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01-24-13 Silversea Announces 2013 "Grand Voyages"

Silversea Cruises, known for its luxury cruise ships and exotic destinations, has rolled out ten new "Grand Voyages" for 2013.

Designed for the traveler who relishes a more leisurely pace, this special collection offers extended voyages from 34 to 54 days. These unique odysseys combine the luxury of sailing aboard intimate, elegant ships with expanded journeys to diverse regions of the world, featuring visits to must-see traditional ports, as well as exotic destinations that are off the beaten path.

"Our Grand Voyages are the perfect option for true travel enthusiasts who can spare the time and prefer a more immersive on-shore experience," said Ellen Bettridge, Silversea's president of the Americas. "You can circle South America, sail around Europe or sweep across hemispheres between Asia and the Americas -- all while enjoying the personalized luxury of our intimate ships and all-inclusive shipboard lifestyle."

Listed below is a small sampling of the Grand Voyages for 2013:

-- MEDITERRANEAN (Voyages 1326 - 1330): Silver Cloud departs September 16 on a 54-day "Three Continents Transatlantic" voyage from Istanbul to Barbados with calls in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, Malta, Italy, France, Monaco, Spain, Morocco and Portugal. Highlights include overnight stays in Valletta and Barcelona. Silver Privilege fares start at $19,476 per person.

-- MEDITERRANEAN (Voyages 5332 - 5335): Silver Spirit departs October 15 on a 41-day "Mediterranean Passage" from Athens to Fort Lauderdale with calls in Turkey, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia Malta, Monaco, France, Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal and Bermuda. Highlights include an overnight stay in Barcelona and a two-night stopover in Venice. Silver Privilege fares start at $14,781 per person.

-- FAR EAST & OCEANIA (Voyages 3334 - 3336): Silver Shadow departs November 25 on a 40-day "Dragons, Kangaroos & Kiwis" voyage from Hong Kong to Auckland, with calls in Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Highlights include overnight stays in Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Bali, and Melbourne. Silver Privilege fares start at $15,940 per person.

-- SOUTH AMERICA (Voyages 1332 - 1334): Silver Cloud departs November 26 on an exciting 40-day "South America Serenade" voyage from Barbados to Santiago, with calls in Grenada, Tobago, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Falkland Islands and Chile. Highlights include a two-night stopover in Rio de Janeiro and overnight stays in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia. Silver Privilege fares start at $17,526 per person.

Aboard Silversea's intimate, all-suite ships, guests enjoy spacious ocean-view accommodations, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, and all gratuities.

Silver Privilege fares listed above are cruise-only rates per guest, based on double occupancy for a Vista Suite. All fares include Extended Voyage Savings of 5% and Fare Guarantee Program. Silver Privilege is a capacity-controlled program and subject to change. For complete details onSilver Privilege fares and the Fare Guarantee Program, visit www.silversea.com/terms-conditions/fares-guarantee/.

For a full list of itineraries, please visit www.silversea.com/destinations/grand-voyages .

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01-16-13 Windstar Cruises Completes Fleet-wide Renovation

Small-ship luxury cruise line finishes its $18 million refurbishment on all three sailing yachts.

Seattle, January 16, 2013 -- With the completion of Wind Spirit's dry dock on December 22nd, Windstar Cruises' $18 million fleet-wide renovation project is now finished. The project, which began in December of 2011, encompassed all three sailing yachts in a stem-to-stern renovation that enhanced public spaces, dining venues, staterooms and suites, as well as new sails.

The 148-passenger Wind Spirit, the last of the fleet to undergo refurbishment, was updated with new furnishings, upholstery, art, lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, window treatments, and floor coverings during the month-long renovation. The design palette, staying true to the other two yachts, combine sand and marine colors that contrast elegantly with the warmth of wood finishes, elevating the look and feel to stylish luxury at sea. AmphorA, the fleet's new fine-dining experience featuring international cuisine, took the place of The Restaurant. The yacht also received enhancements in The Lounge, Casino, Reception, Pool Bar, and Library.

Wind Surf, the company's 310-passenger flagship, completed its renovation in early December. Wind Star, the sister yacht to Wind Spirit, was fully renovated in April of last year. The staterooms and suites of all three yachts were refurbished in spring of 2012.

"With the completion of the renovation, we are truly delivering on our promise of a unique luxury cruise experience that feels like your own private yacht," said Hans Birkholz, CEO of Windstar Cruises. "So far our guest feedback has been excellent; our guests are just as excited as we are to have the fleet completed."

June Baker, a recent guest onboard Wind Surf agrees. "I sailed last year with Wind Surf� and, this time, you could really see the changes. Everything was so new and fresh," she said. "We had the best time onboard, it was my husband's first time with Windstar Cruises and it was just the best vacation. We are already planning our next cruise."

To celebrate the completion of the renovation, Windstar Cruises threw a party onboard the Wind Surf's Flavors of the Caribbean voyage in December. The guests onboard the company's premiere Caribbean itinerary were treated to a spectacular fireworks show in Le Marin, Martinique, provided by the Martinique Tourism Authority. In addition, Birkholz and other Windstar executives sailed on board the newly renovated yacht, mixing and mingling with guests and collecting initial feedback.

To learn more about Windstar Cruises, please visit www.windstarcruises.com.

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01-13-13 1-13-13 Unlucky for Carnival Splendor

This is from John Heald's Facebook posting.

On the previous cruise, the Carnival Splendor required necessary repairs on the seals of the ship's propulsion shafts as a result of damage caused by underwater fishing nets. All other shipboard systems and hotel services continue to function as normal.

Unfortunately, the repairs are taking longer than expected and the ship will need to remain in Puerto Vallarta until this afternoon. I am sorry to say that our plans now call for the ship's arrival into Long Beach to be delayed until Monday morning (to be confirmed later this afternoon). If our plans proceed as expected, our scheduled 6-day cruise will be shortened to a 5-day cruise, with two full day visits to Cabo San Lucas (eliminating the call to Puerto Vallarta).

Check-in for your cruise is now scheduled for Monday, January 14, 2013, from 12:30PM to 3:30PM, and sailing is set for 4:30PM.

Below is the revised itinerary:

DAY PORT ARRIVE DEPART MON Los Angeles (Long Beach), CA 4:30 PM TUE Fun Day @ Sea WED Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 9:30 AM 6:00 PM THU Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 8:00 AM 2:00 PM FRI Fun Day @ Sea SAT Los Angeles (Long Beach), CA 9:00 AM

We know how much you were looking forward to this vacation and sincerely apologize for this disruption to your cruise. We kindly ask you consider the following options:

Sail with us and receive a:

  • One-day pro-rated refund of your cruise fare (refunded within the next 2 weeks)
  • $50 per person on board credit
  • Refund of the difference in government fees and taxes, if applicable
  • Gratuity adjustment to reflect the shortened voyage
  • Refund for shore excursions purchased for Puerto Vallarta

    We realize this is an unexpected change in your travel plans and certainly hope you still cruise with us. However, should you wish to cancel or reschedule, please contact 1-800-CARNIVAL to request a refund or select another date for your cruise.

    We will provide you with an update on our arrival plans by 7:30PM EST. Once we have a definitive arrival time, guests who purchased flights with Carnival's FlyAweigh program will automatically have their flights adjusted. Guests with independent flight arrangements should not make any changes to your travel plans until our next update. However, should you incur any fees for air changes, you will be reimbursed up to $200 per person (please email receipts to guestcare@carnival.com).

    Once again, we're very sorry for this change and truly regret the disruption to your vacation plans. Most importantly, we are looking forward to having you sail with us aboard the beautiful Carnival Splendor.

    Sincerely,

    Vicky Rey, CTC Vice President - Guest Services on the Carnival Splendor.

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    01-08-13 InnerSea Discoveries + American Safari Cruises become: Un-Cruise Adventures

    Adventure cruise line InnerSea Discoveries/American Safari Cruises has officially changed its name to Un-Cruise Adventures. The line operates seven boats carrying 22-88 guests in Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico's Sea of Cort�s, Columbia and Snake Rivers and Coastal Washington and British Columbia.

    "We've experienced phenomenal growth and success over the last four years," said Dan Blanchard, principal and CEO. "What began as yacht cruising under the American Safari Cruises name has now expanded to include more styles of Un-Cruise Adventures, and this name change reflects that growth."

    The company has three yachts offering Luxury Adventures�22-guest Safari Quest, 36-guest Safari Explorer and 86-guest Safari Endeavour�an inclusive, upscale experience along with adventure activities. The 88-guest Safari Legacy, a replica Victorian steamer, debuts in August 2013 and will offer inclusive Heritage Adventures focusing on Living History aboard and ashore through presentations and tours. Three expedition vessels�60-guest Wilderness Adventurer, 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer and 76-guest Wilderness Explorer�offer Active Adventures for those desiring more outdoor explorations at a lower price point. Charter Adventures are also offered on all boats.

    "Un-Cruise Adventures reflects the distinct nature of our small group travel by boat," said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. "Luxury of Experience really speaks to what Un-Cruise Adventures is all about. With a cap of 88 guests, we are able to experience more of the destinations through a wide range of activities � kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and hiking under our Luxury and Active Adventures or reenacting history with Heritage Adventures."

    New in 2013

    In 2013, the 88-guest Safari Legacy begins operating in Alaska and then sails on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in fall and spring. It debuts Heritage Adventures�a new style of Un-Cruise Adventure with a focus on Living History aboard and ashore. In November 2013, the Wilderness Explorer will begin sailing Active Adventures in the Hawaiian Islands between Oahu and Hawaii, the Big Island. And three Alaska Unleashed departures are scheduled for the Wilderness Adventurer in Alaska for adventurers desiring an amped up week of high adventure.

    Moving forward, all company materials will change to reflect the new name of Un-Cruise Adventures. The company's website URL will change to un-cruise.com.

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    01-08-13 Norwegian Sets Price for IPO Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the cruise ship operator backed by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and TPG, on Tuesday set a price of $16 to $18 a share for an initial public offering.

    The company plans to sell 23.5 million shares in the offering. At the midpoint of the range, it would raise about $400 million, which would be used to reduce debt.

    Norwegian Cruise Line, based in Miami, operates 11 ships and offers cruises ranging in length from one day to three weeks. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company had adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, of $540.4 million, up 19.5 percent from the period a year earlier, on revenue of $2.26 billion.

    In January 2008, Genting, a cruise operator based in Hong Kong, sold 50 percent of the company to Apollo and TPG funds. After the offering, the three shareholders would have voting control over about 88 percent of the newly public company, according to the prospectus.

    A parent company of Norwegian Cruise, NCL, had previously registered to go public in October 2010.

    The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq market under the ticker symbol NCLH. UBS and Barclays are leading the underwriters of the offering.

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    12-23-12 Crystal Kids Sail Free in Europe Crystal Cruises is expanding its opportunities for family-friendly summer travel with new "Kids Sail Free" offers in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. On four June and July voyages, junior cruisers age 17 and under can travel for free when sharing a third berth stateroom with two adults.

    This is the first time ever the popular program has been offered in the Baltic, with three Crystal Serenity sailings of 10 days each on June 25, July 20 and 30, through Stockholm (overnight), Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia (two overnights); Helsinki, Finland; Berlin/Warnem�nde, Germany; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

    A seven-day sailing through the Mediterranean departs July 6 on Crystal Symphony, visiting Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece; and Sicily/Taormina, Sorrento, and Rome/Civitavecchia, Italy.

    Crystal Cruises' dedicated onboard kids and teens spaces is a rarity among luxury cruise lines. During summers and holidays, junior activities directors host complimentary supervised activities on board, ranging from behind-the scenes tours to cooking classes and scavenger hunts.

    The Crystal Visions Enrichment Program also offers entertaining education, including Magic Castle at Sea shows and classes, iPad Digital Filmmaking classes in association with USC's School of Cinematic Arts, and presentations from expert speakers. Every cruise also has babysitting services, "finicky eater" foods, movies, library books, family-friendly excursions, and more.

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    12-10-12 Carnival Breeze Officially Named in Miami The official naming ceremony for Carnival Cruise Lines' new Carnival Breeze took place Saturday, Dec. 8, at PortMiami. Serving as the ship's godmother was Tracy Wilson Mourning, founder of the Miami-based Honey Shine mentoring program, who initiated the breaking of the traditional bottle of champagne on the ship's hull during the invitation-only event.

    Following its inaugural season in Europe, the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze began sailing year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami Nov. 24, becoming the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship ever based in South Florida.

    "Miami has been our home since our company was founded 40 years ago and it's truly an honor having a hometown hero like Tracy Wilson Mourning � who has made such a tremendous impact on the lives of young women in our community � serve as godmother to our newest and largest Miami-based ship," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.

    During the naming ceremony, Carnival presented a $25,000 donation to Honey Shine, which pairs young girls with female role models to empower young women and create future leaders in our communities through a combination of classroom training, spiritual education and collaborative experiences.

    Carnival Breeze features a variety of exciting innovations including the Thrill Theater, an immersive multidimensional experience that makes viewers feel like part of the movie, as well as spectacular exciting top-deck attractions like the WaterWorks water park and SportSquare, an open-air recreation area with a suspended ropes course, a two-level miniature golf course, and more. Delicious dining choices include Bonsai Sushi, the line's first full-service sushi restaurant, a new outdoor barbecue venue called Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, and Guy's Burger Joint developed with Food Network personality Guy Fieri.

    The tropics-inspired interiors of Carnival Breeze celebrate the style of its Caribbean destinations with vibrant interiors and inviting public and open deck spaces, while its staterooms reflect a palate of pastel hues inspired by cool Caribbean breezes and warm sunsets.

    Carnival Breeze operates year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami, visiting some of the region's most popular and beautiful ports of call. Six-day sailings feature Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, and Nassau. Three different eight-day itineraries are offered � an exotic southern Caribbean schedule visiting Grand Turk, La Romana (Dominican Republic), Curacao, and Aruba; an eastern Caribbean route featuring St. Thomas/St. John, Antigua, Tortola and Nassau; and an exotic eastern Caribbean program calling at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten or Tortola.

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    12-6-12 Norwegian Reveals Hull Art for Getaway

    Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that popular Miami modern artist and muralist David "LEBO" Le Batard has been commissioned to paint the signature hull artwork for Norwegian Getaway, launching in January 2014. At an event held at LEBO's Wynwood studio, the company also revealed the hull artwork, which features a whimsical tropical ocean theme complete with a mermaid holding the sun, pelicans and palm trees, befitting the ship's year-round home port of Miami.

    "Norwegian Getaway will be Miami's ship and, therefore, we wanted to ensure that her hull was designed by an artist with strong ties to Miami and the Latin community," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "Having begun his career in South Florida, Dave is an artist that is entrenched here. His work adorns the city and I've learned that he is also a genuinely nice guy. He is a shining star in Miami, as well as the global art community."

    Born in New York City in 1972 to Cuban émigré parents, LEBO was raised in South Florida and was heavily influenced by Miami's Cuban art scene.

    Getaway

    "Having grown up in South Florida, the ocean has been an immense presence in my life and has been infused into my work as an artist," said David "LEBO" Le Batard. "When I was asked to design the artwork for Norwegian Getaway, I saw an opportunity to create a prominent image, one that would surely help define the Miami seascape and illustrate the world-class experience that Norwegian Cruise Line has come to stand for. It is truly an honor to have been offered this canvas, as it gives the world an opportunity to see my work in a way few artists ever get to see in their entire lives."

    According to LEBO, Norwegian Getaway's hull art design is centered on a mythical mermaid, an iconic image that represents humanity's connection to the sea, and features her seemingly skimming across the surface of the water. Surrounding the mermaid is a fusion of sea and sky dancing across the ship, where three pelicans gracefully glide along in the artist's version of a tropical paradise.

    "LEBO's incredible design reflects all of the elements that Miami is known for - sea, sun and paradise," said Sheehan. "This artwork will surely make Norwegian Getaway an iconic part of the Miami skyline when she arrives as Miami's largest year-round ship in 2014."

    With paintings on exhibition in museums and galleries worldwide including Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Toronto, South Africa, Germany and Italy, LEBO is one of Miami's most beloved and predominant Modern artists. His murals and site-specific installations have energized communities such as Miami's Calle Ocho, Uptown New Orleans and downtown San Francisco. Inspired by his work on Norwegian Getaway, LEBO will be revealing his latest series of paintings, entitled "Where our souls meet the sea," during Art Basel week in Miami.

    Widely recognized for his work in a wide spectrum of creative mediums including murals, paintings and sculptures, LEBO ( www.lebostudios.com) is known as the innovator of Post-modern Cartoon Expressionism, a movement that combines cartoon imagery with bold color and unique linear composition. The resulting art ranges from abstract to highly narrative, creating an artistic movement prized among naturalists and architects. LEBO's formal arts training began at Florida International University in Miami and further developed during his residency at the International Museum of Cartoon Art in Boca Raton, Florida.

    His work with such renowned companies as Gibson Guitars, Ferrari and Harley Davidson, as well as Latin pop singer Gloria Estefan, whose newest album cover features his design, has cemented his status as one of the preeminent modern artists of his generation.

    Currently being built at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Getaway will be 146,600 gross tons and offer a wide range of accommodations. The ship represents an opportunity for the Norwegian guest to "get away" from the routine of work, school, and

    daily stress, and find a true respite at sea that reflects the energy and culture that Miami is known for worldwide.

    The ship will also feature a rich mix of stateroom options, including The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 Suites at the top of the ship in an exclusive, private key-card enclave and 22 additional Suites located throughout the ship; the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; a wide range of Oceanview staterooms, Balcony and Mini-Suites; along with Spa Balcony, Mini-Suites and Suites in close proximity to the spa. Norwegian Getaway's sister ship, Norwegian Breakaway, will begin sailing from her year-round home port of New York City in May 2013.

    Norwegian Getaway will sail seven-day cruises from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on February 1, 2014, with ports of call including Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Information on Norwegian Getaway's accommodations and itinerary can be found at www.getaway.ncl.com. To book a cruise on Norwegian Getaway, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 or visit www.ncl.com.

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    12-06-12 Viking River Has 18 Longships on Order!

    Viking River Cruises (www.vikingrivercruises.com) today announced it has placed an order for 10 additional Viking LongshipsTM, bringing the total number of new ships launching next year to 10 and the number launching in 2014 to eight. The launch plan will easily surpass the industry record Viking set in 2012 with the introduction of six new ships in a single season. By the end of 2014 the company will have introduced a total of 24 new ships in a three-year period, a fleet expansion unprecedented in the cruise industry.

    "The river cruise segment is rapidly growing, as more travelers are inspired to experience old destinations in a new way," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises. "Because of the overwhelmingly positive response we have seen from our passengers in the first season of our revolutionary new Viking Longships, we are pleased to continue our expansion to meet that demand."

    Viking plans to inaugurate the first eight Viking Longships of 2013 in a first-of-its-kind simultaneous christening ceremony in late March in Amsterdam. The two newest ships, Viking Baldur and Viking Magni, will join the fleet in late August and September, respectively. Both vessels will sail Viking's 15-day Grand European Tour (Amsterdam-Budapest), with Viking Baldur also sailing the 8-day Rhine Getaway (Amsterdam-Basel) and Viking Magni also sailing the 8-day Danube Waltz (Passau-Budapest). The eight new ships in 2014 will also sail Viking's most popular itineraries in Europe.

    Viking Longships integrate patent-pending design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These new features include a revolutionary new all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors and allows guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco. Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships feature two Explorer Suites - the largest river cruise suites in Europe - as well as seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom, 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas and 22 French Balcony Staterooms. Additionally, Viking Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, as well as energy-efficient hybrid engines that reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride. Viking has applied for a number of patents for various aspects of the Longship design.

    The new ships will be built at the Neptun Yard in Germany, part of the Meyer Neptun group.

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    11-27-12 American Queen Steamboat: Record Demand for 2013 Voyages The American Queen Steamboat Company today announced it will raise fares beginning January 1, 2013, as a result of unprecedented demand for the upcoming second season of the American Queen. According to the operator of the 436-passenger riverboat, many of next year's sailings are selling out, particularly voyages between the paddlewheeler's homeport of Memphis and New Orleans. Overall bookings are up 300% compared to 2012 and the fare increase will be an average of $200 per guest per voyage.

    "Since her return to the rivers this past April, the American Queen has rekindled the desire for travelers to discover the historic and enchanting river towns of the U.S. from Natchez, Miss., to Red Wing, Minn., with grace and elegance aboard the grandest riverboat in the world," explains American Queen Steamboat Company CEO Jeffrey D. Krida. "Resulting from the popularity of river cruising she has forged once again, we are seeing tremendous volume in 2013 reservations."

    Among the 2013 Voyage Highlights:

    • A total of 30 departures from Memphis and New Orleans, showcasing the legendary Lower Mississippi's plantations, civil war battlefields, history and Southern culture
    • Five special departures featuring Natchez's Spring Pilgrimage Pageant
    • "Blue Hawaii," an Elvis Tribute
    • New themes � Blues & Barbeque, Louisiana History & Culture, Mystical Krewe of Steamboating Mardi GrasSM, Dixie Fest, Southern Spirits, Gardens of the River, In the Good Old SummertimeSM, Baseball Legends, Manifest Destiny, The Great Steamboat Era and the first annual Delta Queen Steamboat Company and Paddlewheel Steamboat Society Of America� Reunion voyages
    • Epic Civil War voyage between Memphis and Chattanooga

    Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, fares will begin at $1,345 per guest based on double occupancy beginning January 1, 2013, and include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in every port onboard deluxe SteamcoachesSM, the acclaimed cuisine of legendary chef Regina Charboneau and complimentary wine and beer with dinner. A variety of holiday lengths ranging from five days to fourteen offer exceptional value and convenience, with little or no flying required.

    For additional information and reservations, contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit us online at www.AQSC.com or call a professional travel agent.

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    11-21-12 Carnival Donates 137,500 Meals. Tops Breeze with 50-foot Turkey.
    Carnival Breeze with Turkey Topping

    To Celebrate Thanksgiving, Carnival cruise lines will Donate 137,500 Meals to Feeding South Florida and Erect Giant 50-Foot Turkey Atop New Carnival Breeze. Largest Carnival Ship Ever Based in South Florida, Carnival Breeze Arrives in Miami Nov. 21

    MIAMI (Nov. 21, 2012) - To celebrate Thanksgiving and the arrival of its newest cruise ship, Carnival Breeze, to Miami, Carnival Cruise Lines is donating 137,500 meals to Feeding South Florida and erecting a 50-foot-tall inflatable turkey atop the ship.

    The 1,250-pound nylon turkey - wearing a straw beach hat and colorful Hawaiian shirt - is scheduled to be displayed on Wednesday, Nov. 21, in time for holiday festivities. The giant fowl will sit 14 stories above the waterline and gaze toward nearby McArthur Causeway until just before the ship makes its inaugural sailing from Miami on Thanksgiving Day.

    Also on Wednesday, Carnival will present a charitable donation to Feeding South Florida that will provide 137,500 meals to families in need throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. Pembroke Pines-based Feeding South Florida is the largest food bank in the state and a member of Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity. In 2011, Feeding South Florida distributed more than 30 million pounds of food valued at almost $50 million within the South Florida community.

    As part of its Thanksgiving celebration, the cruise line also is mounting a social media contest to give the giant turkey a moniker. The "Name the Giant Turkey Twitter Contest" will run from Nov. 21-25. To participate, contestants use the hashtag #TurkeyOnDeck. Carnival will pick the top three names on Monday, Nov. 26, with the winner announced later that day. The prize is a $500 gift card to fund the winner's next holiday party.

    The new 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze - the largest Carnival ship ever homeported in South Florida - arrives at PortMiami Wednesday, Nov. 21. The ship, which debuted this summer in Europe, brings on-board innovations including a variety of new dining, bar and entertainment options that are part of the company's groundbreaking $500 million fleetwide Fun Ship 2.0 product-enhancement program.

    Following a two-day introductory cruise that departs Thanksgiving Day, Carnival Breeze will launch year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami Saturday, Nov. 24.

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    11-21-12 Norwegian Specials good through "Cyber Monday" Nov. 26

    NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE CELEBRATES BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY WITH SPECIAL OFFERS

    Receive up to $250 to spend on board, reduced deposits fleet-wide and up to $1,000 in air credits

    Norwegian Cruise Line is launching a limited time offer to celebrate the biggest shopping days of the year especially for those who want to give the perfect gift: a cruise vacation. Super shoppers who book a new cruise reservation to any destination, including Alaska; Bahamas & Florida; Bermuda; the Caribbean; Europe; or Hawai'i by Tuesday, November 27, 2012, will receive up to $250 per stateroom to spend on board (based on cruise length and stateroom category) and reduced deposits. Air credits up to $1,000 are also available on select sailings.

    Vacationers can heat up the holidays when they take advantage of incredible savings on cruise vacations to the Caribbean. Guests can set sail to tropical escapes in the Western Caribbean when they set sail from Tampa on board Norwegian Dawn, fares start at $299*. For more fun in the sun, cruisers can sail on board Norwegian Epic, Norwegian's largest and most innovative ship, which has been recognized by USA Today as "Best Cruise Ship Entertainment" and "Best ship on sea days," by Cruise Critic. Departing from Miami weekly through April 13, 2013, Norwegian Epic visits beautiful ports of call in the Eastern Caribbean, with fares starting at $429*.

    Families cruising from New York City can set sail to the Bahamas and Florida on board Norwegian Jewel, featuring exclusive Nickelodeon activities and shows. The seven-day escape includes the following ports of call: Orlando & Beaches (Port Canaveral); Great Stirrup Cay; and Nassau, Bahamas, with cruise fares starting at $299*.

    Guests looking to experience the majestic beauty of Alaska can set sail on Norwegian Pearl or Norwegian Jewel on a seven-day cruise from Seattle to Glacier Bay and visit some of Alaska's most scenic destinations including Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia, with cruise fares from $549*. Norwegian Sun also offers a series of seven-day Alaska cruises from Vancouver, British Colombia, with fares starting at $499*.

    In addition to these limited time savings, kids 17 and under can cruise for 50% off on a family cruise vacation to Europe when sailing with two adults in the same stateroom. While enjoying a history-filled expedition, families can discover why Norwegian was recently named "Europe's Leading Cruise Line" by the World Travel Awards for the fifth consecutive year in a row when sailing on board Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Star or Norwegian Spirit; with fares from $349*.

    To book a cruise with Norwegian during the biggest shopping event of the year, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit ncl.com.

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    11-16-12 Carnival Corp declares special dividend Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) has announced that the board of directors declared a special dividend of $0.50 per share, which is in addition to its previously announced regular quarterly dividend of $0.25 per share already scheduled to be paid December 14, 2012. For the special dividend, the board approved a payment date of December 28, 2012 based on a record date of December 7, 2012.

    Commenting on the special dividend, Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, stated, "This additional dividend is in keeping with our previously stated strategy of returning excess free cash flow to shareholders. Looking forward, we remain committed to increasing shareholder returns through a combination of dividend distributions and opportune share repurchases."

    Holders of Carnival Corporation common stock and Carnival plc ADSs will receive the dividend payable in U.S. dollars. The dividend for Carnival plc ordinary shares will be payable in U.S. dollars or sterling. In the absence of instructions or elections to the contrary, holders of Carnival plc ordinary shares will automatically receive the dividend in sterling.

    Dividends payable in sterling will be converted from U.S. dollars at the exchange rate quoted by the Bank of England in London at 12 noon on December 3, 2012. Holders of Carnival plc ordinary shares wishing to receive their dividend in U.S. dollars or participate in the Carnival plc Dividend Reinvestment Plan must elect to do so between November 26, 2012 and December 7, 2012.

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    11-7-12 Princess Offers Veterans Day Sale

    Cruise Deals on More than 100 Sailings Including Free Balcony Upgrades and Onboard Credit

    Princess Cruises is marking Veterans Day with a special sale starting today. Through November 12, more than 120 cruise vacations to Europe, Hawaii and Asia feature savings, including a free balcony upgrade plus up to $100 free onboard spending money.

    Itineraries on sale include some of the line's most popular European routes, including the Greek Isles, Scandinavia & Russia, the British Isles, and even the Mediterranean aboard the new Royal Princess. Hawaii cruises and Asia sailings are also included in the sale.

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

    Cruise departures run from January through July 2013. More information about the cruise sale and pricing can be found at www.princess.com/sale.

    Examples of the special cruise deals include:

    • Hawaiian Island cruise � 14 days: $1,694 balcony (was $2,690); $1,094 interior (was $1,790)
    • Greek Isles cruise � 12 days: $2,479 balcony (was $3,109); $1,779 interior (was $2,129)
    • Scandinavia & Russia cruise � 11 days: $2,639 balcony (was $3,039); $1,939 interior (was $2,139)
    • British Isles cruise � 12 days: $2,694 balcony (was $3,094); $1,994 interior (was $2,194)
    • Grand Mediterranean cruise � 12 days: $3,189 balcony (was $3,469); $2,189 interior (was $2,389)
    • Japan cruise � 9 days: $1,989 balcony (was $2,715); $1,639 interior (was $1,715)

    In addition to the Veterans Day Sale, Princess is also reminding passengers that the line offers a special onboard credit program with benefits for active military members and veterans. This credit of up to $250 (depending upon the length of the cruise) is available year round, and can be combined with the credit available through the Veterans Day Sale. Past passengers who have qualified for retired or veteran-status Military Personnel Benefits on previous sailings will no longer be required to resubmit requests for future voyages, but will have this discount automatically applied to their booking.

    All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy and now include government fees and taxes. The Veterans Day Sale runs from 12:01 a.m. PDT on Wednesday, November 7 through 11:59 p.m. PDT on Monday, November 12, 2012 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

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    11-1-12 Carnival Military Discounts - Up to Three Rooms

    Offers allows Military personell to book up the three staterooms at a discount. Prices Begin at $189 Per Person

    In honor of Veteran's Day, Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a promotion throughout November that allows active and retired military personnel to book up to three "Fun Ship" staterooms at discounted rates for themselves and their friends and family members.

    Reservations must be made between Nov. 1-30, 2012, to qualify for this special offer, which is available in conjunction with a variety of three- to 12-day "Fun Ship" departures through April 30, 2014, including voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe and Alaska.

    Rates start at $189 per person for three- to five-day cruises; $354 per person for six- and seven-day departures; and $549 per person for eight-day sailings. Nine- and 12-day European voyages start at $629 per person.

    Voyages to the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas, Caribbean and Alaska operate from 12 convenient North American homeports along the east and west coasts and Gulf of Mexico. Europe cruises depart from Barcelona, Spain, and Venice, Italy

    The promotion is valid for individual bookings only. Military personnel must provide proof of service. Eligible military personnel must sail to take advantage of this offer. Certain other restrictions apply.

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    10-31-12 Hurricane Sandy Update

    Hurricane Season brings a number of storms every year, and while the cruise lines always need to react, most hurricanes are tightly-knit, slow-moving storms with somewhat predictable paths, making them fairly easy to avoid in most cases. At most, the guest will get a different itinerary than expected but one that is as safe and calm as any normal cruise.

    But Sandy has been a particular challenge for the cruise lines because of its due north trajectory just adjacent to the East Coast port cities of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Port Canaveral in Florida, Charleston, S.C., Baltimore, Md. and New York City. Sandy was also an unusually wide storm, taking in adjacent storm systems which added to the after-effect of the storm.

    As we all know now, the hurricane itself is only part of the story. The surge of seawater which follows the storm and floods the lowlands; carrying away sand and tearing down structures is also always a factor. Another factor with Sandy is the thousands of flights that were canceled in anticipation of the storm. Most likely many cruise passengers missed their ships due to last minute flight cancelations.

    Unfortunately, if your cruise is affected by a hurricane in any way you are at the mercy of the cruise line. You do not have any right to cancel the cruise or demand a refund. Your only option is to buy "cancel for any reason" trip insurance when you book the cruise. Even traditional trip insurance probably will not cover your hurricane canceled cruise since it falls under the "acts of God" category.

    Damage to Private islands

    Several cruise lines have their own "private islands" which they use to give passengers a day at the beach without any distractions. Almost all of the private islands are small Bahamian Cays with little more than scrub bushed and sandy beaches, but they are popular with the guests.

    Sounding the direst message comes from Princess Cruises about its own "Princess Cays," which is actually a private beach resort on the Bahamian island of Elute, 50 miles east of Nassau. "Princess Cays has experienced extensive beach erosion, some downed trees and roof damage. The end of the observation pier was also lost," according to company spokesperson Karen Candy who said that clean up will begin as soon as conditions allow. The next scheduled call there is not until November 11.

    Norwegian Cruise Line is reporting that its Great Stirrup Cay sustained some minor damage to structures and landscaping, as well as beach erosion. The island, which had just completed a $30-million upgrade, has been closed down temporarily for quick repairs but the line expects it to reopen in the first week of November. Unfortunately, stops there by three Norwegian ships had to be canceled: Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Pearl. Fortunately, most of the superstructure added during the upgrade was not affected.

    Holland America's private island, Half Moon Cay, is about 100 miles southeast of Nassau and often visited by ships of sister cruise line Carnival. The island "sustained some minor damage," including to a few permanent structures as well as beach erosion and uprooting of some vegetation. Holland America expects to make repairs quickly with minimal impact to normal operations.

    Royal Caribbean, canceled two stops at its private island CocoCay. The island is expected to reopen on Wednesday.

    Schedule Changes

    The storm track of Sandy preyed upon the regions of peak cruise activity, so here is a report of some of the effects it had on the various cruise lines:

    Disney Cruises - Fantasy

    The cruise ship getting the most attention is Disney Fantasy. CNN reported late on Sunday that the Fantasy was rocked and hammered by Hurricane Sandy's force,and there are a number of "frightening" videos on the Internet allegedly showing amazing destruction of plates and potted plants. One highly touted one shows water sloshing around suggesting the ship was flooded � but in fact the picture is of a shallow wading pool which was filled with a few inches of water.

    The Disney Cruise Line said reported that the ship had minor damage on its interior but said that the overall condition of the cruise ship was fine.  Disney provided guests with a 25 percent discount on their cruise.

    Carnival Cruise Line: 

    Carnival pushed several of its cruise sail dates back a day to Sunday, October 29, mostly due to the delay in getting its ships back to its various Florida homeports of Miami, Ft Lauderdale and Port Canaveral. Here is a roundup of the changes Carnival made it cruise schedules:

    Carnival Sensation � 10/28/12 Departure Moved Back to 10/29/12 
    This scheduled 4 day cruise was changed to a three-day cruise departing on Monday, a day late,.

    The revised itinerary is as follows:

    Day      Port of Call                               Arrive               Depart
    Mon     Port Canaveral, FL                                          3:00PM 
    Tues    Nassau, The Bahamas               10:00AM          7:00PM
    Wed     Freeport, The Bahamas            8:00AM           5:00PM 
    Thurs   Port Canaveral, FL                   8:00AM

    As a result of this change, guests will receive:
    --One day pro-rated cruise fare refund (processed within the next 2 weeks to original form of payment)
    --Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened voyage.

    Carnival Miracle � Departure moved a day sooner.

    Carnival Miracle generally sails 8-day cruises out of New York City. Because the port was closed down on Sunday night Carnival chose to move its scheduled departure to the last minute so the ship could leave. About 1,800 guests did manage to get aboard before the ship set sail, according the company spokesperson Vance Gullicksen. The itinerary added a day and the nine-night schedule is below:

    Day      Port of Call                                Arrive               Depart        
    Sun      New York, NY                                                   5:00 PM
    Mon     Fun Day @ Sea
    Tue      Fun Day @ Sea          
    Wed     Port Canaveral, FL                   7:00 AM              6:00 PM  
    Thu      Nassau, The Bahamas               11:00 AM           8:00 PM
    Fri        Fun Day @ Sea
    Sat       Grand Turk                               8:00 AM            5:00 PM
    Sun      Fun Day @ Sea
    Mon     Fun Day @ Sea
    Tue      New York, NY                         8:00 AM

    Due to the short notice, the delivery of food and beverage supplies that was planned for Monday was rescheduled to receive the provisions at the first port of call (Port Canaveral) on Wednesday.

    The strategy was to get out of town long before the storm hit and most likely sail due East to avoid Sandy.  Guests who sailed received complimentary gratuities for the extra day and will be reimbursed for any additional parking expenses at the port.   

    Carnival  Dream � 10/27/12 Departure Moved Back a Day to 10/28/12
    Carnival Dream was a day late in returning to Port Canaveral so the next cruise departed on Sunday, October 28.  The scheduled seven-day cruise was shortened to six days and will vist Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya.  The call in Isla Roatan was canceled. 

    As a result of this change, guests received:
    --One day pro-rated cruise fare refund 
    --Refund of the government fees and taxes for Isla Roatan
    --Pre-paid shore excursions purchased for Isla Roatan will be automatically refunded 
    --Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened voyage

    Carnival Ecstasy � 10/27/12 Moved Back to 10/28/12
    Carnival Ecstasy docked in Port Canaveral on Sunday, October 28, a day late.  The scheduled five-day cruise was shortened to four days visiting Nassau and Freeport.  The line canceled the call in Key West. 

    As a result of this change, guests received:
    --One day pro-rated cruise fare refund 
    --Refund of government fees and taxes for Key West
    --Pre-paid shore excursions purchased for Key West will be automatically refunded 
    --Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened voyage

    Carnival Glory � 10/28/12 Departure was Canceled 
    The Norfolk cruise terminal is located behind a major flood gate which the city closed on Sunday resulting in no access to the cruise terminal. Carnival had no choice but to cancel the 10/28 cruise completely.  Refunds will be processed to the original form of payment within the next 2 weeks.

    A new two-day "cruise to nowhere" was scheduled to sail from Baltimore on November 2. The price starts at $99 per person. 

    Carnival Pride �10/28 Departure  Canceled

    The U.S. Coast Guard closed down Chesapeake Bay traffic for an indefinite period on Sunday.  The departure of Carnival Pride from Baltimore was canceled and it was not certain when the restriction would be lifted.  

    Guests were provided with a full refund (within two weeks to the form of payment) and a 25 percent future cruise discount.  Parking expenses were refunded as they left the parking facility.  Carnival is providing $30 per person for dinner this evening.  

    Right now we do not yet have statistic on how many people got the change in plans in time. It is well known that many flights were cancelled well ahead of the arrival of Sandy, so it is possible those ships are sailing far less than full.

    Norwegian Cruise Lines Sandy Changes 

    Norwegian is reporting that its Norwegian Gem, which regularly uses New York City as its home port, could not return to New York on Monday as scheduled and that it still cannot return to New York today, so it is calling in Boston today and giving passengers the option to leave the ship. Here is the report NCL put out today... (see the story item just below this one) 

    "As soon as the Coast Guard re-opens the Port of New York, Norwegian Gem will proceed to the pier which may be Tuesday, October 30, in the afternoon. At that time, we would give guests the option of disembarking the ship or staying onboard overnight, allowing them the opportunity to make the appropriate travel arrangements," they said in a release.

    Norwegian Jewel was expected to arrive as scheduled in Port Canaveral, Fla. Tuesday. Norwegian Dawn is scheduled to call in Boston on Wednesday.

    Princess Hurricane Sandy Updates

    Princess had to change many of the itineraries of cruises sailing this week, but has no changes for upcoming Princess cruises.

    Emerald Princess, sailed from Quebec City on October 27, and laid up in the small town of Port Saguenay on the St Lawrence Seaway to escape rough seas on October 28. The calls in Bar Harbor, (Maine) for October 31, Boston for November 1 and Newport, Rhode Island for November 2 were all canceled. The ship has added a stop in Corner Brook (October 30). The call on Halifax (Canada) is delayed by one day to November 1. The ship will resume its originally scheduled itinerary November 3 with a visit to New York City. 

    Ruby Princess departed Fort Lauderdale on October 28 for a six-night cruise, but bypassed Princess Cay, the line's private island on October 29 to spend an extra day at sea. In fact, many of the various private islands report some damage to the infrastructure.

    Caribbean Princess skipped its Monday visit to Bermuda and hurried to dock in Boston on Sunday, and is scheduled to remain there until further notice. 

    Royal Caribbean Hurricane Sandy Update 

    Enchantment of the Seas left Baltimore Friday for a five-night Bermuda cruise, but was not able to make its scheduled stop in King's Wharf, Bermuda.  The ship remained at sea in order to remain in the calmest water it could find.

    As of Tuesday, the latest update from Royal Caribbean indicates the line has not altered the boarding time or itinerary of any ship that departs from Baltimore, Maryland or New Jersey this Thursday, Friday or Sunday. 

    However, the line does encourage guests sailing on Brilliance of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, and Explorer of the Seas to monitor its website for any additional updates.  

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