Lots of news this past week in the cruise world. So, let's dive in . . .
Carnival Cruise Lines announced that Carnival Freedom will get an overhaul and receive Funship 2.0 enhancements when it's in drydock April 19 to May 3 in Freeport, Bahamas. Freedom will get the line's first Bookville family reading area, part of the Seuss at Sea program launched last year on Carnival ships.
The Dr. Seuss Bookville venue on Freedom will be a dedicated Seuss-themed play space. Other Seuss at Sea activities include the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends, an interactive reading event called Seuss-a-palooza Story Time, and the Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade along the ship's promenade. Bookville and other Seuss at Sea activities are scheduled to be available by the departure on May 24, Carnival said.
Freedom also is due to get the other Funship 2.0 upgrades that other recent drydocked ships have received: Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, EA Sports Bar and Red Frog Pub, to name a few.
- A seven-night Bermuda trip on Celebrity Summit, departing July 27 from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J., with chefs Spike Mendelsohn (Top Chef Chicago and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; co-owner and chef at Bearnaise, We, The Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C. ); Ash Fulk (Top Chef Las Vegas contestant; chef de cuisine at Hill Country Barbecue Market in Brooklyn); and Angelo Sosa (Top Chef D.C. and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; chef and owner of Anejo in NYC and Poppy Den in Las Vegas)
- A seven-night Alaska itinerary on Celebrity Solstice, leaving Aug. 15 from Seattle, with chefs Paul Qui (Top Chef Texas winner; chef and owner of Qui and East Side King in Austin, Texas); Tiffani Faison (Top Chef Season 1 runner-up and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; chef and owner of Sweet Cheeks Q in Boston); Brooke Williamson (Top Chef Seattle runner-up; co-executive chef and co-owner of Hudson House, The Tripel and Playa Provisions in California); and Nina Compton (Top Chef New Orleans runner-up and Fan Favorite winner; chef de cuisine for Scarpetta Miami at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel)
- A 12-night France and Iberian Discovery cruise on Celebrity Infinity, embarking Sept. 19 from Harwich, England, with chefs Chris Crary (Top Chef Texas contestant and Fan Favorite winner); and Kristen Kish (Top Chef Seattle winner) [one more chef TBA]
- A seven-night Caribbean sailing on Celebrity Reflection, departing Nov. 15 from Miami to San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, with chefs Hosea Rosenberg (Top Chef Season 5 winner; owner of Blackbelly Market, Blackbelly Catering & Events and Blackbelly Farm); Casey Thompson (Top Chef Season 3 and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; chef of Aveline and The European in San Francisco); Tiffany Derry (Top Chef D.C. and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; owner of TD Concepts); Shirley Chung (Top Chef New Orleans contestant; chef and owner of Chung Lee Consulting)
Carnival Cruise Lines and the Frisco RoughRiders said they are teaming up. The Class AA minor league baseball affiliate of MLB's Texas Rangers and Carnival announced a multiyear promotional partnership, the cruise line's first with a pro baseball team.
When a RoughRiders player hits a home run, fans will hear a Carnival ship horn, and fireworks will go off. Carnival also said it will match monetary donations made by fans during the Texas League tradition of "Passing the Boot" for the RoughRiders Foundation after each RoughRiders home run. During the "Carnival Crush Inning," fans will be randomly selected to win a free cruise for two if a RoughRiders player hits a homer during that inning.
A Carnival Getaway Grill will feature unlimited ballpark favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, bratwursts, nachos, popcorn, peanuts and soda for one all-inclusive price. Additionally, Carnival will serve as host to this season's "Kids' Day," during which children from underprivileged families will be treated to a game.
Royal Caribbean Cruises has joined forces with other organizations in a new initiative to assist efforts to preserve the environment in Caribbean and Latin American destinations. Royal Caribbean will give money through its Ocean Fund to the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas to help support three of seven initial participating regions in the program. Royal Caribbean also announced its Destinations for Tomorrow tool kit, which allows destinations to go online to complete a sustainability self-assessment. The goal of the new alliance, which includes public and private entities as well as the U.S. Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States, is to expand the alliance to more than 30 destinations in the next few years.
Disney Cruise Line will set sail for new destinations in Northern Europe in 2015, the line said. In summer, Disney for the first time will send a ship, Disney Magic, to the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Other Disney Magic stops revealed for summer 2015 include, England, Germany, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Cruise Shipping Miami set new standards at its 30th annual event last month. The all-things-cruise business-to-business convention received nearly 12,000 registrants, a 10 percent jump from the 2013 show, and the most ever.