Cruise News Archive - April 2011

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4-26-11 Carnival Takes Delivery of Carnival Magic Carnival Cruise Lines today accepted delivery of the corporation's 100th ship, (including sister brands like Holland America, Princess, Seabourn, Costa and Cunard) the Carnival Magic, in ceremonies at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where the vessel was built.

In recognition of this achievement, on April 29 all guests sailing aboard Carnival Corporation & plc's 100 ships will enjoy a complimentary champagne toast at dinner to commemorate this historic and unprecedented milestone. All told, more than 227,000 guests across the company's 10 cruise brands will participate in the toast, believed to be the largest celebration of its kind at sea.

Following the traditional maritime handover ceremony in Italy, Carnival Magic will debut on May 1 with a nine-day Mediterranean cruise from Venice to Barcelona.

Prior to the departure of its inaugural voyage, the 130,000-ton vessel will be named by its godmother, Lindsey Wilkerson, a former patient of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital who now serves as an employee and ambassador of the organization. The choice of Wilkerson as godmother is a tribute to Carnival's ongoing partnership with St. Jude, one of the world's premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases.

As the line's newest ship, Carnival Magic will introduce 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.

"With a combination of exciting new features such as the RedFrog Pub, SportSquare and Cucina del Capitano and other popular 'Fun Ship' amenities, Carnival Magic epitomizes our company's continued commitment to providing our guests with fun, memorable vacations at an incredible value," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Lines' president and CEO.

Added Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc's chairman and CEO, "The delivery of a new cruise ship to one of our brands is always a proud and exciting moment," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. "It is particularly meaningful that delivery of Carnival Corporation & plc's 100th ship is for the Carnival Cruise Lines brand, which provided the foundation upon which Carnival Corporation & plc was established and, ultimately, grew into the largest cruise operator in the world with 10 global brands."

Following the May 1 inaugural voyage from Venice, Carnival Magic will sail a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean departures from Barcelona through Oct. 16, then reposition to Galveston, Texas, for year-round seven-day Caribbean departures beginning Nov. 14, becoming the largest ship ever based at the port year-round.

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4-25-11 NCL Offers "Kids Sail Free" Sale May 1-7 Norwegian Cruise Line invites kids (17 and younger) to sail free when their parents book a cruise from May 1 to 7, 2011. Two people in acabin can book their kids as third or fourth guests on select sailings fleet-wide for new reservations made by May 7, 2011. Cruise Destinations include the Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawai'i, the Caribbean or Europe.

Norwegian's array of Freestyle Cruising options includes family-friendly accommodations, a variety of entertainment and an array of dining options. The whole family can enjoy plunging waterslides, a two-story Wii wall and supervised kids and teens programs. Parents can enjoy time at the spa, gaming in the casino or even a romantic dinner for two. With many dining options even the most finicky eater will find plenty to satisfy their taste buds at the Kid's Café on Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Star, Pride of America, Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl.

Guests of all ages can enjoy Nickelodeon activities and shows onboard Norwegian Jewel's sailings from New York to the Bahamas & Florida or Norwegian Epic's voyages to the Western Mediterranean from Barcelona or to the Caribbean from Miami. On these ships, there are signature Nickelodeon activities, popular characters and interactive game shows, such as Slime Time Live!, which the entire family can enjoy together. There is no shortage of family fun on board Norwegian Epic with its expansive Aqua Park featuring the three-story Epic Plunge; two-deck sports complex; and interactive children's area, Recess.

To book a cruise with Norwegian contact a travel professional or call Norwegian at 866-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit www.ncl.com.

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4-25-11 Royal Caribbean to Premiere Kung Fu Panda 2 at Sea It will be "Pandamonium" at sea this summer on four of Royal Caribbean's largest ships as they celebrate the launch of DreamWorks Animation's newest movie "Kung Fu Panda 2."

Royal Caribbean International is rolling out the red carpet in honor of the May 26, 2011 world premiere of the DreamWorks film "Kung Fu Panda 2" with 3-D movie viewings, a family-themed promotion and special onboard programming throughout the summer. The cruise line will host a series of red-carpet premieres, which will be celebrated onboard Oasis of the Seas on June 4, 2011, Freedom of the Seas and Allure of the Seas on June 5, 2011, and June 18, 2011 for Liberty of the Seas. Ample viewings of "Kung Fu Panda 2" will take place throughout each sailing onboard all four ships through the end of August 2011.

Guests sailing on these four ships from June through August 2011 will have the opportunity to see the 3-D animated film at sea while it is still in movie theaters across the globe.

In conjunction with the at-sea premiere of "Kung Fu Panda 2," the global cruise line will launch "Pandamonium," an exclusive summer promotion perfect for a family cruise vacation. The package is available onboard four Royal Caribbean ships that feature the DreamWorks Experience and includes VIP seating at one of the onboard "Kung Fu Panda 2" premieres, exclusive meet and greets with DreamWorks Animation characters, two soft drink packages, two cupcakes from the Cupcake Cupboard, a complimentary family photo, and a chance for guests to build their own Pets at Sea plush animal. Kicking off today, the "Pandamonium" package can be booked through a Royal Caribbean booking agent or with a travel agent using the promotional code YNOTxxPO. Availability is limited.

As an extension of the DreamWorks Experience summer programming, the Oasis-class ships will dazzle consumers with Boardwalk family festivals celebrated three to four times per sailing through the end of August. Guests of all ages are invited to come down to the Boardwalk to get their faces painted; enjoy live performances by stilt walkers, marching bands and DJ's; as well as watch themed circuses and balloon artists; and participate in special kids activities.

The DreamWorks Experience, first launched aboard Allure of the Seas, and now offered aboard Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, provides Royal Caribbean guests with renowned entertainment programs, including some of the studio's most popular feature films. Year round, "celebrity" characters including Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of "Shrek;" Alex, Mort, and the Penguins of "Madagascar;" Po of "Kung Fu Panda;" and Hiccup of "How to Train Your Dragon," engage guests of all ages, day and night, in unique events and energetic parades, as well as through interactive character meals in the main dining room, and of course plenty of photo opportunities. Royal Caribbean's younger guests in the complimentary award-winning Adventure Ocean children's program can relish in an exhilarating line-up of activities, games and adventures rooted in the popular DreamWorks Animation movies. Additionally, guests can enjoy DreamWorks Animation programming on a dedicated RCTV channel in their staterooms, as well as DreamWorks Animation's films in 3-D in the four ships' theaters on the big screen. What's more, all of these unique entertainment offerings are included in the cruise fare.

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4-20-11 Silversea to Rename Expedition Ship to Silver Explorer Silversea Cruises today announced plans to change the name of the Prince Albert II, its expedition ship, to Silver Explorer. The change will occur later this month while the vessel is in dry dock at the Lisnave shipyard in Setubal, Portugal, undergoing routine maintenance prior to commencing a summer program of Northern Europe and Arctic voyages.

"Our expansion into adventure travel has turned out quite successful and we have to prepare for the possibility of adding more ships," said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's chairman. "To reinforce the Silversea luxury brand image for the expedition segment, we decided to change the name of our first expedition ship to Silver Explorer and anticipate any future expedition ships will bear similar names that evoke a sense of luxurious adventure."

Lefebvre added, "It has been an absolute privilege to have a ship in our fleet named in tribute to His Serene Highness Prince Albert II. We will continue to honor his legacy of exploration and environmental conservation through our support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and look forward to hosting future onboard fundraising events to benefit the Foundation's projects."

The company is committed to raising awareness of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which is dedicated to the protection of the global environment. Its focus is on three major challenges: climate change and developing renewable energies; the loss of biodiversity; improving universal access to clean water and fighting desertification. For more information, visit www.fpa2.com.

Silver Explorer offers full-scale exploring from an ultra-luxury base at sea, in true Silversea style. With the largest average size accommodations of any expedition ship, guests enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations (many with French balconies or large private verandas), butler service, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, warm hospitality and personalized service (with a crew-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one), and Silversea's generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, bottled water, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities.

The Lloyd's Register 1A ice-rated vessel explores the world from top to bottom, including Central and South America and Africa.

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4-18-11 Princess Cruises Reinstates Calls to Egypt

All Modified Cruises Return to Original Itineraries

Princess Cruises has reinstated calls to Egyptian ports on all itineraries where they were previously removed.

In February due to political unrest, Princess modified itineraries for 18 sailings scheduled to call in Egypt through November. The cruises aboard Star Princess, Dawn Princess, Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess have now returned to their originally published itineraries. Princess' first Egypt call is scheduled for May 15.

"The situation in Egypt has calmed considerably since wide-spread protests earlier this year, and the tourist areas aren't currently being affected," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "So we're pleased to tell passengers they can once again plan to experience this country's iconic pyramids and other ancient wonders."

The Egyptian ports of Alexandria and Port Said are part of the two-day Egypt experience included on the line's 12-day Holy Land sailings. Sailings depart from May 7 through November 15, 2011.

Passengers currently booked on Holy Land sailings are being contacted with the revised itinerary information.

Princess will continue to monitor the situation in Egypt and consult with various authorities to obtain the latest information and advice.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at www.princess.com.

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4-18-11 Cunard Adds 3-D Movies & Songwriting Workshops

Cunard Line Begins 2011 Transatlantic Season with a New Dimension in Entertainment

As Cunard Line prepares to begin flagship Queen Mary 2's seventh Transatlantic season on 26 April, the company announced today a new dimension in entertainment, bringing to life even more unique offerings. New on board entertainment experiences include 3D films through a partnership with RealD, dynamic and interactive songwriting workshops, and RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) "street theatre" performances and writing workshops.

3D Partnership with RealD

Starting on Transatlantic Crossings in early May, Queen Mary 2 will offer 3D films in association with RealD, the world's most widely used digital 3D projection technology, presented in the ship's stadium-seating theatre, Illuminations.

Throughout June, the opera "Carmen" – a co-production of RealD and London's Royal Opera House – will be featured, providing viewers the best seat in the house, taking them on a magic carpet ride into the heart of this famed opera – immersing them into this exciting story of love, jealousy and betrayal. CARMEN IN 3D is a dazzling film, filled with some of the best-loved music ever written and performed by a world-class cast. With English subtitles throughout, it is the perfect event for life-long opera fans and first-timers alike.

In addition, upcoming summer 3D blockbusters will be shown, including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Professional Insights Songwriting Programme

Also new this year, professional songwriter and producer Chris Difford, formerly of the 1970's British new wave band Squeeze, will conduct songwriting workshops with four other professional songwriters as part of the Professional Insights series. With Difford's songwriting programme, guests will collaborate in small groups with guitarists, pianists, singers and bass players from Queen Mary 2's performance company. The best songwriters will then have the opportunity to record their songs in a studio on board and be able to take them home. Difford and the songwriters also will be performing well-known Squeeze favourites during the voyage. Difford's Professional Insights songwriting programme will be offered on the following voyages:

  • 10 - 17 May (Southampton – NY)
  • 24 June - 1 July (Southampton – NY)
  • 15 - 22 August (Southampton – NY)
  • 20 - 27 September (Southampton – NY)
  • 27 September - 7 October (New England and Canadian Sojourn)

"Cunard's guests have come to expect top-notch entertainment and enrichment programmes, and our new offerings will enhance their experience even more," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. "Once again, the worlds of theatre, music and literature truly come alive on board, providing guests the combination of accessible world-class entertainment with the opportunity to tap into their own creative sides."

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)

The RADA graduate company continues to celebrate its longstanding relationship with Cunard with daily workshops and classic performances.

This year, RADA will go beyond Queen Mary 2's Royal Court Theatre to feature several new interactive offerings including dramatic re-enactments throughout the ship. These "street theatre" performances will be taken from such classic works as Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing:

  • The Pilgrim's Journey: The actors will travel in costume around the ship in characters from The Canterbury Tales as they would travel to Canterbury; they will stop several times for a short scene/improvisation
  • Much Ado Around the Ship: Two groups of actors will perform short scenes from the play around the ship
  • A Bedtime Story: Taking place in the Grand Lobby, one of the RADA actors will sit in an armchair and read a bedtime story, surrounded by a small group of guests; requests can be taken for night six of the voyage
  • The Canterbury Tales Performance, Royal Court Theatre: RADA will perform a different Canterbury Tale each month, performing the complete works over the course of two years; at the end of each performance, the audience will be encouraged to choose their favourite tale; the actors will then ask for short stories to be called The Cunard Tales to be written by members of the audience; these will then be workshopped and performed by the actors and participants

Also new for 2011, RADA appears in two of Queen Mary 2's lounges, blending musical components with performances featuring poetry, piano and jazz including:

  • Jazz Poetry with the Mark Hodgson Trio, Chart Room: The actors will perform rhythmic, jazz and rap poetry accompanied by the trio
  • Passion and Piano, Winter Garden: The actors will read passionate poetry and prose accompanied by the piano, and will also read chosen pieces and take requests from the audience.

On a luxury cruise vacation aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2, guests revel in the experience of the voyage itself, not just the destination – enjoying activities such as the only planetarium and largest library at sea, white-gloved afternoon tea service, the engaging Cunard Insights enrichment programme and West End-style productions, as well as the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub on board a ship.

For more information on Queen Mary 2 or to book a voyage, consult your travel agent, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com.

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4-5-11 Disney Magic: 12 Cruises Out of Galveston Autumn 2012 The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Disney Cruise Line will offer 12 seven-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston starting Sept. 22, 2012. Ports to include Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel.

Rates will reportedly start at $840 per person for a standard inside stateroom, double occupancy.

The paper reports that Disney's Magic will join the Carnival Magic, which begins sailing from Galveston on Nov. 14. Carnival Triumph will also begin sailing out of Galveston on Oct. 6. Carnival's Ecstasy and Conquest now sail out of Galveston but will be repositioned to New Orleans.

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas also calls on Galveston and in December, Princess Cruises' Crown Princess will also sail out of Galveston.

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4-5-11 Azamara to Join Balmoral Titanic Memorial Cruise: Bookings Open Today Azamara Journey will depart New York City to join the Balmoral at the Titanic site on April 10, 2012. Starting today, guests can book the eight-night charter voyage on the deluxe 694-guest Azamara Journey, which will feature a series of Titanic historian lecturers (http://www.titanicmemorialcruise.com). These cruises are expected to sell out quickly.

The Journey cruise will depart New York City on April 10, 2012. On the April 14 anniversary, guests on Azamara Journey will join the 1,309 passengers aboard the Balmoral, at the site of the original ship's sinking for a memorial service. Balmoral, which will sail from Southampton, England, sold out last October, and has an extensive waiting list.

Azamara Journey will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, which has one of the most moving and intimate connections with the Titanic disaster, becoming the final resting place of many of her unclaimed victims. Here, among a number of excursion options, guests will have the opportunity to visit Fairview Lawn Cemetery where victims of the sinking are buried.

"Our original Titanic anniversary cruise aboard Balmoral sold out last fall to over 1,300 people from 24 countries, including 350 from the U.S.," said Miles Morgan, managing director of the Titanic Memorial Cruise. "Many passengers either had relatives on the Titanic, or have a lifelong fascination with the story. We are expecting that Azamara Journey, with only half the Balmoral's capacity, will sell quickly."

Guests of Azamara Journey also will enjoy the cruise line's more inclusive onboard amenities, such as included gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary boutique red and white wines to accompany lunch and dinner.

Prices start at $4,725 per person, double occupancy, while suites, which start at $6,750 per person, offer additional luxury amenities such as English butler service and a private portrait sitting.

Visit www.titanicmemorialcruise.com for more information.

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4-4-11 Cunard's Queen Elizabeth Meets Queen Elizabeth 2 Queen Elizabeth, Cunard Line's newest ship, made a special maiden call to Dubai on March 31 during her Maiden World Voyage, meeting Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), the longest-serving Cunarder, for the first time.

Upon her arrival in Dubai for an overnight visit, Queen Elizabeth exchanged whistle salutes with QE2, which left the Cunard fleet in 2008 after more than 40 years in service, to take up permanent residence in Dubai.

Cunard President Peter Shanks comments on this in the latest WeAreCunard.com blog post.

The new Queen Elizabeth is on the final leg of her first circumnavigation around the globe – the Middle East & Mediterranean Memories segment with remaining ports of call to Aqaba, Jordan; Suez and Port Said, Egypt; Athens; Rome; and Lisbon before returning to her homeport of Southampton on 19 April.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth Meets Queen Elizabeth 2

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