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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.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bacardi Bar opens on Norwegian's private island



MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that the Bacardi Bar, a first of its kind rum bar, has opened on Great Stirrup Cay, the line’s private island in the Bahamas.

The bar offers guests the opportunity to relax at a spectacular beach bar venue and experience Bacardi’s range of exceptional rums at the beverage company’s first permanent bar in the Caribbean.

The Bacardi Bar on Great Stirrup Cay celebrated its grand opening yesterday during Norwegian Pearl’s visit to the island. Guests sailing on board Norwegian Pearl attended the bar’s opening festivities, which featured a live DJ set, exhibitions by two of Bacardi’s top mixologists, drink samples, giveaways and an exciting christening ceremony which featured a ceremonious Bacardi-bottle breaking.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Carnival Splendor to operate seasonal Caribbean departures from Miami feginning in 2014

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES TO BASE SEVENTH ‘FUN SHIP’ IN SOUTH FLORIDA

MIAMI (December 20, 2013) – Carnival Cruise Lines, the number one cruise operator in South Florida, will further bolster its leadership position in the market when the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor launches seasonal Caribbean cruises from Miami beginning November 9, 2014.

Carnival Splendor will be the seventh Carnival Cruise Lines’ ship to be based in South Florida.
Including Carnival Splendor, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate more than 400 three- to eight-day departures from PortMiami and Port Everglades, accounting for approximately 1.2 million guests annually – the most of any cruise operator.  

Carnival’s South Florida program features three to eight-day cruises visiting not only the best of the Caribbean and Bahamas but also a variety of unique destinations including the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Mahogany Bay in Isla Roatan, along with tropical island paradises such as Aruba and Curacao on eight-day itineraries, providing unparalleled choice for consumers.

Celebrity Cruises introduces two new destination-rich voyages on Celebrity Century

               
MIAMI – December 20, 2013 – Modern luxury line Celebrity Cruises has created two new, destination-rich voyages for guests on Celebrity Century in 2015. The new sailings will replace three previously scheduled 12- and 14-night sailings in Asia in order to reposition the ship to Europe for the 2015 season.

The new itineraries – a 14-night voyage from Singapore to Dubai departing March 22, 2015, and a 15-night Suez Canal cruise departing Dubai for Rome April 5, 2015 – will feature destinations upscale travelers consider among the most appealing in the region, and offer the perfect combination of immersive experiences on land and luxurious days at sea.


Vacationers also have the unique opportunity to enjoy an extended modern luxury vacation onboard Celebrity Century by sailing back-to-back, from Singapore to Rome, for 29 nights of Celebrity’s delectable, award-winning cuisine, impeccable service and engaging entertainment.

Princess Cruises wins three awards from Travel Weekly Including “Best Cruise Line in Alaska” for seventh year


Magazine’s Readers Also Recognize Line for Itinerary Design and Agent Educational Programs

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 19, 2013) – For the seventh year in a row, Princess Cruises has been voted the “Best Cruise Line in Alaska” in the annual Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards.

In addition, the cruise line won awards for “Best Itinerary Design” and “Best Travel Agent Educational Program.”

The awards, given by the respected magazine’s travel agent readers, recognized Princess for the quality of its Alaska cruises and cruisetours as well as the line’s worldwide itineraries and the extensive Princess Academy program for travel agents.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Princess Cruises Announces Winners of 2012-13 Caribbean and Panama Canal Shore Excursion Awards

CRUISE Service Awards Honor Top Local Tour Operators for 14th Year

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 10, 2013) – Princess Cruises is honoring passengers’ favorite Caribbean and Panama Canal tours with its 14th annual CRUISE service awards.

Recognizing the most popular shore excursion experiences and tour guides from the 2012-13 season, the awards are based largely on passenger feedback.

Chosen from the extensive line-up of shore excursions offered on Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises, the awards highlight the important role local tour operators play in each destination as part of a passenger’s overall cruise experience. Winners are determined largely by tour scores and comments made on passenger surveys.

Carnival Cruise Line launches "50 Cruises a Day Giveaway" for travel professionals

 Each Booking Made From Dec. 16, 2013 to Jan. 31, 2014 Increases Chances To Win

 MIAMI (December 16, 2013) - Carnival Cruise Lines has unveiled its largest travel professional cruise booking promotion to date with the new “50 Cruises a Day Giveaway,” launching today. Each booking made by travel professionals between Dec. 16, 2013, and Jan. 31, 2014, will automatically qualify them to win one of 50 cruises given away daily as part of the promotion. 


            “We wanted to round out 2013 and kick off 2014 with a program to show travel professionals that the initiatives we launched earlier this year are here to stay and are going to continue in a big way,” said Joni Rein, Carnival’s vice president of worldwide sales. “This unprecedented giveaway not only shows our strong appreciation for travel professionals, but also gives them an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Carnival product they’re selling.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cunard Line to make maritime history in Liverpool in 2015 as the company celebrates 175th anniversary

Cunard Line, operator of The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World®, is pleased to confirm two special events in 2015 to be held in its spiritual home of Liverpool, England, in celebration of the company's 175th anniversary. 

First, Cunard will celebrate its historic anniversary in style with the first-ever three Queens meeting on the Mersey on 25 May 2015 by flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

 Then, on 4 July 2015, Queen Mary 2 will sail from Liverpool to recreate the original Transatlantic Crossing on 4 July 1840 of Cunard’s Britannia from Liverpool to Halifax and Boston.

Cunard established the first scheduled service across the Atlantic in 1840, and every year since then Cunard vessels have crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic without fail. 

Princess Cruises announces finalists for Entertainer of the Year Competition

Passengers Can Vote for Top Guest Performer During Third Annual Contest   
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 4, 2013) – Princess Cruises is getting ready to again crown its top guest entertainer during the cruise line’s third annual Entertainer of the Year competition.

Four finalists have been selected from the vast array of talented performers – comedians, magicians, tribute bands and other specialty acts – who grace the Princess stages each year, and they will compete for the title during Princess’ upcoming Entertainer of the Year cruise.

Passengers will also be able to get in on the act by casting their ballots for their favorite performer aboard Caribbean Princess during the ship’s March 22, 2014 Western Caribbean cruise.
The four finalists competing to hold the title of “Entertainer of the Year” are:

Norwegian Getaway to feature Wine Lovers the Musical


  



 Miami’s Ultimate Ship to feature the world’s only wine tasting musical
 
 
MIAMI – December 11, 2013 – Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship setting sail in January, will feature a new lunchtime entertainment experience for guests, WINE LOVERS THE MUSICAL.

Hailed as a “great evening out” by the New York Post, this interactive show combines musical theatre and comedy with a six flight wine tasting and lunch, and will be yet another unique addition to the largest ship to homeport in Miami year-round.

WINE LOVERS THE MUSICAL tells the story of two mismatched students attending a wine class led by an effervescent teacher and their journey of falling in love. 

Guests attending the show will experience a wine tasting unlike other, as they sample six different wines over lunch all while watching a hilarious musical comedy.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Norwegian Cruise Line upgrade wave specials


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

MIAMI – December 9, 2013 – Norwegian Cruise Line is launching “The Upgrade Wave” sales event tomorrow, December 10, to celebrate Wave Season, the best time of the year to book a cruise.

Starting tomorrow through February 4, 2014, 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 reduced deposits, on all sailings of three days or longer. Air credits up to $1000, AARP, Military and Latitudes Rewards discounts may also apply to select sailings.

Serenity now on cruise ships from secret nooks, private dinners -- even romance under the stars


   Out to Sea cruise column for Dec. 14/13

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   When you’re cruising with a few hundred or several thousands of your closest friends, sometimes there’s the urge to have some alone time.
   Today’s cruise ships have the solution with special spaces for seclusion seekers.
   These intimate spots allow cruisers to combine the convenience, comforts and choices of a megaship with the feeling of sailing on a private yacht, says Christine Duffy of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
   They’re designed for such things as private dining, sunning, small gatherings – and even romance.

Two types of private cabanas are offered seaside on Holland America Line cruise ships. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Secret nooks
   Even on the largest ships that carry 5,000 passengers, there are escapes from the hustle and bustle.
   Cruisers looking for quiet times and personalized service “can get this from a concierge-level cabin with its own lounge or by having a romantic dinner for two under the stars in a secret nook of the ship,” Duffy said.
   Ships of all sizes are adding additional balconies that are among the most popular privacy feature.
   The Royal Princess has balconies on all outside cabins and a top-deck pool with a water-and-light show and Movies under the Stars.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Silversea's 2015 voyage collection now available to view, book


Among the highlights are 71 exciting new destinations, including the remote Pacific island some believe to be the final resting place of famed aviator Amelia Earhart

Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has opened the books on its entire voyage program for 2015.

In total, the award-winning company's eight elite ships will offer a worldwide schedule of 276 voyages, visiting more than 700 destinations (including 71 that are brand new) on seven continents.

New Destinations
The line's classic fleet, comprised of its five elegant ocean-going ships, will visit 21 new ports of call. In the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, there will be inaugural calls in Huelva, San Antonio (Ibiza), and Alcúdia (Mallorca), Spain; Rethymnon (Crete) and Igoumenitsa, Greece; Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy; and Amasra, Turkey. In Asia and the Pacific, new ports include Haikou, China; Hambantota, Sri Lanka; Bintulu, Malaysia; Savusavu, Fiji; Lifou Island, New Caledonia; and the Philippines' Bohol Island, Boracay Island, Busuanga Island, and Hundred Islands. Africa and the Indian Ocean offer inaugural visits to Luanda, Angola and Mahajanga, Madagascar. And in the Americas, first-time calls include Norfolk, Virginia; Morehead City, North Carolina; and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Royal Caribbean International reveals new home for Anthem of the Seas



The second ship in the new, highly innovative Quantum class of ships from Royal Caribbean International will become the most technologically advanced cruise ship ever to be based in Europe when it is launched in spring 2015.

Anthem of the Seas will call Southampton, UK, home in April 2015 and offer cruises to the Mediterranean before being based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the winter months.
Royal Caribbean International is continuing its tradition of stimulating and growing the cruise industry with new ship investments.

The first home port for the 4,180-guest double occupancy Anthem of the Seas – currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany – was unveiled at an exclusive event for media and special guests at the iconic Heron Tower in London, UK.

Celebrity Cruises launches new "Captain's Club" program


Enhanced loyalty program features two new tiers, with greater recognition and rewards
               
MIAMI – Celebrity Cruises is excited to announce improvements to its Captain’s Club loyalty program.
 
Guest feedback helped define the new program features, which include two new, additional levels of status and rewards beyond the existing “Elite” level, which is the highest level of membership in the brand’s current four-tiered program.

Effective on sailings now, the new Captain’s Club will offer a six-tier program. The Club’s current levels of  “Preview,” “Classic,” “Select” and “Elite” will remain, with two new tiers -- “Elite Plus” and “Zenith" -- each with their own unique set of benefits and privileges.

Carnival announces Wave Season support for travel agents

Advanced Notice of Promotion, Heightened Field Support, Bonus Commission Re-Affirm Commitment to Trade
  
MIAMI (December 12, 2013) – Carnival recently shared with travel agents details regarding a new “Wave Season” promotion offering discounts of up to $400 per stateroom on a variety of “Fun Ship” departures booked in the month of January.

The new offer was presented to the trade in advance to provide travel agents with ample opportunity to market the promotion to their clients.
 
In addition, Carnival is further demonstrating its support to travel agents during the month of January by offering a $25 bonus commission for bookings on voyages of six days or longer departing between May 1 and Aug. 31, 2014. 

The best gifts at sea: CruiseCompete’s 2013 Guide to easygift giving on a cruise

For Immediate Release


Make Holiday Giving a Cinch With These Easy, Portable Gifts for Frequent Travelers 

DETROIT (Dec. 10, 2013) – Planning a cruise over the winter holidays this year?

These cruises are some of the most popular, because the cruise lines create a wonderful, festive atmosphere on board with all the trimmings, including holiday dinners, activities and even a myriad of religious observances. In fact, it’s become a holiday tradition for many world travelers.

Another treasured tradition is the holiday gift exchange and happily, with a little planning, it can be done magnificently while on board. Here’s the secret: the true key to gift giving while traveling is to find thoughtful, compact presents that are easy to pack, while still creating that “Wow!” reaction we all love to see.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Disney Fantasy presents Royal Court Royal Tea for young princes and princesses


CELEBRATION, Fla. – The Disney Fantasy is celebrating the “Royal” in everyone, and whisking children and parents off to a magical affair during the Royal Court Royal Tea.

This royal teatime provides families with classic Disney entertainment and exclusive meet and greet opportunities that evoke nostalgia in even the biggest “kids” who attend.

In the Royal Court, children are greeted by Lady Chamomile, the Royal Tea Hostess, and are crowned as young princesses or dubbed as royal knights before they are escorted to their seats where more surprises await them.

New and noteworthy Norwegian cruise vacations and hot cruise deals, December 2013


FEATURED PROMOTIONS:
Ø  12 Days of Christmas Sale: New deal is released everyday now through December  15, 2014, promo code: 12DAYS.
Ø  Air Credits: Receive up to $1,000 in air credits on select sailings.
Ø  The Haven and Suites: Receive up to $300 onboard credit per stateroom for the Haven and Suites fleet-wide for reservations booked nine months or greater prior to sailing, through May 31, 2014.

FEATURED SAILINGS:
Ø  Norwegian Epic: $299 Best Available Inside/person: December 7, 2013; Seven-Night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Miami.
Ø  Norwegian Getaway: $749 Best Available Inside/person: February 15, 2014; Seven-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise roundtrip from Miami.
Ø  Norwegian Gem: $709 Best Available Inside/person: February 17, 2014; 9-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise roundtrip from New York.

Totally remodeled "Le Champagne" restaurant highlights major refurbishment of Silver Wind

(Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- November 21, 2013) Silversea Cruises' Silver Wind has just completed a comprehensive refurbishment during a two-week dry dock in Palermo, Italy in November.

Major enhancements include a complete makeover for the ship's specialty restaurant Le Champagne, the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea.

This popular dining venue has been entirely transformed with an upgraded entrance design, the addition of gleaming, backlit wine displays, a redesigned seating layout, and new wood flooring, fabrics and window treatments.

The ship's suites, public spaces and dining venues have been freshened up with the installation of stylish new carpets, new upholstery and other soft goods in an overall color palette of warm earth tones. The Bar, in particular, features all new furniture and furnishings in a contrasting color scheme of cooler shades of teal mixed with neutral tones of brown and beige.

Marvel characters join the re-imagined Disney Magic setting sail from Miami‏


There’s an extra dose of magic aboard the Disney Magic, which re-launched on Oct. 25 with new spaces, re-imagined areas and exciting additions for the whole family.

From a three-story water thrill slide to a lively Brazilian-inspired family restaurant and a spa to stimulate the “Senses,” there are plenty of new and magical surprises in store for guests.

The ship also features fun new experiences in Marvel’s Avengers Academy – the first time Super Hero icons from the Marvel Universe have been introduced on a Disney Cruise Line ship.

Celebrity Cruises' guest-favorite ‘123go!’ is back

MIAMI – November 27, 2013 – Modern luxury line Celebrity Cruises has brought back the brand’s most popular promotion: “123go!”  The promotion’s three powerful features will be joined by two entirely new offers, and will allow consumers to select what they value most in a Celebrity vacation, from any of the following exceptional options:

·        Free “Classic Beverage Package” for two, allowing guests to pair Celebrity’s delectable cuisine with their favorite beverages – representing a value of up to $1,200 for two guests, based on a 12-night sailing, and including coverage of beverage gratuities;
·        Free gratuities for two, allowing vacationers to fully relax, knowing tips for Celebrity’s expert staff are covered – representing a value of up to $360 per stateroom based on a 12-night sailing and including coverage of stateroom, waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter gratuities;
·        An onboard credit of up to $300 per stateroom, depending on the selected itinerary length, and available for guests to apply to shore excursions, specialty dining, wine tastings, spa treatments, boutique items, or any other onboard purchase .

Carnival Corporation names Vice Admiral William Burke as first Chief Maritime Officer

(News Release)

MIAMI (December 4, 2013) - Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest cruise company, announced today that Vice Admiral William Burke has been appointed to the newly created position of Chief Maritime Officer, effective December 9, 2013.
Burke will report directly to Chief Operations Officer Alan Buckelew and will have oversight of the company’s maritime operations around the world. He will be responsible for maritime quality assurance and policy, shipbuilding, ship refits, and research and development.