Crystal River Cruises Resumes Operations
Mon, 08/30/2021 – 12:37
Crystal River Cruises Resumes Operations
Crystal River Cruises Resumes Operations
Mon, 08/30/2021 – 12:37
Viking Announces Parallel 2023-24 World Cruises
Fri, 08/27/2021 – 11:44
Seabourn Sojourn’s 2022 World Cruise Cancelled
Thu, 08/26/2021 – 12:16
The first cruise ship has restarted operations out of Boston, Massachusetts as the cruise industry comeback continues beyond just Florida. Crystal Symphony which is operated by Crystal Cruises set sail from Boston on August 23, slightly delayed by tropical storm Henri.
The fact that the luxury cruise ship set sail on a roundtrip cruise to Bermuda one day late did not matter much to the officers, staff, crew, and guests onboard the cruise line’s second vessel to resume operations, who were all thrilled to be sailing again after an 18-month pause in operations.
Crystal Symphony set sail with all guests and crew members fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It means the cruise ship did not have to go through the rigorous testing and simulations ships sailing with vaccinated and unvaccinated guests have to go through.
On the first of four cruises to Bermuda, which departed Boston one day late due to the arrival of tropical storm Henri, guests will have the opportunity to explore every inch of Bermuda’s countryside and seaside as the cruise line offers snorkeling and diving, sport fishing, sailing, kayaking, and more.
Jack Anderson, president of Crystal:
“We are delighted Crystal Symphony has returned to service as the first cruise ship to restart cruising from Boston, now bound for the pink sands of Bermuda. This day is the culmination of months of anticipation and behind-the-scenes planning to ensure safe and meaningful travel experiences for our guests as we welcome them back home to Crystal. We are confident they are going to love the history, culture and abundant outdoor pursuits Bermuda offers, knowing that both Crystal’s and Bermuda’s stringent health protocols are in place to provide a safe and enjoyable experience.”
Other opportunities for the guests in Bermuda include the cobbled streets of the century’s old town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. George, biking the scenic Bermuda Railway Trail for cross-island sightseeing, or enjoying the pink-sand beaches of Bermuda’s South Shore.
The seven-day cruises will feature two full days and two nights in Bermuda, while guests can relax and enjoy the vessel during some days at sea on either end.
After completing her four sailings from Boston’s Flynn Cruiseport, Crystal Symphony will sail on eight more Luxury Bermuda Escapes. These will sail roundtrip from New York’s Manhattan Cruise Terminal starting September 24, 2021.
It has been a busy week for Crystal Cruises. While Crystal Symphony set sail from Boston, her sister Crystal Serenity has been successfully operating in the Bahamas for a while now. In fact, these cruises have been so successful that the cruise line announced Crystal Symphony will be joining her once she completes her New York-Bermuda cruises. Something that the Bahamian government welcomed:
Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation:
“Crystal Cruises has proved to be a fruitful partnership not only for The Bahamas’ cruising industry, but also for the local tourism industry as it allows passengers to get off the ship and explore the business, tour operators and activities across our Family Islands.”
The cruise line added several Bahamian cruises to Symphony’s itinerary. Under the name Bound for Paradise, the first will sail November 26, 2021, from New York City to Nassau, calling on San Salvador, Great Exuma, and Bimini.
The second Bahamas voyage will be a New Year’s celebration voyage sailing from Miami, Florida, to Bimini, San Salvador, Long Island, and Great Exuma, with a final stop in Jamaica.
A third Bahamian cruise is scheduled for January 22, 2022, sailing to Bimini, Nassau, San Salvador, Great Exuma, and Long Island. Two more cruises to the Bahamas will sail on February 12 and March 5, 2022.
The Bahamas have been incredibly popular for the luxury cruise line. As one of the first operators to announce a restart from the islands, the company hit a record sales day when bookings opened up on March 18. For now, Crystal Symphony still has three more cruises in Boston; she will return to Beantown on August 29, ready for her next cruise.
If you’re looking for hotel to stay in before or after your cruise vacation at the cruise capital of the world, we’ve rounded up a selection of some of the most ideal ones for you. Whether you’re arriving by car or by air at Miami International Airport, you’ll probably want to spend a night at one of the hotels near Miami cruise port.
During the suspension of cruises in 2020, many hotels stopped offering shuttle services. However, this is now changing as the cruise industry returns to normal. We have indicated below which Miami hotels currently offer a shuttle service (late 2021) and will update the info as things progress.
We’ve included helpful details on all the hotels within easy reach of Miami cruise terminals. We’ve included the address, distance from the port, current shuttle service, and a guide to price for comparison purposes.
Some hotel shuttles are complimentary for guests booking a Stay and Cruise package. Other hotels may charge a nominal fee for the service. We’ve also found several hotels that are steps from the Coral Way Trolley, a free shuttle service that includes a stop right at Miami cruise port.
So now you’ve got the latest information at your fingertips, go ahead and find the perfect hotel for your pre- or post-cruise stay in Miami.
Delayed flights and bad weather can be a worry if you’re heading to Miami for a cruise. Staying in a hotel near Miami cruise port before departing on a Caribbean cruise is a smart decision. Once you have safely arrived, you know that nothing can go wrong to stop you from boarding the ship and setting sail.
If you’re driving to Miami, we recommend choosing a hotel with a Park-and-Cruise package. Prices usually include a room, parking, and shuttle transfer to the PortMiami.
At the end of your cruise, why not add a couple of nights’ stay at one of the Miami hotels near the cruise terminal and beaches? It’s a great way to extend your cruise vacation for a little more.
It’s sensible to choose a hotel near the cruise terminal to keep your transfer short and easy. Hotels in downtown Miami are just two miles from the cruise terminal. A little further away, you’ll find cheaper hotels in Coral Gables, Miami Shores, or around the Airport in Doral. These are all safe neighborhoods just a 20-minute taxi ride from Cruise Port.
Check out our comprehensive list of affordable Miami hotels closest to the cruise port. Prices may vary depending on the date and season and are shown for comparison purposes only. As a guideline, we’ve categorized the hotels with a $ for the cheapest, $$ for mid-range and $$$ for luxury hotels near Miami cruise port.
With an outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, and stylish restaurant, the Marriott Springhill Suites Downtown is very convenient for Miami Cruise Port, Marlins Stadium and the American Airlines Arena. This contemporary hotel has luxury rooms with ultra-comfort beds, Wi-Fi, mini-fridge and microwave. It’s worth getting up early to enjoy the free hot breakfast buffet before being transported to the ship on the hotel shuttle (fee).
Another good hotel for getting to the cruise terminal on embarkation day, Homewood Suites by Hilton Downtown provides a one-way shuttle service to the port for a fee. The high-rise building has good shops and restaurants nearby and guests can look forward to smart contemporary rooms.
Convenient for the cruise port, Hyatt Regency Miami is an upscale high-rise hotel with Port Miami views across the bay. It’s just 2 miles from the cruise port in downtown (closer as the crow flies). Taxi transportation can easily be arranged at reception. Well located, close to the Arts District and Little Havana, it has stunning guest rooms with great restaurants on the doorstep.
If you want a memorable start to your cruise, the cosmopolitan and trendy YVE Hotel is one of the best hotels near Miami cruise port for a relaxing urban stay. Located in the heart of downtown Miami, just two miles from the cruise port, this contemporary hotel includes a sun deck, outdoor pool, restaurant, bar and its own nightclub.
The rooms in this boutique hotel include modern eclectic décor and free internet for guests. When it’s time to head for your cruise, Hotel YVE lays on shuttle transport for a fee that must be pre-booked.
Located on NE 1st Street in downtown Miami, the Leamington Hotel Miami is one of the closest hotels near Miami cruise port. Rooms are small but include Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and continental breakfast.
There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops within walking distance and the scenic Bayfront Park is nearby. This budget Miami hotel offers a shuttle to the cruise port for guests, making it cheap and convenient.
Less than 10 minutes from Miami cruise port, the Hilton Downtown Miami is one of the city’s premier hotels. Located on Biscayne Blvd, this high-rise luxury hotel has over 520 deluxe rooms and suites, many with scenic views across Biscayne Bay to the iconic Miami Beach skyline beyond.
Museums, the Center for Performing Art and Bayfront Park are all within walking distance and guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant, pool, health club and bar. Most importantly, this luxury Miami hotel offers a shuttle service for those booking a “Park and Cruise” package.
Enjoying views of Downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay, the Holiday Inn Port of Miami/Downtown is one of the closest hotels to the cruise port. Offering convenient shuttle service to the port for guests for a small fee, the hotel is close to Bayside Park and Bayside Marketplace for shopping, dining and nightlife.
Located on Biscayne Blvd, this upscale hotel also has a beautiful pool and restaurant, making it a wonderful place to relax and stay before or after your luxury cruise.
Located near the airport and 20 minutes from the Miami cruise terminals, Doral Inn & Suites is a cozy two-star hotel with great reviews. It has a pool, fitness center and modern air-conditioned rooms. Enjoy free hot breakfast before taking your seat on the cruise shuttle bus which transfers guests and their luggage to the cruise port for an additional fee.
Located just north of Miami Airport in Miami Springs, the Runway Inn is a budget choice with basic amenities for cruise passengers. This low-cost budget hotel has air-conditioned rooms and free internet.
The room price includes breakfast and a complimentary shuttle service to the airport, but not the cruise port.
Close to Miami airport for those arriving by air, the Quality Inn Miami Airport is a no-frills budget hotel with parking near Miami cruise port.
Pre-book the “Stay and Cruise” package which includes a complimentary airport pickup and a shuttle bus to the cruise port for up to two guests. Additional guests will incur a charge of $10 per trip.
The award-winning Comfort Suites Miami Airport North is 5 minutes from the airport and offers a free shuttle service to both the airport and the cruise port. It represents excellent value for money.
This Miami cruise hotel is ideal for those flying into Miami ready to depart on a cruise from the Port of Miami. Notify the desk on arrival to book your seat on the shuttle. The transfer to the cruise port is free but those arriving by cruise and wanting to stay the night at the Comfort Suites will be charged a $10 pick-up fee per adult.
This is a stunning five-star hotel with parking not far from Port of Miami. It offers great views of Downtown Miami from the rooftop infinity-edge pool. Spacious suites and a full range of amenities include rooftop yoga and sunset cocktails. Novotel Miami Brickell doesn’t offer a private shuttle service but you can hop on the Coral Way Trolley for a free ride to the cruise port or use a taxi for the short trip.
Another downtown hotel near Miami cruise port that is conveniently close to the free Coral Way Trolley is the Eurostars Langford. Set in a mid-century modern building, this hotel has 126 rooms with air-con, Wi-Fi, valet parking and breakfast buffet.
Aloft Miami is a modern trendsetting hotel in Miami’s financial district, just south of downtown restaurants and nightlife. It’s within easy reach of Miami cruise port using the free Trolley that stops just one block from the hotel.
Part of the W brand, this hotel near Miami cruise port is the perfect choice for those who enjoy hanging out at the in-house XYZ Bar and Re:mix lounge. Loft-inspired rooms include signature mattresses, 42” TV, and gorgeous bathrooms.
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables is an upscale four star hotel just a credit card throw from the excellent shopping and dining on Miracle Mile. This historic building includes a grand staircase, breathtaking marble rotunda with fountain and stained glass rosary window. When it’s time to depart on your cruise, the Coral Way trolley stop is right outside the door.
Part of the Marriott group, the Residence Inn Miami Airport has an excellent reputation for its service and standards. Close to the airport, the hotel is 20 minutes from Miami cruise port.
This mid-range hotel offers a “Miami Cruise Experience” package for two which includes the room, breakfast, airport shuttle and free cruise shuttle service included in the price. Rooms are modern and have excellent amenities including kitchenette and Wi-Fi. Upgrade to a studio or suite with king bed and start to enjoy your luxury cruise vacation the moment you arrive in Miami.
The Courtyard Miami Airport West Hotel offers three-star accommodation within easy reach of Miami Airport. Convenient for those arriving by air, the hotel also offers free parking for guests during their stay.
Cruisers should enquire about the best rates for the “Extend your Miami Cruise Experience” which includes comfortable accommodation, breakfast and free courtesy shuttle to Miami cruise port.
Miami Airport Marriot is a popular choice which offers a special Park & Cruise package with discount. The hotel includes a complimentary shuttle service to the cruise port as part of the package.
This stylish Hyatt Place Miami Airport- West Doral is popular as a business hotel as well as being handy for cruisers using Miami Airport. Modern well-appointed rooms are complemented by a pool, gym and fitness center, bar lounge and business center.
The shuttle to Miami cruise port is operated by an independent operator in conjunction with the hotel and there is a modest fee. It offers a pick-up from the hotel to Miami cruise port at set times on cruise days.
Book yourself a hotel with complimentary cruise shuttle included in the price with the “Cruise and Stay” package at the Hilton Garden Inn. If you want to include parking for the duration of the cruise, check the savings with a “Park, Stay and Go” package. It includes free parking (up to 15 days), a luxury room and buffet breakfast. Close to the airport, this hotel offers great savings compared to separate cruise parking and a taxi to the port.
Sleep Inn Miami Airport is near Miami International Airport and offers a shuttle pick-up from the airport but currently this Miami hotel does not operate a cruise port shuttle. This family-friendly hotel has relaxing rooms with TV, free Wi-Fi and air-con. It’s a great option for cruisers arriving by air but you will need to budget for a taxi ride from the hotel to Miami cruise port.
Located 2 miles from Miami Airport, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East is an very convenient Miami hotel with shuttle just 8 miles from the cruise port. It has excellent reviews from past guests.
This modern boutique hotel offers standard air-conditioned rooms with Wi-Fi, heated outdoor pool and spa. A buffet breakfast is included in the price. Guests should arrange with reception in advance for a seat on the shuttle to the cruise port and a small fee is charged per person.
One of the newest hotels servings Miami cruise port is the Comfort Inn and Suites Miami International Airport. Just 5 minutes from the airport, it’s a great choice for cruisers as it offers a free airport shuttle and a complimentary shuttle to the cruise port (note that there’s a fee for the return ride though).
Modern well-appointed rooms include free Wi-Fi, tasty breakfast and guests have use of the pool and business center.
Check out the “Stay and Cruise” package when you book a night at the Hampton Inn Miami Airport South/Blue Lagoon.This stylish hotel is a 20-minute drive from Miami cruise port. It is also handy for Miami International Airport for those flying to and from their Miami cruise.
This Miami cruise hotel offers many amenities including a business center, gym, complimentary Wi-Fi and free hot breakfast to see you through the morning. It offers a free shuttle service to and from the airport for two guests with a $10 fee for additional riders. The best deal is the all-inclusive “Stay and Cruise” package making this a top choice hotel near Miami cruise port with shuttle service.
With stunning waterfront views, DoubleTree by Hilton Biscayne Bay is a high-end luxury hotel right on the bay. The excellent amenities include a salon and spa, fitness center, ballroom, outdoor pool, business center and four restaurants including the Zagat awarded Waterclub.
The cruise port of Miami is just 2 miles from the hotel and the “Cruise Escape” package includes breakfast and transportation to the cruise port. It’s the perfect way to start and end any cruise vacation in style.
The InterContinental Miami is a luxurious experience in the heart of downtown Miami. Located near the upscale Mary Brickell Village, it will arrange a taxi for guests transferring to the cruise port.
This four-star hotel has a poolside Bluewater bar, buffet breakfast and beautifully appointed rooms with upscale amenities.
Hyatt Regency Coral Gables is an upscale four star hotel in an older part of Miami, an easy taxi ride from Miami cruise port. This newly refurbished luxury hotel has a Mediterranean style throughout its 254 elegant rooms and suites.
Start your cruise vacation early with a dip in the outdoor pool and a romantic meal in the upscale bar restaurant. Miracle Mile shopping, dining and theaters are within strolling distance.
There’s nowhere quite like the five star Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. This National Historic Landmark is set in 150 acres of tropical gardens with an 18-hole golf course, tennis, spa and fitness center. The pool is the largest in East Coast USA!
The Mediterranean architecture accommodates 271 rooms and suites which frequently accommodate visiting dignitaries and celebrities. Private transport to the Miami cruise port can be booked with the concierge by taxi, town car or limo so you can arrive in style.
Hampton Inn By Hilton in exclusive Coconut Grove is a comfortable Miami hotel with free cruise shuttle service about 7 miles from the port. There’s plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife nearby at Cocowalk and Bayside Marketplace. American Airlines Arena is just minutes away.
Spacious rooms include free Wi-Fi and a hot breakfast. Book a “Stay and Cruise” package and get free parking and shuttle to the cruise port included in the price.
Located just north of Miami cruise port, Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Wynwood is a modern hotel with bay views in the up-and-coming Arts District, close to I-195. Relax and enjoy the outdoor pool, artworks display by local artists, fitness room and multilingual staff.
The best deal for cruisers from Miami is the “Stay and Cruise” package which includes a spacious suite with refrigerator and coffee maker, hot breakfast, Wi-Fi and shuttle transport from the hotel to Miami cruise port on the morning of your cruise.
Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon is a great choice for cruisers flying into Miami Airport. Located at the waterfront Blue Lagoon complex, it offers free airport transfers to the hotel. It includes a pool and one-way shuttle transport to the cruise port for those booking a Stay and Cruise package.
Worth Reading: Miami Cruise Parking: Port & Nearby Lots
There are several hotels currently offering a shuttle to the Miami cruise port. Some offer a complimentary shuttle service for guests while others charge a nominal fee. Check out Marriott Springhill Suites Downtown or Hampton Inn By Hilton.
Located on NE 1st Street in downtown Miami, the Leamington Hotel Miami is hard to beat for value. It is less than 2 miles from Miami cruise port. Rooms start from $62 per night and include Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and continental breakfast. It also offers a free cruise shuttle for guests.
For a combination of convenience to the port (3.6 miles) and quality accommodation, Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Wynwood is ideal. The best deal is the “Stay and Cruise” package which includes a spacious suite with a refrigerator and coffee maker, hot breakfast, Wi-Fi, and shuttle transport to Miami cruise port on the morning of your cruise.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador John Heald announced the updated vaccine requirement for Carnival cruises that will go into effect on August 28, 2021. All guests 12 years and older will now be required to be vaccinated on all Carnival cruise ships. The statement that Heald posted regarding this change can be read below:
“Effective with embarkations, on or after August 28, from all U.S. Atlantic and Gulf home ports, vaccine exemptions will be limited to children under 12, and those with a medical condition that does not allow you to be vaccinated. The guest’s birth certificate or passport (for children) and a letter from a medical provider stating the individual cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons must be presented at check-in, along with the exemption approval letter from Carnival.
Our requirements for sailings from Seattle and Long Beach remain unchanged.
The requirements for cruise ships to enter ports outside the U.S. continue to evolve, and Carnival Cruise Line must operate in full compliance with these regulations. The Bahamas and other Caribbean countries have recently instituted new requirements calling on cruise lines to confirm that all guests 12 and older are fully vaccinated, with exemptions only for those with a medical condition that prohibits vaccination.
Consequently, it is necessary for us to make these adjustments. We believe these will be will temporary measures and apologize for any disruption caused to our guests.”
Find out what’s it like to take a back-to-back Celebrity Silhouette cruise in the UK. This review took place over two sailings with the first departing on July 31 from the Port of Southampton on a seven-day voyage that included coastal cruising in the UK and port stops at Inverness and Liverpool. The second voyage departed the same homeport on August 6 and was a nine-day itinerary that had coastal cruising along with calls at Liverpool, Greenock, Kirkwall, and Inverness.
Following my recent review of our cruise on the beautiful Viking Venus, I thought it might be interesting, particularly in these Covid times, to compare this cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette.
Whilst we were Viking virgins, we are at the higher end of Elite Plus in Celebrity´s Loyalty Programme – the Captain´s Club, although this was our first time on the Celebrity Silhouette. I should say, whilst we know there are cruise ships considerably larger than the Silhouette, we consider this to be a large ship, bearing in mind our favourite Celebrity ship was the century – I mention this just to give some context.
As Celebrity never got back to us as promised regarding embarkation time, we decided to turn up early for embarkation as we always have, and we were fortunate enough to be processed and on the ship within twenty minutes, obviously, we had all the correct documentation proof of Covid test etc… we were very impressed.
Well, we didn´t receive, and we were not made aware while going on board, that the usual glass of sparkling wine was waiting for us at the bar, apparently because of Covid they were not handing them out in the usual way.
Our stateroom at the back on Deck 8 was spacious and very clean. There was a large tv, although most of the channels were news-related. We had no maintenance problems, we could have done with a little more storage, being on a back to back, but that´s our fault, we always pack far too much.
Our stateroom attendant was friendly, efficient, and provided a brilliant service. We were really grateful and impressed that he always seemed to know the best time to clean our room.
The Silhouette was spotlessly clean with no signs of a need for maintenance. It was our first time on a Celebrity cruise ship that had been refurbished, and if you enjoy a hive of activity with plenty going on, this is the ship for you.
Personally, we would have appreciated some quieter places on the ship, but with so much going on in the Grand Foyer (Atrium) the noise seemed to reach everywhere. We realize it probably wouldn´t bother most people, but we could have done without so much ambient noise.
Call us cheapskates, but as a matter of principle, we won´t use the specialty restaurants, however, how you spend your money is your business. We thought the service in the Grand Cuveé (main restaurant) was hit and miss.
To be honest, most of the staff were relatively fast, friendly and efficient, although we did have a few issues in the second half of our back to back.
Unfortunately, we were decidedly unimpressed with both the service and the layout in here, although we are big fans of food islands. Given the fact that the ship was only at a third of its capacity because of Covid restrictions, the Ocean View Café at lunchtime, which was when we used it most, always seemed to be very crowded, although it was far less so in the evenings. I can imagine how busy the café would be if the ship had a full passenger quota.
We visited this café every evening and again the service was speedy, friendly and efficient.
The gym was the largest we have ever seen. It was spacious with plenty of the latest equipment, we never had to wait to use anything. There was also plenty of room to stretch and work on mats.
We thought there was some great entertainment on this cruise right across the spectrum; main shows, lounge entertainers, and production cast. If you decide to take a cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette be sure to check out Danny Smart and check him out on DannySmartMusic. The Barricade Boys put on a great show too.
As always, they are a bit over-priced, but we enjoyed most of the ones we did, particularly the ones to loch Lomond and Loch Ness, and a word of advice if you want the Loch Ness excursion book it as soon as possible.
We were on a back to back and we were lucky to get tickets for this. We should also say that the Shore Excursion staff were friendly and very helpful and the boss Fran was brilliant.
Now, this is without a doubt the biggest cause of frustration for us, particularly on Celebrity ships. We had hoped that it would have improved on the refurbished ships but it doesn’t appear to be any better.
It´s not as though it isn’t expensive, I really don’t know how Celebrity Cruises has the nerve to describe it as high-speed internet, because the majority of the time it certainly isn’t.
I accept there will be people on board who only really need to touch base with loved ones etc whilst they are on their holiday, but some of us still have to work whilst we cruise.
It´s interesting that only last month we were on the Viking Venus where they don´t charge extra for their internet, yet the service was superb. In this day and age, I really don’t understand why Celebrity can´t provide more reliable internet service.
To be honest, when we embarked upon the Celebrity Silhouette, we were expecting it to be our last Celebrity cruise, because like many others at the high end of Elite Plus, we feel our loyalty has been taken for granted, but that´s another story.
As I said at the start, we prefer smaller ships, however, we enjoyed our two weeks on the Silhouette and thanks to Ingrid, a very new Captain´s Club host, who despite her inexperience, is one of the best we have ever had, thanks to Ingrid, we have booked to come back to the Silhouette next month.
Whilst we remain unconvinced of the value the Celebrity Cruises Head Office places on our loyalty, Ingrid demonstrates how much the ship-based management does.
Celebrity Cruises do not compare well with Viking Cruises when it comes to their Covid prevention measures in so much as Viking tested us every day and took our temperatures daily, as well as insisting that every passenger entering dining areas had to wash their hands – even this simple intervention wasn´t enforced on the Silhouette.
There wasn´t so much evidence of social distancing either, and it´s important I mention this, but as an observation, not a complaint. I believe opinions are split over Covid prevention measures, personally, I´m not a Covid zealot, but I realize and respect some people still remain nervous.
Clearly, we enjoyed our experience on the Celebrity Silhouette as we are going again next month. You couldn’t be bored on this ship as there is always something going on. The entertainment was of a pretty high standard, and it´s worth repeating, if you are going on this ship be sure to listen to Danny Smart, one of the most talented singer/songwriter/guitarists we have ever seen.
Generally, we would say that the food was pretty much standard and what you would expect on a mid-range cruise ship.
We were disappointed with the technology on board and the lack of officer engagement, but to finish on a positive note the shore excursion staff, particularly Fran and Geovanna, the bar staff Raluca, Brandon, Markus, and others, and the customer service staff were wonderful, and there were some great characters amongst the staff.
We would also like to acknowledge our stateroom attendant Suryadi one of the best we have ever had. I still don’t know how he always knew the best time to clean our room but he did !
Yesterday, I embarked on a seven night cruise to Alaska out of Seattle on Majestic Princess. This cruise is special for me as it is my 50th cruise and my first full sailing to Alaska. What is it like to cruise on Princess Cruises right now?
This is my fifth cruise this summer since cruises reopened to Americans. Princess Cruises is the fourth cruise line I’ve cruised on over the past two months and I’m on board Majestic Princess with a group of media experiencing what it’s like to cruise on Princess at this time. Here are my first impressions of the cruise.
Embarkation – It took around 30 minutes by the time we entered the cruise terminal to stepping on board the ship. Out of the five cruises I’ve been on this summer, this was by far the quickest. A big part of that is because we didn’t have to get tested before boarding the ship like other cruise lines have required. We did have to show a negative COVID-19 test result that was taken in the past three days.
Muster Drill – Princess Cruises, like other cruise lines, has radically changed the muster drill and made it as painless as possible. You watch a safety video on the TV in your stateroom and then make your way to your muster station on your own time. You check in at your muster station, they give you a very short briefing, and that’s it. It’s so awesome and a 1,000 times better than it used to be.
Ship – The Royal class ships from Princess Cruises have always been one of my favorite class of cruise ships. The ship is currently sailing at around 60% capacity with around 2,100 passengers on board.
— Cruise Fever (@CruiseFever) August 22, 2021
Since this ship was originally built for China, there are a couple unique changes from the other Royal class ships. The biggest is the Hollywood Pool Club and Hollywood Conservatory. This has instantly become my favorite part of the ship.
This area replaces the Retreat Pool and Sanctuary found on the other three Royal class ships. The Hollywood Pool Club is an enclosed area with a pool, loungers, and cabanas overlooking the water.
The Hollywood Conservatory is also enclosed and acts as an observatory lounge with some great seating options. It’s where I’m currently writing this article at. I will likely spend a good portion of my cruise here as it also offers the best view on ship overlooking the bow.
The Hollywood Conseratory instantly became one of our favorite spots on the ship. It replaces the Sanctuary on other Princess ships and acts as an indoor observatory lounge with great seating. #Sponsored #PrincessCruises pic.twitter.com/oFvBbVPj4v
— Cruise Fever (@CruiseFever) August 23, 2021
If you’re on board and see a guy working on a laptop here, come over and say hello. I would love to hear your thoughts on the cruise so far.
Crew – The crew on Majestic Princess are as awesome as always. Everywhere we go we are met with a friendly smile and hello and service has been great so far.
Cabin – I am in a mini-suite on Deck 12 and absolutely loving it so far. This is my first time in a mini-suite on Princess and I’m really enjoying it. Besides have a larger room and balcony, having a larger shower with full size tub is so much better than the standard balconies.
Masks – Like most cruise lines now, we are required to wear masks when inside the ship with an exception for when we are in our cabin, and actively eating and drinking. We do not have to wear them on outside decks.
WiFi – Princess Cruises advertises their MedallionNet as the “Best WiFi at Sea”. However, the internet speed has been anything but that. I did a speed test yesterday while we were still in port and got a download speed of 0.59 Mbps and upload of 1.10 Mbps. I did another test early this morning and the speeds slightly improved to 2.76 Mbps download.
One thing I’ve noticed on the other cruise lines that I have cruised on this summer that also advertise their “land like” WiFi speed is that it has been terrible on pretty much all of them. I don’t know if cruise lines have cut bandwidth to save money right now but speeds are so much slower than they were before the shutdown. I talked to one of my colleagues this morning and he noticed the same thing.
While the internet speed is fine for basic things on your phone, it just isn’t anywhere close to speeds you get on land like they all now advertise.
OceanMedallion – On the bright side, Princess Cruises’ groundbreaking OceanMedallion has worked flawlessly so far for me. It’s so nice not having to carry a room key with you and your stateroom door automatically unlocking when you walk up to it. Also, when you order a drink, you don’t have to scan anything. They automatically detect your OceanMedallion and know it’s you.
One cool feature that I want to try out is that you can order a drink anywhere on the ship and they will find you through your medallion. I was even told that you can go explore the ship and a staff members with your drink will find you so you don’t have to wait around. How cool is that?
I’ve been onboard the ship for roughly 24 hours now and we are enjoying our first sea day. We will visit four ports on the cruise including a day of sightseeing at Glacier Bay. I will have more on this cruise as the week goes on. You can follow along on Cruise Fever’s social media channels on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and on Facebook.
Note: I am a guest of Princess Cruises but opinions and thoughts in this article are 100% my own.
Oasis of the Seas sailing from New Jersey in September is perhaps one of the most anticipated departures of a cruise ship in recent months. Last week, the ship arrived in New Jersey as the first Oasis-class and the most giant cruise ship ever to homeport in New Jersey.
Although her arrival was in the early morning hours when many were commuting or still in bed, Oasis of the Seas could be seen in all her glory Sunday evening as she set sail on her first test cruise. In pictures released by Royal Caribbean, the vast cruise ship can be seen sailing past the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline, giving a perspective on the immense size of the Oasis of the Seas.
Oasis of the Seas set sail from New Jersey, sailing past the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty Sunday evening. As seen in the photos, there is a perfect contrast between the dark skies and the lit-up ship, making it look like she belonged here all along.
Oasis’ test cruise is expected to take six days, in which she will sail south to A Perfect Day at CocoCay and back again. The CDC will verify if the ship complies with all the protocols and procedures the agency has set out during this time.
The test cruises have been implemented for cruise operators who would like to sail with vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. Cruise lines that do not want to sail with unvaccinated guests must comply with at least 95% vaccinated guests onboard.
However, from the start of September, Royal Caribbean will require all guests worldwide to be fully vaccinated. This is due to a protocol implemented by the Bahamian government, which mandates all cruise ship passengers are fully vaccinated and affects most Royal Caribbean ships.
Once the test cruise is done and the CDC awards the Conditional Sailing certificate, Oasis of the Seas will be sailing on her first actual cruise back in action on September 5. Sailing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, the ship will be at sea for one day before calling in Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida.
Oasis will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau in the Bahamas in the following two days before cruising back to Cape Liberty. From November onwards, Oasis will be relocating to Miami to start cruising the Caribbean.
New Yorkers have been waiting for a long time to have Oasis of the Seas homeporting in their backyard finally. The ship was scheduled to start operations in New York in May of 2020, but these cruises had been canceled due to the pandemic, pushing the itinerary back almost 18 months.
Even this week the test cruise hit some stormy seas and was in threat of being postponed once again; however, tropical storm Henri stayed far enough away and made landfall, ensuring Oasis would not be affected at sea.
James van Fleet, the Chief Meteorologist at Royal Caribbean International:
“We will NOT be sailing in rough seas. Storm will be onshore and weakening, moving away as we head out and the Coastlines we will hug heading south are seas of 1-3 meters (3-9 feet) which for OA Class is not rough, or even close to it.”
Oasis of the Seas is a sight to be seen. The first-ever Oasis-class ship to be built, she shook the cruise world’s foundations when Royal Caribbean first revealed their plans for the ship under Project Genesis. The 226,838 gross tons ship set sail for the first time on December 5, 2009.
Although she is already 12 years old, after a massive refurbishment in 2019, the 5,606 guests onboard have virtually the same amenities as her youngest sister, the current record holder for the largest cruise ship in the world Symphony of the Seas, which set sail mid-August.
The time has come then for those on the East coast to start packing their bags, less than two weeks to go before Oasis of the Seas, the first of the mega cruise ships sets sail from the Big Apple.
The CDC has approved Mariner of the Seas for a Conditional Sailing Certificate after the vessel completed her test sailing from Florida just last week. The ship will be sailing on three and four-night cruises from her homeport of Port Canaveral starting today, Monday, August 23.
The start-up of the Voyager-class ship is significant; out of the 25 cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, 13 will be operational today. This makes it the first time since the start of the pandemic the cruise line has a majority of its fleet sailing the seven seas. The cruise company managed to achieve this significant milestone in just over two months.
Mariner of the Seas is sailing to the Bahamas, including Nassau and A Perfect Day at Cococay this week from Port Canaveral. The cruise ship will be operating these three and four-day (the four-day voyage adds a sea day) cruises until October, when she will switch to a Caribbean itinerary.
The Caribbean itinerary does include cruises to Labadee in Haiti, and although these voyages are still available online, Royal Caribbean did cancel calls to Haiti for Allure of the Seas in October, last week. At this time it remains unknown what the cruise line will do with the Mariner itinerary.
Mariner of the Seas completed her test cruise only last week, sailing from Port Canaveral on a voyage where the CDC could verify if the protocols that have been implemented on board are to the same high standard that has been implemented on the other Royal Caribbean cruise ships sailing from the U.S. This has now been confirmed, and the CDC issued the certification last Saturday, August 21.
The test cruises have been implemented for cruise operators who would like to sail with vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. Cruise lines that do not want to sail with unvaccinated guests must comply with at least 95% vaccinated guests onboard. That being said, from September 3 onwards, Royal Caribbean will require all guests worldwide to be fully vaccinated.
The Bahamas implemented new protocols last mid-August that interfere with the carefully laid plans from Royal Caribbean. The cruise line intended to sail with both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests to allow families with children to sail onboard.
However, the Bahamas now require all cruise ships to have 100% of the adult guests vaccinated and only allow exceptions for guests under the age of 12 and those with medical reasons for not taking the vaccine.
For cruises onboard Mariner of the Seas sailing from Port Canaveral, this means that from September 1, all guests age 12 and older are required to present proof of Covid-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing.
For younger guests, it means guests ages 2 to 11 must undergo two more Covid-19 tests at the terminal, and before disembarking the ship, under two years of age, no testing is required or needed.
The second-generation Voyager-class Mariner of the Seas marks a significant milestone for Royal Caribbean as she becomes the thirteenth Royal Caribbean cruise ship to set sail once again.
The cruise ship was built in 2003, measures 139,863 gross tons, and can carry 3114 guests. She underwent a major $120 million refurbishment in 2018 that added several features under the Royal Amplification program; she even won Cruise Hive’s Refurbishment of the Year award.
The cruise line now has more than half of its ships sailing from the US, the UK, The Bahamas, and Singapore and is well underway to have all of its ships operational by the end of the year.