Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line RevealsEntertainment Line-Up for Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that its entertainment programming will reach new heights on Norwegian Bliss, the line’s sixteenth ship, which has been designed for the ultimate cruising experience and will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean beginning in June 2018. Norwegian will once again bring the best of Broadway to sea, with the 2006 Tony Award® winner for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys, and a completely new and original show created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, headlining on the ship’s main stage, the Bliss Theater. Norwegian Bliss will also feature a new comedy club and nightlife venue, a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical, an outpost of the legendary Beatles’ venue The Cavern Club and much more.

“With Norwegian Bliss, we are continuing our legacy of bringing our guests the finest entertainment at sea,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer. “Our entertainment team is bringing to life dazzling displays and award-winning musical sounds across our fleet, and Norwegian Bliss will continue that legacy with the Tony Award®-winning Jersey Boys and incredible new concepts created just for this spectacular ship.” Norwegian has paved the way for outstanding entertainment in the cruise industry, as the first cruise line to feature branded entertainment in 2010 aboard Norwegian Epic. Today, Norwegian is known for its bold and vibrant musicals and Broadway-style shows. Norwegian Bliss will build on the company’s success and commitment to excellence in entertainment with the ship’s two main stage shows.

Headlining in the Bliss Theater will be the 2006 Tony Award®-winner for Best Musical, Jersey Boys. The show goes behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and follows four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys features all of their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.” Jersey Boys will hit the high seas for its first production at sea after 11 record-breaking years on Broadway. As one of the longest running shows in Broadway history, including many world tours, Jersey Boys has been seen by more than 24 million people worldwide. Jersey Boys is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.

Norwegian Cruise Line is currently developing an exclusive original musical theater show created and produced specifically for Norwegian Bliss. The new show will be a Cuban-inspired Broadway-style musical created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, featuring electrifying dance, colorful pageantry, and sensational sounds developed by some of the most sought-after names on Broadway today. Warren Carlyle has worked on countless Broadway productions; acclaimed as one of Broadway’s best, Carlyle most recently choreographed the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly starring Bette Midler and directed and choreographed After Midnight, which earned the Tony Award® in 2014 for “Best Choreography” and is currently delighting audiences on Norwegian Escape. Norwegian Bliss’ new show will also feature costumes by Cuban-American fashion designer Isabel Toledo. Isabel’s husband, Ruben Toledo, will be developing the new show’s art and scenic designs; also a Cuban-American artist, Ruben’s work has appeared across the globe. More details on this new show will be shared this fall.

In a new concept exclusive to Norwegian Bliss, the Alibi is a reimagined comedy and nightclub space that will feature sets from today’s most popular stand-up comedians, and then transform to a chic nightclub late in the evening. Alibi will feature two comedy performances six nights a week, offering both family-friendly and mature comedy shows. Guests who visit the swanky club will find intimate seating and cocktail tables during comedy performances, while those who visit Alibi after 10 p.m. will be captivated by the lounge’s black and white chevron patterned dancefloor, LED disco lighting and a DJ spinning today’s hottest hits.

Norwegian Bliss’ guests will have the opportunity to travel back in time to January 16, 1919—the eve of the Prohibition era—for a rowdy good time with the new show, Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical. Created by Broadway sensations Holly-Anne Palmer, whose creative talent has been featured in hits like Bring It On and Jersey Boys, among others, as well as Liz Muller and Collin Simon of Pipe Dream Theatre, Happy Hour Prohibition–The Musical will hit the high seas after delighting audiences for nearly two years in New Orleans and New York City. Guests will join the talented cast in Miss Lulu’s infamous New Orleans speakeasy, Mahogany Hall, as they entertain with tales of bootleggers and intoxicating choreography by Broadway veteran Lauren Lim Jackson, set to some of the era’s most famous tunes including Let’s Misbehave, Happy Feet and Makin’ Whoopee. During the one hour performance, guests will savor their own Prohibition era specialty cocktails, each with a modern twist. The show will be performed on select evenings as a happy hour pre-dinner show and once each cruise as a late night adults-only show in the Alibi Comedy and Nightclub.

In an expansion of the successful partnership that began during Norwegian Epic’s recent renovation through the Norwegian Edge™ program, the extremely popular rock and roll venue The Cavern Club will delight guests aboard Norwegian Bliss. The Cavern Club is inspired by the Liverpool club where the Beatles performed frequently in the 1960’s. The lounge brings rock and roll to life with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.

About Norwegian Bliss
At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss is currently being constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018. The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience.

During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly 7-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Bliss’ custom design will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to “Imagine Bliss” and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, Studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families traveling together. Norwegian Bliss will also feature two observation lounges, including one exclusive to guests of The Haven®, perfect for whale watching in Alaska or taking in sunsets in the Caribbean. Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ship’s hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line has commissioned Wyland, one of the world’s premier marine life artists, to design the hull art for Norwegian Bliss; the artwork will feature images of humpback whales, found in every ocean around the world. The ship’s hull will serve as a large canvas to showcase the importance of conservation and ocean preservation. Additional details on the ship’s dining and recreational activities will be shared in the coming months.

For more details about Norwegian Bliss, including an animated video of the ship’s accommodations, visit Bliss.NCL.com, or visit NCL.com for additional information about Norwegian Cruise Line.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean International Makes Inaugural Call to Havana

It was a historic day for Royal Caribbean International on Sunday, April 23, when the cruise line made its inaugural visit to Cuba with the newly revitalized Empress of the Seas as part of a 5-night sailing from Miami. Adventure-seeking vacationers were among the cruise line’s first guests to explore the island country known for its legendary nightlife, iconic music and distinct culture. Guests participated in curated excursions throughout Havana, including rides in 1950s classic American cars to the city’s most famous locales, including the old quarter and the Havana Club Museum.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of Cuba’s future, ushering in Royal Caribbean’s next big adventure with Empress of the Seas’ first visit to Havana. Vacationers will now be able to experience a destination like no other, with authentic and immersive experiences that bring to life the vibrancy of Havana and its traditions,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

The vibrant Cuban culture extends beyond land to the experience onboard Empress of the Seas. From cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal to salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, guests will enjoy a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life throughout the entire journey.

After returning to Miami, Florida, Empress of the Seas will reposition to Tampa, Florida for the summer season—the cruise line’s first ever summer program from the destination—offering a series of 4-, 5- and 6-night sailings, including day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West, and Belize City, Belize, as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. Sailings from Tampa are available through Nov. 4, 2017 when Empress returns to Miami for the winter season, adding calls to CocoCay and Nassau in The Bahamas.

Empress of the Seas spans 11 guest decks, encompasses 48,563 gross registered tons, carries 1,602 guests at double occupancy and features 795 staterooms. For additional information, visit RoyalCaribbean.com

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean International

New Cruise Review: Amsterdam 2017 World Voyage

Join Georgina and Humberto Cruz on their fourth world cruise aboard Holland America Line's Amsterdam to sail Around the World in 111 Dayson the 2017 Grand World Voyage.

Image Courtesy Georgina Cruz

Custom-Made Charters Aboard SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream Yacht Club, known among discerning travelers for its luxury yachting experiences, is offering full charters as the ultimate gift for guests interested in celebrating important milestones with family and friends. Incentive charters, by both small businesses and large corporations are also popular, rewarding top performers with a true mega-yacht experience. The two twin mega-yachts capable of accommodating a maximum of 112 guests maintain the intimate, elegantly casual setting that is expected of an exclusive yacht charter.

“Our guests aren’t limited to any of SeaDream’s existing itineraries when planning a private charter,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “Instead, they have the freedom to customize and choose what they want to include making it a truly unique and personal yachting experience.”

When planning a private celebration aboard SeaDream I or SeaDream II such as a birthday, anniversary, or family reunion, a dedicated Charter Coordinator assists in every aspect, from the custom itinerary and onboard activities to special dining preferences and entertainment options. Custom shore excursions in locations seldom visited by larger ships may be arranged, such as hiking to Soufriere and the Sapphire Waterfall along St. Lucia’s West coast or biking along the shores of Corsica. With a one-to-one guest to crew ratio on a SeaDream charter, no detail is too small and no request goes unheeded.

In addition to other occasions, weddings are often the perfect reason to book a private charter. The Charter Coordinator in concert with the crew will ensure decorations, menus, entertainment, lodging, and destinations are all taken care of with the utmost attention to detail. Even special requests such as fireworks or a wedding party swim in the open ocean may be arranged. Offering a five-star dining experience, SeaDream’s culinary excellence including anticipatory service, tailored menus and options like dining al fresco are just a few other facets that make these voyage so memorable.

Whether partaking in shoreside excursions or recharging at the Thai certified Spa onboard, there are plenty of options to keep busy or relax. With the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea, the SeaDream Spa ensures complete rejuvenation for its guests. The SeaDream mega-yachts are also equipped with all of the complimentary water sports equipment required for a proper yachtsman’s vacation including wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and more.

Defined by the statement, “It’s yachting, not cruising,” SeaDream is ideal for the active traveler. Both SeaDream I and SeaDream II are equipped with wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and many other watersports activities, all of which can be launched directly from the yachts’ Marina. With the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea, the SeaDream Spa ensures complete rejuvenation for its guests.

About SeaDream Yacht Club
SeaDream Yacht Club has achieved the industry’s highest accolades for its two twin, casually elegant mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II. With a maximum of only 112 guests and a 95-person crew, “It’s yachting, not cruising,” defines not only the size of the vessels, but the onboard lifestyle and anticipatory service. SeaDream Yacht Club provides a yachting experience visiting small harbors and ports in the Caribbean & Mediterranean, many inaccessible by larger ships, on four to 13-day voyages. An incredible array of services, activities, water toys, dining, wine, premium drinks and gratuities are provided in SeaDream’s inclusive fare. For more information, visit SeaDream.com.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Holland America Line Marks its 70th Year in Alaska with Special Experiences, Events & Entertainment

In 2017 Holland America Line will celebrate its 70th year of Alaska exploration, and to commemorate the milestone anniversary the cruise line has planned special experiences and events that will take place on every Alaska cruise and on the popular Land+Sea Journeys. In addition to exclusive entertainment that was created especially for the anniversary that falls in the same year as Denali National Park’s centennial, Holland America Line also will showcase a new Alaska-centric menu with dishes created by the cruise line’s esteemed Culinary Council, two anniversary Alaska beers, commemorative gifts and more.

“Celebrating 70 years in Alaska—or any destination—is a milestone that isn’t often seen in our industry. We are especially proud to have been the first tour company in Alaska back in 1947, showing the beauty and greatness of this region to travelers, said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Going into 2017 we wanted to mark our anniversary in a memorable way with special experiences that add an extra dimension to our robust Alaska programming and bring even more of Alaska to our guests.”

Alaska Comes to Life with New Onboard Entertainment
Holland America Line has an exclusive partnership with BBC Earth to bring you unforgettable new ways to experience the world’s natural wonders, and for the 70th anniversary a new Alaska in Concert multimedia production will premiere. Combining live music set against a backdrop of mesmerizing footage from the BBC Earth television series, Wild Alaska, audiences will experience the cycle of four seasons and see this place is as unforgiving as it is beautiful.

In addition, Holland America Line is proud to continue its long relationship with the Huna indigenous people of Glacier Bay to showcase Native Voices, a program of Huna cultural interpretation while cruising through Glacier Bay National Park.

Alaska Cuisine & Culinary Shows Highlight Each Cruise
Culinary and beverage experiences are at the heart of every Alaska cruise, and to celebrate the 70th anniversary Holland America Line plans a variety of exclusive offerings. America’s Test Kitchen turns up the heat with its Every Salmon shipboard cooking show featuring top tips to select and prepare the Alaska favorite. In addition, guests will be able to indulge in the Midnight Sun cocktail created by Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff.

The main dining room will showcase special décor and customized menus that celebrate the cruise line’s Alaska heritage with new dishes created by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin and the company’s Culinary Council composed of renowned chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres. A 70th Anniversary Baked Alaska will be the culmination of the celebratory meal.

Two New Alaska Brews Celebrate the 70th
While brewing beer in Alaska might not be easy, it’s certainly growing in reputation and has become one of the more popular highlights on board. Holland America Line currently features beers by Alaska Brewing Co., both on the menus and during tastings. For the 70th celebration the company will expand its selection by introducing a customized, exclusive Holland America Line Pale Ale. Another exclusive anniversary beer by Denali Brewing Company will be available at Denali for guests on Land+Sea Journeys.

Special Touches Make the 70th Anniversary Memorable
Guests will find other special touches during their 2017 Alaska cruise or Land+Sea Journey, such as a themed bon voyage party and 70th Anniversary Champagne toast on every voyage. Before or after embarking their cruise, Land+Sea Journey guests will enjoy special anniversary menu items and other anniversary touches on the land portion of their adventure and will receive a commemorative backpack with a special native-designed logo by Tlingit and Athabascan artist Crystal Worl that will be presented at Denali.

HAL Brings Seven Ships with 135 Alaska Departures in 2017
To make it possible for even more guests to cruise to Alaska with Holland America Line in 2017, the company added a seventh ship to the region to fill demand. Starting this spring, ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Oosterdam, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam will offer a total of 135 Alaska departures more than any other cruise line.

Holland America Line will feature 126 seven-day cruises and nine 14-day Great Land Explorer sailings beginning in late April and running through late September. A highlight of every Alaska adventure is scenic cruising, and guests will have the opportunity to view Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Tracy Arm and/or the twin Sawyer Glaciers.

Land+Sea Journeys Combine an Alaska Cruise with Overland Exploration
Holland America Line’s award-winning Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage or Glacier Discovery cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior. Holland America Line is the only cruise company to weave must-see sites such as Denali National Park—the centerpiece of every Land+Sea Journey—with seldom-seen ones such as Dawson City, in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush country. Offering up to three days at Denali National Park for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, Land+Sea Journeys are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history. For more information, visit HollandAmerica.com.

Crystal Announces Complete Details Of Crystal Symphony & Crystal Serenity Redesigns

Crystal Cruises' luxury ships are set to undergo their most extensive redesigns in their respective histories, as Crystal unveils the complete plans for Crystal Symphony's and Crystal Serenity's dry dock transformations. In what the company is calling the "Evolution of Crystal Luxury," in 2017 and 2018, Crystal will embark on the multi-million-dollar investment that will see the two ships reimagined to new standards of innovative luxury. The plans for Crystal's two ocean ships are the latest in its tremendous brand expansion, which will also see new river yachts, new ocean-going vessels and a privately-owned Boeing 777 join the fleet in the next three years.

"Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are the foundation of Crystal and continue to embody the cornerstones of the celebrated Crystal Experience," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. "These ships have earned us not only acclaim from the world's most eminent entities and publications for more than two decades, but more importantly, the loyalty of the world's most discerning travelers and travel partners. We are committed to continuing their reign as the most luxurious ships at sea by investing in changes and updates that will far exceed our guests' wishes."

While the two ships' refurbishments are scheduled almost a year apart, plans for both are predominantly streamlined, offering guests a consistently superlative experience on board whichever Crystal ship they choose to sail. As part of the extensive redesign, several staterooms will be converted into brand new luxurious penthouse categories to take the place of smaller staterooms; imaginative new dining options will be revealed; ships will be loaded with high-tech perks; and modern, elegant décor updates will be made in many public spaces.

New Penthouses & Penthouse Suites
Both ships will gain more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites. Crystal Symphony will see two new categories of accommodations altogether: Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (12 new suites added) and Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (28 new suites added), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations will boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses will be connected by a shared an entryway recessed from the hall.

Aboard Crystal Serenity, the 36 additional Penthouses and 2 additional Penthouse Suites will occupy the current Penthouse Deck 10, and will also offer the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (403 sq. ft. and 538 sq. ft., respectively).

Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests will also now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ships' guest capacities—Crystal Symphony to 848 and Crystal Serenity to 980—and increases the per-guest space ratio aboard the ships to 60.2 and 70.3 respectively. Abundant space throughout its luxury ships has long been a cornerstone of Crystal's platform, and a key distinction between its ships and competitors.

Refreshed Dining Options
The world-class cuisine served on Crystal ships will also enjoy a revolution, as Crystal mainstays transform into inspired modern venues that still exude the elegant culinary atmosphere for which Crystal is known. Inclusive to the renowned Crystal Experience, the posh eateries feature diverse menus of Michelin-level cuisine inspired by the worldwide destinations Crystal visits.

The Crystal Dining Room, the ships' centrally located main dining venue, will become Waterside, reflecting the chic décor and sophisticated ambiance of the main dining room aboard Crystal River Cruises' Crystal Mozart. Additional tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine at their leisure between 6 and 9:30 p.m., eliminating Crystal's previous format of assigned seating and reservations. Waterside will also continue to serve breakfast and lunch during current time frames.

The Lido Café, another hot spot aboard both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, will take on new life as the Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues will feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. The Marketplace will continue to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and will transition to Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue, from 6 to 9 p.m., creating an additional evening option for guests. Churrascaria will feature a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serve a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled seafood and meats presented by Crystal "gauchos" on sword-like skewers.

New to the Crystal menu of onboard restaurants on both ships will be Silk, located in the Trident area of their respective Lido Decks. The contemporary space will offer modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. For the dinner hours between 6 and 9 p.m., reservations will be recommended, although open seating will be accommodated. The Trident Bar & Grill will remain in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.

Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, will be rebranded as Umi Uma—reflecting the Japanese word for Crystal's eponymous seahorses. The authentic venues will still serve the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and will remain the only Nobu restaurants at sea. All specialty dining reservations for Umi Uma and Prego will be complimentary for Penthouse guests, while all other guests will enjoy one complimentary evening of specialty dining, with additional reservations available for a modest charge. Reservations are always required for specialty dining venues.

Technological Upgrades
Upon completion of Crystal Symphony's dry dock in November 2017, guests will receive unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal's investment in technological amenities for guests will include hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. Additionally, a new guest portal—Crystal Connect—will be launched and featured on the landing page of onboard internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions and daily port maps. A number of international newspapers will also be available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect will also be available in a mobile application for use on guests' personal devices.

In all rooms throughout the ships—in each stateroom and in all public areas—ultra-thin, 42-inch, interactive flat-panel TVs will enable guests to conveniently access their onboard folios, view the Crystal Spa & Salon, Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus, with the ability to make any onboard reservations, reserve shore excursions and order room service. These new interactive TVs will also showcase the latest Hollywood movies and hit TV series. Crystal's acclaimed Computer University@Sea classrooms will also undergo updates and makeover, further enhancing the technological experience and enrichment for guests.

Reimagined Public Spaces
Several favorite shipboard spaces will enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of travelers' onboard experience. The top-deck, forward Palm Court lounge aboard Crystal Serenity will be entirely redesigned to feature more intimate seating, while Crystal Symphony's mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, will also be refitted, still boasting panoramic sea views.

Crystal Symphony's redesign is set for September 19-October 21, 2017; Crystal Serenity's for October 14-November 10, 2018. The dry docks and subsequent relaunch of both ships mark additional milestones for the Crystal fleet, as the company increases its luxury presence throughout the world's oceans, Europe's rivers and the skies.

Adds Rodriguez, "Throughout this tremendous expansion, our commitment to setting an unprecedented standard of luxury travel experiences is unwavering. We will continue to place the quality of our guests' experience above all other priorities, and our exquisitely designed vessels are integral to that experience."

For more information, visit Crystal's website, CrystalCruises.com.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Colorful Dr. Seuss WaterWorks Park To Be Featured On New Carnival Horizon Debuting In 2018

Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, a vibrant water park inspired by the whimsical world and words of the legendary children's author. The 3,934-passenger vessel is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018. Dr. Seuss WaterWorks builds upon the line's distinction as the family cruise leader carrying nearly 800,000 kids a year as well as the incredible success of the fleetwide Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that features immersive onboard Dr. Seuss-themed youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences.

Located on Deck 12, Carnival Horizon's Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will offer two distinctly different slides each promising their own splash-tastic fun. Inspired by everyone's favorite feline, The Cat in the Hat slide will feature an enclosed raft slide offering more than 450 feet of heart-racing twists and turns. The entrance resembles The Cat's famous red and white hat with the distinctive color pattern carried throughout the slide in alternating translucent and opaque sections.

Sure to be equally fun will be the Fun Things slide, an enclosed body slide with whimsical polka dots and special lighting effects and named after the mischievous duo Thing 1 and Thing 2 and encompassing 213 feet of exhilarating all-ages fun. Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will also include a 150-gallon tipping bucket patterned after The Cat's hat, along with a kiddie splash zone with dozens of water spray toys. Larger-than-life images of famous Dr. Seuss characters—including The Cat in the Hat holding an inner tube, The Grinch sporting a surf board tucked under his arm, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 frolicking atop their namesake slide—will greet visitors as they enter the park, with memorable Dr. Seuss phrases displayed on clear partitions that surround the facility.

"Our ships are designed as the ultimate seagoing playgrounds and Carnival Horizon will take this concept to the next level with the spectacular Dr. Seuss WaterWorks which promises fun for guests of all ages," said Duffy. "Dr. Seuss is an iconic American brand and we're delighted to expand our partnership with this incredible top-deck water attraction for our guests."

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks is just one of several family-friendly features on Carnival Horizon which will also feature the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and the SportSquare outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course. A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, which will include a Family Lounge area with large screen TVs, board games and complimentary breakfast, cookies and other snacks. Carnival Horizon will also feature the Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading and play venue and popular Seuss at Sea activities like The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona—the first of four round-trip departures from this port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018. Following a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018. For more information, visit Carnival.com.

Holland America Line Receives Seventh Consecutive Green Gateway Award from Port of Seattle for Environmental Stewardship

It's lucky sevens for Holland America Line this year. The Port of Seattle presented Seattle's Hometown Cruise Line with its seventh consecutive Green Gateway Award. The Port of Seattle presents the Green Gateway Awards annually to cruise and commercial lines that call at the port and whose environmental efforts are deemed worthy of recognition. Port of Seattle cited Holland America Line's environmental stewardship initiatives that exceed regulations and industry standards, including the use of shore power while at Port of Seattle; biodegradable cleaners wherever possible; and electronic log books for environmental entries on board that improve data quality, analysis and efficiency.

"Environmental stewardship is a priority at Holland America Line, and it's an honor for the Port of Seattle to recognize our efforts for the seventh consecutive year," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "We are dedicated to responsibly sailing the world's oceans and continuing to implement new initiatives and seek new ways to be environmental innovators."

In previous years Holland America Line received the Green Gateway Award for its use of shore power, installation of IPCO Power Fuel Treatment systems, comprehensive practices to reduce emissions and its commitment to protecting the environment.

A Long Partnership
Holland America Line ships have been sailing from the Port of Seattle since the 1970s. In May 2002 Holland America Line began using Seattle as a home port for Alaska cruises. This year the company has three ships sailing regularly from Seattle on 53 Alaska cruises from May through September.

Seattle, the Green Gateway
Seattle offers the lowest carbon footprint for cargo shipped by sea from Asia to major markets in the Midwest and East Coast, making it the Green Gateway for trade. That designation was determined by the "Carbon Footprint Study of the Asia to North America Intermodal Trade" conducted by Herbert Engineering Corp., which looked at CO2 emissions of intermodal shipments from Asia to North American markets.

Holland America Line's Environmental Achievements & Accolades
Holland America Line's ships meet or exceed all provisions of the international regulations governing the environmental management of marine operations. But the company aims for superior environmental performance while operating responsibly to reduce pollution through strong policies, effective procedures, innovative technology, best practices and consistent training of employees.

Holland America Line is among the pioneers in the maritime industry in investing in technology to reduce engine emissions while a ship is at berth. Six of the 14 Holland America Line ships—ms Amsterdam, ms Veendam, ms Noordam, ms Zuiderdam, ms Oosterdam and ms Westerdam—use shore power at the ports of Seattle, San Diego, Halifax, and Vancouver. In addition all ships in the fleet, except ms Prinsendam, employ exhaust gas cleaning systems, or "scrubber technology," to reduce sulfur compounds and particulate matter from the ships' engine exhaust. For more information, visit HollandAmerica.com.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

American Cruise Lines Unveils Design Details of its New Modern Riverboats

American Cruise Lines has recently revealed design details of its new modern riverboats. American first announced its plans for the series of 5 in March. At 345 feet long and 60 feet wide, the new riverboats will feature the largest staterooms in the U.S., private balconies, and hotel-size bathrooms. The spacious accommodations are a result of constructing only 2 staterooms across the entire width of the ship. This design approach is unique and vastly different from many riverboats which force 3 to 4 staterooms within a similar width.

“The thoughtful layout of our new builds allows for all outward facing staterooms and private balconies,” says Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American. “Every guest has a magnificent view.”

The modern riverboats will also feature a four story atrium in the center of the ship. “The atrium will be the largest of its kind on a riverboat and will create an incredible first impression for guests as they board,” says Beebe. Carrying 200 passengers, the first riverboat inspired by modern design is scheduled to begin passenger service on the Lower Mississippi River in the fall of 2018 and reservations are now being accepted. Columbia & Snake River cruises aboard the new riverboats are slated to begin in 2019.

Construction of the new fleet is currently underway at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. In addition to the modern riverboats, American Cruise Lines has also recently completed construction on its new coastal cruise ship, American Constellation. American Constitution, sister ship to Constellation, is also under construction as part of American’s new build program.

American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise line, is committed to continuous growth through an innovative ship building program that elevates the standard of cruising in America. The line is the leader in the U.S. with more than 35 itineraries ranging from 4 to 21-nights in length, which visit the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast and the Mississippi River. The line has been continuously recognized for its new ships and for providing superb service to guests and travel agents before, during, and after a cruise. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit AmericanCruiseLines.com.

Image Courtesy American Cruise Lines

Celebrity Chef Massimo Capra Joins The Gauguin for a Culinary-Inspired Voyage

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 pleased to announce that celebrity Chef Massimo Capra will join The Gauguin’s September 23, 2017, Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage, for a lecture and culinary demonstration, along with meet-and-greet photo opportunities.

Italian native Capra has been delighting food lovers through his fine dining establishments, TV appearances, and award-winning cookbooks. Capra began his culinary career in a famous trattoria near Venice before turning his talents to the hotel industry in northern Italy. In 1982, he relocated to Toronto, Canada, where he began working at a restaurant owned by a family member. From there, he became an acclaimed chef at Prego della Piazza restaurant, where he remained for nine years. His next venture occurred in 1997, when he joined forces with Paolo Paolini to open Mistura Restaurant of Toronto, offering upscale Italian dining. Sopra Upper Lounge, an exclusive event venue located above Mistura, opened in 2006.

Chef Capra’s culinary empire continued to expand in 2010, when he licensed his name to the famous Rainbow Room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. More recently, he became chef/brand owner of Boccone Trattoria Veloce and Boccone Pronto at Pearson airport in Toronto and of Soprafino Restaurant at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. And last year, he opened Capra’s Kitchen—a casual Italian eatery with a heavy emphasis on pasta, pizza, and antipasto—in his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario.

In addition to his restaurant empire, Chef Capra is also a cookbook author. Three Chefs: The Kitchen Men, which he co-wrote with Michael Bonacini and Jason Parsons, took the gold in the cookbook category of the Canadian Culinary Book Awards (now called Taste Canada—The Food Writing Awards), and he is also the author of One Pot Italian Cooking. He also serves as the food editor for Canadian Home Trends magazine.

And he is a familiar face on Canadian television, serving as the host of his own show, Gourmet Escapes, and as a regular guest expert on the long-running CityLine talk and lifestyle show, chef host of the hit series Restaurant Makeover on the Food Network, and now a judge on the hit show Chopped Canada.

For more information about Paul Gauguin Cruises, visit PGCruises.com.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Silversea Christens New Flagship Silver Muse

Luxury cruise line Silversea welcomed His Serene Highness the Prince Albert II of Monaco, His Excellency Minister of State of the Principality, Serge Telle, His Excellency Archbishop of Monaco Barsi, and other distinguished guests to Port Hercule in the heart of Monaco, for an intimate ceremony marking the christening of the latest addition to their fleet, Silver Muse. The historic celebration, which was hosted by Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, and was honoured by the amazing performance of Sinfonietta Orchestra of Rome, as well as the renowned Violinist Charlie Siem.

Silver Muse, the ninth ship in the Silversea fleet, caters to the most discerning passengers at sea, offering the highest expression of elegance and comfort, redefining the ultra-luxury cruising experience. Over the past two weeks, guests invited from around the world have had the opportunity to preview the new flagship on a number of exclusive sailings in the Mediterranean. Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with the quality of finish delivered by Fincantieri and levels of service by Silversea crew exceeding guests' expectations.

Accommodating 596 guests, the ship boasts an unrivalled selection of dining options on board including three restaurants new to the Silversea fleet. These are Atlantide, a seafood and grill concept that represents the ultimate in excellence and creativity using the finest ingredients sourced from across the world; the Asian-accented Indochine; and an Italian-themed poolside restaurant Spaccanapoli which serves home-made Italian pizzas throughout the day. These give guests on Silver Muse a choice of eight restaurants and also the freedom to eat "anything, anywhere, anytime" on the ship.

The ship is also home to the unique Zàgara Beauty Spa which offers a sanctuary of leisure and comfort, transporting guests on a journey of the five senses tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

Monaco is not simply the base for Silversea's operations, it is the natural home for the company's proud Monegasque history. Silversea showcases the culture, traditions and values of the Principality to the world, with its nine ships visiting over 800 different ports of call each year. Attending the christening ceremony, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said, "On behalf of the Principality of Monaco I would like to extend a warm welcome to Silver Muse, its crew and passengers. She represents the next generation of cruise ships in both fuel efficiency and energy saving technology. We share with Silversea common values and principles in relation with responsable environmental practices and the development of a sustainable business activity. The preservation of the oceans is a crucial priority for future generations."

Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said, "The close ties between Silversea and the Principality of Monaco reflect not only our commitment to this beautiful region but also the history and values that we adhere to. Silversea is an Italian family-owned business yet our heart will always be shared with the Principality as we continue to go from strength to strength. As the home of Silversea, Monaco was always the natural choice for the christening of our new flagship, Silver Muse, and it is with great pleasure that we can share this milestone with both the residents and guests of the Principality."

Roberto Martinoli, CEO at Silversea Cruises, added, "Silversea is associated with exceptional quality and voyages that leave long lasting memories of discovery and wonder. At a time when we are investing in our entire fleet Silver Muse offers guests a taste of what is to come. Silver Muse represents an evolution of the hallmarks that set Silversea apart from the competition. With eight dining options offering 28 variations of culinary delights, Silver Muse has redefined the art of gastronomy at sea. With more open-air spaces and state of the art facilities we are sure that both new and returning guests will enjoy unforgettable memories on board."

For additional information, visit Silversea.com.

Image Courtesy Silversea

Carnival Cruise Line Receives Program Innovator Award & Green Gateway Partners Award from Port of Seattle

For the second consecutive year, Carnival Cruise Line has earned both the Program Innovator Award and Green Gateway Partners Award from the Port of Seattle, honoring the cruise line’s commitment to environmental stewardship. The award was recently presented at the Port of Seattle’s Cruise Annual All Agency Pre-Season Reception held at the World Trade Center on the Seattle waterfront.

The Program Innovator Award recognizes Carnival for its creativity in environmental practices, including the company’s first-ever Environmental/Sustainability Fair held at Carnival’s corporate headquarters in Miami on World Oceans Day. The fair featured representatives from various environmental organizations and vendors, as well as the line’s shipboard environmental officers, to help Carnival employees gain a deeper understanding of the importance of environmental preservation and Carnival’s comprehensive fleetwide recycling and waste management procedures.

The awards also honored Carnival for innovations in fuel efficiency and waste reduction, as well as the development of groundbreaking exhaust gas cleaning technology. Carnival was also recognized for its innovative shipboard recycling incentive program in which all vessels in its fleet compete on a monthly basis to achieve the highest reductions in USDA waste and increases in recycling.

The Green Gateway Awards are bestowed on cruise and shipping companies whose environmental programs and initiatives exceed industry standards and regulatory requirements and support the port’s goal of becoming the cleanest and most energy-efficient port in North America. Entries are independently evaluated by analysts at EA Engineering, Science and Technology, Inc.

“It is truly a special honor for Carnival Cruise Line to receive this recognition for a second year in a row, which is a testament to our environmental leadership,” said Rabih Aboudargham, Carnival’s director of environmental operations. “As a leading advocate in seaport environmental innovation, Port of Seattle’s programs inspire and encourage operators like Carnival to constantly push new boundaries in preserving and protecting our precious natural resources,” he added.

As the world’s largest cruise operator whose success depends on the health of the world’s oceans, Carnival Cruise Line takes action through both high- and low-tech solutions to manage the environmental impact of its fleet.

Carnival’s environmental stewardship approach includes use of shore power in select ports, a donation program for used but serviceable items from its ships, engagement of guests in its shipboard recycling activities, training and education programs for shipboard and shoreside personnel, ongoing fleetwide efforts to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, and extensive waste and water management plans.

The Port of Seattle serves as the homeport for Carnival Legend’s 7- and 8-day Alaska cruises which operate May through September. For additional information, visit Carnival.com.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line to Add Lifeguards to Fleet

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the line will begin employing certified lifeguards at all of the family pools across their fleet. The first responders will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours. The lifeguards will begin service this summer on the line's four largest ships—Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Epic—and on the remainder of the fleet by early 2018.

"Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet."

In addition to uniformed lifeguards, Norwegian will also begin offering complimentary swim vests for both adults and children on the line's four largest ships. Parents can obtain the safety vests at the towel station on the ship's pool deck during daytime hours.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers guests the freedom and flexibility to explore the world on their own time and experience up to 27 dining options, award-winning entertainment, superior guest service and more across all of the brand’s 14 ships. For additional information, visit NCL.com.

Jackpot! Everyone’s a Winner with Celebrity Cruises’ New Casino Loyalty Program

Guests are being dealt a winning hand with the revitalization of Celebrity Cruises’ Casino Loyalty Rewards Program, the new and improved Blue Chip Club. The program boasts a variety of brand new exciting benefits, including free slot-play, internet packages, specialty dining and spa credits as well as a variety of other onboard and shore side benefits designed to lure and reward both casual and serious casino players.

The program, launching April 2017, offers five new tier levels—starting at Pearl, Onyx, Amethyst, Sapphire, and the highest tier, Ruby. Each level is based off a players’ past casino gaming activity with Celebrity. As guests continue to earn tier points, they will qualify to upgrade to a higher tier. Tier points are easily earned when a casino guest uses their Seapass card while playing in Fortunes Casino. The more tier points accumulated, the higher the tier level and the more per-sailing benefits a guest has at their disposal.

“Our new Blue Chip Club loyalty rewards program is our way of rewarding our dedicated gamers and high-rollers while providing the casual gamer benefits on board that they have never had before,” said Susan Bonner, Vice President, Revenue Management and Onboard Revenue. “The revitalized program has a wider breadth and affords many additional benefits to many more casino guests regardless of what channel was used to book their sailing.” Bonner added, “More guests will now have access to more casino benefits on every sailing, positioning Celebrity’s Blue Chip Club to be on par with the best casino loyalty programs, land or sea.”

Depending on a player’s tier, 14 new benefits have been added to the program, including free casino play, spa and laundry credits, friends and family cruise discounts, complimentary beverage packages, and even priority debarkation and free prepaid tips. To learn more about the new Blue Chip Club loyalty rewards program and all of the benefits it includes, visit CelebrityCruises.com/blue-chip-club

Viking Cruises Partners With National Geographic To Sponsor New "Genius" Series

Viking Cruises has announced it has signed on to sponsor National Geographic's first fully scripted global anthology series, "Genius," which in its debut season tells the story of the 20th century's most brilliant icon, Albert Einstein. The new premier partnership with National Geographic builds on Viking's continued commitment to supporting enriching cultural programming, with current and past partnerships including PBS' MASTERPIECE, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl, the Munch Museum and more. During the global premiere of Genius on April 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic, Viking will showcase a new brand campaign entitled "Time," featuring Torstein Hagen, Founder and Chairman of Viking Cruises. A lifelong admirer of Einstein, Hagen, who is also a physicist, shares Einstein's interest in the concept of time and often refers to time as "the only scarce commodity." The campaign debuts today and will roll-out across additional marketing channels throughout the show's 10-part global event series on National Geographic.

"Through my formal education, I studied nuclear physics, and as a scientist, I have always been fascinated with Einstein and his work as a theoretical physicist," said Torstein Hagen, Founder and Chairman of Viking Cruises. "We are pleased to have a premier partner in National Geographic, to further bring enriching offerings through art, history and exploration to audiences around the world, while also continuing to showcase The Viking Way of travel."

Dramatizing the stories of the world's most brilliant innovators, season one of Genius reveals how Albert became Einstein, exploring his extraordinary professional achievements along with his volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. The series is based on Walter Isaacson's book "Einstein: His Life and Universe" and is executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, with Howard making his scripted television directorial debut with the first episode. Featuring Einstein's lovers, enemies and fellow scientific luminaries, the all-star cast includes Geoffrey Rush ("The Kings Speech," "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Shine") as the celebrated titular scientist, Johnny Flynn ("Clouds of Sils Maria," "Song One," "Lovesick") as Albert in the years before he rose to international acclaim and Emily Watson ("Theory of Everything," "The Book Thief") as his second wife—and first cousin—Elsa Einstein.

Throughout the series, audiences will experience key locations of Einstein's life, including his time in Germany (Berlin, Munich, Würzburg, Heidelberg), Switzerland (Zurich, Basel) and Austria (Vienna, Salzburg), as well as his later years in the United States (New York City, Boston)—all of which are also destinations on Viking's river and ocean cruise itineraries.

About Viking Cruises
Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking Difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local culture at night or evening performances. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

Celebrating 20 years of innovation and growth and on the heels of christening two new Viking Longships®, 2017 marks another year of impressive growth for Viking. The company launched its third ocean ship, Viking Sky®, in February and will add a fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun®, in October. By 2019, Viking will have a fleet of six ocean ships and will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line.

Through April 30, 2017, Viking is offering U.S. residents 2-for-1 cruise fare, plus up to free air on select popular 2017 and 2018 Viking river itineraries including Rhine Getaway, Grand European Tour and Danube Waltz. Also on select ocean itineraries, Viking is offering 2-for-1 cruise fare, plus up to free air on Panama & Central America; in addition, on Viking Homelands, guests also receive a choice of free beverage package, $400 shipboard credit, or prepaid onboard gratuities. For more information, visit VikingCruises.com

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Alarming Data on Health Care Abroad for American Travelers

A surprising number of Americans are unclear about the cost of medical care when traveling. A 2017 survey from InsureMyTrip, the authority on travel insurance, found that many travelers are unclear whether their domestic health insurance works outside the US.
• Thirty-five percent polled were not sure whether their domestic health insurance plan would cover any doctor or hospital visits while traveling out of the country.
• Thirty-five percent said it would provide coverage, while thirty percent believed their domestic health insurance plan would offer no coverage.
So, what's the right answer? It's complicated. Big insurance providers like Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Cigna, and Aetna may provide emergency and urgent care coverage abroad. However, the definition of emergency varies. Medicare will not pay for inpatient hospital, doctor, or ambulance services you get in a foreign country.

Travelers can request clarification of coverage prior to departure. Here’s how:
1. Call your medical insurance provider
2. Ask to review your certificate of coverage for explanation of benefits
3. Ask for hospitals and doctors in area of travel
What about emergency medical evacuations? According to the US State Department, very few health insurance companies will pay for a medical evacuation back to the United States, which can easily cost up to $100,000, or even more, depending on your condition and location.

In addition to seeking proper medical protection, travelers can also reduce health risks by learning about destination-specific medical concerns, including required vaccinations. The US State Department is a helpful resource. The US Federal Consumer Action Handbook also provides travel insurance recommendations for travelers (Source: USAGov in Technology Transformation Service, General Services Administration).

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

China's Newest Cruise Ship Norwegian Joy to Feature Ferrari Branded Race Track

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced a partnership with Scuderia Ferrari Watches as a part of the entertainment and activities on board Norwegian Joy, its soon to-be-unveiled 3,850 passenger vessel. Norwegian Joy will be Norwegian Cruise Line's first purpose-built ship for the Chinese market, designed to deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy 'First Class at Sea’ experiences. Norwegian Joy will home port in Shanghai and Tianjin, following a grand inaugural port tour leading up to a christening ceremony on June 27, led by her Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop’ Wang Leehom.

The two-level Ferrari branded competitive racetrack will be located on the top deck of the ship, where guests may take a thrilling ride in electric go-carts. Up to ten drivers at a time will be able to race each other on the course and have photos taken at the finish line to share with friends and family back home. Guests of Norwegian Joy’s The Haven and Concierge class will enjoy a number of complimentary rides as part of the amenities and benefits of their suites and staterooms.

Ferrari represents fun, passion, and competitive spirit, and this partnership will bring the spirit of the brand to Norwegian Joy’s guests. This is the first time Ferrari Watches has partnered on a branded go-kart track and Scuderia Ferrari Watches will be featured in a retail store adjacent to the racetrack.

Norwegian Joy will officially be delivered on April 27 in Bremerhaven, Germany. The ship will then set sail for China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Tianjin. This unique showcase tour will give travel agents and valued partners across the region the special opportunity to experience all that Norwegian Joy has to offer leading up to the ship’s christening.

Built at MEYER WERFT shipyard in Germany, Norwegian Joy is Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship customized for the Chinese cruise market. The name Norwegian Joy emphasizes the experience that the ship will offer, a promise that guests will ‘Experience Paradise on the Sea.’ Accommodating 3,850 guests with luxurious suites in the exclusive ship-within-a-ship complex, the new Breakaway-Plus Class Ship will debut in China in summer 2017.

Designed to provide First Class at Sea experiences with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests, Norwegian Joy will provide a multitude of VIP accommodations including The Haven by Norwegian®, the line’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship suite luxury complex, which will also include an all-new Observation Deck that features 180 degree views, and a Concierge level, an all-new accommodations category which will provide a VIP experience and feature larger balcony staterooms. Accommodation offerings will also include staterooms designed specifically for families and a multitude of connecting staterooms, for extended families traveling together, as well as a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies.

Norwegian Joy will offer engaging and innovative activities including the two-level competitive racetrack, an open-air laser tag course, thrilling simulator rides and interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion as well as a state-of-the-art racing simulator and two multi-story waterslides. In addition, Norwegian Joy will house a tranquil open space park as well as the line’s largest upscale shopping district, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to world-renowned global luxury brands.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Oceania Cruises Unveils 2018-2019 Tropics & Exotics Voyage Itineraries

Oceania Cruises has unveiled its most extensive collection of tropics and exotics itineraries to-date. Featuring an array of voyages to Asia and Africa, the South Pacific, Australia, Caribbean, Mexico, and South America, they offer a mix of popular destinations, boutique ports, and off-the-beaten-path gems that is unmatched by any other line. Overnight and extended port stays allow for more in-depth exploration and immersion into the cuisine, culture, and history of more than 240 ports of call.

“Oceania Cruises attracts travelers with a true passion for discovery," stated Bob Binder, President and CEO of Oceania Cruises. "Our loyal repeaters and new to brand guests alike will appreciate the tremendous breadth and scope of voyages to choose from, along with the diversity of destinations and experiences that are offered.”

2018-2019 Tropics & Exotics Collection Highlights
• 75 itineraries, 53 of them brand new including 10 new South Pacific, Australia & New Zealand voyages,12 new Asia & Africa journeys, 23 new Caribbean sailings and much more
• 24 Extended Journeys that range from 17 to 59 days offer the ultimate explorations of the Americas, Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and Australia
• Savor the abundant beauty and joyful Polynesian culture of the South Pacific aboard Marina, the most luxurious and amenity-laden ship in Tahitian waters
• Explore the marvels of Asia and Africa aboard Insignia and Nautica, including the all-new Far East Mystique voyage which includes two overnights in Yangon plus calls on India’s most revered destinations
• Venture into the outback with Regatta’s Australia and New Zealand voyages, with an all-new roundtrip Auckland voyage, Tasman Traveler, featuring an overnight in Sydney, visits to Rotorua, Bay of Islands, Napier, and other Kiwi gems
• Take advantage of more options to enjoy the tropical bliss and island culture of the Caribbean with a total of 28 voyages available on Regatta, Sirena, and Riviera, 17 of which call on Cuba
Voyages open for booking at 8:30 am Eastern on April 19th. Complete itineraries may be viewed at OceaniaCruises.com.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Silversea Previews Major Redesign for Silver Explorer

Silversea's luxury expedition ship Silver Explorer will welcome guests to a stylishly elevated onboard experience starting with her May 20 voyage, sailing from Lisbon to Honfleur. A comprehensive stem-to-stern refurbishment is scheduled for the end of April and will take place during a nearly three-week dry dock in Las Palmas. Plans call for a complete renovation of Silver Explorer's interior decoration, creating a revitalized atmosphere throughout the ship. As part of its $170 million fleet-wide refurbishment program, the company is making a significant investment to ensure that guests enjoy a renewed sense of luxury and comfort when sailing aboard Silver Explorer. Highlights of the renovation include:

Refreshed Public Spaces: The ship's overall color scheme will shift to an elegant new palette of blue and beige tones, which guests will first notice in the remodeled reception area. The rich new look will be carried throughout the ship with the installation of attractive new carpets and wall treatments in the corridors, staircases and all public spaces.

In addition to new carpets and wall treatments, the Observation Lounge, Panorama Lounge, and Connoisseur's Corner will be updated with all-new furniture. The restaurant's buffet counters, ceiling and walls will get a makeover and the furniture will be refashioned with new upholstery. The theater's bar will be completely redesigned and its banquette seats refreshed with new upholstery. A new boutique will be built in the space previously occupied by the library, while the reference and entertainment materials from the library will be moved to the Observation Lounge. Also set for a spruce-up are the spa and fitness center, which will double in size by taking over the area occupied by the original boutique. Plus, the Outdoor Grill will be enhanced with a new awning.

Elevated New Décor for Suites: The ship's all-suite accommodations will be completely renovated with new carpets, wall treatments, curtains, and furniture, including mattresses, headboards, wardrobes, bedside tables, vanity desks, sofa beds, armchairs, flatscreen TVs and lighting fixtures. In all but the largest suites (i.e., Medallion Suites and higher), the bathrooms will be enhanced with new flooring, granite appointments and rainforest showers (replacing tub-and-shower combinations). Suites with verandas will be outfitted with new veranda furniture. And the eight Expedition Suites on Decks 3 and 4 will be converted into 16 Vista and View Suites, with most featuring a connecting door for the convenience of families and friends traveling together.

The remodeled Silver Explorer will accommodate 144 guests in all-inclusive luxury as she sails to the world's most remote destinations—from the Arctic, Antarctica and Africa to the Americas, French Polynesia, and the Russian Far East. Guests will enjoy sumptuous cuisine, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of shipboard amenities included in the fare, such as complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, and at least one free hour of Wi-Fi per guest, per day.

In true Silversea Expeditions style, guests will be enriched by an onboard program of destination lectures, photo presentations and daily recaps. Exploratory Zodiac excursions and interactive walks ashore, led by experts in their field—marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, botanists, historians, and anthropologists, are complimentary.

Image Courtesy of Silversea

American Queen Steamboat Company Solidifies Partnership with Shore Excursions of America

American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of America’s most opulent and luxurious paddlewheel vessels, has entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Shore Excursions of America (SEA) to facilitate and expand its Product Development capabilities in the areas of onboard and shore side development. This alliance will serve as an administrative and creative incubator to expand offerings exploring new business plans for exciting geographical and demographical advancement.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about this exclusive partnership with Shore Excursions of America,” explains American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “Thanks to this multi-year agreement, we can continue crafting and offering shore excursions that are thoughtfully designed to optimize the guest experience with plenty of activity and endless enjoyment.”

Currently, SEA operates all Shore Excursions, Hospitality and City Stay products for American Queen Steamboat Company and has been named “Best Shore Excursions” by Ocean and Cruise News for the past five years. With an inclusive and collegial approach to the project, American Queen Steamboat Company and SEA believe that this seamless method and the development of expanded active and contemporary activities will increase guest satisfaction to elevated levels of American Queen Steamboat Company’s already ample success. This strategic alliance with SEA strengthens American Queen Steamboat Company’s efforts to remain in the forefront of industry trends and to become the leader of industry standards in North America.

SEA will coordinate product development under the direction of Eric Welter, Senior Vice President and in conjunction with functional stakeholders within American Queen Steamboat Company including Marketing, Sales, Operations, Shore Excursions, Culinary and Entertainment departments. With this multi-year alliance, additional positions have been created to further bridge the connection between the two companies, including official titles with American Queen Steamboat Company for current SEA employees. The newly formed Product Development team includes James Palmeri, Vice President of Product Development; Ruth Richebacher, Senior Director of Product Development and Shelly Hartfield as Product Development Manager.
For additional information, visit AmericanQueenSteamboatCompany.com

Crystal's 2017 Holiday Voyages Span The Globe With Options For All Travelers

Discerning travelers seeking to fill their holiday wish lists with global adventures and extra-special touches this December, have half a dozen luxury options to suit their preferences. Aboard Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, and even Crystal AirCruises, travelers can treat themselves and their loved ones to holiday memories of a lifetime in virtually every region of the globe. In addition to the selection of destinations to explore, Crystal's roster of sleek and elegant vessels hold enriching vacation experiences, whether guests are traveling with large groups or families, or escaping for a romantic holiday for two.

  • Crystal Symphony – The 16-day "South African Holidays" cruise sails round-trip from Cape Town, marking Crystal's first-ever holiday voyage in Africa. "Big Five" safaris are offered in South Africa and Mozambique, while authentic village feasts and visits highlight the rich culture of the region.
  • Crystal Serenity – Now offering two embarkation options, which allow travelers to choose between sailing round-trip from Charleston or Fort Lauderdale, as they embark on a 14- or-15-day (respectively) warm-weather "Holidays in the Caribbean" escape from the winter chill.
  • Crystal Esprit – The 11-day "Crystal Yachting Christmas" packs the spirit of camaraderie and holiday spirit aboard "Crystal's Boutique Hotel on Water," as guests delve into the yachting lifestyle in the harbors of the West Indies, sailing round-trip from Marigot Bay, St. Martin.
  • Crystal Mozart – Sailing round-trip from Vienna on a 13-day "Dazzling Danube Celebration," the first and largest of Crystal River Cruises' fleet offers a grand experience in the heart of some of Europe's most festive locales, including Austria, Germany and Hungary.
  • Crystal Bach – The 10-day "Spectacular Rhine Holiday" offers just that, as the first of Crystal's two brand new river yachts sails from Amsterdam to Basel, calling charming hamlets that exude the festivities and flavors of the season.
  • Crystal Mahler – The second brand new Crystal river yacht to embark in 2017 will sail a 16-day "Grand Europe" voyage along the Rhine from Amsterdam to Budapest, focusing on the region's quintessentially sparkling holiday markets, boasting freshly-baked pastries, hot ciders, hand-crafted wares and carols wafting from the cathedrals.
  • Crystal AirCruises – The elaborate 16-day "Holidays Around the World" private jet tour poses the ultimate gift for any luxury traveler, flying aboard Crystal's privately owned Boeing 777 from Los Angeles, calling in Bora Bora, Queenstown, Sydney, Jaipur and Abu Dhabi.

"The holiday season is a wonderful time for families and loved ones to travel together and create new memories that transcend any gift or tangible item," says Crystal CEO & President, Edie Rodriguez. "The Crystal family aboard our vessels creates a sense of home away from home for guests as they share their holidays with us, whether they're returning after many voyages or embarking on a brand new journey."

Aboard all Crystal holiday sailings, guests will be treated to the traditional festivities of the season, including lavish feasts for Christmas and New Year's, and elegant décor throughout the luxury vessels. Multi-faith services will also be offered on board.

Friday, April 14, 2017

First North American Luxury Cruise Line calls on Havana

Regent Seven Seas Cruises became the first and only North American luxury cruise line to visit Cuba Wednesday, April 12th.

NCLH Ltd. President and CEO Frank Del Rio kept watch on Seven Seas Mariner’s bridge as the ship pulled into the harbor with nearly
700 travelers. Guests enjoyed a festive, Cuban-style celebration on board, before heading out to explore the iconic city for the night.

All tours offer guests an authentic Cuban experience that explores the people, music, art, history, and culture, in compliance with the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) regulations. Seven Seas Mariner set sail April 11, 2017, on a 7-night, round-trip Caribbean voyage from Miami, and will overnight at Havana before continuing to Harvest Caye, Belize, and Costa Maya, Mexico. Seven Seas Marinerwill sail April 18 on an identical itinerary that visits Cuba.

Image Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Carnival Cruise Line & City of Long Beach Start Renovations at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal

Carnival Cruise Line marked the beginning of a multimillion-dollar renovation of its Long Beach Cruise Terminal facility to accommodate larger ships and enhance terminal operations at a “FUNstruction” groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, April 12th.

Carnival unveiled its design plans for the terminal during the celebration. The renovation will increase the space Carnival currently occupies in the terminal facility from approximately 66,000 square feet to 142,000 square feet. The expansion and new design will allow for a dramatically enhanced passenger experience and operational flow within the terminal. In addition, the project includes the expansion of portside “cold-ironing” to enable larger ships to plug into the local electric grid to reduce exhaust emissions while docked. Further enhancements to the area surrounding the geodesic dome which houses the cruise terminal and the adjacent Queen Mary attraction are also planned.

“The start of construction on this project further cements our commitment to the City of Long Beach and the outstanding relationships we have built with the leaders and people of this community,” said Carnival’s Torres de Navarra. “Our operations bring tremendous economic benefit to this area and expose hundreds of thousands of people a year to this great city. These new terminal enhancements will further grow that positive impact,” he added.

Carnival has run the Long Beach Cruise Terminal—the United States’ only privately operated cruise terminal—since 2003. It is one of the busiest terminals in North America, with ships docking at the facility five days per week resulting in a more than 70% utilization rate. Carnival has used just a portion of the geodesic dome that housed Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” museum attraction for customs and guest check-in activities. The renovation will make 100 percent of the dome available for Carnival’s cruise operations.

Currently, Carnival operates three ships from the Long Beach Cruise Terminal—Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination, which offer three- and four-day Baja cruises, and Carnival Miracle, which operates week-long Mexican Riviera voyages along with 14- and 15-day cruises to Hawaii and Alaska. In 2018 when the larger Carnival Splendor replaces Carnival Miracle, the line will carry more than 700,000 guests annually from Southern California, operating nearly 250 three- to 14-day cruises a year.

In addition to marking the start of the renovation of the cruise terminal, Torres de Navarra announced a donation of $25,000 to the Mayor’s Fund for Education. The donation, made jointly by Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Foundation, is part of Carnival Corporation’s ongoing support for nonprofit educational and charitable organizations in the homeport communities where its brands operate. To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com.

SeaDream Yacht Club Invites You to Celebrate Christmas in the Caribbean

This holiday season SeaDream Yacht Club encourages guests to give the gift of adventure and enjoy a Caribbean Christmas in style aboard SeaDream II as she sails roundtrip from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Escaping the winter cold to sail the Caribbean’s most secluded destinations on this intimate, 112-guest mega-yacht is the ideal time to experience SeaDream’s award-winning service and cuisine with sourced ingredients from local purveyors. Rather than spending this holiday season hosting friends and family at home, SeaDream Yacht Club invites guests to relax and let their highly-trained chefs prepare seasonal fare and comforting dishes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day including Tuna Tartar, Fillet of Turbot, Slowly Roasted Tom Turkey and Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon-Ginger Frozen Yogurt for dessert.

“Spending time with family and loved ones is what the holiday season should be about,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “Our amenities offered onboard and shoreside as well as our commitment to excellent service and exquisite cuisine has crafted an unforgettable experience full of rejuvenation and free from holiday stress.”

This roundtrip St. Thomas voyage aboard SeaDream II departs Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas on December 21, 2017 for a seven day tour through boutique ports including, St. John, U.S.V.I; Saba, Netherlands Antilles; St. Barts, F.W.I.; Virgin Gorda, Tortola, Norman Island and Jost van Dyke, B.V.I before arriving back to St. Thomas on December 28, 2017. Whether partaking in shoreside excursions like a hiking to Caneel Bay in St. John or recharging at the Thai certified Spa onboard, there are plenty of options to keep busy or relax. With the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea, the SeaDream Spa ensures complete rejuvenation for its guests. SeaDream is equipped with all of the complimentary water sports equipment required for a proper yachtsman’s vacation including wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and more.

SeaDream Yacht Club voyages range from four to 13 days. The inclusive fare includes ocean view accommodations, gourmet meals, gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner and so much more. For additional information, visit SeaDream.com.