Cruise News Update: September 17, 2022

Another cruise news update with new ship stories from Carnival, Disney and Princess Cruises, along with coverage on Royal Caribbean and Virgin Voyages.

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Cruise Hive is here with another cruise news update with all the major stories from the past week. There is plenty of new cruise ship news from Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Disney, along with some other news from Virgin Voyages and Royal Caribbean.

Cruise News Update

We’ve got you covered with all the latest developments, and this past week has been busy when it comes to new cruise ships. Princess Cruises finally unveiled its largest ever cruise ship Sun Princess, which will arrive in early 2024, Carnival’s new Carnival Celebration successfully completed sea trials, and the name was revealed for Disney’s next new vessel.

There’s also coverage on a Virgin Voyages rescue, a couple on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship charges nearly 100k for dinner, and a popular breakfast program returning to Carnival cruise ships.

Sun Princess Unveiled

Announced in a live presentation broadcast directly from the pier at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the new ship, first of the Sphere class, will be named Sun Princess.

The new ship will be the largest vessel ever constructed for Princess Cruises, expected to weigh approximately 175,500 gross tons.

Sphere-Class Sun Princess Cruise Ship
Render Courtesy: Princess Cruises

Sun Princess will measure 1,133 feet in length, with 21 decks filled with innovations for more than 4,300 guests to enjoy on each sailing. The vessel will have 2,157 staterooms 1,500 of them with balconies, including 50 suites and 100 connecting rooms to make multi-generational travel even easier.

It isn’t just the size of a ship that makes for an amazing experience, however. Sun Princess is expected to offer phenomenal new features for guests to enjoy, including a 9-story sphere integrated into its design with breathtaking views and an incredible sense of light and space.

Sun Princess will also feature the first-ever glass geodesic dome at sea, enclosing an indoor/outdoor pool that will transform to a brand new entertainment venue in the evening.

Sphere-Class Sun Princess Cruise Ship
Render Courtesy: Princess Cruises

The ship will include the cruise line’s iconic, heart-of-the-ship Princess Piazza, which on Sun Princess will be three stories. An impressive LED screen is also showcased in the center of the Piazza, and can be moved and configured for live entertainment performances.

That era will be a bright one if Sun Princess is any indication, and the new ship is sure to generate great excitement among cruise travelers leading up its anticipated debut on January 31, 2024.

New Carnival Cruise Ship Completes Sea Trials

Carnival Celebration set sail on her sea trials Monday, September 5, from Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. The initial trials took several days, testing the ship’s engines, thrusters, and technical systems, including maneuverability, speed, and stopping abilities.

Onboard was the ship’s master, Captain Vincenzo Alcaras, as well as the engineering team and many crew members, not only overseeing the testing but also gaining familiarity with the ship’s systems for smooth and efficient operation.

Carnival Celebration Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Depending on an individual vessel’s size, systems, and performance, as well as weather and marine traffic in the test area, sea trials typically take just a few days or as long as 10 days to complete.

Carnival Celebration completed her trials in the Baltic Sea, in the complicated archipelago around Turku, Finland, on the country’s southwestern tip.

The ship’s maiden voyage is planned for November 6, 2022, sailing from Southampton. The 14-night one-way, transatlantic itinerary will bring Carnival Celebration to her new homeport in Miami, Florida, calling on ports in Spain, Portugal, and the Canary Islands along the way.

The second Excel-class vessel in Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet and sister ship to the award-winning flagship Mardi GrasCarnival Celebration is sure to be celebrated when she reaches Miami, with fanfare from fireboats and shoreside facilities as she makes her way into the port for the first time.

Virgin Voyages Rescue

Scarlet Lady, the first vessel of the young Virgin Voyages cruise line, has rescued a small group of refugees from a makeshift raft north of Cuba, according to reports from passengers on board.

The ship, which was enjoying a day at sea, spotted the small, unsteady craft north of Cuba. The refugees appeared to be aboard a makeshift raft built from water barrels and inner tubes, with a blue plastic tarp or similar plastic sheet for a sail.

Eight individuals were aboard the raft, and while their condition was not known, the raft was obviously not seaworthy for the Straits of Florida, the occasionally rough waters between Cuba and the Florida Keys.

Scarlet Lady Rescue
Photo Credit: Alex Kalogeropoulos

The refugees were brought aboard the cruise ship with what belongings they could carry, though photos and video show that some materials remained aboard the raft. The small craft was left adrift after it was abandoned.

The incident occurred just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

After the rescue, tracking data showed Scarlet Lady turning north toward Key West, where it is likely the refugees will be turned over to the United States Coast Guard, the authorities overseeing such rescues.

After releasing the refugees to the proper authorities, Scarlet Lady resumed her voyage with a planned visit to Bimini in The Bahamas on Thursday before returning back to Miami on Friday, September 16.

For the first time since restarting cruise operations in July 2021, Carnival Cruise Line is bringing back its whimsical “Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast” event featuring The Cat in The Hat and Friends. The once-per-cruise offering will again be available fleetwide from October 1, 2022.

The restart of the colorful and whimsical breakfast event follows shortly after Carnival Cruise Line has resumed other popular dining options that were either closed due to pandemic conditions or staffing shortages that have plagued the cruise industry since the restart.

Carnival Cruise Line Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Along with a fun and memorable menu, guests at the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast will also be able to make fun memories by meeting popular Dr. Seuss characters, including The Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and more.

Earlier this month, the behind-the-scenes galley tour returned as part of the Chef’s Table dining experience, which had itself been on temporary hiatus from mid-May through late June. Similarly, the afternoon tea event – a popular socializing interlude for many guests – returned to all Carnival ships as of September 6, 2022.

Couple Charged Nearly 100k on Cruise Ship

After enjoying dinner at Jamie’s Italian – crispy calamari and garlic bread appetizers, followed by penne pomodoro, arugula and parmesan salad, and finished with decadent lemon meringue cheesecake and hot chocolate with vanilla ice cream – Alex and his wife, Alicia, were shocked to discover a charge for $98,638.93 added to their shipboard account.

The couple had already purchased the ship’s “Unlimited Dining Package” which includes multiple entrees and multiple specialty restaurants every night of a sailing, and can be a savings of up to 40% off depending on the venues.

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas
Photo Credit: AliveGK / Shutterstock

Jamie’s Italian is a favorite restaurant of the couple’s, who are both big Italian food fans, and this wasn’t even the first time they’d dined at the restaurant on this cruise.

After their meal, the couple – thrilled with the excellent service and delicious dining – authorized an additional gratuity to their account, but never expected the charge to be listed as nearly $100,000.

The incident happened on September 5, while the couple was enjoying a 7-night roundtrip Eastern Caribbean sailing aboard the Oasis-class Symphony of the Seas.

The ship had departed from Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, September 3, and spent both Sunday and Monday at sea before the startling charge appeared.

Disney Treasure to be Sixth Ship in the Fleet

At this year’s Disney’s D23 event in California, it was announced by Disney Parks chair D’Amaro, that Disney Cruise Line’s next new vessel will be named Disney Treasure. The new ship will become the sister ship to the current Disney Wish at 144,000 gross tons and a guest capacity of 4,000.

D’Amarao teased the Disney Treasure’s main atrium, named the Grand Hall. The cruise line says on its new dedicated ship page, “This magical gathering space draws from the enchanting influences of Asia and Africa, and is graced by the statues of Aladdin and Jasmine.”

Disney Treasure Cruise Ship
Rendering Courtesy: Disney Cruise Line

The new vessel is being constructed at the popular Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and once completed in 2024, it will become the new flagship.

Another identical class Disney ship is also scheduled to join the fleet in 2025. When Disney Treasure arrives, it will increase the Disney fleet to six ships.

As we get closer to the arrival of the Disney Treasure, the cruise line will release further details, including itineraries and onboard features. there are also some major construction milestones, such as the keel laying ceremony and floating out onto the water for the very first time.

More Cruise Headlines

Those were just a handful of the cruise stories from the past week in what was just another busy week in the cruise industry. We’ve got even more coverage, including Holland America Line testing biofuels, MSC cruise ship itinerary change due to Tropical Storm Fiona, new high-tech entertainment revealed for MSC World Europa, cruise lines canceling calls to Bermuda, Carnival Horizon assists a drifting boat in the Caribbean, Virgin Voyages updates its protocols and so much more.

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