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New Cruise Line Private Island Welcomes First Guests

The first guests have arrived at MSC Cruises’ new private island in the Bahamas named Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

Ocean Cay Welcomes First Guests

After a delay, MSC Cruises’ new private island destination in the Bahamas has opened to the very first guests who arrived on the MSC Divina cruise ship. The vessel called to Ocean Cay during her 31-day transatlantic cruise which departed Genoa, Italy on November 5.

The environmentally friendly island which is a marine reserve has taken three years to develop from an industrial sand excavation site. 7,500 tons of scrap metal were removed and, throughout the clean-up process, a team of expert divers and marine biologists carefully removed individual hard coral colonies from debris on the ocean bed and relocated them to an approved location outside the construction area. More than 75,000 plants and shrubs planted across the island to create a biodiverse and sustainable environment.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said:

“Ocean Cay is founded on a deep commitment to ecological principles – beliefs that shape everything from how venues are built, to how the island is run, to the kinds of activities featured on the island. Having the first guests arrive on the island is a moment of great pride for all of us at MSC Cruises. We wanted to create for our guests something sustainable, with a higher purpose. Ocean Cay is not just a vacation island, it is a unique marine reserve where people and nature thrive in harmony.”

Guests can now start to enjoy a full day at the exclusive port of call which includes plenty of excursions such as snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, and kayaking. Relaxing goes further than just laying on the beach, guests can also have a Spa experience and even relax in a private cabana. There is arts and crafts shopping, complimentary food at Seakers Food Court or from one of six food trucks. Many bars are on the island and int he evening the atmosphere changes with a light show near the lighthouse.

Ocean CayOcean Cay
Ocean Cay (Photo: Conrad Schutt)

Also Read: New Details Revealed on New Cruise Line Private Island in the Bahamas

In the coming months, MSC Cruises will also introduce a Conservation Center on the island, which will serve as an active base for coral education and research. Following the very first port of call by the MSC Divina, even more ships will also start calling to the private island including MSC Armonia, MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia.

Royal Caribbean Completes Their Largest Cruise Ship Transformation

Royal Caribbean has completed their largest cruise ship transformation yet, a 63 day $165 million renovation to one of the world’s largest cruise ships, Oasis of the Seas.  The ship will now offer seven night cruises from Miami to the Caribbean.

Oasis of the Seas debuts a thrilling combination of new Royal Caribbean experiences, including the cruise line’s first barbecue restaurant, Portside BBQ; and guest favorites, from the tallest slide at sea–the Ultimate Abyss–to popular live music venue Music Hall, and a reimagined, Caribbean pool deck. Oasis of the Seas is now sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami before heading to the Big Apple in May 2020, where it will become the first of its kind and the largest cruise ship to sail from the area. View Prices on Cruises on Oasis of the Seas

Top Deck Thrills

The Ultimate Abyss – A 10-story test of courage and the tallest slide at sea that twists and turns for the optimal thrill factor.

The Perfect Storm – The action-packed trio of multistory waterslides known as Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell punch up the level of excitement on the pool deck.

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A reimagined, Caribbean pool deck – With Splashaway Bay kids aquapark, signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut, hammocks, casitas, in-pool loungers and live music, days and nights at sea take on a whole new meaning.

View Prices on Cruises on Oasis of the Seas

Palate Pleasing Dining

Portside BBQ – Royal Caribbean’s very first barbecue restaurant serves up an authentic, meat-packed menu inspired by the best-in-class barbecue across the United States.

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – With 80 big-screen TVs, tabletop games, arcade classics, an Owner’s Box VIP area, bar fare and ice-cold brews, Playmakers is where everyone in the family can enjoy themselves.

Bionic Bar by Makr Shakr – A dynamic duo of robotic bartenders mans this guest-favorite venue.

El Loco Fresh – Offering Mexican street fare to go, the casual spot’s menu includes made-to-order tacos, burritos, quesadillas, mini salads and more.

Sugar Beach – With more than 220 types of candy and a new walkup ice cream window, this is the sweetest spot on board.

Show-stopping Entertainment & Hot Spots

Aqua80 – In the unparalleled AquaTheater, Oasis debuts a brand-new aqua show that sets jaw-dropping feats, high dives and acrobatics to iconic tunes from the 80s. Guests will take a spin back to a totally radical decade brought to life by extreme athletes and divers.

One Sky – A new, full-scale production takes center stage in the Royal Theater. This Royal Caribbean original guides travelers through a journey of discovery with music and choreography that explores human connections.

Spotlight Karaoke – The dedicated karaoke spot where budding singers can rock out to their favorite tunes at the venue’s main stage or in one of two private rooms.

Music Hall – The live music venue makes its Oasis Class debut with a roster of live cover bands, an expansive dance floor, a pool table and intimate lounge seating across two levels.

View Prices on Cruises on Oasis of the Seas

Family Adventures Await

All-new Adventure Ocean – Featuring interactive, personalized and immersive experiences, the award-winning program’s major makeover encourages young guests to choose their own adventures across an entirely new layout.

Social298 – A 360-degree transformation debuts a new, maxed-out teens lounge with gaming consoles, music, movies, places to hang out and a new outdoor deck known as The Patio.

Glow-in-the-dark laser tag – In Clash for the Crystal City, two teams on the brink of extinction– the Yetis and Snowshifters–go head to head to take control of the mythical ice city.

Royal Escape Room – Mission Control: Apollo 18 – Guests walk into a replica of the original Apollo Mission Control Room, take their stations, and must maneuver a series of mind-bending puzzles to successfully launch Apollo 18.

The newly amplified Oasis of the Seas also sets sail with the Royal Caribbean International mobile app. Guests can now check in for their cruise vacation from their phone, and once on board, enjoy a lineup of capabilities. With the easy-to-use digital stateroom key and in-app TV remote features, the ability to explore and plan activities for each day, and make dining, shore excursion and show reservations, travelers can seamlessly transition into vacation mode.

Oasis of the Seas is the first of the cruise line’s renowned Oasis Class–the world’s largest cruise ships–to be modernized as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort. An investment of more than $1 billion, across 10 ships in four years, the program touches every facet of the guest experience on board.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s New Ship Debuts New Retail Shops

Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest cruise ship, Norwegian Encore, boasts new retail offerings and is the final Breakaway Plus class ship from the cruise line.

Boasting more than 7,000 square feet, The Tradewinds Shops invites guests to Splurge. Save. Encore. Excitement Every Time You Shop On Board. The cruise ship offers luxury retail spaces, first-at-sea brands, limited-edition spirits, inaugural exclusives, and sustainability collections that align with Norwegian’s environmental commitment.

Luxury Retail Offerings

Norwegian Encore bolsters the cruise line’s luxury presence. It offers Norwegian’s first Bvlgari boutique launched outside of Asia. Its fully branded Swiss timepieces enclave is one of the largest on any ship at sea, with selections from Panerai, IWC, Hublot and Cartier. Known for its Italian flair and Swiss technology, Panerai is a first for Norwegian, with an elevated space that is the brand’s most expansive at sea.

The cruise ship also features a Cartier Espace, enhanced Le Vian fine jewelry area, and a first at sea John Hardy shop in shop.

Firsts for Norwegian

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IT Cosmetics, the popular, game-changing cosmetics brand, is available for the first time at sea on Norwegian Encore. NYX Professional Makeup, one of the beauty industry’s fastest growing brands, is available for the first time on Norwegian Cruise Line.

Limited-Edition Spirits

Guests can enjoy a selection of limited-edition rare spirits exclusive to Norwegian Encore that include Barton 1792 Full Proof Bourbon Barrel, Buffalo Trace Single Barrel Bourbon, Herradura Tequila Single Barrel and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Whiskey. Each Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Whiskey bottle features a commemorative Norwegian Encore medallion, providing guests with a keepsake of the cruise.

The Veuve Clicquot Arrow tin, encasing one of the world’s great champagnes from Starboard’s sister-brand, is available in a limited edition created exclusively for Norwegian Encore.

Exclusive Branded Collections

Emulating Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to environmental concerns, sustainability is central to Norwegian Encore’s retail experience. Exclusively created for Norwegian Encore, Sail & Sustain’s eco-conscious brand aligns with the cruise line’s Sail & Sustain Environmental Program. It features apparel and headwear made from recycled water bottles and blankets produced from 100% recycled polyester. 4Ocean is a first on Norwegian, offering bracelets made from 100% recycled materials.

The Norwegian Encore Branded Collection features a product assortment specifically for the ship’s inaugural, comprised of limited-edition collectibles and a children’s collection.

Experiential Retail

Starboard continues to reimagine the cruise journey through highly experiential retail on Norwegian Encore, with activations that bring brands to life.

Bvlgari Serpenti Seduttori Celebration: Guests are exclusively invited to view Bvlgari’s highly anticipated new timepiece, Serpenti Seduttori, in true Bvlgari style, with branded backdrops and photo opportunities.

Panerai Underwater World: Guests wear virtual-reality headsets and can explore the underwater world as they encounter sea life and learn about the dive-worthy properties of Panerai timepieces.

Sail to Bali with John Hardy: An immersive experience where guests learn about the eight-step process of John Hardy’s authentic Balinese jewelry-making techniques.

Cartier Grooms: This event showcases Cartier’s world-famous uniformed “Groomsmen.” Select guests receive an exclusive co-branded Cartier postcard that can be brought to the Cartier Espace onboard and mailed from a Cartier-branded mailbox.

Makeup Seminar: A Beauty specialist hosts a makeup seminar featuring NYX, IT Cosmetics and Urban Decay. They transform guests with a 5-minute makeup look and invite spectators to sign-up for their own individual consultations.

Carnival Cruise Line Launches New Online Store

Carnival Cruise Line has launched a new online store (shop.carnival.com) where you can purchase Carnival merchandise and have it delivered right to your home.

The site follows the recent rollout of new Carnival-inspired logo items via the cruise line’s social media channels, which have been very well received with some products selling out in a matter of days, according to William Butler, vice president of retail services for Carnival Cruise Line.

In addition to the site’s initial assortment of products for children, home decorating and traveling, the new holiday collection features several limited-time exclusive items including everything from ornament sets and ship-shaped cookie cutters to Carnival Cruise Line’s playful take on the ever-popular ugly holiday sweaters and a waterproof ship-shaped floating Bluetooth speaker with LED lights – perfect for playing your favorite holiday music.

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Who better to help design the fun holiday collection than Carnival’s own Brand Ambassador John Heald? In celebration of the new collection and John’s role in helping bring it to life, there are two special bundles, as well:

  • John Heald’s Favorites – a tropical-inspired grey holiday sweater, set of three ornaments, cookie cutters and one-of-a-kind John Heald gift wrap.
  • Ultimate Holiday Pack
  • Visit shop.carnival.com

Branded merchandise offered exclusively on shop.carnival.com includes beautiful “Carnival Shipscapes” wall art as well as a line of “Choose Fun” items such as a tote and towel pack; a “back to cool” backpack set; a snack and scribble kit with a lunch bag, notebook and pencils; and a limited-edition and cruise-themed charm set with a John Heald charm.

All products ordered online can be delivered to the shopper’s home via standard, ground or second-day air shipping. New items for purchase will continue to be revealed in the coming months, and shoppers can sign up for exclusive offers and first-to-know updates on product launches through the site’s homepage.

Are Cruise Ships Canceling Port Stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico?

Update November 27, 2019: Royal Caribbean said that they have not canceled any cruise ship visits to San Juan and gave the following statements regarding what the local news is reporting in Puerto Rico:

“Royal Caribbean reviews and adjusts itineraries and deployments every year.

The rumors regarding cancellations of sailings departing between April 2020 – March 2021 from San Juan are incorrect. We have not cancelled any of our ships visiting or homeporting in San Juan.

Though we have not yet announced our full 2021-2022 deployments, we do expect fewer calls from San Juan for the 2021-2022 season and we will be able to provide more details once we have announced our itineraries.

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No decisions regarding deployment beyond those dates have yet been made.”

Original Article: At least one cruise line is canceling cruise ship visits to San Juan, Puerto Rico due to the privatization of the port Telemudo Pr is reporting.

The report stated that Royal Caribbean is canceling a “substantial” number of cruise ship visits to the Caribbean port.  Cruise ships that would stop visiting San Juan include Symphony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas.

President of the Tourism Commission confirmed to Telemudo that the cancelations would also include cruise ships that start their cruise in San Juan.

Roughly 90 cruises would be affected by the cancelations through the end of 2020.

If the cancelations go through, the port would see roughly 360,000 less passengers next year and would represent a loss of $44 million to the area.

The report only mentioned one cruise line (Royal Caribbean). John Heald, Brand Ambassador at Carnival Cruise Line, said that at the moment Carnival has “absolutely no plans of canceling any cruises” to San Juan. Carnival recently announced a series of new Caribbean cruises from Puerto Rico.

At least one local legislator is urging the governor to reconsider the privatization of the cruise port in San Juan.

Royal Caribbean Issues Policy Change Regarding Passport Requirement for Caribbean Port

Several months ago, Cruise Fever reported that a port in the Southern Caribbean (Martinique) would now require a valid passport for passengers to get off the cruise ship while visiting the island.

A Royal Carribbean cruise ship docked in Martinique.

Carnival Cruise Line was the first cruise line to alert cruise passengers about this new requirement. Now, Royal Caribbean has issued a policy change saying that guests will need a passport book for boarding any cruise that visits Martinique starting in 2020.

Royal Caribbean published the following note concerning travel documents for Martinique:

“As of January 1st, 2020, all guests on sailings visiting Martinique will need a passport book (not a passport card) for boarding. The passport book must be valid for at least 6 months after the sailing ends.

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Passport cards and birth certificates will not be accepted and may result in a denial of boarding for both adults and minors. This policy changes impacts sailings beginning from and returning to the U.S. including San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Guest should be sure to keep your travel documents and SetSail Pass handy. They’ll need them from the moment they arrive to the port, all the way to boarding the ship, so they won’t want to pack them in their luggage.”

While having a passport is not a requirement for closed-looped cruises from the United States, it’s always a good idea to have one anytime you leave the country.

View Royal Caribbean’s Black Friday Cruise Deals Here

Royal Caribbean’s Black Friday Cruise Deals for 2019

Royal Caribbean is once again offering Black Friday cruise deals for Thanksgiving weekend in 2019.

Royal Caribbean is one of the world’s largest cruise lines with ships sailing to virtually every corner of the globe. Now is the best time to book your next Royal Caribbean cruise with cruise deals that extend through Cyber Monday.

Royal Caribbean’s Black Friday Sale is as follows:

  • Up to $300 in instant savings on cruises
  • Buy one, get second guest 60% off
  • Kids cruise for free on select sailings, including all cruises to Alaska in 2020 on Serenade of the Seas
  • Sale runs from November 27 through December 2, 2019
  • View Prices on Cruises on Royal Caribbean

See Black Friday deals from all cruise lines here. For complete terms and details of Royal Caribbean’s Black Friday cruise deals, contact your local travel professional or visit RoyalCarbbean.com.

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Instant savings offer applies to new bookings made between November 27 – December 2, 2019. Instant Savings offer provides up to $300 instant savings on select sailings departing on or after December 27, 2019. Savings amount is per stateroom and determined by category booked and sailing length: On sailings 5 nights or less, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suites; on sailings 6 nights or longer, $75 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $100 for Balconies and $300 for Suites.

Kids Sail Free applies to new bookings made between November 27 – December 2, 2019. Kids Sail Free provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Europe, Hawaii, and Repositioning sailings departing between January 4, 2020 – May 15, 2020 and August 31, 2020 – December 17, 2020.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Black Friday Deals: 30% Off All Cruises, Free Drink Packages

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering Black Friday cruise deals that not only include 30% off all cruises, but free drink packages, free WiFi, free specialty dining, and more.

From now until December 1, 2019, Norwegian Cruise Line a special Black Friday Sale that includes the cruise line’s Free at Sea promotion.  With Free at Sea, you can choose from free drink packages, free specialty dining, free shore excursions, free WiFi, and kids sail for free. Inside cabins receive one perk, oceanview cabins receive two, balcony cabins and above receive all five.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Black Friday Sale is as follows:

For complete terms and details of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Black Friday cruise deals, contact your local travel professional or visit NCL.com.  View all Black Friday cruise deals here.

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Not applicable to categories IX, OX, BX, MX (Sail Away Categories).

Reservations must be booked greater than 60 days to sailing to qualify for this offer.

Offer is for new individual FIT reservations.

All Black Friday Cruise Deals Offered by Cruise Lines

At least 15 different cruise lines are offering Black Friday Cruise Deals that include everything from 30% off all cruises, free drink packages, free gratuities, and up to $800 in spending money during your cruise.  Cruise lines that are offering deals include Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, and more.

Here is a look at the cruise deals that each cruise line is offering for Black Friday this year.

Oceania Cruises – Luxury cruise line Oceania is offering free cabin upgrades equivalent of up to 4 categories on select cruises.  View Prices on Cruises on Oceania

MSC Cruises – MSC Cruises is offering more than $700 in added value that includes free drinks, WiFi, and included gratuities on cruises to the Caribbean on four of their cruise ships.  View Prices on Cruises on MSC Cruises

Royal Caribbean – Royal Caribbean is offering a combination of three deals for Black Friday. The cruise line is offering buy one, get second guest 60% off, up to $300 in instant savings, and kids sail for free on select sailings.  View Prices on Cruises on Royal Caribbean

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Norwegian Cruise Line – Norwegian Cruise Line is offering 30% off all cruises. In addition to the discount on all cruises, Norwegian is adding in Free at Sea perks. With Free at Sea, you can choose from free drink packages, free WiFi, free shore excursion, free specialty dining, and kids sail for free. View Prices on Cruises on Norwegian Cruise Line

Princess Cruises – Princess Cruises is offering two different deals for Black Friday.  The first offers 40% off last minute sailings. The second deal offers up to $800 in spending money, free cabin upgrades, and two bottles of wine with specialty dining.  View Prices on Cruises on Princess

Carnival Cruise Line – Carnival, the world’s largest cruise line, is getting in on the Black Friday action with up to 30% off cruises, $5 room upgrades, 50% cruise deposits, and up to $50 in spending money for your cruise.  View Prices on Cruises on Carnival Cruise Line

Holland America Line – Holland America Line is offering a combination of three different offers.  The offers are $25 per person deposits on all cruises, balcony and suites receive free gratuities, and free drink packages on select cruises to Europe, Alaska, and Canada/New England in 2020. View Prices on Cruises on Holland America Line

Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Cruises is offering $25 cruise deposits and the choice of free drink packages, free internet, and free gratuities.  This Black Friday deal is good for cruises December 20, 2019 through March 31, 2020.  View Prices on Cruises on Celebrity Cruises

Azamara Cruises – Azamara is offering double upgrades and either $500 onboard credit or $1,000 off a voyage with the purchase of the cruise line’s uniquely crafted land program. Use promo code OBCBONUS at checkout to receive your $500 onboard credit or add a land program with promo code PREPOST to take $1,000 off your voyage.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line – Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is offering buy one, get one free discount with prices starting at just $69 per person on sailings through February 13, 2020.

Cunard Line – Cunard is offering up to 50% off Launch Fares with cruise deposits starting at $100 on various itineraries including the cruise line’s signature Transatlantic Crossings, Full World Voyages, Australiasia, Africa, New England & Canada, Europe, Asia, Alaska, and South America. View Prices on Cruises on Cunard

Silversea Cruises – Silversea Cruises is offering 50% off a second suite of equal or lesser value when you purchase a suite.  View Prices on Cruises on Silversea

Hurtigruten – Hurtigruten is offering up to 50% off cruises with their Black Friday Sale that started on November 27.

Quark Expeditions – Quark is offering 50% off convenient fly/cruise expeditions for once in a lifetime trips to Antarctica. Prices start at $6,695 per person.

Riviera River Cruises – Riviera River Cruises is offering up to $1,500 off per cabin and suites on 2020 European river cruises. Most Riviera cruises in 2020 are eligible for discounts.

For complete terms and details of each cruise line’s Black Friday sale, contact your local travel professional or visit the cruise line’s website.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Black Friday Deals: $5 Upgrades and 30% off Cruises

Carnival Cruise Line is the world’s most popular cruise line and they are offering special cruise deals for Black Friday 2019.

Carnival’s Black Friday cruise deals include discounts on cruises, cabin upgrades, cruise deposits, and more.  With 27 cruise ships in their fleet, Carnival offers the most diverse selection of cruises to the Caribbean and Bahamas.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Black Friday cruise deals are as follows:

  • Up to 30% off cruises
  • 2-for-1 cruise deposits on all cruise ships
  • $5 cabin upgrades
  • Up to $50 in onboard spending money
  • Free Price Protection
  • Good for sailings January 2020 and beyond
  • Black Friday sale ends on December 1, 2019
  • View Prices on Cruises on Carnival Cruise Line

Onboard Credit offer is non-transferable/non-refundable. It is provided as a credit to your Sail & Sign account of $12.50 per person up to $25 per stateroom on 2-5 day sailings, and $25 per person up to $50 per stateroom on 6+ day sailings. The Early Saver fare is subject to availability and is capacity controlled.

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50% reduced deposit is non-refundable. Deposit is non-refundable, is applicable to sailings outside of final payment due date, and is valid for all cruise ships, stateroom types and sail dates.

View Black Friday Cruise Deals from All Cruise Lines

For complete terms and details of Carnival Cruise Line’s Black Friday Sale, visit Carnival.com or contact your local travel professional.