This week the cruise industry is starting the new year off with a bang as major brands spotlight new ships set to launch in 2018.
Celebrity Cruises just announced that the Celebrity Edge is debuting ahead of schedule, on December 9 instead of December 16 as previously planned. The change will allow the ship to offer two, back-to-back seven-night inaugural voyages that will spotlight both the ship’s eastern and western Caribbean itineraries out of Fort Lauderdale. The inaugural itineraries will also be combinable into a 14-night cruise.
Even before the ship’s official debut, the Celebrity Edge will also offer four three-night Edge Preview Sailings roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas. Those cruises will depart November 21, November 24, December 3 and December 6.
Also this week, Carnival Corporation released a preview of the four new cruise ships it is launching in 2018 for its Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Seabourn and AIDA Cruises brands.
Carnival Cruise Line will launch the Carnival Horizon in April. The second in the line’s new Vista class, the ship will sail a 13-day debut Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona, offering guests the first Dr. Seuss WaterWorks aqua park, the line’s first teppanyaki dining venue and a new barbecue restaurant designed in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri. The Seabourn Ovation, launching in May, will be a sibling ship to last year’s Seabourn Encore. Sporting a design by Adam D. Tihany, the new, all-suite vessel will bring Seabourn’s fleet to five. In December, Holland America Line will launch the Nieuw Statendam, the second Pinnacle class ship (and another design by Adam D. Tihany). The line’s first Pinnacle ship, the Koningsdam, launched in April 2016. Finally, Germany-based AIDA Cruises will launch the AIDAnova in December, marking the first ship to be fully powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas.
Speaking of the Carnival Horizon, also this week Carnival Cruise Line named the winners of its “Keep on Rockin” Sweepstakes, which offered travel agents the opportunity to win a $10,000 cash prize, Carnival Horizon cruises, gift cards and more. Each week during the contest period, which ran from October 9 – November 5, Carnival asked agents to demonstrate how they “Keep on Rockin” in their job by responding to a question posed on Vice President of Sales & Trade Marketing Adolfo Perez’s Facebook page.
Travel agents participated by sharing examples through photos, written descriptions and videos, all of which were reviewed by Perez and a panel of industry leaders. Winners were selected based on criteria including creativity, originality and a Carnival “fun factor,” the cruise line said.