Cruise enthusiasts who want to stay updated on all of the big cruise news stories know that Cruise Hive is the site to watch for complete coverage of cruise industry developments. This week, we have articles about Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and PortMiami.
Let’s get going with Cruise Hive’s weekly cruise news update, where we’ve got all of the top cruise stories, including Royal Caribbean’s latest earnings report, a guest’s lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Line, a flooding problem on a Carnival ship, Carnival Freedom emerging from her dry dock refit, Norwegian Cruise Line altering an itinerary away from ports in Israel and Egypt, and PortMiami set to welcome the maiden visits of eight cruise ships.
Third-quarter earnings at Royal Caribbean Group show the company posted a profit of $1 billion, a major improvement over the same timeframe in 2022, when it reported $33 million in profit.
The company, which operates Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises, and has a 50% stake in a joint venture that owns TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, revealed its third-quarter results on October 26, 2023. The numbers far exceed earlier expectations.
Royal Caribbean Group ships are sailing at a whopping 110% occupancy rate, adding to higher onboard revenue. Cruise ships can achieve occupancy higher than 100% when more than two guests share a stateroom, as in the case of families with children, for instance.
Other items adding to the exceptional results include close-in demand for bookings, and higher cruise fares. Officials said they are seeing unprecedented demand for 2024 cruises as well.
Royal Caribbean Group also took steps to ease its debt burden, repaying $775 million in debt during the third quarter.
The company’s brands are poised to introduce highly anticipated cruise ships that will add to revenue in the coming months, including the 7,600-guest Icon of the Seas, due to launch in January 2024, and the 3,260-guest Celebrity Ascent, set to debut in December 2023. Luxe line Silversea introduced its 728-guest Silver Nova in August 2023.
A guest who sailed aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Horizon in September 2022 is suing the cruise line for negligence, and seeking damages in excess of $75,000, after a balcony door slammed shut and severed one of his fingers.
William J. Tuttle, who allegedly lost his right index finger in the incident, filed his lawsuit against Carnival Corporation in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on October 11, 2023, more than a year after the event.
His lawsuit cites several similar incidents that injured other guests, and charges that the cruise company fell short of exercising reasonable care, knowing that balcony doors can suddenly slam shut.
The doors, Tuttle’s lawsuit states, should have been fitted with a mechanism to prevent them from suddenly slamming shut. The former guest is calling for a trial by jury. It is unclear whether Tuttle’s finger was reattached following the incident.
The sudden slamming of balcony doors is not unusual on cruise ships, since changes in air pressure when a door is opened tends to create a wind-tunnel-like atmosphere in the cabin, and can result in a door unexpectedly and forcefully slamming shut. Like other corporations, Carnival does not comment on lawsuits filed against it.
A cruise guest sailing aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Radiance on October 17, 2023 was awakened in the middle of the night by water flooding her stateroom and the hallway outside her cabin.
Water was pouring down from the cabin ceiling when the guest awoke at 2 a.m., and she did what any good cruiser would do: Grabbed her phone and videotaped the mess.
The guest, identified by her first name — Amber, posted her video on TikTok, where it received some 107,000 likes and more than 7,000 comments.
The 3,000-guest Carnival Radiance was sailing a 4-night cruise from Long Beach, Calif., calling at Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. The flood happened on the first night of the voyage, and some social media comments indicate that affected guests were moved to new staterooms.
Crew members were applauded for quickly addressing the gushing water, which had soaked through carpeting in the affected staterooms and hallway. The incident appears to have been contained in an area of Deck 7.
Carnival Cruise Line has offered no explanation of what caused the deluge or how many staterooms were damaged, and there are no confirmed reports of any compensation having been offered to affected guests.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom, a Conquest-class ship, is on her way from Spain to Florida’s Port Canaveral after emerging from a dry dock refit at a Cadiz shipyard that, among other things, repaired her damaged whale-tail funnel.
The funnel, or smokestack, located on the top deck of the ship, was badly damaged in a May 2022 fire as the ship was docked in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos. The double-wing funnel, an iconic signature of Carnival Cruise Line ships, was removed after the fire and a temporary replacement added.
The ship received several upgrades while in her 16-day dry dock, including the repainting of her hull in the cruise line’s new red, white, and blue livery, the refreshing of cabins and public areas, an expansion of the casino, and the addition of some new venues.
Among them are the Heroes Tribute Bar and the Dreams Studio, where guests can receive private photography instruction.
Carnival Freedom is operating a 14-night transatlantic sailing to Port Canaveral, where she will arrive on November 6, 2023 and begin a series of 4- and 5-night Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean cruises. The 3,000-guest ship is scheduled to home port at the Central Florida port until April 2026.
With just days to go before guests embark Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Gem in Istanbul, Turkey, on November 1, 2023, they have finally been told about the voyage’s altered itinerary, which was to have called at two ports in Israel.
Given the escalating Israel-Hamas war and other regional tensions, Norwegian Gem’s 11-night Mediterranean cruise has been substantially changed. The ship was scheduled to call at Haifa and Ashdod, Israel, but both ports are now off the itinerary, as is Port Said, Egypt.
A planned port call in Alexandria, Egypt, was extended into an overnight visit, and two new ports in Greece have been added, to Heraklion and Mykonos. Other, more minor, port changes are being made to accommodate the ship’s new routing as well, before the cruise ends in Athens.
Guests booked to sail onboard the 2,400-guest ship are being offered a $200 credit, per stateroom ($100 each for the first and second guests), and shore excursions booked through the cruise line at the affected ports will be refunded. Also, tours in ports where arrival and departure times may have changed will be rescheduled.
Eight new cruise ships from eight different cruise lines are poised to make their inaugural calls to PortMiami within the coming months, including what will be the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, set to debut in January 2024.
The massive ship, accommodating up to 7,600 guests, will homeport in Miami following her January 27, 2024 debut, and offer 3- to 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises.
Before that momentous occasion, the port in October is welcoming the maiden calls of Oceania Cruises’ Oceania Vista, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Venezia, and Scenic Cruises’ Scenic Yacht II.
In November, three of the industry’s newest ships will visit, including Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity, Explora Journeys’ Explora I, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Viva. Indeed, Norwegian Viva will be christened and sail her maiden voyage from PortMiami on November 28, 2023.
Another new-build, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Grandeur, set to launch in November 2023, will homeport at Miami and sail a series of cruises to destinations including the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
PortMiami in 2023 had its two busiest days of cruise guest arrivals. On February 12, it welcomed 58,984 guests, and on April 9, 67,549 cruise passengers were recorded. It is the world’s second-busiest cruise passenger port, behind Florida’s Port Canaveral.
Cruise Hive has even more news! Now that you’re up to date on the big headlines, we have plenty more to tell you about, including Carnival Corporation again being ranked one of the best global employers of 2023, Holland America Line unveiling a program that brings its seafood recipes into the homes of its guests, Windstar Cruises deploying a ship to Europe after suspending its Middle East cruise series, Princess Cruises basing its flagship in Sydney, Australia in 2025-26, and bad weather prompting Royal Caribbean to alter the current itinerary of Allure of the Seas.
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