Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spectacular Entertainment For Regal Princess

Youngsters with a talented older sibling can relate to the upcoming launch of Regal Princess, the sister-ship of Princess Cruises' Royal Princess, which was christened with such fanfare just last year by godmother Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge. Next month's introduction of Regal Princess will be low key by comparison, but the new ship promises to be a near-clone, right down to the spectacular entertainment.

Take a look at Spectacular, a live stage show that is available only on board the Royal Princess and Regal Princess. Offering a lively night of entertainment from some of the world's most talented singers, dancers, and performers, Spectacular is a show you won't want to miss.


Additional information can be found at Princess.com/RegalPrincess.

Friday, April 18, 2014

China Syndrome: Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas is Shanghai’ed

With its bumper cars, entertainment offerings that include the Broadway hit Mama Mia!, and newly announced dining options all rolled out with great fanfare, it seemed that Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas was designed with features to specifically appeal to North American cruisers. The line even has had popular American television interior designer Genevieve Gorder collaborating on some of the d├ęcor. Additionally, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey approved Royal Caribbean’s plans to build a new $70 million cruise terminal and parking facilities at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey to prepare for the highly anticipated ship’s arrival.

However, in a startling twist, Royal Caribbean has tossed a “gotcha” into the future homeporting of their newest vessel—beginning in May 2015, Quantum of the Seas will make its homeport in Shanghai (Baoshan), China, ‘to bring the company’s most innovative ship to the world’s fastest-growing cruise market.’ Quantum of the Seas will reposition to China in May 2015, following her inaugural winter season sailing out of Cape Liberty to the Caribbean. In China, Quantum of the Seas will join Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas in Asia, increasing the company’s capacity in the region by 66 percent.

“Consumers in China have grown to expect the best the world has to offer, and Quantum of the Seas meets that standard like no other ship,” said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are ready to accelerate the growth of this vital market with a ship that will capture the imagination of travelers looking for a one-of-a-kind vacation experience. Every trend we are seeing in China tells us we can achieve real long-term competitive advantage and appealing returns on our investments in this fast-growing market by accelerating our presence there. We will have to be nimble, but the ability to move fast is one of our strengths.” In addition, Goldstein noted that the company was able to make the move because its new-ship pipeline will keep the New York region supplied with top-rated ships as well. “We are very mindful of the importance of New York, which is why we are bringing Liberty of the Seas and then Anthem of the Seas to this market.”

Does that mean that North Americans do not “expect the best the world has to offer” in the minds of Royal Caribbean executives? It’s a here today, gone tomorrow scenario—with cruise travelers accustomed to sailing on the newest ships from South Florida suffering the brunt of the implied insult because, at least for the immediate future, there will be no Quantum-class ship based there as Anthem of the Seas will homeport in Cape Liberty instead of Fort Lauderdale as previously announced. For Royal Caribbean to disappoint their loyal passengers—who looked forward to sailing a second Quantum-class from North America—and to snub the South Florida region that has traditionally been the world’s cruise capital is a striking development.

“These incredible ships will meet the sophisticated expectations of consumers in Shanghai, New York, and London. Our mantra for the new Quantum class of ships is ‘this changes everything’ and upping our game in these key markets achieves just that,” said Dominic Paul, Vice President International, Royal Caribbean International. “Our distinctive style of high quality innovative cruises has become known to travelers around the world and we will continue to deploy our most technologically advanced ships where the demand is, with the expectation of winning new converts to cruising.”

Is there no demand in North America for top-rated and technologically advanced ships? We doubt that inferred assumption, as well as the unsaid suggestion that North America—outside the northeast region—is no longer a key market, but only time will tell.

Quantum of the Seas will debut in November 2014, and spend its inaugural season sailing from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, before repositioning to China in May 2015. Beginning late June 2015, the ship will sail 3- to 8-night itineraries year-round from Shanghai to Japan and Korea. Liberty of the Seas will then arrive to Cape Liberty to sail to Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Canada and New England for the 2015 summer and autumn seasons. The Freedom-class ship will be the company’s newest and largest ship to offer cruises to Bermuda from the New York-metropolitan area. Finally, Quantum of the Seas’ sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, which launches in April 2015, will complete her inaugural Europe season from London (Southampton), UK, before arriving to Cape Liberty in November 2015 to continue Quantum-class cruising to the Bahamas and Caribbean for the winter 2015-16 season.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Three New Artists Join Norwegian Getaway’s Grammy® Experience

Norwegian Cruise Line welcomes the next three artists that will perform on board Norwegian Getaway’s GRAMMY® Experience at Sea: Sugar Blue, a GRAMMY-Award-winning harmonica dynamo; Carolyn Malachi, a GRAMMY-nominated soul-fusion artist; and Roddie Romero, a GRAMMY®-nominated Louisiana artist.

When Sugar Blue joined Norwegian Getaway on April 12, 2014, he began dazzling guests with his incredible harmonica mastery. Known as the Jimi Hendrix and Charlie Parker of the harmonica, his style is melodically fluid and instantly recognizable. Born in Harlem, New York, his fate was sealed when he received a harmonica for his 10th birthday and since then he has been performing worldwide. Blue feels music deeply, as part of the human experience, and he is excited to share his gift with guests sailing on board Norwegian Getaway through June 14, 2014.

Carolyn Malachi, famous for her popular brand of soul music, emerged as a star following the release of her GRAMMY-nominated single, “Orion,” in 2011. Her unique spoken-word meets hip-hop, R&B and jazz-fusion style of music intoxicates listeners and takes them on an inspiring musical journey. Guests will be delighted and inspired by Malachi’s incredible sound and inspirational lyrics while cruising on Norwegian Getaway from June 15 through Aug 1, 2014.

Following Carolyn Malachi, Roddie Romero, a renowned, GRAMMY-nominated Louisiana artist who has been performing internationally for over 20 years, will join Norwegian Getaway. Known for his authentic, traditional Cajun and zydeco music, this Louisiana-roots rocker puts on show guaranteed to get guests in Norwegian Getaway’s GRAMMY Experience at Sea on their feet and dancing. Romero is no stranger to cruising; he recently performed on board Norwegian Pearl during Cayamo, one of the line’s music festival series events in partnership with Sixthman. Romero will perform on Norwegian Getaway from Aug 2 through Aug 30, 2014.

Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Legendary Rock Band Styx Goes LIVE With Carnival

Carnival officially launched their one-of-a-kind Carnival LIVE Concert Series last week with sold-out performances by world-renowned rock band Styx. Fans packed the show lounges on Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Fascination for live performances that brought audiences to their feet.

Tommy Shaw, guitarist for Styx, commented, “All I know is our boats were rockin’. We had a great time and it looked like our fans loved it, too. Can’t wait to do it again in the fall in Nassau and then in Catalina Island and Cozumel.”

Take a look at the excitement on board...


The Carnival LIVE Concert Series offers guests sailing on select Carnival Cruise Lines ships the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive onboard performance by a diverse roster of popular music artists while ships are docked at a port of call. Carnival has booked 49 performance dates for the 2014 concert series with the following artists:
• 38 Special
• Chicago
• Daughtry
• Foreigner
• Gavin DeGraw
• Jennifer Hudson
• Jewel
• Kansas
• Lady Antebellum
• LeAnn Rimes
• Martina McBride
• Olivia Newton-John
• REO Speedwagon
• STYX
• Trace Adkins
Performances are scheduled on board eight Carnival ships that call in the following ports: Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau, the Bahamas; and Catalina Island, California. Artists join the ship while in port, perform in the main show lounge that evening, and debark following their show.

Tickets cost $20-40 each and a limited number of VIP tickets are also available for each show for $100-$150 each. The VIP experience includes an artist meet and greet, complimentary photo with the band, seating in the first three rows and a commemorative laminated concert pass. All tickets can be purchased through Carnival’s online shore excursion system prior to sailing, or on board participating ships at the shore excursion desk based on availability.

For a preliminary list of ships, sailings, and concert dates, see 'Carnival LIVE Concert Series' here on Cruise Diva’s Blog. To view full list of 2014 Carnival LIVE concert dates, visit Carnival.com/CarnivalLive. When planning, take note that the dates are subject to change and are the dates when the concert itself takes place, not the date the sailing begins.

Video Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Carnival Dream Sails On Inaugural Cruise From The Big Easy

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, the largest cruise ship to homeport in New Orleans year-round, departed on its inaugural 6-day cruise yesterday afternoon from the newly refurbished Erato Street Cruise Terminal, which underwent a $2.3 million upgrade to accommodate a ship as large as the 130,000-ton vessel. Solidifying the line's distinction as New Orleans' largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruise Lines now bases two ships carrying more than 400,000 passengers annually from the port. Carnival Dream joins Carnival Elation, which sails year-round 4- and 5-day cruises to Mexico from New Orleans, the sixth largest cruise port in the U.S. as ranked by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The special inaugural voyage is set to visit Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), and Cozumel. Carnival Dream's next move is to launch year-round 7-day service from New Orleans beginning April 20th by offering three distinctly different itineraries: western Caribbean cruises visiting Montego Bay, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman; or Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize and Cozumel; and a Bahamas/Florida route calling at Key West, Freeport, and Nassau.

"New Orleans is one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Dream provides vacationers with a spectacular 'Fun Ship' cruise option from the Big Easy offering an incredible array of on-board innovations," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO.

The 1,004-foot-long Carnival Dream offers a host of on-board features, including WaterWorks with a 303-foot-long Twister water slide, among the longest at sea, as well as a 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, a half-mile outdoor promenade with whirlpools that extend out over the ship's sides, and more than two dozen bars, restaurants, and lounges, including the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Carnival Dream also includes an indoor/outdoor cafe/live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza as well as the Seaside Theatre, a 270-square-foot LED screen displaying concerts, sporting events, and nightly Dive-In Movies.

Also featured is a Punchliner Comedy Club with nearly two dozen family-friendly and adult-oriented comedy shows per voyage. Carnival Dream also offers fun, supervised activities for children in three age groups and later this year will add Seuss at Sea, part of a fleetwide partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises featuring exciting youth, family, dining, and entertainment experiences inspired by the world of Dr. Seuss.

A variety of spacious accommodations are also available, with dozens of suites and a wide selection of balcony staterooms, including unique cove balconies located closer to the water that offer outstanding sea views. There are also ocean view staterooms with a full bath plus separate wash room and five-berth staterooms, which are ideal for families.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quantum of the Seas Floats Out



It wasn't that long ago that the final building block was moved into position, making it possible for Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship to have water beneath her hull for the first time just last week. As you can see from the photo above, Quantum of the Seas was floated out in the building dock at the MEYER WERFT shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.

In November of this year the 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas—the first of the Quantum-class vessels—is scheduled to launch her maiden season from Cape Liberty, located in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cruise Diva Talks About River Venture

If a picture is worth a thousand words—as my mother used to say—then video must be worth a million or more.

You may recall that the Cruise Diva and Mel were aboard Vantage Deluxe Travel's ms River Venture for the Inaugural Seine Sailing a month ago. While on board, I was asked to talk about the experience and I'm happy to share the journey here.


For an in-depth look at River Venture, Cruise Diva shares Rolling on the River Seine.

Video Courtesy of Vantage Deluxe World Travel


Friday, April 11, 2014

More World Cup Soccer At Sea With Costa

With the popularity of World Cup soccer, it's no surprise that another cruise line will be televising it for their passengers. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer championships taking place in Brazil June 12 to July 13, Costa Cruises plans to show live television broadcasts of matches onboard its fleet of 14 ships around the world. The line also has designed a variety of themed activities to celebrate the festive atmosphere surrounding the world's most popular sporting event. Depending on the timing of matches and the nationalities playing, games will be broadcast in different shipboard venues, such as the big screen located on the Magrodome pool deck and in the main show lounge.

Costa Cruises also has planned a range of themed activities to engage football fans and guests who want to support their national team and enjoy championship soccer in the company of friends and new acquaintances from around the world. During the day, creative guests will be encouraged to customize T-shirts or create banners with their favorite team's colors and slogans. There also will be group activities like soccer tournaments. Sports enthusiasts also can enjoy a game of freestyle soccer ball dribbling or take samba lessons with a Brazilian dance teacher to learn how celebrate their team's goals with an enthusiastic gesture. For those who prefer to cheer while sitting by the pool, Costa Cruises has created a series of fun World Cup trivia quizzes with exclusive prizes.

Costa Cruises' rich entertainment program includes flash-mob Brazilian dances to the tune of the official World Cup anthem, Brazilian-style appetizers with a Caipirinha—Brazil's national cocktail—and election of "Mister World Cup 2014." For more information, visit CostaCruises.com.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

FIFA World Cup Goes To Sea This Summer Aboard Norwegian’s Fleet

In partnership with the TV channel SPORT 24, Norwegian Cruise Line is providing soccer fans with the chance to follow the FIFA World Cup™ while on board Norwegian ships this summer.

World football’s flagship event will be held in Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014 and Norwegian will be screening the biggest matches fleet-wide. The partnership with the SPORT 24 will ensure that key games from the tournament matches will be available on board throughout the competition. This means that football fans can have the best of both worlds, a relaxing cruise vacation without missing one of the most exciting sporting events of the year. Norwegian will be showcasing key matches in multiple venues onboard each ship, so guests will have plenty of options to relax and enjoy their vacation, while experiencing a great sporting atmosphere onboard.

Fans can enjoy the games onboard all of Norwegian’s purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, including Miami’s Ultimate Ship, Norwegian Getaway, sailing 7-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami, or onboard Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway’s sister-ship and the ship that brings the best of NYC to Sea, setting sail from the Big Apple to Bermuda.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Carnival Plans Longer Cruises Between Galveston & San Juan in 2015-16

Cruises from Galveston, Texas usually follow a familiar route to nearby ports of call in Mexico, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman, which can become monotonous for repeat passengers who prefer to sail from that homeport. To mix things up and add variety to their itineraries, Carnival Cruise Lines is offering 10- and 11-day cruises between Galveston and San Juan featuring visits to six different Caribbean destinations on one itinerary. Two 11-day cruises sail from Galveston to San Juan Oct. 24, 2015, and Jan. 16, 2016, and two 10-day cruises from San Juan to Galveston depart Nov. 4, 2015, and Jan. 27, 2016.

These longer-length tropical itineraries feature an array of interesting Caribbean ports and are a first in terms of Carnival’s Texas-based cruise program, which also includes year-round 4-and 5-day Mexico cruises and 7-day Caribbean itineraries. A number of the ports featured on the 10- and 11-day voyages are among the most pristine, unique, and less visited islands in the Caribbean. Those are combined with several of the region’s most popular destinations to create attractive and diverse itineraries that provide the opportunity to enjoy a multitude of islands featuring gorgeous beaches, turquoise waters, and endless sightseeing, shopping, and water sports activities.

Also offered for the first time on a Carnival itinerary is Bonaire, which is featured on 11-day cruises. An island nestled in the Dutch Antilles, Bonaire is known for its brightly colored scenery and some of the best diving in the world. Other islands on these new itineraries rarely visited by Carnival ships include Antigua, Grenada, and Martinique—all known for stunning scenery and a relaxing Caribbean ambiance.

“These 10- and 11-day cruises on Carnival Triumph provide vacationers even more opportunities to explore tropical destinations, relax on beautiful white-sand beaches and enjoy world-class snorkeling, scuba diving and watersports,” said Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill. “Plus, at our Carnival Conversations events travel agents have indicated that they would like to see a greater variety of itinerary choices, particularly longer cruises from the Gulf region, so these new voyages from Galveston are a great new option for agents to market to their clients,” he added.
The 11-day voyages on Carnival Triumph originate in Galveston and include stops at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Martinique, and St. Maarten with the voyage ending in San Juan.

The 10-day San Juan-to-Galveston itinerary calls at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Antigua, Grand Turk, and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.
With non-repeating ports on the two different itineraries, guests who wish to take an even longer Carnival getaway can book back-to-back cruises and experience a memorable three-week voyage roundtrip from Galveston that visits all of these magnificent destinations. For more information, visit Carnival.com.