Category: Travel

Carnival Enhances CHEERS! All-Inclusive Beverage Program

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

Carnival Cruise Line has enhanced its CHEERS! all-inclusive beverage program to include a greater variety of non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a wider selection of high quality brand-name spirits and wines by the glass. The enhanced program will be available for purchase March 1, 2016.

CHEERS! is an all-inclusive beverage program that allows guests to enjoy a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages by paying a flat daily rate. Guests must be 21 or older to purchase CHEERS! and everyone in the same cabin must purchase the program.

The following beverages are now available within the enhanced CHEERS! program:

  • All spirits, including cocktails, cognacs, whiskies, and other spirits, as well as beer and glasses of wine, costing less than $50 per serving (previously only drinks costing less than $10 per serving were included in the program).
  • Sodas, including specialty sodas offered at the Havana Bar on Carnival Sunshine and new Carnival Vista debuting in May
  • Zero-proof frozen cocktails
  • RockStar energy drinks
  • Specialty coffees and teas served in the main dining rooms, specialty restaurants and coffee bars
  • 500ml bottles of water served in bars and lounges
  • Vitamin Water
  • Powerade
  • Coconut Water
  • Honest Tea
  • Large format (1 liter and 1.5-liter) bottles of water in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants
  • 25 percent discount off the menu price for any spirit, cocktail or wine by the glass costing more than $50 per serving
  • 25 percent discount off the menu price for wine and champagne by the bottle and larger format water bottles purchased outside the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants
  • 25 percent discount off the menu price for all beverage classes and seminars

The cost for guests who purchase the CHEERS! program via Carnival’s web site prior to their cruise is $49.95 per person per day plus gratuities; the cost for the program purchased once on board is $54.95 per person per day plus gratuities.

Carnival Magic To Undergo Multi-Million Dollar Renovation That Will Add Exciting Dining And Bar Concepts

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

One of the many dining options aboard Carnival Sunshine is GuyÕs Burger Joint, a free casual poolside venue developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri and serving handcrafted burgers and fresh-cut fries. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines)

In preparation for its Space Coast debut this spring, the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that will add a variety of exciting dining and bar innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, Pizzeria del Capitano and the Alchemy Bar.

Currently sailing from Galveston, Texas, Carnival Magic will reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., in April 2016 to begin year-round Caribbean departures from that port.

“Carnival Magic is already a groundbreaking ship – it was the first to feature our popular Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub and SportSquare outdoor recreation facility – and with these new features we’re making this spectacular floating resort even better,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Following this extensive refurbishment, Carnival Magic will offer even more exciting on-board choices for travel agents to market to their clients,” she added.

The two-week dry dock will take place from Feb. 21 to March 6, 2016, and will add exciting new spaces, including:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries in an atmosphere that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside bar offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor watering hole offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool
  • Pizzeria del Capitano: an expansion of the line’s Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian eatery offering five varieties of hand-tossed artisanal-style pizza, all available free of charge 24 hours a day
  • Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails

All of these new spaces complement the Carnival Magic’s array of on-board features, including the SportSquare outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course offering views to the sea 150 feet below; a 22,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa with a thalassotherapy pool, thermal suite and 17 private treatment rooms; the RedFrog Pub where guests can enjoy a frosty brew while soaking up the bar’s Key West meets British West Indies vibe; a massive WaterWorks aqua park highlighted by a 312-foot-long Twister slide; the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez offering both family-friendly and adult performances; and a Serenity adults-only retreat.

The ship also offers a variety of family-friendly options, including expansive modern spaces for kids in three age groups: Camp Ocean (ages 2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17), along with Seuss at Sea, part of the line’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Carnival Magic will continue its seven-day schedule from Galveston through April 10, 2016 then reposition to Port Canaveral to launch year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning April 23, 2016. Prior to launching its new seven-day schedule from Port Canaveral, Carnival Magic will operate a special three-day cruise to Nassau April 20-23, 2016.

Carnival Magic will offer two distinctly different week-long itineraries from the Space Coast – a western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove.

For additional information and reservations for Carnival Cruise Line, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Carnival Teams Up With Country Music Superstar Carrie Underwood and Operation Homefront to Support Military Families at Pre-Concert Meet and Greet

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

Carnival Cruise Line, Operation Homefront, And Carrie Underwood
Carnival Cruise Line, Operation Homefront, And Carrie Underwood

As part of Carnival Cruise Line’s Honor. Family. Fun. initiative in partnership country music superstar Carrie Underwood and the military assistance organization Operation Homefront, the seven-time Grammy winner hosted a special meet and greet for military families prior to her show last night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Underwood was joined by Carnival President Christine Duffy and Operation Homefront Board Member Marty Hauser as she surprised the Martin family with an opportunity to attend a private, invitation-only concert for military families aboard Carnival’s newest, largest and most innovative ship, Carnival Vista, when the vessel makes its U.S. debut in New York in November 2016.

The meet and greet was one of 10 pre-concert opportunities that Carnival, Underwood and Operation Homefront will host for military families in various cities across the U.S.

Additionally, Carnival is selling special commemorative Honor. Family. Fun. dog tags aboard its ships and at all of the stops along Underwood’s The Storyteller tour with proceeds benefiting Operation Homefront.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Carnival Vista is set to debut May 1 in Europe and will offer a number of exciting and unique features, including the RedFrog Pub and Brewery, the first IMAX Theater on a cruise ship, the new Family Harbor staterooms and suites and a one-of-a-kind aerial attraction called SkyRide.

Carnival Cruise Line and IGT Commemorate 20 Years of Wheel of Fortune® Slots With Year-Long Celebration

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

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Carnival Cruise Line and International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) (IGT) have partnered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IGT Wheel of Fortune® slot machines, featured aboard all Carnival ships and in casinos worldwide.

The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line® and the world’s leading end-to-end gaming company will reward players with free cruises and a variety of exciting giveaways throughout 2016. The brands are also partnering with the most successful syndicated game show in television history, Wheel of Fortune, on a first-ever Carnival Cruise Line-themed week featuring an exciting viewer sweepstakes.

Carnival Cruise Line and IGT
During 2016, Carnival and IGT’s partner casinos will give away hundreds of free cruises on the Carnival Magic. The winners will participate in the onboard Spin N Sail slot tournament featuring the IGT Wheel of Fortune slot machines exclusively during an eight-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Magic from Port Canaveral, Fla., in November 2016. The $200,000 prize pool, provided by IGT, includes a $100,000 grand prize to be taken home by one lucky winner. IGT customers across the U.S. and Canada will host qualifying events where winning players are awarded a free cruise for two and an entry into the grand finale $200,000 tournament.

“Wheel of Fortune slots and Carnival cruises are synonymous with fun and excitement, so IGT’s partnership with Carnival Cruise Line provides the ideal way to celebrate 20 years of Wheel of Fortune slots,” said Victor Duarte, IGT global chief product officer, gaming.“We appreciate the continued partnership between Carnival Cruise Line and IGT. Featuring Wheel of Fortune slots on all 24 Carnival cruise ships gives the games great exposure to millions of people, and has played a valuable role in helping IGT’s Wheel of Fortune slots become the most popular casino slot brand of all time.”

“We’re delighted to team up with IGT to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the wildly popular Wheel of Fortune slot machines and provide consumers with a number of fantastic prizes, including the opportunity to win $100,000 in the Spin N Sail tournament,” said Mike Hunssinger Turek, vice president of casino commercial operations for Carnival Cruise Line. “We’re also excited to offer a variety of special Wheel of Fortune-themed activities on board and be a part of Spin & Sail Week on this iconic show,” he added.

Introduced in 1996, the Wheel of Fortune slot machines have become a player favorite in shipboard casinos, including all 24 Carnival Cruise Line vessels, as well as in casinos on land. IGT has placed more than 200 versions of Wheel of Fortune slots in casinos around the world, and the game has awarded more than $3 billion in jackpots and minted more than 1,000 millionaires. Players enjoy how Wheel of Fortune slots capture the spirit and creativity of the popular television game show produced by Sony Pictures.

Throughout 2016, Carnival will also host a number of Wheel of Fortune-themed events across the fleet that will include special branded items and on-board activities and games every sailing, including the popular Wheel of Fortune scratch-off game where guests can win up to $30,000. Additionally, each sailing will feature a Wheel of Fortune prize wheel offering a wide range of prizes, everything from Carnival logo items and Casino Cash to entry into the $200,000 Spin N Sail slot tournament.

Wheel of Fortune
The 20th anniversary Wheel of Fortune slot festivities will also include a “Spin & Sail Week” with five Carnival Cruise Line-themed shows airing this spring on the iconic game show that inspired the slot machine. “Spin & Sail Week” airing March 21-25, 2016, will feature a custom, tropical-themed set with high-definition Carnival ship images and footage. Contestants will be able to win Carnival cruises to a variety of exotic destinations including the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska.

In preparation for the broadcast, Pat Sajak, Vanna White and the Wheel of Fortune crew went on location to shoot customized segments aboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship.

The “Wheel of Fortune Spin & Sail Sweepstakes,” will encourage viewers to watch “Spin & Sail Week” on Wheel of Fortune and enter each night’s bonus puzzle solution at www.wheeloffortune.com. Twenty winning entries will be selected, and the grand prize will be an eight-day Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Magic to be taken in November 2016 with a guaranteed spot in the Spin N Sail $200,000 slot tournament.

For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s cruise offerings, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Carnival Breeze Earns Perfect 100 U.S.P.H. Inspection Score

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

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Carnival Breeze scored 100 during its recent United States Public Health (U.S.P.H.) inspection which took place in Miami earlier this month.

To earn a 100 score, cruise ships must receive perfect marks on all 44 items that comprise the U.S.P.H.’s comprehensive Vessel Sanitation Program checklist. The unannounced inspections, which are conducted twice a year and required for any cruise ship with an international itinerary calling at a U.S. port, evaluate vessels in a wide variety of areas, including adherence to proper food handling, preparation and storage procedures, and overall galley cleanliness. Ships’ potable water supplies used in spas and pools are evaluated, as well.

The 3,690-pasenger Carnival Breeze will operate six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami before repositioning to Galveston, Texas, in May to launch a year-round schedule of week-long voyages visiting ports throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico and Florida.

Carnival Cruise Line Opens Reservations for More than 3,500 Sailings Departing Through April 2018

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

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Carnival Cruise Line has opened reservations for its entire fleet through April 2018, with more than 3,500 two- to 19-day voyages offered across its 24 ships, as well as the new Carnival Vista set to debut in Europe May 1, 2016.

Voyages will visit more than 70 destinations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe and other popular cruising regions. Cruises depart from nearly 20 different North American homeports, providing consumers with convenient and cost-effective means for getting to and from their cruise.

Included among the wide variety of offerings are more than 2,500 two- to five-day cruises, providing consumers with an array of options in the short cruise market. These include new four- and five-day deployments for the Carnival Victory from Miami and Carnival Valor from Port Canaveral, providing an unprecedented number of balcony staterooms on these two popular cruising routes.

There are also 22 longer length Carnival Journeys cruises visiting exotic ports of call and 13 voyages to Bermuda departing from seven East Coast homeports. Carnival will also offer two unique Panama Canal experiences – partial transits aboard the Carnival Pride from Baltimore in January 2017 and from Tampa in February 2017, offering consumers an unforgettable vacation experience.

Also open for reservations through 2018 are several new homeport deployments, including seven-day Carnival Breeze departures from Galveston, week-long Carnival Magic sailings from Port Canaveral, Fla., and four- and five-day Carnival Triumph cruises from New Orleans.

For additional information and reservations on Carnival Cruise Line’s wide array of cruise choices, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Carnival Freedom Named Best Value for the Money in Cruise Critic’s Sixth Annual ‘Cruisers Choice’ Awards

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

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Carnival Freedom has been recognized as the “best value for the money” in Cruise Critic’s sixth annual “Cruisers Choice Awards” which are based on reviews of Cruise Critic readers who rate ships in a wide variety of product- and service-related categories. This marks the third consecutive year that a Carnival ship has earned best value honors.

Based year-round in Galveston, Carnival Freedom has undergone a massive $70 million renovation that added a wide variety of innovations, including Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading venue – part of the line’s exclusive Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises – as well as a variety of popular dining, bar and entertainment concepts, many of which are available free of charge. These include Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network personality Guy Fieri, the BlueIguana Cantina, a Mexican-themed eatery serving authentic tacos and burritos, the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez, and Hasbro, The Game Show, featuring larger-than-life adaptations of the brand’s iconic games.

Carnival Freedom operates four- to seven-day cruises visiting ports in the Caribbean, Mexico, The Bahamas and Florida.

Latest Installment of Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista Video Series Looks at Ship’s Below Deck Spaces

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

In the latest edition of Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista, Host Peter Gonzalez goes below deck to show viewers the many technical and operational innovations that are being incorporated into the massive “floating resort,” which is currently under construction at Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard and set to debut from Europe in May 2016.

Gonzalez interviews Carnival Vista’s Captain Rocco Lubrano who discusses the ship’s groundbreaking “duck tail” stern design which optimizes the vessel’s hydrodynamics as well as stability. He also speaks to Chief Engineer Cesare Boldrini who talks about the ship’s massive power grid that is used to provide energy for the various guest, crew, engine and other operational areas within Carnival Vista’s 828,000 square feet of space. Boldrini also discusses the ship’s extensive on-board desalination plant that processes sea water used for everything from showers to the slides and other attractions within the sprawling WaterWorks aqua park.

The newest, largest and most innovative ship in the Carnival fleet, Carnival Vista is scheduled to enter service from Trieste, Italy, on May 1, 2016, part of an inaugural European season that will run through October. The ship will then reposition to New York to operate a pair of voyages then shift to Miami for year-round Caribbean service beginning in November 2016.

Refreshing Custom Cocktails Created by Carnival’s Beverage Team for Sunday’s Big Game

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

The Pounder
The Charger

The “big game” kicks off this Sunday and the masterminds behind the bar department at Carnival Cruise Line have created a pair of colorful cocktails inspired by the two teams competing for the coveted winner’s trophy.

The hand-crafted cocktails – “The Pounder” and “The Charger,” inspired by the squads from Carolina and Denver, respectively – are the perfect complement for guests checking out all the exciting gridiron action being shown on board.

Those who want to recreate these delicious and refreshing drinks at home can follow these step-by-step instructions:

THE POUNDER

Ingredients:
1 ½ ounces of Tito’s Vodka

2 ounces of Blue Curaçao

1 ½ ounces pineapple juice

Chambord kicker (optional)

Instructions: Pour all ingredients, except for Chambord, into a mixing cup with ice. Shake for at least five seconds. Strain into glass with fresh ice and add Chambord to release the team’s color. Garnish with pineapple slice.

THE CHARGER

Ingredients:
1 ½ ounces of Flor de Caña Rum

4 ounces of orange juice

¼ ounce of Grenadine

Blue Curaçao kicker (optional)

Instructions: Pour all ingredients, except for Blue Curaçao, into a mixing cup with ice. Shake for at least five seconds. Strain into glass with fresh ice and add Blue Curaçao to release the team’s color. Garnish with orange slice, cherry and drink umbrella.

In addition to the specialty drinks and discounted buckets of beer, Carnival has a number of fun activities planned for this year’s big game, including special trivia contests, a “sailgate” party with fun games and music. Guests will also have the opportunity to showcase their best touchdown celebration to win a prize.

Enjoy the game!

Carnival Inspiration in Final Stages of Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation in Portland, Ore., Ship to Resume Service from Long Beach February 8 with Variety of New Features

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

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Carnival Inspiration is shown here at the Vigor Shipyard in Portland, Ore., during the final stages of an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that began January 18.

Along with a number of new dining and bar concepts that are being added during the three-week-long renovation, the 2,052-passenger vessel was taken out of the water to undergo routine maintenance, including a new hull coating, as well as the addition of shore power capabilities.

New onboard features being added during the dry dock include Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, a Mexican eatery called BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic tacos and burritos, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the Cherry on Top sweets and novelty store, and two new poolside watering holes — RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

Carnival Inspiration will reposition from Portland to its homeport of Long Beach, Calif., then resume its year-round schedule of three- and four-day Baja cruises Feb. 8.