Nowegian Cruise Line shuffles big ships for 2019-2020 schedule

It’s 2018 — time for the cruise lines to focus on 2019 and beyond!

If you’re a planner like me, you’re already considering which cruise(s) you want to book a year or more into the future.

Norwegian Cruise Line will be mixing it up with its biggest and newest ships next year. Norwegian Bliss, which launches this spring and heads to Alaska for the summer, will sail from New York in the 2019/2020 winter season. Itineraries will vary, with seven-, eight-, 12- and 14-day voyages to Florida, the Bahamas and Southern and Western Caribbean.

(But Florida cruisers will get the chance to sail Norwegian Bliss in the 2018/2019 winter season, when she homeports in Miami.)

Norwegian Getaway will move to New Orleans, and beginning Nov. 8, 2019 will sail a mix of seven-, nine- and 12-day cruises to the Western Caribbean.

Sister ship Norwegian Breakaway will reposition from PortMiami to Port Canaveral, arriving at her new home on Nov. 23, 2019. The ship will spend the winter season sailing seven-day cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

I’m cheering about this: Norwegian Escape — which leaves Miami this spring for a new home port in New York City — will return to Port Miami on Nov. 23, 2019. The ship, with a definite Miami vibe and Guy Harvey artwork on the hull, will call on Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Norwegian’s popular private port of Harvest Caye, Belize.

The Force will remain with Disney Cruise Line in 2019, with Star Wars Day at Sea returning to Disney Fantasy on select cruises from January to early March. The seven-day cruises, departing from Port Canaveral, offer both Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

Star Wars Day at Sea celebrates the iconic characters from the saga, with droids, Stormtroopers, Jedi and even a Wookie roaming the ship. Themed activities, menus and merchandise add fun to the festivities.

Another popular event, Marvel Day at Sea is returning to Disney Magic on select five-day cruises in early 2019. The ship, sailing from PortMiami, has varied itineraries, including the Western Caribbean and Bahamas.

Marvel Day at Sea features all-day entertainment, including interactions with some of the Marvel Super Heroes and foes, a deck show spectacular, Marvel-themed youth activities, special merchandise, and unique food and beverage offerings.

NEW SHIP NEWS: Got beer? Carnival Cruise Line will introduce four craft beers to be brewed aboard Carnival Horizon, which debuts in Europe in April.

The beers were developed by the line’s brewmaster Colin Presby and will be offered at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse/Brewhouse.

The new brews are: ParchedPig Smoked Porter, ParchedPig Farmhouse Ale, ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale and ParchedPig West Coast IPA.

Carnival Horizon will be arriving in PortMiami this fall, kicking off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22.

American Cruise Lines debuts its newest ship, American Constitution on April 18.

The 175-guest ship will make its inaugural cruise on Chesapeake Bay with an American Revolution itinerary. Sailing from Baltimore, the ship will offer 10-day voyages to quaint towns and historic cities that have shaped this county. Stops include Norfolk, Williamsburg, Mount Vernon and Yorktown in Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Cambridge, St. Michaels, Annapolis and Chestertown in Maryland.

The ship boasts spacious staterooms ranging from 200 t0 450 square feet, with full-size bathrooms. All staterooms have either a balcony or picture window, and accommodations for the solo traveler are available.

Norwegian Cruise Line officially started construction on its next ship, Norwegian Encore, with a steel cutting ceremony Jan. 31 at the Meyer Werft Laser Center in Papenburg, Germany. The ship, due for delivery on Oct. 1, 2019, will sail from Miami, offering seven-day Caribbean cruises.

Norwegian Encore will be the 17th ship in the fleet and the fourth and final ship in the Breakaway Plus Class.

SHAQ ON BOARD: NBA Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Shaquille O’Neal has a new title. He’s the CFO of Carnival Cruise Line. No, not THAT kind of CFO — this stands for Chief Fun Officer!

Shaq will lend his playful personality to the line’s new brand campaign, “Choose Fun.” Sounds like a slam dunk to me.

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