All Aboard: Cruise News for Week of March 30

Celebrity is going top shelf with Top Chefs; Royal Caribbean has a new godmother; and Holland America Line is perfectly healthy. Here are this week’s cruise updates.

Celebrity Cruises and Bravo Media have extended the “Top Chef at Sea” program through 2016. The program offers vacationers the chance for an up-close-and-personal culinary experience with six former “Top  Chef” competitors, including Nina Compton of Top Chef New Orleans, Tiffany Derry of Top Chef D.C. and Top Chef All-Stars; Ash Fulk of Top Chef Boston, Dough Adams of Top Chef Boston, and Chris Crary of Top Chef Texas. The signature sailing will also feature duel-style cooking demonstrations, private cooking classes, and private dinners. These particular “cheftestants” will start sailing Nov. 14.

Celebrity Cruises announced it will unveil 18 shows in 18 months, featuring drama, dance, comedy, musical theatre, and concert-style performances. Some include Elyria, which will take cruisers into “witty, mischievous, and dreamlike world;” iMagic, which will utilize holograms, lasers, and iPads; and Reigning Rocks, which will mix royalty with Brit Pop.

Royal Caribbean International announced travel agent Emma Wilby from Sunderland, U.K. as the Godmother of Anthem of the Seas. Wilby will christen Anthem of the Seas and perform a song during the ship’s inaugural ceremony in Southampton on April 20. A cruise ship godmother figuratively presides over the ship and provides good luck and divine protection over the vessel and its travelers. The role is a lifetime title and has been given to celebrities and royalty.

Princess Cruises is partnering with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to bring The Sound of Music to all of its ships. The film will be shown on Movies Under the Stars top deck screens and in the Princess Theatre as a sing-a-long, and will be incorporated with trivia games and other movie-themed experiences throughout the year. The partnership comes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film and Princess Cruises.

Disney Cruise Lines will welcome “Tangled: The Musical” to Disney Magic on Nov. 11. The musical will be based on Disney’s hit movie but also feature three new songs and a “few special twists” to complement the live-action production.

Stars Wars is coming to the theaters and the high seas! In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will be offering Star Wars Day at Sea during select Western Caribbean voyages. Some of the festivities include deck party celebrations, meet-and-greets with favorite Star Wars characters, Star Wars-themed activities for Padawans, unique food and beverages, exclusive merchandise, as well as the only at-sea screenings of Episode VII. The Star Wars Day at Sea will take place on the Millennium Falcon of the sea, Disney Fantasy, on the following dates: January 9, January 23, February 6, February 20, March 5, March 19, April 2, and April 16. The Star Wars Day is one day during your cruise.

Carnival Cruise Line returned to the Port of Baltimore, launching a year-round cruising program with Carnival Pride this week. The ship departed on a seven-day cruises to the Bahamas from the Cruise Maryland Terminal on March 29 but will also feature five-day and 14-day cruises to top destinations in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Florida.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. will welcome Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam at Port Everglades after the ship’s inaugural Europe season. The ship will sail in a series of Caribbean voyages and one cruise to the Bahamas from Nov. 2016 through March 2017.


Holland America Line’s ms Statendam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, and ms Ryndam achieved perfect scores of 100 during a routine United States Public Health inspection conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The unannounced inspection for Statendam was on Feb. 19 at Hilo, Hawaii, during a 30-day Tahiti and Marquesas cruise roundtrip from San Diego. Nieuw Amsterdam’s and Ryndam’s inspections were both conducted in March while the ships were readying for Caribbean cruises.

Norwegian Cruise Line is now performing legal wedding and vow renewal ceremonies on select sailings of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, and will be performing them on Norwegian Escape when it debuts this November, reports Travel Weekly. Legal same-sex ceremonies will be performed in regions where it is recognized by law, and all ceremonies will be performed the ship’s captain.The marriage license will be issued in the Bahamas.


Last Week’s Highlights

Disney Cruise Line has planned its first ever British Isles itinerary for summer 2016. Disney Magic is set to sail on 12-night cruises, starting June 5, 2016, with call to port in points throughout Europe, including Invergordon, Kirkwall, and Grennock, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; Le Havre, France; Iceland, Norway, and Copenhagen, while a seven-night cruise will take guests to the Norwegian fjords, reports TravelPulse. During summer 2016, Disney Magic will also visit northern Europe, Greek Isles, and the Mediterranean.

Carnival Cruise Line has announced its newest Fun Ship, Carnival Vista, will launch May 1, 2016 on a 13-night inaugural cruise from Trieste, Italy. It will be the first Carnival ship to sail in Europe in three years. The 3,954-passenger Fun Ship line is aptly named, with the first ever IMAX theater at sea, a 450-foot-plus long water tube slide, a suspended open-air SkyRide, a SkyCourse ropes circuit, The Warehouse with video and arcade games, and a two-deck Cloud 9 Spa. The ship will also debut two new Carnival cabin classes, the Havana Cabanas with private outdoor patios, hammocks for snoozing, and private access to the Havana pool during the day; and the Family Harbor cabins with deluxe ocean views, a balcony, a lounge with large screen TVs, and free breakfast and snacks.

Carnival Vista will call on ports throughout Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, and Turkey during its first season before embarking on a 13-night transatlantic cruise in October, arriving in New York City on Nov. 3, 2016.


Check out travel updates from this week! 

Save the Update – Upcoming Events for 2015

Now Boarding: Air Travel Updates for Week of March 30

Expert tips when booking customers with low-cost air carriers

Hotel Happenings: Property Updates – Week of March 30