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.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Royal Caribbean's five-day "Wow" sale delivers 'greater savings and value fleetwide'

(News Release)
 
Sale starts Saturday, Sept. 27, for unforgettable vacations around the world

MIAMI, Sept. 26, 2014 – Beat the holiday rush and enjoy greater savings and value by booking a Royal Caribbean International vacation now.
 
And with the cruise line’s new five-day WOW Sale, there’s no better time to book a Royal Caribbean vacation in destinations around the world and receive onboard credits up to $200 per stateroom; reserve a stateroom with a 50 percent-reduced deposit; and combine with other offers to celebrate with more WOWs on an unforgettable vacation.
For all new individual and named group bookings made in the U.S. and Canada with required deposit from Sept. 27 through Oct. 1, 2014, guests can receive $50 onboard credit per stateroom for five-night and shorter itineraries, $100 onboard credit per stateroom for six- to nine-night itineraries, and $200 onboard credit per stateroom for 10-night and longer itineraries.
 
Additionally, vacationers can reserve a stateroom with a 50 percent reduced deposit – as low as $50 per guest. The WOW sale applies for all open Royal Caribbean International sailings, based on availability, except aboard Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas. For more information, please visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/DealsandMore.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Holland America Line’s 2014-15 Caribbean season features most diverse options in premium cruising


Nine ships to offer 126 Caribbean and Panama Canal sailings
Seattle, Wash. – Travelers looking for an intimate, mid-sized cruise experience in the Caribbean have 126 itineraries to choose from during Holland America Line’s 2014-15 Caribbean season.

Featuring nine of the line’s vessels sailing roundtrip from either Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, Fla., the cruises span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as partial transits of the Panama Canal.

The diverse itineraries visit 30 ports and give discerning guests more options than any other premium line exploring the region.

From October 2014 through April 2015, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Ryndam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam sail regular Caribbean voyages, while ms Amsterdam and ms Prinsendam each sail one December holiday cruise in the region.

Princess Cruises “3 For Free” sales event gives three special cruise deals

Guests Booking Cruises to Alaska, Europe and Japan Can Enjoy Free Room Upgrade, Free Shore Excursion Credit and Free Onboard Spending Money

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Princess Cruises has three free offers for guests booking Alaska, Europe or Japan cruises and cruisetours sailing in 2015. The “3 For Free” sales event not only includes free stateroom location upgrades, a free shore excursion credit and free onboard spending credit, but also features a refundable deposit of only $100 per person.

Running through November 20, the cruise sale enables guests to get the best stateroom available within that stateroom type for the lowest possible fare.

In port, a free shore excursion credit will give guests on Europe and Japan sailings $200 ($100 per person) to spend on shoreside tours such as a visit to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg or a stroll through Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion in Japan. In Alaska, guests will receive $100 ($50 per person) to spend on glacier hiking, dog sledding or other Alaskan shore excursions.

Norwegian hosts first annual poker challenge with celebrity player Joe Cada

Guests have the opportunity to play alongside World Series of Poker® Champion Joe Cada and
win a share of the $200,000 prize pool
MIAMI –September 23, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that World Series of Poker® Champion Joe Cada will be joining the line’s first annual Norwegian Poker Challenge, taking place on Norwegian Epic from November 9 – 16, 2014 during her first Caribbean cruise of the season from Miami.

The Poker Challenge offers guests the opportunity to win a share of the $200,000 guaranteed prize pool, the largest offered by any cruise line, during a week-long tournament aboard Norwegian’s largest ship.


Players will have the chance to join cash games on a daily basis during the Poker Challenge, which will feature four tournament events.

Along with a chance to win cash, players will also have the opportunity to go head-to-head with World Series of Poker champion Joe Cada, the youngest champion in the history of the tournament.  Cada won the series’ Main Event in 2009 at the age of 21, beating out 6,494 players. His current lifetime live winnings exceed $10 million.

Cunard and Southampton: An historic look at the port

Cunard's “Big Three,” Mauretania, Aquitania and Berengaria
This article, written by Michael Gallagher, public relations executive and historian for Cunard Line, is part of an ongoing series of key moments in Cunard Line's history

Southampton has been a port since at least Roman times. During the Middle Ages, it was particularly important for wool and wine trade, which finally dwindled away almost completely by the early 18th Century. After a brief period as a spa resort, the port sprang into new life with the coming of the railway; and by 1840 – the year Cunard service from Liverpool to Boston began – it was obvious Southampton’s future prosperity as a passenger shipping port was assured.

During the 19th Century, the docks at Southampton gradually expanded, and many shipping companies came to use the port regularly. Liverpool remained the Cunard port, although an occasional call at Southampton by a Cunarder was not unknown.

White Star Line had been using Southampton since 1907 and had an office there. Cunard made occasional calls before World War One; but after that Cunard found it politic to operate its express liner service from Southampton and, in 1919, an office was established at Maritime Chambers. Soon Cunard's “Big Three,” Mauretania, Aquitania and Berengaria, were running from Southampton to New York via Cherbourg, with the first Cunarder to use the port being Aquitania. However, Mauretania inaugurated the new service on 18 November 1919.

Holland America Line names 2016 Pinnacle Class ship ms Koningsdam


Regal new design and rich Dutch history reflected in name of new class of ship



SEATTLE -- Holland America Line revealed the name of its new 99,500-ton cruise ship slated for delivery in February 2016 will be ms Koningsdam.

While the name pays homage to the company's rich heritage and deep roots in the Netherlands, it also reflects a new era with a bold name that is an original in Holland America Line's 141-year history.  The 2,650-passenger ship is an evolution in design for the line — a new Pinnacle Class — and is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard.

Since 1883 every Holland America passenger vessel has borne the "dam" suffix, and ms Koningsdam carries on that tradition. The word koning means "king" in Dutch, and the name celebrates the majestic new ship. The name also pays honor to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the first king of the Netherlands in over a century.

Carnival Cruise Lines provides pre-game Rascal Flatts' performance for Dallas Cowboys' fans

Popular Country Trio Will Also Join the Line’s 2015 Carnival LIVE Concert Series

MIAMI (September 24, 2014) -- Carnival Cruise Lines, the Official Cruise Line of the Dallas Cowboys, is turning up the music as part of its multi-year partnership with “America’s Team.”

Texas’ largest cruise operator announced today that it will bring country music superstars Rascal Flatts to AT&T Stadium for a special pre-game Carnival LIVE concert for Cowboys fans attending the October 19 game against archrival New York Giants.

Rascal Flatts is the most-awarded country group of the past decade with 22.5 million albums sold and 15 number-one singles. 
 
Carnival also announced that Rascal Flatts, one of the hottest selling acts on tour, will be among multiple artists who will be entertaining guests as part of the Carnival LIVE Concert Series in 2015 (next year’s concert dates will go on sale in October).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Princess Cruises launches new “Seawitch” Craft Beer series with exclusive 50th Anniversary blend






Princess Cruises' new “Seawitch” craft beer is a celebratory 50th anniversary IPA debuting
aboard Regal Princess in November.
     

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (September 15, 2014) – Princess Cruises is pouring a new craft beer to toast its upcoming 50th anniversary. The “Seawitch” West Coast IPA beer – playfully named for the company’s iconic logo – was developed exclusively for Princess Cruises, in partnership with award-winning Strike Brewing Company, and is the first in the line’s new series of craft beers.

The brew will be introduced aboard Regal Princess when the cruise ship debuts in Florida for a season of Caribbean cruises this November.

“We know our guests love distinct experiences and authentic flavors so we’re excited to debut a new craft beer series with this special 50th anniversary blend aboard our newest ship,” said Jonathan Wilson, Princess Cruises vice president of food and beverage services. “The Seawitch West Coast IPA not only commemorates our milestone anniversary, but is also meant to inspire our guests to celebrate their sea journeys with Princess.”

Celebratory 175th anniversary concerts to tell the Cunard story


“Triumph of a Great Tradition”
 
The Cunard story is like no other and on 4 July 2015 in the magnificent Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, that story will be told through word and song during two identical celebratory concerts that will be attended by all passengers on Queen Mary 2’s 2 July 175th Anniversary Crossing.

The “Triumph of a Great Tradition” Concerts will celebrate the magnificent heritage of Cunard as well as the fleet today, which is among the youngest and most highly rated afloat.

Queen Mary 2 will be berthed in Liverpool on the exact day 175 years earlier that Cunard’s first ship, Britannia, left Liverpool. Later that day Queen Mary 2 will follow in Britannia’s wake and recreate that epic first voyage, calling at Halifax and Boston (just as Britannia did) before arriving in New York.

Un-Cruise Adventures plans a ‘Best of The Best’ cruise in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés


Baja, Mexico cruise features close up encounters with marine life

Seattle, WA, September 8, 2014—Beginning January 2015, Un-Cruise Adventures offers a new adventure cruise in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés wrapping the best marine life adventures into one itinerary. The 84-guest Safari Endeavour sails the weeklong Baja’s Bounty! Whale Sharks, Whales & Mobulas itinerary roundtrip from San José del Cabo, Baja, Mexico.

“We’re simplifying our itinerary choices and ensuring each guest has the best experiences included in their cruise adventure,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “Depending on the time of year, you may snorkel with whale sharks or you may see gray whales and their calves up close.”

From November-March, Safari Endeavour explores the marine-rich waters of the sea and scenic, remote desert islands on weeklong adventures from San José del Cabo, Baja.  The Sea of Cortés is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, once described by Jacques Cousteau as the “world’s aquarium.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Norwegian Escape keel laying held at Meyer Werft

First block in the dock for Norwegian’s first Breakaway Plus class ship;
Marks start of construction on line’s largest ship 



MEYER WERFT Project Manager Stefan Schmees, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan,
Norwegian Cruise Line Senior Vice President of New Build Christer Karlsson and MEYER
WERFT Managing Partner Bernard Meyer at the Keel Laying for Norwegian Escape.

                PAPENBURG, GERMANY – September 19, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT today celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Escape at MEYER’s state of the art facility in Papenburg, Germany.

                During the ceremony, block 35/41, the first of 86 blocks that will comprise the 164,600 gross ton vessel, was lifted into the covered building dock, officially marking the start of the ship’s construction. Norwegian Escape will be Norwegian’s largest ship to date, carrying 4,200 passengers, set for delivery in October 2015.

Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer, was on hand in the dock and laid the traditional “lucky coin,” before the first block, weighing 400 tons, was placed by a massive crane. A special commemorative coin featuring the ship was created to celebrate the day’s activities.
 “Norwegian Escape will be our largest and most innovative ship to date, building on the phenomenal success of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway,” said Sheehan. “We are looking forward to seeing this ship take shape over the next year and welcoming her to our fleet in October 2015.”

Princess Cruises to celebrate 50th anniversary with first-ever float in the Rose Parade on January 1


Original Love Boat Cast Will Star on Float During Iconic New Year’s Day Parade


A rendering of Princess Cruises’ first-ever Rose Parade float.

 SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (September 22, 2014) – Princess Cruises will ring in the new year and its 50th anniversary in an unprecedented way – with its first-ever float in the world-famous Rose Parade on January 1 in Pasadena, Calif.

As a special feature the six original cast members of The Love Boat television show will ride on the ship’s bow and “cruise” down the five-and-a-half mile parade route.

In addition to paying tribute to the television show that made Princess Cruises one of the most famous names in cruising, the Rose Parade float will depict the line’s newest ship Regal Princess symbolically sailing through the world’s fascinating destinations and iconic landmarks that guests have experienced with Princess for the past 50 years.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sustainable destinations alliance for the Americas announces first seven partners


(News Release)

ST. MICHAEL, BARBADOS – Seven destinations in the Caribbean & Central America region will receive support to enhance the long-term viability of their tourism sectors. The Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA) has announced its first seven destination partners: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Honduras, Jamaica, and Nicaragua.

This announcement was made during the Organization of American States’ 22nd Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism in Barbados.

“Sustainable tourism development is considered a driving force for development of the local economy and well-being of Nicaraguan families, as well as for raising awareness of the importance of protection of natural and cultural heritage,” said Mayra Salinas, Executive President of the Nicaragua Institute of Tourism.We are confident that this initiative will help us to strengthen public-private partnerships for shared and improved management of the destination."

Destination partners will receive support in the form of a Sustainable Destination Toolkit, which was developed by alliance implementation partner and convener Sustainable Travel International. According to an official statement by the SDAA, this program aims to enrich the lives of the people in these destinations and to protect the region for many generations to come.

South Pacific Destination Alliance to harness the power of travel and tourism, involving Royal Caribbean


(News Release)

APIA, Samoa – Tourism, vital to economic growth in the South Pacific region, also presents many small-island developing states with serious challenges, including the effects of climate change, and the need for protection of natural habitats, biodiversity, and cultures.

With these challenges in mind, several leading organizations have launched the South Pacific Destination Alliance (SPDA), to help the region protect its natural and cultural assets while enhancing livelihoods and ensuring its tourism destinations are nice places to live, work, and visit.

The SPDA was announced this past weekend at the 3rd International United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa, marking the largest-scale effort to date through which public and private entities have united to focus on destination sustainability in the South Pacific.

The Alliance includes leading global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO), and global non-profit implementation partner Sustainable Travel International. Samoa is the alliance’s founding destination partner.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines and KHOU announce "Battle of the High School Marching Bands" competition in Houston

Houston-Area High Schools to Compete for $10,000 Prize from Carnival and Performance Aboard a Texas-based ‘Fun Ship’

HOUSTON -- The search is on for the most spirited band in Houston! Carnival Cruise Lines, Texas’ largest cruise operator, is partnering with CBS affiliate KHOU 11 for “The Battle of the High School Marching Bands” competition in Greater Houston.

The fun contest celebrates the musical talent of local area students, and will award one talented band a $10,000 cash prize from Carnival and the opportunity to perform aboard one of Carnival’s “Fun Ships” in Galveston on a turnaround day this fall.
 
For the next three weeks, high school marching bands in the greater Houston area are invited to showcase their school spirit and musical talent in a video in which they perform their school’s fight song, alma mater or original piece of music.

The video must be three minutes or less, identify the name of the school and reference “The Battle of the High School Marching Bands” contest.  Bands can upload their video to YouTube, and email the link to their performance to bands@khou.com as their submission. Contest entry form and details can be found at www.khou.com/features.

Celebrity Cruises becomes the first cruise company to offer Kate Spade, Cole Haan and Barbara Rihl fine leather goods

Nine high-end fashion brands to be added to onboard retail collection

MIAMI, FL – This fall, Celebrity Cruises will become the first cruise line to offer Kate Spade and Cole Haan fine leather goods, accompanied by Italian made leather brand Furla, in an unveiling onboard Celebrity Reflection starting Oct. 14, 2014.

The shopping experience onboard will further be enhanced with the addition of travel-inspired fine leather goods brand Barbara Rihl and Diane von Furstenberg fashions – also firsts among cruise lines – beginning in early 2015 on select Celebrity ships. Other fashion brands coming to Celebrity Cruises in the new year include Trina Turk, Joseph Ribkoff Noir, Spartina 449, and for men - Hugo Boss Green.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bulletin: Norwegian Cruise Line to acquire Prestige Cruises International, parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises


Acquisition immediately accretive to earnings without synergies;
initial $25 million of synergies will result in high single-digit percentage adjusted EPS accretion

Combination results in a diversified cruise operator
with leading global cruise brands across market segments

Transaction enhances already best-in-class financial metrics

MIAMI – September 2, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (“Norwegian Cruise Line” or “Norwegian,” (NASDAQ: NCLH)), a leading global cruise operator, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prestige Cruises International, Inc. (“Prestige”), the market leader in the upscale cruise segment and parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt.

“The acquisition of Prestige represents an extraordinary opportunity for Norwegian Cruise Line to expand our market presence by adding two established, award-winning brands in the upscale cruise segment with loyal followings,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. "Not only does this acquisition immediately enhance our financial performance, but it also deepens the bench of talent that we have been developing over the years.  Our complementary strengths and skillsets will pave the way for new cross-selling opportunities, cross-brand collaboration, cross-business support, as well as joint partnerships which, coupled with meaningful synergies that can be quickly implemented, will provide solid accretion to earnings per share and drive long-term shareholder value,” added Sheehan.

“We are excited to become part of the Norwegian family and start a new chapter for our company,” said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige. “With Oceania and Regent, we have built iconic brands with distinctive product offerings and strong customer loyalty. The combination is very compelling and will allow us to further enhance our renowned guest experience.  We are looking forward to joining the Norwegian team and building upon the success that our three brands have already achieved.” 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pearl Seas Cruises announces successful launch and inaugural sailings



New Pearl Mist highly received by guests and ports
 Pearl Seas Cruises (www.pearlseascruises.com), is pleased to announce a successful start of its inaugural season with its new flagship, the 210-passenger Pearl Mist.

Currently operating in the Canadian Maritimes and Great Lakes, the newly offered cruises have received high praise from guests, with five-star service, spacious staterooms and a friendly crew being among the top-cited reasons for the highly rated experiences.

Additionally, all the ports have warmly welcomed and continue to welcome the Pearl Mist with much appreciated support and enthusiasm.

“Our guests are enjoying the unique ports of call and have left a range of positive feedback,” said
Timothy Beebe, Vice President of Pearl Seas Cruises. “They are particularly pleased with the
personalized service, elegant and relaxing atmosphere, and warm camaraderie aboard the Pearl Mist.”

Holland America Line’s 2015 Grand Voyages sail three epic global itineraries




ms Prinsendam visits South America and the Mediterranean in addition to ms Amsterdam’s annual World Cruise; take advantage of $1,000 air credit

Seattle, Wash. – Holland America Line’s ms Prinsendam kicks off the new year on Jan 3, 2015 with a 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage followed by a 55-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage.

These two itineraries are designed to take guests on longer explorations that visit some of the most interesting and exciting ports in the world. This is an addition to ms Amsterdam’s 114-day Grand World Voyage that calls at 45 ports in 25 countries.

“A Grand Voyage is like no other cruise experience. We asked our guests and travel agent partners which destinations they would like to visit on a Grand Voyage to be sure we included what was important to them,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line.

“We took their suggestions and carefully crafted these three exceptional itineraries with more overnight visits and more ports of call, making these the most exciting and in-depth Grand Voyages we’ve ever offered.”

Holland America Line’s Grand Voyages make taking a longer vacation easier and more affordable —with little or no international air travel. Whether visiting one or several global destinations, the voyages feature famous landmarks, new destinations and extended time in port with late departures, overnight calls and overland tours.

Carnival Cruise Lines launches "How To" video series

Carnival Cruise Lines - How to Make Guy Fieri's Texas Burger
Learn how to make Guy Fieri's very own "Big Tex Burger". You can even order it off of the secret menu at Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Triumph! To learn more about Guy Fieri's burgers aboard…
00:01:07
 MIAMI -- Carnival Cruise Lines has launched a fun and engaging new “How To” video series to give viewers an inside look at the line’s signature recipes, fun-filled tips, special guests and vacation-inspired ideas that extend some of the most popular elements of the Carnival vacation experience to computer screens, tablets and mobile devices everywhere. 
The first segment in the biweekly series is entitled “How to Make a Texas-Style Burger” and was inspired by Carnival’s close relationship with the Lone Star state and features best-selling author, restaurateur, Carnival partner and Food Network personality Guy Fieri.

Guy shows viewers how to create a mouthwatering, fresh-off-the-grill Texas-Style Burger with its double-patty burger, roasted green chili salsa and tortilla strips that can be special-ordered aboard the Texas-based Carnival Triumph, as well as Carnival Freedom, once that ship repositions to Galveston in February 2015.   The video can be viewed here.