Carnival brands resume Bahamas calls

Image result for Crown Princess

Carnival Corp. said that its brands have resumed regular sailings to the Bahamas for the first time since Hurricane Dorian struck on Sept. 1.

The company’s private islands, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay, have resumed taking ship calls and Carnival’s three largest North American brands — Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line — together are projected to make over 250 sailings to the Bahamas through the end of 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line alone will make an estimated 204 calls through the remainder of the year, visiting Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays on eight of its ships.

Princess will return to with the Crown Princess’ arrival on October 9, and Holland America resumes Bahamas calls beginning Oct. 21, when the Zuiderdam arrives at Half Moon Cay.

Two Carnival ships — Carnival Liberty and Carnival Pride — have made stops this week in Freeport to deliver relief supplies to assist residents, including dozens of pallets of water, generators, chain saws, prepared meals and medical supplies. 

Carnival Corp. chief communications officer Roger Frizzell said, “It is important to spread the word that much of the country had no or little impact and is open for business.”

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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.

Cruise Companies Pursue Different Brand Growth Strategies

Carnival Horizon and Mein Schiff 6

The multi-brand cruise companies will continue to grow their largest and most popular brands, but individual brand growth may surprise, according to the 2019 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.

While Carnival Cruise Line brand will continue to be the dominant brand for Carnival Corporation over the next decade, carrying twice as many passengers as the second-largest brand, Costa Crociere will see the most capacity growth over the same time period, driven partially by its short cruises in China.

AIDA will be third in terms of capacity growth, followed by Princess Cruises.

Altogether the Carnival brands will grow their passenger capacity from an estimated 12 million (double occupancy) in 2019 to some 16 million in 2027, barring any ship withdrawals and deployment changes.

At Royal Caribbean Cruises, the Royal Caribbean brand will also continue to dominate and could be the single largest brand in the world by 2027, growing by an estimated 1.2 million passengers, twice the projected capacity growth for the Carnival brand over the same time period. TUI Cruises, which is 50 per cent owned by Royal Caribbean, will also see significant growth. However, Celebrity, which will see less growth over the same time period, will remain the second-largest brand at Royal Caribbean. The total capacity for the Royal Caribbean brands is forecast to grow to about 9 million.

MSC Cruises will move up to become the third-largest cruise company with the most capacity growth of any brand, from an estimated 2.4 million in 2019 to nearly 5 million by 2027.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings moves to fourth place, however, the Norwegian Cruise Line brand will see the second largest passenger capacity increase. Total capacity for the three Norwegian brands is estimated at 3.7 million in the nine-year forecast.

Genting will also see significant relative growth and remains the fifth largest cruise operator.