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Hurricane Irma Impacts Caribbean Cruises

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UPDATE: Carnival Cruise Lines confirms that additional itineraries are being modified in order to keep their ships and crew out of Hurricane Irma’s projected path. In addition to the Carnival Glory changes mentioned below, three other ships will see their itineraries altered.

Hurricane Irma has already started impacting Caribbean itineraries for Florida-based cruise passengers. Royal Caribbean, operating some of the world’s largest cruise ships, issued a statement late Friday afternoon that they have altered the itinerary of Allure of the Seas for the comfort of their passengers.

Ships Impacted by Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma

Allure of the Seas will now drop the scheduled Eastern Caribbean schedule and switch it to a Western Caribbean. The ship will now call in Cozumel, Mexico; their private destination Labadee, Haiti; and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Line confirms that they, too, will be making adjustments, in their case to the itinerary of the Carnival Glory. Originally slated to sail an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, she will instead do a Western Caribbean journey. Glory’s former plan was to hit Half Moon Cay followed by a sea day, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk before sailing back to Miami. Instead, Glory will now spend a day at sea before hitting Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City and Cozumel before returning to Miami.

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Disney Cruise Line informed guests on this week’s sailing of the Disney Fantasy that, with “the safety and well-being of our Guests and Crew Members” being their highest priority, they would be switching up the order of the ports visited during its Western Caribbean sailing this week “in order to stay a safe distance” from Irma’s reach.

Carnival Magic: The six-day cruise departing out of Port Canaveral today originally was slated to visit Nassau, followed by a day at sea, Amber Cove, Grand Turk and another sea day before returning to Florida. Instead, she will spend tomorrow at sea before visiting Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya, followed by a final sea day as she returns to Port Canaveral.

Carnival Splendor: This six-day sailing out of Fort Lauderdale was originally slated to visit Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk and Amber Cove before spending a final day at sea on its way back to Port Everglades. Instead, she will spend tomorrow at sea before visiting Cozumel, Mahogany Bay and Belize, followed by another sea day on her way back to Port Everglades.

Carnival Pride: The ship’s seven-day cruise out of Baltimore was originally slated to spend two days at sea before sailing to Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay, followed by two sea days on her way back to Baltimore. Instead, she will now spend Monday at sea, then call upon Charleston, Freeport and Nassau before spending two days at sea sailing back to Baltimore.

Recovering from Hurricane Harvey

Last month, Hurricane Harvey caused substantial damage in Texas and canceled cruises out of Galveston. Starting on September 4, all the cruise itineraries impacted by Hurricane Harvey are expected to be back on schedule. As for Hurricane Irma, she was originally expected to continue to gain strength over the holiday weekend, potentially even developing into a Category 5 storm, although as of Saturday afternoon Irma was still classified as a Category 2 storm.

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Carnival Cruise Line Returns to St. Maarten

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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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Princess Cruises Debuts Treehouse in Alaska

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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.”

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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 Ship Gets Major Makeover

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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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