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Viking Cruises Shares Details on Fifth Ocean Ship

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photo: Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises has announced today that American chemist, emergency room doctor, and retired NASA astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher will be honored as godmother to their fifth ocean ship, which will debut in July 2018. The vessel has been named Viking Orion after the constellation and in honor of Dr. Fisher’s contributions to NASA’s Orion exploration vehicle project.

Float Out Ceremony

The 930-guest ship reached a major construction milestone last week, when she met water for the first time during her float-out ceremony at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard. Viking Orion will spend her first year sailing the Mediterranean before making her way to Asia, Australia, and then Alaska.

“The idea of exploring new territories has always appealed to me, whether through science or by traveling the world. I was 12 years old when I heard Alan Shepard’s voice on the radio during his sub orbital flight, and at that moment, I knew that I also wanted to explore beyond earth’s atmosphere. I knew from that young age that I wanted to be an astronaut,” said Dr. Fisher. “I always wanted to be an explorer and I am proud and honored to be godmother to Viking Orion – a ship that was designed to help her guests see more of the world.”

 

Dr. Anna Fisher looking at Viking Orion – photo: Viking Cruises

As the ship’s godmother, Dr. Fisher assisted with the float-out ceremony, first “mast stepping” by welding coins under the ship’s mast. The commemorative coins she welded represented her birth year, as well as the birth year of Chairman Torstein Hagen. Two special coins were also welded to represent members of the Hagen family: 1911 for Ragnhild “Mamsen” Hagen, the mother of Chairman Hagen, and 2012 to represent Finse, the yellow Labrador of Karine Hagen, Viking’s senior VP and daughter of Torstein Hagen. Dr. Fisher then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship’s building dock.

Dr. Fisher holds a master’s degree in chemistry and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of California. Selected as an astronaut in 1978, she was one of the “original six” women accepted into NASA’s astronaut training program. She became the first mother in space during a mission aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 1984. During her NASA career, Dr. Fisher contributed to three major initiatives: the Space Shuttle program, the International Space Station, and Orion. Prior to her retirement in April 2017, she was also the oldest active American astronaut. To celebrate her retirement, Dr. Fisher sailed on Viking’s Rhine Getaway itinerary this past July.

photo: Viking Cruises

Ship Details

Viking Orion, formerly known as Viking Spirit, is the fifth of eight ocean ships planned for the fleet. By 2019, Viking will welcome their sixth ship, and two more are on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Highlights include:

  • All veranda staterooms – guests can choose from five categories, all with premium amenities line king-size beds, large showers, heated bathroom floors, and interactive LCD TVs
  • Explorer suites – the ships feature 14 explorer suites which offer sweeping views from wraparound verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any cabin category
  • The Wintergarden – this elegant space lies under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, where guests can enjoy the quiet and indulge in afternoon tea service
  • Dining choices include fine dining in The Restaurant, the World Café with international and regional specialties, The Kitchen Table with a market-to-table concept, Mamsen’s with Norwegian deli-style fare, The Chef’s Table specialty experience, and more.
  • World-class lectures – guests can enjoy lectures on history and art, participate in wine-tastings, listen to informative port talks, and take part in the onboard cooking school. Aboard Orion there will also be lectures on astronomy and space exploration.

From now to October 31, 2017, Viking is offering US residents special offers, with 2-f0r-1 cruise fare and up to free international air on select river and ocean itineraries.

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Magens Bay Officially Reopens

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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!

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

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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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