Cruise News Shorts: At-Sea Rescue, New Dining Plan, Earn-a-Cruise and More Cruise News

January 18, 2013

(12:20 p.m. EST) -- 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 bits sometimes catch our attention. Here are some interesting cruise tidbits we think you might like to know about.

Ahoy There

Mickey Mouse is not just a celebrity -- he's a hero.
Disney Dream rescued two stranded sailors from a small boat while sailing through the Bahamas on Wednesday afternoon. The ship found the sailors, both U.S. citizens, after responding to their distress call, a Disney Cruise Line spokesperson told Cruise Critic. The individuals were brought onboard and given medical attention, as well as food and water. They were disembarked in Port Canaveral when Dream returned Thursday morning. Check out a video of the rescue on Cruise Critic U.K..

Bon Appetit

Continuing with the trend of packaging services and amenities, Celebrity Cruises is offering a new series of specialty restaurant packages. The packages provide passengers savings of up to 31 percent when compared with the cost of booking reservations individually onboard. Among the offerings are three-, four- and five-dinner packages, as well as an "ultimate" package. The Ultimate Specialty Package features unlimited dinners, at least one specialty restaurant lunch, one admission to a Champagne High Tea, as well as unlimited breakfasts, lunches and dinners in Bistro on Five or The Porch (Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection only). The availability of packages, as well as prices and which restaurants are included, vary slightly by ship. For instance, the three-dinner package is available on all ships except Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection, while the four-dinner package is only available on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection. All packages can be pre-ordered except the Ultimate package, which can only be purchased onboard.

Pay for 10 Cruises, Sail 11

small ship specialist American Cruise Lines has introduced the Eagle Society, a new loyalty program for repeat passengers. Among the benefits are: a free cruise upon completion of 10 cruises, free shore excursions after completing three cruises, a selection of gifts ranging from customized officer jackets to Champagne, customized luggage tags and invitations to exclusive sailings and savings. For Eagle Society members who live in or near a ship's port of call, the line invites them to come aboard for lunch or dinner, or they may invite friends or family aboard to tour the ship or join them for a meal.

Giddyup Internet

Royal Caribbean has expanded its partnership with O3b Networks to expand ultra-fast Internet access to Allure of the Seas. Currently, the specific technology that enables the faster Internet is only available on Oasis of the Seas. According to O3b Networks the technology provides fiber-like Internet speeds and costs less. That's two ships down, just 20 more to go.

At the Movies

Carnival Cruise Line is bringing its Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades to its Lido Deck poolside theaters, renaming the evening event "Dive In Movies," and featuring theme nights, custom movie trailers and branded popcorn boxes, according to Cruise Currents. For those chilly evenings, passengers will even be able to check out comfy blankets to keep them warm.

Luxury Tastings

In a bid to lure new cruisers to its luxury brand, Silversea Cruises is introducing a collection of eight shorter cruises. The four- to seven-night sailings visit Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Among the options are: four-night Hamburg to Copenhagen, Barcelona to Rome and Rome to Monte Carlo sailings; five-night Lisbon to Barcelona and Monte Carlo to Barcelona sailings; a six-night Southampton to Hamburg sailing; and seven-night Lisbon to Barcelona and Athens to Rome sailings.

Conversing with the Stars

Seabourn Cruise Line is introducing "Seabourn Conversations," a new onboard enrichment program that will bring guest experts and celebrities onto the luxury line's ships. Among the first participants will be actress Penelope Ann Miller, author Christopher Buckley, mountaineer Paul Deegan, chef Michelle Bernstein and diplomat Robert Smolik.

As If There Wasn't Enough Food

Holland America Line has rolled out its casual Italian eatery, Canaletto Restaurant, to Prinsendam and transformed the Lido Terrace into an enclosed Wintergarden. Prinsendam is the last ship in the HAL fleet to get the Italian restaurant, which is only open for dinner.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor