Friday, July 30, 2010

MSC Cruise Confirms Order For New Build MSC Fantastica - Delivery Spring 2011


(July 23, 2010) – MSC Cruises announced the conclusion of the legal process that finalizes the order and confirms construction of a new ‘Fantasia’ class cruise ship, MSC Fantastica, U32, by STX France making it the 12th ship in its fleet.

An important factor in the success of the project was the financial backing provided by French financial institutions, and especially by Coface, the French Export Credit Agency, making it possible for the vessel to be delivered as required by MSC Cruises by the end of spring 2012.

According to Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of STX France, he’s pleased with the contract being confirmed. “We look forward to continuing the long-standing relationship between the teams of MSC Cruises and STX France for the successful delivery of this magnificent vessel,” said Hardelay.

MSC Fantastica will build upon the success of the ‘Fantasia’ prototype, offering a unique experience for guests in its class thanks to innovative features such as the MSC Yacht Club, exclusive ship-within-a-ship area onboard, for unprecedented levels of privacy and personalized service.

Pierfrancesco Vago, worldwide chief-executive-officer for MSC Cruises, said, “We are delighted at the confirmation of this important investment--a sign of the success of our ambitious growth strategy. Together with STX France, we are focused on further enhancing MSC Cruises' leading positioning within the world’s cruise industry.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oceania Cruises Offers Sun-Splashed Holiday Cruises


July 21, 2010 – Holidays on the high seas are festive occasions when gourmet cuisine and intriguing ports of call are added to the mix. Oceania Cruises intimate Regatta will celebrate the season with age-old and revered traditions on a Christmas and New Year’s voyage to the Caribbean , departing December 21.

“Christmas is the best time to cruise the Caribbean . The warm weather is complemented by the holiday spirit felt throughout the islands,” stated Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises’ president. “Moreover, decorations and gala onboard events will make the holidays memorable.”

The line’s popular “Sun-Splashed Holiday” onboard Regatta is a 12-day cruise, roundtrip from Miami, departing December 21, that visits the Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, Martinique, St. Barts and St. Croix. Fares for interior staterooms are priced from $4,299 per person, double, including free air. A limited number of suites and staterooms are still available.

The holiday spirit is in the air from the moment guests embark on Oceania Cruises’ Regatta, which will be dressed from bow to stern in its festive finery. Strewn garland, wreaths, holly, Christmas trees, and even mistletoe provide a backdrop for carolers singing yuletide favorites, themed entertainment and special guest performers.

The significance of the holiday is observed at a Midnight Mass Dec. 24 and an ecumenical worship service on Christmas Day. Special Hanukkah activities are planned by a guest rabbi and menorahs will complement the ship’s seasonal decorations.

Oceania Cruises’ holiday sailings have a special culinary emphasis. Menus will include such Christmas favorites as roast turkey, goose or ham, plus traditional trimmings, sweets and eggnog. Guests can also enjoy potato latkes, matzo ball soup and Challah bread. A gala New Year's Eve deck party – weather permitting – features live music, noisemakers, party hats and Champagne .

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Norwegian Epic Sets Booking Record and New Discounts


July 19, 2010 – Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest and largest Freestyle Cruising ship ever, has set its third consecutive record-breaking booking week for the week ending July 17, 2010. Booking volume was up more than 50 percent from the previous two record-breaking weeks for the weeks ending July 3 and July 10 with Epic’s innovative New Wave balcony staterooms some of the most popular.

Norwegian’s signature New Wave design offers a completely fresh take on stateroom design with contemporary curved architecture including curved walls and ceilings that maximize the living space.

To celebrate Norwegian Epic’s christening and inaugural season, the line launched several promotions including “Hello Balcony,” offering guests a complementary balcony upgrade when booking an oceanview stateroom. The promotion is valid for new reservations, runs through August 1, 2010 and includes select sailings fleet-wide. In addition, guests also receive half-off standard cruise deposits and up to $150 in on-board credit per stateroom, based on cruise length and category, for new Norwegian Epic reservations.

The 153,000 gross tons, 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic, billed as the world's largest floating entertainment venue with world-class entertainment unlike anything before seen at sea, was christened by country music superstar Reba McEntire on July 2 in a Christening Ceremony hosted by Curb Your Enthusiasm star and comedian Jeff Garlin. The ship served as the venue for the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® Spectacular broadcast live on NBC television. The hour-long broadcast was the #1 program across all networks for the evening, hitting a three year high in ratings. The Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular show also won the coveted 18-49 demo and had a significant +82% gain in women, ages 25-54, versus last year.

Norwegian Epic sails alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises itineraries every Saturday from Miami through April 2011. Eastern Caribbean sailings make stops in St. Thomas , U.S. Virgin Islands: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Nassau , Bahamas . On her Western Caribbean sailings, Norwegian Epic visits Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico and Roatan , Honduras .

Norwegian Epic

World-class entertainment is Norwegian Epic’s hallmark. For the first time at sea, Blue Man Group performs their exhilarating fusion of comedy, theatrics and paint, exclusively on Norwegian Epic. In the only “big top” at sea, Cirque Dreams and Dinner presents a one-of-a-kind interactive theatrical dining experience with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. Legends in Concert, the original and world’s greatest live tribute show, is featured for the first time at sea in more than a decade on Norwegian Epic, along with The Second City improvisational comedy and Howl at the Moon, the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll dueling piano show that encourages audience participation. New York-based Slam Allen Band rocks the house with down-home blues in Fat Cats Jazz and Blues club.

In addition to world-class entertainment, the 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic incorporates many innovations including several new types of accommodations – the curved New Wave staterooms; the largest Villas suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship; and spa and family-friendly accommodations. Kids will have a blast with Nickelodeon at Sea™ offering Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment and programming including: character meet and greets; interactive game shows; and more.

The ship also boasts unique nightlife options with the first SVEDKA Ice Bar at sea and Spice H20 with non-stop entertainment day and night; an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide 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; 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. In addition, Norwegian Epic offers the next generation of Freestyle Dining with more than 20 dining choices and 20 bars and lounges.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Luxury Yacht Operator SeaDream Offers Guest Speakers on Transatlabtic Voyages

SeaDream Yacht Club, operator of the twin, ultra-luxury, mega yacht cruisers SeaDream I and II, will offer guests on its October and November, transatlantic westbound voyages a high- profile speakers’ program as a bonus to the joys of blue water sailing.

The transatlantic sailings from Europe to the Caribbean are:

· SeaDream I, Voyage #11041, Malaga-San Juan, 12 days, October 14-26, 2010. Speakers for this voyage are:

Colonel Walter Cunningham---Colonel Cunningham has enjoyed distinguished careers in the U.S. Marine Corps, as an astronaut with NASA and in private industry, including 12 years as a venture capitalist. He is best known as the pilot of Apollo VII, the first manned flight of that program to land a man on the moon. Following that mission in 1968 he became chief of the Skylab Astronauts where he was responsible for the design, development sand integration of systems for the largest spacecraft---manned or unmanned---ever placed in orbit up to that time.

Brian Beck---.Maritime historian Brian Beck is a chartered engineer with more than 30 years experience. After an early career as a marine engineer in the British Merchant Navy, he gained extensive management experience with a major European manufacturing, electrical engineering corporation as CEO of its UK companies. An expert in maritime history, Brian Beck has been a top lecturer on the subject for many years.

* SeaDream II, Voyage #21042, Lisbon-San Juan, 11 days, November 10-21, 2010

Dr. Fred Chernow--- A retired professor of psychology from St. John’s University in New York; Dr. Chernow has long been a seminar leader in the fascinating field of memory improvement. He has presented memory enhancement programs to major Fortune 500 companies He techniques are easy learned and can be put to use immediately. When not lecturing at sea, he appears on countless radio and TV talk shows demonstrating his user-friendly memory tips and strategies.

Jon Bowermaster--- A six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council and award-winning writer and filmmaker, Jon Bowermaster has made sea kayak expeditions in the past ten years from the Aleutian Islands to Vietnam, French Polynesia to Chile/Argentina/Bolivia, Gabon to Croatia and Tasmania to Antarctica. Seeing the world from the seat of a kayak has given Jon Bowermaster a one-of-a-kind look at both the health of the planet’s oceans and the lives of the nearly three billion people around the globe who depend on them.

Also, popular on these transatlantic voyages is the SeaDream Spa, with eight massage therapists, kept busy by guests who not only have mental stimulation on their minds but also have well-being and leisure. Lazy sea days become lazy spa days.

Cost for these voyages is from $2,699 per person and is based on double occupancy of a SeaDream Yacht Club stateroom. Rates are also available for solo travelers occupying a stateroom and for and third persons in a stateroom.

SeaDream does not regularly offer a lecture program on its yacht-like sailings. Its guests have ample opportunity to entertain themselves with the company’s noted water sports program, unique shore excursions at ports of call and other activities designed for well-traveled, active guests. It is offering its transatlantic travelers these compelling speakers as a diversion from those lazy days at sea that attract travelers to these “blue-water” sailings.

“We believe the combination of mental tranquility afforded by days at sea and the stimulation of interaction with speakers on topical subjects will provide our guests on this transatlantic sailing with the best of all possible worlds,” said Bob Lepisto, SeaDream’s President.

SeaDream fares include all meals, wine with lunch and dinner, open bar, use of the water toys, and gratuities. Air transportation and ground transportation to and from the SeaDream yacht is not included. Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change with out notice. Some fees apply.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

American Cruise Line Names The New Independence


On July 4, 2010 American Cruise Line celebrated the naming ceremony for their newest ship - the Independence. The festivities took place in Rockport Maine. Christened by United States Senator Susan M. Collins, the Independence is the fifth ship in American Cruise Lines' fleet.

After the celebration, the Independence kicked off a series of 13 Maine Coast and Harbors seven-night cruises. Prior to this, the Independence sailed on her 10-day maiden voyage from Providence, Rhode Island to Portland, Maine and featured ports from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine.

The ship has a number of important differences from other ships that Chesapeake Shipbuilding has built for American Cruise Lines, including a wider beam and active wing stabilizers. The wider beam will allow for larger staterooms, public spaces, and private balconies. The ship accommodates 104 passengers.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

MSC Cruise Offers Discounts to NY, NJ, PA and CT Residents


HTML clipboardJuly 24, 2010 - New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania residents have a reason to celebrate as MSC Cruises announces reduced rates from $449 (plus government fees and taxes, GFTs) for its inaugural fall foliage cruises to Canada/New England onboard MSC Poesia through August 31.

To Learn More About MSC Cruise Discounts for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Residents Click Here.

To Learn More About MSC Cruise Discounts for Pennsylvania Residents Click Here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Holland America's Veendam to Sail to Bermuda Again in 2011

July 20, 2010 – Holland America Line will offer 24 seven-day cruises to Bermuda aboard ms Veendam in 2011, continuing the schedule established this year with weekly cruises to the popular vacation destination. To learn more about the Veendam's 2011 Bermuda Cruises Click Here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Crystal Cruises Publishes 2011 Cruise Guide

July 2, 2010 – Crystal Cruises has published its 2011 Cruise Guide, featuring the 59 worldwide cruises, 167 ports and savings and innovations for Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity in 2011. A full page details Crystal’s extensive value propositions, including Two-for-One promotional pricing, ‘All Inclusive – As You Wish’ shipboard spending credits, ‘Save Now, Save Later,’ and its Crystal Family Memories program. Special attention is given to newly introduced programs Perfect Choice Dining™ featuring Open Dining by Reservation, and the Priority Check-in and Planning Center.

A layout of the six-star elements comprising Crystal’s winning formula of service, space, quality and choices, boasts a “What’s New” top banner detailing these and other new enrichment and shoreside programs. Crystal’s acclaimed Experiences of Discovery theme cruises are also featured.

A preview to the 150+-page Crystal Cruises Worldwide Atlas available later this summer, the 30-page, full color brochure is conveniently color-coded by destination, and includes deck plans for the award-winning vessels with comprehensive listings of the luxurious appointments and new features in the staterooms and penthouses.

“Practical itinerary and ship information, plus the tremendous promotional offers and new services, make the Cruise Guide an ideal tool for advance travel planning for guests and travel agents,” says Nitsa Lewis, vice president, marketing. “At the same time, there is appealing lifestyle information to convey Crystal’s award-winning casually elegant style.”

In addition to Crystal’s epic 110-day “Grand Exotic Expedition” World Cruise, new for 2011 is a return to cruising Alaska for the first time since 2005 aboard Crystal Symphony, with eight visits to Glacier Bay, and to West Africa for the first time since 2001; all Baltic and Mediterranean cruises aboard Crystal Serenity, with added North Cape and Black Sea voyages; a final voyage to Antarctica; overnight calls in Ashdod, Melbourne, Barcelona, Cannes, Istanbul, New York and others; two-night stays in Dubai, Cape Town and St. Petersburg; maiden visits to Argostoli, Kefalonia; Fethiye, Turkey; Komodo Island, Indonesia; Koper, Slovenia; and Marigot Bay, St. Martin; and a Christmas holiday cruise to Mexico round-trip from Los Angeles.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Carnival Conquest Will Reposition to New Orleans for Year-Round Seven-Day Caribbean Cruises

(June 23, 2010) – Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship, the 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic, will operate seven-day Caribbean cruises from Galveston beginning Nov. 14, 2011, becoming the largest cruise ship based at the port year-round. Additionally, the 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph will reposition from New Orleans to Galveston to operate year-round four- and five-day Caribbean cruises from that port beginning Oct. 6, 2011.

Homeporting the Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph in Galveston represents the largest-ever capacity commitment by a cruise line to Texas. With these deployments, Carnival expects to carry more than 450,000 guests annually from Galveston – a 28 percent increase over the current year.

In turn, the 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest and 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy, both of which are currently based in Galveston, will reposition to New Orleans to operate year-round departures from that port, returning the line to pre-Katrina capacity levels there. With Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy, the line is expected to carry nearly 340,000 passengers annually from New Orleans – the most of any cruise operator.

“Deploying the new Carnival Magic to Galveston and increasing capacity on our popular short cruise program with the Carnival Triumph is a clear indication of the tremendous appeal and growth of this key homeport, which consistently earns high marks from our guests,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “At the same time, we are very pleased to return to pre-Katrina capacity levels in New Orleans with the Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy – a wonderfully positive indicator of the city’s continued growth and recovery,” he added.

Carnival Magic, Carnival Triumph from Galveston
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.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Free Safari or Golden Triangle Land Tour Offered on Arabia, India & Africa Cruise

July 6, 2010 – Dubai , Bombay , the Seychelles , Mauritius and Africa’s Cape of Good Hope – each place name conjures up exotic images. Regent Seven Seas Cruises visits all of them and more on a 25-night luxury cruise, departing Nov. 8, 2010. As an added bonus, guests receive a free African safari or Taj Mahal land tour or $2,000 if they book by September 30.

The “Indian Ocean Odyssey” from Dubai to Cape Town visits Fujairah, UAE; Mumbai (best known as Bombay), Goa, New Mangalore and Cochin in India; Mahé and Praslin, Seychelles; Port Louis, Mauritius; Pointe des Galets, Réunion; and Richards Bay and Durban in South Africa.

Choose from Value-Added Land Tours or $2,000 in Savings

For a limited time, guests who reserve their cruise by September 30 can enjoy a complimentary three-night, mid-cruise land tour to India ’s Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra , home to the Taj Mahal, which they will visit on exclusive tours at sunrise and sunset. Alternatively, cruisers can extend their vacation with a three-night photo safari to South Africa’s game reserves. Both escorted land tours include luxury hotel accommodations, all transfers, meals, wines and spirits. In lieu of the land tours, travelers can save an additional $2,000 per person. With the bonus savings, rates start from $14,780 per person, based on double occupancy.

Regent Seven Seas offers the world’s most inclusive luxury cruise vacations. Above rates include Economy Class air transportation, all meals in a choice of gourmet restaurants (no surcharges), open bars throughout the ship, unlimited sightseeing tours and excursions in every port, distinguished guest lecturers, nightly entertainment, all staff gratuities, port taxes and any government fees.

Award-Winning Accommodations, Service & Cuisine

Guests cruise the Indian Ocean onboard the all-suite, 700-guest ship Seven Seas Mariner, acclaimed as one of the most luxurious cruise vessels afloat. Suites measure from 300 to 1,200 square feet and are equipped with elegantly appointed living and sleeping areas, marble bathroom, walk-in closet, flat-screen TV, fully stocked bar and private balcony.

“Arabia, South Africa, India and the atolls of the Indian Ocean are still relatively unknown to many North Americans,” stated Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The mystery of these intriguing and remote destinations makes visiting them by sea the ideal option for travelers who desire to explore the world in luxury.”

As an added highlight, Conroy, will escort the voyage and host special events during the voyage, including “Bombay Bazaar” – a theatrical performance that attempts to recreate the frenetic and colorful bazaars of East Asia through music and dance
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Top Contemporary Artists Set Sail aboard Princess Cruises Art Connoisseur Voyages

(June 22, 2010) – Some of today’s top contemporary artists will be making appearances aboard nine upcoming Princess Cruises sailings as part of the line’s Art Connoisseur Cruises. Featuring as many as 10 contemporary artists in a single voyage, these special sailings offer activities for both avid collectors and art newcomers.

A wide range of internationally acclaimed artists will join the ship for Art Connoisseur cruises, including names such as painter Howard Behrens, bas relief sculptor Bill Mack, pop artist Allison Lefcort, and marine life artist Wyland. The voyages offer a variety of events with the artists, such as meet-and-greet sessions or demonstrations. Some artists, including pop fusion painter Eric Waugh even entertain crowds with live painting sessions set to music. Other famous names onboard will include young phenomenon Alexandra Nechita and “rock star of the art world” Michael Godard.

Art Connoisseur cruises are part of Princess’ Fine Arts program, an onboard program that offers passengers the opportunity to see and learn about some of the notable artwork produced in the last century. Each ship features artwork from collectable artists for sale on board with art auctions during each cruise.

“These special sailings offer our passengers the opportunity to go behind the art by meeting the artists and learning more about what inspires their work,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Passengers often find a new artist whose work they enjoy, or learn more about one they’ve admired. Others simply like exploring the world of art and the work of an artist.”

Princess’ upcoming Art Connoisseur cruises include:

July 4 - 16 Ruby Princess – 12 days Grand Mediterranean

Howard Behrens, Michael Godard, Dorit Levi, Aldo Luongo, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, Allison Lefcort, Alexandra Nechita, Bill Mack, Manoukian Martiros

July 16 - 28 Ruby Princess – 12 days Grand Mediterranean

Bill Mack, Howard Behrens, Michael Godard, Eric Waugh, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, Dorit Levi, Alexandra Nechita, Aldo Luongo, Manoukian Martiros, Alexandre Renior

Sept 17 - 27 Crown Princess – 10 days Classic Canada New England

Wyland, Walfrido Garcia, James Warren

Oct 4 - 20 Diamond Princess – 16 days Southeast Asia & China

Alina Eydel, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, Bill Mack

Oct 17 - 29 Star Princess – 12 days Egypt & Aegean

Allison Lefcort, Nobuaki Haihara, Michael Godard, Nicola Berardino, Des Brophy

Nov 3 - 19 Diamond Princess –16 days Southeast Asia & China

Eric Waugh, Nobu Haihara, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, David Schluss, Bill Mack

Nov 11 - 13 Pacific Princess – 12 days Holy Land

Allison Lefcort, Dorit Levi

Nov 19 - Dec 5 Diamond Princess – 16 days Southeast Asia & China

Dorit Levi, Sharie Hatchett Bohlmann, Aldo Luongo

Dec 28 - Jan 7, 2011 Emerald Princess – 10 days Caribbean

Bill Mack, Allison Lefcort, Martiros

Many of these artists also sail individually on Solo Artist voyages throughout the year. For a schedule of these sailings, contact 1-800-PRINCESS.

In addition to presenting works from collectable contemporary artists, Princess also offers a special ScholarShip@Sea presentation for those who would like to learn more about the world of art. The free course, Art History@Sea: Botticelli to Warhol, The Evolution of Art, was developed in conjunction with Dr. Thomai Serdari, Professor of Art History and Director of Research Collections for New York University. Presented by the onboard art director, this course makes 500 years of art come to life in a one-hour session. This course is available on Art Connoisseur Cruises and most other Princess sailings.


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Monday, July 19, 2010

Cunard Line is Proud to Announce the 2012 World Voyage Program


June 21 2010 – Continuing the company’s legacy of the annual World Voyage they pioneered 90 years ago, Cunard Line is proud to announce the 2012 World Voyage programme aboard The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World. The Line’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, and its flagship, Queen Mary 2, will sail these legendary voyages to a combined 60 ports across 33 countries, featuring Queen Mary 2’s first circumnavigation around Australia.

The leader in World Cruising, Cunard offers itineraries calling on legendary ports, featuring overnights in Sydney and Hong Kong on Queen Elizabeth; and overnights in Cape Town, Hong Kong and Dubai on Queen Mary 2. These rich travel legacies, combined with the Line’s hallmarks of elegant fine dining, impeccable White Star Service™ and a wide variety of premier stateroom accommodations - including the award-winning Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites - provide unforgettable experiences.

“Not only are our guests seeing the wonders of the world while enjoying
Publish Post - Cunard’s signature White Star Service, they are joining the Line’s nearly century-old historic travel adventure,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.

Queen Elizabeth World Voyage
For her second World Voyage, Queen Elizabeth will once again offer a complete circumnavigation of the globe on a 107-day journey from Southampton. North American guests have the ease of embarking on their World Voyage experience from New York, Fort Lauderdale or San Francisco, after the ship transits the Panama Canal.

From the West Coast, Queen Elizabeth sails into the South Pacific and New Zealand before arriving for an overnight in Sydney. Next, she heads north to Singapore via Queensland, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, and makes an overnight stay in Hong Kong.

After visiting more of Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India en route to Dubai, Queen Elizabeth begins the final leg of her epic voyage, including the transit of the Suez Canal, as well as calls in Egypt, Greece, Italy and Portugal before returning home to Southampton.

Here, North American guests have the option to rendezvous with Queen Mary 2 and take in the Line’s iconic Transatlantic Crossing to complete their historic World Voyage. Fares for the full 107-day World Voyage start from $20,995 per person.

Segment Voyages offer the Queen Elizabeth experience and capture the essence of a World Voyage, ranging from 12 to 24 days, including New York to San Francisco (17 days), San Francisco to Sydney (24 days), Sydney to Singapore (24-days), Singapore to Dubai (12 days) and Dubai to Southampton (22 days). Guests can enjoy great value by combining two or more consecutive segments to create adventurous Liner Voyages. Segment fares start from $2,775 per person.

Queen Mary 2 World Voyage
Queen Mary 2 will begin her fifth World Voyage in Southampton, including a maiden call to the spectacular sand dunes in Namibia’s Swakopmund before a two-night stay in Cape Town. From South Africa, she sails to Sydney via Mauritius where she offers her first-ever circumnavigation of Australia and a maiden call in Darwin along the way. After returning to Sydney for a second visit, she is off to Japan, including a maiden call to Hiroshima, and China en route to an overnight stay in Hong Kong. Queen Mary 2 then visits Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and India en route to Dubai.

From here, Queen Mary 2 will call in Egypt and transit the Suez Canal before returning home to Southampton via Greece and Portugal. Full World Voyage fares start from $20,995 per person.

Segment Voyages aboard Queen Mary 2 range from 15 to 22 days and include Southampton to Cape Town (15 days), Cape Town to Sydney (20 days), roundtrip from Sydney (22 days), Sydney to Hong Kong (19 days), Hong Kong to Dubai (16 days) and Dubai to Southampton (16 days). Segment fares start from $2,995 per person.

Enhanced Benefits Programme
In addition to receiving a bonus 10 percent discount off Early Booking Fares (EBF), Full World Voyage and Liner Voyage guests will receive an on-board credit of up to $3,000 per stateroom when booking by 28 February 2011. Full World Voyage guests also receive complimentary Hotel and Dining Charges.

Further, an invitation will be extended to all Full World Voyage guests to join Cunard President Peter Shanks ashore at one of the ports of call during their time on board for the traditional World Voyage Dinner, an exclusive evening of world-class dining and entertainment. Cunard World Club members will receive an extra 5 percent savings off Bonus Early Booking Fares.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Carnival Spirit to Operate from the Port of Los Angeles


(July 1, 2010) -- Carnival Cruise Lines – the West Coast’s number one cruise operator – will return to the Port of Los Angeles when the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit launches a series of five- and nine-day Mexican Riviera voyages in fall 2011. This marks the first time the line has offered a regular program from the San Pedro cruise terminal in eight years.

Carnival Spirit will also offer two 15-day Hawaii sailings round-trip from Los Angeles and San Diego in 2011 and 2012, marking the first time the line has offered round-trip voyages to the Aloha State.

New Five- and Nine-Day Sailings from L.A.
Carnival Spirit’s new Los Angeles-based schedule will encompass 12 departures between September 2011 and January 2012.

Carnival also operates two ships year-round from nearby Long Beach, Calif. -- the 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise, operating three- and four-day Baja cruises, and the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor, sailing week-long Mexican Riviera cruises. Carnival will be the only cruise operator to homeport three ships in the Los Angeles area, providing consumers with a wide variety of affordable cruise options in Southern California and the surrounding region.

Carnival Spirit’s five-day voyages will spend two days at the popular resort town of Cabo San Lucas, distinguished by its distinctive rock formations, lush landscape and gorgeous white-sand beaches, while nine-day departures will also feature a two-day call in Cabo San Lucas, as well as visits to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and La Paz.

Puerto Vallarta is a popular resort destination offering magnificent beaches and a host of shopping and dining experiences. Known as the Pearl of the Pacific, Mazatlan is famous for white-sand beaches, and myriad fishing and diving opportunities. La Paz offers an awe-inspiring waterfront with excellent beaches and an abundance of snorkeling and diving experiences.

New 15-Day Hawaii Voyages
For the first time, Carnival will offer 15-day Hawaii voyages round-trip from either Los Angeles or San Diego, providing consumers with a more convenient and cost-effective means for visiting the breathtaking island chain. Both departures include day-long stops at five spectacular ports: Hilo, Maui (Kahului), Honolulu, Kauai (Nawiliwili), and Kona.

Hawaii is home to a diverse array of landside experiences, offering guests an opportunity to visit interesting historical sites, explore volcanoes and other natural landmarks, and soak up the sun on some of the world’s best beaches.

Voyages operate round-trip from Los Angeles Dec. 2, 2011 and from San Diego April 13, 2012.

Signature ‘Fun Ship’ Amenities
The namesake vessel in the line’s Spirit-class, Carnival Spirit offers a host of guest-pleasing facilities and features, including a two-level promenade lined with themed bars, lounges, and nightspots, along with a 13,500-square-foot spa, indoor and outdoor promenades, and supervised programs for children in three age groups. Eighty percent of the ship’s staterooms offer either an ocean view or private balcony – perfect for viewing the passing scenery.

Carnival Spirit will continue to offer seasonal Alaska cruises as well as five- and nine-day Mexico cruises from San Diego this fall/winter and in 2012.

Reservations are currently being accepted for the Carnival Spirit’s new five- and nine-day voyages from Los Angeles as well as the 15-day Hawaii voyages.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Biggest Penthouse and Veranda Sale on Crystal's Christmas/New Year's Fall Mexican Riveria Cruises


June 29, 2010 - Luxury specialist Crystal Cruises announces its best ever fall/winter sale for Penthouses and verandah staterooms offering savings of $1,000 or $500 per person for a Christmas/New Year cruise, Thanksgiving cruise and fall Mexican Riviera cruises on the highest rated cruise ships in the world.

For Penthouse and verandah bookings made by September 30, 2010, guests can enjoy the following new savings:

$1,000 per person off - Crystal Serenity, Caribbean Holiday: Calls at St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, Curacao, and Turks & Caicos.

* December 21 - 14 days round-trip Miami, over Christmas and New Year's

$500 per person off - Crystal Symphony, Mexican Riviera: Call at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, plus, La Paz, Loreto and a maiden visit to Topolobampo on the December 12 itinerary.

* November 21 - seven days round-trip Los Angeles
* November 28 - seven days round-trip Los Angeles
* December 5 - seven days round-trip Los Angeles
* December 12 - 10 days round-trip Los Angeles

The new savings are in addition to the line's Two-for-One promotional fares and $500 per person 'All Inclusive - As You Wish' shipboard credits.

"Savings this significant on high-category accommodations and for such popular itineraries, are rare," says Bill Smith, senior vice president, sales and marketing. "The added value together with our attractive 2010 pricing just makes the Crystal vacation experience all the more enticing."

The three latter Crystal Symphony Mexican Riviera voyage feature stimulating Experiences of Discovery programming, while the November 21 cruise and the Crystal Serenity cruise offer lavish holiday feasts and celebrations.

Crystal Cruises is consistently voted "World's Best" by sophisticated travelers worldwide. In February, Condé Nast Traveler readers again named Crystal Serenity the best medium-sized ship in the world.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Special Rates for AARP Members on MSC Caribbean Cruises for 2010/11 Season


June 29, 2010) – MSC Cruises is making available to AARP members savings of up to $50 per person, per stateroom, and up to a two-category upgrade with rates starting from $179, for a two-night cruise, onboard MSC Poesia, through February 28, 2011.

Kids cruise free, as the third/fourth guests, which is ideal for an extended-family vacation with grandparents and their grandchildren.

These special rates for AARP members are available on select Caribbean cruises. Cruise prices are per person, based upon double occupancy.

All cruises depart from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and vary in length from 2-10 nights. Government fees and taxes for all guests are additional. Cruise itineraries include:

* 2-night Caribbean cruise calling in Nassau, Bahamas. January 2, 2011; rates from $179 plus $81.35 pp.;

* 3-night Caribbean cruise calling in Key West, Fla. and Nassau, Bahamas. November 11, 2010; rates from $209 plus $67.63 pp;

* 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise calling in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. In 2010, November 14 and 28, December 12 and 26. In 2011, January 9 and 23, and February 6 and 20; rates from $479 plus $69.62 pp;

* 7-night Western Caribbean cruise calling in Key West, Fla.; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. In 2010, November 21 (Thanksgiving cruise), December 5 and on December 19 (Christmas cruise). In 2011, on January 16 and 30 and February 13 and 27; rates from $479 plus $81.35 pp;

* 10-night Panama Canal and Southern Caribbean cruise calling in Cozumel, Mexico; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Cristobal, Panama; Cartagena, Columbia; and Montego Bay, Jamaica. November 1; rates from $699 plus $73.68 pp.

Restrictions apply. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion including standard AARP member offers.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

P&O Unveils 2011/2012 World Cruises


7/15/2010 - Five ships, taking in 177 ports in 55 countries, with 95 separate holidays to choose from, the new 2011/12 world cruise program from P&O Cruises is its most expansive ever.

World cruise expert P&O Cruises is offering five world cruises, 18 line voyages and 72 shorter cruise holidays, departing in 2011 and 2012. The 2011/12 world cruise brochure will be available on line at www.pocruises.co.uk or via travel agents and will be on sale from Thursday July 15 2010.

· Arcadia, 72-night Grand Alaska Adventure departs Tuesday April 12 2011
· Adonia, 87-night South America Grand Adventure departs Friday January 13 2012
· Arcadia, 109-night Grand Odyssey departs Monday January 9 2012
· Aurora, 98-night westabout full world circumnavigation departs Wednesday January 4 2012
· Oriana, 97-night eastabout full world circumnavigation departs Thursday January 5 2012

P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow said: “A world cruise is the ultimate holiday experience and this programme has more opportunities to see the world than ever before. Our world cruises are perennially popular with mature passengers who want to see the world in style and sectors (part of each itinerary) are increasingly popular with those taking a sabbatical from work or embarking on the ever fashionable ‘grown up gap year’. A full world cruise is also a wonderful way to see the world without having to step foot in an airport.

“There are 95 cruise options ranging from 15 to 109-nights in duration so a world cruise is no longer just for the rich and retired. These itineraries give everyone an opportunity to see the world, from experienced cruisers to those taking a cruise holiday for the very first time or simply those who want to experience the ‘must-see’ cities or go off the beaten track to smaller exotic ports of call.”

Adonia, the newest and smallest ship in the fleet, will embark on an 87-night adventure with a full circumnavigation of South America via the Caribbean and returning via the Panama Canal. Adonia will visit 37 ports in 17 countries, including three new destinations Georgetown, Guyana; Salaverry, Peru and Chacabuco, Chile. Highlights include:

· Overnight stays in Manaus, Amazon; Buenos Aires; and New Orleans
· Scenic cruising in the Amazon, Cape Horn, Beagle Channel, Amalia Glacier, PIO X Glacier and through the Panama Canal.
· 17 shorter cruises including a 17-night cruise holiday from New Orleans to Southampton. Six ports of call including Key West, Florida; Port Everglades, Florida and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Prices start from £1,829*
· Prices for full cruise start from £7,999*

Arcadia will be embarking on an east-west 109-night world cruise visiting the Far East and Australasia, and returning via South Africa. Arcadia will visit 41 ports in 24 countries. Highlights include:

· Two overnights in Cape Town, South Africa with the option of an overland safari
· Beijing and Great Wall of China
· Visit to Aqaba, Jordan for visit to Petra
· 25 shorter cruises including a 17-night cruise holiday from Sydney to Singapore with five ports of call including Melbourne, Australia; Fremantle, Australia and Bali. Prices start from £1,399*
· Prices for full cruise start from £9,449*

Aurora will be departing on a 98-night westabout full world circumnavigation cruise taking in the United States, Far East and Australasia via the Panama Canal and the Caribbean and then returning via Dubai and the Suez Canal. Aurora will visit 38 ports in 23 countries including a new destination for P&O Cruises, Abu Dhabi. Highlights include:

· Four cruise holidays departing from Sydney to the Far East
· Overnight stays in San Francisco, Dubai and Istanbul
· 19 shorter cruises including San Francisco to Sydney 22-night cruise holiday with eight ports of call including Honolulu, Pago Pago and Auckland. Prices start from £2,049*
· Prices for full cruise start from £8,199*

Oriana will be taking the opposite direction from Aurora on a 97-night eastabout full world circumnavigation cruise and will be taking in different ports of call. This cruise will visit the Far East via the Suez Canal, before taking in Australasia and the United States returning home via the Panama Canal and the Caribbean. Oriana will visit 32 ports in 20 countries including both north and south islands of New Zealand. Highlights include:

· Overnights in Sydney and San Francisco
· Four Australian ports - Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane and the Whitsunday Islands.
· Calls to Tahiti, French Polynesia and Hong Kong
· 21 shorter cruises including Dubai to Hong Kong 17-night cruise holiday with ports of call including Mumbai, India; Singapore and Phu My, Vietnam. Prices start from £1,444*
· Prices for full cruise start from £7,999*

P&O Cruises will sail to Alaska for the first time in over 40 years with a 72-night Grand Alaska Adventure departing April 12, 2011.

The only Alaskan cruise departing from the UK, Arcadia offers nine holiday options including a full 72-night cruise departing from and returning to Southampton, a 44-night cruise holiday from Southampton to Los Angeles and a 45-night cruise from San Francisco to Southampton. Arcadia will visit 34 ports in 13 countries. Highlights include:

· The only no fly cruise to Alaska from the UK
· Visits to ‘classic’ Alaskan ports as well as some lesser known ports for passengers to explore
· Calls to some of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world – New York, LA, San Francisco and Vancouver.
· This cruise is currently available to book

For more information or to request a copy of the brochure visit www.pocruises.co.uk
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Exclusive Partnerships With SVEDKA Vodka for Ice Bar

June 28, 2010 – In another first, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced an exclusive partnership with SVEDKA Vodka and Inniskillin ice wine to be introduced on board Norwegian Epic, its largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship ever. As part of the partnership, this unique frozen bar will be called the SVEDKA Ice Bar and will feature specialty SVEDKA and Inniskillin ice wine drinks.

Inspired by the original ice bars and ice hotels in Scandinavia , the cruise industry’s first true ice bar is the ultimate chill. This frozen chamber is set in changing hues of blue, green and purple LED lighting that simulates the Northern Lights and creates a distinctive arctic atmosphere. The SVEDKA Ice Bar features a bar, walls, tables, stools, glasses and life-size sculptures all made from ice. Guests are given hooded coats and gloves to keep them warm, since the room’s temperature does not rise above 17 degrees Fahrenheit.

The SVEDKA Ice Bar accommodates 25 people and can be reserved from 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. nightly. The cost is $20 per person and includes two signature cocktails. There are six specialty drinks made from SVEDKA vodka and Inniskillin ice wine including:

· Polaris: SVEDKA Citron, Inniskillin ice wine, and lemon/lime soda;

· Cobalt Blue: Inniskillin ice wine, SVEDKA vodka and Blue Curacao;

· Nordic Apple Juice: SVEDKA vodka, Sour Apple Schnapps, Midori and a splash of fresh sour;

· Caribbean Dreams: SVEDKA Citron, Triple Sec and lemon juice;

· Sunburst Yellow: SVEDKA vodka, peach liquor and orange juice; and

· Northern Lights: SVEDKA Citron, Cointreau and Blue Curacao .

There are also two non-alcoholic drinks – the Strawberry Eskimo Kiss made of strawberry puree, pineapple juice and lemon juice and the Creamsickle, with orange juice, vanilla ice cream and milk - in case children want to partake in the chilling fun. All drinks are served in specially-created glasses made entirely of ice.

Imported from Sweden , SVEDKA Vodka is premium vodka that is distilled five times. Inniskillin ice wine is made from grapes that are produced in the Niagara Peninsula . Pearl ice wine, which is used in the SVEDKA Ice Bar cocktails, is an intensely concentrated sweet wine made from grapes naturally frozen on the vine. Grapes for this ice wine are harvested at a temperature of 14ºF.

In addition to the SVEDKA Ice Bar, SVEDKA vodkas and Inniskillin ice wines are served throughout Norwegian Epic, in all bars and restaurants. Also starting in July, SVEDKA Vodka products will be served on other Norwegian ships in the fleet. To get a preview of the SVEDKA Ice Bar, visit the Norwegian Epic channel on YouTube at www.ncl.com/youtube.

Norwegian Epic's inaugural festivities will take place from 2:00-3:00 p.m. on July 2 in New York , with legendary entertainer Reba McEntire christening the ship. 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 2:00-4:00 p.m. For more information on the event, head to http://epic.ncl.com/epicmiami.

Following her 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.

About SVEDKA Vodka and Inniskillin Ice Wine

Established in 1998, SVEDKA Vodka launched with a brand vision: to put fun back into the vodka category. SVEDKA is a premium vodka imported from Sweden and distilled five times. It is the one brand that lets consumers have it all: a high-quality, premium import with a hip, fun brand image at an affordable price. The brand is the fastest-growing premium spirits brand worldwide. SVEDKA has staked its claim on the future with the tagline "Voted #1 Vodka of 2033." Inniskillin was founded upon and is dedicated to the principle of producing outstanding ice wines from grapes grown in the Niagara Peninsula . It is the number one selling ice wine in the world. The wine is a brilliant golden color with aromas of lychee, apricot and pears with flavors of honey, mango and tropical fruits on the palate.

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 44-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility.

Today, Norwegian has 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea.

Norwegian’s largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic, debuted in June 2010. Norwegian Cruise Line is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, debuting for the first time at sea on Norwegian Epic, as well as the official cruise line of Legends in Concert, Cirque Dreams™ & Dinner, Second City® Comedy Troupe, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, Gibson Guitar and Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hurtigruten Offers 50% Off A Companion's Cruise Fare On "Shackelton's Holiday Voyage"


June 2010 -- Home to 90% of the world's ice and near as many penguins, Antarctica is as unique a destination as can be found to exchange gifts and celebrate the holidays -- with its pristine environment, sun-light polar nights, abundant wildlife, and glaciers that seem to go on forever. But Hurtigruten isn't waiting until then to deliver a gift to travelers -- offering a 50% discount on the cruise portion of the companion's fare on its 17-day "Shackleton's Holiday Voyage." Booking the December 17, 2010 departure by Sept. 15 saves the companion $4,254 to $9,182 (or in the spirit of the holiday - $2,127 to $4,591 per person in a shared cabin). The festive sailing follows much of the same path as Shackleton's original Endurance Expedition of 1914 -- considered one of history's greatest survival stories -- navigating the western-most outposts of the Falkland Islands and visits whaling stations, beautiful Drygalski Fjord on South Georgia Island and the even more remote South Orkneys before heading to Antarctica.

Regular fares are $9,863 to $19,720 per person, double and include all meals onboard, the services of expert naturalist guides, noted guest lecturers, round-trip air between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia (air not included in the discount), PolarCirkel boat landings, and port fees. This savings offer is combinable with Hurtigruten's Repeater discount - 10% savings for passengers who sailed on any Hurtigruten ship in the past three years. There are six other Antarctica itineraries (10 departures total) during the November - February season, ranging from 10 to 19 days.

Guests are treated to all of the holiday fanfare including traditional carols, Norwegian glogg (mulled wine), Santa Claus, and a special Christmas breakfast. Cocktails and appetizers set the stage for a New Year's Eve dinner followed by a festive midnight celebration. Of course, this is all mingled with the sight of blue whales and orcas feeding mere feet from the passenger's perch aboard the world's most deluxe exploration ship - the 318-berth, ice-rated MS Fram - and penguin populations whose individual rookeries number in the tens of thousands.

Travelers depart Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, and sail to the Falklands, an archipelago consisting of more than 740 islands and a breeding ground for millions of seabirds, as well as home to King and other penguin species. In South Georgia, passengers disembark at the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken and visit the South Georgia Museum, a treasure trove of the island’s culture; Cooper Bay, known for its Macaroni and Chinstrap penguins; and the cemetery, where young Elephant seal pups, King and Gentoo penguins and timid Pintail ducks are likely to be spotted. The ship then takes guests by the Washington Strait and Coronation Island, the largest of the South Orkney Islands in the Scotia Sea, before setting course towards Elephant Island and Antarctica.

June 2010 -- Home to 90% of the world's ice and near as many penguins, Antarctica is as unique a destination as can be found to exchange gifts and celebrate the holidays -- with its pristine environment, sun-light polar nights, abundant wildlife, and glaciers that seem to go on forever. But Hurtigruten isn't waiting until then to deliver a gift to travelers -- offering a 50% discount on the cruise portion of the companion's fare on its 17-day "Shackleton's Holiday Voyage." Booking the December 17, 2010 departure by Sept. 15 saves the companion $4,254 to $9,182 (or in the spirit of the holiday - $2,127 to $4,591 per person in a shared cabin). The festive sailing follows much of the same path as Shackleton's original Endurance Expedition of 1914 -- considered one of history's greatest survival stories -- navigating the western-most outposts of the Falkland Islands and visits whaling stations, beautiful Drygalski Fjord on South Georgia Island and the even more remote South Orkneys before heading to Antarctica.

Regular fares are $9,863 to $19,720 per person, double and include all meals onboard, the services of expert naturalist guides, noted guest lecturers, round-trip air between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia (air not included in the discount), PolarCirkel boat landings, and port fees. This savings offer is combinable with Hurtigruten's Repeater discount - 10% savings for passengers who sailed on any Hurtigruten ship in the past three years. There are six other Antarctica itineraries (10 departures total) during the November - February season, ranging from 10 to 19 days.

Guests are treated to all of the holiday fanfare including traditional carols, Norwegian glogg (mulled wine), Santa Claus, and a special Christmas breakfast. Cocktails and appetizers set the stage for a New Year's Eve dinner followed by a festive midnight celebration. Of course, this is all mingled with the sight of blue whales and orcas feeding mere feet from the passenger's perch aboard the world's most deluxe exploration ship - the 318-berth, ice-rated MS Fram - and penguin populations whose individual rookeries number in the tens of thousands.

Travelers depart Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, and sail to the Falklands, an archipelago consisting of more than 740 islands and a breeding ground for millions of seabirds, as well as home to King and other penguin species. In South Georgia, passengers disembark at the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken and visit the South Georgia Museum, a treasure trove of the island’s culture; Cooper Bay, known for its Macaroni and Chinstrap penguins; and the cemetery, where young Elephant seal pups, King and Gentoo penguins and timid Pintail ducks are likely to be spotted. The ship then takes guests by the Washington Strait and Coronation Island, the largest of the South Orkney Islands in the Scotia Sea, before setting course towards Elephant Island and Antarctica.

A broad range of landfall opportunities await in Antarctica – Half Moon Island, a rookery for Chinstrap penguins; Port Lockroy, where postcards postmarked "Antarctica" can be purchased; Whaler's Bay with its warm springs and black volcanic sand; Paradise Harbor and its stunning views of snowy peaks, ice cliffs and sculpted bergs; Lemaire Channel, one of Antarctica's most beautiful passages, where humpback and killer whales and Elephant seals are common sights; and numerous others. As the MS Fram sails through the Drake Passage, guests can enjoy a view of Cape Horn, South America’s southernmost point, while learning about the region from expert onboard lecturers. The ship disembarks at Ushuaia and guests fly onto Buenos Aires, where they are free to explore the city.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Luxury Operator SilverSea Offerings Singles Incentives


(June 24, 2010) Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has just sweetened the deal for single travelers by reducing the single supplement to a mere 10% (above the per-person, double-occupancy fare) for Vista, Veranda and Midship Veranda Suites on 4 voyages this year. Plus, 9 new sailings have a single supplement of just 25%.

Recognizing that a growing number of men and women are traveling alone today, either by choice or necessity, the luxury cruise line is rolling out new Solo Traveler fares that make independent travel a most affordable and enticing option. This is the perfect time for single travelers to treat themselves to a luxurious Silversea cruise, visit fascinating destinations, and make friends along the way.

"These special rates make it easier for our single guests to make vacation plans without having to worry about finding a travel companion to keep the costs down," said Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America. "And what makes our new solo fares most attractive is Silversea's unrivaled all-inclusive value combined with other great incentives such as savings of up to 60% off published fares and free roundtrip air packages that include transfers."

With a crew-to-guest ratio that is almost one to one, single guests enjoy highly personalized service, warm hospitality, and an ambiance that makes them feel right at home. Also, on several voyages, Social Ambassadors will be on board, which is a real plus for single female guests looking for a dining companion or a dance partner.

All-inclusive fares include a spacious, ocean-view suite (most suites feature a private veranda), attentive butler service, complimentary wines and spirits, fine dining, sophisticated enrichment and entertainment programs, and all onboard gratuities.

TOP 4 REASONS TO GO IT ALONE

Following voyages offer a 10% single supplement:

1) Mediterranean Voyage 2027: Silver Wind, August 20 - 27, Venice to Athens. Solo Traveler fares start at $4,651 (reflecting a 55% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

2) Caribbean Voyage 4030: Silver Whisper, October 14 - 24, New York City to Barbados. Solo Traveler fares start at $4,057 (reflecting a 55% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities. Social Ambassadors will also be on board.

3) Mediterranean Voyage 5035: Silver Spirit, October 16 - 23, Barcelona to Lisbon. Solo Traveler fares start at $4,530 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

4) South America Voyage 4034: Silver Whisper, December 3 - 19, Santiago to Buenos Aires. Solo Traveler fares start at $7,698 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

9 MORE REASONS TO SAIL SOLO

Following new voyages offer a 25% single supplement:

1) Northern Europe Voyage 1026: Silver Cloud, September 1 - 11, Reykjavik to London. Solo Traveler fares start at $5,848 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

2) Mediterranean Voyage 2032A: Silver Wind, October 10 - 20, Rome to Nice. Solo Traveler fares start at $5,848 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

3) South America Voyage 4031: Silver Whisper, October 24 - November 9, Barbados to Rio de Janeiro. Solo Traveler fares start at $7,248 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities. Social Ambassadors will also be on board.

4) Far East Voyage 3030: Silver Shadow, October 29 - November 6, Bangkok to Singapore. Solo Traveler fares start at $6,072 (reflecting a 55% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

5) South America Voyage 4032: Silver Whisper, November 9 - 17, Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires. Solo Traveler fares start at $6,241 (reflecting a 55% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

6) Africa & Indian Ocean 2035: Silver Wind, November 9 - 25, Athens to Dubai. Solo Traveler fares start at $9,148 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities. Social Ambassadors will also be on board.

7) Arabian Peninsula Voyage 2036: Silver Wind, November 25 - December 2, Dubai to Dubai. Solo Traveler fares start at $5,298 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

8) Indian Ocean Voyage 2037: Silver Wind, December 2 -11, Dubai to Mumbai. Solo Traveler fares start at $4,898 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

9) Indian Ocean Voyage 2038: Silver Wind, December 11 - 20, Mumbai to Dubai. Solo Traveler fares start at $4,898 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount). Plus, *Free Air is available from select gateway cities.

An additional 15 voyages offer a 25% single supplement. Click here for complete list of sailings offering single supplements from 10% to 25%, or visit Silversea.com and click on Special Offers.

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 $150 to $500 per person on these sailings, depending on the itinerary. Solo Traveler and Silver Savings are capacity-controlled programs and subject to availability.

*FREE AIR: A free roundtrip economy air package, that includes transfers between airport and pier on the day of embarkation and disembarkation, is available from 22 gateway cities in the U.S. and Canada. It is a capacity-controlled program offered for a limited time. Additionally, there are specially priced air programs available from another 50 cities.

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.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pacific Northwest Cuisine Showcased on Oceania Cruises in Alaska


June 23, 2010 – Fresh ingredients, simply prepared, with influences from Asian and Native American traditions are characteristics of Pacific Northwest cuisine. Oceania Cruises will up the epicurean ante in Alaska, from May through August 2011, when guests on m/s Regatta will be treated to succulent selections that showcase regional delicacies.

“Oceania Cruises is virtually synonymous not only with fine cuisine, but culinary diversity,” stated Bob Binder, the line’s president. “Our culinary team is eager to showcase Alaska’s renowned regional favorites and the region’s freshly caught seafood as it adds an entirely new dimension to the dining experience.”

Highlights of Oceania Cruises’ maiden Alaska season include two full days of glacier cruising and a mix of marquee and off-the-beaten-path Inland Passage ports, the latter a hallmark of the brand. With two-for-one rates and free airfare, 10-day voyages start at $3,499 per guest, based on double occupancy.

Pacific Northwest cuisine will be featured during lunch in the casual Terrace Café which offers both indoor and al fresco seating and in the ship’s gourmet Grand Dining Room as well. In the evenings, regional specialties will be showcased in all four of the ship’s gourmet, open-seating restaurants; all of which are available with no surcharge.

Great Cuisine in the Great Land
When provisioning locally, the ship’s executive chef seeks the freshest catch and shellfish, making on-the-spot decisions. Consequently, not all selections will always be available and there may be surprise menu additions. Depending on the voyage and venue, appetizers might include Fresh Halibut Velouté – a creamy fish soup with saffron rice and julienne leeks – or Alaskan King Crab Legs, sure to be a guest favorite. Entrées may include:

* Fresh Local Halibut with dill and tomato beurre blanc
* Grilled Alaskan Venison Medallions and wild mushroom fricassée
* Alaskan King Crab Rissotto
* Poached Local Wild Salmon Filet with chive butter sauce
* Grilled Halibut with orange and red onion chutney
* Hazelnut-breaded Chicken Breast with cranberry-orange relish
* Pan-fried Local Ling Cod Filet à la Dugléré
* Thai-spice Encrusted Alaskan Halibut Filet
* Wild Alaskan Salmon with apple cider beurre blanc

Although berries grow abundantly in the vast wilderness areas of the 49th state, they are a limited resource because Alaska’s black and brown bears eat them all summer long. Guests onboard Regatta may nevertheless get the chance to taste the favored fruit when the pastry chef creates Alaskan Blueberry Coffee Cake or Springtime Alaskan Berry Pie.

Four Different & Desirable Itineraries for 2011

· Majestic Alaska – 14 days roundtrip from San Francisco, a maiden port for Oceania Cruises, visiting Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia; Sitka, Hoonah, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska; and Astoria, Ore. Departures: May 12, Aug. 26.

· Alaskan Grandeur – 12 days between San Francisco and Vancouver. Ports include Astoria and Victoria, as well as Wrangell, Juneau, Hoonah, Sitka and Ketchikan. Departures: May 26, Aug. 14.

· Frontiers and Glaciers – 10 days roundtrip from Vancouver, calling at Sitka, Hoonah, Kodiak, Wrangell and Ketchikan. Departures: June 7, Aug. 4.

· Glacial Wilderness – 12 days between Vancouver and Anchorage, with visits to Ketchikan, Wrangell, Juneau, Hoonah, Skagway, Sitka, Seward and Homer. Departures: June 17 and 29, July 11 and 23.

Travelers will discover Alaska 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.

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