Cruise notes

New Royal Caribbean ship will sail from New Jersey

 

Special to The Miami Herald

Royal Caribbean’s next ship, Quantum of the Seas, will include a simulated skydiving experience, bumper cars, roller skating, a circus school, and a Ferris wheel-inspired ride. It will also have studio staterooms for single guests, a feature that Norwegian Cruise Line introduced on Norwegian Epic, and “virtual balconies” in interior rooms that show what’s going on outside, similar to the virtual portholes on Disney Cruise Line’s newer ships.

The 4,180-passenger ship, which will launch in the fall of 2014, will be based in New Jersey, at Cape Liberty Cruise Port about seven miles south of Manhattan.

Sister ship Anthem of the Seas, which is scheduled for delivery six months after Quantum, will include the same features. The company has not said where Anthem of the Seas will be based.

MILITARY VIPS

You can sail with some pretty important people on a special Princess cruise this fall. Among your shipmates on the Caribbean Princess’ four-night cruise out of Houston Nov. 4-9 will be America’s former top military leaders — the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen; former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey; former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz; and former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead.

Purpose of the cruise is to raise funds for two veterans’ organizations, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and Operation Homefront. Alan Buckelew, CEO of Princess Cruises and himself a Vietnam veteran, will host the cruise, and each top officer will host a military branch gathering during the voyage.

Also on the programs will be Joe Galloway, an award-winning combat correspondent; Justin Constantine, an Iraq war veteran who has become a speaker and veterans’ advocate; and Gregory Melikian, a World War II Army sergeant who sent out the news of the unconditional surrender of Germany. www.princess.com/cruisingforacause.

FREIGHTER CROSSINGS

For those who like freighter cruises, a new transatlantic service has been launched by MSC on its MSC Lausanne, MSC Monterey and MSC Uganda. The ships run between Bremerhaven, Felixstowe, Antwerp and Le Havre, and the U.S. east coast, calling at New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Norfolk. The full voyage takes 35 days, but segments of as few as 11 days are available. Cost of the full voyage starts at $4,760 per person double occupancy or about $1,180 for an 11-day option. Information: The Cruise People, (London) 011-020-7723-2450, cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

NEW ROUTES

Carnival Cruises’ Carnival Dream, back in service after suffering generator problems in March that forced the line to fly passengers home from St. Maarten and cancel another cruise, will offer several new itineraries in addition to its existing seven-night western Caribbean cruises from its home port of Port Canaveral.

Starting next in May, the ship will broaden its schedule to include never-before-offered eight-night cruises, two new five-night sailings and a monthly seven-night voyage to the eastern Caribbean. The new eight-night itineraries will sail either to southern or eastern Caribbean ports.

NEW SHIPS, NEW PORTS

• MSC Cruises will base a ship in Miami year-round for the first time ever. The MSC Divina, christened last year, will begin its year-round sailings from Miami in November.

• Two new river cruise ships have just been christened on Portugal’s Douro River by Hollywood actresses. Sharon Stone christened AMAWaterways’ newest vessel, the AmaVida, and Audie MacDowell did the honors for Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ new Queen Isabel. Both ships entered service last month.

• Another new river ship, the Avalon Artistry II, debuted in Holland last week, and Avalon Waterways will christen still another river ship, the Avalon Expression, next month.

• Princess Cruises will base its 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess in Singapore for four months in 2014-15 to make 15 roundtrip sailings of various durations, calling at a total of 16 ports. The extended stay in Singapore will be a first for a premium cruise line, according to CEO Alan Buckelew.

• Lindblad Expeditions has acquired an Australian small-ship operator, Orion Expedition Cruises, and will rename that line’s 102-passenger Orion in March of 2014 as the National Geographic Orion. The ship will continue to be based in Sydney.

HERE AND THERE

Country music fans: The Norwegian Pearl will host a Country Cruising sailing from Miami on Jan. 12 featuring Tracy Atkins, Montgomery Gentry, Wynonna, Neal McCoy, Love and Theft, Craig Morgan, Lonestar and others. Prices for the seven-night cruise start at $979. 800-248-7471, www.countrycruising.com. … Passengers traveling alone on Crystal ships will get a good deal on 26 voyages from June to December, paying a supplement of only 10 percent to occupy a double-occupancy stateroom, a much lower rate than usual. … Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will mark its 200th Atlantic crossing with special activities during its July 5 sailing. … Following the success of its first “Signature Sailings” last year, Oceania Cruises is expanding the program this year to eight special sailings that will feature celebrity chefs, wine and culinary experts, guest lecturers, musical artists and bridge tournaments.

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