News Archive - January 2010

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01-26-10 Norwegian Epic to Summer in the Mediterranean, 2011 In something of a surprise move, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) just announced that their newest and only mega-ship, Norwegian Epic, will cross the Atlantic over to cruise the Mediterranean next summer, 2011. The ship, set to debut in America in May of 2010 will be the new NCL flagship. It will be the largest NCL ship ever built at 150,000-tonnes and a passenger capacity of 4500.

Norwegian Epic will arrive in New York in May 2010 and then sail to her permanent home in Miami for the rest of 2010 and through May 7, 2011. Then she will cross over to test the waters in Europe through October 2011. Her Mediaterranean itineraries include an 11-day transatlantic crossing to Barcelona, Spain with one stop in Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Upon her arrival in Barcelona on May 18, 2011, the ship will sail a four-day Western Mediterranean sailing with stops in Marseille, France and Palma, Majorca, Spain. She will then sail a series of 22 seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona through October 16, 2011.

A 13-day transatlantic sailing from Barcelona to Miami, Florida is scheduled for October 23, 2011 with stops in Ponta Delgada, Azores and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

Once back in Miami, Norwegian Epic will sail a series of 23 seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from November 5, 2011 through April 7, 2012. Ports of call on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary include: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas, along with two full days at sea.

The interesting aspect of this decision is that Carnival is also placing one of its largest ships, the forthcoming Carnival Miracle, in Europe for the Summer of 2011. It was widely anticipated that Epic would remain a permamnent feature in Miami competing as an alternative to Oasis of the Seas sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. It was the presence of these two ships that prompted carnival to decode to place Carnival Dream, their biggest ship just introduced last month, in Port Canaveral rather than down in South Florida.

With this decision by NCL, it wouldn't be surprising to see Carnival Dream moved to Miami in summer 2011.

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01-09-10 Carnival to Return to Europe with Newest, Biggest Ship in 2011 Carnival Cruise Lines' brand new 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic is scheduled to emerge from the Itlain shipyard where it is under construction with a schedule of seven-, nine- and 12-day Mediterranean cruises operating round-trip from Barcelona from May to October 2011.

This will be Carnival's first full season of Mediterranean cruises in three years, as well as the first time the line has homeported a ship in Barcelona.

These cruises go on sale today, and to commemorate the line's return to Europe, Carnival is offering an exclusive pre-sale for past guests from January 19 to January 25 with complimentary two-category upgrades and special pricing with rates starting at just $829 per person, based on double occupancy.

For consumers new to Carnival, the line's full range of cruise fares, including highly attractive Early Saver rates will open on Tuesday, January 26.

The 130,000-ton Carnival Magic is a sister ship to the just released Carnival Dream. Carnival Magic's 2011 Mediterranean schedule will encompass 21 round trip cruises from Barcelona and a special one-time nine-day voyage from Venice to Barcelona May 1-10, 2011.

Each of the three itineraries start and end on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, which reflects consumers' traditional vacation patterns and provides convenient opportunities for adding a pre- and post-cruise stay.

Seven-day cruises will feature Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples and Messina, Italy. Departure dates include July 3, 10 and 17, 2011.

Nine-day cruises will call at Marseilles, France - the line's first call at this charming coastal town - followed by Monte Carlo (excluding the August 26 departure); Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples, and Messina; and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Voyages will operate June 3 and 24, August 5 and 26, September 16, and October 7, 2011. The special nine-day cruise departing May 1 will visit Dubrovnik, Croatia; Messina, Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia), Livorno; and Monte Carlo.

The 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyages will feature Monte Carlo or Marseilles; Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), and Naples; Dubrovnik (excluding the May 22 departure which will visit Palma de Mallorca); Venice (overnight call) and Messina. These voyages will depart May 10 and 22, June 12, July 24, August 14, September 4 and 25, and October 16, 2011.

On the Carnival Magic's Mediterranean cruises, guests can sample the region's renowned cuisine, experience unique sightseeing opportunities, view stunning architecture and visit centuries-old historical landmarks and museums.

All three itineraries will operate round-trip from Barcelona, a bustling, cosmopolitan city whose modern cruise terminal is considered one of the finest in Europe.

As the line's newest ship, Carnival Magic will offer a host of on-board amenities and facilities, including Ocean Plaza, an indoor/outdoor café and live entertainment venue with full bar service, a patisserie and a dance floor; Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat offering magnificent sea views; and The Lanai, a wrap-around promenade encircling the ship with cantilevered whirlpools that will extend over the ship's sides.

Carnival Magic will also build upon the line's distinction as the family cruise leader, with dedicated facilities and programming for children in three age groups - Camp Carnival (2-11), Circle "C" (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17) - along with a miniature golf course and an expansive WaterWorks aqua park with multiple water slides and other features.

Extensive formal and casual dining options, including two two-level main dining rooms, an expansive poolside Lido restaurant, an elegant steakhouse serving U.S.D.A. prime dry-aged beef, a sushi bar, and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service, will also be available.

High-tech features aboard the Carnival Magic will include the Fun Hub, a comprehensive intranet portal and shipboard social network, along with ship-wide Wi-Fi access. Health-conscious guests will enjoy a 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa featuring a thalassotherapy pool, thermal suite and elaborate spa and gymnasium facilities.

Carnival Magic will also feature 1,845 staterooms - the most ever on a Carnival ship - and will offer a wide range of accommodation categories. These include the affordable cove balconies, located on Deck 2 and closer to the water line, and a wide range of staterooms including deluxe ocean views with two-bathrooms, some of which feature five berths.

The past guest promotion is capacity controlled and available until midnight Monday, January 25. A valid past guest number is required at the time of booking. The promotion applies to new individual bookings for stateroom categories 4A and higher. Offer is capacity controlled and certain restrictions apply. Upgrades are available within specific stateroom accommodation types (i.e., interior to interior, ocean view to ocean view, balcony to balcony, etc.).

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01-19-10 Cruise Lines Give to Haiti Relief The two top U.S.-based cruise corporations, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean International, have agreed to make large cash donations to the relief effort in Haiti.

Carnival Corp. and its affiliated cruise brands are donating at least $5 million. The funds will be forwarded to several different international organizations coordinating relief efforts within the country. Carnival Corporation & plc's donation has been earmarked for the following relief organizations: UNICEF, the University of Miami's Project Medishare, American Red Cross, and Save the Children.

The $5 million donation includes a large corporate contribution along with monies raised from a variety of fundraising efforts coordinated by Carnival Corporation & plc's cruise brands, both in their offices in North America, Europe and Australia and throughout the fleet.

The company is also working with the Miami HEAT on a coordinated relief effort for collecting various emergency supplies that are being shipped and distributed to Haiti by the University of Miami's Project Medishare.

"We are saddened by this tragedy, one of the worst natural disasters of our lifetime and we are deeply concerned for the people of Haiti and hope that this donation will help provide much-needed assistance," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this catastrophe," he added.

Royal Caribbean, which maintains a private beach for its cruise passengers on an isolated oeninsula far away from the capitol city of Port Au Prince, is making an initial donation of one million dollars.

Royal Caribbean will be partnering with charitable organizations - such as Food for the Poor, Pan American Development Foundation, and the Solano Foundation, the company's foundation in Haiti - to provide additional assistance to the people of Haiti. Royal Caribbean will also be delivering much needed goods and supplies to Haiti via their cruise ships.

"The effect of the earthquake on Haiti has been catastrophic, leaving the country in need of not only immediate support, but assistance in their long-term recovery," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Royal Caribbean wants to do its part to help out not only the general response, but also our hundreds of Haitian employees and their families through this disaster."

The benefits start with Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas' call today to Labadee, Haiti, which includes much needed supplies for the country. The supplies were loaded on the ship during its call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and include items such as rice, dried beans, powdered milk, water and canned goods. In addition, 100 percent of the company's net revenue from the destination will be contributed to the relief effort.

In the next two weeks, the following ships are scheduled to call on Labadee with additional supplies: Navigator of the Seas on Monday, January 18; Liberty of the Seas on Tuesday, January 19; and Celebrity Solstice on Friday, January 22. When the supplies arrive in Labadee, they will be transported to an offsite location to be distributed by Food for the Poor, a long time partner of Royal Caribbean in Haiti.

In addition to working with Food for the Poor to distribute relief supplies, guests sailing onboard Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises will be able to make a donation to Food for the Poor's Haiti Relief Fund, via a charge to their onboard account. Guests who would like to contribute immediately can visit www.foodforthepoor.org/royalcaribbean to make a donation. Royal Caribbean also plans to use a portion of the $1 million donation to augment the company's Crew Relief Fund, which can be drawn on by any of the company's more than 200 Haitian crew members for assistance, as well as to match employee contributions to the partner organizations.

As the initial response effort gives way to the long-term recovery effort, Royal Caribbean will consider further support efforts.

Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has announced it is soliciting donations from its guests and employees and will match every dollar it receives and donate it to the Red Cross.

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01-18-10 Royal Caribbean Continues Calls to Haiti (NewsCore) - Royal Caribbean is continuing to use the Labadee private beach on island of Haiti - 85 miles from destroyed Haiti capital Port-au-Prince. Because the private beach is safely isolated and the passengers are in no danger, the cruise line is keeping to its promised itneraries.

The beach at Labadee was enhanced with several exclusive Royal Caribbean attractions, including a 2600-foot zip line and a roller coaster ride. Royal Caribbean updated its leased Labadee haven with a roller coaster, zipline, and pier last year to the tune of $55 million. The company just completed a dock there for the use of its new Oasis-class ships which carry 5400 passenger berths.

According to the company, the resort provides work for around 500 people in the local tourist industry. Adam Goldstein told The Miami Herald that it would have been wrong to abandon Haiti in its time of need, especially in light of the hundreds of Haitians employed by Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean ships are dropping off aid for the Haitians and announced they would donte $1 million to the haitian relief effort when the president of Royal Caribbean, Adam Goldstein, met with former President Bill Clinton and representatives from the United Nations to discuss relief efforts and that the cruise line would continue to ferry supplies to be handed out by the charities; Food for the Poor, the Pan American Development Foundation, and the Solano Foundation. A system for passengers to donate cash has also been set up on the ships.

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01-13-10 NCL to Offer Studio Staterooms on Epic to Singles with NO Supplement! In an amazing announcement for single cruisers, the new "Studio Staterooms" on Norwegian Epic will be sold to singles with NO singles supplmenent. These rooms feature a bedroom and bathroom, but just a small seating area. The 128 Studio Staterooms do share a common living area, however, which will make cruising like one big happy family for singles.

Nothing like this has been offered a cruise ship ever before - a distinct area for singles with a living-room style common area.

Norwegian Epic's Studios are the first staterooms designed and priced for single occupancy, starting from $799 on the ship's seven-day alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. These specially designed and priced Studio staterooms available on all of Norwegian Epic's sailings - with no single supplement - go on sale Monday, January 18, 2010.

"Historically, the cruise industry has not embraced the large number of people who enjoy traveling solo," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "We are breaking the mold of traditional cruising once again by offering a stateroom designed and priced specifically for solo travelers, making cruising a more attractive travel option. We invite all solo travelers - whether they are first-time cruisers or cruising veterans -- to sail on our incredible new Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic."

The Studios on Norwegian Epic are a private key-card access complex on two decks consisting of 128 staterooms and the Studio Lounge. This unique and thoughtfully designed concept provides comfort and convenience for the solo traveler.

Each Studio stateroom, at approximately 100 square feet of living space, features a contemporary design with a full-size bed and separate areas for the bathroom, sink and shower. In addition, guests in the Studios have private access to the exclusive Studio Lounge. Here, guests can grab a cup of coffee in the morning, meet up with fellow cruisers and plan their day or relax with a drink in the evening. Since many of the Studio staterooms are connecting, there is also the opportunity for friends to travel together while giving each their own private space.

Studio Staterooms The Studio staterooms represent a new concept for accommodations in modern cruise ships. The name and the design come from urban "studio apartments" that have just one room with all the basics. These staterooms, at just 100 sq. ft., contain a queen-size or two twin beds and separate bathroom facilities. The shower and toilet are each in separate compartments.

They have the same modern design as the other staterooms on the ships (see our article on F3 stateroom design), but also come with customizable color-changing lighting effects that mirror different stages of the day or the guest's mood, including a "love" setting for romantic nights at sea.

click on pictures below for larger images:

 
Studio Stateroom   Studio Staterooms Common Living Room

All studio staterooms are centered on a two-deck-tall common area called "the Living Room," featuring a concierge, bar, room service, two large TV screens, and comfy seating for hanging out, reading a book or just enjoying a cocktail before dinner. Each "Studio" has a large, round picture window looking into the common corridor; keycard-controlled access to the living room is limited to the guests staying in one of the 128 studio staterooms.

These smaller studio cabins are priced the same as regular inside cabins, but are made for people who want to, or maybe need to, get out of the cabin more frequently. They will be perfect for cruisers who want to meet new people and socialize, or for people traveling in pairs where one person may occasionally need privacy, such as family members or single cruisers traveling together.

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01-12-10 MSC Presents Bellamy Brothers Country Cruise The Bellamy Brothers will headline MSC's Country Music Caribbean Cruise on the February 20, 2010 sailing of MSC Poesia.

Howard and David Bellamy, The Bellamy Brothers, have been in country music for more than 30 years with 21 singles and more than 50 hits on both the pop and country charts. One of their most famous songs, "Let Your Love Flow," received the distinguished BMI Five Million Performance Award and was No. 68 on BMI's Top 100 Songs of the Century. This year, they teamed up with siblings Kevin and Michael Bacon of the Bacon Brothers, to film a video for the song "Guilty of the Crime."

The Bellamy Brothers will have a one-night performance. In addition to line dancing lessons and country music karaoke, guests can two-step to other country music performances will be featured during the cruise.

The "Eastern Caribbean Enchantment" itinerary for this unique Country Music theme cruise sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale and calls at ports in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Cruise-only rates begin at $419 per person, double occupancy; government fees and taxes are additional. As on all MSC Cruises' sailings, kids ages 17 and younger sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults.

For more information about this and MSC Cruises' other theme cruises, visit www.MSCCruisesUSA.com or a local travel professional.

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01-08-10 Celebrity Announces Substantial Upgrades for Millennium Class Members of the travel industry, press and Captain's Club escaped the frigid streets of New York last night to duck into The Museum of Arts and Design for a party and presentation that marked the debut of Celebrity Cruises' newest promotional campaign which features a catchy, new slogan--"Designed for you"-- that demonstrates the line's commitment to guests desires and preferences.

Sipping tropical cocktails and munching on passed hors d'oeurvres, attendees listened as Celebrity President/CEO Dan Hanrahan explained how the success of the Solstice-Class ships have inspired the line to re-evaluate its four-ship Milennium-class fleet and "Solsticize" each, incorporating popular Solstice signatures. Among the changes you can expect to Celebrity's Millennium-class ships:

  • The addition of Tuscan Grille
  • Ice-topped Martini Bar venues, paired with Crush, whose ice-filled tables will present a selection of chilled, top-tier vodkas
  • Café al Bacio and Gelateria, will replace the former Cova Café
  • Bistro on Five, the popular creperie introduced on Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox
  • An Enomatic wine bar, the state-of-the-art, Italian designed wine serving system allowing guests to select and serve, at the touch of a button, the wines of their choice by the glass
  • More suites, with all new furniture, flat-screen TVs, upholstery, bedding and carpeting
  • Restyled staterooms, with new carpeting, flat-screen TVs, upholstery and bedding
  • New color schemes, carpeting and upholstery reflective of Solstice Class in every public venue.

Plans call for the refitting of one Millennium ship per year with the first being Constellation which enters its two-week drydock on April 22nd.

-- News item by Judy Cuervo - New York

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01-07-10 Queen Mary 2 to Feature Juilliard Jazz on Crossings Cunard has a new a partnership with The Juilliard School that will present stellar jazz performances on select 2010 eastbound Transatlantic Crossings aboard Queen Mary 2. Students and faculty from Juilliard will perform classic and contemporary jazz programs in the ship's Royal Court Theatre.

Juilliard is one of the top music schools in the world, and these concerts feature many of the professors who are accomplished and widely well-known and popular jazz performers already such as Eddie Henderson on trumpet and Ben Wolfe on bass. Juilliard performers are scheduled for the following Transatlantic voyages (*denotes a Juilliard Jazz faculty member):

15 - 22 April Brandon Lee* - Trumpet: One of 18 students admitted to the inaugural class of the Juilliard Institute of Jazz Studies, thus forming the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra. In the fall of 2008, Lee became the youngest member of the Juilliard Jazz faculty as an assistant to the Director of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra. After spending one year as the Assistant, he has been named the Director of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra for the fall of 2009.

Kris Bowers - Piano: Currently a bachelor of music student at The Juilliard School. Since his arrival in New York, Bowers has shared the stage and/or recorded with artists such as Terell Stafford, Mulgrew Miller, Terence Blanchard, Clarence Penn, Carl Allen, Ben Wolfe, Ron Blake, Rodney Jones, Benny Green, Bobby Watson, Kurt Elling, Duane Eubanks, EJ Strickland, Ambrose Akinmusire, Walter Smith and Ingrid Jensen, to name a few.

Philip Kuehn - Bass: As a member of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, he will appear this year at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall. In September 2006, he performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for John Coltrane's 80th birthday celebration. He also has performed with Dr. Billy Taylor's Jazz and the New Generation II at the Kennedy Center and the White House.

Aaron Kimmel - Drums: Currently a bachelor of music student at The Juilliard School, where he studies with Billy Drummond, Kenny Washington and Carl Allen. While in junior high, Kimmel was selected for the Mellon Jazz Festival's "Swing into Spring All-Star Student Big Band" for three consecutive years. In high school, he was selected for the Pennsylvania All-State Jazz Ensemble in 2005 and 2006.

21 - 28 May James Burton - Trombone: A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Jackie McLean's Institute for Jazz Studies and the Juilliard Jazz Studies Artist Diploma program. Burton recently completed a master of music degree in jazz studies from The Juilliard School, studying with trombone icon Steve Turre. He currently is the Director of Jazz Studies at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

7 - 14 June Rodney Jones* - Guitar: Hailed by guitar master George Benson as "a legend among musicians," Jones continues to push the boundaries of modern jazz guitar playing, while at the same time, working with many notable artists, including Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Ruth Brown and Dizzy Gillespie. He currently is the professor of Jazz Guitar Studies at The Juilliard School.

6 - 13 July Jeremy Viner - Tenor Saxophone: Recently completed his master of music degree at The Juilliard School. Since moving to New York in 2004, Viner has had the honour to work and perform with many popular musicians in the jazz and new classical music communities.

Chris Burbank - Trumpet: Since beginning his studies at The Juilliard School, he has been fortunate enough to study with the great Eddie Henderson. Burbank has been honored to share the stage with such jazz icons as Terence Blanchard, Maria Schneider, Benny Green, Mulgrew Miller and Benny Golson.

8 - 22 August Michael Cottone - Trumpet: Recently completed his master of music degree at The Juilliard School in New York City. Cottone's performance experiences include the Downbeat Award-winning Eastman Jazz Ensemble, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, The Grand Hotel Orchestra on Mackinac Island and the Broadway Production of Hair.

Andrew Gutauskas - Alto Saxophone: Attended the Artist Diploma program at The Juilliard School, where he studied with Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra baritone saxophonist, Joe Temperley. During his short but impressive career, Gutauskas has shared the stage with such artists as Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Michael Buble, Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Antonio Hart, Jon Gordon, Tom Harrell, Carl Allen and many others.

12 - 19 September Juilliard Jazz Faculty Ensemble Eddie Henderson* - Trumpet: Has been on the faculty at The Juilliard School since 2007. Henderson received his first few trumpet lessons at the age of nine from Louis Armstrong and went on to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Eddie first got worldwide recognition for his jazz-trumpet playing from the popular recordings he made with Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi group during the early 1970s.

Frank Kimbrough* - Piano: Currently on the Jazz Studies faculty at The Juilliard School and previously taught at The New School University and New York University. Kimbrough has been active on New York's jazz scene for more than 25 years. He currently is a Palmetto Records artist, with previous recordings as a leader for OmniTone, Soul Note and Mapleshade, and nearly 50 more as a sideman.

Ben Wolfe* - Bass: Currently on the teaching faculty at The Juilliard School: Jazz Division. Early on in his career, Wolfe performed with Harry Connick, Jr., the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Diana Krall's touring band. He recently released his fifth album.

Carl Allen* - Drums: Currently Juilliard Jazz Artistic Director. With more than 200 recordings to his credit, Allen is a drummer, sideman, bandleader, entrepreneur and educator. He has toured and recorded with a number of notable artists, including Freddie Hubbard and The Brecker Brothers. His latest release on the Mack Avenue label is "Work to Do" with co-leader, bassist Rodney Whitaker.

12 - 19 October Randall Haywood - Trumpet: Recently received his master of music degree in Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School. At age 15, Haywood joined the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, becoming the youngest member in the prestigious organization. He also has shown his multi-talented skills by performing as a drummer with great artists such as jazz vocalist Nneena Freelon, saxophonist Bill Pierce and pianist/actor Johnnie Oneal.

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01-05-10 Princess launches Wave Season Savings Offer Princess Cruises is ringing in the new year with two ways for passengers to save on this summer's vacation during the annual "Wave Season" booking period through February 28. Travelers can choose to enjoy their own private balcony for the cost of an oceanview stateroom with the "Balcony Bonanza" promotion, and those planning travel to Alaska can save up to 25 percent on a land and sea cruisetour with the "Denali on Sale" event.

"The beginning of the year is a favorite time for making travel plans, so we're offering our customers some great reasons to book now," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "Denali National Park is a highlight not to be missed on a trip to Alaska, so with the Denali on Sale cruisetour promotion, it's the perfect time to plan a vacation to the Great Land. And a private balcony adds so much to a cruise, so we're offering a free upgrade to a balcony with our Balcony Bonanza deal."

Balcony Bonanza - Passengers will discover just why a balcony stateroom is the only way to travel for many cruisers. For the price of an oceanview stateroom, cruisers can enjoy the fresh air and sweeping ocean vistas of a private balcony on select summer 2010 cruises and cruisetours to Europe, Alaska or the Caribbean. Balcony Bonanza pricing begins at just $899 per person for a seven-day Caribbean sailing, with balconies on a 12-day Europe sailing starting at $2,799.

Denali on Sale - Travelers who book their Alaska vacation with Princess can now can save up to 25 percent off select Alaska cruisetours featuring the state's spectacular Denali National Park. All Princess cruisetour itineraries include at least two nights in the Denali area, with lodging at Princess' own wilderness lodges, plus a cruise featuring the dazzling ice of Glacier Bay National Park. The promotion features a variety of 10- to 15-night itineraries, including the popular Direct to the Wilderness rail service, which gets travelers to the wilderness faster, plus options in the Kenai and Copper River areas. Passengers can also take advantage of Princess' special roundtrip packages that include air from Seattle or Vancouver, and two family cruisetour options with special amenities and tours included just for family groups. Cruisetour fares for a 10-night vacation begin at $1,274 per person.

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

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01-05-10 NCL Offers Two-week Sale on Norwegian Epic Bookings Now Through Jan. 17 Norwegian Cruise Line just announced the "Year of the Freestyle Vacation" limited time offer on all new Norwegian Epic bookings made for the next two weeks, now through January 17, 2010. The offer includes 50 percent reduced deposits and third through eighth guests in the same stateroom from $249 on the ship's alternating seven-day cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

In addition to this special two-week offer, the promotion includes up to a six category upgrade and on-board savings certificates of up to $400 for all new reservations made through March 14, 2010 on any of the line's 10 Freestyle Cruising ships. More information can be found on Norwegian's web site.

Norwegian Epic will be NCL's largest ship to date. This offer makes it possible for kids and their parents to experience the Family-friendly accommodations adjacent to Norwegian's popular complimentary Kid's Crew. Both parents and kids can have fun along with an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea - The Epic Plunge; a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; and three separate kids' and teen activity areas.

A multitude of varied Freestyle dining and entertainment are offered each evening. The wildly popular Blue Man Group will perform for the first time ever at sea in the ship's Epic Theater. The only "big top" at sea - the Spiegel Tent - will be home to Cirque Dreams and Dinner, a one of a kind interactive theatrical dining experience performed in the air, while juggling dinner courses, with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. During this two-hour show, guests will become part of the celebration.

Legends in Concert, the live tribute show, will be featured for the first time at sea in more than a decade on Norwegian Epic. A staple on Las Vegas' center strip for the past 25 years, the show is known as a pioneer of live tribute shows with a great collection of live tribute artists and celebrity look-alikes.

Norwegian Epic will also feature Howl at the Moon, the rock 'n roll dueling piano show that encourages audience participation, as well as The Second City, the Chicago-based improv comedy troupe which has fostered the careers of many Saturday Night Live comedians.

The first cruise on July 10, 2010 to the Eastern Caribbean includes stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. The Western Caribbean cruise sails to Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico.

The "Year of the Freestyle Vacation" promotion officially launched in mid-December and runs through March 14, 2010 and will include additional bi-weekly promotions through March featuring special offers on select ships and destinations.

For more information on Norwegian Cruise Line and to book a cruise, call 866-234-7350, visit www.ncl.com or contact a travel professional.

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