Norwegian Gem to Traverse Panama Canal for the First Time

Norwegian, Gem, ship

Last week, Norwegian Gem embarked on her first Panama Canal cruise, calling to 10 new ports and debuting on the West Coast when she concludes her itinerary in Los Angeles.

On Jan. 10, Norwegian Gem will be the 10th ship of the modern Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to cross the Panama Canal, visiting 10 new port cities during that sailing.

Among the new ports Norwegian Gem is sailing this season is Oranjestad, Aruba; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Willemstad, Curacao; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Los Angeles; Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Corinto, Nicaragua.

“We are very excited to showcase another one of our incredible ships on the West Coast, offering guests there a chance to experience our fleet and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with cruising Norwegian,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Norwegian Gem is the final ship of the Jewel Class. She welcomes over 2,300 guests each sailing and features one of the largest suites in the fleet, the Garden Villas.

These suites are over 4,000 square feet and sleep up to eight guests. They include three spacious bedrooms, a living room and a private garden with a hot tub. The ship is also home to a kid’s aqua park, a climbing wall, an expansive casino, over 15 dining options and 14 bars and lounges.

Puerto Vallarta Welcomes Return of Carnival Miracle

Carnival Miracle

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has announced the return of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle to Puerto Vallarta after a seven-year absence.

Connecting San Diego and Puerto Vallarta, the ship is scheduled to make its first call in December 2019.

For the 2019-2020 winter season, the Carnival Miracle will offer 10 voyages from the Port of San Diego. The schedule kicks off on December 1, 2019, with a seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera featuring calls at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.

Other cruise lines that sail from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta include Holland America Line and Disney Cruise Line.

For 2018, Puerto Vallarta is projecting 154 calls with 404,734 passengers, up from 145 calls in 2017.

According to the tourism board, calls to the destination are expected to increase annually and Puerto Vallarta’s International Port (API) is committing $22 million for an extensive renovation and construction project to the port infrastructure.

In charge of the project is the local company, Puerto Mágico PV. The work will cover La Hacienda, a new passenger centre, a Tequila distillery, an art gallery, artisan shops, a cultural centre; El Nido, a new commercial centre with a food court, a 400-car parking lot; and what is set to be the biggest aquarium in Latin America. The port will also be accessible to non-passenger, open to visitors and local residents. The project is scheduled to be unveiled before the end of 2018.

Carnival LIVE Concert Series Welcomes Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae JepsenPHOTO: Carly Rae Jepsen takes her music aboard a Carnival cruise ship this February. (photo via Flickr/Julio Enriquez)Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum, singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen—who has sold more than 20 million singles worldwide—will perform a free concert aboard Carnival Splendor in February 2018 as part of the Carnival LIVE Concert Series.The concert marks the first time the cruise line is collaborating with Universal Music Group and Brands (UMGB), the brand strategy and partnership division of Universal Music Group.

While the concert is a departure from previous Carnival LIVE performances—in that it is free and open to all guests sailing on Carnival Splendor’s February 17, 2018, seven-day voyage—it continues the line’s mission of bringing the best in live entertainment to the seas and providing guests an opportunity to enjoy captivating performances by top artists in a memorable setting.

The concert will take place on Carnival Splendor’s Lido Deck February 18 while the ship is at sea during a week-long Mexican Riviera cruise that operates round-trip from Long Beach, California. The voyage features a day-long call at Puerto Vallarta and two days at Cabo San Lucas.

Jepsen broke onto the music scene in 2012 with her major label debut Kiss that included the smash hit “Call Me Maybe.” This song climbed to #1 on the iTunes Singles charts in more than 47 countries and earned her Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year.

After earning rave reviews starring in the Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, she released her next album, E·MO·TION, which received critical acclaim and featured the Billboard Top 40 hit “I Really Like You.”

Jepsen also starred as the iconic Pink Lady, “Frenchy,” in FOX’s four-time Emmy award-winning musical GREASE: LIVE. Most recently, she voiced the character of Odette in the animated movie “LEAP!” “LEAP!” featured Jepsen’s song “Cut To The Feeling,” which has been hailed by critics as a top song of 2017 and showing up on year-end lists for Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard, Noisey and more.

Jepsen joins an impressive lineup of Carnival LIVE artists who run the gamut of musical genres, from rock, country, R&B and pop, as well as some of the biggest names in comedy. Previous Carnival LIVE artists include music superstars Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood and comedians Jim Gaffigan and Chris Tucker.

“While I’ve performed all over the world and on Broadway, I’ve never performed on a cruise ship before, and I’m really looking forward to a night with my fans in what promises to be a unique venue for an incredible night,” Jepsen said.

“We’re delighted to have Carly bring her signature brand of pop music to guests sailing aboard Carnival Splendor,” said Sarah Beth Reno, Carnival’s vice president of entertainment. “A free open-air concert on Lido Deck is an exciting new twist for Carnival LIVE, and we can’t wait for our guests to experience this one-of-a-kind entertainment concept in an entirely new setting,” she added.