News Archive - December 2011

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12-22-11 Viking River to Build Two 888-passenger Luxury Cruise Ships STX France SA received an order to build two luxury cruise ships from Viking Ocean Cruises, an affiliate of Viking River Cruises. The vessels will be delivered in spring 2014 and spring 2015, respectively, and will be part of Viking's new Ocean Cruise brand. An option for a third ship is being considered. The vessels will be operated primarily on the Mediterranean seas and be dedicated mainly to Viking's US, British and Australian customers.

The vessels will measure 230 x 26.5, carrying 888 passengers in 444 cabins with a complement of 444 crew members.

The contract will represent about 2.5 million man-hours. Construction is expected to start in mid-September 2012 for the first vessel and in mid-September 2013 for the second vessel. The contract is subject to financing.

Viking River Cruise currently operates a fleet of 23 river vessels, and has 8 river cruise vessels under construction. River cruising is destination oriented and the two ocean going vessels will similarly be designed with destination cruising in mind.

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12-19-11 Carnival Inspiration Launches Year-Round Three- and Four-Day Cruises from Long Beach, CA

World's Most Popular Cruise Line Continues to be Number One Choice for West Coast Cruise Departures Based on Passengers Carried

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Inspiration will launch year-round short cruises from Long Beach, Calif., this afternoon when it departs on a sold-out four-day voyage to Catalina Island and Ensenada. Carnival Inspiration provides an exciting new choice on this popular itinerary which encompasses three-day cruises departing Fridays to Ensenada and four-day cruises departing Mondays to Ensenada and Catalina Island. Previously, this itinerary was operated by the Carnival Paradise, which has been redeployed to Tampa. The 70,000-ton Carnival Inspiration underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar refurbishment as part of the line's "Evolutions of Fun" enhancement program and includes such innovations as a WaterWorks aqua park with a 300-foot-long water slide, 82-foot-long racing slides and a water spray area, a Serenity adults-only retreat, a tropical-themed resort-style main pool area and numerous other features. Carnival Inspiration also includes a nine-hole miniature golf course, a 12,000-square-foot spa, a jogging track, and spacious facilities and supervised programming for children in three age groups (Camp Carnival for two- to 11-year-olds, Circle "C" for kids ages 12-14, and Club O2 for the 15- to 17-year-old set). The ship also offers 12 lounges and bars, including a multi-level theatre showcasing lavish production shows, along with three restaurants, including two full-service dining rooms with extensive menus and wine lists and a 725-seat casual poolside eatery with a seemingly endless array of casual offerings, including a Mongolian wok venue with custom-made stir fries, a rotisserie, pasta- and meat-carving stations, a New York-style deli offering piled-high sandwiches, a 24-hour pizzeria with seven kinds of pies, and expansive buffets featuring different cuisines from around the world. A patisserie serving specialty coffees and sweets and a sushi bar offering Asian delicacies are also available. Carnival Inspiration joins the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor which operates seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach. Carnival is the West Coast cruise leader and is the only company to operate two ships from California on a year-round basis. Together the Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Splendor are expected to carry 400,000 guests on an annual basis – more than any other cruise operator. Reservations are currently being accepted for both the Carnival Inspiration's three- and four-day Baja cruises, as well as the Carnival Splendor's seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line's travel agent Internet portal,

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12-16-11 Rascal Flatts to Play on Norwegian Spirit Norwegian Cruise Line and Rascal Flatts, one of the hottest groups in country music, announced today that the band will perform an exclusive, first ever concert at sea on board Norwegian Spirit's February 26, 2012 sailing from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean. The intimate acoustic performance will take place when the ship is docked in Cozumel on March 2, 2012.

"It's not even Christmas yet, but we are already looking forward to next spring when we make our first-ever appearance on a cruise ship," said Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts. "We will perform and meet fans aboard Norwegian Spirit as it's docked in Cozumel, Mexico on March 2. We hope you will join us!"

To promote the performance and the band's current Top 5, "Easy," which has just been certified gold with 500,000 digital downloads, radio stations in more than 20 top markets, including Canada, are holding on-air contests over the next several weeks for lucky listeners and their guests to win the seven-night cruise on Norwegian Spirit, along with airfare to New Orleans, and receive VIP tickets to the concert, including a special meet and greet with the band.

In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering guests on board the ship the opportunity to see the concert with two different ticket options available for purchase. The VIP package is available for $150 per person and gives guests the chance to get up close and personal with the band during a private cocktail reception, where they will have the opportunity to meet and greet with band members Jay, Joe Don and Gary, have their photo taken with the band and receive an autographed souvenir. Standard tickets are available for $50 per person and guarantee a seat in the ship's Stardust Theater for the concert.

Rascal Flatts has reached heights and achieved milestones reserved for country music' elite. They have set more venue attendance records than any country act en route to ticket sales of six million and counting. They have sold 20 million albums, 25 million digital downloads and earned 13 #1 singles. With the #1 debut on the Country Albums sales chart of Nothing Like This, Rascal Flatts becomes one of only four country acts to debut six consecutive studio albums at #1. They have won over 40 awards from the ACM, CMA, AMA and People's Choice, among others, and they have received that ultimate honor for those who have impacted the culture – a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Norwegian Spirit will set sail from New Orleans on Saturday, February 26, 2012 on seven-day Western Caribbean cruise. Ports of call include: Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Roatan, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico, along with two relaxing days at sea. Norwegian Spirit features the best of Norwegian's Freestyle Cruising® with the choice of nine dining options, 10 bars and lounges, a full casino, spa and fitness center, pools and sports deck. This sailing has limited availability with oceanview staterooms from $549 per person and balcony staterooms from $879 per person.

To book the cruise, contact a travel professional, call 866-234-7350 or visit Existing guests on Norwegian Spirit's February 26, 2012 cruise, can book the concert as a shore excursion online prior to the sailing or once onboard.

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12-12-11 Carnival Paradise Launches Year-Round Four- and Five-Day Cruises from Tampa

Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise arrived this morning in Tampa following a 14-day Panama Canal cruise and will sail on its inaugural cruise from the port later this afternoon. Carnival Paradise is replacing the Carnival Inspiration on four- and five-day western Caribbean cruises from the Port of Tampa, becoming the newest Carnival "Fun Ship" to operate this popular itinerary. On this route, Carnival Paradise departs Thursdays on four-day cruises to Cozumel and on Mondays and Saturdays on five-day voyages to Cozumel and Grand Cayman. The Carnival Inspiration is being deployed to Long Beach, Calif., to operate year-round three- and four-day cruises. Carnival Paradise joins the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend, which sails year-round seven-day Caribbean voyages from Tampa. Carnival is the only cruise line to offer year-round cruises from Tampa and has maintained a year-round presence since it launched seven-day Caribbean cruises in 1994. Over the years, the company has dramatically expanded its presence at the Port of Tampa, adding newer and larger ships and offering a greater variety of itineraries. This year, the line's two-year-round ships, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Legend, are expected to carry an estimated 300,000 passengers from Tampa – a 10-fold increase versus Carnival's first year of operations there. "With its convenient location, excellent facilities and proximity to top tourist attractions, Tampa has become one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Paradise will provide an exciting and affordable short cruise option from Florida's west coast," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "The Tampa Port Authority is a valued business partner and we're proud and delighted to continue our excellent relationship with the Carnival Paradise," he added. "The Tampa Port Authority is thrilled that Carnival Cruise Lines recognizes the importance of Florida's west coast market and continues to enhance its year round services," said Tampa Port Director Richard Wainio. "The addition of the Carnival Paradise is a testament to Carnival's longstanding success with year round cruising from Tampa. We value our good relationship with Carnival and look forward to working together to serve cruise passengers in the Port of Tampa," he noted. Carnival Paradise offers a distinctive décor with dramatic public spaces that pay homage to great ocean liners of the past, with memorable venues such as the Queen Mary Lounge, Normandie Theater, Rotterdam Bar and the Leonardo Lounge. The ship also features spacious, modern facilities and programming for children in three age groups, along with a three swimming pools, including one with a spiral water slide. Dining options include two formal restaurants with extensive menus and wine lists and an expansive poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria. Other features include a 12,000-square-foot health and fitness center, a jogging track, and Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat. Reservations are currently being accepted for all of Carnival's Tampa-based programs. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line's travel agent Internet portal,

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12-12-11 Silversea Offers Guests Exclusive 'Grand Prix de Monaco' Tour

Guests sailing on the nearly sold-out Silver Spirit voyage of May 24, 2012 are in for a special treat. Silversea is offering an optional two-day "70th Grand Prix de Monaco" land package. Silver Spirit guests will have the opportunity to experience the thrill of a Formula One race at the Monaco Grand Prix during the ship's overnight visit on May 26. On Saturday, guests will enjoy witnessing the time trials (practice runs for the drivers and their cars) from Tribune K reserved seats. From this section of the grandstand, guests will see cars racing towards them at tremendous speed, slow down, and then accelerate, before making the next turn. In the evening, guests attend an invitation-only cocktail reception hosted by the ship's captain and a former Grand Prix driver, followed by a themed dinner of Mediterranean and Monegasque cuisine served in La Terrazza. On Sunday, guests return to their same reserved seats for the exciting final race. The tour includes escorted transfers and a gift package of spectator essentials featuring Bushnell binoculars, an official "70th Grand Prix de Monaco" program, souvenir drawstring bag, hat, seat cushion and protective earplugs. "This is an amazing opportunity for our guests to experience the thrill and excitement of the world's most renowned Formula One race," said Darius Mehta, Silversea's vice president of air and land programs. Priced at $1,799 per guest, this special two-day, mid-voyage land adventure is only offered on Silver Spirit's May 24 voyage (#5213), sailing from Barcelona to Rome. It requires advance booking through Silversea's reservations department by January 24, 2012. However, since space is limited, the tour may sell out before the booking deadline. About Silversea Cruises Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit – all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the expedition ship Silver Explorer, Silversea Cruises' itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both polar regions and over 450 fascinating destinations in between. In the U.S., Silversea has been voted "World's Best" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (nine times) and Travel + Leisure (seven times), and rated Number-One luxury cruise line by high-net-worth consumers in the 2008 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI). International awards include "Best Innovation in Products and Services" from the Italian Innovazione Marketing Oggi Awards (2009); "World's Leading Small Ships Cruise Line" from World Travel Awards (2009); "Five Star Diamond Award" from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (2010); "Number One" small-ship line in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Britain's Condé Nast Traveller magazine (2010); "Best Luxury Cruise Line" Excellence Award by Spain's Cruise News Media Group (2009); "Best Luxury Cruise Line" by Australia's Luxury Travel & Style Magazine (2011); and "Best Luxury Cruise Operator" according to Travel Weekly China (2010).

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12-7-11 Celebrity Expands Suite Selections on Celebrity Reflection

'Reflection Suites' and 'Signature Suites' blend innovative design, novel technology and stunning sea views

While celebrating the highly anticipated stateside debut of its stylish Celebrity Silhouette – the fourth and newest member of Celebrity Cruises' widely heralded Solstice Class fleet – Celebrity Cruises also is intensely focused on the fifth member of the class, Celebrity Reflection, which sets sail in the Fall of 2012. And when she does, she'll boast all the attributes that have netted Celebrity's Solstice Class the broadest array of honors in the brand's 20-year history – including Celebrity's #1 ranking in the large-ship category of the prestigious annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards – and a host of entirely new features, including a significantly expanded array of luxury suites.

In designing Celebrity Reflection, the line focused on what could make the best even better, and already announced plans to add a new deck to allow for additional staterooms and the line's first AquaClass Suites, inspired by guest demand. And today, the line announced plans to also introduce Celebrity's first "Signature Suites," and the jaw-dropping new "Reflection Suite."

"Everything we introduced on Celebrity Silhouette illustrated our devotion to offering new and differentiated experiences for our guests, and the feedback we're receiving is rewarding validation that our guests love it – from The Lawn Club Grill, to The Porch, to The Alcoves, to The Hideaway, not to mention they continually tell us how much they love the first three Solstice Class ships," said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "On Celebrity Reflection, we've taken the opportunity to further elevate our onboard offerings, with entirely new 'Signature Suites' and our first 'Reflection Suite,' in addition to our first-ever AquaClass Suites, collectively creating the most vivid examples yet of the modern luxury that defines Celebrity."


Located in a private area of the ship's 14th deck, Celebrity Reflection's five Signature Suites each offer a 441-square-foot stateroom area and 118-square foot veranda, with floor-to-ceiling windows and veranda doors, all designed to maximize the stunning views of the sea. Celebrity's Signature Suites each can accommodate up to four guests, and will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet.

The entire area – including the stunning new Reflection Suite – features cardkey access exclusively for guests booked in the elite group of suites, such that a family or group of up to 26 guests traveling together can enjoy a private, six-suite modern luxury vacation experience.


Nestled in the highly desirable corner location near Celebrity's new Signature Suites, the Reflection Suite will be the brand's first two-bedroom suite, complete with a truly distinctive sea-view bathroom extending out over the edge of the ship, a veranda tub with soothing rain shower, and panoramic views courtesy of the wraparound veranda. The 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite with 194-square-foot veranda – complete with Celebrity's luxurious 24/7 butler service – can accommodate up to six guests.

From today through December 11, 2011, Celebrity is offering its most loyal guests – Captain's Club members – an exclusive opportunity to be the first to book the new Reflection Suite and Signature Suites, before they open for booking among the general public December 12. Captain's Club members interested in booking during this private event are invited to call 1.800.760.0654 or contact their travel agent.


To provide an entirely new, breakthrough bedding experience for guests booked in Celebrity's Reflection Suite, Signature Suites and Penthouse Suite, Celebrity has partnered with Reverie®, a leading innovator in luxury bedding, to deliver the Reverie® Dream Sleep System™. The patented sleep system features a premium Reverie mattress that allows guests, with the assistance of their butler, to customize the softness of their bed.

Additionally, Reverie's exclusive technology enables the iPod Touch (third and fourth generation), iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPad 2, iPad and Reverie Remote app to act as a remote control for the Reverie Sleep System, allowing guests to easily operate massage features and adjust the elevation of the mattress. Pressing "zero gravity" on the remote will take guests to a position in which the feet and head are raised slightly to improve circulation and relieve lower back pressure, creating the ultimate sensation of "weightlessness," similar to the sensation felt in a zero-gravity chamber.

Reverie also has integrated remote control technology into the Sleep System so guests can turn appliances around the room that are connected to the power outlet off or on with the touch of the screen on the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad. Guests can enjoy this innovative technology through an iPad provided in each of the new suites.

To complete the innovative sleep experience, Celebrity's suite guests also will enjoy the custom-embroidered, 100% Egyptian cotton linens featured in Celebrity's new "eXhale" bedding program, which was introduced on the newly-Solsticized Celebrity Infinity December 3.


Driven by high demand for Celebrity's industry-first AquaClass category of spa-inspired accommodations, and by way of an additional deck being added to Celebrity Reflection, as previously announced, Celebrity will introduce on Celebrity Reflection the line's first AquaClass Suites. Each will offer 300 square feet of luxurious interior space and spacious 79-square-foot verandas, paired with all the amenities associated with Celebrity's AquaClass accommodations, including exclusive and complimentary access to the highly-rated specialty restaurant, "Blu," noted for its inviting, modern design and flavorful, healthy cuisine. The new suites also will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet.

In addition to the 34 new AquaClass Suites, Celebrity Reflection also will present an additional eight luxurious new Sky Suites, 19 additional plush ConciergeClass staterooms, and 11 additional inside staterooms, bringing the stateroom/suite total to 1,515.

"We gave a great deal of thought to how to ideally accommodate everything we're adding," said Hanrahan. "We're widening the ship slightly, enabling us to introduce each of these exceptional new venues without compromising an inch of Celebrity's premium space ratio and traffic flow."

Celebrity Reflection will offer 245 more loungers on its expanded pool deck to suit the increased overall guest capacity, as well as 45 additional seats in the Celebrity Theater, 118 in Oceanview Café, 24 additional seats each in Blu and in Tuscan Grille, four more in Qsine, and 40 additional seats in the main dining room, where Celebrity offers Celebrity Select DiningSM, the industry's first flexible dining option allowing guests to choose when they wish to dine on a flexible, day-by-day basis.

Celebrity Reflection will enter service October 12, 2012, on a nine-night European cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona.

About Celebrity Cruises:

Celebrity Cruises' iconic "X" is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers' precious time. In addition to offering vacations visiting all continents, Celebrity also presents immersive cruisetour experiences in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Europe and South America. One of the fastest-growing major cruise lines, Celebrity is one of five cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL). Celebrity's fleet currently consists of 10 ships, with an additional Solstice Class ship, Celebrity Reflection, scheduled to join the fleet in Fall 2012. For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit, call your travel agent. Follow the brand socially at

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12-6-11 Disney Fantasy Takes Family Entertainment to New Heights

New Main Stage Musical "Wishes" Debuts

(Copyright © Disney Cruise Line)

Like never before, Disney Cruise Line takes cruise ship entertainment to new heights: Performers soar and surf over the stage in aerial maneuvers … Pirates rappel from atop the ship's funnel during a swashbuckling adventure … The evening sky lights up with a dazzling display of sound and color. On the Disney Fantasy, entertainment is designed to charm and bedazzle the entire family. Guests delight to some of the most elaborate original musicals presented at sea, over-the-top deck parties and, bursting above it all, the largest fireworks spectacular aboard a cruise ship. It's Show Time! Every night is show time at Walt Disney Theatre, an elegant, 1,340-seat entertainment palace that is at once classic and ultra-modern. Spanning three decks with orchestra and balcony seating, the theater is resplendent with art deco styling recalling luxurious show places of a bygone era. At the same time, it is equipped with theatrical technology that makes it one of the most advanced venues on land or sea, bringing original productions and Disney stories to life in a whole new way. The lineup of musicals presented at the Disney Fantasy Walt Disney Theatre includes "Wishes," "Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular," "Disney's Believe," "A Fantasy Come True" and "An Unforgettable Journey." Here's a look at what's in store: "Wishes" A new ship means new main stage entertainment at the Walt Disney Theatre, and "Wishes" is a spectacular production debuting on the Disney Fantasy. This signature show is a 45-minute musical journey about three best friends who discover the secret to being a grown-up is staying connected to their inner child. The story begins as long-time best friends Kayla and Nicole along with Nicole's twin brother Brandon visit Disneyland to celebrate their high school graduation. Each is unsure of what the future holds for them, so they make a wish to go on the "Ride of Our Lives" - the show's original opening number. Their wish evokes an enchanted world where a cavalcade of Disney characters - including Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Lilo, Stitch, Mulan, Hercules, Pinocchio, Timon and Pumbaa - materialize to guide the teens through their magical journey. Full-scale production numbers and special effects bring excitement to the stage as the cast of "Wishes" performs original songs and classic Disney tunes with a contemporary twist. Notable moments include:

  • In an over-the-top musical comedy production number, the song "I've Got a Dream" from "Tangled" sets the scene as the Snuggly Duckling Tavern comes alive, with Rapunzel, Flynn Rider and a tavern full of hilarious thugs.
  • In the "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" from "Lilo and Stitch" scene, the stage fills with giant windsurfing sails, kites and surf boards. The infectious music inspires Kayla as she rides a surfboard, flying atop a giant blue wave silk.
  • King Louie and the Monkeys perform a high-energy swing band version of "I Wanna Be Like You" from the Jungle Book.

In the final act, the trio celebrates their extraordinary journey at a graduation party as the pop tune "Breakthrough" from the Disney Channel original movie "Lemonade Mouth" keeps the revelry going.

For the "Wishes" Fact Sheet, click here. "Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular" New to Disney Cruise Line, "Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular" takes the stage on the Disney Fantasy. During this Broadway-style production, guests laugh along with the wise-cracking Genie and the characters from the classic animated Disney film "Aladdin." In this fast-paced musical comedy, Aladdin is back as the "street rat" of Agrabah meeting a Genie who grants him three wishes, battling the evil Jafar, and falling in love with Princess Jasmine. Classic scenes and songs from the movie are re-created on stage – and some of the action even spills out into the aisles, like Prince Ali's jubilant arrival in Agrabah on the back of a stallion. Magic lamps, wise-cracking genies, princesses and evil wizards are all part of this musical production. And of course, an Aladdin production would not be complete without a magic carpet scene. In this spectacular, mechanical wizardry and state-of-the-art projections combine to send Jasmine and Aladdin soaring as they perform a heartfelt duet of "Whole New World." Many of the songs from the movie are featured in the 45-minute musical production, including "Friend Like Me," which is performed as a lively, Las Vegas-style production number featuring special effects, illusions and more than a dozen dancing genies. Composer Alan Menken, who created the original soundtrack with songwriters Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, composed an original song for the stage production entitled "To Be Free." "Disney's Believe" "Disney's Believe" is a stage spectacular that combines a heartfelt story with a captivating musical score. The lavish production tells the story of a workaholic father who, through the power of Disney magic, reconnects with his daughter and learns a valuable lesson about what is important in life. "Disney's Believe" takes guests to the garden of Dr. Cornelius Greenaway, a brilliant botanist obsessed with cultivating his precious plants. Dr. Greenaway is so preoccupied with his garden that he overlooks the birthday of his daughter, Sophia. Saddened, Sophia makes a special birthday wish and the impossible happens: Genie from Disney's "Aladdin" appears to make her wish come true. Joined by a host of characters, Genie takes Dr. Greenaway on an enchanting journey into the world of Disney stories. Through spirited production numbers, Dr. Greenaway learns that magic is real and is embodied in his beloved daughter. More than 20 of Disney's most beloved characters take the stage during "Disney's Believe," including Cinderella, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Belle ("Beauty and The Beast"), Rafiki ("The Lion King") and Princess Tiana ("The Princess and the Frog"). "A Fantasy Come True" Welcome Show "A Fantasy Come True" is a 45-minute, high-energy, multimedia musical production that follows one family's journey as they discover the amazing experiences and enchanting surprises that await them aboard the Disney Fantasy. Ultimately, they learn the greatest experience the ship has to offer is the opportunity to make memories – together as a family – that will last a lifetime. "An Unforgettable Journey" Farewell Show "An Unforgettable Journey" is a good-bye hug in the form of a 45-minute musical production that allows guests to reflect and savor the experience they have had onboard the Disney Fantasy. This farewell show connects the guests' experiences to the man who started it all – Walt Disney – through audio and video clips that steep the memorable moments and distinctly Disney touches in Walt's words and wisdom. Party on Deck In addition to nightly stage productions, Disney Cruise Line brings the upper decks of the Disney Fantasy to life with incredible live entertainment. The fun begins with "Sailing Away," a "welcome aboard" show starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the Disney gang. The show is a celebration of the fun aboard a Disney cruise, building to the exciting sounding of the ship's horn. On a special night each cruise, the entire Disney Fantasy transforms into a pirate ship with a night of events brimming with buccaneer fun and a fireworks spectacular. The evening kicks off on the Donald's Pool stage with "Mickey's Pirates IN the Caribbean," a family-friendly interactive show featuring the famous Disney characters. Guests become members of Mickey's Pirate Crew as they participate in a series of pirate-themed musical numbers. Later in the evening, Jack Sparrow from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films makes a special appearance on deck in "Hunt Fer Jack," a thrilling live-action pirate showdown which culminates in "Buccaneer Blast" – a spectacular display of piratical pyrotechnics. As the night rolls on, a high-tech, open-air dance party on the upper decks of the ship heats up. Guests unleash their inner pirate and dance their boots off during "Club Pirate," a family-friendly bash featuring electrifying music, stunning visuals and special effects. Fireworks at Sea The only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea, Disney Cruise Line ups the entertainment ante and lights up the sky with a fireworks extravaganza. As part of the pirate night celebration, the skies above the Disney Fantasy explode with brilliant colors during "Buccaneer Blast." With more "bang" than ever before, the pyrotechnic spectacular is choreographed to a dramatic score featuring songs from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

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12-5-11 Norwegian Cruise Line Enhances Guest Loyalty Program

New Latitudes Rewards recognizes loyal guests with more benefits and special offers

Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian) today announced exciting enhancements to its guest loyalty program. Renamed Latitudes Rewards, the new program better recognizes Norwegian's valued loyal guests. Key program changes include new ways for members to earn points, additional onboard recognition and benefits and access to online account tracking.

Current Latitudes members will automatically be enrolled in the new Latitudes Rewards program and will remain in the same tier or will be upgraded to the appropriate higher tier, depending on the total number of cruise nights and stateroom categories sailed.

"The satisfaction and loyalty of our guests is very important to us," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's president and chief executive officer. "Our new Latitudes Rewards program demonstrates our commitment to delivering the highest levels of guest satisfaction while rewarding our loyal guests with enhanced benefits. We are dedicated to making sure our guests have the best possible cruise experience and look forward to welcoming them back on board again and again."

Latitudes Rewards members earn rewards points in four different ways, making it faster and easier than ever before to move up to the next tier. Members now earn one point per cruise night, providing an opportunity to gain more points the longer the guests' sail. Additional points can be earned when booking a suite or any accommodation in The Haven by Norwegian, booking nine months or more in advance, or when taking advantage of the exclusive monthly "Latitudes Rewards Insider" offers. Latitudes Rewards tiers are based on the total amount of points earned: Bronze members are classified as guests with one to 19 points; Silver members are 20 to 47 points; Gold members are 48 to 75 points; and Platinum members are those with 76 or more points.

In addition to current member benefits such as priority check-in, members-only cocktail parties, access to an on-board program representative and a complimentary online magazine, new benefits have been added to the program. For cruises departing on or after December 5, 2011 the new loyalty program includes special onboard perks, based on the guest's tier level, such as chocolate covered strawberries, ship pins, nightly treats and discounts on packages in the photo gallery.

Latitudes Rewards members will now be able to see their total rewards points, view their cruise history and tier status, including how many points are needed to advance to the next tier, at For more information on Norwegian's Latitudes Rewards program or to book a cruise, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit

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12-2-11 Princess Cruises Ships Deck the Halls for a Festive Season at Sea

Snow Flurries Set the Mood for Santa, Carolers and a Gingerbread House Challenge

For the fifth year in a row, Princess Cruises ships are expecting snow flurries to set the stage for a festive holiday season at sea. No matter where they are sailing, passengers won't miss out on a white Christmas as snow magically falls in the ships' multi-story atriums, transforming them into winter wonderlands.

The innovative snow-making process creates falling flakes that vanish on contact, letting cruise passengers enjoy the excitement of snow without the need to bundle up. Princess' daily snowfall will occur on all ships except for the lines' two small vessels – Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess – which do not have large atriums.

The shipboard snowfall is one of many ways Princess ships will surround passengers with a merry atmosphere. With the halls decked out in holiday décor – including a Christmas tree on the mast – and strolling carolers filling the air with the sounds of the season, Princess ships will offer a festive cruise experience from bow to stern.

The Christmas spirit will be found in activities throughout the ship. Passengers can challenge themselves with a gingerbread house-building competition to see who can construct the most creative structure. Or they can express their creativity with holiday card making, enjoy the entertaining cheer of a Christmas variety show, and even pick up tips at a turkey-carving demonstration to prepare themselves to do the honors at their next holiday feast.

Passengers can join in the sounds of the season by participating in a special holiday-themed Pop Choir, and the ships' Piazzas will feature seasonal entertainment. Movies Under the Stars screens will show favorite holiday films, as well as a virtual Yule log that will turn the giant screens into the "world's largest holiday fireplace." Stateroom televisions will also add the traditional burning Yule log broadcast for a warm and cozy touch inside the room. And of course Santa is expected to make a visit, with passengers receiving their own stocking on Christmas Eve.

Religious services will be held as well, and passengers can participate in Catholic mass or a non-denominational church service performed by onboard clergy.

"The festive atmosphere onboard makes the holidays one our passengers' favorite times to cruise," said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president. "Our welcoming crew members take the worry out of all holiday preparations, and what better way to celebrate than with a winter snowfall – even on a tropical cruise vacation." Swartz added that space is still available on select holiday sailings.

Holiday Feasts – Each Princess ship's culinary team will delight the senses with spectacular holiday displays and will serve up several delicious feasts. Christmas dinner features traditional holiday fare including slow-roasted Vermont turkey with chestnut stuffing and cranberry chutney. Special desserts include English Christmas pudding and gingerbread soufflé, while freshly prepared stollen and Christmas cookies also make an appearance. Passengers can also try a taste of traditional holiday dishes from around the world as the Horizon Court serves up some favorites based on the cuisines of crew members' home countries.

Christmas For Children – Younger cruisers can anticipate the big day with a full schedule of holiday activities. The youth centers will host holiday parties for each age group, and kids can make decorations to display on the center's Christmas tree, or can try their hand at cookie decorating. Youngsters can get creative with other holiday-themed arts and crafts projects throughout the cruise, and they will have an opportunity to sing Christmas carols for passengers. Naturally, Santa Claus makes an appearance with his sack full of toys, and, in what has become a holiday tradition, a senior officer will read "The Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve.

For parents who want to stay up later to celebrate the holidays, free late-night group kid-sitting sessions will be available on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

Hanukkah – From December 20-28 passengers can celebrate the Festival of Lights onboard with special Hanukkah activities. Ships will organize services, and passengers will find menorahs and fresh flower arrangements in blue, silver and white on display. Kosher meals are available upon request, and kid's centers will host activities for young cruisers, including a reading of "Sammy Spider's First Hanukkah."

Happy New Year – Passengers will count down to a fun-filled 2012 with festive New Year's Eve parties, complete with music, confetti, noise-makers and a balloon drop to ring in the new year. Earlier in the evening, the dinner menu will feature special treats just for New Year's Eve. On New Year's Day, football fans can follow the action of the day's traditional college bowl games, as the telecasts will be shown (as available by satellite) on the giant Movies Under the Stars screens or in shipboard lounges.

Holiday Shopping – Passengers who love to shop will not miss out on the holiday sales just because they're at sea. Princess will provide a wide array of holiday shopping and gift-giving opportunities on board including tax- and duty-free fine jewelry, watches, fragrance, cosmetics and fine art. New this year on the days after Christmas and New Year's, the Princess boutiques will open early in the morning to offer shoppers "door-busters" and other holiday discounts and specials.

The 16-ship Princess fleet will cover the globe this holiday season, with sailings to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Australia/New Zealand, South America, Hawaii and the South Pacific.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company's website at

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12-2-11 Cruise Lines Cancel Parasailing Excursions After Death

Gene Sloan at USA Today is reporting that additional cruise lines have followed the lead of Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International in discontinuing their parasailing excursions after a 60-year-old Celebrity Cruises passenger fell to her death while parasailing with her 34-year-old daughter, herself seriously injured in the event. Although booked onboard the Celebrity Eclipse, the excursion was operated by a third-party tour vendor. These excursions have now been canceled indefinitely, pending investigations, by Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line throughout the Caribbean as well as Carnival in St. Thomas only. Holland America continues to operate its in-house parasailing excursions at its private island, Half Moon Cay.

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