This Week in Cruise: New Beach Clubs, Two Crew Die on Holland America Ship

In Cozumel, Mexico last week, Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group, and Michael Bayley, president, Royal Caribbean International, announced plans to create a new Royal Beach Club Collection destination on that island’s western side. When this private island-style destination opens in 2026, guests can expect swim-up bars, private cabanas, snorkeling, pools, kayaking, eateries and much more.

Carnival Cruise Line additionally revealed details for Paradise Plaza and Calypso Lagoon, two of the five portals at its new Celebration Key cruise destination on Grand Bahama set to debut in July 2025.

On a sad note, two Holland America Line crew members died in what’s being called “an engineering space incident” on Nieuw Amsterdam last Friday morning during a port call at Half Moon Cay. An investigation into the cause is underway by the Bahamas Maritime Authority and Dutch Safety Board.

Separately, there was a fire in Carnival Freedom's exhaust funnel, possibly attributable to a lightning strike, according to witness reports. So, the ship has been taken out of service for cruises departing Monday, March 25, and Friday, March 29, for repairs to be made. No guests or crew members were injured. 

Celebrity Cruises also unveiled major updates to Celebrity Infinity. The ship now has a refreshed Retreat Lounge (formerly Michael’s Club), an expanded Luminae at The Retreat, and new aft Sunset Suites with large private balconies.

More Cruise News

Photo of Riverside Luxury Cruises Riverside Debussy is shown above. This is Palm Court, the river vessel's lounge.

Sister publication Luxury Travel Advisor is sailing today on Riverside Luxury Cruises' Riverside Debussy in Belgium and the Netherlands, so look for upcoming coverage on this luxury river vessel. This vessel previously operated as Crystal Debussy before Riverside acquired it in 2023.

HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) plans to transform its onboard guest offering into an all-inclusive concept. In a phased approach, Antarctica and Galapagos expeditions departing in October 202 and beyond will have the new offering, while the full fleet will go all-inclusive starting in November 2024.

Windstar Cruises announced a new partnership with Pacific Beachcomber, luxury operator of seven French Polynesia hotels. A hallmark addition will be two-night stay packages at The Brando, Pacific Beachcomber’s private island eco-resort.

Calling all foodies! Virgin Voyages Eat & Drink Festival” returns this June on all three Virgin ships. Some culinary or beverage activities are available on all ships, others specific to one or two ships. Riviera River Cruises has introduced new back-to-back and solo travel itineraries

Holland America Line launched a new “Anniversary Sale,” and, in another development, the Spice House is creating a custom spice set for the premium line. On the trade front, Crystal unveiled a “2024 Grand Challenge” with $450,000 in rewards for travel advisors. Separately, Norwegian Cruise Line introduced a new co-branded marketing solution for travel partners.

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