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Norwegian Bliss Will Also Sail Florida

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Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that their upcoming purpose-built Alaska ship Norwegian Bliss will be spending the winter in a place a bit warmer.

After her inaugural summer season in Alaska, the vessel will set sail for Miami to seasonally homeport in Miami for winter 2018.  Beginning on November 17, 2018, Bliss will operate seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday.  The voyage will call in St. Thomas, Tortola, and Nassau.

Norwegian Bliss‘ custom design will give guests the freedom to create their ideal cruising experience, with a wide variety of accommodations including The Haven suites, studio rooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting rooms for big groups or families.  The ship will also feature two observation lounges, including one exclusively for The Haven guests, perfect for whale watching in Alaska, or taking in Caribbean sunsets.

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The Haven observation lounge – rendering: Norwegian Cruise Line

After completing her Alaska inaugural season, en route to Miami the ship will sail one 5-day Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles on September 30, calling in Victoria and San Francisco.  Norwegian Bliss‘ 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises will call in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas, adding Ensenada on its 8-day itinerary.  For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the ship will depart Los Angeles on November 3 for a 14-day journey to Miami through the new locks of the recently expanded Panama Canal, with calls in Puerto Vallarta; Manzanillo; Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and Cartagena, Colombia.

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Cruise News

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

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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Could Free Wi-Fi Be Coming To Carnival Cruise Line?

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Gone are the days when people tried to completely disconnect while on vacation. Now, one of the things cruisers look for when planning a trip is how easily they’ll be able to stay connected… and how much it will cost! But is the idea of free wi-fi for everyone on board even a possibility, given both the technical aspects and cost prohibitions? In a recent interview, a Carnival exec suggested that might not be as far-fetched as it currently seems!

Connecting The Dots

In talking to Cruise Industry News, Reza Rasoulian, Carnival’s vice president of global connectivity (aka their internet guru), addressed some of the questions and issues all of the cruise lines are currently dealing with. And make no mistake: keeping passengers connected is something that all of the major cruise lines are interested in doing for numerous reasons. Not only is it something that their customers increasingly demand, but it also creates an avalanche of free advertising as passengers use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to make everyone back home jealous!

Guests want to be able to connect from wherever they are on a ship… including the Carnival Sunshine’s atrium!

 

“There’s a lot of great ideas out tehre,” Rasoulian told the site. “We are on a great trajectory as an industry, because we need to change the conversation and make sure connectivity isn’t a problem.”

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But could this ultimately mean putting an end to wi-fi packages in favor of access being included in the price of a cruise? “We know that there are cruise lines offering it now,” he admits, “but the ships are small, 300 guests, so that’s a whole different equation. Scale is a factor, but we need to provide a situation where there’s no friction. Maybe it will happen in five or 10 years as a collaborative process.”

Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, echoed that sentiment when speaking to the press during the rollout of the line’s newest and biggest ship, Symphony of the Seas. “The theory is that over the next five to 10 years, as the technology improves, the cost of internet is going to start decreasing significantly. So I think at some point, when the cost becomes more sensible, then it will [probably be] something that will convert into free internet and Wi-Fi for our customers.”

Why Wi-Fi Is So Important

In February, Carnival Corporation tested its MedallionNet Wi-Fi on Princess Cruise Line’s Regal Princess in an effort to, as Chief Experience and Innovation officer John Padgett explained, “demonstrate that guests can have a connected experience that parallels land-based Wi-Fi.”

Over the past few years, the cruise industry has made major strides in reaching out to younger cruisers. But the executives behind the scenes know that in order to convince many gadget-addicted millennials to trade traditional land-based vacations for ones on the high seas, they must provide the kind of connectivity they demand. It’s a tall order, and one the cruise lines take very seriously… as evidenced by the fact that Carnival’s newest ship, the Carnival Horizon, even comes with a Wearable Tech outlet staffed by employees who can not only sell you the latest fitness tracking devices, but show you how to use them.

“One of the conscious decisions we continue to make is that we are not standing still,” says Rasoulian. “We want to continue to evolve.” Which would seem to indicate that when it comes to cruising, free Wi-Fi is more a matter of when than if!

Do you purchase a wi-fi package when you cruise? How important is it that you be able to stay connected to folks back home?

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