Cruise News – July 25, 2014
With cruise passengers increasingly moving into the “foodie” category, Norwegian Cruise Line is updating its culinary offerings—part of its NEXT upgrade program.
Among the changes: Gone is the old-fashioned chocolate buffet, new is a “Chocoholic Night” menu, featuring chocolate desserts in every restaurant one evening.
New, too, are regionally focused menus on each ship varying by itinerary. In addition, main dining room menus will keep classic choices such as prime rib and rack of lamb, but add contemporary dishes such as mojito shrimp ceviche, sushi, seared Atlantic scallops with fennel puree, and braised beef short ribs with Cajun shrimp.
“It’s important to stay at the forefront of dining and restaurant trends and exceed the expectations of what our guests are looking for when they vacation with us,” Frank Weber, Norwegian’s vice president of product development, tells Porthole Cruise News. “Our new menus reflect a focus on quality ingredients and world-class execution, areas that are important to today’s guest.”
Even the menu design has been updated – you can now read anecdotal culinary history and find suggested wine pairings.
As a casual dinner alternative at O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, and Norwegian Jewel, the cruise line is introducing exclusive specialty dish nights – such as prime rib, all-you-can-eat baby back ribs, and chicken and waffles.
For a little something before or after your meal, the line has expanded their partnership with award-winning mixologist Gabriel Orta of Miami Beach’s Bar Lab. The creative handcrafted cocktails will feature avant-garde concoctions made with fresh juices, aromatic herbs and local spirits.
Passengers can also now make reservations for seating in main dining rooms at set times up to 90 days in advance of their cruise.
AmaWaterways officially launched the 164-passenger river ship AmaSonata, with Brenda Kyllo of the Canadian Automobile Association doing godmother duty.
The Bavarian-themed christening festivities took place on the Danube in Vilshofen, Germany, with music and waltzing plus a traditional Bavarian salute by professional shooters off the ship’s sundeck.
AmaSonata is a sister ship to the AmaPrima, AmaCerto, and AmaReina launched earlier this year. Notable features include a good number of cabins with French balconies or “Twin Balconies,” a heated swimming pool with swim-up bar, and the Chef’s Table alternative restaurant.
Luxury line Crystal Cruises is moving into expedition cruising for the first time with a 32-day Arctic cruise in 2016 from the Pacific to the Atlantic, via Canada and Greenland and through the Northwest Passage. It’s the first luxury line to do the icy route.
The cruise on Crystal Serenity, embarking on August 16, 2016, is from Seward, Alaska, to New York, via a variety of waterways from the Bering Strait to the Labrador Sea.
The itinerary was developed with assistance from Expedition Voyage Consulting by EYOS Expeditions, which does private expeditions to remote regions. Canadian officials and Inuit elders in Arctic regions were also among those consulted.
During the cruise, new Wilderness Adventures will take passengers to remote places via kayak, Zodiac, helicopter, or ATV, based on environmental conditions. Because this is Crystal, the outings will often include Champagne waiting at the other end, officials said.
A 14-person expedition team will be aboard, including a native Artic guide, scientists, and professional wildlife photographers. There will be complimentary parkas and boot rentals, though no formal night. An escort vessel with safety and environmental protection equipment will follow the ship. Fares are from $19,755 per person.
- Viking River Cruises said it has renewed its sponsorship of PBS’ Masterpiece, including the hit show Downton Abbey, for another year – through 2015.
- The four-masted sailing ships Star Clipper and Star Flyer are showing off new décor and furnishings in all cabins as part of a revitalization program. New amenities include LED bedside reading lights and new flat-screen TVs in most cabins.
- All four Disney Cruise Line ships will celebrate Halloween in high style in September and October. There will be all kinds of themed decorations, activities, and events including a “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream” experience.
- Un-Cruise Adventures is heading to Costa Rica and Panama with its 64-passenger Safari Voyager beginning in December 2015 and to the Galapagos with the chartered, 48-passenger La Pinta for the first time in 2016.
— Fran Golden