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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, February 19, 2017

Princess Cruises announces fourth ship to debut Medallion Class Ocean Vacations


Island Princess to Set Sail in May 2018 on the Next Wave of Vacation Travel in Alaska

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 17, 2017) – Princess Cruises, the #1 cruise line in Alaska, announced today that Island Princess will be the fourth cruise ship to feature the Ocean Medallion™, debuting May 16, 2018 for the Alaska season.
The wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network (O·C·E·A·N™), enables a new level of personalization and delivers an enhanced guest experience not previously available in the global vacation industry.

Unveiled by Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald during his opening keynote last month at CES 2017, Princess Cruises is the first Carnival Corporation brand to debut this groundbreaking innovation. The Ocean Medallion is the only accessory needed to elevate the guest experience on cruises by offering unparalleled customer service. 

Oceania Cruises to make Fall 2017 voyages to Cuba


(News Release)

MIAMI, FL, February 15, 2017 – Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, announced an additional series of journeys to Cuba in the autumn of 2017.

Ranging in length from six to thirteen days with departures from Miami in November and December, these voyages include the line’s first calls to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, in addition to Havana. These new itineraries will open for reservations today, February 15, 2017.


“There is tremendous demand from consumers for voyages to Cuba and our inaugural voyages to the island have been a sell-out success,” stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises. “An Oceania Cruises voyage is the best way to experience all Cuba has to offer with nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, warm and welcoming people, and a burgeoning culinary scene.”

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cunard presents 2017 Westminster Kennel Club “Best in Show” winner with Transatlantic crossing on Queen Mary 2

(News Release)

First-time Sponsor Cunard Offered White-Gloved
“Doggie” Tea Service to Four-legged Attendees

VALENCIA, Calif., February 15, 2017 -- Cunard, the only line to carry pets across the Atlantic, presented Rumor, the Westminster Kennel Club’s Best in Show winner, with an invitation to sail on a Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2 in New York’s Times Square.
 
Cunard presents Rumor, a German shepherd, winner of Westminster Kennel Club’s “Best in Show,” and her family, Kent Boyles, Daniel Oster, Maria Oster and Liz Oster, left to right, with a sailing on Queen Mary 2 during a photo op in New York’s Times Square, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Cunard, a first-time sponsor of the Westminster show, is the only passenger liner to carry pets across the Atlantic on its signature Transatlantic Crossing. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Cunard/AP Images)
Rumor will have an opportunity to take his place in history among celebrity dogs who have sailed with Cunard including Elizabeth Taylor’s pampered pooches and Hollywood film star Rin-Tin-Tin.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announces order for next generation of ships


Company contracts with Fincantieri S.p.A. to build four new ships
with option for additional two

MIAMI, Florida – February 16, 2017 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH; together with NCL Corporation Ltd., “Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings”, “Norwegian” or the “Company”) today announced it has reached an agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A. to construct the next generation of extraordinary ships for its Norwegian Cruise Line brand.  Four ships are on order for delivery in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in 2026 and 2027. 

The four 140,000 gross ton ships will each accommodate approximately 3,300 guests.  The new class of ships will build upon the highly successful offering of freedom and flexibility found on the brand’s most recent Breakaway-Plus Class ships and feature a host of innovative designs that will further elevate its already award-winning guest experience.

A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimizing fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment.  Details on the ships’ many innovative guest facing and first at sea features will be announced at a later date.

UnCruise Adventures fills more glasses with updated Wine Cruise in 2017

Small ship river cruise line adds additional wine themed sailings

Seattle, WA, February 16, 2017—New year, more wine. UnCruise Adventures  introduces an updated wine itinerary aboard the 88-guest S.S. Legacy with additional departures for 2017. Week-long river cruises depart round-trip from Portland, Oregon, along the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers and explore one of the country’s most renowned wine regions.

The updated "Rivers of Wine" itinerary adds a day of wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, an area with more than 500 wineries and known for world-class Pinot Noir. A visit to the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center has also been added.

With seven departures scheduled between April and October, oenophiles visit wineries and vineyards in five leading Washington and Oregon wine regions—Walla Walla, the Columbia Gorge, Red Mountain, Columbia Valley and the Willamette Valley. A sommelier and local wine expert sail aboard the ship for a week of special wine tastings, pairings, and presentations.

Canada 150 cruise honours First Nations history


(News Release)

Royal Canadian Geographical Society, First Nations Elder and Maple Leaf Adventures join forces to host cruise

A spring expedition cruise on classic wooden ships celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday with a twist: First Nations history of British Columbia’s Salish Sea takes equal billing with Canada’s Pacific history and the region’s natural wonders.

It’s representative of the country’s current reconciliation and re-imagining of its relationship with First Nations.

The April 15-19, 2017 sailing is operated by Maple Leaf Adventures and Canadian Geographic. Shore trips in region’s beautiful geography are a major feature: from white-shell beaches that are actually historic middens, to spectacular views of the location of a US-boundary “war” that’s a hotspot for whales. The trip also highlights spring wildflowers, seabirds and marine mammals.
 

Cruising Gulf Islands (Greg Shea photo

Holland America Line named ‘Best Overall Cruise Value’ by World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society for record-breaking 24th year



Premium line also lauded as tops in High-Deluxe, 5-Star-Plus, Large Ships category

Seattle, Wash., Jan. 11, 2017 World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society members named Holland America Line the Best Overall Cruise Value 2016 for the 24th consecutive year in the organization's annual Best Cruise Value Awards. Holland America Line once again also received top marks in the High-Deluxe, 5-Star-Plus, Large Ships category in recognition of its premium cruise experience.

WOCLS members are experienced cruisers who take an average of two cruises a year. The society reviews all cruise lines annually, and in its monthly Ocean & Cruise News publication noted, "When we consider the consistency of the product over the years, something that is hard to achieve, the cruise line in 2016 that we continue to feel offers the very best cruise value, and is awarded our Best Overall Cruise Value award for 2016, is Holland America Line."

"This was an incredible year for Holland America Line with the introduction of ms Koningsdam, and we continue to raise the bar across the fleet with new innovations while ensuring that guests experience why cruising is the best vacation value," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line.

"We are humbled that World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society once again honored us with these awards, and we thank everyone for recognizing that we provide memorable cruise experiences in unique ways."

Havana, Cuba to be featured on select Carnival Paradise cruises from Tampa starting in June 2017

Reservations Now Being Accepted for Carnival’s First-Ever Visits to the Historic Cuban Capital


MIAMI (February 14, 2017) – Following the history-making launch of cruises from the U.S. to Cuba on Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand last year, the company’s namesake and largest cruise brand -- Carnival Cruise Line -- has now received approval to sail to Cuba.  The Cuban capital of Havana will be added to select Carnival Paradise voyages from Tampa beginning in June 2017. 

The overnight visits to Havana will be featured on 12 four- and five-day cruises aboard Carnival Paradise departing from the Port of Tampa starting June 29, 2017, providing vacationers with a rare and exciting opportunity to explore this fascinating and previously off-limits destination.  

Four-day cruises will depart June 29, July 13, August 24, September 7 and 21, and October 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana.
 Five-day voyages will depart August 14 and 28, September 25 and October 9, 2017, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Grand Dame of Fashion Iris Apfel to set sail on Cunard’s 2017 Transatlantic Fashion Week


VALENCIA, Calif., February 7, 2017 -- Luxury cruise brand, Cunard, has today announced fashion royalty Iris Apfel will join its line-up of fashion icons set to sail onboard Queen Mary 2 for the cruise line’s second annual Transatlantic Fashion Week (August 31 – September 7, 2017).

At 95, Iris is a jet-setting celebrity known for her individual style and joyful flair. Featured in cutting-edge style campaigns for Macy’s, MAC, Kate Spade, Swarovski and other big-name brands, Iris has become renowned for her signature look of bold round glasses, oversized bangles and necklaces, and rich, flamboyant, colorful garments.


Over the course of Transatlantic Fashion Week, Iris will be presenting one Q&A session and will introduce a showing of ‘Iris,’ a documentary featuring fashion, creativity and her soaring free spirit.

“I’ve lived quite a life of fashion and can’t wait to experience style at sea!” said Apfel. I look forward to being inspired by the elegance and glamour of the occasion and life onboard, especially the formal nights on my voyage across the Atlantic.”

Norwegian Cruise Line extends sailings to Cuba through December 2017


Additional roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba on Norwegian Sky begin June 2017 
All 30 voyages will feature an overnight call in the capital city of Havana

MIAMI – February 7, 2017 Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it will extend its offering of weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba aboard Norwegian Sky, the largest vessel sailing to Cuba, through December 2017.

Together with the five previously announced cruises in May 2017, these 25 additional cruises, which start in June 2017, all feature an overnight stay in Cuba’s historical and culturally-rich capital of Havana.
 
            “We are thrilled to be the first cruise line able to offer weekly sailings from Miami to Cuba through the fall of 2017, all with overnights in the beautiful city of Havana,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Princess Cruises 2017 Europe offers best of Mediterranean, Northern Europe and British Isles

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – The 2017 Europe cruise season offered by Princess Cruises showcases top-rated itineraries to iconic destinations and includes the cruise line’s new “Global Partners + Local Experts” program, featuring enriching vacation experiences enhanced by combining deep destination knowledge with local experts.
 

The 2017 cruise vacations to Europe include the inaugural sailings of the line’s newest ship Majestic Princess. The season features six ships sailing to 119 destinations from the corners of the Mediterranean to the northernmost tip of Europe.


Guests can choose from 64 unique itineraries on 153 cruise departures, visiting 27 countries. Debuting in April 2017, Majestic Princess first sets sail on maiden European sailings with five- to 28-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona, Athens and Rome.