Here’s a quick look at what’s new this week in cruising, and how it could impact your next trip…
- In London, Gammel Opland aquavit and a Viking battle-axe were used to christen the second ship in the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet, the Viking Sea. The 930-passenger ship became the largest ever to be launched on the Thames River. Karine Hagen, Viking’s senior vice president and daughter of chairman and founder Torstein Hagen, served as the ship's godmother. Four sister ships are on the way -- yes, more Vikings are coming.
- The world officially has the first cruise ship with a dual-fuel engine that can be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) both while in port and at sea. The environmentally friendly AIDAPrima, the new flagship of Germany's AIDA Cruises, made a splashy debut this week during Hamburg Port's 827th anniversary celebration.
- In the weirdest cruise story of the week, it seems that wayward cruise passengers are snagging free coffee and using facilities at a homeless shelter in Ketchikan, Alaska. They aren't invited but rather just show up on their wanderings around the port town. They don't even typically leave donations, officials of the nonprofit said.
- If you're an active or retired member of the U.S. or Canadian military, Carnival Cruise Line has a deal for you. Through May, the cruise line is showing its appreciation with a $50 onboard credit per cabin and a two-category upgrade, in addition to special military fares.
- Good news for cruisers who want to stay connected. Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (parent of Norwegian, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas), and MSC Cruises have all announced Internet speed improvements -- Royal claiming that its now fleet-wide VOOM is the fastest at sea; Norwegian titillating with word of quadrupled bandwidth; and MSC touting the best deal, at only $66 for a one-week streamlining package.