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Mexico Travel Warning Lifted By US Government

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After several weeks of fear and uncertainty, cruisers planning trips which include stops at some of the most popular Mexican itineraries can breath easier: The U.S. State Department has lifted the recent ban they had regarding travel in that part of the world.

 

Carnival Cruise Line Resumes Tulum Excursions 

Photo via Carnival.

Following an explosion and the discovery of a second incendiary device on passenger-carrying ferries in recent weeks, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City issued travel warning issued to visitors and a ban on travel for government employees. But a recently issued statement on the U.S Embassy website says, “U.S. government personnel are permitted to use ferry services between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.”

During the travel ban, most cruise lines had — for the safety of their guests — cancelled shore excursions, especially those involving travel to regions such as Playa del Carmen.  But now, things are slowly returning to normal. For example, Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald announced on Facebook, “You will be pleased to know that the ban on the ferries between Cozumel and the mainland of Mexico has been lifted by the US Government.”

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He went on to say, “This means effective today we will be offering all those brilliant adventure excursions such as visits to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum.”

New Security Procedures Are In Place

As a result of the recent explosion, state and federal agencies are enforcing new security procedures for guests in the Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico area.

The State Department warns that travelers should always exercise caution when visiting these areas, be aware of their surroundings, purchase travel insurance and contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if they find themselves in need of assistance.

Travelers can also enroll in the STEP program. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service which allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad the opportunity to list their travel information with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This allows the agencies to contact a traveler if situations arise which they should be aware of, including emergencies such as a natural disaster or civil unrest. It also makes it easier for family and friends to get in touch with you should the need arise.

The Embassy telephone number for Mexico: (01-55) 5080-2000.

Read More: 7 Cruise Port Safety Tips

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Norwegian Cruise Line Takes Delivery of Newest Ship

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Norwegian Cruise Line has officially taken delivery of their newest ship – the 168,028-gross-ton Norwegian Bliss – from Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.

In attendance were executives from Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as representatives from Meyer Werft. Before cruising to Southampton, England to begin her transatlantic crossing on April 21, Bliss will showcase all she has to offer to her first guests during a two-day inaugural preview cruise.

Bernard Meyer, Captain Karl Staffan Bengtsson, Andy Stuart – photo: NCL

Upon her arrival in the United States on May 3, the festivities for her US inaugural tour will commence with two-night preview events in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, and will conclude with a grand christening ceremony and sailing from her first homeport at Pier 66 in Seattle, Washington on May 30. Following a three-day voyage will a call in Victoria, she will return on June 2 and will then begin her first seven-day voyage to Alaska.

Norwegian Bliss is the third ship in the line’s Breakaway Plus class, and is the first designed specifically for the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. Onboard, guests can enjoy the largest competitive racetrack at sea, an open-air laser tag course, the Aqua Racer waterslide, a Texas smokehouse, a Starbucks, and a chocolate and sweet treats shop called Coco’s.

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photo: NCL

The vessel will also featuring fun new entertainment offerings, including the Broadway musical Jersey Boys, and an original show created specifically for the ship called HAVANA!. Norwegian Bliss will also include a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical that will transport audiences to a New Orleans speakeasy on the eve of the Prohibition era.

Beginning in June, the ship will spend the summer cruising to Alaska, and will sail to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles in the fall. During winter 2018, she will sail the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.

For more photos of Norwegian Bliss, click here.

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Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship Photos Released

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This week, the folks at Norwegian Cruise Line officially took delivery of their newest ship, the Norwegian Bliss, and cruisers are getting a look at the inside of this latest megaship! Forget the renderings… photos of the actual ship are starting to come in, and she’s a beauty. The ceremony — during which shipbuilders Meyer Wert handed over the ship in Bremerhaven, Germany — took place on Thursday, and the final touches are currently being put on the ship! Scroll down for details and some pretty gorgeous photos! And remember that Cruise Radio will be coming to you live the weekend of May 4 as the Norwegian Bliss arrives in New York and is introduced to her godmother, Queen Latifah!

Stunning New Photos Of The Norwegian Bliss

Over the past few years, Norwegian has built ships specifically designed to serve or represent a particular location. The Norwegian Breakaway, for example, was designed to homeport in New York City (although, after five years of doing so, she’s now visiting other ports). And while the Norwegian Bliss will sail out of several locations during her first season, she is specifically designed for Alaskan sailings… which is most noticeable when it comes to her two observation lounges, from which passengers can enjoy stunning views of what is often called “the last frontier.”

The heart of the ship can be found at 678 Ocean Place, spanning three decks (with the casino on deck 7, for those who can’t wait to hit the slots!) and anchored by the stunning chandelier pictured below.

 

Next up on our photo tour is The Haven, Norwegian’s exclusive ship-within-a-ship area. On board the Bliss, the Haven will feature not only the usual pool, private sundeck and 24-hour butler service, but also a special observation lounge available only to Haven guests.

 

Among the gorgeous spaces on board are, of course, numerous restaurants including high-end seafood eatery Ocean Blue, with it’s coral-inspired ceiling lights and soothing ambiance…

 

… Los Lobos, serving some of the best Mexican-themed cuisine (and, of course, margaritas!) at sea…

 

… and, in a first for Norwegian Cruise Line, Q, the Texas-style barbeque joint which will also feature live entertainment each night.

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Other Shipboard Features

Of course, it wouldn’t be a modern-day cruise ship without a shopping area. On the Norwegian Bliss, that is Tradewinds, featuring everything from high-end watches to items you might have forgotten to pack before leaving home.

 

While several Norwegian ships have featured the Sugarcane Mojito bar in recent years, the one aboard Norwegian Bliss offers more space than previous incarnations and some fun splashes of color (to go with the amazing array of hand-crafted mojitos which are a highlight of the menu).

 

Oh yeah, lest we forget, there is of course that race track you’ve probably heard a thing or two about.

As mentioned previously, Bliss will feature two observation lounges. One will be exclusively available for guests of the haven, but a second lounge — featuring amazing forward-facing views and, of course a bar — is open to all guests.

Finally, there’s the pool deck. Or, as pictured below, one of them. You can see the Aqua Racer looming in the background, one of several slides featured aboard Norwegian’s newest ship.

 

 

Are you excited to sail on the Norwegian Bliss? What’s your favorite feature of the new ship? Hit the comments, and make sure to join us for exclusive photos, interviews and more when we board the ship in New York City on Friday, May 4! 

 

All photos via Meyer Werf’s Facebook page

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Carnival Cruise Line Reverses Unpopular Pricing Decision

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Yesterday, we reported that Carnival Cruise Line had boosted the price of their new Pixel photo packages… a decision which proved wildly unpopular. And in response to their loyal passengers complaining, Carnival has reversed the decision! There is, however, a modification being made to the program.

The New/Old Prices

“Effective today,” wrote Brand Ambassador John heald on his popular Facebook page, “Pixels pre-cruise photo packages are returning to their introductory pricing. To balance the strong popularity of the most premium package with the onboard photo center resources, there will be a cap on the number of copies guests can order of their unlimited photos to a maximum of 50 prints or 50 digital files. The other two packages remain the same.”

He added that another change would be made by popular request. “We are now making these packages available to guests onboard on embarkation day only at special rates.” Those who pre-purchased the package at the higher rate will be given an onboard credit for the difference in price. “We will also honor the original Pixels Plus Digital package for those who purchased it before today,” he added.

 

Pixels Digital Photo Gallery onboard Carnival Horizon

“We appreciate our guests’ feedback,” he concluded, “and are happy that we can provide the great opportunity to preserve their cruise memories with photo packages that meet their needs. So there you go!”

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Although the website had not yet been updated to reflect the change when Heald made the announcement, the original pricing on the packages was as follows, with the onboard-purchase price he mentioned listed as well.

  • Pixels: This package offers prints of 5 of your best photographs, plus 1 16” by 20” canvas portrait at a cost of $99.99. (The embarkation day price will be $119.98.)
  • Pixels Plus: With this package, you can choose as many of your favorites as you like and have them printed at a cost of $199.99. (The embarkation day price will be $239.98.)
  • Pixels Plus Digital: This option offers you all of the prints of your favorite photographs, plus a souvenir USB stick containing high-resolution digital versions of the pictures, and runs $249.99. (The embarkation-day price will be $299.98.)

Those picking the Pixels option have until the final sea day of their voyage to pick the five prints they want to have made. Passengers who purchase a package will receive a Pixels gift ticket, which will be left in their stateroom. That ticket can then be taken to the photo gallery for redemption (which must be done within two days of boarding).

 

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