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Carnival Cruise Brands Donate $10M to Hurricane Relief



As part of the on-going efforts to clean up the mess left by Hurricane Irma, the worlds of basketball and cruising are coming together to raise a whole lotta money for the impacted areas. The Carnival Corporation, the Miami Heat Charitable Fund and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging to raise up to $10 million for Hurricane Irma relief.

Carnival Is “Committed” To Hurricane Irma Relief


In announcing the initiative, Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said, “We are committed to supporting relief efforts where Hurricane Irma left an impact in Florida and the Caribbean, starting with immediate humanitarian needs and recovery efforts that will have a meaningful impact.”

Donald pointed out that Carnival and their brands “have made many friends and partners over many years. Our prayers and thoughts go out to all of those who have been impacted. It is inspiring to see so many individuals and organizations already pitching in to support the relief work, and we will continue to look for ways to provide support.”

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While it won’t be an easy or quick recovery period, Donald expressed confidence that in the end, things would return to normal. “Our friends and partners across Florida and the Caribbean have always displayed remarkable resilience, strength and spirit when facing difficult circumstances. They have come back strong int he past, and we will be standing with them as they work to come back strong once again.”

Where The Money Will Go

Carnival’s various brands will be using 11 ships to provide impacted ports across the region with crucial supplies and necessities, including food, water, clothing, diapers, generators and more. These drops will be made as part of the regular itineraries and benefit areas such as Grand Turk, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Antigua-Barbuda and other impacted islands in the Bahamas.

The Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation will make an immediate donation of $2.5 million to Direct Relief, UNICEF and the United Way of Miami-Dade County to support the immediate needs of the region. The Carnival Foundation — the philanthropic arm of the Carnival Corporation — and the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund are pledging to raise a combined $5 million, while the Arisons will match that commitment up to a total of $5 from the foundation.

“As a long-time resident of Florida,” said Pat Riley, president of the Miami HEAT, “I have witnessed the resiliency of our communities; watching neighbors come together to overcome adversity. The South Florida community has supported our organization throughout the years, so it is only fitting that we are there to support and help uplift this community in its time of need.”

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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

Carnival Cruise

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.

View Carnival Victory Deck Plans

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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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Cruise News

Norwegian’s Newest Cruise Ship Heads To New York City



Norwegian Cruise Line had good news and bad for folks who enjoy sailing out of New York City. The good? The line’s newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, will be sailing from midtown Manhattan’s popular pier. The bad news? Her first voyage from the Big Apple won’t take place until late 2019.

Norwegian Bliss Hits New York City

The big news came, not surprisingly, during the morning radio show of DJ Elvis Duran… who just happens to be the Godfather of the Norwegian Bliss! It was particularly exciting news for people who homeport out of New York City, who — unlike those who sail out of places such as Miami or Port Canaveral —  have a relatively limited number of options when it comes to ships.

Currently, Norwegian has both the midsize Gem and megaship Breakaway sailing regularly out of Manhattan. Later this year, the Breakaway will head to Europe, and her sister ship, the Norwegian Escape, will begin doing Bahamas and Bermuda sailings out of New York City. The Norwegian Gem will relocate to Boston in late spring of 2019, with the similarly-sized Norwegian Dawn slipping into her space at the Manhattan pier. It’s unclear at this time exactly where the Norwegian Escape will go when Bliss arrives in late 2019.

Norwegian Bliss New Entertainment Detailed

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News that Bliss will sail out of Manhattan was somewhat unexpected, although her very first sailing will be a 12-day transatlantic, leaving London on April 21 and arriving in the United States on May 3. From there, she’ll sail to Miami to do a 15-day Panama Canal sailing which will end in Los Angeles. Then, finally, she will sail to Seattle to officially begin her inaugural season of Alaskan voyages. And in November of 2019, just in time for the holiday season, Bliss will finally make her grand entrance (or return, if you count her brief initial stop) to Manhattan.

Like her sister ship the Norwegian Joy, (pictured here), the Norwegian Bliss will feature a top-deck racetrack.

Welcome 2020 On NCL’s Newest Ship!

Like the other Norwegian ships which have sailed out of Manhattan over the past few years, Bliss will do a series of 7-day runs to Florida and the Bahamas, as well as a 12-day Southern Caribbean route (on December 1, 2019), and two 14-day Western Caribbean trip (on January 5, 2020 and February 2, 2020). And since it’s never too early to plan for big occasions, if you want to ring in 2020 aboard the Norwegian Bliss, she’ll be departing on an 8-day Florida/Bahamas run on December 28).

The ship has created quite a bit of excitement ever since it was announced that she would, like the Norwegian Joy, have a race track on her top deck. Bliss will also feature an open-air laser tag court (themed to look like an abandoned space station), a venue devoted completely to desserts, and a new-to-Norwegian cocktail lounge known as the A-List Bar.

Have you sailed out of New York City? Will you book yourself onto Bliss when she arrives? 


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Cruise News

2017’s Top Cruise Stories



As we say farewell to 2017 and prepare for 2018’s wave season, what better time to look back at the biggest stories of the year? Based on the stories which got the most traffic on this site over the past 12 months, here’s what had cruisers buzzing in 2017.

1. Launch of the MSC Seaside

After months of anticipation, MSC’s revolutionary new ship — with which they mounted their biggest ever attempt to penetrate the American cruise market — was finally introduced to the public in a star-studded naming ceremony.

2. Tragedy Strikes Close To Home

As is the case every year, not all of 2017’s biggest cruise-related stories were positive ones. The cruise family collectively mourned the deaths of 12 souls killed when the bus they were riding to a shore excursion in Mexico overturned.

3. It’s All About The View

Okay, it’s probably a stretch to say “details,” but folks were definitely excited when news broke that Carnival’s third Vista-class ship — sister to the Vista and Horizon — would be named the Carnival Panorama.

4. Hurricane Irma’s Destructive Path

In the days after Hurricane Irma, Fascination was one of the ships to help deliver supplies to stricken areas.

For many cruisers, the Caribbean islands are practically second homes. So it was with a growing sense of dread that we watched Hurricane Irma approach — and eventually devastate — several of those islands.

5. Stupid People Do Dumb Things

A whole lot of heads were shaking as people, upon watching video of a teen jumping from a railing into a pool 20 feet below aboard a Princess cruise ship, muttered, “Where the heck were their parents?”

6. More Money, More Problems

The Bahamian Minister of Tourism probably regretted his tough talk when cruisers didn’t react particularly well to his plans to extract an additional $90 million a year from them by whatever means necessary.

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7. Farewell, Old Friend(ship)

Carnival Jubilee sailing as Pacific Sun in 2007 (photo: Wiki)

It’s tough to say good-bye, even to a friend you haven’t seen in a while. So cruisers strolled down Memory Lane upon learning that the former Carnival Jubilee was headed for the scrapyard.

8. Look, Ma! Naked People!

We’re not sure if people were upset or curious about the Big Nude Cruise, but a whole lotta folks shared our November story about the fact that in 2019, the nudist group Bare Necessities would be chartering a sailing of the Carnival Sunshine!

9. Nickle-And-Dimers, Unite

Photo via NCL.

One thing we’ve definitely learned over the years? Whenever cruise lines raise the rates on gratuities, it’ll get people talking. So when Norwegian Cruise Line did exactly that with their beverage and dining packages, cruisers definitely took notice!

10. An Update From Topher

Topher was only too happy to welcome cruisers back to Jack’s Shack!

As humans, our first instinct in the wake of a disaster is to check on our loved ones. So we were thrilled to bring people an update on Topher (aka the world’s most photographed dog) and his human companion, Jack, in the weeks following Hurricane Irma’s assault on Grand Turk.

What did you think the biggest cruise-related story of 2017 was? What do you predict will be the big news in 2018? 

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