NEW ITINERARIES: Due to a higher-than-expected demand for fall cruises to the tropics, Oceania has announced three new Caribbean itineraries for October and November 2014 aboard Insignia.
“Enchanting Islands” is a 15-day voyage departing New York City on Oct. 17. Guests enjoy two days in Bermuda before heading for St. Barts, St. Lucia, Grenada, Isla Margarita, Aruba, Santa Marta and Key West before docking in Miami.
“Mayan Mystique” sails round trip from Miami on Nov. 1. The 10-day cruise visits Costa Maya, Roatan, Santo Tomas, Belize City, Cozumel, George Town and Key West.
“Traveling the Tropics” is a 12-day voyage from Miami to San Juan departing Nov. 11, traveling to Dominica, Barbados, Grenada and St. Kitts, and includes evening and late-night stays in St. Maarten, St. Barts, Antigua, Martinique and Tortola.
Oceania is offering 2-for-1 cruise fares for these new voyages, starting at $3,299 per guest and including airfare. Learn more at www.OceaniaCruises.com.
FINAL STAGES: November was a big month for Norwegian Getaway, soon to be the newest addition to the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet — and homeporting in Miami.
Just a year after the ship’s keel was laid at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway was floated out of the building dock, ready for the final phase of construction.
The first crew members have moved into their staterooms, familiarizing themselves with the ship in anticipation of the big day.
Most recently the ship accomplished a 24-hour conveyance down the Ems River toward the North Sea, where she proved her seaworthiness.
Norwegian Getaway’s signature hull artwork was designed by Miami artist David “Lebo” Le Batard, and it features a whimsical mermaid holding the sun above the waves.
Delivery of the ship is expected to take place Jan. 10. Following inaugural events in Europe, New York and Miami, Norwegian Getaway will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises, departing every Saturday from PortMiami beginning Feb. 8. Learn more about the ship at www.getaway.ncl.com.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Meanwhile, over at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Costa Cruises’ future flagship, the 3,724-passenger Costa Diadema, was floated out during a technical launch ceremony. The ship, the 10th built for Costa at the Italian shipyard since 2000, is scheduled for delivery next fall.
Costa Diadema will feature food and wine venues Vinoteca, Birreria (beer house), Japanese Teppanyaki, Piazza Pizza and Gelateria. New entertainment offerings include Country Rock Club, featuring classic rock, and the Star Laser room, offering interactive laser games. Portobello Market Piazza is an 11,840-square-foot area with designer stores and retail outlets.
In its first season, the ship will sail sail seven-night itineraries from Savona, Italy, calling on Marseilles, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Civitavecchia (Rome) and La Spezia (Florence), Italy.
More information is available at www.costacruise.com.
AWARD SEASON CONTINUES: The December issue of “Porthole Cruise Magazine” presents the annual Readers’ Choice Awards, and there are plenty to go around.
Winning top honors for the best small, medium and mega-ships, respectively: Seabourn Quest, Crystal Serenity and Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.
Best entertainment goes to Disney Cruise Line. Best Service, Silversea Cruises. Best theme cruises: Norwegian Cruise Line.
Celebrity Cruises scored high marks for best fitness facilities and best spa facilities. Best onboard shopping went to Princess Cruises.
Travel-wise, Holland America Line was voted best for Alaska, New England/Canada and Central America itineraries; Oceania for voyages to South America; Costa Cruises for the Mediterranean; Norwegian Cruise Line for Hawaii cruises; and Cunard for its world cruises and trans-Atlantic voyages.
Chosen for having the best private island cabanas was Holland America’s Half Moon Cay.
Named best cruise director was John Heald of Carnival — and if you read his blog or follow him on Facebook, you’ll know why!
Two of my favorite categories: Best Pier to Wave Goodbye to Family and Friends went to PortMiami; and Best Nightclub to Make you Dance Like a Love Machine was won by Norwegian Cruise Line.
Find the complete list at www.porthole.com.