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Best New Ship For 2017 Revealed

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One of our favorite things about the end of the year? The plethora of Best & Worst lists which are released. This week, the folks at Cruise Critic unveiled their 2017 Editors’ Picks Awards, with a virtual armada of ships from a variety of cruise lines being recognized in categories ranging from Best Suites to Best New Ship.

The Best of the Best

Image: PRNewsfoto/MSC Cruises USA

“More now than ever, there really is a cruise for every interest,” says Cruise Critic Senior Executive Editor Colleen McDaniel. “You can sail to remote areas of the world aboard a small expedition vessel, or in the comfort of a luxury ship complete with spa treatments and gourmet food. You can travel to the Caribbean on a brand-new ship with bells and whistles like water parks and bumper cars, or on a five-masted sailing ship. The options are endless, and this list highlights the lines that have stood out as the best of the best over the past year.”

So which ship walked away with the coveted Best New Ship of 2017 award? Despite stiff competition, that went to the MSC Seaside, which has only just entered service. (It will be interesting to see how well the ship does not only in future rankings, but as reviews begin to come in from passengers getting to experience Seaside first hand!) This is definitely an important win for both the ship and MSC, which is pushing hard to become a major player in the American market.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Disney Cruise Line was declared Best For Families (for the second year in a row), both because of the wide variety of activities designed to keep kids occupied and the adults-only spaces where parents can get a little alone time. The line also won Best Entertainment

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Carnival Wins Best Value

Carnival

Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

Elsewhere, Carnival Cruise Line was declared by the editor’s to be the Best Value for the Money. (This is a tough nut for anyone else to crack, given that Cruise Critic has bestowed this honor on Carnival for the past four years running based in part on the line’s affordable fares). Carnival also won the first-ever Best Service category. “Crew don’t just remember your name or stop to chat,” wrote the editors. “They get it right the first time, and if they don’t, they work harder to make sure it’s right every time after that.”

Shore Excursions, Refurbs & More

Photo: HAL

If you’re getting off the ship to go exploring, the editors at Cruise Critic believe that Celebrity offers the best shore excursion options. “Experiences you’d normally only find on luxury lines… have been added, giving cruisers more ways to explore the destination,” they wrote. Celebrity was also named Best For Romance, with The Lawn Club (available on their Solstice Class ships) “one of the most romantic innovations at sea.”

Holland America’s Westerdam received the Best Ship Refurbishment award thanks to “an extensive makeover that introduced new and revitalized spaces, while still preserving the ship’s traditional feel.” Holland America was also declared to have the best cruise ship dining.

Where’s The Party?

Photo: NCL

Looking to get your groove on after the sun goes down? The editors declare Norwegian Cruise Line to have the best nightlife thanks to shows like Rock of Ages, theme nights (including the legendary Glow party) and the number of bars and lounges in which to party hardy. And the line’s innovative solo cabins and Studio Lounge complex earned them the distinction of being named the best line for solo cruisers.

Do you agree with the editor’s choices? Which ships or lines would earn your top marks in the various categories?

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June Special: Kids Sail Free to the Bahamas

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With summer around the corner, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has a special deal for families traveling with kids. Valid for all June cruises, those 16 and under will sail free if they’re staying in the same stateroom with two paying parents.

With the school year wrapping up and Father’s Day on June 17, it’s the perfect time for a quick escape to the Bahamas. Both of the line’s ships, Grand Classica and Grand Celebration offer a number of activities for guests on their way to the island. There are youth clubs divided by age, swimming pools, multiple dining options, a mini movie theater, mini rock climbing wall, a ball pit, and more.

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There’s also a number of shore excursions that families can take part in once they arrive, including snorkeling, a beach day, cruising the beach in an open-top Jeep, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, kayaking, glass-bottom boat tours, and more.

For more information, visit bahamasparadisecruiseline.com.

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Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Take Annual Photos on Cruise Ship

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The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders have officially wrapped up their 2018 annual photo shoot, and this year a Miami-based cruise ship was the backdrop.

Over 20 of the cheerleaders sailed to the sunny Caribbean this month aboard MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside, donning a number of clothing styles for the photos while capturing the ship’s iconic design. The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Annual is set to be released at the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Fashion Show this fall.

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The cheerleaders also took part in photo shoot in ports along the way, including St. Maarten, San Juan, and Nassau. During the voyage, the cheerleaders engaged with guests throughout the cruise during a variety of activities, including at the sail away party, hosting youth cheer clinics, posing for photo ops, and doing special performances to entertain guests. To kick off the cruise, they provided a warm Miami Dolphins welcome by taking over the terminal with mascot “TD” to cheer guests into their vacation.

The annual photoshoot onboard MSC Seaside came on the heels of the Dolphins’ first ever Fan Cruise onboard the same ship in March. The voyage included football legend guests of honor including Kim Bokamper, Terry Kirby, Sam Madison, Nat Moore, Joe Rose and Patrick Surtain, for a week of themed activities. The team will be hosting their second cruise in 2019.

The Miami Dolphins and MSC Cruises are in the midst of a three-year partnership, which resulted in the Fan Cruise. It will be hosted annually over the next three years.

Photos: Miami Dolphins

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Horizon Makes Inaugural Call in Canadian Port

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Carnival Cruise Line’s brand new Vista-class ship Carnival Horizon made her first-ever call in Halifax, Nova Scotia yesterday.

The day was a welcome change for cruise passengers; it was the first port stop after six days at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean. Ship officers as well as local officials held a traditional plaque ceremony in the Library onboard, where a plaque was given to the ship by the Port of Halifax and other tokens were exchanged, including a model of the ship given to the port by Carnival Cruise Line.

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Carnival Horizon is the sister-ship to Carnival Vista, which pioneered a number of new concepts for Carnival including the SkyRide bicycling attraction and the Dreamscape LED sculpture in the atrium. Some of Horizon’s unique new features include a sit-down barbecue smokehouse and brewery as well as a Cat in the Hat themed WaterWorks water park.

Click here for a video of the ship headed into the Port of Halifax.

Click here for our article on all of the free food found aboard Carnival Horizon.

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