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Cruise News
1-31, 2014

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What's on Cruise Diva's mind? A bit of editorializing, news, announcements, and travel tips...find that and more in Cruise Diva's Blog. Recent headlines appear below.

Cruise Diva

Bonaire Welcomed More Than 16,000 Cruise Passengers

Kralendijk, Bonaire, Jan 31: Bonaire experienced its busiest Cruise week of the 2013/2014 Cruise Season in the week of January 20-26, 2014. Bonaire welcomed 6 Cruise Ships and over 16,000 Cruise passengers. Bonaire had cruise calls from P&O Cruises, Celebrity/Royal Caribbean, Aida Cruises, Holland American Line, and Princess Cruises. Friday January 24th, 2014 was the busiest day with over 6,000 Cruise Passengers and 2 cruise ships in port.

“We are extremely happy to see that our Cruise high season is going well. The week alone contributed USD $1.15 million to our economy. As we continue to expand our Cruise calls both in the high and low season, we also strive to observe Bonaire’s carrying capacity. TCB would like to thank all the operators, Taxi drivers and our private sector for providing our Cruise passengers with an excellent customer service and experience. The organization at the port and the relaxed approach of our island is being greatly enjoyed” commented Ethsel Pieternella, Director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “Bonaire is at the top of the Caribbean in service to our visitors.’’

Additional information regarding the Cruise Schedule is available online at:

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Helps Make New Discoveries About The Life Of Artist Paul Gauguin

BELLEVUE, WA, Jan. 30: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 88-guest m/v Tere Moana, helps make new discoveries about the life of Paul Gauguin, adding a new dimension to the world's body of knowledge of the artist.

Dr. Caroline Boyle-Turner, an art historian and expert on artist Paul Gauguin, has been a guest lecturer on The Gauguin since 1999. Paul Gauguin Cruises has facilitated Boyle-Turner's visits to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas to research the artist's life. Over the past five years, Boyle-Turner has expanded her research and is writing a book on Gauguin based on her research, entitled Gauguin and the Marquesas. With the permission of the island's mayor, Boyle-Turner was able to arrange for four teeth presumably belonging to Gauguin, found in a glass bottle in a well behind his house in Atuona on Hiva Oa, to be analyzed by scientists associated with the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL. The scientists were able to extract DNA from the teeth, and a DNA sample was taken from Gauguin's grandson, Marcel Tai Gauguin, for the tests.

The goal of the analysis was to determine if the teeth were positively Gauguin's and if they held additional information about his life. The scientists discovered with 90 percent certitude that the teeth were Gauguin's. When the ship was in Hiva Oa on January 9, a special ceremony was held aboard The Gauguin. Boyle-Turner, along with dentist Dr. William Mueller, who helped arrange the tests and interpret the results, outlined the findings of the research for guests and local press aboard The Gauguin. Boyle-Turner then returned the teeth to the mayor of Atuona, Etienne Tehaamoan, who spoke about the economic importance of visits by The Gauguin to Hiva Oa and praised the ship as being one of the most regular visitors to the island. Following the ceremony, the Atuona dance group performed.

Gauguin's teeth will be on display at the Centre Paul Gauguin, a cultural center in Atuona honoring the artist and showcasing exhibits and reproductions of his work. The center can be visited when the ship is in Hiva Oa on The Gauguin'sMarquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands itineraries which depart April 12 and October 25 in 2014, and August 29 and November 21 in 2015. Virtually undiscovered for centuries, the remote Marquesas afford a true glimpse of the Polynesia of old. On this one-of-a-kind itinerary, The Gauguin visits four islands in the Marquesas, the diving mecca of the Tuamotus archipelago, and the exquisite Society Islands. The voyages begin and end in Papeete, Tahiti, visiting Fakarava in the Tuamotus; and Omoa, Fatu Hiva; Atuona, Hiva Oa; Hapatoni, Tahuata; Tiaohae, Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas; along with Huahine, Bora Bora, Taha'a (Motu Mahana), and Moorea in the Society Islands. Cruise fares include airfare from Los Angeles. For more information on Paul Gauguin Cruises, visit

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Carnival Cruise Lines & Port of Baltimore Announce Resumption of Year-Round Service

MIAMI, Jan 30: Carnival Cruise Lines and the Port of Baltimore today announced that the cruise line will resume year-round departures from Baltimore when the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride begins seven-day cruises in spring 2015. Carnival Pride is currently based in Baltimore where it will remain through October 2014 then reposition to Tampa for a winter cruise schedule before returning to Baltimore for year-round service in March 2015, hosting nearly 120,000 guests annually.

In anticipation of Carnival Pride’s return to Baltimore, the ship will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar makeover in fall 2014 that will add a host of dining, bar and entertainment innovations that are part of the line’s $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program. In addition to the new on-board features, Carnival Pride is one of several Carnival Cruise Lines ships that will be outfitted with exhaust gas cleaning technology, known as scrubbers, designed to reduce air emissions from cruise ships and large marine vessels. Scrubber technology will be installed on Carnival Pride prior to its Baltimore deployment in spring 2015. This new technology will enable the Carnival Pride to exceed the stricter air emission standards established for operation within the North American Emission Control Area (ECA).

“Baltimore is a convenient mid-Atlantic embarkation point for ‘Fun Ship’ cruising and we’re pleased to resume these attractive year-round departures which offer our guests an opportunity to visit a variety of beautiful, tropical destinations,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “We would like to extend our thanks to officials from the port and the state of Maryland for their outstanding support in our efforts to resume year-round cruising from Baltimore,” he added.

Year-Round Seven-day Cruises From Baltimore
On its year-round deployment from Baltimore, Carnival Pride will offer two distinctly different itineraries with voyages departing every Sunday beginning March 29, 2015. Week-long exotic eastern Caribbean cruises will visit Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Freeport, The Bahamas, while a Florida/Bahamas schedule will feature Port Canaveral, Fla. (Orlando), and Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas. During these cruises, guests can relax on beautiful white-sand beaches, participate in fun watersports activities and visit popular landmarks and attractions throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Central Florida.

Exciting Fun Ship 2.0 Innovations
Carnival Pride will undergo a three-week dry dock from October 19 to November 9, 2014, during which it will be outfitted with a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including:

• Guy’s Burger Joint, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries in an atmosphere that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture
• BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas that can be personalized with a variety of salsas and toppings
• Bonsai Sushi, a full-service sushi restaurant offering delicious Asian-inspired delicacies – sushi, sashimi, rolls and more – all enjoyed amidst a contemporary Far East décor
• WaterWorks, highlighted by Green Thunder, the steepest and fastest water slide at sea, as well as the line’s signature Twister slide full of exhilarating twists and turns and a spray park
• Hasbro, The Game Show, where guests are part of the show through a series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the company’s iconic and popular games
• Playlist Productions, builds upon Carnival’s reputation for high quality entertainment, combining captivating live performances and high-tech special effects, all set to popular and recognizable songs
• EA SPORTS Bar, a sports and video game lovers’ paradise where guests can catch live sporting events, check out scores on the real-time 24/7 sports ticker, and play the latest EA SPORTS games on a 16-screen video wall
• BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a fun and festive outdoor watering hole offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool
• Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails
• RedFrog Pub where guests can enjoy the Caribbean’s best rums and beers – along with Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red private label draft brew – and island-inspired pub fare while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance
• RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside adaptation of the RedFrog Pub offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red
• The Library Bar, a warm and cozy venue offering self-serve wine dispensers and full bar service for those seeking a more intimate spot for before- or after-dinner drinks
• Cherry On Top, which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more

Special 14-Day Repositioning Cruise from Tampa to Baltimore
Prior to its Baltimore deployment, Carnival Pride will operate a 14-day repositioning cruise departing Tampa March 15 and arriving Baltimore March 29, 2015. The special one-time voyage will feature six magnificent seaside destinations throughout the Caribbean and Central America, including George Town, Grand Cayman; Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama; Aruba; Curacao; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. Each of these destinations offers gorgeous beaches, interesting historical sites and myriad dining, shopping and sightseeing opportunities. Optional excursions to the spectacular Panama Canal will be featured during the call in Colon.

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Quercus from Penhaligon’s Comes aboard Cunard Line

Jan 2014: Something new in the air will be aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria this year: Cunard Line has joined forces with British perfumers Penhaligon’s to enhance the luxury cruise line’s in-cabin amenities. The distinctive look and fragrance of the Royal Warrant-holder’s Quercus body lotion, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner will be introduced across the fleet in 2014. A Royal Warrant is given to a company that supplies services or goods to a member of the United Kingdom’s Royal Family. Only senior members of the Royal Family bestow Warrants, which the companies that receive them may proudly display.

The Quercus scent was created in 1996 and named after the English oak to embody strength, tradition and essential Englishness – the perfect complement to Cunard’s classic style. The musk and sandalwood base notes are warmed with jasmine and cardamom and topped with citrus and bergamot to produce an elegant and uplifting fragrance with equal appeal to men and women.

Queen Elizabeth is the first of Cunard’s ships to feature the Quercus products, which will be introduced to Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 in the summer of 2014. In response to passenger testing, shower gel and shampoo will be supplied in larger sizes, while body lotion and conditioner will be in smaller bottles. Soaps will also be provided and all items will be replenished as required. Enhanced ranges will be offered for passengers travelling in Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites accommodation, and the top suites will have the added benefit of a Scent Library containing 10 samples from across Penhaligon’s fragrance spectrum.

“With its intriguing mix of tradition and modernity, the classic and the quirky, Penhaligon’s perfectly accords with the distinctly British feel of our three ships,” said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “We are very happy to be working with Penhaligon’s, which like Cunard has a distinguished history and long association with the Royal family.”
Matthew Huband, head of global marketing at Penhaligon’s, said, “Like Cunard, Penhaligon’s has a long and illustrious history, drawing customers of taste and refinement. We are thrilled to be able to share this most British of fragrances and look forward to a long relationship with Cunard and the three Queens.”

Penhaligon’s has been “entertaining England’s nostrils” since 1870, and the spirit of founder William Penhaligon touches everything the company does today. Its scents are still made and bottled in England using the highest quality ingredients. Penhaligon’s is proud to hold two Royal Warrants: from HRH The Prince of Wales (granted in 1988) and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (granted in 1956). For more information about Cunard Line, visit

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Princess Cruises “Come Back New” Sweepstakes Will Receive Choice of Worldwide Itinerary

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 29: Princess Cruises is inviting passengers to join in the excitement of its just-launched “Come Back New” marketing campaign with a special sweepstakes, where one lucky winner will set sail on a free cruise to the destination of their choice. Weekly winners can record their cruise memories with Nikon’s new, revolutionary 1 AW1 camera. Running through April 6, the sweepstakes is available at Contestants can enter simply by registering on the site, plus can get additional entries by taking a destination personality quiz or by submitting their transformative vacation photos.

“We’re celebrating the launch of our ‘Come Back New’ campaign with a great opportunity for passengers to win an unforgettable cruise vacation,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “The fortunate winner will be able to tailor the grand prize by choosing from among a world of destinations filled with opportunities to explore new cultures and capture memorable moments.”

The grand prize winner will enjoy free airfare and a balcony stateroom for two aboard a 7- to 19-day cruise of their choice. The winner can pick their voyage from among Princess’ many worldwide options, including an Alaska cruise, Alaska cruisetour, Panama Canal cruise, Hawaiian cruise, Caribbean cruise, Grand Mediterranean cruise, California Coastal cruise, Australia & New Zealand cruise, East Australia and Asia cruise or a Canada & New England cruise. The grand prize winner will also receive a Nikon camera bundle featuring a Nikon 1 AW1 camera, with lens and accessories, valued at more than $1,000. This waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof camera offers the world’s fastest continuous shooting frame rate, so photographers never miss those fleeting shots.

In addition, each week throughout the 12-week sweepstakes a winner will be randomly selected from the photo submissions to receive a Nikon 1 AW1 camera, valued at more than $800. The weekly winner’s photo will be featured on the sweepstakes landing page each week.

"We are very excited that Princess Cruises passengers will have the opportunity to win our camera kit as part of the 'Come Back New' Sweepstakes,” said Sharon Henley, senior manager of marketing for Nikon Inc. “The 1 AW1 is the ultimate camera for family adventures and the perfect companion for capturing all the fun and excitement aboard a Princess cruise, wherever it may take you."

The grand prize winner will be chosen on or before May 6, 2014. Eligible entrants must be at least 21 years old and U.S. or Canadian (excluding Quebec) citizens.

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American Queen Steamboat Company Enters Refurbishment Preparing for Third Season

MEMPHIS, TN, Jan. 29: The American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of the largest riverboat in the world, announces refurbishment details of the 432-passenger paddlewheel currently underway at the New Orleans’ Boland Marine Shipyards.  As part of the American Queen’s scheduled annual layup, which includes the renovation of the steam plant, many of the engineering and cosmetic enhancements will be evident to past guests boarding for the launch of her third season on Feb. 21.    

“For our second season, we were delighted to carry over 20 percent more passengers as compared to our inaugural season,” explains American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “With this year’s upgrades and improvements, we look forward to bringing even more guests the nostalgia of river cruising with modern comforts in the 2014 season.”

A team of local contractors and crew are dedicated to preparing the American Queen for another safe and enjoyable third season.  New paint and coating systems are being incorporated throughout the vessel to improve her appearance.  A major rehabilitation of the decks is being completed.  Guests will enjoy brand new shows in the Grand Saloon, which are being custom made for the American Queen along with new sound and lighting.  An added digital content management system will also allow for in-house programming in each hotel cabin television.    
Some of the most significant electrical upgrades since the American Queen’s construction include the renewal of the main switchboard and all associated systems.  In the galley, new steam powered “combi ovens” will add capacity and allow the culinary team to expand their onboard pastry and dessert offerings.  Additionally, a state-of-the-art combustion control system will save fuel, reduce emissions and exert less stress on the vessel’s steam plant while making the vessel more environmentally friendly.

Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, all journeys include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner, and a host of other amenities. For additional information, visit

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Safety/Mustering Software Onboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Getaway Now Beginning Busy Schedule

WEST PALM BEACH, FL, Jan. 28: After being awarded a contract to deliver its A-PASS® Life Safety/Mustering Solution to Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) two latest Freestyle Cruise ships, the Breakaway and Getaway, Security Identification Systems Corporation (SISCO) is proud to see its standout product aboard the Getaway's upcoming maiden voyage. The 143,500 gross ton vessel will leave port on an extensive public relations tour prior to its maiden voyage with the industry's unsurpassed Mustering/Life Safety Solution. Passengers and crew aboard the extraordinary new vessel will take comfort in knowing that the remarkable vessel is protected by SISCO's most comprehensive, effective system for mustering and identification.

NCL's outstanding Getaway utilizes only the latest, greatest technology in every aspect of development and design. SISCO's A-PASS® Electronic Mustering System is no exception. Coast Guard regulations and SOLAS require cruise lines to periodically hold fire and lifeboat drills. They are intended to continually rehearse and show passengers how to respond in the event of an emergency at sea. SISCO's A-PASS® Electronic Mustering System supports this important exercise completely.

Designed specifically for the cruise line industry, A-PASS® is the de facto standard in total ship management for marine safety and security. The wireless version meets IMO, Coast Guard, and CBP compliance requirements for Mustering, Tendering and Immigration. As a seamless add-on to existing A-PASS® products, the mobile system provides the flexibility to conduct screening and clearance inspections of crew, passengers and visitors on land and at sea. A-PASS® also interfaces and transfers data with other shipboard systems.

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Silversea Introduces Enhanced Personal Log-in Area on Its Website

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 28: Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has revealed its latest innovation to make travel planning easier. The new "My Silversea" personal log-in area is now available at, enabling both guests and travel agent partners to conveniently update their profile and preferences, arrange activities prior to a reserved voyage, and access a host of additional features.

For the first time, specialty restaurant dinner reservations can now be pre-booked in advance (from 120 to 7 days prior to sailing), along with the optional shore excursions, beauty, spa and fitness services that previously have been available to reserve in advance through the line's website. Members of Venetian Society, Silversea's past guest loyalty club, will now also be able to conveniently keep track of their past voyage history by logging into "My Silversea." "Besides being more intuitive for the user, one of the great enhancements of 'My Silversea' is that guests sailing on our classic fleet, and their travel agents, can now make online dinner reservations for the first time," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president of sales and general manager for North America. "And travel agents will now find it much easier to access valuable marketing support tools and manage their clients' bookings online."

For booked guests, the new more user-friendly portal replaces the "My Voyage" section of, and travel agents will now simply log into "My Silversea" instead of the line's previous dedicated online travel agent center. "My Silversea" is available for guests sailing on expedition cruises; however, the option to pre-book certain services and activities is still under development and will soon follow.

Additionally, luxury travel enthusiasts who are interested in Silversea, but have never sailed with the line, can now easily register at My Silversea to receive brochures and other communications. For that and more information on Silversea Cruises, visit

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Celebrity Cruises at “The 50 Yard Lounge” In NYC

NEW YORK, NY, Jan 27: Celebrity Cruises will present guests with a taste of its award-winning cuisine in “The 50 Yard Lounge” during Super Bowl Week in New York City. Located directly next to Madison Square Garden and Penn Station at One Penn Plaza, the Lounge will be New York City’s premier VIP destination for food, drink and football from Jan 29–Feb 2, 2014. Encompassing more than 15,000 square feet of heated roof decks, tented plaza and restaurants, the Lounge will feature A-list stars and legends of football, food and music headlining the events including Super Bowl XVII-winning quarterback Joe Theismann; Heisman Trophy Winner and famed quarterback Doug Flutie; Hall of Famer Cris Carter as well as ESPN’s Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg (courtesy of Almond Board of California.)

“We will offer exclusive, fun and spirited food offerings for food and football fans alike,” offers Michael Daniels, Celebrity’s Regional Marketing Manager for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. “Our chefs and mixologists are going to provide delicious and memorable experiences for all of the guests, each day from morning til night.”

Celebrity’s head of food and beverage operations, Chef John Suley, will prepare a variety of unique dishes from the premium vacation brand’s onboard dining venues. Inspired by Celebrity’s ‘uniquely unordinary’ Qsine, guests can indulge in kobe beef hot dogs on poppy seed buns with togarashi, kewpie mayonnaise and nori flakes. “Soup-er Bowls” filled with beer and cheddar cheese soup, smoke bacon and jalapeno pumpernickel croutons will be served with panini, a selection from the cruise line’s onboard creperie, Bistro on Five and mid-week, New York Jets defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis will cook alongside of Chef Suley.

"Together with Hawthorn Beverage Group founder Josh Durr and his highly skilled mixologists, we will be offering fans, season ticket holders and visitors a variety of new artisanal cocktails that are exclusively available onboard Celebrity,” said Chanelle Duarte, Celebrity's manager of Beverage Development. “These are made with liqueurs, fresh ingredients, organic juices and the finest artisanal spirits, resulting in a combination of new-school libations and updated old-school favorites. Offered along with our “4th Quarter Late Night Snacks” of pizza, tacos, burgers and selections from our popular Qsine menu, we are sure to shake things up in the Lounge.” Celebrity is also featuring delicious molecular cocktails by master mixologist Junior Merino, internationally known as “The Liquid Chef.”

As part of the excitement, Celebrity partnered with The Daily Meal, one of the nation’s largest food websites and an official media sponsor of The 50 Yard Lounge. The Daily Meal will feature photos and recipes of delectable Celebrity cuisine, as well as behind-the-scenes videos of Chef Suley and his team in action as they prepare dishes for the multi-day event.

Celebrity Cruises is a fan of fans from the world of sports and recently announced it is the official cruise line of The New York Rangers. Hockey fans will have the opportunity to sail the “Rangers Legends Cruise” with Rangers greats Ron Duguay, Adam Graves, Ron Greschner and Stephane Matteau in August 2014.

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Say 'I Do' With Carnival's Totally Revamped Wedding Program

MIAMI, Jan 24: Carnival Cruise Lines has totally revamped its popular wedding program–upgrading everything from floral arrangements, decorations and photography to delicious new culinary selections and an even greater variety of romantic on-island ceremonies–allowing couples to make their “big day” even more special and memorable. Available both aboard ship on embarkation day or in tropical ports of call, Carnival’s wedding packages are already immensely popular–with more than 2,600 ceremonies performed each year.

Couples can say “I do” during unforgettable shipboard celebrations which now include a diverse array of lavishly presented culinary options and upgraded beverage service, along with new multi-tiered wedding cake choices like chocolate ganache, coconut cream, and red velvet, all baked on board. Enhanced amenities such as a decorated wedding aisle and other traditional touches, along with upgraded champagne flutes and other keepsake items, are also included. For those who want to tie the knot in paradise, Carnival offers a variety of beachside ceremonies with recently added choices such as Grand Turk and Freeport complementing Barbados, Grand Cayman, St. Thomas, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and other beautiful and exotic locales.

Carnival’s enhanced wedding packages include:

• Just You & Me (maximum of eight people) – starting at $1,355 and includes
- Wedding ceremony
- Bouquet and boutonniere
- Tiered wedding cake with keepsake wedding topper
- Champagne toast with keepsake flutes
- Photography services
- Decorated wedding aisle
- Pre-recorded music
- Officiant (couples are also welcome to bring their own clergy)

• Time to Celebrate (based on 20 guests) – starting at $1,795 and includes
- All of the amenities of Just You & Me plus:
- One-hour reception
- Open bar
- Selection of hot & cold hors d’ oeuvres
- Coffee/tea service

• Time to Celebrate…Big! (based on 20 guests) – starting at $1,975 and includes
- All of the amenities of Just You & Me plus:
- One-and-one-half-hour reception
- Open bar
- Selection of hot & cold hors d’ oeuvres
- Custom-designed ice carving

• Let Us Serve You (minimum 8 guests) – starting at $1,595 and includes
- All of the amenities of Just You & Me plus:
- Full-service dining room luncheon with four-course menu
- Open-pour wine

• Island Breeze – starting at $1,395 and includes
- Romantic ceremony performed at an exotic island location
- Complimentary round-trip transportation to island venue

Wedding packages include the services of a personal wedding planner to assist the couple on their special day, as well as priority check-in and boarding for all wedding guests. Wedding packages can be customized with music and videography services at an additional cost. Couples can also reaffirm their marriage vows with Carnival’s Renewal of Vows ceremonies which are performed by the ship’s captain.

Carnival has also updated its wedding web site to reflect all of the new choices and has also created a glossy new brochure to provide an at-a-glance view of the company’s wide-ranging offerings.

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Holland America Line Crowns Allyse Ishino ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea’ Guest Champion

Seattle, Jan. 23: During the Jan. 12 Champions Cruise aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line crowned guest Allyse Ishino of Santa Ana, Calif., the line’s first “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion. Ishino, who represented ms Westerdam, triumphed over 14 other guest competitors to claim the title and take home the coveted Holland America Line’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Mirror Ball Trophy. Ishino danced in the ship’s main show lounge in three elimination performances before making it to the finals where she executed a passionate Tango in front of a judging panel that included “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancers Tristan MacManus, Kym Johnson and Sharna Burgess, dance troupe member Jaymz Tuaileva and Nieuw Amsterdam cruise director Eric Dowis.
“Congratulations to Allyse! We’ve been building up to the ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea’ Champions Cruise all year and the 15 champions gave stunning performances that excited everyone onboard and impressed our judging panels of professional dancers,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs. “All of the guest competitors put their heart and soul into each performance and they all deserve to be congratulated.”
Before Ishino was named champion in the final round, three elimination rounds were held to whittle the 15 competitors to three finalists. Todd Greenquist of Scarborough, Maine, representing ms Amsterdam, and Kristin Capaldo of Cumberland, R.I., from ms Noordam, also advanced from the early rounds to dance in the final evening’s competition. The 15 Champions Cruise competitors represented each of the ships in the Holland America Line fleet. They were selected as the winning guests with the highest overall score from their ship’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” dance competitions that were held onboard every cruise throughout the past year.
Joining the Champions Cruise to perform in a special production show were “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancers: Emmy Award–winner and five-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion Derek Hough, two-time winner Kym Johnson, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater and Tristan MacManus. Celebrities who performed included actress Sabrina Bryan, singer Joey Fatone and television personality Carson Kressley. Additional events on the cruise included a special fashion show featuring the glamorous show costumes, a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities, and a question-and-answer session.
Holland America Line has extended its partnership with “Dancing with the Stars” and will feature the shipboard program through the 2014 sailing season, culminating with another Champions Cruise guest dance-off competition on the Dec. 6, 2014, Caribbean sailing of ms Westerdam. The 2014 schedule also will include six special “Dancing with the Stars” theme cruises featuring the show’s professional dancers and celebrities. Currently scheduled to sail on all six theme cruises in 2014 are professional dancers Tristan MacManus and Kym Johnson, television personality Carson Kressley and actress Sabrina Bryan.
For more information about the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruises and complete rules, visit

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Carnival Cruise Lines Announces 'Carnival LIVE Concert Series'
Bringing The Best In Live Music To The Seas

MIAMI, Jan. 22: Turn up the volume live music fans! Carnival Cruise Lines today 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
-- Trace Adkins

"Performing live is one of my favorite things," said GRAMMY® Award-winner, Jennifer Hudson at an exclusive launch event for Carnival LIVE in New York City on January 22. "I'm excited to be part of this unique concert series that will allow me to interact with my fans in such an intimate and memorable setting."

In addition to the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, Carnival is also enhancing its popular shipboard house bands. The bands will feature both male and female lead singers, a more choreographed, themed and diverse set list, and increased interaction with guests. Nine Carnival ships currently feature the new bands, with implementation across the full fleet over the course of this year.

"Onboard entertainment is an important part of the overall guest experience when cruising," said Mark Tamis, senior vice president of guest operations for Carnival Cruise Lines. "With the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, our guests will enjoy an exclusive performance with one of their favorite artists for an extraordinary value. Combined with our enhanced house bands fleetwide, this is just another example of the many ways we are constantly looking to create even more fun and memorable moments for our guests." Tamis added, "The Carnival LIVE 2014 Concert Series is also a great tool for our travel agent partners, providing an additional feature at a great value that can be promoted when selling Carnival cruises."

Beginning in April 2014, Carnival LIVE concerts will take place on board eight Carnival ships that call in the following ports: Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau, the Bahamas; and Catalina Island, California. Artists will join the ship while in port, perform in the main show lounge that evening, and debark following their show.

Tickets cost $20-40 each and a limited number of VIP tickets are also available for each show for $100-$150 each. The VIP experience includes an artist meet and greet, photo opportunity, seating in the first three rows and a commemorative laminated concert pass. All tickets can be purchased through Carnival's online Shore Excursion System prior to sailing, or on board participating ships at the Shore Excursion Desk based on availability. Visit to view the full list of 2014 Carnival LIVE concert dates.

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MSC Cruises Renews 'Get On Board For Children' Initiative With UNICEF

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 21: Started in 2009, MSC's collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has helped build hope for children in need around the world. In the past four years, as part of MSC Cruises' "Get on Board for Children" initiative, and thanks to the generosity of MSC Cruises' guests, more than US $3.7 million were donated to UNICEF in Brazil to combat poverty and inequality by helping children in 126 vulnerable communities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo achieve access to quality education.

On Jan 1, 2014, a new life-saving partnership between MSC Cruises and UNICEF commenced with the aim of providing assistance to malnourished children by delivering Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF), such as Plumpy'Nut® (a peanut-based paste for the treatment of severe malnutrition) in developing countries and in countries affected by crisis situations. Malnutrition and famine claim the lives of over a million children yearly and stunt the physical and mental development of many more. Severe acute malnutrition has traditionally required hospitalization, however RUTFs can be eaten straight from a sachet. They can be given to children without being mixed in water, working in any situation, at home and without medical supervision.

"Around three sachets a day for four to six weeks can put a child out of harm's way. With the generosity of our on board guests, we will do our best to save and improve as many lives as possible," says Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. "MSC Cruises believes that global leadership brings increased responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates, and as such we are proud to have strengthened our partnership with UNICEF. Together, we can make a difference."

"We are delighted with our long-standing partnership with MSC Cruises. It makes a significant contribution to improving living conditions for thousands of children," said Elsbeth Müller, Executive Director of UNICEF Switzerland. "We are impressed that MSC passengers donate over a dollar to UNICEF at check-out. Their donation helps ensure that children grow up healthily and have a promising future. Thank you very much for this great commitment."

By donating just US $1.50 to "Get on Board for Children", MSC guests help buy three meals of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food. A full treatment to save a child's life in four to six weeks costs approximately US $56.00. In addition to donations received from guests, MSC Cruises will organize educational activities for children on board, raising awareness about UNICEF's work and children's needs worldwide. For more information, visit

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Whales, Trails & Ales: Un-Cruise Adventures’ Craft Beer Theme Cruise Explores Coastal Washington

Seattle, WA, Jan 21: Outdoor adventure and beer lovers unite for a one-week brouhaha on Un-Cruise Adventures’ craft beer theme cruise on its new itinerary, Explore! Olympic Wilderness & San Juan Islands. The 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer expedition vessel explores Washington’s Puget Sound and Salish Sea from South Hood Canal to Olympic National Park and the San Juan Islands. The craft beer theme cruise sails roundtrip Seattle departing May 3, 2014. The Active Adventure cruise includes all meals, beer tastings, transfers, adventure activities, hot tub, sauna and yoga on deck. Travelers booked from Jan 1-Feb 28, 2014 save $100 per couple.

“Exploring the Puget Sound area by boat lets us access scenic areas for kayaking and hiking without traveling too far each day,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “Adding in craft beer tastings for those who are interested adds a little extra hoppiness to the week.”

The craft beer theme cruise features guest experts Kendall Jones and Kim Sharpe Jones, authorities on the Seattle craft beer scene and media partners for the Washington Beer Commission. An exclusive WAVE ale, named after the boat’s nickname, brewed by the Jones’ with Schooner Exact Brewing Company will be on tap. Guests will enjoy nightly happy hour tastings of select craft beer from nearby breweries, presentations by the Jones’ and beer recommendations matching the evening’s dinner menu. A brewery tour and tasting will be offered at both Port Townsend Brewing and Island Hoppin Brewery on Orcas Island. A Sucia Island beach bonfire on the last night sets the stage for a session on Beach Beers and the virtues of craft beer in aluminum cans.

Highlights of the itinerary include hiking in Olympic National Park, Mt. Constitution and Washington State Parks. Waterborne expeditions by kayaks, skiffs and paddle boards explore glacial fjords and the San Juan archipelago. In Quilcene Bay, a local family hosts a home-grown oyster and clam tasting. Guests enjoy free time in scenic Friday Harbor and discover Native cultures in Port Townsend. Travelers spend the week searching out and seeing marine life and seabirds up close. Gray whales, orcas, seals, sea lions and bald eagles are all found in the area. A knowledgeable team of expedition guides leads excursions and provides interpretation along the way. Guests enjoy a full complement of adventure gear for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking and skiff excursions. A custom made kayak launch platform allows four kayaks at once to quickly and safely launch off a stable platform.

After a full day of adventure, guests may enjoy a soak in the hot tub. Yoga classes take place on deck each morning. The vessel has fitness equipment, a resource/DVD library and massage is available for a fee. An underwater camera mounted on the ship’s bow streams video from the underwater world to flatscreen televisions in all guest rooms and the lounge. Healthy and hearty meals feature fresh ingredients including locally sourced produce and seafood. For additional information, visit

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Crystal Cruises Adds Free Wi-Fi For Crystal Society Members

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 21: Crystal Cruises announces the newest perk to its All Inclusive luxury cruise experience: Free Wi-Fi for Crystal Society members, the line's "club" of repeat guests, beginning Fall 2014. Effective with Crystal Serenity's Sept 19 New England/Canada sailing and Crystal Symphony's Oct 15 Panama Canal cruise, each Crystal Society guest will receive 60 minutes of complimentary internet access for every day of the cruise. For example, a 10-day cruise will offer 600 free minutes per person (or 1,200 free minutes per couple), a 12-day cruise offers 720 free minutes per person (or 1,440 free minutes per couple), a 14-day cruise offer 840 free minutes (or 1,680 free minutes per couple), etc., which can be used any time throughout the voyage.

Society members can use the new complimentary access time wirelessly via iPad, iPhone, laptop, or other wireless device or on Crystal's own Computer University@Sea 27" dual-compatible iMac computers. A multi-million dollar Wi-Fi upgrade rolled out in recent months helps guests enjoy maximum onboard connectivity.

"We are continually refining our all-inclusive experience to offer an array of choices for our global guests. Since the majority of our guests are repeaters, we opted to expand our Crystal Society offerings to thank our loyal patrons," said Edie Bornstein, Crystal's president. "Whether they are on board for a second 10-day getaway or on their 20(th) time for an expansive 108-day World Cruise, travelers today appreciate staying plugged in. By adding this coveted perk to our All Inclusive experience, repeat cruisers in all stateroom and suite categories have one more reason to choose Crystal as their home base while traveling the world in the finest of luxury and ease."

The company has spent more than a year planning and installing improvements to the onboard internet experience, including:

-- Maximizing satellite bandwidth with the latest technology, allowing for more users and more content to stream simultaneously.
-- Expansion of Wi-Fi signal range throughout the ships, making wireless connection available everywhere on board, including all staterooms, public spaces, and outdoor decks.
-- The ability to access internet in areas that were previously unavailable, such as Japan.

All full revenue guests who have completed their first Crystal cruise automatically become Crystal Society members, and, thusly, can take advantage of this perk on all subsequent Crystal voyages. Guests wishing to purchase additional minutes for $.75 per minute can do so without an activation fee. Internet packages that reduce the per minute charge are also available. For more information, visit

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Seabourn Finalizes Contract with Fincantieri for New Ultra-Luxury Ship

SEATTLE, Jan. 21: Seabourn, the world's leading ultra-luxury cruise line, has announced the formal signing of a contract for construction of a new all-suite vessel, continuing the fleet modernization that the company began in 2009 with the launch of Seabourn Odyssey. This award winning new class of ship, which includes the Seabourn Sojourn (2010) and Seabourn Quest (2011), has won acclaim from luxury cruisers, travel agents and journalists alike, one of whom proclaimed the design "... a game-changer for the ultra-luxury cruise segment."

The configuration of the new, 40,350 GRT vessel will be based on the highly popular Seabourn Odyssey-class ships, with one additional deck and new expanded public areas. The ship will be built by Fincantieri S.p.A. in Italy, with delivery scheduled for mid-2016. It is expected to carry just 604 guests, based on double occupancy of the all-suite lower berths. The design will maintain Seabourn's high ratio of space per guest and enable highly personalized service by nearly one staff member per guest on board. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

"The new ship will continue the evolution that began with Seabourn's fleet expansion, adding modern design elements and innovations consistent with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance," said Richard D. Meadows, Seabourn's president. "With its delivery, the most highly rated cruise line in the world will also offer travelers the newest fleet of ships in the luxury segment."

The vessel will replace capacity that will be reduced when the company's Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit, and Seabourn Legend are transferred to new owners in April 2014, April 2015, and May 2015, respectively.

The contract with Fincantieri continues a longstanding relationship of more than two decades between Seabourn's parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc and the Italian shipbuilder. Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri's Chief executive officer, said: "An order from a new brand is always a source of great satisfaction. Today we can also add a note of pride, because the addition to our customer base of Seabourn, the Carnival Group's top-end cruise line, means that we are now building ships for all the operators in the ultra-luxury segment, a niche market that has seen strong investments in the past year". Bono continued: "This gratifying result, which gives us cause to be optimistic about the future, is the product of the cultural renewal being pursued with determination at every level of our business activity."

For more information on Seabourn's award-winning cruise vacations, contact a travel professional, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Win a Chance to Sail on Princess’ “Cruise with a Heart”

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 2014: Princess Cruises has launched its biggest-ever Valentine’s Day celebration with a sweepstakes on its Facebook page offering 120 lucky fans the opportunity to sail on its February “Cruise with a Heart,” wellness and heart-health themed voyage. Randomly selected winners will receive a balcony stateroom for two on the February 10-15 cruise aboard Ruby Princess. To enter, users simply must comment on the sweepstakes post on Princess’ Facebook page asking about reasons for wanting a Valentine's Day getaway. Comments posted before midnight on January 21 will be eligible. The cruise sweepstakes is open to Facebook users ages 21 and over, who are legal residents of the United States.

“We're selecting 120 winners because this number is symbolic of heart health, being the highest systolic blood pressure recommended by the American Heart Association,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We look forward to welcoming these lucky winners onboard this special cruise where they will immerse themselves in a variety of important and enjoyable activities focused on their wellbeing.”

The special voyage will celebrate Valentine’s Day with an impressive line-up of expert guests and celebrities who will inspire and inform passengers about optimizing their heart health. Guests include 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. The benefit cruise will also raise funds for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) programs and educational outreach. Among the educational opportunities offered exclusively for this cruise are training in the American Heart Association’s Hands-OnlyTM CPR; and seminars on how to better manage stress, diet, and exercise. Passengers can also take advantage of complimentary blood pressure screenings and participate in a fundraising walk on deck, patterned after AHA’s successful HeartWalks.

The five-day Caribbean cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, with calls at Grand Cayman and Cozumel, will also offer passengers a sailing full of romance, with Valentine’s-themed entertainment, culinary offerings and programming including a special onboard renewal of vows. The cruise will be capped off with a Ruby Red Gala party. Winners will be notified on or about Jan 23. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at the company's website at

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American Cruise Lines Offers Complimentary Shore Tours & Hotel on Paddlewheel River Cruises

GUILFORD, CT, Jan 2014: American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise company, announced that complimentary shore excursions will be offered on all Mississippi and Columbia River cruises aboard its two authentic paddlewheelers, Queen of the Mississippi and Queen of the West. The line will offer complimentary shore excursions in each port, valued at more than $300 per person. Additionally, for a limited time, a complimentary pre-night hotel stay will also be offered on bookings made throughout Wave Season. Complimentary tours on Mississippi River cruises include:

• Battle of Vicksburg Tour – Vicksburg, MS - Guests will tour the Vicksburg National Military Park and discover the site of one of the Civil War’s most legendary battles –The Siege of Vicksburg.
• Oak Alley Plantation Tour – Oak Alley, LA - Guests will sip delicious Mint Juleps as they enjoy an educational tour by guides in period clothing, and a walk through the quarter mile canopy of 300 year old live oak trees.
• Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum – Hannibal, MO - Guests will enjoy a trolley tour of this historic town and discover the inspiration behind Mark Twain’s writing, while reliving their favorite scenes from Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Complimentary tours on Columbia and Snake River cruises include:
• Mount St. Helens Tour – Rainier, WA - A scenic bus ride takes guests to the Mount St. Helens Johnston Ridge Observatory. The observatory sits on a bluff overlooking the crater and offers views of Mount St. Helens' lava dome, pumice plain and landslide deposit.
• Columbia Gorge Discover Center – The Dalles, OR - Guests enjoy a sprawling interactive museum with exhibits and collections of local cultural history. The exhibits focus on the volcanic upheaval and raging floods that created the Gorge, the unique horticulture and wildlife of the region, and eleven thousand years of history.
• Winery Tour – Richland, VA - Known as "The Heart of Washington Wine Country," the Tri-Cities region houses more than 160 wineries within a 50 mile radius. Sample award-winning wines and enjoy breathtaking views of beautiful vineyards on this narrated winery tour.

On each 8-day Columbia and Snake River and Mississippi River itinerary, guests enjoy views of a diverse landscape and extended visits to unique ports along the way. Onboard, they’ll enjoy numerous and distinct amenities, including personalized service and the most spacious staterooms in the industry. They’ll also experience American Cruise Lines’ unique open-seating dining plan, which allows guests to enjoy meals in a single seating and at the time of their choice, while surrounded by panoramic views of the river. Enriching educational events and themed entertainment are offered daily and help paint a picture of what life on American rivers was like in days gone by. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit

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Celebrity Cruises Joins The Team As Proud Partner of the New England Patriots

BOSTON, Jan. 17: Celebrity Cruises and the New England Patriots have announced a comprehensive marketing agreement highlighting the brands' shared commitment to premium experiences and entertainment. Through the partnership, Miami-based Celebrity Cruises will be recognized as a "Proud Partner of the New England Patriots."

"This partnership has all the makings of a winning team," said Marla Phaneuf, Regional Sales Manager and Team Manager of New England at Celebrity Cruises. "We look forward to raising local awareness and having more New Englanders join us on our stunning ships with enticing itineraries, including the New England Patriots Fan Cruise setting sail in 2015."

Sailing March 15, 2015, Celebrity Silhouette will host New England Patriots fans who will have the opportunity to meet and spend time with former Patriots players as they sail through the Caribbean. The ship will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and will make stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Onboard activities with the Patriots alumni players will include: karaoke nights, pool party volleyball and football time on the lawn, $50 on-board credit, and a Classic Beverage Package for two. Staterooms are now available for booking through Celebrity Cruises,

In addition to the fan cruise, the partnership between Celebrity Cruises and the New England Patriots includes a variety of different elements that will span through the 2015 season.

"We look forward to working with Celebrity Cruises as our official cruise line partner," said Murray Kohl, New England Patriots vice president of corporate sponsorships. "Their focus on premium experiences and quality service make for a perfect New England Patriots' teammate."

Consumers who can't wait until March 2015 for their Celebrity Cruises vacation can take advantage of Celebrity's 123go! promotion, now underway through February 28, 2014 and valid on all ships (with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition) from February 2014 through March 2015 (excluding Transatlantic and Transpacific voyages). When booking during the 123go! promotion, guests can choose from any of the following options on over 400 sailings:

-- Free "Classic Beverage Package" for two, allowing guests to pair Celebrity's delectable cuisine with their favorite beverages, representing a value of up to $1,200 for two guests, based on a 12-night sailing, and including coverage of beverage gratuities; and free Classic Non-Alcoholic Beverage Packages for third and fourth guests in staterooms, as well as complimentary Internet packages for those guests.
-- Free gratuities for two, allowing vacationers to fully relax, knowing tips for Celebrity's expert staff are covered, representing a value of up to $360 per stateroom based on a 12-night sailing and including coverage of stateroom, waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter gratuities.
-- An onboard credit of up to $300 per stateroom, depending on the selected itinerary length, and available for guests to apply to shore excursions, specialty dining, wine tastings, spa treatments, boutique items, or any other onboard purchase.

For more information, visit

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Costa Deliziosa Rescues Eight Sailors from Sinking Yacht

HOLLYWOOD, FL, Jan. 15: Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 3:30 p.m. ET, Costa Cruises' Costa Deliziosa successfully carried out the rescue of eight people on board a yacht that was sinking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Captain Giuseppe Longo, master of Costa Deliziosa, which is currently on a 100-day world cruise that left Savona, Italy Jan. 6, received a call from the Delgada Coast Guard in Portugal requesting assistance for a sailing vessel in distress. At the time, Costa Deliziosa was crossing the Atlantic en route to Antigua in the Caribbean, with arrival scheduled the morning of Jan. 17. The ship left the planned course and sailed approximately 170 miles southeast to reach the stricken sailboat.

The yacht Buccanier had struck an unidentified object and was taking on water. Despite adverse sea and weather conditions with 10-foot waves, the rescue operation was conducted successfully. The crewmember --six Spaniards, one Argentine and one Belgian--of Buccanier were taken onboard Costa Deliziosa. All are reported to be in good condition.

After the rescue, Costa Deliziosa resumed course for Antigua.

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Crystal Cruises Is Women's Choice For 'America's Best In Travel'

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 15: Crystal Cruises has been chosen 'America's Best in Travel' in the Luxury Cruising category of the 2013 Women's Choice Awards–the only award recognizing brands and companies recommended by women, to women. Based on a national poll of more than 1,300 female consumers and travel agents, the award not only reflects the priorities and preferences of female consumers, but also praises Crystal's dedication to excellence in service, spacious and elegant atmosphere, luxurious details, and genuine care shown by crew and officers. The awards were created by leading research company and female consumer advocate, WomenCertified.

"Our guests have always been our biggest cheerleaders, but the Women's Choice Award( )represents a significant stamp of approval from our female quotient, as women continue to play the primary role in planning and booking family travel," says Edie Bornstein, the line's recently-appointed, and first-ever, female president.

The ease, luxury, and comfort of the Crystal experience has long made the line a preferred vacation choice for women. Women traveling alone can find low solo fares; Ambassador Hosts escorts; group shore excursions; and assigned dinner seating. Highly accomplished female speakers, such as political consultant Mary Matalin and counter-terrorism expert Farhani Ali, are also regularly featured in Crystal's enrichment program.

Until February 28, all-inclusive Crystal Cruises fares start at $1,215 per person, with additional savings via more than 20 special offers, including a "Crystal Family Memories" program for groups of 6 or more, be it a girls' getaway, or family vacation. With a mission of providing guests the finest experience possible in not just the luxury cruise industry, but the entire luxury service industry, Crystal Cruises has earned some of the most prestigious praise in the business for the past two decades, including more "World's Best" awards more than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history. For more information, visit

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Windstar Cruises Unveils Transformation of New Yacht

Seattle, Jan 15: Windstar Cruises, a leader in small ship cruising, unveils major renovations for Star Pride’s public spaces, suites, and dining venues. Windstar takes delivery of Star Pride on April 17, 2014, the first yacht of Windstar’s 2013 purchase of three luxury cruise ships. The work to transform Star Pride into Windstar’s private yacht style will take place in Barcelona immediately following handover. Star Pride’s inaugural voyage embarks May 5, 2014.

“The planning for Star Pride’s transformation to Windstar’s unique private yacht style is nearly complete. Our enhancements include significant style changes and stem-to-stern upgrades,” said Hans Birkholz, chief executive officer of Windstar Cruises. “The main theme is a casual elegant ambiance, with a warm contemporary style. The look and feel of the renovations will align with our sailing fleet.”

Windstar is working in partnership with Alan McVitty and Trimline Interiors, both of whom played a part in the success of Windstar’s recent $18 million sailing fleet-wide renovation, to complete Star Pride’s stem-to-stern transformation that will renovate public spaces, dining venues, and suites.

• Public Spaces: the majority of public areas will receive updated décor, complete with new furnishings, upholstery, lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, window treatments, and floor coverings. The enhanced color palette combines sand and marine shades to contrast with the warmth of wood finishes, elevating the look and feel to casual elegance.
• Yacht Club: the indoor observation area on the top deck will become a chic coffee bar and lounge, where guests enjoy espresso and various sandwiches and pastries while relaxing with a good book, exploring their iPads with wifi, or just watching the coast line as they sail to the next destination. The area will receive a complete overhaul, with new Amtico® flooring, furniture, and an open layout that embraces the view.
• Compass Rose: the club space will turn into Windstar’s popular Compass Rose, redesigned with all new contemporary furnishings, including rich new flooring finishes, plantation shutters, and comfortable chairs and bar stools designed for socializing. Live music can be found here nightly.
• Reception: this area will be refreshed with new paneling, light fixtures, and wall coverings. An additional desk for guests to consult with the destination manager and guest service manager will also be added.
• Star Bar: the outdoor deck bar will offer casual drinks during the day and a venue for star-gazing by night. The bar area will be expanded with teak decking, new stools, and lighting.
• Dining Venues: all restaurants will be transformed to embrace Windstar’s casual elegance, where guests are free to eat when, where, and with whom they please (no jackets or ties required). All dining experiences are complimentary.
• AmphorA: Windstar’s formal dining experience will be introduced as AmphorA Restaurant. The main dining room will be redesigned, featuring mirror panels with Murano glass, new soft lighting, wall coverings, and art work. The room will feature a new seating layout; setting the stage for Windstar’s signature dining experience featuring contemporary, international menus and fresh, local dishes.
• Veranda/Candles: the restaurant in the aft of the yacht will be an inviting buffet during the day, with plentiful outdoor seating highlighting Veranda’s new look – the perfect spot for breakfast and lunch alfresco. At night the venue will transform to Candles Grill, a favorite Windstar romantic experience where guests can dine with table service under the stars.
• Suites: all 106 suites will be renovated to showcase new furnishings, leather headboards, plush sofas and chairs, drapes, new lighting features, window coverings, plush carpeting, new art work, stylish bed cushions, and luxurious bed throws. The suites will feature a warm color palette that embraces comfort and relaxation.
• Destination Suites: the Owner’s Suites will now showcase different, unique Windstar destinations, such as the Bora Bora Suite. Guests can get a taste of one of the hidden harbors that Windstar sails to, all in the comfort of their suite.
• Life Onboard: Star Pride will highlight Windstar’s small ship advantage of sailing with fewer than 300 privileged guests. Life on board will showcase many of the experiences found on Windstar’s sailing fleet.
• Sail Away: guests will experience Sail Away from each port enjoying the enchanting music of 1492: Conquest of Paradise as the yacht cruises to the next day’s adventure.
• Deck Barbecue: the line’s signature Deck Barbecue gala will take place one night per voyage on the pool deck. The 5-star buffet offers an array of dishes from lobster to an Asian-style suckling pig, jerk marinated chicken and other specialties. Seafood paella is cooked right on deck giving guests a taste of the Spanish favorite with a local twist. After dining is complete, guests enjoy the ever-popular crew show.
• Open Bridge: Windstar will continue its Open Bridge experience, inviting guests to come into the Bridge when the yacht is at sea. Guests can talk with the Captain and officers on watch, view the navigational chart, and enjoy some of the best views on the yacht.
• Watersports Platform: the swim and sports platform located at the back of the yacht will be brought to life Windstar style. The platform offers a variety of water toys such as water skis, wakeboards, kayaks, paddleboards, and sailboats, guests can also enjoy the freedom of their own private yacht by swimming to and from the platform.
• Service: Windstar’s crew members are highly valued and famous for their pampering without pretense, offering service that is personal, anticipatory, and genuine.
• Luxury as You Like It®: Unlike many of the all-inclusive luxury brands, Windstar offers a choice of personal amenities. Shore excursions can be booked as a collection or by individual tour. Alcoholic beverages are available a la carte or through a beverage package, ensuring that guests aren’t paying for someone else’s bar bill. A variety of other amenities are available for guests to tailor their cruise as they choose.

• New Destinations: With only 212 guests, Star Pride’s size fits perfectly with Windstar’s small ship philosophy of exploring secluded coves and hidden harbors. Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler, Windstar’s itineraries offer an in-depth enrichment experience that includes local entertainment, authentic cuisine, and small group shore excursions. Without sailing masts, Star Pride will open up a world of new places.

• Europe: The Pride offers four unique new voyages in Europe, including Black Sea Tapestry, a 7-day cruise through the enigmatic, once hidden, wonders of the Black Sea. Guests can cruise the southernmost tip of the Aegean on Pride of the Aegean, a 9-day cruise from Athens to Istanbul. Riviera Enchantment discovers the glamour, and the excitement of the world's most famous yachting playgrounds on a 7-day voyage round trip from Rome. Star Pride will sail through the Corinth Canal, a first for Windstar, on the 9-day cruise, Venetian Passageways, from Athens to Venice. Additionally, in May 2014, the all-suite yacht will dock in Monte Carlo and feature an exclusive Grand Prix themed voyage.
• Arabia: Two of Star Pride’s voyages will offer the alluring ports of Arabia and India. Wonders of Arabia, an 18-day voyage from Athens, Greece to Dubai, UAE, showcases the Red Sea, the Nile, and the rose-colored ruins of Petra. Guests can enjoy everything from India’s colorful cities to the tranquil beauty of Thailand’s beaches on Pearls of the Indian Ocean, a 15-day voyage from Dubai, UAE to Singapore.
• Southeast Asia: Star Pride will cruise the exotic waters of Southeast Asia with three new voyages beginning in December 2014. Treasures of Southeast Asia, a 14-day voyage from Singapore to Hong Kong, visits the ancient trading city of Hoi An, My Son Sanctuary, Hue, and Halong Bay. Guests can visit Imperial Hue, ancient Hoi An, and amazing Ho Chi Minh City on Vietnam Unveiled, a 10-day voyage from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Hong Kong. Singapore & the Malay Peninsula voyage, a 10-day round trip cruise that explores Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, was recently recognized as one of the 10 Best New Cruise Itineraries for 2014 by Fodor’s Travel.

“The transformation of these small all suite yachts will redefine the idea of casual elegance in luxury cruising,” said Birkholz. “We are eagerly anticipating the May 5th inaugural voyage when Star Pride’s luxurious, modern, and stylish upgrades will be unveiled.”

Windstar will welcome the two additional yachts in April and May of 2015. Deployment and additional details will be announced in the coming months.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Launches New Shore Excursion Best Price Guarantee

MIAMI, Jan 15: Guests sailing on a Carnival cruise who book a shore excursion through the cruise line can be completely confident they are getting the best price and best value with the introduction of a new shore excursion best price guarantee. The only guarantee of its kind in the cruise industry, the program is now available fleetwide for all Carnival Cruise Lines shore tours on ships sailing from North America.

Under the best price guarantee, guests who find the same tour offered by another operator at a lower price than their booked excursion either before or during their cruise can complete a claim form to receive 110 percent of the difference in the form of a shipboard credit. The guarantee is available for excursions booked prior to or during a cruise. If guests pre-book an excursion, then find a comparable tour advertised online at a lower price, they can complete an online form up to seven days prior to the cruise to invoke the guarantee. Guests can also complete a form during the cruise either before or after their excursion has taken place. Claims are typically processed within 24-48 hours.

“Many of our repeat guests who have booked Carnival shore tours previously are already knowledgeable on the outstanding value our tours provide,” said Mico Cascais, vice president of tour operations for Carnival Cruise Lines. “However, our research indicates that many others, particularly first-time cruisers, are interested yet concerned as to whether or not they are getting the best deal. The best price guarantee program will assure our guests they are getting both the highest quality and the best value on all of our tours,” he added.

Guests who book their excursion through Carnival enjoy the convenience of having shore excursion tickets delivered to their stateroom, 24/7 access to shipboard staff to answer questions and obtain assistance, and an assurance that they will receive a refund or the excursion time will be adjusted as needed based on weather or other issues affecting a ship’s scheduled port of call visit. Additionally, ongoing communication between tour operators and shipboard staff ensures that the cruise line is aware and can make necessary changes to a ship’s departure time when a tour is running late or unexpected circumstances arise.

The online and onboard claim forms require guests to provide the name of the competitor offering the comparable tour, excursion name, where the tour was advertised and the duration, price and any items included in the tour such as lunch, drinks, transportation or admission fees. The best price guarantee is applicable to shore excursion matches on the same date as the tour purchased from Carnival.

For additional information on Carnival’s shore excursion best price guarantee, visit For general information on Carnival Cruise Lines, visit

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Princess Cruises Launches Its Most Extensive Marketing Campaign Ever

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 15: As the new year begins, Princess Cruises is launching a fresh advertising campaign to remind travelers that cruising can transform and enrich their lives, and set the line’s cruise vacations apart as an opportunity for passengers to “come back new.” The $20 million program will be the company’s most extensive ever, and marks a return to television and radio advertising for the brand, which has not taken to the airwaves for more than a decade.

The new campaign, which debuts today, is aimed at those consumers who the cruise line’s research has uncovered as “meaningful travelers”—those who value experiences over things, and desire enriching and transformative vacation experiences. The ads feature people cruising with Princess who experience memorable moments onboard while connecting with nature, cultures and loved ones in a different way, and “come back new.” The new TV spots will launch during the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards® Red Carpet Show airing on the CW network Jan 16.

Created by award-winning agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, the spots will air both online and on major television networks including CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox, plus many top cable networks and shows. They will be complemented by a series of dramatic print ads that evoke the enriching possibilities of Princess’ worldwide cruise destinations, which will appear in national and regional magazines. Radio and digital advertising will round out the campaign.

“This new campaign is an exciting opportunity for us to differentiate Princess Cruises in the minds of travelers,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “After extensive research, we identified a growing segment of people who want their vacations to transform them with new perspectives, new friendships and new stories. They are increasingly looking to discover new places, learn about other cultures, try new foods from the places they’re visiting, and gain inspiration from the world they don’t see every day. They want to ‘come back new,’ and our new campaign shows that Princess is the best cruise line to deliver this to them.”

The new television spots focus on personal experiences at sea, with beautiful photography to capture the idea that “a moment can transform you forever.” Ads take viewers along as a father lovingly carries his happily exhausted daughter along the Promenade Deck, creating a lifetime memory. Other ads show couples who discover the true value of time together, and how a wonderful day exploring Italy can inspire a surprising twist from the expected.

“Our new advertising theme really captures the essence of our brand promise to our passengers,” Swartz continued. “The ads were actually inspired by our passengers’ stories about how they return from their cruise vacation feeling rejuvenated and more closely connected with their loved ones, and with fresh perspectives stimulated by the beauty of the ocean, of the world and other cultures they visited, and their onboard experiences.”

The print ads explore a variety of cruise destinations, cultures and experiences that can lead passengers to “come back new.” Focusing initially on Alaska and Caribbean cruises, the ads capture the transformative moments of exploration. The ads will appear in a variety of outlets, including Travel & Leisure, Food and Wine, Sunset and National Geographic Traveler. Radio spots that continue the “come back new” theme will air in major markets around the U.S., including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, and Miami. The new ads and other campaign materials will roll out through the month of January.

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Princess Cruises Presents $600,000 in Donations to Veterans Charities

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 13: Princess Cruises raised $600,000 during the line’s “Cruising for a Cause” fundraising cruise for veterans this past November. The funds have been divided equally between Operation Homefront and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, with Alan Buckelew, former president and CEO of Princess Cruises and a Vietnam veteran, today presenting a $300,000 check to Jim Knotts, CEO of Operation Homefront. Buckelew previously presented a similar check to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

This special cruise offered passengers the opportunity to honor those who have served in the military as well as active duty military personnel. A number of special guests joined the voyage, including a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired senior officers from each military branch, an award-winning war correspondent; and other respected speakers. Veterans representing all conflicts participated in the cruise, which also featured special performers, celebrities, panel discussions and military-themed events.

“We were so honored to have hosted this cruise to support these organizations that are doing such vital work for our veterans,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “America’s veterans and their families face immeasurable challenges, and we’re pleased to be able to honor them as well as provide funds to those organizations that assist them.”

Funds were raised by matching a portion of each passenger’s cruise fare as well as other fundraising activities during the special sailing, which took place aboard Caribbean Princess.

About Operation Homefront: A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has met more than 750,000 needs of military families since its inception in 2002. Accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holding an "A" rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy, nationally, 95 percent of total donations to Operation Homefront go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to

About Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund: In 1982 the American people helped The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund complete an impossible mission to heal a nation and bring comfort and solace to a generation of veterans. Today, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is working to further this mission by building The Education Center at The Wall, the place on the National Mall where our heroes' stories will never be forgotten. Since the dedication of The Wall, VVMF has pursued a mission of preserving the legacy of The Wall, promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War. Learn more at, or call 866-990-WALL.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available  by visiting

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Un-Cruise Adventures Releases 2015 Deployment

Seattle, WA, Jan 13: Trip planning starts earlier this year with Un-Cruise Adventures’ release of its small ship adventure cruise schedule for Southeast Alaska in 2015. Seven vessels carrying 22-88 guests offer 115 total departures from April through September. Adventure activities, culture, history, wildlife and remote wilderness star on ten itineraries ranging from one to three weeks duration.

Alaska-bound travelers with popular Glacier Bay National Park on their wish list have more opportunities to experience the park on a small ship adventure in 2015. The line’s newly released 2015 deployment shows 87 out of 115 departures visit Glacier Bay for one or more days of in-depth exploration, most including off-boat adventures of hiking and kayaking.

“We’ve developed our itineraries based on years of experience sailing in remote areas of Alaska,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “You will see the beauty and awe inspiring, raw nature that makes Alaska a must-see, must-explore destination.”

Travelers may choose an Active, Luxury or Heritage Adventure. Active Adventures aboard expedition vessels—60-guest Wilderness Adventurer, 74-guest Wilderness Explorer, 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer—focus on adventure activities in remote wilderness. Luxury Adventures aboard yachts—22-guest Safari Quest, 36-guest Safari Explorer, 86-guest Safari Endeavour—include adventure activities along with upscale amenities and more inclusions on board. Heritage Adventures aboard the 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer, focus on living history with crew in period costume and sail port-to-port with shoreside tours included such as Skagway’s famed White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.

Enter the heyday of the Klondike Gold Rush on the S.S. Legacy sailing weeklong Alaska’s Golden History adventures between Ketchikan and Juneau, Alaska (and reverse). History comes alive through presentations and skits on board and included tours to points of historical interest. Ports visited include Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka and Skagway. Whales, wildlife and wilderness are highlighted on a full day spent inside Glacier Bay National Park along with a day’s exploration in Icy Strait and Chichagof Island.

A weeklong Discoverers’ Glacier Country itinerary roundtrip Juneau, Alaska spends two days inside Glacier Bay National Park and explores around Icy Strait, Chichagof Island, Baranof Island, Frederick Sound, Stephen’s Passage, Ford’s Terror and Endicott Arm. The Luxury Adventure cruise is offered on three upscale yachts—Safari Quest, Safari Explorer, Safari Endeavour. The inclusive cruise includes all premium wine, beer and spirits; a massage; transfers; taxes and fees; and all adventure activities from the yacht.

The popularity of the Northern Passages & Glacier Bay itinerary between Juneau and Sitka, Alaska (and reverse) spurred the line to add more departures for 36 total in 2015. Two days are spent inside Glacier Bay National Park. Other areas explored include Icy Strait, Chichagof Island, Baranof Island, Peril Strait and Sergius Narrows. The Active Adventure is available on the Wilderness Adventurer, Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Explorer.

The Inner Reaches Eastern Coves itinerary sails from Juneau to Ketchikan, Alaska and explores Tracy Arm Wilderness, Frederick Sound, Thomas Bay, a half-day port call in Wrangell, Behm Canal and Misty Fjords National Monument. The Active Adventure is offered on all three expedition vessels. Four departures are offered on Luxury Adventure yachts Safari Endeavour and Safari Explorer.

The Inner Reaches Western Coves itinerary sails from Ketchikan to Juneau, Alaska and explores El Capitan Passage and Cave, Chatham Strait, Frederick Sound, a half-day port call in Klawock, Stephen’s Passage, Endicott Arm, Ford’s Terror and Dawes Glacier. The Active Adventure is offered on two expedition vessels—Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Explorer.

With an increase in the number of travelers combining itineraries to create two or three week adventures, the line reorganized its schedule to make it more convenient. Travelers may now stay on board the Wilderness Explorer or Wilderness Discoverer for the duration and experience up to three different itineraries—Northern Passages & Glacier Bay, Eastern Coves, Western Coves—making an Ultimate or Ultra Adventure.

In spring and fall, a 12-night Famed Passages of Discovery itinerary sails between Seattle and Juneau (and reverse) on six departures. And an 11-night Gold Rush Legacy cruise sails from Seattle to Juneau (and reverse) aboard the S.S. Legacy.

Active and Luxury Adventures include adventure activities: kayaking, hiking, skiff excursions and paddle boarding. Heritage Adventures include shoreside tours. Fresh, innovative cuisine is served on all vessels. Select theme cruise dates are available for photography and marine biology interests. Kids in Nature departures cater to families with children younger than 13 years. Charters and group incentives are available. To For additional information, visit

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Norwegian Launches Ultimate Dining Package

MIAMI, Jan 13: Norwegian Cruise Line today introduced an all-new way for guests to have access to one of Norwegian’s specialty restaurants every night of their cruise. Called “Norwegian’s Ultimate Dining Package,” this new program provides the opportunity for guests to experience each of the line’s most popular specialty restaurants including Cagney’s, the line’s signature steakhouse; French bistro, Italian restaurant, Moderno Churrascaria, Asian-Fusion Restaurant and more*, at a special rate based on the length of the cruise. The package is currently available on all Norwegian ships fleet wide.

“We are excited to offer guests the Ultimate Dining Package, giving them the opportunity to experience each of our incredible specialty restaurants,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. “The Ultimate Dining Package truly captures the essence of Freestyle Cruising by allowing guests to dine in the specialty restaurant of their choice, every night of their cruise, at one very reasonable package price.”

The Ultimate Dining Package gives guests the opportunity to have a taste of something deliciously new every night of their cruise when they experience the array of specialty restaurants found on board Norwegian ships. Diners will delight in Norwegian’s signature steakhouse, featuring succulent grilled steaks, perfectly cooked double cut lamb chops and other delectable steakhouse favorites. Another one of Norwegian’s signature specialty restaurants is the French bistro, where guests will enjoy French favorites such as escargot, coq au vin and a spectacular vanilla crème brulee for dessert. Guests will also love dining in Norwegian’s traditional Italian restaurant, where they can feast on a variety of pastas, made-to-order specialty pizzas, and other Italian favorites such as chicken parmesan and osso bucco in a casual atmosphere. At Norwegian’s Asian Fusion restaurant, guests can experience the flavors of the far east including Japanese Teppanyaki, Chinese or Pan-Asian Cuisine. Meat lovers will delight in the opportunity to dine in Moderno Churrascaria, where unlimited servings of succulent Brazilian barbeque are served tableside by Norwegian’s own passadores.

Norwegian’s Ultimate Dining Package is available in tiers based on cruise length. On three to six day voyages, guests can dine anywhere throughout their cruise at a set price of $59 per person; for seven-day voyages, the package is $119 per person; $149 per person on eight to 10 day cruises; $199 per person for cruises of 10 to 15 days; $259 per person during cruises of 16 days to 25 days; $299 per person during cruises of 26 days to 35 days and $349 per person during cruises of 36 days to 45 days.

To take advantage of the Ultimate Dining Package, guests with a current cruise reservation can either pre-purchase the package by logging into their “myncl” account on For additional information, visit

* Package does not apply to Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian or a la carte priced restaurants such as the Sushi Bar, Noodle Bar, and Ocean Blue on the Waterfront. However, when dining in one of these venues, guests will receive a discount of 20% off their bill. Entertainment-based dining such as Cirque shows, Second City lunches, Nickelodeon Pajama Jam, Wine Lovers Lunch, Illusionarium, and Chef’s Table are also not included.

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Norwegian Epic to Homeport in Europe Year-Round in 2015

MIAMI, FL, Jan 13: Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that Norwegian Epic, the line’s award-winning ship, will home port year-round in Barcelona, Spain starting April 30, 2015. Norwegian Epic will be the largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship to ever home port in Europe year-round.

“We are excited to announce that our largest ship, Norwegian Epic, will homeport in Europe year-round in 2015,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Norwegian Epic’s innovative accommodations, world-class entertainment and plethora of dining options are the perfect complement to the European cruise market, one of the most sought-after cruise destinations in the world.”

Throughout 2015, Norwegian Epic will offer a variety of European itineraries offering guests the opportunity to experience why Norwegian was named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” six years in a row by the World Travel Awards. In addition, guests on board Norwegian Epic can experience the best of Freestyle Cruising®, which gives guests more choices in dining, accommodations, and world-class entertainment, in a relaxed atmosphere. Freestyle Cruising® also gives guests cruising through Europe the flexibility to stay ashore longer giving them more time to explore all that Europe has to offer.

While cruising throughout Europe, guests can experience the ship’s array of recreational activities from the expansive Aqua Park, featuring three waterslides and the largest bowl slide on water, the Epic Plunge, to the rappelling wall, rock climbing wall, bowling alley, and pampering Mandara Spa, one of the largest spas at sea.

Foodies cruising through Europe on board Norwegian Epic will delight in the ship’s 20 different dining options. Steak lovers can feast on steakhouse favorites, including Certified Angus Beef in Cagney’s, the line’s signature steakhouse. Moderno Churrascaria, Norwegian’s Brazilian-style steakhouse offers guests the opportunity to sample succulent grilled and slow-roasted meats carved tableside by passadors in addition to Moderno’s expansive salad bar. Norwegian Epic’s Chinese Noodle Bar offers counter seating around an open kitchen and serves traditional Chinese noodles, wok-fried dishes and dim sum. For American Favorites and comfort food, guests can take a seat in O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill. Additional dining options include Teppanyaki, a Japanese hibachi-style restaurant; Sushi Bar; Garden Café, the ship’s action station buffet-style restaurant; The Manhattan Room, an art deco inspired supper club; La Cucina, Norwegian’s home style Italian restaurant; Le Bistro, Norwegian’s signature French restaurant; and more. Norwegian Epic also boasts 20 unique bars and lounges, including the SVEDKA/Inniskillin Ice Bar, which was the first-ever true ice bar at sea.

When it comes to accommodations, Norwegian Epic offers a range of innovative accommodations options to suit every taste and budget. For guests looking for the ultimate in luxury, the ship features The Haven by Norwegian, Norwegian’s exclusive ship-within-a-ship suite complex comprised of 60 suites and villas on two private decks located on top of the ship. Norwegian Epic was the first ship to offer the award-winning Studio staterooms designed and priced exclusively for solo travelers, giving guests the opportunity to cruise solo throughout Europe. Plus, Norwegian Epic also offers a wide variety of comfortable balcony and inside stateroom options and family-friendly accommodations including multi-room Suites, interconnecting staterooms and two-bedroom Family Suites.

Norwegian Epic’s 2015 European Itineraries are scheduled to be announced mid-March.

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MTN & Norwegian Cruise Line Pioneer the Highest-Performing Satellite Modem
On a Cruise Ship

MIRAMAR, FL, Jan. 13: MTN Communications (MTN) announces its partner, Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian), is pioneering the new iDirect X7 high-performance satellite modem on its Norwegian Breakaway ship. MTN installed the X7 after a six-month test process in its Miramar, Fla. engineering lab. The modem has dramatically improved the efficiency and throughput of the vessel's communications system, enabling the most cutting-edge Internet service at sea.

"Norwegian strives to deliver an unparalleled connectivity experience to passengers and crew," said Vincent Cirel, senior vice president and CIO, Norwegian Cruise Line. "We are excited to partner with MTN to leverage the industry's newest technology. We were thrilled to be the testbed for the X7. It has performed extremely well and will be a cornerstone to support the insatiable demand for the high-throughput Internet, TV, voice and app services on our ships."

"MTN knew it could turn to Norwegian Cruise Line, an early technology adopter, for validation of X7 performance," said Dave Bettinger, CTO, iDirect. "This leading cruise operator drives some of the most demanding broadband requirements for ships at sea, pushing MTN's robust network to the limit. The X7 is the most advanced satellite modem we have ever developed. We were very excited to put it to the ultimate test--on a cruise ship with upwards of 6,000 passengers and crew, with thousands of mobile devices."

The X7 is a key component of MTN's strategy to transform communications at sea because it:

-- Enables dramatically more throughput, with speeds up to 100 Mbps
-- Delivers unprecedented availability and efficiency through advanced adaptive modulation techniques
-- Enhanced beam switching through faster network acquisition
-- Is optimized for MTN's high-throughput multi spotbeam (HTMS) satellite platform starting in 2015

"MTN has a proud history of partnering with industry trailblazers that challenge us to push the boundaries in maritime communications," said Kevin McCarthy, COO, MTN. "We are excited that Norwegian and iDirect have joined us in this quest. As our MTN Nexus(TM) next-generation hybrid communications ecosystem becomes a reality this year, the X7 will play a critical role. We will start deploying X7 modems on many vessels for partners, such as Norwegian, that share our passion for, and commitment to, transforming communications at sea."

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Meyer Werft Delivers Norwegian Breakaway

Bremerhaven, Germany, Jan 10: Today during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the 145,655 gross ton cruise ship Norwegian Getaway from MEYER WERFT after a building period of only 15 months. The ship, the second of two Breakaway Class ships, is being delivered just nine months after the launch of sister-ship Norwegian Breakaway. Following delivery today, the ship is sailing to Rotterdam for the start of inaugural festivities which will continue in Southampton before the ship departs for her transatlantic cruise to New York. The ship will be christened in Miami on February 7.

“The team at MEYER WERFT, along with our new build team, operations teams, and all of the ship’s officers and crew have done an amazing job on Norwegian Getaway and we are thrilled with how spectacular the ship looks,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Norwegian Breakaway revolutionized cruising with its Waterfront and strong connection to New York. Norwegian Getaway will do the same as Miami’s ultimate ship, offering the only way to cruise the Caribbean from Miami with a plethora of incredible features.”

“We are more than thrilled to deliver the second Breakaway class vessel to Norwegian Cruise Line ahead of her original schedule,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner with MEYER WERFT. “Norwegian Getaway is the newest and most advanced cruise vessel on the seas and we are proud of the team that worked diligently to design and build her.”

The latest engine technology, the pod drive system, improved hydrodynamics as well as effective energy saving, heat recovery and ballast water treatment guarantee an ecological cruise experience at significantly reduced operating costs.

Norwegian Getaway
Norwegian Getaway is Miami’s ultimate ship and embodies the essence of her tropical hometown with hull artwork by Miami’s own David “LEBO” Le Batard, which features a whimsical mermaid holding the sun above the waves.

Featuring groundbreaking entertainment, the ship is the first to feature the GRAMMY® Experience at Sea, which will include artifacts chosen and curated by the GRAMMY Museum® along with live performances by past GRAMMY winners and nominees, among others. Another first of its kind at sea, The Illusionarium is an all-new dining and entertainment experience that will envelop guests in the fascinating world of magic, inviting them to experience the astonishing illusions of world-class magicians and supernatural special effects. In addition, Norwegian Getaway boasts sizzling Latin-inspired dance productions by Broadway sensation, Burn the Floor; performances of the seven-time Tony Award nominated musical LEGALLY BLONDE; hilarious comedy headliners produced by Levity Entertainment Group; and the sing along fun of the dueling pianos of Howl at the Moon. To cap off a spectacular cruise experience, every sailing will feature a dazzling fireworks show at sea, set to music, as part of a dance party in the ship’s outdoor club, Spice H20.

Similar to sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway dazzles guests with the excitement of 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront, a variety of interconnected indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that creates a multiplex of dining, activities and more, and enhances guests’ connection with the ocean. Norwegian Getaway also features Miami’s coolest place to chill out – the ship’s SVEDKA/Inniskillin Ice Bar, featuring Art Deco-style décor, reminiscent of Miami Beach’s famous Ocean Drive.

Foodies setting sail from Miami on Norwegian Getaway can feast in their choice of 27 incredible dining options, including Celebrity Chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian’s three dining concepts: Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian; Ocean Blue on the Waterfront and The Raw Bar. Buddy Valastro, star of the popular TLC series “Cake Boss” also has an outpost of his famous Carlo’s Bakery onboard, serving up delicious treats like cannolis, lobster tails and specialty cakes.

For families, Nickelodeon®, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, is on board and includes a variety of exciting interactive experiences, along with the opportunity to meet SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, Dora the Explorer and Diego, among other favorites. Norwegian Getaway also includes an all new pirate-themed Nickelodeon Kids’ Aqua Park where children can cool off with colorful, whimsical and larger than life Nickelodeon characters from Bikini Bottom.

The three-story Sports Complex features the Aqua Park with five thrilling water slides, two swimming pools and one of the largest multi-level elevated ropes course that challenge guests to more than 40 different elements, including a zip track. For a thrill like no other, guests can confront The Plank, a platform that extends eight feet over the side of the ship. A nine-hole miniature golf course is located beneath the ropes course, offering family fun with friendly competition. A rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline and spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage complete with a spiral slide, round out the activities.

Norwegian Getaway offers a variety of flexible accommodations ranging from Studio staterooms specially designed for solo travelers, to balcony and family staterooms and opulent suites in The Haven, the ultimate in luxury accommodations. For further information, visit

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Silversea Launches New Documentation Package

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 9: Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises today announced the launch of its new Travel Journal. As part of the company's 20th anniversary celebration in 2014, Silversea has given its documentation package a complete makeover, with the goal of making travel easier. The result is a versatile new Travel Journal that consolidates the traditional assortment of loose documents of booklets, wallets, and luggage tag holders.

For most voyages in 2014, guests will receive this convenient new all-in-one Travel Journal that contains the cruise ticket, air, hotel and/or land program information (if arranged through Silversea), personalized voyage itinerary, shore excursion details and other useful information. The new Travel Journal will be rolled out in stages during the first few months of 2014, and some guests may receive the line's previous documentation package during the transitional phase.

"Our elegant new Travel Journal is unique to each guest and provides all the essential information needed for the voyage, all in one convenient place," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president of sales and general manager for North America. "And, it's a beautiful keepsake of what we are sure will be a remarkable travel experience."

For more information on Silversea Cruises, visit

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Azamara Club Cruises Raises A Toast To The Golden State

MIAMI, Jan. 9: Azamara Club Cruises is doing what it does best and immersing guests on its Coastal California Voyage in the world-famous wine region of California. Sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles, February 10, 2014, Azamara Quest will hug the California coast calling on picturesque favorites such as Monterey and Santa Barbara, before making a grand entrance into San Francisco by sailing under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco will serve as the region’s gateway to renowned winemakers and delectable cuisine when Azamara Quest remains for three full days to offer guests ample time to visit favorite vineyards or discover new ones through exclusive opportunities.

“The breadth of programs aboard Azamara’s California coastal voyage is representative of the culturally and destination-immersive experiences that our guests enjoy on every voyage,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “We’ve created a range of onboard and shoreside programs that will delight oenophiles and enrich their appreciation of the region’s vineyards. Our ships stay longer and overnight more in ports to offer guests the opportunity to also join in the vibrant nightlife of these wonderful Californian destinations.”

Onboard, guests can join in enrichment lectures presented by experts and representatives from area-vineyards Cline Cellars, Grgich Hills Estate, Trinchero Napa Valley, Wente Vineyards, HALL Wines, WALT Wines and Rocca Family Vineyards. Guest also can sign up for onboard wine tasting seminars and more intimate, hosted dinners and Chef’s Tables for six to 12 guests.

Azamara's signature AzAmazing Evenings event, the exclusive, complimentary evening for all guests will be held at the historic Inglenook Winery in Napa Valley on Feb. 13. Owned by Francis Ford Coppola, the beautiful 19th century estate will be open exclusively to Azamara guests that evening for a rare wine tasting complemented by canapés, cheeses, desserts and live music. Guests will be invited to explore the wine caves, barrel room and historic photos on two floors of the old mansion.

Additional excursions include a Wine Maker Farm-to-Table Valentine’s Dinner; guests opting for this Land Discoveries shore excursion, will be whisked away to Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley, for an intimate wine country dinner hosted by their winemaker. Enjoy a custom designed menu prepared by a top private Napa Valley chef, who sources ingredients from the best local purveyors, to complement their portfolio of wines. Guests who are looking for something more in-depth can choose the You Can Be a Winemaker Land Discoveries shore excursion, where guests visit Trinchero Napa Valley’s luxury winery, tucked into the northern foothills of the breathtaking St. Helena appellation of Napa Valley and join distinguished Winemaker Mario Monticelli for a rare opportunity to BYOB, Build Your Own Bordeaux-style blend.

Azamara Club Cruises offers distinct destination-immersive experiences for up-market travelers. The cruise line uniquely features voyages with longer stays and more overnights at ports to provide guests the opportunity to experience night touring at some of the most compelling destinations of Europe, Asia, South America, West Indies, as well as Central and North America. On board the intimate Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, guests receive exceptional and personal service and the cruise line’s authentic, exclusive and bespoke AzAmazing Evenings events that showcase the unexpected colors and flavors of a destination. Guests also enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world, as well as more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary boutique wines, international beers and select standard spirits in the ships’ bars, lounges and restaurants when open; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available. For more information, visit

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Grammy® Award Winner Nestor Torres to Headline the First
Grammy Experience at Sea on Norwegian Getaway

MIAMI, Jan 9: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Latin GRAMMY® Award winner Nestor Torres will headline Norwegian Getaway’s GRAMMY® Experience at Sea. Torres is the first artist to join Norwegian’s newest ship as part of the line’s partnership with The Recording Academy® that named the line “Official Cruise Line Partner of the GRAMMY Awards®.”

Nestor Torres is an exceptionally talented flautist who is equally fluent in Jazz, Classical and Latin musical genres. Throughout his more than 25-year-long career, Torres’ fluid versatility has truly set him apart. He has 14 albums to his credit, has been nominated for a GRAMMY and four Latin GRAMMYs, and received a Latin GRAMMY at the 2nd Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2001 for his album entitled ‘This Side of Paradise.’

“We are honored to welcome Nestor Torres on board Miami’s Ultimate Ship,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Chief Executive Officer. “Norwegian Getaway’s GRAMMY Experience is truly one of a kind and with performances by top-notch musicians, such as Nestor Torres, the experience in this exciting new venue propels the entertainment offerings on Norwegian Getaway to a whole new level.”

“It is really exciting to be the pioneer of such a historic venture,” said Torres. “As an artist with strong Miami roots, I am very proud to have the opportunity to perform on board Miami’s Ultimate Ship.”

Throughout his career, Torres has conducted notable solo performances in a variety of world-renowned orchestras, including the Cleveland, Singapore and the New World Symphonies. In addition to his successful solo career, Torres has also performed and recorded with other well-known musicians including: Ricky Martin, Tito Puente, Herbie Hancock, Gloria Estefan, Kenny Loggins and Dave Mathews.

Born in Puerto Rico, Torres studied at Mannes School of Music in New York City and at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. It was during his time in New York City that Torres learned to improvise in a style of Cuban Dance music known as ‘Charanga,’ which helped to shape and develop his melodic and danceable sound. Guests on board Norwegian Getaway will have the opportunity to experience Charanga, Jazz and Pop Music during his performances.

Nestor Torres will perform onboard Norwegian Getaway during the ship’s inaugural festivities and for the first Eastern Caribbean sailing from Miami on Feb 8, 2014. He will perform each evening in The GRAMMY Experience venue located on deck eight. In addition to Torres’ live performances, guests will also enjoy viewing a variety of music memorabilia chosen and curated by the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.

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MSC Cruises Extends Employee Pricing Offer

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan. 8: Due to popular demand, MSC Cruises' special Employee Pricing offer has been extended for booking through January 31, 2014. MSC's Employee Pricing offers guests a chance to choose from several exclusive 7-night Caribbean sailings at very special savings on MSC Divina, the newest ship to sail from PortMiami.

April 12, 2014 - Ports include Falmouth, Jamaica, Georgetown, Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Mexico and the private island of Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.
April 19, 2014 - Ports include Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Road Town in Tortola, and the private island of Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.
April 26, 2014 - Visit ports of Falmouth, Jamaica, Georgetown, Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Mexico, and private island of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
May 3, 2014 - Ports of call include Philipsburg, St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

MSC Divina guests experience a slew of exciting features unique to North American cruising. Two dining venues were created in partnership with Italian restaurant emporium Eataly. On board, upscale Ristorante Italia and spectacular regional steakhouse, Eataly Steakhouse, fashioned after the famed restaurant in Eataly's Manhattan location, are now available to MSC Divina guests. MSC Divina is also the first ship to offer Aqua Cycling at sea. Reported as this summer's latest fitness craze by Extra TV and highlighted on Good Morning America, New York Times and Time Magazine, among other media, Aqua Cycling allows MSC Divinaguests to take spinning to new heights while cruising the Caribbean. Also unique to the ship, is the popular Formula 1 simulator, 4-D Cinema, Infinity Pool and new Segafredo Coffee Bar.

Bookings must be made by Jan. 31, 2014 in order to qualify for this promotion. Rates are USD, per person, double occupancy, and cruise-only valid for new retail bookings for U.S. and Canadian residents. Government fees and taxes are additional for all sailing guests. MSC Club discount is applicable. Ask for "Employee Pricing" when booking. For more information about MSC Divina's first season in the US and its exciting special offers, visit

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Holland America Line Announces Guest Competitors On The Upcoming
'Dancing With The Stars: At Sea' Champions Cruise

SEATTLE, Jan. 8: Holland America Line has announced the 15 winning guest finalists who will compete on the "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" Champions Cruise Jan. 12, 2014, aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam. Each winner will represent one of the 15 ships in the Holland America Line fleet and was selected as the winning guest with the highest overall score from the onboard "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" dance competitions that were held onboard throughout the past year.

The 15 guests and their professional shipboard dance partners will perform and compete in the main show lounge for guests, as well as the 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's "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Mirror Ball Trophy" and title of Holland America Line's first "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" Champion.

"These guests wowed our guests and judges to win the dance competitions on their respective cruises this year, and we're excited to see the best of the best compete to become Holland America Line's first 'Dancing with the Stars: At Sea' champion," said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line's executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs. "Our 'Dancing with the Stars: At Sea' programming has been wildly popular and a highlight of our cruises, and the Champions Cruise is an exciting way to celebrate our first year of the program."

The winning guest competitors from throughout the year who will compete on the "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" Champions Cruise on Jan. 12, 2014 are:

-- Todd Greenquist of Scarborough, Maine, representing ms Amsterdam.
-- Austin Tran of San Jose, Calif., representing ms Eurodam.
-- Dorothy Hobart of East Amherst, N.Y., representing ms Maasdam.
-- Randy Estoesta of San Luis Obispo, Calif., representing ms Nieuw Amsterdam.
-- Kristin Capaldo of Cumberland, R.I., representing ms Noordam.
-- Jose Javier Omar Angeles of Frisco, Texas, representing ms Oosterdam.
-- Julie Hurt of Chicago, Ill., representing ms Prinsendam.
-- Charles Simonds of San Rafael, Calif., representing ms Rotterdam.
-- Jennifer Scott of Boca Raton, Fla., representing ms Ryndam.
-- Daniel Honig of Philadelphia, Penn., representing ms Statendam.
-- Trudy Morris of New Orleans, La., representing ms Veendam.
-- Joyce Dolan of Indian Shores, Fla., representing ms Volendam.
-- Allyse Ishino of Santa Ana, Calif., representing ms Westerdam.
-- Agnes Roux of Las Vegas, Nev., representing ms Zaandam.
-- Mimi Chan of Orlando, Fla., representing ms Zuiderdam.

Joining the Champions Cruise to perform in a special production show are Emmy Award-winner and five-time "Dancing with the Stars" champion Derek Hough, two-time winner Kym Johnson, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater and Tristan MacManus. Celebrities set to perform include actress Sabrina Bryan, singer Joey Fatone and television personality Carson Kressley.

The "Dancing with the Stars" talent will dazzle the audience with dance numbers from the television series performed in the main show lounge. Additional events on the cruise include a special fashion show featuring the glamorous show costumes and a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities, ask questions and take photos with them. The Jan. 12 Champions Cruise visits the western Caribbean with calls at Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private island; George Town, Grand Cayman, and Key West, Fla.

Holland America Line has extended its partnership with "Dancing with the Stars," and will feature the shipboard program through the 2014 sailing season, culminating with a Champions Cruise guest dance-off competition on the Dec. 6, 2014, Caribbean sailing of ms Westerdam. The 2014 schedule will also continue to feature "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" programming on every cruise throughout the year, in addition to six special "Dancing with the Stars" theme cruises featuring the show's professional dancers and celebrities. Currently scheduled to sail on all six theme cruises in 2014 are professional dancers Tristan MacManus and Kym Johnson and television personality Carson Kressley and actress Sabrina Bryan.

For more information about the "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" theme cruises, visit

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Happy New Year...2015! Prime Hong Kong Berth Puts Crystal Cruises Front-Row
For Next Eve Spectacle

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7: Before the bubbles have settled in this year's champagne glasses, Crystal Cruises has set party plans to spend next New Year's Eve in Hong Kong, home of one of the most spectacular Eve bashes on the planet. From Dec 30 through Jan 1, Crystal Symphony will be docked at Ocean Terminal in Kowloon for a bird's eye view of the famously elaborate countdown celebration and musical pyrotechnics display in Victoria Harbour. The prime spot also provides the perfect vantage point for viewing the massive skyscrapers specially illuminated for the holidays and the nightly Symphony of Lights, the largest permanent light show in the world.

"This is a 'bucket list' opportunity for guests to enjoy a truly over-the-top New Year's, in one of the world's grandest ports, steeped in exotic traditions and history, while surrounded by the comfort of Crystal's ultra-luxury handling," says John Stoll, vice president of land programs. "For anyone whose New Year's resolution includes traveling more, this entire itinerary is a great way to commit."

The "China Sea Holiday Spectacular" Asia cruise boasts several holiday celebrations. Christmas and Hanukkah will be celebrated with traditional feasts, parties, holiday shows, and religious services amidst Crystal's lavish seasonal decor. On New Year's Eve, besides taking in Hong Kong's holiday festivities in luxurious comfort on board, Crystal guests can also enjoy a multi-course gourmet dinner, champagne, live music, and a festive balloon drop.

The 15-day holiday voyage begins Dec 21 and sails to Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City (overnight), Chan May, through Halong Bay, and on to Hanoi's port of Hongai, and Hong Kong (two nights), conveniently round-trip from Bangkok's port of Laem Chebang. All-inclusive fares offer $600/person air allowance if booked by Feb 28. For more information, visit

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A Decade of Excellence: Queen Mary 2 Celebrates Her First Ten Years

January: Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 will celebrate her first ten years of service in 2014. Since her spectacular naming by Her Majesty The Queen on 8 January 2004, Queen Mary 2 has undertaken a total of 419 voyages, including over 200 Transatlantic Crossings, and has called at 182 ports in 60 countries.

"Since entering service in 2004, Queen Mary 2 has reigned supreme on the Atlantic and around the world, proudly carrying more than a million guests,” said David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line. “She has attracted awards, accolades and admiration as the greatest ocean liner ever built for a decade now and we intend to mark her first ten years of service in style.”

Since becoming Cunard flagship on completion of her maiden Transatlantic Crossing in May 2004, Queen Mary 2 has remained unchallenged as the world’s largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built and the most famous and fastest passenger ship in operation today. At 1,132 feet in length, if stood on her stern, Queen Mary 2 would be taller than New York’s Empire State Building and more than three times the height of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Her 151,400 gross tonnage is the equivalent of nearly 19,000 London buses, and she boasts over four times as many rooms as the Dorchester Hotel. She took a million hours to design and eight million hours to build, and the 1,000 miles of welding that holds this amazing liner together would stretch from London to Moscow.

In her first ten years of service, Queen Mary 2 has sailed the equivalent of three times to the moon and back, carrying more than 1.3 million guests, enough to fill Westminster Abbey 651 times. In addition, more than 2,000 dogs have travelled on Queen Mary 2, five times as many as in the UK’s famous Battersea Dogs Home.

Looking after the guests on board Queen Mary 2 is what Cunard does best, and over the past decade the crew have served over 58 million meals, sufficient to feed the combined population of Hong Kong, Sydney, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and Dubai for an entire weekend. The 21.9 million cups of tea served on board to date would fill an Olympic swimming pool three times over. If the 2.7 million scones baked on board were stacked on top of each other, they’d reach 80 miles in height. Cunard’s passengers have enjoyed almost 8,000 guest lectures, the equivalent of nearly a year’s continuous radio broadcast. And they love to celebrate on board, too: the one and a quarter million bottles of champagne consumed since Queen Mary 2’s launch would be enough to fill 200 world-record-breaking 23-foot-high champagne waterfalls.

Queen Mary 2 will depart on her tenth World Cruise on 10 Jan 2014 when she and Queen Elizabeth sail together from Southampton after a fusillade of celebratory fireworks. The major 10th Anniversary celebrations will begin on 9 May 2014 when all three ships of the Cunard fleet will arrive together in their homeport of Southampton and sister ships Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will salute the flagship’s first ten years. The day will feature special sail-pasts, a celebratory lunch and a spectacular send-off of fireworks as all three ships set sail together from Southampton that evening, with Queen Mary 2 leading the way. Further details about the day’s events planned will be forthcoming soon.

That day, 9 May 2014, Queen Mary 2 will set out on the first of two special commemorative Crossings to and then from New York that underline her role as the only passenger ship in the world maintaining a scheduled service across the Atlantic, something a Cunard ship has done since 1840.

Taking part in Cunard’s acclaimed Insights speaker program during the 9 May 2014 Crossing to New York will be two special speakers: Commodore Ron Warwick, who holds the distinction of being the first Master of Queen Mary 2, and Stephen Payne OBE, who was largely responsible for the overall design of the ship. In their separate talks, they will present fascinating insights into the operation and construction of the world’s grandest ocean liner. Both Commodore Warwick and Payne will be guests of honor at a gala evening on board which will include a commemorative dinner with a special menu. In addition, vocalist/tenor Ben Makisi (billed as “The Voice of the South Pacific”), magician Philip Hitchcock and violin duo “Elektra” will thrill passengers on board for the Crossing. Both the Commodore and Stephen Payne will sail from New York to Southampton with Queen Mary 2 on the 16 May 2014 Crossing, and will be joined by comedian Roy Walker as part of the entertainment line-up.

For more information, visit

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Penn National Gaming & Carnival Cruise Lines Form Strategic Alliance

MIAMI, FL & WYOMISSING, PA, Jan 7: Penn National Gaming, Inc, one of North America’s largest casino operators, and Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s most popular cruise line, and a brand of Carnival Corporation, announced today that they have formed an alliance to offer an array of cruise benefits to players’ club members at 18 Penn National-operated casinos in the United States. Beginning in mid-April, guests of Penn National’s casinos will be eligible to receive complimentary Caribbean and Mexican cruises or other cruise offers and discounts throughout the year aboard Carnival’s 24 ships based on their level of play.

“With more than 1,500 cruises annually and a dozen year-round North American embarkation ports, Carnival gives our casinos an exciting new opportunity to thank and reward players’ club members for their loyalty,” said Gaye Gullo, corporate vice president of marketing, Penn National Gaming. “In the near future, we will extend cruise benefits and promotions to virtually all our reward card holders, so they can choose from dozens of exciting ports of call.”

Carnival destinations include beautiful ports throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, and other destinations.

“We are excited to partner with Penn National Gaming, one of the elite gaming organizations in the world. Penn National players will not only experience the best casino operation at sea, but we also look forward to providing the amenities, accommodations and service they have come to expect as loyal Penn National players,” said Marty Goldman, Carnival’s senior vice president of casino operations.

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Book Soon & Save on SeaDream Yacht Club's Summer 2014 Voyages in Northern Europe

MIAMI, Jan 7: There is no better way to explore the rich history, beautiful landscapes and breathtaking waterways of Northern Europe than on a SeaDream Yacht Club mega-yacht. Defined by its intimate atmosphere, award-winning dining and 1:1 crew to guest ratio, SeaDream I will be sailing the secluded ports of Northern Europe for the summer 2014 season. Voyages will include overnights in harbors along the Baltic coast and throughout the Norwegian fjords, and values on these incredible itineraries have never been better.

“Our past guests are enthused to spend part of their summer in Northern Europe as we explore the region with intimate style only available on a mega-yacht,” shares President Bob Lepisto. “We are also seeing many travelers that have cruised this region opting to yacht through the Baltic for a completely new perspective.”

SeaDream will offer guests a perfect chance to experience this region from June through August 2014 on seven to 14-day voyages. Starting the season from Hamburg, Germany on May 31, 2014, SeaDream I will embark on a journey through the Kiel Canal, calling on the metropolises of Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg, Russia, where multiple-night stays allow guests to explore highlights like the world-famous Hermitage museum, or the renowned Jacobson Ballet School.

In contrast, SeaDream I is able to dock in locations the larger ships cannot reach. This means that the quaint, charming islands of Saaremaa in Estonia and Finland’s Aland archipelago (made up of some 6,000 remote isles) are also destination highlights during the voyages. Additional voyage highlights include:

· An itinerary featuring three overnights in St. Petersburg, Russia. Land adventures during the stay include a special private opening of the Hermitage museum and a visit to the palace at Peterhof, known as the Versailles of Russia. Enthralling tours of the Neva River and its canals allow an incredible vantage point from which to view St. Petersburg’s renowned architecture.
· Overnights in Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord, Norway. Exploring the majestic Norwegian Fjords up close, visiting hidden coves accessible only by small craft or mega-yacht. Outdoor activities including paddling through fjords in kayaks directly launched from the SeaDream I marina. Guests can also use the yacht’s fleet of mountain bikes or hike trails on secluded and sparsely populated islands in the region.
· Exclusive complimentary land excursion in Oslo to Hadeland Glassworks factory, owned by SeaDream Founder Mr. Atle Brynestad.

SeaDream I will be sailing a series of voyages in Northern Europe starting May 31 through August 2014. Itineraries include Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. For inquiries, contact a travel professional or SeaDream Yacht Club at 1-800-707-4911 or visit

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Legends in Concert Celebrates Its 1000th Performance Aboard Norwegian Epic

MIAMI, Jan 7: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that the team on board Norwegian Epic had another reason to celebrate on Friday, Jan 3, 2014 when the ship’s famed performance group, Legends in Concert, performed their 1000th show on board. The momentous occasion was marked with an exciting performance by Legends’ entire cast, ensemble and crew featuring tribute artists: Steven Tyler, Katy Perry and Elvis Presley. Following the performance, the cast was presented with a special congratulatory cake made by the ship’s Executive Chef Denton Laing. In addition, Norwegian and Legends in Concert announced that the renowned celebrity tribute production stage show will continue to perform their show onboard and delight guests through 2015.

A staple on the Las Vegas strip for more than 30 years, Legends in Concert is known as the pioneer of live tribute shows and has assembled the greatest collection of live tribute artists and celebrity look-alikes in show business. Legends in Concert debuted for the first time at sea in June 2010 on board Norwegian Epic and the production continues to be a popular onboard favorite, playing six performances each week in the ship’s Epic Theater. Legendary tribute artists who have performed on board Norwegian Epic over the past three years include the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Adele, Jimmy Buffet, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and many more.

“We are thrilled to congratulate Legends in Concert on this incredible milestone,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "Legends in Concert has helped Norwegian Epic take cruise ship entertainment to an entirely new level, as guests of all ages love watching performances by these extremely talented tribute artists."

“We are delighted our cast and production have put smiles on the faces of more than half a million of Norwegian Epic’s guests since 2010,” said Brian Brigner, Chief Operating Officer for Legends in Concert. “Our partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line has been wonderful and we are very pleased to continue entertaining Norwegian Epic’s guests with our incredible tribute artists.”

Legends in Concert shows aboard Norwegian Epic feature three celebrity tribute performers taking the stage in the Epic Theater for six 45-minute shows over three days during every seven-day cruise. In addition, several band and ensemble cast members from the Legends’ production deliver “Duets”, a cabaret-style show that is performed on three additional nights each cruise in the Manhattan Room, the ship's New York-inspired supper club, providing an unprecedented dining and entertainment experience. The celebrity performers change every six months to keep the show fresh and exciting.

Norwegian Epic is currently sailing seven day Eastern Caribbean cruises from Miami, Florida. Ports of call on this tropical itinerary include St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Nassau Bahamas. Starting Feb 2, 2014, Norwegian Epic will set sail to the Western Caribbean on seven-day cruises visiting ports of call including Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico. Beginning in May and throughout the summer, Norwegian Epic will be sailing in the Mediterranean.

To experience Legends in Concert on board Norwegian Epic and to make a new cruise reservation, visit

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Carnival Cruise Lines Introduces Guests to Ocean Potion Sunscreen

Ocean Potion® sunscreen will set sail, literally, for the first time ever when it partners in early 2014 with Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator. Beach-tested and approved Ocean Potion is made in the USA by Cocoa, Florida-based Sun & Skin Care Research, LLC (SSCR). The experiential marketing partnership represents the first time Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines joins forces with a sun care company to create an onboard promotional experience with a branded sunscreen.

Onboard promotions and activities will include fun, playful sun care-related messaging and will amp up the excitement around the already spirited Carnival guests through sponsored deck activities, all while boosting awareness of the Ocean Potion brand. The new partnership will include the following components:

Sun-Lovers’ Trivia—Fun messages on the Seaside Theatre poolside LED screens on sea days, as well as Ocean Potion samples available at nearby towel huts.
Carnival entertainment staff will engage with guests as they are enjoying “Your Fun Moments in the Sun,” with photos showcased on the Seaside Theater screen leading up to the Ocean Potion-sponsored deck activity, the “Don’t Fry. Reapply!” sunscreen break.
A fun and engaging entertainment activity at select ports that will build on Ocean Potion’s legacy of sandcastle-building beach events which are designed as fun for the whole family.
Guest giveaways, including co-branded T-shirts, carry-alls, and can “koozies.”
Samples of Ocean Potion’s popular SPF 30 general protection sunscreen will be distributed to guests as they head into port as well as at Carnival outdoor decks via towel huts at the main pool areas—the most relevant spaces—since the sun’s rays are amplified by water, making superior sun protection all the more important.

Four Carnival ships will participate in the initial promotion: Carnival Breeze from Miami; Carnival Liberty from Miami and Port Canaveral; Carnival Sunshine from New Orleans and Port Canaveral; and Carnival Triumph from Galveston. The promotion will kick off aboard Carnival Breeze January 12, 2014. Guests will try Ocean Potion at onboard sampling stations via gallon pump containers and more than 90,000 individual samples of Ocean Potion will be distributed on the four Carnival ships.

Since its creation, the Ocean Potion line has pioneered ingredient innovation and new product innovations will be announced in 2014. In a happy bit of synchronicity for a product that is taking to the seas, sea botanicals are key Ocean Potion ingredients, as are antioxidants that replenish skin depleted by a day in the sun. Ocean Potion products incorporate broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, from SPF 15 to 70.

Non-greasy, rapidly absorbed, and with a great orange-cream fragrance, Ocean Potion is fortified with Vitamin D3—indispensable for skin health and a youthful appearance. The skin, the body’s largest organ, is the last organ to absorb Vitamin D from food or supplements. Applied topically, however, Vitamin D3 delivers benefits directly to the skin. Notably, the brand is among those products expressly recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for “safe and effective sun protection.”

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