Thursday, 31 January 2019
Carnival's Mardi Gras to sail four cruises before Port Canaveral arrival
The Mardi Gras, Carnival Cruise Line's largest ship when it enters service, will sail four cruises before its Port Canaveral deployment in October 2020.
The Mardi Gras' maiden voyage will be a nine-day cruise from Copenhagen to Southampton, England, departing Aug. 31 and calling at Kiel, Germany; Gothenburg, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Zeebrugge, Belgium; and Le Havre, France.
A 14-day transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York is scheduled to depart Sept. 9.
The following cruise will be a six-day roundtrip from New York to Portland, Maine, and Saint John, New Brunswick, departing Sept. 24.
There will be a 15-day Carnival Journeys voyage departing New York on Sept. 30 and making various stops in the eastern and southern Caribbean before arriving at Port Canaveral on Oct. 15.
The Mardi Gras will accommodate 5,200-plus passengers and feature six design zones and the first roller coaster at sea. The ship will sail seven-day cruises from Port Canaveral.
Navigator of the Seas undergoes US$115M refit
Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas' refurbishment includes installing the world’s longest waterslide at sea
Tuesday, 22 January 2019
Royal Caribbean: New Experiences at Sea and on Land
Saturday, 19 January 2019
MSC Cruises reveals details of private island
Gallery: First pictures of MSC Cruises’ private island Ocean Cay revealed
MSC Cruises’ new private island in the Caribbean will give guests a “ticket to paradise”, according to chief executive Gianni Onorato.
Ocean Cay, 20 miles off the coast of the Bahamas and 65 miles from Miami, will boast eight “pristine” beaches, seven reserved for different guests, such as families, Yacht Club or Aurea Spa passengers, and one for the crew.
There will also be a sunset beach, lagoon beach and main beach where all water sports and activities will take place. Water sports will include snorkelling to a shallow sunken shipwreck through to scuba diving.
Lectures on the coral life around the island and what MSC has done to clean up and preserve it will be offered, something Onorato felt would be popular with younger guests and children.
Every Caribbean itinerary from Miami, whether sailing to the Eastern or Western Caribbean, will call at Ocean Cay. Onorato said: “Because it’s so close to Miami, we can stay there until 1am so people can experience it at night and still be back in Miami for 6am the following morning.”
Guests will be able to watch movies under the stars with their feet in the sand.
Food will include a family buffet and a food cart going around the island, but the ship’s restaurants will remain open all day as many guests are expected to go back on board to eat. The furthest point of the island is a 17-minute walk from the ship and “completely flat”, Onorato said.
Deckchairs and some activities will be included in the cruise price, but cabanas, cocktails, island Wi-Fi, and certain sports like scuba diving will be extra. All will be bookable through package upgrades via the MSC app.
Onorato also revealed there would be a second private island, for groups of 30-40 people, that could be booked out exclusively for the day. He said this would be a perfect upsell for travel agents. Costs for this and other extras would be added to the website at the end of the month.
The island will have three shops; one selling Bahamian goods manned by locals, one selling Ocean Cay-branded merchandise and the other selling MSC items.
Onorato said it was his “dream” to open an island in the Mediterranean but explained that the only location it would be possible to have an island open year-round, off the North African coast, was currently out of bounds.
“We will have to wait, but it is my dream to open a private island in the Mediterranean at some point,” he said.
Thursday, 17 January 2019
Galveston Enters Into 10 Year Agreement With Disney Cruise Line
Fincantieri to build a new ship for Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Fincantieri is building a new cruise ship for Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Friday, 11 January 2019
Norovirus outbreak on Oasis of the Seas
Passengers were kept on board for hours after it docked at Falmouth port in Jamaica on Wednesday (January 9).
The ship was on a seven-night cruise through the Caribbean, but passengers have been told they will have their cruise fares refunded in full following the outbreak.
A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told Travel Weekly: “Oasis of the Seas will return to Port Canaveral [in Florida] a day early after an episode of gastrointestinal illness.
“A total of 277 guests and crew members have been affected since the ship departed on January 6 — about 3.3 per cent of the people aboard the ship.
“All of the ship’s guests will receive full refunds of their cruise fare paid.
“We think the right thing to do is to get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health. Returning on Saturday also gives us more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship before her next sailing.
“Our guests sail with us to have great holidays, and we are sorry this cruise fell short.”
Passenger Alan Thomas tweeted: “Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. We’re docked at Falmouth Jamaica. Level 3 Norovirus outbreak. 100+ passengers and a crew member sick. Cancelled shore excursion. Waiting to see if Jamaican authorities let us off the ship.#refund #lostvacation #disappointed #royalcarribean.”
Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. We’re docked at Falmouth Jamaica. Level 3 Norovirus outbreak. 100+ passengers and a crew member sick. Cancelled shore excursion. Waiting to see if Jamaican authorities let us off the ship. #refund #lostvacation #disappointed #royalcarribean
— Alan Thomas (@alan_thomas13)
Norwegian Gem to Traverse Panama Canal for the First Time
Friday, 4 January 2019
Special Report: MSC outlines ambitions for the new fleet
The line’s bosses gave the most detail yet about the project at a Travel Weekly executive lunch. Harry Kemble reports
MSC Cruises’ chief executive is yet to decide whether to name his new fleet of luxury vessels after its current premium offering, The Yacht Club and asked UK agents for their views.
The line confirmed industry rumours in October that it would be entering the luxury sector by announcing plans to launch four ships from 2023.
Speaking at a Travel Weekly executive lunch for 25 top agents from the UK and Ireland, Gianni Onorato said: “The new ships will have a different brand name to the rest of the fleet. That name is yet to be decided, however.”
Asked if the new luxury ships would be called The Yacht Club, he replied: “I don’t know yet. Maybe. What do you all think?”
Iglu senior vice-president for global supply Simone Clark said she thought he should keep The Yacht Club name for the fleet of newer, smaller, more upmarket vessels since it was established and recognised among the trade and customers.
But Onorato confirmed there would be differences in the new fleet, compared with the luxury area that exists on seven MSC ships.
“We want to position it so it will be like The Yacht Club,” he said. “But the luxury ships will be really different vessels.”
He said the key difference is the luxury ships would sail to different destinations and offer multiple durations, with more flexibility.
“Our customers are saying they do not want seven-night cruises – they want something more. That is why we are investing in luxury,” he added.
Onorato said there would also be a major difference in the food and entertainment found on the new luxury ships, compared with that currently offered on the mainstream ones.
“There will be extra food options, as well as different – and more – entertainment available. It will be a different experience, more luxurious. Cuisine will feature ‘cultured cooking’.”
Onorato also hinted that pricing on the luxury ships would not match that found in MSC Yacht Club. “The pricing today for MSC Yacht Club is really not very much money,” he said.
Families would be welcome on board, and Onorato hopes to transfer MSC Yacht Club passengers to the luxury ships.
Private islandMSC Cruises revealed that guests would be able to spend evenings at its new private island, as well as staying overnight. The line will open Ocean Cay (pictured) in the Caribbean next year. [This Travel Weekly executive lunch took place in November 2018]
Onorato said it would offer “cinema under the stars”. “Our guests will be able to watch movies on the beach with the sand between their toes,” he said.
He also revealed that couples who want to have “a special night” will be able to sleep in private beach accommodation elsewhere on the island.
Onorato, who visited Ocean Cay last month to see trees being planted, confirmed that travel agents would be able to sell a one-night stay on Ocean Cay to customers. “The island will be unique and an extension of the ship,” he added.
Onorato explained that his island was being transformed from a former sand extraction site into a marine reserve and private destination, where more than 100 environmentally friendly structures, such as bars, restaurants and housing, are being built. He said he hoped Ocean Cay would be “an example” to other cruise lines who owned private islands, due to its sustainable credentials.
He added that the island’s food offering would be limited because the ships are going to be so close and will have all the services on board for guests to go back and enjoy.
Agent pledgeAntonio Paradiso, the line’s UK & Ireland managing director, issued a bold promise to agents as he revealed that MSC Cruises was entering the final phase of a three-year plan to boost its profile in the UK.
After consolidating its place in the UK market, Paradiso said phase two had been to make “huge investments” to strengthen the UK sales team.
Steve Williams, director of sales, and Rebecca Kelly, regional head of sales in Ireland, were both named as two examples of this investment.
Paradiso said further improving MSC Masters, the line’s online training platform, which launched in August, was phase three.
“We are not going to stop until we have visited the last agent on this island,” he said.
World-class shipsMSC Cruises’ four new 200,000-ton ‘World-class’ vessels will be a combination of both Seaside class and Meraviglia class, according to Onorato.
The chief executive said: “MSC Meraviglia was a change more inside than outside, whereas MSC Seaside was more about the outside. Then we have World-class ships, which will combine the innovation we have seen with Seaside class outside and the internal innovation of Meraviglia class.”
The four new World-class ships are scheduled for delivery in 2022, 2024, 2025 and 2026.
To put the size into perspective, Royal Caribbean International’s four Oasis-class ships are all in excess of 220,000 tons, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ship, Bliss, weighs just over 168,000 tons.
Top-level serviceMSC Cruises has 17 vessels on order between now and 2027, and the constantly expanding fleet means crew members must be recruited rapidly. More than 50,000 new personnel have been trained and brought onto the ships to serve passengers.
Onorato identified onboard service as a key area he wants to continue improving.
“We have made big investments across the world and set up recruitment offices,” he said. “At the offices, we have recreated the ship with a mock-up cabin and restaurant.
“At the end of this process, we will have the best ships on the market.”
He also pledged to get crew members introducing themselves to passengers before they have even boarded the ship.
“Today, the customers, or the travel agents in some cases, will receive a message from the cabin [crew],” he said.
“This means that when the customers board the ship they can begin their holiday. It is something that will improve the customer experience, and make [travel agents’] jobs easier.”