Disney Cruise Line said it will again feature two special itineraries, Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea, on select Caribbean and Bahamas sailings from January to March 2019. Seven-night Disney Fantasy sailings will transport your family to the Caribbean and then to another universe based on Star Wars. The cruise features a full day of Star Wars activities, including a deck party spectacular with fireworks display, encounters with the galaxy’s formidable and heroic characters, Star Wars-themed family and youth activities, special food and beverage offerings and special merchandise. Five-night Disney Magic sailings will take guests to the Caribbean and Bahamas, along with a day-long celebration of the Marvel Universe. Occurring on one day during each of the select Disney Magic sailings, Marvel Day at Sea offers guests the largest collection of Marvel super heroes and villains assembled on a cruise ship. The event features all-day entertainment, including interactions with some of the mightiest Marvel super heroes and the foes who oppose them in an on-deck show spectacular, as well as Marvel-themed youth activities, special merchandise and unique food and beverage offerings. Book early for the best availability!
There’s a new river cruise in England for Harry Potter fans. With sailings from August 5-11 and August 19-25 aboard the Magna Carta luxury river cruise ship, the two six-day trips will sail down the River Thames in England. The voyages will take your family to several of the most memorable locations from the Harry Potter movies, including Virginia Water Lake, the house where Harry lived with Uncle Vernon and Petunia Dursley, and Warner Brothers Studios, where you will take part in the official Harry Potter tour. Other locations on the trip include Oxford University’s Christ Church College and its Great Hall, which were the inspiration behind the sets of multiple Harry Potter films. The Magna Carta accommodates eight passengers in four rooms on two decks. In addition, the vessel also includes a living area, dining room, a hot tub and Wi-Fi. Each of the sailings will be manned by a crew of six people, including a gourmet chef that will prepare Hogwarts-inspired meals. Each voyage must be booked by parties of eight passengers who split the total cost of $36,000. While the price may be steep, this is a dream vacation for any Harry Potter fan!
Silversea Luxury Cruises is offering an all-inclusive Galapagos cruise package that includes your flights between Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, transfers, national park fees as well as a pre-cruise hotel and city tour in Quito and post cruise hotel in Guayaquil. As a bonus, roundtrip economy air from selected US gateways to Ecuador starts at only $199/person! If flights are not available, you will get a $200 air credit. Silversea’s Galapagos cruises included complimentary Zodiac tours, snorkeling, kayaking and nature hikes led by naturalist experts and certified guides. You also get the pampering attentions of your cabin butler, gourmet cuisine and complimentary wines and spirits throughout the ship.
Royal Caribbean is doubling its opportunities for a Cuba adventure with two ships sailing to the island nation – Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas – and two new destinations added to their itineraries. The added sailings and breadth of experiences at the new ports of Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos on the southeast coast give your family even more ways to immerse yourselves in the culture and history of the vibrant island. Chose from 4- to 8-night sailings out of Miami and Tampa. Itineraries vary. All sailings to Cuba will offer shore excursions designed to experience the destination and to comply with the people-to-people educational exchange activities requirement as set forth in the U.S. regulations.
Young adults, parents and grandparents alike will love a week exploring the legendary rivers of Europe together on AMAWaterways river cruises. Bridge the generation gap with connecting and triple occupancy staterooms, and enjoy twin balconies that let the fresh air in. A variety of included excursions, from gentle walking tours to hikes and bike rides, give everyone the freedom to explore their own way. Book now and save up to $1,500 per stateroom on select 2018 cruises and up to $2,000 per stateroom on select 2019 bookings.
Norwegian Cruise Line has released its next version of the Cruise Norwegian mobile app. Get directions to the port and access mobile online check-in functions for a quick and paperless e-doc boarding experience. Onboard the ship (with paid internet access), you can stay abreast of all daily activities. You can preview and reserve shore excursions, place dining and entertainment reservations and buy dining, beverage and special occasion packages. One of the only things that costs extra is the onboard calling and messaging function—which permits you to give fellow guests unlimited shouts via voice or text—for a flat $9.95 for the length of the cruise. Group messaging even allows for planning meet-ups and sharing photos. Otherwise, outbound shoreside calling through the app is priced at $0.79 per minute to most countries. You can also review shipboard charges and Immigration and Easy Walk-off disembarkation details. The new generation of app is ready to use on Norwegian Sky and will be available on the line’s new Norwegian Bliss during summer 2018. It will roll out to the rest of the fleet by the end of 2018.
Celebrity Cruise recently announced that they are building a brand new and all-suite ship specifically designed for the Galapagos. The Flora will sail with 100 passengers (the limit in Galapagos) with a naturalist on board for every 12 guests! The new ship will debut in May 2019 and bookings are now open. Cabins and restaurants will feature floor-to-ceiling windows to bring in the surrounding nature with beds facing the window and cabins with Infinite Verandas. The Flora’s two 1,288-square-foot Penthouse suites will be the largest in the Galapagos with separate indoor and outdoor living areas and telescopes for stargazing. The ship will also have a small pool, cabana rentals (you can even sleep under the stars!), two restaurants and two lounges. The ship will sail year-round from Baltra Island.
The locally owned and small ship cruise line, Alaska Dream Cruises, is expanding its dedicated family sailings to three (departing June 24, July 8 and July 22 for 7 nights). These cruises will be hosted onboard the Chichagof Dream with expanded amenities for families and multi-generational travelers. This includes an additional kids-only activity leader, who during the school year serves as Sitka’s middle school science teacher. While the sailings welcome children of all ages, the activities are geared toward the 7-14 age range, and include soft science activities, performance, art and writing. If they’re brave enough, your children can join the Killer Whale Club by taking the plunge into the cold Alaskan waters. Children receive a 30 percent discount for these family sailings, double the line’s regular 15 percent discount. Family sized cabins include two bedroom suites and cabins with two sets of bunk beds.
Carnival Cruise Line said the computer-controlled Dreamscape art installation in the atrium of the upcoming Carnival Horizon will use images created by patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The Dreamscape, a three-deck centerpiece in the Horizon’s atrium, will feature 33 artistic creations from patients of St. Jude, one of Carnival’s largest charitable partners. The 24-foot funnel-shaped centerpiece that debuted on Carnival Vista is comprised of more than 2,000 flexible LED tiles that have been customized for the shipboard environment. Each day, technicians program the rotating artwork based on the time of day, port or occasion. For Carnival Horizon, the young artists were asked to create fun pieces with bright, bold colors showcasing their personalities. The Horizon’s maiden cruise departs April 2. Founded by entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude’s opened in 1962 with a mission to find cures for childhood cancer, sickle cell and other deadly diseases.
This April, Royal Caribbean will reveal their newest ship, Symphony of the Seas. The Oasis class ship will be the largest at sea with a capacity of 5,535 passengers (higher when cabins have more than two passengers)! After a summer in the western Mediterranean, she will move in November to Miami. The ship will feature the most awesome family accommodation at sea with their Ultimate Family Suite. This two-level suite with over 1,300 sq. ft. uses a slide to get down from the top level loft bedroom, a private cinema with popcorn maker, air hockey table, floor to ceiling Lego wall and a balcony bumper pool table. It will sleep up to 8. Several new dining venues, entertainment and recreation will be showcased. Symphony of the Seas also will debut a new check-in process Royal Caribbean calls Frictionless Arrival. You will download an app to your smartphone before departure and use it to skip through check-in!