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    Margaritaville on the Norwegian Escape is the first in the brand to be built for a ship.
    A rendering of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville on Norwegian Escape/Norwegian Cruise Line

    Weather. The global political situation. New industry developments. It all impacts the world of cruising. Here’s a quick look at what’s new this week in cruising, and how it could impact your next trip.

    • We’ve just returned from seeing Norwegian Cruise Line‘s 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape under construction in Germany, and even though our tour involved dangling wires, hard hats, and unfurnished spaces, we can predict the District Brew House will be a favorite hangout spot among guests. The beer hall has an urban vibe with brick walls and a windowed greenhouse area, where passengers can watch the sea while enjoying a cold brew. The ship’s three-story ropes course is another wow, with 99 challenges, including the chance to walk a plank off the ship — wearing a harness, of course. Other thrills include the Aqua Park and the first Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at sea. Now doing its sea trials, the ship debuts in Miami this November.

    • Much to the relief of cruising parents and kids, Po, Shrek, Fiona, Puss In Boots, and other DreamWorks Animation characters will be onboard Royal Caribbean‘s Anthem of the Seas, appearing at meet-and-greets and character breakfasts when the ship debuts on cruises from its new homeport of Bayonne, NJ in November.
    • Ready for some romance? The “Love Boat” ships will play host to romance authors like Carolyn Brown and Heather Burch on two special sailings to the Eastern Caribbean, as part of a partnership between Princess Cruises and Kindle Love Stories. The first is a five-night voyage aboard the Regal Princess, departing from Fort Lauderdale on November 3, while the Royal Princess will embark on a seven-night cruise on February 8, 2016. On board, fans can join book club events from meet-and-greets and signings to discussions and more. Plus, readers will soon have an opportunity to download cruise-inspired short stories by three romance novelists. Special sailings are priced from $449 per person in a balcony stateroom.
    • Just call her Captain. Kate McCue officially took the helm of Celebrity Cruises‘ 2,158-passenger Celebrity Summit on Sunday, the first American woman to captain a big cruise ship.


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