The Online Cruise Travel Guide
Created by the Author of FODOR'S

tLinda Coffman's
Linda Coffman
Author & Cruise Authority

Cruise Lines & Ships Articles & Advice

Cruise Reviews

Before You Go 
On Board In Port Get a Fare Quote   Home Page

Cruise Essentials:

Site Search
Cruise News
Planning Tips
Packing & Lists
HOT Tips
Cruise Links
About Us

CLICK HERE for savings--CruiseCompete
Don't pay more than your tablemates...
CruiseCompete makes it easy to let independent agents compete to offer you the best deal.

Cruisers' favorites:

Cruise Travel Magazine
Cruise Travel

Porthole Cruise Magazine

Have a question or a review to submit?

Copyright © 1995-2015
Linda Coffman,

ll content is protected by United States Copyright Laws. Violators of our copyright, as well as bandwidth theft by "direct linking" of images, will be pursued by all means necessary. Find out more in
  Terms of Service

Cruise News
May 1-31, 2015

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

Return to's Cruise News Index & Cruise News Archive

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

Costa Cruises Puts the Spotlight on Stockholm for the New North European Itinerary of Costa Luminosa

Genoa, May 15: Costa Cruises' Costa Luminosa made its maiden call at Stockholm, Sweden, today as it repositioned to the Baltic Sea for the summer on a new seven-day itinerary. The 92,000-ton, 2,260-passenger ship will cruise a series of 15 "Jewels of the Baltic" voyages through mid August, visiting four iconic Baltic cities. The ship's arrival in Stockholm was celebrated with a ceremony whose participants included Elena Basile, Italian Ambassador to Sweden, Stefan Hansson, Chairman of the board of Ports of Stockholm, Thomas Andersson, CEO Stockholm Visitors Board, Henrik Ahlqvist, Manager Cruise & Ferry & Deputy Harbour Master, and Andrea Tavella, Sales & Marketing Director North Europe of Costa Cruises.

"Each year we work to propose something unique to our guests. Our aim, with the Costa Luminosa, is to offer a new way to enjoy North Europe. We have focused on quality, choosing few but select and incredibly charming cities in the Baltic Sea that guests can discover in the best way possible, thanks to the long stopovers that include overnight stays. Stockholm is the departure port and one of the strong points of this itinerary," states Andrea Tavella, Sales & Marketing Director North Europe of Costa Cruises. "During the two-day stopover, our guests will be able to fully enjoy an extensive tour of this splendid city. In the summer we expect to bring about 30,000 visitors to Stockholm. While most of these guests will be Italian, Spanish and French, we also expect a good number of Scandinavian customers".

Costa Luminosa, entered into service 2009, is one of the most beautiful and elegant ships of Costa Cruises fleet. One of the highlights is "Reclining Woman 2004", a wonderful sculpture by Fernando Botero, which is the focal point of the spectacular central atrium.

The one-week itinerary, "Jewels of the Baltic", departs from Stockholm, with a one-day and one-night stopover; from there the Costa Luminosa will continue to Helsinki (Finland); then two days and one night in St. Petersburg (Russia); a day call to Tallinn (Estonia) and return with one day and one night again in Stockholm.

In Stockholm, guests can choose from among a wide choice of excursions: a boat trip to the 14 islands comprising the city; or a bicycle trip in the royal gardens of Djurgården; a visit to the Royal Palace and the old city; a panoramic tour from the 130-metre-tall Sky View; a visit to the Vasa Museum, with the world's only fully preserved seventeenth-century ship; an evening at the Ice Bar; or shopping in the many design shops.

Helsinki (Finland) can be visited by boat or bike. Some of the many places of interest include the Parliament, the National Museum, Finlandia Hall, designed by the famous architect Alvar Aalto, and the new Opera Theatre. From Helsinki guests can discover the old city of Porvoo, with its historic centre and characteristic small wooden houses.

The two-day and one-night call to St. Petersburg, the Venice of the North, will allow guests to admire all its unique main attractions, including the Hermitage Museum, the beautiful palaces on the Neva, like the Winter Palace, the Nevsky Prospect, and The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. Guests can also attend a classical dance show or take a cruise on the city canals.

Tallinn instead is famous for its medieval historical centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The heart of the capital is also its Town Hall, a Gothic structure dating back to the 1400s, and next to Raeapteek, Europe's oldest municipal pharmacy that's still open for business.

Guests from North America can take advantage of reduced fares on Costa Luminosa's departures on May 23; June 6, 20 and 27; July 11 and 25; and August 1 and 8.

 • Back to the top of the news list

SeaDream Yacht Club’s 2015 Island Hopping Holiday Sailings

MIAMI, May 15: Whether sailing to Saint Lucia and relaxing among the beautiful inlets and bays of white sand or exploring the cays of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there’s no better way to enjoy the holiday season than getting away with family and friends aboard one of SeaDream Yacht Club’s 112-guest twin mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II. With itineraries sailing to the Caribbean’s most secluded destinations, guests will visit exclusive ports and harbors while enjoying the seasonal merriment aboard SeaDream.

“SeaDream’s 2015 holiday itineraries offer guests the chance to relax and enjoy the holiday season while exploring the exclusive ports and harbors we are known for visiting,” shares Bob Lepisto, president of SeaDream Yacht Club. “What better way to end the year and enjoy the holidays than stargazing from one of our signature Balinese Dream Beds while visiting the port of St. Barts.”

SeaDream Yacht Club’s 2015 holiday sailing highlights:

• St. Thomas to San Juan, Puerto Rico sails Dec 5–12, 2015. Ports include Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; Saba, Netherlands Antilles; Gustavia, St. Barts and Marigot, Saint Martin, F.W.I.; Soper’s Hole, Tortola, Great Harbour, Peter Island and White Bay, Jost van Dyke, B.V.I.; and Charlestown, Nevis.
• Marigot, St. Martin to Bridgetown, Barbados sails Dec 12-19, 2015. Ports include Bridgetown, Barbados; Mayreau and Port Elizabeth, Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Rodney Bay and Soufriere, Saint Lucia; Gustavia, St. Barts, Marigot, Saint Martin, and Grande De Anse, Martinique, F.W.I.; Falmouth Bay, Antigua.
• Bridgetown, Barbados Roundtrip sails Dec 19–27, 2015. Ports include Bridgetown, Barbados; Grande De Anse, Martinique, F.W.I.; Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia; St. George’s, Grenada; and Port Elizabeth, Bequia, Canouan Island, Tobago Cays, Chatham Bay, Union Island and Mayreau, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
• St. Thomas Roundtrip sails Dec 19–26, 2015. Ports include Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; South Friars Bay, St. Kitts; Gustavia, St. Barts, F.W.I.; Sandy Ground, Anguilla; Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, Soper’s Hole, Tortola, Great Harbour, Peter Island, and White Bay, Jost van Dyke, B.V.I.

Let SeaDream’s highly trained chefs prepare your holiday meals as they source ingredients from each destination’s local purveyors whenever possible. Creating menus that change daily, SeaDream continues to offer innovative dining from a traditional Japanese menu to an optional Raw Food menu. With activities available as part of the inclusive SeaDream voyage, guests have access to a host of water sports including wave runners, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, all of which can be launched directly from the yachts’ Marina.

For additional pampering, the SeaDream Spa is the only Thai-certified spa at sea. Boasting the highest therapist-to-guest ratio, SeaDream offers forty different therapies and treatments, many of which may be enjoyed outdoors, on deck in the private, open-air massage area. Defined by the statement, “It’s yachting, not cruising,” SeaDream Yacht Club offers guests the ultimate yachting experience and is the epitome of casual elegance, earning top accolades within the industry, including the title of Best Small Luxury Cruise Ship of 2015 by ForbesLife.

For additional information, visit

 • Back to the top of the news list

Mark Twain Itinerary on American Queen Announced

MEMPHIS, TN, May 15: The American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of the world’s largest and most opulent paddlewheel vessels, announces details for one of its best-selling itineraries around American author, Mark Twain. Taking place between Aug. 22-30, the nine-day voyage includes a tour of Twain’s hometown in Hannibal, Mo., onboard lectures from esteemed historians and special appearances by Mark Twain tribute artist, Lewis Hankins.

“The Mississippi River played a major influence in Twain’s work from his days as a riverboat pilot to stories like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “We can’t think of a more compelling way to explore his life than by offering a voyage complete with top-of-the-line entertainment and programming.”

Highlights of the trip include:

• Included pre-cruise hotel stay in St. Louis, Mo.
• Onboard presentations from Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Ct. and Henry Sweets, executive director of Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, Hannibal, Mo. including:
- Life on the Mississippi, an interactive session including highlights of Twain’s time on the river, a special reading from the book and a “lightning round” of Mississippi River Jeopardy
- Mark Twain Today: His Relevance and Reach, a discussion on what recently made Smithsonian magazine dub Mark Twain as the number one influence in pop culture
- An Evening with Mr. Clemens, an evening performance by Lewis Hankins, bringing Mark Twain to life
- Hannibal: Portrait of a River Town, a glimpse back to the founding of Hannibal in 1819 up to 1860, which encompasses Mark Twain’s boyhood years
- Tom Sawyer: Also Known as Samuel Clemens, a lecture introducing the people, places and events from Twain’s childhood that made their way into his classic novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- Q&A with Cindy Lovell, Henry Sweets and Lewis Hankins
- A Day at the Mark Twain Museum, a lecture from Henry Sweets on the unusual inquiries, famous visitors and frustrated genealogists who visit Twain’s boyhood home
• Included tour of Hannibal, Mo. aboard the “Twainland Express” with stops to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
• Musical matinee by the American Queen ensemble cast evoking “Life on the Mississippi”

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

 • Back to the top of the news list

College Football Heroes Make History Again On The Inaugural Legendary Coaches Cruise

ATLANTA, May 14: Sixthman and the Legendary Coaches announce the inaugural Legendary Coaches Cruise, sailing January 11-15, 2016 from Miami to Cozumel on Norwegian Pearl. Sail with legendary college football coaches such as Gene Stallings, Phillip Fulmer, Vince Dooley, Danny Ford, Pat Dye, Houston Nutt, RC Slocum, Jerry Stovall, John Cooper, and many more. In addition to iconic coaches, guests will meet top players such as George Rogers, David Greene, Heath Shuler, and others. Relive the iconic games of the past, learn the secrets behind the scenes, and experience college football like never before on the Legendary Coaches Cruise.

Legendary Coaches is a group of coaching legends that built the foundation of the modern game of college football by leading with integrity, implementing unique strategies and battling every Saturday in the Fall. They won the hearts of millions while experiencing thrilling victories and painful defeats. Their legacy lives on, not just in their players, but with every fan that cheered with them and against them.

Guests on this full ship charter can look forward to engaging activities including a dinner event hosted by your favorite coach, autograph sessions, live panels, Q&A with coaches and players, performances by comedians and bands in the Stardust Theater, special programming on board hosted by Athlon Sports, theme nights, trivia, and numerous other activities to be announced.

Norwegian Pearl will cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, which offers a plethora of activities for travelers. Guests can stroll along tropical beaches, explore local cuisine, shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs, or choose from a host of exciting excursions. A destination of her own, Norwegian Pearl offers guests access to 13 bars and lounges, 19 dining experiences, two outdoor pools, hot tubs, a full menu of luxurious spa treatments, and so much more. Guests aren't limited to just live programming, as more activities can be found throughout the ship. Play a game of soccer or basketball on the sports court, bowl a few frames at the onboard lanes, or try your luck with a few hands at The Pearl Club Casino.

Event updates are scheduled to follow with additional featured guests, activity details, and more to round out this legendary event! For more information, see

 Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Launches "Ventures by Seabourn" Excursions

SEATTLE, May 12: Seabourn, the ultra-luxury, small-ship cruise line, unveils Ventures by Seabourn, a new series of Zodiac and kayak shore excursions offering exceptional opportunities to enhance and extend how guests experience destinations. The program will begin this summer on three Northern Europe voyages aboard Seabourn Quest, and will feature excursions launching directly from the ship's innovative fold-out watersports marina.

Ventures by Seabourn is an informative and educational way for guests to enhance their cruise with optional shore excursions guided by knowledgeable and experienced expedition teams of scientists, scholars and naturalists. Already adept at engaging guests via the Seabourn Conversations onboard enrichment program, the accomplished experts will now provide in-depth insights into the history, ecology, wildlife and culture as guests explore spectacular destinations close upand at sea level.

"We are always looking for ways to enhance the cruise experience by getting guests up close to the natural and cultural wonders at Seabourn destinations around the globe," shares John Delaney, senior vice president of marketing and sales. "Combined with our onboard enrichment program that is filled with local, cultural content, Ventures by Seabourn will deliver extensive, authentic destination experiences that our guests are seeking."

Tour leaders include: Dr. Colleen Batey, a senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, who has traveled extensively through Scandinavia and its surrounding areas; Kara Weller, whose research ranges from whales in the Bering Sea to mouflan sheep in Eastern Europe, and has traveled over 130 times to Antarctica; Luciano Bernacchi, whose travels to many destinations and wilderness areas around the world have led to a wealth of experience in adventure travel and ecotourism; Matt J. Dolan, who kayaked the entire Inside Passage from Seattle to Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska - a journey that encompassed more than 1,300 miles and a feat that few have accomplished; Robin West, Seabourn's Manager of Expedition Operations & Planning, who led the line's first two Antarctica programs and has tremendous experience in the operations of the expedition business.

Available in select ports, Ventures by Seabourn will lead guests through picturesque waterways and fjords, secluded inlets and to scenic islands via sturdy, stable Zodiac inflatable boats or paddling in double sea kayaks launched from the unique fold-out water sports marina onboard all Seabourn vessels. Seabourn plans to expand Ventures by Seabourn fleetwide over time, including adding kayaking tours to the Antarctica sailings.

The first wave of Ventures by Seabourn will be offered on three Seabourn Quest voyages through the summer of 2015, including:

• 14-Day Majestic Fjords and North Cape:  Two voyages departing June 13 and July 11 from Copenhagen, Denmark. Ventures by Seabourn will offer sea-level exploration and shore excursions at several destinations including the magnificent fjord landscapes of the Lyse area around Stavanger by Zodiac; the Lofoten Islands by Zodiac; Nordfjord of Olden, Norway, by kayak; a zodiac tour of the Storstappen Islands and Nordkapp and a hike to Nordkapp, and more.
• 24-Day Route of the Vikings: Departing August 8 from Copenhagen, Denmark, and traveling to Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and Quebec, Canada, en route to Montreal. Ventures by Seabourn will offer excursions at several destinations along the way, including a Zodiac exploration of the natural beauty surrounding Ísafjörður, Iceland; a kayak experience to glimpse icebergs and shore birds in and around Qaqortoq, Greenland; a naturalist-led Zodiac exploration of icebergs, plants and wrecks amid the islands surrounding Paamiut, Greenland; and more.

Guests may book Ventures by Seabourn shore excursions online. For more details, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Pure Adventure: New Silversea Land Program Invites Guests to Hike the Stunning Dolomites

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, May 12: Set at the foot of the rugged Dolomite Mountains, Cortina d'Ampezzo, the picturesque Italian town that once hosted the Winter Olympicsand renowned today as much for its designer boutiques and chic restaurants as its world-class ski competitionscan now be explored by the luxury cruise guests of Silversea on a "Hiking in Cortina" land extension. The optional 3-night, pre- or post-cruise program is offered this summer on Mediterranean cruises departing or concluding in Venice.

But if strolling Cortina's ancient cobbled streets is not challenging enough, the new "Hiking in Cortina" tour also features a guided alpine trek along a via ferrata, or "iron road," for more-adventurous travelers. The narrow route is equipped with steel cables, ladders and other fixed anchors, such as wooden walkways and suspended bridges, making it possible for hikers of all skill levelseven those not versed in climbing techniqueto hike on ledges, climb vertical walls, and reach mountain peaks. Hikers set their own pace, and may hike for as little or as much time as they prefer. Accommodations are provided for three nights at the Rosapetra Spa Resort, where participants meet with their alpine guide to determine the itinerary best suited to their skill levels. The guide also provides proper safety equipment, including a helmet, harness, gloves, and other cable gear. During their stay at Rosapetra, guests will also enjoy complimentary access to the resort's heated swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, and Mediterranean and Turkish baths.

"Our new 'Hiking in Cortina' program is a great option for soft-adventure travelers seeking a more-immersive land experience in conjunction with their Mediterranean cruise," said Darius Mehta, Silversea's vice president of air and land programs. "It's a unique blend of adventure, relaxation, and rejuvenationall set in one of the world's most beautiful mountain ranges."

The program is available from Venice on 17 Mediterranean voyages, which also feature a choice of included Silver Shore Select excursions offered in every port of call, as well as two hours of complimentary WiFi per guest, per day, and unlimited WiFi for the line's larger suites (Medallion and higher categories)for bookings made on or after January 15. Sample itineraries include:

Voyage 2519, Silver Wind, July 9-19, Rome to Venice, with calls in Sorrento, Amalfi, Lipari, Siracusa, Dubrovnik, Hvar, and Koper.
Voyage 5523, Silver Spirit, Aug 10-19, Venice to Istanbul, with calls in Ravenna, Trogir, Kotor, Corfu, Katakolon, Santorini, and Kusadasi.
Voyage 5527, Silver Spirit, Sept 11-18, Venice to Venice, with calls in Ravenna, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Koper.

The "Hiking in Cortina" program includes up to eight hours with a certified alpine guide, use of safety equipment, accommodations, transfers between airport, hotel and pier, and some meals. Participants should bring proper clothing, boots, and a backpack. Tour prices start at $1,979 per person/double occupancy.

Back to the top of the news list

Adventures Abound For Outdoor & Nature Enthusiasts Aboard Crystal Cruises In Fall 2015

LOS ANGELES, May 11: Athletically-inclined, thrill-seeking and generally inquisitive travelers have numerous options ashore this fall, offered with Crystal Cruises' luxury cruises throughout New England and Eastern Canada. Dozens of Crystal Adventures have been specially crafted to highlight the expansive landscapes and spectacular foliage that paints the region's numerous parks and wildlife areas. Offered with six voyages aboard Crystal Symphony from mid-September through October, the shore-side options for outdoor and nature enthusiasts run the gamut, including:

*NEW* Blomidon Park & Grand-Pré National Historic Site (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada): From panoramic views of the Annapolis Valley from atop North Mountain, to the massive landscape of Grand Pré, Canada's newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, this brand new excursion takes guests hiking through some of the Nova Scotia Peninsula's most breathtaking spots.

Running the carriage roads of Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, Maine): Closed to motorized traffic, the carriage roads within Acadia National Park are ideal for exploring the 35,000-acre preserve, particularly this 5k-running route accompanied by an expert guide and Crystal's own fitness director.

Hiking the Ocean Trail of Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, Maine): Guided by an expert naturalist, travelers will trek along the trail that lines the rockbound coastline, gaining insights into the diverse terrain, ecosystems and history of Acadia National Park along the way.

Zip-lining alongside Reversing Rapids (Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada): Guests will have treetop views of the Bay of Fundy and St. John River as they soar alongside the aptly named Reversing Rapids where the two bodies of water join.

Cycling through wildlife habitats (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada): Cyclists of all levels of ability will enjoy riding through the wildlife-rich marshes along the Lawrencetown Beach trail, complete with a visit to the Kuhn Conservation Area, where they will learn about the local wildlife from an expert guide.

Sailing like the America's Cup winners (Newport, Rhode Island): Participants can step aboard one of the private vessels - affectionately called the "greyhounds of the sea"for a thrilling experience with an accomplished race expert.

"Many of our guests actively seek opportunities to go out and 'do' while visiting new or favorite destinations, as actually immersing oneself in the activities practiced there is a wonderful way to become acquainted with the culture," says Crystal's president, Edie Rodriguez. "Autumn in New England and Canada is a quintessentially special experience, and so, we've carefully crafted excursions that allow our guests to fully relish the surroundings."

In all, more than 300 Crystal Adventures ashore are offered in New England and Canada, accommodating virtually any interest and preferred experience. Complete excursion and applicable sailing detail can be found on Crystal's Shore Excursion Finder tool. Crystal's 2015 New England/Canada voyages range from seven to ten days, sailing between New York and Montréal calling in Boston, Massachusetts; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; Newport, Rhode Island; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Québec City, Montréal, Magdalen Islands, Sept-?les, Charlottetown, Canada; and Saint-Pierre Miquelon, France. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Princess Cruises Debuts 2016-2017 Exotics Sailings

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 11: Princess Cruises has debuted its 2016-2107 Exotics program which will take guests to fascinating cruise destinations around the globe. With 58 departures ranging from three to 111 days, these exotic cruise itineraries go on sale May 28. The diverse deployment includes four cruise ships sailing on 38 unique itineraries throughout six continents, visiting 70 destinations and 40 countries. Guests will be able to book cruises to South America, Southeast Asia, Japan and China. In addition, cruisers will experience less-traveled ports aboard the cruise line’s small ship that will circumvent the globe on 111-day World Cruise sailings roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale.

“Our Exotics program will continue to offer our guests the chance to travel to fascinating destinations around the globe resulting in lifelong memories of different cultures and people,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We’re proud that our award-winning itineraries position us as a destination leader in the cruise industry.”

Princess’ 2016-2017 Exotics cruise program includes:

South America
Crown Princess will be Princess’ largest ship ever to sail a full season of cruises to South America, cruising between Santiago (Valparaiso) and either Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires on itineraries sailing the southernmost tip of South America and the Chilean Fjords. With nine departures during the season, Crown Princess will offer cruises around Cape Horn on 14- and 33-day itineraries including overnight calls in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Lima (Callao) on select departures. Crown Princess will sail between two continents and cross the Equator on an Andes and South America cruise featuring Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica with an optional overland tour of Machu Picchu.

Asia-Singapore, Southeast Asia & China
Diamond Princess will homeport for her first time in Singapore for the winter 2016-2017 season, as well as offer the line’s popular Grand Asia departures. A long-time favorite, the 17-day Grand Asia cruise between Singapore and Beijing (Tianjin) visits many desired Asian destinations including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand. A special highlight on the itinerary will be an overnight and two full days in Hong Kong. Each sailing also offers an optional overland excursion to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat, Cambodia. In fall 2016, Diamond Princess will offer the 17-day Grand Asia from Tokyo (Yokohama) visiting many popular Asian ports, such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City and Osaka. In spring 2017, Diamond Princess will sail from Singapore to Yokohama for a 14-day voyage visiting Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.

For her first full season sailing from Singapore, Diamond Princess will sail on a variety of roundtrip voyages ranging from three to 11 days beginning in November 2016. Destinations include Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Borneo. Diamond Princess will also offer 14 combination voyages ranging from nine to 21 days for an even greater opportunity to explore the Asia region.

Golden Princess will also be in Asia on two special voyages starting or ending in Australia. With cruises ranging from 21 to 25 days sailing between Sydney or Melbourne and Hong Kong or Beijing, these sailings include stops in Darwin, Bali, Singapore and Nha Trang (Vietnam).

For Christmas, New Year’s and Chinese New Year, Princess has a variety of Asian cruises ranging from 10 to 21 days visiting ports in Southeast Asia.

World Cruise
Pacific Princess will sail on the third annual roundtrip World Cruise roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale. The 111-day voyage will visit 38 destinations, 30 countries and include overnight stays in Hong Kong, Dubai and Venice, as well as maiden calls to Acajutla (El Savador), Bodrum (Turkey), Yap (Micronesia), Hvar and Sibenik (Croatia). Guests also have the opportunity to join the World Cruise for a portion of the journey including a 22-day Hawaii and South Pacific, 18-day Australia and New Zealand, 18-day Southeast Asia and India, 18-day Dubai cruise to Europe, 18-day Mediterranean Passage and a choice of a 17-day Panama Canal sailing between Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale.

Land & Sea Vacations
To further enhance the cruise vacation experience, Princess is offering land and sea vacations in South America for guests aboard Crown Princess and in Asia for voyages starting or ending in Beijing.

New for South America the Andes & Argentina Wine Experience will allow guests the opportunity to cross the Andes from Santiago, Chile to Argentina and visit three wineries in the acclaimed Mendoza wine region. At the tour's conclusion, an exciting evening in Buenos Aires features an authentic tango show and dinner. Additionally, the Iguazu Falls Adventure visits Rio de Janeiro with a full-day sightseeing tour taking guests to Sugar Loaf Mountain and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. The tour continues into the jungle at the border of Brazil and Argentina to incredible Iguazu Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the Machu Picchu Explorer cruisetour, guests will ascend into the Andes to magical Machu Picchu, another UNESCO treasure. Guests will then visit the historic city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley with sightseeing to Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo and an authentic Pisac Market.

In Asia, guests can visit the Great Wall, Beijing’s Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors on the Best of China land and sea vacation. The Yangtze Experience includes three nights cruising the Yangtze River and visits Beijing and Xian.

Additional information is available on the company's website at

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Orders Fourth Quantum-Class Vessel

MIAMI, May 8: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that it has entered into an agreement with Meyer Werft in Germany to order a fourth Quantum-class ship for delivery in 2019.

"Today's announcement is a reflection of the success of the first two Quantum-class ships," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We have received a remarkable response from travel agent partners and travelers, and are thrilled that we'll be able to deliver another revolutionary ship with our partners at Meyer Werft."

"The fourth Quantum class vessel will be a trailblazer in smart-ship design and vacation innovation," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Royal Caribbean International is synonymous with adventure, and the icons and amenities on this ship will continue to challenge and expand guests' expectations of the cruise experience."

Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are $1.6 billion, $2.3 billion, $0.4 billion, $2.4 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively.

Capacity increases for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are expected to be 5.5%, 6.3%, 3.1%, 3.9% and 6.5%, respectively. These figures do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future.

The order is contingent upon the completion of customary conditions, including financing. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisieres de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 43 ships with an additional six under construction contracts, and three under conditional agreement. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 480 destinations on all seven continents.

Back to the top of the news list

Ruby Princess Receives Special Welcome in Juneau

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 7: Guests aboard Ruby Princess received a special welcome yesterday as a team of Alaska sled dogs “pulled” the ship into the port of Juneau, marking the vessel’s maiden voyage in Southeast Alaska. The four-dog sled team, driven by Maliko Ubl of TEMSCO Helicopters Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding Tours and Alaska Icefield Expedition, mushed their way alongside the cruise ship giving guests an official Alaska welcome before they disembarked and enjoyed the day exploring Juneau. Princess guests even got the chance to meet and take photos with the dogs before departing for shore excursions to experience the Great Land.

Princess Cruises, voted the Best Cruise Line in Alaska seven years running by the readers of Travel Weekly, is now making the top vacation experience in Alaska even better with the debut of North to Alaska! Introduced for the 2015 cruise season and created in partnership with local experts, North to Alaska! features a variety of authentic Alaska culinary, educational and entertainment experiences designed to delve deeper into the fascinating frontier guests are exploring around them. The program includes expanded Alaska seafood offerings, with signature dishes from local chefs and restaurants; unique interactions with Alaskans; and onboard festivals to allow guests to eat like a local, learn from the locals, and celebrate like a local.

Princess’ Alaska cruise season features seven ships offering 7-day itineraries cruising from the ports of Vancouver, Whittier and Seattle; and 10-day sailings from San Francisco. Additional information about all of the Princess Alaska cruise options and North to Alaska! can be found at

Back to the top of the news list

Actress Jill Whelan Named "Celebrations Ambassador" for Princess Cruises

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 6: Actress Jill Whelan, known as one of the stars of The Love Boat television show, has been named "Celebrations Ambassador" for Princess Cruises, a role that has been created to help spread the message that special occasions become extraordinary when celebrated on one of the company's cruise ships or in a spectacular destination. Whelan's appointment is being announced to coincide with Mother's Day and, being a mother herself, she has some insights for those celebrating their moms this coming weekend.

In a national survey about Mother's Day conducted for Princess Cruises by Wakefield Research, the line discovered a disappointing findingthat more than one in three Americans (34%) didn't do anything for their mom last year on Mother's Day, not even sent a card. This year, the survey found that 79% of Americans have procrastinated to purchase their mom a gift for Mother's Day.

"As a mom myself I know that what many moms appreciate is a thoughtful recognition of the day. There shouldn't be pressure to find the perfect gift; the greatest gift is to tell your mom how much you appreciate her and all she's done for you," said Whelan. The actress should know as she has two sons, ages 10 and 20.

She shared other survey insights including if money were not an object, the number one gift for Mother's Day would be a luxury cruise (35%), followed by a premium spa experience (22%) and a new wardrobe (21%). And in a nod to her work in television, the survey revealed that the TV mom most Americans would want as their mom is Carol Brady from The Brady Bunch (33%), followed by Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show (28%) and Claire Dunphy from Modern Family (17%).

Whelan is well-qualified to represent Princess Cruises' celebrations experiences. Not only has she been godmother to three of the company's cruise shipsDawn Princess, Caribbean Princess, and, most recently, Regal Princessshe got married onboard Caribbean Princess and, along with the rest of the Love Boat cast, rode aboard the line's float in the iconic Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on New Year's Day.

As Celebrations Ambassador her role will include representing Princess at various trade and consumer travel and lifestyle shows, authoring a series of celebration guides for an array of special occasions, staring in a celebrations video series, and she will occasionally cruise aboard Princess ships to surprise guests who are celebrating a special occasion.

"Our survey found that over two-thirds of Americans (67%) have traveled out of town to celebrate a special occasion, and this year half of Americans (and 68% of Millennials) are likely to take a trip to celebrate a special occasion," said Gordon Ho, the line's senior vice president of global marketing. "We're committed to making our guests' celebrations unforgettable when they cruise with us, and so bringing Jill aboard as our Celebrations Ambassador underscores our commitment to be known as the cruise line you need to sail on when you're celebrating something special."

Ho added that the survey also revealed that when choosing a location for a special celebration, nearly half of Americans (49%) chose a beach resort as their idea getaway, followed by a cruise vacation (24%) and an exotic land tour (16%). As part of its Celebrations program, Princess has also created a number of packages that commemorate events like birthdays, weddings, engagements, renewal of vows and honeymoons. "But our guests also mark other milestones such as retirements, graduations, reunions and othersthe sky's the limit for celebratory occasions," Ho added.

"During my many years of cruising around the world with Princess, I've witnessed countless guest celebrations of all kinds, and I've seen first-hand the special nature of celebrating at sea. That's why I'm so excited to be in this new role for the company," said Whelan.

Further information about Princess Cruises' Celebrations Packages is available by visiting

Back to the top of the news list

Windstar Debuts Second All Suite Power Yacht

Nice, France, May 6: Today at a christening ceremony in Nice, France, Windstar Cruises debuted Star Breeze, the second of the fleet’s three new all suite power yachts. The christening ceremony and pier-side champagne celebration mark the luxury yacht’s introduction to the Windstar fleet, and the start of its inaugural voyage through France, Monaco, and Italy. Wendy Perrin, TripAdvisor's first-ever Travel Advocate, was honored as Godmother of the yacht, successfully breaking a traditional bottle of champagne over the bow in front of a crowd of 250 guests, media, trade partners, and parent company Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Wendy Perrin was joined on stage by Hans Birkholz, CEO of Windstar Cruises; Captain Krasimir Ivanov; and Father Jean Marie.

“I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be part of Windstar Cruises,” says Hans Birkholz. “The driving force to Windstar’s success is our unwavering commitment of providing a personal yacht style vacation. Our ships are small, our ambience: casually elegant, our service: personal.”

The 212-passenger yacht joins the fleet after an $8.5 million, three-week renovation in Genoa, Italy. Star Breeze received a full stem to stern transformation, including overhauls of every public space, dining venues, and suites. Highlights include:

• The outdoor Star Deck has expanded by 4 feet on each side to provide more space for lounging
• The Star Deck now offers a new counter-current pool and whirlpool. The observation lounge on the top deck is transformed to Windstar’s popular Yacht Club, a chic coffee bar and lounge
• The entertainment lounge is completely renovated with new flooring, lighting, and furniture
• The club space has turned into the Compass Rose, redesigned with new contemporary furnishings, rich new flooring finishes, and plantation shutters
• The ship’s card room is now the Star Screening Room, where guests can view current movies
• AmphorA Restaurant is completely redesigned with updated lighting, wall coverings, art work, and seating layouts
• Veranda, located at the aft of the yacht, now offers expanded outdoor seating complete with a courtyard and garden wall

New Itineraries
After its inaugural voyage, Star Breeze will continue to cruise in the Mediterranean for the summer season. Following an ocean crossing in the fall, Star Breeze will embark on Windstar’s newest Caribbean itinerary, Icons of the Dutch Caribbean, before continuing on to sail in Panama and Costa Rica for the winter season. For a full look at the 2016 voyage collection, click here.

Continued Expansion
Windstar took official possession of Star Legend on May 4, 2015, making Windstar’s six ship fleet the largest in its thirty year history. Windstar will debut Star Legend, the last of Windstar’s newest all suite power yachts, on May 25, 2015 at a christening ceremony in Rome. In 2016, Windstar is planning a $3 million additional renovation of Star Pride. Star Pride joined Windstar’s fleet in May of 2014, after a moderate facelift and updated furnishings with some remodeling. The continuation of the transformation includes the completion of the AmphorA Restaurant remodel and a total renovation of the Lounge, Veranda, Screening Room, and more.

Back to the top of the news list

Blues Rocker Joe Bonamassa To Set Sail On Second Annual Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea Music Festival

ATLANTA, May 6: Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, Joe Bonamassa, and Sixthman are proud to present the second annual Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea Music Festival, an incredible four-day floating music festival aboard the beautiful Norwegian Pearl, featuring Bonamassa and some of most celebrated names in blues influenced music including Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Blues Traveler, Beth Hart, Marc Broussard, Shemekia Copeland, The James Hunter Six, Eric Bibb with Michael Jerome Browne, Kirk Fletcher & Josh Smith, Selwyn Birchwood, Jarekus Singleton and more to be announced. The cruise will embark on Feb 15-19, 2016 from Miami, Florida to Cozumel, Mexico. Guests will enjoy four days of non-stop tunes and unparalleled musical collaborations that you can only find on the high seas.

This past February, Keeping the Blues Alive set sail on its maiden voyage from Miami to Key West and the Bahamas while entertaining 2,000 blues aficionados with 48 performances by 19 of today's best blues artists including John Hiatt, Robben Ford, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Ana Popovic, Joanne Shaw Taylor, and more. This voyage was such a success that Joe Bonamassa and Sixthman decided to team up again to make another magical floating music festival for 2016.

Norwegian Pearl will travel to Cozumel, Mexico, which offers a plethora of activities for travelers of all walks. Guests can stroll along tropical beaches, explore local cuisine, shop for one of a kind souvenirs, or choose from a host of exciting excursions offered onboard. A destination of her own, Norwegian Pearl offers guests access to 13 bars and lounges, 19 dining experiences, one outdoor pool, two hot tubs, a full menu of luxurious spa treatments, and so much more!

For the Best available Cabins, sign up for Pre-sale at

Back to the top of the news list

MTN Delivers the Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight to 30 Vessels at Sea

MIRAMAR, FL, May 6: MTN Communications (MTN) proved once again you don't have to leave your connected life on the docks when taking a cruise. On Saturday, May 2, 2015, thousands of passengers and crew on 30 ships in the Pacific, Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic enjoyed the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao boxing match live through high-definition MTN Worldwide TV (MTN-TV HD).

MTN was the only service provider able to deliver the fight, thanks to content offered exclusively to the cruise industry through Global Eagle Entertainment ("GEE"). The MTN TV and Broadcast Services Team made this possible through the company's network, designed and managed for maritime, and the ability of the MTN-TV solution to scale at a moment's notice.

"Our team brought the technological wherewithal to quickly deliver this event to ships around the world," said Bill Witiak, general manager, TV and Broadcast Services, MTN. "Our sophisticated, proprietary tools to manage and optimize our network - literally moment-by-moment - and our ability to broadcast with land-like quality enabled our customers to surprise their passengers. This improved their onboard experience and delivered a crew perk - a major investment that paid off. There are just some events you have to watch live, and this historic fight was one of them."

Around the world, 140 ships subscribe to MTN-TV. The service broadcasts 11 channels of sports, news, entertainment and special events. For more than five years, MTN-TV has broadcast 1,795 live special events, totaling 5,486 hours of major sporting events, award shows, operas and ship-specific gatherings. In March 2015, MTN launched live HD service (MTN-TV HD), starting with IMG's Sport 24 Channel. In an effort to stay ahead of customer needs, MTN constantly transforms its infrastructure to deliver unmatched services. The company has plans for future MTN-TV technology investments, particularly nearing the roll-out of high-throughput satellite services next year.

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Corporation & Brands Donate to Earthquake Relief Efforts in Nepal

MIAMI, May 6: Carnival Corporation & plc teamed with several of its global cruise brands to pledge $200,000 to relief efforts in Nepal in the wake of April's devastating earthquake. Carnival Corporation is working through Mercy Corps, the Disaster Emergency Committee, and Save the Children to support on the ground teams distributing emergency supplies and aiding rebuilding efforts targeting the most affected families in Kathmandu and surrounding areas.

Carnival Corporation's support will help the three organizations provide access to shelter supplies, food, water and hygiene supplies, support the operations of the Nepal Red Cross and ultimately assist families in rebuilding their lives after initial life-saving needs are met. Carnival Corporation and its brands are actively working to support their employees who were directly affected by this tragedy.

P&O Cruises UK and Cunard Line are providing a significant portion of the donation out of the companies' offices in the United Kingdom. Likewise, Carnival Cruise Line, Seabourn and Holland America Line have combined to donate the majority of the funds in North America in coordination with the Carnival Foundation, the company's philanthropic organization.

"Nepal is home to a great number of employees in our industry, so we were not only incredibly saddened by the destruction of the earthquake, but we also felt a responsibility to provide any support that we could," said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation. "As we learn more about the damage and the needs in Nepal, we will explore more ways to support ongoing relief efforts in any way we can."

-- Mercy Corps, a global aid agency, has responded to almost every major global disaster in the last 20 years, including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 which included support from many in the cruise industry.
-- The Disaster Emergency Committee, an umbrella organization for 13 humanitarian aid agencies, unites aid efforts in times of disaster such as flood, earthquake or famine in poorer countries around the world.
-- Save the Children is an international organization that promotes children's rights, provides relief, and helps support children in 120 developing countries.

Individuals wishing to donate to earthquake relief efforts can do so through Mercy Corps' Nepal Earthquake Response fund, the Disasters Emergency Committee Nepal Earthquake Appeal, Save the Children's Nepal Earthquake Children's Relief Fund, the Red Cross' Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund or through a number of other charitable organizations.

Back to the top of the news list

Princess Cruises’ Next New Ship to be Based in China Year Round

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 5: Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company in the world, announced that the new ship currently under construction for Princess Cruises will be based in China year-round when introduced in summer 2017. Based in Shanghai, the ship will be the first year-round international luxury vessel designed and built specifically for Chinese guests. The as-yet-unnamed ship is being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, and will carry approximately 3,600 guests on a variety of itineraries, to be announced at a later date. Based on the design of its highly-acclaimed ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess, the new vessel will feature a number of new innovations customized for the growing number of Chinese cruise vacationers.

“Deploying our next new ship in China underscores our strong commitment to growing the China cruise market and providing discerning travelers with amazing vacation experiences at sea,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “And as this ship is still in the design phase we are looking forward to creating other new and exciting venues and experiences catering to the Chinese vacationer, which we will reveal in the coming months,” Swartz added.

Princess ships began homeport cruising in China just last year, with a successful inaugural season of Shanghai-based cruises aboard Sapphire Princess. This ship returns for a second China season which begins on June 4 and runs through October 2015.

The new ship will be based on the design of the company’s new Royal Princess and Regal Princess which have been enthusiastically received by guests from all over the world for their luxurious and beautifully-designed spaces, array of entertainment and activity options, and multiple culinary venues.

The new ship will share many of these special features which include a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; Princess Watercolor Fantasy, a fountain and music show; Movies Under the Stars featuring the largest outdoor screen at sea; and balconies on all outside staterooms. Accommodations will be configured to appeal to families and multi-generational travelers.

In addition, the new ship will showcase the exclusive Princess Class experience designed specifically for the Chinese market that the company introduced during its first season. Delivered by the ship’s dedicated and caring crew, Princess Class enriches the travel experience of each cruise guest, enabling them to participate in unique cultural, culinary, entertaining and inspiring programs including the World Leaders Dinner, traditional English afternoon tea, a Lobster Grill, Ultimate Balcony Dining, an ocean-view hot pot dinner option, ballroom dancing, and an unparalleled duty-free shopping experience. Guests will also enjoy the international flavor of cruising with Princess, including experiencing cuisines from China, Japan, Italy, France, and North and South America among other regions; as well as an array of international festivals re-created to celebrate cultures around the world.

Further information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting

Back to the top of the news list

Cunard Pays Tribute to the Loss of Lusitania 100 Years Ago

On Friday May 7, the Cunard flagship Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 1,195 lives. On Thursday, May 7,  2015, 100 years on, Cunard's Queen Victoria will pay tribute to the tragedy with her 7-night (May 3-10, 2015) 'Lusitania Remembered' cruise. Sailing from and back to Southampton, the voyage will call at St Peter Port (Guernsey), Le Havre, Cobh (Ireland) and Dublin.

Cunard has commissioned historian Eric Sauder to produce a temporary exhibition of Lusitania memorabilia that will be displayed on board Queen Victoria. The exhibit will feature china, silver, brochures, postcards, memorabilia and souvenirs that will bring to life the story of Cunard’s former flagship. Eric Sauder has been interested in ocean liners, particularly Lusitania, for over 30 years with his first job being a tour guide on Queen Mary in Long Beach. He has dived on the wreck of Lusitania and has authored two books on the subject. The exhibition will tell Lusitania’s story and feature several unique items including the scissors used by Lady Inverclyde to launch Lusitania in 1906.

At 0330 hours on 7 May Queen Victoria will pause over the wreck. Commodore Rynd and Cunard Director Angus Struthers will lay wreaths and passengers travelling who had relatives on Lusitania will offer their own floral tributes prior to Queen Victoria paying her own tribute by sounding her fog horn.

Further tributes will be paid at the Lusitania graves in the Old Churchyard outside Cobh prior to a special commemorative service. Two special moments will be Queen Victoria sounding her whistle at 1410 hours (the moment the torpedo hit Lusitania) and 1428 hours (the moment Lusitania sank). Lusitania was the first of 20 Cunard ships lost in the First World War and these will be remembered in service which will include speeches, blessings and hymns. All passengers on Queen Victoria will be able to attend this service which will last for just over an hour. In addition, commemorative dinners will be held during the cruise which will acknowledge and pay tribute to Lusitania and Cunard’s role in the First World War.

Angus Struthers, Cunard Director said, “In this, our 175th anniversary year, we will take time to remember and reflect on the loss of the Cunard flagship Lusitania and we hope this special cruise will ensure that the tragedy will continue to be remembered for generations to come. It is especially important for us to be in Cobh on May 7 as we stand united with the port that will forever be associated with the tragedy. The sinking of Lusitania was a human catastrophe on a scale that this small town had not experienced before or since. People there witnessed first-hand, the trauma, tragedy and heartbreak that ensued. The dead, the injured and the bereaved were brought among a community that mobilized itself and responded with courage and compassion to their needs. On May 7, 2015, we will remember them”

For more information about Queen Victoria and Cunard Line, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Corporation Meets Growing Demand for Alaska Cruises

MIAMI, May 4: Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruisesthree of the nine global brands from Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest travel and leisure companybegan the highly anticipated Seattle-to-Alaska summertime cruising season with the first ship departing Saturday, May 2. Cruise passengers in Seattle are expected to increase by 11 percent this year to 895,055 passengers, and the Carnival Corporation brands are positioned to meet the surge in demand.

Together, the three brands will offer a total of 103 roundtrip cruises on six ships sailing between Seattle and Alaska, providing plenty of options for enjoying a vacation in one of the world's most breath-taking regions. More than 208,200 guests are expected to sail with Carnival Corporation brands from Seattle to Alaska in 2015. According to the Port of Seattle, the cruise industry overall will bring more than $400 million in economic activity to Seattle this cruise season based on a combination of supplying the vessels, money that travelers spend in the city and nearby region, and the fact that 80 percent of guests arrive through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

In response to increasing demand, Holland America Line added a third ship for the 2015 summer season, ms Statendam, which arrives on Monday, May 18. The line's ms Westerdam officially began the season on Saturday, May 2, as the first cruise ship to arrive in Seattle. ms Amsterdam arrives on Sunday, May 31. Holland America Line offers 47 roundtrip cruises from Seattle this season.

Additionally, Princess Cruises is increasing its capacity by introducing two larger shipsCrown Princess arrives on Saturday, May 16, and Ruby Princess arrives on Sunday, May 3. They replace the Grand Princess and Golden Princess. Each of the new ships provides room for 500 additional guests. Princess Cruises offers 40 roundtrip cruises from Seattle this season.

Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Legend will arrive at the Seattle port on Tuesday, June 2. This season Carnival Cruises Line offers 16 roundtrip cruises.

"We are excited to begin another great cruise season in Alaska, taking our guests on an unforgettable vacation to the Great Land where they can experience lush forests, ice-blue glaciers, whales, puffins, orcas, and frontier towns filled with Gold Rush history, native culture, wildlife and thrilling adventures - all while only having to unpack once," said Arnold Donald, CEO and president of Carnival Corporation. "The goal for all 120,000 of our employees is to consistently exceed our guests' expectations, and these cruises to such an awe-inspiring part of the world are sure to do just that."

Carnival Corporation's roundtrip vacation options for the Seattle cruise season to Alaska, which depart from Pier 91, are:

-- Holland America Line offers 7-day cruises from Seattle to Alaska on ms Westerdam. Ports include Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park, all in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. Sailings depart Saturdays.
-- Holland America Line offers 7-day cruises on ms Amsterdam. Ports include Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and scenic cruising Tracy Arm, all in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia. Sailings depart Sundays.
-- Holland America Line also offers 14-day Alaska itineraries on the ms Statendam departing every other Monday. Ports include Ketchikan, scenic cruising Tracy Arm, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, scenic cruising Hubbard Glacier, and Sitka, all in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia.
-- Princess Cruises offers 7-day cruises from Seattle to Alaska on the Crown Princess. Ports include Juneau, Skagway, scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park, and Ketchikan, all in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia. Sailings depart Saturdays and Sundays.
-- Princess Cruises offers 7-day cruises from Seattle to Alaska on the Ruby Princess. Ports include Juneau, scenic cruising Tracy Arm Fjord, Skagway, and Ketchikan, all in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia. Sailings depart Saturdays and Sundays.
-- Carnival Cruise Line offers 7-day Alaska cruises on the Carnival Legend departing Tuesdays. Ports include Juneau, Skagway, scenic cruising Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan, all in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia.

Carnival Corporation brands also offer additional roundtrip cruises to Alaska from Vancouver, British Columbia. Holland America Line offers 7-day cruises on the ms Noordam, ms Oosterdam and ms Volendam, as well as 14-day cruises on ms Oosterdam and ms Zaandam. Princess Cruises offers a 7-day cruise on the Crown Princess and Star Princess in 2016. The following Holland America Line ships offer one-way 7-day cruises departing from Anchorage, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia: ms Oosterdam and ms Zaandam. Carnival Cruise Line will offer a special one-way 7-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver Sept. 8-15. Carnival Corporation also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon.

Back to the top of the news list

MSC Splendida Homeports in Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany, May 4: Last Friday MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line, celebrated the maiden call in Hamburg of MSC Splendida, the most spacious cruise ship with the richest choice of amenities ever to call at Germany’s top cruise port. An indication of MSC Cruises’ increasing investment in the German market, and in Hamburg in particular, MSC Splendida is the first “Fantasia” class ship, the line’s largest and newest class of ships, to be based at the northern German port for a season. MSC Splendida will homeport in Hamburg for the summer season, making 13 sailings around northern Europe, encompassing the British Isles, the Norwegian fjords and Iceland.

In addition to featuring the MSC Yacht Club, MSC’s exclusive ship within a ship luxury offering, MSC Splendida offers the most comprehensive range of dining, entertainment and relaxation experiences of any cruise ship ever to serve the German market. Her amenities include 20 bars, six restaurants, five swimming pools, including a large aqua park, 4D cinema, F1 simulator and a variety of wellness, sports, and family options. With 1,637-staterooms, the ship is 137,936 GRT, 1092 feet-long, and 125 feet-wide.

MSC Splendida’s arrival in Hamburg was marked by a ceremonial crest exchange between the ship’s Captain, Giuseppe Maresca, and the Harbourmaster of Hamburg, Jörg Pollman, with MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, Hamburg Senator, Frank Horch, and a large international media contingent in attendance. Addressing the event, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Home-porting MSC Splendida, one of our largest and finest ships, here is a natural progression for us, following four years of increasing investment in Hamburg.”

He added: “MSC Cruises has already brought around 350,000 vacationers through Hamburg. And this summer MSC Splendida will make 13 sailings, adding more than 100,000 to that total. Our decision to bring MSC Splendida here is rooted in a concrete commitment to this world-class destination.”

That commitment began in 2010 when the Company christened MSC Magnifica in Hamburg, dubbed Germany’s “Gateway to the World.” In addition to deploying MSC Splendida from Hamburg, MSC Cruises will this month base MSC Orchestra in Kiel and MSC Sinfonia in Warnemünde, enabling thousands of German and international travellers to discover the Baltic capitals and the rugged coastlines, islands and fjords of Norway. Additionally, MSC Orchestra and MSC Sinfonia will also offer northern European “Grand Tours,” where two back-to-back cruises combine to create one unforgettable 14-night voyage.

Back to the top of the news list

ms Westerdam Kicks Off Alaska Cruise Season Saturday, May 2

SEATTLE: Holland America Line's ms Westerdam arrives at the Port of Seattle Saturday, May 2, 2015, marking the start of the city's summertime Alaska homeport cruise season. The line added capacity to its roundtrip Seattle routes with an additional ship in 2015: ms Statendam arrives Monday, May 18 and ms Amsterdam arrives Sunday, May 31 to begin their Alaska sailings from Seattle.

In addition to the 47 roundtrip Seattle cruises to Alaska this season, four cruises sailing the Panama Canal or Hawaii/South Pacific will either begin or end at Seattle, including a departure aboard ms Volendam. A three-day Pacific Northwest cruise aboard ms Noordam makes a visit to Seattle in September. All of the options combined make a total of 52 calls by five ships that welcome 82,996 guests to Seattle.

"As a Seattle-based company, we always get excited to welcome our ships back to Seattle to begin the Alaska cruise season," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "We live and work in the Puget Sound area, so we're extremely proud of the significant contribution we make to the region and to the local and state economies."

In the coming year, Holland America Line expects to contribute $422 million to the Seattle economy and $577 million across Washington State. The cruise line employs 1,263 people at its Elliott Avenue headquarters in Seattle. Provisioning costs each time a ship calls in Seattle average about $275,000 per visit. Holland America Line works with 600 Washington vendors, from food and beverage suppliers to piano tuners, office supply stores and marine suppliers, among many more.

Holland America Line provisions each ship on "turnaround" dates. Provisioning a ship means bringing aboard all of the supplies and food products needed during a cruise. For example, Westerdam requires over 23,000 eggs and 1,375 gallons of milk each weekall coming from local farmers. In addition, local growers supply 147,550 pounds a week of fresh produce. Also contributing to Holland America Line's economic impact is spending by passengers and crew in local shops, restaurants, hotels, museums, attractions and taxis. Other expenditures include maintaining its ships, plus port fees, charges and taxes.

Holland America Line has an extensive Corporate Social Responsibility program benefiting the local community and Washington State, including providing cash and in-kind sponsorships to local non-profit organizations. In the Seattle area, it supports dozens of such organizations such as American Cancer Society, Auction of Washington Wines, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club, Catholic Seafarers' Center, Center for Wooden Boats, Northwest Harvest, Pike Place Market Foundation, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Men's & Women's Chorus, Seattle Theatre Group, United Way and the University of Washington. Eighteen of the company's executives currently serve on 24 boards of directors of local non-profit organizations.

Holland America Line was recently named to the list of top Corporate Philanthropists by the Puget Sound Business Journal. In March 2015, Holland America Line was presented with a Sparkie Award by the United Way of King County, Washington, for its enthusiastic and innovative community work related to the annual United Way fundraising campaign. Holland America Line also was named the 2015 Business of the Year by the Greater Seattle Business Association. In 2014 the company won the "Global Giving" award, one of eight Healthy Community Corporate Champion Awards presented by the Puget Sound Business Journal in partnership with The Seattle Foundation.

For more information about Holland America Line, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Princess Cruises Unveils 2016-2017 Americas Season

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 1: Princess Cruises has announced its 2016-2017 Americas cruise itineraries including sailings to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, the West Coast and Canada & New England, as well as land and sea vacations. The array of cruise vacations departing from U.S. ports range from three to 28 days and go on sale May 21. In total, 10 ships with 255 departures on 62 itineraries visiting more than 80 destinations will be sailing between September 2016 and April 2017. Cruises will offer guests the opportunity for a quick getaway or a longer cruise vacation on the line given the “Best Itineraries” award by readers of Recommend magazine for a record-setting nine consecutive years and “Best Itineraries” in the Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards for 2013 and 2014.

Highlights include brand-new six- and eight-day Caribbean itineraries, evening and overnight stays in certain destinations to allow guests to see even more of these special locations, the first roundtrip Panama Canal voyage for Princess Cruises departing from Los Angeles since 2009, shorter 5-day fall Canada & New England getaways, a more expansive 14-day Canada & New England itinerary and new land and sea vacations to explore the East Coast.

“This season we’re thrilled to sail to so many inspiring destinations with close-to-home departures and offer new longer and overnight stays in some spectacular ports, giving our guests more time to explore and discover new places,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

Full details of Princess Cruises’ 2016-2017 Americas cruise season include:

With more than 21 distinct Caribbean itineraries ranging from six to 21 days on four ships, including the lines newest ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess and joined by Caribbean Princess with new itineraries, there will be a variety of offerings sure to suit every Caribbean explorer. A new port of call in the Dominican RepublicAmber Covewill be included on every 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary aboard Regal Princess.

Caribbean Princess will have a brand-new deployment this season with 6- and 8-day voyages departing from Ft. Lauderdale, which can be combined for a longer 14-day Caribbean Adventurer voyage spanning both the Western and Southern Caribbean. Caribbean Princess’ 8-day Southern Caribbean sailings will visit Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba and as a new offering for the 2016-2017 season will include an evening stay in Arubahome to Eagle Beach, which has been named one of the Travel Channel’s Top 10 Caribbean Beaches. Caribbean Princess’ six-day itinerary will feature visits to the Western Caribbean destinations of Cozumel, Belize and either Roatan, Honduras or Costa Maya, Mexico.

Regal Princess will return to alternating the line’s popular 7-day Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean voyages departing from Ft. Lauderdale, which can also be combined for 14 days onboard Princess’ newest vessel in the Caribbean. The seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary offers a new port of callAmber Covein the Dominican Republic and choices between stops in St. Kitts, Antigua or St. Maarten with every sailing featuring St. Thomas, including a new evening stay at this port – which is home to Magens Bay, one of the most highly rated beaches in the Caribbean. Seven-day Western Caribbean voyages will visit Princess Cays, Jamaica and Grand Cayman and include a full day and evening stay in Cozumelrated by US News & World Report as having one of the best beaches in Mexico.

Royal Princess returns on the line’s most popular Caribbean itinerariesa 10-day Southern Medley and 10-day Eastern Voyager which can be combined for a 20-day cruise vacation. These sailings offer the best of the Caribbean, including St. Kitts, Barbados and St. Lucia as well as off-the-beaten-path ports such as Dominica, Grenada and Bonaire.

For a shorter weekend getaway, Princess will offer two voyages. Royal Princess will sail a 4-day Eastern Caribbean Getaway, visiting Grand Turk and Princess Cays, while Crown Princess will depart on a 5-day cruise with stops in Princess Cays and new port Amber Cove.

Guests will also be able to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and ring in the New Year with Princess as all three ships will offer a variety of holiday sailings ranging from seven to 21 days. All holiday voyages of seven days and 10 days offer a choice of Eastern, Western or Southern regions, while the longer voyages from 14 to 21 days include two of these regions spanning the Caribbean. Pacific Princess will sail on a special two-week Caribbean Connoisseur voyage over the holidays that visits remote islands that are perfect for Pacific Princess’ intimate size including the Grenadines, Tobago, the British Virgin Islands, as well as a maiden call to Cruz Bay, on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.

Hawaiian Islands, Mexican Riviera & the West Coast
On the West Coast, four ships will be deployed from three homeportsLos Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouverto the tropical waters of Hawaii and Mexico, as well as the beautiful Pacific Coast with voyages ranging from three to 28 days.

Guests can escape the everyday on a quick West Coast cruise getaway on 3-, 4- and 5-day departures from Los Angeles offered throughout the season on Crown Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess, with visits to Santa Barbara, Catalina, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico. Ruby Princess will depart on a five-day Baja Getaway featuring an overnight in Cabo San Lucasone of the premier resort destinations in the Western Hemisphere.

Crown Princess will offer a fall departure of the increasingly popular 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa itinerary which allows guests departing from Los Angeles to visit the idyllic South Pacific islands of French Polynesia and Samoa without the need to take a flight.

Grand Princess continues year-round cruising from San Francisco to Hawaii, Mexico and the California Coast after the Alaska season.

Panama Canal
Coral Princess and Island Princess return to the Panama Canal to offer either 10-day partial transit or 15-day full transit Panama Canal voyages through the famed locks.

Island Princess will also offer 15-day voyages with two-day Canal experiences that combine the thrill of a Canal transit with a day at Fuerte Amador, where guests can either tour Old Panama City and visit the surrounding rainforests, or tour the Gatun Locks to learn the history of the world's 8th wonder and visit the Expansion Observatory Platform overlooking the waterway.

On Nov 20, 2016, Island Princess will embark on the line’s first roundtrip Canal voyage from Los Angeles since 2009. This 19-day cruise offers guests various adventures including Mayan ruins, Mexico’s largest ecological preserve, the rainforests of Costa Rica, the volcanoes of San Juan Del Sur, the cobblestone streets and colonial architecture of Antigua, Guatemala—a UNESCO World Heritage Siteand an overnight stay in Panama.

Pacific Princess will also join the Panama Canal line-up on several 17-day itineraries offering guests a choice of ship size to see the impressive man-mad marvel.

Canada & New England
Guests will be able to enjoy the fall foliage on sailings from the East Coast with both Regal Princess and Caribbean Princess returning to the destination, but with even more itinerary options to choose from.

Regal Princess will continue on her popular 7-day Canada & New England itinerary departing on Saturdays from New York, visiting cities rich in colonial history including Newport, Boston and Bar Harbor as well as the North Atlantic Canadian port cities of Saint John and Halifax. Regal Princess will also sail on a brand-new shorter five-day fall getaway itinerary sailing from New York to Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Caribbean Princess will sail between Quebec City and New York on the line’s popular 10-day Classic Canada & New England itinerary, featuring an overnight stay in Quebec and calls to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as well as Boston, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island. Caribbean Princess will also offer a more expansive 14-day Canada & Colonial America itinerary from Quebec City to Ft. Lauderdale including visits to Bar Harbor, Maine; Norfolk, Virginia as well as more off-the-beaten-path destinations including Port Saguenay and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Land & Sea Vacations
Princess offers a choice of two options to combine a land tour with an East Coast cruise to allow guests to enhance their vacations, and see the sites of colonial America or Niagara Falls and the best of Eastern Canada. The Historic America Land and Sea Vacation brings guests to iconic sites such as Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate, Colonial Williamsburg, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Gettysburg Battlefield. The Maple Explorer Land and Sea Vacation take guests to exciting destinations like the capital of Ottawa and Montreal and includes guided tours of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, dazzling cathedrals and the historic 19th century Rideau Canal - a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tour guests are also treated to a cruise through the picturesque Thousand Island during the land portion of their vacation.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at

Back to the top of the news list

MSC Divina Celebrates Maiden Call in NYC

New York City welcomed the ultramodern and elegant MSC Divina as it called at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal for the first time on April 29 and April 30. To mark the occasion, a plaques and keys ceremony was held on board MSC Divina on April 29. Captain Pier Paola Scala, Elizabeth Shearin, vice president of cruise operations for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and Kenneth Winkler, general manager for Ports America, exchanged plaques while a few hundred travel agents witnessed the unique traditional exchange.

While in New York, the company hosted more than 900 travel agents on boardallowing them to tour and experience the ship first hand. Travel agents also attended a presentation by Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA, and Ken Muskat, executive vice president of sales, PR, & guest services for MSC Cruises, in which they learned about the future growth of the company and particularly the line’s aggressive plans for expansion in North America.

MSC Divina overnighted in New York City as part of her transatlantic crossing. She is now headed to the Mediterranean where she will stay for the summer season. Highlights of MSC Divina’s itinerary in the Mediterranean include the ability for guests to embark in two marquee ports: Civitavecchia (Rome) on Saturdays and Barcelona on Wednesdays; late night stays in La Spezia, enabling guests to visit nearby cities of Pisa, Florence, Portofino and Cinque Terre; late night stays in Palma de Mallorca, allowing guests to enjoy the lively nightlife of the island; and a call in Naples, allowing time to visit Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast.

Upon her return from the Mediterranean in November 2015, MSC Divina will start year-round Caribbean sailings from Miami.

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Epic Sails Into Barcelona

Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ship, Norwegian Epic, arrived this morning in Barcelona, Spain to begin her summer season of seven-night Mediterranean sailings. The award-winning Norwegian Epic features a new entertainment line-up for her new homeport, debuting throughout 2015. Two new Broadway shows will take the stage as headliners: Burn the Floor and Priscilla, Queen of the DesertThe Musical, coming in October. The ship will also feature an all-new British pop music entertainment experience, The Cavern Club, bringing the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed to life at sea.

“We are very excited to bring Norwegian Epic back to Europe. With her innovative accommodations and wide array of dining, spa and leisure amenities, she truly is the best ship to sail the Med and beyond”, said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief operating officer. “The new world-class entertainment offerings that guests can enjoy will even further elevate the guest experience, giving them more options to create their perfect cruise holiday.”

Broadway sensation Burn the Floor, which has received rave reviews on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, will bring the sizzle and passion of ballroom dancing to Norwegian Epic with “Ballroom Blitz”, an all new and exciting show specifically designed for European guests. Based on the Oscar-winning movie, Priscilla, Queen of the DesertThe Musical is the heart-warming, uplifting comedy adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and features a hit parade of dance floor favorites, including “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The show will open on the ship’s October 18, 2015 voyage along with a whole new entertainment venue created through an exclusive partnership with the owners of Liverpool’s The Cavern Club, which will rock guests each evening to the sounds of The Beatles and other international musicians.

Until November 22, 2015, Norwegian Epic will offer 7-night cruises from Barcelona or Civitavecchia (Rome) to the Western Mediterranean, including stops in Naples (Pompeii), Italy; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Cannes, France and Palma, Mallorca, Spain between May 3 and Nov 22. During the winter season between Nov 29, 2015 and April 7, 2016, Norwegian Epic will sail alternate 10-night cruises to Morocco, the Canaries, Madeira and Málaga (Granada), and 10-, or 11-, 12-night cruises to the Western Mediterranean including stops in Sardinia, Sicily and Mallorca.

In addition Norwegian Epic will sail two cruises to and from Southampton, England in 2015, marking the first time that the ship has visited the port since the inaugural celebration in June 2010. The ship’s 6-night sailing will depart Barcelona on Sept 20, 2015 and arrive in Southampton on Sept 26, 2015, with ports of call including Cartagena, Spain; Málaga (Granada), Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal. Following a 22-day dry dock in France, Norwegian Epic will embark on a 7-night Iberian Peninsula cruise from Southampton to Barcelona on October 18, 2015. The ship will visit ports of call including Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Málaga (Granada) and Cartagena, Spain.

Guests looking to celebrate Christmas 2015 on board Norwegian Epic can do so on a 9-night Canary Islands & Morocco itinerary which will be offered on Dec 19, 2015 and those planning to cruise through the New Year can set sail on Dec 28, 2015, from Barcelona on a 6-night cruise.

For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Cruise News Archive - Past cruise news items listed by month

More from

Articles & Advice

Cruise Reviews

Cruise Line Profiles

CLICK HERE TO ORDER - Fodor's The Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises
Order My
Latest Book

Don't Miss!
Cruises Guide & Cruise Forum featured on ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA — In case you missed the story, you can still watch it online at
ABC News.

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected

Cruise News Archive
Past cruise news items listed by month

Unless otherwise noted, all news items are sourced by individual cruise lines, cruise-related industries & their agents.


Back to the top of  this page

            Use keywords to search...

Search Search the Internet