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.

Total Pageviews

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's just better . . . cruising . . . in the Bahamas, Caribbean . . .wherever!

   Out to Sea published in December 2011

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Cruise enthusiasts say “it’s better in the Bahamas” and the Caribbean for that matter.
   It doesn’t seem to matter how many times they’ve been there, done that, many people can’t resist returning to the stunningly blue clear waters and wasting away on those white sand beaches.
Passengers from the Caribbean Princess head to shore at Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos. (Jim Fox photo)
    The allures are many: Swimming with the dolphins and parasailing; endless duty-free shopping in St. Thomas and Nassau; and the “nude” beaches of French St. Martin and the less-brash Dutch half of the island, St. Maarten .
   Sip, savour and explore the Bacardi distillery in Puerto Rico; enjoy the gaming and fun of Paradise Island’s entertainment playground; and spend a leisurely day at the beach on cruise lines’ private islands.
   Just unpack once and let the ship take you to a different island often each day and all with their own distinctive character and appeal.
   With easily accessible departure ports from New York City all the way down to south Florida and sailings from two days to two weeks, the Caribbean/Bahamas is the world’s biggest, most popular cruise destination.
   And, with so many cruise ships plying the turquoise waters, there are many very enticing prices.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Disney Fantasy goes wet and wild with debut of AquaLab water play area

Disney Fantasy Upper Decks a Splashing Delight for Kids and Comfortable Retreat for Adults

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2011) – An array of wet and wonderful new surprises help guests cool off as they enjoy soaking up the sun aboard the Disney Fantasy, Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship scheduled to set sail in March 2012.

AquaLab Debuts on the Disney Fantasy
On the Disney Fantasy, guests can splash and play in the AquaLab – a brand-new water play area on deck 12, near the entrance to the AquaDuck water coaster. Families can frolic among pop jets, geysers and bubblers in this fun and fanciful 1,800-square-foot space. As the story goes, AquaLab was created by Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and features a variety of water “experiments” designed to drench the whole family.

Silversea revamps entertainment program at sea


(Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- November 4, 2011) Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises today announced it is launching a totally revamped entertainment program created exclusively for the company's ships by Choozi Entertainment.

In a move away from traditional production shows, the new concert-style concept will feature an outstanding cast of classically trained vocalists and musicians performing a lively celebration of music from Motown to opera to pop and rock. The star-studded cast and production team are headed by visionary director and choreographer Christopher Childers and his sister, Suzanne Childers.

The new shows feature a unique blend of music that follows the decades and offers Silversea guests distinct choices in their entertainment options. Here's a snapshot of the shows and their venues:

Celebrity Cruises introduces eXhale bedding in Solsticizing program


Next phase of modern luxury brand Celebrity Cruises’ ambitious,
$140-million Solsticizing initiative features rollout of new ‘eXhaleSM’ bedding program
MIAMI – November 10, 2011 – There’s nothing sleepy about Celebrity Cruises’ “Solsticizing” program. One of the most ambitious revitalization initiatives in the history of the cruise industry, the $140-million program will add to the line’s Millennium Class ships a host of the venues and experiences guests love most on the Solstice Class ships, all within less than two years, with each ship completing the massive transformation over the course of an only three-week drydock period. And now, the line plans to complement the program further by rolling out an entirely new and ultimately fleetwide bedding program, “eXhaleSM,” beginning with Celebrity Infinity when the ship emerges from Solsticizing on December 3, 2011.

Holiday cruises from Azamara Club


MIAMI, November 23, 2011 – Up-market travelers can cast off their worries and make home aboard one of Azamara Club Cruises’ intimate ships for the holidays in 2012. Guests booking one of 10 holiday voyages will receive a $500 onboard spending credit per stateroom, good towards Land Discoveries (shore excursions), an indulgent spa treatment or a perfect memento in the onboard boutique to take home.

These savings help guests immerse themselves in the vibrant cultures visited by Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest on their 2012 holiday voyages, including sailing through Vietnam’s Halong Bay on Valentine’s Day; treating that very special lady to the Old-world charms of Belgium’s Bruges for Mother’s Day; or delighting in the fireworks over Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on New Year’s Eve.

Splendor of the Seas adds iPads to all staterooms


Five-Week Bow-to-Stern Revitalization on Royal Caribbean Ship Also Brings 124 New Balcony Staterooms

MIAMI, Nov. 22, 2011 – Royal Caribbean International will mark another industry first with the introduction of iPad mobile digital devices in every stateroom onboard the newly revitalized Splendour of the Seas.  The hottest tablet on the market empowers guests with an additional medium by which to receive, retrieve and use information on their cruise vacation.

With a touch of the screen, guests will be able to access the daily Cruise Compass of events and activities; personal daily itineraries, including shore excursions; monitor their onboard account; order room service; view restaurant menus; access the internet; and watch movies.  The iPads will be available beginning mid-February 2012 on Splendour of the Seas before being extended to all Vision-class ships when each undergoes revitalization in the following two years.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Keel laying for Royal Princess marks construction milestone

Shipyard Ceremony Begins Countdown to Spring 2013 Debut for Newest Princess Cruises Vessel

The first 500-ton piece of Royal Princess is lowered into the building dock
during today's keel laying ceremony in Italy.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 20, 2011) – A significant construction milestone occurred today when the keel for the new Royal Princess was laid in the building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. As the keel – the bottommost part of the ship – was ceremoniously lowered into position, Princess Cruises and shipyard officials marked the occasion with a celebration and countdown to the ship’s debut in spring 2013.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cruises embrace the "aloha spirt" and a Tahiti treat

    Out to Sea column published on Oct. 15-16, 2011

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

Palm trees stretching into the sky can be seen on the Big Island on circle Hawaii cruises. (Jim Fox photo)
   Catch the “aloha spirit” and a Tahiti treat on Princess and Holland America cruise line sailings while Disney is adding a second Hawaiian cruise next year.
   The round-trip sailings from California circling Hawaii are 14-and 15-night voyages while adding Tahiti and the South Pacific doubles that.

   In the spirit with Princess
A Princess ship off the coast of Maui, one of the four Hawaiian islands the line visits.
   With more than 50 sailings through 2013, the “islands of Aloha” have a special appeal for Princess Cruises.
   “These culture-filled cruises depart from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, offering time to relax on the open ocean combined with visits to each of the major four islands in Hawaii,” said publicist Karen Candy.
   A new “Aloha Spirit” program while at sea has passengers experiencing Hawaii-themed activities, parties, menu items and learning opportunities, she added.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ooh la, la for French-style cruising in Canada-New England; yacht adventures in Hawii, Mexico's Sea of Cortez

   Out to Sea column published in August 2011
   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   A French cruise line is adding some joie de vivre to Canadian fall foliage sailings while safari-style cruises offer yachting adventures in Hawaii and Mexican seas.
The French mega-yacht Le Boreal will sail on two 11-day Boston-Montreal itineraries.
   C'est la vie
   Say “bonjour” to luxury line Compagnie du Ponant, the world’s only French-flagged cruise company, as it makes a splash in Canadian and North American waters.
   Calling it “one of the most extensive fall foliage itineraries available,” the yacht-size ships will visit 11 ports of call, nine in Canada, with several only accessible to these smaller vessels.
   “It will certainly have a French feel – with a focus on North American guests – and be similar to being on a private yacht,” said publicist Elliot Gillies.
   Since the cabins were selling out quickly, the cruise line will offer a similar itinerary next year along with a variety of Caribbean cruises this fall and winter.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cunard Guests “Feel Famous” aboard The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World


Cunard rolls out the red carpet with special voyage offers, a Transatlantic Crossing sweepstakes
and an invitation to sail Cunard and feel famous
25 August 2011 – For Cunard and their guests, the superlative The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World has distinction and meaning far beyond the notoriety of the line’s famous fleet of Queens.  It’s how the venerable company strives to make each guest feel throughout every voyage aboard flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

For the new FEEL FAMOUS. SAIL CUNARD. campaign, the storied cruise vacation company is rolling out the red carpet with a variety of compelling offers and an epic cinematic video that is sure to engage the most stalwart land vacationer to consider a voyage with Cunard.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fall foliage cruises, Boston-Montreal, on Compagnie du Ponant luxury yacht

Miami, FL – Luxury yacht cruise company Compagnie du Ponant has announced one of the most extensive Fall Foliage itineraries available from any cruise line – with 11 ports of call, nine of them in Canada, and several only accessible to the yacht-size ships.
Highlights include the small village of Perce, near the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula; Tadoussac, the oldest surviving French settlement in the Americas; Magdalen Islands, home to descendants of the more than 400 shipwrecks in the archipelago; and, of course, the historic cities of Boston, Quebec City and Montreal.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Marrying at sea or retying the knot during a cruise

Out to Sea syndicated newspaper column, originally published in May 2010

 (c) By Jim and Barb Fox
Holland America Lines offers couples beachfront wedding ceremonies on Half Moon Cay, a private island in the Bahamas
   Taking the plunge during an ocean voyage has a new meaning as thousands of couples are "tying the knot" or retying it while at sea.
   In fact, sea-going destination weddings are the rage as an all-inclusive, hassle-free alternative while others deep into matrimony are renewing their vows.
   Some 2,400 couples will marry this year on Carnival's "fun ships" that offer shipboard wedding packages, amenities and planning services.
   Holland America Lines also arranges beachfront ceremonies on its idyllic private island, Half Moon Cay, in the Bahamas. The happy couple also enjoys many onboard amenities including a Pinnacle Grill lunch and private wine tastings.
A newlywed couple shares a kiss on the Promenade Deck after being married at sea on the Caribbean Princess.

Guests Enjoy the ‘Drawing Room by Assouline' aboard Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest


(News Release) A fine book, like fine wine, is best served in a wondrous setting.

Now, guests aboard an Azamara Club Cruises voyage can immerse themselves in spectacular destinations through the exquisitely crafted books by Assouline. Through an exclusive partnership between Azamara and Assouline, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest now feature the Drawing Room by Assouline, where guests can find more than 200 titles of the publisher’s fine illustrated books, luxury editions and gift line dedicated to fashion, photography, art, travel and design.

Celebrity Cruises "takes the keys" to Celebrity Silhouette

MIAMI It’s official: Celebrity Cruises has taken ownership of the sleek new Celebrity Silhouette in a celebratory handoff ceremony with colleagues from shipbuilder Meyer Werft.

Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Celebrity’s President and CEO Dan Hanrahan participated in the event, which marks the transfer of ownership of the vessel from the shipyard to Celebrity.

Following a formal, invitation-only naming ceremony and cruise July 21-23, Celebrity Silhouette will set sail from Hamburg, Germany, on July 23 on a seven-night cruise to Civitavecchia (for Rome), where the ship will present roundtrip 12-night Mediterranean/Holy Land sailings until November, when the vessel will be the first Solstice Class ship to offer cruises from the New York/New Jersey market.

Compagnie du Ponant dives into the Caribbean with 7-night St. Martin cruise

Miami, FL, August 2011 -- Renowned luxury yacht cruise company, Compagnie du Ponant, who recently expanded their worldwide cruise options to now include 17 Caribbean sailings, is offering guests a seven-night “St. Martin – St. Martin” cruise – with limited time savings of up to 25%. 
The two 2012 sailings aboard the 330-foot mega yacht Le Levant travel roundtrip from St. Martin – noted for white sand beaches, exciting nightlife and French-Indian Cuisine –visiting ports in the British Virgin Islands, French West Indies, Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis and the municipalities of the Netherlands.
Highlights include The Baths, a collection of grottoes facing the sea in Virgin Gorda; the coral reefs in Tortola; and the volcanic Mount Scenery, which dominates the landscape of Saba.  Fares are currently being offered at a 25% savings under Ponant’s Bonus program – the more in advance the booking, the greater the savings.

Hurtigruten invites cruisers to ring in the New Year "on top of the world."

12-Day “Celebrations in the Arctic” Cruises the Norwegian Coast to the North Cape, Europe’s Northernmost Point
New York, NY, August 2011 – Hurtigruten, the subject of the recent Guinness World Record-breaking “Longest Live TV Documentary,” is inviting travelers to celebrate the start of 2012 by experiencing firsthand what six million viewers tuned in to see – the company’s award-winning Norwegian coastal cruise.
 Departing Dec. 26, the 12-day round-trip “Celebrations in the Arctic” rings in the New Year with several additions to the classic coastal itinerary: a special dinner in Honningsvåg; a full roster of festivities on New Year’s Eve in the North Cape; and a stop in the port of Alta.  Other highlights include the Art Nouveau town of Ålesund, the small fishing villages of the Lofoten Islands, the medieval Viking capital of Trondheim and the western fjords, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Geiranger.  Guests can personalize their holiday with an impressive range of optional excursions that range from a traditional Viking feast to an exhilarating husky ride.  Prices range from $2,255 to $5,252.  Members of the 1893 Ambassador Club, a loyalty club for those who have sailed on Hurtigruten in the past three years, receive 10% savings as well as a range of complimentary onboard benefits.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Smoking will no longer be permitted in guest staterooms; Norwegian balconies still OK


MIAMI – August 09, 2011 - Norwegian Cruise Line today announced adjustments to its smoking policy for each of the line’s 11 Freestyle Cruising ships in response to changing guest preferences. 

Effective January 2012, guests setting sail on a Norwegian cruise vacation are no longer permitted to smoke cigarettes in their staterooms.  Guests who are in a balcony stateroom will be permitted to smoke on the outside balcony; however, cigar and pipe smoking in staterooms and on balconies is prohibited.  Ashtrays will be available for use upon request through housekeeping staff. 
(Editor's note: Carnival, Princess and Holland America earlier announced smoking restrictions. Carnival will prohibit smoking in staterooms, effective Dec. 1, but allow it on balconies as will Holland America on Jan. 15, 2012. Princess is banning smoking in staterooms and on balconies from Jan. 15 next year.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Social media enthusiasts come together for three days of networking on the high seas


            Norwegian Cruise Line (“Norwegian”) will be the host of its first ever Tweetup at sea dubbed the SeaTweetup Cruise (@SeaTweetup) coordinated by members of the South Florida social media community.  The cruise departs from Miami on Friday, November 18, 2011 and will set sail on a three-day weekend getaway to the Bahamas returning on Monday, November 21.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Celebrity Cruises unveils "Sense-Sational" book

Culinary leader’s “Excite the Senses” allows consumers
to recreate multi-dimensional onboard experience at home
MIAMI – July 28, 2011 – Known for its culinary leadership and commitment to offering guests the absolute best experience during their precious vacation time, Celebrity Cruises now invites them to take that experience home, with an immersive new book, Excite the Senses.

An engaging 400-page book that will find itself right at home on the coolest coffee tables, Excite the Senses provides an up-close and personal look at Celebrity Cruises’ exceptional dining experience, complete with recipes, rich photography, and a host of tips for entertaining and hosting friends and family in Celebrity style at home.

Azamara Club Cruises' guests booking early enjoy fifty percent savings on brochure rates and Land Discoveries all year, plus ChoiceAir credits



MIAMI, August 5, 2011 – Offering more than 60 voyages to exotic destinations around the world, Azamara Club Cruises is enticing up-market travelers to book early for an immersive adventure in the coming year. Travelers can plan ahead for an unforgettable 2012 Azamara voyage and take advantage of 50 percent savings on brochure rates and credits up to $2,000, per guest, for airfare booked through Azamara’s ChoiceAir program for nearly all 2012 voyages booked by December 31, 2011.

Norwegian Spirit captain, officers thank teen who helped with rescue

Norwegian Spirit’s Captain Evans Hoyt presents Alex Giffel with
the life ring that saved a fellow passenger’s life.

NEW ORLEANS – July 26, 2011 – Norwegian Cruise Line and the Port of New Orleans recognized the quick actions of 16-year-old Alex Giffel of Baton Rouge, LA and Norwegian Spirit’s rescue team this past Sunday in a ceremony on the ship in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Princess Cruises blog reveals Essential Experience #41 – Amsterdam

Final Countdown to List of 50 Features “In Step with the Dutch Life”

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (August 2, 2011) – Princess Cruises today revealed Amsterdam, Netherlands as “Essential Experience #41” on its blog, “50 Essential Experiences: The Travel Bucket List,”  leaving only nine more experiences yet to be revealed.  This week District Sales Manager Megan O’Toole explores her family heritage while visiting Dutch relatives.

Cunard Line and the Film Society of Lincoln Center bring the Golden Age of ocean travel to life


N E W S 
 Cunard Sponsors “Cinematic Passages: Ocean Liners on Screen,” 26-30 August,
showcasing the glamour of ocean travel through films of the last 50 years

Tickets on sale Thursday, 9 August

4 August 2011 – Paying homage to the heyday of ocean liner travel and the films that celebrated those voyages across the seas, and utilizing that setting for high drama, smart comedy and some of the most famous Fred Astaire dance numbers, The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) provides New York audiences with a summertime treat by presenting the film series, Cinematic Passages: Ocean Liners on Screen

Sponsored by Cunard Line, the revered ocean liner company whose iconic voyage experience personifies the Golden Age of Ocean Travel, the series runs 26-30 August at the Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street).  Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, 9 August, both at the theatre box office and online at http://www.filmlinc.com/films/series/cinematic-passages-ocean-liners-on-screen.

Friday, July 29, 2011

134-hour, hi-definition broadcast of Norwegian coastal voyage garnered nearly six-million viewers in 148 countries

New York, NY, July 2011 – Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten, in partnership with Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, have set the Guinness World Record for “Longest Live TV Documentary” with a 134-hour, non-stop broadcast of Hurtigruten’s classic itinerary along Norway’s west coast.  The live footage of the “world’s most beautiful voyage,” so named by several top travel publications, aired June 16-22 and received unprecedented response both online and on Norway’s national TV-channel NRK2.  Nearly six million viewers from 148 countries tuned into the program including three million from Norway, a number comprising nearly three quarters of the country’s population – a record breaking rating for NRK2.  Highlights of the documentary can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/htnlive

Silversea debuts 19 new overland tours in 2012

(Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- July 27, 2011) For the cultural traveler who strives to achieve intimacy with far-off places, your ship has come in. In 2012, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is adding 19 new mid-voyage land adventures.

In total, the company will offer more than 50 specially tailored overland excursions next year. Unlike a partial-day shore tour, these single- or multiple-day inland adventures offer inquisitive travelers more time to enjoy an interactive and immersive experience with the people, history, wildlife and natural attractions that lie just beyond the ports of call.
Couple in Namib Desert

"These extended off-ship programs are life-enriching opportunities that enable our guests to spend more time discovering the true culture, heritage and uniqueness of the places they visit," said Darius Mehta, Silversea's vice president of air and land programs.

From the Amazon to Zululand, glaciers to deserts, ancient ruins to modern wonders, Silversea offers an eclectic collection of overland adventures. You can witness the spectacular sand dunes of the Namib Desert, climb the steps of the Potala Palace in Tibet, or observe a passing herd of elephants while you sip tea on the veranda of a colonial manor house in South Africa. A small selection of the many new mid-voyage land adventures offered in 2012 follows.

Hebridean Island Cruises expands its luxurious small-ship itineraries

Comprehensive Brochure Follows Successful Launch of North American Sales Office Earlier This Year
Edinburgh, Scotland, July 2011 – Hebridean Island Cruises, whose luxurious small ship cruises have attracted loyal guests such as Queen Elizabeth, has released a new North American brochure with a bevy of four- to 10-day all-inclusive cruise options for 2012 – including 20 brand new itineraries – and savings up to 15% on 2012 itineraries booked by Sept. 30, 2011. 

This news follows the successful launch of the company’s North American sales office based in Florida and a new website featuring a number of great resources, from virtual tours to webinars.  The brochure features exclusive savings offers of 10% off all 2012 itineraries, including new additions such as the decadent “Gastronomic Tour of Skye,” which offers the best of locally-sourced Scottish cuisine served against a backdrop of stunning scenery

Guests booking select cruises – “North to Kintyre,” “Gardens of the West,” “North to Orkney,” “Gaelic Explorer,” “Lochs and Isles,” “South from Oban” – receive an additional 5% savings.  The five-star itineraries sail to remote coastal villages, picturesque islands, and inaccessible locations in bays and lochs, normally visited by only private yachts, and afford guests an exceptional level of service with 38 crew members for up to 50 passengers.  Reduced fares for the cruises, offered March through November, start at $1,548 per person, double.
“We are delighted to offer this exclusive cruise brand to the North American market,” says Steve Novello, President of All Discovery Cruising, North America. “This is a time in our industry when avid cruisers and mature travelers are seeking a one-of-a-kind vacation experience.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

The itimacy of smaller ships and destinations far away from the maddening crowds a popular cruising alternative for many

   (Out to Sea column originally published in July 2010)

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Huge mega ships are making a big splash these days as they set sail with their virtual cities at sea.
   The biggest of the big is Royal Caribbean's 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas was joined last December by the equally large Allure of the Seas.
   Norwegian Cruise Line launched Epic, a 4,200-passenger ship, and Holland America Line, known for its classy smaller ships, is out with Nieuw Amsterdam for 2,100 passengers.
   Celebrity Cruises added the Eclipse for 2,850 passengers in April and Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth, holding 2,092 passengers, sailed last October.
   Even so, there remains an attraction for the intimacy of small ships -- those for fewer than 500 passengers -- far from the maddening crowds.
The River Countess, a Uniworld Boutique River Cruises' small ship, is shown in Passau in the southeast of Germany at the confluence of the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz. 

The Haven by Norwegian, luxury accommodations, introduced on Project Breakaway ships

(News Release)
Luxury accommodations complex on Norwegian’s ships
to be named The Haven by Norwegian

             MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line (“Norwegian”) today revealed that the exclusive suite complex for its two new Project Breakaway ships will be named The Haven by Norwegian.  The company also unveiled renderings for some of the ship’s most luxurious accommodations along with announcing that the suite complexes on five of its ships – Norwegian Epic, Gem, Pearl, Jade and Jewel – will also be named The Haven by Norwegian. 

            “Norwegian was the first cruise line to introduce the ship within a ship complex with the introduction of Norwegian Jewel in 2005,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer.  “These private enclaves at the top of the ships are home to our most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations offering the utmost in service and elegance. With the introduction of the suite complex on our Breakaway ships, we felt it was appropriate to brand this space as The Haven by Norwegian to better identify and describe the unique luxury cruising experience we offer.”

Say hola to Baja with travel savings offered on American Safari Cruises' Aquarium of the World Adventure in the Sea of Cortés

 (News Release)  

Luxury yacht Safari Quest explores wildlife rich Sea of Cortés

Seattle, WA, July 19, 2011 -- An off-the-beaten path destination, Baja Mexico's Sea of Cortés is a secluded and protected UNESCO World Heritage biosphere reserve and a favorite yachting destination for American Safari Cruises. As an enticement, the company is offering a $200 per person travel credit for new bookings made between July 20 and September 30, 2011.

The 22-guest upscale yacht Safari Quest sails week-long adventure cruises from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico from November through April. On 13 select departures, each guest will receive a $200 travel credit. The travel credit may be used on an individual stateroom or a private charter for a family or group getaway to the welcoming warmth and remote wilderness of the Sea of Cortés.

Princess Cruises features screen idol Tab Hunter, TV's the "Beav," and this is your captain, Gavin

Princess Cruises Announces Special Speakers to Appear During World Cruise
 Screen Idol Tab Hunter, a Space Shuttle Astronaut and “Leave it to Beaver” Star Among Those Joining Pacific Princess 2012 Global Voyage

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (July 25, 2011) – Globetrotting Princess Cruises passengers will be joined by a variety of intriguing special guests aboard Pacific Princess during its 107-day World Cruise departing January 13, 2012.  Whether they want to hear about the golden age of Hollywood, get the scoop on modern-day filmmaking, or find out what it’s really like in outer space, world cruise travelers can get first-hand stories throughout the sailing.

Among the celebrated speakers scheduled to appear onboard are screen idol Tab Hunter; “Leave it to Beaver” star Jerry Mathers; “The Love Boat’s” Gavin MacLeod; legendary Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump; Suzanne Lloyd, granddaughter of silent film star Harold Lloyd; Oscar-nominated Filmmaker Leslie Iwerks and Space Shuttle Astronaut Robert C. Springer.  In addition, a variety of expert lecturers will join the cruise to inform passengers on topics such as World War II history and computer forensics.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Celebrity Cruises plans to bring "Solsticizing" full circle in "ambitious revitalization"

In-demand ‘AquaClass’ accommodations, hip ‘Celebrity iLounge’ and
imaginative ‘Qsine’ specialty restaurant among host of new additions
    MIAMI – June 21, 2011 – In one of the most ambitious revitalization plans in the history of the cruise industry, Celebrity Cruises will build on the highly successful “Solsticizing” of Celebrity Constellation when it Solsticizes Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Millennium in just five short months beginning this November.
“Solsticizing” is the term Celebrity coined for its more than $120-million initiative to complement its Millennium Class quartet’s design and ambience with some of the most popular attributes found on its widely heralded Solstice Class ships.

Royal Caribbean announces fleetwide revitalization program

Award-winning Vessels Across Cruise Line’s Fleet Being Enhanced Through 2014

MIAMI, July 11, 2011 - Royal Caribbean International today announced that it will invest approximately $300 million to bring the latest innovations to the cruise line's ships across the fleet and introduce the highest guest-rated programs from its award-winning Oasis-class ships. The revitalizations will offer guests a greater variety of new onboard dining and entertainment options, pervasive Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations, and many more amenities, to deliver even more of the "WOW" aboard all Royal Caribbean ships sailing worldwide. Planned through 2014, the revitalizations are yet another example of why Royal Caribbean has been voted Best Cruise Line Overall for eight consecutive years in Travel Weekly's Readers' Choice Awards. These fleetwide enhancements build on Royal Caribbean's best-in-class global vacation offering and deliver to guests the Royal Advantage - the industry's most innovative cruise ships, combined with exciting itineraries and destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service.

Celebrate the holidays with Silversea

(Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- July 14, 2011) Silversea Cruises is inviting travelers to wrap themselves in pampering luxury this holiday season with a collection of enticing voyages that span the globe from Africa and the South Pacific to the Caribbean and South America. 

This year the all-suite, intimate ships of Silversea offer an elegant way to revel in the joy of the holiday season with cruises ranging from nine to 18 days. Designed to be a "home upon the oceans of the world," Silversea's all-inclusive ships feature spacious ocean-view suites, most with private veranda, and the highest level of personalized service.

Highlighting the onboard ambiance for these voyages will be festive decorations, parties, menus and entertainment. With the exception of expedition cruises, clergy will be on board to conduct religious services, including a rabbi for Hanukkah. Plus distinguished guest lecturers and destination experts will also be on hand to host enlightening presentations.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Princess Cruises' passengers to experience the flavor and culture of Hawaii on sailings to the islands

Hawaiian Islands Cruises Offer Leisurely Roundtrip Voyages from Los Angeles and San Francisco


A Princess ship off the coast of Maui, one of the four Hawaiian Islands the line visits.
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (July 20, 2011) – The “Islands of Aloha” have a special appeal as a cruise destination, and Princess Cruises is offering a choice of more than 50 sailings to the Hawaiian Islands in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.  These culture-filled cruises depart from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, offering time to relax on the open ocean combined with visits to each of the major four islands in Hawaii. 

While at sea, passengers will experience a special “Aloha Spirit” program with Hawaii-themed activities, parties, menu items and learning opportunities.  Whether they choose to enjoy an Aloha sailaway party, learn about local wildlife and volcanoes, or simply want to relax and enjoy the poolside Hawaiian melodies or an island-themed Movies Under the Stars selection, cruisers will find numerous ways to feel the Hawaiian spirit.

Cunard’s Queen Victoria Reprises Popular Americas Voyages

N E W S 

Fares start from $1,295


Left Photo: Cunard’s Queen Victoria is joined by a whale in the beautiful waters of Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.
Right Photo: Cunard’s Queen Victoria transits the Panama Canal.

20 July 2011 – Whether guests are celebrating a special occasion or searching for a relaxing adventure closer to home, Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria offers both as the ship reprises her Americas Season in late 2011 and early 2012, which includes updated itineraries through the Panama Canal and voyages to the tropical Hawaiian Islands.  Fares start from $1,295 per person, based on double occupancy.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Celebrity's "luxurious, intimate new cabanas" now open for online booking

Celebrity Cruises’ New Celebrity Silhouette
Invites Guests To Unwind In “The Alcoves”

MIAMIJuly 15, 2011 – Picture this: An endless expanse of the sea behind a lush, green lawn from the vantage point of a luxurious, private cabana. That’s what awaits vacationers who book “The Alcoves” on Celebrity Cruises’ stylish new Celebrity Silhouette, and now, those bookings can be made online.

“This is yet another vivid illustration of our commitment to ensuring our guests can spend more time enjoying every moment of their vacation, versus planning what they’d like to do after they’re onboard,” said Celebrity’s Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.

Eight chic, cabana-style settings comfortably accommodating two to four guests each, The Alcoves are designed to allow for relaxation and seclusion within a hip ambience, just steps away from the lively vibe of The Lawn Club.

Princess Cruises Offers 3-Day Sale on Warm-Weather Destinations

 Passengers Can Save up to $1,000 on Select Sailings During July 20-22 Event

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (July 14, 2011) – Princess Cruises is offering special fares to some of its most popular warm-weather destinations, including the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Hawaii and Tahiti, during a 3-day Sale running between July 20-22.  Passengers who book during the event can save up to $1,000 per couple off Launch Fares, plus as a special bonus, can receive as much as $100 in onboard credit per stateroom.

Selected fall/winter 2011-12 cruises featured in the sale depart between September 21, 2011 and April 27, 2012 – the perfect time for getting away from the cold weather.
In addition, passengers booking interior or oceanview staterooms can receive an onboard credit of $25 (cruises up to 9 days) to $50 (cruises 10 days or longer), and in balcony staterooms or above can get credits of $50 (cruises up to 9 days) or $100 (for sailings 10 days or longer).  All onboard credits are offered per stateroom.

The Coz, Bill Cosby, takes to the seas to perform on the Norwegian Pearl

   MIAMI – July 15, 2011 – Norwegian Pearl will play host to Bill Cosby for one night only when he performs in concert in the ship’s Stardust Theater on Sunday, July 24, 2011.

Cosby will perform two 70-minute comedy shows, complimentary to guests, while the ship is docked in Seattle, Washington.

One of America’s most beloved comedians of all time, Bill Cosby has captivated generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums, best selling books such as Fatherhood and groundbreaking television like The Cosby Show. His comedy transcends age, gender and cultural barriers.
Norwegian Pearl will overnight in Seattle on July 24 in order to undergo technical repairs to the ship’s propeller. The ship will depart at noon on Monday, July 25 on its seven-day Alaska Glacier Bay cruise. Because of the delayed departure, the ship will bypass its call in Juneau, Alaska.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Royal Caribbean offers guests opportunity to get behind the scenes through new all-access tour

           MIAMI, July 06, 2011 – Below deck, backstage and behind certain doors, the sophisticated operations of a Royal Caribbean International ship has always piqued guests’ curiosity. To help demystify the hard work put forth by the cruise line’s dedicated staff and crew and the spaces they work in, Royal Caribbean International today announced the launch of the All Access Tour.

           Guests now have the option to visit behind-the-scenes operations spaces and meet key shipboard staff members on an escorted tour during their Royal Caribbean vacation. The All Access Tour will offer guests insight into the inner workings of some of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships and be available fleetwide aboard each ship’s first July 2011 sailing.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Memorial voyages to mark the Titanic disaster in the North Atlantic set for April 2012

    (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   (Originally published in newspapers in October 2010)

   She was designed to be the greatest ship that ever sailed - but fate intervened and she never completed her maiden voyage.
   The RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11:37 p.m. on April 15, 1912. She sank in less than three hours with the loss of 1,517 passengers while there were 706 survivors.
This historic photo shows the ill-fated RMS Titanic leaving Southampton, England on her maiden voyage in 1912
  Her eternal resting place is four kilometres beneath the surface and 595 kilometres offshore from Mistaken Point, Newfoundland.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Celebrity Cruises fires up guests' culinary passion with first interactive, open-air grilling restaurant

(News Release)
MIAMI – June 29, 2011 – Celebrity Cruises’ award-winning culinary program is heating up this summer with the introduction of its newest ship, the 2,886-guest Celebrity Silhouette, which will feature the industry’s first interactive, open-air grilling restaurant. “The Lawn Club Grill.”

“People tend to associate grilling with the relaxing, carefree mood of summer – exactly what a Celebrity vacation is all about,” said Jacques Van Staden, Vice President, Culinary Operations. “What can be better than experiencing something that’s popular among so many cultures around the world, while relaxing near a lawn of growing grass, surrounded by an endless view of the sea?”

Silversea's five best deals for solo travelers

 (News Release)

(Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- July 6, 2011) Silversea Cruises is offering 5 exceptional opportunities in 2012 to experience the joys of independent luxury travel coupled with special perks and a single supplement that is almost unheard of -- just 10% above the per-person, double-occupancy fare.

"This is the perfect time for single travelers to treat themselves to a luxurious Silversea cruise, visit fascinating destinations, and make friends along the way," said Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America.

American Safari Cruises Adds Hawaii To Its Warm Water Destinations

Luxury Yachts Ply the Waters of Mexico's Sea of Cortés and Hawaiian Islands

Seattle, WA, July 6, 2011 - American Safari Cruises expands its warm water itineraries this winter with new adventure cruises among the Hawaiian Islands in addition to its voyages in Mexico's Sea of Cortés. The upscale yachts specialize in active, outdoor explorations with flexible itineraries and a full component of adventure gear.

In 2011, the 36-guest Safari Explorer begins sailing new inter-island Hawaiian adventure cruises between Maui and the Big Island (and reverse). From November through April, week-long Hawaiian Seascapes and 10-night Hawaii’s Traditional Shores itineraries explore Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Molokini and the Big Island.

Princess Cruises Passengers Can Connect with Fellow Travelers with New Princess Roll Call

 Facebook Section Enables Fans to Meet Fellow Passengers on Their Voyage

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (July 7, 2011) – Princess Cruises has debuted a new Princess Roll Call™ section on its Facebook page enabling passengers on each sailing to connect with each other before and after their cruise.  This special feature is designed to give Facebook users a way to ‘meet’ fellow passengers, ask each other for advice, organize get-togethers and share the excitement leading up to a cruise and the memories afterward.


MIAMI – July 7, 2011 – Norwegian Cruise Line (“Norwegian”) announced it will now offer its popular Pizza 24/7 delivery service, currently available on Norwegian Epic, throughout its entire fleet.

Guests can experience the same convenience on land now at sea with pizza delivery to almost anywhere on the ship 24-hours a day.  Pizza 24/7 is scheduled to roll out to the eight ships departing from U.S. ports throughout July and then in Europe to Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun in August.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Riding the rails on Chepe to Mexico's Copper Canyon is highlight of Sea of Cortez cruises

(c) By Jim Fox
Holland America's Ryndam, on Sea of Cortez and Baja California sailings, is shown in port at Cabo San Lucas. (Jim Fox photo)

   BARRANCA DEL COBRE, Mexico -- The young Tarahumara girl holds up three fingers as you admire one of the hand-woven baskets she proudly shows you.
Tarahumara natives offer hand-woven baskets to train passengers near Copper Canyon, Mexico. (Photo by Jim Fox)
   Timidly she is signifying the price is $3 US. The seriousness of this business deal turns to smiles as you nod in approval and also buy one of her full-hand ($5) baskets.
   She and others have left their remote village in the legendary Sierra Madre Mountains in northwestern Mexico to meet our Chihuahua Pacifico Railway train.
   On this picture-perfect day, the train chugs six hours each way past some of the most spectacular scenery - through about 80 tunnels and over 35 bridges climbing from the Pacific Ocean to 7,200 feet (2,194.5 metres).
The Chihuahua Pacifico Railway train chugs through 80 tunnels and over 35 bridges en route to the Copper Canyon in Mexico. (Jim Fox photo)
   On board are Holland America Line passengers on one of the most ruggedly exotic and lengthy - at 18 hours - shore excursions.

August 14 Departure includes Cruise and Two Nights at Paris’ Hotel Raphael – A Savings of $3,600 per Couple
                Duxbury, MA -- French Country Waterways has announced a special deal on its six-night, August 14, 2011 Champagne region sailing, aboard the 12-passenger deluxe barge Adrienne.  The special price of $4,636 per person, double, is a savings of $1,159 off the already discounted Value Season rate of $5,795, or 20%.  In addition, the company is including a two-night stay – one night before and after the cruise -- in a deluxe room at the very elegant Hotel Raphael in the heart of Paris – bringing the total savings to $3,600 per couple. 


MIAMI, June 13, 2011 – Up-market travelers can enjoy immersing themselves virtually in captivating cultures and unique destinations on the cruise line’s newly relaunched website www.AzamaraClubCruises.com. Offering a more intuitive navigation and wrapped in new vivid colors and graphics, the new website’s rich video, gorgeous destination photography and valuable information virtually transport visitors aboard an extraordinary Azamara voyage.

(Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- June 15, 2011) Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is pleased to announce that four additional voyages this year will feature the exclusive "Relais & Châteaux L'École des Chefs" interactive cooking school.

"Our L'École des Chefs cooking school is proving extremely popular with guests and we're pleased to roll it out to more voyages this year," said Rudi Scholdis, Silversea's director of culinary development.

Cruise Offerings Defined By Deluxe Expedition Ship, Limited Passengers, Expert Lecturers and Unique Excursions
New York, NY, June 2011 – Hurtigruten invites guests to discover the chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island, the ring-shaped volcanic caldera of Deception Island, the splendor of Paradise Bay and the British history of Port Lockroy – among other, less visited ports – on seven Antarctic itineraries during the 2011-2012 season.  The once-in-a-lifetime voyages delve into the unspoiled wilderness of the “White Continent” as the deluxe expedition ship MS Fram traverses the still waters of Lemaire Channel, and navigates between the building-sized icebergs of the Antarctic Sound.  The 12- to 20-day expedition voyages – with departures available from Nov. 3, 2011 to Feb. 23, 2012 – include “Shackleton’s Antarctica,” which follows in the historical sailings of Sir Ernest Shackleton, and “Chilean Fjords & Antarctica,” a voyage that takes in Tierra del Fuego.  Fares range from $6,190 to $17,105 per person, double; higher rates are for suites.