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MSC Cruises Prepares for the Holidays

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MSC Cruises is busy getting ready for the holiday season, revealing details on their Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s festivities. Highlights of the line’s seasonal voyages include:

Thanksgiving on MSC Divina

MSC Divina‘s November 18 departure to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, and the Bahamas will be a festive voyage with a Thanksgiving flair. Guests will enjoy a traditional turkey dinner and all-day football in the sports bar. Kids can participate in a special Turkey Day cooking class and a Thanksgiving costume parade and show. Teens will enjoy a themed scavenger hunt, participate in a flash mob, and party at the disco. Prices begin at $609 per person.

Hanukkah on MSC Divina

For those celebrating Hanukkah, the December 9 departure of MSC Divina will have a nightly Menorah lighting and onboard daily prayer service, and will also serve traditional Hanukkah foods in the buffet and main dining rooms. Families can play Dreidel together, with dreidels and chocolate coins handed out with instructions on how to play. A large menorah will also be on display in the atrium. Kosher meals can be ordered in advance. Prices begin at $499 per person.

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Christmas on MSC Seaside

MSC Seaside‘s very first 7-night itinerary on December 23 will be over Christmas, and the line is planning to make the holiday a unique one for the ship’s guests. Travelers kick off the voyage with an embarkation photo with Santa and his elves. Once onboard, the ship will be covered in festive décor, including lights, Christmas trees, and other decorations. Christmas carols will be heard throughout the ship, there will be a Broadway-style festive show, Christmas music in the atrium, a tree-lighting ceremony complete with hot cocoa and Christmas cookies, and gifts delivered to each stateroom. Families can choose from holiday themed games like trivia and bingo, karaoke, and Christmas movies on the outdoor screen. A Christmas mass will also be conducted onboard.

Special Christmas cuisine will also be available, including a Christmas Eve gala dinner with roasted turkey, panettone, yule log, a Christmas lunch, and festive cocktails throughout the cruise such as the Christmas Star made with limoncello and Prosecco, and the Snowflake made with dark rum and banana. Prices start at $958 per person.

Christmas and New Year’s on MSC Divina

The 11-night December 23 departure for MSC Divina will include both Christmas and New Year’s, as the ship sails through the Caribbean and South America. Along with being decorated for Christmas, there will be plenty of themed activities and menus throughout the ship for both holidays. To ring in 2018, guests can participate in a champagne toast and party on the pool deck on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s on MSC Seaside

Guests will ring in 2018 in style aboard the brand-new MSC Seaside. The voyage begins with a glass of champagne at embarkation, and travelers will bid 2017 farewell with themed trivia, bingo, and a New Year’s Eve dance party with a countdown to midnight. Guests will also enjoy a New Year’s Eve gala dinner, New Year’s lunch, and special cocktails to toast the occasion. Those traveling with kids will be pleased to know that MSC is extending the kids club hours and offering babysitting in the kids club for free, so that parents can enjoy some alone time for the New Year’s celebrations. Prices begin at $1,138 per person.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Inside The Party For Carnival Horizon [PHOTOS]

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Given that Queen Latifah is the Godmother of Carnival’s newest ship, you had to know a good time was going to be had by all at the Carnival Horizon’s official naming ceremony. Held in New York City on a picture-perfect afternoon, the event featured plenty of food, lots of drink, singing, dancing and even a pretty substantial charitable donation.

Welcome To Flavortown

Things got under way with a ribbon-cutting ceremony as celebrity chef Guy Fieri welcomed guests to the latest outpost of Flavortown, the Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse. With live music playing, servers dished out hearty helpings of the venue’s signature foods, including trashcan nachos, dragon chili cheese fries and a pecan pie that was, according to the genuine Southern belle at our table, “to die for.”

Guy Fieri and brewmeister Colin Presby, doing the honors.

After that, the traditional naming ceremony kicked off with Brand Ambassador John Heald offering up a tip of the hat to “the one man to blame” for the fact that “I now have X’s in the back of everything I’m wearing,” Fieri.

Next up was the traditional prayer of blessing, followed by Carnival president Christine Duffy welcoming everyone aboard before discussing the very special bond between the cruise line and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Speaking proudly of the $16 million dollars raised by Carnival since the partnership first began in 2010, Duffy then presented the hospital with a check for another $100,000 and directed everyone’s eyes to the 24-foot Dreamscape, which anchors the atrium and now features among it’s displays 33 pieces of art created by St. Jude patients.

Artwork done by St. Jude patients lit up the Dreamscape.

Next up was the ship’s Godmother, Queen Latifah, who also happens to be a major supporter of St. Jude. After thanking the crowd “for looking so good,” Latifah asked everyone to take another look at the artwork-adorned Dreamscape. “My mom was an art teacher,” she said of her recently-deceased parent, “so I appreciate what the kids do. I know what it does for a child’s heart to create like that.”

Of being Godmother to a cruise ship, Latifah admitted it was “one of the coolest things I’ve ever been asked to be a part of in my life!” She was then joined on stage by Captain Luigi De Angelis and, together, they poured an oversized bottle of champagne (“This is the only time the captain will hold a bottle of champagne like this,” quipped Heald) over the ship’s inaugural season bell.

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“Only at Carnival Cruise Line,” quipped Heald of the ceremony, “do we water the plants with Moet.”

With the official business of the day out of the way, it was time for the fun to start in the Liquid Lounge, where Latifah battled Philadelphia Eagles player Jake Elliot in an epic Lip Sync Battle hosted by popular Carnival cruise director Matt Mitcham. But before the main event could begin, the crowd was in for an unexpected treat when Duffy was joined on stage by Carnival Corp’s President and CEO, Arnold Donald, for a lip synched performance of The Black Eyed Peas’ party anthem “I Gotta Feeling.”

Duffy and Donald proved they definitely choose fun.

With Duffy cheering on Elliot, and Donald firmly in the Queen’s corner, the main event began. And while footballer Elliott took the pumped-up crowd back to the days of MTV’s Headbangers Ball by donning a massive wig to perform Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” this was Latifah’s battle to lose. And if you know anything about the singer/actor/businesswoman — who also happens to be a past Lip Sync Battle champion — it’s that she does not come to lose. The moment she and the Playlist Productions performers took to the stage to perform “It’s Raining Men,” it was all over but the cheering. Of the stripping background dancers, Mitcham joked that Latifah’s performance was “like Baywatch and Magic Mike went wild,” while Donald said that the dancers “inspired me to keep my shirt on!”  

Elliott put up a good fight, but he couldn’t dethrone the Queen.

Before being crowned the winner, Latifah admitted there was one thing about her new role which she’d found disappointing. “Shouldn’t Godmother’s have a wand?” she asked… only to promptly be presented one, with which she sprinkled “love dust over the crowd, even my sworn enemy Jake.”

The evening ended with a bang… or, more precisely, a whole lot of bangs.

With the scheduled events of the evening over, invited guests dispersed to enjoy the live entertainment taking place all around the ship, as well as movies in the Imax and Thriller Theaters, a party on the Lido deck, a midnight buffet and an impressive fireworks display that was, appropriately enough, set in part to the tune “New York, New York.” 

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June Special: Kids Sail Free to the Bahamas

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With summer around the corner, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has a special deal for families traveling with kids. Valid for all June cruises, those 16 and under will sail free if they’re staying in the same stateroom with two paying parents.

With the school year wrapping up and Father’s Day on June 17, it’s the perfect time for a quick escape to the Bahamas. Both of the line’s ships, Grand Classica and Grand Celebration offer a number of activities for guests on their way to the island. There are youth clubs divided by age, swimming pools, multiple dining options, a mini movie theater, mini rock climbing wall, a ball pit, and more.

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There’s also a number of shore excursions that families can take part in once they arrive, including snorkeling, a beach day, cruising the beach in an open-top Jeep, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, kayaking, glass-bottom boat tours, and more.

For more information, visit bahamasparadisecruiseline.com.

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Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Take Annual Photos on Cruise Ship

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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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