Cruise News Update: Disney, Carnival Dining, Passengers

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Once again, it’s time for Cruise Hive’s weekly recap of the major cruise news stories of the week. We have it all covered, with articles from Carnival Cruise Line, Azamara, Disney Cruise Line, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, and Royal Caribbean.

Cruise News Update

It’s been another busy week for cruise industry news. Let’s get going with Cruise Hive’s coverage of Carnival Cruise Line’s references to dining rooms versus restaurants; cruise guests unable to get a refund from a Greenland tour company; Azamara guests enjoying their ship’s top suite after winning an upgrade; Disney Dream having to cancel an Iceland call due to work happening at the port; Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offering three segments of its upcoming world cruise; and a Royal Caribbean ship leaving port early to avoid sharing space with a cargo ship.

Dining Room or Restaurant: It’s a Cruiser’s Choice

It might be just a matter of semantics, but some Carnival Cruise Line executives want brand ambassador John Heald to stop referring to the fleet’s main dining rooms as dining rooms. They want him to refer to them as restaurants instead.

I am always under pressure from a few beards to stop calling the dinning room a dinning room and move to the ‘official’ term of restaurant,” Heald explained on his popular Facebook page. And no, that’s not a typo — Heald also spells dining room with an extra “n,” as in dinning room.

Carnivale Restaurant on Carnival Celebration
Carnivale Restaurant on Carnival Celebration (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz)

That tendency also prompted a guest to recently post on the page: “Why do you insist of(sic) spelling dining room as dinning room. Do not tell me it’s the English way as that is false. I have checked. It is infuriating,” the guest wrote.

Heald responded that his father always wrote the word that way, and he does, too.

One could say that Heald’s practice of referring to the venues as main dining rooms is logical, since Carnival Cruise Line’s web site refers to them as such, and not as “restaurants.”

Some ships do call the venues restaurants. For instance, the Carnivale Restaurant and Festivale Restaurant are the two main dining venues onboard Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Legend calls its main venue Truffles Restaurant.

It could be that the phrase “dining room” conjures an old-fashioned space, while “restaurant” is a more contemporary-sounding option.

Cruiser Loses Battle For Shore Excursion Refund

A Carnival Cruise Line guest is out more than $400 thanks to bad weather and a cancelled port call in Greenland. The incident happened during a September 2023 voyage aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend.

The 14-night cruise roundtrip from Baltimore was scheduled to call at Nanortalik and Qaqortoq, Greenland, and three ports in Canada. When cruiser Jill Reiter found out that the cruise line was not offering any land tours in either of the Greenland destinations, she reached out to Sandra’s Cruise Tours, a local firm offering an iceberg boat tour.

Carnival Legend Cruise Ship
Carnival Legend Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks)

Sandra O’Leary ran the firm, and Reiter booked the tour for her family at a cost of $424. However, bad weather forced the ship to cancel both Greenland port calls. Carnival Legend provided a $400 per stateroom credit to assuage guests’ disappointment, but when Reiter tried to get a refund from O’Leary, she was told the tour was non-refundable.

Reiter says the company’s web site was changed after the fact to indicate the tours were non-refundable. Guests who disputed the charged with their credit card companies were disappointed when the claims were denied. 

“Suddenly, we noticed that the terms and conditions on her website had changed. Now it said something about how the remote nature of the location allowed the tour operator to keep the money,” Reiter said.

Typically, the only way to guarantee a shore excursion refund if a cruise line cancels a port call is by booking the land tour through the cruise line. That wasn’t possible in this case.

Bingo Winners Enjoy a Major Suite Upgrade on Azamara

Many thousands of people now know what the World Owner’s Suite onboard Azamara’s Azamara Quest looks like, thanks to a TikTok post that describes it in detail. In fact, since it was posted on June 29, 2024, more than 688,000 viewers have seen it.

The story began when Garett Talcott and husband Michael Rivera boarded Azamara Quest in December 2023 for a 20-day Antarctica cruise adventure. On the second day of the voyage, Talcott won Blackout Bingo and the grand prize was an upgrade to the World Owner’s Suite.

Cruise Passengers Wins Suite for Playing Bingo
Cruise Passengers Wins Suite for Playing Bingo (Credits: Nadezda Murmakova / @vividmichael)

So Talcott and Rivera spent the remainder of their voyage in the lap of luxury, as the suite is the top accommodation of all 361 staterooms on the 710-guest ship.

In the viral video, Rivera exclaims: “Awesome job winning Bingo, baby,” as he high-fives his smiling partner. “We have a butler, we have internet, we have all the dining services. Thank you, Azamara!” 

The video provides a tour of the 560-square-foot suite, with its large, private balcony, big living room, separate bedroom, large bathroom with a tub, two TVs, and floor-to-ceiling windows providing great views.

The couple had bought $450 worth of bingo cards, and it turned out to be a great investment.

Disney Dream Cancels One Port Call in Iceland

Guests eager to explore Isafjordur, Iceland, on their upcoming voyage aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream will have to visit that destination some other time, since the cruise line cancelled the port call.

The itinerary change affects the ship’s July 24, 2024 departure on a 12-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland itinerary.

“The Port of Isafjordur, Iceland, has been undergoing some work to the port channel. Unfortunately, the work is not yet completed, and we are unable to dock,” an email sent to booked guests explained. “Therefore, it will be necessary to cancel your call to Isafjordur.”

Disney Dream Cruise Ship
Disney Dream Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Qart Hadasht)

No details were provided about the scope of work happening at the Port of Isafjordur.

Cruisers will still visit Reykjavik, Iceland, when the ship overnights there on July 30, 2024. Calls at the Norwegian ports of Olden, Alesund, and Stavanger are not impacted, and since one Iceland port was nixed, the line is adding a call to Liverpool, England, on August 3, 2024.

All Isafjordur excursions that were booked through Disney Cruise Line will be automatically cancelled and refunded to guests, and new tours are being made available for Liverpool.

Disney Dream is based at Southampton through late October, offering a series of Europe cruises, with some as short as 3 nights and as long as 13.

Cruise Line Adds Three World Cruise Segments

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is offering three world cruise segments of varying lengths to guests who want to explore South America, Australia, and Africa. The 56-night, 29-night, and 21-night itineraries onboard the 1,380-guest Bolette are part of the ship’s 106-world voyage that sails roundtrip from Southampton, UK, on January 6, 2025.

The 56-night“Exploring South America and the Pacific Islands” begins on embarkation day. Following a transatlantic crossing, the ship will call at ports in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile before heading to French Polynesia. The segment ends in Sydney, Australia.

Bolette Cruise Ship
Bolette Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Simlinger)

Departing from Sydney on March 3, 2025, Bolette’s 29-night segment, “Australian and South African Discovery,” visits Melbourne, Hobart, and Fremantle, Australia before sailing to South Africa and calling at Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. 

Setting sail from Cape Town on April 1, 2025, the final segment, the 21-day “Scenic Vistas and Diverse Cultures of Africa,” features calls in Luderitz and Walvis Bay, Namibia, and Dakar, Senegal. Land explorations include exciting Big Five safaris. The ship also visits Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain, and Funchal, Portugal, before ending in Southampton.  

Guests can book cruise-only fares as well as fly-cruise packages. The ship, which was originally operated by Holland America Line as Rotterdam, is currently homeported in Liverpool, England, and cruising to the Norwegian fjords.

Cargo Ship’s Port Entry Prompts Cruise Ship to Leave Early

When a giant container ship enters busy Bayonne Harbor, cruise ships at New Jersey’s Cape Liberty cruise terminal tend to get out of the way.

That was the reason behind an earlier departure time for Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas on July 5, 2024. The line alerted guests that, rather than the planned 4 p.m. departure time, the ship needed to instead depart at 3:15 p.m., before an inbound cargo ship entered the port’s channel.

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas Docked at Cape Liberty
Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas Docked at Cape Liberty (Photo Credit: Brian Logan Photography)

Check-in at the ship, which is sailing a 7-night cruise to Florida and the Bahamas, was still set to begin at 10 a.m., the regular time, but the all-aboard time was pushed forward to 2:45 p.m. Also, guests who had a late check-in appointment, for 2:30 to 3 p.m., were asked to arrive 30 minutes ahead of their scheduled check-in.

While Cape Liberty has plenty of room for multiple ships, container vessels are particularly large, and take time to maneuver. Sometimes weather and tide currents can affect operations, making it prudent to avoid having two huge ships too close for comfort. Symphony of the Seas is an Oasis-class mega-ship that weighs 228,081 gross tons.

The change in departure does not affect any other aspect of the cruise.

More Cruise Headlines

Cruise Hive has plenty more cruise news stories from the past week. Check out our in-depth coverage of the float-out ceremony for Viking’s Viking Vesta;  Florida’s Port Canaveral again receiving a prestigious “green marine” award; the unique christening ceremony of Seabourn’s newest expedition ship; AIDA Cruises confirming dry dock dates for two ships; and Oceania’s new ship marking her float-out from her construction bay.

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