By GERRY BARKER
As we entered the Port of Miami, our driver didn’t believe us when we said our ship was at Terminal E. He insisted there was no ship at Terminal E. Trust us, we said.
Sure enough, there it was — sandwiched in between two Carnival megaships was Windstar Cruises Star Legend. With a guest capacity of 312 (there are 240 booked for this cruise), it was more yacht than ship, which happens to be this cruise line’s calling card.
This is our first time on Windstar, which would be departing Miami on a 10-day “Jungles and Jewels of the American Coast.” For us, it was the perfect way to spend the Christmas holidays.
Known for their sailing ships, Star Legend is one of three of Windstar’s motorized yachts, which have been undergoing a $250 million renovation. The ship was actually cut in half and a new midsection inserted that boosted guest capacity by a hundred, as well as upgrading staterooms and facilities throughout the ship.
READ MORE HERE
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Dec. 28, 2022 – Bam! Carnival Cruise Line announced today that renowned chef and restauranteur Emeril Lagasse will serve as its Chief Culinary Officer. A restaurant concept created by Lagasse, Emeril’s Bistro, is already popular on two of Carnival’s most innovative ships, Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, and now the famous chef’s culinary talents will be utilized fleetwide. In conjunction with this announcement, Carnival also announced that Carnival Jubilee will also feature an Emeril’s Bistro when it arrives in Galveston, Tex. in December 2023. To see a video of Lagasse sharing the news, click here.
“Food is key to the fun of a Carnival cruise,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Emeril’s restaurants on our two new ships have been a great addition to our dining offerings and guests rave about the food, which will also be on Carnival Jubilee come next December. With Emeril’s culinary expertise and broader profile on our ships, along with our wildly popular partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri, Carnival will feature two iconic talents in the food and dining industry across our fleet.”
Icon of the Seas: Creating the AquaDome
(ROYAL CARIBBEAN)_To create the first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation for the whole family, Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International brings together a variety of firsts and next-level favorites across eight neighborhoods that come alive day and night. Dive into the AquaDome with the experts, a tranquil oasis by day and vibrant hotspot by night that features restaurants, bars, wraparound ocean views, and deck-defying entertainment in the next-level AquaTheater. From a sketch on a napkin to the installation of the 363-ton dome, in episode 4 of "Making and Icon: Creating AquaDome,” innovators of all types of disciplines are coming together on the journey to bring this new, transformational neighborhood to life. The Icon of Vacations sails from Miami, Florida, beginning in January 2024. Tap the link to learn more about the ship that's redefining adventure and setting a new bar for extraordinary. 🔗 www.royalcaribbean.com/icon-of-the-seas #iconoftheseas
Carnival Opens 2025 Bookings for 'Sunshine'
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Dec. 15, 2022 – Carnival Cruise Line announced today that the first series of year-round cruises from Norfolk, Va., are now opening for sale as Carnival continues to plan its biggest-ever operational schedule from Virginia. This first phase will offer sailings on board Carnival Sunshine from Feb 18, 2025 through April 2025, with plans to open further itineraries in the coming months.
“Carnival Sunshine is the perfect ship to usher in this next step for service expansion from Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise Terminal, and as we work closely with city and port officials on our plans to increase from seasonal to year-round operations, we’re delighted to open these sailings for sale, so guests from all over the southeastern U.S. can start doing some planning of their own for 2025,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We’ve been sailing from Norfolk since 2002, and we’re pleased to expand our offerings from this historic, charming community while strengthening our support of the local economy.”
Carnival Sunshine will rotate between six- and eight-day sailings and will visit popular destinations in the Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean, such as Nassau, Freeport, Half Moon Cay, Bimini, Amber Cove, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays. The itineraries now open include:
Featuring more than 500 balcony staterooms and dozens of suites, Carnival Sunshine accommodates more than 3,000 guests and is expected to bring approximately 100,000 guests to Norfolk in 2025. The ship offers a wide range of amenities, such as a three-level Serenity adults-only retreat, and attractions like a suspended ropes course and dual racing slides at its WaterWorks aqua park. It features extensive dining and beverage options, including Carnival favorites like Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant and Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, as well as the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub and the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar.
Year-round sailing is the next step in an operational expansion for Carnival in Norfolk, as Carnival and City of Norfolk leaders continue to discuss necessary terminal and port improvements to support a further expansion of operations. Last month, Carnival announced plans to offer a six-month series of four- to 10-day voyages aboard Carnival Magic in 2023.
For additional information on Carnival Cruise Line and to book a cruise vacation, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, visit www.carnival.com, or contact your favorite travel advisor or online travel site.
AmaWaterways Announces New Cruises
(PRESS RELEASE)_CALABASAS, CA – (December 15, 2022) – AmaWaterways announced the addition of two new 2023 river cruise dates for guests to experience Heritage on the River; Your Personalized Ancestry® Experience, which are now open for booking. These special itineraries, conducted in collaboration with AmaWaterways’ partner Ancestry®, will provide guests exclusive opportunities to explore their heritage with tailored experiences that educate and immerse them in the destinations their ancestors once called home. Both seven-night cruises - the Legendary Danube cruise embarking June 17, 2023 traveling from Nuremberg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary, and the Captivating Rhine cruise embarking November 2, 2023 traveling from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland - will welcome guests onboard for dedicated Heritage on the River experiences, uncovering their family’s history while sailing along two of Europe’s most renowned rivers.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (December 13, 2022) – Starboard Cruise Services, the leading cruise retailer and LVMH Moët Hennessy company, kick starts its multi-year partnership with Carnival Cruise Line’s highly-anticipated new ship, Carnival Celebration. Offering not only the most expansive retail selection across the fleet, but also the most ambitious by delivering first-at-sea brands and interactive elements.
Carnival and Starboard have catered Celebration’s retail to the ship’s environment, integrating retail concepts with entertainment experiences and designing custom-made products unique to the cruise line, its diverse guest demographics and destinations. The ship's inaugural Caribbean season started in early November.
“We’ve developed, designed, and curated engaging retail offerings, including many first-at-sea launches as well as sustainable brands and products that exemplify inclusivity for Carnival Celebration,” says Lisa Bauer, Starboard’s president and CEO. “Bringing Carnival’s brand to life, Starboard delivers an exciting assortment of Carnival-branded merchandise with a really fun in-store experience – a perfect tribute to our 30-year partnership."
“Carnival’s 50th birthday was the perfect occasion to level up our retail offerings and refresh what our guests have come to expect from our ships,” says Jeremy Schiller, vice president of retail operations for Carnival Cruise Line. “Our long-term partnership with Starboard continues to deliver groundbreaking retail concepts that have fundamentally improved cruisers’ vacation journey.”
Interactive Floor Experience
The first-at-sea Interactive Floor Experience, located in The Carnival Store (Deck 8), will offer an experiential activity where an interactive retail installation changes as guests walk over it. With plenty of space to move around, vacationers of all ages can engage in a wide range of Carnival-themed moments while shopping, from floor hockey with the Carnival funnel, to riding on the ship’s BOLT rollercoaster virtually, and more.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Dec. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Celebrity Cruises®, known for next generation ships at the intersection of architecture, technology and design, is sailing into the future with the launch of a new virtual experience dubbed, the 'Wonderverse'.
In an industry first, travelers will get to "see before they sail," exploring a hyper-realistic, digital recreation of aspects of their newest ship in Celebrity's transformational Edge® Series, Celebrity BeyondSM, complete with the ship's artful and inspiring spaces, entertaining signature moments like Celebrity's famous Martini Bar Flair Show, and the ability to visit top destinations that Celebrity sails to - from Alaska to the Caribbean and Europe to Asia.
In addition, guests can meet and chat with the line's key leaders as digital avatars, including President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the inspirational Captain Kate McCue - the first, and still only, American female captain of a major cruise ship, and Nate Berkus, Celebrity's Edge® Series Travel Ambassador and designer of the Sunset Bar on Celebrity Beyond.
Celestyal Launches Wave Season Savings
(PRESS RELEASE)_ATHENS, GREECE (December 14 , 2022) Celestyal , the award-winning, number one choice for travelers to the Greek Islands and the Eastern Mediterranean, has announced its “Go Further, Get Closer Wave Season” campaign with savings up to 60 percent off Celestyal’s most popular 2023 and 2024 itineraries booked from now until February 28, 2023. Prices start as low as $339* on the three-night “Iconic Aegean” itinerary, which is normally priced at $840, reflecting a savings of 60 percent. The popular seven-night, “Idyllic Aegean” itinerary, which is normally priced at $1,650 has been reduced by more than 40 percent to just $889*. The three-night “Iconic Aegean” sets sail from Athens and calls upon Mykonos, Kusadasi (Turkey), Patmos, Crete (Heraklion) and Santorini. The seven-night “Idyllic Aegean” begins in Athens and visits Thessaloniki, Kusadasi (Turkey), Crete (Heraklion), Santorini, Mykonos and Milos. As these are some of Celestyal’s most desirable and popular itineraries and the lowest prices are only available on select sailings, guests are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.
Windstar Adds to Culinary Team
(PRESS RELEASE)_SEATTLE, WA, December 13, 2022 –Small ship luxury cruise line Windstar Cruises has hired two new professionals to its corporate culinary team. Bjoern Wassmuth has been hired as culinary director, and Eric Le Rouzic as corporate executive pastry chef.
Wassmuth has 25+ years of culinary experience with five plus years as manager of culinary operations for a luxury cruise Line. His most recent position was executive chef and development chef at D&D London, a collection of 45 diverse restaurants, bars and one hotel based principally in London, but also with locations in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Paris and New York. He spent the last eight years overseeing and developing several restaurant concepts and menus, Besides implementing new concepts, Bjoern was the Executive Chef at German Gymnasium, Klosterhaus, Aster and Haugen. He also served as Kitchen Director at Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Germany.
As culinary director, Wassmuth is responsible for menu and recipe development and overall supervision to maintain Windstar’s high quality dining program for the fleet. He will support training and development of staff and ensure quality management and operating procedures. He reports to the director of food and beverage operations.
'Sylvia Earle' Departs for Antarctica
(PRESS RELEASE)_SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (Dec. 13, 2022) – Award-winning expedition travel company Aurora Expeditions’ second purpose-built small ship, Sylvia Earle, departed on her inaugural voyage from Ushuaia, Argentina on Dec. 10, 2022, heading to Antarctica.
Chief Executive Officer, Michael Heath is on board the Sylvia Earle along with around 120 passengers on this 12-day Spirit of Antarctica expedition.
“We are excited to be leaving Ushuaia behind us and sailing to Antarctica on the Sylvia Earle, as she explores the white continent for the first time,” said Heath. “She is looking amazing and performing well.”
The Sylvia Earle features the Ulstein X-BOW®, a revolutionary inverted bow design, for sailing across tempestuous waters creating smoother and faster crossings which helps increase the passenger comfort and importantly, reduces fuel consumption. Public spaces include multiple restaurants and bars, social relaxation and wellness areas, an outdoor heated swimming pool and jacuzzis, a gym, sauna, a library lounge, lecture theater, and expansive decks offering panoramic views of wilderness and wildlife, making it the ideal ‘base camp’ for exploring.
“With our focus on education and conservation, our goal is to immerse our expeditioners in some of the world’s most secluded and wondrous places such as the Antarctic Peninsula in a relaxed, fun and informal onboard setting,” adds Heath. “Our highly experienced Expedition Team will be guiding and enriching our passengers while we experience myriad excursions by water and land, with enthralling activities ranging from Zodiac cruises to walks and hikes, sea kayaking, scuba-diving, snorkeling, photography, wildlife watching, camping and snowshoeing. All while creating lifelong ambassadors for the planet.”
The Sylvia Earle will operate nine voyages in Antarctica this season before heading to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal in April 2023.
** For more information on the new Sylvia Earle including departures, visit here.
For more information, visit https://www.aurora-expeditions.com/
Stay current with the latest news from the cruise lines.
Follow Gerry Barker
on All Things Cruise.