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Cruise News
March 1-31, 2015

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

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

Cruise Diva

The World’s Most Luxurious Ship Adds a Dash of Parisian Flair with Chartreuse,
The New French Restaurant Debuting on Seven Seas Explorer

NEW YORK, March 13: The lavish ambiance and epicurean delights found in Paris’ finest eateries come to life aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ newest ship, Seven Seas Explorer, with a tantalizing new gourmet French specialty restaurant called Chartreuse. Featuring a classic French menu with a modern twist, Chartreuse joins Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ signature steakhouse, Prime 7, as the second of three distinct specialty restaurants aboard Seven Seas Explorer, providing guests a range of gourmet dining options as they sail upon the most luxurious ship ever built. Regent Seven Seas Cruises will release details about the third specialty restaurant in June.

“A luxury cruise experience is incomplete without gourmet dining,” said Jason Montague, president and chief operating officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “With our sights set on building the world’s most luxurious ship, we challenged our design and culinary teams to develop some extraordinary and exquisite dining options for our guests aboard Seven Seas Explorer. The team exceeded that high mark with Chartreuse, an extremely elegant restaurant where the ambiance and cuisine is sure to stir fond Parisian memories, and help create new ones.”

A Parisian Experience at Sea
Deriving its name from sultry chartreuse-colored glass panels that adorn the dining room walls, the ambiance of Chartreuse evokes memories of a chic Parisian fine dining restaurant discovered during an evening stroll along the Seine or just off the Champs-Élysées. Guests are greeted by a hostess upon arrival at the restaurant through a curved paneled entryway with flooring that resembles a cobblestoned Parisian street damped by a gentle rain, creating an environment that is warm and welcoming, yet mysterious.

Contemporary lounge chairs and embossed leather stools are assembled around Golden Kosmos Granite topped tables in an intimate bar area with scalloped marble Cosmati mosaic tiled flooring. This is the perfect respite for guests to enjoy an apéritif, including specialty cocktails infused with the French liqueur Chartreuse. A solid zinc bar top that is placed atop a softly illuminated frosted glass base sits near a backlit wine display filled with the finest French wines and selections from boutique vineyards of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhône and Loire Valleys. Decorative iron sculpting throughout the bar pays a graceful and subtle homage to Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower.

As guests transition to the dining room they are greeted by lush art nouveau décor with a feature wall lined with sculpted Chartreuse glass surrounded by metallic and crystalline frames on one side and floor-to-ceiling windows separated by metal filigree screens on the other. Whether seated at an intimate table for two or at one of the lavish white leather banquets, every guest will be treated to a succulent dinner while enjoying incredible ocean views. The design team at ICRAVE responsible for this sophisticated French restaurant left no detail unattended, including a silver-leafed ceiling that is interspersed with dramatic gold-bordered black lacquered lines to complete the elegant Parisian motif. The back portion of the restaurant seamlessly transitions from a regal dining room, to a whimsical Parisian courtyard, creating the illusion of al fresco dining. Separated from the main dining area by a metal lattice screen, this stylish garden area sits upon marble flooring with gold mosaic tile inlays and is illuminated by a wall of decorative lanterns and a centerpiece crystal chandelier.

The restaurant ambiance is complemented by a menu that features dishes expertly prepared using both classic and modern techniques for a multiple course celebration of French gastronomy. Using only the finest ingredients, the menu is highlighted by epicurean delights including hand-cut Charolais steak tartare in a hazelnut-Dijon emulsion topped with Perlita caviar d’Aquitaine, roasted Cévennes rack of lamb with rosemary-mint persillade and sugar snap pea sauce, and poached Brittany blue lobster tail glazed with caramelized lobster roe butter on a bed of Sologne white asparagus and Romanesco. Delectable desserts include a frozen Chartreuse parfait with almond crumble and classic savarin cake made with aged Martinique rum and topped with vanilla cream.

Designed as the most luxurious ship ever built, Seven Seas Explorer will cater to guests’ gastronomic desires with three distinct specialty restaurants, a signature grand dining room and multiple other options, such as outdoor dining with incredible cuisine and fresh ocean breezes. All restaurants will feature vintage wines and premium spirits at no additional charge, and each dish will be prepared à la minute and cooked to order.

 Beginning in the summer of 2016 the Chartreuse menu will extend to the rest of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet, replacing Signatures on Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner, and with select dishes available at Compass Rose on Seven Seas Navigator.  For more information about Seven Seas Explorer or Regent Seven Seas Cruises, visit

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Four Wine Experts Chosen For Un-Cruise Adventures Voyages

Seattle, WA, March 12, 2015— Pairing river cruising with a wine-rich region in the Pacific Northwest, Un-Cruise Adventures’ new Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine and History itinerary quenches the thirst of travelers interested in learning more about wine while cruising along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The line has chosen four wine experts to accompany travelers aboard the S.S. Legacy. The 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer reminiscent of the ships that once plied the rivers in the early 1900s, offers the new weeklong, wine-centric itinerary roundtrip Portland, OR. A wine expert sails on board for the week to interact with guests and lead wine tastings along with food pairings.

• August 15 with Steven (a certified sommelier) and MaryAnn Sinkler, winemakers and owners of the Wine Shack in Cannon Beach, Oregon
• August 22 with Kevin Correll, winemaker and owner of Barrage Cellars, a boutique winery in Washington State
• August 29 with Jameson Fink, a wine expert with a decade of experience in the retail industry, an award-winning blogger of all things wine and currently the wine editor at
• September 5 with Joel Butler, one of the first two American Masters of Wine (1990) and owner of World of Wine in Redmond, Washington

“We created the new Ameritage river cruise itinerary to highlight the culinary and wine offerings in the Pacific Northwest,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “With a wine expert on board, tastings, food pairings and visits with winemakers, guests can expect a well-rounded week of Northwest wines along with the striking scenery found on the Columbia & Snake Rivers.”

The inclusive itinerary features four rivers—Columbia, Snake, Willamette and Palouse—and highlights the burgeoning wine regions in Washington and Oregon including Walla Walla, recently named one of the top ten wine regions in the world. Tastings at nine wineries are included in the cruise fare. Wineries may include Springhouse Cellars, Maryhill Winery, AniChe Cellars, Bergevin Lane, Dunham Cellars, Terra Blanca, Sunshine Mill Winery and others. A visit to the Wine Shack in Cannon Beach includes tastings of Washington and Oregon wines. The Oil & Vinegar Bar nearby presents tastings of infused olive oil.

Highlights of the cruise include cruising through scenic Columbia River Gorge, transiting of eight sets of locks and dams, and visits to Hood River, Walla Walla, Astoria and Cannon Beach. Excursions explore towering Multnomah Falls, Palouse Falls State Park, eclectic Maryhill Museum, Hanford Interpretive Center and Whitman Mission.

A seasonal menu aboard the S.S. Legacy features fresh, local ingredients from the Northwest. Wines from Washington and Oregon will be paired with meals; a seven-course wine-paired dinner will be held one evening. Inclusive wine theme cruises offer on board interpretation by a heritage leader, a wine expert, and guided tours combined with innovative meals; premium wine, beer and spirits; a massage; all taxes and fees and transfers. Rates begin at US$3,695 per person, double occupancy. All winery tasting fees are included.

From April through November, the line also offers the Legacy of Discovery itinerary on the Columbia and Snake Rivers focusing on the history of the area with included tours to points of historical interest each day and a Heritage Team on board for Living History presentations. Lewis and Clark buffs may choose theme cruise dates with Todd Weber, an expert on American history and the Lewis & Clark expedition—May 16, 23; October 31; November 7, 2015. And on August 8, 2015 Letters from Home, a singing duo specializing in 1940s style harmonies, tap dancing and comedy joins the cruise.

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Princess Cruises Unveils Industry-First Partnership with Oscar-Winning Composer Stephen Schwartz

SANTA CLARITA, CA, March 12: Princess Cruises today announced a first-of-its-kind cruise industry partnership with three-time Oscar winner and composer of Wicked, Pippin and GodspellStephen Schwartz. The cruise line's new relationship with such a major creative talent from Broadway and Hollywood includes a multi-year agreement to oversee the creative development of four new musicals to debut across the fleet over the next several years.

During his 40-year career, Schwartz has won four Grammys, three Academy Awards for "Best Song" and "Best Score" for Pocahontas and "Best Song" for The Prince of Egypt and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. He is the only songwriter in Broadway history to ever have three shows run more than 1,900 performances. His first musical for Princess Cruises will celebrate Schwartz's lifelong fascination with magic. Called Magic to Do, the show will combine thrilling magic with some of Schwartz's most famous songs and a brand new song written exclusively for Princess. The show will debut aboard Crown Princess in the fall.

"Stephen is hands down one of the most talented and accomplished Broadway composers of all time and we couldn't be more honored to partner with him to ideate and bring fresh talent together to create memorable entertainment experiences for our guests," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Princess is known for introducing product innovations and we're thrilled to embark on this extraordinary new live-show entertainment, unlike anything any cruise line has ever before offered."

"I'm excited about the possibility of using the enormous resources available with Princess to create new and innovative theatrical entertainment," said Schwartz. "Their onboard theatres are Broadway-caliber venues with state-of-the-art technical capability, and coupled with their access to first-rate performers, I see it as an extraordinary and almost irresistible opportunity. I have already received overwhelming and enthusiastic interest from talented colleagueswriters, directors, and designers to whom I have spokenand I hope together we will create new kinds of cruise ship shows to entertain and inspire Princess guests unlike any other productions at sea."

Schwartz will oversee the creative development for all four shows, bringing together a cadre of Broadway talent to support the productions through direction and design. The Magic to Do team includes: Don Frantz, associate producer of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, among many other Broadway and international accomplishments; Gabriel Barre, internationally acclaimed director whose credits include the national tour of Pippin and the current Broadway-bound musical, Amazing Grace; Jeremy Railton, four-time Emmy winner whose extensive background in theatre, film, television and multi-media design includes the 2002 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and the Academy Awards; Ken Billington, Tony award-winning lighting designer with nearly 100 Broadway show credits to his name, including Sweeney Todd and the current production of Chicago; Mark Hartman, award-winning music director with numerous Broadway credits including Sondheim on Sondheim, Avenue Q and the national tour of Pippin; and Jennifer Paulson-Lee, choreographer with credits including Enter Laughing, the Musical, A Rockin' Midsummer Night's Dream, 101 Dalmatians and Seussical.

In addition, Jim Steinmeyer, the mastermind behind many of the great magic illusions over the last 25 years, will create the magic experience in Magic to Do. Steinmeyer has worked with some of the greatest magicians of all time including Doug Henning, Siegfried & Roy and David Copperfield. Auditions for Magic to Do begin next week in New York and Toronto, followed by Los Angeles and Vancouver. Schwartz will participate in the audition process, helping source top talent and performers for the 45-minute show.

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Windstar Cruises Announces 2016 Voyage Collection

Seattle, March 12: Windstar Cruises opens their 2016 voyages for sale today. The collection features 11 new voyages and 30 new ports of call. Highlights for the Caribbean voyages include Windstar’s first time sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The itinerary features a stop at Little Bay, Montserrat, where Windstar will be the first cruise line to make regular calls since the 1995 eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano that buried the island’s capital city. Windstar will also be offering a selection of voyages that highlight the ABC Islands. Highlights from the European collection include a 7-day circumnavigation of Iceland.

“Windstar Cruises strives to offer voyages that truly bring the guests closer to smaller ports and intimate experiences,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar’s president and chief executive officer. "Our 2016 Voyage Collection does just that. Guests can experience the unique wonders of Montserrat to the wild beauty of Iceland, and everything in between.”

All itineraries will feature a spectacular Private Event, created exclusively for Windstar guests. These complimentary events were crafted to give guests an in depth local experience. Private Events include activities such as enjoying a concert at the Blue Church in Seydisfjordur, Iceland or dining on typical Catlan tapas at the Roman amphitheater of Tarragona in Spain.

New 2016 Caribbean Voyages
• San Juan & the Virgin Islands – 7 Days: Explore hidden harbors and legendary islands as you cruise from historic San Juan to the pristine Virgin Islands. Sailing round trip from San Juan, Puerto Rico highlights include Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico, and Montserrat.
• Gems of the Leeward Islands – 10 Days: Discover the breadth and depth of the Eastern Caribbean on nine distinctly different ports round trip from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Highlights include an overnight in Virgin Gorda.
• Caribbean Hideaways – 7 Days: Spend pampered days in the secret hideaways of the Caribbean, kayaking off the Watersports Platform and walking on uncrowded beaches. Sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Bridgetown, Barbados (or reverse), highlights include Montserrat and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
• Best of the ABC Islands – 7 Days: From nutmeg-scented Grenada to Aruba’s sugar-white beaches, the magical “ABC” islands have the recipe for a perfect holiday. The voyages begin in Bridgetown, Barbados and sail to Oranjestad, Aruba (or reverse) and feature Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.
• Dutch Delights & Rainforest Retreats – 14 Days: A care-free Caribbean vacation, an epic passage through the Panama Canal, and an eco-tourism adventure to one of the world’s most biodiverse destinations—all in one. Starting in Oranjestad, Aruba and sailing to Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, this 2-week voyage features a Panama Canal transit and Cartagena, Colombia.
• Icons of the Dutch Caribbean – 7/8 Days: Discover all there is to love about the Dutch Caribbean—world-class diving and windsurfing, pastel-colored towns, and a relaxed ambiance that perfectly complements Windstar. Starting in Colon Panama, and finishing in Philipsburg, St. Maarten (or reverse), this itinerary stops in Cartagena, Colombia, Aruba, and Bonaire.
• Secrets of the Southern Caribbean – 7 Days: Discover the “deep south” of the Caribbean, beyond the mainstream cruises, from islands acclaimed for their crystalline waters to seldom-visited mainland ports. The voyage begins in Colon, Panama and cruises to Oranjestad, Aruba with stops in Colombia and the ABC islands.

New 2016 Central America Voyages
• Naturally Costa Rica – 7 Days: At the confluence of two oceans, two continents, and two climates, Costa Rica is one of the most ecologically diverse places on earth. Highlights include a stop in Quepos to visit Manuel Antonio National Park, and a visit to Nicaragua.

New 2016 Northern European Voyages
• Around Iceland – 7 Days: Explore the fascinating island of Iceland on a complete circumnavigation, experiencing the best of Iceland while visiting rare ports of call off the beaten path. This round trip voyage from Reykjavik features many Icelandic gems, including an overnight in Seydisfjordur and a stop at Akureyri.
• Lands of the Midnight Sun – 11 Days: Sail under the Midnight Sun to sparkling Norwegian fjords, steaming Icelandic geysers, ancient Scottish standing stones, and the bucolic Faroe Islands. Sailing from Dublin, Ireland to Reykjavic, Iceland, highlights include Iceland’s Blue Lagoon and Molde, Norway.

New 2016 Mediterranean Voyages
• Treasures of Southern Spain & Morocco – 8 Days: From grand UNESCO monuments to Andalucia’s charming “white villages,” this voyage showcases the best of Southern Spain and Morocco. Sailing from Lisbon to Barcelona (or reverse), this voyage features stops in Ibizia and Tarragona, Spain.

2016 Voyage Collection: In addition to the new itineraries, Windstar’s 2016 Voyage Collection features over 26 unique voyages. Windstar will continue to sail year round in Tahiti with two voyages, Dreams of Tahiti and Tahiti & the Tuamotu Islands, a magical collection of islands best seen by sailing yacht. Other guest favorites include a variety of itineraries in Italy and Greece such as Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast and Greek Isles & Turkish Delights. To see the entire 2016 Voyage Collection, visit

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Royal Caribbean Announces 2016 Europe & Alaska Adventures

MIAMI, March 12: Whether climbing La Sagrada Familia’s Nativity Towers for an unbelievable view of Barcelona, or dog-sledding atop Mendenhall Glacier for a once-in-a lifetime perspective of the Alaskan wilderness, vacationers will find unforgettable adventures with Royal Caribbean International. The award-winning cruise line today announced new 2016 Europe vacations, totaling eight of the region’s most innovative cruise ships that will sail from six European homeports and call at 80 intriguing destinations in 27 countries throughout the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Scandinavia and the Baltic. Four of the Europe ships will be new to the region, and Royal Caribbean’s most-anticipated, third Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas, will sail its inaugural season from Barcelona, while Independence of the Seas returns to Southampton as the U.K.’s largest and most favorite cruise ship. Perfect for family travel in Alaska, Explorer of the Seas will make history as the largest cruise ship to ever sail the region, and join Radiance of the Seas for the cruise line’s 27th consecutive season in the Great Frontier. Royal Caribbean’s 2016 Europe itineraries will open for booking starting March 19, 2015, and 2016 Alaska will open on March 26.

As part of all the new deployment openings, Royal Caribbean is announcing a new early booking BOGO50 offer. Vacationers can save 50 percent on the cruise fare of a second guest in the same stateroom with a full-fare guest, when making a new booking aboard sailings departing on or after May 15, 2015. Vacationers also can enjoy additional 50 percent savings on the fare of a third and fourth guest on nearly all 2016-17 itineraries, including the recently opened 2016-17 Caribbean itineraries. Additionally, guests can take advantage of the offer’s buy-one-get-one-half-off the second Premium Beverage Package by noting promo code ‘BOGOBEV,’ and complete their new booking with 50 percent reduced deposits. For more information about BOGO50, please visit BOGO50 is valid for new bookings, made between March 11 and April 30, 2015, in Oceanview and higher-category staterooms on five-night or longer itineraries. The offer does not include bookings on Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, and trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, and China sailings.

New Oasis-class Vacations from Barcelona
- After its delivery in May 2016, the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, will homeport at Barcelona and sail a round-trip, 7-night Western Mediterranean itinerary. Vacationers also can embark Harmony of the Seas at Rome (Civitavecchia), but guests must sail round-trip for seven nights.
- Brilliance of the Seas also will alternate 12-night Italian Mediterranean and Greek & Italian Mediterranean cruises.

British & Scandinavian Cruises
- The U.K. welcomes back Independence of the Seas in summer 2016. The ship will sail mostly 10- to 14-night Mediterranean or Canary Island cruises from Southampton, while Navigator of the Seas will offer British vacationers a wide range of new 6- to 14-night Norwegian Fjords, Baltic, Mediterranean or Canary Island itineraries.
- Serenade of the Seas will sail seven-night Norwegian Fjords and 7- to 13-night Scandinavia and Russia itineraries, round-trip from Copenhagen, Denmark, in early summer and August, and from Stockholm, Sweden, in June and July.

Italy & Greece Adventures from Venice and Rome
- Jewel of the Seas will alternate brand new 10-night Greece & Adriatic and 11-night Greece, Turkey & Croatia itineraries from Venice, while Vision of the Seas will alternate seven-night Greek Isles and Greek Isles & Turkey cruises. Jewel of the Seas will double the cruise line’s capacity at this unique, iconic and most desirable world-class city.
- Rhapsody of the Seas will homeport at Rome (Civitavecchia) and sail 9-night Greek Isles cruises in early summer and autumn months. From late June through August, the ship will alternate 7-night Greek Isles and Greek & Turkey cruises.

Royal Caribbean’s 27th Alaska Season
- Explorer of the Seas will be unmatched in onboard amenities when the ship debuts in Alaskan waters. Guests on the ship’s 7-night round-trip itineraries from Seattle, Wash., will sail up Tracy Arm Fjords for an incomparable view of Sawyer Glacier. In September, the ship will sail three Pacific Coastal cruises, seven nights in duration, which feature an overnight in San Francisco, Calif.
- For its part, Radiance of the Seas will alternate 7-night northbound and southbound Alaska cruises between Vancouver, B.C., and Seward. On these itineraries, guests will venture into Disenchantment Bay for a close-up view of Hubbard Glacier.

Vacationers also can choose a wide range of trans-Atlantic cruises, which bookend each ship’s 2016 Europe season and combine Europe and the Caribbean on 13- to 16-night itineraries aboard the aforementioned ships. For their part, Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas will reposition to Australia, via Hawaii.

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Special Culinary Experiences Highlight Holland America Line’s ‘Sip, Savor & Sail’ Cruises

Seattle,, Mar. 11: Guests looking for a more immersive culinary cruise experience can book one of Holland America Line’s “Sip, Savor and Sail” itineraries in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska. On these five special voyages, guests will be introduced to the finest local cuisine, beverages and specially developed shore excursions.

Guest chefs and local vintners, mixologists and brewmasters will share their expertise—and their creations—during classes, demonstrations and tastings in the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, while specialized menu options will be featured in the dining room and alternative restaurants. Exciting shore excursions with a special Sip, Savor and Sail focus will be available to complete the memorable experience.

“At Holland America Line, cuisine is an important part of the overall cruise experience, and many of our guests want to learn more about local delicacies and culinary customs,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The Sip, Savor and Sail itineraries greatly enhance the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska cruises, and our guests are going to get a lot of exciting tips and recipes from the special chefs and mixologists.”

The Sip, Savor and Sail cruise in the Caribbean is ms Maasdam’s April 7 voyage. In Alaska, guests can join ms Westerdam’s May 2 departure, ms Statendam’s July 13 sailing or ms Amsterdam’s Aug. 16 voyage. In Europe, ms Ryndam departs May 4 roundtrip from Harwich, England, for France, Spain and Portugal.

Exotic Flavors Spice Up Caribbean Cruises
In addition to demonstrations, classes and tastings on the Caribbean voyages, the guest chefs will all host a Calypso Brunch in the Pinnacle Grill. Sip and Savor shore excursions in the Caribbean include “History & Cuisine of San Juan on Foot” at San Juan, Puerto Rico; “Caribbean Culinary Experience” at Basseterre, St. Kitts; and “Catamaran Cruise with Lobster Lunch” at St. John’s, Antigua. On Maasdam’s 10-day voyage April 7, Chef Natacha Gomez will delight guests with her flavorful and unique culinary creations. Gomez is the catering manager of Kokiyaj Bar and Grill and owner of Chef T in Cap-Haitien, Haiti.

Ryndam Sailing Explores the Tastes of Spain & Portugal
Sailing aboard Ryndam on May 4 are Antony Bennett, executive chef of La Tasca authentic-style tapas restaurants in the United Kingdom. Recognized as a leading development chef, Bennett will share his passion for Spanish cuisine and tasty tapas dishes. Also joining the cruise are Master of Wines Simon Field and Rebecca Lamont, the Head of Wine School at Britain’s oldest wine merchant, Berry Brothers and Rudd. Field and Lamont will help guests learn about wines from the region through wine tastings and tips about their area of expertise in Spanish and Portuguese wines. Five shore excursions will highlight the region’s culinary and cultural contributions to the world, including “A Taste of Northwest Spain,” “Flamenco & Traditional Spanish Meal” and “Panoramic Cadiz & Jerez with Sherry Tasting.”

Alaska’s Unique Cuisine Comes to Life on Sip, Savor & Sail Cruises
On the three Alaska voyages, guests can savor local fare—from the freshest salmon to local vegetables and fruits—all paired with select wines from Northwest vintners and brews from Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing Co. During a "Louder Chowder Cook-Off" competition, the guest chefs will go head to head, preparing chowder from mystery ingredients. Alaska cruises feature a total of 16 Sip and Savor shore excursions in Juneau, Homer, Kodiak and Ketchikan, Alaska; and Victoria, British Columbia. Examples include “Glacier View Bike and Brew” and “Alaska Salmon Bake” at Juneau, “Exclusive Mountaintop Flightseeing & Crab Feast” at Ketchikan, and “Corks and Canvas” and “Off the Beaten Path: Aviation Museum & Cider Tasting” at Victoria.

Westerdam’s May 2nd 7-day departure will feature Jeff Maxfield, executive chef at the acclaimed SkyCity Restaurant, a revolving dining room atop the Space Needle in Seattle, and Seis Kamimura, executive chef CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks. Wendy Stuckey of Chateau Ste. Michelle winery located outside of Seattle will be onboard to impart her knowledge during several presentations.

On Statendam’s July 13 cruise, Executive Chef Perry Mascitti of Tulalip Resort Casino near Seattle, and Al Levinsohn, chef and owner of Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, will be onboard the 14-day voyage, along with Bob Betz, founder and winemaker at Betz Family Winery.

The Aug. 16 Alaska cruise on Amsterdam features Kirsten and Mandy Dixon, chefs at both Tutka Bay and Winterlake lodges in Alaska, along with Chef Roy Breiman, culinary director at Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle. Along with the chefs, Matt Oakley, winemaker at Long Shadows Vintners, will present a special collection of premium wines during the 7-day cruise.

Holland America Line’s Culinary Program
The Sip, Savor and Sail cruises are part of Holland America Line’s innovative and industry-leading culinary initiatives, which also include the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food and Wine magazine, a state-of-the-art show kitchen at sea that welcomes visiting guest chefs; a partnership with Le Cirque to present “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill”; “A Taste of De Librije” presented by Jonnie Boer; and a Culinary Council composed of renowned international chefs Mark Best, Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, Jacques Torres and the line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. For more information, visit

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Carnival Corp Launches First of Two New Ships

MIAMI, March 10: Carnival Corporation, the world's largest travel and leisure company, celebrated the launch of P&O Cruises UK's newest ship, Britannia, in a naming ceremony held today in Southampton, England, to commemorate its entry into service for the P&O Cruises fleet. Britannia, the first of two new ships joining Carnival Corporation's industry-leading fleet in 2015, will be joined later this year by AIDA's new flagship vessel, AIDAprima, when it begins regular service this fall.

Britannia, the biggest ship designed exclusively for Britain, embodies the spirit of modern Britain through the ship's contemporary, elegant design, cutting-edge art collection, best of British chefs, state-of-the-art cookery school and world-class spa. Following the naming ceremony, the 3,657-passenger vessel will embark on her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean and during her maiden season will also sail to the Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and the Baltic Sea, as well as offering a range of short breaks and a special "round-Britain" cruise. The 143,000-ton ship will then transfer to the Caribbean for the winter season sailing a range of 15 night fly/cruise itineraries from Barbados.

Carnival Corporation President & CEO Arnold Donald, Carnival UK Chairman David Dingle and Carnival UK CEO David Noyes along with distinguished guests, government officials and the ship's crew helped welcome Britannia to the fleet at today's naming ceremony.

"The Britannia is a stunning ship that is equal parts beauty, class and entertainment, and will surely provide an amazing experience for our guests," said Donald. "Today's celebration, filled with so many classic elements that are quintessentially British, was the perfect way to kick off her official start of service in our fleet. As Britannia immediately begins wowing our guests on her inaugural voyage this weekend, we look forward to building on this excitement and momentum with our next great ship addition in 2015, the AIDAprima. She will join our Carnival Corporation fleet this fall as one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships ever built."

Donald added, "These amazing new ships are part of our fleet enhancement strategy that will see 10 new ships join our fleet in the next three years. More importantly, every one of our ships plays a key role in helping us meet our goal to consistently exceed guest expectations on every voyage, and to give our guests the vacation of a lifetime, every time they cruise with us."

The new flagship of AIDA Cruises, AIDAprima, will join its fleet in fall 2015 as the most environmentally friendly cruise ship to date. It will kick off its service with a 50-day journey from Yokohama, Japan, to Dubai. Following its maiden voyage, AIDAprima will offer seven-day-cruises from Dubai. In spring 2016, it will head to Hamburg, Germany, where it will have its homeport, making AIDA Cruises the first cruise line to have a ship based in Germany year-round. Starting on April 30, 2016, AIDAprima will make the first of its all-season 7-day journeys through Western Europe. The 124,100-ton vessel will be able to accommodate 3,300 passengers and will feature a variety of world-class entertainment, on-board activities, dining, shopping and relaxation offerings.

In addition to these two ships, Carnival Corporation will welcome ships from five of its nine global brands in the next three years. The brands include AIDA Cruises, Holland America Line (two ships), Carnival Cruise Line (two ships), Seabourn (two ships) and Princess Cruises. All told, Carnival Corporation has refreshed its global fleet, the largest in the world, with more than 30 new ship additions since 2007, including two ships launched in late 2014, Regal Princess and Costa Diadema.

In 2016, Carnival Cruise Line is scheduled to debut Carnival Vista, a stunning 133,500-ton ship that will be the largest ever in its fleet, and Holland America Line will launch its newest ship, the 99,500-ton ms Koningsdam, a new Pinnacle Class ship that can carry 2,650 passengers. Also in 2016, AIDA will introduce a new sister ship to the AIDAprima with capacity for 3,300 passengers, while Seabourn will unveil its newest luxury ship, expected to be the biggest ever built by the brand with the ability to serve 604 passengers.

Looking forward to 2017, Princess Cruises is working with Fincantieri to build a 3,560 passenger, 143,000-ton vessel featuring the highly popular design elements introduced by the brand's two newest ships, sisters Royal Princess and Regal Princess.

In addition to these new ships, Carnival Corporation continues to expand its fleet leadership with upgrades and refurbishments to existing ships. In 2015 alone, the company plans upgrades or refurbishments on 17 ships across six of its brands. The 2015 refurbishment plans include two former Holland America Line ships transferred to P&O Cruises Australia that will undergo complete refurbishment before sailing as Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden starting in November 2015. The renovated ships will offer a new level of comfort and style with onboard features tailored for Australian and New Zealand passengers, as Carnival Corporation boosts its industry-leading presence in the world's fastest-growing cruise market.

About P&O Cruises UK
P&O Cruises has a fleet of seven ships offering holidays tailored to British tastes combining genuine service, a sense of occasion and attention to detail, ensuring passengers have the holiday of a lifetime, every time. Azura was launched in April 2010, officially named by Godmother Darcey Bussell CBE. Small ship Adonia was added to the fleet in May 2011, named by Dame Shirley Bassey, DBE.

About AIDA Cruises
AIDA Cruises is the leader and most recognized cruise brand dedicated to the German cruise market and renowned for its youthful style and casual service attracting a mix of active and relaxation-seeking vacationers. AIDA Cruises operates and markets one of the world's most state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly fleets, currently comprising 10 cruise ships. By 2016, the AIDA fleet will expand to 12 ships.

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Allure of New Ship Sirena Propels Oceania Cruises to Record Bookings Day

MIAMI, March 9: The highly anticipated inaugural season for Sirena, Oceania Cruises’ new 684-passenger ship scheduled to enter service April 27, 2016, fueled a single-day bookings record when released last Wednesday. The first voyages for Sirena, coupled with the release of Oceania Cruises’ summer and fall 2016 itinerary collection featuring 90 new itineraries, 50 of which are extended journeys, and 20 intriguing ports not previously visited by the line led to the single-day bookings record.

“With the addition of Sirena to the Oceania Cruises fleet we can expand the realm of possibilities and stretch our imagination when it comes to itinerary planning, providing our guests even more options,” said Jason Montague president and chief operating officer for Oceania Cruises. “A mix of longer cruises and a diverse collection of itineraries that feature exotic, sought-after global destinations for the 2016 summer and fall season have clearly resonated with our guests.”

In April 2016, Sirena will join the line’s trio of sister ships Insignia, Regatta and Nautica and offer an entirely new lineup of 10- to 14-day Mediterranean voyages, artfully blended with a mix of classic and new destinations. Before entering service, Sirena will undergo an extensive bow-to-stern refurbishment that will give the ship the same stunning elegant style Oceania Cruises guests love about the existing fleet. Guests sailing on Sirena will be able to enjoy renowned specialty dining restaurants Toscana and Polo Grill, along with more recent additions to the fleet such as Baristas and the cook-to-order grill Terrace Café.

The six ship fleet provides Oceania Cruises even greater flexibility to create an unprecedented number of new itineraries for the upcoming season, offering a perfect fusion of iconic and off-the-beaten-path destinations. These new itineraries explore all corners of the world and capture the imagination of the most seasoned traveler. Oceania Cruises also introduced seven new Grand Voyages, ranging from a 90-night round-trip journey from Miami to a 40-night Vancouver to Montreal sailing. For more information about Oceania Cruises, visit

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Holland America Line to Sail 124 Alaska Voyages in 2015

Seattle, March 9: Holland America Line is making exciting changes to its 2015 Alaska cruise season, including moving ms Noordam to the region and positioning ms Statendam exclusively on 14-day itineraries roundtrip from Seattle. From May through September 2015 seven ships in the fleet will sail a total of 124 Alaska voyages that stretch from the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay and beyond.  With ms Statendam shifting to longer voyages, Holland America Line is moving ms Zaandam to Gulf of Alaska itineraries. The other ships offering 7- and 14-day Alaska cruises are ms Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Volendam and ms Westerdam.

“Alaska is a timeless destination that has a great deal to offer—stunning scenery, interesting history and unique culture—which is why we continue to elevate the experience and enhance the itineraries each year,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Because of its grandeur, Alaska attracts the largest number of first-time cruisers so it also becomes a wonderful introduction to a cruise vacation and Holland America Line.”

14-day Alaska Explorer Cruises Roundtrip from Seattle
Moving to 14-day roundtrip Seattle cruises in 2015 makes Statendam the only ship in Alaska to include highlights such as Icy Strait Point, Homer, and Kodiak, Alaska; and scenic cruising in Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm—all in one itinerary. The ship will sail nine departures and also call at Ketchikan, Juneau, Anchorage and Sitka, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, and scenic cruising around Vancouver Island.

7-day Alaska Explorer Cruises Roundtrip from Seattle
Starting in May, Westerdam (21 Saturday departures) and Amsterdam (17 Sunday departures) will offer 7-day Alaskan Explorer voyages sailing roundtrip from Seattle. The itinerary features calls at Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, and a scenic cruising experience at Tracy Arm/Twin Sawyer Glaciers or Glacier Bay National Park.

7-day Inside Passage Cruises Roundtrip from Vancouver
Three Holland America Line ships will sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a series of 7-day Inside Passage voyages. In addition to the two September departures offered by Oosterdam, Volendam (19 Wednesday departures) and Noordam (20 Saturday departures) sail May to September. During those voyages guests will visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, the Inside Passage, Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay.

7-Day Glacier Discovery Cruises Between Vancouver & Seward
In 2015, Oosterdam and Zaandam sail the Gulf of Alaska together on cruises between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage). Departing Sundays from May through September, the itinerary features calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway/Haines, a day at sea in the Gulf of Alaska and scenic cruising through the Inside Passage. Each ship will sail 18 voyages and include a visit to Glacier Bay National Park.

Alaska’s Unique Cuisine Comes to Life on Sip & Savor Cruises
On three Alaska voyages, guests can sail with special chefs and local vintners to savor local fare—from the freshest salmon to local vegetables and fruits—all paired with select wines from Northwest vintners and brews from Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing Co. During a "What's in the Bag?" competition, the guest chefs will go head to head, preparing chowder from mystery ingredients. Exciting shore excursions with a special Sip and Savor focus will be available to complete the memorable experience.

Westerdam’s May 2nd 7-day departure will feature Jeff Maxfield, executive chef at the acclaimed SkyCity Restaurant, a revolving dining room atop the Space Needle in Seattle, and Drew Johnson, executive chef at Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, Alaska. Wendy Stuckey of Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, located outside of Seattle, will be onboard to impart her knowledge during several presentations.

On Statendam’s July 13 cruise, Executive Chef Perry Mascitti of Tulalip Resort Casino near Seattle, and Al Levinsohn, chef and owner of Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, will be onboard the 14-day voyage, along with Bob Betz, founder and winemaker at Betz Family Winery.

The Aug. 16 Alaska cruise on Amsterdam features Kirsten and Mandy Dixon, chefs at both Tutka Bay and Winterlake lodges in Alaska, along with Chef Roy Breiman, culinary director at Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle. Along with the chefs, Matt Oakley, winemaker at Long Shadows Vintners, will present a special collection of premium wines during the 7-day cruise.

Park Rangers on All Glacier Bay Cruises
On all Glacier Bay sailings, a park ranger and native Huna interpreters board the ships to share information about the area’s natural history and the origins of their tribe and cultural traditions. During embarkation for the Seattle voyages, a ranger from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park will be available to talk to guests about the Klondike parks and other national parks located throughout the Inside Passage.

Land+Sea Journeys & Shore Adventures Provide More Alaska Discoveries
Holland America Line’s award-winning Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior. Offering up to three days at Denali National Park for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, Land+Sea Journeys are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history.

Holland America Line offers more than 250 optional shore excursions in conjunction with its Alaska cruises. While in port, guests can optimize their Alaskan experience with excursions that involve everything from adventure and wildlife watching to history, art and cuisine. Guests can enjoy active excursions such as sea kayaking, fly or sport fishing, dog sledding and viewing eagles, sea otters and whales. Other exciting excursions feature such attractions as the White Pass Summit Scenic Railway from Skagway, Russian heritage in Sitka, a Mendenhall Glacier by Helicopter & Guided Walk tour in Juneau and crab fishing on the Aleutian Ballad from Discovery Channel’s award-winning TV series “Deadliest Catch.”

For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Crystal Cruises Unveils Four Revolutionary World Cruises In 2018

LOS ANGELES, March 9: For the first time in Crystal Cruises' history, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will each embark on World Cruises in 2018, offering travelers four separate global itineraries aboard the award-winning ships.

The concurrent world cruise routes for 2018 begin in January, with both ships simultaneously arriving in Sydney on February 17. This rare meeting allows the exciting opportunity to combine the itineraries of the two ships, as guests can switch vessels for a new odyssey. Ranging from 97 to 129 days, the innovative voyages will travel to a combined 111 destinations in 45 countries, featuring 16 maiden calls and 50 overnights. During the ship's rendezvous in Sydney, full World Cruise guests will be treated to a spectacular gala celebration.

Crystal's 2018 World Cruise collection includes Crystal Symphony's first full World Cruise since 2003; Crystal Serenity's 15th global expedition; and the unprecedented ability to begin on Crystal Symphony then switch to Crystal Serenity in Sydney for a journey through Asia, India, and Holy Land; or set sail on Crystal Serenity before joining Crystal Symphony in Sydney for a South Pacific route to Miami.

"Crystal Cruises has long been celebrated for cultivating original, captivating itineraries throughout the world's most beloved destinations, as well as less visited gems," says Crystal's president, Edie Rodriguez. "The 2018 World Cruise voyages are a true testament to Crystal's continued innovation and creativity, and our commitment to guests in broadening their luxury travel experiences."

With the announcement of four spectacular world cruises for 2018, the luxury cruise leader becomes the first cruise line to have a collection of World Cruises printed and available for booking for the next three years (2016-2018).

2018 World Cruise Itineraries include:

World Cruise One/Cape Town to Miami/January 7 to April 30, 2018 Crystal Symphony departs Cape Town, South Africa on a 114-day sailing covering much of the Southern Hemisphere, including South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, the South Pacific/French Polynesia; and South America before exploring the Caribbean. The journey will make six maiden calls including: Geraldton, Bunbury, and Esperance Australia; Burnie, Tasmania; Fakarava, French Polynesia, and Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile.

World Cruise Two/Los Angeles to Rome/January 23 to May 16, 2018 Crystal Serenity embarks on a 112-day scenic exploration of the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, India, Dubai and the Mediterranean. The journey is highlighted by maiden calls and overnights in Manila, Philippines, and Mumbai, India. Other overnight highlights include Muscat, Oman; Dubai, UAE; and Safaga, Egypt - the gateway to the Temple of Luxor.

World Cruise Three/Cape Town to Rome/January 7 to May 16, 2018 Aboard the longest duration of the itineraries with 129-days, guests set sail on the first part of Crystal Symphony's World Cruise segments from South Africa through Australia before continuing their adventure aboard Crystal Serenity on a journey bound for Asia, India, Egypt, the Holy Lands and Italy.

World Cruise Four/Los Angeles to Miami/January 23 to April 30, 2018 Following 24 days of navigating the islands of Hawaii, Fiji and other exotic beach destinations aboard Crystal Serenity, guests can join Crystal Symphony for a unique West to East coast voyage. The full 97-day sailing will travel through the Milford Sound, French Polynesia, Easter Island for Easter and Panama Canal.

The ground-breaking World Cruise revelation comes on the heels of Crystal's parent company, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), announcing it entered into an agreement with Genting Hong Kong (GHK) on the sale of Crystal Cruises, Inc. (CCI). With the support of GHK's financial resources and expertise in ship design, Crystal Cruises' fleet size will expand with the build and delivery of a new ship in 2018, elevating the standard of luxury cruising and luxury cruise ships. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.

As with each annual Crystal World Cruise, the epic 2018 voyages are also available for booking in shorter segments. The 2018 Full World Cruise program includes two exclusive shoreside events, $2,000 per person "As You Wish" shipboard credits, special onboard events, and complimentary chauffeured private car transfers between the airport to ship and ship to airport and more.  For more information about Crystal's World Cruise Collection for 2016-2018 and reservations, visit

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American Cruise Lines Announces Independence Day Celebrations in 5 States

GUILFORD, CT, March 9: American Cruise Lines, operator of the newest small cruise ships in the United States, has announced  the special events of its 2015 Independence Day cruises. Each of the cruises sailing over the July 4th holiday will offer festive activities that showcase the beautiful regions cruised around the U.S.

Heartland Celebration Cruise July 4th
Guests enjoy a complimentary night on the Queen of the Mississippi on the 4th of July while they experience the renowned Dueling Barges Firework Display that lights up the New Orleans skyline, just a few hundred yards down river. It is the perfect way to start the Heartland Celebration Cruise, a 15 day journey offering the best of summer on the Mississippi. Features include shore excursions to Elvis Presley's home in Graceland and the Frogmore Plantation in Natchez.

Lower Mississippi July 4th
A complimentary pre-night hotel stay begins this July 4th Memphis to New Orleans cruise. Independence Day in Memphis includes everything American. We will bring guests along Beal Street to enjoy any number of jazz performances and that world famous barbeque. During the cruise aboard the brand new American Eagle, highlights include live music and exciting shore excursions including a tour of Oak Alley Plantation and a visit to the Civil War battlefields in Vicksburg.

Columbia and Snake Rivers July 4th
This Independence Day celebration on the Columbia River begins with a lunch picnic at Fort Vancouver, one of the oldest outposts in the American frontier. Later we enjoy the largest firework displays in the region from the decks of the Queen of the West. This cruise includes a complimentary pre-night stay that allows guests to take in the sights of beautiful Portland, OR before their cruise even begins. This cruise also includes exciting guided shore excursions to Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge and the 620-foot waterfall at Multnomah Falls.

New England Islands July 4th
We have put a unique twist on Independence Day aboard the American Star, where more than 150 musicians and artists offer a spectacular show in the heart of the town’s historic district. The celebration begins with a complimentary pre-cruise night in scenic Providence, RI and the option to board the ship early in order to maximize time at the folk festival. Guests travel on the American Star through the rustic beauty of the New England Islands. Sites also include a narrated tour of historic Nantucket Island and a visit to the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol.

Maine Coast and Harbors July 4th
Fittingly guests enjoy celebrating Independence Day on our ship, the Independence. On the 4th there is a banquet of barbeque for lunch and a dazzling fireworks show over the Frenchman Bay and it’s all enjoyed from the comfort of the ship’s deck. This cruise features guided shore excursions including a tour through Acadia National Park, free tastings at the Atlantic Brewing Company and a tour of the famous Maine Coast Botanical Gardens.

American Cruise Lines is the largest U.S. cruise company and operates the newest fleet of riverboats and small cruise ships on more than 35 itineraries around the country. The line is known for working closely with guests before, during, and after a cruise to create a highly personalized cruise experience. Long established and deeply experienced in cruise travel, American Cruise Lines has most recently received world-wide recognition as the first line to revive paddlewheel river cruising in America. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit

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A Milestone Reached for Holland America Line's New ms Koningsdam with Move to Outfitting Dock

SEATTLE, March 6: Holland America Line celebrated another milestone this week in the construction of ms Koningsdam with the float-out and transfer of the ship from its dry dock to its outfitting dock at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy. At the outfitting dock, final construction and interior furnishing will take place until the ship is delivered March 31, 2016.

"A ship's construction has many key milestones, and floating it out and moving it to the outfitting dock is especially symbolic," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "The float out represents that we are getting closer to welcoming Koningsdam to our fleet and seeing the ship in the water adds to the excitement among our loyal guests, travel agent partners and employees in anticipation of its arrival."

A coin ceremony also was held earlier on Feb. 26, when Tineke Schroder, wife of the founder of Dutch airline Martinair and a member of Holland America Line's Mariner Society, served as the ship's madrina. During the coin ceremony, observed as a tradition to bring good fortune, two gold coins were welded to the forward mast of the ship by Schroder; Antonio Quintano, director of Fincantieri Shipyard; and Keith Taylor, executive vice president, fleet operations, for Holland America Line, followed by speeches and a blessing by the shipyard chaplain. The gold coins bear the image of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The word koning means "king" in Dutch, and the ship's name pays honor to the first king of the Netherlands in over a century.

Currently under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy, Koningsdam represents a new Pinnacle Class of ship for Holland America Line. When it sets sail on its Premier Voyage April 8, 2016, the vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public venues, while still featuring popular amenities guests associate with Holland America Line.

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

To bring a fresh vision to Koningsdam, Holland America Line tapped Adam D. Tihany, one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. Tihany joins distinguished maritime designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten who worked with the cruise line on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. The two firms will create an interior that blends a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line's renowned classic elegance.

For more information, visit

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises to Introduce Brand’s First Culinary Instruction Center

MIAMI, March 5: Regent Seven Seas Cruises is adding two new exclusive venues to the world’s most luxurious cruise ship, Seven Seas Explorer. The luxury line announced today that Seven Seas Explorer will feature the brand’s first culinary instruction center called the Culinary Arts Kitchen, and will debut a new social venue named the Meridian Lounge.

Elevating cuisine to an art form, the Culinary Arts Kitchen will provide guests with all the ingredients to expand their culinary skills in a welcoming environment reminiscent of the most prestigious cooking schools in France in both layout and design. Eighteen individual cooking stations sit atop three long curved rows with white quartzite countertops and stainless steel accents to provide a look that elegantly complements the complex and richly flavored foods guests will prepare during the classes.

Guests attending classes in the Culinary Arts Kitchen will receive highly-individualized instruction, as each student will cook from their own personal workstation for authentic, hands-on training. The culinary workstations are fully equipped with top-of-the-line induction cooktops, stainless steel sinks and a comprehensive collection of additional cooking essentials.

A decorative motif filled with abstract images of essential culinary ingredients and French-inspired recipes highlight an accent wall near the entrance of the Culinary Arts Kitchen. The state-of-the-art culinary center also features floor-to-ceiling windows. With its perch on deck 11, the magnificent ocean vistas will perfectly complement the epicurean delights being prepared within the center.

The instruction at the Culinary Arts Kitchen will cover a wide array of topics including healthy cooking, fish and shellfish preparation, perfect food and wine pairings for entertaining, delectable mini-desserts, high-heat grilling, and classes inspired by the destinations visited by the ship. The Culinary Arts Kitchen will debut on Seven Seas Explorer with more than a dozen unique classes.

Meridian Lounge
On the port side of deck five, guests will discover a new elegant entertainment venue called the Meridian Lounge. The lounge is inviting with elegant taupe leather furnishings and dark wood accent tables sitting atop soothing blue carpet. Polished antique brown granite flooring surrounds a curved bar with an antique silver finish and back-lit alabaster top, while across the room a rosewood parquet dance floor leads to an intimate stage that will host live musical performances.

Steps away from the entrance to the Constellation Theater, the Meridian Lounge is the ideal location to enjoy pre- or post-show cocktails, or simply savor a libation while peering out the floor-to-ceiling windows, soaking in the breathtaking views over the horizon.

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

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Introducing Carnival Journeys, A New Series Of One-Of-A-Kind Longer Length Voyages

MIAMI, March 5: Carnival Cruise Line has launched Carnival Journeys, a unique collection of 9- to 15-day seagoing adventures that kick off this fall and feature spectacular ports throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii and Mexico, along with unique shipboard experiences created especially for this one-of-a-kind cruise program.

Carnival Journeys is designed to provide guests with exciting new itinerary choices that will feature less traveled, more exotic ports of call. Carnival Journeys itineraries have been specifically designed for guests who are looking for a longer cruise vacation that will provide the opportunity to visit a wide variety of great destinations and more time to fully enjoy all of the features and facilities available on a selection of the line's newest and most innovative ships. Carnival Journeys cruises will also include exciting shipboard activities to provide a truly unique Carnival vacation experience.

"We have received a tremendous amount of feedback from our guests and travel agent partners about the importance of consistently offering new Carnival cruise experiences," said Christine Duffy, Carnival's president. "Carnival Journeys was created to offer our existing customers even more options while helping us to attract those guests who have not had the opportunity to sail with Carnival and may be enticed by these longer, more exotic itineraries. These new cruises also offer our valued travel agent partners a tremendous new sales opportunity and a great way to earn enhanced commissions based on the longer cruise duration," she added.

Incredible Itineraries
Carnival Journeys will debut with an 11-day cruise aboard Carnival Dream from New Orleans to San Juan Oct. 4, 2015. The program will run through Nov. 27, 2016, encompassing 28 departures from eight convenient North American homeports including Los Angeles, Galveston, New Orleans, Miami, Port Canaveral, New York, Baltimore, and San Juan. Cruises will operate either round-trip from these homeports or one-way between these ports and San Juan. The itineraries are unique and not available on any other cruise line. On Carnival Journeys, guests can experience and explore nearly 40 different tropical destinations, including less visited ports like Tobago, Grenada, La Paz, Martinique, Bonaire and Ixtapa, each home to diverse cultures, centuries-old landmarks and historical structures, and unforgettable natural attractions.

Memorable Activities
Carnival Journeys participants can also enjoy unique shipboard experiences that will be tailored to each itinerary in the areas of dining, entertainment, team member connections, and enrichment, all infused with the line’s spirited brand of fun. These experiences will include:

• Authentic Eats: Partnering with local restaurants and chefs, Carnival Journeys participants can enjoy on-board cooking demonstrations where these culinary artists will recreate their signature dishes and traditional cuisines from their country. Participants will also have an opportunity to dine at the chef’s restaurant ashore for a nominal fee and accompany the chef as he or she visits local markets for delectable regional specialties.
• “Local”-tainment: From calypso, soca and Goombay to colorful folkloric entertainment, Carnival Journeys participants will get an up close and personal look at their destination through local entertainment performances taking place outside the ship or on board.
• Academy of Fun: Through these educational enrichment sessions, Carnival’s shipboard experts will instruct guests in topics ranging from cooking and arts and crafts to digital photography and social media, even celestial navigation. All of these activities will be performed with the fun and entertaining style that only Carnival can provide.
• Throwback Sea Day: Carnival will set the “way back machine” to 1987 and recreate a fun day at sea with retro pool and deck games, old school dining options like Baked Alaska and the gala midnight buffet, a white glove Captain’s Celebration, popular movies from that era, a circa 1987 version of the Carnival Capers shipboard newsletter, and more.
• Shipboard Team Member Connections: Here, Carnival Journeys participants can learn more about shipboard life through informative question and answer sessions hosted by the ship’s captain, cruise director, hotel director, and others, held at different times throughout the voyage and providing an opportunity to engage and interact with the Carnival team in a fun and casual setting. There will also be an unforgettable show performed by the ship’s crew during the voyage.

All Carnival Journeys adventures are currently open for reservations. A detailed listing of all 28 Carnival Journeys sailings is available at Additional Carnival Journeys sailings will be announced in the near future.

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Royal Caribbean Announces Unmatched 2016-17 Caribbean Adventures

MIAMI, March 5: Royal Caribbean International has announced the upcoming Caribbean openings for the cruise line’s new 2016-17 Adventure Collection. Vacationers can book an unforgettable Caribbean cruise aboard 15 of the world’s most innovative and award-winning cruise ships, sailing from nine convenient U.S. homeports to 39 spectacular ports of call in 18 Caribbean countries, and Bermuda and Canada. The new Caribbean adventures will mark the Quantum class’ maiden call and season in Bermuda with Anthem of the Seas, and offers a choice of three industry-acclaimed Oasis-class ships, including the new record-setting Harmony of the Seas. Royal Caribbean’s new 2016-17 Caribbean Adventures Collection will open for booking starting March 2015.

Royal Caribbean’s new Adventure Collection encompasses the cruise line’s 2016-17 cruise vacations aboard unrivaled ships, which will sail exciting itineraries across six continents. Vacationers can choose between the industry’s newest, biggest, and best ships, which sail in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and beyond. On most Caribbean cruises, guests will enjoy more than 400 total acres of pristine beaches, exhilarating thrill rides and activities, and plenty of opportunities to relax under the Caribbean sun during a call at Royal Caribbean’s private island CocoCay or its exclusive beach destination Labadee.

Caribbean, Bermuda, & Canada & New England Adventures from Northeast U.S.

- Quantum-class Anthem of the Seas will continue year-round sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., and make its maiden season at Bermuda. Vacationers have a choice of 5-night Bermuda or 9-night Bermuda and Caribbean itineraries throughout the summer, and 8- to 12-night Bahamas, Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean cruises during the winter.
- Throughout September and October, Anthem of the Seas will sail 9-night Canada and New England cruises from Cape Liberty, and Serenade of the Seas will offer 7-night Canada and New England cruises from Boston, Mass.
- Grandeur of the Seas will sail 5-night Bermuda, 9-night Bermuda and Bahamas, and 9-night Canada and New England cruises throughout the summer. In the winter, the ship will sail 9-night Southeast Coast & Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean cruises.

Everywhere in the Caribbean, conveniently from South Florida

- From Miami, Enchantment of the Seas will sail 3- and 4-night short Bahamas getaways year-round, while Navigator of the Seas will alternate 5-night Bahamas and Mexico with 9-night Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Labadee cruises in the winter.
- Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will sail a Western Caribbean and two new Eastern Caribbean itineraries in summer 2016, all seven nights in length and departing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Allure of the Seas will then be joined by the next groundbreaking, Oasis-class cruise ship Harmony of the Seas to offer a 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itinerary for winter 2016-17. Oasis of the Seas, meanwhile, will reposition to its new winter home of Port Canaveral along Florida’s Coast.
- In the winter, Independence of the Seas will follow a sequence of 4- and 5-night short Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Everglades, while sister-ship Freedom of the Seas will alternate a 6-night Western Caribbean with an 8-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary. For a longer vacation, Serenade of the Seas alternates a 10- and 11-night Southern Caribbean itinerary.

‘Out-of-this-world’ Caribbean Vacations from Florida’s Space Coast

- Freedom of the Seas will continue alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries during the summer 2016, and then reposition to Port Everglades for its new winter season.
- For the winter 2016-17, Oasis of the Seas will inaugurate Oasis-class adventures from Port Canaveral, alternating a 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itinerary. Rhapsody of the Seas will take over 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises from Enchantment of the Seas.
- Vacationers also can choose quick 4- and 5-night Western Caribbean cruises throughout winter aboard Brilliance of the Seas from Tampa, Fla.

Mexico & Southern Caribbean from Galveston & Puerto Rico

- Liberty of the Seas will continue its year-round deployment sailing from Galveston, Texas, offering vacationers a wide selection of 7-night Mexico and Western Caribbean cruises.
- Vacationers also can choose 7-night, Southern Caribbean itineraries, sailing year-round from San Juan, Puerto Rico, aboard Adventure of the Seas. In the winter, Jewel of the Seas also will homeport at San Juan and sail to the Southern Caribbean.

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Evolutionary Find: All-Inclusive Silver Galapagos Expeditions

Ft. Lauderdale, March 4: Silversea is making it easier than ever to discover the wonders of the Galápagos by introducing air and land package fares for Silver Galapagos expedition cruises. The program is available for new bookings made on or after March 4, 2015 on any of the ship's year-round Galápagos sailings.

The package includes: roundtrip economy class air between Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands; a two-night pre-cruise hotel stay with breakfast at the Quito JW Marriott; an evening tour of Quito's historic city highlights; transfer from the hotel to the airport in Quito; pre- and post-cruise transfers between the airport and Silver Galapagos in Baltra; a post-cruise hotel day room at the Hotel Oro Verde in Guayaquil (for guests with flights after 10 p.m.); transfer from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the airport in Guayaquil; Galápagos National Park and Ingala Transit Card fees; and porterage fees.

The cornerstone of these vacation packages is, of course, Silver Galapagos and her award-winning all-inclusive experience. Recently recognized for having the "Best Shore Excursions" in the small-ship category of the "2015 Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards," the 100-guest, all-suite ship features complimentary exploration activities that include Zodiac tours, snorkeling, kayaking and nature hikes led by highly experienced guides certified by the National Park of the Galápagos. And aboard ship, guests enjoy such Silversea hallmarks as the pampering attention of a butler, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, and complimentary champagne, wines and spirits served throughout the ship.

"With these new all-inclusive air and land packages, designed with the highest levels of comfort, convenience, and value for our guests, the award-winning Silversea experience continues to be the perfect choice for travelers seeking an enriching holiday in the exotic Galápagos," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas.

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Oceania Cruises Welcomes New Ship, Explores New Destinations With 2016 Summer & Fall Itineraries

MIAMI, March 4: Today, Oceania Cruises unveiled its summer and fall 2016 schedule, which includes the highly anticipated maiden voyage for Sirena, a new 684-passenger ship that enters service April 27, 2016 with a Barcelona to Venice voyage. In total, Oceania Cruises’ 2016 summer and fall collection features 121 unique sailings, 90 new itineraries; 50 of which are extended journeys, and 20 intriguing ports not previously visited by the upscale line. With the summer and fall season alone, the now six ships Oceania Cruises fleet will sail to more than 240 ports in over 70 different countries, including several overnight stays in the world’s most sought-after destinations.

With its April debut, Sirena will join the line’s trio of award winning sister ships Insignia, Regatta and Nautica and offer an array of new itineraries filled with unique destinations to provide more options for Oceania Cruises guests. After undergoing an extensive bow-to-stern refurbishment, Sirena will emerge with the same stunning elegant style Oceania Cruises guests love about the existing fleet, and feature renowned specialty dining restaurants Toscana and Polo Grill, along with more recent additions to the fleet such as Baristas and the cook-to-order grill Terrace Café.

The six ship fleet provides Oceania Cruises even greater flexibility to create an unprecedented number of new itineraries for the upcoming season, offering a perfect fusion of classic and off-the-beaten-path ports. These new itineraries explore all corners of the world and will capture the imagination of even the most seasoned traveler. One thrilling new itinerary is a 17-night sailing aboard Marina from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso (Chile) traversing the southern tip of South America, while marveling at the magnificence of the Chilean Fjords.

The upscale line also introduced seven new Grand Voyages, ranging from a 90-night round-trip journey from Miami to a 40-night Vancouver to Montreal sailing. The 90-day Grand Voyage from Miami will explore exciting destinations of North America, magnificent fjords of Greenland, iconic locales in the Mediterranean and exotic lands in Africa, including stops in less traveled ports La Goulette (Tunisia) and Algiers (Algeria). The 40-night Grand Voyage from Vancouver to Montreal will visit sensational ports on both coasts of North America including stops in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia plus an exhilarating Panama Canal crossing.

In total, Oceania Cruises ships will visit 20 new destinations as part of the summer and fall collection. These new ports of call include:

· Alcudia (Mallorca), Spain
· Golfito, Costa Rica
· Piombino (Tuscany), Italy
· Agadir, Morocco
· Bandol, France
· Catalina Island, California
· Crotone (Calabria), Italy
· Ensenada, Mexico
· Gaeta, Italy
· Gaspe, Quebec
· Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec
· Helsingborg, Sweden
· Karlskrona, Sweden
· La Paz, Mexico
· Manzanillo, Mexico
· Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
· Porto Santo Stefano, Italy
· Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
· Skagen, Denmark
· Triestre, Italy
· Vlissingen, Netherlands
· Akureyri, Iceland

With such an elaborate array of itineraries, here is a summary of the regions and destinations the Oceania Cruises fleet will sail the summer and fall 2016.

Sirena’s maiden voyage will be an extraordinary 14-night cruise from Barcelona to Venice on April 27, 2016. The inaugural season features an entirely new lineup of 10- to 14-day voyages, artfully blended with a mix of classic and new destinations throughout the Mediterranean, including two voyages venturing as far west as Seville and Lisbon. The ship will visit an impressive 11 new locales for Oceania Cruises, such as the famed beaches of Gaeta (Italy), pristine rainforest of Golfito (Costa Rica) and well-preserved provincial township of La Paz (Mexico).

Guests sailing on the elegant 1,250-guest Marina will experience incredible new journeys throughout Scandinavia, the Baltic and the British Isles and visit sought-after ports such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg. After 4 months discovering Northern Europe, the ship repositions to South America with a grand 16-night Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro sailing on November 21, 2016 that includes overnights in Salvador (Brazil) and Rio de Janeiro. The ship will devote the remainder of the season exploring stunning sites in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.

Riviera begins the season exploring iconic and picturesque ports throughout the Mediterranean including overnights in Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Venice, Istanbul and Jerusalem (Haifa); and sojourns to a new destination for Oceania Cruises, the gentle seaside village of Bandol (France). After the Mediterranean season, the ship repositions to the Caribbean with a splendid 14-night journey from Barcelona to Miami. The season will conclude with the ship sailing south visiting colorful towns and pristine beaches of Central America and the Caribbean.

Guests sailing the intimate 684-guest Regatta will travel the majestic beauty and picturesque ports of Alaska with an impressive lineup of quintessential itineraries and new variants for sailing America’s last frontier. After the Alaskan season, the ship repositions to the North East with an exhilarating 18-night voyage from San Francisco to New York, where the vessel will visit two new ports in Quebec, the maritime splendors of Havre-Saint-Pierre and Gaspe. The ship will conclude the season with a 23-night exploration to exotic villages along the Amazon River and a 16-night discovery of tranquil towns and unspoiled beaches in Central America and Mexico.

Insignia begins the season with an incredible new 90-night round trip Grand Voyage from Miami exploring North America, Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa. Following the Grand Voyage, the ship will sail south to explore cosmopolitan and less traveled ports throughout South America, ranging from Peru’s 15th century Inca site of Machu Picchu; to the bustling streets of Buenos Aires; and the beautiful beaches of Punta del Este, known as the St. Tropez of Uruguay. The season concludes with several sailings in the Caribbean, including a stop at a new port for Oceania Cruises, Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), known for its white sand beaches and world-class golfing.

Guests sailing on Nautica will experience new itineraries offering remarkable natural beauty and inspiring history throughout Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia, including overnights in Reykjavik (Iceland), Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Mumbai (India). The ship will sail 18 voyages ranging from 7- to 30-nights in length, exploring new ports such as the quaint seaside village of Vlissinger (Netherlands), bohemian town of Skagen (Denmark) and the naval city of Karlskrona (Sweden), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nautica will conclude the season with a 15-night voyage navigating Africa’s southern coast with overnights in Durban (South Africa) and Walvis Bay (Namibia).

For more information about Oceania Cruises, visit

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Crystal Cruises To Be Acquired By Genting Hong Kong

March 3: Today, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Crystal Cruises’ parent company since its inception in 1988, announced it has entered into an agreement with Genting Hong Kong (GHK), under which Crystal Cruises will be acquired by GHK. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015. With the support of GHK’s financial strength and expertise in ship design, Crystal Cruises’ fleet size will expand with a new ship, elevating the standard of luxury cruising and luxury cruise ships. Crystal’s fleet currently features Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

“After 25 successful years with NYK, we are excited to have Genting Hong Kong as the new owner of Crystal Cruises,” said Edie Rodriguez, President and COO of Crystal Cruises. “The proposed expansion of our fleet will present our loyal Crystal Society members and new luxury cruise guests with more itinerary options, accommodation choices and exceptional vacation experiences, as we continue to position Crystal as the innovative leader in global luxury cruising. Additionally, Crystal’s veteran leadership, management and crew will continue to focus on our award-winning guest service and our strong partnership with the travel agent community, which now has a greater opportunity to grow their business with a larger menu of Crystal product offerings.”

Established in 1993, GHK is part of the Genting Group, a global hospitality and leisure company with business in over 20 countries, including the United States in New York, Florida, and Nevada. GHK wholly owns Star Cruises, Asia’s leading cruise line, and is a major shareholder of Norwegian Cruise Line. It is a public company primarily listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and secondarily on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

“Crystal Cruises offers the epitome of luxury cruising and the service standard which all other cruise lines aspire to,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman, CEO and Acting President of GHK. “The current management team and crew will continue to lead Crystal Cruises. Genting will provide financial resources and proven expertise in innovative ship design to build a new ship that will set the highest standard in luxury cruise ships. This new ship, together with Crystal’s legendary six-star service, will reinforce Crystal Cruises’ reputation as the world’s leading luxury cruise line for decades to come.”

Under the terms of the agreement, GHK will acquire Crystal Cruises for US$550 million in cash which is subject to certain adjustment items to be ascertained after the closing. Crystal Cruises’ two ships have approximately 1,992 lower berths and the consideration has been determined on a cash-free and debt-free basis, translating into an enterprise value to lower berth ratio of approximately US$276,000.

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Seabourn Encore Maiden Season Now Open for Booking

Seattle, March 3: Seabourn has opened for sale today the maiden season itineraries for Seabourn Encore, the newest addition to join the ultra-luxury, small ship cruise line. Between December 2016 and April 2017, the ship will sail on a variety of voyages exploring the exotic coasts of Arabia and India, the gilded temples and tropical isles of Southeast Asia, and the incredible natural splendors and vibrant, friendly cities of Australia and New Zealand.

"We're excited to offer a diverse range of itineraries for the maiden season of Seabourn Encore and provide our guests with the opportunities to visit some of the most charming and sought-after destinations in Asia, Australia and New Zealand on the world's newest and most beautiful ultra-luxury ship," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "Seabourn Encore will set a new standard of ultra-luxury cruising that can only be found on Seabourn, and we can't wait to share her with our guests."

Following the ship's delivery in December 2016, Seabourn Encore will offer two pre-inaugural cruises, providing travelers with a preview of the vessel before its official maiden voyage. On December 4, 2016, Seabourn Encore will sail on a 16-day pre-inaugural cruise from Athens bound for Dubai, visiting various exotic ports including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel; Petra, Jordan; and Muscat, Oman. The voyage will be followed by an 18-day pre-inaugural holiday voyage departing Dubai on December 20, 2016, sailing to Arabia, India and Southeast Asia before arriving at Singapore.

On January 7, 2017, Seabourn Encore will make its official debut with a gala naming ceremony in the vibrant Asian city-state of Singapore. Following the naming, the vessel will embark on its 10-day official inaugural voyage to Bali, including stops in Surabaya, Java; Celukan Bawang, Bali; and Slawi Bay, Komodo, Indonesia. Seabourn Encore will go on to spend its maiden season operating a series of 16-day voyages cruising the Pacific Rim in Australia and New Zealand, calling at the metropolitan cities of Sydney and Melbourne and exploring both islands of New Zealand. The ship will visit popular ports, such as Auckland and Wellington, while exploring other picturesque towns, including New Zealand's southernmost city, Oban on Stewart Island, and the charming port of Picton, the gateway to the stunning scenery of Marlborough Sound.

In April 2017, Seabourn Encore will return to Europe with two 16- and 18-day Arabia and India voyages. The ship will spend the summer in the waters of the eastern Mediterranean with a series of 7-day voyages.

Seabourn Encore 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. A sister ship, Seabourn Ovation, will join the fleet in 2018, and, with the addition of the two new ships, Seabourn will have the youngest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, Seabourn Encore will feature modern design elements and innovations consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and is expected to carry just 604 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

Seabourn has revealed renderings and updates about Seabourn Encore via a new dedicated microsite at Filled with imagery, details and updates on the ship's progress, including "sunsets until launch," the microsite offers an inside look at the most exciting Seabourn launch in years. Additional details, news and images will be revealed on the site on an ongoing basis. For more information about the award-winning Seabourn fleet, visit

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Carnival Strengthens Leadership Position In New Orleans

MIAMI, March 2: Carnival Cruise Line will expand capacity on its 4- and 5-day short cruise program from New Orleans by 34 percent when Carnival Triumph replaces Carnival Elation on this schedule next spring. In turn, Carnival Elation will reposition to Jacksonville, Florida, for year-round 4- and 5-day cruises and Carnival Fascination will shift to San Juan for year-round 7-day Caribbean cruises beginning in spring 2016, providing consumers with fresh and exciting new choices in these markets. As previously announced, Carnival Liberty will replace Carnival Triumph on the line’s year-round 4- and 5- day cruise program from Galveston next spring.

“Repositioning these ships to New Orleans, Jacksonville and San Juan provides our guests and valued travel agent partners with fresh and exciting new ‘Fun Ship’ choices in three important and highly attractive cruise markets,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

New Choices in the Big Easy 4
Carnival Triumph will shift from Galveston to New Orleans to launch year-round 4- and 5-day cruises to Mexico beginning April 4, 2016. On this route, 4-day “long weekend” cruises depart Thursdays and call at Cozumel while 5-day cruises depart Mondays and Saturdays and visit Cozumel and Progreso. During these fun and affordable getaways, consumers can relax on world-class beaches, enjoy a variety of dining, shopping and cultural opportunities and visit centuries-old Mayan ruins including Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Carnival Triumph will also offer a special 3-day cruise round-trip from New Orleans April 8-11, 2016.

Carnival Triumph will join Carnival Dream which operates year-round 7-day cruises from New Orleans. Together these two ships are expected to carry 450,000 guests annually from New Orleans, the most of any cruise operator. Carnival is the only cruise line to operate two year-round ships from New Orleans and offers the widest variety of cruise durations and itinerary choices from the Big Easy.

Carnival Triumph has undergone an extensive dry dock that added a number of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, poolside watering holes BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, and Cherry On Top, a “candy and more” store. Carnival Triumph also features more than 500 staterooms and suites with private balconies that are not generally available on other short cruises and are highly coveted by Carnival guests.

Carnival Elation to Jacksonville, Carnival Fascination to San Juan
Carnival Elation will shift from New Orleans to Jacksonville to operate year-round 4- and 5-day cruises from Jaxport beginning April 23, 2016, providing a newer ship on this highly attractive cruise program. Carnival Elation will assume Carnival Fascination’s 4- and 5-day schedule from Jacksonville and continue cruising’s only year-round program from that port. Four-day cruises depart Thursdays and visit Freeport and Nassau and 5-day voyages depart Mondays and Thursdays and visit the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau.

In turn, Carnival Fascination will reposition to San Juan to operate year-round 7-day southern Caribbean cruises beginning April 24, 2016. These week-long adventures feature five Caribbean islands: St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. In addition to some of the world’s best beaches, these tropical seaside destinations are known for their exceptional snorkeling, scuba diving and water sports.

Six- to 11-day Voyages from New Orleans & San Juan
In anticipation of its new homeport, Carnival Elation will offer two exciting longer length cruises visiting some of the Caribbean’s most stunning ports of call. An 11-day cruise will depart New Orleans April 2 and arrive in San Juan April 13, 2016, with port calls at Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, and St. Thomas, while a 10-day cruise will sail from San Juan to Jacksonville April 13-23, 2016, featuring Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Thomas.

Carnival Fascination will also offer a special 6-day cruise departing Jacksonville April 18 and arriving in San Juan April 24, 2016. Featured ports on this one-time voyage will include St. Thomas, St. Kitts and St. Maarten.

All of these cruises have been specially designed to offer guests who have previously sailed with Carnival from New Orleans or Jacksonville, with new itineraries that visit more exotic ports of call. The unique appeal of these voyages should provide first-time cruisers with even more incentive to experience a Carnival cruise vacation.

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China's First Around-the-World Cruise debuts from Shanghai on Costa Atlantica

Genoa, March 2: Costa Cruises celebrates China's first Around-the-World Cruise onboard Costa Atlantica at a launch event before its departure with nearly 1000 passengers from the homeport of Shanghai on March 1st. Distinguished guests including Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Crociere Group, government officials, trade partners, journalists, and passengers were in attendance to bless Costa Atlantica as she sets sail on her for 86-day voyage.

"This first world voyage by a cruise ship specially for the Chinese market marks a particular milestone for the Costa Group and the cruise industry in the rapid further development of our business in Asia. We will invest further in this and accelerate the development of these important markets for the future with innovative ideas and products. I wish the passengers on the Costa Atlantica a unique, eventful, exciting and simply wonderful cruise at this world premiere!", says Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group.

Costa Atlantica, inspired by Italian cinema and arts, has been dedicated to Asia and China since May 2013, receiving a great appreciation for her unique elegance and style. During her inaugural 86-day Around-the-World cruise Costa Atlantica will take passengers across five continents, visiting 28 destinations in 18 countries. Some of the most fascinating places on earth are included in the itinerary: Maldives, Athens (Greece), Sicily island in Italy (with the call at Catania), Rome (Italy), Marseille (France), Barcelona (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), a 3-day call at New York City (USA), Miami (USA), a 2-day call at Los Angeles (USA), then San Francisco (USA) and the Polynesian paradise islands of Maui and Hawaii.

"As a cruise industry leader in the China market, we strive to bring the best holiday options for our valued customers in the region. Our unique packaging for the World Cruise will undoubtedly exceed consumer expectations. At Costa Cruises, we are always keen to bring new formulas to make a difference in China’s cruise industry," stated Buhdy Bok, President of Costa Asia.

The World Cruise product reflects a new chapter in China's tourism industry, bringing China to the World Cruise Era. It offers a unique travel opportunity to a broad target audience, introducing an innovative win-win product for Costa Cruises and its trade partners in China. With the support of local government, tourism boards, and Costa's partners, this new innovative holiday option will have a tremendous impact on the local cruise industry.

Since Costa Cruises entered China in 2006 as the first international cruise line to operate homeport cruises, it supported China's cruise industry to become the most exciting market in the world. Costa Cruises is always committed to bring more innovative holiday options to this market.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to Sell Splendour of the Seas

MIAMI, March 2: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell its cruise ship Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises in the second quarter of 2016. The ship will then be leased to Thomson Cruises, which will operate the vessel.

"Splendour of the Seas debuted in 1996 and has served Royal Caribbean International extremely well," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "The ship's sale is in line with our strategic objective of divesting ourselves of older hardware and keeps us firmly on the course to the Double-Double."

Splendour of the Seas will complete all scheduled open deployment, and no sailings will be altered or disrupted due to the sale. "Splendour of the Seas has been a treasured member of the Royal Caribbean International family since she entered service," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International. "She has offered countless guests memorable vacation experiences and we look forward to continuing to provide the same Gold Anchor Service our brand is known for right up to the last sailing." Her final sailing will commence on April 4, 2016, and all officers and crew will remain with the company and will be transferred to other vessels worldwide after the ship leaves the Royal Caribbean International fleet.

Splendour of the Seas joined the Royal Caribbean International fleet in 1996, and was built by Chantier's de L'Atlantique, now STX France, in St. Nazaire, France. The 69,130-ton ship carries 1,830 guests (double occupancy) and 760 crew.

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