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Monday, October 30, 2017

"Life's a beach again in most Caribbean cruise ports/destinations

   Out to Sea for Oct. 28/17


   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers/websites

   They’re working on “island time” across the Caribbean to get hurricane-damaged ports of call open again for business.
   While the expression is “one of those delightful double entendres,” in this case it means time well spent in a place that refreshes the spirit and cleanses the soul.
   That’s the situation after the devastating blows by two hurricanes but the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) reports the “vast majority of Caribbean ports are open and welcoming tens of thousands of daily cruise passengers.”
Life’s still a beach at most places across the Caribbean including Magens Bay. (Jim Fox photo)
   More than 80 ports are open while four – St. Croix, San Juan, St. Martin and St. Thomas – were “most seriously affected” and are the most significant to popular cruise itineraries.
   It’s in everyone’s best interests to get things back to somewhat normal across the region as the Caribbean is the world’s leading cruise destination.
   Recovery is happening very quickly due to widespread efforts and the people there, said Arnold Donald, chair of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and ceo of Carnival Corp.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Azamara Club Cruises announces expansion with Azamara Pursuit

(News Release)

MIAMI, September 26, 2017 – Azamara Club Cruises®, the upmarket cruise line subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship,” said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises®.
Azamara fleet

“Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them.”

Cunard will add fourth ship to its fleet

(News Release)

 Investment underpins the company’s continued growth ambitions for world’s most iconic fleet
New generation of ship announced on 50th anniversary of launch of legendary QE2

 VALENCIA, Calif., September 25, 2017 - Luxury cruise brand Cunard today announced it is adding a fourth ship to its fleet. This investment is part of the company’s ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally.

Carnival Corporation & plc – the world’s largest cruise company and parent of the Cunard brand – has signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A., Italy, to build a new ship that will join the Cunard fleet in 2022.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Canadian Maritimes named safest port in the world for cruisers

   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media Newspapers/Websites

   Out to Sea column for September 9/17

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   In a world where tensions are rising, cruise travellers are looking for a safe haven.
   Canadians don’t have to search too far as a survey finds Canada’s Maritimes is the safest cruise destination in the world.
   “This peaceful corner of Canada offers bucolic pastures, exceptional seafood and scenery galore,” writes Chris Gray Faust, senior editor of the Cruise Critic website.
A young fiddler entertains the cruise ship crowds at Peggy’s Cove, N.S. (Jim Fox photo)
   She acknowledges that cruises do go to places “that some consider risky,” such as European capitals, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
   Even Alaska has the risk of bears but her list of the safest cruise destinations is “where you can leave most of your worries behind.”
   Cruise vacations are among the safest but even so, today’s “safe haven may be tomorrow’s ugly headline,” she commented.
   The Maritime provinces are downright friendly with many ports such as Charlottetown, Saint John and Halifax being small, and some, such as Sydney, Nova Scotia, having local greeters meet the ship.
   The biggest risk in this part of the world is “falling in love and not wanting to leave,” she suggests.
   The list of seven safe cruise ports continues with the Baltic in second place.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sailing, sailing with small-ship pleasures, distinctive service and ports

   Out to Sea for July 8/17

   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media Newspapers/Websites
   One size doesn’t fit all in these days of huge mega-floating resorts.
   More cruise passengers are opting for “small-ship” cruising with dozens, not thousands, of their “closest friends.”
   They’re looking at voyages with a few fellow passengers up to several hundred, not multiple thousands that disgorge boatloads of visitors all at once at private islands and ports of call.
   These ships include the Tugboat MV Swell for 12 guests and the Schooner Maple Leaf for eight, both from eco-tourism Maple Leaf Adventures of Victoria, B.C., to expedition ships, riverboats and yachts.
Smaller-than-mega ships are able to tie up in Hamilton, Bermuda’s downtown instead of going to the Royal Naval Dockyard at the outskirts. (Jim Fox photo)
   Forget, also, the crowds onboard lined up at the Lido Buffet, dining rooms, shows and packed shore excursions.
   Largest at sea is Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas that can carry a maximum of 6,687 guests and 2,193 crew members.
   Interest in travelling onboard ships with a smaller passenger capacity is on the rise among travellers,” says Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Friday, May 5, 2017

Ferrari track, Dr. Seuss Waterworks, Star Wars all onboard

   Out to Sea for April 29/17

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox
    Postmedia News/Sun Media

   Get your motor runnin’ and head out on a cruise ship.
   In the category of “what will they think of next,” Norwegian Cruise Line will have a Ferrari racetrack on the top deck of its newest ship.
   Go for the checkered flag on Norwegian Joy on a “thrilling” two-level racetrack in the middle of the ocean – the first ever at sea.
   In partnership with Scuderia Ferrari Watches, the zoom, zoom fun on electric go-carts will be on the soon to-be-unveiled 3,850-passenger vessel targeted at the Asian market.
Norwegian Joy will have a “thrilling” two-level racetrack on its top deck.
   Up to 10 drivers will be able to race each other on the course and have photos taken at the finish line.
   That’s not all.

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.”