Cruise News: River Cruising and Robots
The July 13 debut of the new luxury vessel also marks the official launch of Crystal River Cruises. The 154-passenger, all-suite ship is a floating hub of luxury—boasting features such as digital directories for onboard needs, dry cleaning and butler service and backlit bathroom mirrors equipped with integrated televisions. Plus, most excursions offered on the ship's Danube River itineraries (which sail to stunning destinations such as Austria, Germany, Croatia and Serbia) are complimentary.
The newest Regent Seven Seas ship was christened into service this week in high fashion. Christened by H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco, the ceremony also included a special 40-minute private performance by renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Seven Seas Explorer's 750-guest capacity grants cruisers a more intimate and exclusive experience at sea. Here's a peek at some of the highlights on board:
The Regent Suite (yes, this is ONE suite):
The Veranda Suite (in all its cozy yet oh-so-spacious and regal glory):
The Observation Lounge—a place to kick back and relax with a beautiful ocean view:
The main pool deck:
The Culinary Arts Kitchen, where guests can learn how to prepare a variety of gourmet dishes:
Compass Rose restaurant:
Seven Seas Explorer also includes an impressive entertainment selection, featuring a number of Broadway productions on board. The ship will embark on her maiden voyage July 20 and will spend her inaugural season sailing Europe, then head to Miami for Caribbean voyages.
It's never too early to talk about a few holiday celebrations at sea (Christmas in July, anyone?). And although Disney Cruise Line's Very Merrytime Cruises won't debut until November 5, they're already kicking into the holiday cruiseing gear. Very Merrytime Cruises host a variety of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years celebrations on board, including:
A Thanksgiving day feast: Enjoy a Thankagiving day meal with a visit from Mickey and Minnie Mouse, plus live broadcasts of NFL footaball games on jumbo LED screens.
Mickey's Tree-Lighting Magic: On the first night of the cruise, head to the atrium lobby to join Disney characters for holiday carols and lighting the three-deck-tall tree.
Santa's Winter Wonderland Ball: The atrium lobby will host Santa and Mrs. Claus for a Christmas celebration, complete with a snowfall and classic holiday tunes.
Deck the Deck Holiday Party: Cruisers can take part in tropical-themed celebrations such as hula hooping, limbo under giant candy canes and a conga line around the pool.
Voyages sailing into the new year will also feature a New Year's Eve party, complete with music, wine and a midnight countdown.
The cruise industry has seen its fair share of technological advances over the last few years: from virtual cruise ship tours to next-generation smart ships with onboard tracking capabilities. And now, we have robots.
Costa Cruises has welcomed a new interactive member to Costa Diadema. World, meet Pepper:
Not only does Pepper speak three languages (English, French and Italian), but the robot uses voice and facial recognition to dance and play games with guests and even take selfies. The robot is also a handy go-to for the latest information on board, such as restaurants, shopping and activities. But Pepper isn't limited to just onboard knowledge; the robot can also dish out tips on certain destinations on the itinerary and even ask cruisers for their opinion on their overall experience at sea.
Diadema will debut 5 Pepper robots; following Diadema's initial trial period, 5 additional robots will then make their way to Costa Fascinosa.
But while Pepper boasts a number of impressive abilities, one very important question remains: is the robot skilled at spotting a Pokemon? Only time will tell...