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New York: 'Hello, Quantum of the Seas'

It was just over a year ago that the world was “introduced” to Quantum of the Seas in New York. The quotation marks are because what those of us who were in Manhattan that day saw was conceptual. Drawings, artistic conceptions, videos and promises by Royal Kristin ChenowethCaribbean CEO Richard Fain that it would be the most technologically astute ship the cruise world had ever seen. Only its Godmother, the personable actress Kristin Chenoweth, was real.

Yesterday, the real Quantum of the Seas arrived in New York.

On board was the Godmother, of course. On board was the North Star, extending 300 feet vertically once the ship cleared the Verrazano Bridge to show off its most visual technology advance to the folks in The Big Apple as Quantum of the Seas detoured around New York Harbor and past the Statue of Liberty before heading back to the “other” Liberty (Cape Liberty), its New Jersey home. On board were dignitaries and media types and, yes, real passengers for Quantum’s authentic maiden cruise, from Southampton.

This is the third-largest cruise ship in the world — behind its sisters Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. It can carry close to 5,000 passengers, or about 1,000 fewer than the North Starsiblings. It has innovations that include a chance for its passengers to go sky diving (simulated), to ride bumper cars, to board it in 10 minutes using digital technology and to buy drinks from a robot at one of its bars.

The irony in all of this is that New Yorkers needn’t get too attached to Quantum of the Seas. After the christening ceremony on Friday, she’ll only be with them for six months before heading to her “permanent” home in Singapore, to be replaced on the shores of New Jersey by a reasonable facsimile, Anthem of the Seas.

That, it’s said, will not be a “quantum” leap.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
November 30, 2014
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $38
www.ncl.com

Golden Year For Princess Cruises

This isn’t excluding TMZ reporting, but is anybody out there concerned about the health of Tori Spelling because she has a job to do for Princess Cruises the first week of November?

The daughter of famous producer Aaron Spelling is scheduled to emcee a reunion of The Love Boat cast on the Regal Princess when it docks in North America on November 5. In Tori Spellingthe meantime, there have been (TMZ) reports that she was quarantined in a hospital “like an ebola patient” with what is now believed to be a sinus infection.

Such things generally take time to disappear and the countdown until the Princess event in Florida is currently 12 days. If she’s unable to make it (her dad produced The Love Boat), there will be plenty of talent on hand. The six major cast members from the legendary TV show are all going to be in Fort Lauderdale to christen the Regal Princess…and to be the ship’s “godparents.”

That would be Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki). And if any Love Boat crewof them is too busy smashing the champagne against the Regal’s bow, many other talented talkers are scheduled to be on deck, among them Florence HendersonDiane LaddDick Van PattenFrank Sinatra Jr.MacKenzie Phillips and Jack Jones.

Talk about bench strength!

* * *

On the subject of love on a boat…

Princess is marketing newlyweds to spend their honeymoons on a cruise ship by introducing a Honeymoon Wishes Registry, where couples can sign up and choose from a list of options that range from shore excursions to drinks by the pool. The cost of their choices is applied as an on-board credit to the honeymooners’ account.

This is the cruise line that made maritime and marriage history 16 years ago by having the captain join a bride and groom in marriage. According to Princess, it was the first time a ship’s captain had performed a wedding ceremony, and it has led to many weddings at sea, a “Tie The Knot” program on the ship and in ports and annual Valentine’s Day cruises of renewal vows.

And now…the Honeymoon Wishes Registry.

* * *

On the subject of anniversaries…

This is a big one for Princess. The cruise line’s 50th year begins the day after the Regal Princess is christened, November 6. The first Princess ship sailed down the coast of Mexico — like The Love Boat did so many times — on November 5, 1965.

The Golden Anniversary will be marked throughout 2015 with a lot of 50th anniversary themes. There will be Love Boat Disco Parties all year long. A golden balloon will drop in Regalthe atriums on every cruise. A special craft beer has been especially brewed for all Princess ships in the coming year and, along with inventive cocktails, will raise a toast called “Cheers To 50 Years.” Two 50th anniversary chocolate desserts have been created by the noted chocolatier Norman Love (hmm, did his surname help land this job?).

The campaign will be launched on the Regal Princess in 12 days.

Will Tori Spelling be able to enjoy it?

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas
10 nights
April 28, 2015
Baltimore (return): Labadee, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten
Inside: $783
Cost per day: $78
www.royalcaribbean.com

A Quantum Leap From April 2014

It was just one year ago. In New York City, home to Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean unveiled its newest and greatest ship at a press conference. The head honchos from the cruise line, Richard Fain and Adam Goldstein, were there. So was Kristin Chenoweth, the new ship's Godmother-to-be.

There was one word on everyone's lips or, for the writers among us, in everyone's vocabulary.

Wow.

Fast track 12 months. It's April again. Quantum of the Seas, still several months from leaving the shipyard, is making news again. And there's that word again.

Wow.

The newest and greatest ship from this mainstream cruise line is going to leave North America almost as soon as she arrives. Okay, Quantum will be in New York from November to May, not even long enough to consummate the relationship. Then she'll be leaving New York a jilted lover, and running off to Shanghai.

Talk about a Shanghai surprise!

To be fair, she'll be sending her almost-twin sister as a stand-in. The Anthem of the Seas will become New York's Royal Caribbean new ship later in 2015, with all the same curves and attributes and flash.

When Quantum arrives in Shanghai, will Kristin Chenoweth be on deck? If she is…

Wow!

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Holland America Rotterdam
14 nights
May 24, 2014
Rotterdam (return): CopenhagenBerlinTallinnSt.PetersburgHelsinkiStockholmAarhus
Inside: $999
Cost per day: $71
www.hollandamerica.com

New Ship: Regal Princess

After a five-year building sabbatical, Princess Cruises conceived two sisters with the arrivals of the Royal Princess (June 2013) and the Regal Princess (May this year). The 17th and 18th ships in the Princess fleet are unlike any others, as new ships usually are, and the people at Fincantieri have made this baby "premature." It's due two weeks ahead of schedule and will sail a pair of Venice-Athens cruises before its original inaugural, a 20-day Mediterranean Escape.

Launch date: May 20

Capacity: 3,560

Sister ships: Royal Princess

Maiden Voyage: Venice to Athens

Home Ports: Venice/Fort Lauderdale

Ships now in Princess fleet: 18

Interesting: All new ships have some kind of signature and, for the Regal Princess and her sister, that was the SeaWalk, a see-through walkway that extends 28 feet over the side, 128 feet above the water. A virtual twin to the Royal Princess, the Regal also has the Princess Live! TV studio and the cruise line's largest top-deck pool. All outside staterooms have balconies. No word yet on who will be the Godmother but "junior Princess" has a tough act to follow…the Duchess of Cambridge did the honors last June just a few weeks before delivering the royal baby and the ceremony was, as the Brits would say, smashing!

Carnival Fascination
5 nights
February 8, 2014
Jacksonville (return): NassauHalf Moon Cay 
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $49
www.carnival.com

Dolphins Cheerleaders Latest in Ship Godmothers

The next generation of cruise-ship godmothers is already here, and it's growing. When the Norwegian Getaway arrives early next year, the "Godmothers" will be the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. This falls on the heels of the "Godmothers" of Norwegian's last new ship, the Breakaway — the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.

Has cruising run out of individual godmothers?

Never.

But maybe it's a change in philosophy. Who will remember the names of the original Rockettes who christened the Breakaway last year? Who will know Rockettes-4 copywhich Dolphins' cheerleaders had a hand in the champagne smashing on the bow of the Getaway next February in Miami?

By attaching group names to ships, there will be "Godmothers in Perpetuity." It's a safe bet that Radio City will never be without Rockettes, nor the Dolphins without cheerleaders, so these ships will have Godmothers who can make appearances on them through the generations, and not just be pictures on the wall when they're gone, because group godmothers are forever.

Makes sense, doesn't it?

Carnival Dream
7 nights
January 18, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): CozumelBelizeRoatanCosta Maya
Inside: $429
Cost per day: $61
www.carnival.com

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