The Cruise Cafe

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Enchantment of the Seas Starts Service from Port Canaveral

Royal Caribbean International this past weekend introduced Enchantment of the Seas to her new homeport of Port Canaveral, where she replaces Monarch of the Seas and continues the cruise lines year-round, three- and four-night Bahamas itineraries.

Enchantment of the Seas joins Freedom of the Seas at Port Canaveral, and her arrival marks the first time in four years that Royal Caribbean has introduced a new ship to the port. Perfect for corporate and incentive travel as well as for everyday vacationers, Enchantment of the Seas delivers Royal Caribbean’s signature onboard amenities on exciting short Bahamas getaways that only the cruise line can deliver.

Enchantment of the Seas is fresh from an extensive revitalization that includes new dining options, such as the complimentary Park Café where guests can grab gourmet sandwiches, salads and more; a Royal Babies and Tots Nursery in the cruise line’s award-winning Adventure Ocean kids’ program, which offers exclusive children’s programming developed in partnership with Fisher-Price and Crayola; and the R Bar, a retro-inspired bar in the ship’s Centrum that serves craft cocktails from expert mixologists. Guests also enjoy bow-to-stern Wi-Fi service, flat-panel televisions in every staterooms and interactive digital signage.

By day, guests can lounge by the pool and enjoy a new oversized outdoor movie screen; join in an invigorating session in the Vitality Fitness Center; take in a rejuvenating treatment in the Vitality Day Spa; and achieve new heights on Enchantment of the Seas’ rock-climbing wall and bungee trampoline.

At night, guests can celebrate a special occasion in Royal Caribbean’s signature Chops Grille steakhouse; enjoy the cruise line’s award-winning Broadway-style musical revue in the Orpheum Theater; dance into the night in one of four lounges; and enjoy world-class excitement in the Casino Royale. Throughout, suite and Crown & Anchor Society member guests can respectively relax and enjoy the new exclusive Concierge and Diamond Lounges.

Enchantment of the Seas will sail every Monday and Friday on short roundtrip Bahamas itineraries, calling at Nassau and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island paradise. Guests will enjoy the exclusive island’s beautiful beaches, shopping in a colorful craft market and choose among a variety of thrilling watersports options.

MSC Launches Behind the Scenes Tours

MSC Cruises, onboard its Fantasia and Musica class ships, is offering a new behind-the-scenes tour for passengers.

A brand new tour, ‘The Big Reveal: Come & See How We Do It,’ has been designed to give travellers a sneak peek into the inner workings of their chosen ship, taking them on a fun and educational behind-the-scenes tour.

After small group visits to certain ‘off-limits’ areas of the ship such as the backstage area of the theatre, laundry, galley,  food storage area, and the MSC Yacht Club on Fantasia class ships, the tour closes with a culinary demonstration followed by a treat from the gourmet kitchens.

The tour takes place on cruises of seven days or more, generally on the morning of a full day at sea, and entertains participants for two and a half hours,  sharing MSC’s passion for the seas and some of the secrets behind its unique Mediterranean way of life.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Princess Adds New “Medallion” Level to Captain’s Circle

Princess Cruises recently expanded its Captain’s Circle loyalty program with the addition of a new membership category – the Medallion level. The new tier, for passengers sailing on a fourth or fifth cruise, or between 31 and 50 cruise days, fits between the program’s current Gold and Platinum levels. The new level goes into effect with voyages beginning on or after today.

Medallion level members will now enjoy extra benefits in addition to Gold level perks, including a complimentary upgrade to the Platinum Princess Vacation Protection and a discount on the price of a souvenir Reflections DVD. Medallion cruise cards and pins will feature a deep burgundy color.

Medallion level benefits include:

Complimentary upgrade to Platinum Princess Vacation Protection – When passengers purchase the standard Princess Vacation Protection, they will receive a complimentary upgrade to Platinum protection. Available for US and Canadian passengers, this added coverage includes double benefits for Accidents & Sickness Medical Expense and Baggage/Personal Effects coverage. In addition, the special cancellation feature increases to a 100 percent credit.

A 10% discount off the purchase of the Reflections Cruise DVD – On each cruise, onboard videographers capture live memories from the sailing, including ports of call, shore excursions, ship events, and behind-the-scenes information about the ship. Medallion members and higher can now take advantage of this new benefit to purchase the cruise souvenir at a 10 percent discount. (where available, cannot be combined with any other promotion, excluding world cruise).

Access to preferred shoreside Captain’s Circle help desk phone line – Medallion members can now enjoy an exclusive shoreside phone number for contact to the Circle Desk. Calls will be routed quickly through to the membership desk to assist with cruise history, membership status, benefits delivery or any other Captain’s Circle-related questions.

Medallion Pin – Members will receive a new two-toned burgundy and gold pin.

All Gold level benefits – Members continue to get benefits such as special cruise pricing, members-only events on board, The Princess Captain’s Circle Quarterly magazine, access to an onboard Captain’s Circle host, and other special features for members.

The Princess Captain’s Circle program offers special onboard recognition to passengers based on their number of completed cruises or days sailed – whichever is most beneficial to the passenger.

Members enjoy various ongoing rewards, plus special benefits based on their level. In addition to the new Medallion level, the program includes Gold (after one Princess cruise), Platinum (after five cruises or 50 cruise days) and Elite (after 15 cruises or 150 cruise days) levels.

Carnival Announces $300 Million Program To Enhance Operating Reliability

Carnival Cruise Lines recently announced that it has implemented a program to significantly enhance emergency power capabilities, introduce new fire safety technology, and improve the level of operating redundancies across its entire 24-ship fleet.

This enhancement program will cost more than $300 million, and rapid upgrades have already begun.

The actions by Carnival Cruise Lines will expand the availability of hotel services for the comfort of its guests in the rare instance of a shipboard event that involves the loss of main power. In addition, the plan will reinforce key shipboard operating systems to further prevent a potential loss of primary power. The improvement plan is the result of a comprehensive operational review, overseen by parent company Carnival Corporation & plc, initiated immediately after the Carnival Triumph fire in February 2013.

Initial implementation of the upgrades to the fleet will take place during the next several months. Each class of ship is different and often systems differ on ships within a class, so the enhancements will be tailored to each vessel. All findings from the operational review will be shared with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) as part of the industry-wide operational review announced in March.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Princess Returns to Summer Caribbean Cruises in 2014

It’s been a few years, but Princess Cruises makes her long-awaited return for a season of Summer Caribbean sailings in 2014. That means a full 2014 calendar year of Princess — the relaxed alternative in the Caribbean! 

  • Caribbean Princess will sail a full summer season from May to September
  • Nine unique itineraries ranging from 3 to 14 days conveniently sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale
  • The popular 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages can be combined for an exciting 14-day adventure
  • The 3-, 4- and 5-day Getaways are perfect for a value-packed short vacation compared to any land-based option
  • Princess returns to the ports of Costa Maya, Ocho Rios and San Juan, along with favorites St. Thomas and Grand Cayman
  • Most departures include our exclusive Bahaman paradise on Princess Cays