Cruise News Shorts: Galveston Promised Bigger Ship, Carnival Upgrades Wedding Program and Other Cruise News

January 31, 2014

(11:25 E.S.T) -- 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.

Royal Caribbean Promises Galveston a Bigger Ship

The Port of Galveston and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have agreed to be partners for another five years. The terms include upgrading Galveston's Terminal 2 by spring 2015 to accommodate larger vessels and more passengers, at an estimated cost of $10 million. Currently, Navigator of the Seas sails year-round from Galveston, but Royal Caribbean will add 30 calls to the Texas port in both 2014 and 2015, commit to continuing its year-round presence, and -- good news for local cruising fans -- bring an even larger ship to Galveston once the terminal enhancements are finished.

Chocolate Melting Wedding Cake?

Carnival Cruise Lines has revamped its wedding program, and couples looking to tie the knot onboard are in for a number of enhancements including upgraded culinary options, beverage services, decorated wedding aisles and new cake flavors such as chocolate ganache, red velvet and coconut cream. (No three-tiered chocolate melting cake, sadly.) Those looking for beachside ceremonies now have additional destination choices, including Grand Turk and Freeport. There are five enhanced wedding packages ranging in price from $1,355, for a maximum of eight people, to $1,975, which accounts for 20 guests and includes a custom-designed ice carving.

Silversea's Personal Service Goes Online

Luxury line Silversea now offers a personalized "My Silversea" area on its website where you can log in to update your personal cruise preferences and make pre-cruise arrangements for your vacation. Booked passengers can now make advance reservations for specialty restaurant dinners (in addition to booking shore excursions and spa treatments) and keep track of their past cruises. Travel agents can also access marketing tools and manage client bookings online. Travelers on Silversea's expedition cruises can log in, too, but some of the pre-booking options are still being added.

Own a Piece of Oceania or Regent

Prestige Cruises International Inc., parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises and backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC, has filed for an IPO. The company wants to raise $250 million in the initial public stock offering, although its Securities and Exchange Commission filing did not indicate how many shares would be sold or the price per share.

Viking to Add Second Ship in Bordeaux in 2015

Due to "better than expected" sales, Viking River Cruises has said it will move another ship into Bordeaux in 2015.

Senior Vice President Richard Marnell told Cruise Critic that Viking Forseti, which will sail the "Chateaux, Rivers & Wine" itineraries for the first time in the spring of 2014, will be joined by sister ship Viking Rinda next year.

Marnell also hinted at further expansion, saying: "We haven't yet made plans for 2016, but we expect continued popularity. We're doing our best to make it a distinctive Viking experience."

Forseti and Rinda are two of a host of nearly-identical Viking Longship-class ships that have launched in recent years.

--By Erica Silverstein, Features Editor; Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant; and Jamey Bergman, Production Editor