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A is for Awesome!
The 2020s are going to be a big decade for Disney Cruise Line (and Gen Z), as it will be debuting three new ships, making the cruise line a 7-ship fleet by 2023. Originally, there were going to be two new debuts—in 2021 and 2023—but this past summer a seventh ship was announced set to debut in 2022, making for one new ship each year between 2021 and 2023. For you, this means more Disney Cruise Line booking options not only in terms of itineraries, but onboard activities as well, as the cruise line promises that each of the ships will have their own unique experiences (yet to be announced). All three ships will be approximately the same size with about 1,250 staterooms, making them slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

Speaking of entertainment for the Gen Z crowd—this is the generation you’re going to want to keep your eyes on when a family booking comes in through your door. Virtuoso advisors say this age demographic is very influential when it comes to travel decisions, so perhaps recommending a Carnival Cruise Line voyage to see Nick Jonas in concert this upcoming November might be what you need to get your clients to sign on the dotted line. Jonas has joined the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, and will be performing aboard two Carnival ships, Carnival Victory and Carnival Liberty, this fall while the ships are docked in Nassau. Jonas is scheduled to perform aboard the Carnival Liberty on Nov. 17 and the Carnival Victory on Nov. 18. Carnival LIVE tickets for Nick Jonas are $75 for general admission; VIP tickets are $250 and include seating in the first few rows, a photo opportunity with the artist, and a commemorative concert pass. Performances are held in the ships’ main show lounges, which have capacity for 900 to 1,300 attendees.

B is for Blast of Fun!
Last month during Virtuoso Travel Week, Norwegian Cruise Line revealed features for the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss, which will debut next summer in Alaska. It will feature the largest competitive race track at sea, a laser tag course, and heart-racing waterslides that round the side of the ship. The 2-level race track that spans nearly 1,000 ft. is a big deal because although it’s been hugely popular on the Norwegian Joy, positioned in China, this is the first time this experience will be available aboard a North American-based cruise ship. Andy Stuart, president and CEO for Norwegian Cruise Line, underlined this fact during the presentation and added that with these “exciting, different innovations, we are checking off every box.”

After burning rubber at the track, guests can test their agility at the open-air laser tag course. Themed as an abandoned space station, the course comes to life both day and night as guests go into stealth-mode and compete against family and friends with
laser guns.

When it’s time to cool down, guests will find refuge in the ship’s pool and sundeck with its two spacious pools and six infinity hot tubs that scale the side of the ship. The ship’s Aqua Park will boast two multi-story waterslides, including the high-speed Ocean Loops free fall slide, which features two loops—one that extends out over the side of the ship and a second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below. The already-popular tandem Aqua Racer slide will also be featured on this ship, allowing guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 ft., with a semitransparent section that provides stunning ocean views as guests twist and turn to the finish line.

During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly 7-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway in Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, with stops in St. Thomas, the U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.

And keep your eye on Royal Caribbean International’s latest Oasis-class ship, Symphony of the Seas, which will sail on her inaugural voyage in the Med next April. According to early reports, this will be the world’s largest—“and most adventure-filled”—cruising ship, offering 28 more staterooms than her sister ship Harmony of the Seas. Royal Caribbean fans will embrace their favorite experiences, including the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides and Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea. But the cruise line promises that there’ll be even more new features and amenities (visit recommend.com for updates). The ship’s inaugural summer season will call at Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples in Italy.

C is for Cherish the Moment!
In partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Paul Gauguin Cruises’ Stewards of Nature program aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin—available during the holiday season, as well as next summer—was created so families have the opportunity to discover and value nature through hands-on, interactive learning.

Every day of the voyage, there is a combination of naturalist-led island and/or beach excursions, science activities, crafts, games, and other adventures. Depending on the itinerary, children might learn about underwater life during a snorkeling excursion, observe the ocean or the stars through binoculars or an onboard telescope, learn about different kinds of marine life and their habitats, reinforce their discoveries by playing Ocean Trivia or Oceanopoly, go on a dolphin-watching expedition, swim with sharks and rays, play beach games and race hermit crabs, enjoy a dance performance or a movie and a pizza party on board, and learn what it means to be a “Steward of Nature.” While all of the activities on the itinerary are included for children and teens through a fee that reserves the program for them, family members are invited and encouraged to participate in most activities for the additional cost of the shore excursions.

The Stewards of Nature program, for children and teens ages 7 to 17, is available on the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands itinerary, departing Dec. 23 and 30, 2017, June 16 and 23, 2018, July 28, 2018; and Dec. 22 and 29, 2018; the 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands itinerary, departing July 7, 2018; and the 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus, departing June 6, 2018, and July 18, 2018.

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s National Geographic Global Explorers program, meanwhile, is an exploration-based family program designed in conjunction with National Geographic Education that launched in the Galapagos this past summer on board the 96-guest National Geographic Endeavour ll and the 48-guest National Geographic Islander, but will roll out to additional geographies and ships in 2018. From earning their Zodiac “driver’s license” to “Spot It” infield activities to locate and observe wildlife, and storytelling challenges where children learn how to create slow motion and time lapse videos with a National Geographic certified photo instructor, all activities have been planned to develop the skills, attitudes and knowledge of explorers age 18 and under. The program is organized into two phases: independent experiences and group experiences with a Field Educator. In the first phase, young explorers will be encouraged to utilize “field notebooks” to mimic the research scientists conduct in the field, use maps to keep track of the itinerary, make wildlife checklists and more. During this phase, “storytelling challenges” will help them share their experiences from the day via different mediums including photos, videos, journaling, music and maps. The group experiences, on the other hand, will allow young travelers to actively participate in discussions with naturalists, and work on science projects such as helping to count sea turtles during nesting season. While on board, they will work with field educators on group projects, such as creating a short film of their adventures, or participating in “mapping” to determine who traveled the farthest, and what are the challenges of being in such a remote place.

Contact Information
Carnival Cruise Line: carnival.com
Disney Cruise Line: disneycruise.disney.go.com
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic: expeditions.com
Norwegian Cruise Line: bliss.ncl.com
Paul Gauguin Cruises: pgcruises.com
Royal Caribbean International: royalcaribbean.com

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