Cruise News Update: Carnival and Royal Caribbean Make Changes

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In this week’s cruise news update, delve into the latest updates, embracing significant changes within Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and incidents involving passengers missing their embarkation. Join us as we unveil all the stories that have hit the headlines in the cruise industry.

Cruise News Updates

Get ready for the latest cruise news update from Cruise Hive, your go-to source for staying informed about major cruise industry developments. In this edition, we’ll cover a range of topics, from Royal Caribbean’s introduction of innovative floating platforms to changes in their ice cream offerings.

We’ll also delve into updates on shore excursion cancellations, incidents related to missed embarkation times, and adjustments to breakfast arrangements. Additionally, stay tuned for insights into the expansion of a new debarkation procedure by a leading cruise line, a bustling fiscal year for Port Miami, and the good news that a repaired ship signals an end to cancellations.

Royal Caribbean’s Sweet Revolution

Royal Caribbean is making a subtle but significant change aboard 13 of its vessels, bidding farewell to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The withdrawal is set to take effect in mid-December, with the cruise line introducing a new, yet undisclosed, in-house brand to replace the iconic ice cream.

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream (Photo Credit: rblfmr)

Although details remain shrouded in mystery, the transition is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023. The move follows the removal of cow-themed staterooms associated with Ben & Jerry’s and the loss of complimentary ice cream benefits in those rooms. As cruisers eagerly await the revelation of the new ice cream brand, Royal Caribbean keeps the anticipation high by guarding the secret flavors and offerings.

While the loss of Ben & Jerry’s may leave a sweet-toothed void, the possibilities for delightful replacements, ranging from hand-scooped varieties to sundae bars or gourmet selections, keep the excitement afloat. Stay tuned for the sweet surprise awaiting Royal Caribbean enthusiasts as they embark on a new era of onboard indulgence.

Royal Caribbean Extends Blue Lagoon Cancellations

Royal Caribbean extends the suspension of shore excursions to the idyllic Blue Lagoon in Nassau, following a tragic incident where a tour boat sank, resulting in the loss of a Royal Caribbean cruise passenger’s life on November 13, 2023. The cruise line has notified upcoming guests that Blue Lagoon tours will remain cancelled at least through mid-January.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships in Nassau, Bahamas
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships in Nassau, Bahamas (Photo Credit: Eric Glenn)

The decision comes as Royal Caribbean collaborates with authorities to investigate the incident thoroughly. Guests who pre-paid for these now-suspended tours will receive automatic cancellations and full refunds. While the safety of visitors remains a top priority, alternative Nassau excursions abound, ranging from the Baha Bay Water Park to historical sites and the newly opened cruise terminal facilities.

The exact resumption date for Blue Lagoon tours remains uncertain pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation, urging flexibility among cruisers in the coming weeks.

Disheartened Passengers Express Frustration as they Miss Cruise Ship

A viral TikTok video, first posted on November 29, 2023, captures the heart-wrenching moment Princess Cruises’ Discovery Princess departs from the Long Beach port while passengers, are stranded in the adjacent parking lot. The emotional clip, with over 22.5 million views, reveals one distraught passenger sobbing into luggage, highlighting the consequences of a missed cruise.

Passenger Cries After Missing Cruise Ship
Passenger Missing Cruise Ship

Subsequent videos explain that the flight delay from Flagstaff, Arizona, caused her to arrive 20 minutes late. Comments on the video criticize her timing, but Alexis later shares a resolution: refunds for the cruise, flight, and additional expenses, thanks to the airline’s mistake. Her positive outlook serves as a valuable lesson, emphasizing the importance of travel insurance and planning for unforeseen circumstances.

Carnival Expands Its New Debarkation Process

Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its new “Digital Debark” program, initially launched as a pilot, to additional vessels after positive feedback from guests. The program, accessible through the Carnival Hub app, streamlines the debarkation process, offering passengers more control over their departure times and reducing crowds.

Carnival Cruise Line Ship Docked in Miami
Carnival Cruise Line Ship Docked in Miami (Photo Credit: ByDroneVideos)

The Digital Debark feature is now available on ships such as Carnival Elation, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Dream, and Mardi Gras, with other vessels such as Carnival Breeze and Carnival Panorama set to introduce the program in the coming days on December 18 and December 30 respectively.

The system allows passengers to choose between “Express Debarkation” for self-assist departure or “Checked Luggage” for stress-free handling by the cruise line. Priority debarkation benefits for certain guests remain unaffected by the new procedure.

Carnival Introduces Controversial Breakfast Shift

Carnival Cruise Line is grappling with guest discontent following recent modifications to its made-to-order omelet options during breakfast service. The cruise line now offers only three fixed omelet choices – cheese, ham and cheese, and a veggie option – restricting customization compared to the previous diverse ingredient selection.

Omelet Buffet Line
Omelet Buffet Line (Photo Credit: TumOng)

While the decision aims to expedite service, many guests have expressed dissatisfaction on social media platforms. Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald clarified that rumors about eliminating omelet stations or restricting egg options are untrue.

Despite the controversy, Carnival remains resilient amidst food-related issues, emphasizing the challenges cruise lines face in navigating passenger expectations and preferences.

PortMiami Notches Its Busiest Fiscal Cruise Year in History

PortMiami, widely recognized as the Cruise Capital of the World, achieved a historic milestone by hosting over 7.2 million passengers in the 2023 Fiscal Year. The port witnessed a nearly 7% increase in cruise passenger totals, reclaiming its esteemed position in the industry.

PortMiami in Florida
PortMiami in Florida

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Caya lauded the achievement, emphasizing PortMiami’s pivotal role in driving economic growth. The upcoming winter months promise heightened activity, with eight new ships, including Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, set to dock at the port.

The innovative Terminal AA/AAA, spearheaded by MSC Cruises and expected to be completed in early 2024, will further enhance PortMiami’s capabilities, solidifying its reputation as a global cruise hub.

Carnival Panorama Ship Repairs Conclude Successfully

Passengers eagerly anticipating Carnival Panorama’s Christmas and New Year’s sailings will be delighted to hear that the emergency repairs to the ship’s engines have been completed.

The vessel is now in preparation for the December 23, departure from Long Beach, California. Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald confirmed the positive news, expressing gratitude to everyone involved in the swift repairs. Carnival Panorama faced engine trouble in early November, leading to the cancellation of six cruises.

Carnival Panorama Repair
Carnival Panorama Repair (Credit: John Heald)

With the repairs almost finished, the ship had left the dry dock facility in Portland, Oregon, as it sailed to Victoria, British Columbia, where the reattachment of its distinctive funnel is now underway. The ship’s December 23 sailing to the Mexican Riviera is set to proceed as planned, bringing relief and joy to passengers looking forward to a celebratory holiday cruise.

More Cruise Headlines

Stay ahead of the latest cruise news by exploring additional articles on Cruise Hive. Discover stories like adverse weather affecting several cruise ships, Princess Cruises appointing two captains, and eight crew members accumulating over 270 years of service.

Stay informed about travel experiences, including Bermuda’s resilient cruise industry despite challenges in 2023. Dive into more captivating narratives and stay connected with the dynamic world of cruising by keeping an eye on Cruise Hive.

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