It’s been a big week for the cruise lines. The industry has just completed its annual Seatrade convention in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a time when the cruise lines typically make a bunch of announcements about new products and amenities. Here’s a recap from the Sunshine State:
* Luxury line Seabourn is partnering with mixologist Brian Van Flandern to transform the onboard spirits across its entire fleet with upgraded bar offerings, new cocktail menus and more. Van Flandern has been elevating the bar ingredients available onboard, handcrafting classic cocktails, educating and training the bar staff across the Seabourn fleet on both new and classic mixology techniques. He will also create a menu of cocktails exclusive to the line.
Seabourn also revealed renderings for its new signature fine-dining restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller, which will debut in May 2016 onboard Seabourn Quest. With a menu and ambiance inspired by the classic American chophouse, The Grill is a collaboration between three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller and designer Adam D. Tihany, exclusively for Seabourn.
The new signature restaurant will be on each Seabourn vessel, including the newest, Seabourn Encore, scheduled to launch this December. The Grill by Thomas Keller will move into newly renovated spaces formerly occupied by Restaurant 2 onboard the current fleet, beginning with Seabourn Quest and followed by Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Odyssey. Seabourn Ovation will offer The Grill by Thomas Keller right from its launch in spring 2018.
* Norwegian Cruise Line took the wraps off its new port development, Harvest Caye, Belize. Norwegian Cruise Line is developing Harvest Caye to feature an authentic Belizean environment that provides easy access to beautiful Southern Belize, coupled with luxurious amenities; a variety of eco-activities; the country’s only cruise ship pier for guest convenience and comfort; the opportunity for guests to easily depart to mainland Belize for the adventure excursion or cultural immersion of their choice; and much more. It will open in November and be a featured port call on Norwegian’s ships in the Caribbean.
* MSC Cruises inked an agreement with culinary pioneer, Roy Yamaguchi. The innovative Japanese-American celebrity chef will initially introduce a specialty pan-Asian restaurant on board the cruise line’s new next-generation ship, MSC Seaside – known as “the ship that follows the sun” – bringing his unique fusion of cooking traditions to MSC Cruises. This latest announcement adds to the cruise line’s existing partnerships with renowned, award-winning chefs Carlo Cracco, Jean-Philippe Maury and Jereme Leung.
* Regent Seven Seas Cruises is developing a collection of custom-designed stage spectaculars for its newest ship, Seven Seas Explorer, which debuts in July. A team of writers, directors and choreographers with extensive Broadway experience are developing the various productions specifically for Seven Seas Explorer, led by Julliard-trained musical director Jeremy Fenn-Smith.
Performed by a cast of 12 singers and dancers accompanied by a live seven piece orchestra, the productions debuting on Seven Seas Explorer include: Peggy Lee, a tribute to the American jazz and popular music crooner; Burn the Floor, the musical that takes the audience back to February 9, 1964 when Beatlemania and the British Invasion hit North America during the Sunday night Ed Sullivan Show; Paradis, a bawdy burlesque blend of percolating dance, steamy song stylings and audacious costumes set to a heart-throbbing beat, and A Day in Hollywood, offering music written for the movies, such as “Over the Rainbow,” “Thanks for the Memory” and “Hooray for Hollywood.”
* Luxury river line AmaWaterways is waiving single supplements for solo travelers who book any 2016 or 2017 river cruise in Europe or Asia. The offer applies to certain cabin categories.
* Crystal Cruises continues with its brand expansion a Bombardier Global Express XRS jet. The aircraft will enter service for the company on April 3, 2016, and is designed to accommodate just 12 guests in ultimate comfort. The new Crystal Luxury Air fleet will compliment itineraries for guests traveling on all things Crystal, offering the option to fly privately on their Crystal vacation.
The jet has been refitted with three spacious cabins, which will accommodate business activities, relaxation and sleeping quarters. The forward cabin boasts four executive wide club seats with foldout tables for dining or meeting; mid cabin is configured for conferences, with seating for five and workstation and cabinet; the aft cabin offers a three-person divan that can be transformed to a large bed. A nicely appointed galley is located forward, featuring a cold air chiller, high temp oven, microwave and Aerolux Nespresso machine.
* Princess Cruises rolled out a destination initiative that combines the cruise line’s destination expertise with a collaboration with local experts in key regional cruise destinations. Global Partners + Local Experts will feature exclusive destination content and shore experiences designed in partnership with a network of local experts to highlight the most authentic and inspiring experiences in each port. The experts include partners from ports, tourism boards, tour operators and port agents.
* Chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri, whose Guy’s Burger Joints already are offered on Carnival Cruise Line ships, is expanding his agreement with Carnival and opening a new venue, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, on Carnival Magic. Look for smokehouse favorites like bone-in, dry-rubbed, slow-smoked and pulled Championship Pork Butt, dry-rubbed and grilled Blue Ribbon Chicken, smoked Andouille sausage and Sliced Smoked Round of Beef cooked “low and slow” and thinly sliced. A rarity on cruise ships, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse features a traditional wood smoker which was installed on board as part of a recent dry dock.