Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cunard Announces 2010-2011 Cruises

Queen Mary 2 Offers Expanded Transatlantic Crossings and Europe Voyages

Queen Victoria Spends Winter 2011 on US West Coast Calling on LosAngeles, Panama and Hawaii

31 March 2009 – Building on the exciting announcement of Cunard Line’s inaugural season for Queen Elizabeth, Cunard is pleased to announce the newly published Europe, Transatlantics and Americas 2010-2011 programme for Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. 2010 will herald another important milestone for Cunard: not only will three Queens once again sail under the line’s banner, they will also comprise the youngest, most modern luxury fleet in the world. In addition, the expansion of the Cunard fleet in 2010 allows the company to offer a wider range of worldwide itineraries with Queen Elizabeth’s maiden season and the voyages of Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria which are available for sale on 17 April 2009.

Guests will experience a new Golden Age of Ocean Travel in contemporary surroundings while being offered the classic traditions and legendary White Star Service for which Cunard is renowned. All of this, together with one of the most generous Groups Programmes in the industry means there has never been a better time to experience Cunard and “the most famous ocean liners in the World”.

As one of the youngest fleets in the industry, these award-winning vessels will take Cunard’s 170 years of history, heritage, impeccable service and tradition far into the 21st Century – a legacy recognized by Cunard guests, with up to 97% saying they will recommend Cunard to a friend and 98% saying they will return.

Cunard President Carol Marlow said, “2010 will see Cunard again operating three Queens as Queen Elizabeth joins her sister ship Queen Victoria and our flagship, Queen Mary 2. While Queen Elizabeth sails her maiden season, Queen Mary 2 will, for the first time, offer the choice of six-day Transatlantic Crossings as well as seven-night eastbound Transatlantic Crossings, while Queen Victoria will offer a mixture of voyages originating from both the UK and Mediterranean before she sails her first Americas season for winter / spring 2011.”

Queen Mary 2
The grandest ocean liner in the world, Queen Mary 2, will continue her reign on the Atlantic in 2010 with 24 Transatlantic Crossings including an extra day on Eastbound Transatlantic voyages between New York and Southampton. Now guests will have the choice of 6-, 7-, 8- or 9-day Crossings between New York and Southampton, Cherbourg or Hamburg providing them more time to experience the multitude of onboard activities such as enjoying a lecture through the Cunard Insights programme, checking out one of the 8,000 volumes in the Library, nightly dancing to an orchestra in the Queens Room, viewing all of the cosmic journey offerings in the only planetarium at sea and honing their dramatic arts skills in a RADA workshop, to name a few.

There will also be more “Grand” voyages roundtrip from New York whereby guests can combine two Transatlantic Crossings with a Mediterranean, Northern Europe and for the first time, a short Getaway voyage in Europe. In the summer of 2010, Queen Mary 2 will also offer five voyages to Northern Europe from Southampton and Hamburg including maiden calls to the North Cape and Tromso in Norway. After her short Getaway for the July 4th Holiday, she returns to New York in fall 2010 for a season of voyages in the Americas including two explorations of Canada & New England and five Caribbean voyages departing roundtrip from New York.

Fares for the following itineraries start from:

Transatlantic Crossings $1,295 (6 days)

“Grand” Voyages (roundtrip from NY) $3,585 (17 days)

Northern Europe $1,895 (7 days)

Fourth of July Getaway voyage $1,295 (5 days)

Canada/New England $1,395 (7 days)

Caribbean $1,695 (10 days)

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria begins her 2010 season in Southampton for a series of voyages to Iberia, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean in addition to her first sailing around the British Isles. After repositioning to Venice, she will begin a series of “open jaw” sailings between this jewel of the Adriatic and Rome or Barcelona. Many of these sailings will feature overnight stays in popular destinations like Venice, Istanbul and Barcelona.

The ship then returns to Southampton and across the Atlantic to start a new Americas season in 2011. Queen Victoria’s American journey begins with a 17-day voyage from New York to Los Angeles through the magnificent Panama Canal. From the City of Angels, she will embark on two 14-day voyages to Hawaii, including a maiden call at Nawiliwili (Kauai), and her first west coast 4-day Getaway voyage to Mexico. After another full transit of the Canal from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale,Queen Victoria will offer an 11-day Panama Canal voyage roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale before heading back across the Atlantic on a 16-day voyage that will take in the US east coast, Lisbon and Dublin.

Fares for the following itineraries start from:

Mediterranean $1,195 (7 days)

Northern Europe $1,895 (7 days)

Atlantic Isles & Canary Islands $1,295 (7days)

Hawaii $2,495 (14 days)

Panama Canal $1,995 (11 days)

Mexico Getaway voyage $995 (4 days)

All referenced fares are per person, based on double occupancy.

Reservations for Cunard’s 2010 and 2011 itineraries will be open for booking on April 17. For more information, please contact your travel professional.

Fred Olsen to Retire Black Prince.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced it will retire its vessel Black Prince in October 2009. The 441 passenger ship, which was built for the company by Flender Werft in Lubeck in 1966, will operate a series of four Farewell Cruises starting on 9th September from Liverpool, and ending on 16th October in Southampton.When Black Prince entered service for Fred. Olsen Ltd on 19th October, 1966, it was in the role of a joint passenger/freight ferry operating between the UK and the Canary islands in the winter, and the UK and Norway in the summer.

The ship was converted to a full-time cruise ship in 1987 and from February that year became a key player in the cruising market in the UK.Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines managing director Mike Rodwell said: “This is a very sad announcement for the company to make as Black Prince is one of the best loved ships that caters to the UK market, and many passengers have cruised on her so often that even they have lost track of the number of holidays they have taken. We know that there will be thousands of passengers who have sailed on her who will be very sad on that final day.”Black Prince’s Farewell Season will begin on 9th September 2009 with a ten night Around the UK cruise from Liverpool, then a three night mini cruise from Liverpool to Southampton.
The season continues with a 10 night Historic Home Ports cruise from Southampton back to Southampton; followed by her final cruise of 14 nights to the Canary Islands.
The ship returns to Southampton on Friday 16th October, 2009.Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines currently operates a fleet of five ships mostly from UK ports on worldwide itineraries.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Norwegian Majesty to Join Louis Fleet In December

In December the Norwegian Majesty will be transferred to Louis Cruise Lines (LCL). Louis Cruise Lines completed the deal to buy the 731cabin Norwegian Majesty from Star Cruises last year, at a price of $162 Million dollars. This transacation makies Louis the fifth biggest cruise company in the world.

LCL has leased the Norwegian Majesty back to Star Cruises until December 2009. The newly purchased ship is a replacement for the lower-capacity Princesa Marissa and Serenade that the company sold for scrap in early 2008.
The 41,000-ton Norwegian Majesty was built in Finland in 1992 and underwent a major refurbishment in 1999 at a cost of $53 Million dollars. She can accommodate 1,937 passengers in 731 cabins and suites, 481 of which have outside views.
The ship has nine decks, five restaurants, six elevators, three pools, a spa, Fitness, health and beauty center, multiple show lounges, casino, bars and other public rooms.
No details have been released about the deployment plans for the ship, but once she joins the Louis fleet, she is expected to operate in the Med.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

UPDATES Regal Empress and Seven Seas Voyager

Here is an update to some of our previous articles.

Regal Empress - As per our earlier posts, the Regal Empress, which was withdrawn from cruising for Imperial Majesty Cruise Line, earlier this month, has been sold for scrap. The ship was sold for just over $3.073 Million dollars. She proceeded to the Bahamas, where she will be offloaded of miscellaneous items and prepared for the final voyage to India. She is anticipated to depart Freeport in the Bahamas on March 28th.

The Seven Seas Voyager, which had her propellers entangled in fishing nets, will need to be dry docked to have her pods serviced. The ship, which is on her world cruise, skipped calls at Mumbai and Abu Dhabi, after the inspection in Cochin, India uncovered the extent of the damage. Once arriving in Dubai, the ship will be dry docked and the pods repaired. Regent Cruises is hopeful the ship will be able to resume the next leg of her cruise as scheduled on April 1st.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Costa Cruises Celebrates 50 Years of Cruising from Florida

When the Costa Fortuna sailed into Port Everglades on December 21, 2008, she celebrated Costa’s 50th Caribbean cruise season from South Florida. In 1959, Costa Cruises became the first cruise line to offer regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from Port Everglades with the elegant Franca C, setting the stage for the modern day cruise vacation that so many travelers from South Florida enjoy today.

“We’re proud to bring a little bit of Italy to South Florida each year with our seasonal departures from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean and value the loyal clientele we’ve established in this market over the years,” said Maurice Zarmati, president and ceo of Costa Cruise Lines—North America. “Our modern, state-of-the-art ships may differ from the smaller vessels that set sail in these waters 50 years ago, but one thing remains the same – our warm, authentic and genuine Italian hospitality and flair that keeps guests sailing with us year after year.
”The convivial atmosphere onboard back in 1959 aboard the Franca C was marked by Italians and Americans mixing and mingling against a glamorous tropical backdrop. The 552 berth ship featured sleek, elegant interiors designed by Nino Zoncada and accommodations, all in one class, featured bathrooms and air conditioning, heralding a new era of pleasure cruises. Guests sipped cocktails and played cards on the lido deck, creating the indelible impressions of cruising’s heyday that would eventually become a more accessible luxury for guests to enjoy.
Today, Costa Cruises is still bringing its signature style of “love, laughter and la dolce vita” to guests departing on cruises from South Florida.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mona Lisa Chartered by Germany's Lloyd Nelson

After completing her winter/Spring season for Peaceboat.org, the Mona Lisa has again found Summer employment with Germany's Lord Nelson Seereisen.

The Mona Lisa (formerly the Kungsholm of Swedish America Line, Sea Princess of Princess Cruises, Victoria of P&O Cruises and Oceanic II for Pullmantur) also operated as Mona Lisa for the short lived educational cruises at sea called the ScholarShip.
Under summer charter for Lloyd Nelson, the ship will sail North Cape, Spitzenberg Iceland, and Norwegian Fjord Cruises, The charter starts June 1st and runs through the first week in September.
The Mona Lisa is a classic cruise liner and when originally built, was an upscale liner for passengers traveling on longer cruises from New York to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South America and Asia.
The Mona Lisa is an intimate size ship weighing 28,891 tons, 660 feet long and 87 feet wide. She carries 782 passengers and a crew of 417.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mano Marine Buys MSC Cruises MSC Rhapsody

Mano Marine has purchased MSC Cruises' MSC Rhapsody and will be renaming her "Golden Iris".

The "Golden Iris" entered service in 1977 as the Cunard Princess for Cunard Line. Built by Burmeister & Wein, she sailed for Cunard until 1995. This modest size ship, weighs 17,095 tons, measures 541 feet long, carries 812 passengers and has a crew of 370.
Since 1995 she has been operated by MSC cruises as the MSC Rhapsody. After completing her winter series of cruise from Durban, South Africa, the MSC Rhapsody will arrive in Genoa on March 25, 2009. Shortly thereafter, she will be handed over to Mano Marine and undergo a refit before entering serice from Haifa, Israel on May 31, 2009.
Mano Cruise Currently operates the Iris (formerly the Konstantin Simonov / Francesca) and Royal Iris ( formerly Eagle / Eloise / Azur /The Azur).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Herbridean International Cruises Announces Sale of Vessel

Hebridean International Cruises have announced that they have sold the larger of their two vessels, the 98 berth Hebridean Spirit. The vessel will be withdrawn ahead of the Summer 2009 season.

Announcing the sale, Managing Director Mike Deegan said “We have made the decision to withdraw from international operations to concentrate on our core product, which is the operation of Hebridean Princess in Scotland”. He added “For some time now we have experienced rising costs of operating Hebridean Spirit in international waters due in part to the deterioration in the £ Sterling against the US Dollar and Euro and we can not continue to absorb these increases, especially when the vessel has been operating in a very aggressive market where heavy discounting is the norm”.

The line is in course of contacting all customers booked on future programmes of the vessel to offer a full refund or a transfer to a cruise aboard Hebridean Princess, the operation of which is not affected. They have also announced a number of redundancies will result from this move,both at Head Office in North Yorkshire and amongst its sea staff.

Mr Deegan added “Clearly we have not taken this decision lightly. I am very aware that the cancellation of an eagerly anticipated holiday is very upsetting and we shall work with all affected customers. That we shall also be losing some good staff, some of whom have seen many years of service with us, is equally upsetting for us”.

Hebridean Spirit was introduced in 2001 and has provided 5 star luxury afloat whilst operating in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and South America. Sister vessel Hebridean Princess, which was chartered by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for a family holiday in 2006,will continue to offer 5 star holidays throughout the Western Isles of Scotland and is in her 21st season of operation for the Company.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Regent's Seven Seas Voyager Caught in Fishing Nets.

Regent Cruise today announced that the Seven Seas Voyager, is sailing at reduced speed after having her pod propulsion system damaged by fishing lines/nets.

Shortly after leaving Singapore last week, a large amount of fishing net and wire were tangled in the ship's propeller, preventing it from spinning and causing the engine to shut down.

Upon arriving in Phuket, divers removed much of the tangled lines, but this did not remedy the situation. The ship is currently on it's way to Cochin where she will be met by engineers from the pod manufacturer to determine the extent of the necessary repairs.

At this point, it is unclear, if the ship will be able to operate the balance of her world cruise on the published schedule. More will be learned after the inspection.

Regent Cruises remain optimistic the ship will be able to continue her published itinerary. The Seven Seas Voyager is midway through her 115-day world cruise which began in California on January 12th.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Celebrity Cruise Offers Discounts on the New Celebrity Equinox and Solstice

March 23, 2009 – Celebrity Cruises just made its already-enticing Europe cruises that much more irresistible. Beginning today, Celebrity Solstice, the most widely heralded ship to enter the market in 2008, and eagerly anticipated sister ship, Celebrity Equinox, present unprecedented pricing for European vacations on the dynamic duo, along with a special, limited offer: Guests who book any Celebrity Solstice or Celebrity Equinox 2009 Europe cruise between March 23 and April 1, 2009, will receive a discount coupon for up to $500 toward a Celebrity vacation in 2010.

“There has never been a better time to enjoy a European vacation, and no better ships on which to experience it than Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox,” said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “When you consider all that these ships have to offer – from the stunningly beautiful hotel environment to the spectacular service to the extraordinary cuisine – then try to match that combination on land, the value of what we’re offering is abundantly clear.” With 10 extraordinary dining venues; a half-acre Lawn Club with real, growing grass; live glassblowing shows; hip nightclubs; distinctive entertainment, and an overall style and design that countless press have described as “dazzling,” “breathtaking” and “stunning,” Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox offer enough that guests could be tempted to never get off the ship. But on the line’s itineraries featuring some of the most attractive, culturally rich destinations in Europe, they probably will. Among the incredible destinations are Santorini, Mykonos and Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Istanbul and Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; and Naples/Capri, Italy, on Celebrity Solstice’s 10- and 11-night Eastern Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia), from May 4 through November 20, 2009. Fares start at $1,249 per person.
Celebrity Equinox, one of the newest ships to sail in Europe, meets “Ancient Empires” on 13-night voyages from August 18 through October 23, 2009, roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia), with visits to Naples/Capri; Athens (Piraeus) and Rhodes, Greece; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Haifa and Ashdod, Israel, and Alexandria, Egypt. Fares begin at $2,099 per person.
Celebrity Equinox also will present a 10-night “Best of Europe” itinerary departing from Southampton, England, August 8, 2009, with visits to Paris (Le Havre) and Cherbourg, France; Barcelona, Cartagena and Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Gibraltar, U.K.; and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, with fares beginning at $2,399 per person.
Celebrity will provide a discount coupon for each stateroom reservation made during the eligible booking window good toward any 2010 Celebrity vacation of seven nights or more in length, with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition cruises and holiday sailings.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review of Holland America's New Eurodam.

On our sister site http://www.nycruiseinfo.com/, we have just uploaded a review of Holland America's (HAL) new Eurodam.

The latest ship of HAL Vista-Class offers all of the Signature of Excellence features including fine linens, private retreats and other exclusive amenities.
To read more about the Eurodam please visit http://www.nycruiseinfo.com/ and click on ship reviews.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Luxury Cruise Ship - Sea Dream I - Gets Admiral Suite

When SeaDream I---one of two, luxurious, twin mega yacht cruisers--- returns from her scheduled dry docking in Lisbon in June this year she will exhibit a sparkle matched only by a high profile movie star.

But in addition, the rakish SeaDream Yacht Club craft will also boast a new and additional passenger accommodation---The Admiral Suite---a sumptuous 375- square foot seagoing hideaway. Her sister yacht, SeaDream II, got those loving touches---and an Admiral Suite--- late last year.

With the addition of the two Admiral Suites, SeaDream I and II, now feature 56 accommodations including Yacht Club Staterooms at 195-square feet (some of which convert to double Yacht Club Staterooms called Commodore Suites of 390- square feet) and an elegant Owner’s Suite of 450-square feet.

At maximum, the SeaDream twins will now accommodate 112 guests in their 56 accommodations.

In addition to creating the new Admiral Suites on SeaDream I and II (occupying space that was a boutique now found elsewhere aboard) the dry docking consisted of technical work--- behind the scenes upkeep--- as well as cleaning and repairing of various public spaces.

The new Admiral Suite features a separate living-dining area, master bedroom and one-and-a-half bathrooms. The open plan living-dining area is perfect for in-suite entertaining of fellow guests. A dining table seats four. There is an entertainment center with wall-mounted flat screen TV, refreshment center and a writing desk. With the adjacent half bathroom, entertaining is easy in the stylish room.

The separate master bedroom features a queen-sized bed with an adjustable flat screen TV and a master bathroom with marble walls and floor, multi-jet shower massage, tub and vanity area. Bathed in light, the suite features three panorama windows looking out to sea.

The Admiral Suite features blond woodwork and neutral tone upholstery, curtains and other coverings.

Following her dry docking SeaDream I’s first voyage with her new Admiral Suite will be a seven day voyage, June 6, from Malaga to Nice. Ports of call are: Cartagena, Formentina, Ibiza, Mahon (Menorca), St. Tropez (where SeaDream I will overnight to take advantage of the resort’s nightlife) and Monte Carlo for another overnight stop before disembarkation in Nice.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Princess Offers Discounts on 2009 Cruises.

Princess Cruises has unveiled discounts on 2009 Cruises.

Among the discounts are 7-day Alaska Cruises in May and September. The Voyage of the Glaciers cruises, sail between Vancouver and Whittier. Prices start as $397 for an interior stateroom.
15 - 33 day transatlantic sailings start at $995 on either the Grand Princess, Emerald Princess, Crown Princess or Ruby Princess. These sailing depart in April and November.
In addition, Princess is offering additional discounts in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, all averaging less than $100 per day for an inside cabin. Some discounts are available in the peak months of July and August.
For more information check with Princess Cruises.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Celebrity Solstice Uses Solar Energy

The Celebrity Solstice is the first ship to utilize solar power for a portion of it's on board electrical use.

The solar panels appear as white panels, located just above the bridge of the ship and air-conditioning unit. The panels will convert the sun's energy into about 240 Kilowatt hours per day. The power produced will sustain the electrical needs of 3 normal size homes for a day.

Although the energy produced is not significant compared when compared to the overall demand, it does serve as a prototype for future applications and lead the way for solar energy use aboard other ships.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Queen Elizabeth Details Revealed

Photo: Garden Lounge Queen Elizabeth - Copyright

17 March 2009 – Today, Cunard Line revealed itinerary and design plans for its newest ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth, which is scheduled to enter service on 12 October 2010, giving one of the oldest names in shipping the strength of operating the youngest fleet in the industry. Queen Elizabeth will be the third new ocean liner to be introduced by Cunard in six years and the second largest Cunard ship ever built.

Queen Elizabeth will feature the unique Cunard traditions linking her with her sisters Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, and their predecessors. She will also debut some exciting features that will give the vessel her own style and personality, plus all the modern day luxuries Cunard’s guests have come to expect.

Likewise, Cunard’s renowned White Star Service will be ever-present, ensuring that travellers who seek a return to tradition will enjoy proper, authentic experiences that reflect the line’s 170-year heritage of formality and civility at sea.

In announcing the first details of the new ship, Cunard President Carol Marlow said “Cunard holds the distinction of sailing the most famous ocean liners in the world and I’m delighted to announce this magnificent addition to our fleet, which marks the return to our operation of three Queens simultaneously. For more than 70 years there has been an ‘Elizabeth’ in the fleet and this beautiful modern-day celebration of our past ‘Elizabeths’ will ensure this proud tradition continues far into this century. Sir Samuel Cunard would be rightly proud.”

A Nod to Cunard’s History and Heritage

Queen Elizabeth is named after Cunard’s first Queen Elizabeth, the famed Cunard ship which was launched in 1938 as the world’s largest liner. The new ship will reference her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist.

From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the experience that differentiates a Cunard liner from a modern-day cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship’s adherence to liner decor, with elegant double and triple height public rooms on a grand scale, intricately detailed interiors replete with rich wood panelling, mosaics, gleaming chandeliers, and cool marbles. Art Deco features will pay homage to the original Queen Elizabeth, and will allow the new ship to reflect a more civilized era of travel. And in addition to the extensive Cunard entertainment programmes onboard, Queen Elizabeth will offer some unique strands inspired by the era of the first Queen Elizabeth, including country house parties, lively piano evenings and a variety of dancing from that time – including the jitterbug and jive - all within the setting of this 21st century ship.

As a successor to Queen Elizabeth 2, the ship will also reflect this great liner via artwork and memorabilia and will have its very own ‘Yacht Club,’ named after the lively aft lounge on QE2. Offering guests 270 degree views and the perfect setting for activities and gatherings during the day, it will also double as a dramatic evening venue for cocktails and dancing.

Similarly, through photography, memorabilia and exhibits, the ship will recognize the historic links Cunard has enjoyed with Royalty over the years.

The ship’s distinctive public spaces include:

Queens Room - a new take on the traditional Cunard ballroom, with artwork depicting views from royal palaces, and photography of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family, along with its 1000 square foot dance floor for Grand Balls and Tea Dances at sea.

Garden Lounge - with its magnificent vaulted glass ceiling creating a conservatory feel inspired by the glass houses of Kew Gardens, beneath where guests will enjoy Supper Clubs, and mix dining with dancing under the stars.

Games Deck - Named after the same deck on the original Queen Elizabeth, the Games Deck will offer paddle tennis, croquet and traditional British bowls. (Interestingly, the ship’s home port of Southampton is home to the oldest surviving bowls green in the world, first used in 1299.)

Midships Bar - will pay homage to her namesake liner, the first Queen Elizabeth, with memorabilia displayed from that era.

The ship’s dining venues include:

Queens Grill and Princess Grill - The ship will also feature the line’s celebrated five-star Grills accommodation and dining, with its al fresco dining option on a private deck terrace - first introduced on Queen Victoria - beautiful restaurants, Grills Lounge and sunbathing deck.

The popular Britannia Club, having first debuted aboard Queen Mary 2, features a private dining room with single seating dining for those guests in the top Balcony staterooms.

Britannia Restaurant - Art Deco decorative flourishes create a dramatic backdrop for this two-tiered dining room featuring a sweeping staircase ideal for making a grand entrance.

Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden Voyage Season

Queen Elizabeth’s maiden 2010 season will consist of six voyages, calling on 32 distinct ports in 18 countries. Her Maiden Voyage will depart from Cunard’s homeport of Southampton on 12 October 2010, en route to the Atlantic Isles. The 13-night voyage will call at Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Seville (Cadiz), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas), Tenerife (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), La Palma (Santa Cruz de La Palma) and Madeira (Funchal). Fares start from $2,995 per person.

The ship will then embark on five celebratory inaugural voyages:

Mediterranean Premiere – A 14-day voyage departing Southampton on 25 October 2010 with maiden calls to Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples (for Capri and Pompeii), Cartagena and Gibraltar. Fares start from $2,795 per person.

Aegean Introduction – An 18-day voyage departing Southampton on 8 November 2010 calling on Malaga (for Granada), Malta (Valletta), Venice, Dubrovnik, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Athens (Piraeus) and Alicante. Fares from $3,295 per person.

Gallic Debut – A five-day voyage departing Southampton on 26 November 2010 with maiden calls to Rotterdam (for Amsterdam), Brussels/Bruges (for Zeebrugge) and Cherbourg. Fares start from $1,195 per person.

Iberian Discovery – A 13-day voyage departing Southampton on 1 December 2010 with calls to Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Seville (Cadiz), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas), Tenerife (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), La Palma (Santa Cruz de La Palma) and Madeira. Fares start from $2,395 per person.

Festive Debut – A 22-day holiday voyage departing Southampton on 14 December 2010 with calls in the Caribbean, including Madeira (Funchal), Tortola, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and Azores Islands (Ponta Delgada). Fares start from $4,795 per person.

Reservations for Queen Elizabeth’s maiden voyages and inaugural season will be open for booking on April 2.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Maxim Gorki, Oceanic, Regal Empress

This month brought about a number of changes for Vintage Cruise Ships.

Perhaps the saddest of all is the beaching, in Alang India, of the Maxim Gorki, ex Hamburg of German Atlantic Line. The futuristic ship, which enjoyed a long career under Russian ownership, was no longer economical with her fuel hungry steam engines and the slow down of the economy. Looking almost new, it is sad to see the ship grounded on the beach with her bulbous bow almost fully exposed. Within the next few weeks, work will begin to haphazardly dismantle the ship and chop away at her classic profile until she is all but a memory.

On a happier note, the Oceanic of Pullmantur (Formerly the Oceanic of Home Lines / StarShip Oceanic of Premier Cruises), has been sold for use as the Peaceboat for the Peaceboat Organization. The ship will sail worldwide itineraries on Japanese good will missions. It appears that this great ship will have an extended life for years to come.

On March 6th, 2009, the Bahamas Celebration began sailing for Celebration Cruise Line. Celebration Cruise Line is the new name for Imperial Majesty Cruise Line.
With the change of name, came the retirement of the Regal Empress. The Regal Empress, was originally built in 1953 as the Olympia for Greek Line. In 1982, she underwent a major refurbishing and had her engines replaced with modern diesel engines.

Although further plans for the Regal Empress have not been announced, the ship remains laid-up in Fort Lauderdale. There was interest in returning the ship to Greek waters as a national monument and there are rumours circulating that she has been sold to Indian breakers for $3 Million dollars

Both the Maxim Gorki/Hamburg and Regal Empress are covered in additional articles within this blog.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Royal Caribbean Has 3 Voyager Class Ships in Europe in 2010

March 12, 2009 – Royal Caribbean International today announces the deployment of eight ships in Europe for 2010. Reinforcing the cruise line’s “Nation of Why Not” campaign, promoting guest experiences undreamed of on other vacations, Royal Caribbean is offering guests unparalleled combinations of innovative cruise ships and compelling Europe cruise itineraries, ranging from four to 14 nights, and three- to five-night cruisetour vacation extensions, in the Mediterranean, and Northern and Western Europe. In addition to the Freedom-class Independence of the Seas – the largest, most amenity-filled ship to sail in Europe – Royal Caribbean also will position three Voyager-class ships in the region for the very first time, with Adventure of the Seas to make her European debut and join sister-ships Navigator of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. Also sailing European waters in 2010 will be Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas and Vision of the Seas. In all, Royal Caribbean is unveiling 57 unique Europe itineraries, visiting 22 countries and 55 ports. Bookings open immediately for 2010 Europe cruises and cruisetours aboard all ships.

“Royal Caribbean International’s 2010 Europe season offers a myriad of spectacular cruise and cruisetour choices for family and adventurous vacationers,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Cruising in Europe is well-known as the best vacation value to see the continent’s historic and cultural destinations. A Royal Caribbean Europe cruise and cruisetour will combine a European vacation with some of world’s most innovative cruise ships, featuring exclusive onboard amenities that will lend to all the ‘why not’ moments guests can experience onboard.”

Although Royal Caribbean will position the same number of ships in 2009 and 2010, the 3,114-guest Adventure of the Seas will replace the 1,804-guest Legend of the Seas and boosts the line’s capacity by 1,310 berths. The 2010 season will debut Adventure of the Seas’ seven-night sailings from Malaga, Spain, and Vision of the Seas’ 12-night Holy Land voyages from Venice, Italy. Also brand new for Royal Caribbean in 2010 will be maiden port calls at Akureyri, Iceland, and Gothenburg, Sweden.

Guests also can combine their Royal Caribbean cruise with three-, four- and five-night escorted land tours to some of Europe’s more inland and culturally rich cities on a Royal Caribbean cruisetour. Four cruisetour options feature packages to Madrid and Barcelona; Venice, Florence and Rome; Italian Lakes featuring Lake Como, Stresa and Venice; and Paris and London. Royal Caribbean will take care of all the details, enabling guests to focus on soaking in the destinations visited – and affording plenty of free time for exploration and independent pursuits. A tour director will escort each group on the cruisetour itineraries, and ground transfers, hotel reservations, city tours and some meals are inclusive.

Shore excursions on 2010 Europe itineraries also will offer a wide array of unforgettable experiences, including, for example, an exclusive after-hours tour of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum; a hike of Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii, beginning at a height of 3,000 feet; and a trek that blends four miles of hiking and walking along Corfu’s magnificent beaches and coastal villages.

Sailing from Southampton, U.K., Independence of Seas will launch a third season in Europe with 14-night alternating Eastern and Western Mediterranean itineraries and 10- and 11-night Canary Island voyages. Independence of the Seas is the only ship in Europe exclusively featuring amenities that have revolutionized the modern cruise industry, with the FlowRider surf simulator, the H20 Zone water park, a boxing ring, cantilevered whirlpools, and the four-bedroom/four-bath Presidential Family Suite. With eight restaurants and more than 15 bars and lounges, Independence of the Seas offers vacationers a unique onboard experience found on no other ship in Europe.

The three Voyager-class ships – each of which offer guests ice-skating rinks, the line’s iconic rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole miniature golf course, and the Royal Promenade boulevard, with shops, restaurants, bars and lounges that run nearly the length of the ship – will ply Mediterranean waters on a wide-ranging slate of voyages next year. Adventure of the Seas’ inaugural season in Europe will kick-off with four- and five-night Western Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Barcelona. In late June, the ship will continue with seven-night voyages roundtrip from Malaga, Spain, on a new itinerary with calls at Italy’s Rome (Civitavecchia), Cagliari in Sardinia, and Ajaccio in Corsica; and Spain’s Palma de Mallorca. In late fall, Adventure of the Seas will conclude her Europe season with a series of five-night voyages alternating between the Mediterranean and Canary Islands, roundtrip from Malaga.

Navigator of the Seaswill feature seven-night sailings, alternating between the Eastern and Western Mediterranean roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia) during the summer. From April to May and September to October, she will sail from the “Eternal City” on 12-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises, the highlight of which will be a full two days-stay in Alexandria, Egypt. For its part, Voyager of the Seas will reprise its series of seven-night voyages to Rome, Naples, Florence, and France’s Nice (Villefranche) and Marseilles, from her homeport of Barcelona.

For the first time ever, Royal Caribbean will debut a 12-night voyage roundtrip voyage from Venice to the Holy Land aboard Vision of the Seas. The itinerary will feature an overnight in Venice prior to departure and boasts extended port time – until 10 pm or 11 pm – in Israel’s Ashdod and Haifa and Egypt’s Port Said and Alexandria. Other calls include Split, Croatia; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; and Athens (Piraeus), Greece.

Reprising its 2009 cruise schedule, Splendour of the Seas will sail seven-night voyages roundtrip from Venice, alternating between a “Greek Isles” itinerary calling at Split, Croatia and Greece’s Corfu, Athens, Mykonos, and Katakolon; and a “Greek Isles and Turkey” sailing with calls at Dubrovnik, Croatia, Ephesus, and Greece’s Santorini and Corfu.

For the third consecutive year, Brilliance of the Seas will sail from Barcelona, offering “Greek Isles” and “Mediterranean Venice” cruises, both of which are 12 nights in length. In November and December the ship will sail featuring four 12-night “Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean” voyages, featuring a two-day overnight stay in Alexandria, Egypt.

Jewel of the Seas will venture into Northern European waters, continuing on its 12-night Baltic “Scandinavia and Russia” itinerary roundtrip from London, the highlights of which are an overnight call in St. Petersburg and first time calls at Gothenburg, Sweden.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Carnival Offers Up To $240 Per Stateroom Back

Carnival Cruise Lines is launching a new promotion offering “cash back” of up to $240 per stateroom for a wide range of “Fun Ship” departures this summer.

The new promotion is available in conjunction with virtually all three- to eight-day summer departures, including voyages to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico from 14 convenient North American homeports. Bookings must be made between March 9 – May 10, 2009, to qualify for the promotion, which is valid with the line’s “Fun Select” advance purchase discount fares.

The cash back option is provided in the form of a shipboard credit that can be redeemed once on board. Guests will receive a $100 per stateroom shipboard credit on three- and four-day cruises; $150 per stateroom shipboard credit on five-day voyages; and $240 per stateroom shipboard credit for six-, seven- and eight-day sailings.

The shipboard credit is automatically applied on guests’ Sail & Sign accounts when they board their cruise and can be redeemed toward shore excursions, spa treatments, supper club reservations, gift shop items and a variety of other shipboard purchases. Any unused funds at the end of the cruise will be returned to guests on debarkation day in the form of a check.

The new promotion is capacity controlled and applies to new individual bookings for stateroom categories 4A to 11. Guests must request fare code OCB when making the reservation.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

P O Cruises Arcadia Emerges From Refit

Add ImageP&O Cruises Arcadia is recently completed a multi-million pound refurbishment, during which a total of 34 new staterooms will be added. The refit which was done at the Lloydwerft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany. Arcadia arrived in the yard on 26 November, 2008 and returned to Southampton on 20 December 2008.

P&O Cruises managing director, Nigel Esdale, said: “This is Arcadia’s first major refurbishment since she joined the fleet in April 2005 and we are taking the opportunity to enhance and improve the features of this already very successful child free ship.“The work that we are undertaking will add to Arcadia’s contemporary charm and she will emerge with even more facilities to surprise and delight her passengers.”
A new section of staterooms with private balconies will be added to the aft end of the ship. This will result in the creation of an enlarged deck area around the already popular Aquarius Pool. To further enhance this area, a larger and more stylish, new bar has been created.
A further new feature for passengers will be a 30-seat boutique cinema, creating a dedicated space for showing films on board. The cinema will be added in place of the existing Cyb@Study - wireless internet access will continue to be offered on board.
The photo gallery is to be revamped with more space and privacy given for portrait sittings and the addition of equipment for passengers to download images from their own cameras to be printed directly on board.
Further refurbishment is taking place throughout the ship, with new carpets, soft furnishings and upholstery added in areas including the Spinnaker Bar, Neptune Pool and passenger cabins. New teak furniture will enhance open deck space and a sprung wooden floor in the gym will improve delivery of exercise classes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seabourn Unveils Its Biggest Season Yet: New Yachts, Itineraries and Exotic Destinations

(Feb. 4, 2009) Spin the globe and stop it with your finger – chances are The Yachts of Seabourn travel where it lands. The ultra-luxury cruise line unveils new itineraries and exotic ports of call for 2010-2011. With two new Seabourn yachts and a host of new destinations, the line’s well-traveled guests can look forward to its most extensive and diverse year yet. Cruises are open for sale. A cruise catalogue will be published in April.

With its fleet of intimate, all-suite yachts, Seabourn is able to access less-traveled destinations that larger vessels can’t. With the addition of Seabourn Odyssey in June 2009 and Seabourn Sojourn in June 2010, the expanded fleet allows Seabourn to continue offering a full array of popular Mediterranean and Caribbean itineraries, but also explore newer, more exotic ports of call, such as Palopo on Sulawesi; Zanzibar, Tanzania; and Antseranana, Madagascar. Starting in 2010-2011, Seabourn will operate year-round in Asia – a first for the fleet. As interest in travel to Asia continues to grow, Seabourn is offering many new itineraries as well as its first return to Indonesia in years. New Asian ports of call include Dalian, China; Busan and Inchon, Korea; Nagasaki and Kagoshima, Japan; and numerous Indonesian destinations, including Bali, Borneo, Komodo Island and the Karimoenjawa archipelago.
“One of the many benefits of our newbuilding program is the ability to add exotic, new itineraries in 2010 and 2011,” said Pamela C. Conover, president and CEO of Seabourn. “We are very excited about them and we think our guests will be too. We have never before offered such a wide range of destinations – from small-ship exclusives in the Caribbean and Mediterranean to more remote ports in Asia and Africa.”
The following are highlights to look forward to from The Yachts of Seabourn in 2010-2011:
Exotic New Ports of Call
With a deployment of five ships to the far reaches of the world, Seabourn will call at a record number of ports throughout 2010-2011, including 44 destinations that are either brand new for the cruise line, or where they have not called for years, from wealthy Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. to historically rich Zanzibar in Tanzania. New destinations include Antseranana, Madagascar; Busan, Jeju Island, Yeosu and Mokpo, South Korea; Djupivogur, Iceland; Doha, Qatar; Kagoshima, Japan; Karimoenjawa, Lombok, and Savu, Indonesia; Kuching, Malaysia; Fremantle, Australia; Mayotte, Comoros; Sir Bani Yas, U.A.E.; Manama, Bahrain; Mangalore, India; Muara Port, Brunei; Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; Sibenik, Croatia; Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Szczencin, Poland; and Torshavn, Faroe Islands, Denmark.
New Itineraries
In 2010-2011, Seabourn will return to Indonesia for the first time in years as Seabourn Spirit offers Gems of the Java Sea I and II with stops in Singapore, Kuching, the tiny island of Karimoenjawa, the legendary dragon island of Komodo, and Kota Kinabalu, where a Heritage Village is preserving the fast-disappearing tribal cultures of Borneo. Seabourn Pride will sail a China Journey from Hong Kong to Xingang, operating between the People’s Republic and Taiwan for the first time. Seabourn Spirit offers Java, Bali & the Barrier Reef, a winter cruisefrom Singapore to Darwin, Australia, taking in the Borobudur UNESCO World Heritage site in Semarang and frontier Cooktown, only recently connected to the rest of Australia by a road. Other new Seabourn itineraries include China/Korea/Japan Journey from Xingang to Kobe; Japan/Korea/China from Kobe to Shanghai; Spice Islands Holiday round trip from Singapore; Indian Ocean Edens from Dubai to Mahe, Seychelles; and Pearls of Arabia round trip from Dubai.
Expanded Destination Services
Whichever the yacht and whatever the destination, guests of Seabourn can look forward to the finest shoreside services in the luxury cruise segment. A newly-expanded destination services department will offer guests a wider variety of land-based activities, including Seabourn Journeys escorted extensions to Bhutan, Kyoto and Tokyo, and opportunities to experience the wonders of the Africa on safari in Kenya. Other new offerings include a four-night Florence and Venice Journey, including guided tours of each city; and a five-night Laos and Cambodia Journey, including a visit to UNESCO World Heritage Site Luang Prabang.New Ships to SailLaunching in Greenwich on June 6, 2010, the ultra-luxury yacht Seabourn Sojourn’s first season includes her 14-day maiden voyage from Greenwich to Dover visiting Scotland, Faroes and Iceland, and a 14-day voyage to the Baltic sailing roundtrip from Dover. In 2011, Sojourn embarks on a 110-day World Cruise from Los Angeles to London via the South Pacific, New Zealand, around Western Australia, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, India, Arabia and the Mediterranean.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Silversea Cruises Silver Spirit Floated Out

(27 February 2009) Silversea Cruises' newest ultra-luxury ship, Silver Spirit, reached an important milestone on Friday, 27 February when she was transferred ("floated out" in shipbuilding parlance) from dry dock to wet dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy.

Silver Spirit's first connection with the sea was marked by an official ceremony at the shipyard attended by senior management from Silversea and Fincantieri. Over the coming months, the new build will undergo her final outfitting works and be ready for delivery in December.
“This is the dawn of a new era of luxury cruising for Silversea and the industry at large”, declared Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea chairman. “Much planning and collaboration has gone into the design of our newborn, and it is exciting both as a company, and personally, to see Silver Spirit evolve through the final phases of her construction."

On 23 December, the all-suite luxury ship will embark on an 11-day "Holiday Spirit" maiden voyage, sailing from Barcelona to Lisbon, followed on 3 January by a 16-day "Maiden Crossing" from Lisbon to Fort Lauderdale, where a formal naming ceremony will be held on 21 January.
After the event, Silver Spirit will set a course for New York on a fascinating Grand Inaugural Voyage. During this magnificent 91-day "Spirit of South America" journey, guests will visit more than 45 ports in over 20 different countries and island destinations across two continents. Highlights include a visit to Rio de Janeiro in time for Carnival, a journey around the end of the earth at Cape Horn, an in-depth exploration of the Mexican Riviera and a crossing of the Panama Canal.

After completing her inaugural season, Silver Spirit will spend the summer in the Mediterranean and then reposition to the Caribbean for fall and winter cruises.

The 36,000-ton vessel will welcome 540 guests who shall indulge not only in the spaciousness of their suites, the largest in the fleet, 95% of which feature a private veranda but also in one of the highest space-to-guest ratios at sea (namely 6,700 cubic feet of personal space per guest). The décor designed by Italian architect Giacomo Mortola will lend a sophisticated 1930s Art Deco ambience to the public areas, and new wellness and dining venues further enhance the shipboard experience: a new 8,300 square feet (770 square metres) indoor/outdoor spa with a whirlpool (and another three by the pool), and a choice of no less than six restaurants, including an alternative venue for Asian-inspired fusion cuisine and an innovative supper club offering contemporary foods and all-night entertainment

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Disney Announces Names of New Ships

(March 10, 2009) – Today at the 2009 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company, Disney announced the names of the company’s two new cruise ships.

“Last week, steel cutting began on our next two Disney cruise ships. Today I’m pleased to announce their names,” said Robert A. Iger, Disney president and CEO. “The Disney Dream will set sail in 2011, while the Disney Fantasy will hit the high seas in 2012.”

Similar to the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the names were chosen to celebrate Disney’s unique heritage of creating enchanting places and stories where dreams really do come true.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fincantieri Lays Keel For Oceania Cruises' New Marina

March 7, 2009 - A ceremony marking the Keel Laying for Oceania Cruises’ Marina was held yesterday at the Sestri Ponente shipyard of Fincantieri near Genoa, Italy. During the age-old ceremony which was attended by members of both Oceania Cruises’ and Fincantieri’s management teams, Frank Del Rio, Chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings and founder of Oceania Cruises, welded a US Silver Dollar and a pre-Castro Silver Cuban Peso into the keel of the new ship. The welding of the coins into the keel is long-standing maritime tradition which is believed to solicit good fortune for the ship, its crew and its passengers during its seagoing life. After the coins were welded into the keel, the first of the 55 steel blocks which comprise Marina was lowered into the building dock thus marking the official start of the construction of Oceania Cruises’ first purpose-built ship.

“This is a momentous day in the history of Oceania Cruises, one which will only be eclipsed on the day we take delivery of Marina in 2010. We want to express our sincere thanks to our loyal guests, travel partners and the entire Oceania Cruises team for all their dedication and hard work in making this new ship become a reality,” stated Frank Del Rio, Chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings.

Marina, the first of the new Oceania-Class, represents an evolution of the line’s extremely popular Regatta-Class ships, retaining all of the warmth, popular design elements and signature amenities the line is renowned for while affording guests an additional level of comfort, convenience and many new luxury amenities. Designed to cruise to all corners of the globe, the new ships will boast a cruising speed 20% faster than the Regatta-Class.

The new ships will be awash in rich woods, Italian marble, lustrous granite, fine wool carpets and sumptuous leather. No detail is being overlooked to create an array of spacious, yet intimate public spaces and luxurious staterooms and suites. They will accommodate 1,252 guests in 626 staterooms and suites who will be served by more than 780 staff members. 96% of all accommodations will feature private teak verandas and guests will dine in their choice of six open seating restaurants.

Additional details on the Marina’s suites and staterooms, restaurants, guest facilities and itineraries will be released in the coming months.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mediterranean Classic Cruises Changes Names and Replaces Ships

“Mediterranean Classic Cruises”, previously known as Monarch Classic Cruises, will operate two relatively modern ships in 2009.

The seasonal Mediterranean operator, who specializes in premium, destination-rich itineraries in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, previously offered cruises on the classic Blue Monarch (ex Renaissance) and Ocean Monarch (ex Daphne).

On Monday February 2nd, 2009, at the port of Piraeus, a reception was held on board the "Vision Star”, the new addition to our fleet. The 800-guest “Vision Star” will operate the 3 day and 4 day cruises to the Greek Islands and Turkey for the 2009 cruise season.
The Vision Star was built in 1992 as the Crown Jewel for luxury operator, Crown Cruise Line. With a gross tonnage of 19,093 tons and a length of 537 ft, the ship is ideal for cruising the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean Classic Cruises will introduce a second new addition to the fleet - the 550-guest “Athena”. The Athena was built as Swedish America's Stockholm and underwent a major transformation in 1994 which totally reconstructed the ship. More recently she sailed as the Italia Prima. At 16,144 tons and a length of 497 feet, the ship's modest size makes her well suited for 7 day cruise to Egypt, the Holy Land, Cyprus, Turkey and the Greek Islands for the 2009 season.

With Piraeus, Greece as its home, Mediterranean Classic Cruises offers unrivaled expertise for travelers wishing to immerse themselves in the culture of this region while offering an authentic Mediterranean flavor.

The Mediterranean Classic Cruise brochure states, "The line is specifically dedicated to Aegean and Mediterranean cruises with a more personal and higher quality cruise experience featuring our elegant new vessels. The intimate size of the ships evoke a genuinely warm and personalized spirit of hospitality, while staterooms are notably spacious and mostly outside, ocean view. "

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Costa Pacifica Details Unveiled,

Inspired by music, the new Costa Pacifica – designed by renowned ship architect, Joe Farcus – will feature some of the line’s "Greatest Hits" both in music and product. For the first time on a cruise ship, guests will be able to enjoy a complete musical experience that is unique and matchless – not only will music provide the inspiration for the interior design and works of art on the new flagship, but it will also be heard, read and "experienced" throughout the liner. Guests will be accompanied on this exclusive musical journey by a soundtrack consisting of pieces specially arranged for Costa Cruises.

The central theme will be reflected in décor throughout the ship, including the main atrium, which will be decorated with musical symbols and instruments. The ship’s theatre will boast perfect acoustics and become the ideal venue for guests to enjoy the purity of sound, immersed in a unique atmosphere, and enhanced by the warm colors, Baroque design and adorned with a stunning Murano glass chandelier.

The Costa Pacifica will also feature the revolutionary Samsara Spa – one of the largest spas at sea, complete with accommodations that offer direct access to the wellness center as well as exclusive amenities. Costa was the first cruise line to introduce this innovative spa concept when launching the Costa Concordia in 2006. Elements of the spa’s invigorating treatments and stunning design are inspired by the meaning of "Samsara," which is associated with the path to spiritual enlightenment, bliss and balancing of life energies. A full menu of treatments based on Ayurvedic principles, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a specialty restaurant are just some of the spa’s innovative features.

The ship will also feature two pool areas on board, one expanding over two decks midship and another aft, both with retractable glass magrodomes. Guests may enjoy "dive in" movies with a giant movie screen in the central pool area featuring special technology that can be used for daytime projection of video clips as well as evening film screenings. The Costa Pacifica will also feature a Grand Prix race car driving simulator—the most accurate representation of Formula One driving available.

An à la carte restaurant, Club Blue Moon, offers an elegant and sophisticated setting for which guests may enjoy exceptional culinary occasions. Menus will be created by Ettore Bocchia, Costa Cruises’ Corporate Chef and Executive Chef at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Lake Como. Bocchia, a Michelin-Star restaurateur since 2005, is the founder of Italian molecular cuisine.

Pacifica – Itineraries for 2009

Throughout the 2009 summer season, the Costa Pacifica will offer seven-night Western Mediterranean voyages calling on the port of Rome (Civitavecchia), Savona (Italy), Marseille (France), Barcelona (Spain), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Tunis (Tunisia), Malta and Palermo (Sicily.) The maiden cruise will depart from the Savona on June 6, 2009, with a special two-day stopover in Palma de Mallorca. Guests on the maiden cruise who embark in Genoa on June 5 (limited number of cabins available) will be able to witness the Costa Pacifica’s christening ceremony, which will take place that day, together with the naming of the Costa Luminosa.

Costa Pacifica – Facts & Figures
  • Shipyard: Fincantieri - Genoa Sestri Ponente
  • Gross Tonnage: 114,500
  • Length: 290 meters
  • Breadth: 35 meters
  • Decks: 17 (13 passenger Decks)
  • Service speed: 21.5 knots (maximum speed: 23 knots)
  • Passengers: 3,780 (total guest capacity)
  • Cabins: Total of 1,504 cabins, including 91 Samsara, 521 veranda cabins, 58 suites with private balconies and 12 Samsara suites.
  • Restaurants: Five, including the private à la carte "Club Blue Moon," and the Ristorante Samsara for Samara spa guests.
  • Bars: 13, including the Cognac & Cigar Bar, the Coffee & Chocolate Bar and the Bar Sport
  • Swimming Pools: Four, two of which feature a retractable magrodome and one with a slide
  • Jacuzzis: Five
  • Sports Facilities: Multipurpose Court
  • Outside Jogging Track
  • Wellness Center: Samsara Spa on two levels (over 6,000 m²) with gym, spa baths, thalassotherapy pool, treatment rooms, sauna, Turkish bath, UVA solarium, cabins and suites.


  • Theater on three levels
  • Casino
  • Disco
  • Dance club and Piano Bar
  • Internet Point
  • Library
  • Shopping Center
  • Kids’ and teens’ areas: Mondovirtuale (videogames area), Squok Club (for children) with children’s pool
  • Grand Prix Race Car Driving Simulator
  • Large Screen on Central Pool Deck

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hurtigruten Adds Ship

"These sailings have been developed to offer our active travelers a real close-up encounter with this breath-taking piece of the frozen world," say Hans Rood, Hurtigruten's vice president of global sales. And due to the overwhelming interest in this remote archipelago deep within the Arctic Circle, Hurtigruten, a leader in expedition cruising, has announced the addition of the completely renovated 120-passenger MS Expedition to its air-inclusive Spitsbergen cruise-tours. The new ship will share duties with the MS Polar Star on the 12-day "Grand Arctic Expedition," one of three Spitsbergen itineraries offered by Hurtigruten. A nine-day adventure sails along the west coast while a 16-day version, along the 12-day, circumnavigate the island. Early-booking prices range from $5,686 to $14,584 per person, double, a savings of up to $1,806 off original fares of $6,499 to $15,999.

The MS Expedition -- built in Helsingør, Denmark in 1972, underwent a complete rebuilding and modernization last year. The newly renovated ship features spacious and comfortable common areas including a panorama lounge, expedition lounge, restaurant, library, bar, fitness room and sauna. All cabins are outside and have their own window or porthole in addition to private facilities. Zodiacs are used for expedition landings as well as for navigating the narrow straits of the arctic landscape for up-close views of the glaciers and wildlife.

Spitsbergen, the largest of the islands of Svalbard, is a seemingly isolated retreat from the rest of the world - with its stunning landscape of jagged peaks and arctic tundra and an abundance of wildlife ranging from polar bears, Svalbard reindeer and arctic foxes to whales, walruses and ringed and harp seals. The nine-day "Arctic Adventure" and 12-day "Grand Arctic Expedition" itineraries both begin with overnight stays in Oslo and Longyearbyen, the Svalbard capital and ships' departure point, followed by a four- or eight-day cruise along Spitsbergen's northwest coast. Sights along the route include the Russian mining town of Barentsburg; Prins Karl Forland Island National Park, with its massive glaciers; the Ny-Alesund research center, the world's northernmost settlement; Monaco Glacier in Woodfjord; and old whaling sites, spectacular fjords and, weather and ice permitting, across the 80° N.L. line. Passengers on the more comprehensive 12-day voyage continue down the coast to Hinlopen Strait, where it is always winter; the glacier-enveloped Nordaustlandet, home to abundant populations of walruses and reindeer; and return via Edgeoya and Spitsbergen's Southern Cape. Early-booking fares range from $5,686 to $7,164; and $7,281 to $14,584, respectively.

The 16-day "Spitsbergen Ultimate Voyage" kicks off with a two-day stay in the Hanseatic seaport of Bergen before departing on the Flam Railway, taking in the stunning landscape of deep ravines and snow-capped mountains on the relaxed 12-mile descent to meet the MS Nordstjernen. After boarding, the ship sails through Geirangerfjord, passing its famous Seven Sisters waterfalls, and stops in the modern city of Trondheim, where passengers may tour sights such as the well-known Nidarosdomen Cathedral, and the Lofoten Islands, above the Arctic Circle. Other highlights include the scenic diversity of Bjarkoy - 365 islands comprised of everything from tremendous mountains to white sand beaches; the North Cape, where the midnight sun views are spectacular. Guided tours in Longyearbyen precede lunch at the city's historic Spitsbergen Hotel, followed by the sailing to Gravneset, known for its cultural monuments from the centuries-old whaling period and taking in sights common to the other two voyages. Discounted fares range from $7,794 to $9,695.

Both itineraries include daily lectures from onboard naturalist guides, expedition leaders and Zodiac landings, round-trip flights from New York, all meals aboard and some on land, cabin category selected, shore excursions, transfers and port charges. Add-on airfares of $100 to $350 are available from dozens of other U.S. cities. Air taxes, optional excursions and gratuities are additional.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Steel Cut For the New Disney Cruise Ship

Photo Caption: In true Disney style and complete with confetti and pixie dust, Captain Mickey along with Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz and Meyer Werft Managing Partner Bernard Meyer celebrated Disney Cruise Line’s first steel cutting ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Photos Copyright: Disney Cruise Line.

Disney Cruise Line began construction on two new ships today with a steel cutting ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.

Scheduled for completion in 2011 and 2012, the new ocean liners will further advance the company’s one-of-a-kind guest experience and create more family cruise options with a brand guests know and trust.“When we launched our business in 1998, we recognized a need in the marketplace for a cruise experience created just for families,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. “With these new ships, we are continuing to build upon that vision of providing more families with an unforgettable cruise vacation and the chance to explore new destinations with Disney.

”The first piece of steel cut for the new ships was part of the art deco inspired scrollwork that will grace the bow of the ships. Similar to the scrollwork on the Disney Cruise Line ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the intricate pattern is reminiscent of the classic ocean liners of the 1930s, designed to reflect the glamour of the golden age of cruising with added touches of Disney whimsy, such as the Mickey Mouse medallion in the center of the design.

Since finalizing a contract with the Meyer Werft shipyard to build the two new ships, Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney Imagineering have created a truly distinctive design for the new ships. Over the next few years, construction will continue, bringing the design to reality. The design details will be unveiled at a later date.

Holz noted that the fleet expansion will more than double the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise Line. Each ship will have 1,250 staterooms and will weigh 128,000 tons. Similar to the existing ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the new ships will be purpose built with families in mind, with specially designed areas and activities for each member of the family to allow for both quality time together and wonderful individual experiences. The focus is to provide a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and kids can immerse themselves in worlds of fantasy only Disney can create.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NCL Announces 2010 Itineraries Including Sailings From Port Canaveral

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced that for the first time in more than 11 years, the company will homeport a ship seasonally at Port Canaveral, Florida beginning October 2010. The 1,936-passenger Norwegian Sun, purpose-built for Freestyle Cruising, will sail alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, departing every Saturday from October 9, 2010 through April 16, 2011.

Norwegian Sun's seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise will stop in Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The ship's seven-day Western Caribbean will call in Cozumel, Mexico; Santo Tomás de Castilla, Guatemala; Belize City, Belize and Key West, Florida. Since there is no port repetition between the two itineraries, they can be easily combined to create a port-rich 14-day Caribbean tour.

NCL will also offer seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Miami on Norwegian Pearl from October 10, 2010 through April 10, 2011. Ports of call on the Western Caribbean itinerary include: Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya,Mexico; and Key West, Florida. Norwegian Pearl's Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in: Samaná, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island in the Bahamas. For guests seeking a full Caribbean escape, these two Norwegian Pearl itineraries can be combined into a 14-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruise.

Norwegian Dawn will sail alternating five-day Western Caribbean and nine-day Southern Caribbean cruises from November 14, 2010 through April 22, 2011. Ports of call on the Western Caribbean sailing include: George Town, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. Norwegian Dawn's Southern Caribbean itinerary includes: Samaná, Dominican Republic; Tortola,British Virgin Islands; St. John's, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts. Norwegian Dawn's five- and nine-day sailings can be combined to create a 14-day Caribbean cruise with no port repetition.
Also from Miami, NCL has extended Norwegian Sky's three and four day cruises to the Bahamas through April 18, 2011. The 2,002-passenger Norwegian Sky sails four-day Bahamas cruises on Mondays with full-day stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island in the Bahamas. On Fridays, the ship sails a weekend getaway, three-day Bahamas itinerary, departing Miami at 5 p.m. with all-day stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, returning to Miami at 7 a.m. on Monday mornings.

For foliage seekers, NCL will offer a variety of Canada & New England sailings from New York and Boston. In the fall of 2010, Norwegian Dawn will sail four seven-day Canada & New England cruises from New York, along with Norwegian Jewel sailing three 10-day Canada & New England cruises from New York. Norwegian Dawn's ports of call include Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island. Norwegian Jewel's 10-day Canada & New England itinerary includes: Newport, Rhode Island; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Quebec City, Quebec; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

From Boston, Norwegian Spirit will sail a series of four seven-day Canada & New England itineraries from September 25, 2010 through October 16, 2010, with alternating departures from Boston and Quebec. Ports of call from Boston include: Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Ports of call from Quebec include: Sept-Iles, Quebec; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Portland, Maine, along with a cruise of the Saguenay Fjord. These sailings can also be combined into a port-rich 14-day cruise for the ultimate fall foliage experience.

Guests looking for a taste of Freestyle Cruising can sample one of NCL's one-, two-, or three-night getaways in 2010-2011 on Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Spirit from London, New York, Miami and Boston.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

CruiseWest To Offer Luxury Antarctica Cruise in 2010

Continuing to add exciting new destinations to its global offerings, exploration cruise line Cruise West (http://www.cruisewest.com/) is pleased to announce that it is adding an exclusive, 19-night Antarctica expedition to its product line-up for 2010.

On board the 114-guest, all-suite Corinthian II, a very select group of guests will have the opportunity to explore the very best that the most remote continent on earth has to offer. Ports of calls and sites include the Falkland, South Georgia and Orkney Islands as well as the Antarctic Peninsula and the myriad of islands that dot its shore.

“Cruise West is making a conscientious effort to keep itinerary offerings fresh and intriguing, said President and CEO Dietmar R. Wertanzl. “We are seeking out destinations that complement our core products, create excitement for repeat guests and appeal to new guests – so introducing Antarctica was a natural progression. The Corinthian II is a sister ship to our Spirit of Oceanus, so we know our repeat guests will feel right at home.”

Diversity – in cultures, landscape and temperatures – will be one of the hallmarks of this maiden voyage as guests begin their adventure in luxury at the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Hotel in Buenos Aires before departing for the quaint, southernmost city in South America, Ushuaia. After boarding the Corinthian II, guests will gain fascinating insight on the flora, fauna, history and geology via presentations by an expert staff of eight naturalists. In the tradition of Cruise West’s up-close, casual and personal style, guests will have extraordinary opportunities to view Rockhopper penguins in the remote British outpost of the Falkland Islands; thousands of King penguins and nesting grounds of wandering albatross in South Georgia, while simultaneously admiring the water-loving larger species of whales, fur seals, elephant seals and the icebergs and glaciers that surround them.

Antarctica, owned by no country but managed under a 46-country scientific treaty, is the fifth largest continent on the planet while remaining the least populated. Its exotic remoteness combined with legendary stories of exploration and adventure spur on the fantasies of armchair travelers and documentary-watchers all over the globe; for 114 Cruise West guests, the fantasy has now become an attainable reality.

Cruise West’s 19-night maiden voyage to Antarctica will depart February 7, 2010. Prices start at $13,899 (US dollars); save $1,000/person, based on double occupancy, by booking and paying in full by May 1, 2009.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Container Ships Hit Hard By Economy

From time to time, I will mention freighters (or container ships), since some freight lines offer passenger accommodations.

With the recent slow-down in the economy, many container ships have not been able to find employment. It is estimated that approximately 395 container ships are currently laid-up awaiting further deployment.
In addition, I am noticing that many bulk and container ships are being sold for scrap at a young age (less than 20 years old), since the immediate outlook for employment looks dismal.

"Mein Schiff" Is the Name Chosen For TUI Cruises.Ship.

Photo: Copyright TUI Cruises / TUI AG.

TUI Cruises, a joint operation between Royal Caribbean and TUI Group, have chosen a name for their first ship. The ship's name will be "Mein Schiff", literally meaning "My Ship". The name was chosen from over 30,000 names which were submitted via a contest.

The hull of the ship will be painted blue and the name of the ship will be painted in large cursive letters. In addition, words representing inspiring feelings encountered during a sea cruise will be displayed on the hull as well. The TUI Cruises name and logo will be displayed on the superstructure just below the bridge wings.

The ship, formerly Celebrity Cruises' Galaxy, will be christened in Hamburg, Germany on May 15th. The ship will sail throughout Europe in the Summer and sail from the Caribbean in the Winter.

This joint effort between the two lines, represent Royal Caribbean's entry into the German Market. TUI is already involved in cruising via the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises brand.