Cruise News Shorts: Breakaway's Captain, Yet More Beverage Packages and More Cruise News

March 29, 2013
(2:15 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 Captain
Norwegian Cruise Line announced which of its captains will serve on Norwegian Breakaway. Following Breakaway's transatlantic sailing, the ship will sail seven-day cruises from New York City to Bermuda under the command of Captain Evans Hoyt. Captain Hoyt joined Norwegian in 2005 and most recently served as captain of Pride of America. During Captain Hoyt's absence, Captain Hakan Svedung will take the ship's helm. Captain Svedung currently serves aboard Norwegian Epic.

Beverage Package Anyone?
Azamara Club Cruises is the latest cruise line to jump on the beverage package bandwagon. Starting March 27 onboard Azamara Journey and May 15 onboard Azamara Quest, the line will offer five all-inclusive beverage packages. Options include the Premium Water Package ($7.95 pp/day), Beer Package (26 brands, $11.95 pp/day), and the Premium Liquor Package (90 brands, $12.95 pp/day), Top Shelf Liquor Package (120 brands, $15.95 pp/day) and Ultimate Liquor Package (140 brands, $18.95 pp/day). Beer and liquor packages also include 25 percent savings on premium wines by the glass. All packages must be purchased for the entire length of the cruise and may be prepurchased or bought onboard the first two days of the cruise.

To Tie or Not to Tie
What's next? Jeans with holes in the knees? Renowned for its refined dress code, Cunard is "keeping up with the times" by loosening up a bit on less formal nights. Starting now, men can choose to go tieless on four to five informal evenings. Mind you, jackets are still required.

Get Away With Ol' Man River
American Cruise Lines is introducing shorter cruises aboard Queen of the Mississippi in 2013, Cruise Industry News reports. The four-night cruises, which operate roundtrip from New Orleans, will focus on the various plantations found along the river. Featured dates include November 30, December 4 and 8.

A European Oasis
With the departure of Oasis of the Seas to Europe in 2014 for a short fall season, Europe will get its first taste of mega-ship cruising. In addition to the two repositioning transatlantic sailings, Oasis will sail three Western Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona in September and October.

Splash Away Toddlers
Norwegian has introduced a new program just for toddlers and babies. The Splash Academy Guppies program offers interactive programming for kids' ages six months to three years old. Parent involvement is required. Options includes baby art, baby "Rhyme Time," and "Motion in the Ocean," a parent and baby mini-workout.

Portugal's New Queen
Portugal got a new queen last week when Uniworld Boutique River Cruises' newest river boat, Queen Isabel, was inaugurated on the Douro River on March 22. Actress Andie MacDowell served as the ship's godmother.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor