Cruise News Update: November 26, 2022

Catch up on the biggest cruise news stories from the past week, with updates on Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises.

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Cruise Hive has you covered with the latest cruise news, and this week, we’ve got stories on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, and Norwegian, including the passenger rescue in the Gulf of Mexico and NCL taking something away from the crew.

Cruise News Update

We’ve got a busy cruise news update for you this week across the major cruise lines, do stick around as we will get into those details on why the crew is not so happy with Norwegian Cruise Line, as a much-loved privilege is being taken away.

We’ve also got coverage on parking limits for Carnival passengers, Lobster changes for Royal Caribbean and Carnival, a cruise passenger rescue, and the final Princess Cruises ship finally returns to service.

Carnival Celebration Now Sailing!

We start with the new Carnival Celebration cruise ship, which is now sailing out of PortMiami, after being christened at the new Terminal F.

The star-studded naming ceremony took place on November 21 and included appearances by cruise line executives, shipyard executives from Meyer Turku, where Carnival Celebration was constructed, the ship’s godmother Cassidy Gifford, as well as key figures for different elements of the ship.

In addition to the ship’s christening, the evening included special onboard dedications as well as the ribbon cutting for the cruise line’s new PortMiami terminal.

Carnival Celebration Cruise Ship in Grand Turk
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Also aboard was a record number of back-to-back guests, 200 passengers who just completed the ship’s maiden voyage, a 14-night transatlantic sailing from Southampton, England.

Carnival Celebration departed Miami on Monday, November 21, on her first Caribbean sailing, a 6-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary, with the vessel making its maiden Caribbean call at Grand Turk on November 23. Other calls during the voyage include Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic and Nassau in the Bahamas. The ship will homeport from Miami year-round, offering Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean itineraries.

Diamond Princess Returns to Service

The ship that was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons back in early 2020 has finally made a comeback. Diamond Princess welcomed guests onboard for the first time since the industry-wide shutdown.

The ship kickstarted its inaugural sailing out of San Diego on Sunday, November 20, and became the final ship in the fleet to return to service.

The Diamond Princess is a welcome sight for The Port of San Diego by helping to increase tourism for the city and support local businesses. The port expects its busiest cruise season since 2010 as the cruise industry is fully back sailing, and vessels have shifted from sailing Alaska to further south on the U.S. west coast.

Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Princess Cruises

The Princess cruise ship was originally scheduled to restart operations on September 1, 2022, but the cruise line had to delay the return due to labor challenges.

Princess canceled 11 departures from San Diego from September 1 through November 13, 2022. Guests were already offered replacement options onboard the Discovery Princess and Crown Princess. The vessel is offering a series of new itineraries from five- to 16 days, including the Mexican Riviera, California Coast, and Hawaii.

Carnival Cruise Line Parking Limits

Guests sailing on upcoming cruises aboard Carnival Miracle out of the Port of Long Beach, California, will have difficulty parking at the terminal, and are being urged to make alternative arrangements if they plan to drive to the port. Carnival Cruise Line has contacted impacted guests about the limit, including options for parking off-site if needed.

No explanation is given for why cruise terminal parking is not available, but the email is designated for “Carnival Miracle Long Beach Departures” and does not give an indication of how many sailings may be impacted.

The presence of three homeported ships may also be overwhelming parking availability, and Carnival Miracle, with a guest capacity of just 2,124, is the smallest of the Carnival ships at Long Beach.

Carnival Mircale Cruise Ship in Long Beach
Photo Credit: Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock

Carnival Cruise Line has arranged secured parking for cruise guests at the nearby Long Beach Convention Center, located at 300 East Ocean Boulevard, across the Los Angeles River from the port facility.

Cruise guests can drop off their luggage and travel party at the cruise terminal in the designated drop-off area, where drivers will be provided with directions to the convention center parking area.

On-site signage will also direct drivers to the proper parking facility at the convention center, and a complimentary shuttle will run between the convention center and the cruise terminal both for embarkation and debarkation.

The Spirit-class Carnival Miracle is currently offering roundtrip 3-6 night Baja and Mexican Riviera itineraries, with three upcoming Carnival Journeys 14-night cruises to Hawaii with departures on November 27, January 8, and February 19.

Cruise Line Lobster Changes

In recent days, two cruise lines have made changes to their main dining room menus, both of which impact the tremendously popular broiled lobster tail offered on special evenings.

Royal Caribbean International is testing a charge for multiple lobster tails ordered in the main dining room aboard the Oasis-class Symphony of the Seas.

A charge of $16.99 plus an 18% gratuity will be added to a guest’s account for ordering a second lobster tail. The first lobster tail remains free of charge.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Gemma Fletcher / Shutterstock

Carnival Cruise Line is also making changes to its main dining room that will dramatically impact lobster availability.

Since November 7, 2022, the cruise line has added a $5 charge to all third, fourth, and higher entrees in the main dining room, though the first and second entrées remain complimentary, as do all appetizers and desserts.

Ordering several broiled lobster tails will now incur that extra entrée charge, however, though just at the $5 rate – the same as for any other extra entrée, with no higher charge specifically for lobster.

Carnival Cruise Passenger Rescued

There was some very worrying news that came from the Carnival Valor cruise ship while sailing in the Gulf of Mexico towards the island of Cozumel in Mexico this past week.

A male passenger was reported missing at approximately noon on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, from the Conquest-class Carnival cruise ship. The last time the individual was seen was at a bar aboard the ship with his sister. According to her, he left the bar to find a restroom at approximately 11 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, and was not seen again.

His sister reported him missing the next day at approximately noon, at which time the cruise ship began emergency measures to locate the guest, including using the public address system to ask him to report to Guest Services and engaging staff members to search onboard.

Carnival Valor Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: James Andrews1 / Shutterstock

As search and rescue operations were underway, all marine traffic in the region where the guest was reported missing had been alerted to keep a lookout for a possible man overboard.

Carnival Valor had earlier retraced its route to support the search and rescue operation, but was later released from that duty by the USCG and resumed its course toward Cozumel, Mexico.

When the man was spotted, the United States Coast Guard was immediately alerted, and a Jayhawk helicopter was dispatched and able to hoist the man into the aircraft. He was taken to New Orleans Lakefront Airport, five miles northeast of downtown New Orleans, where he was met by emergency medical personnel.

There is no doubt the man was extremely lucky to be found, and we’re really glad we’re not reporting how overboard situations usually end. Our thoughts are with him and his family, and we hope for a speedy recovery.

Norwegian Takes Away Crew Privilege

And finally, we come to Norwegian Cruise Line, which has angered crew members recently by removing a much-enjoyed privilege onboard.

Working onboard a cruise ship is one of the most challenging careers there is. You are away from friends and family for many months and work 10 hours per day, seven days per week. Experienced crew and officers often have additional benefits onboard to make those months a little easier, including access to guest areas and having a cabin steward for certain staff cabins.

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: M-Production / Shutterstock

Norwegian Cruise Line is now taking those benefits away from crew members that have a rank of fewer than two stripes. The cruise line said that it was due to making sure the guest experience was consistent.

This means that most of the crew will be restricted to only using amenities in crew member areas while off shift. The changes also include the removal of a room steward for staff and officer cabins.

Giving supervisors, staff members, and officers a chance to eat inside a restaurant once in a while or use the guest gym occasionally seems too much for NCL. However, it fits into the significant number of recent cutbacks we’ve seen on multiple cruise lines lately. Crew members will be able to request access to enjoy the guest areas, but how often this can be done is not known.

More Cruise Headlines

it was no doubt another busy week across the cruise industry, and we’ve got all the coverage, including the fourth Virgin Voyages cruise ship reaching a major construction milestone, the first steel cut for the new Silverseas vessel, new details released on TUI’s Mein Schiff 7, a popular activity returning to Royal Caribbean, delays announced for future Norwegian Cruise Line Prima-class cruise ships, Wonder of the Seas begins sailings out of Port Canaveral and lots more all over on the website.

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