Cruise News Catch-Up: Ship Deployments, Limits, Royal Caribbean Pizza

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Want to get caught up with all of the week’s cruise news? Cruise Hive makes it easy, with this week’s update featuring coverage from Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, and from Scotland’s remote Orkney Islands.

Cruise News Update

Let’s get going with the weekly cruise news update from Cruise Hive, where we’ve got all of the coverage you don’t want to miss, including Carnival Cruise Line announcing the roll-out of its new main dining room cuisine; the Orkney Islands considering limiting cruise ship calls; Celebrity Cruises detailing its 2024-25 sailings from Florida ports; Carnival Cruise Line adding capacity at the Port of Galveston; Royal Caribbean confirming it has no plans to charge for pizza, and Norwegian Cruise Line basing two ships in Baltimore this fall.

Carnival Cruise Line Reveals New Menu Roll-Out

Carnival Cruise Line’s newly updated, main dining room menu is rolling out across the fleet through the remainder of 2023 and into early 2024, following a pilot test of the new offerings aboard Carnival Dream earlier this summer.

The new dishes, which include appetizers, entrees, and desserts, have already been added to the menu aboard several vessels in the 24-ship fleet. Along with Carnival Dream, these include Carnival Conquest, Carnival Sunrise, and Carnival Vista, among others.

Carnival Cruise Dining Room
Carnival Cruise Dining Room (Photo Credit: Yevgen Belich / Shutterstock)

All told, more than 60 new dishes are making their debuts, and many were tweaked and altered in response to guest feedback. Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald posted the roll-out dates after inquiries from many guests, who were eager to know whether the new food items will be available when they cruise.

Some of the new cuisine choices featured on the menus are the creations of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, who serves as Carnival’s Chief Culinary Officer. The so-called “Emeril Selects” options offer tantalizing dishes such as “Coffee Glazed Roast Duck.”

Lagasse said guests can expect the new offerings to boast more international flavors, and will complement the “Carnival classics” that cruisers love.

Orkney Islands Mulls Cruise Ship Limits

Local government officials in Scotland’s Orkney Islands are looking closely at whether to limit cruise ship arrivals, which some area residents say are negatively impacting the archipelago’s natural resources and economy.

The primary port for the islands is in Kirkwall, where ships of varying sizes from several major cruise lines dock and disembark guests. These include MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, and Carnival Cruise Line.

One local resident complained to local media that more than 7,000 cruise guests debarked on one recent day. The number is roughly equal to the total population of Kirkwall.

Orkney Cruise
Orkney Cruise (Photo Credit: Peter Titmuss / Shutterstock)

To accommodate the thousands of visitors, local officials typically close roads for safety reasons, but that negatively affects local businesses on those roads.

According to Orkney Harbour Authority, 234 ships are slated to berth during 2023, and cruise-related revenues will amount to about £15 million. Even so, some say that ship calls ought to be restricted, by limiting the number of large liners visiting on the same day.

The Orkney Islands, well-known for natural beauty and as the location of the Neolithic site of Skara Brae, is not alone in attempting to corral its cruise industry. Destinations such as Venice, Barcelona, and small ports like Bar Harbor, Maine, all are in the process of trying to form policies that balance the effects of cruise tourism with local concerns.

Cruise Line Details 2024-25 Florida Deployments

Celebrity Cruises unveiled more than 40 new Caribbean itineraries with its announcement that four ships will sail from Florida ports during winter 2024-25.

Roughly half of the new voyages will be operated aboard Celebrity Equinox, which will become the line’s first ship to homeport at Central Florida’s Port Canaveral. Celebrity Equinox, the line’s only ship to be based at Port Canaveral, will sail 7-night cruises to the Bahamas, Belize, San Juan, St. Maarten, and other destinations.

Celebrity Apex Cruise Ship
Celebrity Apex Cruise Ship

Two ships, Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Summit, will homeport at Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, sailing a variety of 6-and 7-night cruises to St. Maarten, San Juan, Grand Cayman, and select ports in Mexico.

Celebrity Cruises will base one ship at Port Tampa Bay, where Celebrity Constellation will sail 6- and 7-night Western Caribbean voyages to destinations such as Belize, Honduras, and Mexico, with special port calls to New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Also new to the Celebrity Cruises’ ships will be visits to Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay private island in the Bahamas.

Select cruises will call at the destination, which has been exclusively reserved for Royal Caribbean guests. However, the two sister lines, both owned by Royal Caribbean Group, will both have access to the island in the future.

Carnival Cruise Line Unveils Big Plans for Texas

Carnival Cruise Line will homeport a third ship in Galveston, Texas, starting in 2025-26, when Carnival Jubilee joins Carnival Dream and Carnival Breeze.

Carnival Jubilee is the line’s new-build, still under construction and set to launch in December 2023. With capacity for 6,400 guests, she is the third in the Excel-class of vessels and a sister ship to the popular Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration.

From the Texas port, Carnival Jubilee will sail 7-night cruises to the Western Caribbean, calling at Roatan, Honduras, and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Galveston
Photo Credit: BUI LE MANH HUNG / Shutterstock

Carnival Dream and Carnival Breeze will sail new itineraries in spring 2025. Carnival Dream will operate 6- and 8-night sailings to Western Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean destinations such as Belize, Honduras, Mexico, and the Bahamas. Departures are offered on Saturdays and Sundays.

Carnival Breeze will sail shorter itineraries, including 4- and 5-night sailings visiting Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico. These shorter sailings have departure dates on Saturdays, Mondays, and Thursdays for either weekend or weekday getaways.

With the three ships in place, the port of Galveston will handle up to 40,000 Carnival cruise passengers each week, if each ship sails at capacity. Along with Carnival Jubilee’s 6,400 guests, Carnival Dream accommodates 4,600, and Carnival Breeze, 4,700.

Royal Caribbean: We’re Not Charging For Pizza

The commotion that erupted around the idea that Royal Caribbean ships might begin charging guests for pizza at its Sorrento’s dining venue was put to rest by the company CEO, who confirmed there will be no cost for the popular, cheesy dish.

The rumors of a future charge for pizza came after the notion was raised in a post-cruise guest survey. It turned out that 80% of guests surveyed opposed the idea of paying for pizza, while the remainder said they would still order it even if there was a nominal fee.

Royal Caribbean Pizza Venue
Royal Caribbean Pizza Venue (Photo Copyright: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley addressed the uproar in a social media post, declaring there will be no charge forthcoming for Sorrento’s pizza.

No cruise lines charge guests for pizza, although there can be a fee if a pizza order is delivered to a cabin or to another location on the ship.

In the Royal Caribbean survey, 25% of guests indicated that they would consider booking other cruise lines if Royal Caribbean were to start charging for pizza. Such a move, it seems, might be too much nickel-and-diming for some cruisers to swallow.

Two More Cruise Ships Deploy to Baltimore

Sun and sky and Baltimore. Sounds like a perfect fit, at least, Norwegian Cruise Line thinks so.

The line announced it plans to homeport two ships at the Maryland port, the 2,004-guest Norwegian Sky and the 1,936-guest Norwegian Sun, in September and November, 2023, respectively.

The two Sun-class ships will join Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend and Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas at the port, which provides easy vacation-at-sea access for some 10 million potential cruisers who live in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area.

Norwegian Sun Cruise Ship
Norwegian Sun Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Ian Dewar Photography / Shutterstock)

Norwegian Sky will sail a series of 10- to 11-day itineraries to Canada and New England. Its initial voyage from Baltimore starts on September 1, with a 10-night voyage to Martha’s Vineyard; Boston; Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and Saguenay, Quebec, concluding in Quebec City.

Norwegian Sun will take a southern routing, starting on November 22, with 5- and 12-day cruises to the Dominican Republic and Bermuda. The five-night cruises to Bermuda will spend two days at King’s Wharf and two days at sea.

Carnival Legend and Vision of the Seas both sail a variety of Caribbean and Bahamas cruises from Baltimore, varying from 5 to 13 nights, depending on the ship and departure date.

More Cruise Headlines

Those were the big headlines from a busy week of cruise news, but there’s even more you need to know, including the new Carnival Jubilee’s onboard leadership team, Carnival Cruise Line mulling the timing of its comedy shows, Regal Princess treating a group of port workers to an onboard tour and luncheon, Cunard completing shoreside power hook-ups fleet-wide, and luxury expedition ship Silver Nova departing on her maiden voyage.

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