If you weren’t able to keep up with all that happened in the world of cruise travel this week, we are here to give you complete coverage of all the notable updates. Hop on-board as we sail through cruise news June 26, 2016.
Cruise News June 26, 2016
Princess Sip and Sail Promotion is Back
A popular Princess Cruises promotion is back! Now through August 31st, if you book a balcony or higher, the first two guests in the room will receive a complimentary all-inclusive drink package. As a special bonus, book before July 5th and get a specialty restaurant dinner for two when you book a mini-suite or higher.
Cruise News June 26, 2016 – Regal Princess © Princess Cruises
The promotion is good on over 350 cruises sailing in 2017 and 2018 in regions including Alaska, the Mediterranean, Mexican Rivera, Hawaii, New England and Canada, and even the Caribbean. Almost all ships in the fleet are part of the promotion, including the line’s largest ships Regal Princess and Royal Princess which offer Caribbean and New England cruises.
New Program at Port Everglades May Reduce Wait Times
In an order to improve the process of unloading passengers from cruise ships, two cruise lines have partnered with Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, FL to test new programs aimed at reducing wait times at U.S customs. Only select passengers with U.S. and Canadian passports would be able to use the programs. In the first program, the Automated Passport Control, disembarking passengers would submit forms and their passports would be scanned at a digital kiosk before speaking with a customs officer. The program has been in use on Oasis of the Seas since last week and will expand to Carnival Cruise Line soon.
Cruise News June 26, 2016 – Port Everglades (source)
The second program, the Mobile Passport Control, is scheduled to roll out in July and would allow passengers to digitally submit their declaration forms on a smartphone device using an app. Looks like the Princess and I might have a chance to check it out when we sail on Oasis of the Seas this August. Similar programs have been instituted at busy international airports throughout the U.S.
Inaugural Sailing through the Northwest Passage
Looking to make history when she sails in August, the Crystal Serenity passed her U.S. inspection. The ship will be the first cruise ship ever to sail the Northwest Passage, leaving Seward, Alaska bound for New York via the Arctic Ocean. Inspectors watched crew complete drills and spent five hours reviewing the ship before giving her the okay to make this maiden voyage. The Serenity is designed with an “ice strength” hull, one grade lower than an icebreaker ship.
Cruise News June 26, 2016 – Crystal Serenity Route © Crystal Cruises LLC
The ship will be escorted by additional ships that will be able to break through ice and helicopters that will be looking for ice. The 32 day sailing will include stops in Canada and Greenland as the ship makes its way to New York City.
New Panama Canal Locks Set to Open
The new and improved locks at the Panama Canal are set to open today for cargo ships. While the new locks can handle larger ships, only one cruise line has reserved space to use the new locks for next year. The Caribbean Princess is set to use the new system when she sails a series of Panama Canal cruises in Fall 2017. This new system would still not be large enough to handle even moderately sized mega ships like Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas or Celebrity Cruise Line’s Celebrity Solstice.
Cruise News June 26, 2016 – Construction of New Panama Canal Locks (source)
The new system is 1,400 feet long and about 175 feet wide, leaving plenty of room for the Caribbean Princess, who is only 943 feet long and about 118 feet wide. Extra space is needed for the tug boats that will move larger ships through the locks, unlike the electrical locomotives currently in use. When the new locks officially open to cruise ships in June 2017, they will be able to accommodate one cruise ship a day.
Did we miss any cruise news that you found noteworthy last week? Which of these new stories are you looking forward to the most? Drop us an anchor below to let us know your thoughts.