Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Carnival Magic, Carnival Triumph from Galveston


June 26, 2010 - Carnival Magic, which is slated to debut in Europe in May 2011 with a host of innovative facilities and features, will offer two different week-long itineraries from Galveston, including seven-day western Caribbean voyages to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, and week-long eastern Caribbean cruises to Nassau, Freeport, and Key West.

Carnival Magic will offer many exciting amenities including a spectacular water park, an exclusive adults-only retreat, a wrap-around promenade with whirlpools that extend out over the ship’s sides, and expansive spa and children’s facilities. Also featured will be a variety of stateroom choices, including deluxe ocean view accommodations with two bathrooms, some of which feature five berths and hold particular appeal for families; cove balcony cabins located closer to the water line; and spa staterooms that provide special access and benefits. A number of new innovations are scheduled to be announced in the near future.

Prior to launching year-round Caribbean service from Galveston, Carnival Magic will operate a series of seven-, nine- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona May 1 to Oct. 16, 2011; followed by a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to Galveston departing Oct. 28, 2011.

Also being deployed to Galveston is the Carnival Triumph which will operate year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean cruises beginning Oct. 6, 2011, becoming the newest and largest ship to operate a year-round short cruise program from that port. Four-day cruises depart Thursdays to Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays and visit Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico. Carnival Triumph offers many guest-pleasing features and amenities, including nearly 500 balcony staterooms which are very popular among consumers and typically not available on short cruises.

Expanded Capacity from New Orleans

Carnival Conquest will reposition to New Orleans for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning Nov. 13, 2011. The ship will offer three different week-long Caribbean options from New Orleans: a new western Caribbean program featuring Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, an eastern Caribbean itinerary to Key West, Freeport and Nassau, and exotic western Caribbean cruises to Belize, Roatan and Cozumel.

Carnival Ecstasy will operate year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean voyages from New Orleans beginning Sept. 22, 2011. The ship underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation last year that added an expansive water park, tropical-style main pool area, adults-only retreat and 98 balconies to existing staterooms. On the Carnival Ecstasy’s new itinerary, four-day cruises departing Thursdays visit Cozumel, while five-day cruises departing Mondays and Saturdays call at Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Carnival Cruise Lines to Introduce New Seven-Day Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itineraries from Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla., in 2011.


Carnival Cruise Lines will introduce new seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise itineraries from Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla., in 2011. The cruises will be offered on the Carnival Legend from Tampa and Carnival Fascination from Jacksonville both of which are currently based at those ports but have never before offered these itineraries.

From Jacksonville, the recently renovated 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination will offer a series of six week-long Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruises to Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Nassau, complementing the ship’s popular four- and five-day Bahamas/Key West departures. Departure dates include April 30, May 7, July 23 and 30, and Sept. 17 and 24, 2011.

From Tampa, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend will add five new seven-day Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruises featuring Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Key West to its existing week-long western Caribbean cruise schedule. The new week-long Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruises will be offered May 1, June 26, July 24, Aug. 7 and Oct. 16, 2011.

Half Moon Cay is a crescent-shaped island offering magnificent beaches, a children’s water park, private cabanas and a variety of shore excursion opportunities. Grand Turk is an eight-square-mile island paradise with beautiful white-sand beaches, the Caribbean’s largest Margaritaville restaurant and centuries-old historical sites. Known for its perpetually laid back ambiance, Key West has a character all its own, with numerous bars and lounges lining historic Duval Street and myriad watersports opportunities. The Bahamian capital of Nassau offers gorgeous beaches and a host of shops, restaurants and boutiques.

Like other “Fun Ships,” Carnival Fascination and Carnival Legend offer a variety of on-board facilities and features: myriad formal and casual dining options, expansive facilities and programming for children in three age groups, full casino gambling, and a host of live music and entertainment venues. Both ships also offer acres of open deck space and the line’s signature Twister Water Slide. Reservations are currently being accepted for the new week-long Caribbean programs aboard the Carnival Fascination and Carnival Legend.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Delivery Approaches for Holland America's New Nieuw Amsterdam - New DIning Options


June 7, 2010 – The newest Holland America Line Signature-Class ship, the ms Nieuw Amsterdam, will debut July 4, 2010, with exceptional dining options featuring a selection of diverse, innovative restaurants serving international cuisine. Each venue is highlighted by elegant décor for a one-of-a-kind culinary event. The line also will introduce an intimate dinner experience with an exclusive menu and wine pairing called the Master Chef’s Table in the Pinnacle Grill.

With Holland America Line’s As You Wish dining, Nieuw Amsterdam guests can select the restaurant venue and style they prefer, from fixed dining to open seating or casual meals throughout the ship. The 2,106 guests aboard Nieuw Amsterdam can enjoy the sophistication of the Manhattan Dining Room, alternative restaurants Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto and Tamarind, or casual dining at the Terrace Grill, Slice pizzeria and Lido poolside eateries.

“Nieuw Amsterdam has the largest and most flexible array of dining options that we’ve ever offered on a ship, and guests can choose from gourmet-quality fare served in glamorous restaurants to comfort food favorites in relaxed, casual surroundings,” said Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “No matter what their preference, Nieuw Amsterdam guests will experience our award-winning service and exceptional cuisine in all of our venues.”

Nieuw Amsterdam will debut the intimate Master Chef’s Table in the Pinnacle Grill that includes an exclusive dinner menu for up to 18 guests who will have the opportunity to experience fine dining at its best. Each meal is enhanced with specially selected wine pairings by the ship’s sommelier. The evening includes seven courses served on signature Versace china, each personally delivered by a special culinary expert who will be the evening’s host. The cost for a Master Chef’s Table evening is $89 per person.

Selected the best alternative restaurant at sea by Porthole magazine, the Pinnacle Grill offers a sophisticated and memorable dining experience for a $10 charge per person for lunch and $20 for dinner. Beautifully appointed Bvlgari china, Riedel stemware and Frette linens create the ideal atmosphere for enjoying superior cuisine and wine selections. Guests may choose to dine on Dungeness crab cakes, filet mignon featuring Sterling Silver beef, grilled veal chops or lobster bisque with aged sherry.

Featuring panoramic ocean views, the Asian specialty restaurant Tamarind delights guests with its unique decor, beautifully presented cuisine, and gracious and attentive service. The restaurant reflects Asian culture and cuisine by emphasizing nature’s basic elements: water, wood, fire and earth. The menu’s “water” main courses feature sea bass with a hoisin-lime glaze and baked snapper in rice paper; “wood” entrees include Wasabi soy beef tenderloin encrusted steak served on a cedar plank; “fire” dishes include red penang curry coconut chicken; and “earth” menu items encompass vegetarian dishes such as sweet and sour vegetable tempura. Dinner at Tamarind is $15 per person, while lunch is complimentary.

Nieuw Amsterdam’s main restaurant, the two-level Manhattan Dining Room, offers a culinary experience worthy of its namesake. Guests are met by gracious hosts and tended to throughout the meal by attentive staff. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for guests looking for a more formal dining venue, menus offer a variety of options, including Greenhouse Spa selections.

For breakfast, guests may choose a personalized omelet or one of several international favorites including the Dutch breakfast of uitsmijter, a classic open-faced sandwich with sliced ham, Gouda cheese and two eggs sunny side up; a full English breakfast with bangers (sausage), baked beans, eggs and a grilled half tomato, or a Japanese meal of hot miso soup, broiled salmon, steamed white rice, tamagoyaki and hot green tea. Lunch features a selection of signature items such as salad nicoise with grilled salmon, chicken pesto Panini and cilantro and mint crusted tuna.

The five-course dinner menu showcases everything from soups and salads to quail with apricot bread stuffing, ginger grilled chicken with mango lime relish and halibut with roasted corn salsa and plantains.

Guests can savor classic Italian fare with casual tableside service at Canaletto, located adjacent to the Lido Restaurant dining area. Named for the famous 18th-century Venetian artist, Canaletto’s dinner-only menu includes traditional seafood, pasta, and meat and veal dishes. The restaurant is complimentary, yet reservations are recommended.

The ocean-view Lido Restaurant offers guests breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets in a relaxed, casual setting with everything from carved meats to fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, pastas, salads and desserts. For dinner, the Lido Restaurant features waiter service for guests who desire a more casual dining environment.

The Terrace Grill is a casual poolside eatery serving burgers and fries and other grilled favorites, plus a selection of healthier choices including wraps, paninis and pita sandwiches.

The popular Slice pizzeria serves whole pies and slices to order. Among the featured pies are margherita, shrimp and mussel rustico, quattro formaggi, and prosciutto and arugula.

Rounding out the dining options is the complimentary In-Stateroom Dining service. Guests can order off the daily menu during dining hours or from a daytime and 24-hour menu with an extensive range of selections from light snacks to hearty dishes.

Each Nieuw Amsterdam cruise will feature three distinct tea-time themes: Traditional Dutch High Tea provides a classic sampling of desserts and cakes with tea and coffee. The Indonesian Tea Ceremony harkens to the culture of many of the ship’s crew with courteous service and traditional attire along with local tea varieties and sweets from the Indonesian Archipelago. And the whimsical Cupcake Tea serves 12 types of decadent cupcakes.

Built at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard near Venice, Italy, Nieuw Amsterdam will sail its maiden voyage July 4, 2010. After several 12-day Mediterranean sailings, the ship embarks on a fall trans-Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean where it will sail seven-day eastern and western itineraries from November 2010 through March 2011. Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands will serve as the ship’s godmother.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Princess Cruises Passengers to Explore the Globe with World Cruises in 2011 and 2012

6/16/2010 Pacific Princess and Dawn Princess Set Sail on Round-the-World Adventures

Princess Cruises will offer adventurous passengers two opportunities in 2011 and 2012 to experience one of travel's most grand voyages -- the World Cruise. Sailing to multiple continents and encompassing dozens of the globe's treasured places, these fascinating itineraries will give travelers the unique opportunity to experience the world while enjoying Princess' famed style and service.

Just announced, the intimate Pacific Princess will sail on a 107-day journey from Ft. Lauderdale to Venice, departing January 13, 2012, offering the line's popular small-ship cruising experience. For an Australian-style world cruise, Dawn Princess will sail roundtrip from Sydney on May 25, 2011.

Travelers on these voyages will be able to experience numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites -- such as Fiordland National Park in New Zealand, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and historic Cairo -- and can opt to travel beyond the ports in some locations with overland excursions to such must-see destinations as the Great Wall of China and Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Pacific Princess will also introduce three new ports for Princess -- Santa Marta, Colombia; Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica; and Manama, Bahrain.

"As we know from our long-standing emphasis on destination cruising, our passengers are globetrotters by nature," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "And these world cruises are the ultimate way for them to truly experience so many places of a lifetime all in one voyage -- from the Panama Canal to the pyramids of Egypt."

Pacific Princess -- 107 days -- January 13, 2012:

This Ft. Lauderdale to Venice itinerary will visit 38 destinations in 28 countries, including the mighty Panama Canal, the idyllic South Pacific, plus the "down under" experience of Australia and New Zealand. Passengers will explore a variety of vibrant Asian cities such as Toyko, experience the bustle of India and Egypt's legendary monuments, and see some unique European ports, such as Dubrovink, before finally arriving in breathtaking Venice.

Three new ports debut on this voyage: Santa Marta, the oldest city in Colombia, is the site of the last days of Simon Bolivar, the liberator for whom Bolivia is named. From this port, passengers can visit a number of historical sites, including the oldest church in Spanish America, or can enjoy Tayrona National Park for ecological tours and time at the beach. Puerto Quepos offers an off-the-beaten-path experience in Costa Rica, near the ecotourism destination of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Manama, the main port for Bahrain, a small island country in the Persian Gulf, is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fort of Bahrain or Qal'at al-Bahrain (the Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun) plus other numerous archeological sites.

Pacific Princess passengers will also have the opportunity to experience a variety of other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These remarkable places that make up the planet's cultural and natural heritage include Fiordland National Park in New Zealand, Sydney Opera House, the Great Blue Mountains near Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef (from Cairns), the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the historic center of Macau (from Hong Kong), the Taj Mahal (from Mumbai), ancient Petra (from Aqaba), historic Cairo (from Alexandria) and the old city of Dubrovnik. Passengers may also take in UNESCO sites such as the Great Wall of China and Cambodia's Angkor Wat with several overland adventures available during the voyage.

The full itinerary for the Pacific Princess world cruise adventure starts in Ft. Lauderdale, followed by calls in Aruba and new port of Santa Marta (Colombia), before transiting the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal. The ship then heads up the coast to new port of Puerto Quepos (Costa Rica), and San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua), to San Diego. Passengers will then enjoy crossing the Pacific with visits to Honolulu, Kauai (Nawiliwili), Pago Pago, Tonga (Nuku'Alofa), and then Auckland, and Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. In Australia, the ship visits Burnie, Tasmania and spends two days in Sydney, plus visits Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef. Heading for Asia, the ship calls at Guam, then Tokyo, Hiroshima, Busan, Shanghai, and two days in Hong Kong. Next is Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Singapore and Phuket. In India, passengers will experience Chennai and Mumbai (for a full-day tour to the Taj Mahal), then the ship reaches Bahrain for the new port of Manama, followed by an overnight call in Dubai. Then it's on to Salalah, Safaga (for Luxor/Karnak), Alexandria (for Cairo/Giza), and a transit of the Suez Canal. Once in the Mediterranean, the ship calls at Dubrovnik and Koper (for the capital of Slovenia, Lubljana), and then finally on to the final port of Venice.

Dawn Princess -- 104 days -- May 25, 2011:

Sailing roundtrip from Sydney, this world cruise features an Australian flavor. Dawn Princess will call at 43 intriguing ports on six continents and will introduce some new destinations not seen on her previous global voyages, including Costa Rica, Morocco, Jordan, Israel, Scotland and Norway. Popular destinations such as Singapore, Dubai, the Mediterranean, the Panama Canal and the Hawaiian Islands are also included.

The full cruise itinerary will take passengers from Sydney to Darwin, then across the Equator to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), and Langkawi, Malaysia. Then the ship sails to India with calls at Cochin, and Mumbai (for the Taj Mahal). The cruise continues to Abu Dhabi, Dubai (overnight), Muscat (Mina Qaboos), and Aqaba in Jordan (for Petra). Dawn Princess will then sail through the Suez Canal to reach Port Said (for Cairo/Giza), followed by Jerusalem (Ashdod). Then it's on to the Mediterranean with visits to Mykonos, and Istanbul, with a cruise by ANZAC Cove. The classic ports of Athens (Piraeus), Naples (for Capri & Pompeii), Rome (Civitavecchia), Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Monte Carlo, and Barcelona come up next, followed by Casablanca (for Rabat), Lisbon, Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), and then on to London (Dover). Northern Europe ports include Amsterdam and Bergen, Norway as the ship then sails to Britain and Ireland with calls at Edinburgh/Glasgow (Greenock), Dublin, and Cork (Cobh -- for Blarney Castle). Dawn Princess next crosses the Atlantic with a stop in Bermuda on the way to Ft. Lauderdale. Passengers will then visit Cartagena and transit the spectacular Panama Canal. Sailing up the Pacific Coast, the ship reaches Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Acapulco, Manzanillo, and then Los Angeles. Passengers will then enjoy sailing across the Pacific to Honolulu, Tahiti (Papeete), Bora Bora, and Apia (Western Samoa), as the ship heads for home with a final call in Auckland before reaching Sydney once again.

World cruises can also be booked in segments, ranging from 15 to 32 days. Full cruise fares begin at $21,995 per person and segment fares start at $2,495, based on double occupancy. The Pacific Princess sailing opens for sale June 17, 2010, the Dawn Princess world cruise is currently available for booking.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Review of Holland America's Veendam


6/18/2010 - Discovery the latest enhancements to Holland America's MS Veendam.

The Veendam has just begun sailing 7 day cruises from New York to both Hamilton, Bermuda and St. George's Bermuda (Anchor and tender into port).

The Veendam just completed a Signature of Excellence refurbishment which includes the addition of some Balcony Cabins, creation of the retreat area, cabin enhancements and public areas redesign.

To Learn more about the Veendam click here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NCL's New Norwegian Epic Ready to Sail


June 15, 2010 – Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date, returned from her final successful sea trials on Sunday, June 13, 2010, after three days of sailing the Atlantic Ocean before she is delivered on June 17. During the sea trials, technicians and engineers from STX FRANCE SA, along with Norwegian Cruise Line representatives, checked more than 60 different aspects of the ship’s performance by running trials of the vessel’s speed, maneuverability, hydrodynamics and propulsion, amongst others. Overall, the ship performed very well and exceeded expectations. Additional photos are posted to the cruise line’s Facebook page at www.ncl.com/facebook.

On June 17, Norwegian Epic will depart the STX FRANCE shipyard and sail to Rotterdam for a two-day inaugural cruise. On June 21, the ship will sail a one-night preview cruise to Southampton , arriving on June 22 for a two-day inaugural sailing. On June 24, the ship will depart Southampton on a sold-out seven-day transatlantic crossing to New York arriving on July 1. The ship will be christened by legendary entertainer Reba McEntire on July 2 followed by a two-day inaugural cruise. Norwegian Epic will be the host venue for the 34th Annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks event taking place on Sunday, July 4. The event includes a national, one-hour, live entertainment broadcast on NBC-TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Norwegian Epic arrives in Miami on Wednesday, July 7 where a welcome event will be held at Bicentennial Park from 2-4 pm. For more information on the event, head to http://epic.ncl.com/epicmiami. Inaugural festivities conclude with a two-day sailing on July 8.

Following inaugural activities, Norwegian Epic will sail alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami from July 10 through April 30, 2011. Ports of call on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary include Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas , US Virgin Islands; and Nassau , Bahamas . The Western Caribbean cruises visit Costa Maya , Mexico ; Roatán, Bay Islands , Honduras ; and Cozumel , Mexico . The 2011 cruise season from May-October will have Norwegian Epic sailing a series of seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona . When she returns to Miami on November 5, 2011, she will sail a series of seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises through April 7, 2012.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Seabourn's Next Luxury Yacht will be Named Seabourn Quest.


The Yachts of Seabourn has announced that Seabourn Quest will be the name given to its newest vessel. Poised to become the third of three new ultra-luxury yachts launched by the award-winning, small-ship cruise line in as many years, Seabourn Quest will debut in June 2011.

Seabourn Quest will be the third iteration of the sleek and widely admired design that first appeared on Seabourn Odyssey in June 2009. Indeed, Odyssey has been hailed as a “game-changer for the luxury segment.” The second sister ship, Seabourn Sojourn, will debut next June in Greenwich, England, and is already selling strongly for its maiden year. Together, the three new vessels represent a capacity increase of over 200 percent for the line in a three-year period – underlining the company’s confidence in a burgeoning demand for top-shelf cruising options in the leisure travel market.

At 32,000 GRT and carrying just 450 guests each, the three new Seabourn yachts are the smallest cruising vessels being built by any major cruise company, in keeping with the line’s strategy of offering travelers highly personalized service in a relaxed, sociable and luxurious atmosphere.

“The selection of the name Seabourn Quest completes the triad of names we chose for these three new vessels,” noted Pamela C. Conover, Seabourn’s President and CEO. “Taken together, we believe that Odyssey, Sojourn, and Quest represent the passion for adventure and discovery that spurs our guests’ desire to travel in Seabourn style.” Last September, the cruise line launched a contest inviting people to guess the name they will give to the newest addition to its fleet, with a complimentary cruise for two aboard the vessel as the prize. The contest drew more than 2,100 email responses by the time it closed on December 31, some offering as many as a hundred different possibilities. The contest winner is Kevin Staub of Newtown, PA, who submitted “Quest” along with 15 other suggestions on October 12. Staub wasn’t alone in admiring the name, and so his name was drawn at random from a pool of 120 contestants who submitted correct guesses. Staub and his guest will enjoy a complimentary seven-day cruise on Quest during the vessel’s maiden year of operation.

The three new Seabourn yachts join another trio of small, 208-guest ultra-luxury vessels already in the fleet: Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. All offer Seabourn’s award-winning combination of all-suite accommodations, personalized service, superb cuisine and exceptional itineraries in the world’s most desirable destinations. Innovative onboard features on the new yachts include a delightfully unorthodox gathering spot called Seabourn Square, which replaces the traditional reception lobby with a comfortable, relaxed, club-like room that combines a library, internet café and a discreet guest services center with a social lounge and konditerei-style coffee bar. The 11,400 square-foot, indoor/outdoor spa facility is the largest on any luxury vessel, even those that carry more than twice as many guests. Four dining venues, six bars and lounges and a wide range of open decks and terraces provide venues to suit every mood, from sociable to secluded.

With its expanded fleet, The Yachts of Seabourn is able to offer travelers an array of new itineraries throughout the year, including year-round sailings in Asia aboard Seabourn Pride, exploring Vietnam, Thailand, China, Korea and Japan.

For a limited time, many of these voyages are being offered with free round-trip business class airfare included in the fares. The new vessels will continue to offer popular itineraries such as Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas, and will also add annual World Cruises to the line’s offerings. 2010 voyages are currently being offered at Yachting Collection Savings of up to 65 percent off of published brochure fares, starting from $2,799 per person, for a seven-day Mediterranean voyage, based on double occupancy of a spacious, ocean-view suite.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last Block of the New Disney Dream Put in Place

On June 1st, the final building block for the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Dream, was placed in spot at the Meyer Werft shipyard signaling completion of a major milestone in the ship’s overall construction. On January 26, 2011, the Disney Dream will set sail from Port Canaveral, Fla. on her maiden voyage and take family cruising to all-new heights, embracing the spirit of innovation, magical family entertainment and immersive experiences that have made Disney Cruise Line the preeminent choice for families since 1998.

Read More about the New Disney Dream

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Luxury Operator Crystal Cruises Unique Recycling Program


Luxury specialist Crystal Cruises has partnered with Clean the World to recycle Crystal's unused onboard soap and shampoos and distribute them to impoverished people around the world. Through a proprietary purification process, Clean the World sterilizes and repackages hygiene products donated by Crystal Cruises and dozens of hotel partners in the U.S. for distribution to charitable foundations. On cruises calling in U.S. ports, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will donate all partially used hygiene products to the organization for sanitization at its Florida headquarters.

"In addition to our own recycling efforts and numerous other charitable initiatives, we are very pleased to partner with Clean the World and provide supplies to those in need," says Bill Boehm, Crystal's director of safety, environment and training. "By donating our soap and contributing to their operational costs, we're not only supporting Clean the World's life-saving mission, but also helping to keep these products out of landfills and preserve the environment."

Each year, millions of deaths result from communicable illnesses that could be prevented with proper hygiene, sometimes as simple as hand washing. Among more than a dozen charitable recipients of the soaps recycled by Clean the World are World Vision and Floating Doctors, operating in developing countries to educate on and prevent disease, as well as provide disaster relief and medical treatment. In 2009, Clean the World distributed more than 230 tons of hygiene products to countries worldwide including Haiti, Mexico, Romania and other countries in Asia and Africa.

Crystal's dedication to shipboard and shoreside awareness of respectful treatment of the environment has earned its ships accolades from around the world. Its fleet adheres to strict Crystal Clean environmental initiatives and achieved certification for ISO 14001, only awarded to companies that meet comprehensive and stringent criteria. Most recently, Crystal Serenity was awarded the Venice Blue Flag environmental award and Crystal Symphony was recognized with Stockholm's Environmental Buoy Diploma for their earth-friendly practices.

Among Crystal's numerous charitable efforts is its founding partnership with Condé Nast Traveler's Five & Alive Fund, which provides health education and life-saving treatments for children five and under around the world.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Princess Cruises Expands 2011 New England Canada Season


Princess Cruises will launch its largest Canada & New England program ever in 2011, with a new itinerary and an expanded season, offering nearly a 30 percent increase in capacity over the previous season. These summer cruises will sail between the line’s Caribbean sailings from New York, offering a selection of summer destinations from the “Big Apple.”

The expanded Canada & New England season begins May 17 and introduces a new nine-day itinerary that adds calls in Sydney (Nova Scotia) and Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) plus features many favorite ports in the region. Caribbean Princess will offer four sailings on this roundtrip New York route between departures on its nine-day Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean itinerary, giving passengers the choice of sailing north or south (or both) for their summer vacation.

In autumn, the Canada & New England program continues with 14 sailings on two different itineraries – weeklong roundtrips from New York on Caribbean Princess and the classic 10-day route between New York and Quebec City aboard Crown Princess. In addition, Crown Princess will offer a 12-day Canada and Colonial America sailing.

These sailings also feature opportunities to visit several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, unique places that represent the planet’s cultural and natural heritage. In Canada, travelers can visit the town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (from Halifax), and Crown Princess passengers can explore the historic old city of Quebec. In Bermuda, the historic town of St. George is designated a UNESCO site.

“The charm and natural beauty of the Canada and New England region have made these sailings so popular each fall, that we’re now expanding our season into the summer,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “It’s our largest season ever, with the widest range of departures to choose from, so passengers should be able to find the perfect cruise to explore these scenic ports.”

The 2011 Canada & New England and Summer Caribbean program includes:

Canada & New England – During the summer months, Caribbean Princess will feature four sailings of a new roundtrip New York itinerary with calls at Sydney (Nova Scotia), Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport. Sailings depart May 17, June 13, June 22 and July 19. In August, the ship resumes its popular seven-day sailings featuring Halifax, Saint John, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport, with eleven departures between August 6 and October 15.

Classic Canada & New England – Crown Princess sails on three Classic Canada & New England 10-day cruises between New York and Quebec City, featuring calls in Newport, Boston, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and an overnight in Quebec. Crown Princess departs on these sailings between September 14 and October 4. The ship also offers one 12-day Canada & Colonial America sailing from Quebec City to Ft. Lauderdale on October 14, also featuring an overnight in Quebec and calls along the Eastern seaboard in Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, New York and Charleston.

Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean – Caribbean Princess will also offer six sailings to the crystal waters of the Caribbean with a nine-day Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean itinerary roundtrip from New York that includes calls at Bermuda (West End), San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. Sailings depart on May 8, May 26, June 4, July 1, July 10, and July 28. The ship will also feature one seven-day sailing from San Juan to New York with calls in St. Thomas, Antigua and Bermuda, departing on May 1.

Fares for seven-day Canada & New England sailings begin at $799 per person, and nine-day Caribbean sailings begin at $999 per person.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Luxury Operator Crystal Cruises Offers Overnight Stays in New York During New England Canada Cruise


A new overnight stay in New York and a maiden visit to Portland, Maine are among the highlights of Crystal Cruises’ New England & Canada series in fall 2010. Four 11-day cruises aboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony will sail between New York and Montréal beginning September 19, each with two overnight calls and nearly 100 Crystal Adventures ashore to showcase the region’s natural beauty and rich history.

Departing September 19, September 30, October 11 and October 22, all voyages feature overnight stays in Montréal and either Boston or New York, plus visits to Newport, Rhode Island; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Québec City, Québec and either Bar Harbor or Portland, Maine.

The itineraries allow guests to fully immerse themselves in the destinations, each with its own distinct charm. Whether the dramatic cliffs and lavish estates in Bar Harbor and Newport, the cobbled streets and French shops within Québec City and the spectacular waterfalls just outside city limits, or Portland’s art district, known as the city’s secret treasure, the region boasts limitless character and history to explore.

“Crystal Symphony’s New England and Canada itineraries offer an ideal combination of quaint provincial communities and exciting urban attractions, rich maritime history and striking scenery during the fall – the region’s most beautiful time of the year,” says Bill Smith, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “The ease of travel, Crystal’s award-winning resort experience and our exceptional value for 2010 is resonating with veteran and new-to-Crystal travelers.”

Per person, Two-for-One (double occupancy) promotional fares start at $4,275, with $500 per person ‘All Inclusive – As You Wish’ shipboard credits, and complimentary air transportation from many North American gateways.

Crystal Cruises has earned the hospitality industry’s most coveted awards, including being voted World’s Best Large Cruise Line by the readers of Travel + Leisure and Best Large-Ship Cruise Line by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine more than any other cruise line, hotel or resort in history. Additionally, the latter publication’s readers voted Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony the ‘Best Medium-Sized Ships in the World’ in its February 2010 issue.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Oceania Cruises will combine destination-rich ports with renowned cultural and historical diversity on two New England and Canada cruises October 2011. Scenic highlights include cruising in the Bay of Fundy, Saguenay Fjord and St. Lawrence River.

“These cruises appeal to history buffs and travelers who cherish all four seasons," stated Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises. "Guests will see the autumn leaves at their peak and discover the charming seaports of the Eastern Seaboard while enjoying the fine cuisine and great value for which Oceania Cruises is renowned.”

Travelers will discover these new destinations aboard Oceania Cruises’ 684-guest Regatta – an intimate ship acclaimed for its open-seating gourmet dining (no surcharges), luxurious public rooms and accommodations, and warm, attentive service.

Fall Foliage on Display

The 12-day “Colors, Coasts & Coves” cruise offers a taste of French culture and cuisine, Scottish immigrant history, New England hospitality, as well as Canadian and U.S. history. Fares for these exciting new voyages start at just $3,999 per person, based on double occupancy, and include free air from 21 gateway cities. Departures are Sept. 30 and Oct. 12, 2011.

Ports include Newport, Rhode Island, where the Rockefellers and Astors summered during the Gilded Age; Rockland, a picturesque hamlet north of Boston; Bar Harbor, the quintessential Maine fishing village; St John, New Brunswick; quaint Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown in Nova Scotia; Corner Brook, Newfoundland; and historic Quebec City, the 400-year-old "heart of French Canada."

Thoughtfully designed optional tours and excursions enhance the destination experience and include a horse-drawn carriage tour of Quebec City; visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg fishing village; and a lobster lunch at Dalvay by the Sea, the 19th-century summer home built by then Standard Oil chief Alexander MacDonald. Outdoor activities include cycling Acadia National Park and Prince Edward Island and kayaking coves in Maine and Nova Scotia .

Mexico and the Panama Canal

Oceania Cruises will offer the “Ultimate Panama Canal” cruise before commencing her fall foliage cruises. The 21-day voyage from San Francisco to New York departs San Francisco September 9, 2011, and sails to the treasures of the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta , Acalpulco, Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas , before visiting Costa Rica and Colombia via the Panama Canal . A full day on Grand Cayman precedes visits to Savannah and Charleston , stalwarts of Southern charm. Fares start at $5,299 per person, based on double occupancy, and include free air from 21 gateway cities.

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Carnival Cruises Carnival Spirit to Sail 5 and 9 Night Mexican Rivera Cruises


Carnival Cruise Lines will introduce a new one-of-a-kind schedule from San Diego encompassing five- and nine-day Mexican Riviera voyages aboard the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit beginning Dec. 10, 2010.

On this unique program, five-day cruises will visit the popular resort town of Cabo San Lucas for two full days, while nine-day cruises will also feature a two-day call in Cabo San Lucas in addition to visits to the stunning seaside destinations of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and La Paz, the first time this port has been featured as a regular stop on a Carnival itinerary.

“Carnival Spirit’s convenient new schedule from San Diego provides consumers with two distinctly different West Coast cruise choices – a value-packed five-day cruise and a port-intensive nine-day itinerary, both calling at world-class resort destinations along the Mexican Riviera,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.

The two-day visits to Cabo San Lucas were selected based on guest feedback requesting more time to enjoy this popular destination which is highlighted by its distinctive rock formations, lush landscape and aqua-blue waters teeming with tropical fish.

Nine-day cruises depart Friday and return Sunday so guests can enjoy a longer cruise with more time in the spectacular ports of call, all within a typical weekend-to-weekend vacation period. Five-day cruises depart Sunday and return Friday, offering the ideal short cruise vacation at an attractive price.

Nine-day cruises will also call at Puerto Vallarta, a charming city where guests can relax on gorgeous white-sand beaches or stroll along the famed Malecon, a seaside walkway lined with restaurants, art galleries, and shops. Also featured is Mazatlan, known as the Pearl of the Pacific for its beautiful beaches, abundant marine life, and myriad fishing and diving opportunities. Rounding out the itinerary is La Paz, a sun worshippers’ paradise famous for its excellent sportfishing, snorkeling and scuba diving, with white-sand beaches stretching the length of its magnificent waterfront.

The namesake vessel in the line’s Spirit-class, Carnival Spirit offers a variety of on-board facilities and features – an indoor wrap around promenade, an classic American-style steakhouse located at the top level of a soaring-nine-deck high atrium, extensive spa and children’s facilities, and a two-level promenade lined with themed lounges, bars and nightspots. Four swimming pools, as well as Carnival’s signature Twister Waterslide, are featured, as well.

Carnival Spirit also offers bow-to-stern Wi-Fi, full casino gambling, myriad entertainment choices, including lavish production shows, along with a wedding chapel and conference center. In addition to the steakhouse, dining options include a two-level formal restaurant and an expansive poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria, New York-style deli, an Asian specialty venue and other casual choices.

Of the ship’s 1,062 staterooms, 80 percent offer either an ocean view or balcony – ideal for viewing the beautiful scenery. All staterooms feature the Carnival Comfort Bed with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.

Carnival Spirit will operate its new five- and nine-day Mexican Riviera schedule through April 1, 2011. The Carnival Spirit will then offer its previously scheduled 12-day Hawaii cruises (April 10 and 22, 2011) and a full season of seven-day Alaska cruises departing from Seattle (beginning May 10, 2011).

The new five- and nine-day cruises replace the Carnival Spirit’s previous eight-day Mexican Riviera program. Guests scheduled to sail on the eight-day voyages have the following options: switch to a new nine-day Mexican Riviera cruise with their eight-day cruise fare protected; re-book an alternate Carnival sailing and receive a $50 per person on-board credit; or cancel and receive a full refund. Travel agent commissions will be protected.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations on the Carnival Spirit’s new five- and nine-day Mexican Riviera cruises.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Royal Caribbean's New Allure of the Seas Not an Exact Cookies Cutter of the Oasis of the Seas


When she debuts this December 2010, Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas will bring a refreshing new array of features and amenities to the high seas as the world’s next largest and most innovative cruise ship. Following the announcement of Chicago: The Musical as the ship’s signature Broadway production, Royal Caribbean is sharing the next of several new onboard amenities that will surprise and delight Allure of the Seas’ guests.

“Allure of the Seas will offer guests a new set of onboard amenities and entertainment and dining options that will help make a most memorable vacation,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “Though Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas are sister ships, each ship’s distinctive onboard experience will offer guests a wide selection of choices that appeals to every age and lifestyle. Throughout, guests will also enjoy the Royal treatment, delivered by every member of our world-renowned friendly and engaging staff and crew.”

Among the features being introduced aboard Allure of the Seas will include a 3-D Movie Screen. The phenomenon of 3-D movies adds a new dimension to Entertainment Place, thanks to specially equipped 3-D screens in the ship’s Amber Theater. Following suit, Royal Caribbean’s popular Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, as well as sister-ship Oasis of the Seas, also will be equipped with 3-D technology as soon as January 2011.

Combining the best of classic Mexican beach bars and Southern California’s famed taquerias, Rita’s Cantina will be a vibrant new restaurant in the Boardwalk neighborhood. Adults and kids alike will enjoy some of their favorite Mexican fare, such as shrimp ceviche tostadas, warm tortilla chips with salsa and fiesta guacamole, as well as entrées, such as fajitas, fish tacos and Chipotle-style flautas. The more casual setting will be a favorite lunch, snack or dinner spot for guests seeking a flavorful fiesta aboard Allure of the Seas. Rita’s Cantina also will boast some of the best and widest selection of margaritas at sea, offering both authentic and signature concoctions mixed with a choice from the extensive list of quality tequilas, served on the rocks or frozen in a variety of fruit-flavor combinations. In addition, Rita Cantina will introduce new nightlife to Boardwalk with live guitar music, drinks and dancing. Rita’s Cantina’s design will include large open breeze ways and an outdoor seating area complete with high top tables and stools, and will be located in place of Seafood Shackaboard Oasis of the Seas.

Also new to Boardwalk’s dynamic and engaging scene will be The Boardwalk Dog House, an outdoor hot-dog specialty counter located where the donut shop is on Oasis of the Seas. Guests can choose from traditional hot dogs, wieners, brats, sausages and other delicious linked meats and a variety of toppings to split a long bun. The Donut Shop will remain on Boardwalk in a new location next to the Ice Cream Shoppe.

One of the world’s most recognizable fashion apparel companies, GUESS, also will debut its first flagship store at sea this December in Allure of the Seas’ Royal Promenade neighborhood. Guests will enjoy the latest stylish handbags, wallets, watches, shoes, jewelry, eyewear and perfumes in one of the largest GUESS accessory stores. The GUESS Accessory boutique will be located in place of Focus Photo Shop on deck six.

Guests also will enjoy new complimentary onboard conveniences, such as guest services kiosks in the Royal Promenade where guests can instantly view, print or e-mail their SeaPass folio or their personal calendar, or check-in and print airline boarding passes. Each stateroom aboard Allure of the Seas also will be equipped with an Apple Ipod dock for guests to set their own personal ambience.

Allure of the Seas will share the title of the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship with sister-ship Oasis of the Seas. An architectural marvel at sea, she will span 16 decks, encompass 225,282 gross registered tons, carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. Allure of the Seas will tout Royal Caribbean’s exclusive neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which will include Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship will alternate a Western Caribbean with an Eastern Caribbean seven-night itinerary from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Additional information is available at www.AllureoftheSeas.com.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas to Undergo Oasis of the Seas Refit

After revolutionizing the cruise industry with the debut of Oasis of the Seas last fall, Royal Caribbean International continues to set the standard in guest experiences and satisfaction by introducing select Oasis-class amenities and features on the popular Freedom-class ships, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. Rolling out in early 2011, guests of Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas will soon have some of the top-rated features from Oasis of the Seas, including new dining, entertainment, children’s programming, and other enhancements.

“Royal Caribbean is always exploring new ways to enhance our guests’ vacation,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We have received such overwhelmingly positive guest responses to amenities, entertainment and programs that we debuted on Oasis of the Seas that we are introducing some of them aboard Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. No matter which Royal Caribbean ship vacationers choose, they are going to love all the enhancements that we are planning.”

Additionally, Royal Caribbean is proud to offer three exclusive Cozumel shore excursions, available exclusively to guests of Oasis of the Seas immediately, one of which kicks off a new series of ‘voluntourism’ activities, enabling guests to give back while on vacation.

Entertainment that WOWs All Ages

Following the acclaimed debut of Tony Award-winning Hairspray on Oasis of the Seas, and the immense response to the cruise line’s recent announcement of Chicago: The Musical to run on Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean also will introduce a Broadway production on Liberty of the Seas. Announcement of the show’s title will be made at a later date. A family musical geared for children, such as the one playing in the Adventure Ocean Theater aboard Oasis of the Seas, also will debut in the main theaters of both Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.

A huge hit aboard Oasis of the Seas, Royal Babies and Tots Nursery also will be available for Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas’ guests. The nursery care program for babies and tots six through 36 months old offers parents a safe, fun and interactive vacation environment for their toddler too. Royal Caribbean’s trained professionals carefully maintain an optimum staff to child ratio, offering various playgroups and activities developed exclusively for Royal Caribbean with partners Fisher Price and Crayola.

Oversized outdoor video screens similar to those wowing guests at Oasis of the Seas’ Aquatheater will make their debut aboard Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. The large 18.5-foot video screen aboard each ship will be center of and overlooking the main family pool area and will feature movies and entertainment programs throughout the cruise for families, friends and couples to enjoy an evening under the stars.

Navigating Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas also will be even easier, thanks to the groundbreaking wayfinding system launched on Oasis of the Seas. Onboard activities, real time updates, customized directions and routing, as well as ship factoids will be at guests’ fingertips with new plasma and LCD touch screen signs that will be prominently placed throughout each of the ships.

Delightful New Tastes

A runaway hit for sweet treats in Oasis of the Seas’ Royal Promenade, the enchanting Cupcake Cupboard will soon charm guests of Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas as well. The specialty bakery boutique will feature a wide array of fresh gourmet cupcakes á la carte, and will also offer hands-on decorating classes, as well as a separate space for guests looking to celebrate special events – birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, and more.

For the wine aficionados, the Vintages loungeaboard Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas also will feature a new trendier décor and offer guests a wide range of fine wines. Guests also can enjoy a self-pour with new Enomatic serving systems, which will be stocked with an assortment of notable wine selections.

New Exclusive Oasis of the Seas Shore Excursions

Guests aboard Oasis of the Seas can exclusively enjoy a choice of three memorable shore excursion options immediately at Cozumel, Mexico, one of which inaugurates a new series of ‘voluntourism’ opportunities. For an additional charge, the whole family can enjoy a memorable day snorkeling near nurse sharks under the watchful eye of a highly skilled trainer and learn about shark physiology, reproduction and eating habits at Xcaret Eco Park on “Xcaret Shark Encounter” or wine aficionados can choose an unforgettable Mexican food and wine pairing, sample more than 180 delicious Mexican wines on display at Xcaret's newly constructed wine cellar on “Mexican Wine Tasting at Xcaret Park.”

As part of a new series of “voluntourism” activities, “Voluntourism: The Mexican Red Cross Landscaping Project” offers guests the opportunity to contribute to the local community of Cozumel, thanks to a partnership with the Mexican Chapter of the Red Cross. As part of a beautification project, guests will be outfitted with materials and tools for this four-hour excursion that will allow them to assist with the planting of trees and shrubs at the local chapter's new facility. Remaining proceeds will be donated to the Cozumel chapter of the Mexican Red Cross.
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Carnival Elation Departs on Inaugural Cruise From Mobile Alabama Tomorrow

2,052-Passenger Vessel To Carry an Estimated 170,000 Passengers Annually From Mobile

MIAMI (May 14, 2010) – Mobile’s newest cruise ship, Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation, will arrive at the Alabama Cruise Terminal tomorrow, May 15, to launch year-round four-, five- and seven-day western Caribbean cruises.

Tomorrow’s voyage – a seven-day western Caribbean cruise to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel – is the first of the Carnival Elation’s 74 annual departures from Mobile.

Carnival is the only cruise line to sail year-round from Mobile and Carnival Elation will carry an estimated 170,000 passengers annually from the port.

Carnival Elation replaces the Carnival Fantasy, a sister ship of the same size which is repositioning to Charleston, S.C., to launch that port’s first year-round cruise program May 18.

In addition to upcoming seven-day voyages taking place in July and October, Carnival Elation will operate four-day cruises to Cozumel departing Thursdays and five-day voyages to Cozumel and Calica or Progreso, Mexico, departing Mondays and Saturdays.

“Carnival pioneered year-round cruising from Mobile in 2004 and has since carried hundreds of thousands of satisfied guests, primarily residents of the southeastern U.S., who greatly value the ease and convenience of cruising from this charming southern port city,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “The modern Alabama Cruise Terminal combined with exceptional partnership from the local community, including area travel agents who have strongly supported our Mobile cruise program, have led to our ongoing growth and success in Mobile,” he added.

Commented Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, "We are excited about the arrival of the Carnival Elation into Mobile. Having this ship homeported here is going to be a tremendous asset to our waterfront and for tourism.”

Carnival Elation entered service in 1998 and offers a wide range of on-board facilities and features: 12 lounges and bars, including a 1,300-seat theater showcasing lavish revues, a 12,000-square-foot health spa, a conference center, a jogging track, and organized programs for children in three age groups – Camp Carnival (2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17).

Also featured is Serenity, a secluded adults-only retreat with teak-style decking, colorful umbrellas and comfortable chaise lounges and chairs.

Dining options include two formal restaurants, a 700-seat casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, a patisserie and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service. Cell phone service and ship-wide Internet access are also available.

All of the Carnival Elation’s 1,026 staterooms feature the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Carnival Fantasy Sails into Charleston South Carolina


Carnival Fantasy sailed into Charleston Tuesday, May 18, complete with a maritime escort and water sliding competition between Charleston area leaders and Carnival executives

CHARLESTON, S.C. – On Tuesday, May 18, Carnival Cruise Lines officially launched its new, year-round cruise schedule from the historic city of Charleston. Carnival Fantasy will operate five-, six- and seven-day voyages to The Bahamas and Key West, Fla. from the Passenger Terminal in historic downtown Charleston. In 2011, Carnival will also offer a series of Bermuda cruises from Charleston on the Carnival Fantasy.

The Carnival Fantasy sailed into the city’s port early on Tuesday morning, accompanied by a fleet of local maritime industry vessels. The Spirit of South Carolina, Charleston Water Taxis, Moran Tug Company, SpiritLine Cruises and the Charleston Harbor Pilots all joined in welcoming Carnival Cruise Lines to the port and celebrating the city’s unique maritime history.

Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald emceed the luncheon event, with City of Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, South Carolina State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome, and Carnival Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jim Berra on hand.

“Charleston is a beautiful, historic city within easy reach of millions of U.S. residents who will now have convenient access to Carnival’s fantastic and affordable cruise vacation options year-round,” said Jim Berra. “The events today were a celebration of the fun and excitement that both Carnival and the City of Charleston will provide to our guests.”

In the spirit of Carnival’s “Fun For All. All For Fun” mantra, several Charleston area leaders and Carnival team members participated in competitive races down the 82-foot-long dual racing water slides.

“Carnival Fantasy’s year-round service is a welcome addition to the Port of Charleston and fits well within the context of the internationally acclaimed Charleston tourism market,” Jim Newsome said. “Cruise business benefits Charleston because it provides a positive economic impact in the form of jobs, investment and visitor spending. We look forward to continuing our successful, long-standing relationship with Carnival.”

"Carnival's year-round service provides an important opportunity not only to enhance our local economy but also to introduce new visitors to our historic city," said Mayor Riley.

The 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy features a host of on-board amenities and facilities including a 12,000-square-foot health spa, extensive children’s facilities for kids in three age groups, a variety of formal and casual dining options and 12 lounges and bars.

Also featured is Carnival WaterWorks, an expansive, all-ages aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long water slide, 82-foot-long dual racing slides and a splash zone. Carnival Fantasy also offers Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat, and a resort-style main pool area.

Carnival Fantasy will sail this afternoon (5/18) on a five-day voyage from Charleston to Freeport and Nassau, The Bahamas.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Artwork Unveiled for Cunard's New Queen Elizabeth Debuting This Fall


20 May 2010 – Yesterday, in Chelsea near London, Cunard Line unveiled the stunning centerpiece for the Grand Lobby of the Line’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, debuting this fall. The artwork was specially commissioned to David Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret and the internationally famous photographer Lord Snowdon – and Her Majesty The Queen's only nephew – whose company specializes in the design and creation of fine furniture and marquetry.

Work is already underway, and the completed 18 and a half foot panel will be shipped this summer to the Fincantieri shipyard at Monfalcone, Italy, where it will be installed over a four-day period to take pride of place at the heart of the ship just before she enters service in October.

Linley’s magnificent work shows the port bow of the original Queen Elizabeth seen dramatically from sea level, and is intricately executed using the technique of marquetry inlay with nine individual panels made of various types of wood veneers seamlessly jointed to lightweight board. Featured woods are Madrona, Indian ebony, American walnut, grey ripple sycamore, burr ash, bird’s eye maple, satin walnut, ash, burr walnut and Macassar ebony – all utilized to depict the evocative image of one of Cunard’s most elegant Queens.

Designers for the new Queen Elizabeth’s interiors considered the best way to treat the Grand Lobby’s soaring central arched space on the sweeping staircase leading up from the main deck, as it is the first area to greet embarking guests.

“We needed to fill that space with a decorative screen which would not just be dramatic – a ‘wow’ factor in an area already full of ‘wow’ – but which would also reflect our emphasis on traditional and sumptuous materials,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “After much thought and exploratory work, it was decided to commission a marquetry panel depicting the original Queen Elizabeth, an Art Deco icon, using a variety of natural woods from around the world.

“Once we had decided on the theme and the medium,” Shanks continued, “it didn’t take us long to conclude that no one was better qualified for this detailed but monumental work than the company of the exceptional craftsman David Linley, whose creative ability and mastery of wood is renowned.”

“Though we have made fittings for luxury yachts in the past,” said Linley, who founded his company in 1985, “this is the first sea-going work we have done on this scale – it is certainly the largest screen we have ever made – but it was a commission I was delighted to accept. I recall my father saying the interior design on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 made one proud to be British, so I am hoping our achievement on the new Queen Elizabeth will make him – and others – equally proud.”

Queen Elizabeth will be the second largest Cunarder ever built and will join her sisters, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, as part of the youngest fleet in the world. The first Queen Elizabeth was one of Cunard’s greatest ships, and the new Queen Elizabeth will reflect her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist.

Queen Elizabeth will depart on her Maiden Voyage on Tuesday 12 October 2010. This 13-night celebration will leave from the company’s home port, Southampton, and will call at Vigo, Lisbon, Cadiz, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (overnight call) and Funchal. She will then embark on five celebratory maiden voyages to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Caribbean.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Holland America 2011 & 2012 South America Cruises


In 2011 and 2012, three Holland America Line ships –– ms Veendam, ms Rotterdam and ms Prinsendam –– will explore South America’s rugged natural beauty, indigenous cultures and contrasting cities during unforgettable cruising expeditions. The itineraries range from 12 to 37 days and include two extended, port-intensive Collectors’ Voyages aboard Veendam. A 66- and 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage aboard the Prinsendam is also part of the line’s 2011 and 2012 cruise schedule.

The recently upgraded Veendam and Rotterdam will sail a combined eight South America itineraries, featuring 44 ports of call.

“ South America is one of the most popular, ‘must-see’ destinations in the world,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Holland America Line offers an extraordinary cruise experience as well as in-depth explorations of this vast and diverse continent at an exceptional value.”

From Nov. 2011 to March 2012, the 1,350-guest Veendam will sail a series of 12-, 16- and 17-day itineraries between Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that include multiple days cruising the fjords of Chile, port calls at exotic locations such as Ushuaia — the southernmost town in the world — and a visit to the Magellan Strait, a gateway to Antarctica. A call at the Falkland Islands affords guests the opportunity to encounter penguins up close and personal.

Cruise fares begin at $1,399 per person, double occupancy for the 12-day sailings; $1,799 for the 16-day sailings; and $2,799 for the 17-day sailings.

In addition to Veendam’s series of cruises, two varied itineraries also are available throughout the season: an 18- or 21-day Inca Discovery Cruise departing New York or Fort Lauderdale , Fla. , to Valparaiso Oct. 16, 2011; and a 19- or 22-day Inca Discovery Cruise departing Valparaiso to Fort Lauderdale or New York March 31, 2012.

These itineraries include a full transit of the Panama Canal, in addition to extended port calls at Fuerte Amador ( Panama City ), Panama , and Callao ( Lima ), Peru .

Cruise fares begin at $1,999 per person, double occupancy for the 18- and 19-day sailings.

Veendam’s Collectors’ Voyages

Veendam’s Collectors’ Voyages — which offer the ultimate blend of combining two back-to-back sailings — depart Valparaiso Feb. 16, 2011, for a 30-day South America adventure and March 4, 2011, for a 42-day sailing. The line offers also offers two awe-inspiring Inca Discovery Voyages with options to sail between either New York or Fort Lauderdale and Valparaiso : a 34- to 37- day sailing departs Oct. 16, 2011, and a 31- to 34-day journey departs March 19, 2012.

Cruise fares begin at $3,199 per person, double occupancy, for the full 30-day Collectors’ Voyage.

Uncover the Incan Empire, Timeless Wonder of Machu Picchu

Aboard Rotterdam , guests will sail two unique Incan Empire Cruises, conveniently sailing roundtrip from the U.S.

Guests will spend 30 days exploring 15 ports along the west coast of Mexico , Guatemala , Nicaragua , Panama , Costa Rica , Ecuador and Peru during the ship’s Incan Empires voyage. The round-trip San Diego , Calif. , cruise departs Feb. 2, 2011, and features extended calls at Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta , Mexico , allowing guests extra time ashore to enjoy the history and local attractions. A two-night call at Callao ( Lima ) enables guests to take an excursion to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu . This popular itinerary will be offered again, departing Feb. 3, 2012.

For the adventurists who wish a blend of the exotic, Rotterdam will also embark on a 60-day round-trip San Diego sailing in January 2011 and again in February 2012. Aptly called Polynesian Paradise & Incan Empires, the itinerary will cover the Hawaiian islands of Hawaii , Maui, Oahu and Kauai before crossing the International Date Line and sailing deep into the South Pacific, Central and South America, and Mexico .

Cruise fares begin at $3,099 per person, double occupancy, for the full 30-day Incan Empires cruise. Fifteen-day segments between San Diego and Callao also are available with fares starting at $1,699.

On April 17, 2011, Rotterdam sets sail on a 30-day Secret Civilizations round-trip Fort Lauderdale cruise that visits ports in Colombia , Costa Rica , Ecuador , Guatemala , Honduras , Mexico , Nicaragua , Panama and Peru . The itinerary features a double daylight transit of the Panama Canal on the way to and from Callao , where guests can observe the intricate passage through the lakes and locks of the man-made engineering marvel.

Cruise fares begin at $3,299 per person, double occupancy, for the full 30-day Secret Civilizations cruise. Fifteen-day segments between Fort Lauderdale and Callao also are available with fares starting at $1,799. Fares for the full 60-day Polynesian Paradise & Incan Empires voyage begin at $6,649 per person, double occupancy.

Cruise the Mighty Amazon River , Cross the Equator Twice

Once again, in 2011 and 2012, Prinsendam sails its amazing Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage round-trip Fort Lauderdale with departures on Jan. 5, 2011, and Jan. 4, 2012. During the 66- or 68-day cruise, the ship will circumnavigate South America, cross the equator twice, visit the remote continent of Antarctica and spend eight days exploring the Amazon River . In addition to several Caribbean islands, guests will visit ports in Brazil , Uruguay , Argentina , Antarctica, Chile , Peru , Ecuador and Panama . In all, guests will visit 13 countries, 29 ports and all three “Big A’s”: the Andes, the ice of Antarctica and Brazil ’s exotic Amazon rain forest.

Fares for the 66-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage begin at $10,199 per person, double occupancy. Shorter segments are available for guests with less time.

The ship returns to South America on a 24-day Amazon Explorer voyage departing Fort Lauderdale Nov. 27, 2011. Guests will call at several ports in Brazil , many of which are only accessible by water. The itinerary also features an overnight stay at Manaus , the furthest navigable point on the river for ocean-going vessels.

Cruise fares begin at $3,899 per person, double occupancy, for the full 24-day Amazon Explorer cruise.

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NOTE:

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Luxury Operator Silversea's Silver Whisper Emerges from Major Refit


May 27, 2010) Silversea Cruises' Silver Whisper sailed from Rome this week on her first voyage following a successful 14-day dry-dock project in Genoa, where extensive renovations were made to most areas of the ultra-luxury ship.

"The enhancements aboard Silver Whisper represent our ongoing commitment to delivering a luxury travel experience that is unsurpassed," said Amerigo Perasso, Silversea's president and CEO. "We made a significant investment in this renovation to ensure our guests continue to enjoy the very finest comforts and amenities in a totally refreshed and updated shipboard environment."

Echoing the sophisticated contemporary design themes and warm color palettes of Silversea's newest ship, Silver Spirit, some of the highlights of the Silver Whisper makeover include:

New Look for Suites: All carpets, headboards and curtains were completely replaced. The sofas and chairs feature new upholstery. Each suite has a new mattress custom-made exclusively for Silversea. The mattress features an individual spring system with a soft and firm side that can be reversed to suit each guest's preference. There is also a new memory foam pillow top that covers the mattress when configured as a queen-sized bed.

And in the larger suites (Owner's, Grand, Royal and Silver), the veranda furniture was replaced and a new state-of-the-art home audio system added. The Owner's, Grand and Royal Suites are outfitted with Bang & Olufsens' BeoSound 3200 radio and CD player, and the Silver Suites have BeoSound 1,which features a CD and radio integrated into a speaker.

By mid-June, all suites will feature new alarm clocks with iPod docks -- as will all ships in the Silversea fleet.

Refreshed Public Areas: La Terrazza, the Panorama Lounge, Reception area, Spa, Card Room and Conference Room received new upholstery, carpeting, curtains and wall treatments. New carpet was laid in the Observation Lounge and new wood flooring in the Spa. The Restaurant's hardwood floor was completely reconditioned and polished and the chairs dressed in new upholstery. An upgraded sound system was added to the Show Lounge, Panorama Lounge and La Terrazza. New carpet was installed in all corridors, landings and staircases.

Upgraded Outdoor Spaces: The jogging track features all-new artificial turf, and the pool area has been outfitted with new deck furniture, plus a new sound and light system for evening entertainment and outdoor shows. The pool itself has been upgraded inside and out with new tiles. A large awning was installed over the outdoor dining section of La Terrazza. And the Pool Grill, sporting a new awning as well, will become The Grill for evening dining featuring the popular new Black Rock cooking concept that debuted aboard Silver Spirit.

In addition to enjoying a fresh reconditioning and polishing of teak decks and woodwork, the ship underwent thorough maintenance on mechanical and propulsion systems.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit -- all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents.

In the U.S., Silversea has been voted "World's Best" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (nine times) and Travel + Leisure (seven times), and rated Number-One luxury cruise line by high-net-worth consumers in the 2008 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI). International awards include "Best Innovation in Products and Services" from the Italian Innovazione Marketing Oggi Awards (2009); "World's Leading Small Ships Cruise Line" from World Travel Awards (2009); "Five Star Diamond Award" from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (2010); "Number One" small-ship line in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Britain's Condé Nast Traveller magazine (2007); "Best Luxury Cruise Line" Excellence Award by Spain's Cruise News Media Group (2009); "Best Luxury Cruise Line" by Australia's Luxury Travel & Style Magazine (2010); and "Best Luxury Cruise Operator" according to Asia's Travel Weekly (2008).

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

MSC Poesia Offers 2010/2011 Theme Cruises

MSC Poesia returns to the Caribbean for her second season with a line-up of five baseball and Big Band theme cruises during the 2010-11 Caribbean season.

Cruise-only rates begin at $529 per person, double occupancy (government fees and taxes additional) and participation in the theme cruises is complimentary.

MSC Poesia’s 2010-11 Caribbean cruises sail roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and feature the ever-popular Baseball Greats and Big Band theme cruises. Here is a review of what these theme cruises feature:

Baseball Greats

During the sailing, guests gain insight into the world of Major League Baseball as seen through the eyes of some of the greats of the game.

The Baseball Greats theme cruise includes free interactive guest/player activities, including a player-hosted trivia game in which guests can test their baseball knowledge, question-and-answer sessions with the players, a guest pitching contest and a story-telling session where players share candid revelations about their baseball experiences.

Players will also host pitching, hitting, fielding, and base running clinics. There’s an extremely popular free autograph session at the end of the cruise.

The following itineraries will be Baseball Greats theme cruises:

* November 14, 2010: 7-night Eastern Caribbean calling at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Nassau, Bahamas. Featured former players include: Bob Feller, Tommy Davis, Glenn Beckert, Clarence Jones, and Stan Bahnsen. Rates begin at $529 [plus $69.62 (GFT’s) government fees and taxes)];

* December 5, 2010: 7-night Western Caribbean, calling at Key West, Florida; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. Featured former players include: Graig Nettles, Amos Otis, Dave Campbell, Stan Bahnsen and one more still to be announced. Rates begin at $529 (plus $69.62 GFT’s);

* January 9, 2011: 7-night Eastern Caribbean. Featured former players include: Stan Bahnsen and four more still to be announced. Rates begin at $549 (plus $69.62 GFT’s);

* January 23, 2011: 7-night Eastern Caribbean. Featured former players include: Rick Burleson, Jim Fregosi, Rick Wise, Stan Bahnsen one more to come. Rates begin at $49 (plus $69.62 GFT’s);

* February 6, 2011: 7-night Eastern Caribbean. Featured former players include: Stan Bahnsen and four more still to be announced. Rates begin at $549 (plus $81.35 GFT’s)

Big Band

The 15-piece Les DeMerle Big Band features vocalist Bonnie Eisele. Dynamic drummer Les DeMerle has toured and recorded with the Harry James Big Band and Wayne Newton; the band has also accompanied many top singers, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., The Manhattan Transfer, Mel Torme and Al Jarreau.

The Les DeMerle Big Band is sure to have toes tapping, bodies swaying and guests singing along to the sounds of Ellington, Basie, James and Miller, plus the biggest Broadway hits, rock

'n' roll classics, hot Latin grooves and show-stoppers from the ‘40s through today. In addition to their performances, the band will present a Big Band Jazz Concert and conduct a lecture on the Big Band Era.

The following itinerary features the Big Band theme:

* October 23, 2010: nine-night Canada/New England cruise departing from Quebec City, Quebec calling at Sydney, Nova Scotia; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; and New York, New York, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Rates begin at $840 (plus $102.40 GFT’s).

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