News Archive - May 2012

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013
  Cruise News Archive Who cares about old news? We do! Years: 2000 - 2012 CruiseMates RSS News Feed Add to My Yahoo!
Add CruiseMates to your My Yahoo
See the Newest Updated TSA Security Requirements and Passport Required for All Cruisers, Starting June 1st, 2009.

5-30-12 To the Horizon and Beyond! Disney Wonder Offering Special Pixar Cruises This Fall

A new cast of characters will stroll the decks and visit with guests aboard the Disney Wonder as Mr. Incredible, Remy, Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and other memorable characters from Pixar Animation Studios' award-winning films make their shipboard debut during four special Pixar-inspired seven-night California Coastal cruises Sept. 16 through Oct. 14, 2012. During these voyages, Disney Cruise Line guests will be able to interact with and explore the world of Pixar and their beloved films while the Disney Wonder sails to popular port cities along the coast of California. Special entertainment and offerings designed for both children and adults include:

  • Pixar Presentations and Sneak Peeks: Artists and filmmakers from Pixar Animation Studios will provide guests with an inside look at the creative process used in the development of an animated feature or short. Guests will go behind the scenes and explore the making of Pixar's newest release "Brave" and get a look at footage of future Pixar films.
  • The Art of Pixar: Storyboards, character sketches, environment paintings, maquettes and other inspiring concept art used to design Pixar films will be on display in a special art exhibition at sea. This collection of art has only been seen outside of Pixar Animation Studios when it has been displayed at leading art museums around the world. This time the art will truly be a "traveling" exhibition as the Disney Wonder sails up and down the California coast.
  • Pixar Film Fest: Guests will be able to enjoy the entire Pixar library of films while onboard, including a selection of delightful animated shorts. Viewing opportunities will take place in the Buena Vista Theatre, Walt Disney Theatre, at the jumbo LED screen on deck or on in-stateroom televisions. The voyages coincide with the theatrical premiere of "Finding Nemo 3D," which guests can enjoy at either of the two theatres equipped with state-of-the-art Dolby 3D projection systems.
  • Pixar Character Encounters: More than a dozen Pixar characters will meet with and greet guests throughout the cruise. There will be a special Pixar-themed dance parties in the Atrium Lobby and a host of other opportunities for guests to reconnect with their favorite Pixar pals.

Guests sailing on the Pixar-themed voyages will also receive a commemorative lithograph created by Pixar artist and "Brave" co-director/screenwriter, Steve Purcell. The Disney Wonder will sail out of Los Angeles and visit San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico during the four Pixar-themed voyages. Rates for the seven-night voyages start at $799 per person for a deluxe inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888/DCL-2500 or contact their travel agent.

Back to Top

5-25-12 Disney Cruise Line Greets NYC with World's Largest Bumper Sticker

Marks First-Ever Disney Voyages from Manhattan

This morning, Disney Cruise Line's flagship vessel, the Disney Magic, arrived in New York Harbor donning the world's largest bumper sticker. Usually found on the back of family minivans, the 50-foot-long by 11-foot-wide super-sized sticker is larger than a city bus. The ship will depart this afternoon, marking the beginning of Disney's first-ever consumer sailings out of Manhattan – allowing local residents to experience a Disney vacation in their own backyard. (Heidi Gutman, photographer)

Back to Top

5-18-12 Breaking News: Seabourn will give a refund to the couple bounced off of Sojourn for missing a boat drill.

Travel Agent Steve Shulem just told CruiseMates that the couple that was just left in Lisbon by the captain of the Seabourn Sojourn will get a refund for the number of days they will miss on the cruise they had planned.

The elderly couple (husband 90, wife 84) was ejected from Sojourn on May 12 in Lisbon, Portugal, against their will when the wife claimed she was too ill to attend the second boat drill of her trip. The couple was warned that they would be put off the ship if she did not comply, but the woman still refused to budge. As a result, when the husband returned from the drill, which he did attend, he found staff members already packing his and her clothes so they could be put off the ship.

Shulem says that he spoke personally to Seabourn president Rick Meadows and that Seabourn had thought about the issue and decided a compromise was in the best interest of everyone. The exact refund will be the per diem amount of the cost of the cruise for the number of days the couple will not be on the ship.

In addition - Shulem once again reiterated the importance of getting the word out that cruise lines are cracking down on safety in all respects and that includes the passenger conduct. "When it comes to cruise ship safety, passengers are going to have to realize that they are now part of the process. They have the responsibility to do their part to make and keep cruise ships safer." For the complete story on what happened with this couple read this article. Zero Tolerance Policies.

To comment on this topic - go here.

Back to Top

5-16-12 Last Days to Enter Royal Caribbean's "Shell Yourself" Photo Contest

Award-Winning Cruise Line Invites Travelers to Pose with a "Shellphone" to Win a Best-in-Class Cruise Vacation Anywhere Royal Caribbean Sails Plus a Trip to Miami to Star in a Photo Shoot

For Royal Caribbean International fans, the world is their oyster – or shell! To celebrate the launch of new 2013-14 itineraries, the cruise line is hosting a "Shell Yourself" Facebook photo contest that will award one lucky winner with a complimentary cruise vacation, plus a trip to Miami to star in their very own professional photo shoot. The contest is a playful nod to Royal Caribbean's new global brand campaign which taps into consumers' emotional connection with the ocean via playful imagery of a "shellphone," a conch shell used as a phone, to illustrate its decree: "The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally."

With only a few days left to enter, consumers can submit their entries by sneding a photo of themselves posing with a "shellphone" via the "Shell Yourself Contest" tab at www.Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean and telling the cruise line where they'd like to sail and how they'd like to be treated royally. One winner will receive a seven-night cruise for two anywhere Royal Caribbean sails, plus two round-trip tickets to get there. And there's more – the winner will also receive a one-night trip to Miami to star in a professional photo shoot that may be featured in the cruise line's new worldwide cruises brochure. The final day for entries is Friday, May 18, 2012.

Inspiration is available on the contest tab page via videos of the new brand campaign, plus a comprehensive map outlining everywhere Royal Caribbean sails – including new itineraries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Mediterranean and Alaska, as well as newly revitalized ships sailing to the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.

Royal Caribbean provides a world-class vacation experience with a wide range of signature onboard amenities, entertainment, and award-winning family programming. The cruise line has a 40-year history of giving guests the Royal Advantage – the most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to popular destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service. Royal Caribbean has been voted "Best Cruise Line Overall" for nine consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers' Choice Awards. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow Royal Caribbean on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter, @RoyalCaribbean.

Back to Top

5-14-12 Celebrity Millennium Rounds Out Celebrity's 'Solsticizing' Initiative

One of the most ambitious revitalization initiatives in the history of the cruise industry has just been completed. Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Millennium set sail Saturday from the Port of Miami, fresh from becoming the fourth and final Millennium Class ship to complete the line's $140-million "Solsticizing" process, incorporating a host of the venues and experiences guests love most on the Solstice Class ships. The initiative was completed within less than two years, with each ship completing the massive transformation over the course of an only three-week drydock period.

"Solsticizing has been such an exciting initiative for us – and more importantly, for our guests, as indicated by their response to each of our Solsticized ships," said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "Our Millennium Class ships already had a large and loyal following, having repeatedly ranked at the top of many of the world's most prestigious consumer polls, and their original style, design and ambience served as significant inspiration for the design of the Solstice Class. So now, we're bringing it full circle, incorporating on the entire Millennium Class what our guests enjoy most on the Solstice Class. It ties our whole fleet together in a very powerful way."

One of the many Solstice Class features added to the Millennium Class ships* is Celebrity's trendsetting AquaClass category of staterooms, with spacious, private verandas; exclusive access to the stylish specialty restaurant, Blu; complimentary access to the Persian Garden and Relaxation Room in the AquaSpa; a personal Spa Concierge to book exotic AquaSpa treatments; use of plush Frette bathrobes and slippers; enhanced personal care products, and plentiful in-room amenities, including Hansgrohe shower heads, fog-free bathroom mirrors, aromatherapy selections, and daily deliveries of complimentary bottled water and teas. [*Note: AquaClass and its host of amenities will be added to Celebrity Constellation in 2013.]

Another Celebrity exclusive – "Qsine," the novel restaurant introduced on Celebrity Eclipse in 2010 and Celebrity Silhouette this year – is also dazzling guests on Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Millennium as a result of each ship's revitalization. The first restaurant at sea to present a menu and wine list on an iPadTM, Qsine serves a blend of classic and contemporary dishes in custom-made serveware, such as spring rolls served in vertical springs, and popcorn shrimp in theater-style popcorn boxes. Described in press reviews as "the latest and most innovative restaurant," "cutting-edge," and "appealingly quirky," the restaurant and menu were designed to take what guests expect of a specialty restaurant and "turn it upside down" in a captivating, entertaining and flavorful way.

Joining AquaClass, Blu and Qsine* in the "Solsticizing" initiative are:

  • the hip Celebrity iLounge, which debuted on Celebrity Eclipse and made Celebrity Cruises the industry's first Authorized Apple Reseller (to be added to Celebrity Constellation in 2013).
  • Celebrity's "eXhale" bedding program, in partnership with Reverie®, a leader in the field of luxury bedding. Hand-made in the U.S. with natural raw materials such as bamboo and sustainable natural rubber, the mattresses are almost entirely recyclable and biodegradable, feature removable, hypo-allergenic, antibacterial and dust mite-resistant covers, and a breathable, plush pillow top with a patented air flow design. Rounding out Celebrity's eXhale bedding program are custom-embroidered, 100% Egyptian cotton linens (to be added to Celebrity Constellation in 2013).
  • A new twist within Celebrity's casually elegant bar, Michael's Club, where its selection of fine whiskies, cognac, bourbons and scotches is now complemented with craft beers, including 50 international selections (the new Michael's Club concept will be added to Celebrity Constellation in 2013)
  • the "cool," ice-topped Martini Bar and Crush
  • Celebrity's vibrant creperie, Bistro on Five
  • the inviting Café al Bacio and Gelateria
  • Cellarmasters wine bar, complete with the "Enomatic" state-of-the-art wine serving system – an industry-first when it debuted on Celebrity Solstice – allowing guests to select wines by the glass, at the touch of a button
  • entirely new verandas added to the ship's spacious, luxurious Celebrity Suites
  • additional new oceanview and inside staterooms
  • an expanded collection of original, contemporary art

* During the Solsticizing of Celebrity Constellation in 2010, the Solstice Class-inspired specialty restaurant "Tuscan Grille" – an Italian-themed steakhouse – was added to the ship, within the space occupied by Qsine on her sister ships.

Celebrity Millennium is currently on a Panama Canal voyage from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego. Following a 5-night wine-themed cruise from San Diego to Vancouver May 27, the ship will offer 7-night Northbound and Southbound Alaska sailings between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska.

Back to Top

5-11-12 Oceania Cruises Christens 'Riviera' in Barcelona

Celebrity Chef Cat Cora (right), co-host of the new Bravo TV series "Around the World in 80 Plates," officiated as godmother to christen Oceania Cruises' new ship, Riviera, during a gala ceremony held today in Barcelona. As the 15-liter bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne commemoratively smashed against the hull, Cora was joined by Frank Del Rio, the cruise line's founder and chairman, embracing Kunal S. Kamlani, the line's president; and Luca Manzi, the ship's captain.

Oceania Cruises christened Riviera, the newest entry in the upper-premium cruise ship market, during an invitation-only, gala ceremony in Barcelona today. The ship's godmother, Chef Cat Cora, the restaurateur, humanitarian, author, and co-host of Bravo's new "Around the World in 80 Plates," named the ship, joined by Deacon Ricardo Rodriguez-Martos of the Barcelona's Apostleship of the Sea, who bestowed the traditional blessings.

The national anthems of the U.S. and Spain, together with a Catalan flamenco performance and a duet of "Barcelona" performed by Soprano Alina Furman and Tenor Giorgio Olmo set a festive atmosphere for the ceremony.

Nearly 1,300 guests, including Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona; Sixte Cambra, president of the Port of Barcelona and Jose Alberto Carbonell, director of the Port of Barcelona, were in attendance. Frank J. Del Rio, the line's founder and chairman, and Kunal S. Kamlani, the line's president, presided over festivities that concluded with a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne (weighing some 114 kilos), custom-made by Veuve Clicquot, commemoratively breaking against the ship's hull.

"Today, the baton as the world's premiere ship has passed to Riviera," said Del Rio. "When asked, I've repeatedly said that it was going to be hard to improve on Marina's perfection, but I didn't say it would be impossible. And we have done just that - improved on perfection."

In thanking the invited guests, local hosts and dignitaries in attendance, Kamlani noted that Barcelona, a city renowned for its charm, diversity of cultures, art and design, was the ideal setting for the christening as, "Riviera is a work of art herself, and designed to bring the beauty of the world to our guests." Barcelona also holds a special significance for Oceania Cruises as the line's first ship, Regatta, was named in Barcelona in 2003.

Like Marina, her sister ship, Riviera also features a Bon Appétit Culinary Center, a Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, luxurious suites by Dakota Jackson, Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner's Suites, and a grand Lalique staircase lit from above by a dazzling, custom-made chandelier. Her distinguishing features include a museum-worthy collection of fine art focusing on the works of some of Latin America's most accomplished and admired contemporary artists and an Artist Loft with hands-on instruction.

Following the christening cruise, Riviera begins a 10-day maiden voyage from Venice to Athens, departing on May 16, 2011. From May 16 through November 29, 2012, she will offer a total of 20 Mediterranean voyages, calling at ports in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Turkey as well as Israel, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Morocco and Monaco, with maiden calls in Cephalonia (Argostoli), Motril (Granada) and the Canary Islands.

To learn more about Riviera, contact a travel professional, visit OceaniaCruises.com or call toll-free at 800-531-5658.

Back to Top

5-8-12 Keel Laid for Norwegian Breakaway at Meyer Werft

First block set in place as Norwegian's first Breakaway class ship begins to take shape

Norwegian Cruise Line executives and officials from MEYER WERFT took part in the Keel Laying Ceremony of Norwegian Breakaway at the ship yard in Papenburg, Germany on Friday, May 4. During the official ceremony, the first of 73 blocks that will comprise the 144,000 gross ton vessel was lifted into the covered building dock, marking the start of the block assembly. In the dock, Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer, laid the traditional "lucky coin," before the 350-ton first block was placed by the 800-ton crane. A special commemorative coin was created to celebrate the day's activities. A virtual version of the coin will be available tonight at 9 pm ET on the line's Facebook page for fans to see and share with their friends. "The anticipation is building for this incredible ship," said Sheehan. "It's thrilling to mark the start of the block assembly and realize that in one year we will take delivery of Norwegian Breakaway. We can't wait." Norwegian Breakaway is the first ship being built by MEYER WERFT utilizing a more efficient construction process which will deliver a ship of more than 140,000 gross tons in less than 12 months. "We are so proud to begin the process of constructing the ship out of 73 blocks that form the structure of the ship and are looking forward to seeing it take shape over the coming months," said Bernard Meyer, managing director of MEYER WERFT. "Norwegian Cruise Line has a reputation in the industry for innovation and we are very happy to continue that with this new ship." The 4,000 passenger Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her year-round homeport of New York City in early May 2013. The ship will begin weekly summer seven-day cruises to Bermuda on Sunday, May 12, 2013. From October 2013 through April 2014, the ship will offer voyages from the heart of Manhattan to the Bahamas & Florida and the Southern Caribbean. To date, the company has revealed the ship's groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that will create a whole new complex at sea that enhances guests' connection with the ocean. The top decks of Norwegian Breakaway will feature the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides, the first ever at sea, and a three-story sports complex that includes the largest ropes course at sea, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and more. The ship will also feature a rich mix of stateroom options including The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 Suites at the top of the ship and 18 additional Suites located throughout the ship; the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; the re-introduction of Oceanview staterooms, Balcony and Mini-Suites; along with Spa Balcony, Mini-Suites and Suites in close proximity to the spa. For more information on the incredible features and accommodations on Norwegian Breakaway, visit www.breakaway.ncl.com. To book a cruise on Norwegian Breakaway, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 or visit www.ncl.com. Comment on today's announcement on our Facebook page: www.ncl.com/facebook.

Back to Top

5-3-12 Princess Cruises to Base Ship Year Round in San Francisco

Grand Princess Will Offer Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and California Coast Sailings

Princess Cruises announced today that for the first time it will base a ship in San Francisco year round, beginning in May 2013. The extensively renovated Grand Princess will first offer a series of Alaska cruises during the summer months from the "City by the Bay," followed by a schedule of Hawaiian Islands, Mexico and the California Coast sailings during the fall 2013 to spring 2014 season.

Last year the 2,600-passenger Grand Princess underwent the largest drydock in Princess Cruises history, adding a host of new features so that passengers will enjoy the same onboard experience as offered by the line's other newer ships.

"Princess has been cruising from San Francisco nearly as long as our company has been in operation, so we have a rich history with the city, and we are the leading cruise line homeporting there," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "Our Bay Area passengers and travel agents have long been asking for more cruise options from San Francisco and our new year-round schedule with Grand Princess will now give them a great selection of itinerary choices, plus the benefit of sailing on a ship that offers our signature features and amenities."

"Princess ships have been cruising from San Francisco for more than 40 years, and we greatly appreciate the company's longstanding partnership with our city," said Monique Moyer, executive director of the Port of San Francisco. "We are delighted to now have our first year-round ship based here, and it is a natural fit that the vessel is the caliber of Grand Princess. Having this ship sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and berth at the foot of Coit Tower will be spectacular, both for the passengers on board and the people of San Francisco."

During the 2013-14 season Grand Princess will sail roundtrip from San Francisco to:

Alaska - Grand Princess' first Alaska season features 10-day Inside Passage sailings. The ship will offer 13 voyages featuring the stunning scenery of Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm, with calls at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria. Cruises depart between May 10 and September 7, 2013.

Mexico - Grand Princess will offer two sailings on a new 10-day itinerary to Mexico, featuring two new ports for Princess - Loreto and La Paz, both in Baja California. Passengers will also enjoy calls at Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Sailings depart on September 17, 2013 and March 5, 2014.

California Coastal - An increasingly popular Princess itinerary, Grand Princess will take passengers to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles (Long Beach), San Diego, and Ensenada. Four sailings are offered on September 27 and October 19, 2013; plus March 15 and April 6, 2014.

Hawaiian Islands - Passengers can explore each of the main Hawaiian islands on this 15-day voyage to the Big Island (Hilo), Oahu (Honolulu), Kauai (Nawiliwili), Maui (Lahaina), and Ensenada. Grand Princess will offer 12 departures between October 4, 2013 and April 28, 2014.

During last year's drydock Grand Princess added a variety of passenger amenities, including a completely new Piazza atrium, several new eateries - including Alfredo's Pizzeria and the Crown Grill - and the line's first specialty tea lounge called Leaves. Also included in the renovation were a remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery; enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner's Martini Lounge and a new nightclub, The One5.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company's website at www.princess.com.

Back to Top

Recommended Articles