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Bookings Open for Nieuw Statendam Sailings



Holland America has announced that bookings are now open for the Premiere Voyage and inaugural Caribbean season of their new upcoming ship ms Nieuw Statendam.  Due to be delivered December 1, 2018, the second Pinnacle Class ship is currently under construction at Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

When the vessel is ready for service and floated out, it will be delivered in Venice on December 1.  After arriving in Civitavecchia, Nieuw Statendam will depart on December 5 for a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The special first cruise will stop in Cartagena and Málaga, Spain and Funchal, Madeira before spending seven days at sea.  Guests will then enjoy an overnight in Fort Lauderdale before leaving the ship on the morning of December 19.  She will then spend the winter cruising roundtrip from the port on 7-day Caribbean itineraries, with select 3, 4, and 10-day options.

Caribbean Itineraries

From December to April, Nieuw Statendam will spend its inaugural season exploring the beaches of the Caribbean.  All sailings include a call at Half Moon Cay; the company’s private island in the Bahamas.

The ship’s first Caribbean cruise is a 4-day that calls in Half Moon Cay and Key West, departing December 19.  It will then embark on a series of 7-day cruises, including a December 23 Christmas cruise that calls in Amber Cove, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay.  A December 30 New Year’s departure calls in Half Moon Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.

Guests looking for an extended cruising vacation aboard Nieuw Statendam can depart January 20 on a 10-day cruise to the ABC Islands with calls in Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Aruba.  For a quick getaway, a 3-day cruise departs January 30 and stops in Half Moon Cay.

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For the rest of the season, the ship will operate western and eastern Caribbean itineraries.  Fare begin at $499 per person for a 3 or 4-day Caribbean cruise, and $799 for a 7-day voyage.  The Premiere Voyage begins at $1,199 per person.

About the Ship

The 99,500-ton Nieuw Statendam will be quite similar in design to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship.  Nieuw Statendam will carry 2,666 guests and have public spaces with their own unique style designed by hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany (who did Koningsdam as well) and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten.

Holland America’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company’s history to carry the name.  In combining the Dutch word for “new” with the classic Statendam, the cruise line is celebrating their past, present, and future.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line Returns to St. Maarten



Carnival Cruise Line has marked their return to St. Maarten, four months after the island was devastated by hurricanes. Earlier today, Carnival Sunshine was the first in the fleet to return to the nation with a day-long call there.

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The visit is the first of dozens of port calls by Carnival ships to the Caribbean destination in the coming weeks.

Over 3,000 passengers onboard enjoyed a variety of shore excursions, as well as St. Maarten’s world-class beaches and shopping and dining in downtown Philipsburg.

Photos: Carnival Cruise Line

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Cruise News

Princess Cruises Debuts Treehouse in Alaska



Princess Cruises has announced that their 2018 schedule will feature the line’s custom-designed wilderness treehouse at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. The new addition will allow guests an opportunity to view Denali while enjoying themed activities amongst the trees.

The treehouse was the first-ever designed and constructed in Alaska by Pete Nelson, the star of Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters.” As one of the highest land-based north-facing viewing areas, it will provide travelers a great view of the mountain. At approximately 500 square feet and powered by solar panels, guests can access the treehouse by hiking the short “hill trail loop.”

princess cruises treehouse

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge Treehouse

Guests on a Princess cruisetour will be able to enjoy the treehouse, along with visits to other Princess-owned lodges, and a ride on the exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service. This year, treehouse activities and programs will include:

Tales from The Sourdough Expedition

Hosted by author, world record holder, and amputee mountain climber, Todd Huston, guests will follow along a story of the first successful ascent of Denali – the Sourdough Expedition. Participants will be Huston and fellow adventurers before beginning their own trek to the line’s treehouse. Stories of the first successful ascent will entertain guests as they explore area trails, and the journey will end with a cup of hot chocolate and doughnuts. The 45-minute expedition runs five days a week for a small fee.

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Sappy Hour

Found in the interior of Alaska, boreal forests are carpeted with Birch and Spruce trees, providing ideal conditions for syrup production. Beginning in 2018, guests can gather inside the treehouse for a rare sampling of birch syrups and other tree-inspired products. Guests will learn about Birch trees and the harvesting of Birch syrup. Sappy Hour will run daily for a small fee.

Trivia at the Treehouse

Guests can test their knowledge of The Great Land with an afternoon of brain-stretching fun. Hosted by the lodge’s resident naturalist, travelers will experience trivia while taking in gorgeous views of North America’s highest peak from the trees. Trivia will take place daily and is complimentary for lodge guests.

Watch a time-lapse of the construction of the Mt. McKinley treehouse here.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Ship Gets Major Makeover



It’s not every day that a girl turns 18. But since the Carnival Victory — launched in October of 2000 — is hitting that milestone this year, she’s about to get a very special present in the form of a major makeover. By the time the ship emerges from a scheduled 17-day drydock, she’ll have a whole slew of new features sure to make her popular among those looking to do short cruises out of Miami!

Big Changes For The Carnival Victory

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Popular Guy’s Burger Joint was added during the refit.

Having quietly slipped away for a rejuvenating dry dock visit on January 4th, the Carnival Victory will remain in seclusion until January 21st, when she’ll make her triumphant return to Miami, ready to once again receive guests. (And where better to spend her downtime than in Freeport, Bahamas?) When the Victory returns to service, changes will be made to nearly every aspect of the ship, including the addition of several new venues and even stateroom categories.

So what are the highlights of the Carnival Victory’s refurb? As big fans of Guy’s Burger Joint, we’re going to put the addition of that venue at the top of the list. When you’re hanging out by the pool and want a little something to munch on — but don’t feel like getting dressed to hit the buffet — there’s nothing better than one of these burgers with a side of fries.

In fact, a lot of the Victory‘s improvements can be found poolside, and they are venues which have proved crazy popular on other ships. The RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina and BlueIguana Tequila Bar will all be serving up food and drinks to sunworshippers once the ship returns to service at the end of January.

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View Carnival Victory Deck Plans

But don’t worry… eating al fresco won’t be the only new option available to passengers. The ship will also add a Bonsai Sushi Express, a great grab-and-go option for fresh sushi, sashimi, rolls and more. The ship’s deli is also getting an upgrade, with a whole new look and seven new sandwiches on the menu. And you’ll be able to satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Cherry On Top, the perfect place to not only stock up on candies but (if you’re feeling generous) pick up a unique gift for the folks back home.

New Stateroom Categories

(Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)

As part of the dry dock, several new stateroom categories will also be added to the Carnival Victory. Among them will be the 260-square-foot Scenic Ocean View cabins and 320-square-foot Scenic Ocean View staterooms. But if you really wanna live a little, check out the Captain’s Suite. This 820-square-foot space includes two full-sized bathrooms, a big living room and an extended balcony.

Once out of dry dock, the Carnival Victory will return to Miami and again sail 3- and 4-day cruises. The three days sailings depart on Friday and call upon Nassau, while the four-day trips go to Key West and Cozumel or Nassau as well as the line’s private island, Half Moon Cay.

Photos via Carnival

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