Thursday, April 26, 2018

Crystal adds Admin fees

ONBOARD THE CRYSTAL SYMPHONY -- Crystal Cruises will begin charging customers an administration fee on 2020 departures, said vice president of revenue management Rolando Trejos. Also in 2020, the luxury line will increase the initial deposit from 20% to 25% across all products and require final payment sooner.
The administration fee will vary depending on the length of the voyage. The fee for ocean cruises of 13 days or fewer will be $100 per person; for cruises of 14 to 21 days, $200 per person; and sailings longer than 21 days, $500 per person. River and yacht sailings will be $500 per person.  Trejos said that if a guest decides to cancel, the fee can be a future cruise credit; if they book a cruise within a 12-month period, it will be deducted as a payment, not as a discount, for the cruise.  Ocean cruises of 13 days or fewer will require final payment 120 days in advance (previously 90 days). The same policy will hold true for yacht and river cruises. Final payment on ocean cruises of 14 to 21 days will be due 150 days before departure, up from 120. Final payment on ocean cruises of 22 days or longer must be made 180 days in advance, up from 150.
Trejos said Crystal will require final payment sooner because Crystal has "a very high attrition rate, especially during the final payment, and on the longer voyages it becomes very difficult to fill those ships, to fill those staterooms, when we have such a high amount of cancellations. So hopefully by extending out the final payment date, it will allow us an opportunity to sell the rooms."

For more information, and to receive and special rates or to make reservations    contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Carnival to Start Charging for Late-Night Room Service

Jan 11, 2018

Carnival Cruise Line is making a number of changes to its room service policy, including a new charge for late-night orders, a cruise line representative tells Travel Agent. The new changes will start being implemented next week.

Under the new rules, the cruise line will no longer offer complimentary room service from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Instead, an expanded offering of fee-based food items will be available, including salads, sandwiches and specialty items. New options will include Greek Salad; Chicken Caesar Salad; Portabella & Veggie Bun; Grilled Cheese, Bacon and Tomato Sandwich; and Roast Turkey Wrap; as well as a selection of new desserts including Dark Chocolate Walnut Brownies; Doughnut Sandwich; and Banana Split. Prices for menu items will range from $2 to $6, Carnival said.
The pizzeria and deli will remain available during the late night period, Carnival said, and these will remain complimentary.
Finally, on debarkation morning the cruise line will no longer offer room service. Guests will continue to have the option of breakfast at the Lido deck restaurant, at Ocean Plaza (where available) and in the main dining room..  What’s staying the same: complimentary breakfast will remain the same, other than on debarkation morning. Additionally, throughout the day up to 10 p.m., Carnival will continue to offer a variety of salads, sandwiches and desserts on a complimentary basis. During this time period the cruise line will also continue to offer several fee-based items for prices ranging from $2 to $6, as is current policy.

Carnival said these changes were made because there is a tremendous amount of food waste during the late night time period, as many people tend to over order and then not eat what they have requested. Carnival said it believes that charging for late night room service items will help alleviate this issue.
For more information, and to receive exclusive amenities and special rates or to make reservations on any Carnival Ship,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Carnival Ups Price of All-Inclusive Beverage Package

Nov 27, 2017 

The Carnival beverage package program will increase  to $51.95 per day plus gratuity if purchased pre-cruise and $56.95 per day plus gratuity if purchased onboard effective January 1, 2018.

The Cheers! all-inclusive beverage program is for guests 21 years or older, and includes a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for a flat daily rate. The package includes all spirits, as well as beer and wine by the glass, with a $50 or lower menu price per serving. The package also includes zero-proof frozen cocktails (including smoothies), sodas (including specialty sodas), juices, specialty coffees and hot tea served in the main dining rooms, specialty restaurants and coffee bars, milkshakes (where applicable), RockStar energy drinks, Powerade, Vitamin Water, Coconut Water, Honest Tea, 500ml bottled water and other non-alcoholic bottled beverages served in bars and lounges and large format (1 liter and 1.5 liter) bottles of water in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants.
The program also includes a 25 percent discount on any spirit, cocktail or wine by the glass more than $50 per serving, on wine and champagne by the bottle and larger format water bottles purchased outside the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants.

For more information, and to receive exclusive amenities and special rates or to make reservations on any Carnival  Ship,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Royal Caribbean has big technology ideas, some close to reality

November 13, 2017 

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- On the cruise of the future, check-in counters, guest services desks and in-room phones will be relics, replaced by facial recognition, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. 
Royal Caribbean Cruises last week showcased the various ways that passengers on its three brands -- Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises -- will experience technological innovations going forward, some much sooner than others. 

Passengers on some Royal Caribbean cruises this year (the Oasis and the Allure of the Seas) will be able to check in, order drinks and reserve shore excursions and dinner reservations on their smart phones, using the cruise company's new app, which will debut this year on 13% of the line's ships, half of the fleet in 2018 and on 100% of its ships by 2019. 
The app, the first consumer-facing piece of the Excalibur technology initiative, is for passengers to do tasks they would normally do at the guest services desk or from their stateroom phone, in addition to checking into the cruise, tracking their luggage, opening cabin doors and texting fellow passengers. 
RCCL also demonstrated the evolution of "smart staterooms," which allows the room to "take care of the guest."   On display was a Sky Suite, one of the cabin categories on the upcoming Celebrity Edge, which will have some of the features of smart speaker systems like Amazon's Alexa. Guests will be able to make some commands, such as having the lights turn off and shades close by simply saying, "Computer, good night," and a "good morning" command in the morning to turn them back on. Passengers also will be able to control all of the room's lighting, temperature and the shades using their smartphones or a control panel on the wall, including preset options like "movie" which will close the shades and turn down the lights for optimal movie watching. 

Many of the ideas RCCL showcased are still just that, ideas that may or may not make their way onto ships. One is a "virtual restaurant" experience where passengers put on VR masks while they are eating. Diners would enjoy Japanese food while looking at cherry blossoms in Kyoto. 
Another is RCCL's vision for the inside cabin of the future, in which high-definition videos create the illusion not only of a real balcony with the ocean going by outside -- complete with the appropriate weather -- but a screen on the floor that shows the sea below and a moon roof ceiling that opens to the "sky."
For more information, and to receive exclusive amenities and special rates & to make reservations on any Royal Caribbean  Ship,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Royal Caribbean introduces new electronis for ships

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. is rolling out a slate of new technology updates that will aim to streamline all phases of the guest experience, as well as improve the cruise companys operations and sustainability. The new program will apply to all three of the companys wholly owned brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.
Dubbed Excalibur, the program will be device-agnostic, meaning guests will be able to take advantage of the new features using any smart device or one of Royal Caribbeans WOW Bands, which launched in 2015, Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said at a reveal event in New York.
If you want, instead of having a WOW Band, you can use your phone or anything you want that’s connected to the Internet of Things,Fain said.
Excalibur is built on non-proprietary, open-source technology, an approach which will allow the company to maintain it easily and to keep continuously rolling out and testing new features, in order to keep up with ever-changing guest expectations. The company will also be retrofitting its ships with pervasive Wi-Fi in order to provide the bandwidth necessary for the new features.
Constant testing and a gradual rollout will be a key part of Excalibur, using an approach that Fain describes as an expanded universe, as opposed to a big bang – a sudden, all-at-once launch. Many features of Excalibur started to roll out in August, and the company plans to have them implemented on 13 percent of its ships by the end of the year. By the end of 2018, Excalibur should be active on half the companys fleet, and across the companys entire fleet by the end of 2019.Royal Caribbeans future app will let guests order food and drink to be delivered to them anytime, anywhere on board. // 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. SVP Digital Experience Jay Schneider, who is spearheading the new initiative, shared a little more detail on what guests can expect from Excalibur. In addition to new vacation planning features in the companys mobile apps, including virtual reality (VR) videos of shore excursions, the company is also aiming to use Excalibur to streamline the boarding process.
The boarding process is loaded with friction, Schneider said, noting that long lines and paperwork can put a damper on the kickoff to the cruise.  Using Excalibur, guests will be able to take a selfie using their smart device, which will be displayed on a digital boarding pass. During boarding, guests will be able to simply walk through a scanner that will use facial recognition technology to automatically check them in, meaning they can go straight to their staterooms without waiting in line. . The system automatically flagged our face and checked off our name on a digital passenger list that was displayed on a nearby screen. As part of the demonstration, Royal Caribbean representatives noted that if a passenger had any uncompleted paperwork, the system would automatically flag them so they could be pulled out of line to finish providing any necessary information. The system will also track guests luggage in real-time, allowing them to always know where their bags are.

Excalibur features on Royal Caribbeans smartphone apps, or the Wow Bands, will allow guests to do a number of other tasks after the cruise is underway. In addition to unlocking stateroom doors, guests will be able to order drinks and have them delivered directly to their location, no matter where they are on the ship. Excalibur will also let guests control their staterooms lighting, temperature and other features from their mobile device, even from outside their stateroom. Guests will also be able to stream content from their devices to their stateroom televisions, including content that is stored locally from their devices or taken from major streaming services. Excalibur will also allow Royal Caribbean to send guests notifications with personalized recommendations for services they can book onboard, such as relaxing treatments for spa lovers.
Excalibur also incorporates a number of augmented reality (AR) features, which allow guests to play games and interact with their environment using their smartphones. In one demonstration a guest was able to point their phone at a poster, which appeared to spring to life on the smartphone screen and become a game the guest could play. In another, called X-ray vision, a guest could point their smartphone at a special area of a wall. A camera behind the wall would project a video to the guests smartphone, providing the illusion that they were looking through the wall just like Superman. Royal Caribbean representatives said that RCCL could use this feature to give guests a behind-the-scenes glimpse of certain areas they couldnt otherwise access for safety or security reasons, such as the galley or engine room. 

What about guests who dont have a smartphone, or dont feel like toting one around on their vacation? The Wow Band will continue to provide access to Excalibur features. And were sensitive to the fact that, even if you have your smartphone, some guests want to leave it in their car, Schneider said. Royal Caribbean is even planning to roll out a new version of the Wow Band, dubbed Wow Band 2.0, sometime next year.  In addition to new features for guests, Excalibur will also include a number of elements to help the crew provide a smoother experience. Apps for crew will keep track of guest preferences in information, allowing crew to remember items like birthdays and favorite drinks.
A new digital table allows crew to keep track of safety drills and ship systems in real time.

The display allows for the tracking of operations like digital muster drills, allowing bridge crew to see at a glance which guests have failed to check in for muster, and even zoom in on their last known check-in location to aid in tasks like locating missing children.
On the bridge, an augmented reality (AR) display that would help officers navigate during foul weather. During periods of poor visibility due to rain and wind, the windscreen could display an overlay that would highlight important features like channels, land and other ships.

For more information, and to receive exclusive amenities and special rates or to make reservations on any Royal Caribbean  Ship,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Virgin Voyages will be for adults only
November 01, 2017 

Virgin Voyages revealed some details about its new cruise line at a keel-laying ceremony, perhaps the most important of which is that children won't be allowed. 
CEO Tom McAlpin said the line's first ship, expected in 2020, will be "Adult By Design," with bookings accepted only for those 18 or older.  McAlpin said the decision was driven by feedback solicited from potential customers and travel professionals "who are looking for a more elevated and premium experience, with a few Virgin-style surprises."

Although some lines with smaller ships, the Virgin Voyages ships at 2,800 passengers will be the largest to forgo the family market. The event at Fincantieri's Genoa shipyard also revealed the first exterior renderings of the ship,  with a broad promenade at the aft contrasting with a slim tower of upper decks and a bow with a strongly vertical aspect. The ship's colors will be silver-gray with red accents, including a red funnel. The aft below the promenade deck will be red with the familiar slanted Virgin logo in large white letters centered in the middle.  Virgin unveiled a more specific logo for Virgin Voyages, a mermaid with blonde hair and a sexy red fishtail trailing a flowing Virgin banner in one hand. The mermaid will appear at a modest size on the side of the ship's bow in line with the bridge. Virgin said it was inspired by figureheads on historic vessels and was designed by London-based artist Toby Tinsley.

Virgin announced at the ceremony that it was accepting $500 refundable deposits for "access to an exclusive pre-sale before Virgin Voyages goes on general sale." Virgin Voyages said 86% of all cabins will feature a sea terrace and 93% an ocean view.

The first voyage is planned from Miami in 2020. Fincantieri is working on three ships for the brand.

For more information and to make reservations,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: .

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Royal Caribbean returning to St. Thomas in November

Royal Caribbean  will resume calls at St. Thomas on Nov. 10. Calls were suspended after Hurricane Irma ravaged the island on Sept. 6.  The Adventure of the Seas will make the call. At the same time, island officials, with an assist from Royal Caribbean, hope to reopen a restored Magens Bay, one of St. Thomas' most popular tourist attractions.  Royal Caribbean said that most downtown shops, restaurants and bars and tour operators will be fully operational, with boat and catamaran excursions among the activities that will be offered. Royal Caribben said it has committed to returning to San Juan and St. Maarten by the end of November, and is working closely with local governments to announce the exact dates.  Port St. Maarten, said that Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas plans to make its return to that storm-battered destination on Nov. 5.
For more information, and to receive exclusive amenities and special rates or to make reservations on any Royal Caribbean  Ship,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: