News Archive - July 2011

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7-28-11 Norwegian Adds Pre-cruise Reservations to Web Site Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that it has enhanced its reservation system adding the convenience of pre-purchasing shore excursions fleet-wide and the flexibility of pre-purchasing specialty dining on Norwegian Epic. The company also plans to add the ability to make Freestyle Dining reservations for specialty restaurants fleet-wide in the coming months. This enhanced system gives booked guests the opportunity to plan their cruise vacation prior to boarding the ship.

"Freestyle Cruising is about freedom and flexibility, and therefore we wanted to provide our guests with the choice and convenience of purchasing their shore excursions prior to their cruise, as well as making their specialty dining choices in advance, especially if they are celebrating a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "Of course, they also have the option of waiting until they are on board to book shore excursions and reserve specialty dining choices."

The more robust reservation system gives guests the option to pre-purchase a large variety of shore excursions in all the destinations Norwegian's ships visit around the world. Whether it's dogsledding in Alaska, surfing in Hawaii, or wine tasting in Italy, guests can secure their spot on the excursion that works best for their vacation.

Among the 20 dining options that Norwegian Epic offers, guests can make reservations and pay for specialty dining cover charges which range from $10 to $25 per person in all of the ship's specialty restaurants including Moderno Churrascaria and Shanghai's, among others. Norwegian Epic guests also have the ability to purchase tickets to Cirque Dreams and Dinner, as well as The Second City's Presumed Murdered interactive experience. Once the reservation system is available fleet-wide, guests will be able to pre-book and pay for all specialty restaurants such as guest favorites like Teppanyaki, Cagney's Steakhouse and Le Bistro. Reservations are not required at the many complimentary dining venues on each ship.

Guests also have the option of booking shore excursions and making specialty restaurant reservations once they are on board. The ability to purchase activities in advance is only applicable to cruise bookings made in US dollars. All shore excursion and dining purchases can be adjusted up to one day prior to sailing.

Guests with cruise reservations can log on to www.ncl.com/myncl to view shore excursions and dining (on Norwegian Epic) available for pre-purchase. To book, guests can contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 866-896-3152 for shore excursions or 800-327-7030 for dining, or visit www.ncl.com/myncl.

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7-26-11 Norwegian Offers Special Fares to Military Norwegian Cruise Line launched an enhanced military program today offering special rates to members of the U.S. and Canada armed forces. The program features exclusive rates on select Freestyle Cruising vacations, including the line's newest and most innovative ship Norwegian Epic, along with the only U.S. flagged cruise ship, Pride of America. Current featured destinations include seven-day cruises in the Western Mediterranean, Eastern Caribbean and Hawaii, along with Norwegian Epic's 13-day transatlantic crossing from Barcelona to Miami on October 23, 2011. Active or retired members of the military can chose from numerous sailings in 2011 or 2012. In addition, new sailings will be added on a regular basis.

"Norwegian Cruise Line salutes our military personnel for their commitment, dedication and service," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "We want to make sure that when they are ready for some rest and relaxation, we have special pricing available to show our appreciation and to ensure that they get to spend quality time with their families."

The offer is valid for new reservations starting today on a range of accommodations from inside staterooms to mini-suites, along with the solo-traveler friendly Studio staterooms on Norwegian Epic. To take advantage of Norwegian's enhanced military program, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit www.ncl.com.

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7-26-11 Tony Dovolani, Chelsie Hightower, Elena Grinenko announce Cruise with the Dance Stars Professional dancers Tony Dovolani, Chelsie Hightower, and Elena Grinenko, from the hit show Dancing with the Stars, have partnered with The Cruise Authority to create the ultimate dance fan experience – Cruise with the Dance Stars. This dance festival at sea will take place on Royal Caribbean International's Freedom of the Seas from January 15 - 22, 2012. Tony, Chelsie and Elena will dance with guests throughout the Caribbean, from Port Canaveral, Fla., to CocoCay, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

Guests aboard Cruise with the Dance Stars have the chance to take dance lessons from Tony, Chelsie and Elena, joined by Royal Caribbean's own professional show dancers; an exclusive dance performance by Chelsie and Tony; private Q&A sessions; photo and autograph sessions; private welcome and farewell receptions; and CWDS goodies. Guests must book via the Cruise with the Dance Stars web site in order to enjoy exclusive dance events.

One lucky cruise guest will win a 1-hour private dance lesson from Chelsie and Tony.

"The chance to bring Tony, Chelsie and Elena onboard this cruise is a great honor for The Cruise Authority," said co-owner of The Cruise Authority, David Bittner. "We believe we are offering fans unprecedented access and an amazing experience aboard this cruise."

Staterooms go on sale to the public July 5, 2011. Stateroom prices start from $1,176 per person plus taxes and fees. Prices include entertainment, meals, and access to Royal Caribbean's amenities. Fans can read more and sign up for the cruise at www.dancestarscruise.com or email dance@the-cruise-authority.com.

The Cruise Authority is a top producing and award winning travel agency located in Marietta, GA. The Cruise Authority offers retail travel services and has been a leader in organizing and implementing theme and affinity cruises for over 15 years. For questions, contact David Bittner 770-952-8300 or dbittner@the-cruise-authority.com.

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7-18-11 Watch Celebrity Silhouette Inaugural Live on Web In a first for Celebrity Cruises, the world has been invited to join the premium cruise line as it welcomes Celebrity Silhouette to the stunning Solstice Class of ships. The official naming and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be streamed live on Facebook from Hamburg, Germany on Thursday, July 21 at 11:00 am ET.

Viewers will have a great view of the ceremony by visiting Facebook.com/CelebrityCruises. The experience will be interactive for online viewers who can post comments to each other throughout the naming. The ceremony will also be broadcast across the Celebrity Cruises fleet so that guests onboard the other nine ships can partake in this exciting event. An archived version of the event will also be available after the ceremony for those who cannot catch it live.

The ceremony will feature Michelle Morgan, the president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, as the Godmother for this sleek and modern new ship. Richard D. Fain, Chairman of Celebrity Cruises and Chairman and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Dan Hanrahan, Celebrity Cruises President and CEO, will honor Morgan in an exhilarating evening where the traditional champagne bottle is broken on the hull and Celebrity Silhouette's finest entertainers will deliver a show-stopping performance.

Celebrity Silhouette, the fourth ship in the Solstice Class fleet, will offer a host of new onboard features and amenities to help vacationers truly capitalize on their precious vacation time. Some highlights include:

  • The Lawn Club Grill, the first large-ship outdoor, interactive grill restaurant where guests can grill alongside a Celebrity Cruises chef for a $30 reservation fee.
  • The Art Studio, a space within The Lawn Club where guests can participate in intimate, hands-on instruction from experts in drawing, painting and beading, as well as the art of food, with plating, tastings, mixology and other culinary-themed classes.
  • The Alcoves, a private retreat overlooking the lawn, ocean and coastlines, featuring eight exclusive, cabana-style settings, each designed for two to four guests.
  • A new craft beer focus in Michael's Club lounge, with a variety of unique brews, bites and snacks to complement them, and flat-screen TVs for viewing sporting events.
  • The Hideaway, a high-tech, avant-garde treehouse-like spot for vacationers relaxing with their iPads or perhaps reading a good book within cozy, intimate lounging "nests."
  • The Porch, where guests can enjoy quick, casual breakfast or lunch against a backdrop of views of the lawn and sea for a $5 fee.

Celebrity Cruises' iconic "X" is the mark of the world's top-rated premium cruise line, with spacious, stylish interiors; dining experiences elevated to an art form; personalized service, with a guest-to-staff ratio of nearly 2:1; unexpected, trendsetting onboard activities, all designed to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers' precious time. Celebrity sails to Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal, South America, and year-round in the Galapagos Islands. Celebrity also offers immersive cruisetour experiences in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Europe and South America. One of the fastest-growing major cruise lines, Celebrity's fleet currently consists of 10 ships, with one additional Solstice Class ships scheduled to join the fleet: Celebrity Reflection in Fall 2012. For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit www.celebritycruises.com, or contact your travel agent.

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7-18-11 Oceania Riviera Floated out at Fincantieri Shipyard Oceania Cruises celebrated a major milestone on Saturday, July 16, as the line's new 1,250-guest Riviera was afloat for the first time and moved from the construction dock to her fitting-out berth.

"The float out of a ship is a beautiful occasion which marks the beginning of her life and we are eagerly anticipating the day next spring that we can unveil her to the world," stated Frank Del Rio, Chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings, parent company of Oceania Cruises.

The shipyard will now focus on fitting out and finishing Riviera's exquisite interiors which were designed in concert with the renowned team from Y&S of Oslo, Norway.

Riviera will offer 625 elegantly appointed and custom-crafted accommodations that are among the largest at sea, ranging from 174 to a palatial 2,000+ square feet. Her top suites will be a study in chic, residential elegance and feature furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home and designs by Dakota Jackson of New York City and S.B. Long Interiors of Greenwich, CT. The ship will also feature a Lalique-designed grand lobby, 10 dining venues and numerous bars and lounges. Facilities will include a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, innovative Bon Appétit Culinary Center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

In her inaugural year, Riviera will cruise the Mediterranean and then cross the Atlantic where she will spend the winter cruising the yacht harbors of the Caribbean.

Images of the ship under construction can be found at www.OceaniaCruisesBlog.com. For more information or to order a brochure, contact a professional travel agent, visit www.OceaniaCruises.com or call Oceania Cruises toll-free at 800-531-5658.

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7-18-11 NCL asks USA Today Readers to Help Name Two New Ships Norwegian Cruise Line ("Norwegian") today announced it has partnered with the national daily newspaper USA Today to launch a naming contest dubbed "Norwegian's Cruising for Names" for the cruise line's two new next generation Freestyle Cruising ships scheduled for delivery in April 2013 and April 2014. The contest runs from today through August 14, 2011 and the winners, who will be announced in mid-September, will receive a trip for two to the first ship's inaugural festivities.

The cruise line is looking for names for its two Project Breakaway ships that reflect the innovation of the brand along with the freedom and flexibility of its signature Freestyle Cruising and invoke the feeling that these ships provide a "break" at sea from the stress of everyday life.

"We know how passionate cruisers are about new ship launches, so it seems only fitting that we look to them to help name our two Project Breakaway ships," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's Chief Executive Officer. "We are excited to be partnering with USA Today and specifically with its Cruise Log blog, which we know gathers some of the most avid cruisers there are."

To enter, contestants should head to www.cruisingfornames.usatoday.com, fill out the entry form and submit a name that starts with "Norwegian." There is no maximum amount of entries per person. The winners will receive a trip for two to the first ship's inaugural festivities, including the Christening Ceremony (date/location yet to be determined). The trip includes round-trip coach airfare for two, ground transportation, balcony stateroom accommodations (double occupancy), on-board meals, as well as government taxes and fees.

The contest is only open to residents of the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) 18 years of age and older. For more information on how to enter and for the official rules and details on the prizes, visit www.cruisingfornames.usatoday.com.

The Project Breakaway ships will each be 144,017 gross tons and will have approximately 4,000 passenger berths. These ships represent an opportunity for the Norwegian guest to "break away" from the routine of work, school, and daily stress, and find a true respite at sea. These new ships will take the best of the best from all of Norwegian's existing ships drawing on the line's experience of having launched 10 ships in the past 10 years – starting with Norwegian Star and Sun in 2001 and culminating with the launch of Norwegian Epic in 2011.

Norwegian commissioned design group Priestmangoode of the United Kingdom, working in conjunction with Tillberg Design of Sweden, to design the staterooms for Project Breakaway. Priestmangoode won accolades and awards for designing the Studios, the first staterooms designed specifically for solo travelers, on Norwegian Epic. Project Breakaway staterooms combine the form and function of the line's Jewel class ships' staterooms with the modern and contemporary design touches of Norwegian Epic.

More exciting announcements will happen throughout the summer, fall and beyond with the first ship scheduled to open for reservations this October. Information on Project Breakaway can be found at www.ncl.com/breakaway.

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7-18-11 Carnival Sponsors Rock 'n Roll Tour by Sixthman Artists This August, Sixthman artists are hitting the road for SIXTHMAN SUMMER ROAD TRIP: Presented by Cabo Wabo Tequila. It's a bus trip that will include artists from the Sixthman family traveling across the Midwest and along the East Coast. The lineup features Chuck Cannon and Tim Brantley, and selected dates with Bronze Radio Return and Trailer Park Ninjas. We're stopping in some of our favorite cities- Miami, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Nashville, and more. Tickets are available through Ticket Alternative now - check out www.sixthman.net/summerroadtrip for more.

Each tour stop will feature performances in intimate venues for a few hundred guests. The tour is a way for Sixthman to engage and excite guests who are sailing on upcoming cruises in the next year, introducing them to artists they will see on board as well as connecting them with other guests in their hometowns. Members of Sixthman staff will be at all stops, managing the tour and spending time getting to know the guests.

"We just can't wait an entire year between visits with our community so we are going to them and bringing artists with us. We did this in 2006 with the Zac Brown Band while they were still an independent artist and it was very successful," said Sixthman CEO and founder Andy Levine.

The tour is also sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines and Corona. Full dates are below. For more information, please contact me or check out the links to the right for photos and more. Thank you!

  • Wednesday, Aug 3 - Miami, FL - Transit Lounge
  • Thursday, Aug 4 - Orlando, FL - The Social
  • Friday, Aug 5 - Atlanta, GA - Smith's Olde Bar
  • Saturday, Aug 6 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
  • Sunday, Aug 7 - Vienna, VA - Jammin' Java
  • Tuesday, Aug 9 - Boston, MA - Johnny D's
  • Wednesday, Aug 10 - New York, NY - City Winer (txts at box office only)
  • Thursday, Aug 11 - Philadelphia, PA - North Star Bar
  • Friday, Aug 12 - Pittsburgh - The Altar Bar
  • Sunday, Aug 14 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen
  • Tuesday, Aug 16 - Indianapolis, IN - Birdy's Bar & Grill
  • Wednesday, Aug 17 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
  • Thursday, Aug 18 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley

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7-15-11 Princess Cruises Offers 3-Day Sale on Warm-Weather Destinations

Save up to $1,000 on Select Sailings During July 20-22 Event

Princess Cruises is offering special fares to some of its most popular warm-weather destinations, including the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Hawaii and Tahiti, during a 3-day Sale running between July 20-22. Passengers who book during the event can save up to $1,000 per couple off Launch Fares, plus as a special bonus, can receive as much as $100 in onboard credit per stateroom.

Selected fall/winter 2011-12 cruises featured in the sale depart between September 21, 2011 and April 27, 2012 – the perfect time for getting away from the cold weather.

In addition, passengers booking interior or oceanview staterooms can receive an onboard credit of $25 (cruises up to 9 days) to $50 (cruises 10 days or longer), and in balcony staterooms or above can get credits of $50 (cruises up to 9 days) or $100 (for sailings 10 days or longer). All onboard credits are offered per stateroom.

"If travelers are dreaming of getting away to tropical waters, this is a fantastic time to book," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "This sale offers some of our lowest rates to the sunny beaches and colorful islands of these spectacular destinations, so it's a great opportunity to relax onboard and enjoy the warm welcome of a Princess ship."

Examples of savings include:

  • 7-day Classic Southern Caribbean for $449 per person, plus up to $50 onboard credit
  • 10-day Panama Canal for $899, plus up to $100 onboard credit
  • 14-day Hawaiian Islands for $1,199, plus up to $100 onboard credit
  • 11-day Hawaii and Tahiti for $1,695, plus up to $100 onboard credit
All cruise prices are per person, and onboard credits are per stateroom.

The 3-day Sale runs from 5:00 a.m. PDT on July 20 through 6:59 p.m. PDT on July 22, and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Reservations made during the 3-day Sale require a non-refundable deposit.

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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7-6-11 Silversea Offers Five Hot Deals for Solo Cruisers Silversea Cruises is offering 5 exceptional opportunities in 2012 to experience the joys of independent luxury travel coupled with special perks and a single supplement that is almost unheard of -- just 10% above the per-person, double-occupancy fare.

"This is the perfect time for single travelers to treat themselves to a luxurious Silversea cruise, visit fascinating destinations, and make friends along the way," said Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America.

With a crew-to-guest ratio that is almost one to one, single guests sailing on Silversea ships enjoy highly personalized service, warm hospitality, and an ambiance that makes them feel right at home. Also, exclusively for solo guests, a welcoming champagne reception is hosted aboard every Silversea voyage, and select voyages are escorted by Gentlemen Hosts. These interesting, amiable and distinguished men are available as dance partners or dinner companions for single female guests, and will often participate in other shipboard activities as well as escort shore excursions.

5 BEST DEALS FOR SOLO TRAVELERS

The following 2012 voyages offer a 10% single supplement on a Vista Suite (25% on a Veranda Suite), plus the added perks of: a $500 "Passport to Luxury" Onboard Spending Credit for single travelers; included roundtrip economy airfare (from select gateway cities); and included transfers between airport and pier on embarkation and disembarkation days.

1) VOYAGE 1212: Fort Lauderdale to Monte Carlo, Silver Cloud, 17 Days, March 31 - April 17. Calls in Bermuda, Funchal, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Porto Mahon and Marseille. Highlights include Gentleman Hosts. Solo Traveler fares start at $7,038 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount).

2)VOYAGE 3213: Tokyo to Seward, Alaska, Silver Shadow, 15 Days, May 17 - 31. Calls in Sendai, Hakodate, Kushiro, Kamchatka, Dutch Harbor, Kodiak and Homer. Highlights include overnight stay in Tokyo, Gentleman Hosts and the 'Relais & Châteaux L'École des Chefs' interactive cooking school. Solo Traveler fares start at $8,050 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount).

3)VOYAGE 3227: Vancouver to Tokyo, Silver Shadow, 16 Days, September 6 - 23. Calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Kodiak, Kamchatka, Hakodate and Sendai. Highlights include the 'Relais & Châteaux L'École des Chefs' interactive cooking school. Solo Traveler fares start at $8,578 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount).

4)VOYAGE 4225: Southampton to New York, Silver Whisper, 14 Days, September 18 - October 2. Calls in Plymouth, Waterford, Cork, St. John's, Sydney, Halifax and Newport. Highlights include Gentleman Hosts. Solo Traveler fares start at $7,126 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount).

5)VOYAGE 1228: Las Palmas, Canary Islands to Barbados, Silver Cloud, 12 Days, November 1 - 13. Calls in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia and Bequia. Solo Traveler fares start at $4,970 (reflecting a 60% Silver Savings discount).

In addition, another 42 Silversea voyages feature single supplements starting at just 25%. Click here for complete list of 2011 and 2012 sailings offering single supplements from 10% to 25%, or visit Silversea.com and click on Special Offers.

Silversea's all-inclusive fares include a spacious, ocean-view suite (most suites feature a private veranda), attentive butler service, complimentary wines and spirits, fine dining, sophisticated enrichment and entertainment programs, and all onboard gratuities.

The Solo Traveler, Silver Savings and "Passport to Luxury" Onboard Spending Credit are capacity-controlled programs and subject to availability. The Onboard Spending Credit is offered per suite, not per voyage, and only once to guests sailing on consecutive voyages. It is valued in U.S. dollars, regardless of booking currency. It may not be redeemed for cash, and any unused portion will be forfeited. Additional restrictions may apply.

The included roundtrip economy air package is a capacity-controlled program that includes transfers between airport and pier on the day of embarkation and disembarkation. It is available from 22 gateway cities in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, there are specially priced air programs available from another 50 cities.

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7-6-11 Royal Caribbean to Offer "Behind the Scenes" Ship Tours Below deck, backstage and behind certain doors, the sophisticated operations of a Royal Caribbean International ship has always piqued guests' curiosity. To help demystify the hard work put forth by the cruise line's dedicated staff and crew and the spaces they work in, Royal Caribbean International today announced the launch of the All Access Tour. Guests now have the option to visit behind-the-scenes operations spaces and meet key shipboard staff members on an escorted tour during their Royal Caribbean vacation. The All Access Tour will offer guests insight into the inner workings of some of the world's largest and most innovative cruise ships and be available fleetwide aboard each ship's first July 2011 sailing.

"The All Access Tour offers guests the opportunity to learn about what it takes onboard to deliver the world's most contemporary vacation, also known as the Royal Advantage," said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "Our guests have always inquired into what happens behind the scenes and below deck. We are glad to offer these really special guest tours into areas that are normally not accessible, escorted by staff members who explain the complex workings of running of the world's largest and most innovative cruise ships."

The All Access Tour escorts guests into a variety of 'back-of-house' areas, including a visit to the bridge, galley, backstage of the main theater, engine control room and other behind-the-scenes operations areas that collectively create the best vacation experience and value for guests. At least one All Access Tour will be offered on itineraries shorter than seven nights, and two tours offered aboard a seven-night or longer itinerary with additional tours added, based on demand. The experience lasts up to 3.5 hours and is $150 per guest and can be purchased onboard with the Concierge, Crown & Anchor Society Loyalty Ambassador, or at Guest Relations.

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7-5-11 Paul Gauguin: Free Air to South Pacific and $500 Credit From July 5th to September 3rd, Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is offering a $500 shipboard credit per couple, or $250 shipboard credit per person, on select sailings.

Book one of the seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands cruises, or the eleven-night Cook Islands & Society Islands, and earn $250 in shipboard credit per person. Guests will also receive 50% off standard cruises fares plus FREE airfare from Los Angeles on all 2011 sailings of The Gauguin.

CONTACT: For reservations, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-800-848-6172 or visit www.pgcruises.com.

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