Here’s a quick look at what’s new this week in cruising, and how it could impact your next trip.
- Carnival Corporation's new do-good cruiseline, Fathom, officially launched this week amid controversy. The line's 704-passenger MV Adonia set sail from Miami to the Dominican Republic with a shipload of folks signed up for volunteer activities, while officials worked to calm tensions regarding the ship's other planned destination -- Cuba. The Adonia is now scheduled to embark on May 1, and it will be the first ship to visit Cuba from the U.S. in some 50 years. But it turns out there is a catch: under an old Cold War-period Cuban law, no one born in Cuba can cruise to the island (though anyone can fly there). With a lawsuit by a pair of Cuban-American cruisers pending and politicians weighing in, Carnival now says the ship won't visit the island until the Cuban law is changed (Carnival is urging Cuba to drop the law, and fast).
- Holland America Line's new Koningsdam better be fit for a queen because Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands has been announced as the ship's godmother. The 2,650-passenger ship debuts next month.
- Legendary race car drivers Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace, and Bobby Allison will be onboard the first-ever NASCAR theme cruise, slated to sail next January on the Norwegian Pearl. The Beach Boys and Southern rockers 38 Special will provide entertainment. And yes, there will be racing involved -- but on virtual reality simulators.
- For cruisers who want to see inland sights and linger a little in destinations, Royal Caribbean has launched new multi-day adventures. The way it works is you leave your ship, do an escorted tour that includes a hotel stay, and then meet up with your ship again at the next port of call. Options include a two-day tour exploring mainland Greece.