Cruise News Update: Itinerary Changes, More Sailings, In Trouble

We have all kinds of cruise news for you from the past week, including coverage on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and TUI Cruises.

The news never seems to slow down in the fast-paced cruise industry, and Cruise Hive has all of this week’s top stories covered, with articles about Royal Caribbean, TUI Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line.

Cruise News Update

You won’t miss a thing on Cruise Hive, where we’ve got all of the breaking cruise news covered, including Royal Caribbean detailing its new adult-only retreat at CocoCay, a TUI Cruises’ ship entering a restricted area in the Baltic Sea, more bookings opening for the upcoming Icon of the Seas, Carnival Cruise Line altering nine itineraries, Carnival Cruise Line adding Family Feud Live to more ships, and a Carnival Cruise Line guest questioning the handling of a missing guest emergency.

Adults-Only Retreat Opens In January At CocoCay

Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay private island experience will soon become even more perfect for cruisers seeking an adults-only retreat. The cruise line announced details of the destination’s new Hideaway Beach, reserved for guests 18 and older.

Located on the northwest side of the main guest area, Hideaway Beach will offer a beach and pool, private cabanas, and dining venues when it opens in January 2024. A DJ will entertain near the Hideaway Pool, which will feature a swim-up bar, in-water seating, and an infinity edge.

Royal Caribbean's Hideaway Beach
Royal Caribbean’s Hideaway Beach

Dining venues at Hideaway Beach will include Slice of Paradise, a rustic pizza restaurant, and the Snack Shack, offering burgers and sandwiches. Both eateries are complimentary.

There also will be an even-more-exclusive area within Hideaway Beach, called the Hideout, offering 10 cabanas, a plunge pool, in-water loungers, and other luxe amenities.

The opening of Hideaway Beach is scheduled to coincide with the inaugural sailing of Royal Caribbean’s new ship, Icon of the Seas, which will sail Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami. All sailings will call at CocoCay.

There is expected to be a fee to enter the new adults-only area, although the line has not yet released the per-person cost. Unconfirmed reports point to a day pass charge of $45 to $75.

Cruise Ship Narrowly Averts Accident in Baltic Sea

An investigation is underway into how a TUI Cruises ship sailed into a restricted area in Fehmarn Belt, a strait in the western Baltic Sea between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland.

The 2,500-guest Mein Schiff 4 was sailing from Kiel, Germany, to Gdynia, Poland, on September 5, 2023, when she came dangerously close to a dredging vessel helping to build a tunnel between Germany and Denmark.

The ship came to within about 150 meters of the manned dredge, while a safety radius of 926 meters was in effect. The crew of the dredge released its anchor chains to prevent a direct accident.

TUI Cruises Mein Schiff 4
TUI Cruises Mein Schiff 4 (Photo Credit: Alexandre Prevot / Shutterstock)

Following the incident, local law enforcement boarded the cruise ship, and began criminal proceedings against the captain and first officer of Mein Schiff 4 on charges of negligently endangering maritime traffic. A conviction could result in a fine for the officers and/or up to two years in prison.

It remains unclear how the near-accident happened since cruise ships have GPS systems and all vessels must make themselves known to maritime traffic control centers. The investigation is expected to address why safety protocols enabled the cruise ship to enter the restricted zone.

Cruise Line Opens More Icon of the Seas Bookings

Royal Caribbean’s soon-to-debut ship, Icon of the Seas, is proving so popular with cruisers that the line opened bookings for sailings into spring 2026.

The ship, which will launch in January 2024, is the only vessel in the fleet with bookings already available so far in advance. Icon of the Seas will become the world’s largest cruise ship, with a guest capacity of 7,600 and a crew of 2,300.

The 250,800-gross ton ship is under construction at at the Meyer-Turku shipyard in Finland. Bookings originally opened in fall of 2022.

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas

Cruise line officials said the response from guests has been unprecedented, prompting Royal Caribbean to make even more sailings available for booking. When she debuts in January, Icon of the Seas will homeport in Miami.

She will operate three Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day at CocoCay itineraries, with calls at Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. On Western Caribbean & Perfect Day at CocoCay itineraries, the ship will call at Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Roatan, Honduras.

The highly-anticipated mega-ship will be Royal Caribbean’s first to be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG).

Carnival Cruise Line Alters Nine Itineraries

Itinerary changes are a way of life in the cruise industry, and they just keep coming. Carnival Cruise Line detailed itinerary alterations on nine voyages that three ships will sail in late 2024 and early 2025.

No reasons for the changes were provided to guests, but Carnival Cruise Line will refund any shore excursions already booked to destinations removed from the ships’ itineraries. The changes are considered minor, such as adding or deleting a port call, reversing port calls, and altering the time in port, for example.

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship
Carnival Magic Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Mariusz Lopusiewicz / Shutterstock)

Five cruises onboard the 2,984-guest Carnival Sunrise were altered. Sailing from Miami, the affected departure dates are October 24, November 16 and November 21, and December 5, all in 2024, plus January 11, 2025.

Three voyages aboard the 3,690-guest Carnival Magic have changed, all in 2024, with departure dates of October 27, November 24, and December 8.

One sailing aboard Carnival Firenze, due to depart April 7, 2025, was adjusted to reflect a reversal of port call visits in the Mexican Riviera from Long Beach, California.

The ship is not yet officially part of the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. It is a Costa Cruises’ ship that will transfer to Carnival Cruise Line in early 2024.

Carnival Cruise Line Expanding Family Feud Live

Family Feud Live, the popular game show featured aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, will expand to a dozen more ships in the next year.

The show, based on the long-running TV version, debuted on Mardi Gras when she entered service in 2021. The show proved extremely popular with guests and was soon staged on Carnival Celebration.

Carnival Vista and Carnival Legend will begin featuring the interactive show this month, on their September 16 and September 30 sailings, respectively. Later in 2023, Carnival Pride will debut the show on her November 19 departure, followed by Carnival Miracle on December 14, and Carnival Jubilee on December 23.

Carnival Cruise Line family Feud
Carnival Cruise Line family Feud

Through 2024, seven more ships will present the show, with different start dates. Early in the year, Carnival Panorama and Carnival Horizon will debut Family Feud Live on their March 2 and March 30 sailings, respectively, for example.

Later in 2024, Carnival Magic, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Luminosa, and Carnival Dream will launch the production. In the show, two 5-person teams try to answers survey questions to win points. The cruise production differs from the TV show in that contestants do not have to be family members.

Missing Guest Emergency: Was It Mishandled?

A guest who was onboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest when a man was reported missing is gaining plenty of attention with her TikTok video, which questions why she, and perhaps others, were not aware of the emergency at the time it unfolded.

The missing man, Kevin McGrath, was reported missing at 7 a.m. on September 4, 2023, as the ship returned from a 3-night cruise to the Bahamas. Ship officials could not locate McGrath during debarkation at PortMiami.

The TikTok video, posted by guest Jenn Lyles, questions how ship officials handled the case, saying that she was not informed there was a missing passenger.

Carnival Questioned Over Missing Passenger

In fact, she knew nothing of the situation until she saw a news media report later. Her video has received 653,000 views, 50,000 likes, and 2,000 comments.

“Like, I got an email this morning from Carnival that was like, here’s a survey; tell us how your cruise was. How about an email that says, ‘Hey, there’s a guy missing. Did you see him?” she says in her TikTok post.

Once McGrath was reported missing, the US Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue operation covering some 3,300 square nautical miles around the port area. But the missing man has not been located.

More Cruise Headlines

If you think that was all the news Cruise Hive has for you this week, think again. We’ve got even more news you won’t want to miss, including Oceania Cruises unveiling a series of holiday sailings, the Ocean Explorer expedition ship becoming stuck and then freed in the waters off Greenland, a small port in Maine taking steps to boost cruise ship visits, Seabourn unveiling Seabourn Pursuit’s 2024 South Pacific itineraries, and Royal Caribbean completing repairs to Radiance of the Seas.


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