Tag-Archive for » Carnival Paradise «

Norwegian Barking Up Different Tree

Okay, hands up, how many of you — when you heard Pitbull was named Godfather of the Norwegian Escape — first thought of a dog? And if you’re even more out of touch, did you think that cruise lines finally ran out of people and started picking canines to the star attraction when the Escape is christened, even if only to shock readers of headlines?


If you are more enlightened, or have kids to educate you, then you know Pitbull is a rapper. You may even know that he’s from Miami, the heart of cruising and the home of Norwegian. You may have heard that people also call him Mr. 305 (even we know that’s a Florida area code) or Mr. Worldwide because that’s how far his notoriety stretches. And you may have heard something else, too — like his music, notably Give Me Everything, at 368 million the most streamed of his songs.

As much as Pitbull wants everything, from cruising he’ll have to settle for a title.

The Godfather.

He kind of looks the part, although “godfathers” as the world has known them seem to be becoming a little obsolete. He does seem to have a certain amount of control of music streaming. On Pandora (that’s an Internet radio service, not a box), Pitbull has “3.34 billion streams, 14.5 million stations created and 11.2 million active listeners per month.” That’s even more cruisers than Norwegian has every year.

The connection between the two apparently started at the christening of the Getaway, Norwegian’s last new ship, in February 2014. He performed at the ceremony, where he also launched his personal brand of vodka (Voli), now available across the entire Norwegian Escape.jpgNorwegian fleet. When the Escape follows in the Getaway’s wake and meets the christening public next month in Miami, Pitbull will be playing a different role, with a different alcohol.

Armando Christian Perez (that’s the name he was christened with) will be asked to swing a bottle of bubbly with enough force to break it against the Escape’s bow, the final act of welcoming a new ship that has crossed the Atlantic into the world of cruising. It sounds like he’ll be asked to perform again, too, which will make him not just the first godfather of cruising but the first singing godfather of cruising.

Or rapping.

In the news…

• S. S. United States off to the scrapyard unless saviors found this month
• Carnival chosen 'most trusted cruise line' by Reader's Digest Magazine
• Oceania Cruises launching 60 new itineraries on six continents for 2016-17

Today at portsandbows.com: Cruise Critic editors pick winners

Carnival Paradise
5 nights
December 7, 2015
Tampa (return): Cozumel, Grand Cayman
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $49

Theme Cruises You May Not Believe 

Let’s call if the extreme of theme. That’s not the name of a new musical group or TV reality show, it’s just a way of identifying what’s coming up in the way of, ah, unusual cruises this winter.

Here’s a quick look at three upcoming theme cruises:

The Meow Meow Cruise

This one’s for cat lovers, but not cats. On the Carnival Paradise next April 21, passengers who are cat lovers (or cat lovers who are passengers) will gather to participate in feline-meow-meow-cruise2themed activities while cruising from Tampa to Cozumel, and back. Suggestions for activities are “You scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours” and “Isn’t a perfect place for a flea market?”

The Walking Dead Cruise

This three-night cruise from Miami to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Pearl in January is for zombies. Every family has theme. Yes, ours does, too. It appeals to fans of the hit TV series because they’ll have a chance to hang with Daryl and Carl and Beth and Sasha and Tyreese…and if those names aren’t familiar to you, welcome to the club. Their fans have lots of money — an inside cabin is $750, or $250 a night — and it’s sold out.

2016 Red Sox Fan Cruise

Also in January, this one on the Celebrity Reflection, although it’s a Caribbean cruise — also from Miami — that Boston baseball fans could be on this week, since they have nothing better to do during the baseball playoffs. Among the ex-players on the Reflection will be Luis Tiant and Jim Rice, although Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi would have been better, since they actually won with the Red Sox.

In the news…

• Carnival latest to name its new "air program" — Fly2Fun
• Royal Caribbean: 90 departures, 20 per cent increase in Australia
• Norwegian guests on new TV series 'Dream Quest With Evette Rios'

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas
16 nights
November 19, 2015
Barcelona, Cadiz, Lisbon, Funchal, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
Inside: $697
Cost per day: $43

Carnival, Dr. Seuss, Kids & Friends

There are probably some general misconceptions about the professional athlete of today. One, that he is so rich he doesn’t care two slam-dunks about his fellow man and fellow woman. Two, that his only meaningful skill is playing his sport so well that things like education are secondary.

Evan Longoria is one poster man (and there are many) for what the pro athlete is.

He cares. He reads. He gives back.

This week, before the Tampa Bay Rays who pay him millions of dollars to swing a round stick at a round ball left town on their current road trip, the star third-baseman dropped by the Carnival Paradise. The ship was moored, as it often is, in the west Florida city and Longoria wasn’t going on a cruise…he was reading stories to kids.

In a project Carnival partners with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Longoria was recruited to read — for one of the first times anywhere — a book called What Pet Should I Get? It’s the newest Seuss book and it’s not newly written…it’s newly discovered. The author, Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) has been gone for many years and the book was re-discovered in his La Jolla, California home and published last week.

While Longoria was reading it to kids in Tampa, Angela Hill was reading to kids on the Carnival Dream in New Orleans, where she is a broadcasting legend.

The book-reading events were fund raisers. Carnival is making a donation to the Tampa and Louisiana chapters of the SPCA for animal rescue operations.

Cruise line President Christine Duffy said in a statement:

“Carnival is the number one cruise line for families and we’re delighted to team up with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to bring the joy of reading to kids with these special presentations. The Angela Hillkids were absolutely thrilled to have been treated to a reading of the first new Dr. Seuss book in 25 years and our most sincere thanks to Evan and Angela, as well as the SPCA, for the valuable work they do each and every day,”

Carnival’s also matching Longoria’s donation of $100 to the Pet Pal Animal Shelter for every home run he hits this season. With the one he hit yesterday afternoon in Chicago, Longoria has 12 and has hit between 22 and 33 for most of his eight-year career.

The book is one of two manuscripts discovered two years ago. It has no title…yet. Undoubtedly it will. And if Dr. Seuss Enterprises is looking for somebody to give it that first reading, Carnival has a couple of candidates with experience.

In the news…

• Norwegian Holdings applies for three licenses to cruise to Cuba
• U.S. Coast Guard's 225th anniversay celebrated on a forever stamp
• Norwegian Jade program announced for Tampa Bay in 2016-17 fall/winter

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival settles disability issue

Norwegian Jade
7 nights
November 28, 2015
Houston (return): Cozumel, Belize, Roatan
Inside: $479
Cost per day: $64

Country Connects With Carnival Live

If there's been a better — and more successful — cruise entertainment idea than the Carnival Live Concert Series, could somebody please tell us what it is?

Carnival Live is more than a month old now and apparently drawing rave reviews from all sides.

This week, country star Martina McBride flew into Cozumel, did two shows (one for passengers of the Ecstasy, the other for passengers of the Paradise) and was back Martina McBridehome in Nashville soon after the ships left the Mexican port. She told Carnival's Vance Gulliksen she hoped the concept was a "win-win situation for all concerned."

And how could it not be?

The cruise line, in this case Carnival, attracts customers to ships that feature Carnival Live. In an age when cruise lines are challenged to come up with new entertainment concepts, this one seems to work because Gulliksen says Carnival is already working on bookings for next year…for both performers and passengers.

The artist, in this case Martina McBride, is paid for two concerts over a short time in a warm port where people holiday and the only tour buses around are the ones who take passengers on shore excursions…and while what the artists are paid is not public knowledge, it's clearly a comfortable compensation.

The passengers/concertgoers pay for the performance but the price is less — at least for now — than they'd pay for the same concert on land and they watch it in a small venue, as opposed to a cavernous stadium. They might even get to pose for a photo-op are get an autograph, if that's their thing.

This year, there will be 49 shows in Carnival Live, continuing from now until 10 days before Christmas on Carnival ships when they stop at three ports: Cozumel in Mexico, Nassau in the Bahamas and Catalina Island in California. The early indication is that next year it will spread.

More performers? More ports? More passengers?

Talk about good news for everyone!

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: The canal that made sea-to-sea possible

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas
7 nights
June 29, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): Coco CaySt. ThomasSt. Maarten
Inside: $798
Cost per day: $114

The Message In A Cruise Ship Rescue

Sometimes, you know, it only matters that somebody needs help. It doesn't matter that they are Cubans, desperately trying to escape and to enter the U.S. illegally. They are, first and foremost, human beings.

This is what happened last week. The Carnival Paradise was in the Caribbean Sea. So was a boatload of Cubans…24 of them. It was a small boat, which means its capacity was probably less than 24. It was listing, with water in the bottom. It had been at sea for five days. It was in distress, or disabled. 

These were human beings who needed help.

The captain of the Paradise maneuvered his big ship close enough to shield the small craft from the waves. Then his crew dropped a platform, ropes and life Carnival Paradisejackets. All 24 were brought on board. This was not the first time Cubans afloat on the sea have been rescued by a passing cruise ship, and it will surely not be the last.

On the Paradise there was, according to a CNN eyewitness from Paris — Matthew Sudders, some uncertainty among the ship's 2,000-odd passengers. They were uncertain about their safety. Let's see…2,000 of "us" and 24 of "them." Most of the passengers just cheered.

The rescued were cleared through security, of course, and given food and clothes and a place to sleep until the ship eventually made its way to Tampa. Their fate would be decided there. The legalities could wait. For 24 people afloat on a disabled boat in the Caribbean Sea, only one thing mattered.

Paradise found.

Photo credit: Beau Hudspeth

Holland America Zaandam
7 nights
July 25, 2014
Vancouver (return): JuneauSkagwayTracy ArmKetchikan
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $99

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