Carnival's Mardi Gras Makes First Stop
(PRESS RELEASE)_Dec. 22, 2020 – Carnival Cruise Line’s new Mardi Gras made its first port call this morning in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where the ship will refuel its innovative Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion system for the first time after delivery.
Mardi Gras, set to begin sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla., next year, will be the first cruise ship in the Americas to be powered by LNG.
In its liquefied state, LNG is odorless, colorless, more environmentally friendly and less expensive than other fuels. LNG is considered the marine industry’s most advanced fuel technology. LNG does require, larger, custom-built tanks than conventional fuel as well as specialized refueling stations, such as the one in Rotterdam.
One of the most technically advanced ships at sea, Mardi Gras is equipped with four medium speed LNG engines that will be run in port and at sea. The ship can operate for two weeks between refuelings.
Mardi Gras, which was delivered to Carnival last week at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, is scheduled to depart Rotterdam tomorrow and then sail to Barcelona, Spain, before making its eventual arrival in the U.S. The ship’s inaugural voyage from Port Canaveral is scheduled for April 24, 2021.
Carnival's Operation Happy Holidays Delivers
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Dec. 17, 2020 -- The Grinch’s heart definitely grew three sizes this year as he brought some holiday cheer to Carnival crew members across the fleet, delivering more than 10,000 hand-written cards from the line’s fans and employees.
Operation Happy Holidays was kicked off by Carnival’s Brand Ambassador John Heald and promoted by the line’s personal vacation planners and on Carnival’s Facebook page, asking guests and employees to bring some holiday cheer by sending cards to the roughly 125 crew members on each of its 23 ships who are maintaining the vessels as the company prepares to resume service.
The response was nothing short of sensational with Carnival fans delivering in a big way, posting photos of themselves writing cards or mailing them at the post office.
Even the kids from the Camp Carnival child education center at the company’s Miami headquarters got into the act, creating beautiful handmade cards for team members on board. The Port of Galveston Police Department also showed their thanks and appreciation by submitting more than 500 cards. Galveston is one of Carnival’s most popular ports.
While crew members are accustomed to being away from family during the holidays, usually the ship is filled with guests which makes this initiative that much more special and heartwarming.
“This year’s holiday season is different and our most sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who stepped up and made our crew feel special and are making their holidays brighter,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “Operation Happy Holidays is a testament to our wonderful guests and employees who go to great lengths to remember our crew who are the secret behind our success.”
Carnival Takes Delivery of Mardi Gras
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Dec. 18, 2020 – Carnival Cruise Line today took delivery of its highly anticipated new ship, Mardi Gras, in a live virtual signing ceremony at the Meyer Turku Shipyard in Turku, Finland.
When Mardi Gras begins guest operations in April 2021, the 180,000-gross-ton vessel will be the most innovative ship in North America as it will be the first ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), boast a suite of new technology, and BOLT, the first-ever roller coaster at sea.
The ship’s venues, dining and entertainment will be dispersed throughout six distinctive zones, and include a new restaurant by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, the line’s first-ever Big Chicken by Shaquille O’Neal, two dining venues led by Food Network star Guy Fieri, and a new restaurant concept by master chef Rudi Sodamin. The centerpiece of the ship is a breathtaking three-deck-high atrium with floor-to-ceiling windows and movable LED screens that open up to a stunning ocean view.
Mardi Gras will accommodate more than 5,200 guests and a crew of 2,000. Guests will have the choice of more than 2,600 staterooms and 180 suites across 11 categories.
“We have been working tirelessly this year to get to this exciting day to take delivery of this beautiful ship, and the team at Meyer Turku has been an outstanding partner throughout this process,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “I cannot wait for our guests and crew to see and experience Mardi Gras. Notwithstanding the delays related to the pandemic, there is tremendous enthusiasm and pent-up demand for this ship. Next we will work on the development of her sister ship, Carnival Celebration, which arrives in 2022 and has sold very well since inventory opened in October.”
“We are delivering a beautiful and highly advanced ship with world-class technology such as LNG propulsion, to name just one. With these sophisticated systems, she will be one of the most environmentally friendly ships to sail the North American waters. I am very proud of our team of shipbuilders and would like to thank everyone involved of their dedication during the building process”, CEO of Meyer Turku, Tim Meyer, states.
Duffy said Mardi Gras will depart from Turku later this month to begin her voyage to North America. The ship will operate seven-day Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral, Fla., and Carnival has worked closely Port Canaveral to build a new cruise terminal to accommodate the Excel-class ship and also facilitate the new LNG fueling process. The inaugural voyage for Mardi Gras is scheduled for April 24, 2021.
Royal Sells 'Empress' and 'Majesty'
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Dec. 16, 2020 – Royal Caribbean International today announced Empress and Majesty of the Seas will depart its fleet later this month.
“Empress and Majesty of the Seas made indelible marks on the cruise industry with their revolutionary design and size. Touted as the cruise industry’s most groundbreaking ships when they were introduced, they continued to make history throughout their more than three decades of service,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Saying goodbye to these two beloved ships is a major moment in Royal Caribbean’s history – one that is difficult but necessary. With plans for new, innovative ships to join our fleet in the upcoming years, we look forward to our guests and crew continuing to make new memories with us.”
Empress was the first ship designed for 3- and 4-night cruises when she launched in 1990, with her initial sailings visiting The Bahamas from Miami. Empress also made history as the first cruise ship to sail out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey when Royal Caribbean opened the terminal in 2004. In 2017, the ship took center stage again when she set sail on the global cruise line’s inaugural cruise to Cuba.
Majesty also played a crucial role in Royal Caribbean’s commitment to continuously redefine the industry. The third ship to round out the impressive Sovereign Class was more than twice the size of the average cruise ship – and the largest in the vacation company’s fleet – when she debuted in 1992. Her adventures began with 7-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami.
The ships have been sold to an undisclosed party, based in Asia-Pacific, that will release details for future sailings at a later time.
Guests and travel advisors with clients booked on Empress and Majesty will be contacted about their options.
Santa Test Drives Carnival Roller Coaster
(PRESS RELEASE)_TURKU, FINLAND, Dec. 15, 2020 – Santa Claus took a break from his pre-Christmas festivities to venture down to Finland and take a test run on BOLT, the first-ever roller coaster at sea aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s new Mardi Gras which is being delivered at the Meyer Turku shipyard later this week.
With enthusiastic shrieks of delight and a few hearty “ho-ho-ho’s” echoing throughout the shipyard, Santa zipped along the 800-foot-long track featuring a hairpin curve around the ship’s iconic funnel, all while achieving speeds of up to 40 miles an hour. The all-electric coaster can accommodate two riders – or one Santa Claus and his bag of toys, perhaps – in motorcycle-like vehicles that race 187 feet above the water line, providing incredible views to the sea below.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I think a rollercoaster could be on a cruise ship. It’s something we’ll be talking about at the North Pole for a long time!” St. Nick said.
Built in partnership with Germany-based Mauer Rides, BOLT is a first-of-its-kind open-air attraction that take cruise industry innovation to new heights when the ship enters service in 2021 from Port Canaveral, Fla.
Azamara Announces 2021 WAVE Offer
(PRESS RELEASE)_Miami FL, December 14, 2020: Azamara — the upmarket, boutique cruise line dedicated to Destination Immersion® — is pleased to announce its 2021 WAVE Offer. Guests booking between now and March 31, 2021 will enjoy savings of up to 40% for select sailings between March 20, 2021 and May 13, 2022. Other perks of the offer include complimentary WI-FI for guests staying in an Oceanview stateroom or higher, exclusive cultural events, and consumer flexibility with the company’s “Cruise with Confidence” program, which allows guests to book worry-free by January 31, 2021 and change their voyage up to 48-hours before the sailing. Azamara’s three ships — Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, and Azamara Pursuit — all have participating voyages.
In accordance with the brand’s commitment to Destination Immersion, and the addition of more late-night stays and overnights in different ports, Azamara’s guests can immerse themselves into local culture. Sailings that can be booked with the 2021 WAVE offer include the Iberia Intensive Voyage — offering the chance to travel Spain and Portugal, permitting an overnight in Sevilla that comes with a wealth of excursions such as a Flamenco show and trip to nearby Jerez de la Frontera to taste the area’s lauded sherry wines; Norway Intensive & Svalbard Voyage — which includes eight late nights and excursions such as hiking along the resident fjords and a crabbing expedition out in the wild; and the Australia/New Zealand Voyage — allowing for three late nights, one overnight, and a sweeping variety of programming that includes whale watching and touring the legendary Marlborough wine region.
Atlas Unveils New Brochure
(PRESS RELEASE)_FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA., December 14, 2020 – Atlas Ocean Voyages unveiled today the cruise brand’s premier luxe-adventure expeditions brochure for World Navigator’s inaugural 2021/22 year. The new 76-page brochure is the comprehensive reference for Travel Advisors to sell Atlas Ocean Voyages and for travelers to plan a future luxe-adventure expedition in the Holy Land, Black, Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, South America and Antarctica. Launching in July 2021, World Navigator will be Atlas’ first, newly constructed expedition ship, which brings experienced, curious and fun-seeking travelers on once-in-a-lifetime journeys to less-populated, remote and bucket-list destinations. Atlas Ocean Voyages’ new brochure is currently in the mail and will be delivered to travelers and Travel Advisors throughout the United States and Canada starting mid-December 2020. To request a complimentary copy or to view the digital edition of Atlas’ premier luxe-adventure expeditions brochure, please visit www.AtlasOceanVoyages.com/brochures.
“It’s a sincere pleasure to present Atlas Ocean Voyages’ premier luxe-adventure expedition brochure,” said Brandon Townsley, Vice President of Sales and Trade Partnerships. “Atlas’ new brochure is a powerful tool for Travel Advisors to help their clients plan for an unforgettable luxe-adventure expedition in the New Year. A great feature about the digital edition is that Travel Advisors can select and easily download any page, which they can email to market Atlas to their clients. Luxe-adventure expeditions are fresh and unique, and Travel Advisors can make their clients’ return-to-cruise experience a chance to come back to something new.”
QM2 Setting for HBO Max Movie
December 10, 2020 - As Meryl Streep’s character, famed novelist Alice, steps out of the taxi upon arriving at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, she gazes in awe at Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 dwarfing the port, a magnificent site, even to the most veteran cruise passenger. This is one of the opening scenes of the new film, “Let Them All Talk,” directed by the award-winning Steven Soderbergh, streaming on HBO Max on today. Streep’s character is sailing aboard the grand ocean liner as a special guest of the voyage’s enrichment program, Cunard Insights.
The three-time Academy Award® winner Streep is joined by fellow acting royalty, two-time Academy Award® winner Dianne Wiest, and five-time Emmy Award® winner Candice Bergen. Supported by Academy Award® nominee Lucas Hedges and actress Gemma Chan, the film is set aboard the storied Transatlantic Crossing, amidst the backdrop of Queen Mary 2’s inimitable style, elegance and luxurious surroundings. In fact, the majority of the film was shot on board in some of the vessel’s most beloved spaces: the atmospheric, Art Deco Commodore Club, the sumptuous Queens Grill suites and dining room, the Royal Court Theatre and the 9,000 volume library, just to name a few.
As the film was captured aboard a live voyage, many on board guests had a chance to grab their moment in the spotlight when they were cast as extras in the film.
“We were absolutely delighted when Steven Soderbergh approached us to film his next feature on board Queen Mary 2,” said Simon Palethorpe, President, Cunard. “While Cunard and our flagship are accustomed to hosting luminaries from all over the globe, it was quite something to welcome Steven, Meryl, Dianne, Candice, Lucas and Gemma for this very special and unique opportunity. We are very excited about the film, its witty and engaging story and how lovingly Steven captured the essence of our flagship and the Transatlantic Crossing experience.”
Deadline commented that the film’s “highly sophisticated and elegant filmmaking is one of Soderbergh’s finest…” which resonates with the atmosphere on board, and very well reflected in the production. The viewer can almost experience the leisurely and luxuriant pace of the Crossing, and the allure of this iconic voyage.
Commenting on his experience aboard Queen Mary 2, Soderbergh said: “Color me well impressed. I have never seen an enterprise on this scale of complexity run so beautifully. Every Cunard staff member we interacted with was committed to providing the best possible experience for their guests, which in this case included our cast and crew. And I can confirm without question that as stunning as Queen Mary 2 looks on camera, she’s even more stunning to the naked eye.”
HBO Max begins to stream “Let Them All Talk” on December 10. To learn more about the film, visit hbomax.com. To learn more about a Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossing, or a Cunard voyage, contact your Travel Advisor, call 1-800-728-6273, or visit www.cunard.com.
'Princess Promise' Introduced
(PRESS RELEASE)_SANTA CLARITA, Calif., (November 9, 2020) – While cruisers are dreaming of their next cruise vacation, Princess Cruises introduces a new Princess Promise, offering greater peace of mind during a cruise vacation.
Over the years, Princess guests have enjoyed warm and gracious service in an atmosphere of comfortable elegance. Princess team members provide exceptional service and with MedallionClass, a more personalized experience to ensure an unforgettable vacation. Underscoring the cruise line’s already strong commitment to service, the Princess Promise reassures guests that Princess will ‘make it right’ for any onboard service that did not meet their expectations. This may include, but is not limited to onboard credits, future cruise credits or refunds.
Princess is also expanding its Book with Confidence policy which now allows guests the flexibility to change their vacation plans 30 days prior to day of departure, receiving cancellation fees as a future cruise credit. This flexible booking option is available for any cruise bookings made through March 2, 2021, on voyages departing through October 31, 2021.
“During this time, we’re all dreaming about our next cruise vacation and experiencing the wonder of new places, people and cultures,” said Deanna Austin, chief commercial officer, Princess Cruises. “When we set sail again our guests can feel at ease with the promise of a great cruise vacation, and the flexibility of adjusting their bookings if their plans change.”
For even greater peace of mind, the cruise line also offers Princess Vacation Protection that will provide full vacation protection in the form of either a future cruise credit or a reimbursement of the normally non-refundable cancellation fees, depending on the reason for changed plans. This program also covers guests during their cruise, including lost or damaged luggage protection, emergency excess medical expenses and emergency evacuation, and trip interruption coverage which provides a pro-rated refund if illness interrupts the cruise and extra costs associated with trip delays or interruptions.
Princess Cruises is currently enhancing health and safety protocols with input from global health leaders in response to COVID-19 and assessing how they may impact future itineraries. Actual offerings may vary from what is displayed in marketing materials. Click on the following links to stay updated on current Cruise Updates, Health & Safety protocols, and CDC Travel Advisories.
Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.
Three Carnival Ships Set for Dry Dock
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Dec. 9, 2020 – Carnival Cruise Line has established dry dock plans for three of its ships, and as part of its gradual, phased-in return to operations in 2021, will defer the deployment of the vessels until after the work is completed.
In a letter to guests and travel agents, Carnival advised that it has cancelled cruises on Carnival Magic (up to and including the embarkation on Sept. 24, 2021), Carnival Paradise (up to and including the embarkation on May 31, 2021) and Carnival Valor (up to and including the embarkation on Sept. 11, 2021).
Guests will have the option of a 100 percent future cruise credit combined with a generous onboard credit, or a full refund.
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