For many years MSC Cruises has allowed children under age 2 to sail free on all sailings and for children ages 2-11 to sail free on select sailings. Starting next summer, teens ages 12-17 will also sail free on select sailings in the low and mid-season! On-board programming is available for all ages including baby care. MSC also features the LEGO Experience at Sea, including LEGO-designed playrooms, entertainment options, contests, games and character meet and greets. Other child-friendly activities and amenities include waterparks, 4D movie cinema, separate laundry for babies, DOREMI family activities, personalized prepaid debit card for children 7 to 17 years-old and more. Four new ships are slated to launch between 2017 and 2019. The first, the 4,140-passenger MSC Seaside, will debut in December and sail out of Miami. The ship will showcase plenty of waterslides, water playground and more.
Halloween is a ghoulishly good time with Disney Cruise Line’s Halloween on the High Seas. All four Disney ships have already seen a complete transformation with festive decorations, costume parties, special shows, tasty treats and more. It’s the perfect way to add a little spookiness to your cruise. Some of the highlights include:
Mysterious Pumpkin Trees: Each ship will have their own unique pumpkin tree. These eerie centerpieces will go from ominously quiet to the life of the party each night.
Mouse-Querade: This costume party will feature Disney characters with a Halloween twist. Your family will enjoy dancing, games and candy.
A Nightmare Before Christmas – Sing and Scream: Join Jack and Sally for a special interactive movie experience as you venture into Halloween Town and meet the couple after the show.
Haunted Stories of the Sea: No Halloween party is complete without ghost stories. You family can gather around as a mysterious sea captain tells the spooky tales of those who once sailed the high seas.
Adults-only costume contest: Each ship’s nighttime entertainment district will host a costume contest that will prove that Halloween isn’t just for kids. A Villainous Takeover on the dance floor will really get the party going.
Attention theater lovers: Stephen Schwartz is continuing his relationship with Princess Cruises by writing and producing a new stage show for the line. The Secret Silk is Schwartz’s third Princess show. The story is a classic Asian folk tale with a contemporary spin. It is about a young woman with a secret, and the magical ability to create brilliant silk fabric. The 50-minute show also features puppets by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Magic to Do was the first show Schwartz created for Princess and is a revue of his amazing work. It includes on-stage illusions and some of his most famous songs, including Day by Day and Defying Gravity. It is being staged on Crown Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess. His second show, Born to Dance, celebrates Broadway dance. The multimedia production traces the journey of renowned artists and shows that made musical theater history. It is being produced on Grand Princess, Star Princess and Golden Princess. In addition to being staged on Diamond Princess, The Secret Silk will be produced on Regal Princess in early 2018.
For many of our families, wildlife viewing is a top vacation priority. For spring break next year Lindblad Expedition’s is offering a $500 air credit plus $1,000 off for children on their Whales and Wilderness sailings in March and April. Spring in the Sea of Cortez is among the best times and places to see a great variety of whales—humpback, sperm, fin, Bryde’s, and blue whales—plus large aggregations of dolphins. Your family will explore its many islands free from tourist infrastructure that are also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The flexible itinerary means the boat is free to follow the seasonal movements of wildlife to optimize sightings. Explore caves by kayak, hike uninhabited beaches, snorkel among the sea lions and more under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, six veteran naturalists, including two Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructors and an undersea specialist, plus a wellness specialist! Sailing are aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea Lion.
Disney Cruise Line continues to grow! The line has has upsized its order of new ships from two to three, revealing that another new ship is set to debut in 2022. The move follows last year’s announcement that the family cruise line would build two ships in Germany with scheduled completion dates of 2021 and 2023. This latest 135,000-ton ship will be built at the same shipyard and launched the year in between the two previously announced vessels. All three are designed to be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas and have around 1,250 cabins, carrying upwards of 2,500 passengers, which is slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, launched back in 2011 and 2012. The new names, design plans and itineraries are still in development, but each ship is expected to have its own unique features. According to a media statement, the new ships “will usher in the next generation of innovative cruise experiences designed especially for families that will transform the art-of-cruising and take guests on adventures in a way never dreamed of before”.
Princess Cruises’ most popular Sip + Sail promotion is back. The line is offering a free drink package when booking a balcony or higher on any cruise or cruise tour booked by August 31, 2017 for sailings from spring 2018 through summer 2019! The All-Inclusive Beverage package is offered to the first two people in a cabin who are age 21 and older and includes beer, cocktails, spirits and glasses of wine up to $10; all non-alcoholic beverages including bottled water, coffee, tea, and espresso specialty drinks; with a pre-paid 15% gratuity included for these items. You also get 40% discount on bottles of wine under $100 (gratuity not included on wine bottles). Additional passengers in your cabin (or under age 21) will receive the Unlimited Soda & More Package which includes tumbler with straw, fountain soda by the glass, root beer in the can, malt and thick shakes at the ice cream bars only, hot chocolate, fruit juices and mocktails, with pre-paid 15% gratuity included for these items. Ship board credits can be substituted only if you don’t want the alcohol package ($150-250 depending on length of sailing), but both guests much choose the same amenity.
French river and coastal cruise line CroisiEurope has introduced a series of Family Club cruises on which children under age 16 will be allowed to cruise for free or at a discounted rate. On the Family Club cruises, families of four (two parents with two children that are five years and older) will get two cabins, while families with one child will share one cabin. Additionally, the single supplement will be waived for single parents traveling with children up to 16 years of age. The Family Club departures will also include supervised water games and kid-friendly activities and children will be invited to take part in a performance at the end of each cruise. The Family Club option is being offered on four unique CroisiEurope summer itineraries giving your family the chance to explore Croatia and Montenegro; the Douro Valley and Salamanca through Portugal and Spain; Andalusia, Spain and Venice, Italy. Cruises last 5-7 nights and are the promotion is available through August.
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has introduced National Geographic Global Explorers, a unique family program on Galapagos Islands cruises. Designed in conjunction with National Geographic Education to inspire the next generation, children and teens will learn about the island’s environment through science, exploring and storytelling. They will hike up volcanoes, snorkel with sea lions, walk among giant tortoises; all while learning how to read maps, populate a field notebook, and build storytelling skills. National Geographic Global Explorers will be organized into two phases: independent experiences and group experiences with a Field Educator. In the first phase, young explorers will be encouraged to utilize “field notebooks” to mimic the research scientists conduct in the field, maps to keep track of the itinerary, wildlife checklists and more. During this phase, “storytelling challenges” will help them share their experiences from the day – independently or collaboratively – and via different mediums, including photos, videos, journaling, music and maps. Group experiences will allow children to actively participate in discussions with naturalists, as well as participate in citizen science projects such as helping to count sea turtles during nesting season. While on board the ship, they will work with field educators on a number of group projects, such as creating a short film of their adventures, or participating in “mapping” to determine who traveled the farthest. Timed to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the first citizen explorer expedition to Galapagos led by Lars-Eric Lindblad in 1967, the program will launch in Galapagos this month aboard Lindblad’s new 96-guest National Geographic Endeavour ll and 48-guest National Geographic Islander.
Royal Caribbean has announced a new Non-Refundable Deposit Program that will be launched fleet-wide on July 1, 2017. Prior to the full launch on July 1, this new program will be offered on select ships and sailings. You will have the choice to choose a non-refundable deposit (cruise deposits are refundable up until final payment is due) when booking a cruise more than six months before sailing and receive up to $100 in shipboard credit. The best part is that the early booking credit is combinable with any existing promotional offers available at time of booking, giving you the ability to stack on additional savings for the best pricing for your cabin.
Cruises 1-5 nights: $25 on board credit for interior/ocean view, $50 for balcony and suites
Cruises 6+ nights: $50 on board credit for interior/ocean view, $100 for balcony and suites
MSC Cruises’ new flagship, the MSC Meraviglia will sail with shows from Cirque du Soleil. As part of the Cirque du Soleil at Sea program, the Montreal based company will create a total of eight original shows available exclusively on the line’s new generation of ships. The first two original shows will be performed six days per week when the ship begins sailing on June 4. VIAGGIO is the story about a passionate and eccentric artist who hears the call of his Faceless Muse,” according to an announcement from the cruise line. “Mysterious and seductive, she beckons him into the vivid world of his unbridled imagination to complete his masterpiece. With each stroke of his paintbrush, the painter reveals the details of his grandiose tableau.” The second show, SONOR, is a sound-based production that “takes guests on an auditory adventure with dancers, acrobats and characters,” MSC said. Each show will be paired with its own cocktail or dinner experience with the menus, table settings and visual effects designed to complement the show. Each dining experience will start an hour before show time and will include animation from the performers, and live music, along with a three-course menu tied into the theme of the show. Other guests will be able to enjoy a Cocktail & Show experience that will begin a half hour before show time and will include a signature cocktail and snacks. The shows will take place in the MSC Meraviglia’s Carousel Lounge, which was purpose-built with special rigging and technology to meet Cirque du Soleil’s specific needs. By late 2019, MSC Cruises will have three ships sailing from the Port of Miami: the MSC Meraviglia, the MSC Divina which is currently homeporting there and the new MSC Seaside, which is set to launch later this year.