Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Princess Cruises Announces Fourth Ship to Debut Medallion Class Ocean Vacations

Princess Cruises has revealed that Island Princess will be the fourth cruise ship to feature the Ocean Medallion™, debuting May 16, 2018 for the Alaska season. The wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network™ (O·C·E·A·N™), enables a new level of personalization and delivers an enhanced guest experience not previously available in the global vacation industry.

Unveiled by Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald during his opening keynote last month at CES 2017, Princess Cruises is the first Carnival Corporation brand to debut this groundbreaking innovation. The Ocean Medallion is the only accessory needed to elevate the guest experience on cruises by offering unparalleled customer service. Island Princess joins three other cruise ships scheduled to debut Medallion Class Ocean Vacations—Regal Princess on Nov 13, 2017, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018, and Island Princess starting on May 16, 2018. The Medallion Class Alaska cruise will set sail on the top-rated Voyage of the Glaciers seven-day itinerary between Vancouver and Anchorage (Whittier), with a trip to the state’s best glacial waters including Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“As the leading cruise line in Alaska, it’s fitting that our fourth ship to feature Medallion Class Ocean Vacations is Island Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Sailing on our most popular Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary, our guests will enjoy the best Alaska has to offer and enjoy an elevated cruise vacation experience—connecting each other and the extraordinary people and culture of the ‘Great Land’ in a more memorable way.”

Medallion Class makes cruising more personal, immersive, simple and seamless than previously considered possible. At the heart of this personalized experience is the Ocean Medallion, which enables endless vacation possibilities. The Ocean Medallion has no discernible technology—no on-off switch, no charging, no menu to navigate—and can be worn as a pendant, on a wristband, in a clip, or simply placed in a pocket to reveal enhanced services and personalized experiences without guests having to push a button or take any action. The pre-cruise engagement will allow guests to provide preferences that detail their wants, needs and desires so that their onboard experience can be personalized.

Pairing with the Ocean Medallion is the Ocean Compass™—a digital concierge accessible by all guests using interactive displays throughout the ship, on stateroom TVs, via guests’ own smart devices, or through a crew member. For example, guests can find their way to venues around the ship; make reservations at the Lotus Spa, specialty dining restaurants, and shore excursions; arrange celebrations; view photographs; learn about the destinations they will visit and activities at each port of call and more. The Ocean Compass will invite guests to experiences based on their individual needs, wants and desires.

Some of the initial service innovations include:
• Ocean Ready™: Expedites embarkation as required information is added to the guest profile at home.
• Stateroom Access: The Ocean Medallion will unlock a guest’s stateroom door—replacing the key card.
• HERE & NOW™: Guests can place food & beverage orders and have them delivered to select locations.
• THERE & THEN™: Guests can place select food and beverage orders and have it delivered to where they plan to be at a designated time.
• Ocean Navigate: Accessed through the Ocean Compass, guests can learn the whereabouts of their family as they enjoy activities throughout the ship and be guided seamlessly in finding their way around the ship. Friends and family will also be able to easily communicate with each other through a seamless messaging service.
More information about O·C·E·A·N is available at Ocean.com. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at Princess.com.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

From Ft. Lauderdale or Charleston: Crystal’s Caribbean Holiday Cruise

By popular request, Fort Lauderdale, Florida joins Charleston, South Carolina as an embarkation port on Crystal Serenity's 2017 Caribbean Holiday cruise. Tailor your travels to the departure city that suits you best—from the culture and cuisine of America's #1 city in Charleston, to the legendary beaches and sunshine of Fort Lauderdale—and set sail for the tropical magic of the Caribbean on a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Luxury Cruise Line, where all-inclusive is All Exclusive™.

Wherever you choose to join Crystal's Holidays in the Caribbean voyage, you'll celebrate the season in Crystal's inimitable Six-star style. Crystal Serenity will be decked out with extravagantly festive décor featuring thousands of glittering lights, ornately trimmed trees, ribbon-wrapped wreaths, elaborate menorahs, candy canes, crystal ornaments and more. Holiday-themed entertainment, lavish feasts and special celebratory parties are planned, as are dedicated multi-faith services.

Spending the holidays with Crystal is the perfect gift for yourself and your loved ones.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line's Wade Cleophas wins 2017 BACARDÍ® Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Wade Cleophas has bested competition from more than 2500 entries across 13 different cruise lines to win the title of 2017 BACARDÍ® Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year. The finals took place in Miami on February 13 in a live competition judged by a panel of experts from the beverage industry, held at award-winning restaurant Alter in Miami’s hip Wynwood neighborhood.

Wade’s winning creation is the ‘Legend Reviver’—inspired by classic cocktails with spices reminiscent of travelling to exotic places—featuring BACARDÍ® OCHO (8) ANOS, mixed with star anise infused sweet vermouth, caramel/cinnamon syrup with drops of whisky barrel aged bitters and finished with a mist of Absinthe. His perfectly presented cocktail was artistically finished off with a garnish resembling the sails of a merchant ship and the wings of the BACARDÍ bat. A key element of the competition was the requirement for finalists to promote their cocktail around the world. In the three months that Wade was promoting Legend River Reviver, Norwegian sold almost 2000 servings of the specialty drink. Wade will now move on to The BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition, held this May in Berlin. The BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition is a global search to find a cocktail that can stand the test of time to become a true BACARDÍ classic; a cocktail that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with cocktails, such as heritage classics including the BACARDÍ Daiquiri or BACARDÍ Mojito.

Wade began his bartending career over 12 years ago, starting out in his hometown of Cape Town, progressing to work with many leading bartenders in Dubai and Miami, before joining Norwegian Cruise Line. Today, he is the Assistant Beverage Manager onboard Norwegian Escape, sailing weekly from Miami to the Caribbean. “This is such an exciting time for me, and moving on to compete in the global finals means for the next year I am regarded as one of the top bartenders in the world,” said Wade Cleophas. “I couldn’t be happier to be part of such an amazing company that honestly feels like my extended family.”

“We are incredibly proud of Norwegian Cruise Line assistant beverage manager Wade Cleophas for winning the 2017 BACARDÍ Legacy Cruise Competition,” said Karl Muhlberger Vice President, Food and Beverage for Norwegian Cruise Line. “To be deemed the very best amongst 2500 cruise line applicants is a testament to Wade’s dedication to his craft and the entire beverage team at Norwegian. We are thrilled he will be representing not just Norwegian, but the entire cruise industry at the Global Finals in Berlin.”

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Crystal River Cruises To Offer Exclusive Complimentary Event At Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw

When Crystal River Cruises' newest luxury vessel embarks on her maiden voyage this June, guests will be treated to numerous experiences specially designed to showcase the elegance and history of the destinations along the Rhine and Moselle River itinerary. Among the grandest of these occasions will be a Crystal Signature Event in Amsterdam where guests will enjoy a complimentary exclusive concert at the Royal Concertgebouw, considered one of the finest concert halls in the world. The 19th-century neoclassical theater has hosted musical greats in everything from classical to rock, from Strauss, to Louis Armstrong, to Sting; and its orchestra has been lauded for more than 125 years as one of the best in the world. Guests will tour the theater's great hall, which is famous for its superb acoustics; then enjoy a private performance of master works in various genres in the charming "Kleine Zaal," or the "Spiegelzaal," two of the hall's more intimate Baroque venues.

"It is a hallmark of Crystal shoreside experiences to showcase the rich culture and most special places unique to each destination, and an exclusive event at the Royal Concertgebouw is a truly special occasion," says Crystal Chairman, CEO and President Edie Rodriguez. "We're delighted to offer our guests the opportunity to enjoy some of the world's most celebrated masterpieces in a venue as grand as the music itself."

Crystal Bach will be the first of Crystal River Cruises' four new luxury river yachts to launch in 2017 (Crystal Mahler) and 2018, (Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel), and Crystal's introduction of Europe's only all-balcony, all-suite ships in the river category. All four river yachts will offer Crystal's acclaimed butler service in every room category, plush king-sized beds that face toward the Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines. Additional enticing features include Crystal's farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court.

The Classical Concert at the Royal Concertgebouw is offered on all Crystal Bach voyages, which sail between Amsterdam and Frankfurt, calling in Basel, Switzerland; Antwerp, Belgium; and Nijmegen, Netherlands; Breisach, Kehl, Speyer, Mainz, Rüdesheim, Cologne, Kolbenz and Cochem, Germany. Voyages range from 10 to 14 days, with all-inclusive cruise fares starting at $3,675 per person. Crystal's Early Booking Savings are available for 2018 voyages booked by March 31, 2017, offering additional savings of $500 per person on cruise only fares. For more information, visit Crystal's website, CrystalCruises.com.

Image Courtesy Crystal Cruises

Friday, February 17, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Announces Order for Next Generation of Ships for Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has announced it has reached an agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A. to construct the next generation of extraordinary ships for its Norwegian Cruise Line brand. Four ships are on order for delivery in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in 2026 and 2027. The four 140,000 gross ton ships will each accommodate approximately 3,300 guests. The new class of ships will build upon the highly successful offering of freedom and flexibility found on the brand’s most recent Breakaway-Plus Class ships and feature a host of innovative designs that will further elevate its already award-winning guest experience. A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimizing fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment. Details on the ships’ many innovative guest facing and first at sea features will be announced at a later date.

“This new class of ships will continue Norwegian Cruise Line brand’s legacy of introducing meaningful innovation to the cruise industry,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “This order continues to highlight our disciplined newbuild program, extends our growth trajectory well into the future, enhances our already attractive earnings profile, and drives expected long-term returns for our shareholders.”

“For the past 50 years, Norwegian Cruise Line has been focused on offering our guests the very best in cruising,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “It is with great excitement that we look ahead to our next 50 years, which includes this next generation of ships that will offer guests the innovative experiences that have come to define the Norwegian Cruise Line brand.”

The contract price for each of the four vessels is approximately €800 million per ship. The Company has obtained export credit financing with favorable terms to fund 80 percent of the contract price of each ship delivered through 2025, subject to certain conditions.

About Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) is a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands. With a combined fleet of 24 ships with approximately 46,500 berths, these brands offer itineraries to more than 510 destinations worldwide. The Company will introduce eight additional ships through 2025, and has the option to introduce two additional ships for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

Cunard Presents 2017 WKC “Best in Show” Winner with Transatlantic Crossing

Cunard, the only line to carry pets across the Atlantic, presented Rumor, the Westminster Kennel Club’s Best in Show winner, with an invitation to sail on a Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2 in New York’s Times Square. Rumor will have an opportunity to take his place in history among celebrity dogs who have sailed with Cunard.

Cunard sponsored the 2017 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City February 11-14, 2017 and was the only travel company represented at the show. Cunard bellman offered white gloved "doggie” tea service to canine attendees who stopped by Cunard’s photo booth at the show, including @WallytheWelshCorgi, one of the top Instagram dogs in New York. Dogs (and humans) took photos in front of an oversized backdrop of Queen Mary 2 and posted to #CunardatWKC.

As the only cruise line to offer dogs and cats passage on the company’s famed Transatlantic Crossings, Cunard has a long history of sailing pets—its pet-friendly policy dates back 176 years to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840. Since then, the company has transported a surprising number of notable pets: Rin-Tin-Tin, Elizabeth Taylor’s pampered pooches, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s beloved pup and Pudsey, winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2012. It was at the Duke’s behest that Cunard originally installed a lamppost beside the kennels on Cunard’s former flagship Queen Elizabeth 2.

Pet travel continues to soar in the United States and due to increased demand, Cunard doubled the size of its kennels on Queen Mary 2 during the flagship’s $132 million renovation last year. In addition, the ship expanded the kennel area, adding an owner’s lounge and a new pet playground. Guests can enjoy an extended outdoor area for dog walking featuring a lamppost from Liverpool and fire hydrant from New York so dogs from both sides of the pond will feel at home. Overall, Queen Mary 2’s enhanced pet service offers a kinder, gentler alternative to pet transportation. To ensure that pet passengers are as glamorous as their human counterparts, Cunard partnered with the British sportswear brand Barbour in 2016 to offer smart accessories onboard such as jackets, collars and leashes.

For more information about Cunard and Queen Mary 2, visit Cunard.com.

Image Courtesy of Cunard Line

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oceania Cruises Announces Late 2017 Voyages To Cuba

Oceania Cruises, the world's leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, announced an additional series of journeys to Cuba in November and December 2017. Ranging in length from six to thirteen days with departures from Miami, these voyages include the line's first calls to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, in addition to Havana. These new itineraries are open for reservation.

"There is tremendous demand from consumers for voyages to Cuba and our inaugural voyages to the island have been a sell-out success," stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises. "An Oceania Cruises voyage is the best way to experience all Cuba has to offer with nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, warm and welcoming people, and a burgeoning culinary scene."

All voyages and excursions will fully comply with existing U.S. Federal Regulations and the most recent pronouncements from the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Shipboard Highlights
Sailing to Cuba with Oceania Cruises is a journey into the extraordinary. Aboard Insignia, there are only 684 privileged guests who are catered to by 400 professionally trained staff. Travelers will indulge in the Finest Cuisine at Sea in four open seating gourmet restaurants where they will dine on continental specialties along with the bold and vibrant tastes of Cuba. Each of these voyages will feature a wide array of authentic Cuban dishes that were born from generations-old family recipes. Adding to the enriching nature of the journey, authoritative and engaging experts will deliver lectures on Cuban history, art, and music or perhaps you'll join a group of your fellow travelers in a Cuban staple, the game of Dominos. Throughout the journey, Insignia is a bastion of modernity and old-world comfort. Her 342 staterooms and suites are elegantly appointed and 70% of them have their own private teak veranda, the perfect perch from which to take in stunning Caribbean seascapes.

Itinerary Highlights
• Panoramic Caribbean: 10 days from Miami visiting Havana (two days), Roatan, Santo Tomas, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya, and Nassau. Departs Nov 14.
• Hemingway's Hideaways: 7 days from Miami visiting Key West, Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Departs Nov 24.
• Timeless Cuba : 7 days from Miami visiting Havana (two days), Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Departs Dec 1 & 8.
• Vibrant Vistas: 6 days from Miami visiting Key West, Havana, Cozumel, and Great Stirrup Cay. Departs Dec 15.
• Holidays in the Tropics: 13 days from Miami visiting Key West, Havana (two days), Roatan, Santo Tomas, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya, Cozumel (two days), and Nassau. Departs Dec 21.

Destination Highlights
• Havana, Cuba: The door to Cuba's soul, Havana captivates with its larger-than-life culture, sultry rhythms and weathered beauty. Take a relaxing stroll along the evocative Malecón, the quintessentially Cuban thoroughfare and get lost among the Baroque facades and colonial cobblestone alleys of Old Havana. Visit the grandiose Capitolio Nacional and explore the world-class Cuban art collection at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, which showcases everything from colonial-era paintings to countless masterpieces from Cuba's famed Vanguard Period. Enjoy memorable explorations such as touring one of Havana's venerable old cigar factories for an inside look at the birthplace of these world-famous cigars and the centuries-old process of how they are made.
• Cienfuegos, Cuba: Situated in a beautiful bay in the heart of Cuba's fertile agricultural region on the southern coast, Cienfuegos will quietly charm you with its French spirit, tranquil seaside setting and neoclassical architecture. Known as La Perla del Sur (the Pearl of the South), Cienfuegos was originally founded by French settlers and its city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Rich in educationally engaging diversions, its historic center features well-preserved 19th-century structures, gorgeous plazas and a layout inspired by the Spanish Enlightenment. Discover the ornate and eclectic Palacio de Valle and take in the stunning views as you explore Punta Gorda, the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. Step back in time at Teatro Terry with a performance by local artists or discover nearby Trinidad, a remarkably well-preserved colonial town recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and anchored by its impressive Plaza Mayor, an open-air museum of Spanish colonial architecture.
• Santiago de Cuba, Cuba: A tropical and energetic cultural epicenter, Santiago de Cuba is the country's second largest city and has played an instrumental role in the evolution of Cuban music, literature and architecture. Wedged between the looming Sierra Maestra mountain range and the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, the city offers a plethora of rich heritage and cultural diversions amidst a dramatic backdrop. Discover the city's fascinating history at Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca and the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, where Cuban hero José Martí and Emilio Bacardí Moreau of the famed rum dynasty are both buried. Countless musicians have emerged from Santiago de Cuba including Miguel Matamoros of Trío Matamoros and Sindo Garay, and many say the heart of this thriving city lives in its music scene.
For more information about Oceania Cruises, visit Oceania Cruises.

Image Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises 'Ships' New Voyages Brochure

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has unveiled the luxury cruise line’s newest Voyages to Explore brochure. In between the eye-catching, spot-gloss and satin pearl-finished covers are more than 200 voyages, sailing May 2017 through April 2019, aboard the brand’s four ships, Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner, and Seven Seas Navigator, renowned as the world’s most luxurious fleet. Among the listed voyages are special 25th Anniversary sailings in 2017 that will feature a variety of exclusive programs and events to commemorate the line’s Silver Jubilee, as well as World Cruises in 2018 and 2019, and two 2018 Grand Voyages: a 51-night South America Sojourn and an 89-Night Grand Arctic Splendors itinerary.

“Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ free and included shore excursions and business-class air on intercontinental flights, as well as included land programs on select itineraries, are a distinguishing part of our most-inclusive luxury experience,” said Jason Montague, the line’s president and CEO. “Not only do our guests enjoy an exceptional and relaxing voyage, but we also help them delve deeper into exciting cultures with our expertly crafted experiences in some of the world’s most compelling destinations. Throughout, our outstanding staff and crew will deliver individualized, personal service and unforgettable gourmet dining to every guest.”

The new brochure also details Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ free and included, three-night, pre- and post-cruise land programs in Africa, Dubai, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand on select sailings. Additionally, travelers can learn about Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ supplemental three-night Iceland or South America, four-night Alaska, or five-night Canadian Rockies land programs, which carry an additional fare.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world's most inclusive luxury cruise line with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 425 destinations around the world. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is currently undergoing a $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment that will elevate the level of elegance found throughout the fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer, which entered service on July 20, 2016, and has since been recognized as the most luxurious ship ever built. A leader in luxury cruising, the line's fares include all-suite accommodations, round-trip air, highly personalized service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, gratuities, ground transfers and a pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in concierge-level suites and higher. Beginning in summer 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises also will include Business Class air for all intercontinental flights.

For the latest information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises and to request a copy of the new Voyages to Explore brochure, please visit RSSC.com.

Photo: Seven Seas Mariner © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

Explore Hidden Glacier Bay Aboard Seabourn during 2017 Cruise Season In Alaska

There are so many natural wonders for guests to behold on a Seabourn cruise to Alaska, but nothing quite like the mysterious and exotic Glacier Bay. As the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line returns to The Last Frontier starting this May, Seabourn will provide a select number of opportunities for guests to witness the icy beauty of the remote 3.3 million-acre wilderness area with five separate sailings into Glacier Bay aboard Seabourn Sojourn over the 2017 season ahead.

A U.S. National Park and Preserve that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Glacier Bay is located along the Inside Passage on the southeastern coast of Alaska. The park encompasses 5,130 square miles of wilderness dotted with vast waterways, dynamic glaciers, emerald rainforests, striking coastlines, deep sheltered fjords, and snow-capped peaks. A vibrant ecosystem made up of terrestrial and marine species, the abundant wildlife includes grizzly and black bears, mountain goats, numerous bird species, sea lions, harbor porpoises, orcas, humpback whales and many more. Glaciers are geared for dramatic displays of ice and iceberg formation, including calving of icebergs into the bay—a wonder of sight, sound, and splash that is not to be missed.

"Whatever the region we're exploring, Seabourn always strives to offer the most enriching experiences to our guests," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Taking them to see the wonders of Glacier Bay is a fitting way to return to Alaska for the first time in a decade-and-a-half."

With no roads leading into the park, air and water are the only ways to explore Glacier Bay. As such, a cruise ship is an ideal way to visit one of the world's largest international protected areas.

Seabourn Sojourn's 2017 cruise schedule offering access to Glacier Bay includes:
• 21-Day Kuroshio Route & Alaska: Kobe, Japan to Seattle (May 11-27)
• 11-Day Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn: Vancouver to Seward (Jun 1-12. Additional itineraries include Jun 26-Jul 7; Jul 21-Aug 1; and Aug 15-26)
Whatever the itinerary, Seabourn guests are guaranteed adventure in Alaska with new optional shore excursions and Ventures by Seabourn guided kayak and Zodiac tours led by teams of scientists, scholars and naturalists that bring the awe-inspiring beauty of Alaska and British Columbia alive. The up-close explorations will be featured on Seabourn Sojourn's full series of 11-14 day itineraries sailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, and Anchorage (Seward), Alaska.

Seabourn's ships circle the globe throughout the year and include more than 150 designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in its itineraries. Through its multi-year partnership with UNESCO, Seabourn offers deeper insight and behind-the-scenes information about current and future World Heritage sites and projects. The line has created special World Heritage Discovery Tours with exclusive and enhanced content developed in cooperation with UNESCO World Heritage site managers and tour experts. Fares for Seabourn optional excursions that include UNESCO World Heritage Sites include a small donation to UNESCO's World Heritage Fund.

Seabourn Sojourn's season in Alaska launches with the 11-DAY Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn, departing from Vancouver, B.C., on Jun. 1, 2017. For more details, visit Seabourn.com. A dedicated shore excursion call center is available for guests at 1-800-984-3225.

Image Courtesy of Seabourn

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Carnival Dream Undergoes Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation

The New Orleans-based Carnival Dream recently completed an extensive makeover that added a variety of exciting food and beverage concepts.

Following the renovation, which took place in Freeport, The Bahamas, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream has resumed its year-round schedule of seven-day western Caribbean and Bahamas/Florida cruises from the Big Easy.

The new spaces include:
• Guy’s Pig & Anchor Barbeque Smokehouse: Designed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the open-air free-of-charge venue offers a variety of BBQ favorites with a menu that includes Championship Pork Butt, Blue Ribbon Chicken, smoked Andouille sausage, and Sliced Smoked Round of Beef, and Fieri’s own take on traditional sides. The eatery complements the popular Guy’s Burger Joints featured on Carnival Dream and 13 other Carnival ships.
• BlueIguana Cantina: A complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
• Alchemy Bar: A “cocktail pharmacy”-themed lounge with mixologists dressed in lab coats who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients with creative monikers like Forty is the New Twenty and The Restorative Basil Drop.
• Pizzeria del Capitano: Here, guests can enjoy five different varieties of hand-tossed, artisanal-style pizza, including Margherita, quattro formaggio, mushroom, prosciutto and pepperoni—all free of charge 24 hours a day and made in a traditional pizza oven.
• Bonsai Sushi: A full-service sushi restaurant offering delicious Asian-inspired delicacies—sushi, sashimi, bento “ships” for two and more, along with popular beers and cocktails from the region—all enjoyed amidst a striking contemporary décor inspired by the Far East.
These additions complement Carnival Dream’s wide variety of onboard innovations, including a massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 304-foot-long water slide, a Serenity adults-only retreat, a luxurious Cloud 9 Spa with a thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite, and Ocean Plaza, a stunning indoor/outdoor live music and entertainment venue. Carnival Dream also offers Seuss at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, as well as play spaces for kids in three age groups. A variety of accommodation categories—including nearly 900 balcony cabins and extra-roomy family staterooms that sleep up to five guests—are available, as well.

Carnival Dream operates year-round seven-day cruises from New Orleans offering three distinctly different itineraries—western Caribbean cruises visiting Montego Bay, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman; or Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize and Cozumel; and a Bahamas/Florida route calling at Key West, Freeport, and Nassau. For additional information, visit Carnival.com.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Havana, Cuba, To Be Featured on Select Carnival Paradise Cruises from Tampa Beginning in June

Following the history-making launch of cruises from the U.S. to Cuba on Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand last year, the company’s namesake and largest cruise brand—Carnival Cruise Line—has now received approval to sail to Cuba. The Cuban capital of Havana will be added to select Carnival Paradise voyages from Tampa beginning in June 2017. The overnight visits to Havana will be featured on 12 four- and five-day cruises aboard Carnival Paradise departing from the Port of Tampa starting June 29, 2017, providing vacationers with a rare and exciting opportunity to explore this fascinating and previously off-limits destination.

Four-day cruises will depart June 29, July 13, August 24, September 7 and 21, and October 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana. Five-day voyages will depart August 14 and 28, September 25 and October 9, 2017, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West. Carnival Paradise guests will be able to choose from a range of exciting shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba’s vibrant culture and majestic beauty, along with the island’s warm and friendly people and centuries-old architectural landmarks.

“Cuba is an island jewel unique from anywhere else in the Caribbean and we are thrilled to have this rare opportunity to take our guests to this fascinating destination,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The opportunity to visit Havana, combined with the fun, relaxed ambiance and wide variety of amenities and features offered on Carnival Paradise, will make for a truly one-of-a-kind vacation experience,” she added.

Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests can enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment. A variety of dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside choices. The ship also features a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness facility and an exclusive Serenity adults-only retreat. Popular family-friendly programming includes Seuss at Sea in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and featuring the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups. Four swimming pools and a 115-foot-long water slide are additional features.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control. The new voyages can currently be booked via travel agents or by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL. Later today, the cruises will also be available on Carnival.com. Please note that a passport is required for cruises that call in Cuba. Additional information on all special requirements for these voyages can be found on Carnival.com.

Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea Celebrates 10th Anniversary Today

Special Needs Group®/Special Needs at Sea® (SNG), the leading global provider of special needs equipment rentals, will celebrate its 10th anniversary of delivering an accessible world on Feb. 14, 2017. Since 2007, SNG has been achieving unprecedented milestones in providing those with special needs and/or disabilities the ability to travel, whether it be across the globe or within their own area. Since it was launched, SNG has completed over 150,000 orders, making travel dreams come true for individuals with special needs and/or disabilities. This includes "slow walkers," and the baby boomer/silver segment of the population. The accessible travel segment is the fastest-growing market segment in travel.

"SNG was founded with a strategic vision to deliver an accessible world and make it possible for anyone to travel, even if they have a disability or special need," stated Andrew J Garnett, SNG founder, president & CEO. "Today, we are breaking travel barriers for hundreds of thousands of individuals with special needs who wish to see the world."

SNG services 165 metropolitan areas in 35 countries across the globe. It is the leading global provider of wheelchair rentals, scooter rentals, oxygen rentals and other special needs equipment rentals, and also offers a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase. The only mobility and oxygen equipment supplier in the world trusted by all major cruise lines, the company also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. In addition to providing special needs equipment, SNG continuously raises awareness of special needs travel through newsletters, webinars, blogs, social media tools, panel discussions, and presentations. Also, the company supports ARC Broward, Camillus House, and local elementary schools.

Over 3,200 travel professionals have become Certified Accessible Travel Advocates™ through SNG's groundbreaking Certified Accessible Travel Advocate program, launched in 2011, which allows travel professionals to become conversant with the accessible travel market segment through online study and testing. Plus, over 14,000 travel agents are registered with SNG, allowing them to provide clients with the confidence of booking with one of the top providers of special needs equipment.

About Special Needs Group®/Special Needs at Sea®
Special Needs Group®/Special Needs at Sea® is the leading global provider of wheelchair rentals, scooter rentals, oxygen rentals and other special needs equipment rentals. It also offers a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase. Recommended by the world's major cruise lines for superior service and value, Special Needs Group also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. Special Needs Group is the only mobility and oxygen equipment supplier that is approved to deliver to all major cruise lines Special Needs Group is the travel industry's only total special needs travel solution. Special Needs Group provides service in 165 ports and cities located in 35 countries. It is located at 302 NW 1st Street, Dania Beach, FL 33004. For more information, visit SpecialNeedsGroup.com

Monday, February 13, 2017

Carnival Splendor to Operate 14-Day Alaska Cruise Round-Trip from Long Beach in August 2018

Continuing the expansion of its popular Carnival Journeys longer duration enrichment sailings, Carnival Splendor will offer a 14-day Alaskan adventure round-trip from Long Beach, California, featuring sites such as majestic Hubbard Glacier and a day-long visit to Icy Strait Point, an unspoiled wilderness area offering some of the best whale and bear watching in the state and the world’s longest zip-line. The voyage will depart Long Beach and Aug. 25 and return Sept. 8, 2018.

Plus a full day at Hubbard Glacier and Icy Strait Point, the 14-day cruise will feature port calls in Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka, Alaska, along with a day-long call at Victoria, British Columbia. In addition to unique cultural opportunities and historic landmarks, each of these destinations offers awe-inspiring natural wonders, including calving glaciers, magnificent fjords and native sea and animal life. A wide variety of shore excursions—from helicopter flightseeing and rainforest canopy tours to hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions, and alpine lake snorkeling—will also be available.

The 14-day Carnival Journeys Alaska cruise will also feature unique on-board experiences where guests can enjoy local cuisine, entertainment, and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing topics such as photography, cooking and arts and crafts, and a 1980s-themed “Throwback Sea Day” will be offered, as well.

Guests aboard Carnival Splendor can also enjoy the ship’s many onboard features and amenities, including a classic American-style steakhouse, the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, and a retractable dome covering the main pool area that also houses the ship’s massive Seaside Theatre LED screen. Kids can have an amazing cruise experience with supervised programs catering to three age groups—Camp Ocean (2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17), along with fun activities that are part of Seuss at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

The 14-day Carnival Splendor cruise complements the line’s wide-ranging Alaska schedule that includes a two-week-long voyage round-trip from Long Beach aboard Carnival Miracle in September 2017 and 38 seven- and eight-day voyages aboard Carnival Legend in summer and fall 2017-18. Several of the seven-day cruises feature a day cruising Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site. All of Carnival’s 2017-18 Alaska cruises aboard Carnival Splendor, Carnival Legend, and Carnival Miracle are current open for reservations. For additional information, visit Carnival.com.

Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine Embark on Exclusive Partnership

Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine announce an exclusive partnership that will unite the soul-stirring power of travel with O's deep commitment to connection and personal growth. Oprah Winfrey; O The Oprah Magazine editor at large Gayle King; and others will join the inaugural O, The Oprah Magazine Share the Adventure Cruise setting sail to Alaska this July. Four additional O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life sailings featuring O Magazine-inspired activities will be scheduled aboard select North America ships through 2018.

“I’m so excited to continue 2017 as my Year of Adventure with another bold, new place I’ve never been before: Alaska!” said Oprah Winfrey.

The O, The Oprah Magazine cruises will feature exclusive programming developed with the magazine’s editors, including editor in chief Lucy Kaylin and creative director Adam Glassman. Members of the SuperSoul 100—thought leaders and visionaries who use their talents to elevate humanity—will be on board sharing inspirational ideas and tips for living your best life. More than 300 Holland America Line cruises sailing in North America from August 2017 through 2018 will have a variety of engaging, stimulating activities that bring the magazine to life, including meditation, tai chi, healthy cooking demonstrations, an onboard book club and more.

“We are deeply honored that O, The Oprah Magazine chose Holland America Line as its first cruise line partner to further our shared belief that travel and wellness have the power to open minds, build connections and inspire shared humanity,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Our commitment to providing authentic experiences for our guests is at the forefront of all we do, and this collaboration is going to empower our guests in a whole new way with thought-provoking and enriching activities and content developed together with the experts at O, The Oprah Magazine.”

The magazine will kick off the partnership with a contest in March 2017 awarding three deserving readers the chance to join the inaugural cruise to Alaska with Oprah and Gayle, followed by a high impact unit in the April 2017 issue, with in-book, online and broadcast integrations running throughout the remainder of 2017 and 2018.

“What better way to celebrate Oprah’s Year of Adventure than to partner on an incredible new initiative with Holland America Line,” said Jayne Jamison, senior vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer of O, The Oprah Magazine. “Offering readers a chance to experience the thrill of adventure firsthand, this partnership pairs the eye-opening wonder of travel with the soulful, inspiring content found in every issue of O.”

O, The Oprah Magazine Share the Adventure Cruise to Alaska will take place July 15–22, 2017. O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life cruises will include the following dates/destinations:
• Nov 29, 2017: 11-Day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on ms Koningsdam
• March 3, 2018: 7-Day Eastern Caribbean roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on ms Nieuw Amsterdam
• Aug 11, 2018: 7-Day Alaska roundtrip from Seattle on ms Eurodam
• Oct 28, 2018: 7-Day Western Caribbean, ms Nieuw Amsterdam
For more information, visit HollandAmerica.com/OprahMag.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Silversea Expeditions to the Kimberley Reveal Australia's Best Kept Secret

Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea is featuring exceptional opportunities this year for adventure enthusiasts to explore Australia's amazing Kimberley Coast. The natural vistas of the country's isolated northwest region have been enhanced by the wettest December on record. Seven times greater than normal, as recorded in Broome, the unusual rainfall will power the most spectacular waterfalls ever to plunge down the region's gorges, which can be witnessed on any of five mostly 10-day voyages aboard Silver Discoverer, sailing between Darwin and Broome.

For the duration of Silversea's expedition cruises along the Kimberley coastline from March to May 2017, the famous King George Falls and Talbot Bay's Horizontal Falls will thunder more spectacularly than ever before. The twin cascades of King George Falls are among Australia's highest, plunging over 262 feet. At Talbot Bay, the region's tides of nearly 36 feet create an amazing spectacle. And depending on whether the tides are ebbing or flowing, Silversea guests can experience an exhilarating Zodiac ride through the Horizontal Falls. An optional helicopter flightseeing excursion is also available to observe the dazzling four-tiered Mitchell Falls.

"We purposely schedule our expeditions to the Kimberley Coast at the end of the wet season, when the waterfalls are in full flow," said Conrad Combrink, Silversea's global head of expedition planning and strategic development. "With December's extraordinary rainfall, the region's magnificent waterfalls will be on peak display this year, and we're very pleased to offer our guests this rare opportunity to witness nature at its most majestic."

With its landscape of striking contrasts, the Kimberley Coast offers travelers a kaleidoscope of images—from white sand beaches and glistening turquoise waters filled with colorful marine life to towering red-hued sandstone cliffs and captivating, ancient rock art paintings. Its incredible untouched wilderness offers nature lovers the chance to observe a variety of bird species, including white-bellied sea eagles, ospreys, Brahminy kites and peregrine falcons. And the dramatic tiger-striped Bungle Bungle mountain range is perfect for aerial exploration on a complimentary Silversea excursion.

The freshly refurbished Silver Discoverer offers a comfortable, intimate and convivial onboard lifestyle where guests can feel at home as they explore these secluded realms. They will enjoy ocean-view suites, sumptuous cuisine, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, and free Wi-Fi. 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.

Departure dates for the 2017 Kimberley expeditions are March 26, April 6, April 16, April 26, and May 6.For complete details, visit Silversea.com/expeditions.

Image Courtesy Silversea

“Beauty and the Beast” to Become a Brand-New Stage Spectacular Aboard Disney Cruise Line

A tale as old as time gets ready to take the stage with “Beauty and the Beast,” a brand-new musical production inspired by Disney’s live-action adaptation of the animated classic. The show will expand upon the most imaginative elements of the highly anticipated live-action and classic films and delight Disney Cruise Line guests aboard the Disney Dream, beginning this November.

Audiences will once again fall in love with the enchanting fairytale as they embark on a sweeping journey to discover the power of transformation through true love and courage. This new production of “Beauty and the Beast” celebrates the romance, adventure and magic of the live-action film, weaving in the charm and nostalgia of the award-winning animated feature. “Beauty and the Beast” will bring the timeless fable to life like never before, featuring a style of theater that interlaces classic storytelling elements with cutting-edge technology, to create a unique, theatrical experience in the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre. An innovative take on the story will transform renowned songs into spectacular, show-stopping numbers, and lavish costumes and puppetry will bring a fresh perspective to beloved characters.

Re-imagining a tale as old as time
Drawing inspiration from the live-action film, the stage musical uses the scenic motif of a music box to guide spectators through the story. Set designer, Jason Sherwood (“Paint Your Wagon,” “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular”), worked in concert with video designer, Aaron Rhyne (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “Anastasia”), to create a transforming set that will take audiences on a magical journey through the music box, from Belle’s provincial French town to the Beast’s mysterious castle.

To bring “Beauty and the Beast” to the stage, Disney assembled an all-star creative team, led by director and choreographer Connor Gallagher (“Tangled: The Musical,” “Found”). Gallagher collaborated with writer Sara Wordsworth (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “In Transit”) and a talented collection of Broadway artists to create an imaginative, new approach to this iconic story. Through a combination of high-definition projections, dynamic scenery and a little bit of Disney magic, this new interpretation of “Beauty and the Beast” will create a visual panorama that reaches beyond the stage and into the audience. Complementing the immersive set, lighting design by four-time Tony Award-nominated, Japhy Weideman, punctuates the powerful emotions of the classic tale.

Orchestrating a song as old as rhyme
“Beauty and the Beast” features songs from the original animated film’s award-winning soundtrack by acclaimed composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. Complementing the score, the show also includes two of the new songs created for the live-action film by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice, “How Does a Moment Last Forever” and “Days in the Sun.” Enchanting arrangements and orchestrations by Matt Castle and Frank Galgano (“Into the Woods”) will bring a unique musical identity to the production.

Beloved songs like “Belle,” “Something There” and “Beauty and the Beast” will receive a musical makeover that reflect the show’s stylized approach, while songs like “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” will leap to the stage as joyful and exuberant production numbers. One of the most iconic songs in the Disney canon has been completely re-imagined for the stage. “Be Our Guest” is becoming a multi-course French dinner rooted in imagination and fantasy. Rousing choreography and dazzling visual effects will fill the stage during this full-fledged spectacle.

Unveiling the magic of the enchanted objects
Blurring the line between costuming and puppetry, costume designer Sarah Cubbage (Broadway’s “Skylight”) and puppet designer Lake Simons (“Etiquette Unraveled”) joined forces to give life to the enchanted objects of “Beauty and the Beast.” Beloved characters like Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth are realized in an unprecedented way, using innovative puppetry and elaborate costumes to bring these characters to life in their true scale.

“Beauty and the Beast” will debut during the Disney Dream voyage departing Nov. 6, 2017, joining a lineup of Broadway-style stage productions aboard the ship, including “The Golden Mickeys” and “Disney’s Believe.” The Disney Dream sails 3- and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line, visit Disneycruise.com

Crystal AirCruises Partners With Wine Spectator For 'Savoring The Winelands' Journey

Crystal AirCruises has announced a partnership with Wine Spectator magazine that will feature enhanced specialized programming for the 16-day "Savoring the Winelands" itinerary, departing on June 1, 2018. Aboard Crystal's fully customized Boeing 777, guests will journey to the world's most celebrated wine regions and be treated to tasting and educational experiences, inspired by Wine Spectator magazine. Expert sommeliers and renowned wine lecturers will accompany guests on this exciting journey, and conduct numerous special tastings throughout the trip. Wine connoisseurs from the lauded publication have also guided the selection of wine estates to be visited in the storied regions of Bordeaux, Champagne/Paris, Tuscany, Mendoza, Santiago and Cape Town. On board, wine lovers can expand their knowledge with sommelier-guided tasting sessions, as well as through certificate courses by Wine Spectator School. "Savoring the Winelands" in cooperation with Wine Spectator is the world's only private jet tour offering expert-guided in-flight wine tastings in the comfort of an expansive, on-board lounge and Skye Cellar.

The "Savoring the Winelands" Crystal AirCruise in cooperation with Wine Spectator is available for booking now. For additional information, visit crystalaircruises.com

During the journey, Crystal guests will explore the vineyards and surrounding cities of the regions with immersive experiences that include:
• Chianti tasting at 16th century Castello Della Paneretta Winery, dining at Michelin-starred La Torre, truffle hunting with the local Savini family, and exploring the surrounding landscape by Vespa in Tuscany, Italy.
• Exploration of Chateaux Margaux and Pomerol, a hot-air balloon ride over Saint-Émilion, and dining at Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsay's Le Pressoir d'Argent and Phillippe Etchebest's Le Quatrième Mur in Bordeaux, France.
• Roaming the vineyards and underground cellars of the Montagne de Reims, exclusive access to the Louvre and Palace of Versailles, and Michelin-starred dining at Le Fouquet's and Victoria in Champagne/Paris, France.
• Learning the art of blending at South Africa's Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate, and a cooking safari at Cape Malay that showcases local ethnic cuisines in Cape Town, South Africa.
"The specialized experiences planned for this Crystal AirCruises' journey are simply unparalleled. Our experts, along with the esteemed authorities recommended by Wine Spectator, have created a global travel adventure that will whet any wine and food lover's appetite for travel," says Crystal Chairman, CEO and President Edie Rodriguez.

Throughout the journey, guests will have access to further wine discoveries with editions of the magazine's tasting reviews aboard the aircraft, a dedicated Wine Spectator app on the personal iPad® devices included on board, and additional tastings in the spacious tasting lounge. In flight, guests will enjoy the extraordinary amenities of the well-appointed private jet, including Michelin-inspired cuisine and the renowned vintages within the expansive Skye Cellar, which will be stocked with wines relevant to the specialized itinerary. Aircraft operated for Crystal AirCruises by Comlux Aruba NV.

As it expands its reach to all luxury travelers across the globe, Crystal evolves to The World's Most Luxurious Hospitality and Lifestyle Brand Portfolio™. The newest and upcoming extensions of the celebrated Crystal brand include Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal River Cruises—The World's Most Luxurious River Cruise Line ™, Crystal AirCruises, and Crystal Exclusive Class™ with Crystal Residences.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Carnival Horizon's 2018 Inaugural Schedule to Include Series of Cruises from New York to Bermuda

Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the new Carnival Horizon will offer a series of 4-day Bermuda cruises from New York in spring and summer 2018, part of the ship’s inaugural season that includes previously announced voyages to Europe from Barcelona and the Caribbean from New York and Miami. The 4-day “long weekend” cruises will depart Thursdays and feature a full-day visit to Bermuda where guests can relax on the island’s legendary pink beaches, enjoy snorkeling, kayaking and other water sports, and visit historical landmarks such as Royal Naval Dockyard and Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere.

Five 4-day Bermuda cruises will be offered, departing May 24, June 21, July 19, Aug. 16 and Sept. 13, 2018. Including the five Bermuda sailings aboard Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line will offer 18 different voyages to the island in 2017-18 departing from five convenient East Coast homeports, including Baltimore, Charleston, New York, Port Canaveral, and Fort Lauderdale.

“Bermuda is a beautiful and sought-after destination and what better way to visit this breathtaking island paradise than on the spectacular Carnival Horizon,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “These visits to Bermuda are part of Carnival Horizon’s terrific inaugural schedule that also features top destinations throughout Europe and the Caribbean, providing our guests with opportunities to create wonderful and fun memories together,” she added.

Port-Intensive Itineraries from Barcelona, New York & Miami
Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean voyage from Barcelona, the first of four round-trip departures from this Spanish port. Other sailings from Barcelona include two 7-day cruises departing April 15 and 22, 2018, and a 10-day voyage departing April 29, 2018.

Carnival Horizon will then reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018. Carnival Horizon’s 2018 schedule from New York includes twelve 8-day cruises operating round-trip from the Big Apple May to Sept. 2018 and visiting Amber Cove (Dominican Republic), San Juan, and Grand Turk. Departure dates include May 28, June 5, 13 and 25, July 3, 11, 23 and 31, Aug. 8, 20 and 28, and Sept. 5, 2018.

Carnival Horizon will then shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of 6- and 8-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. The ship will also offer a special 2-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Onboard Innovations
Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Horizon will offer many of the hugely popular indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment, and activity options that debuted on Carnival Vista, currently the line’s newest ship. Among those is a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and a massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a water tube slide called Kaleid-o-slide. A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropical-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool. A variety of unique dining and bar concepts and spectacular outdoor spaces found only on Carnival Horizon will be announced in the near future.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for all of Carnival Horizon’s sailings from Europe and the U.S. For additional information, visit carnival.com.

Members of Carnival’s Field Sales Team ‘Take the Plunge’ to Benefit Maryland Special Olympics

Proving that Carnival employees will do just about anything for a good cause, Regional Vice President–Trade Sales Eastern US and Caribbean Kirk Neal and Business Development Directors Kathy Donnelly, Grace Ambrosia and Christine Schultz were among the thousands of individuals who braved the icy waters of Chesapeake Bay as part of the annual Polar Bear Plunge benefiting Maryland Special Olympics. Several of Carnival’s travel agent partners joined in the day of cold weather fun.

This marked the eighth year that Carnival has sponsored the event, which collects donations from individuals, groups and organizations pledging to “take the plunge.”

Participants ventured into the chilly waters at different intervals over the course of several hours, raising thousands of dollars for Special Olympics’ athletic programs for special needs children.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Canada 150 Cruise Honours First Nations History

A west-coast, spring expedition cruise on classic ships celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday with a twist: First Nations history of British Columbia’s Salish Sea takes equal billing with Canada’s Pacific history and the region’s natural wonders. It’s representative of the country’s current reconciliation and re-imagining of its relationship with First Nations.

The April 15-19, 2017 sailing is operated by Maple Leaf Adventures and Canadian Geographic. Shore trips in region’s beautiful geography are a major feature: from white-shell beaches that are actually historic middens, to spectacular views of the location of a US-boundary “war” that’s a hotspot for whales. The trip also highlights spring wildflowers, seabirds and marine mammals. The itinerary includes remote, natural and historic islands that are off the ferry routes, and the original Salish stories behind place names. Guides include naturalists and historians, including Penelakut elder Florence James.

The ships are historic ships with long BC-coast stories: an 88-foot converted tugboat and a 92-foot schooner. Local crew, gourmet food and diverse natural settings round out the experience. As an eco-tourism company, Maple Leaf Adventures wanted to recognize the ancient cultures of the coast in any trip celebrating Canada’s birthday.

"We are proud Canadians and we work with many First Nations along the coast whose knowledge of the place and whose intimate ties go back millennia; these cultures generously share their long heritage with us through their rich stories and art," said Kevin Smith, Maple Leaf's president. "As an ecotourism company, when people asked what we were doing for Canada's 150th, we could only answer with a trip that included 15,000 years of history."

Dates & prices: April 15-19, 2017, 5 days/4 nights from Cdn $2390 to $3872 plus tax per person, all-inclusive (approx USD $1780 to USD $2890). Departs from & returns to Victoria, BC. For information, see MapleLeafAdventures.com.

Grand Dame of Fashion Iris Apfel to Set Sail on Cunard’s 2017 Transatlantic Fashion Week

Luxury cruise brand, Cunard, has announced fashion royalty Iris Apfel will join its line-up of fashion icons set to sail onboard Queen Mary 2 for the cruise line’s second annual Transatlantic Fashion Week (Aug 31–Sept 7, 2017). At 95, Iris is a jet-setting celebrity known for her individual style and joyful flair. Featured in cutting-edge style campaigns for Macy’s, MAC, Kate Spade, Swarovski and other big-name brands, Iris has become renowned for her signature look of bold round glasses, oversized bangles and necklaces, and rich, flamboyant, colorful garments.

Over the course of Transatlantic Fashion Week, Iris will be presenting one Q&A session and will introduce a showing of ‘Iris,’ a documentary featuring fashion, creativity and her soaring free spirit. “I’ve lived quite a life of fashion and can’t wait to experience style at sea!” said Apfel. “I look forward to being inspired by the elegance and glamour of the occasion and life onboard, especially the formal nights on my voyage across the Atlantic.”

Headlining Transatlantic Fashion Week 2017 is designer Julien Macdonald OBE, who is joined by other prestigious names in style including fashion historian Colin McDowell MBE and consultant to the international fashion industry Gail Sackloff OBE as well as top models from Storm Model Management. Now heading into its second year, the unique fashion voyage invites guests to enjoy the glamour of the world’s only sailing ocean liner, Queen Mary 2, while being treated to seven days of runway shows, dinners and exclusive unveilings before sailing into New York for Fashion Week.

“The announcement of Iris Apfel joining Queen Mary 2’s 2017 Transatlantic Fashion Week exemplifies Cunard’s continued dedication to deliver unique and surprising experiences to our guests,” said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. “On themed voyages such as Transatlantic Fashion Week, guests experience a personalized sense of occasion while escaping and relaxing during seven days at sea.”

Following a recent $132 million remastering of the ship, Queen Mary 2 marks 176 years of heritage, echoing the height of British elegance and luxury associated with Cunard’s iconic fleet. Cunard’s Transatlantic Fashion Week will provide a rare and exclusive experience for discriminating guests, set within an art deco inspired interior. For more information about Cunard Line, visit Cunard.com.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Extends Sailings to Cuba Through December 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it will extend its offering of weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba aboard Norwegian Sky, the largest vessel sailing to Cuba, through December 2017. Together with the five previously announced cruises in May 2017, these 25 additional cruises, which start in June 2017, all feature an overnight stay in Cuba’s historical and culturally-rich capital of Havana.

“We are thrilled to be the first cruise line able to offer weekly sailings from Miami to Cuba through the fall of 2017, all with overnights in the beautiful city of Havana,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We have seen great demand from our guests for sailings to Cuba and we look forward to providing more opportunities for them to experience this incredibly culture-rich destination on a weekly basis.”

Norwegian Sky will sail 4-day roundtrip cruises from Miami each Monday, featuring an overnight in the capital of Havana as well as a call on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas. The ship will dock right in the heart of Havana, offering guests the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and listen to the vibrant local music scene; and visit with Cuba’s warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges. Norwegian will offer a selection of 15 half and full-day OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests aboard Norwegian Sky will have the opportunity to have a farm to table dining experience, explore the flora and fauna of Soroa, see modern Havana in an American classic car and much more.

Norwegian Sky’s sailings to Cuba will also feature a call to Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island destination in the Bahamas that was recently enhanced to offer guests exciting new ways to enjoy the island, with additional features to be added through summer 2017. Great Stirrup Cay is a private island paradise, with white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, watersports galore and lushly landscaped beachside cabanas available for daily rental for those who wish to have a more exclusive island experience.

Along with the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian Cruise Line can provide, guests sailing on Norwegian Sky will also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program. Norwegian Sky’s 4-day cruises to Cuba will open for sale on February 21. For additional information, as well as documentation requirements, Frequently Asked Questions and more, please visit NCL.com/cruises-to/cuba-cruises.

American Cruise Lines Announces Sponsorship of PBS’ Antiques Road Show

American Cruise Lines announced that it will be a national sponsor of PBS’ most-watched ongoing series ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. Now entering its 21st season, 14-time Emmy® Award nominated ANTIQUES ROADSHOW features antiques owners from across the country bringing in items to be appraised by the country’s leading antiques and collectibles experts. Each antique not only has value, but is intrinsically tied to our history. These are the stories that make the series special and what sparked the relationship with American Cruise Lines.

American Cruise Lines aims to provide a comprehensive cruise experience with the help of onboard experts, guided shore excursions, and vibrant ports of call. Through this relationship with ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, American Cruise Lines will continue to honor its commitment to education and enrichment.

“We are excited to embark on this relationship with PBS and ANTIQUES ROADSHOW,” says Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “The 8.5 million weekly viewers of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW and guests of American Cruise Lines have a common bond. They share a passion for American history and culture, which ultimately makes this sponsorship a perfect fit.”

American Cruise Lines offers over 35 itineraries ranging from 4 to 21 nights in length including the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast, and the entire Mississippi River system. American Cruise Lines also offers a number of theme cruises that highlight the rich history of the United States, including Mark Twain, Civil War, and Lewis & Clark cruises.

American Cruise Lines is the leading US cruise line, with the largest fleet of US ships. It offers more than 35 itineraries, ranging from 4 to 21 nights in length including the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast and the entire Mississippi River system. 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, visit americancruiselines.com.

Windstar Cruises Named Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation

Windstar Cruises and the venerable James Beard Foundation are building an unprecedented travel-culinary partnership in 2017. The just-announced, exclusive partnership will result in scrumptious bites at sea for cruise guests and raise awareness of the epicurean delights to be discovered in ports around the world where the leading small ship line sails.

“Our partnership as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation solidifies our goal to support culinary excellence and innovation, and be the world's best small ship cruise line in everything that we do. We're thrilled to offer our guests exclusive access to the Foundation's diverse roster of award-winning chefs and cross-cultural culinary leaders who will help chart a course for extraordinary new menu offerings and dining experiences featured daily across our fleet wherever we sail in the world," says Windstar President John Delaney.

Throughout 2017, the two organizations are expanding and elevating their relationship. As the exclusive cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, Windstar will be involved as a sponsor of the 2017 James Beard Awards in Chicago; JBF’s Taste America® events—a two-day affair in 10 different cities around the country including fundraising dinners and complimentary culinary tastings; the JBF Celebrity Chef Tour—a dinner series in more than 20 cities around the country; and Chefs & Champagne®—the James Beard Foundation’s annual summer tasting party in the Hamptons.

“The James Beard Foundation welcomes unique opportunities to celebrate the chefs, writers, and restaurateurs who advance both American and international culinary arts,” says James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro. “This Windstar partnership’s emphasis on innovation, superior service, intimate ambiance and the unique style of small ship cruising offers distinctive epicurean experiences while enjoying the cultures of France, Spain and Portugal.”

A hallmark of the partnership is a special themed food and wine cruise hosted by acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and author Hugh Acheson. Other major components include the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection, a series of cruises throughout 2017 featuring James Beard award winners and nominees. Additionally, cruise guests on every single sailing enjoy culinary demonstrations by Windstar chefs of James Beard Award-winning chef recipes, and the addition of James Beard Foundation Signature Recipes aboard all Windstar sailings.

Windstar is known for many things on its iconic small ships, such as personalized service, Watersports Platforms where guests can enjoy the ocean, and access to small intimate ports larger ships can’t possibly enter. The line is also respected for its culinary programs—sourcing local food where possible, bringing guests to local markets to shop with the chef, baking all breads on board daily, preparing meals to order, serving regional specialties that vary by destination, and simply providing better quality ingredients.

Cruise guests can expect a variety of unique James Beard Foundation programming including:
James Beard Foundation Signature Recipes: Each night aboard all Windstar sailings starting this summer, cruise guests will enjoy a James Beard Foundation recognized chef’s Signature Recipe on the menu. Possible menu items include Roasted Baby Beets with Tahini Vinaigrette from Chef Maria Hines or Seared Wild Striped Bass with Tomato Sage “Fondue” from Chef Michel Nischan.

Culinary Demos Powered by the James Beard Foundation: Windstar’s talented chefs will prepare James Beard Foundation recognized chef-created recipes during days at sea, as part of an interactive cooking demonstration followed by the best part: tasting.
Marquee Food and Wine Themed Cruise
James Beard Foundation Epicurean Explorations of France, Spain, and Portugal will take place on the 212-passenger, all-suite yacht Star Legend, setting sail August 15, 2017. Chef Hugh Acheson, winner of multiple James Beard awards and current “Top Chef” judge, will delight guests with dishes whipped up from local proteins and produce purchased at market, a hallmark of Windstar’s culinary program. Wines poured by Sommelier Steven Grubbs (who has worked with Acheson for almost 20 years) will be stars in their own right, while perfectly complementing the varied and delicious fare from Windstar’s chefs and Acheson. Guests will enjoy cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, featured dishes and wine pairings at dinner, as well as ample opportunities for one-on-one interaction.

An itinerary highlight for any wine or culture lover includes an overnight stay docked directly in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bordeaux, along with scenic cruising up and down the Garonne River glimpsing the chateaus and vineyards of the Médoc region. The cruise also includes a complimentary evening on the grounds of a private chateau in Bordeaux with the chance to wander through their cellars. Ample French appetizers (like plump local oysters) and, of course, fine local wines are all accompanied by the music of a string quartet.

A Series of Guest Chef Cruises—James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection
On several more sailings featuring Windstar’s diverse portfolio of destinations – including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean, Central America, and Tahiti—guests will have a chance to interact and taste creations from James Beard award winning and nominated chefs with the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection. Guest chefs will host an intimate cooking demonstration on board and will serve up a signature item in AmphorA, Windstar’s principal dining room. The intimate size of Windstar small ships allows for high touch interaction with guests and the culinary demonstrations and special menu items will charm guests on one sailing per month, beginning in May.

The expanded partnership builds upon the 2016 inaugural James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection that offered a series of three food- and wine-themed cruises hosted by JBF-celebrated guest Chefs Matt and Kate Jennings of Townsman in Boston, JBF 2016 Humanitarian of the Year Awardee Chef Michel Nischan, and Chef Maria Hines of Tilth and Agrodolce in Seattle. The epicurean themed cruises were applauded by Windstar’s guests, media and industry experts and as a result, the partnership is flourishing in 2017, bringing the best of travel and cuisine together for foodies everywhere to partake and enjoy.

For additional information on the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection and yacht-style cruising with Windstar, visit windstarcruises.com.