Cruise News Shorts: Barbie Goes Cruising, Norwegian Habla Espanol y Mas Cruise News

September 7, 2012
(2:15 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.

Barbie Takes to the High Seas
Young girls (or girls at heart) who love all things Barbie take note. Royal Caribbean is rolling out their "Premium Barbie Cruise Experience." Girls whose parents purchase the experience will get a cabin decked out in Barbie paraphernalia -- pink decorations, souvenir Barbie blanket, pillowcases and tote bag, tiaras and teacups, Barbie-themed toothbrush and toiletries, and even specially-designed nautical outfits for girls' Barbie dolls. But Barbie things are not all that's included in the experience. A Barbie design workshop will let girls create their own outfits for their dolls; a Barbie "Mermaid Dance Class" will teach girls the latest dance moves from the movie "Barbie in Mermaid Tale 2"; and a Tiaras and Teacups Party will offer an exclusive get-together featuring pink pastries and pink lemonade. For those who don't want to fork over $349 per person for the Premium Barbie experience, complimentary Barbie experiences will be available as well including a Barbie Movie Night and Barbie-themed Story Time. The Premium Barbie Cruise Experience will rollout fleetwide between January and March 2013. Bookings for the experience open in October.

Norwegian Habla Espanol…
Spanish speakers can now research and book Norwegian Cruise Line cruises in their native language with the company's new Spanish-language Web site and booking engine. The cruise line hopes to service the approximately 35 million U.S. residents who are native Spanish speakers. The new site also features a toll-free number that connects Spanish-speaking callers to Spanish-speaking cruise representatives.

… y Tiene Langosta
In other NCL news, the line is now the third cruise line to agree to buy fresh, local Maine lobster. According to a local news radio station WGAN, Norwegian will buy 5,000 pounds of lobster during four stops in Portland by Norwegian Dawn. Previously, Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises had announced they would be buying Maine lobster. The New England lobster industry has been struggling with an overabundance of lobster, which has driven prices down.

Silversea and Steiner Renew Vows
We don't know if rice is called for, but Silversea Cruises and Steiner Leisure are so happy together they're renewing their agreement. Steiner will continue to operate the fitness and spa facilities, hair and beauty salons and related services on Silversea ships through the end of 2015. Steiner is not monogamous when it comes to cruise ship spa operations; the company has spas onboard 156 ships covering 14 cruise brands.

It's Alive
Diners onboard Crystal Symphony will soon encounter a strange new way to follow the ship's course. A 40-foot-wide, 8-foot-high living wall composed entirely of plants will be "sculpted" to look like a world map using a variety of subtropical plants. The "wall" will be placed near an interior wall in the ship's alfresco dining area. Then, in each port of call the captain will add a new plant to the wall to mark the ship's location.

Under New Ownership
Private holding company Bridgepoint has completed its purchase of Compagnie du Ponant, reports. The small French luxury cruise line operates three ships, each having between 32 and 132 cabins. A fourth ship is scheduled for delivery in June 2013. The sale is not expected to impact the daily operations of the company.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor