(11 a.m. EST) — Disney Cruise Line’s upscale specialty restaurant Palo has added new menu items, as well as a new six-course tasting and wine pairing dinner. The restaurant’s menu continues to feature cuisine from Italy, with dishes such as a whole roasted chicken marinated for 24 hours in lemon, sea salt and rosemary; Dover sole served tableside, with capers, anchovies, tomatoes and thyme potatoes; sea scallops in a Prosecco and black truffle reduction; and a limoncello tart for dessert. The wine tasting dinner, dubbed "Esperienza del Vino," includes coppa on fava beans; gnocchi with mushroom cep sauce; poached white asparagus with smoked anchovies, quail egg and truffle oil; sea bass with spinach and buckwheat; and aged beef striploin, seared and roasted with rosemary. The accompanying wines are all Italian.
Cost for Palo is $30 per person, with alcohol not included. Esperienza del Vino is $89 per person, including the wines. Palo is on all four of Disney Cruise Line’s ships: Disney Dream, Disney Magic, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder.
Carnival Cruise Line has partnered with the Tom Joyner Foundation, which raises funds for historically black colleges and universities. This year, Carnival Breeze will host the foundation’s Fantastic Voyage, which is in its fourth year and typically sells out. More than 60 performers — featuring Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, New Edition and Johnny Gill — will be onboard to entertain passengers, while other activities include fitness classes, inspiration and empowerment seminars, and parties with themes like "All Black Everything," "Denim & Diamonds," and "Pajama Night." The eight-night sailing, departing April 23, will call on St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Grand Turk.
American Cruise Lines has expanded the schedule for Queen of the Westits ship on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, thanks to increased demand. The line is introducing a five-night "Highlights of the Columbia River" itinerary, which sails round trip from Portland, Oregon, as well as four additional dates to its eight-night Columbia and Snake Rivers itinerary. The line is also reducing the ship’s capacity to 100 passengers, thus increasing the staff-to-customer ratio.
Crystal Serenity will offer another Northwest Passage voyage in 2017 in conjunction with Expedition Voyage Consulting by EYOS Expeditions; its scheduled 2016 sailing, which sold out quickly, will make it the largest luxury cruise ship to ever sail that route. Bookings open on March 7, 2016 for the 32-night expedition, which departs August 15, 2017 and sails from Seward, Alaska, to New York City through the Arctic. Ports of call include Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and Nome, Alaska; Ulukhaktok, NW Territories; Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet, Nunavut; Ilulissat, Sisimiut and Nuuk, Greenland; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island. Early-booking fares start at $21,855 per person.
Late this summer, Lindblad Expeditions will host a handful of sailings with "Make Art, Make a Difference," an onboard artist-in-residence program that supports the local art community of the Galapagos. Amy Bartlett Wright, a Harvard-based scientific illustrator, joins passengers on five September sailings aboard National Geographic Endeavour. Fellow artist-in-residence, Jonathan Alderfer, was the birding expert at National Geographic for 10 years, writing and illustrating more than 20 books for the National Geographic Society. Alderfer joins passengers booked on National Geographic Islander for four sail dates spanning late August to early September. Activities include drawing sessions onboard and ashore, as well as the participation in the Lindblad’s trash-to-treasure fund; a new glass workshop on Santa Cruz allows passengers to watch local artisans make jewelry from recycled paper. Special offers are available on Lindblad’s "Make Art, Make a Difference" sailings including free round-trip airfare from Miami or 15 percent off solo traveler rates.