April 11, 2014
Royal Caribbean Goes Royal Australian
Royal Caribbean will send the 3,114-passenger Explorer of the Seas to Australia for the 2015-16 Southern Hemisphere's summer season, adding capacity and offering a number of South Pacific itineraries. Explorer of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship ever to be based in the region and will replace the 2,040-passenger Rhapsody of the Seas, which has spent eight consecutive seasons cruising out of Sydney. Over four months, Explorer of the Seas will primarily sail 11- and 14-night cruises to New Zealand out of Sydney. It will join sister ship Voyager of the Seas and the smaller, 2,112-passenger Radiance of the Seas. Royal announced Explorer of the Seas' deployment out of Southampton, U.K., for the Northern Hemisphere's 2015 summer last week.
Now that college basketball has ended and nobody won a billion dollars, soccer -- er, football -- fans can focus full attention on this summer's FIFA World Cup (even on a cruise ship). Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that major World Cup matches will be broadcast from Brazil fleetwide during the tournament, which takes place June 12 through July 13. A partnership with the TV channel SPORT 24 promises that all of the edge-of-your-seat competition will be shown in multiple venues onboard each ship.
Ready, Set, Wait
German cruise line AIDA has pushed back the launch date of its new flagship, AIDAprima, from March to October 2015. Reporter Franz Neumeier told Cruise Critic that delays at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Japan where the ship is being built have forced AIDA to postpone the ship's inaugural cruise by six months. AIDA issued a statement to confirm: "Although we regret these circumstances, they are nothing unusual for the construction of prototypes. With AIDAprima we will receive something very special – the prototype of a whole new AIDA generation ... We have informed all guests who have already booked a trip with AIDAprima in the premiere season, and of course offered them attractive alternatives."
Movie Set of the Seas
Thanks to a tweet from Royal Caribbean on Monday, we've learned that M. Night Shyamalan is filming scenes for his new movie aboard Allure of the Seas. Media representative Janet Diaz confirmed that the man behind "Signs," "The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable" and "The Village" is shooting onboard, but otherwise the line is keeping details hush-hush for the time being.
Crystal's Game of Thrones
Lovers of all things Medieval, rejoice. Crystal Cruises is set to offer passengers on its sailings the chance to explore actual sets from the popular TV series "Game of Thrones" during calls on Belfast, Northern Ireland. Highlights include stops at Castle Ward, Forest Park and Audley's Castle, where visitors can shoot arrows and even pose with real costumes from the show for a cost of $289 per person. The excursion is set to roll out on two sailings: Crystal Symphony's seven-night sailing beginning August 24 and Crystal Serenity's 14-night voyage on September 5.
Eat Local, Cruise Local
Passengers cruising on American Cruise Lines boats will be treated to locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, a growing trend both on land and at sea. Products will be sourced as near as possible to each cruise and will support local farmers' markets and small American businesses. Additionally, the line says it will work with local vendors to ensure they are checking the Seafood Watch index. Ships in the fleet will also offer half portions in an effort to limit waste. -- By Ashley Kosciolek, Copy and Ports Editor; Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant; Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor; and Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor