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Cruise Ships And Entertainment

Almost every cruise ship has entertainment. Here are some of our favorite entertainers over the years…

Allure-ChicagoThe signature production on Allure of the Seas reminded us what a terrific musical Chicago is — guess that's why it's been around for almost 40 years!

Riviera-FlamencoNot actually "on" the Oceania Riviera, this Flamenco dancer turned everyone's head at the then-new ship's christening ceremony on the Barcelona waterfront.

Navigator-Unexpecteds The Unexpected Boys, from an organization of tribute acts (The Four Seasons), on Navigator of the Seas

Unexpected Boys…and off-stage, where they have real names (left to right): Nick Celona, Aaron Young, Doug Carpenter and Scott Pearson.

Crown- Tony Tillman, named Princess Entertainer-of-the-Year on the Crown Princess, was inspired by the late Sammy Davis Jr. and has made a career playing him.

Blue Man Until seeing Blue Man Group on the Norwegian Epic, we might have considered this one scary act…but what a funny, entertaining show.

Glory Dayz-1A talented group from Rhode Island, Glory Dayz seemed headed for a bright future in cruising after spending a week auditioning on Explorer of the Seas.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

MSC Divina
7 nights
March 7, 2015
Miami (return): St. MaartenSan JuanBahamas
Inside: $349
Cost per day: $49

MSC Revving Up The Battle Of Big Boats

In the cruise-ship world of big-bigger-biggest, MSC is getting into the game. The Italian-based cruise line — its acronym stands for Mediterranean Shipping Company — is adding two ships to the fleet over the next five years.

One of them will be the biggest ship…drum roll, please…ever built by a European shipowner.

Nobody's challenging Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the world's biggest cruise ships for going on four years, and it appears nobody has any plans to do so in the foreseeable future. But if reports about the size of the MSC ships are accurate, they'll be No. 3 and No. 4.

The Royal Caribbean twins carry about 6,000 passengers when full. The MSC ships, as-yet unnamed, are looking at capacities of 5,700 each. Given that most cruisers Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 10.06.34 PMstill come from North America, is MSC planning to place at least one of them in Caribbean waters in the winter? This year, the MSC Divina (a new ship) became the line's first vessel to spend the whole year in the Caribbean.

It should be added that reality is still some time away.

Starting at the end game, 2017 and 2019 are planned delivery dates. Before that can be verified, the hull must be started, and that won't happen until sometime next year. Before that can begin, financing must be secured for each of the $1-billion ships.

Oh yes, if all goes according to plan, MSC has an option on two more giants after that.

Quickly now…how many of you know that MSC Cruises already has 12 ships in its fleet?

Today at portsandbows.com: Oceania's upgrading 60 per cent of its fleet 

Norwegian Dawn
7 nights
May 30, 2014
Boston (return): Bermuda
Inside: $729
Cost per day: $104


New Ship: MSC Preziosa


There will be four new cruise ships launched this year, fewer than usual. This week, we're giving you a snapshot of all four, and the MSC Preziosa is number three…

Launch date: March

Capacity: 3,959

Staterooms: 1,637

Decks: 18

Sister ship: Divina (identical), Splendida, Fantasia

Home Port: Genoa (Italy), Santos (Brazil)

Where it's sailing: Mediterranean (summer), South America (winter)

Ships now in MSC fleet: 13

Interesting: The fourth and final Fantasia-Class ship. It was originally ordered for the Libyan-based General National Maritime Transport and modified to Fantasia specs after MSC picked up the order canceled by the war in Libya.

Photo credit: Bernard BIGER STX France

Caribbean Princess
7 nights
February 23, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Princess Cays, Curacao, Aruba
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $85

New Ship 'Breezes' into Miami


The class of ’12 is almost complete. With the arrival of the Carnival Breeze in Miami yesterday, there's only one new ship left to make its debut this year (debut being an operative word, since a ship's arrival is incomplete until it has touched down in North America).

Yesterday, the Breeze was as much turkey as cruise ship. Do you think Carnival might have purposely timed its itinerary to climax on Thanksgiving Day?

Never miss a photo-op, right?

This is the "turkey with no name" and Carnival customers are competing in a contest to give it one between now and Saturday, a social media contest in which they use the hashtag #TurkeyOnDeck to try to win a $500 gift card.

The new ship has been sailing in Europe — without the 50-foot turkey that decorated its deck yesterday — since its first inaugural cruise in June. It's not the largest Carnival ship (its sister, the three-year-old Magic, carries about 900 more passengers) but it's the largest Carnival ship to set up shop in Florida.

When the Breeze sailed for the first time in June, it was Carnival's 24th ship. When it arrived in Florida, it was the 23rd member of the world's biggest cruise line…the Spirit has joined Carnival Australia, a different branch of the family tree which now appears to have a fleet of one. At any rate, the Spirit has been de-Carnivalized in North America ship counts.

The Breeze is the eight new ship of 2012. Five of them are familiar to North Americans — Disney's Fantasy (March), Oceania's Riviera (April), MSC's Divina (May) and Celebrity's Reflection are the others.

The Reflection completes the process when it arrives in Miami next week.

Presumably, without the turkey.

Holland America Volendam
7 nights
May 8, 2013
Vancouver (return): Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $85

Royal's New Ship The Standard?

The news yesterday that Royal Caribbean is exercising its option to build another new ship again begs the question: Has the cruise industry discovered the customer’s tolerance for big ships?

The same cruise line that owns the two biggest ships “of the Seas”, the mighty Oasis and the equally mighty Allure.

They carry about 6,000 passengers each, although capacity is listed at 5,420. The new Royal Caribbean ships will carry 4,100.

Downsizing, perhaps?

Company Chairman and CEO issued this statement: “This confirms our continued confidence in the success of this new generation of ships and our strong conviction about the Royal Caribbean International brand.”

The “new generation” is called the Sunshine Class…as opposed to the Oasis Class. The first one of the ships with no names will arrive in 2014 and this latest new-build will come along a year later. At 158,000 gross tons, they are 70% of the size of Oasis/Allure, and they will carry 75% as many passengers.

If that’s not downsizing, how about economies of scale?

Oasis and Allure attracted massive attention because of their size, because some thought cruise ships were becoming more and more destination than transportation. None of the ships built in their wakes have even come close by comparison.

Look at the ships coming on board this year.

The Disney Fantasy, which arrived in New York this week (below), has a passenger capacity of 4,000, the same load as its year-old sibling, the Dream. MSC’s Divina, due in May, is at 3,959. Costa’s Fascinosa is 3,780. The Carnival Breeze, coming in June, maxes out at 3,690.

Those four — plus Disney’s Dream, Carnival’s Magic and three Freedom Class ships that used to be Royal Caribbean’s (and the world’s) biggest ships at 3,634 — give the cruise world 12 ships that can accommodate at least 3,500 passengers.

If you’re counting, you’ll know that’s only 11, so there is one missing. That would be the much-maligned Norwegian Epic, at 4,100. For all the things the cruise world said was wrong with this ship, maybe it had the capacity just right.

Carnival Glory
7 nights
June 3, 2012
Boston, MA (return): Portland, ME; Saint John, NB; Halifax, NS; Sydney, NS.
Inside $529

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