Our first snow fall of the year has us ready for our next cruise. How about you? With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, you may have missed some of the major announcements from the cruise lines. If so, we have our regular weekly look at all of the important updates and releases in the world of cruising. Here is our latest edition of Cruise News December 10, 2017.
Cruise News December 10, 2017
Carnival Sunshine is Heading to Charleston
Carnival Cruise Line is changing things up in 2019. The cruise line announced this week that it will be repositioning the Carnival Sunshine to Charleston, SC in May of 2019. This change will make the ship one of the largest to ever homeport in this southeast port. Sailing four and five day Bahamas cruises, the Carnival Sunshine offers a variety of onboard entertainment, activities, and dining options for cruisers. Currently, Carnival Ecstasy is cruising year round from Charleston. In May 2019, Carnival Ecstasy will move to Jacksonville, FL to offer four and five night Western Caribbean cruises.
Carnival Sunshine (Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)
Magens Bay Officially Open Again
Slowly, things are getting back to normal in the Caribbean. Cruise ships have begun to return to St. Thomas even though the island is not back to 100 percent operations just yet. Although, the island got a huge boost for tourism just a few days ago when one of its premier attractions opened to the public once again. In conjunction with Royal Caribbean International, government officials re-opened Magens Bay beach. The cruise line aided restoration efforts of the beach, which received significant damage after Hurricane Irma. With more and larger ships returning to the island in early 2018, this opening could not have happened at a better time.
Cruise News December 10, 2017 – Magens Bay Beach is Now Open
Caribbean Islands Welcome Cruise Ships Back
Along with St. Thomas getting some much needed cruise traffic, several other Caribbean islands have begun to welcome cruise ships again. St. Maarten welcomed the Viking Sky earlier in the week. This ship was the first to call on St. Maarten since Hurricane Irma. Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas is expected to call on the port on December 17th. In addition, more (and larger) ships are slated to dock on the island in 2018. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) also saw some new cruise traffic just a few days ago. The British ship, Marella Discovery, was the first to dock at Tortola, BVI since late summer. We expect more cruise lines to officially return to the island in the new year, including Norwegian Cruise Line which regularly visited the island.
New Terminal in Miami Officially Opens
The largest cruise port in the world has just added a brand new terminal. Designed in conjunction with MSC Cruises, the new Terminal F at Port of Miami was officially opened a few days ago. The new terminal will be the home of MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside and MSC Divina, the line’s two ships that cruise year round from the port. This new terminal can handle cruise ships of various sizes including mega-ships. The two story facility includes a waiting area that can accommodate up to 1500 eager cruisers and 60 ticket counter positions to handle embarkation day check-ins. The terminal will be welcoming passengers with the arrival of MSC Seaside later this month.
Courtesy of MCM
Norwegian Cruise Line Updates App & Changes Service Charges
Also getting into the digital enhancement game, Norwegian Cruise Line announced a brand new digital app. Launching in 2018, the new app will offer cruisers more options before and during a cruise to customize their reservations. The app will make embarkation and disembarkation easier through in-app registration and guidance. During the cruise, the app will also allow individuals to check their daily accounts, reserve shows in the main theater, book specialty dining and shore excursions, and review the list of daily activities and events occurring onboard right on their smart phones. Other enhancements include the ability to communicate via the app (fees apply). The app will debut on Norwegian Bliss this upcoming summer and will roll out fleet wide by the end of 2018.
The New App Launches on Norwegian Bliss in 2018 (Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
In other Norwegian Cruise Line news, the line has adjusted it service charge fees. We were quick to notice this recent change on one of our upcoming NCL bookings. So, we were not surprised when Cruise Critic confirmed that as of December 1st, the line has increased service charges for beverage and dining packages from 18% to 20%. Although, it is unclear if this increase is also in effect for a la carte beverage purchases or specialty dining meals purchased onboard. Even if you receive one of these packages as part of the Free at Sea promotion, you will be responsible for the 20% service charge.
Holland America’s Newest Ship Launched
Holland America’s next ship has hit a major milestone. The second Pinnacle class ship, MS Nieuw Statendam, touched water for the first time this week. The ceremony was overseen by cruise line officials and included the traditional welding of a coin to the ship’s exterior. At 99,000 gross tons, the ship will be the first sister of MS Koningsdam now currently the line’s largest ship. Sailings for MS Nieuw Statendam begin in December of 2018 when the ship will cross the Atlantic Ocean and begin offering Caribbean cruises for the winter season.
Did we miss any major updates in our latest edition of Cruise News December 10, 2017? Do you have news you want to share? Drop us an anchor below with your cruise headlines from the past week.