Latest in Cruise News: Updates on New Ships, Carnival Advisory, and Itineraries

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Ready to dive into this week’s big cruise news? Cruise Hive has it all covered, with stories about Cunard, Virgin Voyages, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean.

Let’s get going with this week’s exciting news round-up from Cruise Hive, where you’ll find all of the major developments in the world of cruising.

Our coverage includes the arrival of Cunard’s new ship in Southampton; Virgin Voyages detailing Brilliant Lady’s future itineraries; a Carnival Cruise Line ship warning guests against a certain wildlife encounter in Mexico; Princess Cruises altering two world cruises to avoid the Middle East; the evacuation of a crew member aboard Carnival Sunshine; and the arrest of a cruise guest on illegal ammunition charges in Grand Turk.

Cunard’s Queen Anne, the company’s first new shipping vessel in 14 years, made her grand introduction at the Port of Southampton on April 30, 2024, just a few days before starting her maiden voyage on May 3, 2024.

Her arrival was hailed with a water salute from a fireboat and a crowd of spectators on the shore, cheering and greeting the 113,000-gross ton ship. Before setting sail, a series of preview activities took place for Cunard’s executives, prominent industry individuals, travel associates, media representatives, and others. These activities included tours of the ship, discussions in panels, and receptions.

The Queen Anne, capable of accommodating 3,000 guests, was constructed at the Monfalcone Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. Her maiden trip of 7 nights will take her to Lisbon, with a stop in La Coruna, Spain.

“We are thrilled to receive Queen Anne into our fleet as she joins a remarkable group together with Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria, leading to the first instance since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships in service simultaneously,” conveyed Katie McAlister, the president of Cunard.

The ship is set to embark on a unique 14-night festival cruise around the British Isles on May 24, 2024. The cruise will commence and conclude in Southampton, making stops in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and Ireland. The celebratory christening will take place in Liverpool on June 3, 2024.

The Queen Anne has plotted an array of journeys for the summer and fall of 2024. With over 60 port calls spanning the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, and the Canary Islands before setting sail on her inaugural around the globe journey on January 9, 2025.

A new addition to Virgin Voyages, the Brilliant Lady, has had her details disclosed. Currently being crafted in Italy, she is expected to have her maiden voyage in September 2025. Her final destination is North America, with itineraries ranging from 5 to 14 nights sailing from four different points of departure.

The Brilliant Lady, capable of housing 2,762 guests and sibling ship to the Scarlet Lady, Valiant Lady, and Resilient Lady, will first meet the world in New York City on September 5, 2025. She will perform five voyages to Eastern Canada/New England and Bermuda, with a stopover in Charleston, South Carolina.

The ship will spend the winter based in Miami, sailing 7- to 12-night Caribbean cruises. In March 2026, Brilliant Lady will deploy to Los Angeles via a 16-night Panama Canal cruise, and spend April and May sailing Southern California and Mexican Riviera cruises. The ship will then reposition to Seattle for a series of Alaska sailings through September. 

As Sir Richard Branson, Virgin’s founder, said: “This ship is going to be brilliant in every possible way, and that includes the incredible new places we can travel to. Alaska, L.A., New York – here we come!”

Brilliant Lady’s itineraries in the Great Land have yet to be confirmed, but placeholder bookings will be accepted starting on May 8, 2024. Along with her deployments, the cruise line also revealed that the ship will offer a new accommodations category called Sea Terraces.

The captain of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Radiance, Eduardo Ferrone, has been issuing letters to onboard guests advising them to avoid a certain wildlife encounter offered at one of the ship’s port calls.

The ship, which accommodates 2,700 guests, is stationed in Long Beach, California, running cruise voyages on the Mexican Riviera, which includes a stop in Ensenada, Mexico. In Ensenada, local vendors, independent of the cruise line, offer shore tours where guests can engage with tiger cubs. The cruise operator does not provide any shore trips that involve the interaction with tiger cubs.

“Carnival, for public health, environmental and safety reasons, suggests guests refrain from such attractions, especially those involving tiger cubs,” highlighted an advisory announcement from the ship’s captain to the guests onboard.

In the Caribbean and Mexico, wildlife interaction experiences are key attractions for shore excursions. These typically allow guests to engage with animals such as dolphins, pigs, and horses. The precise reasons why guests are advised against tiger cub interactions were not specified in the captain’s announcement. However, it may be due to the fact that tigers are not indigenous to Mexico. There is a high probability that these animals may have been unethically sourced for the tourism activities.

Besides, tiger cubs can bulk up to 150 pounds, a weight considered strong and heavy enough to possibly harm someone. The advisory note from the captain did not carry a timestamp, and it is presumed to be circulated to guests on almost all sailings docking at the Mexican port.

Due to ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea/Suez Canal region, Princess Cruises has decided to alter the itineraries of two World Cruises in 2025. The revised itineraries will have a greater focus on Europe and Africa as the Island Princess and Crown Princess divert from the Middle East.

The 3,080-guest Crown Princess is expected to embark on her 113-day World Cruise from Auckland, New Zealand, on May 31, 2025. During the cruise, she will visit 22 countries across five continents. While her revised itinerary has not yet been disclosed, Princess Cruises has released extensive route changes for the Island Princess.

The Island Princess, which can host 2,214 guests, will conduct two roundtrip World Cruise options -one starting from Fort Lauderdale on January 5, 2025, and the other from Los Angeles on January 20, 2025. She will be touching shores of 24 countries on six different continents.

To avoid the Middle East, Island Princess will no longer be visiting Dubai, UAE, substituting it with a stopover at Cape Town, South Africa. The ship will stay overnight to accommodate travelers who had initially planned to embark or disembark the ship in Dubai. In recompense for those guests who now have to disembark the ship earlier than planned, the cruise line is refunding an amount equivalent to four days of the cruise fare.

From Cape Town, the ship will make calls in Namibia, the Cape Verde Islands, Madeira, Portugal, and Gibraltar, before visiting several Mediterranean ports before concluding in Valletta, Malta.

A crew member working aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Sunshine experienced a medical emergency and was airlifted off the ship by the US Coast Guard on April 27, 2024.

The 3,758-guest ship, based in Charleston, South Carolina, was sailing a 5-night cruise to the Bahamas when the incident occurred on the first sea day of the voyage. A US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 helicopter crew arrived at the ship roughly 160 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, and evacuated the crew member and a nurse from the ship.

Neither the crew member’s name nor his or her medical condition were revealed by cruise line officials. The employee was taken to Home Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, for medical treatment.

The itinerary of the ship was not affected by the situation, and the Carnival Sunshine went ahead with its schedule, making a stop at Half Moon Cay, Carnival’s private Bahamian island, followed by Nassau before making its way back to Charleston.

It was the third case of a medical evacuation from a cruise ship in the last month. A pregnant woman was evacuated by the US Coast Guard from Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy on 15th April 2024, which was sailing close to Puerto Rico. This was followed by another guest being airlifted from Holland America Line’s Koningsdam on 25th April 2024, as the ship was cruising off the coast of Oregon en route to Victoria, British Columbia.

A tourist aboard a cruise ship was arrested and charged with possession of ammunition during a port visit to Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos, on 24th April 2024. Tyler Wenrich, a 31-year-old resident of Virginia, was taken into custody after local officials at a security checkpoint discovered bullets in his luggage.

According to Turks & Caicos law, this offence could potentially lead to a 12-year imprisonment. It was reported by the police that Wenrich was presented before a Grand Turk magistrate on the day of his arrest and was placed in the custody of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation until a hearing scheduled for 7th June 2024.

Later media reports suggest that the guest has received bail. However, his current location—whether or not he is still in the island nation—is not certain. While unconfirmed, it’s plausible that Wenrich was on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, as this was the only ship docking at the port at the time of arrest. The ship operates out of Miami.

Wenrich got to the ship via plane. In a turn of events, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has confessed that the ammunition managed to go undetected at the airport. Moreover, Royal Caribbean’s security also seems to have bypassed the bullets when Wenrich stepped onto the ship. They have yet to make a public statement on the matter. For context, Wenrich is a working paramedic and a father to one, as well as a husband.

These accounts are merely a few of the significant cruise stories that Cruise Hive reported on this week. For more in-depth coverage, visit our articles on the new planetarium show that’s set to premiere on Princess Cruises’ Alaskan fleets; the ‘lucky coins’ ceremony held by TUI Cruises’ recent build – the Mein Schiff 7; or Norwegian Cruise Line’s plans for a ‘nude cruise’ in 2025. We also have a sneak peek into Disney Cruise Line’s new private destination and Holland America Line’s Glacier Guarantee for all its guests cruising through Alaska.

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