Latest Cruise News: Jewel of the Seas Gets to Get $30-Million Facelift; Viking Star Sails for North America; Norwegian Escape Adds Another Restaurant to A La Carte Options.

Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas and Independence of the Seas will feature the Broadway hit musical Grease, though the show will be specially adapted for the high seas. The musical will debut on both ships in May 2016.

Royal Caribbean announced that Jewel of the Seas will be receiving a $30-million bow-to-stern makeover to boast a fresh contemporary style. New staterooms, including a two-bedroom family suite and 24 outside and balcony accommodations; new restaurants, like Giovanni’s Table, Vintages, and Izumi; new shopping venues; and technological upgrade like a poolside movie screen and VOOM, the fastest Internet at sea; will debut on the ship in April 2016 in Rome.

Carnival Cruise Line brings Kathy Griffin to Carnival Fantasy on Feb. 24 and Carnival Breeze on Feb. 25 as part of the Carnival LIVE entertainment series. Performances cost $50, though VIP passes are available including seating in the first four rows, a photo opportunity with Griffin, and a commemorative concert pass.

Viking Ocean Cruises announced its first ocean-faring vessel, Viking Star, will make its North America debut in September 2016 with five new itineraries. Sailings include In the Wake of the Vikings, Bergen to Montreal; Eastern Seaboard Explorer, Montreal to New York; Eastern Seaboard to West Indies, New York to San Juan; West Indies Explorer, San Juan to San Juan with stops throughout the Caribbean; and West Indies to Iberia, San Juan to Barcelona. Voyages range from 11 to 18 days.

Oceania Cruises announced that Claudine Pépin, the daughter of legendary chef Jacques Pépin, will serve as the godmother of its new ship, Sirena, when it’s christening in April 2016. Claudine has served as Oceania Cruises’ executive culinary director since the cruise line’s inception and will sail on the Sirena’s maiden voyage for cooking demonstrations, booking signings, and other guest interactions.

Travel Weekly reports that Margaritaville at Sea on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape is no longer part of the complimentary dining option. NCL has been moving most specialty restaurants to la carte pricing over the last month.

Travel Pulse reports that a voyage of Norwegian Sky was delayed several hours on Wednesday after a security scare in which a passenger boarded without following keycard procedures at PortMiami. More than 2,000 vacationers waited in the terminal while authorities conducted a second security sweep of the ship. When no breach was discovered, passengers were again allowed to board. Each stateroom received a $50 ship credit and those who left will receive a refund.


Travel Pulse reports that the cast of The Love Boat TV show, including Gavin McLeod, Captain Stubing himself, celebrated Princess Cruises’ 50th anniversary aboard Princess Pacific in L.A. last week. Princess Pacific served as the setting for many episodes of The Love Boat.