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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Carnival Imagination to undergo multi-million-dollar renovation that will add a variety of exciting dining and bar concepts

Guy’s Burger Joint, Cocktail Pharmacy-Themed Alchemy Bar,
BlueIguana Cantina Mexican Eatery, Among Diverse Array of New Shipboard Options
MIAMI – Carnival Imagination will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation that will add a variety of exciting new food and beverage concepts.
The new spaces will be added during a three-week dry dock taking place Sept. 4-25, 2016.   Following the makeover, Carnival Imagination will resume its year-round schedule of three- and four-day Baja cruises from Long Beach, Calif. 
Carnival Imagination at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
 The new additions will include:
·         Guy’s Burger Joint, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture
·         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
·         RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red 
·         Alchemy Bar, a  “cocktail pharmacy”-themed lounge where mixologists “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients with creative monikers like Forty is the New Twenty and The Restorative Basil Drop
·         BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool
·         Cherry On Top, the “sweetest spot on board” which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more

Celebrity Cruises rings (and sings) in the holidays with a spectacular Caribbean concert, starring Demi Lovato

Celebrity Cruises offers an unforgettable musical experience for guests and their
families bound to the Caribbean
MIAMI Pop! Fizz! Clink! Nothing says celebration like the pop of a champagne cork, and this year Celebrity Cruisesholiday guests can enjoy effervescent cocktails with a dazzling performance by pop sensation, Demi Lovato.

In the name of holiday cheer, the modern luxury cruise line will host an exclusive concert starring the award-winning singer and songwriter, just steps outside of Port St. Maarten, on December 28, 2016.

At Celebrity’s once-in-a-lifetime concert, guests and their families can relish in the upbeat, sultry sounds of the “Confident” songstress, in a vibrant Caribbean backdrop. The unforgettable experience will leave vacationers dancing, singing and celebrating the night away. This is the Celebrity Distinction.

Windstar wins gold for small ship cruising, best itinerary, and best excursions

Boutique Cruise Line Recognized in Travel Weekly Magellan Awards as Leader in Small Ship Cruising; Best Itinerary (Around Iceland); Best Shore Excursion (Destination Discovery); and Leading Marketing Campaigns (Star Promise)
Seattle, WA, September 27, 2016 — Boutique cruise line Windstar Cruises is thrilled to receive three Gold Magellans and one Silver Magellan in the 2016 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards which recognized the travel company as a leader in small ship cruising. Windstar also earned accolades for its winning shore excursions, inventive itineraries, and unique advertising and marketing campaigns.

Officially announced in the October 31 issue of the magazine, the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards honor the best in travel and salute the outstanding travel professionals behind it all. The awards are judged by a panel consisting of top-notch travel experts, bringing more weight to the award than the five-pound gold and silver statuettes that accompany the titles.

“I’m particularly proud of these awards, as they are all at the heart of our business and what makes us unique in the cruise industry,” said Windstar’s President John Delaney. “We are all about small ship cruising – focusing on unique destinations and itineraries that only a small yacht can access.

Norwegian Cruise Line heas up fall with "Endless Summer Free at Sea" promotion

Now through October 31, new cruise bookings in oceanview, balcony or mini-suite staterooms can choose two free offers and The Haven & Suites receive five offerings valued up to $2,800; additionally, holiday bonus of $100 onboard credit is being offered on new Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s sailings.

       There may be a chill in the air this October but Norwegian Cruise Line is inviting guests to make the most of Norwegian’s Endless Summer with an extended Free at Sea offer. From now through October 31, 2016, guests can choose from up to five free offers when they book a new cruise vacation, offering even more freedom, flexibility and value to those looking to enjoy a warm weather winter escape or a cultural holiday adventure. 

Queen Mary 2 remastered lauded with accolades and awards

VALENCIA, Calif. – Since re-entering service after her remastering in June 2016, Queen Mary 2 has received several accolades and awards which underline the success of the significant work completed on the Cunard flagship including:

Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships Guide 2017 awarded Queen Mary 2 ‘Top Large Resort Ship 2017’, ‘Most Luxurious Suites 2017’ and ‘Best Cruise Ship Spa 2017’
Cruise Critic’s 2016 Editors’ Pick awarded Queen Mary 2, ‘Best Cruise Ship Refurbishment’
Town & Country Magazine’s 2016 Cruise Awards awarded Cunard ‘Best for Onboard Activities, Mainstream Luxury’ and Queen Mary 2 ‘Best for Pet Lovers, Mainstream Luxury’

“Today we are proud not only of our great flagship Queen Mary 2 and the enhancements from over one-million man hours during the refurbishment, but we are also proud of the crew and staff who continue to deliver the highest standards of Cunard’s famed White Star Service,” said Richard Meadows, President, Cunard North America.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Fun, fun, fun in the Caribbean sun with Carnival Cruise Line

   Out to Sea for October 1/16

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Turquoise waters, coral reefs, exotic blooms, cooling trade winds and bright sun with clear skies make the Caribbean the top warm-weather tourist destination in the world.
   There are 33 island nations – each with their distinctive culture and customs – making up this tropical paradise that’s easily accessible.
   Cruise ships are a great way to take in these sun-drenched lands, lapped by the azure waters on their white sand beaches with palm trees swaying in the breeze.
Parking your ship -- the Carnival Pride -- right at the beach (Jim Fox photo)
    The Caribbean – east, west and south – is, not surprisingly, the world’s most popular cruising region, says Terry Thornton, senior vice-president, fleet deployment at Carnival Cruise Line.
   He notes as well the “world-class beaches, excellent dining and shopping opportunities and unforgettable landside experiences,” that ship passengers have the opportunity to explore at each port.
   Carnival is the Caribbean cruise leader with 20 of its 25 ships operating in the region on a year-round or seasonal basis and carrying millions of guests.
   After Americans, Canadians make up a good percentage of passengers.
The Carnival Pride tied up at the pier in Grand Turk. (Jim Fox photo)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Princess Cruises' “3 for Free” Sale is back and better than ever

Guests Can Enjoy Free Stateroom Location Upgrade, Free Gratuities and Free Onboard Spending Money

NTA CLARITA, Calif. (Sept 7, 2016) – Princess Cruises is a special deal during the3 for Free” cruise sale for guests booking select six to 60-day Cruises or Land & Sea Vacations sailing from Summer 2017 to Spring 2018.

The “3 for Free” cruise sale includes:
  • Free stateroom location upgrades - enabling guests to get the best preferred stateroom available within that stateroom type for the lowest possible fare
  • Free onboard gratuities
  • Free onboard spending money - up to $300 per stateroom

In addition, the cruise sale features a low $100 per guest refundable deposit.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

“Celebrity Distinction” makes sailing the glistening waters of the Mediterranean a one-of-a-kind experience

The most awarded modern luxury brand in Europe adds more sensational sailings to their iconic European lineup, and introduces new unforgettable onboard activities 

MIAMI – September 06, 2016 – Gaze at the sapphire-blue waters of the Mediterranean; explore Europe’s most iconic cities; sample local, seasonal ingredients; and soak in the warm sun and breathtaking sunsets onboard a Celebrity Cruises ship.

The modern luxury cruise line, which has been named best cruise line in Europe*[i] for six consecutive years, has added more Mediterranean sailings for 2017, and is bringing distinct experiences to guests through a variety of new onboard activities and culinary indulgences.

In 2017, Celebrity will offer 40 unique itineraries in Europe, 109 Uniquely Celebrity Shore Excursions in the region, and 61 overnight stays in 19 different European cities. This is the Celebrity Distinction

Two new 180,000-ton Carnival Cruise Line ships will be largest for the company and first in North America to run on liquefied natural gas

Agreement with Shipbuilder Meyer Turku Marks Return to Shipbuilding in Finland
For World’s Most Popular Cruise Line

            MIAMI (September 6, 2016) – As part of a new multi-ship order announced today by Carnival Corporation & plc, Carnival Cruise Line is scheduled to take delivery of two new 180,000 gross-registered-ton cruise ships in 2020 and 2022 which will be the largest in the fleet of the world’s most popular cruise line.

           Both ships will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas under Carnival Corp.’s exclusive “green cruising” design and will mark the first time an LNG-powered cruise ship is based in North America.
            The two ships, with an approximate passenger capacity of 5,200 based on double occupancy, are being constructed by Finnish shipbuilder Meyer Turku at the company’s Turku, Finland shipyard.  The agreement represents a return to shipbuilding in Finland for Carnival Cruise Line for the first time in 12 years. The company has 12 ships in its current fleet that were constructed in Finland, including its eight Fantasy-class ships and four Spirit-class ships.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First steel cut for Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw Statendam

Construction begins on second Pinnacle Class ship due for delivery in November 2018

Seattle, Wash., July 12, 2016 — Holland America Line celebrated a significant construction milestone today as the first steel was cut for ms Nieuw Statendam, due for delivery in November 2018. The ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, and the block being built there will later be moved to the Marghera yard where the ship will be constructed. Holland America Group’s Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations Keith Taylor was at the yard for the event.

The 99,500-ton ship — the 15th in the fleet — is the second Pinnacle Class vessel for Holland America Line, joining sister-ship ms Koningsdam that sailed its first cruise in April 2016. The steel cutting follows a period of design and development for the 2,650-guest ship that will feature enhanced Pinnacle Class amenities and innovations.

Carnival Miracle to operate 14-day Alaska cruise round-trip from Long Beach in September 2017

Week-Long Adventure to Visit Seven Majestic Alaskan and Canadian Destinations, Including Line’s First-Ever Call at Breathtaking Icy Strait Point

MIAMI (August 24, 2016) – For the first time, Carnival Cruise Line will offer a 14-day Alaskan adventure round-trip from Long Beach, Calif., in September 2017 featuring seven spectacular destinations, including Glacier Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the line’s first 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 one-of-a-kind voyage -- part of the line’s Carnival Journeys cruise enrichment series -- will take place aboard Carnival Miracle departing Long Beach Sept. 2 and returning Sept. 16, 2017.

In addition to a full-day sailing Glacier Bay and Carnival’s inaugural call to Icy Strait Point, the 14-day cruise will feature the stunning Alaskan ports of Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka, as well as Vancouver, British Columbia. Each of these destinations offers a rich history and culture, along with awe-inspiring natural wonders, including calving glaciers, magnificent fjords and native sea and animal life. A wide range of exciting shore excursions – from helicopter flightseeing and rainforest canopy tours to hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions, and alpine lake snorkeling  – will be available. 

Sixthman celebrates 15 years of festivals at sea

August 17, 201

  Guests invited to LIVE LOUD with cabin giveaways, live streaming performances
and more
during Sixthman Day – August 30
Join the party at Sixthman.net/sxmday and Sixthman’s Facebook Page

Atlanta, GA – SIXTHMAN — the industry leader in music festivals at sea — is celebrating fifteen years of setting the stage for moments that make life rock, and guests are invited to get in on the vacation action! As the pioneers of the themed cruise experiences, Sixthman tears down the walls between fans and bands, allowing guests to set sail on vacation together with their favorite artists. Beginning today, guests can enter to win one of seven 2017 spring sailings at Sixthman.net/sxmday. Prizes include cabin giveaways for The Outlaw Country Cruise, Turner Classic Movie Cruise, Walker Stalker Cruise, Pitbull After Dark Party, Sail Across The Sun, 2017’s sold-out 10th Edition Cayamo and the sailing that started the music festival at sea movement, The Rock Boat!

On August 30th, the same day The Rock Boat made its inaugural sailing in 2001, Sixthman is throwing open its digital doors and welcoming guests to join them in the celebration. Tune in to Sixthman’s Facebook Page between 10am and 4pm eastern where there will be live streaming meet & greets with the Sixthman crew members, sharing vintage videos and photos and announcing cabin giveaway winners every hour. In addition, hit songwriter and Cayamo alumni artist Chuck Cannon will offer up a special Sixthman Sessions performance live streaming around 2:30pm eastern in celebration of the company’s 15th anniversary.