Thank you Royal Caribbean for reducing your beverage package options from seven to four. New packages went into effect September 6 and all pricing is exclusive of gratuities. The only package that has not changed is the Classic Soda Package with souvenir cup and unlimited soda refills. Prices for this package vary by length of cruise. The Evian Bottled Water package has been adjusted to two options: 12- ($39) or 24-bottle ($69) varieties. The remaining two new packages are the Refreshment and Deluxe Beverage packages. The Refreshment package ($26/day) includes premium coffees and teas, bottled still and sparkling water, juice, non-alcoholic cocktails, and all sodas. The Deluxe Beverage package ($55/day) is the most inclusive option and features everything in the Refreshment packages, as well as all cocktails, spirits, wines and beers priced at up to $12 (for drinks over $12, a $12 credit will be applied to the price of the drink.) Also included are a 40 percent discount on bottled wines prices up to $100 and a 20 percent discount on wines priced over $100. Previously, the least expensive beverage package to include alcohol cost $39 per day. Passengers who have purchased one of the older drink packages will either have their purchased honored (the Select package) or upgraded to the new Deluxe Beverage package for no additional cost (the Premium and Ultimate packages). All purchased Replenish packages will be converted to Refreshment packages.
Abercrombie & Kent is offering a family travel deal on their Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands expedition cruise departing December 13. With a purchase of cabin in Categories 4 or 5, adults can save 25 percent each. Additionally, your first child saves 50 percent, while the second child sails completely free! The 15-night itinerary offers an adventure across the Southern Ocean with shore excursions conducted by experts in local culture, history, and ecology included. A&K’s Young Explorers Program, designed for ages 7-18, includes dedicated Young Explorer’s Guides, who will lead groups of children and teens in engaging activities like squid dissection, Japanese fish printing, and deep sea presentations. The itinerary takes your family deep into the polar latitudes, led by a knowledgeable Expedition Team to experience this truly amazing destination.
Lindblad Expeditions is now offering a $750 air credit PLUS children 18 and under travel at half off on their Wild Islands & Treasure of Baja, California cruises. This awesome promotion is available over the winter holidays on the December 17, December 24 and December 31, 2016 departures. On this 7-night sailing your family will see an amazing array of wildlife:
- Search for humpback whales, active off the southern coast of the peninsula.
- Snorkel at Cabo Pulmo, a vibrant reef and model for ocean conservation.
- Kayak, swim, and hike the pristine desert islands of the Sea of Cortez, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Search for whale sharks in the Bay of La Paz, and possibly swim alongside them
Your home for the week is the 62-passenger Seabird with newly redesigned cabins. Her open bow and sundeck have ample space for all guests to stand together and share in the wildlife viewing experience.
Beginning this November, Celebrity Cruises will introduce a partnership with Dine Aware, a company that facilitates food allergy and intolerance communication and experiences, which will help elevate standards overall for the food and beverage industry at sea. More details are set to be announced, but the integration is intended to make a difference in the dining experiences of cruisers with special dietary needs. Activities for teens has also been enhanced with film making and DJ experiences. iTake is a unique four-hour program that allows aspiring film directors to create storyboards, shoot videos with GoPro cameras, and then edit their films in the Celebrity iLounge. After the screening, your teens are honored for their efforts at the weekly XClub Film Festival & Award Ceremony. The DJ Scratch Academy classes are taught by seasoned DJ personalities. Your teens will learn how to DJ on cutting edge equipment through a series of hands-on sessions. All this excitement leads up to a rocking graduation celebration where your newly taught DJs impress the celebrity DJ by creating their own mixes.
Disney Cruise Line sailings over the holiday season are getting even more festive with additional holiday-themed parties on select cruises, plus enhanced decor and added live entertainment. From September 2 through October 31, Halloween on the High Seas programming will take place on most sailings onboard Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic. There will be The Pumpkin Tree, which will magically transform throughout each cruise; Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, a costume bash for cruisers and characters; and a Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream event, featuring an interactive screening of the film and character meet-and-greets. Mask-making and themed drinks and treats in various dining rooms will add to the haunted vibe of the itineraries. Starting in early November, the Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic event will take place on the first night of each cruise. A three-deck-tall tree will shine brightly while bedazzled characters sing holiday carols in the atrium. Even Santa and Mrs. Claus are invited to the party. Other themed additions to these itineraries include gingerbread-house-making sessions; holiday craft- and card-making; stocking decorating; festive deck parties and Charles Dickens-inspired carolers wandering the ship. If your family sails the exact day of each holiday you will be privy to one-time special events. On Thanksgiving, expect a celebratory feast, as well as visits from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse adorned in traditional Thanksgiving attire. Live broadcasts of NFL football games will be on televisions around the ship, including the jumbo FunnelVision screen above the family pool. On Christmas morning, your family will want to head to the atrium lobby tree to see what Santa Claus and his elves have left for you. There will also be a special musical performance and traditional holiday dinner in the dining rooms that evening. A midnight mass will be held onboard on Christmas Eve, and additional services on Christmas day. Hanukkah services will be held daily from December 24, 2016, to January 1, 2017. Voyages that extend over the New Year holiday will offer a deck party with music, a countdown and toasts and treats at midnight.
How about Tahiti this winter break? Paul Gauguin Cruises will once again offer the Ambassadors of the
Environment Family Program for free, a value of $329 per child, on their December 21, 2016, 7-night Tahiti & The Society Islands holiday voyage. Also, the third guest in a cabin sails for free! Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society created the program which introduces young travelers (ages 9-17) to the extraordinary natural wonders of French Polynesia through direct, hands-on, interactive learning. Under the guidance of expert Ocean Futures Society naturalists, this flexible program lets parents and children alike pick and choose from a suite of onboard activities and daily excursions on land and sea. Adults are encouraged to join in for the additional cost of the excursions. This voyage features complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises’ two exclusive retreats—Motu Mahana, an islet off the coast of Taha’a, and a private beach in Bora Bora. At Motu Mahana, guests enjoy a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a barbecue feast, and cocktails from full-service and floating bars. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a white-sand beach and enjoy refreshments, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.
Disney Cruise Line announced that it is building two new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023. They will be the largest in the fleet with about 1,250 guest staterooms. In addition, the Disney Wonder is undergoing renovation and will receive several new and exciting attractions. As part of Disney’s Oceaneer Club kids program, the new Marvel Super Hero Academy is designed to teach kids teamwork, bravery and problem-solving through hands-on play and programs. The club, for ages 3-12, will also showcase Frozen Adventures. A digital Olaf will lead many of the games, and your children will prepare for a regal coronation and receive an in-person visit from Anna and Elsa. Other areas of the ship are being modernized, including the Senses Spa & Salon, which will receive a new Chill Teen Spa space. The outdoor decks will also receive new features including the Twist ‘n’ Spout water slide, a Dory’s Reef splash zone for toddlers, and the AquaLab pool and interactive water play area for kids. The first sailing after the renovations is scheduled for November 10 out of Galveston. The ship will operate Bahamas and Caribbean sailings from Galveston through January 2017, when it will move to Port Canaveral (via two short sailings to and then from San Juan) to homeport for the spring.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will bolster its reputation as the most inclusive cruise line by adding complimentary business-class air, starting in 2017. The offer is available from 26 North American gateways and it will apply to all European, Asian and South American voyages where you need an intercontinental flight in order to board, or return home from a Regent ship. Every class of cabin on Regent ships will be included! The offer makes Regent the only cruise line to offer business-class air to every passenger on every intercontinental flight. It’s actually not really “free” because if you opt out you will get a credit instead (just like Regent’s other so-called freebies), but often times the amount is much better than getting business class air on your own. Families also save on Regent as children age 17 or younger sail for free or from as little as $999 on select voyages!
Adventures by Disney has announced that it will expand its river cruise program through 2017 with more Danube River and new Rhine River cruises in its continuing partnership with AmaWaterways. Rhine river cruises will sail aboard the new AmaKristina which will be customized with family accommodations such as connecting cabins. The 7-night Rhine itinerary will visit France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands and highlight experiences such as a toboggan ride in the Black Forest, horseback riding in the Alsace Region, clog painting in Holland and biking in Germany. Book early for the best cabin availability!
This summer children sail free on Fathom’s Dominican Republic cruises in June, July and August. The cruise is all about public service and a great opportunity for families with children ages 8 and older to connect, grow and serve together in a variety of volunteer projects. And also get needed service hours. The Dominican Republic is a country of great beauty, but it’s also a country of great need with 40% of the population living below the poverty line. This summer two full fare adults automatically earns two free sailings for children aged 17 and under. The sailings are also available for student groups. Students must be at least 12 years old and you must have one chaperone over age 25 for every five group members who are under age 21. Your impact experience includes on-ground activities and related supplies, onboard programs, daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a comfortable stateroom for a good night’s sleep. There will be a few select impact activities that will have an incremental cost due to materials and supplies.