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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.

Cruise line to Offer Unique Artist, Artwork and Art-Inspired Events 

MIAMI, June 29, 2011 – Royal Caribbean International is relaunching the cruise line’s art program with the one-of-a-kind Art on Royal.

            The new exclusive program expands the breadth of onboard art-inspired events, with tours, seminars and auctions. Art on Royal integrates the entire onboard collection aboard Royal Caribbean’s fleet of the world’s 22 largest and most innovative cruise ships, and features Royal Art Icons, select artists among the entire Royal Caribbean Art Collection, and works by Royal Caribbean Signature Artists Romero Britto and Thomas Kinkade. This exclusive program, developed in partnership with Art Actually, was first piloted aboard Oasis of the Seas; is also currently aboard Adventure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas; and will be available on most ships by the end of the year.

Tight squeeze for 26-mile maneuver of Celebrity Cruises' newest ship

MIAMI – June 30, 2011 – One expert driver is breathing a big sigh of relief after completing the initial stages of a 26-mile navigation – in reverse – on a luxurious, multimillion-dollar cruise ship, Celebrity Cruises’ sleek new Celebrity Silhouette.  With less than five feet of room to maneuver at certain points, the challenging exercise began today under the direction of Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis, in order to move Celebrity Silhouette from shipbuilder Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, to the open sea in Emshaven, Netherlands.