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Norwegian Cruise Line Prices on the Rise

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Generally speaking, financial reports are dull unless you happen to be invested in the company being discussed or the kind of person who really, really liked math classes as a kid. But sometimes if you dig deep enough, you’ll walk away with a few insights. As it happens, we read through the transcript of Norwegian Cruise Line’s recent earnings report to see what the company’s president and CEO had to say. Here’s what we thought you’d find to be the most interesting tidbits.

1. Cuba has been good for the company.

“All three of our brands have now sailed to Havana,” reported Del Rio, adding that both the number of passengers and pricing on the trips had been “very encouraging.” And with this being a relatively new market which many people are curious about, there will be more Havana-bound sailings for the company in the years to come. In fact, they currently have 56 planned for 2018.

2. Prices are on the rise.

While circumstances conspired to create a bit of a pricing slump in certain segments last year, that no longer seems to be the case. “We have priced remaining 2017 inventory at higher prices,” the exec reported. “The expectation continues to be that pricing for new bookings for [future] sailings will moderately exceed prior-year levels.” While that’s good news for the company’s bottom lines, it means bargains will likely be tougher for cruisers to find.

3. Norwegian Bliss is selling well.

Although the earnings call was with regards to 2017, it sounded as if 2018 was looking good in certain sectors… especially where the line’s still-under-construction ship is concerned. Of Bliss Del Rio said it was “in a far better booked position” at this point than had been previous Breakaway Class ships at a similar point in their launch.

4. Norwegian Joy is going to try and make new friends.

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When the ship’s repositioning journey from Germany to China is completed, she’ll get not one inauguration but several as she does a series of one-day stops in Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong designed to introduce her to potential passengers and travel partners. She’ll also do a “VIP partner cruise with major travel agents” from her homeport of Shanghai. Her official christening will take place on June 27, led by her Godfather, Wang Leehom. And while that name may mean nothing to you, trust us… the king of Chinese pop is very well known in Joy’s new homeland!

5. Their deal with Alibaba is a game changer.

Last month, Norwegian revealed that they had formed a partnership with the Alibaba Group. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, think of it as the Chinese market’s version of Amazon. “The partnership kicked off last week with a sweepstake where lucky Alibaba customers won a special four-day preview cruise roundtrip from Shanghai on board Norwegian Joy,” shared Del Rio. “The amount of coverage and awareness that [the ship] received as a result of this campaign and new partnership was impressive.” And this will partnership will no doubt continue to help Norwegian become a major player in China, a market they are only now attempting to penetrate. “Unless you know it well, there is nothing in the U.S. that compares to it,” Del Rio said of Alibaba. “I’m told that Amazon controls 14% of the United States e-commerce. Alibaba controls 83% of China’s e-commerce.”

Translation: That’s a lot of potential passengers.

6. South Korea is a pain in the butt.

If there’s one fly in the ointment where the Chinese market is concerned, it’s South Korea. “Up through early March we were very pleased with the pace,” said the executive of sales in China. “Since then, the South Korean travel restriction has caused disruption in the cruise sector, resulting in the rearranging of itineraries throughout the industry for voyages departing from Mainland China.” While North American passengers tend to book their cruises pretty well in advance, the typical Chinese passenger often makes their vacation plans at what might be considered the last minute. As a result, it’s difficult for Norwegian to get a true read on how well the ship will do once it settles in.

Do you have a Norwegian Cruise Line book?

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Ship Returns to Service

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Carnival Cruise Line is back to sailing year-round from San Juan, Puerto Rico as the Carnival Fascination just completed a multi-million dollar dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas.

On its San Juan-based program, Carnival Fascination departs every Sunday on week-long voyages visiting five destinations: St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, each of which is home to world-class beaches, centuries-old historical sites, unique and exciting shoreside experiences and array of shopping and dining opportunities.

Fun Ship Enhancements Received

Guy’s Burger Joint. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.
  • Cherry on Top:  The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.
  • Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.
  • Bonsai Sushi Express:  the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

“We’re delighted that the Carnival Fascination has returned to year-round sailing from San Juan better than ever with a wide range of great new dining, beverage and retail options for our guests to enjoy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line who noted that prior to the dry dock the ship was chartered by FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Sneak Peek of Carnival Horizon [PHOTOS]

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Christmas came early for cruise fans, and Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador, John Heald, played Santa when he posted pics to his Facebook page of the upcoming Carnival Horizon. Want a sneak peek of one of 2018’s most highly anticipated ships? Take a look at these photos taken by Hotel Director Pierre Camilleri.

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse

Carnival Horizon

If you’re familiar with Carnival Vista, Magic, or Breeze, the Pig and Anchor Smokehouse, you know exactly why this restaurant is so popular. The latest extension of Carnival’s partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri will, on Carnival Horizon, be located on deck 5. And while on other ships it has been an outdoor venue, here it has been moved inside… although there will be plenty of outdoor seating only steps away.

Pig & Anchor — which also has a brewhouse and will essentially replace the RedFrog Pub on this ship — will serve a limited free lunch menu, and then a for-fee dinner menu. (Never fear, there will still be a Guy’s Burger Joint, located up on deck 10!)

Lido Deck Marketplace

Carnival Horizon

Let’s face it, at some point, you’re going to be visiting the buffet. They could put a thousand different restaurants on the ship, and at some point we’d wind up wandering into the buffet “just to see what they have.” So why not take a look at where we’ll be doing our grazing? The area is shaping up nicely, with brand new chairs, tables, and railings.

Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki

Carnival has had great success with the Bonsai Sushi restaurant, so it makes sense that with Horizon, they’ll take things to the next level by adding Teppanyaki, with chefs putting on a show while preparing some delicious food. Looking for a fun night for your family or friends? Gathering around the flat-top grill to watch these chefs do their thing is a guaranteed good time.

Carnival Horizon

 

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks Aqua Park

Carnival Horizon

The waterpark on Carnival Horizon is also coming together nicely. The Cat in the Hat slide will be enclosed and run more than 450 feet. And get those cameras ready, because the entrance to the slide will actually be a giant replica of the iconic red-and-white hat worn by everyone’s favorite trouble-making feline. (The slide itself will also be red and white, so it should be pretty easy to spot!)

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The Fun Things slide is after named after those infamous troublemakers, Thing 1 and Thing 2! An enclosed body slide, this one will distinguish itself with a polka dot-motif and offer 213 feet of slippery fun.

Aft Main Dining Room

Carnival Horizon

The two-floor main dining room, located on the back of the ship and stretching across decks 3 and 4, is starting to come together. There will also be a second, single-story dining room at the front of the ship on deck 3. Carnival will use one of the dining rooms for traditional dining, and the other for Your Time dining.

JavaBlue Cafe

Carnival Horizon

The coffee shop located just outside of Ocean Plaza on deck five is starting to come to life with coffee machines, coolers and a seating area. This is where you can get your specialty coffees (with a splash of your favorite liquor, if you so choose), milkshakes and huge slices of cake. (One of the nice things about Carnival’s Cheers! package is that coffees and milkshakes are included!)

Carnival Horizon

On Carnival Vista, the check-in station for Your Time Dining is just to the right of the coffee bar, so there’s no reason to think it would be different here.

Pixels Photo Gallery

Carnival Horizon

Just like on sister ship Vista, Horizon will have the Pixels digital photo gallery on deck five. It will feature the facial recognition technology which automatically puts photographs into the portfolio of a passenger, thereby cutting down on the massive waste created by printing out hundreds if not thousands of photos, most of which will not be purchased.

Casino

Carnival Horizon

If you feel your money burning a hole in your pocket, it’s probably because of these pictures from the under-construction casino… complete with a few slot machines already in place! Like on Vista, this one will feature a smaller version of the lobby’s Dreamscape LED. (Many people have commented that the one in the casino is actually more vibrant because of the darker atmosphere, so it’s definitely worth swinging by to check it out!)

One thing to note is that similar to Vista, Horizon will have an aquarium-like view up to (or down from, depending on your perspective) deck 5. The glass partition keeps the smoke from going directly up to deck five, which is a good thing, given that there are several dining venues (including the steakhouse and Bonsai Sushi/Teppanyaki) are located there.

What do you think of these first images from the Carnival Horizon? Are you excited to sail on the line’s newest ship? 

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Norwegian Bliss One Step Closer to Sailing [PHOTOS]

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Norwegian Bliss, the third of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class, emerged from the Meyer Werft building dock in Papenburg, Germany on Saturday, February 17, representing a major milestone in the vessel’s construction.

The ship will remain in the shipyard port for the final phase of construction, until its conveyance down the River Ems towards the North Sea, scheduled for mid-March. During this time, the first crew members will move into their staterooms on board, begin their training, and familiarize themselves with the ship – readying her for the first guests to arrive after delivery in 60 days, on April 19.

Norwegian Bliss

Photo via MEYER WERFT.

The construction of the ship began in October 2016 with the traditional steel cutting ceremony launching the 12th Norwegian Cruise Line ship to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard.  It is the third ship in the Breakaway Plus class, measuring 1,082 feet in length by 136 feet wide, with gross tonnage of 167,800 and accommodating approximately 4,000 guests.  Part of the excitement of this float out will be the public debut of the ship’s signature hull artwork designed by world-renowned marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland.

Norwegian Bliss

Photo via MEYER WERFT.

Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, including the 180-degree Observation Lounge where guests can enjoy Norwegian’s most expansive views at sea.  She will also be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make her debut in Seattle, with cruises beginning May 2018.  Norwegian Bliss will offer weekly seven-day cruises to see America’s last frontier with ports-of-call including Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

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Norwegian Bliss

Photo via MEYER WERFT.

“Our partners at Meyer Werft have done an excellent job realizing our vision for a ship designed to experience Alaska and the Caribbean like never before,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. “We are counting down the days until her official debut in Seattle this summer, where guests will be able to race around the world’s largest two-level race track at sea against the backdrop of Alaska’s wild frontier, and enjoy other first-at-sea experiences.”

Norwegian Bliss

Photo via MEYER WERFT.

Following preview events in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles, Norwegian Bliss will sail into Seattle for her official christening on May 30, with summer cruises to Alaska beginning June 2.  She will spend her summer seasons with seven-day cruises to Alaska, and fall seasons sailing to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles.  In winter of 2018 she will sail to the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Source: NCL

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