Cruise News Update: June 3, 2023

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It’s been another busy week with plenty of news from across the cruise industry, and we’re here to ensure you don’t miss a thing. In this week’s cruise news update, we’ve got coverage from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises.

Cruise News Update

Cruise Hive has you covered with all the major developments from the past week, including an unsuccessful search for a guest who fell off the Carnival Magic, the Norwegian Epic heading for deployment from Cape Canaveral, Carnival Cruise Line naming its first godfather of a ship, MSC Cruises marking two major milestones, Carnival Pride’s debut following a major refit, and Carnival Sunshine departing on her post-storm cruise.

Search Called Off For Man Missing From Carnival Magic

The May 29 report of a missing passenger who was sailing on Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Magic ended sadly when officials called off search operations two days later.

The ship was operating a 5-night Bahamas cruise roundtrip from Norfolk, Virginia. Reviews of security camera footage showed the 35-year-old male guest fell into the water after leaning over his balcony around 4 a.m. on May 29.

The ship was roughly 186 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, and that is where the US Coast Guard’s air and water search teams looked for the missing man for more than 40 hours.

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship
Carnival Magic Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin / Shutterstock)

Social media posts identified the missing man as Ronnie Lee Peale Jr., a Virginia resident who was said to be on his first cruise.

Guests onboard the cruise reported that, once Peale was reported missing, the ship’s crew made multiple public address announcements in an attempt to locate him. By the time the search was called off, the missing guest would have been in the water for about 60 hours.

The 130,000-gross ton, Dream-class ship was at the end of her cruise that had called at Nassau and Freeport. The ship returned to Norfolk on schedule and her next sailing departed without incident.

Norwegian Epic Headed to Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral will become the winter homeport for the 4,100-guest Norwegian Epic starting in December 2023 and continuing to April 2024.

The cruise line in late May had canceled the ship’s entire scheduled winter 2023-24 season in Europe, saying the change was part of a fleet redeployment. It was later revealed that the ship would reposition to the central Florida port in response to the growing demand for winter sailings in the Caribbean.

Norwegian Epic Cruise Ship
Norwegian Epic Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: ODIN Daniel / Shutterstock)

The cruise line said the ship will sail a series of 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Norwegian Epic was already slated to homeport in Port Canaveral for winter 2024-25, and those plans are unchanged.

It was the second time recently that Norwegian Cruise Line canceled a substantial series of cruises. Earlier in May, it nixed Norwegian Spirit’s entire 2024 Alaska season. In that case, however, the line disclosed it opted to allow a full ship charter.

Port Canaveral recently became the world’s busiest cruise port based on passenger volume, surpassing PortMiami, which had held the top spot for years. Port Canaveral officials are considering building another cruise terminal as the port’s popularity continues to grow.

Jay Leno Named Godfather of Carnival Venezia

Move over, Al Pacino. Carnival Cruise Line revealed that its renovated and reimagined cruise ship Carnival Venezia, the first of the line’s Fun Ship Italian-style vessels, will have a godfather rather than a godmother.

Comedian and late-night talk show host Jay Leno, who is of Italian heritage, will serve as godfather during the ship’s naming ceremony in New York June 14. It’s a first for the line, which has always chosen a godmother for its new ships. Carnival Venezia is not a new-build.

Godfather Carnival Venezia, Jay Leno
Godfather Carnival Venezia, Jay Leno

The vessel was transferred from sister Carnival Corporation brand Costa Cruises last fall and underwent a bow-to-stern refit, bringing her in line with Carnival Cruise Line standards and updating her Italian flair. Leno, who hails from New Rochelle, New York, is the grandson of immigrants from Flumeri, Campania, Italy.

Leno was host of NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jay Leno from 1992 to 2009. He also produces and hosts the CNBC primetime series Jay Leno’s Garage.

Carnival Venezia will home port in New York, sailing a variety of Bermuda, Bahamas, Canada, New England, and longer Caribbean itineraries, through mid-December 2024, after which she will be redeployed to Port Canaveral to offer Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean cruises and Panama Canal sailings.

Major Milestones for Two MSC Cruise Ships

MSC Cruises marked two milestones this week. On May 31, MSC Cruises took delivery of its highly anticipated new-build, MSC Euribia, from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The ship is the industry’s first net zero gas emissions vessel, solidifying the cruise line as a leader in environmental stewardship at sea.

On the same day, MSC Cruises celebrated the coin-laying ceremony for the MSC World America, also being built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard. The line’s second World-class cruise ship will be constructed over the next two years.

MSC Euribia Delivery
MSC Euribia Delivery (Photo Credit: Chantiers de l’Atlantique)

The 181,541 gross ton MSC Euribia, with a guest capacity of up to 6,334, is on her way to Copenhagen ahead of her christening ceremony set for June 8.

Powered entirely by liquified natural gas, MSC Euribia was built with advanced onboard wastewater treatment and waste management systems, along with other state-of-the-art environmental technologies. The ship is considered the most energy-efficient cruise ship constructed to date.

Hollywood legend Sophia Loren will serve as MSC Euribia’s godmother. Following the naming ceremony, the ship will sail her inaugural cruise, a 7-day voyage from Kiel, Germany. The ship has 12-plus dining venues, five pools, and an aqua park, numerous bars and lounges, a theater and other entertainment spaces, and supervised programs for children.

Carnival Pride Debuts After Monthlong Refit

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Pride set sail on her first Europe voyage of the season, from Barcelona on May 28, following a major dry dock renovation at a shipyard in Spain.

Guests on the inaugural Europe cruise will find new dining and entertainment venues, an expanded casino, and a rebranded spa and fitness center. Also, all public areas were refreshed and the disco was moved and replaced with accessible staterooms.

Carnival Pride Returns to Service
Carnival Pride Returns to Service (Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

Other additions include the Heroes Tribute Bar, the Dreams Studio for portrait packages, the Carnival Adventures Shop, selling cruise line merchandise, and a Chef’s Table exclusive dining experience. The refit of the 21-year-old ship took a month to complete.

The 2,100-guest Carnival Pride, a Spirit-class ship, entered service in 2002. Her first Europe sailing is a 12-day voyage calling at Lisbon, Portugal; Le Havre (Paris), France; and Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium.

The ship’s Europe season will have her sailing from Dover, England, to ports in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, and other destinations, into early September.

On September 10 the ship will sail a one-way from Dover to Rome, then offer three cruises roundtrip from Rome. In late October Carnival Pride will operate a transatlantic repositioning cruise to Tampa, Florida, for the winter season.

Carnival Sunshine Departs on Post-Storm Sailing

Better late than never. That could be what guests waiting to embark on Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Sunshine might have said to each other after the ship was delayed for nine hours disembarking guests on May 28.

The ship’s scheduled arrival was delayed due to rough weather as she attempted to return to the Port of Charleston during the Memorial Day Weekend. But embark they finally did, and the ship’s post-storm cruise began without incident.

Carnival Sunshine
Carnival Sunshine (Photo Credit: Daniel Wright98 / Shutterstock)

Embarking guests were kept informed through text and email updates and were finally able to begin boarding the ship at about 6:30 p.m., with the last guests onboard at about 11 p.m. The ship set sail close to midnight.

It was a non-tropical storm system with wind gusts up to 42 miles per hour that forced the 3,753-guest ship to wait outside the harbor. Guests onboard the storm-tossed ship said there was damage to the vessel, including leaking ceilings, flooded hallways, and staterooms with puddles on the carpeting.

To make up for the long wait to embark, the cruise line gave each stateroom a $100 onboard credit, and a prorated credit for any WiFi or drink package purchases.

Carnival Sunshine is home-porting in Charleston through December 2024, offering primarily 4- and 5-night Bahamas sailings. In early 2025, the ship will reposition to Norfolk, Virginia.

More Cruise Headlines

There were many other cruise stories from the past week that we covered on Cruise Hive, including Adora Cruises adding a children’s educational program to its upcoming ship Adora Magic City, Royal Caribbean revealing the engineering behind the new Icon of the Seas’ pool decks, Oceania Cruises announcing it now has two master French chefs on staff, Carnival UK unveiling top-level management changes, and a Princess Cruises’ ship having to alter her itinerary due to a generator issue.

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