In August, Nickelodeon will take over the 154,407-ton, 3,634-passenger Freedom of the Seas for the "Nickelodeon Family Cruise with Royal Caribbean." In addition to the family-friendly features Freedom is famous for, such as the FlowRider surf simulator and H2O water park, Nick will bring its own activities onboard. Scheduled so far are:
Live game shows featuring Nickelodeon's trademark slime (a Royal Caribbean spokesman wasn't able to detail the logistics of how the slime will be released onto the contestants' heads -- "That's part of the magic!").
Character visits with A-list "stars" like Dora the Explorer, a favorite among preschoolers, and SpongeBob, a silly cartoon sponge aimed at the 7 to 12 age group. He lives in a pineapple under the sea ... wearing square brown trousers, hence the name.
Appearances by live action celebrities, though a Nickelodeon spokeswoman tells us there's no talent lineup to share at this point.
All Nickelodeon-themed activities and extras are included in the price of the cruise. Fares start at $2,699 -- total, not per person -- for a family of two sharing an inside cabin; a family of four will pay from $3,999. Nickelodeon is offering a $399 discount to cruisers who book two adjacent (but not connecting) staterooms, a $399 discount for family reunions (groups of 10 or more) and a $399 discount to grandparents in certain balcony staterooms.
The seven-night cruise sets sail from Miami on August 10, 2008, calling at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios and Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee. The entire ship has been chartered by Nickelodeon, and all bookings must be made through www.nickfamilycruise.com ... which means unsuspecting cruisers won't accidentally find themselves covered in slime.
Nickelodeon has made other waves in the travel industry this year, breaking ground earlier this month on the first "Nickelodeon Resorts by Marriott" hotel, which will open in San Diego in early 2010. Nickelodeon will also boast its first-ever theme park in spring 2008, when the current Park at Mall of America, inside Minnesota's famous shopping center, is re-themed and re-branded.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor