Sunday, June 28, 2009

Princess Announces Details of Tropical Getaways to Sun-Swept Caribbean,

(June 8, 2009) – Whether travelers choose to explore the beaches and colorful islands of the Caribbean, enjoy the warm welcoming culture of the Mexican Riviera, or marvel at the dramatic Panama Canal, Princess Cruises offers a wide array of options for tropical getaways to some of the most popular warm weather destinations in the fall 2010 to spring 2011 cruise season.

With the convenience of close-to-home departure points, these just-announced itineraries present many vacation options in the balmy tropics. In the Caribbean, passengers can choose a variety of itinerary options, many featuring the private beach of Princess Cays, including week-long getaways, 10-day sailings or full 14-day island explorations. Along the Mexican Riviera, passengers can sail from Los Angeles or San Francisco to some of the area’s most popular resort regions. And, those wishing to experience the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal can choose from a convenient round-trip voyage or experience the drama of a full canal transit, including extra time in Panama with a Two-Day Canal Experience.

“There are so many ways to escape the winter cold or the everyday grind and enjoy the warmth and relaxation of a tropical getaway,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “These destinations offer romance, interesting cultures, active pursuits, relaxing beaches, and even the opportunity to witness a historic feat of engineering.”

The line’s tropical getaway options include:

Caribbean – Six Princess ships will visit more than 25 ports throughout the idyllic Caribbean with 14 itinerary choices. The 135 departures include a variety of vacation options exploring the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean.

Ruby Princess/Seven-Day Eastern Caribbean – Ruby Princess takes over sailings to the Eastern Caribbean, with roundtrip cruises from Fort Lauderdale on Sundays. The itinerary features calls at the line’s own Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. Ruby Princess will offer 28 sailings between October 24, 2010 and May 1, 2011.

Crown Princess/Seven-Day Western Caribbean – Crown Princess sails on 25 roundtrip seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, visiting Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Princess Cays. Crown Princess’ season will run from October 30, 2010 through April 30, 2011. The ship will also offer two special itineraries – a five-day Eastern Caribbean Sampler on December 18, calling at Grand Turk and Princess Cays, and a nine-day Southern Caribbean Holiday sailing to Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, St. Thomas, and Princess Cays departing on December 30.

Caribbean Princess/Seven-Day Southern Caribbean – Caribbean Princess sails from San Juan on two alternating seven-day itineraries. The Classic Southern Caribbean route sails to the ports of St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados, while Southern Caribbean Explorer sailings travel to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. In total 27 cruises will depart between October 31, 2010 and May 1, 2011. The ship starts the season with an eight-day Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean sailing from New York to San Juan on October 23, 2010, featuring calls at Bermuda, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Thomas.

Emerald Princess/10-Day Eastern and Southern Caribbean – For a more in-depth island vacation with the convenience of roundtrip travel from Fort Lauderdale, Emerald Princess offers alternating 10-day roundtrip itineraries – one to the Southern Caribbean and the other to the Eastern Caribbean. The Southern Caribbean Medley itinerary calls at Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. The Eastern Caribbean Voyager itinerary offers calls at Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. Emerald Princess will offer 23 sailings between September 19, 2010 and April 27, 2011.

Grand Princess/14-Day Caribbean Collection – Grand Princess offers more islands to explore on a 14-day Caribbean Collection itinerary roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. The ship sails to Aruba, Curaçao, Grenada, Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and Grand Turk. Grand Princess will offer 15 departures between October 11, 2010 and April 25, 2011.

Sea Princess/14-Day Sailings from Barbados – Sea Princess will offer a series of alternating 14-day Caribbean voyages from Barbados. The Grand Caribbean Islander route feature calls at Tobago, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Tortola, Antigua, St. Kitts and Dominica. The ship will also offer a Grand Caribbean Adventurer itinerary that features stops at Grenada, Bonaire, Curaçao, Grand Turk, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Trinidad. To begin her season, Sea Princess offers a seven-day Southern Caribbean sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados featuring calls at Princess Cays, Tortola, St. Maarten, Martinique and St. Lucia. In spring the ship sails back to Fort Lauderdale from Barbados with a seven-day sailing to Martinique, Dominica, St. Kitts, Tortola and Princess Cays. Sea Princess will sail on 14 departures between October 25, 2010 and April 18, 2011.

Mexican Riviera – Three ships will head “South of the Border” to the fun-filled Mexican Riviera. Cruisers can choose from 37 departures from either Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Sapphire Princess – Sapphire Princess returns to the sunny Mexican Riviera with 33 departures from the Port of Los Angeles. This popular seven-day roundtrip route takes in favorite Mexico ports with calls in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas. The Sapphire Princess Mexican Riviera season runs from September 25, 2010 to April 30, 2011. The ship will also offer two Baja Sampler sailings, with a four-day cruise to Santa Barbara and Ensenada on December 18, 2010 and a three-day voyage with a call in Ensenada departing on January 5, 2011.

Sea Princess – Sea Princess will offer one roundtrip sailing from the “City by the Bay,” San Francisco, with a 10-day cruise to Catalina, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas and San Diego, departing on September 29, 2010.

Star Princess – Star Princess sails on 11-day roundtrip Mexican Riviera voyages from San Francisco featuring calls at Acapulco, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. The ship offers three departures on April 8, 19 and 30, 2011.
Panama Canal – One of the world’s greatest wonders, the Panama Canal changed shipping routes forever when it first connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in 1914. One of the pioneers of Canal cruising, Princess offers a variety of different ways to experience this “must see” feat of engineering. Passengers can choose a convenient 10-day round-trip voyage, a 10-day full transit cruise or an extended 15-day sailing featuring the line’s Two-Day Canal Experience – a full Canal transit plus a day with the ship anchored at Fuerte Amador, on the Canal’s Pacific side. Passengers can take advantage of this extra day in Panama to enjoy a variety of shore excursion options including the Panama Canal Railway, Panama City, Soberania National Park Rainforest or a visit to an authentic Embera Indian Village.

Panama Canal with Two-Day Experience – Coral Princess, Island Princess and Sea Princess will give passengers additional time to explore Panama with 15-day sailings between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles or San Francisco. In addition to the Canal transit and additional Panama call at Fuerte Amador, the ships visit Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Cartagena and Aruba. A total of 13 sailings run between Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, while five similar sailings travel between San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale (one 16-day sailing also includes a call in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua). Departures are offered between September 21, 2010 and May 4, 2011.

Full Transit Sailings – The 10-day Panama Canal Adventurer route between Fort Lauderdale and Acapulco offers a full Canal transit plus visits to Ocho Rios, Fuerte Amador or Cristobal, Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Nicaragua (San Juan del Sur) and Huatulco. Coral Princess offers six sailings on this route, with departures between October 6, 2010 and April 24, 2011.

Roundtrip Panama Canal – Coral Princess and Island Princess will sail on this classic 10-day itinerary from Fort Lauderdale, which offers a partial Panama Canal transit to Gatun Lake followed by a call in Cristobal, plus calls in the Caribbean ports of Aruba, Cartagena, Limon (Costa Rica) and Ocho Rios. The ships offer 16 departures between October 26, 2010 and April 4, 2011.

Panama Canal sailings are currently open for booking, and Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises will be available starting June 11, 2009. Launch Fares for seven-day Caribbean and Mexican Riviera sailings start at $569 per person, and 10-day Panama Canal cruise fares begin at $1,199 per person, based on double occupancy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boomers, Seniors Eligible for Discount of up to 50 Percent

(June 8, 2009) – The calendar may say it’s nearly summer, but now is a good time for Baby Boomers/Seniors ages 50 or older and their families to plan ahead and save up to 50 percent on MSC Cruises’ exciting Caribbean fall and winter getaways.

Boomer/Senior Saver prices are available on new bookings of select 3-, 5-, 7- and 10-night 2009-10 Caribbean sailings of MSC Poesia when at least one guest in the stateroom is 50 years of age on the departure date.

Families can save even more off the retail price with MSC Cruises’ “Kids Sail Free” offer – kids ages 17 and younger sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults. It’s a great opportunity for grandparents to spend some quality time with their grandchildren, too.

Boomer/Senior Saver rates on 5-night sailings begin at $399, with rates on 7-night sailings beginning at $549 and 10-night rates beginning at $749. Rates on the 3-night Bahamas itinerary begin at $239.

Cruise-only rates are per person, double occupancy (government fees and taxes are additional) and are available for select sailings and stateroom types. Additional restrictions may apply.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Shore Excursion At Grand Turk

(June 9, 2009) —The Grand Turk Cruise Center, owned by Carnival Corporation & plc, has partnered with Cockburn Village & Farm, Ltd., to develop Conch World, a new eco-friendly attraction in Grand Turk, which welcomed its first guests, a group from the Carnival Pride, earlier today. Grand opening festivities are set for fall 2009.

Four years in the making, this unique million-dollar-plus tourism attraction consists of several brightly colored pink buildings that showcase the Queen conch, which is native to Grand Turk and plays a vital role in the health of coral reefs as it serves as a food source for lobsters, turtles, sharks, octopus and other marine animals.
Conch World is the only tourist facility devoted to the Queen conch located at a cruise destination and is only the second such facility in the world.
The guided tour begins with an entertaining video and then proceeds to other air-conditioned buildings where informative displays, pictures and dioramas explain conch lore and conch farming, an important part of the Caribbean’s economy.
The highlight of the attraction is the world famous trained conchs, Sally and Jerry, who love to venture out of their shells and have their pictures taken. Guests can also visit the Bare Naked Conch Café to savor the delicious farmed conch prepared in a variety of ways and the Pink Pearl Gift Shop which sells a variety of conch-related merchandise.
“The Caribbean is vital to the continued growth and success of the North American cruise industry and the Grand Turk Cruise Center and Carnival Corporation & plc are very pleased to support the development of this spectacular and unique attraction,” said Graham Davis, director of port operations and destination development for Carnival Corporation & plc. “In addition to serving as an example of responsible, sustainable tourism development, Conch World will have tangible economic benefits, including creating numerous job opportunities for the local community,” he said.
Added Chuck Hesse, CEO of the world’s only conch farm now headquartered on Grand Turk, “This facility is a celebration of a small animal that has made a huge contribution to the entire Caribbean. The conch’s high protein meat has been a staple in almost every island, its shell used for ornaments, mortar, pottery, and as a conch horn.”
Hesse noted that one in every 10,000 animals produces an exquisite pink pearl valuable enough to be part of the Crown Jewels of England.
Conch World is the first of a multi-phase development by the locally owned and operated company, Cockburn Village & Farm, Ltd. It will be followed by a commercial conch farm, Arawak Village, a modern facility with buildings resembling 1780’s Caribbean dwellings, along with beachfront eco-engineered residences.
Conch World is just the latest addition to Grand Turk, one of the Caribbean’s most unspoiled and laidback islands. The $60 million Grand Turk Cruise Center serves as a gateway to this unique destination and encompasses a state-of-the-art pier and a 13-acre complex offering a variety of retail shops, including the Caribbean’s largest “Margaritaville”-themed bar and restaurant.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

MSC Cruises Offers Caribbean Discounts

(June 2, 2009) –The entire family can experience the beauty of the Caribbean on 5-, 7-, and 10-night cruises on MSC Poesia and save with MSC Cruises’ limited-time, Family Plan offer for four guests.

Guests who book a balcony stateroom on select MSC Cruises’ 2009-10 Caribbean itineraries of MSC Poesia by Dec. 31, 2009 can save up to 50 percent off a connecting balcony stateroom.

This special Family Plan offer applies for adjoining Category 9, 10 or 11 Balcony Superior staterooms (accommodating up to four guests) on most 5-, 7- and 10-night MSC Poesia 2009-10 Caribbean cruises beginning Nov. 10, 2009. Family Plan rates for four start at $625 per person.

Cruise itineraries include destinations in the Eastern and Western Caribbean and Panama, including ports like San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; King’s Wharf, Bermuda; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; St. John’s, Antigua; Cristobal, Panama; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort de France, Martinique; Cristobal, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Family-friendly activities include miniature golf, tennis and basketball. MSC Poesia features a designated children’s pool and outdoor play area. MSC Cruises also offers a complimentary kids program filled with entertainment, fun, and games from crafts to treasure hunts. Children’s programs are available for children 3-17 years old and are divided into age-specific groups.

Not only does MSC Cruises offer authentic Italian favorites like pasta and pizza, but also All-American kid-friendly staples like hamburgers, hot dogs, and delicious pastries and desserts.

Rates are cruise only and subject to availability; government fees and taxes are additional.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crystal Cruises Offers Jazz, Wine and Thanksgiving Dinner

June 1, 2009 –Crystal Cruises is offering discerning travelers two compelling Experiences of Discovery cruises sailing from Miami this Thanksgiving. The Duke Ellington Alumni Band – featuring several of the original members of Ellington’s orchestra – will headline Crystal Serenity’s roundtrip, seven-day Caribbean Jazz voyage roundtrip from Miami.

On Crystal Symphony, some of the most renowned names in the culinary, wine and mixology fields will spice up the 13-day Wine & Food cruise to Manaus, which marks the first time in three years Crystal has sailed the Amazon.
Both itineraries depart November 22.“Holiday cruises are extraordinary experiences aboard Crystal ships,” says Bret Bullock, vice president, entertainment. “In addition to the fantastic destinations and elaborate Thanksgiving feasts, the caliber of entertainment and enrichment on these itineraries will only enhance the celebration.
”Aboard the Jazz voyage, along with the Duke Ellington Alumni Band, jazz artist Kitt Moran and renowned jazz pianist Eddie Tobin will perform. Phil Schaap, the jazz curator at New York’s Lincoln Center, will lecture on a variety of jazz-related topics. Crystal’s Yamaha Passport to Music program will also offer keyboard and music classes.
Guests aboard the Wine & Food cruise will enjoy a multi-course menu and cooking demonstrations from special guest Michelin Star-awarded chef Andre Rochat of Andre and Alizé in Las Vegas; wine tastings led by head sommelier Kris Margerum of the Auberge du Soleil restaurant in California; and signature cocktails and cocktail classes and competitions with modern mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. Crystal’s own executive pastry chef will also give hands-on cooking and pastry classes.
Both ships will host gala Thanksgiving feasts and celebrations. Additionally, both itineraries are 2009 Value Collection cruises, with cruise fares starting at $2,480 per person, double occupancy, and All Inclusive – As You Wish shipboard spending credits of up to $2,000 per couple.
Crystal Symphony’s Thanksgiving itinerary can be extended to a 62-day grand voyage, roundtrip from Miami that makes a complete circumference of South America, including an exploration of Antarctica.
Guests can customize their vacation with an All Inclusive – As You Wish spending credit of up to $6,000 per couple.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Luxury Operator SilverSea Enjoys Booking Surge

(June 3, 2009) Silversea Cruises today announced it achieved the highest call volume day in its 15-year history on May 26, 2009. The single-day record occurred during a three-week period where bookings surged nearly 150% compared to the same period last year and average call volume for May was up almost 40% in comparison with April 2009.

"This past month we saw continual spikes in booking activity that far exceeded our expectations and shows we are making excellent headway in boosting our sales," said Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America.
"With the launch of our new Silver Spirit just months away, the growing excitement in the marketplace for our product is certainly a contributing factor. Plus there is no doubt the extraordinary savings programs we have implemented are helping to drive these positive booking trends. This confirms that luxury travelers appreciate value and know a great deal when they see one."
The company is currently offering 50% savings on all suite categories on over 50 worldwide voyages and recently expanded its popular $1,000 Onboard Spending Credit offer to 70 sailings in 2009. Free or specially priced airfare is also available on select voyages.
For example, the $1,000 Onboard Spending Credit is available on Silver Whisper's September 12, 7-day cruise (#4928) from Istanbul to Athens with calls in Marmaris, Symi, Volos and Nafplion. Silver Sailing fares start at $3,497 per person -- a savings of 50% -- plus free or reduced roundtrip economy air transportation (including transfer on day of embarkation/disembarkation) is also available from select U.S. and Canadian gateway cities.
In addition, the booking deadline has been extended to July 31, 2009 to qualify for the $500 per person (or maximum $1,000 per suite) Onboard Spending Credit. To take advantage of the offer, which is applicable to new bookings only, the guest or travel agent must request promotional code WWSBC500 at the time of booking. Silversea's award-winning, all-inclusive lifestyle features all ocean-view accommodations, complimentary beverages served throughout the ship -- including fine wines, spirits and champagnes, in-suite bar setup stocked with guest's preferred selections, open-seating dining, 24-hour complimentary room service, and all onboard gratuities.
Fare listed above is per person based on double occupancy for a Vista Suite and does not include port charges and handling fees of $175 per person. Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper -- and launching in December, Silver Spirit -- all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance.

With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Princess Cruises Details Short Getaway Sailings for 2010-11

(June 11, 2009) – The spring and fall cruise seasons in 2010-11 bring opportunities for Princess Cruises passengers to escape on the line’s short West Coast sailings. Ranging from an overnight cruise to a week-long journey, these “coastal” getaways offer passengers the chance to sample the Princess experience as they explore the Pacific coastline.

Passengers can choose from among 18 sailings, including a special seven-day cruise to coastal wine regions with themed onboard presentations, four- and five-day samplers of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, plus shorter sailings of one to three nights. Princess’ seasonal getaways offer an opportunity to sail on ships that are traveling along the Pacific coast to begin or end a summer of Alaska cruises.

“People need to escape today more than ever and these short sailings are a great way to fit a cruise into the schedule – and budget,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.

Princess coastal sailings for 2010-11 include:
Wine Country Coastal – A seven-day cruise geared towards wine lovers, this special sailing will offer the chance to explore the California wine regions of Santa Barbara and the San Francisco area – as well as visit the microbreweries of Astoria, Oregon. Themed excursions will be available in many ports to enhance the local wine focus. In addition, onboard presentations from guest experts will showcase the world of food and wine with demonstrations, tastings and special meals. The cruise aboard Sapphire Princess will depart from Los Angeles on May 7, 2011, sailing to Vancouver with calls at Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria, Seattle and Victoria.

California Coastal – Sailing on a five-day journey down to California from Vancouver, Sapphire Princess will call at Victoria and San Francisco before arriving in “the city of angels,” Los Angeles. The sailing will depart on September 20, 2010.

Alaska Sampler – This quick roundtrip sailing from Vancouver will give travelers a taste of the 49th state, with visits to the Alaskan ports of Juneau and Ketchikan. The five-day cruise on Coral Princess will set sail on May 10, 2010.

Northwest Sampler – Royal Princess will take visitors on a four-day trip through the scenic Inside Passage with visits to Vancouver and Victoria. Sailing roundtrip from Seattle, the voyage will depart May 20, 2010.

Pacific Coastal: Los Angeles/Vancouver –Passengers can relax with two full days at sea as they cruise up the Pacific coast on these three-day journeys between Los Angeles and Vancouver. Golden Princess will offer two departures on September 26, 2010 and May 11, 2011, and Coral Princess sails on September 18, 2010.

Pacific Coastal: San Francisco/Vancouver –Several cruises travel between San Francisco’s legendary Golden Gate and picturesque Vancouver. Coral Princess offers a four-day sailing with calls in Astoria, Oregon and Victoria, BC on May 19, 2011. For a two-day option, Island Princess offers sailings on October 4, 2010 and May 14, 2011, while Star Princess sails on May 11, 2011.

Pacific Coastal: Vancouver/Seattle – These convenient overnight sailings between Vancouver and Seattle offer the perfect opportunity for a first taste of Princess hospitality. Sapphire Princess will sail May 15, 2010 and September 19, 2010. Golden Princess will offer departures on September 25, 2010 and May 14, 2011. Royal Princess will cruise on September 13, 2010 and May 18, 2011. And Star Princess will depart on May 13, 2011.

Launch Fares for overnight Coastal sailings start at $99 per person, based on double occupancy.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Carnival Dream Offers Two Level Sports Area

(June 2, 2009) The adults-only Serenity deck area on Carnival Dream will stretch across two levels. The 11,250sq ft area will have a capacity for up to 200 people.

Seating will range from plush chaise lounges to hammocks.
The lower level will provide a full bar in a shaded area while the upper level will offer two whirlpools with big sea views. Customized windscreens were created for the space, which spans the forward sections of Sun Deck 14 and Sky Deck 15. Serenity is accessible via the glass within the Cloud 9 Spa, as well as by two staircases.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

NCL New Norwegian Epic Gets Her Funnel

June 4, 2009 – Norwegian Cruise Line announced that the construction of its largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic, reached another milestone yesterday with the fitting of its two huge funnels at STX Europe in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The massive block consisted of three parts: the two funnels separated by a HVAC station. It weighed 45 tons, and measured approximately 46 feet high, 65 feet long and 23 feet wide, roughly the size of a large yacht. The addition of the funnel is significant as it represents one of the final stages in the completion of the superstructure.

At this stage, the funnel has not reached its final size as it is not yet equipped with the exhaust pipe system. In order to install the system, a crane will be installed on deck 15 to raise the exhaust pipe system over the blue funnel block, located on deck 17.

The last block on the fore part of the vessel will be lowered at the end of the week. Then, the radar mast will be added which will complete Norwegian Epic's structure before her transfer to the outfitting dock. The ship’s float out and transfer to the outfitting dock is currently planned for July 11, 2009.

The 153,000-gross ton, 4,200-passenger ship is scheduled for delivery at the end of May 2010.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Star Clipper's Royal Clipper to Have Resident Marine Biologist

Star Clippers appointed marine biologist Mariano Peruzzo to serve as a resident expert on board Royal Clipper’s Mediterranean and Caribbean sailings. Peruzzo, a graduate in biological sciences of the University of Genoa, will give daily talks on marine biology relevant to the area where the ship is sailing.

He also will provide presentations on the history of oceanography, coral reefs, cetaceans, marine reptiles and geology. The lectures cover climate change, too.Peruzzo is setting up a small laboratory on board and will be conducting scientific research.
Passengers can join him at dawn on deck to look for and log whales and dolphins, or on dives and snorkeling trips, or for beach walks in areas of ecological interest.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Legend of the Seas Choose New Asia Homeport

Eight new itineraries are part of Royal Caribbean International’s spring and summer 2010 Asia roster of 14 sailings, part of the company’s year-round deployment in the region with Legend of the Seas.

The cruises range from four to nine nights. Many mingle exotic new ports for Royal Caribbean such as Hualien, Miyazaki, Nagoya and Vladivostok with more familiar names. Yokohama joins Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai in the homeport line-up.

Highlights of the newly released season include six sailings of four different itineraries from Hong Kong to destinations including Sanya, Hue/Danang, Taipei and Okinawa. Passengers have a choice of two different itineraries from Yokohama, one to Shanghai, Jeju and Busan, and the other to Hakodate, Otaru, Vladivostok and Shanghai.There will also be three sailings from Kaohsiung to ports including Halong Bay and Hong Kong.

Royal Caribbean said Legend of the Seas’ cruises from Shanghai to popular Japanese and Korean destinations such as Kobe, Kagoshima and Busan are expected to attract the interest of local and international visitors in the city during World Expo 2010.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Suzanne Somers Welcomes MSC Poesia

(May 27, 2009) – MSC Cruises announced today that television star, best-selling author and entrepreneur Suzanne Somers will welcome the MSC Poesia to North America when the ship arrives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on November 10, 2009 for its inaugural Caribbean season.

During a unique Welcoming Ceremony, Somers will present a special plaque to MSC Cruises (USA), Inc. President and CEO, Richard Sasso, and the Master of the MSC Poesia commemorating the special day.

The plaque, inscribed “On behalf of the diverse inhabitants of the New World, I wish the MSC Poesia and all who sail with her safe passage and fair seas on the occasion of her inaugural visit to our shores…Suzanne Somers,” will be displayed in the lobby of the MSC Poesia during her Caribbean sailings.

Somers will also offer a champagne toast to the MSC Poesia, her crew and MSC Cruises before she sails on the ship’s inaugural five-night Caribbean cruise.

“The introduction of the MSC Poesia to our Caribbean cruise programs is an important milestone in MSC’s continued commitment to the U.S. market,” said Sasso. “Suzanne Somers is an iconic figure who captures the ‘American Spirit’, and we are delighted to have her act as an official ambassador welcoming MSC Poesia.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oasis of the Seas Subsititues Flamouth, Jamica on Initial Sailings

(June 1, 2009) Oasis of the Seas will call at Mexico’s Costa Maya on 16 Western Caribbean sailings from May through November next year, instead of at Jamaica’s new port of Falmouth.

‘The completion of the port is going to take longer than we had hoped, but Falmouth will be outstanding when it is completed,’ said Craig Milan, svp land operations for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
The Western Caribbean route will also visit Cozumel and Labadee, as planned. Oasis of the Seas will alternate its Western Caribbean itinerary with an Eastern Caribbean route including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau.
The ship is scheduled to operate the original Western Caribbean itinerary and make its maiden call at Falmouth during the Dec. 11, 2010 sailing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Celebrity Equinox Emerges From Shipyard

June 8, 2009 – Celebrity Equinox saw daylight for the first time Saturday, June 6, during her official "docking out" from Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The 2,850-guest ship is the second in Celebrity's widely heralded Solstice Class fleet.

Celebrity Equinox will sail from Papenburg down the River Ems June 19 or 20, depending on the winds and tides, and following various provisioning activities, sea trials and inspections, will host a series of invitation-only special events for press, travel agents and consumers from Southampton, England, from July 23 until entering service July 31. Celebrity Equinox will present a series of “Ancient Empires” and other European itineraries from Southampton and Rome this summer, followed by 10- and 11-night “Ultimate Caribbean” cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., beginning in November.

Celebrity sails in Alaska, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for four of the top 10 "Top Cruise Ships in the World" in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (February 2009 readers’ poll), Celebrity’s fleet – including the new Celebrity Solstice – will be joined by Celebrity Equinox this year, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

MSC Splendida Christened in Barcelona

(June 9, 2009) — MSC Splendida, the second in MSC Cruises’ luxurious “Fantasia” class of cruise ships, is scheduled to be christened in Barcelona on July 12 during a ceremony featuring several world-class performers.

Italian icon Sophia Loren welcomes MSC Splendida as the latest addition to the MSC Cruises’ fleet amidst lavish festivities. She continues the tradition of serving as the ship’s godmother, as she has for MSC Lirica, MSC Opera, MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra, MSC Poesia and MSC Fantasia. Like MSC Splendida, Loren represents the epitome of Italian elegance and style.

Jose Carreras, internationally-known Spanish operatic lyric tenor, lends his memorable voice to the celebration as well. Carreras was one of the “Three Tenors” (along with the Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti and the Spanish singer Plácido Domingo); they are credited with helping find a broader audience for opera. The recording of their first performance together, Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti in Concert, won a Grammy Award in 1991.

Cruising the heart of the Mediterranean and the adjacent European Atlantic seaboard, MSC Splendida is set to embark on a series of inspiring itineraries to many of history’s most famous sites. Alexandria, Ashdod, Athens, Barcelona, Casablanca, Crete, Genoa, Madeira, Malta, Malaga, Naples, Olympia, Rhodes, Rome, Taormina, Tenerife, and Tunis are among the destinations.

Designed by De Joro Design Studio, MSC Splendida’s interiors will complement these famous sites of history with exuberant modern and classically refined Italian designs featuring many natural and traditional materials.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Follow the Refit of the Dawn Princess

(June 9, 2009) – Following the enthusiastic response to its unprecedented online Golden Princess Drydock Journal last month, Princess Cruises is again inviting cruise enthusiasts to go behind the scenes as Dawn Princess undergoes a similar makeover. Visitors to will be able to watch daily as the ship receives new interior furnishings and finishes, plus adds two Princess signature features – the Movies Under the Stars giant poolside screen and the relaxing adults-only Sanctuary.
The Dawn Princess Drydock Journal features regular updates of the work in progress at the Forgacs Cairncross Dockyard in Brisbane, Australia. The journal can be found on the Dawn Princess page in the website’s “Ships” section, and it will be regularly updated throughout the ship’s two-week drydock which ends June 20.

“We had such wonderful feedback from web users about our recent drydock journal that we decided to offer ship fans another behind-the-scenes look at all the work that will go into Dawn Princess’ refurbishment,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “I think when our passengers see first-hand what’s accomplished in a relatively short period of time, they’ll be impressed by the planning and teamwork that goes into ensuring that our ships and their amenities deliver the fantastic experience for which Princess is known.”

When Dawn Princess emerges from the drydock, the ship will feature the opportunity to get away from it all in the tranquility of The Sanctuary, Princess’ signature adults-only retreat featuring plush padded lounge chairs and the services of dedicated Serenity Stewards. Visitors to this exclusive space can enjoy refreshing beverages and light snacks or listen to a relaxing playlist of music.

In addition, Movies Under the Stars will also debut in the poolside area with a state-of-the-art Times Square-style LED screen, offering evening movies and a variety of daytime programming. The 300- square-foot screen offers passengers a movie experience comparable to the best shoreside movie theater. In addition to family cinema and first run hits, Movies Under the Stars also features major sporting events, concerts and a new Leonard Maltin Movie Club.

Other changes viewers will see throughout the drydock include the installation of new carpet and upholstery, plus a rare view of the bottom of the ship’s hull as it receives several new coats of silicone paint.

Dawn Princess is home-ported in Sydney for year-round Australia-based cruising and on July 5, the ship departs on a 104-day world cruise, the first circumnavigation and longest-ever roundtrip voyage from Australia.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Features Found OnBoard NCL's New Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic’s Innovations & Features

(June 1, 2009) Norwegian Epic is changing the face of cruise line entertainment. In another industry first, Blue Man Group will perform in the ship’s 685-seat Epic Theater. Blue Man Group is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The blissful party atmosphere created at their live events has become the trademark of a Blue Man Group experience and beginning in the summer of 2010 will be seen for the first time ever at sea only on Norwegian Epic.

Norwegian Epic will have multiple, specially-designed entertainment venues throughout the ship so that guests can choose from a wide variety of entertainment each evening of their cruise. No longer will entertainment be focused on two nightly shows in one large main theater. Norwegian Epic will offer a number of entertainment options in specially-designed venues, some offered for the first time ever at sea, with choices to appeal to a broad audience.

On this ship, guests will find the only “big top” at sea. In this intimate 265-seat theater-in-the-round, famed producer/director Neil Goldberg will present Cirque Dreams® and Dinner. This one of a kind interactive theatrical dining experience will be performed in the air, while juggling dinner courses, with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. During this two-hour show, guests will marvel in amazement and become part of a celebration of spectacle and fantasy. The entire experience will be unlike anything else at sea.

Norwegian Epic will offer the next generation of Freestyle Dining with 14 restaurant choices – the most at sea – and 18 bars and lounges. The ship also boasts unique nightlife options with the first Ice Bar at sea and Spice H20 with non-stop entertainment day and night; an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea -- The Epic Plunge; seven decks of Freestyle Family Fun with highlights including a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six in two venues; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; as well as three separate kids’ and teen activity areas and the first squash court at sea.

The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic incorporates several new types of accommodations – the curved New Wave staterooms; the largest ship-within-a-ship suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship; a new category of inside staterooms for the value-conscious traveler – The Studios and Living Room; and spa and family-friendly accommodations.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Crystal Cruises Offers Discounts and Enjoys Record Bookings

June 3, 2009 – Crystal Cruises announced record bookings for the week ending June 2 – the highest booking week since the luxury line expanded its “All Inclusive – As You Wish” program. The number of guests booking and revenue was more than 100% higher than the average weekly totals since the beginning of 2009.
The surge of interest has been strong for both close-in cruises and those more than a year out, including notable increases for summer cruises aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity in the Baltic and Mediterranean, fall cruises in New England/Canada and Europe, and winter South America.

“It’s very positive to see such a strong response to Crystal’s promotions,” said Gregg Michel, president of Crystal Cruises. “Guest satisfaction has been very high and the travel agent community has been very supportive of our programs. Luxury travelers appreciate enriching experiences, abundant choices, consistency of reputation, and extraordinary value.”
In the past two weeks, Crystal has hosted its top producing travel agents at a festive Awards Gala, launched its elegant new website, and has enjoyed tremendous response to its All Inclusive – As You Wish messaging that offers credits good for any spa treatment, any vintage wine, any Crystal Adventure ashore and most everything else on board.
Crystal’s All Inclusive – As You Wish promotion offers up to $1,000 per person spending credit allows guests to customize their cruise experience on nearly every 2009 and 2010 itinerary;

Celebration Savings extend up to $1,500 savings per person on most 2009 Mediterranean and Baltic itineraries and Crystal Symphony South America voyages; Crystal Family Memories promises a free berth and a host of bonus perks and credits for groups.

For 2010, Crystal is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with gifts of savings:
* All Inclusive – As You Wish – Shipboard credits on every individual voyage in 2010. Most cruises offer $2,000 per couple, all the way up to $10,000 per couple for the full World Cruise;
* 20th Anniversary Fares – Up to $3,000 per couple savings on all Mediterranean and Northern Europe voyages booked by December 31, 2009;

* Birthday Bonus! – Book your 2010 birthday cruise by December 31, 2009 and save 50% on a future Crystal cruise taken before your next birthday.

The Crystal Assurance Plan provides enduring value that has resonated with discerning travelers. “Guests have been particularly reassured by the fare protection of our CAP program,” adds Michel. “

If someone books a 2009 or 2010 Crystal cruise and the fare for that stateroom category is later reduced, the guest will be protected at the reduced fare. It’s a respectful way to treat your valued clientele.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Princess Cruises Mark's 40th Anniversary From San Francisco

(June 5, 2009) – To commemorate Princess Cruises’40th anniversary sailing from the “City by the Bay,” Rodney Fong, president of the San Francisco Port Commission presents a proclamation from Mayor Gavin Newsom declaring "Princess Cruises Day" in San Francisco on June 3 to Steve Nielsen, vice president of shore operations, Princess Cruises. Fitting to the celebration, Nielsen also celebrates his 40th anniversary with Princess Cruises this year.

Princess Italia first sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge on June 3, 1969, for her first voyage to Alaska. Since that inaugural voyage, Princess has made approximately 1,000 port calls at the Port of San Francisco and carried well over 1 million passengers.

Sea Princess is currently sailing on 10-day Alaska cruises from San Francisco through September.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Luxury SilverSea World Cruise Features Guest Speakers

(June 4, 2009) Departing Fort Lauderdale on January 21, 2010, Silversea's newest ultra-luxury ship, Silver Spirit, is set to explore over 20 countries and 45 ports on her 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage, visiting South America, the Mexican Riviera and crossing the Panama Canal before reaching her ultimate destination, New York City.

To celebrate such a momentous journey, Silversea is lining up an array of celebrity guest speakers (to host onboard presentations), complimentary excursions and other exclusive onshore events designed to showcase local cultures as well as entertain guests.
Two popular personalities already tapped to highlight the enrichment roster are:
John Cleese - February 20, 2010 (Buenos Aires to Santiago) Renowned for his TV roles in Monty Python's Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers, the actor, writer and comedic legend will share insights and anecdotes from his long career and entertain guests aboard Voyage 5005.
Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan - April 2, 2010 (Los Angeles to New York) Astronaut and first American woman to walk in space, this veteran of three shuttle missions and a 2004 inductee to the Astronaut Hall of Fame will offer guests a look at the achievements of her space career during Voyage 5009.
"Our beautiful new Silver Spirit is set to embark on her maiden journey to some of the most interesting destinations in the Americas," said Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America. "Whether sailing the full voyage or one of the shorter segments, our guests will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime luxury travel experience wrapped in all the colorful fanfare and excitement befitting a brand new ship."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Special 3 Night Cruise on Aurora Features Illusionist

(June 3, 2009) Derren Brown will ‘sea’ you on board Aurora

Illusionist Derren Brown will be performing his spectacular mind-readingshow on board P&O Cruises superliner Aurora in September 2009.
The 3-nightcruise, departing 23rd September 2009, will go on sale on Friday 12th June2009.
The man once dubbed the ‘scariest man in Britain’ will hold perform two interactive 45-minute shows on board in the Curzon theatre.
The 3-night cruise departing 23rd September 2009 from Southampton will call at Zeebrugge and La Havre.
Prices start from £214* per person.
For more information or to book call P&O Cruises - visit

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Norwegian Epic Sets Booking Records - NCL Offers Discounts

June 1, 2009 – Norwegian Cruise Line saw demand for its largest ever Freestyle Cruising vessel Norwegian Epic skyrocket in the first week that the ship’s itineraries went on sale to the public, beginning Thursday, May 21, 2009. Norwegian Epic’s first week of bookings far exceeded opening week sales for the company’s last two new ships: Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem. All categories of staterooms were in demand, from the groundbreaking new Studios for the value-conscious traveler to the ultra luxurious villas, penthouses and deluxe owner’s suites. Prices start from $699 per person; however, based on high demand, prices increases are taking effect on some of the more popular sailings.

“We are thrilled to see the keen interest in Norwegian Epic this early on. It’s a testament to the wide range of accommodations and innovative new features that will take Freestyle Cruising to the next level,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian’s executive vice president, global sales and passenger services. “We want our guests and travel partners to know that we appreciate their excitement and support in helping to make Norwegian Epic’s launch the most successful ever. We encourage those who want to experience this extremely innovative ship to book a cruise on Norwegian Epic during her inaugural season.”

Members of Norwegian’s past guest program, Latitudes, can take advantage of a special Norwegian Epic promotional offer from now through August 31, 2009, that includes up to a three category stateroom upgrade; additional discounts on the cruise fare of up to $100 per stateroom; and up to $500 in on-board credit for suites and villas*.

Norwegian Epic is scheduled to enter service in late May 2010, and will take part in inaugural events before beginning her Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from her year-round homeport in Miami . The first Eastern Caribbean sailing from Miami is scheduled for July 17, 2010 and the ship’s alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries are available through April 2011.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Princess Cruise Announces 2010 New England Canada Program

(June 1, 2009) Whether travelers are drawn by the natural beauty of rugged coastlines, intrigued by colonial landmarks, or hope to experience dazzling fall foliage, Princess’ annual voyages along the Atlantic coast of Canada and New England are full of memorable destinations. In 2010, Caribbean Princess and Crown Princess will return to the region to offer the perfect way to experience the charms of the Eastern Seaboard.

In total, the two ships will offer 15 departures on three different itineraries. For a convenient roundtrip cruise, Caribbean Princess will sail on seven-day voyages from New York. For those who want to explore this historic region further, Crown Princess departs on the classic 10-day itinerary between New York City and charming Québec City. And for a tour of the entire coastline, Crown Princess will also sail on an extended 13-day Canada & Colonial America journey along the full length of the Atlantic coast. The Canada & New England season will run from August 7 through October 17, 2010.

“There are few itineraries where passengers can visit some of North America’s greatest cities and enjoy such unspoiled beauty all in one vacation,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “These Canada and New England sailings offer such an attractive travel option that we’ve deployed two of our largest, most amenity-filled vessels on the route.”

Princess’ 2010 Canada & New England season includes:

Roundtrip Seven-Day Canada & New England from New York - Caribbean Princess will sail on convenient seven-day roundtrip itineraries from New York with port calls in Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor (for Acadia national Park), Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy) and Halifax. The ship will depart on 11 sailings from August 7 to October 16.

Classic 10-Day Canada & New England - Crown Princess will offer Princess’ classic 10-day route between New York and Québec City. Passengers will enjoy visits to Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor (for Acadia national Park), Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy), Halifax, Sydney (Nova Scotia) and Ville Saguenay (Québec), plus an overnight stay in charming Québec City. The ship sails on three cruises on this route between September 17 and October 7.

Canada & Colonial America - Crown Princess will also feature one departure on an extended 13-day Canada & Colonial America itinerary from Québec City to Ft. Lauderdale. The October 17 sailing includes an overnight in Québec City and visits Ville Saguenay, Halifax, Bar Harbor (for Acadia National Park), Boston, Newport, New York (Brooklyn), Norfolk (for Williamsburg and Jamestown), and Charleston.

For those who would like to extend their Canada & New England vacation, Princess offers escorted pre- or post-cruise land tours in conjunction with these sailings, in which passengers can travel back through historic America or spend further time in Canada with a complete cruisetour.

Launch fares for seven-day Canada & New England sailings begin at $945 per person, based on double occupancy. Canada & New England sailings open for sale on May 21, 2009.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent or

Friday, June 5, 2009

Travel Channel Cruise Special Features Carnival Freedom

(June 4, 2009) – In an upcoming episode of the Travel Channel series, Samantha Brown’s Great Cruises, host Samantha Brown reunites with family and friends during an hour-long cruise special airing Saturday, June 13, at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel.

In the episode, Samantha provides viewers with an inside look at her vacation aboard the Carnival Freedom.
The program highlights her experience with the variety of facilities and features aboard the 110,000-ton “Fun Ship,” along with the many sites and attractions of its popular eastern Caribbean itinerary that includes St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola/Virgin Gorda, Nassau and San Juan.
Brown and her traveling companions relax and re-connect aboard the Carnival Freedom, taking advantage of the 2,974-passenger ship’s many on-board amenities, including luxurious spa treatments in the 14,500-square-foot health club and a host of activities, ranging from basketball, mini-golf and ping-pong to a ballroom dancing class and a visit to the casino. Cameras also follow the group as they explore Carnival Freedom’s tropical ports of call.
Activities include an exhilarating ATV adventure and zipline tour in Antigua, swimming and relaxing at The Baths in Virgin Gorda, shopping for duty-free bargains in St. Thomas and a scenic carriage ride in Nassau. Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Europe and Bermuda.
The line currently has two new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2011. The first of those, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, is set to debut Sept. 21, 2009.

Costa Accepts Delivery of the New Costa Pacifica.

(May 29, 2009) Costa Pacifica, the 14th ship in the Costa fleet was delivered on May 29th by Fincantieri's Siestri Ponente Shipyard.

The handover follows the delivery of the Costa Luminosa on April 30th from the Fincantieri's Maghera yard.

The 114,500 grt Costa Pacifica, is the third ship in the Concordia series and can carry 3,780 passengers.

The Costa Pacifica is the third Costa ship delivered by Fincantieri in the last year. She will be followed by two identical sisters in 2011 and 2012. As well as the 92,600 ton Costa Deliziosa in January 2010.

In the past 9 years, Costa has invested 3.5 Billion Euros in new ships.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Costa Crociere Purchases 100% Interest in Iberocruceros

May 29, 2009 - Costa Crociere signed an agreement with Spanish Tour Operator Orizonia to acquire complete control of Iberocruceros.

In 2007, Costa purchased a 75% interest in the cruise line.

Iberocruceros operates three ships, the Grand Mistral, Grand Celebration and Grand Voyager, with a total capacity of 4,500 berths.

The deal is subject to ratification by the Spanish Anti-trust Authorities.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Port of Call Martinique.

May 25, 2009, this month's featured cruise port is Martinique. A little bit of France in the Caribbean.

To read a full review of this popular cruise destination, use the link below.
Photo Courtesy of

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bermuda Adds Second Mega Pier.

April saw the opening of Bermuda's second mega pier located at the West End, Royal Naval Dockyard. The new pier will enable Bermuda to handle 2 large mega liners simultaneously.

Prior to the introduction of the second pier, larger ships were forced to share the single pier. Ships would need to coordinate their time spent in Bermuda or anchor in the Grassy Bay and ferry passengers in.

Modest size ships could still dock either at St. George or Hamilton, but due to channel limitations, larger ships could not enter these ports.

The Norwegian Spirit, which is currently sailing 7 day cruises to Bermuda from Boston, was the first ship to inaugurate the new pier.

In addition, the Bermuda government made infrastructure improvements, including improved roads, public transportation and hubs to improve access to/from the facility.