New Yorkers and most of the upper east coast of the United States have had few cruise ships to choose from. Traditionally, cruise lines sailed most of their ships from warmer, southern ports, which added the cost of a flight to a cruise vacation package too. Now, cruise lines are positioning more ships from upper east coast ports with a special focus on the New York market. The end result is, and will continue to be, more choices, better pricing and the best value ever to New Yorkers.
Norwegian Cruise Lines‘ new 4,000-passenger ship, Norwegian Breakaway, will sail from her homeport of New York City to the Bahamas, Florida, and the Caribbean for her inaugural winter season in 2013. That adds one more drive-to-the-port option for cruise passengers in the often under-served New York market.
“Norwegian Breakaway is one of the most highly anticipated new ships and has seen great demand for her summer sailings to Bermuda,” Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan told TravelDailyNews. “We are also excited to announce that the ship will stop at our newly enhanced private island, Great Stirrup Cay, offering an exclusive beach experience.”
Embarking on seven- to twelve day cruises to the Bahamas and Florida from October 2013 to April 2014, the line is taking in ports including Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay, Orlando and Port Canaveral. Two 12-day Southern Caribbean voyages and two “Weekend Escape” cruises in January 2014 are also scheduled with the 12-day itinerary incorporating visits to San Juan, St Thomas, Philipsburg, Castries, Bridgetown and Basseterre.
As the largest ship to homeport year-round in New York City, Norwegian Breakaway is expected to bring 140,000 additional embarking passengers into New York City over two years creating an estimated $35 million in direct spending.
In another move, Carnival Miracle, once a seasonal ship, started sailing year-round from New York this month, marking the line’s first year-round sailings from that port.
“New York is one of the highest-rated homeports for Fun Ship cruising. Carnival Miracle’s new year-round, eight-day departures offer consumers the best of both worlds – a choice of three attractive year-round Caribbean and Bahamas itinerary options with the opportunity to depart from one of the world’s great cities,” Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill told BreakingTravelNews.
Carnival Miracle will offer three different eight-day itineraries that visit popular islands throughout the Caribbean and Bahamas. The itineraries include Eastern Caribbean departures to San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk, offered on a rotating basis April through October with a series of Bahamas sailings featuring stops at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk and Nassau. November through April, Carnival Miracle sails to the Bahamas along with a stop in Florida with port calls to Port Canaveral (Orlando), Nassau and Freeport.
On board, travelers will also find some new programming with an upscale New York flair.
The Taste Bar is Carnival’s newest casual dining option introduced this month on Carnival Miracle with fleetwide implementation expected to be completed by summer 2013.
The Taste Bar features complimentary bite-size offerings inspired by line’s Fun Ship 2.0 initiative dining venues, along with a signature cocktail tied to that eatery’s particular theme available for purchase for $5.
Sample offerings may include roasted pork tacos; meatballs and hand-whipped ricotta bruchetta; fried malanga (sweet potatoes) filled with ginger-scented pork and lime aioli; grilled ham and provolone cheese melt; and short rib croquettes with chipotle aioli.
Also on Carnival Miracle, the debut of the Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez, part of a recently announced partnership with the comedian who serves as the line’s “curator of comedy,” acting as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of both established and up-and-coming comedic talent.
The Punchliner Comedy Club will offer five 35-minute shows on multiple nights during each voyage with at least two comedians performing each night. Two early-evening shows are geared toward a family audience, while the later performances feature R-rated, adults-only comedy.
Carnival Miracle’s year-round schedule of eight-day Caribbean voyages from New York with three different eight-day itineraries are offered:
Eastern Caribbean departures to San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk;
Bahamas sailings featuring stops at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk and Nassau
Bahamas/Florida cruises with port calls to Port Canaveral (Orlando), Nassau and Freeport.
“The cruise industry continues to be an economic boon for the City, and today’s announcement that the Carnival Miracle will start offering year-round cruises from New York City will do even more to stimulate our economy, bringing additional visitors and generating nearly $13 million in direct spending,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky in a release.
Also sailing seasonally from New York, beginning May 25, 2012, Disney Magic will sail 20 cruises from New York with three unique and varied itineraries. No stranger to Disney Ships, here is new Disney Fantasy arriving in New York earlier this year for inaugural festivities before heading south to her new home in Florida.