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Saturday, October 27, 2012

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

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

Friday, October 26, 2012

Royal Caribbean announces National Cruise Vacation week offer

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

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

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

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

News ships ordered for Holland America and Carnival Cruise Lines

News Release

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Princess Cruises celebrates National Cruise Vacation Week with Escape Completely sale

Cruise Deals on More than 200 Sailings Offer Free Balcony Upgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Azamara Club Cruises offers Destination Immersion with $500 onboard credit and more on European voyages

MIAMI, October 18, 2012 – Azamara Club Cruises is celebrating Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) National Cruise Vacation Week by offering up-market travelers up to $500 onboard credit when they book a 2013 Europe voyage between Oct. 21 and 27, 2012.

Travelers taking advantage of the National Cruise Vacation Week offer also will enjoy up to $2,000 ChoiceAir credit, when making an Azamara ship the destination of choice for a Europe voyage.

The cruise line’s twin boutique ships, Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey, will sail European waters beginning March 27 and May 15, 2013, respectively, transporting travelers, aboard newly refreshed ships, to unique and culturally-rich destinations on voyages featuring late-night departures and overnight port stays. Savvy travelers can apply their onboard credit toward Land Discovery shore excursions or rejuvenate in the onboard spa after a long day exploring a new found, favorite European port.

New York's ship Norwegian Breakaway takes a bow

Norwegian Breakaway, under construction at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany achieved another milestone on Wednesday morning when the ship’s bow was lowered into place.
MIAMI – October 18, 2012 – Norwegian Breakaway’s construction, underway at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany celebrated a very significant milestone in the early morning hours on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, when the ship’s bow was lowered into place.

The bow, known as block 73, weighed 361 tons, measured 72 feet long, 101 feet wide and over 39 feet high. Theprocess of putting the bow in place was efficiently completed in just 30 minutes. 

This significant step represents the completion of the lower part of the steel hull, those areas that come in contact with the sea, and indicates that only the superstructures, or topsides of the ship, remain to be finalized

Announcing the Cunard sale on select voyages aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth


 Week-Long Sale Offers Complimentary Balcony Upgrades and up to $300 in On Board Credit

18 October 2012 If the Norwegian Fjords or the ancient ruins of Seville call to your sense of adventure, then The Cunard Sale may offer the perfect opportunity to book your luxury cruise vacation.

Starting 22 October, this week-long sale will offer a Reduced Deposit, On Board Credit of up to $300 per stateroom, and Complimentary Balcony Upgrades on 30 select voyages, including Cunard’s signature Transatlantic Crossings aboard flagship Queen Mary 2.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Celebrity Cruises presents new California coastal and Alaska vacations

Modern luxury line’s “Sale of the Century” offers exceptional value on five new sailings

MIAMI – October 15, 2012 Celebrity Cruises today announced five new vacation options, available at enticing rates for a limited time, through the “Sale of the Century,” the modern luxury line’s theme for the new sailings.

  • Vacationers interested in a cool, carefree taste of the breathtaking California coastline now have two new options:
    • A four-night getaway departing San Diego April 18, with visits to Santa  Barbara and Catalina Island, California, and Ensenada, Mexico
    • A five-night escape departing San Diego April 22, with visits to Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Ensenada, complete with a relaxing day at sea

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Royal Caribbean announces year's final three-day Wow Sale

 Vacationers Can Enjoy Up to $200 Onboard Credit on all 2013-14 Royal Caribbean Sailings

MIAMI, Oct. 12, 2012 – Royal Caribbean International today announced that its final WOW Sale of the year will run for three days on October 15, 16 and 17, 2012.

For all new individual bookings made for a 2013-14 Royal Caribbean sailing, vacationers can receive $50 onboard credit per stateroom on three- to five-night itineraries; $100 per stateroom for six- to nine-night itineraries; and $200 per stateroom for 10-night itineraries or longer.

Guests can apply their onboard credit toward an exhilarating shore excursion or rejuvenating spa session, or celebrate a special occasion during their cruise with a specialty dining experience. Vacationers also can enjoy 50 percent reduced deposits during the three-day WOW Sale to lock in their 2013-14 Royal Caribbean cruise vacation anywhere around the world.

Norwegian Cruise Line recognized with nine 2012 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards

(News Release)
Travel Weekly, an influential news resource in the travel industry, recognized Norwegian Cruise Line with five gold and four silver 2012 Magellan Awards in the Advertising/Marketing, Social Media, Loyalty Program, TV Commercial and Mobile Application categories.
Travel Weekly will feature Norwegian in the October 15, 2012 issue and will include a special section devoted to the most exciting and innovative work being done in the travel industry today.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Royal Caribbean International offers more to savor with new culinary program

Cruise Line Debuts Extensive Dining Room Enhancements Following Multi-Million Dollar Investment
MIAMI, October 11, 2012 – Royal Caribbean International is once again elevating the cruise vacation experience, this time, wowing guests’ taste buds.

The cruise line, known for bringing the most innovative feature and amenities to the high seas, has redefined its onboard culinary program with an extensive multi-million dollar investment to its main dining room across the fleet. The culinary enhancements continue Royal Caribbean’s tradition of culinary excellence emphasizing the freshest, highest quality ingredients available – on land or at sea.

Carnival Corporation & PLC declares dividend

(News Release)

            MIAMI (October 9, 2012) -- Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) has announced that it has declared a dividend of $0.25 per share.   
             The boards approved a record date for the quarterly dividend of November 23, 2012, and a payment date of December 14, 2012.

Celebrity Cruises takes delivery of Celebrity Reflection

Pictured left to right are: Nicholas Pagonis, Captain of Celebrity Reflection; Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft; Michael Bayley, Celebrity Cruises President and CEO

MIAMI – October 9, 2012 – The sleek Celebrity Reflection today officially became part of Celebrity Cruises’ modern luxury fleet. Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Michael Bayley and Richard D. Fain, Chairman & CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., joined Bernard Meyer of shipbuilder Meyer Werft in a celebratory handover ceremony onboard the ship.

Celebrity Reflection will present a two-night promotional cruise for an invitation-only audience of European press and travel partners October 10-12, ending in Amsterdam. The ship then sets sail on a series of Mediterranean sailings before crossing the Atlantic to begin the ship’s first Caribbean season. Celebrity Reflection will be named December 1 in Miami, with four Godmothers – all of them employees of the company whose lives have been touched by breast cancer – presiding over the ceremony.

Princess Cruises announces winners of 2011-12 Caribbean and Panama Canal shore excursion awards

13th Annual C.R.U.I.S.E. Service Awards Honor Top Local Tour Operators

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 10, 2012) – With the Caribbean and Panama Canal cruise season about to kick off, Princess Cruises is celebrating last season’s favorite local tour operators with special shipboard ceremonies.

The winners of the line’s 13th annual C.R.U.I.S.E. service awards have just been announced, honoring the best shore excursion experiences and guides in ports on Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries, based largely on passenger feedback throughout the season.

The awards recognize the most popular tours and individual guides in the destinations where Princess ships call. Chosen from the extensive line-up of Caribbean and Panama Canal shore excursions offered to Princess passengers, 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.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Silversea's Silver Cloud to undergo extensive refurbishment

Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- Starting in November, ultra-luxury Silver Cloud will welcome guests to a stylishly renovated shipboard environment brimming with a host of new enhancements.

A major stem-to-stern refurbishment will take place, with most of the work being completed during a three-week dry dock at Fincantieri's shipyard in Palermo, Italy. Overseeing the design and construction elements of the project is renowned Italian architect Giacomo Mortola.

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

Azamara Club Cruises includes more amenities

Cruise Line Augments each Voyage with Complimentary Night Touring Event
MIAMI, October 1, 2012 – When it comes to compelling enhancements for discerning up-market travelers, boutique cruise line Azamara Club Cruises is clearly a winner – and now it has scored again.

The cruise line today announced that the guest experience will soon include the new AzAmazing Evening, an immersive complimentary destination event ashore featured on every voyage.

In addition, the cruise line is introducing a selection of complimentary standard spirits, wines and international beers throughout the ship during the bars’ opening hours. Both offerings will begin with Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey’s next Europe season, March 27 and May 15 2013, respectively.

Carnival Cruise Lines launches Pinterest contest


‘I’d Rather be Carnival Cruising To’ Contest Runs Through Oct. 14
            MIAMI (October 3, 2012) – Carnival Cruise Lines has launched a fun and unique new Pinterest contest called “I’d Rather be Carnival Cruising to _______” that will award one lucky winner a seven-day “Fun Ship” Caribbean cruise for two. 

            Starting today, participants can visit http://www.carnival.com/pinterest and begin by choosing one of four cruise destinations – the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or Hawaii.  Participants are then encouraged to tell a visual story of what their dream cruise to that location would look like by pinning various images to their newly created contest board. 

Celebrity Cruises names four employees Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection

Series of special activations complement year-round support of breast cancer cause

MIAMI – October 4, 2012 – Celebrity Cruises is marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in a particularly unique and meaningful way: Richard D. Fain, Chairman of Celebrity Cruises and Chairman & CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), and Celebrity’s President & CEO Michael Bayley today revealed plans to honor four employees – two who work aboard its ships, and two in its corporate offices – as Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection, the fifth in its five-ship Solstice Class series.

Like the Godmothers of every prior Solstice Class ship – all with remarkable life achievements, including overcoming breast cancer – the cause is of great personal interest to the selected employees. The Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection are:

Norwegian celebrates National Cruise Vacation Month


 Receive up to $250 to spend on board, reduced deposits and
an e-coupon booklet worth over $300 in savings
Norwegian Cruise Line kicks off National Cruise Vacation Month today, October 1, 2012 by launching its “Let’s Cruise” limited time sales event. Guests have the opportunity to receive up to $250 in on-board credit (based on cruise length and stateroom category), reduced deposits and an e-coupon booklet worth more than $300 in on board savings when they book any Norwegian cruise vacation by Saturday, October 13, 2012.

Vacationers are invited to see the world the Norwegian way and to discover the history of Europe, see the wildlife in Alaska up-close and personal, or just relax on the sandy beaches of the Caribbean, Bermuda, the Bahamas or one of the beautiful islands of Hawai`i. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Historic first for Silversea in Corfu

Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- For the first time in the 18-year history of Silversea Cruises, three of the ultra-luxury line's ships -- Silver Cloud, Silver Wind and Silver Spirit -- called in the same port on the same day. The historic convergence of the three ships took place today in beautiful Corfu, a Greek island renowned for its lush green hills and pure white beaches.

Surrounded by the sparkling turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind and Silver Spirit greeted each other by sounding their whistles as they sailed into this charming and sophisticated port.

Norwegian returns to the Caribbean

  Launches “Snap and Pack” Instagram Photo Sweepstakes
for a Chance to Win One of Seven Caribbean Cruises

MIAMI – October 4, 2012 - Norwegian Cruise Line is celebrating the start of the Caribbean vacation season with seven award-winning ships setting to sail to the Caribbean from four convenient departure ports: Miami, New Orleans, Tampa and New York.  Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star offer guests a slice of paradise with cruises to the Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean.

As part of the Caribbean celebration, Norwegian will be the first cruise line to launch a contest utilizing Instagram, the popular photo-sharing social media application. The “Norwegians Snap and Pack”  Instagram Sweepstakes in conjunction with AOL runs through the end of October and invites vacationers to submit a picture that best represents a Caribbean vacation experience and embodies cruising like a Norwegian for a chance to win one of seven Caribbean cruises.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Norwegian Getaway to sail the Eastern Caribbean from Miami year-round starting in February 2014

MIAMI – October 2, 2012Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Getaway will be delivered in late January 2014, earlier than originally scheduled, and will sail a seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary from PortMiami year-round.  Carrying 4,000 passengers, Norwegian Getaway will be the largest ship to home port year-round in Miami and will embody a unique Miami vibe. 

Norwegian Getaway sailings available for group blocks to travel partners on October 8
and open for sale on October 22

“We are pleased that Meyer Werft will deliver this incredible vessel three months earlier than scheduled,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer.  “Norwegian Getaway is going to offer a fantastic cruise opportunity sailing to the Eastern Caribbean.”

Princess Cruises' “Inspired to Cruise” blog chronicles five additional reasons to cruise

New Stories include an Adventure that Resulted in Marriage, Meeting a Foster Child and Finding a “Happy Place”

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 2, 2012) – Princess Cruises’ blog, “Inspired to Cruise: A Year of Reasons to Get Away From the Everyday” has chronicled an additional five reasons to cruise, presenting a new selection of heartwarming and inspiring passenger stories about the many things that can motivate travelers to choose a vacation at sea.

The most recent stories are from cruisers who have had an adventure turn into marriage, found a home-away-from-home, met a foster child, and even used images of the Princess’ shipboard Piazza to get through the panic of heart surgery. The blog, found at http://inspiredtocruise.com, illustrates some of the myriad reasons people take cruise vacations.
Each week during 2012 the blog explores the celebrations, accomplishments, milestones and other inspired reasons to cruise, each told by a different passenger. This diverse group of contributors – from long-time cruisers to those who set sail for the first time – will share a total of 52 stories.