Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas debuts in April with the same innovations that made a splash at last year’s launch of its sister ship, Quantum of the Seas: robot bartenders, simulated skydiving, bumper cars and an observation capsule rising high above the sea.
Norwegian Escape arrives in Miami in November with a snow room offering freezing temperatures for post-sauna invigoration.
The ship’s showcase food and drink includes a Margaritaville, Mondavi-brand wine bar, craft beer from Miami’s Wynwood Brewing and restaurants offering tapas and Latin seafood from celebrity chef Jose Garces.
Many cruise lines have partnered with famous chefs to appeal “to a foodie audience,” said Golden, of Porthole.com. Often the name-brand venues onboard are specialty restaurants, so you pay extra, but still less than what it costs to eat at the chef’s land-based restaurant. (An exception, Golden notes: Guy Fieri’s burgers are free on Carnival ships.)
Wi-Fi on cruises has been expensive and slow, but “there’s definitely a big push to improve,” Levinstein said, especially on Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Carnival is piloting a social media package, with access to sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for $5 daily or $25 per voyage. You pay more for email, Web-surfing or Skype.
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