October 4, 2013
From Rockaway Beach to South Beach, Norwegian Cruise Line is bringing a pure Florida vibe to its newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, scheduled to debut in January. Nearly 1,000 nautical miles away from its Big Apple-inspired sister ship, Breakaway, Getaway will pay tribute to its Miami homeport with tropical artwork and a slew of South Florida inspired bars and eateries. Among them, the complimentary Tropical Room will channel the glamorous heyday of 1940s and 50s Miami Beach. Also onboard: Flamingo Bar and Grill (also free), a Latin-style restaurant; Sunset Bar, inspired by Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West; and Sugarcane Bar, an island-themed bar serving tiki bar favorites.
The People Have Spoken
No big ships is the message Key West residents have sent to officials after responding to a ballot question about whether to order a study on Key West expanding its shipping channel to accommodate larger cruise ships. The answer was a resounding, "no," the Miami Herald reported. About 74 percent of respondents voted against requesting the $3 million study from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Proponents of the study had included the Key West Chamber of Commerce, but most residents said they believed the project would negatively affect the area's fragile environment.
Intrepid sea explorers take note: Silverseas' second expedition ship, Silver Galapagos (formerly Galapagos Explorer II), embarked on its first seven-night sailing as a newly refurbished, all-suite ship September 28. Upgrades include a walk-in rainforest shower, flat screen TVs in all cabins, new mattresses custom-made for Silversea, as well as shipwide Wi-Fi access and free streaming movies and live television news broadcasts downloadable to passengers' mobile devices.
A New Neo
Spanish cruise ship Grand Mistral is moving to the Costa Cruises fleet this November, where it will be renamed Costa neoRiviera. Before the transfer, the ship will undergo a renovation to exterior decks and interior areas to create a more Italian feel. Once transferred, neoRiviera will sail the seven-night Emirates in Style itinerary from Dubai with overnight stops in Muscat and Abu Dhabi.
Bring Back the Paper
Virtual brochures are so yesterday. After five years of complaints from passengers and cruise sellers, Carnival is bringing back the printed brochure. The new brochure will include detailed itinerary information, deck plans, ship overviews, stateroom descriptions and diagrams, family programming details, frequently asked questions and more. It will be sent out to cruise sellers by the end of the year.
Back to the Present
History might be making a comeback, with the Delta Queen paddlewheeler inching closer to sailing U.S. rivers once again. Progress was made late September when the House of Representatives passed legislations that would grant the historic steamboat a safety exemption permitting the boat to operate overnight river cruises. The 1927-built National Historic Landmark currently operates as a permanently moored hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. To operate as an overnight cruise, Delta Queen would need a Certificate of Inspection from the Coast Guard attesting to the safety of the vessel, but the ship needs a technical overhaul first.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor, Gina Kramer, Associate Editor and Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant