News Archive - September 2011

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09-30-11 Paul Gauguin Cruises Acquires Second Luxury Ship

New Ship Will Deliver a Touch of Tahiti Throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Latin America

Paul Gauguin Cruises (www.pgcruises.com), operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, today announces the acquisition of a second ship which will begin sailing under the Paul Gauguin Cruises banner in December 2012. This ship will be christened m/v Moana after completing a multifaceted renovation in November 2012. Moana features 45 staterooms accommodating 90 guests.

"We are monumentally proud to add a second ship to our Pacific Beachcomber portfolio and Paul Gauguin Cruises family. This is an incredibly huge branding achievement for the growth of our cruise line and I look forward to welcoming fans of The Gauguin onboard our latest addition," comments Diane Moore, President of Paul Gauguin Cruises.

Full 2013 deployment details for Moana will be announced in early 2012. Plans are to sail during the summer months in the Mediterranean and winter in the Caribbean and Latin America. Emphasis will be on delivering unique destinations that larger ships cannot offer and exploring hidden ports throughout these regions.

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09-29-11 Two-Day Royal Caribbean Sale to Run Oct. 4-5 Royal Caribbean International is offering vacationers up to $200 onboard credit and 50 percent reduced deposit during a special two-day WOW! Sale. The offer is applicable for all new individual bookings made on October 4 and 5, 2011, for all cruises and cruisetours sailing on or after January 1, 2012.

The sale includes the cruise line's newest and most innovative ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Vacationers can receive $50 onboard credit per stateroom for three- to five-night itineraries; $100 for six to nine nights; and $200 for 10 nights or longer. Guests can apply their onboard credit toward spa services, specialty dining, and even beverages to help make their Royal Caribbean vacation even more special.

"Our two-day WOW! Sale will help drive traffic to our valued travel agents, whose expertise is important to the vacation planning process," said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of Sales, Trade Support and Services, Royal Caribbean International. "This offer is an irresistible opportunity for vacationers to plan ahead for a winter getaway, spring break, or a family vacation anytime of the year. Guests will enjoy sailing aboard the world's most innovative cruise ships; visiting popular destinations on exciting itineraries; and experiencing our renowned Gold Anchor Service – which together make up the Royal Advantage."

Vacationers can take advantage of the two-day WOW! Sale and choose among a variety of exciting itineraries, including seven-night Caribbean cruises from New Orleans aboard Voyager of the Seas during Royal Caribbean's first season back to the Big Easy. Fares start at $499 per guest, double-occupancy.

Alternatively, Northeast U.S. vacationers can choose a new seven-night Bermuda itinerary, which conveniently sails roundtrip from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ in September and October 2012. Guests will enjoy three days and two nights in port at Kings Wharf with ample time to explore the island. Fares start at $599 per guest, double occupancy.

There also are two exciting 12-night Arctic Circle cruises aboard Brilliance of the Seas, departing June 9 and 21, 2012, sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam that combine the best of the Norwegian fjordlands and the Arctic Circle with the comforts and amenities of one of the world's most innovative cruise ships. Fares start at $1,999 per guest, double occupancy.

The onboard credit offer for Royal Caribbean's two-day WOW! Sale is applicable for all new individual bookings with 50 percent reduced deposit paid on October 4 and 5, 2011. The WOW! Sale is not combinable with other offers and is not available for bookings made in Australia and New Zealand, China, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

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09-27-11 311 to Host Second Annual Caribbean Cruise 311 and Sixthman Productions announce that the band 311 is taking fans on vacation once again, launching the second annual 311 Caribbean Cruise May 10-14, 2012, on the Carnival Destiny. The ship will leave from Miami and dock in Half Moon Cay (a private island in the Bahamas), staying for two days of music, sand, sun and fun before returning to Florida.

In addition to seeing two special 311 shows and performances by many supporting artists and DJs, every fan on the cruise will get a personal photo with the band, and will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with the band.

On the previous cruise 311 band members even participated in various events onboard. Bassist P-Nut played in a basketball tournament with fans, Vocalist Nick Hexum judged a 311 Karaoke contest and Vocalist SA Martinez did a DJ session at one of the ships nightclubs. The 2012 311 Caribbean Cruise will once again include lots of onboard games & activities (casino gambling, swimming, karaoke, 311 trivia contest, cannonball contest, bingo, movie screenings, late-night dance parties, etc) and many excursions will be available on Half Moon Cay (snorkeling, horseback riding, jet-skiing, fishing, biking, etc) making this an unparalleled fan experience for 311 fans from around the world.

Last year's cruisers had the time of their lives - and 311 & Sixthman plan to make the 2012 cruise even better. The 2011 311 Caribbean Cruise included fans from all 50 US States and 12 countries. It's this extreme affinity for 311 that the band and Sixthman are excited to celebrate on board. Last year's cruise sold out quickly; fans who want to come along should book quickly. When was the last time you cruised to a private island with your favorite band? Get on the boat with 311!!!

Full website launches September 27th at www.311cruise.com. Alumni who sailed last year can opt-in to the pre-sale September 26-30, and begin booking October 10. All other fans can sign up starting September 26 through October 10, and will begin booking October 18.

ABOUT 311 311 was formed in 1990 in Omaha, Nebraska by vocalist/guitarist Nick Hexum, vocalist/dj SA Martinez, lead guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton and bassist P-Nut. 311 has sold over 8.5 million units in the U.S., had 7 albums reach the Top 10 on Billboard's Top 200 Sales Chart, and 9 singles reach the Top 10 on Billboards's Alternative Chart (including the #1 singles "Down", "Love Song" & "Don't Tread On Me" along with "Amber", "All Mixed Up", "Come Original", "Creatures (For a While)", "Hey You" and "Sunset in July"). After years of incessant touring, 311 has earned a reputation as one of the most influential & most entertaining live bands in the U.S. - and they've developed an extremely dedicated fanbase.

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09-22-11 Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Jade to Get mega$$ Upgrades Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that both Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Jade will enter dry docks this fall for multi-million dollar enhancements. Norwegian Spirit enters a 13-day dry dock on September 25, 2011 in Mobile, Alabama. The 2,018-passenger ship is receiving renovations including outfitting the entire ship for WiFi; laying new carpet; installing flat screen televisions; and upgrading the Stardust Theater and the ship's action station restaurant Raffles. Norwegian Jade will undergo enhancements, including the addition of Norwegian's signature restaurant Moderno Churrascaria; new carpet and tile throughout the ship; painting the hull; among other maintenance updates during an 11-day dry dock in Marseille, France.

"While we have the youngest fleet in the industry, we still want to continuously enhance our ships," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "With the dry docks of Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Jade, we will have completed enhancements on four ships this year, a major investment for the company."

Norwegian Spirit's refurbishment includes:

  • Installing wireless internet access throughout the entire ship including crew areas;
  • New flat screen televisions in guest and crew staterooms;
  • Upgrades to accessible guest staterooms and the addition of ramps in various areas of the ship;
  • Replacement of 64,000 square feet of carpet throughout the ship;
  • Addition of new silk plants throughout the ship;
  • Enhancements to the Stardust Theater;
  • Addition of an aerobics room in the Roman Spa and Fitness Center for spinning, yoga and various fitness classes;
  • Updates to Raffles Court, the ship's buffet restaurant.

When the ship returns to New Orleans on October 9, 2011, she will sail a series of seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries departing every Sunday calling on Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras and Belize City, Belize; along with two relaxing days at sea through April 8, 2012. The ship will then set off on a 13-day transatlantic cruise to Barcelona on April 15, 2012. She will arrive in Barcelona on April 28, 2012 where she will begin sailing 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises alternating from Barcelona and Venice through October 13, 2012. Beginning on November 6, 2012, Norwegian Spirit will sail nine-day Canary Islands cruises from Barcelona through April 8, 2013.

Norwegian Jade enters dry dock in Marseille, France on November 26, 2011 to December 8, 2011. During this time, the 2,402-passenger ship will receive the line's signature Brazilian steakhouse, Moderno Churrascia, replacing Paniolo's Tapas and Salsa restaurant on Deck 8. The ship will also receive technical enhancements including new propeller and thrust bearings; seals on the Azipod propulsion systems; as well as a new coat of hull paint. After dry dock, Norwegian Jade, which sails year-round from Europe, will cruise a nine-day itinerary departing Barcelona, Spain, calling on Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz, Tenerife; Arrecife, Canary Islands and Malaga, Spain.

Both Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Sun received major enhancements earlier this year.

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09-21-11 First Steel Cut for Norwegian Breakaway Bernard Meyer, managing director of MEYER WERFT, and Kevin Sheehan, chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, at today's steel cutting for Norwegian Breakaway.

PAPENBURG, GERMANY - September 21, 2011 - The first piece of steel was cut today at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany for the construction of Norwegian Breakaway, the first of two new Freestyle Cruising(r) ships for Norwegian Cruise Line, set for delivery in April 2013. The first plate of steel took four minutes to cut by a plasma torch in the yard's state of the art facility. This plate will become a supporting part of the double bottom in the middle of the new ship.

"Today's steel cutting marks the start of construction for Norwegian Breakaway, our next generation Freestyle Cruising ship, that will captivate and amaze our guests," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made so far in planning this incredible vessel. We now look to the capable and talented team at MEYER WERFT to bring this ship to life."

The Breakaway class ships, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, 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. The 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 2010. The ships' names were chosen from 230,000 entries received in "Norwegian's Cruising for Names" contest held in conjunction with national newspaper USA Today.

The shipyard's managing directors Bernard Meyer and Lambert Kruse, as well as Aloys Meemann, project manager, attended the steel cutting ceremony in the laser center. "We are very happy to build these innovative ships for Norwegian and to continue our long lasting relationship," said Meyer. "We can guarantee to deliver a cruise vessel with an exceptional interior design, extremely comfortable staterooms and the highest technical standards."

To date, the company has revealed details on all of the ships' staterooms which combine the form and function of the line's Jewel class ships' staterooms with the modern and contemporary design touches of Norwegian Epic. A rich mix of stateroom options will be available including the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers, the re-introduction of Oceanview staterooms, Balcony and Mini-Suites, along with Spa Balcony, Mini-Suites and Suites in close proximity to the spa. The ship also features The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 suites at the top of the ship and 18 additional suites located throughout the ship.

The company expects to release details on Norwegian Breakaway's inaugural itinerary in the near future. Further information on Norwegian Breakaway can be found at www.ncl.com/breakaway.

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09-21-11 Norwegian's One-Day Sale for Europe: Today ONLY!

Norwegian's Europe Bonus Day on September 21

Norwegian Cruise Line is launching a Europe Bonus Day limited time offer for sailings on the line's award-winning cruise vacations in Europe on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Named "Europe's Leading Cruise Line" four consecutive years in a row (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) by the World Travel Awards, Norwegian offers an array of Freestyle Cruising vacations throughout Europe. Guests who take advantage of the Europe Bonus Day offer will receive $100 per stateroom to spend on board all sailings of six days or longer with stateroom upgrades on select voyages.

Norwegian's newest and most innovative ship, Norwegian Epic, sets sail on seven-day Western Mediterranean itineraries April 29, 2012 through October 14, 2012 from Barcelona, Spain with ports of call including Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; Nice (Villefranche) and Provence (Marseilles), France. Guests have the flexibility to begin their cruise in either Barcelona, Rome (Civitavecchia), or Provence (Marseilles) allowing them to customize their vacation to suit their specific needs.

Norwegian Sun offers nine-day Baltic Capitals voyages May 4, 2012 through September 7, 2012 from Copenhagen, Denmark, which is the only cruise itinerary of this length to include an overnight stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Norwegian Jade, cruising year-round in Europe, offers seven-day Greek Isles and Adriatic itineraries from Venice, Italy through early October and 10-and 11-day Eastern Mediterranean and Holy Land itineraries from mid-October through April 2012 from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy.

In an exciting first for the line, Norwegian Spirit will join Norwegian Jade sailing year-round in Europe beginning in April 2012, where she will sail 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises alternating from Barcelona and Venice through October 13, 2012. Ports of call will include Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir) and Istanbul, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece; Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; and Provence (Toulon), France. Norwegian Spirit will then sail nine-day Canary Islands cruises on November 6, 2012 to April 8, 2013 from Barcelona calling on Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands; and Granada (Malaga), Spain.

Cruising through Europe is a perfect getaway for celebrating life's special moments such as honeymoons, birthdays, anniversaries, family vacations or reunions. Norwegian has more private suites and family accommodations than any other cruise line in Europe. For those looking to indulge in a world of private luxuries, The Haven, suite complexes on onboard Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jade include a tranquil courtyard, private pool & sundeck, plus 24-hour stateroom service from personal butlers.

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09-20-11 Seven Seas Voyager Emerges from Drydock with Refurbishments Onboard Refresh Completes Third Phase of Multi-Million Dollar 'Seven Seas Signature' Initiative Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 700-guest Seven Seas Voyager emerged from dry dock yesterday with elegantly renovated suites and public areas, completing the third phase of the ultra-luxury line's multi-phase, fleet-wide Seven Seas Signature initiative. The ship is currently on a 10-night cruise from Piraeus to Venice. As part of the ship's makeover, new ultra-plush carpeting was installed throughout the entire interior of the ship; 26 top suites were refreshed with new wallpaper, fabrics, curtains, décor and art pieces. In addition, Penthouse and higher-category suites have been equipped with iPads and selected suites also received new upgraded balcony furniture. Several enhancements were also made to the ship's elegant public rooms. The popular pre-dinner cocktail spot, Voyager Lounge, features new drapery and furniture, including sofas, armchairs, stools and tables, while new Turkish carpets bring added elegance to the Conoisseur Club. On Deck 11, refurbishments to the pool area include an updated Pool Bar and expanded Pool Grill, and marble-edged corridors that now lead guests to new wood flooring in the Observation Lounge. The ship's popular La Veranda restaurant has new chairs and wallpaper and the coffee bar on Deck 5 has been expanded to accommodate demand. As announced previously, enhancing the culinary experience was also a key element of Phase Three. Menus in Compass Rose were expanded with select items from the Signatures and Prime 7 specialty restaurants, as well as a greater emphasis on dishes from the regions visited. "Seven Seas Voyager is emerging as a fresh new product with thoughtful touches that will enhance our guests' overall experience," stated Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. "Through our Seven Seas Signature program we are continuing to evolve our brand and look forward to announcing additional updates in 2012-13." Regent Seven Seas Cruises was recently rated the "World's Best Cruise Line" by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine and was recognized as the "Best Luxury Cruise Experience" by Virtuoso®, the leading luxury travel network. Today, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is widely recognized as the world's most inclusive ultra-luxury cruise line with round-trip air, all-suite accommodations, gourmet cuisine, premium spirits and fine wines, live entertainment, shore excursions, gratuities, and a pre-cruise luxury hotel stay included in cruise fares. To receive a brochure or for more information on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, see a professional travel agent, visit www.RSSC.com or call toll-free 800-285-1835.

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09-16-11 Carnival Splendor Earns Perfect Score on Health Inspection The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor earned a perfect 100 on its United States Public Health Service inspection conducted earlier this week. Since entering service in 2008, Carnival Splendor has achieved five 100 scores, as well as a near-perfect mark of 99 – an unprecedented accomplishment in the cruise industry. Carnival Splendor, which operates year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, Calif., received perfect marks on all 42 items that comprise the U.S. Public Health Service's comprehensive Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) checklist. The unannounced inspections, which are conducted twice a year and required for any cruise ship with an international itinerary calling at a U.S. port, evaluate vessels in a variety of areas, including adherence to proper food handling, preparation and storage procedures, and overall galley cleanliness. Ships' potable water supplies used in spas and pools are also evaluated.

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09-15-11 Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces Multimillion-Dollar Renovations $7 Million Renovations Scheduled to Debut in January 2012 Paul Gauguin Cruises (www.pgcruises.com), operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is pleased to announce the largest renovations in the ship's 14-year history. Scheduled for completion in January 2012, the $7 million renovation will feature extensive enhancements to both interiors and exteriors of the ship. The renovations will take place in January during the ship's 10-night crossing from Tahiti to Brisbane and 11-night drydock in Brisbane. When joining the South Pacific Discovery sailing departing January 26, 2012, guests will be aboard a vessel that has been thoroughly updated and redecorated for even greater comfort. Following the renovations, all suites and staterooms will feature new carpeting, refinished furniture with new fabrics, new teak railings on the balconies, decorative side panels around the windows, and new bathroom flooring. Renovations throughout the ship will include new flooring and replaced carpeting, elegant new furniture, new window treatments and decorative wall panels, and new signage, providing a lighter, brighter feel. La Veranda will offer guests a redesigned entrance, refinished indoor and outdoor furniture and solar shades throughout. Le Grill will boast new decorative partitions and divider walls, as well as a new buffet area and new lighting. L'Etoile will also feature a redesigned entrance in addition to video equipment for conferences. Promenade Deck 5 will boast a new built-in banquette and expanded casino in Le Casino, and Deck 6 will receive a new integrated display case for books and art. La Palette will feature a decorative stone band along the front of the bar and an updated lighting system, as well as new outdoor furniture. Le Grand Salon will offer a refurbished dance floor to provide the perfect venue to dance the night away under the South Pacific sky. The Gauguin's previous renovation, totaling $6 million, was completed in January 2009. The upcoming refurbishments show Paul Gauguin Cruises' level of commitment to the vessel and the importance of the overall product and guest experience. For rates and reservations for Paul Gauguin Cruises, contact a travel professional, call 800-848-6172, or visit www.pgcruises.com.

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09-14-11 Disney Announces Fantasy's Stern Adorning Characters As reported at the Orlando SentinelDisney Fantasy, as per the tradition across their fleet to include a tableau of three dimensional characters painting on the ship's name. The Disney Fantasy will showcase Dumbo with a bucket of paint held in his trunk and a paintbrush wielding Timothy perched atop Dumbo's signature feathered hat. Click here to see a photo of the new ship additions.

As far as deciding which characters would make their way onboard the new ship, Walt Disney Imagineer, Diego Parras said, "We discussed a whole variety of characters and story ideas during many brainstorming sessions. Ultimately, the idea of Dumbo and Timothy kept surfacing to the top, and we kept asking ourselves, what's more 'Fantasy' than a flying elephant? Or the friendship of an elephant and a mouse? We immediately knew they would be the perfect match for the Disney Fantasy."

CruiseMates showcased an extensive sneak peek of some of the other features coming to the Disney Fantasy in our previous article here.

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09-13-11 NCL Names New Ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway Norwegian Cruise Line ("Norwegian") has selected the winning names for its two new Freestyle Cruising® ships: Norwegian Breakaway, launching in April 2013, and Norwegian Getaway, launching in April 2014. The names were selected as the culmination of its "Norwegian's Cruising for Names" contest held in conjunction with national newspaper USA Today.

Norwegian felt these names best reflected the innovation of the brand along with the freedom and flexibility of the line's signature Freestyle Cruising and invoked the feeling that these ships will provide a "break" at sea from the stress of everyday life. Breakaway is defined as "a departure or break from routine or tradition" and Getaway is defined as "a place where one escapes for relaxation, vacation, etc."

Comment on these names here: Project Breakaway Names

"We felt Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway epitomized both our Freestyle Cruising philosophy and our belief that these ships will offer a true respite, whisking our guests away from their everyday routines and delivering the ultimate cruise vacation," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer.

The contest winners are Kimberly Powell of Lafayette, Louisiana, who first submitted Norwegian Breakaway, and Dennis Hultman of Vienna, Virginia, who first submitted Norwegian Getaway. Powell took her first cruise in August on Norwegian Spirit and loved the experience. She is a self-proclaimed "news junkie" and thought it would be fun to enter the contest when she saw it on USA Today's site. Hultman is an avid cruiser and also reads USA Today daily.

Both Powell and Hultman will receive a trip for two to Norwegian Breakaway'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 entry period ran from July 18 to August 14, 2011, during which 230,000 entries were received. For the official contest rules and details on the prizes, visit www.cruisingfornames.usatoday.com.

Comment on these names here: Project Breakaway Names

The Breakaway class 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 2010. To date, the company has revealed all of the ships' staterooms, which include the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers, along with The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 suites at the top of the ship.

Further information on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway can be found at www.ncl.com/breakaway.

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09-12-11 Royal Caribbean Now Permits Children in Concierge Lounges Larry Bleiberg just reported at USA Today that Royal Caribbean has modified its Concierge Lounge policy as it pertains to passengers under 21 years of age. These evening cocktail lounges made available only to guests of the highest stateroom categories and the upper echelon of return cruisers had previously excluded those passengers not of drinking age. However, while they will not be permitted to enjoy alcoholic drinks, younger passengers will now be welcome to enter so long as they are accompanied by an adult. The line ensures it will not tolerate unacceptable behavior and will monitor accordingly. What's more, Royal Caribbean has also relaxed its dress code for the Concierge Lounges from formal to smarl casual.

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09-7-11 NCL is down to five finalists in Name the Ships Contest Norwegian Cruise Line is running a contest in conjunction with USA Today to name to two new ships from the Project Breakaway class: Below are the five final names, two of which will be used to name the two ships (Alphabetical order): • Norwegian Bliss, first submitted by David Menker of Dallas, Texas. • Norwegian Breakaway, first submitted by Kimberly Powell of Lafayette, La. • Norwegian Escape, first submitted by Joseph Funigiello of Naples, Fla. • Norwegian Getaway, first submitted by Dennis Hultman of Vienna, Va. • Norwegian Journey, first submitted by Florence Pflaster of Carolina Shores, N.

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09-1-11 Royal Caribbean to Compensate Cruisers Stranded in San Juan by Irene

When Hurricane Irene forced Seranade of the Seas to leave San Juan three hours early - at about 5:30 pm instead of 8:30 - some 150 people were stranded on the island after they discovered their ship had left without them. The entire story can be read in this week's Blog by Kuki. In the blog Kuki points out that Carnival also had a ship in San Juan and it was forced to leave 300 people behind when it left early, but Carnival put all of those people in a hotel and then got them to the ship in the next port of call, all at the cruise line's expense.

Royal Caribbean only compensated the 15 people who had booked their air through the cruise line's "Choice Air" program. However, apparently after some pressure, mostly online in places like Kuki's blog, Royal Caribbean decided to do "the right thing" (according to some, I will make no judgments) and has now agreed to give the remaining 135 people who were left to fend for themselves a discount on a future cruise on Royal Caribbean. Here is the statement released by Royal Caribbean...

“As a gesture of goodwill, and in recognition of the time they missed on board Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean provided each guest who was not able to arrive to the ship before it departed San Juan but met the ship later, with a future cruise certificate for 30% of the cruise fare paid for their sailing. We are in the process of contacting those guests who were not able to sail with us at all to inform them of their compensation, and would prefer that the impacted guests learn of the amount directly from the line before it is disclosed publicly. We are compensating these passengers because we understand that this was an unusual situation, and we want to provide our guests with another opportunity to sail with Royal Caribbean International in the near future.”

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