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Monday, December 2, 2019

Hanging loose on popular cruise ship Christmas and New Year's sailings

   Out to Sea for Nov. 30/19


   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox      

   They say there’s no place like home for the holidays and many people are making that home a cruise ship.
   So popular are cruises for Christmas and New Year’s that it’s best to secure a cabin now for next year.
   “The reality is that these sailings are at the most popular time of the year, so space might be really tight this close in,” said Vance Gulliksen of Carnival Cruise Line.
Home is at sea for many over the holidays. (Jim Fox photo)
    Guests will gather for carolling around the tree while fashionistas can try their luck in an Ugly Sweater competition and the on-stage holiday shows put everyone in the spirit, Carnival says.
   Ships are decorated in festive attire from bow to stern and pack the days at sea with special treats whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year’s Eve.
A blow-up Santa appears in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. (Jim Fox photo)
    Options range from short getaways such as three or four nights to the Bahamas, week-long island-hopping Caribbean voyages and much longer sailings to exotic locales.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White named Godmother for new Carnival Panorama

Popular TV Hostess to Officially Name Ship At Dec. 10 Ceremony in Long Beach
MIAMI (Nov. 22, 2019) -- The most popular cruise line – Carnival Cruise Line – has selected one of the most popular television hostesses ever – Vanna White – as godmother for Carnival Panorama when she is officially named during its ceremony in Long Beach, Calif., on December 10.
“Vanna has been that welcoming face, cheering on and watching over Wheel of Fortune contestants for decades, and we love the fact that Vanna will be doing the same for Carnival Panorama, her guests and crew, as the ship’s godmother,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
“Every night, millions of Americans welcome Vanna into their homes. She is beloved. What other game show hostess has earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame?  And she’s got the most famous wardrobe on television!”

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Beware of things that go bump in the night when cruising during hurricane season

   Out to Sea for Sept. 28/19

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   When the “barf bags” appeared beside the elevators, we knew we were in for a rough night at sea.
   But it became unnerving when people posted onYouTube to “pray for the people on the Carnival Sunrise” facing the wrath of Hurricane Humberto.
   We hung on as the ship bobbed from side to side like a huge rubber ducky and plunged forward through the night like a rollercoaster into the hollow of the waves.
Monster waves began to calm after the Carnival Sunrise turned back toward New York in this balcony photo. (Jim Fox photo)
    We had watched the growing intensity of the hurricane last week while preparing to leave for New York and a one-week sailing to Bermuda and return.
   We never made it.
   When we booked the cruise with 10 family members, we were aware of the perils of “hurricane season.”
   But Bermuda is off the hurricane track and where strong storms are quite rare.
   Upon boarding the ship at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, we were given a note from Captain Isidoro Renda.
   It was our first indication that something had to give.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Carnival Cruise Line resumes regular calls to the Bahamas

(News Release)
Line will make 41 Port-of-Call Stops in September

      Carnival Pride at anchor at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas in 2018. (Jim Fox photo)
MIAMI (Sept. 8, 2019) - As Carnival Cruise Line continues to work closely with its partners to deliver relief to the people of Grand Bahama and Abaco islands recovering from Hurricane Dorian, it also plans 41 calls to Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays for the remainder of September as those destinations eagerly await cruise guests.

Bahamian officials have expressed great appreciation for the support Carnival and its employees and guests have provided but also stressed that the other parts of The Bahamas are open for business and stand ready to welcome guests.

"Thank you to all who have joined us to support our friends in the Bahamas with donations," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Our work to assist and support continues.

And as our ships and our guests return to Bahamian ports of call, our visits will make sure that our guests experience the beauty of The Bahamas and that the economy moves forward and jobs will be supported."
Half Moon Cay (today) after Hurricane Dorian (Carnival photo)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, private island of Holland America Line and Carnival Cruises, emerged relatively unscathed by Hurricane Dorian

Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas

Half Moon Cay's horses used for swimming by cruise guests and stingrays are doing well and Holland America's Zuiderdam will be returning to the island next month.

Carnival Corporation’s President and CEO Arnold Donald posted the following statement regarding their support for the Bahamas:

On behalf of all of us at Carnival Corporation and our cruise line brands, let me begin by saying our thoughts and prayers go out to the great people of The Bahamas — our friends and partners for many years.

It was very emotional seeing reports of Hurricane Dorian’s impact over the past couple days. Our hearts go out to those who have lost friends and loved ones, and whose homes and businesses have been destroyed or damaged.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Carnival Corporation and Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation pledge $2 million for Hurricane Dorian Relief

 (News Release)
 - Pledge from Carnival Foundation, philanthropic arm of the world's largest leisure travel company, and its nine global cruise line brands to be matched by Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine's Family Foundation
- Earlier today Carnival Corporation announced a partnership with Tropical Shipping to collect and ship donations to The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.


MIAMI, Sept. 4, 2019-- Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL;NYSE: CUK), the world's largest leisure travel company, today announced that the corporation's philanthropic arm, Carnival Foundation, and its nine global cruise line brands together with the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation have pledged to donate $2 million in funding and in-kind support for relief efforts in The Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian.

Carnival Foundation and the company's nine cruise line brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK) – are pledging a total of $1 million in monetary and in-kind donations in support of immediate relief and recovery efforts in The Bahamas. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine are matching the corporation's commitment with a $1 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Walt Disney Company to donate more than $1 million to relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas

(News Release)
BURBANK, Calif., September 3, 2019 – The Walt Disney Company, led by Disney Cruise Line, has committed more than $1 million in cash and in-kind support to help relief and recovery efforts for those in The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.
“The Walt Disney Company stands with the people of The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

“We hope our $1 million donation will provide much-needed relief and help our neighbors, colleagues, and all those impacted by this devastating storm begin the long process of recovery as they work to put their lives and communities back together.”
Disney’s commitment includes a $1 million donation to non-profit relief agencies who will be undertaking recovery and rebuilding efforts, as well as the provision of supplies – including food staples and basic construction materials – to those in impacted areas.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Amazon Nature Tours introduces "wilder" four-day sailings

(Media Release)

Expedition Cruise Line Celebrates End of Brazilian Visas with Revamped Tours

JAMESTOWN, RI – In celebration of the end of the visa requirement to Brazil, Amazon Nature Tours, a small ship expedition company that sails further into the Brazilian Amazon basin than any other line, has introduced new “Into the Wild” four-day sailings.

These sailings are an enhancement of their previous shorter cruises, going deeper into the Amazon basin and allowing guests a greater opportunity to explore the dense forests and small tributaries within the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, The Central Amazon Conservation Complex.

Amazon Nature Tours is the only line to offer four- and six-day sailings in the Brazilian Amazon basin, exploring the least inhabited major river in the Amazon basin, the Rio Negro.  While most lines sail the Peruvian Amazon or do day trips on the Brazil side, Amazon Nature Tours goes far into the Brazilian rain forest.

These true expedition cruises are led by trained naturalists and include kayak and launch excursions into the “flooded forests,” rainforest hikes, visits to native villages, fishing for piranhas, outings to the beach and more.  Highlights of the four-day trip include:

Calling howler
  -  Deep wilderness exploration far from other travelers and human settlement
  -  The Anavilhanas Archipelago, a reserve that includes the world’s largest system of river islands and also areas of tall dense rainforest called the igapó, the black water flooded forest where dense forests grow right out of the dark water of the Rio Negro.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Princess Cruises named amongst healthiest cruises by SHAPE magazine’s Healthy Travel Awards

 (News Release)

Cruise Line Recognized Second Consecutive Year for Lotus Spa and Fitness Offerings 

Princess Cruises was recognized by SHAPE magazine in the Healthy Travel Awards for the cruise line’s Lotus Spa (pictured above), fitness center and family friendly offerings. 

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Princess Cruises has been recognized by SHAPE magazine as a winner in its fifth annual Healthy Travel Awards for the second consecutive year, recognizing the cruise line's fleetwide and state-of-the-art Lotus Spa and Fitness Centers, and family friendly offerings like the Glacier Bay National Park Junior Ranger Program in Alaska.

The SHAPE Healthy Travel Awards, featured on shape.com, represent the best wellness hot spots and programs to relax, refuel, get inspired, and reconnect while on vacation. Award categories include the best in hotel gyms, restaurants, and cruises, as well as healthiest amenities and family getaways.

"We’re honored to be acknowledged by SHAPE magazine in its Healthy Travel Awards. In addition to the Lotus Spa and fitness center, we’re equally thrilled to see the Glacier Bay National Park Junior Ranger Program in Alaska recognized,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

“The Junior Ranger Program is a special partnership with the National Park Service designed to help our youth guests appreciate the vast wildlife and landscape exclusive to this region of the world. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Holland America Line debuts new Club Orange program with exclusive benefits

 Premium Amenities that Enhance the Cruise Experience

Club Orange includes dedicated concierge, exclusive dining, priority access and more

Seattle, Wash. — Holland America Line is introducing the unique Club Orange program that provides exclusive benefits and amenities to guests looking to elevate their cruise experience.

From a private dining venue to priority services and a dedicated concierge hotline, Club Orange allows guests to opt in to extra privileges that are available to a limited number of guests on each cruise.

Club Orange is included for guests in Neptune and Pinnacle Suite categories and the program is available to purchase for a small number of non-suite staterooms on each sailing. The program has launched on Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam and is rolling out to the rest of the fleet this year.

“Club Orange allows guests to add extra premium benefits and luxury amenities to their cruise for a great value,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line.

“One of the reasons people choose Holland America Line is because of the quality of what we offer — the best food at sea, the most authentic live entertainment and our award-winning service — and Club Orange is another way for guests to enhance their cruise experience.”

The name Club Orange pays homage to Holland America Line’s rich Dutch heritage. The company was founded in the Netherlands more than 145 years ago and it’s the color of the Dutch Royal Family, which hails from the House of Orange.

Monday, July 29, 2019

50 years of cruising in Alaska for Princess Cruises

   Out to Sea for July 27/19

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   North to Alaska – go north, the rush is on.
   The popularity of Alaska cruising is heating up, far from the beach runs in the Caribbean.
   A pioneer in the Great Land is Princess Cruises marking its 50th year with seven ships, new entertainment, shore excursions and culinary offerings to mark this significant milestone.
   The first cruise to Alaska departed on June 3,1969 on Princess Italia carrying 525 guests to this “breathtaking bucket-list destination.”
Cool off in Glacier Bay, Alaska on the Crown Princess.
    “We’ve spent half a century developing our legacy in Alaska and host more guests there than any other cruise line – more than five million over the last 50 years,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.
   To celebrate the 50-year milestone, there are “new and authentic experiences, combined with the awe-inspiring beauty” of sailing north.
   In the cruise season that continues through mid-September, Princess has deployed seven ships, the largest ever, featuring the debut of Royal Princess.
   The cruises range from seven to 12 days and depart from Vancouver, Anchorage (Whittier), Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Cunard ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth meet in Halifax for the first time

Spectacular Sailaway in Celebration of Fifth Annual Samuel Cunard Prize

The sister ships unite in founder Sir Samuel Cunard’s birthplace

Cunard’s flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 follows sister ship Queen Elizabeth in Halifax, Nova Scotia harbor on Friday, July 26, 2019 (Photo Credit: Steve Farmer for Cunard)

VALENCIA, Calif., July 26, 2019 – Luxury cruise line Cunard’s flagship liner Queen Mary 2 had a rare meeting with sister ship Queen Elizabeth and offered spectacular sailaway on July 26, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, birthplace of the company’s founder Sir Samuel Cunard.

The meeting was arranged in celebration of Zita Cobb and Sandra Greer, this year’s recipients of the Samuel Cunard Prize for Vision, Courage and Creativity and The Innovative Spirit Award, respectively.

The Samuel Cunard Award for Vision, Courage and Creativity was inaugurated in 2015 to celebrate the company’s 175th Anniversary in the ancestral home of its founder Sir Samuel Cunard.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Le fjord du Saguenay au Québec est spectaculaire: Holland America cruise

    Out to Sea for May 25/19

   By Jim and Barb Fox

   At the first glance of a map, you wonder how a huge cruise ship can navigate the many twists and turns on this small rivulet of water.
   The journey along what is Canada’s only navigable fjord in Quebec rewards passengers with breath-taking scenery that includes craggy mountains and peaks with high plateaus carved centuries ago by glaciers.
The sun goes down on the Saguenay Fjord, called one of the prettiest places in the world. (Jim Fox photo)
    On select St. Lawrence voyages, ships go slowly on the Saguenay Fjord, creating mere wavelets en route to some of the most picturesque villages in “La belle province.”
   When we sailed on Holland America’s Eurodam, a crowd was waiting on the wharf at Saguenay on the Baie des Ha! Ha!
   They greeted us – mostly American tourists with a good sprinkling of Canadians – in their best English and us with our worst French.
   It turned out Eurodam was making the 200th visit by a cruise ship to the port and we learned the city, 190 kilometres north of Quebec City is known for its warm welcome.
  Holland America’s Eurodam pays a visit to Saguenay, Quebec with writer Jim Fox. (Barbara Fox photo)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Cruise ships trying to cut the gluttony and waste on the high seas

   Out to Sea for March 23/19

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

    Food, glorious food.
   When it comes to cruise vacations, gluttony on the high seas was often a measure of a good trip.
   From the moment of going aboard, cruisers race to the seemingly endless buffets, main dining room and 24-hour pizza, ice cream and room service – not to forget the accompanying tasty libations.
   A popular place on Carnival ships is Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint. (Barbara Fox photo)
    Cruisers steadily munch their way through “free food” (included with the price of the cruise).
   These floating feasts go on around the clock and now often include dining on your balcony with waiters serving each course.
   You can’t escape it: food is often a theme in shore excursions, too.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Go wild on expedition cruises on Canada's west coast and the Brazilian Amazon

   Out to Sea for Jan. 19/19

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Cruising “off the beaten path” is gaining in popularity as cruisers seek to explore rarely seen sights with just a few of their “friends.”
   Canada gets its first “luxury expedition ship” on the west coast – Cascadia, a 138-foot catamaran for 24 guests.
   As well, Naturetours.com, a small ship expedition company that sails further into the Amazon than any other line, is re-launching its signature vessel, the Motor Yacht Tucano.

A grizzly bear is sighted on a Maple Leaf Adventures west coast sailing. (Greg Shea photo)
   Maple Leaf Adventures, based in Victoria, B.C., describes Cascadia as being “very small” but with spacious cabins, unlike polar region ships.
   The company provides “remarkable journeys, engaging people and wild spaces” for boutique expedition cruises in British Columbia and Alaska,” said publicist Maureen Gordon.
   The “truly wild luxury cruises” are in response to travellers’ discovery of the experiential benefits of expedition cruising such as in Antarctica, she added.
   It’s an opportunity for savvy cruisers to explore B.C. wonders on a 138-foot catamaran.