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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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Disney Cruise Line unveils 2014 itineraries and ports

First-ever Venice and San Juan departures and new destinations in Greece, Sicily, Spain and Grenada


CELEBRATION, Fla. – In 2014, Disney Cruise Line will offer new itineraries, including an expanded
collection of European cruises highlighting the Greek Isles. Plus, Disney Cruise Line will depart for the first time from homeports in Venice, Italy and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Disney Cruise Line was designed to cater to the unique vacation needs of families, and next year will continue to enhance cruise options for guests – from the wonders of Europe to sun and sand in the Caribbean to outdoor adventures in Alaska.

Highlights of the Disney Cruise Line 2014 schedule include…

Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary to meet for first time in Cunard Royal rendezvous in Long Beach


Meeting of the Queens to feature whistle salutes and fireworks display


  On 12 March 2013, Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth and the legendary Queen Mary will make history when they meet for the first time in a Cunard Royal Rendezvous in Long Beach Harbor.  This rare evening encounter will be open to the public and will feature traditional whistle salutes between the ships and conclude with a fireworks display.

Adding to the significance of this event, the Royal Rendezvous will be Queen Mary’s first encounter with a Queen Elizabeth since 1967 when Queen Mary, during her final Transatlantic Crossing in Cunard service, passed by the original Queen Elizabeth on the morning of 25 September.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Windstar Cruises expands fleet with addition of three Seabourn ships

Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit will be two of the three ships to join the Windstar fleet.
Company Doubles Size, Becomes The Market Leader in Small-Ship Cruising
  
Seattle, February 19, 2013 - Windstar Cruises announced today that its owner, Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, has reached an agreement with Seabourn, a cruise company that operates six luxury cruise ships, to purchase three of their ships: Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Legend, and Seabourn Spirit.

Under the project name Global Windstar, the expansion will double the size of Windstar’s recently renovated, three luxury sailing yacht fleet, making the company the market leader in small-ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,230 berths. The purchase on February 15, 2013, is one of several recent Xanterra Parks & Resorts® acquisitions, including VBT, an adventure travel company, and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, AZ, adjoining the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian to open new restaurant on Norwegian Getaway

Geoffrey Zakarian and Kevin Sheehan, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line

Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian is part of THE WATERFRONT and 678 OCEAN PLACE - three dynamic decks packed with a variety of exciting indoor and outdoor venues that boast a unique connection to the ocean

MIAMI – February 25, 2013 – Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that celebrity chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian will create and oversee the opening of his seafood restaurant, Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian, on the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, which will sail year-round to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami beginning February, 2014.

To celebrate this exciting announcement, Norwegian partnered with Zakarian for an exclusive South Beach Wine and Food Festival event on Saturday, February 23, 2013, at South Beach’s SOHO House Hotel. At the event, Zakarian shared the announcement with one hundred of his closest chef and celebrity friends, further signifying Norwegian Getaway’s strong ties to her Miami home. Geoffrey Zakarian’s new restaurant is located in the ship’s hub amongst three expansive, action-packed decks called 678 Ocean Place and includes innovative outdoor spaces along The Waterfront, the ship’s oceanfront promenade offering guests an unparalleled experience with a unique connection to the ocean.

Tony Tillman chosen Princess Cruises’ Entertainer of the Year


Crown Princess Passengers Chose Favorite of Four Finalists
Cruise Director Lisa Ball presents singer Tony Tillman with the award for 2012 Entertainer of the Year.
 
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 21, 2013) – Passengers aboard Crown Princess have voted, and have picked Tony Tillman as Princess Cruises Entertainer of the Year. Four finalists performed and passengers cast their ballots onboard.

Tillman is a singer and dynamic entertainer often compared to Sammy Davis, Jr. or Ben Vereen. A star of “The Rat Pack is Back” tribute show in Las Vegas, Tillman’s fast-paced and energetic style endeared him to the Crown Princess audiences. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Norwegian Cruise Line has improved earnings

 
MIAMI, Florida – February 11, 2013 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NASDAQ: NCLH, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., NCL Corporation Ltd., “Norwegian” or “the Company”), today reported results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2012.

2012 Full Year Highlights
  • Net income of $173.1 million and diluted EPS of $0.97, excluding share-based compensation charge detailed below
  • Adjusted EBITDA increase of 10%
  • Net Yield increase of 1.6% (2.4% on a Constant Currency basis)
  • Net Cruise Cost per Capacity Day Excluding Fuel (“NCC ex Fuel”) decrease of 5.3% (decrease of 4.6% on a Constant Currency basis)
  • Expansion of new-build program with order for Breakaway Plus ship for delivery in Q4 2015 with option for second ship

Royal Caribbean announces summer 2014 cruise vacations from New York and area, Baltimore and Florida



Vacationers Enjoy Award-winning Dining, Entertainment and Onboard Amenities
Found Only on Royal Caribbean Ships that are
“Designed for WOW!”
 
MIAMI, Feb. 07, 2013 – Royal Caribbean International today announced new summer 2014 cruise vacations, sailing from the New York metropolitan area, Baltimore, and Port Canaveral and Port Everglades in Florida.

Known for the most exciting itineraries to compelling destinations and friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, the cruise line will offer unforgettable vacations geared to families on five- to nine-night itineraries to Bermuda, The Bahamas and the Caribbean, aboard five of the industry’s most innovative ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. Royal Caribbean has opened 67 sailings through August 2014 for bookings aboard these five industry-leading ships.

Disabled Carnival Triumph being towed to Mobile, Alabama

STATEMENT FROM GERRY CAHILL, PRESIDENT & CEO, CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES

February 12, 2013, 8:30pm ET

The Carnival Triumph, while on a four-day cruise that departed Galveston last Thursday, experienced an engine room fire on Sunday morning and has been without propulsion in the Gulf of Mexico since that time.


The ship’s automatic fire extinguishing systems activated and the fire was successfully extinguished. Fortunately, there were no injuries to guests or crew members.

Earlier this evening, the first of two tugboats arrived and is tied up to the ship with the second expected in the early hours of Tuesday morning. We had originally planned to tow the ship to Progreso, Mexico, the closest port to the ship’s location early Sunday. Since that time, the ship has drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents. This now puts the ship nearly equidistant to Mobile, Alabama and given the strength of the currents, it is preferable to head north to Mobile, rather than attempt to tow against them.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sail into the sunset with travel deals and sweet surprises on Norwegian


FALL IN LOVE WITH NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY 
Norwegian Cruise Line is offering those looking to embark on a romantic cruise this Valentine’s Day, sweet deals on its popular cruise vacations.

Couples who book a last-minute getaway can take advantage of the line’s “Upgrade Wave” sales event providing free balcony upgrades, reduced deposits and e-coupons worth more than $300 in on board savings to use toward relaxing spa treatments, romantic dinners in specialty restaurants, and much more.

Holland America Line celebrates 15 years of delivering a top private island experience at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

New two-story Beach Villas, glass-bottom boat added to a robust slate of activities on Half Moon Cay

Seattle — Award-winning Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private Bahamian island, celebrated its 15th anniversary this Caribbean cruise season, and to commemorate the milestone the cruise line has enhanced island offerings and features.

Guests to the island will notice five new, colorful, two-story Beach Villas available for rent during each call. The luxury hideaways boast exclusive hot tubs on the second floor and provide private accommodations for guests while they relax and experience the island’s highlights. Other beach cabanas were refreshed, and the Grand Cabana received new décor and a slide from the cabana deck straight into the ocean.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Royal Caribbean's private cruise destination CocoCay certified to global sustainable tourism standard


Attractions and Tour Operations Awarded Gold-Level Certification, Confirming Cruise Line’s Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

MIAMI, February 7, 2013 – The attractions and tour operations at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s tropical island paradise, CocoCay have been awarded a Gold-Level Eco-Certification by Sustainable Travel International as part of the Sustainable Tourism Education Program™ (STEP).

 The cruise line’s private 140-acre island – located in The Bahamas' Berry Island chain between Freeport and Nassau – attained the globally recognized sustainable tourism standard after a thorough assessment of all areas including work place practices, guest education and communications, and environmental management policies and practices.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Natural wonders "collected" on shore excursions in Dominica, Mexico, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Panama



   Out to Sea for Feb. 9/13

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

Holland America's Volendam in port in Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean. (Jim Fox photo)
   “Take a dip in these cool waters and they will restore your youth,” urged our pretty Rastafarian tour guide in the Dominica jungle.
   “It is the belief that these crystal clear waters have such powers,” Ginette said confidently while leading us along the Emerald Pool Nature Trail in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
   We dutifully clamoured down the slippery slope to immerse ourselves in the extremely cold waters of this waterfall grotto, a contrast to the steamy tropical heat.
    We’re still waiting for the promised return of vigour and even renewed hair growth but the memory is just one of the experiences of shore excursions while cruising.
   On Dominica, known as the “Nature Island of the Caribbean,” this is an easy 30-minute hike in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors flock to the Emerald Pool in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park in Dominica, called a “fountain of youth.” (Jim Fox photo)
   It’s a slightly rocky downhill trek with overhanging lush vegetation leading to the 15-metre-high Emerald Falls plunging into a swirling, fern-filled basin.
   On the return trek, you can view the Atlantic Coast and Morne Laurent that rises to an elevation of 685 metres.
   A great thing about cruise vacations is the chance to explore multiple destinations on one trip.
   Here’s a look at a few other natural wonders we’ve “collected” on jaunts off the ship in Mexico, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Panama.

Top 10 romantic things to do on board Carnival's "Fun Ships"

             New gift card program makes it easier for couples to create memorable experiences together
 
 
            MIAMI (February 7, 2013) Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or just being together with your sweetheart, Carnival Cruise Lines is revealing the top 10 romantic things to do during a cruise vacation aboard the line’s 24 “Fun Ships.” From getting married on board to having a pampering couples massage, Carnival creates romantic moments that won’t break the bank, while providing an experience that’s memorable and fun.

            With Carnival’s recently announced gift card program, the prepaid cards can be used as payment toward a “Fun Ship” cruise or a wide variety of romantic shipboard or shoreside experiences. The cards are available online at www.carnivalgiftcards.com or aboard all Carnival ships and provide a great way to treat yourself or others to some the spectacular experiences available.

Royal Caribbean International marks first milestone of Project Sunshine construction


World's Most Innovative Cruise Line Celebrates Steel Cutting and Reveals Names of Newest Ships

MIAMI, February 5, 2013 – Royal Caribbean International took a major step this week in the development of the cruise line’s next generation of cruise ships when the first piece of steel was cut for the first of two Project Sunshine ships. The steel cutting took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where the two ships will be built.

To celebrate the milestone, Royal Caribbean announced the names of the two new ships – Quantum of the Seas, set to debut in fall 2014, and Anthem of the Seas, which will follow in spring 2015. They will be part of the Quantum class of ships and will build upon Royal Caribbean’s legacy of revolutionary ship design and bold innovation.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Cunard Line now offering Behind the Scenes tour

Program Offers Guests Exclusive Access to Private Areas On Board Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth

7 February 2013 – Adding to its comprehensive catalogue of on board activities, Cunard Line is now offering Behind the Scenes Tours for the curious guest.

Led by Cunard senior officers, the tours offer guests unprecedented access to the ships’ private areas, such as the Medical Centre, Engine Control Room, Butchers Shop and the Mooring Deck.  Topics range from environmental concerns, such as recycling 15,000 litres of used cooking oil, to the logistics of stocking more than 5,000 lines of consumable products, such as shower gel and beef joints.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Carnival Cruise Lines reports record reservation numbers

SETS ALL-TIME HIGH FOR NUMBER OF GUESTS BOOKED IN A SINGLE WEEK

            MIAMI (February 6, 2013) – Carnival Cruise Lines set a one-week reservations record, taking gross bookings for 187,283 guests between Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2013.

            Bookings were at unprecedented levels across the line’s 24-ship fleet, which operates three- to 18-day voyages from a wide range of convenient North American homeports as well as a variety of attractive European and Australian itineraries.

Legend of the Seas to sail Asia, Europe and Caribbean itineraries in 2013


ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL’S LEGEND OF THE SEAS COMPLETES EXTENSIVE REVITALIZATION IN TIME FOR WINTER SEASON

MIAMI, February 6,   2013 – Royal Caribbean International’s Legend of the Seas emerged today from a month-long $50 million drydock in Singapore and will show off a new array of features and amenities for its remaining Asia season before returning to Europe.

The Vision-class Legend of the Seas is the most recent ship in the fleet to receive Oasis-class amenities, extensive upgrades and a bow-to-stern revitalization.
 
Legend of the Seas will “wow” guests with acclaimed industry enhancements, such as popular specialty dining, first introduced on Oasis of the Seas, and give diners the choice to expand their palates with Park Café, Chef’s Table, Chops Grille and Izumi Asian Cuisine, along with new spots for an evening cocktail at the 60’s inspired R Bar or Viking Crown Lounge nightclub.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Princess Cruises puts Denali on sale


Alaska Cruisetour Fares Begin at $99 per Day; Up to $300 in Air Savings
 
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 5, 2013) – Princess Cruises has put the wonders of Alaska on sale with a new “Denali on Sale” cruise deal, offering fares as low as $99 per day for a cruisetour vacation plus up to $300 in air savings.

The sale, which begins today, features special rates on land and sea vacations to the state’s most popular attractions - Denali National Park and Glacier Bay National Park.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Guests enjoy a $500 onboard credit to fuel the flame when booking Azamara Club Cruises


 
UNWRAP THE ROMANCE OF THE WORLD’S MOST EXCITING DESTINATIONS THIS VALENTINE’S DAY WITH AN IMMERSIVE AZAMARA VOYAGE
 
MIAMI, February 4, 2013 – This Valentine’s Day Azamara Club Cruises invites romantics to top the traditional gifts of flower and chocolates and instead, recommit to each other with a Europe, Asia or West Indies Azamara Club Cruises voyage.

The cruise line’s newly refurbished ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, already the perfect setting for romance, will immerse guests in picturesque destinations where couples can create new and unforgettable memories from intimate candle-lit dinners in charming towns to sharing a stunning sunset, with champagne and caviar toast, from their private balcony.

By surprising a loved one with an Azamara voyage and treating them to a getaway like no other, up-market travelers also can enjoy a $500 onboard credit per stateroom, and be the first to experience the cruise line’s exclusive AzAmazing Evenings which will envelope them in a region or cities’ culture or nightlife beginning with the upcoming Europe season.

Norwegian announces 2014/15 Europe winter deployment

MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line has announced its Europe deployment for the winter 2014/2015 season.


Norwegians get fit with global phenomenon Zumba Fitness



The Largest Dance-Fitness Program in the World Brings the Fitness-Party to the Norwegian fleet

MIAMI – Vacationers who wish to get in shape while still having a blast this year are in for a treat, as Norwegian Cruise Line will introduce the popular international-inspired dance-fitness program  Zumba Fitness to its ships beginning this spring.

Norwegian will offer a variety of energetic Zumba® classes on every cruise, led by licensed Zumba® instructors who are part of the Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN™).

Cunard's Queen Victoria's officers receive rare photo during San Francisco visit


With the city’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge in view, Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria
was seen on 3 February during her only visit to San Francisco this year.
California Heritage Council Presents Rare Photograph of Cunard’s Original Queen Elizabeth during WWII to Queen Victoria during San Francisco Visit
4 February 2013 – Arriving from Acapulco, Mexico, Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria returned to San Francisco yesterday, continuing in the evening on her 105-day World Cruise with stops in Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand and Sydney.

During the ship’s only visit to the city this year, special guests from the California Heritage Council presented the ship’s Master, Captain Inger Olsen, with an archival photograph of Cunard’s original Queen Elizabeth in San Francisco during World War II.  

Carnival Victory launches year-round Caribbean/Bahamas cruises from Miami


            MIAMI (February 4, 2013) -- Carnival Victory arrived at PortMiami this morning to kick off its new year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises that visit tropical destinations throughout the Caribbean and Bahamas.
            Carnival Victory’s new Miami-based schedule features three distinctly different itineraries, providing consumers with a variety of convenient and affordable cruise options departing from one of America’s top tourist destinations. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Discover Oz with free upgrade aboard Royal Caribbean


MIAMI, Jan. 30, 2013 – Plan for a grand adventure Down Under with Royal Caribbean International for the winter 2013-14 season and enjoy even greater value. The cruise line known for delivering exciting global destinations aboard the world’s most innovative cruise ships is offering Oceanview and Balcony staterooms for the fare of Interior and Oceanview, respectively, on Australia and New Zealand cruise vacations.

            Vacationers can enjoy an Oceanview Stateroom at the fares for Inside staterooms aboard Rhapsody of the Seas, and a Stateroom with Balcony at the fares for Oceanview Staterooms aboard Radiance of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. The offer applies to new U.S. and Canadian individual bookings made on Jan. 30 through Feb. 28, 2013 aboard Royal Caribbean International ships departing from Sept. 2013 through April 2014 on 10-night sailings or longer in Australia and New Zealand. For more information, please visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/AustraliaOffer.

Norwegian selling summer and year-round 2014 itineraries

 
Line’s newest ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway to homeport year-round
in New York and Miami
Three ships to sail in Alaska, four in Europe
 
MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line has opened for sale its 2014 summer and year-round cruises. The deployment includes the line’s newest and most innovative ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway in their respective homeports of New York and Miami, along with three ships in Alaska, and four in Europe for the summer. Norwegian will also continue to offer its unique Hawaii cruises year-round on Pride of America from Honolulu and short Bahamas itineraries year-round on Norwegian Sky.
 
“With our new ships joining the fleet combined with our existing ships sailing to a variety of destinations, we have a robust offering of exciting cruises for our guests to choose from in 2014,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “We continue to offer our guests the freedom and flexibility to cruise to summer destinations such as Europe, Alaska and Bermuda on some of the youngest ships in the industry with the most innovative programming, entertainment and dining at sea.”