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BREAKING – Carnival Corp. First US Cruise Line to Cuba

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Carnival Corporation announced this morning that it has received approval from the US Department of the Treasury and the US Department of Commerce to operate cruises to Cuba. Carnival plans to being cruises through the company’s recently unveiled Fathom purpose-travel brand in May 2016. According to Carnival, the company “intends to operate fathom travel itineraries directly to Cuba for the purpose of providing cultural, artistic, faith-based and humanitarian exchanges between American and Cuban citizens. Authorized under current U.S.-to-Cuba travel guidelines, the new Cuban itineraries on fathom will strictly comply with U.S. Department of Treasury rules that allow licensed travel companies to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities that support the Cuban people. Carnival Corporation is in active discussions…

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Majesty of the Seas Not Leaving Royal Caribbean Afterall

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Royal Caribbean International announced today that Majesty of the Seas, the line’s oldest but well-loved vessel, will not be leaving the fleet next year as planned. Instead, Majesty will undergo a major drydock next year, then reposition to Port Canaveral, where the ship will continue to offer 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises. However, this won’t be your father’s Majesty of the Seas. Highlights of what is to come include New waterslides Poolside movie screen New restaurant options including Sabor Taqueria, Izumi Japanese cuisine, and Chef’s Table Voom interent, the fastest at sea, which will be complimentary for all Majesty of the Seas’ guests According to Royal Caribbean’s press release, the casino will also see upgrades and “suite guests will enjoy…

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Where Have All the Cruise Deals Gone?

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I have endeavored to write a post known as “The Weekly Cruise Deal” for some time now. While I’m still committed to posting about deals from all the cruise lines when I see them, I’m certain you’ve noticed that I’m posting a good bit less than weekly. That’s not from a lack of desire, it’s from a lack of what I consider to be good cruise deals. What happened? There are a few forces at work here, and they aren’t all that different than those in the airline industry. The economy is expanding, unemployment is slowly going down, and people are feeling confident enough to take a vacation leading to increased demand for cruises. Combine that with a bit of…

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Nine Lives Lost in Cruise Excursion Plane Crash

Sad news this morning from Alaska. Eight passengers and a pilot on an airborne shore excursion near Ketchikan, Alaska lost their lives Thursday. The passengers were from Holland America’s Westerdam, which was on a 7-day Alaskan cruise from Seattle. Details are sketchy at the moment, the NTSB has launched a go team to investigate. A remarkably sad and tragic event. NBC News has a few more details in this video.

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Massive New Ships for Carnival Corporation

This morning, Carnival Corporation announced details on a massive new ship order originally alluded to back in March. The world’s largest cruise company has entered into a contract with Meyer-Werft for 4 new ships that will be the company’s largest and the biggest cruise liner’s ever built when measured by guest count. According to the company, the new ships “will also feature a revolutionary “green cruising” design. The ships will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) — the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel, representing a major environmental breakthrough. Further, “each of the four next-generation ships will have a total capacity of 6,600 guests, feature more than 5,000 lower berths, exceed…

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Cruise to Nowhere Planned? Check Your Booking

Carnival was first to announce a change in the U.S. view on cruises to nowhere via Sr. Cruise Director John Heald’s Facebook page. Disappointing news :Due to recent changes in how ships are cleared into and out of the United States by U.S…. Posted by John Heald on Thursday, June 11, 2015 I never knew the backstory on “cruises to nowhere” but a read of the Passenger Vessel Services Act leads me to think they were an exception that has long been OK as long as vessels entered international waters. This Seatrade Cruise News article adds even greater clarity. “Revenue cruises to nowhere from US ports on foreign-flag ships are coming to an end. Traditionally such short sailings have been…

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The Weekly Recap – June 13, 2015

Another week done, and just 1 week left in my travel stand down. Off the road or not, there is always something going on worth writing about. One of the most interesting things that happened this week was what I termed the “Delta Mixed Award Kerfuffle.” Interesting, not because of the stir caused, but more by one tiny little thing a Delta spokesperson said. “…..as part of changes to the 2015 SkyMiles program, we aligned with the revenue shopping rules…..” Which leads me to recommend that if you read one blog post this weekend (in addition to mine, of course 😉 ), read this one from Tiffany at One Mile at a Time. Perhaps the best piece on Delta and the direction SkyMiles…

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No More Carry On Bottled Beverages on Carnival

Carnival Cruises broke the hearts of spring breakers (and a handful of folks long graduated from college) worldwide yesterday when it announced that it would no longer allow guests to carry on bottled beverages, including water effective July 9th. The exception to this is you may still bring on one bottle of wine or champagne per passenger. In exchange, Carnival is lowering the price of bottled water purchased on board to $2.99 per 12 pack if reserved in advance or $4.99 on board. You can expect the usual course of complaining about this being a revenue enhancing ploy but I do not agree. Does it reduce the likelihood that anyone will be smuggling booze on board in empty water bottles?…

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Carnival Corp Launches Its 10th Brand

Yesterday, Carnival Corporation announced the launch of its 10th cruise brand, Fathom Travel. Fathom will be a unique brand with an interesting new focus – cruise travel with a social purpose. Yes, there’s a ship. Yes, there’s food and a pool on board. But when you arrive at your destination, you will focus on helping people bring about positive change in their community. Carnival launched the new brand at an event yesterday in New York which I attended. Arriving, I admittedly had no idea what the buzz was about, the #ImpactTravel hashtag should have been a clue for me. The first Fathom Travel cruise will set sail in April 2016 using P&O’s Adonia, a smaller ship. There’ll be a few…

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Major Upgrades for Azamara Club Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises has announced a major refurbishment plan for its ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. According to the company, both ships “will undergo “major upgrades” while in dry dock in early 2016, reinvigorating the onboard guest experience.” Azamara’s ships are more intimate than the big ships accommodating 686 guests each. (Image courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises) No area of the ships will be untouched by the extensive renovations. According to Azamara President and CEO Larry Pimentel, “each corner of the ships will have a new look and feel, setting a brighter, more contemporary ambiance, while the new venues will bring guests fresh experiences. We’re also investing in new onboard innovations and have paid close attention to the smallest…

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