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Cruise News
February 1-29, 2016

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

Royal Caribbean Unveils New Adventures To Alaska For Summer 2017

MIAMI, Feb 26: For the 28th consecutive season, Royal Caribbean International will return to the Great Frontier, delivering the world’s best vacation for adventure seekers, set against the backdrop of America’s most picturesque shoreline landscape. Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas will each sail seven-night itineraries that bring the awe-inspiring Alaskan seascape to life and the state’s rugged mysterious interior within reach to become real world adventures. Explorer of the Seas sails roundtrip from Seattle, and Radiance of the Seas sails from Vancouver, BC to Seward, AK and then from Seward, AK to Vancouver, BC. All itineraries open for sale on Feb. 26. Globetrotters eager to plan their 2017 summer travels will reap the benefits of complimentary upgrades as an incentive for early booking, in addition to the promotional offerings already underway.

New in 2017, two 12-night cruisetours exclusive to Royal Caribbean guests will take travelers to roads less traveled both with overnight stays in scenic Alaskan escapes before or after their cruise. The Kantishna Select Wilderness & Wildlife cruisetour unleashes the traveler’s adventurous spirit to explore Denali’s unspoiled wilderness with local experts. Guests hike the Exit Glacier, go on a kayak and bike adventure at Eklutna Lake and travel by rail from the Denali National Park and Preserve to Fairbanks. The cruisetour includes two nights of exclusive accommodations at a Kantishna backcountry lodge, amongst the finest wilderness lodges in the state, immediately after the cruise vacation. Nestled in an idyllic setting on the bend of a river, the lodge touts an inherent sense of history from deep within the National Park. The Katmai Bear Trek & Kantishna Fly Over cruisetour will bring to life the most sought after Alaska experience, the chance to witness the notorious American Brown Bear hunting in its natural habitat with an extraordinary close and unobstructed view in the Katmai Park and Preserve. Adventure-seekers taking part in the cruisetour will have two nights in Denali or Anchorage, before or after the cruise respectively, to explore these frontier destinations.

Alaska Adventure Collection
Known for unexpected experiences found only on Royal Caribbean, the cruise line continues to transform the cruise experience by offering innovative ships combined with active immersive adventures in incredible destinations around the world. And there is no place like Alaska where the possibilities of discovery are uncovered traveling through forests, amidst gardens, over glaciers, up mountain passes and across lakes. Vacationers have a vast array of destinations and excursions to add to their “must see and do” lists, including:

• Icy Straight Point: The world’s longest zipline with a 1,320 ft. vertical drop, the ZipRider transports brave riders from mountain peak to harbor-side beach at 60 mph.
• Juneau: Bald eagles, bears, caribou, and sea lions, are part of the Alaska Big 5 wildlife list, but whale watching in Stephen’s Passage is one of the most awe-inspiring wildlife experiences ever. Guests can enjoy this all-new shore excursion that brings them up-close-and-personal with humpback whales, sea lions, harbor seals, and more.
• Ketchikan: The largest wilderness in Alaska is the 2.3 million acre Misty Fjords which captures the breathtaking landscape from glacial blue lakes to waterfalls, rising to snowcapped peaks. The floatplane aerial view reveals the nuances of nature’s color palette and textures, awarding the bragging rights travelers relish.
• Skagway: This town is so associated with the exhilaration of the Gold Rush that the town has become synonymous with rugged adventure. Travelers can take in the Tongass National Rainforest from the comfort of 4x4 vehicles or visit Musher’s Camp for a hands-on lesson in dog sledding.
• Victoria, BC: The 100 year old Buchart Gardens is one of Canada’s National Historic Sites having grown from a single rose bush to a verdant 55-acre oasis. Guests can enjoy self-guided tours of this enchanting botanical display.

Explorer of the Seas, the 15-deck, 1,557-stateroom ship which accommodates 3,840 guests was revitalized in 2015 to bring signature Royal Caribbean innovations like the FlowRider surf simulator, virtual balconies for interior staterooms and a variety of new dining experiences onboard.

Radiance of the Seas, the 13-deck, 1,071-stateroom ship accommodating 2,466 guests offers a 220 sq. foot, poolside movie screen, in addition to the signature rock-climbing wall, spa and multiple dining venues for which the cruise line is known.

For additional information, visit

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Silversea's Diving Expedition Cruises Will Visit Some of Scuba's Best Diving Sites

Miami, Feb 25: Silversea Expeditions has unveiled its collection of Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages for 2016 and 2017, offering diving enthusiasts the chance to delve underwater and explore some of the world's most remote destinations at top diving sites in the western Pacific and Indian oceans. The 120-guest, all-suite Silver Discoverer, the latest addition to the line's expedition fleet, will feature 20 voyages offering exciting scuba diving opportunities for experienced divers in such regions as the Maldives, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Palau archipelago, and the Andaman Islands, which have been celebrated as some of the world's most spectacular diving hot spots, featuring hidden caves, tunnels, and an astonishing spectrum of coral fish and rare sea creatures. The diving program is fully complimentary.

"We're delighted to offer our guests the opportunity to explore remote destinations both on land and underwater with this unique series of expedition voyages," said Mark Conroy, Silversea's managing director for the Americas. "The Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages are designed to provide the most awe-inspiring deep sea adventures, but also include incredible destinations for snorkeling and onshore hiking explorations."

In addition to an onboard dive master, these unique itineraries will feature a team of experts, including marine biologists, environmentalists, ecologists, and geologists, who will enlighten guests with their extensive knowledge of these amazing regions. Following is a small sampling of upcoming Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages aboard Silver Discoverer:

Australia (Great Barrier Reef) & Indonesia; Cairns to Balikpapan, 14 Days, Oct. 4-18
Myanmar & Andaman Islands; Phuket to Maldives, 15 Days, Dec. 2-17
Maldives, Seychelles (*Aldabra) & Africa; Maldives to Dar es Salaam, 17 Days, Dec. 17-Jan. 3
(*Itinerary is highlighted by a rare visit to the remote coral atoll of Aldabra. Virtually untouched by humans and teeming with marine life, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world's largest atolls, and a pristine home to thousands of giant tortoises.)

Indonesia & Palau Archipelago; Darwin to Koror, 14 Days, May 26-Jun. 9
Australia (Great Barrier Reef) & Indonesia; Cairns to Bali, 14 Days, Nov. 9-23

The program is complimentary, but space is limited. Guests will need an Advanced Open Water Diver license or equivalent to participate. Guests must bring their own BCD vests and regulators. Silversea will provide the weight belts, tanks, masks, and fins free of charge on board Silver Discoverer. For further details and a complete list of the Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages, visit

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Vantage Deluxe World Travel Launches the Latest in Luxury Travle with ms River Voyager

Boston, Feb 25: Vantage Deluxe World Travel is delighted to announce the launch of luxury riverboat cruise ship the ms River Voyager, hitting European waters this March. Inaugural sailings take place March 10, March 21 and March 28, 2016. The 6-star ship introduces a new standard of luxury travel, from the canals of Amsterdam to the majesty of Bucharest.

The state-of-the-art 442-foot vessel was constructed by TeamCo Shipyard, a leading ship builder based in The Netherlands. It carries 176 passengers, fewer than other ships of the same size, offering a spacious atmosphere with more room per person throughout the ship. The passenger-to-crew ratio is better than four-to-one, ensuring that travelers always get the service and attention they deserve. Passengers will enjoy a selection of 92 plush cabins, most with floor-to-ceiling windows opening to private balconies, for scenic views without having to leave the comforts of their rooms.

Additional features include a Solaris deck with a track for walking and jogging, massage therapy salon, fitness room, reading room, and the Voyager’s jazz-themed Blue Note lounge for nightly entertainment. The ship also provides complimentary bicycles for sightseeing and more. Wireless internet is provided along with GPS tracking so passengers can follow the ship’s journey in real time. Meals are curated by Vantage’s European-trained chefs, and highlight delicious American and European cuisine. Single seating dining also includes nightly featured wines.

“The ms River Voyager is the most impressive member of our international fleet yet and reflects the award-winning travel standards Vantage delivers to its customers year after year,” said Henry R. Lewis, CEO of Vantage Deluxe World Travel. “This new ship and our itineraries truly represent the best of luxury travel.”

Passengers will experience some of the world’s most enchanting landscapes, from castle-dotted hillsides to iconic European gems like Cologne, Speyer and Strasbourg. Travelers will also be exposed to unforgettable cultural experiences, including themed cruises with specialty tours, concerts and visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites. Whether passengers are interested in seeking out great works of art, such as paintings by Van Gogh and the Dutch Masters at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum; historical treasures like the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral; or fine wines, including crisp whites from the Rhine and Moselle river valleys, the Voyager has something for everyone. Vantage’s new Family Travel cruises even offer itineraries geared for all generations in a family, with special activities and excursions, language lessons, and more for children and teens. The full range of itineraries for 2016 and 2017 are available now at:

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Disney Cruise Line Debuts New Menu Items at Palo Specialty Restaurant

CELEBRATION, FL: The enticing flavors and rich culinary traditions of Italy take center-stage once again at Palo, the signature adult-exclusive restaurant aboard every Disney Cruise Line ship. New menu items revisit the restaurant’s Italian roots with the addition of regional recipes, authentic ingredients and time-honored techniques. Paired with sweeping ocean views and an intimate, romantic atmosphere—and perhaps a glass of wine from the restaurant’s extensive reserve wine list—the new offerings expand upon the superlative dining experience and delectable cuisine at Palo.

New Wine Pairing Menu
Culinary connoisseurs seeking an epicurean journey at sea will delight in the Esperienza del Vino wine pairing menu. Featuring six courses, each expertly paired with a glass of wine or spirit, the pairing menu boasts all-new dishes for a fresh take on a guest-favorite experience.

The evening begins with savory coppa (thinly sliced cured pork neck) on dressed fava beans, garnished with sharp pecorino cheese and micro celery. A refreshing Venetian Bellini made with sparkling Prosecco, ripe white peaches and a hint of raspberry is a fitting aperitif. With appetites whet and palates prepped, four courses follow: gnocchi with nutty cep mushroom sauce; poached white asparagus with smoked anchovies, quail egg and truffle oil; sea bass with spinach and buckwheat. The finale of the savory dishes is beef striploin—aged for 25 days, seared and roasted with rosemary—thinly sliced and served with dressed arugula.

Samples from Italy’s renowned vineyards highlight each course, aptly selected to amplify the senses. In order: Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvee Brut, a rich blend of 30 distinctive wines; dry, flowery Elena Walch Gewurztraminer from the northern province of South Tyrol; La Scolca Gavi dei Gavi Black Label, crisp and acidic with undertones of almond and lime; and full-bodied Antinori Tignanello Marchesi, a potent Tuscan red with notes of spice, fruit, oak, licorice and rosemary.

A decadent denouement comes in the form of creamy mascarpone mousse, enclosed in a delicate white chocolate dome and served atop fluffy rhubarb and grappa sponge cake in a bed of sweet consommé jelly. The dish is elegantly garnished with a floral and fruity flourish, and a soft Alexander Platinum Grappa leaves only satisfied sighs in its wake.

New Dinner Selections
The newest iteration of the Palo menu celebrates the world-renowned cuisine of Italy, the birthplace of international necessities like Parmesan cheese.

A stand-out addition to the dinner selection is a whole roasted chicken, marinated for 24 hours in lemon, sea salt and rosemary. Beautifully presented in a copper serving dish with roasted baby vegetables, asparagus and potatoes, the entree is topped with a Barolo wine reduction typical to the mountainous region of Piedmont in the northwest. Intended for sharing, this dish serves two.

From the seafood selection, a piquant Dover sole is fileted tableside and served with regional staples like capers, anchovies, sundried tomatoes and thyme potatoes. An exquisite Prosecco and black truffle reduction gives new life to classic sea scallops. And, returning to the menu with a new twist, seared ahi tuna steak is prepared with blanched green beans, roasted new potatoes, and peppered quail eggs.

Sweet endings are a Palo specialty, and the enhanced dessert menu includes a variety of warm, cold, sweet and tangy offerings. These include light, creamy tiramisu—a coffee-infused classic—and a limoncello tart for a refreshing pop of citrus. One thing that hasn’t changed is the signature Palo chocolate soufflé, prepared fresh to-order and served piping hot with luscious vanilla bean and chocolate sauces, plus a scoop of ice cream for good measure.

Reservations are required for all Palo dining experiences and can be booked online or onboard. There is a $30 per person charge for dinner, plus the cost of alcoholic beverages, and the Esperienza del Vino wine pairing experience is an additional $59 per person. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit

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Carlos PenaVega Jives With Royal Caribbean to Debut Grease Aboard Harmony of the Seas

MIAMI, Feb 25: It’s more than summer lovin’ for Carlos PenaVega and Royal Caribbean International. The actor, singer and loyal Royal Caribbean cruise-goer is setting his sights on the spring when he will further his connection to the beloved musical and film Grease, this time for its debut on the Royal Caribbean stage. Broadway’s hit musical Grease is the headline show onboard Harmony of the Seas, the cruise line’s newest ship, and PenaVega will be onboard to host celebratory activities when the ship launches in May 2016.

The all-new, never-before-seen stage production, specially adapted by Royal Caribbean Productions, will boast a soundtrack of crowd favorites such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Born to Hand-Jive,” “Beauty School Dropout” and more.

As part of PenaVega’s partnership with Royal Caribbean he’ll lead a number of Grease-inspired special activities onboard Harmony of the Seas during inaugural events in Southampton, England. These include teaching guests the hand jive, presiding over a dance competition, giving an exclusive performance of “Greased Lightnin’,” and more. Additional information will be available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, guests can stay up-to-date on all aspects of Harmony of the Seas by visiting

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Seabourn Announces Combination Voyages in Europe this Summer

SEATTLE, Feb 24: Seabourn is offering a wide selection of Combination Voyages in Europe this summer, featuring added savings and extensive opportunities for travelers to explore more of Europe, from the beautiful coastlines of the French, Spanish and Italian Rivieras to the picturesque Greek Isles to the stunning Norwegian fjords. Guests who combine two or more cruises will receive additional savings of up to 15 percent.

"Many of our Europe cruises are designed as 7-day cruises but are combinable for two to four weeks allowing guests to create itineraries that are very rich in port content," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president of global marketing and sales. "Our combination voyages are ideal for travelers seeking to visit many beautiful destinations throughout the Mediterranean and Northern Europe."

Examples of Seabourn's Combination Voyages in Europe 2016 include:

• Seabourn Odyssey is offering 14-day European Combination Cruises in the eastern Mediterranean. The Aegean Odyssey sails roundtrip from Athens (Piraeus), Greece to Barcelona, Spain on May 28, June 25, July 23, August 20, Sept 17 and Oct 15, 2016, calling at 13 ports and featuring Seabourn's exclusive Evening at Ephesus complimentary shore event. The 14-day Adriatic & Aegean Isles cruises depart Venice to Istanbul on June 18, July 16, August 13, Sept 10 and Oct 8, 2016, featuring 13 port visits, the line's Evening at Ephesus event, as well as a planned Marina Day at Primosten, Croatia on the Dalmatian Coast.
In the Western Mediterranean, Seabourn Sojourn is offering a 21-day Mediterranean Nights voyage roundtrip from Monte Carlo. Departing August 11 and Oct 6, 2016, Seabourn Sojourn will visit 18 charming ports and towns along the Spanish and French Rivieras, the stunning Amalfi Coast in Italy, and idyllic islands such as Malta, Corsica and Sardinia. In addition, two Marina Days are planned at Amalfi and San Remo, Italy.
In Northern Europe, Seabourn Quest will offer 21-day Combination voyages between Stockholm and Copenhagen on May 21, May 28, June 18 and June 25, 2016. These voyages will explore the majestic fjords of Norway, and the best of Scandinavia and the Baltic, offering scenic Fjord cruising and three days in St. Petersburg. These cruises will also feature the line's popular "Ventures by Seabourn" excursions, an innovative optional program of Zodiac and kayak excursions led by Seabourn Quest's expedition team of respected naturalists, science, wildlife and historical experts. Available at select ports, Ventures by Seabourn will lead guests through picturesque waterways and fjords, secluded inlets and to scenic islands via sturdy, stable Zodiac inflatable boats or paddling in double sea kayaks launched from the unique fold-out water sports marina.

In addition, Seabourn's 2016 Europe season will include stops at a number of ports that are home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These itineraries will offer optional World Heritage Tours to visit these historic sites, as well as special Discovery Tours, featuring exclusive enhanced content developed in cooperation with UNESCO World Heritage site managers and tour experts.

The Europe season will offer many of the line's signature and unique experiences. In various ports throughout the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, the three ships will feature the popular "Shopping with the Chef" excursion, where a small group of guests accompany the executive chef to local markets to learn about local produce and see how the freshest ingredients are selected to create exquisite dishes onboard. Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Odyssey will offer the hallmark "Marina Day" experience, featuring complimentary watersports from the ships' fold-out watersports platform at some of the most scenic ports in the Mediterranean. In addition, many of Seabourn Odyssey's itineraries will include Kusadasi, Turkey, featuring Seabourn's signature complimentary Evening at Ephesus, a private classical concert in the ancient ruins under the stars.

The three ships garnered rave reviews and acclaim as "game changers" for the luxury cruise segment when they entered service beginning with Seabourn Odyssey in 2009, and followed by Seabourn Sojourn in 2010 and Seabourn Quest in 2011. The ships offer key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, most with verandas; superb dining in a choice of venues; open bars throughout the ship; fine wines poured at lunch and dinner; award-winning personalized service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere. At 32,000 tons and carrying just 458 guests each, the ships provide one of the highest ratios of space per guest in the industry and unmatched levels of personalized service from nearly one staff member per guest. For additional information or reservations about Seabourn's 2016 Europe season, please contact a professional travel advisor, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Carnival Magic To Undergo Multi-Million Dollar Renovation That Will Add Exciting Dining & Bar Concepts

MIAMI, Feb 23: In preparation for its Space Coast debut this spring, the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that will add a variety of exciting dining and bar innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, Pizzeria del Capitano, and the Alchemy Bar. Currently sailing from Galveston, Texas, Carnival Magic will reposition to Port Canaveral, Florida, in April 2016 to begin year-round Caribbean departures from that port.

“Carnival Magic is already a groundbreaking ship—it was the first to feature our popular Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub and SportSquare outdoor recreation facility—and with these new features we’re making this spectacular floating resort even better,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Following this extensive refurbishment, Carnival Magic will offer even more exciting on-board choices for travel agents to market to their clients,” she added.

The two-week dry dock will take place from Feb. 21 to March 6, 2016, and will add new spaces, including:

• Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries in an atmosphere that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture
• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside bar offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red
• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor watering hole offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool
• Pizzeria del Capitano: an expansion of the line’s Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian eatery offering five varieties of hand-tossed artisanal-style pizza, all available free of charge 24 hours a day
• Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails

All of these new spaces complement the Carnival Magic’s array of on-board features, including the SportSquare outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course offering views to the sea 150 feet below; a 22,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa with a thalassotherapy pool, thermal suite and 17 private treatment rooms; the RedFrog Pub where guests can enjoy a frosty brew while soaking up the bar’s Key West meets British West Indies vibe; a massive WaterWorks aqua park highlighted by a 312-foot-long Twister slide; the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez offering both family-friendly and adult performances; and a Serenity adults-only retreat.

The ship also offers a variety of family-friendly options, including expansive modern spaces for kids in three age groups: Camp Ocean (ages 2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17), along with Seuss at Sea, part of the line’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Carnival Magic will continue its 7-day schedule from Galveston through April 10, 2016 then reposition to Port Canaveral to launch year-round 7-day Caribbean cruises beginning April 23, 2016. Prior to launching its new 7-day schedule from Port Canaveral, Carnival Magic will operate a special 3-day cruise to Nassau April 20-23, 2016.

Carnival Magic will offer two distinctly different week-long itineraries from the Space Coast—a western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove. For additional information, visit

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Announces Captain & Shipboard Leadership for Seven Seas Explorer

MIAMI, Feb. 23: Seven Seas Explorer, the most luxurious ship ever built, will set sail on its inaugural season with a crew of veteran Regent Seven Seas Cruises leaders who will ensure guests sailing this magnificent vessel enjoy the pinnacle of luxury. As master of Seven Seas Explorer, Captain Stanislas Gerard Jean Mercier De Lacombe will lead a senior leadership team of the following cruise line veterans:

• Franck Galzy, General Manager
• Aurelien Dumeylet, Executive Chef
• Luca Griggi, Chief Engineer
• Ray Solaire, Cruise Director

They will be joined by nearly 550 highly-trained staff and crew members, all focused on providing guests with the absolute highest level of personal service.

Captain Stanislas Gerard Jean Mercier De Lacombe is responsible for commanding the overall operation, crew and safety of Seven Seas Explorer. He has more than 20 years of seafaring experience, and has captained both Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator since joining Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 2009. A native of Nantes, France, Captain De Lacombe became enamored with the sea at an early age, and has extensive leadership experience on ferries, container ships and several commercial cruise lines.

General Manager Franck Galzy is responsible for overseeing the flawless delivery of hotel and food & beverage services for Seven Seas Explorer. After graduating from the CAFA Sommelier Wine School in Angers, France, General Manager Galzy expanded upon his hospitality expertise at the famous Crabwall Manor Hotel & Spa in the United Kingdom for two years. Since joining Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 1999, he has worked in a variety of roles including head waiter, head sommelier, provision master and food & beverage manager. In that capacity, General Manager Galzy has maintained a general manager position for the past six years, coordinating a number of special events during some of the line’s most spectacular voyages, including its Navigate the World and Circumnavigation of South America cruises.

Executive Chef Aurelien Dumeylet will supervise all aspects of the menu and food preparation for Seven Seas Explorer’s multitude of gourmet dining options, including its dramatic new Pan-Asian specialty restaurant, Pacific Rim, and new French restaurant, Chartreuse. A native of Limoges, France, he developed a passion for the culinary arts at a young age and has served aboard Regent Seven Seas ships since 2007.

Chief Engineer Luca Griggi is responsible for overseeing Seven Seas Explorer’s technical operations, including engineering, electrical, and mechanical functions. A native of Genoa, Italy, Chief Engineer Griggi joined Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 2012 and has over 30 years of maritime engineering experience – in the Italian Coast Guard, aboard tugboats and supply vessels, and on cruise ships.

Cruise Director Ray Solaire oversees all entertainment and activities aboard Seven Seas Explorer. Cruise Director Solaire has performed on cruise lines for more than 40 years and is a talented singer, puppeteer, comedian, and ventriloquist. He joined Regent Seven Seas in 2008 and has served as cruise director aboard all of the line’s ships.

The newest member of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet, Seven Seas Explorer has been hailed as the most luxurious ship ever built. At 56,000 gross-registered tons and carrying only 750 guests, it boasts one of the highest space ratios in the cruise industry and features the Regent Suite, a one-of-a-kind 3,875-square-foot suite, extravagantly designed lounges and showplaces, and lavish gourmet restaurants. The luxury liner’s maiden voyage is scheduled for July 20, 2016, and it will spend an inaugural season in Europe before heading to Miami for a series of Caribbean voyages.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the only line to offer free unlimited shore excursions in every port-of-call in every destination. Seven Seas Explorer is exclusively offering new Gourmet Explorer Tours designed for guests seeking unique, one-of-a-kind epicurean adventures ashore to complement the unrivaled culinary experiences found aboard the ship. Highlights of its epicurean delights are an array of exquisite gourmet restaurants and the hands-on Culinary Arts Kitchen, the brand’s first culinary instruction center. For more specific itinerary details or for general information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises, visit

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Maritime Coin Ceremony Celebrated for Seabourn Encore

Seattle, Feb 23:Award-winning ultra-luxury, small ship cruise line Seabourn marked a major construction milestone for its newest vessel, Seabourn Encore, with the traditional, time-honored coin ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, where two commemorative gold coins were welded to the ship's mast. Seabourn Encore is set to begin sailing in December 2016.  The longstanding tradition also calls for a "madrina" to preside over the coin ceremony. Serving in this important role was Marnie Tihany, the director of business development for Tihany Design and the wife of Adam D. Tihany, the prominent hospitality designer who is carrying out the line's design vision to create stunning and beautiful spaces throughout Seabourn Encore.

"The coin ceremony represents not only another momentous milestone in the construction of our beautiful new ship, but also an important step in the evolution of our fleet and our leadership in the ultra-luxury cruise category," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "With less than a year until the launch of Seabourn Encore, we look forward to more exciting milestones in the coming months."

Seabourn Encore is being fashioned by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, with contemporary interiors and modern design elements and innovations consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance. The ship will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Encore will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service by close to one staff member for each guest on board. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and is expected to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

Seabourn will continue to reveal renderings and updates about Seabourn Encore via the dedicated microsite Filled with imagery, details and news of the ship's continuing progress, including "sunsets until launch," the microsite offers an inside look at the most exciting Seabourn launch in years.

For more details about the award-winning Seabourn fleet, visit

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Cunard Announces Independence Day Celebration Cruise to Feature Political Heavy-Weights

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Feb. 23: Cunard is thrilled to announce that "love & war" will come to the high seas when Mary Matalin and James Carville set sail as Insights speakers onboard Queen Mary 2. Departing New York on July 1, 2016 on a roundtrip cruise, Queen Mary 2 will visit Halifax and overnight in Boston for guests to enjoy the city's famed Independence Day Celebration.

Mary Matalin and James Carville are of America's most well-known political voices and political consultants, as well as authors of two national bestsellers, All's Fair: Love, War, and Running for President and Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home. Known for their two distinct voices, Matalin and Carville will join guests onboard Queen Mary 2 for a discussion titled "Perspectives on the Modern Presidency" and Q&A with the Entertainment Manager as part of the ship's Insights programme.

Among her many roles and accomplishments, Mary Matalin served under President Ronald Reagan, made her mark as George H.W. Bush's Campaign director and was an assistant to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. She has made numerous appearances on NBC's Meet the Press and hosted CNN's critically-acclaimed debate show, Crossfire.

James "The Ragin' Cajun" Carville is an American political commentator and media personality who is a prominent figure in the Democratic Party. His most prominent victory was in 1992 when he helped Bill Clinton win the Presidency. Currently, Carville is a contributor to This Week with George Stephanopoulos and is also a Professor of Practice at Tulane University in New Orleans.

"Cunard is honored to host such distinguished American political experts onboard our flagship, Queen Mary 2," comments Richard Meadows, president of Cunard North America. "Matalin and Carville have captured the American public for decades with their dueling political views and successful marriage, and we are excited to share their insight and unique personalities with our guests."

Queen Mary 2 will be fresh off a 25-day dry dock and extensive refurbishment. Debuting on the ship will be 15 new single cabins, 30 additional Britannia Club Staterooms, an expanded kennel, a refreshed Kings Court, the new Verandah restaurant and Carinthia Lounge. Remastered design and décor will also be featured throughout the Grill suites and restaurants, as well as all Britannia staterooms. Executive Chef Nicolas Oldroyd will also be introducing new menus across the ship with new ingredients, selections and more choice, from pub menus to fine dining. For more information about Cunard, visit

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SeaDream Yacht Club Celebrates 15th Anniversary

MIAMI, Feb 22: 2016 marks the 15th anniversary of SeaDream Yacht Club. Founded by Norwegian entrepreneur Atle Brynestad and remaining independently owned, the casually elegant mega-yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II have been defined by their onboard lifestyle, award-winning service and visiting small harbors and ports.

“When SeaDream Yacht Club was founded our focus was and remains today to deliver a true yachting experience, which has paved the way for niche cruising,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “Our team continues to innovate ‘yachting, not cruising’ and we are proud to have such a strong repeat guest following, among the highest in the industry.”

SeaDream Yacht Club can be credited with many innovations in the marketplace. In celebration of the crystal anniversary of SeaDream Yacht Club, below are 15 such innovations:

1. Highest Crew to Guest Ratio – With a maximum of only 112 guests to a 95-person crew, SeaDream offers exceptional service within an intimate setting. The crew is passionate about delivering highly personalized and anticipatory service. Attention to detail and impeccable service are the foundation of SeaDream Yacht Club.
2. Small Ports –SeaDream creates itineraries with guests in mind who wish to visit popular ports such as Mykonos or Monte Carlo. At the same time, the small size of the mega-yachts allows visits to memorable lesser-traveled ports of call. Bonifacio in Corsica, Porto Cervo in Sardinia, Elafonisos in Greece and Trapani, Sicily make for memorable shoreside experiences away from the crowd.
3. Innovative Itineraries – SeaDream offers exclusive access to some of the most beautiful locales in the world. Always pushing the envelope to provide the ultimate guest experience, SeaDream allows the most seasoned travelers the opportunity to explore smaller ports and harbors.
4. Overnights – Since launching in 2001, SeaDream has offered overnight stays in the most desirable ports for guests to enjoy nightlife in port and retire to their luxury mega-yacht. Monte Carlo, St. Barts, Amalfi, Sorrento and Kotor, Montenegro to name a few.
5. Thai Spa – The only Thai-certified Spa at sea, a member of the Thai Spa Association with an unrivaled guest to therapist ratio with eight technicians for a maximum of 112 guests. Complimentary daily Tai Chi and Yoga sessions are held either outside on deck or shore side on the beach.
6. Mountain Bikes – Allowing flexibility for exploring, mountain bikes on SeaDream I and SeaDream II are available to discover hidden gems in port. Pedaling dirt paths in Culebrita or Samos bring out the explorer in all guests.
7. Crew Led Excursions – Never waiting in line with passengers from other cruise ships, SeaDream’s accommodating crew takes pride in leading small, intimate excursions showcasing their favorite spots in ports of call. This could be a bike ride in Anguilla or a stroll with the chef to a gourmet market in St. Tropez.
8. Flexibility – Due to SeaDream’s intimate size, the captain has the unique flexibility to easily navigate ports and can quickly make decisions upon arrival based on crowds and traffic from large cruise ships or inclement weather.
9. Balinese beds – SeaDream’s Signature Balinese Dream Beds are a guest favorite, providing elevated, outdoor lounging by day and sleeping under the stars at night with full-turndown service available upon request. Raised to provide unobstructed views for guests, Balinese beds are one of the many cozy spots for guests to enjoy onboard.
10. Raw Cuisine – The only “raw food” or “living food” menu at sea, guests have the option of experiencing an array of dishes prepared only with raw, organic and vegan ingredients, none of which are heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The menu, created in conjunction with the Hippocrates Health Institute, includes dishes such as Watercress Tang, a liquid mélange of watercress, Anjou pear, lime and pineapple.
11. Caviar & Champagne Splash – A highlight of Caribbean sailings, SeaDream’s Champagne and Caviar Splash™ is a true celebration of yachting lifestyle. Guests wade into the surf to a surfboard dressed of white linens with premium caviar, festive bubbles and all the accouterments.
12. Wine Voyages – Explore the flavors and history from some of the world’s most renowned wineries, as well as less familiar, but equally notable vineyards. Wine Voyages offer exclusive and unique wine tastings, specialized and personal winery visits, and an exceptional wine pairing dinner.
13. Water Sports – Ideal for the active traveler, SeaDream Yacht Club provides complimentary access to water toys from the yacht’s marina, including wave runners, kayaks, snorkel gear, water skis and stand-up paddle boards.
14. Charters – Available for unforgettable private charters, SeaDream has perfected hosting groups for corporate incentives, anniversaries, birthday parties or even family reunions. Assisting in every detail, a SeaDream Yacht Charter Coordinator oversees every detail from the custom itinerary and onboard activities to special dining requests and entertainment options. New Year’s in St. Barts and the Monaco Grand Prix are among the over-the-top events around the world often chartered by a group on SeaDream.
15. Signature Shaken Not Stirred Party – When sailing the Mediterranean, SeaDream presents a lavish poolside cocktail celebration featuring champagne, caviar, canapés, and special treats from the chef. The bar staff creates an epicurean mix of martinis and cocktails to be enjoyed while relaxing onboard.

For additional information, visit

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Costa Cruises to Debut 'Mozarella Gourmet Bar' Featuring Authentic Buffalo Mozarella Made Onboard

GENOA, Italy, Feb. 19: This year, Costa Cruises will become the first cruise line in the world to produce authentic Mozarella di Bufala onboard. The Italian speciality will be featured in the new Mozarella Gourmet Bar on ships across its fleet. Cruise guests will be able to observe as the cheese is made, beginning with buffalo milk curd from Paestum Greek temples of Salerno, Italy, and sample it while it is still warm. The cheese will be paired with an assortment of cold cuts and other high-quality Italian specialities. Burrata, Stracciatella and the traditional Fior Di Latte will also be served.

The Buffalo Mozzarella produced onboard will also be used in the fleet's Pummid’oro pizzerias for a truly special, handmade pizza. They will be the first and only pizzas offered on a cruise ship prepared with Mozzarella made on the spot and dough based on natural yeast, which is already being used in Costa's pizzerias thanks to a collaboration with the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo.

This new offering is part of Costa's ongoing effort to bring the best in Italian cuisine onboard. In addition to regional Italian menus and special gala night menus, crafted by two Italian, Michelin-star chefs, the line has partnered with popular brands like Barilla, Illy Caffé, Ferrari Spumante and Campari. Guests can enjoy burgers made with high-quality and 100-percent Italian Fasson meat and at Costa Diadema's Amarillo ice cream parlor, Agrimontana handmade ice cream makes the perfect midday treat. Costa has also collaborated with maître chocolatier Guido Gobino and maître pâtissier chocolatier Luigi Biasetto to bring Italian-style sweets onboard.

Costa Diadema will be the first ship to debut the new gourmet bar in 2016 and the rest of the ships in the fleet will begin to produce Buffalo Mozzarella onboard in 2017.

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Norwegian Escape Brings The Brat Pack Mainstream

MIAMI, Feb 19: Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in award-winning onboard entertainment, has announced exciting changes to the entertainment offerings aboard the line’s two newest ships, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Getaway.

Due to the show’s overwhelmingly popularity on Norwegian Escape, For the Record: The Brat Pack™ will now be offered to an expanded audience, as a complimentary show in the Escape Theater beginning on April 16. Receiving rave reviews on Norwegian Escape, For The Record is a critically acclaimed Hollywood night that celebrates classic soundtracks of motion picture masters. Guests spend an evening with a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal in this mashed-up retrospective of the John Hughes' coming of age 1980's teen films. Guests enjoying the show will laugh, cry, stomp their feet and relive the classic new wave sounds from Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. As of April 9, The Supper Club will feature an all new dinner and live entertainment experience, with details to be revealed soon. The Tony Award-winning Broadway hit After Midnight featuring Brenda Braxton will continue in The Escape Theater as regularly scheduled.

As For the Record moves to the Escape Theater, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet will be featured on board Norwegian Escape as of the March 5 sailing and will re-open onboard Norwegian Getaway on May 15. Million Dollar Quartet is the smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life, featuring a score of rock hits including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Fever," "Great Balls of Fire," "Walk the Line," and more. Legally Blonde on Norwegian Getaway will close on April 30 and Burn The Floor will continue as currently scheduled.

From March 5 until April 16 when For the Record begins, The Escape Theater will feature Vocal Over Drive, a contemporary pop acapella group. Featuring five talented musicians, this explosive vocal band brings the popular acapella sound that’s sweeping the country today in hit films like Pitch Perfect to Norwegian guests. Vocal Over Drive create the sound of a full band with just their voices to produce a high energy unforgettable theatre experience that will leave you saying…"How did they do that?" Forged out of funky beats and an award winning a cappella background, Vocal Over Drive has toured internationally wowing hundreds of thousands around the globe giving audiences the performance of a lifetime each night they take the stage. Fusing innovative harmonies, dance and comedy, this musical spectacle unites audiences young and old. Vocal Over Drive will then move to The Getaway Theater from May 1 until May 15, when Million Dollar Quartet opens.

“Norwegian is leading the way in providing engaging, enjoyable and exciting entertainment for guests across our fleet,” said Richard Ambrose, vice-president of entertainment for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. “These updates to our entertainment offerings will ensure we remain at the forefront of the industry, providing the very best contemporary, award-winning entertainment for our guests.”

Reservations for any of these entertainment experiences can be made via guests’ My NCL account on starting on March 1, 2016.

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‘Conversations with Adam D. Tihany’ Video Series Showcases
Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam Design Concept

Seattle, Feb. 18: For its newest vessel, ms Koningsdam, Holland America Line leveraged the talents of internationally acclaimed hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany to create unique and striking spaces throughout the ship. In a new video series—“Conversations with Adam D. Tihany”—the cruise line gives viewers a glimpse into the vision of the designer and his inspiration behind the ship’s interiors. In the first video, Tihany reveals how the “Architecture of Music” and the curves of particular instruments influenced public spaces on the ship. Viewers will learn how Tihany’s vision creates a story that is told through the design and décor of the ship’s venues.

“Koningsdam interiors are stunning, thanks to Adam’s incredible talents, and this video series is an exclusive opportunity to learn how this world-renowned hospitality designer created a vision for our newest ship and brought it to life,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We’re introducing several new venues on Koningsdam, and Adam’s signature style of sophistication and innovation is going to create an impressive onboard ambiance for our guests—classic with a modern twist.”

The second video in the series will touch on the design behind Koningsdam’s culinary venues that include hallmark venues such as the Dining Room, Lido Marketplace and Pinnacle Grill, as well as the new Sel de Mer and Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center. In the final video Tihany will share how the art of design can influence a guest’s exploration of new places and emphasizes his design goal of creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience that entices a guest to return.

“The concept behind “Architecture of Music” is not loud, so to speak, but presents opportunity for discovery throughout the ship,” said Tihany. The design on ms Koningsdam tells an unique story—one that I love to tell and that I hope will keep guests coming back to experience again and again.

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. Guests will enjoy fine dining in several alternative restaurants including Sel de Mer, a new French seafood brasserie; a novel immersive farm-to-table concept dinner experience in the Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine; a redesigned Lido Market with themed serving stations; a stunning main dining room; and favorites such as Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto Italian restaurant and pan-Asian Tamarind. The ship also will feature Holland America Line’s first purpose-built staterooms for families and solo travelers among its 1,331 guest accommodations.

Onboard entertainment will be taken to a new level, with the energetic Music Walk area featuring all genres of music showcased in venues including Lincoln Center Stage, offering chamber music nightly; Billboard Onboard, where live musicians rock the crowd with chart-topping hits; and the popular B.B. King’s Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge, bringing the best of Memphis music to sea. With the 270-degree LED projection at World Stage, new concepts for show-time performances will immerse the audience in panoramic visual and sound effects.

For more information about Holland America Line and Koningsdam, visit

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Costa Cruises Presents the New Capsule Collection Created Together With the SLAM Brand

GENOA, Italy, Feb. 18: In conjunction with Milan Fashion Week, Costa Cruises is launching a new clothing and accessories collection created with SLAM, a traditional Genoese brand with nautical roots that specializes in technical clothing and sportswear. The "Capsule Collection" will be available exclusively in Costa's onboard shops. The collection is inspired by the colors of the sea, beginning with blue, which is also the distinctive color of the Costa "C" painted on the stack of the cruise company's ships. The casual line blends Italian design with quality materials, for an unmistakable style that evokes sea voyages but that is also perfect for leisure time in the city. Each item is personalized with Costa's and SLAM's logos, Genoese companies that are icons of Italian excellence around the world.

The collection includes men's and women's garments and accessories. In the men's collection one of the most distinctive items is a lightweight, navy blue windjacket, made with nylon and padded with Primaloft®. Other items include polo shirts in Techno piquet, a light fabric that is ideal for outdoor activities because it is resistant to UV rays, easy to wash and does not need to be ironed. Men's models are available in two styles: a basic version in yellow, blue and navy blue, and another with nautical details, like the geographic coordinates of Genoa, where Costa and SLAM are headquartered. Women's polos are offered in blue and pink and a sleeveless style is available in white with an elegant blue-striped collar. The line also includes sweatshirts, sweaters, hoodies, shirts and jogging pants and accessories like a practical trolley, back-packs and an iPad case.

SLAM garments are designed in Genoa and internationally recognized for their technical characteristics and extreme attention to detail. Thanks to the partnership with Costa, the large number of people who come onboard to enjoy a Costa cruise will have the chance to become more familiar with the value and legacy of this historical Italian brand.

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Seabourn & Chef Thomas Keller Launch New Culinary Repertoire

SEATTLE, Feb 18: Seabourn has launched a new era in culinary excellence by sharing the first recipes developed by American Chef Thomas Keller on board Seabourn's ultra-luxury, award-winning fleet. The line now features an array of dishes, ranging from first courses to main courses to desserts, in multiple dining venues aboard Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Quest.

"We are so pleased to share Chef Keller's first menus aboard our beautiful fleet," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "His menus confirm that the partnership is going to elevate our already award-winning cuisine, and we are thrilled that Seabourn guests are now able to experience the masterful culinary styles of Chef Keller."

To introduce an unparalleled dining experience unlike any other at sea, Chef Keller, his veteran staff and Seabourn's executive culinary team have collaborated in menu development and training. In an effort to ensure a consistent presentation, Seabourn even acquired Homage by Thomas Keller in Checks pattern, the white porcelain dinnerware by Raynaudused in Chef Keller's fine dining restaurants.

Among the many culinary highlights are special theme nights in the Colonnade that pay homage to Chef Keller's childhood, featuring classic comfort dishes such as BBQ Ribs served family-style on platters to complement a convivial shared dining experience. At the poolside Patio Grill are classic favorites including his signature Napa Burger and artisanal "Yountwurst." Chef Keller's formal French-American style of cuisine is featured on select evenings in The Restaurant, spanning a variety of menu items that could include:

First Course:
• Terrine of Moularde Duck Foie Gras
o Truffle Pain de Genes, Compressed Asian Pear and Sicilian Pistachio

Main Course:
• Buckwheat "Gnocchi"
o Tamari Glazed Shiitake Mushrooms, Golden Beets, Savoy Cabbage and Yuzu
• Sonoma Duck Breast "Poêle"
o Crispy "Rillettes," Glazed Harukei Turnips, Pickled Blueberries and Red Cabbage Puree

• Ginger and Yoghurt Semifreddo
o Whipped Green Tea and Lemon Meringue
• Champagne and Granny Smith Apple Trifle
o Crème Chantilly, Vanilla Custard, and Champagne Jelly

In addition, as part of the collaborative process, Chef Keller introduced Seabourn to his long time purveyors from the United States. Seabourn is pleased to be featuring the finest ingredients from purveyors including Elysian Fields Farms; Rancho Gordo; Hobbs Applewood smoked Meats; Marshall Farms Honey; Snake River Farms; Newport Meats; True Foods; Sonoma Poultry; Gourmet Attitude; Le Sanctuaire; and Cowgirl Creamery/Tomales Bay Foods.

Expanding upon the vision of Seabourn and Chef Keller, a new signature restaurant will be introduced this May on Seabourn Quest. The restaurant will eventually be launched across the entire fleet, including the line's two new ships, Seabourn Encore launching in late 2016 and Seabourn Ovation launching in early spring 2018.

Chef Keller is globally renowned for his culinary achievements and exceptionally high standards, and is the only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide, as well as the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France. He has received countless accolades, including The Culinary Institute of America's "Chef of the Year" Award and the James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Chef" and "Outstanding Restaurateur" Awards.

Seabourn's intimate ships offer key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary open bars throughout the ship; fine wines poured at lunch and dinner; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board. The ships travel the globe throughout the year, sailing to many of the world's most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and lesser-known ports and hideaways. For more details about the Seabourn fleet, visit

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AT&T, Samsung & Carnival Corporation Launch Virtual Reality Cruise Vacation Experience

DALLAS & MIAMI, Feb. 18: For most, tropical breezes and beaches are out of reach during the peak of winter, but AT&T, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and Carnival Corporation & plc are making it easier to access sun and fun on the high seas. Starting tomorrow, customers can walk in select AT&T stores and experience a fully immersive virtual reality cruise experience. Kicking off in 133 AT&T stores across 37 states, customers can trial a unique experience on the Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus. Store visitors can walk up to the Gear VR demo, put on the headset and be surrounded by the sights and sounds of a warm and sunny cruise vacation. The virtual reality content is first-of-its-kind and exclusively developed by Carnival Corporation and its 10 global cruise line brands.

Samsung Gear VR[1], designed to accelerate virtual reality into the mainstream, provides an untethered, fully-immersive experience with 360-degree content for an extremely high quality mobile VR experience. Built to work with Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ and Note5, the Gear VR headset lets people enjoy an ever-growing library of premium and entertaining games, apps, photos and videos.

Consumers will also be able to enter a sweepstakes to win one of ten 7-day cruises on Carnival Corporation’s Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line brands by checking the virtual reality experience and sign up via an in-store tablet or by visiting The sweepstakes is available Feb. 19 to Mar. 11.

“Globally, the growing popularity of cruising vacations is far outpacing land-based vacations, by a 23 percent margin,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company. “But there are still many people who have not had a chance to enjoy the one-of-a-kind experience we provide with one of our 10 cruise line brands. With most of the U.S. dealing with winter weather, the timing for this launch is designed to give people a fully immersive look at why cruising is a great vacation and helps remind them to think about going on a cruise when planning their next vacation.”

AT&T In-Store Experience
The in-store virtual reality display uses the Samsung Gear VR headset. The headset has a wide field of view and precise head tracking for a great VR experience. The VR content, developed by Carnival Corporation, highlights decks, staterooms, entertainment venues and other exciting features. It showcases ships from the company’s Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line brands and beach and excursion offerings in Barcelona, Mexico and other popular destinations. The experience and Carnival promotion will be in 133 AT&T stores. A full list of participating AT&T locations is available here: About 1100 more will have the content available on a Gear VR headset for demo by customers.

Details on Sweepstakes for 10 Free Cruise Vacations & In-Store Discounts
As part of the ongoing promotion, consumers can enter a Carnival complementary sweepstakes via an in-store tablet or on online at Participants will be eligible to win one of 10 seven-day cruises onboard Carnival Corporation’s Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line brands.

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Cunard’s Remastered Queen Mary 2 to Debut Transatlantic Fashion Week

Feb 18: Leaders in the field of haute couture, currently preparing for London Fashion Week on February 19-23, will join Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 7-night Transatlantic crossing in September to New York, the style capital of the world. The inaugural ‘Transatlantic Fashion Week’ voyage will arrive in the Big Apple the very same day New York Fashion Week 2016 begins.

Award winning British fashion designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes, who has dressed some the world’s most famous musicians, will treat guests to ‘an audience with’ as she discusses her impressive career.

Preparing to show her latest collection at London Fashion Week, the award designer spoke about her excitement at joining this special voyage, “Guests are going to be able to look forward to a fantastic fashion experience,” said Rhodes. “I’m going to be doing a dress show, as well as doing a talk with the fabulous Colin McDowell. Guests will have the chance to dine with all these specialists in the industry, ask questions from us all. I’m there to enhance everyone’s experience.”

Joining the line-up of fashion royalty is the highly respected fashion historian and commentator Colin McDowell and Fern Mallis, the ‘Godmother of Fashion’ and founder of New York Fashion Week.

As Dame Zandra Rhodes reveals designs from her collections, emerging faces from Storm modeling agency will take to the catwalk during the voyage. Alongside these great fashion authorities, guests will also have the opportunity to meet the designers of the future, as students from the world’s number one postgraduate fashion program, based in the world’s number one university of art and design, The Royal College of Art, showcase their latest collections on board.

“Cunard has long been associated with style, a sense of occasion and the enriching experiences we deliver to our guests,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard North America. “We are pleased to welcome on board such venerable fashion industry experts, so that our guests have the opportunity to gain insight into the glamourous world of fashion whilst immersing themselves in stylish designs and world-renowned White Star Service of the newly remastered Queen Mary 2.”

For more information about Queen Mary 2 or to book a voyage, visit

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Windstar Cruises Announces Chef Line-up for 20116 James Beard Foundation Collection Voyages

SEATTLE, Feb 17: Windstar Cruises, a fleet of small luxury cruise ships, announces today the line-up of James Beard-recognized chefs preparing to set sail on the “James Beard Foundation Collection” of culinary-focused cruises. Windstar recently partnered with the James Beard Foundation to provide guests with an elevated culinary experience aboard three separate European cruises destined for Spain, Morocco, and France.

This bespoke portfolio of sailings, scheduled to disembark in the spring and summer of 2016, are aimed at food and wine enthusiasts who are seeking to fully immerse themselves in the culture of each destination and experience the tastes and flavors of the regional cuisine. Each sailing in the James Beard Foundation Collection features a James Beard chef, working alongside Windstar’s culinary team and acting as an onboard culinary ambassador offering cooking demonstrations, a nightly featured dish, and one-on-one interaction.

The following is the chef line-up for the 2016 James Beard Foundation Collection by Windstar:

James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise of Southern Spain & Morocco

This 8-day voyage aboard Wind Surf sails from Lisbon to Barcelona, docking in Tangier, Morocco before sailing in Spain with stops in Málaga, Almeria, Cartagena, Ibiza, and Tarragona.
Date: April 24, 2016
Chef Michel Nischan: Founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave; three-time James Beard Foundation Award winner.
Cuisine: Chef Michel Nischan's commitment to working closely with farmers and artisans of sustainable products, they will be on display as he guides guests on a journey through Spain and Morocco's vibrant culinary culture. Incorporating authentic, local ingredients, he will lead two cooking demonstrations, create a nightly dish, and lead guests on an onshore culinary outing.

James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise of Spain & France

This 10-day voyage aboard Star Legend sails from Lisbon to Dublin in June and from Dublin to Lisbon in August, stopping in St.-Malo, La Rochelle, and Bordeaux (overnight) in France; Gijon and El Ferrol in Spain; and Porto in Portugal.
Date: June 10, 2016
Chef Maria Hines: Owner and Executive Chef of Seattle Tilth; winner of 2009 James Beard Foundation Award: Best Chef Northwest.
Date: August 9, 2016
Chefs Matt & Kate Jennings: Owners and Chefs of Townsman; Matt and Kate are four-time James Beard Foundation Award nominees for Best Chef: Northeast.
Cuisine: Seafood from Galicia, sweet port in Porto, cognac in La Rochelle, and world-famous wines in Bordeaux are a few gastronomic stars of the journey. Chefs Hines and Jennings will provide two cooking demonstrations on board, a nightly featured dish, and a trip to a local market or hosted culinary outing.

For more information, or visit

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Un-Cruise Adventures Introduces New Chairman’s, Alumni & National Park Theme Cruises in 2016

Seattle, WA, Feb 17: Un-Cruise Adventures expands its theme cruise schedule in 2016 with the addition of chairman’s, alumni and National Park centennial themes. Guests can now choose from 10 theme cruise options while sailing on select small ship cruises in Alaska, Costa Rica and Panamá, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, coastal Washington and the Columbia & Snake Rivers. In 2016 and 2017, theme cruises include photography, marine biology, ornithology, craft beer, wine, Lewis & Clark and music/entertainment. Beginning in 2016, a new chairman’s theme cruise introduces guests to company leaders on board for the week and alumni cruises unite past cruisers. For 2016 only, cruises visiting Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska during the week of August 25, celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park System created on August 25, 1916.

Un-Cruise Adventures’ fleet of boutique yachts and small ships carry 22-88 guests on adventure and river cruises lasting one week to 21 nights. All adventure activities and shore excursions are included. Theme cruises feature a guest host on board the ship for a week of special presentations and daily interaction with guests.

“Theme cruises provide an opportunity to get topical hands on learning from experts, unite with fellow alumni or rub elbows with the leaders and owners of Un-Cruise Adventures,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO.

2016-2017 theme cruise schedule:

Mexico’s Sea of Cortés—The 84-guest Safari Endeavour sails from Baja exploring islands, bays and marine life in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Chairman’s - 2017: Jan 7
• Alumni - 2016: Dec 3
• Marine Biology - 2016: March 5 & 12; 2017: Jan 21, Feb 25, March 18
• Ornithology - 2016: March 26, Nov 26; 2017: March 25
• Photography - 2017: Jan 28, March 4

Columbia & Snake Rivers—The 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer, explores the scenic views and history of the area, including the Lewis & Clark expedition, with living history presentations, and excursions to museums, wineries and forts.
• Chairman’s -2016: April 23; 2017: April 8
• Alumni - 2016: June 25
• Lewis and Clark - 2016: May 14 & 21
• Smooth Jazz - 2016: July 23
• Letters From Home (a singing duo specializing in 1940s style harmonies, tap dancing and comedy) - 2016: July 30
• Wine - seven departures April-October, 2016; Two departures in April, 2017

Alaska—Theme cruises are offered aboard the 84-guest Safari Endeavour sailing adventure cruises in remote Alaskan wilderness roundtrip from Juneau.
• Alumni - 2016: Aug 28
• Marine Biology - 2016: June 5, Aug 7 & 14
• Photography - 2016: June 12, July 3
• Chairman’s - 2016: Sept 17

Alaska—National Park Centennial—Guests visiting Glacier Bay aboard five ships during the week of August 25, 2016—the actual anniversary day of the park system—will enjoy a commemorative gift and special celebration on board.

Coastal Washington—the 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer explores Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.
• Ornithology - 2016: April 16; 2017: April 22
• Craft Beer - 2016: April 30, Oct 8 & 22; 2017: April 8, 15

Central America—The 62-guest Safari Voyager sails in Costa Rica and Panama, exploring tropical rainforests, beaches and islands.
• Chairman’s - 2016: Dec 10; 2017: June 3
• Photography - 2016: Dec 3; 2017: Feb 11, May 27
• Alumni - 2017: Jan 28, June 10
• Ornithology - 2017: July 8, 15
• Marine Biology - 2017: July 29, August 26

Find more information on theme cruises online at

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Carnival Cruise Line & IGT Commemorate 20 Years of Wheel of Fortune® Slots with Year-Long Celebration

MIAMI, Feb 16: Carnival Cruise Line and International Game Technology have partnered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IGT Wheel of Fortune® slot machines, featured aboard all Carnival ships and in casinos worldwide. The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line® and the world’s leading end-to-end gaming company will reward players with free cruises and a variety of exciting giveaways throughout 2016. The brands are also partnering with the most successful syndicated game show in television history, Wheel of Fortune, on a first-ever Carnival Cruise Line-themed week featuring an exciting viewer sweepstakes.

Carnival Cruise Line & IGT
During 2016, Carnival and IGT’s partner casinos will give away hundreds of free cruises on the Carnival Magic. The winners will participate in the onboard Spin N Sail slot tournament featuring the IGT Wheel of Fortune slot machines exclusively during an eight-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Magic from Port Canaveral, Fla., in November 2016. The $200,000 prize pool, provided by IGT, includes a $100,000 grand prize to be taken home by one lucky winner. IGT customers across the U.S. and Canada will host qualifying events where winning players are awarded a free cruise for two and an entry into the grand finale $200,000 tournament.

“Wheel of Fortune slots and Carnival cruises are synonymous with fun and excitement, so IGT’s partnership with Carnival Cruise Line provides the ideal way to celebrate 20 years of Wheel of Fortune slots,” said Victor Duarte, IGT global chief product officer, gaming. “We appreciate the continued partnership between Carnival Cruise Line and IGT. Featuring Wheel of Fortune slots on all 24 Carnival cruise ships gives the games great exposure to millions of people, and has played a valuable role in helping IGT’s Wheel of Fortune slots become the most popular casino slot brand of all time.”

“We’re delighted to team up with IGT to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the wildly popular Wheel of Fortune slot machines and provide consumers with a number of fantastic prizes, including the opportunity to win $100,000 in the Spin N Sail tournament,” said Mike Hunssinger Turek, vice president of casino commercial operations for Carnival Cruise Line. “We’re also excited to offer a variety of special Wheel of Fortune-themed activities on board and be a part of Spin & Sail Week on this iconic show,” he added.

Introduced in 1996, the Wheel of Fortune slot machines have become a player favorite in shipboard casinos, including all 24 Carnival Cruise Line vessels, as well as in casinos on land. IGT has placed more than 200 versions of Wheel of Fortune slots in casinos around the world, and the game has awarded more than $3 billion in jackpots and minted more than 1,000 millionaires. Players enjoy how Wheel of Fortune slots capture the spirit and creativity of the popular television game show produced by Sony Pictures.

Throughout 2016, Carnival will also host a number of Wheel of Fortune-themed events across the fleet that will include special branded items and on-board activities and games every sailing, including the popular Wheel of Fortune scratch-off game where guests can win up to $30,000. Additionally, each sailing will feature a Wheel of Fortune prize wheel offering a wide range of prizes, everything from Carnival logo items and Casino Cash to entry into the $200,000 Spin N Sail slot tournament.

Wheel of Fortune
The 20th anniversary Wheel of Fortune slot festivities will also include a “Spin & Sail Week” with five Carnival Cruise Line-themed shows airing this spring on the iconic game show that inspired the slot machine. “Spin & Sail Week” airing March 21-25, 2016, will feature a custom, tropical-themed set with high-definition Carnival ship images and footage. Contestants will be able to win Carnival cruises to a variety of exotic destinations including the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska. In preparation for the broadcast, Pat Sajak, Vanna White, and the Wheel of Fortune crew went on location to shoot customized segments aboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship.

The “Wheel of Fortune Spin & Sail Sweepstakes,” will encourage viewers to watch “Spin & Sail Week” on Wheel of Fortune and enter each night’s bonus puzzle solution at Twenty winning entries will be selected, and the grand prize will be an eight-day Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Magic to be taken in November 2016 with a guaranteed spot in the Spin N Sail $200,000 slot tournament.

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Delectable New Dessert Pastries Developed for Oceania Cruises

MIAMI, Feb 12: The finest cuisine at sea is becoming a bit sweeter, as Oceania Cruises is adding several new enhanced pastries to its decadent dessert offeringsall developed in conjunction with world-renowned Master Pastry Chef Christophe Menard.

Among the featured desserts masterminded by Chef Menarda longstanding member of the elite Relais Dessert Internationalare these indulgent sweet treats:

Caramelized Banana Tart: a wonderfully sinful chocolate concoction topped with dozens of thin spiraling slices of succulent caramel-coated bananas, sprinkled with a pinch of powdered sugar.
Tanzanian Chocolate Cake with Molten Caramel: a delightfully rich cake drenched in flowing caramel, and accompanied by a perfect quenelle of vanilla ice cream. It features Tanzanian chocolate (75% cacao), a dark couverture that perfectly balances acidity and intense cocoa bitterness, lifted by floral notes.
Raspberry Tartlet with Lemongrass Cream: a ramekin-sized, perfectly-baked raspberry-filled tart, capped with a dream dollop of exotic, lemony cream surrounded by perfectly plump fresh raspberries.

In addition, the Oceania Cruises fleet is incorporating the world’s finest chocolatesfrom Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Venezuelainto intriguing new desserts from Chef Menard: Yuzu and Venezuelan Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Croquant and Papuan Chocolate Volcano with Passion Fruit Heart and Caramel Lava. Another of Chef Menard’s innovative dessertsChocolate Cake with Molten Pistachio and Griotte Cherrieshas been created just for Tuscan Steak, the all-new specialty restaurant aboard Sirena. The newest addition to the Oceania Cruises fleet of intimately luxurious ships, Sirena will enter service April, 27 2016 with a maiden voyage from Barcelona to Venice.

“Oceania Cruises has a well-earned reputation as the cruise line of choice for foodies,” said Chef Menard. “And I am delighted to be able to help contribute to its sumptuous array of desserts with these new pastries, which reflect the varied cultures and tastes of the many destinations visited by the Oceania Cruises ships.”

No cruise line is more focused on food and culinary excellence than Oceania Cruises. With world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pépin serving as Executive Culinary Director, exceptional cuisine has exemplified the Oceania Cruises brand since its first cruise in 2003. Guests can tantalize their palates at a variety of specialty and open-seating gourmet restaurants, at no additional charge.

Oceania Cruises offers guests exceptional personalized service on a fleet of intimate and luxurious ships with a country club casual ambiance. Each ship features exquisite accommodations, elegant public spaces and the world-renowned Canyon Ranch SpaClub, where guests can escape and rejuvenate at sea. Aside from its epicurean restaurants, the brand offers adventurous Culinary Discovery Tours™ and the first-ever Culinary Center at sea where guests receive hands-on cooking instruction from a master chef. Also, Oceania Cruises’ intimate fleet enables guests to explore exotic and secluded ports-of-call not accessible by larger vessels.

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New Photography Commission Captures Grandeur of Cunard's Iconic Offices in UK & North America

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Feb. 11: Cunard's former office buildings in Britain and North America are to become an integral part of the fleet's flagship Queen Mary 2 during her major 2016 refit. The Cunard Buildings in Liverpool, New York and Southampton will each be featured in a specially-commissioned set of images that will be displayed in the ship's suites and staterooms when she re-enters service following her three-week refit next June.

Behind the images is renowned UK architectural photographer, Paul Ward, who accepted the Cunard commission and spent a month researching, visiting and photographing the buildings. Ward's work started in December at the Cunard Building in Liverpool, this year celebrating the centenary of its opening as the line's headquarters in 1916. It remained the global focal point of Cunard operations until 1967 and in 2004 became part of the City of Liverpool's acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site at Pier Head overlooking the River Mersey.

Moving to Manhattan, Ward spent time studying and photographing the Cunard Building at 25 Broadway, which is highly noted for its architectural significance and grandeur, with the entrance lobby and first-floor ticketing office designated a New York City Landmark in 1995.

The last of the former offices photographed in the current commission is South Western House in the company's home city of Southampton, a Grade II listed property in England which signifies and preserves the special architectural and historic interest of the building.

"The Cunard Buildings in Liverpool, New York and Southampton preserve periods of Cunard culture and history throughout our more than 175-year existence," said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard North America. "The detail and layouts of the buildings sustain Cunard's rich heritage through design and décor that echoes attributes of the great liners of Cunard's past. There is no better way to honor our illustrious history than by incorporating Paul's images into design elements on board Queen Mary 2 as we move into the future of Cunard."

"This has been an incredible assignment," said Ward. "Starting in Liverpool, where the Cunard Building is still such a dominant façade on that famous waterfront, was amazing. Everywhere I turned, from the old luggage areas in the basement to the former First Class Lounge on the top floor and even the roof with its view across the city, I was spoilt for choice. In New York, the inside of the Broadway building is simply breath taking. At Southampton, the Grade II listed South Western House with its long association with ocean travel, was also an inspirational location. All of these buildings are so important to Cunard and it has been a privilege to visit each one and record a small aspect of the part they have played in both the history of Cunard and the maritime history of these great cities."

Queen Mary 2's major 25-day refit will see all Princess and Queens Grills Suites and all Britannia Club staterooms, together with more than half of balcony staterooms redesigned. Fresh design schemes and fine details will pay tribute to the original Queen Mary's iconic art deco heritage while keeping this grand ocean liner at the forefront of luxury. During her time in dry dock, Queen Mary 2 will also receive a wide range of upgrades, including the addition of 30 new Britannia Club Balcony staterooms and 15 Britannia Single staterooms.

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MSC Cruises Partners With World-Renowned French Chocolatier & Pastry Chef

FORT LAUDERDALE, Feb 10: MSC Cruises guests are set to discover new culinary delights as the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, announced that it has partnered with acclaimed chocolatier and pastry chef, Jean-Philippe Maury, to bring his culinary genius aboard the cruise line’s ships. This latest announcement reflects MSC Cruises passion for food and commitment to provide world-class dining experiences for its guests through the highest quality partnerships and the addition of even more varied options and features.

“We constantly look to surprise and delight our guests with new and authentic culinary experiences. Jean-Philippe Maury is a world pastry champion who embodies passion, elegance, innovation and excellencethe same characteristics that distinguish MSC Cruises,” said Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises. “We partner with the world’s leading brands and individuals who lend us best practices in their fields to create unique and unforgettable experiences for our guests. Jean-Philippe’s artistic culinary creations are an exciting addition to the authentic Mediterranean and international culinary offerings already found across MSC Cruises fleet.”

As part of the first phase of the partnership, MSC Cruises is already working with Maury to roll-out new choices aboard MSC Divina, one of MSC Cruises’ ultramodern ships now sailing year-round from Miami to the Caribbean. This will result in new dessert offerings within the ship’s buffet, specialty restaurants, and the MSC Yacht Club, the ship-in-ship luxury concept exclusive to MSC Cruises. Guests can expect his unique touch will add flair and some delicious culinary twists on original recipes. Following the introduction of Maury’s products on board MSC Divina, MSC Cruises will introduce his menus and creations across other ships in the fleet.

In the second phase of the partnership, Maury will have a permanent and high-profile presence on the first of MSC Cruises next-generation ships, MSC Meraviglia. Part of the unprecedented, $5.9 billion investment plan launched last year, the four Meraviglia and Meraviglia-plus generation ships will be the largest and most innovative cruise ships ever built by a European-based cruise line. Onboard guests will be able to enjoy a chocolate atelier with an open kitchen and watch the chocolatiers create masterpieces that seduce the palate and eye as well as sample Maury’s specialty pastry and bakery menus. Maury will also work with MSC Cruises to create a gourmet ice cream parlor and creperie located within the impressive indoor promenade, a convivial indoor space filled with shops and boutiques and encapsulated by the longest LED dome at sea. Sales for MSC Meraviglia opened in June 2015. The ship will debut in June 2017 with an inaugural season sailing the Mediterranean.

"I am truly honored to partner with MSC Cruises in this new exciting adventure. Creativity and passion will lead us to the next level of excellence,” says Jean-Philippe Maury, Best Pastry Chef in France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France 1997) and gold medal winner at the World Pastry Team Championship (2002 and 2004).

Maury held the position of executive Pastry Chef at The Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas in 1998 and then Aria Hotel in 2009. Today, he is managing in partnership with MGM Resorts International his two shops Jean Philippe Patisserie, one of which houses the world’s tallest and largest chocolate fountain. Last summer, he opened an innovative dessert concept in San Diego, called iDessert.

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First Look: The Spectacular Wintergarden Suites Planned for Seabourn Encore

Seattle, Feb 8: Seabourn, the ultra-luxury cruise line, has revealed details and a rendering of the Grand Wintergarden Suites, the most luxurious and largest suites aboard its newest, ultra-luxury vessel, Seabourn Encore, launching late 2016.
Unfolding as a lap of luxury for guests who desire exquisite comfort and room to entertain, the two Grand Wintergarden Suites will offer a variety of in-suite amenities and features that encourage guests to make themselves at home.

"Seabourn Encore's Grand Wintergarden Suites will be two of the most beautiful and striking suites in ultra-luxury travel," said Christopher Prelog, Seabourn Vice President of Hotel Operations. "Like a spacious vacation home, guests will enjoy the superb amenities, especially the private glassed-in Solarium with a soaking tub and lounging bed."

Located on deck 8, each of the Grand Wintergarden suites will provide nearly 1,550 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The suites will feature large windows for picture-perfect ocean and shore views, two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, two private verandas, dining for six, convertible sofa-bed, pantry with wet bar and espresso machine, and three flat-screen televisions. One of the most unique features of the suites will be a glass-enclosed solarium with soaking tub and daybed, an ideal spot for guests to relax and enjoy the sunset. Two generous verandahs outfitted with all-weather table and chairs will provide nearly 250 square feet of private space, making it an ideal setting for al fresco dining. The suite bathrooms radiate elegance, with a separate whirlpool tub and shower, polished stone, gleaming hardware and mirrors, as well as exclusive bath products from Molton Brown.

Guests residing in the Grand Wintergarden suites, as well as other premium suites, will receive an array of added amenities, including personalized service by the Guest Service Manager, private car transfers on embarkation and disembarkation, complimentary Internet service, daily newspaper delivered to the suite, plush bathrobes, large tropical fruit basket, beautiful fresh flowers, an extended in-suite reference library, and more.

All of the suites on board Seabourn Encore will offer a number thoughtful details to delight guests, from a welcoming bottle of chilled Champagne with canapés to the personalized services of an attentive Personal Suite Stewardess. Delivering unobtrusive care, the Stewardess can provide guest preference of designer soaps, draw Pure Pampering baths, replenish ice and bar set-up, manage laundry service needs, and assist with any special requests. Additional in-suite amenities and features will include ample storage and walk-in closets complete with plush bathrobes and slippers; an in-suite bar stocked daily with preferred beverages; and a choice of pillows to suit guests' preferences. Entertainment options will feature flat-screen televisions with an extensive array of movies, music, broadcast television and radio channels.

Seabourn Encore is being fashioned by hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, with contemporary interiors and modern design elements and innovations consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance. The ship will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Encore will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service by close to one staff member for each guest on board. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and is expected to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

Seabourn will continue to reveal renderings and updates about Seabourn Encore via the dedicated microsite Filled with imagery, details and news of the ship's continuing progress, including "sunsets until launch," the microsite offers an inside look at the most exciting Seabourn launch in years. 

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Princess Cruises Debuts New Livery Design on Majestic Princess

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Feb 8: Princess Cruises announced today, on Chinese New Year, that Majestic Princess, the first cruise ship built and designed specifically for the China market will also be the first ship in the fleet to debut an elegant new livery design featuring the company’s iconic logo. The new livery design will roll out fleetwide over the next few years. One of the most recognized brand logos in cruising; the design symbolizes the smooth and flowing gracefulness of ocean waves and represents the excitement and adventure of discovering the best the world has to offer on a Princess cruise vacation. The modern, sophisticated-look is designed to reinforce the premium experience of Princess Cruises, recognized around the world as a destination leader.

“For nearly half a century our Princess logo has represented the adventure of cruise travel around the globe,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Now our ships sail to more than 360 ports of call worldwide and will be instantly recognized from afar. As the very first cruise ship built for China, we take great pride that Majestic Princess is our first ship to proudly display our new livery design.”

Also today, Majestic Princess reached a significant construction milestone when the Princess Cruises vessel “floated out” in its building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The occasion was marked by a traditional ceremony as the ship met ocean water for the first time. Following the Italian shipyard’s custom, the float out of a ship begins when a “madrina,” or godmother, cuts the cord that signals the flow of sea water into the ship’s building dock. Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations Keith Taylor and recently appointed Majestic Princess Captain Dino Sagani represented Princess Cruises at the ceremony. Captain Sagani’s mother, Graziella Sagani, served as the ship’s “madrina.”

Majestic Princess will offer many of the same special features as Royal Princess and Regal Princess, which have been so well-received. These include a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; and a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light.

As the first cruise ship built and designed specifically for the China market, Majestic Princess will also feature a number of new venues and experiences created for that market, the details of which will be revealed in the coming months. Majestic Princess will home-port in Shanghai and carry 3,560 guests. For additional information, visit

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Un-Cruise Adventures’ Columbia & Snake River Cruises Uncork More Wine & History in 2016

Seattle, Feb 8: Scenic river cruising on the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake Rivers begins in April aboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ 88-guest S.S. Legacy. An updated itinerary highlighting the area’s history and additional wine cruises have been added for 2016. Seattle-based small ship cruise line Un-Cruise Adventures increased its number of wine cruise departures to seven in 2016. The Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine & History cruise includes a wine expert on board and visits Oregon and Washington wineries for tastings and tours. A Legacy of Discovery itinerary focusing on the area’s rich history is refreshed for the season with a stop in Richland for a tour to Hanford Reach and Terra Blanca winery.

“I believe the Columbia and Snake Rivers offer the most scenic river cruise in the Americas, with mountain peaks and steep cliffs along the route,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “We had great success with our wine cruises last year so we’ll offer three more departures in 2016.”

The S.S. Legacy sails roundtrip Portland, Oregon on 34 departures from April through November. The scenic river cruise travels through a varied landscape from lush forests of the west, through the scenic Columbia River Gorge, to the rolling hills of the Palouse, desert-like landscapes of the east, and back to the coast, while passing through eight sets of locks and dams.

Legacy of Discovery
History comes alive on the mighty Columbia and Snake Rivers through included tours, lively presentations by on board heritage guides and local experts along the route. New in 2016 is a tour to Hanford Reach Interpretive Center with exhibits on the Manhattan Project, and the history and ecology of the area. Afterwards, guests enjoy a private tour, lunch and tasting at award-winning Terra Blanca Winery & Estates Vineyard. Highlights include visits to Multnomah Falls, jet boat ride into Hells Canyon, Fort Clatsop, Maryhill Museum, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Bonneville Dam Visitor Center and Astoria’s Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine & History
Additional wine cruise departures highlight the wine-rich region of the Northwest with seven departures in 2016. Whether a wine connoisseur or novice, guests aboard the S.S. Legacy’s Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine & History itinerary explore the Willamette, Columbia, Snake and Palouse rivers while enjoying tours and tastings at nine Washington and Oregon wineries. Wine experts join the ship for a week of wine tastings and presentations on board. Other highlights include Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, Multnomah Falls, Maryhill Museum, Hood River, Walla Walla, Palouse Falls State Park and Cannon Beach.

The 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer, emulates the steam ships found along the rivers in the early 1900s. Travelers enjoy the ambiance of an elegant coastal steamer with modern conveniences. Public spaces include an elegant Klondike Dining Room, Grand Salon with dance floor, wine bar and rollicking Pesky Barnacle Saloon. An elevator connects three decks. Wellness amenities include two hot tubs, a massage, fitness equipment and yoga on deck.

Special theme departures include Lewis & Clark, smooth jazz, entertainment/music, alumni and a chairman’s cruise. Inclusive cruises offer a comprehensive historical perspective on board and ashore with guided tours in each port combined with innovative meals; premium wine, beer and spirits; all taxes and fees, and transfers. For additional information, visit

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Themed Cruises on American Queen Bring History to Life

MEMPHIS, Feb 8: American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of America’s most opulent and luxurious paddlewheel vessels, has several themed cruises planned for 2016. Among these themed cruises are the “Music of America” cruises and the “Civil War” voyages which are sure to be a hit among guests. These journeys showcase the diversity and drama of the mighty Mississippi River as the American Queen travels from New Orleans to Memphis beginning this spring.

“We are thrilled to offer these highly-anticipated themed cruises which celebrate the lively and soulful sounds of our country,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “From jazz and gospel blues to silent Civil War cemeteries, these voyages bring the history, music and culture of the South to life.”

While cruising through the land of bawdy blues and Southern belles, the history of this nation’s music and military lives on in every port of call on the below itineraries:

• Civil War: Memphis, Tenn. to New Orleans, La. March 6–14, 2016
Guests can journey past fertile cotton fields, vast sugar cane plantations and imposing pillared mansions while distinguished guest lecturers James Robertson Jr. and Richard McMurry captivate audiences with astounding Civil War presentations. An exclusive tour of Vicksburg National Military Park is also included in this cruise. Scheduled musicians for this cruise include: Bobby Horton, a music historian who has combined his passions for music and Civil War history to create fourteen volumes of authentic Civil War tunes, and Dave and Cathy, traditional bluegrass musicians. Ports of call include: Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez, Miss.; St. Francisville, Baton Rouge and Nottoway, La.

• Music of America: New Orleans, La. to Memphis, Tenn. March 27–April 4, 2016
Discover the sights and sounds of America’s Mighty Mississippi and the roots from which sprung a variety of musical genres. This sailing from Bourbon St. New Orleans to Beale St. Memphis focuses on the Delta Blues and features onboard entertainment from celebrated songwriter and dynamic performer Eden Brent and Barbara Sims, the one-woman publicity and sales promotion department at Sun Records during its glory years of recording Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and more. In addition to Brent and Sims, this cruise will also feature guest performances from Steve Spracklen, Storefront Congregation, Preston Shannon, and Joyce Cobb. Ports of call include: Oak Alley and St. Francisville, La.; Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss.; and Helena, Ark.

• Civil War: New Orleans, La. to Memphis, Tenn. June 12–20, 2016
In addition to Bobby Horton and Dave and Cathy, guest lecturers for this cruise include: Professor Gary Joiner Ph.D., an author, cartographer and historian of Civil War inland naval battles, and author and Civil War historian Gene Salecker. An exclusive tour of Vicksburg National Military Park is also included in this cruise. Ports of call include: Oak Alley and St. Francisville, La.; Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss.; and Helena, Ark.

• Music of America: Nashville, Tenn. to Memphis, Tenn. Oct 23-31, 2016
With a focus on Country and Blues, guests onboard will hear from author and country music expert Dan Rogers and Ellis Kell, music historian and multi-instrumentalist, while traveling from Music City, USA to the Home of the Blues and Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll. This cruise will also feature guest performances from Steve Spracklen, Storefront Congregation, Preston Shannon, and Joyce Cobb. Ports of call include: Clarksville, Dover and Savannah, Tenn.; Paducah, Ky.; and New Madrid, Mo.

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

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Crystal Cruises Announces Plans To Restore America's Flagship, The SS United States,
To A Modern Luxury Cruise Ship

NEW YORK, Feb. 4: Already in the midst of the most significant expansion in the company's celebrated history, Crystal Cruises' next step in expanding its award-winning fleet is truly an historic endeavor. Together with the SS United States Conservancy, Crystal today announced it will save "America's Flagship," the SS United States, and embark on the enormous undertaking of bringing the ship into compliance with the latest standards, and returning her to oceangoing service. During the announcement, made at a press conference at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City, Crystal also committed to covering all costs associated with preserving the ship while undertaking a technical feasibility study, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

"The prospect of revitalizing the SS United States and reestablishing her as 'America's Flagship' once again is a thrilling one. It will be a very challenging undertaking, but we are determined to apply the dedication and innovation that has always been the ship's hallmark," says Crystal President and CEO Edie Rodriguez. "We are honored to work with the SS United States Conservancy and government agencies in exploring the technical feasibility study so we can ultimately embark on the journey of transforming her into a sophisticated luxury cruise liner for the modern era." Adds Rodriguez: "It is truly a privilege for the world's most awarded luxury cruise line to be entrusted with the opportunity of restoring a ship that served as a symbol of patriotism and maritime supremacy and bring her into the modern day, while also giving guests a taste of a bygone era of luxury travel."

"Crystal's ambitious vision for the SS United States will ensure our nation's flagship is once again a global ambassador for the highest standards of American innovation, quality and design," said Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy and granddaughter of the ship's designer, William Francis Gibbs. We are thrilled that the SS United States is now poised to make a triumphant return to sea and that the ship's historical legacy will continue to intrigue and inspire a new generation."

In order to meet modern demands and be in full regulatory compliance, the SS United States will have to be extensively re-built to meet over 60 years of new maritime rules and shipbuilding practices. The modern United States by Crystal Cruises will be transformed into an 800-guest-capacity vessel, featuring 400 luxurious suites measuring about 350 square feet with dining, entertainment, spa and other luxury guest amenities that are true to the ship's storied history. Features of the original SS United States such as the Promenade and Navajo Lounge will be retained, while new engines and sophisticated marine technology will be installed to maintain her title as the fastest cruise vessel in the world.

Crystal will be examining exciting new itineraries for the 60,000-gross-ton United States by Crystal Cruises including not only the traditional transatlantic voyages from New York City, but cruises from key U.S. ports as well as international voyages around the globe which are a signature offering of Crystal and part of the line's "World Cruise."

The epitome of American post-war innovation and design, the SS United States was launched in 1952 and captured the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage—a record to this day that still stands. She remains the largest passenger ship ever designed and built in America. Before her retirement in 1969, the SS United States was the most glamorous and elegant ship in the world, having transported four U.S. presidents, international royalty, many of Hollywood's "golden era" celebrities, as well as a million passengers. While the ship captivated travelers with its features and elegance, the ship's origin was equally intriguing. She was designed as part of a top-secret Pentagon program during the Cold War, which stipulated it could be quickly converted from a luxury liner into a naval troopship in the event of a war, carrying 15,000 troops with a 240,000 shaft horsepower propulsion plant capable of traveling 10,000 nautical miles—almost half way around the globe—without refueling.

In October 2015, the SS United States Conservancy's Board of Directors announced that the persistent challenge of covering the vessel's monthly expenses had compelled them to engage a ship broker to explore the potential sale of the ship to be responsibly recycled. This news resulted in an outpouring of public support worldwide and led to the Conservancy raising additional funds which enabled the organization to continue its preservation efforts and pursue negotiations with potential investors and partners.

"The Conservancy could never have reached this momentous milestone without the lifeline provided by our supporters from across the country and around the world. Thousands responded to our SOS last October and they refused to give up the fight for America's Flagship," continued Gibbs.

To facilitate the complex technical feasibility study and to ensure a smooth execution of the project, Crystal has appointed retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Tim Sullivan to build and lead a team with a wide range of cruise line technical, legal and regulatory expertise. With 36 years of active service, Admiral Sullivan has extensive experience in ship operations as a Commanding Officer of numerous Coast Guard cutters, and over the years has engaged in high level of interaction with a myriad of U.S. government agencies and international regulatory entities.

"Tim's integrity and leadership will help ensure the feasibility study is conducted with appropriately wide consultation, and rigorous adherence to both safety and environmental awareness," said Rodriguez.

The Conservancy will continue to expand its curatorial and archival collections as it advances its mission of educating the public about the SS United States' history. The organization will work with Crystal to establish shipboard displays and other educational programs. Planning is also underway for a land-based museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of America's Flagship along with broader design, innovation, and discovery themes. The museum will feature a wide range of original artifacts and historic components from the ship's heyday.

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Costa Cruises' CostaClub Kicks Into High Gear

Costa Cruises’ guest loyalty program ‘CostaClub’ is to undergo changes and additions this year as it celebrates its 15th anniversary. Since its creation, members of the CostaClub have been on more than three million cruises, making use of its range of personalized privileges.

The new scheme will include two new membership ‘clubs’, Perla Diamante and Ambra, bringing the total number of membership clubs to six joining acquamarina, Corallo, Perla, and Perla Oro. Each of the clubs has exclusive and personalized benefits and privileges tailored to different types of traveler.

The Perla Diamante Club is the most exclusive club, offering services such as home luggage pick up and delivery, immediate boarding, complimentary upgrades, free access to the Club Restaurant throughout the entire cruise, front row theatre reservations and dedicated excursions. The Ambra Club is dedicated to those who have never cruised with Costa before, enabling them to fully embrace the experience from a beginner’s perspective.

CostaClub will also introduce new ways to accumulate points based on the cruises over the last three years. The base points accredited for each cruise day will be awarded according to the type of cabin selected, so that each guest’s points will increase much faster. Costs for Costa-partner airfares and on board expenses will also contribute to accumulating points. Guests will experience further discounts, gifts and exclusive services on board.

Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises, said: “The new CostaClub is an important investment by Costa and is based on our passion for innovation. We have listened to the members of the loyalty scheme to create the best benefits system in the cruise world.”

CostaClub members range from 18-102 years and consist of travelers from all over the world. 19 of the most loyal members have completed four round-the-world cruises and one guest has been on 100 cruises over the last five years, while another has chosen the same ship 40 consecutive times. The anniversary will also see the launch of an exciting contest to win a holiday on Costa Cruises and the chance to win a jackpot of 50,000 Euros.

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Silversea Upgrades Itineraries & Introduces Specialty Voyages in Mediterranean Routes

Monaco, Feb 4: In an effort to constantly ensure the best satisfaction of its guests, Silversea Cruises has modified some itineraries for its Mediterranean voyages in 2016. To the delight of Silversea's guests, select Mediterranean voyages will be enriched by a number of very exclusive onboard experiences and entertainment activities, such as breathtaking opera shows performed by its world-renowned partner Accademia Teatro alla Scala, classical ballet featuring acclaimed soloists from the esteemed State Academic Bolshoi Theater of Russia, culinary voyages hosting prestigious Relais & Châteaux® chefs, and many other programs.

Featured Mediterranean itineraries will also keep offering Silversea's Most Exclusive All-inclusive™ packages, which include a two-night pre-cruise stay at a deluxe hotel, all transfers between the airport, the hotel and the ship, and roundtrip international airfare from over 50 gateways in the U.S. and Canada. Moreover, all guests will be able to fully discover the secrets of all destinations thanks to a wide choice of free shore excursions, offered in every port of call.

The mentioned enrichment activities and all-inclusive packages further complement the delightful Silversea cruising experience, already featuring open-seating gourmet dining, butler service for all suites, champagne, select wines and premium spirits, free Wi-Fi for each guest, and many other included amenities. To check the Mediterranean voyage that you prefer, full details of all voyages are available at

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Holland America Line Marks $4.7 Million Donated for Cancer Support

Seattle, Feb. 4: In honor of World Cancer Day today, Feb. 4, Holland America Line is proud to announce that to date cruise guests and employees of the company have raised more than $4.7 million for cancer support through “On Deck” programming. The current On Deck for a Cause program benefits six international cancer organizations located in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom.

On Deck invites guests to participate in a noncompetitive 5k fundraising walk during every sailing on each of the line’s 13 ships, with hundreds of thousands of cruisers having walked in support of the program since its inception in 2006. Proceeds are 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). Previously the program benefitted Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

“We sincerely thank all Holland America Line guests and employees who have generously donated to On Deck for a Cause and helped us reach $4.7 million to help fight cancer,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Cancer is a disease that touches too many lives around the world. Through On Deck we will continue to help find a cure.”

Guests of all ages are invited to donate $20 to the Holland America Line Foundation, with a minimum of 75 percent ($15) distributed to the organizations. The remaining 25 percent covers program and administrative expenses. 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 and wristband and attend a post-walk reception. Depending on the ship, the distance to reach 5k ranges from nine to 12 laps.

In 2016, more than 500 On Deck for a Cause events will be held across the Holland America Line fleet on every cruise, with walks taking place in Alaska, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Bermuda, the Baltic, Canada and New England, the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexico, New Zealand, the Panama Canal, Hawaii and the South Pacific and South America.

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 about Holland America Line, visit

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Captain Dino Sagani Named Master of Majestic Princess

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Feb 3: Princess Cruises announced today that Captain Dino Sagani has been named master of its next new ship, Majestic Princess. He will lead a senior officer team with more than 100 years of seagoing experience among them. The relief Captain appointed to Majestic Princess is Princess Cruises’ veteran, Captain Craig Street.

“We’re thrilled to appoint such experienced captains to our new cruise ship destined for China,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “These skilled officers bring considerable seagoing and management skills and we know they will deliver an exceptional and memorable cruise vacation experience to all Majestic Princess guests.”

Captain Dino Sagani has served on board the ships of Princess Cruises for over 21 years having commanded a variety of Princess vessels, including Sea Princess, Dawn Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess and most recently as relief captain on board Royal Princess and Regal Princess. Sagani was born in Trieste on the North East Adriatic coast of Italy. Following the family tradition, he studied at the Nautical College in Trieste, which is one of the oldest Nautical Schools in Europe. On completion of his studies, he joined the Italian Navy, serving on a minesweeper during the first Gulf War. After the Navy, he joined Princess Cruises in 1995, where he quickly climbed the ranks and was promoted to Captain in 2007.

Captain Craig Street has commanded a variety of Princess vessels, including Caribbean Princess, Golden Princess, Sea Princess, Sun Princess, the former Royal Princess and Pacific Jewel, with sister Company P&O Australia. In addition, Captain Street has previously had the opportunity to bring three Princess cruise ships into service from the same shipyard in Italy; namely the Caribbean Princess, Sea Princess & Dawn Princess. Street was born in Norfolk, England, spent most of his youth living in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1990 he joined the Princess family as a deck cadet and after serving 3 years as an apprentice, qualified as 3rd Officer in 1993. Since then he has advanced through the ranks with his first command being the Star Princess in 2008.

Setting sail in spring 2017, Majestic Princess will offer many of the same special features as Royal Princess and Regal Princess, which have been so well-received. These include a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; and a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light.

As the first ship built and designed specifically for the China market, Majestic Princess will also feature a number of new venues and experiences created for this market, with more details revealed in the coming months. Majestic Princess will be based in China year-round and home-ported in Shanghai, carrying 3,560 guests.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting

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Holland America Line Crowns Katrina Pedersen ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea’ Champion

Seattle, Feb. 2: During the Jan. 10 Champions Cruise aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line crowned guest Katrina Pedersen of Sunnyvale, California, the line’s final “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion. Pedersen, who represented ms Maasdam, triumphed over 14 other guest competitors to claim the title and take home Holland America Line’s coveted “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Mirrorball Trophy.

A Brigham Young University student who dances almost daily, Pedersen performed in the ship’s main show lounge in three elimination routines before making it to the finals, where she executed a tango and waltz with shipboard dancing partner Ben Henley in front of a judging panel that included “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancer Kym Johnson, television personality Carson Kressley and actress Florence Henderson. “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancer Tony Dovolani co-hosted the finale with Holland America Line Dancing with the Stars host Jason Venner.

“The Champions Cruise is the culmination of a year of fun and exciting guest competitions across the fleet, and we congratulate all the dancers who worked so hard to compete and entertain their fellow cruisers,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Special congratulations to Katrina for earning the Mirrorball Trophy and impressing everyone on board with her winning performances.”

Before Pedersen was named champion in the final round, three elimination rounds were held during the cruise to reduce the 15 competitors down to three finalists. Elise Jensen of Mangerton, New South Wales, Australia, representing ms Volendam, and Stephan Reynolds of Atlanta, Georgia, representing ms Noordam, also advanced from the early rounds to dance in the finals. The 15 Champions Cruise competitors represented each of the ships in the Holland America Line fleet (including the former ms Ryndam and ms Statendam) and are from their respective ship’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” dance competitions that were held on board every cruise throughout the past year.

Joining the Champions Cruise to perform in a special production show were ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancers and show champions Kym Johnson and Tony Dovolani. Celebrities who joined the pros to perform were America’s favorite TV mom, Florence Henderson, and television personality Carson Kressley. Additional events on the cruise included a special fashion show featuring the glamorous show costumes, a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities, and a question-and-answer session.

The Jan. 10 Champions Cruise visited the eastern Caribbean, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with calls at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private island in the Bahamas. Holland America Line’s partnership with “Dancing with the Stars” culminates with this Champions Cruise following a successful three-year collaboration. For more information about Holland America Line, visit

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MSC Cruise Confirms Options for Two Additional STX France Next-Generation Ships

Geneva, Switzerland, Feb 1: Today at the coin ceremony for MSC Meraviglia held in Saint-Nazaire, France, MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, confirmed the existing STX France options to build an additional two ships in the Meraviglia class. Furthermore, the two new next-generation ships known as Meraviglia-Plus will feature increased tonnage and overall size, totaling 2,444 staterooms and a double occupancy of 4,888 guests. The two new units will now be completed respectively in October 2019 and December 2020, thus delivering the last of the now four Meraviglia STX France made-ships by nearly two years earlier than expected.

In another MSC Cruises industry-first, the two Meraviglia-Plus ships will feature the first and only classic and contemporary fine art museum at sea. Held in Saint-Nazaire, France at STX France, the traditional, centuries-old coin ceremony presented the opportunity to showcase the progress made on the work of MSC Meraviglia, which will come into service in June 2017, to media and other key stakeholders in attendance. Notable guests included Mr. Emmanual Macron, France’s Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, Mr. Edouard Philippe, the Mayor of Le Havre and a Member of Parliament.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman commented: “Our long-standing cooperation with STX-France and the continued growth of our business allows me today to confirm well-ahead of time the existing options for two additional ships. The two Meraviglia-Plus vessels will be even larger and longer as well as richer in features and amenities, thus confirming MSC Cruises as the industry’s boldest innovator when it comes to ship design and experiences we create for our guests.”

Mr. Vago added: “Standing here at the STX France shipyard for the coin ceremony for the eleventh time is a reflection of how strong our ties are with France, which is where all the ships of our current fleet were built. This makes MSC Cruises, when it comes to export contracts, the number one foreign private investor in France—having invested over $8.6 billion over the period and one of the leading overall investors. For this reason, I am proud to announce that MSC Meraviglia will respectively be christened in France in the beautiful UNESCO-listed port of Le Havre on June 1, 2017. From there, it will then set forth for its inaugural season to be spent in the Mediterranean, homeporting in another French port Marseille.”

The MSC Cruises Meraviglia-Plus class is the next-level generation of ships for all seasons. With cutting-edge design and exceptional features, the elegant side of the Mediterranean is brought to life in the mastery of every detail. Boasting an additional 200 staterooms and a maximum capacity of nearly 6,300 guests, these 1,085 foot-long vessels will be the largest ships at sea able to call at any port, thus maximizing guests’ choices of itineraries and destinations. The unique public spaces filled with boutiques, restaurants and tranquil spots for shopping, eating and relaxing as well as socializing have also been enhanced. The interior promenade is now an impressive 362 feet-long and the now-310 by 20 feet LED sky screen above it will display visual events and vistas around the clock to animate the entire promenade from above to create an unique atmospheric experience.

Another key distinguishing element of the MSC Cruises experience is its commitment to making the richest array of entertainment available to its guests. With the recently announced partnership with Cirque du Soleil, MSC Cruises and Cirque du Soleil have co-designed and built dining and entertainment venues that center around the theatrical, aecrobatic style of shows that will be performed. In addition to the exciting entertainment, MSC Meraviglia-Plus ships will feature a unique, cultural experience for guests at sea with the first of its kind classic and contemporary fine art museum. This industry-first feature will now enable guests to discover world culture not only through rich and varied itineraries, but also onboard through the masterpieces on display from around the globe in collaboration with the world’s premier cultural centers, classic and modern art museums as well as public and private institutions.

Furthermore, Meraviglia and Meraviglia-Plus ships will look to set a new standard in smart ships. The recently announced partnership with Samsung will deliver state-of-the-art, next-generation technology. MSC Cruises guests will be delighted by the latest displays, mobile solutions and medical equipment as well as products for enhanced reality experiences. The two new ships will be worth $1.7 billion, thus bringing MSC Cruises’ investment for the two Meraviglia plus the two Meraviglia-Plus ships to a total of $3.2 billion.

Company performance in 2015
At a press conference following the ceremony, Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer, said: “In 2015, MSC Cruises came out of another year of unprecedented growth that saw a 10% year-on-year sales increase, with 1.7 million guests having journeyed on one of the Company’s 12 ultra-modern ships. In key markets, including Italy, Germany, Spain and France—growth at rates higher than the market resulted in further market share gains. For 2016,” Mr Onorato concluded, “we expect six percent year-over-year additional growth.

During the course of the latest fiscal year, the company further solidified its leadership in South America and South Africa. Additionally, it continued to expand its global reach beyond its core Mediterranean and Northern Europe offerings by being the first global cruise line to make Cuba its homeport. As of May 2016, it also announced the deployment of its first ship out of China while continuing to strengthen its offerings in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman with even more capacity. In the Caribbean, MSC Divina is now operating year-around from Miami with MSC Seaside joining her in December 2017. In an industry first, the two exclusively diverse Caribbean itineraries include port calls in Havana with MSC Opera and Armonia as of December 2016.

MSC Cruises, part of the Mediterranean Shipping Company, is the market leader in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Brazil. It sails year-round in the Mediterranean and will sail year-round in the Caribbean. Its seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, as well as the Emirates and Oman.

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Adam Tihany To Act As Creative Director Of New Costa Cruises Ships

GENOA, Italy, Feb. 1: Costa Cruises has appointed New York based hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany as Creative Director for the two new ships, powered with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), scheduled for delivery in 2019 and 2020. Under Tihany's leadership, Costa Cruises will assemble an elite group of designers to execute the vision for the next generation of ships inspired by "Italy's Finest."

"It is a rare honor to narrate a design story from the director's chair," Tihany said. "The fact that this opportunity creates a partnership with Costa Cruises is all the more extraordinary. The phrase 'Italy's Finest' not only describes the design concept, but wholly embodies the Costa brand."

The layout of the new ships will reflect comments and suggestions from Costa guests, creating a more efficient use of the ships' space and ultimately an enhanced onboard experience for guests.

"We are fortunate to have Mr. Tihany, the world's preeminent hospitality designer, as creative director for our next-generation ships," said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises. "'Italy's finest' concept represents the roots and the identity of Costa Cruises. It deals with the best things that our Country has to offer: passion, quality, hospitality and, of course, style. I am confident that Mr. Tihany will create a unique style for our new ships, that will help us to offer our guests unforgettable and happy holidays."

The new Costa ships will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas, together with the two new ships ordered for Aida Cruises (the German brand belonging to Costa Group). To be built by Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland, each of the new Costa ships will exceed 180,000 gross tons, offering more than 2,600 passenger cabins for a total of 6,600 passengers onboard.

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