Here is a brief recap of headlines from the cruise industry, for the past week:

Princess Mobile App

Regal Princess guests will have the opportunity to connect with their fellow cruisers with the debut of Princess@Sea Messenger, a free mobile messenger feature offering guests an easy way to share updates and make plans during their cruise vacation.

The Princess@Sea Messenger is integrated in the complimentary Princess@Sea mobile app, accessed via a smartphone or tablet browser. It debuts on Regal Princess in November and will be rolled out to all cruise ships in the entire fleet by the end of 2015.

Norwegian Escape Goodies

She'll be here before you know it!

She’ll be here before you know it!

Norwegian Cruise Line announced last week that Norwegian Escape will incorporate The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place.

This concept includes an oceanfront boardwalk lined with restaurants, bars and shops, combined with three expansive, flowing decks of dining, bars, entertainment, gaming and more.  The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place have taken cruising to new heights and offer an unparalleled experience with a unique connection to the ocean.  Norwegian Escape is currently under construction and is scheduled for delivery in October 2015.

Cruise Ship Arrivals to Puerto Vallarta Increase by 43 Percent

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board announced that the Pacific seaport city of Puerto Vallarta will see 118 cruises call on its shores this year, 43% over 2013 when 81 cruises called the port.

Puerto Vallarta!

Puerto Vallarta!

Puerto Vallarta will welcome 52 cruises from September through December of this year, which added to the 64 already touched Vallarta waters will reach a total of 116, 81 more than the received arrivals last year.

A total of 141 cruises have already confirmed stations to Puerto Vallarta for 2015, including Carnival will call on the destination throughout the year with the Coral Princess being the first on September 26. Carnival represents 34% of arrivals; Princess 20%; Norwegian 19% and Holland American 16%.

Royal Asian Cruises, New Cruise Line, Set to Start Service from Sri Lanka

Royal Asian Cruises has signed an agreement with the Board of Investment in Sri Lanka to launch a luxury cruise line in Sri Lanka.

Royal Asian Cruises [RAC], which currently has offices in the US and in India, will invest US$200 million over the years in the Sri Lankan venture. It will also acquire and operate two vessels over the course of 2016.

Carnival Miracle to Start Year-Round Mexican Riviera Program Next Week

Carnival Miracle departed Saturday, Oct. 4 from Long Beach, Calif., on the first voyage of a new year-round cruise program to the Mexican Riviera.  The ship will be the first to call at Cabo San Lucas on October 6 following Hurricane Odile and will be loaded with relief supplies provided by Carnival for local residents.

Carnival Miracle’s new year-round Mexican Riviera program will encompass three different week-long itineraries, including a new three-port, seven-day cruise featuring Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

Carnival Corp. Releases Results of Multi-Year Fuel Conservation Program

Carnival Corporation & plc the world’s largest cruise company, released the results of its multi-year Fleet Fuel Conservation Program that by the end of 2014 will have saved more than one billion gallons of fuel and reduced fleet carbon emissions by 12 billion kilograms over a seven year period.

By the end of 2014, Carnival Corporation’s Fleet Fuel Conservation Program will have improved the fleet’s overall fuel efficiency by 24 percent compared to 2007, while saving approximately $2.5 billion in fuel costs, the company’s single biggest expense. Carnival Corporation announced the results of its fuel conservation efforts in conjunction with a National Press Club event celebrating world tourism today in Washington, D.C.

Carnival to Create New ‘Spin U’ DJ Academy For Teens

Carnival Cruise Lines has teamed up with DJ IRIE – the official DJ of Carnival and the Miami HEAT – to create Spin U, a new shipboard DJ academy exclusively for teens ages 15-17.

carnival

Queen Mary 2 to Bring Home a Very Special Cargo

When Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 arrives in Southampton on Wednesday October 8, she will bring home a very special cargo item – the final sandbag to make the journey from the First World War cemeteries in Belgium, containing soil from those cemeteries to create a Flanders Field Memorial Garden.

Four Carnival Ships Earn Perfect 100 Health Inspection Scores in Past Month

Four Carnival Cruise Lines ships have earned perfect 100 scores on their most recent public health inspections this past month.

Carnival Liberty, Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph each scored 100 on their respective United States Public Health (U.S.P.H.) inspections, while Carnival Splendor earned a perfect score during its inspection by Health Canada.  This marks the 12th time a Carnival ship has earned a perfect health inspection score this year.

Princess Delivers Relief Supplies to Cabo San Lucas

Star Princess called on Cabo San Lucas this past Saturday, Oct. 4, for the first time following Hurricane Odile and brought needed relief supplies to area residents impacted by the storm. The Princess cruise ship delivered pallets of bottled water, milk and paper products, among other supplies.

(News compiled from cruise company press releases, Cruise Industry News and Tourism Boards)

It seems Bermuda has a plan; one which it hopes will help lure additional amounts of cruise ships to visit the beautiful island.

Next time, there will be people in this photo!

Next time, there will be people in this photo!

In their most recent attempt at allowing cruise ships’ casinos to open while in port, the Bermuda Cruise Ship (Casino) Act 2013 passed last October. On-board casinos can now operate between 9pm and 5am, in return for a license fee per ship payable to the Bermuda Government. Smaller ships, with a passenger capacity not exceeding 2,000, would not be charged the fee. It is interesting because Bermuda has seen a decline in attracting smaller, high-end cruise ships. The Parliament feels the exemption would encourage more visits.

Bermuda from above!

Bermuda from above!

At the same time, Bermuda does not want to discourage the larger, newer vessels; ships like the forthcoming Quantum-class of Royal Caribbean, for example. In the news recently, Parliament is investigating ways in which narrow channels can be widened to enable mega-cruise ships to visit Bermuda. In order to allow bigger liners access, Parliament is considering realigning either the North or South Channel or upgrading the existing route of the South Channel.

Whether you are a fan of mega-ships or not, the real news here is the fact that Bermuda is open to all of this. In past years, Bermuda has had some of the most stringent policies regarding what cruise companies may and may not do while visiting. It seems the  Bermuda Cruise Ship (Casino) Act is a sign of things to come.

We have some news, with the help of Cruise Industry News, coming out of 2014 Cruise Shipping Miami yesterday:

4th Quantum Class Ship for Royal Caribbean?

RCCI's Quantum Class cruise ship.

RCCI’s Quantum Class cruise ship.

It isn’t a done deal, but it was overheard that a contract for a fourth Quantum-class ship may become reality.
Our thoughts: We like the Quantum-concept, but hopefully Royal Caribbean will find a way to give each sister ship her own identity. The Oasis and the Allure, for instance, are pretty close to being identical twins, versus fraternal twins.

Norwegian Escape Home Port and Hull Art

Norwegian Escape with its hull art to be designed by Guy Harvey. She'll homeport in Miami year-round.

Norwegian Escape with its hull art to be designed by Guy Harvey. She’ll homeport in Miami year-round.

NCL announced the Norwegian Escape will home port year-round in Miami, and that the hull art is to be designed by Guy Harvey.
Our thoughts: One of the nicer, less gaudy works of art for the hull. And, when is NCL going to position a ship in Fort Lauderdale, even if for half the year?  And we thought Carnival took forever on this.

Faster Internet Delayed

A diagram of the O3b satellite.

A diagram of the O3b satellite.

The much hyped O3b satellite internet was destined to launch on the Oasis and Allure of the Seas in late 2013. A bit behind, but still on target to debut aboard, according to a source familiar with the start-up satellite firm. Low-orbiting satellites have been launched and provide more bandwidth and less latency, but are extremely complicated to operate and manage. Royal Caribbean expects to introduce its O3b service later this year.
Our thoughts: Better late than never. High-speed internet is no longer a luxury, but an everyday part of life for many, particularly those with the means to spend money on travel. This should have been done, on all brands, a long time ago.

The Port of Newcastle, Australia

Port of Newcastle, Australia.

Port of Newcastle, Australia.

The Port of Newcastle in Australia is going after itinerary planners with a new stunning coffee table book presenting the port (check it out here). Among top layout and photography, the book presents a number of arguments to bringing a ship to Newcastle – showing off the Australian destination’s features.
Our thoughts: We love new. We love different. In addition to customer service, the two best ways to lure repeat passengers is to provide innovations fleet-wide and exciting, new itineraries.

We have lots of Royal Caribbean 2015 deployment news today, so that you may begin your long range planning. Please find it all listed below, categorized by ship:

Independence_of_the_SeasIndependence of the Seas:

  • April 19 (6-nights) Western Caribbean (Round trip Ft. Lauderdale/Georgetown, Grand Caymen/Falmouth, Jamaica/Labadee, Haiti)
  • April 25 (8-nights) Eastern Caribbean (Round trip Ft. Lauderdale/Philipsburg, St. Maarten/Basseterre, St. Kitts/San Juan, Puerto Rico/Labadee, Haiti)
  • May 3-October 25 (7-nights alternating East/West Caribbean, Round trip from Ft. Lauderdale)
    East: San Juan, Puerto Rico/Philipsburg, St. Maarten/Basseterre, St. Kitts
    West: Labadee, Haiti/Falmouth, Jamaica/Georgetown, Grand Cayman/Cozumel, Mexico
  • November 1 (6-nights) Western Caribbean (Round trip Ft. Lauderdale/Labadee, Haiti/Falmouth, Jamaica/Georgetown, Grand Cayman

oasisOasis of the Seas:

  • June 6-October 31 (7-nights alternating East/West Caribbean, Round trip from Ft. Lauderdale)  (except October 17, 2015)
    East: Nassau, Bahamas/Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas/Philipsburg, St. Maarten
    West: Labadee, Haiti/Falmouth, Jamaica/Cozumel, Mexico
  • October 21 (3-night Bahamas Getaway round trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau, Bahamas)

Freedom of the Seas:

  • June 7-October 25 (7-nights alternating East/West Caribbean, Round trip from Port Canaveral, FL.)
    East: CocoCay, Bahamas/Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas/Philipsburg, St. Maarten
    West: Labadee, Haiti/Falmouth, Jamaica/Georgetown, Grand Cayman/Cozumel, Mexico

Grandeur_of_the_SeasGrandeur of the Seas:

  • 5/8; 5/22; 6/5; 6/19; 7/13; 7/17; 7/31; 8/14: (7-night Bermuda fr. Baltimore with 2-nights at King’s Wharf, Bermuda)
  • 5/15; 5/29; 6/12; 6/26; 7/10; 7/24; 8/7; 8/21 (7-night Bahamas fr. Baltimore/Port Canaveral, FL./Nassau, Bahamas/CocoCay, Bahamas)
  • 8/28; 9/11; 9/25; 10/9 (6-night Bermuda fr. Baltimore/Kings Wharf, Bermuda for 2-nights)
  • 9/3; 9/17; 10/1 (8-night Canada & New England fr. Baltimore/Portland, Maine/Bar Harbor, Maine/St. John, New Brunswick-Bay of Fundy/Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • 10/15 (9-night Canada & New England fr. Baltimore/Portland, Maine/Bar Harbor, Maine/St. John, New Brunswick-Bay of Fundy/Halifax, Nova Scotia/Boston, MA.)

Brilliance of the Seas:

  • 9/18 (9-night Canada & New England fr. Boston, MA/Portland, Maine/Rockland, Maine/Bar Harbor, Maine/Halifax, Nova Scotia/Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island/Sydney, Nova Scotia)
  • 9/27; 10/4; 10/11; 10/18 (7-night Canada & New England fr. Boston, MA/Portland, Maine/Bar Harbor, Maine/St. John, New Brunswick (Bay of Fundy)/Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Serenade of the Seas:

  • 9/15 (10-night Fall Foliage Northbound fr. Cape Liberty, NJ to Quebec City, Quebec (overnight) stopping in Portland, Maine/Bar Harbor, Maine/Halifax, Nova Scotia/Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island/Saguenay, Quebec)
  • 9/25 (12-night Fall Foliage Southbound fr. Quebec City, Quebec (overnight) to Cape Liberty, NJ stopping in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island/Halifax, Nova Scotia/St. John, New Brunswick (Bay of Fundy)/Bar Harbor, Maine/Rockland, Maine/Portland, Maine)
  • 10/7 (12-night Fall Foliage Northbound fr. Cape Liberty, NJ to Quebec City, Quebec (overnight) stopping in Boston, MA/Portland, Maine/Rockland, Maine/Bar Harbor, Maine/Halifax, Nova Scotia/Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
  • 10/19 (14-night Snowbird Migration fr. Quebec City, Quebec (overnight) to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. stopping in Saguenay, Quebec/Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island/Sydney, Nova Scotia/Halifax, Nova Scotia/Bar Harbor, Maine/Portland, Maine/Boston, MA/Charlotte, South Carolina)

Allure of the Seas:

  • 4/18 (12-night Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona, Spain, with one stop in Malaga, Spain)

With these 7-night Western Mediterranean itineraries, Choose Your Embarkation Port: BARCELONA, SPAIN or ROME (Civitavecchia), ITALY

allure-europe

  • 10/22 (3-night Short Western Mediterranean fr. Rome, to Naples/Capri, Italy, ending in Barcelona, Spain)
  • 10/25 (12-night Ocean Voyage from Barcelona, Spain, one stop in Malaga, Spain, ending in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)

As always, we can help! Visit our website at CRUISECX.COM.

 

As big as the cruise industry is, I am quite surprised with the lack of local advertising, aimed at folks who live within short driving distances of home ports. I’ve lived in South Florida for over 22 years, and I would see at least a dozen commercials a week, from Disney World, promoting deals for Florida residents. Look, I realize the industry’s bread and butter is the extended holiday/vacation, and the short cruise business may be doing well enough, but there are more dollars to be made there.

All across the U.S., particularly in or near port cities, casinos and entertainment venues are popping up. In many cases, they are popping up because people want things to do before and after their cruises. I know I would purposely arrive to ports like New Orleans a day or two early just to enjoy what the city has to offer! But what about the locals? For those who enjoy a night out, like a nice dinner for two, followed by a show and maybe drinks and/or dancing afterwards…this can get pricey!

Some weekend cruises rival the cost of one night out in Miami!

Some weekend cruises rival the cost of one night out in Miami!

Well, if you live near a cruise home port, and can make weekend getaway decisions within a window of one to two weeks (give or take), a weekend cruise can cost you significantly less than ONE night on the town for two people! That’s right, call the babysitter…call the grand parents…you are going to want to get away for the weekend because we are going to do  a comparison!

We recently dined at a well-known steakhouse in Miami, followed by a show with drinks. Here is the breakdown:

  • 1 Pea Soup: $9.50
  • 1 Stone Crab: $24.00
  • 1 Lamb Chops: $46.00
  • 1 Colorado Ribs: $53.00
  • 1 Creamed Spinach: $12.50
  • 2 Glasses House Red Wine: $24.00
  • 2 Import Beers: $19.00
  • 1 German Chocolate Cake: $9.00

Then at the show, a Broadway musical, two tickets were $120 and four drinks cost us $32. The figures above, not including tax and gratuities, total $349.

Just recently, on February 10, Norwegian Cruise Line had several fares, for a 4-nighter, starting at $119 per person.

Weekend cruises were advertised as low as $134 per person. Port charges and fees are a bit extra, but prices for three and four nights certainly rivaled our night out in this case. And for those of you who may be cruise newbies, what was included with the cruise advertised for $119pp? Well, five complimentary dining options, all entertainment in the Theatre and Show Lounge and live music and dancing venues throughout the ship, fitness center/sports court/pools/hot tubs, youth programs (if needed) and of course, excellent service! Oh, and yes…two tropical destinations along the way!

The view from aboard the Allure of the Seas as she departs from Port Everglades, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

The view from aboard the Allure of the Seas as she departs from Port Everglades, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Shorter cruises offer many benefits, such as an alternative to land-based casinos (and you don’t have to drive home after drinking) and allowing new cruisers to try it out for a shorter period and a lower cost. It is also a great change from trying to find parking at local entertainment venues and beaches around the U.S. One of our Facebook fans had her own reason…she arrived for her 7-day cruise a few days early, and taking a three night cruise (before her longer cruise) was  much less expensive than staying in a hotel for two nights. Yes, hotel rates on cruise weekends, in port cities are not cheap, and, you better reserve early!

We can help with your cruise wants and needs. We can also answer your questions. Check out our new sister website, CruiseCX.com, and start researching your next cruise or travel escape. Happy Hump Day everybody!

Cruise Lines International Association (C.L.I.A.) reports that the Cruise Industry is going to invest $8 billion on 24 new cruise ships through 2015! C.L.I.A. noted that its global fleet is now comprised of 410 ships, up from 393 one year ago, and the introduction of 24 additional ships will meet growing demand. This $8 billion capital investment will add capacity for another 37,546 passengers. By the way, if you count river cruising, the number goes up to 49 new ships between now and the end of 2015 (note: several river cruise ships will be removed from service).

Click for larger view.

Click graphic for larger view.

The Busiest Ports

Most of the world’s busiest ports remain in the Caribbean Sea, which were featured on more than a third of all global itineraries last year. The Mediterranean (19% of the market) and Northern Europe (12% of the market) were not far behind. Australia, with 22% growth, and Asia, with 32% growth, are catching up.

Where Are You Coming From?

C.L.I.A. also reports that 55% of all cruise passengers (last year) were from North America. International source markets demonstrated accelerated demand for cruising, and with a staggering 185% growth over the past five years, Scandinavia has seen the largest increase in interest, followed by Australia (130%), Brazil (85%) and Germany (80%).

 

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced and opened for sale its 2015 summer and year-round cruises. The deployment includes the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway sailing to the Caribbean from her year-round homeport of Miami, and continues to offer three ships in Alaska, four in Europe, two in Bermuda, as well as a variety of exciting Canada & New England; Bahamas & Florida; and Repositioning Cruises.

Norwegian will also continue to offer its unique Hawaii cruises year-round on Pride of America from Honolulu and short Bahamas itineraries from Miami year-round on Norwegian Sky. Click on the ship below for the complete story!

The Norwegian Getaway, twin to the Breakaway, will sail year-round from the Port of Miami.

The Norwegian Getaway, twin to the Breakaway, will sail year-round from the Port of Miami.

North Star (Sky Tower)

North Star (Sky Tower)

Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum-class cruise ships will feature a unique crane and viewing “gondola,” as previously announced. The North Star will lift guests some 91 meters above sea level to give them panoramic views of the sea and surrounding ports of call.  Royal Caribbean and the crane vendor recently provided additional details about the North Star, and providing an exciting, yet safe, Customer Experience.  Here is the rest of the article.

Medium-sized ships once called Philadelphia home, at least for a portion of the year.

Medium-sized ships once called Philadelphia home, at least for a portion of the year.

New ship-builds are being announced and existing ladies are maneuvered around the U.S. and the world on a regular basis.  Philadelphia, the ninth largest East Coast Cruise Home Port in 2006, has experienced passenger declines ever since.  Then, in 2010 (to today), Philadelphia is a major East Coast port city without a cruise ship calling it home.

On our Facebook Page last Saturday, we polled our fans and asked “what city should be home port to the next cruise ship?”  Philadelphia, or as many called it, “Philly”, was the top response. We wanted to know why Philadelphia is left without a cruise ship, so we did a little research, and here is what we found:

  • The Delaware Memorial Bridge

    The Delaware Memorial Bridge

    Medium-size, 2,400-passenger ocean liners have moved to Europe and European cruises because of the better value of the dollar. And the industry is moving to bigger ships that carry 4,500 to 5,000 passengers. Today’s mega-ships cannot get under the Delaware Memorial Bridge

  • Baltimore, Bayonne, N.J., and New York have become much more competitive, increasing the number of cruises they offer, including those to Bermuda
  • Philadelphia’s location 100 miles up the Delaware River has always been a constraint because cruise ships cannot open up their gambling operations until they get out to the ocean
  • It’s faster to get to the ocean from New York, Baltimore and Bayonne.

Reference: The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Norwegian Getaway, twin to the Breakaway, will sail year-round from the Port of Miami.

The Norwegian Getaway, twin to the Breakaway, will sail year-round from the Port of Miami.

Norwegian Cruise Line has been named “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” by the World Travel Awards. The 20th annual awards, held on September 14 in Antigua, bestow the world’s top travel companies with honors for outstanding products and services and are voted on by travel professionals and consumers from around the globe.

Norwegian, which has been voted Europe’s Leading Cruise Line for six consecutive years as well as the World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line, has eight spectacular Freestyle Cruising vessels sailing the Caribbean this winter from four convenient departure ports, and will soon have a ship sailing to the Caribbean year-round from Miami when Norwegian Getaway joins the fleet in February 2014.

You can read more here and here!