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Cruise News
1-31, 2014

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

Cruise Diva

Holland America Line Announces ‘K’s For Kids’ Partnership With Seattle Mariners

Seattle, WA, May 30: Holland America Line announced their new “K’s for Kids” donation program with the Seattle Mariners in a pre-game ceremony at Safeco Field on May 29. For every strike out recorded by a Mariners pitcher at Safeco Field through the end of the 2014 season, Holland America Line will make a donation to Seattle Children’s Uncompensated Care Fund, with a total commitment of $25,000.

For the past three years, Holland America Line has been a significant supporter of both the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Children’s, and the “K’s for Kids” partnership is the latest extension of this relationship. In addition to being the official sponsor of the suite deck at Safeco Field, Holland America Line presents the Mariners “Get Well Tour” where Mariners players and the Mariner Moose visit children and veterans in Northwest hospitals. The line also donates cruises for raffle prizes at the annual Mariners Fan Appreciation Night.

“Holland America Line is proud to partner with the Seattle Mariners on ‘K’s for Kids’ to benefit Uncompensated Care at Seattle Children’s,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president of marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “All three organizations share a solid commitment to making a difference in our local community, and this program is a great way to help cheer on the home team and make an impact at the same time.”

“Holland America Line has been a tremendous supporter over the past few years,” said Joe Chard, Seattle Mariners Vice President of Corporate Business and Community Relations. “We are thrilled to team up again on ‘K’s for Kids’ as another way the Mariners support the fine work of Seattle Children’s.”

Seattle Children's is ranked among the best children's hospitals in the country and serves Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. In 2013, Children's served 123,833 children costing more than $117 million in uncompensated care funds. Donations such as those raised through programs such as "K's for Kids" are vital to providing this care.

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New Craft Beer Theme To Brew On Crystal Fall Culinary Cruise

LOS ANGELES, May 29: Crystal Cruises is putting a twist on its popular "Wine & Food" Experiences of Discovery motif by replacing the "wine" with lagers, stouts, IPAs, and "cold ones" that are barrel-aged, made with bacon, have names like "Funky Old Time," and more - all for a new Microbrew-themed luxury cruise. New, beer-focused Boutique Adventures, expert presentations, cooking and cocktail classes, tasting sessions, and dinners will all be on tap for the Crystal Serenity voyage, which sails from New York to Miami, via the East Coast and Caribbean, starting November 5.

"We've recently seen the growing interest in microbrews, from crafting to drinking, reflected in our own guests' palates, leading us to add international specialty beers to our Connoisseur beverage menu in 2013," says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food and beverage operations and hotel procurement. "A microbrew theme in 2014 is a natural extension of that interest, utilizing the programming format of our successful 'Wine & Food'-cruises to expand travelers' palates and minds in new ways that can last well beyond their cruise."

Programming highlights include two new Boutique Adventures (intimate, exclusive Crystal Adventures that can't be found on any other cruise line) created just for this voyage. The shore-side excursions take guests to micro- and nano-breweries (the latest trend in ultra-local beer craftsmanship) in and around New York and Charleston for exclusive behind-the-scenes access, expert insight, and diverse sampling of innovative, historic, seasonal, and limited-run beers, complete with a souvenir "growler" swag bag in South Carolina.

Onboard, guests can glean complimentary expertise from:

-- Stephen Beaumont, writer and one of the world's top authorities on all things beer, from production to education, and Victoria Tonini, a certified cicerone (think wine sommelier, but for beer)/brewer at Tenth and Blake Beer Company, a specialist in craft and import ciders, pilsners, IPAs and wheat beers. Both will lead tastings and microbrew presentations;
-- Anthony Caporale, Art of the Drink TV host and producer, who will teach guests how to make cocktails using beer, then serve them up as guest mixologist behind Crystal's bar; and
-- Jon Ashton, a cookbook author and Today/Tonight Show guest chef, who will lead hands-on cooking classes using beer as an ingredient, plus create special beer-themed dinners for all guests in the Crystal Dining Room and for just 14 guests in the Vintage Room, the latter featuring seven courses of rare beers from around the world.

The itinerary overnights in New York City before sailing down the U.S. East Coast to Baltimore, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Turks & Caicos/Grand Turk; Curacao/Willemstad; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Miami, Florida. A shorter, 11-day version of the cruise is also available departing from Baltimore. The limited-availability microbrew Boutique Adventures start at $179/person. For more information, visit

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Italian-Flagged Costa Cruises Celebrates Italian Republic Day June 2, 2014

HOLLYWOOD, FL, May 28: Costa Cruises, Italy's ambassador to the world, is preparing to celebrate the upcoming June 2 Italian Republic Day on its fleet of 14 Italian-flagged ships. Costa Cruises will support celebrations to promote Italian excellence organized by Italian embassies and consulates at Washington, D.C.; Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.; and Ankara and Izmir, Turkey. During a scheduled call at Copenhagen, Denmark, May 31, Costa Luminosa will host a reception onboard organized by the Italian embassy there. Also cn Italian Republic Day, Costa Cruises and its guests will celebrate the birth of the Italian Republic on all 14 Costa ships sailing in the Mediterranean, northern Europe and Asia. Guests will be invited to raise their glasses to the Italian national anthem that will resound from the decks of the Costa fleet.

For more than 66 years Costa Cruises ships have showcased Italian-made excellence worldwide with their quality of service, variety of entertainment, stunning range of food and wine, and their exclusive shipboard art collections. Costa Cruises' Italian roots will be highlighted Nov. 7, 2014, when the company's new flagship, Costa Diadema, is christened at Genoa, Italy. The ship is under construction at Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, and represents a total investment of US$682 million. The project employs approximately 1,000 shipyard workers and 2,500 employees of allied industries, including about 400 contracted suppliers, most of them Italian firms.

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Cunard Line to Welcome Kim Novak aboard Queen Mary 2 This July

May 28: Cunard Line is pleased to announce that legendary actress Kim Novak will join flagship Queen Mary 2 on her eastbound July 6, 2014 Transatlantic Crossing as a Cunard Insights speaker on board. Guests and fans aboard the 7-night voyage will be treated to an introduction and screening of her classic films “Vertigo” and “Bell, Book and Candle” in the Royal Court Theatre, with a special Q&A session lead by Hollywood expert Sue Cameron.

“We are delighted to welcome Kim Novak aboard Queen Mary 2 in July,” said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “Ms. Novak’s work in iconic films such as Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ is beloved among Cunard’s guests, and we know they will be thrilled with this unique opportunity to get to know her during the Crossing.”

With a career spanning four decades, Novak is most well-known internationally for her starring dual role in Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller “Vertigo” (1958) as Madaline and Judy Barton. Other notable films include “Picnic” (1955), “The Man With the Golden Arm” (1955), “The Eddy Duchin Story” (1956), “Pal Joey” (1957), “Bell, Book and Candle” (1958) and “Middle of the Night” (1959). She won the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising NewcomerFemale in 1955, and two years later won another Golden Globe for World Favorite Female Actress. In 2003, she was presented with the Eastman Kodak Archives Award for her major contribution to film. She also won a Golden Bear Award for Lifetime Achievement in Berlin in 1997.

“I am overjoyed to sail with Queen Mary 2 in July,” Kim Novak said. “I have sailed to Europe in the past and fondly remember the Transatlantic Crossing as a glamorous way to travel. I am excited to have this chance to relive history aboard such a magnificent ship, and I look forward to meeting my fans along the way.”

Kim Novak is part of Cunard’s illustrious history hosting famed entertainers with peerless cachet. Since the debut of Queen Mary 2 10 years ago, the ship has welcomed film notables such as George Lucas, Uma Thurman, John Cleese and Angela Bassett. Joining the ship's June 13 Crossing will be film maker Wes Anderson and his frequent collaborators Academy Award® winner Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Roman Coppola; actor George Takei of Star Trek and social media fame will join Queen Mary 2 on her July 28 Transatlantic Crossing; and Grammy® award-winning singer-songwriter James Taylor and his band will perform on the grand ocean liner on her August 27 Transatlantic Crossing.

For nearly 175 years, Cunard Line’s Transatlantic Crossing has appealed to a broad range of sophisticated travelers with a love of glamour, elegance, and tradition. Each Crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 features a series of Royal Nights themed balls on the largest dance floor at sea in the Queens Room; and the Royal Court Theatre presents West End-style musical revues and guest performers. Stateroom and Grills Suites are still available for the July 6, 2014 Transatlantic Crossing. For more information, visit

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. To Develop Cape Liberty Cruise Port

MIAMI, May 27: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that it has entered into an agreement with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the cruise company to develop the next phase of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. The $55 million project will include the construction of a new, state-of-the-art guest terminal, with 125,000 sq. ft. of check-in, customs and immigration, and luggage processing space, as well as a 900-car parking structure and pier improvements. The new facilities will be erected adjacent to the current terminal used to welcome guests and will accommodate the cruise company’s ships, including the next-generation Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, each to start service at Cape Liberty in November 2014 and 2015, respectively. Ground breaking has already occurred and the new terminal is scheduled to be completed in November 2014.

“The planned state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Cape Liberty will perfectly complement our Quantum-class ships, which will be the most technologically advanced ships in the world,” said Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are glad to work with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to develop world-class facilities for vacationers to embark on the most innovative cruise ships for an experience that can only be found on Royal Caribbean.”

Opened in May 2004, Cape Liberty Cruise Port is located 15 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport and seven miles south of Manhattan. The port is the year-round home of Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas, and seasonally for Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit. The port will welcome the highly anticipated Quantum of the Seas for its inaugural season sailing to the Caribbean and Bahamas starting in November 2014. Liberty of the Seas will then homeport at Cape Liberty in summer 2015 and become Royal Caribbean International’s largest and most innovative cruise ship to sail to Bermuda. In winter 2015, Cape Liberty will be the homeport for Quantum of the Seas’ sister-ship Anthem of the Seas, after the ship completes its inaugural season in Europe.

“The City of Bayonne welcomes the expansion of Royal Caribbean’s Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal along with the related construction and permanent jobs, enhanced tourism and commerce that will be created as Royal Caribbean expands their home port at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor,” said Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith. “Their plans fully complement our plans to develop Harbor Station South as a full service retail, and commercial destination with flagship hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues close to the port.”

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Princess Cruises Debuts 2015-2016 Exotics Sailings

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 27: Princess Cruises has debuted its 2015-2016 Exotics program which will take guests to a myriad of fascinating destinations that span the globe. The diverse deployment includes more than 40 unique itineraries to 140 destinations in 70 countries on six continents. Guests will be able to book cruises to Tahiti and the South Pacific, South America, Australia/New Zealand, Asia and Africa. In addition, cruisers will experience less-traveled ports available on the line’s small ships, or circumvent the globe on a 111-day World Cruise sailing roundtrip from North America.

Among the highlights of next season’s offerings are the lines’ largest ever deployment of cruises in Australia as Golden Princess becomes one of five ships to sail from the area—more ships than ever before for Princess; the line’s first Perth-based deployment during the Australian summer; longer cruises to Africa, Asia and the South Pacific; and sailings roundtrip from Singapore on Sapphire Princess.

“Our award-winning itineraries offer our guests the chance to travel the globe and enrich their lives by being introduced to the worlds’ cultures and peoples,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Our upcoming 2015-16 Exotics program underscores our position as a destination leader in the cruise industry."

Princess’ 2015-16 Exotics cruise program includes:

Asia & Africa Cruises
Sapphire Princess will offer a robust season of departures from Singapore to both ancient locales and bustling cities—sailing not only roundtrip from the port of Singapore but to Hong Kong or Beijing as well. In addition, Sapphire Princess will continue offering the line’s most popular Asia cruise—the 17-day Grand Asia itinerary, while small ship Ocean Princess will sail on a 36-day West Africa Adventure from London (Dover) to Cape Town, followed by a 35-day voyage ending in Rome, or a combined 71-day Grand Adventure cruise to a number of exciting destinations around Africa, home to a variety of vibrant cultures and fascinating wildlife.

Australia & New Zealand Cruises
An unprecedented five ships will be deployed to four homeports in Australia this season, offering the widest variety of itineraries ever. Golden Princess will debut for the first time in Australia sailing during summer “Down Under” from Melbourne on five different itineraries visiting New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Tasmania.

Sydney will be home to both Diamond Princess and Dawn Princess. Diamond Princess will offer voyages to an of assortment destinations, including a 33-day full circumnavigation of Australia, and two special sailings between Sydney and Auckland. Dawn Princess will offer two-week cruises throughout the season to New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands.

Sun Princess will sail year-round, remaining in Sydney winter through June 2015 for a mix of cruises, and for the first time ever, will homeport in Perth (Fremantle) for the Australian summer offering both shorter and longer cruises – including a 46-day voyage to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. Sea Princess will return to Brisbane for the Australian summer season sailing seven-, 10- and 11-day voyages to New Zealand and islands in the South Pacific including Papua New Guinea.

South America Cruises
Star Princess sails to the Southern Hemisphere sailing between Santiago (Valparaiso) and either Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires on itineraries sailing the southernmost tip of South America and the Chilean Fjords. In addition, Star Princess will sail between two continents and cross the Equator on two departures of Andes and South American cruises featuring Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and and optional overland tour of Machu Picchu.

The start of 2016 will see Ocean Princess sail on her first-ever full circumnavigation of South America, sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. This 64-day Grand South America voyage will offer guests the opportunity to visit Antarctica on an optional overflight tour from Punta Arenas.

Tahiti & Polynesia Cruises
Pacific Princess will return to Tahiti’s clear blue waters and offer 10-day voyages sailing from Papeete throughout the fall to explore this beautiful destination. Each departure includes two full days in Bora Bora. Adding variety to the 10-day program, Pacific Princess will include one departure of a 10-day Marquesas & Polynesia itinerary featuring the remote island of Nuku Hiva.

World Cruise
Princess’ World Cruise will once again depart from and return to North America. The 111-day voyage on Pacific Princess will sail roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale visiting 35 destinations, 26 countries and includes overnight stays in Hong Kong, Dubai and Venice, as well as maiden calls to Chania, Crete and Bari, Italy.

For additional information about Princess Cruises, visit

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From Beijing To Belawan: Crystal Kicks Off 25th Anniversary Year With Comprehensive 2015 Asia Season

LOS ANGELES, May 23: From untouched rainforests to a "Monkey Island"; from working cacao plantations to pristine R&R beaches; from two thousand-year-old temples to huge metropolises of fine dining, Asia is a continent of contrasts - to be highlighted during Crystal's 2015 Asia cruise season. Ten 12- and 13-day itineraries, plus five shortened "Getaways" of six- to seven-days, kick off the ultra-luxe line's 25(th) year of sailing by cruising through Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia. Highlights include:

-- Maiden calls to Belawan, Indonesia; Sanya, China; Kochi and Aomori, Japan;
-- Later evening stays in Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Chan May, Vietnam; Bali, Indonesia; Pusan, South Korea; Taipei/Keelung, Taiwan; and Singapore;
-- Culture/region-intensive itineraries, including two all-China cruises, with multiple overnights in the country's major cities, and other voyages concentrating heavily on Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
-- At least two separate overnights offered on every cruise;
-- Calls to gems "less-visited" by the line, such as Yantai, China (Crystal's first visit since 1996); Malacca City and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; and Taipei/Keelung, Taiwan;
-- Two-night stays in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City and Yangon (formerly Burma);
-- A three-day pre-/post-cruise overnight land program to Beijing and the Great Wall, included with two March/April cruises

"The 2015 Asia voyages amount to one of our most immersive, wide-ranging seasons in the region in our 25-year history," says Crystal President Edie Rodriguez. "All travelers - those cruising Asia for the first time and those who have long loved visiting there - will find something new to broaden their perspectives on these ancient lands."

Crystal's 2015 Asia itineraries collectively call in Ho Chi Minh City and Chan May, Vietnam; Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia; Surabaya, Bali, Semarang, Jakarta and Belawan, Indonesia; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Pusan, South Korea; Taipei/Keelung, Taiwan; Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sanya, Dalian, Xiamen, Yantai and Beijing, China; and Kochi, Osaka, Aomori, Otaru and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit

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Mazatlan Announces Carnival Cruise Lines To Return

MAZATLAN, Mexico, May 23: Mazatlan, Mexico's "Colonial City on the Beach," announced that Carnival Cruise Lines will resume service to the destination with year-round cruises departing out of Los Angeles. The 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise, which will begin sailing in April 2015, will include additional stops in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. With trips planned on the ship Carnival Miracle, 2,124 passengers and 934 onboard crew members will arrive in Mazatlan with each stop.

"The inclusion of Mazatlan, or the 'Pearl of the Pacific,' in major cruise line offerings is a major achievement for the destination and we are thrilled to have Carnival back," said Frank Cordova, Secretary of Tourism for the region. "The city has taken great strides to improve its general infrastructure and the available amenities for cruise passengers, greatly enhancing its allure as an ideal travel destination. We welcome cruise travelers to experience Mazatlan's stunning beaches, rich colonial history and world-class gastronomy."

In addition to Carnival, four major cruise lines either currently service or plan to service the destination. Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Azamara Club Cruises resumed calls to Mazatlan's port in 2013. Princess Cruises recently announced its return beginning in fall 2014, with additional trips beginning in 2015 as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the cruise line's first voyage to Mexico. It is expected that calls to Mazatlan's port will bring 200,000 tourists in the 2014-2015 cruise season.

Recognized for its world-class beaches, golfing, gastronomy and cultural offering, Mazatlan is an ideal vacation getaway for all ages on the Mexican Riviera: The Lighthouse (El Faro), the second-tallest natural light house in the world; experience the famous Angela Peralta Theater nearby the charming Plazuela Machado; and taste the exquisite gastronomy, whether a local pastry shop in Old Mazatlan or the world-famous seafood at The Shrimp Bucket. Go Mazatlan. For more information, visit

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Holland America Line Named 2014 Marine Environmental Business of the Year by Port of Seattle

Seattle, WA, May 23: Holland America Line was named the 2014 Marine Environmental Business of the Year by the Port of Seattle. Port commissioner Courtney Gregoire presented the award to Keith Taylor, senior vice president, fleet operations, at the Seattle Propeller Club’s Maritime Festival Lunch held Tuesday, May 13, 2014, aboard Carnival Miracle, which was docked at Port of Seattle. The cruise line was recognized for its efforts to reduce its global environmental footprint through a series of objectives that greatly reduce consumption of fuel and water, engine emissions and generation of solid waste, along with increasing recycling across its fleet of 15 ships.

“Holland America Line is a company that takes corporate citizenship to heart, and we are honored to be recognized by the Port of Seattle for our efforts,” said Stein Kruse, Holland America Line’s president and chief executive officer. “We remain steadfast in a firm belief that we can grow our company while employing responsible business practices for sustainable ship operations—and keep improving on our efforts.”

Holland America Line also was named Environmental Business of the Year in 2010 and this year received the highest level of the Green Gateway Partner Award from the Port of Seattle in March 2014 for its use of shore power and comprehensive practices to reduce emissions. Every year Holland America Line sets goals and targets for its fleet that include decreasing fuel consumption, conserving energy, reducing the loss of refrigerant gasses, increasing recycling and decreasing water use.

The only cruise line recipient of the Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Environmental Protection Award from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2012, Holland America Line’s ships meet or exceed all provisions of the international regulations governing the environmental management of marine operations. But the company aims for superior environmental performance while operating responsibly via a firm promise to reduce all forms of pollution through improved policies, scientifically sound practices, consistent training of employees and innovative technology.

The company is among the pioneers in the maritime industry when it comes to investing in technology to reduce engine emissions while a ship is at berth. Six of the 15 Holland America Line ships—ms Amsterdam, ms Veendam, ms Noordam, ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam, and ms Zuiderdam—use shore power at the ports of Seattle, San Diego and Port Metro Vancouver.

Holland America Line has a partnership with Marine Conservation Institute, a globally focused nonprofit organization based in Washington State dedicated to maintaining healthy, living oceans. The program includes guest and staff education, funding for marine conservation biology research, and a sustainable seafood program with environmentally responsible purchasing practices and menus that showcase sustainable seafood.

Holland America Line ships have been sailing from the Port of Seattle since the early 1970s. In May 2002, Holland America Line began using Seattle as a homeport for Alaska cruises. This year the company has two ships based in Seattle sailing 32 Alaska cruises from May through September. For more information about Holland America Line,  visit

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Carnival Miracle To Launch Year-Round Mexican Riviera Sailings,
Carnival Legend Returns to Alaska Program in 2015

MIAMI, May 22: Carnival Cruise Lines has made two exciting enhancements to its West Coast cruise operations, deploying two highly attractive Spirit-class ships featuring a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations as well as a huge number of balcony staterooms. The new deployments include Carnival Miracle introducing year-round 7-day Mexican Riviera departures from Long Beach, Calif., beginning in October 2014, and Carnival Legend operating the line’s Alaska program from Seattle in May 2015. Carnival Miracle and Carnival Legend will also offer four Hawaii cruises in 2015-16.

Carnival Legend recently underwent an extensive makeover that added a host of new features, including WaterWorks, highlighted by Green Thunder, the fastest and steepest water slide at sea, and the RedFrog Pub, a Caribbean-inspired watering hole serving the line’s private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red. The full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant offering Asian specialties and Cherry On Top, a confections and novelty store, were added, as well.

Carnival Miracle also offers a wide range of innovations, including the Serenity adults-only retreat featuring its own pool and full bar service, the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez with up to 20 family-friendly and adults-only shows each week, a wedding chapel, a luxurious 14,500-square-foot health and wellness facility, and an enclosed corkscrew water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns. Carnival Miracle will also undergo a dry dock in March 2015 that will add a huge variety of additional Fun Ship 2.0 features. Carnival Miracle and Carnival Legend each offer fun, supervised programs for children ages 2-17, as well as nearly 850 ocean view and balcony staterooms, perfect for viewing the beautiful passing scenery.

“Carnival is the leader in West Coast cruising with more ships and itineraries than any other cruise operator. With these new deployments, we’re providing two spectacular Fun Ship 2.0-equipped ships with even more fantastic features for our guests to enjoy, as well as additional opportunities to experience the rich diversity of this popular sailing region,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “Our travel agent partners have expressed an interest in a greater variety of West Coast options so we are very pleased to provide these attractive, value-packed ‘Fun Ship’ cruises to market to their clients,” he added.

Year-Round Mexican Riviera Cruising
Carnival Miracle will introduce year-round Mexican Riviera cruising from Long Beach on Oct 4, 2014. The program will encompass three different week-long itineraries, including a new three-port, 7-day cruise featuring Mazatlán on the majority of departures. In addition to the call in Mazatlán, the new three-port itinerary will feature the stunning Mexican resort destinations of Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. The full day call at Mazatlán will provide guests with ample opportunities to explore this scenic seaside destination, which features world-class beaches and sportfishing, as well as the Malecon, an outdoor promenade lined with shops, restaurants and centuries-old architectural structures.

Carnival Miracle’s year-round schedule from Long Beach also includes two other itinerary options. The first is a 7-day, two-port itinerary that features a stop in Cabo San Lucas, along with a 2-day overnight stay in Puerto Vallarta. While in Puerto Vallarta, guests can explore this tropical paradise known for its beautiful beaches, excellent diving, and sizzling nightlife. The second alternate itinerary includes a visit to Puerto Vallarta, along with a 2-day call at Cabo San Lucas, known for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and the distinctive El Arco (The Arch), a 30-foot-high rock formation where the Pacific Ocean joins the Sea of Cortez.

Carnival Legend to Alaska
Following its inaugural season in Australia, Carnival Legend will operate the line’s seasonal Alaska program beginning in May 2015. In total, 16 week-long Alaska cruises will operate from the Port of Seattle from May 26 to Sept 8, 2015, departing each Tuesday.

Port calls on these voyages include the popular Alaskan towns of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, as well as Victoria and cruising Tracy Arm Fjord or sailing Glacier Bay. Carnival Legend will also operate a special one-time 8-day Glacier Bay voyage departing Vancouver May 18 and arriving in Seattle May 26, 2015. Each of these destinations offers a rich history and culture, along with awe-inspiring natural wonders, including calving glaciers, magnificent fjords and native sea and animal life. A wide range of shore excursions, from helicopter flightseeing and rainforest canopy tours to hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions, are also available. Carnival Legend will also feature an on-board naturalist who educates guests on the region’s colorful history and points out animal and marine life from the ship’s bridge.

Say Aloha to Hawaii
Carnival will offer four Hawaii sailings in 2015-16: an 11-day cruise on Carnival Legend departing from Honolulu in May 2015 and three 15-day voyages aboard Carnival Miracle operating round-trip from Long Beach in October and November 2015, and November 2016.

The 11-day Hawaii voyage on Carnival Legend will depart Honolulu May 7 and arrive in Vancouver May 18, 2015, with extended stops in Kauai, Maui, Hilo, and Kona, along with an overnight call in Honolulu.

Carnival Miracle’s three Hawaii cruises will operate round-trip from Long Beach departing Oct 17 and Nov 28, 2015, and Nov 16, 2016. On these sailings, guests can visit the stunning island destinations of Maui, Honolulu, Kauai, Kona and Hilo, as well as Ensenada, Mexico.

These voyages provide guests a variety of opportunities to get an “up close and personal” look at the Aloha State, from hiking across volcanic rock formations and relaxing on some of the world’s most famous beaches to learning more about rich Polynesian cultures and getting a bird’s eye view of the lush countryside via a breathtaking helicopter tour.

Reservations are currently being accepted for the new itineraries operated by Carnival Miracle and Carnival Legend. For more information, visit

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Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria to Make Rare Overnight Call in Liverpool

May 22: When Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria arrives in Liverpool on Friday 30 May 2014, she will be celebrating history as well as making a little bit of history herself. Queen Victoria will be in Liverpool to mark the departure exactly 100 years earlier, on 30 May 1914, of Aquitania, one of the most famous and beloved ships in Cunard history. Queen Victoria will remain overnight, thus making the first overnight call in Cunard’s “spiritual” home of Liverpool by a Cunard passenger ship since Franconia in January 1968, almost 50 years ago.

The historic overnight Liverpool port of call will take place during Queen Victoria’s 13-night Around the British Isles cruise which departs Southampton on 23 May. The cruise will also call at Edinburgh (from New Haven, a maiden call), Invergordon, Kirkwall (maiden call), Glasgow (from Greenock), Dublin, Cobh (Ireland) and St. Peter Port (Guernsey) before returning to Southampton on 5 June.

Activities planned to celebrate this unique call will include local opera singer Danielle Thomas performing both during the afternoon on 30 May and for Queen Victoria’s 31 May departure, and also a Civic Reception and Dinner on board before late-evening fireworks will cap another day of Mersey maritime history.

Aquitania, a Cunard legend that became known as the “Ship Beautiful,” is considered one of the most beautiful liners ever built and certainly the most beautiful four-funneled liner ever constructed. She became one of the longest-serving Cunarders in history (36 years), sailed more miles than any other (three million), and was the only major liner to serve in both World Wars. In fact, Sir Winston Churchill credited her and the two Cunard Queens (the original Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth) with shortening the Second World War by a year! Aquitania’s length of Cunard service and miles sailed were both only surpassed by QE2.

“Each visit by a Cunard ship to the Mersey marks a new milestone for both Cunard and the City of Liverpool, our spiritual home," said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “This call by Queen Victoria is special though – the departure of Aquitania exactly 100 years ago is something to celebrate and we intend to do that in true Cunard style on the actual day of the anniversary.” Dingle continued, “Both Cunard and Liverpool have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to – especially with the 2015 celebrations we have announced in the city to mark our 175th anniversary.”

Also noteworthy, Queen Victoria will have called at Greenock on the Clyde the previous day, on Thursday 29 May, and this also has a close connection with Aquitania as she was built at the famous John Brown Shipyard on the Clyde.

An earlier Cunard ship, Lusitania, will be remembered for her loss in the First World War when Queen Victoria arrives in Cobh, as is becoming the custom when Cunard ships call there.

For more information, visit

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Sapphire Princess Launches Cruise Season from Home Port of Shanghai

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 22: Carnival plc today celebrated the start of the inaugural season of Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess from its new summer home port of Shanghai. This marks the first China homeport cruising program for the line, and brings an entirely new premium cruise experience called Princess Class to the rapidly-expanding China cruise market.

During the four-month season, which runs through August, the line will carry approximately 70,000 guests on 24 unique cruises with itineraries ranging from three to five days. The voyages will visit famous cities in South Korea and Japan, including Seoul (Incheon), Busan, Jeju Island, Fukuoka (Hakata), Kagoshima, Okinawa and Nagasaki.

“We’re excited to be the first line to offer a genuine premium cruise option to Chinese vacationers,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “We know that they are discerning travelers, and have a great desire to explore and learn through travel and unique experiences. We’re well-positioned to provide this to them aboard Sapphire Princess.”

In preparation for the first season, Princess conducted extensive research into what Chinese travelers value, which include a high priority on food and amenities, an exceptional shopping experience, and service in their own language. As a result the line created an experience called Princess Class. Delivered by the ship’s dedicated and caring crew, many of whom are Chinese speakers, Princess Class aims to enrich the travel experience for each guest aboard Sapphire Princess by augmenting the international offerings found on Princess ships around the world, with unique cultural, culinary, entertainment, and inspirational programs.

Special features include the World Leaders Dinner, Tai Chi at sea, ballroom dancing, Ocean View Hot Pot dinner option, “Princess Night” stateroom amenities, a large selection of subtitled Hollywood movies, a variety of Chinese satellite TV channels, and an unparalleled shopping experience. In addition to the only 24-hour buffet at sea in China, a wide variety of traditional Chinese dishes will also be offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Designed to appeal to multigenerational groups, a “Touch of Class” enrichment series includes the Sommelier Wine Excursion featuring a rare collection of Super Tuscan and Bordeaux wines, The Art of International Entertaining, Mixology: The Art of the Cocktail, and Adventures in English, among other topics.

“Princess Cruises has blazed many trails in the cruise industry, continuously evolving to meet the needs of today’s vacationers, and we’re doing so in the China market as well,” said Cherry Wang, Carnival plc country director for China. “The innovations we’ve developed for our first cruise season here are behind the already promising demand for our Shanghai-based voyages. A place on Sapphire Princess is this summer’s hot travel ticket.”

The 116,000-ton Sapphire Princess carries 2,670 guests and, at 952 feet long, has 18 decks and 28 premium suites, with over half of the ship’s staterooms featuring private balconies. The ship also includes five pools, a casino, duty-free shops, fitness center and spa, sports deck, children’s and teen’s centers, library, internet café, art gallery and a golf putting course, among other features.

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MSC Cruises & Fincantieri Announce Two New Builds

Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 22: Today MSC Cruises signed a contract with Fincantieri for the construction of two new cruise ships with an option for one more. The two ships will join MSC Cruises’ fleet, currently counting 12 ships. The signing took place at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome between MSC Cruises and Fincantieri in the presence of the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and CEO Gianni Onorato, and Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono.

The new prototype will be named “Seaside” and will be the largest cruise ship ever built by Fincantieri. Its innovative features will make it unique in the shipbuilding industry. The two ships will lead the way for a new generation of cruise ships that will be completely different from an architectural point of view.

"From the moment we started talking with Fincantieri, we had in mind to design and build two completely new ships, revolutionary in their structure, unlike anything that exists on the market today," said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. "Seaside is a futuristic prototype because of its structure, shape and versatility. Working closely with Fincantieri we are getting ready for the new and compelling challenge that the construction of these ships represents. It will be a real revolution in the world’s cruise market, an excellent product for its unique and innovative architectural features and cutting-edge technology.”

The two new ships will cost €700 million each, and will be funded with the support of the insurance and financial company SACE. The two ships will be delivered to MSC Cruises, owned by Gianluigi Aponte, at different times: the first in November 2017, the second in May 2018. With a length of 1060 feet, a width of 135 feet and a height of 230 feet, the new ships will have a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and will accommodate up to 5,300 passengers plus 1,413 crew members. The ships will boast 2,070 guest cabins, 759 for crew members, and 468,230 square feet of public areas available. Innovative in design and versatility, the new ships will be able to dock in any port around the world.

"Today, MSC Cruises adds the last piece to its new industrial plan that will allow us to double the capacity of our fleet by 2022. With the arrival of the new ships we will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day," said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. "As of today we have launched an investment plan of over €5 billion that includes new builds, ordered in Italy and France, and the conversion of four ships already in the fleet."

The Seaside prototype presents unique features such as a sea-level promenade that circumnavigates the sides of the ship with outdoor spaces, shops and restaurants. In addition, Seaside will also feature a splendid and spacious theatre, a terraced balcony and panoramic lifts with sea views. Furthermore, the ship will boast numerous technological innovations that will, among other things, further reduce fuel consumption by 25% and advanced safety systems that go beyond what is required by international regulation.

The ships will be built to sail to the most sought-after warm weather destinations in the Mediterranean, South America and Caribbean. For more information, visit

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Crystal Cruises Redefines The "Fine" In Fine Dining

LOS ANGELES, May 21: It's about contrasts: Hot and cold. Soft and crunchy. Solid and air. It's about avant-garde works of art that wow as much in their presentation as they do in the mouth. It's about the most state-of-the-art sciences applied to history's most timeless notions of quality ingredients. And it's about experiences: rare, refined, and beyond memorable. After four-plus years in development, ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises unveils an all-new nightly dinner experience now being served in the main Crystal Dining Rooms of Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, all complimentary. Using the doctrines of molecular gastronomy, new high-tech galley equipment, expanded local sourcing, and the creativity of Crystal's highly-trained executive chefs, the innovative new program--which debuted this spring fleet-wide--features more than 100 new dishes showcasing modern epicurean artistry, such as:

-- scallop and tuna tartare with flavored citrus foam, white miso soup poured over, and olive oil "caviar" balls that explode with cold flavor when bitten into;
-- a Shiraz-braised oxtail ragout served with an egg poached to silky perfection over almost an hour of slow cooking; -- a re-imagined Strawberries Romanoff comprised of Cotton Candy dome that melts immediately upon having strawberry consomme poured over it, revealing a flourless fresh berry-almond cake with vanilla anglaise hidden underneath.

From the industry's first specialty restaurants and onboard herb gardens to the only place to find Nobu Matsuhisa cuisine at sea, Crystal has always been a culinary leader who not only listens closely to its guests, but who also introduces product enhancements to them before they even ask, in a way that's well beyond what they could have fathomed.

"In recent years, seasoned diners' palates have become increasingly more sophisticated, wanting more than grilled porterhouses and butter-drenched lobster tails for gourmet foodie experiences. Our latest expansion may be our biggest gastronomic change ever, but is also an incredibly exciting gift to our guests that we've been anxiously waiting to unwrap," explains Crystal Cruises' Vice President of Hotel Procurement and Food and Beverage Operations, Toni Neumeister.

To initially grasp the changes at their most elemental level, one need only open up a new Crystal Dining Room dinner menu--which, in fact, now offers two menus. On the left side is a "Modern" menu that always includes two appetizers, one soup, meat and fish or seafood entrees, two desserts, and a course of cheeses curated by the line's cheese sommeliers. On the right is a more traditional, "Classic" multi-course menu featuring several appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, main course, and side choices. Both menus change daily, Vegetarian selections are indicated throughout, and one can pick-and-choose among each side to create their ultimate feast. On the back of the "Classic" menu is a more extensive selection of desserts, including the modern options and cheeses, plus additional sugar-free, frozen, and baked selections from the ships' Executive Pastry Chefs.

The cornerstone of the new dining approach is augmentation of Crystal's already top-rated galleys. New Pacojets, immersion circulators, high emulsion blenders, dehydrators, and smoke and spray guns have taken the line's kitchens well beyond the traditional knife and stove. Crystal chefs spent months studying food science, and are now masters in such techniques as precision temperature cooking, spherification, ice filtration, and hydrocolloid stabilization, using natural additives like gellan gum to alter ingredients' consistencies. With these tools and skills, chefs can now transform raspberries into noodle-like ribbons, lemons into sugar-like "snow," spinach and beet root into pea-shaped balls, and lobster essence into an airy foam, without losing the flavors or textures that make the ingredients so mouth-watering.

Complementing its newly enhanced galleys, Crystal has expanded its commitment to highlighting "local" experiences around the world, via food, whenever possible. The use of seasonal, farm-driven ingredients--a concept of quality and taste that is as old as time, but newly trendy again--is paramount: provision masters work with local vendors in order to obtain the highest quality fish, produce, dairy, herbs, and spices possible. Chefs are familiar with the different materials available in ports during different times of the year, and they have shaped dishes around market availability. For a "modern" example, during a summertime sailing in Scandinavia, a slow-cooked "Moss-Flavored Salmon" might be slow-cooked and use wild-grown greens and fish bought fresh from a Helsinki market that morning.

On the classic side, traditional culinary delights of an itinerary's destinations are featured in each region. For example, guests might indulge in fresh seafood paella in Barcelona, a perfectly-executed chicken cacciatore in Italy, and a feijoada in South America.

The result of combining the freshest of local ingredients with new equipment and cooking processes, at least in terms of mouthful, is flavors and tastes that are more succulent than ever, no matter what side of the menu one chooses from. The tenderest of meats, the lightest of mousses, and the most flavorful of tastes are in every course, creating a celebration of contrasts, surprises, and overall gusto in each and every bite. For example, a geometric cylindrical white chocolate mousse Delice is sprayed with a red velvet powder that is actually dried and pulverized strawberries. Upon biting, a pungent center of pureed passionfruit surprises and adds textural contrast, especially when combined with the surrounding coconut macaroon crumble and layered churros-like strip of "Baumkuchen" on top.

No less important in Crystal's new dining adventures is the presentation of dishes. All modern fare is artfully arranged using gels, foams, crystals, innovative colors, unexpected geometric shapes, and other innovative methodology that creates an extra-sensory, epicurean experience of awe and delight. Liquids are transformed into solids. Ice cream is heat-resistant. An intricate web of chocolate seemingly defies gravity perched on top of contrasting layers of textures and flavors in a deconstructed Black Forest cake. It's an experience one really needs to see and taste to believe.

The culinary redesign was led by the aforementioned Neumeister, inspired by the world's top restaurants, like Spain's El Bulli and the UK's Fat Duck. He brought in the experts: former Fat Duck Executive and Research and Development chef Kyle Connaughton and Gerard Bertholon, the world's top precision temperature cooking consultant who has, with his team at CREA, trained more than 40 Michelin three-starred chefs (Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, and Daniel Boulud among them) in what many consider the most innovative cooking technique in the modern world. After more than three years of research and development, plus sourcing, purchasing, and redesigning onboard spaces, Crystal chefs then spent over a year in training, conceptualizing, and holding "menu summits" on board to create the new program.

"Our chefs are now among the most elite and rare culinary artists around the world who have this level of food knowledge and experience--and no one in the world is doing it for 900 guests a night, 365 nights a year," Neumeister says. "We're excited, our guests are excited, and the overall value of our efforts is priceless - literally price-less. Even for the world's biggest foodies, a dinner of this caliber might be something they do once a week, and cost hundreds of dollars. On Crystal, one can indulge in cutting-edge culinary exploration every single night while they also explore the world--all for no extra charge."

In November 2013, Crystal Serenity's Tastes restaurant was also redesigned with an all-new look and new, global-inspired cuisine created in association with Sapphire Restaurant in Laguna Beach, California. Extraordinary, award-winning culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity's extensive, innovative choices for gourmandizing include the ultra-luxury cruise line's coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board, certified cheese and wine sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers-certified); all-inclusive, chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists; and gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in specialty restaurants like Nobu Matsuhisa's Silk Road and the Sushi Bar. "Open Dining by Reservation" adds more flexibility and options to evening dining. For more information, or visit

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Offers Tahiti & the Society Islands Voyage Featuring Photography Seminars

BELLEVUE, WA, May 21: 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, offers photography seminars by Jon Whittle and Lori Barbely, staff photographers for Islands magazine, on The Gauguin's 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage departing Sept 27, 2014.

Unique among travel magazines, Islands magazine focuses exclusively on islands as travel destinations, exploring their exotic landscapes, lifestyle, and culture with a personal touch. Compelling photography is an important component of the magazine's success, and photo experts Whittle and Barbely will come aboard The Gauguin to share their professional insights and experience. They have traveled the world, as staff photographers for the magazine, honing the art of shooting, selecting, and perfecting the ultimate destination photographs. In addition to accompanying select shore excursions, offering photography assistance, tips, and techniques throughout the voyage, Whittle and Barbely will provide the following photography seminars:

-- Portrait Photography: How to take beautiful travel portraits, with discussions to include: using natural light to your advantage, overcoming the discomfort of photographing strangers, and best practices for better portraits.
-- Scenic Photography: How to capture vacation memories with incredible scenic photographs, from landscapes to cityscapes. Discussions will include: time of day, filters, long exposure, different lenses for different styles of photos, and composing for scenic shots.
-- Macro Photography: How to get in close and overcome the largest challenges in macro photography, with discussions to include: producing stunning images, lens options, and best practices.
-- Digital Post Production: How to bring it all together in Photoshop once the photographs have been shot, with discussions to include: how to enhance photos in the computer and create finished pieces of art.

For almost 15 years, award-winning photographer Whittle has been traveling the globe with a camera in hand. As Senior Staff Photographer for Islands magazine, he has been on assignment in more than 40 countries, photographing everything from penguins in the Falkland Islands to tribal rituals in Vanuatu. When he's not shooting a story, Whittle is the lead photographic instructor for the "Islands: Expeditions" workshop series in which participants meet at international destinations to learn the finer points of travel photography.

Barbely's eye for detail is a key reason why Islands is known for its photographic excellence. As Photo Editor for the magazine, she coaches the most accomplished professionals and the most eager amateur shooters alike. Since joining Islands in 2006, Barbely has helped the magazine win numerous awards for visual excellence, doing everything from selecting imagery, shooting, and writing to overseeing a redesign, conceiving photo essays, and spearheading an Annual Reader Photo Contest. Prior to joining Islands, she graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.A. in photography and climbed the ranks to Deputy Photo Editor at First for Women magazine.

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Norwegian Expands Freestyle Dining Reservations

May 21: Norwegian Cruise Line is making Freestyle Dining easier than ever for guests sailing aboard the line’s contemporary vessels. Starting today, cruisers can make specialty dining reservations 90 days prior to embarkation, 45 days earlier than the previous reservation window. Guests staying in The Haven, Norwegian’s exclusive ship-within-a-ship key card access suite complex, or in any suite category, can make specialty dining reservations 100 days prior to their cruise.

As a part of the Norwegian NEXT program, focused on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet, Norwegian is elevating the guest experience onboard and make it easier and more convenient for guests to create the vacation of their dreams. Along with enjoying new menus in complimentary dining rooms and Garden Cafes that offer more variety and choice fleet wide, the new specialty restaurant reservations feature provides guests even more freedom and flexibility onboard.

Norwegian’s ground-breaking entertainment options on Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway – including Blue Man Group, Broadway shows Rock of Ages, Legally Blonde and Burn the Floor, along with immersive dinner shows such as Cirque Dreams and Dinner and The Illusionarium – are also now available for reservations 90 days in advance of embarkation.

Those guests of Norwegian Epic looking to plan some time pre-cruise for relaxing and renewal will also be able to make spa reservations 90 days in advance as well, ensuring that they have more time to look forward to an Elemis Signature Facial or Hot Stone Heaven Massage treatment. Guests who wish to make dining, entertainment or spa reservations for their upcoming cruises can sign onto to do so.

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Regal Princess Sets Sail on Inaugural Voyage

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 20: The newest cruise ship to join the Princess fleet, Regal Princess, arrived in Venice today to welcome guests on the maiden voyage. Sister ship to the acclaimed Royal Princess, her seven-day inaugural cruise includes stops in Corfu, Mykonos and an overnight call in Istanbul.

"We're absolutely delighted to welcome another addition to the Princess family with Regal Princess," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "This new ship now expands our fleet to 18 vessels that visit worldwide destinations, and guests traveling aboard Regal Princess will truly have a special experience while enjoying her exciting features including the showpiece atrium, exceptional dining, relaxing Lotus Spa and innovative features like the over-water SeaWalk."

Throughout the summer, the new ship will sail on Princess' signature Grand Mediterranean cruises, with two itinerary choices. Regal Princess will debut in North America in November, when the traditional naming ceremony will take place, followed by a season of Eastern Caribbean cruises.

Regal Princess, a sister cruise ship to Royal Princess, will offer its 3,560 guests a variety of enticing features, including:

The SeaWalk: The ship's most distinguishing design element is an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed enclosed walkway on the ship's starboard side extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel. From here guests can enjoy dramatic views, including to the sea 128 feet below.

Dramatic Atrium: The social hub of the ship, the soaring atrium offers a vibrant collection of always-changing quick bites and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services. Features such as Bellini's Italian cocktail bar, Ocean Terrace seafood bar, and a gelateria add to the Piazza's lively atmosphere.

Chef's Table Lumiere: Princess has set a new standard for the chef's table experience with the Chef's Table Lumiere in which guests will be magically surrounded by a curtain of light - providing a soft wall of privacy that envelopes diners as they savor the chef's special menu.

Princess® WaterColor Fantasy: The ship's central pool area features daily and nightly performances of four separate themed sequences comprised of dancing fountains, special music and live performers. The Movies Under the Stars screen is also incorporated as an additional show element.

Princess Live!: The ship's television studio features programming throughout the day from 8 am until midnight. Guests can enjoy live talk shows, demonstrations and performers here, including the daily Wake Show.

Super Tuscan Wines: More than 20 choices of these headline-making wines from Tuscany are available in Sabatini's. Ranging from recognizable Super Tuscans such as Masseto, Solaia or Tignanello to some lesser known vintages such as Castello del Terricio 'Cappuanino' or Il Bruciato Bolgheri, these wines are featured by the bottle and in a Sabatini's Super Tuscan Wine Tasting event, where guests can enjoy the rare opportunity to sample the wines accompanied by delicious small plates from the Italian restaurant.

Horizon Bistro Pastry Shop: At the Horizon Court's dedicated pastry shop guests can indulge in fresh-baked goodies throughout the day and even get to see Princess' pastry chefs in action as they demonstrate their skills in chocolate work and cake decorating.

Private Cabanas: Private cabana options give guests the opportunity to personalize their relaxation time, with elegant cabanas in The Sanctuary and poolside cabanas at the Retreat Pool. Cabana guests looking for a gourmet treat can order one of the ship's new cabana picnic baskets, packed with artisan edibles paired with a premium wine.

Two new features of Regal Princess include an additional aft pool and access to the exterior promenade on deck 7, enabling passengers to walk the length of the ship. More about Regal Princess is available at

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Carnival Corporation to Expand Market Leadership in Australia

MIAMI, May 20: Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise company, today announced plans to significantly expand its market leadership in Australia, one of the fastest growing markets in the cruise industry. With Australian cruise passenger numbers having increased 130 percent in the past five years and projections of 800,000 cruise passengers in 2013 growing to one million by 2016, P&O Cruises (Australia), one of Carnival Corporation’s 10 brands, will add two ships to its fleet in 2015. With a total of five ships, P&O Cruises will establish Australia’s largest year-round fleet and be well-positioned to continue meeting Australians’ surging demand for cruise vacations.

The expansion leverages Carnival Corporation’s industry-leading scale and underscores its strategy of increased collaboration among its 10 brands, as the two ships will be transferred from the company’s Holland America Line brand to become part of the P&O Cruises fleet. In the meantime, Holland America Line is building its latest and largest ship, to be delivered in February 2016. The new Pinnacle Class ship will be 99,500 tons and carry 2,660 passengers. This new ship will replace the capacity of the two vessels moving to P&O Cruises in Australia.

“Australians know a good thing when they discover it, and that speaks to why taking a cruise has become the most popular vacation experience in the Australian tourism industry,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “By any measure, Australia is one of the top performing cruise markets in the world, with an eye-popping average annual passenger growth rate of 20 percent over the past decade.”

Added Donald: “We are already firmly entrenched as the market leader, and with today’s move we are poised to continue our leadership. At the same time, our ability to work among our brands to make strategic deployment decisions is a great example of our focus on leveraging our scale and increased collaboration. This is an exciting development on many levels.”

Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise operator in Australia and the only cruise company to have ships based full-time in Australian waters. Over the past 10 years Carnival Corporation has grown rapidly with its local fleet increasing from two full-time ships, both with P&O Cruises, to six full-time ships from three of the company’s brands--three P&O Cruises ships, two Princess Cruises ships, and one Carnival Cruise Lines ship. In 2015, with P&O Cruises adding its two ships and the return of Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess full-time, that number will increase to nine. The company’s ships sail from five Australian cities as well as Auckland in New Zealand. During the past summer cruise season in Australia, the company had a record 20 ships from across seven of its brands sailing in Australian waters.

The two ships being added to P&O Cruises, currently sailing as ms Ryndam and ms Statendam in the Holland America Line fleet, are mid-range in size, similar to the three existing P&O ships in Australia--the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel, and Pacific Pearl. The ships will be completely refurbished to offer a new level of comfort and style and will include onboard features tailored for Australian and New Zealand passengers. Full details will be announced in coming months.

Having a five-ship fleet will give P&O Cruises greater flexibility in its increased offering of short-break cruises, traditional cruises to the South Pacific and cruises to new destinations such as Papua New Guinea and Asia. The ships will join the P&O Cruises fleet in November 2015 and itineraries are being developed for the expanded fleet.
Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise company in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK).

Together, these brands operate 101 ships totaling 212,000 lower berths with seven new ships scheduled to be delivered between fall 2014 and summer 2016. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon.

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Norwegian Cruise Line to Further Enrich Guest Experience Through Fleet Enhancement Program

MIAMI, May 20: Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it is investing more than $250 million in “Norwegian NEXT,” a program focused on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet, with the goal of elevating the guest experience and building on the success of the line’s two new ships: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.

Norwegian NEXT encompasses ship revitalizations, dining enhancements, new experiences in entertainment and guest activities, along with innovations in technology, new tropical destinations and the line’s continued commitment to the environment. Through 2015, the company has plans to revitalize a number of vessels, including Norwegian Jewel, which just re-entered service following dry dock, along with Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Spirit, which were also recently refurbished.

“The youngest fleet at sea continues to get even better with our robust enhancement program taking place over the next two years,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We want to continue to provide fresh and relevant experiences to our guests every time they sail with us. We are investing significantly in making sure that our guests have the vacation of a lifetime and fully experience what it means to Cruise like a Norwegian.”

Norwegian reinvented the dining experience at sea with the line’s Freestyle Dining concept, which it is taking to the NEXT level with the introduction of new menus in complimentary dining rooms and Garden Cafes that offer more variety and choice, including numerous new dishes crafted by expert chefs using the finest ingredients. New food and beverage venues are also being introduced across the fleet. Norwegian Jewel is the first to be retrofitted with the popular, complimentary dining venue, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill. The line is also adding the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, first introduced on Norwegian Getaway, to Norwegian Jewel, adjacent to the new location of the Moderno Churrascaria restaurant. In addition, treats from the wildly popular Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s Cake Boss and Next Great Baker, will be featured on all ships.

Along with dining, Norwegian is also making enhancements to its beverage program. A partnership with the world-renowned Michael Mondavi Family has already introduced a new wine menu across the fleet and the family is curating wine concepts for Norwegian’s upcoming new ships. A new destination-based handcrafted beverage program, developed in partnership with James Beard Award-nominated mixologist Gabriel Orta of Miami-based Bar Lab Cocktails, is bringing guests seasonal specialty cocktails with a local twist. There will also be further fleet wide beverage training of bartenders, wine stewards and restaurant managers, providing guests with an even more knowledgeable staff to further enhance the dining experience onboard.

Norwegian is an innovator in entertainment and there are a wide range of new guest activities that will be introduced across the fleet. The line’s exciting new H2GLOW Party, first introduced on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, will also be rolled out fleet wide. Speaking to the quality of entertainment on board, the line is producing a series of new shows at its recently opened 45,000 square foot rehearsal facility, Norwegian Creative Studios, in Tampa, Florida. From soaring acrobats in “Elements,” to the 15-foot revolving showgirl staircase in “Paradis” to rocking out with the full rock band in “Rock of Ages,” Norwegian’s award-winning entertainment will be customized for every ship and itinerary with line-ups that will constantly stay fresh. With a focus on family, Norwegian’s five ships that feature exclusive Nickelodeon entertainment will offer new activities, dining experiences, and more ways to interact with Nickelodeon favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants.

The line is focused on introducing advanced technologies and innovations that bring more freedom and flexibility to its guests’ cruise vacation from start to finish. Enhanced pre-cruise planning experiences give guests the opportunity to easily design their vacation. Once on board, there is wireless internet access from bow to stern along with interactive digital displays that are being added fleet wide. These touch screen signs will allow guests to order specialty items, get directions and reserve dining and shore excursions simply with a scan of their stateroom key. Guests can also take advantage of Norwegian’s groundbreaking iConcierge mobile application to manage their cruise experience and stay in touch with fellow cruisers and family at home.

The line is also making a substantial effort to reduce its impact on the environment through its Eco-Smart Cruising programs and will install exhaust gas scrubbers on six ships, in addition to those that are already being fitted on Pride of America and the company’s two new builds, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss.

Enhancements continue on the line’s private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay, with the opening of the Bacardi Bar. In addition, the line is developing a new eco-friendly cruise destination, Harvest Caye, in southern Belize. The 75-acre experience is planned to open in fall 2015 and will offer guests the option to take shore excursions on the mainland or enjoy the authentic shopping village, water sports or relaxing beach area on the island. With Norwegian NEXT, the line is demonstrating its commitment to innovation and elevating the guest experience over the next two years and beyond. To learn more about Norwegian NEXT, visit

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Quantum Global Odyssey to Bring Quantum-class Cruising to World’s Top Cosmopolitan Cities

MIAMI, May 19: World Travelers will not need to trek out to New York City to catch Quantum of the Seas, the most anticipated cruise ship to-date. The ship will come to them. Royal Caribbean Intl today announced the details of the Quantum Global Odyssey, a 53-night epic journey, departing May 2, 2015, from the New York-metropolitan area to its new home in Shanghai (Baoshan), China. Quantum of the Seas will take its never-before-seen-at-sea experience globally to savvy vacationers after the ship’s inaugural winter season in New York from Nov. 2014 through Apr. 2015. Guests sailing the entire Quantum Global Odyssey to the other side of the globe will be a part of history as the arrival of Quantum of the Seas is celebrated at some of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities along the way. The Quantum Global Odyssey will open for sale on May 20, 2014, for Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members and on May 22 for the general public.

Quantum of the Seas will sail its nearly two-month, epic journey around the world via the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Guests aboard the Quantum Global Odyssey will have the opportunity to enjoy all the Quantum-class innovations, while visiting a curated collection of fascinating destinations for an experience only found on Royal Caribbean. Alternatively, vacationers can choose among five sailings, ranging from three to 16 nights, which comprise the Quantum Global Odyssey:

-- An 11-night Ocean Voyage – Cape Liberty to Spain cruise, departing May 2, 2015, from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., to Barcelona, Spain, with calls at Ponta Delgada, Azores; and Cartagena and Palma De Mallorca, Spain,
-- A 16-night Suez Canal – Barcelona to Dubai itinerary, departing May 13, with calls at Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples/Capri, Italy; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; and Aqaba, Jordan,
-- A 14-night India & Southeast Asia itinerary, departing May 29, which features overnights in Dubai, UAE; Cochin, India; and Singapore, as well as calls at Muscat, Oman; and Penang, Malaysia,
-- A 3-night Short Malaysia itinerary, departing roundtrip from Singapore on June 12 , calling at Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Malaysia,
-- And a 9-night Exotic Asia itinerary that departs June 15 from Singapore to Shanghai (Baoshan), China, with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam; Xiamen, China; and an overnight in Hong Kong.

The groundbreaking Quantum-class ships, Quantum of the Seas and sister-ship Anthem of the Seas (debuting in Southampton, U.K. in Apr. 2015), will introduce a new set of first-at-sea onboard experiences, such as Ripcord by iFLY, a heart-pounding skydiving experience; North Star, a thrilling adventure that transports guests more than 300 feet in the air on a breathtaking journey; cutting-edge transformative venues including SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever. Guests also will enjoy the new Quantum-class “Dynamic Dining,” a completely new culinary experience that offers a landscape of 18 restaurant concepts as vast and varied as dining in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, including specialty restaurants created with partner-chefs Jamie Oliver, Devin Alexander and Michael Schwartz.

The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms. More information on Quantum class is available at

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Vacation Planning Just Got Easier With Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises New Digital Platform

MIAMI, May 19: Recognizing that vacation time is precious and every moment counts, Royal Caribbean Intl and Celebrity Cruises have developed an all-new planning tool that allows guests to seamlessly and intuitively plan all aspects of their cruise vacation quicker and easier than ever before. The cruise lines are once again leading the industry with the totally revamped Cruise Planner, a tool that makes it possible for all reservations, activities and entertainment to be booked well in advance of departure, ensuring no vacation time needs to be spent on planning. In addition, Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas’ Dynamic Dining reservations also are open and available for guests to book.

With the new Cruise Planner, planning and personalization is simplified with a game-changing approach that eliminates guess work with a modern, user-friendly format enabled for desktops and tablets. Complete with an extensive search and filtering feature that makes it possible for guests to easily navigate and research products and opportunities available on their specific booked itinerary, Cruise Planner is the ultimate resource for vacation planning. Whether a seasoned cruiser or a traveler setting sail for the first time, guests will appreciate Cruise Planner’s quick and easy menus that dive deep into the vacation options available, enabling access to restaurants and beverage packages with just one click, and the ability to browse hundreds of shore excursions by day, port, activity type, number of guests, and more. Cruise Planner even provides custom activity recommendations and featured product displays to spark ideas and inspire more ways to enjoy the cruise vacation.

“Planning a vacation should not be a complicated process” said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “With the new Cruise Planner we are transforming the way our guests plan their experience. By taking cues from the technologies and resources that our guests use every day we have created a tool that is simple and intuitive to use and will transform our guests experience from the moment they begin planning their vacation. Once they step onboard, we want our guests to have nothing to do but simply enjoy themselves, and Cruise Planner makes that possible.”

Guests can use the platform to explore each and every activity that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises offer both on and off the ship, and make changes to activities and reservations up until four days prior to their sail date. A streamlined order history, shopping cart with a categorized summary, and printable calendar that is color-coded for each member of the traveling party, keeps track of everything so that guests can easily and visually plan their cruise.

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Disney Cruise Line Returning to Hawaii, West Coast & Galveston in 2015

CELEBRATION, FL, May 19: In the fall of 2015, Disney Cruise Line is returning to popular destinations and home ports for limited-time engagements. Two Hawaii cruises, a return to the West Coast with departures from San Diego and a Galveston, Texas homecoming make up a season of special sailings.

Hawaii Sailings
Disney Cruise Line will explore the Hawaiian Islands with two special 10-night cruises in September. The Disney Wonder will sail through the breathtaking beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, where guests can experience the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu, see the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui, take in the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai and, on Hawaii Island—the Big Island, explore the natural wonders of the world’s most active volcano.

10-night Hawaii with two days in Honolulu – Vancouver to Honolulu
Ports: Vancouver; Hilo (Hawaii Island); Nawiliwili (Kauai); Kahului (Maui) and Honolulu (Oahu)
Departure date: Sept. 7

10-night Hawaii with two days in Kahului – Honolulu to Vancouver
Ports: Honolulu (Oahu); Kahului (Maui); Hilo (Hawaii Island); Nawiliwili (Kauai) and Vancouver
Departure date: Sept. 17

Galveston to the Bahamas
Starting in November, Disney Cruise Line will return to Galveston for the holiday season, offering a 7-night itinerary aboard the Disney Wonder to Key West; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. These sailings depart Nov. 13, 20, 27, Dec. 4, 11 and 28 (New Year’s cruise).

One seven-night western Caribbean cruise on Nov. 6 will visit Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Two additional cruises are included in the Galveston season: a 6-night sailing departing on Dec. 18 that stops at Key West and Castaway Cay and a 4-night Christmas sailing that departs on Dec. 24 and stops at Cozumel.

San Diego to Baja
Disney Cruise Line will return to the West Coast for a limited time, offering six cruises from San Diego aboard the Disney Wonder. The 5-night Baja sailings depart Oct. 4, 11 and 18, stopping at Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico. A 3-night cruise on Oct. 1 stops at Ensenada. Two-night Weekend Getaway voyages depart Oct. 9 and 16, giving guests the perfect weekend retreat aboard their Disney ship.

Port Canaveral & Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean
In 2015, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

Bookings open to the public on May 21, 2014. More details on 2015 itineraries can be found on the Itineraries and Ports for 2015 section of

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Cruise Season to Begin Impressively at the Port of Montréal

Montréal, May 16: Set the sails! The first ship of the 2014 cruise season will anchor in Montréal on May 17. Holland America’s Maasdam will arrive from Fort Lauderdale at 8 a.m. with over 1,266 passengers on board. For the trip, the ship was chartered by Olivia Travel, an agency specializing in vacations for the lesbian community. The 219 metre long cruise ship is a Port of Montréal regular. In 2014 alone, it will arrive a total of 12 times. During this visit to the city, the Maasdam will allow its passengers to explore Montréal and its cuisine, attractions, and shops through city tours and several activities before returning to Boston at the end of the day.

"Cruises are at the heart of our strategic planning for the coming years. We have ambitious objectives for this high-potential market, and we are working together with members of the Montréal Cruise Committee to attain them,” affirms Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. “We not only want to attract cruise travelers to the city, but we would also like to make Montrealers more aware of this unique way to tour and discover the St. Lawrence River."

In 2014, three ships will be anchoring in Montréal for the first time: the all new Pearl Mist, the Hamburg, and the Seabourn Quest. A fourth ship, the Europa, will be back in the city after only one previous stopover in 2004.

The cruise season to Montréal on the St. Lawrence River runs from May to November and is in full swing in September and October, with travelers showing up to admire the colours of the fall.

Last year, the Port of Montréal welcomed 47 cruise ships and a record 55,611 passengers. Including crews, nearly 70,000 people boarded or disembarked in Montréal, 70% of whom were international tourists. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of cruise passengers dramatically increased by 47%. These numbers are the result, in particular, of the work of the Montréal Cruise Committee, a group created in 2011.

"I would like to commend the excellent work of the Montréal Cruise Committee, whose efforts are yielding positive results. I anticipate with great enthusiasm the 2014 cruise season, which looks to be very promising,” adds Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Port of Montréal.

For more information on cruises to Montréal, visit

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Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth Enters Shipyard for Scheduled Multi-million Dollar Refit

16 May: Cunard Line’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, has arrived at the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, for her first scheduled dry-docking since she entered service in 2010. As well as conducting standard checks and maintenance, this multi-million dollar refit will create the ship’s first-ever single accommodation options, along with enhanced stateroom and other amenities and improved restaurant facilities. In line with the company’s environmental sustainability thinking, scrubber technology is also being introduced on the ship. Queen Elizabeth will leave the shipyard on Saturday 1 June and sail for Southampton, ahead of her 4 June cruise to Amsterdam.

“Queen Elizabeth is already a much loved ship and following this multi-million dollar refit, she is sure to shine brightly for years to come,” said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “Whilst there has been investment across the ship, we are particularly delighted to announce that following this refit, there will be staterooms for single travelers on board a Cunard ship for the first time since QE2.”

In response to passenger demand and changing demographics, a total of nine new single staterooms are being created on Deck 2 midships by remodeling part of Queen Elizabeth’s casino. Eight of the single staterooms will be a new grade of Ocean View accommodation, and the ninth will be a standard Inside.

In The Lido, the ship’s informal restaurant, refurbishments will mean that waiters with insulated coffee and tea pots will in the future serve passengers with hot drinks at all meals, while recessed risers will improve the styling of the self-service area as well as passenger flows within it.

More generally, carpets are being renewed and large flat-screen TVs, mostly 32” or above, are being installed in all passenger staterooms. Sun awnings are being erected on the open area near the Lido pool at the stern on Deck 9 and on both sides of the Grills Upper Terrace area near the top of the ship to offer more shade on deck.

The creation of a dedicated studio will enable the ship’s photographers to offer high-end portraiture, while the addition of touch screens in the photo gallery will continue the development of a digital environment in which passengers can more easily find and select their photos taken by the team. Significant work is planned for the shopping area on board: the footprint is increasing, new Fine Jewelery and Watch shops are opening, and the layout, lighting and overall shopping experience for passengers are being enhanced.

On the technical front, scrubber technology is being installed in line with Cunard’s commitment to minimizing the company’s environmental impact. This involves installing a new filtration system for the exhaust gas from the ship’s engines.

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JAXPORT Keeps On Cruising With Carnival

JACKSONVILLE, FL, May 16: JAXPORT and Carnival Cruise Lines have reached an agreement to extend Carnival Cruise service from Jacksonville. The Carnival Fascination will continue sailing from the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal in North Jacksonville to Key West and the Bahamas for four-day and five-day cruises.

Carnival Cruise Lines inaugurated service from Jacksonville on Feb. 27, 2004 with service aboard the Carnival Miracle. In August 2004, Carnival began year-round service with the Celebration and upgraded to the larger, newer Fascination in September 2008.

“We are pleased to continue this valuable partnership with Carnival Cruise Lines and usher it into a second successful decade,” said JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor. “The Fascination offers great value and service to vacationers. It also brings jobs and opportunity to North Florida, boosts tourism and offers the region a platform to promote all of our regional assets and attractions.”

More than 1.6 million passengers have sailed from Jacksonville during the ten years of cruise service. For more information on cruising from Jacksonville, visit

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Enjoy the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Broadcasts Aboard the MSC Fleet

Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 16: Soccer fans across the globe have eagerly awaited four years for one of the world’s most exciting sporting events. Beginning June 12, 2014, 32 teams from five continents will meet in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ where the best soccer nation in the world will be crowned, a title that only a few teams in the world have had a chance to claim. The FIFA World Cup™ is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world and the most widely viewed sporting event worldwide (an estimated 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany).

To ensure that guests enjoy the event, MSC Cruises has secured a fleet-wide partnership with Sport 24 throughout the competition so that guests can watch all 64 games of the tournament. In addition to the games being broadcast live in the public areas of the ships, themed entertainment and exciting activities have been organized for the pleasure of MSC guests.

In the days leading up to the competition, a “Sailaway Pool Party World Cup Edition” will be held aboard all of the MSC Cruises’ fleet. Themed games include the MSC World Cup Championship, a table soccer tournament where many teams will compete against one another for MSC prizes; the MSC World Cup game, a competition where teams have to challenge each other in funny water games to win MSC prizes; and World Champions Quizzes, where guests can take part in a soccer-related quiz competition. Arts and crafts enthusiasts will have the opportunity to make their own soccer shirt, by creating t-shirts with the colors of their favorite teams.

During the final stages of the tournament, guests will have the option to bet on who will win the match. Bets will be collected in two boxes (one per team) and at the end of the match, the name of the winner will be chosen from the winning box and awarded MSC prizes.

Whether sailing in the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean or visiting the fjords of northern Europe, all MSC guests are invited to join in the worldwide fun of the FIFA World Cup™.

There have been 19 FIFA World Cup™ tournaments won by eight different national teams. Brazil has won five times and is the only team to have played in every tournament. The other winners are Italy, with four titles; Germany, with three wins; Argentina and inaugural winners Uruguay, with two; and England, France, and Spain, with one title each.

For more information about MSC Cruises, please visit

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Norwegian Jewel Receives Enhancements For Houston Arrival

MIAMI, May 16: Norwegian Cruise Line announced that Norwegian Jewel re-enters service on May 17, 2014 following a two-week dry dock where the ship received numerous enhancements as she readies for her much-anticipated arrival in Houston, Texas on October 11, 2014, following the summer season in Alaska.

Norwegian Jewel is the first ship to be retrofitted with the popular O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill (first introduced on Norwegian Epic and also on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway). In addition, the ship’s Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazilian-style steakhouse, was relocated to a more intimate setting on Deck 13 and the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, first introduced on Norwegian Getaway, was added adjacent to the new restaurant.

“O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill is a huge hit on three of our new ships, so we wanted to ensure that guests sailing on our existing fleet, beginning with Norwegian Jewel, could experience the welcoming atmosphere and the traditional pub fare,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Our guests are going to love the addition of both O’Sheehan’s and the Sugarcane Mojito Bar which can only add to the already great dining and lounging opportunities onboard.”

Guests will also be able to enjoy delicious cannoli and cupcakes from Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s Cake Boss and Next Great Baker, that has been added in the Java Café. A number of additional guest area enhancements included: updates to the Casino and Photo Gallery, new carpets and flooring throughout guest areas, window replacements, upgrades in galley areas and updates to the pool deck. Norwegian’s innovative digital signage, first introduced on Norwegian Breakaway, will also be added to the ship over the summer. The interactive touch screen signs will allow guests to order specialty items, get directions and reserve dining and shore excursions simply with a scan of their stateroom key.

Technical modernizations also took place during the dry dock. The ship is being outfitted with Green Tech Marine Scrubbers, in order to reduce fuel emissions, overall energy consumption, and the company’s environmental footprint. In addition, the ship will receive an Azipod hydrodynamic upgrade and state-of-the-art silicone paint on the hull, in order to further improve fuel efficiency. Norwegian Jewel will also benefit from the installation of shore power connectivity. Additional significant technical and safety updates include: lifeboat and tender boat release systems upgrade; thrusters and stabilizer maintenance; and ballast and bilge piping replacement.

Starting May 17, 2014, Norwegian Jewel begins a series of 7-day Alaska cruises from Seattle through Sept 13, 2014. Ports of call on this adventurous itinerary include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska as well as Victoria, British Columbia. Following the Alaska cruise season, Norwegian Jewel repositions to Houston and begins sailing a series of Western Caribbean cruises on October 11, 2014, with stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Banana Coast, Honduras.

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Silversea Modifies Black Sea Voyages

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, May 15: Taking into account the unsettled situation in Ukraine, Silversea Cruises has modified the itineraries for four Black Sea voyages originally scheduled to call in Yalta, Sevastopol, or Odessa this year. Silver Spirit's July 21 seven-day sailing will remain entirely a Black Sea itinerary with Trabzon replacing Odessa, while three new 9-day voyages will focus on destinations in Greece and Turkey, and also retain the original Black Sea ports of Constanza and Nessebur.

The new 9-day voyages, Silver Cloud's Oct 13 sailing and Silver Spirit's voyages of Aug 20 and Sept 29, have been enhanced with an added perk. Departing from Constanza, guests may enjoy a complimentary full-day Silversea Experience in Bucharest, renowned as the "Paris of the East" for its tree-lined avenues, elegant architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. Highlights include a scenic drive through Romania's countryside, a delicious Romanian-style lunch, and an enriching exploration of the capital city's Palace of Parliament, Patriarchal Hill, open-air Village Museum, and Revolution Square. Alternatively, guests may opt for a $200 per guest onboard credit.

Following are details of the modified itineraries:

VOYAGE 5422: Silver Spirit, July 21-28, Istanbul to Istanbul, with calls in Sochi, Trabzon, Sinop, Constanza, and Nessebur.

VOYAGE 5426: Silver Spirit, Aug 20-29, Istanbul to Istanbul, with calls in Kavala, Thessaloniki, Volos (gateway to the famous rock towers and monasteries of Meteora), Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Constanza, and Nessebur, plus passage through the historic Dardanelles and Bosphorus. Added perk: choice of complimentary Silversea Experience in Bucharest or $200 per guest onboard credit.

VOYAGE 5431: Silver Spirit, Sept 29-Oct 8, Istanbul to Istanbul, with calls in Myrina (Limnos), Thessaloniki, Skiathos, Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Constanza, and Nessebur, plus passage through the historic Dardanelles and Bosphorus. Added perk: choice of complimentary Silversea Experience in Bucharest or $200 per guest onboard credit.

VOYAGE 1431: Silver Cloud, Oct 13-22, Istanbul to Istanbul, with calls in Kavala, Thessaloniki, Volos (gateway to the famous rock towers and monasteries of Meteora), Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Constanza, and Nessebur, plus passage through the historic Dardanelles and Bosphorus. Added perk: choice of complimentary Silversea Experience in Bucharest or $200 per guest onboard credit.

"The safety and well-being of our guests is always our top priority. These new itineraries eliminate the uncertainty surrounding Ukraine, while providing our guests with peace of mind and attractive destinations for their ultra-luxury cruise vacation," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas.

For more information and complete voyage details, please visit

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Azamara Club Cruises Announces 2016 Worldwide Voyages

MIAMI, May 15: Not just calling at destinations, but truly visiting them, Azamara Club Cruises today announced the cruise line’s annual deployment for 2016. Azamara’s twin boutique ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, will take up-market travelers to some of the most intriguing locales in Australia and New Zealand, the Far East and Southeast Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and the West Indies, totaling 204 ports of call in 70 countries.

Delivering more authentic experiences with the cruise line’s hallmark longer stays and more overnights in ports for night touring, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest remain in port when most other ships have departed for the day. The ships will stay past 8 p.m. during more than 175 calls and overnight on more than 100 calls. Azamara also will take guests on new adventures in 2016, with 44 new maiden calls in Australia and New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and Oman, Europe and the West Indies.

Azamara guests will enjoy extraordinary service, fine dining and more inclusive onboard amenities, including boutique wines, international beers and select spirits, as well as an AzAmazing Evenings event on every voyage, an exclusive, unique, and complimentary evening tour that showcases a destination’s distinct culture and flavor. Guests also can choose unique, intimate and immersive experiences through Azamara’s new Insider Access and Nights and Cool Places Land Discovery (shore excursion) programs. Azamara Club Cruises’ 2016 full-year, destination-immersion program is now open for bookings. For more information, please visit

Destination Immersion Down Under
For its inaugural Australia season, Azamara Quest will sail five voyages, ranging from 10- to 17-night itineraries, which will deliver the culture and nightlife of Australia and New Zealand. The ship will head to the Land Down Under starting with a Christmas and New Year’s voyage on Dec. 22, 2015, from Bali, Indonesia, to Cairns, Australia, followed by four voyages in 2016 that visit coastal cities along the Coral Sea and in New Zealand and Tasmania.

Travelers also can combine consecutive itineraries for an Azamara Extended Voyage that spans multiple regions and an expansive array of destinations. For example, travelers can embark on the Dec. 12, 2015 voyage from Singapore to Auckland, New Zealand, on a 50-night, one-of-a-kind odyssey that delivers a juxtaposition of Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand’s marquee ports and cities, as well as multiple smaller ports and towns that are not accessible to larger ships, or a unique sailing covering the very best of New Zealand, Australia, and the Far East to the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean, which departs Auckland on Jan. 31, 2016, on a 107-night itinerary to Athens, Greece.

AzAmazing Asia Adventures
Azamara Quest will then sail three voyages throughout the Far East on 13- and 16-night itineraries that visit intriguing destinations throughout Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. The ship will then transition in April to the Mediterranean on a fascinating voyage spanning the Far East, the Arabian Gulf, and Aegean Sea, arriving in Athens (Piraeus), Greece, on May 17.

In the Arabian Gulf, travelers can join Azamara Journey in late 2016 for an exclusive 1,001 Arabian Nights round-trip Dubai voyage, a 10-night itinerary that explores some of the most exciting new cities in the region, featuring overnight stays in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and Muscat, Oman. Combined with visits to Qatar, Bahrain and Khasab, Oman, guests have the opportunity to deeply immerse themselves with the many attractions in this region – from the new Guggenheim, Louvre and Zayed National Museums in Abu Dhabi – set to open in 2015 and early 2016, to the desert fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Azamara’s longer stays and more overnights also provide guests the opportunity to dine at some of the world’s finest hotels in the region, such as the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and the Al Bustan Palace Hotel in Muscat.

Authentic Europe with Azamara
Covering the entire continent from the Baltic to the North seas and the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, Azamara delivers all the authentic history, cultures and flavors of Europe like no one can. The cruise line’s smaller ships offer access that larger vessels cannot and place guests at the heart of such jewel-destinations such as Nice and Sanary-sur-Mer, France; Portovenere (Cinque Terre) and Amalfi, Italy; and Chania, Crete and Patmos, Greece – to name just a few.

From late-April through September, Azamara Journey will sail 5- to 13-night itineraries, most of which can be combined to create uniquely individual voyages of 24 nights and longer that do not repeat a port of call. The July 3 and Sept. 9 voyages sail roundtrip from Venice for seven nights and offer a full-day visit to the seldom-visited Albania, plus an opportunity to visit the capital city of Tiranë. The Aug. 9, 10-night voyage from Athens to Istanbul is the perfect summer holiday exploring the hidden jewels along the Turquoise Coast with stops at charming Kas, Fethiye, Marmaris and Cesme in Turkey, as well as less-frequented Sitia, Crete and Patmos, Greece. Via Cesme, guests will be particularly enchanted by an opportunity for a night-time visit to the village of Alacati, famous for its traditional and unspoiled architecture.

From May through November, Azamara Quest will offer longer voyages in the Mediterranean, North and Baltic seas, ranging from eight to 15 nights. The ship will begin its Europe season on May 25, with the cruise line’s annual sell-out Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix voyage, which features a new stop in Livorno, where guests have easy access to Florence, Pisa and Lucca. Azamara Quest will then set out from Nice on May 30, which includes an overnight stay and dock in the city of Seville, walking distance of the famous Cathedral. No other ship can travel closer and, instead of a 90 minute bus ride (each way), Azamara Quest guests also will uniquely enjoy a scenic river cruise through the Andalusian countryside and make passage through a very narrow drawbridge and lock just prior to Seville.

Azamara Quest will then ply the North and Baltic seas on a series of Northern Europe voyages, the peak time for experiencing the White Nights in Copenhagen, Stockholm and some of the most romantic Hanseatic cities in Germany - Luebeck and Rostock. Guests on the popular annual British Open voyage, sailing July 11, will visit charming Isle of Man and Guernsey, as well as popular favorites such as Dublin, Belfast and Waterford, Ireland. The highlight will be a visit to the Championship finals of the British Open in Scotland at the Royal Troon Golf Club. The ship’s Nov. 11 voyage will then span three continents, crossing from Athens to South Beach with stops in Tunis, Tunisia and Huelva, Spain – gateway of Christopher Columbus to the West Indies – and cross the Atlantic to St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands.

Charms of the West Indies & Beyond
Throughout the spring and winter seasons, travelers also can take in the vibrant colors and cultures nestled among the Caribbean, The Isthmus from Panama to Mexico, and Baja California to Los Angeles. Azamara Journey will take guests on 10- and 11-night West Indies voyages, roundtrip from Miami, to visit idyllic islands that combine modern chic with colonial charm. In February, the ship will transit through the Panama Canal by day to the Pacific and provide guests the opportunity to explore to the rain forest of secluded Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica; the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala; the Cerro Verde National Park in El Salvador and the lovely beaches of Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Travelers can choose to combine these voyages into an exciting Extended Voyage of 33 nights from Miami to Los Angeles, departing Jan. 27 or a 36-night return voyage on Feb. 29.

For its part, Azamara Quest also will sail eight- to 12-night West Indies voyages from Miami starting in late-November. On a holiday voyage, sailing on December 27 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, guests will herald in the New Year in Virgin Gorda, B.V.I.

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Lifts Curtain on Entertainment For 2014

MIAMI, FL, May 15: With Broadway focused on the 2014 Tony Award® nominees, Regent Seven Seas Cruises introduced 12 exciting new productions exclusively for Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner, and Seven Seas Navigator. In the past 14 months, the cruise industry’s most inclusive luxury line has significantly upgraded its entertainment offerings, encouraging world travelers and theater lovers alike to look to the high seas and its award-winning fleet.

“We feel that world-class theatrical productions go hand-in-hand with the ultra-luxurious, all-inclusive experience found on our ships,” shares Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president. “With the help of Jean Ann Ryan Productions, we developed a dozen incredible new shows for the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet. Guests will enjoy a variety of thematic performances, ranging from aerial artistry found in our cirque shows to musical numbers featuring beloved songs from stage, screen, radio and television.”

All shows utilize a newly installed, full-stage LED video wall to help visually transport guests to such locales as the Moulin Rouge or to the set of a classic television show. Jean Ann Ryan Productions, a well-known live production company specializing in cruise ship entertainment, created the shows exclusively for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Highlights from the new line-up include:

Seven Seas Mariner
• “Cirque Rock ‘n Roll” leaves guests absolutely spellbound with a musical tour through the history of this timeless genre. From Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson and Aerosmith to Beyoncé, this sweeping epic number features jaw-dropping aerial performances on a multilevel industrial steel apparatus.
• “Dancing in the Streets” is reminiscent of those cool summer nights cruising the streets of America. The show features an orchestrated medley with music from The Four Tops, The Temptations, Lionel Richie and The Jackson Five.
• “Film Flashback” brings the 80’s to life with iconic moments from stage and screen as talented performers perform scenes from “Flash Dance,” “Footloose” and “Dirty Dancing.”

Seven Seas Navigator
• “The Piano Men” this original production offers a night of well-known favorite songs by Elton John and Billy Joel performed by the Regent Signature Orchestra.
• “Cirque Navigator” transports the audience to a fantasy forest with choreography showcasing modern dance, aerial feats, Celtic dance and classic ballroom routines.
• “Broadway Tonight” celebrates music from top Broadway shows including “The Book of Mormon” and “Kinky Boots,” as well as long-running favorites such as “Jersey Boys,” “Rock of Ages” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”
• “Dawning of Aquarius” is a 1960s retrospective performance featuring music from The 5thDimension, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Seven Seas Voyager
• “Cirque L’Amour” is tribute to the city of Paris and its renowned nightlife featuring a stunning aerial ballet with romantic displays of human power and trust.
• “Come Sail Away” resurrects the 70’s with the music from the Divas of Disco: Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and Alecia Bridges, as well as favorites by The Carpenters, The Bee Gees along with television themes including “M*A*S*H*,” among others.
• “Dancing to the Hits” is a stunning display of ballroom dance with music by pop favorites Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Adele.

The summer 2014 season features a refreshed and rejuvenated fleet, as each of the line’s ships has undergone a multi-million dollar refurbishment that exudes an aura of Park Avenue elegance and sophistication. The two-deck high, state-of-the-art show theatres across the fleet were renovated with new carpeting, upholstery, wall coverings, cocktail tables, wall sconces, banquettes and chairs to provide additional comfort for our guests. For more information on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, visit

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Crystal's New Extended Land Programs Explore Coveted Canadian Cities & Northeastern Sites

 LOS ANGELES, May 13: Two new lavish land programs allow Crystal guests to extend their vacations with five 2014 luxury cruises through North America's East Coast and French Canada. Available on Crystal Serenity's September-October voyages, the two- and three-night, pre- and post-cruise packages offer travelers the opportunity to explore beyond the rich New England/Canada cruise itineraries that begin or end in Quebec City. Guests can choose from programs in Toronto and Niagara Falls, Montreal and Quebec City, or enjoy a free transfer between Quebec and Montreal to plan one's own extended adventure.

Toronto & Niagara Falls, 2 nights:
-- A tour of breathtaking Niagara Falls, followed by a wet sailing excursion through the spray at the base of the falls aboard the Maid of the Mist.
-- A visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake, home to 28 wineries producing award-winning vintages and ice wines, and a Heritage District full of specialty shops and eateries, plus a winemaker's lunch of seasonal dishes paired with specially selected wines at one of the estates.
-- A sky-high dinner 1,100 feet above Toronto at the CN Tower's rotating 360 restaurant - home of the world's highest wine cellar - boasting market-fresh regional specialties with a changing view of the city's lights and shoreline.
-- Exploration of a "hidden" Toronto via the PATH - a 16-mile underground network of shops, museums, theatres and world-class dining.

Quebec City and Montreal by Train, 3 nights:
-- Accommodations at the chic Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel in the heart of Quebec City - itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, situated walking distance from the city's many attractions.
-- Business class train between Montreal and Quebec City, including access to stations' VIP-style Panorama Lounge, priority boarding, complimentary newspapers, wine, and lunch.
-- Exploration of Quebec City's musees, shops and historical districts, plus Montreal's renowned Notre Dame Basilica, Latin Quarter, and majestic Mount Royal.

The 7- and 10-day cruises depart Sept 19 (from Boston to Quebec) and 29 (Quebec City round-trip); Oct 6, 16, and 26 (all between Quebec and New York), and call in Baie-Comeau, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Sept-Iles, and the Magdalen Islands, P.Q.; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax and Sydney (maiden call), Nova Scotia; Saint-Pierre & Miquelon, France; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island.

Fares for the Extended Land Programs in Toronto and Montreal/Quebec City start at $1,365 and $2,850, respectively< which includes all accommodations, sightseeing, transportation (including coach-class domestic air to Toronto), featured meals, porterage, and gratuities. For more information, visit

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Celebrity Cruises Joins University of Miami “OceanScope” Program

MIAMI, May 13: Last week, as Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Equinox completed its scheduled dry dock in Cadiz, Spain, it joined Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas in a program that tracks ocean circulation dynamics and measures atmospheric and oceanographic conditions, on repeated journeys. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s ships are known for providing vacationers with innovative experiences, extraordinary service, and award-winning cuisine as they cross the world’s oceans. Not as well known – but critically important worldwide – is the scientific research conducted on several of these ships by the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. The scientists capture and analyze oceanographic and atmospheric data on the vessels sailing worldwide.

The scientists record ocean temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll concentration, as well as properties of the ocean’s surface, such as reflectance and absorbance. In addition, they measure meteorological properties, such as wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure and humidity. These data help scientists monitor, understand, and forecast climate change and its effects on marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs. Coral reefs protect coastlines from storms and help sustain the livelihoods of local people, especially in developing countries, where coral reefs contribute about one-quarter of the annual total fish catch, providing food to about one billion people in Asia alone.

“These data are proving to be of invaluable assistance in calibrating and verifying the American and European satellites monitoring climate change throughout the ocean,” said Dr. Peter B. Ortner, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “Smaller packets of data are transmitted on an hourly basis through RCCL’s regular satellite link and large data sets will be sent back via Internet connection when the ship is in port.”

“Royal Caribbean is extremely proud of the collaboration with the OceanScope program to foster greater understanding of the global climate system and the oceans on which our ships sail,” said Rich Pruitt, Vice President, Safety and Environmental Stewardship, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL). “Our business depends on ocean health, and part of protecting ocean health is understanding the atmosphere and its effects.”

Funded in part by RCL’s Ocean Fund, The University of Miami’s OceanScope equipment on Explorer of the Seas has tracked ocean circulation dynamics since 2000, in the North Atlantic basin that the ship sails through while on Bermuda and Caribbean routes from the US Northeast. The Allure of the Seas lab tracks these conditions through the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and has done so since 2012. The installation of an OceanScope lab on Celebrity Equinox will provide insight into the ocean dynamics in the Mediterranean Sea, across the North Atlantic and along the Iberian Peninsula.

RCL created The Ocean Fund in 1996, to support marine conservation organizations in safeguarding the health of the world’s oceans and coastal communities. The Fund aims to support efforts to restore and maintain a healthy marine environment, minimize the impact of human activity on the environment, and promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues and respect for marine life. Since the Ocean Fund’s establishment, RCL has given over $13 million to over 75 organizations around the world for projects that relate to ocean science, climate change, key marine species, education and innovative technologies.

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New York’s Ship Celebrates First Birthday

NEW YORK, May 13: Norwegian Breakaway, the ship that brings the best of NYC to sea, celebrates one year of sailing from New York City this week. Since arriving in New York in May 2013, the ship has carried nearly a quarter of a million guests from New York to sunny destinations in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Florida and the Caribbean.

“Norwegian Breakaway has been hailed as a game-changer with in the cruise industry and we are so proud to celebrate this spectacular ship’s first year sailing from New York,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “The world-class dining, exciting amenities and high-caliber Broadway entertainment onboard are all an extension of the incredible activities this great city has to offer. Norwegian Breakaway is truly New York’s ship and we invite those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to sail on her to come join us on a future voyage.”

Her anniversary signals the start of the summer season, as the ship is sailing the second of 22 weekly cruises to Bermuda through Sept 28. Norwegian Breakaway offers 7-day voyages from the heart of Manhattan each Sunday, with three days in port at King’s Wharf, Bermuda. Guests sailing to Bermuda this season have yet another amenity to look forward to onboard, as the casino will now be able to open while the ship is in port, opening at 9 pm each evening while the ship is docked at King’s Wharf.

Norwegian Breakaway’s birthday week sailing also coincides an exciting milestone for the ship: Cirque Dreams & Dinner: Jungle Fantasy, held in the ship’s Spiegel Tent, will host its 2,000th performance onboard.

Over the past year, Norwegian Breakaway has had a positive economic impact on the city, contributing to the $229 million generated across the industry and a 16% increase in guest and crew spending in the city.

Norwegian Breakaway features 29 dining options, including restaurants from Food Network Star and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Master Baker Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s “Cake Boss”; three Broadway shows; an ice bar; a weekly fireworks show at sea; and the largest Aqua Park and ropes course at sea, including five water slides. Her signature hull art, designed by legendary artist Peter Max, brings the energy of the Big Apple to the ship wherever she sails. For more information, visit

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Cunard Line to Welcome George Takei aboard Queen Mary 2 this July

13 May: Cunard Line is delighted to announce that actor and social media superstar George Takei will join Queen Mary 2 on her 28 July Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton. Guests and fans on board the 8-day voyage will be treated to two presentations in the Royal Court Theatre, followed by a Q&A session with the multi-talented star and dynamic personality.

“We are thrilled to welcome George Takei aboard Queen Mary 2 this summer,” said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “Mr. Takei is considered an icon among Cunard’s guests, and we know they will thoroughly enjoy this unique opportunity to get to know him during the crossing. It’s another example of the exceptional programming we feature in our Insights enrichment programme.”

With a career spanning five decades, Takei is most well known internationally for his founding role in the original Star Trek television and film series, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the starship Enterprise. These days, he bridges multiple generations of fans as one of the most influential personalities on Facebook with more than 6.9 million “Likes” to date. Takei and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga star in the Broadway-bound stage play, Allegiance – A New American Musical, based on the experiences of Takei and his family who, like more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans, were held in internment camps during World War II.

“I am really looking forward to sailing aboard Queen Mary 2 this summer,” Takei said. “This will be my first experience traveling Transatlantic via ocean liner and I’m excited to do it on such an iconic ship.”

Takei is scheduled to give two presentations for Cunard’s Insights programme on board:

• “George Takei: Embracing Change” will focus on the many communities that have been central to his life and career: the Japanese-American internment camp of his childhood, the cast and creators of Star Trek, and the Asian-American and LGBT communities for which he has become a leader in the United States.
• “George Takei in Hollywood” will be a trip down memory lane with the actor on his 50-plus years in show business, from his first feature film, 1960’s Ice Palace starring Richard Burton, to his many Star Trek memories, to his upcoming Broadway debut in Allegiance.

Stateroom and Grills Suites are still available for the 28 July 2014 Transatlantic Crossing (voyage #M414A). For more information, visit

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Royal Caribbean to Host the Only Coca-Cola Party at Sea Celebrating the 2014 FIFA World Cup

MIAMI, May 12: Royal Caribbean Intl today announced a partnership with Coca-Cola to bring the excitement of the most prestigious soccer competition in the world to its fleet with The Coca-Cola Party at Sea celebrating the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The cruise line will host the official Coca-Cola Party at Sea complete with broadcast of the games at the official watch party hosted by Coca-Cola and complete with samba dancers. This summer, there simply will be no better place, outside of Brazil, to watch, to cheer, to celebrate this sport spectacle.

Soccer is truly a global sport with passionate fans in every country who will want to follow the exploits of their national teams in this most anticipated of tournaments. As a global cruise line, Royal Caribbean International is focused on providing best-in-class entertainment options which will feature match broadcasts in public viewing areas and in-stateroom.

Throughout the cruise guests also will experience additional family activities, Adventure Ocean activities, giveaways and more for everyone to enjoy during their vacation – free of charge. Limited edition Coca-Cola soccer themed souvenir cups will accompany the purchase of any all-inclusive soda beverage package. To find more details on the Coca-Cola Party at Sea guests can visit

“Royal Caribbean is proud to partner with The Coca-Cola Company to host their Party at Sea,” said Nick Weir, Vice President, Entertainment, Royal Caribbean International. “We know how important this event is to our guests and we are certain that even casual soccer fans will enjoy the experience of watching the competition onboard our family of ships.”

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Bourbon & Bluegrass Entertainment on American Queen Announced

MEMPHIS, TN, May 12: The American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of America’s most iconic riverboats, announces the latest details for its Bourbon & Bluegrass itineraries beginning in August aboard the American Queen. Sailing between St. Louis, Mo. and Cincinnati, Ohio, the nine-day journey offers guests the chance to experience a dynamic blend of historic discovery, music and the Kentucky Bourbon Trial, with tours to renowned distilleries and celebrated ports including Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Paducah, Ky.; Henderson, Ky.; Louisville, Ky.; and Madison, Ind.

Taking place on two dates, Aug 29th and Sep 5th, the Bourbon & Bluegrass voyages will feature distilleries from the makers of Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace, and Heaven Hill. Famous bourbon makers will also be joined onboard by award-winning Bluegrass acts headlined by Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers and several acclaimed regional bands.

“This trip is a once in a lifetime experience for bourbon and Bluegrass enthusiasts,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “We can’t wait to share these genuine tastes, sights and sounds of Americana with our guests.”

Highlights of the trip include:

• Included pre-cruise hotel stay in St. Louis, Mo. or Cincinnati, Ohio, depending upon the departure.
• Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, five time Grammy Award Winners and the most award winning act in Bluegrass music history. Crowned the “Queen of Bluegrass,” Rhonda Vincent has hits spanning three decades and is the most requested touring act in Bluegrass. The high energy shows that typify the group have earned multiple accolades for best live performance.
• Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, featuring Chris Jones, one of music’s most widely heard voices on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction. As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, Jones has performed worldwide from football stadiums in Bulgaria to the Lincoln Center and has won International Bluegrass Music Association awards for Broadcaster and Song of the Year.
• Acclaimed regional Bluegrass acts including Storefront Congregation, Kentucky Blue, Dave and Cathy and the Juggernaut Band.
• Multiple lecturers and tasting opportunities from Four Roses Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries and other Kentucky bourbons.
• Cooking with bourbon demonstrations from American Queen chefs.
• Distillery tours on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail where 95% of all bourbon is made.
• Premium touring opportunities to the Bluegrass Hall Of Fame and International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky.
• Barbeque luncheon at My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, Ky.
• Daily open jam sessions featuring numerous guitar and banjo workshops for Bluegrass musicians of all skill levels in the “Pickin’ Parlors”.
• An exclusive “Moonshine Matinee” deck party on the Ohio River. Featuring outdoor barbeque, lectures on the art and history of moonshine making, festival style Bluegrass and moonshine tasting.

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

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Carnival Corp Adds Industry-Leading 4th Ship in China, World's Fastest Growing Cruise Market

MIAMI, May 12: Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise company, today announced Costa Serena will deploy year-round in China next year, making Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company with four ships based in China, the world’s fastest-growing cruise market. The move will accelerate Carnival Corporation’s leadership in China, capitalizing on growing consumer demand that is expected to make the country the second largest cruise market in the world by 2017.

Costa Cruises, one of Carnival Corporation’s 10 industry-leading brands, announced today it will debut Costa Serena in Shanghai in April 2015, where it will join Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica, both already deployed in China. The move will increase Costa’s overall capacity in Asia by 74 percent.

The Costa Cruises expansion builds on eight years of successful operations in China and Carnival Corporation’s surging momentum as the largest operator in the country. In addition to Costa Serena, another Carnival Corporation brand, Princess Cruises, will homeport out of Shanghai starting May 21 through Sept. 3, 2014, with Sapphire Princess, providing another unique cruising experience for Chinese travelers. Adding a third ship based in China this year increases Carnival Corporation’s total 2014 capacity in the country by 66 percent. In 2015, with four ships based in China for the first time, Carnival’s industry-leading capacity is expected to jump 140 percent over a two-year period.

“Carnival Corporation has for years recognized that Chinese travelers would love the cruising experience, and that is why Costa Cruises was the first global cruise line to commit to sailing from China back in 2006,” said Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald. “We have never been more committed to China as a market of great strategic importance for our company, and with today’s news we will be the only global cruise company to have four ships operating out of China. More than that, as the world’s largest cruise company with a portfolio of 10 of the world’s most celebrated cruise lines, we are very well positioned to continue working with government officials in China to help the country meet its goal of becoming one of the most important cruise markets in the world.”

Donald added, “Today’s news is another big step in that direction. Chinese travelers love sailing on Costa’s Victoria and Atlantica, and we are confident they will also love sailing on Costa Serena and Sapphire Princess. Our team is passionate about delivering a unique experience designed to exceed the expectations of every guest who boards one of our ships.”

Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group, said of today’s expansion announcement: “Costa Serena’s arrival in China is a monumental occasion for our company, and we’re proud to be the first global cruise line to have three ships based in China. As we execute our strategy to accelerate growth in China, which has great market potential, we have the benefit of eight years of experience in China to not only help guide our expansion, but also to find unique ways to surprise and delight our guests as more travelers in China experience ‘Italy at Sea’ with Costa.”

Carnival is investing significantly in China as well as in Asia to take advantage of strong growth opportunities across the region. In addition to investments in China, Carnival is concentrating on growth efforts in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea to maintain and expand its leadership position in Asia. Highlights of Carnival’s strong momentum and leadership in the region include:

• Capacity: Industry-leading cruise presence in China in 2014 and 2015, including 66 percent increase in total 2014 capacity in China and 140 percent increase over a two-year period.
• Port Calls: Industry leader with 23 ships across seven brands visiting 90 ports in Asia with an estimated 1,439 port calls planned for 2014, including 220 port calls across five brands in China.
• Sales offices: Carnival operates 10 offices in Asia, more than any competitor, including five locations in China – Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chengdu.
• Industry firsts: Costa was the first global cruise company to sail from China in 2006; Princess was the first global cruise line to offer a full season of sailing with a homeport in Japan, starting in 2013.
• Brand strength: Carnival Corporation has seven of its 10 brands sailing in Asia: Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises and Seabourn.

Carnival Corporation Introducing Sapphire Princess to China
Adding further to Carnival Corporation’s commitment to China, the company’s Princess Cruises brand will officially introduce Sapphire Princess to China on May 21. Sapphire Princess will bring the brand’s premium cruise experience – Princess Class – to Shanghai for a four-month season during which it is expected to carry 65,000 passengers on roundtrip cruises.

Based on key research insights, the Princess Class premium cruise experience offers customized services and onboard features for Chinese guests to enhance and enrich their travel experience. Guests on the new China-based cruises will be treated to exceptional cultural, culinary and entertainment programs, including the World Leaders’ Dinner, English Afternoon Tea, Ultimate Balcony Dining, the only 24-hour buffet at sea in China, Tai Chi and Zumba at sea, “Princess Night” personal touches and luxury shopping. Princess Class also includes a “Touch of Class” enrichment series designed to appeal to multi-generational groups with offerings such Social Etiquette classes and a Sommelier Wine Excursion.

Additionally, itineraries will range from three to seven days, which is the ideal range of vacation days for the Chinese market, according to research.

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Norwegian Dawn Kicks Off Boston Cruise Season

On May 9: Norwegian Cruise Line, along with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, officially kicked off the 2014 cruise season at Cruiseport Boston today in a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring a number of local and state officials, along with Norwegian Dawn which arrived in Boston for her first cruise to Bermuda.

Norwegian Dawn’s Captain Teo Grbic and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Passenger Services Andy Stuart were on hand for the event held at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. Also in attendance were Boston Harbor Association President Vivian Li, Representative Nick Collins, City Council President Bill Linehan and City Councilor At Large Michael Flaherty. Bermuda’s Ministry of Tourism and Transportation representative Larry Jacobs and Pat Phillip-Fairn, Chief Product and Experiences Development Officer for the Bermuda Tourism Authority were also among the attendees. Following the ceremony, the special guests enjoyed a tour and lunch onboard Norwegian Dawn.

The day marked the first of Norwegian Dawn’s 22 round-trip cruises to Bermuda. The ship will depart on Fridays from Cruiseport Boston and sail 7-day Boston to Bermuda cruises from May 9, 2014 to Oct 31, 2014, with three days at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda. Fares start at $759 per person based on double occupancy. Norwegian Dawn will also sail a series of Canada & New England cruises from Boston to Quebec in September and early October.

The 2,224 passenger, 15-deck Norwegian Dawn boasts more than 1,000 ocean view staterooms - more than half with private balconies. Norwegian Dawn also offers 5,000 square-foot garden villas with stunning panoramic views of the ocean, open-air dining, whirlpool and private sunning and relaxation areas. Additionally, Norwegian Dawn features 10 restaurants, 12 bars and lounges, two pools, extensive kid and teen facilities, a sports deck, casino, fitness center and spa. The ship was purpose-built for Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising® experience, which gives guests the flexibility and freedom to create their own schedules onboard.

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Costa Cruises' Costa Diadema to Be Christened Nov. 7 at Genoa, Italy

HOLLYWOOD, FL, May 9: Costa Diadema, the new flagship of Costa Cruises, will be christened at Genoa, Italy, Nov. 7, 2014, and Genoa and Costa are hosting an event for locals and Costa Diadema guests. Costa Diadema is set to depart from Trieste, Italy, for Genoa on its preview cruise Nov. 1, followed by the ship's inaugural cruise departing Savona, Italy, Nov. 8. Costa Diadema's christening event celebrates Costa's long-standing relationship with Genoa, where the company was founded and has its headquarters. Parent company Costa Crociere is expanding its presence in Genoa by opening new offices for about 250 employees this summer at Piazza Piccapietra, next door to its current headquarters.

Costa Diadema is under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard near Venice. The cruise line is slated to take delivery of the ship Oct. 30. The flagship's inaugural activities are scheduled to last all month, including the preview cruise Nov. 1, the christening event Nov. 7 and three inaugural cruises departing Nov. 8, 15 and 22. The preview cruise starts Nov. 1 with an overnight at Trieste, departing at 1 p.m. the following day. Costa Diadema will call at Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Valetta, Malta; and Naples, Italy; with the cruise ending at Genoa Nov. 7 for the christening event.

Following the naming ceremony, Costa Diadema departs Genoa Nov. 8 for the first in a series of three 7-day western Mediterranean inaugural cruises with stopovers at Marseille, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Naples and Savona, Italy. The Nov. 15th and 22nd 7-day roundtrip Savona inaugural sailings include calls at Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Naples and La Spezia (Florence), Italy. Beginning Nov. 29 and for the rest of the 2014-15 winter season, the new flagship departs Savona weekly on that same itinerary.

Costa Cruises has invested approximately 550 million euros in the construction of Costa Diadema, employing nearly 1,000 shipyard workers and 2,500 employees from about 400 primarily Italian suppliers. The 132,500-ton, 3,724-guest Costa Diadema will offer many innovations on board including food and wine venues Vinoteca, Birreria (beer house), Japanese Teppanyaki, Piazza Pizza and Gelateria. New entertainment offerings include Country Rock Club, featuring "classic rock" music, and the Star Laser room, offering interactive laser games including Laser Maze. Portobello Market Piazza is an 11,840-square-foot area with designer stores and retail outlets. For more information on Cost Cruiss and Costa Diadema, visit

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Viking Ocean Cruises To Triple Size Of New Fleet

LOS ANGELES, May 9 As a result of strong customer demand, Viking Ocean Cruises today announced it will launch two additional ocean ships, bringing the total number of ships in its new fleet to three. Viking Sea and Viking Sky will both debut in 2016 and will be sister ships to the 930-passenger Viking Star, which is currently under construction and will set sail in early 2015. Like their sister ship, Viking Sea and Viking Sky will sail in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as two new itineraries for 2016 that explore the British Isles.

It was just one year ago that Viking announced its plans to expand into the ocean cruise segment, marking the travel industry's first new ocean cruise line in nearly a decade. With Viking Star's 2015 maiden season now more than 70 percent sold out and sales of 2016 sailings well underway, the company is expanding both its ocean and river product lines aggressively to meet increased traveler demand for destination-focused cruises. This announcement comes directly on the heels of Viking's news last month that it will launch 12 new river vessels in 2015, bringing the company's total river fleet to 64 vessels.

"The introduction of Viking Star next year will represent a distinct change in ocean cruising, an alternative to the mega-liners dominating the world's ports," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "It is our view that in the race to build enormous ships, some cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail. Based on the incredible response we have received, it is clear that our guests want a new experience to truly explore their destinations."

Leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are curated for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising 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. Guests 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.

Viking Star, Viking Sea & Viking Sky
Classified as "small ships," the 930-passenger all-veranda Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky are engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. Light and intimate, the ships feature understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:

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

NEW 2016 Itineraries
In addition to voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Viking will launch two new itineraries exploring the British Isles for 2016:

-- Into the Midnight Sun (15 days; Bergen - London): Cruise the deep-cut fjords of the fabled Norwegian coast. Sail into the northernmost reaches of the Arctic Circle, where the midnight sun illuminates spectacular vistas 24 hours a day. Trace the path of Vikings from Nordic splendor to Scottish wonder. This unparalleled journey follows in the wake of great explorers, from the ancient merchant streets of Bergen to tiny hamlets nestled in magnificent fjords; from the far-north beauty of Nordkapp to the remote outposts of Scotland's Shetland and Orkney Islands. It all culminates in glorious Edinburgh, where medieval splendor mingles with classic beauty.
-- Baltic Jewels & the Midnight Sun (29 days; Stockholm - London): Viking's most sweeping Scandinavia itinerary combines Viking Homelands and Into the Midnight Sun. On this 29-day cruise, enjoy 21 ports in 10 countries, including Baltic gems, Norway's magnificent fjords and overnight stays in Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Bergen.

For additional information, visit

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Royal Caribbean Orders Fourth Oasis-Class Vessel

MIAMI, May 9: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that it has agreed with STX France to move forward on the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship for delivery in 2018. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Fain and President and Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein, along with STX France Chief Executive Officer Laurent Castaing, announced the planned ship order at the keel-laying ceremony for the third Oasis-class ship at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

"The Oasis Class was a revolution in maritime design when it was launched in 2009. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas continue to be in a class by themselves both in terms of guest satisfaction and financial returns. Today's announcement is a reflection of their success," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We are thrilled to announce the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship during the keel-laying milestone of the third. This announcement is also a testament to the men and women of STX France who have worked so hard and so cooperatively on Oasis III."

The order is subject to documentation and satisfaction of financing and other customary conditions. Projected capital expenditures for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are $1.4 billion, $1.4 billion, $2.2 billion, $0.3 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, taking into account this order and existing ship orders.

Known for pushing the boundaries and as part of the cruise line's continuous improvement mantra, Oasis III will be approximately 20 percent more energy efficient than Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, which already are the most energy efficient cruise ships in the world. The fourth Oasis-class ship will further build on that efficiency.

"We are very excited that Royal Caribbean has agreed to move forward with a fourth Oasis-class ship demonstrating their confidence in STX France to construct the most superior cruise ships in the world," said Laurent Castaing, Chief Executive Officer, STX France. "We look forward to advancing the efficiencies of our ship building process to produce the most innovative ships that vacationers have come to expect from Royal Caribbean."

The keel laying of the third Oasis-class ship marks an important milestone in the development of the ship, as it signifies the beginning of its physical construction. During the ceremony, a 1,000-ton block measuring 32-ft by 154-ft was lifted by crane into the building dock. Newly minted coins were placed under the keel and will stay in place there until the end of the ship's construction. Once the ship is near to completion, the coins are retrieved and presented to the ship's Captain and crew to be placed onboard the ship. According to maritime tradition, the coins are said to bring luck to the ship during its construction process and then to its Captain and crew when she is sailing out at sea. Still to be named, the third Oasis-class ship will be delivered in spring 2016.

The third and fourth Oasis-class ships will join Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, which took the cruise industry by storm with their launch in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and share the title of the largest ships in the world. They feature a revolutionary design with a split superstructure and the cruise line's neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas. At 225,282 gross registered tons and spanning 16 decks with 2,700 staterooms, the Oasis-class ships also introduced extraordinary "firsts" at sea such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, the AquaTheater high-diving performance venue, and the Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants. The Oasis Class also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H2O Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others. Additional information can be found on

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Oceania Cruises Welcomes Home Insignia

BARCELONA, Spain, May 8: Oceania Cruises welcomed Insignia back to the fleet this morning following a two-year charter and an extensive dry dock. Insignia is the first of three sister ships from Oceania Cruises to undergo a massive $50 million refurbishment. Nautica and Regatta are scheduled to enter dry dock and receive similar enhancements over the next four weeks. Renovating three ships from bow to stern in a six-week time period marks the largest refurbishment program in Oceania Cruises’ history.

The multimillion dollar makeover brings many of the interior design elements from the award-winning Marina and Riviera ships to Insignia, Nautica and Regatta while maintaining the warmth, intimacy and charm Oceania Cruises’ guests cherish in the 684-passenger ships. In addition to elegant new furnishings and décor for all public rooms, suites and staterooms, Insignia added several new guest experiences, including the ever-popular Baristas coffee bar, a cook-to-order grill at Terrace Café and new outdoor recreation on the Sports Deck.

In preparation for two special 180-day voyages, a version of the Artist Loft enrichment center was added exclusively to Insignia during the dry dock. The “Around the World in 180 Days” cruise departs from Miami on Jan. 10, 2015, and the “180 Day World Odyssey” sails from Miami on July 8, 2015.

“This is a milestone moment for Oceania Cruises. Not only did we welcome home a family member with Insignia rejoining the fleet today, but she comes out of dry dock essentially a new ship, reflecting an even higher level of elegance and design,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Oceania Cruises. “By adding features our guests adore from Marina and Riviera to Insignia, Nautica and Regatta, it further enhances the upscale cruise experience and exceptional value for which Oceania Cruises is known throughout the industry.”

Notable Enhancements Include:

• Suites & Staterooms: There are significant updates to the Owner’s and Vista Suites with an all-
new bathroom design that is elegant, yet contemporary in nature. The bathroom features wall-to- wall marble with a decorative inlay centerpiece, along with an expansive granite vanity that sits opposite an inviting oversized shower. The Penthouse Suites received all-new furnishings, rich upholstery and a vibrant, yet calming palette that reflects the sea, sun and sky. All staterooms were appointed with new décor elements featuring a refreshing sense of style and elegance.
• Terrace Café: The main casual dining option on board the ship is brand new from top to bottom. A resplendent collection of new furnishings, floorings, fixtures and lighting accompanies the stunning floor-to-ceiling window views. The pièce de résistance is the cook-to-order grill featuring delicacies such as steaks, chops and lobster tail.
• Baristas: The popular coffee bar where master baristas prepare complimentary illy brand espressos and cappuccinos throughout the day now makes its debut on Insignia. Baristas is the perfect location to relax with a beverage in one of the comfortable lounge chairs or sofas and is centrally located on deck 5, near the Grand Dining Room.
• Upper Decks: The Sports Deck, located atop the ship, received a new miniature golf course and shuffleboard courts, along with other deck games. The main pool area, ringed with luxurious sun beds, shimmers with blue and white mosaics, beautifully contrasted with rich teak decking.
• Relaxation & Enrichment: The Canyon Ranch SpaClub exudes a sense of tranquility with new décor elements including a flowing mosaic display. Inside the spa, guests will enjoy peaceful steam rooms with beautiful new tile mosaics, along with renovated changing areas. The all-new Artist Loft is tucked inside Horizons Bar, providing a variety of enrichment programs for guests to enjoy.
• Lounges: All of the ship’s main lounges are refreshed and refurbished. Horizons bar features a new color palette of soothing sea blues, cocoa brown and mint, complemented by new sofa, chair and table furnishings. Martinis maintains its classic ambiance with all-new furnishings. The Insignia Lounge was completely refurbished with new carpeting and chairs, along with luxurious new fabrics and upholsteries.

The transformed Insignia set sail this afternoon for a 7-day “Jewels of Europe” cruise. Similar enhancements will be added to Nautica and Regatta during their upcoming dry docks, with Nautica scheduled to debut on May 16, 2014, for a 10-day “Cliffs & Coves” cruise and Regatta on June 7, 2014, for a 10-day “Majesty of Alaska” cruise. For more information, visit

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Princess Cruises to Screen FIFA World Cup Games on Movies Under the Stars

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 8: Princess Cruises will delight soccer fans by showing all 64 games of the upcoming FIFA World Cup aboard nine cruise ships during the June 12-July 13 tournament. The matches will air on the line’s signature Movies Under the Stars® outdoor screens, which have space for hundreds of guests to enjoy the action. Soccer fans will also enjoy themed entertainment and activities, including World Cup trivia, face painting with favorite team flags, team cheering sections and soccer-themed contests with prizes. World Cup games will be shown aboard:

• Dawn Princess
• Diamond Princess
• Emerald Princess
• Regal Princess
• Royal Princess
• Ruby Princess
• Sapphire Princess
• Sea Princess
• Sun Princess

“Our guests won’t miss the excitement of the World Cup while sailing with Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “What better way to enjoy this dynamic tournament than on our giant outdoor movie screens against the backdrop of sea and sky, while enjoying the wonderful amenities of a Princess cruise vacation.”

The World Cup is just one of many special events shown on the Movies Under the Stars screens, including Monday Night Football, the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. The giant LED screens are more than 300 square feet in size, with a 69,000-watt sound system and have sufficient lighting power to be seen clearly at mid-day and heard even while the ship is moving at full speed, offering cruise guests a movie experience comparable to the best shoreside movie theater. Additional information is available on the company's website at

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Carnival Cruise Lines To Give Away The Ultimate Summer Party to the Most Spirited Office in Houston

MIAMI, May 8: Carnival Cruise Lines, Texas’ largest cruise operator, and CBS Radio Houston are searching for the most spirited office in Houston for the chance to win the Ultimate Summer Office Partya day of vacation-inspired fun for up to 100 people aboard one of Carnival’s Galveston-based cruise ships. Through a fun and easy photo contest conducted by Carnival and four leading Houston radio stations, those working for local companies in the greater Houston area can enter by submitting a new “vacation-ready” photo with their colleagues until May 23.

From a team selfie in sunglasses to board shorts in the board room, co-workers are encouraged to submit group shots that demonstrate they are ready for a day of vacation fun with their work friends. Entrants can upload one photo per day during the contest period to any of the following CBS Radio Houston web sites (where complete contest rules can also be found):

• 100.3 The Bull: 
• Hot 95-7: 
• Mix 96-5: 
• SportsRadio 610:

The grand prize winner will be announced the week of May 26. The winning submission will receive the Ultimate Summer Office Party for up to 100 people aboard one of Carnival’s ships on a turnaround day at the Port of Galveston. It will be a day that’s all play and no work for guests on board who can ride the waterslide, enjoy the pools and open decks, feast on a variety of delicious foods and cocktails with their colleagues.

About Carnival Cruise Lines in Texas: Carnival pioneered year-round cruising from Galveston, Texas and currently operates two Galveston-based ships carrying more than 450,000 passengers annually – more than any other cruise operator. Carnival Magic offers seven-day Caribbean cruises and Carnival Triumph features four- and five-day departures to Mexico. The line will expand its operations in Galveston next year when Carnival Freedom launches seven-day sailings to the Caribbean in February 2015, marking the first time that a cruise line has deployed three year-round ships in Texas.
These ships feature a wide variety of innovations that are part of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program, including the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, and the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez, along with spectacular water slides, miniature golf courses and other exciting top-deck attractions (features vary by ship). For additional information on Carnival Cruise Lines, visit

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Mindi Abair & Joan Osborne Added To Lineup For GRAMMY® Festival At Sea: Women Who Rock

ATLANTA, May 8: GRAMMY(®)-nominated artists Mindi Abair and Joan Osborne are the latest performers added to the lineup for the GRAMMY Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock, which will set sail Nov. 4 - 8, 2014, in conjunction with Norwegian Cruise Line, the official cruise line of The Recording Academy(®) and the GRAMMY Awards(®). They join previously announced talent Shawn Colvin, Estelle, Skylar Grey, Emmylou Harris, Heart, and Indigo Girls, with more artists to be announced soon. Sailing from Miami aboard the beautiful Norwegian Pearl, this inaugural GRAMMY Festival at Sea will offer guests the opportunity to celebrate GRAMMY-winning and/or -nominated women who rock, while sailing to Grand Bahama Island and Nassau, Bahamas.

Additionally, a GRAMMY Chapter Stage has been added to enhance the experience of this four-day music festival at sea. Featuring panel discussions and workshops with participating artists and other music professionals, the GRAMMY Chapter Stage will also spotlight emerging and established talent from each of The Recording Academy's 12 Chapter cities around the country. Selected by the Chapters to represent their respective regions, artists on the GRAMMY Chapter Stage will reflect a wealth of musically diverse styles, and all participating artists tie in to the "women who rock" theme. With no shortage of music and live performances on board, guests should prepare to be floored by the towering vocals of these remarkably talented artists and can also look forward to other fun activities hosted by these chart-topping ladies, as well as one-of-a-kind opportunities to interact with the artists while sailing.

No cruise is complete without stops at sun-soaked ports, and guests on this GRAMMY Festival at Sea will visit Grand Bahama Island and Nassau in the Bahamas. Known as one of the most family friendly islands in The Bahamas, Grand Bahama Island is a nature enthusiast's dream, with several easily accessible nature-based activities. Kayaking, airboat eco-adventures, dolphin experiences, and bike tours are just a handful of the adventures waiting for guests in this Bahamian paradise.

In addition to all of the activities and entertainment offered aboard the GRAMMY Festival at Sea, guests will also be able to take advantage of Norwegian Pearl's 13 bars and lounges, 19 dining experiences, outdoor pool, hot tubs, expansive spa and fitness center, and much more. Guests also are invited to visit the outdoor rock climbing wall, shoot hoops on the sports court, bowl a few frames in the ship's bowling alley, or try their luck in the Pearl Club Casino. Norwegian Pearl features a wide range of stateroom categories to fit all lifestyles and budgets, from the perfectly appointed inside staterooms to luxurious penthouse suites in the ship's exclusive complex, The Haven.

The GRAMMY Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock is produced by Sixthman, the industry leader in music festivals at sea, in partnership with The Recording Academy. This highly anticipated music experience is now on sale. For additional information, please visit For a special Mother's Day promotion and to enter to win a free cruise, visit

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Crystal Cruises' Industry-First Jogging Adventures Let Active Travelers See Sites "On The Run"

LOS ANGELES, May 7: Crystal Cruises is inviting active travelers to lace up their running shoes and bring their healthy lifestyles along on their luxury cruise vacationson board and ashore. The luxury line, renowned for its finely crafted shore programs, is debuting brand new Site Running Crystal Adventures with Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity European cruises beginning in May. An industry first, the new escorted experiences offer intimate and invigorating scenic 5-10k runs that vary from jogs past historical sites to nature runs through magnificent parks. These new offerings are the latest in Crystal's rapidly expanding global repertoire of active group excursions, created to accommodate guests who want to maintain their commitment to exercise and relish unique and intimate ways to explore destinations.

-- Along Dubrovnik's River Ombla and the old train route to Brgat villagea path usually only traveled by localsand on to meet the city's cable car for a ride to UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town Dubrovnik.
-- From Greenock, Scotland, along the inclines, declines, worn and less taken paths surrounding Loch Lomond, known as the Queen of Scottish lakes, set amongst the rolling green hills of the Highlands.
-- Among St. Petersburg's gilded Baroque architecture, across the Neva River to Vasilievsky Island, past Peter the Great's lush summer garden, then on to the fabled Church on the Spilled Blood.
-- Beside Amsterdam's tree-lined canals, through pedestrian-only areas like the Waterlooplein flea market, and past iconic locales like Anne Frank's House and museums such as the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh.
-- From Monte Carlo, on a rolling path along the French Riviera, around St. Jean Cap-Ferrat peninsula and through the quaint village of Villefranche-sur-Mer to Beaulieu-sur-Mer, rewarded by an optional swim in the Mediterranean Sea.
-- Around Cork's quaint Irish town of Cobh, filled with colorful row houses, a hill-top, neo-Gothic cathedral, and magnificent harbor views.
-- Through old Bordeauxa UNESCO World Heritage Site only accessible by footpast landmarks including the medieval Cailhau Gate, Napoleon and Chaban-Delmas Bridge crossings, the world's first American consulate, and other cathedrals, theatres and monuments.

...with more excursions to come in other destinations around the world. Starting at $69 for approximately one to four hours, all outings include comfortable air-conditioned transportation to/from the course's beginning and/or end, instructor-led warm-ups and stretching beforehand, guide-narrated sightseeing stops, reflective safety gear, and healthy refreshments such as bottled water, power snacks, and fresh juice en route.

"Site Running adventures are yet another new and exciting way Crystal has created to explore destinations, combining fitness interests with sightseeing" says John Stoll, vice president of land operations. "Recreational joggers can get an intimate overview of an area on foot, with expert insight and guidance, while sharing the encouragement and team-oriented camaraderie fostered by group exercise."

Crystal has long been committed to offering a host of health and fitness options to its active, travel-savvy guests, both on its award-winning ships and ashore. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity both feature luxuriously-equipped, fully-staffed fitness centers on each of its ships, specialty classes such as 'Tour de Cycle' spin, yoga and Pilates Reformer(®) sessions (select voyages), while each onboard dining venue features fresh, healthful options that cater to most any dietary restrictions and interests. On land, other active adventures run the gamut from river rafting, kayaking, and rock climbing to volcano hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. In 2014, 25 Crystal cruises of seven to 14 days will sail through the Mediterranean, Northern and Western Europe and the British Isles. For more information, visit

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Legend of the Seas to Deliver the Wonders of Southeast Asia, Australia & South Pacific in 2015-16

MIAMI, May 7: Royal Caribbean International today announced Legend of the Seas’ year-round deployment for 2015-16, offering itineraries to beautiful destinations throughout Southeast Asia from Singapore in the summer season, and sailings to idyllic settings in Australia and the South Pacific during the winter season from the cruise line’s new homeport of Brisbane, Australia. With Mariner of the Seas’ also sailing from Singapore in the winter season, Legend of the Seas’ new summer season will mark the first time that the cruise line will offer year-round sailings from Singapore. Additionally, Legend of the Seas will join Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas to total a record deployment of four Royal Caribbean ships in Australia. Legend of the Seas 2015-16 Southeast Asia, Australia and South Pacific cruises will open for sale on May 21, 2014.

Legend of the Seas will begin its 2015 summer with a 15-night Westbound Panama Canal crossing, departing in April from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to San Diego, Calif. From there, the ship will embark on a trio of sailings across the Pacific to Singapore. A 10-night Hawaii cruise from Ensenada, Mexico, will take guests to the islands of Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii, with a cruise by the world famous and still-very active Kilauea Volcano, and conclude at Honolulu, Oahu. From there, Legend of the Seas will sail a 17-night itinerary to Sydney, Australia, via the French Polynesian islands, Fiji and New Caledonia. The ship will then complete its half-way-around-the-world voyage to Singapore via the north coast of Australia.

While homeported in Singapore, Legend of the Seas will sail a variety of 3- to 10-night roundtrip itineraries throughout Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam through mid-November. Vacationers also can choose among two consecutive 14-night itineraries in September, a southbound sailing from Singapore to Perth (Fremantle), Australia, followed by a northbound return, both taking guests to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Western Australia.

Legend of the Seas will then transition from Singapore to its new homeport of Brisbane on an 18-night itinerary, departing in late November. During the cruise line’s first season sailing from the Australian city, vacationers can choose among a wide range of 8- to 11-night, round-trip itineraries that take them to Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands and Fiji in the South Pacific. The ship also will offer 7-night Queensland sailings which feature an overnight at Cairns. Additionally, a 14-night New Zealand itinerary will take guests to Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa, and Dunedin, as well as cruise Dusky, Doubtful, and Milford sounds.

Recently having undergone an extensive revitalization, Legend of the Seas offers guests seven dining options, including the cruise line’s signature Chops Grille steakhouse, Izumi Asian Cuisine, Park Café gourmet deli, and the exclusive Chef’s Table, a multi-course dining and wine-pairing experience hosted by the executive chef and sommelier. Most exciting has been the addition of the Centrum aerial-acrobatic extravaganza, making the ship’s central five-deck atrium an unexpectedly spectacular entertainment venue. Every stateroom and bathroom also have been renewed and new ship-wide technology enhancements, such as an oversized LED movie screen poolside, digital signage at elevator lobbies, flat-panel televisions in staterooms, and bow-to-stern WiFi service, help offer guests the most contemporary vacation experience. Suite guests and the most loyal Crown & Anchors Society members also respectively enjoy exclusive access to the new Concierge Club and Diamond Club lounges, while the youngest guests, age six- to 36-month old, can rest soundly in the ship’s new Royal Babies & Tots Nursery. Throughout, guests will enjoy Royal Caribbean’s world-renowned friendly and engaging GOLD Anchor Service. For additional information, visit

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Princess Cruises Welcomes Regal Princess to the Fleet with Inauguration Sale

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 7: To commemorate the upcoming debut of its new ship Regal Princess, Princess Cruises is offering a cruise sale with special gifts on more than 100 itineraries, including voyages during Regal Princess’ maiden seasons in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. During the Regal Princess Inauguration Sale, which runs through June 3, guests can join the celebration with festive extra touches to enhance their vacation. Guests can toast the new ship or their own special occasion with a free bottle of the renowned Nicolas Feuillatte French champagne, as well as receive stateroom location upgrades and a reduced deposit.

The sale allows guests to be among the first to experience the new cruise ship aboard voyages during Regal Princess’ maiden season in the Mediterranean this summer, or when she arrives stateside this fall for her maiden Caribbean season. Guests can also choose to celebrate with a cruise vacation to other destinations including the Caribbean, Canada and New England, Mexico, Panama Canal, California Coastal, Tahiti, Hawaii, and Asia. Guests booking voyages five days or less will enjoy a special reduced deposit of $50 per person during the sale, or $100 per person for longer voyages.

Examples of Inauguration Sale pricing and itineraries include:

• Caribbean cruise — 7 days; from $699 interior, $999 balcony
• Mexico cruise — 10 days; from $999 interior, $1,499 balcony
• Tahiti cruise — 10 days; from $1,499 interior, $2,199 balcony
• Panama Canal cruise — 11 days; from $1,199 interior, $1,699 balcony
• Grand Asia cruise — 17 days; from $1,399 interior, $2,399 balcony

The Inauguration Sale runs through 11:59 p.m. PDT on June 3, 2014 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy. More information about the cruise sale and pricing can be found at Information about other cruise deals and promotions can be found at

Regal Princess, a sister ship to Royal Princess set to sail May 20, 2014, will offer its 3,560 guests a variety of enticing features, including a soaring atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas; the Princess Live! television studio; a dedicated pastry shop; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

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Un-Cruise Adventures Increases 2015 River Cruise Departures Along the Columbia, Snake & Willamette Rivers

Seattle, WA, May 6: Seattle-based small ship cruise line Un-Cruise Adventures adds more river cruise opportunities in the Pacific Northwest with the S.S. Legacy scheduled for 34 departures on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers from April-November 2015. The line is also offering a savings on fall 2014 river cruises. An adventure savings of $400/couple is offered for bookings made by June 20, 2014. The savings is applicable for river cruises departing August-November 2014.

“The popularity of USA river cruising is growing,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “You don’t have to travel to Europe for a scenic, inclusive river cruise when we have one right here in the United States on the historic Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers. We sail roundtrip Portland, Oregon for convenient air connections.”

In 2015, the S.S. Legacy becomes Un-Cruise Adventures full-time river cruise boat sailing weeklong voyages roundtrip Portland, Oregon with tours included in every port. Highlights include a jet boat tour into Hells Canyon, Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Dam, private tasting at a Washington winery, Fort Walla Walla, Maryhill Museum, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Astoria’s Columbia River Maritime Museum, Fort Clatsop and transit of eight locks.

The rich history of the rivers comes alive through shoreside excursions and lively on board presentations focused on Lewis and Clark’s expedition, Oregon Trail, Native Americans, early pioneers and entrepreneurs. Todd Weber, a guest expert on Lewis & Clark, joins four departures in 2015 for additional on board presentations. Singing duo Letters from Home brings their 1940s style harmonies, tap dancing and comedy to the October 11, 2014 departure.

The 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer, emulates the steam ships found along the rivers in the early 1900s. Travelers enjoy the ambiance of an elegant coastal steamer with modern conveniences. Public spaces include an elegant Klondike Dining Room, Grand Salon with dance floor, wine bar and rollicking Pesky Barnacle Saloon. Wellness amenities include two hot tubs, a sauna, an included massage, fitness equipment and yoga on deck. An elevator connects three decks. A spacious owner’s suite with separate bedroom, a classic wet bar, dining room table and living room provides space for private gatherings, especially for families booking multiple cabins. Evening hors d’oeuvres are served en suite.

Inclusive cruises offer a comprehensive historical perspective on board and ashore with guided tours in each port combined with innovative meals; premium wine, beer and spirits; all taxes and fees and transfers. Charters and group incentives are available. For additional information, visit

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Norwegian’s New South America Sailings Available For Booking

May 6: Norwegian Cruise Line’s new South America itineraries for 2015/16 are open for booking beginning, along with alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida, and select Eastern and Panama Canal cruises from Miami.

Norwegian Sun will return to South America for the first time since 2010, sailing 14-day South American voyages between Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina from Nov 4, 2015 to March 26, 2016. Ports of call include Puerto Montt, Chile; Puerto Chacabuco, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay. Guests on board will also enjoy a scenic cruise through the Chilean Fjords, Strait of Magellan and around Cape Horn.

Norwegian Sun will also offer several other itineraries from the West Coast in the fall of 2015, including: a 4-day Pacific Coastal from Vancouver on Sept 28, 2015; three 11-day Mexican Riviera cruises from San Diego; a 17-day voyage to South America from San Diego on Nov 4, 2015, including an overnight in Lima, Peru, with an optional overnight excursion to Macchu Picchu; and a 20-Day South American Explorer cruise from Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile to San Francisco on April 9, 2016, also offering an optional overnight excursion to Macchu Picchu.

Returning to the Caribbean from Europe, Norwegian Spirit will offer alternating 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries departing Port Canaveral, Florida every Saturday from Nov 21, 2015 through April 16, 2016. Norwegian Spirit’s Eastern Caribbean itinerary visits Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The ship’s Western Caribbean itinerary will include stops in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Guests can also book the ship’s Transatlantic voyage from Barcelona to Port Canaveral, a 16-day itinerary departing on November 5, 2015, with ports of call in Madeira, Spain; St. John’s, Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and St. Thomas, USVI.

Guests who wish to sail the Eastern Caribbean from Miami have two additional itineraries available for booking today aboard Norwegian Pearl: an 8-day cruise departing on Jan 2, 2015 that also includes a stop at Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay, as well as a 7-day voyage departing on Feb 6, 2015. Also on sale today is an 11-day roundtrip Panama Canal cruise from Miami in fall 2015 aboard Norwegian Pearl that will include a stop at Norwegian’s new island in Belize, Harvest Caye. Departing on Oct 18, 2015, the itinerary includes ports of call in Cartagena, Colombia; a daytime transit of the Panama Canal; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Banana Coast, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico.

For more information, visit

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American Cruise Lines and Present “Exploring the American Experience”

GUILFORD, CT, May 6: American Cruise Lines is pleased to announce “Exploring the American Experience,” a new initiative with to promote American history, culture and literature.

“As the premium provider of American river cruises, we knew immediately this joint initiative was a perfect match,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “We have a long standing relationship with and this allows us to combine two ideologies which aim to promote the beauty and history of this country.”

Exploring the American Experience will provide readers with enticing educational content focused solely on the United States. Readers can retrace the steps of the adventures of Lewis & Clark, read about the gun slingers of the Wild West, Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans, or the true story behind the famed novel, Moby Dick. Exploring the American Experience with and American Cruise Lines will transport readers back in time and enable them to experience the intricate fabric of American history and how it helped shape the world. The program will run for three months and online components will include articles as well as tailored videos.

American Cruise Lines’ fleet of elegant riverboats and small cruise ships take guests to the most fascinating U.S. destinations, including the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, the Mississippi River, and the U.S. East Coast, from Maine to Florida. The line most recently helped revive paddlewheel river cruising in America, with two authentic paddlewheelers currently operating on the Mississippi and Columbia Rivers. With four more new paddlewheelers on the way, the company has big plans for river cruising in America.

“We hope people understand that our very goal as a provider of domestic river cruises is to offer a unique way for people to “Explore the American Experience,” added Beebe. “We couldn’t have asked for a more strategic and compelling partnership than this one with”

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

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Windstar Debuts First of Three New All Suite Yachts

Barcelona, Spain, May 5: Windstar Cruises debuted the all new, all suite Star Pride today in Barcelona, Spain during a christening ceremony and pier-side fiesta to celebrate the launch of the luxury yacht’s inaugural voyage through Spain, France, and Italy. Mrs. Nancy Anschutz, wife of Mr. Philip Anschutz, owner of Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, Windstar’s parent company, was honored as Godmother of the yacht, successfully breaking the bottle of Veuve Clicquot in front of a crowd of past guests, media, and trade partners. Mrs. Anschutz was joined on stage by her husband Philip, Andy Todd, CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts®; Hans Birkholz, CEO of Windstar Cruises; Captain Alan MacAry, 15-year Windstar veteran who serves as master of Star Pride, and Father Marto Rodriguez. The 200 person intimate gathering also celebrated the launch of Star Pride with a pier-side fiesta, enjoying local entertainment such as a Catalonian Rumba band and street performers from Las Ramblas, as well as Spanish tapas and sangria.

“Star Pride is the first of the three small luxury cruise ships added to the Windstar yacht fleet, and it leads the way as Windstar enters a new era of small ship cruising,” said Hans Birkholz, chief executive officer of Windstar Cruises. “We are honored to have Mrs. Anschutz serve in the prestigious role of Godmother. It’s fitting to have her christen Windstar’s first yacht in 16 years as the Anschutz family and Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, have been an integral part of Windstar’s transformation the last few years.”

Star Pride’s debut follows an intensive 3-week transformation period in which all of the yacht’s public spaces, dining venues, and suites were updated to meet Windstar’s casually elegant, warm, and contemporary style. Windstar partnered with Alan McVitty and Trimline Interiors, both of whom spearheaded the recent $18 million renovation of Windstar’s sailing yachts, to complete Star Pride’s stem-to-stern transformation in Barcelona. The updates to Star Pride’s décor include new furnishings, upholstery, lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, window treatments, and floor coverings. Additionally, Star Pride introduced Windstar’s new Destination Suites. Each of the Owner’s Suites showcases a signature Windstar destination, complete with cultural décor and local art work. Windstar will eventually implement the Destination Suites fleet-wide.

Following Star Pride’s inaugural voyage, the yacht will spend its summer season in the Mediterranean. In the fall, Star Pride will embark on Windstar’s brand new itineraries to the exotic wonders of Asia and Arabia. Star Pride will offer guests four new unique voyages to choose from, including Black Sea Tapestry, a 7-day cruise through the enigmatic, once hidden, wonders of the Black Sea. Guests can cruise the southernmost tip of the Aegean on Pride of the Aegean, a 9-day cruise from Athens to Istanbul. Riviera Enchantment discovers the glamour, and the excitement of the world's most famous yachting playgrounds on a 7-day voyage round trip from Rome. Star Pride will also sail through the Corinth Canal, a first for Windstar, on the 9-day cruise, Venetian Passageways, from Athens to Venice. Additionally, in May 2014, the all suite yacht will dock in Monte Carlo and feature an exclusive Grand Prix themed voyage.

Star Pride is the first of three new power yachts to join the Windstar fleet. Star Breeze will begin its maiden voyage on May 6, 2015, from Nice, France. Star Legend, will make its inaugural voyage on May 25, 2015, from Rome, Italy. All three yachts are identical, with a guest capacity of 212 in 106 suites. At 10,000 gross tons, each yacht is 440 feet long with a breadth of 63 feet and six passenger decks. Similar to Star Pride, Star Legend and Star Breeze will undergo major transformations to public spaces, suites, and dining venues to fit Windstar’s intimate, casually elegant style of small ship cruising.

The yachts’ size fit perfectly with Windstar’s small ship philosophy of exploring secluded coves and hidden harbors. Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler, Windstar’s itineraries offer in-depth enrichment experiences that include local entertainment, authentic cuisine, and small group shore excursions. For more information, visit Windstar Cruises online at

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Stockholm Expects 470,000 Cruise Passengers in 2014

Stockholm is a popular cruise destination for ship owners and cruise passengers. In 2014, an estimated 274 international cruise ships with a total of about 470,000 passengers, will put in at Ports of Stockholm. Both ship owners and cruise ship travelers rate Stockholm as one of the most popular destinations in the world. Last year, cruise ship travelers voted Stockholm Europe’s Best Cruise Destination; the city was in competition with Norwegian fjords, Saint Petersburg, Barcelona and Venice. The award is presented by Cruise International Magazine.

“Investments in recent years in modernized cruise terminals, revamped docks, and the great collaboration within the Stockholm Cruise Network has made Stockholm more and more attractive for international cruises,” says Henrik Ahlqvist, Manager Cruise & Ferry, Deputy Harbor Master, Ports of Stockholm.

Stockholm’s wide selection of activities suits people looking for organized tours, as well as those who want to discover the city on their own. And the players in the Stockholm Cruise Network continually develop products to reach new target groups, such as families with children and the incentive and LGBT segments.

“Cruise passengers choose Stockholm for all it has to offer as Scandinavia’s premier travel destination, whether it be food, museums, design, shopping, or music. Thanks to its compact size, the city is a perfect cruise destination for daytrippers as well as turnarounds,” says Claudia Quas, project manager of Stockholm Cruise Network. She added, “Stockholm’s hotels and attractions are generally considered ‘high class,’ and the city itself gets very high customer satisfaction ratings on shore excursions. Ever the dynamic city, Stockholm continues to entice passengers with new attractions and events each year.”

Stockholm is a popular destination for cruise passengers. A recent survey showed that 97% of passengers go ashore in Stockholm and spend an average of 5.9 hours on land, compared to a European average of 87% and 4.8 hours.

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Mayor of Barcelona To Greet Signature Jazz Cruise Guests, Onboard Performances by Diana Krall

Monte Carlo, Monaco, May 5: Guests aboard the upcoming Signature Jazz Cruise on Seabourn Sojourn will have the opportunity to spend two days in Barcelona as guests of Mayor Xavier Trias, touring the city’s wineries, restaurants and historic sites before attending the Barcelona Jazz Festival to view a performance by Grammy® Award winning vocalist Diana Krall. Krall will also perform exclusively for Signature guests while onboard the cruise as it journeys through the Mediterranean. The Signature Jazz Cruise sails from Sept 30, 2014 through Oct 10, 2014, stopping in majestic European destinations along the way, including Monte Carlo, Sanary-sur-Mer, St. Tropez, Portovenere, Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Rome, San Remo, Marseille, Palamos, Palma de Mallorca, and Barcelona.

“We have put together an exceptional cultural and travel experience for our guests,” says Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC. “To be in Barcelona with the city’s Mayor, to watch Diana Krall perform just for them right before she appears at the Barcelona Jazz Festival – it’s an unprecedented level of luxury.”

The cruise sets sail on Sept 30, 2014 from Monte Carlo, Monaco, escorting travelers on elite daily excursions in breathtaking Mediterranean ports of call including Sanary-sur-Mer, St. Tropez, Portovenere, Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Rome, San Remo, Marseille, Palamos and Palma de Mallorca before landing in Barcelona on October 10, 2014. A wide variety of excursions are available to the guests on a daily basis, while fine dining, fine wines and jazz concerts fill the nights. The luxury vacation is available to only 450 passengers, who will travel in the Seabourn Sojourn’s opulent suites, attended to by their white glove service, cuisine and premier amenities.

Ms. Krall will perform throughout the second half of the voyage in a series of intimate concert settings spanning four nights, with an all-star band of internationally recognized jazz artists holding concerts during the first five nights of the journey. Vocalist Karrin Allyson, pianist Shelly Berg, trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist John Clayton, reed player Anat Cohen, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and drummer Jeff Hamilton represent the finest in contemporary jazz and will perform as a band each of those nights as well as breaking into different combos for additional afternoon and late night shows. Krall will be featured on opening night of the Barcelona Jazz Festival, which Signature guests are invited to attend.

An international leader in full-service travel events including their trademark 2,000 passenger music cruise programs, Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC created The Signature Jazz Cruise to fulfill the dreams of guests seeking a more luxurious, exclusive and intimate experience by combining exceptional travel and superb entertainment. “Being able to present extraordinary talent onboard such as Diana Krall is a dream come true for our jazz fans and for our company. We have produced over 30 of the world’s greatest jazz cruises over the years, but this is the most exciting program we have ever offered”, says Mr. Lazaroff.

Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC is the worldwide leader in the production of full ship charter music cruises, especially jazz cruises. ECP’s current programs include The Jazz Cruise (since 2001), The Smooth Jazz Cruise (since 2004) and other specialty cruises. Past cruises have included The Elvis Cruise, Playboy Jazz Cruise, Dave Koz Cruise and North Sea Jazz Cruise. More than 70,000 guests have sailed on an ECP cruise. For further information, visit

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Carnival's Third Ship from Port Canaveral, Carnival Liberty,
Launches Year-Round Service from Space Coast

MIAMI, May 5: Further bolstering its position as Central Florida’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Liberty departed on its inaugural voyage from Port Canaveral, Florida, this weekend, becoming the line’s third year-round ship sailing from the Space Coast. With the arrival of Carnival Liberty, Carnival will increase its annual passenger count from Port Canaveral to 600,000, more than any other cruise operator.

On Carnival Liberty’s new schedule from Port Canaveral, vacationers can select from a variety of 5-, 7- and 8-day Caribbean itineraries conveniently departing from the Central Florida while enjoying a wide range of dining, bar and entertainment innovations that were added as part of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program.

Carnival Liberty joins the totally transformed Carnival Sunshine, which launched year-round 5- to 8-day Caribbean departures from Port Canaveral last month, and Carnival Sensation, offering year-round 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises from the Space Coast.

In addition to three different year-round ships each with an exceptional number of features and facilities, vacationers have their choice of an unprecedented 200 cruises a year departing from Port Canaveral visiting 18 tropical islands throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida, the widest array of cruise lengths, durations and destinations from Central Florida.

“Port Canaveral is one of our fastest-growing homeports and deploying a third year-round ship from the Space Coast is a clear indication of the confidence we have in this important market,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “The dedicated efforts of the Canaveral Port Authority, as well as the outstanding support of our valued travel agent partners, have allowed us to achieve this unprecedented and historic growth,” he added.

According to Port Canaveral CEO John E. Walsh, “Carnival Liberty is Carnival’s third year-round ship and will increase their annual Port Canaveral passenger count to 600,000. We value the confidence Carnival continues to demonstrate in Port Canaveral and the customer service we provide for both our homeported and port of call ships. Carnival is a valued business partner and we extend a heartfelt welcome to our community to the captain and crew of the Carnival Liberty.”

Carnival Liberty’s year-round schedule from Port Canaveral features the best the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida have to offer. Five-day cruises call at Nassau, Freeport and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay or Key West, while 7-day western Caribbean voyages visit Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya with week-long eastern Caribbean sailings featuring at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau. Two different 8-day options are offered: a unique eastern Caribbean itinerary featuring Grand Turk, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and San Juan, and a southern Caribbean program visiting Aruba, Curacao or Bonaire, and Grand Turk.

Carnival Liberty has undergone an extensive multi-million-dollar makeover and features a wide range of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations. These include bar concepts such as the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, along with the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar and the EA SPORTS Bar where patrons can watch sporting events on a 16-screen video monitor wall or play popular EA SPORTS games. Dining innovations include Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, and the BlueIguana Cantina, serving authentic burritos and tacos.

Guests can also check out the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez with up to 20 family friendly and adult-oriented comedy shows per voyage, as well as signature “Fun Ship” elements such as a 214-foot-long Twister water slide, a Serenity adults-only retreat, a classic American-style steakhouse, a luxurious 14,500-square-foot spa, and fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups. For additional information, visit

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