Cruise News Update: June 17, 2023

It was a jam-packed week of cruise news, so we're here to make sure you haven't missed a thing, including coverage on all the major cruise lines.

In case you missed the big cruise news stories from the past week, Cruise Hive is here to make sure you stay well-informed. This week’s Cruise News Update includes developments from Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises.

Cruise News Update

Cruise Hive has you covered with all the major developments from the past week, including a new adventure ride onboard Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess; Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Spirit canceling all calls to Valdez, Alaska; a fresh water production problem on Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation; new design details onboard Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Ascent; YouTube star MrBeast showcasing Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas; and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Venezia launching sailings from New York.

Sun Princess to Feature ‘Rollglider’ Adventure Ride

An exciting new adventure ride called Sea Breeze will debut on Princess Cruises’ newest and biggest ship, Sun Princess, when she debuts in early 2024.

The ride will be located in a three-deck entertainment area called Park19, allowing guests to glide high above the deck and enjoy stunning ocean views.

In the Sea Breeze ride, guests are harnessed to an electric roll glider on an overhead track and can attain speeds up to 11 mph. The experience lasts for about 90 seconds.

Sun Princess Park19
Sun Princess Park19

Other adventure-style activities include The Lookout, an open-air observation deck; Infinite Horizon, with tilting glass panels that allow guests to see the ship’s lower decks; and a Splash Zone with water sculptures, to name a few.

The cruise line also announced details of the ship’s full slate of children’s programs and dedicated spaces for toddlers, youngsters, and teenagers.

The Sphere-class Sun Princess, powered by liquified natural gas (LNG), will accommodate 4,300 guests when she debuts in Barcelona in February 2024. She will spend her inaugural season in Europe and then deploy to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the winter 2024-25 season.

Norwegian Spirit Cancels All Calls to Valdez

Without providing any reason for the move, Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled all port calls to Valdez, Alaska, onboard Norwegian Spirit for the entire summer season.

An initial cancellation was first announced, affecting just the ship’s June 15 call, but a day later, the cruise line revealed the ship will not call at the port at all this season.

Norwegian Spirit was to have visited the port at least 11 times this summer, as the 2,018-guest ship sails a series of 7- and 14-day Alaska cruises from Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska.

Norwegian Spirit Cruise
Norwegian Spirit in Alaska (Photo: NCL)

The news was a disappointment to the city of Valdez and to local tour operators and retailers who depend on summer season cruise visitors. The Port of Valdez issued a statement saying it would work with the cruise line to explore alternative opportunities and future collaborations.

Meanwhile, ships from other cruise lines are scheduled to call at the port this season, including Viking, Holland America Line, Silversea Cruises, and Windstar Cruises, but not with the frequency of Norwegian Spirit. Popular attractions and activities in Valdez include Valdez Glacier Lake, Prince William Sound, and wildlife viewing.

Fresh Water Snafu on Carnival Elation

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation developed a problem with her fresh water production system soon after the ship departed her homeport of Jacksonville, Florida, on June 12.

The issue prompted ship Captain Vittorio Marchi to make an unscheduled stop at Port Canaveral to obtain the necessary water supply the next day.

Carnival Elation Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

The ship’s 5-night itinerary originally called for an at-sea day on the cruise’s second day as the ship headed to Nassau, the Bahamas. The call at Nassau was originally scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 14, but it’s possible that time may have been adjusted given the likelihood of a later-than-expected arrival. Shore excursion schedules also might have been slightly altered.

The cruise line has not shared information about the specific cause of the fresh water production snafu, but onboard engineers were working on a solution. The captain was keeping guests informed, and apologized for the unexpected itinerary change.

Carnival Elation offers 4- and 5-night sailings to the Bahamas with port visits to Nassau, Bimini, Princess Cays, and Freeport, depending on the cruise length and sailing date.

More Details Revealed on Celebrity Ascent

Opulence. Extravagance. A floating haven. These are among the things Celebrity Cruises’ guests will experience on the line’s newest Edge-class ship, Celebrity Ascent.

With more than 30 dining venues and a design that makes the most of panoramic sea views, the 3,260-guest ship will offer new production shows, a redesigned casino with new games, and an upgraded Cosmopolitan restaurant inspired by the culture of champagne.

Celebrity Ascent Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Celebrity Cruises

Edge-class favorites such as the Magic Carpet cantilevered lounge, the Rooftop Garden Grill, and the three-story Eden Bar and Restaurant will also be offered on Celebrity Ascent.

The ship is under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France and is set to launch from Port Everglades, Florida, on December 3, 2023.

Through April 2024, the ship will cruise to the Caribbean, calling at ports in the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico, and other destinations.

The ship will reposition to Europe for the summer 2024, offering sailings to Greece, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and France. The cruise line’s other Edge-class ships are CelebrityEdge, Celebrity Apex, and Celebrity Beyond.

MrBeast Makes a Star of Harmony of the Seas

In a move that could spur a whole lot of interest in cruising, YouTube superstar MrBeast took viewers on a whirlwind tour of various cruise vessels, starting with small yachts, continuing to big yachts, and eventually working his way up to the mega-ship Harmony of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships.

At last count, some 62 million people had viewed the MrBeast video, which provides up-close looks at the various luxury yachts and one of the industry’s largest ships. Harmony of the Seas can carry up to 6,687 guests. That’s in addition to 2,200 crew.

Mr. Beast Cruise Ship
Credit: Mr. Beast

In the video, MrBeast starts his at-sea adventure seeing what a small yacht is like, then progresses to a $1 million yacht, followed by a $10 million one, a $25 million one, a $50 million one, and a $300 million yacht.

Finally, the video blogger boards Harmony of the Seas, which cost $1.3 billion when it was built in 2015. The ship entered service in 2016.

At 226,963 gross tons, the Royal Caribbean ship dwarfs the earlier-seen yachts and offers an important perspective to cruisers and potential cruisers, who might now decide that a mega-ship vacation is just right for them, thanks to MrBeast.

Carnival Venezia Begins Sailing From Big Apple

It’s official. Carnival Cruise Line’s first ship with the “Carnival Fun Italian Style” theme is sailing from New York. Carnival Venezia sailed out of the harbor on her first cruise from the Big Apple on June 15, headed to Bermuda.

The ship’s naming ceremony was held the previous night, with godfather Jay Leno, the famous comedian, and late-night television host, presiding. Leno also performed a comedy show for the event’s VIP guests.

Carnival Venezia in New York City
Carnival Venezia in New York City

Carnival Venezia, a Vista-class cruise ship, was formerly in the fleet of Costa Cruises, a sister company to Carnival Cruise Line. Costa had planned to deploy the ship to China, but nixed the idea.

After her transfer to Carnival last fall, the ship underwent an extensive refurbishment that added Carnival Cruise Line venues and themes. But the ship maintained her Italian spirit and is a good fit for Carnival’s Italian-style Fun Ship plans.

While home-ported in New York, Carnival Venezia will offer a series of 4-, 5-, 6-, and 8-night cruises to the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Canada/New England.

In late September, the ship will reposition to Florida’s Port Canaveral and offer 8- to 12-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, and the Bahamas. 

More Cruise Headlines

Those were just a handful of the top cruise news headlines from the past week, and there is plenty more coverage from Cruise Hive, including a new cruise terminal under construction in Tarragona, Spain, a crane accident at a shipyard in France, two mega-ships calling at Curacao on the same day, a spike in cruise arrivals in the Dominican Republic, and results of an investigation into a 2022 pier collision in Alaska.

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