Disney Cruise Line greets NYC with world’s largest bumper sticker

Yesterday morning, Disney Cruise Line’s flagship vessel, the Disney Magic, arrived in New York Harbor donning the world’s largest bumper sticker. Usually found on the back of family minivans, the 50-foot-long by 11-foot-wide super-sized sticker is larger than a city bus. The ship set sail yesterday afternoon, marking the beginning of Disney’s first-ever consumer sailings out of Manhattan – allowing local residents to experience a Disney vacation in their own backyard.

The Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York – including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast to Canada plus two-night cruises that will give a sampling of the Disney Cruise Line experience over a weekend:

The eight Bahamas cruises will include a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and a stop at Port Canaveral, Fla., giving guests an opportunity to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort. As part of this itinerary, each guest will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and roundtrip transportation between their Disney ship and the resort. Departure Dates: June 2, 22, 30, July 20, 28, Aug. 17, 25

The nine five-night cruises up the New England coast will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In these popular Canadian ports, guests can soak in splendid natural vistas, explore historic sites, visit quaint cafes and charming shops, and browse Canada’s oldest farmer’s market. Departure Dates: June 10, 17, July 8, 15, Aug. 5, 12, Sept. 2, 7, 12

Rates for two-night cruises start at $996 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Departure Dates: June 15, July 13 and Aug. 10

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

Carnival bolsters Canaveral sailings

Carnival will soon deploy three ships on a series of itineraries from Port Canaveral, Florida. In late fall look for Ecstasy, pictured here, to join Sensation and Dream. Image courtesy Carnival

By Michael Coleman

Carnival is poised to add another ship, year round, at Port Canaveral.

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy will operate four- and five-day Bahamas cruises from the Space Coast beginning Nov. 7, 2011. The move further bolsters Carnival’s position as Port Canaveral’s largest cruise operator with three, year-round ships scheduled to carry some 600,000 guests annually.

“In addition to offering a convenient departure point for millions of consumers in the southeastern U.S., along with attractive port facilities and excellent flight options into nearby Orlando, Port Canaveral is an extremely popular homeport and we’re excited to provide our guests with some fantastic new cruise choices from Central Florida,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. 

On the Carnival Ecstasy’s new schedule, two different four-day itineraries will be offered along with two different five-day itineraries. 

Ecstasy will depart Thursdays on four-day ‘long weekend’ cruises visiting Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Freeport. Five-day cruises will depart Mondays and Saturdays and call at Nassau, Freeport and Half Moon Cay or Key West. 

From Port Canaveral, the line offers year-round three- and four-day Bahamas cruises aboard Carnival Sensation and seven-day eastern and western Caribbean voyages on Carnival Dream.

Prior to its repositioning, Ecstasy will continue to operate from Galveston, Texas through September 8, 2011 and then from New Orleans September 22 through November 5, 2011, as previously scheduled. 

Meanwhile, the company said this week Carnival Elation will reposition from Mobile, Ala., to New Orleans to operate year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean cruises beginning Nov. 5, 2011. On this route, four-day cruises will depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, one of the Caribbean’s most popular ports, while five-day voyages will call at both Cozumel and Progreso.

Carnival Elation’s new schedule from New Orleans replaces the previously announced program from that port on the Carnival Ecstasy. 

Carnival Elation will join the Carnival Conquest in New Orleans, marking the first time Carnival has operated two ships from New Orleans in six years. Carnival will be the only cruise line with two ships based year-round in New Orleans, carrying more than 350,000 passengers annually. 

As a result of these deployment changes, Carnival will no longer be offering cruises from Mobile, Ala.

Student Center Opens

It was also a big week on the home front for Carnival. In Miami, the new Carnival Student Center opened at Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Located adjacent to the campus’ bayside terrace, the modern facility encompasses more than 2,600 square feet and has been completely renovated and repurposed to create an attractive and inviting gathering place for students. 

With an advising center, reading room, computer workstations and fully-equipped conference rooms, a variety of groups and organizations, from students to industry executives scouting prospective interns and employees, can utilize the new multi-functional space. 

The Carnival Student Center was made possible by a gift to FIU which also includes an endowment for scholarships.

Carnival’s 22 ships operate three- to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. The line currently has two new 130,000-ton ships on order — Carnival Magic, set to debut in Europe May 1, 2011, and Carnival Breeze, scheduled to enter service in spring 2012.

On the web: carnival.com

In Port Today: Five ships in Nassau, Bahamas

Five ships are lined up in Nassau, Bahamas today, March 12, 2010. From left are the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, Carnival Destiny, Disney Wonder, Carnival Sensation and MSC Poesia.

Onboard: ‘La dolce vita’ aboard Costa Atlantica

The 2,114-passenger Costa Atlantica docked today in Nassau, Bahamas. Atlantica offers a taste of Italy in the Tropics, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, through April. Photo by Michael Coleman

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Costa Atlantica this week as she sails a seven-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Here’s his latest dispatch:

NASSAU, Bahamas, Friday Jan. 8, 2010 — Passengers aboard an Italian cruise ship bid the pastel pink colors of this sunny Bahamian capital and their bustling straw markets arrivederci this afternoon.

Costa Atlantica and her 2,114 guests are nearing the end of a seven-night, three-port Eastern Caribbean itinerary which concludes tomorrow morning in Fort Lauderdale.

It’s been nothing but Italian style and revelry since boarding the vessel one short week ago, from pasta and more pasta to classical music, on stage performances and toga parties.

St. Thomas, San Juan and Nassau, like the plethora of onboard culinary choices, may now be gone but not soon forgotten. Atlantica passengers were treated to more dining and varied menu options than one could possibly enjoy in just a week.

Standard pool-side offerings – burgers, hot dogs, Tex Mex — gave way to carving and buffet stations throughout the day and night.

Two dinner seatings — 6 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. in Tiziano Restaurant — in turn gave way to additional servings of late night pasta and desserts served both in the lobby and on the pool deck under the Caribbean stars.

The Club Atlantica Tuscan Steak House, Costa Atlantica’s reservations-only, $30 per-person specialty restaurant, features a merging of Italian and international flavors. Photo by Michael Coleman
The ship’s reservations-only specialty restaurant, Club Atlantica Tuscan Steak House, features excellent wines and the merging of Italian and international flavors for an additional $30 per person. Choosing from among a host of homemade pastas and sauces, meat and fish, clearly made this venue worthy of a second visit.

Passengers seeking a more relaxed dining venue could do so nightly in the Botticelli Restaurant on Deck 9. Pasta offerings and salads are common fare.

And, as one might expect from a cruise line with a deep Italian heritage, Pizzeria Napoli on Deck 9 is a big hit. Four no-charge specialty pizzas are offered from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Servers draped in aprons and bow ties featuring the colors of the Italian flag — red, green and white — were quite busy each evening in this popular venue.

For those keeping close tabs on their diet/calories, Atlantica also features a Wellness Restaurant, next to the main dining room on Deck 2.

The varied gastronomic offerings also reflect Costa Atlantica’s international passenger base. Italian, French, German, English and Spanish guests leave tomorrow having lived, albeit briefly, Costa’s “love, laughter and la dolce vita (sweet life).’’

A Venetian atmosphere permeates throughout Costa Atlantica thanks to design elements featuring Carrara marble, Murano-glass accents and in-laid mosaic tile. An impressive replica of Venice's famed, three-centuries-old Caffe Florian in St. Mark’s Square, is located on Deck 3 and is a popular onboard venue for tea, pre-and post-dinner cocktails. Photo by Michael Coleman

In Port Today: Nassau, Bahamas

Four cruise ships, from left, Regent Seven Seas Navigator, Norwegian Sky, Carnival Sensation and Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas are shown docked under sunny skies in Nassau, Bahamas, Tuesday March 31, 2009.
Four cruise ships, from left, Regent Seven Seas Navigator, Norwegian Sky, Carnival Sensation and Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas are shown docked under sunny skies in Nassau, Bahamas, Tuesday March 31, 2009.

Retire on a cruise ship? New housing idea for seniors

Alegria and her twin sister ship Valencia are brand-new ships that were built in 2001 and never sailed due to the cruise line canceling the order. Both ships are now undergoing renovation. Completion is expected this spring.
Alegria and her twin sister ship Valencia are brand-new ships that were built in 2001 and never sailed due to the cruise line canceling the order. Both ships are now undergoing renovation. Completion is expected this spring.

Waterfront Lifestyles International, a boutique maritime lodging company, is currently taking reservations for retirement condos on a mid-size cruise ship that will make monthly cruises to the Bahamas. Continue reading “Retire on a cruise ship? New housing idea for seniors”