Carnival Cruise Line said it will return to Norfolk in 2015, with the deployment of Carnival Splendor for two- to seven-day sailings from the Virginia port. The cruise line left the location in late 2013 when it said it was moving Carnival Glory to Miami and would not have a 2014 season at Norfolk's Half Moone Cruise terminal. Now, Carnival returns to the city with Splendor's cruises in May and October 2015. The 3,006-passenger ship will offer three five-day sailings and one six-day voyage to the Bahamas, one seven-day cruise to Bermuda and one two-day "cruise to nowhere."
Celebrity Cruises announced last week that all of its ships would offer a separate dining room available for passengers who book a suite class or higher cabin. The dining area would seat about 50 people and have its own entrance, menu and dedicated chef. Celebrity has revealed a batch of new amenities available as part of its suite experience -- butler service, expedited embarkation, included drinks package -- that will be rolled out to all ships in the fleet by April 2015.
MSC said last week it has signed a letter of intent with STX France to build to new gargantuan ships. MSC said it plans to build a pair of 1,033-foot long vessels with passenger capacity of 5,700 each (at maximum occupancy). The ships would be delivered in 2017 and 2019 and increase MSC's fleet to 14. Included in the features of the new vessels would be expanded MSC Yacht Clubs, the line's signature private club area.
Viking River Cruises christened 16 new longships in a 24-hour time frame last week, breaking a record it set a year ago. (There is a Guinness record for anything, I suppose.) Vikings christened 16 identical 190-passenger ships, with the central ceremony taking place in Avignon, France. The Neptun Werft Shipyard in Rostock, Germany, builds all the Viking Longships, which sail on such rivers as the Rheine, Seine, Moselle and Danube.