Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

NCL opens wide range of winter 2022/23 cruises with five 'Free at Sea' offers

Norwegian Sky will sail three-/four-day round-trips from Miami, pictured here, to Freeport, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay

Latitudes members will receive an exclusive limited-time offer of 15% off cruise fares plus bonus Latitudes points. In addition, for a limited time, all travelers can book all five 'Free at Sea' offers including free open bar, specialty dining, excursions, Wi-Fi and kids sail free.

'Extraordinary Journeys'

The new cruises offer a selection of 'Extraordinary Journeys,' a collection of longer, one-of-a-kind, port-rich voyages.

Beginning Nov. 12, 2022, Norwegian Jewel will sail Panama Canal voyages, offering 12-day open-jaw cruises from San Diego, Los Angeles and Colón, Panama. Ports include Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua; Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Costa Rica; and Acajutla, El Salvador.

Norwegian Getaway will embark on a 13-day European sailing from Southampton to Civitavecchia (Rome) on Nov. 14, 2022. Ports include first visits to Oporto, Portugal, and Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, along with calls at Cadiz, Málaga, Cartagena, Palma de Mallorca, and Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Le Havre, France; Livorno and Naples, Italy.

Panama Canal

From October 2022 through March 2023, NCL will offer a variety of itineraries ranging from eight- to 21-day voyages traversing the Panama Canal on Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Joy.

Norwegian Encore, the line's newest ship, will begin a 21-day Panama Canal voyage on Oct. 23, 2022, sailing from Seattle to Miami. Eight of the 11 port visits include at least nine to 11 hours of port time. 

Norwegian Joy will make its debut at Port Canaveral, departing on a 14-day sailing  to Los Angeles on Dec. 4. The ship will call at San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, for the first time and visit Cartagena, Colombia; Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Kicking off the New Year, Norwegian Gem will offer a handful of open-jaw 11- and 12-day cruises to and from New York and Panama City in January and February 2023. During the 12-day voyage from New York on Jan. 2, Norwegian Gem make a maiden call at Puerto Limón, Costa Rica, as well as the new Panama City cruise terminal during the 11-day voyage on Jan. 14.


From late January 2022 through May 17, 2023, NCL offers a range of five- to 14-day voyages across the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean including calls at Harvest Caye, the line's private destination in Belize, and at private island Great Stirrup Cay with its new Silver Cove luxury enclave.

Norwegian Encore will sail an 11-day round-trip Southern Caribbean voyage from Miami on Dec. 23, 2022, with maiden calls at Castries, St. Lucia, and St. John’s, Antigua, and visiting Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Thomas and Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic).

Norwegian Breakaway, currently the largest and newest cruise ship sailing from New Orleans, will offer a mix of five-, seven- and nine-day round-trips to the Western Caribbean.

As of Dec. 17, 2022, Norwegian Bliss will call Miami home for a season of seven-day Western Caribbean round-trips through April 1, 2023, with calls at Roatán, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya and Cozumel.

On Jan. 8 and Feb. 26, 2023, Norwegian Getaway embarks for a 12-day Southern Caribbean round-trip from New York.

Mexican Riviera

Sailing from Los Angeles and San Diego, passengers can visit the Mexican Riviera on a mix of five-, seven- and eight-day round-trips between Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Jewel beginning late October 2022, through April 16, 2023.

Norwegian Joy begin sailings on Dec. 18, 2022, with an eight-day round-trip cruise that includes a San Diego maiden call.


From Dec. 23, 2022, through April 8, 2023, Norwegian Getaway will sail select eight-day cruises to the Bahamas and Florida from New York which will call at Port Canaveral, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay. Beginning Jan. 20, 2023, through May 29, 2023, Norwegian Sky will sail three- and four-day round-trips from Miami to Freeport, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay.


In November 2022, Norwegian Joy will offer a winter escape to Bermuda on five- and seven-day round-trips from New York featuring overnight stays at the Royal Naval Dockyard. Norwegian Getaway will also offer a selection of five-night voyages in December 2022 and February and March 2023.

Celestyal Experience debuts in March, adding suites, wellness rooms, Beach Club

​​​​​​​The new Beach Club, an adults-only area, provides premium sunbeds and cabanas along with a Jacuzzi perched on the stern

On March 6, it will embark on Celestyal's seven-night 'Three Continents' cruise, calling at Greece (Piraeus and Rhodes), Turkey (Kusadasi), Israel (Ashdod), Egypt (Port Said) and Cyprus (Limassol). 

Idyllic Aegean from April

Beginning April 3, Celestyal Experience will operate the seven-night 'Idyllic Aegean' itinerary that includes Piraeus, Rhodes, Crete (Agios Nikolaos), Santorini, Milos, Mykonos and Kusadasi.

For a limited period, all-inclusive launch pricing starts at $699 per person.

New Thessaloniki embarkation port

Later in the season, Celestyal Experience will operate the 'Eclectic Aegean' itinerary, a seven-night voyage that introduces the historical city of Thessaloniki, the gateway to the land of Alexander the Great, as a new embarkation port. In addition to an overnight stay in Istanbul and the ‘hanging monasteries’ of Meteora, this itinerary includes a visit to the site of Ancient Troy.

Celestyal Experience has capacity for up to 1,800 passengers in 789 staterooms, 166 with balconies, sea terraces and bridge-view verandas. The 1993-built ship underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2012.

'This has been a challenging year for everyone. However, we are extremely optimistic about the future of travel and, especially, of cruising. We are delighted with the addition of the Celestyal Experience to our fleet,' Celestyal CEO Chris Theophilides said.

'This ship will be a game-changer' for Celestyal, he continued, and embodies its commitment to an intimate, authentically Greek experience on a well-appointed, mid-sized cruise vessel.

Mediterranean wine and cheese bar

Celestyal Experience offers four restaurants, seven bars and lounges, two pools, two Jacuzzis, a Beach Club, sun deck and jogging track. Other amenities include nightly entertainment, a casino, library, meeting rooms and boutiques. One bar will feature Mediterranean wines and cheeses.  

An expansive, 47,300-square-foot panoramic spa spreads across two decks, complete with a fully equipped gym offering ocean views, thalassotherapy baths, massage rooms, saunas and a range of thermal suites. The spa also has a Japanese-style tea parlor, which will serve a wide variety of rare teas including local remedial herb and mountain teas.

Celestyal Experience offers more suites than the line’s two other ships, with 166 suite category rooms. Some 132 are junior suites with balconies, while the 34 suites include 22 with balconies, six with bridge-view verandas and six grand suites with large sea terraces. Travelers in suites higher than junior suite will get access to Celestyal Cruises' Suite Concierge service with dedicated priority check-in counter, expedited embarkation, an exclusive dining area on board, and express luggage delivery service including assistance with unpacking. A suite concierge will be available.

New wellness staterooms

Four new wellness spa stateroom categories span a variety of balcony, sea terrace and veranda suite accommodations. Exclusive use of Deck 14 ensures added tranquility. Complimentary and unlimited access to the wellness and spa area is included, notably the thalassotherapy baths and thermal suites. The wellness staterooms also provide priority access to specialty dining and a new, exclusive Beach Club concept.  

New Beach Club

This adults-only outdoor area, dedicated to those in suites and wellness accommodations, is furnished with premium sunbeds and cabanas along with a Jacuzzi perched on the stern.

Celestyal is known for its locally inspired and sourced cuisine that follows the healthy Mediterranean diet. Among the new dining venues on Celestyal Experience will be a Greek grill & deli. Casual food featuring traditional recipes and locally inspired pizzas prepared in an authentic wood-burning oven will also be on the ship’s menu. Premium tasting experiences featuring acclaimed Mediterranean wines, olive oils, cheeses and other specialties are another new concept.


Port of New Orleans approves berthing agreement with Viking

CRUISE_Viking _Mississippi.jpg
The 386-passenger Viking Mississippi

At least 30 cruises a year

Under the terms, Viking will guarantee a minimum of 30 departures per calendar year. Additionally, Viking will reimburse up to $20,000 annually toward the cost of dredging, which will be maintained by the port.

'We’re very excited to welcome Viking to New Orleans. River cruises have been a growing segment for Port NOLA, and Viking’s arrival on the Mississippi in 2022 highlights New Orleans’ draw as a convenient cruise port and enduring tourism destination,' a port spokeswoman told Seatrade Cruise News. 'With stops along the Mississippi River, Viking cruises also represent the future commitment to tourism and economic development for many communities in Louisiana.'

Viking Mississippi to sail August 2022

The 386-passenger Viking Mississippi is scheduled to begin sailing in August 2022. Besides New Orleans, embarkation/disembarkation points include Memphis, St. Louis and St. Paul. 

The company has already opened sales for 2023 based on a strong response to the inaugural season. 

New Holiday Season itinerary

And, today, Viking added a new eight-day Mississippi Holiday Season itinerary between New Orleans and Memphis, with four departures in December 2022. In addition to Christmas lights displays, Cajun cuisine and historic ports, the cruise offers 'Privileged Access' to Elvis Presley's mansion, Graceland for a private, after-hours tour.

Viking estimates it will host more than 5,800 passengers in the region in 2022. For the first full-year season in 2023, that number is expected to increase to more than 17,600.

Seatrade Cruise Talks

Seatrade Cruise Talks: Post Pandemic IT: Dynamic Duos for Dynamic Thinking

Ian Richardson, CEO & Co-Founder, TheICEway

Speakers Include:
Dimple Jethani, CIO & SVP IT Operations and Governance, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
Scott Piccolo, CIO & SVP Enterprise Applications and Emerging Technology, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings


Royal Caribbean shuffles summer 2021 homeports, Vision goes from Med to Caribbean

Jewel of the Seas, originally planned to homeport in Amsterdam and Barcelona, will now sail from Copenhagen and Stockholm


Adventure of the Seas, scheduled to sail from Copenhagen and Stockholm, will head for Barcelona to offer a mix of new four- and five-night Mediterranean itineraries to destinations like La Spezia, Civitavecchia (Rome), Ajaccio, Nice, Marseille, Palma and Ibiza.

Jewel of the Seas, originally planned to homeport in Amsterdam and Barcelona, will now sail from Copenhagen and Stockholm on seven-night cruises to Helsinki, Tallinn and Visby.


Vision of the Seas, previously planned to sail from Barcelona, will shift to the Americas, homeporting at San Juan for weeklong Southern Caribbean itineraries including St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados.

Independence of the Seas, originally sailing from Fort Lauderdale on three-/four-night jaunts, will now be based at PortMiami for six- and eight-night cruises to the Southern and Western Caribbean, with destinations like Aruba and Curaçao.

Brilliance of the Seas will stay in Tampa for the summer, offering a drive-to port for four-, five- and seven-night cruises.

Travelers whose April to November 2021 cruises are impacted are being notified directly. These existing bookings are covered by Royal Caribbean’s 'Cruise with Confidence' program.

Remaining schedule unchanged

Royal Caribbean’s other summer 2021 cruises will sail on as planned in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

In Europe, the new Odyssey of the Seas will join Anthem and Harmony of the Seas and make its debut in Civitavecchia to kick off its inaugural season. Alaska will see the cruise line’s biggest lineup yet with four ships, including newcomer Quantum of the Seas.

The Caribbean will have newly amplified Mariner and Navigator of the Seas offering three-night weekend and four-night weekday itineraries to the Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay, and Oasis of the Seas cruising from the New York area (Bayonne) for the first time. In Asia, travelers can sail aboard Spectrum of the Seas, on four-/five-night cruises from Shanghai visiting Japan.

The full list of 2021 summer cruises is here.

5 Minutes with Seatrade Cruise News


Read the full stories:

  1. CLIA lines commit to universal COVID-19 testing for US-based cruising 
  2. Tests for all, masks in 74 'Healthy Sail Panel' recommendations to CDC 
  3. Michael Bayley hopeful things have entered a 'new phase' 
  4. Sun Princess, Sea Princess latest Carnival Corp. ships sold 
  5. Atlas Ocean Voyages bundles in emergency evacuation insurance 
  6. Cruise visionary, NCL founder Knut Kloster is mourned 
  7. Disney suspends cruises into early December 



Keel laid for SH Minerva, first of two Swan Hellenic newbuilds

Traditional coin laying ceremony at Helsinki Shipyard (left); video link allows Swan Hellenic's Andreas Zito to join the keel laying

This saw the first 347-ton block of the ship - newly arrived from Klaipeda, where it had been outfitted and painted - being set on the keel over coins respecting maritime custom. 

Swan Hellenic announced during the ceremony that the ship would be called SH Minerva in honour of the iconic company’s first purpose-built vessel, named after the Roman goddess of creativity and wisdom.

Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito declared there could be no more fitting way for the relaunched company to take Swan Hellenic’s pioneering spirit back onto the waves. 

Video link for Zito

The ceremony took place in the presence of Helsinki Shipyard Inc. CEO Carl-Gustasf Rotkirch and Project Manager Jonas Packalén, together with Zito, participating via video link due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Ice-strengthened hull

SH Minerva will feature a 4.6-megawatt diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction, 3-megawatt max. battery package and PC5 ice-strengthened hull. At 113mtr, the 10,500gt ship has been specially designed to explore the most inaccessible places on the planet, noted Swan Hellenic.

Providing accommodation for 152 guests in 76 spacious cabins and suites, the vast majority with large balconies, SH Minerva will be operated by 120 crew.

Packalén explained: ‘Newbuild 516 and her sister NB 517 are designed for extreme weather conditions, from polar areas with quite heavy ice conditions to tropical regions. And they are naturally designed to respect the sensitive ecosystems of the regions where they’re going to sail.’

Building ships with great history

Rotkirch remarked: ‘We are very happy to have been able to invite our workers back, engaging them in this exciting project. Now we can do what we know best - designing and building ships with a great history behind them and an even greater future ahead. These vessels for the iconic Swan Hellenic are inspiring us, and I hope the customer feels that.’

Zito congratulated the assembled team for successfully achieving an ambitious schedule, thanking the Helsinki Shipyard, Robert McFarland, Tillberg Design and V. Ships teams for their support.

‘We’re excited and honoured to take Swan Hellenic into this next chapter and look forward to meeting you on board when we head to Antarctica in November 2021,’ he concluded.


How to Maximize Your Virtual Event – The Attendee Experience

attendee blog 2.png

As we try to continue 'business as usual' online across the cruise industry, we are proud to bring you an innovative alternative to the traditional in-person trade show and conference experience. 

While it's easy to feel flooded or distracted with yet another video call or message, we have something for you that will leave you inspired rather than exhausted. Seatrade Cruise Virtual, our first-ever digital forum, will bring together industry leaders and cruise professionals from around the world for the first time this year.

On 5-8 October, join the global cruise community for a four-day interactive experience, and walk away with an arsenal of valuable insights, a robust network, and new solutions you can keep with you well after the event is over.

To get started, sign up, show up, engage, and follow these useful tips to make the most of your experience.

Complete Your Profile
Ensure your profile is complete and catchy! An enriched profile is twice more likely to receive requests. Remember to add a photo, a short bio, and your social media.

Pro Tip: Be sure to select "Skills" you're proficient in to boost the platform's matchmaking algorithms!

Create A Personalized Agenda
With more flexibility, it's crucial to plan ahead and optimize what sessions you want to attend. Maximize your time and build your own program by reviewing and selecting topics and sessions in advance. You can filter by day, topic, or speaker.


Networking is alive and well, even at a distance. Our events are synonymous with exciting networking functions and this year's virtual event is no different. Set up 1:1 appointments before the event with colleagues and make new connections. Attend the Seatrade Cruise Awards ceremony and afterparty, high-energy workouts, exhibitor pitches, and much more!


Reach Out Before, Then Meet at The Event
Pre-book meetings with sponsors and exhibitors before their calendars fill up.

Keep an Eye on Your Incoming Requests
You can see your pending or confirmed meetings in the My Event button and then by clicking on the Meetings tab. Even better: when you have the mobile app on your phone, you'll get notified when you receive messages or connection requests.

Interact with Speakers
View and connect with speakers before the event. Access speaker bios, social media handles, and view speaker's sessions and add them to your schedule.

Top Tip: During the event, ask live questions to speakers and participate in polls to let them know your thoughts and opinions!


Now that you have best practices for attending, you can make the most out of your time at Seatrade Cruise Virtual. Looking for more about the event? Check out and click here to register!

'Urgent need for ships to start sailing again': FMC report on Florida

CRUISE FMC Commissioner Louis Sola.jpg
'The financial consequences of laid-up cruise ships are being seen in government coffers and the pockets of working men and women,' Federal Maritime Commissioner Louis Sola said

These conclusions are contained in the latest Fact Finding 30 report released today by Federal Maritime Commissioner Louis Sola. His interim report examines the direct and indirect economic impacts on Florida ports including Tampa, Key West, PortMiami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral and Jacksonville. 

Importance of cruise industry confirmed

Sola said his interviews with port directors, government officials and business leaders all confirm the 'importance of the cruise industry to Florida’s economy and the urgent need for ships to start sailing again.

'The financial consequences of laid-up cruise ships are being seen in government coffers and the pockets of working men and women,' he continued. 'Across Florida, people recognize the vital necessity of the cruise industry contributing to the economy again. Toward that end, port authorities throughout the state are acting unilaterally and aggressively to establish protocols for safely handling passengers and vessel operations. Public and private interests at the local and state levels are united in establishing a responsible framework for safe resumption of operations.'

Impacts on some major ports

With cruising suspended through October, PortMiami estimates a revenue loss of approximately $55m in fiscal 2020. Port Canaveral did not specify an impact but is heavily dependent on the cruise industry, sourcing 78% of its revenue from the sector.

At Port Everglades, where business is more seasonal, the port had collected around three-quarters of its expected revenue from the cruise industry for fiscal 2020 by the time of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's no-sail order. For fiscal 2021, Port Everglades projects modest cruise revenues, anticipating 30% capacity during December 2020-June 2021, and 50% capacity during July-September 2021.

Steps to resume operations

As part of his report, Sola chronicled steps each port is taking to resume operations, including measures to protect passengers, crews, longshoremen and others from exposure to COVID-19. These include issuing personal protective equipment to workers, enhanced sanitization of terminals, establishing an on-port triage center to assist cruise partners (PortMiami), managing arrivals and departures to reduce congestion and reconfiguring facilities to allow for health screening/COVID-19 testing.

Sola’s report, based on information from interviews and research, also highlights the extent to which associated industries benefit from cruise passengers. People traveling to Florida for a cruise purchase goods and services before and after their sailing. Sectors of the economy that benefit from cruise tourism include hotels, restaurants, bars, ground transportation companies, recreation facilities, the arts, entertainment and retail.

Small businesses impacted, too

'It is not just large companies that benefit from the cruise industry,' Sola said. 'Cruise customers begin and end their voyages by using taxis, eating in restaurants, visiting museums and shopping in local businesses. These are small and medium-sized businesses, many are independently or family-owned. The cessation of cruise operations can affect them as much, or more, as it does the companies that operate the ships or the ports where the vessels call.'

Ports that also serve ocean cargo customers are not insulated from the impacts of COVID-19. In some, the cruise business accounts for a larger percentage of revenue than cargo. In addition, diminished consumer demand has contributed to lower volumes of containerized freight.

The full report is here.

Fact Finding 30 is ongoing and will next focus on Alaska and the Northwest US.

Grand Central on Mardi Gras a day to night venue with sweeping views

Grand Central is a multifunctional dining and entertainment space that guests can enjoy day and night

Grand Central, one of six themed zones on the ship scheduled to debut in February, spans Decks 6, 7 and 8. Massive 3,000-square-foot glass panels built into the starboard side provide views from comfortable seating or while strolling past.

'Take your breath away' moment

According to Glenn Aprile, Carnival’s director of newbuild product development and part of the design team that developed Grand Central, the idea was to create a space as functional as it is eye-catching, while providing a 'take your breath away' moment when passengers first board.

'Building an atrium into the side of a cruise ship is no easy task and it was a total team effort between our newbuild management team, engineers, designers and hotel and entertainment teams to create a space that is as beautiful as it is functional,' Aprile said.

Day to night transformation

During the day, Grand Central serves as a relaxing spot for coffee, a drink or light fare, people-watching, live music and trivia contests. At night, the space transforms into an intimate and immersive venue with a rotation of soon-to-be-revealed experiences created for Mardi Gras. Performers will interact with 16 individually controlled six- by 14-foot LED screens displaying video and special effects, as well as lasers and aerial feats.  

'We wanted to create a multifunctional dining and entertainment space that guests can enjoy day and night,' Aprile said, 'while at the same time providing an intuitive way to get around the ship and creating a dramatic centerpiece that is worthy of our most innovative ship.'

Bars, a cafe, cand shop

Overlooking Grand Central is the multi-level Grand View Bar with floor-to-ceiling sea views and design touches like a virtual waterfall on translucent panels. There’s also the Center Stage Bar on the main level. Both venues will feature specialty cocktails inspired by the theme of that evening’s entertainment.

Steps away is Java Blue, serving coffees, cappuccinos and lattes as on other Carnival ships, plus a menu of fresh bakery items, wraps, salads and other light fare. The Cherry on Top sweets shop is also nearby, as are the retail shops and casino.

Connecting all of these spaces are a series of spacious and airy promenades and bridges.

Aprile said Grand Central is 'unlike anything that’s ever been done on a cruise ship before,' adding: 'Our guests are going to love it.'