Cruise News Update: September 10, 2022

Another busy cruise news update as we catch up with multiple stories on Carnival Cruise Line, along with coverage on Royal Caribbean's upcoming new ship.

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It’s another weekly cruise news update, where there is plenty of coverage on Carnival Cruise Line as onboard offerings are altered, along with developments on Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas.

Cruise News Update

It has been a week full of news on the Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line as onboard offerings are adjusted as the room service menu is changed, and Wi-Fi rates increase. However, the cruise line is bringing back some more fun onboard its ships, welcomes the Carnival Luminosa to the fleet, and the new Carnival Celebration sets off on sea trials.

We get a first look at the bow that will be installed on Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, and a cruise line has overbooked more than 100 passengers.

Carnival Cruise Line Makes Onboard Changes

Carnival Cruise Line has been notably busy in the last year with tweaking the onboard offerings. In a letter sent to guests and travel agents on September 9, the cruise line states it is implementing even more changes, starting on sailings that depart on or after October 1, 2022.

According to the cruise line, it has carefully studied guest patterns onboard since its restart in July 2021. This includes what dining and food options have been popular vs. which have been less popular.

As a result of this market research, the Carnival is updating its room service menu to add more options on an à la carte basis while maintaining a complimentary breakfast offering each morning.

Complimentary options include continental breakfast options, and the a la carte option consists of breakfast sandwiches, which will now be expanded. The rollout of the new menus will start on October 1. What is clear is that guests will be getting a greater variety to choose from, but at an extra cost.

Carnival Cruise Line Ship
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

The complimentary continental choices with à la carte selections will be available from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM, and for the rest of the day, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 AM, there will only be an à la carte selection available.

Carnival Cruise Line is finally bringing back the always-popular Dr. Seuss Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast. As with the room service menu changes, this event will also return on sailings that depart on or after October 1.

Lastly, Carnival is also implementing a price hike for the onboard WI-FI packages. Due to the rising costs of internet connections at sea, the company has implemented a minor price change. The social package will increase from $8.50 per day to $10.20 when purchasing before the cruise. The value price is increasing from $11.05 to $14.45, and the premium package will go up from $14.45 to $17.00.

Carnival Celebration Sea Trials

She isn’t ready for guests yet, but Carnival Celebration is undoubtedly getting closer to her official launch later this year. After a construction period that started just twenty months ago, the newest cruise ship in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet set sail on her first set of sea trials on Monday, September 5, from the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland.

The vessel is currently sailing in the archipelago around the port city in the Baltic Sea, where engineers will be testing all of the onboard systems. Sea Trials are an essential part of the construction process and are expected to take anywhere from a few days up to ten days, depending on the testing results.

Carnival Celebration Sea Trials
Photo Credit: finki.22

Like her sister, Mardi GrasCarnival Celebration is powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Although the shipyard has fitted the power source on multiple ships now, it still means intensive testing of the onboard systems and whether or not the ship meets the criteria Carnival Cruise Line has set for maneuverability and speed. The sea trials will also enable the ship’s crew and officers to familiarize themselves with the vessel.

Carnival Celebration Captain Vincenzo Alcaras, said, “During sea trials, the ship is undergoing several tests, which are meant to determine the ship’s capability and performance. We do many tests, but I only list a few, such as endurance test, steering tests, speed tests, thrusters tests, zig-zag tests, which is part of maneuvering tests, and all Class required tests.”

Carnival Celebration will be 180,800 gross tons with a guest capacity of 5,282 at double occupancy, along with 1,282 crew members. On Sunday, November 6, Carnival Celebration will be setting sail on her maiden transatlantic voyage from Southampton in the United Kingdom.

Bow Arrives for Icon of the Seas

It is an understatement to say that Royal Caribbean International has been secretive about its newest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas. The latest class of ships for the cruise line, Royal Caribbean, has been very slowly showing small pieces, and we finally get a first look at the bow that will be installed.

The cruise line finally lifted the veil on what the vessel will look like, with the ship getting a distinctive parabolic bow design.

Icon of the Seas Bow
Photo Credit: Niko Alakoski / @finki.22

The new nose is, at first glance, not as distinctive as those featured on the Celebrity-edge class cruise ships, which have a Parabolic ultra bow. While visually appealing, the choice for this kind of bow is not surprising. The design offers a far smoother ride, especially for heavily loaded ships, and is much more efficient.

The new bow parts arrived at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland in the past week, where they will be fitted to the hull, which, as seen in the images, is already showing some final shapes. What the final product will look like will likely be revealed in the coming days and weeks.

In October 2021, workers installed the new vessel’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel tank. The keel was laid for the new ship in April 2022. Since then, rumors have been flying, with one in particular still prevailing; it could be that Icon of the Seas will surpass the Oasis-class ship as the biggest in the world: 

Carnival Splendor Ends Alaska Season

The Concordia-class Carnival Splendor had a festive sendoff from Seattle on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, as it officially left the region at the close of the Alaska season. The ship began sailing Alaskan itineraries on May 2, and was the last of the Fun Ships to resume service after the pandemic shutdown.

Now, Carnival Splendor is sailing a 23-night epic transpacific itinerary to return to Australia, with four ports of call in Hawaii and two in Fiji along the way, as well as 18 days at sea for guests to thoroughly enjoy and explore all the 113,300-gross-ton ship has to offer.

Carnival Splendor Departing Seattle
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The vessel will arrive in Sydney on September 30, 2022, the first Carnival cruise ship to welcome guests in Australian waters in nearly 1,000 days.

Once back at her homeport in Sydney, Carnival Splendor will begin offering a variety of itinerary options from October 1, 2022 – a date that coincides with Carnival’s 10th year of operations in Australia. Sailings range from 3-12 nights, giving guests plenty of opportunities for quick getaways as well as longer, more immersive voyages.

Overbooked Cruise Passengers

New cruise operator Resorts World Cruises only operates one cruise ship, the Genting Dream, but is clearly suffering from some start-up issues. This became clear as guests arrived at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre on September 4.

Representatives of the ship informed guests that due to the vessel being overbooked, they would not be able to board their cruise, despite having confirmed tickets. According to several other reports, more than one hundred guests were affected by the issues, leaving them stranded in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Genting Dream Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Pro Aerial Master / Shutterstock

The cruise line said they would compensate guests who have been denied boarding in the last few days. The cruise line stated all affected guests would receive a full refund. They will also receive a complimentary cruise on the Genting Dream for sailings before April 28, 2023, subject to cabin availability.

Resorts World Cruises started operations from Singapore on June 15. The company operates Genting Dream, a cruise ship formerly operated by the now-defunct cruise company Genting Hong Kong. 

Carnival Luminosa Joines the Fleet

With the change of name becoming official at 10:32 am in Palermo, Italy, Carnival Luminosa officially joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet of ships. Previously sailing for Costa Cruises, the vessel has now changed companies, sure to delight the thousands of guests that will be sailing onboard, starting in Brisbane, Australia, on November 6.

With high-ranking officials from Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, and Carnival Corporation in attendance, Costa Cruises Captain Nicolantonio Palombella handed over Carnival Luminosa to Carnival Captain Adriano Binacchi, who will bring the vessel to Australia.

Carnival Luminosa
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Luminosa is already looking every inch the fun ship that we know from the cruise line. The vessel already underwent several changes and will have most of the famous outlets that Carnival’s guests love. 

They include Playlist Productions, The Punchliner Comedy Club, Limelight Lounge, Piano Bar 88, Alchemy Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Chef’s Table, Bonsai Sushi Express, Seaday Brunch, Serenity Adult-Only Retreat, and Cloud 9 Spa, among others.

Completing the work that needs to be done to Carnival’s newest ship will continue in the coming weeks during a dry-dock refit phase. Costa Luminosa‘s transfer to Carnival Cruise Line was announced on June 14, 2022. Once completed, the vessel will set sail to Australia.

Carnival Luminosa will sail her inaugural season in Australia, starting November 6 through April 13, 2023.

More Cruise Headlines!

Those were just a handful of the major cruise stories from the past week, it sure has been a busy week of cruise news, including the Carnival Panorama impacted by Tropical Storm Kay, Viking ordering another four ocean cruise ships from Fincantieri, the naming ceremony for MSC World Europa to held in Qatar, another Caribbean cruise islands relaxes requirements for cruise visitors, a new French cruise line is launched, Carnival brings back a guest favorite and so much more.

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