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Disney Cruise Line Announces Return to New Orleans, Popular Itineraries to Tropical Destinations in Early 2021


Today was a big day in the World of all things Disney Cruise Line! In early 2021, Disney Cruise Line will return to New Orleans for a limited-time engagement! Cruising itineraries out of New Orleans will sail to the Bahamas and Caribbean, including visits to Disney’s private island paradise, Castaway Cay. These itineraries will be added to the lineup of many popular Disney Cruise Line sailings that will continue across the Disney fleet with cruises to tropical destinations from Texas, California and Florida.


Return to New Orleans

So many Disney Cruise Line fans are rejoicing today with the announcement that Disney Cruise line will offer itineraries out of New Orleans! This departure port is back by the popular demand of Disney Cruise fans! Disney has heard the requests of their guests and has announced that the Disney Wonder will return to the bayou from late January through February 2021 with a series of magical voyages!


The sailings lined up include a pair of four- and five-night cruises to the Western Caribbean. These sailings will kick off this exciting limited time engagement in New Orleans. The five-night voyage includes a visit to Progreso, Mexico, a new port of call for Disney Cruise Line on the Yucatan Peninsula. This quaint town is filled with treasures for families to explore together, from ancient Mayan ruins to hidden swimming holes filled with crystal-clear water.


More sailings out of New Orleans include three seven-night sailings to the Bahamas, these itineraries include a stop at Disney Castaway Cay!


Additionally out of New Orleans there will be a 14-night Panama Canal cruise, this sailing will round out the departures from the Crescent City in early 2021.


Disney Cruise Line guests who enjoy one of these exciting sailing out of New Orleans will experience the flavors and flair of the Big Easy both onboard the Disney Wonder and ashore! The sounds and sights of New Orleans come to life at Tiana’s Place restaurant, where families are transported to an era of southern charm, spirited jazz and street party celebrations with live music and other surprises that are all inspired by the Disney animated film “The Princess and the Frog.”


Before or after your cruise, you can explore the vibrant city of New Orleans and savor the city’s distinct cuisine, visit family-friendly museums and parks, and of course take in the sounds of world-renowned live jazz music!


Your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner is excited to help you plan your Disney Cruise Line vacation! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to book your next adventure!

Three New Ships Joining the Disney Cruise Line Fleet!

We have known for a while now that Disney Cruise Line was expanding their fleet! A while back Disney officials made the announcement that not one, not two, but THREE new ships would be joining the impressive lineup of ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet! The Three new ships will be joining the Disney Cruise Line family alongside the four ships Disney currently has, the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.



Disney has taken cruising to the next level in the cruise industry.  Anyone I have spoken to that has been on many cruises with other cruise lines and then takes a Disney cruise all say the same thing which is “once you go on a Disney Cruise you will never want to go back to other cruise lines”.  Disney knows how to spoil you!  The rooms are larger and very elegant, the food and restaurants are wonderful, the entertainment is fantastic and the Disney staff is as always, the best of the best.  These ships have something for everyone.  Disney knows how to make a family vacation perfect with things to do for all age levels but Disney equally knows how to make a romantic couples cruise where you will not even know that there are children around having areas for adults only to dine, relax and be entertained.


Top Five Reasons to Cruise from New York City Aboard the Disney Magic This Fall


Now we can look forward to more of this Disney cruise magic coming in the near future.  Officials at Port Canaveral met this past week regarding the new fleet of Disney cruise ships which will be docking in Central Florida.  Port Canaveral will be getting some major upgrades to accommodate the three new ships by Disney.  The information we learned says the ships will roll out in 2021, 2022 and 2023.  Each of these ships will hold at least 1250 staterooms.  One of these ships will be 1,119 feet long which will make it Disney’s longest ship!!


Disney Cruise Line Wins Highest Honor in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards


As soon as we start hearing more updates on the progress of this new line of ships we will be sure to bring this information to you in future blogs.  Until then maybe it is time to begin planning your Disney cruise on one of their current ships.  Just contact a Kingdom Magic vacations travel planner to get started on making your Disney Cruise dreams come true!

A Magical Winter Holiday Awaits Aboard Disney Cruise Line

CELEBRATION, Fla. (July 17, 2018) – This year, unwrap a holiday adventure for the whole family: a cruise aboard the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy, all decked out with holiday cheer.

Starting early November, Disney Cruise Line adds sparkle to each ship during Very Merrytime Cruises, with traditional “turkey day” fanfare, Christmas feasts, “snow flurries” and more. During these voyages, special stem-to-stern holiday events include:

  • “Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic” in the atrium lobby on the first night of the cruise, where Disney characters lead holiday carols and the lighting of the glittering, three-deck-tall tree.
  • “Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball” in the atrium lobby, where Disney cruisers welcome the guests of honor, Santa and Mrs. Claus, with a grand celebration featuring Broadway-style entertainment, favorite Disney characters and classic holiday tunes. This evening of enchantment is made complete when a special pair of royal sisters joins the party and causes a flurry of “frozen” fun as a magical snowfall overtakes the atrium.
  • Dickens-inspired carolers carrying the spirit of the holidays throughout the ship while singing holiday classics, sometimes with the help of favorite Disney friends. At the end of the cruise, children will have the opportunity to join the carolers onstage for a special farewell show.
  • Family holiday activities including building gingerbread houses and meeting Santa Claus.
  • Youth holiday crafts such as decorating stockings and gingerbread men cookies, making holiday cards and creating holiday animation cells.
  • “Deck the Deck Holiday Party,” a tropical celebration with Disney friends leading games such as hula hooping and limbo under oversized candy canes, along with dances for the whole family like the “Yuletide Slide” and a conga line around the pool.
  • A special holiday edition of the cheerful farewell celebration on the final night of the cruise, with beloved Disney characters and the ship’s crew in an engaging musical finale led by Mickey Mouse.

On Thanksgiving Day, guests will enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving Day feast and visits from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse dressed in traditional Thanksgiving attire. Also during the special Thanksgiving voyages, NFL football games will be broadcast live on the ships’ outdoor, jumbo LED screens – Funnel Vision – located near the family pool.

On Christmas morning at the atrium lobby tree, Santa Claus and his helpers will have a surprise for all the kids, and guests will delight in a special musical performance from the children. A traditional Christmas dinner will be served that night in the dining rooms.

Christmas services will be held on Christmas Day with a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Hanukkah services will be held each day, Dec. 2 to Dec. 10.

When the ships stop at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, during the holidays, the celebration continues with “snow flurries,” a decked-out Christmas tree, Disney character meet-and-greets and holiday island music.

To celebrate the holidays, the Disney Magic sails four-, five- and seven-night Bahamian cruises, five- and six-night Eastern Caribbean cruises, and five-night Western Caribbean cruises departing Nov. 10 to Dec. 23; the Disney Wonder sails four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean cruises and seven-night Bahamian cruises departing from Nov. 2 to Dec. 21; the Disney Dream sails three- and four-night Bahamian cruises departing from Nov. 9 to Dec. 24; and the Disney Fantasy sails seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing from Nov. 10 to Dec. 22.

Disney Cruise Line Debuts Diverse Lineup of Itineraries and Home Ports for Fall 2019

CELEBRATION, Fla. (May 17, 2018) – In fall 2019, Disney Cruise Line will return to favorite destinations and home ports on a variety of itineraries, including adventures to Bermuda, Bahamas, Baja, Canada and the Caribbean. With cruises ranging from two-night getaways to weeklong vacations and beyond, this season of sailings offers countless opportunities for families to delight in Disney magic, explore exotic locales and make lifelong memories together.

In fall 2019, the Disney Magic sails to Bermuda, Bahamas and Canada from New York, followed by Bahamian and Caribbean voyages from Miami. Aboard the Disney Magic, guests can experience new spaces and experiences, including dining at Rapunzel’s Royal Table. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Sailings to Bermuda, Bahamas and Canada from New York

The Disney Magic returns to New York in September for a selection of departures to a diverse collection of destinations, including luxurious Bermuda, sun-kissed Bahamas and historic New Brunswick, Canada.

Three special five-night cruises feature two days in Bermuda, allowing extra time for guests to indulge in the island nation’s famous pink-sand beaches, world-class shopping, abundant water activities and distinctive blend of British and Caribbean culture.

During two seven-night sailings from New York to the Bahamas, cruisers are treated to a double-dose of pixie dust. A stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, is paired with a day at Port Canaveral, Florida, where every guest receives a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation to the theme parks in nearby Orlando.

A single five-night cruise to Canada transports guests from New York to charming Saint John, New Brunswick with a stop in Bar Harbor, Maine. Saint John is the home of majestic natural phenomena like the renowned Reversing Falls and the world’s highest tides, located where the Saint John River meets the Bay of Fundy.

Baja and Mexican Riviera Voyages from California        

In September, the Disney Wonder sets sail for a limited engagement in San Diego, where guests embark on adventures to Baja and the Mexican Riviera. Baja itineraries highlight the region’s famous beaches and exciting water activities with calls on Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico. Two exclusive seven-night Mexican Riviera sailings feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.

Disney Cruise Line guests can enrich their experience by combining select San Diego-based cruises with a pre-cruise package from Adventures by Disney, a leader in family guided group vacations. During this three-night itinerary, guests embark on a rare behind-the-magic visit to The Walt Disney Studios and Disney Archives, a private tour of Walt Disney Imagineering and a visit to the place where it all began — the Disneyland Resort.

Vacations to Bahamas and Caribbean from Texas         

Beginning late November, the Disney Wonder will make Galveston its home port for a special series of sailings to the Caribbean and Bahamas, with options at four, six and seven nights. Caribbean cruises include stops in Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Falmouth, Jamaica. Bahamian itineraries feature stops in Castaway Cay and Key West, Florida. Two of the Bahamian sailings also take guests to Nassau, Bahamas, while another includes an exclusive second day on Disney’s private island.

Tropical Escapes from Florida

In fall 2019, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy continue sailing guest-favorite itineraries to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Port Canaveral, while the Disney Magic returns to Miami in November with a variety of cruise lengths and itineraries.

The Disney Magic’s diverse lineup includes three-, four- and five-night Bahamian sailings and five- and six-night Western Caribbean cruises, and most itineraries feature a day ashore at Castaway Cay. Other ports of call on Bahamian voyages include Nassau and Key West, while stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel headline the Western Caribbean itineraries.

The Disney Dream sails three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. These itineraries make for the perfect family getaway, combining the magic of Disney with the ease and enjoyment of a tropical cruise vacation.

The Disney Fantasy sails seven-night Caribbean voyages, and every cruise includes a stop at Castaway Cay. Eastern Caribbean itineraries visit the Virgin Islands of Tortola and St. Thomas, and Western Caribbean cruises call on Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth. These weeklong experiences allow for even more family fun as guests make memories aboard their Disney cruise ship and at port in renowned tropical destinations.

The Disney Fantasy will also sail a selection of special itineraries. In October, an eight-night voyage transports guests south to St. Kitts, Antigua and San Juan, Puerto Rico, while a six-night Western Caribbean itinerary includes calls on Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. Both itineraries are capped off with a day at Castaway Cay. In December, two unique seven-night itineraries include one cruise to San Juan, Tortola and Castaway Cay, and another voyage featuring two days on Disney’s private island after visits to Cozumel and Grand Cayman.

Bookings open to the public on May 24, 2018. Contact Us Today To Plan Your Magical Disney Cruise!

First Look at Disney Cruise Line’s Next Ships

The Disney Cruise Line fleet has the most beautiful ships at sea, and the three newest vessels setting sail in 2021, 2022 and 2023 will be no exception. This first, early rendering depicts the magnificent exterior of the next Disney ships, which will elevate family cruise vacations to a whole new level. The rendering was revealed today by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger at The Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholders meeting.

In keeping with the distinct Disney Cruise Line style, the new ships will embody the elegance and romance of the golden age of ocean cruising with unique touches all their own. The three new vessels will offer more innovation, new technologies, spectacular entertainment and more Disney stories and characters than ever before. Ingenuity and innovation from stem to stern will amaze and delight Disney Cruise Line Guests of all ages.

The new ships  we will bring Disney’s iconic stories and franchises to life in thrilling and surprising ways, building on the creativity  introduced across the existing fleet. Just over the past several years Disney has added innovations such as Marvel and Star Wars themed spaces to the kids’ clubs…dazzling stage shows like “Beauty and the Beast” that are unrivaled in their originality and visual presentation…and an entirely new genre of dining experience combining live entertainment, storytelling and interactive moments at Tiana’s Place and Rapunzel’s Royal Table restaurants.

Each new ship will be approximately 140,000 gross tons – slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms. While design plans, ship names and itineraries are still in development, Imagineers are already dreaming up exciting new ways to create the world’s most magical oceangoing adventures.

These new vessels will be powered by one of the cleanest-burning fuels available, liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

Stay tuned as we continue to unveil more details about Disney Cruise Line’s new ships!


Disney Cruise Line Takes Top Awards In Cruise Critics Cruisers’ Choice Awards

When you sail with Disney Cruise Line, your experience doesn’t end when you step off the ship. You’ll remember it for a lifetime and relive the magic by talking about it with family, friends — and everyone you meet!

Because of those shared experiences, Disney Cruise Line was honored with eight first-place awards, including the Best for Families, in the recently announced 2017 Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards based on thousands of reviews.

Cruise Critic reviewers recognized the Disney Magic as the No. 1 cruise for families while also ranking the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder as top cruise ships in the Best for Families category.

In the large-ship category, the Disney Dream took the No. 1 spots for Best Overall Ship, Best Cabins, Best Public Rooms, Best Service and Best Shore Excursions. This is the third consecutive year the Disney Dream has won Best Overall in the large-ship category.

Also in the large-ship category, the Disney Fantasy was recognized as the Best for Fitness & Recreation. While the Disney Magic took top honors for Best Overall Ship in the mid-size ship category.

The Cruisers’ Choice Awards are selected based on the thousands of reviews and ratings made by the Cruise Critic community last year. Cruise Critic is one of the largest online cruise communities with more than 150,000 cruise reviews.

Congratulations to Disney Cruise Line for their eight first-place awards!


Adventures by Disney Adds More Danube River Cruise Sailings

Last month Adventures by Disney launched all-new river cruise itineraries for 2016. These itineraries were so popular with our guests that now we’re excited to announce two additional river cruise vacations on the Danube river in Europe, sailing on August 4, 2016, as well as a special holiday-themed departure on December 15, 2016!


Sailing with AmaWaterways, the Adventures by Disney Danube River Cruise vacation offers families the opportunity to discover Europe in a unique and immersive way, while visiting iconic locations and wondrous sites in eight destinations across four countries – Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

On these 8-day, 7-night vacations, guests will experience the captivating culture and authenticity each European country and city has to offer, while only having to unpack once. Whether sliding down a mineshaft in Salzburg, sipping wine from local vineyards in Melk or even learning a traditional Austrian dance, guests will be in awe of the beauty and adventures each destination offers. With countless activities and sights to see, these river cruise vacations offer maximum port time for exploration.

For more information on Adventures by Disney Danube River Cruise itineraries, click on the link below.

First Look At The New Regal Princess

What’s it like on Princess Cruises’ newest ship, the 3,560-passenger Regal Princess? Amazing! But don’t take our word for it, check out these photos from the Regal Princess’ inaugural cruise.




Built at the Fincantieri shipyard near Trieste, Italy, the 141,000-ton Regal Princess is a sister to the 11-month-old Royal Princess — the line’s largest ship ever — and boasts similar features including a cantilevered, glass-enclosed walkway over the ocean called the SeaWalk.




Highlights of the Regal Princess also include an expansion pool deck that transforms at night into a stage for an elaborate water and light show and a working television studio/performance venue that seats 280 people — both features that made their debut on the Royal Princess. Like the Royal Princess, the vessel also features a greatly expanded version of the line’s signature Piazza, a central atrium area with food outlets and entertainment.



The Regal Princess will spend the summer in the Mediterranean operating six- to 20-night voyages.

Learn More About Princess Cruises

Norwegian Rolls Out $250 Million Fleetwide Cruise Ship Upgrade Program

Norwegian Cruise Line is investing $250 million in a fleetwide renovation program it’s calling Norwegian Next. As part of the program, the line will bring many Breakaway-class dining and entertainment features to all of its ships by 2015. 


A number of Norwegian ships have been refurbished to feature several enhancements, including Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Pearl and Pride of America. Norwegian Gem is expected to emerge from dry dock this year, and Norwegian Star and Norwegian Epic are scheduled to undergo dry dock in 2015.Among the Norwegian Next upgrades are: 

Norwegian is introducing new menus in its main dining rooms and Garden Cafes, and will expand O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill, Carlo’s Bake Shop treats and the Sugarcane Mojito bar (previously only on Getaway) to all ships. In addition to new Mondavi wine menus and Bar Lab cocktail creations, the line also will provide fleetwide beverage training for bartenders, wine stewards and restaurant managers. 

From acrobats in “Elements” to a 15-foot revolving showgirl staircase in “Paradis,” Norwegian is developing new shows, game shows and theme nights in addition to its current lineup. Featured on Breakaway and Getaway, the H2Glow party will be expanded to all ships as well. 

Kids’ Activities
New kids activities, dining experiences and meet and greets will be added onboard the five ships that feature Nickelodeon entertainment. Passengers on many ships will have the chance to get slimed Nickelodeon-style at the cruise line’s private island Great Stirrup Cay. 

Private Islands
Norwegian is introducing Bacardi and Patron bars to accompany more beaches and more cabanas in Great Stirrup Cay. Harvest Caye, the line’s newest private island, is coming fall 2015 to southern Belize. 

Onboard Connectivity
The iConcierge app, currently available onboard Epic, Breakaway and Getaway, will be rolled out across all ships and will allow cruisers to keep in touch with talk and text. According to the line, shipwide Wi-Fi is also undergoing improvements. Touch screens and digital signage are coming as well. 

Technological Upgrades
Exhaust gas scrubbers will be installed on six ships (in addition to Pride of America) in an effort to reduce emissions. Underwater hulls will be coated in high-performance paint to reduce friction and improve fuel efficiency. 

Norwegian Epic is scheduled for dry dock next year and will receive many upgrades in the Norwegian Next program but not the same as others in the fleet. “Epic is really considered in [the Breakaway-class group] as well, since the enhanced dining and entertainment options onboard really started with that ship,” Norwegian spokeswoman Vanessa Picariello told Cruise Critic. Epic will not be adopting anything from Breakaway or Getaway. 

Discover More About Norwegian Cruises

MSC Cruises Announces Order For Two More Giant Ships

Two months after announcing it had ordered two new giant ships, European cruise line MSC Cruises announced that it is adding another two vessels to its rapidly expanding fleet — with the option for a third in the class.


The latest contract, for the “Seaside” prototype, is with Italian ship builder Fincantieri. Each of the just-announced 154,000-ton ships, which will be able to accommodate 4,140 passengers at double occupancy, will cost more than $955 million. They are scheduled for delivery in November 2017 and May 2018; the company said it would deploy the vessels in the Mediterranean, South America and the Caribbean.


The Geneva-based cruise operator announced in March that it had signed a letter of intent with shipyard STX France to order two new 4,500-passenger ships with the option of ordering two more. Those 167,000-ton vessels are expected to be completed in 2017 and 2019. If MSC has all four of the ships in that class built, the cost would amount to roughly $4 billion.


In a statement, MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said Thursday’s announcement was the last part of a new “industrial plan that will allow us to double the capacity of our fleet by 2022.”

Norwegian Dawn Begins Its 2014 Cruise Season Out of Cruiseport Boston

Norwegian Cruise Line, along with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, officially kicked off the 2014 cruise season at Cruiseport Boston in a ribbon cutting ceremony joined a number of local and state officials, along with Norwegian Dawn which arrived in Boston for her first cruise to Bermuda.


Norwegian Dawn’s captain Teo Grbic and Norwegian Cruise Line’s EVP of global sales and passenger services Andy Stuart were on hand for the event held at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. Also in attendance were Boston Harbor Association president Vivian Li, representative Nick Collins, City Council president Bill Linehan and city councilor at large Michael Flaherty. Bermuda’s ministry of tourism and transportation representative Larry Jacobs and Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer for the Bermuda Tourism Authority were also among the attendees. Following the ceremony, the guests enjoyed a tour and lunch onboard Norwegian Dawn.


This begins the first of Norwegian Dawn’s 22 round-trip cruises to Bermuda. The ship will depart on Fridays from Cruiseport Boston and sail seven-day Boston to Bermuda cruises from May 9, 2014 to Oct. 31, 2014, with three days at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda. Fares start at $759 per person based on double occupancy. Norwegian Dawn will also sail a series of Canada & New England cruises from Boston to Quebec in September and early October. Fares start at $749 per person, double occupancy.

The 2,224 passenger, 15-deck Norwegian Dawn has more than 1,000 ocean view staterooms – more than half with private balconies. Norwegian Dawn also offers 5,000 square-foot garden villas with stunning panoramic views of the ocean, open-air dining, whirlpool and private sunning and relaxation areas. Additionally,Norwegian Dawn has 10 restaurants, 12 bars and lounges, two pools, extensive kid and teen facilities, a sports deck, casino, fitness center and spa.

See More About Norwegian Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line Returns to Galveston, Hawaii, and West Coast in 2015


In the fall of 2015, Disney Cruise Line is returning to popular destinations and home ports for limited-time engagements. Two Hawai’i cruises, a return to the West Coast with departures from San Diego and a Galveston, Texas homecoming make up a season of special sailings.  

Hawai’i Sailings

The Disney Wonder will explore the Hawaiian Islands with two special 10-night cruises in September. Sailing through breathtaking scenery, you can experience the beauty and natural wonders of this exciting destination. 

10-night Hawai’i with two days in Honolulu – Vancouver to Honolulu

Ports: Vancouver; Hilo (Hawai’i Island); Nawilliwili (Kauai); Kahului (Maui) and Honolulu (Oahu)

Departure Date: Sept. 7

10-night Hawai’i with two days in Kahului – Honolulu to Vancouver

Ports: Honolulu (Oahu); Kahului (Maui); Hilo (Hawai’i Island); Nawilliwili (Kauai) and Vancouver

Departure Date: Sept. 17 

West Coast Sailings

Starting in October, the Disney Wonder heads to the West Coast for a limited-time offering six cruises from San Diego, California sailing to Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Galveston, Texas Sailings 

In November, the Disney Wonder returns to Galveston for the holiday season, offering a variety of sailings to The Bahamas and the Western Caribbean. 

Disney Cruise Line will also sail from Port Canaveral and Miami, Florida to The Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises will include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.  

Bookings for the fall 2015 itineraries open to Gold and Platinum Castaway Club Members via phone on May 20, 2014 and to all Guests on May 21, 2014 via phone at 866-972-6244 or  online at the link below. 

Contact Your Kingdom Magic Travel Planner TODAY!

Carnival Live Concert Series a Hit Among Passengers and Performers

Martina McBride became the latest artist to hit the stage on a Carnival cruise ship Wednesday night as part of the line’s Carnival Live! concert series. The country artist, sparkling from head to toe (only in part because of her sequin-covered suit), belted out some of her biggest hits as well as pop and R&B songs she says she’s always wanted to sing.

mcbride2Performing in the 855-seat Sapphire Theater onboard Carnival Ecstasy, docked in Cozumel, the country sensation’s concert encapsulated all that is good about Carnival’s concert series: high-energy concerts performed by well-known artists for a bargain price. Tickets for Carnival Live! range from $20-$40 for general admission, $100-$150 for VIP tickets, which includes close-up seating, a meet and greet with the act and a souvenir photo.

Carnival unveiled the idea for the series of 49 shows in January at a snowy news conference in New York, and since then, has held nine concerts onboard ships docked in either Nassau or Cozumel. Each venue promises intimacy; the largest onboard theater (on Carnival Breeze) has a maximum capacity of 1,400. Acts so far have included McBride, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Kansas, while others slated to appear this year include Jewel, Jennifer Hudson, Daughtry, Olivia Newton-John and Lady Antebellum.

While booking ahead of time online is an option (and Director of Carnival Live! Bernie Dillon says more than 50 percent of passengers elect to do so), passengers can buy tickets onboard as well. From Day One, it was clear this cruise would feature the concert; big signs blared the announcement in the port and onboard the ship, and a D.J. gave away tickets poolside as passengers were embarking. Passengers noticed, lining up to purchase their tickets at guest services immediately upon boarding.


The relatively low price point and ease with which passengers can buy tickets appears to draw both fans and those who just want to catch a concert by a performer whose name they recognize. Last night’s show had a solid mix of both types. Die-hard fans jumped from their VIP seats and danced stage-side to McBride’s covers of hits by artists including Pink and Elvis, while her anthems like Independence Day and For the Girls had everyone on their feet. The show was flat-out fun, and afterward, passengers talked about how impressed they were, even though they “only knew one or two songs.”

For McBride, who says she’s never cruised, the experience was different as well. Though the approach to an intimate audience vs. an arena requires a different mindset, she said, it’s all about making a connection with the audience, something she had no problem doing last night.


“I like this kind of venue because I can hear you all, and I can see you all,” McBride said midshow.

“And I can see people leave in the middle,” she joked. She didn’t need to worry; no one was leaving.

Sound was a bit of an issue for the powerful McBride and her equally dynamic band, but it didn’t dampen the experience for the audience, which she described afterward as “enthusiastic and loving.”


Carnival is thrilled with the concert series so far and is already hard at work securing artists for 2015, which Dillon says will see more shows, bigger names, more ports and bigger ships. He says the appeal to artists is the ability to reach a whole new audience and, consequently, a brand-new market.

Count McBride among those who are sold on cruise. When asked if she might take a cruise vacation in the future, she responded: “After that experience, it’s definitely something I want to consider.”


Disney Cruise Line and runDisney Inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge

runDisney announced a brand new event that I think many of you Disney cruisers will be thrilled to hear about! For the first time ever, you have the chance to complete the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge, an exclusive to Disney Cruise Line guests who are participating in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.


The inaugural challenge, which takes place in January 2015, combines our Castaway Cay 5K with any Walt Disney World Marathon race with a distance of 5K or longer. Following the completion of an eligible race at Walt Disney World Resort, cruisers on the January 12 Disney Dream voyage from Port Canaveral, Florida can then take part in the second half of the challenge – the Castaway Cay 5K – when the ship stops at our private island in the Bahamas.

If you complete both races within the pacing requirements, you’ll earn the Inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge Medal in addition to your Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Castaway Cay 5K finisher medals.

Which races are eligible, you ask? Any race that includes a distance of 5K or longer. So, complete the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, or either of the Goofy and Dopey Challenges, and you’re eligible to enter the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge!


The race fee will include a race bib, t-shirt, 5k Medal, Challenge Medal and a post race refreshment. There will also be exclusive activities designed for runDisney guests, plus featured menu items and special merchandise, just for the cruise! The entry fee does not, however, include your cruise booking, which will have to be made separately through Disney Cruise Line.

Challenge registration opens Friday, May 23 at Noon ET. We hope to see you sailing away this January during Inaugural Disney Castway Cay Challenge!


MSC Expands North America Experience To The Mediterranean In Summer of 2015

MSC Cruises is strengthening its commitment to serving the North American market with the deployment of the MSC Divina to the Mediterranean during the summer of 2015.

msc divina 5

The first of the line’s ships dedicated to North American travelers, MSC Divina will bring its signature service and onboard experiences to the most sought-after Mediterranean seven-night itineraries beginning May 16 through October 3, 2015.  Once the summer sailings are completed, MSC Divina will enter dry dock in Europe before returning to Miami in November 2015 to continue the popular seven-night Caribbean departures.

Now open for booking, MSC Divina’s 2015 Mediterranean season offers special perks for guests who book by July 31, 2014, including an exclusive balcony upgrade and up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom. (Offer valid on all seven-night or more MSC Divina Mediterranean sailings.)


“After exposing MSC Divina to thousands of guests in the Caribbean, customer surveys are showing an increased desire for North Americans to sail onboard MSC Divina in the Mediterranean,” said Richard E. Sasso, president, MSC Cruises USA.  “The enhancements made at the start of the Caribbean season to ready MSC Divina for the North American market have certainly paid off with positive ratings and increased repeat business.  This has led to our decision to maintain the MSC Divina onboard product designed around the senses of American taste, entertainment and comfort and expand her offerings into the Mediterranean, the hottest and most desired vacation destination by North Americans today,” continued Sasso.

MSC Divina will begin her Grand Voyage on April 26, 2015, from Miami making a stop in New York, King’s Wharf, Bermuda and then continuing onto Ponta Delgada, Lisbon, Cadiz, Barcelona, Naples and Civitavecchia.  From May 16, 2015 through September 26, 2015, the ship will sail seven-night Mediterranean cruises departing from Civitavecchia and visiting the ports of La Spezia, Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Naples and returning to Civitavecchia.


On September 26, 2015, MSC Divina will end her Mediterranean season with a unique 10-night sailing featuring additional calls in Tunisia, Malta, and Sicily. Highlights of MSC Divina’s Mediterranean season include:

  • Ability to embark two marquee ports: Civitavecchia on Saturdays and Barcelona on Wednesdays, allowing for a customized vacation experience with outstanding pre- and post-cruise opportunities and ample airlift from the United States and Canada.
  • Late night stays in La Spezia enabling guests to visit nearby cities of Pisa, Florence, Portofino and Cinque Terre.
  • Call in Naples will allow time to visit Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast.
  • An array of shore excursions allowing guests a full immersion into the region with experiences such as an architectural tour of the famed work Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, attending the Pope’s weekly Angelus on St. Peter’s Square in Rome, visiting the ancient ruins of Pompeii, and much more.

Before returning back home to South Florida for a third season of seven-night Caribbean cruises, MSC Divina will receive a series of renovations while in dry dock in Europe including some surprise enhancements specifically tailored to appeal to North American passengers.

MSC Divina is currently sailing Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from PortMiami which continue through April 2015.

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