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Holland America Ship Gets a New Look [PHOTOS]



Holland America Line has released new photos of the recent renovation to their vessel ms Westerdam.  The ship underwent a 12-day dry dock at Fincantieri shipyard in Italy this past April, and emerged with major renovations.

Museum of the Netherlands

The cruise line’s partnership with Rijiksmuseum – the Museum of the Netherlands in Amsterdam – celebrates the company’s Dutch heritage.  With Rijiksmuseum at Sea aboard Westerdam, reproductions of some of its most famous masterpieces are showcased at a dedicated space on deck one of the atrium.  There are also videos about the museum and its collections on stateroom televisions.

New EXC Program

Holland America’s multifaceted EXC experience combines an array of travel resources with enrichment opportunities for guests to make their vacation more engaging and meaningful.  Much of the EXC experiences is featured in the newly created Exploration Central’s hub in the Crow’s Nest, which includes interactive screens and a virtual bridge.  Programming also includes a full EXC team to engage with guests, EXC tours, destination guides, and a theater.

Lincoln Center Stage

Cruisers aboard Westerdam have even more entertainment choices with the addition of Lincoln Center State and Billboard Onboard, complementing the existing B.B. King’s Blues Club.  Lincoln Center Stage showcases an ensemble of world-class musicians performing multiple chamber music programs nightly, and Billboard Onboard features two pianists performing shows centered around facts and figures of the music industry as chronicled by Billboard.

Gallery Bar

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During dry dock the ship also received the intimate Gallery Bar.  The sophisticated venue serves an exclusive cocktail menu by mixologist Dale DeGroff and is adorned with an eclectic and whimsical mix of artwork.  The Gallery Bar replaced Northern Lights during the refit.

America’s Test Kitchen

America’s Test Kitchen got a whole new look during the renovations with a new color palate and new tables and chairs for guests.  The cooking demonstration shows were created in partnership with the beloved public television program and also includes hands-on workshops for those that want to get their hands dirty.  Topics range from Asian dumplings to perfecting a pie crust and more.

Lido Market

The casual Lido deck buffet has been transformed into the Lido Market concept – a marketplace with different themed stations offering a wide selection of cuisine for guests to nosh on.  Areas include freshly-baked bread and pastries at Breadboard, comfort food at Homestead, dishes from around the world at Distant Lands, Wild Harvest’s freshly made salads, and sweet treats at Sweet Spot.  Service is enhanced with coffee, juice, water, and iced tea served tableside, and in the evenings the space invites guests in with placemats, glassware, and cutlery awaiting guests at each table where they can order from a menu.

More Upgrades

Other renovations include 25 new staterooms on deck 10, a new television system throughout the ship, and new soft furnishings in public spaces around the ship.  The suites onboard also received upgrades including carpeting, a privacy curtain, quartz-stone surfaces, USB outlets, a new vanity area in the bathroom, and bedside LED lights.

Outside on deck 11, The Retreat was relocated from deck 10 and includes 15 private cabanas for rental.  Ms Westerdam is currently cruising the Mediterranean on 12-day itineraries between Barcelona and Venice or Rome.

Photos: Holland America


Cruise News

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Take Annual Photos on Cruise Ship



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



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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Carnival Cruise Line

Everything Carnival Horizon, Part 10: Before You Disembark



Hard as it is to believe, our time together exploring Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ships is coming to an end. But before that can happen, we need to take one last spin around the Carnival Horizon… just to make sure you aren’t missing anything!

How Do You Spend That Final Day?

Nobody likes to think about disembarkation, yet that seems to be what the mind winds up focusing on during those final 24 hours of any cruise. You’re not even off the ship yet, but the mind begins wandering to the work that will be waiting on your desk or the unmowed lawn waiting to be tended. Our best advice: Given that you are on a Carnival ship, do as they advice and Choose Fun for as long as you possibly can.

Sure, you’ll have to pack your suitcase eventually… but the last day of your vacation is when you should slow down enough to soak it all in. Give yourself a little extra time to sit in a quiet spot, staring out at the sea and taking mental photographs. Have a long, leisurely brunch (during which you allow yourself to have a second, and maybe even a third, Bloody Mary. Head to Cherry on Top and get one more of those amazing ice cream sandwiches, which you know you’re going to have cravings for once you get back home.

Choose your cookie. Choose your ice cream. Choose your toppings. Eat. Could anything be simpler?

One thing we’d definitely recommend you do in advance: If you have a specialty restaurant you want to enjoy that final dinner-at-sea in, make a reservation. For many people, dining at the Steakhouse, for example, is a perfect capper to their cruise. Tomorrow, they’ll be back to making their own dinner and clearing their own tables, so why not have one final high-end meal?

Go ahead, live a little… it’s the last night of your cruise!

Another thing you definitely want to make sure to do on that final evening is head to the casino to cash in any winnings you might have! One of our favorite ways to make sure we go home with a little money? Cashing out whenever we have a decent win on a slot machine, putting a fresh $20 bill in the game… and sticking those tickets into the safe in our stateroom and not touching them until the week is over. When it’s time to head upstairs on the final night and pack our bags, we grab those tickets and cash them out.

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One way we fight the melancholy that can often set in on the final day is by booking another trip, which on the Carnival Horizon can be done by visiting the future cruise desk on deck 10. Then, having put it off as long as we possibly could, we finally head back to the room and pack. After spending a fair amount of time deciding what to bring and what to leave behind during the days building up to the cruise, the packing-to-disembark process is a lot quicker and easier. You know the drill: Throw everything into the suitcase, don’t even bother folding it, taking as little time as possible.

The saddest thing ever? Seeing all the suitcases lining the hallways, waiting to be collected on that final night.

If you need any information at all about the disembarkaton process, make sure to check the Fun Times or ask at Guest Services. But don’t leave this until the last morning… trust us, the staff will have their hands full trying to get everyone off the ship so that a whole new group of passengers can board and begin their vacations! In fact, if you have anything at all you need to deal with Guest Services about, try not to wait until that last evening, because the place can become a bit of a zoo!

And remember that there is no room service available on that final morning, so if you want to grab one last free meal, you’ll have to actually leave the room… or at least convince one of your traveling companions to do so! Again, consulting the Fun Times will tell you where you can go for that final meal, whether it’s a sit-down breakfast or just grabbing some coffee to get yourself going!

Sadly, it is here that we, too, must part ways. Here’s hoping that you’ve enjoyed our special, in-depth look at the Carnival Horizon. Keep checking back for more information on not only this ship but the upcoming Carnival Panorama, which we’re already excited to explore!




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