Hopefully the Caribbean has seen the end of hurricanes for the season. We are keeping our fingers crossed! So this week, we return with our regular round up of all the latest updates and reveals that have occurred over the past few weeks. There is quite a bit of ground to cover. Here is a brand new edition of Cruise News October 1, 2017.
Cruise News October 1, 2017
The Cruise Lines Return to Key West
With the hurricane cleanup still underway, there was some good news on the cruise front this week. Key West, FL opened earlier than expected, welcoming Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas this past Sunday. Carnival Cruise Line also returned this week, with two ships calling on Key West. Cruisers seem excited to be back at this popular stop on several four and five day cruises. The local businesses and residents are happy too, as these ships are delivering much need supplies, as well as tourists to the hard hit areas.
Empress of the Seas (Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
Cunard Line is Getting Another Ship
Cunard Line is expanding the fleet. Earlier this week, the company announced a fourth ship. This new unnamed ship will be hitting the waves in 2022. Expected to be 113,000 gross tons, the ship will be smaller than the Queen Mary 2 but larger than the line’s two other ships. Little is known about what the ship will have for onboard amenities and features. Concept art reveals a series of “stacked” front decks. Cruisers may see some similarities between this ship design and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic. It is possible that these front decks will feature suites or some type of private “ship within a ship” experience that has been launched on several new builds. We will bring you more updates about this next generation Cunard ship as they are revealed.
Rendering of Next Cunard Ship (Courtesy of Cunard Line)
Updates on Symphony of the Seas Entertainment
We learned a bit more about the entertainment on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship this week. The cruise line announced that the Broadway hit Hairspray will be one of the main theater shows on Symphony of the Seas. The soon to be world’s largest cruise ship will most likely also feature a second production show in its main theater. Also featuring an outdoor Aqua Theater, the ship will most likely have a signature show exclusive for that venue as well. With the ship launching in April of 2018, we will keep our eyes out for the latest updates on this record breaking cruise ship!
Additional Independence of the Seas Refurbishment Details
We now know a little bit more about the planned refurbishment of another Royal Caribbean megaship. Independence of the Seas has been slated for drydock and upgrades for some time. A few days ago, Royal Caribbean made public some of the additional enhancements coming to the ship. Expected to be completed by April 2018, the ship will get an improved Splashaway Bay water park for kids. An Asian sushi and teppanyaki restaurant will also be added to the vessel. Not to mention, the ship will also be sprucing up the staterooms and lounges. These improvements are in addition to the already announced new venues including a laser tag area, trampoline park, and an escape room. Looks like the Princess and I might have to find some time to get back onboard next year.
Independence of the Seas
Caribbean Cruise Ports to Welcome Ships Sooner Than Expected
While the clean up efforts are still underway, the resilient residents of the Caribbean are getting ready to welcome back cruise ships. Our friends over at Cruise Fever have reported that several sources are claiming the islands hit hardest by the recent storms might be ready sooner than expected. Some industry leaders are suggesting that St. Thomas could be open to cruise ships as earlier as the middle of October. Other reports from the local media on the island of St. Maarten have indicated that officials are eyeing a November 11th open date, which is a national holiday on the island. As more updates are confirmed by reputable sources, we will be sure to report back on the latest details.
New Viking Cruise Ship Officially Delivered
The fourth cruise ship in the rapidly growing Viking Ocean Cruises’ fleet has been delivered. This past week, the young cruise line took ownership of the Viking Sun. Similar in size, design, and amenities as the three previous cruise ships in the fleet, the Viking Sun provides a luxury cruise experience with competitive pricing. The intimate ship will host slightly less than 1,000 guests. The ship will set sail this week on its maiden voyage from Venice, Italy. Later this fall, the Viking Sun will transition to the U.S. to offer a few cruises from Miami before setting sail on a 120 day world cruise. Prices start at just under $45K a person. Any takers?
Courtesy of Viking Cruise Line
New High Speed Internet Coming to Princess Cruises
Carnival Corporation is looking to improve the onboard experiences for guests. With the soon to be released Ocean Medallion technology on several Princess Cruises’ ships, the company revealed upgrades to its internet and WiFi. Rolling out the new MedallionNet this November on Regal Princess, the company claims it will offer the best internet speeds at sea. In addition to brand new WiFi capabilities that will make ship “dead spots” a thing of the past, the company also unveiled new digital games and a streaming service. The newly announced OceanView will be the cruise line’s digital streaming service. The service is now available on major streaming devices and features several exclusive shows. These same programs will also be shown on the in-cabin televisions.
Regal Princess Will Be Getting New WiFi Next Month (Courtesy of Princess Cruises)
New mobile games are also available both onboard and back on land. The PlayOcean Everywhere features free games you can play while back at home. Once onboard ships with Ocean Medallion technology, the apps activate the PlayOcean Casino app. This app allows eligible cruisers to engage in casino games without ever stepping foot in the casino. In addition, trivia and scavenger hunt activities will be available for passengers while onboard their cruises through this new app.
Did we miss any noteworthy developments from the past week in our latest edition of Cruise News October 1, 2017? Do you have a travel story you want to share? Drop us an anchor below with your latest cruise headlines.