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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Carnival Corporation & PLC reports a 40-percent increase in full-year earnings

MIAMI (December 18, 2015) – Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced adjusted net income for the full year 2015 of $2.1 billion, or $2.70 diluted EPS, compared to $1.5 billion, or $1.93 diluted EPS, for the prior year.
Full year 2015 U.S. GAAP net income was $1.8 billion, or $2.26 diluted EPS, which included unrealized losses (non-cash) on fuel derivatives of $332 million and other net charges of $17 million. Full year 2014 U.S. GAAP net income was $1.2 billion, or $1.56 diluted EPS, which included unrealized losses (non-cash) on fuel derivatives of $268 million and other net charges of $20 million.  Revenues for the full year 2015 were $15.7 billion compared to $15.9 billion for the prior year due to the unfavorable impact from currency exchange rates of over $800 million.
Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, “We nearly doubled our fourth quarter results and ended the year with 40 percent higher earnings. Strong operational execution delivered $0.25 per share higher earnings than the mid-point of our full year 2015 December guidance, despite a $0.10 drag from the net impact of currency and fuel prices. 

New modern luxury perks show why suites are best: Celebrity Cruises says

Suite Class gets even better with new Bulgari bath products, Perrier-Jouët champagne,
Sky Suite access to exclusive Michael's Club lounge, and more
MIAMI, FL  Modern luxury cruise brand Celebrity Cruises’ Suite Class is the height of “the suite life” at sea, and now, it just got even better. Starting this month, all Suite Class guests will begin to enjoy even more indulgent services and amenities.
At the center of these is a “trifecta of suiteness” found on no other premium cruise line: personal butler service that ensures guests never have to lift a finger; an exclusive restaurant, Luminae, which serves up delicious meals only for suite guests; and a private lounge featuring a dedicated concierge.
Other new Suite Class perks include luxurious new Bulgari bath amenities to pamper guests from head to toe and a new, mouthwatering selection of Delectable Delights – created by Celebrity’s Michelin-starred chef Cornelius Gallagher – delivered daily. Plus, select suites now will receive a bottle of Perrier-Jouët champagne on embarkation day. These benefits will begin in January 2016.

Windstar Cruises sails from Puerto Rico for the first time

Star Legend made its inaugural call at Montserrat on December 8th.

Select Windstar Caribbean Itineraries Now Include Stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Little Bay, Montserrat

Seattle, December 14, 2015 – Windstar Cruises has completed its inaugural voyage from Puerto Rico for the first time ever. On December 5, Star Legend set sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, marking the first time Windstar has launched from a US port of call in recent history.

Windstar’s San Juan & the Virgin Islands and Caribbean Hideaway itineraries, both new for 2016, offer guests the chance to experience Little Bay, Montserrat, where Windstar is the first cruise line to make regular calls to the port since the 1995 eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano that buried the island’s capital city.

Often called the “Pompeii in the Caribbean”, Montserrat returns to the tourism business with the recent completion of the new Little Bay port, a starting point for guests to drive through the Buried City, experience the deep water harbor, and behold the majesty of what is now the tallest mountain on Montserrat, still growing out of the old city.

Norwegian Cruise Line honored again as "World's Leading Large Ship Cruise Line"

 Norwegian is named “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” for the fourth consecutive year and recognized for “World’s Leading Cruise Line Website”
 MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line has once again been named the “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” by the World Travel Awards, marking the fourth consecutive year that the company has been honored with this accolade. In addition, Norwegian won in a new category this year for the “World’s Leading Cruise Line Website.”

The awards were presented to Norwegian Cruise Line at the 22st annual World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala, held on December 12, 2015 in El Jadida, Morocco.  The annual awards are voted on by thousands of travel and tourism professionals from across the globe and honor travel companies that provide outstanding products and customer service.  

Food, glorious food at sea!

   Out to Sea for Dec. 19/15

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Ah, yes the all-inclusive cruise vacation buffet – morning, noon, night and “midnight.”
   Those lavish all-you-can eat buffets at sea are included in the price of admission, with some of them open 24 hours a day, along with room service, pizza joints and late-night “snacks.”
   “Most people think of a deluxe buffet when they think of cruise dining and, while that is one option, there are plenty of additional dining delights available on a cruise ship,” said Cindy D’Aoust of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
The Pinnacle restaurant is a fine-dining option at an additional charge on Holland America ships where the legendary Le Cirque restaurant is recreated on one night each voyage. (Barbara Fox photo)
    “Today’s cruises offer specialty dining options that invite guests for once-in-a-lifetime palate experiences,” she added.
   The terms epicurean experiences, haute cuisine and culinary delights can now be applied to cruise ship experiences.
   Cruise travellers know to expect the unexpected when it comes to cuisine, so pick your ship options carefully to fit your palate.
   The trend is for cruise lines to offer numerous options to satisfy any appetite and please any palate.
   This ranges from specialty menus to made-to-order dishes, with a wide range of dining options that might surprise even the most seasoned traveller.
Carnival ships have added the popular casual Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint. (Jim Fox photo)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Un-Cruise Adventures adds land tours in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska

Rocky Mountaineer and Denali/Knik River tours extend the Un-Cruise experience to shore
Adventurers embarking on a small ship adventure cruise in Alaska or a river cruise on the Columbia & Snake Rivers may now extend their Un-Cruise experience on shore with two new land tours. Beginning in 2016, Un-Cruise Adventures offers a Denali Park & Knik River Adventure tour and a train journey through Canada and the Pacific Northwest aboard the Rocky Mountaineer.

“Our guests say they’re interested in extending their trips with us, so we’re developing land tours to connect with our cruises,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “We are offering land tours that match our unrushed, uncrowded, unbelievable concept delivered by our ships to ensure our spirit of adventure extends through all we do.”

A scenic train journey explores the Sea to Sky corridor and the Canadian Rockies. The Rocky Mountaineer extension has two itineraries combinable with either Alaska or Columbia & Snake River cruises.

Norwegian says 'aloha' to paradise with new freestyle choice in Hawaii

(News Release)
Dec. 1, 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced a special promotional offer exclusively for those who wish to explore the majestic state of Hawai`i. Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Hawai`i will allow guests who book a new cruise vacation now through April 29, 2016 to enjoy up to $980 in added value offers.

            Guests who book a new seven-day inter-island Hawai`i cruise for sailings through April 29, 2017 aboard Pride of America in any stateroom category will have the freedom to select one of four great offers to enhance their cruising experience including a free one-night pre-cruise hotel stay*, a free Specialty Dining Package**, free pre-paid gratuities for the first and second guest in the stateroom, or a free $50 per port shore excursion credits in up to four ports. Guests who book a suite aboard Pride of America will receive all four offers, turning their cruise into a nearly all-inclusive experience.

            This port-packed itinerary gives guests the opportunity to explore the islands of Hawai`i on seven-day inter-island cruises, year-round from Honolulu. Offering nearly 100 hours of port time, Pride of America visits Hawai`i’s four main islands, including an overnight in Kahului, Maui; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kauai; stops in Hilo, Hawai`i and Kona, Hawai`i; as well as an afternoon cruise by the spectacular Nãpali Coast.

Celebrating America's national parks with a small ship cruise

(News Release)
How to Honor America’s National Parks Centennial?
AdventureSmith Explorations Suggests - Cruise a Park

TAHOE CITY, CA – Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations (http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/) in the spirit of 2016’s National Park Centennial Celebration offers the most unique way to experience our National Parks: cruise a park.

While Alaska has the whale’s share of cruises in National Parks, and thus choices of ship size and amenities, the San Juan Islands and Oregon’s Columbia River are key players as well.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve covers over three million acres with open ocean and fjord coastlines spanning most of its perimeter. This means that the small vessels that AdventureSmith Explorations employs access many of the coves and landings around hundreds of miles. Examples of itineraries here are three eight-day programs: Exploring Muir’s Wilderness on the 84-guest Safari Endeavor; Northern Passages & Glacier Bay on the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer, 74-guest Wilderness Explorer or 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer; and Discoverers Glacier Country on the 22-guest Safari Quest, the 36-guest Safari Explorer, the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer or the 84-guest Safari Endeavour.

New destination-rich experiences feature chef-led shore excursions, regional experts, authentic cuisine and local entertainment

Introducing the New Bucket List:
Celebrity Cruises Reveals New Sailings, Destinations and Overnights in 2017-2018
MIAMI – Dec. 1, 2015  Modern luxury cruise brand Celebrity Cruises is introducing its 2017-2018 cruises and has packed in so many of the world’s best experiences that vacationers will want to rewrite their bucket lists.
The premium line’s richest season yet offers many firsts for guests to choose from among 282 destinations in 76 countries that include new ports of call, 236 exciting overnights in 55 cities and 31 double overnight stays in 10 different ports.
Today, Celebrity has revealed its new Alaska, Bermuda and Canada/New England cruises, the first series of the “Go Celebrity!” campaign to open for sale.
Two ships in this lineup are part of a $16 million refresh initiative, Celebrity Infinity in Alaska and Celebrity Summit in Bermuda and Canada/New England. More destinations will be unveiled this month. Valued Captain’s Club members have early priority access to begin planning their ultimate vacation, three days before the 2017-2018 sailings open to the general public on Friday, Dec. 4.

Carnival Live expands to include performances by comedian Kathy Griffin

MIAMI (December 3, 2015) – Carnival Cruise Line has expanded its popular Carnival LIVE entertainment concept to include two hilarious performances by two-time Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin in February 2016. 

Bringing the best in live entertainment to the seas, Carnival LIVE is a one-of-a-kind on-board experience that provides guests an opportunity to enjoy performances by major artists at a great value.  Performances are held in the ships’ main theaters – ranging in guest capacity from 900 to 1,300 – meaning there’s never a bad seat in the house.  

Griffin will showcase her distinctive brand of pull-no-punches comedy with two shows while ships are docked in Cozumel – one aboard Carnival Fantasy February 24 and another aboard Carnival Breeze February 25.  

Known for pulling the veil back on current events in an ever-changing show that is inspired by this year’s political landscape, pop culture news and her personal run-ins with celebrities and other “questionable figures,” Griffin has achieved legendary status for her take-no-prisoners approach to comedy.

Cruise line commits to cage-free eggs and gestation-crate free pork


MIAMI, December 3, 2015 – Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will provide guests with cage-free eggs over the coming years. The cruise company is committing to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2022, building on an initiative that first introduced cage-free eggs into its supply chain in 2010.

“By moving to 100 percent cage-free eggs we are not only delivering quality food, but acting responsibly when it comes to the welfare of animals in the food system,” said Mike Jones, Vice President, Supply Chain, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. 

In recent years the cruise company has undertaken significant efforts to provide sustainably sourced food for guests including sourcing pork from gestation crate free suppliers. As a result the company also is committing to sourcing all of its pork from gestation-free crates by 2022.