Cruise News Update: March 18, 2023

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In case you missed out on the big cruise news stories from the past week, Cruise Hive is here to make sure you’ve covered with headlines on Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean.

Cruise News Update

In this week’s cruise news round-up, we’ve got coverage on a Celebrity cruise ship coming to the rescue of 35 refugees, Carnival’s new beverage choices, and the cruise line celebrating 100 million guests, more than any other industry. It was also a week that Royal Caribbean would like to forget with two website glitches that have angered guests and the cancellation of a Mariner of the Seas sailing.

Royal Caribbean Cancels April 1st Cruise

Guests booked onboard the Mariner of the Seas for a 5-night cruise on April 1, 2023, from Port Canaveral will be disappointed to learn that Royal Caribbean has indeed cancelled their cruise.

The cancelled voyage was a western Caribbean cruise scheduled to depart from Port Canaveral, Florida, and make stops in Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, before returning to Port Canaveral. 

Guests booked on this voyage have been notified of the cancellation. They have been provided with options to either re-book on a future Royal Caribbean sailing or receive a full refund.

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

In the letter sent to guests, Royal Caribbean stated: “We’re continuously working to enhance our ships and the many amenities they have to offer. Mariner of the Seas is currently undergoing dry dock for routine maintenance and exciting, which will require some extra time for these upgrades to be completed.”

“Regrettably, this means our April 1st, 2023 cruise has been canceled. We know this news is disappointing, and we apologize for the impact on your cruise.”

As the maintenance is relatively straightforward, it seems strange that Mariner of the Seas would be delayed. However, as with many other European countries, Spain, including Cadiz, has seen a fair share of strikes, in particular in the metal industries. This would explain any delays that the vessel incurred during the dry dock, which started at the end of February.

Celebrity Ascent to Begin Sailing Earlier

Celebrity Cruises has scheduled two preview sailings of its new Celebrity Ascent, allowing eager cruisers to get a sneak peek at the vessel even before her inaugural cruise in December 2023. Both sailings are roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades.

The first is a 4-night Western Caribbean cruise departing November 22, 2023, giving cruisers a Thanksgiving week getaway. The ship will call at Cozumel. The second preview sailing is a 3-night Bahamas cruise departing November 26, 2023, and calling at Nassau, Bahamas.

Celebrity Ascent Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Celebrity Cruises

The 3,260-guest Celebrity Ascent is a twin ship to Celebrity Beyond, which debuted in 2022. The line’s first Edge class ship was Celebrity Edge, which launched in 2018. The third in the class, Celebrity Apex, entered service in 2021.

Celebrity Ascent marked a construction milestone in late January 2023, when she was floated out of dry dock at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

Her maiden voyage is slated for December 3, 2023, from Port Everglades. The 7-night Western Caribbean cruise will call at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Puerto Plata. Alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will follow the inaugural voyage.

100 Million Guests Have Sailed Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line reaches a huge milestone that no other cruise line has ever achieved by welcoming more than 100 million guests onboard its ships.

The celebration was marked by the boarding of the 100 millionth guests, Debi and David Clifford, who were vacationing from Ohio with their family. Christine Duffy, the Carnival Cruise Line President, and the ship’s team members, led by Captain Luca Cherchi, welcomed them with fanfare taking photos to signify their place as “One in 100 Million.”

Carnival Cruise Line 100 Million
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise line, was founded in 1972 and celebrated its 50th birthday last year. Originally just a single ship, the Mardi Gras, the company has since expanded its fleet to 23. 

Additionally, among the 100 million guests, 167 individuals have sailed on more than 100 cruises, while 152,000 guests have spent more than 100 days onboard.

In fact, there is even a five-year-old guest who has already accumulated 100+ cruise days. These incredible statistics showcase the popularity and loyalty of Carnival’s guests.

Royal Caribbean Glitches

It has been a rough week for Royal Caribbean, not just due to the April 1st cancellations, which we detailed earlier, but also due to online glitches.

On March 11, 2023, Royal Caribbean International placed a new premium VIP package called The Premier Pass on its website. This was a package for two guests at the price of $88.99. It’s an identical package to what is offered by sister brand, Celebrity Cruises.

However, the excitement surrounding the new package was short-lived as the cruise line retracted the offer on March 12, stating that it was not available for its guests.

Although the cruise line apologized for any confusion caused and offered refunds to guests who had purchased the package before the error was corrected, the error did not go unnoticed on Twitter and other social media outlets.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships in the Bahamas
Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock

The second glitch by the cruise line was on March 1, but only now are guests being informed about it. Royal Caribbean started offering the Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark tour for $64.99 by mistake. Previously, the excursion cost $249, but with the glitch lowering the price, many people booked it for their upcoming sailing.

As a result of the mistake by the cruise line, those guests that booked the tour were not happy to be informed that the purchase at the glitch price of $64.99 had been cancelled. Royal Caribbean is refunding the purchase to the original payment form and offering $50 of onboard credit as an apology.

Many guests have been angered with the cruise line for not honoring the glitch price and only offering a much lower $50 credit. The cruise line has also increased the regular price of the Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark tour to $309, to the anger of guests.

New Carnival Cruise Line Beverage Choices

Carnival Cruise Line announced the release of a new line of non-alcoholic cocktails. The new cocktails are created using non-alcoholic spirits produced by Lyre’s, a worldwide trendsetter in non-alcoholic spirits. With this partnership, Carnival becomes the first cruise line to offer a full range of alcohol-free cocktails.

According to Zachary Sulkes, Carnival’s senior director of beverage operations, the partnership with Lyre’s gives guests who want non-alcoholic cocktails a great option to enjoy a cocktail onboard.

Carnival Cruise Line Alchemy Bar
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Lyre’s uses all-natural flavors, including essences, extracts, and distillates, to match the aroma, taste, and appearance of time-tested classics. The company’s spirits have been awarded multiple times and have earned recognition as the world’s most-awarded line of non-alcoholic spirits.

The new range of non-alcoholic cocktails is based on seven popular Alchemy Bar cocktails, including the Martini Seduction, Spicy Chipotle Pineapple Martini, The Remedy, Hearts of Fire, Restorative Basil Drop, The Perfect Storm, and Cucumber Sunrise.

Alchemy Bar is a prominent feature of Carnival cruise ships, with a dedicated focus on crafting and serving cocktails. It distinguishes itself from typical bars on ships by providing a personalized experience where guests can engage with their bartender and witness the creation of bespoke cocktails. 

More Cruise Headlines

Those were just a few of the cruise news headlines from the past week, we’ve got all the coverage on Cruise Hive, including a Bahamas resort giving some pushback on a new Royal Caribbean development, a special MSC Cruises Formula 1 experience, a few clarifications from Carnival Cruise Line on upcoming sailings, The Celebrity Millennium cruise ship making a Caribbean rescue, magician tackle on stage during a performance onboard, and so much more.

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