Cruise News Update: November 12, 2022

Your latest weekly cruise news update with coverage on Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.

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Here we go with the latest cruise news coverage across the major cruise lines, which was mainly dominated by Tropical Storm Nicole and some new cruise ships. We’ve got some good and sad news on Carnival Cruise Line, along with coverage on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.

Cruise News Update

Welcome to another weekly cruise news update, and we’re sure those booked on Carnival’s newest cruise ship will like to know that she’s on her way to Florida! However, it’s not all good for the Miami-based cruise line as its oldest vessel reaches the end of its final journey, which will get into a little bit later on.

We’ve got news on Royal Caribbean’s impressive new Galveston cruise terminal, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship arriving in the cruise capital of the world for some inaugural sailings and record bookings for the world’s fastest-growing cruise line, MSC Cruises.

New Royal Caribbean Terminal Opens

We start with the grand opening of Royal Caribbean’s state-of-the-art cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston in Texas. The $125 million terminal opened on November 9 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and to celebrate the arrival of the port’s first Oasis-class cruise ship, Allure of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean’s 161,334-square-foot Galveston terminal began construction on November 17, 2021, and was completely built within a short, one-year build period, offering employment opportunities for some 800 people.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley and Port Director Rodger Rees also made an appearance at the special event, as the city of Galveston marked the day with recognition of the line’s commitment and the successful partnership that began over 20 years ago when the first ship in the fleet departed from the port.

Royal Caribbean Galveston Terminal

Now the home to the state’s first Oasis Class Ship, the new zero-energy terminal expects to welcome as many as 630,000 passengers per year. The cruise line’s Galveston terminal will be the first LEED-certified, zero-energy facility in the world, and it will receive 100% of the energy it needs through onsite solar panels.

On Sunday, November 13, 2022, following a special preview voyage, the 18-deck ship will be sailing its first regular voyage out of its new homeport for a round-trip, seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary that will visit Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. For the winter 2022-2023 season, Allure of the Seas will continue to sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from the port.

Carnival Celebration Heads for Florida

Those who are eagerly awaiting Carnival Cruise Line’s newest Excel-class vessel, the Carnival Celebration, will be happy to know she’s on her way! The ship actually arrived in Southampton last week after previously being delivered from the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. It marked the first new Carnival cruise ship in the UK in 20 years!

The new Excel class ship is currently heading for her new home of PortMiami, Florida. The ship set off on a 14-day transatlantic voyage on Sunday, November 6, and includes a visit to La Coruna on November 8, Vigo on November 9, Funchal in Madeira on November 11, and finally, Tenerife in the Canary Islands on November 12 before arriving in Miami on November 20.

Carnival Celebration Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Jouni Niskakoski / Shutterstock

The naming ceremony for Carnival Celebration will take place on the day the ship arrives at the newly upgraded PortMiami Terminal F. It will be an extra special day as the new complex opens and the ship makes its maiden visit.

Cassidy Gifford will become the ship’s godmother, following her mother, Kathie Lee Gifford, who was the godmother of the original Celebration cruise ship in 1987.

The LNG-powered ship will be sailing week-long Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries out of Miami and offering guests a whole lot of fun, including the BOLT roller coaster and its six themed zones, including the Miami-inspired 820 Biscayne zone.

Celebration is the sister ship to Mardi Gras and the upcoming Carnival Jubilee, which will arrive in 2023. Carnival Celebration is 183,521 gross tons with a guest capacity of 5,374 at double occupancy, along with 1,735 crew members.

Record Bookings for MSC Cruises

The effect of the excitement that has built up for MSC Cruises’ newest cruise ships reached an all-time high in October 2022. The faster-growing cruise line in the world reported record-breaking bookings for cruises this winter and the summer of 2023, with nearly 400,000 passenger bookings.

The release of its latest flagship, the 215,863-gross-ton MSC World Europa, the soon-to-be-delivered MSC Seascape, and MSC Euribia, which will come into service in mid-2023, has driven the popularity of the cruise line, boosted by the pent-up demand for cruising worldwide. It’s not just the brand-new ships either; MSC Cruises launched five new cruise ships in the last three years.

MSC Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Luciavonu / Shutterstock

The cruise line is one of the few to have a permanent position in emerging markets such as the Middle East and is the biggest cruise operator in South America, Africa, and Europe.

MSC Cruises has seen remarkable growth over the last ten years with its upscale, value-for-money cruise offerings. The company has released new ships at a record rate, and the fleet is set to grow to 23 ships by 2025, with options for six more new cruise ships through 2030. 

MSC Cruises is not just seeing record-breaking booking numbers for this winter and the upcoming summer season. The long-term bookings are looking equally strong.

Norwegian Prima From Miami

The new class Norwegian Prima arrived in the cruise capital of the world on November 11 for the first time ever in anticipation of two inaugural cruises from NCL’s award-winning terminal.

The first voyage departed on November 11, and the second will depart on November 14. The two sailings will be special short inaugural offerings, with guests trying out all the new innovative features for the first time out of Miami.

Each sailing will include a visit to Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. On November 13, it will be the first visit to the 270-acre island for the Norwegian Prima, with guests enjoying all the beaches, a zipline, and an exclusive retreat.

Norwegian Prima in Miami
Photo Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian cruise ship has been busy since first arriving in the U.S. in October 2022. After celebrating its official naming ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland, in September and a series of initial sailings, the Norwegian Prima headed across the Atlantic.

Norwegian Prima will eventually settle down from her busy U.S. inaugural tour in mid-December. The ship will begin year-round seven-night itineraries from Port Canaveral until March 2023, including calls to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, and Great Stirrup Cay.

Norwegian Prima is the first ship in its class at 143,535 gross tons and measuring 965 feet long, with a guest capacity of 3,100 at double occupancy.

Carnival Cruise Ship Beached for Scrapping

We end with a bit of sad news as the Fantasy-class Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship has been beached for scrapping at the Aliaga ship-breaking facility in Turkey.

The vessel recently arrived just off the coast positioned at rest – presumably at anchor – just 3.8 miles (6.1 kilometers) northeast of the breaking yard.

It has taken three weeks for the ship to reach the shipyard, though that has included time to debark crew members so they can return home if their contracts ended with the ship’s last sailing, or to transfer to different ships if they were reassigned for the rest of their contract time.

Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: James.Pintar / Shutterstock

There has been no rush for the ship to reach the shipyard. Sailing speeds have been impacted by weather and fuel efficiency as the ship has made its way to her final destination. Much onboard material has already been removed from the ship, especially materials that can be used on other ships in the fleet.

Carnival Ecstasy sailed her last cruise with guests October 10-15; a 5-night Western Caribbean sailing from Mobile, Alabama, that visited Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico.

Of the original eight Fantasy-class vessels, six have now been scrapped. Five of the vessels – FantasyFascinationImaginationInspiration, and Sensation – were retired and scrapped during the pandemic shutdown in an effort for the cruise line to modernize the fleet.

Now that Carnival Ecstasy has retired, only Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation remain in the fleet.

More Cruise Headlines

It was just another busy week of cruise news, especially with all the coverage on Tropical Storm Nicole. Other cruise stories include a business update from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Cunards upcoming new cruise ship being delayed, Carnival clearing up some confusion over the cost of a ride, exciting new dining options for the MSC Seascape, Celebrity Cruises announcing its 2024-25 deployment, details on Carnival Celebration’s retail stores, a Holland America cruise ship rescue during a Hurricane and much more.

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