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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Un-Cruise Adventures releases 2016 schedule of Alaska adventure cruises

 Two new Alaska small ship cruise itineraries debut

Seattle, WA, May 27, 2015Un-Cruise Adventures unveils its schedule of Alaska adventure cruises for 2016 with six small ships sailing 113 departures on seven itineraries. Two new cruise itineraries—Exploring Muir’s Wilderness and Yachters’ Alaskan Frontier—sail roundtrip from Juneau.  

Six boutique yachts and small ships—Safari Quest, Safari Explorer, Safari Endeavour, Wilderness Adventurer, Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Explorer—carry 22-84 guests on adventure cruises lasting one week to 12 days from homeports of Seattle, WA; Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka, Alaska. Itineraries may be combined to create longer voyages of 14 to 22 days. 

Every Alaska cruise includes adventure activities in remote wilderness—hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff excursions and whale watching. With few or no port calls and flexible itineraries, travelers spend the week exploring remote wilderness and searching for wildlife. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

One ship size doesn't fit all for cruise vacations

   Out to Sea for May 23/15

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Smallest, bigger, biggest.
   When it comes to cruise ships, one size certainly doesn’t fit all.
   From the smallest on the seas to midsize and then the megaships for more than 5,000 passengers, each size has its advantages.
The 10-passenger Swell is a classic restored tugboat plying Canada’s west coast waters. (Photo by Jason Bradley, Maple Leaf Adventures)
    Swell, a restored tugboat carrying just 10 passengers, is about the smallest while Holland America’s fleet of 15 mid-size ships carries from 835 to 2,100 cruisers.
   Then, there’s Royal Caribbean set to debut the world’s largest, Harmony of the Seas next April, able to carry almost 5,500 passengers.

   For a swell time . . .
   A classic restored tugboat called Swell has just had her maiden voyage on Canada’s west coast, said Maureen Gordon of Maple Leaf Adventures.
   It launched with two inaugural voyages and is designed to offer “expedition cruises” along the Inside Passage.

Windstar Cruises announces free shore excursions for Greece and Turkey sailings

Three complimentary excursion options offered on each of four different itineraries this summer
Windstar Cruises is offering spectacular summer savings with the addition of Three Free Excursions and 50 Percent Savings on sailings in Greece and Turkey this summer.

The promotion is available on four different itineraries, including Greek Isles & Turkish Delights; Gems of the Aegean; Black Sea Tapestry; and Venetian Passageways.

Complimentary shore excursions include adventures like Wine Tasting in Varna, Bulgaria, with a four hour experience beginning in the Old Quarter of Varna.

A scenic drive through the modern capital of Bulgaria takes guests to the Aladja Monastery, declared a national monument of culture. Guests spend the day tasting Bulgarian wines, guided by a professional sommelier.

Cunard’s 'Three Queens' perform river dance on the Mersey in salute to Liverpool where the company began 175 years ago

Queen Mary 2 (top), Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on the Mersey against the backdrop of the Three Graces. Credit: James Morgan for Cunard
25 May 2015 –For the first time, Cunard’s fleet gathered together in spectacular fashion in Liverpool, its spiritual home, as the company marked its 175th anniversary.

The event culminated with the three ships - flagship Queen Mary 2Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria - the largest passenger ships ever to muster together on the River Mersey, lined up across the river just 426 feet apart as the Red Arrows performed a fly-past overhead to the delight of the hundreds of thousands of spectators.
The Red Arrows fly over Cunard's Three Queens on the Mersey. Credit: James Morgan for Cunard
 To view a time lapse video of the Three Queens on the Mersey, click here: http://we.tl/ExXzcmEGWR.

Celebrity Cruises enhances Caribbean itineraries to offer guests even more overnights

MIAMI, FL – May 20, 2015Celebrity Cruises is offering guests an unmatched experience by introducing additional overnight stays on more than 40 Caribbean sailings for January 2016 and beyond, more than any other cruise line.

The popularity of Celebrity's current overnight program has led to 43 newly enhanced itineraries, giving guests the chance to enjoy exciting evenings in destinations such as Cartagena, Colombia; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Cozumel, Mexico; Aruba; Curacao and Barbados.

"Guests and travel agents love our overnight program in Europe, Asia and around the world, and their feedback has been amazing. This demand led us to revisit our current Caribbean itineraries and add even more overnights in one of the most beautiful places we sail to each year,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises.

New Carnival Vista designed as the ultimate family vacation

(News Release)

Largest and Most Innovative ‘Fun Ship’ Set to Debut in Europe in May 2016

MIAMI (May 26, 2015) – Embodying Carnival Cruise Line’s motto of Fun For All, All For Fun, the new Carnival Vista will offer family members of all ages the ultimate vacation experience, debuting a variety of amazing, one-of-a-kind on-board features when it enters service next spring. 

From a unique suspended cycling experience called SkyRide and the innovative Family Harbor staterooms and suites featuring a “family concierge” to cruising’s first IMAX Theater, Carnival Vista promises fun for the whole family. 

            “Carnival is the number one cruise line for families carrying more than 700,000 children annually and Carnival Vista will build upon our leadership position in this area with incredible outdoor attractions and engaging indoor spaces specifically designed with families in mind,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial service held on decks of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth off Gallipoli Peninsula

 Almost 500 Australians and New Zealanders joined their fellow passengers on the decks of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth for a very special memorial service last month as the ship sailed the waters off the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Marking Cunard’s long-standing association with Australian and New Zealand wartime campaigns, including Gallipoli, the emotional ceremony saw the ship’s crew and guests lay wreaths in the water in remembrance of the heroic soldiers who fought in the First World War campaign.

A two-metre high poppy wall floral tribute, shaped as ‘100’ to mark the Anzac centenary, formed the centrepiece for the ceremony.

The wall was filled with 11,500 red poppies donated by Australians and New Zealanders during Queen Elizabeth’s calls to Auckland and Sydney as part of her current world cruise, with the flowers representing the number of Anzacs killed during the campaign.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Windstar Cruises announces new Private Event Host: ‘The Royal Chef’

Chef Darren McGrady, Former Chef for Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana, to join
‘Idyllic British Isles’ Sailing on June 19 

Seattle Windstar Cruises announces their newest Private Event Host, “Royal Chef” Darren McGrady, as part of the global roll-out of the small ship cruise line’s new Private Event program in 2015.

Each Windstar sailing now boasts a unique and complimentary “private event” with a region-specific experience, allowing guests the opportunity to connect more deeply with the destination during their cruise. 

Chef Darren was personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II; Diana, Princess of Wales; and Princes William and Harry for 15 years. Darren will come aboard Windstar’s June 19 Idyllic British Isles sailing as the Private Event Host, attending Windstar’s Private Event at Picton Castle, a 13th century castle reserved for Windstar guests to explore while enjoying appetizers, sparkling wine, and music from a Welsh choir.

Princess Cruises' Memorial Day Sale offers cruise deals to honor military service

Guests Can Save up to $700 per Stateroom and Receive Free Onboard Spending Money

  SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 19, 2015) – In honor of Memorial Day, Princess Cruises is offering cruise deals on itineraries departing from the U.S. to spectacular vacation destinations including Hawaii, the Caribbean, Canada & New England, Mexico and the California Coast during the Memorial Day Sale.
Guests can save up to $700 per stateroom as well as reserve their booking with a reduced, non-refundable deposit of only $100 per person. In addition to cruise savings – to thank those who have served – veterans, retired, disabled and active military guests can receive up to $250 free onboard spending money with proper verification. 
Examples of Memorial Day Sale cruise deals include:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Carnival Victory to offer "exciting new choice" on cruises from San Juan

Additionally, Carnival Ecstasy Will Reposition to Charleston, Carnival Fantasy to Miami Next Year
MIAMI – Building on its distinction as the Caribbean cruise leader, Carnival Cruise Line will reposition the 102,000-ton Carnival Victory on the line’s popular five-port, seven-day southern Caribbean cruise schedule from San Juan beginning in November 2016.  

Carnival Victory offers a wide range of on-board amenities and features, including more than 500 balcony staterooms that are perfect for watching the breathtaking Caribbean scenery.  Carnival Victory will carry an estimated 150,000 guests from San Juan on an annual basis. 

In addition, Carnival announced new ships in two key homeports with Carnival Ecstasy shifting to Charleston, S.C., and Carnival Fantasy to Miami in February 2016, providing exciting new “Fun Ship” cruise options in those markets. 

Cunard to welcome former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert Gates aboard Queen Mary 2

Cunard is pleased to announce that distinguished former Secretary of Defense, Dr. Robert Gates, will sail with flagship Queen Mary 2 as a featured guest with the Cunard Insights programme during her 11 August 2015 Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton to New York.

Gates served as the 22nd secretary of defense from 2006 to 2011, and is the only secretary of defense in United States history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected President.

Gates has served under President Barak Obama and President George W. Bush. In his last day in office, President Barak Obama awarded Gates the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour.

“I am very pleased to be invited into Cunard’s Insights program and to share stories from my career,” Gates said. “I look forward to meeting guests from all over the world, and to experiencing one of Queen Mary 2's renowned Transatlantic Crossings."

During the Crossing, Gates will share his insights with guests during two Q&A sessions with Queen Mary 2’s Entertainment Director. Guests will also have the opportunity to attend a book-signing session with Gates during the voyage.

“We look forward to welcoming the celebrated Robert Gates to the Cunard Insights programme. We know our guests will enjoy learning about his significant contributions in public service, his tenure in national security and about his past and current business ventures,” said Richard Meadows, president of Cunard, North America.

Ruby Princess receives special sled-dog welcome in Juneau

A dog sled team led by Maliko Ubl from the TEMSCO Helicopters Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding Tours and Alaska Icefield Expeditions welcomed Ruby Princess to the port of Juneau
during her maiden voyage in Southeast Alaska.
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 6, 2015) – Guests aboard Ruby Princess received a special welcome today as a team of Alaska sled dogs “pulled” the ship into the port of Juneau, marking the vessel’s maiden voyage in Southeast Alaska. 

The four-dog sled team, driven by Maliko Ubl of TEMSCO Helicopters Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding Tours and Alaska Icefield Expedition, mushed their way alongside the cruise ship giving guests an official Alaska welcome before they disembarked and enjoyed the day exploring Juneau.

Princess guests even got the chance to meet and take photos with the dogs before departing for shore excursions to experience the Great Land.

Carnival Cruise Line's "Great Group Getaway" promotion offered through June 30/15

Waives Initial Deposit on Group Bookings,
Enhances Free Cruise Berth Program for Travel Agents
             MIAMI (May 18, 2015) – As part of a new group sales promotion, Carnival Cruise Line is waiving its initial deposit requirement for group bookings, as well as offering a free cruise berth, on a variety of “Fun Ship” departures. The promotion can be booked from May 18, 2015 through June 30, 2015. 

With the new “Great Group Getaway” promotion, deposits are waived on select two- to 15-day sailings to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexican Riviera, Canada and Europe departing between January 2016 and April 2017. 

In addition, travel agents can earn one a free berth for every 10 full fare guests berthed (compared to the current policy of one free berth for every 15 full fare guests) on all voyages included in the promotion period. On select sailings, travel agents can also earn one free cruise berth for every eight full fare guests.

Disney Cruise Line returning to New York, Miami and Galveston in 2016

NEW YORK (May 18, 2015) – In the fall of 2016, Disney Cruise Line will return to New York for a limited time with sailings to the Bahamas that include a visit to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. 

New seven-night Caribbean cruises from Miami and a return to Galveston, Texas round out the season.
Bookings for the new itineraries open to the public on May 20, 2015. More details can be found on the Itineraries and Ports for 2016 page of disneycruise.com.

Return to New York
On Oct. 7, 2016, the Disney Magic will sail from New York on an eight-night Bahamian cruise that includes stops at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and Port Canaveral, Florida, which is located just one hour from the Walt Disney World Resort.

On Oct. 15, 22 and 29, 2016, the Disney Magic will sail from New York on seven-night cruises that stop at Castaway Cay and Port Canaveral.

First "World Class Bar" revealed by Celebrity Cruises and Diageo Global Travel Americas

Miami, FL – May 18, 2015Celebrity Cruises and Diageo Global Travel Americas have partnered to launch the world’s first permanent "World Class™ Bar”. The striking bar space onboard Celebrity Eclipse provides interactive and luxurious drinks experiences created by World Class-certified mixologists.

Celebrity is renowned for its highly skilled and engaging bartenders, and partnering with the world’s leading premium drinks company provides Celebrity’s expert mixologists with exclusive menus that feature cutting-edge cocktails - delivering the ultimate high-end drinks experience for vacationers. World Class Bar debuted on Celebrity Eclipse and will soon be followed by bars onboard Celebrity’s four remaining Solstice Class ships.

The curated and exclusive menu features new craft cocktails and a series of "rituals," available only onboard Celebrity, including:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Princess Cruises’ next new ship to be cased in China year-round

Princess Cruises' next new ship scheduled to debut in summer 2017 will be based in China year round.

Sailings Begin in Summer 2017 from Shanghai 
Ship is First Year-Round International Luxury Vessel Designed for Chinese Traveler

 SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 5, 2015) – Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company in the world, announced that the new ship currently under construction for Princess Cruises will be based in China year-round when introduced in summer 2017. Based in Shanghai , the ship will be the first year-round international luxury vessel designed and built specifically for Chinese guests.
The as-yet-unnamed ship is being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, and will carry approximately 3,600 guests on a variety of itineraries, to be announced at a later date. Based on the design of its highly-acclaimed ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess, the new vessel will feature a number of new innovations customized for the growing number of Chinese cruise vacationers.
“Deploying our next new ship in China underscores our strong commitment to growing the China cruise market and providing discerning travelers with amazing vacation experiences at sea,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. 

Cunard pays tribute to its founder and great Victorian entrepreneur, Sir Samuel Cunard

Cunard Chairman David Dingle (far right) and Sir Samuel Cunard descendants.
From left-to-right: Tom Cunard Charrington, Antonia Young, Veldes Raison, Laura Grimond, Giles Charrington and Teresa Tildon
Tributes were paid by Cunard at the grave of its founder, Sir Samuel Cunard, on the 150th anniversary of his passing on 28 April 1865.

David Dingle, Chairman of Cunard, was joined by several of Sir Samuel’s descendents including four of his great great grandchildren: Tom Charrington, Giles Charrington, Antonia Young and Teresa Tildon. Their Mother, Barbara Cunard, was the fourth daughter of Cyril Grant Cunard, who was a son of William Cunard. He was one of Sir Samuel’s nine children. So William was their great grandfather and Sir Samuel their great great grandfather.

Cunard has had Sir Samuel’s final resting place at Brompton Cemetery in London refurbished in this anniversary year for the company.

Prior to each laying a wreath both David Dingle and Tom Charrington paid tribute to the man who changed the face of ocean travel forever.

Norwegian Epic sails into Barcelona

Norwegian’s largest ship will cruise the Western Mediterranean this summer, debuting new entertainment highlights, and sail Canary Islands & Morocco itineraries during the winter
Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ship, Norwegian Epic, has arrived in Barcelona, Spain to begin her summer season of seven-night Mediterranean sailings.

The award-winning Norwegian Epic features a new entertainment line-up for her new homeport, debuting throughout 2015.
Two new Broadway shows will take the stage as headliners: Burn the Floor and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical, coming in October. The ship will also feature an all-new British pop music entertainment experience, The Cavern Club, bringing the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed to life at sea.

Carnival Cruise Line announces summer/fall 2015 lineup for concert series

One-of-a-Kind Entertainment Program Offers Best of Live Music at Sea
with Shipboard Concerts by The Band Perry, BOSTON, Lionel Richie and Heart

MIAMI – Crank it up to 11, music fans!  Carnival Cruise Line has unveiled the roster of artists for its upcoming Carnival LIVE concert series, adding The Band Perry, BOSTON, Lionel Richie and Heart to the diverse and talented lineup of musical acts set to perform on board the “Fun Ships” this summer and fall.
The shows complement the highly anticipated spring series which kicked off last month and includes performances by Journey, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Smokey Robinson and Styx.
Bringing the best of musical entertainment to the seas, Carnival LIVE is a one-of-a-kind entertainment option that provides guests an opportunity to experience captivating concerts by major musical artists at a tremendous value.  Concerts are held in the ships’ intimate main theaters – ranging in guest capacity from 900 to 1,300 – meaning there’s never a bad seat in the house.  

Princess Cruises debuts 2016-2017 Exotics sailings

Worldwide Cruise Vacation Destinations Will Visit 40 Countries
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Princess Cruises has debuted its 2016-2107 Exotics program which will take guests to fascinating cruise destinations around the globe. With 58 departures ranging from three to 111 days, these exotic cruise itineraries go on sale May 28.
The diverse deployment includes four cruise ships sailing on 38 unique itineraries throughout six continents, visiting 70 destinations and 40 countries. Guests will be able to book cruises to South America, Southeast Asia, Japan and China. In addition, cruisers will experience less-traveled ports aboard the cruise line’s small ship that will circumvent the globe on 111-day World Cruise sailings roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale.
“Our Exotics program will continue to offer our guests the chance to travel to fascinating destinations around the globe resulting in lifelong memories of different cultures and people,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We’re proud that our award-winning itineraries position us as a destination leader in the cruise industry.”

Disney Cruise Line dreams a little bigger with enhancements to the Disney Dream this fall

Star Wars play area and Disney Infinity interactive adventures coming to youth spaces as part of October 2015 dry dock

CELEBRATION, Fla. (April 21, 2015) – Exciting new experiences await Disney Dream guests after spaces throughout the Disney Cruise Line vessel are transformed this fall.

Headlining the enhancements are two new interactive youth areas, one themed to Star Wars and another to Disney Infinity.

Also a whimsical sweet shop serving handmade gelato and the ever-popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will debut after the Disney Dream undergoes dry dock Oct. 4-24, 2015, in Freeport, Bahamas.

Star Wars Area Brings Force-filled Fun for Children
A newly themed area in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to ages three to 12, will delight children with an out-of-this-galaxy experience inspired by the Star Wars saga.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sting performs songs from 'The Last Ship' on Tyneside where 23 Cunard ships were built

Sting and Anthony Sargent, general director Sage
  27 April 2015 - Sting delighted audiences in his hometown with songs from his latest album and Broadway musical ‘The Last Ship’ on 24th and 25th April 2015 to benefit the Sage Gateshead 10th Birthday Appeal. These were the only UK performances of their kind and were supported by Cunard in the company's 175th anniversary year.

Cunard has historic links to the shipyards of the Tyne and a proud heritage with the North East. This great partnership saw 23 Cunard ships being built on Tyneside, 15 of them at Swan Hunter including ones that became the stuff of legend like the four-funnelled Mauretania and Carpathia, which rescued all the survivors from Titanic.

Sting said: “‘The Last Ship’ stories are based on the community I was brought up in, the shipbuilding community of Wallsend, and so to bring it back here like this is a wonderful honour and very emotional. I’m thrilled to be here.

Princess Cruises unveils 2016-2017 America's season

Offerings Include Brand-New Itineraries and Longer Visits in Select Ports
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 1, 2015) –  Princess Cruises has announced its 2016-2017 Americas cruise itineraries including sailings to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, the West Coast and Canada & New England, as well as land and sea vacations. The array of cruise vacations departing from U.S. ports range from three to 28 days and go on sale May 21.
In total, 10 ships with 255 departures on 62 itineraries visiting more than 80 destinations will be sailing between September 2016 and April 2017. Cruises will offer guests the opportunity for a quick getaway or a longer cruise vacation on the line given the “Best Itineraries” award by readers of Recommend magazine for a record-setting nine consecutive years and “Best Itineraries” in the Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards for 2013 and 2014.
Highlights include brand-new six- and eight-day Caribbean itineraries, evening and overnight stays in certain destinations to allow guests to see even more of these special locations, the first roundtrip Panama Canal voyage for Princess Cruises departing from Los Angeles since 2009, shorter five-day fall Canada & New England getaways, a more expansive 14-day Canada & New England itinerary and new land and sea vacations to explore the East Coast.

Surf's up with Norwegian's Freestyle Choice

Popular promotion includes a newly added option for free Internet access

 Norwegian Cruise Line has expanded its popular Freestyle Choice promotion through the month of May, providing guests with the freedom and flexibility to enjoy up to $1,200 in value to enhance their cruising experience.

With Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, guests who book a new three-day or longer cruise vacation now through May 31, 2015 have the freedom to select up to four great offers including a newly added option of free wifi, along with a free specialty dining credit, free shore excursion credit, and free onboard credit. These offers are in addition to Friends & Family Savings, where the third through eighth guest in each stateroom can even sail for free*.

During Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, cruisers who book a suite or The Haven by Norwegian™ will receive all four offers, valued at up to $1,200. Guests who cruise an ocean view, balcony or mini-suite stateroom are free to choose one great offer and will receive Friends & Family Savings.

“Autism Friendly” designation certifies Celebrity Cruises’ services, venues and amenities are accessible to guests with autism and other developmental disabilities


Shelton, CT   ̶̶   In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Autism on the Seas™ (AotS), the leading travel organization catering to vacationers with autism and other developmental disabilities, today announced that Celebrity Cruises has received the Silver Level “Autism Friendly” certification from AotS.
The important designation qualifies the modern luxury cruise line’s efforts to accommodate guests with autism and developmental disabilities for inclusion and participation in its cruise vacation experience.
Effective immediately, the Celebrity Cruises fleet* is Silver Level certified “Autism Friendly,” with dedicated onboard youth staff specially trained in autism awareness by AotS.

Celebrity has implemented best practices to accommodate vacationers with special needs, along with the introduction of new Autism Friendly products and services.