Friday, September 30, 2011

P&O Oriana Drops 3 Sailings

P&O Cruises has cancelled a number of pre-Christmas cruises on the Oriana due to a scheduled drydocking.

The ship is scheduled to drydock in November to be converted to “adults only,” but it now appears the drydock will run longer than anticipated, prompting P&O to cancel a number of December sailings on the 1995-built ship.

P&O Cruises has announced that when Oriana is transformed into a ship exclusively for adults in November 2010, the ship will feature a different select dining restaurant, Ocean Grill by Marco Pierre White.

Oriana will undergo a transformation which will see the addition of 27 new cabins, including balconies and singles, in place of the current children’s areas. Sorrento, a stylish new, light and airy Italian restaurant with ocean views and an outdoor dining area will be added, the Oasis Spa will be updated, and the deck 8 aft children’s pool will be replaced with a relaxing seating area complemented by the existing deck bar.

P&O is offering booked passengers alternatives on other ships.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

German Cruise Operator AIDA To Utilize Shoreside Power in Hamburg

The leading German cruise company AIDA Cruises is looking for the best solution for shoreside power supply for cruise ships together with the City of Hamburg.

We will provide all our know-how and will offer active support with the development and the application of especially environment-friendly power supply for cruise ships in ports, says AIDA President Michael Thamm.

The fleet of the Rostock based cruise company is already prepared for retrofitting with shoreside power supplies. For the environment-friendly supply with shoreside power it is imminent, that the power is generated more efficient and cleaner than with the top-modern facilities onboard the AIDA ships. AIDA Cruises offers experts from their company that will advise the City of Hamburg in all technical matters free of charge and to see the project through to operability. The port of Hamburg can become a role model for the development of the best shoreside power concepts in Europe, says Michael Thamm.

AIDA Cruises leads the way and plans the installation of dual fuel motors

Sustainability determines all daily operations of AIDA Cruises. As the German market leader in the cruise segment, we very much feel obliged to the sustainable protection of the environment, says Thamm. Although the eight AIDA ships already are the most modern and youngest worldwide, the ship engineers in Rostock were able to further reduce the energy consumption from year to year. Since 2007, the fuel consumption per guest and day could be reduced by 18.2 per cent.

The market leader intends to stay on top of future technical developments. AIDA is involved in research projects as the initiative from the German governmente4ships for the development of fuel cells on cruise ships.

In the next generation of ships, AIDA is planning to install dual fuel motors which can be operated with both marine diesel and liquid gas.

All environmental actions of the cruise company are documented in the annually published sustainability report AIDA cares, which can be downloaded from the internet at

Rostock, 27th September 2011


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

P&O Offers Warm Weather Cruising From Southampton All Winter Long

P&O Cruises has confirmed several special guest entertainers for three highlight cruises this winter. Legendary pop group, The Searchers; Drifters lead singer, Ray Lewis, with his act Still Drifting, and the ultimate Abba tribute band, Voulez Vous, will entertain passengers on board Oceana in November and December.

Family friendly ship Oceana will cruise year round from the UK for the first time this winter, visiting destinations with guaranteed warm weather and winter sunshine, such as the Canary Islands, Egypt and Greece.

Legendary pop group, The Searchers, will perform on a 24-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise departing on November 21. The band will perform as part of a wider 60’s and 70’s theme for the cruise, also launching a new production show by the onboard headliners theatre company.

Departing from and returning to Southampton, ports of call are Cadiz, Alexandria, Cairo / Giza (from Port Said), Limassol, Haifa, Ashdod, Athens (from Piraeus), Katakolon, Messina, Valencia and Lisbon. Prices are from £1,944 per person based on two sharing.

Ex-Drifters lead singer, Ray Lewis, will perform with his act Still Drifting on a 12 night Canary Islands Christmas cruise, departing December 15. This cruise will take all the effort out of Christmas, with carol-singing at sailaway, festive decorations throughout the ship, Santa's Grotto for children, a pantomime performance, parties for all ages, gift and of course, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

Departing from and returning to Southampton, ports of call are Madeira, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lisbon. Christmas Eve is spent in Lisbon and Christmas Day is at sea. Prices are from £1,319 per person based on two sharing.

Ultimate Abba tribute band, Voulez Vouz, will perform on board a 12 night Canary Islands New Year cruise departing December 27. The band will perform on New Year’s Eve providing a real highlight, alongside the spectacular Tenerife fireworks display. New Year’s Eve is celebrated on board with a black tie ball and countdowns in all bars.

Departing from and returning to Southampton, ports of call are Oporto, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Madeira and Lisbon. Prices are from £1,359 per person based on two sharing.

P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow, said: “These cruises are an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy some winter sun but still want to benefit from all the conveniences of sailing from the UK – no flights, no airports and the holiday starts as soon as you get on board. Our cruises are a home away from home and with a unique party atmosphere on board, are the perfect choices for the festive season.”


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cuba Cruise Cancels Winter 2011 Cuba Cruise Program

Cuba Cruise Line has decided to cancel the winter 2011/2012 Cruise Season from Cuba. The new cruise line reported strong bookings but wanted more time to prepare and improve brand awareness.Cuba Cruise Line is offering refund on all booked cruises and expects to operate the 7-day cruises from Havana, Cuba starting in December 2012.

Cuba Cruise was chartering Louis Cruise Line's Cristal for the winter season. The ship will remain in the Med either finding other employment or undergoing refurbishment until the spring 2012 Mediterranean Season.


Monday, September 26, 2011

See the Northern Lights at Their Brightest in 50 Years

September 2011 – A surge of solar flares has NASA predicting the Northern Lights activity to be stronger than any time in the past 50 years – making this winter the perfect time to sail aboard the “world’s most beautiful voyage” -- Hurtigruten’s classic cruise along Norway’s 1,250-mile west coast. Hurtigruten’s modern fleet wends its way between the cultural center of Bergen and Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle, on six to 12-day itineraries that visit 34 unique ports illustrating the charm of winter in Norway, from the snow-capped wooden buildings in Trondheim’s harbor to the artfully constructed Kirkenes Snow Hotel. According to scientists, the increased Northern Lights activity is caused by the Solar Maximum – a period when the sun’s magnetic field on the solar equator rotates at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles. This collision with the Earth’s air molecules causes energy in the form of lights to be emitted.

In addition to experiencing the elusive aurora borealis as few can – along the coast, where the lights are the strongest – passengers are privy to a host of onboard activities, educational lectures about the Northern Lights and local history, and optional excursions that delve deeper into the areas visited. Fares between November 1 and March 14, the ideal time to see the Northern Lights, range from to $2,698 to $7,569 per person, double. Members of the 1893 Ambassador Club, a loyalty club for those who have sailed on Hurtigruten in the past three years, receive 10% off of the voyage as well as a range of complimentary onboard benefits.

A comprehensive range of optional excursions brings to life the diverse ports visited, from Art Nouveau Alesund and the small fishing villages in the rugged Lofoten Islands to the medieval Viking capital of Trondheim and Norway's "Paris of the North," Tromsø. Guests can experience an adrenaline-fueled husky ride that takes them through a frozen landscape of ocean, mountains and open plateaus on the “Dog Sledding” expedition in Tromsø; watch as a guide plunges through the ice to catch and then cooks giant king crabs on the “King Crab Safari” in Kirkenes; or be immersed in ancient Viking culture with the “Lofotr Viking Feast,” which includes a visit to the Viking museum and a real Viking feast, complete with home-brewed mead. Guests are encouraged to book optional excursions prior to departure, when available, as limited space is offered on board.

Rates are subject to availability and include accommodation in cabin or suite of your choice, full board, educational lectures and all aspects of the onboard program; flights, transfers, optional excursions and cruise fuel surcharge are additional.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen as well as year round along Norway's coast and Europe in the spring and fall. The company’s fleet of 12 intimate ships, with 151 to 646 berths, allows passengers to enjoy unique destinations in a relaxed atmosphere.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

All Discovery Cruising North America New Booking Donations to March of Dimes

All Discovery Cruising North America, a niche leader in small ship cruising, is partnering with the March of Dimes to support their efforts for stronger, healthier babies.

To show its support of the non-profit’s efforts, All Discovery Cruising will donate $200 to the March of Dimes for each stateroom booked through their North American office on its Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Island Cruises brands through Dec. 31, 2011 (for new bookings).

Premature birth affects over half a million babies each year – that’s one of every eight babies. The March of Dimes is committed to reducing this toll by funding research to find solutions to problems that continue to threaten the health of babies.

“There is perhaps no cause more worthwhile than trying to save the lives of infants. That is why All Discovery Cruising is proud to partner with the March of Dimes in this extremely important mission,” states Steve Novello, President of All Discovery Cruising, North America.

Guests can show their support of the March of Dimes by mentioning code MOD when booking their All Discovery Cruising experience on any of its cruise brands from North America. In addition, All Discovery Cruising will promote their March of Dimes donation offer at the upcoming Joe Namath March of Dimes Celebrity Golf Classic, which is being held on Sept. 22, 2011 in New York.

“We are very excited to be working this year with All Discovery Cruising for the Joe Namath Celebrity Golf Classic,” said Frank DeMeo, State Director, March of Dimes New York Chapter. “This partnership is a great opportunity to bring added visibility to the mission of the March of Dimes and will help us make a positive impact on the health of moms and babies,” adds DeMeo.

Each brand within All Discovery’s small ship cruising portfolio is unique with its own distinctive characteristics and British country elegance style, from Swan Hellenic’s 350-guest Minerva and Voyage of Discovery’s 550-guest Voyager and 650-guest Discovery to Hebridean Island Cruises’ Five-Star, ultra-luxurious 50-guest Hebridean Princess.

Together they share a combined focus on delivering superior enrichment cruises to the world’s most beautiful destinations, including visits to “hidden gems” often missed by larger ships. Distinguished guest speakers, unparalleled worldwide itineraries, and meticulously planned shore excursion programs are signature elements of every cruise.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Disney Cruise Line Expands 2012 Home Ports Including Los Angeles, Alaska, New England Canada, Europe, Hawaii and More.

(Sept. 22, 2011) – Based on an overwhelming response to its first Hawaiian itinerary, Disney Cruise Line is adding a second Hawaii cruise to its 2012 schedule. The addition of a second Hawaiian voyage complements a diverse array of Disney Cruise Line itineraries departing from the West Coast, including cruises to the Mexican Riviera, Pacific Coast and Alaska.

With a majority of its West Coast sailings originating from the Port of Los Angeles or the Port of Seattle, a Disney family cruise vacation is more accessible to guests from the western United States.

“We listen to our guests, and shortly after we announced our first Hawaiian voyage it was clear our guests wanted more options to visit Hawaii,” said Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. “This second sailing to Hawaii is part of a wide variety of Disney Cruise Line vacation options for families in 2012 including new itineraries, regional homeports and the debut of our newest ship, the Disney Fantasy.”

2012 Los Angeles Schedule

Two Hawaiian Sailings…

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will offer two special voyages to Hawaii from Los Angeles, calling on Kahului, Maui; Nawiliwili, Kauai; Honolulu, Oahu; and Hilo plus Ensenada, Mexico.

The 15-night Hawaiian itinerary, which includes nine days at sea, departs April 29, 2012. The newly-added 14-night Hawaiian itinerary, with eight days at sea, departs Oct. 14, 2012.

The Disney Wonder will sail through the breathtaking beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, where guests can experience the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu, see the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui, take in the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai and, on the Big Island, explore the natural wonders of the world’s most active volcano.

Rates for the Hawaiian cruises start at $1,800 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Mexican Riviera…

The Disney Wonder is scheduled to sail seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from the Port of Los Angeles for the majority of the year – throughout winter, spring and fall.

Rates for the seven-night Mexican Riviera itinerary departing from Los Angeles start at $707 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

The Disney Wonder will also sail four seven-night Pacific Coast cruises from Los Angeles (on Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30 and Oct. 7), calling on San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico.

Rates for the seven-night Pacific Coast itinerary departing from Los Angeles start at $770 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

2012 Seattle Schedule

Beginning May 28, 2012, the Disney Wonder will sail a total of 14 seven-night cruises from the Port of Seattle to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia.

These cruises will combine the natural wonder and adventurous spirit of Alaska with the unparalleled, family-friendly experience found on a Disney Cruise Line ship. Disney Cruise Line works closely with Alaskan tour operators to create exclusive-to-Disney family-friendly Port Adventures that allow guests to best experience Alaska’s natural beauty and rich history.

On their Alaskan adventure, guests can explore magnificent glaciers and fjords in Juneau. In Ketchikan, they can fish for salmon and learn about local culture through hand-carved totem poles. In Skagway, Disney Cruise Line guests can traverse panoramic landscapes by railway, or pan for gold like miners from the famous Klondike gold rush.

Rates for the seven-night Alaska cruise itinerary departing from Seattle start at $917 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Sailings depart May 28, June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27.

2012 Galveston Schedule

Beginning Sept. 22, 2012, the Disney Magic will sail 12 seven-night cruises from the Port of Galveston to the Western Caribbean, calling on Grand Cayman and Mexico’s Costa Maya and Cozumel.

A Caribbean cruise on the Disney Magic offers families a tropical getaway with world-class entertainment and impeccable guest service found only on a Disney Cruise Line vacation. Guests will enjoy three magical days at sea to explore all of the fun aboard the Disney Magic and three days in port to lounge on warm, golden beaches, to swim and snorkel in azure waters or to shop in exotic marketplaces.

Rates for the seven-night Western Caribbean cruise itinerary departing from Galveston start at $840 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Sailings depart Sept. 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24, Dec. 1, 8.

2012 East Coast Schedule

Sailing from New York …

Beginning May 25, 2012, the Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York – including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast to Canada plus two-night cruises that will give a sampling of the Disney Cruise Line experience over a weekend:

Eight eight-night Bahamas cruises will include a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and Port Canaveral, Fla., with an opportunity to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort.

Nine five-night cruises up the New England coast will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick.

Three two-night cruises (June 15, July 13, Aug. 10) are perfect for a quick weekend getaway.

Sailing from Port Canaveral…

The Disney Fantasy will depart on her maiden voyage March 31, 2012, and will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Caribbean itineraries, with a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

The Disney Dream will sail three-, four- and five-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

Pricing reflects category 11C standard inside stateroom, Government Taxes and Fees not included.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Oceania Cruises Replaces Europe Cruises with Extended New England Canada Program

Oceania Cruises will offer Canada and New England cruises for fall 2012 in place of previously scheduled Mediterranean voyages. In total, nine itineraries have been changed.

“Our 2011 Fall Foliage cruises have been so well received by our travel agent partners and their clients that we decided to redeploy Regatta from Europe to Canada and New England in fall 2012,” stated Bruce J. Himelstein, Oceania Cruises’ president. “These new voyages offer exceptional value with two-for-one fares and free roundtrip air."

Scenic highlights include cruising the Bay of Fundy, Saguenay Fjord and St. Lawrence River . Optional excursions enhance the destination experience and include a horse-drawn carriage tour of Quebec City ; visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg fishing village; and a lobster lunch at Dalvay by the Sea, the 19th-century summer home built by then Standard Oil chief Alexander MacDonald. Outdoor pursuits include cycling Acadia National Park and Prince Edward Island and kayaking coves in Maine and Nova Scotia .

7-Day Cruises Priced from $1,499 per Guest

Aug 30 Mediterranean Splendors, 12 days, Istanbul-Lisbon

Sept 11 Colonial Passage, 14 days, Lisbon - New York

Sept 25 Colors, Coasts & Coves, 12 days, New York-Montreal

Oct 7 Colors, Coasts & Coves, 12 days, Montreal - New York

Oct 19 Autumn Vistas, 14 days, New York - New York

Nov 2 Enchanted Amazon, 25 days, New York-Miami

Nov 27 Caribbean Interlude, 7 days, Miami-Miami

Travelers will discover these exciting destinations aboard Oceania Cruises’ 684-guest Regatta – an intimate ship acclaimed for its open-seating gourmet dining (no surcharges), luxurious public rooms and accommodations, and warm, attentive service.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

FTI Group to Operate Berlin in German Market in 2012

Germany's fifth-largest travel operator -FTI Group, , has announced its new FTI Cruises brand which is to operate the current "Spirit of Adventure" (ex "Berlin").

The ship will be serving the German market starting May 12, 2012. The ship will reportedly be renamed "FTI Berlin" and is to operate mainly in the Mediterranean.

If you are proficient in German additional info can be found at


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Luxury Operator Crystal Cruises Reveal 2012 Theme Cruises

Addressing the desires of niche-interest travelers, ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises announces 25 Experiences of Discovery® cruises for 2012. Twelve different themes on more than one-third of next year’s voyages are planned for various global locales. Due to increased demand, Crystal’s stimulating and topical Ocean ViewsTM program will be offered on both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony sailings.

The full list of theme voyages includes:

  • · Ocean Views: New this year, 2012’s program expands to not only again include World Cruise segments, but also Trans-Atlantics. During the sailings, expert thinkers from various fields (ambassadors, professors, military leaders, foreign correspondents, etc.) meet for several panel discussions debating current events and/or global issues.
  • · Big Band & Ballroom Dance: Crystal is doubling its number of Big Band and Ballroom Dancing cruises, so guests can dance and swing across the Atlantic on both ships in 2012.
  • · Emerging Artists: A huge sensation during Crystal’s 2011 Alaska season, Europe-bound guests next summer will now be the first to discover new, rising talent, fresh from Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight program.
  • · Wine & Food Festival: Expert chefs, wine authorities, mixologists, and other culinary pros unite to create special meals, cocktails, and presentations related to the region.
  • · Film & Theater: Stars and industry experts bring Hollywood and Broadway to life while sailing from LA to New York.
  • · Golf: Luxury play on some of Europe’s most prestigious championship courses.
  • · Jazz: Dozens of jazz artists performing, with insider extras.
  • · NFL Legends: Motivational talks by football greats.
  • · Floral Design: Expert-led how-to classes.
  • · Comprehensive Creative Learning Institute: An expanded curriculum of music, language, computer, fitness, and other enrichment classes.
  • · President’s Cruise: Crystal President Gregg Michel hosts a voyage packed with special guests, events, and receptions.
  • · Crystal Society: A celebratory gathering of veteran Crystal cruisers.

“Many travelers love spending their vacation indulging in a special interest or meeting others with similar passions,” says Bret Bullock, vice president entertainment. “On Crystal’s ‘Experiences of Discovery’ cruises, sophisticated explorers can expand their knowledge and connect in a luxury environment.”

Limited-time fares offer Two-for-One prices starting at $2,760/person (double occupancy), including free airport/ship transfers and round-trip air from 24 North American hubs (or substantial air credit). “All Inclusive—As You Wish” shipboard credit of $1,000-$2,000/couple is included on select sailings in the first quarter of 2012. Beginning in the spring, Crystal Cruises’ sailings will include complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, open bar service in all lounges, and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff.

Crystal’s award-winning, luxurious offerings always include a diverse selection of thought-provoking, scholarly, and sophisticated enrichment activities that provide extensive on board choices for cultured world travelers.


Friday, September 16, 2011

SeaDream Announces 2013 Cruises and Returns to Amazon

SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I & II, rated as the top Boutique Ships in the world by the 2011 Berlitz Guide, has released its early 2013 itineraries. The twin, 112-guest mega yachts will spend January - April 2013 sailing the Caribbean , visiting the smaller yachting playgrounds and harbors that large ships cannot reach. In addition, SeaDream II will be sailing the Amazon River in February and March.

“The Amazon River voyages sailing in 2012 have been extremely popular, and although we still have a few staterooms available, we knew guests would want to know as soon as possible that we’ll be returning to the Amazon in 2013,” said SeaDream’s President, Bob Lepisto.

2013 Amazon Highlights

  • SeaDream II will sail two 20-night voyages; Bridgetown , Barbados to Iquitos , Peru and the return.
  • Ports of call include Devil's Island, French Guiana; Parintins , Brazil ; Manaus , Brazil ; Panelas , Brazil ; Leticia, Columbia and more.
  • A naturalist will be aboard the Amazon voyages providing in depth information about the great river wilderness.
  • Excursions will feature the jungle’s exotic plants and animals, Amazonian tribes, museums and markets.
  • On one of Brazil ’s best beaches in Alter do Chao, SeaDream hosts their Champagne and Caviar Splash™.
  • Optional pre and post voyage over-land adventures feature one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu .

2013 Caribbean Highlights

  • SeaDream II offers voyages in the lush & unspoiled Grenadines , including the islands of Mayreau and Bequia.
  • SeaDream I & II offer new calls in Puerto Rico to Fajardo Bay (calm, coral-rich water), Ponce (beautiful neoclassical buildings) and Caja de Muertos (superb snorkeling).
  • SeaDream I & II offer more calls to Tortola and Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands .
  • SeaDream I visits the ports of La Samana and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic .
  • SeaDream I & II will continue with overnight stays in St. Barts, where guests enjoy the island’s entertainment after dark.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Disney Cruise Line's Disney Fantasy's Final Building Block in Place

PAPENBURG, GERMANY (Sept. 3, 2011) — The final building block for the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Fantasy, was placed today at the Meyer Werft shipyard signaling completion of a major milestone in the ship’s overall construction. The final block placed was a 265-ton portion of the ship’s bow, complete with the signature Disney Cruise Line golden filigree.

The Disney Fantasy will bring to life many of the innovative features guests love on the recently launched Disney Dream including AquaDuck — the world’s first shipboard water coaster. But new design elements and guest experiences will give the Fantasy an identity all its own. Some of the new highlights found on the Disney Fantasy include:

  • Europa – a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for guests 18 and older that features sophisticated bars and trendy lounges inspired by the very best in European travel.
  • A new, innovative show for the Animator’s Palate restaurant where diners will serve as guest animators. During the “Animation Magic” show guests are asked to hand-draw a character of their own at the start of dinner. After an entertaining show featuring montages from Disney animated films and shorts, guests prepare for a whimsical finale moment where the guest-drawn characters spring to life and interact with characters from beloved Disney animated classics.
  • At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the Disney Fantasy, aspiring young princesses and pirates receive the full fairy tale treatment with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers at this very special salon.
  • “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” will take the stage on the Disney Fantasy. During this Broadway-style production, guests laugh along with the wise-cracking Genie and the cast from the classic animated Disney film, “Aladdin.”

The Disney Fantasy will sail alternating seven-night cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla. to the Eastern and Western Caribbean and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay with the maiden voyage scheduled for March 31, 2012.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SeaDream Yachts Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

September, 2011
- SeaDream Yacht Club and their boutique, twin mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II announce this month’s celebration of 10 years in business.

Since 2001, SeaDream has been providing unique, intimate yachting holidays with an emphasis on highly personalized service. When the company was founded they brought a refreshing change to the world of ultra-luxury holidays at sea – with the intention of being completely different from any and every other cruise product. "We started out 10 years ago right after the September 11th attack. Travel came to a halt but our team’s energy and dedication wouldn’t be deterred,” said Bob Lepisto , President. "We are all very proud of our accomplishment and grateful to our guests, devoted employees and travel agent partners who collectively drive our success."

SeaDream Yacht Club was founded in 2001 by Norwegian entrepreneur, Atle Brynestad who is the company's Owner and Chairman. Atle Brynestad founded Seabourn Cruise Line in 1987 and was its Chairman for ten years as well as CEO during the initial years. In 1999 two Cunard ships named Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II were transferred into the Seabourn Cruise Line fleet and renamed Seabourn Goddess I and Seabourn Goddess II. It was in 2001 that Atle Brynestad purchased these twin vessels from Carnival (Seabourn Cruise Line's parent company). Brynestad then named the two twins, SeaDream I & SeaDream II and put them through an extensive dry dock and refit. Since then, SeaDream has received numerous awards, honors and accolades. The Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships Guide has recognized SeaDream annually and the 2011 Berlitz Guide rated the 112-guest mega yachts, SeaDream I & II as the top two Boutique Ships (50-200 passengers) in the world.

"During September we’ll be celebrating onboard with 10th anniversary themed parties and decadent dessert extravaganzas" said Erling Frydenberg, SeaDream’s Vice President of Hotel Operations. “We also have a few other surprises in store for our guests, all in the spirit of our 10th anniversary.”

Added Bob Lepisto , President, "During our 10-years, our focus on exceptional service and cuisine has never wavered. Our past is the strongest criterion people have to judge our future." Continued Lepisto, "By understanding and responding to our guest’s needs, we have been able to exceed their expectations. Our success, to a great extent, has been driven by word of mouth marketing by highly satisfied guests sharing their yachting experience with friends, relatives and their travel agents. I very much look forward to the next 10 years."

About SeaDream Yacht Club

The expression “yachting” is not only a statement about size; it describes a lifestyle aboard the intimate vessels. Chic and stylish, SeaDream’s 56-stateroom twin yachts are favored for their elegant informality, state-of-the-art facilities, personal service provided by a crew of 95, inclusive open bar and gratuities, ocean-view accommodations, luxury spa and world class cuisine. Itineraries include the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Amazon. “It’s yachting, not cruising” Enjoy the difference.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Luxury Operator Crystal Cruises Offers Reduced Fares for a Limited Time

September 1, 2011 – Crystal is launching its luxe collection of worldwide 2012 cruises with compelling Book Now fares, available for a limited time.

Until October 31, 2011, all sailings will continue to feature 2-for-1 prices and free round-trip air transportation from more than 20 North American gateways (or generous air credits). On select sailings, travelers can also enjoy additional Book Now Savings – with as much as $4,000/couple in fare reductions.

While many travel agents and consumers are accustomed to promotion extensions, Crystal promises that every cruise will be reviewed at the end of October. On November 1, cruise fares will rise for select sailings.

“We are introducing the 2012 travel year on Crystal Cruises with the best pricing on the best itineraries, offering extraordinary service and enrichment on the vacation product that so many discerning luxury travelers regard as the very best experience in the world,” says Jack Anderson, senior vice president, marketing and sales. “Book now means exactly what it says. We want to ensure that those who book early enjoy the best pricing.”

In 2012, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will visit 182 ports-of-call in 59 countries on 60 itineraries worldwide. Destination choices include the western and eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, North Cape, western Europe, Greek Isles, Baltic & Russia, China, Japan, southeast Asia, Australia, South Pacific, South America, New England/Canada, Panama Canal, British Isles, Canary Islands and Mexican Riviera on itineraries of seven to 94 days.

Crystal Cruises’ ocean resort experience always includes a host of complimentary amenities, from enlightening enrichment speakers and fitness classes to pampering pillow menus and specialty restaurant dining featuring the cuisine of Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio. In the spring of 2012, vacations on the award-winning Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will also include complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, open bar service in all lounges, and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff. Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Swan Hellenic's Minerva to Undergo a Significant Refit

Swan Hellenic unveiled a multi-million dollar upgrade for mv Minerva. The improvements mark a new chapter in the long history of Swan Hellenic and underlines All Leisure Group plc’s commitment to the future of its much loved ship, enabling it to remain at the forefront of cultural discovery cruising in the years ahead.

Swan Hellenic has been consulting with maritime specialists to improve and extend the facilities onboard mv Minerva, with equal importance paid to the ship’s efficiency, maneuverability, comfort and environmental performance. As a ship that has attracted many loyal guests both in North America and in the UK – and in response to passenger feedback – mv Minerva will undergo major enhancements to update, but not change, her unique British country elegance style. The ship’s passenger capacity will remain at 350 per cruise.

Highlights include extensions of the internal and external public areas as well as plans for a new wrap-around forward observation lounge. The new Orpheus Lounge will provide comfort and panoramic views at the forward end of the ship, while innovative design will extend the size of Shackleton’s Bar and create a new Internet Lounge. Swan Hellenic has increased the size of a number of cabins and added balconies to others, increasing the number of balcony suites to 23% of all cabin accommodation. All 181 passenger cabins will be upgraded with new en-suite bathrooms.

This visionary upgrade is scheduled to take place during winter 2011 with mv Minerva embarking on her next exciting era of discovery cruising on March 2, 2012. Swan Hellenic will continue to offer its unique all inclusive discovery cruises, which include a signature shore excursion program, all gratuities, port charges, and a program of engaging talks from eminent Guest Speakers.

Colin Stone, Managing Director, Swan Hellenic, commented: We continually review our customer feedback, and through this we understand that passengers who loyally return to the ship enjoy the ambience that mv Minerva provides. In order to secure mv Minerva’s place at the forefront of discovery cruising, we are investing for the future through the extensive refurbishments. With 97% of our passengers promising to return to mv Minerva, we are sure that this new upgrade will be appreciated by these loyal passengers, while also appealing to those about to book their first discovery cruise.”


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Voyages of Discovery Adds Ship - Voyager

Voyage of Discovery has announced the addition of mv Voyager to the Voyages of Discovery fleet, expanding the brand’s product offering and giving customers more flexibility and choice of itineraries to worldwide destinations.

Formerly the Alexander von Humboldt, All Leisure Group has invested significantly in improvements to mv Voyager since purchasing the ship in 2009, with further upgrades planned in the future. To date the ship has received major technical upgrades plus the addition of more cabins with balconies, creating extra comfort and space while still maintaining Voyages of Discovery’s renowned unique discovery cruising ethos. Carrying just 550 passengers, mv Voyager offers a choice of 278 cabins, 30 of which have balconies, open seating dining in two restaurants plus an intimate pre-bookable restaurant and a range of large cruise ship facilities with small ship convenience. Like mv Discovery, the small size of mv Voyager means that the ship is able to access remote, out of the way ports – essential for the Voyages of Discovery destination-led cruise offering.

mv Voyager will commence her maiden voyage in November 2012 with a full Caribbean, Central and South American program including a cruise of the Amazon. At the same time mv Discovery will be undergoing an extensive refurbishment during a three-month dry dock period, including teak decking, expansion of public areas, cabin improvements, updated furnishing and developments to dining areas.

Steve Novello, President of the North American office, commented: “This investment is an incredible statement of confidence in our current economic climate by our Executive Management regarding our Voyages of Discovery brand. A new addition to the fleet, major refurbishments to the extremely popular mv Discovery, and our successful North American sales give us even greater optimism for the future. The mv Voyager will be the perfect complement to the already popular mv Discovery, offering our guests a ship with the majority of the staterooms being outside cabins and a wide selection of large balcony cabins. A first for our brand will be the introduction of open seating dining with a choice of restaurants while maintaining the unique Voyages of Discovery style. We take our past passenger comments seriously, and management has clearly acted on that feedback.”


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nobel Caledonia Acquires 2nd Ship

Noble Caledonia has acquired a second ship, the former Renaissance VI built in 1991. The ship, a sister of the brand's owned Island Sky, will be named Caledonian Sky when she joins the company in May 2012.
The vessel is ultimately bound for South America, Australasia and the Pacific Rim but will spend much of 2012 in British and Arctic waters before heading to South America and beyond.

The 114 passenger vessel will continue the expansion of Noble Caledonia’s small ship and expedition cruising programs, complementing Island Sky, which became the company's first owned ship in early 2010 following six years of charter.

Both vessels were originally built as part of the Renaissance Cruises fleet and provide all-suite luxurious accommodation. They offer a private yacht style atmosphere. A fleet of inflatable zodiac landing craft allow them to explore the most remote of regions and an onboard team that includes specially chosen guest speakers.

During the coming winter months Caledonian Sky will undergo a significant refit.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Royal Caribbean's Voyages of the Seas to Asia in 2012

September 6, 2011 – Executives of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today Royal Caribbean International’s 2012 Asia cruises deployment schedule for Voyager of the Seas – the largest and most amenity-filled cruise ship to sail in the region.

At 137,276 gross registered tons, Voyager of the Seas ranks among the world’s 10 largest and most innovative cruise ships and will offer vacationers unparalleled experiences in the region. The ship’s inaugural Asia season will start on May 26, 2012 in Singapore, followed by sailings from Shanghai (Baoshan) and Tianjin in China.

“We have a leading market position in China,” explains Dr. Zinan Liu, group managing director of China and Asia for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Customer demand is strengthening and we’re responding by increasing our commitment to the region with an additional, bigger ship, to offer a wider range of itineraries to even more ports.”

With Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, which has been deployed in China since 2010, Royal Caribbean International will offer 49 sailings out of the country in 2012, and will add Xiamen as its fourth homeport after Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong.

Voyager of the Seas deployment to Asia is another milestone for Royal Caribbean International, and a mark of our confidence and commitment to the region’s potential, as well as part of our global growth strategy,” says Michael Bayley, executive vice president of International, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Voyager of the Seas will offer vacationers a wide range of short cruises – three-, four-, five- seven- and eight-night itineraries in Asia – to longer, 14- to 18-night cruises in the South Pacific to New Zealand and Australia. Chinese guests can also expect to experience a greater variety of products and services tailored to their needs.

Cruises will include the seven-night “Pearls of the Orient” and “Jewels of Asia” sailings, calling at various destinations in Japan and South Korea. Vacationers also can choose a repositioning cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas from Singapore to Fremantle, Australia, departing October 22, 2012, and returning on March 9, 2013. Voyager of the Seas will reposition to begin its winter season from Sydney on November 5, 2012. Bookings for Voyager of the Seas’ 2012 Asia itineraries open today.

When she sails into Asia next year, Voyager of the Seas will introduce several unique concepts never before seen at sea in the region, including the following signature onboard amenities:

  • Royal Promenade – an indoor “main street” stretching nearly the full length of the middle of the ship, lined with places to eat, drink, shop and be entertained. Guests can stroll up and down the four-story street and enjoy regular street parades.
  • “Studio B” Ice Rink – an ice skating rink for guests that doubles as a sensational 700-seat venue for ice show productions with world-class figure skaters.
  • Eleven dining venues include specialty restaurant “Portofino” for classic Italian fine dining and 50s inspired American diner “Johnny Rockets”. There’s also the grand three-story, 1,919-seat main dining room.
  • Unparalleled sports facilities including an inline skating track, Royal Caribbean International’s signature rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole mini golf course, a golf simulator, a full size sports court with basketball court, three swimming pools and six whirlpools.

In the evenings, there are award-winning Broadway-style musical revues, or opportunities to recount the day’s experiences in multiple onboard bars and lounges over cocktails.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

The New MSC Divina Is Floated Out

(September 6, 2011) – MSC Divina, the third and latest addition to the MSC Cruises’ flagship Fantasia class, floated out of dry dock B at the STX Europe ship yard in Saint-Nazaire, France on Saturday, September 3, and transferred to dock C for final fitting and furnishing prior to her christening on May 26, 2012.

Representing a major milestone in this 140,000 ton ship accommodating up to 4,363 guests, a select group gathered to witness the ship slated to become the 12th ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet.

“Today marks the start of the final one-million hours of work required to ensure MSC Divina is ready for her debut on May 26, 2012 in Marseille, France,” said Emilio La Scala, general manager of MSC Cruises’ technical department.

Named in honor of Sophia Loren, Italian film legend and godmother of several MSC ships, MSC Divina will be appropriately themed as a divine goddess.

Also announced during the float out, the ship’s 18 decks (13 of which are for guests’ use) are being named after the gods of ancient Greece; among them Urano, Afrodite, Aurora, Giunone, Artemide, Zeus, Mercurio, Cupido, Iride, Minerva, Apollo, Saturno, and Elios.

Another addition to the ship is the aft Garden Pool purposely designed and decorated as an upscale area for quiet retreat, philosophizing or simply gazing into the sunset.

Construction of MSC Divina began more than a year ago with a total of 74 mega-blocks each consisting of a set of large pre-fabricated hull components used for assembling the ship.

Work on the keel is nearly completed. Already 50 percent of the outfitting has been done including completion of the electrical networking, plumbing, and public areas. Work has also begun on 400 of the 1,751 staterooms, 100 more than her sister ships MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida.

Cutting-edge technical changes on MSC Divina include more powerful propulsion motors, rated at 21.8 MW each (compared to 20.2 MW on the MSC Splendida); new alternators, and state-of-the-art HVAC chillers. The ship will feature a new reverse osmosis system for fresh water production that requires 40 percent less power, therefore, providing less of an impact on the environment.