Cruise News: Goodbye Ship, Hello Private Island
In this week's Cruise News: MSC Cruises announces a new private island; Royal Caribbean says 'goodbye' to one of their ships; Cunard Line launches a huge upgrade event.
Sir Bani Yas Island, located off the southwest coast of Abu Dhabi, is the newest exclusive island for guests on MSC Fantasia. Starting in December, the beach oasis will be added to the ship's winter cruise itineraries in the Dubai and Abu Dhabi regions. A few of the many perks of sailing to this lush island include:
- 387,500 square feet of paradise with more than 2,000 sunbeds for beachside lounging
- A private space for MSC Yacht Club guests
- An MSC Aurea Spa area for massages under beachside cabana huts
- An area for families and kids
- A Bedouin tent with arts and crafts offerings from local communities
The island will also have a selection of authentic foods and cooking stations serving up dishes from the region, beachside BBQ's and on/off shore expedition experiences for those who prefer a little action during their day-long visit.
MSC Fantasia sails on 7-14 night journeys to the Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas regions.
What are your thoughts on private islands on your cruise itinerary? See what some of our readers said.
Now's the time to sail on Cunard, folks. They just announced their Big Balcony Event going on until July 26, 2016. Guests can book a Balcony stateroom for the same price as an Oceanview. For an additional $50, you can even upgrade to the next Balcony category on select Transatlantic Crossings, New England, Caribbean, Europe and Exotic journeys. The event also includes:
- A free Grill Suite upgrade on select Transatlantic Crossings (reserve a Princess Grill Suite for the price of a Club Balcony, or a Queens Grill Suite for the price of a Princess Grill Suite)
- Free gratuities for guests who book Princess Queens Grill Suites
These upgrades will be available for all three Cunard ships--Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and the newly remastered Queen Mary 2.
Did you know Queen Mary 2 is now providing the ultimate royal treatment to pets and lovers of decadent cuisine? This upgrade announcement is only the cherry on top of a truly exclusive experience at sea.
Legend of the Seas will leave the cruise line's fleet on March 26, 2017 and will make its way to Thomson Cruises. All scheduled sailings from February 20, 2017 onward will be canceled--this includes all Brisbane, Australia itineraries (although January 6,15, 29 and February 8 sailings will run as scheduled).
As a result of the ship sale, the cruise line is adjusting some of its deployments, notably with Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas:
Rhapsody of the Seas will still sail from Tampa, FL in fall 2016/winter 2017 as planned. However, all previously planned sailings out of Cape Liberty, New Jersey will be canceled. New itineraries include:
- 14-night Transatlantic sailing to Barcelona, Spain out of Tampa On April 29
- 7 nights from Barcelona to Venice on May 13
- 7-night sailings from Venice, Italy from May 20 through end of October
Vision of the Seas' current Europe itineraries, which include those sailing out of Venice from August 22, 2017 through November 17, 2017, will be canceled. Instead, she'll offer new sailings out of Copenhagen, Denmark and Cape Liberty, NJ which include:
- A 16-night Transatlantic journey out of Copenhagen to Cape Liberty on August 22
- 13-night sailings from Cape Liberty to Quebec City, Canada
- Sailings on September 20, October 1 and October 11 will replace the canceled Rhapsody sailings and will include calls in Boston and ports in Maine and Nova Scotia.
Any guests sailing on affected itineraries will receive a full refund and the chance to re-book on another Royal Caribbean ship.
Although they're fairly new to the world of river cruising, they've secured a second-to-top ranking in 2016/2017's "Berlitz River Cruising in Europe Guide". Scoring high ratings in categories such as Accommodation, Cuisine and Service, this cruise line is known for its generous amenities--from ample storage space in cabins to large bathrooms and an indoor-outdoor pool.
If you're not familiar with Emerald Waterways, here are some of the perks of cruising with them:
- They offer a number of active excursions--more than other river cruise lines.
- They're launching 3 new ships in 2017 (bringing their total fleet number to 7).
- The Emerald Active program provides guests with the option to choose more physical excursions, such as guided bike tours and hikes on 6 of their most popular European itineraries – all offered at no additional charge.
- This includes treks through Germany's Black Forest and bike tours through popular cities, to name a few.
We're big fans of river cruising, so if you're sailing on a river cruise for the first time we suggest you give Emerald a try.
Any passengers sailing after July 1st will see higher per person/day fees. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect to pay based on stateroom category:
- Suite guests will now pay $17 per person/day (current rate is $16.45)
- Inside, balcony and oceanview guests will pay $13.50 per person/day (current rate is $12.95)
- Aqua and Concierge class cabins will see a $.55 increase in their daily rate--increasing from $13.45 to $14.
IN OTHER NEWS
Carnival Cruise line is adding a children's menu to their steakhouse and the internet had something to say about it.
The Steakhouse will now offer a kids menu (for kids 12 and under) for a charge of $10--a small addition that caused a large reaction from guests online. John Heald, Carnival's senior cruise director, made the announcement this week via his Facebook page and the majority of guests seem to be against this addition. Before we weigh in on the subject, here are a few of the options offered in the children's menu:
Mac n' cheese
Beef Sliders, Parmesan Fries
Fish n' Chips
Banana Split (Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, Cream)
Chocolate and Nutella Pizza
Before you squeal at the sight of "Nutella", know that this menu is off-limits to adults.
Adults pay a fee of $35 at the Steakhouse--that remains the same. Do you agree with the majority opinion against adding a children's menu to the Steakhouse? Sound off below.