Thursday, February 11, 2016

Seabourn Encore Grand Wintergarden Suites Unveiled

Luxury cruise line Seabourn has revealed details—as well as the rendering at left—of the Grand Wintergarden Suites, the most luxurious and largest suites aboard its newest, luxury vessel, Seabourn Encore, launching late 2016. Unfolding as a lap of luxury for guests who desire exquisite comfort and room to entertain, the two Grand Wintergarden Suites will offer a variety of in-suite amenities and features that encourage guests to make themselves at home.

"Seabourn Encore's Grand Wintergarden Suites will be two of the most beautiful and striking suites in ultra-luxury travel," said Christopher Prelog, Seabourn Vice President of Hotel Operations. "Like a spacious vacation home, guests will enjoy the superb amenities, especially the private glassed-in Solarium with a soaking tub and lounging bed."

Located on deck 8, each of the Grand Wintergarden suites will provide nearly 1,550 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The suites will feature large windows for picture-perfect ocean and shore views, two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, two private verandas, dining for six, convertible sofa-bed, pantry with wet bar and espresso machine, and three flat-screen televisions. One of the most unique features of the suites will be a glass-enclosed solarium with soaking tub and daybed, an ideal spot for guests to relax and enjoy the sunset. Two generous verandahs outfitted with all-weather table and chairs will provide nearly 250 square feet of private space, making it an ideal setting for al fresco dining. The suite bathrooms radiate elegance, with a separate whirlpool tub and shower, polished stone, gleaming hardware and mirrors, as well as exclusive bath products from Molton Brown.

Guests residing in the Grand Wintergarden suites, as well as other premium suites, will receive an array of added amenities, including personalized service by the Guest Service Manager, private car transfers on embarkation and disembarkation, complimentary Internet service, daily newspaper delivered to the suite, plush bathrobes, large tropical fruit basket, beautiful fresh flowers, an extended in-suite reference library, and more.

All of the suites on board Seabourn Encore will offer a number thoughtful details to pamper guests, from a welcoming bottle of chilled Champagne with canapés to the personalized services of a Personal Suite Stewardess. Delivering unobtrusive care, the Stewardess can provide guest preference of designer soaps, draw Pure Pampering baths, replenish ice and bar set-up, manage laundry service needs, and assist with any special requests. Additional in-suite amenities and features will include ample storage and walk-in closets complete with plush bathrobes and slippers; an in-suite bar stocked daily with preferred beverages; and a choice of pillows to suit guests' preferences. Entertainment options will feature flat-screen televisions with an extensive array of movies, music, broadcast television and radio channels.

Seabourn Encore will expand and build on the line's highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Encore will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service by close to one staff member for each guest on board. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and is expected to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

Image Courtesy of Seabourn

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Princess Cruises Reveals New Livery Design

Unless a cruise ship has a distinctive shape (Carnival Cruise Line’s winged funnel) or hull art (Norwegian Cruise Line & Aida Cruises), it’s difficult to distinguish one white-hulled vessel from another. Pretty soon that won’t be a problem when looking for Princess Cruises’ ships. Majestic Princess, the first cruise ship built and designed specifically for the China market will be the first ship in the fleet to debut the distinctive new livery design pictured here.

Featuring the company’s conic seawitch logo, the new livery design will roll out fleetwide over the next few years. One of the most recognized brand logos in cruising; the design symbolizes the smooth and flowing gracefulness of ocean waves and represents the excitement and adventure of discovering the best the world has to offer on a Princess cruise. The modern, sophisticated-look is designed to reinforce the premium experience of Princess Cruises, recognized around the world as a destination leader.

“For nearly half a century our Princess logo has represented the adventure of cruise travel around the globe,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Now our ships sail to more than 360 ports of call worldwide and will be instantly recognized from afar. As the very first cruise ship built for China, we take great pride that Majestic Princess is our first ship to proudly display our new livery design.”

Also reaching a significant construction milestone this week, Majestic Princess “floated out” in its building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The occasion was marked by a traditional ceremony as the ship met ocean water for the first time. Following the Italian shipyard’s custom, the float out of a ship begins when a “madrina,” or godmother, cuts the cord that signals the flow of sea water into the ship’s building dock. Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations Keith Taylor and recently appointed Majestic Princess Captain Dino Sagani represented Princess Cruises at the ceremony. Captain Sagani’s mother, Graziella Sagani, served as the ship’s “madrina.”

Majestic Princess will offer many of the same special features as Royal Princess and Regal Princess, which have been so well-received. These include a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; and a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light.

As the first cruise ship built and designed specifically for the China market, Majestic Princess will also feature a number of new venues and experiences created for that market, the details of which will be revealed in the coming months. Majestic Princess will home-port in Shanghai and carry 3,560 guests.

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line Raises Zika Virus Awareness

Warnings about the Zika virus have been all over the news and travelers to regions where it is commonly found have reason to be concerned. Unfortunately, that includes many destinations on cruise itineraries. Norwegian Cruise Line wants their guests to be informed and has sent the following advisory to their travel agent partners:
"We want you to be aware that we have been actively monitoring the Zika virus and remain in close contact with public health authorities. As always, the safety and security of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance. We regularly advise guests to protect themselves from mosquito and other insects bites while ashore and are advising of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel advisories and recommended precautions in daily communications.

At this time, the only passengers who are advised not to travel to affected areas are expectant mothers and we have made accommodations for those very few affected guests to reschedule their cruise for a future date in the next two years or change their itinerary to non-affected destinations. For those guests who have opted to purchase a Travel Protection policy, cancellations are covered under the "Cancel for Any Reason" portion of the policy.

For anyone else traveling, the recommended method for avoiding risk is to take steps to protect from mosquito and other insect bites and follow the CDC guidelines, which include covering exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats and use an appropriate insect repellent containing DEET.

We are continually monitoring the situation as well as the recommended methods for avoiding risk."
For more information, please visit the Center For Disease Control.

Photo © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

Monday, February 8, 2016

SS United States to Join Crystal Cruises Fleet

Over the years various organizations have attempted to save the SS United States—Norwegian Cruise Line even owned it at one time. While those efforts saved the iconic ship from the wrecking ball, it now looks like Crystal Cruises—the ultimate white knight—will shake off her mothballs and get her sailing again.

Together with the SS United States Conservancy, Crystal has announced it will save "America's Flagship," the SS United States, and embark on the enormous undertaking of bringing the ship into compliance with the latest standards, and returning her to oceangoing service. Crystal also committed to covering all costs associated with preserving the ship while undertaking a technical feasibility study, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

"The prospect of revitalizing the SS United States and reestablishing her as 'America's Flagship' once again is a thrilling one. It will be a very challenging undertaking, but we are determined to apply the dedication and innovation that has always been the ship's hallmark," says Crystal President and CEO Edie Rodriguez. "We are honored to work with the SS United States Conservancy and government agencies in exploring the technical feasibility study so we can ultimately embark on the journey of transforming her into a sophisticated luxury cruise liner for the modern era."

In order to meet modern demands and be in full regulatory compliance, the SS United States will have to be extensively re-built to meet over 60 years of new maritime rules and shipbuilding practices. The modern United States by Crystal Cruises will be transformed into an 800-guest-capacity vessel, featuring 400 luxury suites measuring about 350 square feet, with dining, entertainment, spa and other guest amenities that are true to the ship's storied history. Features of the original SS United States such as the Promenade and Navajo Lounge will be retained, while new engines and sophisticated marine technology will be installed to maintain her title as the fastest cruise vessel in the world.

Crystal will be examining exciting new itineraries for the 60,000-gross-ton United States by Crystal Cruises including not only the traditional transatlantic voyages from New York City, but cruises from key U.S. ports as well as international voyages around the globe which are a signature offering of Crystal and part of the line's "World Cruise."

The epitome of American post-war innovation and design, the SS United States was launched in 1952 and captured the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage—a record to this day that still stands. She remains the largest passenger ship ever designed and built in America. Before her retirement in 1969, the SS United States was the most glamorous ship in the world, having transported four U.S. presidents, international royalty, many of Hollywood's "golden era" celebrities, as well as a million passengers. While the ship captivated travelers with its features, the ship's origin was equally intriguing. She was designed as part of a top-secret Pentagon program during the Cold War, which stipulated it could be quickly converted from a luxury liner into a naval troopship in the event of a war, carrying 15,000 troops with a 240,000 shaft horsepower propulsion plant capable of traveling 10,000 nautical miles—almost half way around the globe—without refueling.

In October 2015, the SS United States Conservancy's Board of Directors announced that the persistent challenge of covering the vessel's monthly expenses had compelled them to engage a ship broker to explore the potential sale of the ship to be responsibly recycled. This news resulted in an outpouring of public support worldwide and led to the Conservancy raising additional funds which enabled the organization to continue its preservation efforts and pursue negotiations with potential investors and partners.

To facilitate the complex technical feasibility study and to ensure a smooth execution of the project, Crystal has appointed retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Tim Sullivan to build and lead a team with a wide range of cruise line technical, legal and regulatory expertise. With 36 years of active service, Admiral Sullivan has extensive experience in ship operations as a Commanding Officer of numerous Coast Guard cutters, and over the years has engaged in high level of interaction with a myriad of U.S. government agencies and international regulatory entities.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Every Day is Valentine's Day For Chocolate Lovers At Sea

I love chocolate and I'm not alone. As a rule, cruise passengers love chocolate too. The proof is in the pudding—and the chocolate cake, and the chocolate soufflés, and the chocolate truffles. While you're shopping for that perfect box of chocolate for your Valentine, consider that Carnival Cruise Line alone buys more than 1.3 million pounds of chocolate each year. A half million of those pounds go into making the passenger-favorite Warm Chocolate Melting Cake—some 4 million of the cakes consumed annually in the main dining rooms of the line's two dozen ships. For Valentine's Day, Carnival Cruise Line chefs will make some 60,000 chocolate-covered strawberries, along with love-themed desserts.

While no exact statistic is available, it is fair to say that millions of pounds of chocolate are consumed at sea each year on cruise ships. So why do cruising and chocolate go together?

"Chocolate and a lot of things go together," said French-trained Master Chocolatier Norman Love, who consults on all things chocolate with Princess Cruises. "On a cruise, people are on vacation and enjoying themselves. There's also a romantic side to cruising and a romantic side to chocolate as well. Cruising and chocolate are made for each other."

The chocolate on Princess' 18 ships, whose passengers consume more than a million pounds annually, comes from cacao-bean growing countries around the world. As with wine, great fruit produces great product, with sunlight, soil and elevation factors in creating distinct chocolate flavors, Love said.

The chocolate goes into creations including those highlighted in Princess Cruises' 24-hour "Chocolate Journeys" program with Love. You can sample his 15 extravagant desserts at dinner, bites with afternoon tea, chocolate pastries at breakfast, and chocolate cookies while watching Movies Under the Stars. Or get more adventurous and have anti-oxidant chocolate smeared on your body as part of a hydrating treatment at the Lotus Spa. You can even sip loaded chocolate creations in ship bars.

"Chocolate makes people happy," Love said. "It's a wonderful, universal thing that Mother Nature creates." Americans are consuming more chocolate than ever before, Love added, whether for health benefits, with an aphrodisiac purpose in mind or just because it's so good. "It's chocolate's time right now. Chocolate is really hot," Love said.

A recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Princess Cruises showed more than half of U.S. adults admit to being a chocolate addict. The survey also showed 70 percent of women would choose chocolate over sex.

Holland America Line showcases high-end Belgian chocolate in cakes, muffins, custards, sauces, and cookies—and more extravagant creations by world-renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres, such as his Chocolate Coconut Napoleon and Baked Chocolate Soup. A passenger favorite is the Grand Marnier Chocolate Volcano Cake at the Pinnacle Grill. You'll also find Dutch hot chocolate served on Holland America Line ships on cool days, for instance when you're warming up after seeing the stunning sight of a glacier thunderously calving into the sea in Alaska.

Images Courtesy of Carnival Corporation

Thursday, February 4, 2016

‘Countdown to Koningsdam’ Video Showcases Stateroom & Suite Accommodations

Holland America Line has debuted the fourth “Countdown to Koningsdam” video in the series that details the ship’s staterooms and suites. The short videos were created to provide updates and share the excitement as ms Koningsdam nears delivery in April 2016.

Hosted by Johnathan Rogers, Koningsdam’s inaugural cruise director, the video, “Countdown to Koningsdam Episode 4,” features Holland America Line’s Deputy Director of Interior Design My Nguyen, who takes guests inside the ship’s accommodations, including the new family and single staterooms debuting on board.

“We spent years developing and fine-tuning the design of the ship’s accommodations to ensure that our guests feel like they’re walking into a pampering and relaxing environment while they’re cruising on Koningsdam,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “We gathered feedback from guests and travel partners about upgrades and changes they’d like to see in our staterooms, and My and her team did a fantastic job implementing many of those ideas. From the color schemes to the functionality of the layout, Koningsdam’s accommodations are the perfect home away from home.”

Koningsdam will boast more than 1,300 guest accommodations that received upgrades in both aesthetics and function. Four distinct color schemes that evoke feelings of rejuvenation identify the suite, spa, verandah, ocean-view and inside categories. Guests will enjoy redesigned headboards with USB and electrical outlets on both sides of the bed, stone tops on desks and nightstands, more storage, and improved lighting.

Koningsdam represents a new Pinnacle Class of ship for Holland America Line. The vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public spaces and venues, while still featuring popular amenities guests associate with Holland America Line. Guests will enjoy fine dining in several alternative restaurants and the ship also will feature Holland America Line’s first purpose-built staterooms for families and single staterooms among its 1,331 guest accommodations. See for yourself how beautiful and functional they will be:



Onboard entertainment will be taken to a new level with the energetic Music Walk area featuring all genres of music showcased in venues including Lincoln Center Stage, offering chamber music nightly; Billboard Onboard, where live musicians rock the crowd with chart-topping hits; and the popular B.B. King’s Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge, bringing the best of Memphis music to sea. With the 270-degree LED projection at World Stage, new concepts for show-time performances will immerse the audience in panoramic visual and sound effects.

Image & Video Courtesy Holland America Line

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Azamara Journey Gets An Upgrade

Grand  Staircase
Azamara Journey is the first of Azamara Club Cruises' two ships to undergo a "major upgrade." During a recent dry dock, the vessel was outfitted with new venues, public spaces and technologies to bring fresh services and amenities to guests.

"There is no area on the ship that has been untouched," says Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "Cruise ships are like fine hotels, after wear and tear, upgrades need to be made. We can't wait to have our new and loyal guests onboard to see what we have done. It's gorgeous and provides all the modern services and amenities that today's traveler needs and demands. I think we have exceeded expectations."

As Azamara Journey emerged from dry dock, all stateroom and suites have had an overall creating an ambiance that is comfortable as well as timeless and elegant. Authentic materials were used, with beautiful stone and porcelain throughout and custom design. Two new Spa Suites have been built adjacent to the Sanctum Spa featuring an elegant look with organic and muted colors providing exclusive access to unique spa amenities that will be included in the price of these staterooms. And, the Club World Ocean and Owner's Suites have also been fully redesigned. Additionally, Azamara Journey's new dining and entertainment enhancements throughout the entire ship are revealed including makeovers to The Patio, Windows Café, Discoveries Restaurant and Discoveries Bar, the Living Room and Cabaret Lounge:

The Patio
Formerly known as the Pool Grill, The Patio is completely transformed into a sit-down al fresco dining experience. The area features tablecloths and candles in the evening creating a fresh ambiance. New lighting, ceilings and fans add modern elements to the renovated look. The décor won't be the only refresh as The Patio will also serve up a new evening menu to be enjoyed amidst oceanside backdrops in locales around the world. In the evening, interested dinner guests can occasionally enjoy a movie on the projection screen or live music alongside their meal. After dinner and a movie, travelers looking to satisfy their sweet tooth can stop by the new Swirl & Top self-serve frozen yogurt station to indulge in a variety of flavors and choice of toppings.

Windows Café
Dining offerings indoors are not overlooked as Windows Café is be reinvigorated with contemporary furniture and place settings. Tables for two will be added, allowing more options for couples or the ability to combine tables to accommodate larger parties, or to join a group of friends for a meal. For those looking to dine while watching the sunset, Windows' outdoor dining area and Sunset Bar are right out the back door, with a rejuvenated look and the same stunning views.

Discoveries Restaurant & Discoveries Bar
Discoveries Restaurant is continuing the reimagination trend. The refreshed restaurant features a warm and inviting atmosphere with new décor, lamps, seating, and sheers. A variety of different sized tables will be offered to accommodate groups of all sizes with ease.

Discoveries Bar will be receiving a modern makeover as well with new bar stools, sofas, chairs and tables, sheers, painting and wood trim. The bar will provide a tranquil and friendly atmosphere with a rich blend of tailored and refined elements for guests.

Living Room
Guests will feel right at home in the new and improved Living Room, formerly the Looking Glass Lounge. The relaxing area offers the comfort of a well-furnished space, featuring cozy chairs and sofas and a handcrafted wooden wine table. Passengers can sample tastes and entertainment from morning until night with the following options:
• Daytime Fare: From 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. enjoy a selection of fine teas and coffees along with delicious breakfast pastries, finger sandwiches, and sweets.
• Afternoon Delight: From 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. each day guests may choose from a variety of tasty hot and cold tapas with a mix of Spain's eclectic and sophisticated flavors. The onboard sommelier will be happy to suggest the perfect red, white, or rosé wine or champagne to pair accordingly.
A new card area with modern-inspired furniture and décor will be open for entertainment. In the evenings the Living Room will liven up into a space for dancing, karaoke or live music from one of the ship's onboard musicians followed by a house DJ, playing music to keep the party going well into the night. On occasion, specialty performances will entertain guests while other nights the Chef may surprise Living Room dwellers with delectable featured desserts. Whether stopping by for a light bite or staying for the entire evening, The Living Room serves up entertainment and culinary offerings for guests day and night.

Cabaret Lounge, Casino & Spirits
This entertainment venue is being revitalized with new carpeting, updated lighting, and a refinished dance floor. The Casino will be outfitted with new slot machines, sleek carpets, and reupholstered seating with custom-designed fabrics. Of course the Cabaret Lounge wouldn't be complete without a proper location in close proximity for a cocktail, the transformed Spirits bar will available for guests just a stone's throw away.

The Azamara Quest will enter dry dock in April 2016 in Singapore.

Image Courtesy Azamara Club Cruises

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ESPN is Afloat in the Caribbean

It's football, basketball, or the season for another sport and you don't want to miss your favorite team or player in a big match-up, but you want to go on a Caribbean cruise. What are you going to do, stay home and watch on television or go on a cruise? Happily, you don't have to choose.

Beginning now through August of 2016, ESPN will provide extensive, live coverage on all major Caribbean cruise lines of the most anticipated sports events of the next year, including the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games (August 5 - 21) and the 2016 UEFA European Championship (June 10 - July 10).

While sailing the Caribbean Sea, cruisers will enjoy more than 700 live events from the most popular sports in the world, including the most followed leagues and tournaments. The network’s onboard sports programming is in full swing now.

Other upcoming events and programming highlights available across Caribbean cruise lines include:
NFL: 41 NFL Monday Night Football games and post-season playoffs
NBA: 45 regular season games, All-Star Weekend, the Eastern Conference Finals and the 2016 NBA Finals
Tennis: The Grand Slam of Asia Pacific, the Australian Open 2016 Tennis Championship Tour, Jan. 18-31, from Melbourne Park, and all along the year other major events including Wimbledon, the French Open and the U.S. Open
Rio 2016: over 200 hours of live competition plus opening and closing ceremonies, along with original programming, including the weekly Countdown to Rio
Golf: the Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship
• NCAA Men’s & Women’s Basketball
• The ICC World T20
In addition to the live events, cruisers will also see all their favorite ESPN studio shows, including SportsCenter; Mike & Mike, Around the Horn, ESPN FC and Pardon the Interruption.

Go ahead and make your cruise reservations and start packing!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Carnival Cruise Line, Operation Homefront & Superstar Carrie Underwood Launch Honor.Family.Fun. Initiative To Support Military Families

Every time some politician or his spouse comes out in support of military families, I cringe at how shallow their efforts seem. With the exception of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent 6 million dollar fund raiser for vets, what do they really accomplish other than a feel-good photo op? (I’m looking at you Michelle and Dr. Jill.)

For a long time family oriented cruise lines have helped military families get away from it all with special fares to show appreciation for their sacrifice and now Carnival Cruise Line is going a step further with a new Honor.Family.Fun. initiative designed to support U.S. military families alongside GRAMMY-award winning superstar Carrie Underwood and representatives of Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit that builds strong, stable, and secure military families.

“Military families represent a cornerstone of our country and we are honored by the opportunity to partner with Carrie and Operation Homefront to bring much needed awareness and aid to our troops and their loved ones,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The partnership will bring to life many of the heartwarming stories our troops have to share while in turn bringing them some fun along the way.”

In 10 cities along the course of Carrie Underwood’s The Storyteller Tour, which kicked off in Jacksonville, Florida on Jan 30th, military families chosen in partnership with Operation Homefront will be treated to a personal meet-and-greet with Underwood before her concerts. A video series highlighting the meet and greets and the families’ individual stories will be featured on Carnival.com. The year-long Honor.Family.Fun. program will help raise funds for Operation Homefront and culminate in a special private pierside concert for hundreds of service men and women and their families starring Underwood aboard Carnival’s newest and most family-friendly ship, the Carnival Vista, when the vessel makes its U.S. debut in New York City on Nov 4, 2016.

“I’m honored to be able to join Carnival Cruise Line and Operation Homefront to lift up these soldiers and their families,” said Underwood. “I am really looking forward to meeting them on my tour and for the opportunity to personally thank them for all they do for our freedom.”

Driving the effort to raise funds for the cause, fans of Underwood, and of the program, will have the opportunity to donate by clicking on the “Donate Now” button on Carnival.com/HonorFamilyFun. Commemorative dog tags will also be available for purchase at merchandise stands at all Storyteller Tour stops as well as on board the fleet of Carnival ships with all proceeds going to Operation Homefront.

“Carnival Cruise Line really knows what it means to support our men and women in uniform and their families,” said retired Brigadier General John I. Pray, Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. “We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the Carnival team and Carrie Underwood to focus on the challenges our military families face as they work tirelessly to protect the freedoms we enjoy daily.”

In the coming weeks, Carnival will launch a new shipboard military appreciation program. Each ship will host a special event on board to recognize active and retired military personnel and their families.

We’re certain the Honor.Family.Fun. initiative will be a success and, with the support of Carnival Cruise Line and Carrie Underwood fans, perhaps they will be able to raise even more money than Donald Trump.

Carrie Underwood Photo Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Friday, January 29, 2016

Harmony of the Seas Offers More Fun For Families

No parent wants bored children on vacation. Thankfully, Royal Caribbean International understnds and is expanding family fun onboard its newest ship Harmony of the Seas. Guests setting sail aboard Harmony will be able to enjoy more family-friendly offerings than ever before, such as Royal Caribbean’s signature DreamWorks Experience, enhanced entertainment in the award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program, and a new collection of family amenities—two thoughtful collections of experiences that highlight what travelers tend to enjoy most on vacation: eat, play, drink—in balcony staterooms with views of the Central Park and Boardwalk neighborhoods. Combined with The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, The Perfect Storm trio of water slides, and Splashaway Bay interactive aqua park for kids, Harmony of the Seas will offer adventure for the entire family aboard the world’s largest cruise ship when she arrives in May 2016.

DreamWorks Animation Characters Set Sail
When Harmony of the Seas debuts in just over 100 days, she will bring with her a familiar cast of DreamWorks Animation characters including Po of Kung Fu Panda; Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots of Shrek; and from Madagascar, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien and the Penguins. Guests will enjoy events and activities based on DreamWorks Animation's popular feature-film characters, including a DreamWorks Character breakfast in the main dining room, ‘meet and greet’ experiences throughout the day, as well as photo opportunities that can be shared with family and friends back home thanks to VOOM, the fastest internet at sea.

Royal Caribbean's younger guests can enjoy a line-up of activities, from story time to dance parties, games and adventures rooted in the popular DreamWorks Animation films at the complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program. Only on Royal Caribbean, parents and kids alike can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they have guaranteed seats on “opening weekend” of highly anticipated feature films such as "Kung Fu Panda 3,” which premieres onboard the same day it does in theaters on land. Year-round, guests can watch the latest and long-term favorite DreamWorks Animation films in the ship’s 3D movie theater and on a dedicated DreamWorks TV channel in their stateroom.

Enhanced Adventure Ocean Programming
Royal Caribbean’s complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program will continue to offer young guests, ages three to eleven, an entertaining line-up of activities and games rooted in fun. New to be offered in Harmony’s Adventure Ocean Theater is Away We Go!, a black light puppet show. Additionally, programming by “Muffalo Potato”—the popular YouTube show, which teaches kids to draw anything in minutes using only letters and numbers—will round out Harmony’s lineup. Muffalo Potato originally debuted aboard Anthem of the Seas and will expand fleetwide just in time for summer vacations, starting with Harmony of the Seas.

New Family Amenities for Central Park & Boardwalk Staterooms
Families vacationing together on Harmony of the Seas, as well as Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, will have a new collection of added benefits to balcony staterooms overlooking the Central Park and Boardwalk outdoor neighborhoods. Starting in November 2016, the views will be enhanced with amenities that feature the best of what each neighborhood has to offer. Guests with views of Central Park—the design in which the center of the ship opens to the sky and features tropical grounds spanning the length of a football field—will enjoy lunch for two at Jamie’s Italian on Harmony of the Seas or Giovanni’s Table onboard Oasis and Allure of the Seas; a complimentary bottle of red wine upon arrival; and special perks in the Casino Royale. Guests with Boardwalk views—a neighborhood inspired by the boardwalks of yesteryear—will receive lunch or dinner for four at Johnny Rockets, a family favorite featuring old-fashioned burgers and fries; a soda beverage package for two; and private time on the cruise line’s 38-foot tall rock wall.

Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, will span 16 guest decks, encompass 227,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,497 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,747 staterooms. The Oasis-class features Royal Caribbean's exclusive seven neighborhood concept, including Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.

Harmony of the Seas Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean International