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Cruise News
April 1-30, 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

MSC Divina to Sail Year-Round from Miami

FORT LAUDERDALE, April 23: MSC Cruises, the world’s fourth largest cruise line and largest privately-owned cruise company, announced that when MSC Divina, one of the cruise line’s most ultra-modern and elegant ships, returns from her season in the Mediterranean, she will once again sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean starting November 2015.

“North America is a key market for MSC Cruises as the company works to double its capacity by 2022,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “Since the arrival of MSC Divina in Miami in November 2013, we’ve seen significant growth in the market and strong demand by consumers and travel agents for MSC Divina to sail from North America year-round. We’re thrilled to be able to meet this demand, providing more opportunity for North American guests to enjoy the unique ‘Mediterranean Style Cruise’ experience that only MSC Cruises can offer.”

MSC Divina’s already published November 2015 through April 2016 itineraries will remain unchanged. New itineraries from April 2016 through March 2017 will rotate between Eastern and Western Caribbean routes and include stops in St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico, and the Bahamas.

A testament to the company’s long-term commitment to North America, MSC Cruises’ also recently announced that MSC Seaside, set to debut in November 2017, will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean. In addition, MSC Cruises’ Miami-based operations will benefit from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami.

“MSC Cruises has received extremely positive ratings from travel agents and guests, who rave about the beauty of our Mediterranean-inspired décor, quality of international cuisine, and world-class, standing-ovation quality entertainment,” said Rick Sasso, President of MSC Cruises USA. “Keeping MSC Divina in North America year-round will help us expose even more travel agents and consumers to the MSC Cruises’ brand as well as build excitement for the arrival of MSC Seaside in 2017.”

April 2016 through March 2017 sailings on MSC Divina will open for booking on Friday, May 1. As a special launch promotion, MSC Cruises will offer consumers a value-added offer that includes shipboard credit, a beverage package and a WiFi package, depending on the category of stateroom booked.

Summer 2016 in the Mediterranean
Due to the success of MSC Divina in the Mediterranean in summer 2015 and to meet strong demand for the unique MSC Cruises’ product in the region, MSC has created a highly appealing Mediterranean itinerary on the same class, 3,274 passenger, MSC Fantasia. She will sail Mediterranean cruises with seven ports in seven days from Genoa. This itinerary includes a visit to one of the French Riviera’s most iconic destination – Cannes – followed by a call to Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, two iconic destinations in the Med. From Barcelona, MSC Fantasia will set sail towards one of France’s most beautiful islands and a new destination on this itinerary: Corsica and the city of Ajaccio. The next call will offer MSC Cruises’ guests the chance to visit Pompeii and see Mount Vesuvius for themselves, with a call in Naples, followed by a unique opportunity to see Cinque Terre or Florence and Tuscany through a call in La Spezia, before returning to Genoa.

In addition, to make it even easier to plan a vacation in the Mediterranean, MSC Cruises will once again offer its popular all inclusive fly & cruise packages to Barcelona for summer 2016.

MSC Cruises, which has grown by 800 percent in capacity since 2004, carried 1.67 million guests and achieved strong financial results in 2014, with a turnover of $1.5 billion. In addition, the company is forecasting an additional 10 percent growth in 2015. For more information on MSC Cruises and its current fleet of 12 ships, visit

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Bourbon Themed Itinerary on American Queen Announced

MEMPHIS, TN, April 22: American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of America’s most opulent and luxurious paddlewheel vessels, announces the latest details for its Bourbon itinerary, beginning on the July 4th holiday aboard the American Queen. Sailing between St. Louis, Mo. and Cincinnati, Ohio, the nine-day journey offers guests an exclusive look into the region’s rolling bluegrass hills where 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is made. Taking place from July 4 to July 12, the Bourbon voyage will feature distillery tours from the makers of Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve. Onboard tastings and lectures will be provided from Buffalo Trace representative, Don Flinn and author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage, Michael Veach.

“Paired with a July 4th celebration under the arch in St. Louis, we know the Bourbon itinerary will deliver an unforgettable experience,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a fascinating slice of Americana embedded in our own backyard and we can’t wait to bring it to life.”

Highlights of the trip include:

• Included pre-cruise hotel stay in St. Louis, Mo. around the 4th of July festivities
• Onboard Bourbon tasting presented by Don Flinn of Buffalo Trace Distillery
• Specialty Bourbon-enhanced menu items daily
• Bourbon themed gifts each night including a copy of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage signed by author Michael Veach
• Three onboard seminars with Michael Veach including:

“The Origin of Bourbon and the 19th Century” featuring bourbons Old Crow, Old Forester, Old Taylor
“The 20th Century and Prohibition” featuring bourbons Old Grand Dad Bottled-in-Bond, Four Roses Yellow Label, Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond
“Post Prohibition Bourbon” featuring bourbons Blanton’s Single Barrel, Wild Turkey KY Spirit Single Barrel, Woodford Reserve

In addition to hop-on, hop-off shore excursions in Louisville, Ky., guests may select one of the following distillery tours:

Woodford Reserve (Versailles, Ky.) guided tour of the distillery, bottling process and a tasting
Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) guided tour of production, cistern room, bottling & packing warehouse and a tasting
Four Roses (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) guided walking tour of distillery and tasting
Jim Beam (Clermont, Ky.) interactive tour of distillery, Troy Beam will be on site to answer questions during tastings
Heaven Hills Distilleries: Bourbon Heritage Center (Bardstown, Ky.) short film about both bourbon and Heaven Hill, guided tour of the tour of the Heritage Center, including a visit to Rickhouse Y and a bourbon tasting

From Madison, IN, a “Special Land Event” includes lunch, a city tour of Frankfort, KY, a guided tour of Buffalo Trace Distilleries and the Kentucky State Capitol.

Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, the nine-day Bourbon Itinerary fares begin at $2,699 per person based on double occupancy. All journeys include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner and a host of other amenities. For additional information,visit

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Norwegian Cruise Line Introduces All-Inclusive Cruising With
Free Unlimited Premium Open Bar on Norwegian Sky

MIAMI – April 22: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that beginning January 2016 all guests sailing aboard Norwegian Sky from Miami will enjoy an even more all-inclusive cruise experience with dining, entertainment and now free unlimited beer, wine, and premium spirits included. Whether they choose white or red, shaken or stirred, on the rocks or straight up, Norwegian Sky guests will revel in the freedom and flexibility of the most inclusive contemporary cruise vacation at sea.

“We’re taking Freestyle Cruising to the next level to provide our guests with an experience unmatched by any other contemporary cruise line,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Norwegian Sky guests will have the freedom to enjoy a cruise vacation the way they desire—whether it’s lounging by the pool with a margarita, having a laugh at a comedy show, catching up on their favorite book on their balcony, or indulging in fine dining—all included in their cruise fare.”

Guests who are at least 21 years of age at time of sailing will enjoy for free a variety of unlimited premium spirits, innovative cocktails curated by the award-winning mixologists from Miami’s Bar Lab, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to $11 aboard Norwegian Sky in 2016 and beyond. Guests 3 to 20 years of age will enjoy unlimited sodas and juice throughout their cruise.

Norwegian Sky sails port-packed 3- and 4-day roundtrip cruises from Miami to the Bahamas year-round. The new all-inclusive experience will also provide guests with the freedom to enjoy unlimited premium beverages while soaking up the sun on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.

In addition to the wide variety of inclusive offerings onboard, Norwegian Sky guests also have the option to indulge in a variety of extra onboard experiences such as specialty restaurants and pampering Mandara Spa treatments. While in port, Norwegian Sky guests can also opt to choose from a wide array of shore excursions offering leisure, adventure and cultural experiences including swimming with dolphins, historical island tours, beach time and more. Norwegian Sky offers a broad selection of staterooms options including spacious suites and penthouses that accommodate up to five guests, balcony staterooms, oceanview staterooms and moderately priced inside staterooms designed with families in mind to accommodate up to four guests. The ship features 13 dining options, 12 bars and lounges, two pools, five hot tubs, an onboard spa, casino and children’s programming. For more information on Norwegian Sky, visit

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Crowd-Controlled Robotic Bar Debuts on Anthem of the Seas

Makr Shakr, the world’s first robotic bartending systemdesigned by renowned architect, engineer and inventor, Carlo Rattimade its debut as the Bionic Bar onboard on Royal Caribbean’s new ‘smart’ cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas, in Southampton. Makr Shakr is an exciting and innovative new mixology system that allows users to create personalized cocktail recipes in real-time through a smartphone applicationalso transforming them into crowd-sourced drink combinations.

“Makr Shakr is a great example of how robotic technologies are changing the interaction between people and products – a topic that we have been exploring in great depth” said Carlo Ratti, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-founder of Makr Shakr. “The system explores the new dynamics of social creation and consumption‘design, make and enjoy’llowing users to design their own cocktail creations, while digitally controlled machines transform these designs into reality.”

The Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr is located at the centre of Royal Caribbean’s new Anthem of the Seas latest ‘smart’ cruise ship. To use Makr Shakr, users will access a simple app on a tablet, allowing them to create an almost limitless number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink combinations. The cocktail creations will then be assembled by two robotic arms, whose movementsshown on a large display positioned behind the barmimic the actions of a bartender, from the shaking of a martini to the thin slicing of a lemon garnish to the muddling of a mojito. Guests will have the possibility to name their own recipes, access their order history and reorder their favourite cocktails, while rating and commenting on each other!

“Makr Shakr does not suggest replacing the bartender with a robot, but rather was conceived as a social experiment that looks at how people might embrace the new possibilities offered by robotics and digital manufacturing” says Saverio Panata, COO of Makr Shakr.

In Makr Shakr, social connections are woven throughout the co-creation and mixing of ingredients, which are then fed back to the user through the app. With this new technology, consumers can learn from each other, sharing connections, recipes and photos on social networks. “Digital connectivity is not replacing physical interactions, but rather reinforcing them” adds Panata.

To create an engaging bar experience, the robots’ movements were modeled on the gestures of Italian choreographer Marco Pelle from New York Theatre Ballet. Mr Pelle’s movements were filmed and used as inputs in programming the robots’ animation.

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Disney Cruise Line Dreams a Little Bigger with Enhancements to the Disney Dream This Fall

CELEBRATION, FL, April 21: Exciting new experiences await Disney Dream guests after spaces throughout the Disney Cruise Line vessel are transformed this fall. Headlining the enhancements are two new interactive youth areas, one themed to Star Wars and another to Disney Infinity. Also a whimsical sweet shop serving handmade gelato and the ever-popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will debut after the Disney Dream undergoes dry dock Oct. 4-24, 2015, in Freeport, Bahamas.

Here is a glimpse at what is in store for guests of all ages:

Star Wars Area Brings Force-filled Fun for Children
A newly themed area in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to ages three to 12, will delight children with an out-of-this-galaxy experience inspired by the Star Wars saga. Kids will be transported to a far away galaxy at Star Wars: Millennium Falcon, a Force-filled play area inspired by the spacecraft from the legendary saga. Upon entering the spaceship, younglings will join the Rebel Alliance in the epic battle of good versus evil by assisting with the navigation of this powerful space vehicle. Sitting in the cockpit, children can pilot this super-cool spaceship through hyperspace and trigger lightspeed jumps to different locations around the galaxy.

In Millennium Falcon, children can express their creativity through Star Wars-themed crafts, games and activities. They can also watch episodes from the new Disney XD animated series, “Star Wars Rebels,” on a large screen or virtually join the rebellion at gaming stations featuring the series’ action-packed adventures.

The excitement continues during a shipboard version of the popular Jedi Training Academy experience that invites young Jedi hopefuls—known as “Padawans”—to learn lightsaber moves from a Jedi Master. They can then use the Force and face off in a final test against the evil Darth Vader.

High-Tech Disney Infinity Space Adds Adventure for Kids
Also in the Oceaneer Club, a high-tech interactive space based on the Disney Infinity video game offers more fun for kids.

In the Disney Infinity Toy Box area, children can experience a whole new way of playing together with exciting virtual experiences and immersive activities. Customized, on-screen adventures will bring to life characters and stories from across The Walt Disney Company. The complete set of Disney Infinity character figures will be on display for creative inspiration and available for gameplay. Kids visiting this special room—found only on the Disney Dream—will be able to unlock exclusive Disney Cruise Line content that they can continue to enjoy when playing Disney Infinity at home.

Special activities will bring the virtual gameplay experience to life in the real world. For example, a life-sized Disney Infinity Base sets the stage where children take the place of character figures for a group gaming experience unlike any other. Lighting up in response to gameplay on a large screen, this interactive floor will allow kids to be immersed in the Toy Box.

Specialty Sweet Shop for Families
Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats will satisfy the sweet tooth of cruisers of all ages, with handmade gelato and ice cream, an assortment of candy, and delectable novelty treats for purchase. New to Deck 11, the smell of freshly baked waffle cones and candy will linger from the specialty store’s two entrances, inside Cabana’s restaurant and outside by the pool deck. Resembling the whimsical candy land of the Sugar Rush race car game in “Wreck-It Ralph,” the sweet shop’s décor features nods to the film, including a race track and checkerboard patterned floor, gas pump-style gumball dispensers, Vanellope’s race car and King Candy’s throne.

Magical Makeover Salon for Princesses and Pirates
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, coming to Deck 5 midship, will bring to life the storybook fantasies of young guests with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers. This very special salon will offer aspiring princesses and knights ages three to 12 the chance to transform into royalty with the help of a fairy godmother-in-training. On pirate party night this boutique becomes The Pirates League where swashbuckling pirates of all ages will have the opportunity to unleash their inner buccaneer.

Cool & Comfortable Retreat for Adults
Exclusively for adults, Deck 13 forward will include a new water feature, Satellite Falls, a circular splash pool with benches and a gently falling rain curtain that provides cool comfort. Around this upper deck, adult guests can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a canopy.

This wave of enhancements to the Disney Dream debuts on the Oct. 26th 4-night voyage from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The Disney Dream will continue to sail 3- and 4-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas throughout 2015 and into 2016. To learn more, visit

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Anthem of the Seas Christened

Miami, April 20: Global cruise line Royal Caribbean International has marked the launch of Anthem of the Seas, the world’s newest, most technologically advanced cruise ship. The ship hosted a spectacular naming ceremony led by Godmother Emma Wilby who took center stage during the ceremony together with Welsh choir Only Boys Aloud to deliver the performance of her life. Wilby is a British travel agent who was selected for the honor in a singing competition for travel agents.

Anthem of the Seas is setting sail on the next great adventure. Unprecedented innovations in ship design, thrilling activities, game-changing technology, multidimensional entertainment and robust, flexible dining opportunities come together onboard Anthem to create the ultimate, contemporary cruising experience found only on Royal Caribbean. She spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms. Anthem of the Seas will sail out of Southampton, U.K. for her inaugural season before departing for New York Harbor and her new homeport of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J.

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Holland America Line Launches Alaska Cruise and Land+Sea Journeys Tablet App

Seattle, April 20: Holland America Line has made it easier for travel partners and consumers to experience the line’s Alaska cruises and Land+Sea Journeys with the launch of a new application for tablets. Those using an Apple, Android or Windows tablet can search key words such as “Holland America Alaska” in their respective app store and download the application for free. The app is optimized for tablets and offers the best of Holland America Line’s Alaska brochure, web site and other collateral in an easy-to-navigate mobile tool. Users can explore both cruises and Land+Sea Journeys with a new level of detail, including an interactive map with destination details and excursion options, as well as a sampling of the line’s Glacier Bay podcasts.

The app was designed with both travel professionals and guests in mind. Users can post, share or print information. For those without a tablet, there is also a “desktop viewer” that offers the same rich content with mouse-click navigation. Through the app, Holland America Line Alaska cruises and Land+Sea Journeys itineraries are available “on the go.” The app can be used to electronically show clients different itinerary options and route maps and to personalize travel plans. Once a day-by-day itinerary is finalized, travel partners can create a pdf flyer to email to their client — all with the swipe of a finger.

“Bringing the travel experience to life via technology is a key selling tool in business today, and it’s essential that we provide travel professionals with tools that enable them to successfully sell Holland America Line cruises anywhere,” said Eva Jenner, vice president of North America sales, Holland America Line. “This app will make it easier for travel professionals to show their clients what we offer in Alaska and give them the flexibility to close the deal from anywhere.”

The Holland America Line Alaska tablet app is available in the Apple, Android or Windows app stores.

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Seabourn Announces Fall 2016, Winter 2017 Cruise Itineraries

SEATTLE, April 20: Seabourn has announced an exciting schedule of cruises for the fall 2016 and winter 2017 seasons. The program offers 28 unique itineraries and 104 departures of seven to 89 days in length, visiting destinations on all seven continents. During this period, the cruise line will introduce the new Seabourn Encore and when combined with the award-winning Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest, the line will have the newest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

The schedule includes popular destinations and favorites, visiting exotic locales such as South America, Antarctica, India, Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast and Northern Asia, along with classic favorites in Panama Canal, Canada and New England and the Caribbean. Itineraries feature 38 destinations that are either maiden or "notable" ports that the cruise line has not visited in years, including more than a dozen ports in Japan, China and Korea, as well as a series of new Caribbean itineraries from Barbados. In addition, as part of the line's partnership with UNESCO, the schedule includes visits to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the world. Itineraries, fares and additional details for Seabourn's complete fall 2016/winter 2017 schedule of cruises can be viewed on

Seabourn will continue to offer the popular Extended Explorations program, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy longer cruises from 32 days to as many as 89 days, with the added luxury of a wide range of choices regarding where and when they sail. These linked voyages offer rich port content and more in-depth exploration of a particular region. Additional benefits include extra 10 percent savings for combined cruises, frequent overnights in ports, and local cuisine, wines, entertainment and regional experts for Seabourn Conversations onboard enrichment.

"We deliver an authentic destination experience to our guests both onboard and ashore," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "Not only do we visit many of the most desirable and exotic cities around the world, but we also provide onboard culturally-rich offerings, from regional wines and cuisines to expert destination speakers and entertainment, that will further enhance our guests' travel experiences."

Following a transatlantic sailing from Europe, on Dec 19, 2016, Seabourn Odyssey will embark on two 18-day Panama Canal voyages between Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles. The ship will begin a new 12-day Caribbean program in February from Bridgetown, Barbados, to Ft. Lauderdale, exploring the western side of the Caribbean, including Cartagena, Colombia; three new ports in Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; the Colombian island of San Andres, and Key West, Fla. Seabourn Odyssey will go on to sail six 7-day voyages between Bridgetown and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, to Seabourn's Uncommon Caribbeanallowing guests to experience the line's signature events, such as the Caviar in the Surf beach parties.

For a longer voyage with unique port content, guests may join the 39-day Exotic Caribbean Exploration voyage, featuring some of the best ports and harbors in the Caribbean. This cruise sails from Ft. Lauderdale to Barbados on Jan 24, 2017.

Seabourn Sojourn will offer myriad voyages in the Far East from mid-November 2016, starting with an 18-day voyage through the Holy Land and Arabia and a 17-day sailing through Arabia and India to Singapore. The ship's Asian season begins with a 16-day Holiday voyage roundtrip from Singapore to Malaysia and Myanmar, where the ship will stay in Yangon (Rangoon) for three days and give ample time for guests to explore the city and the 2,000-plus temples at Bagan and the fabled city of Mandalay. In 2017, Seabourn Sojourn will offer the line's perennially popular 14-day Vietnam & Thailand voyage from Singapore to Hong Kong, which will alternate with a new 14-day voyage visiting the Philippines, China and Borneo. Guests may combine these two sailings for a new 28-day cruise. In March, Seabourn Sojourn will embark on 18-day voyages between Hong Kong and Kobe, Japan, encompassing new ports in China, Japan and Korea. These have variations, such as an overnight stay at Xingang for visiting Beijing on one cruise and a three-day visit at Shanghai on another. In addition, the voyage was planned to coincide with the cherry blossom season in Japan, a beautiful site that is a must-see when visiting the country during that time of the year. Another exciting voyage on the schedule is a 21-day cruise in May from Kobe to Seattle through Japan and across the North Pacific. For the ultimate experience in Asia, guests may combine sailings for an extended 89-day Pacific Rim Exploration voyage departing Singapore on March 4, 2017, and arriving at Seattle on May 31, 2017.

Seabourn Quest will kick off the season with four 10-day Canadian Maritimes and New England voyages between Montreal and Boston, featuring an overnight in Québec City. Following a 14-day positioning cruise down the U.S. eastern seaboard to Ft. Lauderdale, Seabourn Quest will then sail on a 24-day southward through the Caribbean to the Brazilian coast to Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there, the ship will begin its popular Antarctica and Patagonia season, offering four 21- to 24-day cruises between Valparaiso, Chile and Buenos Aires. Seabourn Quest will continue through the Caribbean, followed by a transatlantic cruise to Barcelona to start the 2017 Europe season.

Following delivery in December 2016, Seabourn Encore will offer two pre-inaugural cruisesa 16-day cruise departing Dec 4, 2016, from Athens bound for Dubai, followed by an 18-day voyage departing Dec 20, 2016, from Dubai to Singapore. On January 7, 2017, Seabourn Encore will make its official debut with a gala naming inaugural ceremony in the dynamic Asian city-state of Singapore. After the naming of the ship, Seabourn Encore will embark on its 10-day official inaugural voyage to Bali. The ship 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.

Seabourn's award-winning ships sail around the globe throughout the year, reaching the world's most desirable destinations at their peak seasons including marquee cities and lesser-known yachting harbors and hideaways that few travelers ever see. Remarkably all-inclusive fares offer tremendous value for one of the world's finest travel experiences. For more information, visit

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MSC Cruises Reveals First Details of New Vista Class Ship

SAINT-NAZAIRE, April 20: MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company, marked a key milestone in its $5.4 billion growth plan today as the first steel for its new Vista generation of megaships was cut at STX France, during a ceremony in Saint-Nazaire. At the steel-cutting ceremony, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago told assembled press and dignitaries that the cutting-edge 4,500 guest (double occupancy), 167,600-GRT ship—due to be delivered in May 2017 and open for bookings from June 2015—will be named MSC Meraviglia. She will spend her first summer sailing the western Mediterranean, and will be the first to have three homeports: Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.

“MSC Meraviglia will be the biggest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman. “We chose a name that denotes the sense of awe and wonderment felt when you experience the ship’s stunning features, which only an MSC cruise, with its unique Mediterranean-style, can deliver. MSC Meraviglia brings together the industry knowhow of MSC Cruises, a young, bold company built upon 300 years of seafaring tradition and the expertise of one of the most advanced shipyards in the world. Today, building started on a true maritime marvel.”

STX France General Manager Laurent Castaing added: “Since March 2014, more than 400 people from our various teams have been working tirelessly to define the special features of a ship that, I am certain will set the standard for its generation. This extraordinary project is testament to MSC Cruises’ visionary approach, and we are proud to collaborate with them through our capacity for innovation and know-how.”

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer said: “This steel-cutting event marks a decisive milestone in the company’s development plan, one that will see MSC Cruises double its capacity by 2022 through up to seven new ships and a $5.4 billion investment plan.” He added: “MSC Meraviglia will be one of the greenest and safest ships in the industry, as well as one of the most technologically advanced. We are thrilled that in just a few weeks guests can start booking this truly remarkable ship, which will bring cruise travellers to the most exciting destinations around the world in outstanding comfort and style.”

Designed for unrivalled agility, MSC Meraviglia and the other upcoming Vista project ships will be perfectly able to call at any cruise port in the world, meaning guests from around the world will now be able to explore more of the best destinations on one of MSC Cruises’ next generation ships.

Among the ships’ manifold features will also be specially crafted ‘cluster cabins’ for families, and an extended MSC Yacht Club, the wholly self-contained luxury area on the prestigious foredecks, which will be enhanced with duplex suites, a vast solarium and a private lounge and restaurant. They will be packed with extraordinary features that make them ideal for cruising in summer and winter, including wide dining options and entertainment choices, stunning panoramic spaces, a large theatre and a spectacular amusement park linked to an outdoor aqua park, as well as a three-deck interior promenade.

MSC Meraviglia will also feature a range of technological advancements, such as ‘Near Field Communication’ technology, enabling guests to do things like make onboard payments, access their staterooms or geo-locate children, simply by using their cruise card, bracelet or smartphone. Another jaw-dropping feature will be a 5,167 square foot LED screen, which forms the entire ceiling of the ship’s interior promenade. Like a digital sky, this LED image vault will beam out compelling images and vistas day and night – including scheduled visual events – creating a variety of powerful atmospheres at all times.

MSC Meraviglia is the first of two identical ships on order from STX France, the second of which will be entered in to service in 2019. In addition, MSC Cruises has options for two further Vista project ships to be delivered by 2022. The Vista project is the result of a lengthy development process under STX’s ECORIZON® program to create cleaner, smarter, more efficient ships. They will be water emission free, and their hulls and propulsion systems will be optimized for extreme energy efficiency. Scrubber technology will neutralize fumes and CO2 emissions in accordance with the latest international maritime regulations. In addition, the ship is fully compliant with the Safe return to Port requirement.

MSC Cruises, which has grown by 800 percent in terms of onboard capacity since 2004, carried 1.67 million guests in 2014 and generated a turnover of $1.6 billion. For 2015, MSC Cruises is forecasting an additional 10 percent growth.

In other news, MSC Cruises recently announced that the first of its next generation “Seaside” class of ships—set to debut in November 2017—will be named MSC Seaside. The ship will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean. What’s more, the company also revealed that its Miami-based cruise operations will benefit from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami, a testament to MSC Cruises’ growing ambitions in the North American market and to providing guests with a best-in-class quality of services.

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Oceania Cruises Announces New Culinary Discovery Tours For European Voyages

MIAMI, April 20: Building on its leadership position as the cruise line for epicureans, Oceania Cruises announced a significant expansion to its popular Culinary Discovery Tour series. The newest Culinary Discovery Tours will debut in Barcelona, Marseille, Antibes (France), Catania (Italy) and Iraklion (Heraklion, Greece) during select sailings aboard Marina and Riviera this spring and summer as the ships cruise throughout Europe.

Exclusive to Oceania Cruises, the Culinary Discovery Tours provide guests with epicurean interests a unique opportunity to interact with well-known regional culinary experts while exploring local food markets, restaurants, vineyards, farms and cooking schools. During the entire tour, guests are accompanied by a chef instructor from The Culinary Center, Oceania Cruises’ hands-on cooking school. All tours begin with an orientation about the local cuisine and many conclude with a destination-inspired cooking class or tasting in The Culinary Center.

“Culinary traditions are at the heart of many cultures around the world, and with our Culinary Discovery Tours we’re able to provide guests with the unique opportunity to share firsthand in those traditions,” explained Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly, director of culinary enrichment for Oceania Cruises. “On our new tours, guests spend time in the kitchen with local culinary experts and renowned chefs learning about regional ingredients and cooking customs that have influenced European cuisine for centuries. Our goal is for guests to walk away with new culinary skills, satisfied taste buds and a deeper appreciation for the vibrant culinary traditions found in Europe.”

Highlights from the new Culinary Discovery Tours include:

Barcelona – Chef’s Gastronomy Tour & Tapas Lunch
This tour is designed to illustrate how Barcelona became a culinary mecca with its depth of produce, variety of fish, quality of meats and ingenuity of the region’s chefs. Guests will join the Culinary Center chef and local Catalan culinary expert for a short drive through the city to the famous Las Ramblas Boulevard. The first stop is an innovative pastry shop called Escriba where the art of chocolate figurines was pioneered. A few steps away is La Boqueria, the city’s most famed market hosting over 250 stalls offering exotic and exquisite produce, meats and fish. After exploring La Boqueria, guests will take a short walk through the Gothic Quarter en route to Santa Caterina market, a smaller market with a colorful mosaic tiled roof and 70 stalls, and a favorite destination for The Culinary Center faculty. The final stop is the trendy restaurant, Tapeo. Using the best market produce, Tapeo's Chef Daniel blends both tradition and innovation. Guests are treated to a variety of Catalan tapas, perfectly paired with Spanish wines. After a leisurely tapas lunch, guests will enjoy a trip to the famous Bubó pastry shop to select a pastry to enjoy later on the ship.

Marseille – Michelin Chef Reine Sammut & Aix-en-Provence Market Tour
Guests will immerse themselves in the cuisine of Provence in this tour designed for food and wine enthusiasts. The tour begins with a scenic drive to the charming town of Aix-en-Provence. Guests will enjoy a stroll through the colorful and bustling daily market along with the ship’s Culinary Center chef and local tour guide to explore a vast array of herbs, cheeses, sausages, vegetables and fruits. The best part of the tour is yet to come as another picturesque drive brings guests to the Hotel Auberge la Fenière near the village of Lourmarin. Michelin star and nationally renowned Chef Reine will welcome guests to her cookery school for a one-of-a-kind cooking demonstration of her beloved recipes. Using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, Chef Reine will prepare a menu of authentic Provençal cuisine while guests learn about the subtleties of flavor and historical influences. Once the cooking process is complete, guests will delight in the chef’s creations while taking in the natural vistas surrounding the property. After some relaxing time aboard the ship, guests will meet again with their chef at The Culinary Center for some additional “culinary time” dedicated to the cuisine of Provence.

Antibes – Shopping with the Chef & French Cooking Class
Guests will pass through the port’s stunning gates and enjoy a stroll to the town’s picturesque open air market. The seaside village’s quintessential market brims with colorful produce, fresh flowers, local cheeses, freshly caught fish and seasonal harvest from local farmers. Along with their chef from The Culinary Center, guests will taste and shop for essential ingredients for the Provençal cooking class later in the tour. Guests will make stops at various stalls and taste local treats such as socca, a chickpea flatbread cooked in a wood-fired oven. Before heading back to the ship, guests will stop at one of the local shops for coffee and macaroons. Once on board, guests will participate in a 90-minute private cooking class and make a classic Provençal lunch using the ingredients purchased earlier. In addition, guests will be treated to samples of tapenades, wines and cheeses, including a tasting of Absinthe, a popular aperitif of Provence.

Catania – Chef Market Tour, Cannoli Making & Lunch
Guests will enjoy a short drive to Mercato del Pesce di Catania, an ancient street market offering a wonderful cacophony of exotic sights and sounds. Next they will visit the market “like locals” as The Culinary Center chef and experienced culinary guide offer expert knowledge in Sicilian cuisine. After a short walk, guests will arrive at a family-owned patisserie to experience cannoli making, Sicilian-style. As guests observe the Sicilian pastry chef, they will learn how to make their own picture-perfect Sicilian cannoli. A short drive will take guests to Osteria Nero d’ Avola in Taormina, a famous local restaurant. Guests will be greeted by the owner and slow food advocate, Chef Turi, who will provide an overview of the day’s ingredients and menu. Chef Turi will prepare an exquisite lunch accompanied with wines from the local Etna Benanti winery, served personally by one of the Benanti brothers.

Iraklion (Heraklion) – Cretan Cooking Class & Lunch
Guests will travel by coach towards the traditional village of Zaros nestled in the foothills of Mount Ida, the island’s highest summit, and according to mythology, the birthplace of Zeus. As the coach ascends to the center of the island, the countryside vistas become more spectacular. The Culinary Center chef and local tour guide will discuss native herbs and share highlights of the world-renowned Cretan cuisine. Upon arrival, guests will discover how the village has retained its time-honored methods of farming, weaving, wood-carving and cooking. Guests will wander through the gardens and cobblestone pathways to reach the central tavern for a hands-on preparation of seasonal dishes such as dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves), gemista (stuffed vegetables) and cheese pies made with nuts and honey. The next stage of the tour offers guests the opportunity to meet a local specialist and learn about Cretan olive oil, which is a sacred and indispensable aspect of the local cuisine. The Cretan cuisine is exceptionally nutritious as it features plenty of vegetables, beans, grains and wholesome olive oil. The tour will conclude with a magnificent and freshly prepared Cretan-style meal along with sampling of local Cretan wine.

For more information about Oceania Cruises or the Culinary Discovery Tours, visit

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American Cruise Lines Announces Pre & Post Cruise Extension Packages in 2015

GUILFORD, CT, April 16: American Cruise Lines has announced pre and post cruise extension packages beginning in the summer of 2015, highlighting the rich culture, history and entertainment in U.S. ports such as New Orleans, Memphis, Charleston and Seattle. Cruise extension packages will include:

• Centrally located, first-class hotel accommodations
• Ship, hotel and airport transfers
• Welcome reception and select dining options
• Specialty tours highlighting the experiences and attractions unique to each region
• Dedicated cruise specialist to coordinate all package details

“We couldn’t be more exited to offer this option. These cruise extension packages complement our itinerary, allowing guests an opportunity to extend their vacation and become even more immersed in the unique history and culture in each of our American ports.” said Judy Roman, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “Mississippi River itineraries will be our initial focus of these extension packages, with a full roll out to all of our destinations in 2016. Our ports are so incredibly rich in history and Americana and we want our guests to be able to take in as much of the experience as possible. These packages are a natural extension to our current cruise itineraries.”

The cruise extension package in the port of Memphis, for example, will include a welcome reception and deluxe hotel accommodations in the heart of the “Blues City.” Guests will stroll Beale Street, lined with unique shops and music venues, and enjoy a true taste of the South with a Memphis-style BBQ cooking lesson from a master local chef. Experience a unique “fowl” tradition dating back to 1933 at the famous Memphis-Peabody Hotel, as the Peabody Ducks march to and from the Grand Lobby for a drink in the fountain. Visit the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll at Sun Studios with a tour of the historic studio where music legends B.B King, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash recorded. The journey continues with a trip from slavery to freedom at the National Civil Rights Museum, built around the original Lorraine Hotel where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. For additional information, see

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New Alaska Port Adventures Bring Thrills & Local Experiences to Disney Cruise Line Guests in 2015

CELEBRATION, FL, April 16: During 2015 Alaska sailings, Disney Cruise Line invites guests to experience the destination like never before with a brand-new selection of Port Adventures. These new excursions offer something for everyone in the family to enjoy, from exhilarating alpine forest adventures to hands-on experiences showcasing Alaska’s rich heritage.

Disney Cruise Line Exclusive Experiences
On the Family Gold Exploration and the Mendenhall Glacier and Mine Ruin Exploration in Juneau, Disney Cruise Line guests experience an exclusive and memorable encounter with an eccentric prospector mining the hills. Families trek to the miner’s camp for stories around the campfire, leaving with tips of the trade and a keepsake from the prospector himself.

Families can also explore the Treadwell Mining District on the Family Gold Exploration and pan for gold and garnets at the Alaska Gastineau Gold Mine. They’ll also journey into the abandoned mine at the Maggie Kathleen Tunnela first for Disney Cruise Linewith a hard-rock miner, to see the equipment used for extracting ore.

In the Mendenhall Glacier and Mine Ruin Exploration Port Adventure, families take in the astonishing sights of the Mendenhall Valley complete with snow-capped mountains and lush green forests. Then they’re off to explore the mine ruins and trails at Douglas Island’s Treadwell Mining District.

Delicious Alaskan fare takes center stage at the Klondike Campfire Breakfast, in a Port Adventure exclusively for Disney Cruise Line. Guests begin their day at the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp with a hearty breakfast of steak, eggs and sourdough blueberry pancakes. After being treated to the music and poetry of renowned Yukon poet Robert Service, they pan for gold, with everyone guaranteed to find the precious metal in every pan.

The Best of Skagway
For the first time, families get a taste of some friendly competition during Skagway’s Klondike Family Challenge, where each immersive activity is paired with a fun challenge. At the Klondike Gold Fields, families pan for gold, interact with dogs and puppies training for sled dog races and feel the thrill of 40 degrees below zero. Disney Cruise Line guests tour the Klondike Gold Fields brewery, sample fresh brews and design their own root beer labels. At the end of the day, families leave their mark by etching their names onto a wooden plank to be hung on the wall at the site’s gold panning shed.

An exhilarating new adventure in Skagway takes families to the legendary White Pass Summit, tracing the steps of miners during the Klondike Gold Rush. At the summit, guests get a stunning view of cascading waterfalls and towering mountains before stopping at the Skagway Overlook for an unforgettable view of the glacier-lined Skagway Valley and their Disney cruise ship. After working up an appetite, guests savor a barbecue lunch of fresh Alaskan salmon at the Klondike Gold Fields and learn the skill of gold panning.

Another first for Disney Cruise Line guests has them joining the lavishly costumed madam of the Red Onion Saloon for a tour of downtown Skagway. From the century-old McCabe building, a former school now home to the Skagway Museum, guests tour back alleys and former red light districts, hearing rousing stories of women who ventured north during the gold rush era, along with ghost stories about those who never left. The tour culminates with a champagne toast at the famous Red Onion Saloon and historic brothel museum.

Adventures in the Great Outdoors
From Juneau, teens are accompanied by Disney Cruise Line youth counselors as they gear up for an exclusive Teen Only Canopy and Zip Line Expedition. This off-road adventure includes zip lines and two towering sky bridges over lofty tree platforms. An exhilarating rappel from the treetops concludes this thrilling adventure.

Guests can also find their adventurous side in Skagway, with breathtaking views at every turn on the Skagway Adventure Hike. On this new trek, Disney Cruise Line guests journey through the alpine forest and snow-capped mountains of White Pass, led by a guide who shares stories of the area’s gold rush history and wildlife.

Another new Skagway experience sends guests gliding over the waters of Summit Lake in the Alpine Lake Canoe Adventure. From their canoes, guests will have panoramic views of Alaska’s most enchanting scenery, including towering mountains, lush green forests and crystal-clear water. They’ll also explore the many coves, inlets and channels surrounding the lake.

Beginning June 1, the Disney Wonder will sail a total of 14 seven-night cruises from Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska. Details on all Disney Cruise Line shore excursions can be found on the Port Adventures section at

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Viking Star Sets Sail On Maiden Voyage

LOS ANGELES, April 15: Viking Ocean Cruises® announced that its first ship, Viking Star, has embarked on her maiden voyage from Istanbul to Venice, thus launching the travel industry's first entirely new cruise line in a decade. From Venice, Viking Star will make her way through the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic on her way to be officially christened in Bergen, Norway during a citywide celebration on May 17, Norwegian Constitution Day. Developed from the ground up to return the focus of cruising to the destination, Viking Ocean Cruises also has two additional sister ships on orderViking Sky and Viking Seaall of which will sail itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

"We have always believed that cruising should be about connecting you to your destination - not just taking you to places on a map. It is our view that in the race to build bigger ships, many cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "With our new ocean cruises, we have created a new kind of vessel that is smaller in size and smarter in design, offering an alternative to today's mega liners. Along with our privileged-access excursions and onboard enrichment, we have made the destination the true focus of our new ocean cruises."

A Ship Designed for Destination Cruising
Viking Star has a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons and accommodates 930 passengers in 465 staterooms - each with its own veranda. Engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, guests have an easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation, allowing them more time to spend enjoying each destination.

Light-filled with modern Scandinavian décor, Viking Star was designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships®. Throughout the ship, details were incorporated to pay homage to Nordic heritage and to help guests immerse themselves in local surroundings. A glass-backed infinity pool cantilevered off the stern offers unobstructed views; indoor-outdoor spaces offer more options for al fresco dining than any other vessel in its class; huge windows and skylights blur the lines between inside and out; and a wrap-around promenade deck nods to a bygone era of classic ocean liners.

Onboard Viking Star, clean lines, woven textiles and light wood evoke the Viking spirit of discovery and connection to the natural world. A carefully curated collection of Scandinavian artwork adorns the walls of the restaurants and public spaces. In the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow of the ship, the décor was inspired by ancient Viking trade routes and navigation methodsmagery of star constellations and astronomical maps are complemented by antique globes, astrolabes and sofas with cozy pelts. In the Spa, the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia is in mind - from the Nordic ritual of the hydrotherapy pool and the first Snow Room at sea, to materials inspired by Scandinavian nature: Swedish limestone and black slate; juniper and teak wood details; recycled and etched opaque glass; and cast iron. In the Wintergarden, blonde wood "trees" stretch their branches up to the glass ceiling, forming a lattice canopy over a serene space where guests can enjoy afternoon tea service. And in the Viking Living Room, a geometric garden was inspired by the wild lichen of Norway's Finse Mountain Plateau.

Destination-Focused Enrichment
Leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local culture at night or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," appealing to those with an interest in history, art, music, and cuisine.

While onboard, guests will enjoy informative talks from local experts and carefully selected lecturers in The Theater. Dining options onboard Viking Star elevate food as a cultural experiencethe World Café features global cuisine with live cooking and open kitchens; Mamsen's features Norwegian deli-style fare, according to the recipes of Hagen's mother, Ragnhild, otherwise known as "Mamsen;" and Manfredi's Italian Restaurant embraces authentic Tuscan and Roman cuisine. In the Kitchen Table, the high-tech space offers cooking classes featuring a wide range of regionally inspired dishes and culinary techniques; at night it transforms into an interactive dinner experience with fellow guests and Viking's esteemed chefs.

While every cruise fare includes a guided excursion in each port, Viking's optional excursion program was designed to provide guests with enriching privileged-access experiences that go beyond the iconic and expected. Highlighted examples include:

-- Private Visit to Hagia Sophia by Night, Istanbul, Turkey: On this special excursion, guests visit the magnificent Hagia Sophia for a private tour free of crowds. After departing the ship with a guide, guests enjoy a drive over the Galata Bridge into the heart of Old Istanbul to walk the hallowed halls of Hagia Sophia and view its priceless treasures. After the visit, guests enjoy refreshments in the courtyard of the nearby Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamami, a charming Turkish bathhouse.
-- Cooking with a Countess, Venice, Italy: Countessa Lelia Passi welcomes Viking guests to her home, which has been in her family for hundreds of years. In the magnificent surroundings of this lavish palace, the countess and her teaching staff share with guests the secrets of Italian cooking.
-- Sail & Swim the French Riviera, Toulon, France: Guests have the opportunity to try their hand at sailing a luxury sailboat on the Bay of Toulon. Weather permitting, the yacht will anchor in one of many small coves, where guests can relax with a drink or snack, or perhaps a swim in the warm waters of the Mediterranean.
-- A Normandy Countryside Cheese & Brandy Tasting: In the village of Pont L'Évêque, savor a special Norman lunch amidst the Calvados barrels of Les Tonneaux du Père Magloire restaurant. After your meal, you will visit the cellars to learn how apples are transformed into the "eau de vie," the water of life--Normandy's favorite brandy.
-- Kayak a Fjord: Guests have an opportunity to paddle among the tranquility Norway's mighty fjords, on an active and exciting excursion.
-- At Home in Haugesund, Haugesund, Norway: Visit a traditional home for tea. Your hosts, a local garden designer and architect, welcome you into their wooden house that dates to 1884. You visit and enjoy tea steeped from herbs in their garden.

Viking Inclusive Pricing provides unparalleled value. With every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Passengers also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; wi-fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service, a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.

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Alaska's Icy Strait Point Grows in 2015 Season

The Alaska cruise season is coming up fast, with May 11 the official first day for Icy Strait Point with the Norwegian Sun arriving bright and early. Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Holland America Line and Ponant will make 77 ship calls on the private, Alaska Native-owned cruise ship destination. Between May and September, approximately 144,500 passengers will call on Icy Strait Point, a 3 percent increase in visitation over 2014. For Ponant, this will be the French cruise line’s inaugural year sailing to Alaska.

Over the past 11 years, Icy Strait Point has significantly grown cruise ship visitation by increasing its number of shore excursions and investing to improve overall guest experience. Today, the Inside Passage destination is Royal Caribbean’s 2014 Tour Operator of the Year, an award judged on an in-depth financial review that revealed Icy Strait Point had the highest gross revenue per port per day out of 527 tour operators around the world. This award serves not only as validation of Icy Strait Point’s successful relationships with its cruise partners, but also its Tlingit community. The cultural tourism venture holds true to its mission of advancing the economic aspirations and culture of the ”Xúna Kaawu” (the people of Hoonah).

Icy Strait Point will continue to grow sustainably: construction of the new pier will be underway soon. The new floating pier, scheduled for completion in September, is a significant investment in Icy Strait Point’s future and will improve accessibility for large cruise ships and passengers. By May 2016, a new Tlingit-style, wood-beamed welcome center and excursion departure lounge will be in place and a new transportation center will streamline excursion departures for guests.

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Princess Cruises Announces Largest-Ever Australia Deployment for 2016-2017

SANTA CLARITA, CA, April 15: Princess Cruises has announced it will home port five ships in Australia to sail the cruise line’s largest-ever program offering in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for the 2016-2017 season. Princess Cruises will introduce the 3,082-guest Emerald Princess to the market, with Golden Princess returning to sail from Melbourne and Sun Princess, Sea Princess and Dawn Princess rounding out the fleet and expanding the cruise line’s in-market capacity by 20 percent.

Highlights of the new program include an 84-day Circle South America voyage, more ways to see New Zealand, longer South Pacific cruises and Circle Australia voyage options. In addition, Land and Sea Vacation packages will immerse adventure-seekers in the diverse destinations.

“Australia and the entire South Pacific region has always had an allure as a magical place for travellers, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this part of the world,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “As demand for the region grows, we’re responding with more voyages, more destinations and more creative itinerary options.”

Cruise-goers can choose from 120 cruise options, in total visiting 113 destinations in 39 countries. Some of the choices include:

• An 84-day Circle South America cruise on Sea Princess departing Sydney, Australia on January 11, 2017 and visiting 28 destinations in 18 countries including Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Uruguay. Overnight calls in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Lima and a full-transit of the Panama Canal add to this special voyage.
• More ways to explore the natural wonders of New Zealand with all five Princess ships sailing to the country’s beautiful coastal landscapes on cruises ranging from 11- to 14-days.
• Circle Australia voyages on Sun Princess with departures from Sydney in October 2016 and March 2017 as well as the first-ever roundtrip voyages from Brisbane and Fremantle.
• 10- to 14-day voyages through the idyllic and remote islands of the South Pacific from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, on Sun Princess and Sea Princess.
• A 42-day four continent voyage from England to Australia on September 28, 2016 aboard Emerald Princess as she sails south for her first-ever season Down Under.
• Two 42-day journeys to the Orient aboard Dawn Princess sailing from Sydney and Brisbane with visits to multiple destinations in China and Japan. The Sydney sailing departing March 16, 2017 is timed to visit Japan during its famous Cherry Blossom season.

To further enhance the cruise vacation experience, Princess Cruises will offer two Land and Sea Vacation packages. The Australian Outback package immerses guests in Aboriginal culture and includes visits to the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock in Uluru National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The more extensive Ultimate Australia package highlights include a Sydney city tour, the Great Barrier Reef, the northern tropical city of Darwin, the Outback and more. On sale beginning April 22, 2015, the new Princess Cruises’ Australia season runs from October 2016 to April 2017. More details can be found at

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Ovation of the Seas to Sail Australia in Winter 2016-17

MIAMI, April 15: Royal Caribbean International, the world’s largest cruise brand, announced that Australia will welcome its very own brand new cruise ship for the first time when Ovation of the Seas homeports in Sydney for winter 2016-17. Currently under construction in Germany, Ovation of the Seas will not only claim the title of the largest cruise ship to ever call Australia home but also the most technologically advanced in the region.

“Royal Caribbean has been breaking the boundaries in Australian cruising since we arrived in 2007 but today, we have completely changed the face of the cruise industry, making the single largest investment in Australia by any cruise line,” said Gavin Smith, regional vice president, Royal Caribbean, Asia Pacific. “Ovation of the Seas will completely redefine the idea of cruising in Australia, taking the industry to the next level by offering a host of incredible never-before-seen features and technologies. This demonstrates our belief in, and long term commitment to, the Australian cruising market.”

Ovation of the Seas will be the fifth ship in the Royal Caribbean Australian fleet for winter 2016-17, joining four other Royal Caribbean shipsVoyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas in Sydney and Legend of the Seas in Brisbaneoffering an expansive range of the newest, most modern and exciting style of cruising Australians have ever experienced. Additional details for the Royal Caribbean’s winter 2016-17 season will be revealed at the end of April.

When Ovation of the Seas arrives, Australians will experience the first Ripcord by iFLY at sea down under, where the thrill and excitement of skydiving comes to life from onboard a cruise ship. The North Star aerial observatory offers breathtaking 360 degree views more than 90 meters above the sea. In a jewel-like capsule, a robotic arm elevates guests high into the sky, taking in the sights from a bird’s eye view wherever in the world the ship happens to be. In Sydney Harbour, the North Star will reach higher than the pylons of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Bionic Bar lets guests place an order for their favorite cocktail via a tablet, before two incredible bionic arms create the perfect mix in tune to the resident DJ, shaking and stirring great cocktails without any human assistance.

Two70 ⁰ is a multipurpose, transformative space; an expansive lounge boasting 270-degree ocean views by day, and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacular at night, fusing technology withentertainment using robotic video-screens, dramatic digital projection and high-flying aerialists and performers. Meanwhile, SeaPlex will be the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, offering bumper cars, a basketball court, roller skating, circus school and more.

Guests onboard the SmartShip will be more connected than on any other cruise ship in the region, with high speed wi-fi allowing them to stay in touch and share more of their experiences with friends and family onshore.

Ovation of the Seas also features cuisine as vast and varied as the world itself. These dining destinations range from fun to formal settings, including partnerships with world renowned chefs, such as the much-loved “Jamie’s Italian” from Jamie Oliver at sea.

Jamie Oliver said, "I'm super-excited that Ovation of the Seas will be sailing out of Australia, and with a Jamie's Italian on board! This will be our third restaurant with Royal Caribbean, and it's been a real honor to work with their team. The response we've had to Quantum of the Seasour first restaurant at seahas been brilliant, so it just makes me even more excited for this one to open."

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Carnival Cruise Line Announces Summer/Fall 2015 Lineup for Carnival LIVE Concert Series

MIAMI, April 15: Crank it up to 11, music fans! Carnival Cruise Line unveiled the roster of artists for its upcoming Carnival LIVE concert series, adding The Band Perry, BOSTON, Lionel Richie and Heart to the diverse and talented lineup of musical acts set to perform on board the “Fun Ships” this summer and fall. The shows complement the highly anticipated spring series which kicked off last month and includes performances by Journey, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Smokey Robinson and Styx.

Bringing the best of musical entertainment to the seas, Carnival LIVE is a one-of-a-kind entertainment option that provides guests an opportunity to experience captivating concerts by major musical artists at a tremendous value. Concerts are held in the ships’ intimate main theatersranging in guest capacity from 900 to 1,300meaning there’s never a bad seat in the house. Carnival LIVE concerts are performed on Carnival vessels while they are docked in one of three ports of call: Cozumel, Nassau and St. Thomas.

“We’re thrilled to build upon the tremendous success of Carnival LIVE with concerts this summer and fall by The Band Perry, BOSTON, Lionel Richie and Heartfour incredibly talented acts that will provide our guests with an extraordinary entertainment experience,” said Bernie Dillon, director of Carnival LIVE.

The Band Perry will perform July 28-29-30 on Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Magic, respectively, while those ships are docked in Nassau. During these shows, guests can enjoy up-close-and-personal performances by this award-winning trio who recently won Best Country Duo/Group Performance for Gentle on My Mind at the 57th Grammy Awards.

Fans will get “more than a feeling” as they enjoy four shows this summer by rock superstars BOSTON which has sold more than 31 million records worldwide, including 17 million copies of their self-titled debut. BOSTON brings their high-energy performances to four Carnival ships in NassauCarnival Sunshine, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Sensation, and Carnival EcstasyAug. 19-22.

Multiple Grammy and Oscar award-winning singer Lionel Richie will have audiences “dancing on the ceiling” on Carnival Freedom Oct. 14 and Carnival Pride Oct. 15 while those ships are docked in Nassau. One of the most popular recording artists of all time, Richie has sold 100 million albums worldwide and is only one of two songwriters in history to have a number one record for nine consecutive years.

Rounding out the series is Heart, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and have sold more than 35 million records during their accomplished musical career that spans more than 35 years. Guests can enjoy three shipboard performances in Cozumel by these rock legends: Oct. 20 aboard Carnival Paradise, Oct. 21 aboard Carnival Ecstasy and Oct. 22 aboard Carnival Breeze.

Carnival LIVE tickets for 2015 range from $35 to $75 for general admission, significantly less than land-based venues. VIP tickets are available for $125 to $250 and offer seating in the first four rows, a photo opportunity with the artist and a commemorative concert pass. A full listing of the 2015 Carnival LIVE concert series is available by visiting

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Crystal Cruises Offers Guests More Opportunities To Give Back In 2015

LOS ANGELES, April 14: Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises continues its commitment to enriching the lives of its guests and the destinations to which its award-winning ships sail with an expanded number of the popular "You Care, We Care" shore excursions in 2015. For the line's 25th Anniversary, 16 Crystal Adventures ashoreoffered complimentarily to guests and crew, alike - will allow participants to engage in the humanitarian and conservational activities of organizations throughout the world. With three brand new excursions added to the roster, 2015 marks the largest collection of opportunities to serve global communities Crystal has offered. Among the destinations where Crystal guests can provide shore-side aid are:

Victoria, British Columbia: Guests will work alongside community members and volunteers at the Mustard Seed Food Bank, sorting food donations and helping prepare meals for those who would otherwise go without;

Santa Barbara, California: Backyard Bountya nonprofit organization that supplies the food bank of Santa Barbarawill take participants into the orchards to gather and organize fresh produce for local low income residents;

Dubrovnik, Croatia: At Domus Christi, a home boasting 660 years of history of assisting and sheltering the poor, elderly and infirmed, guests will meet with residents, providing companionship for a walk to the Old Port and along the waterfront, as well as helping with some of the home's gardening chores;

Barcelona, Spain: With expert guidance from researchers at the Rehabilitation Center, guests will learn about the center's dedicated efforts to helping endangered marine life and their habitats; and even participate in a training drill for a stranded beach rescue of a dolphin;

Guernsey/St. Peter Port, Channel Islands: Guests will get a glimpse into the daily operation of the Guernsey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as they assist with maintenance of the property; and

Puerto Limón, Costa Rica: Participants will spend time with the children and families of SOS Children's Village, where abandoned and orphaned children are brought up in a family setting, supported by the village environment.

X"The tremendous response to the 'You Care, We Care' program continues to delight us, as our guests are savvy world travelers who relish the type of deeply immersive and authentic cultural education experienced during these excursions," says Crystal's president, Edie Rodriguez. "The act of contributing to the world in which we all travel is extremely rewarding - for everyone."

In all, the "You Care, We Care" Crystal Adventures will be offered on more than two dozen of Crystal's 2015 worldwide sailings. Complete excursion and applicable sailing detail can be found on Crystal's Shore Excursion Finder tool.

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Carnival to Expand Capacity on Short Cruises & Offer Newest Class of Ship on
Week-Long Voyages from
Port Canaveral

MIAMI, April 14: Carnival Cruise Line will build upon its leadership position in Port Canaveral, FL, expanding capacity on 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises by 34 percent and deploying its newest class of ship on 7-day Caribbean voyages in 2016.

Carnival will enhance its short Bahamas cruise program from Port Canaveral with Carnival Victory replacing Carnival Sensation on this popular route in February 2016. The move not only increases capacity on the 3- and 4-day cruises but also provides guests with a greater variety of on-board features and amenities, including more than 500 balcony staterooms aboard Carnival Victory.

Additionally, Carnival Magic will reposition to Port Canaveral in December 2016 to offer two different 7-day Caribbean itineraries, providing consumers with exciting new week-long cruise vacation choices from Central Florida. Carnival Magic is part of the line’s newest class of ship and offers such features as a WaterWorks aqua park, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant and SportSquare outdoor recreation area.

In turn, Carnival Sensation, which boasts WaterWorks, Serenity adults-only retreat and numerous other features, will shift to Miami in February 2016 to operate the line’s attractive and convenient year-round 4- and 5-day cruise schedule.

“We are significantly ‘upping our game’ in Port Canaveral with the addition of these great new ships to the important and growing Central Florida market,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “When these ships join the spectacular Carnival Sunshine, this dynamic trio of ‘Fun Ships’ will offer our guests and valued travel agent partners the widest array of attractive and convenient cruising options from the Space Coast,” she added.

Expanded Capacity on Short Cruises from the Space Coast
Carnival Victory, currently based in Miami, will reposition to Port Canaveral to launch a schedule of 3- and 4-day cruises beginning Feb. 25, 2016, dramatically expanding the line’s capacity on this program. On this route, 3-day cruises depart Thursdays and visit Nassau, while 4-day cruises depart Sundays and call at both Nassau and Freeport.

In addition to providing a newer, larger ship on short cruises from Central Florida, Carnival Victory boasts a variety of on-board features, including a 14,500-square-foot spa, four swimming poolsone with a 214-foot-long water slidealong with 18 lounges and bars whose stunning interiors are inspired by the world’s most famous bodies of water.  During their time in the Bahamas, guests can relax on gorgeous white-sand beaches, enjoy numerous shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities and partake in a wide range of watersports, from snorkeling and scuba diving to kayaking, parasailing and deep-sea fishing.

In October 2016, Carnival Valorcurrently based in Port Canaveral and scheduled to undergo an extensive dry dock in March 2016 that will add a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovationswill take over Carnival Victory’s 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises from Central Florida on a year-round basis. Carnival Valor will be the only ship operating 3- and 4-day cruises to offer the line’s highly acclaimed Fun Ship 2.0 features. Carnival Victory will subsequently move to another homeport.

New 7-Day Choices from Port Canaveral
Carnival Magic will kick off its Port Canaveral-based program with a special 8-day cruise departing Dec. 9, 2016, and featuring St. Thomas, San Juan, Amber Cove (Dominican Republic), and Grand Turk. The ship will then launch year-round 7-day cruises from Port Canaveral Dec. 17, 2016, offering two distinctly different week-long itinerariesa western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove.

Carnival Magic features a wide variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including a massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 312-foot-long Twister water slide, the DrainPipe funnel-style water slide and a 300-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket, along with an expansive SportSquare outdoor recreation area highlighted by a suspended ropes course with breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, and a Caribbean-inspired watering hole called RedFrog Pub.

Carnival Magic will join Carnival Sunshine which offers seasonal 5- to 8-day Caribbean voyages from Port Canaveral and is the only ship in the Carnival fleet to offer all of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, along with unique features like the Speedway Splash water attraction, Ji Ji Asian Kitchen and the Latin-infused Havana Bar.

Special 12-Day Carnival Journeys Cruise on Carnival Magic
In preparation for its Space Coast debut, Carnival Magic will offer a special 12-day Carnival Journeys cruise departing Galveston Nov. 27 and arriving in Port Canaveral on Dec. 9, 2016. Featured ports will include Cozumel; Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama; Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia; Aruba, and Grand Turk. Carnival Journeys is a unique collection of nine- to 15-day voyages featuring exotic, less visited ports in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Hawaii and offering a number of exclusive on-board experiences and activities.

Carnival Sensation’s New Miami-Based Short Cruise Program
Carnival Sensation will reposition from Port Canaveral to Miami to offer year-round 4- and 5-day cruises featuring top ports in the Caribbean, Mexico, The Bahamas, and Florida beginning Feb. 25, 2016. On Carnival Sensation’s new Miami-based schedule, 4-day cruises depart Thursdays visiting Key West and Cozumel or the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Nassau, while 5-day cruises depart Mondays and Saturdays featuring some of the top ports throughout the Caribbean and Bahamas, including Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Amber Cove, Freeport, Nassau and Half Moon Cay.

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China's First-Ever World Cruise Arrives at New York on Costa Atlantica

HOLLYWOOD, FL, April 14: Today Costa Cruises, one of Carnival Corporation's nine global brands, made history when Costa Atlantica arrived at New York City, marking the first time a cruise ship has visited the United States carrying solely Chinese guests. As part of an 86-day global voyage that began March 1, the ship is sailing roundtrip from Shanghai, China, and is the first world cruise sold exclusively to the Chinese market. The 3-day visit to New York from April 14-16 is just one of seven U.S. calls. Costa Atlantica is scheduled to call at PortMiami in Florida Sunday, April 19; Port of Los Angeles for three days from May 3-5; San Francisco May 6; and the Hawaiian ports of Hilo May 11, Kahului May 12 and Honolulu May 13, before setting off on a crossing to the South Pacific.

"Costa Atlantica's arrival in New York carrying only Chinese guests marks a milestone for inbound Asia tourism for the United States and for Carnival Corporation," said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company. "We have made significant investments in China's cruise market, which will one day be the largest in the world. "Costa Atlantica's arrival in the U.S. today underscores the fast-growing popularity of cruising worldwide as a great vacation experience at a great value," Donald continued. "We are thrilled to have our guests from China on this historic world cruise, and we know they are thoroughly enjoying their time on Costa Atlantica and in great cities like New York."

Inbound tourism from China to the United States is growing by triple digits. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the U.S. will increase to 3.1 million visitors by 2019, up from 2.3 million visitors in 2014. More cruise lines are tapping into the potential growth of a country with a population of more than 1.35 billion inhabitants. Costa Cruises entered China in 2006 as the first international cruise line to operate homeport cruises in what has become the most exciting cruise market in the world. Costa Cruises currently has three shipsCosta Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Costa Serenahomeported in China. Costa Atlantica has been dedicated to the Chinese market since May 2013.

Costa's world cruise product reflects a new chapter in China's tourism industry, offering a unique travel opportunity to a broad target audience for Costa Cruises and its trade partners in China. With the support of local government, tourism boards and Costa's partners, this innovative holiday option will have a tremendous impact on the Chinese cruise industry. To prepare for China's first world cruise, the 85,700-ton Costa Atlantica, which entered service in 2000, received an extensive $20.4 million restyling in January 2015significantly, it is the first western cruise ship to be refurbished at a Chinese shipyard. Work performed included expansion of the duty-free shops to feature high-end luxury brands and extensive makeovers to public areas, top-deck spaces and cabins. Additionally, 48 cabins tailored to satisfy the rising demands of China's consumers were installed.

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Seabourn Encore Construction Begins

Seattle, April 14: The award-winning ultra-luxury, small ship cruise line Seabourn is now one step closer to the launch of its newest vessel, Seabourn Encore, with the commemorative cutting of the first steel yesterday. Taking place at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the ceremony was presided over by Seabourn President Richard Meadows and Antonio Quintano, director of Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard.

"The cutting of steel for Seabourn Encore is an important milestone in the evolution of both our beautiful fleet and the ultra-luxury cruise segment overall," said Meadows. "We're looking forward to seeing the ship come together and are excited to continue to add to our fleet. With Adam D. Tihany's innovative design vision and Fincantieri's excellent craftsmanship, Seabourn Encore will be the most beautiful ultra-luxury ship ever built."

In a special nod to the line's departing original fleet, joining the ceremony were two crew members from Seabourn Legend, the last of the three original Seabourn ships currently on its final sailing under the Seabourn banner. Their presence signified the closing of a chapter in the line's history, while marking the start of a new era with the beginning of the construction of Seabourn Encore.

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 a highly personalized level of Seabourn service. 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 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

To follow the progress of Seabourn Encore, please visit the ship's dedicated microsite: 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.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Adds Complimentary Restaurants Across Fleet

MIAMI, April 13: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that many of the line’s popular Asian dining venues can now be enjoyed on a complimentary basis across the fleet. Guest favorites like Shanghai’s Noodle Bar aboard Norwegian’s Breakaway Class ships and Norwegian Epic, Jasmine Garden aboard Norwegian Jade, Chin Chin aboard Norwegian Jewel and more will join the extensive list of complimentary dining venues available to Freestyle cruising guests.

As a part of the Norwegian NEXT program, Norwegian Cruise Line is investing significantly into enhancing guests’ dining experience onboard and offering even more culinary options to provide the best cruise vacation experience. As a part of these new initiatives, the cover charge and à la carte pricing for many Asian dining concepts across the fleet has been eliminated to further enhance guest satisfaction and provide guests more freedom to create their ideal cruise vacation.

“Norwegian’s Freestyle Dining is the most fun and flexible way for guests to enjoy some of the best dining experiences at sea, when they want and how they want,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are thrilled to continue that legacy by providing guests with more of the food they have come to love and enjoy with the introduction of fleetwide complimentary Asian cuisine.”

Guests cruising aboard Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising ships can indulge in favorites like fried rice, spicy seafood udon noodles, steamed pork dumplings and more free of charge at the following venues:

• Orchid Garden, Norwegian Gem
• East Meets West, Pride of America
• Lotus Garden, Norwegian Pearl
• Shogun, Norwegian Spirit
• Chin Chin, Norwegian Jewel
• Bamboo, Norwegian Dawn
• Jasmine Garden, Norwegian Jade
• Ginza, Norwegian Star
• Shanghai’s, Norwegian Epic
• Shangai’s Noodle Bar, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway & Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian’s popular Teppanyaki restaurants will continue to provide guests with the showmanship and culinary delights of Japanese iron-griddle cooking for a per guest cover charge, and Sushi venues across the fleet will retain nominal à la carte pricing. For more information on the wide array of culinary options available aboard Norwegian ships, visit

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Royal Caribbean Takes Delivery of Anthem of the Seas

MIAMI, April 10: There’s a new tune in the air today as global cruise line Royal Caribbean International officially took delivery of its 23rd ship, Anthem of the Seas. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain officially received the new ship from Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer in a signing ceremony held in Bremerhaven, Germany. Anthem of the Seas is the world’s most advanced cruise ship and reflects the best of Royal Caribbean’s history of innovating cruise ship design and cruise vacations.

“I am very happy to receive Anthem of the Seas from Meyer Werft Yards,” said Fain. “We’ve always broken the mold with each successive ship we build, and Anthem of the Seas is no different. I would like to thank Bernard and the Meyer Werft team for their ongoing partnership in designing and building awe-inspiring ships with us.”

“It’s wonderful to welcome Anthem of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family of ships,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “Just like every Royal Caribbean ship, Anthem of the Seas will deliver to guests its own distinctive set of amazing adventures, whether sailing in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.”

Anthem of the Seas will now sail to Southampton, U.K., where the ship will homeport through October and sail to the Mediterranean and Canary Islands. The ship will be inaugurated in Southampton on April 20, when travel agent Godmother Emma Wilby will christen the ship to impart good luck and divine protection over the ship and all that sail on board, and perform a song to more than 1,300 invited guests. In November, New York Harbor will be Anthem of the Seas’ permanent home, where the ship will sail regularly from Cape Liberty Cruise Port on adventures to Bermuda, the Caribbean and Canada and New England.

Guests will enjoy a wide range of Royal Caribbean’s unmatched onboard innovations, such as the North Star aerial observatory, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views, and the RipCord by iFLY skydiving and FlowRider surfing simulators. Guests will be dazzled with the ships’ transformative venues, such as the Two70 lounge, a great room by day and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacle at night. SeaPlex changes throughout the day to offer bumper cars, disco roller skating, circus school, and basketball and other sports. Guests also will delight at the expansive array of delicious fare in 18 distinctive onboard restaurants and enjoy Royal Caribbean Productions’ industry-renowned entertainment in Music Hall, the Royal Theater, and the Royal Esplanade. Anthem of the Seas spans 16 guest decks; encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons; carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and features 2,090 staterooms. For more information, see

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Costa Cruises Inaugurates the 2015 Season from Trieste, Italy: First Call of Costa Mediterranea

Genoa, April 10: Today, Costa Mediterranea kicks off Costa Cruises 2015 season in Trieste, Italy, arriving at Trieste after a transatlantic crossing that departed March 20 from Miami, Fla. The ship will leave tomorrow to begin its season of cruises in the Adriatic Sea. In total, between today and tomorrow, Costa Mediterranea will bring to Trieste more than 3,600 guests (1,400 disembarking and 2,200 embarking) coming from different countries, including Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria and Japan.

From April 11 to Nov. 21, 2015, Costa Mediterranea (85,700 gross tons and 2,680 total guests) will depart from Trieste every Saturday, with a total of 33 calls. The ship will sail two different seven-day itineraries, visiting the most beautiful destinations in Croatia, Montenegro and Greece, and, beginning May 9, calling at Venice, Italy.

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Royal Caribbean Doubles Summer Port Calls to St. Kitts

Basseterre, St. Kitts: The Caribbean island of St. Kitts announced that it will receive calls from two of Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class vessels during the 2016 summer season, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Further, the destination will be receiving an increased overall number of port calls during summer 2016 from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' vessels, reaching a record high number of total calls for during this period.

"With two Oasis-class ships contributing to an increase in total summer port calls from Royal Caribbean on the whole, the line will be bringing significantly more cruise passengers to our shores next year during what is typically the off-season for cruising in the Caribbean," said Mr. Lindsay Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. "We anticipate that this will lead to an increase in the amount of money spent in our shops, restaurants, activity providers and other businesses and thereby boost St. Kitts' local economy. I'm very grateful Royal Caribbean for their expanded partnership, which has been developing over the years."

Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships each have the capacity to carry a total of 5,400 passengers, which is roughly double the capacity of most cruise vessels. With St. Kitts receiving four calls from Oasis of the Seas and five from Allure of the Seas for summer 2016, these two ships alone have the potential to bring as many as 48,600 passengers over the period. In addition to receiving nine summer calls from Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, St. Kitts will also be receiving off-season port calls from Adventure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.

In total, Royal Caribbean ships will be making 51 calls to St. Kitts in the 2016 five-month May to September summer low period, up from 25 calls for the same period in 2015 (a 104% increase). In terms of passengers carried, Royal Caribbean has the potential to bring 199,284 passenger to St. Kitts in summer 2016 as compared to 83,050 for the same period in 2015, more than double the amount (a 140% increase). This year, St. Kitts will also be receiving six calls from Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas in its inaugural 2014/2015 season. It will also be receiving seven calls from the Anthem of the Seas in its inaugural 2015/2016 season.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Launches New Cruisetours in South America

MIAMI, April 9: Norwegian Cruise Line is offering guests the freedom and flexibility to build their dream South American vacation with the introduction of three new South American Cruisetours. These pre- or post-cruise land-based tours are available for guests sailing on Norwegian Sun’s South America itineraries, beginning November 2015. Ranging in length from three to five days, these in-depth experiences are hosted by expert English speaking local tour guides and take guests off the beaten path on a once-in-a-lifetime immersion into the authentic flavors, sights and history of Argentina and Chile.

Cruise guests looking to celebrate the romance of Buenos Aires, often referred to as the “Paris of South America,” can opt for the 3-day Tour & Tango in Buenos Aires. Travelers will overnight in Buenos Aires, tour the city, dine in Argentinian restaurants known to locals, attend an evening dinner and tango show and round out the trip by going cheek-to-cheek with a tango lesson from professional dancers.

Those looking to explore deeper into the ecological and cultural diversity of Argentina can opt for the five-day Buenos Aires & Iguazú Falls Eco-Explorer Cruisetour. As a complement to their cruise vacation, this Cruisetour engages guests’ senses on a three-night excursion through Buenos Aires, where they will taste, touch, listen and dance to the rhythm of the big city, then hop on a short flight to Iguazú for a two-day eco-tour of the area’s wondrous waters, a visit to the Aborigene Guaraní community and more. Culture seekers will immerse themselves in Argentina’s living history at the XIX Century “Estancia” (ranch) El Rosario de Areco, where they’ll be welcomed by gauchos on horseback, learn the importance of the Pampas region to Argentina’s culture, enjoy an amazing gauchos and horses show, savor a traditional Argentine barbeque and more.

Guests can say “hola” to adventure on the Easter Island & Santiago Explorer Cruisetour in Chile. The five-day experience will take guests on a three-day adventure in Easter Island, one of the most isolated inhabited places on earth, to marvel at hundreds of mysterious giant moai statues dating back centuries and visit the ceremonial village of Orongo. As an added element to their archeological adventure in Easter Island, guests will overnight in Chile’s capital city of Santiago and tour the city’s juxtaposition of pre-Colombian cathedrals and monuments along with modern residential areas.

Norwegian Sun will cruise through South America from Nov 21, 2015 through April 9, 2016, sailing alternating Eastbound and Westbound 14-day voyages between Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The two week sailings provide guests with the opportunity to see the many of the marvels of South America, including the European charm of Montevideo, Uruguay, the penguin-packed Falkland Islands, and through the mystical Strait of Magellan and beyond.

Adventure and cultural enthusiasts can make the most of their time in South America by combining their cruise vacation with one of Norwegian’s spectacular South American Cruisetours. For more information and to book, visit

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Seabourn Celebrates Second Successful Season in Antarctica

Seattle, April 8: Seabourn has completed its second Antarctic season with four highly successful voyages that exceeded guests' expectations and delivered unforgettable experiences in the "White Continent." Over the 2014-2015 season, the line continued to redefine ultra-luxury cruising in Antarctica by offering authentic destination experiences combined with its award-winning onboard lifestyle and one of the most impressive ships ever to sail this region. With winter now embracing the Southern Hemisphere, Seabourn is already looking forward to the 2015-2016 Antarctic season aboard Seabourn Quest.

Expedition Leader Robin West reports many operational achievements through the season, assuring that guests enjoyed every aspect of Antarctica. The shore-side operation was matched by an incredible onboard academic program with an average of 30 lectures per voyage delivered by a world-class expedition team. The many highlights and incredible encounters included killer whale sightings right next to the vessel, complementing the lectures by leading orca experts Dr. John Ford and Dr. Ingrid Visser. There were also sightings of humpback whales logging, breaching, spy-hopping and bubble-net-feeding; a landing on South Georgia welcomed by fur seals, elephant seals and 200,000 king penguins; and a very personable and playful minke whale that entertained guests up close during a zodiac tour in Charlotte Bay on the Antarctica Peninsula.

"For many guests, the most popular and educational activity in Antarctica is a zodiac tour," noted West. "They get to experience icebergs, whales, seals and penguins up close with the interpretive accompaniment of an expert driver-naturalist guide, and then come back and enjoy all the comforts of a true ultra-luxury vessel."

In addition, the crew of Seabourn Quest received record guest ratings, a true testament to the line's onboard talent, particularly given the demanding conditions of an Antarctica voyage. Each voyage of the season included six days of landings and zodiac tours, allowing guests to step ashore and explore many of the most beautiful and interesting sites on the continent and islands. Seabourn is the only line to offer an authentic destination experience and ultra-luxury cruising in Antarctica.

It is hard to minimize the excitement of setting foot on and experiencing the many natural wonders of Antarctica up close. A glimpse of that excitement can be found on a new video produced by veteran cruise journalist Ralph Grizzle, who sailed to Antarctica on Seabourn Quest in November, blogging every day and capturing amazing imagery along the way.

Seabourn Quest returns to Antarctica beginning Nov. 29, 2015, on a series of four 21- to 24-day voyages between Valparaíso, (Santiago) Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Each includes days exploring the Chilean coast and fjords, Beagle Channel, Glacier Alley, the breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park, the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, Montevideo and six days of cruising and landings on the Antarctic Continent in uncompromised Seabourn luxury. A 24-day Holiday version, departing Dec. 20, 2015, will include two days exploring the sub-Antarctic wildlife Eden of South Georgia, renowned for its beauty and its vast, teeming rookeries of king penguins and other seabirds, as well as breeding elephant and fur seals. For more information, visit

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First Lady of New Orleans to Christen American Cruise Lines’ American Eagle

GUILFORD, CT, April 8: American Cruise Lines has announced the christening of their second Mississippi River paddlewheeler, the American Eagle, on April 25th, 2015 in New Orleans. Mayor Mitch Landrieu will be the guest of honor and his wife, Cheryl Landrieu will christen the new riverboat.

“The city of New Orleans has played an integral part in the growth of American Cruise Lines, and we couldn’t be happier than to have the First Lady of New Orleans, Cheryl Landrieu, to christen the American Eagle,” said Judy Roman, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “With its rich history and deep culture, New Orleans is a favorite destination for our guests along the Mississippi River.”

The American Eagle carries 150 guests in the most spacious staterooms available on any Mississippi riverboat ranging from 300–600 square feet. Of the 84 staterooms, 78 feature large private balconies, all of which have sliding glass doors for optimal views. The new riverboat offers customized specifications, especially designed to maintain the elegance of classic late 1800’s riverboats but will be the most modern and environmentally friendly ship on the Mississippi River. Features include elevator service to all decks, 6 lounges including the Sky Lounge, room service and refreshments all day while guests enjoy the rear sundeck with panoramic views. American Cruise Lines plans to operate the new paddlewheeler primarily on the Lower Mississippi River between New Orleans and Memphis.

“The highest-quality onboard experience is what our guests can expect aboard the American Eagle,” continued Roman. “Every day we think of more ways to maximize comfort and address the desires of our guests. This ship will truly raise the bar in U.S. river cruising.”

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 including the Pacific Northwest, the North East, the South East and Alaska. The line is known for working closely with guests and travel agents before, during, and after a cruise to create a highly personalized experience. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit

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Seven Seas Explorer to Make North American Debut at PortMiami

MIAMI, April 8: Seven Seas Explorer, the world’s most luxurious ship, will make its North American debut by sailing into the cruise capital of the world, Miami, on Dec. 2, 2016. As part of its inaugural Caribbean season, the all-suite, all-balcony 750-guest luxury liner will sail two roundtrip voyages from PortMiami to idyllic island oases before heading west on a Panama Canal cruise.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises shared today the last remaining voyages for the 2016 season, which included four new voyages aboard Seven Seas Explorer and three sailings aboard the 490-guest Seven Seas Navigator. While Seven Seas Explorer is making its way to North America for the last few weeks of 2016, Seven Seas Navigator is charting a course for exotic South African ports.

“Seven Seas Explorer has been a labor of love for our CEO, Frank Del Rio, Executive Vice President of Vessel Operations, Robin Lindsay and the entire Regent Seven Seas Cruises team, so it’s exciting to have this ship, the most luxurious ship ever built, make its North American debut in our hometown of Miami,” said Jason Montague, President and Chief Operating Officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “With two roundtrip sailings from Miami and a maiden Panama Canal cruise, we’re providing guests the opportunity to experience the unprecedented luxury Seven Seas Explorer will offer with the convenience of departing from a domestic homeport.”

Seven Seas Explorer
After sailing its maiden voyage from Monte Carlo on July 20, 2016, Seven Seas Explorer will sail 10 destination-rich Mediterranean itineraries before traversing to North American on a 16-night Atlantic Retreat voyage from Rome to Miami. From Miami, the ship will embark on a 14-night Serene Islands roundtrip voyage on Dec. 4 followed by a 10-night Caribbean Dawn roundtrip on Dec. 18. Seven Seas Explorer will ring in the New Year with a 16-night Grand Canal Crossing from Miami to Los Angeles with stops throughout the Caribbean and Central America.

Seven Seas Navigator
Seven Seas Navigator will spend a majority of the year exploring the impressive history and world-class cuisine of the Mediterranean, a departure from the ships traditional residence in Alaska. In total, the ship will sail 20 Mediterranean voyages before embarking on a 24-night African Expedition on Oct. 23 which culminates in Cape Town. The ship will continue its exploration of Africa on a 15-night Sumptuous Safaris voyage on Nov. 16 before finishing off the year with an exotic 35-night sailing from Cape Town to Miami. All three African voyages will offer complimentary pre- or post-cruise African Safaris for guests booked in a Concierge Suite or higher. For the entire 2016 cruise season, the line’s four all-suite luxury ships will chart diverse courses, offering unforgettable travel experiences while exploring coveted destinations across the world. In total, the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet will visit nearly 350 ports around the globe including several overnight stays in the world’s most sought-after destinations.

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

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Passion for Destinations at Heart of Celebrity Cruises’ New Shore Excursion Program

MIAMI, April 8: Inspired by vacationers’ desire to connect to the world in a meaningful and authentic way, Celebrity Cruises has launched a new shore excursion program with an array of unique global experiences. Featuring special-interest categories and more than 70 new shore excursions, guests can discover a destination through activities designed to match their interests. From immersive sightseeing tours and wellness experiences to fully customizable “Private Journeys” and premium “Celebrity Exclusives,” the new shore excursions lineup presents vacationers with unique introductions to the sights, sounds and flavors of the world. Celebrity is offering four new types of experiences for guests to choose from:

• “Uniquely Celebrity”: Exclusive, upscale adventures in far-off destinations only available on Celebrity Cruises, which include:
o A luxurious day spent as a Sultan in Istanbul, Turkey
o The opportunity to oar across the deep blue glaciers in Ketchikan, Alaska
o A zero to sixty Ferrari adventure in Cannes, France

• “Culture and Locale”: Culturally focused experiences for vacationers who are inspired to go beyond the shores and straight to the heart of each locale:
o An enchanting evening experience of classical music, champagne, rare works of art at the world-famous Faberge Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
o Live concert event in the 14th-century, secret Basilica del Pi in Barcelona, Spain

• “Lifestyle and Wellness”: Guests can set their pace and choose to focus on creativity, rejuvenation, lifestyle and wellness to nurture mind, body and soul:
o A scenic, guided nature walk in spectacular Melbourne, Australia
o An interactive and enriching wellness experience in Skagway, Alaska

• “Family”: Enriching experiences, sightseeing journeys and competitive adventures for the whole family that uncover rich history and culture:
o A family Flamenco dance-off in Barcelona, Spain
o Exhilarating sailing plus a mini regatta in Kings Wharf, Bermuda
o A castle and treasure hunt adventure in Copenhagen, Denmark

“Our guests’ passions are rooted in interests as diverse as the world itself, and our new shore excursion program will give vacationers the chance to fulfill their love of food, art, relaxation, adventure and more in must-see, global destinations,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “We’ve closely collaborated with local experts to shape a program that will further enrich a vacationer’s experience and connect them more closely to the exciting places that we sail to.”

Celebrity also has launched more than 70 new excursions including exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences at globally recognized landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, as well as enriching, interactive wellness experiences such as a tour of the lush Jewell Gardens in Alaskaand with more to come.

To celebrate the newly revealed program and for a limited time, guests can enjoy savings and special benefits when they pre-book shore excursion packages on select 2015 Europe cruise vacations. For full details about Celebrity’s shore excursions program and special offer, visit

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The American Empress Returns to the Pacific Northwest

VANCOUVER, WA, April 6: The American Queen Steamboat Company has announced its second inaugural season touring the Pacific Northwest onboard the American Empress, a 223-guest riverboat. With 9-day itineraries steeped in culture, exclusive winery tours and tastings, the American Empress itineraries continue to deliver an unforgettable vacation through the eyes of the region’s first settlers.

“The unblemished beauty and bountiful grape harvest make the Pacific Northwest home to some of the world’s most sought after wines and celebrated landmarks,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “Through locally sourced cuisine and tour operators, we’re excited to bring the region’s culture to life with award-winning shore excursions and onboard amenities.”

Wine Themed Tours & Tastings Include:

• Premium Tour: Wine & Spirits on Red Mountain
- Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center
Named for “the Father of Washington Wine,” the Walter Clore Center offers a detailed look at the history of Red Mountain, Wash. and the area’s wine production together with tasting samples of some of the finest wines from local vineyards.
- Kiona Vineyards
Located in Red Mountain Wash., Kiona Vineyards provides a tasting room with panoramic views of the Yakima Valley and estate vineyard, spanning over 250 acres.
- Hedges Family Estate
Allows guests to tour the expansive estate winery and sample the vintages produced on site before continuing to Black Heron Spirits, a unique and quirky distillery where guests can tour the facility and taste their specialty whisky and spirits.

• Premium Tour: From Maryhill Museum to the Vineyard
The tour to Maryhill Museum includes an exclusive wine tasting of the artistic wines unique to the Pacific Northwest. During the visit, guests can sample a variety of wines and enjoy veranda views of the gorge, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River flowing below.

• Premium Tour: The Beauty and Bounty of the Pacific Northwest
Features Mount Hood Winery, a “wine to bottle” full production facility in Oregon that specializes in distinctive wines and warm hospitality. The Estate’s grown Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling thrive in Mount Hood’s rich volcanic soils and the ideal growing climate of the Hood River Valley.

• Premium Tour: Wine Walk in Spokane, Wash.
Guests can enjoy a wine walk with tastings around a post-cruise stay in Spokane, Wash.

• Included Tour: Sunshine Mill Winery in The Dalles, Ore.
The included Hop-on Hop-Off Tour will feature Sunshine Mill Winery, the first building in The Dalles to have electricity with an amphitheater for wine tastings.

In addition, wine by the glass is rotated through each itinerary onboard the American Empress and include Willamette Valley Vineyards, Eola Hills, Joe Dobbes Family Estate, Fox Farm, Anelare, and Maryhill Winery.

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

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Princess Cruises Unveils 2016 Japan Cruise Program

SANTA CLARITA, CA, April 3: Princess Cruises, the top North American cruise line in Japan, will offer an array of Japan voyages from Tokyo and Kobe in 2016 that circumnavigate the country, visiting the top-rated ports with two new ports of call on the island of Kyushu, along with visits to Korea, Taiwan and Russia. The voyages are designed to offer opportunities to explore the wonders of UNESCO World Heritage sites and to participate in some of Japan’s largest and most celebrated cultural festivals and special events. In addition, new Land and Sea Vacation packages will take travelers into the heart of Japanese culture in Kyoto and Tokyo. Princess Cruises’ 2016 Japan season runs from April to October, the only full season of voyages offered by a North American cruise line in Japan, and bookings for the new itineraries open to the public on April 16, 2015.

The variety of voyages offered on Diamond Princess, ranging from four to 20 nights, include the whole of Japan on Circle Japan voyages; northern Japan on Circle Hokkaido Island voyages, with a visit to Korsakov, Russia; and southern Japan on Kyushu Island voyages featuring maiden ports of call in the beautiful southern beach port of Miyazaki and the famous castle ruins of Yatushiro, and voyages to Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands. Grand Japan voyages ranging from 14- to 20- nights offer the greatest variety of ports and experiences; while four- and five-night getaway cruises provide a sampling of some of Japan’s not-to-be-missed destination highlights.

“Japan is steeped in tradition and lore, with ancient sites, hallowed temples and natural wonders throughout the island chain. The ideal way to explore this fascinating country is by sea and Princess offers travelers unmatched options for discovering its many jewels,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “We visit the top-rated ports, provide local cultural entertainment and culinary experiences onboard and offer bi-lingual service to make it easy and memorable for our guests to explore all that Japan offers. We’ve been recognized as the top cruise line in Asia with the best itineraries and our 2016 voyages more than live up to this billing.”

UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The new Princess Cruises itineraries take guests to a wide variety of culturally significant sites listed by including some of the world’s greatest attractions such as 7th Century Bulguska Temple in the Korean capital of Gyeong-Ju and remote historic villages in central Japan. All Hokkaido Island cruises feature the Shiretoko Peninsula, one of the world’s richest eco-systems and one of the few places in the world where multiple species of whales, dolphins and porpoises can be spotted, among many more.

Festivals & Special Events
Spectacular summer festivals and fireworks displays are the highlight of many summer cruises ranging from seven- to 11-night itineraries. These sailings include late evening departures from ports to allow guests time to participate in vividly colored lantern processionals, parades of giant floats, dance festivals and spectacular fireworks displays like the famous Toyohashi Fire Festival in Nagoya and the Kagoshima Summer Night Fireworks with an active volcano as the backdrop.

Guests on next year’s July 25 and August 4 voyages will experience the Nebuta Festival, Japan’s most extravagant display of brilliantly-colored floats, musicians and dancers. Sailings on August 15, 24 and September 9 of 2016 feature some of Japan’s largest and most spectacular fireworks festivals.

Land & Sea Vacations
To further enhance the cruise line’s Japanese vacations, Princess Cruises will offer multi-day land tour package options, available for add-on with most cruises, to explore Kyoto and Tokyo. Kyoto tours will include sightseeing at Nijo Castle, the famed Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), and popular Japanese gardens. Tokyo tours explore this fascinating city before heading out to Mt. Fuji, Togendai and Lake Ashi.

While Diamond Princess features the cruise line’s signature innovations including its popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat, it also offers many unique features designed to enhance the Japanese cultural experience onboard including:

• Traditional Izumi Japanese Bath – the largest of its kind at sea and modeled after the popular Japanese onsen experience
• Kai Sushi restaurant – boasting made-to-order sushi and a full selection of Japanese sake
• Noodle stations – serving up a rotating selection of ramen, soba and udon noodles
• Tamagoyaki - a traditional Japanese omelet available daily for breakfast
• Unique Japanese entertainment offerings such as “rakugo” storytelling performances and origami classes
• Unparalleled luxury brand duty-free shopping

In addition, dining room menus offer a wide variety of international cuisine including Japanese options on all menus and onboard collateral items and stateroom information is available in both English and Japanese. Additional information is available by visiting the company's website at

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Families To Save Big On Enriching Fall & Winter Crystal Cruises

LOS ANGELES, April 3: Crystal Cruises is offering tremendous savings on multi-generational family travel for more than a dozen of its ultra-luxury cruises this fall and winter, with complimentary berths for kids and a host of perks for families traveling together. From September through December, kids under 17 can sail free in a third berth with two full fare adults, while groups and families of six or more also enjoy additional shipboard credits of up to $400 per stateroom, a $500 credit toward a Crystal Private Adventure, family photo and other benefits offered with the line's "Crystal Family Memories" program. The limited offer is available through the April 30 "Book Now" deadline.

Sailing through the Mediterranean and Western Europe; New England/Canada and the North American East Coast; South America and the Caribbean, the voyages feature a bevy of locales rich in history and cultural pursuits as well as enriching adventures that only Crystal can deliver. Crystal Adventures ashore provide inquisitive guests and junior cruisers to explore the ruins of Pompeii (from Sorrento, Italy); take painting lessons from a local artist in Santorini, Greece; experience an up close encounter with dolphins at Prospect Reef (Tortola, British Virgin Islands); explore the rich array of marine life aboard a submarine in Aruba; and even enjoy South American holiday customs in Brazil.

On board, stimulating enrichment opportunities continue for the young travelers. Crystal's purpose-built Fantasia and Waves children's and teens' facilities—the only ones of such kind in luxury cruisingalso feature events and top video games and toys. On select voyages, junior activity directors arrange organized programs for little ones, older kids and teenagers.

"Our guests are discerning travelers who recognize that travel is one of the most enriching and educational experiences we can share with our families," says Crystal's president, Edie Rodriguez. "The additional incentive offers for families on these voyages make it even easier for parents traveling with children of virtually any age to broaden their horizons in ways not possible from text books, television or a digital device."

Voyages featuring the "Kids Sail Free" offer and other family-friendly incentives include:

Crystal Symphony

-- Sept 13 (7 days)/New England & Canada (New York to Montreal)
-- Sept 27 (7 days)/New England & Canada (Montreal to New York)
-- Oct 24 (7 days)/New England & Canada (Round-trip New York)
-- Oct 31 (14 days)/U.S. East Coast & Caribbean (New York to Miami)
-- Nov 14 (14 days)/Caribbean (Round-trip Miami)
-- Nov 28 (14 days)/Caribbean (Round-trip Miami)
-- Dec 19 (15 days)/South America/Holiday (San Juan to Rio de Janeiro)

Crystal Serenity

-- Sept 6 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Venice to Istanbul)
-- Sept 13 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Round-trip Istanbul)
-- Sept 20 (12 days)/Mediterranean (Istanbul to Rome)
-- Oct 11 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Athens to Venice)
-- Oct 18 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Venice to Monte Carlo)
-- Oct 25 (12 days)/Mediterranean (Round-trip Monte Carlo)
-- Nov 6 (7 days)/Mediterranean & Western Europe (Monte Carlo to Lisbon)
-- Nov 13 (9 days)/Mediterranean & Western Europe (Lisbon to Monte Carlo)
-- Nov 22 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Monte Carlo to Marseille)
-- Nov 29 (12 days)/Mediterranean (Marseille to Lisbon)

For more information, visit

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Brand-New “Tangled: The Musical” Stage Show to Premier Aboard Disney Cruise Line

CELEBRATION, FL, April 2: In November 2015, the endearing characters and captivating music of the animated film “Tangled” will enchant audiences once again, this time as an original stage show spectacular at sea aboard the Disney Magic—the first time the beloved Disney tale has been adapted for the stage. “Tangled: The Musical” will immerse audiences in Rapunzel’s fairytale world through lavish production numbers and spellbinding music. Three new songs created exclusively for this show by Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Glenn Slater will bring the story to life onstage.

The show will stay true to the storyline from the hit feature film—with a few special twists to create a live staged production—featuring favorite characters like Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, the villainous Mother Gothel and Maximus the police horse. The story follows the thrilling adventure of Rapunzel as she escapes the confines of her tower and the clutches of Mother Gothel, who wishes to shield the secret of Rapunzel’s magical golden tresses and royal roots. Rapunzel strikes up an unlikely friendship with the suave, crown-stealing bandit Flynn Rider, and together they face ruffians, thugs and a budding romance on a hair-raising journey filled with classic Disney playfulness and whimsy that will delight audiences of all ages.

New Songs Debuting with Film Favorites
Acclaimed composer Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and lyricist Glenn Slater, the prolific pair behind the original soundtrack for “Tangled,” teamed up again to adapt the score and story for the stage. Complementing the score from the film, three new songs weave a delightful combination of narrative, humor and theatrics into the performance. In addition to new melodies, audiences will enjoy live performances of favorite songs from the movie, including “When Will My Life Begin,” “Mother Knows Best,” “I Have a Dream” and the Grammy Award-winning ballad, “I See the Light.”

Adapting “Tangled” from Screen to Stage
Elaborate costumes, groundbreaking puppetry and stunning set designs transform the 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre into a fanciful Bavarian kingdom, immersing audiences in Rapunzel’s world and making them feel a part of her story. Disney assembled an all-star creative team to develop this extravagant production, with director Gordon Greenberg and choreographer Connor Gallagher joining Menken, Slater and a bevy of top-notch theatrical talent.

Master puppet designer Michael Curry, whose extraordinary creations are featured in Disney’s Tony Award-winning musical “The Lion King” on Broadway, is breeding a brand-new pedigree of puppetry in Maximus, the rambunctious police horse whose exaggerated demeanor becomes even more hilarious with the addition of the whinnying puppet performer within. This cleverly constructed character is sure to be the “mane” attraction of every scene he steals.

Dazzling costumes created by Tony Award-winning designer Paloma Young will bring the flair and vibrancy of the animated world to life onstage in “Tangled: The Musical.” The townspeople’s bright hues and Rapunzel’s feminine florals are perfectly balanced by the bristly browns of the rugged thugs and royal regalia of the kingdom officials, creating a sensational fusion of colors, patterns and textures.

Remarkable set designs by scenic designer Bradley Kaye (Disney’s “Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular”) will transport audiences to storybook locales that include Rapunzel’s tower home, the outlandish Snuggly Duckling tavern, a brightly adorned kingdom town and the resplendent lakeside setting of the iconic floating lanterns scene from the film.

New Show Joining Line Up of Exclusive Stage Productions
“Tangled: The Musical” complements the line-up of Disney Cruise Line-exclusive live entertainment performed every voyage aboard the Disney Magic, joining “Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story” and “Disney Dreams… An Enchanted Classic,” which will feature a new segment from the blockbuster animated hit “Frozen” beginning in summer 2015. “Tangled: The Musical” will premiere during the Nov. 11th 4-night Bahamian sailing aboard the Disney Magic. The Disney Magic will sail 4-night Bahamas and 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami beginning Sept. 30 through the new year. To learn more, visit

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Say “I Do” To New Weddings At Sea On Norwegian Cruise Line

MIAMI, April 2: Engaged couples dreaming of exchanging vows while sailing into the sunset can now do so, as Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that the line will begin offering legally recognized weddings at sea performed by the ship’s captain beginning this month on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, and on Norwegian Escape when she launches this fall.

Norwegian’s Wedding At Sea package includes everything couples need to celebrate their nuptials, including a bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere, champagne toast, wedding cake and more, plus an experienced wedding coordinator to assist them every step of the way during the planning process. Once on board, they will enjoy their big day stress free, as on-site wedding coordinators handle all of the day’s details so the happy couple can relax and enjoy their special day. The onboard ceremonies will be performed by the ship’s Captain, with the couple’s marriage license issued by the Bahamas.

In addition to weddings at sea, Norwegian also offers customizable destination wedding experiences in one of the line’s spectacular ports of call. Whether they choose to tie the knot overlooking the sparkling ocean, atop a majestic glacier in Alaska, or under a canopy of palm trees on an exotic Caribbean beach, couples planning their dream destination wedding with Norwegian can select a Harborside Ceremony, performed on board while the ship is docked in select ports of call, or Destination Ceremony, performed on shore in select ports of call.

Ceremonies are available in a wide range of destinationsincluding Norwegian’s domestic embarkation ports, as well as beautiful destinations in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. From a romantic, intimate ceremony in Santorini, Greece to an elaborate portside affair in Maui with dozens of guests, engaged couples sailing with Norwegian can commemorate the most important day of their life as they’ve always imagined it.

With a wide range of packages available, Norwegian offers everything that couples need for their perfect celebration. All packages include an officiant or ship officer to perform the ceremony, on-site wedding coordinator, private ceremony location, ceremony vows, bouquet and matching boutonniere, prerecorded ceremony music, a bottle of sparkling wine, keepsake wedding certificate and wedding cake. Norwegian is also pleased to offer legal same-sex ceremonies, available in destinations where same-sex marriages are recognized by local law, including Boston, Hawai’i, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Vancouver, Tampa, Miami, and Port Canaveral.

Norwegian also offers a wide selection of enhancements and services that couples can choose from to further personalize their celebration, including spa and beauty treatments, flowers (including custom orders), professional photography and videography, transportation to and from the ship or wedding location, priority check-in, and a variety of wedding reception options, ranging from an elegant cocktail reception with gourmet selections and open bar to a four-course sit-down luncheon with wine service.

For couples who wish to re-confirm their love while at sea, Norwegian’s Vow Renewal package offers married couples the opportunity to celebrate their love all over again with a private vow renewal ceremony performed by one of the ship’s officers. The package includes ceremony music, a romantic single red rose, champagne toast, a celebration cake for two, a commemorative vow renewal certificate, an 8x10 professional portrait in an engraved frame, sparkling wine, canapes and chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to their stateroom the evening of the ceremony.

Honeymooners, too, can take advantage of all that Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising has to offer including romantic dinners for two in the line’s signature restaurants; pampering couples spa treatments in Norwegian’s award-winning Mandara Spas; and adventurous excursions in exciting ports of call.

For additional information, visit

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Anthem of the Seas’ Godmother is British Travel Agent Emma Wilby

MIAMI, April 2: Royal Caribbean International today announced that travel agent Emma Wilby, 27, from Sunderland, U.K., is the Godmother for the world’s newest and most advanced cruise ship Anthem of the Seas. Upholding a timeless maritime tradition, Ms. Wilby will officially christen Anthem of the Seas and perform a special song for more than 1,300 invited special guests and dignitaries at the ship’s inaugural ceremony in Southampton, U.K., on April 20, 2015. Designed to revolutionize the industry, Anthem of the Seas will sail its inaugural season from Southampton before the ship repositions to its permanent homeport of New York in November.

“We are delighted to welcome Emma Wilby into the Royal Caribbean family as Anthem of the Seas’ Godmother,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Emma is among many submissions from truly talented travel agents across the U.K. and the judging was very difficult. We thank all travel agents, who we value and are honoring by naming a fellow travel agent as the Godmother of our newest ship.”

In addition to being a travel agent for Thomson, Ms. Wilby is a military wife and budding singer who performs in the Military Wives Choir in Kinloss, Scotland, where she is based with her husband, a Royal Engineer for the British Army. To help her prepare for inaugural day, Craig Yates, Team Captain from British choir group Only Boys Aloud will be Ms. Wilby’s vocal coach, and Royal Caribbean is treating her to a full makeover.

“Emma’s inaugural song will herald in a ship that will be a new anthem for the cruise industry,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “I am very much looking forward to Emma’s performance and launching Anthem of the Seas with her. I know she will be simply spectacular.”

The Godmother role is a lifetime title bestowed upon an individual, who figuratively presides over the ship and imparts good luck and divine protection over the vessel and all that sail aboard. Traditionally, Godmothers have celebrity status or even royal connections, such as Royal Caribbean Godmothers Gloria Estefan, Jane Seymour, Whoopi Goldberg and Steffi Graf, to name a few.

“I still can’t believe I won,” said Ms. Wilby after being informed of her new title earlier this week. “I am really honored to have been chosen. I am hugely excited to be taking on the role of Godmother for Anthem of the Seas – it will be incredible to sing in front of all these people and a real honor to give the ship the best sendoff possible.”

Anthem of the Seas features Royal Caribbean’s unmatched innovations in onboard attractions, including the North Star aerial observatory, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views, and the RipCord by iFLY skydiving and FlowRider surfing simulators. Guests will be dazzled with the ships’ transformative venues, such as the Two70 lounge, a great room by day and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacular at night, and SeaPlex, where guests can challenge each other at bumper cars, disco roller skating, circus school, and basketball and other sports. Guests enjoy a choice of 18 onboard restaurants, each serving a distinctive menu of delectable fare, and rollicking live entertainment in Music Hall, the Royal Theater, and the Royal Esplanade.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Onboard, guests are catered to with the cruise line’s world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service by every staff and crew member. For additional information, visit

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Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam to Homeport at Port Everglades in Winter 2016/Spring 2017

Seattle, April 1: Following its inaugural Europe season in 2016, Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ship will sail a series of Caribbean voyages and one cruise to the Bahamas from November 2016 through March 2017. Koningsdam’s Caribbean itineraries will be available for booking later this month.

The 7-day cruises visit popular ports in the region, while the longer 9-, 10- and 11-day itineraries provide more time for exploring and include a diverse array of islands with exciting, off-the-beaten-path calls. A four-day cruise to the Bahamas kicks off the Caribbean season. All voyages are roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

“We are excited to sail Holland America Line’s newest ship from Port Everglades on the most varied and robust Caribbean itineraries of any of our ships,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The Caribbean remains among the most popular cruise destinations in the world, and by having itineraries that range from four to 11 days guests will be able to enjoy a vacation that fits their schedule.”

Four-day Bahamas Cruise
Koningsdam begins its inaugural season in the Caribbean with a 4-day cruise to the Bahamas departing Nov. 9, 2016. Following an overnight in Fort Lauderdale, the ship calls at Nassau followed by Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private island. The voyage is the perfect way to sample Holland America Line’s new Pinnacle-class ship.

Seven-day Caribbean Cruises & Holiday Sailing
Two different 7-day itineraries provide an ideal getaway in winter, when the balmy breezes of the Caribbean beckon. The first itinerary sails Jan. 8 and 29 and Feb. 12, 2017, calling at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Half Moon Cay. The second itinerary departs Jan. 15 and Feb. 5, 2017, and visits Half Moon Cay; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Key West, Fla. The two itineraries can be combined to create a non-repeating 14-day Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage.

For the holidays, the Dec. 23, 2016, departure falls over Christmas and Hanukkah, making it the most festive of voyages. The 7-day cruise will visit Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.

Nine-day Caribbean Cruises Include a New Year’s Option
Guests looking for a slightly longer Caribbean vacation can embark Dec. 14, 2016, for a 9-day voyage that showcases six popular ports. The ship calls at Half Moon Cay; Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts; San Juan; and Grand Turk.

Another 9-day voyage departing Dec. 30 rings in the New Year with fun, sun, sand and surf. The ship will call at Falmouth, Jamaica; Half Moon Cay; Grand Turk; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Cozumel and Key West.

10-day Caribbean Cruises Feature Southern Caribbean
From the turquoise waters of the Dominican Republic to the powdery beaches of the ABC Islands, Koningsdam’s 10-day itinerary highlights some of the most beautiful ports in the region. Departing Nov. 13 and Dec. 4, 2015, and Feb. 19 and March 12, 2016, the cruises call at Half Moon Cay; Grand Turk; the exclusive cruise port of Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Willemstand, Curaçao; and Oranjestad, Aruba.

11-day Caribbean Cruises Offer Blend of Several Ports
The eastern Caribbean takes center stage on the 11-day voyages that depart Nov. 23, 2016, and March 1 and 22, 2017. Koningsdam will visit the ports of Philipsburg; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Basseterre; St. Thomas; and Half Moon Cay. Guests aboard also will enjoy scenic cruising in Soufrière Bay and past the famed Mount Pelée volcano.

About ms Koningsdam
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 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 staterooms among its 1,331 guest accommodations.

Entertainment is taken to a new level with the energetic Music Walk area featuring all genres of music showcased in venues including Lincoln Center Stage performing chamber music nightly; Billboard Onboard where live musicians rock the crowd with chart-topping hits; and the popular B.B. King’s Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge bringing the best of Memphis music to sea. World Stage brings 270-degree LED projection to the main showroom, enabling new concepts for showtime performances and immersing the audience in a panorama of sight and sound. For more information, visit

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Jean-Michel Cousteau To Host Four Sailings Aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin in 2016

BELLEVUE, WA: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 88-guest m/v Tere Moana, announces that world-renowned oceanographer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau will guest host four sailings on The Gauguin in 2016.

For more than 60 years, he along with his father, the legendary Jacques Cousteau, and his family, have been part of the greatest exploration of the oceans in all of history. In 1999, Mr. Cousteau founded the Ocean Futures Society to explore global oceans, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for their protection, documenting the critical connection between humanity and nature, and celebrating the ocean’s vital importance to the survival of all life on our planet. During voyages on The Gauguin, Mr. Cousteau will offer a series of lectures with videos of his work in the world’s oceans and accompany guests on several dives. Voyages featuring Mr. Cousteau are:

• 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus cruise: March 2, 2016
• 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus cruise: June 1, 2016
• 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus cruise: Sept 21, 2016
• 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands cruise: Nov 19, 2016

Also available in 2016 is Mr. Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program, which introduces young travelers (ages 9-17) to the natural wonders of French Polynesia through interactive, hands-on experiences with island ecosystems. The program is available on summer sailings from June through August and on select holiday cruises for a nominal fee of $329-$399 per child based on itinerary.

For additional information, visit

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Silversea Sets Culinary & Wine Cruises For 2015 & 2016

Ft. Lauderdale: Ultra-luxury Silversea is spicing up its schedule with tasty enrichment offerings. Over the course of 2015 and 2016, 26 sailings will feature either a culinary or wine focus, including four with culinary and wine themes paired together.

"Our culinary and wine voyages add an extra dimension that enriches our guests' experience, and can deepen their understanding of a region's culture," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas.

Silversea enjoys the privilege of featuring the only "L'École des Chefs by Relais & Châteaux" cooking school at sea. The innovative program, which is offered completely free of charge, provides a special culinary curriculum, including hands-on instruction, and entertaining events. It's hosted by acclaimed culinary trainer David Bilsland, a former instructor at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London.

Highlights include specialized workshops covering an array of topics from basic knife skills and kitchen terminology to sauces and baking; cooking demonstrations with wine pairings and interactive Q&A sessions; lively cooking competitions between Chef Bilsland and the ship's own culinary team; a "Lunch and Learn" event offering small groups of guests a chance to sample a delicious meal of specially prepared dishes; and inspired "Take It Home" recipes that will give guests an edge when entertaining at home.

Also offered on certain voyages, when the itinerary permits, is a "Market to Plate" experience that provides an escorted tour of a local market to shop for fresh ingredients, followed by a cooking class on board or at an actual Relais & Châteaux property.

On each wine cruise, discerning travelers with a passion for fine wines will enjoy sampling great vintages and learning about the tradition and art of winemaking in special complimentary tastings and lectures conducted by Silversea wine ambassador Lawrence d'Almeida, a wine production expert and former winemaker. Depending on the itinerary, guests may also have the chance to explore some of the world's most celebrated wine regions on optional guided shore excursions. And as on all Silversea sailings, guests will also enjoy an extensive complimentary selection of fine red and white wine pairings with both lunch and dinner.

Guests can experience the perfect pairing of culinary and wine enrichment programs on select voyages, including two on Silver Spirit: Voyage 5534, a 15-day transatlantic crossing from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale departing Nov 9, 2015, and Voyage 5603, a 21-day Brazil-focused sailing from Barbados to Buenos Aires departing Jan 25, 2016.

For more information, visit

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