Cruise News Shorts: HAL Increases Restaurant Prices, Celebrity Moves Century to Europe & Other Cruise News

December 20, 2013

(4:32 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.

Lay Keel? Check.

Viking Cruises' ocean fleet took a major step toward realization December 18 with the laying of the keel for its first ocean ship, Viking Star. Laying the keel marks the beginning of construction, though steel was first cut for the ship June 2013. Viking Star is slated to launch early 2015.

Price Check

Holland America Line passengers will soon be paying more for dinners in the line's specialty restaurants. By the end of the year, prices at Pinnacle Grill will go from $25 to $29; at Tamarind prices climb from $15 to $20; and at Le Cirque dinners will set passengers back $49 (up from $39).

A Lyrical Overhaul

Over the next two years, MSC Cruises will spend $273 million to overhaul all four of its Lirica-class cruise ships. The work will be done at the Fincantieri shipyard and will include new splash parks and expanded shopping boutiques. Ships going under the knife are MSC Armonia (August 31-November 17, 2014), MSC Sinfonia (January 12 to March 16, 2015), MSC Opera (May 2-July 4, 2015) and MSC Lirica (August 21-November 9, 2015). As part of the overhaul, the ships will be extended from 251 meters long to 275 meters and will measure 65,000-tons (up from 60,000). Passenger cabin capacity also will be increased by 193.

A Century Mystery

The mystery of what will become of Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Century deepens once again. With Celebrity still denying its planning to transfer the ship to Croisieres de France, the line has canceled its Asia sailings to reposition the ship to Europe for 2015. Two special sailings have replaced the three canceled. One, a 14-night cruise, will travel from Singapore to Dubai, departing March 22, 2015. The other, a 15-night Suez Canal cruise, departs Dubai on April 5, 2015, and ends in Rome.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor