Sunday, October 30, 2011

Azamara Cruises Announces 2013 Cruise Schedule

Azamara Club Cruises today announced the cruise line’s 2013 line-up of voyages. Throughout the year, up-market travelers can choose among a total of 69 voyages aboard the cruise line’s two European boutique-hotel style ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. Select Azamara voyages also coincide with cultural celebrations, such as Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Andalusian Festival and the British Open, to offer guests a truly destination-immersive travel experience. Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest will visit nearly 40 new ports in 2013, including Beijing (Xingang), Shanghai (Haitong) and Jinhae, South Korea in the Far East; as well as charming Amasra (Safranbolu), Turkey, and 2014-Winter Olympic host-city Sochi, Russia in the Black Sea. Cassis, France; Propriano, Corsica; and Palamos, Spain also will be maiden ports in the Mediterranean, as well as idyllic Honningsvaag, Gudvangen, Tromso, and Svolvaer (Lofoten) on the Norwegian Coast. Onboard, guests will delight in Azamara’s extraordinary service from every staff and crew member, as well as enjoy delectable dining options in four restaurants. All Azamara Club Cruises 2013 voyages are now open for booking.

“We are delighted to present Azamara’s next collection of voyages in 2013,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “We continue to offer more late-night and overnight stays in ports than any cruise operator to offer guests the chance to savor a destination’s nightlife, and oftentimes, after the other cruise ships have departed. We also encourage travelers to add on an Azamara cruisetour with their voyage to delve even deeper into a destination’s culture or combine consecutive Azamara voyages for a grand odyssey.”

At the beginning of 2013, Azamara Journey will sail four Southeast Asia voyages, 14, 15 and 17 nights in length, and two 14-night voyages throughout China, Korea and Japan – featuring overnight stays in such vibrant metropolises as Hong Kong; Bangkok (Klong Toey), Thailand; Hanoi and World Heritage Site Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City and Hue (Danang), Vietnam; Shanghai (Haitong), China; and Kobe, Japan.

The ship then heads to the Mediterranean for the summer and autumn seasons, featuring Adriatic and Greek Isles, Egypt and Holy Land and Black Sea voyages, ranging from seven to 12 nights. Overnight stays will include Alexandria and Safaga, Egypt; Venice, Italy; Mykonos, Greece; and Jerusalem (Ashdod), Israel.

Azamara Journey also will sail six French and Italian Riviera voyages in June and July featuring overnights in Monte Carlo, Monaco; St. Tropez, France; Ibiza, Spain; and Sorrento, Capri and Florence (Livorno), Italy. Azamara Journey then returns to the Far East via Dubai and Mumbai (Bombay), India to round out the year with three Southeast Asia voyages, culminating with an overnight call at Phuket, Thailand on New Year’s Eve.

Azamara Quest, on the other hand, will sail a range of South America and West Indies voyages, ranging from 12 to 18 nights, featuring overnight calls at Ushuaia and Buenos Aires, Argentina; Punta Del Este, Uruguay; Rio De Janeiro, Brazil for Carnaval; and St. Barts. The ship continues from Miami to the Spanish and French Rivieras in March for four- to 11-night voyages, featuring overnights in Seville, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain; Monte Carlo; Provence (Marseilles) and Cannes, France; and Lisbon, Portugal.

In June and July, Azamara Quest will sail North Sea, Norwegian Coast and Baltic voyages, ranging from nine to 14 nights, featuring overnights in St. Petersburg, Russia; Hamburg, Germany; Reykjavik, Iceland; Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Azamara Quest then embarks on a series of French and Italian Riviera, and Adriatic Sea voyages in August and September that range from seven to 11 nights, before returning to explore the lesser-traveled island jewels in West Indies for the winter season on eight- and 12-night voyages. On the New Year’s voyage, guests will count down the seconds ‘en Français’ while overnight in St. Barts.

Travelers also can choose among two President’s Voyages in 2013. President and CEO Larry Pimentel and his wife Sandi will join guests on these special voyages and host parties, informal get-togethers, and a complimentary shore event. Guests will enjoy a destination-immersive travel experience as the cruise line’s chief visionary does, as well as receive a special gift. Azamara’s 2013 President’s Voyages are planned for the April 3, Art on the Cote d’Azur sailing of Azamara Quest, and for the October 1, Tuscany to Provence sailing of Azamara Journey.

Guests aboard Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest also enjoy more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffees, and teas, as well as complimentary red and white boutique wines to accompany lunch and dinner; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle bus to city centers in ports, where available.

Azamara Club Cruises is a destination-immersive cruise line for up-market travelers who want to not only see the places and cultures they visit, but to live them. Azamara’s two intimate, 694-guest ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with a combination of 347 suites and staterooms, offer a European-boutique hotel ambience with extraordinary service, fine cuisine and wines from around the world, and wellness and vitality programs, all while sailing to a host of destinations larger ships cannot reach. Azamara Club Cruises sails European destinations, including the Baltic and Scandinavia, British Isles, Western Europe, French and Italian Rivieras, Greek Isles, Croatia, Holy Land and Black Sea, as well as Asia, South America and lesser-traveled islands of the West Indies, with more overnight and late-night stays in every region.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Carnival Cruises Announce Multi-Year Shipboard Venues and Entertainment Program

Carnival Cruise Lines today unveiled Fun Ship 2.0, a program that will dramatically transform its on-board guest experience to deliver even more memorable vacations. The multi-year effort will offer guests mouth-watering new dining choices, more exciting bars and lounges, and captivating entertainment options through innovative partnerships and new branded spaces. In the first phase alone, which extends through the end of 2015, Carnival will invest more than $500 million across its fleet.

At an event today in New York City, Carnival announced partnerships with entertainer George Lopez, who will become Carnival’s creative director for comedy and enhance its fleetwide comedy clubs; Food Network star Guy Fieri, who will develop a burger venue called Guy’s Burger Joint; leading video game manufacturer EA SPORTS to create the first-ever EA SPORTS Bar at sea, and Hasbro for new larger-than-life game shows featuring iconic games and brands. The company also worked with leading production talent to create a high-energy musical showcase and announced that celebrity song master DJ IRIE was named Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. Plus, Carnival announced more of its unique branded spaces with the RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar and three other fun themed bars and lounges, as well as a new complimentary BlueIguana Cantina casual dining option.

“Fun Ship 2.0 is the largest and most ambitious initiative that our company has ever undertaken and it will serve to significantly transform the Carnival vacation experience for our guests,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “Through breakthrough partnerships with some of today’s biggest talents and most popular entertainment brands, plus our very own new branded experiences and on-board destinations, Carnival fans and those new to our cruises are destined for an incredible vacation experience.”

The Carnival Liberty will be the first ship to feature many of the new dining and bar venues when it returns from a scheduled refurbishment later this month. Fourteen ships are scheduled to receive many of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements through 2015.

Big Names and Big Brands On Board
Through its partnership with comedian and TV personality George Lopez, Carnival will bring even more laughs to The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez. As Carnival’s “curator of comedy,” Lopez will act as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of comedic talent in one of the line’s most popular nighttime entertainment options, and advise on décor, lighting, music and more to enhance the overall comedy club experience. Hilarious pre-recorded voice and video messages from Lopez will welcome guests and club patrons, and a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch will keep diners laughing with live comedic entertainment in the line’s main dining rooms. Over the next year, the revamped clubs will roll out fleetwide, creating laughter during multiple shows each voyage.

At Guy’s Burger Joint, Carnival and successful restaurateur, cookbook author and television star Guy Fieri have come together to cook up the best burgers at sea, and best of all, they’re free! Guests have a choice of delicious fresh-off-the-grill burgers designed by Fieri, or they can make their own at a condiment bar by adding a variety of tasty toppings. Burgers are complemented by hand-cut fries. For lunch, a snack or dinner, guests can drop by this laid-back poolside dining venue modeled after a road-side burger joint off an iconic coastal highway.
Under license from Hasbro, Inc., Carnival will create Hasbro, The Game Show, a new series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the popular Family Game Night television show from The Hub. Hasbro, The Game Show will put guests right in the middle of their favorite Hasbro games. Six main games are to be featured: Sorry Sliders, which involves a giant shuffleboard court; Simon Flash, where two teams of four guests wear giant light-up color boxes and must shuffle themselves quickly to repeat a color sequence; Yahtzee Bowling, with a giant ball and larger-than-life-sized bowling pins; Operation, which is set up like a skee-ball board where contestants try to get the balls into different slots on the “patient’s” body, and Connect 4 Basketball, which uses a basketball setup rather than the traditional checkers to play.

Cheers For The Best New Bars At Sea
Carnival’s new themed bars and lounges fit any occasion, offering guests new destinations in a distinctive environment and signature drink menus to provide unique and unforgettable experiences. These bars will encourage guests to socialize and try interesting drink concoctions formulated by our expert mixologists.

Carnival has partnered with EA SPORTS, the leading sports videogame brand in the world, on an exciting new sports bar concept. Designed to be the ultimate hangout for sports fanatics, guests can play their favorite EA SPORTS videogames, watch live sports on a massive video wall comprised of 16 different 46-inch big-screen displays, and keep up with real-time sports scores 24/7 live on the ticker. Whether challenging their sports knowledge during daily trivia contests, competing in EA SPORTS videogame tournaments or just catching the latest sports action, patrons can enjoy a full drink menu and popular sports bar snacks.

Shorts and flip flops are welcome at Carnival’s two new fun and relaxed poolside destinations. RedFrog Rum Bar offers guests the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with a pool-side version of the popular Caribbean themed RedFrog Pub, which debuted on the Carnival Magic. It will specialize in refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s private label draft brew, ThirstyFrog Red. Just across the deck will be BlueIguana Tequila Bar, providing a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and specializing in delicious tequila-based frozen drinks and Mexican beers. Live music will fill the area as performers will entertain patrons at both bars, along with those enjoying fun in the sun by the pool.

To cure what ails you, Alchemy Bar is Carnival’s vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy,” the go-to spot for guests who are seeking a unique experience with interesting drink flavors and ingredients. Carnival’s expert mixologists will “prescribe” concoctions from different fun categories or guests can also try their hand at creating their own custom cocktails. Meanwhile, The Library Bar is a new intimate cocktail lounge featuring bar service and automatic wine dispensers, ideal for guests seeking a more relaxed and quiet venue.

Carnival’s New Cantina
Carnival is expanding on its wide array of dining options with exciting new venues that focus on free favorite foods that are highly popular among guests including burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint and fresh Mexican cuisine at the new BlueIguana Cantina. This complimentary poolside dining destination offers guests freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas they can make their own with a variety of salsas and toppings. Hungry vacationers can also watch the tortilla maker create fresh wheat and jalapeño tortillas, then enjoy three types of tacos with a variety of toppings, and three kinds of burritos with fantastic fillings, plus chips and salsa.

That’s (More) Entertainment!
Carnival is taking shipboard entertainment to an entirely new level. Working with leaders and industry experts from George Lopez and Hasbro to DJ IRIE and top Broadway producers, Carnival will offer not only a larger variety of new high-caliber entertainment but also more interactive shows for guests to enjoy.

Playlist Productions is a dramatic retooling of the line’s legendary revues that combine captivating live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects that set a new standard in seagoing productions. These popular music-driven revues featuring a diversity of musical styles, genres and eras are designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of guests. Playlist Performances will have guests singing along and dancing in their seats during the hit-packed, 30-minute shows created by leading producers, directors and choreographers who have worked on critically acclaimed productions for Broadway, London’s West End and some of the world’s most popular musical acts.

Guests will groove to “Motor City” which celebrates the R&B Motown sound of the 1960s and ‘70s, and “Divas” which combines music, dance and fashion to feature tunes from iconic female entertainers. “Latin Nights” offers a fusion of Latin culture, rhythmic music and hot choreography while “The Brits!” features tunes from the UK’s most famous artists of all time. These exciting new shows will premiere on Carnival Breeze when it enters service next summer, followed by other vessels.

Known for keeping Miami and Las Vegas crowds pumped and on their feet, award-winning DJ IRIE was also named the Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. In this new role, he will create and lead “DJ IRIE’s Spin’iversity” to train and develop the musical skills and personalities of on-board DJ talent to boost the overall music experience for guests of all ages. Carnival is further enhancing its night club experience, offering a unique and lively atmosphere and expanded music offerings.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Compagnie du Ponant Announces Flight Credits On Antarctica Itineraries

Compagnie du Ponant has announced flight credits of $700 per person ($1,400 per cabin) on seven of its 11- and 16-day Antarctica itineraries aboard the new 264-passenger twin mega-yachts: L’Austral and Le Boréal. The credit allows for substantial savings from the cost of flights to and from Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city, and jumping off point for Antarctica cruises. The round trip sailings, November 2011 through February 2012, take in the “White Continent’s” majestic landscape of glaciers and icebergs as well as exotic wildlife as the yachts travel through the famous Drake Passage, and make several Antarctica landings including Paradise Bay, Culverville, Deception Island and Neko Harbor – and, on the longer itinerary, South Georgia and the Falklands. Fares of $4,860 to $18,078 per person, double on the 11- and 16-day sailings are currently up to 20% below brochure fares ($6,075 to $24,103) on the shoulder season departures due to the company’s unique Ponant Bonus program -- the more in advance the booking, the greater the savings. Flight credits are good on new cruise bookings through December 31, 2011 when U.S. or Canadian origination flights are booked through the Miami reservations office.

The recent change in the rules governing Antarctica cruising now allows only environmental secure vessels to visit this remote scenic wonder and Compagnie du Ponant is leading the way. Making use of the world’s two newest mega-yachts, the 18-month-old Le Boréal and recently debuted L’Austral -- named “Best New Ship of the Year” by the European Cruiser Association – allows guests to go ashore in the rugged environment while still enjoying the comfort of luxurious surroundings. Adding to the depth of the experience is the accompaniment of notable lecturers and naturalists, including polar expedition guide Nicolas Dubreuil; Marco Favero, whose has a Doctorate on Antarctic seabird ecology; Louis Justin, who shares his knowledge of the history of exploration and the sciences that made geographical discoveries possible; and Sophie Favrolt, a historian of art and a lecturer approved by the French National Museums Union.

Each port reveals the breathtaking landscape and wildlife unique to this rarely visited region, from the flora and fauna of Tierra del Fuego National Park to the 20,000 Adelie penguin couples in Brown Bluff. Other possible ports in Antarctica include Paradise Bay, a haven for sea mammals such as seals, orcas, whales and sea elephants; Lemaire Channel, a narrow passageway surrounded by towering cliffs; and Deception Island, home to colonies of Chinstrap Penguins. The ship’s fleet of zodiacs allows travelers to get up-close-and-personal with these natural wonders as they navigate within feet of towering icebergs and into the heart of penguin colonies. In addition to these stops, guests on the 16-day voyage will get the chance to observe majestic King Penguins and other impressive birdlife for which South Georgia and the Falkland Islands are known.

Compagnie du Ponant’s dual vision of luxury travel and environmental consciousness allows for a multitude of top-of-the-line amenities while also enjoying the highly regarded “clean ship” label due to their numerous eco-friendly features: dynamic-positioning, advanced waste water treatment, reduced fuel consumption and emissions, and underwater detection system, making them ideal sailing vessels for the highly-regulated Antarctica environment.

The 466-foot Le Boréal and L’Austral mega-yachts offer guests the feeling of sailing on their own private yacht as they explore off-the-beaten­-path destinations. Each ship boasts knowledgeable and friendly staff, two restaurants, several spacious lounges, theater, games area, two open-air bars, a swimming pool, library, fitness area, comprehensive spa in partnership with Paris’s Sothys (L’Austral) and Carita (Le Boreal) and a staff to guest ratio of greater than 1:2. The 132 well-appointed staterooms, 124 with private balconies, have king size or twin beds, desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers, L’Occitane products and all the latest technology, including flat screen satellite TVs and Wi-Fi.

Included in all sailings are all meals (wine, beer and soda during meals), entertainment, excursions, Captain’s welcome, farewell parties, 24-hour room service and all lectures, guides, naturalists and expedition leaders. Port charges/taxes, gratuities and transfers are additional.

Established in 1988, Compagnie du Ponant is 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.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Norwegian Breakaway Hull Art to Be Designed By Peter Max

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that pop icon and America’s most popular living artist, Peter Max, has been commissioned to paint the signature hull artwork for the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, scheduled for delivery in April 2013. This is the first time Norwegian has asked a well-known artist to paint the hull artwork on one of its ships. The company also announced today that the ship will homeport year-round in Max’s hometown, New York City.

“Since Norwegian Breakaway will be making her home in New York, we felt it was fitting to ask the artist best associated with New York, Mr. Peter Max, to paint the ship’s hull,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “I am a huge fan of his work and know that the art he creates for Norwegian Breakaway will make the ship instantly recognizable.”

With paintings on exhibition in hundreds of museums and galleries worldwide, Peter Max and his vibrant colors have become part of the fabric of contemporary culture. Max has been successively called a Pop Icon, Neo Fauvist, Abstract Expressionist and the United States’ "Painter Laureate."

“I am so excited to be painting the hull of Norwegian Breakaway for Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Peter Max. “I love painting large canvases. I’ve painted a plane and a stage for Woodstock, but never a ship. I love ships and have travelled on them many times in my life. To see my artwork floating on Norwegian Breakaway out at sea will be a dream come true.”

Max has achieved his place in history having painted for various Heads of State, including six U.S. Presidents. From art that appeared on the first U.S. 10-cent stamp bearing the title “Preserve the Environment,” to 235 U.S. Border murals greeting millions of people entering America each year, Peter Max seeks to capture themes of America at its finest in his art.

He has a long-standing career as the preeminent Pop artist in America. His art appears on a Boeing 777 jumbo jet currently flying the skies for Continental; a 600-foot stage for the Woodstock Music Festival; the covers of Verizon's New York City yellow and white pages; and a giant mural unveiled at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Max has also been designated Official Artist of five Super Bowls, six Grammy Awards, World Cup USA, The World Series, the United Nations Earth Summit, and numerous other events. Max was honored at the Jefferson Awards with an award for his lifetime dedication to America, and its charitable causes.

Currently under construction at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Breakaway will be 144,017 gross tons and have 4,000 passenger berths. The ship represents an opportunity for the Norwegian guest to “break away” from the routine of work, school, and daily stress, and find a true respite at sea. Norwegian Breakaway, and sister ship Norwegian Getaway (scheduled for delivery in April 2014), will take the best of the best from all of Norwegian’s existing ships, drawing on the line’s experience of having launched 10 ships in the past 10 years – starting with Norwegian Star and Sun in 2001 and culminating with the launch of Norwegian Epic in 2010.

To date, the company has revealed details on all of the ships’ staterooms which combine the form and function of the line’s Jewel class ships’ staterooms with the modern and contemporary design touches of Norwegian Epic. A rich mix of stateroom options will be available including the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers, the re-introduction of Oceanview staterooms, Balcony and Mini-Suites, along with Spa Balcony, Mini-Suites and Suites in close proximity to the spa. The ship also features The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 suites at the top of the ship and 18 additional suites located throughout the ship.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Disney Cruise Lines' Disney Fantasy Deck Spaces Revealed.

An array of wet and wonderful new surprises help guests cool off as they enjoy soaking up the sun aboard the Disney Fantasy, Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship scheduled to set sail in March 2012.

AquaLab Debuts on the Disney Fantasy

On the Disney Fantasy, guests can splash and play in the AquaLab – a brand-new water play area on deck 12, near the entrance to the AquaDuck water coaster. Families can frolic among pop jets, geysers and bubblers in this fun and fanciful 1,800-square-foot space. As the story goes, AquaLab was created by Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and features a variety of water “experiments” designed to drench the whole family.

Children entering the AquaLab will see that the nephews are away for the time being, leaving the young cruise guests in charge of the AquaLab. Through hand-painted notes left by the nephews, kids are put in charge of the AquaDuck water coaster. By turning wheels and moving levers at three wacky aqua stations kids “control” the speed and temperature of AquaDuck.

At a leaky wall, the water fun is all hands on deck as kids try to keep the water circulating by covering holes in squirting and spurting pipes with their hands. In another area, kids scramble to stop leaky pipes from filling Uncle Donald’s row boat with water. Water leaks and sprays from the Ducky Dinghy, suspended overhead, and as the boat fills a fish pops his head out of a bucket while everyone gets delightfully drenched.

In addition to AquaLab, the Disney Fantasy features another new area for guests of all ages to cool off. On deck 12 forward, a wading pool with a fountain water feature, ample seating and lounge chairs under canopy offer a respite in the shade.

Exclusively for Adults

In addition to Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar on the Disney Fantasy, a new adult-exclusive area offers a retreat on the upper decks for guests 18 and older.

At Satellite Sun Deck on deck 13 forward a brand-new water feature called Satellite Falls is a circular splash pool with benches and a gently falling rain curtain that provides cool comfort. Around this upper deck, adult guests can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a canopy.

More Fun on Deck

Like her sister ship the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy offers many options for sun and fun on deck with a shipboard water coaster, fresh water swimming pools, a whimsical water play area for little ones, a relaxing poolside oasis for adults and an interactive sports deck:

  • The world’s only shipboard water coaster – AquaDuck – sweeps guests away on an exhilarating flume ride featuring twists, turns, drops, uphill acceleration and river rapids – all while traversing the upper decks of the ship.
  • Donald’s Pool is a place where families gather to enjoy all of the activities up on deck. Overlooking Donald’s Pool, the giant Funnel Vision LED screen – more than 30 feet wide and 18 feet high – shows Disney films, television shows and live broadcast events.
  • Mickey’s Pool for children continues a Disney Cruise Line favorite feature. An oversized version of Mickey’s hand supports a yellow winding slide that splashes down near the pool.
  • Children discover oceans of fun at Nemo’s Reef, a water-play area featuring colorful, interactive figures that move and spray water, including Nemo, Dory, Marlin and a pint-sized water slide shaped like Mr. Ray.
  • Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar is a retreat exclusively for adults to sunbathe and swim, indulge in a cool drink or enjoy a relaxing dip in a nearby hot tub overlooking the ocean.
  • The fun tees off with Goofy’s Golf – a nine-hole miniature golf course where “lessons” featuring Goofy and his son, Max, lead guests through nine themed holes of wacky fun.
  • Goofy’s Sports Deck features full-court basketball, table tennis and foosball tables.
  • Two digital sports simulators offer virtual game experiences where guests participate in high-action sports such as golf, hockey, soccer, basketball, rugby, baseball and football.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Luxury Operator Regent Seven Seas' Seven Seas Voyager Emerges from Refit

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 700-guest Seven Seas Voyager emerged from dry dock yesterday (9-19-2011) with elegantly renovated suites and public areas, completing the third phase of the ultra-luxury line’s multi-phase, fleet-wide Seven Seas Signature initiative. The ship is currently on a 10-night cruise from Piraeus to Venice .

As part of the ship’s makeover, new ultra-plush carpeting was installed throughout the entire interior of the ship; 26 top suites were refreshed with new wallpaper, fabrics, curtains, décor and art pieces. In addition, Penthouse and higher-category suites have been equipped with iPads and selected suites also received new upgraded balcony furniture.

Several enhancements were also made to the ship’s elegant public rooms. The popular pre-dinner cocktail spot, Voyager Lounge, features new drapery and furniture, including sofas, armchairs, stools and tables, while new Turkish carpets bring added elegance to the Conoisseur Club. On Deck 11, refurbishments to the pool area include an updated Pool Bar and expanded Pool Grill, and marble-edged corridors that now lead guests to new wood flooring in the Observation Lounge. The ship’s popular La Veranda restaurant has new chairs and wallpaper and the coffee bar on Deck 5 has been expanded to accommodate demand.

As announced previously, enhancing the culinary experience was also a key element of Phase Three. Menus in Compass Rose were expanded with select items from the Signatures and Prime 7 specialty restaurants, as well as a greater emphasis on dishes from the regions visited.

“Seven Seas Voyager is emerging as a fresh new product with thoughtful touches that will enhance our guests’ overall experience,” stated Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Through our Seven Seas Signature program we are continuing to evolve our brand and look forward to announcing additional updates in 2012-13.”


Monday, October 24, 2011

Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Breeze Has Private Concert With Maroon 5

Everything is bigger in Texas, including Carnival Cruise Lines’ celebration for the U.S. debut of its newest ship, Carnival Magic. Today Carnival announced it has teamed up with three-time GRAMMY Award-winning band Maroon 5 to perform an exclusive concert to welcome the line’s newest “Fun Ship” to its year-round homeport of Galveston, Texas. On Sunday, November, 13, 2011, set to the backdrop of the spectacular new Carnival Magic from Pier 21, thousands of fans of Maroon 5 and Carnival will be treated to a free, ticketed concert by the multi-platinum group the day before the new vessel sets sail on its inaugural U.S. voyage.

Carnival Magic, which entered service in May in Europe, will make its transatlantic voyage to arrive in Galveston on November 13. That afternoon, lucky invited guests will enjoy a fantastic performance from the globally recognized group known for hits like “Moves Like Jagger," “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved,” “Wake Up Call” and “Makes Me Wonder.” Free tickets for the performance will be distributed through various channels, including Carnival’s Facebook page, which will feature a contest that asks fans to record a video of their best dance moves for a chance to win two tickets to the concert, along with round-trip airfare, hotel, ground transportation and spending money. Carnival’s Facebook fans in Texas, along with readers of the popular blog written by Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald, will have additional opportunities to win, and tickets will also be given away through select Texas radio stations.

“We wanted to do something big and memorable to mark Carnival Magic’s U.S. debut and what better way to celebrate than to bring together fans of music and fans of Carnival, along with our partners in Galveston, for an exceptional afternoon of fun and entertainment,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Lines’ president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to kick off year-round Caribbean cruising on the newest and most spectacular ship sailing from Texas.”

Adam Levine, Maroon 5 frontman and coach on the hit NBC series “The Voice,” said, “We’ve played every kind of venue imaginable across the world, but we’ve never helped to launch a new cruise ship. We’re excited to work with Carnival and to be part of the Carnival Magic celebration for fans in Texas.”
Following the concert, Carnival will host several thousand travel agent partners on board Carnival Magic for an evening of dining and entertainment. On November 14, the ship will launch its Caribbean cruise program which will feature two different week-long itineraries from Galveston, including seven-day western Caribbean voyages to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, and week-long eastern Caribbean cruises to Nassau, Freeport, and Key West.

As the line’s newest ship, Carnival Magic offers a host of innovations, including the RedFrog Pub, a colorful Caribbean-inspired watering hole featuring its own private label draught beer; Cucina del Capitano, a family-style Italian restaurant that brings the heritage of Carnival’s captains to the table; and SportSquare, an expansive open-air recreation complex with the first ropes course and outdoor fitness area at sea. Other features include a WaterWorks aqua park with a 312-foot-long spiral water slide and other attractions; The Lanai, a wraparound promenade with an outdoor barbeque area and whirlpools that extend out over the ship’s sides; and Ocean Plaza, a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live entertainment venue.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

TUI Cruises New Ship

STX Finland Oy and TUI Cruises have today signed a contract for the design and construction of a 97,000 gross ton cruise vessel. The sophisticated and highly innovative cruise vessel is scheduled to be delivered in spring 2014. The vessel has many environmentally friendly features, with a particular emphasis on the vessel's energy efficiency. The project will bring some 5,500 man-years of labour to STX Finland's Turku shipyard. TUI Cruises has an option to order another ship subject to the decision of TUI Cruises shareholders.

The vessel will be approx. 295 meters long and approx. 36 meters wide. The ship will have 1,250 staterooms and will serve maximum of 2,500 passengers and a crew of 1,000 persons. High balcony ratio will ensure that most of the passengers will have a possibility to enjoy their own balconies during the cruise. The ship has a wide variety of restaurants, a theatre, a spa, a nightclub and a large deck area which all are carefully designed to ensure a unique cruising experience for passengers of all ages.

"We are extremely pleased to sign this contract with TUI Cruises. This order is highly important for STX and STX Finland. By building this innovative ship we continue our successful and long history of building top class cruise vessels," says Sujou Kim, CEO of STX Europe and STX Finland.

"This is a very important contract for STX Finland's Turku Shipyard and for the entire Finnish maritime cluster. We are delighted to deliver to TUI Cruises their first newbuilding which will represent the next generation of energy efficient and environmentally friendly cruise ship," says Jari Anttila, Director of STX Finland's Turku Shipyard.

"Due to its outstanding positioning as a shipyard and long-term cooperation with Royal Caribbean Cruises, we trust that STX Finland is a great partner for us and will successfully realize our ideas in the new ship," says Richard J. Vogel, CEO of TUI Cruises. Turku shipyard was the only yard that was capable to delivery the ship by May 2014.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

South Pacific Cruise Ship Paul Gauguin to Undergo Refit

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the Paul Gauguin, has announced the largest renovations in the ship's 14-year history. Scheduled for completion in January 2012, the $7 million renovation will feature extensive enhancements to both interiors and exteriors of the ship.

The renovations will take place in January during the ship's 10-night crossing from Tahiti to Brisbane and 11-night drydock in Brisbane. When joining the South Pacific Discovery sailing departing January 26, 2012, guests will be aboard a vessel that has been thoroughly updated and redecorated for even greater comfort.

Following the renovations, all suites and staterooms will feature new carpeting, refinished furniture with new fabrics, new teak railings on the balconies, decorative side panels around the windows, and new bathroom flooring. Renovations throughout the ship will include new flooring and replaced carpeting, elegant new furniture, new window treatments and decorative wall panels, and new signage, providing a lighter, brighter feel.

La Veranda will offer guests a redesigned entrance, refinished indoor and outdoor furniture and solar shades throughout. Le Grill will boast new decorative partitions and divider walls, as well as a new buffet area and new lighting. L'Etoile will also feature a redesigned entrance in addition to video equipment for conferences.

Promenade Deck 5 will boast a new built-in banquette and expanded casino in Le Casino, and Deck 6 will receive a new integrated display case for books and art. La Palette will feature a decorative stone band along the front of the bar and an updated lighting system, as well as new outdoor furniture. Le Grand Salon will offer a refurbished dance floor to provide the perfect venue to dance the night away under the South Pacific sky.

The Gauguin's previous renovation, totaling $6 million, was completed in January 2009. The upcoming refurbishments show Paul Gauguin Cruises' level of commitment to the vessel and the importance of the overall product and guest experience.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Jamaica Makes Major Investment in Ochio Rios.

Feeling the pressure from the new Port of Falmouth, the Port of Ocho Rios is in a defensive position trying to keep the cruise lines interested. The Jamaican Government is expecting to spend upwards of $21 Million dollars over a 5 year period to revitalize the city of Ocho Rios.

To Learn More ->


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Italy's Fincantieri Lands Saga Sappire Refit Contract

Italy’s Fincantieri Palermo Yard has landed the refurbishment for Saga Cruises newly purchased Saga Sapphire. The contract estimated value is about 15 Million Euros. Work is expected to start in November 2011.

Highlights will include the addition of a new balcony deck, and a re-design of all public spaces including The Drawing Room and The Pier, which will have a British Seaside feel, with fish and chips and ice cream parlor. Additionally, an open air cinema and hot tubs will be added into the mix. In a first for the company, i-pads and onboard wi-fi connection will also be available.

Cuisine on Saga Cruises is recognized and awarded as some of the best available:

  • "Pole to Pole" will be the main dining venue, themed around the 7 continents.
  • "The Grill" will focus on lighter meals offering passengers the opportunity to select their meat or fish cooked to order in the fabulous new kitchen,
  • "East to West" will be an Asian specialty restaurant for those of more adventurous tastes.

Cruise entertainment will be shown throughout the ship including the Britannia Show Lounge. There will also be a variety of bars and meeting places. The Clubhouse will be a relaxing social venue for passengers to meet, while “Coopers” will be a bar themed around classic British comedians featuring live comedy shows.

Saga Sapphire’s Inaugural Cruise is on 26 March 2012. The 23-night itinerary will see her visit a host of exciting Mediterranean destinations over the Easter break. Departing Southampton, Saga Sapphire’s first voyage under the Saga flag will take in a host of destinations including El Ferrol (for Santiago de Compostela), Spain; Palma Majorca; Valletta, Malta; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice, Italy; Corfu, Greece; Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy; Gibraltar; and Lisbon, Portugal, before returning to the UK.

The ship previously sailed as the Bleu de France, which Saga purchased from Royal Caribbean’s Croisieres de France last year. Originally built in the early 1980's the vessel was the famous Europa of Hapag-lloyd Cruises.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ambiente Kreuzfahrten Charters Princess Daphne

Ambiente Kreuzfahrten, a brand of Berlin-based FFR Ferien-, Freizeit- und ReiseService GmbH and Germany's latest ocean cruising newcomer, has released its first brochure after having announced a charter of World Cruises Agency's Princess Daphne earlier this summer.

Itineraries start with a twelve-day cruise from Palma de Mallorca to Kiel on April 29, 2012. Subsequently Princess Daphne will perform summer cruises to western Scandinavia, the British Isles and Baltic before returning to the Mediterranean.

Ambiente Kreuzfahrten has chosen Kiel and Bremerhaven as base ports for its 2012 cruise program. The will see the 1955-built vessel cruising the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, while voyages to the Canary Islands, to Brazil, Cuba and the Caribbean are scheduled for the 2012/13 winter season until the ship eventually returns to European waters in April 2013.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Passenger / Freighter Aranui III Will Undergo Refit Before Resuming 2012 Tahitian / Polynesian Sailings

Aranui III was the first incarnation of cargo-passenger vessels to bear the Aranui name that was built with passenger comfort in mind. The well-appointed "Freighter to Paradise" will soon receive further enhancements including the addition of new carpeting for guest cabins, as well as new and re-upholstered dining room chairs among other improvements.

These enhancements will occur during the 2011/2012 winter season while the ship is in dry dock. The Aranui's main engine will receive an overhaul, while its hull will be repainted after it is cleaned of barnacles and algae. Lifeboats will also receive a major overhaul to ensure safety.

The 2012 Aranui III schedule has recently been announced and includes 16 departures from Feb. 4 - Dec. 15, 2012. The Aranui III departs from the Tahitian island of Papeete on a regularly scheduled 14-day journey. The 2012 schedule includes the following travel dates:

Feb. 4 - Feb. 17

Feb. 25 - March 9

March 17 - March 30

April 7 - April 20

April 28 - May 11

May 19 - June 1

June 9 - June 22

June 30 - July 13

July 21 - Aug. 3

Aug. 11 - Aug. 24

Sept. 1 - Sept. 14

Sept. 22 - Oct. 5

Oct. 13- Oct. 26

Nov. 3 - Nov. 16

Nov. 24 - Dec. 7

Dec. 15 - Dec. 28

Travelers will board the Aranui III for complete vacation experience following in the footsteps of famous figures such as Treasure Island-author Robert Louis Stevenson. Guests journey through 800 miles of the most spectacular and remote islands in exotic French Polynesia including Tahiti, the Tuamotu Islands and Marquesas Islands.

Highlights include Nuka Hiva, where 23-year-old Herman Melville jumped a whaling ship for an adventure which ultimately inspired highly regarded literary works such as Typee and Moby Dick, and Hiva Oa, where artist Paul Gauguin's search for an unspoiled paradise came to an end. The ship also visits the Marquesan islands of Tahuata, Ua Pou, Ua Huka and Fatu Hiva, as well as Fakarava and Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Islands.

Prices range from $2,234 – $4,982 per person, based on double occupancy. Rates do not include port tax, cruise tax and tourism tax, which may total up to $350 depending on stateroom category, and an $80 fuel surcharge.

The cruise includes three meals with complimentary wine daily, guided excursions outlined in the itinerary, picnic and meals on shore. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding, fishing and helicopter tours are additional.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Princess Cruises Offers Discounts on 45 European Sailings

rincess Cruises is offering a special Pre-Season Sale on a selection of 45 popular 2012 European vacations. The week-long promotion, which runs from Monday, October 17 to Sunday, October 23, includes free balcony upgrades plus as much as $100 in onboard credit per stateroom.

Itineraries included in the sale will take passengers to some of Europe’s most sought-after destinations, including Mediterranean favorites such as Venice and the Greek Isles, as well as some of the splendors of Northern Europe, including St. Petersburg.

In addition to special fares, passengers booking interior or oceanview staterooms can receive an onboard credit of $25 (cruises up to nine days) to $50 (cruises 10 days or longer), and in balcony staterooms or above can get credits of $50 (cruises up to nine days) or $100 (for sailings 10 days or longer). All onboard credits are offered per stateroom.

“For anyone thinking about seeing the wonders of Europe next year, this is the perfect time to book,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “This promotion offers a great selection of European itineraries, featuring many of the dream destinations that are on so many people’s bucket lists.”

Examples of savings on balcony staterooms include: 11-day Scandinavia & Russia - $2,490 (was $2,840)

  • 12-day British Isles - $2,690 (was $3,040)
  • 12-day Grand Mediterranean - $2,740 (was $2,990)
  • 12-day Holy Land - $3,090 (was $3,640)

Sale fares are also available on fully-escorted land and sea cruise-tours in Europe, beginning at $4,799 for a 17-night Classic Italy cruise-tour.

All cruise prices are per person, and onboard credits are per stateroom. This promotion is not combinable with past-passenger offers.

The Pre-Season Sale runs from 12:00 am PST on October 17 to 11:59 pm PST on October 23, and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Deposits made during this promotion are non-refundable and non-transferable. The promotion is not combinable with past-passenger offers.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Celebrity Cruises' Unique Free 2-Night Constellation Cruise Fare Offer*

Celebrity Cruises' unique Free 2-Night Constellation Cruise Fare Offer* invites guests to embark on a journey through the English Channel in modern luxury on a free* 2-night sailing departing Sept. 5, 2012. Onboard Celebrity Constellation, guests will experience the historical English Channel as they sail from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Southampton, England. In order to participate, travelers must simply book either Celebrity's 12-night Scandinavia and Russia Cruise departing Aug. 24, 2012 or the 12-night Immersive Europe Wine Cruise departing Sept. 17, 2012 - Travelers have the choice of sailing before or after the English Channel cruise.

To take advantage of this offer, bookings must be made by Dec. 16, 2011.

*Free 2-Night Constellation Cruise Fare Offer includes complimentary cruise fare only for the 2-night cruise; government taxes and fees are additional; standard gratuities apply. Full terms and conditions available online.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Norwegian Cruise Lines' Norwegian Breakaway Sailings Available For Booking

Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest 4,000-passenger Freestyle Cruising ship goes on sale on Monday, October 17, 2011. (For NCL past guests, reservations are now being accepted as of today).

Norwegian Breakaway will sail a seven-day Transatlantic cruise from Southampton , England to New York City on April 30, 2013. Rates on the Transatlantic are from $749 per person, double occupancy.

Once in New York , the ship will sail a series of 22 seven-day cruises to Bermuda beginning May 12 through October 6, 2013. Departing on Sundays, the ship will spend three full days on the beautiful island of Bermuda , along with three relaxing days at sea. Rates on the inaugural Bermuda sailings are from $1199 per person, double occupancy.

Currently under construction at Meyer Werft in Germany , Norwegian Breakaway will be 144,017 gross tons and is scheduled for delivery in April 2013. Norwegian Breakaway will make New York City her year-round home port, the largest ship ever to home port in the City. Legendary iconic pop artist Peter Max has been commissioned to paint the ship’s signature hull artwork.