The keels were laid recently for Crystal River Cruises next two river vessels: Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel. The ships will debut in the spring of 2018.Contributed by Crystal River Cruises

When Holland America’s newest ship, Nieuw Statendam, makes her premiere voyage in December 2018 from Rome, she’ll head directly to her new home in Fort Lauderdale.

Once in South Florida, the second Pinnacle Class ship in HAL’s fleet will spend the winter season cruising on seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with a few variations.

The 2,666-passenger ship’s first cruise from her home port will be a four-day voyage stopping at the private island of Half Moon Cay and Key West. Bliss!

After that, Nieuw Statendam will begin sailing seven-day itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Looking for a longer vacation? A 10-day cruise departs Jan. 20, 2019 and calls on Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic and the ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

A three-day getaway for beach lovers sails Jan. 30 and goes to Half Moon Cay. The perfect trip to get your feet wet — literally and figuratively — if you’re new to cruising.

The rest of the season, the ship will continue with seven-day cruises.

Of course there is always the option to jump on board for the 14-day premiere voyage, which calls on Cartagena and Málaga, Spain, and Funchal, Madeira, before crossing the Atlantic.

Bookings are now open for the new ship. Visit for more details.

CALLING ON CUBA: Azamara Club Cruises has an impressive lineup of cruises to Cuba, sailing from PortMiami aboard Azamara Quest.

A seven-night Havana Discovery Voyage departs Nov. 20 and calls on Key West before heading to Cuba, where there’s an overnight stay in Havana. The ship also stops in Cozumel Mexico for an overnight visit.

Or take a short hop to the island on Nov. 27 with a four-night cruise that stays in Havana overnight.

A 10-night “Cuba Intensive” voyage is planned for March 9, 2018, with the first port of call in Haiti. The ship then heads to Cuba with stops in Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and three full days in Havana.

A nine-night cruise March 19 will call on Havana, Grand Cayman, Santiago de Cuba and Haiti.

Wrapping up the season will be a 10-night sailing visiting Key West, Havana (three days), Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba.

Azamara Journey will take over the Cuba voyages in the fall of 2018 and into 2019.

Also making plans for cruises to Cuba: Holland America Line.

Veendam, one of the line’s smaller ships, will be sailing from Fort Lauderdale beginning in December, offering seven-day itineraries that include Havana. Three longer cruises will include a stop in the Cuban port of Cienfuegos as well.

Bookings are open!

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE: Carnival Studios, a high-tech, 44,500-square-foot rehearsal venue for Carnival Cruise Line entertainment, was unveiled recently in Davie — not far from the cruise line’s Miami headquarters.

The facility includes eight dedicated music studios, five full-stage dance studios, a training room, green room and offices for the line’s entertainment department.

Now entire bands, casts and technical teams can be brought together shoreside for rehearsals — and work with talent from Broadway, Las Vegas and London’s West End.

The site will also provide opportunities for the creative team to conceptualize new shows.

NEW SHIP NEWS: Norwegian Cruise Line and Meyer Werft celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss at the shipyard’s facility in Papenburg, Germany on May 24.

Andy Stuart, Norwegian’s president and CEO, laid the traditional lucky coin — etched with the outline of the ship’s signature hull designed by wildlife artist Wyland — before the block was lowered into place.

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will accommodate 4,000 guests and will sail seven-day Alaska cruises during her inaugural season. And like a snowbird, she’ll spend the winters in Miami.

Meanwhile, on the same day over at the MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, Germany, the keels were laid for Crystal River Cruises’ next two river vessels: Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel.

In spring 2018, the two all-balcony, all-suite vessels are set to embark on their maiden voyages along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.

American Cruise Lines’ newest ship, American Constellation, sailed out of Boston May 23 on its inaugural Grand New England cruise.

The ship, which accommodates 175 guests, was designed to navigate coastal waterways. After spending the remainder of 2017 on the East Coast, the ship will move west for 2018.

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