As of June 14, Celebrity Cruises will adjust the automatic daily gratuity for all cruises beginning on or after July 1, 2016. The new amounts will increase from $12.95 to $13.50 per person, per day for standard staterooms, from $13.45 to $14 per person, per day for Concierge-class and AquaClass cabins and from $16.45 to $17 per person, per day for Suite-class rooms. This gratuity is shared by dining and culinary services staff, stateroom attendants, other housekeeping services personnel, as well as crew from other departments who work behind the scenes. Celebrity most recently raised gratuities a year ago, in May 2015. Sister cruise line Royal Caribbean International raised its gratuities in March of this year.
In 2017, Crystal will offer four-day East Africa safaris as post-cruise add-ons for Crystal Esprit yacht cruises in the Seychelles. The safari visits Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve and features game drives and a visit to a Maasai village. Fares start from $3,495 for the tour and include three nights at the Norfolk Hotel and the Fairmont Mara Safari Club; air transportation from Mahe to Nairobi and one or two flights during the safari; welcome amenities and gifts; game drive equipment and flight kits; and gratuities for hotel staff and safari guides.
American Cruise Lines’ next ship, a 170-passenger vessel capable of sailing coastal cruises, will be called American Constellation. The ship, which is currently under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Maryland, will launch in April 2017. It will have kayaks and zodiacs for passengers, as well as cabins with balconies.
Silversea has added new culinary expedition voyages to its 2016-2017 roster. These themed sailings offer complimentary wine and food events onboard and ashore. Two South American cruises aboard expedition ship Silver Explorer will delve into the culinary and wine traditions of Peru and Chile with meals and tastings set amid pyramid ruins, a 16th-century monastery and a Chilean winery. The sailings take place October 31, 2016, and October 25, 2017. A third sailing on Silver Explorer, along Europe’s Atlantic coast, will highlight European cuisine with market tours, cooking demonstrations, special menus and expert-led enrichment activities. This voyage sets sail May 20, 2017.
P&O Cruises has teamed up with English-based children’s dance company Tappy Toes to offer entertainment classes for families with toddlers on 13 itineraries this year. The classes, aimed at children under the age of two, will involve creative dance and movement as well as music and singing. Taking place onboard P&O Cruises’ Azura, Britannia, Oceana and Ventura, classes begin on Azura’s seven-night Norwegian Fjords cruise on July 3.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages has partnered with U.K. taxi comparison service Minicabit, offering passengers the opportunity to pre-book a fixed price taxi or executive car to and from any U.K. cruise port online. The service allows passengers to compare quotes from over 800 taxi firms across the U.K., before booking through CMV’s website. Reservations are made directly with Minicabit and are subject to their booking conditions.
Thomson Cruises’ TUI Discovery is now in wet dock as part of the final phase of the ship’s refurbishment. The ship is scheduled to depart Cadiz in Spain for Palma, Majorca, on June 5, before embarking on its first itinerary around the Mediterranean on June 11. At 866-feet long, 105-feet wide and 69,130-gross tonnes, TUI Discovery will become the largest ship in Thomson Cruises’ fleet. The 1,830-capacity ship contains 915 cabins (almost 40 percent with balconies) and spans 11 decks.