caribbean’s new Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas but will be a distinctly different experience for guests. “With Royal Beach Club, we’re starting with a great day at a beautiful beach, and adding even more services and activities,” Bayley said. “Each location will feature local food and music, family activities and custom attractions to give everyone plenty of options on how to spend their day by the ocean.”
Though Royal does not expect to release specific designs for the Antigua destination for several months, the company expects to offer regional fare, island-style BBQs and live music, along with unforgettable experiences, including such thrills as wave runners, paddle boarding, snorkeling, a family splash pad and stunning pool with swim-up bar.
Cruise tourism is growing globally, with an anticipated 50% growth in the Caribbean over the next decade. Through land-based destinations, such as Royal Caribbean’s recently announced Perfect Day Lelepa in the South Pacific, and the new Royal Beach Club concept, the company is supporting its expanding fleet of award-winning, innovative ships.
Take a Tour of the Queen Mary
Join Pam and I as we tour Cunard's Queen Mary, launched in 1934 and retired in 1967, now permanently docked in
Long Beach as a hotel and tourist attraction.
Take the Tour
Carnival Sunrise Arrives in Port Everglades
In June, Pam and I had the pleasure of sailing on Carnival Sunrise out of New York (read about it HERE). As she repositioned to Port Everglades, Carnival hosted the traitional maritime plaque exchange with local port officials at a reception and luncheon. We jumped on the Brightline (the best option to get to the ports) from West Palm and attended the event. More details about it are in the release below:
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (Oct. 28, 2019) – The totally transformed Carnival Sunrise arrived in her new homeport of Fort Lauderdale today to launch a schedule of four- and five-day Caribbean and Bahamas cruises from Port Everglades.
Today’s voyage – a sold-out five-day cruise to Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman – marks the first of nearly 40 departures from Fort Lauderdale through May 2, 2020.
The ship’s inaugural call at Port Everglades was marked with a traditional maritime plaque exchange with port and government officials, as well as a reception and lunch for local dignitaries and travel agents.
Carnival Sunrise debuted earlier this year following an extensive $200 million renovation that is part of a fleetwide $2 billion ship enhancement program.
“We are pleased to bring Carnival Sunrise to Port Everglades, providing our guests with more options in sailing from South Florida,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Since debuting earlier this year, the ship has received rave reviews from our guests offering exciting enhancements and the amazing service that our crew always deliver.”
New features on Carnival Sunrise include:
· Casual F&B options: Poolside venues like Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, in collaboration with Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, BlueIguana Cantina & Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, as well as upgrades to the Lido Marketplace, an expanded ice cream station, the Java Blue coffee bar and 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano.
· Specialty dining: The Chef’s Table fine dining experience, the pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, as well as Italian, sushi and seafood options.
· Shopping and Personal Care: A Cherry on Top sweet shop, Pixels photo gallery, expanded retail outlets and renovated fitness and spa facilities.
· Outdoor Decks and Attractions: A new water park with slides and a kiddie splash zone, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and a SportSquare recreation area with ropes course and mini golf.
· Youth & Family Entertainment: Dedicated Camp Ocean, Circle “C” and Club O2 facilities hosting supervised children’s programming for kids 2-17, as well as an arcade.
· Theater & Live Entertainment: The Punchliner Comedy Club in the new Limelight Lounge, Playlist Productions shows in the Liquid Lounge, live entertainment, deck parties, onboard programming and the popular sing-along piano bar.
· Staterooms and Suites: Two redesigned Captain’s Suites and updates to all staterooms.
Carnival Sunrise’s Fort Lauderdale-based schedule includes four- and five-day cruises beginning Oct. 28, 2019. Four-day “long weekend” cruises will call at tropical ports like Half Moon Cay, Princess Cays, Grand Turk and Nassau, while five-day cruises will visit seaside destinations in The Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Dominican Republic and Grand Turk. Following her Fort Lauderdale-based schedule, in May 2020, Carnival Sunrise will return to Norfolk and New York for the summer to offer a wide variety of four- to twelve-day cruises including wide-ranging destinations. These cruises include five- and six-day cruises to The Bahamas from Norfolk as well as four-day “long weekend” cruises to Bermuda, and eight- to twelve-day cruises to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Bermuda, Costa Rica and Panama Canal from New York.
All of Carnival Sunrise’s sailings are open for reservations. To book a sailing, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL.
New Details for NCL's 'Spirit' Makeover
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (Oct. 28, 2019) – Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in global cruise travel, today provided further detail about Norwegian Spirit’s upcoming renovation as part of The Norwegian Edge® program, which reaffirms the company’s commitment to elevating the standard of excellence across the fleet.
Norwegian Spirit will enter dry dock in Marseille, France on Jan. 2, 2020 for an over $100 million revitalization. As part of the nearly 40-day renovation, the ship will emerge featuring 14 new venues, additional staterooms and an expanded Mandara Spa. New complimentary dining venues will be introduced including an additional main dining room, Taste; the 24-hour eatery, The Local Bar and Grill; the all-day dining outlet, Garden Café; the Great Outdoors Bar; and Waves Pool Bar. Making their debut are Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge, which features the Humidor Cigar Lounge. Splash Academy, the children’s waterpark, will be replaced with the adults-only retreat Spice H2O, a daytime lounge featuring two new hot tubs and a dedicated bar, which transforms into an after-hours entertainment venue. Mandara Spa will double in size to nearly 7,000 square feet and include a relaxation area with heated loungers, a new Jacuzzi room, a sauna, steam room and water therapy experience. The expansion of Pulse Fitness Center will allow guests to begin or maintain their fitness routine while at sea. The ship will also debut contemporary hull art.
In addition, the Company is announcing the introduction of Onda by Scarpetta on board Norwegian Spirit, joining the portfolio of critically acclaimed Scarpetta restaurants in New York City and the Hamptons, N.Y.; Miami; Las Vegas; Philadelphia; Newport, R.I.; London; and aboard Norwegian Encore debuting this November. The name Scarpetta is derived from the Italian expression, 'fare la Scarpetta,' which means to savor a meal to the last bite. Onda, or 'wave' in Italian, will adapt the same ethos and bring the charm and effortless elegance of its urbane Scarpetta sister to the sea. Reaffirming the Company’s commitment to providing elevated dining experiences across the fleet, guests will enjoy the rich and bold flavors the modern Italian restaurant will be known for, including a selection of beautifully prepared seafood.
Drawing inspiration from the brand’s most recent and highly successful newbuilds, the updated elements on board Norwegian Spirit will take the guest experience to the next level.
“As we continue to introduce new innovative ships to our fleet, with Norwegian Encore making her debut next month, we are committed to ensuring that the experiences our guests have come to enjoy are available on even our most storied ships,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are excited to reinvigorate Norwegian Spirit so that she continues to provide lasting memories for guests as they sail to some of the most exotic destinations around the world.”
With extended itineraries of eight to 24 days calling to some of the most desired destinations across three continents – Asia, Africa and Europe - Norwegian Spirit will emerge from Marseille featuring more elevated and sophisticated offerings.
Norwegian Spirit will sail out of dry dock in February 2020 to offer some of the most sought-after itineraries around the world including 10 new ports of call. She will be the first in the Company’s fleet to visit Bali (Celun Bawang), Jakarta and Surabaya, Indonesia; Beppu, Kumamoto, Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan; Taipei (Keelung) Taiwan; and Yangon, Myanmar. Following two, 20-day exotic expeditions exploring Greece, Israel, Egypt and Abu Dhabi from Rome (Civitavecchia); and Seychelles, Madagascar and South Africa from Dubai; she will offer a series of destination-rich voyages to Southeast Asia, China and Japan from Singapore; Hong Kong, China; and Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan through 2020.
For more information about Norwegian Cruise Line ships and their itineraries, or to book a cruise, please contact a travel professional, call 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784) or visit www.ncl.com.
Sky Princess Begins Inaugural Season
(PRESS RELEASE)_SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 25, 2019) – Sky Princess, the first purpose built Princess MedallionClass ship, recently set sail on her inaugural season in Europe. Representing an evolution of the design platform used for her sister Royal-Class ships - Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Majestic Princess - the 143,700-ton, 3,660-guest Sky Princess offers an elevation of spectacular style and elegance that Princess is known for, in addition to new distinct features.
Introduced on Sky Princess are new luxury Sky Suites boasting expansive views from the largest balconies at sea. In addition, two new entertainment experiences are offered - Phantom Bridge, a world’s first game combining digital and physical elements for the ultimate immersive escape room, and Take Five, the only jazz theater at sea, celebrating the iconic sounds, culture and history of jazz.
With the debut of Sky Princess, Princess Cruises marks the first time a ship has been built as a Princess MedallionClass™ ship. Powered by the OceanMedallion™, the global hospitality industry’s most advanced wearable device, MedallionClass vacations deliver a new level of service for a vacation that is more seamless, effortless and personalized. Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry and a CES® 2019 Innovation Award Honoree, the complimentary OceanMedallion features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, while eliminating friction points and enabling interactive entertainment.
Sky Princess will make her debut in North America on Dec. 1, 2019, for a season of Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale.
Carnival Sets 4 Ships for Galveston in 2021
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (October 15, 2019) – Everything is bigger in Texas – including Carnival Cruise Line – which announced today that it will have four ships homeported in Galveston, year-round, beginning in 2021.
Building on its position as the World's Most Popular Cruise Line® and the number one cruise line from Texas, Carnival Cruise Line said that Carnival Radiance will join the Galveston-based fleet in May 2021. In addition, Carnival Breeze will return to Galveston from Port Canaveral, becoming the newest and largest ship to operate a short cruise program from Galveston. Carnival Dream will shift to six- and eight-day Caribbean voyages while Carnival Vista will continue its popular week-long Caribbean cruises.
All Galveston-based ships and itineraries opened for sale today. With these four ships, Carnival Cruise Line will carry an estimated 900,000 guests annually from Galveston – more than any other cruise operator – on 235 five- to 14-day sailings a year, providing an unprecedented variety of cruise durations, destinations and amenities from Texas.
“Carnival is already the most popular cruise line from Galveston attracting vacationers from all across the Southwest and beyond. With these enhancements, we’re providing our guests with more voyages, more destinations and more choices from Texas than ever before,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
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