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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line celebrates first construction milestone for newest ship

(News Release)
Named Norwegian Encore, the new vessel will sail the Caribbean from Miami seasonally beginning fall 2019
PAPENBURG, Germany – January 31, 2018 Today Norwegian Cruise Line marked the start of construction for its newest ship. Named Norwegian Encore, Norwegian’s latest addition to its young, modern fleet will sail the Caribbean from Miami seasonally beginning fall 2019.
            “Norwegian Encore will be the ultimate Breakaway Plus Class vessel and we are thrilled to celebrate the start of construction for this incredible new ship,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Over 50 years ago the Norwegian brand began creating unforgettable vacation moments with the first inter-island cruise in the Caribbean from Miami.We continue building on our legacy of innovation with this state-of-the-art vessel perfect for exploring the natural beauty of some of the most remarkable islands in the world.” 

Carnival Miracle kicks off year-round, seven-day schedule from Tampa, doubling capacity at Port Tampa Bay

(News Release)
Six- to 14-Day Cruises to the Panama Canal, Western Caribbean and Central America Also Added to Line's Tampa-Based Options 

MIAMI -- Jan. 29, 2018 -- Carnival Cruise Line's 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle kicked off a year-round program of seven-day cruises from Tampa this weekend, doubling the line's capacity at the port and further bolstering its position as the leader in Caribbean cruising.
Carnival Miracle will offer the only year-round longer-length cruise program from Port Tampa Bay, offering an unbeatable mix of destinations that appeal to a broad range of consumers, including families seeking an attractive and affordable vacation option. 

Carnival Miracle joins Carnival Paradise which operates year-round four- to eight-day voyages from Tampa to the Caribbean and Cuba.  Together, Carnival Miracle and Carnival Paradise will carry an estimated 280,000 passengers annually from Tampa – the most of any cruise operator.

"Carnival Cruise Line has been sailing from Tampa for nearly 25 years and we're thrilled to add a second year-round ship to provide our guests with an even greater variety of fantastic cruise vacation choices from this convenient homeport," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Cunard partners with the New Yorker to present “Cartoonists at Sea”

N E W S    

Leading Cartoonists from The New Yorker will join Queen Mary 2 in 2018

VALENCIA, Calif., January 31, 2018 Luxury cruise line Cunard and venerable magazine The New Yorker have partnered to offer guests an exciting opportunity to explore the world of cartoons while aboard the flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2.

During select 2018 Transatlantic Crossings from June to November, celebrated cartoonists of the acclaimed magazine will host exclusive drawing sessions, workshops, hands-on demonstrations and caption contests for passengers. The New Yorker, known for its single-panel cartoons, has offered a signature mix of news, culture, and the arts since its founding in 1925.

We are excited to partner with the creative cartoonist team at the New Yorker to entertain our guests on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2,” said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. “Our goal at Cunard is to offer extraordinary experiences to our guests, and we look forward to welcoming The New Yorker team onto these four Queen Mary 2 voyages.

Norwegian Cruise Line announces fall/winter 2019/20 itineraries with new ships in North American homeports

Guests can enjoy cruising from their favorite homeports on some of the newest ships at sea, with itinerary highlights including Norwegian Bliss sailing to the Bahamas from New York; Norwegian Getaway cruising to the Western Caribbean from New Orleans; Norwegian Breakaway sailing to the Caribbean from Port Canaveral; and the youngest ship to be based in San Juan with Norwegian Epic cruising to the Southern Caribbean 

MIAMI – Amidst the current winter chill gripping much of the nation, Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed selections from the fleet’s fall/winter 2019/20 deployment, which will feature a plethora of warm weather escapes to tropical paradises in the Caribbean, Bahamas & Florida and South America, as well as fall foliage sailings in Canada & New England. Most of the brand’s largest and newest vessels will each call a new city home in 2019.

Norwegian’s unique and varied new itineraries, all of which feature the line’s signature cruising experience that allows guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal vacation.
            “We are delighted to unveil this curated rich mix of our guests’ favorite itineraries with new deployment to exotic destinations that will bring new ships and new experiences to almost all of our homeports,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Whether a guest has sailed with us many times in the past or they are a first-time cruiser, there is something new for everyone to experience in 2019 and 2020 aboard a Norwegian cruise.”

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

At sea during the holidays is a great time to cruise

   Out to Sea for Dec. 23/17
   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Dreaming of a white (sand beach) Christmas?
   Cruise ships go all out to celebrate the holidays whether at this time of year or other party occasions including Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, Thanksgiving and Halloween.
   It’s a special time onboard and visiting foreign ports during Christmas and New Year.
A white (sand) Christmas at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas on a Holland America Line cruise. (Jim Fox photo)
   This is a time for family gatherings, away from the hustle and bustle of celebrations at home.
   Enabling guests to enjoy these special days “has made the holidays one of the most popular and festive times to take a seagoing vacation,” Princess Cruises says.
   Many people book a year in advance to secure the cruise and cabin/suite they want but if you hurry, there might still be something available last minute over New Year’s.
   It’s a white Christmas on board as Princess makes “snow” in the atrium while cabins have virtual Yule logs.
  Santa, with a beachy Hawaiian flair, gives the shaka sign (“hang loose”) at Honolulu City Hall.  (Barbara Fox photo)

Monday, October 30, 2017

"Life's a beach again in most Caribbean cruise ports/destinations

   Out to Sea for Oct. 28/17


   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media newspapers/websites

   They’re working on “island time” across the Caribbean to get hurricane-damaged ports of call open again for business.
   While the expression is “one of those delightful double entendres,” in this case it means time well spent in a place that refreshes the spirit and cleanses the soul.
   That’s the situation after the devastating blows by two hurricanes but the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) reports the “vast majority of Caribbean ports are open and welcoming tens of thousands of daily cruise passengers.”
Life’s still a beach at most places across the Caribbean including Magens Bay. (Jim Fox photo)
   More than 80 ports are open while four – St. Croix, San Juan, St. Martin and St. Thomas – were “most seriously affected” and are the most significant to popular cruise itineraries.
   It’s in everyone’s best interests to get things back to somewhat normal across the region as the Caribbean is the world’s leading cruise destination.
   Recovery is happening very quickly due to widespread efforts and the people there, said Arnold Donald, chair of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and ceo of Carnival Corp.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Azamara Club Cruises announces expansion with Azamara Pursuit

(News Release)

MIAMI, September 26, 2017 – Azamara Club Cruises®, the upmarket cruise line subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship,” said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises®.
Azamara fleet

“Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them.”

Cunard will add fourth ship to its fleet

(News Release)

 Investment underpins the company’s continued growth ambitions for world’s most iconic fleet
New generation of ship announced on 50th anniversary of launch of legendary QE2

 VALENCIA, Calif., September 25, 2017 - Luxury cruise brand Cunard today announced it is adding a fourth ship to its fleet. This investment is part of the company’s ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally.

Carnival Corporation & plc – the world’s largest cruise company and parent of the Cunard brand – has signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A., Italy, to build a new ship that will join the Cunard fleet in 2022.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Canadian Maritimes named safest port in the world for cruisers

   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media Newspapers/Websites

   Out to Sea column for September 9/17

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   In a world where tensions are rising, cruise travellers are looking for a safe haven.
   Canadians don’t have to search too far as a survey finds Canada’s Maritimes is the safest cruise destination in the world.
   “This peaceful corner of Canada offers bucolic pastures, exceptional seafood and scenery galore,” writes Chris Gray Faust, senior editor of the Cruise Critic website.
A young fiddler entertains the cruise ship crowds at Peggy’s Cove, N.S. (Jim Fox photo)
   She acknowledges that cruises do go to places “that some consider risky,” such as European capitals, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
   Even Alaska has the risk of bears but her list of the safest cruise destinations is “where you can leave most of your worries behind.”
   Cruise vacations are among the safest but even so, today’s “safe haven may be tomorrow’s ugly headline,” she commented.
   The Maritime provinces are downright friendly with many ports such as Charlottetown, Saint John and Halifax being small, and some, such as Sydney, Nova Scotia, having local greeters meet the ship.
   The biggest risk in this part of the world is “falling in love and not wanting to leave,” she suggests.
   The list of seven safe cruise ports continues with the Baltic in second place.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sailing, sailing with small-ship pleasures, distinctive service and ports

   Out to Sea for July 8/17

   (c) Postmedia Network/Sun Media Newspapers/Websites
   One size doesn’t fit all in these days of huge mega-floating resorts.
   More cruise passengers are opting for “small-ship” cruising with dozens, not thousands, of their “closest friends.”
   They’re looking at voyages with a few fellow passengers up to several hundred, not multiple thousands that disgorge boatloads of visitors all at once at private islands and ports of call.
   These ships include the Tugboat MV Swell for 12 guests and the Schooner Maple Leaf for eight, both from eco-tourism Maple Leaf Adventures of Victoria, B.C., to expedition ships, riverboats and yachts.
Smaller-than-mega ships are able to tie up in Hamilton, Bermuda’s downtown instead of going to the Royal Naval Dockyard at the outskirts. (Jim Fox photo)
   Forget, also, the crowds onboard lined up at the Lido Buffet, dining rooms, shows and packed shore excursions.
   Largest at sea is Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas that can carry a maximum of 6,687 guests and 2,193 crew members.
   Interest in travelling onboard ships with a smaller passenger capacity is on the rise among travellers,” says Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Friday, May 5, 2017

Ferrari track, Dr. Seuss Waterworks, Star Wars all onboard

   Out to Sea for April 29/17

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox
    Postmedia News/Sun Media

   Get your motor runnin’ and head out on a cruise ship.
   In the category of “what will they think of next,” Norwegian Cruise Line will have a Ferrari racetrack on the top deck of its newest ship.
   Go for the checkered flag on Norwegian Joy on a “thrilling” two-level racetrack in the middle of the ocean – the first ever at sea.
   In partnership with Scuderia Ferrari Watches, the zoom, zoom fun on electric go-carts will be on the soon to-be-unveiled 3,850-passenger vessel targeted at the Asian market.
Norwegian Joy will have a “thrilling” two-level racetrack on its top deck.
   Up to 10 drivers will be able to race each other on the course and have photos taken at the finish line.
   That’s not all.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Princess Cruises elevates Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria

 Newly Designed Menu, Decor and Handmade Pasta Dishes from Chef Angelo Auriana

Fleetwide Enhancement First to Debut Aboard Caribbean Princess

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (April 7, 2017) – Celebrating the cruise line’s Italian heritage, specialty restaurant Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria has been delighting millions of Princess Cruises guests with traditional and innovative cuisine since it first debuted aboard Grand Princess in 1998. Nearly 20 years later, Princess Cruises today unveiled a fleetwide enhancement to its signature restaurant in collaboration with acclaimed Italian Chef Angelo Auriana.

Introducing a fresh new design and menu featuring antipasti and handmade pasta dishes from Chef Auriana, as well as family recipes curated from Italian Princess executive chefs across the fleet, the transformed Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria debuts aboard Caribbean Princess following a multi-million-dollar drydock. Recognized as one of the “Best Specialty Restaurants at Sea,” the Sabatini locations on Caribbean Princess and Grand Princess will offer the new inspired menu this April, with the newly refreshed menu coming across the fleet in the coming months.

Chef Auriana, Executive Chef and partner at the authentic Italian restaurants, The Factory Kitchen and Officine BRERA, in Los Angeles, is inspired by fresh Northern Italian flavors and childhood roots from his hometown of Bergamo.