Welcome

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.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas also to sail Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea in summer 2015

ROYAL CARIBBEAN ANNOUNCES TWO RADIANCE-CLASS SHIPS TO SAIL 2015 ALASKA SEASON

MIAMI, Feb. 27, 2014 – Summer 2015 will mark Royal Caribbean International’s 26th year in taking vacationers to experience the immense unspoiled wilderness of Alaska.


Royal Caribbean will deploy two Radiance-class ships, Radiance of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas, to the Last Frontier and offer more oceanview and balcony staterooms for guests to take in the unfolding landscape on an Alaska vacation.

For a more immersive Alaska experience, vacationers also can choose a Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise Tour to explore deeper inland and encounter the multitude of wildlife that call Alaska home, or delve into the beauty and exceptional towns and cities of the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and the Okanagan Wine Valley. Radiance of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas’ 2015 Alaska seasons are now open for bookings.

Norwegian unveils first look at Norwegian Escape: Accommodations

Stateroom options abound for families, solo travelers, spa enthusiasts and
guests seeking the latest in luxury
MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line has offered the first look at Norwegian Escape by unveiling the wide variety of staterooms on the line’s largest ship to date at approximately 163,000 gross tons and 4,200 passenger berths, scheduled for delivery in fall 2015.

The accommodations include the company’s signature luxury ship–within-a-ship complex: The Haven by Norwegian®; along with Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.

Norwegian Escape includes all of the revolutionary features of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, plus a number of new spaces and interactive experiences that will excite and inspire.

Windstar Cruises launches exclusive Asia offer

Long boats on the river in Hanoi, Vietnam, one of the ports of call on Vietnam Unveiled.

Guests receive 2-for-1 cruise fares, two free hotel nights and a free exclusive private event.
Seattle – Windstar Cruises is currently featuring an exclusive offer for the line’s recently introduced Asia sailings.

Guests can receive 2-for-1 cruise fares on any of the new Asia itineraries, two free hotel nights pre- or post- cruise, and a free exclusive private event on shore during each voyage.

As an added benefit to previous guests, the line also offers an additional 10% off the cruise fare to Yacht Club Members. Star Pride, Windstar’s all new, all suite power yacht will set sail for the Far East in October, 2014. Offering the best value in luxury cruising, Windstar’s Asia voyages start at $3,999, cruises must be booked by March 28, 2014 to receive this special offer.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ten state-of-the-art Celebrity ships travelling to new breathtaking destinations

CELEBRITY CRUISES WORLD TOUR 2015-16: ROCKING THE GLOBE

MIAMI– Feb. 20, 2014 – Celebrity Cruises, the award-winning modern luxury cruise line, will offer an array of thrilling adventures and itineraries in 2015-16 to excite world travelers.

With an enticing lineup of 261 destinations in 72 countries, Celebrity will sail to all seven continents, visit new ports of call in Alaska, Europe and Asia, and offer exciting overnight stays, many of which coincide with internationally renowned festivals. Full details of Celebrity Cruises’ 2015-16 will be revealed as each set of itineraries opens for bookings.

Marking the launch of Celebrity's World Tour, Celebrity has today unveiled 51 sailings to Alaska. Three modern, luxurious ships will sail to this magnificent state, including Celebrity Millennium, and Celebrity Infinity, which returns to the region for 2015-16. Celebrity Solstice, the newest of all cruise ships sailing to Alaska, offers the most verandas at sea, allowing incredible views of the unique scenery and wildlife.

Guests can experience Sitka, with its snow-capped mountains, and the awe-inspiring Hubbard Glacier, the longest river of ice in North America, and one of the most active glaciers in Alaska. Captain’s Club loyalty members will have exclusive 'Priority Access' for booking their Alaska trips beginning today, February 20, 2014, five days before the official on sale date - February 25, 2014.

Princess Cruises “Denali on Sale” event offers cruise deals to the best of Alaska

Alaska Cruisetour Vacations Begin at $99 per Day

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 19, 2014) – The magnificent heart of Alaska takes center stage with Princess Cruises’ new “Denali on Sale” cruise deal, offering fares as low as $99 per day for a cruisetour vacation, or an upgrade from a balcony to a mini suite for just $199.


The sale offers special rates on Alaskan land and sea vacations to popular attractions such as Denali National Park and Glacier Bay National Park.

Combining a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska cruise with a land tour to the best of Alaska’s interior, Princess Cruisetours begin at just $990 per person for a 10-day vacation.

Travelers will enjoy accommodations at Princess’ own wilderness lodges and exclusive rail car service as they explore the Alaska wilderness to see the majesty of the Denali area, particularly Mt. McKinley, North America’s tallest peak.

Cunard Line makes history In Sydney with first group crew photo aboard Queen Mary 2

World’s First Crew Portrait Marks Flagship’s 10th Anniversary  
19 February 2014 – In a world-first, more than 120 crew aboard Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 gathered together on the ship’s bow in Sydney today for a dramatic portrait marking the legendary liner’s 10th birthday.
The history-making photo captured crew from every one of the liner’s myriad staff roles – from gentlemen dance hosts and housekeepers to the kennel master and florist – to create an iconic image of Queen Mary 2’s luxury life at sea.

Props featured in the shoot ranged from two dogs for the on board kennel, to a double bass and a harp for the liner’s musicians, and a large ice carving for the resident ice carver.

Months in the making, the historic image was organized in Australia to symbolize the strong link between Queen Mary 2 and Australia while commemorating the liner’s 10th birthday.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cruises celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal

Passengers gather at the front of the ship to experience history while travelling through the Panama Canal. (Jim Fox photo)

   Out to Sea column for Feb. 15/14
  
   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Savvy cruisers consider sailing through the Panama Canal to be a thrill of a lifetime, especially this year when there’s a big party going on.
   The 77.1-kilometre ship canal, connecting the Atlantic Ocean, via the Caribbean Sea, with the Pacific Ocean, marks the centenary of its opening on Aug. 14 with events throughout the year.
   Cruise ships are joining in with special onboard enrichment activities and itineraries for the many travellers who have the canal on their “bucket list.”

   A bigger “ditch”
   The Panama Canal Authority said about 200 cruise ships will make full and partial transits this year, with Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises visiting the most.
The Rotterdam cruise ship at anchor in Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal. (Jim Fox photo)
  

Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas to join Allure of the Seas for Europe vacations

WORLD’S LARGEST AND MOST INNOVATIVE CRUISE SHIP ALLURE OF THE SEAS TO INAUGURATE FIRST FULL OASIS-CLASS EUROPE SEASON

MIAMI – For nearly five years, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, sister ships that share the title of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships, have captured vacationers’ imagination and taken more than two million guests to unforgettable Caribbean destinations.


Royal Caribbean International today announced that, for the first time since the ship was delivered in Turku, Finland, in late 2010, Allure of the Seas will return to Europe in summer 2015 and homeport at Barcelona, Spain, and take vacationers to new, fascinating Mediterranean destinations for the first, full Oasis-class Europe season.

Additionally, Rhapsody of the Seas will offer three 10- and 11-night Black Sea itineraries from Istanbul, Turkey, and then sail a variety of seven- to 11-night Greek and Turkey itineraries from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. For its part, Splendour of the Seas will offer seven-night Greek Isle and Turkey itineraries from Venice, Italy.

Royal Caribbean International's new Navigator of the Seas shows big Texas pride



 
GALVESTON, TEXAS, Feb. 5, 2014 – Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes vacations! Royal Caribbean International’s new Navigator of the Seas today saluted the great state of Texas with massive Lone Star State flags draping the front and stern of the ship.

        Navigator of the Seas is the largest and most advanced ship to homeport year-round at Galveston and boasts the cruise industry’s very first Virtual Balconies, which provide guests in select interior staterooms the sights and sounds of the sea with real-time views of the ocean through an 80-inch, high definition screen framed to look like a real balcony.

        The Voyager-class ship also features the cruise line’s signature FlowRider surf simulator – debuting in Texas for the first time – and 220-square foot outdoor movie screen, as well as a wide array of delectable dining options, including Royal Caribbean’s new modern Mexican concept Sabor, a fully revamped and enhanced Chop’s Grille steakhouse and Oasis-class favorites, such as Izumi Japanese Cuisine and Giovanni’s Table Italian trattoria.

Miam's ultimate Norwegian Cruiseship christened with special performance

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders serve as Godmothers of Norwegian Getaway

MIAMI – February 7, 2014 – Norwegian Getaway, Miami’s Ultimate Ship, was christened today in a star-studded ceremony by the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, with a rousing finale by musical superstar Armando Christian Perez aka Pitbull.  Brooke Burke-Charvet, co-host of “Dancing with the Stars,” was the event’s master of ceremonies.

Norwegian Getaway, the largest ship to homeport year-round at PortMiami, kicked off her arrival to Miami in style.  Throughout the christening ceremony, which took place in three themed venues around the ship, Norwegian Getaway’s Miami flair was on full display.

  The ship’s outdoor theater, Spice H20, transformed into the Magic City Lounge with the Miami skyline in the background, where Tito Puente Jr. started the party, followed by the cast of Burn the Floor. The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders flipped the switch lighting up Miami and the bottle smashed against the side of the ship to officially christen her.  Performing some of his most popular songs including his current hit “Timber,” Pitbull wowed the crowd.

Benefit cruise to support American Heart Association sets sail


Heart-Healthy Activities and Special Guests Highlight Princess Cruises’ Charity Sailing
 
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Princess Cruises’ second “Cruising for a Cause” voyage set sail from Ft. Lauderdale for a special “cruise with heart” aboard Ruby Princess.

Throughout the five-day Caribbean cruise, passengers will celebrate both the “affairs of the heart” over Valentine’s Day, and participate in a variety of onboard activities focused on heart-healthy living and raising funds for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) programs and educational outreach.

An impressive lineup of special guests has joined the ship, including a renowned cardiac surgeon, a celebrity chef, a fitness expert, an award-winning author, a four-time Super Bowl champion, and a beloved cast member from the hit television series The Love Boat.

Among the educational opportunities available exclusively on this cruise are training in the American Heart Association’s Hands-OnlyTM CPR; seminars on how to better manage stress, diet, and exercise; and a survivor’s reception for those who have overcome heart disease.

Cruise industry investment in ship innovations; varied market segments yield impressive outlook

THE STATE OF THE CRUISE INDUSTRY IN 2014: GLOBAL GROWTH IN PASSENGER NUMBERS AND PRODUCT OFFERINGS

(News Release - CLIA)

Fort Lauderdale, FL — As the cruise line industry continues to strengthen its global presence and with the economy in an ongoing recovery mode, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its cruise line members are looking forward to a positive year of growth.

The 2014 passenger forecast of 21.7 million worldwide guests on CLIA’s 63 member lines, according to data in the association’s annual State of the Cruise Industry findings. To meet demand, these member lines will introduce 24 new ships in 2014-2015 adding a total passenger capacity of 37,546, representing a capital investment of approximately $8 billion in ocean going and river cruise categories.

“The global cruise industry is at an exciting juncture with strong consumer interest in cruising and significant cruise line investment in a diversity of exciting ships that travel to the most exotic locations in the world and offer one-of-a-kind vacation experiences,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA President & CEO.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Un-Cruise Adventures hosts guest experts on Alaska theme cruises




Marine biology, photography, wine and music themes in 2014

Seattle, WA, February 4, 2014Un-Cruise Adventures combines an Alaska small ship cruise with experts in music, photography, marine biology and wine on seven theme cruises in summer 2014. Guest experts sail on weeklong cruises aboard the 88-guest S.S. Legacy and 86-guest Safari Endeavour in Southeast Alaska.

“While staying focused on the nature, wildlife and activities drawing travelers to the Great Land, theme cruises add an extra value of learning, fun and camaraderie,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO.

The S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer sailing between Juneau and Ketchikan, hosts the 1940s style group Letters From Home on the June 22 voyage.  The group performs three part harmonies, tap dancing and comedy. The Alaska’s Golden History cruise focuses on the history of the Klondike Gold Rush and includes a shore excursion in each port.

Grammy nominated percussionist Sammy Figueroa to headline on Norwegian Getaway

Miami -- February 10, 2014 --  Legendary jazz percussionist Sammy Figueroa will be the next headline act on Norwegian Getaway’s GRAMMY® Experience at Sea beginning February 15, 2014.

He will succeed Latin jazz flautist Nestor Torres after the ship’s inaugural Eastern Caribbean cruise, beginning an eight-week residency on Norwegian’s most spectacular ship from through April 12, 2014.

Sammy Figueroa has long been considered to be one of the great musicians of the world, known for his ability to play in all genres from bebop to pop, from Latin to R & B, from New Age to symphonic.

In addition to his own three albums, two of which received GRAMMY® Nominations for Best Latin Jazz Album, he has played on countless GRAMMY®-winning hit records including Mariah Carey’s MTV Unplugged, David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance,’ Miles Davis’ ‘Man With A Horn,’ Sonny Rollins’ ‘Road Shows II,’ Average White Band’s ‘Cut The Cake,’ Nile Rogers’ ‘Chic’ and ‘Sister Sledge’ and countless other albums.

Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas to offer most-advanced cruise vacation in Europe and the Caribbean during inaugural year

Adventure of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas also offer Vacationers Beautiful Destinations throughout Europe in Summer 2015

MIAMI, Feb. 10, 2014 – Royal Caribbean International today announced that the second ship in the new and most advanced Quantum class of ships, Anthem of the Seas, will be joined by Adventure of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas in the U.K. as part of an unprecedented 2015 Europe season.


As previously announced in November 2013 at an exclusive event for media and special guests at London’s iconic Heron Tower, the highly anticipated Anthem of the Seas will homeport at Southampton, U.K. when it launches in April 2015.

The ship will mark its inaugural Europe season with 19 cruises to the Spanish, French and Italian rivieras, and the Canary Islands on three- to 16-night itineraries, and then reposition in late-October 2015 to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and sail five-night short Caribbean, six-night Western Caribbean and eight-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries through April 2016 for its first winter season.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Carnival announces 2014 Carnival Conversations event series

Features New Cities, Product Training and Business-Building Insight From Carnival Executives
 
            MIAMI (February 12, 2014) - Following the success of the Carnival Conversations events held in late 2013, Carnival is kicking off its next series of the popular program with eight new events in 2014. 

               An enhanced format will feature product training, as well as sales and marketing-focused topics, to help travel professionals maximize their business. Seven of the eight cities on the schedule are new this year with the exception of Miami.
         
         The events will feature product training on Carnival’s latest innovations, as well as panel discussions featuring exclusive insight from the company’s own senior executive team regarding best practices in sales and marketing. Travel professionals may then ask executives questions directly during the open microphone session of the event.

Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch create the largest and most-comprehensive SpaClub at Sea partnership





Agreement between leading brands will launch April 2014 onboard the Celebrity fleet sailing worldwide

MIAMIFebruary 6, 2014 – Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch, one of the world’s leading spa and wellness brands, today unveiled a partnership to feature Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at Sea facilities onboard 10 state-of-the-art Celebrity ships. Canyon Ranch and Celebrity will create the largest and most comprehensive SpaClub at Sea offering, and debut exclusive SpaClub services and treatments.

The luxurious Canyon Ranch SpaClub on Celebrity Cruises will include spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness amenities presenting signature Canyon Ranch offerings.


The industry-leading brands intend to elevate the onboard experience by introducing exclusive SpaClub treatments and services tailored to the unique preferences of Celebrity’s guests, including new facial and body treatments, and unique yoga and meditation classes.  


“We are passionate about providing our guests with unforgettable experiences, and this collaboration with Canyon Ranch is an important milestone in our drive to elevating guests’ modern luxury vacations,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises.

"We want every aspect of our vacations – from dining and destinations to relaxing in beautiful spa surroundings – to be special, and the experts at Canyon Ranch will help us deliver on this promise."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Norwegian Getaway arrives to her year-round homeport of Miami

Accommodating 4,000 passengers, ship is the largest to homeport at PortMiami  

MIAMI – February 6, 2014 – The newest cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Getaway, arrived in her homeport city of Miami today.

Norwegian Getaway is the largest cruise ship to homeport year-round at PortMiami and began sailing weekly seven-day cruises to the Caribbean from the Magic City on February 8.

“It’s so exciting for us to bring this spectacular new ship to Miami, our company’s home and where we started the modern cruising industry almost 50 years ago,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan.

“Norwegian Getaway is a reflection of the energy, excitement and tropical location of this beautiful city and we’re so glad she’s home.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines reports record sales, setting all-time high for number of guests booked in a single month

MIAMI (February 3, 2014) – Carnival Cruise Lines set a one-month reservations record, taking net bookings (new reservations minus cancellations) for more than 565,000 guests between January 1 and January 31, 2014.
The record number of reservations was 17 percent higher than the same one-month period a year ago.  Additionally, traffic to the cruise line’s web site carnival.com also reached an all-time high with 13 million visits during the one-month period.
Bookings were at unprecedented levels across the line’s 24-ship fleet, which operates three- to 23-day voyages from a wide range of convenient North American homeports as well as cruises from Australia.

Partnership brings fans new culinary entertainment during their luxury Celebrity Cruises' vacations at sea starting July 2014

CELEBRITY CRUISES SETS SAIL WITH BRAVO MEDIA’S EMMY® AWARD-WINNING SERIES “TOP CHEF”  
 
NEW YORK, NY & MIAMI, FL - February 4, 2014 - Celebrity Cruises and Bravo’s “Top Chef” invite fans on a global culinary adventure with the new “Top Chef at Sea” partnership.

The premium vacation brand and the Emmy® Award-winning culinary competition series unveiled an exclusive licensing partnership that offers fans custom “Top Chefexperiences onboard Celebrity’s modern luxury ships.

 Building on last year’s popular “Top Chef: The Cruise” charter, fans can enjoy an exclusive taste of the well-known series with enhanced culinary experiences for foodies and globetrotters alike.

This marks the cruise industry’s first Top Chef-themed licensing partnership on a large scale as well as Celebrity’s first exclusive Top Chef-inspired experiences available onboard 10 Celebrity ships. For a sneak peek at “Top Chef at Sea,” visit http://www.bravotv.com/blogs/the-dish/top-chef-is-setting-sail-for-the-high-seas.

Silversea announces special "Air Included" offer on Asia Pacific Expedition Voyages

 (Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- February 4, 2014) To celebrate Silver Discoverer's inaugural year, Silversea Expeditions is including roundtrip economy airfare for new cruise bookings on select Asia Pacific expedition voyages.

Also available are reduced business class airfares. The bookings must be made by March 31, 2014. The offer is available for a limited time from select gateway cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Aboard the small-sized, all-suite Silver Discoverer, guests will be able to explore some of the world's most remote regions and enjoy an enriching onboard program of destination lectures, photo presentations and daily recaps. Zodiac excursions and interactive walks ashore will be led by the best and brightest in their field -- marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, botanists, historians, and anthropologists.

Ship features all-new WOWs, including Royal Caribbean’s first-ever virtual balconies, FlowRider surf simulator and new dining program

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL’S NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS GETS TEXAS-SIZED MAKEOVER

MIAMI, Feb. 04, 2014 – Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas is primed to resume year-round service from Galveston, Texas on February 5, 2014, after completing a month-long drydock revitalization.


Part of an extensive fleetwide program to enhance every Royal Caribbean’ ship, Navigator of the Seas will WOW the Lone Star State with the area’s most innovative and contemporary Caribbean cruise vacation by introducing new and significantly enhanced dining options; debut a new FlowRider surf simulator; and offer a glimpse ahead toward the cruise line’s highly anticipated Quantum of the Seas.

Most anticipated of all the ship’s additions is the new FlowRider surf simulator, the center of the action atop the Sports Deck (deck 13), as well as the debut of Royal Caribbean’s first Virtual Balconies in 81 interior staterooms displaying expansive, real-time views of the ocean and destinations.

Virtual Balconies were first announced for Quantum of the Seas, which debuts October 2014, and vacationers can be among the first to experience the innovation on Navigator of the Seas – even before the Quantum class is launched. Vacationers also can choose new Panoramic Ocean View staterooms, featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls providing guests breathtaking, unobstructed views all the time.

Jennifer Hudson, Lady Antebellum, Daughtry, Martina McBride, Chicago, Jewel and many more confirmed for 2014 performances

"Carnival Line Concert Series" brings the best in live music to the seas along with major enhancements to shipboard house bands announced

 MIAMI – Turn up the volume live music fans! Carnival Cruise Lines has unveiled a new entertainment offering to bring the best in live music to the seas.
 A first-of-its-kind experience in the cruise industry, the Carnival LIVE Concert Series offers Carnival guests the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive onboard performance by a diverse roster of popular music artists while ships are docked at select ports of call. 

Carnival has booked 49 performance dates for the 2014 concert series with the following artists:
 
·         38 Special
·         Chicago
·         Daughtry
·         Foreigner
·         Gavin DeGraw
·         Jennifer Hudson
·         Jewel
·         Kansas
·         Lady Antebellum
·         LeAnn Rimes
·         Martina McBride
·         Olivia Newton-John
·         REO Speedwagon
·         STYX
  Trace Adkins