Cool cruise news we've heard this week:
Cuba is set to ramp up capacity at its cruise terminal, after signing an agreement with the world’s largest independent cruise port operator, Global Ports Holding. According to express.co.uk, the port, which is located on the edge of Unesco-protected Old Havana, will triple its cruise-ship berths from the current two to six by 2024… and it's possible the number of cruise passengers will increase exponentially. With roughly 700,000 cruise passengers expected to come to Cuba this year, the increase will be dramatic.
Oprah Winfrey and her bestie, Gayle King, have posted a video recalling a cruise they took to Alaska last year on a Holland America ship – and announced that they’re setting sail again.
This time it will be on Holland America’s new ship, the Nieuw Statendam (pronounced "new STAHT-un-dam”). Oprah is also going to be godmother to the ship, which is currently under construction in Italy and will set sail on its virgin voyage from Civitavecchia (Rome) on December 5, 2018.
Oprah will be christening the Nieuw Statendam in a private ceremony at an undisclosed date, and then joining a three-day ‘girls' getaway’ cruise on the vessel in early 2019. It will depart Fort Lauderdale on January 30, 2019, and include a stop at Half Moon Cay, Holland America's private island in The Bahamas. But if you're keen to book a spot, you're too late – it sold out in one day!
Oprah is the latest in a growing list of ‘cruise ship celebrity godmothers’ which also includes Helen Mirren and Judi Dench.
A massive thumbs up to Royal Caribbean, which has pledged to end the use of plastic straws across its entire fleet of ships by the end of 2018.
With the company’s cruise lines including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises and Pullmantur Cruceros, it means that a total of 50 cruise ships will be saying sayonara to the straws – which can only be a good thing for the environment, especially the oceans on which these ships sail.
Never fear: if you need a straw, paper ones will still be available. Other items like coffee stirrers and picks have also been replaced with environmentally friendly alternatives – next in line for the chop are single-use plastic items such as condiment packets, cups and bags.
Speaking of Royal Caribbean, the Ultimate Family Suite on the cruise line’s new Spectrum of the Seas, set to debut in 2019, will feature something quite extraordinary – a glamorous bathroom that’s cantilevered off the side of the ship so that it looks like it’s floating above the ocean…with nothing underneath.
According to Fox News, guests will enjoy “unparalleled water views” as they shower or bathe in this bathroom, which will be part of a two-level, three-bedroom luxury suite that covers 260 square metres and can accommodate up to 11 guests.
Cruising from Shanghai, the Spectrum of the Seas will be the largest ship sailing in Asia, capable of carrying up to 4,246 passengers.