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May 2016
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An Innovation Renovation: Royal Caribbean Revitalizes Six Ships

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May 3, 2016 – By the end of this year, Royal Caribbean will have revitalized six ships in it’s fleet. Liberty, Empress, Jewel, Majesty, Adventure, and Radiance. It is quite an undertaking that involves thousands of hours of work planning, scheduling, production (doing the actual work), inspection, and testing. I’ve been involved in the overhauls of two ships (in the Navy, but the processes are the same), and it never ceases to impress me how so much can be done, done well, and under a challenging deadline.

Take a look at how these ships are transformed, bringing the newest features and innovations of Royal Caribbean aboard, at the below link:

An Innovation Renovation: Royal Caribbean Revitalizes Six Ships

Posted: May 3rd, 2016 under Cruise Ship News.
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VOOM Hi-Speed Internet Now Available on All Royal Caribbean Ships

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VOOM Rivals Wi-Fi on Land and Enables Streaming From All 24 Ships Worldwide

May 2, 2016 –
Beginning today, Royal Caribbean International is making VOOM, its exclusive, high-speed internet service – available fleetwide on its 24 ships. VOOM allows guests to always stay connected and to stream their favorite music, movies and TV shows to stay up to date on the latest happenings. I’ve used VOOM a few times since it’s debut on Quantum Of The Seas and it truly is remarkably fast. You can instantly post to Instagram or Snapchat, or video-chat using FaceTime, Periscope, or Skype.

Through a combination of Wi-Fi service providers, Royal Caribbean says it is able to deliver more overall bandwidth fleetwide than any other cruise line. The enhancements will provide speeds at least twice as fast as before and also have enabled the cruise line to provide service at prices that are less expensive than ever before – comparable to most land-based resorts.

VOOM Internet Is Truly Fast!

Travelers sailing on all Royal Caribbean ships can select from two packages with a flat price:

Surf: provides guests the ability to surf the web, stay in touch via email, and share their vacation photos on social media. Surf packages start at $12.99 per device per day with additional devices added at a discounted cost. Family packages – 5 devices or more – start as low as $8.99 per device per day.

Surf and Stream: for guests looking to do more than connect via email or social channels, those who want the capability to stream movies and music from Netflix or Spotify, and to connect using video chat apps such as Skype. This package is available for $17.99 per device per day. Additional devices can be connected at a discount and family packages – 5 devices or more – start as low as $11.99 per device per day.

Posted: May 2nd, 2016 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival Vista Delivered

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Carnival’s Newest, Largest and Most Innovative Ship Set to Debut from Trieste, Italy, May 1

April 28, 2016 –
At a traditional maritime ceremony held earlier today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Carnival Cruise Line took delivery of the 133,500-ton Carnival Vista.

The 3,954-passenger ship will reposition to Trieste, Italy, where it will depart on its maiden voyage May 1, kicking off a summer schedule in Europe that runs through October 2016. Following a 13-day trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Vista will operate a pair of 11-day cruises from New York in November 2016 then launch year-round Caribbean service from Miami later that month.

Cool looking stern of Carnival Vista

Carnival Vista offers a number of unique features, including a groundbreaking suspended cycling experience called SkyRide (I can’t wait to try it!), the first IMAX Theatre at sea and the RedFrog Pub & Brewery offering three different kinds of beer brewed on board. While all Carnival ships with a RedFrog Pub are very popular, one with it’s own microbrewery is certain to be a huge hit.

Also new is Family Harbor with special family accommodations and a family concierge, along with the tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites featuring a dedicated pool area. The ship’s outdoor spaces include a massive WaterWorks aqua park, highlighted by the 455-foot-long Kaleid-o-slide, the longest slide in the fleet.

“Carnival Vista is a spectacular addition to our fleet and we can’t wait for our guests to experience all of the ship’s exciting new features,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Carnival Vista will provide our guests an opportunity to create a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories while offering our valued travel agent partners another exciting vacation option to market to their clients,” she added.

Reservations are currently being accepted for Carnival Vista.

Posted: April 28th, 2016 under Cruise Ship News.
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Royal Caribbean Offering “Ticket To Adventure” Sweepstakes for Harmony Of The Seas

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April 21, 2016 –
Royal Caribbean is offering a new contest to celebrate the debut of the stunning new Harmony Of The Seas. Harmony launches in May with a summer of Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona, Spain.

In celebration of the ship’s European debut, and in anticipation of her U.S. arrival in November, Royal Caribbean kicks-off a multi-faceted consumer promotion, “Ticket to Adventure.” The immersive and interactive sweepstakes encourages consumers to virtually discover and explore Harmony’s features and seven neighborhoods, and enter for their chance to win more than $300,000 worth of prizes that range from a grand prize, seven-night Caribbean cruise for four, to 200 invitation-only getaways, more than 175 GoPro HERO4 cameras, over $40,000 in gift cards, and more.

Starting today and running through November 5, 2016, consumers can simply register for the promotion at\TicketToAdventure, and then the ‘adventure’ begins. Every two weeks, one of Harmony’s seven signature neighborhoods will be unlocked on the site and open the door to interactive content and facts, such as the height of The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, to the number of plants in Central Park – the largest living park at sea – and the variety of cocktails the robot bartenders at Bionic Bar can make. Bonus instant win games are hidden within each neighborhood and extra sweepstakes entries will be awarded to those that share Ticket to Adventure with their friends via email or social media.

Actor and singer Carlos PenaVega gives fans the chance to win a “Ticket to Adventure”.

But that’s not the only way to win. Over the course of the next seven months, Royal Caribbean will infuse a little adventure into some unexpected places and pop culture events, as well as partner with well-known personalities. The first of which is actor and singer Carlos PenaVega, who will give fans the chance to join him onboard Harmony of the Seas during exclusive, invitation-only preview events in Southampton, England. Hot off his starring role as Kenickie in FOX’s GREASE LIVE, PenaVega will hang out with his winning fans as he leads a number of Grease-inspired special activities and attends opening night of Royal Caribbean’s original production of Broadway’s hit musical Grease. Fans can enter for the chance to win by visiting the sweepstakes site between now and May 1 and entering code GREASE.

In addition, Royal Caribbean will deploy a series of code words that can be uncovered on, through Royal Caribbean emails and exclusive Crown & Anchor Society newsletters for loyalty program members, as well as through participating travel agents, or by following Royal Caribbean on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Consumers that find a code can enter it at\TicketToAdventure to be entered into the grand prize drawing and also to unlock chances for instant win prizes.

Posted: April 21st, 2016 under Cruise Ship News, Hot Cruise Deals.
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Carnival Magic Begins Sailing from Port Canaveral with Grand Opening of Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que

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Carnival Magic Joins Carnival Valor, Carnival Victory, and Carnival Sunshine at Port Canaveral

April 20, 2016 – Carnival Cruise Line and the Canaveral Port Authority hosted a special event earlier today to celebrate the arrival of the Space Coast’s newest ship, the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic, and mark the official grand opening of the ship’s new Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse designed by Food Network star Guy Fieri.

The invitation-only event was highlighted by the carving of a massive, six-foot-long pulled pork sandwich by officials from Carnival and the port to commemorate the debut of Fieri’s new BBQ venue which was installed during a multi-million-dollar dry dock last month.

The event also included a traditional maritime plaque exchange between Carnival Magic Captain Antonio Marchetti, Carnival’s Vice President of Commercial Port Operations Carlos Torres de Navarra and Captain John Murray, chief executive officer of the Canaveral Port Authority.

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Official Opening

Carnival Magic is the newest Carnival ship to sail from Port Canaveral, joining Carnival Victory and Carnival Valor on year-round departures from the Space Coast, as well as the Carnival Sunshine which operates seasonal sailings. Together, these four ships will carry more than 650,000 guests annually from Port Canaveral – more than any other cruise operator. Carnival operates more than 200 three- to eight-day cruises annually from Port Canaveral, providing the widest variety of year-round cruise choices from the Space Coast.

The new Fieri-designed BBQ venue was among the many new features added during an extensive makeover that also incorporated the new cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery and Guy’s Burger Joint, also designed by Fieri.

Carnival Magic departed this afternoon on its inaugural cruise from Port Canaveral with a three-day voyage to Nassau and will launch year-round seven-day sailings from the Space Coast April 23, 2016. Carnival Magic will offer two distinctly different week-long itineraries from Port Canaveral – a western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove.

Posted: April 20th, 2016 under Cruise Ship News.
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Royal Caribbean Cancels 7 More Empress Of The Seas Cruses

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April 20, 2016 – In what has become a debacle of a not-so-new ship debut, Royal Caribbean has just announced that seven additional sailings of Empress Of The Seas have been cancelled. This is on top of the first six cruise cancellations, so in all the count now stands at thirteen. Whether that total will rise remains to be seen, but my money is on the company just scrapping the remaining schedule totally and waiting for their Cuba approval to come through.

Royal Caribbean issued the following statement:

“Modernizing Empress of the Seas for her return to the Royal Caribbean International fleet began in late February. As work has progressed, we learned that more significant infrastructure and physical improvements across the ship’s multiple galleys and provisioning areas were needed to meet our high standards.”

“We decided that instead of simply repairing the five galleys, we would completely rebuild them, starting from scratch with entirely new infrastructure and all new equipment, at a cost of $10 million.”

“We sincerely apologize to our guests and travel partners for the inconvenience, and hope they understand that more time was needed to ensure Empress of the Seas meets the standards for quality our guests expect from Royal Caribbean.”

As far as compensation goes, people originally booked on the March 30, April 4, April 7, April 11, April 16, and April 21 cruises who rebooked on one of the now cancelled sailings will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit of 100%.

Those scheduled to sail on the cancelled April 25 or April 30 sailings, who do not rebook, will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit of 50% of the fare paid.

All other guests scheduled to sail on the May 5th – May 23rd sail dates will be provided an unannounced onboard credit if they rebook to another Royal Caribbean sailing. Royal Caribbean has not provided any details about refunding airfares or air rebooking fees.

Posted: April 20th, 2016 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival Announces Extended Port Time and New “Cozumel Plus” Excursions

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Includes Swimming with Whale Sharks, Exploring Undersea Caverns, Visits to Centuries-Old Ruins, Including Chichen Itza

April 18, 2016 – Carnival Cruise Line has extended the length of time its ships spend in Cozumel, Mexico, on more than 750 voyages.

On “Cozumel Plus” itineraries, guests now have access to a variety of new excursions, many taking place on Mexico’s mainland.

Carnival is kicking off its new Cozumel Plus itineraries with a special promotion offering a $25 per person shipboard credit that can be used toward shore excursions. The shipboard credit offer is available through April 22, 2016, when booking in combination with Carnival’s Early Saver rates.

Carnival Triumph now sails from New Orleans

Designated by a special notation on Carnival’s web site, Cozumel Plus itineraries are operated by 17 different Carnival ships offering more than 750 four- to eight-day cruises from six U.S. homeports along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.

The additional time in port has enabled Carnival’s shore excursion group to partner with local tour operators to create one-of-a-kind excursion offerings that allow guests to better immerse themselves in Mexican culture and participate in truly unique landside experiences.

Cozumel Plus tours are up to eight hours in duration and include everything from extended, day-long tours visiting ancient Mayan ruins, including Chichen Itza – one of the Seven Wonders of the World dating back to 750 A.D. – to snorkeling at Xel-Ha, a spectacular group of lagoons connected by a series of bridges.

On other excursions, guests can explore Mexico’s famed “secret river,” subterranean caverns connected by underground waterways with stunning natural rock formations that are millions of years old or participate in a seasonal excursion of swimming in open waters with whale sharks – gentle sea creatures measuring up to 40 feet in length and weighing up to 47,000 pounds.

Posted: April 18th, 2016 under Cruise Ship News, Hot Cruise Deals.
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Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands Named Godmother of ms Koningsdam

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12th Holland America Line ship to be christened by a member of the Dutch Royal Family

April 18, 2016 — Holland America Line’s tradition will continue when Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands christens Holland America Line’s new Pinnacle-class ship, ms Koningsdam, in a ceremony in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, May 20, 2016, on board the ship. The 2,650-guest ship is the first in a new class of vessel for the line.

Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands

Members of the Dutch Royal Family have launched 11 Holland America Line ships. Most recently, then-Princess Máxima christened ms Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010 and then-Queen Beatrix served as ms Eurodam’s godmother in 2008. Statendam III in 1929 was launched by Prince Hendrik and Nieuw Amsterdam II in 1937 by Queen Wilhelmina. Then-Princess Beatrix named Statendam IV in 1957 and Prinses Margriet in 1960. Rotterdam V was launched in 1958 by Queen Juliana. Princess Margriet dedicated Prinsendam in 1972, Nieuw Amsterdam II in 1983, ms Rotterdam VI in 1997 and ms Oosterdam in 2003.

ms Koningsdam

“We are incredibly honored that Her Majesty Queen Máxima will carry on the tradition of Dutch Royalty christening Holland America Line ships, which began 87 years ago,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We chose Rotterdam as the location for the official ceremony because of the deep historic connection between Holland America Line, the city and the people of the Netherlands. May 20 will be a very special day in our company’s 143-year history as we officially dedicate ms Koningsdam.”

The official ceremony will take place in Rotterdam onboard the ship during a special 13-day Christening Cruise departing Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, May 9. Following that voyage Koningsdam will spend the summer sailing from the port of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on itineraries to Norway, the Baltic and Iceland.

Following its Europe season, Koningsdam will sail to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for winter and spring Caribbean cruises.

Posted: April 18th, 2016 under Cruise Ship News.
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MSC Cruises Rolls Out Faster (and Affordable!) Internet Packages

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April 18, 2016 – One of the biggest complaints we hear from vacationers is how expensive and slow the internet is on cruise ships. MSC Cruises has listened and just announced next-generation connectivity across its entire fleet with new internet packages designed to accommodate the various needs of their guests. The enhancements will provide MSC Cruises guests with fast, reliable access to the web and simple, easy to use packages with very affordable pricing.

Working with Marlink, MSC Cruises will provide dynamic bandwidth to its 12 existing ships, as well as its next-generation ships currently under construction, including MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside. The new service is worldwide, regardless of itinerary.

MSC Cruises’ new offering allows guests to select from three different packages based on their specific web and social media needs. All packages can be purchased either on a “per day” or “per cruise” basis, allowing guests maximum flexibility when selecting their internet needs.

MSC Seaside – debuting in fall 2017

Option 1: The Social Package is aimed at guests that are interested in connecting to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, in order to post pictures and chat with friends while on vacation. Guests selecting this package will have 24/7 access to social networks on one device. Pricing is $4.50 per day or $16.50 for a 7-night cruise.

Option 2: the Surfer Package is designed for moderate internet users who want to access social media platforms, be updated on what’s hot, surf the web for news or sports scores and catch up on emails during their cruise. Guests selecting this package will have access to internet on up to two devices. Pricing is $11 per day or $33 for a 7-night cruise.

Option 3: the Streamer Package has been created for users who are interested in full internet access either for work or fun and want to be connected without any limitations at the fastest speed. This package gives guests full internet and social media access, including audio and video streaming, with access for up to four devices. Pricing is $22 per day or $66 for a 7-night cruise.

Internet packages can be booked prior to sailing or once on board. In addition, it will be easy for guests to upgrade or recharge their package while managing the consumption of each device.

The new services are now live on board MSC Divina in the Caribbean and MSC Preziosa, currently deployed in the Western Mediterranean, and will roll-out across the entire fleet over the coming months.

Posted: April 18th, 2016 under Cruise Ship News.
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Azamara Quest Completes Extensive Upgrades

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April 16, 2016 – Azamara Club Cruises has announced that Azamara Quest has left dry dock in Singapore with extensive, bow-to-stern upgrades. This follows the recent unveiling of the Azamara Journey Upgrade in January 2016, following it’s identical refurbishment.

The twin ships feature new staterooms and suites, including the addition of luxurious Spa Suites. All venues, public spaces and technologies have been renewed to bring fresh accommodations, services and amenities to guests.

Spa Suite

Azamara contracted several of the world’s leading design consultants from the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries, to help with these significant upgrades. Azamara is known for its Destination Immersion programs and just announced a new Overnight Journeys program, which you can read about here.

Posted: April 16th, 2016 under Cruise Ship News.
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