2016 Cruise in Review
Cruise News – Dec. 30, 2016
From new ships to new destinations to new trends in cruising, 2016 saw some industry outcomes worthy of retrospect. For a year-at-a-glance refresher, check out Porthole Cruise Magazine’s cruise news page. And for now, we’ll share five of our favorite happenings from 2016:
- More Cruise Lines Are Granted Cuba Cruise Approval (December 2016)
In a landmark day for cruising, several major cruise companies announced approval to cruise to Cuba.
Add to the list of lines that will sail to the island as early as March 2017: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Azamara Club Cruises.
- Virgin Cruises Sets Sail Under New Name: Virgin Voyages (October 2016)
Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, along with Virgin Voyages president and CEO, Tom McAlpin, revealed a change in name for the brand’s upcoming cruise line. Virgin Cruises became Virgin Voyages, which better reflects Branson’s commitment to “change cruising for good.” The duo also confirmed that they have officially signed the shipbuilding contract for three vessels to debut in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
- Crystal Serenity Embarks on Epic Journey Through Northwest Passage (August 2016)
In an extremely rare endeavor, Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity embarked on a 32-day journey through the Northwest Passage, the Arctic region north of Canada that was unattainable until just 100 years ago. Following more than three years of planning and preparation, Crystal Serenity welcomed nearly 1,000 guests in Seward, Alaska, bound for an experience with rare wildlife encounters, visits to remote communities, rugged treks on land and icy waters, and immersive onboard enrichment.
- Harmony of the Seas, the Newest “World’s Largest Cruise Ship,” Is Delivered (May 2016)
At a traditional delivery and flag-changing ceremony in Saint Nazaire, France, Royal Caribbean International took delivery of the world’s largest cruise ship. The $1 billion, 5,400-guest (at double occupancy) Harmony of the Seas is the 25th ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet and boasts several new experiences. After a maiden season in Europe, the ship is now sailing her inaugural Caribbean season from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- Celebrity Cruises to Increase Galápagos Sailings with Purchase of Two Ships (March 2016)
Celebrity Cruises announced the acquisition of Galápagos Islands tour operator Ocean Adventures and its two ships, the 48-guest ship M/V Eclipse and the 16-guest catamaran M/C Athala II, which expands Celebrity’s guest capacity in the Galapagos by 65 percent. The refreshed and renamed Celebrity Xperience and Celebrity Xploration will begin Galápagos sailings in spring 2017, joining Celebrity Xpedition, already sailing the region.