Norwegian Getaway refurbishmentWhile I’ve been away cruising Alaska and checking out the state’s Interior, here’s what you might have missed  in last week’s cruise news.  From a devastatingly sad event for one family to a good conclusion for seven others, plus cruise ship refurbishment news and Summer Olympics cruise updates.

Woman deemed lost at sea after going overboard

Last weekend, a woman went overboard from the Norwegian Epic, while cruising the Mediterranean Sea.

Norwegian Epic was underway from Cannes, on the French Riviera to the Spanish island of Palma de Mallorca when the incident occurred.  

As soon as the captain was notified, the ship revered course.  Within two hours, Norwegian Epic reached the area where it was presumed the woman went overboard.

With the assistance of a helicopter, the search for the missing 63-year old Korean woman continued for several hours.

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By evening, the search was called off.  It was reported by a family member that the woman couldn’t swim. Along with the existing sea conditions, it was decided that she must have drowned.

Some passengers reported that it wasn’t long until shipboard festitivities resumed.  Norwegian Epic arrived into Barcelona the next day.

Our sincere condolences to her friends and family.  

Carnival Increases Faster to the Fun Prices

If you’re not familiar, Carnival’s Faster to the Fun program began in 2012 and it’s only available for purchase before your cruise begins.  For the price, guests receive a handful of perks. These include:

Access to a pre-boarding priority lounge

Priority check-in, boarding and first access to staterooms

A dedicated Guest Services line shared with Platinum and Diamond guests

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When tenders are needed, priority access to board water shuttles

Priority dinner time assignments

The option to choose your own debarkation time

There are a limited number of Faster to the Fun passes available on each cruise and they do sell out.  Keep in mind that this program is not available in Honolulu, Norfolk or Vancouver.

How much you will now pay for Faster to the Fun

The prices for Carnival Panorama seven-night cruises beginning February 2020 will cost $109.95 per stateroom.

Mardi Gras prices have not yet been confirmed.  

From Carnival’s website:

Faster to the Fun is not offered in the following home ports: Honolulu, Norfolk, Vancouver.

Faster to the Fun will be offered on the Carnival Panorama, starting with departures in February 2020, Carnival Radiance, starting with departures in January 2021 and Mardi Gras, starting in 2021 (date to be determined).

Carnival Horizon to the Rescue

When Carnival Horizon was returning to Miami, an alert was received that a small fishing boat and its crew were in need of assistance.

As soon as Carnival Horizon received the distress call, the ship did an about face and headed towards the seven stranded fishermen. For two days, their boat had been dead in the water due to a broken propeller.  

All seven fishermen were brought onboard the Horizon and received food, water and any necessary medical treatment.  

The men remained onboard and the ship returned to Miami nearly on time.  Carnival Horizon was on an eight-day Caribbean cruise, roundtrip from Miami.  

Norwegian Getaway emerges from massive refurbishment

Norwegian Getaway has completed a multi-million dollar makeover, its first major refurbishment since the ship was launched in 2014.  

Following the two-week dry dock in France as part of the Norwegian Edge refurbishment program, Norwegian Getaway will spend this summer cruising the Baltic, Russia and Scandinavia.

What’s new on Norwegian Getaway

What’s new is that Norwegian Getaway now has a full-service Starbucks – the first Starbucks licensed for Norwegian’s European cruise market.  

Also added is a Syd Norman’s Pour House; a new musical concept and interactive audience venue created by the same team that produced Broadway’s Rock of Ages musical.

Upwards of 800 pieces of art were placed throughout the ship.  Twenty percent of which are original works.

When summer and fall cruising ends, Norwegian Getaway will homeport in New Orleans beginning in November.  The ship will sail western Caribbean itineraries.

Rent a stateroom for Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics

Cruise ships will head to Japan next year, in time for July’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.  Several cruise ships will either dock overnight or be chartered as hotels to accommodate the overflow of visitors.

Royal Caribbean will have several ships in Tokyo for the Olympics.  Spectrum of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas will both overnight there.  

MSC Cruises will sell staterooms aboard MSC Lyrica, docked at a nearby port.  Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess will dock in Yokohama, about 17 miles from Tokyo.   

Regardless of which cruise ship you choose, you’ll still need to purchase your Olympic tickets separately.   

If you’re interested, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be held from July 24 through August 9.  Rumor has it that prices will run from $271 per night to upwards of $2,730.

That’s it for this week’s news and updates.  I’ll be back soon with more about my trip and advice and suggestions for cruising Alaska and visiting the Interior of this incredible state.

Read next:  21 Best Things to Do in Sitka, Alaska

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