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Cabanas on cruise line’s private island

Norwegian Cruise Line is now offering use of private cabanas with VIP service and amenities on its private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. Each of the 10 new cabanas, which accommodates up to six guests, is equipped with lounge chairs, tables, cooler, beach towels and a shower.

Cabana rental runs $249 per day and includes a $50 food and beverage credit, up to six all-day passes to the Hippo Waterslide and a large float. Cabana renters also get priority tender service, bottled water and a fruit basket. The cabanas are part of a $25-million island enhancement project.

Norwegian Sky stops at Great Stirrup Cay on its three- and four-night cruises from Miami. Norwegian Pearl will also stop there this winter on its seven-night cruises from Miami.


Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder will offer a feast of Pixar animated films and characters on four special California coastal cruises this fall.

More than a dozen Pixar characters will stroll the decks, among them Mr. Incredible, Remy, Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear. Guests also will see how Pixar creates animated features and will view storyboards, sketches and other materials used in film-making. They also will get a glimpse of upcoming Pixar films.

The entire Pixar library of films will be available for viewing on board, including the new Finding Nemo 3D, the theater premiere of which will coincide with the cruises. The cruise line also may set up special shore excursions to such sites as the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

Disney Wonder will sail out of Los Angeles, calling at San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico, on four seven-night voyages Sept. 16 through Oct. 14. Fares start at $799 per person.


American Cruise Line’s brand new paddlewheeler, Queen of the Mississippi, was completed six weeks ahead of schedule at a Maryland shipyard and now is docked in New Orleans, where its first cruise will begin in August. The new vessel, which will carry 150 guests, will operate cruises on the entire Mississippi River system, including the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers. The company says that because the ship is able to travel faster than other riverboats, it will allow for longer visits to river towns.


MSC Cruises will introduce new Red Sea itineraries this fall on its 1,554-passenger MSC Armonia. Starting on Nov. 10, the Armonia will be homeported in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from where it will make a series of seven-night Red Sea cruises calling at Safaga, Egypt; Elat, Israel; Aqaba, Jorden; and Sokhna Port, Egypt. Shore excursions will be offered to the Pyramids, the historic city of Petra, Mount Sinai and the Dead Sea. The Armonia will leave Sharm El Sheikh to return to its Venice base April 6.


Carnival Cruise Lines’ new Carnival Breeze, which entered service in Europe in June, will bring several cruise innovations to Miami when it is homeported here starting in November.

It is the line’s first ship to feature the Thrill Theater, a multi-dimensional, special-effects experience. Other entertainment features include “Hasbro, the Game Show,” based on the popular Family Game Night television show, and Playlist Productions, live revues with high-tech effects. On the dining side, Carnival Breeze will have the line’s first full-service sushi restaurant, Bonsai Sushi, and an open-air barbecue venue called Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ.

The new 3,690-passenger ship will make six- and eight-night Caribbean cruises out of Miami starting Nov. 24. It will be the largest ship ever homeported in Miami.


Avalon Waterways is putting put two new suite ships into service on European rivers this summer. The Avalon Visionary will sail on the Rhine River, the Avalon Vista on the Danube. Both ships have two full decks of suites with floor-to-ceiling retractable windows. … American Cruise Lines will offer a new seven-night itinerary next year that visits ports in Washington state’s Puget Sound and San Juan Islands. Sailing out of Seattle, the line’s American Spirit will call at Anacortes, Friday Harbor, Port Townsend and Poulsbo.