Marella Discovery to Sail From Port Canaveral in 2021

Marella Discovery

For the first time ever, Marella Cruises will base a ship in the United States as the Marella Discovery will sail from Port Canaveral in 2021.

The TUI-owned brand targeted at the British market will sail the Marella Discovery from the port beginning in Summer 2021, offering four new itineraries with 11 port-of-call visits.

“We’re excited that Marella Cruises has selected Port Canaveral as the homeport for its first-ever cruises from the United States,” Port CEO Captain John Murray said. “Today’s announcement is another endorsement that our ongoing investments in state-of-the-art terminals and commitment to excellence in cruise operations continue to earn the confidence of some of the world’s most successful cruise brands.”

Cruise bookings go on sale Thursday, Nov. 7, for 26 seasonal voyages from May 2, 2021, through Oct. 24, 2021.

The ship will sail from Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 5.

“We’re really excited to be setting sail from the USA,” said Chris Hackney, Managing Director at Marella Cruises. “Expanding our program provides an opportunity for cruisers to sample the American Dream, and we’ve ensured there really is something for everyone, whether that’s a visit to Walt Disney World in Florida, an evening in New York, authentic jazz music in New Orleans or a rollercoaster in Busch Gardens. Offering our customers more choice and flexibility is at the heart of what we do.”

Customers sailing on Marella’s American Dream and Big Apple Adventure itineraries will enjoy an overnight stop in New York City. The Discovery will also visit Miami and Turks and Caicos on its Sunshine States and Sands itinerary. And customers can select seven- or 14-night options with an overnight stay in Tampa on the ship’s Floridian Favorites itinerary. Guests choosing one of the four itineraries also have the flexibility to extend their cruise ashore with available cruise-and-stay packages available in Orlando.

The Marella Discovery will make port-of-call visits to the Ports of Charleston, S.C., New York City, Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas, Norfolk, Va., Key West, Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans.

MSC Cruises Adds New Accessible Shore Excursions

MSC Cruises today announced the roll out of its accessible shore excursions program to five more ports this winter and three additional ports for summer 2020.  MSC Cruises aims to ensure that guests have the largest variety of shore excursions possible to suit all needs. Hence MSC Cruises is introducing its Accessible Tours Program, extending the availability of tailored shore excursions for those with varied mobility, the company said in a statement.  “MSC Cruises is committed to offer an incredible choice of shore excursions designed to suit all tastes, giving guests the freedom to make the most of every moment ashore,” said Jean-Pierre Joubert, Head of Shore Excursions at MSC Cruises. “We have always been sensitive to the needs of our guests, and constantly strive to offer the best possible service, meeting international accessibility standards. This program is unique because for the first time we offer accessible tours available in both popular cruise regions of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.”  The tours and excursions have been created with careful consideration for safety and accessibility, allowing all guests to explore each destination in total comfort: tour routes are completely step-free and accessible to wheelchairs wherever possible; only short distances are covered; timings are run at a slower pace; and accessible restrooms with wide doors are planned along the route. Family members and friends can also join these inclusive tours, with the comfort of small groups led by professional tour guides experienced in working with guests with varied mobility.  The Accessible Tours Program includes the San Juan (Puerto Rico) shore excursion that combines the best highlights of San Juan into one accessible tour. Escorted by their own tour guide, guest will enjoy a leisurely stroll in the Old Town, and experience panoramic driving tour of the spectacular old Fort San Cristobal, the breathtaking El Capitolio, the famous Casa Olimpica and other popular landmarks. The Marseilles (France) excursion will bring guests to a hill with views of the city, after which they will travel back in time while exploring historic landmarks including the Old Port and accessible parts of the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean.

MSC Cruises announced the rollout of its accessible shore excursions program to five more ports this winter and three additional ports for summer 2020.

MSC said it aims to ensure that guests have the largest variety of shore excursions possible to suit all needs. Hence MSC it is introducing its Accessible Tours Program, extending the availability of tailored shore excursions for those with varied mobility, the company said in a statement.

“MSC Cruises is committed to offering an incredible choice of shore excursions designed to suit all tastes, giving guests the freedom to make the most of every moment ashore,” said Jean-Pierre Joubert, Head of Shore Excursions at MSC Cruises. “We have always been sensitive to the needs of our guests, and constantly strive to offer the best possible service, meeting international accessibility standards. This program is unique because for the first time we offer accessible tours available in both popular cruise regions of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.”

The tours and excursions have been created with careful consideration for safety and accessibility, allowing all guests to explore each destination in total comfort: tour routes are completely step-free and accessible to wheelchairs wherever possible; only short distances are covered; timings are run at a slower pace, and accessible restrooms with wide doors are planned along the route. Family members and friends can also join these inclusive tours, with the comfort of small groups led by professional tour guides experienced in working with guests with varied mobility.

The Accessible Tours Program includes the San Juan (Puerto Rico) shore excursion that combines the best highlights of San Juan into one accessible tour. Escorted by their own tour guide, the guest will enjoy a leisurely stroll in the Old Town, and experience the panoramic driving tour of the spectacular old Fort San Cristobal, the breathtaking El Capitolio, the famous Casa Olimpica and other popular landmarks. The Marseilles (France) excursion will bring guests to a hill with views of the city, after which they will travel back in time while exploring historic landmarks including the Old Port and accessible parts of the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean.

Two cruise lines regroup after Caribbean setbacks

The Norwegian Sky in Havana in a 2017 photo.

Norwegian Sky outside Havana Port, Cuba.

Two cruise companies affected by sudden upsets in the Caribbean and Bahamas region are slowly regaining their footing.

For Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), the big blow was the abrupt end to U.S. cruises to Cuba in June. NCLH had bet heavily on Cuba’s reopening, scheduling not only short cruises on its contemporary Norwegian Cruise Line brand but longer visits by its two premium brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

As detailed in a conference call with investors, the U.S. government decision to shutter Cuba with no advance warning hit NCLH third-quarter earnings big-time.

“Given the suddenness of the termination and the lack of lead time we had to make any meaningful fleet redeployment changes, the third quarter bears the largest negative earnings impact from the Cuba travel ban,” said Frank Del Rio, the company’s CEO.

The hit was more than $47 million.

Overnight, high yielding routes to Cuba for the Norwegian brand turned into low-yielding routes to the Bahamas. And several months later came Hurricane Dorian, which made its own dent in NCLH’s earnings through cancelled sailings and reworked itineraries.

Del Rio said Norwegian plans to redeploy half of its Bahamas capacity to higher-yielding areas such as Alaska, the eastern Mediterranean and Asia, and will slowly get out from under the Cuba aftermath.

Even more impacted by Dorian than Norwegian was Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, whose only destination is the Bahamas.

It suspended its two-day sailings to Grand Bahama for most of September, filling in the time by providing much-need relief and evacuation services.

The silver lining, of sorts, is that Dorian forced Bahamas Paradise into a new market, Nassau, which was not much affected by the storm. It now runs one of its ships from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahama and the other to Nassau.

Bookings for Nassau started slow, said Francis Riley, senior vice president of sales and marketing, but are now on par with those to Grand Bahama. Part of the attraction is the Cruise & Stay program where guest can vacation for two or four nights at one of four Nassau hotels:  Atlantis, The Melia, the Comfort Suites Nassau or the SLS Baha Mar.

Bahamas Paradise has a similar program in place on Grand Bahama with the Lucayan, which has reopened, and the Viva Wyndham, which plans to reopen Dec. 10.

Unlike Norwegian, Bahamas Paradise doesn’t have plans to go elsewhere, and it is busy selling the Bahamas to Canadians and New Yorkers, who have just started getting the frosty temperatures they can look forward to until next spring.