• Cruise Ship Industry News

    On Monday, Carnival Cruise Line announced its fall 2016 Carnival LIVE lineup, which will feature country music star Sam Hunt and comedians Chris Tucker and Jim Gaffigan.
    Carnival LIVE is the cruise lines one-of-a-kind entertainment experience held in each ships main theater. The theaters found on the companys ships have a capacity that varies from 900-to-1,300 guests.
    The performances take place after the ship has docked at ports of call like Cozumel, Nassau, Grand Cayman and Montego Bay.
    For those looking to witness a performance from Hunt, he will play two shows on the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Splendor while the ships are docked in Cozumel on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20, respectively.
    As for Gaffigan, he will do his standup routines on the Carnival Valor on Sept. 6 and Carnival Fantasy on Sept. 7 while each is docked in Nassau. In addition, Tucker will conduct his one-man show on the Carnival Freedom in Grand Cayman on Oct. 25 and another on Carnival Dream in Montego Bay on Oct. 26.
    These recent announcements are in addition to a plethora of musicians and comedians already announced for 2016. For a full list of this years Carnival LIVE concert events, check out the Carnival Cruise Lines official website: http://www.carnival.com/carnival-live.aspx
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News
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    Featured photo credit: Carnival Cruise Line
    For those who enjoy a cocktail or two during a Norwegian Cruise Line voyage, the prices for the drinks will increase as the company is raising the cost of its Ultimate Beverage Package.
    According to Gene Sloan of the USA Today, Norwegian Cruise Line has raised prices for the Ultimate Beverage Package by almost 15 percent, jumping from $69 per person, per day to $79 per person, per day.
    Add in a mandatory service charge of 18 percent, and the total cost for two passengers to enjoy the Ultimate Beverage Package over the course of a seven-night sailing will now total more than $1,300.
    The price hikes dont stop there, though, as Norwegian Cruise Line has also increased the Corks and Caps drinks package cost by almost 10 percent and raised prices for the Specialty Dining Packages by $10 per person, per day.
    Travel agents were informed Monday of the changes, which took effect on nine of the Norwegian Cruise Lines vessels already. The new pricing will also be adopted by three additional ships over the coming week, including the Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Epic.
    For full details on NCL's Beverage Package program, visit the link at:
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    Viking River Cruises yesterday christened six new long shipsthe latest in its aggressive expansionat a waterfront ceremony in Amsterdam.
    Although the weather didnt cooperatethe ceremony took place in driving rain and cold temperaturesthe celebration took place without a hitch with an enthusiastic reception from Viking executives and crew, visitors and the six godmothers who christened each vessel.
    In a nod to the importance of travel agents, Viking chose as the ships godmothers, six women representing travel trade organizations throughout North America and the United Kingdom.
    Travel agents have done a great job for us, said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises. River cruising remains one of the fastest-growing segments of travel, and we would not be the leading river cruise line without the help of travel agents.
    The christening marked another year of impressive expansion for Viking, occurring just two years after the company set a second Guinness World Record for the most new ships launched in a single day.
    It also comes one month before Viking Ocean Cruises is set to launch its second ship, Viking Sea.
    Four of the six new longships will be deployed on Vikings most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. The other two will sail the Seine River on Vikings Paris and Normandy itinerary.
    A seventh new longship will debut in a couple of weeks, said Hagen. It has been built specially for the Douro River, bringing the companys total number of ships in Portugal to three.
    Before the ceremony, Hagen discussed Vikings impressive growth since its founding in 1997 with four ships in Russia.
    Vikings river cruise fleet now approaches 70 and it has a 49 percent share of the North America river cruise market, a figure Hagen said is underestimated.
    Hagen said that everyone in the river cruise space has experienced a slowdown in Europe this year due to the Paris terror attacks and other incidents.
    But Viking continues its great leap forward, he added. We generate demand by aggressive marketing.
    In fact, Hagen announced that on Feb. 28, Viking set an all-time record for the most bookings in one day: more than $25 million in gross bookings.
    Were back on track, he added.
    The godmothers for the new Viking longships are:
    Lisa Anciaux, Godmother of Viking Rolf, is the director of travel products for AAA Washington
    Beth Butzlaff, Godmother of Viking Kadlin, is the managing director of cruise sales for Virtuoso.
    Michelle Chimko, Godmother of Viking Alruna, is the chief operating officer of Alberta Motor Association.
    Jennifer Gasser, Godmother of Viking Egil, is the vice president of supplier relations and product operations for World Travel Holdings.
    Beryl Gibson, Godmother of Viking Vilhjalm, is the joint owner of Northumbria Travel Limited.
    Sinead OConnell, Godmother of Viking Tialfi, is the director of industry relations for Vacation.com.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News
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    Featured photo credit: Viking Cruises
    Looks like TITANIC fanatics will have to wait a few more years to step back in time to 1912. Titanic II, the brainchild of Australian billionaire Clive Palmer will not be completed until 2018. The route of the (hopefully incident-free) maiden voyage has also been changed originally a recreation of the originals Southampton-to-New York route, she will now sail from Jiangsu, China to Dubai. Click to learn more about Titanics near-replica.
    VIFP Club. Latitudes Rewards. Crown and Anchor Society. Mainstream cruise line loyalty programs go by many names, but for frequent cruisers, it pays to be a member, no matter which you choose. Perks and discounts come in many forms, policies frequently change, and theres a lot fine print, so weve put together this brief up-to-date loyalty program guide to get you started.
    From celebrity chefs to hit TV shows to Broadway legends, Princess Cruises is pulling out all the stops with its Come Back New brand enhancements. To see all these exciting onboard happenings in action, check out TravelPulse cruise expert Jason Lepperts Ruby Princess video embedded from his Popular Cruising YouTube channel.
    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection just introduced a ship that will sail the Seine starting in March, 2017. The 128-passenger S.S. Joie de Vivre will not lack in luxurious appointments, and among the lavish amenities, will feature butlers as skilled as those at Buckingham Palace. Click to find out more about this new vessel.
    TravelPulse was at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France to have a look at Royal Caribbean Internationals Harmony of the Seas ahead of the cruise ship's May 2016 launch. The largest cruise ship of the world is still taking shape, and this is a fascinating photo essay that offers a glimpse into the final stages of the process.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News -
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    Featured photo credit: Blue Star Line
    WHY IT RATES: A cruise ship is quite often defined by its amenities and entertainment on-board as it is for its ports of call. Norwegian is being proactive to take advantage of its guests preferences. Rich Thomaselli, TravelPulse Senior Editor
    Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in award-winning onboard entertainment, today announced exciting changes to the entertainment offerings aboard the lines two newest ships, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Getaway.
    Due to the shows overwhelmingly popularity on Norwegian Escape, For the Record: The Brat Pack will now be offered to an expanded audience, as a complimentary show in the Escape Theater beginning on April 16. Receiving rave reviews on Norwegian Escape, For The Record is a critically acclaimed Hollywood night that celebrates classic soundtracks of motion picture masters.
    Guests spend an evening with a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal in this mashed-up retrospective of the John Hughes' coming of age 1980's teen films. Guests enjoying the show will laugh, cry, stomp their feet and relive the classic new wave sounds from Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. As of April 9, The Supper Club will feature an all new dinner and live entertainment experience, with details to be revealed soon. The Tony Award-winning Broadway hit After Midnight featuring Brenda Braxton will continue in The Escape Theater as regularly scheduled.
    As For the Record moves to the Escape Theater, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet will be featured on board Norwegian Escape as of the March 5 sailing and will re-open onboard Norwegian Getaway on May 15. Million Dollar Quartet is the smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time.
    Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life, featuring a score of rock hits including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Fever," "Great Balls of Fire," "Walk the Line," and more. Legally Blonde on Norwegian Getaway will close on April 30 and Burn The Floor will continue as currently scheduled.
    From March 5 until April 16 when For the Record begins, The Escape Theater will feature Vocal Over Drive, a contemporary pop acapella group. Featuring five talented musicians, this explosive vocal band brings the popular acapella sound thats sweeping the country today in hit films like Pitch Perfect to Norwegian guests. Vocal Over Drive create the sound of a full band with just their voices to produce a high energy unforgettable theatre experience that will leave you saying"How did they do that?"
    Forged out of funky beats and an award winning a cappella background, Vocal Over Drive has toured internationally wowing hundreds of thousands around the globe giving audiences the performance of a lifetime each night they take the stage. Fusing innovative harmonies, dance and comedy, this musical spectacle unites audiences young and old. Vocal Over Drive will then move to The Getaway Theater from May 1 until May 15, when Million Dollar Quartet opens.
    Norwegian is leading the way in providing engaging, enjoyable and exciting entertainment for guests across our fleet, said Richard Ambrose, vice-president of entertainment for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. These updates to our entertainment offerings will ensure we remain at the forefront of the industry, providing the very best contemporary, award-winning entertainment for our guests.
    Reservations for any of these entertainment experiences can be made via guests My NCL account on www.ncl.com starting on March 1, 2016.
    Article Courtesy Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News
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    Featured photo credit: Norwegian Cruise Line
    Royal Caribbean International said that the Anthem of the Seas will return to Cape Liberty, N.J., following a severe storm off the Carolina cost, rather than completing a seven-day Florida and Bahamas itinerary.
    Four passengers were injured and there was damage to cabins and public areas on the ship after it sailed through hurricane-force winds Sunday night. During the storm, the Anthems captain asked passengers to stay in their cabins until the weather improved, Royal Caribbean said.
    Photos posted on RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com, which is not an official company website, show overturned furniture and a collapsed section of ceiling in one part of the ship.
    In a statement, Royal Caribbean said the balance of the itinerary would likely have been affected by poor weather prospects.
    "We appreciate our guests patience and cooperation. We know it was tough day on Sunday and apologize for their discomfort, Royal Caribbean said.
    Passengers will get a full refund and 50% off a future cruise.
    The Anthem was on a cruise that departed Feb. 6 from Cape Liberty, N.J., and was scheduled to stop at Port Canaveral, Fla., on Monday.
    Source: Tom Stieghorst, Travel Weekly, February 9, 2016 ("Anthem of the Seas Heading Home After Storm Battering")
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
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    Featured photo credit: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
    (Thanks to shows like "Downton Abbey" and the attraction of those PBS Viking cruise commercials, cruises on Europe's rivers have never been more popular. Read more, courtesy of Jason Leppert @ Travel Pulse).
    River cruising is booming, and its not all thanks to older generations, although that has been the traditional crowd for some time. Now, millennials, myself at 32 included, are becoming more and more attracted to international travel along historic and scenic banks, and there is plenty to hold our attention onboard and off.
    Personally, I have yet only traveled with Viking River Cruises, a company not specifically interested in accommodating youth nor families with children, but that hasnt stopped me from becoming an unapologetic fan. Regardless of the line chosen, there is not a more relaxing way to travel Europe, for instance, unpacking once and sailing straight into the heart of some of the most iconic cities in the world. Many ocean cruises dont even come as conveniently close.
    When travelers embark on a river cruise, they can experience the quaint villages and thriving cities that rest along the beautiful rivers that wind and bend through Europe, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, South America and Egypt, said Steve Born, VP of marketing for the Globus family of brands, including Avalon Waterways, but some cant escape for long durations. For them, he adds, shorter, more diverse and active itineraries are another way river cruise companies are luring younger travelers.
    By virtue of the locks they traverse, riverboats are also by no means ocean-plowing mega cruise ships, but innovations still abound. One of the more modern players, Emerald Waterways, draws in the younger market by offering contemporary, stylish river ships with amenities not found on other river ships all of which appeal to the millennial generation, according to Lisa Norton, vice president Emerald Waterways Brand Management, North America.
    She explains such Emerald amenities include the only indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool on the river with a current generator for swimming laps, a fitness center, a walking track, a putting green, and bicycles on board for guests to use at their leisure or to enjoy on guided biking excursions.
    In fact, staying fit while also relaxing on the rivers is important to younger crowds, and AmaWaterways has recently renewed its commitment to biking and hiking tours ashore in 2016.
    When you think of the millennial traveler, you may be picturing a young, unattached globetrotter out for that perfect selfie. But plenty of travelers that fit the millennial demographic are starting families of their own, and they're more than happy to take the whole family along for the trip. Adventures by Disney has teamed up with AmaWaterways to offer successful family-friendly journeys. AmaViolas connecting cabins are particularly well suited to large parties as are some of its staterooms and suites that can accommodate up to three or four to a room.
    We've had a fantastic response to our Adventures by Disney river cruise itineraries, says Heather Killingbeck, director program development and operations for Adventures by Disney. By combining the luxury experience that AmaWaterways offers with the types of active family experiences that Disney can provide, we have created something that many parents have told us they wanted to do for a long time.
    Tauck is another cruise line eager to please families as it is, particularly well-suited to host millennials as they become parents, because [it] operates three Tauck Bridges river cruises on the Danube, Rhone and Rhine designed specifically for families with young children, says Katharine Bonner, Tauck's Sr. VP for River and Small Ship Ocean Cruising.
    As for Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, its ships may not exhibit a modern decor in fact, they eschew it but its president, Guy Young, says, we were the first river cruise company to offer multi-generational itineraries, which have proven to be extremely successful we doubled these offerings for 2016 and they now have their own dedicated brochure. These family-friendly departures attract both parents and grandparents traveling with children, effectively introducing the newest generation to river cruising.
    Thats the sweet spot: appealing to all generations and sharing the experience with larger family trees. Just as once perceived stodgy ocean cruise lines are broadening their horizons from an older clientele to a younger one, so too are river cruise lines offering youthful active groups, couples and solo travelers alike a growing list of enticing options.
    Article Courtesy of Jason Leppert (02.04.16), Travel Pulse and Seven Sea Journeys/News
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    Featured photo credit: Viking Cruises
    Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that Harvest Caye, the cruise line's new resort-style port of call in Belize, will now open in November 2016.
    Plans for the new development were announced back in August 2013, when Norwegian Cruise Line purchased approximately 75 acres in Southern Belize for the planned development of an eco-friendly cruise destination. The land, called Harvest Caye, is made up of two adjoining islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts that had previously been approved for a resort development with an air strip.
    At the time of its announcement plans called for a cruise destination consisting of two locations: an island destination with docking/tendering facilities and a mainland connection point for inland tours. Major components of the project are anticipated to include a floating pier, island village with open-air structures on raised platforms, marina, transportation hub for tours to the mainland, a lagoon for a variety of water sports and a beach area.
    According to 7 News Belize, the destination was originally scheduled to open February 16, 2016. In late December of last year, Valdemar Andrade, director, destination planning and cruise, BTB, told 7 News Belize that the project had been delayed.
    In a statement released today by Norwegian, Vivian Ewart, vice president, passenger services, said that the grand opening will now take place in November 2016. Guests sailing on Western Caribbean cruises now through mid-November will instead call in Belize in Belize City.
    Further details on final plans for the destination and the experiences will be revealed in early 2016. Norwegian said it plans to send a communication to booked guests later this week with revised itinerary details.
    Source: Adam Leposa (Travel Agent Central, January 12, 2016 "Norwegian Cruise Line Delays Harvest Caye in Belize Opening Until November")
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Featured photo credit: Norwegian Cruise Lines
    Norwegian Cruise Line's sweeping reform of its cancellation policies effective Jan. 1 will make them tougher than other brands in the contemporary segment.
    In one example, guests who book a seven-day or longer cruise must now make final payment 90 days, rather than 75 days, in advance. If they cancel after that, a penalty equal to 25% of the fare will apply if the cancellation is made from 76 to 89 days before sailing. The penalties increase to 50% when made from 61 to 75 days before sailing and 75% when made from 31 to 60 days before sailing, with complete loss of payment for cancellation within 30 days.
    Currently, only guests who cancel within 14 days face 100% penalties.
    Marsha Rosner, owner of Rosner Travel in Marietta, Ga., said she thought 90 days was too restrictive for many customers.
    “They have to have full payment so far in advance,” she said. “Three months ahead, some people don’t even book a cruise that early. It means they’re going to have to pay the full cruise, and if something happens they lose it all. That can have a negative impact, especially if other cruise lines are only doing 75 days — unless this is going to be a norm and other cruise lines are going to follow suit.”
    The cancellation policies of other cruise lines vary, but several in the contemporary segment, including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and MSC Cruises, require final payment 75 days out for seven-day cruises.
    And their terms remain looser. At Carnival, for example, a guest canceling a seven-night Caribbean cruise from 56 to 75 days before sailing loses only her deposit, not 25% of the fare.
    Likewise at Royal, although the time frame is from 57 to 74 days.
    Lindsay Hardy, owner of a Travel Leaders outlet in Palm Coast, Fla., said she thought the new Norwegian policy would have little impact on her clientele.
    “We sell travel insurance to 90% of our clients,” Hardy said. “Travel insurance covers these penalties.”
    Hardy said the new policy is actually easier on agents in one way because it extends the loss-of-full-fare period from 14 to 30 days. Hardy said that if a client cancels in anything other than the full penalty period, she has to file a commission-protection notice with the travel insurer.
    “If they’re in a 100% penalty at 30 days and they cancel, then I don’t have to go through all that extra paperwork to get my commission,” she said. “So from an agent’s standpoint it’s actually a good thing. Our commission’s protected for 30 days as opposed to 14 or 15 days.”
    Norwegian Cruise Line President Andy Stuart said the policy would prove to be a positive for travel agents.
    “It commits bookings earlier on, protects agent commissions earlier and minimizes cancellation space from going on sale close to sailing,” he said. “This new policy will allow us to continue to further drive our goal of maintaining pricing integrity.”
    Hardy speculated that Norwegian under Frank Del Rio, who was appointed CEO earlier this year, is adopting the cancellation policies in effect at Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which are also part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Del Rio founded Oceania in 2002.
    “I’m sure that’s where it came from,” Hardy said. “Those companies have had a stiffer cancellation penalty phase for quite some time.”
    At Oceania, a standard deposit is $750 on cruises of 15 nights or less, and guests pay a $250 administration fee for canceling from 90 to 120 days before sailing. The fee can be applied to a future cruise.
    Final payment is due at 90 days, and cancellations made 76 to 90 days before sailing are penalized at 25% of the cruise fare, with the other graduations corresponding to the schedule Norwegian will adopt as of Jan. 1.
    Regent Seven Seas has one of the stricter cancellation policies in the industry. On cruises of 15 days or less, it requires a deposit equal to 15% of the cruise fare. Those canceling 90 to 120 days before sailing lose that deposit.
    The balance of the cancellation schedule follows the new Norwegian policy.
    Like many lines, Regent has a separate cancellation schedule for longer-length cruises that requires more advance notice to win a full refund. It also has a separate, higher-deposit requirement for the inaugural season of its new Seven Seas Explorer due in July.
    In the contemporary segment, there are easier cancellation penalties for shorter cruises, generally less than six days, although the standards vary line to line.
    Under Norwegian’s current policy, cruises from one to five days in length can be canceled 45 to 60 days prior to sailing with loss of deposit, 30 to 44 days with a 50% penalty, 15 to 29 days with a 75% penalty and 14 days or less with full loss of the cruise fare.
    Starting Jan. 1, the policy on cruises from one to six days in length calls for loss of deposit for cancellations 57 to 75 days from sailing, a 50% penalty from 30 to 56 days, a 75% penalty from 16 to 29 days and a 100% penalty at 15 days or less.
    Certain types of sailings or certain ships are exceptions to the policy. For example, Norwegian’s high-end Haven Garden Villas and Suites, and sailings around the Christmas and New Years holidays have stricter requirements, as does Norwegian’s Pride of America, the only cruise ship in Hawaii. Norwegian consolidated the Haven and holiday sailings into one category in the schedule that starts Jan. 1.
    Also there is a separate cancellation schedule that applies to add-ons to the basic cruise or cruise tour.
    If a guest, for example, cancels the air portion of a cruise booking but not the cruise itself, there is a $100 fee if the cancellation comes 76 to 89 days before cruise departure.
    The cost gradually increases to 50% of the air fare from 61 to 75 days before sailing, 75% of the air fare from 31 to 60 days and the entire cost of the ticket within 30 days of departure.
    Source: Tom Stieghorst (Travel Weekly, "New Norwegian Cancellation Policy Strictest Among Contemporary Cruise Lines", December 22, 2015)
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Featured photo credit: Travel Weely
    What's it like to plunge 10 stories while watching the wake of the largest cruise ship in the world?
    That's the experience in store for guests on the world's largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, due in June from Royal Caribbean International.
    Royal Caribbean revealed details of a dual slide it is calling the "Ultimate Abyss." It was one of the last features to be kept secret on the 5,200-passenger vessel, which is the home stretch of construction in France.
    The purple stainless steel slides are at the aft end of Harmony, an updated, slightly larger version of 2009's Oasis of the Seas. They corkscrew down from Deck 16, near the two FlowRider surfing machines, to Deck 5 where the ship's Aqua Theater is situated. The slides first shoot out over the lip of Deck 16 before curving back underneath to wrap several times around two pillars that support the upper decks over a massive void in the interior of Oasis class ships.
    "You step out onto a really high, really see-through glass platform, then you go on a mat," said Alison Frazier, Royal Caribbean's director of entertainment and guest activities in a YouTube video, "You slide all the way down to the Boardwalk."
    Ultimate Abyss is not a waterside, although Harmony of the Seas will have several of those too. "It's something completely different," Frazier said.
    By Tom Stieghorst, Special for USA TODAY
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    A cruise is a vacation full of fun and frivolity under the sun. But if you step out of line (and we’re not talking the conga line), you’ll have to deal with cruise ship security officers. They’re often a courteous and helpful bunch, but they also have the power to confine you to quarters, lock you up, and, in some circumstances, escort you off the ship to sit in a foreign jail. Cruise ship troublemakers, beware: What you gonna do when cruise ship security comes for you?
    Vincent McNally knows all about the life of a cruise ship officer. After a 30-year career in the FBI and a stint as an instructor for Iraqi police in Baghdad, McNally decided a work-vacation was in order: He became a security officer for Holland America Line.
    What made McNally choose a life at sea after leaving the FBI? “My wife and I went on my first cruise,” he remembers. He says he enjoyed it — a lot. "I said to my wife, ‘I’d like to go and work on this. This looks good and you can travel the world.’ And that’s exactly what we did.“
    McNally worked as a Holland America cruise ship security officer for five years. "The security officer does everything,” McNally tells Yahoo Travel. “I usually had a staff of seven or eight people, depending on how big the ship is. It could be more for bigger ships.” He says his job involves checking people on board, training, and assisting in port security at ports of call.
    And, yes, dealing with the occasional problem passenger is part of the job, too. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the people are fine,” says McNally. “Everybody gets along and we have a good time.” But the loudmouth drunks and troublemakers are inevitable — and one of the things that make working security on a cruise ship a challenging gig. “It’s not something you can just sit back and have a coffee and do,” he says. “It’s not that easy.” It may not be easy but it sure is interesting. So McNally shared with Yahoo Travel his tidbits, anecdotes, and confessions from his time as a cruise ship security officer.
    Cruise security officers aren’t mall cops
    Okay, not all cruise ship security officers are ex-FBI agents like McNally. “I may be a little unique, because I have a little bit more experience than most security officers,” McNally says as modestly as he possibly can. “I’m not bragging, but it’s just factual.”
    Still, though, you’d be surprised at the strong law enforcement pedigree you may find among cruise ship security officers. “[At Holland America], there were police detectives working on the ships as security officers,” he says. He’s encountered even more law enforcement vets in the training sessions he’s done for aspiring ship security officers. “[some] were police officers, mostly detectives and lieutenants and sergeants,” he says. So next time you think you can act up on a cruise ship and only have to deal with untrained fake cops, remember: You may be squaring off against an ex-police lieutenant. Or FBI agent.
    Drunks are a problem — of course
    Thousands of people on vacation. A dozen or so bars. Countless bottles of alcohol. A sometimes decadent, party-themed atmosphere. It’s no surprise that the cruise ship environment is in itself a cocktail of excessive drinking. It’s also no surprise that some people don’t hold their alcohol very well and cause trouble.
    “Sometimes people come on the ship and they want to drink as much as they can in five days,” says McNally. “That’s a problem. Then we just gotta get them to their rooms and get them to sleep it off until the next day. Calm them down.”
    If you got so wasted on a cruise that you needed security called on you, you may have something more to deal with the next day than a hangover — at least you would if McNally was working security. McNally says he’d often sit down with the offender on the day after. “Have a regular conversation listing the parameters of what they can and cannot do,” he says. “I found it’s very helpful to have a contract. I’ll make a contract up in concert with the captain and have them sign it. It says they will no longer have a drink for the rest of the cruise, depending on how severe the problem was.”
    McNally says that contract was often effective in dealing with those who over-indulged to problematic levels, although some would later ask him to let them out of the no-drinking contract. “Some would come back and say, 'I’m here on a long trip…’” he says. “I said, 'No, you have to follow along. The other option is you get drunk again and then we come into a foreign port and you’re in somebody’s jail and you don’t want to go there.’” The threat of ending their vacation in a foreign jail was enough to sober up problem drinkers.
    Another big problem: prescription drugs
    You’d be surprised at how big a problem prescription drugs can cause for security personnel on cruise ships — both those who take prescription drugs with alcohol as well as those with mental illnesses who go off their meds.
    “Especially if they’re on the manic or depressive side,” says McNally. “They’d start screaming and yelling and then all of a sudden they take a pill while I’m talking to them and they come right back down.”
    Part of dealing with a problem passenger, he says, is ascertaining what’s fueling the problem — is it alcohol or something else? “You have to be aware there are people who may have a mental illness, maybe even be suicidal,” he says. “I’ve had one [who was suicidal] and I was able to talk him down.“
    Dealing with problem passengers is like a hostage negotiation
    "One of the things that I pride myself on is that I never had to fight an individual all those five years,” McNally says. “If they were inebriated or if they were out of control, I was able to negotiate anything.”
    McNally found that dealing with a drunk is kind of like dealing with a stressed-out criminal who’s taken hostages. So he used some of the techniques he used to employ as an FBI agent on problem cruise ship passengers. “There are two principles: hostage negotiation and acute traumatic stress management,” he says. “That’s basically taking the person who is screaming and yelling and calming them down."
    In one case in particular, he recalls using that technique on a drunk and belligerent passenger. "He was yelling and screaming and walking around,” McNally says. “I intervened and then I just basically calmed the person down. You follow the level of voice up and down; you bring them down to a lower level then you escort them back to the room. It’s a difficult thing to do, but it can be done. I think that the format I developed worked pretty well since I had no fights, no physical altercations.”
    He did have some close calls, though. When a passenger refused to listen to reason, and the situation threatened to turn physical, McNally would call the ships’s bridge and ask them to send down some additional crew members as backup. Because even drunk people know when they’re outnumbered, that was usually enough to solve the problem.
    All in all, McNally didn’t get too stressed out over dealing with drunk/high/mentally ill passengers. “They’re usually just having a brief moment of being dumb and we’re trying to help them out,” he says.
    There is a cruise jail
    An age-old question we at Yahoo Travel have been asked repeatedly: Do cruise ships have brigs where they throw people who misbehave or break the law? Cruise lines typically don’t like to publicize such matters, but McNally finally reveals the answer:
    “Some [ships] have them and some don’t,” he says. “Basically it’s a padded cell.” Jails, he says, are reserved only for the rarest, most extreme circumstances. “That would be in a severe case where the person has assaulted or gone another level above just yelling and screaming,” he says.
    Ship security officers don’t unilaterally make the decision to lock up passengers. “The captain would be the ultimate decision maker and he’d then consult with the duty person and security back at headquarters.” But that’s as far as McNally’s experience with cruise ship jails goes. “I don’t think I ever put anyone in it,” he says. “I just get them to go back to their rooms."
    Beware of ship scammers
    There’s one group McNally says is an even bigger headache than drunks: those trying to scam cruise ships by having an "accident” they try to parlay into some kind of settlement. “There’s that small percentage [of passengers] that may want to try to scam the ship via fake accidents and indicating that the ship did something wrong to them,” he says. “There are people who come on board specifically to do that for a free cruise. Most of all those I was able to rectify by investigation and proving that what they were saying was unfounded.” (Reminder: Video cameras are everywhere on cruise ships.)
    A lot of times, these scams are your standard slip and fall but sometimes they get more elaborate. McNally remembers one case when a passenger claimed that somebody in the ship’s crew had dropped a straight pin into his glass of water before serving it. The passenger even took a picture of the pin-infested water and gave it to McNally, who began a CSI-type reconstruction of the crime.
    “I replicated exactly where they sat,” says McNally, “where the ice came from, where the water came from. I checked all the ice and water.” McNally concluded that, given where the pin was in the glass in relation to the water and ice, the only one who could have put it in the glass was one of the people sitting at the table where the passenger had been sitting — perhaps the passenger himself, maybe? "When I told him that, he just said, 'Oh…’ and walked away,“ says McNally. "They feel like they are dealing with some security guard that has no experience.”
    They investigate crimes impartially
    Crime on cruise ships is a big issue, and many passengers’ rights advocates have accused cruise ship security officers of not taking the issue seriously. Because cruise ship security personnel work for the cruise line, say these critics, in cases where passengers are crime victims, security officers feel pressure from their employers and are more concerned with protecting the company than with helping victims.
    McNally denies that. “I’ve never felt that way in the five years I worked for Holland America,” he says. “I worked to do everything possible to assist the victim and to secure the evidence."
    McNally adds there were no cover-ups of potentially embarrassing cases during his tenure. "I’ve never seen any type of security case that was not immediately reported back to headquarters and thereafter to the FBI as far as I know,” he says of his investigations. “For me there’s only one way and that’s doing it the right way: getting the evidence and submitting it, or holding on to it until the FBI comes on board at the next port.”
    There are fringe benefits — of course!
    When McNally was at sea, he often wasn’t alone. “I was very lucky because as an officer, I could bring my wife with me,” he says. “Usually the evenings I was free, so we could go around the ship. Every night we had a nice dinner, we got to meet people.”
    Of course, there’s the chief perk of working on a cruise ship in any capacity: seeing the world. Not that McNally got to see all that much of it; he remembers that some of the busiest times of any voyage were when the ship was in port.
    “You basically don’t have the free time to go visit every place because your job in port is to keep an eye on everything,“ he says. "You liaison with the local police and port authority. Make sure that their security is doing their job and vice-versa, they’re checking on us. We have to be available for customs, for all different agencies to board and check the ship. It’s not like I don’t like to do that. I’d like to have had more free time.”
    But looking back on his life at sea, McNally has fond memories. So does his wife. “She was upset that I left the job!” he laughs. “She enjoyed every day. It’s certainly interesting. I enjoyed it.”
    By Sid Lipsey, Yahoo Travel
    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    Carnival Corp. announced this week that it will begin using only cage-free eggs on all of its ships.
    The transition, which should be final by 2025, is the result of a partnership between the cruise ship operator and the Humane Society of the United States, Carnival said in a news release.
    “Carnival Corp. and our brands recognize animal welfare is an important issue for our guests, and addressing it is part of our ongoing commitment to how we operate,” Roger Frizzell, Carnival Corp. chief communications officer, said in the news release. “We have been working with our suppliers in this area, and look forward to continuing our efforts as we work towards our goal of 100 percent cage-free eggs.”
    Carnival joins a wealth of other corporations moving toward using only cage-free eggs.
    In 2012, Burger King became the first major fast-food chain to announce it would make the move to cage-free eggs and pork, according to a USA Today report on the announcement.
    McDonald’s announced in September its plans to go cage-free in its North American restaurants, the Wall Street Journal said.
    And in November, Taco Bell announced it will use cage-free eggs at all of its locations in the United States by 2017, CNN Money reports.
    By Kristina Webb, Palm Beach Post
    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    Windstar Cruises' 200-passenger boutique cruise ship Star Pride ran aground off of Isla de Coiba, Panama during anchoring maneuvers.
    The company said that all guests and crew are safe, but there is hull damage and the vessel is unable to sail. The guests were taken to the island for their planned shoreside itinerary pending the arrival of other vessels to take them to the mainland.
    "Because of Isla de Coiba’s remote location [about 20 nm off of Panama], the lack of infrastructure in the area, and the lack of other support vessels, Windstar arranged for her sister ship Star Breeze, along with [Gauguin Cruises'] Tere Moana, to transfer the guests to the mainland. We are grateful and appreciative for the support of the Tere Moana in this time of need," said the company.
    “Star Pride guests are currently en route to Golfito, Costa Rica. From there they will be transferred to San Jose . . . The crew of the Star Pride will join the Star Breeze on December 23.”
    The ship will be repaired at the port of Balboa. Windstar has canceled the Pride's next sailing and issued a full refund to the passengers aboard at the time of the incident.
    The Star Pride, formerly the Seabourne Pride, was purchased and renovated as part of Windstar's new management plan. The company has historically operated large sailing vessels – the 150-passenger Wind Spirit and Wind Star and the 300-passenger Wind Surf – but under a new owner, the company chose to expand into the conventional small cruise ship market. The firm intends to stay with smaller, yacht-like vessels as its competitors move up in size to ships in the 400-600 passenger range.
    By Maritime Executive
    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    An eight-year-old boy has drowned in a swimming pool onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise liner, the Liberty of the Seas. He was given CPR for more than an hour by the cruise ship's medical team but they were unable to revive him. Royal Caribbean has released a statement, which reads: 'We extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of an eight-year-old boy who drowned onboard Liberty of the Seas in one of the ship's swimming pools.
    'On Monday afternoon, the boy was spotted and pulled out of the pool by a guest. Our medical team quickly responded and attempted resuscitation for more than 60 minutes, but were sadly unable to revive him. We ask respect for the family's privacy. We ask that you join us in keeping the child and his family in your thoughts and prayers.'
    The boy's identity and nationality have not yet been released. Many cruise ships do not have lifeguards stationed at their pools. Signs are always posted that warn passengers to swim at their own risk.
    The Liberty of the Seas, which departed from Galveston, Texas on December 20, is currently on a seven-night western Caribbean voyage.
    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    NEW ORLEANS - The state bond commission has approved the final portion of the financing for the new Poland Avenue cruise ship terminal in New Orleans. If all goes as planned, the Port of New Orleans could begin construction of the new facility, early next year.
    For now, the $51 million complex is expected to handle one ship at a time. Port Director Gary Lagrange says the terminal building will serve the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods as well as cruise ship passengers.
    "We want to receive the input from the neighbors as to what the final product is going to look like, what it consists of and that's a process we're in right now," Lagrange said.
    Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association President Lisa Suarez has her concerns.
    "The impact to Marigny is going to be greater intensity as well as problems with traffic and parking," Suarez said. "Peters and Chartres have been beefed up to handle traffic, but it's going to be gridlock if the port even makes one mistake."
    Bywater resident Phillip Cobb lives on Poland Avenue, about a block away from where the new terminal is expected to be built.
    "At this point, they're talking about all the traffic, coming down Poland Avenue from St. Claude and turning at Dauphine into that one gate," Cobb said.
    Cobb is pushing the port to build a ramp off of St. Claude Avenue. That would take vehicles through the old navy base, rather than down Poland Avenue to the new facility.
    "Do a right hand lane, do a flyover and drop them right into the facility on the back side," Cobb said.
    "The access, egress, transportation access is something that we're looking for input from the neighborhood," Lagrange said. "We're studying as part of the process a shuttle bus service that will actually be available to shuttle people on the river side of the floodwall, not down Charter Street."
    Neighbors say if done wrong, the Poland Avenue Terminal could cause harm to their current quality of life, But, they say if done right, it could be a win-win for the neighborhoods and the Port of New Orleans.
    The port is planning a series of community meetings about the new cruise ship complex.
    The project is now expected to be completed in late 2017.
    By 4WWL Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    The Swedish Migration Board has inked its first deal for cruise ship housing for migrants, on schedule with its previously announced timeline. The Swedish Migration Board told media in November that it is running out of refugee housing on land and is considering both cruise ships and offshore accommodations facilities (flotels) as alternatives.
    The first vessel, an unnamed cruise ship owned by firm Accumul8or Invest, will be able to accommodate as many as 1,260 refugees.
    The Board has not yet announced where the ship will be berthed, but accommodations manager Willis Åberg told Swedish media that harbors could include Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Oskarshamn, Uddevalla and Gävle. Following contracts, site surveys and local approvals from harbor authorities, the vessel could be in place and accepting migrants as early as the summer of 2016.
    “It's a bit unusual,” Åberg told regional media. “It's nothing we're used to.”
    It is not unprecedented, though: in August a cruise ship was contracted to provide refugee processing space for authorities on the Greek island of Kos, a major migration arrival point, and as recently as the 1980s passenger vessels have been repurposed from leisure travel to troop transport in time of war.
    As it struggles to find living quarters for thousands of permitted migrants, the board has taken other unusual steps to find shelter capacity, including housing at a luxury ski resort some 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
    Åberg previously told media that a plan for temporary housing on public and private lands faces difficulty due to a shortage of tents.
    The refugee problem appears to be easing for Sweden as border restrictions and reductions in residency permits take effect. The nation had an influx of 10,000 migrants per week in October, but the number has recently fallen to about 3,000 per week.
    By The Maritime Executive
    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    (I thought I’d share one traveler’s recent experience on board a Regent Seven Seas luxury cruise – courtesy of TravelPulse – and several reasons why a luxury cruise might not be as unreachable as you think!)
    So this is how the other half lives. I took a cruise on Regent Seven Seas Mariner through the Mediterranean, and it has opened my eyes to what luxury cruising is all about.
    The price is not right for most travelers who scrape and save each year to afford one special trip, but if you have a milestone anniversary or birthday to celebrate or have designated a luxury all-inclusive cruise as a must-do experience, then make sure you put aside your pennies (you'll need a lot of them).
    After dozens of cruises on the mass-market lines that typically price out about $100 per person per day to get onboard, I was able to set sail with Regent Seven Seas on my first luxury cruise. These trips typically run about $300 per person per day and higher (depending on promotional offers), but you'll love the level of service, high-quality meals and much more about these voyages.
    We sailed for nine days, leaving from Lisbon, Portugal, and stopping in five ports in Spain (Cadiz, Alicante, Ibiza, Malaga and Barcelona), three in Italy (Genoa, Livorno and Rome), Saint Tropez, France, and Monte Carlo, Monaco. Here are the best things I discovered about cruising on Regent Seven Seas Mariner.
    Excursions included. You get to choose from free excursions in every port, led by expert guides.
    Fewer crowds. The ship holds 700 passengers and has plenty of space to accommodate them all. Public areas are never clogged, and you can always get a lounger at the pool area. Plus, these loungers feature extra comfy padding.
    Drinks, anybody? Order what you want (except a selection of premium liquors), and you won't have to sign for it the way you do on mainstream cruise lines.
    Use that mini-bar. Speaking of drinks. Your cabin's mini-bar is yours to raid. Soft drinks, waters, beers, etc. They'll all be refilled for you. Don't like Coke but adore mineral water? Let your cabin steward know, and he'll make sure your fridge is stocked just the way you want it.
    Gourmet meals — in your bathrobe. Order a meal to be delivered to your room. You get the same delicious courses being served at the ship's restaurants, right in your cabin if you so desire.
    Smaller ports. Regent Seven Seas can access smaller ports that can't handle larger mass-market ships. This allowed us to walk off right into the historic city centers of Malaga and Ibiza in Spain, and right in the harbor in Monte Carlo, for example.
    Balconies. All staterooms and suites feature balconies, so you get to enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous views as you're sailing and visiting exotic ports.
    Cookies. It's the little touches that you'll love on a Regent Seven Seas cruise, and the 24-hour cookie station was a fave of mine. OK, maybe it technically is a coffee/tea station, but I went strictly for the cookies and other pastries.
    Fabulous fresh fruit. A fresh fruit plate is replenished daily in your cabin.
    Bon voyage bubbly. You receive a welcome-aboard bottle of Champagne in your cabin.
    Free Wi-Fi. Internet access has zoomed toward the top of passenger lists of must-have amenities, but the price can be prohibitive on most cruise ships. Regent Seven Seas offers free Wi-Fi to most its passengers. And beginning in winter 2016, all passengers get free Wi-Fi.
    No tipping. Gratuities are included in the price of your cruise.
    Fly for free. Round-trip flights from gateway cities are included in your cruise fare.
    When you tally up all the extras that are included and compare this to the a la carte-type pricing for certain amenities on major lines, Regent Seven Seas Cruises can prove to be an affordable way for you to step up for a quick taste of luxury.
    Article Courtesy of John Roberts (Travel Pulse, 12.3.15) and Seven Sea Journeys/News
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
    Please visit CruiseCrazies.com for more cruise news & articles.
    Photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises
    The baby born 15 weeks premature on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean has finally returned to Utah, after spending 78 days at Miami Children’s Hospital where he defied the odds for survival.
    Fox 13 Now reported that 4-and-a-half-pound Haiden Morgan reunited with his family Saturday at the Ogden Airport. When Haiden was born during a seven-day Royal Caribbean cruise in late August, doctors told his mother, 28-year-old Emily Morgan, that she had miscarried. But 45 minutes later, they revised their prognosis and clarified the baby boy had survived but likely wouldn’t live for long.
    The captain of the cruise ship sped to the port nearest to a hospital in Puerto Rico— 14 hours away— whereby two ambulances rushed the family to the hospital. A few days later, they were transferred to Miami Children’s Hospital.
    Emily told fox13now.com that she “never had a doubt” that her son would survive.
    “It’s just been a fighting chance every day,” she told the news station.
    Haiden will now rest at the McKay Dee Hospital in Utah?, until doctors determine that he is strong enough to return home with his family. The Morgans are hopeful he’ll be able to leave the hospital by Christmas.
    “He is actually coming home,” Chase told fox13now.com. “It is a very surreal feeling.”
    By FOXNews.com
    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    A number of cruise ships are to be hastily converted for migrant use over the next month, as massive demand for housing continues unabated.
    Despite government efforts to introduce a semblance of control at the national borders, Sweden continues to receive thousands of migrants a week, but has long ago run out of beds and shelters. Having exhausted every government building, school gymnasium, and army barracks the Swedish government is now looking to pay out as of yet undisclosed sums to charter vast cruise liners outright to house migrants.
    The government contract to provide floating hotels is potentially a lucrative one for the cruise trade. Despite additional additional wear to the ship’s living spaces, the charters will require minimal crewing, low usage of fuel oil and no stress on the expensive marine diesel engines. So far several shipping companies have been in touch with the Swedish government to offer their ships, reports Afton Bladet.
    Migrants could live on-board for a year or more while they are assessed for refugee and asylum status.
    Speaking to the paper, Migration Bureau spokesman Willis Atkins said they expected to hire ships with up to 1,500 beds each, and they would be moored in the harbours of some of Sweden’s largest cities including the capital Stockholm, multicultural melting pot Malmö, and Gothenburg. The first ships are expected to be ready before Christmas.
    As if being stuck on a luxury ocean liner over winter with only occasional ship to shore boats wasn’t bad enough for the thousands of migrants demanding accommodation in Sweden, the Migration Bureau is also looking to chartering oil rig platform accommodation, placing migrants even further from the shore. Mr. Atkins believes the first such craft could be ready for migrants before July.
    The move to place the migrants in effective lock-down aboard ships moored off shore recalls the British prison hulks of the 19th century, when surplus or outdated warships were stripped of their sailing and fighting gear and used to house thousands in Spartan accommodation.
    Cruise ships are just the latest luxury housing to be doled out to migrants in Sweden. As reported by Breitbart London last month, the Swedish state had leased the world’s most northerly ski resort to house 600 migrants. Although a dream holiday for some, the resort may now be proving unpopular with those more acclimatised to warmer places, as it sits some 125 miles north of the Arctic circle and consequently receives zero hours of sunlight a day for much of the year.
    By Oliver Lane, Breitbart.com
    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    Princess Cruises announced today its 2017 cruise vacations to Europe, including the inaugural sailings of the line’s newest ship Majestic Princess.
    The season features six ships sailing to 119 destinations from the corners of the Mediterranean to the northernmost tip of Europe.
    Guests can choose from 64 unique itineraries on 153 cruise departures, visiting 27 countries. Debuting in April 2017, Majestic Princess first sets sail on maiden European sailings with five- to 28-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona, Athens and Rome.
    “Princess is known for offering the best cruise itineraries around the globe and our 2017 Europe season is sure to inspire our guests with our newest and largest ships in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We’re especially excited to debut Majestic Princess in the Mediterranean before she officially sails to Asia for her maiden China cruise season.”
    Princess now offers the More Ashore program, crafting the line’s newest itineraries to give guests more opportunities to experience the color, culture and flavors of the region in 2017. With port calls offering more time ashore with either late night departures (9pm or later), an overnight, or a two-day experience, travelers can see the sights during the day and then experience the nightlife of select destinations in the evening.
    All 2017 Europe sailings open for bookings on Thursday, December 3, 2015.
    Highlights of the Princess Cruises 2017 Europe program include:
    Majestic Princess
    The newest cruise ship to join the Princess fleet debuts in Rome (Civitavecchia) on April 4, 2017 for a five-day Maiden Adriatic Sea roundtrip voyage visiting Kotor and Corfu. The 3,560-guest Majestic Princess then sails on a series of seven-, 14-, 21- and 28-day Mediterranean voyages departing Barcelona, Athens and Rome from April 9-May 14, 2017.
    Cruises to the Mediterranean
    In addition to Majestic Princess, Royal Princess features new 11-day Grand Mediterranean and 10-day Western Mediterranean combinable for a 21-day Grand Mediterranean Collection, as well as seven, 14-, 21- and 28-day sailings throughout the Mediterranean
    Scandinavia & Russia Cruises
    Regal Princess returns to Northern Europe, along with Crown Princess and Pacific Princess for popular cruise vacations to Scandinavia & Russia, offering an overnight in St. Petersburg with departures from London (Southampton or Dover) or Copenhagen. A new Pacific Princess Baltic Heritage itinerary includes overnights in Stockholm and St. Petersburg, sailing from London (Dover).
    British Isles Cruises
    The 2017 Europe season marks the line’s largest British Isles season ever with 12 departures on Caribbean Princess and two on Pacific Princess, including last night stays in Edinburgh offering the opportunity to visit the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo on select sailings. All 12-day British Isles cruises include a new late evening stay in Belfast and an option of an overnight in Dublin on select departures from London (Southampton).
    New Ports of Call
    Summer 2017 features maiden port calls to Haugesund (Norway), Oban (Scotland), Siracusa (Sicily, Italy), Ulvik (Norway), and St. Tropez (France).
    Iceland & Norway Cruises
    Both Crown Princess and Pacific Princess will offer North Cape voyages to the Arctic Circle during the peak midnight sun period around the summer solstice. Crown Princess will also visit the spectacular Norwegian fjords, while Pacific Princess will feature a maiden call in Haugesund, Norway.
    Pacific Princess will also offer 14-day Iceland & Norway itineraries visiting off-the-beaten path ports in Iceland and the Shetland Islands. She will also cross to the land of fire and ice on a Transatlantic passage featuring Iceland.
    European Land & Sea Vacations
    Guests can enhance their European travel with five unique Land & Sea Vacation options, which combine certain sailings with a fully-escorted land tour. Choices include Paris and the French Countryside; Ireland’s Ring of Kerry; Classic Italy, visiting popular sites in Venice, Florence and Rome; Imperial Treasures of Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Berlin; and Swiss Splendors featuring the mountain beauty of Interlaken and Lucrene, as well as a scenic boat trip on Lake Como.
    Source: (Cruise Industry News, Nov. 23, 2015 "Princess Announces 2017 Inaugural European Sailings of Majestic Princess”)
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
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Featured photo credit: Norwegian Cruise Lines
    The Norwegian Escape has celebrated its christening, marking the debut of the largest ship in Norwegian Cruise Line's fleet and the first in the line's new Breakaway Plus class.
    International musician Pitbull, who also served as godfather for the ship, performed a special pierside concert at PortMiami as part of the ceremony. Guy Harvey, who created the ship's hull artwork, was also a guest at the event.
    After a kickoff by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio, a surprise opening act saw acrobatic parkour performers take the stage (with the help of hidden trampolines). Radio personality Froggy from the “Elvis Duran Morning Show” was the event MC.
    Attendees also got a preview of Norwegian Escape's entertainment offerings as the casts of Tony Award-winning Broadway shows “After Midnight” and “Million Dollar Quartet” performed a selection of songs from each respective show.
    Norwegian Escape Details
    The new ship offers The Haven by Norwegian, a ship-within-a-ship concept that is the largest such area in the Norwegian fleet, centered around a three-story covered courtyard on the top of the ship. There is also an expanded forward sundeck with a cantilevered whirlpool, along with a new outdoor dining space in the Haven’s private restaurant.
    The ship's other dining options include signature specialty restaurants Le Bistro, Cagney’s and La Cucina, as well as two new specialty restaurants from James Beard Award-Winning Iron Chef Jose Garces: Bayamo, which serves Latin seafood, and Pincho Tapas Bar. Also new onboard is the Food Republic, a sophisticated food hall developed by Miami-based The Pubbelly Restaurant Group.
    Nightlife onboard includes outposts of several popular land-based outlets, including the first-ever Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar at sea, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront that features live nightly performances. The District Brew House, a craft beer hall featuring an exclusive partnership with Miami’s Wynwood Brewing Company, will serve more than 24 draft beers, while The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, features an array of wine experiences, focusing on tasting, education, and the enjoyment of wine. Norwegian Escapewill also have an outpost of Miami’s oldest bar, Tobacco Road.
    For recreation, there is the largest ropes course at sea, a three-story multiplex with two planks and five Sky Rails, zip tracks that allow guests to soar through the air. On the top of the ship, guests will find a redesigned pool deck area that features an open area for sunbathing, a double-deck bar and two new large format LED screens. Norwegian Escape’s Aqua Park includes a new tandemAqua Racer slide, complete with a clear acrylic section. For families, there is an expanded Kids’ Aqua Park with an enclosed slide, rope climb fun zone and spray cannons. Along with an expanded Splash Academy youth center that includes dedicated play spaces for specific age groups, Norwegian Escape also offers the line’s first nursery for cruisers two and under.
    In addition to family oceanview staterooms that accommodate up to five guests,Norwegian Escape’s accommodations include Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.
    Source: Newswire/Travel Agent Central (November 10, 2015 "Pitbull Christens Norwegian Escape")
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
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Featured photo credit: Norwegian Cruise Lines
    Photo courtesy of: The Toronto Sun
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