ROYAL CHRISTENING: The big moment finally arrived for the Duchess of Cambridge — well, not THAT big moment — when she christened Royal Princess in Southampton, England, on June 13.
Besides the traditional champagne bottle smashing on the new ship’s hull, the festivities included music from The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth, and The Pipe Band of 1st Battalion Irish Guards, along with British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield, and the percussive orchestra Mass Ensemble.
The 3,600-passenger ship, the newest addition to Princess Cruises’ fleet, will sail on Grand Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer. The ship will make her maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale on Oct.29, sailing a seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary from Port Everglades through April 2014.
Watch the ceremony online at www.princess.com/royalprincessnaming.
YOU SHOULD BE DANCING: There’s a mirror ball trophy awaiting the dancing champion on Holland America Line. The Dancing with the Stars At Sea competition is running fleet-wide on cruises setting sail through Nov. 25.
Participants must sign up for complimentary dance classes during their voyage and participate in an onboard competition. Finalists on each cruise will perform on the main stage with HAL dancers, and a panel of judges will crown a Cruise Champion on each sailing based on points scored.
At the end of the year, the Cruise Champion with the highest score from each ship will be invited to perform as a finalist on a seven-day Champions Cruise departing Jan. 12, 2014. The cruise is complimentary for the 15 finalists, and they can bring along a guest.
When the dancing is over and the dust settles, there will be one person named Holland America Line’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Grand Champion.
SHE FLOATS! Norwegian Getaway, under construction in Papenburg, Germany, recently floated for the first time ever, a milestone for the ship that will call PortMiami home early next year.
The five-hour process moved the ship forward to a new position in the shipyard, where work will continue.
The 4,000-passenger ship will sail seven-day cruises from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning Feb. 1, 2014. Information on Norwegian Getaway is available at www.getaway.ncl.com. To follow the news on the ship’s construction, visit www.buildinggetaway.ncl.com.
ALL ABOARD: Two Soul Train Cruises have been scheduled, and the lineup of talent is impressive.
The West Coast Edition sails from San Diego Oct. 5 for a seven-night cruise on the Mexican Riviera, aboard Holland America’s Westerdam. Ports of call are Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.
Entertainers include Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, Jeffrey Osborne, The Whispers, Freddie Jackson, The Ohio Players, Jennifer Holliday, Billy Paul. Jonathan Butler and Con Funk Shun.
Activities will be set up festival style, along with a main concert nightly with two seatings. A gospel concert also is planned, and choir members are invited to get up on stage and sing with the professionals. (Pack your robes!)
Closer to home, a Soul Train Cruise sails out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale Feb. 23, 2014, aboard HAL’s Eurodam. The ship will call on St. Bart’s, St. Maarten and the private island of Half Moon Cay.
Musical guests aboard will include the Isley Brothers, Roberta Flack, The Commodores, Stephanie Mills, Peabo Bryson, Maxi Priest, Peaches & Herb, Morris Day & The Time, The Chi-Lites and Charlie Wilson.
For details go to www.soultraincruise.com, or call 855-SOULTRAIN.
HAVANA DAYDREAMING: The Jazz Cruise folks are being considered as a potential group for an educational tour of Cuba. The target date is Dec. 13-18, and the trip would include air transportation from Miami and high-end hotel accommodations.
Participants would visit historic jazz locations and venues, as well as take part in the current jazz scene. Organizers estimate the cost would be in the $4,500 per person range. This is not a cruise. Anyone who might consider this trip is asked to email contact information to email@example.com.
The Jazz Cruise group is planning a Jan. 26-Feb. 2 cruise aboard Holland America’s Eurodam, sailing from Fort Lauderdale and calling on Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten and theHalf Moon Cay.
First-time cruisers Manhattan Transfer and Poncho Sanchez will join musical favorites Arturo Sandoval, John Pizzarelli, Ann Hampton Callaway, Freddy Cole, Clayton Brothers, Jeff Hamilton, Randy Brecker, Cedar Walton and Dick Hyman.
Visit www.thejazzcruise.com for a more information and the complete musical lineup.