Crystal River Cruises unveils new culinary offerings for Crystal Bach ship

July 5, 2017

Crystal River Cruises
Waterside, a restaurant on Crystal Bach (Rendering courtesy of Crystal River Cruises)

The following is a press release from Crystal River Cruises:

Crystal River Cruises, the World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line, has unveiled detailed highlights of the culinary concepts and offerings to be featured aboard Crystal Bach, the first of the company’s “Rhine Class” river yachts, debuting in August. Sailing routes along the Rhine, Danube and Main Rivers, the all-balcony, all-suite vessel will offer sophisticated menus of cuisine inspired by the region, artfully crafted by a team of expert European chefs. And while the specialties themselves will be creatively designed specifically for Crystal Bach’s stunning itineraries, the philosophy of culinary excellence remains rooted in Crystal’s commitment to using the freshest ingredients sourced from local suppliers and serving dishes that authentically represent the destinations visited.

“As the first ‘Rhine Class’ river yacht, Crystal Bach will introduce a new standard of luxury in river cruising on many fronts, including the culinary concept and innovative experiences found on board,” says Edie Rodriguez, CEO and president of Crystal. “While we are always pursuing new and distinctive experiences on each of our luxury vessels, our overall dedication to unsurpassed quality and abundant choices remains constant.”

Guests will dine on fresh fish and seafood from Holland, seasonal fruits and vegetables from Germany and the Netherlands, meat and poultry from farmers in Bavaria and the Austrian Alps, along with wine, beer and cheese specific to the region. Uniquely European delicacies will also be featured on the expansive menus, including sturgeon caviar from Eindhoven and river crawfish from the Rhine. Additionally, as aboard Crystal’s first luxury river ship, Crystal Mozart, coffees and teas by Julius Meinl, a prestigious Vienna-based company who has crafted the beverages since 1862, will be served on Crystal Bach.

Crystal chefs will create dishes that have been favored by local people and nobility for centuries, as well as some options that boast a modern twist on the classics. From the elegant Waterside Restaurant – the main dining room aboard Crystal River vessels – to the relaxed Bistro Café and exclusive Vintage Room, guests will find farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine that complements the cultural discoveries of their journey.

Dutch herring on dill mousse and German green split pea soup with smoked duck join other European delicacies like Dornfelder braised oxtail ragout and Boeuf Bourguignonne. Mouthwatering dishes such as truffle spring chicken cassoulet “En Croute,” broiled dover sole “Meuniere” and cold-water lobster served with a creamy leek risotto are also among the culinary palate pleasers.

A brand new dedicated selection of vegetarian dishes will also be offered aboard Crystal Bach, which will offer the same fresh and authentic approach as the overall menu.

“The culinary experience aboard all Crystal vessels is meant to inspire travelers to discover more about the world they explore, as food and the camaraderie of dining is such an integral part of the travel experience,” says Toni Neumeister, senior vice president of hotel operations. “Guests aboard Crystal Bach will not only enjoy extraordinary new and classic flavors, but also a taste of the history and culture of this beautiful region.”

In addition to the inspired cuisine served on board the luxury river yacht, guests can indulge in exclusive dining experiences at Michelin star-awarded restaurants in select destinations. Each 2017 itinerary will feature at least one opportunity to indulge in signature fare of renowned eateries ashore, the first of which will be complementary.

The vessels will be the river cruising industry’s first all-balcony, all-suite designs boasting every category of accommodation perched above the waterline. Every suite will offer Crystal’s acclaimed butler service in every room category, plush king-sized beds that face toward the Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines.

By sea, river, land and air, Crystal has redefined the way the world views luxury travel. Crystal Cruises is the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line, having earned “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 23 years; been voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 years; and the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by travel professional organization Virtuoso for three consecutive years (2014, 2015 & 2016).  The newest and upcoming extensions of the celebrated Crystal brand include Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal River Cruises – The World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line – Crystal AirCruises and Crystal Exclusive Class with Crystal Residences. Crystal is proud to be a platinum partner of the professionals of ASTA.

Princess Cruises debuts 2018-2019 Exotics sailings

May 25, 2017

(Photo collage courtesy of Princess Cruises)
(Photo collage courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The following is a press release from Princess Cruises:

Princess Cruises has debuted its 2018-2019 Exotics program which will take guests to culturally rich and iconic cruise destinations around the globe. With more than 50 departures, ranging in length from three to 111 days, these worldwide cruise itineraries go on sale today.

The diverse deployment includes six ships sailing on 27 unique itineraries throughout five continents, visiting 93 destinations and 47 countries. Guests can book cruises to South America, Southeast Asia and China. In addition, cruisers will experience less-traveled ports aboard the cruise line’s small ship that will circumvent the globe on a 111-day World Cruise sailings roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale.

“Our Exotics program offers our guests the chance to travel to intriguing destinations all over the world, allowing our guests to experience different cultures in places they’ve dreamed of visiting,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We’re proud that these award-winning itineraries make us a destination leader in the cruise industry.”

Exotics deployment highlight include:

  1. OCEAN Medallion-enabled Royal Princess sails her maiden voyage around Cape Horn on a 49-day South America Grand Adventure – the cruise line’s largest ship ever to visit South America. Guests will experience the highly anticipated, wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network. (O•C•E•A•N), making possible a new level of personalization that delivers an enhanced guest experience not previously available in the global vacation industry.
  • Coral Princess sails a new 60-day Circle North Pacific voyage roundtrip Los Angeles, calling to 22 destinations in 8 countries, including Asia, Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Pacific Princess sails a new route on the 111-day World Cruise circumnavigating the Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.
  • Two new 14- and 15-day Grand Asia voyages on Sapphire Princess sailing out of Shanghai and Singapore, complement the previously announced 14-day Majestic Grand Asia voyages on Princess Cruises’ newest ship, Majestic Princess.
  • MORE ASHORE evening stays and overnights will be offered on select itineraries in 18 ports across 5 continents.
  • Guests will enjoy bucket-list destination to more than 20 UNESCO World Cruise Heritage Sites, including Glacier Bay National Park, Singapore Botanical Gardens, Komodo National Park, Great Barrier Reef, Robben Island in Cape Town and more.

Princess’ 2018-2019 Exotics cruise program includes:

Asia: Coral Princess, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess

Guests can choose from three ships, sailing 18 itineraries to 34 destinations, from four homeports with 31 departures, ranging from three to 60 days.

Coral Princess debuts an epic 60-day Circle North Pacific voyage (roundtrip Los Angeles) that includes Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii, as well as the best of Alaska, including Glacier Bay Scenic Cruising, Juneau, Icy Strait Point and our first call to Kodiak in nearly a decade. Nine ports feature MORE ASHORE evening stays in Juneau, Tokyo (Yokohama), Osaka, Seoul (Incheon), Beijing (Tianjin), Shanghai, Taipei (Keelung), Hong Kong and Honolulu. This voyage will also be offered as the following voyages:

  • 28-day Circle North Pacific: Los Angeles to Shanghai
  • 32-day Circle North Pacific: Shanghai to Los Angeles

Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess both return to homeport in Singapore together for a season of cruises ranging from three to 21 days, with stops in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

For the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays, Diamond Princess sails a 10-day Southeast Asia and 11-day Malaysian Peninsula & Indonesia voyage, which can be combined for a 21-day vacation.

Additionally, Sapphire Princess sails a 15-day Grand Asia voyage, featuring an overnight in Hong Kong. For the 2019 Lunar New Year, Sapphire Princess will be sailing a seven-day Vietnam & Thailand voyage (roundtrip Singapore).

South America: Royal Princess and Emerald Princess

In South America, two ships sailing seven itineraries to 25 destinations from 4 homeports, with 15 departures ranging from 14 to 49 days are offered.

OCEAN Medallion-enabled Royal Princess sails her maiden voyage to South America on a 49-day South America Grand Adventure, sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles. In addition, Emerald Princess returns to South America, navigating around Cape Horn on five departures between Santiago (Valparaiso) and Buenos Aires.

Royal Princess and Emerald Princess both feature Peru, Chile and an overland to Machu Picchu on the 16-day Andes & South America cruises between Los Angeles and Santiago (Valparaiso), which can be combined with a 14-day Cape Horn cruise for a 30-day Andes & Cape Horn Grand Adventure.

Both ships also sail 19-day Brazilian Adventure cruises between Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires, which can be combined with the 14-day Cape Horn cruises for a 33-day Cape Horn & Brazil Grand Adventure.

World Cruise: Pacific Princess

Pacific Princess offers a 111-day World Cruise voyage roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale, with 41 destinations, in 27 countries on 5 continents, featuring a circumnavigation around the Cape of Good Hope with overnights in Cape Town and Singapore.

The cruise includes three maiden ports of call to Stewart Island (New Zealand), the remote island of St. Helena (U.K. territory) and Guadeloupe (Pointe-à-Pitre).

For a shorter world voyage, Pacific Princess offers the opportunity to sail a 96-day World Cruise embarking in Los Angeles and disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale. Princess Cruises also offers the opportunity to join the World Cruise for a portion of the journey including a 72-day South Pacific & Indian Ocean, 43-day Australia & Africa, 39-day Africa, South America & Panama Canal, 29-day Hawaii & South Pacific, 24-day Africa & South America and a choice of two 15-day Panama Canal Connoisseur voyages sailing between Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale.

 

Cruisetours 

To further enhance the cruise vacation, Princess Cruises is pleased to offer two cruisetours for South America on Emerald Princess and Royal Princess.

During the Iguazú Falls Adventure cruisetour, guests visit Rio de Janeiro with a full-day sightseeing tour taking them to Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue. The tour continues into the jungle at the border of Brazil and Argentina to incredible Iguazú Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the Machu Picchu Explorer cruisetour, guests ascend into the Andes to magical Machu Picchu, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and visit the historic city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley with sightseeing to Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo and an authentic Pisac Market.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

Star Trek: The Cruise II set for two voyages in 2018 with host George Takei

May 9, 2017

"Star Trek" actor George Takei
George Takei (Photo courtesy of CBS Studios)

The following is an excerpt from a Star Trek: The Cruise II press release:

Star Trek: The Cruise II has commissioned an entire crew of fan favorites to man the ship when it launches two voyages in January 2018.  Host George Takei (who played Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” TV series and several “Star Trek” movies) will be joined by nearly 20 stars from the film and television productions of the groundbreaking franchise, including Vaughn Armstrong, Rene Auberjonois, Casey Biggs, LeVar Burton, Jeffrey Combs, Michael Dorn, John de Lancie, Jonathan Frakes, Max Grodenchik, Gates McFadden, Robert O’Reilly, John Paladin, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Armin Shimerman, Brent Spiner, Connor Trinneer, and Nana Visitor.  Star Trek fans aboard the cruises will spend a week among the iconic actors, interacting with them during inspired events and impromptu encounters.  Produced by Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC, under license by CBS Consumer Products, Voyage 1 of Star Trek: The Cruise II will sail from January 5-11, 2018, with Voyage 2 following January 11-17, 2018, both traveling from Miami to Roatan (Honduras), Harvest Caye (Belize) and Costa Maya (Mexico).

The six-day voyage on the spectacular Norwegian Jade boldly goes where no one has gone before, packed with special Star Trek-themed shows, events and programs including:

  • A stellar crew of iconic Star Trek actors and personalities
  • Incredible theme nights like Captain Sulu’s Soiree
  • Interactive celebrity hosted events like the Klingon Pub Crawl, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and more
  • Actor-led excursions at each port
  • Vow renewals led by a Star Trek star
  • Nightly shows performed by celebrity guests
  • Autograph and photograph sessions with your favorite Star Trek crew members
  • A Star Trek: The Cruise Museum exhibiting genuine pieces and classic memorabilia from the archive
  • A make-up artist transforming guests into Star Trek characters
  • Live music including avant-garde synth pop band Information Society

Almost every event includes an interactive element which makes the Voyage a unique, personal and immersive Star Trek experience.

“This will be the most interactive experience ever created between Star Trek fans and actors,” says Star Trek: The Cruise II host George Takei. “Come aboard and experience the voyage!” Every guest aboard Star Trek: The Cruise II will be offered the opportunity to take a group photo with the icon (one per cabin).

The ship will be redesigned to feature sites inspired by the television show and films, including “Sandrine’s II,” the sister restaurant of Chez Sandrine (Star Trek: Voyager), and “13 Forward” (the Officer’s Bar influenced by 10 Forward and best described by Captain Picard as the “hub of the ship’s social activity”).

Over 4,000 fans have already pre-registered for cabins aboard the 2018 cruises, with both expected to sell out.  Cabin prices start at $1,300 (U.S. dollars) per person, and include all meals, tickets to main-stage events, parties as well as port charges, taxes and on-board gratuities.

Royal Caribbean International reveals roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries; first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region to set sail in 2019

April 26, 2017

Royal Caribbean

The following is a press release from Royal Caribbean International:

Royal Caribbean International has unveiled future plans for the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named ship will be the next evolution of the groundbreaking Quantum class and will join her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. The announcement was made as Royal Caribbean unveiled its full roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries.

With nearly a decade since Royal Caribbean’s first cruise in China, the cruise line further bolsters its commitment to the market by dedicating a lineup of its most technologically advanced ships to the rapidly growing market. The new ship will specifically be designed for guests in the region, featuring even more cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

As part of the deployment plans for 2018-19, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to a new home in Miami, Florida embarking on a “Global Odyssey” from Asia that features three long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. The “Global Odyssey” opens for sale on May 2, 2017.  Voyager of the Seas will have her first full season in Singapore in 2018-19, offering 3- to 7-night adventures throughout Southeast Asia with stops that include ports in Thailand and Malaysia.

The new 2018-19 deployment season presents additional highlights, including an expanded offering of open-jaw itineraries for adventure-seekers traveling down under with new 10-night open-jaw itineraries between Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne or Sydney, Australia on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for her longest season in Australia, reclaiming the title as the largest ship based in the region.

Royal Caribbean’s China 2018-19 itineraries for Quantum and Voyager will be available to book beginning April 26, 2017, followed by Ovation on April 27. Australia and Singapore sailings will be open as of May 16, 2017.
2018-19 China, Singapore, Australia Deployment Highlights

Adventures from China and Singapore

Available to book April 26 and April 27, 2017

  • Quantum of the Seas will continue to sail from Shanghai for the fourth consecutive season, offering 78 sailings to and from Japan, beginning January 2018. Highlights include:
    • 6-night Japan itinerary: Visiting the historic city of Nagasaki and overnighting in Okinawa, Japan, guests can dive into  the unique culture of the nation’s southernmost prefecture
    • 8-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Showcasing the best of the nation with stops in Kobe, Tokyo and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Ovation of the Seas will return to Tianjin, China for its second season, offering a rich lineup to explore the best of Japan, including two new ports for the ship: Sasaebo and Shimonoseki. The season begins April 2018. Highlights include:
    • 5-night Japan itinerary: Sailing to Sasaebo and Shimonoseki, Japan, travelers will venture to what many know as “The Gateway to Japan.”
    • 7-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Guest uncover far-flung locales in Japan, including the scenic ports of Sakaiminato, Maizuru and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Voyager of the Seas will offer a combined total of 77 sailings from Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, offering countless adventures across Southeast Asia, beginning April 30, 2018. Itinerary highlights include:
    • 4-night Malaysia itinerary: Sailing from Singapore and visiting Penang and Phuket, Malaysia, a hub of vibrant neighborhoods and heritage architecture
    • 5-night Vietnam itinerary: From Hong Kong to far-flung destinations, including Chan May and Nha Trang, Vietnam, guests will discover a country of breathtaking beauty and a storied past 

Journeys in Australia and South Pacific

Available to book May 16, 2017

  • Ovation of the Seasthe largest and most technologically advanced ship to sail in Australian waters – will sail from Sydney, Australia for its third and longest season in the country, offering 13 sailings beginning November 2018. Highlights include:
    • 10-night New Zealand itinerary: Departing Sydney, featuring the country’s endemic wildlife and Maori heritage with stops in Milford Sound, Napier and Picton, New Zealand
    • 14-night Singapore to Sydney, open-jaw itinerary: Setting sail this Fall to ports of call including Adelaide and Hobart, Tasmania
  • Radiance of the Seas will have an expanded open-jaw program with three new itineraries venturing out into Australia in 2019. Highlights include:
    • New – 10-night, open-jaw itinerary: Departing from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia, travelers will visit various captivating destinations throughout the Tasman Sea.
  • Explorer of the Seas will join Ovation of the Seas for her fourth season based in Sydney with 23 sailings exploring the island destinations of the South Pacific and Fiji. The ship’s cruises range from 3- to 14-night itineraries, and will begin in October 2018. Highlights include:

12-night South Pacific and Fiji itinerary: Visiting a lineup of exotic destinations, including Noumea, Caledonia; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Lautoka and Suva, Fiji.

Caribbean Princess cruise ship unveils extensive renovations

March 28, 2017

Caribbean Princess multi-million-dollar renovation that will be available when the ship is set to sail again on April 6, 2017. The renovation is Princess Cruises‘ largest food and beverage innovation to ever take place during a drydock. Guests will be offered seven new onboard dining destinations.

According to a Princess press release:

The new dining options aboard Caribbean Princess include:

World Fresh Marketplace World Fresh Marketplace (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)
World Fresh Marketplace (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

World Fresh Marketplace – Replacing Horizon Court (deck 14), World Fresh Marketplace unveils a completely new look and improved layout, featuring freshly-made regional specialties and well-balanced food choices:

  • Breakfast will include 24-hour cereal stations; a designer pancake station with “pancake of the day” stacks; unique hot cereal offerings such as shrimp & grits and polenta porridge.
  • Lunch serves up signature hand-crafted sandwiches, regionally inspired dishes and soups, as well as carvery selections of specialty sausages, hams and roast meats.
  • Dinner selections include breakfast at night with omelets and chicken & waffles, family kitchen comfort foods and a kid-friendly PB&J bar. Night-time offerings will also include a live-action station with stir-fry and customized pasta, plus composed salad choices.
New Planks BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)
New Planks BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Two Casual Specialty Restaurants – Café Caribe (deck 14 aft) transforms into two new, casual evening specialty restaurants great for families with kids who want to enjoy a special meal in a nice, yet laid back setting. These options include:

  • Planks BBQ – serving up family-style “Planks” of loaded ribs, beef, sausages and chicken plus all the fixings – fries, chili, coleslaw, charred toast and dill pickles. Dinner is served by wait staff for a cover charge of $12 per person. Complimentary buffet-style breakfast and lunch options include savory customizable breakfast bowls and signature soup, freshly tossed salads and fork & knife sandwiches.
  • Steamers Seafood – offers east coast-style Steamers with regional flair including Black & Blue Mussels, Scallops & Sausage, Classic Clams, Shrimp and Sausage and Broiled Scallops, Shrimp and Crab-stuffed Flounder. Dinner is served by wait staff for a cover charge of $12 per person. A delectable lobster tail and King Crab legs can be added for $10. Complimentary buffet-style breakfast and lunch options include specialty egg dishes and ramen bowls with regionally-inspired broths.
Steamers Seafood (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)
Steamers Seafood (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Top-Deck Dining Venues – Four Princess top-deck outdoor dining offerings will be revitalized, renamed and enhanced, including:

  • The Salty Dog Grill (formerly Trident Grill) – guests can indulge in “The Ernesto” burger, voted “#1 Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic from Chef Ernesto Uchimura, as well as signature Princess burgers grilled up with 100 percent handmade beef patties and buns. In addition, guests can choose new Street Tacos of grilled chipotle-lime chicken or roasted sweet potato-green chile with corn tortillas. Loaded fries in tempting varieties include chili cheese and bacon & cheese. Classic hot dogs round out the menu offerings.
  • Slice (formerly Pizzeria) – featuring west coast and east coast offerings, Princess guests will enjoy award-winning signature classic Neapolitan-style pizza. New menu items include Deep Dish Focaccia layered with marinara, meatballs and cheese, California Artisanal Toast including Cali-Avocado or Caprese, as well as Sliced Stromboli, an east coast take on an Italian calzone filled with deli meats and cheese.
  • Coffee & Cones (formerly Scoops) offering treats of gourmet ice-cream sandwiches, complimentary ice cream cones and now brewing specialty coffee on the top deck, serving New Grounds Crafted Coffee.
  • The Mix (formerly Blackbeard’s Bar) – the poolside bar will be updated and redesigned with vibrant colors (full designs will be completed by fall 2017).

In addition to the food and beverage innovations, Caribbean Princess will emerge from drydock with new offerings appealing to families, including Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers, upgraded Movies Under the Stars, Princess Luxury Bed and interconnecting staterooms, just in time for the upcoming Europe summer and fall Caribbean seasons. The cruise ship will also be wired for the Ocean Medallion launch that will be available for the 2018 summer Caribbean season.

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.