Exclusive Glimpse: Carnival's Biggest Ever Ship Officially On The Horizon
Carnival Cruise Line has just revealed the very beginning of the construction of their 26th ship in their fleet.
Carnival Horizon will be the second ship in the Vista class, along with Carnival Vista, and will officially arrive early 2018.
The ship is currently under construction at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Italy and is still yet to hit some major construction milestones, including its first float out onto the water and the beginning of the fitting out phase.
Carnival have released images of what guests can expect from Carnival Horizon: below is the Atrium…
The 4000-passenger, 133,500-tonne cruise ship will offer signature Carnival features along with firsts-at-sea like the IMAX theatre, Skyride- an extraordinary peddled roller coaster bike ride, the biggest SportsSquare sport complex, Havana cabins complex with pool, lounge and individual bar, and Family Harbor staterooms too.
Havana top view…
Havana pool area…
The line, long known for its abundance of entertainment, is not holding back on new fun features with Horizon; passengers will find SkyRide onboard, the industry’s first open-air, pedal-powered aerial ride. Riders will climb onboard a hanging bike and cycle their way around the 800ft suspended track, 150 feet above sea level.
An alternative for adrenaline-seekers will be the SkyCourse ropes circuit which will be a part of the SportSquare, along with SkyRide. This will include an indoor hangout, mini-bowling, The Clubhouse, Ping-pong, sports video gaming, arcade basketball and more. Guests can also expect the biggest Carnival WaterWorks park which will include an enclosed Kaleid-O-Slide water tube with 455ft of turns and twists.
Families can delve into Camp Ocean where kids of the ages 2-11 can take part in a vast array of activities…
Penguin colony for ages 2-5…
Stingrays for ages 6-8…
Sharks for ages 9-11…
Dr Seuss’ Bookville…
Carnival’s signature Cloud 9 Spa is back…
Carnival Horizon offers two main dining rooms, Horizons and Reflections, and seafood lovers will also be pampered with the Seafood Shack. This will be brand new to Carnival fleet and will be a New England-inspired casual eatery located on the ship’s top deck.
Another option for guests will be Chef’s table, a dining experience that will afford a dozen guests to experience a multicourse dinner with the master chef, private cocktail reception and a tour of the galley. This exclusive option will typically take place in a non-traditional venue, such as the library or the galley.
Guests will also find a Bonsai Sushi Bar onboard…
The Lido Marketplace…
Ji Ji Asian Kitchen…
Pizzeria del Capitano…
Guests can choose from a number of bars, such as the Piano bar…
The Red Frog Rum Bar…
The Alchemy Bar…
Carnival Horizon will debut in March 2018 as the 26th and largest ship in the line’s fleet, together with sister ship Vista and Dream-class vessels Breeze, Magic and Dream.
Carnival settles pollution lawsuit with state of Alaska
Carnival Cruise ship Belching out Fumes
Carnival Corp. has settled with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation over allegations that Carnival Cruise Line violated Alaska's standards that regulate visible air pollution from marine vessels.
Carnival said the settlement was reached Aug. 6, 2016, and resulted in a payment "not material to our consolidated financial statements."
The disclosure was made in Carnival's 2016 annual report filed with securities regulators.
Carnival said Alaska in 2015 issued notices of violation to all major cruise lines operating in Alaska, including its Princess Cruises and Holland America Line brands, the two biggest lines in the market.
Carnival said it is cooperating with Alaska and "conducting its own internal investigation into these matters."
Azamara triples down on destination-focused cruising
Azamara Club Cruises plans to deepen its brand identity as an immersive, destination-oriented cruise line by adding more opportunities for passengers to connect locally on shore excursions and by offering more overnight and late-night port stays.
Azamara has for many years featured longer port stays and overnights, but is "tripling down" in the words of president and CEO Larry Pimentel. Marketing will be built around the phrase "Stay Longer. Experience More.," which Pimentel, said "is not just a tagline, but a definition of brand essence."
The two-ship line (Azamara operates the 700-passenger Quest and Journey) will offer over one thousand destination experiences "that can't be Googled or found anywhere else because we're creating them," Pimentel said.
It will include over 250 overnight and late-night stays (8 p.m. or later) in ports, which is roughly 50% of all its port calls, in a total of 70 countries. He also said that over 50% of the ports on its itineraries are ones where larger ships can't dock.
Azamara's immersive program includes Country Intensive Voyages, a product that will allow guests to experience more of a given country, as the majority of the destinations are concentrated in one country such as Japan, Italy, Spain, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Greece or Croatia.
Pimentel said that focus on a single country, in which a ship may visit 13 ports in 14 days, gives travel advisers an opportunity to introduce cruising to clients who otherwise might be considering a land-based tour of a country. During a presentation of the concept, he referred to Azamara as "a no-cruise cruise."
Another new point of emphasis will be "Cruise Global, Connect Local," a series of land programs that are designed to deliver personalized and authentic experiences. Programs are built around biking, golf, food, local celebrations and site-specific wildlife and wilderness tours, as well as overland tours either during the voyage or pre- and post-cruise.
That tagline is purposefully elastic to permit labeling of specific programs, e.g., "Cruise Global, Bike Local" or "Cruise Global, Golf Local."
There will also be a program called Meet Local, involving immersive cultural experiences that offer people-to-people connections at the homes, farms and villas of local families, Azamara said.
"Our land product will be curated to ensure guests get to connect in a personalized and unique way with the people in the destinations they visit," Pimentel said.
Onboard programming will be augmented to present more information than ever on local destinations ranging from local culinary and beverage selections to travel movies, lecturers and panel discussions on destinations and other relevant topics, as well as entertainment.
Pimentel, who is also "chief destination experience officer" for parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said that the concept could extend to other RCCL brands, but for only for "a very tiny subset" of Royal Caribbean International clients in the highest cabin classifications or a small percentage of Celebrity passengers in "rarefied suites."
He nonetheless expects that other lines will begin to offer deeper land experiences. "It will change. People always follow a good concept."
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said it has a new mobile app under development that should be ready to debut this summer.
On a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter and year-end earnings, RCCL chairman Richard Fain said the project, dubbed Excalibur internally, is expected to debut on six to 11 ships over the next year, followed by a roll out on one to two ships a month after that. RCCL's major brands are Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.
Fain didn't say much about what the new app will do, but said it will "reflect all of the technologies available today." He said the Wow bands, a wearable RFID device that assumes many functions of the key card, have been "extremely effective in simplifying the process for our guests. But it's also obvious that the technology has improved a lot in the last two years."
Wow bands are available to guests on Quantum-class ships (including Anthem of the Seas) and the Harmony of the Seas.
He called Carnival Corp's recent unveiling of its Ocean Medallion and Ocean Compass personal technology "a very positive thing for our industry. It was a terrific roll out and got a lot of positive publicity which in the end inures to the benefit of all of us."
In other topics discussed on the call, CFO Jason Liberty said that the company's Wave period "is off to a strong start," and that it is "trending nicely higher" from last year. He said officials are particularly encouraged by strength in North America.
"Over the past three months, bookings have been well above last year's levels," Liberty said. "We turn the year in a record booked position. We have fewer staterooms to sell for the year."
In the fourth quarter, RCCL had net income of $261 million up from $206 million a year earlier. Revenue was flat.
For all of 2016, net income was $1.2 billion, up from $665.8 million. In 2015, RCCL was impacted by a write-down for the Pullmantur brand. Revenue in 2016 grew 2.4%, to $8.49 billion.
RCCL forecasted 2017 earnings in the range of $1.48 billion to $1.53 billion.
Norwegian Cruise Line has enhanced Latitudes Rewards, its loyalty program. It said there are improved benefits across all tiers.
Two new tiers have been added at the top end for the most frequent cruisers. Platinum Plus applies to guests who have earned 175 points and above, while Ambassador is an elite level for guests earning a minimum of 700 points.
They will get new benefits, including dinner with the ship’s officers for Platinum Plus and Ambassador, and a complimentary seven-day cruise for Ambassador.
New complimentary benefits include a bottle of sparkling wine for all Latitudes Rewards guests, shore excursion discounts for Silver members and above, and bottled water for Gold members and above.
The program awards one point for every cruise night, one additional point for each night spent in a suite or The Haven, and one additional point per night when booking Latitudes Rewards Insider Offer.
Lower tiers are Bronze (1-29 points), Silver (30-54 points), Gold (55-79 points) and Platinum (80-174 points).
Norwegian Cruise Line Alters Norwegian Star Itinerary Due to Propulsion Issue
Norwegian Star Photo credit by Dave Jones
Weeks after repairs to Norwegian Star's starboard-side azipod, a separate propulsion-related problem forced the line to alter the ship's itineraries.
Problems arose in the 2,240-passenger ship's port-side azipod midway through a 33-night Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand cruise that departed January 16 from Hong Kong. Azipods are engine components that help propel and maneuver ships.
Norwegian Star suffered a separate mechanical issue in December 2016 that affected its starboard-side azipod and forced the cruise line to alter itineraries. The cruise line fixed the starboard-side azipod and says the current azipod problem is unrelated.
To ensure the ship arrives in Sydney as scheduled February 6, the cruise line canceled calls at Komodo Island, Airlie Beach and Brisbane; it will instead call at Darwin and spend an additional three days at sea, according to Norwegian Cruise Line. The ship will leave Sydney as scheduled February 6 but will forego stops in Burnie, Milford Sound and Napier, adding a second day in Melbourne and two additional days at sea.
Itineraries for the February 18 and February 24 cruises are being finalized and will be shared with passengers in the coming days, according to a cruise line statement.
According to the statement, released Friday night: "The ship's system experienced a technical malfunction on January 24, which resulted in the ship's speed being restricted from full capacity. This is a very unusual situation and unrelated to the issue the ship experienced in December.
"Norwegian Cruise Line sincerely apologizes for this unexpected but necessary change in itinerary for our guests onboard this and the following cruises. We understand that our guests were looking forward to the original itinerary, and it is always our intention to sail that whenever possible.
"All guest activities, amenities and services onboard the ship are functioning normally. While the speed of the vessel has been affected, there has been no interruption to any guest services and there are no safety concerns. Safety and security is, and will always remain, our number one priority."
Cruise Critic members onboard Norwegian Star reported passenger protests. Fieryme, who shared a video on the cruise's Cruise Critic Roll Call, said: "The atrium on two floors were packed and everywhere I turn everyone is talking about it."
Norwegian is sending members of its leadership team in Australia, including Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific Steve Odell, to board the ship Sunday. They'll hold a town hall meeting with passengers and answer questions.
The cruise line also is offering compensation to passengers as follows:
Passengers currently onboard will receive a total of $500 per person in onboard credit. The payment can be used onboard or refunded via mail at the conclusion of the cruise. They'll also receive a 50 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid that can be used within the next three years.
Passengers scheduled to sail on the February 6 12-night cruise from Sydney will receive a $250 onboard credit per person, plus a 25 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid, to be used within two years;
Passengers scheduled to sail on the February 18 19-night cruise from Auckland will receive a $500 onboard credit per person, plus a 50 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid, to be used within two years;
Passengers scheduled to sail on the February 18 six-night cruise from Auckland will receive a $150 onboard credit per person, plus a 50 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid, to be used within two years;
Passengers booked on the February 24 13-night cruise from Auckland will receive a $350 onboard credit per person, plus a 50 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid, to be used within two years.
Norwegian says it will reach out to affected passengers with information as it becomes available; alternatively, passengers booked on any of the affected cruises can call the guest services team at 1-800-327-7030 for information.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, Harvest Caye, just off the coast of Belize, contains 11 mahogany-trimmed villas that can be rented for the day for $499. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Harvest Caye, a 78-acre island a mile offshore from southern Belize, might be the best in class in the cruise industry's growing portfolio of privately built destinations in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Completed by Norwegian Cruise Line over the course of 31 months, the island has a combination of standout features.
To start with, it has a dock big enough to accommodate a megaship such as the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway, the result of dredging more than a million cubic meters of sea bottom to make a channel.
Not having to tender to a private port makes everything safer, faster and more convenient for guests.
Also, while it feels like an island experience, Harvest Caye is only a 15-minute boat ride from mainland Belize, where available tours include the Mayan archaeological ruins, a tropical spice farm, a savannah ecotour by boat and a rainforest river tubing and rafting excursion. Prices for these experiences top out at $109.
On the island, a nature center displays boa constrictors, scarlet macaws and toucans, the national bird of Belize. Run by Tony Garel, an award-winning naturalist recruited from the Belize Zoo, it is the only such center in a port owned by a cruise line.
One popular zoo feature is a screened butterfly house filled with bobbing, iridescent blue morphos.
A branded restaurant adds another dimension to Harvest Caye. The tropically themed, two-story LandShark Bar & Grill was designed by Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Holdings and is operated by local food purveyor Provisions Belize. The restaurant overlooks a 15,000-square-foot pool that, unlike those on most cruise ships, comes with lifeguard supervision.
Harvest Caye's most visible feature is a 136-foot-tall lighthouse-like structure called the Flighthouse, an anchor for two ziplines, including the 1,300-foot Superman, in which riders fly prone, swooping low over the beach like a jet coming in for a landing at the airport. When both ziplines are running, guest services director Dan Drahozal said they can serve up to 192 people a day.
When a ship arrives around 8 a.m., guests will be greeted by a band playing drums and singing songs from the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna subculture in Belize. On the beach, 2,500 blue-cushioned loungers await.
To beat the brutal summer heat in Belize, Harvest Caye is outfitted with an abundance of fans, misters and shade umbrellas. A low canopy also protects the pier walk from the ship to the entrance.
Several free-standing locker towers provide storage around the island for $5 a day. Harvest Caye's shopping village is lushly landscaped with a variety of tropical plants and mostly local vendors, rather than the chains that crowd other ports of call.
Finally, it's worth noting that many of the Harvest Caye buildings, including the 11 villas that rent out for $499 a day, are trimmed in tropical hardwood milled by a Mennonite community in Belize. It gives a richer-than-expected look to the beach architecture.
"Mahogany is widely used in this country because it's so abundant," said Dustin Bowen, CEO of Provisions Belize, "whereas in the [U.S.] it's scarce and expensive."
Wärtsilä and Carnival Ink 12-Year, $1 Billion Partnership Agreement
Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, has signed a 12-year agreement with Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtsilä valued at nearly $1 billion and covering all engine maintenance and monitoring work for 79 of Carnival Corp.’s vessels.
The two companies said the agreement builds on their existing partnership and is aimed at maintaining the highest possible levels for cruise ship safety and reliability. The agreement is performance-based and provides for shared financial incentives and exposure based on outcomes for both companies.
“Our agreement with Wärtsilä extends our cooperation to a strategic partnership,” said Bill Burke, Chief Maritime Officer for Carnival Corporation. “With Wärtsilä maintaining vessels under our agreement and ensuring a high level of safety and reliability, we can concentrate on our core priority – providing great cruise vacations for our more than 11 million annual guests. In addition to reducing our costs, the long-term agreement increases safety and operational efficiency – two critical advantages in the fast-growing cruise market.”
The long-term value of the agreement is said to be approximately EUR 900 million.
Wärtsilä says the expected revenues for 24 months, approximately EUR 150 million, will be included in its order book for the first quarter of 2017, with expected revenues of EUR 56 million in 2017. The contract will become effective as of April 1.
According to the agreement, all engine maintenance and monitoring work for 79 of Carnival Corporation’s vessels will be handled by Wärtsilä, and ongoing planning will be a collaboration between both companies.
“The agreement includes Wärtsilä’s Dynamic Maintenance Planning (DMP) and Condition Based Maintenance (CBM),” Wärtsilä said in a press release. “These services are based on capturing digitalised data streams from every engine, after which this data is analysed by specialists. This allows real-time optimisation of the equipment whilst predicting operational and maintenance demands. With the DMP and CBM in place, vessel and fleet operations are optimized and engine overhaul intervals potentially extended. With approximately 400 Wärtsilä engines covered under the agreement, even the smallest improvements in vessel fuel consumption add up to significant annual savings in fleet operational costs.”
For Wärtsilä, the strategic partnership is expected to encourage increased focus on research and development, manufacturing and other functions to make its products even better and more efficient.
“We are very excited to develop our long-term partnership into a more strategic direction. Both Wärtsilä and Carnival Corporation are committed to investing significantly in this partnership as well as to develop our cooperation in the long run. We are confident that working closely together, we can improve performance in both organisations,” says Pierpaolo Barbone, President, Services & Executive Vice President, Wärtsilä Corporation.
Royal Caribbean International said it has added Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Five Star Dive Centers to 10 of its ships.
The centers meet PADI standards for top-level dive operations "that provide a full range of PADI scuba diving education programs, equipment selection and experience opportunities, while encouraging aquatic environmental responsibility," according to the group's website.
PADI is the most prominent of several groups that offer scuba training and certification courses.
Royal Caribbean has offered the ability for guests to earn an Open Water Diving certification from PADI while on a cruise for a number of years.
The Five Star Dive centers will be active on Oasis, Freedom and Voyager class ships as well as the Anthem of the Seas.
After a debut in the Mediterranean, the Carnival Horizon will spend the summer of 2018 cruising from New York.
The Horizon, the second ship in Carnival's Vista class, is scheduled to arrive in New York on May 23, 2018, after a 14-day repositioning cruise from Barcelona. It will sail from the Big Apple through Sept. 5 on eight-day cruises to the Caribbean, before redeploying to Miami on Sept. 22.
Carnival said the 4,000-passenger ship will make its maiden voyage on April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise round trip from Barcelona. A couple of seven-day Med cruises follow.
In addition to the new features introduced on the Carnival Vista, such as an IMAX theater and the SkyRide bicycle ride, there will be "a variety of unique dining and bar concepts and spectacular outdoor spaces found only on Carnival Horizon," Carnival said.
Pearl Mist sailing marks Port Everglades' return to Cuba cruising
Pearl Seas Cruises' Pearl Mist left Port Everglades on Jan. 17 bound for Cuba, the first ship in recent memory to depart on that itinerary from the Fort Lauderdale port.
"It's a big deal for us," port spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy said.
The 10-day voyage will touch seven ports in Cuba, and spend two days in Havana, making it the most destination-intensive Florida-Cuba cruise.
Pearl Seas plans 11 more such voyages before wrapping up its Cuba season in April.
Previously, only one other ship has sailed from Florida to Cuba, Fathom's Adonia. It departs from Miami.
Later this spring, several other brands are scheduled to make inaugural trips to Cuba from Miami, including Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
Princess Announce Their Most Technologically Advanced Cruise Ship Is Set To Launch
Princess Cruises has just announced it has placed an order for its sixth Royal Class vessel.
Guests can expect the 3,560 guest ship to be delivered in 2022, but is still yet to be named.
The next ship for the line will feature signature elements that have become synonymous with the Princess guest experience, such as a central atrium hub with multiple dining, entertainment and retail venues; Movies Under The Stars with the largest outdoor screen at sea; and 81% of all staterooms with balconies.
Princess’ newly announced vessel will also feature the recently released Ocean Medallion Class, including the Ocean Medallion, a first-of-its-kind wearable device that promises to offer enhanced services and a more personalised experience for guests.
The new technology is set to debut aboard Regal Princess on Nov. 13 on Ocean Medallion Class cruises from Port Everglades, and will follow on Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018, the cruise company has said
The yet-to-be-named Princess ship will be built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and further details will be announced in due course.
The line’s vice president UK and Europe, Tony Roberts, has stated: ‘The decision to grow our fleet is testament of the success of Princess Cruises around the world. With four new ships now due for delivery, starting with Majestic Princess in March, these are incredibly exciting times for Princess Cruises.’
Carnival Corp & PLC, cruise giant that owns Princess Cruises, made this announcement on the 19th January, along with a new ship for its Holland America Line brand.
The new 99,500-ton, 2,660-passenger Holland America ship will be the third in its new Pinnacle class of ship. It will join sister ships ms Koningsdam — now sailing from Port Everglades for the winter season — and the Nieuw Statendam, currently under construction and set to debut in November 2018.
Company CEO for Carnival Corp , Arnold Donald, has stated: “Using our strategic fleet enhancement plan to introduce new ships is an important part of our measured capacity growth strategy, which includes replacing less efficient ships with newer, larger and more efficient vessels.”
With Thursday’s agreement, Carnival Corp. now has 19 new ships scheduled to be delivered across its corporate fleet between 2017 and 2022. The company’s cruise lines also includes Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Seabourn, Cunard, Fathom, P&O Cruises (UK), P&O Cruises (Australia) and AIDA Cruises.
I have now personally sailed aboard the new Seven Seas Explorer and toured the Seven Seas Navigator from Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and I can better outline what is special about the luxury line and sets it apart from the competition.
The Seven Seas Explorer
The Seven Seas Explorer itself is such an incredible ship that its mere inclusion in the fleet is a differentiator for the entire Regent brand. Its attention to detail is unparalleled at sea, and the palatial Regent Suite is unlike any other accommodations.
Its passenger space ratio ensures ample space for each guest with no crowding, and altogether the ship feels much larger than it is. The atrium soars through all the public decks, the Constellation Theater is an impressive two stories in height and private balconies are massive.
Despite what it says, all-inclusive as a description is often not accurately applied to cruise lines. There are many cases where others are nearly all-inclusive or an all-inclusive experience can be purchased for an extra fee, but Regent is easily the most genuinely all-inclusive cruise line there is.
Understandably, things like the casino, retail shops and spa services are excluded, and likely always will be, but just about everything else is complimentary including unlimited shore excursions, premium drinks and specialty dining, 24-hour room service, pre-paid gratuities, WiFi internet access, airport transfers, a pre-cruise hotel night and even airfare.
Other cruise lines may have a very friendly crew, but not all of them exhibit the best in actual service. Regent’s crew tirelessly provide guests with everything they need, and passengers are seldom in a position to ask or request. The crew does not hover but rather blends in such that the service seems effortless, which means plenty of effort is made behind the scenes to make it appear so.
L’Occitane Bath Products and Teddy Bears
Accommodations onboard are extremely comfortable and well configured, but it's the extra touches that especially make them stand out to guests. L’Occitane has long been my favorite purveyor of fine soaps and shampoos, and it’s a delight to see that Regent exclusively features its excellent Mer & Mistral line of bath products on its ships. Similarly, as a collector of teddy bears, I was overjoyed to see that a welcoming Regent bear greets guests in top-tier suites as a lovely touch of home.
Extending elegant flourishes throughout the public areas of the ship as well as private suites is a beautiful collection of artwork. The breadth of paintings, mixed-media pieces and sculpture is very intriguing without ever being too bold or offensive. Several pieces speak to guests on different levels emotionally and literally across different decks. There are even plans in the works to showcase the collection with a detailed book.
Best Main Dining Room at Sea
Often it's the specialty restaurants that most impress from a culinary perspective on ships, but Regent’s equivalent of a main dining room, Compass Rose, actually makes a bigger statement by offering a menu that is beyond extensive.
There are still a dozen or so options offered daily on a rotating basis, but when combining that with the dozens more of always-available choices, the combinations of courses to order are seemingly endless. Guests can pick their favorite proteins, sauces and sides to craft a customized meal as well as experiment with new flavors in a single evening.
Culinary Arts Kitchen
Regent’s Culinary Arts Kitchen is the cherry on top of the sundae for allowing guests the opportunity to learn how to cook gourmet cuisine in a hands-on setting in addition to enjoying world-class cuisine. Individual cooking stations ensure each participant can fully prepare several dishes during a single course of instruction and then be able to sample it on the spot before taking their newfound knowledge home with them.
Borrowing a page from Priceline, Norwegian Cruise Line said it will allow select passengers to bid on cabin upgrades prior to sailing but after making final payment.
The process would let passengers upgrade one or two meta-categories. So for example, a guest in an ocean view cabin could bid to move to a balcony or mini-suite, but not a suite.
Norwegian said passengers eligible would be notified by email, as will their travel sellers. Selection is based on a variety of criteria including but not limited to what guests already paid and the type of cabins available on their sailing.
After bidding a "nominal" amount, guests will be notified with an immediate confirmation email of a winning bid. If a bid has not been accepted, guests can improve it or cancel it up to 48 hours prior to departure.
Travel agents are only notified of winning bids, and are eligible for additional commission on the upgraded fare. They will get incremental commission due in a separate commission payment, Norwegian said.
Norwegian is not taking bids on identifiable cabins or specific categories, but only at the meta-category level. Guests eligible to bid on suites or The Haven will be able to bid on each separately.
Norwegian did not say if minimum bids would be set.
The program, called Upgrade Advantage, is scheduled to start Feb. 8 on the Norwegian Escape, Getaway, Breakaway, Epic and Pride of America, with the remaining fleet set to begin participating in the second quarter.
Agencies are allowed to opt out of eligibility by sending an e-mail to NCL sales.
In a note to agents, Norwegian senior vice president of sales Camille Olivere said a pilot program tested very well with guests and agents.
"I highly recommend that you participate in this program," Olivere wrote. "Upgrade Advantage is a great way for you to enhance the guest experience and earn more commission with very minimal effort."
Currently, Norwegian offers upgrades through an Upsell Department, which identifies sailings with potential for upgrades and emails guests, who can then call in and bid on upgrades.
"This new system will be completely automated and allow for a level playing field where all guests can easily bid for an upgrade simply by clicking through," Norwegian spokeswoman Christina Baez said. "It also notifies the travel partner who made the booking and automatically provides them with the commission on the higher fare if their bid is accepted."
Costa Concordia Taken Apart For Scrap Five Years After Tragedy Struck
Costa Concordia Lounge
The Costa Concordia has finally been dismantled for scrap five years after it tragically sank, killing 32 people.
The ship hit an underwater rock in January 2012 and capsized in Isola del Giglio, near Tuscany.
The vessel had been carrying 4,252 people and 32 of these tragically drowned when the ship sank. The captain of the ship Francesco Schettino was then sentenced to 16 tears in jail for manslaughter. He had caused outrage as he fled the ship before all of the passengers had escaped safely.
His sentence was increased due to the fact he had given false information to the port authorities. The ship had hit the rocks because he was steering the ship too close to shore in order to impress a friend.
The disaster was the worst maritime incident for Italy since the Second World War.
Captain Schettino later appealed his sentence and claimed that Costa was itself to blame, but this was rejected in court.
The wreck of the ship was removed from the sea last year and has now finally been turned into scrap metal in the port of Genoa.
It’s been said that roughly 70 per cent of the 144,500 tonne wreckage will be recycled during these efforts. It will cost up to £1.2 billion to salvage and scrap the ship meaning that it is one of the most expensive maritime wrecks in history.
Since the disaster, cruise lines have worked to make safety procedures clearer and 73% of guests now think cruising is safer
SINGAPORE -- Guests boarding the new Seabourn Encore may notice that its lines and designs are softer and more curvaceous than the other Seabourn ships, said Adam Tihany, lead designer for the new ship.
The Seabourn Encore arrived here on Jan. 5 on a voyage from the shipyard in Italy where it was built. It is scheduled to depart on Jan. 7 on an inaugural cruise to Bali.
Tihany, president of New York-based Tihany Design, said one example is the Seabourn Square gathering spot on Deck 7 that serves as a library/guest services/coffee bar for the ship. "It's literally not a square anymore," he said.
On the Encore, the area has been opened up to guests by lowering partitions that once kept service personnel walled off. Now, the area is shaped in more of a circle. It has also been brightened with a lighter color scheme.
Another example is the bar in the Observation Lounge, which has been converted from a square shape to a circle. Tihany's design also makes the lounge brighter by incorporating a skylight into the ceiling above the bar.
In addition to being more "sexy" and aesthetically pleasing, the reduction in the number of hard angles and sharp edges will reduce the wear and tear on crew members bumping into these obstacles, Tihany said.
"The ship is taking into consideration how passengers move in space," Tihany said.
The Encore is the first new Seabourn ship since the 2011 delivery of the Seabourn Quest. It has an additional deck, raising the capacity at double occupancy from 450 to 600 guests.
The design of the previous three Seabourn ships, including Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn, was more "Nordic," Tihany said. Tthe Encore and its sister ship due in 2018, Seabourn Ovation, will look more like luxury yachts, he said.
Tihany spoke in a news conference on the ship with Seabourn president Rick Meadows. Tihany said his favorite space on the new ship is The Retreat, a relaxation area of 11 cabanas surrounding a whirlpool and covered by an arched canvas dome. Entrance is limited to guests who pay the rental fee for a cabana, which is $349 on sea days and $249 on port days.