Embark on a captivating journey into the dynamic world of cruising with Cruise Hive, your premier source for comprehensive coverage of industry highlights from the past week.

In this edition, we’ll get you caught up with several major stories, including noteworthy changes within Norwegian Cruise Line and rumors about Carnival Cruise Line’s culinary offerings. Join us as we unfold the stories that truly make waves in the cruise industry.

Dive into the latest happenings in the cruise industry with Cruise Hive, your ultimate destination for all things cruising. From Ambassador Cruise facing service disruptions due to damage to Carnival adjusting its dining prices and unveiling its newest ship, and Norwegian Cruise Line modifying its itinerary to Royal Caribbean opening bookings—stay abreast of the dynamic world of cruising with Cruise Hive.

In a significant setback for Ambassador Cruise Line, the Ambience, is set to remain out of service after unexpected damage was discovered during dry dock maintenance in Bremerhaven, Germany.

The cruise line announced on December 7th, that Ambience’s return to service would be delayed until early January due to issues with the vessel’s prop shafts. To address the extended maintenance, Ambassador Cruise Line controversially decided to swap itineraries between Ambience and its other ship, Ambition.

Ambience Propeller Shaft Damage

The unplanned maintenance has led to the cancellation and alteration of several December cruises, affecting over 6,600 guests booked on Ambience and 800 on Ambition. If repairs proceed without delays, Ambience is expected to return to the UK in early January for its Grand Round The World Cruise.

Carnival Cruise Line has discreetly raised prices at various specialty dining venues across its fleet, introducing cost hikes ranging from a mere $1 per person to substantial increases of up to $51 per person, contingent on the ship and restaurant.

The new rates, implemented on December 1st, coincide with the commencement of holiday sailings. Although no official announcement was issued, the cruise line’s website confirms the updated prices for popular specialty restaurants, with varying percentage increases.

Carnival Cruise Lido Dining (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz / Cruise Hive)

Notably, not all on-board restaurants are affected, and there are no accompanying rises in gratuity fees or service charges at present. While prices for venues like the Steakhouse and JiJi Asian Kitchen have increased, other specialty venues and dining events, such as Il Viaggio and the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, remain unchanged.

The most notable surge comes in the Chef’s Table experience, with prices rising from $80-$99 to $90-$150 per person, excluding an additional 18% gratuity. Carnival Cruise Line has not provided information on why the price increases were not communicated in advance, leaving guests to adapt to the changes during their cruise.

Carnival Cruise Line celebrated a significant milestone as the brand-new Carnival Jubilee was officially delivered in a special ceremony held in Bremerhaven, Germany. This momentous occasion marked the completion of construction and testing, formally transferring ownership from Meyer Werft shipyard to Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival Jubilee Cruise Ship at Meyer Werft (Photo Credit: MartinLueke)

Scheduled to welcome its first guests in Galveston, Texas, the Carnival Jubilee, the third LNG-powered Excel-class vessel, sets sail as the 26th addition to the Carnival fleet. President Christine Duffy and other executives were present to welcome the new ship.

Departing for Galveston, the vessel will make supply calls in Tenerife and Nassau, preparing for its Texas debut on December 20, featuring a 7-night Western Caribbean maiden voyage starting on December 23. With a capacity for 5,374 guests, Carnival Jubilee promises an exceptional cruising experience with over 1,700 international officers and crew members on board.

Several early 2024 departures of the Norwegian Encore are undergoing itinerary changes, affecting the sailing dates on January 28th and February 4th. While the ports of call remain the same, adjustments to arrival and departure times could impact passengers’ privately arranged shore tours.

Norwegian Encore Cruise Ship in Miami (Photo Credit: YES Market Media)

The alterations are relatively minor, with no cancellations and the maintenance of the port order. Departure from Miami has been rescheduled to 5 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m., prompting passengers with late arrival appointments to adjust travel plans accordingly. The changes, attributed to “fuel efficiency,” include earlier departures, allowing for slower sailing between ports.

Though not a significant shift, the tweaks add up to an overall reduction of 75 minutes in all ports of call. Guests have been notified in advance, providing time to adjust private tour arrangements, while pre-paid tours through Norwegian Cruise Line will be automatically adapted to the new schedule.

Royal Caribbean International has officially launched bookings for Star of the Seas, the highly anticipated addition to its groundbreaking Icon-class fleet. Scheduled for its inaugural voyage from Port Canaveral, Florida, in August 2025, the ship promises innovative design and exclusive amenities.

Royal Caribbean’s Star of the Seas

The ship, based in Port Canaveral, will offer 7-night itineraries to both eastern and western Caribbean destinations. Bookings for “Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day” and “Western Caribbean & Perfect Day” itineraries start at $1,496 and $1,506 per person, respectively.

Star of the Seas, featuring eight distinct neighborhoods and over 40 dining options, will introduce unique features, including Thrill Island’s Category 6 waterpark, seven pools tailored to different moods, and family-friendly areas in Surfside.

Entertainment options include AquaDome and Absolute Zero. The ship is under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, with more details to be revealed in the coming months.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador, John Heald, has recently clarified two food-related rumours, confirming one and debunking the other, regarding buffet service and omelette options.

The first rumor pertains to the Lido Marketplace buffet, addressing concerns about a shift from self-service to served lines, considering food waste and health and sanitation.

Carnival Cruise Line Ship (Photo Credit: Felipe Sanchez)

Heald confirmed that the buffet would remain self-serve, citing guest preferences from a poll conducted on his Facebook page, where 88% voted in favor of self-service. The second rumor involves changes in omelette options during the Sea Day Brunch, limiting customization to three types.

Heald explained that this adjustment aims to speed up the process, and for now, the new options will persist, though omelette stations on the buffet remain available for customization. He reassured guests that breakfast options in the Main Dining Room and other venues are still abundant.

Keep yourself informed about the latest in cruising by delving into additional stories on Cruise Hive. Other stories from the past week include Celebrity cruise ship making its inaugural visit to St. Kitts, the return of an iconic statue on a new Carnival cruise ship, and Royal Caribbean adjusting itineraries due to a severe cyclone.

Stay updated on travel adventures, including the noteworthy journey of a giant Royal Caribbean ship narrowly clearing a historic bridge. Cruise into more captivating narratives and stay connected with the ever-evolving world of cruising by staying tuned to Cruise Hive.

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