Why don’t they just called it natural liquid? Seabourn reveals its all-star lecture line-up; and Carnival plays ring-around-the-cruise-ships. Here are this week’s cruise updates.
Travel Weekly reports Carnival Corp. announced a deal with Meyer Weft shipyard for four megaships which will be the first vessels in the cruise industry to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ships’ hybrid engines will burn 100 percent LNG at sea, which will help to eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulfur oxides. Each ship will have a maximum capacity of 6,600 passengers, and two of the ships will sale for Aida Cruises of Germany.
Carnival Cruise Line announced deployment changes at key homeports Galveston, Texas and Port Canaveral, Fla. Carnival Breeze will accept Carnival Magic’s itineraries from Galveston beginning May 8, 2016, and Carnival Magic will take over Carnival Valor’s seven-day Port Canaveral cruise program starting April 23, 2016. Carnival Splendor will assume Carnival Breeze’s six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami May 1, 2016, and Carnival Valor will offer new five- and eight-day departures from Port Canaveral beginning June 4, 2016. The changes are to maximum “Fun Ship” cruising in these two homeports.
The new itineraries are as follow:
The line’s newest ship, Carnival Breeze, will sail from Galveston every Sunday on three different week-long voyages, including the western Caribbean routes to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel; Belize, Mahogany Bay, and Cozumel; or a Bahamas/Florida route to Nassau, Freeport, and Key West.
Carnival Magic will operate two seven-day Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, including a western Caribbean route with Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay, and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean route with stops at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk, Nassau or Amber Cove. Before these changes take effect, Carnival Magic will sail a special three-day cruise to Nassau April 20-23, 2016.
Carnival Splendor will offer six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami, departing on alternating Saturdays and Sundays. The eight-day southern Caribbean cruises will feature Grand Turk, La Romana, Curacao, and Aruba, while an eight-day eastern Caribbean departures will visit Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. These itineraries will run through December 2016. Carnival Splendor will also have a three-port, six-day option with Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Ocho Rios, and it will offer a nine-day Carnival Journeys cruise round-trip from Miami, departing May 26, 2016 for an overnight call in King’s Wharf, Bermuda, with visits to Amber Cove and Grand Turk.
Carnival Valor will offer new short three- to five day cruises in May 2016 and one six-day cruise departing May 15 for Nassau, Amber Cove, and Grand Turk. The ship will then launch five- to eight-day cruises from Port Canaveral beginning in June 4, 2016. Five-day cruises will feature Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport as stops. Eight-day cruises will consist of calls to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten; while eight-day southern Caribbean sailings will include Curacao or Bonaire, Aruba, and Grand Turk.
Carnival Valor will also undergone an extensive dry dock in spring 2016 that will add Fun Ship 2.0 innovations to this vessel.
Holland American Line’s ms Noordam came to the aid of 41 persons on a disabled sightseeing vessel, Baranof Wind, near Johns Hopkins Glacier. The sightseeing vessel experienced mechanical difficulties, so ms Noordam lowered a tender to collect the 40 tourists and one Glacier Bay National Park ranger and delivered them to Bartlett Cove, where Baranof Wind originated. ms Noordam then sailed to its next port of call, Ketchikan, Alaska.
ms Statendam achieved a perfect score of 100 during a routine United States Public Health inspection conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 5. This is the third consecutive perfect score for the ship.
Travel Pulse reports Icy Strait Point, a seasonal cruise destination along the Inside Passage, has begun construction on a floating pier, which will allow cruise-goers to walk into Alaska instead of having to take tenders. The new 400-foot floating pier can accommodate large cruise ships and will be operational in 2016. A new wood-beamed welcome center with an excursion departure lounge will begin construction in October 2015 and will be completed for the new cruise year. Icy Strait Point is open to call from May to September and served 130,000 visitors in 2013, from NCL, Royal Caribbean, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Holland America Line.
Celebrity Cruises launched a “one-of-a-kind” shore excursion website for travel agents. It is an innovative and interactive hub for travel agents to plan their clients’ vacations with fast and easy access to new information on destination experiences. The new features include: brand-new shore excursions; top-rated tours by region; special offers; group sales information; training materials; downloadable flyers; videos; commission opportunities; and more. The new shore excursions were announced in April and are themed as “Uniquely Celebrity,” “Culture and Locale,” “Lifestyle and Wellness,” and “Family.” Agents can find the new website here: celebrityshoreexcursions.com
As part of their “Grass is Greener” campaign, which includes a half-acre lawn on the top of its cruise ships, Celebrity Cruises surprised several people in New York City, Chicago, and the Bay Area with a luxury trip when butler presented complimentary, luxe picnic baskets to recipients, and several baskets included tickets for a Celebrity cruise.
Princess Cruises will join the International Maritime Organization to Celebrate Day of the Seafarer on June 25, which recognizes the world’s 1.5 million seafarers who work at sea. Princess will be conducting an auction of the nautical charts on every cruise, and the item will be signed by the ship’s captain. The auction will take place fleetwide and throughout the month of July. Princess Cruises Community Foundation will match the auction proceeds up to $10,000.
TravelPulse reports that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, former CBS news anchor Dan Rather, and Forbes Media chairman and editor-in-chief Steve Forbes will be among their guest speakers for upcoming Seabourn cruises in late 2015 and early 2016. Wozniak will appear on Seabourn Odyssey for a 20-day Holiday Panama Cruise, departing from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 15. Rather will be on the 20-Day Panama Canal Cruise, joining the vessel from March 21-24, and Forbes, royal portrait-painting artist Richard Stone, adventurer Paul Deegan, and author/filmmaker Warren Fahey will appear on the 77-day Pacific Realm Exploration on the Seabourn Odyssey.
Last Week’s Highlights
Travel Pulse reports that cruises-to-nowhere are a thing of the past from U.S. homeports. According to a statement issued by The Cruise Lines International Association, foreign-flagged cruise lines operating out of the U.S. must include at least one foreign port. This change goes into effect as of 2016.
Norwegian Cruise Line will introduce new Specialty Dining Packages on Aug. 7 that will allow guests to choose the number of nights they’d like to try the line’s signature specialty restaurants for one-set price. Pricing starts at three days but can be bought for the entire length of the cruise; however, it must be brought prior to sailing or within the first two days of the voyage. Three-day voyagers can only buy the package prior to sailing or on the first day. Guests who buy the Specialty Dining Package can also select a la carte priced restaurants and entertainment-based restaurants for a discounted upcharge. Guests who buy the package can make reservations within 90 days of their sail date. Package are sold per person, not per stateroom.
Travel Weekly reports that as of July 9, passengers will only be allowed to bring a single bottle of fine wine or champagne onto Carnival Cruise Line ships. All other bottled beverages will not be allowed, and cans and cartons, including soda, waters, and juice, will be permitted but limited to 12 items or less in carry-ons. According to the cruise line, passengers have brought multiple cases of water on board, which not only slows down embarkation but also can be used to smuggle liquor on board. The cruise line will lower the price of bottle water on the ship, from $12 per 12-pack to $2.99 if preordered and $4.99 once the cruise begins. Carnival will also restrict the size of coolers to 12 x 12 x 12 inches.
Check out travel updates from this week!