Carnival Cruise Lines Will Start Sailing To Cuba In 2016
Well, it's official. As of May 2016, Carnival Corporation's new brand of ships, Fathom, will be sailing to Cuba as part of their move toward creating more meaningful cultural experiences between the American and Cuban people.
The 710-passenger ship, MV Adonia, would set sail from Miami each week. Exact cruising itineraries have yet to be released but so far we've learned that prices for seven-day trips to Cuba will start at $2,990 per person without taxes, port, or government fees, while all meals, onboard activities, and certain cultural immersion shore excursions will be included.
A similar Fathom cultural exchange program starting in April 2016 with a seven-day trip to the Dominican Republic will start at $1,540 per person (depending on the season) and include accommodations in an oceanview cabin, all meals, onboard activities, three social impact activities in the D.R., taxes, fees, and port charges.
Before you start having visions of lines of super-mega-sized cruise ships full of tourists stationed in the waters outside historic Havana, keep in mind that Fathom ships are much smaller and programs are geared toward people interested in volunteering and interacting with the local people in the places they visit, not for those who just wish to dock and spend the whole trip in the nearest Señor Frogs.
We want to know: Do you think this is one giant leap for the travel world or Cuba's first step toward becoming Cozumel 2.0? Sound off below!
Carnival’s New Mega Ships Will Carry 7,000 Passengers and Crew
This article originally appeared on Fox News Travel. Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its fleet with four new ships that will transport a record number of passengers and crew members. Setting sail between 2019 and 2022, the new cruise ships will be able to carry up to 6,600 guests in addition to hundreds of crew members. Cruise ships today average about 4,000 plus passengers, but despite the increased capacity Carnival stressed that the high-volume vessels won’t feel more crowded. “A major part of the innovative design involves making much more efficient use of the ship's spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for guests,” the company said in a statement released Monday. Though the new ships will have an “an extensive number of guest-friendly features,” they will unlikely house the large scale attractions like bumper cars, skating rinks, or full size basketball courts, according to Bloomberg. “It won’t feel congested, it won’t feel confined,” Carnival Chief Executive Arnold W. Donald assured viewers in a Bloomberg interview yesterday. “People will find it to be a great experience.” Rooms and suites are likely to stay the same while extra space will be taken from the ships’ common areas. The largest ship by size currently in commission is Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the seas which is scheduled to set sail next spring. That ship boasts a capacity of 5,479 passengers. The line’s Oasis class ships are about seven feet shorter but can carry considerably more passengers—up to 6,300 guests and almost 2,400 crew. Carnival is also stepping into the "green cruising" space as the new ships will be the first ever cruise vessels powered by Liquefied Natural Gas. This type of gas is already used municipal buses and airport shuttles as it reduces soot emissions and cuts down on mechanical carbon footprints. More From Fox News Travel: The scariest water slide ever may be in Texas Why America's air travel liberation may finally take flight this year The most hated hotel chains in the US, according to social media Virgin Cruises to launch in Miami in 2020
Her Cruise Waiter Became the Love of Her Life
This article was written by Laurie Martins and originally appeared on Yahoo Travel. Who: Laurie and Albino Antonio Martins a.k.a "Martins" What: Met on the SS Norway sailing from Miami, Florida When: Date was September 24, 1988 Relationship Status: Married on June 16, 1990 (As told by Laurie) I had asked my sister if she wanted to go on a cruise with me. She's an OR nurse and couldn't get time off due to the surgery schedule, but told me about her favorite cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line and encouraged me to go by myself. She assured me that I'd make new friends and wouldn't feel uncomfortable traveling solo. I decided to trust her and booked the cruise. Following the mandatory lifeboat drill, I decided to go up to one of the promenade decks where I expected to make friends and mingle with other single passengers. There were none to be found. I started to question if my sister was right. At 38, everyone else seemed to be about my age, but after watching groups of 4-6 single women traveling together and starry-eyed couples beaming into each other's eyes, I retired to my cabin. I dressed for my first dining room dinner and entered the room a bit apprehensive. The cruise line determined the seating arrangements, so I didn't know what to expect. The maitre d' ushered me to a table with five women seated. We exchanged greetings and introductions and I learned they were sisters and friends traveling together from Canada. Once they found out I was alone, they adopted me into their group. My sister was right! By the second night at dinner, I told my table mates that I thought our waiter, whose name tag simply said "Martins," was possibly one of the most handsome men I had ever seen in all of my 38 years. His elegant looks and mannerisms were only enhanced by the most beautiful European accent. He was the topic of conversation the entire evening, and we giggled and laughed flirtatiously with everything he said. At dinner on the third night, we invited him to one of our cabins to share a drink. He charmingly accepted and asked for the cabin number. One of the women named Bea responded by giving him my room number. Later that evening, my new friends and me were toasting champagne and listening to music when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to see Martins, dressed in off-white slacks and a tank top. He had a beautiful smile highlighted by beautiful pearly white, perfectly aligned teeth. His biceps were amazing and I was thrilled to note that he wore embroidered, monogrammed Ralph Lauren socks. Perfect from head to toe. It turned into a really fun night and we all got sillier and sillier with every round of drinks. We taught him English words and phrases, laughed together, and when a tango played on the television, he grabbed my hand, pulled me to my feet and danced with me. As morning started to creep up, the other women retired to their cabins and Martins and I talked our hometowns, families, friends, and jobs until 4 a.m. The next morning at breakfast, my new friends asked me "what I had done" to him, reporting that he was singing like a bird that morning. I told them about our long talk, and that despite the fact that he spoke very little English aside from food-related subjects, our conversations were comfortable and free-flowing from the beginning. The next few nights, he joined us in my cabin. As the cruise was nearing the end, he asked if he could accompany me to the airport after the ship arrived back in Miami. Of course, I told him yes. While we were waiting for my flight, he took my hand, kissed it, and told me he "knew why he was born." Knowing I was divorced, had two sons (ages 18 and 11), and had my share of unhappy times, he vowed that "no one would ever make me unhappy again." He promised that he "would always take care of me" and pledged his love. After I returned home, we exchanged weekly cards, letters, and telephone calls. As things got more serious, he began to fly me to Miami and pay for my airfare and hotel room once a month. The following January, he took me to Portugal to show me his country. I was able to see his beautiful homeland, tour some castles, be wined and dined, and best of all, meet his family. We stayed in his family's home for two days. It was after meeting them, laughing with them, eating, and talking with them that I understood where this wonderful man was nurtured and raised. Martins asked me to marry him in the National Palace in Sintra, Portugal. It's a place where kings and queens once walked, and he told me he would "feel like a king every day of his life if I would marry him." Doesn't get any more romantic and wonderful than that! The next two years were filled with flights to Miami for romantic rendezvous weekends, more visits to Portugal, and nonstop telephone calls and cards to each other. Finally, I was able to marry the love of my life on June 16, 1990. 25 years later, he remains true to his worlds. I am living happily ever after with my personal Portuguese Prince Charming. Yahoo Travel profiles readers who came back from a trip with the best souvenir ever—true love. Want to share your own story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. More From Yahoo Travel: What Other Countries Really Think of America Apparently L.A. is the Best Place to Find a Date on Vacation The 10 Most Insane Shopping Malls Around the World
This article originally appeared on Fox News Travel. Luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways Monday announced a partnership with Adventures by Disney, the tour arm of the mouse's family travel empire, for a series of five family-focused European river cruises. Starting in July and December 2016, these seven-night sailings from Vilshofen, Germany, to Budapest will call in Passau in Germany; Linz, Melk, Krems, and Vienna in Austria; and Bratislava, Slovakia. But if you're picturing photo ops with Anna and Elsa in front of Austria's Dürnstein Castle, you have it all wrong. Instead, the partnership will result in destination immersive activities for the whole family. One day, the line will stage an all-ages Oktoberfest celebration at a Cistercian monastery, complete with folk dancing and traditional German foods. The next day, guests can gather at Hohenwerfen Castle for a falconry show. In Salzburg, families can re-create scenes from the movie The Sound of Music which—instead of the character breakfasts you might imagine—serves as the most recognizable photo op on the sailing. Children under four years of age are not invited, and the line suggests that—with the active and educational focus of the tours, in addition to their length—the cruise is best for children eight years and up. There is no onboard babysitting on offer, and the excursions are designed for families to explore the sites together and share the experience. The amount of time in port will be maximized, with the vessel sailing in each morning just after breakfast and leaving, in most cases, when everyone is fast asleep. As a result, there will be several choices of excursions in every destination, in addition to the option of exploring on bicycle or just taking a ball or a Frisbee to a local park. The food onboard will focus on local specialties, such as paprika tasting and goulash and strudel-making classes, which will help to introduce the youngest travelers to the flavors of the region. On the December sailing—in addition to German Christmas decorations and caroling—there is also the opportunity to make and decorate gingerbread houses. And while there are a few tweaks to the 170-passenger AmaViola, still under construction, in order to accommodate the families—doors are being added to form adjoining cabins and sofas are being turned into sleepers in some suites—the existing spaces are being repurposed on these sailings. At night, the line will host teen-only dinners in a room that's usually used for wine tastings; the lounge may one night morph into a karaoke bar and become a movie theater the next and a folkloric dancing classroom before that. The line predicts that getting to see four European countries in one week will feel like a value to multi-generational American families. But for those who want to see more on their trip, Adventures by Disney is offering a two-night extension to Prague, making the Czech Republic the fifth country in this modern take on the family-friendly European tour. More from Fox News Travel: Behind the changes in airline frequent flier programsFamily forced to sit in vomit on United flightThese are the world’s best olive oils
Carnival Cruise Lines to Start Charging for Room Service
This article originally appeared on Fox News Travel. Carnival has announced it will start testing a 24-hour room service menu on board several ships—but premium service comes with a fee. The move comes just a few days after rival cruise line Norwegian announced it would be adding a service charge to room service orders, reports Cruise Critic. The new menu will feature a diverse range of items including sushi, chicken wings, fried shrimp, quesadillas and customizable pizzas, ranging in price from $4 to $7. Carnival is hoping to offer cruises better quality and more choices when it comes to ship dining. Free selections will still be available around the clock which include hot and cold sandwiches, salads, desserts and breakfast pastries, according to Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen. While some cruisers seem happy with the addition of better quality menu items—even if they come with additional costs—other cruise fans are upset that lines are tacking on new fees that should be included with in the cost of a general cruise ticket. “What a shame if they start charging for room service items. I would be okay with paying for hot items though! Most of the food we can get from lido when its open so it seems like we are being charged for something we already paid for in our cruise fair[sic],” wrote v3cruiser on Carnival’s message board. The new menu will roll out on three Carnival ships—the Imagination, Conquest and Pride—on April 12. Customer feedback will guide the cruise line in determining whether or not the pay-per items will be rolled out to other ships in the future. More From Fox News Travel: 6 best music festivals this spring Longest town names in the world Inside the $25,000-a-night Vivienne Westwood suite Do you know what muffuletta is or even how to pronounce it?