Weather. The global political situation. New industry developments. It all impacts the world of cruising. Here’s a quick look at what’s new this week in cruising, and how it could impact your next trip...
October is National Plan a Cruise Month, when members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and travel agencies are looking to get reservations on the books for the rest of 2015, 2016, and beyond. We're paying attention because they'll be enticing travelers to book by offering a bunch of perks. You'll see offers like: free beverage packages (Holland America and Norwegian); free shore excursions (Oceania Cruises); credits for massages (SeaDream Yacht Club); free pre- or post-cruise hotel stays (Windstar Cruises); and shipboard credit offers (Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Seabourn).
Carnival pulled its ships out of the port of Mobile, Alabama in late 2011, but following a recent big push by city officials, the line will be back with the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy. The ship will sail year-round cruises to Mexico beginning in November 2016. Pricing TBD.
Good news for those who want to stay connected at sea: Carnival Corporation says 30 ships from their Carnival, Holland America, and AIDA brands have been updated with new high-bandwidth, satellite-based WiFi@Sea coverage. Nearly 40 percent of the company's 100-ship fleet will have the faster internet service by the end of this year, as will most ships across the corporation's 10 brands by the end of 2016.
If you're a fan of craft beer and music, check out The Lebrewski Cruise on the Norwegian Pearl next March. The four-day theme cruise will feature complimentary tastings, celebrity brewers, and music by 20 bands, including headliner O.A.R. The host of the cruise is Kyle Hollingsworth, brewer and rock keyboardist (for the String Cheese Incident band). Per person rates start from $64.50 in a quad cabin, $86 in a triple, $129 in a double, and $258 in a single.