Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Princess Cruises’ 2012-2013 Hawaii, Tahiti and South Pacific Program

Mention “paradise” and most people will conjure up images of pristine beaches and lush, tropical islands. Princess Cruises passengers can make paradise a reality with 10 itinerary choices to the breathtaking islands of Hawaii, Tahiti and the South Pacific between fall 2012 and spring 2013.

New next season, Princess will offer more Hawaii cruises than ever before, with four ships sailing roundtrip to the islands from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. In addition, the renovated Grand Princess will make her debut voyages to Hawaii as part of her first West Coast season.

In total, eight Princess ships will sail on 56 voyages throughout the Pacific, including favorite itineraries such as the 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia route that sails roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti to some of the most gorgeous islands of French Polynesia. An 11-day Hawaii & Tahiti itinerary offers the best of both the Hawaiian Islands, as well as the highlights of French Polynesia. And the cruise line’s 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa itinerary that debuted last season returns with two sailings roundtrip from Los Angeles to American Samoa, taking in Hawaii and Tahiti along the way.

“The storied and romantic South Pacific just might capture the imagination of travelers more than most destinations,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We’ve been traveling to the South Pacific for more than 30 years and these idyllic islands never cease to deliver a breathtaking and relaxing vacation to our passengers.”

Princess’ 2012-2013 cruises to Hawaii, Tahiti and the South Pacific include:

Tahiti & Polynesia – This classic Princess itinerary sails roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti for 10 days among the islands of Polynesia, with two overnight visits. Ocean Princess starts with an overnight in the Tahitian capital and then calls on Huahine, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Bora Bora (Two-day Experience includes two full days and an overnight), and Moorea. Sailings depart on December 18, 2012; January 19 and 29, and February 8, 2013.

Hawaii & Tahiti – Travelers can enjoy the intimacy of a small cruise ship on a voyage that features both the Polynesian paradises of Hawaii and French Polynesia. These 11-day sailings between Papeete and Honolulu on Ocean Princess include calls at Moorea, Bora Bora, Hilo, Maui, and Kauai. Sailings depart December 28, 2012; January 8, February 18, and March 1, 2013.

Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa – This 28-day itinerary aboard Sapphire Princess and Star Princess offers an unusual roundtrip voyage from Los Angeles, to three island groups in one convenient roundtrip sailing. The ship calls at Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Pago Pago, Apia, Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete (overnight). Two sailings depart on October 20, 2012 and March 26, 2013.

South Pacific & New Zealand Cruises – Sailing between Sydney and Papeete, Ocean Princess offers a 16-day voyage including Tauranga, Auckland, Tonga, Apia, Pago Pago, Bora Bora, and Moorea. The ship departs on December 3, 2012 and March 12, 2013.

Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific – Sea Princess sails across the Pacific between San Francisco and Sydney on a 27-day voyage to Honolulu, Kauai, Papeete, Bora Bora, Pago Pago, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Fiordland National Park scenic cruising. The sailing departs on September 20, 2012.

Hawaiian Islands from Los Angeles – Golden Princess, Sapphire Princess and Star Princess will sail from Los Angeles on a 14-day roundtrip voyage to the “Land of Aloha” with calls at Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui, plus Ensenada, Mexico. The ships will sail on 24 voyages between September 26, 2012 and April 24, 2013.

Hawaiian Islands from San Francisco – Star Princess and Grand Princess will offer 15-day itinerary round-trip voyages from San Francisco, with calls at Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai and Maui, plus Ensenada. The ships will offer seven departures between October 6, 2012 and April 25, 2013.

Aussie Experience Voyages
Sailings aboard Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Sea Princess head to the islands from Sydney or Brisbane and feature onboard amenities tailored to appeal to Australian tastes.

Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific – Sea Princess will sail on a 35-day roundtrip voyage from Sydney, with calls at Nuku’Alofa (Tonga), Apia, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Hilo, Kona, Papeete, Moorea, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Pago Pago, Suva (Fiji) and Nouméa (New Caledonia). The ship sets sail on April 15, 2013.

Fijian Jewels – Sun Princess sails roundtrip from Brisbane on an 11-day journey to Nouméa and Isle of Pines in New Caledonia; two Fiji ports, Suva, and Port Denarau; and Vila (Vanuatu). The ship sails on November 7, 2012 and January 13, February 7, and March 18, 2013.

Fiji & South Pacific – A popular roundtrip sailing from Sydney featuring 14 days with calls at Lifou, Vila, Port Denarau, Suva, Savu Savu, Dravuni Island and Nouméa. Available on Dawn Princess, Sea Princess and Sun Princess, sailings depart August 29, October 10 and December 29, 2012; January 25 and April 12, 2013.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Royal Caribbean International Announced Vision of the Seas’ Winter 2012-13 Caribbean Season

Royal Caribbean International today announced the opening of Vision of the Seas’ winter 2012-13 Caribbean season for sale. Vacationers can choose among 19 Caribbean and Panama Canal cruise vacations, ranging from 10 to 15 nights and sailing roundtrip from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Vision of the Seas’ new seasonal itineraries are destination rich and visit smaller Caribbean islands less traveled by the cruise line’s larger ships.

Variations of a 10-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary features calls at Tortola, St. Maarten, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix and Martinique. Vacationers also can choose variations of an 11-night Southern Caribbean itinerary aboard Vision of the Seas, calling at Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, St. Kitts, Dominica, and St. Vincent – a maiden port for Royal Caribbean. On a very special holidays and New Year’s cruise, departing Dec. 24, 2012, guests will visit St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, Martinique and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach destination in Haiti.

In response to customer demand, Royal Caribbean also is offering four Panama Canal-transit sailings aboard Vision of the Seas, sailing through one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, allowing for quicker and safer passage of ships between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Two 14-night Panama Canal itineraries will sail from Port Everglades and San Diego on Oct. 5 and 19, 2012 respectively. Two 15-night sailings on March 18 and April 2, 2013 also depart Port Everglades and San Diego, respectively.

Additionally, vacationers can experience the grand tradition of a trans-Atlantic crossing between the ‘old’ and ‘new worlds’ on two sailings aboard Vision of the Seas. A 14-night westbound itinerary sails on September 21, 2012, from Southampton, England, to Port Everglades, calling at Gijon and Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Ponta Delgada, Azores. The 13-night eastbound itinerary sails on April 17, 2013, from Port Everglades to Southampton, England, calling at Lisbon; Vigo, Spain; and Normandy (Le Havre), a French gateway to Paris.

Vision of the Seas features two acres of dazzling glass walls, offering guests sweeping vistas of the Caribbean and the landscapes surrounding the Panama Canal. Guests can try their hand at the ships’ iconic rock-climbing walls for an even more thrilling view from the ship’s highest point and choose a rejuvenating spa treatment in the Vision Day Spa. Younger guests will be entertained and enlightened in the cruise line’s award-winning Adventure Ocean and teen programming, with scheduled activities led by college-graduate counselors from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. or later.

In the evenings, guests can enjoy the cruise lines award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions shows; try their hand in the Casino Royale; and reflect on the day’s experiences in multiple onboard bars and lounges over cocktails. Throughout, all guests enjoy Royal Caribbean’s friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service from every staff and crew.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

MSC Cruises To Homeport Ship In Miami For 2013 Winter Cruises

MSC Cruises announced today that PortMiami will be its exclusive homeport for its Caribbean sailings as of fall 2013 pending approval by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners later this month.

MSC is the fastest growing cruise line operating a fleet of eleven cruise ships with its newest ship, the MSC Divina, scheduled to launch May 2012 featuring its ship-within-a-ship concept - the MSC Yacht Club.

Beginning in fall 2013, MSC Cruises, which now homeports out of Port Everglades, will join the PortMiami cruise line-up. The initial term of the agreement is for three years.

“We are very excited to join the impressive roster of cruise lines operating out of Port Miami and look forward to sharing MSC Cruises’ unique style of Mediterranean elegance, international cuisine and white-gloved service with more and more guests,” said Richard E. Sasso, President and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez applauded the new business agreement and extended a warm welcome to Miami’s new upscale Mediterranean cruise brand.

“MSC brings another prestigious cruise brand to PortMiami’s distinctive line-up of ships,” Gimenez said. “We are eager to welcome MSC to our Port.”

PortMiami Director Bill Johnson said the new MSC service will strengthen Miami’s offerings of luxury cruise brands. PortMiami, known worldwide as the Cruise Capital of the World, handled more than four million passengers in fiscal year 2011, more than any other cruise port in the world.

“For cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico and beyond, PortMiami is the port of choice for cruise vacationers--with itineraries to meet every budget and taste,” Johnson said. “MSC is a great addition to our line-up.”

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who chairs the committee that oversees the Port, joined County Commission Chairman Joe A. Martinez in welcoming the international company to Miami-Dade County.

“We are grateful for MSC’s commitment to Miami-Dade County and we look forward to rolling out the red carpet for MSC vessels and passengers,” Commissioner Sosa said.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crystal Cruises Expands Asian Speciality Cuisine

In accordance with Crystal Cruises’ tradition of bringing high-quality, authentic international experiences to its guests in unique ways, the luxe line announces the addition of “Chinese comfort food” to its Crystal Serenity cruise ship. Debuting as a casual dinner option in the ship’s Tastes café, the menu of traditional, “down home” Chinese food, such as steamed dumplings, noodles, soups, fried rice and vegetables, is a more relaxed, regional dining experience to complement Crystal’s upscale Nobu specialty restaurant. Under the direction of Malaysian chef Jennifer Pei Vun Lee, the program debuts on Crystal Serenity’s 2012 World Cruise in January.

In development for more than a year and a half, Crystal’s food & beverage team visited dumpling and noodle restaurants throughout Asia, researched head chefs, planned challenging sourcing of ingredients, and investigated the necessary equipment for the highest quality execution of the cuisine.

“Those with sophisticated palettes enjoy exploring specialties from other parts of the world, including the ‘comfort food’ of international destinations,” says Crystal Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations Toni Neumeister. “This simple, but exciting, menu provides something for everyone when, and if, they want to take a break from dinnertime ‘fine dining’ during their cruise. Luxury these days isn’t always about lavish; it’s more about authenticity, which this delivers.”

Among the dim sum-like delicacies are:

  • · Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shiaomai
  • · Steamed Mushroom Vegetarian Dumpling
  • · Singapore-style Stir-Fried Noodles

Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity’s extensive, innovative choices for gourmandizing include the ultra-luxury line’s coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board, certified cheese and wine sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers-certified); fresh, chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists; and gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea or in specialty restaurants Prego or Nobu Matsuhisa’s Silk Road and Sushi Bar.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Silversea Cruises Offers Wine Series Enrichment Program on Select Voyages

Silversea Cruises has tapped renowned wine experts Lyn Farmer and Richard Nurick to host a Wine Series enrichment program on six voyages this year.

Farmer is a widely published wine and food writer and senior editor of The Wine News magazine, and has been honored with the James Beard Foundation Award for best writing on wine and spirits. He has judged international wine competitions and led tastings and tours to food and wine regions throughout the world.

Richard Nurick, a retired London wine merchant, is a distinguished wine judge and lecturer who has taught wine appreciation courses at Newbury and Henley colleges in the U.K. He is currently a full judge with the International Wine Challenge, a prestigious global competition open to all wines sold in Britain.

"Our Wine Series voyages are a great way for guests to broaden their understanding and appreciation for fine wines," said Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America. "We're delighted to have such acclaimed wine lecturers as Lyn Farmer and Richard Nurick on hand this year to conduct the wine presentations on these special voyages."

On each wine-themed cruise, discerning travelers with a passion for fine wines will enjoy sampling great vintages and learning about the tradition and art of winemaking in special tastings and lectures. Depending on the itinerary, guests may also have the chance to explore some of the world's most celebrated wine regions on optional guided shore excursions.

The following Wine Series voyages will be hosted by Lyn Farmer:

Voyage 3203: Silver Shadow departs Auckland February 4 on a 19-day sailing to Fremantle (Perth) with calls in Napier, Wellington, Picton, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Lincoln, and Albany. Silver Savings fares start at $10,599.

Voyage 4210: Silver Whisper departs Monte Carlo May 1 on a 12-day sailing to Southampton with calls in Palma de Mallorca, Cadiz, Portimao, La Coruña, Bilbao, Bordeaux and Le Verdon. Silver Savings fares start at $6,099.

Voyage 1220: Silver Cloud departs London August 13 on a 14-day sailing to Monte Carlo with calls in Saint-Malo, Bordeaux, Bilbao, Lisbon, Cadiz, Malaga and Sete. Silver Savings fares start at $8,099.

Voyage 1232: Silver Cloud departs Buenos Aires December 22 on a 16-day sailing to Valparaiso (Santiago) with calls in Montevideo, Punta del Este, Puerto Madryn, Stanley (Falkland Islands), Punta Arenas, Laguna San Rafael, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Montt. Silver Savings fares start at $9,999.

And Richard Nurick will host the following:

Voyage 4220A: Silver Whisper departs Southampton July 26 on a 9-day sailing to Lisbon with calls in Bordeaux, St. Jean de Luz, Bilbao, Gijon, La Coruña and Vigo. Silver Savings fares start at $6,299.

Voyage 4220B: Silver Whisper departs Lisbon August 4 on a 9-day sailing to Southampton with calls in Oporto (Leixoes), Bilbao, Bordeaux, Saint-Malo and Honfleur. Silver Savings fares start at $6,299.

Fares listed above are per person, based on double occupancy for a Vista Suite. Silver Savings is a capacity-controlled program and subject to availability.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Holland America Expands 2012 New England Canada Season.

Canada and New England itineraries are known for their historic seaports, stunning scenery and culinary delights, and in 2012 Holland America Line will offer 27 cruises on three ships — ms Maasdam, ms Eurodam and ms Veendam — to ports along the eastern coast of North America.

Scheduled May through October, the itineraries range from seven to 15 days and also visit the region during the height of the fall foliage display as summer turns to autumn and leaves change to vibrant hues of red, orange and gold. Veendam repositions to the region in 2012, increasing Holland America Line’s capacity and making it possible for more travelers to experience one of nature’s most impressive showings.

“Our Canada/New England itineraries are always popular, and by adding Veendam to the area during the fall foliage season more travelers are able to see this beautiful region during this special time of year,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Maasdam is there throughout the summer as well, making it the perfect cruise for friends, couples, solo travelers and families looking to explore an interesting travel destination that’s close to home.”

Maasdam begins the season with a 15-day northbound cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Montréal, Québec, Canada. During the voyage, guests will visit Charleston, S.C.; Newport, R.I.; Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Gaspé and Sept-Îles, Saguenay; and Québec City, Québec, before arriving at Montréal. Highlights include an overnight call at Québec City, Holland America Line’s highest rated port of call, and the premium line’s only call at Sept-Îles this season.

From May 12 through the Sept. 29 departure, Maasdam offers 15 seven-day sailings between Montréal and Boston, with calls at Québec City, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax and Bar Harbor. The itineraries feature scenic cruising along the St. Lawrence River and make an ideal option for families looking to take a summer cruise without traveling abroad.

Maasdam concludes the season with a 13-day sailing Oct. 6 from Montréal to Fort Lauderdale. Ports of call include Québec City, Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, Gaspé, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax and Port Canaveral, Florida.

During the height of the 2012 fall foliage season, Eurodam will sail three 10-day cruises in September and October between New York and Québec City. The ship will call at Newport, Rhode Island; Gloucester (Boston), Mass.; Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and Saguenay. The itinerary also features an overnight call at Québec City and scenic cruising along Saguenay Fjord.

On Oct. 14 Eurodam will depart on a 13-day cruise from Québec City to Fort Lauderdale. The cruise begins with an overnight aboard ship in Québec City and then sails for Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor, Gloucester (Boston) and Newport.

Veendam begins its Canada/New England season with a 13-day cruise from New York to Montréal Sept. 2. The ship will call at Gloucester, Bar Harbor, St. John, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, Gaspé, Saguenay and Québec City along the way. Guests on this itinerary will enjoy an overnight call at Québec City before arriving at Montréal.

In September and October, Veendam will sail five seven-day itineraries between Montréal and Boston. Ports of call include Québec City, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax and Bar Harbor, with scenic cruising along the St. Lawrence River.

Engaging Experiences On Board and On Shore

Guests can maximize their experience in Canada/New England with optional shore excursions, from history and culture to wilderness and cuisine. While onboard, guests can enjoy enriching activities such as cooking demonstrations at the Culinary Arts Center, pampering at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon or learning the latest online techniques in the Digital Workshop powered by Windows.

For seven-day Maasdam and Veendam itineraries, guests can combine two seven-day sailings for an extended 14-day roundtrip journey, allowing extra time ashore to hunt for antiques, explore charming fishing towns, learn about local history and sample the region’s fresh seafood. Fares on 14-day Collectors Cruises reflect up to 10 percent savings.

Fares for Maasdam’s Canada and New England cruises begin at $749; Eurodam’s cruise fares begin at $1,499 and Veendam’s fares start from $1,349. Guests looking for a family-friendly vacation can book a seven-day cruise date with reduced third and fourth fares. All fares are per person, double occupancy.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crystal Cruises New Fast Track Embarkation Brings Guest Onboard Sooner

Crystal Cruises, known for its ultra-hands-on service, announces a first-of-its kind check-in process that eases embarkation procedures for all guests. Effective today in every Crystal embarkation port, “Crystal Fast-Track Check-In” eliminates 100% of ship check-in procedures in port terminal waiting areas, transitioning guests from dock security to the Six-Star comfort of Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity lounges.

By utilizing a new barcode on each guest cruise ticket, a new ticket scanning system and the consistency of Crystal’s own onboard crew, the cruise line is accelerating the check-in required on the first day of sailing. As is customary, in each embarkation port, porters load guests’ luggage onto the ship, and guests observe required local security procedures as they enter port terminals. However, instead of processing documentation in the terminal, guests are whisked through and ushered on board to complete registration and receive their room keys/boarding cards with photo identification.

“Travelers want to start their vacations as soon as possible,” says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal’s senior vice president, operations. “By enhancing the ease, comfort and speed of embarkation day logistics, our guests get instant access to the ship and can enjoy the luxury of the Crystal Experience all the sooner.”

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Luxury Operator Azamara Club Cruises Offers Airfare Discounts and Upgrades on Select Cruises.

Recently recognized as having the best itineraries by Conde Nast Traveler, Azamara Club Cruises is inviting up-market travelers to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and tastes of Europe in 2012 with airfare credits of up to $2,000 per stateroom. Along with additional savings on cruise fares and shore excursions, plus included gratuities, guests will enjoy Azamara’s authentic hospitality on an immersive European adventure aboard the cruise lines two intimate ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest.

“This is the year for up-market travelers to rediscover Europe aboard a destination-immersive Azamara voyage,” said Edie Bornstein, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Azamara Club Cruises. “Many of Azamara’s Europe voyages coincide with the continent’s most popular cultural celebrations, such as the Monaco Grand Prix and various European Jazz Festivals, and offer more overnight and late-night stays in port so guest can join in the festivities. Not only do we present extraordinary value to guests, but pay commission to our valued travel agent partners for many things, such as hotel, shore excursions and cruise tour bookings for their clients.”

Azamara Club Cruises recognizes the great value travel agents add to guests’ overall experience and offers agents in the fifty states and Canada up to 15 percent commission on cruise bookings and cruise tours, 10 percent commission on hotel stays, and ground transfers, as well as five percent on CruiseCare insurance when purchased through the cruise line. New for 2012, travel agents also can earn an additional commission of $25 per booking when purchasing air transportation for their clients through ChoiceAir, Azamara’s proprietary air booking system

For new individual bookings made with deposit through March 31, 2012, aboard Azamara Europe voyages in 2012, travelers can enjoy $500 ChoiceAir credit per guest, up to two guests, when booking an Oceanview-, Veranda-, or Club Ocean Suite- category stateroom; and $1,000 per guest, up to two guests, in a Club Continent and Club World Owner Suites. Furthermore, travelers receive double ChoiceAir credits on Azamara Quest’s April 4 voyage from Nice, France.

Year-round, travelers can take advantage of up to 50 percent savings off brochure rates and delve into the destinations that larger ships cannot reach with half off Land Discoveries (shore excursions) purchased online. More information about Azamara’s 2012 booking bonus can be found at http://www.AzamaraClubCruises.com/promotions/2012-pricing-program.

Guests aboard Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest also enjoy more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary red and white boutique wines to accompany lunch and dinner; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle bus to city centers in ports, where available.

ChoiceAir is Azamara’s proprietary air-booking system, offering guests access to highly competitive airfares, more flight options and full control and visibility of their air arrangements. Guests enjoy exceptional, dedicated service that includes day-of-travel support to help them get to their voyage, even if they encounter flight delays or cancellations requiring a last-minute change or diversion to the next port of call. ChoiceAir is available through a travel agent, directly from Azamara Club Cruises, and online at www.AzamaraClubCruises.com/ChoiceAir.

Azamara Club Cruises is a destination-immersive cruise line for up-market travelers who want to not only see the places and cultures they visit, but to live them. Azamara’s two intimate, 694-guest ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with a combination of 347 suites and staterooms, offer a European-boutique hotel ambience with extraordinary service, fine cuisine and wines from around the world, and wellness and vitality programs, all while sailing to a host of destinations larger ships cannot reach.

Azamara Club Cruises sails European destinations, including the Baltic and Scandinavia, British Isles, Western Europe, French and Italian Rivieras, Greek Isles, Croatia, Holy Land and Black Sea, as well as Asia, South America and lesser-traveled islands of the West Indies, with more overnight and late-night stays in every region. Travelers also can choose even more immersive experiences with Azamara cruisetours in eight of the world’s most exciting destinations, including Rome, Athens, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Istanbul, Jordan and Israel, India, and China.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

MSC Cruise Offering Discount on Cruises Until 3/31/2012

Guests on select MSC Cruises’ sailings can enjoy the ever-changing vistas with a free upgrade from an interior to a balcony stateroom.

With the “Move Up in the World” promotion offering during the cruise industry’s traditional “Wave Season,” rates on select 7-night Caribbean cruises start at $629 and rates on select 7-night European cruises start at $669. Guests can also upgrade from an interior to a balcony stateroom on all Fantasia- and Musica-class ships and from interior to oceanview on Lirica-class and MSC Opera. All rates are cruise-only, per person, double occupancy; government fees and taxes are additional.

Bookings must be made by March 31, 2012 to qualify for this promotion.

Here is a sampling of 7-night “Move Up in the World” itineraries:

Caribbean:
  • “Western Caribbean Wonders” on MSC Poesia from Fort Lauderdale Jan. 19; Feb. 2, 16; March 2, 16, 30, 2013; calling at Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Roatan Island, Honduras; and Montego Bay, Jamaica; starting at $649
  • Eastern Caribbean sailings on MSC Poesia departing Fort Lauderdale Jan. 6; Feb. 9, 23, 2013; calling at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Nassau, Bahamas, starting at $649
Mediterranean:
  • “Divine Mediterranean” of the new MSC Divina from Venice, calling at Bari, Italy; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; and Dubrovnik, Croatia; June-September; starting at $919
  • “Mediterranean Fantasy” on MSC Fantasia from Barcelona, calling at Marseilles, France; Genoa, Naples and Palermo, Italy; and La Goulette (Tunis), Tunisia; March-October; starting at $769
  • “Greek Islands in the Sun” on MSC Musica from Venice, calling at Bari, Italy; Katakolon, Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus (Athens) and Corfu, Greece; and Dubrovnik, Croatia; April-November; starting at $769
Northern Europe:
  • “Route of Vikings” on MSC Poesia from Copenhagen; calling at Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Hellesylt/Geiranger, Norway; and Hamburg, Germany; May-August; starting at $1,119
  • “Baltic Castles and Russian Palaces” on MSC Magnifica from Copenhagen, calling at Hamburg, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Tallin, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Copenhagen, Denmark; June-September; starting at $1,169.

Be certain to ask for promo: Wave Season.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery Offer World Politics Theme Cruises.

Following the motion picture launch of “The Iron Lady” – based on the true story of Margaret Thatcher – Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery are providing their passengers with the chance to join a political debate at sea. Both small ship lines, known for their enrichment cruises and signature Guest Speaker series, will showcase experts on board offering real insight into the world of politics.

Sail with Swan Hellenic aboard the 350-guest Minerva on the “Venice and the Adriatic” cruise and gain first-hand perspectives from former Foreign Secretary Rt Hon Lord Douglas Hurd, who served in many different roles within the UK and Northern Island Government. Lord Hurd is most famous for serving both Margaret Thatcher and John Major as Foreign Secretary between 1989-95. The 15-day cruise departs on August 15, 2012 from Valletta (Malta) to Dubrovnik (Croatia), overnight; Korcula (Croatia), overnight; Split (Croatia), Trieste (Italy), Venice (Italy), Pula (Croatia), Kotor (Montenegro); Sarande (Albania), overnight; Itea, Delphi (Greece), a Corinth Canal transit, and Piraeus (Greece), 2 overnights. Fares start from $2,999 per person (cruise only) including shore excursions, gratuities, port taxes, and renowned guest speaker program.

Join Voyages of Discovery aboard the 650-guest Discovery on the “Nordic & White Sea Adventure” cruise to hear Sir Anthony Brenton’s interesting political views. Sir Anthony worked for over 30 years for the British Foreign Office dealing with energy issues and taking charge of preparation for the ‘Earth Summit’ in 1992. This 19-night voyage on July 25, 2012, round-trip from London (Harwich), calls at Bergen and Bødo (Norway); Murmansk, Solovetsky Islands (overnight) and Archangel (Russia); Kirkenes, Hammerfest, Trondheim, Orsta, and Floro (Norway). This unique itinerary, featuring the spectacular and rarely-visited Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea, is selling quickly with remaining availability starting from $4,999 per person (cruise only) in ocean view stateroom accommodations, including distinguished guest lecture program, and all meals and entertainment.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cunard Line Announces Feel Famous Sale on Cruises to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Legendary Trans-Atlantic Crossings

Those looking to experience a Cunard luxury cruise vacation exploring the historic wonders of the Mediterranean, Northern Europe’s uniquely dramatic landscapes, or the timeless adventure of the line’s signature trans-Atlantic cruise can now enjoy significant savings on select cruises with the 2012 Feel Famous Sale. With savings of up to $1,600 on balcony staterooms, experiencing these sought-after itineraries in distinctive Cunard style is even more accessible than ever.

Guests can save up to:
  • $1,600 per balcony stateroom on Northern Europe cruises of 14 days or longer aboard Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth
  • $1,100 per balcony stateroom aboard select 7-day trans-Atlantic Crossings aboard Queen Mary 2
  • $1,000 per balcony stateroom on Northern Europe cruises shorter than 14 days aboard Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth
  • $800 per balcony stateroom on 12-day Mediterranean cruises aboard Queen Elizabeth
The Mediterranean is a world of contrasts, beauty, culture and enduring fascination and its alluring destinations each hold unique appeal. From Kusadasi, for example, guests can explore inspiring Ephesus, with its ancient walls, bustling markets and the ageless temple of Artemis. Rhodes combines beautiful beaches and spectacular vistas, Santorini is the quintessential Greek isle, and Venice perhaps best captures Italy’s romantic splendour where music, art, its famed canals and exquisite cuisine captivate all who visit.

The awe-inspiring beauty of Scandinavia is highlighted by stunning fjords, plunging waterfalls and twisting mountains. Scenic Norway offers some of nature’s most breathtaking landscapes and the natural beauty of Stavanger features charming interlaced bridges and perfectly-preserved 18th century homes.

Cunard’s most iconic itinerary, the trans-Atlantic Crossing, is like no other ocean-going cruise - steeped in heritage, elegance and grandeur, and offering the luxury of time with seven to nine days at sea. On a Crossing, guests enjoy a myriad of interests from traditional, white-gloved afternoon tea, workshops with members of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, daily planetarium shows, the largest library at sea and the first shipboard Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

All cruise prices are per person, and the sale runs through 29 February 2012.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Great American Steamboat Company Announces Three Epic Civil War Voyages for 2012

The Great American Steamboat Company announces three Epic Civil War voyages for the 2012 inaugural season of the Steamboat American Queen. The eight to 10-night “Themeboating Adventures” onboard the most opulent steamboat ever built will bring the history books to life. Highlights will include visits to legendary battlefields and onboard entertainment including actors, impersonators, leading lecturers, balladeers and reenactments to increase understanding of this pivotal moment in U.S. history.

The three departures are designed to explore the footprints of the blue and gray traveling between New Orleans, La.; Vicksburg, Miss.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Louisville, Ky. History aficionados and novices alike can choose from three inaugural itineraries starting at $2,295 per guest based on double occupancy, which includes a pre- or post-cruise luxury hotel stay, all bottled water and soft drinks, wine and beer at dinner and complimentary shore adventures in each port of call.

  • American Experience and Artful Travelers present the Epic Civil War Journey - August 10-20, 2012: 10-night voyage between New Orleans, La.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and Chattanooga, Tenn. Ports include Helena, Miss.; Memphis, Tenn.; Paducah, Ky.; Savannah, Tenn.(Shiloh National Military Park); and Decatur, Ala.
  • Epic Civil War – August 20-30, 2012: 10-night voyage between Chattanooga, Tenn. and Vicksburg, Miss. Ports include Decatur, Ala.; Florence, Ala.; Savannah, Tenn. (Shiloh National Military Park); Paducah, Ky.; Ashport Landing, Tenn.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Vicksburg, Miss.
  • Civil War – August 30-September 7, 2012: Eight-night voyage between Vicksburg, Miss. and Louisville, Ky. Ports include Helena, Ark.; Memphis, Ten.; Henderson, Ky.; and Louisville, Ky.

“We are thrilled to offer the ultimate historical experience during our Civil War cruises onboard the American Queen,” explains Christopher Kyte, president of the Great American Steamboat Company. “Our guests will discover so much of this country’s rich history told by leading academics and passionate storytellers.”

Among the world-renowned experts, academics and actor highlights are:

American Experience and Artful Travelers present the Epic Civil War Journey August 10-20, 2012

  • Ric Burns : Writer, director and producer Ric Burns began his career collaborating on the celebrated PBS series The Civil War, (1990), which he produced with his brother Ken, and wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward. Burns is also co-author of the companion book to The Civil War. Burns was educated at Columbia University and Cambridge University.

  • Mark Samels: Mark Samels is the award-winning executive producer of American Experience, PBS’s flagship history series. In September, PBS debuts “This Republic of Suffering”, produced by American Experience. The 90-minute documentary, based on the best-selling book “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War” by Drew Gilpin Faust, examines how the unprecedented death toll of the Civil War challenged American cultural attitudes about death and changed federal government policies regarding soldiers.

Epic Civil War

August 20-30, 2012

  • A Wilson Greene: A 16-year historian and manager with the National Park Service including posts of Fredericksburg, Petersburg and founding member of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (Civil War Trust).

  • James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr.: One of the most distinguished names in Civil War history, Dr. Robertson was executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission and worked with Presidents Truman, Kennedy and Johnson in marketing the war’s 100th anniversary.
  • Barry Meadows: Meadow has been portraying General Ulysses S. Grant in living history events for 11 years and has appeared on the History Channel.
  • Al Stone: Al Stone’s representation of General Robert E. Lee has appeared on the Discovery Channel, History Channel and other networks.
Civil War

August 30-September 7, 2012
  • Hon. Frank J. Williams: The founding chairman of the Lincoln Forum and retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, Williams has been a leader in the Lincoln community for over 30 years.
  • Harold Holzer: Vice Chairman of the Lincoln Forum and co-chairman of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Holzer has co-authored and edited 23 books on the Lincoln era.
For additional information and reservations, kindly contact the Great American Steamboat Company.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Carnival Corp and Costa Re-iterate Commitment to Those Impacted By the Costa Concordia Disaster.

Genoa, Italy and MIAMI – January 18, 2012 – Costa Cruise Lines and its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, today confirmed their commitment to provide full support to those passengers, crew and families of the victims of the Costa Concordia grounding.

“I give my personal assurance that we will take care of each and every one of our guests, crew and their families affected by this tragic event. Our company was founded on this principle and it will remain our focus,” said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

In this spirit, Costa has been arranging lodging and transportation for affected passengers and crew members to return home. Every passenger and crew member or their family is being contacted and the company has offered its assistance and counseling as needed, and will be addressing personal possessions lost on board. Costa has also begun the process of refunding all voyage costs including both passenger cruise fares and all costs incurred while on board. Our senior management teams are working together to determine additional support.

“During this time of tragedy, we are doing our very best to provide the needed support to the Costa Concordia passengers, crew and their families,” said Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and CEO of Costa Cruises.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Disney Cruise Line to Name New Disney Fantasy in New York


Disney Cruise Line has decided to name their new Disney Fantasy in New York in late February.

For all the details and for future updates check NYCruiseInfo.com.

To Read about the Disney Fantasy's New York Inaugural details Click here.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

InnerSea Discoveries Offer Small Ship Crusing in Alaska - 2012

Building on its sold-out 2011 inaugural season in Alaska, InnerSea Discoveries diversifies its cruising range in Alaska for 2012 with the addition of the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer sailing a new Northern Passages and Glacier Bay itinerary between Juneau and Sitka, Alaska. The ship joins the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer and 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer together sailing 10 itineraries in Alaska ranging from seven- to 21-nights.

“The success of our operations in Alaska affirms our belief that there is pent-up demand for this style of close-up, active, adventure travel at a moderate price, “said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “We had more demand than we could accommodate in Alaska last year, so we added the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer to our fleet and hope to introduce even more adventurers to expedition cruising.”

Guided by nature and wildlife, InnerSea Discoveries’ expedition un-cruise itineraries are flexible to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities and adventure activities. With a focus on exploring nature up-close, guests may choose from many included activities such as kayaking, hiking, skiff explorations, whale-watching and stand up paddle boarding. Expert expedition leaders and guides lead excursions, assist in matching guests to the ranked activity level that best suits them, and provide interpretation along the way.

Northern Passages and Glacier Bay

A new Northern Passages and Glacier Bay itinerary aboard the renovated Wilderness Explorer sails one-way, weeklong cruises between Juneau and Sitka, Alaska and reverse from June 2 through August 18, 2012. Guests interested in maximizing their glacier viewing opportunities will enjoy three full days spent inside Glacier Bay exploring multiple tidewater glaciers including the lesser-visited scenic and remote East Arm of Glacier Bay with Muir Glacier. A park ranger stays aboard the ship and leads hiking and kayaking excursions along with shipboard guides. Other areas that may be explored include Icy Strait, Chatham Strait, Chichagof Island and Peril Strait.

For an uncommon adventure, guests may take an adventurous spin aboard one of the ship’s innovative human-powered water craft for an up-close look at Reid Glacier while pedaling along with seven friends. The ship’s captain expertly navigates waterways to encounter bears and whales throughout the cruise. Rates start at $3,095 per person, double occupancy.

Western Coves

The Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Adventurer alternate sailing weeklong Eastern Coves and Western Coves itineraries. The Western Coves un-cruise travels from Ketchikan to Juneau, Alaska and transits stunningly narrow El Capitan Passage with a chance to explore El Capitan Cave, historic Klawock, Baranof Island, Patterson Bay, The Brothers Islands, whale watching in Frederick Sound, Endicott Arm with Dawes Glacier and Ford’s Terror Wilderness.

The Western Coves itinerary features the most remote “skookum” wilderness adventure with rugged coastline, excellent opportunities for scenic kayaking expeditions and backcountry hikes through wild and woolly wilderness. Combing the more remote islands of the Inside Passage, guests sailing this itinerary explore designated wilderness areas and kayak, hike and skiff around the lesser-visited, scenic Prince of Wales Island. A half-day visit to the Native village of Klawock includes a cultural excursion to the village’s carving school and totem park.

Eastern Coves

The Eastern Coves itinerary meanders through east-oriented protected waterways between Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska and reverse. One-week adventures aboard the Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer deftly navigate the mainland’s coves and open up to hidden rainforest trails. Highlights include a chance to hike on top of Baird Glacier and experience scenic and remote Walker Cove inside Misty Fjord’s National Monument. Other areas on the discovery menu include Tracy Arm fjord and the twin Sawyer Glaciers, whale watching in Frederick Sound, Thomas Bay, Wrangell and Yes Bay.

The Eastern Coves’ landscape offers exceptional hiking opportunities at various activity levels. During two days in Thomas Bay, guests may enjoy a forest trek along the Cascade Creek Trail, the boot-sucking Baird Glacier trek and the five-mile hike in to Patterson Lake for spectacular kayaking. A half-day visit in Wrangell includes a visit to Kiksetti Totem Park. Rates for Western and Eastern Coves cruises start at $1,695 per person, double occupancy.

Wilderness Passages of Discovery

In 2012, five Wilderness Passages of Discovery voyages cover 900 nautical miles between Seattle and Juneau (or reverse) along the dramatic coastlines of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska’s Inside Passage. These two week value season departures get extraordinarily close to areas such as the San Juan Islands with a visit to Friday Harbor, coastline of British Columbia, Misty Fjords National Monument plus destinations in either the Western Coves (northbound) or Eastern Coves (southbound).

In spring 2012, the Wilderness Adventurer departs Seattle April 28 and the Wilderness Explorer on May 19. Departing Juneau for Seattle, the Wilderness Explorer leaves August 25, Wilderness Discoverer on September 8 and Wilderness Adventurer on September 15. Rates start at $3,295 per person, double occupancy.

The ULTIMATES

For the utmost adventure in Alaska, un-cruise itineraries may be combined for the ultimate wilderness explorations without repetition. The Ultimate Adventure combines the Eastern Coves and Western Coves itineraries into a 14-night expedition roundtrip Juneau. The Ultimate Coves & Passages combines the Western Coves and Northern Passages itineraries into a 14-night expedition from Ketchikan to Sitka, Alaska. The Ultimate Bays and Fjords combines the Northern Passages and Eastern Coves itineraries into a 14-night expedition from Sitka to Ketchikan, Alaska. And for the utmost adventure sure to grow moss on your back, the Ultra Adventure combines the Eastern and Western Coves with Northern Passages for an adventurers’ dream 21-night expedition.

Shipboard amenities include complimentary on-deck yoga classes, a large resource library, well-stocked DVD library and board games. A professional masseuse is part of the crew and massages are available for a fee. An underwater camera mounted on the ships’ bow will stream video from the underwater world to flatscreen televisions in all guest rooms and the lounge. Healthy and hearty meals feature fresh ingredients including locally caught Alaskan seafood. A 3-1 guest to crew ratio ensures attentive service. Cruise rates include transfers and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges of US$167 per person per week, massages, spirits and gratuities are extra.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line Offering 2013 Cruise/Land Tours in Alaska

Starting today, Norwegian Cruise Line guests can book pre- or post- Cruisetours to round out their dream Alaskan cruise vacations in 2013. Ranging in length from four to six days, guests can select the perfect Alaskan adventure from four different packages. The tours are escorted by a local Alaskan guide, giving each guest the opportunity to experience the authentic beauty of Alaska . Each Cruisetour features two nights in Denali National Park , as well as a ride on the iconic Alaska Railroad.

For guests wanting to explore the wilderness or the history of Alaska , there are two five-day options available: Denali/Alyeska Explorer and Denali/Fairbanks Explorer. The Denali/Alyeska Explorer gives guests the opportunity to hike on Winner Creek Trail, visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to see animals in their natural setting or take a helicopter ride to land atop a glacier. The Denali/Fairbanks Explorer offers an up close look at the Gold Rush that swept the nation, the Alaskan Pipeline, a visit to an Athabascan Indian Village and the chance to experience the midnight sun.

For those with an adventurous spirit, the Authentic Alaska Cruisetour is the best option, offering diverse activities in a six-day tour. Guests can take a trip to an Iditarod Sled Dog Musher’s house to learn about the “Last Great Race” and meet some of the dogs (also included in both Explorer Cruisetours). In Homer, guests can learn more about the fishing history as well as take in the scenic view of Katchermark Bay ’s glaciers and mountains. The tour concludes with a visit to Alaska ’s largest city, Anchorage , where guests can enjoy hiking trails, local restaurants and the Alaska Native Heritage Center .

Guests who have limited time to explore the state can take advantage of the Denali Express package to explore Alaska in four days. Two days in Denali can be spent visiting the Denali National Park to view wildlife or go rafting, fly fishing, golfing and hiking before taking a ride on the world famous Alaska Railroad.

“We want to offer our guests a chance to have an authentic Alaskan experience before or after their cruise as this is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “Our new Cruisetours give guests an up close look at the culture, wildlife and natural beauty of this destination and are all guided by a knowledgeable Alaskan local.”

On sale today, pre- or post-cruise land packages can be purchased as part of Norwegian Sun’s 2013 cruises from Whittier , 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.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Costa Cruises Costa Concordia Hits Rock

Friday night we were all taken by surprise by the Costa Concordia disaster. The Costa Concordia was steaming between Civitavecchia on her way to Savona when she reported hit an uncharted rock. At approximately 9:45 PM local time, passengers reported that the ship hit something and heard a loud noise. Almost immediately the ship began to list. The crew initially told passengers there were electrical issues and no reason for alarm. After the collision, the captain reportedly tried to beach the ship to prevent her from sinking further and allow for the evacuation of the ship closer to shore. Costa Concordia ran aground off Isola del Giglio, Italy. At approximately 10:30 PM, passengers started boarding lifeboats and the evacuation of over 4,000 people on board began.

The ship eventually took on more and more water until she eventually capsized, resting on her side. By morning a 160 foot gash was visible in the hull of the ship.

There are 3 people who perished and 41 still unaccounted for.

The Costa Concordia was delivered to Costa on June 30, 2006 by Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente yard in Genoa at a cost of $570 Million dollars. Costa Concordia is 952 ft long, 116 ft 6 in wide and has a draught 26 ft 11 in. She is capable of a speed of 19.6 knots

The cruise started from Civitavecchia had scheduled calls at Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari and Palermo.

Onboard there were about 1.000 Italian passengers, 500 Germans, about 160 French and about 1.000 crew members.

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