Cruise News Update: Deck Parties, World Cruise, Largest Ship

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It’s a brand new year with brand new cruise news stories. Cruise Hive has them all covered, with news this week from Nassau Cruise Port, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line.

Cruise News Update

It’s easy to keep up to date on all of the major developments in cruising at Cruise Hive, where you’ll find all of the cruise news you need to know about.

In this week’s news roundup, we have stories about the port of Nassau breaking its single-day cruise arrivals record, a cruise safety TikTok video going viral, Icon of the Seas completing her transatlantic crossing, Norwegian Cruise Line making a dining venue complimentary, Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate World Cruise coping with flooding problems, and Carnival Cruise Line revealing the new slate of deck parties across the fleet.

Nassau Breaks Single-Day Cruise Arrivals Record

Six ships from four different cruise brands were berthed at the Bahamas’ Nassau Cruise Port on December 27, 2023, all carrying a total of 29,316 cruise guests — a new, single-day arrivals record for the port.

The eye-popping number exceeded the port’s previous record of 28,554 cruise guests on February 27, 2023. The new passenger record included guests from Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Dream and Carnival Liberty; Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas; Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wish; and MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia.

Cruise Passengers in Nassau, Bahamas
Cruise Passengers in Nassau, Bahamas (Photo Credit: Luciavonu)

The holiday season is prime time for record-breaking cruise arrivals, since the Christmas and New Year’s weeks are sought-after times for family-and-friends voyages. Many ships sail at full capacity during these weeks, with all berths occupied as parents and children, or groups of friends share cabins, for instance.

Nassau is the busiest cruise port in the Caribbean, with an annual passenger record set in 2019, when 3,859,183 cruise arrivals were counted. The port had already broken that record in November 2023, with 3,869,003 cruise visitors arriving. The final number for 2023 will be significantly higher, when December 2023 arrivals are added in.

In fact, Nassau Cruise Port expects to break the 4.2 million cruise arrival mark in 2023.

Cruise Cabin Safety Video Goes Viral

A TikToker who hosts a travel safety tips channel hit the motherlode with a video geared to cruise ship safety for women cruising alone. A December video by Victoria, from @victorias.way, details her tactics for securing her cruise ship stateroom and has gone viral with nearly 19 million views and close to 18,000 comments.

Victoria’s video was filmed onboard an MSC Cruises’ ship, although she does not identify which one. She shows viewers how she secures her cabin, and some of her methods are surprisingly extreme.

Cruise Passengers Shows Cabin Safety
Cruise Passengers Shows Cabin Safety (Credit: @victorias.way)

For example, she puts a doorstop alarm at the base of the inside of her cabin door, then uses a clothes hanger to connect the cabin door deadbolt to the door handle of the bathroom. After that, she rolls a towel and places it in the door handle for even more security.

But that’s not all. She also moves a piece of furniture and places it against the cabin door and positions a wireless security camera in the cabin. Some of her viewers’ comments questioned the need for such drastic measures.

Victoria’s TikTok videos address other cruising challenges as well, such as motion sickness. And she doesn’t limit her advice to cruise cabins, as she also posts videos about how solo female travelers can lower their risk of security problems at hotels.

Icon of the Seas in the Caribbean After Transatlantic Sailing

The highly anticipated new ship Icon of the Seas, from Royal Caribbean, arrived at her first Caribbean port, Ponce, Puerto Rico, on January 2, 2024 following a transatlantic crossing from Spain. 

The 250,800 gross ton ship — the largest ever built, is not yet carrying guests, only crew and shipyard workers, who joined the crossing to put finishing touches on the vessel. They are expected to debark the ship and head for home from Puerto Rico.

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas (Photo Credit: Jouni Niskakoski)

Icon of the Seas is due to arrive at her homeport of Miami on January 9, 2024, be christened there on January 23, 2024, and depart on her maiden voyage on January 27, 2024. Her godfather will be football legend Lionel Messi, and there have been some hints that he might be joining the ship even before she arrives at PortMiami.

Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley hinted, as the ship was docked in Ponce, that “a very special crew member” would be arriving, but declined to identify him or her. That led some cruise watchers to suggest that Bayley was referring to Messi.

After her naming ceremony, Icon of the Seas will operate several preview cruises for media and trade partners. Her first sailing with guests will be a 7-night cruise calling at St. Kitts, St. Thomas, and Perfect Day at CocoCay. The ship accommodates 5,610 guests in double occupancy, and 7,600 with all berths occupied.

Cruise Line Makes a Dining Venue Complimentary

American Diner, a specialty restaurant aboard several Norwegian Cruise Line ships, is no longer charging guests for lunch and dinner. The transition to a no-fee eatery began on January 2, 2024 and will continue through mid-February on six ships.

The American Diner was offered only on Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships. Norwegian Getaway was the first ship to nix the charges, on January 2, 2024. Norwegian Escape will remove the cost starting with her January 6, 2024 cruise while Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Bliss all will transition on January 7, 2024. Finally, Norwegian Joy will stop charging on February 13, 2024.

Norwegian Cruise Line American Diner
Norwegian Cruise Line American Diner

Guests will see that a new menu removes some items, such as Lobster Sliders (formerly costing $12 per order), while new options are added. These include cheese nachos, fish sandwich, pulled pork sliders, chicken pot-pie casserole, and meatloaf.

Some of the new menu items are borrowed from other onboard eateries, such as fettuccine carbonara and the Wrangler Burger, both from O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill.

American Diner, decorated with checkered floors and a classic car motif, is expected to attract many more guests as a complimentary dining option. It was not known as one of the more popular specialty restaurants.

Rough Ride Onboard ‘Ultimate World Cruise’

It has not been smooth sailing so far for Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, which is operating a 274-night Ultimate World Cruise. The ship left Miami on December 10, 2023 and began to encounter bad weather between port calls to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 31, 2023 and Montevideo, Uruguay, on January 4, 2024.

Wind gusts drove rain and sea spray into Deck 12, causing serious flooding inside and on outside areas, and in guest cabin balconies. Stormy weather brought sustained wind speeds up to 30 miles per hour and gusts up to 35 mph.

Royal Caribbean World Cruise Flood
Royal Caribbean World Cruise Flood (Credit: @aditaml2759)

Crew members worked to ease the situation, and some of the ship’s elevators were temporarily closed. It appeared that only Deck 12 was affected on the 90,090-gross-ton, Radiance-class ship, and there have been no reports of any structural problems caused by the flooding.

Serenade of the Seas will call at 150-plus ports in 65 countries on seven continents during her world cruise, which concludes in Miami on September 10, 2024. Guests will have opportunities to see bucket list destinations and landmarks, such as the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Taj Mahal, among many others.

Carnival Cruise Line Reveals Deck Party Line-Ups

It’s party time onboard your favorite Carnival Cruise Line ship. The line’s brand ambassador, John Heald, has announced an updated schedule of themed deck parties on ships across the fleet for 2024.

For most cruisers, these parties are the highlights of their vacation at sea, and lots of guests pack special outfits to wear during these celebratory nights.

Parties are typically held on each ship’s Lido Deck, but may be changed due to weather conditions. Some are indoor events, held in the ships’ atriums, nightclubs or other venues.

Carnival Cruise Line Deck
Carnival Cruise Line Deck (Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin)

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Jubilee, which began sailing from her homeport in Galveston, Texas, in late December 2023, will offer three themed parties —Lone Star Tailgate, 80s Party, and Motown Party.

Other sample party schedules include:

Carnival Celebration will host the 80s Rock and Glow, White Hot Party, Motown Party, and Evolution Party, while Carnival Magic will offer Rock the Promenade, Motown Party, Farewell Music Party, 80s Rock and Glow, Mega Deck Party, and Serenity Nights. 

Mardi Gras will feature the 90s Party, White Hot Party, Tiki Party, and 80s Rock and Glow, and Carnival Venezia will feature the Motown Party, 80s Rock and Glow, 90s Party, White Hot Party, Silent Party, and Festa Italiana.

More Cruise Headlines

Those were just some of the cruise news developments we covered at Cruise Hive this week. Check out even more stories, such as Princess Cruises gearing up for a record-breaking season in Alaska, a UK port expecting to break cruise arrival records in 2024, rough seas prompting a luxury ship to miss a Caribbean port call, Royal Caribbean upgrading its weather forecasting program, and a Disney Cruise Line ship rescuing refugees off Cuba on New Year’s Eve.

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