(PRESS RELEASE)_ Seattle, Wash., Nov. 29, 2018 — Holland America Line took delivery of Nieuw Statendam today, Nov. 29, 2018, officially making it the 15th ship in the fleet. A hand-over ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s Marghera, Italy, shipyard, and Nieuw Statendam will set sail for Venice tomorrow en route to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, for its Premiere Voyage with guests departing Dec. 5.
The delivery was attended by Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president; Carnival Corporation’s Micky Arison, chairman of the board, and Arnold Donald, president and CEO; and Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK. Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, and several other executives from both companies also attended.
“Today the Holland America Line family celebrates the addition of Nieuw Statendam to our fleet, and it’s a proud moment for everyone involved,” said Ashford. “Thank you to our partners at Fincantieri and our own team members who worked diligently to deliver the ship looking more stunning than we imagined. Nieuw Statendam represents our continued evolution of adding exciting new experiences while maintaining the hallmarks that have made Holland America Line a leader in premium cruising.”
Following its transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia, Nieuw Statendam will spend a full season in the Caribbean sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Nieuw Statendam’s official naming ceremony will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 2.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, FL – November 28, 2018 – Celebrity Cruises’ 2020 Europe season will be the brand’s most “revolutionary” yet, marking the inaugural season of Celebrity Apex, the newest addition to Celebrity’s fleet and the second ship in the innovative Edge Series. The luxurious Celebrity Apex will make her debut in April 2020 from Southampton, England. Like her industry-changing sister ship, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex will feature an innovative outward-facing design and transformational accommodations that invite guests to take in the breathtaking world around them.
In total, Celebrity’s 2020 European season will feature six award-winning ships, two of which will have been reimagined as part of THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, an ambitious $500-million-dollar revitalization program that will introduce breathtakingly redesigned accommodations, reimagined spaces, and state-of-the-art experiences across the brand’s fleet. The best-in-class fleet will visit the most cities ever by Celebrity in a single season – with more than 90 ports of call across 27 different countries.
New destination experiences will include a first-ever mini season of sailings from Lisbon, Portugal, as well as country-immersive sailings that provide greater, in-depth experiences for travelers in either Greece or Italy. This season also introduces new ports for Celebrity, including Trieste, Italy and Isle of Portland, Dorset, UK. Back by popular demand, the brand is also returning to Oslo, Norway; Agadir, Morocco and Kusadasi, Turkey, where guests can explore the ancient city of Ephesus.
With more time in ports, more overnight stays and more in-depth experiences, travelers will be able to experience more new places in Europe than ever before and do it aboard the most spectacular spaces at sea.
CELEBRITY APEX CREATES THE PEAK EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE
As the newest ship in the Edge Series, Celebrity Apex will feature impeccable accommodations, including Edge Staterooms with Infinite Verandas and two-story Edge Villas with outdoor plunge pools, as well as 29 world-class culinary venues. Celebrity Apex will debut in Southampton where she will offer a mini season of five sailings to European destinations, including the Norwegian Fjords and the northern coasts of Spain and Portugal. Aboard Celebrity Apex, travelers can experience a new 10-night Capital Cities Cruise with visits to iconic cities including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo and Paris.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Fla. — November 28, 2018 — Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin were joined today by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Economic Development and Tourism Committee Rebeca Sosa and other local government officials to announce plans to build a new cruise terminal for Virgin Voyages. With this new terminal and a long-term commitment to PortMiami, Virgin Voyages also announced that its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, will continue to sail to the Caribbean from Miami throughout 2021. The company’s second ship will sail from Miami during the fall/winter cruise season of 2021/22.
Sir Richard Branson also proudly announced that bookings for Virgin Voyages’ inaugural season will open for sale on February 14 for the general public and February 5 for those currently holding pre-sale deposits.
The new Virgin Voyages Terminal will be located on the northwest side of the port. Pending the Board of County Commission’s approval of the MOU for construction of a new cruise facility; along with the subsequent berthing agreement, this project will start next year and is slated for completion by November 2021, the beginning of the year’s cruise season. This new terminal will have a significant positive economic impact on the entire region and solidifies a vital homeport for Virgin Voyages as the company continues to grow.
“Miami is an incredible city and one of my favorite places to work and play,” said Branson. “From our headquarters for Hotels, Voyages and now Trains USA, South Florida has quickly become another home for Virgin brands in the leisure travel sector.”
“South Florida is our home, and with our fleet now growing to four ships, we’re humbled and thankful to soon have a gorgeous new terminal overlooking the Miami skyline, an incredible view that will set the stage for the alluring journey that we will take our sailors on,” said McAlpin.
The new 100,000 square foot terminal will be a palm grove inspired design concept developed by the Miami-based designers from Arquitectonica. This new concept encompasses a design that builds on Virgin Voyages’ design ethos of the Modern Romance of Sailing, a thoroughly new take on the formal grandeur and opulence of the ocean liner heyday that heroes ocean views with a thoughtful root in history and tradition.
The palm grove design is inspired by Miami Beach’s iconic palm trees and the island’s historical origins as an area intended for harvesting coconuts. The terminal’s rooftop is designed to resemble a palm tree grove with rooftop pockets that allow natural light to flow into the building by day, and up lighting by night that will light up the company’s iconic Virgin Voyages red logo and allow the facility to shine bright, mirroring the city’s skyline. The two-story storm-proof glass facility will be replete with lush landscaping giving the terminal a plaza-like feel with designated areas for drop-offs of VIP’s, ride-sharing and provisioning, designed to provide a seamless shore to ship experience.
“It’s gratifying to see Virgin Voyages expand its presence in Miami-Dade County," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “By constructing a new cruise terminal at PortMiami, Virgin Voyages is signaling its confidence in our thriving community, which is not only the Cruise Capital of the World but also the Gateway to the Americas.”
As a part of Virgin Voyages’ sustainability efforts, the new Virgin Voyages PortMiami Terminal is targeting a LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Virgin Voyages is committed to creating an epic sea change for all by playing a significant part in securing a healthy future for the ocean and having a positive impact on the communities and ports it visits. Working hand-in-hand with Ocean Unite and Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Voyages is sponsoring Sir Richard Branson and Fabien Cousteau’s Aquatica submarine dive to Belize’s Blue Hole, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, on December 2. Virgin Voyages intends to support ocean research and conservation projects like the Blue Hole Expedition in an effort to raise awareness and gain insight into the issues facing the ocean today. The company aims for these efforts to help guide them in making better business decisions for its oceans and port communities.
Future sailors and travel partners are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com or following @virginvoyages on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
(CELEBRITY VIDEO)_At night at the Le Grand Bistro, the lights are dimmed and an entirely new experience is served; Celebrity is bringing the tabletop to life in partnership with TableMation Studios, featuring Skullmapping’s world famous Le Petite Chef - an animated 3D character who appears right on guest’s plates and prepares each course they’ll be enjoying right before their eyes. It’s an immersive fusion of entertainment and dining like nothing guests have ever experienced at sea, and Celebrity can guarantee that, as the brand is the very first cruise line to partner with TableMation Studios and Skullmapping.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (Nov. 26, 2018) – Carnival Cruise Line – The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line® – will kick off its 2019 West Coast expansion plans on New Year’s Day with its first-ever float in the world-famous Rose Parade as part of a year-long celebration of its first new ship to homeport in California in 20 years that will arrive in December 2019.
As it prepares for the arrival of Carnival Panorama in Long Beach next December, Carnival will preview a floral replica of the ship to 700,000 spectators on hand to view the 130th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, as well as a worldwide television audience of more than 80 million parade fans. The float will include many of the signature features of Carnival’s ships – including the red and blue funnel, a water park and Lido Deck party – as well as the line’s newest fun feature, and first-ever trampoline park at sea, in partnership with Sky Zone.
Comprised of tens of thousands of flower petals meticulously applied by hand, the 55-foot-long float will sail the five-mile parade route and show off signature touches, such as flowers from more than 100 countries to represent the number of nations that Carnival employees hail from, snorkelers enjoying a shore excursion, and a RedFrog and a BlueIguana from their namesake poolside watering holes. Additionally, as a replica of the Carnival AirShip flies over the float, fitness enthusiasts will be jumping into the fun on a Sky Zone trampoline built directly into the front of the float.
Celebrating its role as the cruise line that carries the most military personnel, the float also salutes the brave men and women of the Armed Forces with a special appearance by Former Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, godmother of Carnival Panorama’s sister ship, Carnival Vista, and the first active member of the military to serve as Miss USA. Every Carnival cruise includes a special onboard tribute to honor guests that have served or currently serve in the U.S. armed forces.
“Carnival is the number one cruise line on the West Coast and the arrival of Carnival Panorama next December will only strengthen our position as the most fun vacation in the region,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We are planning to show a spectacular float to match the spectacular new ship and with the addition of Sky Zone to complement so many of our most popular features and attractions, we’re offering even more ways to Choose Fun from the West Coast.”
Commented Jeff Platt, president of Sky Zone, “As a Los Angeles-based company, being a part of the Rose Parade is a truly unique and unforgettable way to announce our first Sky Zone at sea which will provide guests of all ages an opportunity to experience exciting new ways to play aboard the amazing new Carnival Panorama.”
Designed by Carnival’s in-house creative team and Fiesta Parade Floats, construction of the maritime marvel will begin in mid-November and is expected to encompass 10 designers collectively working hundreds of hours. This year’s Rose Parade is themed “The Melody of Life” and Carnival will encourage parade fans to “Come Sail Away.”
Carnival Panorama will debut with a special three-day inaugural cruise from Long Beach on Dec. 11, 2019, followed by the launch of year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera service on Dec. 14, 2019. The ship joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration to carry upwards of 600,000 guests annually from the West Coast – more than any other cruise operator.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI – November 20, 2018 – Celebrity Edge represents a monumental leap in cruise ship design and innovation. Now, Celebrity Cruises is introducing its most technologically advanced ship in the most technologically advanced way — with the launch of the Celebrity Edge Access Tour app.
Narrated with fascinating insights by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, and Celebrity President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the tour uses binaural audio, soundscaping, and 3-D augmented reality technology to give guests ultimate behind-the-scenes access to the story of this groundbreaking new ship.
“This is not your standard museum audio tour. With the new Celebrity Edge Access Tour app, we augmented the reality of the ship with a 3-D tour of the behind-the-scenes stories available right in the palm of our guests’ hands,” said Fain.
“Bringing guests closer to the world than ever before is such a driving-force behind Celebrity Edge – with our innovative outward-facing design, unique new experiences, and world-opening itineraries – and now we’re excited to bring guests even closer to the ship herself,” added Lutoff-Perlo. “And now, the Celebrity Edge Access Tour app will offer guests a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Celebrity Edge truly exceptional, all in breathtaking 12-megapixel clarity.”
The eye-opening tour showcases more than a dozen of Celebrity Edge’s most innovative spaces to guests on board, including:
Guests can download the groundbreaking Celebrity Edge Access Tour app at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. To take an insider’s tour of the most iconic spaces on Celebrity Edge and learn more about the revolutionary new app, visit www.celebritycruises.com/edge.
Celebrity Edge will begin her inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries before transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2019. Sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Celebrity Edge will make her first maiden voyage on December 9, 2018. Bookings are now open at www.celebritycruises.com/edge, or through a travel advisor. Building on Celebrity Edge‘s incredible momentum, she’ll be joined by Celebrity Apex in 2020, and two additional sister ships in 2021 and 2022.
ABOARD SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS_As VP of Guest Experience for Royal Caribbean, Laura Hodges and her innovation team are charged with coming up with new ideas for the cruise line's promise of "the ultimate family vacation."
Since onboard accommodations are paramount to the vacation experience, why not create the Ultimate Family Suite?
The result can be seen on Symphony of the Seas -- Suite 1733. It's pretty much everything any family could ask for, and more, starting with the two-story orange slide that connects the two-level suite together.
(PRESS RELEASE)_VALENCIA, Calif., November 20, 2018 – Luxury cruise line Cunard is proud to announce an innovative partnership with the prestigious English National Ballet for the first-ever “Dance the Atlantic” Transatlantic Crossing on board flagship Queen Mary 2, sailing from Southampton to New York, August 11-18, 2019 (M924).
Guests on the seven-night Crossing will have the opportunity to meet six lead dancers from the British ballet company, including Lead Principal Erina Takahashi and First Soloist James Streeter. Guests will also have the unique opportunity to watch the dancers’ morning ballet class and drop-in on afternoon rehearsals. A highlight of the voyage will be spectacular performances in the ship’s Royal Court Theater, including extracts from the enthralling all-time classic Swan Lake, the poignant contemporary work Dust and the stunningly visual Le Corsaire - demonstrating the huge breadth of the company’s repertoire.
“We are so excited to have the English National Ballet onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in 2019,” said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. “For the first time ever, guests will be able to interact with the English National Ballet on the ocean with world-class performances and intimate experiences that will only further enhance the elegance and romance of the Cunard Transatlantic Crossing.”
In another first, dance workshops will run daily throughout the week at sea, offering a special opportunity for guests to learn directly from English National Ballet associates. There will also be Insights talks, offering a fascinating understanding of the dedication and exhilaration of the dancer’s life, along with dance-themed films and documentaries shown throughout the voyage.
“English National Ballet is thrilled to be partnering with Cunard on this exciting voyage,” said Patrick Harrison, executive director of the English National Ballet. “Guests will get to experience the joy of ballet including performances and glimpses of behind-the-scenes. We’re very much looking forward to sharing our art form with the guests on board Queen Mary 2.”
For more information about the Dance the Atlantic voyage, please click here, or contact your Travel Agent at 1-800-728-6273.
(ROYAL CARIBBEAN)_Royal Caribbean International celebrated the homecoming of the world’s largest cruise ship with the naming ceremony of Symphony of the Seas, the 25th ship in the global cruise line’s impressive fleet. Symphony was named by the cruise industry’s first Godfamily, actors Alexa and Carlos PenaVega, and toddler son Ocean. The ultimate family was on hand to officially name the ship and bestow a blessing of safekeeping over her guests and crew. Dockside at Royal Caribbean’s new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in Miami, the milestone event was infused with modern day elements – ranging from an electronic violinist, to a stunning bottle break along the bow of the ship.
Stay current with the latest news from the cruise lines.
Follow Gerry Barker
on All Things Cruise.