Saturday, December 31, 2011

Star Cruises SuperStar Virgo To Undergo Refit

Star Cruises said it has earmarked US$25m to refurbish SuperStar Virgo during a three-week drydock beginning Jan. 2. The 76,800gt ship, built in 1999, will get new hull artwork, redesigned accommodations and renovated restaurants, entertainment venues and recreation facilities.

The hull art depicts Virgo, goddess of harvest, gliding among rays of colorful lights. Inside the ship, tints of gold extend to the main lobby Grand Piazza, which mingles Eastern and Western cultures with a seagull-shaped European art installation and gold fittings. The lobby’s three signature golden horse statues will glisten in restored glitter.

The Mediterranean Buffet and Terrace are to gain vibrant, sun-drenched colors, while the ocean-inspired Blue Lagoon on Deck 7 will offer Southeast Asian specialties in a setting of ripple-shaped wall coverings and ceilings with vibrantly coloured tables. Two private dining rooms, styled after dining courts of Chinese empires, will be available at the Chinese restaurant The Pavilion.

The new cigar lounge, Champagne Bar Bellini on Deck 8, will provide a sophisticated hangout for after-dinner cigars and cognac.

On deck, Taverna, a stage for live music, will be added next to the Parthenon Pool. The activity centre will be refurbished and equipped with enhanced audiovisual systems.
Suites and cabins will get new layouts to maximize their space with more vivid colours and refined ergonomics.

After its refurbishment, SuperStar Virgo is scheduled to return to service in Singapore on Jan. 23, the first day of the Chinese Year of the Dragon. The ship will sail the straits of Singapore and Malacca on varied itineraries including two-, three- and five-night destination cruises to such spots as Phuket, Langkawi, Port Klang, Malacca, Redang and Penang, along with one- and two-night cruises to nowhere.

William Ng, coo of Star Cruises, said the renovation underpins his company’s continuous drive to grow Asia’s cruise industry.

This rejuvenation follows the refurbishments of Hong Kong-based Star Pisces and Sanya-based SuperStar Aquarius, in February and April respectively, with a combined cost of US$13.6m.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Costa Cruises' Costa Deliziosa Embarks on World Cruise

For the first time in 17 years, a Costa ship is undertaking a world cruise. Costa Deliziosa is departed Savona Italy on Wednesday 12/28 for a voyage that will visit 37 ports in five continents during 100 days.

The circumnavigation, which sold out months ago, will carry 2,300 passengers from around the globe. More than half are Italians and Germans, and numerous French and Spaniards will be aboard as well.

Bon voyage festivities in and around the Savona Palacrociere are planned. The terminal and port will be festooned with decorations related to the countries that are charted on the voyage, and a brass band is scheduled to play during embarkation. More than 12,000 white handkerchiefs with the Costa logo will be handed out on the decks of Costa Deliziosa and the two other Costa ships moored at the Palacrociere, and to people shoreside.

Actors dressed like Christopher Columbus and Queen Elizabeth will welcome the passengers, and the ship's central Lido area will stage a party with Neptune, the god of the seas, and past world cruisers appointed as ‘Senators of the Sea.’ The festivities will culminate with the presentation of the ‘Angels of the Sea’ played by 20 young guests who will signal start of the cruise.

Theme parties, celebrations, shows and special events will be offered during segments of the voyage.

The first, the 28-day Christopher Columbus segment, stretches from Savona to France and Spain, across the Atlantic to Madeira, the Antilles, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, Mexico and California’s San Diego and Los Angeles. The second segment is named for James Cook and includes San Francisco, Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. The third and final Marco Polo segment features the Orient, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the Red Sea.

Among the 250 optional excursions are adventures like a helicopter flyover of the Grand Canyon, a visit to the casinos of Las Vegas, Polynesian dancing in Honolulu, the Pinnacles Desert of Perth and Ayers Rock.
Costa Deliziosa is also scheduled for a second world cruise in 2013, departing from Savona on Jan. 6 and returning on April 16.

During 2012, two other long voyages will operate when Costa Victoria sails a 72-day odyssey from Brazil to China and Costa neoRomantica plys a 107-day journey from Savona to New Zealand. Costa Victoria departs Santos on March 7, and Costa neoRomantica leaves Savona on Sept. 19.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Celebrity Cruises Offers Behind the Scenes Tours

Consistently striving to provide its guests with unmatchable vacation experiences, Celebrity Cruises is now offering guests an inside look into the fascinating world of cruise ship operations. A new addition to the unique and robust Celebrity Life onboard activities program, “Celebrity Inside Access” takes guests on a once-in-a-lifetime journey behind the scenes of Celebrity’s renowned fleet, inviting them to discover the intricate details and functions behind modern luxury at sea.

Celebrity’s Inside Access program invites guests to join two intimate and exclusive activities, the “See How It’s Done Tour” and the “Bridge Sail Away Experience.”

Designed to provide a thorough and rich three-hour experience, the See How It’s Done Tour guides an intimate group of guests through several otherwise non-public areas of the ship, including the bridge, mooring deck, crew gym, theater, engine control room, prep rooms and the main dining room galley. At each area of the tour, guests have the opportunity to interact with expert members of the Celebrity crew. Each tour is followed by a savory wine-paired lunch hosted by an officer in the main dining room.

The Bridge Sail Away Experience presents the opportunity for vacationers to join the navigational team on the bridge as the ship sails away from port. Beginning 30 minutes before and concluding 30 minutes after departing, guests are given a tour and an overview of the bridge conducted by a senior Celebrity bridge officer. Guests also have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the ship’s captain.

“Celebrity has dedicated itself to providing guests with the finest in culinary experiences, award-winning service and engaging onboard activities,” said Simon Weir, Director of Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises. “Now, with the addition of Celebrity Inside Access, vacationers can also satisfy their curiosity and gain rare, behind-the-scenes insight into a Celebrity ship’s inner workings.”

The Celebrity Inside Access program is offered on all ships and available for purchase onboard.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Fred Olsen Lines Offers Antique Theme Cruises in 2012

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines – awarded ‘Best Educational Cruise’ by readers of Cruise International magazine in 2011 – is offering three cruises in 2012 with ‘Antiques’ as the special topic, through its acclaimed onboard enrichment programme, Vistas. On each cruise, there will be celebrated experts from the world of antiques, sharing their knowledge and passion with like-minded guests. Each of these experts appears as an appraiser on the BBC’s celebrated and long-running ‘Antiques Roadshow.’

Antiques-collecting is one of the UK’s most popular pastimes; the popularity of antiques fairs and auctions continues unabated, with TV shows like 'Antiques Roadshow', ‘Cash in the Attic’ and ‘Flog It!‘ going from strength to strength. So, what better way to indulge an interest in antiques than taking a cruise to some of Europe's most interesting cities, brimming with a wealth of art and antique collections, in the company of the most knowledgeable experts in the field?

The Fred. Olsen experts are:-

Lars Tharp

The Danish-born historian, lecturer and broadcaster is one of the longest-standing experts on the ‘Antiques Roadshow’. Lars originally trained as an archaeologist, and was a Director of Sotheby’s, where he specialised in European ceramics, Chinese ceramics and Oriental works of art. In 2008, Lars was appointed the Director of the Foundling Museum in London, and Visiting Professor at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Will Farmer

Will specialises in 20th Century decorative arts, covering ceramics, glass and furniture. He studied at the Birmingham School of Jewellery, undertaking a combined BA Honour degree in Silversmithing and Fine Art History. Will has featured as an expert on the ‘20th Century Roadshow’, and is now in his fourth season as an expert with the ‘Antiques Roadshow’.

Marc Allum

Marc has been a miscellaneous specialist on the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ for 12 years. His interest in antiques began as a child, buying and collecting from an early age, and later becoming an auctioneer and Director of a London auction house; a career he pursued for 16 years. Marc has worked on many other television programmes, including ‘20th Century Roadshow’, ‘Going for a Song’, Bargain Hunt’, ‘Cash in the Attic’ and ‘Moving Day’, in addition to appearing on Discovery Television, Channel Four News and various radio shows.

Clive Stewart-Lockhart

Clive joined Sotheby’s after leaving Marlborough College in 1973. Although his career at Sotheby’s was interrupted by periods at Bluett & Sons and Bonhams, he worked in the auction house’s Valuation Department for five years. Clive then joined the auctioneers Dreweatt Neate in 1982, and now heads their Fine Art Department. His specialties are pictures, works of art, and Oriental ceramics. On the ‘Antiques Roadshow’, his areas of expertise are books, miscellaneous, pictures and paintings.

Paul Viney

Paul is Chairman of Woolley & Wallis, the Salisbury-based fine art auctioneers. He began his career at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He then worked for the National Trust at Waddesdon Manor, the former Rothschild house near Aylesbury, before joining Phillips Auctioneers, where he was Vice President in New York for three years and European Director from 1986 until 1992. He is well known to Radio 2 listeners for his annual Children in Need auctions with Terry Wogan, Jimmy Young, Ken Bruce and others. He has lectured extensively.

You can join these fascinating experts free of charge on the following Fred. Olsen cruises in 2012:

Black Watch, W1207, 13-night cruise to ‘The Baltic with Norway’

Departing from Dover on 24th June 2012, this cruise calls at Kiel (Germany), Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia), for an overnight stay; Helsinki (Finland), Turku (Finland), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Kristiansand (Norway), before returning to Dover.

Prices start from £1,699 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin’ Grade ‘E’. The price includes all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes. The Vistas theme on this cruise is hosted by Lars Tharp and Clive Stewart-Lockhart.

Boudicca D1221, 12-night cruise to ‘Stockholm & St. Petersburg’

Departing from Newcastle (Port of Tyne) on 14th September 2012, this cruise calls first at Stockholm (Sweden), where the ship is at anchor, then Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia) for an overnight stay; Rønne (Bornholm, Denmark), and Kalundborg (Denmark), before returning to Newcastle.

Prices for this cruise start from £1,559 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade ‘E’. The antiques experts on this cruise are Marc Allum and Will Farmer.

Braemar M1223, 14-night cruise to ‘St. Petersburg, Helsinki & Stockholm’

Departing from Dover on 22nd September 2012, this cruise calls at Warnemünde (Germany) for tours to Berlin; Stockholm (Sweden), where the ship us at anchor; Helsinki (Finland), St. Petersburg (Russia), for an overnight stay; Rǿnne (Bornholm, Denmark), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Oslo (Norway), and returns to Dover.

Prices for this cruise start from £1,519 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade ‘I’. Hosting the Vistas ‘Antiques’ theme on this cruise are Lars Tharp and Paul Viney.

All three of these cruises form part of the ‘Captains’ Collection’ brochure of 73 specially-selected, ex-UK cruise deals. There are savings of up to £400 per cabin on cruises W1207 and D1221, and up to £500 per cabin on cruise M1223 (depending on cabin grade), if booked by 29th February 2012 inclusive. Fred. Olsen‘s ‘No Fuel Surcharge Guarantee’ also applies on all bookings made by 31st January 2012 inclusive, for departures from 1st January 2012 onwards, so value for money is guaranteed.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays To Our Loyal Followers!


Happy Holidays from Cruise Guru Blogspot.com

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Paul Gaugiun's Great Holiday Card!


I received the greatest holiday wishes email from Paul Gauguin Cruises. The small ship cruise operator offers great, picturesque cruises through the Tahitian Islands.

For me the email was representative of cruise promotion materials from years ago and brings back a flood of memories.

Happy Holidays to All!







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Friday, December 23, 2011

Viking River Cruises Parent Company Orders Ocean Going Cruise Vessel From STX France

STX France SA has received an order to build two luxury cruise ships from
Viking Ocean Cruises, an affiliate of Viking River Cruises. The vessels will be
delivered in spring 2014 and spring 2015, respectively, and will be part of
Viking's new Ocean Cruise brand. An option for a third ship is being considered.

The vessels will be operated primarily on the Mediterranean seas and be
dedicated mainly to Viking's US, British and Australian customers.

The vessels will have a length of 230m and a width of 26.5m. They will each
include 888 passengers in 444 cabins with a complement of 444 crew members.

The contract will represent about 2.5 million man-hours. Construction is
expected to start in mid-September 2012 for the first vessel and in
mid-September 2013 for the second vessel. The contract is subject to financing.

Well known as the world's leading river cruise company Viking ranks as an
upscale owner. Viking River Cruise currently operates a fleet of 23 river
vessels, and has 8 river cruise vessels under construction. River cruising is
destination oriented and the two ocean going vessels will similarly be designed
with destination cruising in mind.

"We are proud to have been selected by Viking to build their new series of
ships and delighted to contribute to their expansion into a new market" says
Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of STX France.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

P&O Cruises Adds Seven New Cruises In 2012

Reflecting an increased demand in cruise holidays that start in and return to the UK P&O Cruises has added seven new cruise itineraries in 2012, all departing from and returning to Southampton.

The cruises range from a three night cruise break on Ventura to a 28 night Caribbean cruise on Adonia. Also included are itineraries to the Canary Islands, Western Mediterranean and Atlantic Coast.

The seven new cruises which are included in the new Winter 2012/2013 brochure are part of the P&O Cruises 175th Anniversary Sale, which offers up to 10% discount on all 249 cruises in the Summer 2012 and Winter 2012/13 brochures on bookings made between December 1, 2011, and February 29, 2012.

So in cementing its reputation as leader of ex-UK cruising, P&O Cruises can confirm that from winter 2012, Oriana, Adonia and Oceana will sail year round from Southampton. The three ships will sail on cruises of two to 35 nights duration.

Research conducted by the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) found that in 2010, ex-UK cruises out performed the UK cruise market growth overall, growing by 10% and accounted for 40% of the cruises taken by British Passengers.

A recent survey conducted by P&O Cruises on their Facebook page supports these findings with 40% of respondents stating they preferred cruising from Southampton due to the fact the ‘holiday starts as soon as you arrive’.

A further 20% favoured cruising from Southampton because there are no baggage restrictions, 12% selected ‘ease of embarkation’ as their favourite thing about cruising from Southampton, while 6% like that ‘no flying’ is involved.

The new, ex-UK cruises are:

Ventura:

N217N, three night cruise break, July 20 - 23, 2012
Southampton, Zeebrugge, St Peter Port, Southampton
Prices from £349 per person

N217P, four night cruise break, July 23 – 27, 2012
Southampton, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, St Peter Port, Southampton
Prices from £449 per person

Adonia:

D215N, 15 night Western Mediterranean cruise, October 7 - 22, 2012
Southampton, Alicante, Barcelona, Sete, Livorno, Alghero, Port Mahan, Gibraltar, La Coruna, Southampton
Prices from £1,649 per person

D216N, 13 night Canary Island cruise, October 22 – November 4, 2012
Southampton, Madeira, La Palma, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Tangiers, Lisbon, Southampton
Prices from £1,349 per person

D217N, 28 night Caribbean cruise, November 4 - December 9, 2012
Southampton, Madeira, Virgin Gorda, St Maarten, Antigua, Martinique, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, St Vincent, St Lucia, St Kitts, Tortola, Ponta Delgada, Southampton
Prices from £2,599 per person

D218N, 14 night Atlantic coast cruise, December 9 - 23, 2012
Southampton, Madeira, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Casablanca, Cadiz, Lisbon, Southampton
Prices from £1,329 per person

Oriana:

X301N, 24 night Caribbean cruise, January 6 - 30, 2012
Southampton, Ponta, Delgada, St Maarten, Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, St Kitts, Horta, Southampton
Prices from £1,999 per person

All prices are per person and based on two adults sharing on a full board basis including all main meals and entertainment.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Releases 2013 Cruise Schedules

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced its summer deployment for the 2013/2014 season with the addition of a third ship in Alaska . Norwegian Sun, sailing seven-day open jaw itineraries between Vancouver, British Columbia and Whittier, Alaska, will join Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl in Alaska for the summer of 2013, marking the first time the company has offered three ships in Alaska since 2009. For a more in-depth Alaskan experience, the company is also introducing land packages that can be combined with Norwegian Sun’s itinerary. The line’s summer deployment also features four ships sailing in Europe, including the continuation of two year-round, along with two ships cruising to Bermuda .

“ Alaska , with its extraordinary beauty and wildlife, continues to be an extremely popular summer destination for cruisers and therefore there is a lot of demand for increased capacity and more varied and unique cruises,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “With the strides made by the state government, we felt the time was right to add a third ship in Alaska , and give our guests the once in a lifetime opportunity to see more of this incredible destination. We’ve also added the option of extending their stay with a Cruisetour that will enhance their overall experience.”

Alaska Deployment

In Alaska , beginning May 20, 2013, Norwegian Sun’s northbound itinerary departs Vancouver , British Columbia on Mondays, and will cruise the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and make stops in the Alaskan favorites of Ketchikan , Skagway and Juneau . On her southbound itineraries from Whittier , Alaska , the ship will cruise the Inside Passage, Sawyer Glacier and Hubbard Glacier, as well as making stops in Ketchikan , Skagway , Juneau and Icy Strait Point.

Beginning May 18, 2013, Norwegian Jewel will sail a series of 18 seven-day Sawyer Glacier itineraries from Seattle , Washington every Saturday with stops in Juneau , Skagway , and Ketchikan , Alaska ; along with Victoria , British Columbia . Norwegian Jewel not only offers a fantastic itinerary, but also brings extra fun for the kids with Nickelodeon family programming. The 2,394 passenger Norwegian Pearl begins a series of 18 seven-day Glacier Bay itineraries from Seattle , Washington every Sunday with stops in Juneau , Skagway , and Ketchikan , Alaska ; along with Victoria , British Columbia .

New for the 2013 summer season in Alaska are four Cruisetour options which provide the opportunity to combine a pre or post-cruise land package with Norwegian Sun’s cruises from Whittier , Alaska . Ranging in length from four to six days, the Cruisetours feature two nights in Denali National Park and are fully escorted by a local Alaskan tour guide for the most authentic experience possible. Highlights of the Cruisetours also include a stop at an Iditarod sled dog musher’s house (on four and five-night tours), along with a ride on the Alaskan railroad. More details on the Alaska Cruisetours will be available in early 2012.

Europe Deployment

In Europe, Norwegian Epic will return for her third season, sailing seven-day Western Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona beginning May 5, 2013 through October 14, 2013. The new Western Mediterranean itinerary features five ports of call in three countries -- Spain , Italy and France -- and a call to Palma , Majorca , Spain . Guests will also have the opportunity to sail round-trip from Rome ( Civitavecchia ), Italy or Marseille , France giving them the flexibility to choose the homeport that is more convenient for them. There is also a four-day Western Mediterranean sailing on May 1, 2013.

Norwegian Star will make her debut in the Baltic replacing Norwegian Sun and will offer a series of 15 nine-day Baltic Capital cruises from Copenhagen , Denmark . Some highlights of this popular itinerary include two full days in St. Petersburg , Russia and an afternoon cruise of the Stockholm Archipelago upon the ship’s departure from Stockholm , Sweden . Rounding out the season, Norwegian Star will offer a unique 14-day Norway , Iceland and Faroe Island cruise from Copenhagen on September 19, 2013.

Norwegian Jade returns to Venice on May 4, 2013 for the summer season and will offer alternating seven-day Greek Isles and seven-day Adriatic , Greece and Turkey itineraries. In the fall/winter, Norwegian Jade will reposition to Rome ( Civitavecchia ) and offer a series of eight 10-day Eastern Mediterranean and nine 11-day Mediterranean & the Holy Land beginning on October 26, 2013 through April 12, 2014.

Beginning on April 17, 2013, Norwegian Spirit will once again sail the waters of the Mediterranean offering 12-day Grand Mediterranean open jaw itineraries from Barcelona , Spain and Venice , Italy through October 14, 2013. The comprehensive itinerary highlights the best of the Mediterranean with nine ports of call in five different countries including an overnight in Venice . On October 26, 2013, Norwegian Spirit begins a series of 20 nine-day Canary Island cruises. Guests will have the option to sail round-trip from Malaga , Spain giving them the flexibility to choose the homeport that is more convenient for them.

Bermuda Deployment

In the summer of 2013, Norwegian Cruise Line will significantly increase its capacity in Bermuda with the arrival of its newest ship, the 4,000-pasenger Norwegian Breakaway, sailing a series of 22 seven-day cruises from New York , New York , beginning May 12, 2013. Departing on Sundays, the ship will spend three full days in Bermuda , along with three days at sea.

The newly refurbished Norwegian Dawn will return to Boston , Massachusetts for the summer on May 3, 2013 and will sail a series of 22 seven-day Bermuda cruises departing every Friday.

Hawaii Deployment

Pride of America will continue as the only US-flagged vessel sailing among all four of Hawai`i ’s main islands. Because of popular demand for this itinerary, the company is opening Pride of America’s seven-day Hawai`i inter-island cruises departing Honolulu, Hawaii every Saturday through April 18, 2015**. Ports of call include: an overnight in Kahului, Maui; Hilo , Hawaii ; Kona , Hawai`i ; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kaua`i; and an afternoon cruise of the breathtaking Nãpali Coast .

Bahamas “Getaway” Cruises

For a shorter cruise option, Norwegian Sky will continue sailing three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas year-round from Miami through April 25, 2014. The three-day Bahamas cruise departs on Fridays and includes stops in Nassau , Bahamas and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas , which has recently received $25 million in enhancements, including a new dining facility, marina and expanded beachfront. On Mondays, the ship departs Miami on a four-day Bahamas cruise with stops in Grand Bahama Island , Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island; and Nassau , Bahamas .

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Disney Cruise Line Disney Fantasy Brings Disney Entertainment to New Heights.

Like never before, Disney Cruise Line takes cruise ship entertainment to new heights: Performers soar and surf over the stage in aerial maneuvers … Pirates rappel from atop the ship’s funnel during a swashbuckling adventure … The evening sky lights up with a dazzling display of sound and color.

On the Disney Fantasy, entertainment is designed to charm and bedazzle the entire family. Guests delight to some of the most elaborate original musicals presented at sea, over-the-top deck parties and, bursting above it all, the largest fireworks spectacular aboard a cruise ship.

It’s Show Time!

Every night is show time at Walt Disney Theatre, an elegant, 1,340-seat entertainment palace that is at once classic and ultra-modern. Spanning three decks with orchestra and balcony seating, the theater is resplendent with art deco styling recalling luxurious show places of a bygone era. At the same time, it is equipped with theatrical technology that makes it one of the most advanced venues on land or sea, bringing original productions and Disney stories to life in a whole new way.

The lineup of musicals presented at the Disney Fantasy Walt Disney Theatre includes “Wishes,” “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular,” “Disney’s Believe,” “A Fantasy Come True” and “An Unforgettable Journey.” Here’s a look at what’s in store:

“Wishes”

A new ship means new main stage entertainment at the Walt Disney Theatre, and “Wishes” is a spectacular production debuting on the Disney Fantasy. This signature show is a 45-minute musical journey about three best friends who discover the secret to being a grown-up is staying connected to their inner child.

The story begins as long-time best friends Kayla and Nicole along with Nicole’s twin brother Brandon visit Disneyland to celebrate their high school graduation. Each is unsure of what the future holds for them, so they make a wish to go on the “Ride of Our Lives” – the show’s original opening number.

Their wish evokes an enchanted world where a cavalcade of Disney characters – including Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Lilo, Stitch, Mulan, Hercules, Pinocchio, Timon and Pumbaa – materialize to guide the teens through their magical journey.

Full-scale production numbers and special effects bring excitement to the stage as the cast of “Wishes” performs original songs and classic Disney tunes with a contemporary twist. Notable moments include:

In an over-the-top musical comedy production number, the song “I’ve Got a Dream” from “Tangled” sets the scene as the Snuggly Duckling Tavern comes alive, with Rapunzel, Flynn Rider and a tavern full of hilarious thugs.
In the “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” from “Lilo and Stitch” scene, the stage fills with giant windsurfing sails, kites and surf boards. The infectious music inspires Kayla as she rides a surfboard, flying atop a giant blue wave silk.
King Louie and the Monkeys perform a high-energy swing band version of “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Jungle Book.

In the final act, the trio celebrates their extraordinary journey at a graduation party as the pop tune “Breakthrough” from the Disney Channel original movie “Lemonade Mouth” keeps the revelry going.

For the “Wishes” Fact Sheet, click here.

“Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular”

New to Disney Cruise Line, “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” takes the stage on the Disney Fantasy. During this Broadway-style production, guests laugh along with the wise-cracking Genie and the characters from the classic animated Disney film “Aladdin.”

In this fast-paced musical comedy, Aladdin is back as the “street rat” of Agrabah meeting a Genie who grants him three wishes, battling the evil Jafar, and falling in love with Princess Jasmine.

Classic scenes and songs from the movie are re-created on stage – and some of the action even spills out into the aisles, like Prince Ali’s jubilant arrival in Agrabah on the back of a stallion. Magic lamps, wise-cracking genies, princesses and evil wizards are all part of this musical production.

And of course, an Aladdin production would not be complete without a magic carpet scene. In this spectacular, mechanical wizardry and state-of-the-art projections combine to send Jasmine and Aladdin soaring as they perform a heartfelt duet of “Whole New World.”

Many of the songs from the movie are featured in the 45-minute musical production, including “Friend Like Me,” which is performed as a lively, Las Vegas-style production number featuring special effects, illusions and more than a dozen dancing genies. Composer Alan Menken, who created the original soundtrack with songwriters Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, composed an original song for the stage production entitled “To Be Free.”

“Disney’s Believe”

“Disney’s Believe” is a stage spectacular that combines a heartfelt story with a captivating musical score. The lavish production tells the story of a workaholic father who, through the power of Disney magic, reconnects with his daughter and learns a valuable lesson about what is important in life.

“Disney’s Believe” takes guests to the garden of Dr. Cornelius Greenaway, a brilliant botanist obsessed with cultivating his precious plants. Dr. Greenaway is so preoccupied with his garden that he overlooks the birthday of his daughter, Sophia. Saddened, Sophia makes a special birthday wish and the impossible happens: Genie from Disney’s “Aladdin” appears to make her wish come true.

Joined by a host of characters, Genie takes Dr. Greenaway on an enchanting journey into the world of Disney stories. Through spirited production numbers, Dr. Greenaway learns that magic is real and is embodied in his beloved daughter.

More than 20 of Disney’s most beloved characters take the stage during “Disney’s Believe,” including Cinderella, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Belle (“Beauty and The Beast”), Rafiki (“The Lion King”) and Princess Tiana (“The Princess and the Frog”).

“A Fantasy Come True” Welcome Show

“A Fantasy Come True” is a 45-minute, high-energy, multimedia musical production that follows one family’s journey as they discover the amazing experiences and enchanting surprises that await them aboard the Disney Fantasy. Ultimately, they learn the greatest experience the ship has to offer is the opportunity to make memories – together as a family – that will last a lifetime.

“An Unforgettable Journey” Farewell Show

“An Unforgettable Journey” is a good-bye hug in the form of a 45-minute musical production that allows guests to reflect and savor the experience they have had onboard the Disney Fantasy. This farewell show connects the guests’ experiences to the man who started it all – Walt Disney – through audio and video clips that steep the memorable moments and distinctly Disney touches in Walt’s words and wisdom.

Party on Deck

In addition to nightly stage productions, Disney Cruise Line brings the upper decks of the Disney Fantasy to life with incredible live entertainment.

The fun begins with “Sailing Away,” a “welcome aboard” show starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the Disney gang. The show is a celebration of the fun aboard a Disney cruise, building to the exciting sounding of the ship’s horn.

On a special night each cruise, the entire Disney Fantasy transforms into a pirate ship with a night of events brimming with buccaneer fun and a fireworks spectacular.

The evening kicks off on the Donald’s Pool stage with “Mickey’s Pirates IN the Caribbean,” a family-friendly interactive show featuring the famous Disney characters. Guests become members of Mickey’s Pirate Crew as they participate in a series of pirate-themed musical numbers.

Later in the evening, Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films makes a special appearance on deck in “Hunt Fer Jack,” a thrilling live-action pirate showdown which culminates in “Buccaneer Blast” – a spectacular display of piratical pyrotechnics.

As the night rolls on, a high-tech, open-air dance party on the upper decks of the ship heats up. Guests unleash their inner pirate and dance their boots off during “Club Pirate,” a family-friendly bash featuring electrifying music, stunning visuals and special effects.

Fireworks at Sea

The only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea, Disney Cruise Line ups the entertainment ante and lights up the sky with a fireworks extravaganza.

As part of the pirate night celebration, the skies above the Disney Fantasy explode with brilliant colors during “Buccaneer Blast.” With more “bang” than ever before, the pyrotechnic spectacular is choreographed to a dramatic score featuring songs from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Carnival Paradise Launches Year-Round 4 & 5 Day Cruises From Tampa

Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise arrived in Tampa following a 14-day Panama Canal cruise and sailed on its inaugural cruise from the port on December 12, 2011

Carnival Paradise is replacing the Carnival Inspiration on four- and five-day western Caribbean cruises from the Port of Tampa, becoming the newest Carnival “Fun Ship” to operate this popular itinerary.

On this route, Carnival Paradise departs Thursdays on four-day cruises to Cozumel and on Mondays and Saturdays on five-day voyages to Cozumel and Grand Cayman. The Carnival Inspiration is being deployed to Long Beach, Calif., to operate year-round three- and four-day cruises.

Carnival Paradise joins the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend, which sails year-round seven-day Caribbean voyages from Tampa.

Carnival is the only cruise line to offer year-round cruises from Tampa and has maintained a year-round presence since it launched seven-day Caribbean cruises in 1994. Over the years, the company has dramatically expanded its presence at the Port of Tampa, adding newer and larger ships and offering a greater variety of itineraries.

This year, the line’s two-year-round ships, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Legend, are expected to carry an estimated 300,000 passengers from Tampa – a 10-fold increase versus Carnival’s first year of operations there.

“With its convenient location, excellent facilities and proximity to top tourist attractions, Tampa has become one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Paradise will provide an exciting and affordable short cruise option from Florida’s west coast,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “The Tampa Port Authority is a valued business partner and we’re proud and delighted to continue our excellent relationship with the Carnival Paradise,” he added.

“The Tampa Port Authority is thrilled that Carnival Cruise Lines recognizes the importance of Florida’s west coast market and continues to enhance its year round services,” said Tampa Port Director Richard Wainio. “The addition of the Carnival Paradise is a testament to Carnival’s longstanding success with year round cruising from Tampa. We value our good relationship with Carnival and look forward to working together to serve cruise passengers in the Port of Tampa,” he noted.

Carnival Paradise offers a distinctive décor with dramatic public spaces that pay homage to great ocean liners of the past, with memorable venues such as the Queen Mary Lounge, Normandie Theater, Rotterdam Bar and the Leonardo Lounge.

The ship also features spacious, modern facilities and programming for children in three age groups, along with a three swimming pools, including one with a spiral water slide. Dining options include two formal restaurants with extensive menus and wine lists and an expansive poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria. Other features include a 12,000-square-foot health and fitness center, a jogging track, and Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quark Expeditions Announces Addition of the Ocean Diamond

Quark Expeditions announced a new addition to its fleet.

The 189-passenger polar expedition vessel will set sail in November 2012 for the Antarctic 2012-2013 season. Before commencing service with Quark, the ship, currently known as Le Diamant, will be renamed Ocean Diamond and undergo an extensive refurbishment.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Emerges From A Major Refit.


Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 has returned to her homeport of Southampton after a major refurbishment that will prepare her to welcome guests for a luxury cruise vacation on her upcoming Transatlantic Crossings, Europe and World Voyages.

The refurbishment took place at the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, from November 24th to December 6th.

To Learn all about her new spaces and upgrades Click here ->; Queen Mary 2 Refit

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Retired QE2 to Host New Year's Eve Party in Dubai


More than three years since it arrived in its final port of Dubai, the storied cruise liner Queen Elizabeth 2 will soon be welcoming well-heeled guests once again — at least for a night.

The event marks the first time the ship's government owners are throwing down the gangplank for a large group of visitors since the vessel pulled into port in November 2008.

An Emirati event planning company said Wednesday it's throwing a New Year's Eve bash on the ship, complete with live music, fireworks and a laser light show.

The company, Global Event Management, said most revelers will be invited guests, though a limited number of tickets will also go on sale.

The event's billing is quintessential Dubai. The black-tie evening is being described as "one of the most exclusive New Year celebrations in the world.

Dubai's state-run Istithmar World bought the QE2 from the Cunard cruise line for $100 million in 2007. It originally planned to turn the luxury liner into a floating hotel docked alongside one of the city-state's manmade palm-shaped islands. Those plans were shelved when Dubai's economy tumbled into crisis.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holland America's Volendam Heads to Asia in 2012

When Holland America Line’s ms Volendam heads to Asia in 2013, the ship will sail a series of 14-day itineraries between Singapore and Hong Kong, China; Kobe (Osaka), Japan, and Hong Kong, as well as a roundtrip Kobe cruise. Guests will have the opportunity to also visit the countries of Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand and Cambodia on the Far East explorations, including the option to take an overland tour to the Great Wall of China.

The nine voyages — including a 16-day Great Barrier Holiday sailing Sydney to Singapore via Indonesia departing Dec. 22, 2012 and a 17-day trans-Pacific crossing from Kobe to Vancouver, British Columbia — will sail from December through April and offer extended ports calls and overnight stays at some of the most historical and exciting cities in the region, including Bangkok, Thailand; Shanghai and Xingang (Beijing), China, and Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan.

“Travel research continues to indicate that interest in the Far East is rising and Asia explorations remain on the wish lists of our guests,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, for Holland America Line. “Our Asia itineraries offer everything, from interesting shore excursions and cultural encounters to ports with deep historical roots and unique experiences.”

Itineraries can be combined to form longer 28- or 31-day Collectors’ Voyages, enabling guests to experience a more in-depth exploration of Asia’s landmarks, as well as explore its mystical allure.

14-day Far East Explorer Voyages

Volendam’s three 14-day Far East Discovery voyages sail between Hong Kong and Singapore and feature port calls at Koh Samui and Bangkok (overnight), Thailand; Sihanoukville (Kâmpóng Saôm), Cambodia, and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City), Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Halong Bay, Vietnam. Departure dates are Jan. 7 and 21, and Feb. 4.

14-day China and Japan Discovery Voyage

Four 14-day China and Japan Discovery voyages sail between Hong Kong and Kobe (Osaka) and roundtrip Kobe, and include two overnight calls at Shangahi and Xingang, China. Additional ports of call include Dalian, China; Busan (Pusan), South Korea, and Nagasaki, Japan. Departure dates are Feb. 18, March 4 and 18, and (roundtrip Kobe) April 1.

17-day Trans-Pacific Repositioning Voyage

The 17-day trans-Pacific repositioning voyage departs April 15 from Kobe and sails east to Vancouver. In addition to exotic ports of call, the itinerary features scenic cruising through Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage in Alaska, and relaxing days at sea. Following an overnight at Yokohama (Tokyo), the ship calls at Hakodate and Kushiro, Japan, and Kodiak and Ketchikan, Alaska, as it makes it way to Canada for the start of the Alaska sailing season.

Cruise fares begin at $1,899 per person, double occupancy for the 14-day Far East Explorer and 14-day China and Japan Discovery sailings, and $1,999 for the 17-day trans-Pacific sailing.

Memorable Shore Excursions

Guests can maximize their experience in Asia by booking notable optional shore excursions including a visit to the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh to explore the major highlights or discovering the Cu Chi Tunnels Discovery near Phu My, Vietnam; enjoying a cultural-experience at either Beomeosa or Tongdosa Temple complete with tea ceremony outside of Busan; and from Nagasaki, exploring the magnificent Shimabara Castle and Fugen Volcano.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Debuting in the Fall 2012 - Celebrity Reflection Details Revealed

While celebrating the highly anticipated stateside debut of its stylish Celebrity Silhouette – the fourth and newest member of Celebrity Cruises’ widely heralded Solstice Class fleet – Celebrity Cruises also is intensely focused on the fifth member of the class, Celebrity Reflection, which sets sail in the Fall of 2012. And when she does, she’ll boast all the attributes that have netted Celebrity’s Solstice Class the broadest array of honors in the brand’s 20-year history – including Celebrity’s #1 ranking in the large-ship category of the prestigious annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards – and a host of entirely new features, including a significantly expanded array of luxury suites.

In designing Celebrity Reflection, the line focused on what could make the best even better, and already announced plans to add a new deck to allow for additional staterooms and the line’s first AquaClass Suites, inspired by guest demand. And today, the line announced plans to also introduce Celebrity’s first “Signature Suites,” and the jaw-dropping new “Reflection Suite.”

“Everything we introduced on Celebrity Silhouette illustrated our devotion to offering new and differentiated experiences for our guests, and the feedback we’re receiving is rewarding validation that our guests love it – from The Lawn Club Grill, to The Porch, to The Alcoves, to The Hideaway, not to mention they continually tell us how much they love the first three Solstice Class ships,” said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “On Celebrity Reflection, we’ve taken the opportunity to further elevate our onboard offerings, with entirely new ‘Signature Suites’ and our first ‘Reflection Suite,’ in addition to our first-ever AquaClass Suites, collectively creating the most vivid examples yet of the modern luxury that defines Celebrity.”


CELEBRITY’S ‘SIGNATURE SUITES’ MAKE THEIR MARK

Located in a private area of the ship’s 14th deck, Celebrity Reflection’s five Signature Suites each offer a 441-square-foot stateroom area and 118-square foot veranda, with floor-to-ceiling windows and veranda doors, all designed to maximize the stunning views of the sea. Celebrity’s Signature Suites each can accommodate up to four guests, and will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet.

The entire area – including the stunning new Reflection Suite – features card-key access exclusively for guests booked in the elite group of suites, such that a family or group of up to 26 guests traveling together can enjoy a private, six-suite modern luxury vacation experience.


REFLECTING ON THE NEW ‘REFLECTION SUITE’

Nestled in the highly desirable corner location near Celebrity’s new Signature Suites, the Reflection Suite will be the brand’s first two-bedroom suite, complete with a truly distinctive sea-view bathroom extending out over the edge of the ship, a veranda tub with soothing rain shower, and panoramic views courtesy of the wraparound veranda. The 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite with 194-square-foot veranda – complete with Celebrity’s luxurious 24/7 butler service – can accommodate up to six guests.

From today through December 11, 2011, Celebrity is offering its most loyal guests – Captain’s Club members – an exclusive opportunity to be the first to book the new Reflection Suite and Signature Suites, before they open for booking among the general public December 12.

HIGH-TOUCH, HIGH-TECH NEW SUITE BEDDING

To provide an entirely new, breakthrough bedding experience for guests booked in Celebrity’s Reflection Suite, Signature Suites and Penthouse Suite, Celebrity has partnered with Reverie®, a leading innovator in luxury bedding, to deliver the Reverie® Dream Sleep SystemTM. The patented sleep system features a premium Reverie mattress that allows guests, with the assistance of their butler, to customize the softness of their bed.

Additionally, Reverie's exclusive technology enables the iPod Touch (third and fourth generation), iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPad 2, iPad and Reverie Remote app to act as a remote control for the Reverie Sleep System, allowing guests to easily operate massage features and adjust the elevation of the mattress. Pressing "zero gravity" on the remote will take guests to a position in which the feet and head are raised slightly to improve circulation and relieve lower back pressure, creating the ultimate sensation of “weightlessness,” similar to the sensation felt in a zero-gravity chamber.

Reverie also has integrated remote control technology into the Sleep System so guests can turn appliances around the room that are connected to the power outlet off or on with the touch of the screen on the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad. Guests can enjoy this innovative technology through an iPad provided in each of the new suites.

To complete the innovative sleep experience, Celebrity’s suite guests also will enjoy the custom-embroidered, 100% Egyptian cotton linens featured in Celebrity’s new “eXhale” bedding program, which was introduced on the newly-Solsticized Celebrity Infinity December 3.

BY POPULAR DEMAND: CELEBRITY’S FIRST AQUACLASS SUITES

Driven by high demand for Celebrity’s industry-first AquaClass category of spa-inspired accommodations, and by way of an additional deck being added to Celebrity Reflection, as previously announced, Celebrity will introduce on Celebrity Reflection the line’s first AquaClass Suites. Each will offer 300 square feet of luxurious interior space and spacious 79-square-foot verandas, paired with all the amenities associated with Celebrity’s AquaClass accommodations, including exclusive and complimentary access to the highly-rated specialty restaurant, “Blu,” noted for its inviting, modern design and flavorful, healthy cuisine. The new suites also will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet.

In addition to the 34 new AquaClass Suites, Celebrity Reflection also will present an additional eight luxurious new Sky Suites, 19 additional plush ConciergeClass staterooms, and 11 additional inside staterooms, bringing the stateroom/suite total to 1,515.

“We gave a great deal of thought to how to ideally accommodate everything we’re adding,” said Hanrahan. “We’re widening the ship slightly, enabling us to introduce each of these exceptional new venues without compromising an inch of Celebrity’s premium space ratio and traffic flow.”

Celebrity Reflection will offer 245 more loungers on its expanded pool deck to suit the increased overall guest capacity, as well as 45 additional seats in the Celebrity Theater, 118 in Oceanview Café, 24 additional seats each in Blu and in Tuscan Grille, four more in Qsine, and 40 additional seats in the main dining room, where Celebrity offers Celebrity Select DiningSM, the industry’s first flexible dining option allowing guests to choose when they wish to dine on a flexible, day-by-day basis.

Celebrity Reflection will enter service October 12, 2012, on a nine-night European cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Crystal Cruises Announces 2013 Cruise Schedule and Early Booking Discounts


Ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises has launched its complete 2013 worldwide cruise collection -- becoming the first of the luxury cruise lines to release its entire 2013 calendar and fares, as well as open all cruises for bookings. For travelers who like to plan ahead, ’13 is a lucky number as “Book Now” fares offer guests the best prices for early bookings made by February 28 or June 30, 2012 (depending on cruise departure).

Significant changes, such as many more shorter cruises distinguish 2013 Crystal’s repertoire of 64 itineraries visiting 62 countries and 226 ports-of-call worldwide. Due to the overwhelming popularity of its Northern Europe itineraries in 2012, Crystal has opted to switch its initially scheduled vessel deployment: Crystal Serenity will summer in the Baltic, North Cape and British Isles (in addition to spring and summer Mediterranean seasons), while Crystal Symphony will spend her summer in the Mediterranean.

Other new highlights include:

  • 16 maiden calls: Baie-Comeau and Havre-Saint-Pierre, Québec; Çanakkale, Turkey; Castellón de la Plana, Spain; La Spezia, Italy; Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Natal, Brazil; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England; Santa Marta, Colombia; and Skiathos, Greece; Manta, Equador; Salaverry, Peru; Chacabuco and Cape Horn, Chile; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Langkawi, Malaysia
  • More shorter/7- to 10-day sailings (29 overall) -- more than 250% increase in shorter cruise offerings in Europe
  • 74-day World Cruise with a comprehensive focus on South America
  • 9-7-12-day cruise-length rotation in Europe for choice of shorter or longer back-to-back options without repeating ports, plus Saturday departures for most 7-day sailings
  • 98-day/eight segment Australasian Grand Cruise from Auckland to LA
  • Cruises beginning and ending in Reyjkavik, Bali, Brisbane, Dublin, and Kōbe
  • 25% more port days, including cruises without any days at sea
  • Strategic scheduling around local events: Monte Carlo Grand Prix, Seville’s La Fiera de Abril, and Tuscany’s Il Palio di Siena
  • More than 85% of voyages with two or more days in port
  • Three-day, complimentary pre- or post-cruise Beijing land package with two cruises (one of which also includes three days in Shanghai)
  • Increase of 10-day New England/Canada itineraries
  • More than 50% increase in shipboard overnight stays in port on embarkation day
  • Antarctica for the holidays -- Crystal is absorbing the extra cost and planning efforts to meet the new environmental requirements
  • Returns to ports less-frequented by Crystal: Murmansk, Russia; the Shetland Islands; Izmir, Turkey; Isle of Man; Cartagena, Spain; Newcastle, Australia; Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadaloupe; General San Martin/Pisco, Peru; Pusan, Korea; Agadir, Morocco; Trogir, Croatia; Savannah and Baltimore, U.S.
  • 15 renowned waterways, including New Zealand’s Milford, Doubtful, and Duskey Sounds; Norway’s North Cape and Svartisen Glacier; Glacier Bay, Alaska; the Chilean Fjords; Halong Bay, Vietnam; the Amazon and Saguenay Rivers; and Panama Canal

In all, Crystal Symphony kicks off 2013 with a super-VIP New Year’s fireworks gala in Sydney, then remains in the region, exploring Australia, New Zealand and Asia prior to a European/Mediterranean-focused summer, North American fall, and Central/South American/Antarctic holiday season ending in Chile. Crystal Serenity’s 2013 routing begins in the Caribbean before heading to a South American World Cruise, then Europe for most of the year before returning to the Caribbean/Central America for the holidays.

Early bookings offer maximum savings on 2013 itineraries, including:

  • $4,000/person full World Cruise savings
  • $700 or $1,000/person savings for seven- to 24-day sailings
  • “Save Now, Save Later” -- 20% savings on 2014’s World Cruise for booking the 2013 World Cruise (or segments thereof)

Two-for-1 fares begin at $2,595/person, including “Book Now Savings,” free round-trip air transportation (or generous air credit), airport/ship transfers, and all-inclusive amenities such as complimentary gratuities, fine wines and spirits, specialty restaurants (including the lauded cuisine of Nobu Matsuhisa), Open Dining by Reservation®, and stimulating onboard entertainment and enrichment.

Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Disney Cruise Line's Disney Fantasy Debuts With Muppets and More

The Muppets make their debut on Disney Cruise Line in a new adventure game aboard the Disney Fantasy, the new Disney ship setting sail in March 2012.

Throughout the Disney Fantasy, guests will discover creative and whimsical technical innovations – whether it’s mealtime, playtime or bedtime. “Paintings” spring to life. Guests’ own drawings dance with Disney characters. Interior staterooms have a porthole view of the sea outside. Animated characters chat with guests. The floor beneath children comes alive to movements. Among the highlights:

Muppets Adventure Game

The Muppets are coming to the Disney Fantasy! While playing “The Case of the Stolen Show,” guests take an interactive adventure quest around the ship, uncovering clues via more than a dozen pieces of Enchanted Art and physical “evidence.”

The adventure begins with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal and a cast of more than 20 Muppets preparing to stage a big performance. But there’s a problem: Kermit’s banjo is missing, Fozzie’s squirting flower has vanished, Gonzo’s crash helmet has gone astray, Animal’s drum sticks have disappeared and the Swedish Chef can’t find his cleaver! All of the props for the big show have been stolen by a cunning thief (or more likely, another Muppet).

Pepe the King Prawn offers to take on detective duties to help Kermit and the rest of the Muppets find their missing props. Kermit, worried about Pepe’s lack of detective skills, turns to the guests for help.

Guided by a map and holding a unique game card in front of select pieces of Enchanted Art, guests unveil clues and find missing props. Elsewhere on the ship, guests may check a Muppets message board and find a Muppet-sized stateroom door to discover clues. Their mission is to identify the culprit and solve the crime before it’s time to raise the curtain and light the lights on the Muppets’ big show.

“The Case of the Stolen Show” is a self-paced adventure game designed for guests ages nine and older. It features several possible endings and multiple randomized events – so each time a guest plays, they have a different gaming experience.

Enchanted Art

Throughout the Disney Fantasy, more than 20 pieces of Enchanted Art, inspired by classic Disney characters and animations, immerse guests in Disney storytelling in a completely new way.

As guests pause to admire an individual piece of Enchanted Art, it magically comes alive. Some examples of Enchanted Art new to the Disney Fantasy…

Dual circus art posters featuring Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse flying from one frame into the other — a nod to the Disney Fantasy stern characters.
Walt Disney animating three new clips that spring from his sketch pad featuring the “Fab Five” (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto).
Scenes from Disney’s classic animated film “Fantasia” depicting dancing fairies set to “Nutcracker Suite” and a frolicking unicorn and satyr set to “The Pastoral Symphony.”
Fanciful animations of “Alice in Wonderland” inspired by Disney Legend Mary Blair’s artwork.
“Pinkie Daisy” inspired by Thomas Lawrence’s painting “Sarah Barrett Moulton: Pinkie.”

While Enchanted Art looks like other hanging art pieces around the ship, it is actually a framed LCD screen that utilizes technology to create special effects. Enchanted Art “recognizes” a guest is present and activates several seconds of animation. Guests may see new and different animation when they visit the Enchanted Art another time.

“Animation Magic” at Animator’s Palate

Animator’s Palate on the Disney Fantasy brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room with a new show called “Animation Magic.” The dinner show celebrates the magic of Disney animation and allows families to create and participate in a whole new way.

As guests are seated at their tables, they are invited to draw a character of their own using a simple template on their placemat. Then, just before dinner, house lights dim and a sprinkling of pixie dust illuminates the room.

Imagery is revealed on several large monitors showing black and white drawings of Mickey Mouse. Mickey then places the Sorcerer’s hat upon his head, transforming all of the animation into color.

Mickey invites guests to sit back, relax and enjoy a taste of animation as a montage of memorable food-themed moments from Disney and Disney•Pixar films is displayed, set to the show tune “Be Our Guest.” After the number is complete, guests are encouraged to complete their own drawings … so they may be whisked off to Mickey Mouse, who is conjuring a magical final act.

After dinner, Mickey returns for the exciting finale. With a musical crescendo, he works his magic and conjures the guests’ drawings – now fully animated and brought to life – into the onscreen action.

A parade starts as Mickey leads the guests’ drawings in a march across the screens around the dining room. The animation of the drawings becomes increasingly more elaborate, and then the drawings step into scenes from beloved Disney movies and skip, skate and dance side-by-side with characters such as Mickey Mouse, Jiminy Cricket, Cinderella and Snow White.

At the conclusion of the show, Mickey returns to say “so long” while credits roll on screen showing each guest’s name listed as a guest animator. To commemorate the experience, guests’ drawings are returned to them … with an added touch: a golden seal proclaiming them an Official Disney Animator.

Living Characters

In Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab youth areas, Disney characters come to life and interact with children in one-of-a-kind experiences…

Crush, the animated sea turtle from the Disney•Pixar motion picture “Finding Nemo,” and Stitch, the mischievous animated alien from the motion picture “Lilo & Stitch,” appear on a 103-inch plasma screen.
The characters chat, play and joke with kids in live, unrehearsed, personalized conversations, using sophisticated, voice-activated animation.

Living Characters create ‘Undersea Magic’

The Living Characters fun continues at Animator’s Palate restaurant…

Once guests are seated for dinner, the entire restaurant goes through a transformation as dinnertime is also show time for “Undersea Magic.”
The transformation involves more than 100 wall-mounted LCD screens that switch to scenes of a vivid undersea environment – as if the restaurant is transported to the ocean floor and the screens are windows providing views of a colorful coral reef and creatures that reside there.
Crush, the surfer-dude sea turtle from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” swims around the restaurant from “window” to “window,” engaging in live impromptu interactions with guests.

Magical Porthole

The Disney Fantasy carries on the spirit of innovation with a cruise industry first for all 150 inside staterooms – a “window” to the world with a real-time view outside the ship…

Each room features a wall-mounted monitor framed to have the appearance of a porthole. The monitor displays a real-time video view outside the ship – sometimes supplemented by a little “magic” in the form of animated Disney characters that “fly by,” such as Peach the starfish from the Disney•Pixar film “Finding Nemo,” Dumbo the flying elephant and Mickey Mouse.
High-definition cameras on the exterior of the ship feed the video to the monitors. Camera positions correspond with stateroom locations – port or starboard, from bow to stern.

Magic PlayFloor

Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab feature a Magic PlayFloor, a cruise-industry first that blends the latest in gaming technology with Disney’s panache for storytelling…

Located in the main gathering space in both venues, the interactive floor allows children to engage in group activities where their movements control the action.

The PlayFloor is designed with 16 light pads on the perimeter that detect motion and location and trigger actions. There are 28 monitors integrated with one another to create a grid display 15 feet by 15 feet on the center of the PlayFloor.
The games are thematically tied to Disney stories and characters – to everything from “Cars” and “Tron” to “Peter Pan” and “The Princess and the Frog.”
Youth counselors use the Magic PlayFloor during storytelling activities where children fly over the streets of London with Peter Pan, help their frog feast on a bug banquet, leap over lasers with Stitch, race a car like Lightning McQueen and step into the world of Tron.

Skyline

On the Disney Fantasy, adult guests step into a world that’s all their own at Europa – a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for guests 18 and older that features sophisticated bars and lounges inspired by the very best in European travel.

Skyline is a chic bar that provides ever-changing birds-eye views of stunning city skylines. The venue’s nine “windows to the world” are actually 65-inch LCD screens that depict different locales in panorama. Guests glimpse ever-changing views of spectacular cities such as Paris, London, Barcelona, Florence, Athens, Budapest and St. Petersburg.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Great American Steamboat Company Announces 2012 Entertainment on Mississippi River Cruises


The Great American Steamboat Company is pleased to announce the first details of the entertainment line-up for the inaugural season of the Steamer American Queen, including the line’s inaugural season Riverlorian.

Night after magical night, top entertainers will bring down the house in the American Queen’s majestic Grand Saloon. Two decks tall, the Grand Saloon is absolutely palatial, the most elegant showplace on the river. Every evening, guests will be treated to a different celebration of America’s best music, from Broadway hits to Dixieland Jazz, big band to bluegrass, ragtime to rock and roll. Showboat-style cabaret acts and old-fashioned radio shows add variety and charm to the evening lineup.

“The American Queen and her fabled predecessors were consistently renowned and acclaimed for their lavish, award-winning entertainment and we could not be more pleased to offer our guests all of these legendary names aboard the most legendary riverboat in the world,” stated Christopher Kyte, president of Great American Steamboat Company.

The Return of the Riverlorians

While the entertainment in the Grand Saloon will have guests’ toes tapping, the enrichment and historical aspects will have their senses piqued. As the American Queen carries forward the 100+ yearlong legacy of the fabled Delta Queen Steamboat Company, it is only fitting that a much-loved Delta Queen veteran serve as the inaugural Riverlorian. Mary Charlton, who has served as Riverlorian aboard the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen in the past is returning in her starring role.

“The American Queen is not just the only authentic steamboat on America’s waterways, she presents the only truly authentic Steamboating experience and the only true Riverlorians, which of course were a staple of the Delta Queen boats for decades,” stated Kyte.

Glenn Miller Orchestra – The big band show, with a sound of its own, draws rave reviews performing original arrangements of classics that defined a generation. Swing, sway or just tap in time with nostalgic tunes like In the Mood, Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo and many others.

Voyage dates: July 27, August 3, December 28

Harry James Orchestra – Directed by Fred Radke, who played first trumpet for the master himself and is held in esteem by jazz greats, the incredible orchestra stirs memories of the good old days with hits including All or Nothing at All, Ain’t She Sweet, Up a Lazy River and more.

Voyage Dates: April 19, April 27

Rat Pack Show – Guests will close their eyes and swear it’s Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. Amazing performers evoke the sounds and memories of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, backed by our onboard orchestra. Enjoy hits that include Fly Me to the Moon, That’s Amore, Everybody Loves Somebody, New York, New York, When I Was Seventeen and others.

Voyage Dates: May 8, May 15, May 22, June 28, July 18, October 22, December 14

B.J. Thomas – The voice is unmistakable and the audience will return to the late 60s and early 70s as the legendary B.J. Thomas sings his chart-topping songs, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, Hooked on a Feeling, I Just Can’t Help Believing, Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song and others.

Voyage Dates: July 11, July 18, July 22

The Lovin’ Spoonful – Playing the hits that put them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band will transport the Grand Saloon to the 60s with their great songs, including Do You Believe in Magic, Daydream, Summer in the City and Nashville Cats.

Voyage Dates: July 11, July 18, July 22

The Platters – The original doo-wop act brings back the sound of the 50s with the songs that became classics: Only You, The Great Pretender, My Prayer, Twilight Time, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and others.

Voyage Dates: September 7

Bill Haley’s Comets – The genesis of rockabilly and early rock, Bill Haley’s Comets will have guests moving to energetic hits like Rock Around the Clock and Shake, Rattle and Roll.

Voyage Dates: September 7

Annie Moses Band – This incredible classically trained family will have everyone in the holiday spirit performing seasonal music. Featured are violin, viola, cello, harp, guitar, piano and stunning vocals.

Voyage Dates: November 19, December 9, December 14

The New Orleans Jazz All-Stars –These maestros of the Big Easy’s jazz scene will take the American Queen on a journey through the history of a purely American music genre.

Voyage Dates: April 13, April 19

Juggernaut Jug Band – Steamboaters will delight in the authentic form of river music known as “jug music.” Rooted in the port towns of the Deep South, jug music includes styles of swing, jazz and bluegrass, performed by Juggernaut’s amazing artists.

Voyage Dates: May 4, May 29, September 28, October 12

Storefront Congregation – Graze on their smooth blend of bluegrass, country and blues and it will be known why the band is called “bluegrass’s newest sensation.”

Voyage Dates: April 27

Additional details on these and other acclaimed acts, along with additional voyage dates will be available online at GreatAmericanSteamboatCompany.com/entertainment.

Great American Steamboat Company offers a variety of voyage lengths, ranging from three nights to ten nights, and fares beginning at $995 per guest, offers exceptional value and convenience, with little or no flying required. And with one of the best early booking bonuses in the industry, our ‘Steamboating Plus’ program offers a complimentary luxury hotel stay before or after sailing along with transfers, a welcome brunch and much more.

The Steamer American Queen is the largest, grandest and most opulent riverboat in the world. Featuring plush accommodations for 436 privileged guests, she is a marvelous blend of old-world luxury and modern amenities and comforts. Under the guidance of famed American chef Regina Charboneau, guests will be treated to her acclaimed cuisine in their choice of four dining venues, all at no additional charge.

The Great American Steamboat Company not only has an exceptional management team behind it but exceeds all current Federal financial protection guidelines, offering a unique ‘Total Financial Security Program’ where 100% of fares paid are held in escrow accounts until the voyage is completed. The Great American Steamboat Company has assembled many of the same talented individuals that made the steamboat experience one of the most successful and acclaimed cruise products of its day. Every one of the senior executives has a total commitment and passion for the very unique niche steamboats occupy in American history and legend.

Given the long absence of steamboats from the great rivers of America, we expect that our Inaugural Season to fill quickly and prompt reservations are encouraged to avoid disappointment.
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