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November 2015
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Royal Caribbean Gets An Early Start On Wave Season

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Promo Features Up To $300 Onboard Credit, Reduced Family Rates, Free Internet On Select Sailings

November 10, 2015 – Royal Caribbean International announces the early release of the BOGO-Getter 2016 Wave Season promotion in celebration of the U.S. arrival of its newest ship, Anthem to the Seas, to Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, NJ. Vacationers who make new reservations before the end of the year on any ship across the fleet will receive up to $300 in onboard credit, 50 percent-reduced booking deposit – as low as $50 per person – as well as 50 percent off the second guest on all sailings through 2016 and 25 percent off third and fourth guests on Caribbean sailings January through May. The discovery driven promotion applies to sailings departing on or after December 10, excluding China departures. For additional information, please visit

The cruise line is putting the rich history of the Eastern and Western Mediterranean at the fingertips of culturally-curious guests by providing pre-paid gratuities and 50 percent off on third and fourth guests on bookings made for sailings on Jewel, Vision and Rhapsody of the Seas departing from Venice and Rome starting in April through November 2016. In addition, free VOOM – the fastest internet at sea – will allow guests to stream and share summer travel adventures in real time from Europe and the Caribbean onboard Anthem, Harmony, Allure, Oasis, Freedom, and Enchantment of the Seas, from May 1 – Sept. 30.

Harmony of the Seas will be the first in a new generation of ships where groundbreaking architectural innovations of the Oasis class are combined with breakthrough technologies of the Quantum class. The inaugural summer season will showcase Europe’s most popular destinations on seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries, before the ship arrives in November 2016 at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. offering seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.

Posted: November 11th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News, Hot Cruise Deals.
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Azamara Club Cruises Announces 2018 Voyages

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Boutique Cruise Line Will Sail to 30 Maiden Ports and Take Special Voyages to Global Events

November 10, 2015 – Azamara Club Cruises today unveiled its 2018 itineraries. In 2018, Azamara will offer 69 voyages to 228 ports (including 30 new ports) in 64 countries. Azamara will return to Australia and New Zealand as well as exotic, smaller ports the big ships aren’t able to access. The line will also introduce a 102 day World Journey taking adventurous guests across the globe visiting 61 ports in 29 countries beginning in Sydney, Australia on April 8 and ending in London, England on June 17.

Destination Immersion
Azamara provides guests with unique access to activities and adventures on land through its signature programming. “AzAmazing Evening” events bring guests complimentary cultural experiences – for example being serenaded by candlelight, viewing an incredible festival of song and dance, or taking in a magical show at a local theater. Longer stays and overnights in ports make night touring possible with destination immersion brining the sights, sounds and flavors of local cultures after dark to life.

Azamara’s “Land Discoveries” programs can be customized or enjoyed by groups. Exclusive tours and excursions via Insider AccessSM and Nights and Cool PlacesSM programs curate experiences for guests, such as a guided walk around illuminated landmarks at night, after-hours museum visit, and access to live performances, to complement daytime explorations. Azamara will also continue to expand its newest Cruise Global, Eat Local program providing guests with a guide to dining in local restaurants serving authentic fare in each destination.

Visiting World Events
As Azamara transports guests around the globe in 2018, several high profile global events can be enjoyed:

· Hole-in-One Seekers: Golf lovers can time voyages to visit the British Open in July sailing from Southampton to Edinburgh as well as three other special voyages – Auckland to Sydney for 13 days departing February 22 to golf at Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers, Barcelona to Lisbon for nine days departing May 29 to golf at Vilamoura and Valderrama as well as Copenhagen to Stockholm for 11 days departing August 9 to golf at Restonian Golf & Country Club and Bro Hoff Slott.

· Speed Demons and Film Buffs: Adrenaline junkies can fuel their passion on Azamara voyages to the Monaco Grand Prix and the Classic Grand Prix (held every other year). Azamara Journey will sail from Rome to Barcelona for eight days departing May 29 combining it with two days in Cannes at the Cannes Film Festival and two days in Monte Carlo including race day. Azamara Quest will also feature a four day voyage focused on the race roundtrip from Nice.

Maiden Ports of Call

With itineraries that don’t repeat in the calendar year, Azamara has fast become the most popular line for booking back to back voyages. In 2018, 30 of the 228 ports of call will be new for the line brining guests to a variety of smaller ports that big ships can’t access. These gems span the globe including European post in Gdansk, Poland, Dundee, Scotland and Klaipeda, Lithuania as well as more exotic locales like Hambantota, Sri Lanka, Geraldton, Australia and Perth (Fremantle), Australia.

More 2018 Voyage Highlights:

· Explore the Islands of the Western Mediterranean sailing from Rome to Barcelona (Azamara Quest June 2018). Take in every detail of the cobblestone alleyways, elegant esplanades, cliff-side footpaths, waterfront promenades, and roads made of marble.

· Visit the War Cabinet Rooms where Churchill directed British participation in World War II, including the Map Room, before a traditional pub lunch on a World War II voyage from Lisbon to London (Azamara Journey June 2018)

· Each year a temporary bridge, floating on pontoons, is erected over the Giudecca Canal between the Zattere and the Church of the Redentore for the annual Redentore Festival celebration (Azamara Quest July 2018). Enjoy feasts and a stunning firework display that takes place over the water between St. Mark’s and the Giudecca.

· Ring in the New Year first with fireworks in Sydney Harbor on the Perth to Melbourne sailing (Azamara Quest December 2018). After an evening of sipping champagne visit sites such as the iconic Sydney Opera House, Manly Beach, Darling Harbor, and Taronga Zoo for the Australian wildlife exhibits while taking in wonderful views of Sydney Harbor.

“Our 2018 itineraries might be our best voyages yet. As we up the ante to deliver our guests unique and unmatched experiences to visit some of the world’s most interesting destinations and take in sought after events, we feel 2018 will be special for new and repeat travelers,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “We offer voyages for every type of traveler. Delivering on our promise to think outside the ship, Azamara sailings continue to pique curiosity and deliver meaningful, enriching immersions to those who consider themselves global citizens.”

On board the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, guests receive exceptional and personal service and enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world, as well as more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary boutique wines, international beers and select standard spirits in the ships’ bars, lounges and restaurants when open; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available.

For a full list of 2018 Azamara Voyages, visit

Posted: November 10th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Attention North America – Anthem Of The Seas Has Arrived!

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By David Beers, Editor-in-Chief

November 10, 2015 – I have just returned from a special two-night sailing aboard Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Anthem Of The Seas, at her new homeport of Cape Liberty, New Jersey. Anthem is the second ship of the Quantum-class, which will now include five total ships by the fall of 2020.

I arrived at the Anthem expecting a replay of my experiences of a year ago when Quantum Of The Seas debuted, when I went on a two-night inaugural sailing followed by an 8-night regular cruise. As many readers and Royal Caribbean loyalists know, Quantum’s debut was not without some hiccups, most notably with Dynamic Dining.

My expectations were not only met, they were exceeded. I left the Anthem thinking, “How can two otherwise identical ships be so different?” The answer is that Royal Caribbean certainly was up to the challenges faced by Quantum’s shortcomings, and they fixed them. Anthem Of The Seas was as polished and smooth running as a cruise could be.

I actually came close to going to the Loyalty Ambassador desk while aboard and booking the Anthem for a spring or summer family cruise. I’m still thinking about it.

Let’s look at why I was so pleased with Anthem Of The Seas.

Public Areas

Yes, Anthem is pretty much a copy of Quantum Of The Seas, and that’s a good thing when it comes to the public venues. It has the wonderful Sea Plex facility with bumper cars, roller-skating, acrobats, XBox game center, and Dog Haus for hot dog snacks. Anthem has the spectacular North Star passenger pod for sweeping views of the ship from hundreds of feet in the air.

My favorite spot on this class of ship is Two70, and this venue continues to please as a seagoing living room, bistro dining area, high tech show lounge, and place for sweeping views of the sea and scenery passing by.

The iFly skydiving simulator was wildly popular on my cruise and was thrilling to watch as a spectator.
I also love the covered pool and expansive Solarium, where you’ll want to get your morning screwdriver because the Solarium bar uses freshly squeezed orange juice in their cocktails. Actually all of their juices are fresh, so drink healthy!


The Windjammer Marketplace has a very guest-friendly layout of food islands and is enormous. Finding a seat was never a problem. I felt the food at all three meals was good quality and most importantly, hot items were hot, cold items cold. This even includes the cookies at the dessert bars being warm.

For our very short cruise we were assigned to a restaurant where a special menu of items from each of the four “core” restaurants was offered. Thus, while I was seated in American Icon, my menu had choices from Chic, Grande, Silk, as well as those from American Icon. I had a truly excellent mushroom stuffed ravioli appetizer and surf and turf, which featured a skewer of shrimp and a cut of beef filet from roasted beef tenderloin.

Anthem has several extra-fee dining options too, from the ubiquitous Chops steakhouse (always excellent) to the playful Wonderland. Of these, Jamie’s Italian is my personal favorite. I noted the tables at Jamie’s on Anthem were more standard in design, and not the “out there” tables found on Quantum, where I felt like I was eating off of my garage workbench. I like the design on Anthem much better. A sampling of items from Jamie’s Italian was wonderful, and I recommend the planks of charcuterie as a shared appetizer for the table. The lamb chops are succulent as an entrée.


We Will Rock You is the featured production show on Anthem Of The Seas and it was certainly rousing. It lasts one hour and forty-five minutes, so plan accordingly.

Two70 offers the amazing Spectra’s Cabaret show, featuring kaleidoscopic sounds, effervescent colors and dazzling human movement. It has to be seen to be appreciated, as mere words are not enough.

Music Hall is my favorite evening hangout, where tribute bands rule! Wild Boys was the featured band on our cruise and they were great. I love that Music Hall is two decks high with two bars. Great venue!


As technologically advanced as Anthem Of The Seas is, no cruise can succeed without a fantastic crew. This is truly where Anthem shines. I’ve been on many Royal Caribbean cruises as well as cruises on every other major cruise line. I’d place the crew of Anthem at the top of my list when it comes to being motivated, helpful, friendly, and always professional with a ‘can do’ attitude. Five Star Service all the way!

Posted: November 10th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Norwegian Escape Christened by Pitbull in Larger Than Life Performance

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November 9, 2015 – The new Norwegian Escape – Norwegian’s largest ship and the first in its Breakaway Plus Class – was christened today in a stunning ceremony worthy of her size and status.

International music sensation Pitbull, who also served as GODFATHER for Norwegian Escape, thrilled fans and VIPs alike at the PortMiami pier side concert. The ship’s breathtaking hull artwork, created by Guy Harvey, who made a special guest appearance, served as the backdrop for the epic event.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings chief executive officer Frank Del Rio kicked off the festivities, where guests experienced an afternoon packed with fun and excitement in celebration of Norwegian Escape. Following a surprise opening act which featured acrobatic Parkour performers defying gravity (with the help of hidden trampolines built into the stage), national radio personality Froggy from the “Elvis Duran Morning Show” took the reins as event emcee, engaging the audience and introducing performers and special VIP guests, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez who discussed the positive impact Norwegian Escape will have on the local community, its residents and the economy.

Attendees were treated to a special sneak peak at the stellar entertainment Norwegian Escape has to offer as the casts of Tony Award-winning Broadway shows “After Midnight” and “Million Dollar Quartet” performed a selection of songs from each respective show, before Pitbull brought down the house with his hottest hits, including “Don’t Stop the Party”, “Fireball” and “Give Me Everything”.

DJ-led sing-alongs and a slideshow of themed guest photos snapped by roving photographers created a truly interactive event, where audience members quite literally became part of the show as photos of individual attendees holding signs customized with the place they’d choose to “Escape” were projected onto the jumbo screen on the main stage.

“Norwegian Escape represents a major moment for us – this is a true evolution of our brand,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief operating officer. “Not only does she offer high caliber entertainment, quality dining and luxurious accommodations that significantly raise the bar for our fleet and puts her in a class of her own, but she exemplifies our renewed commitment to offering unparalleled freedom and flexibility to our guests.”

Posted: November 9th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Anthem Of The Seas Stars On “Dancing With The Stars” TONIGHT on ABC TV!

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November 9, 2015 – “Dancing with the Stars” couples Carlos PenaVega & Witney Carson and Alek Skarlatos & Lindsay Arnold set sail on Royal Caribbean’s newest smartship, Anthem of the Seas. The celebrities were spotted taking a ride in the North Star, skydiving at RipCord by iFly, riding bumper cars in SeaPlex and catching a wave on the FlowRider surf simulator.

The couples were onboard to learn a dance from Queen’s smash hit musical “We Will Rock You,” for the November 9 episode of DWTS, airing 8/7 p.m. Central on ABC.

Posted: November 9th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Upgrading Suites & Adding New Amenities

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November 2, 2015 – As part of a $300-million brand enhancement initiative, Holland America Line is planning enhancements to its top staterooms with new furnishings, décor, amenities and upgrades for all suites on the line’s Signature-, Vista- and R-Class ships. The first ships to undergo the suite transformation will be ms Eurodam and ms Oosterdam, followed by ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Westerdam, ms Zuiderdam and ms Noordam. Additionally, ms Amsterdam, ms Rotterdam, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam will receive the suite enhancements as they head into their scheduled dry docks over the next few years.

Eurodam is scheduled to go into refit December 7-20, 2015, at Freeport, Bahamas, and Oosterdam will head into dry dock April 3-18, 2016, at Fincantieri’s yard at Palermo, Sicily.

“Our suites are the epitome of luxury and pampering, and the new amenities and upgrades will ensure that our suite guests will continue to enjoy the finest in cruise accommodations,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “We have an ongoing program in place to keep our ships looking fresh, but dry-docking gives us an opportunity to take enhancements to the next level to ensure we deliver the elements that make up the Holland America Line cruise experience.“

The main living area in each suite will be refreshed with a new sofa, lounge chairs and desk chair. A stylish new headboard, new carpet and wall coverings will bring a contemporary feel to the suites, while new soft goods — including a privacy curtain, drapery, bed runner and bed skirt — add a touch of elegance. A new quartz stone top on the desk, dresser, nightstands and makeup vanity, along with new vanity lighting, enhance the cosmetic transformation.

Electronic upgrades include a new USB outlet added to the bed’s headboard, bedside LED lights that facilitate late-night reading, upgraded electrical outlets and a lighted closet rod that makes it easy to select the day’s attire. A fully new interactive television system also is set for installation, with complimentary movies on demand, as well as easy access to the daily program and shipboard information including restaurant overviews, spa services and guest billing.

Suite bathrooms also will receive a makeover. A wall of designer glass tile serves as a backdrop to the new vanity area that includes new stone tops, modern faucets and under-mount sinks. Other enhancements include new contemporary mirrors with integrated side-by-side LED lighting, stylish floor tiles, as well as a nightlight which enables guests to easily find their way in the dark.

More Suite Amenities for the Entire Fleet
Starting in January 2016, all suites across the fleet will receive new amenities to complement the strong offering of amenities that already includes priority embarkation, disembarkation and tender service; exclusive use of the Neptune Lounge for Pinnacle and Neptune Suite guests; private breakfast service in the Pinnacle Grill; and complimentary laundry and dry cleaning services. New additions feature a premium duvet, superior bathrobes and slippers, Bose docking station, binoculars for use during the voyage, complimentary mimosas with in-suite breakfast and an in-suite coffee and espresso machine.

Posted: November 2nd, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Line Collaborates with Software Platform Utrip to Offer the Highest Level of Cruise Vacation Personalization

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Cruisers can more easily find the best itinerary and shoreside activities

October 29, 2015 – Selecting the right cruise itinerary and then deciding what to do while in port can be daunting, but Holland America Line’s new collaboration with Utrip will give guests the most comprehensive and interactive personalized planning and discovery tool in the cruise industry.

Through integration into the Holland America Line website, the Utrip platform will offer a novel way to personalize content in new Destination Guides being created in partnership with travel authority AFAR Media. Cruisers will be able to browse the information on their own or utilize the Utrip functionality to select desired ports of call, highlights and activities ashore. They will then receive customized recommendations on the line’s cruise itineraries, port highlights, as well as shore excursions tailored to their interests.

“Our guests want to experience destinations in their own way, and through our partnership with Utrip they can now personalize their trip in a fun and engaging way, as well as make more informed choices about what to do and see ashore,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are thrilled to partner with another Seattle-based company, and we know our guests are going to enjoy exploring the world in a whole new way using the Utrip interface on our website.”

Utrip simplifies searching through Holland America Line’s thousands of cruise itineraries and shoreside activities by enabling guests to narrow down their options and save specific ports and interests. These are recommended by either a pre-determined profile or a personalized one created with interactive sliders covering History, Art and Culture, Food and Drink, Nature and Outdoors, and Contemporary Life.

For each destination, Utrip searches top-pick attractions, local dining and shopping options for the best match to personal preferences. Interactive maps allow users to see the location of each suggestion and click for additional information. The interface also will make recommendations for Holland America Line group shore excursions based on preferences.

Another facet of the Utrip platform is that it will enable guests to find cruises visiting specific ports and regions without having to sort through dozens of itineraries in the area. For example, if a traveler knows she wants to visit Europe and explore Spain, Italy and Monaco, and more specifically Barcelona, Rome, and Monte Carlo, Utrip might recommend ms Oosterdam’s 12-day Mediterranean Rivieras voyage departing May 24, 2016, or ms Eurodam’s 12-day Mediterranean Tapestry cruise departing July 5, 2016.

“We are excited to work with Holland America Line to create a new way for their guests to plan and personalize their cruise,” said Gilad Berenstein, Utrip founder and CEO. “Utrip’s platform will generate itinerary and shoreside recommendations based on a guest’s preferences, so it’s much easier to find sailings and activities that are most interesting to them. It simplifies the decision-making process and makes planning their next vacation more engaging and enjoyable.”

Users can save the recommendations to their profile so they can easily find them when they are ready to book their cruise.

Posted: October 29th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Line Partners with AFAR Media to Bring Expert Destination Content to Guests and Travel Enthusiasts

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Comprehensive new guides will detail hundreds of ports of call worldwide

October 29, 2015 – Holland America Line is partnering with experiential travel expert AFAR Media to help cruisers dream, plan, choose and prepare for the perfect cruise vacation. Through the collaboration, AFAR will provide “Destination Guides” for all of Holland America Line’s ports of call and scenic cruising areas — totaling approximately 400.

The Destination Guides will be available on Holland America Line’s website, giving guests the most comprehensive information accessible to travelers in the cruise industry. AFAR will utilize its vast network of local experts to curate the content, providing travelers with authentic recommendations for top attractions, restaurants and shopping experiences in each destination.

“Holland America Line guests seek authenticity in travel, and studies have shown that travelers trust and value expert, third-party content above all else,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Our new partnership with AFAR Media will deliver the most extensive destination information to our guests in a way that’s never been done before in cruising, ensuring they will have the perfect shoreside experience tailored to their personal tastes and interests.”

From the world’s most iconic cities to relatively undiscovered ports that Holland America Line is known for, each Destination Guide will contain an overview of up to 20 top picks to see and do in the area; recommended restaurants, cafes and markets; and boutique shopping suggestions.

“To our guests, a Holland America Line cruise is much more than the cruise itself,” continued Ashford. “Our guests are passionate about travel; it’s a lifestyle for them. So the dreaming and planning are all part of the experience. AFAR will elevate the way we engage with our guests and add value in a meaningful way.”

Posted: October 29th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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BBC Earth and Holland America Line Partnership Announced

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October 29, 2015 — Holland America Line is partnering with award-winning BBC Earth to bring world-class fun and factual entertainment onboard its fleet of premium ships. Through the innovative and breathtaking programming that is a signature of BBC Earth, guests will be taken closer to the ocean and natural world through groundbreaking concerts, films, shows, children’s activities and theme cruises.

The BBC Earth program is set to roll out across Holland America Line’s fleet starting in April 2016 and will be on all ships by September 2016.

“Holland America Line cruises are all about experiential travel and venturing to all corners of the globe, and this exclusive partnership with BBC Earth will make that a richer, more rewarding experience for our guests,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “No one else in the cruise industry is offering the depth of quality content that BBC Earth will bring to our ships, and we hope this program will give our guests a deeper connection to the destinations we visit.”

A highlight of the partnership will be a live concert specially adapted for the line based on the “Frozen Planet” program, which will take guests on a journey into the majestic wilderness of the Polar Regions. The production will feature “Frozen Planet” footage and be accompanied by live musicians, making it a feast for the senses.

On all ships, guests will also be able to enjoy enriching activities including a game show uncovering the weird, wonderful and obscure in our natural world and BBC Earth theater screenings with special introductions by the film crew behind the programs.

Junior cruisers can get in on the adventure as well with an on-board explorer trail, fun workshops, and BBC Earth animal and dinosaur fact shows. They will even have the opportunity to try their hand at being a journalist.

Guests who want a deeper BBC Earth experience can join a featured theme cruise that will include access to the creators of your favorite BBC Earth shows who share their behind-the-scenes stories of how the programs are made and conduct master classes in their craft. Younger guests will also have the opportunity to have film workshops with the BBC Earth YouTube team. Featured cruise dates will be announced at a later time.

Posted: October 29th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Royal Caribbean International Lays Keel For 4th Oasis-class Ship

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October 29, 2015 – The keel for Royal Caribbean Internationals’ fourth Oasis class ship was officially laid today at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire, France. This marks an important milestone in the development of the ship, signifying the beginning of its physical construction. During the ceremony, a 1,000-ton block measuring 32-ft by 154-ft (10 x 47 meters) was lifted by crane into the building dock. Newly minted coins were placed under the keel and will stay in place there until the end of the ship’s construction.

Once the ship is near to completion, the coins are retrieved and presented to the ship’s Captain and crew to be placed onboard the ship. According to maritime tradition, the coins are said to bring luck to the ship during its construction process and then to its Captain and crew when she is sailing out at sea. Still to be named, the fourth Oasis-class ship will be delivered in spring 2017.

Posted: October 29th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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