• Cruise Ship Industry News

    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
    For the first time in more than 100 years, Americans are eyeing the very real and potentially devastating possibility that the U.S. will be struck by back-to-back Category 4 (or higher) hurricanes.
    If you’re traveling this week, hopefully, your travel professional has already helped you purchase travel insurance. for your trip. Right about now, though, you might also be wondering just what is covered if a hurricane wrecks your plans for a much-needed getaway.
    In a post on their website, Allianz Global, a leading specialty insurance provider details just what your insurance does and doesn’t cover if you’re facing extreme weather or a hurricane on your next trip.
    If your trip is canceled or cut short, a policy provided by Allianz Global Assistance will likely include reimbursement for your travel costs as well as any costs incurred if you have to fly home early. If you can’t get home, your insurance will probably also reimburse any costs associated with extra nights at your hotel, meals and other essentials. And, of course, if you're injured, travel insurance will help you find medical services—including medical transportation—for any injuries that might occur, while also defraying those costs.
    What else should you know about travel insurance?
    If you’re headed to Florida but haven’t yet committed to travel insurance, while you will still likely be able to purchase a travel policy it probably won’t cover any damages incurred due to Hurricane Irma.
    “Travel insurance is designed to offer protection against sudden and unforeseen situations and events,” says Allianz Global. “When a hurricane (or any storm) becomes a named storm, it also becomes a ‘foreseeable event’ with known potential to affect your travel. If you buy travel insurance after a storm is named, your plan won't provide coverage for storm-related claims.”
    Travel insurance comparison website, SquareMouth says that in order for a traveler to be covered for Irma-related costs, you must have bought your policy on or before August 30, when Irma was named.
    Chalk up yet another reason for purchasing insurance as soon as you book your trip.
    When it comes to flight delays, sitting in an airport for hours—or even days—could make even the most patient traveler decide to give up and head home.
    “Don’t do it,” says Allianz Global. You need to have lost at least half of your scheduled trip due to a travel delay and you must have shown a good-faith attempt to try to get to your destination before insurance will even consider covering you.
    If the airline does ultimately cancel your flight due to Irma—and you’ve purchased the proper insurance in time—SquareMouth also recommends you keep a copy of your original itinerary and obtain a statement or updated itinerary from your airline verifying that the original flight was canceled.
    As for cruise passengers, travel insurance will likely not cover your costs if you decide to change your trip before your cruise line cancels the itinerary.
    The “weather event must force your airline, cruise line or tour operator to stop offering all services for at least 24 hours,” said Allianz Global. “Once that happens, your travel insurance would reimburse you for non-refundable travel costs.”
    It also good to note that if your cruise line changes your itinerary at the last-minute due to inclement weather, you must accept the change. As long as the new itinerary has the same “value” as your original itinerary, your insurance company doesn’t consider that you’ve suffered “a financial loss.”
    On the other hand, your insurance should protect you if you need to change hotels because weather damage made the property uninhabitable. Keep in mind that what annoys you might not necessarily be classified as uninhabitable by the insurance company. If your golf vacation is on the rocks thanks to weather damage to the golf course, for example, but the hotel can still accommodate you, it is unlikely you’ll be reimbursed for any changes.
    If your hotel does prove to be uninhabitable or if it is evacuated, again Squaremouth recommends you receive documentation, such as a local news story announcing the evacuation or a statement from the hotel as proof.
    It’s important to note that if local authorities order a “preemptive evacuation,” that will probably also not be covered by your policy.
    The most important thing to know when purchasing travel insurance is to read your inclusions and exclusions very carefully before setting off on your trip. It can help to have a seasoned travel professional on your side who can work with you to get exactly the right policy you need.
    Or, check out www.allianztravelinsurance.com or SquareMouth’s Hurricane Irma Fact Sheet for more information.
    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: Pixabay Free Images
    Smoking on cruises has been a struggle for some time, but company policies and ship designs are finally beginning to eradicate conflicts.
    The reality is that smokers are now fewer and further between. Still, their presence—even in small numbers—greatly affects the experience of remaining passengers.
    Having just disembarked Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Inspiration, it’s amazing to note how one little casino bar at the center of an open deck plan can quickly spread second-hand smoke well beyond to the forward and aft ends of the ship.
    To non-smokers, it's truly a nuisance and a health hazard (one that almost immediately causes me to suffer from headaches). Unfortunately, it’s hard to escape on a mostly confined cruise ship when at sea.
    Some vessels are better designed than others in controlling the proliferation of fumes, and even the Inspiration featured a number of air purifiers nearby to help. The worst are those that allow it by a multilevel atrium where it can quickly drift to several decks. The only real answer is to completely enclose it or prohibit smoking entirely.
    Thankfully, more and more cruise lines are disallowing it on cabin balconies, which is as much a safety measure as a courtesy to the majority of guests. After all, fire is a serious danger at sea.
    Consider the massive outbreak of flames that overtook the side of Princess Cruises’ Star Princess in 2006 when a burning cigarette was the likely cause of ignited balconies and over a hundred cabins. The devastation ultimately resulted in the death of one elderly passenger.
    From a less dramatic perspective, smoking is becoming increasingly incongruent with cruising’s wellness concept. It has never gone hand in hand with onboard spas, nor does it line up with fresh focuses on fitness. Arguably, you could say the same thing about ship buffets, but even dining is starting to skew much healthier these days.
    The Carnival Inspiration once had a Fantasy-class sister-ship that was exclusively non-smoking. The Carnival Paradise was sadly ahead of its time, though, and the cruise line succumbed to economic pressure and has since allowed smokers free rein in select areas onboard. (I’m hopeful it will one day revert back.)
    In the meantime, smoking is seemingly less prevalent on newer ships by design. Cigar lounges have traditionally been encapsulated, but cigarette smoking zones are starting to head in the same direction.
    Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ latest Seven Seas Explorer was smart to realize that earmarking one side of the pool deck for smoking hardly contains the smell there. It thus has a separate glass-enclosed deck area for the practice.
    Next, Norwegian Cruise Line will dedicate casino space on its upcoming new Norwegian Bliss for smokers and nonsmokers, also physically apart. The company has discussed this as an option for awhile on its Breakaway- and Breakaway Plus-class ships, retroactively, but it has not yet happened. These new plans are making good on the earlier ones, hopefully with goals to still roll it back on existing vessels.
    In either case, it’s refreshing to see a change of approach among cruise lines favoring much cleaner air for their passengers.
    Until the time a completely non-smoking ship once again sets sail, Viking Ocean Cruises is the closest to what the Carnival Paradise once offered thanks to the absence of a casino and very limited smoking permissions.
    For anyone desiring such an atmosphere at sea, its ships are highly recommended.
      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: Pixabay Free Images
    “What will be the name of the world’s next most luxurious ship?”
    That is the question that Regent Seven Seas Cruises is asking. 
    Scheduled to launch in 2020, the new vessel will add to Regent’s growing fleet of “most-luxurious” ships, including the Seven Seas Explorer—the current holder of the title—the Seven Seas Voyager, the Seven Seas Mariner and the Seven Seas Navigator. Right now, plans are being finalized for the look and feel of the newest member of the Regent fleet.
    That’s where guests and travel agents come in.
    “We’re seeking the perfect name for our next new ship, and who would know better than our loyal guests and valued travel agent partners?” said Jason Montague, president and CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
    Naming one of the most prestigious cruise ships in the world is a daunting task.
    “Regent Seven Seas Cruises is known for our fleet of the world’s most luxurious ships, our exciting worldwide itineraries, and the most exceptional staff and crew, who tirelessly deliver highly personalized service every day. The name of our new ship will embody all of these qualities, as well as our quarter-century legacy of the world’s most inclusive luxury experience," said Montague.
    Regent is inviting guests and travel agents to submit name suggestions through September 29, 2017. Qualifying submissions must be in English, begin with “Seven Seas”, and end with either “er” or “or.”
    Three lucky winners will be able to cruise onboard the cruise line's fifth ship. They will be randomly selected and announced on November 15, 2017, receiving a complimentary suite for themselves and a guest onboard the christening voyage.
    Consumers who would like to enter the contest should visit: RSSC.com/LuxuryPerfected 
    Travel agents can head to: RSSC.com/LuxuryShipName
    What would you name the most luxurious cruise ship in the world? Share with us in the comments. 
    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 Regent Seven Seas
    More people than ever before are going on cruises, and the industry expects record-breaking numbers for 2017, with over 24 million people expected to take a cruise this year. Another trend hitting the high seas is cruising for an extended period of time. Around-the-world cruises have long been the retirement dream, and today some people are even choosing to live aboard cruise ships for part or most of the year.
    Actually, the decision to live on a cruise ship isn’t revolutionary or new. A Florida man has spent almost 20 years living aboard cruise ships in Florida’s coastal waters, the Caribbean, Europe, and even China. Another full-time passenger hails from New Jersey, in addition to others who had careers, children, and lives in states across the country. Today all these individuals call cruise ships home.
    The decision to move onto a cruise ship permanently can’t be taken lightly, but there are several reasons why doing so offers a wonderful lifestyle. For some, full-time cruising might even make sense financially.
    Life Aboard a Cruise Ship Can Be Cost Effective
    You might think it would take a billionaire to live aboard a cruise ship for most or all of the year. However, several retirees are proving this isn’t the case. These people are accessing activities, entertainment, meals, and even social benefits for about $100 a day. Of course, there are additional expenses for excursions and alcohol, with which most people would spend around $70,000 or slightly more living on a cruise ship. For many retirees, life on land costs less than this amount, but that isn’t true for everyone. People who live in larger cities, continue to pay mortgages, or carry other considerable living expenses, might find these numbers enticing.
    Also, it is important to consider that living aboard a cruise ship provides other benefits that impact your spending. There is no need to splurge on a fancy restaurant, as meals are always prepared for you in the dining room. The cost of transportation and vacation is bundled into your daily living expenses, and so are other luxuries, such as nightly entertainment. When you consider all that is provided on a cruise, the amount could become a bargain. Moreover, there is no paying for utilities, cable, and other home expenses.
    Other reasons to live aboard cruise ships revolve around the experience. First, it is a unique opportunity to wake up somewhere new most days of the week. Cruise ships pull into ports across the globe, visiting even locations in Indonesia, Vietnam, Israel, and Egypt. It is possible literally to see the world while traveling by cruise ship. Few other life-style options can provide this opportunity with the same ease and consistency.
    Second, cruise ships offer plenty of social opportunities. Whether it is taking part in the scheduled entertainment or having a nightly drink in one of the cruise bars, there is always the possibility of conversation and interaction. While living aboard a cruise reduces the chances of building long-term friendships, it does provide an interesting way to meet people on a regular basis. People who live on cruise ships tend to spend very little time in their staterooms, opting instead for the activities and social events on the boat. Besides meeting fellow passengers, many people who live on cruise ships say the crewmembers and other staff adopt them into the cruise family.
    Lastly, living aboard a cruise ship is much more adventurous than the typical lifestyle in a townhome, assisted living facility, or retirement community. Even those passengers who forgo the activities and excursions still enjoy varied experiences and new places to visit every week. Quite simply, cruise ships can offer people a better quality of life than alternative lifestyles on dry land.
    How Cruise Companies Are Accommodating Those Who Live Aboard Their Ships
    The growing number of retirees and adventurous individuals who choose to live on cruise ships is catching the attention of certain cruise lines. Consequently, these companies highlight their loyalty programs and similar benefits, hoping that a good rewards program might entice people to take back-to-back voyages on their boat or book consistently with their company. Plus, people who choose to live on a cruise ship are likely to book with the same company because of practicality and familiarity. Accordingly, ships are doing more to pull in these passengers.
    Cruise lines have also introduced longer voyages, with routes between the United States and China, and itineraries all over Europe, calling at ports from England to Turkey. Cruise companies continue to introduce these longer voyages because they are preferred by some full-time passengers.
    While life on a cruise ship isn’t for everyone, this sector of the cruise market continues to grow. More people are choosing long-term cruise options, such as Oceania Cruises’ 180-day option, and a growing number of patrons are trying out a full 365 days aboard a cruise ship.
    By Spencer Aronfeld , Contributor - Huffington Post
    Passengers aboard a luxurious 104-day world cruise were ordered to go dark and remain silent at night for 10 days to thwart off possible “pirate threats,” news reports state.  
    The Sea Princess took off from Sydney and as it approached and crossed the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal, it was turned into floating mass of darkness, according to The Telegraph. 
    Curtains had to be drawn, no late-night evening strolls on the deck, no movies under the stars.
    “No lights, no party atmosphere, no lapping up tropical breezes on their balconies,” passenger Carolyne Jasinski told The Telegraph. “All around the ship, as the sun set, all curtains were drawn and all shutters closed. Bright lights, which normally signal the presence of the Sea Princess on the ocean, were dimmed or turned off altogether.”
    Jasinski said the captain alerted the 1,900 passengers apologizing for alarming them, but insisting they must be prepared for a possible pirate attack, The Telegraph stated. 
    A spokesperson for the cruise line, who was not named, told The Telegraph: “Any measures aboard Sea Princess were simply taken out of an abundance caution and not in response to a specific threat and are common to international shipping sailing in the region.”
    Operated by Princess Cruises, The National said, the Sea Princess is expected to finish its journey in September in Dubai.
    By Sandra Nortunen, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
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