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.
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.