Cruise news: Keel ceremonies, new year floats and more

We have our eyes not just on the road. But also the air and the sea. The cruise news roundup is your weekly guide to the must-know in the cruise industry. Find out what’s coming up in the cruise world in 2019.

Victoria Mekong’s keel laying

The Victoria Mekong’s keel laying is set for 4 January 2019 at the SSIC Shipyard in Ho Chi Minh City. Keel laying is one of the four specially-celebrated events in the life of a ship; the others are launching, commissioning, and decommissioning.

This is the first ship amongst many planned ships under a Joint Venture between Thien Minh Group (TMG) and Wendy Wu Tours (WWT). It has 35 beautifully designed cabins and will begin operations on 11 December 2019, offering three and four-night cruises between Can Tho, Vietnam and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Designed by VISEC and constructed by SSIC, the ship will measure 76.8 meters in length and 13.2 meters in width and have 4 decks, able to accommodate up to 70 passengers. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, the Victoria Mekong will offer passengers a unique itinerary and a “green” experience plying the waters of the Mekong Delta between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Tran Trong Kien, chief executive of TMG said: “We are proud to be the pioneer investor in the Mekong and will continue investing in the region in the years to come.”

Dream Cruises upgrades membership programme

Members of DreamElite, Dream Cruises’ loyalty and recognition program can now plan their dream vacation at sea ahead of time without hassle, thanks to the DreamElite Pre-Cruise Planner, an exclusive service that is custom-designed to curate personal onboard experiences for every DreamElite member.

Members can make pre-cruise booking arrangements for restaurants, spa and beauty treatments, beverage packages and shore excursions, as well as on-board experiences such as bridge and behind-the-scenes tours, Johnnie Walker Interactive Whiskey Tasting Experience and more.

Available in English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese it is a multilingual one-stop portal that provides members with priority and dedicated services, including designated check-in and check-out counters, member information counter onboard, birthday privileges, advance reservations and priority lanes at dining and service outlets, as well as customised experiences based on the individual preferences of every member, including personalised newsletter contents.

Turning ten

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) is celebrating the launch of their 2020 cruise programme and their 10-year anniversary in 2019. UK’s independent cruise line is offering 108 different cruises sailing from 15 UK & Ireland ports in 2020. Highlights include the Norwegian fjords, Baltic Cities & Russia, Iceland, the Canary Islands & Madeira, Iberian highlights & Morocco, the River Seine, British Isles cruises, Land of the Northern Lights, Arctic Greenland and North Cape & Spitzbergen.

2020 will see the addition of further ex-UK departure ports with new regional sailings from Aberdeen, Belfast and Glasgow Greenock, CMV’s biggest ever ex-Scottish cruise programme. CMV now sails from an impressive 15 different British and Irish ports making them Britain’s leading ex-UK departure cruise line, offering convenient regional departures with no airport hassles – bringing cruising closer to home.

New itineraries in 2020 include the Grand Canary Islands & Madeira, Iberian Treasures & Morocco, Magellan sails from Bristol Port 5 October 2020 on a 16-night cruise including a call at Casablanca for tours to Marrakech.

Carnival at Rose Parade

Celebrating the arrival of the new Long Beach-based Carnival Panorama later this year, Carnival Cruise Line kicked off 2019 in style with its first-ever float in the world-famous Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

Carnival Cruise Line participated in their first Tournament of Roses Parade, with their entry named “Come Sail Away” and debuting their newest ship the Carnival Panorama, which showcased floral scuba divers, and as well acrobatics on their trampoline.

Modeled after the new 133,500-ton Vista-class ship, the float cruised down the five-mile parade route on the first day of 2019 delighting the crowd of 700,000 who jammed along with the float riders to a Carnival nine-piece band playing “Uptown Funk” and “I’ve Got a Feeling” as well as the estimated 80 million television viewers watching at home.

Aptly named “Come Sail Away,” the colorful, highly detailed 55-foot-long ship-shaped float featured floral-inspired reproductions of signature Carnival features like the iconic red and blue funnel, a water park and fun-filled Lido Deck party, and the line’s newest attraction — the first-ever trampoline park at sea, in partnership with Sky Zone with jumpers on a working trampoline built into the front portion of the float.

The float also included a replica of the Carnival AirShip flying overhead, just like the blimp that will embark on a month-long tour of California to promote Carnival’s continued expansion in Long Beach, as well as new cruise itineraries from San Diego and San Francisco.

Decorated with flowers, seeds and plants from 100-plus countries representing the global array of nations that Carnival employees hail from, the floral masterpiece also featured a BlueIguana and RedFrog from their namesake watering holes, with scuba divers at the water line blowing actual bubbles as the float sailed down the parade route.

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