Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Carnival Cruise Line & Carnival Corp Donate $250,000 To Aid Organizations For Louisiana Flood Relief

As we have seen in the past—when they have come to the the aid of homeports and nearby communities in times of need—cruise lines are good neighbors. Carnival Cruise Line and its parent company, Carnival Corporation, are coming to the plate again by giving a total of $250,000 to charitable organizations to support their efforts on behalf of victims of the Louisiana floods. The cruise line is donating $125,000 and its parent company is matching that amount through its Carnival Foundation charitable arm.

Recipients include the American Red Cross, Louisiana Association of United Way,s and Save the Children. In addition, guests sailing on Carnival cruises from New Orleans have the option to donate when they check in for their cruise and Carnival employees are being encouraged to donate, as well.

“Having homeported Carnival ships in Louisiana for more than two decades, we very much consider ourselves a part of the community and, therefore, it is extremely important to us to provide aid to support the tens of thousands of Louisiana residents who have been affected by these devastating floods,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The American Red Cross is sheltering thousands of residents displaced by the flooding in southern Louisiana and delivering food, relief supplies, and emotional support to flood victims. Donations to the Louisiana Association of United Ways will be dispersed among regional United Way organizations in communities affected by the floods to support long-term needs. Save the Children has deployed an emergency response team to Louisiana and is focused on meeting the critical needs of flood affected children and families and moving forward will be working to restore services essential to children’s well-being.

Carnival is Louisiana’s most popular cruise line and has operated from the Port of New Orleans since 1994. Carnival is the only line operating two year-round ships, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Dream, carrying 450,000 guests from the port annually. Since 2004 Carnival has embarked over 3 million guests from New Orleans.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

All Aboard For An Eastern Caribbean Family Cruise on the Disney Fantasy

Our good friend Georgina Cruz shares that, “Like Mickey Mouse and Peter Pan, who were often seen doing meet-and-greets with guests in the ship’s atrium, another “character” our family loves—Mother Nature—would have felt right at home posing for photos and signing autographs aboard the Disney Fantasy on our seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailing. If she had been there in her white flowing robe and laurel leaf crown, hobnobbing with Snow White, it would have made the perfect poster for our voyage, as it had both magical and natural aspects for three generations of our family: my husband Humberto and me, our daughter Veronica, son-in-law Kyle, and grandsons Aidan, 15 and Julian, 12.”

Join Georgina and Humberto’s multi-generational family to discover the joy they experienced on their Disney Fantasy Cruise.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Celebrity Cruises' Andrej Malic Sets Sail for One of the World's Best Bartender Competitions

With the Rio Olympics drawing to a close, there's another competition ongoing that you might want to follow—the battle to become one of the world's best bartenders. Last week, Andrej Malic of Celebrity Cruises beat out competition from thousands of cruise line bartenders from three of the world's leading cruise lines to be crowned one of the best bartenders at sea.

All the cruise line bartenders who took part in the competition were put through a series of heats in what was the biggest year yet for WORLD CLASS, before the three finalists mixed it up and were judged by a panel of the industry's elite experts in the deluxe Diageo 396 Bar in Miami.

Andrej prevailed throughout the competition with his outstanding showmanship and innovative cocktail creation and technique, particularly with his signature serve 'Old Spice Fashion' featuring BULLEIT Bourbon, which you can make at home by following the recipe below.

Andrej's signature 'Old Spice Fashion'

Ingredients:
1.5 oz BULLEIT® BOURBON
0.25 oz Allspice Dram Liqueur
0.75 oz Honey syrup
2 drops of Tiki bitters
1 bar spoon of crème de Yvette
A dash of Peychaud's bitter

Recipe: Add all ingredients in a mixing glass, stir to dilution and strain into double old fashioned glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with expressed grapefruit zest.
Andrej, 27, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, will proceed to represent cruise line bartenders at one of the leading and most respected contests of its kind in the world—WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Competition in Miami on Sept 25-29, 2016. He will compete there against 59 of the world's best bartenders for the coveted 'World Class Bartender of the Year' title.

A leading bartender on board Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Millennium, Andrej said, "This is without doubt the best moment of my career to date. I'm hugely delighted and grateful to be recognized by the WORLD CLASS competition and to have won. I've been inspired and challenged by many talented bartenders over the last few weeks and I'm really looking forward to using the skills and knowledge that I've developed to represent Celebrity Cruises and all cruise line bartenders at the grand final of the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Competition."

There's no word on whether the cocktail's aroma is similar to that of the famous men's Old Spice after-shave. We'll just have to make it at home to find out.

Image Courtesy Diageo

Friday, August 19, 2016

Silversea Plans Multi-Million Dollar Fleet Refurbishment

Luxury cruise line Silversea is planning the biggest fleet-wide refurbishment in its history, worth $170 Million. This investment is not aimed at simply maintaining Silversea’s high levels of excellence, but to reaffirm the company’s commitment to exceptional standards of guest comfort and timeless elegance.

Silver Whisper, host to the iconic World Cruise, will undergo a refurbishment that will take place by the end of 2016. Largely influenced by feedback from past World Cruisers—proving that Silversea guests truly are at the heart of the company operations—2017 World Cruisers will be the first guests to experience the fresh feel of understated glamour with which the brand has become synonymous.

The luxury suites will be refurbished and the bathrooms outfitted with dark emperor marble flooring. Public spaces will be the key beneficiaries of the revitalization, where a freshly tiled pool and new chaise lounges will add comfort and style to open air spaces. Dining areas at The Restaurant and La Terrazza will be re-surfaced with plush new carpet and elegant hard-wood parquet respectively, and will each receive new furniture, echoing the theme of contemporary glamour throughout the ship. Finally, Silver Whisper’s communications hub is set for a major overhaul with the addition of two satellite antennas, vastly improving Internet speeds on board and enabling guests to take full advantage of the new, interactive TVs and on demand movies available in every suite.

The refurbishment program extends to Silver Wind during her dry dock scheduled for October 2016. Once again, refurbishment of furniture and furnishings and technology upgrades that include interactive TVs and on demand movies complete the contemporary, yet understated levels of luxury in every suite. Additionally, the concept restaurant La Terrazza and the flagship Main Restaurant will both have new flooring installed. The pool deck will undergo a complete rip-and-replace approach to one of its aesthetic jewels, the exceptional teak flooring. This will reinstate the deck area, more akin to a luxury yacht than a cruise ship, while reaffirming Silver Wind’s status as a timeless classic within the Silversea fleet.

Beyond the Classic fleet, Silver Discoverer will also benefit from this investment in 2016, also entering dry dock this October. While service and suite presentation will be held strictly to Silversea’s high standards, it is in the public areas of this Expedition vessel where guests will see the most visible changes. The Restaurant will be remodeled with a lighter, more contemporary color palette and the popular pool grill area will receive new furniture. The Discoverer lounge will go through a transformation from breakfast venue to a sophisticated lounge in which to relax, read, and reflect on the day’s excursions. Silversea continues to augment the expedition experience to the benefit of its guests, and this is illustrated with further investment in new AV technology in the Explorer Lounge and new furniture from which to enjoy the lectures and briefings in unbridled comfort.

“We are thrilled to be moving ahead with these major refurbishments and look forward to welcoming guests aboard and sharing our unique vision of ultra-luxury cruising, both in terms of service and physical environment”, said Manfredi Lefebvre, Chairman of Silversea. “We pride ourselves on being the reference when it comes to ultra-luxury cruising and this investment reflects our long-term commitment in this regard toward our ships, our guests, and our crew.”

Silversea is committed to the continued evolution and progression of elegance at sea, a commitment that will continue to be driven by, and at the service of its guests. Further fleet-wide refurbishment will be revealed in the coming months.

Image Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Seabourn To Offer Spa & Wellness Programs With Integrative Medicine Pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil

Noted for its innovative onboard programming, luxury cruise line Seabourn has created a fleet-wide mindful living program offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental, and spiritual well-being. The new Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program will be the first-ever of its kind at sea. The new program will be led by the newly established position, The Wellness Guide. The Guide, will be a certified yoga and meditation practitioner who will inspire and educate all guests through various complimentary classes and gatherings throughout the voyage. Guests who choose to participate in this new program will have a cruise experience that is further enhanced by a holistic mind and body perspective.

"This new wellness program will offer our guests an experience they simply won't find anywhere else in the industry," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "By partnering with Dr. Weil, a pioneer in integrative medicine, we will deliver an even greater degree of mind and body programs that ensure you can break away, relax and rejuvenate while you travel with us. We're eager to share the full slate of offerings as a part of Seabourn Encore's inaugural sailing as another component of the Extraordinary Worlds of Seabourn."

The program is scheduled to kick off with Dr. Weil sailing on Seabourn Encore's inaugural cruise in January 2017. The program will be rolled out throughout the entire Seabourn fleet in 2017, including Seabourn Ovation in spring of 2018. Dr. Weil will sail on a different Seabourn ship each year where he will deliver a 60-minute lecture for guests and will also offer smaller informal group discussions. A separate team of wellness experts will also make regular visits to spa facilities throughout the Seabourn fleet.

Central to the program is the daily practice of meditation and yoga through a selection of complimentary sessions. Guests can experience Mindful Meditation, which will introduce positive affirmations and mantras they can reflect on throughout the day. There will also be daily restorative yoga classes which will continue to focus upon the mantra and positive affirmations. Yoga classes will be varied, offering guests the ability to choose classes that focus on various physical issues, such as yoga to heal back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment, as well as yoga to enhance creativity, mental focus and happiness. Classes will focus on mind, body and spirit over a period of seven days, and will change daily with a new theme.

Integral to the wellness program are enriching complimentary Mind and Body seminars designed to educate guests on philosophies and practices that are aligned with the program's mission. Each presentation will aim to empower guests with ideas and practices that enhance well-being and increase the awareness of connection between mind, body, environment and wellness. Seminars are created by Dr. Weil and Steiner's Wellness professionals, many of which will be based upon Dr. Weil's teachings, and will explore the fields of the healing arts.

On board seminars include:
• Spontaneous Happiness & Spontaneous Healing: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's best-selling books.
• Anti-inflammatory foods: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's nutritional guidance.
• Healthy Aging: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's research in this area.
• Introduction to Mindful Meditation: learn what happens to the body and mind during meditation.
Individualized one-on-one wellness sessions on select topics will also be available for a fee.

The launch of the Mind and Body Wellness Program with Dr. Andrew Weil deepens the already wellness-focused Seabourn spa program that offers a wide range of body massages, facials, fitness and beauty treatments. Lending itself to the program is the powerfully aromatic Thai Poultice massages that use the traditionally prepared steamed herbs of Camphor, Kaffir Lime, Prai, Turmeric and Lemon Grass in muslin poultices to melt away stress and tension, or nourishing desecrated Coconut that nurtures the body with soothing fats and lipids. Guests will also find Deeper than Deep Hot Stone Massage, Bamboo Massage and Freestyle Massage to engage their minds and bodies.

Seabourn Encore Pool Deck Image Courtesy Seabourn

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Frozen, A Musical Spectacular" Set Sail Aboard Disney Wonder

It's the height of summer and hot, hot, hot, so let's think about something really cool. For the "first time in forever," the animated hit "Frozen" is getting the Disney Cruise Line theatrical treatment as a new stage show exclusively aboard the Disney Wonder. "Frozen, A Musical Spectacular" debuts, along with a wave of new enhancements to the ship, on cruises starting Nov. 10, 2016, from Galveston, Texas. The story will be presented with an innovative combination of traditional theatrical techniques, modern technology, and classic Disney whimsy, completely unique to the Disney Wonder production.

"We're so excited to bring 'Frozen, A Musical Spectacular' to the stage of the Walt Disney Theatre on the Disney Wonder. The production is going to delight each one of our guests because it's a story for absolutely everyone in the family," said Jim Urry, Vice President, Entertainment, Disney Cruise Line.

"Frozen, A Musical Spectacular" will follow the adventures of royal sisters Anna and Elsa as they embark on a journey to discover the meaning of sisterhood, inner strength and true love. Fans of the film and newcomers alike will be enchanted by favorite characters brought to life onstage along with beautiful renditions of the movie's iconic music. The show features dynamic costumes and sets, remarkable special effects, and spectacular production numbers that will delight Disney Cruise Line guests in new and surprising ways. The creative disciplines blend to create a seamless environment—blurring the lines between costume and scenic, set piece and video, puppet and puppeteer—and expand upon the most imaginative elements of the film.

"The story of 'Frozen' is one of the most iconic animated movies ever, so this is a unique and special opportunity to retell the story onboard the Disney Wonder, transporting guests right into the world of Arendelle," said Kevin Eld, Creative Portfolio Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. To adapt this blockbuster animated feature into a quintessential stage production, Eld assembled a team of distinguished creative talent with Broadway credits and theatrical accolades.

The 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre provides the perfect setting to immerse audiences in the kingdom of Arendelle and showcase the renowned score. Songs like "For the First Time in Forever" and "Love is an Open Door" will be expanded into ensemble pieces, and the film's wintry wizardry will be realized in lavish production numbers of "In Summer" and "Fixer Upper." A stand-out moment, the emblematic ballad "Let it Go" will be transformed into a full-fledged stage spectacle. Complete with real-life magic—transformative scenery, snow flurries and state-of-the-art video technology—this show stopping number will bring Elsa's enchanted icy blasts to reality like never before.

"Frozen, A Musical Spectacular" is based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios "Frozen," which is the number one animated feature of all time. The acclaimed film earned two Academy Awards (2014) for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. An entirely separate two-act Broadway production of "Frozen" is currently being prepared by Disney Theatrical Productions and is slated to join Disney Theatrical's New York productions of "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" for spring 2018 at a theater to be announced. It will have a pre-Broadway engagement starting in summer 2017 in Denver.

Image Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Country Music Stars & Comedians Join Carnival LIVE's 2017 Lineup

Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival LIVE, the one-of-a-kind entertainment experience that brings the best in live music and comedy to the seas, will feature country music stars Tim McGraw and Little Big Town along with comedians Jay Leno and Jeff Foxworthy who will perform on seven different ships departing from five convenient U.S. homeports in 2017.

Providing guests an opportunity to enjoy top artists in a unique and memorable setting where there’s never a bad seat in the house, performances are held in the ships’ main show lounges that range in capacity from 900 to 1,300—giving shows a more intimate and personal feel.

Three-time Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw will bring his signature brand of country music to two Carnival ships with performances aboard Carnival Breeze March 2, and Carnival Valor March 3, while the ships are docked in Nassau, The Bahamas. Platinum recording artist Little Big Town will perform shows in Nassau aboard Carnival Dream May 11, and Carnival Valor May 12. The recipients of nine Country Music Association awards, the chart-topping band has earned a loyal following for their unique mix of harmonies and incredible musical talents.

One of the most successful comedians in the country, Jeff Foxworthy is the largest selling comedy recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy Award nominee, and author of 11 books. Famous for his “you might be a redneck if…” jokes, his comedy explores everyday family interactions and human nature. Foxworthy will perform two shows—one aboard Carnival Freedom June 21, and another aboard Carnival Ecstasy June 22, while the ships are docked in Nassau. A member of the Television Hall of Fame and a longtime host of NBC’s Tonight Show, Jay Leno will entertain guests with his observational humor with a pair of hilarious performances in Cozumel aboard the Carnival Victory May 3, and Carnival’s newest ship the Carnival Vista May 4. Leno plays upwards of 200 shows a year and currently hosts “Jay Leno’s Garage” on the CNBC network.

Carnival LIVE tickets for Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Jeff Foxworthy, and Jay Leno range in price from $30 to $80 for general admission, significantly less than land-based venues. VIP tickets are available for $100 to $300 and include seating in the first five rows, a photo opportunity with the artist and a commemorative concert pass. A full listing of all Carnival LIVE performances is available at carnival.com/CarnivalLIVE.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sleepless in America: Princess Cruises' Relaxation Report

Dr Breus & Candice Olson
Are you often tired in the middle of the day because you didn’t get a good night’s rest? From politics to work stress, Americans need today’s National Relaxation Day more than ever. According to Princess Cruises’ seventh annual Relaxation Report, Americans are using valuable vacation time for things unrelated to vacation such as catching up on sleep and running errands.

When it comes to catching more shut-eye, a majority of working Americans (72%) take at least one day off a year just to sleep, and two out of five Americans (40%) take five or more days off per year (a full work week), just to catch up on sleep according to the recent survey by Wakefield Research for Princess Cruises.

If they are not using their vacation time to sleep, many Americans are trying to get things done. In fact, 68% of Americans admit they’ve used a vacation day for something other than vacation including family emergencies (37%), doctor’s or dentist’s appointments (36%), sick days for their children or loved ones (31%), home projects (23%) and running household errands (23%)—compared to 2015, when 54% said they had done so. Sadly, it’s no wonder Americans are so tired, vacation time has become hard work.

In observance of National Relaxation Day, it’s time for Americans to let go of the guilt and stress they feel when trying to relax, especially when on vacation. Forty-three percent of Americans admit they frequently feel guilty for relaxing, holding steady from 2015. Ninety-one percent of working Americans say they look forward to sleeping while on vacation, but it appears that the stresses of everyday life are getting in the way of a good night’s sleep on vacation. More than a third (35%) of working Americans, including half (50%) of Millennials, often feel more stressed when they’re on vacation because they can’t stop thinking about work. The lack of sleep is even getting in the way of leisure activities with nearly half of Americans, including 65% of Millennials, admitting they frequently skip events or activities on vacation because they’re simply too tired.

As one of the world’s leading cruise lines, Princess Cruises, is committed to ensuring its guests come back from vacation feeling refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. As part of its Come Back New Promise Princess Cruises partnered with leading experts in both the science and beauty of sleep to develop the new Princess Luxury Bed. Together with sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and designer Candice Olson, Princess Cruises now delivers its guests the ultimate night of sleep at sea.

“Sleep and relaxation should be a guilt-free necessity every person should seek in their day.” said Dr. Michael Breus, board-certified sleep expert. “We all want to get the sleep we need while on vacation, but sometimes being in a new place and sleeping in an unfamiliar environment will disrupt a good night's sleep. This is why I’ve partnered with Princess Cruises to design a luxury mattress and sleep program that will deliver the most restful, rejuvenating sleep at sea.”
• Stressed Coast to Coast: Stress levels are high on vacation in every region except one. Working Americans in the Northeast (43%), West (42%) and South (33%) are significantly more likely to feel more stressed on vacation because they can’t stop thinking about work than those in the Midwest (21%). It’s clear that Midwesterners have no problem relaxing. Most agree (67%) that they never or hardly ever feel guilty about relaxing, compared to an average of only 54% across other regions (Northeast, South and West).
• Men vs. Women: When it comes to the differences between the sexes, working women are far more likely (48%) than men (39%) to feel guilty about taking the time to relax. However, among the Americans who take at least one day off per year to catch up on sleep, men take more days than women—8 versus 7, on average.
• Redefining Digital Detox: The role of technology and smartphones seems to have shifted from a source of stress to a source of relaxation over the last couple of years. In 2016, 53% of Americans feel their smartphone makes it easier, rather than harder, to relax, compared to 2014 where 52% felt it made it harder.
• Political Pressures: This year has taken political stress to the next level from the U.S. presidential election to the U.K.’s historic Brexit. In fact, when it comes to Trump vs Hillary, more than half of Americans (54%) say Trump is more likely to keep them up at night, with Hillary a close second at 46%.
However, Americans aren’t the only ones in need of a political pause, as 61% of those polled felt that the United Kingdom, rather than Rio de Janeiro (39%), was in most need of a National Relaxation Day this year.

Images Courtesy Princess Cruises

Friday, August 12, 2016

Zumba Goes Back to Sea

After a successful sold-out sailing in 2016, dance-fitness leader Zumba is teaming up with Royal Caribbean International for the second year in a row to host the Zumba® Cruise. Setting sail from Miami on April 23, 2017, the 5-night Zumba Cruise on board Navigator of the Seas will feature exclusive Zumba activities and experiences, and visit Nassau, Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico.

Throughout the cruise, guests will experience Zumba® at an entirely new “sea-level,” with daily Zumba-themed classes as well as master classes taught by Zumba creator Beto Perez and more than 50 additional celebrity Zumba instructors. All classes will be filled with live music to the beats of celebrity DJs and live musicians. In addition to burning calories (and having fun while doing it), vacationers can enjoy more than 20 live music concerts with some of the hottest artists, soak up the sun, relax and take advantage of the ship’s signature amenities, which include ice skating, rock climbing, nightlife, the casino, a variety of dining venues, the Vitality Spa and Fitness Center, and running track.

“We have been overwhelmed with requests to bring back the Zumba Cruise because the experience with Royal Caribbean was truly one of a kind and a wild success,” said Zumba CEO, Alberto Perlman. “With new destinations, new experiences and new opportunities on Royal Caribbean, we are truly excited to offer our guests and their families another opportunity to have the vacation of a lifetime and a chance for Zumba fans around the world to celebrate and dance together outside of the class setting.”

Travelerss and Zumba fans alike can mark their calendars now and take advantage of the sun while they torch calories at sea. For more details, visit zumba-cruise.com.

Image Courtesy Zumba

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cruise Ships "Star" at Rio Olympics

If you've been watching the Olympics on television (and who hasn't?) then you've probably seen two of our favorite cruise ships on tap for the games. While Silversea's Silver Cloud  (pictured at left) is offering luxurious accommodations for the United States men's and women's basketball teams, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Getaway (below) is on hand to house Olympic corporate sponsors and members of the International Olympic Federation and national organizing committees in style.