• Cruise Ship Industry News

    Celebrity Cruises has introduced a new ship to be built specifically for the Galapagos Islands.
    The premium cruise line revealed plans for the 100-passenger Celebrity Flora Thursday. According to USA Today, the ship will be based in the archipelago year-round beginning in 2019, replacing the 48-passenger Celebrity Xperience and 16-passenger Xploration.
    Celebrity Flora's unique design will capitalize on the Galapagos' beauty while helping preserve the destination. For example, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows will provide 360-degree views and anchorless technology will allow the ship to remain stationary without damaging the sea floor.
    Other highlights aboard the Celebrity Flora will include a marina able to accommodate up to three Zodiacs at once; an open-air, deck-top lounge featuring cocoon-style loungers and private cabanas; a stargazing platform; a research lab; indoor and outdoor lounges; an observatory; two restaurants and a library.
    Guests will be able to access invaluable destination information at Darwin's Cove and the Naturalist Center and visit the Discovery Lounge for Naturalist presentations and excursion details.
    The ship's two 1,288-square-foot Penthouse Suites will be the largest in the Galapagos, featuring separate indoor and outdoor living spaces, customizable lighting and a telescope for checking out wildlife or the night sky.
    Onboard accommodations will also include Royal Suites, Ultimate Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda, Premium Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda and Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda cabins. The Infinite Veranda is similar to a balcony and utilizes a window wall that can be opened up.
    Sustainable elements will include in-room water filtration stations and a strict waste management system. The Celebrity Flora will also convert sea water and air conditioning condensation into fresh water.
    What's more, an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines will allow for a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption and fewer air emissions.
    "Celebrity Flora marks another example of our revolutionary ship design by allowing the destination and its environment to influence every decision we've made," said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo in a statement. "From the luxurious all-suite accommodations to industry-first, eco-friendly innovations, we created a ship that brings a new level of luxury, sustainability and natural exploration to the region."
    Ecuador's Minister of Tourism, Enrique Ponce de Leon said the sustainable ship will "mark a very important milestone in the tourism development" of the region.
    Last month, Celebrity Cruises announced plans to begin a $400 million fleet-wide renovation. The innovative cruise line also recently transformed its onboard weddings program to include legal same-sex ceremonies and will welcome the highly anticipated Celebrity Edge to its fleet next year.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
    A Frenchman was escorted off a cruise in the Indian Ocean after staging multiple protests against the captain and crew.
    According to The Telegraph, 53-year-old Alain Jan and some other passengers aboard Costa Cruises' Costa neoRiviera became upset after several planned stops were canceled due to the threat of bubonic and pneumonic plague outbreak in Madagascar last month.
    The Washington Post reported the outbreak has infected about 1,800 people and killed at least 127 others in the African nation.
    "We said OK, it's for health reasons and anyway there were two other excursions left in Nosy Be and Diego Suarez," Jan told French newspaper, Le Parisien.
    However, passengers learned later on that two other stops would be canceled. The cruise line compensated them with $175 to spend onboard the ship.
    "That evening, we organized a protest in the restaurant. There were 60 of us banging our fists on the table to alert other cruise passengers to this con job," said Jan.
    Passengers staged a second protest in the ship's theater before the captain alerted local police in the Seychelles.
    Jan and his wife were escorted off of the ship for making "violent protests" and "disturbing the cruise." They spent two nights in a hotel in the Seychelles before flying home. Costa Cruises paid for the couple's flight.
    "That's how I was freed from the floating prison," Jan said.
    Costa Cruises defended its decision to cancel the three Madagascar stops as well as two others in Nosy Be and Diego Suarez.
    "The company made every effort to maintain the stop-offs on Madagascar, looking into all the alternatives," the cruise line said in a statement, adding that "security, health and well-being of passengers and crew are an absolute priority."
    "Given the delays that [quarantine] would have created, and even longer ones if there were any suspect cases on board, and considering that passengers were already on board, the company was forced to restrict its trip to the Seychelles and Reunion."
    Passengers have been reimbursed for canceled excursions in Madagascar and those traveling on future sailings have been informed of the itinerary changes.
    Earlier this month, Costa Cruises was awarded the best Mediterranean itineraries in the industry by Porthole Cruise Magazine readers.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Costa Cruise Line
    Guests traveling aboard the Disney Dream last week were treated to Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural live performance of a new telling of the classic story, “Beauty and the Beast.”
    The all-new production was inspired by Disney’s live-action stage show, which in turn is based on the animated classic film. The performance combines favorite elements from both productions into a unique, only-at-sea production that can only be seen in the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre onboard the Dream.
    As with previous productions, the new stage show celebrates romance, adventure and magic in true Disney fashion, while underscoring the “power of transformation through true love and courage.”
    And yes, the performance brings to life many of the Disney classic’s favorite tunes, including some from the original award-winning soundtrack by acclaimed composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. Also in the lineup are two of the new songs created by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice, for the live-action film, including “How Does a Moment Last Forever” and “Days in the Sun.”
    Some favorite songs, such as “Belle,” “Something There” and “Beauty and the Beast” have received a musical makeover for their at-sea debut, while showstoppers like “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” are being transformed into full-fledged spectacles. In particular, “Be Our Guest,” designed as a multi-course French dinner, promises rousing choreography and dazzling visual effects.
    The set, designed by Jason Sherwood (“Paint Your Wagon,” “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular”) and Aaron Rhyne (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “Anastasia”), was created to emulate a music box, through which passengers can enjoy such iconic settings as Belle’s provincial French town and the Beast’s mysterious castle.
    Adding an extra dimension to the production, costume designer Sarah Cubbage (Broadway’s “Skylight”) worked with puppet designer Jeff Conover to bring to life the enchanted characters for which “Beauty and the Beast" is known. Such favorites as Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth are all depicted through innovative puppetry and elaborate costumes.
    “Beauty and the Beast” first debuted last week during the Disney Dream voyage that set sail from Port Canaveral, Florida on Nov. 6, 2017. It joins other onboard Broadway-stage productions such as “The Golden Mickeys” and “Disney’s Believe.”
    Disney is also set to debut “Beauty and the Beast” voyages onboard AmaWaterways’ AmaKristina next year, in partnership with Adventures by Disney. Although there will be no live-action show, the 8-day, 7-night cruises will include stops at Beauty and the Beast-inspired locations in France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line
    Cunard's Queen Elizabeth will be a busy ship in 2019 as the cruise line makes its triumphant return to Alaska.
    The Province reported its been more than 20 years since Cunard sailed Alaska.
    The cruise line announced this week its newest ship will set sail from Japan to Alaska just in time for the spring of 2019 before traversing multiple oceans en route to some of the world's most coveted destinations.
    The 2,057-passenger ship will arrive in Alaska in May and remain in the diversely beautiful region through June, giving travelers ample time to explore The Last Frontier in luxury.
    Guests' first chance to sail to Alaska with Cunard is the 27-night voyage from Tokyo to Vancouver on May 5, 2019. Starting at $4,409 per person, the sailing will feature stops at ports in Kodiak, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria before arriving in Vancouver.
    "Cunard is thrilled to make our return to Alaska with our youngest ship Queen Elizabeth," said senior vice president of Cunard North America, Josh Leibowitz in a statement accompanying this week's announcement. "Our guests can now explore the region on the best itinerary in Alaska—four 10-night roundtrip Vancouver sailings with more time in port and opportunities to visit the natural wonders of Tracy Arm Fjord and Hubbard Glacier."
    The Vancouver voyages will depart May 21, May 31, June 10 and June 20, 2019.
    Highlights of the itineraries include touring the waterways of the Inside Passage, stops in the Gold Rush era town of Skagway and the capital city of Juneau, experiencing Ketchikan's native tribes and a visit to the Russia-influenced Sitka.
    The itineraries also include trips to the Tracy Arm Fjord or Endicott Arm, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier and Victoria. Fares start at $1,699 per person.
    After the final sailing from Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth will sail south to San Francisco and Los Angeles for an overnight stay on the Fourth of July. The three- and five-night voyages to California start at $779 per person.
    Guests can also book a Grand Voyage ranging from 21 to 49 nights starting at $3,479 per person. Passengers will depart from Vancouver, stop in California and travel on through the Panama Canal to Ft. Lauderdale or New York before crossing the Atlantic to Reykjavik, Dublin, Glasgow and eventually London. Guests can pick a distance based on preference.
    Select sailings will also offer Rocky Mountain Rail Land Tours pre- and post- cruise featuring two full days aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. Passengers opting for the rail adventure will pass through numerous tunnels and canyons while getting a unique look at the Canadian Rockies and the Continental Divide.
    Cunard World Club members can book these experiences early beginning October 30, 2017. Reservations will open to the public October 31. Those who book a Grills Suite prior to February 28, 2018, can also score complimentary drinks and gratuities.
    Launched in 2010, Queen Elizabeth is Cunard's newest vessel and boasts a plethora of luxe features, including a spa, library and games deck, as well as world-class dining and entertainment offerings. Last month, the Carnival Corporation brand announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement for a fourth ship to be delivered in 2022.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Cunard
    A few months after a series of hurricanes battered the Caribbean, cruise ships are planning to return to many of the islands.
    Most recently, some of the hardest hit islands, St. Maarten and Puerto Rico, will welcome back cruise ships to their ports.
    Royal Caribbean announced it will return to both Caribbean gems before the end of the year. On November 30, Freedom of the Seas will be the first ship in the fleet to call on San Juan, Puerto Rico. On December 17, the Grandeur of the Seas will be the first cruise ship to sail into St. Maarten since Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas arrived with humanitarian aid.
    "Royal Caribbean is encouraged by the commendable progress that has been made by the governments of Puerto Rico and St. Maarten towards the recovery of these destinations and it means a lot to us that we are heading back home,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
    “We have been part of the Caribbean community for almost 50 years and for all of us, it has been paramount that we focus on supporting our long-standing partners–who feel more like family after so many years," added Bayley. "Supporting these destinations that are so reliant on tourism is key to the future of the islands and the best thing we–as travelers and businesses–can do for the islands."
    The cruise line has worked with the local governments in both destinations to be able to offer destination experiences that highlight the beauty and culture of the islands.
    In San Juan, guests will be able to tour the city by foot, bike, Segway or bus and explore the epic fortresses of El Morro and San Cristobal in Old San Juan. They will also be able to spend the day on the beach at VIVO Beach Club or admire the countryside through Cueva Ventana – the Window Cave – which sits atop an 800-foot limestone cliff.
    In St. Maarten, shops, restaurants and bars in and around the port city of Philipsburg will be fully operational and offer an extensive array of dining, shopping and activities in the area.
    Starting November 30, calls in St. Thomas and San Juan will operate as normal across the fleet and beginning December 17, calls to St. Maarten will operate as scheduled on all itineraries with the exception of Oasis of the Seas, which will make her return to St. Maarten on January 1, during her New Year’s Eve cruise.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo Credit: J. Neves
    This holiday season why not opt for something out of the ordinary? 
    Rather than head to grandma’s, why not pack up the entire family and experience the holidays onboard an American Queen Steamboat Company ship? 
    Cruising America’s waters is a great way to share the season with your nearest and dearest and make new friends along the way.
    The best holiday gift of all? American Queen is offering fantastic deals on these holiday adventures:
    —Pacific Northwest Splendor (October 29, November 5. American Empress). Follow the path of Lewis and Clark as you travel the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Highlights include visits to The Dalles, Oregon (known as the end of the Oregon Trail) and Tri-Cities, Washington.
    —Antebellum South (November 12, American Queen. November 19, American Duchess). The Antebellum South is yours to discover on this journey. Experience Southern culture and living history as you travel from town to town, learning about the region’s past, present and future.
    —Vineyards, Vintages and Varietals (November 12, 19. American Empress). The Pacific Northwest is home to more than great coffee and craft beer. Enjoy the best of the region’s wines as you cruise the Columbia River. Onboard tastings and wine pairings, as well as excursions to nearby vineyards, introduce passengers to the area’s famed varietals.
    —Musical Heritage of the Delta (November 26. American Queen). Soak up the romantic spirit of the Old South as you sail past cotton fields, sugar cane plantations and Civil War battlefields. Among the highlights are visits to Oak Alley, Louisiana, and Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
    —Thanksgiving Festival (November 19. American Queen). Enjoy some turkey and all the fixings on a cruise of the lower Mississippi River as you sail from Memphis to New Orleans. Along the way, you will encounter charming towns, plantations and antebellum mansions.
    —Nashville Holiday (December 4, 10. American Duchess). Revel in a homespun holiday with a visit to Nashville. Passengers will have the chance to see a performance of the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium as a highlight of the trip.
    —Music of America (November 26, December 15. American Duchess). Journey to America’s great music capitals as you travel between Nashville and Memphis. Explore Music City and its country melodies, the sounds of New Orleans jazz and Memphis’ Delta Blues.
    —Holiday Christmas Markets (December 3, 10, 17, American Queen). Get in some last minute Christmas shopping as you visit American Queen’s exclusive lineup of Christmas markets. The pinnacle comes at Nottoway Plantation, where passengers can enjoy live music, dancing and see the ceremonial lighting of levee bonfires.
    —Creole Christmas (December 22, American Duchess). Experience all the glitter and magic of the holiday season as you travel through the antebellum South. Passengers will learn about traditional Creole and Cajun cultures as they journey from Memphis to New Orleans.
    —New Year’s Celebration (December 25, American Queen). Ring in the New Year as you sail along the lower Mississippi River. The ship will be specially decorated for the holidays, and passengers will celebrate the end of 2017 at a New Year’s Eve party with music and a champagne toast at midnight.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company
    Dubbed the Celebrity Revolution, Celebrity Cruises is set to modernize its existing ships following the introduction of the new Celebrity Edge.
    In order to refurbish the premium line’s five Solstice-class ships and four Millennium-class vessels, $400 million will be spent between 2019 and 2023. Specific changes include updated accommodations such as inside and ocean-view cabins, signature and AquaClass staterooms and the Reflection suite.
    “We’re not just redesigning the staterooms, we’re tearing them down and building them back up,” explained Brian Abel, Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises, in an infographic. “The incredible new design by HBA is sleek, contemporary and comfortable, and speaks volumes about our commitment to the guest experience.”
    Staterooms are being efficiently reconfigured with storage optimization in mind, including the 11,579 new Cashmere Mattresses and Bedding Collection sets that are on the way.
    Suite guests will soon also have access to the new Retreat Sundeck and Retreat Lounge. The sundeck will be an al fresco venue with outdoor day beds for scenic rest and relaxation, while the lounge will be a high-end hotspot for complimentary drinks, gourmet tastes and live entertainment.
    Meanwhile, for everyone on the Millennium-class, the Oceanview Cafe will serve as an international marketplace buffet with a sleek, whimsical setting. It will only be aboard the Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit.
    The four oldest ships had previously been “Solsticized” to better match the newer Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Solstice, but these upgrades will enhance them even further. More announcements regarding the entire fleet are expected to come.
    “Celebrity Cruises has always been recognized as an innovative, trend-setting brand, and the Celebrity Revolution is just another instance in which we keep raising the bar in modern luxury travel,” concluded Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President & CEO, Celebrity Cruises, in the infographic.
    “This is the largest investment the brand has ever made to modernize our fleet, and it’s all for our guests.”
    Because the Millennium-class has the most updates needed to bring it closer in line to the future Celebrity Edge, it makes sense that current details are specific to that grouping of ships beyond accommodations.
    It’s likely as more Celebrity Edge features are revealed, other means in which both the Millennium-class and Solstice-class are effectively “Edgeized” to match will become apparent. As the latter is not largely different in size to the upcoming ship, it could easily facilitate a number of similar amenities. The new Edge will surely retain plenty of uniqueness, however.
    It’s an exciting time for Celebrity Cruises as the company anticipates the Celebrity Edge to come online in December 2018, before any of the Celebrity Revolution renovations are complete.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Travel Pulse
    While Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas is set to become the world’s largest cruise ship next year, it will have a lot in common with its sister ships.
    Except they won’t have laser tag.
    “I think it will be a mind-blowing blast for kids of all ages,” said Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley on a call revealing some of what will make the fourth Oasis-class ship unique.
    Bayley touted it as the “world's largest laser tag arena,” and headed for the ship’s Studio B, which is also where the cruise line’s signature ice skating productions take place. It will be a glow-in-the-dark venue themed around the fate of the last planets of the galaxy, Bayley said.
    “We think the kids are going to engage with this big time,” he said.
    It’s part of an overall pitch by the line to target families, according to Bayley, as is a new Ultimate Family Suite, a two-level suite that will feature a slide, a floor-to-ceiling Lego wall, air hockey, movie-theater-style TV room with popcorn machine as well as a 212-square-foot wraparound balcony with its own climbing wall feature, bumper pool table and whirlpool. It’s a two-bedroom suite that can accommodate up to eight guests.
    “I think we should put a guarantee on it that if you kids aren't happy we'll give you your money back,” Bayley said.
    Much of the ship will be similar to sister ship Harmony of the Seas including the presence of the 10-story Ultimate Abyss dry slide, Perfect Storm water park, twin 40-foot-tall rock climbing walls, FlowRider surf simulators, zip line and more.
    Something slightly different than Harmony of the Seas, though, will be a shift in the design of the Boardwalk neighborhood.
    “We're bringing a whole new level of energy and interactive experience mostly with technology,” Bayley said. “We're going to kind of change the whole vibe to a kind of day-night experience.”
    Those changes include the removal of the Sabor’s Mexican dining venue and Starbucks in favor or a sports bar and arcade called Playmakers that will span the length of the Boardwalk. Some shopping venues will also be making way for Sugar Beach, an ice cream and candy venue.
    Starbucks fans will be glad to know that the venue isn’t going away, although it won’t be on board for the ship’s European sailings that begin when it debuts next April. It will be located on the Royal Promenade, though, when the ship makes its ways to PortMiami to begin Caribbean sailings in November 2018.
    And while Sabor’s is leaving, there will be a Mexican food option called El Loco Fresh as well as a new casual seafood option called Hooked that will be located in the redesigned Solarium.
    “The focus of the new seafood restaurant will be fresh seafood, a robust raw bar, oysters shucked to order,” Bayley said, “Casual, high quality and the most unbelievable views at seas.”
    The ship will also feature many dining venues found on its sister ships including fusion food venue Wonderland, Jamie Oliver's Italian dining venue, Japanese cuisine at Izumi, the Chops Grill steakhouse and 150 Central Park, which serves seasonal American cuisine.
    Entertainment offerings were also announced including the return of the Broadway show “Hairspray,” which was once the featured show on board Oasis of the Seas. Augmenting the marquee stage show will be an original production called “Flight” that is a humorous look at the history for flight from the Wright Brothers all the way to the first tourist trip to Mars. On the ice will be a skating show titled “1977” and in the AquaTheater will be a show titled “HiRo.”
    “We're the only brand and product that can offer you ice shows, air shows, water shows and stage shows,” Bayley said.
    One other feature coming to the ship will be the introduction of app-based mobile check in, that will be available in both Europe and when it comes to North America.
    “The nickname we've given this is frictionless arrival, which means guest will be able to use their mobile phone to check in and walk on the ship with just one security check,” Bayley said.
    Symphony of the Seas' gross registered tons will be more than Harmony of the Seas, which comes in at 226,963 tons. Harmony of the Seas currently holds the title for world's largest cruise ship, slightly larger than the original ships, 2009's Oasis of the Seas and 2010's Allure of the Seas.
    Symphony will feature 28 more staterooms than Harmony of the Seas with a Royal Suite class, neighborhood balconies overlooking Central Park, virtual balconies on inside staterooms, and the highest number of ocean-view cabins at sea.
    The ship is set to debut April 21, 2018 with an inaugural sailing from Barcelona as it spends its first season of cruising in the Mediterranean. It then repositions to PortMiami on a 12-night transatlantic voyage that departs Oct. 28 and begins Caribbean sailings on Nov. 9 with the first seven-night cruise on Nov. 17.
    By Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel
    Starting Sunday, a Carnival Cruise Line ship will serve as the new home for relief workers in St. Croix.
    The Miami-based cruise line finalized an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Wednesday for a four-month charter of the Carnival Fascination, which typically home ports in San Juan, Puerto Rico. St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was one of several Caribbean islands severely hit by Hurricane Irma last month.
    The ship will house and provide meals for workers until Feb. 3. Many of the crew of the 2,056-passenger Fascination will remain on board during the charter period, while others will be shifted to other vessels or offered early vacation, Carnival said. 
    “Carnival Cruise Line’s history is deeply linked to the Caribbean and our ships have been sailing within the region for more than 45 years. We are pleased to be partnering with FEMA on this charter in support of the ongoing relief efforts in the Caribbean,” the cruise line said in statement.
    Guests on the line’s scheduled cruises for the period of the charter will receive a full refund and a future cruise discount.
    “We have reached out to our airline partners to request their cooperation in waiving change fees and will also be working with our guests on non-refundable airline change fees,” Carnival added in a statement.
    Fascination will return to San Juan to operate Southern Caribbean cruises on Feb. 18, after the ship gets a scheduled upgrade with a new restaurant, bar and other features.
    By Chabeli Herrera, Miami Herald
    A transformative vote in Malta, where a majority of Celebrity’s cruise ships are registered, has transformed its onboard weddings program. 
    A referendum on the legality of same-sex marriages has opened the door to LGBTQ+ couples looking to wed onboard its ships. The cruise line can now recognize same-sex marriages performed onboard and have the captain of the ship officiate ceremonies.
    "Celebrity Cruises has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and I cannot think of a more important time in our history than right now to do all we can to support inclusion,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. 
    “I am absolutely thrilled to announce that starting today, we welcome same-sex couples to marry on our ships while in international waters," added Lutoff-Perlo. “This is one for the history books.“ 
    Prior to the announcement, it was more complicated for same-sex couples to wed onboard, although many ceremonies were still performed. 
    “Celebrity Weddings has already hosted many same-sex weddings in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, where legal,” said Barbara Whitehall, managing director, The Wedding Experience. “We are ecstatic that this new Malta ruling opens up marriage equality for anyone and everyone sailing with Celebrity Cruises while in international waters.”
    Celebrity offers a comprehensive wedding program through The Wedding Experience. The Celebrity weddings program Nuptials at Sea package includes a captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator, music, photography, a cake, a bottle of champagne, two bouquets and/or boutonnieres and more. 
    Couples can also choose to hold receptions onboard with the Celebration Package, plan a shoreside wedding in port, or choose from a number of vow renewal options.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo Credit: Travel Pulse & Thinkstock
    Norwegian Cruise Line has bumped up the price of its Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP).
    The $10 daily increase is the first in 18 months and went into effect September 29 according to x.
    The new cost for the UBP is $89 per person, per day, or $105 per person, per day when factoring in the 18 percent gratuity and beverage service charge added at checkout. 
    According to x, any passengers who purchased the package prior to September 29 will receive the original price of $79 per person, per day.
    The UBP includes unlimited soft drinks, bottled and draft beers, spirits, cocktails and wines by the glass up to and including $15. Guests who purchase the UBP also receive a 20 percent discount on bottles of wine.
    Prices for Norwegian's Corks and Caps Wine and Beer Package and Soda Packages haven't changed.
    Norwegian last raised the cost of its UBP in March 2016. On that occasion, the cruise line also increased the price of its Corks and Caps and Specialty Dining Packages.
    In a statement, Norwegian noted that "pricing may change from time to time due to costs increases and other factors."
    While the most recent change is unlikely to appease cruise passengers, Norwegian isn't alone in reconfiguring its beverage offerings. 
    As x points out, Princess Cruises revamped its All-Inclusive Beverage Package into the Premier Beverage Package last month, tacking on an additional $7.99 per person, per day while also increasing the price limit per drink and expanding its bottled wine discount.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo Credit: Cruise Radio
    Carnival Cruise Line is in the final process of enhancing another one of its Fantasy-class ships.
    The Carnival Elation is receiving some of the brand’s newest additions in a multi-million-dollar refurbishment.
    The major overhaul encompasses the tacking on of 38 new cabins including two Grand Vista suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic ocean view cabins and 12 interior staterooms. Verandas are also being grafted to 98 existing accommodations to craft fresh 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All cabins will newly display island-inspired decor with vibrant colors and soft pastels.
    Fan-favorite dining venues and bars including Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina and BlueIguana Tequila Bar are being added.
    Guy’s will be the home to complimentary gourmet burgers and fries from Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri amid a California car culture atmosphere. Washing the grub down will be the rum-based frozen drinks and beers of the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar across the way. Carnival’s house draft ThirstyFrog Red brew will also be among the Caribbean drinks.
    On the opposite side, the playfully competing BlueIguana Cantina and BlueIguana Tequila Bar will serve up Mexican flavors. The cantina is where guests will be able to get complimentary made-to-order burritos and tacos on fresh tortillas and top them off at the extensive salsa bar, while the bar is where they will be able to pour tequila-based frozen drinks and beers.
    Other added attractions are going to be Camp Ocean, WaterWorks and a Mini-Golf Course. The new kids facility will be marine-inspired for children aged 2-11 complete with over 200 activities like arts and crafts as well as science programs.
    WaterWorks will then make up an all-ages aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister water slide, a pair of 82-foot-long racing slides and a kids splash zone on Verandah Deck. Lastly, the nine-hole Mini-Golf Course will be a relocated stretch on Deck 14 for family fun.
    Once the renovation is complete, the Carnival Elation will return to year-round four- to eight-day departures from Jacksonville, Florida on October 7, 2017. Four- and five-day sailings go to The Bahamas with calls at Freeport, Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.
    In April 2018, the ship will embark on a special six-day Bahamas voyage and an eight-day Bermuda adventure before offering a single seven-day eastern Caribbean sailing in May 2018.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Travel Pulse
    (CNN Money) — Royal Caribbean is using a cruise ship to help evacuate people from Puerto Rico and deliver needed supplies to Caribbean islands.
    The cruise line announced on Tuesday that it is canceling its September 30 Adventure of the Seas trip so it can use the ship to help victims of Hurricane Maria.
    The 3,800 passenger vessel will bring aid to San Juan, as well as St. Croix and St. Thomas, which were hit by both Maria and Hurricane Irma. Adventure arrives in San Juan on Wednesday and will take evacuees to Fort Lauderdale before returning to Puerto Rico next week.
    The evacuations come as people remain stranded inside Puerto Rico’s main airport, which is running on fumes. Only ten flights made it in and out of the San Juan airport on Tuesday, and just 18 are scheduled for Wednesday. Security checks are being done by hand because TSA equipment was damaged in the storm and airlines are having a hard time printing boarding passes.
    A week after Maria hit, people are desperate for provisions.
    Royal Caribbean is donating water, medical supplies and more to those in need.
    The company started offering aid after Hurricane Irma devastated a wide swath of the Caribbean earlier this month. So far, it has helped evacuate more than 1,700 people and has promised to match donations of up to $1 million to help with Irma relief.
    Other cruise lines are also pitching in.
    Norwegian Cruise Line is working with the disaster relief group All Hands Volunteers to help rebuild schools and infrastructure in Puerto Rico. The company is donating $600,000 toward rebuilding efforts in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean, and has promised to match up to $1.25 million in donations to All Hands Volunteers and Happy Heart Fund’s relief efforts from its guests, team members and partners.
    Following Hurricane Irma, Carnival deployed 11 ships to bring supplies to islands in the Caribbean. The ships have been making stops in Antigua and St. Kitts to drop off deliveries to Barbuda and St. Maarten during regular cruise trips.
    In addition to making donations, Carnival Corporation joined the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation and Miami HEAT Charitable Fund in pledging up to $10 million in funding and support for Florida and the Caribbean following Irma.
    The Carnival Corporation announced Monday it is launching the world's first over-the-top digital streaming channel from a travel provider.
    OceanView will be completely free to access on land and at sea and will feature a unique mix of travel content for viewers around the world. Original shows from Carnival's OceanView channel are now available on major digital streaming platforms Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku.
    The OceanView channel will be found on the Ocean.com website and more than half of the Carnival Corporation’s 103 cruise ships by late October. The digital streaming channel will feature more than 100 Ocean Original episodes, including the company's four original series and its two direct-to-digital streaming series.
    Carnival will celebrate the official availability of OceanView Thursday and will also demonstrate its new PlayOcean interactive gaming platform, which includes two new mobile apps and onboard, location-based experiences for guests.
    “One of the great things about our cruise vacations is that we connect people, places and cultures around the world through extraordinary experiences on state-of-the-art ships to more than 760 global destinations – and over the past year we have been bringing that unique experience to life through original storytelling that breaks perceptions by showcasing why cruise holidays are the fastest-growing segment of the vacation sector,” Carnival Corporation chief experience and innovation officer John Padgett said in a statement. “Our original programming is already a big hit on network and cable TV. With the launch of OceanView, we are excited about making our authentic experiences accessible to people around the world through digital media. Our ultimate goal is to continue generating broad awareness of cruising as a great vacation and exceptional value, and to inspire consumers to consider cruising as a vacation option.”
    GO and Local Eyes, the two direct-to-digital streaming original series, will run 10 minutes per episode without commercials. GO follows explorer Trek Thunder Kelly on his many adventures using visually stunning cinematography, and Local Eyes explores unique destinations with the help of residents and host Anji Corley.
    OceanView also includes programs from the company's One Cruise Experience Access Network original content portfolio. Guests will be able to watch episodes of Vacation Creation"(ABC), Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin (ABC), The Voyager (NBC) and Good Spirits (A&E Networks).
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Travel Pulse
    When the Empress of the Seas reached dock in Key West shortly after noon on Sunday, Traci Brewington found a ghost town.
    The 46-year-old Indiana woman had been to Key West several times before, but as she and about 900 aboard Royal Caribbean’s oldest and smallest cruise ship arrived, the Southernmost City was devoid of its usual joyful noise and waves of people.
    What she found was silence and empty streets.
    The Empress was the first cruise ship to return to the Keys after Hurricane Irma hit earlier this month. Another Royal Caribbean ship, Enchantment of the Seas, was originally scheduled to arrive in Key West on Sunday but went to Freeport in the Bahamas instead.
    Brewington said she had been planning this trip with her husband since March but didn’t think they would make it to the Keys after the storm. After Irma hit, Royal Caribbean canceled all stops to the island.
    But on Thursday, she received an email from the cruise company indicating the stop was back on the itinerary. That left Brewington a bit uneasy.
    The Keys were hit hard by Irma — homes and boats were destroyed — but Key West escaped the worst. But there was damage, a curfew and lack of power and water for days.
    “I’m honestly not sure how I feel about being here when so many people are trying to recover,” she said.
    Instead, she decided to spend her six hours in port volunteering with Florida Keys SPCA, a nonprofit animal rescue organization. She said at least two others from the cruise also were planning to spend the day volunteering.
    She said she felt it was the right thing to do after Irma, and arranged it ahead of arrival.
    “You would want somebody to do that for you, if you were in that situation,” she said.
    As she headed off to volunteer, her husband and other passengers set out for Duval Street, the famous Gulf-to-Atlantic stretch of bars, souvenir shops, cafes and clubs.
    Curfew is lifted in Key West and water is flowing, so many businesses are open and ready for tourists.
    Among the open bars are Gilleran’s 801 Bar, The Speakeasy Inn, and The Porch. At Sloppy Joe’s, a Key West mainstay since 1933, the ship’s port of call offered a test run for even bigger crowds down the line, manager Charles Fraga said. The bar opened at noon Sunday, with a full staff of about 20 people and local musician Rolando Rojas ready to greet the cruisers.
    “We’re definitely hoping that this is the start to the return to things as they were,” Fraga said.
    Fraga said he came back from a wedding on Tuesday to find only minimal damage to the bar, made famous by author Ernest Hemingway. Employees had put sandbags against the doors, keeping water from seeping in.
    The next day, Sloppy Joe’s was back open, serving mainly to locals.
    But it’s been quiet without visitors, he said. The turn of events brings him back to the 1980s, before Key West became a major tourist destination. When he came back on Tuesday, less than half of the Duval Street businesses were open. Now, he said, most are, with more to come soon.
    Fraga said for most businesses, it’s simply a matter of making sure employees’ families are safe so everyone can return to work.
    For those wanting to visit Key West, Fraga has one message: Welcome back.
    “We can’t wait to show them that we’re still here and we’re open for business,” he said. “There might be a little mess but that’s OK. We’re Key West. It’s character, it’s like a scar.”
    By Caitlin Ostroff, Miami Herald
    Port of Palm Beach’s sole cruise ship — Grand Celebration — will begin a three-month sabbatical Saturday when it arrives in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on a hurricane relief mission, its operator Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line said.
    The 750-cabin cruise ship, which can accommodate up to 1,900 passengers, is being chartered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house National Guard members helping island residents to rebuild following damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
    St. Thomas was also facing an additional threat from Hurricane Maria, now barreling through the eastern Caribbean. Maria has already done significant damage in Puerto Rico and Dominica.
    “We are providing housing, meals and other hotel services to the first responders,” said Maria Miller, the cruise line’s chief marketing officer, in an email Wednesday. “The ship will be their ‘home base’ over the course of the charter.”
    While Bahamas Paradise would not discuss the value of the FEMA charter, Miller said the company was being compensated to cover its “loss of business and revenue over the period.”
    Grand Celebration is expected to remain in St. Thomas through late December, the cruise company said. The ship’s regular two-night sailings from the Riviera Beach seaport to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island should resume on Dec. 23.
    Customers who have already purchased Bahamas cruises directly from the cruise line for departures during the charter period are being offered refunds or a $100 onboard spending credit if they re-book for a later date.
    “We will be reaching out to all of our guests and travel partners this week,” said Oneil Khosa, company CEO, in a statement. “We feel badly about this 90 day disruption but believe the extensive needs of the St. Thomas people to be of greater importance at this time.”
    On Thursday and Friday, Bahamas Paradise offered a special $39 per person nightly rate for cabins on Grand Celebration to local residents seeking a cool refuge from overheated homes that lost power or sustained damage during Irma.
    Other South Florida-based cruise companies are involved in humanitarian relief efforts throughout the Caribbean in the wake of Irma.
    Last Friday, the Norwegian Sky arrived in Miami from St. Thomas with hundreds of stranded visitors and displaced residents after Irma damaged homes and businesses, Norwegian Cruise Line said.
    The ship also offloaded 35 palettes of much-needed relief supplies during that rescue mission, including plywood, tarps, hammers, nails, bedding and towels and non-perishable food.
    Last week, cruise behemoth Carnival Corp., the Miami Heat Charitable Fund and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation pledged up to $10 million in funding and in-kind support for Hurricane Irma relief. And $2.5 million was immediately donated to three relief organizations to support urgent hurricane recovery efforts.
    The Doral-based cruise company owns and operates nine cruise lines including Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Costa, Seabourn and Cunard. Eleven Carnival Cruise Line ships are transporting emergency supplies to impacted Florida and Caribbean ports as they sail to those regions.
    The relief aid will benefit hard-hit islands such as Grand Turk, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Antigua and Barbuda, Carnival Corp. said.
    “Hurricane Irma’s impact strikes close to home both in our home state of Florida and across the Caribbean, where we and our brands have made many friends and partners over many years,” company CEO Arnold Donald, said in a statement.
    Royal Caribbean International also sent three ships to impacted areas with provisions and to assist in evacuation efforts, and plans to continue assisting in the coming weeks. Provisions delivered so far include 17,060 gallons of water; 7,831 gallons of milk; 7,000 pounds of ice and 4,200 rolls of toilet tissue, the company said.
    By Arlene Satchell, Sun Sentinel
    Traditional Christmas markets throughout Europe have a special, unique holiday essence. It’s impossible not to feel nostalgic and sentimental as you explore these quaint locales brimming with the spirit of the season.
    From miles of twinkling colorful lights to skilled vendors displaying their handcrafted wares, these centers of holiday staples can evoke cheer in every visitor.
    AmaWaterways offers many options to celebrate the holiday season, however and wherever you like, thanks to their great selection of Christmas market cruises to many popular European locations.
    Immerse yourself in a real-life snow globe in Austria or be transported into a charming holiday village in Switzerland.
    Whatever your vision of the perfect holiday vacation experience may be, the expert dream trip planners at AmaWaterways can make it happen.
    Popular Destinations in Europe 
    The great thing about embarking on one of these voyages is that you also get the chance to explore some of the most popular destinations across Europe. If you join the seven-day Christmas Markets on the Rhine cruise, stops along the way include Heidelberg and Cologne, plus Amsterdam.
    You can also enjoy a gondola ride, explore villages on two wheels via a bike tour or indulge in a wine tasting.
    The Christmas Markets on the Danube voyage, meanwhile, takes you from Nuremberg to Budapest. Cruise through quaint villages and stroll through picturesque scenes that are like a holiday card brought to life.
    See the local sights on a walking tour through Regensburg or Passau. Take advantage of the rare opportunity to tour a Benedictine Abbey, or join a bike tour as a fun way to explore the streets of these towns.
     For the ultimate holiday experience, opt for the 14-night voyage. This combines the best of both cruises with some special bonuses and surprises. With a route that takes you to five countries, this is the perfect way to maximize your winter European adventure.
    From the romantic canals to the scenic countryside, you will encounter scenes straight out of a postcard at every turn. Optional experiences and activities can also be added on throughout the trip, offering the chance to tailor your voyage to your own individual preferences.
    These cruises offer the opportunity for you to visit some of the European Christmas villages that were named among the best in that region by Travel + Leisure. For those who love everything about the holiday season, this is truly the dream trip of a lifetime.
    All voyages offer luxury accommodations, personalized service that makes you feel like a VIP, including a long list of amenities, gourmet cuisine and onboard entertainment.
    Each ship is like a floating upscale resort skimming the water, with fitness facilities, pools, lounge decks, spas and everything you could want in an elite cruise environment. You will also get unlimited fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. 
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Travel Pulse
    Following Hurricane Irma, USA Today is reporting that PortMiami’s cruise operations are still closed due to sunken sailboats blocking the channel.
    As a result, Carnival Cruise Line is being forced to shorten several of its next voyages, and Royal Caribbean International is canceling another.
    Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean had originally hoped to resume departures from the Florida destination today, but that is not possible. It is now understood that two sailboats are sunk in the passage, blocking ships from entering and exiting.
    While the main shoreside facility has reopened, PortMiami's own website currently reads, “The port will remain closed for marine traffic until further notice. Upon conclusion of side sonar underwater inspections by NOAA we will update the public as to the opening of PORTMIAMI's navigational channels.”
    Provided it can be cleared to ship traffic in time, Carnival has now scheduled Carnival Glory and Carnival Vista to sail on Wednesday on cruises reduced in length by another day. Carnival Victory’s next voyage has, however, been altogether canceled. Carnival Sensation is also set to depart on Wednesday for an abbreviated sailing.
    Royal Caribbean’s next Enchantment of the Seas cruise has now also been canceled.
    Meanwhile, also according to the USA Today report, the two companies still plan to operate from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today for the Carnival Conquest and Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas to depart on shortened sailings.
    Unlike PortMiami, the Port Everglades website indicates, “The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port has approved daylight vessel operations at Port Everglades in Northport and Midport areas” and also lists Carnival Splendor as another ship scheduled to arrive.
    Other Floridian ports still affected include Port Canaveral, which has yet to reopen.
    Its website says, “We will begin assessing general harbor conditions soon to facilitate return to normal operations as soon as possible. Port remains closed until further notice.”
    Jacksonville’s JAXPORT website similarly reads, “The U.S. Coast Guard is currently assessing the condition of the Jacksonville harbor and port facilities following Hurricane Irma. All JAXPORT offices and terminals remain closed today. The Port of Jacksonville remains in condition Zulu.”
    Port Tampa Bay is in the same boat, so to speak, with its website simply displaying, “Port Tampa Bay security and operations personnel are at condition ‘Zulu’ for Hurricane Irma.” (That is to say, it too is closed to vessel traffic.)
    Lastly, Port of Palm Beach is also still at Zulu.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of Travel Pulse
    As Hurricane Irma winds down, the cruise industry looks not only to rebound its business but also aid the regions most devastated by the storm. The big three: Carnival Corporation, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Limited and Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited are all in hurricane relief mode.
    As of Sunday, Carnival Cruise Line’s latest website update recognizes the continued closure of the Floridian departure points PortMiami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral and the Port of Tampa.
    In the meantime, the company is already working to support the Caribbean destinations hit hard over the last several days as well as Florida directly and via its charitable Carnival Foundation: "Deliveries will be worked into ships’ cruise itineraries as part of our ongoing operations. And, as we await news of the full impact that Irma will have on Florida, we stand ready to provide support, as needed, to affected ports and communities.”
    The plan is to provide immediate and long-term support, and Carnival is in contact with Caribbean officials to best implement a strategy.
    Norwegian Cruise Line is also doing its part to help evacuate travelers from St. Thomas, according to a press release.
    The Norwegian Sky will come to the aid of those who could not get off the island before the storm arrived. The ship is scheduled to arrive late this evening to help in the effort being organized by the government of St. Thomas. Norwegian Sky is then expected to leave with the rescued and arrive back in its homeport of Miami on Thursday, September 14.
    Similar to Carnival, Royal Caribbean International says on its website that the company is mobilizing supplies. It is deploying ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten in conjunction with U.S. and regional governments. It is standing by to assist Key West and other destinations as well.
    Adventure of the Seas headed to help St. Maarten on Sunday while Majesty of the Seas is also calling on St. Thomas and St. Maarten with supplies. The latter ship is additionally charged with safely evacuating people from St. Maarten. The Empress of the Seas is ready to assist Key West as needed too.
    No doubt, all of these efforts will be crucially important to the recovery of the Caribbean region. Rather than have ships sit idly in limbo as passenger sailings are necessarily canceled, it’s wonderful to see the cruise lines put their equipment to such admirable use.
    How quickly the cruise industry will again become fully operational from Florida is still to be determined, especially seeing how badly flooded the Miami area around its port was during the storm.
    The PortMiami website currently reads, “Ports and waterfront facilities shall remain closed to waterfront activities until the passage of tropical storm force winds and the COTP, in conjunction with the SWAT has determined it is safe to reopen the port.”
    Once it does, Caribbean destinations themselves will be affected for awhile.
    Royal Caribbean’s website indicates, “Given Hurricane Irma's impact to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Key West, we will be working on alternative ports for future sailings until these islands have fully recovered.”
    This leads me to reiterate my previous idea. Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand is purpose-built to combine passenger sailings with volunteer opportunities. It may no longer have its own Adonia to dedicate to the Dominican Republic, but it could potentially send one of the ships from its nine other brands to affected areas with hundreds or even thousands of willing participants onboard.
    It could be the perfect interim solution for ships gearing back up to full service—from any cruise corporation really—to specifically head to the islands hit hardest during the hurricane. Cruise travelers and volunteers assemble!
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News  Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Image Credit: Norwegian Cruise Lines
    Celebrity Cruises has announced that it is collaborating with Fine Cooking magazine and its “Moveable Feast” television series for new fleet programming and a pair of Signature Sailings.
    “We’re absolutely thrilled to announce our partnership with Fine Cooking magazine and Moveable Feast. After all, it’s a show that blends two of the things we love most – and do best – traveling beyond borders to places that will inspire you and creating flavors that will thrill your palate like never before,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, in a press release.
    “Now, we’re combining gastronomic forces to bring you our Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises program, a mouth-watering experience you can savor across our fleet.”
    Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises will take the Emmy Award-nominated show and showcase it onboard and off with Moveable Feast Night in the main dining room, interactive cooking demonstrations and special Chef’s Market Discoveries shore excursions.
    Also available will be two Moveable Feast Signature Sailings with series chefs along for the ride.
    The first on December 16, 2017, will feature Miami chef and James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein on a 7-night Caribbean voyage aboard the Celebrity Equinox. Another is scheduled for April 29, 2018, with James Beard Award-nominated chef Bryan Voltaggio onboard Celebrity Summit’s 7-night Bermuda cruise.
    Each Signature Sailing will include chef meet-and-greets, culinary demos and even the chance to join them on shoreside tours.
    “We are excited to welcome Celebrity Cruises as the corporate underwriting sponsor of the upcoming Season 5 of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking,” said John Boland, SVP and Publisher of Fine Cooking Magazine, in the press release. “Being able to extend the consumer experience beyond the pages of our magazine and television show to on-board culinary adventures with Celebrity Cruises, brings it to life in a unique and fun way.”
    The new program pairs nicely with Celebrity’s already celebrated cuisine and more offerings are expected to be revealed soon.
    It picks up where the line’s previous partnership with Bravo’s “Top Chef” left off, providing guests similar enrichment opportunities. This time around, the pairings seem to go head to head with competitor Holland America Line’s recent collaboration with the similar “America’s Test Kitchen” television show.
    Just as “Moveable Feast” is associated with Fine Cooking magazine, so is “America’s Test Kitchen” affiliated with Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines.
    Top Chef at Sea was a fantastic set of activities, and Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises sets out to repeat its success by applying the fresh branding.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News 
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Photo: Courtesy of PBS
    When they first boarded the Norwegian Escape a week ago, passengers knew exactly where they were going.
    Now they have no idea.The cruise ship, with about 4,000 guests on board, departed from Miami on Saturday, Sept. 2, and was scheduled to return a week later, after making stops in Honduras, Belize and Mexico.
    The boat made it to the Honduran island of Roatan on Monday and Belize the following day. But on Tuesday, passengers were told that their ports of call at Mexico's Cozumel island and the Costa Maya had been canceled.
    The dangerous and powerful Hurricane Irma, which had carved a path of death and destruction across a string of Caribbean islands, was headed straight for Florida, home to a fair number of passengers on the ship. Many of those passengers had already switched from relaxation to disaster-preparation mode, and were eager to get home to secure their belongings and ensure the safety of their pets.
    Michael Davis, who lives near the water in St. Augustine, Florida, was one of them.
    "Once they said, 'We're heading back,' then the mood shifted from vacation time to, 'Alright, let's get home and get it taken care of,'" said Davis, 42.
    But there was only a short window of time to drop them off before it would be too dangerous to dock in Miami.
    So the ship arrived in port Thursday afternoon, two days early, allowing hundreds of passengers to disembark.Hundreds more had no reason to get off, however, and knew that competing with Florida residents evacuating the state ahead of the storm for rental cars and flights was a losing proposition. So they chose a second option: a "cruise to nowhere."
    The Escape headed back out to sea Thursday evening, with a new manifest of about 4,000 that included some of the original passengers as well as some fellow travelers who disembarked early from another ship called the Norwegian Sky. They, too, had decided to prolong their seagoing adventures.
    The cruisers have no idea where they are headed or when they will return. A lot of it, they were told, would be up to Irma: which path she decides to take and how long she lingers.
    "We said to guests that we cannot confirm when or where you'll be coming back, but obviously we'll make every effort to return the ship to port as soon as it's safe to do so," said Norwegian Cruise Line spokeswoman Vanessa Picariello.Picariello said the ship "is heading west," but she did not have a more precise route. She said the ship will try to make a port of call if it's safe to do so "but if not, guests will enjoy a cruise to nowhere and be able to be safe and out of the storm." Picariello added that the ship plans to return to Miami, but that cruise officials will look into alternate ports if the one in Miami is damaged by the hurricane.
    Margaret Cunningham of Battle Ground, Washington, said she decided to stay on board with her husband, Mike, after the captain assured them the ship could avoid Irma and even outrun a hurricane."They've been very clear that they're not going to run out of food. They're not going to run out of water. They're not going to run out of booze — very important — and so we're just going to stay on and enjoy the ride," said Cunningham, 65, who is recently retired.
    Barbara Engel, who could not get a flight home to Dallas, said she believed staying on the ship was her best option."I've got everything here and more than I would want, and we can run" from the storm if necessary, Engel, 49, said shortly before the ship pulled into port in Miami on Thursday. "So really, all told, I think I'm in the best place I can be at this time."
    Debbie Kendrick, of Courtland, Ohio, said she has enjoyed the cruise, even if she hasn't slept quite as well because she doesn't know when or where it will end."I appreciate that the cruise line wants to keep us safe," she said. "They're not just dropping us off."
    By Brian Witte, The Associated Press
    Associated Press Airlines Writer David Koenig contributed to this report
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