October 19, 2018

Holland America Nieuw Statendam Completes Sea Trials

Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam is going through finishing touches to be ready this fall.


Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam, the second Pinnacle Class ship in the fleet, returned to Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy in late August after successfully completing two sets of sea trials off the coast.

Nieuw Statendam left Marghera Aug. 10 and performed the first set of sea trials over two days before going into dry dock at Fincantieri’s Trieste shipyard, where the trial’s data was reviewed and standard hull maintenance was performed. The ship sailed its second sea trials Aug. 18, making its way back to Marghera Aug. 22 where the finishing touches will be completed.

“The sea trials are a highly anticipated milestone for any newbuild because it takes us one step closer to delivery, and we’re thrilled that Nieuw Statendam gave a strong performance out in open water,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Nieuw Statendam and the innovations we’re introducing on board. The ship is going to have an exciting debut in early December.”

During the sea trials, Nieuw Statendam underwent a series of performance tests on the ship’s systems, machinery and engines. The shipyard’s team of nautical officers, naval architects and builders tested the ship’s maneuvering characteristics and safety systems.

About Nieuw Statendam
Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam will explore the Caribbean in winter and then move to northern Europe, Iceland and the Mediterranean in summer during its inaugural year. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. From familiar elements that reflect a rich heritage and classic style to state-of-the-art enhancements that chart a bold new course forward, guests on board Nieuw Statendam will delight in details that are artfully inspired and perfectly presented to create the ultimate Pinnacle-class experience.

While much of the ship’s design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-Class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company’s history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for “new” with the classic “Statendam,” Holland America Line celebrates the company’s past, present and future.

Cruise Industry Kicks Off ChooseCruise Campaign in October

Cruise lines such as Seabourn Cruises are enjoying record bookings.


Washington, D.C., August 28, 2018) –This October, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community, is urging travelers to #ChooseCruise. The initiative, formerly known as Plan a Cruise Month, unites the global cruise industry — including cruise lines, travel agents and global CLIA offices — through an integrated campaign to promote positive messaging about why to choose and book a cruise vacation.

“The #ChooseCruise campaign is a way to highlight the many amazing reasons why travelers choose a cruise for vacation,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “From spa experiences onboard to one-of-a-kind adventures on land, cruise travel offers the chance to check off bucket list items in a fun, carefree way.”

Throughout the month of October, CLIA will leverage daily observances and holidays to highlight the many reasons to #ChooseCruise and integrate cruising into popular social conversations throughout the month. From National Taco Day and Sweetest Day to Picasso’s Birthday and Great Books Day, October is filled with observances that showcase the variety of amazing activities and experiences cruising has to offer. Follow CLIA social channels for more information and sharable content:

Princess Cruises Names Fifth Royal-Class Ship

New Enchanted Princess is scheduled for delivery in 2020.


As Princess Cruises fleet expansion continues, the premium international cruise line reveals the name of the ship it will launch in 2020 – Enchanted Princess.

Enchanted Princess is scheduled to debut on June 15, 2020 sailing on a series of European voyages. Bookings for her maiden season, summer 2020, will open on November 8, 2018.

“The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising,” said Jan Swartz president of Princess Cruises. “We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise vacation.”

Ms Swartz said Princess has the strongest pipeline of premium new ship builds in the world. The arrival of Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of the sixth Royal-Class vessel for Princess Cruises in 2021. The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.

Construction of the 143,700-ton, 3,660-passenger Enchanted Princess will take place in the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard with the ship set to feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s previous Royal-Class ships.

Princess Cruises currently operates a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, sailing voyages around the globe. Enchanted Princess is a sister ship to four other Royal-Class ships in the cruise line’s fleet – Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess (joining the fleet in October 2019).

For more Enchanted Princess updates visit: Princess Cruises

Keel Laid For Crystal Endeavor

New 20,000 ton Crystal Endeavor being built in German yard.


Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel was guest of honour last Tuesday at the keel-laying ceremony at the MV Werften shipyard in Stralsund for the 20,000-ton 200-berth luxury Ice Class expedition ship Crystal Endeavor.

According to Seatrade Cruise News, Merkel said it was an emotional day for her as she returned to her political home, Mecklenburg Vorpommern. ”People here in Stralsund will always do their best to create great value … We know how to compete. We are very proud in Mecklenburg Vorpommern and Germany and we want to make the label “Made in MV” an attraction,” she said.

Genting Hong Kong chairman and ceo Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay was also in attendance as part of Genting’s plan to revive shipbuilding on the northern shores of Germany. Historically, Germany has built 25% of the world’s cruise ships. Thanks to Genting Hong Kong’s investment, that will now go up to 35% by 2020, said Lim.

After a spate of European river ship introductions, Crystal Endeavor’s keel-laying shifts the focus back to Crystal’s ocean-going itineraries.

The Crystal Endeavor’s 20,000-ton sister ship is now scheduled for delivery in 2021, a year later than had been planned. And the Crystal Diamond, the line’s first 65,000-tonner, will follow in 2022.
Crystal Endeavor is now open for bookings for her first season, running from August 2020 through January 2021. And some 25% of her inaugural Antarctic seasion is already booked.

NCL takes delivery of Bliss

NCL’s new Norwegian Bliss will cruise Alaska this season.

(Travel Pulse) Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the 168,028-gross-ton Norwegian Bliss from Meyer Werft during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany.

The ship will operate a two-day preview cruise before cruising to Southampton, England, to begin its transatlantic journey on April 21. Upon arrival in the U.S. on May 3, NCL will host two-night preview events in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. The ship will be christened on May 30 in Seattle, from where it will begin a season of seven-day Alaska voyages on June 2.

Norwegian Bliss, the third ship in the line’s Breakaway Plus class, includes some new first-at-sea offerings such as the largest competitive racetrack at sea. The two-level, electric-car racetrack sits at the top of Deck 19, offering guests amazing views while twisting and turning at a speed of up to 30 mph. The ship also has an open-air laser tag course and a side-by-side multi-story race waterslide at the expansive Aqua Park. One waterslide extends over the edge of the ship and loops down to the deck below.

After its Alaska season, Norwegian Bliss will spend the fall cruising to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter 2018, it will sail the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season, she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

To book a cruise on Norwegian Bliss, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE(625-2784), or visit NCL

Holland America Line Revamps Onboard Retail Experience

HAL revamps retail space on its ships with new supplier partnerships. The changes began with Veendam and will expand to half a dozen other ships.

Holland America Line is introducing a new retail experience on board its ships to better align with its ongoing brand evolution. The multi-faceted retail plan introduces new products and services, including an expanded logo collection, locally cultivated items, a new Fujifilm photo space and new supplier partnerships.

The retail rollout began with Veendam and expands to Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam, Westerdam and Zaandam over the coming months.

“Over the past several years we have significantly elevated our entertainment, enrichment and culinary programs to enhance the way our guests experience the global destinations we visit,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “This new retail strategy continues the path of introducing innovative, new shipboard opportunities to exceed the expectations of travelers today and in the future. With more premium products and selections that reflect the destinations they are visiting, plus an interactive and engaging new photo area, our guests will enjoy more meaningful keepsakes from their cruise.”

Holland America Line is partnering with Fujifilm for a new, interactive, creative photo space on board that will enable guests to immediately print their photos from their mobile phones or memory cards using instant photo machines. Guests also will be able to share cruise memories by creating keepsake souvenirs featuring images from their cruise on product offerings such as photo books, mugs, shirts, keychains, magnets, mousepads and more.

The retail enhancement introduces an expanded Holland America Line logo collection featuring iconic products that will leave guests with lasting memories of their cruise. From custom apparel to locally made artworks, the new items go beyond traditional cruise logo souvenirs. The new shops also will feature co-branded merchandise from some of Holland America Line’s partners including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club, BBC Earth and America’s Test Kitchen.

To bring the destinations on board in an authentic way, the new retail program will showcase unique products from local artisans and designers that capture the cultures visited around the world.

Holland America Line is looking to make shopping more engaging and meaningful, and interactive and enriching events will be offered so guests can see the different items and peruse the space with guidance from helpful yet unobtrusive shop staff.

NCL Holdings Announces New Terminal in Miami

Artist rendering of new NCL terminal in Miami. The project is being designed by Bermello Ajamil & Partners of Miami.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, unveiled the design of the new and dedicated Norwegian Cruise Line terminal at PortMiami which has been the company’s home since its launch in 1966. Pending the final approval by the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners, the project will commence in May 2018, and is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2019.

“Norwegian has been sailing from Miami for over fifty years, longer than any other cruise line, and we are honored to be partnering with PortMiami and Miami-Dade County to construct an iconic terminal that will contribute to Miami’s world famous skyline and strengthen its position as the Cruise Capital of the World,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

Norwegian is widely recognized for introducing modern-day cruising more than 50 years ago, by transforming a common means of transportation to a new style of vacation with its first Caribbean voyages out of the port of Miami and launching the city’s status as the “cruising capital of the world.” As a result of the continued relationship, Miami-Dade County will invest $100 million to build a new terminal dedicated to Norwegian Cruise Line, with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. augmenting the county’s allocated funds with its own contribution to PortMiami, as was unveiled today at a press conference held at the 2018 Seatrade Cruise Global exhibition.

“The construction of a new cruise terminal with the capacity to berth an additional 5,000-passenger cruise ship represents thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community. We are grateful for Norwegian Cruise Line’s continued partnership.” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.

The modern terminal draws its inspiration from a nautilus, with its spiraled and multi-level façade, opening up to grand ocean views. Once complete it will be the new “pearl” of Miami, redefining the landscape of the city’s skyline. Innovative lighting, inviting indoor and outdoor waiting areas and other guest-centric elements will enhance the overall passenger experience. At nearly 166,500 square feet, the debuting Norwegian terminal will accommodate ships of up to 5,000 passengers, and feature new technology to support faster and more efficient embarkation and disembarkation processes, as well as expedited security screening and luggage check-in. A dedicated lounge and service area will facilitate a warm and welcoming sense of arrival for large groups and charters, and a new parking garage, and valet parking area with direct access to the terminal and lounge are also scheduled to be completed.

Carnival Victory in drydock for new guest options

Carnival Victory, upgraded extensively in 2015, is undergoing more upgrades in drydock this winter.


MIAMI – Carnival Victory is in the midst of an extensive, multi-million-dollar dry dock that is adding a wide variety of food and beverage innovations, as well as two luxurious Captain’s Suites and new deluxe ocean view staterooms.
The new spaces, which are being added during a 17-day visit to dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas, include:

· Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.

· New Accommodations: Several new cabin categories will be added to Carnival Victory, including 260-square-feet Scenic Ocean View staterooms and 320-square-foot Scenic Grand Ocean View accommodations as well as Captain’s Suites, spacious 820-square-foot cabins offer a large extended balcony, two full-size bathrooms, separate sleeping quarters and a large living room.

· RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

· BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

· BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.

· Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

· Re-Branded Deli: the ship’s deli has been completely renovated with an updated design and new menu offerings, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps.

· Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.

These spaces complement Carnival Victory’s numerous other onboard amenities, including a 14,500-square-foot spa, a 214-foot-long water slide, a Punchliner Comedy Club offering adults-only and family-friendly performances, and Seuss at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
Carnival Victory operates year-round three- and four-day cruises from PortMiami. Three-day cruises depart on Fridays and call at Nassau, while four-day voyages depart Mondays and visit Key West and Cozumel or Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

Princess puts guests in trees for 2018

A cruisetour with Princess Cruises offers a unique view of Alaska – from a treehouse.


Princess Cruises today announced the 2018 programming to be featured at the line’s custom designed wilderness treehouse located at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. The treehouse is a new addition to the guest experience which allows guests an opportunity to view Denali, North America’s highest peak, while enjoying themed activities and socializing with fellow travelers, all amongst the trees. The treehouse was built during an episode of Animal Planet’s hit show “Treehouse Masters,” in association with the line’s partnership with Discovery Communications, which premiered during the season finale in fall 2017.

“At destinations around the globe, we strive to create a bond between our guests and the places we visit, and now more than ever people are visiting Alaska to experience the beauty and adventure the state has to offer,” said Lisa Syme, Princess Cruises vice president. “As the #1 cruise line in Alaska, we are eager to bring these fresh and engaging experiences to our Alaska cruisetour guests, providing opportunities for more travelers to connect with the people, nature, storied traditions and history of the Great Land in 2018.”

The treehouse was the first-ever designed and constructed in Alaska by Pete Nelson, the star of the hit TV series. As one of the highest land-based north-facing viewing areas, the treehouse provides Princess guests a one-of-a-kind experience to see the south face of Denali from atop the trees, and is powered by solar panels. At approximately 500 square feet, guests can access the treehouse by hiking the short “hill trail loop” and be rewarded with the ultimate Denali view.

For more information visit: Princess Cruise tours

Avoiding paying too much for a cruise

Getting to those favorite cruise destinations doesn’t need to be expensive.


(By Brittany Chrusciel – Cruise Critic) Cruise pros and first timers alike can benefit from optimizing their cruise booking routines. Dollars can be saved at every juncture, from planning where and when to go, to accessing special offers three months before you sail. Can’t seem to get your cruise fare to go any cheaper? Take advantage of perks and extras, such as onboard credit, that will add value to your vacation in lieu of slashed pricing. Whether in a rush to get something on the books or too rigid to change plans, there are plenty of reasons you might not be getting the best possible cruise vacation for your money. Check out the following 10 ways you might be paying too much for your next cruise.

Your Schedule Isn’t Flexible
If only we could all abracadabra some free time into our lives, coordinating vacation wouldn’t be such a problem. The reality is many of us answer to a rigorous work schedule. Add to that a school calendar or any other kind of obligation, and the window becomes even narrower. If you can only cruise around holidays, summer vacation and other peak seasons for cruise travel, you’ll pay for the convenience. If you can maneuver even a few days off in the fall or early spring, you can shave hundreds off the price of your sailing. If you know where you want to go, try to plan your trip for the region’s shoulder season. Conversely, if you have a limited timeframe for travel, keep an open mind regarding destination.

You Don’t Book During a Cruise Sale
The best prices — or best value — often show up during promotions offered by the cruise lines or travel agencies. But don’t expect the best cruise deals to come to you. You need to be savvy about finding them. When you’re ready to book, look to see if you can take advantage of a current promotion. If a promotion is ending soon, either act quickly to take advantage of what’s on the table, or gamble with what a cruise line might offer next. If there are no sale fares on offer, consider waiting to book in case new deals are on the horizon. These days, many cruise lines don’t wait for wave season, the promotional period between January and March once known for plentiful cruise deals.

You Underestimate Travel Agents
In the Age of Information, sometimes we forgo humans with real expertise and let the Internet compute all of our cruise details. As valuable as the Web can be, especially for research, cruise professionals (travel agents) can not only provide you with experience and personalized attention but can lock in a deal that comes laced with comped dinners, free wine and/or copious onboard credit. Established cruise agencies have access to special rates and can help you monitor fares and promotions so you book at the right time for the best price.

You Don’t Book Early
If you can commit to booking a cruise far in advance, your line might offer a discount that’s worth overriding your usual vacation-planning procrastination. Unnerving as advance bookings can be, they give you something to look forward to and let you lock in early-booking deals or promotions only available when reserving your next cruise onboard your current one. (You only have to put down a deposit, and you can re-price your trip if fares go down before final payment.) Plus, you have the advantage of being able to request particular cabins or book onboard experiences the moment they become available. Travel insurance can help ease your fears about putting money down so far from your future cruise.

See more ways to save money at: Cruise Critic