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.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holland America Line reveals 15 guest competitors for ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea’ Champions Cruise Dec. 6, 2014

Winners representing each ship in the fleet selected to compete for coveted Mirrorball Trophy
Seattle, Wash. -- Holland America Line has announced the 15 winning guest finalists who will compete on the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champions Cruise Dec. 6, 2014, aboard ms Westerdam.

Each winner will represent one of the 15 ships in Holland America Line’s fleet and was selected via the onboard “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” dance competitions held throughout the past year on every sailing.

The 15 guests and their professional shipboard dance partners will perform and compete in the main show lounge for guests, as well as dance pros and celebrities from the hit ABC television show “Dancing with the Stars,” who will be onboard the Champions Cruise.

The winning couple will walk away with the coveted Holland America Line “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Mirrorball Trophy” and title of Holland America Line’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion.

“The talent we’ve seen this year during the ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea’ guest competitions has been incredible and the Champions Cruise is going to be a week filled with intense and exciting competitions,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs.

Norwegian offers Black Friday savings through Dec. 2

Receive up to $250 to spend on board and reduced deposits fleet-wide
Norwegian Cruise Line has launched a limited-time offer in celebration of the biggest shopping days of the year.

When booking a new cruise vacation now through Tuesday, December 2, 2014, holiday shoppers dreaming of their next cruise vacation will receive up to $250* to spend on board and enjoy reduced deposits.

In the spirit of giving, onboard credits can be used to indulge in nearly anything the heart desires on board from decadent spa treatments and delicious specialty restaurants to delightful shore excursions and more.

Windstar Cruises named Condé Nast Traveler 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards' World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line

Leader in yacht style cruising named the best in the world among small ship cruise lines 
 Seattle Condé Nast Traveler has announced the results of its 27th annual Readers’ Choice Awards with Windstar recognized as #1 in the world in the Small Ship Cruise Line category.

Windstar’s winning score of 90.065 also garnered the line the #2 spot among all of small, midsize, and large ocean-going cruise lines.

"We are honored to have our unique style of yacht cruising and warm, personal service recognized by our loyal guests and the discerning readers of Condé Nast Traveler,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer.

Cunard Line names Richard Meadows president of Cunard Line – North America

Appointment as President of Cunard in North America Expands Current Role as President of Seabourn

Rick Meadows, new President of
Cunard Line – North America
Cunard is announcing that Richard Meadows has been appointed President of Cunard Line – North America, assuming operating responsibility for the iconic Cunard brand throughout the North American continent from 1 December 2014.

He will report to David Noyes, CEO of Cunard Line.  Meadows will retain his role as President of Seabourn, leading all business and global operations for the ultra-luxury cruise line.

“With Rick having worked at so many brands within the Carnival Corporation portfolio, we are eager to leverage his knowledge, experience and skills to advance the Cunard brand in North America,” said Noyes from the Line’s headquarters in Southampton.

“His background in leading Seabourn is particularly valuable, as he understands well the nuances of delivering superior service and enriching onboard experiences – the things that directly appeal to Cunard passengers.  We are thrilled to have him join our team.”

Princess Cruises Offers "unprecedented" Getaway cruise deals during the Thanksgiving Cyber Week Sale


Guests Can Save Up to 50% and Book with only a $1 Deposit on Short Cruise Vacations

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (November 25, 2014) – Princess Cruises is taking part in the Thanksgiving weekend Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale traditions by offering unprecedented Getaway cruise savings with the Thanksgiving Cyber Week Sale good through Dec. 4.


Guests can save up to 50% off short cruise Getaways and weekend cruise vacations and bring along their friends and family with third and fourth guests as low as $50 per person.

Norwegian offers exclusive savings on South America and Panama Canal cruises

For a limited time, guests who book select sailings on Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Sun
will receive half-off their second guest’s fare
            Norwegian Cruise Line is offering limited time savings on select sailings to South America and the Panama Canal with a “Buy One, Get One Half Off” (BOGOHO) special offer. Guests who book a new cruise vacation to South America and the Panama Canal between November 28 and December 14, 2014 will receive their second guest’s sailing at 50 percent off. 

            The beautiful Norwegian Pearl will offer roundtrip Panama Canal cruises from Miami through the fall and winter of 2015/2016, visiting Central American favorites including the untouched Banana Coast, Honduras; Cartagena, Colombia; and Costa Maya, Mexico among others.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Vacationers enjoy reduced deposits, half-off second guest fares and up to $300 onboard credit on all Royal Caribbean cruises

(News Release)

MIAMI, November 21, 2014 – As the days become shorter and the temperature starts to dip, families should take advantage of the upcoming holiday gatherings to plan their next adventure in warmer locales with Royal Caribbean International.


The cruise line known for constantly innovating the industry – and having just heralded in the world’s first Smartship, Quantum of the Seas – is making it even more enticing for vacationers to seek out their WOW moments aboard a Royal Caribbean ship with the Vow to WOW offer.

For a limited time from Nov. 17 through Dec. 31, 2014, Vow to WOW offers vacationers half off of the cruise fare for a second guest, booked in the same stateroom with a full-fare guest. With a 50 percent-reduced deposit, travelers can reserve their room for as low as $50 per guest.

Disney Cruise Line: Exclusive Canadian offer‏

Imagine a tropical sailing aboard Disney Cruise Line from Miami or Port Canaveral, Florida? On board, you'll discover something enchanting for every member of your crew, including relaxing adult areas, magical kids' clubs and quality time for the whole family.

Canadian Residents
save 20%
on prevailing rates for Oceanview Staterooms on Disney Magic for 7-Night Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, FL 
on 1/4, 1/11 and 1/25/15.

Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses of approximately US$116 per person not included. The number of staterooms allocated for this offer is limited.
See Important Details
Get Details
Call 1-888-272-0497
or your Travel Agent.
Mention code CAN at time of booking.

Important Details
Excludes Suites and Categories with restrictions (VGT, OGT, IGT). This offer cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or onboard credits. Must mention booking code CAN at time of booking. Proof of
Canada residency required at time of check-in. Rates in U.S. dollars. Rate does not include Gratuities or Port Adventures. Offer subject to Disney Cruise Line Terms and Conditions.

Porthole Magazine Readers' Choice names Un-Cruise Adventures best expedition cruise line

2014 Readers’ Choice Awards Announced
Seattle, WA, -- Porthole Cruise Magazine readers chose Un-Cruise Adventures as best expedition cruise line in the magazine’s 16th annual Readers’ Choice Awards in 2014.  The small ship adventure cruise line explores remote and scenic destinations with an emphasis on flexible itineraries, wildlife viewing and active pursuits outdoors.

“It’s especially meaningful to be recognized by Porthole readers—a discerning group of travelers,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO.  “We’re happy to be growing, innovating and offering more adventures including Costa Rica, Panama and Galápagos in 2016.” 

Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards are determined by thousands of readers and online fans of Porthole Cruise Magazine who voted for their favorite cruise lines and ships in 54 cruise-related categories.

Windstar Cruises gives thanks with Best of the Tropics sale


 
Seattle, November 24, 2014 – Starting today, Windstar Cruises is giving thanks with a Best of the Tropics Sale that features up to 73% savings on voyages to Caribbean, Tahiti, and Asia.

 Guests who book a cruise by December 12, 2014, will enjoy this year’s lowest fares on Windstar’s exotic itineraries departing December 2014 through September 2015. Voyages start at $1,449 per person.

All voyages in the Best of the Tropics Sale will feature Windstar’s new Private Events, a spectacular onshore experience created exclusively for Windstar guests.

These complimentary events are crafted to give guests an in depth local experience on each cruise. Some examples include Hoi An: Dreams of Floating Lanterns, an interactive experience that showcases lion dances, lantern-making, and traditional Vietnamese music; and Bora Bora, Dinner on Your Private Motu, a traditional Tahitian feast complete with fire dancers.

Famed BBC Formula One commentator Murray Walker congratulates world champion Lewis Hamilton on board Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria

Murray Walker, legendary Formula One motor sports commentator for the BBC,
seen here with Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria, is a popular speaker for
the Cunard Insights on board enrichment program
 24 November 2014 – Legendary Formula One commentator Murray Walker was one of the first to congratulate Lewis Hamilton on his second F1 world title yesterday, after arriving in Southampton on board Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria.

The 91-year-old motor sport legend watched the final stages of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship in luxury this year, as an Insights speaker on board the luxurious Queen Victoria. After completing his 14-day cruise, Canary Islands Explorer with Murray Walker, which explored some of the most stunning islands in the Canaries, Walker was one of the first to congratulate the British world champion.

Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian to host Norwegian Cruise Line curated dining experiences at sea



       Norwegian Cruise Line is offering two exceptional opportunities for foodies to experience their ultimate vacation while cruising with celebrity chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian.

       Guests on the December 7, 2014 sailing of Norwegian Breakaway from New York and the January 10, 2015 sailing of Norwegian Getaway from Miami can enjoy an exclusive culinary experience at sea, featuring personal encounters with the Ocean Blue chef, including meet and greets, cooking demonstrations, book signings and intimate dinner experiences.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holland America Line's new ms Koningsdam to debut an innovative design approach

 First reveal of interior renderings available now on the Holland America Line website 
 
SEATTLE -- When Holland America Line welcomes ms Koningsdam to the fleet in February 2016, the ship will debut a new era in design approach for the line.

As the first ship in the Pinnacle class, the 2,650-guest ship will have an interior that blends a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line's renowned classic elegance. 

Future guests, travel agents and ship fans can now get the first look at select interior renderings on Holland America Line's website, www.hollandamerica.com. The story of the ship will unfold online over the coming months through vibrant renderings, engaging videos, ship facts and more details about the interiors created by Adam D. Tihany and Bjorn Storbraaten. 
Koningsdam Atrium
"When guests come aboard ms Koningsdam they'll know they're on a Holland America Line ship, but they'll see we're taking a forward-thinking approach to many of the design elements," said Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group.

Princess Cruises introduces first-ever Gift Card program





SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Just in time for the holidays, Princess Cruises has announced a new gift card program making it easy to give the gift of cruising.


Princess Cruises gift cards can be applied as payment towards the purchase of a Princess cruise, as well as onboard products and services including specialty dining, drinks, Lotus Spa treatments, shore excursions and more.

“Our new gift card offering is customizable, easy to purchase, ideal for any celebration and is the perfect gift for holidays, birthdays and anniversaries,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

Norwegian Epic to debut new entertainment in 2015 for year-round European sailings

Broadway sensations Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical
and Burn the Floor to headline,
plus all-new
British pop music entertainment experience, The Cavern Club
 MIAMI – Norwegian Cruise Line today has announced a new entertainment line-up for Norwegian Epic, the award-winning ship that will be based year-round in Barcelona, Spain, starting April 30, 2015.

Two new Broadway shows will take the stage as headliners: Burn the Floor in April, 2015 and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The Musical in October, 2015.

The ship will also feature an all-new British pop music entertainment experience, The Cavern Club, bringing the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed to life at sea.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings completes acquisition of Prestige Cruises International


Acquisition grows capacity of the world’s third largest cruise operator close to 20%
Identified synergies of $25 million with additional opportunities post-integration
Acquisition enhances Company’s industry-leading financial metrics
MIAMI – November 19, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) (the “Company”), a leading global cruise operator, has completed its previously-announced acquisition of 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.

With this acquisition, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. operates a portfolio of brands that span all market segments in the cruise industry, from contemporary to upper-premium to luxury.  Each brand offers differentiated experiences in their respective segments.

The Norwegian Cruise Line brand provides the freedom and flexibility of a resort-style vacation on board some of the most innovative ships in the industry with its unique Freestyle Cruising proposition.  Oceania Cruises offers an upper premium experience with the finest cuisine at sea on its fleet of mid-sized ships, while Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the market leader in the luxury cruise segment and operates three award-winning, all-suite ships, with an additional ship on order for delivery in summer 2016.

Cunard Line to welcome Academy Award-winning actress Shirley Jones aboard Queen Victoria’s 2015 World Cruise

21 November 2014 – Cunard Line is thrilled to announce that Academy Award-winning actress Shirley Jones will sail aboard Queen Victoria as a Cunard Insights speaker during the 2-17 February 2015 Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles segment of the World Cruise.

 Jones will be accompanied by her husband, actor and comedian Marty Ingels.  Fans and guests on board the ship will enjoy a book signing of her recently released biography, Shirley Jones: A Memoir, as well as two Q&A sessions and screenings of her films.
Shirley Jones starred in the film adaptations of several musicals in the 1950s and 60s, including Richard Rodgers' and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” (1955), “Carousel” (1956) and “The Music Man” (1962).  Although she won an Academy Award® for her controversial role in the film “Elmer Gantry” (1960), it was her role as the lovable matriarch in the hit 1970s TV show “The Partridge Family” that won the hearts of millions.

“We are delighted to welcome Shirley Jones aboard Queen Victoria in February,” said David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line.  “Her work in iconic films such as ‘Oklahoma!’ and her role in ‘The Partridge Family’ are beloved among Cunard’s guests, and we are certain they will enjoy this unique opportunity to learn more about Shirley during the 15-night sailing.”

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Windstar Cruises announces year-round voyages in Tahiti

Continuous sailings begin May of 2015, including new Tuamotu Islands itineraries

Seattle, November 17, 2014 Windstar Cruises is thrilled to announce plans to sail year-round in the South Pacific, allowing guests to explore the Society and Tuamotu Islands of Tahiti.

Continuous voyages begin May 26, 2015 aboard the beautifully renovated, 148-passenger Wind Spirit sailing yacht.

Itineraries will include the seven day “Dreams of Tahiti” voyage, which was launched in May of 2014 after Windstar’s 10 year hiatus from the region, as well as a new extended 10 or 11-day journey including stops in the Tuamotu Islands. The Tuamotus are widely known as a diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Princess Cruises offers up to two-for-one savings during the Winter Clearance sale


Guests Get Big Cruise Deals on Most Popular Vacation Destinations

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Princess Cruises is giving guests the chance to escape the winter chill with special savings and up to two-for-one cruise fares on over 50 cruise vacations to popular warm weather destinations around the world.

In addition to clearance cruise deals, guests can secure their stateroom with only a $100 per person non-refundable deposit. The sale runs November 11 through December 2.

Examples of Winter Clearance Sale cruise deals include:

Carnival Pride launches winter schedule of seven-day Caribbean cruises from Tampa



Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a Playlist Productions performer for Carnival Cruise Lines.   The video can be viewed here.

Boasts Variety of Exciting New Features, Including Four Playlist Productions Shows, Following $75 Million Dry Dock

MIAMI (November 11, 2014) – Carnival Pride has kicked off a winter schedule of seven-day Caribbean cruises from the Port of Tampa after an extensive $75 million dry dock that added a wide variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including four spectacular Playlist Productions shows.

On its new winter schedule from Tampa, Carnival Pride departs Sundays on week-long cruises to four popular Caribbean destinations:  Cozumel, Mexico; Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan; Belize City, Belize; and George Town, Grand Cayman, or Costa Maya, Mexico. Each of these destinations features beautiful beaches, unique cultural experiences and a variety of shore excursion choices, from ziplining, snorkeling and kayaking to cave tubing and exploring ancient ruins.

Exclusively at sea and rarely found on land: Celebrity Cruises acquires white truffles at annual auction‏


MIAMI, FL– Guests sailing with Celebrity Cruises can now indulge in the culinary world’s finest delicacy – white truffles.

The premium cruise brand acquired two of the world’s rarest mushrooms at the World White Truffle Auction in Grinzane Cavour, Italy.

Passionate about providing vacationers with the finest dining experiences at sea, Celebrity traveled to Italy’s gastronomic region of Piedmont to procure the white truffles – known as “the diamond of the kitchen.” Weighing a total of 700 grams, these elusive gems will be showcased at exclusive dining events unique to Celebrity.

The white truffle, an extremely rare and luxury commodity, is almost solely found in the Piedmont region of Italy. Truffle connoisseurs from around the world can only hunt for this delicacy for a few months of the year, making the truffle season one of the most highly anticipated events of the culinary calendar.

Cunard Line wins top honours in 30th anniversary edition of the Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships Guide




17 November 2014 – Cunard Line dominates the “Top 3 Large Resort Ships” category in the 2015 Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships GuideQueen Mary 2’s Grills Suites and Queen Elizabeth fill two of the three top ranking spots in this category, which evaluates ships that hold from 2,001 to 6,500 passengers.

Queen Mary 2 has also earned top positions in new categories such as “Most Luxurious Suites” and “Best Cruise Ship Spas.”  These recently added categories make the guide even more indispensable for veteran or first-time cruise-goers.

“We are honoured to be recognised in our 175th anniversary year by the Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships Guide, a definitive authority in our industry,” said David Dingle, chairman of Cunard Line.  “It is extremely rewarding to see that Cunard is still being acknowledged for delivering a truly memorable experience at sea."

Love Boat cast christens Regal Princess in a star-studded ceremony



   Out to Sea for Nov. 15/14

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico.
   Now, as the “Love Boat” line launches its 50th anniversary year, the maiden Bahamas voyage of the Regal Princess was a star-studded ceremony in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), Fla.
   Love, exciting and new. Come aboard, we’re expecting you,” sang Jack Jones, reprising his original version of the Love Boat theme song.
   Even though the Aaron Spelling TV series hasn’t been around since 1987, it lives on in syndication and the six original cast members were there to christen the new ship.
The original cast from Love Boat christened the Regal Princess before its maiden Bahamas voyage.
   The cruise line made famous as the backdrop of the iconic show paid tribute to the program and its cast members by making them the ship’s godparents.
   They were joined last week at the launch of a three-day voyage by 25 of the show’s guest stars.
   The cast – Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing); Fred Grandy (Gopher, chief purser); Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender); Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship’s doctor); Lauren Tewes (cruise director, Julie); and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain’s daughter) – pulled a lever that sent 50 Champagne bottles smashing against the ship’s hull.
   That nod to the anniversary celebration was followed by the breaking of a giant 15-litre bottle signifying Princess Cruises’ continued success.