News Archive - May 2011

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013
  Cruise News Archive Who cares about old news? We do! Years: 2000 - 2012 CruiseMates RSS News Feed Add to My Yahoo!
Add CruiseMates to your My Yahoo
See the Newest Updated TSA Security Requirements and Passport Required for All Cruisers, Starting June 1st, 2009.

5-31-11 Carnival Ships extend Kid's Babysitting & Programming to 3:00 a.m. Camp Carnival Night Owls - featuring fun-filled children's parties offering a full schedule of late-night activities and premium giveaways, along with nightly babysitting services - is being rolled out on all 23 Carnival Cruise Lines ships.

Perfect for when parents want some much-needed "me" time, Night Owls further bolsters Carnival's distinction as the leader in family cruising, with complimentary children's programs for three age groups catering to the 670,000 children who sail with the line annually.

Conducted in the children's play rooms, three different Night Owls parties are held at least once each voyage, all under the direction of the line's highly trained and enthusiastic youth staff.

In addition to loads of age-appropriate fun - from video game tournaments and arts and crafts to sporting events and late-night movies and pizza parties - kids participating in the Night Owls festivities are provided with premium giveaways that may include specially branded plush toys, flashlights, watches and other items. Late-night munchies and refreshments are also provided. Night Owls parties are available in three different age groups, including:

  • Owl Jams - a night of high-energy fun that runs from 10 p.m. to midnight and aimed at two- to 11-year-olds. Cost is $13 per child plus gratuity.
  • Fun 'Til One - this action-packed night caters to six- to eight-year-olds and takes place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Cost is $20 per child plus gratuity.
  • Fun at Sea¬Ö'Til 3:00 - aimed at kids ages nine to 11, this late-night extravaganza offers activities throughout the ship and runs from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Participants are escorted to their staterooms after the party. Cost is $33 per child plus gratuity.

    "Carnival is all about creating a lifetime of fun memories for guests of all ages and that even includes nighttime experiences for kids," said Mark Tamis, Carnival's senior vice president - guest operations. "Night Owls is a wonderful addition to our award-winning Camp Carnival children's program, providing kids with a bunch of late-night activities, chances to make new friends, and branded presents that will remind them of their unforgettable Carnival vacation."

    The Night Owls program also includes a revamped babysitting program. Designed as a fun-filled slumber party at sea, babysitting is available nightly from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at a cost of $6.75 per child per hour plus gratuity. Kids can enjoy a variety of activities, with complimentary pillows and blankets provided, along with light snacks and refreshments.

    Night Owls is just the latest addition to the line's top-rated Camp Carnival program which offers a full schedule of supervised activities from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, all available on a complimentary basis.

    Carnival also offers its popular programs for young teens and teens with Circle "C" and Club O2, catering to 12-14-year olds and 15-17 year olds, respectively. Each of these programs offers spacious and modern facilities for their respective age groups with a dance floor, DJ, and plasma screen TVs - the perfect spot for chilling and making new friends.

    Carnival's ships are the most kid-friendly at sea with a wide range of activities, facilities and features. Guests of all ages can enjoy the line's exhilarating Twister corkscrew waterslides and water parks that offer a splash-tastic good time. Carnival "Fun Ships" also offer outdoor basketball and volleyball courts, video arcades, miniature golf courses, swimming pools, and poolside LED screens showing movies, sporting events and other programming.

    The line's newest ship, Carnival Magic, takes family fun to another level with SportSquare, an open air recreation complex with cruising's first-ever ropes course, along with the Power Drencher, a 300-gallon water bucket dubbed the largest at sea.

    Carnival also offers a variety of cabin categories, including some ships with staterooms that can accommodate up to five guests, along with a wide range of kid-friendly dining options, from 24-hour pizza and ice cream to children's menus in the main dining rooms.

    Camp Carnival Night Owls is available on all 23 Carnival "Fun Ships," which operate three- to 16-day voyages to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The new Carnival Magic debuted in Europe May 1 and the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze is scheduled to enter service in June 2012.

    For additional information on the Carnival vacation experience, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line's travel agent Internet portal, GoCCL.com.

    Back to Top

    5-31-11 Seabourn Takes Delivery of Seabourn Quest Seabourn took delivery of the new 450-guest Seabourn Quest today at the T. Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, Italy. The intimate, all-suite ship is the third vessel constructed by Mariotti for Seabourn's fleet, completing a three-year expansion that increased the ultra-luxury line's capacity by more than 200 percent.

    "We are very pleased and excited to take delivery of Seabourn Quest," said Richard Meadows, Seabourn's President. "She is a beautiful vessel, and I have no doubt she will earn as much praise from the experts, and as much affection from our guests as her two sister-ships. Her officers, staff and crew are ready to welcome travelers on board to experience Seabourn-style cruising on our newest ship."

    Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Blythe Danner will serve as godmother and name the ship during a glittering sunset ceremony at the port of Barcelona on June 20, 2011. That evening, the ship will depart on a 14-day Maiden Voyage to Athens, stopping at the sort of beautiful seaside towns in France, Italy, Greece and Turkey that are a hallmark of the Seabourn cruise experience.

    Seabourn Quest's maiden season includes seven-day Eastern Mediterranean cruises, operating alternately between Athens and Istanbul, and Venice and Athens, as well as a seven-day Black Sea voyage. In the fall, the ship will cruise across the Atlantic Ocean from Malaga, Spain, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from where it will sail on a series of round trip voyages in the Caribbean. On January 5, 2012, Seabourn Quest will begin a 109-day Maiden World Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Venice on a unique eastbound course via South America, South Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

    Seabourn Quest is the third iteration of the sleek and widely admired design that first appeared as Seabourn Odyssey in June 2009, and has been hailed as "a game-changer for the luxury segment." The second sister-ship, Seabourn Sojourn, entered service in June of 2010.

    Back to Top

    5-31-11 Royal Caribbean International to Resume Calls to Japan This August In view of the stabilization of the situation in Japan and the recent lifting of travel advisories on Japan by countries such as Singapore and China, Royal Caribbean International plans to deploy its cruise ship Legend of the Seas back to Japanese ports-of-call starting with Okinawa on August 1, following its Hong Kong summer season.

    Legend of the Seas will be operating 11 sailings including a number of charters to various Japanese ports-of-call such as Okinawa, Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Beppu, Nagasaki and Hokkaido, out from Hong Kong, Tianjin and Shanghai, from late July to early October. These sailings are mostly based on the ship's itineraries originally planned for this year, which do not call at the areas affected by the tsunami and nuclear crisis.

    Kelvin Tan, Regional Director, Asia Pacific of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said, "Judging from the current situation in Japan, we are well-assured of the safety of travelling to Japan. Japan has always been an attractive tourist destination and its show of great resilience in the face of the recent crisis has given travellers the confidence to visit the country again."

    "Travellers also understand that visiting these cities on a cruise ship is a safe and hassle-free option," he added.

    Besides the North Asian cruises to Japan and Korea, Legend of the Seas is also offering cruises to Taiwan, Vietnam and Sanya from Hong Kong from June to July and from October to November.

    Back to Top

    5-26-11 Holland America's Maasdam Completes Signature of Excellence Upgrades Holland America Line's ms Maasdam recently completed a stem-to-stern, multimillion-dollar Signature of Excellence dry dock at Freeport, Bahamas, April 24. Also completing dry-dock refurbishments in April were ms Eurodam, ms Volendam and ms Veendam.

    The 1,258-guest Maasdam's added facilities and features included new stateroom furnishings and bathroom upgrades; Canaletto, a complimentary Italian eatery; the sophisticated Showroom at Sea; and the stylish lounge called Mix, which combines three distinct bars into one area. Twenty-nine new Lanai staterooms also were added to Maasdam during the refit, and 16 staterooms across Verandah Suite, Outside and Inside categories were converted into Spa Staterooms. The refurbishment was part of the company's now more than $566 million Signature of Excellence ongoing fleet-wide program.

    "Maasdam is our fifth ship to receive these exciting enhancements," said Richard Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "The ongoing Signature of Excellence program has touched all 15 Holland America ships in various ways and ensures that our fleet continues to evolve in premium amenities, programming, technologies and activities that our guests expect from Holland America Line."

    Volendam's dry dock in Singapore included new carpet in most of the public areas and restaurants. Audio and lighting enhancements were completed in the show lounge. Guest staterooms received new carpeting and soft goods, and all furniture was re-upholstered and refinished. Crew cabins and recreation areas were also updated. The hull was repainted and a number of technical maintenance repairs were performed.

    Eurodam's dry dock at Freeport involved new carpets, privacy curtains along the Atrium side of the Pinnacle Grill, hull coating and some routine technical upgrades. Veendam's dry dock, also at Freeport, included routine technical updates. The aft Lido Deck retreat area was modified with a new design with more open deck space, two pools and two hot tubs.

    Maasdam Public Areas Upgraded During Dry Dock Canaletto, a complimentary casual Italian restaurant, was added to ms Maasdam and comes to life for dinner when a section of the Lido is transformed with glass partitions and an Italian ambiance with dishes such as putanesca and penne alla vodka. Although there is no charge to dine in Canaletto, reservations are suggested.

    Maasdam's piano bar and casino bar were reconfigured into Mix, a multi-themed area with three separate bars: Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales, each serving its namesake libations. The casino was redesigned and the main show lounge was transformed into the Showroom at Sea with nightclub ambiance.

    The upscale Merabella luxury jewelry shop was added to the completely renovated mid-ship shopping area with its signature jewelry and watch boutiques. Other public areas around the ship also were refurbished and received new carpeting.

    In addition to Maasdam, these extensive public area Signature of Excellence enhancements can also be found on Veendam, ms Statendam, ms Rotterdam and ms Ryndam.

    Staterooms Receive New Look and New Spa Category Added

    Completing the décor enhancements, Maasdam's staterooms received new carpeting, soft goods and completely renovated bathrooms with new vanities and cabinetry.

    Sixteen staterooms near the Greenhouse Spa on Verandah Deck were converted to "spa staterooms" featuring a variety of enhanced amenities. Spa accommodations offer exclusive items such as organic cotton bathrobes and slippers, a yoga mat, a soothing water feature, special room-service menus and treatments, and more.

    Signature of Excellence tops $566 Million

    The industry-leading Signature of Excellence initiative is an ongoing and comprehensive program that touches every aspect of the Holland America Line experience and the investment now exceeds $566 million. Signature of Excellence features and amenities offer guests more luxurious accommodations, enhanced dining experiences, more enriching activities and exceptional levels of service.

    Back to Top

    5-26-11 Carnival to Schedule New Cruises from Boston in 2012 For the first time, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate an extended schedule of voyages from Boston with a series of round-trip four- and five-day eastern Canada cruises aboard the 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory beginning in June 2012. Carnival will be the only cruise line offering short cruises from Boston to the Canadian Maritimes.

    On the new program, Carnival Glory will sail from the recently refurbished Black Falcon Cruise Terminal on four-day "long weekend" cruises departing Thursdays to Saint John, New Brunswick, and five-day voyages departing Mondays and Saturdays to Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Saint John. The program will operate June 10 to July 26, 2012. A special seven-day cruise will be offered June 3-10, 2012, with visits to Portland, Maine; and Saint John, Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

    "We are thrilled to offer these four- and five-day cruises from Boston which is not only a world-class destination but also provides a convenient and affordable drive-to homeport for millions of Northeastern U.S. residents," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "Carnival Glory is a fantastic 'Fun Ship' with so much to offer and on these cruises guests can visit charming and historic cities in eastern Canadian Maritimes while enjoying all the fun and excitement that Carnival is known for."

    "Massport's facilities are economic engines for the New England region and we expected our $11 million in capital improvements to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal would not only be appreciated by the more than 300,000 passengers who use the facility each year, but it would generate renewed interest from cruise lines in the Port of Boston," said Thomas J. Kinton Jr., Massport's CEO & Executive Director. "Bringing Carnival Cruise Lines to Boston for regularly scheduled service is not only good economic news, it will provide New England residents more choices in cruising vacations."

    "We are pleased to welcome Carnival Cruise Lines to Boston, and will work to make their Boston-Canada sailings a success," said Mike Leone, Massport's Director of the Port. "Carnival Glory provides a great opportunity for New Englanders and others to enjoy Eastern Canada during the summer months, and the shorter itineraries will be a huge draw for those with limited vacation time or who are looking to getaway for an extended weekend."

    Saint John is a nature lover's paradise, highlighted by such landmarks as Reversing Falls, where the highest tides in the world intersect with the St. John River and force it to flow backwards twice daily, and the Bay of Fundy, with its gorgeous backdrop of rugged rock formations. Also popular is Saint John's Historic District, lined with stately Victorian homes, elegant churches and quaint boutiques and eateries.

    Founded in 1749 and known as the "Gateway to the Canadian Atlantic," Halifax is a charming yet cosmopolitan city with outstanding restaurants, shops, and museums and unique cultural experiences. Here, guests can visit Peggy's Cove, a fishing village famous for its granite coastline, tour the city's many lighthouses, or observe the changing of the guard at The Citadel, a centuries-old fortress. Other on-shore activities such as kayaking and hiking are also available.

    Guests can also experience the many on-board facilities and features of the Carnival Glory - a 270-square-foot Seaside Theatre poolside LED screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming, a 13,300-square foot spa, four swimming pools - one with the line's signature Twister Waterslide - along with spacious and modern play areas for children, 'tweens and teens, and Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat. A wide range of dining venues - from twin full-service dining rooms and a two-level casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria to a sushi bar and a classic American steakhouse - are available, as well.

    New York Cruises

    Following its cruises from Boston, Carnival Glory will reposition to New York for a series of four-day voyages to Saint John and five-day voyages to Saint John and Halifax from August 1 through September 3, 2012. Carnival Glory will also offer five week-long fall foliage cruises round-trip from New York to Halifax, Saint John, Boston and Portland, Maine. Departure dates include September 8, 15, 22, and 29 and October 6, 2012.

    Norfolk Cruises

    The ship will also operate a series of cruises round-trip from Norfolk, Va., in the spring and fall. Spring six-day Bahamas departures will be available on May 15, 21 and 27. In the fall, there will be a six-day Bahamas cruise on October 14 and 22; a five-day Bahamas cruise on October 28, and a special two-day cruise on October 20, 2012.

    Back to Top

    5-23-11 Norwegian Dawn Receives Enhancements in Dry Dock Norwegian Dawn is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment while the ship is in dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas. The 2,224-passenger ship is receiving extensive renovations including the addition of 28 suites; Moderno Churrascaria, the popular Brazilian steakhouse restaurant introduced on Norwegian Epic; the relocation of the Spinnaker Lounge; and flat screen televisions in all guest and crew staterooms, along with many other exciting updates. The ship will re-enter service on May 27, 2011 in Boston, her new seasonal homeport.

    "Norwegian Dawn's refurbishment is very similar to those enhancements made to Norwegian Star last year," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "We have found Norwegian Star's updates very well received and we expect our guests will appreciate the changes made to Norwegian Dawn as well."

    Norwegian Dawn's refurbishment includes:

  • 58 new suites and staterooms (available beginning on the September 16, 2011 sailing) including:
  • Four Deluxe Owner's Suites ranging from 667 to 732 square feet;
  • 14 Family Suites from 408 to 452 square feet, most sleeping six guests;
  • 10 Family Suites with balcony from 409 to 495 square feet, most sleeping six guests;
  • 18 Inside staterooms.
  • Moderno Churrascaria specialty restaurant (in the space previously occupied by Salsa, the Tex Mex restaurant) which features a large salad bar and tableside passadors serving a variety of skewered meats;
  • Upgraded flat screen televisions in all guest and crew staterooms broadcast on a digital signal;
  • Relocation and total renovation of the Gift Shop, Art Gallery, Photo Gallery, Conference Center, Spinnaker Lounge and Blue Lagoon Restaurant;
  • Enhancements to the Dawn Club Casino including new layout, fixed furniture and carpet;
  • Complete renovation of the Kid's Crew and Teen Club to offer a more versatile layout and cater to the range of children's ages and interests. Updates include new game systems, activities and sound and light. There will also be a room dedicated for the Under 2 Zoo where parents can accompany their children under two and enjoy age appropriate activities;
  • Aesthetic improvements in the Fitness area and Garden Café;
  • Atrium Lobby refresh including new furniture in Java Café and plant replacement;
  • Complete refurbishment of crew dining and recreation areas.

    Technical modifications include the replacement of one engine, as well as preventative maintenance, removal and replacing of both bearings on the port and starboard azipods; application of a new hull coating; and an upgrade to the hot temperature regulation which will reduce energy consumption.

    Beginning on May 27, 2011, Norwegian Dawn will sail a series of seven-day Bermuda itineraries departing from Boston every Friday with three days in Bermuda through October 21, 2011, followed by a two-night cruise on October 28, 2011. The ship will reposition to Miami and begin sailing 10 and 11-day Southern Caribbean itineraries through April 8, 2012.

    Norwegian Dawn is the second of three Freestyle Cruising ships scheduled for improvements this year. Norwegian Sun completed her dry dock renovations in March and Norwegian Spirit will enter dry dock on September 26, 2011.

    For more information or to book a sailing on Norwegian Dawn, call a travel professional, go to ncl.com or contact Norwegian Cruise Line at 866-234-7350.

    Back to Top

    5-16-11 MSC Opera Loses Power - But Not by Explosion MSNBC is reporting that the MSC Cruises ship OPera did indeed lose power within the Baltic archipelago leading into Stockholm, Sweden, but initial reports of an explosion onboard were incorrect.

    The loss of power was attributed to a failure in the electric panel that controls vital shipboard services like lights, kitchen appliances and unfortunately, the toilet evacuation system. Cruise ship toilets work with a vacuum system that requires electric power.

    These systems have been restored on the ship, but because the ship requires extensive repairs the rest of this cruise has been canceled. The ship was towed into a nearby Swedish port and the passengers were accomodated with flights home.

    The power failure occured late Saturday night and it was not until Sunday afternoon that it was restored. Officials form the ship's shipyard, STX in St Nazaire, France, were flown in to inspect the problem and consul on solutions. The ship was completed in 2004.

    There were 437 British passengers, 466 Netherlands, 221 Italians and 110 Germans onboard. MSC cruises specializes in cruises that operate in several languanges onboard simultaneously. Passengers were reportedly a bit upset the first day, but were calmed down bya warm breakfast on Monday morning. During the power failure the ship was not able to provide hot food.

    Back to Top

    5-16-11 70's Band Kiss to Host Kiss Kruise Oct 13

    The iconic 70s band, Kiss, is about to announce the Kiss Kruise - a special charter cruise on Carnival Destiny sailing from Miami on October 13-17 to Half Moon Cay (the cruise line's private island) and Nassau, Bahamas. The band will be hosting the cruise and playing onboard. There are also several parties and special events yet to be announced.

    Sixthman Productions of Atlanta is about to open a special web site where only members of the Kiss fan club can reserve staterooms on a cruise featuring. The Kiss Kruise web site allows members of the "Kiss Army Fan Club", the official fan club for the band, to sign up for a pre-sale of the best selection of staterooms.

    If you are not already a member of the Kiss Army Fan Club, you can become oneby filling in a short online application in the short online application at this Kiss Kruise Web site. You have until 11:59pm EST on May 22, 2011 to sign up for the pre-order date, which will grant you priority.

    Although many of the details have not yet been announced, expect Kiss-themed nights, along with related onboard activities. If the cruise follows the style of other music cruise there will be additional bands performing onboard who have not been announced yet.

    Back to Top

    5-16-11 NCL Cancels Jade Eastern Med Sailings beginning Nov. 26 Norwegian Cruise Line has cancelled future Eastern Mediterranean and Holy Land cruises aboard Norwegian Jade between Nov. 26, 2011 and April 11, 2012. Norwegian said the move was made in part because of safety concerns in the ports being visited. Jade's itineraries include stops in Egypt and Turkey, while the Holy Land cruises were scheduled to visit Cyprus and Israel.

    "Norwegian Cruise Line sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience caused by these cancellations and would like to thank our guests for their patience and understanding," NCL said. "All guests on these sailings are being contacted."

    Passengers booked on affected cruises can transfer to the same sailings between Oct. 15 and Nov. 16, or reschedule to trips between Oct. 12, 2012 and April 17, 2013 that have the same itineraries. Customers also have the option of transferring to any other sailing in the Norwegian fleet between now and Dec. 31, 2012. Norwegian Jade, which is based in Europe year-round, will start a 12-day dry dock on Nov. 26 and then move to Barcelona for nine-day cruises to the Canary Islands between Dec. 8 and April 12. After that the ship will offer a repositioning cruise to Venice on April 21, 2012.

    While Norwegian is blaming political unrest in the Middle East for the cancellations, many other travel companies, including tour operators and river cruise operators, have returned to the region following stabilization in Egypt. Other countries still experiencing unrest, including Libya, Syria and Yemen, are not usually including in cruise itineraries, including tour. Some agents suggest that Norwegian cancelled Norwegian Jade's Eastern Mediterranean sailings because it was having difficulty filling them. Last month Royal Caribbean announced plans to cancel winter Eastern Mediterranean cruises aboard Navigator of the Seas, which is moving to the Caribbean this fall. Disney Cruise Line will not have a ship in Europe in 2012; instead, it will base all four of its vessels out of U.S. homeports next year. With soaring air fare costs to Europe, many lines are facing challenges getting passengers to their destinations. The cost of the air fare often far exceeds the price of the cruise. For more information on Norwegian, visit www.ncl.com.

    Back to Top

    5-1-11 Norwegian Epic Adds Spice to Entertainment for Barcelona Season Norwegian Epic, the largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship ever, will add new entertainment to appeal to an international audience for her inaugural season in sailing from Barcelona. The popular Blue Man Group; Cirque DreamsTM & Dinner; Legends in Concert; Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos Show; Slam Allen Blues Band; and Nickelodeon will also continue on every sailing.

    Headliner's Comedy and Musical Acts

    Four unique performances will replace The Second City Comedy Troupe in Headliner's Comedy Club. Three of the four 45-minute shows will be offered each week.

    Lost Locos Ole! is a fast paced Latin music comedy features three Latin Machos who duel with their ingenious slapstick, manic comedy and flamenco guitars. The show promises pop musical parodies, musical performances ranging from Flamenco to rock, dancing from salsa to swing, all ending in a Grande Fiesta. The comedy has won accolades and been described as funny, unpredictable and spectacular.

    Stephen Sorrentino, a talented musical comedian and impressionist, comes straight from Las Vegas to perform Voices in My Head, an act that has earned him the title of "Male Impressionist of the Year" by the International Guild of Celebrity Impersonators and Tribute Acts. His performance, appropriate for guests of all ages, showcases Stephen's ability to impersonate over 180 different voices and play numerous musical instruments.

    The Maestranza Spanish Ballet mixes the influences of Arabic and flamenco dance with Spanish techniques to create a sophisticated performance. The Flamenco guitarist, along with traditional Spanish castanets, provides the rhythm for the three Flamenco dancers. The performers in their colorful costumes lead the audience on a journey of passion.

    The Extraordinary Voyage is a musical comedy marionette show that tells the story of a jealous husband and his beautiful wife through Mexican songs and Spanish flamenco. The "Cabaret on Stings" is performed by only two people and ends with a grand finale of 19 marionettes performing in a gypsy-like choir.

    Beatles Tribute

    A brand new addition to Norwegian Epic's line-up of entertainment, the Beatles Tribute, an internationally acclaimed concert, provides guests with an authentic live performance using all original instruments. The 45-minute show will take place in the ship's outdoor venue, Spice H20, giving guests the chance to experience an evening summer concert three nights per cruise. The tribute band will perform popular hits such as "Let it Be," "Yesterday," and "A Hard Day's Night," as they journey through the ten years of the world phenomena that was the Beatles.

    So that guests are ensured of seeing the incredible entertainment on board, Norwegian has created advanced, online ticketing for many of these performances including Blue Man Group, Cirque Dreams & Dinner, Legends in Concert, Headliner's Comedy and Musical Acts (one advance booking per cruise), Nickelodeon Slime Time Live!, and Breakfast with Nickelodeon. Booked guests can go to the Norwegian website, www.ncl.com, log in to the "My NCL" section and visit a special entertainment page where they can select and reserve their desired performance. Guests may make a reservation for each show once per sailing. Online reservations for entertainment open 45 days prior to a sailing date.

    Norwegian Epic will sail from Barcelona, Spain from May 22 through October 23, 2011. Guests will have the opportunity to visit Florence (Livorno), Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Naples, Italy; and Palma, Majorca, Spain, as well as enjoy two relaxing days at sea. To book a cruise on Norwegian Epic, visit www.ncl.com; call 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784); or contact a travel professional.

    Back to Top

    5-9-11 Carnival Military Discounts thru May Honor Memorial Day In honor of Memorial Day, Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a promotion throughout May 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 now and May 31, 2011, to qualify for this special offer, which is available in conjunction with a variety of three- to eight-day "Fun Ship" departures through April 30, 2013, including voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, and Mexico.

    Rates start at $229 per person for three-day cruises; $259 per person for four-day cruises; $329 per person for five-day voyages; $379 per person for six-day departures; $459 per person for seven-day voyages; and $589 per person for eight-day sailings. Nine- to 12-day European voyages start at $879 per person.

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

    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.

    Back to Top

    5-9-11 Blythe Danner to be Seabourn Quest Godmother Actress Blythe Danner will serve as godmother to the new, all-suite Seabourn Quest when it is named at the port of Barcelona on June 20, 2011in a sunset ceremony attended by the ship's guests and crew, prior to its departure on a 14-day Maiden Voyage to Athens, Greece.

    "Blythe Danner perfectly embodies the blend of style and sophistication, of emotional depth with a unique sense of fun that sparks the social atmosphere on board a Seabourn ship," says Richard Meadows, Seabourn's President. "We couldn't be more thrilled to have her officially name our newest ship."

    Blythe Danner earned a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in Butterflies Are Free (which originated at Westport Country Playhouse) and has received nominations for her roles in Harold Pinter's Betrayal, A Streetcar Named Desire and Stephen Sondheim's Follies. On television she won two Emmy Awards for her role on Showtime's "Huff" and was nominated twice for "Will and Grace" and for Joyce Carol Oates' "We Were the Mulvaneys." She received a Golden Globe nomination for Anne Tyler's "Back When We Were Grownups." Her film roles include Woody Allen's Alice, The Great Santini, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge with Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, and Sylvia with her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow.

    Danner holds honorary doctorates from Williams College, Hobart/William Smith College and her alma mater, Bard College. She has been involved with environmental issues for more than 35 years and serves on the advisory board of Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Media Association in L.A., Environmental Advocates in Albany, and Energy Visions in NYC. She also serves on Planned Parenthood's board of advocates and is a member of the advisory board of the Bruce Paltrow Fund at the Oral Cancer Foundation, named after her husband.

    Seabourn Quest is the third iteration of the design that first appeared as Seabourn Odyssey in June 2009, and has been hailed as "a game-changer for the luxury segment." The second sister ship, Seabourn Sojourn, entered service in June of 2010.

    Seabourn Quest's maiden season includes seven-day Eastern Mediterranean cruises, operating alternately between Athens and Istanbul, and Venice and Athens, as well as a seven-day Black Sea voyage. On January 5, 2012, Seabourn Quest begins a 109-day World Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Venice on a unique eastbound course via South America, South Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

    For more information or reservations, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit www.seabourn.com.

    Back to Top

    5-3-11 Carnival Breeze Debuts June 2012 with European Cruises Carnival Cruise Lines' newest ship, the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze, will enter service in June 2012 debuting with a summer schedule of 12-day Mediterranean voyages before repositioning to Miami in November for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean departures.

    Carnival Breeze will offer a host of exciting innovations, including expansive top-deck areas such as WaterWorks, an aqua park with exhilarating water slides and other attractions; SportSquare, an open-air recreation complex with a ropes course, mini-golf, and outdoor fitness area; The Lanai, a wraparound promenade with whirlpools extending over the ship's sides, and a 270-square-foot poolside LED screen displaying movies, and other programming.

    In a nod to its upcoming Caribbean deployment, Carnival Breeze will also feature the RedFrog Pub, a lively spot for tasty island-inspired snacks and drinks, including its own private label beer. Other dining highlights will include Cucina del Capitano, a family-style Italian restaurant that brings the heritage of Carnival's captains to the table, along with a casual two-level poolside eatery, and a classic American-style steakhouse.

    Dedicated play areas for children, 'tweens and teens, as well as a two-level health and wellness center, and a wide variety of accommodation options will be available, as well.

    Carnival Breeze will also introduce colorful Caribbean-inspired interiors that take their cue from the region's cool island breezes and warm tropical sunsets. Created by Germany-based Partner Ship Design, this striking new tropical design theme will be carried out in the ship's public spaces, as well as staterooms which will offer a combination of bright colors and soothing pastel hues, with iconic images of palm trees and other island-inspired elements adorning hallway corridors.

    "Not only will Carnival Breeze introduce exciting new features and a highly creative island-inspired interior design that pays homage to the world's most popular cruising region, we've put together itineraries that provide our guests with the opportunity to visit a huge array of stunning ports of call throughout the Caribbean and Mediterranean," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.

    Exciting 12-Day Mediterranean Cruises

    Carnival Breeze will kick off its inaugural 2012 season with a special 12-day maiden voyage that will depart Venice on June 3, and arrive in Barcelona June 15, 2012. Ports of call on this one-time voyage include Dubrovnik, Croatia; Athens, Greece; Izmir, Turkey; Messina (Sicily), Olbia (Sardinia), Rome (Civitavecchia), and Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy; Monaco, Monte Carlo; and Marseilles, France.

    Carnival Breeze will then commence a summer schedule of 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona, one of Europe's most stunning and historic cities. The program will run from June 15 through October 25, 2012 (with the exception of the Aug. 26, 2012, voyage which will sail from Venice).

    The 12-day Mediterranean cruises include stops at Marseilles or Monaco; Livorno; Naples; Dubrovnik; Venice; Civitavecchia (Rome), and Messina (the June 15 and September 7 departures add a stop in Palma de Mallorca, Spain; while the Aug. 14 and 26 voyages also visit Olbia (Sardinia), Italy. Select voyages also overnight in Venice or Rome (Civitavecchia).

    Each of these ports offer a diverse array of sightseeing experiences, from world-class museums, shops and restaurants to famous historical landmarks, unique architecture and cultural opportunities not found anywhere else in the world.

    Value-Packed 15-Day Trans-Atlantic Crossing

    Following its European schedule, Carnival Breeze will sail on a 15-day trans-Atlantic crossing departing Barcelona November 6, arriving in Miami on November 21, 2012. Ports of call on this voyage will include Palma de Mallorca and Malaga, Spain; Las Palmas, Canary Islands; Antigua and St. Maarten. The combination of popular European and Caribbean ports with multiple sea days and a host of exciting and unique on-board events and activities will make this transatlantic crossing truly an unforgettable experience.

    Convenient Six-Day Caribbean Schedule from Miami

    As part of its innovative Miami-based cruise schedule, Carnival Breeze will offer a year-round three-port, six-day cruise program operating Sundays-Saturdays beginning December 2, 2012. This schedule will be offered on alternating weeks and will feature visits to three popular ports of call: Grand Turk, B.W.I.; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Nassau, The Bahamas. Although uniquely different, each of these destinations feature beautiful white-sand beaches, excellent shopping, dining and sightseeing experiences, and a wide variety of water sports opportunities, along with a laid-back island ambiance that embodies the essence of a Caribbean cruise.

    Port-Intensive Eight-Day Itineraries From Miami

    Expanding upon its role as the leader in Caribbean cruising, Carnival Breeze will offer two distinctly different four-port, eight-day itineraries year-round from the Port of Miami operating Saturday-Sunday beginning November 24, 2012. Each of the Carnival Breeze's eight-day cruises from Miami will provide guests with ample opportunities to sample the best that the Caribbean has to offer, from sunning and relaxing on gorgeous beaches to shopping for duty-free bargains and savoring delectable island cuisine. The Saturday-to-Sunday rotation is particularly attractive as it maximizes consumers' vacation time, with eight full days of cruising across two weekends.

    The schedule includes an eight-day southern Caribbean itinerary that will feature Grand Turk, La Romana (Dominican Republic), Curacao, and Aruba, along with an eight-day eastern Caribbean route visiting St. Thomas/St. John, Antigua, Tortola and Nassau. Combined with its six-day cruises, Carnival Breeze guests are offered unprecedented opportunities to visit a diversity of sunny, tropical Caribbean's destinations, with nearly a dozen ports of call featured among the various itineraries.

    Reservations and Additional Information

    Reservations for Carnival Breeze's new European and Caribbean itineraries will be open tomorrow, May 4, while the ship's many features and colorful new stateroom designs are highlighted at www.carnival.com/breeze.

    Back to Top

    5-2-11 InnerSea Discoveries Christens Two Vessels for Inaugural Season

    With the crack of a champagne bottle against each hull, InnerSea Discoveries officially inaugurated its fleet of two expedition vessels soon to set sail on active adventure "un-cruises" in Southeast Alaska.

    Friends, family, employees and business partners gathered dockside outside the company's Seattle office on Friday, April 29 to celebrate the successful refurbishment and launch of the new brand's 68-guest m/v Wilderness Discoverer and 60-guest m/v Wilderness Adventurer.

    Making the celebration even sweeter, the company reports its first season sailing weeklong and two-week cruises in Alaska is sold out with only a few cabins left on its two 15-day cruises sailing between Seattle and Juneau.

    "The response we've had for our adventure cruises in Alaska has been outstanding," said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. "We have successfully tapped into a market of travelers looking for fun, active vacations in nature. We're already booking 2012."

    After beating a native Tlingit drum and leading the crowd in a chant of "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood," Principal and CEO Dan Blanchard led the heartfelt ceremony thanking employees and business partners for their part in making the dream of a new small ship adventure cruise line become a reality. The company also owns sister brand American Safari Cruises which has been in business for 13 years.

    "This is a proud, happy day," said Blanchard. "The successful refurbishment and launch of these two expedition ships is a culmination of hard work by many people. The ships are ready to sail to Alaska, and we are more than excited to welcome our guests on board for adventures in the wilderness."

    Blanchard asked dedicated employee Naomi Sture to help with the christening ceremony, a maritime tradition to ensure good luck and safe voyages. Sture has been a sales consultant with InnerSea Discoveries and sister brand American Safari Cruises since 2006 and has been an integral part of the company's growth and success. Ral West, a long-time friend of Jacox and Blanchard, also helped christen the ships.

    The two ships, originally constructed to maximize up-close, adventurous itineraries, have undergone complete refurbishment inside and out. All guest cabins are above deck with large, view windows, eco-friendly memory foam mattresses and bath amenities, flatscreen televisions with DVD players and iPod docking stations. The main lounge has been designed to feel like a cross between a National Park lodge and a quaint neighborhood pub with a bar top made from salvaged Alaskan yellow cedar. Each ship also has a sauna, exercise equipment, complimentary on-deck yoga classes, a large resource library, well-stocked DVD library and board games and a hot tub with a view.

    InnerSea Discoveries' un-cruise adventures sail between Juneau and Ketchikan (and reverse) from May through September on a Western Coves and Eastern Coves itinerary. When combined, it becomes the two-week Ultimate Adventure. Setting it apart from other cruise line itineraries, InnerSea Discoveries' ships spend less time in port and instead spend time tucking into hidden bays and coves for adventure activities in Alaska's wilderness. Guided hiking and kayaking trips will be daily activities.

    Prices for the 7-night cruises start at $1,795 per person, double occupancy, and include a transfer day of embarkation and disembarkation and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges of $167 per person per week, massages, wine, spirits, beer and gratuities are extra. Reservations are currently being taken for 2012 "un-cruises" supported by a 16-page brochure and full web site descriptions. To book the 'un-cruise' or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or InnerSea Discoveries at 877-901-1009 or sales@innerseadiscoveries.com.

    Back to Top

    5-2-11 Crystal Announces Golf-theme Holiday Cruise

    PGA Pro Billy Casper to Play with Guests in Hawaiian, British, and Canary Isles in 2011

    In a real "hole-in-one" for golf fans, Crystal Cruises is adding a golf theme to its 12/21-1/4 Hawaiian holiday sailing. The round-trip-LA Crystal Symphony voyage joins two other golf-themed cruises already scheduled on Crystal Serenity in 2011: 7/22-8/2 in Britain and 11/27-12/8 in Portugal/Spain. Legendary pro golfer Billy Casper will headline all three.

    With 51 PGA tour wins, many consider Casper the best putter of his era. On each cruise, guests can absorb stories and tips during informal lectures by Casper and other athletic stars, such as Emmy-winning sportscaster Jim Huber. They can also mingle and play with the PGA pros at some of the most stunning championship courses in the world, including:

    • Poipu Bay (Kauai)--top Hawaiian course surrounded by ancient places of worship
    • Royal Portrush (Belfast)--designed by course-architect great, Harry Colt
    • Carden Park (Liverpool)--Jack Nicklaus/Golden Bear "thinking golfer's" fairway with spectacular views
    • Royal Dublin (Dublin)--Ireland's second-oldest links
    • El Saler (Valencia)--one of Golf Magazine's "100 Greatest Courses in the World"
    • Golf Club Del Sur (Canary Islands)--home to several PGA European tour competitions, surrounded by 8,000 palm trees
    • Palheiro (Funchal)--coastal ridge greens on a 200-year-old estate.

    Crystal provides transportation, caddies, warm-up time, lunch, '19th hole' get-togethers, TaylorMade club rentals or cleaning of your clubs and shoes, team-pairing, parties, awards, and private clinics with PGA instructors like John Clark and Bill Stutzer.

    "We make it all easy," says John Stoll, vice president land and port operations. "We sail everyone to paradise in luxury, where golf enthusiasts can pursue their passion at world-class locales, while loved ones see the sites or indulge their own vacation desires."

    Two-for-One fares start at $5,470/person, and include free air from two-dozen North American cities (or air credit), up to $1000/person "As You Wish" spending credits, and additional savings for family/friend groups, early payment, or new-to-Crystal travelers.

    Crystal Cruises' Feng Shui spa and gym, personal trainers, nutrition and exercise classes, exclusive workout equipment, and dietary choices offer guests extensive opportunities to enhance their health and fitness regimes on every sailing.

    For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent. Call 888-799-4625. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.

    Back to Top

  • Recommended Articles