Monday, April 30, 2012

Costa Cruise Award Salvage Contract for Costa Concordia

Costa Cruise - Costa Concordia
Costa Cruises Costa Concordia
In late April, Costa Cruises and the Costa Concordia Emergency Commissioner’s Office announced the award of the salvage contract for the removal of the Costa Concordia from Giglio Island. The contract has been awarded to Titan Salvage in partnership with the Italian firm Micoperi. The work will begin in early May. The removal operation is  expected to take about 12 months.

The wreck will be removed in one piece and re-floated. The Costa Concordia is expected to be towed to a nearby port/shipyard to determine next steps.




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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Carnival Cruises Carnival Miracle Returns to New York with New Features.

Carnival Cruises Carnival Miracle
Carnival Cruises Carnival Miracle
Several exciting new dining and entertainment choices, including The Taste Bar complimentary appetizer program, The Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez and The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez, will debut on the Carnival Miracle, which launches the line’s first year-round schedule from New York later today.
            The program features three different eight-day itineraries, each visiting a diversity of tropical destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida. 
           
The Taste Bar – New Complimentary Appetizer Program
            Carnival’s newest casual dining option, The Taste Bar, is being introduced on Carnival Miracle with fleetwide implementation expected to be completed by summer 2013.  The Taste Bar features complimentary bite-size offerings inspired by the newest and most popular “Fun Ship 2.0” dining venues, along with a signature cocktail tied to that eatery’s particular theme available for purchase for $5. Sample offerings may include:
·         Roasted pork tacos with green chili salsa and aged cotija cheese, and chicken, avocado, and lime tortilla soup, inspired by the BlueIguana Cantina that debuted on Carnival Liberty, with a refreshing Blue’s Blue Margarita as the accompanying drink
 
·         Nonna's meatballs and hand-whipped ricotta bruchetta, patterned after the family-style offerings at the Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant introduced on Carnival Magic, with the eatery’s house Chianti served from an oversized barrel on wheels
 
·         Fried malanga (sweet potatoes) filled with ginger-scented pork and lime aioli, and pepper pot soup with cilantro sour cream, similar to what is served at Carnival Magic’s RedFrog Pub, with a Rum Jumper as the suggested beverage
 
·         Grilled ham and provolone cheese melt on buttermilk brioche and cream of tomato soup, from the new Comfort Kitchen option debuting on Carnival Breeze, served with Lynchburg Lemonade
 
·         Short rib croquettes with chipotle aioli and guava and tomato relish, served with pumpkin bisque with sour cream, available with a Manhattan cocktail representing Carnival’s classic American steakhouses
 
            The Taste Bar cuisine samples will be offered on a rotating basis from approximately 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on sea days and select port days. Location will vary by ship, with Carnival Miracle’s Taste Bar selections offered on Promenade Deck in a recently renovated venue that formerly housed the vessel’s sushi bar. Sushi will be one of the featured Taste Bar themes and sushi will also be offered at the Carnival Miracle’s poolside restaurant nightly during dinner service.
 
Debut of Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez
Also making its Big Apple debut is the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez, part of a recently announced partnership with the popular comedian who serves as the line’s “curator of comedy,” acting as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of both established and up-and-coming comedic talent.  
The Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez will offer five side-splitting 35-minute shows on multiple nights during each voyage, with at least two comedians performing each night. Two early-evening shows offer fun for the whole family while the later performances feature R-rated adults-only comedy.         
Lopez has recorded a number of fun, light-hearted greetings that will be shown on Carnival Miracle’s in-cabin televisions and played during introductions of comedy club performances. New employee uniforms and signage, each bearing the distinctive The Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez branding, have been created, as well.
 
Laughter, Pancakes and More Served at Punchliner Comedy Brunch
            For those who prefer a little merriment in the morning, there’s the new Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez, which debuts on the Carnival Miracle and offers up heaping servings of laughter along with a new twist on the traditional culinary feast. 
            Taking place on sea days in the main dining room, The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez is a free dining option that features five- to six-minute performances each hour by hilarious comedians who entertain guests as they enjoy a variety of delicious mid-morning favorites prepared by Carnival’s master chefs.
            Many items are inspired by Lopez’s Mexican heritage, including Carne y Huevos – filet mignon topped with two eggs and béarnaise sauce; Hen Alla Diavola, grilled chicken with lemon and pepper; and Mexican-style churros.  Two special “George’s Recipes” dishes created by the comedian himself – his own take on Huevos Rancheros that features a chicken quesadilla topped with fried eggs and manchego cheese, and a breakfast burrito filled with scrambled eggs, beans and chorizo – are also offered. 
            Appropriately enough, menu item descriptions have a comedic slant, as well, with playful interpretations of traditional brunch offerings that are listed under categories such as Opening Act with dishes that include Flamin’ Tomatoes Soup and Caesar Salad; Headliners featuring Funny French Toast, Pappardelle Pasta, and Mac & Cheese available with applewood smoked bacon, chicken or steak; and Punchline, a decadent dessert menu with caramelized cheesecake, banana crème pie and other confections.  A variety of custom-made omelettes, as well as standards like Eggs Benedict and sides, are also available.
            The menu features a Bloody Mary Bar offering several variations of the traditional brunch-time favorite. 
           
            Eight-Day Cruises Year-Round from the Big Apple
            Beginning April 12, 2012, Carnival Miracle kicks off its year-round schedule of eight-day Caribbean voyages from New York. Three distinctly different eight-day itineraries are offered: eastern Caribbean departures to San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk; Bahamas sailings featuring stops at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk and Nassau, and Bahamas/Florida cruises with port calls to Port Canaveral (Orlando), Nassau and Freeport. 
            Each of these itineraries offers beautiful beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, world-famous landmarks, historical sites and attractions, and myriad sightseeing and shore excursion opportunities, including snorkeling, scuba-diving, and water sports.
            Carnival Splendor will assume Carnival Miracle’s year-round eight-day schedule from New York in March 2013 when Carnival Miracle repositions to the West Coast to operate the line’s Alaska, Hawaii and Mexican Riviera programs. 

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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Luxury Operator Crystal Cruise Win "Crystal Award" For Innovative Boutique Design

Crystal Cruises Crystal Symphony
Crystal Cruises Crystal Symphony
Crystal Serenity’s $25 million redesign has not only received accolades from guests, travel agents and travel press since its debut last year, but from the design world as well.  The ship’s renovated Apropos boutique -- a retail space for designer clothing and accessories -- has won the prestigious Association for Retail Environments (A.R.E.) interior design “Crystal Award” for the shop’s distinctive and dramatic aluminum interlocking circle screen.  The design won the first-ever Wall Treatment Award in the new, Individual Element category for 2012.

“Due to marine requirements, we have more design restrictions than a space on land, so this is a huge honor for a cruise ship to have won,” says Alexandra Don, Crystal’s vice president hotel services and design.  “Awards like this simply validate what we and our guests already know: that our ships are the ultimate of chic, anywhere on the globe.”

Winners in other categories this year included such company as Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, REI, and Alexander Wang.

Designed by II BY IV Design Associates, the walls of highly polished, thick aluminum, interlocking circles serve as separators for flanking vignettes within the boutique.  The design was inspired by antique nautical instruments and globe stands, with the reflective piece complementing the high-gloss fascia, wood veneer, and glass-and-mirror wall treatments surrounding them.  All fixtures had to be securely bolted to fit marine building codes, yet maintain a graceful, slender appearance—a unique challenge for retail spaces at sea.

Crystal Serenity’s sister ship, Crystal Symphony, will be undergoing her own renovations this June, completing a five-year plan to redesign all of the ship’s public and private rooms.

Crystal Cruises’ ethos of warm and friendly attentiveness, proffered by top-trained service staff from around the world, has earned the line a reputation for elevating hospitality to an art form.  With no guest request left untended, Crystal Cruises has been the perfect choice for luxury travelers for over two decades, earning more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history. 

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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Friday, April 27, 2012

InnerSea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises Offers Glacier Bay Sailings

Wilderness Explorer InnerSeas Discovery Cruises
Wilderness Explorer InnerSeas Discovery Cruises
Holding more Glacier Bay National Park entry days than any other cruise line, un-cruise adventure operator InnerSea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises offer guests two or three days of in-depth exploration inside the Park throughout summer 2012.

Designated as a Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Glacier Bay is a wilderness sanctuary with tidewater glaciers, deep fjords, towering mountains and a variety of wildlife including whales, seals, sea lions, bears, mountain goats, sea birds, sea otters and moose.

From May through August, four yachts of American Safari Cruises offer luxury adventures sailing 57 weeklong Alaska cruises roundtrip Juneau with two days spent inside Glacier Bay: 12-guest Safari Spirit, 22-guest Safari Quest, 36-guest Safari Explorer, 86-guest Safari Endeavour (new in 2012). Longer 15-day cruises between Seattle and Juneau (and reverse) are offered in spring and fall and also include a two-day exploration inside the Park.

From June through August, the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer, an InnerSea Discoveries expedition vessel joining the fleet in spring 2012, sails 12 weeklong active adventure cruises between Juneau and Sitka, Alaska (and reverse). The itinerary includes three full days exploring inside Glacier Bay National Park including the lesser visited but equally spectacular East Arm with McBride Glacier and Muir Glacier. An innovative human-powered watercraft—a new amenity only aboard this vessel--may be taken out for low-impact, up-close exploration powered by two peddlers and up to six paddlers.

“We’ve been operating our yachts on extended explorations inside the Park for 15 years and many of our captains have even longer histories of experience there,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, principal and CEO. “This summer, a new human-powered watercraft aboard the Wilderness Explorer will allow guests to explore inlets inside the park that are closed to motorized traffic.”

Unlike most guests aboard cruise ships or tour boats, guests enjoying Alaska un-cruise adventures with InnerSea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises have the privilege of disembarking the boat to go hiking ashore, exploring via a small inflatable boat or kayaking—all accompanied by a National Park Ranger and shipboard expedition guides.

A Park Ranger boards each boat at the park entrance and stays on board for the full two or three days overnighting on the boat (except for the 12-guest Safari Spirit). The Ranger takes the lead on narration and interpretation of the park’s history, native culture of the Hoonah Tlingit, geology, flora and fauna.

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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Celebrity Cruises to Provide Olympic Broadcasts

Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Century
Celebrity Cruise Celebrity Century
It’s estimated that more than one-billion people will tune in for this year’s Olympic Games in the host city of London, and Celebrity Cruises has arranged the rare opportunity for guests sailing on its modern luxury fleet to be among them.

From the eagerly anticipated Opening Ceremony July 27 to the celebratory Closing Ceremony August 12, Celebrity will broadcast ‘live’ via satellite the swimming, diving, gymnastics, rowing, cycling, athletics, and basketball events, in addition to airing daily compilations of highlights from all 26 sports featured in the Games of the XXX Olympiad. On Celebrity ships sailing in North America, the events initially airing live also will be re-broadcast during more convenient times of day for guests to enjoy.
Whether sailing on Celebrity Constellation in Scandinavia and Russia; in Iceland and the Fjords on Celebrity Eclipse; in the Eastern Mediterranean on Celebrity Equinox; in the Adriatic on Celebrity Silhouette; in the Mediterranean from Venice on Celebrity Solstice; in Bermuda on Celebrity Summit; or in Alaska on Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Century, Celebrity’s guests can stay on top of every moment of the Games while vacationing.
                                                         
Celebrity’s guests will be able to view the Olympic Games within the comfort of their stylish staterooms and suites, or in several hip bars and lounges on every Celebrity ship (with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition, which sails year-round in the Galapagos Islands). The specific locations and event times will be listed within each Celebrity ship’s daily newsletter.

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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Holland America Outlines 2012/2013 South American Cruises

Holland America's Prinsendam
Holland America's Prinsendam
Guests looking for vibrant ports of call, historical adventures and an extreme range of climates can chart a southerly course to South America aboard three Holland America Line ships come fall 2012. ms Veendam, ms Maasdam and ms Prinsendam head to South America on a series of cruise expeditions featuring exceptional scenic cruising around the continent.
 
The popular itineraries range from 13 to 68 days and include a new 49-day extended, port-intensive Amazon and Carnival Voyage aboard Maasdam in early 2013.  A 23-day Amazon Explorer Cruise in November 2012 and a 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage in January 2013 aboard Prinsendam are additional highlights of the line’s 2012-13 South America cruise schedule.
 
“South America remains a guest favorite because it offers everything in one region – from exotic ports of call to well-known cities, and from the warmth of the Amazon to the snow-capped glaciers of Antarctica,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Holland America Line offers travelers an opportunity to explore the cultures and natural treasures of South America via an extraordinary premium cruise experience at an exceptional value.”
 
From November 2012 to March 2013, the 1,350-guest Veendam will sail a series of six 13-day and one 17-day itineraries between Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The sailings include multiple days cruising the scenic fjords of Chile, calls at exotic locations such as Ushuaia (the southernmost town in the world), sailing around Cape Horn and a visit to the Magellan Strait, gateway to Antarctica.
 
Cruise fares begin at $1,399 per person, double occupancy, for the 13-day sailings, and $1,699 for the 17-day voyages.
 
In addition to Veendam’s series of cruises, two non-repeating itineraries also are available throughout the season: a 14- or 18-day South America cruise departing Boston, Mass., or Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile, Oct. 20 and 24, 2012, respectively; and an 18- or 21-day South America cruise departing Valparaiso to Fort Lauderdale or Boston, April 13, 2013. These itineraries include a full transit of the Panama Canal in addition to extended port calls at Fuerte Amador (Panama City), Panama, and Callao (Lima), Peru.
 
Veendam also sails a 21-day South America and Antarctica Explorer Holiday cruise departing Rio de Janeiro to Valparaiso Dec. 20, 2012, and a 20-day South America and Antarctica Explorer cruise departing Valparaiso to Buenos Aires, Jan.10, 2013. A 21-day South America and Antarctica Explorer cruise returns from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso on Jan.30, 2013. All voyages include scenic cruising throughout the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula and an overnight call at Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires.
 
Cruise fares begin at $1,699 per person, double occupancy, for the 14- and 18-day sailings; $2,099 for the 18- and 21-day sailings departing Valparaiso; and $3,799 for the 20-day Antarctica sailing.
 
Explore the Amazon, Experience Carnival on Maasdam
Aboard Maasdam, guests will sail one unique 49-day Amazon and Carnival Explorer Voyage, conveniently sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 18, 2013.
 
Guests will spend 49 days exploring 25 ports throughout all three of the “ABC Islands” — Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao — Barbados, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago, crossing the equator twice during the voyage. A highlight of the voyage is Carnival, a festive four-day celebration often referred to as the world's largest party that happens Feb. 9 - 12.  Extended calls at seven ports  — Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curaçao; Buenos Aires, Callao (Lima), Fuerte Amador (Panama City), Manaus and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil allow extra time ashore to enjoy historical and local attractions.
 
Shorter segments of Maasdam’s Amazon and Carnival Explorer Voyage are available for guests with less time. The 23-day segment departs Fort Lauderdale for Rio de Janeiro Jan. 18, 2013, and a 26-day segment departs Rio de Janeiro for Fort Lauderdale Feb. 10, 2013 that includes cruising down the Amazon River and crossing the equator. The 26-day itinerary also includes a two-night call at Rio de Janeiro where guests can experience exciting Carnival.
 
Cruise fares begin at $7,999 per person, double occupancy, for the full 49-day Amazon and Carnival Explorer Voyage; $2,999 per person for the 23-day Amazon and Carnival Explorer Voyage and $5,199 for the 26-day segment.
 
Departing January 5, 2013, Prinsendam sails south once again on a 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. During the voyage, Prinsendam will circumnavigate the continent and spend seven full days cruising the Amazon River and four days of scenic cruising in Antarctica. Overnight calls include Callao, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Manaus. Shorter segments are available.
 
Cruise fares begin at $12,999 per person, double occupancy, for the 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage.
 
Shore Excursions, Overland Tours in South America
Holland America Line guests can experience some of the most iconic and world-famous South America attractions and destinations by taking an award-winning shore excursion or in-depth overland tour, many of which visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
 
A selection of the featured tours include:
              Iguazu Falls: Natural Wonder of the World — This unforgettable tour enables guests to see the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls, located at the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Guests will ride a train to Devil's Throat (a cliff at Iguazu Falls) and take a guided walk to view the falls. The spectacular display is made up of 250 giant cascades twice the height of Niagara Falls.
              Cuzco & Machu Picchu Overland Adventure — This fascinating excursion includes a sightseeing drive through colonial Cuzco to see the main square and cathedral, followed by a Vistadome train ride along the Urubamba River and a coach ride to Machu Picchu — the Lost City of the Incas — at an elevation of 7,874 feet. 
              Patagonian Experience: Otway Sound & Penguin Reserve — During this adventure, guests will take a motor coach ride across mostly unpaved roads and farms bordering Otway Bay for magnificent views of the Pinto Range. The tour also allows guests to get up close and personal with thousands of Magellan penguins near their caves and nesting areas.
              Drive to Tierra del Fuego National Park — Tierra del Fuego encompasses the city of Ushuaia, Cape Horn, the Magellan Strait and is a gateway to Antarctica. This national park was created to protect the southern portion of the sub-Antarctic forest. Today it provides visitors the opportunity to enjoy the Andes and the region’s forests, rivers, lakes and is home to a wide variety of birds. A short stop at Lapataia Bay, the southernmost place that can be reached by road, also is included in this tour.

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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog
 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 Adds More Hamburg Sailings in 2013.

Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 Adds More Hamburg Sailings in 2013.
Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 Adds More Hamburg Sailings in 2013.
Cunard Line is adding 65% more transatlantic cruises in 2013 which include Hamburg, Germany. These cruises will either leave New York or Hamburg, Germany and stop in Southampton England. The number of cruises departing or arriving from Hamburg in 2013 will increase to 10 from 6 in 2012.

The Queen Mary 2 will also sail a number of Round-Trip sailings from Hamburg to Northern Europe, including a 2 day cruise to Southampton England.

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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Monday, April 23, 2012

P&O 7 Ships in Southampton on July 3rd.

PO Cruise Ventura
P&O Cruises Ventura - One of the many ships partaking in the Grand Event.
P&O Cruises can trace its roots back to 1837 and this year is celebrating 175 years of heritage. The Grand Event on Tuesday July 3 is part of these celebrations, with all seven ships in Southampton for the first time. Thousands of people are expected to line the shore to witness this historical occasion, joining the 14,000 passengers and 6000 crew on board the seven ships.

A map showing all the best vantage points and times to witness The Grand Event sailaway has been released. Starting with the sailaway from Southampton, the map charts the progress of the seven ships out into the Solent, meaning that onlookers and well-wishers can secure themselves a good spot to observe the historical event.

P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow, said: “This day is one of the most significant days in our history, as all our seven ships gather in their home port on the same day for the first time ever. As we look forward to exciting plans for our next new ship in 2015, it is fitting to be celebrating our past as it has helped us become known as Britain’s trusted cruise experts.”

As each ship departs on its own Grand Event cruise, passengers on board will enjoy a special deck party to see them off in style. The ships will then form a procession as they leave Southampton and head down the Solent. Where the channel widens, the ships will move into a formation to be photographed from the air before they sail onwards to their various destinations.

Departing on July 3, 2012, all seven cruises will be heritage themed with special on board entertainment including a 175th Anniversary Gala dinner, heritage display, guest speakers and more.  There will also be a prize draw on each cruise for one couple on each ship to win a full world cruise of their choice in 2013.

Limited availability remains on the following Grand Event cruises:


     A 17-night Central Mediterranean cruise on Ventura (N216) priced from £1,999 pp. Calling in Malaga, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice, Split, Palma, Lisbon and Vigo.
     A 17-night Baltic cruise on Aurora (R208) priced from £1,995 pp. Calling in Gothenburg, Copenhagen (two full days), Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg (two full days), Tallinn, Riga, Oslo and Hamburg (overnight and full day).
     A 21-night Central Mediterranean cruise on Adonia (D208) priced from £2,673 pp. Calling in La Coruna, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Venice (full day and evening), Koper, Durres, Corfu, Tunis (from La Goulette), Malaga and Huelva.
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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Luxury Operator SeaDream Offer Spa Treatment Brochure

SeaDream’s Spa presents a contemporary new brochure featuring a highly enhanced, extensive list of treatment options and products from the best names in beauty.
The specialized array of treatments by La Prairie® of Switzerland include a 90 minute “La Prairie Caviar Firming Facial”. Extravagant and powerful, caviar extract is a blend of intensive moisturizers and unique sea proteins which firms and pampers your skin, leaving you glowing. Alongside the selection of La Prairie® treatments and products, the Spa also features treatments by Thalgo®. The laboratories at Thalgo® have unique expertise in harnessing the effectiveness of marine algae. “Ocean Memory”, is a popular 120 minute combo - full body exfoliation, full body massage and full body algae mousse application.
In keeping with the Spa’s Thai philosophy, HARNN® has been added to SeaDream’s Spa line up for its traditional Asian treatments and use of natural, active ingredients for hair, skin & body. On the yacht, sun and salt air is no match for MOROCCANOIL®, the originator of professional Argan Oil hair products. Treat your tresses to a relaxing poolside, hydrating hair mask. The manicure and pedicure options are plentiful too. Indulge in a long lasting nail Shellac from ESSIE®, the Spa’s nail product of choice. Salon services include eyelash tinting, waxing, haircuts and hair coloring by Wella®.
Once you enter SeaDream’s Spa you are well on your way to a state of relaxed bliss. The Spa is Thai certified and the only one of its kind at sea. Each yacht features (8) therapists to ensure that all your spa needs are being indulged. Don’t let the petite size of the Thai ladies fool you, their stature belies their strength.
With all ocean view treatment rooms, the Spa is a relaxing environment to let the tensions of everyday life drift away. SeaDream’s Spa combines the essence of Asian wellness philosophies with traditional European spa. After your treatments, you need only dazedly walk a short distance back to the comfort of your stateroom. There you may continue your relaxed state of well-being, reclining in your plush SeaDream robe, settling into your soft Belgium linenslistening to the soothing ocean waves outside your window.
Itineraries include the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Amazon
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Nick's Cruise Corner Blog

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Voyages of Discovery Offer South America Cruise Discounts on New Voyager

Voyages of Discovery is gearing up for new ship Voyager’s inaugural season to South America this Winter with the introduction of incredible offers that include up to 9 category upgrades on 13-to-20 day itineraries with fares that start from only $100 per day. A collection of 43-to-126 day GRAND VOYAGES include FREE AIR from select air gateway cities PLUS up to $1,250 onboard credit per stateroom. The limited time promotion starts April 17 and runs through May 31, 2012.

Voyager will become the second ship in the Voyages of Discovery fleet beginning Dec. 4th, joining the 650-guest Discovery, which will be undergoing extensive refurbishment prior to returning to service in March 2013. Voyager will feature 278 staterooms, of which 86 percent are outside accommodations, and 35 suites – 30 with outside balconies.

From a comprehensive Caribbean, Central and South American program that includes a memorable way to mark the holidays, a 95-day circumnavigation of the South American continent and cruising the Amazon River, the 550-guest Voyager will visit many destinations that larger ships cannot easily access.

Voyager will offer the line’s signature elements of distinctive itineraries that blend world-class sites with smaller “hidden gems” and longer port stays. Fares include a distinguished guest speaker program, enrichment workshops, all meals including cocktail parties and gala dinners, entertainment, and service fees for onboard bar and spa purchases.

The South America Sale features category upgrades for most stateroom categories or up to an $800 onboard credit per cabin for Suite and Inside Superior categories on 13-to-20 day cruises in the South American region. GRAND VOYAGES between 43 and 126 days receive a combination of up to $1,250 onboard credit per cabin and FREE AIR from select air gateway cities. Offers vary depending on the itinerary and stateroom category booked, and apply to the below collection of Voyager’s inaugural cruises that can be easily combined to create a longer grand voyage. Fares are per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability:
  • Voyage to the Caribbean: (maiden voyage Dec 4, 2012) 17-day cruise from London to Barbados, with calls in Spain, Madeira, St. Kitts, Antigua and Martinique from $1,699, just $100 per day!
  • Caribbean Gems: (Dec 20, 2012) Celebrate the holidays and ring in 2013 on a 16-day cruise featuring a potpourri of idyllic islands, including Barbados, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Grenada, Tobago, Margarita Island, Bonaire Island, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Fares from $2,399, only $150 per day!
  • A Tapestry of Central America: (Jan 4, 2013) Transit the Panama Canal and visit Mayan Ruins and the rainforests of Belize and Honduras on this 19-day sailing from Montego Bay to Manta with fares starting from $2,999.
  • South America’s Pacific Shore: (Jan 22, 2013) Explore the Pacific Shore on this 16-day cruise that includes overnights in Manta, Callao and Valparaiso as well as the Galapagos Islands and the Atacama Desert landscapes. Fares from $1,899, just $120 per day!
  • Natural Wonders of Latin America: (Feb 6, 2013) Experience the Chilean fjords, the wildlife on Peninsula Valdes, the glacial landscapes of South America and the thriving cities of Santiago and Buenos Aires on a 20-day sailing from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. Fares from $2,899, only $145 per day.
  • South America’s Discovery Coast: (Feb 25, 2013) This 16-day cruise from Buenos Aires to Recife includes calls in Montevideo, Santos, Ilhabela, Paraty, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador de Bahia with fares starting from $2,599.
  • A Portrait of the Amazon: (Mar 12, 2013) Discover the Amazon region on a 13-day cruise from Recife to Manaus that offers the charm of Recife and Solina, beautiful desert scenery, magnificent rainforests and a cruise on the Amazon, South America’s longest river. Fares from $1,699, just $130 per day!
  • Amazonian & Caribbean Explorer: (Mar 24, 2013) Combine a memorable cruise on the Amazon and exploration of South American locales in Brazil and Venezuela with the distinctive Caribbean experience in Aruba and Jamaica on this 16-day sailing with fares from $2,799.
  • Grand Latin America Discovery: (Jan 4, 2013) This ultimate 95-day circumnavigation of South America combines 6 itineraries for a memorable combination of cultures and landscapes, including the Chilean fjords, the Galapagos Islands, cruising the Amazon River, the unspoiled Falkland Islands and the bustling cities of Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Santiago. This cruise is selling quickly with fares in remaining stateroom categories starting from $17,899 (ocean view).
Guests can select from memorable overland tours that can be added to their cruise to expand their exploration of these incredible regions, such as visits to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Norwegian Getaway to Sail From Miami Year-Round Starting Spring 2014

PortMiami and Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Cruise Line’s new state-of-the-art 4,000 passenger ship, Norwegian Getaway, will make Miami her year-round home port. Norwegian Getaway - which will be the largest ship ever to home port year-round in Miami - will embark on weekly cruises beginning in the spring of 2014. Miami-Dade County officials joined Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan today at PortMiami on board Norwegian Spirit for this announcement.

“PortMiami is pleased to be the home of the most modern and innovative ships on the seas today. Norwegian Getaway will be a great addition to our fleet,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “We are anxious to welcome Norwegian Getaway to the Cruise Capital of the World.”


Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise brand to sail from Miami.


“Miami has been the home of this Company since our beginning in 1966. Therefore, we are so excited to bring one of our two new Breakaway-class ships here to Miami to homeport year-round,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan. “Norwegian Getaway will embrace all that the Magic City has to offer and will offer an extraordinary cruise experience to the more than 4,000 guests who will sail on her each week beginning in spring 2014.”

PortMiami Director Bill Johnson said, “Norwegian vessels will generate more than one million passenger moves annually through the Port once Norwegian Getaway arrives, contributing an estimated $500,000,000 each year to Florida's economy. Norwegian Getaway alone is expected to generate 450,000 passenger moves each year.

Norwegian Cruise Line has been sailing its ships from PortMiami longer than any other cruise brand, since the company’s origins in 1966. Norwegian currently has three ships sailing seasonally from Miami, including Norwegian Epic, the line’s largest vessel carrying more than 4,100 guests. Norwegian Sky has been sailing three and four-day itineraries to the Bahamas year-round from Miami since 2007.

Being built at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Getaway will be 144,000 gross tons and is scheduled for delivery in spring 2014. Norwegian will announce the ship’s inaugural itineraries and on-sale dates later this year. Norwegian Getaway’s sister ship, Norwegian Breakaway, will begin sailing from her year-round home port of New York City in May 2013.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NCL Offers Free Shore Excursions For Kids - Reduced Rates for Teens.

Just in time for summer vacation planning, Norwegian Cruise Line (“Norwegian”) is launching an exciting offer for families who book a 2012 cruise from today through May 13, 2012. With the “Little Norwegian’s Explore For Free” offer, children 12 years and younger will receive complimentary Norwegian-sponsored shore excursions* and teens (13 to 17 years old) will receive half-off shore excursions* when in the same stateroom with a paying adult on the same excursion. This applies to all 2012 sailings fleet-wide for all ports of call. Families can whale watch in Alaska; explore ancient cities in Europe; or have fun in the sun on a snorkel excursion in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda or Hawai’i.

In conjunction with this exciting offer, Norwegian has partnered with popular kid’s clothing retailer, The Children’s Place, on “A Place in the Sun Sweepstakes,” where participants can enter online at www.childrensplace.com or in retail stores to win a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean or Bermuda for a family of four. In addition, those who qualify for the complimentary shore excursion promotion will receive an e-coupon for 20% off a purchase of $50 or more at The Children’s Place (valid in the U.S. and Canada).

Norwegian’s array of Freestyle Cruising options gives families the flexibility to experience the vacation they’ve always wanted including family-friendly accommodations and a variety of entertainment and dining options. Guests of all ages can enjoy Nickelodeon activities and shows on board Norwegian Jewel’s sailings to Alaska from Seattle; Norwegian Epic’s voyages to the Western Mediterranean from Barcelona or to the Caribbean from Miami; and Norwegian Gem’s sailings from New York to the Bahamas & Florida or the Caribbean.

The line recently announced enhancements to its youth and teen programs, Splash Academy and Entourage. Both Splash Academy and Entourage will feature a different theme every day. Whether it’s ocean-related, pirates, space cowboys, jungle fever or circus, every day will offer a new surprise that is tailored to the individual age groups - Guppies for ages up to 2; Turtles for ages 3 to 5; Seals for ages 6 to 9; and Dolphins for ages 10 to 12. The enhanced curriculum focuses on team building and assisting in developing children’s interpersonal and confidence-building skills. With activities that are tailored specifically to each age group, the new youth and teen programs focus on creative and unique activities, along with more sporting events, through a partnership with King’s Foundation and Camps. A highlight of the program is a circus school in partnership with Hilario Productions’ Cirque du Jour, a New York-based company that specializes in teaching children real circus skills. Splash Academy also offers activities for cruisers under three and their parents who can enjoy sensory play classes which include baby art featuring “Wee Can Too” organic art products.

All shore excursions for adults and children related to this offer must be pre-booked prior to sailing. Guests can reserve shore excursions using their MyNCL account (www.ncl.com/myncl) for each member of the family online once a new reservation is made. The children and teen rates will automatically be deducted in the shopping cart upon checkout.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

NCL Offers AARP Discount

For a limited time, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering additional cruise savings for American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) members. For those who book a cruise now through May 14, 2012, AARP members can take advantage of up to 10 percent off cruise fares on select sailings and destinations.

For AARP members, it’s the perfect time to explore the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea with Europe’s leading cruise line on board one of four Norwegian ships. Beginning April 28, 2012, Norwegian Spirit will spend her inaugural European season sailing 12-day Grand Mediterranean tours from Barcelona, Spain and Venice, Italy. Norwegian Jade is sailing in Europe year-round with cruises to the Greek Isles from Venice and the Adriatic, Greece and Turkey also from Venice, along with the Mediterranean and Holy Land from Rome (Civitavecchia). On April 29, 2012, Norwegian Epic returns to Barcelona, Spain for her second season of seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises. On May 4, 2012, Norwegian Sun arrives in Copenhagen, Denmark for a summer of Baltic Capitals sailings. For those that want to experience the breathtaking beauty and wilderness of Alaska, Norwegian has two options: Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl, the youngest ships sailing in Alaskan waters. Cruisers can also choose from a range of destinations including Bahamas & Florida; Bermuda; the Caribbean; Hawaii and Repositioning cruises, as well as Transatlantic crossings.

For more details on the AARP cruise benefit, visit http://www2.ncl.com/freestyle-cruise/aarp10

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

100th Anniversary of White Star Line's Titanic Disaster

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic striking an iceberg.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic occurred on the night of April 14/15 1912 in the north Atlantic at coordinates 41°43'57"N, 49°56'49"W.

Only four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, The Titanic was the largest passenger liner in service at the time. Measuring 46,328 tons, 882.5 feet long and 92 feet wide.

Titanic had 2,223 people on board when she struck an iceberg at 23:40 (ship's time) on Sunday 14 April 1912. She sank two hours and forty minutes later at 02:20 AM (5:20 AM GMT) on Monday April 15th, causing the deaths of 1,514 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

The sinking of the Titanic fostered a number of maritime reforms and regulations which included having enough lifeboats and life vests for all passengers and new wireless operator rules providing 7 X 24 coverage.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Cunard Queen Mary 2 Comparisons and Interesting Facts


With the start of the 2012 Cunard Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic season scheduled to start in May 2012, Cunard is drumming up hype around the 2012 season.

Cunard Line released this interesting fact sheet on the Queen Mary 2 specifically focused on Transatlantic Voyages.


Click on the photo to see and enlarged (and readable) version.


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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Viking River Cruises Newbuilds Open For Bidding.

STX France has been informed by Viking River Cruise that they have decided to withdraw from further discussions concerning the previously announced project for two luxury cruise vessels announced on 21 December 2011.


People close to the deal state that STX was not able to successfully negotiate mutually agreeable financing for the deal. It is rumored that Italy's Fincantieri (whose order books are light) and Germany's Meyer Werft are interested in bidding for the construction of the two ships.



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