The four major cruise companies — Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC — have all announced plans this year for new technology that over the next decade will transform cruising into an easier, line-free experience.
MSC Cruises’ new ship, Seaside, will come to Miami in December, paving the way for the cruise line’s expansion into PortMiami. The line also announced it is building two additional ships as part of its 12-ship growth plan.
Celebrity Cruises announced Thursday it is working on the first custom-built ship to sail to the Galapagos Islands. The 100-passenger Celebrity Flora will debut in 2019 with a design created to enhance the Galapagos experience.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration is being chartered by FEMA through mid-December to house hurricane relief workers in St. Thomas. But some passengers who booked their trips through travel agency Royal Seas Cruises say they’ve been denied refunds.
On Wednesday, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock International previewed the progress of its long-touted guitar-shaped hotel. The $1.5 billion project includes a new Hard Rock Live venue, lagoon-style pool and larger casino.
Azamara Club Cruises’ new ship will be familiar to local cruisers: The Miami-based line is refurbishing Adonia, the vessel that took Americans to Cuba again after a 50-year hiatus. After refurbishment, the ship will debut as the Azamara Pursuit in March 2018.
Luxury cruise expert Edie Rodriguez, who spearheaded the transformation of Crystal Cruises, is now lending her expertise to French luxury expedition cruise brand Ponant. Rodriguez will be responsible for growing Ponant brand awareness in the Americas.
Cruises are still steaming to the Caribbean. Contrary to popular belief, most of the more than 50 cruise ports from Mexico to Barbados are operating without damage following the recent spate of hurricanes. Four major ports in the eastern islands are closed, along with a handful of others.
Carnival finalized an agreement with FEMA on Wednesday for a four-month charter of the Carnival Fascination. The ship will house and provide meals for relief workers in St. Croix from Oct. 15 to Feb. 3.
Tour operators, airlines and cruise lines make bulk purchases of the tourist visas that many Americans need to travel to Cuba and have enough in hand to allow eligible U.S. travelers to visit the island for the foreseeable future. Cuban Americans who have up-to-date Cuban passports also can still travel.
Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas, which went on a three-stop humanitarian mission picking up evacuees in Puerto Rico, St. Croix and St. Thomas, unloaded passengers at Port Everglades Tuesday.
Hurricane Irma created a challenging situation for cruise lines that had to focus on keeping guests safe as well as their own employees who were in the path of the storm. Their response to the storm, and particularly relief efforts after Irma, was one of the best in the industry’s history, experts said.
A model of Star Wars land being built at Walt Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland Resort in Southern California was unveiled at the D23 Expo, the annual convention of Disney fans, by Bob Chapek, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The two lands, scheduled to open in 2019, are set at a remote trading port on a planet not seen before and is one of the last stops on the edge of Wild Space.