This Week in Cruise: Carnival Reaches 100 Million Guests, Del Rio to Retire

In the 1980s, Carnival Cruise Line became a household name in cruising, in large part due to national TV commercials featuring Kathie Lee Gifford singing and dancing to “Ain’t We Got Fun.” For many consumers, it was their first exposure to cruising as a vacation choice. Last week, Carnival said that it had become the first cruise line globally to carry 100 million guests. Celebrating the cruise industry milestone, Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president, personally greeted guests boarding Carnival Sunrise at PortMiami, where the cruise line was founded, to thank them for "choosing fun." Carnival began service in 1972.

Early today, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) announced that Frank J. Del Rio, president and CEO, will retire effective June 30, 2023. Harry Sommer, currently Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) president, will be promoted to become NCLH's president and CEO. In turn, David Herrera, NCL's chief sales and marketing officer, will be promoted and become NCL's president.  

Sister Carnival Corporation brand, ultra-luxury Seabourn announced that Seabourn Odyssey has been sold to Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL). Seabourn emphasized that it will continue to operate all published voyages through August 22, 2024, under a charter arrangement. Seabourn Odyssey, which has sailed for the line for 14 years, will be delivered to MOL after the charter agreement ends.

After receiving Bahamian government approval, Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) first Bahamas Beach Club is on track to open in 2025. Spanning 17 acres on the western end of Paradise Island in Nassau, the club will offer beach play and RCI's signature experiences.

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) signed a strategic development agreement with the British Virgin Islands to enhance its product, increase cruise calls in the destination and support B.V.I. businesses with cruise industry resources.

Virgin Voyages unveiled new fleetwide entertainment—everything from shows and parties to additional live music acts and a festival stage of rotating performances. 

Cruise Advisor Support

Building on its Expedition 360 training platform, Lindblad Expeditions will introduce new resources to support travel advisors. Over the next few months, the expedition line will add a new webinar series, its first cross-country road show and new travel advisor awards and incentives. New initiatives will focus on four pillars—training, service, technology and appreciation.

Norwegian Cruise Line has sent a new commission update to consortia, noting that advisors will have an opportunity to increase their NCL commission based on either net bookings or booked revenue, according to Cruise Week. Determining the tier? NCL's system will be automatically set up to choose whichever of those benefits the travel advisor with a higher commission. 

New Cruise Itineraries

Holland America Line is introducing extended "Legendary Voyages" to commemorate its historic 150th anniversary in 2023; they range from 25 to 59 days.

Sister publication Luxury Travel Advisor reported that Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced its longest World Cruise ever. Seven Seas Mariner will operate this 154-night journey roundtrip from PortMiami.

Viking has introduced a new 2024 “Paris & D-Day 80th Anniversary” voyage for the 2024 European river season. Departures run from March through November. The 12-day itinerary from London, U.K., to Paris, France, will commemorate World War II’s Operation Overlord and the historic battles of Normandy, and their role in the liberation of western Europe.

More Cruise News

American Queen Voyages officially unveiled its enhanced culinary program, while The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection opened sales for its second superyacht, Ilma, debuting in September 2024. Silversea Cruises said that when Silver Endeavour enters drydock in April 2023 the ship will receive two new categories of suites, additional suites and more crew cabins. 

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