Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Royal Caribbean Offers Behind The Scenes Tour for a Fee

August 2011 - Below deck, backstage and behind certain doors, the sophisticated operations of a Royal Caribbean International ship has always piqued guests’ curiosity. To help demystify the hard work put forth by the cruise line’s dedicated staff and crew and the spaces they work in, Royal Caribbean International today announced the launch of the All Access Tour. Guests now have the option to visit behind-the-scenes operations spaces and meet key shipboard staff members on an escorted tour during their Royal Caribbean vacation. The All Access Tour will offer guests insight into the inner workings of some of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships and be available fleetwide aboard each ship’s first July 2011 sailing.

“The All Access Tour offers guests the opportunity to learn about what it takes onboard to deliver the world’s most contemporary vacation, also known as the Royal Advantage,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “Our guests have always inquired into what happens behind the scenes and below deck. We are glad to offer these really special guest tours into areas that are normally not accessible, escorted by staff members who explain the complex workings of running of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships.”

The All Access Tour escorts guests into a variety of ‘back-of-house’ areas, including a visit to the bridge, galley, backstage of the main theater, engine control room and other behind-the-scenes operations areas that collectively create the best vacation experience and value for guests. At least one All Access Tour will be offered on itineraries shorter than seven nights, and two tours offered aboard a seven-night or longer itinerary with additional tours added, based on demand. The experience lasts up to 3.5 hours and is $150 per guest and can be purchased onboard with the Concierge, Crown & Anchor Society Loyalty Ambassador, or at Guest Relations.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

American Safari Cruises to Operate the Renamed Spirit of Endeavour

August 2011 - American Safari Cruises announces the addition of an 86-guest small ship to its fleet of three yachts offering inclusive adventure cruises. The Safari Endeavour, formerly the Spirit of Endeavour, will undergo major renovation to transform it into an upscale vessel ready to sail in Southeast Alaska in summer 2012.

“This is an ideal time to expand our fleet,” said Dan Blanchard, principal and chief executive officer. “In our 14-year history, our occupancy rates have never been higher, and we are seeing an increase in demand for the type of small-group adventure travel we offer.”

The yacht-style ship will cruise in Southeast Alaska from May to September. Weeklong cruises roundtrip from Juneau, Alaska follow similar itineraries sailed by the yachts with two days exploration in Glacier Bay National Park and expedition cruising in Icy Strait, Frederick Sound, Thomas Bay, Chichagof Island, Ford’s Terror and Endicott Arm. Inclusive fares start at $4,795 per person. Two-week cruises from Seattle to Juneau and reverse will be offered in spring and fall.

“The addition of the Safari Endeavour enables more travelers to see the awe-inspiring sights in Alaska—close up adventure on a small ship,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “The newly-created ambiance on board will be casual yet with a full menu of upscale amenities. The highlight remains the wilderness outside which we explore daily in a variety of ways.”

An extensive renovation project will add American Safari Cruises’ exceptional comfort and refined atmosphere on board. The guest capacity of the yacht-style ship will be reduced 16% from 102 to 86 guests with a mix of twin (some convertible) and king beds. Five stateroom categories include three Master, 21 Commander, 12 Captain, three Admiral and four Commodore Suites. The suites will be created by merging two former staterooms and adding new step-out balconies. All staterooms have one or two outside view windows. Other amenities being added to the ship include two massage rooms, two hot tubs, sauna, exercise equipment, wine bar and a library. An all-American crew of 34 will ensure attentive service with a guest-crew ratio of 2.5 to 1.

American Safari Cruises’ active, adventure cruises allow freedom to engage in many activities, much like on board the yachts. Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards are available for excursions. Skiff rides will explore shoreline, wildlife and glaciers up close. Expert naturalists and guides lead excursions on land and sea. An enhanced program of educational presentations will be presented in the salon. In Glacier Bay, a National Park Ranger boards the ship for two days to lead hiking and kayaking excursions and provide interpretation of the area’s history, culture and geography.

American Safari Cruises’ meals are a highly anticipated part of each day. Exquisite cuisine is innovative and fresh with seafood and produce purchased locally whenever possible. All meals will be served in the elegant dining room, and the complimentary bar offers premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Norwegian Cruise Line Updates Smoking Policy

August 2011 - Norwegian Cruise Line today announced adjustments to its smoking policy for each of the line’s 11 Freestyle Cruising ships in response to changing guest preferences. Effective January 2012, guests setting sail on a Norwegian cruise vacation are no longer permitted to smoke cigarettes in their staterooms. Guests who are in a balcony stateroom will be permitted to smoke on the outside balcony; however, cigar and pipe smoking in staterooms and on balconies is prohibited. Ashtrays will be available for use upon request through housekeeping staff.

In an effort to diminish the presence of smoke indoors, cigarette smoking is only permitted in the casino, where ashtrays and appropriate signage will be displayed. Smoking is prohibited in all other public interior venues including all bars, restaurants, conference rooms, corridors, restrooms, staircases and landings. Guests may utilize the enclosed cigar bars on board Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Spirit for cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking.

In addition, the policy allows guests to smoke cigarettes, cigars and pipes in outdoor public guest spaces and open decks, where designated by the appropriate signage. Smoking is not permitted near outdoor venues which serve food, in open spaces such as the jogging track, sport complex, children’s pool and in The Haven outdoor areas.

For more information on Norwegian’s updated smoking policy guests may consult their Freestyle Daily once on board the ship, or view the policy on the website at


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Plantour To Operare the Columbus C in May 2012

Starting in May 2012, the German tour operator Plantours will take delivery of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ chartered Columbus. The ship, which has been on charter to Hapag-lloyd for the last 10 years will be renamed MS Hamburg, during a christening ceremony in June (in Hamburg).

The 400-passenger vessel is scheduled to sail in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean before repositioning to the Canary Islands and the Caribbean for the winter. The Hamburg will replace Plantour’s current ship, the Vistamar.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene New York and Baltimore Cruise Update

8-27-2011 UPDATE Hurricane Irene is quickly approaching and the cruise ships have rapidly unloaded and loaded passengers and stores. As we speak the majority of the ships are heading out to sea at a good speed. Many ships are traveling eastward and then south to go around the storm while those going to New England Canada are sailing away from the storm. To see how and when the ships left today, check out our updates. ->
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene Causes Cruise Lines to Alter Itineraries

Hurricane Irene has caused cruise lines to make many last minute changes as storm approaches. To read about how the itineraries are changing click here ->
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Oceana Cruises - Riviera Debut Delayed 10 Days

Oceania Cruises’ new Riviera will sail her maiden voyage April 24, 2012, from Athens, 10 days later than originally planned. The line is delaying Riviera’s first revenue cruise to allow additional time for the staff to familiarize themselves with the ship’s facilities and fine-tune the countless details required to deliver the acclaimed Oceania Cruises Experience.

The new maiden voyage is a 12-day Ancient Grandeur itinerary that visits Alexandria and Port Said, Haifa and Ashdod (Jerusalem), Alanya, Rhodes, Patmos and Kusadasi (Ephesus) before ending with an overnight stay onboard ship in Istanbul.

Oceania Cruises guests who were booked on the original 10-night maiden voyage will be moved to the new, longer sailing at no additional cost. Guests will also receive a $250 per guest shipboard credit as a gesture of goodwill from Oceania Cruises.

Guests who desire a different voyage may book any other Oceania Cruises’ itinerary and enjoy a $250 per guest future cruise credit. In the event guests wish to cancel, they will receive a full refund. Travel agent commissions will be protected.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Princess Cruise Updates Smoking Policy

Princess Cruises has announced that smoking will no longer be allowed in passenger staterooms or on balconies, effective on all sailings departing after January 15, 2012.

The new policy reflects changing customer preferences and the move around the globe -- from North America to Europe -- to further restrict areas where smoking is allowed, according to the line.

"Our consumer studies now show that smokers are a small minority of our passengers, and that the large majority of passengers value having their primary living space onboard smoke-free," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.

Swartz added that balconies are included in the new policy because they are a hallmark feature of Princess ships, and the line believes it's important to keep that peaceful space clear of smoke.

She added that Princess still welcomes passengers who smoke, and will continue to provide special venues around the ship to accommodate smokers. Smoking will continue to be allowed in the Churchill's cigar lounge, a section of the disco and casino, and a portion of the open decks.

Booked passengers are being notified of the new policy, which is also being communicated widely throughout the line's informational materials.


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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Compagnie du Ponant Offers Discount on Le Levant Caribbean Sailing

Renowned luxury yacht cruise company, Compagnie du Ponant, who recently expanded their worldwide cruise options to now include 17 Caribbean sailings, is offering guests a seven-night “St. Martin – St. Martin” cruise – with limited time savings of up to 25%. The two 2012 sailings aboard the 330-foot mega yacht Le Levant travel roundtrip from St. Martin – noted for white sand beaches, exciting nightlife and French-Indian Cuisine –visiting ports in the British Virgin Islands, French West Indies, Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis and the municipalities of the Netherlands. Highlights include The Baths, a collection of grottoes facing the sea in Virgin Gorda; the coral reefs in Tortola; and the volcanic Mount Scenery, which dominates the landscape of Saba. Fares are currently being offered at a 25% savings under Ponant’s Bonus program – the more in advance the booking, the greater the savings. Prices for the Mar. 12 and 19 departures range from $2,410 to $3,286 per person, double; brochure prices are $3,213 to $4,381. In addition, a $400 shipboard credit per stateroom, based on double occupancy, is being offered to new guests on any cruise if booked by Sept. 31, 2011. Other Caribbean/South American itineraries include round trip Martinique in November, Martinique-Dominican Republic in December, Martinique-Venezuela in January and Panama-Venezuela in March. Prices for these voyages start at $1,985 and range from seven to nine nights.

After embarking in St. Martin, the ship sails to the white sand beaches of Antigua, a popular yachting and sailing destination, and Basseterre, one of the oldest towns in the eastern Caribbean. Guests have a chance to explore the island’s many sites – the National Museum, Berkeley Memorial, Public Market and Independence Square – before arriving at the small volcanic island of Saba, known for the scuba diving, climbing and hiking opportunities afforded by its coral reefs and mountainous terrain. The mega yacht sails through Sir Francis Drake Channel and the Gorda Sound, stopping at ports including Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands; Jost van Dyke, a small volcanic island rumored to have been used as the Dutch privateer’s hideout; and the laid-back island of Virgin Gorda (Spanish Town), named for its resemblance to a woman lying on her side when viewed from sea. Circling back into the French West Indies, travelers can enjoy the beaches, gourmet dining and high-end designer goods for which St. Bart’s is famous before returning to St. Martin.

Ponant’s philosophy is front and center on its cruises: designed for the traveler who prefers to explore off-the-beaten­-path, unspoiled destinations, especially those out of sight of the large ship masses. Just as important to the guests’ experience as they trek around the world, is the on-board environment. The company prides itself on its discrete personalized service, assured with a staff to guest ratio of greater than 1:2, delicious cuisine – both haute and country French, stylish accommodations, elegant design, expansive sun decks and open-air restaurants.

The 330-foot Le Levant offers an intimate setting in a spacious environment for its 90 guests: two restaurants, a spacious lounge, several bars, a library, a swimming pool, a beauty and fitness area with sauna, and salon. A 4,300-square-foot Sun Deck provides plenty of space for relaxing in the sun and open air. Its 45 outside staterooms have an abundance of space and amenities – king size or twin beds, a desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers and L’Occitane amenities. The staterooms have all the latest technology including: flat screen satellite TVs, DVD/CD players, satellite direct-dial telephone and Wi-Fi and 110/220 outlets.

Included in all sailings are all meals, accompanied by wine, beer and soda; Captain’s welcome, cocktail parties and gala dinner; 24-hour room service; and all entertainment, events and shows as indicated within the itinerary. Port charges/taxes, gratuities, optional excursions and transfers are additional.

Established in 1988, Compagnie du Ponant is a division of CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container shipping group. As a member of both La Charte Bleue d’Armateurs de France and IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators), all of Compagnie du Ponant’s cruise itineraries are designed to protect marine wildlife, coastal environments and local flora and fauna.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

P&O Offers Free Nights on Select Cruises.

P&O Cruises has 20,000 free cruise nights available on 2011 holidays of seven nights and more. The offer is available on the remaining 2011 holidays departing between August and December 31. Bookings must be made by September 30, 2011.

One free cruise night represents savings of 14% on a seven night cruise.

P&O Cruises managing director Carol Marlow said: “It’s not too late to enjoy a cruise holiday this year and these offers present exceptional value for money on holidays to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, USA and the Canary Islands.

“We have the ship and holiday to suit everyone – whether you want to sail from Southampton or fly and join a ship in Barbados, Savona or Athens; whether you want a ship that’s family friendly or exclusively for adults; large or small. Whatever you choose – one night will be free.”

For the first time this year, family friendly ship Oceana is offering year-round cruises from Southampton, making it possible to enjoy a winter holiday in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Caribbean and USA, without flying.

A 12 night Canary Islands cruise on board Oceana departing November 9, 2011 (E130) is priced from £952 per person including a one free night saving of £86 per person*. Departing from and returning to Southampton, ports of call are La Coruna, Madeira, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Cadiz and Lisbon.

All bookings must be made before September 30, 2011.


Monday, August 22, 2011

All Discovery Cruising Brands Offer Discounts on 2 Holiday Sailings

Two of All Discovery Cruising’s brands feature extraordinary holiday itineraries, now at a savings of up to 65% off brochure fares, to the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea that enable guests to celebrate the Winter holidays and ring in 2012 in exotic destinations while enjoying magnificent coastal scenery and exploring fascinating aspects of culture and history.

Swan Hellenic’s 320-guest Minerva departs Dec. 21 on a 16-day “Mysteries of the Indian Ocean” journey from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Singapore, while Voyage of Discovery’s 650-guest Discovery departs Dec. 19 on a 16-night “Treasures of the Orient & Vietnam” cruise from Bangkok, Thailand to Hong Kong.

“Early bookings for our holiday itineraries have been excellent, with travelers eager to spend their holidays enjoying small ship cruising experiences that feature unique destinations, luxury and enrichment at a superior value,” said Steve Novello, President of All Discovery Cruising, North America. “Guests are always welcomed like family on our holiday cruises, and we encourage anyone interested to book while there is still availability.”

Minerva’s “Mysteries of the Indian Ocean” itinerary features cruising up the Yangon River to Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar’s former capital and a visit to the Andaman Islands, the remote and impressive archipelago of about 184 islands in the Indian Ocean. Also on the itinerary are Penang and Malacca, Malaysia, which fuse East and West, and guests will enjoy four shipboard overnights (Colombo, Yangon for two nights, and Singapore) – all amidst the British country elegance that is Minerva – before arriving in the vibrant city of Singapore.

Rates begin at $2,599 per person – from $160 per day – and include shore excursions, all gratuities and port charges.

With fares beginning at about $80 per person per day ($1,399 per person, cruise only; $2,499 per person with air), Discovery’s “Treasures of the Orient & Vietnam” cruise takes guests from Bangkok to Vietnam, with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon and now the heart of Vietnam), Nha Trang, Da Nang (a center of Vietnamese history and culture) and the picturesque Ha Long Bay. The ship then heads to China where Discovery will make her maiden calls at the “Garden City” of Beihai and Haikou, known as China’s “Hawaii” with its beautiful beaches, before arriving at the exciting, cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong.

The itinerary includes six shipboard overnights – Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City for two nights, Da Nang, Ha Long Bay and Hong Kong.

Both holiday cruises include All Discovery Cruising’s highly acclaimed distinguished guest speaker program and enrichment workshops designed to help guests better understand the region’s culture, history and wildlife, as well as gala dinners and holiday-themed cocktail parties.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Louis Cruise Line Cancels Louis Majesty Winter Program.

Louis Group, which oversees Louis Cruises, has decided not to deploy the Louis Majesty out of Genoa and Marseilles this coming winter.

The Louis Majesty will complete its current cruise programs out of Greece until the end of the summer/fall season. The Louis Majesty will then undergo her annual maintenance and dry docking. The Louis Majesty will resume her sailings from Piraeus in March 2012.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cunard's Queen Victoria Offers Winter Panama Canal And Hawaii Cruises

Whether guests are celebrating a special occasion or searching for a relaxing adventure closer to home, Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria offers both as the ship reprises her Americas Season in late 2011 and early 2012, which includes updated itineraries through the Panama Canal and voyages to the tropical Hawaiian Islands. Fares start from $1,295 per person, based on double occupancy.

This season, guests aboard Queen Victoria will revel in the luxury of time both on and off the ship, with stops that highlight the natural beauty and tranquility of the Panama Canal, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Mexico. Depending on the voyage itinerary, guests will stop at exotic locales including Costa Rica, St. Thomas and Honolulu:

15-day Panama Canal Explorer (new) departs on 6 December 2011 and 30 January 2012 from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, and sails from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale on 4 January, with stops in Oranjestad (Aruba), Panama Canal transit, Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Huatulco (Mexico), Acapulco (Mexico) and Manzanillo (Mexico). Fares from $1,295 per person.

11-day Roundtrip Panama Canal departs from Fort Lauderdale on 19 January 2012, calling on Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas), St. John’s (Antigua), St. George’s (Grenada), Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles) and a partial transit of the Panama Canal. Fares from $1,295 per person.

17-day Panama Canal Treasures departs 28 February 2012 from Los Angeles, calling on Manzanillo (Mexico), Acapulco (Mexico), Huatulco (Mexico), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Panama Canal transit, Oranjestad (Aruba), Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas) and New York. Fares from $2,095 per person.

14-day Hawaiian Adventure departs roundtrip from Los Angeles on 21 December 2011 and 14 February 2012, calling on Hilo (Hawaii), Honolulu (Oahu), Nawiliwili (Kauai) and Lahaina (Maui), as well as a quick visit to Ensenada (Mexico). Fares from $1,695 per person.

All fares are based on double occupancy.

“We are pleased that Queen Victoria will winter in the Americas again, pairing the ship’s unique intimate elegance with some of the most awe-inspiring destinations in the world,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “From the Panama Canal, one of the world’s greatest engineering feats, to some of the most legendary islands, Queen Victroria’s Americas voyages are quickly becoming a new Cunard classic.”

The legacy of Cunard’s ocean liners lives on through Queen Victoria’s Americas Season, combining the brand’s legendary hallmarks with contemporary sophistication of the modern age to create a unique memorable voyage for each guest. Aboard Queen Victoria, guests can customize their itineraries according to their interests, with such activities as enjoying traditional afternoon tea served by white-gloved waiters, attending a stimulating Cunard Insights lecture, rejuvenating body and mind at the spa, dressing up for Royal Nights themed balls, sipping cocktails in one of the ship’s sophisticated bars and lounges, or simply relaxing poolside with a good book.


Friday, August 19, 2011

The “Islands of Aloha” have a special appeal as a cruise destination, and Princess Cruises is offering a choice of more than 50 sailings to the Hawaiian Islands in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. These culture-filled cruises depart from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, offering time to relax on the open ocean combined with visits to each of the major four islands in Hawaii.

While at sea, passengers will experience a special “Aloha Spirit” program with Hawaii-themed activities, parties, menu items and learning opportunities. Whether they choose to enjoy an Aloha sailaway party, learn about local wildlife and volcanoes, or simply want to relax and enjoy the poolside Hawaiian melodies or an island-themed Movies Under the Stars selection, cruisers will find numerous ways to feel the Hawaiian spirit.

Included in the program are a number of hands-on ways for passengers to immerse themselves in all things Hawaii, such as:

Hawaiian language lessons
Lei making
Playing the ukulele
Hula dance lessons
Hawaii-themed culinary demonstrations
Kona Coffee tastings

Special in-port artisans will demonstrate traditional Hawaiian arts, including a special Ni‘ihau shell lei making presentations by artists providing a unique look at the culture of the “forbidden island.” While in Honolulu, passengers will also enjoy an entertaining hula show by children from one of the most-respected local hula halaus (schools). The onboard naturalist will also help cruisers identify local whales and dolphins with top-deck animal-spotting sessions.

Passengers will also dine on dishes inspired by Hawaii’s bountiful fare – including fresh fruits such as pineapples and mangos, unique fish and seafood, luau staples such as roast pig, and treats like coconut and macadamia nuts. Princess’ special Hawaiian food and beverage selections include:

Appetizers: Hawaiian-Style Red Snapper Ceviche and Caramelized Maui Onion Soup
Main dishes: Grilled Tiger Shrimp Kebabs with Mango Lime Relish, and Luau Pork with Apricot Drippings
Desserts: Coconut Haupia Pudding or Flourless Macadamia Nut Chocolate Cake.
Cocktails: Blue Hawaiian Punch and the Ultimate Mai Tai

“Our Hawaii sailings offer a wonderful way to enjoy both the spirit of the islands and opportunity to unwind with a leisurely ocean voyage,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “And our onboard programs will give them a true taste of Hawaii even as they sail.”

Hawaiian Islands sailings begin a new season on September 28, sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles through April 25. Golden Princess and Sapphire Princess offer 14-day cruises, departing on Wednesdays and Saturdays, respectively, to the volcanic wonder of the Big Island (Hilo), the capital city of Honolulu on Oahu, the beautiful beaches of Maui (Lahaina) and the lush Garden Isle of Kauai (Nawiliwili). Departures continue in the 2012-13 season between September 26 and April 24.

In addition, in 2012 Star Princess and Grand Princess will begin offering 15-day roundtrip voyages from San Francisco, also calling at all four islands. The ships will offer 10 departures between March 19, 2012 and April 25, 2013.

For those looking for a longer tropical vacation, a new 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa itinerary offers the opportunity to sail not only to Hawaii, but also visit the South Pacific islands of Pago Pago, Apia, Bora Bora, Moorea, and Tahiti. These cruises sail roundtrip from Los Angeles aboard Sapphire Princess on October 20, 2012 and on Star Princess on March 26, 2013.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

All Discovery Cruising Brands Recognized With British Travel Awards Nominations

All three brands of All Discovery Cruising’s small ship cruising portfolio have been named finalists in the prestigious 2011 British Travel Awards.

Travel industry professionals and selected consumers nominated the British cruise company’s Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic, and Hebridean Island Cruises in several categories.

“It is very exciting to have all of our products recognized by both travel professionals and consumers,” said Steve Novello, President of All Discovery Cruising, North America. “This year’s nominations at the British Travel Awards, in addition to other industry accolades that we’ve received over the years, reflect our continued focus on providing all our guests with superior, enriching small ship cruising experiences.”

Hebridean Island Cruises, serving the ultra-luxury small ship cruising market with the 50-guest Hebridean Princess, is a finalist in two categories: Best Luxury Cruise Line and Best Niche Cruise Line. Hebridean Princess was proud to have welcomed back Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and members of her family when the ship was privately chartered in 2010.

Voyages of Discovery is a finalist in two categories: Best Niche Cruise Line, where it earned top honors in 2010, and Best UK Departure Cruise Line. During the Summer 2012 season, the 650-guest Discovery sails on an extraordinary collection of 7- to 29-night itineraries, visiting a record number of 25 new ports.

Swan Hellenic, offering small ship discovery cruising in British country elegance aboard the 320-guest Minerva and a river cruising program, is a finalist in three categories: Best Niche Cruise Line, Best River Cruise Line, and Best UK Departure Cruise Line. Swan Hellenic was a Silver winner in the 2010 Best River Cruise Line division.

“The British Travel Awards are widely considered to be the ‘Oscars’ of the UK travel industry. It is the largest awards program in the UK created to reward travel companies and the winning accolade is the benchmark for excellence,” said Lorraine Barnes Burton, BTA’s Chief Executive.

All the nominees now progress to the consumer voting stage; in 2010 consumers cast more than 120,000 votes. Winners for 2011 will be announced at a Nov. 2 gala in London.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MSC Cruises Offers 2nd Person 1/2 Fare Special on Select Med Cruises.

August, 2011- MSC Yacht Club announces an exclusive, limited-time offer for discerning travelers to sail Europe. Available aboard the prestigious foredecks of MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, cruise enthusiasts who book travel by Aug. 31 will reap the benefit of 50 percent savings off the cruise fare of a second guest staying in the same Yacht Club suite during select seven-night voyages through Nov. 6.

Perfect for family and group travel, rates begin at $2,969 per first guest and $1,484.50 per second guest in the same Yacht Club suite, inclusive of accommodations, $100 shipboard credit per person (maximum $200 per suite).

Take in some of the most intriguing locales in Europe, including Naples, Barcelona, and Marseille. MSC Yacht Club offers an upgraded cruise experience and provides a welcome ‘sanctuary’ amid a large ship cruise experience. Exclusive amenities and around-the-clock ‘perks’ of MSC Yacht Club include: Italian-designed suites; 24-hour butler service; 24-hour Concierge; complimentary wines and spirits while aboard, complimentary fine dining in a private restaurant; priority reservations at the MSC Aurea Spa; a private sundeck with exclusive Jacuzzi, swimming pool and a bar; and a private lounge with afternoon tea service served daily.

To book “Yacht Club 50% Off 2nd Occupant” promotion, please call 855-469-2582 or contact your local travel professional. Offer cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion, is subject to availability and restrictions apply. Government fees are additional for all guests and are as follows: Fantasia sailings departing: Barcelona, $78.45; Genoa, $64.19; Civitavecchia, $54.93; Splendida sailings departing: Barcelona, $76.69; Genoa, $62.44.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cuba Cruise Setting to Launch on December 4th

Toronto, Canada, July 28, 2011 – When Cuba Cruise sets sail December 4, 2011
on its inaugural circumnavigation of Cuba, it will revolutionize travel to this exotic
island making the real Cuba accessible and affordable for all.
With prices starting at CD$586 double occupancy for a seven-night cruise, Cuba
Cruise is an incredible value on par with all-inclusive resorts – but offering so
much more.

Cuba Cruise’s 480 stateroom ship Louis Cristal will circumnavigate Cuba with
cruises starting in the exciting and vibrant city of Havana. The ship will call at a
new port every day, offering opportunities to visit stunning colonial cities where
time seems to have stopped, wilderness nature preserves, and of course some
of the most beautiful beaches in all the world. “Your Cuba” includes a total of six
UNESCO world heritage sites and four National Parks & Preserves. Guests will
walk down cobblestone streets, mountain paths, through rainforests and, of
course, fabulous world-famous beaches.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Travel Dyanmics International to Sail Northeast, US, Canada, Hudson River and More

August 2011 - Another ex-Cruise West ship has found employment. Travel Dynamics International has chartered/purchased the Spirit of Yorktown (ex Yorktown Clipper of Clipper Cruise Line).

The 257 foot long, 43 foot wide, 2,354 ton ship will begin sailing for Travel Dynamics on May 24, 2012 as the Yorktown. The initial cruise will be. from Gloucester, Massachusetts to New England,
Canada and into the Great Lakes. Throughout the summer of 2012, the Yorktown will sail throughout the Great Lakes on various itineraries until late September.

After the summer Great Lakes Season, the Yorktown will sail the St Lawrence to New England and Canada followed by a series of one way trips between Providence RI and New York City including sailing up the Hudson to West Point to view the fall foliage and visit historic towns.

In late October, the Yorktown will sail on four 7-day cruises from Philadelphia to the historic Towns and Sites of the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware, James River and Potomac Rivers.

Starting in November 2012, the Yorktown will sail from New Orleans to multiple ports in Alabama and Florida Gulf Port cities through late December.

The Yorktown was built in 1988 and has gone through multiple refits. Her capacity is limited to 138 guests in all outside staterooms.

Included in the cruise fare is Cruise transportation; Complete program of tours and excursions; Welcome and Farewell reception party; All meals; Soft Drinks throughout the day and wine and beer with lunch and dinner; Educational Programs; Port and embarkation taxes; Gratuities to guides and drivers.

The Yorktown is register in the United States.

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Costa Cruises New Costa Fascinosa Floated Out

Friday, 29 July 2011- The Costa Fascinosa, the latest ship to join the fleet of Costa Cruises today touched the water for the first time during her technical launch ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera.

Once the work to fit out her interiors has been completed, the Costa Fascinosa (114,500 gross tonnage and a capacity of 3,800 total Guests) will depart on her first cruise on 2nd May 2012.

About 3,000 employees and 7,000 workers from linked industries are contributing to the construction of the ship, and most of the companies involved in the shipbuilding activities, about 500, are Italian. Costa Cruises’s total investment to build the Costa Fascinosa amounts to approximately $765M dollars.

The Costa Fascinosa’s technical launch ceremony was carried out according to seafaring tradition. The launch started with the welding of a coin at the base of what was once the mainmast, a custom considered to bring good luck.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

AIDA Cruises Orders New Ships (see Article from Yesterday Too)

The Rostock cruise company AIDA Cruises announced today that it has signed a memorandum of agreement with Japans Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the construction of two innovative new-generation Clubships.

The 125,000-ton ships with 3,250 berths each will be delivered in March 2015 and March 2016. The all-in cost for these vessels will be approximately 140,000 per lower berth. Details of the newbuilds will be released in due course.

"The newbuilds will set new standards both in product-innovation and environmental performance. With this decision we will be able to meet the high demand for cruising with AIDA's Clubships", said Michael Thamm, President of AIDA Cruises.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has already built two highly successful cruise ships for Carnival Corporation and plc, the parent company of AIDA Cruises.

With currently eight Clubships, AIDA Cruises is market leader in Germany. Two further vessels will be added to the fleet in 2012 and 2013.

The memorandum of agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is subject to customary closing conditions, including execution of shipbuilding contracts and financing.

Rostock, 3. August 2011

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Costa Orders 1 Ship From Fincantieri and AIDA Orders 2 from Japan's Mitsubishi

Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) today (August 3rd, 2011) announced it has reached agreements for the construction of three new cruise ships – one 132,500-ton vessel for its Costa Cruises brand and two 125,000-ton ships for its AIDA Cruises brand. The ships will be the largest ever constructed for these two cruise lines.

A contract has been signed with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of a 3,700-passenger ship for Costa that is scheduled for delivery in October 2014. The all-in cost for this vessel will be approximately €150,000 per lower berth.

A memorandum of agreement has been signed with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to build two 3,250-passenger ships for AIDA which are scheduled for delivery in March 2015 and March 2016. The all-in cost for these vessels will be approximately €140,000 per lower berth.
The order for the two AIDA ships marks a return by Carnival Corporation & plc to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries which built two highly successful ships for Princess Cruises, both of which were delivered in 2004. The contract with Fincantieri continues the company’s longstanding and successful relationship with the Italian shipbuilder, which dates back nearly 20 years.

The new Costa ship order is subject to financing. The memorandum of agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is subject to customary closing conditions, including execution of shipbuilding contracts and financing. Additional design and itinerary details for the three new vessels will be announced at a later date by Costa and AIDA.

Today’s AIDA order marks Carnival Corporation & plc's first new ship delivery for 2016 and continues the company's strategy of introducing two to three ships per year. Including the new orders for Costa and AIDA, Carnival Corporation & plc currently has 10 ships on order – three for 2012, two for 2013, two for 2014, two for 2015 and one for 2016.

The delivery of the new Costa ship in fall 2014 is expected to replace capacity from the sale of certain older Costa ships beginning with the sale of Costa Marina, which will leave the fleet in November 2011. In the third quarter of 2011, the company will record a loss on the sale of approximately $0.02 per share.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and P&O Cruises (Australia).