The new Carnival Breeze was officially named this past week at PortMiami, and Royal Caribbean’s Serenede of the Seas has reemerged from a three week drydock with lots of new dining options. Plus NCL opened their 2014 itineraries including their newest ships, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. Then Princess really knows how to celebrate the holidays with their daily snowfall!
Read the latest cruise news each week on CruiseSource. Click to subscribe to CruiseSource!
Carnival Breeze Officially Named During a Fun-Filled Ceremony at PortMiami
The official naming ceremony for Carnival Cruise Lines’ new Carnival Breeze took place Saturday, Dec. 8, at PortMiami. Serving as the ship’s godmother was Tracy Wilson Mourning, founder of the Miami-based Honey Shine mentoring program, who initiated the breaking of the traditional bottle of champagne on the ship’s hull during the invitation-only event.
Following its inaugural season in Europe, the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze began sailing year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami Nov. 24, becoming the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship ever based in South Florida.
During the naming ceremony, Carnival presented a $25,000 donation to Honey Shine, which pairs young girls with female role models to empower young women and create future leaders in our communities through a combination of classroom training, spiritual education and collaborative experiences.
Serenade of the Seas Emerges from a Three Week Revitalization
Royal Caribbean International’s Serenede of the Seas has reemerged from its three week $29 million drydock at Navantia Ship Yard in Cadiz, Spain, with a host of new dining concepts, entertainment options and technology advancements originally introduced to industry-wide acclaim aboard Oasis-class ships. Serenade of the Seas, a Radiance-class ship, is the eighth ship overall to undergo revitalization since the line announced an extensive revitalization program in 2011 which will leave no ship untouched.
Serenade of the Seas emerges from drydock with nearly double the dining options with the addition of five of the brand’s most highly-acclaimed signature dining concepts, including:
- Giovanni’s Table: An Italian trattoria featuring Italian classics served family-style (open for lunch, $15, and dinner, $20)
- Izumi Asian Cuisine: A pan-Asian restaurant with an authentic dining experience featuring mouthwatering flavors and a sushi bar with hot-rock cooking (open for lunch and dinner, $3.00 cover charge for lunch and $5.00 for dinner, plus a la carte menu pricing)
- Park Café: An indoor/outdoor gourmet market featuring made-to-order salads, sandwiches including the signature Kummelveck beef sandwich, soups and pastries (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, complimentary)
- Rita’s Cantina: A casual yet vibrant restaurant, catering to families by day, and adults by night; offering Mexican appetizers and a comprehensive selection of margaritas (open for lunch and dinner, a la carte menu pricing)
- Chef’s Table: An exclusive and private experience co-hosted by the executive Chef and Sommelier for a wine pairing dinner of five courses (open for dinner, $95 per person)
Guests interested in sampling these new venues will have the opportunity to choose from one of the new dining packages recently introduced. These include the Royal Choice Dining Package, which includes dinner at Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table and Izumi for $55 per guest, or the Chef’s Table Dining Package for $130 per guest, which includes all of the specialty restaurants as well as the Chef’s Table.[fblike]
Norwegian Opens Summer and Year-Round 2014 Itineraries
Norwegian Cruise Line announced and opened for sale its 2014 summer and year-round cruises. The deployment includes the line’s newest and most innovative ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway in their respective homeports of New York and Miami, along with three ships in Alaska, and four in Europe for the summer. Norwegian will also continue to offer its unique Hawaii cruises year-round on Pride of America from Honolulu and short Bahamas itineraries year-round on Norwegian Sky.
“With our new ships joining the fleet combined with our existing ships sailing to a variety of destinations, we have a robust offering of exciting cruises for our guests to choose from in 2014,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “We continue to offer our guests the freedom and flexibility to cruise to summer destinations such as Europe, Alaska and Bermuda on some of the youngest ships in the industry with the most innovative programming, entertainment and dining at sea.”
Princess Cruises Decks the Halls for Festive Holiday Cruises
Princess Cruises ships are ready to celebrate this joyful time of year around the world. Whether they are sailing through the islands of the Caribbean and South Pacific or cruising through the waters Down Under in Australia and New Zealand, ships will be decked from stem to stern, and may even experience an unusual snowfall.
Now a favorite holiday feature on Princess ships, most ships offer a daily snowfall using an innovative snow-making process that creates falling flakes that vanish on contact, letting passengers enjoy the excitement of snow flurries without the need to bundle up.
Even when the snow isn’t coming down, Princess ships will feature a merry atmosphere. Vessels are decked out in holiday décor – even including a Christmas tree on many vessels’ masts – and strolling carolers fill the air with the sounds of the season.
Passengers will keep busy with special season activities, including a “gingerbread challenge,” where teams test their holiday house-building skills in a fun-filled competition to construct the most creative gingerbread structure. Kids can test their holiday craft skills by creating a personalized ornament. Turkey-carving demonstrations will prepare passengers to do the honors at their next holiday feast.
Special events also include a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” for children by either the captain or cruise director, and a holiday variety show adds a seasonal element to the ship’s entertainment offerings. For those who can’t get enough of Christmas carols, the ships’ Princess Pop Star talent show will feature a holiday edition where competitors can croon their favorite seasonal songs.
Religious services are held as well, and passengers can attend midnight mass or an inter-denominational church service. Passengers will receive a stocking turndown gift and can enjoy classic holiday films or even relax in front of a traditional burning Yule log … on their stateroom television!