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New Royal Caribbean Ship Details Revealed



Royal Caribbean has announced new details on their upcoming ship, Symphony of the Seas. The vessel will claim the title of largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in April 2018 for her inaugural season in Europe.

Reimagined Boardwalk

Symphony will introduce a new generation of Royal’s famed mega-ship Boardwalk neighborhood, infused with new venues and experience for all ages. Playmaker Sports Bar & Arcade will be the place to watch the “big game” from around the world across 30 big-screen TVs. Spanning the length of the boardwalk, the vibrant sports bar will be a family hot spot for wings, burgers, and craft beer on draft, along with everyone’s favorite arcade games. Adjacent to the Boardwalk’s iconic carousel will be Sugar Beach, a candy and ice cream shop bursting with colorful candy-packed walls and temping ice cream and toppings. The venue will also offer family-friendly activities for aspirational bakers.

rendering of Playmaker Sports Bar

Other additions will be the Ultimate Abyss, which will be taller and even more thrilling than the version aboard Harmony of the Seas. Johnny Rockets will be aboard for guests to satisfy their burgers and shakes cravings, and the AquaTheater will offer awe-inspiring aquatic acrobatics shows for a fun family evening.

The Ultimate Family Suite

Aboard Symphony of the Seas will be a brand-new type of family suite. The two-level Ultimate Family Suite is a dream come true for kids of all ages, offering a slide from the kid’s bedroom to the living room below, a floor to ceiling LEGO wall, an air-hockey table, and hidden nooks for relaxing.

A separate 3D movie theater-style TV room includes a popcorn machine and library of video games across multiple gaming systems. On the outside, the suite boasts an impressive 212-square foot balcony with a pool table, climbing experience, and full-size hot tub. The suite is 1,346 square feet and can accommodate a family of up to 8 in two bedrooms. Guests in the cabin will also have access to their personal Royal Genie (butler), who will take care of their every need.

rendering of the Ultimate Family Suite

New Dining Options

The vessel will be debuting new dining concepts for Royal Caribbean across the seven neighborhoods. Hooked Seafood is Royal’s first New England-style seafood restaurant with fresh seafood and a large raw bar. Located in the Solarium, the casual restaurant will offer expansive views of the open water, serving lunch and dinner. El Loco Fresh, located in the sports zone, will serve up made-to-order tacos, burritos, and other Mexican fare.

Some of Royal Caribbean’s signature favorites like Wonderland, Jamie’s Italian, 150 Central Park, Park Café, and Izumi Hibachi and Sushi will also be onboard.

rendering of El Loco Fresh

Entertainment at the Next Level

Back by popular demand, the brand’s first Broadway musical at sea – “Hairspray” – will return on Symphony with a total refresh. “Flight,” a historic satire on the evolution of air travel, will end with homage to the Wright Brothers. In the AquaTheater, a new aqua show, “HiRo,” offers lots of wow factor with high-diving and acrobatics. Studio B will showcase a new time-travel adventure, and a new high-tech ice-skating show “1977” will bring guests to London on the eve of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee when her Crown Jewels are stolen in the heist of the century. The ship will also boast glow-in-the-dark laser tag and a Puzzle Break submarine-themed escape room experience.

Mobile Check-In

The latest technological innovations will be integrated throughout the ship, including a redesigned check-in process that eliminates lines and the need to wait at the counter. The new process will leverage facial-recognition, bar codes, and beacons to make boarding quick and easy. Guests check in on Royal’s new mobile app and upload their security photo to create their onboard account at home. Upon arriving, guests go through security and head to their cabin, where their key will be waiting. Symphony will also offer VOOM high-speed internet and virtual balconies.

Symphony of the Seas will be the 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, kicking off her maiden season in the Mediterranean before heading to Miami in November 2018 for Caribbean voyages. It will span 16 decks and carry over 5,500 guests.

Renderings: Royal Caribbean

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Cruise News

Magens Bay Officially Reopens



As the Caribbean continues to bounce back from the hurricanes which did heavy damage earlier this year, another major milestone was achieved this week. On Thursday, Magens Bay — long considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Virgin Islands — officially reopened with help from the folks at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

Royal Caribbean Teams With Magens Bay

According to the St. Thomas Source, a ceremony was held Thursday to officially reopen the beach. Governor Kenneth Mapp said that the hurricanes had ultimately resulted in a betterment of the area. . “Hurricanes are about devastation,” he said, “but when you turn that quarter over, hurricanes are [also] opportunities. Here is our opportunity to turn a page and create a more vibrant product, a more vibrant experience for our guests.” The ultimate goal? Making the area the “No. 1 visitor destination in the entire Caribbean.”

Magens Bay is one of the most popular destinations in the Virgin Islands. Photo by Flickr user DBKing 

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line had partnered with the Magens Bay authority to help repair damage done to the area, with CEO Richard Fain saying that their partnership had been “a long and important relationship.” He noted that it was just over 47 years ago that a Royal Caribbean ship had first called upon the island of St Thomas.

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Returning To Grand Turk Cruise Port After The Hurricanes

Mapp commended the people of the Virgin islands “for your relilence and your strength” before thanking the cruise line “for betting on us, for investing with us, for helping us when we needed help and for being a very strong partner.”

Repairing The Damage To Magens Bay

Hurricanes Maria and Irma did a fair amount of damage to the popular tourist spot, including causing massive erosion to the shelf just off the shore. This meant that the normally gentle slope which allowed for people to wade into the waters instead gave way to a much more severe drop. The concession stands and restrooms were also badly damaged by the Category 5 storms. As well as repairing this damage, crews worked to plant nearly 500 new trees to help return the beach, visited by approximately 250,000 tourists a year, to its former glory.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Big Change For The Carnival Sunshine!



One of the most popular ships in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet will get a new home next spring. The line revealed that the Carnival Sunshine will begin sailing out of Charleston, South Carolina in May of 2019, replacing the Carnival Ecstasy, which is currently homeporting there.

“With its convenient location and strong tourism appeal, Charleston is one of our most popular homeports,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Carnival Sunshine not only provides guests sailing from Charleston with a newer, larger ship with so much to see and do, but also underscores our commitment to our year-round operations from this port.”

Carnival Sunshine’s Serenity, adults-only area – complete with waterfall — is wildly popular.

Where Carnival Sunshine Will Sail

It’s expected that the Carnival Sunshine — which will sail four- and five-day trips — will ferry around 220,000 passengers from Charleston to the Caribbean during its first year of operation. The four-day cruises will visit Nassau, while five-day trips will also swing by the private island paradise of Half Moon Cay.

Returning To Grand Turk Cruise Port After The Hurricanes

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For those looking to do a longer sailing out of Charleston, Carnival Sunshine will also operate an 11-day Carnival Journeys cruise from December 3-14 of 2019. That sailing will call upon St. Thomas, Aruba, Bonaire, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. These longer sailings also feature unique on-board experiences, including an opportunity to sample local cuisine and even a 1980s-themed Throwback Sea Day!

Other Carnival Repositioning News

With cruising becoming more popular each year, the Carnival Sunshine represents a great “entry-level” ship for first-timers who might be intimidated by larger ships such as the Carnival Vista or upcoming Carnival Horizon. Big enough to offer a plethora of amazing venues — including the Alchemy and Havana bars, JiJi Asian Kitchen, RedFrog Pub and, of course, Guy’s Burger Joint — it’s also intimate enough to be perfect for a romantic getaway.

RedFrog Pub is one of the spots Sunshine fans love!

Meanwhile, the Carnival Ecstasy will move from Charleston to Jacksonville, Florida, where it will also operate four- and five-day cruises beginning in May. The round-robin of repositioning news continues as Carnival Elation, which is currently based in Jacksonville, will shift to Port Canaveral.

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Cruise News

What You Need To Know About Norwegian’s New Cruise App




Upping their technological game, Norwegian Cruise Line today announced an all-new version of their app. The redesigned Cruise Norwegian app’s main purpose is the best one imaginable: To help eliminate stress as you plan (not to mention enjoy) your vacation.

How The Cruise App Helps Before You Even Board!

“Whether they’re 60 days from their sail date or in the middle of their cruise, the Cruise Norwegian app [allows for] seamless, anytime access to a myriad of onboard offerings, services and activities,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for the line. “Once on board, the Cruise Norwegian app will allow guests to continue customizing their ideal cruise experience and view or manage their existing account information, allowing them to maximize their time and spend it on the things they enjoy the most.”

And let’s face it: Nobody lists “having to stand in line at the guest services desk” as one of the things they enjoy most. In fact, it probably doesn’t even crack the top 20.

Anthem of the Seas vs. Norwegian Breakaway

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The Cruise Norwegian app is, at the end of the day, an update of their current iConcierge app. At the moment, the Cruise Norwegian app is only available on the Norwegian Sky. It next will be rolled out when the line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Bliss, joins the fleet this summer. And by the end of 2018, the app is expected to be available to all passengers sailing with Norwegian.

Norwegian Bliss will be the second ship, after the Norwegian Sky, to make the app available.

What You Can Do With The Norwegian App Now!

While the app may not yet be available for most current passengers, it can still be downloaded and accessed as a way to help plan your next vacation. If you already have an account with Norwegian Cruise Line, you can use the same log-in information to, after downloading the app gain access. Immediately upon signing in, you’ll see your current Latitudes reward level (and can easily find out what perks come with that level), as well as any future cruises you. Users will be able to read about and book shore excursions, make dinner reservations and more. Like with the iConcierge app, passengers will be able to pay a one-time (per cruise) fee of $9.95 and call or message others on the ship who have also accessed the program. Furthermore, guests will be able to make outbound calls via the app for 79 cents per minute.

Will you be downloading the free app? Which function do you think you’ll find most useful? 


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