It’s been another busy news week in the world of cruising, and Cruise Hive has it all covered in this week’s update, with articles about Virgin Voyages, Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, and the port of Istanbul.
Cruise Hive is the site to watch for all of the breaking cruise news, and in this week’s update, you’ll find the coverage you don’t want to miss, including Virgin Voyages postponing the launch of its fourth ship, Carnival Legend deploying to San Francisco in 2025, repairs sidelining a Royal Caribbean ship, Istanbul residents criticizing the presence of cruise ships, a man overboard report from Carnival Conquest, and new details emerging about the upcoming Disney Treasure.
Supply chain problems, staffing shortages, and construction issues forced Virgin Voyages to delay the launch of its fourth ship, Brilliant Lady, which was due to enter service in December 2023. The cruise line offered no definitive date for the ship’s debut and has cancelled several sailings from December through April 2024.
Along with her two inaugural voyages, scheduled to sail December 24 and December 30 from Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, respectively, other cruises pulled from the roster include 2024 departures on January 6, March 23 and 30, and April 6, 13, and 20. Following her first sailing from Miami, Brilliant Lady was scheduled to homeport in San Juan for the winter season.
Guests already booked on the affected sailings have options for rebooking, since Virgin Voyages has scheduled replacement voyages aboard Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady that closely match Brilliant Lady’s original sailings.
It is not the first time that Virgin Voyages has experienced shipyard delivery delays. The line’s first ship, Scarlet Lady, was postponed from 2020 to 2021, due to the pandemic, and Resilient Lady’s debut was pushed to spring 2023 from her original launch date in 2022, also due to Covid levels at the time.
If you left your heart in San Francisco, Carnival Cruise Line has an opportunity for you. The line’s Carnival Legend will deploy to the US West Coast and homeport in San Francisco for spring and summer 2025.
The 2,600-guest ship, will reposition from Tampa, Florida, in April 2025 and make her way to San Francisco, where she will operate 4-night Baja Mexico sailings and alternate 10-night Alaska sailings starting May 8.
Mexico cruises will call at Ensenada, while cruises to the Last Frontier State will call at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, plus Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Alaska sailings include scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord.
Carnival Cruise Line will deploy two additional ships for Alaska sailings in 2025: Carnival Spirit and Carnival Luminosa, both sailing roundtrip from Seattle, Washington.
Prior to her arrival in San Francisco, Carnival Legend will operate a cruise that transits the Panama Canal and calls at Cartagena, Colombia, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. After Alaska season closes, Carnival Legend will sail a 15-night Carnival Journeys Hawaii cruise, with port calls to Kahului, Maui; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai; and Hilo, Hawaii.
The cruise line has not yet announced the ship’s deployment following her Hawaii voyage.
It started with a bang and ended with two cancelled cruises and a ship sidelined for repairs. Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, a 23-year-old vessel sailing a series of Alaska cruises, is expected to depart as planned on her September 15 cruise to the Last Frontier State.
This follows two cancelled cruises, which were to begin on September 1 and September 8, due to a problem with the ship’s maximum sailing speed.
Royal Caribbean has not disclosed the nature of the technical issue, but some guests sailing on the ship’s August 25 departure reported hearing a loud bang, or something like it, as the cruise came to a close.
Cruise watchers speculated that submerged ice could have damaged one of the vessel’s azipods, possibly bending a propeller. The ship’s upcoming cruise is scheduled to go forward, following repairs currently being made to the ship in Seward, Alaska. This will be the ship’s final Alaska cruise for the season.
The cruise line is expected to update booked guests this weekend on the status of the sailing, which is a 7-night voyage from Seward to Juneau, Skagway, Haines, Icy Strait Point, and Ketchikan.
The ship, with a capacity for 2,143 guests, also is slated to feature scenic cruising near the Hubbard Glacier, before arriving in Vancouver on September 22.
Add Istanbul to the list of cruise destinations where the locals are not so impressed with the vessels’ impact on their quality of life.
The city’s busy Galataport, which was redeveloped two years ago from an industrial warehouse site to a modern, gleaming cruise terminal with upscale shops, eateries, and luxury hotel, is drawing complaints from some area residents.
The ships are noisy, with horns blaring as they enter and depart the port, and they block the view of the waterfront, the locals say in a recently published news report.
The new terminal is considered a technologically-advanced facility, since it was built underground. Ships pull alongside the port’s piers, where tall metal walls separate them from the dock (obscuring views of the harbor), and guests enter the terminal through a hatch system. All passenger services are below ground.
The complaints echo those from residents in other popular cruise destinations. Environmental concerns prompted Venice, Italy, to ban ships from the city center several years ago, and in Bar Harbor, Maine, overcrowding caused town officials to put a daily cap on the number of cruise guests who can debark their ships.
It is considered unlikely, however, that the Turkish government will take steps to address city residents’ complaints.
For the second time in two weeks, a guest was reported missing and presumed overboard from a cruise ship in the Caribbean.
The most recent case happened aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest, when a male guest did not debark the ship as the cruise concluded in Miami on September 4. The ship had been sailing a 3-night cruise to Bimini in the Bahamas.
The guest, Kevin McGrath, 26, was reported missing at 7 a.m. on debarkation day by a traveling companion. He had last been seen at 2 a.m. that day, hours before the ship docked in Miami. At the time of debarkation, the missing man was not recorded through onboard surveillance systems or US Customs and Border Patrol immigration checks.
Searches of the waters near PortMiami were conducted by the US Coast Guard and the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Special Victims Bureau. But no sign of McGrath has been found.
In late August, a 19-year-old man was reported overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, as the ship sailed south of Cuba on a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral.
Following the McGrath incident, the 3,000-guest Carnival Conquest departed on her next cruise on schedule. The ship is sailing Bahamas and Western Caribbean cruises this season.
New Details Aboard Disney Treasure Revealed
Disney Cruise Line’s grand reveal by video, detailing some of the onboard delights that will greet cruisers aboard the upcoming Disney Treasure, went public this week following a five-day postponement of the event due to Hurricane Idalia.
The cruise line’s “Unlocking the Disney Treasure: Adventure Awaits Onboard Disney’s Newest Ship” video did not disappoint, offering key glimpses into what the mega-ship will deliver to guests when she debuts in late 2024.
Disney Treasure will be the first in the fleet to feature public spaces tied to Disney’s theme parks. A lounge called Skipper Society, for instance, evokes the parks’ Jungle Cruise experience, while the Periscope Pub is taken from the 1954 movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and the related attraction that operated at Walt Disney World from 1971 to 1994.
The cruise line also unveiled the ship’s “Tomorrow Tower Suite,” a 2,000-square-foot stateroom that sleeps eight, offering views of the ship’s top deck, a private elevator, play areas, and a full kitchen.
Among the ship’s stage productions will be the iconic “Beauty and the Beast,” while a new dining option will provide a signature experience tied to Worlds of Marvel, but cruisers will have to wait for a future reveal to learn the details about that.
The 4,000-guest Disney Treasure is set to debut from Port Canaveral on December 21, 2024, with a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise.
Now that you’re up to date on this week’s big cruise headlines, Cruise Hive has even more cruise coverage for you, including Ambassador Cruise Line’s latest ship making her maiden call at the Port of Bristol, a new port management company for Germany’s Bremerhaven, Princess Cruises helping to protect penguins, P&O Cruises leaving 50 guests behind due to a paperwork glitch, and construction milestones reached for two Explora Journeys ships.
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