More cruise options lead the way with this week’s look at the big headlines from the world of cruise travel. Cruise lines are looking to add more ships and stops to their growing fleets and itineraries. Hey, we are not complaining! Here are the top stories from the past week in this latest edition of Cruise News February 19, 2017.
Cruise News February 19, 2017
Carnival Cruise Line Now Heading to Cuba
Carnival Corporation’s Fathom made history last year by being the first U.S. based cruise ship to call on Cuba. Now, the company’s flagship brand will soon be visiting the island. Carnival Cruise Line announced this week that Carnival Paradise will begin calling on Cuba starting in June of this year. Departing from Tampa, Carnival Paradise will host four and five night cruises that include an overnight in the capital city of Havana, Cuba with longer sailings also stopping at either Key West, FL or Cozumel, Mexico. Similar to cruises now being offered by rivals Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, American passengers will be able to visit the island as part of “people to people” experiences. Guests cruising to Cuba will need to ensure that on-land activities comply with these regulations.
Cruise News February 19, 2017
More Norwegian Cruise Line Ships
Norwegian Cruise Line will be growing their fleet. Just a few days ago, the cruise line revealed plans to add four new ships, with the option to build two more, over the coming years. Starting in 2022, the cruise line will debut a new ship each year. Details are still emerging on these ships, but Norwegian has indicated that the ships will be smaller than the current Breakaway Plus ships, weighing in at 140K gross tons. This new class of ship will hold about 3,300 passengers and will allow the cruise line to visit more unique and exotic ports of call. Onboard amenities and destinations are expected to be leaked starting next month. These ships will be on the heels of Norwegian Joy, which sails later this year, and Norwegian Bliss, which will be making waves in 2018.
Viking Spirit Construction Begins
After dominating the Cruisers’ Choice Awards, Viking Ocean Cruises is moving full steam ahead with construction of their next vessel. While the Viking Sky was just delivered last month, the first keel for Viking Spirit was laid this week. The fifth ship in the Viking Ocean fleet, this vessel is expected to be very similar to the previous four ships, which are now sailing the Mediterranean, parts of Europe, and the Middle East. Viking Cruise ships will be making their Caribbean debut later this year, with the Viking Sky and the soon to be released Viking Sun finding their way to North America toward the end of 2017. Viking Spirit is expected to set sail in 2018, while a sixth ship for the young company will come into service in 2019, a full year ahead of schedule.
Cruise News February 19, 2017 (Courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises)
Higher Service Charges on Holland America Line
Service charges are on the rise on Holland America Line. According to Cruise Critic, the daily gratuity charge on Holland America is going up effective May 1st of this year. Now, passengers staying in inside, outside, balcony, and non-suite rooms will be charged a daily rate of $13.50. For guests staying in suite accommodations, the new daily gratuity charge will be $15. The service charges are split among the crew and staff in areas such as dining and housekeeping. It has been about 16 months since the line last increased the daily gratuity rate back in December 2015.
Do you have any breaking news? What headlines did we miss in our latest edition of Cruise News February 19, 2017? Drop us an anchor below with your latest cruise updates.