It’s time once again to get up to speed with news from the world of cruising, and Cruise Hive has it all covered in this week’s update, with articles about Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and the Texas Port of Galveston.

Let’s get rolling with the weekly cruise news update from Cruise Hive, where you’ll find all of the coverage you don’t want to miss, including a Celebrity Cruises’ ship aiding in the rescue of 200 migrants, the Port of Galveston celebrating its one millionth cruise passenger, Carnival Cruise Line fixing a big booking snafu, Carnival Cruise Line canceling two sailings due to a dry dock schedule, Carnival Cruise Line naming its new destination in the Bahamas, and a Norwegian Cruise Line ship resuming port calls to Maui.

When the Italian Coast Guard called for assistance in the Ionian Sea, a nearby Celebrity Cruises’ ship answered the call and aided in the rescue of 200-plus migrants adrift in a fishing boat.

The Excel-class Celebrity Beyond was cruising between Greece and Sicily when the request to assist in a rescue arrived. The ship was just seven miles from the rescue site, and immediately altered course to join the Coast Guard operation.

It was the wind, actually, that the Coast Guard needed help with, and officials asked that the 21-deck Celebrity Beyond position herself as wind protection while the migrants, none of whom had life vests, were brought aboard the Coast Guard vessel.

The request came just after 9 a.m. local time on August 30, and the ship arrived on scene about 20 minutes later. Within two hours, all of the migrants were safely onboard the government vessel and Celebrity Beyond continued her itinerary.

Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, the master of a ship at sea is bound to proceed with all speed to the assistance of persons in distress upon receiving a signal from any source. That is, as long as the captain can do so without endangering the vessel, or the people on board.

The 141,420-gross ton Celebrity Beyond, an Excel-class ship that debuted in 2021, is currently sailing a series of cruises to Croatia, Montenegro, Turkey, Italy, and Greece, and is home-ported in Rome (Civitavecchia).

The Texas Port of Galveston marked a milestone when it welcomed its 1 millionth cruise passenger on August 28, 2023. In 2022, the port recorded its 1 millionth passenger much later in the year, in mid-December, illustrating the facility’s fast growth and popularity as a homeport.

A family of five, hailing from Michigan, broke the 1 million mark, arriving at the port to board Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Breeze for a 5-night Western Caribbean sailing to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Currently, the fourth-largest US port based on cruise arrivals, Galveston homeports the 5,500-guest Allure of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship, and will soon welcome Carnival Cruise Line’s new 6,630-guest Carnival Jubilee, when the new-build enters service in late December.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Galveston, Texas (Photo Courtesy: Port of Galveston)

The port is in the process of expanding a cruise terminal to accommodate Carnival Jubilee, and last year opened a new cruise terminal for Royal Caribbean ships.

The port is conveniently located to several metro areas and is a major drive-to port in the Southwest. More than 30 million people live within a 300-mile radius of Galveston, including in the cities of San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas, Texas, and New Orleans.

The Michigan family was treated to gifts and a cake before departing on their vacation at sea.

A technology snafu in the Carnival Cruise Line booking process inadvertently slashed the cost of the line’s Cheers! beverage package for two days last week, and plenty of cruisers quickly booked the deal for upcoming sailings. However, the cruise line is not honoring those transactions, and is, in fact, refunding them.

The glitch caused the total cost of the beverage package to be calculated as the cost for just one day, but under Carnival Cruise Line rules, the package must be booked for as many days as the cruise lasts.

Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The package rate is currently $59.95 per day when purchased before cruising, or $64.95 per day when purchased onboard a Carnival ship. The miscalculation reflected only a one-day charge for the package, which represented up to an 86% savings for a weeklong cruise.

Disappointed cruisers may be assuaged by a small compensation from the cruise line: If they rebook a beverage package, the line will discount the total cost by 10%.

The cruise line also advised guests that any other amenities booked simultaneously with the faulty beverage package, such as shore excursions or specialty dining plans, must be rebooked, since the fix for the glitch knocked out their entire transaction.

Carnival Cruise Line cancelled two 2025 sailings onboard the 2,124-guest Carnival Miracle due to dry dock scheduling. Cruisers booked on the ship’s April 6 and April 15 voyages from Galveston, Texas, were advised of the change, with the line telling guests that automatic refunds will be processed after September 11, 2023.

For guests who rebook with the line, cruise fares will be protected on comparable sailings with similar staterooms, and guests will receive a $50 onboard credit per person, up to $100 per cabin.

Carnival Miracle Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock)

With the affected sailings some 20 months away, guests have plenty of time to book a replacement cruise, however, Carnival Cruise Line is offering the onboard credit only to those who rebook by September 11.

The cruise line offered no explanation as to why a dry dock was scheduled, but it typically addresses standard updates and maintenance for technical and engineering systems, and in staterooms and public areas.

Carnival Miracle’s last dry dock was in late 2022 when its hull was cleaned and repainted, and other maintenance tasks were completed. The ship is sailing 4- to 6-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles.

The name of Carnival Cruise Line’s new private destination on Grand Bahama was officially announced — Celebration Key. Already under construction, the destination is scheduled to open in July 2025.

Bahamian culture will be front and center at Celebration Key, which will offer beaches, locally-run retail shops, dining venues, art displays, and more.

Construction of Celebration Key, located on the south side of Grand Bahama island, began with a groundbreaking ceremony in May 2022. The $200 million project is roughly 20 miles from Carnival’s cruise dock in Freeport.

Celebration Key, Grand Bahama

The development will include the building of a large pier that can accommodate two Excel-class ships at the same time, so that large ships such as Mardi Gras and the line’s upcoming ship, Carnival Jubilee, set to debut in December 2023, can visit the destination on the same day.

Itineraries that will include Celebration Key are due to be revealed late this month. It is anticipated that around 10 Carnival Cruise Line ships will offer the destination to guests sailing from various home ports, such as Miami, Port Canaveral, New York, and other East Coast ports.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America, the only ship operating inter-island Hawaii cruises year-round, will resume port calls to Maui on September 3, 2023, for the first time since wildfires devastated the island nearly a month ago.

The 2,186-guest ship had suspended calls to Kahului, Maui, immediately after the tragic blaze in the western part of the island destroyed the beach town of Lahaina, killed dozens, and burned 2,000 acres.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America (Photo Credit: Jose Gil / Shutterstock)

Kahului, the routine port call for Pride of America, is located 25 miles from the site of the fire and was not damaged, but cruise line officials suspended calls in an effort to avoid stressing any of the island’s local resources.

The cruise line’s decision to return to Maui was made in collaboration with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and state Governor Josh Green.

Cruises affected by the pause included the August 12, 19, and 26 sailings, all roundtrip from Honolulu. In place of the calls to Kahului, Pride of America instead visited Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, and added an overnight there and at another port call, Nawiliwili, on Kauai. The ship also added scenic cruising along the Nepali Coast of Kauai.

Those were just a few of the big headlines this week. Cruise Hive has even more news you need to know, including Carnival Cruise Line taking steps to reduce single-use glass onboard ships, a Scottish cruise port marking the launch of a new cruise terminal, P&O Cruises disembarking some guests following a ship collision in Europe, the Port of Montreal celebrating robust cruise arrivals, and new luxe ship Explora I making her maiden call at Southampton, UK.

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