MSC Cruises has announced that its first Meraviglia-class mega ship, MSC Meraviglia, will offer three sailings departing from New York as she comes to the US for the first time.
This includes two 10-night round trip sailings from New York, sailing to brand new destinations in the New England area and Canada, and a 13-night sailing cruising the Caribbean, ending at MSC Meraviglia’s new homeport in Miami. Sales for these cruises will open to all on January 2, 2018.
The arrival of the ship further demonstrates MSC Cruises’ commitment to growing in the region, and another exciting step in the company’s unprecedented investment plan.
American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of the American Queen, American Empress and new American Duchess, reported 2017 as the most successful year in the company’s six year history, the company said in a statement.
Delivering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, the three U.S. flagged paddlewheelers exceeded sales goals throughout the calendar year and recorded the highest guest satisfaction scores to date. The August debut of the first purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler American Duchess, newly expanded wine voyages on the American Empress sailing the Pacific Northwest and the American Queen’s popular 23-day Mighty Mississippi itineraries were among the American Queen Steamboat Company’s many 2017 highlights.
“The American Queen Steamboat Company has had an incredible year as we expanded our fleet and showcased the beauty of America’s heartland and the Pacific Northwest to more guests than ever before,” shared Ted Sykes, American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO. “Demand for U.S. river cruising is higher than ever before and I want to thank our loyal guests and dedicated travel agent partners for being a part of our record-breaking year.”
The American Queen is currently sailing the lower Mississippi River as part of its second annual Holiday Christmas Market season, showcasing local artisans, seasonal décor and river town traditions in ports such as Natchez, Miss. and St. Francisville, La. American Duchess guests recently departed on the first of several roundtrip Nashville Holiday itineraries sailing the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers for the conclusion of its inaugural season. The American Empress has concluded its 2017 season in the Pacific Northwest and will resume sailings in March 2018.
Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced next generation of its booked guest mobile application, the Cruise Norwegian app. Designed to be the ideal travel companion from time of booking to day of disembarkation, the new Cruise Norwegian app features a multitude of functions that help provide a stress-free vacation experience, helping guests make the most of their time on and off the ship as well as stay connected with their friends and family both on board and back home.
“Whether they’re 60 days from their sail date or in the middle of their cruise, the Cruise Norwegian app brings seamless anytime-access to a myriad of onboard offerings, services and activities right into the palms of our guests’ hands,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Once on board, the Cruise Norwegian app will allow guests to continue customizing their ideal cruise experience and view or manage their existing account information, allowing them to maximize their time and spend it on the things they enjoy the most.”
With the Cruise Norwegian app, guests’ dream cruise vacation is right at their fingertips with the capability to preview and book shore excursions, make dining and entertainment reservations, purchase onboard packages such as dining and beverage packages or special occasion packages before they cruise. Helping provide a stress-free embarkation day, the Cruise Norwegian app provides directions to the port and with mobile online check-in functionality guests can save time at the pier and have a paperless boarding process with mobile e-done.
Once on board, guests can use the Cruise Norwegian app complimentary by connecting to the ship’s wifi to stay up-to-date on what’s happening on board. The app allows guests to make reservations for their favorite Broadway-style shows, snag a seat for a mouthwatering dinner at one of Norwegian’s many Freestyle dining restaurants and book their next in-port adventure on a shore excursion. Friends and family can stay connected on board using the Cruise Norwegian app, which features unlimited onboard calls and messages for a one-time fee of $9.95. Groups can organize meet ups and share their favorite photos with everyone in their party with group messaging through the app. Those wishing to check-in with loved ones back home can make calls through the Cruise Norwegian app for a nominal fee of $0.79 per minute for outbound calls to nearly every country in the world.
Before disembarking the ship, guests using the app can track and review their onboard purchases, as well as view helpful disembarkation information including immigration and Easy Walk-off details. Those dreaming of their next cruise vacation can view information about Norwegian’s Cruise Next program and review their Latitudes Rewards points and learn about onboard tier benefits.
The free Cruise Norwegian app is currently available for use on cruises aboard Norwegian Sky. The new app will be available on board Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, when she launches in summer 2018, and will be available fleet wide by yearend 2018.
Marella Cruises, the UK focused cruise line in the TUI AG group, has appointed Columbia Cruise Services (CCS) the technical management contract for its newest and largest ship Marella Explorer and its next ship currently sailing as Mein Schiff 2.
From 2019, CCS that is based in Hamburg will manage all of Marella Cruises six-ship fleet and Marella Explorer and Mein Schiff 2, will both undergo an extensive refit on all 13 decks, 962 cabins and 10 restaurants, CCS said in a statement.
Adrian Hibbert, Marella Cruises Director of operations said in the statement: “I am delighted to announce our extended partnership with Columbia Cruise Services. We consider them to be a leader in cruise ship management and I am pleased that they will support us to deliver our next two ships. The tender process for the technical management of the newest ships in the Marella Cruises fleet was a lengthy and rigorous one and we are confident that will deliver the excellent efficient operational service we have come to see.”
CCS Managing Director Olaf Groeger said: “The appointment of Marella vessels 5 and 6 to CCS did not happen by default. We are proud that we withstood the extensive tender process, and assure that we put all efforts into a successful continuation and development of our cooperation with Marella Cruises.”
Behind the scenes the preparations for this large-scale project are already in full swing. “The takeover process for the Marella Explorer has started” explains CCS Fleet Manager André Bloemendaal. “A task force for the project kick-off has been initiated and will join the future Marella Explorer for familiarisation with the vessel and its specifics already this week.
MSC Cruises, the world’s fourth largest cruise shipping group, has taken delivery of MSC Seaside, its 14th ship.
The ship will officially be named on 21 December at PortMiami, and will mark the first ship ever for the cruise line to be named in the U.S.
MSC Seaside’s design and features include:
An industry-first “beach condo” design at the ship’s aft, connected by a panoramic glass elevator offering stunning sea views.
A waterfront boardwalk, located on Deck 8 which is lower than that of most ships, offering dining, drinking and more al freso.
One of the most interactive aqua parks at sea, including slide boarding technology (which combines a slide and interactive video game in one!), and an aqua play area for younger cruisers
Activities for all ages including two of the longest zip lines at sea! Guest can sail nearly 50 ft. in the air across the ship, reaching up to nearly 20 mph! The ship also includes two full-sized bowling lanes, an XD cinema and formula 1 simulators.
The largest spa of any MSC Cruises ship, with a thermal area that allows guests to experience state-of-the-art saunas, a Geyser area, Salt Relax area, Snow Room, Hammam Room and Emotional Showers for the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation.
A partnership with celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi for his first restaurant at sea, Asian Market Kitchen, featuring three distinct restaurants within – a sushi, sashimi and raw bar; an a la carte restaurant; and a teppanyaki restaurant.