Cruise News Shorts: $50 Million Refurbs, $279 Tea and Cupcakes, and More Cruise News

November 22, 2013

(2:30 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.

Luxury Line Plans Pricey Refurbs

Three of Oceania Cruises' ships -- Regatta, Insignia (which will be returning to the fleet after a two-year charter with Hapag-Lloyd) and Nautica -- will undergo $50 million worth of upgrades in 2014. To bring them more in line with the fleet's newer vessels, these three R-class ships will receive additions that include signature coffee bar Baristas, as well as a state-of-the-art grill in the Terrace Cafe. All cabins will receive decor upgrades; some of the suite-level staterooms will also be getting new bathrooms with larger showers and granite countertops. Additionally, Horizons and Martinis will be redone with new carpeting, upholstery and furniture, and the main lounges and pool decks on all three vessels will be spruced up. Also look for new steam and changing rooms in the spa, and a new mini-golf course and shuffleboard courts when the ships debut between May and June of next year.

Royal Tea on the High Seas

Lady Chamomile and Chef Brule play host to Disney Cruise Line's new Royal Court Royal Tea Party, a regal affair for kids of all ages, complete with tea sandwiches, pastries, cupcakes and, of course, tea. Available to young "princes and princesses" ages 3 and older on any seven-night Disney Fantasy itinerary, the cost is $279 for one adult and one child, with an additional child from $210 and a $69 charge for an additional adult. The event includes character visits from Disney princesses with a meet-and-greet and photo, sing-alongs and gifts.

50 Chefs in 2014

Foodies rejoice. Holland America Line will be bringing 50 celebrity chefs aboard various sailings next year as part of its Culinary Arts Center enrichment offerings. The guest chefs will include Food Network "Next Iron Chef" competitor Chef Jehangir Mehta, Food Network "Extreme Chef" winners Chef Amadeus and Chef Terry French, and Bravo "Top Chef" competitor Chef Ash Fulk. The roster will also include New York Times columnist and cookbook author Mark Bittman, among others.

Out With the Old Keel, in With the New

Anthem of the Seas -- one of three brand-new Royal Caribbean ships currently in the works, slated for delivery in spring of 2015 -- had its keel laid in a ceremony at Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard on Tuesday. Around the same time, Song of Norway, built in 1970 as the first ship for Royal Caribbean, was sold for scrap.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages to Offer Rhine River Cruises

British-owned Cruise & Maritime Voyages is testing the waters of the European River cruise market next spring with a five-week charter of river ship Vienna 1.

The line, which currently operates three ocean-going cruise ships, will initially sail the 164-passenger Vienna 1 on a seven-night Rhine itinerary from Nuremburg, Germany to Amsterdam, departing May 19, 2014. Following that cruise, CMV will offer 7-night cruises to and from Nuremburg and longer, 14-night itineraries between Amsterdam and Budapest.

A spokesperson for the line said the move is based on customer feedback, and that it is "a natural progression for CMV to add river cruises to our portfolio."

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Associate Editor, and Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant