This Week in Cruise: New in Mexico and Latin America

Port in Puerta Maya - Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel will be one of the sites for MSC's new Martha Stewart shore excursions. // Photo by mikolajn/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

New (and newly renovated) cruise ships and new shore excursion updates in Mexico, Central and South America lead this week’s cruise travel news. 

In new ship news, this week Celebrity Cruises announced more details on the new, Galapagos-bound Celebrity Flora, with three new partnerships for the expedition vessel. The line says that Yolanda Kakabadse, a prominent environmental leader and a former Minister of Environment for the Republic of Ecuador, will serve as the new ship’s godmother. In design news, the line has partnered with interior and furniture designer Adriana Hoyos, a native of Ecuador, who will design pieces highlighting sustainable materials in a number of the new ship’s public areas, as well as its Penthouse Suites. Finally, the line said that it will build on its more than 20-year relationship with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to bring Oceanscope, a set of cutting-edge oceanographic research equipment, onboard. 

In renovation news, this week we got a firsthand look at the revamped Norwegian Joy, which will sail to Mexico starting this fall. Originally designed for the Chinese cruise market, the new ship has received a number of new dining venues and areas that will be familiar to North American guests, but it has a number of features found nowhere else in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, including Concierge Level accommodations and a virtual reality entertainment area that should appeal to teens and techies. While it’s set to sail in Alaska now, this fall the ship will sail out of Los Angeles, offering Mexican Riviera itineraries, after which it will head to the Panama Canal and Miami for 2020 Caribbean sailings. 

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In shore excursion news, this week MSC Cruises announced a number of new, specialized excursions developed via a new partnership with Martha Stewart. Based on Stewart’s passions, such as hands-on culinary classes, tastings of local cuisine, horseback rides in the ocean, hiking, visits to craft markets, lessons from local fishermen and garden tours, the new excursions will launch in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, as well as Roatan, Honduras, in addition to a number of ports in the Caribbean. 

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