Cruise News Shorts: A Norwegian Dining Package, Carnival Warning and More

August 24, 2012
(1:30 p.m. EDT) -- Every week we catch wind of so much cruise news, we don't always know what to do with it all, but a few standout news bits catch our attention. Here are a few cruise developments we think you might like to know about.

Eat Well, Save Money – Well a Little Money Anyway
Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced a new specialty dining package that gives customers the chance to dine at three of its for-a-fee eateries for less. The "Signature Trio" package entitles purchasers to dine once at each of three specific restaurants: the steakhouse (Cagney's, East Meets West or Lazy J), the French bistro (Le Bistro or Jefferson's Bistro), and the Italian restaurant (La Cucina, Papa's Italian Kitchen, Mama's Italian Kitchen or La Trattoria). The package is cruisers' only option for saving on specialty restaurant visits, as the early bird 2-for-1 specials are no longer offered. The cost is $47 per person, a whopping $8 off the full price of eating at all three restaurants. The offer, which does not include a reservation guarantee,is available on all ships fleetwide and must be pre-booked online or by phoning the company.

Fresh Lobster Galore
Just a week after Holland America announced it was going to buy a ton of local lobster from fisherman in Maine, Celebrity Cruises is following suit. The line will buy about 3,800 pounds of Maine lobster when Celebrity Summit stops in Portland and Bar Harbor this fall, The Washington Post reported. The purchase decision comes after U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree sent letters to the heads of every cruise line visiting Portland this year asking them to buy live Maine lobster during ship visits. The purchases will help support the local lobster industry, which has been suffering from rock-bottom pricing, due to oversupply.

The Republicans Are Coming
Even if Tropical Storm Isaac never makes it to Tampa, the 2012 Republic National Convention will. The convention will be in Tampa Monday to Thursday, resulting in road closures, traffic delays and parking restrictions. In response, Carnival has issued a warning to all passengers scheduled to depart from Tampa on Carnival Paradise on August 25 and August 30, or Carnival Legend on August 26. The message is pretty basic – give yourself LOTS of time to get to the port. And be aware; check-in times for those departures have been bumped up as well. Rather than begin at 12:30 p.m. (the official embarkation time), check-in will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m., with sailaway to commence shortly afterwards. When driving to port, Carnival suggests all routes through downtown Tampa be avoided. For a suggested detour visit the Carnival Web site.

Legacy to Replace Spirit
American Safari Cruises, which lost Safari Spirit in a fire last April, will add a new yacht to its fleet in summer 2013. The 88-guest Safari Legacy will begin sailing Alaska itineraries in August 2013 and then move to Columbia and Snake Rivers itineraries. Safari Legacy is the former Spirit of '98, which was owned by now-defunct Cruise West. The ship, a replica Victorian steamer, will undergo "significant renovations and upgrades" before it begins sailing for American Safari.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor