It has been a busy week. Most major cruise lines made some noteworthy announcements this week. With so much going on, it might have been difficult to keep up with all the headlines. That is why we are here with another edition of Cruise News February 18, 2018.

Cruise News February 18, 2018

Cruise Critic Choice Awards

Award season is in full swing! Just a few days ago, the biggest online site for cruising, Cruise Critic, announced their Readers’ Choice Awards winners. Similar to previous years, most of the major brand names walked away with several awards. Among some of our favorites, Harmony of the Seas came in second for Best Large Cruise Ship, being slightly beat by sister brand’s Celebrity Equinox. Speaking of the Oasis-class, the three current ships took home awards for Best Entertainment, with Allure of the Seas getting “the gold” for its productions of Mamma Mia and OceanAria. Other notable winners include Viking Ocean Cruises which took multiple awards in the small-mid ship categories. See what your favorite ship and cruise line won in this complete list.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Docked in Labadee, Haiti

Carnival Cruise Line Announces Investment in West Coast Cruising

Last week, Carnival Cruise Line made some significant announcements for cruisers residing on the West Coast. The company revealed its updated and expanded new cruise terminal in Long Beach, CA. Along with opening this new departure point, the line announced that its newest ship would be calling the port home. Starting in 2019, Carnival Panorama will be home-ported in Long Beach, CA. This third Vista-class ship will be offering seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises. To handle the close to 4,000 guests cruising on Carnival Panorama, the cruise line also announced a port improvement plan for Ensenada, Mexico. The multi-million dollar investment in this Mexican port will result in what the cruise line is calling “one-of-a-kind experiences ashore.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Expands Presence in Cuba

Get ready to soak up the sun…. the Norwegian Sun that is. Norwegian Cruise Line just released more dates for its second ship to sail to Havana, Cuba. Starting in September of this year, Norwegian Sun will offer a variety of 5 to 13 night cruises leaving from the Port of Miami that will stop in Cuba. These cruises also include stops at the company’s private islands and other Caribbean ports. Starting in 2017, the Norwegian Sky began offering four-night cruises that stopped at the island. This spring, Norwegian Sun will begin sailings to Cuba from Port Canaveral, Florida. Sailings from both Florida ports are all-inclusive, meaning the cruise fare includes alcoholic beverages for all guests over the age of 21.

Princess Cay is Back and Better Than Ever

Just a few days ago, Princess Cruises unveiled the new and improved Princess Cay. The cruise line’s private island has received some much need updates to this frequent stop on many Princess Cruises’ Caribbean itineraries. Among the significant upgrades was the extension of WiFi internet access for cruisers using the ship’s onboard internet plans. This is a first for any cruise line to have internet connectivity on a private island. Other improvements include the addition of new sports areas and shore excursion options, such as a stingray encounter area on the island and a new glass-bottom kayak tour. General maintenance on the island was also conducted to ensure guests can enjoy the over 1 mile of beachfront property on the island.

Aerial Shot of Princess Cay (Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Corporation)

More Photos of Symphony of the Seas

Major media outlets got a peek inside Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas this week. The Cruise Log at USA Today documented the ship’s construction milestones. Even though the vessel is due out later this year, it still needs a lot of work before it can welcome guests. Once Symphony of the Seas does hit the water, it will be the largest cruise ship ever built. At 228K gross tons, it will eclipse the current record holder, Harmony of the Seas, by 1,000 tons. Holding more than 6,000 passengers, this Oasis-class ship will be offering Caribbean cruises this fall. The Princess and I are ready to test out the ship over Thanksgiving break.

Virgin Voyages Ends Pre-sale and Announces New Headquarters

Virgin Voyages’ first ship is still two years away from hitting the water. Spots for sailings on the line’s first vessel are in high demand. Last year, the company announced a pre-sale plan that gave cruisers the opportunity to be among the first to book a cruise with a $500 deposit. This week, the line abruptly ended the program as there were too many spots already secured by eager travelers. Also, Virgin Voyages announced that the company would station its headquarters just north of Miami in Plantation, FL employing hundreds of travel experts by 2021.

Comments

Did we miss any major headlines in this week’s Cruise News February 18, 2018? Drop us an anchor below with your breaking story or to share the latest cruise updates with other fellow travelers.

Cruise News February 18, 2018

About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind EatSleepCruise.com. We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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  • Who’s cruising into the weekend on a cruise? We are missing @royalcaribbean #SymphonyoftheSeas and the warm #Miami weather right about now! #WeekendVibes #WeekendGoals #Saturday #SailAway
  • Thanks to @norwegiancruiseline for inviting us to the #NorwegianEncore keel laying ceremony today! It was a privilege to be part of history in the making. We can’t wait for the ship to set sail in November 2019. Among the many innovative features, Norwegian Encore will be home to the Tony Award winning hit Kinky Boots, the largest race track at sea with turns that hang over the edge of the ship, a virtual reality enhanced laser tag arena, the  galaxy pavilion full of virtual reality and immersive experiences, and favorites from Norwegian Bliss including Happy Hour Prohibition and the Ocean Loop waterslide. #CruiseNorwegian
  • The keel laying ceremony for @norwegiancruiseline #NorwegianEncore included a surprise performance by Kinky Boots! This Tony Award winning act will debut as a headliner act on the ship! #CruiseNorwegian
  • I’ve got my hard hat and ready for the keel laying of @norwegiancruiseline #NorwegianEncore! 🎉 #CruiseNorwegian
  • We are thrilled to announce that DB will be at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany tomorrow for the keel laying of @norwegiancruiseline #NorwegianEncore!!! Be sure to follow along with our Instagram stories and stay tuned for the latest reveals on this new ship hitting the seas in Fall 2019. #CruiseNorwegian
  • Another beautiful #sunset at sea! It’s always so hard to go back to reality... 😫 How do you cure post cruise depression...with #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday deals of course! 🤣
  • I’m the “Princess” of the world! #FriYAY #FridayFeeling 👸🏻👑
  • Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue... @royalcaribbean #SymphonyoftheSeas is docked in Nassau, #Bahamas today 🌈 #FridayFeeling #FabulousFriday
  • Sea days are the best days! Don’t you agree? #seastheday #wakeview

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