Greetings to the many thousands of readers the past month from across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as Russia, France, Germany, Japan, China, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Princess Cruises elevates Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria

 Newly Designed Menu, Decor and Handmade Pasta Dishes from Chef Angelo Auriana

Fleetwide Enhancement First to Debut Aboard Caribbean Princess

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (April 7, 2017) – Celebrating the cruise line’s Italian heritage, specialty restaurant Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria has been delighting millions of Princess Cruises guests with traditional and innovative cuisine since it first debuted aboard Grand Princess in 1998. Nearly 20 years later, Princess Cruises today unveiled a fleetwide enhancement to its signature restaurant in collaboration with acclaimed Italian Chef Angelo Auriana.

Introducing a fresh new design and menu featuring antipasti and handmade pasta dishes from Chef Auriana, as well as family recipes curated from Italian Princess executive chefs across the fleet, the transformed Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria debuts aboard Caribbean Princess following a multi-million-dollar drydock. Recognized as one of the “Best Specialty Restaurants at Sea,” the Sabatini locations on Caribbean Princess and Grand Princess will offer the new inspired menu this April, with the newly refreshed menu coming across the fleet in the coming months.

Chef Auriana, Executive Chef and partner at the authentic Italian restaurants, The Factory Kitchen and Officine BRERA, in Los Angeles, is inspired by fresh Northern Italian flavors and childhood roots from his hometown of Bergamo.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring refurbishment will refresh and refine Cunard’s Queen Victoria

VALENCIA, Calif., March 15, 2017 -- Cunard continues its unwavering commitment to offering guests unparalleled travel experiences with the announcement of Queen Victoria’s refit this May.

 The highly revered ship will be taken out of service on May 5, 2017 to undergo thoughtfully designed enhancements costing more than $40 million at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Italy and scheduled for completion on June 4, 2017.
Britannia Club Stateroom Rendering
The elegance, history and nostalgia of Queen Victoria’s art deco past will remain, while refurbishments will usher this regal ship into a new, updated chapter.

Areas of focus will include the introduction of Britannia Club balcony staterooms and dining for the first time, with a dedicated new restaurant, as well as the refreshing of all Britannia staterooms.

In addition, the ship’s majestic Grand Suites and Deck 8 aft Penthouse Suites will be completely redesigned, and a new Chart Room bar will be introduced.

Caribbean Princess to undergo multi-million-dollar renovation

Cruise Ship to Debut Family-Friendly Features with Additional Food and Beverage
News to be Announced

NTA CLARITA, Calif. (March 16, 2017) – Caribbean Princess will undergo an extensive two-week drydock in Freeport, Bahamas, March 26-April 6.

She will emerge from a multi-million-dollar renovation with new offerings appealing to families, including Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center, upgraded Movies Under the Stars, Princess Luxury Bed and interconnecting staterooms, just in time for the upcoming Europe summer and fall Caribbean seasons.

The cruise ship will also be wired for the Ocean Medallion launch that will be available for the 2018 summer Caribbean season.

With new amenities catering to families, Caribbean Princess not only provides comfort and technology to stay connected but enriching experiences that can be shared together as a family or in our new Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center – all renovated with the goal of helping our guests create lifelong memories,said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sí cruceros Cuba son caliente, caliente, caliente

   Out to Sea for March 11/17

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Cruising to Cuba is more than just a trip to the beach.

   That’s because U.S. homeported cruise lines – in order to receive permission to sail to the once off-limits Caribbean nation – must prove these are “cultural and humanitarian exchanges.”

   Now that the strict embargo by the U.S. for cruisers has been lifted, Cuba has become a hot, hot, hot destination.
Cruisers can now visit the vibrant port city of Havana, Cuba.

   Canadians have freely visited the Communist island nation that’s been stuck in a time warp since the 1959 Cuban Revolution, but not usually by cruise ship.

   Now, lines are scrambling to add Cuba to their ports of call.

   “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.

   Bob Binder, president and CEO of Oceania Cruises, said there has been “tremendous demand from consumers for voyages to Cuba and our inaugural voyages to the island have been a sell-out success.”

   Other cruise lines that have recently announced new or expanded sailings include Azamara and Norwegian.
Vibrant sunsets are seen in the Caribbean en route to Cuba. (Jim Fox photo)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Princess Cruises announces fourth ship to debut Medallion Class Ocean Vacations

Island Princess to Set Sail in May 2018 on the Next Wave of Vacation Travel in Alaska

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 17, 2017) – Princess Cruises, the #1 cruise line in Alaska, announced today 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. 

Oceania Cruises to make Fall 2017 voyages to Cuba

(News Release)

MIAMI, FL, February 15, 2017 – Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, announced an additional series of journeys to Cuba in the autumn of 2017.

Ranging in length from six to thirteen days with departures from Miami in November and December, these voyages include the line’s first calls to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, in addition to Havana. These new itineraries will open for reservations today, February 15, 2017.

“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.”

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cunard presents 2017 Westminster Kennel Club “Best in Show” winner with Transatlantic crossing on Queen Mary 2

(News Release)

First-time Sponsor Cunard Offered White-Gloved
“Doggie” Tea Service to Four-legged Attendees

VALENCIA, Calif., February 15, 2017 -- 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.
Cunard presents Rumor, a German shepherd, winner of Westminster Kennel Club’s “Best in Show,” and her family, Kent Boyles, Daniel Oster, Maria Oster and Liz Oster, left to right, with a sailing on Queen Mary 2 during a photo op in New York’s Times Square, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Cunard, a first-time sponsor of the Westminster show, is the only passenger liner to carry pets across the Atlantic on its signature Transatlantic Crossing. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Cunard/AP Images)
Rumor will have an opportunity to take his place in history among celebrity dogs who have sailed with Cunard including Elizabeth Taylor’s pampered pooches and Hollywood film star Rin-Tin-Tin.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announces order for next generation of ships

Company contracts with Fincantieri S.p.A. to build four new ships
with option for additional two

MIAMI, Florida – February 16, 2017 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH; together with NCL Corporation Ltd., “Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings”, “Norwegian” or the “Company”) today 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.

UnCruise Adventures fills more glasses with updated Wine Cruise in 2017

Small ship river cruise line adds additional wine themed sailings

Seattle, WA, February 16, 2017—New year, more wine. UnCruise Adventures  introduces an updated wine itinerary aboard the 88-guest S.S. Legacy with additional departures for 2017. Week-long river cruises depart round-trip from Portland, Oregon, along the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers and explore one of the country’s most renowned wine regions.

The updated "Rivers of Wine" itinerary adds a day of wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, an area with more than 500 wineries and known for world-class Pinot Noir. A visit to the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center has also been added.

With seven departures scheduled between April and October, oenophiles visit wineries and vineyards in five leading Washington and Oregon wine regions—Walla Walla, the Columbia Gorge, Red Mountain, Columbia Valley and the Willamette Valley. A sommelier and local wine expert sail aboard the ship for a week of special wine tastings, pairings, and presentations.

Canada 150 cruise honours First Nations history

(News Release)

Royal Canadian Geographical Society, First Nations Elder and Maple Leaf Adventures join forces to host cruise

A spring expedition cruise on classic wooden 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.

Cruising Gulf Islands (Greg Shea photo

Holland America Line named ‘Best Overall Cruise Value’ by World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society for record-breaking 24th year

Premium line also lauded as tops in High-Deluxe, 5-Star-Plus, Large Ships category

Seattle, Wash., Jan. 11, 2017 World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society members named Holland America Line the Best Overall Cruise Value 2016 for the 24th consecutive year in the organization's annual Best Cruise Value Awards. Holland America Line once again also received top marks in the High-Deluxe, 5-Star-Plus, Large Ships category in recognition of its premium cruise experience.

WOCLS members are experienced cruisers who take an average of two cruises a year. The society reviews all cruise lines annually, and in its monthly Ocean & Cruise News publication noted, "When we consider the consistency of the product over the years, something that is hard to achieve, the cruise line in 2016 that we continue to feel offers the very best cruise value, and is awarded our Best Overall Cruise Value award for 2016, is Holland America Line."

"This was an incredible year for Holland America Line with the introduction of ms Koningsdam, and we continue to raise the bar across the fleet with new innovations while ensuring that guests experience why cruising is the best vacation value," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line.

"We are humbled that World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society once again honored us with these awards, and we thank everyone for recognizing that we provide memorable cruise experiences in unique ways."

Havana, Cuba to be featured on select Carnival Paradise cruises from Tampa starting in June 2017

Reservations Now Being Accepted for Carnival’s First-Ever Visits to the Historic Cuban Capital

MIAMI (February 14, 2017) – 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.