Cruise Line Shorts: Celebrity Rolls Out E-Gambling, Carnival Nixes Funny Brunches and More Cruise News

September 27, 2013
(1:36 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 bits sometimes catch our attention. Here are some interesting cruise tidbits we think you might like to know about.

Wanna Bet?
Soon, casino-loving Celebrity cruisers will no longer have to choose between the pool on a beautiful day and trying their luck in the casino. Instead a handy-dandy Celebrity casino app on their smartphones or tablets will let them sun themselves and play at the same time. The mobile app, the product of a partnership between Celebrity and Cantor Gaming, provides passengers with a selection of casino-style games to bet on. The app will be available for free to Celebrity passengers via the shipboard Wi-Fi network starting on the line's four Solstice-class ships and "Solsticized" Millennium-class ships in the coming months. Passengers can download the free app via their ship's Wi-Fi but must create and fund a virtual wallet in the ship's casino. The app may only be used while the ship is in international waters.

The Joke's Up
Carnival Cruise Lines is revamping its sea day comedy brunch, sans comedy. Beginning October 1, the ships that offer the brunch will open for seating from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The move comes after several months of testing by Carnival, which found brunches without the comedy element scored just as high in terms of passenger satisfaction as those with comedy.

Seconds Please
Dessert is a guilty pleasure for most cruisers, but when Master Baker Buddy Valastro, of TLC's "Cake Boss" fame, is in the kitchen, everyone wants seconds. After a successful debut on the New York-inspired Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to bring the Big Apple baker to Miami on Norwegian Getaway, set to launch February 2013. The venue will offer an assortment of signature items, including Buddy's famous Purple Groovy Fondant and Oreo cakes, Italian butter cookies, biscotti, an assortment of cupcakes, cannolis and cream-filled lobster tails. Passengers also will be able to pre-order custom cakes for special celebrations.

How Much Is that Cruise Ship in the Window?
Costa Cruises is tightening up its fleet, selling off two of its older ships in order to make room for new builds as they come online. The line will not say which of its ships are on the chopping block, but did admit during a third quarter earnings call that one will be sold this fall, while the other remains on the market. Costa's next new ship, Costa Diadema, is scheduled for delivery next October.

The Emmy for Best Port Goes to…
Port Everglades is "Port of the Year" according to Seatrade Insider. The South Florida port won after completing a $54 million makeover that increased the number of terminals, expanded the port's simultaneous embarkation and debarkation abilities and added Wi-Fi. Port Everglades hosts eight cruise lines, one ferry and more than 40 cruise ships, totaling more than 3.7 million cruisers per year.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor, Gina Kramer, Associate Editor and Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant