This Week in Cruise: Ship Renos From RCL, NCL and More

It’s been a busy week for cruise ship renovations. 

This week Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas arrived in Miami following a $115 million revamp that had been slightly delayed due to foul weather. The project reimagined the pool area in a “Caribbean resort” style, as well as added new poolside eateries, an aqua coaster, a waterslide, a standalone blow-dry bar and The Lime and Coconut, a three-level signature bar that offers a variety of drinks and has a rooftop deck with live music. From Miami the ship will sail five- and nine-night Caribbean itineraries; in May, it will begin offering three-night weekend and four-day weekday cruises to the Bahamas that will include a call at Perfect Day at CocoCay, the line’s newly developed private island destination. 

Looking ahead, this week Norwegian Cruise Line announced that Tony Award-winning musical Footloose would make its debut at sea onboard the renovated Norwegian Joy. Originally designed for the China cruise market, the Norwegian Joy will homeport in Seattle following a renovation project designed to bring it in line with Norwegian’s newest ship, the Norwegian Bliss. Replacing the Norwegian Pearl as the cruise line’s third ship in the Alaska region, the Norwegian Joy will offer seven-day cruises to the Last Frontier starting in May. The renovation will make the Norwegian Joy “virtually identical” to the Norwegian Bliss, the cruise line has said, with features like an extended go-kart race track and new dining and bar concepts. 

In tech news, this week Princess Cruises released an updated roadmap for the rollout of MedallionNet, its upgraded Wi-Fi infrastructure, and MedallionClass, a personalized vacation experience enabled by the line’s CES Innovation Award-winning OceanMedallion wearable device. MedallionNet will be available on the following ships by the end of 2019: Coral Princess (April 5), Island Princess (May 15), Crown Princess (June 30), Emerald Princess (August 3), Golden Princess (December 20) and Sky Princess (October 12). MedallionClass, meanwhile, will launch on Royal Princess on April 13 and Crown Princess on July 24. The service will also be available on Sky Princess starting October 12 when that ship makes its official debut. 

Finally, in expedition cruise news, this week Hurtigruten announced an extensive renovation project that will transform the MS Finnmarken into a premium expedition cruise ship. The refurb is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, after which the ship will sail itineraries along the Norwegian coastline. The project will renovate all of the ship’s cabins and suites, add eight new, larger suites, move and enlarge the wellness area, refurbish the outdoor pool area, and add four new restaurants and a new launching area for explorer boats and other expedition equipment. The ship’s art collection will be preserved during the renovations, Hurtigruten said. 

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