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Friday, December 28, 2012

Norwegians catch the upgrade wave


Offer includes free balcony upgrades, reduced deposits and an e-coupon book worth more than $300 in on-board savings

MIAMI – December 10, 2012 – Norwegian Cruise Line is launching “The Upgrade Wave” sales event today to celebrate the start of Wave Season, the best time of the year to book a cruise.

Through February 28, 2013, guests who ride the upgrade wave can book a balcony stateroom for the price of an oceanview stateroom or an oceanview stateroom for the price of an inside stateroom on any Norwegian ship in any destination.

Every new reservation will also receive $300 worth of e-coupons to use on board towards spa treatments, personal training sessions, discounts in the casino and more, plus reduced deposits on all sailings of three days or longer.

Carnival Corporation & PLC reports fourth-quarter and full-year earnings


(News Release)

MIAMI (December 20, 2012) – Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced non-GAAP net income of $98 million, or $0.13 diluted EPS, for the fourth quarter of 2012. Reported U.S. GAAP net income, which included net unrealized losses on fuel derivatives of $5 million, was $93 million, or $0.12 diluted EPS. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $217 million, or $0.28 diluted EPS. Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 were $3.6 billion compared to $3.7 billion for the prior year.
Non-GAAP net income for the full year 2012 was $1.5 billion, or $1.88 diluted EPS, compared to net income of $1.9 billion, or $2.42 diluted EPS, for the prior year.  Full year 2012 U.S. GAAP net income was $1.3 billion, or $1.67 diluted EPS, which included the non-cash write down for Ibero Cruises’ goodwill and trademark assets of $173 million. Revenues for the full year 2012 were $15.4 billion compared to $15.8 billion for the prior year.

Serenade of the Seas has three-week revitalization


New Dining Options and Entertainment Concepts Introduced Onboard

MIAMI, December 10, 2012 –Royal Caribbean International’s Serenade of the Seas has
reemerged from its three week $29 million drydock at Navantia Ship Yard in Cadiz, Spain, with
a host of new dining concepts, entertainment options and technology advancements originally
introduced to industry-wide acclaim aboard Oasis-class ships.

Serenade of the Seas, a Radiance-class ship, is the eighth ship overall to undergo revitalization
since the line announced an extensive revitalization program in 2011 which will leave no ship untouched.

Carnival Glory is renovated with a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 features

MIAMI -- The Carnival Glory last month had an extensive, multi-million dollar renovation that added an array of exciting on-board spaces, from a new burger venue developed by Food Network personality Guy Fieri and a pair of tropics-inspired poolside watering holes to a “cocktail pharmacy”-themed lounge called the Alchemy Bar.
Carnival Glory’s new dining, bar and entertainment options are part of Fun Ship 2.0, a $500 million product enhancement initiative that is being rolled out across the Carnival fleet.
Carnival Glory is into a winter schedule of seven-day Caribbean voyages.  In June 2013, the ship will reposition to Boston for a series of four- and five-day Canada voyages before heading to New York for four- to seven-day Canada/New England departures through October.

Princess Cruises “Inspired to Cruise” blog chronicles more reasons to cruise

Five More Stories Tell Romantic Tales, Look at Cruising with and without Children
and Celebrate a Lifetime of Travel

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 11, 2012) – Princess Cruises’ blog, “Inspired to Cruise: A Year of Reasons to Get Away From the Everyday” has chronicled an additional five reasons to cruise, offering a new selection of romantic and endearing passenger stories about the many motivations for travelers to choose to vacation at sea.

The most recent stories include tales from cruisers who met at sea and because of that saw a cruise as the perfect place for a honeymoon or a 50th anniversary celebration. Bloggers found cruising the perfect vacation with the kids … and without. And a family enjoyed cruising as a way to keep up their lifetime of traveling.

Choose your theme: Photography, marine biology and kids in nature

Un-Cruise Adventures Adds Themes To Select Sailings
In Hawaiian Islands and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés in 2013

Seattle, WA, December 18, 2012 –Adventure travelers with a passion for marine biology, photography, or with young kids in tow, can choose a theme cruise catering to their interest this winter.  Un-Cruise Adventures adds themes to ten sailings in the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés.

Photography and marine biology theme cruises include an expert guest host on board for the week. Special presentations will be held in the lounge and guests are free to interact with the guest host throughout the week aboard the boat or on excursions. One-on-one time allows for questions to be answered and hands-on help with photography.

Norwegian Cruise Line recognized with two Travel Weekly Reader's Choice Awards

MIAMI – December 19, 2012 — Norwegian Cruise Line has received two 2012 Reader’s Choice Awards from Travel Weekly, an influential news resource in the travel industry, for the second year in a row. 
At the 10th annual awards, held December 13, 2012, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, Norwegian was recognized with the award for “Best Overall Cruise Ship” for Norwegian Epic and “Best Travel Agent Program” for NCL University, the line’s comprehensive travel agent education and resource program. This is the second consecutive year that Norwegian has been honored with these awards.

Princess Cruises reveals final reason on “Inspired to Cruise” Blog

Year of Reasons to Cruise Culminates with Reason #52: “To Escape Completely”

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 27, 2012) – Princess Cruises today revealed the final passenger story on its blog, "Inspired to Cruise: A Year of Reasons to Get Away From the Everyday" (www.InspiredToCruise.com). The last post personifies the line's brand promise to help its passengers "escape completely."

In the story "My Yearly Retreat to 'Escape Completely,'" Patricia Mengel of Brighton, Michigan shares how each day of her cruise she is able to let go a bit more from her busy job as a cardiac medical assistant. Even her patients know about her yearly cruise to let go of work stress and come home feeling refreshed and renewed. 

Three-day sale: Get $100 to spend on board Norwegian Epic


Norwegian Cruise Line is launching its “Norwegian Epic Bonus Days” 3-day sale on Sunday, December 30, 2012, giving guests have the opportunity to receive $100 on board credit, regardless of stateroom category, when they book any Norwegian Epic cruise vacation of six days or longer.

Guests who take advantage of this limited time offer and book a cruise through January 1, 2013, can use the credit towards an array of once-in-a-lifetime shore excursions in the Caribbean or Europe; treatments in the ship’s award-winning Mandara spa; dinner in any of Norwegian Epic’s delicious specialty restaurants, and much more.

Additional savings such as free upgrades, AARP and Military discounts and up to $1,000 in air credits are also available on select sailings.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cruising for the holidays, a festive time at sea



   Out to Sea for Dec. 22/12

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   There’s nothing like a cruise around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays for some festive fun.
Hula dancers put on a Christmas performance for cruise ship guests on Holland America’s Zaandam. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Rather than escaping, it’s even better when family groups sail together to enjoy all the festivities that are in high gear at this time on the high seas.
   Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year’s Eve, couples, families and extended groups pack cruise ships as they choose to combine the holidays with a vacation.

   Mele Kalikimaka
  
We’ve sailed on a few holiday cruises either before or after Dec. 25 so we wouldn’t be away from the family at Christmas.
   That’s still a great way to enjoy many of the seasonal activities and sights onboard.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Disney Cruise Line prepares for inaugural season from Miami; Canadian cruise deal extended‏

(Photographer:  Kent Phillips)
Captain Mickey Mouse has officially kicked-off the countdown for the arrival of the Disney Wonder to Port Miami  with a Disney-style unveiling of a larger than life banner proclaiming "See You Real Soon."

When the Disney Wonder arrives in Miami on Dec. 23, 2012, it will mark the first time a Disney Cruise Line ship has home-ported in South Florida.

Disney Cruise Line will sail from Miami on a variety of itineraries to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean, with most cruises taking guests to Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

Carnival Breeze officially named during ceremony at PortMiami

Distinguished South Florida Philanthropist Tracy Wilson Mourning, Founder of
Honey Shine Mentoring Program, Officially Named Ship During Invitation-Only Ceremony


            MIAMI (Dec. 10, 2012) — The official naming ceremony for Carnival Cruise Lines’ new Carnival Breeze took place Saturday, Dec. 8, at PortMiami. Serving as the ship’s godmother was Tracy Wilson Mourning, founder of the Miami-based Honey Shine mentoring program, who initiated the breaking of the traditional bottle of champagne on the ship’s hull during the invitation-only event.

            Following its inaugural season in Europe, the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze began sailing year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami Nov. 24, becoming the largest Carnival Cruise Lines ship ever based in South Florida.

Silversea's Galapagos expedition cruises now open for booking


Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has opened the books for its 2013 and 2014 Galápagos programs.

Its year-round schedule of 7-day expedition voyages aboard the 100-guest, all-suite Silver Galapagos will begin operating in late September 2013 featuring the following options:  

Western Itinerary: Sailing Saturday to Saturday roundtrip from Baltra Island, Silver Galapagos will trace a path across the western, southern and eastern islands, including  Santiago, Bartolomé, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, San Cristóbal, and Santa Cruz.

 North Central Itinerary
Sailing Saturday to Saturday roundtrip from Baltra Island, this itinerary encompasses the northeast, central and southeast islands of Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Seymour Norte, San Cristóbal, Española, and Plazas Sur.

Royal Caribbean announces new all-inclusive beverage packages



Guests Can Combine Specialty Dining Packages for an Ultimate Culinary Experience
 
MIAMI, December 13, 2012 – Royal Caribbean International is furthering its commitment to total guest satisfaction by expanding its existing onboard beverage program to include two new packages that will streamline and enhance the onboard guest experience.

The cruise line is introducing two new beverage packages – Classic and Premium, which will allow guests to pay one price at the beginning of their cruise vacation and enjoy a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at greater savings and convenience for the duration of their voyage.

Complementing the new beverage packages are specialty dining packages that allow guests to pre-book the cruise line’s signature restaurants at an incredible value.

Carnival is hosting a contest asking fans to transform a space in their home or office to win a cruise

ADDITIONAL DESIGN DETAILS UNVEILED FOR CARNIVAL SUNSHINE, LINE’S LARGEST SHIP TRANSFORMATION PROJECT EVER
 
            MIAMI – Carnival Cruise Lines unveiled additional details of the $155 million makeover that will transform Carnival Destiny into Carnival Sunshine during a 49-day dry dock in Italy.

The ship will re-enter service in April 2013 with all of the dining, bar and entertainment elements of the line’s groundbreaking Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program, along with several exciting new features.   

            Among the new highlights are a new racing-themed water park featuring Carnival’s longest water slide, the tropical-themed Havana Bar, a full-service Asian restaurant, and more.  

Miami artist David "Lebo" Le Batard unveils his design for Norwegian Getaway's hull

MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line announced that popular Miami modern artist and muralist David “LEBO” Le Batard has been commissioned to paint the signature hull artwork for Norwegian Getaway, launching in January 2014.
At an event held at LEBO’s Wynwood studio, the company also revealed the hull artwork, which features a whimsical tropical ocean theme complete with a mermaid holding the sun, pelicans and palm trees, befitting the ship’s year-round home port of Miami.  

Happy Anniversary Queen Victoria

11 December 2012 – Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria celebrates her fifth anniversary today, as five years ago she departed on her Maiden Voyage from her homeport of Southampton – a day after being named by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall with HRH The Prince of Wales in attendance.

Since then she has sailed over half a million nautical miles, called at 196 ports in 63 countries and carried almost 250,000 guests, many of whom enjoyed the experience so much that they have travelled many times with the ship already. In all, 20,300 bottles of champagne – enough to fill six Olympic-size swimming pools – have been drunk and 9,125,000 cups of tea and 1,460,000 scones have been served since 11 December 2007!

“Season of Savings” brings cruise deals to Princess Cruises

Discounts of Up to $1,000 Available on Cruise Vacations to Alaska, Europe, Hawaii and the Caribbean

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 12, 2012) – The holiday season is also a “Season of Savings” at Princess Cruises as the line launches a new sale on cruises that runs from December 13 to 21.  Passengers can take advantage of cruise deals with savings of up to $1,000 per person plus up to $100 onboard credit per stateroom.

The “Season of Savings” cruise sale includes some of the line’s most popular cruise destinations, including the breathtaking scenery of Alaska, intriguing European destinations such as the Greek Isles and British Isles, plus the fun in the sun of Hawaii from Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as Caribbean cruises from both Ft. Lauderdale and Galveston.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Katie Couric surprise NYC moms affected by Sandy


Norwegian invites Katie’s audience to join the exclusive inaugural sailing of Norwegian Breakaway, the line’s newest ship sailing year-round from New York City starting in May 2013
 MIAMI – December 19, 2012 — Norwegian Cruise Line has invited all audience members and their families from today’s episode of Katie Couric’s talk show, Katie, onboard the exclusive inaugural sailing of the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, over Mother’s Day weekend, May 10 – 12, 2013. 
                        In the “Katie Gives Back: Holiday Extravaganza,” the talk show’s audience included 150 New York-area mothers who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.  During the grand prize giveaway, Norwegian Breakaway’s godmothers, the legendary Rockettes®, presented the audience with the cruise giveaway which will include a weekend of spectacular dining, entertainment and fun, as the best of New York sails to sea aboard Norwegian Breakaway.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Celebrity Cruises' gift cards go further this holiday season



Limited time offer doubles the value of premium cruise vacation gift giving

MIAMI Celebrity Cruises is offering an irresistible deal for consumers in the U.S. and Canada eager to give the gift of a premium cruise vacation this season, with the “Double Your Gift Card Holiday Offer.”

When a Celebrity Cruises Gift Card is purchased during the month of December, the modern luxury brand will double the value up to $500 when the card is used to purchase a cruise by January 31, 2013.

With more than 450 sailings to choose from, featuring destinations around the world, Celebrity Cruises offers something for everyone on consumers’ gift lists, whether it’s Caribbean island hopping, plying the historic waters of the Old World, adventure-seeking Down Under or taking in the sheer majesty of Alaska.

Silversea introduces new Silver Privilege fares and guarantee program

(News Release)
 
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is rolling out new Silver Privilege fares on all voyages, effective now. 

Silver Privilege fares are structured to make the cruise buying decision easier by offering guests one simple low fare for their desired suite.

These new cruise-only fares will reward guests who book early with the best possible fare and the privilege of being able to select their desired suite when the best inventory is available. They are easy to understand, so consumers know exactly what they are paying for.

In addition, guests will still be able to customize their entire vacation with Silversea's optional air, transfer, hotel and land programs. With Silver Privilege fares, guests pay only for the vacation components they desire. 

Variety Cruises invites Canadian travelers to experience the sights and sounds of Cuba

NEW YORK – The wonders of Cuba await with Variety Cruises’ new Sights and Sounds of Cuba itinerary starting December 21.

This seven-night voyage explores this island’s rich history, classic colonial architecture, virgin beaches and lush landscape by small ship, an ideal way to experience this “untouched” Caribbean island gem known for its vibrant music and cultural mystique.

Canadian passengers can experience Cuba up-close and personal aboard the Panorama three-masted sail cruiser. Renovated in 2009, this intimate ship accommodates up to 49 passengers in just 25 cabins. Amenities include two bars, a large sundeck, two lounges, a library and elegant dining room. The swimming platform on the Panorama stern enables guests to swim when weather and anchorage conditions permit.

Carnival Corporation & PLC declares special dividend

(News Release)

            MIAMI -- Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) has announced that the board of directors declared a special dividend of $0.50 per share, which is in addition to its previously announced regular quarterly dividend of $0.25 per share already scheduled to be paid December 14, 2012.  For the special dividend, the board approved a payment date of December 28, 2012 based on a record date of December 7, 2012.
            Commenting on the special dividend, Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, stated, “This additional dividend is in keeping with our previously stated strategy of returning excess free cash flow to shareholders.  Looking forward, we remain committed to increasing shareholder returns through a combination of dividend distributions and opportune share repurchases.”

Azamara Quest exits drydock with refreshed spaces and new blue hull


 
MIAMI – Azamara Quest, the first of Azamara Club Cruises’ twin boutique ships to undergo refurbishment, recently emerged from an eight-day drydock – complete with a refresh of all public spaces and staterooms and a new “Azamara Blue” hull.

Named for the cruise line by Navantia Shipyard, the unique navy-blue color tone of Azamara Quest’s hull adds to the elegance of the ship’s silhouette.

M life and Crown & Anchor Society members enjoy recognition and perks on land and sea

 MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL AND ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S NEW RELATIONSHIP DELIVERS GREATER BENEFITS, ACCESS AND VALUE TO LOYALTY PROGRAM MEMBERS
 

MIAMI and LAS VEGASRoyal Caribbean International (NYSE/OSX: RCL) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) have announced a strategic relationship that will deliver extraordinary benefits to members of the hospitality companies’ loyalty programs – Crown & Anchor Society and M life.

The new relationship allows both companies to strengthen customer loyalty by providing more access and rewards at MGM Resorts’ world-renowned destinations in Las Vegas, Detroit and Mississippi and on Royal Caribbean’s fleet of the world’s most innovative cruise ships that sail to exciting destinations worldwide.

Carnival Imagination to Operate Three- and Four-Day Cruises from Long Beach Beginning in January 2014

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES EXPANDS WEST COAST SHORT CRUISE PROGRAM
 
MIAMI (December 19, 2012) – Carnival Cruise Lines will expand capacity on the West Coast with the introduction of year-round three and four-day cruises on the 2,052-passenger Carnival Imagination from Long Beach, Calif., beginning January 26, 2014. 
The move will bring the total number of Carnival ships operating from Long Beach to three and further solidify the line’s position as Southern California’s largest cruise operator.
Carnival Imagination will offer three-day cruises to Ensenada, Mexico, departing on Thursdays and four-day voyages to Catalina Island and Ensenada departing on Sundays.  The vessel’s sister ship, Carnival Inspiration, will continue to offer a similar program from Long Beach with three-day cruises departing on Fridays and four-day cruises on Mondays.

The Duchess of Cornwall meets her double on Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria

                            Her Royal Highness’ Visit Marks the Ship’s Fifth Anniversary
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall unveils a specially commissioned portrait of her by Royal artist
Richard Stone during fifth anniversary celebrations aboard Cunard Line's Queen Victoria.

 13 December 2012 – Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall came face-to-face with her own image today in Southampton, England, when she unveiled a specially-commissioned portrait of herself on board Queen Victoria, the Cunard liner named by The Duchess in December 2007.  Her Royal Highness made a special return visit to take part in celebrations marking the ship’s fifth anniversary.

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness joined us for such a special day in the life of the ship and her crew,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.  “Queen Victoria is very much The Duchess’ ship, and we are honoured that she continues to have such an active interest in the ship and her crew.”

Norwegian announces 2014/2015 Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida itineraries from five homeports

Line also unveils Canada & New England, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera and Transatlantic/Repositioning cruises
 
MIAMI – December 18, 2012 – For the ultimate in sun and fun, Norwegian Cruise Line today announced its deployment for the fall and winter 2014/2015 season with eight contemporary ships sailing to the Caribbean and Bahamas & Florida from five homeports: Miami, New York, Tampa, Houston and New Orleans. 

Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Pearl will set sail from Miami.  Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Gem will continue to depart from New York.  Norwegian Sun debuts in Tampa while Norwegian Dawn will be introduced to New Orleans. As previously announced, Norwegian Jewel will set sail from Houston.

The line will also increase its seven-day Mexican Riviera sailings from Los Angeles and a series of Panama Canal voyages between Los Angeles and Miami.  All of these cruises go on sale December 18, 2012 and can be booked in conjunction with the line’s “The Upgrade Wave” sales event.

Princess Cruises reveals Royal Princess youth and teen centers



Young Cruisers Can Enjoy Expanded Space and More Features


Royal Princess youth centers will include new outdoor lounge and play spaces.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 18, 2012) – Even the youngest passengers will enjoy the many special features aboard Princess Cruises’ new Royal Princess when the ship debuts in June. Today the line revealed the amenities just for kids and teens that will wow younger cruisers aboard the new ship.

Royal Princess will offer expanded space for youth centers that adds a new level to the onboard experience for young passengers. All age groups will find more space with dedicated outdoor areas, including a new teen lounge. Toddlers can also join the fun with a special fun area just for kids under 3.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Celebrity Cruises celebrates naming of Celebrity Reflection



Four company employee-Godmothers join senior executives in formal ceremony

MIAMIDecember 3, 2012 – Modern luxury brand Celebrity Cruises has formally named the fifth in its five-ship Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Reflection.

Presiding over the ceremony December 1 were the ship’s four Godmothers – all employees of the company whose lives have been touched by breast cancer: Celebrity Reflection AquaSpa Manager Jovanka Goronjic; Solstice Class Hot Glass Show Artist Megan Mathie; shoreside Community Relations Manager Helen O'Connell; and shoreside Special Events Manager Rosey Rodriguez.

Each took the stage with Chairman & CEO Richard D. Fain, Celebrity's President & CEO Michael Bayley, and Celebrity Reflection Captain Nicholas Pagonis, together with three of the Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection's sister ships, in a naming ceremony tradition unique to Celebrity.

Disney Cruise Line unveils itineraries and ports for 2014

Homecoming for Disney Magic Gives Guests More Opportunities to Visit Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay

CELEBRATION, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2012) – The white sand beaches and azure waters of Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, take center stage in the early half of 2014 voyages for Disney Cruise Line.  With all four Disney ships sailing from Florida ports, not only will guests have more options to visit Castaway Cay, but they may combine their cruise with a visit to Walt Disney World Resort and experience the expanded Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.

In the early part of 2014, the Disney Magic will return to Port Canaveral, Fla., joining the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, while the Disney Wonder will homeport in Miami. During this time, guests will have more opportunities than ever to enjoy a Disney cruise that visits Disney’s private island in the Bahamas reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, Castaway Cay.

More vacationers worldwide can enjoy the DreamWorks experience on Royal Caribbean

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH DREAMWORKS ANIMATION
MIAMI, Dec. 04, 2012 – Vacationers of all ages will have more choices to join in the high-seas hijinks of Pandas, Ogres, Lions, Dragons and other beloved characters with a knack for adventure and comedy.

Royal Caribbean International and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NASDAQ: DWA)  today announced the extension of their groundbreaking alliance, as well as the expansion of The DreamWorks Experience to a sixth-ship, Mariner of the Seas, when she arrives in the Far East in May 2013.

The DreamWorks Experience was first launched aboard Allure of the Seas in November 2010, with beloved character Princess Fiona of the “Shrek” franchise inaugurating the ship as godmother, and continues to impress guests and receive accolades.

Princess Cruises will set sail from Port of Houston cruise terminal

Historic First Cruise to Salute U.S. Veterans
Princess Cruises will launch new service from the Port of Houston beginning in 2013 when it starts sailing from the state-of-the-art Bayport Cruise Terminal.

Princess Cruises and the Port of Houston Authority confirmed an agreement Nov. 15 for the line to make passenger cruise calls during the 2013-2014 cruise season at the port’s cruise facility.

The new service is scheduled to begin in November of 2013. A total of 26 departures are planned for the season.

Norwegian kicks off holiday season with display at Radio City Music Hall in New York

NEW YORK – Norwegian Cruise Line has kicked off the holiday season with a Norwegian Breakaway interactive exhibit in the Grand Lounge of New York’s historic Radio City Music Hall, featuring a 1:100 scale model of the 4,000 passenger ship.

Guests attending the show have the opportunity to tour the exhibit to view the model and learn all about the ship’s unique attributes, entertainment, dining, destinations and more.

Norwegian also launched its “Spectacular Sweeps,” giving Radio City Christmas Spectacular attendees a chance to win a cruise, for a family of four, onboard Norwegian Breakaway, the largest ship to homeport year-round from New York City beginning May 2013.

Designated the “Official Cruise Line” of the Rockettes, Radio City Music Hall and the “Official Partner” of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Norwegian Cruise Line takes center stage during every Radio City Christmas Spectacular performance.

Princess Cruises offers new Asia cruise opportunities



Diamond Princess to Sail from Singapore on Special Itineraries in Fall 2013

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (November 27, 2012) – Princess Cruises has just announced two special new Asia cruise opportunities, offering unique itineraries that explore some of the most alluring ports in the region. 
 
Departing in October and November 2013 aboard Diamond Princess, these 10- and 11-day Asia cruises sail roundtrip from Singapore, taking in some of the best of Southeast Asia’s ports of call, including Bangkok, Bali, Nha Trang and Phuket, as well as two ports not usually visited on Diamond Princess itineraries – Penang, Malaysia and Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

InnerSea Discoveries offers “Alaska Unleashed” un-cruise adventures

 Promises High Action, Bold Adventures Via Expedition Boat
Guests receive a $100 shipboard credit when booked by January 11, 2013

Seattle, WA – Bushwhacking in Alaskan backcountry, a glacier trek and extended kayaking in ice-filled fjords and wilderness bays are on the menu for outdoor enthusiasts eager to discover Southeast Alaska’s remote beauty on an adventure cruise with InnerSea Discoveries.

On three Alaska Unleashed departures in summer 2013, the Wilderness Adventurer guest capacity is slashed from 60 to 36 guests for an amped up week of high adventure. Guests booked by January 11, 2013 receive a $100 shipboard credit per person.  

Norwegian Breakaway brings taste of New York to sea

MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line has announced two more New York-inspired food and beverage offerings onboard Norwegian Breakaway, the line’s newest ship: Sabrett Hot Dogs and Brooklyn Lager beer.

Further enhancing the ship’s ties to New York City, its year-round homeport, these newly-announced offerings provide guests with a taste of the Big Apple at sea.
 
Located on the Waterfront, pool deck and forward deck, three Sabrett hot dog carts will sport the brand’s iconic yellow and blue umbrellas and offer up the same all-beef frankfurters that New Yorkers have voted the #1 hot dog for more than 50 years, renowned for the famous snap! of their natural casing.

Cunard Line celebrates Queen Victoria’s 5th anniversary with special five-day sale to Dec. 10


Offer includes savings of up to $555 per person
and up to $500 in on-board credit on select voyages

4 December 2012 – In celebration of the fifth anniversary of Cunard's Queen Victoria next week, the Line is launching the five-day Queen Victoria 5th Anniversary Sale starting Thursday, 6 December 2012.

The Queen Victoria 5th Anniversary Sale will offer a Reduced Deposit, Savings of Up to $555 per Person, a Complimentary Bottle of Wine per Couple, On Board Credit of up to $500 per Stateroom, and Complimentary Balcony Upgrades on 45 select voyages, including:


  • St. Petersburg & Baltic Explorer, 1 June 2013 – 14 days aboard Queen Victoria; Balcony fares from $3,799
  • Geysers & Glaciers, 15 June 2013 – 15 days aboard Queen Victoria; Balcony fares from $3,999
  • Around the British Isles, 31 July 2013 – 10 days aboard Queen Elizabeth; Balcony fares from $2,999
  • Greek Isles & Mediterranean Treasures, 10 September 2013 – 12 days aboard Queen Elizabeth; Balcony fares from $3,144
  • Black Sea & Turkish Splendours, 30 September 2013 – 24 days aboard Queen Victoria; Balcony fares from $6,599

Thursday, November 29, 2012

James Bond theme composer sails Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 on first transatlantic crossing

Monty Norman was a featured guest on Queen Mary 2's Morning Show
during his first Transatlantic Crossing aboard Cunard Line's flagship.

Monty Norman, composer of the legendary James Bond theme and the full music score for the franchise’s first film, “Dr. No,” enjoyed his inaugural Transatlantic Crossing aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2.

Mr. Norman, whose theme song has been heard on 25 Bond films, recently attended the world premiere of the latest installment, “Skyfall,” at the Royal Albert Hall, where he received a standing ovation for his work.

Princess Cruises announces first-ever cruise to support U.S. veterans


Sailing is Expected to Raise $1 Million for Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and Operation Homefront

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (November 9, 2012) – Princess Cruises is marking Veterans Day by announcing an unprecedented cruise to support U.S. veterans, expected to raise $1 million for two highly regarded U.S. veterans organizations – the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and Operation Homefront. Princess President and CEO Alan Buckelew, himself a Vietnam veteran, will be on board to host the sailing.

Sailing from November 5-9, 2013 aboard Caribbean Princess from Galveston to the Western Caribbean, the four-day cruise will offer passengers the opportunity to honor both those who have served in the military as well as active duty military personnel.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Disney Cruise Line to sail to Jamaica for the first time, departing from Galveston, Texas

CELEBRATION, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2012) – Disney Cruise Line will visit Jamaica for the first time with new itineraries departing from Galveston, Texas in late 2013. The new seven-night Western Caribbean sailings will call on Falmouth, Jamaica, as well as Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico.

While in Falmouth, one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns, guests can sample the city’s history and culture, take a trip through time on a horse-and-buggy ride, shop for arts and crafts and taste Jamaica’s signature jerk recipes.

Bamboo raft rides along the Martha Brae River offer exceptional views of the island’s lush tropical scenery and nearby Ocho Rios is known for its spectacular Dunn’s River Falls.

Also in late 2013, Disney Cruise Line will sail seven-night Bahamas cruises from Galveston, calling on Key West, Nassau, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

Silversea's Silver Cloud completes major refurbishment

La Terrazza's updated interior
 (Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- November 6, 2012) Silversea Cruises' Silver Cloud is currently sailing on her first voyage following a successful three-week dry dock in Palermo, Italy, where extensive renovations were made to nearly every area of the ultra-luxury ship.

Silver Cloud's interior decoration has been completely renovated, including all the suites, public spaces and dining venues, in order to introduce a fresh and contemporary classic atmosphere. Silversea made a significant financial investment in this refurbishment to ensure its guests experience a renewed sense of luxury and comfort when sailing aboard Silver Cloud.

Cruise line granted authority to officiate nuptials by the Commonwealth of the Bahamas


ROYAL CARIBBEAN BRINGS ROMANCE TO THE HIGH SEAS WITH NEW WEDDINGS AT SEA

MIAMI, October 31, 2012 – Engaged couples can now experience the romance of being joined at sea by the Captain aboard a Royal Caribbean International ship through the Royal Romance weddings and vow renewal program.

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas has cleared the cruise line to conduct legal weddings aboard the world’s most innovative cruise ships while they are at sea. A Royal Caribbean ship is an ideal option for a ‘multi-destination’ wedding, able to cater to large parties, attended by family members and friends, to smaller – but still unforgettable – affairs.

Couples wishing to share this special moment with friends and family can enjoy the Sweethearts at Sea promotional offer, inclusive of a ceremony performed by the Captain, photography and more, when booking 12 or more staterooms on a 2013 Royal Caribbean International sailing during the special introductory offer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Silversea opens the books on 2014 voyage collection

 
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- November 1, 2012) Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has unveiled an extensive line-up of worldwide voyages for 2014.

Over 200 diverse sailings, visiting more than 500 destinations on seven continents, are now open for reservations.

Among the highlights are:

“A Taste of Modern Luxury” event to be cruise industry’s first pop-up



CELEBRITY CRUISES REVEALS A TASTE OF SAN FRANCISCO POP-UP MENU
MIAMI – November 2, 2012 Premium vacation brand Celebrity Cruises’ is bringing its award-winning, from-scratch culinary philosophy from sea to land this month in San Francisco, California, in the form of the first-ever cruise line pop-up restaurant.

Elegant simplicity, modern pairings and abundance of earth and sea are the theme of the restaurant, which will pop up at Stable Café in the Mission District.

Diners will enjoy a taste of modern luxury as Celebrity’s Director of Culinary Operations, James Beard-featured chef John Suley, and his team, present a menu rich with unexpected flavors, delicate textures, and of-the-moment culinary techniques.

Princess Cruises “Inspired to Cruise” blog chronicles five new feasons to cruise

New Stories Include Granting a Veteran’s Last Wish, Saving a Marriage, and Bonding with a Birth Family

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (November 6, 2012) – Princess Cruises’ blog, “Inspired to Cruise: A Year of Reasons to Get Away From the Everyday” has chronicled an additional five reasons to cruise, presenting a new selection of heartwarming and inspiring passenger stories about the many things that can motivate travelers to choose a vacation at sea.

The most recent stories are from cruisers who have granted a fellow Vietnam veteran’s last wish, got to know a recently discovered birth family, reconnected with a distant father and even saved a marriage. The blog, found at http://inspiredtocruise.com, illustrates some of the myriad reasons people take cruise vacations.

Ship’s Ice Bar to feature Big Apple icons on ice and New York-inspired specialty drinks

NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY PUTS NYC ON ICE
WITH NEW YORK-INSPIRED ICE BAR


MIAMI – November 6, 2012 – Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Breakaway, the line’s newest ship, will offer a true Ice Bar on board, which will be kept at 17 degrees Fahrenheit and will feature ice sculptures of the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler Building to pay homage to New York City, its year-round homeport. The Ice Bar will also feature New York City-inspired specialty cocktails.
Following the successful introduction of the first-ever ice bar at sea on board Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway will also have a unique artic-like frozen chamber, guaranteed to give guests the ultimate chill. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The long and short of cruising offers variety from one day to 126 days at sea



   Out to Sea column for Oct. 27/12
 
   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox
Chilling on the white sand beach of Half Moon Cay, a cruise line “private island” in the Bahamas, with a Holland America ship at anchor. (Jim Fox photo)
   Ever thought about taking a leisurely two-week cruise visiting many of the smaller and less-visited Caribbean islands?
   Or, how about 30 days at sea circling the Hawaiian Islands and then off to Tahiti and Bora Bora?
   Then there’s 126 days at sea on a luxury cruise circling the world.
   When reality sets in, today’s time-deprived and financially strapped society can only dream – but there’s an alternative: taking one of the new, shorter cruises now widely offered.
The Caribbean is a top choice for shorter cruises as Holland America Lines' Volendam is shown in port at Roseau in Dominica, known as the "nature island." (Jim Fox photo)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Royal Caribbean announces National Cruise Vacation week offer

Vacationers Can Enjoy Up to $100 Onboard Credit for 2013 Europe & Trans-Atlantic Cruise

MIAMI – Now is the time for vacationers to plan the next European adventure or trans-Atlantic crossing with Royal Caribbean International. In conjunction with the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) National Cruise Vacation Week, Royal Caribbean International is offering up to $100 onboard credit to vacationers who choose a Europe cruise with the line.

Vacationers have incomparable choices among nine of the world’s most innovative ships, many of which have recently been revitalized to offer some of the successful and signature onboard amenities from the world-acclaimed Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

For all new individual U.S. and Canadian bookings, made with deposit from October 21 through 28, 2012, for a seven-night or longer 2013 Europe or trans-Atlantic sailing, guests will receive an onboard credit of $50 per inside or oceanview stateroom, and $100 per stateroom with balconies and suites. Vacationers can view more
 information at http://tinyurl.com/9aob5ga. Travel agents should visit www.CruisingPower.com/NCVW.

News ships ordered for Holland America and Carnival Cruise Lines

News Release

            MIAMI (October 26, 2012) – Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) today announced it has reached an agreement for the construction of two new cruise ships – a 99,000-ton ship for its Holland America Line brand and a 135,000-ton vessel for its Carnival Cruise Lines brand.  

            A memorandum of agreement has been signed with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of a 2,660-passenger ship for Holland America Line scheduled for delivery in fall 2015 and a 4,000-passenger ship for Carnival Cruise Lines scheduled for delivery in winter 2016.

          The total cost for the two vessels combined, which includes the U.S. dollar denominated contract price and all owner’s costs, will be approximately $195,000 per lower berth. The memorandum of agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including execution of shipbuilding contracts and financing.
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Silversea's second expedition ship will set sail as Silver Galapagos

 
Enriching new 7-day itineraries for late 2013
open for sale in mid-November
 
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- October 22, 2012)  Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has announced Silver Galapagos as the name for its second small-sized expedition ship, which is currently sailing as the Galapagos Explorer II.

The new name signals the company's intent to maintain a consistent level of elegance throughout its fleet, and will take effect after the all-suite, 100-guest vessel undergoes a major refurbishment in September 2013. In a related move, the hull of the Galapagos Explorer II has already been painted the same dark blue as Silver Explorer, the company's other expedition ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line orders new ship for delivery in 2015 and option for second


MEYER WERFT to deliver “Breakaway Plus” ship in October 2015

MIAMI – October 17, 2012 – Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GMBH of Germany to build a new cruise vessel, for delivery in October 2015, with the option for a second ship for delivery in spring 2017.

The new ship, at 163,000 gross tons and approximately 4,200 passenger berths, will be larger than the Company’s Breakaway class ships currently under construction at MEYER WERFT and incorporate many of those vessels’ unique design elements and innovations. With the project name “Breakaway Plus,” this new vessel will be the largest in Norwegian’s fleet.

Princess Cruises celebrates National Cruise Vacation Week with Escape Completely sale

Cruise Deals on More than 200 Sailings Offer Free Balcony Upgrades

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 19, 2012) – Princess Cruises is celebrating National Cruise Vacation Week with an Escape Completely Sale offering cruise deals throughout the week of October 22-29. More than 200 cruise departures are on sale, and passengers can enjoy a free balcony upgrade as well as 50 percent off their cruise deposit.

Featured destinations include Caribbean cruises as well as cruises to Alaska, Europe, Hawaii and the Panama Canal. Cruise departures run from January to July, 2013. More information about the sale details and pricing can be found at www.princess.com/sale.

Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth named best luxury cruise ship for entertainment and atrium design

Private viewing boxes in the Royal Court Theatre
aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth
Travel Weekly Magellan Awards

22 October 2012 – A panel of judges comprised of nationally renowned cruise industry experts named Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth “Best Luxury Cruise Ship for Entertainment” and “Best Luxury Cruise Ship for Atrium Design” for this year’s Travel Weekly Magellan Awards.

The distinctive Grand Lobby atrium aboard
Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth.
The “Best Luxury Cruise Ship” awards signify the ocean liner’s prevalence in providing the ultimate luxury cruise for which Cunard is known.  With more than 550 entries from around the world, the Magellan Award winners represent the best in the travel industry and salute the outstanding travel professionals behind it all.