A subjective list of awards for cruise experiences

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Seven Seas Explorer

here’s no shortage of travel industry awards and accolades. 

Today I’ll offer some cruise-only nods — a mini Academy Awards lineup, if you will —  based on my seven years of cruising for Travel Weekly. Unlike the Oscars, in which categories of longstanding tradition are properly judged, my award categories and winners are completely subjective and based mostly on one moment on one ship, rather than a studious fleetwide evaluation over time.

Plus, mine aren’t broadcast on national television. And there’s no statuette. But they’re fun. See what you think, and offer your own winners in the comment section below.

So, with no further ado:

Best naming ceremony: Princess Cruises. Skies were grey in Southampton, England, on that June day in 2013, but who can beat royal princess Kate Middleton christening the Royal Princess? The British pomp and pageantry and the ladies in their gowns and fascinators made it unforgettable. Runner up: More royals, plus opera great Andrea Bocelli singing “Nessun Dorma” for the Seven Seas Explorer in Monaco.

Meal: Celebrity Cruises. I think it was on the Celebrity Reflection with former Celebrity public relations spokeswoman Liz Jakeway that I had a nearly flawless Italian dinner at the Tuscan Grille. Runner up: Guy Fieri’s burgers on Carnival Cruise Line.

Suite:  Viking Ocean Cruises. The Owner’s Suite on the Viking Star duplicates owner Tor Hagen’s book collection and comes with a (faux) fireplace and a sauna with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall for ocean viewing. Runner up: the duplex suites on Royal Caribbean.

Service: Azamara. I know, not what you’re expecting, but I say: try it. The relaxed style really made me feel at home on a 2016 Central America and Mexico cruise on the Azamara Journey. When my time was up, I didn’t want to leave. Runner up: Seabourn.

Entertainment: Norwegian Cruise Line. “After Midnight” and “Million Dollar Quartet” on the Norwegian Escape in 2016 was a knockout one-two punch, and Norwegian has kept up the pace with each new ship: “Jersey Boys,” “Kinky Boots.” Great value for guests. Runner up: Royal Caribbean, where too much is never enough.

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Pool: Seabourn. The cosy aft pool on Seabourn’s 450-passenger ships puts sunbathers close to the water in stylish luxury. Runner up: the Solarium Pool on Celebrity, with its dancing waters fountain.

Cruise Director: Star Clippers. The line’s longest-serving cruise director, Peter Kissner, hails from Bavaria and is the most personable, knowledgeable, interesting person I’ve yet encountered in the job.  Runner up: Azamara cruise director Eric de Gray does it all.

Internet: Royal Caribbean gets the nod for its Voom, which not only is fast and simple but was first to market. What a difference in seven years. Runner up: MedallionNet on Princess Cruises is also fast and simple (but was not first).

Children’s character: Disney Cruise Line for Cinderella. As played by one of Disney’s cast members, the Cinderella I saw could have stepped out of the 1950 animated feature film. The children were enchanted. Runner Up:  Ellie, the towel elephant that prowls the post-turn-down cabins on Carnival ships.

Deck BBQ: Windstar Cruises. A twilight summer deck party anchored off the coast of Portofino. Trust me, it doesn’t get any better than that. Runner up: Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Norwegian Encore Conveyance Complete

Norwegian Encore

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that the new 4,200-guest Norwegian Encore successfully completed her Ems River transit, having officially left Meyer Werft shipyard.

On Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, the Norwegian Encore began her conveyance to Eemshaven, Netherlands, with initial crew on board the new ship.

Norwegian Encore

The ship will be delivered on Oct. 30, 2019, and will be christened by Grammy Award-winning artist Kelly Clarkson in Miami on Nov. 21, 2019, and will commence seven-day voyages to the Caribbean on Nov. 24, 2019.

“Today we celebrate a huge milestone for our history-making ship,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Now is when the anticipation truly begins to build. Our partners at Meyer Werft have collaborated with us to bring the industry-leading experiences from the successful Breakaway Plus class ships to Norwegian Encore, making her truly the best in class.”

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Passengers Injured as Norwegian Escape Hit by ‘100 Knot Wind Gust’ Off U.S. East Coast

Several passengers aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Escape were reported injured after a freak gust of wind reportedly caused the ship to list as much of 45 degrees, causing chairs, tables and pretty much anything unsecured to go flying.

A statement from Norwegian posted to its Twitter account said the incident took place just before midnight on Sunday, March 3, when Norwegian Escape encountered what the cruise line said was an “unexpected weather in the form of a sudden, extreme gust of wind, estimated at 100 knots,” or 115 mph, as the ship was underway off the U.S. east coast.

“Several injuries were reported and those guests and crew received immediate attention or are being treated by the ship’s medical staff. There was no damage to the ship; she remains fully operational and continues her scheduled itinerary,” Norwegian Cruise Line said.

The Norwegian Escape is currently on a voyage from Port Elizabeth, New Jersey to the Bahamas with a stopover in Port Canaveral, Florida.

Media reports say at least eight passengers were treated for injuries when the ship arrived in Port Canaveral on Tuesday.

“Neither the current itinerary nor the next sailing is expected to be impacted,” the cruise line said.

Meteorologists had forecasted some weather but nothing near the 100 knots that was reported by the cruise line.

Delivered in 2015, the 164,600 gross ton Norwegian Escape is the former flagship of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and the first of the company’s Breakaway Plus-class.

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