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.
Next year Celebrity will debut the first of four new and sleek Edge ships which feature unique innovations including a moveable deck called the Magic Carpet. The tennis-court sized deck is cantilevered off the side of the ship and can move up and down, all the way from the bottom at Deck 2 and up to Deck 16. Its function will vary depending on which deck it’s on including a raw bar restaurant, an alternate restaurant, access to tenders or more.
Families will appreciate the variety of cabin categories including 174 options to connect staterooms and two new suite categories, plus a suites-only Retreat area. Connecting rooms of the same category can be opened to one another, including inside staterooms and the new Edge Staterooms with Infinite Verandas where the balcony is actually part of the cabin to create more space. Suite combinations will sleep up to 10 guests and solo cabins will also be available.
The ship’s itineraries will alternate between week long Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings, departing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale starting December 2018. Eastern Caribbean voyages will visit San Juan, Tortola and St. Maarten. Western Caribbean cruises will take passengers to Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
Malala Yousafzai will be the godmother of the Celebrity Edge. As well as naming Yousafzai godmother, the cruise line announced a two-year partnership to support and promote the Malala Fund which promotes education for girls around the world.
Adventures by Disney is amping up its themed river cruise experiences for 2018, adding a Beauty and the Beast inspired sailings along the Rhine River. On six departures in 2018, Adventures by Disney will pay tribute to the villages and culture that inspired Disney’s Beauty and the Beast films. The sailings will feature a themed dinner as well as other culinary experiences inspired by the film. There will be screenings of both the live-action and animated versions of the film on the ship and a tour of Riquewihr, a French village that evokes Belle’s hometown from the movie. The eight-day Rhine river cruises will sail on AmaWaterways’ 158-passenger AmaKristina, cruising through France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Be our guest and book now for the best availability!
Crystal Cruises has recently announced a new lineup of added amenities and savings aimed at families traveling aboard Crystal Serenity this summer. The ship’s seven 2017 Alaska cruises sail between Vancouver and Anchorage from June through August on seven-, nine- and 10-day itineraries. There are three ways to save! Children 17 and under sail free with the Kids Sail Free promotion as a third berth with two full-fare adults. The Crystal Memories family reunion program affords additional perks for larger families traveling together, with one free berth for every 10 full-fare guests and shipboard credit for each guest. Additionally, Crystal Clear Choices allows you to select shipboard credit, air credit, or cruise fare savings. Aboard Crystal Serenity, you will find dedicated facilities, staff and programs for younger children and teens. They were redesigned last year and are fully equipped with arts and crafts, games appropriate for all ages, seating areas and flat-screen TVs for movie nights and video games. Programming related to Alaska is integrated into the activities.
Royal Caribbean is adding lifeguards to all of its ships. Licensed lifeguards will be stationed at all pools on every ship during official hours of operation for each pool facility. The cruise line will also conduct a short water safety presentation on embarkation day of each cruise which recently began on Oasis of the Seas. Lifeguard deployment will be phased in on all other ships through mid-June. Third party firm StarGuard Elite is training the shipboard lifeguards who will be conspicuous by their bright red and white uniforms. Despite a number of pool deaths involving young children, shipboard lifeguards are still a rare occurrence in the industry. Disney Cruise Line is the only other major line to have lifeguards. Disney brought in lifeguards in 2013.
The first announcement of major cruise lines sailing to Cuba this spring didn’t give us much time for planning. But now the cruise lines have been given permission to add more sailings
into the fall months on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Oceania. Royal Caribbean is extending cruises through November 2017 on the Empress of the Seas. The four-and-five night cruises will now leave from Tampa, with stops in Key West and Cozumel. In a first for the line, some sailings will offer overnights in Havana; others will continue with just a day stop. Norwegian Cruise Line has been granted 25 more sailings on Norwegian Sky through December 2017. The ship will sail weekly on four-day cruises from Miami, overnighting in Havana and calling at Great Stirrup Cay. Oceania added 6 more sailings that will stop in Cuba through December. Carnival will also begin sailing as they fade out their Fathom Cuba itinerary. All excursions in Cuba will fulfill the current people to people visa requirements for Americans. Plenty of day and evening opportunities abound.
Hurry and book by March 4 to save $1,000 per child and teen OR $500 per adult for summer 2017 Danube River cruises with Disney Adventures! Sail through the heart of Central
Europe to eight destinations in four countries. The discount is available on sailings for this June, July or August. The 7-night sailing is on AmaWaterway’s Viola. Your cruise rates include all meals, drinks, tips, entertainment, children’s activities, internet and most excursions. Highlights include a Wachau Valley Bike Excursion from Melk to Krems through the storybook village of Durnstein; a Salzburg City Tour including a visit to the beautiful Mirabell Gardens and other sights made famous from the movie The Sound of Music; a visit to the Lazar Equestrian Park in Hungary; the Devin Castle in Slovakia—an inspiration for many fairytale stories such as the classic Disney movie Tangled and the Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna to see one of its renowned marionette shows.