Devotees of the world’s most famous doll soon can get their Barbie fix at sea. Royal Caribbean, in partnership with manufacturer Mattel, will offer the Barbie Premium Experience on some ships starting in January. Children who participate in the program will stay in a Barbie stateroom stocked with Barbie-style keepsakes and enjoy such events as a Tiaras and Teacups Party, Mermaid Dance Class, Fashion Designer Workshop and a Fashion Show in which they can dress up and strut on a pink carpet. Cost is $349. Children participating in the line’s Adventure Ocean youth program, can take part in a limited but complimentary version of the Barbie agenda, including a Barbie Movie Night, Barbie Story Time and other themed activities. The program will be available on all the line’s 22 ships by March.
BASEBALL AT SEA
MSC Cruises will offer four “Baseball Greats” sailings during the MSC Poesia’s fall/winter stay in South Florida. Host for all four cruises will be former New York Yankee Stan Bahnsen with a varying cast of former major leaguers — Ken Griffey Sr., Jim Fregosi, Cookie Rojas and Juan Marichal among them — on each cruise. Players will host hitting, fielding, base running and other clinics as well as take part in autograph sessions, question-and-answer panels, storytelling sessions and a guest pitching contest. This is the ninth year the line is hosting baseball-themed cruises.
MORE DANCE HOSTS
Ballroom dancers, take note: Crystal Cruises will increase the number of gentlemen hosts on its Big Band and Ballroom transatlantic voyage out of Miami March 31. Gentlemen hosts serve as dancing, dining and conversation partners for solo women. The line will increase the number of hosts from the usual four aboard all Crystal sailings to 12 for the 10-night crossing. It also will have eight dance instructors — twice the usual number — on the cruise, which will feature the legendary 17-piece Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Seabourn Cruises will sail to Antarctica for the first time starting in November of 2013 with a series of four 21- to 24-night sailings on Seabourn Quest. Sailing between Valparaiso, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, the ship will spend five nights in Antarctic waters during which, depending on weather conditions, guests will board small inflatable boats for jaunts ashore. Guests also will be able to visit Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia.
In addition to calling at several Chilean ports, the ship will also call at Ushuaia, Argentina, the Falkland Islands and Montevideo, Uruguay. On the 24-night holiday cruise, the Seabourn Quest will also call at the island of South Georgia. Fares start at $14,999 per person, double occupancy.
NORWEGIAN CRUISES• Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced a specialty dining package fleetwide that gives guests a small savings if they book three alternative restaurants — the steakhouse, French bistro and Italian restaurant — before boarding. Cost is $47 compared to $55 if the three restaurants are booked separately.
• Pride of America, the Norwegian ship that cruises the Hawaiian Islands, will go into drydock in March for a $30-million-plus renovation. Twenty-four suites will be added as well as four inside cabins, four single staterooms, a Brazilian steakhouse and ship-wide wireless Internet connectivity.
• The line’s under-construction Norwegian Getaway, which will be based year-round in Miami, will start service Feb. 1, 2014, three months earlier than scheduled. To accommodate the new ship, Norwegian’s other Miami-based ships will change schedules slightly starting in early 2014.
HERE AND THERE
Silversea Cruises will name its second expedition ship, which sails the Galapagos Islands, Silver Galapagos. The ship, which Silversea purchased, is currently sailing as the Galapagos Explorer II. The ship is slated for an overhaul in September 2013, then will begin a series of seven-day Galapagos cruises that will go on sale in the middle of next month.