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Norwegian Cruise Line Expands Their All-Inclusive Cruises

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When Norwegian Cruise Line announced updates to their summer 2018 deployment slate Monday morning, an unexpected bit of news also bubbled to the surface: Norwegian Sun will become the second ship in the fleet to offer all-inclusive cruises out of Florida!

When The Change Will Happen

According to a press release, Norwegian Sun will spend the fall and winter of this year in South America before undergoing a two-and-a-half-week dry dock in Victoria, British Columbia. And while no details were offered as to what changes might be implemented during the dry dock, the ship will then depart on April 19, 2018 on a 17-day Panama Canal cruise departing from Seattle.

This will basically serve as a repositioning cruise, allowing the Sun to begin sailing out of Miami on May 7, offering 4-day itineraries visiting Key West and Havana, Cuba (where the ship will dock overnight), as well as three-day cruises to the Bahamas, which will also stop at the line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay. All of these sailings will offer unlimited complimentary beverages as part of the ship’s all-inclusive package.

Another Ship To Alaska

In other news, the Norwegian Jewel will reposition from Seattle to Vancouver in late May of 2018, after which she will begin sailing seven-day roundtrip voyages from Vancouver to Alaska with calls on Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. This will be in addition to the currently-being-built Norwegian Bliss, which will spend the summer of 2018 doing 7-day sailings from Seattle to Alaska. Norwegian’s President and CEO, Andy Stuart, said that “Alaska continues to be one of the most popular destinations we sail to around the world. We are thrilled to be significantly increasing capacity” in the region.

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Could More All-Inclusive Packages Be Coming?

With two of the fleet’s ships now moving toward an all-inclusive style, might this be the wave of the future? “Our all-inclusive model aboard Norwegian Sky has been very well-received,” admitted Stuart, “and as we evaluated the opportunity to expand upon that concept, we felt that Port Canaveral was the ideal location to offer our guests a value-rich on board experience and exciting action-packed ports of call, including an overnight… in Havana, Cuba.” Given that Norwegian Cruise Line has had great success with all-inclusive packages overseas, it seems fairly likely that they will continue to experiment with the popular model in the future.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line Returns to St. Maarten

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Carnival Cruise Line has marked their return to St. Maarten, four months after the island was devastated by hurricanes. Earlier today, Carnival Sunshine was the first in the fleet to return to the nation with a day-long call there.

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The visit is the first of dozens of port calls by Carnival ships to the Caribbean destination in the coming weeks.

Over 3,000 passengers onboard enjoyed a variety of shore excursions, as well as St. Maarten’s world-class beaches and shopping and dining in downtown Philipsburg.

Photos: Carnival Cruise Line

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Cruise News

Princess Cruises Debuts Treehouse in Alaska

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Princess Cruises has announced that their 2018 schedule will feature the line’s custom-designed wilderness treehouse at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. The new addition will allow guests an opportunity to view Denali while enjoying themed activities amongst the trees.

The treehouse was the first-ever designed and constructed in Alaska by Pete Nelson, the star of Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters.” As one of the highest land-based north-facing viewing areas, it will provide travelers a great view of the mountain. At approximately 500 square feet and powered by solar panels, guests can access the treehouse by hiking the short “hill trail loop.”

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Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge Treehouse

Guests on a Princess cruisetour will be able to enjoy the treehouse, along with visits to other Princess-owned lodges, and a ride on the exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service. This year, treehouse activities and programs will include:

Tales from The Sourdough Expedition

Hosted by author, world record holder, and amputee mountain climber, Todd Huston, guests will follow along a story of the first successful ascent of Denali – the Sourdough Expedition. Participants will be Huston and fellow adventurers before beginning their own trek to the line’s treehouse. Stories of the first successful ascent will entertain guests as they explore area trails, and the journey will end with a cup of hot chocolate and doughnuts. The 45-minute expedition runs five days a week for a small fee.

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Sappy Hour

Found in the interior of Alaska, boreal forests are carpeted with Birch and Spruce trees, providing ideal conditions for syrup production. Beginning in 2018, guests can gather inside the treehouse for a rare sampling of birch syrups and other tree-inspired products. Guests will learn about Birch trees and the harvesting of Birch syrup. Sappy Hour will run daily for a small fee.

Trivia at the Treehouse

Guests can test their knowledge of The Great Land with an afternoon of brain-stretching fun. Hosted by the lodge’s resident naturalist, travelers will experience trivia while taking in gorgeous views of North America’s highest peak from the trees. Trivia will take place daily and is complimentary for lodge guests.

Watch a time-lapse of the construction of the Mt. McKinley treehouse here.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Ship Gets Major Makeover

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It’s not every day that a girl turns 18. But since the Carnival Victory — launched in October of 2000 — is hitting that milestone this year, she’s about to get a very special present in the form of a major makeover. By the time the ship emerges from a scheduled 17-day drydock, she’ll have a whole slew of new features sure to make her popular among those looking to do short cruises out of Miami!

Big Changes For The Carnival Victory

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Popular Guy’s Burger Joint was added during the refit.

Having quietly slipped away for a rejuvenating dry dock visit on January 4th, the Carnival Victory will remain in seclusion until January 21st, when she’ll make her triumphant return to Miami, ready to once again receive guests. (And where better to spend her downtime than in Freeport, Bahamas?) When the Victory returns to service, changes will be made to nearly every aspect of the ship, including the addition of several new venues and even stateroom categories.

So what are the highlights of the Carnival Victory’s refurb? As big fans of Guy’s Burger Joint, we’re going to put the addition of that venue at the top of the list. When you’re hanging out by the pool and want a little something to munch on — but don’t feel like getting dressed to hit the buffet — there’s nothing better than one of these burgers with a side of fries.

In fact, a lot of the Victory‘s improvements can be found poolside, and they are venues which have proved crazy popular on other ships. The RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina and BlueIguana Tequila Bar will all be serving up food and drinks to sunworshippers once the ship returns to service at the end of January.

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View Carnival Victory Deck Plans

But don’t worry… eating al fresco won’t be the only new option available to passengers. The ship will also add a Bonsai Sushi Express, a great grab-and-go option for fresh sushi, sashimi, rolls and more. The ship’s deli is also getting an upgrade, with a whole new look and seven new sandwiches on the menu. And you’ll be able to satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Cherry On Top, the perfect place to not only stock up on candies but (if you’re feeling generous) pick up a unique gift for the folks back home.

New Stateroom Categories

(Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)

As part of the dry dock, several new stateroom categories will also be added to the Carnival Victory. Among them will be the 260-square-foot Scenic Ocean View cabins and 320-square-foot Scenic Ocean View staterooms. But if you really wanna live a little, check out the Captain’s Suite. This 820-square-foot space includes two full-sized bathrooms, a big living room and an extended balcony.

Once out of dry dock, the Carnival Victory will return to Miami and again sail 3- and 4-day cruises. The three days sailings depart on Friday and call upon Nassau, while the four-day trips go to Key West and Cozumel or Nassau as well as the line’s private island, Half Moon Cay.

Photos via Carnival

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