Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Carnival Corp. demonstrates Medallion's bandwidth potential

Carnival Corp. demonstrates Medallion's bandwidth potential

Image result for carnival medallion technology

Carnival Corp. staged a live teleconference from the decks of the Regal Princess, demonstrating the new Medallion technology's bandwidth and connectivity.
The ship is the first to implement Medallion, part of which is a faster and more reliable internet connection.
During the demonstration in the Bahamas, Carnival attempted to harness 1.5 gigabytes per second of bandwidth to show that connectivity is a rapidly fading concern on ships. Carnival showed that games and video streaming ran adequately on the Medallion internet.
John Padgett, Carnival's chief experience and innovation officer, presided over the demonstration and said that the largest bandwidth reported to date by a cruise ship had been 580 megabytes per second.
Unlike homes, cell phones or most hospitality venues, cruise ships at sea are out of touch with the usual transmission networks for Internet signals and must rely on satellites. Until recently that service has suffered from slowness, unreliability and expense.
"There's always been a liability associated with cruising and that has been connectivity," Padgett said.
He said he hoped the stress test would prove that cruise ships now have the same technical capacity as land resorts for connectivity.
"Once we dispel the myth that connectivity is a problem, we'll open up the cruise market to new demand," Padgett said.
To gain better connectivity, Carnival has partnered with SES Networks, which has an array of high and mid-earth orbit satellites, which can shorten the time that signals travel back and forth in the atmosphere, improving connectivity.
Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks, said on the conference call that the quality of Internet service is affected by the distance to the satellite and by the amount of bandwidth devoted to the transmission.
He compared earlier service on cruise ships to a four-lane highway, and said the bandwidth in the demonstration is more like a 50 or 100 lane highway. The precise amount of bandwidth in use during the call will be subject to later verification.
"Now it's about making that bandwidth affordable, and seamless and efficient," Collar said.
Padgett said the super-fast Internet for now is available only on the Regal Princess and he declined to give a timetable for its implementation on other Princess or Carnival Corp. ships. But he said there's been much progress in making the Internet service faster and more reliable.
"All of our ships have connectivity, and we've made a dramatic improvement across the fleet over the past few years," Padgett said.

Carnival to sail Miami cruises to Havana

Carnival to sail Miami cruises to Havana

Image result for carnival sensation cruise ship
Carnival Sensation

Carnival Cruise Line will add Havana as a regular destination for a second ship in 2019, as the Carnival Sensation will sail Cuba-bound voyages from Miami.
The Carnival Paradise, sailing from Tampa, currently operates cruises that visit Havana.
In 2019, the Sensation will sail a series of 17 five-day cruises. The first voyage to feature Havana will depart April 22, 2019, and include Havana, Nassau and Princess Cays.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' momentum accelerates into 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' momentum accelerates into 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' net income rose 23% last year to $780 million, as European pricing and bookings recovered faster than expected and the booking curve extended to a near-optimal length.
Revenue rose 10.7%, to $5.4 billion.
The Wave season for 2018 has started strong and the outlook for 2018 is bullish, driven by a strong economy and consumer demand, CEO Frank Del Rio said.
"This year is by far the most excited, the most energized and the most optimistic I have ever been at the start of a new year," Frank Del Rio said.
He said the strong demand environment of late 2016 and 2017 has "accelerated through this year's early Wave season, as both the number of bookings sold and the price points achieved reach record levels" across all three brands -- Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises.
"Our overall booked position during the first seven weeks of 2018 further improved compared to the same time last year," he said.
He said on average NCLH guests are booking five weeks earlier than at the end of 2016.
Del Rio said the weak link if there is one, is China. "I don't think China is hitting on all cylinders as it can," he said, referencing the continued tensions with South Korea and the resulting uniformity of short cruise itineraries, which can only visit Japan. Nevertheless, he said China was profitable in 2017.

Carnival's Cuba ship getting upgrade

Carnival's Cuba ship getting upgrade

The Carnival Paradise in Havana.
The Carnival Paradise, a ship that sails Cuba cruises from Tampa, is undergoing an extensive month-long refurbishment in Freeport, Bahamas.
When the 20-year-old ship returns to service on March 26, it will have a water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies added to existing staterooms, and new bars and restaurants.
Among the new accommodations are two Grand Vista suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two oceanview cabins and 12 interior accommodations. All staterooms will have new island-inspired interiors with bright colours.
The new dining and drinking options are establishments that are on many other Carnival ships:
The complimentary Guy's Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina, and the RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.
The BlueIguana Cantina is a complimentary restaurant on the pool deck.
The BlueIguana Cantina is a complimentary restaurant on the pool deck.
The WaterWorks Aqua Park on the Verandah Deck features the enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids. 
A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14.
The Camp Ocean play area for kids ages 2-11 showcases the wonders of the sea and offers ocean-themed activities, including arts and crafts and science-oriented programming.
The Carnival Paradise's retail shops are being redesigned and will include Pandora and Guess.  The Cherry on Top sweets shop is also being added. The printed photo gallery is being replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.
The Carnival Paradise's schedule includes four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel or Roatan, Grand Cayman or Key West. The ship also sails to Cuba with four-day cruises visiting Havana, five-day cruises calling at Havana and Cozumel or Key West, and eight-day voyages to Havana, Key West and Grand Cayman. 

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Cruise cools to China

Cruise cools to China

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By Tom Stieghorst
The cruise industry's gold rush to China, if not over, has entered a new phase: For the first time in at least four years, cruise capacity in China will not grow in 2018.
That means that the focus and management attention that has been lavished on the world's most populous country may now be turning elsewhere.

To hear evidence of that, listen to the list of places that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio reeled off when asked if he's ready to put the second ship in China. 

"We have many other either unserved or underserved markets that we would also consider in the mix, should ships become available to us," Del Rio said in response to a question from a Wells Fargo analyst. "We don't have a presence in the mid-Atlantic states. We're not in Baltimore. We're not in Charleston. We don't have a presence at all in the world's second-largest port, which is Fort Lauderdale. We don't have a presence in the Gulf States of Texas or Alabama. We don't have a year-round presence in Tampa or New Orleans or in Los Angeles."

Del Rio went on to say that the Norwegian Cruise Line brand will have three ships in Alaska this summer, where some competitors have as many as eight.

"So, given our fleet size today and the fact that we will only be taking one ship per year, it could be a couple of years before we consider adding more tonnage to China, if the conditions in the rest of the world remain as robust as they are today," Del Rio said.

The Chinese boom really got going in 2014 when Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced it would devote its brand-new Quantum of the Seas, the first of a new class of ship, to the Chinese market.

In a world full of supposedly bold moves, that one really was. And it prompted other lines for the first time to put brand new ships in China, as everyone feared being left behind in the scramble to impress the Chinese.

Being the preferred brand in a market that was projected to be the biggest in the world in a decade or so was worth the gamble of putting brand new tonnage in an unproven and opaque market.

So when Princess Cruises sent the Majestic Princess to Shanghai last year and Norwegian sent the Norwegian Joy, in addition to the Quantum and ships from Costa Cruises and others, the result was a crowded field.

Throw into the mix the spat between China and South Korea that limited itineraries out of northern China, and China became a much weaker cruise market last year.

While cruise lines insist that they're in it for the long haul, and even in the short term it has been profitable, the sense that China is going to deliver a big increase in global cruise revenues has been tempered.
Already Norwegian's focus for 2018 has turned to introducing Norwegian Bliss to the North American market, and in particular the U.S. West Coast. Who knows where else in the U.S. Norwegian ships might be coming next?

AIDA Orders Ship for 2023 Delivery from Meyer Werft

AIDA Orders Ship for 2023 Delivery from Meyer Werft

AIDA's 2023 Ship

Carnival Corporation announced it has signed a shipbuilding contract for a third LNG-powered cruise ship for its AIDA Cruises brand. The ship will be built at Meyer Werft, with an estimated 2,700 staterooms at 180,000 tons.
It is the 98th ship on order for the global fleet between now and 2026. 
With today's announcement, AIDA Cruises now has a total of three LNG ships on order. AIDAnova is scheduled to join AIDA Cruises' fleet in December as the first ship of its new generation of LNG vessels, and the first-ever cruise ship in the world to be fully powered by LNG. The second ship of this series will be christened in the spring of 2021.
"On board our ships, which travel the most beautiful destinations worldwide, we offer the greatest holiday variety on the German market with a complete package of culture, entertainment, sports, wellness and culinary delights," said Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises. "The interest in AIDAnova, the first ship of our new generation, is enormous, even before the commissioning later this year. With today's new shipbuilding contract, we will ensure the further growth of the cruise market in the long term and will be able to provide excellent cruises for this steadily growing holiday segment in the future as well. Thanks to an even wider variety on board, we are opening up completely new possibilities for attracting new target groups across generations for this unique holiday experience."
Tim Meyer, managing director of Meyer Werft, said: "This is the 10th AIDA Cruises ship we are building in Papenburg, emphasizing a long-term partnership between AIDA Cruises and Meyer Werft. AIDAnova and the following two sister ships feature the latest technology focused on sustainability and energy efficiency."

Cruise Lines Agree: Europe Is Back

Cruise Lines Agree: Europe Is Back

The downturn in the European cruise market is history as leaders from Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings painted a picture of a strong and robust European cruise environment on year-end earnings calls.
Capacity in the Mediterranean will be up significantly this summer, and the same goes for Northern Europe.
“You will recall that successive geopolitical events through the summer of 2016 resulted in a noted depressed demand environment for European sailings. 2017, however, saw an unprecedented turnaround in demand for Europe voyages from our core North American customer, particularly for the brands that were disproportionately negatively impacted in 2016,” said Frank del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, on the company’s year-end earnings call.  “The strength and speed of this turnaround was faster than anticipated, taking only one year for European itinerary pricing to recover and surpass 2015 prior peak levels.”
Royal Caribbean Cruises will position its newest hardware in the Mediterranean, with the Symphony of the Seas this summer followed by the Celebrity Edge’s 2019 summer program in the Mediterranean,.
The Britanna and Costa Magic (Photo: Sergio Ferreira)
“Recent trends have been particularly strong for North America, Europe and Asia Pacific itineraries,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
CFO Jason Liberty added:  “Demand for both Mediterranean and Northern Europe sailings has consistently surpassed our expectations with all key source markets booked nicely ahead of last year in both rate and volume.”
At Carnival Corporation, CFO David Bernstein said on the company’s December earnings call that its seasonal Europe program was considerably ahead of the prior year on both occupancy and pricing.
“For our EAA (Europe, Asia, Australia) brands, for European deployment, occupancy is nicely ahead at higher prices,” he said.
“We don’t go into details by brands, but a number of times we have talked about seeing an improving economy in the southern part of Europe for a long time. We had talked about it bouncing along the bottom, but we have started to see some improvement, and we have seen that Costa has done very well in 2017, and we expect it to do well in 2018,” Bernstein continued. “So, we are comfortable and very confident and happy to see the improvement in that part of the world.”

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Avalon expands to India with Ganges cruises

Avalon expands to India with Ganges cruises

For 2019, Avalon Waterways has packaged Ganges River cruises in several itineraries.
For the cruise portion, guests board the 56-passenger Ganges Voyager for a six-day, roundtrip cruise from Kolkata.
The cruise heads north from Kolkata to visit Kalna, where passengers will take a rickshaw ride to the historic terracotta temple complex, and smaller villages where they will observe brass-making, saree weaving and idol making. Avalon will also offer a visit to a farmer’s home and to a rescue shelter for cows, in addition to the region’s stately sites, such as the Hare Krishna centre in Mayapur.
The Ganges Voyager is an all-suite vessel with accommodations ranging from the 260-square-foot deluxe suite to the 400-square-foot Maharaja suite. There is air conditioning throughout, a lounge and bar, a restaurant, gym, two spa treatment rooms and a partially shaded observation deck.
Avalon joins a handful of other river cruise companies and tour operators that have begun offering Ganges River cruises in recent years. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection launched its Ganges program in 2016, and G Adventures started selling Gange's cruises in 2015.

P&O Cruises raises daily service charge

P&O Cruises raises daily service charge

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P&O Cruises is raising its recommended daily gratuity from £6 to £7 per passenger from next month.

The increase applies to cruises departing after March 23 and comes just 12 months after gratuities were raised from £5 to £6 per passenger per day.

It applies to all passengers aged over 12.

The new recommended daily rate means couples will be charged almost £200 extra for a two-week cruise to cover tips.

However, the cruise line pointed out that the charge is discretionary.

“The service charge is reviewed periodically and is given directly to reward the waiters, cabin stewards and other staff on board for the exceptional service they provide to guests. It is a discretionary charge,” P&O Cruises said.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises increased their rates in January and now charge between $14.50 and $18, depending on the cabin grade.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is raising its daily “voluntary” gratuity charge from £4 to £5 from March 7.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Carnival Fascination returns to San Juan

Carnival Fascination returns to San Juan

San Juan has regained its homeported Carnival Cruise Line ship, five months after Hurricane Maria knocked the Carnival Fascination out of the market.
The 2,056-passenger Fantasy-class ship was chartered to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for use by relief workers in St. Croix for several months after the storm while Carnival repaired damage to its terminal in San Juan.
The 24-year-old ship then went into a drydock to be upgraded before returning to cruising duty.  Several Funship 2.0 restaurants were installed during the drydock, including Guy's Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina and Bonsai Sushi Express. Bar concepts new to the ship will be the Alchemy Bar, the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequilla Bar. The candy store Cherry on Top was also retrofitted to the ship.
The Fascination will depart San Juan on Sundays for seven-day round-trip voyages stopping in St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

Carnival Cruise Line's Christine Duffy Interview

Carnival Cruise Line's Christine Duffy Interview

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Carnival Vista Above.

The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) inspects cruise ships that visit U.S. ports to check their sanitation and hygiene conditions and grades them on a scale of 1 to 100. Most ships get a passing grade of 86 or higher, which was why it was so surprising that four ships from Carnival Cruise Line received unsatisfactory grades in a two-month period from Nov. 11 to Jan. 4. Two of the four, the Carnival Breeze and the Vista, are Carnival's two newest ships. The others were the Carnival Triumph and the Liberty. The three ships that were graded under 86 in 2017 represent nearly 20% of all the ships that failed in 2017, out of a total of 256 inspections. Cruise editor Tom Stieghorst spoke with cruise line president Christine Duffy about the run of failures.
Q: How do you account for it? I can't think of a year in which four ships from a single line were graded unsatisfactory, much less four in two months.
Christine Duffy
Christine Duffy
A: Neither can we. Obviously, it was very concerning to all of us. We have a dedicated shoreside team that manages the work with USPHS and then teams onboard the ships. We've always been very proud of the scores that we've gotten.

Q: What do you say to passengers?

A: I think the most important thing to say is that the findings have really not compromised public health. 

Q: Are there specific issues that produced those low scores?

A: While there's a lot of retraining, and refocus and re-emphasise that we are taking care of, based on some of the scores, a lot of it has been administrative inconsistencies, and also issues where we have been asked to replace certain equipment. So there's different standards and different equipment that we are replacing. But it takes some time from that point to the time when we'll be able to get it onboard the ships. That is all in process. Some of it may be coffee pots, ... salad bowls.

Q: Were all the Carnival ships inspected during November and December graded unsatisfactory?

A: Carnival Glory and Carnival Pride were also inspected during this time and got scores of 99 and 95, [respectively]. 

Q: How alarmed should people be about the "unsatisfactory" label?

A: I think some of this is reminding people that a passing score is 86, which is a pretty high bar. Failure doesn't actually indicate any unsanitary or public health concern. Obviously, if there were, we wouldn't be able to sail. There's been no disruption to any of our guests.

As you know, we are the only industry in hospitality that is in a program where it's voluntary. We pay for all the services that USPHS provides. I think when the program began, it was with the idea that setting the pass/fail at 86 would make sure that all the cruise lines and cruise ships would get information before there was ever a problem, to be able to address it.

Q: One problem that seemed to occur on several ships was the crew working while they were ill. What can you do to discourage sick crew members from working?

A: Some of that was actually people who were not filling out the forms before they were coming back to work. That became a deduction in points. We have reiterated to all of our crew members, to the medical team onboard, to our department managers, that if someone is sick we don't want them working. The last thing we want is to have any issues that would create a public health concern or an outbreak. Fortunately, we have not had those, so clearly, again, I think some of this is we need to do a tighter job on the documentation when someone was writing in and signing out, and so those were part of the administrative inconsistencies that have caused these failures.

New Entertainment is Coming to Carnival Horizon

New Entertainment is Coming to Carnival Horizon

Vintage Pop as coming aboard Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Horizon
PHOTO: Vintage Pop as coming aboard Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Horizon. (photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Monday, 19 February 2018

Symphony of the Seas Completes 80-Hour Sea Trial Run

Symphony of the Seas Completes 80-Hour Sea Trial Run

Symphony of the Seas

The first set of sea trials for Royal Caribbean International’s new Symphony of the Seas is complete, according to STX France.
The shipyard said the huge ship completed the 80-hour trial run, which included 1,000 nautical miles of sailing, between Feb. 15 and Feb. 18.
The sea trial was a bit delayed due to poor weather conditions that pushed back the previously scheduled run in January.
STX said all almost all key systems were tested in the single sea trial, with a second test scheduled prior to a late March delivery to finalize the ship’s nautical performance parameters.

Why Carnival Panorama’s New Homeport Matters

Why Carnival Panorama’s New Homeport Matters

Carnival Cruise Line commemorates the expansion of the Long Beach terminal
PHOTO: Carnival Cruise Line commemorates the expansion of the Long Beach terminal. (photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

In a surprise move, Carnival Cruise Line just unveiled that it would be homeporting its upcoming new vessel—the 2019 Carnival Panorama—on the U.S. west coast year-round from Long Beach, California.
This is major news because such a deployment hardly ever happens, though it certainly should.
To give a clear sense of how infrequently Southern California is the base for a brand new cruise ship, it’s the first time Carnival has opted for it in two decades. I was on site at the newly expanded Long Beach terminal over the weekend to hear the news from Carnival President Christine Duffy firsthand, and I was both astonished and delighted.
Norwegian Cruise Line got the ball rolling in part when it announced it would be introducing its upcoming Norwegian Bliss in Alaska. However, it is only going to be there for a few months per year, alternating to the Caribbean in the off-season. In between, it too will be making several stops in Los Angeles for Mexican Riviera roundtrips from the port of San Pedro.
Helping, of course, is a resurgence of interest in Mexico itself. Carnival has always remained committed to the region: Even during the downturn, the brand was sending its Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration on short getaway cruises to Ensenada and its Carnival Miracle farther south on weeklong voyages.
Now that the company has expanded its Long Beach terminal, it has replaced the Miracle with the larger Carnival Splendor for 2018 and will again swap out for the even bigger Carnival Panorama in 2019.
Previously, the east coast was predominantly earmarked for new vessels with hand-me-downs eventually making their way west. The recent Carnival Vista will move to Galveston as this year’s new Carnival Horizon comes to Miami. So if anything, it was expected that California might be next to get the Vista the year after with the Horizon shifting to Texas if the Panorama had gone to Florida.
Instead, the Panorama is going to Los Angeles. I’ve always believed that passengers interested in the latest ships would follow wherever they go—not just to the world’s cruise capital of Miami—and it would seem Carnival agrees.
Best of all, it might only be the start of a trend.
Carnival is also working on an Ensenada development project set for completion in 2020. Very few details have been revealed thus far, but it is said to be a unique dining, retail and attraction complex too, “make Ensenada one of the West Coast’s premier destinations,” according to Carlos Torres de Navarra, Carnival’s vice president, strategic and commercial port development.
Knowing how much vacant space exists pier-side in the Mexican port, that could potentially foreshadow a Grand Turk- or Amber Cove-type environment complete with the likes of a Margaritaville, swimming pool and waterslides immediately off the ship. (If nothing else, one can at least dream.)
It’s also not just Carnival that could follow suit. Plus, only Long Beach and San Pedro as homeports and Mexico and Alaska as destinations have thus been discussed off the west coast. Within the broader Carnival Corporation, Holland America Line is dedicated to departures from my hometown San Diego, with the brand leaving for Hawaii as well. Additional corporate cousin Princess Cruises also features the Cali coast from San Pedro.
These and other companies that call on California (like the Disney Cruise Line) could surely expand west with ever new ships as their fleets continue to grow. Already looking good for the future, cabin categories are selling out on Norwegian Bliss’ L.A. departures.
Should such demand sustain, I predict more fresh ships will follow and start a trend accordingly.

Cultural and Culinary Theme Cruises for 2018-19

Cultural and Culinary Theme Cruises for 2018-19

America's Test Kitchen as seen on Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam
PHOTO: America's Test Kitchen as seen on Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam. (photo courtesy of Holland America Line)

“America’s Test Kitchen” on Holland America Line
Holland America Line is already heavily featuring its new partnership with “America’s Test Kitchen” aboard its ships and the fleet is set to bring more culinary talent to 2018. A trio of special themed sailings will feature cooking shows and interactive workshops, as well as the opportunity to meet cast members from the television show.
Meet-and-greets will occur at a book signing and reception, while additional events will include a question-and-answer session, presentation on recipe development and kitchen knowledge trivia.
The first theme cruise is scheduled for May 6, 2018, aboard Westerdam’s seven-day Alaska Inside Passage itinerary. Showcased on that departure will be Jack Bishop and Bryan Roof. Bishop is the CEO of “America’s Test Kitchen” as well as tasting lab expert and cookbook author. Roof is the executive food editor for “Cook’s Country” magazine and a televised test cook.
The second sailing will depart on July 7, 2018, aboard Zuiderdam’s 14-day Northern Isles circuit. Showcased on the ship will be Bridget Lancaster and Lisa McManus. Lancaster is the executive editor for new media, television, and radio at “America’s Test Kitchen” as well as the television host. McManus is an equipment-testing and ingredient-tasting executive editor at “Cook’s Illustrated” and “Cook’s Country” magazines as well as on-screen gadget expert.
The third voyage will leave on September 22, 2018, aboard Veendam’s seven-day Canada & New England Discovery route. Julia Collin Davison and Rebecca (Becky) Hays will be highlighted. Davison is executive editor for the book division of “America’s Test Kitchen” and television host. Hays is the deputy editor of “Cook’s Illustrated” and “Cook’s Country” magazines plus televised test cook.
Benovia Winery on AmaWaterways
Wine connoisseurs will want to take note that Benovia Winery Proprietors Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane and Wine Educator Peg Melnik will be hosting an AmaWaterways river cruise. From June 29 to July 6, 2018, AmaViola’s seven-night Melodies of the Danube Wine Cruise will set sail from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany.
The 84-stateroom vessel will float down the Danube while guests enjoy Wachau Valley wines as well as Benovia tastings onboard. Other wine experiences will include a "Welcome Aboard" reception, three seminars, social tasting on the Sun Deck and a Wine Dinner hosted by Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane.
The Miami Dolphins on MSC Cruises
On March 17, 2018, MSC Cruises will host the Dolphins Fan Cruise aboard its brand new MSC Seaside. Both Miami Dolphins players and cheerleaders will be on the ship for guests to interact with as part of the three-year partnership between the cruise line and NFL football team.
Onboard for autographs will be Kim Bokamper, Terry Kirby, Sam Madison, Nat Moore, Joe Rose and Patrick Surtain. Guests can pose and cheer with cheerleaders for photo-ops, while former players will be on hand for Q&A sessions. Cheer squad and mascot T.D. will also present special performances.
The themed fan cruise will be available annually over the three-year span of the collaboration. Also, on April 28, 2018, the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders will have their annual calendar shoot on the MSC Seaside at its port for guests to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the process and enjoy other hosted programming.
The Quintessential Collection on Ponant
Starting in May 2019, Ponant will offer its Quintessential Collection of themed cruises. “Designed to inspire travellers in destinations,” sailings will showcase onboard speakers and performances as well as shore excursions focused on regional cultures and themes.
—Green and Gentle Lands: Exploring Gardens and Historic Sites, May 14-22, 2019: Retired Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden and internationally recognized horticulturist, Holly Shimizu, will host conversations on the ship. Guests will explore Kew Gardens, Chelsea Physic Garden, and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh for a lunch.
—Sicilian Food and Wine Experience, June 28-July 6, 2019: Travel and food writer for The New York Times and the Financial Times, Mary Taylor Simeti, will lecture onboard. Passengers will discover Palmero and Greek temples, as well as enjoy Wine Spectator-selected wines and pairings with help from regional wine ambassador and educator, Marco Scapagnini.
—Treasures of the Mediterranean World: A Family Learning Adventure, July 15-22, 2019: Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati and Greek archaeology/mythology expert, Kathleen M. Lynch, and host of “Myths & Legends” podcast, Jason Weiser, will chat about local history, literature and culture. The Young Explorers children’s program will encompass photo workshops and a mock Olympics competition.
—History, Art, and Architecture along the North Sea, August 23-September 1, 2019: General Director of the Municipal Museum of Bruges, Till-Holger Borchert, will accompany the trip as guests check out the likes of the Louisiana Museum and Groninger Museum.
—A Musical Odyssey in the Mediterranean, September 18-27, 2019: Former principal flautist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Michael Parloff, will lead several private recitals featuring flautist Jasmine Choi, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and pianist and composer, Michael Brown. Guests will also see Delphi and the Ancient Theater in Taormina.
— World War II History – From Hong Kong to Japan’s Inland Sea, September 27-October 10, 2019: Expert World War II historian and son of John Bradley—who hoisted the flag on Iwo Jima—James Bradley, will be onboard. Travelers will follow the path of American General Douglas MacArthur and visit Okinawa’s beaches, Mount Fuji and the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima.
—World Affairs Cruise – Origins of Greek Civilizations, October 9-18. 2019: CNN host and “Washington Post” columnist, Fareed Zakaria, retired US Air Force general and former Director of the CIA, Michael V. Hayden, and internationally best-selling author and columnist for “Harper’s,” Daniel Mendelsohn, will be on hand while guests traverse Athens and Crete.
Seabourn Conversations on Seabourn
Luxury line Seabourn is preparing a series of fresh Seabourn Conversations to host on its upcoming new Seabourn Ovation beginning in May 2018. Included among the special speakers and departures are the following highlights:
—Sir Tim Rice, May 5 - 16: The English author and lyricist have won three each of the Oscars, Golden Globes and Tonys in addition to multiple Grammys. Following his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, he has brought his talents to Seabourn with the wonderful fleet-wide production show, “An Evening with Tim Rice.”
—Dr. Andrew Weil, May 5 - 16: Another contributor to Seabourn’s software is the world-renowned leader and pioneering doctor in the field of integrative medicine who established his "Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil" program onboard all the line’s ships. His holistic treatments can be found at The Onboard Spa by Steiner.
—Michael Teitelbaum, May 26 - June 9; November 14 - December 4: The demographer and historian at Harvard Law School have written more than 10 books as well as pieces for “Foreign Affairs,” “Science,” “The New York Times” and “The Atlantic.”
—Armando Manni, August 4 - 18: The "M" in K+M Extravirgin Chocolate who partnered with Seabourn-favorite Thomas Keller as the “K.” The gourmet and entrepreneur is known for MANNI Oil.
—Grant Harrold October 1-13: Harrold is a broadcaster, commentator, public speaker and butler trainer recognized as "The Royal Butler.”
—Warren Fahey, November 14 - December 4: Fahey is a cultural historian plus author, broadcaster and performer focused on "curious" folklore.
—Dean McFlicker December 4 - 22: McFlicker is an award-winning producer and director having worked on campaigns for “The Voice,” “This Is Us,” “Law and Order,” “America's Got Talent” and more.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The first plate of steel for Norwegian Encore

 The first plate of steel for Norwegian Encore


Executives from NCL and Meyer Werft gather in Germany to cut the first plate of steel for Norwegian Encore

Yesterday Norwegian Cruise Line marked the start of construction for its newest ship, Norwegian Encore. Norwegian’s latest addition to its fleet will sail the Caribbean from Miami seasonally beginning fall 2019.

“Norwegian Encore will be the ultimate Breakaway Plus Class vessel and we are thrilled to celebrate the start of construction for this incredible new ship,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line.

“Over 50 years ago the Norwegian brand began creating unforgettable vacation moments with the first inter-island cruise in the Caribbean from Miami. We continue building on our legacy of innovation with this brand-new state-of-the-art vessel perfect for exploring the natural beauty of some of the most remarkable islands in the world.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Meyer Werft executives gathered at the Meyer Werft Laser Center in Papenburg, Germany and cut the first plate of steel, marking the ceremonial start of construction of Norwegian Encore, which is due for delivery on October 31, 2019.

Norwegian Encore will be the seventeenth ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and the line’s fourth and final ship in the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful Class in the brand’s history.

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will sail weekly seven-day Caribbean cruises each Sunday from Port Miami, offering guests the superior service, world-class entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for.

The ship will be available for reservations in March 2018– so not long to wait until further details emerge!

Friday, 16 February 2018

Carnival announces the first ship based on US west coast in 20 years

Carnival announces the first ship based on US west coast in 20 years
Image result for carnival panorama ship

Carnival Cruise Line is to deploy a new ship on the US west coast for the first time in 20 years.

Carnival Panorama will be based in Long Beach, California, from December 2019.

The 3,960-passenger Carnival Panorama, the third Vista-class ship in the fleet, will run seven-day Mexican Riviera itineraries with bookings due to open next month.

New features unique to the new ship will be announced in the near future, according to the cruise line.

The planned deployment followed the company revamping its 146,000-square-foot Long Beach Cruise Terminal and plans for a multi-million dollar port development in Ensenada, Mexico with shops, restaurants and attractions.

The renovation of the terminal at Long Beach more than doubles the size while enhancing the overall passenger experience and operational flow.

It also includes the expansion of portside shore power to enable larger ships to plug into the local electric grid, reducing exhaust emissions while docked.

Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said: “This is a momentous occasion for both Carnival and the City of Long Beach – not only are we celebrating the grand re-opening of this magnificent cruise terminal, but also demonstrating our commitment to the west coast with the deployment of the spectacular new Carnival Panorama in 2019 and the announcement of an exciting new port development project in Ensenada.

“The west coast is an important market with vast growth potential and these initiatives further demonstrate the confidence in our future success in Long Beach.

“We are very much looking forward to having Carnival Panorama homeported here beginning next year.”

What could have been: Disney's Long Beach port

What could have been: Disney's Long Beach port

Image result for Long Beach cruise port

Carnival Cruise Line opened its expanded terminal over the weekend in the Spruce Goose Dome in Long Beach, cementing its status as the leading cruise line in the Southern California market. But the terminal was nearly a hub for Disney Cruise Line instead.

In 1990, the Walt Disney Co. announced plans for a Port Disney in Long Beach. The plan called for a marine-themed amusement park, a marina, a speciality retail and entertainment area and hotel accommodations.

Crucially, a cruise port was part of the 443-acre plan. And this was four years before Disney announced it was getting into the cruise business.

Disney had acquired the site, which included the Queen Mary cruise ship and the Howard Hughes-built Spruce Goose, the plane with the largest wingspan ever to fly, in an acquisition of the Wrather Corp. in 1989.

The cruise port would have had five berths with ships going to Mexico, Seattle and San Diego, among other destinations.

Five resort hotels would have been built as part of the development, along with a monorail connecting Queensway with downtown Long Beach. The centrepiece of the plan was DisneySea, an aquatic-themed amusement park and education centre, which would have picked up where the recently-closed Marineland of the Pacific, in Palos Verdes, left off.

Long Beach had a history as an amusement centre. A waterfront area known as the Pike was the site of the Cyclone Racer, the largest seaside wooden roller coaster in the country until it was torn down in 1968.

Image result for cyclone racer in long beach

As part of the Wrather Corp. deal, Disney had also acquired a hotel across the street from Disneyland, which could now be expanded. Disney set up a competition between Anaheim and Long Beach to see which was more enthusiastic about gaining a new Disney park.

Concerns arose in Long Beach about environmental issues, traffic, local hiring and other factors. In late 1991, Port Disney was cancelled in favour of WestCOT, a Disneyland version of Disney World's EPCOT centre.

WestCOT was never built. The land would eventually become Disney's California Adventure. Disney sold its leases on the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose Dome. Ten years later, in 2001, the new leaseholder arranged for Carnival to use part of the dome as a terminal starting in 2003.

By that time, Disney Cruise Line was up and running out of Port Canaveral in Florida, an hour from Disney World. But it was a decade too late for Disney's chance to sail from a custom-built home in Long Beach.

When Disney Cruise Line moved the Disney Magic ship to California in 2005 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, it had to sail for the summer out of the Port of Los Angeles.

It's fascinating to think what the possibilities would have been if only Disney had been a little more persistent in Long Beach.