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

Monday, January 17, 2011

Recreation Area Rounds Out Outdoor Area on Carnival Magic

The sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor fun and fitness at the innovative SportSquare to be featured on Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest vessel, Carnival Magic, when it sets sail May 1. The line’s most expansive outdoor recreation area by far, SportSquare on Carnival Magic is an active cruiser’s on-board paradise, featuring SkyCourse, the first ropes course at sea, and cruising’s first-ever outdoor fitness area. Guests can also get in the swing of things with the line’s first-ever two-level nine-hole miniature golf course, which the company is encouraging fans to help name at

Sure to be a talked about feature will be SkyCourse, the first-of-its-kind ropes course located on Spa & Sports Deck 12. The spectacular new attraction will offer fun and adventure for all, along with magnificent views of the sea nearly 150 feet below. On SkyCourse, thrill-seeking guests can strap into a safety harness and choose from a beginner or intermediate course, traversing across rope bridges, swinging steps and beams suspended above the top deck. Approximately 20 guests at a time can zig and zag along the two 230-foot courses, while friends and family can join in the fun by cheering participants on from the deck. Each of the 20 different elements on the ropes course is named after a notable bridge in the U.S.

Guests can get pumped up at Sky Fitness featuring a wide array of exercise equipment, stationary bicycles, elliptical and rowing machines, punching bags and more. For a run in the sun and fresh sea air, Sports Track offers an 800-foot-long jogging path that surrounds the entire area. When guests are ready to get their game on, they’ll find lighted multi-purpose space for basketball, volleyball and soccer, along with a six-station Vita exercise course and ping pong and foosball tables at Sports Court. And for those who just want to relax and check out the sports action in the area or on TV, SportSquare also features a full bar with a large flat-screen display.

Royal Caribbean to Receive Award for Switching to Cage-Free Eggs

In recognition of its work to improve the lives of farm animals, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is among the 2010 recipients of The Humane Society of the United States’ Corporate Progress Award. The award recognizes companies that have made demonstrable progress in reducing animal suffering and advancing animal welfare in 2010.

In 2010, Royal Caribbean—the world’s second-largest cruise line—became the first cruise line to begin using cage-free eggs, prompting its top competitors to follow suit. Royal Caribbean switched 3.2 million eggs to cage-free immediately and committed to increasing its usage of cage-free eggs to 6.8 million within a year—sparing nearly 30,000 hens each year from being crammed inside tiny cages.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Carnival Spirit to Call Australia Home

In a major boost for the tourism industry, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that it will base one of its cruise ships full time in Australia.

The 88,500 ton Carnival Spirit will be the largest cruise ship ever to sail year round from Australia when she arrives in Sydney in October 2012 to operate a schedule of 8-12 day voyages to the Pacific Islands.

The move – announced globally in Sydney today – represents the first time Carnival Cruise Lines has ever ventured into Australian waters and reflects growing confidence in cruising in the region.

Carrying 2,667 passengers, Carnival Spirit will be the first ship to be based in Sydney year round that is too tall to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Rising nearly 175 feet above the waterline, Carnival Spirit is more than ten feet taller than the specified clearance height for ships passing under the bridge. Because of its height, Carnival Spirit will be based at the only cruise facility east of the Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Norwegian Dawn to Replace Norwegian Star in Tampa

Norwegian Cruise Line will deploy Norwegian Dawn to home port at the Port of Tampa for the 2012-2013 cruise season. The 2,224-passenger Norwegian Dawn will replace her older sister ship Norwegian Star, and follows NCL’s announcement just last year that it would begin home porting operations in Tampa in the Fall of 2011.

Norwegian Dawn will sail 23 seven-day Western Caribbean cruises, departing Sundays, from November 11, 2012, through April 14, 2013. The ship will call on Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

As part of other deployment plans for the 2012-2013 season, NCL also announced it also offer for the first time a 16-day Colonial America cruise on Norwegian Dawn sailing from Quebec City, Quebec to Tampa, Florida on October 26, 2012 calling on Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; New York, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Miami and Key West, Florida. Launches a New Food & Wine Cruise Program, of which we are a member, recently launched Culinary Collection, a new program filled with food- and wine-themed sailings onboard premium and luxury cruise lines enhanced with complimentary amenities.

Each Culinary Collection departure features demonstrations from world-renowned chefs, cooking classes, wine and spirit tastings and delightful meals focused on regional cuisine. In addition, you will receive value-added amenities at no extra cost, such as onboard credit, the services of a concierge host, an exclusive shore event and a private cocktail reception.

Cruise lines participating in the Culinary Collection include Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland American Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea Cruises.

The Culinary Collection is part of our Cruise Space program, an umbrella term that also includes concierge-hosted Vacation Vignettes and Amenity Departure Dates. Between the three cruise programs, you now access have more than 1,000 sailings with additional benefits and amenities.

Contact us for further details at 1-800-788-2545 or visit our website at

Carnival's Chef's Table Dining Experience Expanded Fleetwide

Carnival Cruise Lines has completed the fleetwide rollout of its exquisite and exclusive fine dining experience, The Chef’s Table, which is now available on all 22 of the line’s ships.

Launched as a pilot program last year, this one-of-a-kind culinary experience includes a sumptuous multi-course dinner hosted by one of the line’s master chefs along with a private cocktail reception and a personalized tour of the galley.

With The Chef’s Table, a select group of 12 guests enjoy cocktails and hors d’ouevres hosted by the ship’s chef de cuisine. The chef then takes the group on a tour to see the galley in operation, providing participants with a unique perspective on Carnival’s extensive food and beverage operations.

The evening concludes with a sumptuous full-service dinner with delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts created by the line's master chefs. Depending on the vessel, the meal takes place in non-traditional dining venues throughout the ship – the galley, library, conference center, etc.

The program can be booked on board through the ships’ guest information desk. The cost is $75 per person.