Cruise Hive has you covered with another weekly cruise news update across the major cruise lines. It has been a busy week as cruise lines report record bookings, some unexpected developments with mother nature, and some adjusted offerings. There’s coverage on Carnival, Royal Caribbean,
Cruise News Update
In this week’s cruise news update, we’ve got coverage of multiple cruise lines reporting record bookings due to the biggest shopping period of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A beach club that is popular with cruise ship visitors on the island of Cozumel in Mexico increases its prices, The world’s largest cruise port is dropped on a Royal Caribbean sailing, and an unexpected rogue wave hits a Viking vessel.
Cruise Lines Break Booking Records
With huge sale days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, along with the return of the cruise industry, multiple cruise lines have reported record-breaking bookings.
With 50% more sales than the busiest Cyber Monday to date in 2019, Carnival Cruise Line is setting itself up for the best cruise season to date in 2023. Carnival broke all records, as Cyber Monday 2022 saw 50% more bookings than what has always been the best year so far, 2019.
Those bookings were driven by the various new ships that Carnival has introduced in recent months, an additional three ships that will be added to the fleet in the coming 18 months.
Black Friday was Royal Caribbean’s single largest booking day in its 53-year history, which marked the third time the record was broken in 2022. Black Friday proved to be the peak of what is the brand’s highest volume booking week ever.
It has been an incredible year for Royal Caribbean International. The cruise line revealed plans for the Icon of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship ever, Wonder of the Seas started operations in Florida, and the cruise line has seen tremendous interest in its cruises. So much so that Royal Caribbean broke all booking records in the past week.
With great interest in Holland America Line’s Black Friday incentives, which have included $25 deposits on select sailings, up to 40% off cruises, prepaid gratuities, and more, the cruise line has also seen phenomenal bookings.
Holland America’s booking volume – the overall number of reservations – was up close to 20% higher than on Black Friday in 2019, and for Alaska sailings in particular, U.S. bookings were up more than 60% compared to 2019. When comparing the full holiday weekend sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, overall bookings were up more than 10%, and Alaska bookings were up more than 25%.
Guests also flocked to the Celebrity Cruises website and Celebrity’s travel advisors to book a cruise onboard one of the cruise lines’ exciting cruise ships in the past week. The cruise line posted record-breaking sales on both days.
Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club to Hike Prices
Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club, a favorite all-inclusive day pass resort for more than two decades, announced it is raising admission fees for adults, teens, and children, as well as entry to its aquatic park and the day rate for the club’s Romantic Cabana Package, all effective on January 1, 2023.
Adult rates will rise to $68, up from $60, which reflects a roughly 13 percent spike. Rates for teens, kids and the aquatic park will each rise about 11 percent, as follows: Day passes for teens will cost $45, up from $40; for children $40, up from $35; and for the aquatic park $14, up from $12. The club’s Romantic Cabana Package will cost $260, up from $240.
In a Facebook post revealing the new fees on November 30, the club noted that its all-inclusive day pass prices for children and teens, and for the aquatic park, have not increased since the pass was launched in 2011.
Carnival Cruise Line Reverses Beverage Decision
In a surprising move, Carnival Cruise Line has reversed a recent beverage policy change that had proven immediately unpopular with guests. Just one month ago, Carnival discontinued pre-cruise sales of bottles of alcohol to be delivered to guests’ staterooms, but now, those sales are being reinstated.
For all 7-night or longer sailings departing on December 1, 2022, or later, Carnival guests will once again be able to pre-purchase a bottle of alcohol to be delivered to their stateroom for their enjoyment during the cruise.
Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald confirmed the update in response to multiple questions regarding the policy on social media. “As we continue to evaluate the different guest preferences, we are allowing the purchase of one and one only full bottle of liquor prior to embarkation for stateroom delivery when you arrive,” Heald said.
Only one bottle will be permitted per stateroom, regardless of the number of guests in that stateroom. No pre-cruise bottle purchases are available for cruises shorter than seven nights.
Royal Caribbean Ship Drops Miami
Royal Caribbean has altered a February 2024 itinerary for Anthem of the Seas, dropping the world’s most popular cruise port – Miami, Florida – from the schedule.
The impacted sailing has a departure date of Saturday, February 17, 2024, sailing roundtrip from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on an 8-night voyage. Royal Caribbean International has contacted booked guests via email to inform them of the itinerary change.
“Great news! We’ve modified our itinerary to give you extra time in Orlando (Port Canaveral) and Nassau, Bahamas,” the email read. “We hope you’re as excited as we are to explore everything these destinations have to offer!”
The Quantum-class Anthem of the Seas was to have visited Miami, Florida on Thursday, February 22, as the last port of call for the sailing. That visit has been dropped from the itinerary entirely.
Two other ports of call – Port Canaveral and Nassau – have changed dates for the ship’s visit. Originally, Port Canaveral was planned for February 19 and Nassau for February 20, and now the ports will be visited on February 20 and February 22, respectively.
The ship’s planned visit to CocoCay, Royal Caribbean International’s private island destination in The Bahamas, is unchanged for Wednesday, February 21.
Guests booked on similar sailings aboard Anthem of the Seas with different departure dates should be alert for possible itinerary changes as well.
Rogue Waves Hits Ship
Sailing in the Southern Ocean is not without risks, as one person passed away and four people were injured onboard the Viking Polaris this week. The brand-new expedition cruise ship set sail from Ushuaia in Southern Argentina on November 25 for a cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula.
On her return to her homeport, the ship was hit by a rogue wave on Tuesday, November 29. At the time, the vessel was south of Cape Horn, in the Drake Passage. While there was a storm in the area at the time, according to one guest onboard, the conditions were acceptable at the time.
A statement from Viking said the following: “There was a rogue wave incident involving the Viking Polaris on November 29 at 22:40 local time while the ship was sailing towards Ushuaia, Argentina. The ship sustained limited damage during the incident and arrived in port in Ushuaia without further incident the afternoon of November 30.”
In pictures taken in port, several windows can be seen broken on one of the lower decks, likely the location where the wave hit. The statement continued, stating that the four remaining passengers had sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were being treated onboard by medical professionals.
The cruise line further added that the following cruise, a 10-day Antarctic Explorer cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula, has been canceled. Guests booked on that voyage have been notified by Viking or will be informed by their travel advisors.
More Cruise Headlines
Those were just a handful of the cruise stories from the past week. As always, Cruise Hive has all the coverage, including dynamic artwork that will be featured on Norwegian Cruise Line’s upcoming new ship, Carnival cruise ship delayed arrival back in Florida, Princess Cruises returning to Japan in 2023, former NCL cruise ships arriving for scrapping, Disney details its 25th anniversary in 2023, Christmas events across the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, former Genting cruise ship going up for auction and much more.