Carnival Horizon: new cruise ship launching in 2018 announces trips to Barcelona, Bermuda and other Caribbean locales

March 10, 2017

Carnival Horizon
Carnival Horizon (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival Cruise Line’s new 133,500-ton ship Carnival Horizon (which is scheduled to make its first voyage on April 2, 2018) has announced that it will travel to Barcelona, as well as Bermuda and other parts of the Caribbean.

According to a Carnival press release, Carnival Horizon will be the line’s second Vista-class ship, with the namesake vessel in the series, Carnival Vista, having entered service in May 2016. Carnival Horizon will offer many of the hugely popular indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment and activity options available on Carnival Vista including SkyRide, the IMAX Theatre, WaterWorks aqua park, Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Alchemy Bar. There will also be a number of new innovations unique to this vessel.

In addition, Carnival Horizon will offer a wide range of accommodation categories, including the Havana staterooms and Family Harbor cabins.

Here are the homeport and itinerary details announced so far for Carnival Horizon:

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona: the first of four round-trip departures from this port.  Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York from May 9 to May 23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from New York, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning September 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami September 20 to September 22, 2018.

On March 10, 2017, a ceremony was held aboard Carnival Horizon at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, during which a commemorative coin was welded to the ship’s mast to mark a significant construction milestone.  The coin ceremony’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Romans, who believed that attaching coins to a ship provided divine protection. The ceremony signifies the successful completion of Carnival Horizon’s exterior outfitting.  Fabrizio Timossi of Carnival’s corporate shipbuilding department represented Carnival at the ceremony with Clementina Zecchin of Fincantieri’s Marghera yard serving as godmother.

 

Oceania Cruises makes historic sailing to Cuba

March 9, 2017

Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-guest Marina sails past El Morro Castle into Havana Harbor on March 9, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Oceania Cruises)

On March 9, 2017, Oceania Cruises  made cruise history by becoming the first major North American cruise brand to sail to Cuba. The 1,250-guest Marina began a 14-day sailing that departed from Miami on March 7, and will continue on to Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama Colombia, and the Cayman Islands. Oceania Cruises has two more sailings to Cuba scheduled this March and six scheduled for this autumn. According to an Oceania press release, passengers on the historic cruise to Cuba included Oceania co-founder/CEO Bob Binder and Frank Del Rio, Cuban-born founder of Oceania Cruises and CEO of parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Once docked, Del Rio addressed international media regarding the inaugural voyage.

DJ Khaled to host inaugural Summerfest Cruise

March 6, 2017

DJ Khaled
DJ Khaled at the Maxim Super Bowl Party in Houston on February 4, 2017. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Maxim)

DJ Khaled is set to host the first Summerfest Cruise. a hip-hop  music festival that will take place on a Norwegian Sky cruise ship in the Caribbean from June 30 to July 3, 2017.  Future, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Migos and other artists to be announced will perform at the festival. The cruise debarks on June 30, from Miami, and then makes stops in Nassau, Bahamas, and the exclusive private island of Great Stirrup Cay before returning to Miami on Monday, July 3. Cabin prices range from $721 to $1279 per person and can be purchased online at Summerfestcruise.com.

According to a press release, the Norwegian Sky spans 848 feet and features 1,002 state-of-the-art cabins. It is equipped with 11 dining options, 11 bars and lounges, two swimming pools, five hot tubs, a spa and salon, a fitness center, a jogging track, golf driving nets, a basketball and volleyball court, galleria shops, a video arcade and a casino.

In addition to musical performances, Summerfest Cruise 2017 will partner with multiple brands (to be announced) to feature exclusive experiences spanning fashion, sports, gourmet dining and interactive tech and gaming.

in a statement, DJ Khaled commented, “They don’t want us to be on a cruise—so we are going on the most major cruise the world has ever seen—hosted by me and my roster of superstar friends. But don’t get it twisted—Summerfest Cruise 2017 is more than just a cruise, it’s a movement. A movement of good vibes and creative energy. A movement that connects the worlds of music, fashion, culture, technology and design. We’re going to give you everything—the dopest live concerts, spectacular fashion pop-ups, enlightening panels and presentations—this will be one for the books. Don’t play yourself. Reward yourself.”

Princess Cruises will debut Carnival Corporation’s Ocean Medallion

January 10, 2017

Carnival Corporation
(Photo courtesy of Carnival Corporation)

Princess Cruises will be the first Carnival Corporation brand to feature the Ocean Medallion, a wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the  O·C·E·A·N, One Cruise Experience Access Network. The Ocean Medallion enables a new level of personalization that delivers an enhanced guest experience previously not available in the global vacation industry.

Ocean Medallion Class will be available November 13, 2017, onboard Regal Princess, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018.

The following is an excerpt from a Carnival Corporation press release:

Medallion Class makes Ocean Vacations more personal, immersive, simple and seamless than previously considered possible. At the heart of this personalized experience is the Ocean Medallion, which enables endless vacation possibilities. The Ocean Medallion has no discernible technology – no on-off switch, no charging, no menu to navigate – and can be worn as a pendant on a wristband in a clip or simply placed in a pocket to reveal enhanced services and personalized experiences without guests having to push a button or take any action. The pre-cruise engage will allow guests to provide preferences that detail their wants, needs and desires so that their onboard experience can be personalized.

Pairing with the Ocean Medallion is the Ocean Compass (for both guests and crew). The Ocean Compass is a personal digital experience concierge accessible by all guests using interactive displays throughout the ship, on stateroom TVs or via guests’ own mobile devices.  For example, guests can find their way to venues around the ship; make reservations at the Lotus Spa, specialty dining restaurant and shore excursions; arrange celebrations; view photographs; learn about the destinations they will visit and activities at each port of call and more. The Ocean Compass via Ocean Concierge will invite guests to experiences based on their individual needs, wants and desires.

Loyal Princess cruisers and potential future cruisers collectively feel having an exceptional vacation occurs when guests’ vacation time is spent doing more of what they love. With Ocean Medallion Class on Princess Cruises, there is endless possibility for personalized attention and the ability to truly relax knowing everything will be handled. Some of the initial service innovations include:

  • Ocean Ready: The Ocean Medallion expedites embarkation as required information is added to the guest profile at home.
  • Stateroom Access: The Ocean Medallion will also unlock a guest’s stateroom door – replacing the key card and its sign and sail functions.
  • HERE and NOW: Guests can place dining orders and have them delivered to their current location. For example, by using the Ocean Compass guests can order select food and beverages from a lounge chair and not miss a moment of Movies Under The Stars. While Stargazing with Discovery at Sea on the top deck, parents can order and surprise the kids with hot chocolate without interrupting a moment of the family fun.
  • THERE and THEN: Guests can place a beverage order and have it delivered to where they plan to be at a designated time.  For example, guests wanting to enjoy a glass of wine at the theater can place an order prior to the show and it will be delivered to them at their seat.
    Crew at Your Service: With the OCEAN Medallion, from the moment you embark, your experiences will be curated in alignment with your preferences allowing the crew to assist at all times. For example, a room attendant or bartender will have the ability to assist a guest with booking Lotus Spa services or specialty dining reservations.
  • Ocean Navigate: Accessed through the Ocean Compass, guests can learn the whereabouts of their family as they enjoy activities throughout the ship and be guided seamlessly in finding their way around the ship. Friends and family will also be able to easily communicate with each other through seamless messaging service.

More announcements surrounding innovations and enhancements from Medallion Class Ocean Vacations will be announced in the months leading up to the first sailing on Regal Princess.

Viking announces new ocean cruise itineraries for 2017 to 2019

December 16, 2016

Viking Ocean Cruises
(Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises)

Viking Ocean Cruises has announced 13 new itineraries that will roll out in 2017, 2018 and 2019. By 2019, Viking expects to be the largest small ship ocean cruise line, with six 930-passenger ocean ships and will offer guests new opportunities for exploration in Alaska, Australia, Asia and the Caribbean.

Here are the details according to a press release from Viking:

New 2017 – 2019 Itineraries

Viking’s new ocean itineraries will bring guests to a growing number of iconic destinations around the world, providing behind-the-scenes insights and opportunities in each port of call. With new sailings embarking in Miami, Mumbai, Bangkok, Beijing, Bali, Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Vancouver, guests can choose base itineraries ranging from eight to 23 days, with additional combination cruise options. Highlights of the new itineraries include:

  • Turquoise Seas of the Western Caribbean(Miami to Miami; sailing on Viking Sky; November 2017February 2018) Discover the diverse treasures of the western Caribbean during this eight-day itinerary, from ancient ruins to colonial architecture. Guests will explore the mysterious temples of Altun Ha in Belize, the heart of the Mayan Center; walk in the steps of Hemingway’s Key West haunts; and marvel at Cozumel’s blue waters at Punta Sur. Sailing roundtrip from Miami, guests will visit three countries and five ports. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $2,999 per person.
  • Panama & Central America – (Miami to Miami; sailing on Viking Sky; November – December 2017 and January 2018) – From Central American countries including Costa Rica, Columbia, Honduras, Belize and more, guests will immerse themselves into the colorful cities and rich cultures, visiting eight countries and nine ports on this 15-day itinerary. While making the roundtrip from Miami, guests will experience one of the world’s great engineering feats, the Panama Canal, discover Costa Rica’s famous rainforest and explore Old Town Cartagena’s colonial architecture, a UNSECO World Heritage Site. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $5,499 per person.
  • Atlantic Crossing – (Miami to Barcelona; sailing on Viking Sky; March 3, 2018) – During this classic trans-Atlantic journey, guests enjoy dining, taking in the ship’s amenities and relaxing while cruising the Atlantic Ocean. The 14-day sailing will also call on ports in both Europe and the New World, including Florida’s sun-kissed city of glorious beaches and art deco buildings. In Europe, destinations include the “Garden Island” of Madeira and the artistic, vibrant city of Barcelona. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $2,399 per person.
  • Passage to India – (Athens to Mumbai; sailing on Viking Spirit; August 18, 2018) – On this 21-day itinerary, guests will trace the routes of the earliest merchants from Greece to India, with ports of call in six countries including Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Oman. Along the journey, guests will accompany local guides to ancient treasures, visit the astonishing red sandstone city of Petra and see the Great Pyramids and Sphinx in Cairo. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $5,999 per person.
  • Across the Bay of Bengal – (Mumbai to Bangkok; sailing on Viking Spirit; September 8, 2018) – Guests will experience five unique countries on one spectacular 16-day journey, including overnight ports of call in Mumbai, Colombo and Bangkok to fully explore these exciting cities. From meeting the caretakers of the National Gandhi Museum to mingling with shoppers at a traditional Bangkok market, guests will immerse themselves into the experience of each city and discover its rich culture first-hand. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $4,499 per person.
  • Capitals of the Far East – (Hong Kong to Beijing or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit, October 7 and October 21, 2018) – Voyage to the iconic cities across three countries including China, Taiwan and South Korea. Along this 15-day journey, guests will experience the region’s culture and heritage while exploring sites including the Forbidden City and Great Wall of China, and the Huaxi Street Night Market in Taiwan. Guests will also enjoy a day of sailing along the Yellow Sea, relaxing with complimentary tea service on board in the Wintergarden or yoga on the Sports Deck. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $5,799 per person.
  • Southeast Asia & Hong Kong – (Bangkok to Hong Kong or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; September 23, 2018, November 4, 2018 and April 7, 2019) – Discover the gems of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong during this 15-day cruise visiting four countries and seven ports. Spend two days in Bangkok touring the vibrant city and its landmarks, including the Grand Palace featuring the Emerald Buddha, and sampling Thai cuisine. Guests continue the journey with ports of call in Cambodia and Vietnam and then enjoy two nights visiting the many museums and stores in this shopper’s paradise of Hong Kong. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $5,799 per person.
  • Komodo & the Australian Coast – (Sydney to Bali or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; November 30, 2018 and March 10, 2019) – During this 17-day sailing, guests will experience 11 ports of call including Indonesia’s popular island of Bali and Australia’s cosmopolitan city, Sydney, and the stunning Whitsunday Island near the Great Barrier Reef. Viking will also bring guests face to face with the region’s residents, including the Komodo dragon, at the Komodo National Park. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $5,199 per person.
  • Bangkok, Bali & Beyond – (Bangkok to Bali or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; November 18, 2018 and March 26, 2019) – Spanning 13-days, guests will experience the capitals of Asian art and culture in the seven ports of call throughout Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Witness Southeast Asia’s long-held traditions and bustling capital cities. Marvel at Kuala Lumpur’s soaring Petronas Towers, and absorb the cultural diversity of Singapore with a resident by your side; and experience the historic riches of Jakarta. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $3,999 per person.
  • Australia & New Zealand – (Sydney to Auckland and the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; December 2018February 2019) – Witness a rich blend of native and European cultures amid the sophisticated coastal cities of Australia and New Zealand. From the metropolitan cities of Melbourne and Sydney to the natural beauty of coastal New Zealand, guests will explore nine ports of call during this 15-day journey to the “Land Down Under.” Sip on the famous wines of the region; explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Australia’s Blue Mountains; capture panoramic views from Mt. Victoria in New Zealand; and greet the indigenous wildlife, such as kangaroos and wallabies. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $5,799 per person.
  • Far Eastern Horizons – (Hong Kong to Tokyo; sailing on Viking Spirit; April 21, 2019) – Explore the imperial treasures of one of the most captivating corners of Asia during this 15-day sailing. Mingle with merchants in Hong Kong’s vibrant Stanley Market; learn the nuances of Taiwan from a local resident; and witness the bustling Japanese culture. This itinerary calls upon four countries and nine ports, with overnights in Hong Kong, Hiroshima, Shimizu and Tokyo to fully explore these cities. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $5,799 per person.
  • North Pacific Passage – (Tokyo to Vancouver; sailing on Viking Spirit; May 5, 2019) – Guests will experience the cultural riches and majestic beauty of Japan, Russia, Alaska and Canada on this 23-day sailing. Unravel the mysteries of Japan with local guides, and learn about life in a remote Russian city before crossing the Bering Sea, tracing the legendary path of the first human migration to the Americas. In Alaska, sail into glacier-strewn, mountain-ringed bays onto iconic frontier towns, such as Kodiak, Sitka and more. Guests will also enjoy scenic cruising through the famed Inside Passage. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $6,799.
  • Alaska & the Inside Passage(Vancouver to Seward or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; May – August 2019) – During this 11-day itinerary, guests will sail into the wilds of the “Great Frontier,” immersing themselves in a world of Tlingit heritage, exploring charming seaside towns and pristine glacier-lined bays, and cruising the narrow channels of the famed Inside Passage. Sailing from Vancouver, Canada, guests will experience eight iconic ports of call including Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau and Skagway. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms start at $3,999 per person.

Features and Amenities

Classified by Cruise Critic as “small ships,” Viking’s ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boast 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. In 2017, the company will welcome Viking Sky and Viking Sun to join Viking Star and Viking Sea in its fleet. Viking’s fifth ship, Viking Spirit, will be delivered in 2018, and its sixth, yet-to-be-named ship will be delivered in 2019.  

Light-filled with modern Scandinavian decor, Viking’s ships were designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships. Throughout each ship, details are incorporated to pay homage to Nordic heritage and to help guests immerse themselves in local surroundings. A glass-backed infinity pool cantilevered off the stern offers unobstructed views; indoor-outdoor spaces offer more options for al fresco dining than any other vessels in their class; huge windows and skylights blur the lines between inside and out; and a wrap-around promenade deck nods to a bygone era of classic ocean liners.

Onboard Viking’s ships, clean lines, woven textiles and light wood evoke the Viking spirit of discovery and connection to the natural world. A carefully curated collection of Scandinavian artwork adorns the walls of restaurants and public spaces. In the two-deck Explorers’ Lounge at the bow of the ships, the decor was inspired by ancient Viking trade routes and navigation methods – imagery of star constellations and astronomical maps are complemented by antique globes, astrolabes and sofas with cozy pelts. In the LivNordic Spa, the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia is in mind – from the Nordic ritual of the hydrotherapy pool and a real snow room, to materials inspired by Scandinavian nature: Swedish limestone and black slate; juniper and teak wood details; recycled and etched opaque glass; and cast iron. In the Wintergarden, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood – an homage to Norse mythology and Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life. And in the Viking Living Room, a geometric garden was inspired by the wild lichen of Norway’s Finse Mountain Plateau.

While onboard, guests enjoy informative talks from local experts and carefully selected lecturers in The Theater. Dining options onboard Viking’s ships elevate food as a cultural experience – the World Café features global cuisine with live cooking and open kitchens; Mamsen’s features Norwegian deli-style fare, according to the recipes of Hagen’s mother, Ragnhild, otherwise known as “Mamsen;” The Chef’s Table celebrate cuisines from around the world with multi-course tasting menus and wine pairings; and Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant embraces authentic Tuscan and Roman cuisine. With the Kitchen Table experience, guests have an immersive opportunity to shop, cook and eat with the Executive Chef.

“Viking Inclusive Value” provides a small ship experience at a big ship value onboard Viking Ocean Cruises —with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—an included value of more than $200 per person, per day for an average cruise.