Thursday, July 31, 2014

Princess Cruises to Introduce Third Royal-Class Ship in 2017

Three's a charm and Princess Cruises has announced that it has reached an agreement with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a third Royal-class ship, which will enter service in 2017. The as-yet unnamed 143,000-ton vessel will carry 3,560 passengers and feature the successful design platform introduced by sister ships Royal Princess in 2013 and Regal Princess, which entered service this past May.

The new ship will include the signature elements that have become synonymous with the Princess Cruises guest experience such as a soaring central atrium hub with multiple dining, entertainment, and retail venues; the adults-only Sanctuary; Movies Under the Stars cinema experience, and 80 percent of all staterooms with balconies. The ship will also include some brand-new innovations to enhance the guest experience even further.

"We are incredibly excited to add this fabulous new ship to our already formidable fleet," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Royal Princess and Regal Princess have been exceptionally successful for us and have received numerous accolades from guests, travel agents, and media, so adding another sister ship will enable us to continue to expand our innovative vacation experiences. We're very pleased that this new ship order is an indication of the confidence that our parent Carnival Corporation has in the future of the Princess brand." She added that this is the only new order Carnival Corporation anticipates for 2017.

Specific features and amenities for the ship, along with deployment details, will be revealed in the coming months.

Royal Princess Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Word Solution: Insurance

An unfortunate situation has come to light in social media circles and this statement from Norwegian Cruise Line should put it in perspective:
Many of you have heard about the recent story regarding one of our guests and the tragic circumstances surrounding his family’s upcoming cruise. In light of recent discussions, we would like to take the time to share some background with you.

After learning of the circumstances regarding the cancellation of the Colucci family’s cruise, we wanted to make sure that Nicolas would be able to take cruise that he was so very much looking forward to.

While we knew getting Nicolas well again was the family’s top priority, we offered to work closely with the family when Nicolas was ready to travel to ensure that they took their vacation and we provided a personal contact at Norwegian for the family to stay in touch with. Separately, one of our travel partners reached out to Mrs. Colucci and offered their help in making sure the family took the cruise they had planned.

We contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that we work closely with to grant the wishes of hundreds of children each year who want to take a cruise. If the family chooses to participate in the Make-A-Wish program, we will make sure that they receive the cruise they were looking forward to.

We are touched by many similar situations and do our very best to work with our guests to offer support wherever possible. As a company that provides vacation experiences for more than 1.3 million people each year, we understand that situations such as this occur. In all instances, we balance these requests with the need to treat fairly those guests who have elected to purchase travel protection insurance. In an effort to provide guests with peace of mind, we offer travel protection and we strongly encourage our guests to take advantage of this safeguard to cover unforeseen circumstances.

We continue to wish the very best for the Colucci family and hope that Nicolas gets well soon. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.
We agree with those who've commented on Facebook and elsewhere that the purchase of travel insurance would have been a prudent move on the part of the family involved. Stories similar to this one pop up every day, which is why cruise lines and independent third-party insurers offer policies to cover such situations. We are not unsympathetic, but our advice to all travelers is to buy insurance unless you are able to "self insure" in case of a loss.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Music Festivals at Sea Set to Sail on Norwegian Pearl in Fall 2014 & Spring 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line and Sixthman, an industry leader in music festivals at sea, have announced the full line up of fall 2014 and spring 2015 festivals sailing from Miami onboard the beautiful Norwegian Pearl. Each of these unique, music-themed cruises are sure to give fans an intimate experience with their favorite artists, featuring outdoor performances, meet and greets, personal Q&A sessions and much more. With artists ranging from Heart to KISS, to 311 and Kid Rock, there is floating festival for every musical taste.

An ideal venue for festivals, Norwegian Pearl features a spectacular outdoor stage area and expansive pool deck. In addition, Norwegian Pearl features 13 bars and lounges, 19 dining experiences, one outdoor pool, four hot tubs, and a fitness center and spa. Guests looking for more active amenities can visit the outdoor climbing wall, bowl a few frames at the on board bowling alley, shoot hoops on the sports court, or tempt lady luck at The Pearl Club Casino.

The line up for the Fall ’14 season includes:
• KISS Kruise IV: Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2014, Featuring KISS, Cheap Trick (pre-party only onboard ship Oct 30th), Leogun, Purson, Big Rock Show, Priss, Needeep
• GRAMMY Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock! Nov. 4-8, 2014, Featuring Heart, Emmylou Harris, Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin, Estelle, Skylar Grey, Joan Osborne, Mindi Abair
• Florida Georgia Line Cruise: Nov. 8-12, 2014,, Featuring Nelly, Thomas Rhett, Colt Ford, Tyler Farr, Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Tree, Black Stone Cherry, Canaan Smith, Chris Lane, Maggie Rose, Russell Dickerson, Clare Dunn, and Jacob Powell
• Mad Decent Boat: Nov. 12-16, 2014,, Featuring Diplo, Major Lazer, Flosstradamus, Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead, DJ Snake, Benny Benassi, Big Gigantic, and more.
• Simple Man Cruise VIII: Nov. 16-20, 2014,, Featuring Lynyrd Skynrd, Blackberry Smoke, Foghat, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Lukas Nelson and P.O.T.R., Drake White and the Big Fire and more.
The line up for Spring ’15 includes:
• Sandy Beaches Cruises: Jan 10-17, 2015,, Featuring Delbert McClinton, Marcia Bell, Paul Thorn, The Mavericks, Fred Eaglesmith, Wayne Toups and more.
• Cayamo 2015: Jan 17-24, 2015,, Featuring Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, Buddy Miller, Kacey Musgraves, Shawn Colvin, and more.
• The Rock Boat XV: Jan 24-28, 2015,, Featuring Barenaked Ladies, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sister Hazel, Will Hoge, Red Wanting Blue, Kris Allen, and more.
• Sail Across the Sun 2015: Feb 13-17, 2015,, Hosted by Train along with The Wailers, Andy Grammer, A Great Big World, comedian Michael Ian Black, chefs Chris Cosentino and Ryan Scott and more to be added soon.
• Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea: Feb 17-21, 2015,, Featuring Joe Bonamassa, John Hiatt, Robben Ford, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Ana Popovic, Joanne Shaw Taylor.
• 311 Caribbean Cruise, Sound System Jamaica: Feb 25-March 1,, Featuring 311, Dirty Heads, Pepper and More.
• Kid Rock’s 6th Annual Chillin’ The Most Cruise: March 2-6, 2015,, Featuring a host of surprise bands to be announced onboard.
Image (c)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beer + Football + Carnival Cruise Lines = Fun

Got Beer?

In recognition of the growing popularity of craft beer in the U.S., Carnival Cruise Lines has entered into an exclusive agreement to offer Tampa-based Cigar City Brewing’s craft beers on all of its Florida-based ships. Cigar City’s Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale and Invasion Pale Ale is now available on 13 Carnival ships sailing from five Florida homeports. Combined, those ships carry more than two million guests each year.

“Carnival continues to seek high-quality brands to enhance our guests’ experience, and Cigar City Brewing has been rated among the top craft breweries in the world,” said Eddie Allen, Carnival’s vice president of beverage operations. Allen also noted that Carnival also offers its own private label draught beer, ThirstyFrog Red, which is available throughout the fleet.

Unlike most U.S. craft breweries, Cigar City Brewing packages most of its beverages in aluminum cans, the most widely recycled containers in the United States. From a beer drinker’s perspective, cans have zero light penetration to better preserve the integrity of the brew, they chill faster, are easier to store and have a longer shelf life than bottles. Cans also are shatterproof and therefore are allowed where bottles are not—such as poolside.

Are you ready for some Football?

Carnival, which is the largest cruise operator sailing from Texas, has entered into an exclusive, multi-year partnership with “America’s Team”—the Dallas Cowboys, making Carnival the Official Cruise Line of the legendary NFL franchise and expanding the cruise operator’s wide-ranging commitment to the Texas market. In its new role as the Official Cruise Line of the Dallas Cowboys, Carnival will add fun and memorable fan experiences to tailgaters at home games with its new “Fun Crew,” which tours the lots at AT&T Stadium on golf carts and offers prizes to Cowboys fans, including the chance to win one of many cruise vacation giveaways.

“We’re thrilled to bring Carnival Cruise Lines aboard as our Official Cruise Line,” said Jerry Jones Jr., chief marketing officer of the Dallas Cowboys. “We look forward to enhancing the game-day experience for every Cowboys fan with the unique brand of fun and entertaining activities Carnival will be bringing to our home games.”

The Dallas Cowboys partnership coincides with the line’s upcoming deployment of a third year-round ship, Carnival Freedom, to Galveston in February 2015. With the addition of Carnival Freedom, which recently underwent an extensive multi-million dollar makeover, Carnival expects to carry more than 600,000 guests a year from Texas, the most of any cruise operator. Carnival Freedom will join Carnival Magic in offering 7-day Caribbean cruises and Carnival Triumph, which sails on 4- and 5-day voyages to Mexico.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Friday, July 25, 2014

Carnival Announces Longer & Shorter Cruise Itineraries

Consumer response to the announcement earlier this year of Carnival Triumph’s first-ever longer length voyages from Galveston and San Juan was so positive that the cruise line has added three new 10- to 12-day voyages. Set to depart in winter 2015, the longer sailings feature port calls on beautiful and exotic destinations throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.

In addition, Carnival Magic will offer a series of 4- to 6-day voyages from Galveston in winter 2015, marking the first time that the 130,000-ton ship has offered a short cruise program from Texas.

“Based on feedback we’ve received from our guests and valued travel agent partners, we are pleased to be able to provide even more itinerary choices from Galveston,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “These new longer cruises on Carnival Triumph visit a variety of beautiful destinations while offering more time to enjoy the ship’s many fantastic and exciting features. At the same time, the 4- to 6-day sailings on Carnival Magic are the perfect choice for those looking for a shorter cruise featuring all the wonderful innovations aboard our newest class of ships,” he added.

The newly scheduled voyages on Carnival Triumph include three options, which can be combined to create a 33-day seagoing adventure visiting 15 ports across two continents:
• An 11-day southern Caribbean voyage from Galveston to San Juan: Feb. 9-20, 2015, calling at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica and St. Maarten.
• A 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean voyage from San Juan to Galveston: Feb. 20-March 2, 2015, with visits to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix and Falmouth (Jamaica).
• A 12-day Journey of Discovery cruise round-trip from Galveston: March 2-14, 2015, featuring Grand Cayman, Limon (Costa Rica), Colon (Panama), and Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia). From Colon, guests will have the opportunity to take an optional excursion for an up-close view of the wonders of the Panama Canal. The call at Santa Marta will mark Carnival’s first-ever visit to this beautiful seaside city.
During these voyages, guests can relax on beautiful beaches, visit centuries-old historical landmarks and attractions, and enjoy a variety of shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities, all while experiencing Carnival Triumph’s impressive array of Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar, and entertainment options.

The three new voyages complement Carnival Triumph’s previously announced series of 10- and 11-day cruises from Galveston and San Juan in 2015 and 2016. Two 11-day cruises sail from Galveston to San Juan Oct. 24, 2015 and Jan. 16, 2016, and two 10-day cruises will operate from San Juan to Galveston Nov. 4, 2015 and Jan. 27, 2016.

While Carnival Triumph is sailing these longer length cruises, Carnival Magic will, for the first time, offer a series of 4- to 6-day voyages from Galveston in February and March 2015, providing consumers an opportunity to experience the ship’s many unique features on a short cruise program.

Carnival Magic’s short cruise program will encompass two 4-day cruises to Cozumel departing Feb. 19 and March 5, 2015; two 5-day cruises to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico, departing Feb. 14 & 23, 2015; and two unique 6-day cruises to Cozumel, Progreso and Costa Maya departing Feb. 8 and March 9, 2015.

Reservations are currently being accepted for the new departures aboard both Carnival Triumph and Carnival Magic. For additional information, visit

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Everything You Want to Know About European River Cruising in One Place

We were novices when we embarked on our first river cruise last year to sail from Antwerp to Amsterdam. Sure, we’ve lost count on how many ocean cruises we have taken over the past two decades and we have sailed on Baltic and Mediterranean voyages, but we didn’t really know what to expect on European waterways inland. As it turned out we enjoyed river cruising and returned to Europe this year to sail again from Paris along the River Seine.

What we needed to know before that first trip has been compiled by my friend and colleague, the connoisseur of cruising himself—the Berliz guide to River Cruising in Europe by Douglas Ward is now available to help navigate the fastest growing segment of the worldwide cruise industry. With riverboats being launched at an astonishing rate, Ward takes an in-depth look at what they have to offer and what travelers can expect from each company and vessel, which he advises should be called “riverships.”

In the guidebook Ward reviews the major river cruise lines and offers reviews and ratings of each rivership in their fleets. The reviews don’t cover every feature, but do hit the important ones—for instance, what the accommodations and public rooms are like and whether there is an elevator on board.

In addition, there is information about the overall experience and what you can expect to see and do along Europe’s major rivers. Ward also anticipates the questions most frequently asked about river cruises and answers them in detail.

If you’re new to river cruises, this is your guide to making the best decisions before booking. Even if you have already reserved your sailing, take my word for it that the chapter on Europe’s Rivers and Waterways is worth the cost of the book. I wish I’d had it before my river cruises for that chapter alone.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Costa Concordia On The Move to Genoa

Assisted by two tugs, Costa Concordia left her anchored position near Giglio Island this morning at around 11 am. At an average speed of 2 knots, her arrival in Genoa is estimated to be between Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th.

For an in-depth, illustrated look at the day-by-day process to accomplish the removal of the Costa Concordia wreck, visit CND's CruiseBlogger, brought to you by Cruise News Daily.

Here's video of her on her way...

Grow Up A Bit, Baby Sailors

Since 1998, when Disney Cruise Line entered the vacation market at sea, it has been the cruising choice for many families, especially those with infants under six months of age. Until now, Disney was the only line that allowed babies as young as twelve weeks old to sail.

In an update to their minimum age policy that Disney stated was made to bring them in line with industry standards, Disney Cruise Line is increasing the minimum age to sail from twelve weeks to six months of age for most itineraries. The minimum age for the longer voyages, such as Transatlantic Crossings, Hawaii, and Panama Canal itineraries, will increase to one year of age. The new minimum age restrictions went into effect on July 18, 2014 for all new reservations being made for sailings after January 1, 2015.

The new policy does not apply to previously booked cruises that depart in 2015. Infants between twelve weeks and one year of age will be allowed to sail on those bookings.

This is the information Disney Cruise Line is providing to booked passengers with infants whose age is under the new minimum:
Thank you for selecting a Disney Cruise Line vacation for your family. We are glad that you will be joining us in 2015, and want to share with you some information about a change in the minimum age to sail. As a Guest currently scheduled to sail with an infant in 2015, we want to assure you that this change will not apply to your current reservation.

Effective July 18, 2014, for all new bookings on sailings commencing after January 1, 2015, the minimum age to sail aboard Disney Cruise Line ships will be 6 months of age on most itineraries. The minimum age for Transatlantic, Hawaii, and Panama Canal itineraries will increase to 1 year of age.

While this change will not apply to your current 2015 reservation, we wanted to advise you of the change and the exception that is being made for your existing reservation. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-939-2784.

It is also important to mention that the restrictions on the length of pregnancy have not changed. Women who have entered their 24th week of pregnancy as of their embarkation date or who will enter their 24th week of pregnancy during their cruise are not allowed to sail.
The new policy is outlined in the Planning Center of the Disney Cruise Line website under Frequently Asked Questions.

Image Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Cruise Review: Caribbean Princess

Regular contributors Mary & Vincent Finelli recently sailed on Caribbean Princess once again to enjoy the remarkable cuisine of Executive Chef Antonio Cereda.

Welcome aboard Caribbean Princess for a culinary journey on the Finelli's 106th cruise—and their 21st cruise on Princess ships.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Monday, July 21, 2014

Crystal Cruises To Sail Elusive Northwest Passage In 2016

Crystal Cruises is introducing a new itinerary that is sure to draw the interest of their exploration minded past passengers. Expect this expedition-style voyage to sell out quickly. The route traverses the Arctic Ocean via the legendary Northwest Passage—one so mysterious and remote (500 miles north of the Arctic Circle), that explorers spent centuries seeking the passage, until it was first completed successfully by Roald Amundsen just over 100 years ago.

Crystal will be the first luxury cruise line to ever navigate the route, maneuvering through 900 miles of majestic waterways lined with spectacular glaciers, towering fjords, and vast unspoiled landscapes away from mainstream civilization and tourism, north of mainland Canada. Beginning August 16, 2016 in Anchorage/Seward, Alaska, the award-winning Crystal Serenity will sail for 32 days from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean/New York City.

"Crystal's inaugural Northwest Passage offers guests the opportunity to begin a new story of thrilling adventure, all the while indulging in the world's very best luxury vacation experience," said Crystal President Edie Rodriguez. "The voyage combines intrepid adventure, the great outdoors, and immersive cultural experiences with Six-Star service as only Crystal can deliver."

Following in the footsteps of intrepid explorers, the once-in-a-lifetime journey through once-unpassable waterways marks Crystal's maiden expedition-style itinerary and a break from many cruising traditions. Approaches to itinerary scheduling, destination visits, onboard offerings, and safety standards are all new or enhanced, with major changes including:
A flexible itinerary: Extra "surprise" days are built into the schedule to allow unplanned "calls of the wild" for polar bear-viewing, whale-watching, glacier-cruising, scenic helicopter flights, and/or seeking out the best wildlife and weather on the advice of local specialist guides.
New adventures ashore: Crystal will introduce "Wilderness Adventures" that take guests across polar tundra, up ice-strewn fjords, and into scenic coves to explore areas in and near maiden ports-of-call. Travelers will also be able to respectfully visit the small, remote communities and uninhabited, unscheduled spaces/lands/waterways en route, often with champagne waiting at the other end. Although some excursions will only be determined "in the moment" based on circumstances and environment, Crystal will spend the next two years planning a plethora of excursions and "Arctic safaris" involving kayaks, Zodiacs, a helicopter, ATVs, fishing, hiking, climbing, golfing at the world's northernmost nine-hole course, and even possible camping and/or overnighting away from the ship. Voluntourism opportunities to help local lands and communities will also be offered complimentarily to guests and crew via the line's "You Care. We Care." program.
New enrichment: A 14-person expedition team of experts in a variety of subjects—including a native Arctic guide, scientists, and accomplished wildlife and landscape photographers—will not only provide lectures on subjects such as the science and history of the area, but also offer hands-on seminars and workshops, host dinners with guests, guide wildlife watching from the ship, and accompany excursions, where appropriate.
Respect & understanding of the local culture: Guests will be given a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the lifestyles of these small and remote communities during port visits, with activities created in partnership with the communities. Designed to show modern life today in the Arctic, as well as the rich cultural heritage of the region, visits will include demonstrations of local arts and crafts, Arctic sports, traditional drum dancing and throat singing, and tastings of local foods, such as Arctic char and bannock bread.
Onboard experience, expedition-style: Embracing the spirit of expedition, Crystal's usual onboard atmosphere of rest and relaxation will be relaxed even further with wardrobe (complimentary parkas, boot rentals, outfitter recommendations, and no "black tie optional" nights) and cuisine that, although still gourmet, is modified to reflect the locale and limited ability to re-supply goods and store waste during the month-long voyage.
Ports-of-Call: Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, and Nome*, Alaska; Ulukhaktok*, NW Territories; Cambridge Bay* and Pond Inlet, Nunavut; Ilulissat*, Sisimiut*, and Nuuk, Greenland; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island, and New York, New York. (*=maiden call)
Waterways: North Pacific Ocean; Bering Sea & Bering Strait; Chukchi & Beaufort Seas; Amundsen Gulf; Dolphin & Union Strait; Coronation Gulf; Dease Strait; Queen Maud Gulf; Victoria Strait; Larsen Sound; Franklin & Bellot Straits; Peel Sound; Parry Channel; Barrow Strait; Prince Regent Inlet; Lancaster Sound; Croker Bay; Navy Board Inlet; Eclipse Sound; Baffin Bay; Davis Strait; Labrador Sea; North Atlantic Ocean.
Enhanced safety & environmental standards: Crystal Serenity and its escort vessel will be using low-sulphur Marine Gas oil fuel, exceeding environmental regulations. The escort vessel will carry additional safety and environmental protection equipment, as well as personnel specifically trained in its use. In addition, it will serve as a platform for a helicopter and zodiacs, and be manned by a crew highly experienced in all aspects of operating safely in this unique area.
As you might expect, this unique opportunity comes with a hefty fare. All-inclusive "Book Now" fares start at $19,755 per person, double occupancy, with an additional Crystal Society savings starting from $495/person and $3,000 included in savings if booked by August 29, 2014. Additionally, this cruise comes a new booking process. A 20% initial deposit will be required to secure all bookings, with $500 of the deposit being non-refundable. The initial booking window, which opened on July 17th, is only be available to guests who have sailed with Crystal before (i.e., Crystal Society members). Non-members may add their name to a waitlist, and remaining space, if any, will open to the public on Sept 2. Crystal Adventures will open for pre-reservation 18 months in advance of the cruise. For more information, visit

Image Courtesy Crystal Cruises

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lost Crewmembers

We've heard from several unofficial sources that three of the passengers who perished when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine were crewmembers from Celebrity Cruises who were on their way home to Indonesia. Please join us in a moment of silent reflection for them and their families.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Smooth Jazz Cruise: It's The Greatest Party at Sea

If a Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words, Then What Is a Video Worth? Those of us who have sailed on The Smooth Jazz Cruise know how difficult it is to describe to others. It is more than amazing wall-to-wall music. It is more than a luxurious cruise. It is The Greatest Party at Sea!

Capturing that spirit in photographs and words is very difficult, although we tried during The Smooth Jazz Cruise 2008. However, the real essence and excitement of the cruise can best be seen in the interaction between the Artists and the Guests, the staff and crew and the Guests, and the Guests with their fellow Guests. Depicting the interaction is very difficult, too, but video comes the closest to connecting the dots, which is why the hosts at Entertainment Cruise Productions have put together an amazing video of The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’14, together with a lot of information about The Smooth Jazz Cruise 15.1 and 15.2. Yes! For 2015, there are TWO sailings and special guest Natalie Cole will be unforgettable on both!

About 20 cabins have become available recently aboard Eurodam for The Smooth Jazz Cruise 15.1, which departs Fort Lauderdale on January 11, 2015, and just over 200 remain for The Smooth Jazz Cruise 15.2 that sails on March 1st. Both cruises will visit Nassau, Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Holland America Line’s private island Half Moon Cay. The second sailing is just under eight months away, but those cabins won’t be available for long, so now is the best time to secure a reservation. Book your cabin online with Entertainment Cruise Productions or call 888.852.9987.

There is only one cruise in this musical genre that has sailed 17 times and provided the smoothest entertainment for more than a decade! The Smooth Jazz Cruise ... the first, the best and the Greatest Party at Sea.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer is Officially Under Construction

With the crisp pop of a cork being freed from a Krug Grande Cuvée magnum, a laser cut the ceremonial first piece of steel this week to begin the construction of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Incorporating a bottle of the world’s finest champagne to start the building process is symbolic of the high level of sophistication and design being developed for Seven Seas Explorer, which is scheduled to debut in summer 2016.

The ceremonial first piece of steel will serve as the foundation for an opulent, one-of-a-kind owner’s suite unlike any other at sea. The suite, with exquisite stonework and luscious fabrics, will serve as a hallmark for the superior level of elegance found throughout the ship. When it debuts, Seven Seas Explorer will establish a new benchmark for style and service and perfectly complement the all-inclusive luxury experience currently enjoyed by guests sailing with Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

During the ceremony, Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Gabriele Cocco, senior executive vice president of merchant ships for Fincantieri, began a countdown that culminated with Maison Krug Italy’s master sommelier, Michela Cimatoribus, releasing the cork from a magnum of Krug Grande Cuvée. As the cork soared and the champagne flowed, confetti cascaded down and the laser cut the first piece of steel for the 750-passenger ship.

“We’re one step closer to fulfilling our dream of building the most luxurious ship in the world and giving our guests another exciting option to explore inspired global destinations with our special brand of all-inclusive luxury,” noted Kamlani. “Seven Seas Explorer will surpass the current standard in luxury cruising, offering a new level of grandeur throughout the ship from its lavish suites to its elegant public spaces and gourmet restaurants.”

At 54,000 gross-registered tons and carrying only 750 guests, Seven Seas Explorer will boast the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in the cruise industry and further strengthen Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ widely recognized position as the most inclusive luxury cruise line. Seven Seas Explorer will join the rest of the award-winning Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet in the summer of 2016. Regent Seven Seas Cruises will begin taking reservations for the maiden voyage and inaugural season for Seven Seas Explorer in early 2015.

Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises: pictured above are Michela Cimatoribus (Master Sommelier Maison Krug Italy), Gabriele Cocco, (SEVP of Merchant Ships for Fincantieri), Kunal S. Kamlani, (President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises), and Raffele Davassi (SVP Ponente Shipyard)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line Revamps Their Smoking Policy

Travel agents were informed yesterday that Norwegian Cruise Line will ban smoking on private balconies effective for all cruise departures on or after Nov 1, 2014. The revised smoking policy is as follows:
As the health and well-being of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance, Norwegian Cruise Line will institute changes to its smoking policy for all sailings on or after Nov 1, 2014. The specific changes prohibit smoking on stateroom balconies and limit smoking in the casino to players. On Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway, smoking on The Waterfront will be permitted on the starboard side, except by the outdoor dining areas.

Public areas throughout all our ships are smoke-free. If you smoke regular or electronic cigarettes, you can do so in designated areas only. If you prefer pipes or cigars, you can smoke in the Cigar Bar or designated smoking lounge. Smoking cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes is permitted in outdoor public guest spaces and open decks where designated by the ship's management based on the ship's specific characteristics and arrangement. Smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is prohibited in or near venues serving food, the jogging track, outdoor sporting venues, The Haven outdoor areas and children's pool areas. On ships with The Waterfront, smoking is permitted on the starboard side excluding any food service areas. Active Casino players may smoke cigarettes in the Casino during gaming hours. Cigarette smoking is not permitted in any other indoor venue or location.

Guests are not permitted to smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars or pipes in their staterooms or on their balconies. Cigar and pipe smoking in staterooms and on balconies is prohibited. Smoking inside your stateroom or on your balcony will result in a $250 cleaning charge added to your onboard account. If cigarette burns on furniture, linens, towels or carpeting are detected; guests will be advised and charged for the damages.

Electronic cigarettes cannot be used in public areas where there is a No Smoking policy in force; simply because these cigarettes look so realistic and therefore other guests' perception is that we are not enforcing the No Smoking rule.
With the recent balcony smoking ban announced by Carnival Cruise Lines, that leaves Holland America Line as the only major US-based cruise line that still allows smoking on private balconies. We wonder if they will make a similar policy change in the coming days.

Image (c)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line Orders Two More Breakaway-Plus Class Cruise Ships

With two Breakaway-Plus Class ships already under construction, Norwegian Cruise Line announced this week that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GmbH of Germany to build two more of the 164,600 gross ton, 4,200 passenger berth ships. The contract price for both ships is approximately euro 1.6 billion.

Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game-changers and are extremely popular with our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “It was only natural that we build on their success with this new ship order that further solidifies our long-term growth strategy.”

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise vacation on their own terms, including multiple dining venues, relaxed attire, a variety of accommodations, and world-class entertainment. The line took Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Norwegian Epic in June 2010 and subsequently launched two Breakaway Class vessels, Norwegian Breakaway based in New York in May 2013 and Norwegian Getaway homeported in Miami in February 2014. These ships incorporate groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that create a whole new complex at sea and connect guests with the ocean. The line currently has four vessels on order at MEYER WERFT for delivery in fall 2015 (Norwegian Escape), spring 2017 (Norwegian Bliss), and the two just-announced and as yet unnamed vessels due to launch in spring 2018 and fall 2019.

Image of Norwegian Escape & Norwegian Bliss Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Rules For Flying With Electronic Devices

Before leaving on a trip—especially one that includes air travel—one of the final tasks on my ‘to-do’ list is to charge laptops and other electronic devices. I don’t want the battery on my music player or tablet to run down mid-flight when I’m reading and listening to music. Not all planes are equipped with outlets to plug in chargers and now there’s an even more urgent reason to be sure electronics are charged before arriving at foreign airports.

Earlier this month the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security issued the following statement due to concerns over the possibility of explosives hidden within electronic devices being taken on airplanes:
DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security. As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible. We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry. These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public. Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment. As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public.
In a follow-up, the TSA released this clarifying statement:
Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening. TSA will continue to adjust security measures to ensure that travelers are guaranteed the highest levels of aviation security conducted as conveniently as possible.
It’s been some time since passengers were routinely asked to boot up laptops during the security screening process and in recent years it has only been necessary to remove them from cases to be sent through the x-ray machine separately. However, in addition to laptops this new ‘power-it-up’ rule covers all electronics such as cell phones, tablets, music players, electronic reading devices, and mobile phones. For international travelers, this could cause delays during airport screenings and if their batteries are dead, the devices won’t be allowed on the airplane.

No one wants to have expensive electronics confiscated, so heed this warning to make sure they are fully charged prior to arriving at the airport.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines & the Port of New Orleans Sign A Five-Year Agreement

New Orleans Port & Skyline, from the
Lido Deck of a Fantasy-class Ship
The Port of New Orleans announced last week that it has signed a new agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines that will keep the world’s largest cruise line sailing at least two ships year-round from The Big Easy through 2019.

Superseding a three-year extension inked in 2013, the new agreement offers three one-year options that could guarantee Carnival homeports at least two ships of equal or greater size than the Dream Class and Fantasy Class ships sailing from the Port today through 2022. The new agreement took effect on July 1st.

“This is a clear demonstration of Carnival’s belief in New Orleans as one of its top home ports,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “We look forward to helping Carnival grow its business in the Crescent City for the long-term.”

Carnival currently has two cruise ships sailing year-round from the Port’s Erato Street Cruise Terminal which was recently renovated to accommodate the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, which launched 7-day itineraries on April 14, 2014 from New Orleans with eastern and western Caribbean cruises. The Carnival Dream joined the Carnival Elation, which sails 4- and 5-day cruises to Mexico. Together, these two ships carry more than 400,000 passengers annually from New Orleans—the most of any cruise line.

“Carnival is excited to continue our outstanding relationship with the Port of New Orleans,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “We greatly value the professionalism of our partners at the port, the ease of operating from New Orleans, and the tremendous support we receive from the local community...”

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has ranked New Orleans the sixth largest cruise port in the United States.

Image (c)

Friday, July 11, 2014

New Cruise Review: Carnival Freedom

In his Carnival Freedom cruise review Keith Henderson takes a look at the numerous features added in the ship's recent Fun Ship 2.0 upgrade and critiques everything from dining and entertainment to the itinerary and excursions.

Keith gives a thumbs-up to most of the added features on board, such as Guy's Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana Burrito Bar, but finds some of the entertainment lacking.

Image (c)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Silversea Debuts Haute Couture Uniforms

A recent fashion show held aboard Silver Wind in Venice previewed new uniforms designed by Italy's prestigious Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) of Milan for luxury line, Silversea Cruises.

The project was launched in September 2012, when the IED team spent several days aboard Silver Spirit, drawing creative inspiration from the elegant ship's Art Deco interior, and gaining insight into the functions and needs of the ship's officers and staff working in a diversity of settings, including reception, restaurants, lounges, and housekeeping.

The IED designers have created an elegant and distinguished look in several variations that complements the luxury line's brand image. The collection features natural fabrics, including cotton and wool, in a black, white, blue, and gray color palette. In the coming months, several hundred Silversea shipboard employees will be outfitted in the elegant uniforms from Milan. Illustrated here are the Butlers' chic new uniforms.

"We're delighted to showcase the talents of the up-and-coming fashion designers of IED," said Cristina Levis, Silversea's head of business development. "They have created stylish and comfortable uniforms that will be made in Italy and that effectively project the sophistication, professionalism, and graciousness of the ladies and gentlemen who represent our brand."

Designers of the collection are Antonio Pala, Alla Polozenko, Laura Liistro, and Magdalena Kilkovich. The project was coordinated by Francesca Tottoli, manager of special projects for IED Moda, and professors Valentina Conzo and Alfonso Granieri.

Image Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines Introduces More Restrictive On Board Smoking Policy & Raises Gratuity Guideline

Here at Cruise Diva we hate to hear about cruise line policy changes second hand. In this case, I came across Facebook posts about a new smoking policy and an increase in gratuities quietly being introduced by Carnival Cruise Lines. I say quietly because there had not been an official announcement to the media as of 2:30pm yesterday.

However, when I searched the line's web site, sure enough, I came across the information in the Question & Answer section, which follows below.
Q: What is the smoking policy?

A: Effective on voyages departing October 9, 2014, or thereafter, all staterooms and suite accommodations are an entirely smoke free environment, including the outside balcony.

Cigarette and E-cigarette smoking will continue to be allowed in designated exterior open deck areas, as well as in our night club, and in certain areas within the casino and casino bar.

Cigar and pipe smoking will continue to be allowed in designated exterior open deck areas only.

Note: Guests who smoke in their staterooms or on their balconies will be assessed a $250 cleaning and refreshing fee on their Sail & Sign account. Information on this fee is included in Carnival's cruise ticket contract. Guest agrees to strictly comply with Carnival’s non-smoking policy.
We certainly hope travel agents have been notified. Their booked clients who are smokers should be made aware of the change in time to cancel their reservations if they feel strongly enough about the new policy, which mainly no longer allows them to light up on private balconies. Some Facebook posts indicate that previously loyal Carnival past passengers are cancelling.

As of this date, to our knowledge, Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line are the only cruise lines that still allow smoking on balconies.

And the gratuities? Here's the Q&A:
Q: What is the tipping policy onboard?

A: For your convenience, we automatically charge the gratuities for dining and stateroom staff to your onboard Sail & Sign account.

• Voyages departing through Oct 8, 2014; the daily amount is $11.50 per guest
• Voyages departing Oct 9, 2014 onward; the daily amount is $12.00 per guest
Cruise Diva understands that booked guests who prepaid the gratuities by July 7 will not be charged the increase.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Lines

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Royal Caribbean Uses Google Street View Technology

Royal Caribbean International is changing the way how people plan their vacations by working with Google to be the first cruise line to launch Google Maps Business View using Google’s Street View technology onboard the world’s largest cruise ship Allure of the Seas. By using Street View technology, Royal Caribbean can provide consumers with an immersive and interactive experience when they are searching for a vacation.

With just a few clicks, guests will be able to virtually walk through the various decks of Allure of the Seas including the Royal Promenade, a boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship, flanked by restaurants, boutiques and lounges; Central Park, an outdoor park longer than a football pitch complete with over 12,000 live plants and trees; the Boardwalk, featuring a carousel, two rock-climbing walls and the AquaTheater, a high-dive aquatic performance venue with the deepest pool at sea; Entertainment Place, with an elaborate theatre, night club, comedy club, jazz club and ice-skating rink, which offers professionally produced ice shows; the Pool and Sports Deck featuring a zip line, twin FlowRider surf simulators, full-size basketball/sports court, nine-hole mini-golf course, 15 pools and whirlpools and 22 restaurants, and many, many more.

Vacationers will be able to access the technology, a first for the cruise industry at or via Google Search results, Google Maps, and Google+ by using their computers, smartphones, or tablets.

Over 20,000 images were taken over the course of 60 man hours and eight days to complete the virtual representation of Allure of the Seas. The images were taken using a basic DSLR camera using a fisheye lens and a panoramic head resting on a tripod. This method takes twelve photographs at each point and uses high-dynamic-range imaging to ensure the best exposure for areas of different light.

Photo Courtesy of Royal Caribbean Intl.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Kid Rock’s 6th Annual Chillin’ the Most Cruise to Set Sail

Kid Rock has once again joined forces with Sixthman, the industry leader in music festivals at sea, to present Kid Rock’s 6th Annual Chillin’ the Most Cruise. The floating music festival will set sail March 2–6 from Miami, FL to Cozumel Mexico aboard Norwegian Pearl.

For the first time in Kid Rock Cruise history, guests will be invited to go on a “blind date” with Kid Rock. In previous years, the full festival lineup has been announced prior to the event. On this 6th voyage, Kid Rock has decided to keep guests guessing about the artists joining the supporting lineup. Guests will find out which artists are coming along for the ride the moment they board the ship, bringing an exciting twist to this highly successful festival at sea. The activities, contests, theme nights, and all other details guests are accustomed to knowing prior to sailing will be announced periodically in the months leading up to the event.

Norwegian Pearl will sail to the island of Cozumel, which offers an array of activities for Kid Rock Cruisers. From fishing and snorkeling to shopping, local dining, and more, passengers have plenty of adventures to choose from that are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. With an exclusive “Chillers-only” shore excursion, guests can take the party from the ship to this little slice of paradise at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Visit to learn more about the upcoming booking process and for announcements on performances, contests, activity details, and special guest artists.

Image Courtesy of Sixthman

Saturday, July 5, 2014

New Video Inside Costa Concordia

The UK's Telegraph has shared a recently filmed underwater video of the outside decks and inside the atrium and up the grand staircase of Costa Concordia. The images are very clear and quite startling.

Friday, July 4, 2014

American Cruise Lines Launches A New Riverboat

A new paddlewheeler being built for American Cruise Lines for service on the Mississippi River was successfully launched at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland last Sunday. Immediately following the picture perfect launch into the Wicomico River—seen here—tugboats nudged the new riverboat into Chesapeake Shipbuilding’s East Outfitting Basin where the upper decks and outfitting will be completed.

“This is a significant milestone in the construction process and also for American Cruise Lines,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “We look forward to introducing yet another new paddlewheeler on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.”

The launching comes just a few weeks after the joining of the two hull sections, weighing at almost 600 tons a piece. With the installation of the upper decks up next, the new riverboat will come together quickly, and upon completion will be the second new riverboat built for the Mississippi River by American Cruise Lines. Two additional riverboats are also on the way.

The just-launched boat, still unnamed, will have a capacity of 150 passengers and is scheduled to begin navigating the Mississippi River and its tributaries in the spring of 2015.

Image Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Concordia Wreck to Move to Genoa, Italy for Dismantling

A statement from Costa Cruises indicates that the Italian Cabinet has authorized Titan Micoperi to tow the Costa Concordia wreck to Genoa, Italy, for dismantling and recycling. The decision marks the beginning of the final phase of the removal of the wreck from the coast of Giglio, Italy.

"The cabinet's approval of the project for transportation of the Concordia to Genoa for dismantling and recycling means that achievement of the goal we set ourselves 2½ years ago, namely, the safe and definitive removal of the wreck from Giglio Island, is now well within sight," said Costa Crociere CEO Michael Thamm. "We are now just two weeks away from refloating the ship. We will supervise the final phase of the Concordia project with the same commitment and attention that we have put into this challenge since the very beginning, using the best expertise and technologies, in compliance with the highest environmental safety standards, and in full cooperation with the authorities."

With the green light for towing the Concordia wreck to Genoa, more than 350 Titan Micoperi technicians are working 24/7 at Giglio Island to rapidly complete the preparations for refloating. Only two more sponsons are still to be installed to reach the total of 30 needed to refloat the wreck. Refloating is scheduled to start by mid-July upon authorization of the Monitoring Observatory, and towing of the wreck from Giglio Island is planned by the end of the month.

"The Concordia's last voyage will be provided by Titan Micoperi, the consortium commissioned to carry out the salvage operation on Giglio Island," Thamm explained. "Once the ship is in Genoa, we will be able to count on the cutting-edge technical and management skills of the Saipem consortium to deal with the environmental aspects of the Concordia dismantling operations. The work will be done at San Giorgio del Porto, the first shipyard in Italy to be included in the Special Register of Environmental Ship Reclamation & Recycling Facilities, which has many decades of experience in ship repairs and refitting. The technical and financial solidity of Saipem/SGdP represents an important guarantee for the project."

The last phases of the Concordia wreck removal project—refloating, transportation and dismantling/recycling—will be explained in detail by Costa Crociere and its partners in the coming days. Information about the progress of operations and details of upcoming media briefings will be posted on the project website:

Transportation from Giglio Island to Genoa:
Once it is refloated, the wreck will be towed to the Port of Genoa Voltri under the direction of the Titan Micoperi team, which is in charge of the Concordia salvage operation. It will travel a distance of about 190 nautical miles (219 statute miles) at an average speed of 2 knots (2.3 mph), taking an estimated four days.

The window for the transportation falls statistically in the period characterized by the best sea and weather conditions for the region. Studies and analyses have confirmed the safety of the planned method of transportation. As has always been the case in all phases of the Concordia removal project, environmental protection is the top priority.

The ship will be towed at low speed and escorted by other vessels carrying specialized equipment and personnel, including a team of marine biology experts who will be ready to intervene should any problem arise.

Background on the dismantling/recycling project:
Dismantling and recycling will be provided by a consortium formed by Saipem, part of state-owned ENI Group, a leading company in engineering and environmental projects, and San Giorgio del Porto, a shipyard active since 1928 in ship repairs and refitting, and the first shipyard in Italy to be included in the Special Register of Environmental Ship Reclamation & Recycling Facilities.

The Saipem/San Giorgio del Porto plan for dismantling and recycling of the Concordia wreck will be carried out in four phases that are expected to last a total of 22 months as follows.
• Phase I: The Port of Genova Voltri will be readied to receive the vessel and perform initial ship breaking activities including stripping of the interior furnishings and fittings on the decks above water.
• Phase II: The wreck will be transferred from the Voltri Breakwater to the Molo Ex Superbacino dock, where the structures of decks 14 to 2 will be dismantled.
• Phase III: Will consist of preparatory activities for transfer of the wreck to Dry Dock no. 4. At this stage the sponsons will be removed and the food storerooms and cold storage rooms on Deck 0 will be cleaned.
• Phase IV: Operations will be carried out in the segregated area of Dry Dock no. 4 with complete disassembly of the wreck, involving removal of the other interior fittings, cleanup of various areas and final demolition of all remaining structures. This phase will conclude with appropriate handling, disposal and recycling of the discarded materials.
The Concordia Wreck Removal Project:
The Concordia wreck removal is an extremely complex technical engineering feat—considered the biggest salvage ever attempted on a ship of its size—with the deployment of the finest international expertise, state-of-the-art technology and unprecedented financial resources. The priorities of the project were clear from the outset: respect for the environment, workplace safety and protection of the Giglio Island’s socio-economic fabric. The Concordia wreck was rotated to a vertical position with a successful parbuckling operation Sept. 17, 2013.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Double Dose of Disney's Magic For Families

Catch a Double Dose of Magic Disney-style with something for everyone in the family.

Join our contributor Georgina Cruz, her husband Humberto, daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons for a multi-generational get-together: a pre-cruise stay at the Walt Disney Resort, followed by a cruise aboard Disney Cruise Line's fourth and newest vessel, Disney Fantasy.

It's a cruise and resort review you won't want to miss.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Carnival Freedom Debuts Four New Revues

As part of an extensive multi-million-dollar makeover, Carnival Freedom has debuted four brand new production shows featuring cutting-edge technology that blends live performances with towering LED screens showcasing spectacular staging and special effects. The latest in the line’s high-tech Playlist Productions revues, the four new shows complement an array of innovative new features that are part of the Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative that were recently added to the ship. Including the new shows introduced on Carnival Freedom, the company’s entertainment team has created ten Playlist Production shows which are presented throughout Carnival’s “Fun Ship” fleet.

Carnival Freedom’s new Playlist Productions shows are:
80s Pop to the Max — This high-energy show channels the era of Day-Glo, Spandex, and big hair with spirited performances of the hottest music video hits from the 1980s. From the pop-rock of Duran Duran and Cindy Lauper to the smooth soul of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and beyond, 80s Pop to the Max takes audiences back to days when “video killed the radio star.”
Heart of Soul — This mesmerizing show tugs on the heart strings, capturing special romantic moments with recognizable R&B and soul hits from a host of legendary singers, from Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder to Otis Redding, Ray Charles and Al Green. In a unique twist, six lucky couples are chosen for a special night of romance with VIP seats, champagne, and flowers.
Getaway Island — A high-tech re-creation of popular beach movies of the 1960s featuring 3D special effects, Getaway Island invites guests to set their watches to “island time” as they experience a tropical island bash with music from Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley, the Beach Boys and others. Getaway Island also features its own version of Carnival Freedom’s new RedFrog Pub with a cocktail glass-spinning bartender and talented guitar soloist. It’s always 5 o’ clock on Getaway Island!
88 Keys: The Rock n’ Roll Piano Show — Goodness, gracious great balls of fire! Highlighted by sing-along hits from Billy Joel, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others—as well as an appearance from Carnival Freedom’s own piano bar pianist—88 Keys: The Rock n’ Roll Piano Show spotlights these talented artists who have taken the term “tickling the ivories” to a whole new level.
Presented in Carnival Freedom’s 1,400-seat Victoriana Show Lounge—which has been renovated to accommodate Playlist Productions’ sophisticated technology—the new revues were created by Carnival’s in-house entertainment team which has been expanded with new members hired specifically to concept, develop, and roll out these four new shows.

Carnival Freedom will operate 5- to 8-day Caribbean departures from Fort Lauderdale through February 2015 and then reposition to Galveston, Texas, to sail year-round 7-day Caribbean cruises.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Lines