The Cruise Cafe

Welcome to Cruise Cafe. The great new place to find out the latest in the cruise business. Whether it be the latest specials, great new itineraries or information on cruise ships or cruise lines. Feel free to add comments on your experiences too. You can always find out more at or by calling us at 1-800-788-2545. For the latest specials, follow us on Twitter at

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mahogany Bay Cruise Center Rated Outstanding by Guests

The $62 million Mahogany Bay Cruise Center at Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras officially opened in November and began welcoming cruise ships. Reaction from cruise guests to the new facility has been outstanding!

More than five years in development, and two years under construction, Mahogany Bay Cruise Center encompasses 20 acres of waterfront property and includes a two-berth cruise terminal which can accommodate up to 8,000 passengers daily. It is a joint project of Carnival Corporation & plc and Roatan businessman Jerry Hynds. The Mahogany Bay Cruise Center offers a welcome center along with a variety of retail outlets, including two themed bars, a restaurant and several shops.

Unique to Mahogany Bay is a new chair lift system that takes cruise ship guests from the welcome center to beautiful Mahogany Beach, a 10-acre private island featuring an 825-foot-long white-sand beach with a beach volleyball court and a myriad of watersports opportunities. Eight exclusive cabanas are also available for rent.

The “Magical Flying Beach Chair” takes guests on a six-minute ride across nearly 1,200 feet of suspended cables, providing not only convenient beach access but views of the lush countryside as well. All-day passes for the beach chair lift are $5 per person. An elevated path is also available for those who prefer to walk.

For more information on the new Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, visit

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Princess Named "Weather Cruise Ship Company of the Year" by NOAA

While passengers are relaxing and exploring the world aboard Princess Cruises’ ships, little do they know that throughout their vacation the vessels are also helping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) track global weather patterns. In 2009, Princess ships made 20,139 weather observations – more than any other cruise line – earning the company the distinction of NOAA’s “Weather Cruise Ship Company of the Year.” Coral Princess led the fleet with 5,142 observations.

The voluntary reporting system helps NOAA track weather patterns in many areas of the world where the organization doesn’t have direct access to local information. The ships measure air temperature, humidity, wind direction and strength, sea waves and swells. Ships send information at a minimum of every six hours when at sea to a database which is forwarded to NOAA.

“As long-time participants in this important program, we’re happy that our fleet was able to provide so much data this year to help with worldwide weather forecasting,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “With Princess ships sailing around the globe to all seven continents, we’re in the unique position to be able to take weather readings in a multitude of destinations where NOAA might not otherwise be able to get information.”

This data, which is gathered not only from cruise ships, but from all types of ships worldwide, is used to help NOAA track and forecast weather patterns around the world.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Carnival Cruise Lines Returns to Europe in 2011

Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship, the 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic, will debut with a schedule of seven-, nine- and 12-day Mediterranean cruises operating round-trip from Barcelona from May to October 2011.

This marks Carnival’s first full season of Mediterranean cruises in three years, as well as the first time the line has homeported a ship in Barcelona.

To commemorate the line’s return to Europe, for the first time ever Carnival is offering an exclusive pre-sale for past guests until January 25, including complimentary two-category upgrades, along with special pricing with rates starting at just $829 per person, based on double occupancy.

For consumers new to Carnival, the line’s full range of cruise fares, including highly attractive Early Saver rates will open on Tuesday, January 26.

The 130,000-ton Carnival Magic will offer a host of features popularized on its sister ship Carnival Dream, including a WaterWorks aqua park, a stunning café/live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza; Serenity adults-only retreat; spacious, modern facilities for children and teens; and a wide range of stateroom categories. Several innovations unique to the Carnival Magic will be announced in the coming months.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nickelodeon and Norwegian Cruise Line Partner to Deliver the Ultimate Family Experience

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a new partnership with Nickelodeon in which select Norwegian ships will feature Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment and programming all year long. Beginning in April on Norwegian Jewel and this summer on Norwegian Epic, Nickelodeon and Norwegian experiences for the entire family will include: character meet and greets; interactive game shows; and more. The three-year partnership also includes select specialty Nickelodeon-themed cruises each year, featuring Nickelodeon TV stars, show premieres and continuous themed-entertainment on the ship.

Nickelodeon at Sea will launch on Norwegian Jewel when the ship begins sailing from New York in late April, and on Norwegian’s latest addition to its fleet—Norwegian Epic--when she launches in July. Each cruise will feature live Nickelodeon-themed interactive shows, including: SlimeTime LIVE! with Nick’s signature slime; Nick Live! Poolside entertainment; character breakfasts and meet and greets; Nick-themed dance parties; and more. Nickelodeon-themed elements will also be incorporated into Norwegian’s Kids’ Crew program.

In addition to the year-round programming on Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Epic, special Nickelodeon-themed cruises will be offered annually where families can immerse themselves in everything Nickelodeon all day, every day. These unique cruises will include: special appearances by the Network’s live talent; show premieres; more live game shows; even more opportunities to visit with kids’ favorite Nick characters; and much more. The first of the Nickelodeon-themed specialty cruises is scheduled on Norwegian Jewel later this year. More details and an on sale date will be released soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oceania Cruises’ New Marina Will Offer A Computer In Every Cabin

When she debuts in January 2011, Oceania Cruises’ new Marina will offer elegantly appointed and custom-crafted accommodations that are reminiscent of a luxurious private estate. The ship’s 629 staterooms and suites – among the most spacious at sea – are destined to set new cruise industry standards.

Standard veranda staterooms on Marina are 282 square feet – the largest standard veranda staterooms in the cruise industry. Both Veranda- and Concierge-level accommodations feature a sitting area and private teak balcony furnished with a chaise lounge, armchair and occasional table.

Other stateroom amenities include a flat-panel TV, lap-top computer with wireless access, refrigerated mini bar, security safe, writing desk, plush terry robes, bed slippers, and marble and granite bathroom.

Oceania Cruises’ new Marina has been purposefully designed to carry 1,258 guests to the world’s most alluring ports in elegance and style. Rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and lustrous leathers adorn public rooms. Facilities include 10 dining venues – six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants, an array of bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

Reservations are scheduled to open in the coming weeks. For more information, visit or call toll-free 800-788-2545.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cunard Partners with The Juilliard School

Cunard Line, operator of the most famous ocean liners in the world, is pleased to announce a partnership with The Juilliard School that will present stellar jazz performances on select 2010 eastbound Transatlantic Crossings aboard Queen Mary 2. Students and faculty from Juilliard, which has set America’s standard for education in the performing arts, will perform programmes in the ship's Royal Court Theatre, treating guests to the best in classic and contemporary jazz. These presentations are part of Cunard’s entertainment and award-winning enrichment programme, which showcases a variety of compelling entertainers – from new and emerging world-class talent to today's most enduring and iconic artists. Last August, Juilliard Jazz scholar Jumaane Smith became the first student from the school to take the stage onboard Queen Mary 2, presenting a trumpet recital that proved to be very popular with the voyage’s guests.

"Our partnership with Juilliard will provide our guests access to outstanding, world class performances, reflecting both the rich history and lineage of Juilliard, as well as Cunard’s ongoing commitment to supporting the arts and to offering our guests exclusive onboard experiences," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.

“We are honored that a famous and trusted brand such as Cunard has invited Juilliard to help enhance their legendary Transatlantic voyages with the talents of our students and faculty,” said Dr. Laurie A. Carter, the School’s vice president and general counsel, as well as executive director of Jazz Studies. “At Juilliard, we seek to foster the skills of our musicians, while helping them share their gifts with the world. With these special performances, we are proud to be able to provide them the opportunity to do so and, in return, bestow upon them what are sure to be unforgettable journeys.”

For more information on Cunard's Transatlantic voyages, call us at 1-800-788-2545 or visit

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Jamaica Expects Multi-Million Dollar Falmouth Cruise Port To Be Open By October

The first call from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is expected in November. Government officials told Cruise Industry News the surrounding town, which is being developed by both Jamaica and Royal Caribbean, is expected to be completed within the next five years. It is unclear whether any ships besides the Oasis under the Royal Caribbean corporate umbrella will visit Falmouth, but port officials said it was under consideration.

With the addition of Falmouth, Jamaica adds a third port for cruise calls. Falmouth joints Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, where a new shopping center is under construction.

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett commented: “Cruise tourism has been very strong and a main stay of our country. We’ll have a new experience in 2010 with the Oasis of the Seas which will mean more investment for the island. When thousands of people get off there need to be places to go and things to do. Arrivals will drive demand that needs to be supplied by other industries which will create more employment.”

Jamaican officials were also thrilled at tourism growth numbers for the island, noting that they experienced 4.5 percent growth in 2009 compared to 2008. By comparison, officials went onto note that projections had global tourism down between 7 and 8 percent and Caribbean tourism down 3 percent.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Children Customize Their Cruise Experience with More Choices than Ever on Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line, the leader in family cruising, is once again reinventing onboard children’s experiences. Through an entirely new approach to youth activities, kids can let their imaginations set sail by customizing their cruise vacation. More youth activities than ever before are available and children choose experiences based on interest, not age.

Exciting new youth activities and dedicated children’s spaces are available now on the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder and are coming to the Disney Dream beginning with the ship’s maiden voyage in January 2011.

While Disney Cruise Line will continue to recommend activities that appeal to specific maturity levels and ages, the entire menu of offerings is open to every child. With this evolutionary approach to shipboard youth activities, children and parents select programs based on the specific interests of each child to create a customized and very personalized experience. Best of all, children of different ages -- siblings, extended family and friends -- can participate in youth activities together throughout their cruise.

The majority of children’s events and free-time activities occur within dedicated youth spaces on the ship and on Castaway Cay. As always, Disney Cruise Line youth activities are supervised by specially trained, experienced counselors.

Specific program information is available to guests on the day of check-in at the Youth Activities registration desk located in the Disney cruise ship terminal building prior to boarding, or onboard in the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab.