All Aboard: Cruise News for Week of April 27

Princess sets sail with Seahawks; Holland America increases its capacity in Seattle; and safety first! Here are this week’s cruise updates!

Safety is paramount aboard all cruise ships, and while it’s easy to see the white or yellow sticker hanging in a restaurant, it’s not quite as easy to find out the safety infractions upon cruise ships. According to Travel Pulse, the U.S Coast Guard recently issued a list of the top 10 most common deficiencies found on cruise ships in 2014. They range from fire screen doors not operating properly to impeding means of escape to fuel and oil leaks. Read the complete list here.

Princess Cruises will be holding a “Sail with the 12s—A Seahawks Fan Cruise,” which will feature a seven-night Alaskan cruises over Father’s Day, departing from Seattle on June 20 with Crown Princess, as well as exclusive Q&A sessions, meet-and-greet autograph signings and photos with Former Safety Jordan Babineaux, Former Guard Edwin Baily, Tackle Justin Britt, Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon, Defensive End Gregg Scruggs, Ring of Honor Quarterback Jim Zorn, and Sea Gals and Seahawks’ Mascot Blitz. The cruise will have contests, trivia challenges, and an on-deck Tailgate Party with game-day inspired food.

Travel Weekly reports that the $7.95 charge for room service orders has become permanent as of May 1 on all Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Testing was ongoing in April on Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, and while individual food items do not carry a charge, there is a “pre-order convenience charge.” The Haven luxury guests will not incur the charge nor will morning coffee and continental breakfast orders.


Norwegian Epic arrived in her new homeport of Barcelona, Spain, to begin her summer of seven-night Mediterranean cruises. Until Nov. 22, 2015, Norwegian Epic will sail from Barcelona or Civitavecchia (Rome) to the Western Mediterranean with stops in Naples, Italy; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Cannes, France; and Palma, Mallorca, Spain. From Nov. 29, 2015 to April 7, 2016, the ship will offer 10-night cruises to Morocco, the Canaries, Madeira, and Málaga (Granada), and 10-, 11-, or 12-night cruises in the Mediterranean with stops in Sardinia, Sicily, and Mallorca. For Christmas, Epic will offer a 9-night Canary Island and Morocco itinerary, starting on Dec. 19, and a six-night Barcelona cruise, setting sail on Dec. 28.

AdventureSmith® Explorations announced small-ship cruises to Cuba aboard their 49-guest Panorama ship with the purpose of “introducing ordinary travelers to real local people seeing an individual to individual exchange of culture,” the company said in a blog post. Cruises are set to start in December 2015 and run until April 2016.

Florence Henderson of TV’s Brady Bunch and Dancing with the Stars Season 11 will be joining two Holland America Line “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” themed cruises. Henderson will join the June 6 and June 13, 2015 cruises aboard ms Veendam to Bermuda and Canada and New England, respectively. The “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruises include guest performances from the professional dancers and celebrities from the hit TV show as well as dance lessons with the ship’s professional dances; a special fashion show featuring show costumes; and a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities. The ships also hold a dance competition, which give guests the opportunity to complete for a chance to represent their ship on the Champions Cruise.

Holland American Line also added line capacity to its roundtrip Seattle routes with the additions of ms Westerdam, ms Statendam, and ms Amsterdam, all which arrive in May, to begin their Alaska sailings from Seattle. These ships will complete a total of 47 roundtrip Seattle cruises to Alaska, plus four cruises to the Panama Canal or Hawaii/South Pacific, including a departure of ms Volendam. ms Noordam will sail a three-day Pacific Northwest cruises. According to a statement by the Seattle-based HAL, “All of the options combined make a total of 52 calls by five ships that welcome 82,996 guests to Seattle.”

Travel Pulse reports that 60 passengers and 11 crew members complained of gastrointestinal distress during the April 17-May 1 cruise upon Holland America Cruise’s ms Maasdam. The ship will undergo sanitizing, and a CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health office will conduct an environmental health assessment in Fort Lauderdale. The ship was to depart at May 1 on a 15-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Montreal.

Carnival Cruise Line will reposition the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory to San Juan to offer the popular five-port, seven-day southern Caribbean cruise schedule beginning November 2016. Carnival also announced two new homeports with Carnival Ecstasy moving to Charleston, S.C., and Carnival Fantasy to Miami in February 2016. This offers new “Fun Ship” cruise options for these markets.  ‘

Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sunshine scored a perfect 100 during their recent United States Public Health inspection. Carnival Ecstasy’s inspection took place at PortMiami while Carnival Sunshine’s took place at Port Canaveral, Fla. These were the fourth and fifth Carnival ships to earn 100 this year.

Travel Weekly also reports that Quantum of the Seas celebrated its first wedding in the Northstar observation gondola, officiated by Captain Felix Srecko, who is authorized by the Bahamian government to perform weddings at sea.



Last Week’s Highlights

Disney Dream will be transformed this fall with two new interactive youth areas. The Disney’s Oceaneer Club will have a play area designed after the Millennium Falcon with Star Wars-themed crafts, games, and activities as well as a large screen which will show episodes of Disney’s animated series Star Wars Rebels. The second play area will be themed at the Disney Infinity video game with virtual experiences and on-screen adventures as well as unlocked Disney Cruise Line content children can continue to play on Disney Infinity when they return home.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that guests sailing from Miami aboard Norwegian Sky will enjoy a more comprehensive all-inclusion experience with dining, entertainment, and free unlimited beer, wine, and premium spirits, beginning January 2016. The premium spirits and innovation cocktails will be crafted by award-winning mixologists from Miami’s Bar Lab. Guests 20 and younger will enjoy unlimited sodas and juices.

Royal Caribbean International hosted a naming ceremony with Godmother Emmy Wilby, a British Travel Agent, for Anthem of the Seas, its newest cruise ship. The ship will travel on its inaugural season before departing for New York Harbor and her homeport of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J.


Check out travel updates from this week! 

Now Boarding: Air Travel Updates for Week of April 20

Hotel Happenings: Property Updates – Week of April 27

Save the Date – Upcoming Events for 2015

Asia Pacific – Welcoming Almost 10 Percent of the World