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Cruise News
February 1-28, 2015

Click the following headline links to the cruise news stories below...

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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

SeaDream Yacht Club’s 2015 Season: Eastern Mediterranean Highlights

MIAMI, Feb 27: SeaDream Yacht Club’s 2015 season will highlight exclusive voyages to the secluded ports and harbors of the Eastern Mediterranean, ideal for travelers who wish to explore some of the world’s most sought-after destinations. SeaDream’s award-winning luxury mega-yachts will arrive in the Mediterranean in May and features 40+ itineraries. Sailings in the Eastern Mediterranean will transport guests to the beautiful ports of Istanbul, Athens, Mykonos and Santorini to name a few.

“Our 2015 Mediterranean season is unique in that we are giving our guests who have the desire to explore beyond the major stops the opportunity to discover smaller ports and harbors,” shares Bob Lepisto, president of SeaDream Yacht Club. “The ability to visit 16 different ports in Greece is what sets SeaDream I and SeaDream II apart.”

SeaDream Yacht Club’s 2015 Eastern Mediterranean sailing highlights:

• Istanbul to Athens (Piraeus) departs May 21-May 30, 2015. Ports include Istanbul, Kepez (Troy & Gallipoli), Kusadasi (Ephesus) and Bodrum, Turkey; Patmos, Rhodes Town, Santorini, Mykonos, Hydra and Athens, Greece.
• Athens (Piraeus) to Athens (Piraeus) departs July 11-July 18, 2015. Greek Ports include Athens, Hydra, Santorini, Parikia (Paros), Patmos, Sifnos Island and Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey.
• Istanbul to Venice departs Sept. 11-Sept. 23, 2015. Ports include Istanbul, Kepez (Troy & Gallipoli) and Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Mykonos, Santorini, Itea (Delphi), and Parga, Greece; Dubrovnik, Hvar, Sibenik, and Rovinj, Croatia; and Venice, Italy.

Another highlight for the 2015 season will be an exclusive 7-day President’s Voyage on SeaDream I visiting Turkey and Greece. Departing Istanbul on Aug. 29th, guests will explore the ports of Kepez (Troy and Gallipoli), Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; and Patmos Island, Paros Island, Mykonos Island and Hydra Island, Greece. Club members will save $500 per stateroom off voyage fare and may join SeaDream President Bob Lepisto for an exclusive evening cocktail and classical concert at the stunning archaeological site of Ephesus in Turkey.

Guests will have no shortage of activity aboard the mega-yachts. The SeaDream Spa boasts the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea and both mega-yachts are equipped with wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and many other watersports activities, all of which can be launched directly from the yachts’ Marina. For additional information, visit

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Jazzfest at Sea Announces its 2015 Lineup

Casselberry, FL, Feb 25: The 12th Annual JazzFest at Sea will be taking place onboard the MSC Divina departing Miami to the Southern Caribbean on Nov 11, 2015 for 10 nights. The cruise presents Classic Jazz, Chicago Jazz, Traditional Jazz and other jazz styles which emerged during the first half of the 20th century.

This year’s lineup features some of the legends of the jazz world including Houston Person, Bucky Pizzarelli, Warren Vaché and Butch Miles. Other greats include Allan Vaché, Paul Keller, John Cocuzzi, John Allred, Mike Pittsley, Kristy Cocuzzi, Randy Reinhart, Bob Leary, Danny Coots, Jeff Phillips and Charlie Silva. Vocalists include Banu Gibson and Yve Evans. A swinging jazz singer, Banu is one of the few vocalists of her generation to maintain exclusive loyalty to songs of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. Yve, a crowd-pleasing performer who radiates energy, has a heavenly soft voice that is reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter all rolled into one.

JazzFest at Sea, one of the leading jazz cruises for ‘20’s–‘40’s jazz, not only has amazing performances each evening of the cruise, but also afternoon sessions on days at sea. In addition to special jazz related events, individual musicians are mixed and matched to create jazz sets not able to be seen or heard anywhere else. All presented in an intimate jazz club atmosphere limited to 250 guests.

"We get the very best jazz musicians to participate and I'm proud to have had a part in creating the great music we have on this jazz cruise every year," says the great clarinetist Allan Vaché.

Additionally, the cruise features the JazzFest Jammers program which is an opportunity for amateur musicians to bring their own instruments and jam with other guests and pros. This group is led by John Skillman, Mike Evans and Jim Gover who also provide instruction upon request. More information can be found at

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Princess Cruises Debuts 2016 Alaska Cruise & Cruisetour Program

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Feb 25: Next summer, six Princess Cruises ships will sail Alaska’s scenic wonderland, offering multiple itinerary options, innovative onboard native cultural experiences and a variety of land and sea vacation packages for further exploring the 49th state’s magnificent interior.

The line’s signature Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary, with its unrivaled glacier-viewing opportunities, will be offered on Coral Princess, Star Princess and Island Princess between Whittier (Anchorage) and Vancouver; while cruises through the Inside Passage, with its ever-changing scenery from picturesque shores to friendly coastal towns, will be offered aboard Ruby Princess and Crown Princess from Seattle and Grand Princess from San Francisco.

While onboard, as part of Princess’ immersive North to Alaska! Program, guests will experience expanded Alaska seafood offerings, with signature dishes from local chefs and restaurants; unique interactions with Alaskans including crabbers who appeared on Discovery’s Deadliest Catch and Iditarod winner Libby Riddles; and onboard events celebrating local history and customs like the Klondike Gold Rush and Midnight Sun phenomenon.

In addition, the cruise line’s land and sea vacation packages will offer flexible ways to delve deeper into the fascinating Alaska frontier. Land tours are combined with a seven-day “Voyage of the Glaciers” cruise and include the company’s premier wilderness lodges, luxurious “Direct to the Wilderness” domed rail service, plus visits to the top two attractions in AlaskaGlacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park. All 2016 Alaska cruises open for bookings on March 19, 2015.

“Princess continues to build on our long-standing recognition as the best Alaska cruise vacation with compelling ways to see and experience The Great Land,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “There’s no better way to see Alaska’s glaciers, wildlife and national parks than from the perspective of our spectacular ships, exclusive rail service and Princess-owned wilderness lodges.”

Princess’ 2016 Alaska cruise program includes:

Alaska Cruises
With 106 departures from Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver and Whittier featuring 15 unique ports and destinations, options abound for exploring Alaska in 2016 aboard Princess ships, including:

• Voyage of the Glaciers: Princess’ most popular Gulf of Alaska offering sailings between Vancouver and Whittier features two glacier-viewing experiences on every voyage, with visits to the UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park plus either Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord.
• Inside Passage: This breathtaking part of Alaska, known for its lush scenery and wildlife-filled fjords, will be featured on 7- and 10-day roundtrip voyages with the option to visit Glacier Bay on select sailings from Seattle and San Francisco.

Alaska Land & Sea Vacations
Princess offers guests more than 20 add-on land tour options in 2016, most featuring multiple nights in the Denali area to fully enjoy the wonder of Mt. McKinley. New this year, guests will also be able to purchase a pre-paid meal package for the land portion of their cruisetour. Options include:

• Denali Explorer: As Princess’ most popular cruisetour option, this itinerary features multiple nights at the line’s Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and/or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. Most offer Princess’ exclusive luxury rail service between Whittier and the dramatic Denali National Park area, traveling between the ship and Denali all in one day, plus the opportunity to explore Fairbanks or Anchorage.
• On Your Own: An affordable option for independent-minded travelers, these tours offer a flexible way to see the heart of Alaska. Tours follow similar routes as Denali Explorer options, but do not include any pre-planned excursions, giving travelers the opportunity to customize their own experience.
• Off the Beaten Path: These tours are designed to take travelers beyond Denali to more remote regions of the state such as the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
• Connoisseur: These cruisetour options offer the services of a professional tour director and additional time for guests to experience the Great Land. Offering the highest level of service, these tours include most meals and enhanced sightseeing options.
• Heart of the Rockies Plus Rail: This 14-night cruisetour originates in Calgary and includes daylight rail service on the Rocky Mountaineer. The fully escorted land tour combines with a seven-day northbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise on Star Princess and includes most breakfasts and dinners. Spectacular overnight accommodations are offered at a choice of the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise or Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

Additional information is available  by visiting the company's website at

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Harmony of the Seas Unveils New Thrills & Adventures

MIAMI, Feb 25: Royal Caribbean International’s new generation Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas, is set to launch in April 2016. The third in the Oasis class of ships, currently the largest cruise ships in the world, will continue the award-winning cruise line’s philosophy of innovation and imagination to offer a unique vacation adventure for guests.

“We are orchestrating a medley of new exciting concepts with the best Royal Caribbean innovations to strike the perfect chord for adventurous vacationers. That is why we are calling our third Oasis-class ship Harmony of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

Harmony of the Seas, featuring the cruise line’s design of seven distinct neighborhoods for which Oasis class is known, will offer the most amazing collection of experiences, amenities and activities at sea. Guests can test their mettle on the ship’s three multi-story waterslides, all of which twist and turn over Central Park 10 decks below. One of the slides also will feature a champagne bowl that swirls guests around as they make their approach to the end of the ride.

“The Oasis class ships continue to astound and delight both new and experienced cruisers. They shatter preconceived notions of what cruising can be and continue to stand in a category by themselves,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “With Harmony of the Seas, we are making the most exciting experience at sea even better.”

Harmony of the Seas also will feature a new Bionic Bar on the Royal Promenade. The Bionic Bar was first introduced aboard Quantum of the Seas, and feature robot bartenders serving up one-of-a-kind crafted cocktails while dancing to a fluid beat. Additionally, guests onboard Harmony of the Seas will enjoy RFID technology with Royal WOWBands that provide them access to their staterooms as well as make onboard purchases and reservations. Like her sisters, Harmony also will feature the fastest Internet connection at sea where guests can stream video; Skype with family and friends back at home; and share their vacation memories through social media instantly while at sea.

While Oasis and Allure offered some of the largest staterooms in the fleet, on Harmony of the Seas the company has made some stateroom categories even larger. Interior accommodations also will be outfitted with Royal Caribbean’s exclusive Virtual Balconies which offer a view in every stateroom, while single travelers will have studio stateroom choices. Suite guests also will have exclusive new areas to enjoy, from a well-appointed suite lounge and a private suites-only restaurant called Coastal Kitchen to an exclusive full-service Suite Sun Zone sun deck.

Younger and young-at-heart guests can take a spin on the handcrafted carousel or enjoy a new classic games arcade on the ship’s Boardwalk neighborhood. While parents enjoy the newly relocated Starbucks café on the Boardwalk, kids can meet new friends at a new climbing play area.

Royal Caribbean’s Dynamic Dining will give Harmony of the Seas’ guests a culinary experience as vast and varied as dining in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities with more choice and flexibility than ever before. Those preferring a more traditional cruise dining style may select the “Classic” option which will offer two set seating times. Dynamic Dining’s “Classic” option allows guests to rotate through each of the main complimentary restaurants at an early- or a late-seating time throughout their cruise with their dining group and the same assigned waiter each evening.

New specialty restaurant concepts will provide even more variety for guests including Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, with a new teppanyaki menu, and the Sabor Modern Mexican restaurant. The new Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine will give guests the chance to experience a unique culinary adventure for the senses when Royal Caribbean chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscopes in a whimsical setting that challenges the imagination with never-before-seen fare.

Harmony of the Seas will span 16 decks, encompass 227,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,747 staterooms. The Oasis class is an architectural marvel touting Royal Caribbean’s exclusive seven neighborhood concept, including Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.

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Holland America Line’s 2015 Alaska Land+Sea Journeys Combine the ‘Seldom Seen’
& the ‘Must See’ in Denali & the Yukon

Seattle, Feb. 24: Holland America Line’s popular Land+Sea Journeys combine an Alaska cruise with an overland exploration, and in 2015 guests will have more ways than ever to see this remote and off-the-beaten path part of the world. The line is the only cruise company to weave the must-see sights such as Denali National Park—the centerpiece of every Land+Sea Journey—with the seldom-seen sights such as Dawson, City in the heart of Klondike Gold Rush Country in exclusive cruise and land packages to the North.

The 13 options for 2015 range from 10 to 20 days and are in two distinct series with cruise-first or land-first choices: the industry-exclusive Yukon and Denali Land+Sea Journeys and Denali Land+Sea Journeys. Each option combines a three- to seven-night Holland America Line cruise with a one-, two- or three-night stay at Denali National Park. New for 2015, guests will have a great, competitively priced option if they have limited time: a 10-day Denali Land+Sea Journey that combines one night at Denali and a seven-night cruise.

“There are few places in the world that lend themselves so naturally to be explored by combining a cruise with an overland adventure, and with 68 years as a leader in Alaska travel, we are renown for giving our guests the best of Alaska and the Yukon,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Our elegant ships and legendary service perfectly complement our unique ability to deliver Alaska’s must-see highlights and wonders of the Yukon.”

The Land+Sea Journeys emphasize Holland America Line’s 68-year history in showcasing the majesty of Alaska by sea, rail and road while maintaining premium standards throughout the entire vacation. Each Land+Sea Journey showcases places such as Dawson City, Yukon, in the heart of gold rush country; charming Seward, Alaska; the five-star Alyeska Resort; pristine Tombstone park; colorful Skagway, Alaska; and the historic narrow gauge White Pass and Yukon Route railroad.

Last year, the line enhanced the program to include a one-hour flight between Fairbanks and Dawson City, bringing Alaska and the Yukon closer together and giving guests more time in the destinations.

Holland America Line also acquired the McKinley Chalet, a magnificent 68-acre hotel property on the Nenana River. The line is now able to offer Land+Sea Journey guests their own elegant wilderness retreat that features seamless hospitality and sustainable Alaskan cuisine. The hotel serves as the ideal base camp for all adventures at Denali National Park such as flightseeing, ATV adventures, hiking trails, river rafting and more. Accommodations were stylishly updated, and newly appointed mini-suites nestled along the river make for the ultimate retreat. A hotel enhancement program also saw extensive room updates and upgrades to soft goods and hotel décor in properties in Skagway, Fairbanks and Whitehorse.

A Journey for Every Taste—The Holland America Line Difference Ensures Unforgettable Experiences for All
The five Land+Sea Journeys that include Yukon and Denali range in length from 10 to 20 days and travel roundtrip Vancouver, British Columbia, or between Vancouver and Anchorage, Alaska. During these trips guests will enjoy scenic cruising along the Inside Passage and/or Glacier Bay before calling at Ketchikan, Juneau, Haines or Skagway, Alaska. In addition to Denali National Park, the overland portion includes Fairbanks and Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon.

The eight Denali Land+Sea Journeys range in length from 10 to 14 days and travel between Vancouver and Fairbanks or Anchorage, Alaska. Included is Glacier Bay scenic cruising where guests can explore the ice-studded fjords of this national treasure for a full eight hours as a park ranger narrates. Ports of call on the cruise portion include Haines or Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, while the overland portion features Denali and Fairbanks.

Included Wilderness Tours and Optional Cultural & Adventure Optional Activities Bring the Great Land to Life
On double- and triple-night Yukon and Denali and Denali Journeys, the comprehensive six- to eight-hour Tundra Wilderness tour is included for the best way to see epic Denali National Park with its abundance of wildlife and Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in North America. For adventure seekers there also are plenty of optional opportunities to go hiking, rafting, flightseeing and fishing.

Travel in Signature Style by Land & by Sea
Land+Sea Journeys feature luxurious glass-domed McKinley Explorer railcars with comfortable, forward-facing seats and expert commentary by guides between Denali and Anchorage. In addition, Holland America Line’s exclusive Explorer Coaches create a superior environment for traveling the highway between Skagway and Dawson City with roomy leather seats, lavish legroom and no more than 44 travelers.

Unique to the Holland America Line cruise experience, Alaska-inspired cuisine is featured throughout both cruise and land components. Optional meal plans have been expanded to include all Land+Sea Journeys and meals on days in Denali and Anchorage. Additionally, knowledgeable interpreters, Journey Hosts, Glacier Bay park rangers and Alaska travel guides are present on most Land+Sea tours and Alaska sailings.

For more information about the Alaska Land+Sea Journeys program and Holland America Line, visit

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American Queen Steamboat Company Enters Fourth Season with Key Refurbishments

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 24, 2015 – The American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of America’s most opulent riverboat fleet, announces refurbishment details of the American Queen as part of a six-week annual layup at New Orleans’ Boland Marine Shipyards. A number of engineering and cosmetic upgrades such as a new yacht white polymer paint finish on the exterior refinished decks, new and upgraded mahogany accents and brand new paddlewheel are evident to guests that boarded for the launch of her fourth season on Feb. 21, 2015.

“In 2014, we enjoyed another banner year, bringing the pleasure of river cruising to a record number of guests,” explains American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “With significant upgrades and attention to detail, we’re delighted to have the 2015 season underway in style and comfort.”

Refurbishment highlights onboard the American Queen include:

- Two-part polymer and high gloss exterior paint finish
- Refinished mahogany doors and added handrails
- New carpeting and wallpaper in public areas as well as select staterooms
- Refinished grey decks
- New wall of double-glass mirrors in the dining room
- New brass kick plates
- Newly varnished interiors including the grand staircase
- Rebuilt and repainted paddlewheel

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 online at

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Norwegian Escape’s Captains & Senior Leadership Named

MIAMI, Feb 24: Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the seasoned captains and senior officers who will serve on Norwegian Escape, the line’s newest and largest ship that will homeport in Miami year-round beginning in November 2015.

Captain Evans Hoyt, an experienced seafarer with more than 30 years at sea, will take the helm of Norwegian Escape upon delivery of the ship in Germany this October. Currently serving as Captain of Norwegian Breakaway, Captain Hoyt will be responsible for all aspects of the ship, her guests and crew. He joined Norwegian Cruise Line in 2005, and has served as Captain aboard four ships within the Norwegian fleet, including the U.S. flagged Pride of America. Born in Morocco, the son of a U.S. diplomat, he has lived in many different countries. Hoyt graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in New York in 1982. When Captain Hoyt is on vacation, Captain Gunnar Hammerin will take command of Norwegian Escape. Currently serving as Captain of Norwegian Pearl, Captain Hammerin began his nautical career more than 40 years ago serving in the Merchant Marine. He has more than 30 years of experience as a Captain, 20 of those years with Norwegian Cruise Line and Star Cruises.

Staff Captains Robert Lundberg and Preston Carnahan will be on board to introduce the vessel to guests during her very exciting inaugural season. As Staff Captains, they are second in command and report directly to Norwegian Escape’s Captain. They are responsible for the Deck Department and are versed in all of the responsibilities and duties of the Captain. The Staff Captains will also assist Norwegian Escape’s Captain with all operations, including being responsible for the safety of guests, crew, the ship and the environment. Originally from Sweden, Lundberg joined Norwegian in 2006 and since has served as Chief Officer on Norwegian Breakaway and Staff Captain on board Norwegian Getaway. Hailing from Texas, Carnahan joined the company in 2003 and has held positions on several ships, including Norwegian Pearl and Pride of America. He currently serves as Staff Captain on Norwegian Epic.

Zoran Posa will launch Norwegian Escape in the position of Chief Engineer and when on vacation will be relieved by Edin Huskanovic. The Chief Engineer has full responsibility of the entire technical operation of the ship, plays a key role on the ship’s senior management team and works closely with the Staff Captain and Hotel Director. Posa, who is from Croatia, has been a member of the Norwegian team since 2002 and has spent the majority of his time working on board Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Sky, and most recently as Chief Engineer on Norwegian Breakaway. Huskanovic, from Sweden, joined Norwegian in 2001, holding positions on Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn. He currently serves as Chief Engineer on Norwegian Jade.

Sean Wurmhoeringer will serve as Norwegian Escape’s Hotel Director. Sean began his career at Norwegian in 2002 on board Norwegian Sun and has since held a variety of positions on numerous ships in Norwegian’s fleet. As Hotel Director, he has led teams on several ships, including Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway and most recently, Norwegian Getaway, where he led the hotel team that successfully launched and delivered the ship in 2014. He is from Salzburg, Austria.

Cruise Director Julie Valeriote will lead Norwegian Escape’s entertainment team. Valeriote, who hails from Ontario, joined Norwegian in 1999 and has led entertainment teams on Norwegian Epic, where she was also part of the ship’s inaugural team, and most recently launched Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, where she has cultivated a strong following of guests who admire her unending enthusiasm and positive energy.

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American Cruise Lines Introduces Brand New 15-day Mississippi River Itinerary

GUILFORD, CT, Feb 24: American Cruise Lines announced today the introduction of its Heartland Celebration Cruise. The 15-day cruise is being offered on one of the line’s newest riverboats, the 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi. This unique American river experience begins in New Orleans on the 4th of July and ends in St. Louis, MO, after cruising 1,130 miles of the Mississippi River and stopping in 10 of the most unique towns and cities along the way.

The cruise starts out with guests enjoying a complimentary pre-night aboard the Queen of the Mississippi, which will be positioned just several hundred yards upriver from the Dueling Barges Fireworks Extravaganza in New Orleans. As the cruise gets underway, guests enjoy views of a diverse landscape, while experiencing Queen of the Mississippi’s distinct amenities, including the most spacious staterooms on the river and private balconies with sliding glass doors. By Sunday afternoon guests arrive in Oak Alley for a special Summer Under the Canopy of Oaks – it’s a classic weekend day harkening, back to an earlier time.

American Cruise Lines features a unique open-seating dining plan, which allows guests to enjoy meals in a single seating at the time of their choice, while surrounded by panoramic views of the river. For the duration of the cruise, an all-American crew caters to passengers’ every need. There are daily educational events and themed entertainment as well as complimentary featured tour excursions.

“There couldn’t be a better time to experience the Mississippi River than in the summer.” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President, American Cruise Lines. “We wanted to introduce a cruise that took advantage of the wonderful July 4th celebration, fresh air and relaxing opportunity to travel one of the longest stretches of the Mississippi.”

The Celebration Heartland cruise begins July 3, 2015 aboard the Queen of the Mississippi. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces 2016 Voyages

BELLEVUE, WA, Feb 23: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 88-guest m/v Tere Moana, announces 2016 voyages that feature popular favorites along with a new 7-night Tahiti, the Society Islands & Tuamotus itinerary and an 11-night Society Islands & Tuamotus voyage on The Gauguin, as well as a new 7-night Roundtrip Athens, Greece, sailing and 7-night Roundtrip Philipsburg, St. Maarten, voyage on The Moana.

The Gauguin
New for 2016 on The Gauguin is a 7-night Tahiti, the Society Islands & Tuamotus voyage that adds the Tuamotus archipelago to the line’s most popular Polynesian itinerary with visits to Papeete, Tahiti; Huahine, Society Islands; Fakarava, Tuamotus; Rangiroa, Tuamotus; Taha’a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands; Bora Bora, Society Islands; Moorea, Society Islands; and Papeete, Tahiti. The sailing departs Feb 6, 2016.

The Gauguin is also offering a new 11-night Society Islands & Tuamotus sailing that departs Dec 3, 2016 featuring a second full day on the line’s private island paradise of Motu Mahana. Ports include: Papeete, Tahiti; Huahine, Society Islands; Taha’a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands; Bora Bora, Society Islands (overnight); Rangiroa, Tuamotus; Fakarava, Tuamotus; Taha’a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands; Moorea, Society Islands (overnight); and Papeete, Tahiti (overnight).

The Gauguin will also be featuring its most sought-after itineraries in 2016: the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands, which all feature complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises’ two exclusive retreats—Motu Mahana and a private beach in Bora Bora. At Motu Mahana, guests enjoy a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a sumptuous barbecue feast, and cocktails from full-service and floating bars. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a white-sand beach and enjoy refreshments, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.

The Moana
The Moana will again offer sailings in Europe during spring, summer, and fall, along with cruises in the Caribbean and Latin America during the fall and winter.

Two 14-night transatlantic crossings are available between Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and Lisbon, Portugal, departing March 26 and Nov 12, 2016.

European voyages showcase the best of southern Europe, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sea of Marmara. New for 2016 is a 7-night Roundtrip Athens, Greece, voyage which visits: Santorini, Rhodes, Symi, Patmos, and Mykonos, Greece, along with Kusadasi, Turkey, departing June 4, 2016.

The Moana’s 7-night Barcelona, Spain, to Lisbon, Portugal, itinerary also features several new ports including Valencia, Cartagena, and Malaga, Spain. The ship also visits Cádiz, Spain; Gibraltar, United Kingdom; and Portimão and Lisbon, Portugal, departing Nov 5, 2016.

The Moana offers a new highlight on its 7-night Rome, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain, itinerary—a port call at Livorno for excursions to Florence, Italy. The voyage, which departs Aug 27, 2016, also visits Monte Carlo, Monaco; Nice, France; Cannes, France; Cassis, France; Sète, France; and Barcelona, Spain.

The Moana’s 7-night Athens, Greece, to Istanbul, Turkey, voyage features Athens (Piraeus), Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, and Patmos, Greece, as well as Çanakkale and Istanbul, Turkey, departing June 11, 2016.

An Aug 13, 2016, Rome, Italy, to Venice, Italy, voyage visits Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Lipari, Italy; Taormina (Giardini Naxos), Italy; Corfu, Greece; Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Hvar, Croatia; and Venice, Italy, with a reverse itinerary departing Aug 20, 2016.

A 7-night Roundtrip Rome, Italy, voyage features the Italian ports of Rome (Civitavecchia), Amalfi, Sorrento, Lipari, Capri, Ponza, and Golfo di Aranci along with Porto-Vecchio (Corsica), France, and departs Oct 15, 2016.

A 7-night cruise departing Oct 22, 2016, on The Moana sails Rome, Italy, to Nice, France, visiting Elba, Porto Venere, Florence (Livorno), and Portofino, Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco (overnight); Villefranche, France, and overnights in Nice, France.

The 7-night Nice, France, to Barcelona, Spain, itinerary features Nice, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; St. Tropez, France; and Sète, France, along with Palamós, Mahón, Palma de Mallorca, and Barcelona, Spain, and departs Oct 29, 2016.

In the Caribbean, The Moana introduces a new, 7-night “Yachtsman’s Paradise” voyage sailing Roundtrip Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The itinerary features overnights in each Caribbean port allowing guests to immerse themselves in the rich island culture. Tortola, B.V.I. (2 days); Jost Van Dyke, B.V.I. (overnight); Virgin Gorda, B.V.I. (overnight); Anguilla, U.K. (overnight); and St. Barts, F.W.I. (overnight). Departures include: March 19, 2016 and Nov 26, 2016.

In Latin America, The Moana features an 8-night Colón, Panama, to Philipsburg, St. Maarten, voyage visiting Colón, Panama; Cartagena, Colombia; Oranjestad, Aruba; Les Saintes, F.W.I.; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and departing March 11, 2016.

The 14-night Philipsburg, St. Maarten, to Puerto, Caldero, Costa Rica, voyage departs Dec 3, 2016, includes a Panama Canal evening transit and visits St. Barts, F.W.I.; St. John’s, Antigua; Les Saintes, F.W.I.; Willemstad, Curaçao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Cartagena, Columbia; Isla de Coiba, Panama; Golfito and Marenco, Costa Rica.

The Moana’s 7-night Roundtrip Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, voyages visits Isla Parida, Panama, along with the Costa Rican ports of Granito de Oro, Isla de Coiba, Casa Orquideas, Casa Saladero, Drake Bay, Quepos, Curú, and Puerto Caldera, with holiday departures Dec 23 & 30, 2016. The 6-night voyage departs Dec 17, 2016, and visits Isla Gamez, Panama, in lieu of Isla Parida, Panama, and Curú, Costa Rica.

Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering savings of 50% off standard cruise fares on all 2016 voyages of both ships, plus included airfare from Los Angeles on m/s Paul Gauguin itineraries. For more information on Paul Gauguin Cruises, visit

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Cunard Celebrates Queen Elizabeth's 5th Birthday with Big Band Ball & Five Nights of Music and Dancing

Feb 23: Cunard is proud to announce a special sailing from 2-7 October 2015 to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 5th birthday, where guests will be invited take to the dance floor for a Big Band Ball.

On 4 October 2010 Cunard officially took ownership of the company’s youngest ship in the fleet, Queen Elizabeth, and for her 5th birthday the line has organized a party that aims to get everyone “In The Mood...” Originating from America in the 1920s, the Big Band phenomena took the world by storm, as large band ensembles delighted audiences with electrifying, high energy performances. During Queen Elizabeth’s 5-night cruise to Amsterdam and Bruges (from Zeebrugge) guests will be invited to relive the heyday of Swing and Jazz at the ship’s own Big Band Ball.

On 3 October, the eve of Queen Elizabeth’s 5th birthday, guests on board can look forward to a classic black tie gala dinner with a specially crafted commemorative menu to mark the occasion. Then they will be welcomed to the Queens Ballroom by the ship’s 14 piece band, as it strikes up hits from some of the most successful artists of the era including Glenn Miller, Ted Heath, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Vocalists will add material drawn from the back catalogues of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and The Rat Pack as well as more recent performers such as Michael Bublé, Jamie Cullum and Harry Connick, Jr. to create the social ball of the year. Under glittering chandeliers, the band will aim to keep the dance floor filled before guests gather for a midnight countdown to Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday.

“Dancing to a live orchestra in the Queens room is a highlight of our voyages, but this anticipated experience will be heightened to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s special milestone,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. “Our guests will revel in this glamourous ball, filled with the sounds of the best of Swing and Big Band, a fitting celebration for our youngest Cunarder.”

During the 5-night cruise, guests can also enjoy sounds from other eras, including one of the UK’s best tribute 60s acts, The Overtures, noted for performing at Elton John and David Furnish’s civil partnership, who will appear twice. Historian Eric Flounders will bring the history of Cunard to life as part of the Cunard Insights program, while acclaimed comedian Mike Miller will add touches of humor. For more information visit

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Princess Cruises' 2016 Europe Season Offers Five Ships Sailing to Over 130 Destinations

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Feb 23: Princess Cruises announced today its 2016 cruise vacations to Europe featuring five ships sailing to over 130 destinations from the corners of the Mediterranean to the northernmost tip of Europe. Guests can choose from itineraries ranging from three to 48 days and on ships ranging from the cruise line’s newest and largest Royal Princess and Regal Princess; to its deluxe Caribbean Princess and Emerald Princess; and its small ship, Pacific Princess, which will visit off-the-beaten path destinations never before visited by the line. The 2016 season includes the cruise line’s return to the Canary Islands and many maiden ports of call for Princess in Croatia, Ireland, Norway and Scotland. All 2016 Europe cruises open for bookings on March 19, 2015.

“Princess has long been hailed as offering the best cruise itineraries and we’re not resting on our laurels,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We have many unique and first-time offerings for the 2016 Europe cruise season to appeal to both novice and avid cruisers. We’ve combined the best destinations with our signature onboard innovations like Movies Under the Stars, The Sanctuary and our new Discovery at Sea program to create the most rejuvenating retreats at sea possible for vacation-goers who want to explore this fascinating region.”

Highlights of the Princess Cruises 2016 Europe program include:

Cruises to the Mediterranean
Royal Princess will sail on a variety of unique seven-, 14-, 21- and 28-day cruises from Barcelona, Rome and Athens. Mediterranean Medley 14-day sailings include destinations rich with ancient history including Rome, Athens and Naples. Collection voyages will sail the entire Mediterranean region visiting Spain, France, Italy, Tunisia, Malta, Greece and Turkey during 21-day immersive adventures. For the ultimate Mediterranean experience, 28-day Circle Mediterranean voyages will visit 20 destinations in seven countries with all cruises visiting Rome, Athens, Istanbul and the French Riviera.

Pacific Princess will offer a variety of 12-day voyages from Rome, Venice and Barcelona and feature a mix of marquee ports with off-the-beaten-path ports unreachable by larger ships.

For guests sailing from Britain, Emerald Princess will be based in London (Southampton) to offer two-week Mediterranean Adventurer sailings featuring such marquee ports as Florence, Rome and Dubrovnik. Emerald Princess will also sail to the Canary Islands on 11-day voyages, visiting four island destinations in the Canaries and Madeira and Vigo, Spain.

Scandinavia & Russia Cruises
Regal Princess returns to Northern Europe, for popular 11-day cruise vacations to Scandinavia & Russia featuring two full days in St. Petersburg, Russia. Joining her in the region, Emerald Princess will sail select 14-day cruises through the Baltic Sea.

British Isles Cruises
Caribbean Princess, the only cruise ship dedicated to the region for the entire summer season, will visit must-see destinations in the U.K., Ireland and Scotland, including two opportunities to see Scotland’s famed Edinburgh Military Tattoo on the grounds of Edinburgh Castle.

Small ship Pacific Princess will offer an all-new way to explore the British Isles on 14-day Irish Counties & Scottish Highlands voyages from London (Dover). The itinerary includes maiden port calls in Ullapool, Scotland and Galway, along the western coast of Ireland.

Iceland & Norway Cruises
Both Emerald Princess and Pacific Princess will offer North Cape voyages to the Arctic Circle during the peak midnight sun period around the summer solstice. Emerald Princess will also visit the spectacular Norwegian fjords, while Pacific Princess will feature a maiden call in Haugesund, Norway.

Pacific Princess will also offer 14-day Iceland & Norway itineraries visiting off-the-beaten path ports in Iceland and the Shetland Islands. She will also cross to the land of fire and ice on a Transatlantic crossing featuring Iceland.

European Cruisetours
Guests can enhance their European travel with four land and sea vacation options, which combine certain sailings with a fully-escorted land tour. Choices include Paris and the French Countryside; Ireland’s Ring of Kerry; Classic Italy, visiting popular sites in Venice, Florence and Rome; and the Imperial Treasures of Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Berlin.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at the company's website,

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Silversea Launches New Collections of Specialty Expedition Cruises

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Feb 23: Recognizing the broad variety of passions of adventure travelers, Silversea Expeditions has launched new collections of specialty expeditions, each offering an exceptional focus on such activities as birding, photography, scuba diving, wellness, and gastronomy. To support this launch, six attractive mini-brochures are available in traditional print format and as digital flip books, ranging from six to eight pages. Each provides an overview of a particular specialty cruise program and a calendar of sailing dates. They can be requested or downloaded at

"These specialty expeditions enable travelers to leverage their personal passions and interests to experience a more meaningful journey of discovery," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas.

Offered on select sailing dates, the specialty expedition voyages are briefly recapped as follows:

Birding & Ornithology Expedition Voyages: From spotting bald eagles in Alaska to witnessing the blue-footed boobies of Galápagos, these fascinating specialty journeys available on Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, and Silver Discoverer offer exceptional birding opportunities that can be enjoyed by casual bird enthusiasts, serious birdwatchers with a "life list" of bird sightings, and just about anyone who loves interacting with nature.

Wellness Expedition Voyages: Guests can improve their well-being while journeying aboard Silver Discoverer to destinations that are well off the beaten path in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. A team of wellness specialists hosts a program of fitness training, including stretching, yoga, and Pilates. Other highlights include daily lectures and cooking demonstrations focused on balanced nutrition, plus guests may enjoy a complimentary spa massage treatment.

Photography Expedition Voyages: Inspiring photo walks, onboard lectures, and workshops with a professional photographer enable the guests of Silver Explorer and Silver Discoverer to get the best out of their photography equipment and capture some of nature's unexpected moments in some of the world's most exotic destinations.

Diving Expedition Voyages: The natural treasures of remote atolls and the mesmerizing underwater worlds of Indonesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia are revealed on a scuba diving program presented by Silver Discoverer's onboard divemasters and expedition team.

Culinary Expedition Voyages: Designed for the adventurous traveler who is a gourmet at heart, these theme-focused expedition cruises aboard Silver Explorer offer an array of culinary events on board and ashore, in addition to enriching explorations of the natural, cultural, and historic landmarks visited along the way.

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Carnival Corporation Announces Grand Prize Winner of Yearly Cruise for Life

MIAMI, Feb. 20: Carnival Corporation, the world's largest travel and leisure company, announced that Bette Shapiro from Red Bud, Illinois, is the official winner of its World's Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge. Selected randomly from over 115,000 people who participated in the contest, Shapiro's prize is a yearly cruise for life onboard her choice of three of Carnival Corporation's global cruise brands in North AmericaCarnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, or Princess Cruises.

Shapiro won the contest by participating in Carnival Corporation's recent marketing challenge that gave consumers across North America the chance to provide input on the company's new TV advertising concepts, one of which debuted on NBC-TV's broadcast of the Super Bowl on Feb 1. Hosted by comedian and actor Cedric the Entertainer, the interactive crowdsourcing contest let people "join the company's marketing team" and vote for their favorite of four potential TV commercials to be used throughout 2015 with a chance to win the grand prize.

Carnival Corporation also announced today that Sherry Laemmle, a realtor from Bella Vista, Arkansas, will receive 100 days of free cruising as the official winner of its #LoveCruising Twitter contest that asked consumers to tweet about why they love the cruise experience. Launched as part of the company's 2015 marketing initiative to grow awareness and demand for cruising, the Twitter contest generated thousands of entries from people who eagerly expressed their passions for cruising. This included one of Laemmle's tweets that read "@CarnivalPLC no place else we'd rather be as a family! #LoveCruising" and featured a family photo in front of the Carnival Cruise Line ship Carnival Elation, which sails out of the Port of New Orleans.

Additionally, Carnival Corporation gave away a free cruise to Richard Vronman from Escondido, California, and Carolyn Benson from Cape Coral, Florida, as part of a contest rewarding select lucky guests-to-be who have used the company's popular new "CRUISE-A-NALITY" tool. The tool helps people decide what type of cruise vacation and brand experience is right for them based on a series of personality-focused questions that generate a cruise "persona" for all types of travelers.

"We are excited to give the grand prize of cruising for life to Bette, and we are thrilled that more than 115,000 consumers chimed in over the past 10 weeks to provide valuable input on our advertising and marketing messages that will be used throughout 2015," said Ken Jones, vice president of group marketing and insights for Carnival Corporation. "We were able to hear both from avid cruisers and also those who have never cruised to see what types of messages resonated with them in telling the story of cruising. The feedback directly from consumers is extremely helpful to us as we look to generate broader awareness of why cruising is a great vacation option, at a great value, and why people should consider cruising as they make their upcoming vacation plans."

These various contests and components from Carnival Corporation's new marketing initiative all led to the company's first-ever multi-brand TV commercial, "Come Back to the Sea," a 60-second spot that aired during the Super Bowltimed with the cruise industry's yearly first-quarter surge in bookings, known as "Wave Season."

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Carnival Corporation Expands Presence in Caribbean with $85 Million Port in Dominican Republic

MIAMI, Feb.19: Carnival Corporation, the world's largest travel and leisure company, announced it will begin welcoming guests at its newly developed Amber Cove port in the Dominican Republic beginning October 2015. Six of Carnival Corporation's nine brands will call on Amber Cove along the country's Amber Coast, a partial filming location for the original Jurassic Park movie, to give cruise passengers another exotic location to explore as part of their vacation experience.

With the opening of the new Amber Cove port, passengers will be able to make stops along the Dominican Republic's north Amber Coast, which has not been regularly visited on cruise itineraries since the 1980s. It will open expanded itinerary options in the Caribbean, the world's most popular region for cruise vacations, and will pair with the company's Grand Turk Cruise Center only 100 miles to the north to anchor new central Caribbean itineraries for Carnival's nine global brands. In looking to the future, the port is strategically located to be incorporated into itineraries featuring potential stops in Cuba.

The new $85 million facility represents the largest cruise industry investment ever made in the Dominican Republic, and will feature a two-berth port able to accommodate the largest cruise vessels in operation today. Carnival Corporation has monitored the various stages of the port's construction progress with the use of drones, an innovative development that is being used for the first time as part of the company's port development process. The facility, a joint project between Carnival Corporation and the Rannik family of Grupo B&R, is expected to host more than 250,000 cruise passengers in its first year of operation. It will provide approximately 430 local jobs.

"The construction of the cruise port at Amber Cove has been an incredible project for our entire country, as well as the Caribbean region as a whole," said Francisco Javier, tourism director of the Dominican Republic. "Carnival Corporation's investment in Amber Cove has already proven beneficial to the economy, and we expect the investment to have a positive long-lasting economic impact. The new port will also give cruise passengers an opportunity to see another part of the Dominican Republic, our Amber Coast, which hasn't been available as part of cruise itineraries in nearly 30 years. This is a very exciting development."

The port will open with a visit from Carnival Victory from the company's Carnival Cruise Line brand on October 6, 2015. Following this inaugural visit, five additional Carnival Corporation brands are scheduled to make calls on Amber Cove, including Cunard's Queen Mary 2 on November 22, P&O Cruises' (UK) Azura on December 5, AIDA Cruises' AIDAvita on December 11, Costa Cruises' Costa Deliziosa on December 31, and Holland America Line's ms Eurodam on January 19.

Additional ships from the company's brands are scheduled to call on the port in late 2015 and through 2016 including Carnival Cruise Line's Fantasy, Splendor, Valor, Sunshine, Conquest and Breeze and Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam. These visits will consist of 57 calls by 13 different ships across the six brands taking place between October 2015 and April 2016, accounting for more than 155,000 guests during this period. As the world's largest cruising market, representing more than 37 percent of the global cruise business, the Caribbean is a strategic geographic region for Carnival Corporation and the overall cruise industry and is highly popular for vacationers.

This new port facility in the Dominican Republic underscores the company's focus on creating great vacation experiences, as passengers sailing the Caribbean will have an exciting new destination to visit. It will also give Carnival Corporation's nine global cruise brands the ability to create more diverse itineraries, another important part of the cruise experience. More than 60 percent of cruisers are repeat passengers, and offering robust itineraries keeps the experience fresh and engaging for them.

"There are several markets that are becoming increasingly important to the cruise industry, but today the Caribbean is the single largest share of our business," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "We are constantly looking for new ways for our guests to enjoy their cruise experience, and it is always exciting to add new destinations to our itineraries, especially in the Caribbean where many of our passengers have been before. We are confident that our guests will love visiting Amber Cove, which we believe will quickly become a very popular port of call for our guests. And because Amber Cove is easily accessible, it will give our guests a convenient gateway to the Puerto Plata region, which is spectacular. And importantly, Amber Cove will allow us to offer our guests a new option in our Caribbean itineraries."

The opening of Amber Cove adds to the portfolio of cruise destinations Carnival Corporation has developed in the Caribbean. This includes the Grand Turk Cruise Center in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Puerta Maya on the Island of Cozumel, Mexico, and Mahogany Bay on the island of Roatan, Honduras. It is one of roughly 60 ports Carnival Corporation's brands visit in the region.

The Amber Cove port is located in the heart of the Dominican Republic's North Coast just outside the historical town of Puerto Plata, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus in the 1490s and was recently named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the "Best Places to Travel in 2015." This newest Caribbean destination was developed to re-establish the Dominican Republic's North Coast as a popular cruise destinationthe last cruise ship to call at Puerto Plata was nearly 30 years ago.

Amber Cove will feature a waterfront welcome center with a variety of retail offerings, including a marketplace for Dominican crafts and souvenirs, as well as a wide range of unique food and beverage establishments. The port will also include a recreational area featuring amenities such as a pool, splash zone and green space areas. The transportation hubthe single largest component of the portwill provide visitors easy access by land and sea to the surrounding destinations and attractions.

The new port will host one of the most extensive shore excursion programs available in the Caribbean, offering roughly 40 different landside experiences including beaches, water sports and special culinary, cultural and adventure options. Many of these excursion offerings will come from well-established local operators. Nearby Ocean World, one of the region's largest marine adventure parks, offers guests popular ways to experience and interact with a variety of marine animals.

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Oceania Cruises Announces New Innovative Classes For Culinary Arts Center

MIAMI, Feb. 19: Oceania Cruises will expand its innovative culinary curriculum with 20 new classes for the Culinary Center, including a special two-day culinary immersion program, a session focused on the life and legacy of Chef Jacques Pépin and additions to the Gourmet Explorer Series that showcases cooking styles from a variety of international destinations. Oceania Cruises is widely recognized for its groundbreaking culinary enrichment offerings, including the introduction of the first-ever Culinary Center at sea equipped with individual induction cook top work stations. The new programs were developed by longtime Director of Culinary Enrichment, Chef Kathryn Kelly, and will debut on Marina and Riviera starting in April 2015.

“In our Culinary Center, guests cook under the instruction of faculty members who are CIA graduates and have apprenticed under a who’s who of renowned chefs,” shares Kelly. “We continue to add new topics to keep things fresh for past guests and this year we’re proud to honor our consummate teacher, Jacques Pepin, with a special class.”
Culinary Center Immersion Program

In response to guest requests, the Oceania Cruises Culinary Center will offer a special Culinary School Immersion Program on select itineraries. The curriculum is designed to improve the skills of a home chef by focusing on the essential techniques for creating basic sauces, grilling, preparing vegetables and other culinary skills. The in-depth instruction is spread over a morning and afternoon session and extends for two days, or four sessions in total.

The highlight of the culinary immersion program is a friendly competition where teams of four guests are paired together to prepare a dish that is judged by the faculty and executives from the shipboard culinary team. All participants receive a special certificate at the end of the program, while the winning team can claim culinary bragging rights for the remainder of the cruise.

Celebrate Jacques Pépin
In collaboration with Chef Pépin, Oceania Cruises is creating an exclusive class that includes recipes from Jacques’ cookbooks and family favorites. The new class “La Technique: A Celebration of Jacques Pépin’s 80th Birthday” covers techniques written in his early book “La Technique,” which remains an indispensable source of culinary knowledge for modern chefs, as well as “Essential Pépin,” a collection of over 700 technique-based favorite recipes that stretches over his six decades in the kitchen. Guests will learn five basic techniques around eggs, proteins, vegetables, sauces, and desserts. At the conclusion of each class, guests pose for a photo that will be incorporated into a special birthday card for Chef Pépin. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, these photos along with tales from guests who experienced the class will also be posted on the Oceania Cruises blog.

New Regional Classes
With an abundance of guests seeking new educational epicurean experiences, the Culinary Center is introducing 20 new classes as part of its Gourmet Explorer Series. These classes will showcase regional cuisine from Morocco, Peru, the Pacific Northwest and more. The curriculum of the Culinary Center continues to appeal to a wide range of tastes and culinary skill levels by incorporating techniques inspired by the cultures and regions the ship visits with classes such as Planet Veggie, Viva Tapas, At Home in Sicily, Rock Your Wok, What Mermaids Know, Global Gourmet and the Pizza Master Class.

Depending on the itinerary, classes range from 45 minutes to three hours. For more information about Oceania Cruises or the Culinary Center, visit

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Port Adventures Immerse Disney Cruise Line Guests in Adventure & Culture on 2015 Norwegian Fjords Sailings

CELEBRATION, FL, Feb. 18: Disney Cruise Line invites families to explore culturally rich and exotic locales, with Port Adventures like only Disney can do, during its 2015 Norwegian Fjords sailings. From June to August 2015, the Disney Magic returns to Europe, visiting the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland for the first time. Guests exploring these new ports, steeped in Viking history, will be treated to richly diverse destinations that showcase iconic locations, enchanting cultures, tantalizing cuisine and unrivaled experiences. To elevate guests’ experiences in Norway, Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures are designed to entertain and inspire both children and adults—in true Disney fashion—with an extra dash of pixie dust.

“Frozen” Festivities and Viking Ventures in Ålesund
For the first time in forever, Anna, Elsa and Kristoff from the animated hit “Frozen” join Disney Cruise Line guests in Ålesund, marking their very first appearance in the land that inspired their story. Only Disney guests are invited to a Norwegian summer celebration at the Sunnmøre Open Air Museum where the festivities culminate with the grand arrival of the beloved sisters and their ice-loving companion, Kristoff, who join in the lively revelry. After being personally greeted by their “Frozen” friends, and surrounded by the idyllic beauty of Norway, guests dance to local musicians and sample tasty Norwegian specialties, including svele, a traditional sweet pancake from the region.

Another Ålesund adventure exclusive to Disney Cruise Line includes a quest to a Viking village on the island of Giske, where guests head back in history to meet the village chieftain and experience the Viking world. Adventurers find themselves in the middle of daily Viking life and mingle with members of the Norse families, experiencing first-hand the traditions, authentic food and games that come with being a Viking. Guests also learn traditional Viking handiwork and put it to practice by crafting their own leather bags.

Iconic Fjord Horses in Olden
Guests travel from the quaint village of Olden on a Port Adventure exclusive to Disney Cruise Line, visiting a Norwegian Fjord Horse Center to experience one of the world’s oldest breeds and one of the country’s national symbols, the Norwegian Fjord Horse. The adventure includes an up-close look at the stallions, mares and foals in a tour of the stables. Guests also have an opportunity to interact with the horses and see these magnificent animals in action. This includes watching a dynamic riding performance and taking in the picturesque scenery during a carriage ride around the grounds.

A Taste of Norway in Kristiansand
For those with a culinary passion, a Port Adventure exclusive to Disney Cruise Line in centuries-old Kristiansand provides the perfect hands-on cooking experience. Guests don their aprons and create Nordic specialties first-hand, such as succulent wild game filets and krumkaker, a heavenly waffle cookie typically served around Christmastime. The experience culminates with guests enjoying their sumptuous meal paired with a glass of wine.

The Great Outdoors of Geiranger
From the port of Geiranger, crowning jewel of the Norwegian fjords, comes an experience just for Disney Cruise Line guestsa visit to the Gjaera Mountain Farm where the local family provides an up-close look at daily life. Children join Disney Cruise Line youth counselors to create one-of-a-kind stamped pillows in the farm’s printing studio using handmade wooden stamps that have been passed down through the family’s many generations. Meanwhile, adults explore the farm and its microbrewery, sampling fresh brews. After building up an appetite, everyone reunites for a taste of traditional Norwegian foods produced at the farm including juices, breads, creams and cured meats.

Another journey brings Disney Cruise Line guests to the Herdalsetra Mountain Farm, where on the way to a nearby scenic valley they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Geirangerfjord and the Seven Sisters waterfall made famous in Norwegian folklore. Guests tour the enchanting farm brimming with 30 farmhouses and more than 450 sprightly goats scampering around the property. They also sample the farm’s fresh cheeses including Norway’s famous brown cheese – similar to sweet fudge.

Those looking for even more adventure will find it kayaking through the Geirangerfjord. Gliding over dazzling turquoise waters, guests will get an up-close look at stunning waterfalls roaring down into the fjord and the majestic mountains along the water’s edge.

Folk Dancing & Discovery in Molde
Outside of Molde, the “town of roses,” Disney Cruise Line guests arrive for an afternoon at one of the largest folk museums in Norway, the Romsdal Open Air Museum, which encompasses more than 50 buildings. Guests explore the century-old property, including lush gardens, farmhouses, smokehouses and a chapel, and experience a spirited performance of Norwegian folk dancing featuring local children in traditional regional outfits.

“The Land of Fire and Ice”—Reykjavik, Iceland
Only Disney Cruise Line families can get “fired up” during an exhilarating trip to the edge of a local lava field that gives adventurers an up-close look at volcanic craters and lava fields that make up the country of Iceland. Families take part in an art workshop on the edge of the hardened lava field, using real lava to create their very own framed lava art.

Classic “can’t miss” Icelandic landmarks take center stage on the tour of The Golden Circle. On this visit to some of Iceland’s most iconic attractions, guests will explore a national park, a glittering waterfall, popping hot springs and a high-tech geothermal energy exhibition. Over a barbecue lunch in the woods offered exclusively to Disney Cruise Line guests, troll wife Gryla and her helpers tell the legend of troll giant Bergthor of Bláfell, whose exceptionally large grave, headstone and ring from his walking stick can be found in a nearby churchyard.

Details on all Disney Cruise Line shore excursions can be found on the Port Adventures section of

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Carnival Freedom’s Arrival In Galveston Marked With Shipboard Concert By Martina McBride &
Donation To Operation Homefront

MIAMI, Feb. 16: Carnival Cruise Line marked the arrival of Carnival Freedom at its new year-round homeport of Galveston on Saturday, Feb. 14, with a celebration honoring U.S. military personnel and their families. In partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization that supports military families, service members and their families were treated to an overnight event featuring a variety of daytime activities, including an exclusive outdoor Carnival LIVE performance by country music superstar Martina McBride, along with dinner and a full evening of entertainment, all compliments of Carnival. Prior to McBride’s concert, Carnival presented a check in the amount of $100,000 to Operation Homefront.

“We’re excited to kick off Carnival Freedom’s year-round deployment from Galveston with a donation to an organization that touches so many lives and a special event for the brave men and women who serve our country,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Martina McBride put on a fantastic show and we were thrilled to honor these deserving military families and provide them with an incredible day and night to remember.”

Carnival Freedom kicked off year-round departures from Galveston yesterday with a special 6-day voyage to Mexico and will launch 4- to 7-day cruises calling at ports throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida beginning Feb. 21. Carnival Freedom joins Carnival Triumph and Carnival Magic in Galveston. Together these three ships will carry more than 600,000 passengers annually from Texas—more than any other cruise line.

McBride, a 14-time GRAMMY® nominee, performed on Carnival Freedom’s upper deck in the first Carnival LIVE show staged outdoors. It was her second time participating in the Carnival LIVE concert series that offers guests the best live music at sea from popular acts spanning a variety of musical genres.

“Performing for these military families was an incredible honor. And everyone really enjoyed the outdoor setting on the ship’s deck,” said McBride. “I hope that everyone who was there had a special Valentine’s Day experience; I’m so glad I was asked to be part of it.”

“We’re thrilled Carnival Cruise Line honored these service members and their families by providing a truly memorable day and evening of onboard fun and exciting activities,” said Tim Farrell, chief operating officer for Operation Homefront. “In that spirit, we're also grateful for Carnival Cruise Line’s generous gift of $100,000, which will help military families here in Texas and throughout the country.”

Carnival Freedom recently underwent a $70 million makeover that added an array of Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancements, and attendees at Saturday’s event had full access to the ship’s many on-board innovations, including new family entertainment programming such as Seuss at Sea and Camp Ocean featuring 200 marine-themed activities. The renovation also included complimentary eateries such as BlueIguana Cantina, and Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri, along with exciting new bar concepts BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub. Four new high-tech Playlist Productions shows were added, as well. For additional information on the Carnival Freedom or any other “Fun Ship” vacation, visit

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The 100-day Countdown to Cunard's Three Queens on the Mersey Liverpool Salute Has Begun

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Feb. 14: The 100 day countdown to the most spectacular gathering of the Cunard fleet officially got underway on Valentine's Day, Saturday 14 February. Just 100 days later, on 25 May, up to one million spectators are expected to gather as Cunard's three Queens perform a magnificent salute to its 'spiritual home' of Liverpool.

The official 100 day digital countdown clock was unveiled by the Chair of Merseytravel, Councillor Liam Robinson at the Mersey Ferries Pier Head Terminal ready for one of the most romantic days of the year, St. Valentine's Day. Joining him were loyal Cunarders, 26-year-old Scott Sandison and his 24-year-old fiancé Lauren Hayes from Edinburgh, who in 2007 met as teenagers on board QE2, with Scott proposing on stage six years later in front of hundreds of people on board Cunard's Queen Victoria.

Unveiling the clock, Councilor Liam Robinson the Chairman of Merseytravel said, "Cunard's three Queens spectacular will be a global event hosted by Liverpool. The celebration of Cunard's 175th anniversary presents a huge opportunity for the city and I am delighted that Merseytravel will play its important part by transporting many of the tens of thousands of spectators who will converge on both sides of the River Mersey to witness the ships salute their spiritual home."

On 25 May, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will arrive in Liverpool to celebrate Cunard's 175th anniversary year in dramatic fashion. The three Queens will meet on the famous Liverpool waterfront, performing maneuvers in close formation to create a spectacular one-off event that will draw hundreds of thousands of people to the banks of the Mersey.

Celebrating the countdown to the magnificent event and St. Valentine's Day, Lauren and Scott were invited to help unveil the clock after Cunard learnt about their love story. After first meeting on board QE2 the couple continued their long distance romance, even though it meant a 350 mile trip with Scott living in Glasgow and Lauren in Cambridge. Six years later the Gold Cunard World Club Members, who now live in Edinburgh, are planning to make their fifth cruise with Cunard their honeymoon.

Lauren said, "We're both really honored to be here today. We've got a huge emotional connection to Cunard, given our history with the company, and it's just really special and exciting to be involved in such a big way like this. We've always felt part of the family when we've been on Cunard ships. For example we've both known one of the staff, Jessie Boy, longer than we've known each other! He was there when we met on QE2 and when we got engaged on Queen Victoria and hopefully we can arrange for him to be at our wedding!"

On 4 July 1840, Cunard's first ship, Britannia, left the Mersey and changed the face of ocean travel forever by establishing the first scheduled service across the Atlantic. Queen Mary 2 will return to the cruise terminal on 4 July 2015, 175 years later to the day, to recreate the voyage of that first Cunard ship from Liverpool to Halifax and Boston. Today's flagship will then continue on New York. For more information about Cunard's 175th anniversary crossings visit

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Norwegian Increases Onboard Service Charge

Norwegian Cruise Line is adjusting its daily service charges, effective for all sailings that begin on March 1, 2015. The new rates are:

• $12.95 per guest per day for any category up to a Mini-Suite stateroom.
• $14.95 per guest per day for any suite category.

Guests who have previously booked a cruise and are sailing after March 1, 2015, or who are planning to book a cruise now through February 28, 2015, can choose to pre–pay their service charges at the current rate by February 28, 2015. Guests with existing cruise reservations who have already pre–paid their service charges at the current rate will not be affected.

Norwegian’s daily service charges, which were last adjusted in 2009, make it easy for guests to provide gratuities to key onboard staff who provide superior guest service during the cruise, including their room steward, restaurant servers and behind–the–scenes support staff. Guests who are sailing in Suite categories also receive the services of a concierge, butler and dedicated wait staff.

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Carnival Vista To Operate Year-Round 6- and 8-Day Caribbean Cruises from Miami,
Carnival Breeze & Carnival Liberty Reposition to Galveston

Feb 12: PortMiami will be the year-round homeport for Carnival Cruise Line’s largest ship to date, the 133,500-ton Carnival Vista, when it launches 6- to 8-day Caribbean cruises beginning in December 2016. Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Carnival Vista will take cruising to new heights, introducing groundbreaking features such as SkyRide, a suspended open-air cycling experience; the world’s first IMAX® Theatre on a ship; Kaleid-O-Slide, the line’s first water tube slide; and RedFrog Pub, including the line’s first onboard brewery.

Carnival will further bolster its leadership position in Galveston, repositioning Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty to Texas in 2016, joining Carnival Freedom which arrives in Galveston this Saturday. Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty will replace Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, respectively, in Galveston. Details on new homeports for Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, as well as year-round departures from San Juan, will be provided over the coming weeks.

With Carnival Breeze, Carnival Liberty, and Carnival Freedom, Galveston will be home to three of the line’s most innovative ships offering the widest array of cruise durations and itineraries to top destinations in Mexico, Belize, Isla Roatan and The Bahamas. These three ships will carry 600,000 passengers annually from Galveston, more than any other cruise operator.
“Miami and Galveston are among our most popular points of embarkation and deploying our newest, most innovative ships to these homeports speaks volumes about our confidence in growing these markets,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “These ships not only offer our guests incredible on-board experiences but also provide our valued travel agent partners with exciting new choices to market to their clients,” she added.

Island-Intensive Caribbean Cruises from Miami on Carnival Vista
Carnival Vista kicks off its new schedule from PortMiami with a special 4-day cruise to Grand Turk departing Nov. 29, 2016. The ship will then launch year-round 6- and 8-day cruises beginning with an eight-day voyage departing Dec. 3, 2016. Six-day cruises feature Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, while a mix of different eight-day itineraries visit some of the Caribbean’s most sought-after destinations, including Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and La Romana (Dominican Republic).

The ship will also offer a combination of one-time voyages, including a 5-day cruise departing Dec. 11 and 7-day voyages departing Dec. 17 and 24, 2016, that offer an exciting selection of ports including the Caribbean’s newest destination, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, as well as Mahogany Bay, Grand Turk, Belize, San Juan, St. Thomas and Cozumel, depending on the itinerary.

In addition to visiting breathtaking Caribbean destinations, guests can experience all the Carnival Vista has to offer, from the colorful Havana area with tropics-inspired staterooms and suites and Family Harbor with special accommodations and a new family concierge to delicious choices like Seafood Shack and new al fresco options at the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and Cherry On Top, featuring a mixed-to-order premium ice cream bar.

Three- to 11-Day Carnival Vista Sailings from the Big Apple
Prior to the start-up of year-round service from Miami, Carnival Vista will operate a pair of voyages round-trip from New York beginning with a 3-day cruise Nov 4-7, 2016, followed by an 11-day voyage departing Nov. 7, 2016, and visiting Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua and St. Maarten. Carnival Vista will then offer a spectacular 11-day cruise from New York to Miami Nov. 18-29, 2016, with calls at Grand Turk, Bonaire, Aruba and St. Maarten, an unmatched combination of great destinations not available on any other cruise from New York.

Carnival Vista is slated to operate an inaugural season of European cruises May to October 2016 before repositioning to New York, then launching year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami in November 2016.

New Options in Galveston
Carnival Liberty and Carnival Breeze will shift to Galveston in 2016, providing consumers with Texas-sized fun on departures from the Lone Star State.

Carnival Liberty will launch year-round 4- and 5-day cruises to Mexico from Galveston beginning March 21, 2016. Four-day “long weekend” cruises depart Thursdays and feature a stop at Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays visiting Cozumel and Progreso. Prior to the start-up of its new Texas-based program, Carnival Liberty will offer a special 3-day cruise round-trip from Galveston March 18-21, 2016.

Carnival Breeze, the line’s newest ship, will offer three different week-long itineraries visiting popular ports in the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida beginning Dec. 11, 2016. Western Caribbean voyages call at either Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel or Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Cozumel, while a Bahamas/Florida route includes Nassau, Freeport, and Key West. Carnival Breeze will also offer a special 2-day cruise from Galveston Dec. 9-11, 2016, before kicking off its new year-round 7-day schedule.

Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty bring exciting new choices to Galveston, each with an array of on-board features. Carnival Breeze offers such innovations as a multi-dimensional cinema experience called Thrill Theater, Bonsai Sushi full-service Asian restaurant and WaterWorks highlighted by a 312-foot-long slide, while Carnival Liberty offers a classic American steakhouse, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar and a 14,500-square-foot spa.

New Value-Packed 12-day Cruises Offer Exciting Destinations
In preparation for their new deployments, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Breeze will each operate a unique 12-day cruise in 2016, visiting a variety of exotic Caribbean destinations. These departures have been created especially for those guests who are looking for a longer-length cruise vacation providing more time to enjoy the ships’ wide range of amenities while visiting less frequently traveled islands throughout the Caribbean.

Carnival Liberty will offer a 12-day cruise from San Juan to Galveston March 6-18, 2016, calling at St. Thomas, Barbados, Tobago, Grenada, Aruba and Grand Cayman. Carnival Breeze will operate a 12-day cruise departing Miami Nov. 27, 2016, and arriving in Galveston Dec. 9, 2016. Featured ports on this one-time voyage include St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Curacao, Aruba and Cozumel.

Reservations are currently being accepted for these new deployments. For additional information, visit Additional information on the Carnival Vista is available at

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Oceania Cruises Unveils New Consumer, Travel Agent Website

Oceania Cruises has unveiled a brand new website featuring a fresh new design, simplified navigation, interactive deck plans, and an array of other enhancements aimed at assisting guests and travel partners. In addition, the site was optimized for speed, resulting in web pages loading much faster than the previous site.

Highlights of the new include:

• A Home Page with simplified navigation, enhanced special offer displays and photography that embodies the Oceania Cruises brand.
• A Find a Cruise section with a more advanced search abilities that includes the option to not only search date and destination, but by special offer. Search results are displayed in an easy to navigate page, allowing guests to review and compare various cruise options.
• The Ships section features a new interactive deck plan with easy deck-by-deck exploration.
• The Destinations tab introduces a brand-new Port Explorer function which enables guests to view all cruises that visit a selected port, along with all shore excursions, hotels and land programs for that port.
• The new Experience section of the website tells the story of the Oceania Cruises brand, offering expanded details on our cuisine, value packages and more.
• The My Account area features streamlined navigation, along with a new "My Saved Cruises" section which details all upcoming booked voyages and future voyages being considered by guests.
• A Travel Agent Center tab includes a refreshed dashboard filled with helpful tools and additional functionality aimed at assisting travel partners.

 For travel partners, the Travel Agent Center is found at

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Holland America Line's ms Koningsdam to Feature New, Innovative and Reimagined Culinary Experiences

SEATTLE, Feb. 11: When ms Koningsdam joins the Holland America Line fleet in February 2016, the ship will debut the cruise line's evolving culinary vision with new dining and eatery concepts, reimagined venues and innovative features that incorporate the essence of the line's renowned and award-winning dining experience. Although the ship is still under construction, travelers already can come "onboard" through a new video at that explores the culinary experience through sweeping visuals and vibrant renderings.

"Koningsdam allows us to leverage our culinary creativity and debut new brand-exclusive venues and magnificent food concepts as well as enhance our current successful offerings," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "We know that guests are going to be excited with our many creative dining choices and appealing new experiences aboard Koningsdam."

Guests will have the opportunity to embark on a culinary adventure that features cuisine from around the world in several alternative restaurants; an immersive dining experience in the reimagined Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine; a re-designed casual Lido Market with themed serving stations; relaxing cafes; and an exciting, interactive culinary-themed walkway, all in addition to the main dining room. All menus are developed by award-winning Holland America Line's Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, working closely with the line's team of highly regarded international chefs.

"With Koningsdam, we are building upon our outstanding culinary foundation," said Sodamin, who recently was named Best Cruise Line Chef by Porthole Magazine. "Our guests will truly appreciate the many inventive menu choices and the visionary innovations that will be delivered with our first Pinnacle Class ship."

Take a Stroll Through the Heart of ms Koningsdam's Culinary Experience Deck 2 will showcase several of the ship's dining venues along one central promenade. In addition to the Main Dining Room, guests will find the Culinary Arts Center, alternative venues the Pinnacle Grill and Sel de Mer, the new French seafood brasserie, and interactive displays presenting icons of the food and wine world.

A central bar area overlooking the atrium enables guests to check in for their alternative-dining reservation at a hosted central podium, relax with a pre-dinner cocktail and peruse the menu before ordering prior to being escorted and seated at the restaurant.

Reimagined Culinary Arts Center Now Also a Dinner Venue: As guests make their way along Deck 2, they'll pass the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine. On Koningsdam, the center becomes a dedicated shipboard setting with a dramatic show kitchen and individual cooking stations that will be used exclusively for Culinary Arts Center activities such as cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes by visiting celebrity chefs and the ship's own experts. Regionally inspired workshops, as well as kids' and teens' cooking classes, also will be featured. Large mirrors, viewing screens and an open kitchen make it possible for everyone to watch the food preparation and learn from the comfort of their table. In the evening, the room transforms into a new dining concept called Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center, an immersive farm-to-table experience where the chefs prepare simple, artisanal dishes in the show kitchen and guests enjoy each course as it's freshly prepared. Every meal will emphasize fresh, thoughtfully sourced selections while incorporating select ingredients harvested from a glass-enclosed growing area just off the kitchen. Lining the entry to the Culinary Arts Center are nine interactive displays that allow guests to explore the lives of food and wine luminaries, their culinary secrets, recipe tips, favorite dishes and more.

Indulge in the Freshest Seafood at Sel de Mer New to Koningsdam is an intimate French seafood brasserie called Sel de Mer. Located next to the popular Pinnacle Grill, Sel de Mer, or "salt of the sea" in French, will serve a classic selection of French seafood dishes with a contemporary twist, from fresh oysters, seafood chowder and fruits de mer to salt-crusted whole fish, scallops and bouillabaisse. Sel de Mer will re-create a setting reminiscent of the finest French brasseries where waiters are traditionally dressed and guests may choose their evening meal from a selection of fresh fish and shell fish displayed on ice in the center of the room. The Koningsdam's chefs also will go ashore whenever possible and bring back the catch of the day as a daily special for the evening's menu. Sel de Mer will be available for a modest charge.

Pacific Northwest Dishes Featured at the Pinnacle Grill The award-winning Pinnacle Grill is located beside Sel de Mer. The popular alternative restaurant will continue to feature Pacific Northwest cuts of beef and other traditional steakhouse favorites. The centerpiece of the Pinnacle Grill is a dramatic glass-enclosed wine room situated between the two restaurants. Guests will be able to view all of the wines from both venues and chose their favorite vintage from among hundreds of selections. As on all the ships, a fee is charged for the Pinnacle Grill.

A Rich Selection of Options and New Innovations Abound Koningsdam will feature a selection of additional dining options throughout the ship. From the casual Lido Market and new Grand Dutch Cafe to Tamarind and Canaletto, guests will be delighted with the variety of venues.

Lido Market Evolves with Themed Stations When guests head to Lido Market on Koningsdam, they'll notice a transformation from traditional Lido dining areas into a modern marketplace, offering a curated selection of delicious options guests can grab either on-the-go or have quickly made to order. Different themed stations with walk-up service will showcase specific types of food, such as fresh-made innovative sandwiches, salads, international fare, comfort-style dishes, desserts and more. The area will have a market-like atmosphere with display shelves, daily specials highlighted on menu boards, servers in distinct uniforms and market-style signage.

Stations will feature:

- "Breadboard," serving freshly baked breads, pastries, and delicious signature sandwiches.
- "Wild Harvest," offering a bountiful selection of salads, fruits and health-conscious options.
- "Homestead," serving home-style scrambled eggs at breakfast and herb-roasted chicken and other comfort classics at lunch and dinner.
- "Distant Lands," presenting great tastes from around the globe as well as from the regions visited by the ship.
- "Sweet Spot," offering delicious desserts and treats.

New Grand Dutch Cafe Reflects the Company's Rich Heritage Vibrant shades of Delftware's blue and white converge with the silhouettes of charming Amsterdam buildings in the whimsical Grand Dutch Cafe. Located on Deck 3 at the top of the Atrium, the new venue is a nod to Holland America Line's rich heritage and the ideal place to grab Dutch-themed snacks or beverages, with Heineken beer on tap.

Tamarind Brings the Flavors of Asia Onboard Tamarind carries on the success found aboard ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam with an enhanced experience on Koningsdam. Featuring the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia, China and Japan, Tamarind will be located on the uppermost deck, providing guests with stunning panoramic views. New to Koningsdam will be an intimate sushi bar inside Tamarind with select seating for seven guests for lunch and dinner. Dining at Tamarind is available for a nominal fee.

Indulge in Italian Delicacies at Canaletto Adjacent to the Lido dining area, every evening the festive Canaletto features an authentic Italian "sharing" dinner experience that offers a variety of dishes to enjoy and share with family and friends. The small-plate menu was conceived out of the desire to slow down the meal and create a more authentic Italian experience. Dining at Canaletto carries a minimal fee.

The Culinary Adventure Continues
Guests will find additional venues on Koningsdam, including the outdoor Dive-In at the Terrace Grill by the ship's Lido pool that features signature burgers, hot dogs and fries; and the Main Dining Room that will continue to offer two seatings and menus that highlight the dishes of Holland America Line's Culinary Council, Master Chef and Council Chairman Rudi Sodamin and renowned international chefs Mark Best, Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres. A grand wine tower that stretches between the two decks of the restaurant will be the focal point.

About ms Koningsdam
Koningsdam represents a new Pinnacle Class of ship for Holland America Line. The vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public spaces and venues, while still featuring popular amenities guests associate with Holland America Line. For more information, visit

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Disney Cruise Line Introduces Star Wars Day at Sea on Select Disney Fantasy Sailings

CELEBRATION, FL, Feb. 11: In 2016, Disney Cruise Line guests can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga during a brand-new, day-long celebration aboard eight special sailings on the Disney Fantasy: Star Wars Day at Sea. Marking the first official appearance of the heroes and villains of Star Wars aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship, Star Wars Day at Sea combines the power of the Force, the magic of Disney and the excitement of cruising for an out-of-this-galaxy experience unlike any other.

Occurring one day during each of eight Disney Fantasy sailings, Star Wars Day at Sea will transport guests to a galaxy far, far away--in the Western Caribbean. The event features a full day of Star Wars celebrations, including a deck party, meet-and-greets with favorite characters, Star Wars-themed youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings, and special merchandise. Also featured will be exclusive at-sea screenings of the Star Wars films and the new Disney XD animated series, Star Wars Rebels.

Throughout the day, Star Wars Younglings, Padawans, and Jedi Masters alike will enjoy the immersive entertainment. Intergalactic highlights include:

Force-filled Fun for Everyone
-- Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers and other characters from across the Star Wars galaxy will be onboard for scheduled meet and greets, as well as roaming on deck and elsewhere around the ship. Guests also are encouraged to dress up in their own stellar costumes.
-- A shipboard version of the popular Jedi Training Academy experience invites young Jedi hopefuls - known as "Padawans" - to learn lightsaber moves from a Jedi Master. They can then use the Force and face off in a final test against the evil Darth Vader.
-- Kids and families enjoy friendly competition during Star Wars trivia games, covering fun facts from the film and television sagas.
-- For Younglings, Star Wars-themed arts and crafts, games and activities will be offered throughout the day in Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab youth clubs.
-- In the evening, adults entering the night club will feel like they stepped into the Mos Eisley cantina scene. Characters and cantina music set the mood as Star Wars-themed specialty cocktails are served.

Film Screenings and Celebrities
-- Guests can watch the first six Star Wars films and follow Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke and Leia along their epic journey.
-- Also showing will be episodes of the new Disney XD animated series, Star Wars Rebels.
-- On each of the special sailings, celebrities and insiders from the Star Wars galaxy will share their experiences, meet fans and sign autographs.

Star Wars Deck Party and Fireworks
-- There's intergalactic fun when the Star Wars deck party blasts off to an exciting evening filled with music, dancing and games.
-- Star Wars characters converge on the deck stage for a celebration of the Star Wars saga in a show featuring special effects and guest participation.
-- The deck party culminates in a spectacular display of themed pyrotechnics, lighting, sound effects, lasers and Star Wars music.

Star Wars Day at Sea will be on Disney Fantasy cruises sailing on Jan. 9, 23; Feb. 6, 20; March 5, 19; April 2 and 16, 2016. Departing from Port Canaveral, the 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. To learn more, visit

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Princess Cruises & Houston Texans Team Up for First-Ever Jr. Training Camp@Sea

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Feb 10: Princess Cruises and the Houston Texans proudly hosted a group of local Boys & Girls Club youth for a first-ever Jr. Training Camp@Sea aboard Emerald Princess in Houston over the weekend. This special event offered 20 local kids the chance to meet Houston Texans two-time Pro Bowl player Chris Myers and experience what it’s like aboard a cruise ship. The kids enjoyed an autograph and Q&A session with Myers and Texans mascot Toro, and took a tour of the cruise ship’s signature spaces, including the Movies Under the Stars outdoor movie screen, where football games are shown during the season. They enjoyed lunch, topped off with cupcakes they decorated along with Myers.

To participate in the excursion the children, ages 10-14, submitted essays describing where in the world they would like to visit on a cruise vacation. Among the responses were dreams of discovering new places and seeing landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, and the tropical flowers and water falls of the Caribbean, Hawaii cruises and cruises to Mexico. The children also expressed curiosity in the various language, food and cultures of the destinations, as well as excitement for making new memories with their families.

“We were truly inspired by the stories submitted by the children from the local Houston Boys & Girls Club and thrilled to host them onboard for a day of learning and exploration,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “In turn, we hope our Jr. Training Camp@Sea fuels a lifelong passion for exploring the world around them and an increased desire to work hard at school to help them make their dreams come true.”

“It was wonderful to be able to give the kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Houston the opportunity to come aboard the Emerald Princess,” said Chris Myers, Pro Bowl Center for the Houston Texans. “It was my first time on a cruise ship as well so it was cool to get to experience it together. I always emphasize to kids that they can do anything they want to do in life as long as they work hard and make education a priority.”

The 3,082-passenger Emerald Princess sails from the Port of Houston on seven-day western Caribbean cruises featuring calls to the Island of Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, and the Island of Cozumel, Mexico through April 2015. Caribbean Princess will return to the Port of Houston for the 2015-2016 Caribbean cruise season beginning Nov 15, 2015. For more information, visit

Princess Cruises is a Proud Sponsor of the Houston Texans. Later this year, Princess will participate in The Boys & Girls Club’s annual Great Futures Dinner by donating a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise sailing from Houston for their silent auction. Additional information about the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston is available at

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Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam Achieves Eighth Consecutive Perfect Score of 100
 on United States Public Health Inspection

Seattle, Feb. 9: On a recent surprise United States Public Health inspection conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ms Eurodam became the first ship in Holland America Line’s history to achieve eight consecutive perfect scores of 100. The ship was inspected Feb. 1, 2015, at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the start of a 7-day Caribbean cruise. Prior to this inspection, Eurodam received a score of 100 in October 2014 during a call at Boston, Mass., on a Canada/New England cruise. In the past year, ms Noordam, ms Zuiderdam, ms Statendam, and ms Westerdam also earned perfect scores of 100.

“Achieving eight consecutive perfect scores during U.S.P.H inspections is an amazing accomplishment, and it shows how diligently everyone works to continuously exceed our goals,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Congratulations to the Eurodam team for consistently demonstrating how a commitment to excellence and hard work delivers results.”

CDC inspections are part of the Vessel Sanitation Program, which was introduced in the early 1970s and is required for all passenger ships that call at a U.S. port. The inspections are unannounced and are carried out by officials from the United States Public Health Service twice a year for every cruise ship. The score, on a scale from one to 100, is assigned on the basis of a checklist involving dozens of areas of assessment, encompassing hygiene and sanitation of food (from storage to preparation), overall galley cleanliness, water, shipboard personnel and the ship as a whole. The ships received perfect scores in all of those areas.

For more information about Holland America Line, visit

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Place Your Bets! Crystal Cruises Expands Use Of Shipboard Credits To Wage In Crystal Casinos

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9: Luxury cruise leader Crystal Cruises is expanding its onboard options by allowing travelers to convert shipboard credits in the form of non-cashable slot vouchers or special table game chips in the casinos. Effective with Crystal Symphony's March 9 Singapore to Hong Kong sailing and Crystal Serenity's March 13 Perth to Cape Town voyage, guests can convert shipboard credit in denominations of $5, $10 or $25 vouchers for slots; and $5 or $25 for table games, with no maximum limit.

"Our guests are savvy travelers who relish a multitude of thrills, including trying their hands at the tables and slots," says Crystal president, Edie Rodriguez. "The new use of shipboard credit in our casinos is another benefit to Crystal's all-inclusive experience and further enhances our onboard enrichment."

While the slot vouchers or special table game chips used from shipboard credits are not redeemable for cash themselves, winning wagers will be paid in cashable vouchers and chips. Any remaining table games chips or unused slot vouchers can be re-deposited to the guest's shipboard credit account for use toward any other applicable Crystal amenity or experience, including indulgent spa treatments or thrilling Crystal Adventures ashore. Shipboard credit vouchers in the casino are not refundable once they are used and lost.

Crystal's lavish onboard casinos on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are elegantly stylish venues offering Nevada-style gaming and glittering excitement. Thrilling games of Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, 3 Card Poker(TM), Ultimate Texas Hold'em(TM) and Mini-Baccarat (on request), as well as slot and video poker machines are available. Casinos are open to all guests age 18 and over, and are subject to closure in various ports.

Crystal's passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more "World's Best" awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history. For more information, visit

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State of the Cruise Industry: 2015 to See Robust Growth

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb 9: Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released its annual State of the Cruise Industry Report and is once again projecting strong growth for the cruise industry in 2015. A record 23 million passengers are expected to sail this year, with 61 percent of North American CLIA-certified travel agents reporting an increase in 2015 travel bookings over this time last year. Cruise lines are enticing travelers with nearly 1,000 ports of call in new, exotic locations, especially in the fast-growing Asian market. CLIA also revealed that member cruise lines are scheduled to debut 22 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2015 for a total investment of more than $4 billion.

“From new ports around the globe to the investment by CLIA’s member cruise lines in new, innovative ships, it’s an exciting time for the cruise industry and cruise passengers,” said Adam M. Goldstein, CLIA Chairman and President/COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This year will prove to be another step forward for the entire industry as our members continue to strive to make cruising the best overall vacation experience.”

Using several research studies, CLIA identified seven 2015 cruise industry outlooks:

1. Travelers Will Continue to Set Sail: Cruise travelers intend to continue to set sail and are highly satisfied with prior cruise experiences. In fact, 62 percent are return cruisers and 69 percent ranked cruising as a better value than a land-based vacation. Overall, CLIA member ocean passenger volume is projected to increase to 23 million in 2015, a four-percent increase over 2014 estimates of 22.1 million.
2. Size Doesn’t Matter: Five years ago, the largest cruise ship in the world was introduced with a 6,300-passenger capacity. With 22 new ocean, river and specialty cruise ships scheduled for debut this year, the focus is less on size and more on unique design and amenities.
3. Specialty Cruises Continue to Thrive: CLIA’s specialty segments, which includes sophisticated ships, luxury yachts, elegant ocean liners and the newest river cruises, continue to experience double digit passenger growth. In fact, specialty cruises grew by 21 percent annually from 2009 to 2014 estimates.
4. Caribbean Continues to Be Queen: The Caribbean remains queen for the cruise industry with more than a third of the global deployment capacity market share in 2015. At the same time, cruise travelers are expanding horizons. The Mediterranean continues to grow as a destination, as well as other regions including Asia and Australia. In 2015, 52 ships will provide 1,065 Asian cruises with capacity for 2.17 million passengers.
5. Oh, the New Places We Will Go: The cruise industry is seeing an increase in passengers looking for global experiences. As a result, cruising has made the world more accessible than ever. CLIA’s member cruise lines offer nearly 1,000 ports around the globe, including many areas that fall within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Travel Agents Are Key to Cruise Travel: While the Internet and mobile devices have overtaken how consumers make purchases, travel agents continue to be the most popular and best way to book a cruise. In fact, seven out of ten cruise travelers (70 percent) use a travel agent to plan and book cruise vacations.
7. Passengers Are at the Helm: When it comes to travel, consumers are in control more than ever before. The cruise industry is excited, motivated and responding with key innovations that are meeting the needs of today’s passengers, such as bow-to-stern Wi-Fi and phone connectivity, multigenerational appeal, themed cruises and “foodcations.”

Additionally, the cruise industry this year will have major economic impact globally. In 2013, the global economic output of the cruise industry was more than $117 billion; the industry supported nearly 900,000 jobs and contributed to $38 billion in wages.

About the Research
The Travel Agent Pulse Survey was conducted among 482 North American CLIA-certified travel agents via an online survey between November 7-23, 2014. The 2014 North American Cruise Market Profile Survey was conducted in partnership with market research firm TNS and cruise industry consultancy Bob Sharak & Associates. Drawn from a panel of more than 1 million households, an online survey was conducted between August 12-26, 2014, which collected cruise and travel opinion data among 1,600 U.S. and Canadian residents. This report presents data on travelers who are 25 or older with an annual household income of more than $40,000.

Other sources include:

• CLIA Passenger, Capacity and Deployment Surveys
• Global Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism 2013 for CLIA by Business Research & Economic Advisors, September 2014
• Asia Cruise Trends, 2014 Analysis, Assessment, Appreciation Summary of Capacity & Deployment, CHART Management Consultant, CLIA Southeast Asia

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Explores New Destinations,
Welcomes New Ship With 2016 Summer & Fall Itineraries

MIAMI, Feb. 6: Today, Regent Seven Seas Cruises unveiled its 2016 summer and fall collection, featuring more than 60 destination-rich itineraries, three Grand Voyages and 11 new ports not previously visited by the luxury line. Seven Seas Explorer, the most luxurious ship ever built, will set sail on its maiden voyage and inaugural season as part of the summer 2016 schedule. The line’s four all-suite luxury ships will chart diverse courses, offering unforgettable travel experiences while exploring coveted destinations across the world.

The fleet will visit iconic and exotic cities in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe; travel through the majestic landscapes of Alaska, New England and Canada; and discover the mysterious lands of Asia. In total, the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet will visit 220 ports in 71 different countries with its summer and fall collection, including several overnight stays in the world’s most sought-after destinations.

The luxury line also introduced three new Grand Voyages, ranging from a 47-night London to Copenhagen sailing to a 64-night Barcelona to Sydney sailing. The 47-night London to Copenhagen sailing introduces fascinating new ports that explore the magnificent fjords of Greenland with stops in Nuuk and Qaqortoq. The sailing also visits beautiful and less traveled ports such as Denmark’s ancient history of Torshavn (Faroe Islands) and Iceland’s scenic cities of Akureyri and Isafjordur.

For select sailings in the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will introduce new options for its FREE Extraordinary Land Program, which includes a free three-night hotel stay and complimentary guided tours that immerse guests in the destination. One experience explores opulent cities of the Emirates, as guests discover Dubai’s rich history at the Dubai Museum, marvel at the magnificent architecture of the Jumeirah Mosque and take in breathtaking views from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Another excursion includes visiting the ultramodern capital city, Abu Dhabi, to experience architectural treasures and luxurious landmarks such as the Emirates Palace Hotel.

Continually recognized for providing guests with the most comprehensive, all-inclusive luxury experience, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering three-night land stays complimentary on five Seven Seas Voyager sailings to guests booked in a Concierge Suite or higher. The customized land adventures, valued from $1,499 to $1,799 per person, are also available for guests staying in a Deluxe Suite for a special rate starting at $699 per person.

In total, Regent Seven Seas Cruises ships will visit 11 new destinations as part of the summer and fall collection. These new ports of call include:

• Alotau, Papua New Guinea
• Gijon, Spain
• Portoferraio (Elba), Italy
• Agadir, Morocco
• Bastia, France
• Gaeta, Italy

• Gaspe, Canada
• Nuuk, Greenland
• Paamiut, Greenland
• Portimao, Portugal
• Qaqortoq, Greenland
• Vlissingen, Netherlands
• Akureyri, Iceland

With such an elaborate array of itineraries, here is a summary of the regions and destinations to which the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet will sail to in summer and fall 2016.

Seven Seas Explorer
Seven Seas Explorer highly anticipated maiden voyage will be a remarkable 14-night cruise from Monte Carlo to Venice on July 20, 2016. The inaugural season reveals a lineup featuring a variety of destination-rich Mediterranean itineraries calling on iconic and new locations throughout the Mediterranean. The ship will visit exotic and sought-after ports of call such as Venice, Kotor (Montenegro), Zadar (Croatia), Istanbul and Haifa (Jerusalem), Israel plus new locales Sanary-sur-Mer (France), Portimao (Portugal), Agadir (Morocco) and Catania (Sicily).

Seven Seas Voyager
Seven Seas Voyager will begin the season with the fleet’s first Irish Sea/Bay of Biscay cruise followed by an incredible journey into Iceland, Greenland and Scandinavia, fulfilling the ultimate fjord cruise experience. After five months exploring Northern Europe, the ship repositions to Asia with a 23-night Barcelona to Dubai sailing on November 9, 2016 that includes overnights in Haifa, Israel (Jerusalem), Safaga, Egypt (Luxor) and Dubai.

Seven Seas Mariner
Seven Seas Mariner begins the season exploring the picturesque ports and stunning natural beauty of Alaska. After the Alaska season, the ship will set off for the east coast beginning with an extraordinary 18-night journey from San Francisco to New York. Departing from the Big Apple, the ship begins a season of autumn foliage cruises across New England and Canada. The ship will then breeze south and visit the colorful towns and pristine beaches of the Caribbean and concludes the season with a special 25-night trip to explore exotic villages along Amazon River.

Seven Seas Navigator
Guests sailing the intimate 490-guest Seven Seas Navigator in summer and fall 2016 will experience the impressive history and world-class cuisine of the Mediterranean. In total, the ship will sail 20 Mediterranean voyages ranging from 7- to 12-nights in length, exploring new ports such as the charming town of Bastia, France and the famed beaches of Gaeta, Italy. Seven Seas Navigator will conclude the season with a 10-night voyage departing October 13, 2016 traveling through the French and Spanish Riviera with an overnight in Lisbon.

For more specific itinerary details or for general information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises, visit

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Princess Cruises Celebrates Love with Insights on Soulmates

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Feb 6: With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s that time of year when people around the world wonder if 2015 will be the year for true love. According to the Princess Cruises Outlook On Love: The Soulmate Survey, many Americans still feel they are missing the boat when it comes to finding that special someone they connect with on the deepest level but they are incredibly optimistic that their soulmate is out there.

According to the national poll conducted by leading survey firm Wakefield Research on behalf of Princess Cruises, more than one in three (36 percent) say they haven’t found their soulmate and 71 percent of those without a soulmate don’t like their chances of finding one in 2015. Yet, Americans may be romantics after all. Nearly two in three (64 percent) feel soulmates are a reality rather than a fantasy (36 percent). And 76 percent of Americans believe there is a soulmate for everyone, with Millennials leading the way at 84 percent.

So, how does someone avoid soulmate sadness by finding that one true love? The Soulmate Survey revealed insights from respondents who were asked to do some soul-searching and share their romantic journeys.

Starboard & Starry-Eyed
Sometimes it takes several tries to find that perfect someone, and there’s no shame in that. On average, Americans report experiencing four relationships before finding their soulmate. But when it happens, 65 percent feel that a person knows right away that they’ve found their soulmate. Even more Millennials, 72 percent, think people know right away when they’ve found their soulmate.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?
Americans having trouble finding a soulmate may be looking in the wrong direction. The most popular reported places to look were social media or dating sites (43 percent), at work (42 percent) and at bars and clubs (35 percent). Only 30 percent look for their soulmate while traveling, suggesting that perhaps it’s time to consider looking for someone on the warm sand or the high seas.

Dive Heart First
Ever eyed someone from afar and wondered if they were “the one?” More than one in three (38 percent) regret not introducing themselves to that possible soulmate and half (50 percent) of Millennials regret it. It all adds up to taking a chance – stepping off the dock and diving into love when the soulmate feeling hits.

And the Award Goes To…
So, who do Americans turn to for soulmate inspiration? Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) agreed that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie take home the statue for “Best Soulmates.” Other category nominees include newlyweds George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin (18 percent), Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen (15 percent) and Jay Z and Beyonce (11 percent). And, in a nod to the upcoming theatrical release of “50 Shades of Grey,” its characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele came in at 10 percent.

The Bright Side
The good news is that true love is far from dead. Ninety-five percent of people in a relationship say their current partner is their soulmate. But, surprisingly, eight percent of married respondents said they don’t consider their spouse their soulmate.

“Princess has long been a leader in love on the high seas, thanks to our heritage as the backdrop of the iconic Love Boat television series,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “We’ve always believed that love and connection is an important part of the guest experience onboard our ships and this survey reinforced that people everywhere continue to look for opportunities to make strong, lasting relationships.”

About the 2015 Survey:
The Princess Cruises Outlook on Love Report: The Soulmate Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+, between January 26 and February 2, 2015, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population 18+. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.1 percent. Information about Princess Cruises is available on the company's website at

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Bookings Open for 2016 Summer Europe Cruises on Holland America Line's Newest Ship ms Koningsdam

SEATTLE, Feb. 5: Starting Friday, Feb. 6, guests can make bookings for the summer 2016 European cruises of Holland America Line's newest ship, ms Koningsdam, launching in February 2016. In addition, the line has announced details of the ship's 13-day Christening Cruise, departing May 9, 2016, from Civitavecchia, Italy, to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which also will be available to book Feb. 6.

From May throughout the summer, the ship will sail roundtrip from Amsterdam on itineraries to Norway, the Baltic, British Isles and Iceland. The May 9 Christening Cruise will feature the ship's official naming celebration on May 21 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, followed by an overnight at Amsterdam. Koningsdam's Premiere Sailings in the Mediterranean that run February through early May 2016 opened for booking in December and have been very popular.

"We are excited to open the maiden European summer season of Koningsdam for booking and especially pleased to announce the Christening Cruise that will feature the official naming celebration of this special ship," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "The summer season cruises on Koningsdam offer unique itineraries, so we recommend guests book early to reserve their preferred sailing date and stateroom."

From its summer homeport of Amsterdam, Koningsdam will begin a series of 7- and 14-day cruises to Norway that showcase the country's stunning scenery and dramatic fjords. In August, the ship sails a British Isles and Iceland itinerary that features three calls in Iceland and visits to ports in England, Scotland and Norway. On two 14-day itineraries in June and September, guests can embark on a journey to the Baltic and visit historical and cultural sites in Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden. The ship's fall and winter itineraries will be announced in the coming months.

Koningsdam represents a new Pinnacle Class of ship for Holland America Line. The vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public spaces and venues, while still featuring popular amenities guests associate with Holland America Line. To bring a fresh vision to Koningsdam, Holland America Line tapped Adam D. Tihany, one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. Tihany joins distinguished maritime designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten who worked with Holland America Line on ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam. The two firms will create an interior that blends a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line's renowned classic elegance. For more information about ms Koningsdam and Holland America Line, visit

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Viking Star Completes Successful Sea Trials

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 5: Viking Ocean Cruises® has announced the recent successful sea trials of its first ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star that set to debut in April. The trials, which took place in the Aegean Sea in mid-December, represented the vessel's first voyage in open water.

During nearly a week of intense diagnostics, maritime experts executed more than 80 different tests designed to evaluate everything from Viking Star's engine and propulsion performance to her navigation systems and cabin acoustics. Following the trials, Captain Gulleik Svalastog deemed her "one of the most agile, state-of-the-art and seaworthy ships on the water, destined to exceed the expectations of the most well-traveled guest."

"Following six months of nonstop construction since her float out, this was a major milestone for Viking Star, and we are proud to be another step closer to launch," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Now we can focus on the finishing touches, and we look forward to welcoming guests onboard in two months' time."

Currently back at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard for final outfitting and interior decorating, Viking Star will take on her first guests on April 11. She will then set sail from Istanbul, making her way through the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic on her way to be officially christened in the homeland of the Vikings. On May 17 in Bergen, Norway, guests onboard will be treated to a celebration that will be seen throughout the world. One of the most important days of the year in Norway - Norwegian Constitution Day - dignitaries from around the country and thousands of Bergen residents will gather along the waterfront to welcome Viking Star to port and to share in the festivities. Bergen Mayor Trude Drevland will serve as godmother to Viking Star and will officially "name" the ship during its christening ceremony.

Viking Star
Classified as a "small ship," the 930-passenger all-veranda Viking Star , as well as its two sister ships under construction, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. Light-filled and intimate, the ship features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:

-- All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. veranda stateroom, all with private verandas, king-size beds, large showers, and LCD TVs.
-- Explorer Suites: Viking Star features 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wrap-around private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
-- Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable dome permitting any-season swimming, the ship features a glass-backed infinity pool, cantilevered off the stern, allowing passengers to swim surrounded by their destination.
-- The Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind--from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a "snow grotto" where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air.
-- Explorers' Lounge and Wintergarden: Spaces designed to facilitate mingling and storytelling, the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow is the perfect spot for taking in scenery through double-height windows over a glass of aquavit or pint of local craft beer; and the Wintergarden is a serene environment in which to relax and enjoy afternoon tea service complete with a hand-selected teas.
-- Dining Choices: Viking Star offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices, from The Restaurant and the World Cafe, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties, to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, Manfredi's Italian Restaurant and The Kitchen Table, all serving meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer more al fresco dining than any other ships.
-- Enriching Entertainment: Connecting passengers to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and onboard venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where passengers can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Star Theater, home of enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard cooking school where guests can learn local specialties; and Torshavn, a piano lounge where guests can relax, mingle, and exchange stories after a day of exploring.
-- Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking Star features energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

For additional information, visit

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Holland America Line Tops $4.3 Million Donated for Cancer Support

Seattle, WA, Feb. 5: In honor of World Cancer Day, Holland America Line is proud to announce that to date, the guests and employees of the company have raised more than $4.3 million for cancer support through “On Deck” programming that began in 2006. Currently, the “On Deck for a Cause” program benefits six international cancer organizations located in the United States, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom.

On Deck for a Cause invites guests to participate in a noncompetitive 5k fundraising walk on every sailing aboard each of the line’s 15 ships, with proceeds distributed among the American Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia, Cancer Research UK, Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid) and KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society).

“Giving back is part of our corporate culture at Holland America Line, and On Deck for a Cause allows our guests and employees to join together for and make an impact for an important cause that touches us all,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “To have surpassed $4.3 million is a huge milestone for our On Deck program, and with fundraising walks happening every cruise--more than 500 cruises a year--we are looking forward to raising even more to help fight cancer.”

Guests of all ages are invited to donate $20 to the Holland America Line Foundation. On a day at sea, participants join in a 5k walk around the ship’s decks. Guests may walk less or not at all, as they prefer. Participants also receive an On Deck for a Cause T-shirt, wristband and a reception following the walk. Depending on the ship, the distance to reach 5k ranges from nine to 12 laps.

In 2015, more than 500 On Deck for a Cause events will be held across the Holland America Line fleet, with walks taking place globally on cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Pacific, Alaska’s Inside Passage, Mexico, Asia, the Baltic, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and South America.

Each year Holland America Line hosts more than 25 shipboard charity luncheons for nearly 5,000 guests in its homeport cities. In addition to the luncheons and events, Holland America Line and its corporate foundation’s charitable-giving programs include cash sponsorships, in-kind donations, free- and reduced-fare cruise donations for nonprofit fundraising events, donations of usable shipboard items around the world, employee volunteerism and other philanthropic activities.

For more information, visit

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Celebrity Cruises Hits Home Run with Red Sox Fans

BOSTON, Feb 5: Just in time for Spring Training, Celebrity Cruises and the Boston Red Sox partner to announce the Take Me Out to the High Seas 2016 Red Sox Fan Cruise to set sail January 9th, 2016. Cruise the Caribbean for 7 nights with legendary Red Sox players and WEEI announcer, Dave O’Brien, on the newest ship in the Celebrity Cruises fleet, the Celebrity Reflection®. Show your Boston Red Sox pride at exclusive events onboard with Hall of Famer Jim Rice, Red Sox Hall of Famer “El Tiante” Luis Tiant, 4 World Series champion Mike Timlin, 2004 Red Sox World Series closer Keith Foulke, and current TV analyst Steve Lyons.

Celebrity Reflection has entertainment for all ages and is majestically decorated with three new suite classes, breathtaking verandas and private Alcoves. Guests on the Celebrity Reflection are treated to only the best-of-the-best amenities at sea including award-winning dining options, rejuvenating spa treatments at Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, and interactive events at the Lawn Club Art Studio. For the Red Sox Fan Cruise, Celebrity Reflection will also host a number of exclusive fan activities with players including karaoke night, Q&As with the former players, autograph session, meet and greets, and more.

The 2016 Red Sox Fan Cruise is part of a long-standing partnership between Celebrity Cruises and the Boston Red Sox that also includes a number of in-stadium experiences planned for the up-coming baseball season at Fenway Park. “We are honored to set sail with the Boston Red Sox again,” said Marla Phaneuf, Team Manager of New England at Celebrity Cruises. “We are excited to deliver Red Sox fans the ultimate experience aboard one of our most luxurious ships. The 2014 Red Sox Fan Cruise was a huge hit and Celebrity Cruises couldn’t be more excited to host the greatest fans around in 2016.”

The round-trip Red Sox Fan Cruise departs from Miami and stops for fun in the sun in San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. Staterooms are now available, including access to exclusive onboard activities, classic alcohol beverage package, $50 to spend onboard, prepaid gratuities, taxes, and special gifts from Celebrity Cruises. Space is limited to 300 fans. Fans must be booked within Group ID 8039843 in order to participate in Red Sox activities. To reserve your spot on the 2016 Red Sox Fan Cruise, call Celebrity Cruises Red Sox Group department at 1-888-727-4907 or contact your travel agent. Visit for more information.

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Actress, Artist, Author & Philanthropist Jane Seymour to Share Insights & Painting Lessons
Onboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Feb. 4: Cunard is thrilled to welcome multi-talented artist and Emmy(®) and Golden Globe(®) winning actress Jane Seymour aboard Queen Mary 2 for a special Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton on 3 June 2015. During the Crossing, Seymour will share her insights with guests during two Q&A sessions with Queen Mary 2's Entertainment Director, as well as participate in a screening of one of her many films. In addition to her starring roles on screen, Seymour has fashioned a formidable career as an artist, known for her delicate watercolors and vibrant oil paintings. As a very special part of the voyage, she will conduct painting classes for passengers, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for a minimal fee. Guests will also have the opportunity to attend a book-signing session with Seymour during the voyage.

"I am honored to be invited into Cunard's Insights program and to join the many special guests and luminaries who have sailed with Cunard over the years," said Jane Seymour. "I fondly recall sailing on the QE2 and am looking forward to being onboard once again in this special 175th Anniversary year."

Although she is most famous for her roles in Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, James Bond's Live and Let Die, cult classic Somewhere in Time, and the comedy smash Wedding Crashers, Seymour unleashes her creativity through many other artistic channels as well--as a designer, writer, painter and art gallery owner.

When Seymour began to explore and focus on her love of art, she created the Open Hearts symbol: two hearts connected and open on either end, which symbolize how love flows without boundaries. This symbol, now synonymous with the actress, became a jewelry line for KAY Jewelers and it also led her to start the Open Hearts Foundation, a nonprofit charity established to raise funds to enrich the lives of children in the areas of health, arts, sports and education.

Seymour's career as a writer is also driven by her Open Heart philosophy and is equally impressive. She has written over ten books including Open Hearts Family, Among Angels, Open Hearts, and Remarkable Changes, and she co-authored a series of children's books. She is the recipient of the Officer of the British Empire, an honor bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2000, and has also earned a Star on the acclaimed Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"We look forward to welcoming the versatile Jane Seymour to the Cunard Insights program. We know our guests will enjoy hearing about her significant contributions in entertainment, the lifestyle arts, and philanthropy," said Richard Meadows, president of Cunard, North America. "Her sailing will be a highlight of our 2015 Crossing season."

For 175 years, Cunard's Transatlantic Crossing has appealed to a broad range of headlining entertainers. Hollywood legends including Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant and Clark Gable frequently crossed the Atlantic on Cunard's earlier Queens, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Since Queen Mary 2's debut 10 years ago, the ship has also welcomed other film luminaries including George Lucas, Uma Thurman, John Cleese, Angela Bassett, and most recently Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola. For more information, go to

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Premier Designers Grace The Posh Boutiques Of Crystal Cruises

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4: Travelers seeking to fulfill shopping wish lists can indulge their designer dreams aboard Crystal Cruises' award-winning ships. The leading luxury cruise line recently debuted some of the runway's hottest resort collections in its onboard Apropos Boutiques, which boast an array of apparel, accessories, fine jewelry and beauty essentials. Designer collections to suit virtually any traveler's personal style include:

For Women
Classic designs from legendary designer Diane Von Furstenberg, as well as elegant casual resort pieces from Calypso St. Barth and Amita Nathaini will offer women relaxed, yet chic options for their Crystal vacation. Evening wear from red carpet mainstays Tadashi Shoji and Aidan Maddox offers elegant looks for formal evenings aboard or a night out in port.

For Men
Gentlemen can find attire perfect for a round of golf or a day exploring an ancient city from Hugo Boss' Green Label, while Armani Collezioni offers more refined looks for cocktail parties, performances and evenings spent mingling in the ship's Connoisseur Club.

Beauty & Accessories
Designer eyewear from celebrity favorites Cartier and Sama Eyewear offer styles for men and women. Ladies can further accessorize their designer duds with sleek Furla handbags or clutches from Mary Frances, who fashions her styles to reflect her own travel adventures. Alexis Bittar fashion jewelry will also be available to finish any look, along with Diptyque fragrances for men and women.

"Luxury travelers choose Crystal because they know they'll experience the finest service and amenities available at sea," says Crystal President Edie Rodriguez. "The new designer fashions are the perfect addition to the onboard luxury experience, allowing our guests to treat themselves while on vacation, without waiting to arrive at the next great shopping destination on their itinerary."

The new designer collections are the next step in onboard retail offerings, as the line has long featured high end clothing and accessories aboard its award-winning ships, from casual active wear to tuxedos and cocktail attire. Facets jewelry store on both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity features spectacular collections of fine jewelry, including diamond rings and gemstone baubles to fine Swiss timepieces from Hublot, Jaeger Lecoultre, IWC and Zenith.

Aboard the all-inclusive, luxurious Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, refined elegance meets casual simplicity. With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, the renowned Crystal experience is distinguished by classic service, abundant space, superior quality and extensive choices. Crystal sails to all seven continents, providing worldwide vacations of five to 100+ days that bridge the best of land and sea. For more information, visit

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New Video Series Kicks Off Redesign Of Carnival's Popular YouTube Channel

MIAMI, Feb. 3: Samantha Brown is the star of an engaging new video series on Carnival's YouTube channel designed to provide "cruise rookies" with all they need to know about the seagoing vacation experience, with helpful information on everything from on-board dining and activity choices to cruising with kids and frequently asked questions. The "How to Cruise With Travel Pro Samantha Brown" series is part of a revamp of the line's YouTube channel which, in addition to robust new content and a brand new look and feel, offers streamlined playlists and an optimized mobile experience while allowing consumers to more easily search for topics they're most interested in. The series will also be part of the featured content on, the line's new online travel hub with articles and videos by top travel and lifestyle bloggers focusing on destinations, culinary options, cruising tips, and more.

"Cruise content is among the fastest growing sectors within YouTube, with a 21 percent increase in viewership year-over-year and an incredible 63 percent increase in the length of viewing time," said Stephanie Evans-Greene, Carnival's vice president of brand communications. "Our Samantha Brown video series, along with our totally redesigned YouTube channel and the new Away We Go With Carnival on-line content hub, provides those interested in cruising with lots of great information about the experience presented in a way that best suits their particular viewing needs," she added.

Roughly a minute in length, the breezy and insightful "How to Cruise" videos are designed to serve as a one-stop shop to educate viewers about cruising and debunk many of the myths associated with oceangoing vacations. Shot on board Carnival Breeze, this interactive video series consists of five videos, each featuring three to five individual segments with topics ranging from what to pack and choosing an itinerary to getting your money's worth and "hacks" that every cruiser should know. Each video encourages viewers to select the next cruising topic which is displayed on screen with quick links to specific videos in the series.

"While cruising is certainly fun and affordable, not everyone has sailed before so this new series is designed to answer questions and offer some tips for making the most of your time once you're on board, all in a fun, entertaining and lighthearted way," said Brown. "And Carnival provides the perfect vehicle for 'getting your feet wet' so to speak, with ships offering so many different choices on board, as well as a wide variety of cruise durations, itinerary choices and embarkation ports," she added.

Commented Pete Johnson, executive creative director for Boston-based Arnold Worldwide, Carnival's advertising agency, "Marketing for vacations is usually filled with eye candy and inspirational content that doesn't tell you much about what the experience is really like. While it can be beautiful to look at, it's not helpful for anyone doing research. Away We Go with Carnival and the Samantha Brown series are meant to provide utility to shoppers as they begin to learn about the category, and present the experience of cruising in a more relevant and approachable way."

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SeaDream Yacht Club Celebrates Island-Hopping At Its Best

MIAMI, Feb. 3: SeaDream Yacht Club’s 112-guest twin-mega yachts have spent the winter season calling on the small ports and boutique harbors of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands. Now, as much of North America is still experiencing cold temperatures and snow, limited availability for a yachting escape is still available on Caribbean sailings. SeaDream I and SeaDream II will travel the islands through April 18 before making the crossing for their summer Mediterranean home.

“The 2015 season has taken our guests to more ports in the Caribbean than ever before.” shares President Bob Lepisto. “Having both yachts has allowed us to offer unique sailings in the region, and limited space is still available on remaining March and April sailings.”

Caribbean highlights include:

• Terre-de-Haut, Îles des Saintes: Part of the Îles des Saintes group of Islands, Terre-de-Haut offers guests one of the most picturesque locales in the world. They will also enjoy views of the sister island, Îlet à Cabrit, the main island of Guadeloupe and the volcanic La Soufrière mountain, which reaches a height of 4,810 feet.
• Charlestown, Nevis: A smaller, less commercial neighbor to St. Kitts, Nevis is a SeaDream favorite with dramatic views of the potentially active volcanic Nevis Peak. Whether exploring the island through one of the Land Adventures or relaxing on the beach, guests can experience the best of both worlds at Nevis.
• Gustavia, St. Barts: A treasured destination in the Caribbean, Gustavia is a small island in the French West Indies with incredible beaches, resorts, restaurants and activities for both day and night. Guests can discover the island through the various SeaDream adventures or simply relax and watch the incredible yachts arriving and departing from the SeaDream yacht.
• Tobago Cays: A cluster of five uninhabited islands, the Tobago Cays are home to lagoons full of green turtles, coral reefs, colorful fish and crystal clear waters. A film location of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the Tobago Cays are an awe-inspiring island destination ideal for both scuba diving and relaxing on the beach.
• Union Island, the Grenadines: Nicknamed the ‘Tahiti of the West Indies’ due to its volcanic silhouette, Union Island is the southernmost island of the Grenadines. Among the many restaurants and bars, Happy Island, a man-made island featuring a bar, sits in the middle of Clifton Harbor and is an absolute must-see for guests. Guests will also marvel at Mount Taboi, which at 999 feet above sea level is the highest peak on Union Island. Another key feature of the Union Island region is the Tobago Cays National Marine Park. The Tobago Cays are a group of small uninhabited islands surrounded by reefs, where SeaDream offers snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming.

SeaDream Yacht Club emphasizes relaxed luxury. Guests can take advantage of the SeaDream Spa, with the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea. Both SeaDream I and SeaDream II are also equipped with wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and many other watersports activities, all of which can be launched directly from the yachts’ Marina. While passengers sailing with other lines fight the crowds in larger ports, guests sailing with SeaDream Yacht Club enjoy unsurpassed experiences while visiting ports that only they can access. For more information, visit

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Royal Caribbean Begins Construction on Fourth Oasis-Class Ship

MIAMI, Feb 3: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and the third Oasis-class ship will soon have a new sister to welcome to the Oasis class family. Today marked the steel cutting for a fourth Oasis ship, scheduled to be delivered in 2018. The steel cutting, marking the official start of construction, took place at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, where the third Oasis-class ship also is being built.

The Oasis class took the cruise industry by storm with the introduction of Oasis of the Seas in 2009, featuring a revolutionary design with a split superstructure and the cruise line’s neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas. At 225,282 GRT and spanning 16 decks with 2,700 staterooms, the Oasis-class ships also introduced extraordinary “firsts” at sea such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide bar, the AquaTheater high-diving performance venue, and the Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants. The Oasis class also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H2O Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others.

Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas sail alternating seven-night Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries every Saturday and Sunday, respectively from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting exciting warm-weather getaways in the Caribbean. During the 2015 Europe season, Allure of the Seas will be homeported at Barcelona, Spain, for the first full Oasis-class Europe season.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Details of the two Oasis-class ships currently under construction will be revealed in the coming months.

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Unprecedented Collection of Suites to Debut Aboard Seven Seas Explorer

MIAMI, Feb. 3: Regent Seven Seas Cruises revealed details on all ten categories of suites that will be offered on Seven Seas Explorer. While each category of suite provides a unique luxurious look, all exhibit the same level of elegance, design and comfort as the ship’s premier suite, the highly acclaimed, 3,875 square-foot Regent Suite.

Seven Seas Explorer, the world’s most luxurious ship, will offer a total of 375 spacious suites featuring the largest verandas in the cruise industry. Each suite is intricately designed with lavish details to provide guests with an ambiance that exudes luxury while also offering a warm and comfortable respite. European king-sized Suite Slumber Beds with sumptuous linens adorn the bedrooms, and oversized bathrooms are highlighted by rich marble and decorative tile.

All suites onboard Seven Seas Explorer include a private balcony, with a remarkable 93 percent of the verandas extending beyond 83 square-feet, offering a spacious outdoor oasis for guests to enjoy the scenic vistas and ocean breezes in total comfort. Catering to the varied vacation needs of sophisticated world travelers, the all-suite ship features accommodations that range from the impeccably designed 307 square-foot entry-level Veranda Suite, to the exquisite and lavish 3,875 square-foot Regent Suite. The selection of the suites on Seven Seas Explorer include:

Top Tier Suites
The Master, Grand, Explorer, Seven Seas and Penthouse Suites represent the 85 named suites aboard Seven Seas Explorer. In addition to all the amenities currently included on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, guests booked in a named suite for the inaugural Mediterranean season are entitled to complimentary business class air, one-night pre-cruise five-star hotel package, free unlimited internet access and personal butler service.

Master Suite: With its chic Park Avenue style, replete with rosewood polished furniture and crystal chandeliers, this two-bedroom suite features a modern sophisticated and elegant design. Located at the bow of the ship on decks seven and eight, the four Master Suites measure between 1,900 and 2,100 square-feet and boast a spacious living area with a bar for entertaining and balconies up to 1,000 square-feet. Adjacent to each bedroom, guests will find ornate marble and stone bathrooms with shower and tub.
Grand Suite & Explorer Suite: Sister suites, the Grand and Explorer Suites share a common design element with striking high-contrast emerald accents blended perfectly with the rich grey, brown and cream décor elements. Both suites feature two full baths, and living areas with rich marble mosaics, exotic woods and unique furniture pieces based on haute couture fashion. The Grand Suite ranges up to 1,800 square-feet and offers an expansive private balcony, while the Explorer Suite stretches to 1,350 square-feet and features a slightly larger living space.
Seven Seas Suite: Famed designer Dakota Jackson created the glamorous look for the Seven Seas Suite. This suite offers between 825 and 925square-feet of luxurious space, and exudes a cosmopolitan apartment feel with vibrant golden colored ceiling accents that reflect on the plush and tony furnishings. The room flows effortlessly from living room to dining area to bedroom, with sliding glass doorways leading to the spacious private balcony throughout. A magnificent white marble bathroom sits adjacent to the oversized bedroom.
Penthouse Suite: The sumptuous and alluring sapphire jewel inspired Penthouse Suites range up to 625 square-feet with a stylish entertainment center that separates the living room and bedroom. A marble-topped bar and intimate dining area welcomes guests upon entering the suite, as the sumptuous living room beckons them to move further into the suite. Sliding glass doorways in both the bedroom and living room lead to an oversized balcony with chic outdoor furnishings.

Concierge Suites
The Concierge suites account for a majority of the accommodations aboard Seven Seas Explorer, with a total of 140 suites in this category. In addition to all the amenities currently included on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, guests booked in a Concierge suite are entitled to one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel package, complimentary internet packages and priority access to book shore excursions and specialty dining.

The Concierge suite provides guests with a spacious floor plan, measuring up to 460 square-feet, with a unique layout featuring a European king-sized Suite Slumber Bed that faces outwards towards the veranda. The expansive balcony stretches the entire width of the room and comes appointed with plush outdoor furnishings. A decorative vanity sits adjacent to the bed and the living area provides ample space to refresh and relax.

Superior Suites
The 415 square-foot Superior Suites were inspired by the regal beachfront estate homes found in the Hamptons with cool blue, brown and white color palate. This suite shares the same design and layout as the Concierge suites with the bed facing towards outdoor veranda and looking over the spacious living area.

Veranda Suites
The Deluxe Veranda and Veranda Suites on Seven Seas Explorer are 340 and 310 square feet respectively, placing them among the most spacious entry-level staterooms at sea. The Veranda Suites feature a warm and welcoming island manor feel and boasts a separate sitting area with a couch, coffee table and a marble-top vanity.

About Seven Seas Explorer
At 56,000 gross-registered tons and carrying just 750 guests, Seven Seas Explorer will boast one of the highest space ratios in the cruise industry and an exceptionally high staff-to-guest ratio, further strengthening Regent Seven Seas Cruises' widely recognized position as the leader in the luxury cruise segment. World-renowned architectural interior design firms Tillberg Design AB, RTKL Associates and ICRAVE are designing the vessel. Seven Seas Explorer will join the rest of the award-winning Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet in the summer of 2016.

Reservations for Seven Seas Explorer’s July 20, 2016 maiden voyage and inaugural season opened on Jan. 19, 2015 exclusively for Seven Seas Society members and will become widely available starting Feb. 4, 2015. For more information,visit

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Cunard & Blue Note Records Announce Musical Partnership

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Feb. 3: Cunard and venerable jazz label Blue Note Records are proud to announce an exciting entertainment partnership, which will debut on Cunard's flagship, Queen Mary 2, on October 29, 2015. Guests onboard will embark on a very special Transatlantic Crossing, featuring intimate jazz performances by the Blue Note 75(th) Anniversary All Star Band, Our Point of View, formed for the label's milestone anniversary in 2014. The supergroup celebrates the vitality of Blue Note by looking ahead and assembling leading young artists on the Blue Note roster who steadfastly continue to move jazz forward. Featuring keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Kendrick Scott, the band's repertoire draws from each of these artists' own remarkable catalogs as well new spins on Blue Note classics.

President of Blue Note Records, Don Was, who himself is a celebrated musician and Grammy(®) Award winning producer for Bonnie Raitt and the Rolling Stones, will also sail on the voyage and participate in Q&A sessions. Jazz lovers can look forward to two more special cruises in 2016, and Don will personally hand pick those artists from Blue Note Record's renowned group of musicians. Don commented: "Cunard and Blue Note have accumulated 200 years of excellence and integrity in their respective fields - we're going to have a ball!"

This unique partnership celebrates the two historic, yet innovative, industry leaders. Founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion, Blue Note Records is the most revered and longest running jazz label in the world. Embarking on its 175(th) anniversary in 2015, Cunard was the first to offer regularly scheduled Transatlantic service and has been carrying guests between continents with luxury, sophistication and sense of occasion ever since.

"We are thrilled to work with such an iconic record label and bring the legendary Blue Note sounds of jazz to our guests," said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. "We are dedicated to offering memorable entertainment experiences while maintaining the integrity of Cunard's rich heritage, and this partnership truly personifies that commitment."

Through the decades, Blue Note Records has recorded countless legends including Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones and Van Morrison.

Cunard is known for offering guests unique access to some of the most beloved musicians and entertainers in the world, including James Taylor, Carly Simon, and the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Guests on upcoming jazz voyages will rub shoulders with the jazz greats of today, and be treated to a series of unforgettable live performances in elegant Queen Mary 2 spaces including the world class Royal Court Theatre, with special evening performances in the ship's Illuminations theatre. For more information, visit

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Freedom of the Seas Completes Reviltalization

MIAMI, Feb. 2: Re-emerging from a 24-day drydock at Grand Bahama Shipyard, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas returned into service this weekend to offer vacationers one of the best cruise ships for incredible Caribbean’s adventures. The ship showcased its new features to more than 1,700 of the cruise line’s value travel agent partners on an exclusive two-night sailing before embarking on its first regular itinerary on Sunday, Feb. 1.

The newly revitalized Freedom of the Seas will amaze guests with a range of new tantalizing dining options, new staterooms categories, the new retro-chic R Bar lounge, and a bow-to-stern refresh of the entire ship’s furnishings. Freedom of the Seas continues Royal Caribbean’s 45-year history of taking vacationers aboard the world’s most innovative cruise ships to some of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean. Throughout, the cruise line keeps pushing the boundaries of cruise vacations and has been recognized with the most awards in the industry.

Freedom of the Seas is the largest and most innovative cruise ship sailing from Port Canaveral and offers seven-night Caribbean roundtrip itineraries from Central Florida’s Space Coast. Vacationers can choose an Eastern Caribbean adventure, which calls at St. Thomas, St. Maarten and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private tropical island in The Bahamas. On a Western Caribbean sailing, guests call at Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise in northern Haiti.

The first of the Freedom class of ships, Freedom of the Seas also was the first to introduce a FlowRider surf simulator at sea, just one of the many features found only on Royal Caribbean. The FlowRider surf simulator still remains an icon of the cruise line, as well as the rock climbing wall, first introduced on the cruise line’s Voyager class ships. Also on the top deck, guests can enjoy the ship’s full-sized basketball court, nine-hole mini-golf course, 42-feet high rock-climbing wall, the H2O Zone kids aquapark, and an oversized LED movie screen overlooking the family pool.

Guests also have a range of nine onboard dining options offering delectable experiences, including the new specialty dining experiences like the modern, authentic and unexpected Mexican specialty restaurant Sabor; a new Chops Grille: The New American Steakhouse, offering a completed revamped and elevated menu, featuring dry-aged steak options, the finest cuts of beef available only in top steakhouses around the world; a new Giovanni’s Table serving delicious Italian favorites, family style; as well as the classic Johnny Rockets 50s-style restaurant serving gourmet hamburgers and milk shakes.

An additional 67 new staterooms also have been added to Freedom of the Seas during its recent drydock. Among the new staterooms is a new category of Panoramic Ocean View staterooms located atop the front of the ship. Panoramic Ocean View staterooms feature a floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall window to offer guests expansive, unobstructed vistas of ports and sea.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Awards Rainforest Adventures Saint Lucia Elite Shore Excursions Foundations
 as ‘Caribbean's Leading Tour Operator’

Feb. 2, Chassin, St Lucia: Rainforest Adventures St Lucia Elite Shore Excursions Foundation has been recognized by Carnival Cruise Line as the 2014 ‘Caribbean's Leading Tour Operator’. When determining the winner of the prestigious award, Carnival Cruise Line considers all aspects of the touring industry. By winning the award amongst all other Caribbean competitors, Elite Shore Excursions Foundation was commended for their achievement of being the leading provider of shore excursions, their reputation for first-class service, and strong leadership qualities.

“We are honored to accept this award and we will strive to continue to bring top-notch service to our guests,” says Barbara Louis, general manager of Rainforest Adventures St Lucia. “We have a long-standing relationship with Carnival Cruise Lines, having welcomed thousands of their guests to our parks, and look forward to working with them to showcase the sustainable practices we offer for shore excursions.”

Rainforest Adventures St Lucia is set in the highland community of Chassin, on the northeastern part of the island. Dedicated to ecotourism, the team at St Lucia takes great care to preserve and protect the rainforest by closely observing government legislation and creating unique educational experiences to promote environmental consciousness and conserve at-risk natural resources.

With many tours to choose from, including bird-watching, hiking or the tranopy (chairlift style experience at the height of the rainforest canopy), there is plenty for explorers to see and do. Whether they grab a pair of binoculars and learn about St Lucia’s vibrant birdlife; take a 3.5-hour trek on the Jacquot Trail; or head off on a tranopy tour – a combination of three activities: a zipline adventure, an aerial tram ride and a nature hike each experience at the park encourages guests to learn and experience the conservation efforts underway to maintain a habitat for the endemic species of the island.

The Rainforest Adventures St Lucia location offers its guests a number of packages, including Eco-Learning for nature-lovers, Wedding in the Sky for those looking to tie the knot in style, Family Fun for visitors with kids in tow and private treks for groups or for those with special needs.
For more information, visit

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MSC Cruises Enhances Wedding Program In The Caribbean

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Feb. 2: Couples sailing aboard the ultramodern MSC Divina, one of MSC Cruises' largest and most elegant ships, can now legally say "I Do," with the cruise line's enhanced wedding offerings. MSC Cruises is offering couples the option of getting married shipboard or shoreside in several Caribbean destinations, including: Bridgetown, Barbados; Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Falmouth, Jamaica; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Couples can also get married on embarkation day in Miami.

"As destination and cruise weddings continue to gain popularity, we are thrilled that we can now offer guests the opportunity to legally get married shipboard or shoreside," said Bonnie Levengood, senior vice president of marketing for MSC Cruises USA. "MSC Divina is a gorgeous ship and is an ideal wedding location for a couple looking to hold a unique event which combines celebration, fun, and relaxation into one special package at an extraordinary value."

Partnering with The Wedding Experience, MSC Cruises' event planners will work with couples to handle all the details of planning the wedding or vow renewal, including providing a wedding consultant leading up to the wedding and a ceremony coordinator the day of. Ceremonies and receptions on MSC Divina are completely customizable with options for everything from photography and videography packages, music, fresh flowers, food and beverage packages, specialty items such as favors and aisle runners, transportation for shoreside events, and personalized stationary for announcements and invitations.

As an extra benefit, couples booking groups of at least 13 staterooms will receive a complimentary balcony stateroom. Those booking larger groups will receive a complimentary suite (30+ rooms in group) or Yacht Club (50+ rooms in group) stateroom. The ship also offers a wide-variety of locations for romantic photo opportunities with the most popular locations including a traditional photo along one of the Swarovski crystal staircases and a trendy photo by The Garden infinity pool overlooking the ship's wake.

MSC Divina is the first ship in MSC Cruises' fleet to offer legal weddings. Ceremonies onboard can accommodate up to 150 non-sailing guests. Basic packages, which include items such as a pre-sailing Event Manager, local non-denominational Wedding Officiate, Wedding Day Ceremony Coordinator, bridal bouquet and boutonniere, cake for two, bottle of sparkling champagne or wine, and 1-hour of photography coverage, start at $1,600 for a shipboard event and $2,200 for a shoreside event, depending on the location of the wedding. For more information of MSC Weddings and Vow Renewal program visit

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Carnival Corporation Takes People 'Back to the Sea' in First-Ever Super Bowl TV Commercial

MIAMI, Feb. 1: Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest travel and leisure company, tonight aired its first-ever Super Bowl TV commercial entitled "Come Back to the Sea," a 60-second spot combining stunning cinematic images of the ocean and stirring words from President John F. Kennedy to create an emotional storyline about people's universal connection with the sea.

"We are tied to the ocean... and when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it ... we are going back from whence we came," President Kennedy says in his distinctive voice heard by viewers as they see illuminating scenes of the ocean's natural beauty. In the commercial's full voice-over, representing a short clip from his speech kicking off the 1962 America's Cup, the President's remarks describe the emotional and innate connection that people have with the sea.

The "Come Back to the Sea" spot was produced to create a personal connection with consumers, especially those who have never taken a cruise vacation, a key target audience for Carnival Corporation's 2015 marketing initiative designed to increase interest in and demand for cruising. The "Come Back to the Sea" ad is now available at and on YouTube's AdBlitz channel, along with the other spots from tonight's game, for consumer voting.

"We worked with true passion to bring this creative concept to life with reverence and elegance to strike a chord with consumers, and we are proud to share it on the world's biggest stage," said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation. "Our existing guests already know that each time they go back to the sea on one of our ships, it is a unique experience that helps them connect in a special way with themselves, family, friends and the world. We wanted to convey that same feeling with people who have never cruised by showing the magnificence of the sea and its special place in our lives, and why cruising is a great way to relax, reconnect and recharge."

Donald added: "Our overall goal is to successfully share that cruising is not what some people think it is, and to debunk untrue common myths that keep people from taking a cruise. We want to start among those who haven't cruised a conversation about why cruising is such a great vacation, at an exceptional value, and why cruising is an option to consider when planning a vacation. And, since we have nine distinctive brands that sail 100 ships to more than 700 ports around the world, we have a cruise that's right for just about everybody."

To capture the essence of cruising and showcase the experience of going back to the sea, Hollywood director Wally Pfister and the BBDO-Atlanta creative team shot for nine days in Barcelona, Spain, including five days onboard the Regal Princess ship, the newest ship in the company's Princess Cruises line. Gathering breath-taking visuals of the open sea and unique moments in time from cruise vacations, the team produced a story that translates the unique and intangible experience of re-connecting with the sea into a 60-second commercial. Drawing on a wealth of storytelling expertise, Pfister and the team created a film-quality, documentary-style final spot with powerful visuals to help evoke an emotional response from viewers.

"When creating a commercial of this kind, we knew we had a big task ahead of us because we aren't just asking consumers to purchase a product or widget, but instead, we are hoping to move them to feel a certain way about cruising," said Pfister, the Hollywood cinematographer known for his work on Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy and director of the Carnival Corporation ad. "With this particular spot, we wanted to transcend the so-called typical cruise commercial and create something that felt as visually powerful as the weight of the words being delivered by our former President. We worked with great care to bring these beautiful images together with his speech about the sea in a meaningful and respectful way, and we hope the quality and emotions of the piece really resonate with viewers."

This final commercial was one of four fully produced ads created as part of the company's recently launched "World's Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge" that gave consumers across North America the chance to provide Carnival Corporation with input on its new advertising creative. Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, this interactive crowdsourcing contest let consumers "join the company's marketing team" and vote for their favorite creative concept with a chance to win a grand prize of a yearly cruise for life. More than 100,000 consumers voted on the ads and participated in the contest. The winner of the cruise a year for life prize will be announced next week.

The "Come Back to the Sea" spot featured during the Super Bowl is part of Carnival Corporation's multi-brand marketing initiative that for the first time incorporates all nine of its global brands. Three other advertisements from the Carnival's marketing initiative, "Getaway," "Cruise Virgin" and "Message in a Bottle," are available on, on the Carnival Corporation YouTube page and on the World's Leading Cruise Lines YouTube page.

Together, these ads have totaled nearly four million views on YouTube. The ads will be used on multiple platforms throughout the year including television, digital and social to drive increased awareness, consideration and demand for cruising. As part of Carnival Corporation's marketing effort, consumers can use as a hub for new tools, functionality and content from the company's nine brands. This includes the popular new "CRUISE-A-NALITY" tool, which helps people decide what type of cruise vacation and brand experience is right for them based on a series of personality-focused questions. In addition, Carnival Corporation is encouraging travelers to contact a travel agent, who can offer valuable insight about cruising and how to help find the right cruise.

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