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New US-Based Ship Will Have Go Karts, BBQ, and More



Back in April, Norwegian Cruise Line announced some of the entertainment venues planned for their newest ship, the Norwegian Bliss, which is set to debut next summer. But at that time, there was no word on what dining options would be available. But this weekend, Norwegian finally released the long-awaited deck plans, giving future cruisers their first look at what restaurants will be featured, and there are more than a few surprises!

Two Biggies Are Missing

Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line

Perhaps the most shocking revelation is that Norwegian Bliss will not feature the line’s popular 24/7 complimentary eatery, O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill. Taking its place on deck 7 is something called the Local Bar & Grill, a rebranding of the spot perhaps best known for its wings. Also gone is Moderno, the churrascaria (or Brazillian steakhouse) found on many ships in the NCL fleet. In its place is Los Lobos, the Mexican restaurant first introduced on the Norwegian Dawn. No word yet as to whether, as in her sister ship’s version of the establishment, the Los Lobos aboard Bliss will offer an exclusive Patron-branded tequila.

Where The (Food) Action’s At

As with every Norwegian ship introduced to the fleet since the Breakaway class debuted, Bliss will feature the area known as 678 Ocean Place as well as the Waterfront promenade. The main attraction on deck 7 remains the casino (and the new Skyline bar), while deck 8 is where you’ll find the majority of restaurants, many of which will offer outdoor Waterfront seating. In fact, nearly every food and beverage venue on deck 8 — including the Sugarcane Mojito bar, Ocean Blue (the line’s high-end seafood establishment) and La Cucina (NCL’s Italian restaurant) will offer seating on the Waterfront. For those wanting a pre-dinner glass of wine, this deck will also feature the Cellars Wine Bar.

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Read More: Norwegian Bliss Now Open For Sale

It looks like the top level of 678 Ocean Place will feature both a District Brew House and Food Republic, each of which were introduced on the Norwegian Escape and proved instantly popular. The Brew House, as the name implies, is a craft beer lover’s dream, while Food Republic — developed with the folks at Pubbelly Restaurant Group — offers a wide variety of tapas dishes. (Assuming the formula which proved so successful on Norwegian Escape will be carried over, guests enjoying a beer at the Brew House will be able to order snacky bits from Food Republic!) Another cocktail venue will be The A-List bar, a main draw of which will be handcrafted cocktails.

Another new-to-Norwegian concept will be Q, an upscale Texas-style BBQ joint which will have its own staging area and feature live music performances.

In Other News

Meanwhile, Norwegian’s announcement also confirmed the worst-kept secret on the planet: that Bliss will, in fact, feature a top-deck go-kart track. The concept was first introduced aboard the Norwegian Joy. In fact, several elements aboard Bliss are carryovers from the previous ship, including a top-deck, open-air laser tag room. And despite the fact that the ship will be spending part of the year cruising the chillier environs of Alaska, she will also feature the Vibe Beach Club area, which will likely prove more popular during her months sailing in the Caribbean. And for those who need their overpriced caffeine fix, there will be a Starbucks in the atrium on deck 6.

Will you be booking a cruise on Norwegian Bliss? What feature are you most excited about?

Photos: Norwegian


Carnival Cruise Line

Inside The Party For Carnival Horizon [PHOTOS]



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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Cruise News

June Special: Kids Sail Free to the Bahamas



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

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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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