Disney Cruises continues to accelerate the number of stops to its ever-popular private island, Castaway Cay. Disney began offering two stops there on its four-day cruises in 2008; beginning summer 2010 Disney cruises will also stop there twice on its five-day cruises. In addition, Castaway Cay is receiving extensive enhancements to accommodate the doubling in size of the Disney Cruise Lines fleet.
Disney’s efforts follow a trend of cruise lines increasing their investment in their private-island destinations due to the fact they consistently earn among the highest satisfaction ratings of any itinerary port.
The Carnival Dream will introduce the first laser show at sea seen on any North American cruise ship when the vessel enters service, scheduled for September 21.
Oceania Cruises has raised pricing on 40% of its 2010 departures effective September 1, with an additional price increase scheduled for January 1. The company indicated that August was its best month ever for cruise bookings, also that pricing has recovered to 2007 and 2008 pre-recession levels. Oceania also advised that 32 of its 2010 cruises have sold out.
Celebrity has launched a new dining concept, “Celebrity Select Dining” that will allow passengers to choose those times they will eat in the main dining room for each day of their cruise.
Royal Caribbean will feature a Coach store as one of its 13 retail outlets on the upcoming launch of the Oasis of the Seas (the vessel is currently 95% complete and will hold 5400 passengers). The store will be featured prominently in the ship’s Central Park neighborhood storefront.
MSC Cruises will implement cutting-edge technology to screen passengers for the H1N1 swine flu virus by using thermal-imaging cameras.
Avalon Waterways – already a significant player in the river cruise industry – has joined the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) becoming the organization’s 25th member line. Avalon Waterways thus becomes CLIA’s third river cruise member (in addition to Uniworld River Cruises and AMA Waterways).