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Displaced Cruisers Finally Arrive In Miami

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The nearly 4,000 passengers who were displaced by Hurricane Irma and wound up spending the past few days stuck aboard the Norwegian Escape finally returned to Miami early Wednesday morning.

“Cruise To Nowhere” Finally Ends

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When both the Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Escape sailed into the Miami port last week intending to offload passengers before Hurricane Irma could hit, it quickly became apparent that many of those on board had nowhere to go. With flights being cancelled and hotels either at capacity or closing in anticipation of the storm, execs at Norwegian Cruise Line gave guests the option of riding out the storm aboard the Escape, which then set sail for Mexico. Among those who decided to accept this offer were approximately 500 Norwegian Sky passengers who transferred to the larger ship before it set sail.

The ship spent three days in Cozumel, Mexico, finally setting sail back to Miami late Monday, working on the assumption that the ship would be able to dock — and passengers able to begin making their way home — on Wednesday. That proved true, and the ship finally arrived early Wednesday morning.

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Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports that for the foreseeable future, Norwegian Escape‘s slated eastern Caribbean sailings will be shifted to Western Caribbean itineraries. It is expected that this will hold true until at least November. Both the Sky and the Escape are expected to sail out of Miami this weekend, with the former sailing on Friday and the latter on Saturday.

“We are working with our partners to assess impacts to the ports we visit in the Eastern Caribbean,” Norwegian said in a statement. “Currently, we have changed all of our Eastern Caribbean itineraries to Western Caribbean cruises for the next two months. As it’s still early, we will continue to keep in close contact with our partners on the ground and have the flexibility to alter future itineraries to ensure a great guest experience, if needed.”

After having been closed for several days, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Miami offices re-opened on Wednesday as well.

Cruisers Face Another Challenge

Although Escape has returned its passengers to Miami, many of those who sought refuge on board may still find themselves unable to actually get home. Thanks to several days of closures and limited flights in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, many of Florida’s airports remain something of a logistical nightmare. The Washington Post reported that “more than 2,100 U.S. flights scheduled on Tuesday were canceled by mid-afternoon, including more than 500 in Miami and more than 400 in Orlando.”

In fact, this could also make it difficult for passengers hoping to depart this weekend to get to the ports from which their ships are to sail.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Ship Returns to Service

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Carnival Cruise Line is back to sailing year-round from San Juan, Puerto Rico as the Carnival Fascination just completed a multi-million dollar dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas.

On its San Juan-based program, Carnival Fascination departs every Sunday on week-long voyages visiting five destinations: St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, each of which is home to world-class beaches, centuries-old historical sites, unique and exciting shoreside experiences and array of shopping and dining opportunities.

Fun Ship Enhancements Received

Guy’s Burger Joint. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.
  • Cherry on Top:  The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.
  • Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.
  • Bonsai Sushi Express:  the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

“We’re delighted that the Carnival Fascination has returned to year-round sailing from San Juan better than ever with a wide range of great new dining, beverage and retail options for our guests to enjoy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line who noted that prior to the dry dock the ship was chartered by FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Sneak Peek of Carnival Horizon [PHOTOS]

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Christmas came early for cruise fans, and Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador, John Heald, played Santa when he posted pics to his Facebook page of the upcoming Carnival Horizon. Want a sneak peek of one of 2018’s most highly anticipated ships? Take a look at these photos taken by Hotel Director Pierre Camilleri.

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse

Carnival Horizon

If you’re familiar with Carnival Vista, Magic, or Breeze, the Pig and Anchor Smokehouse, you know exactly why this restaurant is so popular. The latest extension of Carnival’s partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri will, on Carnival Horizon, be located on deck 5. And while on other ships it has been an outdoor venue, here it has been moved inside… although there will be plenty of outdoor seating only steps away.

Pig & Anchor — which also has a brewhouse and will essentially replace the RedFrog Pub on this ship — will serve a limited free lunch menu, and then a for-fee dinner menu. (Never fear, there will still be a Guy’s Burger Joint, located up on deck 10!)

Lido Deck Marketplace

Carnival Horizon

Let’s face it, at some point, you’re going to be visiting the buffet. They could put a thousand different restaurants on the ship, and at some point we’d wind up wandering into the buffet “just to see what they have.” So why not take a look at where we’ll be doing our grazing? The area is shaping up nicely, with brand new chairs, tables, and railings.

Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki

Carnival has had great success with the Bonsai Sushi restaurant, so it makes sense that with Horizon, they’ll take things to the next level by adding Teppanyaki, with chefs putting on a show while preparing some delicious food. Looking for a fun night for your family or friends? Gathering around the flat-top grill to watch these chefs do their thing is a guaranteed good time.

Carnival Horizon

 

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks Aqua Park

Carnival Horizon

The waterpark on Carnival Horizon is also coming together nicely. The Cat in the Hat slide will be enclosed and run more than 450 feet. And get those cameras ready, because the entrance to the slide will actually be a giant replica of the iconic red-and-white hat worn by everyone’s favorite trouble-making feline. (The slide itself will also be red and white, so it should be pretty easy to spot!)

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The Fun Things slide is after named after those infamous troublemakers, Thing 1 and Thing 2! An enclosed body slide, this one will distinguish itself with a polka dot-motif and offer 213 feet of slippery fun.

Aft Main Dining Room

Carnival Horizon

The two-floor main dining room, located on the back of the ship and stretching across decks 3 and 4, is starting to come together. There will also be a second, single-story dining room at the front of the ship on deck 3. Carnival will use one of the dining rooms for traditional dining, and the other for Your Time dining.

JavaBlue Cafe

Carnival Horizon

The coffee shop located just outside of Ocean Plaza on deck five is starting to come to life with coffee machines, coolers and a seating area. This is where you can get your specialty coffees (with a splash of your favorite liquor, if you so choose), milkshakes and huge slices of cake. (One of the nice things about Carnival’s Cheers! package is that coffees and milkshakes are included!)

Carnival Horizon

On Carnival Vista, the check-in station for Your Time Dining is just to the right of the coffee bar, so there’s no reason to think it would be different here.

Pixels Photo Gallery

Carnival Horizon

Just like on sister ship Vista, Horizon will have the Pixels digital photo gallery on deck five. It will feature the facial recognition technology which automatically puts photographs into the portfolio of a passenger, thereby cutting down on the massive waste created by printing out hundreds if not thousands of photos, most of which will not be purchased.

Casino

Carnival Horizon

If you feel your money burning a hole in your pocket, it’s probably because of these pictures from the under-construction casino… complete with a few slot machines already in place! Like on Vista, this one will feature a smaller version of the lobby’s Dreamscape LED. (Many people have commented that the one in the casino is actually more vibrant because of the darker atmosphere, so it’s definitely worth swinging by to check it out!)

One thing to note is that similar to Vista, Horizon will have an aquarium-like view up to (or down from, depending on your perspective) deck 5. The glass partition keeps the smoke from going directly up to deck five, which is a good thing, given that there are several dining venues (including the steakhouse and Bonsai Sushi/Teppanyaki) are located there.

What do you think of these first images from the Carnival Horizon? Are you excited to sail on the line’s newest ship? 

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Norwegian Bliss One Step Closer to Sailing [PHOTOS]

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Norwegian Bliss, the third of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class, emerged from the Meyer Werft building dock in Papenburg, Germany on Saturday, February 17, representing a major milestone in the vessel’s construction.

The ship will remain in the shipyard port for the final phase of construction, until its conveyance down the River Ems towards the North Sea, scheduled for mid-March. During this time, the first crew members will move into their staterooms on board, begin their training, and familiarize themselves with the ship – readying her for the first guests to arrive after delivery in 60 days, on April 19.

Norwegian Bliss

Photo via MEYER WERFT.

The construction of the ship began in October 2016 with the traditional steel cutting ceremony launching the 12th Norwegian Cruise Line ship to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard.  It is the third ship in the Breakaway Plus class, measuring 1,082 feet in length by 136 feet wide, with gross tonnage of 167,800 and accommodating approximately 4,000 guests.  Part of the excitement of this float out will be the public debut of the ship’s signature hull artwork designed by world-renowned marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland.

Norwegian Bliss

Photo via MEYER WERFT.

Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, including the 180-degree Observation Lounge where guests can enjoy Norwegian’s most expansive views at sea.  She will also be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make her debut in Seattle, with cruises beginning May 2018.  Norwegian Bliss will offer weekly seven-day cruises to see America’s last frontier with ports-of-call including Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

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Norwegian Bliss

Photo via MEYER WERFT.

“Our partners at Meyer Werft have done an excellent job realizing our vision for a ship designed to experience Alaska and the Caribbean like never before,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. “We are counting down the days until her official debut in Seattle this summer, where guests will be able to race around the world’s largest two-level race track at sea against the backdrop of Alaska’s wild frontier, and enjoy other first-at-sea experiences.”

Norwegian Bliss

Photo via MEYER WERFT.

Following preview events in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles, Norwegian Bliss will sail into Seattle for her official christening on May 30, with summer cruises to Alaska beginning June 2.  She will spend her summer seasons with seven-day cruises to Alaska, and fall seasons sailing to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles.  In winter of 2018 she will sail to the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Source: NCL

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