Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pearl Seas Cruises' Pearl Mist Inaugural Delayed Again

Pearl Seas Cruises canceled the 2009 Canadian inaugural season of Pearl Mist, citing ‘deficiencies recently discovered during sea trials, quality issues and construction delays.’ The vessel has been repeatedly delayed during its construction at Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax.

Passengers booked on the canceled 2009 cruises have the option of receiving a full refund of their deposits or rebooking for a later cruise.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

TUI Cruises Names New Ship "Mein Schiff"

May 15, 2009 -- Mein Schiff (My Ship), the first ship in the new TUI Cruises fleet, was named today in Hamburg, Germany, in a celebration that marked a significant step for the joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and TUI AG.

The new brand is designed to serve the Germany cruise market, where some 906,000 Germans took cruises in 2008, and where that number is forecast to increase by 11 percent in 2009.
Following a short inaugural cruise, Mein Schiff will sail in the Baltic for the 2009 summer season (May through October). It will offer two- to 14-nights sailings from ports such as Kiel and Hamburg, Germany, and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The ship then will reposition to the Caribbean for winter (November 2009 through April 2010), home-porting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

During 2010 and 2011, Mein Schiff also will sail itineraries in the Nordic Seas, reaching the far coasts of the Faroe Islands and Iceland, as well as the eastern and western Mediterranean, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar to visit the Canary Islands and Morocco.

“We are honoured to welcome Mein Schiff as a new benchmark in the European cruise market,” said Michael Bayley, senior vice president, International, for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "The launching of TUI Cruises’ first ship is a significant milestone in the relationship between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and TUI AG. We have an outstanding partnership in TUI Cruises, which will provide extraordinary holidays for its German guests. We look forward to helping the new brand grow and prosper.”

“The naming of our first ship and her first sailing for us are significant achievements for our new brand,” said Richard J. Vogal, chief executive officer of TUI Cruises. “This is a great day in the history of German cruising and it highlights our outstanding partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Together, we’ve done an excellent job rejuvenating Mein Schiff in just 38 days, and the results are stunning. We look forward to providing an entirely new level of service and enjoyment to our guests.”

The 1,914-guest Mein Schiff was formerly Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Galaxy. The ship left the Celebrity fleet on March 16, 2009, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her transformation began during her crossing from the Caribbean to Europe and was completed in 38 days. The ship is now tailored to German guests, their tastes in food, entertainment and amenities, and it will provide a contemporary/premium cruise experience.

“TUI Cruises is another strategic step in our efforts to meet the growing international demand for cruising,” said Bayley. “It will provide more options to German cruisers and assist in growing that market. In 2009, our five wholly owned brands will have an unprecedented 22 ships deployed in Europe. When combined with TUI Cruises, this provides more choices than ever before to the European cruise market."

A national naming contest attracted over 30,000 suggestions for the name of TUI Cruises’ new ship. Mein Schiff (or My Ship, in English) was the overwhelming winner.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and TUI AG announced their intentions to form TUI Cruises on December 10, 2007. Each company holds a 50 percent interest in the joint venture.

Friday, May 29, 2009

How Much Does An Epic Cost?

Norwegian Cruise Lines', 150,000 ton Norwegian Epic will be the largest ship in the NCL fleet when she is delivered in the summer of 2010. The 4,200 passenger, 1,080 ft long ship was originally one of an order of three ships to be built by Aker Yards (now STX France).

Due to spiraling costs, which the yard blamed on changes requested by NCL. The price of the single ship has increased from $940 Million to $1.2 Billion. At this price, the Norwegian Epic costs about $285,000 per berth.
NCL has already declined the option for a second ship and was forced to pay penalties in excess of $128 Million. The possibility of a third ship seems to be an impossibility since the discussions between STX France and NCL were somewhat combative over the price for the Norwegian Epic.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Luxury Operator Crystal Cruises Antartica Farewell

May 21, 2009 – This holiday season marks the last call for Crystal Cruises’ award-winning ships to Antarctica. Beginning in 2011, a proposed ban on the carriage of certain fuel oils on board will effectively prohibit the sailing of most passenger vessels in the Antarctic.

Crystal Symphony’s December 20 Christmas/New Year cruise is the only time Crystal will be cruising the region in 2009 and 2010. The 19-day journey departs from Buenos Aires to Valparaíso with visits to several ports in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, including the breathtaking Chilean Fjords and Cape Horn.
“There’s no more exciting destination to spend the holidays than Antarctica, among the snow and stunning wildlife,” says Bill Smith, senior vice president, sales and marketing. “Additionally, while Antarctica can offer a magical ‘white Christmas,’ it’s summer in South America, allowing guests to enjoy two beautiful seasons on the same itinerary.”
Ashore, adventurous guests have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly to King George Island and walk on Antarctica, take a helicopter to a humpback whale sanctuary, enjoy a 4 x 4 expedition to a King penguin colony, and trek the mountains of Chile.
The Antarctic Holiday cruise can be taken as part of a 62-day voyage, roundtrip from Miami that makes a complete circumference of South America, including an exploration of the Amazon. Guests can customize their vacation with an All Inclusive – As You Wish spending credit of up to $6,000 per couple.
Visit the line’s website, crystalcruises.com.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CruiseWest Offers Epic Year-Long World Cruise.

~Ground Breaking Journey Will Visit 242 Ports, 59 Countries on 24 Voyages~

Seattle, WA – Marco Polo; Odysseus; Leif Eriksson; Christopher Columbus; James Cook; Ferdinand Magellan -- history’s great sea explorers have inspired an epic global voyage destined to become the most memorable cruise of a lifetime.

These legendary adventurers whose travels shaped much of the known and the new world set the theme for Cruise West’s Voyages of the Great Explorers -- a 335-day circumnavigation of the world. Departing Singapore on March 6, 2010, Cruise West’s flagship, the 120-guest, all-suite Spirit of Oceanus will sail westward, following the sun, to return to Singapore on February 3, 2011.

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." St. Augustine’s words will come to life on the worldwide itinerary of the Voyages of the Great Explorers. Following the major routes inspired by history’s great ocean explorers, this new world voyage is a collection of 24 individual voyages within six themed "chapters" comprising one awe inspiring "book" that reflects the exploits of the legendary seafarers. Each distinct voyage, ranging from nine to 18 nights, will offer historical insights into the sea commanders who first made history along the same routes.

Drawing from its 63 years of tour and cruise experience, Cruise West promises one-of-a-kind voyages that will appeal to the history buff as well as the bold seafarer; traveling to places and sites that many people have only dreamed to venture.

"No other cruise line – big or small -- offers a journey as long or as varied as Voyages of the Great Explorers," said Richard West, managing director and chairman of Cruise West who will host the inaugural departure from Singapore. "A true explorer knows that smaller is better. These voyages are designed to visit remarkable destinations; waterways and sites during the best time of the year, and only a small exploration ship can access many of these destinations. Our guests also appreciate the casual but gracious environment that the Spirit of Oceanus provides."

The Voyages of the Great Explorers includes visits to 242 ports of call in 59 countries and 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites while crossing 14 seas and oceans, transiting three canals -- Port Suez/Port Said (Suez Canal transit); Corinth Canal/ Corinth (Mycenae/Nafplion); and the Colon/ Panama Canal – as well as a voyage tied to The Famed Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scotland’s colorful military musical spectacular.

Further exploration by Zodiacs and included "Ultimate Explorer " experiences will bring guests even closer to spectacular natural and historical wonders. A hallmark of the Cruise West experience is engaging and thought-provoking presentations aboard every sailing. These cruises will boast renowned guest lecturers, local experts and onboard Exploration Leaders who will expand upon the significance of the cultural and historical highlights as well as the explorers who left their mark.
More information about these voyages can be found online at www.cruisewest.com.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Visit to the MSC Orchestra

In the month of May I had the pleasure of visiting the MSC Orchestra on her recent visit to New York.

I was very impressed with the ship, the company philosophy and the value for the money.

To read more on the MSC Orchestra and a full review of the ship, please click the link below.

Read MSC Orchestra Review.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Peaceboat Charters Oceanic

Previously owned and operated by Pullmantur, the Oceanic has been sold to a Panamanian company which has long term chartered the ship to Japan's Peaceboat.org.

The Oceanic, which started her career as the Oceanic for the legendary Home Lines, has had a splendid career, sailing for Home Lines, Premier Cruises and Pullmantur.
Under charter to Peaceboat, the ship is sailing world wide itineraries (a first for the ship) and is currently sailing on her first voyage.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

MSC Cruises Adds Pre-Christening Voyage on the MSC Splendida

(May 19, 2009)—Spend this Independence Day on board MSC Splendida, the second in MSC Cruises’ luxurious “Fantasia” class of cruise ships, for its pre-christening voyage from St. Nazaire, France to Barcelona, Spain. Cruise-only rates begin at $549 per person, double occupancy, for residents of the U.S. and Canada. As with all MSC Cruises’ sailings, kids 17 and younger sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults.
This once-in-a-lifetime, 7-night experience on board MSC Splendida departs on July 4, 2009 from St. Nazaire, France visiting Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Malaga, Spain; Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands/Spain; Marseille, France; and Barcelona, Spain. Like her sister ship MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida will feature the MSC Yacht Club, offering private suites and luxurious facilities. With MSC Yacht Club accommodations, guests indulge in comfort and convenience; from their own personal Butler trained to the rigorous standards of the International Butler Academy to complimentary beverages available any time of the day in the MSC Yacht Club’s exclusive lounges and pool area.
Also, MSC Splendida will feature an “Aurea Spa” well-being center, 4 restaurants and 2 buffets, including a speciality Mexican restaurant; numerous bars (including a sports bar, wine bar, coffee bar and Jazz bar), shops, casino, disco, mini-bowling lanes, Formula 1™ simulator and a 4D cinema. Kids can enjoy a water slide that straddles two decks within the amazing scenic views and an Aqua Park with 150 fountains and water jets that will light up at night to the rhythm of music. There will also be a fun area for Mini-Club, Junior Club and Teenager Club guests.
For more information about MSC Cruises’ pre-christening voyage on MSC Splendida, visit http://www.msccruisesusa.com/

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Costa Adds Costa Classica to Asian Operations

Costa Cruise has doubled the number of ships deployed in Asia with the addition of the larger Costa Classica joining her sister the Costa Allegra.

The 1,680 passenger Costa Classica joins the 1,000 passenger Allegra for year round sailings which were started by the Allegra in 2006.
The Classica which spent the winter in Dubai, sailed directly to Singapore for her first cruise.
Since Costa started sailing in Asia they have carried approximately 100,000 passengers with half of them of Chinese origin.
Costa will be offering short cruises as well as cruises as long as 15-days.
Showing confidence in the success of their Asian operation, Costa plan to replace the smaller Allegra with the Costa Romantica - the identical sister ship to the Costa Classica.

Royal Caribbean Adds Flexible Dining Options.

April 27, 2009 – Royal Caribbean International today announced enhancements to the cruise line’s dining program, offering guests greater flexibility, personalization and convenience. With the introduction of new flexible dining programs called My Time Dining and My Family Time Dining for kids and other enhancements, guests will now have a diverse variety of choices to dine at whichever time and however they wish, in addition to the cruise line’s traditional dining, casual or specialty dining, and in-stateroom service offerings. The new dining program is available immediately fleetwide.

“We are thrilled to offer guests more flexible dining options with My Time Dining and My Family Time Dining,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “Guests can now choose to enjoy the dining room experience with our renowned Gold Anchor Service during traditional dining times or with even greater flexibility through our new My Time Dining and My Family Time Dining programs. Feedback during the piloting of these programs has been very positive with many of our guests even comparing the level of personal service and recognition from our staff to that of their favorite restaurant at home.”

My Time Dining, which Royal Caribbean has piloted on select ships since early 2008, provides guests with the flexibility to enjoy dinner in the main dining room whenever they wish during dining hours. Guests choosing My Time Dining will not have a pre-assigned table, but will be seated in the ship’s main dining room; order from the same traditional dinner menu; and enjoy the same impeccable Gold Anchor Service for which Royal Caribbean is known. My Time Dining guests can make daily reservations for specific seating times or choose to walk-in. Guests can be seated with the party they arrive with, request to be seated with other guests or dine alone. To ensure a smooth and undisrupted experience, no additional guests will be seated at a table once dinner service has begun. Guests choosing My Time Dining must prepay gratuities and enroll onboard or in advance through Royal Caribbean's Website or the cruise line’s reservations department. Travel agents can enroll their customers for My Time Dining through Royal Caribbean’s reservations department currently for select ships and via booking tools for all ships beginning May 10.

As part of the recently announced new family program, My Family Time Dining will offer an expedited 40-minute dinner experience during the first seating in the main dining room for kids, ages 3-11, enrolled in the Adventure Ocean youth program. Once seated, kids will enjoy expedited service and be immediately served. Forty-five minutes into the seating, a youth counselor will escort kids from the main dining room entrance back to the Adventure Ocean spaces for continued evening activities, allowing parents to enjoy the rest of their dinner at their leisure. For more convenience to parents and more fun for kids, Lunch and Play provides kids in Adventure Ocean with lunch, movies, cartoons and free-play time between noon and 2 p.m. under the supervision of Adventure Ocean counselors. There is a charge of $7.95 per child for the Lunch and Play program.

Guests wanting to enjoy a meal in the comfort of their staterooms now can select from Royal Caribbean’s new Dine In Delights menu,in addition to complimentary full breakfast, lunch and dinner room service menus. The Dine In Delights menu offers guests name-brand food options including The Original Johnny Rockets hamburger; Eli’s Cheesecake Company’s Original Cheesecake; Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked and Cherry Garcia ice cream bars; and Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie with Milk. Dine In Delights are available 24 hours a day for an additional charge each. A service charge of $3.95 will be added to all in-room deliveries during the hours between midnight and 5 a.m.

Guests can take advantage of new convenient features on Royal Caribbean's Website to make dinner reservations in the cruise line’s specialty restaurants or pre-order beverages for a more carefree vacation experience. The specialty restaurants, Chops Grille Steakhouse and Portofino Italian restaurant, are available on select ships and offer an intimate dining atmosphere and the choicest ingredients, individually and attentively cooked to perfection. A $20 per person service charge applies for guests dining in Portofino and $25 per person in Chops Grille. Guests also can pre-order a variety of wine, bottled water, juices and soda packages for their cruise and enjoy savings off onboard listed prices.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Celebrity Millennium to Undergo $10 Million Dollar Refit

May 13, 2009 – Known for its exceptional style and design, Celebrity Cruises is rolling out a series of new design schemes on Celebrity Millennium during a $10-million refresh this year, beginning during its scheduled drydock period this week.

Consistently ranked among the top 10 large ships in the world since its launch in 2000 – and so beloved by cruise enthusiasts that she’s been affectionately dubbed “Millie” in social networking venues – Celebrity Millennium will emerge May 22 from a 12-day drydock in Victoria, B.C., with new carpeting throughout the entire ship, and new upholstery embellishing every stylish stateroom, the Lido deck, the Celebrity Theatre, and the dramatic, sweeping main dining room.

All marble and stone floors and counter areas will be renewed with a gleaming finish, and all wood hand rails on the ship’s verandas and pool deck areas will be newly varnished.

Celebrity Millennium’s sun worshipers are likely to take notice of the work completed in exterior areas, too, as new bolidt – an alternative to traditional teak decking – is being installed across the pool deck, outdoor stage, dance floor and jogging track.

Every suite will be equipped with 32-inch LED flat-panel TVs, while every plush ConciergeClass stateroom will boast 26-inch versions of the high-tech product. Additionally, new drapes, bed skirts and bed throws in warm, natural hues will further enhance every suite and stateroom.

By October of this year, new upholstery also will adorn furnishings in the ship’s retail areas, the sweeping Grand Foyer, and every lounge, including Celebrity’s chic, signature Martini Bar, and all staterooms will boast 26-inch LED flat-panel TVs.
The newly-refreshed Celebrity Millennium embarks on this year’s Alaska season May 22, on a seven-night cruise roundtrip from Vancouver, B.C., prior to a series of seven-night Southbound Alaska sailings to and from Vancouver and Seward, Alaska, through September.
Travelers eager to experience the refreshed Celebrity Millennium have no better opportunity than now, with select staterooms on several Alaska sailings starting at $57 per person per day, when booked by May 31, through “The Celebrity Starring You Promise.”

Celebrity Millennium also presents the opportunity to delve deeper into Alaska’s breathtaking wilderness on unique Celebrity Cruisetour vacations. These in-depth packages pair a spectacular Celebrity cruise with a fully escorted pre- or post-cruise land-based experience, and offer unsurpassed values this spring and summer.

Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale vacation experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for four of the top 10 "Top Cruise Ships in the World" in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (February 2009 readers’ poll), Celebrity’s fleet – including the new Celebrity Solstice – will be joined by Celebrity Equinox this year, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Crystal Cruises Luxury Crystal Symphony Golf Cruise

May 11, 2009 – Always improving its game, luxury specialist Crystal Cruises has added four new exclusive golf clubs to its heady roster of courses with Crystal Symphony’s August 23, Experiences of Discovery Golf cruise through the British Isles. In addition to Scotland’s Gleneagles King’s Course and Northern Ireland’s Royal Belfast Golf Club, the new clubs include Carden Park Golf Club (Liverpool); Mount Juliet (Waterford); Druid’s Glen (Dublin); and Gleneagles Queen’s Golf Course (Edinburgh).

The itinerary is a golfer’s dream, with play in virtually every port at the region’s most coveted courses, as well as a host of convenient perks and onboard activities. Even non-golfers will find dozens of optional shore-side Crystal Adventures in Edinburgh, Belfast, Liverpool, Dublin and Waterford and Guernsey, Channel Islands on the 11-day itinerary round-trip from London.
“This cruise offers golfers play at some very exclusive courses in the very birthplace of the game, with the assurance that Crystal has attended to every last detail,” says John Stoll, director, land programs. “Also, on board and ashore, couples and families with varied interests can explore different things during the day and meet up later to share their experiences.
”On board, guests can get tips and instruction on swings and techniques from PGA winner Billy Casper, and John Clark, a PGA pro who operates Crystal’s golf program, featuring TaylorMade equipment. Crystal’s golf program includes:
  • A VIP Golfers welcome cocktail reception;

  • Welcome kits, including scheduled golf events, balls and tees, logo apparel and course layouts, pars and hole lengths;

  • Friendly competition, including a “A Hole in One” contest awarding the winner a complimentary cruise;

  • Transport to/from each course accompanied by a Crystal escort or pro;

  • 45-minute warm-up and pre-round refreshments, as well as post-round cocktails;

  • Complimentary storage and cleaning of clubs and shoes after play.

Guests can eliminate the hassle of traveling with equipment by conveniently shipping their clubs with Luggage Concierge. Value priced, cruise fares start at $5,390, per person, double occupancy plus an All Inclusive – As You Wish $1,000 per person spending credit. Reduced upgrade airfares are also available. Golf excursions start at $338 per person.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Royal Caribbean Announces 2010/2011 Caribbean Cruise.

MIAMI, May 7, 2009 – Royal Caribbean International today announced 101 seasonal Caribbean sailings for the 2010-11 winter and spring seasons. Seven ships – Adventure of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas Jewel of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and Voyager of the Seas – will offer 31 distinct itineraries, ranging from seven to 14 nights, and call at 28 unique ports. Vacationers can choose convenient departures from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J.; Baltimore, Md.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Galveston, Texas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Colón, Panama. Bookings for Royal Caribbean’s 2010-11 seasonal Caribbean cruise vacations are now open.

Guests also can purchase exciting shore excursion options for unforgettable experiences during days in port. In Belize, guests can fly through the rainforest via zip-line and drift leisurely on inner tubes through underground river caves on Cave Tubing & Aerial Trek. Guests can take on the Class II+ Reventazon River rapids in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, on the Whitewater Rafting & Tropical Garden excursion. For a more reflective experience, Coastal Cruise to the Pitons offers guests a relaxing sailing along St. Lucia’s coastline to the island’s famed 2,600-ft. high peaks. On certain itineraries, guests will enjoy a call at Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise on Haiti’s northern coast, where they can select from a myriad of water sports, like snorkeling, parasailing and kayaking.

With the year-round deployment of Enchantment of the Seas to Baltimore, Royal Caribbean will resume seasonal service in Colón, Panama with Grandeur of the Seas, alternating seven-night Western and Southern Caribbean itineraries between November 2010 and April 2011. The season will begin with a special six-night Western Caribbean repositioning sailing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on November 1, 2010. Grandeur of the Seas will then alternate a new Western Caribbean itinerary – featuring calls at Cartagena, Colombia; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; and Honduras – with a Southern Caribbean itinerary visiting two ports in Colombia and the ABC Islands, made highly successful by Enchantment of the Seas in preceding seasons. Enchantment of the Seas, meanwhile, will alternate two new itineraries from Baltimore: nine-night Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean voyage.

Departing on October 30, 2010, Jewel of the Seas willreposition from Boston on a 13-night Special Caribbean itinerary to Port Everglades, its new homeport. It will then alternate a 10- and an 11-night Ultimate Caribbean & Panama itinerary, which are similar to those offered during the 2009-10 season.

Adventure of the Seas willreturn to San Juan in December 2010, after its inaugural European season. The ship will alternate two seven-night Southern Caribbean roundtrip itineraries – departing on Sundays – and mirror the ship’s current year-round itineraries from San Juan. Two special holiday sailings will feature maiden calls by Adventure of the Seas: Grenada and Tortola on the December 19, 2010 sailing; and St. Kitts on the December 26 itinerary. Simultaneously, Serenade of the Seas will continue its year-round service from San Juan, alternating two seven-night Southern Caribbean itineraries, but will depart on Saturdays rather than its summer Sunday departures.

Voyager of the Seas will return to Galveston on November 21, 2010, and alternate two seven-night Western Caribbean roundtrip itineraries. For 2011 sailings, the ship will call at the new port of Falmouth instead of Montego Bay on itineraries that include Jamaica.
Explorer of the Seas will continue to offer five- to 14-night sailings year-round from Cape Liberty, a convenient port in the New York City metropolitan area. Beginning with the December 19, 2010 sailing, the ship will debut a new 12-night Southern Caribbean itinerary and offer two special 14-night Southern Caribbean itineraries, departing on December 19, 2010 – for the year-end holidays – and January 2, 2011.

Onboard every Royal Caribbean ship, guests enjoy the cruise line’s award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions, acclaimed Adventure Ocean kids and teen programming, world-class gaming in the Casino Royale, and Royal Caribbean’s renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service from every staff and crew member.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

NCL Reveals Norwegian Epic Hull Art

May 7, 2009 – Norwegian Cruise Line today unveiled the contemporary hull design which will adorn Norwegian Epic, the company's largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date, scheduled for delivery in May 2010.

In addition, the company will begin taking reservations for Norwegian Epic's2010/2011 inaugural season on Thursday, May 21, 2009, with a special preview day for Norwegian's past guests (Latitudes members) on Wednesday, May 20, 2009.
Norwegian Epic's hull artwork, designed by the company's internal marketing team, is painted on both sides with free form rolling waves of varying sizes that run through a modern color spectrum of lime, aqua, red, and purple and are dotted by silver circles.
Norwegian Epic's hull design is a departure from the rest of the line's signature hull artwork which typically is inspired by the ship's name or the destination the ship sails from. Instead, the hull artwork on Norwegian Epic takes on the characteristics of the ship's interior features – a sophisticated, modern and sleek design and color palette that is seen in everything from the innovative curved design of the New Wave staterooms to the more contemporary design of the ship's public areas.
"A Norwegian Cruise Line ship is instantly recognizable with its distinctive hull art that conveys each ship's personality and the freedom and flexibility that is found on board," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "With Norwegian Epic, we are taking Freestyle Cruising to the next level, so it is fitting that her hull artwork conveys more of the modern, sleek design guests will find once they are on board the ship.
"The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic incorporates many innovations including several new types of staterooms – the curved New Wave staterooms; the biggest ship-within-a-ship suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship; a new category of inside staterooms for the budget-conscious traveler – The Studios; and spa and family-friendly accommodations. The ship also boasts unique nightlife options with the first Ice Bar at sea; an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowlslide at sea -- The Epic Plunge; seven decks of Freestyle Family Fun with highlights including a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six in two venues; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; as well as three separate kids' and teen activity areas and the first squash court at sea. In addition, Norwegian Epic will offer the next generation of Freestyle Dining with 14 restaurant choices –the most at sea – and 18 bars and lounges.
Norwegian Epic is scheduled to sail year-round to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Miami, beginning in summer 2010. The ship's Western Caribbean itinerary includes calls in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras;and Cozumel, Mexico. Norwegian Epic's Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes calls in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and Nassau,Bahamas. These cruises go on sale to the public on May 21, 2009.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Luxury Operator SilverSea Offers Music Theme Cruises.

May 7, 2009 From fans of jazz and the Beatles to opera enthusiasts, virtually all music lovers will find Silversea is offering the perfect blend of culture and travel with its lineup of music theme sailings this year. During seven voyages exploring the British Isles and the Mediterranean, guests will have the chance to enjoy a vibrant onboard enrichment program that brings to life a sampling of the world's finest musical genres.

"We're delighted to be able to offer such a diverse array of music-focused enrichment programs," said Cliff Perry, director of entertainment for Silversea.
"These voyages are a great opportunity for guests to indulge both their love of music and passion for travel, and in the process discover the uniquely enriching lifestyle experience of Silversea."
Following below is a list of the music theme cruises by region: ]

MEDITERRANEAN

The London Festival Opera brings together some of the most established artists from major British opera companies and exceptional new singers. Its gifted soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and pianist have performed worldwide at leading venues such as Hampton Court Palace and the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice. Audiences have included the Queen of England and other members of the British royal family. Silversea guests will enjoy Italian and other opera favorites in performances and events that include a gala opera evening, a show entitled "A Night at the Opera," and a gourmet Italian dinner presented with serenading opera singers in the ship's main dining venue, The Restaurant, and La Terrazza, a specialty restaurant.
The London Festival Opera will be on board: --
VOYAGE 2917: Silver Wind, May 28 - June 6, Monte Carlo to Athens, 9 days. Destinations include Livorno, Sorrento, Crete, Rhodes, Marmaris, Kusadasi and Santorini. Early Booking Incentive fares start at $7,305. --
VOYAGE 2923: Silver Wind, July 28 - August 7, Monte Carlo to Rome, 10 days. Destinations include Portofino, Livorno, Barcelona, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca and Corsica. Silver Sailing fares start at $5,147. Fans of Cole Porter and Noel Coward will be transported back to the early 20th century when singer/pianist Bobby Nesbitt and lecturer/social historian David Garrard Lowe team up to present original musical theater programs exploring the works of these music masters. Written and narrated by Lowe and featuring songs performed by Nesbitt, the special enrichment programs will be featured as follows: "Cole Porter -- He's the Top" Musical Theater --
VOYAGE 4922: Silver Whisper, August 1- 8, Venice to Rome, 7 days. Destinations include Zadar, Kotor, Sicily and Lipari. Silver Sailing fares start at $4,197. "An Evening with Noel Coward" Musical Theater --
VOYAGE 4923: Silver Whisper, August 8 - 15, Rome to Monte Carlo, 7 days. Destinations include Sorrento, Livorno, Menton and Cassis. Silver Sailing fares start at $3,497. A rising star on the American music scene, Loston Harris blends traditional jazz riffs, gospel and blues with his own unique stylings. He performed as a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, led by multiple-Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis. Harris also appeared on public television in the U.S. on the PBS special "Portraits in Blue" with fellow pianist and bandleader Marcus Roberts. The exceptional talents of this gifted singer/pianist will be showcased aboard: --
VOYAGE 4925: Silver Whisper, August 22 - 29, Barcelona to Rome, 7 days. Destinations include Alicante, Malaga, Monte Carlo and Portofino. Silver Sailing fares start at $4,197. Place a flower in your hair and journey back to the Southern California pop music scene and carefree spirit of the 1960s with an original member of the legendary singing group the Mamas and the Papas as your host. Singer, songwriter and actress Michelle Phillips will tell the story of the Mamas and the Papas musical saga with film and music clips and her intimate knowledge of the group when she presents a special enrichment program aboard: --
VOYAGE 2934: Silver Wind, October 30 - November 9, Rome to Athens, 10 days. Destinations include Naples, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Crete, Rhodes, Kusadasi and Mykonos. Silver Sailing fares start at $4,897. BRITISH ISLES An exciting "Tribute to the Beatles" program will be presented by Joe Johnson, host of the popular "Beatles Brunch" radio show, broadcast in over 100 markets across the U.S. and Canada. The Bootleg Beatles, one of the world's most acclaimed Beatles tribute bands, is slated to perform a full-length Beatles show as part of the festivities. And Tony Bramwell, author of "Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles," will also join the program to share tales from his days as the Beatles' personal assistant. Other highlights will include a name-that-tune contest, a trivia game, a "Hard Day's Night" dance party, and Beatle Brunch Feast, a gala breakfast/luncheon featuring the music of the Fab Four and prizes. Johnson will also interview guests for a special edition of his radio program set to air later in the year. The Tribute to the Beatles will take place on: --
VOYAGE 1921: Silver Cloud, August 26 - September 5, London to London, 10 days. Destinations include Edinburgh, Invergordon, Oban, Dublin, Cork and Fowey. Silver Sailing fares start at $7,486. All fares listed above are per person based on double occupancy for a Vista Suite and do not include port charges and handling fees that can range from $175 to $275 per person on these sailings, depending on the itinerary.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Brilliance of the Seas 2011 Dubai Cruises

MAY 7, 2009 – Royal Caribbean International today announced Brilliance of the Seas’ 2011 return to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates following the cruise line’s 2010 inaugural season. The second consecutive seasonal sailings will comprise nine roundtrip sailings from January through March 2011, visiting some of the Arabian coast’s most intriguing destinations on a seven-night itinerary, with an overnight in Dubai at the beginning and end of each cruise. Vacationers also can choose a four-night cruisetour extension for an unforgettable 11-night Arabian adventure. Bookings for Royal Caribbean’s 2011 Dubai cruises and cruisetours are now open.

Available for both the 2010 and 2011 itineraries, the new four-night Arabian Explorer cruisetour vacation extension will offer guests a more thorough exploration of Dubai and the emirates of Raps Al Khaimah and Fujairah, the latter being the only emirate on the Gulf of Oman. Cruisetour guests will be escorted by a tour director and will experience the destinations via four-wheel drive, traveling to sand dunes, majestic mountainsides, mosques and tranquil, picturesque villages. Other highlights include camel racing and a sunset dinner at a Bedouin camp – all sandwiched in between an overnight stay in Dubai, for its superlative shopping opportunities, and a luxurious desert resort stay just outside the city.

The seven-night itinerary aboard Brilliance of the Seas will include calls at Fujairah and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Mina Sulman, Bahrain; and Oman’s capital city of Muscat. New for the 2011 season are two 12-night Dubai & India roundtrip sailings, departing on March 28 and April 9, which will include the ship’s maiden port calls at India’s Mumbai (Bombay), Goa (Mormugao) and Cochin.

Shore excursions for 2010 and 2011 itineraries, meanwhile, will provide equal doses of adventure and culture. In Dubai, guests can opt for four-wheel drive excursions that will transport them deep into the heart of the emirate’s deserts, and through the shifting sands of Abu Dhabi’s Al Khatim desert. Guests also can choose to ride Royal Arabian horses at Bahrain’s Royal Endurance village; snorkel under the crystal-clear Indian Ocean waters in Fujairah; revel in high tea at an Abu Dhabi palace; and discover Muscat’s souk, sultan’s palace and Portuguese forts.

Vacationers also can choose the 14- or 16-night repositioning itineraries between Barcelona and Dubai. The 14-night cruise, departing January 10, 2011, from Barcelona, will include a Suez Canal transit and calls at Egypt’s Alexandria and Safaga, and Jordan’s Aqaba. The 16-night voyage, leaving Dubai on April 21, will visit three Egyptian ports – Safaga, Sharm El Sheikh and Alexandria -- as well as Muscat and Aqaba.

Those vacationers interested in exploring the Middle East sooner rather than later can choose among 13 seven-night sailings available during Brilliance of the Seas’ inaugural Dubai season, offering the same itinerary from January through April 2010. Also on the 2010 season roster are 14-night repositioning cruises between Barcelona and Dubai via the Suez Canal, departing January 4 and April 19.

Brilliance of the Seas has a sleek profile and features vast expanses of open space, mirrored surfaces and glass paneling – nearly three acres of exterior glass. The open Centrum with ten-deck high windows and ocean-facing glass elevators offers guests breathtaking vistas of the passing landscape and sea. Among the ship’s unique features is a pair of ultra-high-tech, self-leveling pool tables in the Bombay Billiards Club.

Guests can enjoy many amenities found aboard Brilliance of the Seas, including three pools, 12 lounges and bars, the cruise line’s rock-climbing wall, nine-hole miniature golf course, an interactive golf simulator, and the 9,000-sq. ft. Brilliance Fitness Center and Day Spa. Guests also can enjoy a variety of dining choices with five onboard restaurants, including Royal Caribbean’s signature specialty restaurants, Chops Grille steakhouse and Portofino Italian restaurant; Minstrel main dining room; or the casual Windjammer Café and Seaview Café.
Brilliance of the Seas’ guests also will enjoy the cruise line’s award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions in the Pacifica Theater, complimentary Adventure Ocean kids and teen programming, world-class gaming in the Casino Royale, and Royal Caribbean’s Gold Anchor Service of friendly and engaging service from every staff and crew.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Princess 2010/2011 World Cruises

(May 7, 2009) – Princess Cruises once again spans the globe in 2010-11 with a new season of worldwide cruising to all seven continents. With the new program, passengers will be able to explore the charm of the South Pacific with an extended program on sailings to the romantic isles of Tahiti and French Polynesia, or enjoy a number of new routes in Australia, China, the Indian Ocean, Middle East, and a new world cruise itinerary. In addition, world explorers can take in the spectacular scenery of South America and Antarctica, or the jungles of the Amazon River.

In total, eight ships will sail to Africa, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific, India and South America.

Diamond Princess returns to Australia and Asia and features a new Australia & China itinerary sailing from Sydney to Beijing. The intimate Ocean Princess also sails throughout Asia with some intriguing longer routes, including a new holiday sailing from Singapore to Bangkok, and the opportunity to travel to India and Africa. Star Princess explores South America featuring a new holiday voyage to Antarctica sailing from Rio de Janeiro, while the intimate Pacific Princess explores the vastness of the Amazon River. Royal Princess offers more Tahiti and Hawaii sailings while Golden Princess explores the Hawaiian Islands from Los Angeles. For world travelers, Pacific Princess offers a new 107-day world cruise route featuring Western Australia and Cape Town via West Africa. Dawn Princess and Sun Princess continue year-round Australia-based cruising throughout the region.

Travelers will also have six new ports to explore, including Maputo, the capital of Mozambique; Toulon in the south of France providing access to charming Provence; Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE); Manila, the heart of the Philippines; and Xiamen, a charming Chinese seaport.

“Our decades of experience enabled us to design the very best ways to see these exotic destinations, whether passengers are exploring a new continent for the first time or are returning to delve deeper into the local culture.” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.

Princess’ 2010-11 worldwide cruise program includes:

Royal Princess to Tahiti and Hawaii – Royal Princess will offer an extended seven-month season sailing among the islands of the South Pacific tropical paradise. The ship will sail on 13 cruises on a 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia itinerary featuring Princess’ two-day experience in Bora Bora, an overnight stay in Tahiti (Papeete) and calls at Huahine, Rangiroa, Raiatea, and Moorea. The ship also sails on eight 12-day Hawaii & Tahiti voyages between Honolulu and Tahiti (Papeete), calling at Moorea, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Hilo, Maui (Lahaina), and Kauai (Nawiliwili). In addition, passengers can enjoy sailing the Pacific between Vancouver and Honolulu (or extend to Tahiti) on two 10-day journeys to Hilo, Kona, Maui (Lahaina), and Kauai (Nawiliwili). Royal Princess will sail in the region from September 14, 2010 to May 8, 2011.

Diamond Princess in Asia and Australia/New Zealand – Diamond Princess sails to Asia as well as Australia & New Zealand, with a variety of itineraries including a new 23-day Australia & China route from Sydney to Beijing. Other options include seven cruises on a 16-day Southeast Asia & China itinerary between Beijing and Bangkok (or Singapore), four departures on the favorite 12-day Australia & New Zealand cruise between Sydney and Auckland, a 17-day Eastern Australia & Asia cruise from Bangkok to Sydney, and two Alaska & Far East cruises between Anchorage and Beijing to begin and end the season. Diamond Princess sails from September 11, 2010 through May 6, 2011.

Ocean Princess Sailings to Asia, India and Africa – Ocean Princess offers the small-ship experience on a series of voyages throughout Asia, including new itineraries such as a 16-day South China Sea holiday sailing, a series of four 12-day China & Japan Explorer sailings now between Shanghai and Osaka, and a 39-day Indian Ocean and Middle East journey from Singapore to London (Dover). The ship will also offer a 31-day Africa, India and Southeast Asia voyage from Cape Town to Singapore with additional cruise options with up to 56 days to explore this destination. Sailings depart between October 27, 2010 and April 29, 2011.

Star Princess to South America and Antarctica – Star Princess offers a variety of South America journeys, including sailings around Cape Horn (between Santiago and Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires) and two Antarctica adventures. Among the options are a new 20-day Antarctica & South America Adventure from Rio to Buenos Aires, as well as a 16-day Antarctica journey roundtrip from Buenos Aires. The ship also sails on four 14-day Route to Rio sailings between Santiago and Rio de Janeiro, one 12-day Cape Horn & Strait of Magellan sailing from Buenos Aires to Santiago and a 16-day Andes & South America sailing from Santiago to San Francisco. Star Princess’ South America season runs from December 20, 2010 to April 3, 2011.

Pacific Princess through the Amazon – Pacific Princess will offer two sailings on a 14-day Amazon River adventure between Ft. Lauderdale and Manaus, Brazil. The ship will visit St. Thomas (or St. Maarten), St. Lucia, Tobago, Devil's Island (Île Royale), and the Amazon ports of Santarém, Boca da Valéria, and Parintins plus an overnight visit to Manaus. Pacific Princess sails on December 22, 2010 and January 5, 2011.

Golden Princess to Hawaii – Golden Princess again sails on Princess’ popular Hawaii route, offering convenient 14-day roundtrip sailings from the port of Los Angeles. The itinerary features visits to the Big Island (Hilo), Honolulu, Kauai (Nawiliwili), and Maui (Lahaina). Golden Princess will sail on 16 departures between September 29, 2010 through April 27, 2011.

Pacific Princess World Cruise – Pacific Princess spans the globe with a new 107-day journey that features travel through Western Australia and around the southernmost tip of Africa, visiting some of the most dramatic locations on the globe as it sails between Fort Lauderdale and Rome. Calls include Grand Cayman, Panama Canal Transit, Quito (Manta), Lima (Callao - for Machu Picchu Overland Excursion), Easter Island, Pitcairn Island scenic cruising, Tahiti (Papeete), Moorea, Auckland, the two-day Sydney Experience (includes two full days & overnight), Burnie (Tasmania), Adelaide (for Ayres Rock Overland Excursion), Bunbury, Perth (Fremantle), Bali (Padang Bay), Bangkok (Laem Chabang – for Angkor Wat Overland Excursion), Ko Samui, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Andaman Islands (Port Blair), Cochin (for Taj Mahal Overland Excursion), Mumbai, Muscat (Mina Qaboos), Dubai, Seychelles (Port Victoria), Maputo (Mozambique), Durban, East London, two-day Cape Town Experience (includes two full days & overnight), Lüdertiz (Namibia), Walvis Bay (Namibia), Lomé (Togo), Tema (Ghana - for Accra), Dakar (Senegal), Madeira (Funchal), Casablanca (for Marrakech), Gibraltar, Barcelona, Toulon (for Provence), Monte Carlo and Portofino. This world cruise departs on January 19, 2011 with segments of 19 to 33 days available for explorers who’d like a shorter voyage.

Sun Princess and Dawn Princess Australia Departures – Both Sun Princess and Dawn Princess will offer a selection of sailings departing from Sydney and Melbourne, featuring Australian-style cruising. Itineraries include voyages to New Zealand, Tasmania, New Caledonia & Vanuatu, and Round Australia sailings that circumnavigate the continent. Sun Princess will also sail on a 42-day journey to China & Japan roundtrip from Sydney and Dawn Princess offers a 35-day Hawaii, Tahiti and South Pacific voyage. The season’s sailings depart between September 3, 2010 and April 3, 2011.

A variety of cruisetour packages are available in Australia, Asia and South America, offering cruise passengers the opportunity to add to their vacation with such wonders as the Great Wall of China, the Terra Cotta Warriors, Angkor Wat, Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s Kakadu National Park, Iguazu Falls and Machu Picchu.

Exotic cruises are available for booking on May 21, 2009. Launch Fares for seven-day sailings start at $945 per person, based on double occupancy. Past Princess passengers are eligible for up to $100 in Captain’s Circle Launch Savings on bookings made by December 31, 2009.

Friday, May 15, 2009

MSC Cruises Offers Connecting Balcony and Back To Back Cruise Savings

(May 13, 2009) –The entire family can experience the beauty of Europe on a 7-night cruise and save with MSC Cruises’ limited-time, Family Plan offer. Guests who book a balcony stateroom on select MSC Cruises’ Mediterranean and Northern Europe itineraries by May 31, 2009 can save up to 60 percent off a connecting balcony stateroom. This special “Family Plan” offer is applicable on adjoining Category 10 or 11 Balcony Superior staterooms (accommodating up to four guests) on the following 7-night sailings:
  • MSC Splendida – “The Splendid Mediterranean” in July or August; rates begin at $5,349

  • MSC Fantasia – “Mediterranean Fantasy” in June, July or August; rates begin at $4,999

  • MSC Poesia – “Turkish Treasures and Croatian Coasts” in June, July or August; rates begin at $4,799

  • MSC Musica – “Greek Islands in the Sun” in June, July or August; rates begin at $5,099

  • MSC Orchestra – “Fascinating Fjords” in June, July or August; rates begin at $5,349

  • MSC Orchestra – “Baltic Capitals and Russian Palaces” in June, July or August; rates begin at $5,349
Rates are cruise only and subject to availability.
In addition.....
(May 12, 2009) – MSC Cruises is offering special savings when you combine back-to-back 7-night Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises this fall for a memorable 14-night European experience.

Cruise-only Back-to-Back rates begin at $1,299 per person, double occupancy and include transfers from the Venice pier to the Genoa pier.
Rates are available on select sailings; certain restrictions apply.
Bookings must be made by May 31, 2009.
For that unique back-to-back experience, guests can combine MSC Armonia’s Eastern Mediterranean itineraries (departing Sept. 7, 14 and 21) from Venice with MSC Lirica’s Western Mediterranean cruises from Genoa (departing Sept.14, 21 and 28).
Also available are back-to back cruises on MSC Musica (Eastern Mediterranean) from Venice (departing Aug. 30; Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25) and MSC Fantasia (Western Mediterranean) from Genoa, departing Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25; and Nov. 1.
As with all MSC Cruises’ sailings, kids under the age of 17 when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Princess Cruise Golden Princess Emerges From Refit

(May 12, 2009) – A transformed Golden Princess has emerged from the most extensive drydock ever undertaken by Princess Cruises, one that was followed closely by thousands of cruise aficionados around the world. Throughout the three-week makeover, a daily online photo journal offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the dramatic amount of work needed to add such signature Princess features to the ship as a new piazza-style atrium, an adults-only Sanctuary, a Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, and a new Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant.

The online journal, which was updated each day on www.princess.com as well as on popular social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, featured more than 180 photos giving viewers a front-row seat as the immense project was undertaken at Victoria Shipyards in British Columbia.

The full transformation is available for viewing at www.princess.com and features such rare scenes as the hull of the ship and propellers out of the water with the new silicone underwater paint being applied, to hundreds of pieces of furniture being re-upholstered, to key public areas being demolished and re-configured into new spaces.

“Based on the many comments we received, I think it’s safe to say that our passengers were amazed at being able to watch Golden Princess’ makeover as it happened,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We heard that they have a new appreciation for the dramatic amount of work that goes into a project like this, as well as how much care and effort we put into our ships every day.” Swartz added that a complex project like this drydock was a prime example of the teamwork and dedication for which Princess is known.

During a short sampler sailing to Ketchikan and then back to Seattle, the new features were unveiled to passengers, and the ship is now cruising on its first Alaska voyage of the season. Golden Princess will continue to offer weekly departures from Seattle on roundtrip Inside Passage voyages through September 12.

Now that the transformation is nearly complete, Golden Princess’ atrium features a new Piazza with an inviting street café atmosphere and two new dining options. The International Café serves up specialty coffees, fresh baked cookies, pastries, panini sandwiches and tapas, while wine bar Vines offers a selection of more than 30 wines by the glass, plus a selection of seafood, artisan meats and cheeses, and a wine shop where passengers can purchase their favorite bottle.

Adult passengers looking to get away from can now relax in the tranquility of The Sanctuary, Princess’ signature retreat featuring plush padded lounge chairs and the services of dedicated Serenity Stewards. Visitors to this exclusive space can enjoy refreshing beverages and light snacks, or receive a massage in one of the private cabanas.

And a new 300-square-foot Movies Under the Stars poolside LED screen now features evening movies and a variety of daytime programming, comparable to the best shoreside movie theater. In addition to family cinema and first run hits, it showcases major sporting events, concerts and other can’t-miss programming – up to 50 different offerings per week.

The ship also now features a brand-new relocated casino on deck 7, a new sports court, a new Internet café and library, and a refurbished fitness center. And all passenger cabins were also fitted with new flat screen televisions.

With such an ambitious project list to accomplish in just three weeks time, some spaces are still in the final phases of completion. This includes the new Crown Grill restaurant, newly constructed suites, and the relocated shore excursions desk and wedding chapel.

“This massive drydock clearly demonstrates Princess’ commitment to ensuring our passengers experience our signature features and amenities no matter which ship they sail,” added Swartz.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Norwegian Spirit Kicks Off Boston Cruise Season

May 1, 2009- The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced today that a new ship is calling Boston its home. The 2009 cruise season officially starts today, with Norwegian Spirit beginning her series of 21 weekly cruises from Boston to Bermuda. The ship is one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) newer and larger vessels. Norwegian Spirit departs weekly to Bermuda on Fridays through September 18, and will also sail a series of four seven-day Canada/New England cruises beginning September 25.

“We are thrilled to have Norwegian Spirit kick off our 2009 cruise season. The new weekly departure on Fridays lets passengers enjoy an un-interrupted weekend aboard the ship,” said Mike Leone, Massport’s Port Director. “Overall, we look forward to this year’s cruise season bringing two new trans-Atlantic voyages, two Caribbean cruises, and several new ship visits to the Port of Boston.”

NCL is known for its Freestyle Cruising® which gives guests the flexibility and freedom to create their own schedules onboard. Norwegian Spirit recently underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment which improves the guest experience. The 2,018-passenger ship boasts more than 600 ocean view staterooms – more than half with private balconies, eleven restaurants, seven bars and lounges, two pools, extensive children's facilities, a sports deck, casino, and spa.
“Norwegian Spirit offers vacationers a wide range of choices in terms of accommodations, restaurants and amenities,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Chief Executive Officer. “Cruising represents an incredible value and we hope that many New Englanders will take advantage of this value and convenience by sailing with us from Boston this summer.”

Two more ships are based in Boston: Holland America’s Maasdam sails every other week to Montreal, and features the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine. The center is a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen for gourmet presentations, tasting events, and cooking classes. Later in the season, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas cruises from Boston to ports in Canada and New England. Some of her amenities include a rock-climbing wall, indoor/outdoor country club with a golf simulator, and an indoor solarium.

Other highlights in 2009 include trans-Atlantic voyages from Boston. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will depart Boston on July 4th for an eight-day crossing to Southampton, England. Also in July, Maasdam offers a 17 and 35-day “Voyage of the Vikings” cruise, and a 42-day “Voyage of the Vikings & Canada New England” trans-Atlantic cruise. In September, Cruiseport Boston will welcome Cunard’s newest ocean liner Queen Victoria, when she makes her maiden call to Boston. And in October there will be Caribbean repositioning cruises on both Norwegian Spirit and Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas.

This year Cruiseport Boston anticipates 104 ships and more than 250,000 passengers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Celebrity Century to Offer Short Cruises Year-Round From Florida

April 23, 2009 – Travelers looking for an easy-to-access, quick getaway featuring extraordinary service, premium accommodations and outstanding culinary offerings in a comfortably sophisticated environment will soon have quite a few more opportunities to reward themselves. Beginning in May of 2010, the 1,814-guest, recently refurbished Celebrity Century will offer its popular four- and five-night Caribbean itineraries year-round instead of limiting them to the winter season. Celebrity Century’s 2010-11 sailings opened for sale today.

Since 2005, Celebrity Century has sailed in Europe in the summer, and in the Caribbean in the winter. After kicking off her new year-round Caribbean status on May 3, 2010 with a one-time seven-night Western Caribbean sailing featuring stops at George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; and the line’s private-destination island, CocoCay, Bahamas; Celebrity Century will then present a series of four- and five-night Western Caribbean voyages.

Celebrity Century’s 2010-11 five-night sailings will alternate between two different itineraries. One of these is new and features calls to Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel bookended between two sea days. The other five-night itinerary is similar to past offerings, and includes stops in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and George Town. The four-night itinerary will remain the same as the 2009-10 offerings, and will feature visits to Key West and Cozumel.

Two five-night holiday sailings will be available: the December 24, 2010 cruise will mark the first time Celebrity visits Falmouth, Jamaica and also will include a stop in George Town, while the December 29, 2010 voyage will include Celebrity Century’s only three-port line-up of the season, with stops at Key West, CocoCay, and Nassau (Bahamas).

Guests can make the most of their Caribbean getaway by booking any of the engaging shore excursions Celebrity offers in the region, available for an additional charge. Highlights include:
“SeaTrek Kayak Adventure” at CocoCay, a unique eco-adventure where guests enjoy an informative and interactive guided kayak tour in the beautiful turquoise waters around CocoCay and view a variety of marine creatures such as starfish, conch, and stingrays.
“A Taste of Key West,” where guests hit the streets of the southernmost town in the continental U.S. and experience a taste of the Conch Republic, enjoying a casual walk and sampling Key West favorites such as key lime pie.

“Deluxe Beach Break” in Cozumel, which gives guests the opportunity to spend the day sunbathing on sandy beaches and swimming in the waters of the Mexican Caribbean, with drinks and food included.

“Jolly Roger Catamaran and Gumbalimba Park” in Roatan, Honduras, which features a catamaran cruise with time for snorkeling at the Roatan National Reef and a visit to the Gumbalimba Nature Park with a guided tour.

Onboard Celebrity Century, guests can enjoy all the enhancements made when the ship underwent a $55-million makeover in 2006. These upgrades included the addition of 314 new verandas, 14 new suites, 10 new staterooms ranging from inside to veranda categories, and an expanded number of ConciergeClass category staterooms. Celebrity also expanded its AquaSpa, added the specialty restaurant, Murano, refurbished the main dining room, created the first ice bar at sea, and enhanced the bedding in staterooms. Since the ship’s 2006 makeover, it has also benefited from Celebrity’s fleetwide dining upgrades, including 200 new menu offerings, a significantly upgraded casual dining area, and an entirely new brunch offering – all part of “Celebrity’s Star Treatment-SM.”

Monday, May 11, 2009

Celebrity Cruise Announces 2010 Celebrity Solstice Caribbean Season

May 4, 2009 – Celebrity Cruises stylish new Celebrity Solstice made such a resounding splash in the Caribbean in her inaugural season that the brand today announced the ship will sail there year-round in 2010.

“The extraordinary response from our guests to Celebrity Solstice has created a corresponding demand for the ship to sail year-round in the Caribbean, and we’re thrilled to meet that demand,” said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “This move offers guests in North America a phenomenal closer-to-home vacation option whenever they’re ready to get away, and similarly, our international guests now will have year-round Caribbean vacation options with Celebrity that are second-to-none.”

The dazzling Celebrity Solstice will sail alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in summer months, and seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries from the same port in the winter, marking the first time since 2004 that Celebrity has offered a year-round seven-night sailing in the Caribbean. Celebrity Solstice will be one of two Celebrity vessels sailing continuously in the region; Celebrity Century, as previously announced, will present short getaways, with its popular four- and five-night sailings from the Port of Miami.

The shift of Celebrity Solstice to the Caribbean year-round led to a corresponding transition in Celebrity’s European itinerary lineup for 2010-11: The new Celebrity Equinox will present the 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings from Rome, previously planned for Celebrity Solstice. The 12-night voyages previously announced for Celebrity Equinox between Barcelona and Venice in 2010 have been discontinued. The European sailings previously announced for Celebrity Eclipse – which debuts in 2010 – and Celebrity Constellation remain unchanged.

Celebrity representatives are personally contacting all guests with bookings affected by the European deployment transition with Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox in 2010-11. Guests or travel agents in the U.S. with questions about pertinent bookings may call Celebrity Cruises’ Reservations agents toll-free at 1-888-281-9343.

Celebrity’s Seasonal Caribbean Deployment – 2010-11
Six Celebrity ships – in addition to the year-round Celebrity Solstice – will ply the azure waters of the Caribbean on a seasonal basis in 2010-11, on a total of 155 sailings with visits to 43 ports.
Celebrity Constellation will present 14-night Exotic Southern Caribbean cruises roundtrip on Saturdays from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Celebrity Eclipse – the third in Celebrity’s stellar Solstice Class series, making her debut in April 2010 – will present alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from the Port of Miami.

Celebrity Equinox – the second sleek Solstice Class ship, launching this July – will present 10- and 11-night Ultimate Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

Celebrity Mercury will present a second season of nine-night Bahamas and 12-night Eastern Caribbean sailings departing Mondays and Saturdays from Baltimore, Maryland from October 2010 through February 2011, followed by 10- and 11-night Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises departing Mondays and Fridays from Charleston from March through April 2011.
Celebrity Millennium will reprise her series of 10- and 11-night Southern Caribbean cruises departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico on Mondays and Fridays from October 11, 2010 through April 8, 2011.

Celebrity Summit will continue to offer seven-night Southern Caribbean cruises departing roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Saturdays.

Bookings open Wednesday, May 6, for the new year-round Caribbean cruises on Celebrity Solstice, as well as for the brand’s full seasonal Caribbean itinerary lineup.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

MSC Orchestra Maiden Arrival in New York

(May 6, 2009) – Start spreading the news – MSC Cruises introduces its brand of sophisticated European-style cruising to New York City and will be returning in the Fall of 2010 with a series of Canada/New England itineraries.

MSC Orchestra arrived in New York City Tuesday morning to a warm welcome from city officials. Her historic arrival marks the first time one of the Italian-owned cruise line’s ships has called in the “Big Apple.” The ship docked overnight at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal before departing today on an eastbound transatlantic crossing to Copenhagen, where she will sail Northern Europe itineraries during the summer months.
On Sept. 22, 2010, the line’s newest ship MSC Magnifica (currently under construction in France) arrives in New York for the line’s inaugural season of Canada/New England itineraries, roundtrip from New York City and Quebec City. It is estimated that the ship’s calls in NYC can potentially have an indirect revenue impact on the city valued at more than $2.7 million.
“It has been decades since vacationers have been able to sail from New York on a European-owned cruise line with the classic style and elegance that only the Italians know how to deliver,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc.
“We are excited to make this memorable experience readily accessible to the residents of the Northeast.” He adds, “With the most modern and fastest growing fleet in the cruise industry, MSC Cruises feels right at home in this, the crossroads of the world. We look forward to strengthening our position in New York City in future years.”
MSC Cruises offers itineraries in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South America and the Caribbean, as well as transatlantic sailings. Each itinerary features the out-of-the-ordinary port calls for which MSC Cruises has become known.
No matter what the sailing region, MSC Cruises offers guests an authentic Italian/European cruise experience, from the superb cuisine featuring regional Italian specialties (as well as perennial, All-American favorites) to the warmth and generosity of the Italian officers and international crew and the European-style entertainment that is suitable for the entire family.
MSC Cruises is no stranger to New York City. The U.S. headquarters of the cruise line’s parent company, Mediterranean Shipping Company, have been based in New York City for nearly 25 years.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Celebrity Cruises Announces 2010/11 South America Season

April 30, 2009 – In December of 2010, when Celebrity Infinity makes its way from the Panama Canal to South America, the voyage will mark the line’s 11th year of sailing guests through the spectacular scenery of the region. The season will include visits to 13 countries via stops at a total of 30 ports. Rounding out the cruise offerings are a variety of available in-port shore excursions and in-depth, fully escorted land tour programs that can be combined with a cruise to create a cruisetour vacation for even richer exploration of this region. Celebrity opened its winter 2010-11 Panama Canal and South America cruises and cruisetours for sale today.

On September 24, Celebrity Infinity will begin her Canal/South America season with a 16-night repositioning cruise from Seattle, Washington to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by way of the Panama Canal. She will then sail four 14-night Panama Canal cruises between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, creating easy access ports for residents of both US coasts. The Panama Canal cruises in the 2010-11 season also include two 14-night “South America and Canal” voyages, two 14-night Canal cruises between Fort Lauderdale and San Diego, and a 16-night repositioning cruise back to Seattle on April 24.

Between the Panama Canal portions of the season, Celebrity Infinity will sail six 14-night cruises throughout South America. These voyages, taking place from mid-December 2010 through February 2011, include sailings “around the Horn” through the Straits of Magellan, between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Valparaiso, Chile, most of which feature an in-port overnight stay in Buenos Aires. For the second consecutive year, there will also be two roundtrip-from-Buenos Aires “Antarctica” cruises, named for the fact that they sail through the region, past several Antarctica islands. Each of these cruises feature a visit to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, as well as panoramic cruising by Elephant Island, Paradise Bay, and Gerlache Strait in Antarctica.

While onboard, guests may choose to purchase in-port excursions that can give them a richer sense of the region. In Puerto Montt, Chile, the “Petrohue Falls and the Chilean Lake District” excursion is a city tour that includes views of Puerto Varas and Lake Llanquihue, as well as a drive to Todos Los Santos Lake for views of the Osorno Volcano, and a walk along the Petrohue River to view the falls. Chile’s Punta Arenas is the site of the “Magdalena Island Natural Penguin Reserve” excursion, where guests can visit one of the largest Magellan penguin colonies in southern Chile. In Buenos Aires, “Tango Show and Dinner” allows guests to immerse themselves in the spirit of Argentine Tango, with a visit to a tango house for dinner followed by a live tango show on the main stage. In Montevideo, Uruguay, “Day at the Estancia” takes participating guests to Estancia La Rábida, where they can experience the daily chores of the Uruguayan gaucho and learn about the agriculture, horse breeding, cattle raising and other activities at the ranch. A barbeque lunch, or “asado,” is included, complete with Uruguayan wines and traditional songs and dance. Select voyages offer a “Cuzco and Machu Picchu Adventure,” a three-day, two-night overland tour encompassing the city of Cuzco, Peru, and its famed archaeological relics as well as a day at Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas." The package includes overnight stays in Cuzco and train travel to Machu Picchu.

Travelers wishing to extend their time in South America can choose from several fully escorted land tours offered in combination with cruises departing from or arriving in Buenos Aires and Valparaiso. Celebrity offers two land tour packages in South America, each as a pre- or post-cruise option. Premium hotel accommodations, ground transfers, some meals, and ample time for independent shopping, dining and sightseeing are included in the cruisetour packages.
The five-day, four-night “Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls” land tour package includes visits to a gaucho “estancia,” Buenos Aires’ old-city San Telmo region, and the city’s trendy Puerto Madero neighborhood. The package also includes a short inland flight to Iguazu Falls, one of the continent’s most stunning natural wonders, where guests spend two days exploring the massive waterfalls during included tours encompassing Devil’s Throat, the lower and upper circuits of the Argentinean side of the falls, and a Zodiak ride along the lower Iguazu River.

The six-day, five-night “Machu Picchu Adventure” land tour package gives guests the opportunity to experience the Sacred Valley of the Incas in and around the Cuzco region, as well as the capital city of Lima. The package is highlighted by train travel to and from Machu Picchu, and over four hours of exploration time at the famed archaeological site. The tour also includes a tour of Cuzco and its walled Sacsayhuaman Inca area and the Cuzco Cathedral, as well as a city tour of Lima and several other activities that will enhance guests’ South America vacation experience. Several inland flights are included.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cruise West Offers 25% Discount and Extended Stay in Glacier Bay On Select Cruises

April 29, 2009 - Drawing on its 63 years of tour/cruise experience in Alaska, small-ship cruise line Cruise West, is offering tremendous value for its Alaska’s Whales & Wilderness itinerary that includes two days in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve to explore the abundant wildlife and glaciers ─ Cruise West is the only cruise line that offers two full days in this extraordinary park.
Save 25 percent on the May 18, July 24, 29, August 5, 26, and September 2, 2009 departures. The cruise operates on either the 102-guest Spirit on Endeavour or the 84-guest Spirit of Discovery. Both ships provide the perfect platform for intimate cruising on the eight-night Alaska’s Whales & Wilderness, round trip Juneau. The itinerary centers on sea and wildlife viewing including Icy Strait, Glacier Bay National Park and makes a port call at authentic Sitka, the “Jewel of the Inside Passage,” and a remote Wilderness Community. As always, Cruise West offers a whale guarantee on this itinerary or guests receive a $250 refund.

Being only 20-feet from the waterline and having shallow drafts, Cruise West’s small ships have the maneuverability to get up-close and personal with the sea and wildlife. Guests might even see a Humpback whale look them in the eye! In the case of cruising in Alaska, small is beautiful. This itinerary receives raves from guests who seek out authentic experiences where nature is the floorshow. The use of zodiac inflatable boats, also an included feature, bring guests even closer to the wondrous scenery and wildlife for which Cruise West has become so well known for.
A fully escorted four-night Denali Land Tour may be added on to see the best of Alaska's National Parks. Exceptional optional excursions in Denali include the Heli-Hiking Adventure and fly-fishing for Arctic Grayling.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Princess Cruises Expands 2010 Summer Caribbean Season

April 29, 2009 – Two Princess ships will sail to the Caribbean during summer 2010, more than doubling the line’s capacity for the season. Passengers will have the option of five itinerary choices, as well as sailing from New York and Florida.

Caribbean Princess returns to offer the popular nine-day itinerary from New York to Bermuda and the Caribbean, while Emerald Princess will sail on seven-day roundtrip cruises from Fort Lauderdale to the Western and Eastern Caribbean. Together, the two ships will offer 30 departures to the sun-filled islands of the Caribbean.

“We’ve seen increased interest from passengers in sailing to the Caribbean during the summer,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “So in response, we’ve significantly expanded our program to offer cruisers a choice of sailings and the option of two departure ports.”

Caribbean Princess from New York – Caribbean Princess’ summer season from New York will feature 10 departures between May 2 and July 29, 2010. Eight of the nine-day voyages sail roundtrip on an itinerary that includes Bermuda (West End), St. Thomas, Grand Turk and San Juan. Caribbean Princess will also offer two sailings to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and San Juan. In addition, the ship sails on a special seven-day Eastern Caribbean & Bermuda sailing from San Juan to New York featuring calls in Bermuda, St. Thomas and Antigua.

Emerald Princess from Fort Lauderdale – Emerald Princess will sail on week-long Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, departing from May 9 to September 12, 2010. The ship will offer nine Eastern Caribbean departures calling at Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk, alternating with 10 Western Caribbean sailings to Princess Cays, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Caribbean Princess and Emerald Princess both offer a variety of passenger-favorite features perfect for cruising the balmy waters of the Caribbean, such as the dramatic poolside “Movies Under the Stars” outdoor theater and the line’s signature Sanctuary, an adults-only pocket of tranquility featuring plush lounge chairs and massage cabanas. Passengers will also enjoy hallmark Princess features such as the piazza-style atrium with its International Café and Vines wine and seafood bar.

Launch Fares for nine-day Caribbean Princess summer Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean cruises begin at $1,099 per person, and seven-day sailings on Emerald Princess begin at $699, based on double occupancy. A $50 per person Captain’s Circle Launch Savings discount is available to Princess past passengers on bookings made by December 31, 2009. Sailings open for booking on May 14, 2009.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Norwegian Cruise Line Re-Arranges Fleet Norwegian Jewel to Sail From NY.

April 27, 2009 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced that it has redeployed Norwegian Sun for the summer of 2010, moving the ship from Alaska to Europe . The 1,936-passenger Norwegian Sun is assuming the summer 2010 itinerary previously announced for Norwegian Jewel and will sail a 12-day Baltic Capitals itinerary from London ( Dover ) beginning May 11, 2010 through September 8, 2010. In addition, the 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel will move from Europe to New York , sailing a combination of seven-day Bahamas & Florida, 10-day Canada & New England and 10-day Eastern Caribbean sailings from April 24, 2010 through April 24, 2011.

“After carefully weighing the rising costs of deploying three ships in Alaska and taking into account the recently enacted legislation, in particular the $50 head tax, we felt it was necessary to redeploy Norwegian Sun,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “ Alaska is an incredible destination, but we are clearly seeing the impact of these changes in 2009, emphasized even more by this challenging economic environment.”

Norwegian Sun had been scheduled to sail a seven-day itinerary between Vancouver , British Columbia and Whittier , Alaska . The ship’s new European deployment now includes a 15-day Panama Canal sailing from Santiago ( Valparaiso ), Chile , to Miami , Florida on April 11, 2010. Norwegian Sun will then reposition to Europe on a 15-day transatlantic voyage from Miami to London (Dover) on April 26, 2010, and begins her series of eleven 12-day Baltic Capitals cruises with stops in Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm (Nynäshamn), Sweden.
Following her winter season in Miami , Norwegian Jewel repositions to New York on a 13-day Circle the Caribbean voyage on April 11, 2010. Once in New York, the ship will sail a series of 20 seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises with stops in Orlando (Port Canaveral), Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Star will continue their deployment in Alaska next summer, sailing seven-day Sawyer Glacier and Glacier Bay cruises from Seattle .

Norwegian Cruise Line is contacting travel partners and guests with reservations on Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Jewel’s previously scheduled sailings. The company is offering the option to transfer their reservation to a comparable sailing with their fare protected or re-priced if the fare is lower, along with an on-board credit. Transfers must be completed by Monday, May 11, 2009. To assist impacted guests and travel partners, the company has established a dedicated support line at 877-461-1160, open weekdays beginning this Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT.

Starting Wednesday, April 29, 2009, the company is also accepting reservations on Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Jewel’s new itineraries.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mariner of the Seas Offer 7 Day West Coast - Canada Cruises.

May 1, 2009 – Vacationers can take advantage of recent itinerary changes to enjoy a unique vacation that combines the captivating Pacific Coast with Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas, the largest and most innovative cruise ship in the Pacific Ocean. Six new sailings, departing May 3, 10, 24, and 31, and June 7 and 14, 2009, will take guests on seven-night roundtrip itineraries from Los Angeles and feature ports of call in San Francisco, Seattle, and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Cruise fares start as low as $399 per person, double occupancy, and booking is available immediately.

Royal Caribbean also offers a wide array of shore excursion add-ons available for purchase to complement days in port. In San Francisco, for example, guests can choose Sausalito & Muir Woods, which will take them across the Golden Gate Bridge to visit Muir Woods and witness giant redwood trees rising more than 250 feet; or explore the surround waters in Victoria for whales, seals, porpoises and other wildlife on Whale Watching; or opt for an insiders’ tour of the famed Pike Place Market in Seattle on Taste Pike Place.

Mariner of the Seas features the most diversions on a cruise ship on the West Coast, catering to active travelers and multi-generational family vacations. On the May 10 sailing, Mariner of the Seas will substitute the San Francisco port of call with Astoria, Oregon.

Mariner of the Seas features the cruise line’s exclusive amenities, including the Studio B ice-skating rink with real ice; full-size basketball and sports court; the cruise line’s iconic rock-climbing wall; and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard of boutiques, restaurants, and bars and lounges that runs nearly the length of the ship. Mariner of the Seas also offers a nine-hole miniature golf course, interactive golf simulator, the full-service Mariner Day Spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The ship’s three pools include a 25,000-sq. ft. pool deck, which was transformed by pop-art-sensation Romero Britto into an outdoor art exhibit replete with whimsical figures and playful patterns. This one-of-a-kind pool deck also features a side gallery chronicling this project from initial inspiration to final construction.

In the evening, guests can enjoy 16 bars and themed lounges and seven restaurants, including a 1950s-style Johnny Rockets Diner and Royal Caribbean’s signature specialty restaurants, Chops Grille steakhouse and Portofino Italian restaurant. Guests also can enjoy a myriad of entertainment options from top-rated Broadway-style productions in the Savoy Theatre to world-class gaming in the Casino Royale.

For younger guests, Royal Caribbean’s award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program offers scheduled activities throughout the day that enriches and entertains kids. Teens have their own dedicated onboard areas such as Fuel, the teen disco; The Living Room, a place where they can relax and hang out with their friends; and The Back Deck, an outdoor lounge.

Throughout, all guests will experience the line’s hallmark Gold Anchor Service, making each guest vacation a unique and unforgettable experience with friendly and engaging service from the staff and crew.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Carnival Fantasy New 7-Day Cruises From Mobile, Alabama

April 20, 2009) – Earlier today, Carnival Cruise Lines began accepting reservations for a new series of seven-day western Caribbean voyages from Mobile, Ala., taking place next year.

The new weeklong cruises will depart the Alabama Cruise Terminal May 8 and 15, July 3 and 10, and Oct. 23 and 30, 2010, and feature three tropical Caribbean ports of call: Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Designed to complement the line’s popular four- and five-day schedule from Mobile, the new seven-day cruises will be offered aboard the Carnival Fantasy, which late last year underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation which included an expansive Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, new Serenity adults-only retreat and redesigned tropical-themed main pool area.

Carnival Fantasy’s new seven-day itinerary is the latest chapter in the line’s continued expansion at the Port of Mobile, which has garnered excellent consumer feedback since Carnival launched the port’s first year-round cruise program aboard the Holiday in 2004. Carnival Fantasy will replace the Holiday in November 2009, representing a 42 percent capacity increase.

“With its convenient location, excellent facilities, and friendly and efficient staff, Mobile has been a terrific market for us and these new seven-day voyages provide our guests with an exciting longer-length ‘Fun Ship’ vacation option from this attractive homeport,” said Lynn Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services.

In addition to the new open-deck upgrades, Carnival Fantasy’s suites, along with its 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival facility and formal and casual dining venues, were renovated and cosmetic enhancements were made to virtually every public area. A new “Circle C” facility catering to 12- to 14-year-olds was added, as well.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Discovery Sun Resumes Sailings to Bahamas

Discovery Cruise Lines' Discovery Sun returned to it daily sailings between Fort Lauderdale Florida and Grand Bahama Island on May 2nd 2009. The Discovery Sun was removed from service for most of the month of April while mechanical repairs were completed.

Discovery sails every day except Wednesdays from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island, departing at 7:45 am and returning at 10 pm. Discovery offers Fun Day cruises as well as cruise and stay vacation packages at most of the island’s hotels.