Hurricane Humberto Causes Cruise Ships to Alter Course

Five-day forecast for Hurricane Humberto.

PHOTO: Five-day forecast for Hurricane Humberto. (Photo courtesy of National Hurricane Center)Hurricane Humberto, which has developed over the weekend from a Tropical Storm into a full-blown, Category-1 hurricane, is making its way toward Bermuda, forcing cruise lines operating in the region to reroute their ships.

According to CruiseCritic, Humberto has thus far affected two Carnival Cruise Line itineraries that were scheduled to be sailing in Bermuda between Wednesday, September 18, and Friday, September 20.

Carnival Pride, which left Baltimore on September 15, is now spending two days at sea before sailing on to visit Grand Turk and the Dominican Republic’s Amber Cove, rather than Bermuda, as was originally intended.

Carnival Sunrise, departing today from New York City, will stop in Charleston, South Carolina, on September 18 before spending a previously-unscheduled day at sea. Sunrise will then spend a single day in Bermuda on Friday, September 20, by which time the storm is expected to have moved on, before cruising back to New York by September 22.

Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas is also scheduled to weigh anchor in Bermuda on September 21, after Humberto is forecast to have already moved away from the island.

While no warnings are currently in effect, the National Hurricane Center anticipates the need to a Tropical Storm Watch for Bermuda later this afternoon, as Humberto continues to gain strength and move east-northeast over the next two days or so.

With sustained wind speeds of 85 mph, the hurricane was this morning sitting about 710 miles outside of Bermuda but is expected to reach the north end of the island by Wednesday night. Humberto is expected to peak as a major hurricane within the next 36-48 hours, with forwarding speed intensifying through Thursday, September 19.

Other effects of the storm include large swells, which will affect portions of the northwestern Bahamas and the southeastern U.S. during the upcoming few days. People in those areas should be aware of dangerous surf conditions and potentially life-threatening rip currents.

How Carnival and Royal Caribbean Are Rejuvenating Their Fleets

How Carnival and Royal Caribbean Are Rejuvenating Their Fleets
Royal Caribbean will introduce Music Hall to Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
Credit: 2019 Royal Caribbean International

As cruise competitors seek the attention of new and returning clientele, the trend for lines to offer the best in deck attractions, fine dining and world-class entertainment continues. New and ever-grander ships are on the horizon, but brands are updating their existing vessels to have all the latest that clients expect, as well.

In short: The differences between older and newer ships are becoming imperceptible.

Here, we take a look at two companies updating their ageing vessels — Carnival Corporation & Plc, and Royal Caribbean International — and what clients can anticipate on future cruise vacations.

Carnival Corporation & Plc

Caribbean Princess, from Carnival brand Princess Cruises, recently went all out to update its kid-friendly pool deck with the new Reef Splash Zone. Central to the waterpark is Splashpad, featuring Winnie the Whale, an “Animal Planet” focus of the Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers onboard. The whale playfully emits water from its fluke and spout among other interactive sprays, showers and a splash pool. There are other whale murals for more “Instagrammable” moments, as well as a family game zone with oversize backyard-style games.

Carnival Sunrise will feature new amenities such as a waterpark, waterslides, a children’s splash zone and a SportSquare.

Carnival Sunrise will feature new amenities such as a waterpark, waterslides, a children’s splash zone and a SportSquare.

Carnival Sunrise will feature new amenities such as a waterpark, waterslides, a children’s splash zone and a SportSquare.

Credit: 2019 Carnival Cruise Line

The surrounding pool, whirlpool and bar area has also been refreshed. Morgan’s Bar serves mocktails with names such as Crazy Coconut and Berry Nice to Meet You that guests can enjoy while lounging on plush sectionals. And just a deck below, the outdoor portion of Camp Discovery showcases a destination-themed water table that is educational and illustrates itinerary spots such as Sydney Opera House in Australia, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Panama Canal.

Meanwhile, Carnival brand Carnival Cruise Line has completely transformed Carnival Triumph into the new Carnival Sunrise, which now sports a pleasantly more subdued aesthetic and contemporary amenities. It also features two redesigned Captain’s Suites and updates to all other cabins.

Like Caribbean Princess, Sunrise newly touts a children’s splash zone, a waterpark and waterslides. There’s also a SportSquare with a ropes course and minigolf, as well as a Serenity adults-only retreat. Camp Ocean, Circle “C” and Club O2 are dedicated to kids, teens and tweens, respectively.

Enhanced entertainment onboard Sunrise includes The Punchliner Comedy Club, hosted in the new Limelight Lounge; Playlist Productions in Liquid Lounge; and other live music and parties. The shipboard shops, photo gallery, spa and fitness centre have also been updated.

Onboard culinary venues now include Guy’s Burger Joint, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, BlueIguana Cantina and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Alchemy Bar, The Chef’s Table and Cherry on Top, as well as the upgraded Lido Marketplace, Pizzeria del Capitano and Java Blue venues.

Royal Caribbean International

With the success of its latest vessels, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean is now eyeing its Oasis-class vessels for dramatic enhancements. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will soon share even more with their younger sister ships for greater consistency across the fleet while still showcasing some individuality.

Oasis and Allure will feature the colorful candy and ice-cream shop Sugar Beach.

Oasis and Allure will feature the colourful candy and ice-cream shop Sugar Beach.

Credit: 2019 Royal Caribbean International

In time for its 10-year anniversary, Oasis will relaunch this November after an extensive two-month refurbishment. Leading its new onboard features will be a redesigned Pool and Sports Zone complete with a Splashaway Bay children’s waterpark; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides; and the famed Ultimate Abyss dry slide. Splashaway itself will feature three waterslides for kids, plus two drench buckets, water cannons, fountains and pools. Across the board, all youth clubs will be redesigned, as well.

The pool deck will add The Lime and Coconut bar, and El Loco Fresh for Mexican cuisine will be located near the pool. Other additions will include Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade for pub food and Sugar Beach for candy and ice cream along the Boardwalk. Also, for the first time, Portside BBQ will be a poolside barbecue restaurant serving savoury meats.

Combining a bar scene and entertainment will be Bionic Bar, where robotic bartenders will show off their drink-making skills. Other new entertainment options will include Spotlight Karaoke on the Royal Promenade, and the energetic live Music Hall will be introduced to the Oasis-class from the Quantum class. What’s more, there will be a Clash for the Crystal City laser tag game and Royal Escape Room – Mission Control: Apollo 18.

Meanwhile, Allure will mostly mirror the updates of Oasis when it comes back online in May 2020 following its own two-month revitalization.

It, too, will receive Splashaway Bay; the Ultimate Abyss dry slide; and the Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell waterslides. The Lime and Coconut, Portside BBQ, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, El Loco Fresh, Sugar Beach and Bionic Bar are also on the menu, as are Music Hall and Spotlight Karaoke. But fresh to only Allure will be Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, which will combine the existing Giovanni’s Table restaurant and Vintages bar into one.

Voyager of the Seas — the original model for the larger Oasis class — is also part of the line’s Royal Amplified fleet enhancement program. The ship is set to emerge from a refurbishment before the others in October. It will tout two of the three Perfect Storm waterslides (Typhoon and Cyclone); a refreshed Solarium; a redesigned Vitality Spa; and updated areas for babies, kids and teens. The vessel will also feature Battle for Planet Z laser tag, as well as 72 new inside and balcony staterooms, plus a Suite Lounge and Diamond Lounge.

Lastly, Royal Caribbean recently announced that it will remodel a Freedom-class ship (sized between Voyager and Oasis classes). Like Voyager, Freedom of the Seas will reemerge in March 2020 with redesigned children’s facilities and The Perfect Storm duo of waterslides, plus the Clash for the Crystal City laser tag game; a Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade; Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen; Izumi Hibachi & Sushi; and a retooled pool deck showcasing Splashaway Bay, El Loco Fresh and The Lime and Coconut.

Carnival Triumph getting a $200M redo and a new name

Carnival Triumph is to become the Carnival Sunrise.

Carnival Cruise Line will budget $200 million for an overhaul of the Carnival Triumph so sweeping that the ship will get a new name, the Carnival Sunrise.

It is only the second time that Carnival has renamed a ship of its own design. In 2013, it rechristened the former Carnival Destiny as the Carnival Sunshine. 

Carnival said the two ships will form the new Sunshine class. The $200 million sum is the largest ever spent by a cruise line in a ship renovation.

By the time the work begins next March, the Triumph will be 20 years old. It is perhaps best known for an engine-room fire in 2013 that left it disabled off the coast of Mexico without power for most hotel services. The ship had to be towed back to the United States, on a four-day odyssey that was memorialized as “the poop cruise” because toilets didn’t work for most of the trip.

In the two-month renovation, to be done at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, a laundry list of Fun Ship 2.0 features will be added to the ship, including seven restaurants, two bars, two lounges, three new pool deck attractions, a newly designed spa, two new children’s play areas and new retail spaces, including a candy store. 

Gus Antocha, Carnival’s chief operating officer, said the additions complement certain upgrades that had already been made to the Triumph, such as Guy’s Burger Joint.

Unique to the Sunrise will be what Antocha called “bridge wing suites,” encompassing two junior suites and two larger Captain’s Suites adjacent to the bridge, which will be redesigned with floor-to-ceiling windows. That means the ship’s capacity, listed as 2,758 passengers at double occupancy, will remain relatively unchanged.

“We’re adding a handful of different spaces,” Antocha said. When the Carnival Sunshine was created, an extra 182 cabins were added to the Carnival Destiny.

The first sailing of the Carnival Sunrise, following a renaming ceremony, will be from Norfolk, Va., where the ship will begin a series of five- to seven-day cruises on April 29, 2019. It will then move to New York for the summer for a series of four- to 14-day cruises, starting May 23. It will move to Fort Lauderdale for four- and five-day cruises in October.