Another week has flown by, and it’s time to catch up on the top stories from Cruise Hive, where you’ll find all of the cruise news coverage you don’t want to miss from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line.
Cruise Hive has all the breaking news from the world of cruising, and in this week’s round-up we’ve got coverage on Norwegian Cruise Line taking delivery of Norwegian Viva, port access challenges in Greenland, Princess Cruises unveiling its 2025 Alaska deployments, air conditioning problems aboard Carnival Sunrise, specialty dining fee hikes on Holland America Line ships, and Caribbean Princess experiencing two itinerary changes on the same voyage.
The Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, handed over the Prima-class Norwegian Viva to Norwegian Cruise Line on August 3. The 3,950-guest vessel is a sister ship to Norwegian Prima, which launched almost exactly a year ago.
Norwegian Viva’s crew of 1,500 is in the process of prepping the ship for her inaugural sailing on August 19, cruising a 7-night itinerary from Lisbon, Portugal, to Rome. Port calls include Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Cannes, and Livorno.
The maiden voyage promises to be a splendid cruise, but some guests might be disappointed to learn that the ship’s top production, “Beetlejuice: The Musical,” will not be performed due to operational delays. There will be lots of other entertainment options, however, such as the ‘ICONS’ concert featuring musical legends from Dolly Parton to Lady Gaga.
Guests also can recharge at the ship’s Mandara Spa, try out the fastest slides at sea with The Drop and The Rush, and enjoy a wide variety of dining venues. The ship also sports the line’s first glass bridge in the Oceanwalk area, and a seaside sculpture garden called The Concourse.
The ship will operate Mediterranean cruises until November, with itineraries visiting Italy, the Greek Isles, and other top destinations.
Carnival Cruise Line reached out to guests booked on two upcoming 14-night Greenland cruises onboard Carnival Legend with a reminder that water shuttles, or tenders, will be in use at two port calls and will impact those with mobility issues.
In its email message, the line also noted that, once on land, the port areas are hilly and have uneven terrain, which might be difficult for guests with mobility issues to navigate. The message was sent as the first voyage fast approaches, with a departure date of August 13. The second cruise departs on September 2. Both voyages are roundtrip from Baltimore, Maryland.
Carnival Legend will use tenders at the ports of Nanortalik and Qaqortoq. The cruise line told guests that the water shuttles are not accessible for guests with mobility limitations, and that guests must use stairs to board the shuttles.
Carnival Cruise Line assured guests who decide to remain onboard the ship at the two ports that plenty of activities will be scheduled, such as games and trivia contests, and that facilities such as the spa and mini-golf courses will be open.
Both ports calls are daylong, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The ports are listed on the ship’s water shuttle ports list, which provides information about potential accessibility difficulties, depending on local facilities.
Princess Cruises announced it will deploy seven ships to Alaska for the 2025 summer season, offering 18 itineraries from five embarkation ports. The cruise line revealed that it will offer short voyages, starting at just four nights, as well as immersive explorations running as long as 22 days.
All told, the line will feature 150 departures during the season, along with 25-plus cruise tour options for those who want to add a land component. The longest voyage, “Ultimate Alaska Solstice With Glacier Bay National Park,” at 22 days, will be aboard Ruby Princess, departing from San Francisco on June 6.
At the other end of the spectrum, the cruise line will operate a series of 4- and 5-night “Alaskan Sampler” cruises aboard Discovery Princess, Royal Princess, and Grand Princess.
A full slate of traditional 7-night sailings is on the roster, too, along with 7-night Inside Passage sailings. Besides San Francisco, embarkation ports include Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, and Anchorage.
Onboard its ships, Princess Cruises features its “North to Alaska” programming, which brings native Alaskans, local people, and experts on the destination aboard the ships for a variety of activities and events.
Most cruisers expect that the air temperature during a Caribbean sailing in summer is going to be quite high, but they do not expect their staterooms to be hot as well. Unfortunately, that was the case in late July, when Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Sunrise experienced repeated air conditioning problems that left excessively hot areas on the ship, including in cabins.
Technicians onboard have worked to solve the problem but only with limited success. The issue prompted the cruise line to provide partial cruise fare refunds, of 50%, to affected guests. The refunds were issued as onboard credits, based only the cruise fare and not including port taxes, fees, or onboard purchases such as drink or dining packages.
The refunds were calculated based on the days when the measured stateroom temperature was too high, so the refund amounts likely varied from cabin to cabin.
The most recent sailing of Carnival Sunrise where refunds have been confirmed is a 5-night Western Caribbean voyage that departed Miami on Monday, July 24, 2023. The ship visited Jamaica and Grand Cayman before returning to Miami on Saturday, July 29.
Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald addressed the issue, saying that extreme heat and record high ocean temperatures in the Caribbean have caused added stress to air conditioning systems.
It will cost more to dine at some specialty restaurants aboard Holland America Line ships starting in early September. In addition to some cover charge increases, the line also is hiking the costs of certain specific food items, such as steak, lobster, and caviar, at Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, and Rudi’s Sel de Mer.
Cover charges are rising at Rudi’s Sel de Mer from $49 to $55 per person, and the lunch cover charge at Pinnacle Grill will go from $15 to $19.
The price increases will take effect on each ship’s first embarkation date after September 1. Bookings made before September 1 for the affected specialty restaurants will remain at existing cover charge prices.
Holland America Line said the adjusted cover fees are aligned with industry competitor pricing and still offer an excellent value.
High-end items, such as a 16-ounce Delmonico steak at Pinnacle Grill will cost $25, up from $18. Guests who indulge in caviar at Pinnacle Grill and Rudi’s Sel de Mer will pay $80 for the privilege, up from $50, and at Tamarind, the line’s Asian restaurant, the price for lobster will jump from $20 to $28.
On the upside, the cruise line also is removing two existing fees. At Pinnacle Grill, it no longer will charge $7 for an extra appetizer nor will it charge $15 for an extra entree.
Cruise guests aboard a Princess Cruises ship, Caribbean Princess, encountered not one, but two route changes during their 13-night “Canada & Colonial America Itinerary” that departed July 22 from Fort Lauderdale and concluded in Quebec City.
The voyage’s third port call, at Newport, Rhode Island, was scuttled due to high winds and heavy ocean swells that prevented the ship from operating its tenders. As a result, the ship canceled the call altogether and sailed onward to the next port, Boston. On the bright side, the early arrival in Boston allowed for more shoreside touring in the historic city.
However, three days later, the ship’s call to Bar Harbor, Maine, went awry, when technical problems with the tender operation prompted ship officials to suspend the ship-to-shore water shuttles. The nature of the technical issues in Bar Harbor was not disclosed.
Caribbean Princess continued her itinerary to ports in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and arrived as scheduled in Quebec City on August 3.
Missed shore excursions in Newport and Bar Harbor were refunded by the cruise line, which also provided onboard credits of $50 per guest, up to $100 per stateroom, as an acknowledgement of guest inconvenience. The ship will continue her Canada and New England cruise series through October.
Those were just a few of the top headline stories we covered on Cruise Hive this week, and we have even more news to share, including P&O Cruises unveiling three wellness-themed cruises, a Princess Cruises’ sailing featuring a Discovery TV celebrity host, an update on the partnership between MSC Cruises and Formula 1, Seabourn taking delivery of its second expedition ship, and Explora Journeys’ first ship sailing her inaugural cruise.
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