A new cruise destination has a name: Carnival’s new Dominican Republic cruise ship facility will be named Amber Cove. The $65million facility at Maimon Bay is due to open in 2014. The pier will be able to accomodate two post-panamax ships and more than 8,000 passengers. If Grand Turk and Roatan are a testament to Carnival’s creations, this facility should rate high on cruise itineraries.
Confidence is high: American Cruise Lines is so confident in the riverboat cruising sector, they are planning on another new riverboat newbuild. The Queen of the Mississippi is not yet sailing and they are planning for another ship.
Look at this major overhaul for Carnival Destiny: Thanks to CruiseIndustryNews for all the details: Carnival Cruise Lines will undertake its most ambitious refit project when the 1996-built Carnival Destiny undergoes a $155m transformation next year that will incorporate all of the Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment elements plus changes unique to the vessel.
After the 49-day drydock at Fincantieri is completed, the ship will be renamed Carnival Sunshine. The work is scheduled from February to April.
Seatrade Insider understands the project is the first in what will be a major, multi-ship initiative for Carnival which has been in the planning for some time, according to sources in Europe and close to the company.
This first refit will include a reconfigured layout, the addition of a partial deck and the expansion of two other decks within the forward section of the ship, providing the opportunity to incorporate a number of new spaces. The vessel will gain 182 accommodations, including 96 spa staterooms.
Following the drydock, Carnival Sunshine will embark on nine- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona and Venice from April to October 2013 then launch year-round seven-day Caribbean departures from New Orleans beginning November 2013.
‘This is our most ambitious ship conversion project to date and it will radically transform the Carnival Destiny into essentially an entirely new ship offering a variety of exciting dining and beverage choices, spectacular outdoor spaces and entertainment options, and on-board innovations not available anywhere else,’ according to Carnival president and ceo Gerry Cahill.
Carnival Sunshine will emerge with a classic American steak house, Fahrenheit 555, that will carry a surcharge consistent with other steak houses in the Carnival fleet. It will gain a full-service Asian restaurant, inspired by the line’s Mongolian wok casual eateries, but with an extensive menu (no charge for lunch with a nominal fee for dinner).
The ship will also have a Guy’s Burger Joint and Blue Iguana Cantina, both poolside and free of charge (like those on board Carnival Liberty), and Cucina del Capitano (Captain’s Kitchen), a family-style Italian spot that debuted on the new Carnival Magic last year (the casual lunch-time pasta bar is free; there’s a nominal charge for dinner).
Carnival Sunshine’s casual poolside eatery, Lido Marketplace, will add a new dining option, The Comfort Kitchen, with American-style ‘comfort food.’ A new lounge, Havana Bar, will be a tropical nightspot for cocktails, live Latin music and dancing, located aft within Lido Marketplace.
The two main dining rooms will be completely renovated, and the coffee bar will be newly designed. The ship will gain a RedFrog Pub and, poolside, a RedFrog Rum Bar and a BlueIguana Tequila Bar.
Other Fun Ship 2.0 elements will include an EA SPORTS Bar, a sports and video game lovers’ paradise with a 16-screen video wall, the vintage-themed cocktail ‘pharmacy’ Alchemy Bar and the quiet, cozy Library Bar.
The new Sunshine Bar will be an elegant lounge with sun-splashed interiors located at the lobby level of the atrium where passengers can have a cocktail, dance or listen to music. A new cigar bar concept is planned as well.
On the open decks, Carnival Sunshine will sport the line’s first three-deck-high version of its Serenity adults-only retreat, with an added complimentary dining area offering freshly made salads.
There will be a SportSquare recreation complex with a ropes course, mini-golf, a lighted half court for basketball and volleyball, jogging track, ping pong, pool and foosball tables, and a bar with a large flat-screen. Carnival Sunshine will have a WaterWorks area with slides and other water features and a poolside giant LED screen at the Seaside Theatre.
Still more elements will be Playlist Productions, combining live performances and special effects to create music revues produced by top directors and choreographers, and Hasbro, The Game Show, to be presented in the remodeled main show lounge. Piano Bar 88, a new twist on Carnival’s popular piano bar, will add theme nights and new décor. The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez will be on board, too.
And The Punchliner Comedy Brunch is planned for those who want a little merriment in the morning.
All staterooms will be fully revamped with a new tropical décor that combines bright colors and pastels. The 182 new staterooms will span a range of categories, from interior to balconies, including the 96 new spa staterooms.
In addition, there will be newly designed Camp Carnival areas for three age groups, the FunHub with flat-panel stations for web surfing, the transformation of the spa into a Cloud 9 Spa, and the addition of Cherry On Top, a shop selling bulk candy, gifts and novelties.
To better meet the needs of the growing family vacation market, Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it is revitalizing its current youth program and will implement a new best in class program fleet wide. The re-branded program will be introduced on Norwegian Gem in mid-February and will be rolled out to all of the line’s Freestyle Cruising ships subsequently.
“More and more families are choosing a cruise for their vacation since it represents such a good value and offers so much for the entire family. In fact, close to 150,000 children sailed on our ships in 2010 and that number continues to rise,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We’ve already taken family programming to the next level by offering Nickelodeon experiences on some ships. Now, we want to make sure that we are continuing to offer the best possible experience for families. To do this, we are investing millions of dollars in revamping our youth and family programming.”
The current program, Norwegian’s Kid’s Crew in place since 1999, will be renamed and the age groups are being redefined to better address the skills and interests of children. The new age groups will be: three to five years; six to eight years; nine to 12 years; along with two teen groups: 13 to 14 and 15 to 17 years. There will also be programming for babies and toddlers ages six months to two years.
The new fully developed and enhanced curriculum tailored to each age group is being produced in conjunction with The King’s Foundation and Camps, a United Kingdom-based organization that provides high quality sport and activity programs designed to make a positive impact on children. More focus will be placed on sporting activities, arts and crafts, theater and technology. Activities will change every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the age group and will be set within blocks of programming time in the morning, afternoon and evening.
The new curriculum will also include creative themes, such as circus day, theater/technology/sports and port of call day. The company has engaged Cirque Du Jour, a New York-based company that specializes in teaching children real circus skills such as scarf juggling, ball juggling, plate spinning, clowning and acrobatics. Circus workshops and shows will also be offered for the entire family.
In addition, the youth programs will be expanded to utilize other areas of the ships, including the sports courts, rock walls, theaters, lounges and public spaces and will feature more family events such as parades and scavenger hunts.
“We want to ensure our youth and teens are engaged in the programs we offer and that they are having fun,” said Richard Ambrose, Norwegian Cruise Line’s vice president of entertainment. “We have designed this new youth program to cater to the specific interests and skill sets of children and teens to ensure that they are having the vacation of a lifetime.”
The company is also investing in its youth staff, by increasing the ratio of staff to children and establishing new criteria for the hiring of counselors, including the requirement of a college degree in recreation or child care (or the equivalent experience).
Carnival ups the fun with Fun Ship 2.0: $500million to make enhancements to the fleet that will appeal to a wide variety of passengers. The list is extensive and specific so I want to thank the professionals at Cruise Industry News for their comprehensive coverage. The below article is copied directly from Cruise Industry News to ensure all details are listed and again, thanks guys:
Carnival Cruise Lines today unveiled Fun Ship 2.0, a program that it said will dramatically transform the onboard guest experience. The multi-year effort will offer guests new dining choices, more exciting bars and lounges, and entertainment options through partnerships and new branded spaces. In the first phase alone, which extends through the end of 2015, Carnival will invest more than $500 million across its fleet.
At an event today in New York City, Carnival announced partnerships with entertainer George Lopez, who will become Carnival’s creative director for comedy and enhance its fleetwide comedy clubs; Food Network star Guy Fieri, who will develop a burger venue called Guy’s Burger Joint; leading video game manufacturer EA SPORTS to create the first-ever EA SPORTS Bar at sea, and Hasbro for new larger-than-life game shows featuring iconic games and brands.
The company also worked with leading production talent to create a high-energy musical showcase and announced that celebrity song master DJ IRIE was named Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. Plus, Carnival announced more of its unique branded spaces with the RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar and three other fun themed bars and lounges, as well as a new complimentary BlueIguana Cantina casual dining option.
“Fun Ship 2.0 is the largest and most ambitious initiative that our company has ever undertaken and it will serve to significantly transform the Carnival vacation experience for our guests,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO. “Through breakthrough partnerships with some of today’s biggest talents and most popular entertainment brands, plus our very own new branded experiences and on-board destinations, Carnival fans and those new to our cruises are destined for an incredible vacation experience.”
The Carnival Liberty will be the first ship to feature many of the new dining and bar venues when it returns from a scheduled refurbishment later this month. Fourteen ships are scheduled to receive many of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements through 2015.
Through its partnership with comedian and TV personality George Lopez, Carnival will bring more laughs to The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez. As Carnival’s “curator of comedy,” Lopez will act as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of comedic talent in one of the line’s most popular nighttime entertainment options, and advise on décor, lighting, music and more to enhance the overall comedy club experience. Pre-recorded voice and video messages from Lopez will welcome guests and club patrons, and a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch will keep diners laughing with live comedic entertainment in the line’s main dining rooms. Over the next year, the revamped clubs will roll out fleetwide, creating laughter during multiple shows each voyage.
At Guy’s Burger Joint, Carnival and successful restaurateur, cookbook author and television star Guy Fieri have come together to cook up the best burgers at sea, and best of all, they’re free! Guests have a choice of delicious fresh-off-the-grill burgers designed by Fieri, or they can make their own at a condiment bar by adding a variety of tasty toppings. Burgers are complemented by hand-cut fries. For lunch, a snack or dinner, guests can drop by this laid-back poolside dining venue modeled after a road-side burger joint off an iconic coastal highway.
Under license from Hasbro, Inc., Carnival will create Hasbro, The Game Show, a new series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the popular Family Game Night television show from The Hub. Hasbro, The Game Show will put guests right in the middle of their favorite Hasbro games. Six main games are to be featured: Sorry Sliders, which involves a giant shuffleboard court; Simon Flash, where two teams of four guests wear giant light-up color boxes and must shuffle themselves quickly to repeat a color sequence; Yahtzee Bowling, with a giant ball and larger-than-life-sized bowling pins; Operation, which is set up like a skee-ball board where contestants try to get the balls into different slots on the “patient’s” body, and Connect 4 Basketball, which uses a basketball setup rather than the traditional checkers to play.
Carnival also said its new themed bars and lounges will fit any occasion, offering guests new destinations in a distinctive environment and signature drink menus to provide unique and unforgettable experiences. These bars will encourage guests to socialize and try interesting drink concoctions formulated by expert mixologists.
Carnival has partnered with EA SPORTS, the leading sports videogame brand in the world, on a new sports bar concept. Designed to be the ultimate hangout for sports fanatics, guests can play their favorite EA SPORTS videogames, watch live sports on a massive video wall comprised of 16 different 46-inch big-screen displays, and keep up with real-time sports scores 24/7 live on the ticker. Whether challenging their sports knowledge during daily trivia contests, competing in EA SPORTS videogame tournaments or just catching the latest sports action, patrons can enjoy a full drink menu and popular sports bar snacks.
Shorts and flip flops are welcome at Carnival’s two new fun and relaxed poolside destinations. RedFrog Rum Bar offers guests a Caribbean vacation vibe with a pool-side version of the Caribbean themed RedFrog Pub, which debuted on the Carnival Magic. It will specialize in Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s private label draft brew, ThirstyFrog Red. Just across the deck will be BlueIguana Tequila Bar, providing a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and specializing in tequila-based frozen drinks and Mexican beers. Live music will fill the area as performers will entertain patrons at both bars, along with those enjoying fun in the sun by the pool.
“To cure what ails you,” Alchemy Bar is Carnival’s vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy,” the go-to spot for guests who are seeking a unique experience with interesting drink flavors and ingredients. Carnival’s mixologists will “prescribe” concoctions from different fun categories or guests can also try their hand at creating their own custom cocktails. Meanwhile, The Library Bar is a new intimate cocktail lounge featuring bar service and automatic wine dispensers, ideal for guests seeking a more relaxed and quiet venue.
Carnival is also expanding on its array of dining options with new venues that focus on free favorite foods that are popular among guests, including burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint and fresh Mexican cuisine at the new BlueIguana Cantina. This complimentary poolside dining destination offers guests freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas they can make their own with a variety of salsas and toppings. Hungry vacationers can also watch the tortilla maker create fresh wheat and jalapeño tortillas, then enjoy three types of tacos with a variety of toppings, and three kinds of burritos with fantastic fillings, plus chips and salsa.
Carnival promised to take shipboard entertainment to a new level. Working with leaders and industry experts from George Lopez and Hasbro to DJ IRIE and top Broadway producers, Carnival said it will offer not only a larger variety of new high-caliber entertainment but also more interactive shows for guests to enjoy.
Playlist Productions is a retooling of the line’s legendary revues that combine live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects that Carnival said will set a new standard in seagoing productions. These popular music-driven revues featuring a diversity of musical styles, genres and eras are designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of guests. Playlist Performances will have guests singing along and dancing in their seats during the hit-packed, 30-minute shows created by leading producers, directors and choreographers who have worked on critically acclaimed productions for Broadway, London’s West End and some of the world’s most popular musical acts.
Guests will groove to “Motor City” which celebrates the R&B Motown sound of the 1960s and ‘70s, and “Divas” which combines music, dance and fashion to feature tunes from iconic female entertainers. “Latin Nights” offers a fusion of Latin culture, rhythmic music and hot choreography while “The Brits!” features tunes from the UK’s most famous artists of all time. These exciting new shows will premiere on Carnival Breeze when it enters service next summer, followed by other vessels.
Known for keeping Miami and Las Vegas crowds pumped and on their feet, award-winning DJ IRIE was also named the Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. In this new role, he will create and lead “DJ IRIE’s Spin’iversity” to train and develop the musical skills and personalities of on-board DJ talent to boost the overall music experience for guests of all ages. Carnival is further enhancing its night club experience, offering a unique and lively atmosphere and expanded music offerings.
Prolong your stay onboard: Celebrity Cruise Lines will also offer delayed debarkation on European cruises. For $59 you can extend your stay onboard the ship on debarkation day until the afternoon vs leaving the ship early in the morning. For $59 you will have access to the pools, spa, fitness center and other areas. You will be required to vacate your room by 9am, but you will still be able to enjoy a few more hours onboard the ship. Nonalcoholic beverages will be available along with crepes at Bistro on Five (very delicious) and you can even watch a movie. Think of this as your post-cruise shore excursion. $59 seems a little high. I wonder if they will reimburse you if you spend $50 onboard that day!
Steamboatin’ era is back: American Cruise Lines’ Queen of the Mississippi will take you back in time and entertain you in style aboard their new paddlewheeler. Enjoy dancing and live entertainment in the Paddlewheel Lounge. Have a drink and play the calliope in the Calliope Lounge. Onboard lecturers or period dressed Mark Twain impersonators will entertain you with Mississippi lore. Folks dressed in period costumes, Dixieland bands, music, and various entertainment options will take you back to a bygone era. It appears that American Cruise Lines is serious about ensuring guests have an authentic steamboat experience on their new paddlewheeler and are going the extra mile to ensure a unique and memorable cruise.
Debarkation Blues: Hate the last morning of the cruise when you have to leave the ship? Unlike a hotel, check-out on a cruise ship is not only early, but a mass exodus as everyone has to be off the ship in order to accomodate new passengers. Royal Caribbean experimented with late debarkation for cruises sailing Europe itineraries. There is a fee of course, but you have access to the ship until 12noon, including food and drink. You still have to vacate your cabin by 9:00am, but you can enjoy the ship for a few more hours instead of sitting in an uninviting airport terminal. Azamara Club Cruises (owned by Royal Caribbean International) is in the planning stages and pilot program offering late debarkation for its European cruises. If this catches on, maybe all cruise lines will offer this option and hopefully it will be offered on Caribbean sailings. Luggage/Valet service has grown in popularity and availability and maybe late debarkation will also.
An ugly ship now has sisters with ugly names: NCL ran a contest asking the public to help name their new Project Breakaway ships arriving in 2013 and 2014. Out of 230,00+ entries NCL winnowed the list to Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Escape, and Norwegian Bliss. The last 3 names all sounded like cruise ship name winners. Well, guess what: just as ugly in its appearance of its ship: Norwegian Epic, NCL chose the two ugliets names for their new ships – yep – Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. Those poor offspring will now have to live with such hideous names AND I thought Oasis and Allure were bad names for Royal Caribbean’s giants. In any case, congratulations to those who won a free cruise for the names chosen.
No butts about it: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today they are eliminating smoking in cabins effective January 2012. Passengers will still be allowed to smoke on their balconies (to the dismay of their neighbors). Cigar and pipe smoking is prohibited on balconies. Indoor smoking will only be allowed in designated areas of the Casino and on ships that provide an enclosed cigar bar. Outdoor smoking will be permitted in designated areas and never permitted in food service areas, jogging track, children’s pool, and other off-limits open public areas.
Pizza, Pizza, Pan, Pan: Like having your pizza delivered while relaxing at home? Would you like your pizza delivered to you while on a cruise ship to almost anywhere you are on the ship? Norwegian Cruise Line will offer pizza delivery service fleetwide in the next few months; a service once only offered on the Norwegian Epic. The 16-inch stone baked pizzas are $5 each. Home delivery takes on a new meaning.
New European shore excursions: Norwegian Cruise Lines and its Freestyle cruising concept is offering some new and exciting shore tours for its guests. Article taken from Cruise Industry News – thanks: For culinary-inclined guests who want to dine their way across Europe, the Ultimate Taste of Dalmatia in Dubrovnik, Croatia will please even the most discerning taste buds. Guests travel through the village of Orasac to sample local cuisines as well as a visit to Ston, the “oyster capital” of Croatia. Also included in the tour is a demonstration of how olive oil is made. For those who want to combine adventure with their dining experience, the Pisa Fly-over by Helicopter and Wine Tasting is the perfect pairing. The tour starts with a fly over the Tower of Pisa and surrounding vineyards and ends with wine tasting of famed Tuscan wines at the Torre a Cenaia Estate, an ancient property once owned by the Noble Florentine Pitti family.
If playing the quintessential tourist and spending the day sightseeing the culturally-rich towns and villages sounds appealing, a variety of historical tours are offered. Experience the local culture of St. Petersburg, Russia in a two day tour with Best of St. Petersburg. A local guide escorts guests through Catherine’s Palace, an old summer residence of the Royal Family; the Hermitage Museum, the largest art museum in Russia; the Peterhof Grand Palace, a castle that rivals Versailles as well as a stop in the town of Pushkin. For any Olympic fanatic, the Best of Olympia (Katakolon), Greece is a must. The excursion explores the history of the Olympic Games with a tour of the first Olympic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera and the Gymnasium.
For a day of family fun, visit the local aquarium on the Palma Aquarium and Orientation tour in Palma, Majorca, Spain. Guests of all ages can explore the 55 different aquariums that contain over 8,000 specimens from the Mediterranean Sea, Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. For those with kids of an exploratory nature, the Chugging on the Molli Steam Train excursion from Warnemuende, Germany is a perfect option. “Molli,” a narrow gauge steam train, takes guests on a journey from Bad Doberan, a former summer residence of the Dukes of Mecklenburg, to either Heiligendam or Kuehlungsborn. These old seaside resorts offer families the chance to stroll along the beach promenade or village center.
Up in Smoke: Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Holland America have modified their smoking policy to ban smoking in all cabins. Princess goes one step further and bans smoking on all balconies. These modifications are based on passenger surveys and the cruise lines indicate a small percentage of passenger are smokers. We will have to wait for the “official” outcry, but postings are showing smokers upset and commenting that if they pay for a balcony they will do what they want; however, non-smokers who also pay for a balcony don’t want to smell their neighbor’s smoke. The debate goes on. Ironically, the smoking policy on cruise ships continues to evolve to a more restictive policy, yet Carnival’s purpose built non-smoking ship (even the builders and crew could not smoke. Passengers had to sign a form stating they understood the non-smoking policy) is no longer non-smoking, but the trend is continuing towards less smoking options.
A bite of the Big Apple: New York, New York will see a year-round miracle. Carnival Cruise Lines announced today the 2,124 passenger Carnival Miracle will be the cruise line’s first year-round ship sailing out of New York beginning April 2012. The Carnival Miracle will sail rotating 8 day cruises to San Juan, St Thomas, and Grand Turk OR Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Nassau from April through October. From November through April the itinerary will feature Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Freeport. This is a great ship and one of my favorites. The year-round sailing from New York offers northeast cruisers the option of saving $$$ on airfare & fees (especially baggage fees) by driving to the port.
Big Move, Big Ship: Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas will be alone no more in China. Big, Big sis Voyager of the Seas will be joining her in the summer of 2012 offering China cruise expansion. Voyager of the Seas will head to Australia in the fall of 2012 offering cruises down under on the largest cruise ship in the region.
No jacket required: How much fun do you have hauling your life jacket to the life boat drill with the strap dangling behind you; or, how much fun do you have wearing your life jacket as you maneuver the stairways to your muster station? When Oasis of the Seas was being built Royal Caribbean noticed that the Coast Guard rules did not state that you had to have a life jacket for the drill – you just had to have them available for all passengers and a demonstration on how to wear and secure the life jacket had to be demonstrated for all passengers. Imagine 6,0000 passengers hauling and wearing life jackets and performing a safety drill in an organized and timely manner? Because of the success of Royal Caribbean’s lead on the new process, several cruise lines have followed suit. Not all ships of the same line perform the safety drill the same way, but there is hope that this less than desirable process at the beginning of our vacation is being streamlined and will become more seemless. Thanks Royal Caribbean.
A new best bud: Carnival Cruise Line’s popular mascot, Funship Freddy, will soon have a new friend (and let’s hope not a rival). An unnamed 6ft tall Towel Elephant has been seen on the Carnival Dream and will soon be a very busy cruiser with appearances on the Carnival Imagination, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Magic, and Carniva Freedom.
Name Change: SilverSea Cruises Prince Albert II will not only undergo maintenance in drydock before its summer season in Europe and the Arctic, it will also receive a new name: Silver Explorer.
Europe is HOT: Holland America has announced its 2012 Europe schedule with 44 different itineraries ranging from 7 to 35 day cruises. Seven of Holland America’s 15 ships will cruise Europe ranging from Norway to the Mediterranean. The ships sailing are: Eurodam, Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam and Ryndam.
New Navigator homeport: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas will now reposition to Port Everglades for the winter of 2011/2012 offering 5 to 9 night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises November 20 2011 through April 14 2012. Navigator of the Seas was originally scheduled to sail from Barcelona for the winter offering 14 day Mediterranean cruises.
A name and a destination: American Cruise Lines, the small ship cruising company that re-emerged a few years ago, is now planning on expanding their itineraries to include the great state of Alaska in 2012 bringing the Alaskan frontier up close and personal. Along with this new announcement comes the name of their new paddlewheeler that will be sailing the Mississppi River in 2012. The ship is to debut in June 2012, but is impressively ahead of schedule. The name of this new riverboat is Queen of the Mississippi. Currently, the owners of the company are having to make a decision as to their next newbuild: a sister to the Independence or a sister to the yet built riverboat Queen of the Mississippi. Not a bad position to be in as this small cruise line gains popularity.