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Cruise News
June 1-30, 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

American Cruise Lines Announces 2015 Theme Cruises

GUILFORD, CT, June 25: American Cruise Lines has announced its theme cruises for 2015, including a Savories of the South cruise, a Civil War Eastern Theater theme cruise to complement the Western Theater Civil War cruises offered on the Mississippi River, and a Puget Sound Food & Wine cruise, that celebrates the regional cuisines and wine of the Pacific Northwest.

Savories of the South Cruise – New Orleans Roundtrip: Local historians, culinary experts, and featured chefs will educate passengers on the rich history of some of the South’s most lively cities, such as New Orleans, and their famous cuisines. While in port, guests will be privy to exclusive cooking presentations and tastings such as a mint julep demonstration at Oak Alley Plantation. Guest attendees include Tom Fitzmorris, whose cookbook will be signed and handed out onboard. Featured Date: Dec 5, 2015
Civil War Eastern Theater Cruise – Historic South & Golden Isles: Following the popularity of Civil War theme cruises on the Mississippi River, American Cruise Lines brings that theme to the East Coast. On this cruise, guests will discover the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, visiting pivotal cities of the South such as Charleston, where some of the first shots of the Civil War were fired in 1861. In Savannah, guests will enjoy an eye-opening tour of its Colonial, Revolutionary and Civil War history, visiting historic battle grounds, as well as many fascinating historic buildings and monuments. Featured lecturers will entertain guests and offer added insight while onboard. Featured Date: March 7, 2015
Food & Wine Cruise – Puget Sound: On this Pacific Northwest cruise through the majestic Puget Sound, guests will learn about the pairing regional cuisines with their best-accompanied wines. Onboard wine expert, Eleanor Pawley, offers guests tips on finding the best local wine to compliment savory Pacific Northwest salmon. In Anacortes, WA, guests will experience the Paseck Cellar operation which crafts a variety of fruit wines including cranberry and raspberry wine. Featured Date: April 11, 2015

“Theme cruises are extremely popular as they add an extra element of connectivity between our guests and the areas we travel,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “It’s rewarding to provide a cruise experience centered on the shared interests of our guests. With added theme-centric features and activities, they enjoy the cruise even more.”

Additional theme cruises offered in 2015 include:

Wine Themed Cruise – Columbia & Snake Rivers: Culinary masters aboard the Queen of the West create a delectable all-American menu that highlights wines of the Columbia Valley. A wine connoisseur joins guests aboard for lessons on wine making, tasting, and food pairing. In port, various different wineries are visited in both Oregon and Washington. Featured Date: March 28, 2015
Music Cruise – Mississippi River: Guests will explore the history of jazz music in the vibrant town of New Orleans, where musicians like Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Clarence Williams made their mark on the world. The cruise features evening performances from local musicians who have honed their skills at giving audiences a tune to tap their toes to. Featured Date: April 11, 2015
Lobster Festival Cruise – Maine Coast and New England Islands: An American Cruise Lines specialty theme offered on both the Maine Coast & Harbors and New England Islands itineraries, guests enjoy a traditional lobsterbake in Rockland, ME and the opportunity to board a lobster boat for a hands-on demonstration of the catching process. Featured Date: May 31, 2015

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 and the theme cruises, visit

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New Beautiful Bali Cruises Scheduled For Crystal Cruises' Fall/Winter Voyages

LOS ANGELES, June 25: Four new Crystal cruises will feature Bali as a destination both on land and at sea in fall 2014 and early winter 2015. Complementing local overnights aboard Crystal Symphony are a bevy of native dancers, an Emmy award-winning Bali anthropologist/filmmaker, and arguably the island's most renowned traditional chef. Departing Nov 24, Dec 7, Jan 5 and Jan 17, each new 12- to 14-day itinerary also calls in several other Indonesian ports while sailing between Bali and Singapore, and boasts visits to Australia and Southeast Asia, depending on the cruise. Limited time "Book Now" fares offer $800 in air credit, and up to $2100 in savings, on the voyages.

The expanded onboard programming includes:

Chef Heinz von Holzen--Local chef and author behind the island's only authentic Balinese cuisine restaurant, bringing aboard his latest modern-meets-traditional recipes to share via hands-on cooking classes, demonstrations, a guest chef dinner for all, and a limited-availability Vintage Room dinner featuring multiple courses of the secret dishes, each perfectly paired with rare wines. (Jan 5 sailing only)
Dr. Lawrence Blair--Bali resident and anthropological expert, sharing personal tales from his Emmy Award-winning PBS series and book Ring of Fire, which explores the region's volcanic eruptions, gypsy pirates, man-eating animals (and people), and Blair's own homesteading in a Balinese village. (all voyages)
Local Kecak dancers--An ancient tradition, featuring a group of approximately 100 men clad in checked waist-cloths depicting the epic Hindu battle of Ramayana via native dance, chanting, and music. (all voyages)

Ashore, guests can ride an elephant through the forest, step inside temples once reserved only for the rajas, learn how traditional batik and other crafts are made, visit local villages and residences, taste and make even more traditional dishes, view volcano vistas and rice paddies, and experience other ancient stories through music, such as a Barong dance.

"From more time to explore the island itself to bringing the Island of the Gods' top experts in culture, cuisine, and art on board, each cruise offers a rare immersive experience from ship to shore," says Crystal President Edie Rodriguez. "Travelers can really embrace the genuinely warm and welcoming Balinese spirit that, although exotic, also so closely reflects Crystal's own culture."

Other Indonesian calls include Komodo Island (for the famed pre-historic Komodo dragons), Semarang (for UNESCO's magnificent world heritage site, Borobudur), Jakarta, Surabaya and a maiden visit to Belawan. Depending on the sailing, other destinations include Malacca City, Penang, KualaLumpur/Port Kelang and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane, Hamilton Island/Whitsunday Island and Cairns, Australia.; and sailing through the Great Barrier Reef, Java Sea and Indonesian Archipelago.

Until the June 30 "Book Now" deadline, all-inclusive cruise fares for the Bali sailings feature special perks and offers available for solo cruisers, families sailing with kids under 17, plus air credits of up to $800 per person. Shorter "Getaway" segments are also available on the 2014 sailings, for those with less time.

Crystal's passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more "World's Best" awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history. For more information, visit

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Uncorked: Un-Cruise Adventures’ New River Cruise Blends Wine & History on the Columbia & Snake Rivers

Seattle, WA, June 25: Oenophiles unite on a river cruise. Un-Cruise Adventures’ 88-guest S.S. Legacy sails a new wine-centric itinerary on four departures along the Columbia and Snake Rivers in 2015. Departing roundtrip from Portland, the itinerary blends scenic cruising along four rivers with visits to nine wineries.

The weeklong Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine & History itinerary is offered Aug 15, Aug 22, Aug 29 and Sept 5, 2015. The inclusive cruise features four rivers—Columbia, Snake, Willamette and Palouse—and highlights the burgeoning wine regions in Washington and Oregon including Walla Walla, recently named one of the top ten wine regions in the world. A local wine expert joins guests on board for the week leading presentations and wine tastings. Tastings at nine wineries are included in the cruise fare. Wineries may include Springhouse Cellars, Maryhill Winery, AniChe Cellars, Bergevin Lane, Dunham Cellars, Terra Blanca, Sunshine Mill Winery and others. A visit to the Wine Shack in Cannon Beach includes tastings of Washington and Oregon wines. The Oil & Vinegar Bar nearby presents tastings of infused olive oil.

“The diversity of experience found in the Columbia River region is phenomenal – waterfalls, Lewis and Clark history, monuments and museums, rainforest and wheat fields, locks and dams, but also world-class appellations and wineries,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “This new itinerary dedicates more time ashore to visiting these wineries and enjoying expert wine and food pairings aboard the S.S. Legacy.”

Highlights of the cruise include cruising through scenic Columbia River Gorge and visits to Hood River, Walla Walla, Astoria and Cannon Beach. Excursions explore towering Multnomah Falls, eclectic Maryhill Museum, Hanford Interpretive Center and Whitman Mission. A skiff ride travels into a scenic canyon to Palouse Falls.

On board, guests enjoy fresh, innovative cuisine paired with wines, tastings and engaging presentations. 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 a dining room, lounge with dance floor, wine bar and rollicking Pesky Barnacle Saloon. An elevator connects three decks. Wellness amenities include two hot tubs, a sauna, a massage, fitness equipment and yoga on deck.

Inclusive wine theme cruises offer on board interpretation by a heritage leader, a wine expert, and guided tours combined with innovative meals; premium wine, beer and spirits; all taxes and fees and transfers. All winery tasting fees are included.

The 88-guest S.S. Legacy also sails a weeklong Legacy of Discovery itinerary on the Columbia and Snake Rivers from August-November 2014 and April-November 2015. Charters and group incentives are available. For additional information, visit

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Silversea Expands 'Silver Select' Offer to Caribbean

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, June 24: Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has expanded its Silver Select promotion beyond Alaska and the Mediterranean to include select voyages in the Caribbean. The Silver Select promotion enables guests to personalize their voyage with a choice of three enticing offers: a two-category suite upgrade, a $500 per person credit towards the purchase of the Silver Sky® air program, or a $500 per person onboard credit that can be used for shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants and more. Silver Select is available on new bookings made by August 31, 2014 for select voyages sailing in the Caribbean, Alaska and the Mediterranean.

"Silver Select's three generous savings options have proven hugely popular, and we're delighted to be offering them now on voyages to the beautiful, sunny islands of the Caribbean," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas.

Below is a sampling of the 2014-2015 Caribbean voyages offering the Silver Select promotion:

-- Silver Cloud departs Dec 5 on a 7-day, roundtrip voyage (#1436) from Fort Lauderdale with calls in Key West, Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.
-- Silver Spirit departs Dec 12 on a 10-day, roundtrip voyage (#5437) from Fort Lauderdale with calls in San Juan, St. Barts, Antigua, Tortola, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turk.
-- Silver Whisper departs Dec 12 on a 7-day voyage (#4433) from Barbados to Fort Lauderdale with calls in St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Barts, and Virgin Gorda.
-- Silver Cloud departs Feb 11 on a 9-day voyage (#1504) from Barbados to San Juan with calls in Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Dominica, St. Barts, and St. Maarten.
-- Silver Shadow departs March 20 on a 14-day, roundtrip voyage (#3506) from Fort Lauderdale with calls in Ponce (Puerto Rico), St. Barts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Bequia, Dominica, St. Kitts, and Tortola.

Silver Select is still available on several 2014 Alaska and Mediterranean voyages with an extended booking deadline of August 31. Here's a small sampling:

--Silver Shadow:
Voyage 3426: Seward to Vancouver, 7 Days, Aug 28-Sept 4
Voyage 3428: Vancouver to San Francisco, 11 Days, Sept 13-24

--Silver Spirit:
Voyage 5426: Istanbul to Istanbul, 9 Days, Aug 20-29
Voyage 5433: Athens to Rome, 14 Days, Oct 17-31
Voyage 5434: Rome to Barcelona, 9 Days, Oct 31-Nov 9
--Silver Cloud:
Voyage 1432: Istanbul to Athens, 9 Days, Oct 22-31
Voyage 1433: Athens to Rome, 12 Days, Oct 31-Nov 12
--Silver Wind:
Voyage 2432: Barcelona to Rome, 9 Days, Oct 12-21
Voyage 2433: Rome to Athens, 10 Days, Oct 21-31

Silver Select is a capacity-controlled program and subject to availability. The $500 per person credit towards the purchase of the Silver Sky® air program is not available in Central and South America. Guests or their travel agents must mention promotion code NASELECT03 at the time of booking to receive this special offer. For complete details and fares, visit

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Viking Ocean Cruises Celebrates Float Out Of First Ship

LOS ANGELES, June 24: Viking Ocean Cruises® today announced its first ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star, was "floated out," marking the latest major construction milestone, and the first time that the new ship touches water. The traditional ceremony took place on Monday, June 23, at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard outside Venice, Italy. With a total of three sister ships now under construction, Viking Star will be the first to debut in early 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

"Today is a proud day for our entire Viking family, as we are one step closer to launching a new era of ocean cruising," Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen said at the ceremony. "Viking Star's maiden season was sold out before she even touched water, which just demonstrates how enthusiastic our guests are for destination-focused ocean cruises. It is this enthusiasm that has led us to place orders for two additional sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky."

According to Italian shipbuilding tradition, a float out ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Star's float out began at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, when a "madrina," a woman of honor, cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Star afloat, she will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.

Viking developed its ocean cruises by leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises® passengers, and with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are designed 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

Classified as a "small ship," the 930-passenger all-veranda Viking Star, as well as its two sister ships under construction, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. Light-filled and intimate, the ship features 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: Viking Star features 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that 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, the 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 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 & Wintergarden: Spaces designed to facilitate mingling and storytelling, the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow 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 hand-selected teas.
-- Dining Choices: Viking Star offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices--from The Restaurant and the World Cafe, 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 Star 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 Star features 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.

From now through June 30, 2014, Viking is offering U.S. residents an Early Booking Discount with 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures and savings of up to $2,000 per couple on international air. Visit for additional information.

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Offers Culinary & Wine Excursions On m/v Tere Moana's Summer European Voyages

BELLEVUE, WA, June 23: 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 a variety of shore excursions for food and wine connoisseurs this summer on 7-night European voyages. During the summer, The Moana sails Nice to Rome, Athens to Venice, Venice to Rome, Lisbon to Barcelona, and Barcelona to Nice voyages. Winery tours, wine tastings, a local market tour, and multi-course dining with wine pairings are some of the optional excursions available:

-- Elba, Italy--Porto Azzurro & Wine Tasting at La Chiusa: Sample wine and olive oils at La Chiusa Winery, a historic wine estate visited by Napoleon Bonaparte, before exploring the charming seaside town of Porto Azzurro.
-- Hvar, Croatia--Wine Tasting Tour of Hvar: Enjoy wines from two of Croatia's most distinguished winemakers, olive oil tastings, and a gourmet picnic lunch.
-- Palma de Mallorca, Spain--The Wine Cellars of Macia Batle: See wine cellars where ancient and contemporary winemaking traditions intersect. Take a tour of the winery, taste different wines, and savor local Mallorcan tapas.
-- Portofino, Italy--Olive Oil Tasting & Lunch at the Splendido Hotel: Pay an exclusive visit to this world-famous luxury hotel to learn about the many uses and varieties of olive oil, followed by a lunch of Italian specialties.
-- Porto Venere, Italy--Wine Tasting in Groppo: Discover winemaking secrets of the Cinque Terre region of Italy, which produces wines that are highly prized around the world. Then, visit an estate atop Groppo hill, and take a guided tour of the wine cellar and vineyards, before tasting three different varieties.
-- Sete, France--Montpellier & Aigues-Mortes with Lunch & Wine Tasting: Experience the scenic beauty and flavors of Montpellier, the walled city of Aigues-Mortes, and France's Languedoc winemaking region. Dine at La Compagnie des Comptoirs restaurant for lunch before a wine tasting at a boutique winery near Sete.
-- Sete, France--Montpellier & Wine Tasting at Flaugergues: Explore Montpellier's Old Town on a walking tour followed by a wine tasting at the Chateau Flaugergues private wine estate in France's Languedoc region.
-- St. Tropez, France--Strolling in St. Tropez with Wine Tasting: Enjoy a scenic walking tour of St. Tropez followed by a wine class and wine tasting highlighting traditions of the region.
-- Villefranche, Nice--A Taste of Nice: Learn about the culinary history of Nice, famed for its street food, and taste French delicacies, sample a selection of olive oils, discover the secrets of French cheese, and visit an artisan pork butcher.
-- Zadar, Croatia--Wine Pairing at BIBICh Wine Cellar: Tour the vineyards and cellars of BIBICh winery, which produce some of the most celebrated wines in the country, before enjoying a six- to eight-course decadent lunch paired with wines.

Rates for culinary and wine excursions range from $109 to $489 per person. For a complete list of European shore excursions, descriptions, and fares, visit Shore excursions are available for pre-booking 90 days prior to sailing by calling Paul Gauguin Cruises at 800-848-6172. Guests of The Moana can also arrange private tours and services, customized to their needs and travel budgets, by calling Paul Gauguin Personalized Services (PGPS) at 800-305-5416 or by emailing . With hundreds of options to choose from, PGPS can coordinate air travel, accommodations, customized and private tours, and transfer packages for Moana guests.

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Costa Cruises Kicks off the Summer Season with "La Notte Bianca" Celebrations Throughout July

HOLLYWOOD, FL, June 23: The summer season welcomes the longest days of the year, and Costa Cruises is celebrating with "La Notte Bianca" (white party) throughout July on ships in the Mediterranean and northern Europe. This party is traditionally celebrated in many Italian cities and will bring more of the country's culture onboard.The white theme will be reflected in activities that go all day and last late into the night. Every ship will be "dressed up" for the special occasion, from the bars and lounges to the main hall and restaurants, with unique all-white decorations, while ship staff will wear white outfits to get guests into the party mood.

Activities planned for the celebration are for all ages and nationalities, such as treasure hunts, trivia quizzes and many other events organized by the staff. Among the most exciting surprises will be a flash mob with guest participants dancing with Costa's Animation staff. The activities will continue with a white party at the pool starting at 10 p.m. that will welcome everyone who wants to dance and enjoy the entertainment of the ship's deejays and professional dancers who will perform on unique platforms. Special decorations, white glow necklaces and ice sculptures will be the ideal enhancements for the ultimate Costa summer party.

The La Notte Bianca theme extends into food and beverage, with a special white dessert and specially made white drinks served in the main dining room, while bar staff will perform a cocktail demonstration of popular white-theme drinks like an apricot daiquiri, piña colada, White Russian and White Lady.

Guests who want to dress in white and get into into the “La Notte Bianca” mood can visit the onboard apparel shops that will have an area dedicated to a “white collection.”

For more information on Costa Cruises, visit

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Holland America Line's 2015 Grand World Voyage Aboard ms Amsterdam visits
45 ports in 25 Countries on Six Continents

SEATTLE, June 23: When ms Amsterdam departs Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jan. 5, 2015, the cruise will span 114 days and call at 45 ports in 25 countries on six continents. Offering a refined and elegant "home away from home," Amsterdam guests will enjoy gracious service, superior amenities and many special Grand Voyage experiences. For guests who have less time on their hands, eight segments ranging in length from 22 to 57 days are available from departure ports along the route. Highlights of the roundtrip Fort Lauderdale journey include 11 overnight calls in some of the world's most exciting cities, transits of the Panama and Suez canals, crossing the equator and International Date Line, visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, evening theme balls, local entertainment and a host of other activities.

"A Grand World Voyage with Holland America Line is an experience of a lifetime with a unique way of showcasing each region both onboard and ashore," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "For any destination collector, a journey around the world is the pinnacle in travel, and this cruise truly is the grandest of the Grand Voyages."

Following Amsterdam's departure from Fort Lauderdale, the ship will take a westerly course from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean via a daylight transit of the Panama Canal. Once the ship reaches the South Pacific, guests will enjoy an overnight call at Papeete, French Polynesia. Amsterdam will explore six Polynesian islands before heading to New Zealand for an overnight call at Auckland.

Amsterdam then sails west along the southern coast of Australia after an overnight call at Sydney. Extra time in one of the most popular ports on the journey allows for an evening at the famed Sydney Opera House, the opportunity to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge or an overland tour to Ayers Rock. Guests also will have extra time Down Under with overnights at Adelaide and Perth (Fremantle). The Australia exploration is enhanced with additional calls at Melbourne, Albany and Geraldton.

The ship makes its way to Asia with an overnight call at Bali, Indonesia, before touching the island of Java. Blending Asian traditions with a western cityscape, Singapore is the next overnight call, as well as the departure point for an overland tour to Cambodia and Angkor Wat, one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.

Amsterdam continues its northwesterly course with calls at Malaysia and Thailand before an overnight call at Thilawa (Rangoon), Myanmar. The ship visits Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Cochin, India, before overnight calls at Mumbai (Bombay), India, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. From Mumbai, guests can go overland to visit the Taj Mahal.

Following calls in Oman, Egypt and Jordan, Amsterdam transits the Suez Canal on its way to the Mediterranean. Guests explore 13 ports in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, including an overnight call at Piraeus (Athens), Greece, before a leisurely Atlantic crossing and return to Fort Lauderdale.

A Grand Onboard Experience
Sailing on Holland America Line's Grand World Voyage is a cruise experience unlike any other. Onboard amenities are elevated to the highest level. With nearly one crewmember for every two guests, the finest service is always nearby. A different dining experience is offered every day, with the opportunity to enjoy a variety of food and fine wines from around the world.

Through the line's "On Location" enrichment program, local traditions and culinary and cultural experiences come to life both onboard and ashore to deepen guests' appreciation of the destinations. During the Grand World Voyage, that might mean illuminating speakers, special guest headliners, galas and local cultural and folkloric shows such as enjoying a didgeridoo player on deck while in Australia or belly dancing lessons in the Mediterranean.

Book by July 31, 2014, and Receive Early Booking Amenities and Savings Reservations are open for Amsterdam's 2015 Grand World Voyage, and guests who pay in full by July 31, 2014, receive a three-percent discount off the cruise fare.
Early Booking Amenities for full Grand World Voyage guests who book by July 31 include prepaid hotel service charges, shipboard credit, luggage delivery service and a complimentary shore excursion or champagne for select stateroom categories. Guests booking a segment of the Grand World Voyage by July 31 receive a shipboard credit that varies depending on stateroom category.

The Grand World Voyage is available to book for the full cruise or in segments starting at 22 days. Amsterdam's 114-day Grand World Voyage departs Jan. 5; the 30-day segment from Fort Lauderdale to Auckland departs Jan. 5; the 35-day segment from Fort Lauderdale to Sydney departs Jan. 5; the 27-day segment from Auckland to Singapore departs Feb. 5; the 46-day segment from Auckland to Dubai departs Feb. 5; the 22-day segment from Sydney to Singapore departs Feb. 10; the 41-day segment from Sydney to Dubai departs Feb. 10; the 57-day segment from Singapore to Fort Lauderdale departs March 4; and the 38-day segment from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale departs March 23. For more information, visit Holland America Line's website at

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Dr. Seuss Bookville Family Reading Venue, Camp Ocean Children's Program Latest Enhancements To
Carnival's Family-Friendly Offerings

MIAMI, June 23: With summer travel season in full swing, Carnival Cruise Lines continues to enhance its family-friendly offerings, introducing the new Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading venue and Camp Ocean marine-themed children's program on Carnival Freedom, along with highly attractive rates for families to make a summer cruise more affordable than ever.

Recently debuting on Carnival Freedom following a multi-million-dollar makeover, Dr. Seuss Bookville and Camp Ocean featuring more than 200 new ocean-inspired activities are part of a fleetwide rollout of new children's programming designed to build upon Carnival's position as the family cruise leader. Carnival hosts more than 700,000 kids a year, the most of any cruise operator and roughly double what the line carried a decade ago. And with low rates, along with special discounts for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom, there's no better time for families to take advantage of the incredible value of a Carnival cruise.

"Families are an important market to us and with these new family-friendly enhancements, combined with highly attractive summer rates, we're making cruising on Carnival an even greater value while providing kids and their parents an opportunity to create a lifetime of vacation memories together," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. "Seuss at Sea and Camp Ocean are not only wonderful additions to our top-rated children's programs but also provide our valued travel agent partners with a highly effective tool for attracting more families to the 'Fun Ships,'" he added.

Part of an exclusive agreement with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Bookville features iconic decor, colors, shapes and funky furniture inspired by the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. Here, kids and their families can read beloved Dr. Seuss books or stretch their imagination through fun activities such as arts and crafts, toys and Dr. Seuss-inspired games. Bookville will also be featured on the new Carnival Vista when it debuts in 2016.

Bookville is part of Seuss at Sea, a fleetwide family, dining and entertainment experience inspired by the amazing world of Dr. Seuss. The program also includes the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends, an interactive reading event called Seuss-a-palooza Story Time, and the Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade along the ships' promenade.

Camp Ocean is a fun-filled new children's program that immerses children ages 2-11 in the wonders of the sea through fun and engaging experiences, with underwater-colored spaces and energetic, highly trained staff. Three age-related categories each have their own identity: children ages 2-5 are dubbed "Penguins," those ages 6-8 are called "Stingrays" and 9-11-year-olds are "Sharks." In addition to fun new spaces, from miniature play igloos for the Penguins to interactive gaming stations for the Sharks, Carnival Freedom's new Camp Ocean facility includes Party Reef, a common area that brings each of the groups together, as well as a breakout room for arts and crafts activities called Creative Cove. Camp Ocean serves as the venue for a host of new activities, from educational games such as Under the Sea Mad Libs and Ocean Artifacts Memory Tray to creative arts opportunities like Design Your Own Aquarium and Make Your Own Sailboat.

Carnival's "Fun Ships" also offer a host of all-ages entertainment and activities, from Hasbro, The Game Show, where guests are part of the show through larger-than-life adaptations of the company's iconic and popular games to family-friendly performances by hilarious comedians at the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez. Every Carnival ship also features an exhilarating water slide, with some vessels boasting expansive water parks, as well as game rooms featuring the latest video and arcade games. Kid-friendly dining choices are also available, from fleetwide 24-hour pizza and ice cream to Guy's Burger Joints developed in tandem with Food Network Star Guy Fieri on select ships. And when parents need a little "me" time, there's the Serenity adults-only retreats featured on virtually every Carnival ship.

These family friendly offerings are available throughout Carnival's "Fun Ship" fleet which this summer will offer a wide range of 3- to 8-day departures from a variety of convenient homeports throughout North America. Carnival Freedom currently operates 5- to 8-day Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale then repositions to Galveston, Texas, for year-round 7-day Caribbean departures beginning in February 2015. Amenities and facilities vary by ship with fleetwide implementation of Seuss at Sea expected to be completed by 2015 and Camp Ocean by 2016. For additional information, visit

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Bonnie Raitt to Headline Upcoming Olivia Travel Thanksgiving Caribbean Cruise

SAN FRANCISCO, June 23: Olivia Travel, the world's largest travel company offering chartered cruise, resort, adventure and luxury vacations specifically for the lesbian community, has announced Grammy award-winning artist, Bonnie Raitt, will headline the group's upcoming Thanksgiving Caribbean Cruise, scheduled to take place Nov 23-30, 2014 on Holland America's 1300 passenger ms Ryndam. Raitt will join other recognized entertainers such as independent recording artist Cris Williamson, comedians Suzanne Westenhoefer and Poppy Champlin, classically trained chef Josie Smith-Malave, and Sweet Cheeks owner and executive chef Tiffani Faison.

"Olivia's life-changing, life-saving musical history has always been deeply important to me, as it has to so many. I'm pleased to be a part of Olivia Travels kick-off concert for their Thanksgiving Caribbean Cruise," said Raitt.

The "life-saving musical history" Raitt refers to reflects back to the core of Olivia Travel and the roots of founder Judy Dlugacz. In 1973, Dlugacz founded Olivia, a San Francisco-based independent women's record label where she produced over 40 albums and sold more than one million records for artists such as Meg Christian, Teresa Trull, and Cris Williamson. "It's always been about music, family and making a difference," said Williamson. "These things came together for me all those years ago when Olivia was born. I am thankful to still play a part in it all and happy to share the upcoming cruise with my good friend, Bonnie Raitt."

Following Raitt's official concert sendoff in Tampa, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy snorkeling in Cozumel, Mexico, visit the walled city of ancient Tulum, as well as spending a day diving or fishing near the magical coral reefs that surround the island of Roatan, Honduras. In Guatemala, there are sparkling waterfalls, freshwater pools in San Gill Hill Natural Reserve and an old Mayan city at Quirigua National Park. There is plenty of unspoiled paradise to discover in Costa Maya, Mexico, along with Mayan ruins, sandy beaches and fresh seafood to nosh on. Celebrity chefs, Josie Smith- Malave and Tiffani Faison will also be on board hosting cooking demonstrations for everyone to enjoy.

"Our Thanksgiving Caribbean Cruise is a perfect example of what we do best: bring together the greatest entertainment, like Bonnie and Cris, and combine that with simply breathtaking vacation destinations. Our goal is to help our guests create some of the best memories, both on and off the ship," said Dlugacz. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list Partners with for Upcoming Halloween & New Year’s Singles Cruises

Fort Lauderdale, FL, June 23:, America’s leading singles cruise organization, and, the world’s largest online dating site, have announced a blockbuster partnership to bring singles together for the two largest and best-organized singles cruises of 2014. The cruises are a 7-night Halloween cruise departing on October 26 and an 8-night New Year’s cruise departing December 27, 2014. The cruises are open to the public, but for cruisers to take advantage of the exclusive singles parties and benefits, clients from must be booked through’s blog, Up to Date, and the general public should book through

This is the second time and have come together, due to a strong demand among singles to mingle at sea. After a 2013 sailing, a full 98% of respondents to a post-cruise survey said the onboard events were successful at helping them meet other singles. Over 90% said that due to their satisfaction with their travel arrangements, they would be “likely” or “very likely” to recommend to a friend. Nearly 90% said they enjoyed the onboard activities, including exclusive complimentary cocktail parties, theme nights, karaoke parties, and free dance classes. Another major draw for these cruises will be’s onboard hosts, who lead events and foster interaction between singles.

“Customer feedback from our cruise with in 2013 was overwhelmingly positive, and many cruisers asked for a ‘second date,’ so to speak, on an even larger scale,” said Jody Ryland, Vice President, “Because our Halloween cruise and New Year’s celebration cruises are our top-selling cruises of the year, we knew they were the optimal choices for our future cruises with – and we expect even greater success.”

Historically,’s Halloween cruise draws up to 500 single cruisers, and its New Year’s cruise attracts close to 300. The upcoming 2014 cruises will feature all of the exclusive amenities guests are accustomed to plus the Halloween cruise includes the largest singles Halloween bash at sea, and the New Year’s cruise will feature a singles-only New Year’s Eve gala.

The 7-night Halloween cruise departs Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Oct 26, 2014, aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas. The Eastern Caribbean itinerary will include stops in Nassau, The Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, with three full days at sea, prior to returning to Fort Lauderdale on Nov 2, 2014.

The 8-night New Year’s cruise departs Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Dec 27, 2014, aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom. The exotic Southern Caribbean itinerary includes port calls in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; La Romana, Dominican Republic; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; plus three days at sea, prior to returning to Fort Lauderdale on Jan 4, 2015.

Any members who register for either cruise will gain access to all of the singles events has organized exclusively for these sailings. Upon completing their reservation, all guests will also receive access to a private message board dedicated to their specific sailing, where they can ask questions and begin socializing online with fellow single cruisers. For more details on upcoming sailings, go to

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Holland America Line Returns to Bermuda in Summer 2015 with Seven-Day Roundtrip Boston Voyages

Seattle, WA, June 19: Holland America Line is returning to the pink sands and pastel-colored skyline of Bermuda on 7-day cruises aboard ms Veendam. Sailing roundtrip from Boston, Mass., six departures will sail in May, June, and July, and feature three days and nights at Hamilton, the country’s capital known for its gorgeous beaches and abundance of golf courses.

Carrying just 1,350 guests, Veendam offers an ideal mid-size ship experience in Bermuda that enables the vessel to dock at Hamilton in the center of town. The seven-day voyages spend a day at sea after departing Boston and arrive at Hamilton mid-day with enough time for guests to go ashore and enjoy the town. The ship then spends three nights alongside, where guests can experience local nightlife and dine ashore, if desired. Veendam departs Bermuda in the afternoon of the final day in Hamilton, with a day at sea before arriving back at Boston.

“We know our guests will be excited to see us cruise again to Bermuda in 2015,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest relations. “By extending the call to three nights, guests can have extensive time to experience the island while still enjoying the award-wining service and amenities that Holland America Line is known for.”

With three days in port, guests will have multiple opportunities to experience Hamilton’s British charm, cultural heritage sites and world-renowned beaches on a variety of shore excursions. From the ship, guests can take a short walk to Front Street and explore its array of colorful shops and restaurants. Hamilton also is home to a massive 19th-century neo-Gothic cathedral and the Georgian-style Sessions House built in 1815.

The 7-day Bermuda itinerary can be combined with a 7-day Canada/New England cruise to create a 14-day Bermuda & Canada/New England Collectors’ Voyage. The full Collectors’ cruise calls at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston; and Hamilton, with scenic cruising in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Bermuda cruise also can be combined with a 17-day Panama Canal transit to create a 24-day Panama Canal and Bermuda Collectors’ Voyage. The ship departs San Diego, Calif., April 15, and calls at ports in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Colombia, as well as Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Boston, and Hamilton, including a full transit of the Panama Canal.

Veendam offers an onboard experience defined by spacious comfort and the latest features and amenities. Guests aboard the ship will not only enjoy elegant dining rooms, a $2 million art and antique collection, wide teak decks and spacious staterooms—many with private verandahs—but also new and exciting venues and along with the latest culinary and entertainment enhancements. Visit for additional information.

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Windstar Cruises Offers Added Value on Luxury Asia Voyages

Seattle, June 17: Windstar Cruises’ new offer features the best value in small ship luxury cruising to Asia. Guests who book by August 27th will receive up to a $1,000 airfare credit per person on Windstar’s Asia voyages, aboard Star Pride, the company’s newly acquired all-suite yacht, as well as free hotel and transfers on arrival, a free exclusive Private Event, in addition to savings of up to 50% on cruise fare.

“Small ship cruising is the perfect way to experience the Far East. Guests can enjoy the vibrant Asian culture during the day, and step back onto their private yacht at night to relax,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “These voyages will feature our new Private Event, giving our guests an even deeper immersion in the local culture.”

Windstar’s new Private Events are crafted with the local experience in mind to give guests an in depth and authentic experience that compliments their voyage. Private Events featured on 2015 Asia voyages include:

Phuket: A Feast for the Senses: Featured on the Singapore & the Malay Peninsula voyage, guests will start the evening with a performance by local dancers and a Long Drum Parade, followed by dinner at the award-winning restaurant, Sala Bua (Pavilion of Lotus), overlooking the Andaman Sea, and a private performance of graceful Thai dance.
Hoi An: Dreams of Floating Lanterns: Featured on the Treasures of Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia Unveiled, and Southeast Asia Unveiled & Angkor Wat Cruisetour voyages guests will start the evening with a private performance of lion dancers, before dining in the beautiful Nam Long restaurant surrounded by lush gardens on the Thu Bon River. Floating lanterns gliding down the river accompanied by traditional music and dancers will add to the enchantment of the evening. Guests will also have the opportunity to take part in interactive workshops of Vietnamese letter drawing, lantern-making, and wood-engraving.

For those who wish to extend their cruise vacation with a land experience, Windstar is launching its first-ever Cruisetour, which premieres in Asia. The Angkor Wat Cruisetour includes a 3-day journey to the ancient temples in Cambodia. The package can be added to Southeast Asia Unveiled, a 10-day voyage from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City. The Cruisetour includes airfare to or from Ho Chi Minh City, 2-night accommodations at the 5-star Le Meridien Angkor, a gourmet dinner with traditional Cambodian entertainment and dance performance, in addition to the cruise on board Star Pride and transfers.

From Singapore and the Malay Peninsula to Hong Kong and Vietnam, Windstar explores the best of Asia. Windstar features:

Best value in luxury travel: starting at $3,599 per person, guests receive complimentary transfers, one free hotel night, a spacious suite on Star Pride, Windstar’s first all-suite yacht, and a spectacular Private Event, created exclusively for Windstar guests.
In-depth local experiences: Windstar showcases local cultures and cuisines through expert guest lecturers and local entertainers who come on board every voyage.
Acclaimed itineraries: recognized for unique itineraries and authentic experiences, Windstar’s Singapore & the Malay Peninsula was recently showcased by Fodor’s as one of the Top 10 New Cruise Itineraries in 2014. Additionally, the line offers exclusive overnight experiences in both Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Da Nang.
Special access of small ship cruising: Windstar can get close enough for guests to experience these extraordinary places. Star Pride docks in city centers where larger ships can’t go, including the center of Hong Kong, the center of Penang, and the center in Halong Bay where junks come right alongside for guests to board from the deck of the yacht.
Convenience and ease of travel: Windstar’s combination of small ship luxury and world-class service on board and on shore brings peace of mind when exploring new countries.

To learn more about the featured voyages and Windstar’s Asia offer, visit

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Costa Cruises' Costa Diadema to Feature a Spectacular Promenade

HOLLYWOOD, FL, June 18: A 1,640-foot promenade on Deck 5 of Costa Cruises' new Costa Diadema, will provide guests a new way to experience the Mediterranean. The ship will feature large, split-level public rooms directly overlooking the sea and conveniently interconnected to create an atmosphere similar to a lively seaside resort. The outdoor promenade on Costa Diadema, Costa's flagship fondly nicknamed Regina del Mediterraneo (Queen of the Mediterranean), will provide a spectacular vista of the sea. As the longest promenade of Costa's fleet, it provides a 1,640-foot walk that will feel like a stroll on a gorgeous Italian shore or along Sanremo Passeggiata dell'Imperatrice, the seafront of Santa Maria di Leuca in Italy's Puglia region. Roberto Bixio's two large glass mosaics titled "Riviera Ligure" featuring imagery from the Mediterranean coasts embellish both the left and right side of the promenade and cover a total area of 440 square feet.

The spacious promenade measures 16 feet across and up to 26 feet wide where the six cabanas and two Jacuzzis are located. The cabanas and hot tubs extend out from the side of the ship, creating the sensation of being suspended over the sea. In the cabanas guests can relax over drinks or enjoy a romantic sunset dinner, comfortably sheltered from the wind.

Bars and restaurants overlook the promenade, re-creating the atmosphere of a summertime Mediterranean beach. Guests can order a glass of top-quality Italian regional wine at Vinoteca Gran Duca di Toscana or a beer from Birreria, which offers a selection of bottled beer from renowned Italian and foreign brewers along with a range of beers on tap. Alternatively, guests can have an aperitif at Bar Bollicine, which features a wide selection of the most prestigious Italian brands of Prosecco and Spritz aperitifs.

Costa Diadema also is introducing several new dining venues, including an authentic Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. Guests who want typical Italian food can enjoy a slice of pie in the casual atmosphere of the Pizzeria or taste a delicious ice cream, Italian pastry, crepe, hot chocolate, or pralines at the Gelateria Amarillo. Gourmands can savor the delicacies of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine in the a la carte Club Restaurant or healthy spa dishes at the Samsara Restaurant. After having a drink with a view of the sea and a stroll along Costa Diadema's promenade, passengers will reach the elegant Teodora Bar at the stern.

The ship's christening ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 7, 2014, in Genoa, Italy. Starting Nov. 8 and for the rest of the 2014-15 winter season and the 2015 summer season, Costa Diadema will depart Savona on 7-night cruises to the western Mediterranean, calling at Marseille, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Naples and La Spezia, Italy. For more information on Costa Diadema, visit

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Brand New Fall Crystal Adventures Ashore Showcase Old & New East Coast Heritage

LOS ANGELES, June 17: Past and present: Centuries-old shipwrecks and the 9/11 Memorial. Carriage roads built by Rockefeller and the trendy streets of today's Brooklyn. Classic steak at nineteenth-century Michelin-starred Peter Luger Steak House and modern gastronomy at three Michelin-starred DANIEL. Contrasts abound with Crystal Cruises' fall Canada/New England cruises, as the ultra-luxury line unveils two dozen brand new shore-side Crystal Adventures for five 2014 Crystal Serenity voyages. Beginning in September, travelers can step back in time to some of the region's earliest important historical sites or focus on cool new ways to see old places, including more active options for athletically-minded travelers.

New & "Now":
-- Limited-availability Boutique Adventures provide a birds-eye view of the kitchen action at Chef Daniel Boulud's New York City three Michelin-Starred DANIEL. While suspended in the glass-enclosed Skybox above the main dining room, savor an eight-course tasting menu of contemporary French cuisine;
-- A reflective tour of New York City's 9/11 Memorial and Museum will be personally guided by a survivor, rescue worker, volunteer, or other veteran of the 2001 attacks, with remembrances like the survival tree that was pulled from the rubble and cascading 30-foot waterfalls where the Twin Towers stood; and
-- A nighttime adventure highlights New York's iconic sights, such as the illuminated skyline from beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and the heart of Times Square.

New & "Then":
-- Participate in a "milling frolic": a hands-on textile-working experience with singing of Gaelic songs, drinking and eating oatcakes--a happy tradition of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia's early Scottish settlers;
-- Dine at Brooklyn's Michelin-starred Peter Luger Steak House, consistently rated one of the nation's top steakhouses and renowned for its prime cuts for discerning diners since 1887; and
-- Visit the personal Quebec City workshop of renowned 19th-Century copper artist Albert Gilles to learn how subjects were brought to life by his technique of copper repousse, or embossment.

New & "Active":
-- Take a 5k run along the carriage roads of the 35,000-acre Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, built by John D. Rockefeller and closed to all motorized traffic;
-- Take an urban hike through the quintessentially "Brooklyn" brownstones, trendy boutiques and orthodox Jewish community within the borough, followed by exploration of the revitalized industrial cityscape-turned thriving arts district of Williamsburg;
-- Zip-line over Saint John's Reversing Falls, for adrenalin-filled views of the Saint John River and Bay of Fundy;
-- Bicycle a 10k bike ride from Old Quebec to Quebec Harbor, along the Saint Charles River, and to the bustling Old Port Market; and
-- Hike the forest-shrouded Beddeck's Uisage Ban Falls, located outside of Sydney, Nova Scotia, passing views of the Great Bras d'Or Channel, Kelly's Mountain and St. Anne's Bay along the way.

"The experiences we've crafted for the 2014 New England/Canada season are designed to highlight the region's historic traditions and modern culture, both of which are extremely compelling," says John Stoll, vice president of land programs. "Guests can glean a real sense of life more than 200 years ago in the exact spot where they stand, then venture right into the active, modern lifestyles that exist there today."

The 7- and 10-day cruises sail from Boston, New York City and Quebec Sept 19 and 29; Oct 6, 16 and 26, calling in Baie-Comeau, and Havre-Saint-Pierre, P.Q., Canada; Magdalen Islands, Canada; Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; Sept-Iles, Canada; Saint-Pierre & Miquelon, France; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; and a maiden call in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. Shorter, 5- and 6-day "Getaway" segment cruises also available. For more information, visit

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American Queen Steamboat Company Kicks Off Ohio River Season with Paducah Arrival

PADUCAH, Ky., June 17: Yesterday, the historically quaint river town of Paducah and American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of America’s grandest riverboat fleet, celebrated the arrival of the American Queen at the Port of Paducah. The call in Paducah marked the 436-passenger riverboat’s entrance into the Ohio River for the summer season. Residents, visitors and government officials greeted the full boat of passengers, who toured the National Quilt Museum, the River Discovery Center, artist galleries and shops, and even sampled the many dining options in the historic downtown. Paducah, a creatively vibrant city due in part to its successful Artist Relocation and Artist-in-Residence programs, is a popular stop for the American Queen and has a rich history derived from its river trade.

“As we embark on the summer season exploring the many cities of the Ohio River including Louisville, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, Paducah is a fine example of an elegantly restored river town that draws our guests to river travel,” shared American Queen Steamboat Company President & COO Ted Sykes. “Yesterday’s arrival was exciting and we look forward to our many stops in Paducah for years to come.”

The American Queen visits Paducah on seven occasions in 2014 including a special Bourbon & Bluegrass itinerary Aug. 29and Sept. 5 between St. Louis, Mo. and Cincinnati, Oh., featuring whiskey distillers 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. Each voyage on the Ohio River highlights the region’s kaleidoscope of large cities and small river towns exemplified by Paducah.

“Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, and within a few miles of the Cumberland and Mississippi rivers, Paducah lies at the heart of the river industry and has a very rich river history,” says Julie Harris, Executive Director of the River Discovery Center in Paducah. “We are a perfect stop for all of the paddlewheel steamboats that travel our inland waterways, and we love when the American Queen stops at our port and enjoy sharing Paducah with its passengers.”

Founded in 1827, Paducah served as a major stop along the riparian trade route linking the Upper Midwest with the Southeast during the Age of Steam. The charming 19th-century architecture lining the streets of the historic downtown reflects the wealth accrued in this vital inland port during this era. This year marks the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Paducah, signaling the hotly contested town’s strategic role in connecting the Upper and Deep South during the American Civil War.

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

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Announces Voyage Featuring PBS Talent, Broadway Artists &
Pre-Cruise Visit With the Lady of Highclere Castle

MIAMI, FL, June 17: Continuing a longtime relationship with PBS, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and partner Artful Travelers announced an exclusive 12-night sailing onboard Seven Seas Voyager that will combine the best in leisure and learning with celebrated PBS personalities. Guests sailing on this incredible voyage can take advantage of an exclusive pre-cruise journey through the pastoral English countryside with a special lunch and afternoon hosted by best-selling author Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the chatelaine of Highclere Castle, better known as the setting for the Emmy Award-winning “Downton Abbey” on PBS Masterpiece.

Taking place during the Masters and Tsars itinerary departing on August 27, 2014, guests will have an opportunity to book an excursion that visits locales featured in episodes of “Downton Abbey” prior to embarking the ship in Southampton and setting sail for a 12-night voyage through the Baltic Sea to Stockholm. After enjoying the charming scenery of the English countryside via luxury coach, a photo stop and tour awaits guests at Basildon Park, the elegant house-setting for the “Downton Abbey” Christmas Day special from 2013. The afternoon features a lavish three-course lunch at The Vineyard restaurant, during which guests will explore the history of Highclere Castle as told by Lady Carnarvon, the longtime steward at the stately home, which serves as the primary setting for “Downton Abbey.” She has been on set during much of the filming of the landmark series, and will share her personal experiences with the cast and crew. The afternoon culminates with an exclusive signing of Lady Carnarvon’s latest book, The New York Times best-seller “Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey.”

Once onboard the award-winning Seven Seas Voyager, guests will enjoy lectures and informal discussions with esteemed PBS personalities including Gwen Ifill of “Washington Week” and Executive Producer of “American Masters” Michael Kantor. In addition, David Zippel, Tony Award-winning lyricist and director, and Tony Award-nominated vocalist and actress Christine Andreas will join guests for the sailing and select shore excursions.

“Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Artful Travelers have been successfully presenting public broadcasting themed cruises for ten years,” shares Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president. “What we have planned for this Masters and Tsars sailing is truly remarkable, starting with a pre-cruise experience that offers an inside look at the world of Downton Abbey and continuing throughout the cruise with a robust line-up of notable personalities that fans of PBS programming won’t want to miss.”

For more information on this exclusive sailing, visit

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American Cruise Lines Announces 2014 Fall Cruise Collection

GUILFORD, CT, June 16: American Cruise Lines, operator of the newest riverboats and small cruise ships in the United States, announced today its Fall Cruise Collection, a selection of cruises handpicked to showcase the beautiful 2014 fall season. Cruise itineraries include the Columbia & Snake Rivers, Puget Sound & San Juan Islands, Chesapeake Bay, and the Hudson River.

Columbia & Snake Rivers: In October of 1805, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery paddled down the Columbia River on the famous expedition into the West. Today, the autumn colors and migratory wildlife that Meriwether Lewis described in his famous journal are much the same aboard Queen of the West, as it follows their exact route. Autumn is the perfect time to relive the historic expedition and experience the Northwest’s rich tapestry of landscapes and fascinating human endeavors. Featured Dates: Oct 18 and Oct 25, 2014

Puget Sound & San Juan Islands: Guests will leave relaxed and rejuvenated after eight days enjoying the crisp autumn air of Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. In autumn, clear skies and sparkling water offer a powerful contrast with the colorful coast where nestled between Canada’s Vancouver Island and the U.S. mainland are hundreds of islands that are home to a diverse natural wonderland. Featured Dates: Sept 27 and Oct 18, 2014

Chesapeake Bay: Autumn time is a spectacular time to experience Chesapeake Bay, an area rich in maritime history and surrounded by a colorful display of changing foliage. Along the shoreline, guests will pass battlefields, monuments, seaports, historical homes and scenic lighthouses, gliding into ports only accessible to small cruise ships. Guests will step back in time visiting villages that have played crucial roles in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Featured Dates: Nov 2 and Nov 8, 2014

Hudson River Fall Foliage: Surrounded by the Catskill Mountains on the western shore and the Taconic and Berkshire Hills to the east, the Hudson is rich in both history and beauty. This popular cruise showcases the bright changing colors and towering mountains for which the Hudson River Valley is so well known. The cities and towns along the way feature some of the most magnificent architecture in America. Featured Dates: Oct 18 and Oct 25, 2014

“The fall season is one of the best times to experience small ship cruising with American Cruise Lines,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “This cruise collection showcases one of the most beautiful and anticipated seasons in the United States, with various sailings offered during peak foliage. Guests can expect an experience unlike any other.”

American Cruise Lines 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, visit

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Seabourn Partners with UNESCO to Protect World Heritage

SEATTLE, June 16: Ultra-luxury, small-ship cruise operator Seabourn has signed an agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in a unique alliance to help protect World Heritage. The partnership is being created to foster wider support and understanding in the travel industry and among travelers for UNESCO's mission of identifying, safeguarding and promoting unique cultural and natural features around the world deemed to possess universal value for all humankind. Seabourn has committed to raising $1 million for UNESCO as part of this multi-year agreement.

For Seabourn's guests, this alliance means that their travels on Seabourn's intimate, all-suite ships will be enhanced by deeper insight and behind-the-scenes information about current and future World Heritage sites and projects. Speakers with special knowledge about World Heritage will sail on Seabourn's ships as a part of the line's Seabourn Conversations enrichment and entertainment program. In addition, fares for Seabourn optional excursions that include UNESCO World Heritage Sites will include a small donation to UNESCO's World Heritage Fund. The company will also create special World Heritage Discovery Tours at a number of ports worldwide, with exclusive enhanced content on World Heritage.

"Seabourn is proud to be partnering with UNESCO to promote and support sustainable tourism," said Seabourn President Richard D. Meadows. "Through this partnership we are committed to providing our guests with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the many World Heritage sites we visit around the world and the important work UNESCO is doing."

Seabourn shares with its guests a genuine passion for exploring the world's most exceptional destinations. Year after year, the company provides its guests opportunities to experience one-of-a-kind treasures such as the temple complex of Borobudur on Java, the excavated ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, and the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. As completely different as these places are, they share a common attribute - they are all designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Since its founding, Seabourn has facilitated visits to hundreds of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and currently includes over 150 designated sites in its itineraries. Now it will also help to support UNESCO's efforts to expand, promote and preserve these precious global resources for future generations of travelers.

For additional information, please visit

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Countdown to Costa Diadema: 150 Days Until Costa Cruises Christens New Flagship

HOLLYWOOD, FL, June 13: Costa Cruises will celebrate its new flagship, Costa Diadema, 150 days from today on Nov. 7 during a special christening event in Genoa, Italy, where the company was founded and is headquartered. For the first time, the ship's godmother will be selected from among participants in a worldwide travel agent competition to be held from July to September. The christening will celebrate the city of Genoa and Costa Diadema's guests, as well as its godmother, who will join an impressive list of celebrities who have christened other Costa ships, including Claudia Cardinale, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Marion Cotillard, and Margareth Madè.

Guests on Costa Diadema, fondly called Regina del Mediterraneo (Queen of the Mediterranean), will have an opportunity to book attendance to the ceremony as well as on the preview cruise departing Trieste, Italy, Nov. 1 or the first inaugural cruise departing Savona, Italy, Nov. 8. In addition, consumers can book an invitation to just the inaugural event and spend the night of Nov. 7 onboard.

The new flagship will be docked at Ponte dei Mille, Genoa's historic shipping terminal. Guests onboard can attend the ceremony in the ship's Emerald Theatre or watch it on big screens at the Lido Diana Magrodome Pool. Following the christening, guests will attend an elegant gala dinner prepared by celebrity chefs featuring a special Mediterranean menu, highlighting Costa's "Made in Italy" theme. Costa Diadema's celebrations will continue with dance performances by professional artists, acrobatic shows and music, with colorful masks given to guests to commemorate the event. The grand finale will be a light show illuminating the sky over Genoa as Costa Diadema says farewell and sets sail for an overnight journey to Savona for its Nov. 8 inaugural cruise departure.

The 132,500-ton Costa Diadema is being built at Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, and is scheduled for delivery Oct. 30, 2014. Costa Cruises has invested a total of around US$745 million in its construction. Costa Diadema's debut will last an entire month, including the preview cruise Nov. 1, the christening Nov. 7 in Genoa, and a trio of inaugural cruises Nov. 8, 15, and 22. Beginning Nov. 29 and for the rest of the 2014-15 winter season and through the 2015 summer season Costa Diadema will depart Savona on seven-night cruises in the western Mediterranean, calling weekly at Marseille, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Naples and La Spezia, Italy.

Costa Cruises  is Europe's number-one cruise company with 14 ships in service—the largest fleet in Europe. Costa's ships have plied the world's seas for more than 66 years, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality, and cuisine. For more information, visit

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Princess Cruises Celebrates First Birthday of Royal Princess

SANTA CLARITA, CA, June 13: Princess Cruises is today celebrating the first birthday of Royal Princess, which was launched in Southampton, England during a spectacular christening by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. Guests currently sailing aboard Royal Princess will be treated to some special festivities marking the occasion including a “Royal Ball Birthday Party” in the ship’s showpiece atrium with a birthday sing-a-long, balloon drop and celebratory cake.

During the past 12 months Royal Princess has traveled 120,000 miles and carried 150,000 guests. The ship has set sail on 44 cruises, and visited 39 ports in 20 countries throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. This summer the ship is cruising through the waters of Scandinavia and Russia, and Iceland and British Isles before repositioning to New York for its first Canada and New England season this fall.

“Today, we look back with great pride as we celebrate the first birthday of Royal Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “She’s been a wonderful addition to our fleet and we’re delighted that she’s been so well received by our guests.”

Tony Draper, Captain of Royal Princess, said,” I can hardly believe one year has passed since our fantastic inauguration and christening by HRH, The Duchess of Cambridge. The ship’s company has worked diligently throughout to deliver great service on board, ensuring all our guests have had a memorable, relaxing and rejuvenating time on their cruise.”

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess was the first of two new-generation ships for the line. Among the special features found on board is a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship offering a host of dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the Princess Live! television 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; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

Sister ship Regal Princess joined the fleet last month. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available on the company's website at

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Royal Caribbean International's Shekhar Grover Crowned Best Bartender
at Diageo Reserve World Class™ Global Travel Final

 MIAMI, June 13: Shekhar Grover of Royal Caribbean International has been crowned Diageo Global Travel best cruise line bartender at a glamorous DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS final held last night in Miami. Judged by a panel of industry elites, Shekhar impressed with his incredible showmanship, inventive cocktail-making and unrivalled flair. Shekhar presented his skills in front of the judges Mario Seijo, World Class Global Winner for Latin America & Caribbean 2013; Enrique De Colsa, Master Distiller at DON JULIO® Tequila; and Arturo Savage, one of Diageo's Senior Reserve Ambassadors.

Shekhar, 27, from India, triumphed over 5,500 floating bartenders from four of the world's leading cruise lines: Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Celebrity Cruises, in the biggest year in global travel yet for DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS. He and fellow competitors were tested on different aspects of their craft, creativity and bartending knowledge. Shekhar excelled in the bar arena and enthralled judges with his signature serve inspired by this year's Mediterranean theme: 'French Royale' featuring CIROC® Vodka.

The mixologist master will go forward to the star-studded DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Final taking place July 28-August 1, 2014 in London, to battle it out against 50 of the world's best bartenders for the coveted 'Bartender of the Year' title.

Shekhar, who is one of the Lead Bartenders on the Oasis of Seas, said: "I'm thrilled to win the WORLD CLASS Global Travel Final and I'm very excited to be going forward to represent cruise-line bartenders at one of the industry's most prestigious and respected mixology competitions. I've been inspired and challenged by many talented bartenders over the last few weeks and I'm really looking forward to using the skills and knowledge that I've developed through the program to wow the judges."

"We are very proud to have Shekhar as a member of the Royal Caribbean team," said Brian Abel, Vice President of Food & Beverage, Royal Caribbean International. "He is a very talented and dedicated barman who embodies Royal Caribbean's spirit of innovation and our world-renowned friendly and engaging GOLD Anchor Service. We wish Shekhar the very best of luck in July. We also would like to thank WORLD CLASS for training our bartenders in the art and science of creating unique, moment-defining drinks, using award-winning spirits from the DIAGEO RESERVE collection. Our partnership ensures that we provide our guests with amazing on-board fine drinking experiences."

If Shekhar is successful at the Global Final, securing the title of DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year, he will experience a life changing journey filled with new and exciting opportunities. Previous winners have become recognized industry leaders, travelling the globe as WORLD CLASS Ambassadors, participating in international high-profile events such as Petra Ecclestone's lavish wedding and consulting on the widely acclaimed James Bond film, Skyfall.

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Australia Ranks Number One as Cruise Passengers Hit New High

The Australian cruise industry is now ranked number one in the world for market growth and penetration, with latest industry figures revealing a record 833,348 Australians took a cruise last year. Launched in Sydney today, the 2013 Cruise Industry Source Market Report shows Australian cruise passenger numbers soared 20 per cent in 2013, more than double the growth rate of any other major cruise market.

With the equivalent of 3.6 per cent of the Australian population taking a cruise in 2013, Australia has become the first nation to ever achieve a stronger penetration rate than the world’s largest passenger source market, North America. In 2013, the equivalent of 3.3 per cent of the North American population took a cruise.

Announcing the report findings, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Chairman Gavin Smith said Australia was “punching well above its weight” in the international cruise industry. “Australia is still a relatively young cruise market, yet the number of Australians taking a cruise has grown by an enviable average 20 per cent a year for the last 11 years as a growing number of travelers discover the many joys of cruising,” Mr Smith said. “That’s a remarkable achievement, particularly when you consider we’re now leading the world in market penetration. With more ships being deployed in Australia in 2014 and 2015, we’ve set course for continued growth over the next few years, so the benchmark of one million annual cruise passengers should be reached by 2016, if not before.” Mr Smith said the continuing growth of the local cruise industry meant it was playing an increasingly important economic role in many Australian cities and towns, delivering valuable tourist dollars.

The latest CLIA Australasia figures build on the 2012 result which saw Australian passenger numbers rise 11 per cent to 694,062. Key findings of the 2013 CLIA Australasia Cruise Industry Source Market Report for Australia include:

• Australia’s passenger growth rate of 20 per cent was more than double other key markets including Germany and France, which grew 9 per cent, the USA (3 per cent) and the UK/Ireland (1 per cent).
• The Australian market penetration rate of 3.6 per cent led the world ahead of North America (3.3 per cent), UK/Ireland (2.5 per cent), Germany (2.1 per cent) and Italy (1.4 per cent).
• The South Pacific continues to dominate as a cruise destination, with almost 80,000 more Australians cruising the region in 2013, taking the total number to more than 330,000 (40 per cent of the market)
• River cruising numbers leapt 25 per cent as almost 50,000 Australians took to inland waterways
• Asian cruising is on the rise again with passenger numbers up 28 per cent to a record 44,382 as cruise ship capacity starts to expand
• The number of Australians cruising to New Zealand has almost reached 100,000
• Europe continues to dominate long-haul destinations with numbers surging 34 per cent to more than 77,000 Australian cruisers. While Mediterranean cruising remains the strongest draw card, Northern Europe numbers rose more than 50 per cent with the region attracting close to 20,000 passengers
• The number of passengers taking cruises of 8-14 days saw a massive spike, rising almost 35 per cent from 353,342 in 2012 to 475,154 in 2013
• Australians spent an estimated 8.7 million days at sea in 2013, up 22 per cent on 2012, with holidaymakers enjoying 10.25 days on average on an ocean cruise and 14.4 days on river cruises
• NSW remains the leading source of cruise passengers accounting for 41.1 per cent of the market
• Cruise passenger ages continue to be spread broadly across all age brackets, reflecting the diversity of product and itineraries available to Australian holidaymakers.

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Holland America Excursion Allows Guests to Experience Game of Thrones

Holland America Line is featuring a new “Experience the Game of Thrones” shore excursion at Belfast, Northern Ireland, offering guests a behind-the-scenes look at many of the locations where the hit show is filmed. The tour begins at Castle Ward, which fans know as Winterfell, and travels to Audley’s Castle, a backdrop for many scenes and the site of Robb Stark’s camp. Throughout the tour, die-hard fans will learn about special effects and costuming, test their knowledge of show trivia and hone their archery skills. Participants also will have a photo opportunity with actual costumes from the series, making them feel like part of the cast.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the tour still is full of beauty and enchantment as the area has a rich history that long predates “Game of Thrones.” Audley's Castle was built in the 15th century and Castle Ward was finished in the 18th century.

Holland America Line offers a variety of itineraries visiting Belfast on ms Prinsendam and ms Rotterdam. The cruises vary in length from 14 to 35 days and depart Rotterdam or Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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Groundbreaking Entertainment Headlines Royal Caribbean International's Newest Ship

MIAMI, June 12: Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, is poised to make a show-stopping debut in November 2014, with a lineup of entertainment offerings that push the envelope far beyond imagination. From stage shows that take guests on a highly visual and experiential journey of music, sound and performance, to a radically new form of multidimensional entertainment that seamlessly fuses technology with highly trained live performers, stunning visuals and special effects, Quantum of the Seas delivers an array of first of their kind productions and performances that will leave audiences spellbound.

“The level of ingenuity, creativity and sheer imagination that has gone into the creation of the entertainment onboard Quantum of the Seas is staggering,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We are taking a quantum leap in all aspects of ship design and programming with the Quantum class, but the entertainment is especially remarkable. These shows and productions are truly one-of-a-kind, and we are confident that our guests will be WOWed.”

The Intersection of Entertainment & Technology
Already one of the most anticipated spaces onboard Quantum of the Seas, Two70° is the stage for a futuristic approach to entertainment that pairs the most advanced technology with brilliant dancers, singers, aerialists and musicians to deliver a powerful lineup of shows and events that have never before been seen on land, let alone at sea.

At the forefront of Two70° is Vistarama, an awe-inspiring innovation engineered especially for Quantum class. Vistarama transforms its expansive floor-to-ceiling windows into any scene, real or imagined, by combining 18 projectors to create an ambient surface over 100 feet wide and over 20 feet tall. Across this expanse, impromptu digital shows come to life in stunning 12K resolution, a pixel-perfect industry first. In addition, Two70°’s troupe of six agile Roboscreens stage surprise performances throughout every cruise. Each measuring over seven feet high and controlled by powerful robotic arms, the Roboscreens are delightfully nimble, as they create scenes while soaring and twisting solo, or uniting as one. The creative possibilities of Vistarama and Roboscreens are brought to life through the beautiful, imaginative and original digital content created exclusively for Royal Caribbean by Moment Factory, the internationally renowned studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

“The entertainment in Two70° is simply magical,” said Nick Weir, Vice President, Entertainment, Royal Caribbean International. “There is an incredible team of risk takers and dreamers here at Royal Caribbean. Together, we saw the magnitude of what this room could do and shot for the stars. We’ve always brought the best of land to sea, but in Two70° we are creating something that has never been done anywhere else in the world.”

The integration of Vistarama and Roboscreens, with highly trained live performers, music and special effects, provides an endless landscape for Royal Caribbean to create stunningly visual, first-of-their-kind shows that can only be seen on Quantum of the Seas. Main shows include:

• Starwater: created by Moment Factory, this original Royal Caribbean production is a highly visual, theatrical spectacle of video mapping, special effects and human artistry that combine to create an awe-inspiring experience designed to appeal to universal human emotions
• Virtual Concert: a world-class concert experience featuring premier musicians, groups and bands that is masterfully captured and projected across Vistarama and all six Roboscreens to transport guests to a virtual experience as impressive as the real thing

Headlining a New Art Form
The main theater onboard Quantum of the Seas, the Royal Theater, is a spectacular, state-of-the-art space that takes advantage of the latest technology to create a performance venue that raises the bar once again. Seating 1,300 guests, the Royal Theater is home to Royal Caribbean’s two main shows presented by Royal Caribbean Productions:

• Sonic Odyssey: an original Royal Caribbean Production, conceived and created by William Close, Under The Radar Chicago and Art House Live, is inspired by musician and innovator William Close and his variety of one-of-a-kind majestic instruments. This unbelievable production includes his signature Earth Harp, a unique Drum Wall consisting of 136 drums, a Vocal Percussion Jacket, Violin Dress and more. Sonic Odyssey is an original, theatrical masterpiece that weaves together a nine-piece live orchestra with a cast of singers, dancers, aerialists and gymnasts to envelop the audience in a spectacular show that must be seen and heard to be believed.

Broadway at Sea
Continuing to expand on Royal Caribbean’s commitment to offering award-winning Broadway productions at sea, the Royal Theater also will host the full theatrical version of the smash hit musical MAMMA MIA! Guests will delight in this sunny, funny tale of love, laughter and friendship, all set to the timeless songs of ABBA, including “Dancing Queen,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Money, Money, Money” and “Take a Chance on Me.”

Live Music at Its Best
Designed specifically with the music lover in mind, Music Hall is the hottest live music venue onboard Quantum of the Seas and the ultimate place for guests to enjoy intimate and exclusive access to live performances. Music Hall comes alive at night as the heart of the ship’s entertainment, featuring bands, musicians, DJs, theme night parties and more, including:

• MAMMA MIA! After Party: when MAMMA MIA! ends in the Royal Theater, the party is just beginning in Music Hall, where guests can dance the night away during a red carpet, Broadway-style after party with featured cast members from the show
• Tribute Band Program: an extensive line-up of incredibly talented live musical acts pay homage to timeless entertainers from every era, from The Beatles and Bee Gees, to Journey and Bon Jovi
• Wink: a premium late-night show with class and sass, featuring the Royal Theater cast in an adults-only showcase

With a variety of productions, events and parties to experience throughout a sailing onboard Quantum of the Seas, guests are encouraged to reserve the shows they wish to attend prior to their cruise through Royal Caribbean’s all-new Cruise Planner. All shows are complimentary and included in the cost of a guest’s cruise fare.

The groundbreaking Quantum-class ships, Quantum of the Seas and sister-ship Anthem of the Seas (debuting in Southampton, U.K. in April 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, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China. More information on Quantum class is available at

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Norwegian Launches New Air & Hotel Packages From Houston

MIAMI, June 12: Norwegian Cruise Line is launching an all-new inclusive package from Houston, Texas, offering cruisers an easy way to book air, hotel accommodations and a Caribbean cruise aboard the recently enhanced Norwegian Jewel. The extensive package comes complete with the option of roundtrip air from major cities across the U.S., along with transfers, one-night pre-cruise accommodations, a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard Norwegian Jewel, three specialty dinners onboard and more. The Houston Caribbean package starts from just $599 per person without air and $999 per person with air*.

Guests booking the inclusive Houston Caribbean cruise vacation package will enjoy a relaxing, one-night stay in a deluxe room at the Crowne Plaza Houston River Oaks, complete with complimentary transfers from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the cruise pier. Once on board, guests will enjoy three spectacular dinners for two at popular specialty restaurants, including the line’s signature steakhouse Cagney’s; guest-favorite Le Bistro; and the traditional Italian restaurant La Cucina.

In addition, cruisers will receive a special delivery of gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of wine, along with 20 complimentary professional photos capturing their favorite on board memories, and more than $300 worth of e-coupon savings to use at the onboard shops, spa, fitness classes and more. Guests also have the option of including roundtrip air from major U.S. gateways to Houston in their package.

Norwegian Jewel recently underwent a major refurbishment as a part of the Norwegian NEXT program, bringing new enhancements, experiences and transformations to Norwegian’s young, modern fleet. Cruisers who take advantage of this Houston package will experience Norwegian Jewel’s new features like the popular O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, Sugarcane Mojito Bar, and Carlos’ Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s Cake Boss and Next Great Baker. The ship will also soon feature interactive touch screen signs that allow guests to order specialty items, get directions and reserve dining and shore excursions simply with a scan of their stateroom key.

Featuring 16 dining options, 13 bars and lounges, exciting entertainment including Nickelodeon™ and some of the largest suites at sea in The Haven™, Norwegian Jewel offers something for every cruiser. The ship features two pools, plus a dedicated kids-only pool, six hot tubs, a fitness center, spa and beauty salon, along with a full-size basketball court and the Jewel Club Casino.

Norwegian Jewel begins sailing a series of Western Caribbean cruises from Houston on Oct 11, 2014 through April 11, 2015, with stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Banana Coast, Honduras. For more information on Norwegian Jewel, visit

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Crystal Cruises Reveals 2016-Early 2017 Itineraries

LOS ANGELES, June 10: Crystal Cruises has unveiled its 2016 and early 2017 itineraries, besting several of its own industry-leading records: more maiden calls (41), more overnights (119, 40 of them "double" overnights), more shorter (five- to 10-day) cruises, and an earliest-ever itinerary announcement - with fares available and open for booking -- for the ultra-luxe line. Highlights for the luxury cruises include returns to Alaska, New Orleans, and the Philippines; expanded West Coast, Central American, and Caribbean; choices; three trips through Antarctica; inclusive land programs in Berlin and Montreal; a pan-Pacific Grand Cruise; and two completely different World Cruises (in 2016 and 17). In total, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will sail 74 five- to 102-day voyages around the world over the approximately 15-month period.

2016 Year Overview:

-- 60 cruises, 77 countries, 86 overnights in 48 ports, and 245 ports around the world
-- Almost half of the year's itineraries (29) are 10 days or less, including one 5-day and two 6-day cruises for the first time ever, along the Pacific Coast.
-- New overnights ports, such as Antwerp, Ibiza, Papeete, Bora Bora, Berlin/Hamburg, Bali, Punta del Este, Colon, Ushuaia, and Haifa.
-- A record number of double overnight (two nights in a row) ports (14), including San Diego, Amsterdam, New Orleans, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Istanbul, Venice, London, Lisbon, Barcelona, Sydney, and Melbourne.
-- 27 Maiden Calls include Aitutaki, Cook Islands; Arendal, Norway; Bandol, France; Catalina Island, California; Corinto, Nicaragua; Crotone, Italy; Easo, New Caledonia; Fukuoaka, Japan; Gaspe, PQ; Hoonah, Alaska; Isla Margarita, Venezuela; Karlskrona, Sweden; Kavala, Greece; Kirkwall, UK; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands; Korsakov, Russia; Mystery Island, Vanuatu; Nanaimo and Prince Rupert, BC; Port Canaveral, Florida; Portree, Isle of Skye, UK; Port d' Alcudia, Majorca/Balearic Islands, Spain; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua; Sibenik, Croatia; Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe, French West Indies; Samana, Dominican Republic; and Virgin Gorda, BVI.
-- Returns to less-visited destinations: Argostoli, Kefalonia Island, Greece; Chania/Souda, Crete, Greece; Kralendijk, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles; Gdansk, Poland; La Rochelle/La Pallice, France; Mariehamn, Finland; Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Nuku'Alofa, Tonga; Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands; Ponta Delgada,The Azores; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Rangiroa, French Polynesia; Sanary-sur-Mer, France; Tarragona, Spain; Sarandë, Albania; Waitangi, Bay of Islands, New

Itinerary Highlights:

-- A 102-day World Cruise sailing round-trip from San Francisco for the first time, with five segments beginning in Sydney, Bali, Singapore, Shanghai, and Tokyo.
-- The line's first summer Alaska season in five years, only this season with shorter seven and 10-day itineraries.
-- Two new Northern Europe cruises to/from Berlin, with a complimentary three-night Berlin land package.
-- Two January/February voyages cruising Antarctica and South America, including a new route round-trip from Buenos Aires.
Eight 5- to 22-day cruises to or from California in the winter, spring, and fall including:
-- New Hawaiian islands itinerary round-trip from San Francisco.
-- New San Diego round-trip, visiting Catalina Island for the first-time ever.
-- Two new Panama Canal cruises: from Chile to Miami and Miami to San Francisco.
New Caribbean & Central America cruises:
-- A return to New Orleans after a decade-long absence, with three voyages (one round-trip)
-- Two voyages to/from Colon, Panama
-- Sailings featuring rarely-visited islands like Jamaica and Bonaire, plus luxurious favorites such as Turks & Caicos, St. Barts, and Virgin Gorda for the first time.
-- Expanded explorations of Central America in both years, with visits to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and more Mexico again.
-- A New England-Canada season with a local overnight on land in Montreal, plus 7-, 8-, 9-, and 10-day voyage options, including a round-trip from New York.
-- Ten 7-, 9-, and 12-day Mediterranean cruises in spring and fall, featuring a return to Israel and to Athens as a "turnaround" port.
-- Five voyages to or from Asia, with multiple ports in South Korea back on the calendar,
-- A return to Sydney for its world-famous New Year's fireworks display on an Auckland-Melbourne holiday cruise, with a second holiday voyage round-trip from Miami.

2017 (1st Quarter) Summary:

-- 94-day "Ultimate South America" World Cruise round-trip from Miami starting January 10, comprised of six segments sailing on Crystal Serenity through Antarctica, the Amazon, and to/from Colon, Valparaiso, Buenos Aires, Rio, and Barbados.
-- 99-day pan-Pacific Grand Cruise aboard Crystal Symphony, starting January 5, and comprised of seven segments sailing to/from Melbourne, Sydney (round-trip), Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Incheon, and Tokyo, and featuring several new and rarely visited Polynesian ports and Crystal's first return to the Philippines in 18 years.
-- 14 Maiden Calls: Alotau and Kiriwina, Papua New Guinea; Boracay and Romblon Islands, Philippines; Iquique and Castro, Chiloe Island, Iquique, Chile; Isle of Pines, New CaledoniaMatarani, Peru; Champagne Bay, Vanuatu; Portobelo, Panama; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; Stewart Island, New Zealand; Takamatsu, Japan; and Trujillo, Peru.
-- Ports less visited: Antofagasta, Chile; Guadalcanal, Honiara, Solomon Islands; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; and Yasawa-I-Rara, Fiji

The 2016 and early 2017 cruises are now available for booking with limited-time, all-inclusive Book Now faresuntil June 30 at

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Hops Aboard: Un-Cruise Adventures Plans Craft Beer Theme Cruises on
Coastal Washington Adventure Cruises

Seattle, WA, June 10: Un-Cruise Adventures hops to it with four new craft beer theme cruises set for fall and spring departures in Washington’s Puget Sound and Salish Sea. The Seattle-based adventure cruise line marries local micro-brew experts with adventure in scenic areas from South Hood Canal to Olympic National Park and the San Juan Islands.
The 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer expedition vessel sails roundtrip Seattle on a weeklong Explore! Olympic Wilderness & San Juan Islands itinerary from September–November and April–May.

Craft beer theme cruises are set for Oct 4, 2014, April 25 and Oct 3, 2015 and April 30, 2016. Kendall Jones and Kim Sharpe Jones, authorities on the Seattle craft beer scene and media partners for the Washington Beer Commission, join the October 4 departure as guest hosts. Robyn Schumacher, an owner and brewer at Stoup Brewing in Seattle, joins the April 25 cruise. Guest hosts for the remaining two dates will be announced later.

“Whether you are a beer lover or a novice, you’re sure to learn and enjoy the expertise of our guest hosts on board,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “After a day of kayaking and hiking, relax on the top deck for a hosted beer tasting featuring Washington state micro-brews.”

Guests will enjoy nightly happy hour tastings of select craft beer from nearby breweries—most unavailable outside the state—presentations, and beer recommendations matching the evening’s dinner menu. A brewery tour and tasting will be offered at both Port Townsend Brewing in Port Townsend and Island Hoppin Brewery on Orcas Island. A Sucia Island beach bonfire on the last night sets the stage for a session on Beach Beers and the virtues of craft beer in aluminum cans.

Highlights of the itinerary include hiking in Olympic National Park (a World Heritage Site), Mt. Constitution and Washington State Parks. Waterborne expeditions by kayaks, skiffs and paddle boards explore glacial fjords and the San Juan archipelago. In Quilcene Bay, a local family hosts a home-grown oyster and clam tasting. Guests enjoy free time in scenic Friday Harbor and discover Native cultures in Port Townsend. Eyes are kept peeled for marine life and seabirds—gray whales, orcas, seals, sea lions and bald eagles.

The craft beer cruise includes all meals, beer tastings, transfers, adventure activities, hot tub, sauna and yoga on deck. For additional information, visit

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Regatta Begins Summer Season in Alaska

VANCOUVER, Canada, June 10: Oceania Cruises welcomed Regatta back to the fleet following an extensive dry dock, making it the final ship of three sister ships to undergo a massive $50 million collective refurbishment. The ship set sail on a 10-night “Majesty of Alaska” voyage, signaling the beginning of another summer season in Alaska for Oceania Cruises. Sister ships Nautica and Insignia emerged from dry dock and reentered service last month. 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 brought 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, Regatta 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.

“I spent a couple days on Regatta and had a chance to experience the newly refined elegance of the ship firsthand. It’s clear that we accomplished what we set out to achieve,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Oceania Cruises. “We wanted to ensure our guests received the same upscale cruise experience and exceptional value no matter which Oceania Cruises ship they sail, and based on early guest feedback this $50 million refurbishment is a homerun.”

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 Regatta. 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 new golf putting greens 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.
• Canyon Ranch SpaClub: The newly renovated 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.
• 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 Regatta Lounge was completely refurbished with new carpeting and chairs, along with luxurious new fabrics and upholsteries.

The transformed Regatta sets sail this afternoon for a 10-day “Majesty of Alaska” cruise and will offer a variety of 7- 9- and 10-day cruises to America’s Last Frontier throughout the season. For more information on Oceania Cruises, visit

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American Queen Steamboat Company Unveils 2015 Season in New Brochure

MEMPHIS, TN, June 10: Today, the American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of America’s grandest riverboat fleet, announces its new brochure highlighting voyages for the 2015 season. This 68-page brochure showcases shore excursions, onboard entertainment and themed voyages aboard the American Queen and the newly christened American Empress of the Pacific Northwest. Guests are encouraged to book early and save up to $600 per stateroom on 2015 voyages.

Thanks to its growing popularity, the company will feature expanded Premium Shore Excursions in 2015 along with Post-Voyage City Stays for those who want to experience more time in cities such as Memphis, Tenn.; New Orleans; Nashville, Tenn.; Portland, Ore.; and Spokane, Wash.

“As we enter the summer season, it has already been a banner year for our company with the launch of the American Empress and continued success of the American Queen,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President & COO Ted Sykes. “From wine tasting in Oregon to country music tours in Nashville, Tenn., we look forward to providing another exciting year of cultured voyages in 2015.”

The brochure features new photography from the American Empress’ inaugural season, capturing her stunning backdrops, dining venues, dynamic public spaces and opulent decor. The 223-guest riverboat’s itineraries for 2015 include compelling stops along the Columbia and Snake Rivers such as Multnomah Falls, Mt. St. Helens, the Walla Walla Wine trail and much more. A total of 32 nine-day voyages allow guests to experience the natural splendor of Pacific Northwest and historical landmarks that signify the living legacy of the regions first settlers.

A celebration of America’s cultural quilt will take place onboard the American Queen’s Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland River cruises, featuring six total itineraries in 2015. Historic ports of call include Cincinnati, Ohio; Paducah, Ky.; St. Louis, Mo.; and the line’s newest destination and Country Music Mecca: Nashville, Tenn. There, guests will enjoy tours of the stately Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and an exclusive tour of President Andrew Jackson’s home.

Featuring 12 Upper Mississippi voyages, the American Queen will continue to call on favorite ports, including Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Mo., and Red Wing, Min., as shesails between St. Louis and St. Paul. A variety of themed cruises characterize the Lower Mississippi itineraries that encapsulate Southern Culture, Gardens of the River and Old-Fashioned Holidays.

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. To order a brochure and for additional information visit online at

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ABB RoboScreens to Add Visual Intrigue to Shows & Performances on
Royal Caribbean Quantum Class ships

AUBURN HILLS, MI, June 10: As Royal Caribbean designed its new Quantum Class cruise ships, a leading initiative was to take on-board entertainment and amenities to a level beyond that found on any existing seaworthy vessel. Consequently, the Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas ships currently under construction include such “firsts at seas” as a 300ft skydiving simulator, a large sports and recreation complex with bumper cars and a roller rink, and virtual balconies with real-time ocean views on all interior staterooms.

The signature venue on each ship, however, is Two70°, a multi-level great room named for its magnificent 270-degree panoramic sea views through vast, floor-to-ceiling glass walls spanning almost three decks at the stern of the ship. A living room by day, Two70° transforms to an entertainment center by night, seamlessly blending live performances with cutting-edge visual technology, highlighted by six ABB RoboScreens® attached to a gantry above the main stage.

A RoboScreen is a graphical screen mounted to the arm of an ABB articulated arm robot, which creates a unique viewer experience by bringing virtually unlimited, 6-axis movement to the video media. Available in various sizes, the Two70° RoboScreens feature six ABB IRB 6620 robots, each holding a 100” diagonal Daktronics LED screen. Housed in the ceiling while not in use, during shows in Two70° the RoboScreens will extend down on the gantry to a position above the stage, displaying unique video and imagery while performing choreographed movements, all custom produced for the specific performance.

Developed by Andy Flessas (aka andyRobot) in conjunction with ABB, RoboScreens first gained prominence in 2010 when five large models travelled the globe as main stage props for the Bon Jovi Circle Tour. They have since added visual intrigue to a concert tour by Kis-My-Ft2, a Japanese Pop band; the Las Vegas house show for deadmau5, world famous music producer and performer; and the Ultra-Music Festival in Miami. The RoboScreens being installed on the Quantum Class ships will be the first on any sort of moving vessel.

The six Royal Caribbean RoboScreens will provide a high-tech visual enhancement to live performances in Two70°, moving in preprogrammed synchronization to the show’s music and dance. The RoboScreens will periodically assemble in various formations, such as six screens in a row to form one continuous, long screen; a three by two stack to form one big square screen; or a serpentine row, much like a ‘W’ and a ‘V’ strung together. When the screens are together they can display one large cohesive video or image, and when they are apart they can display individual, coordinated images that virtually jump from screen to screen. The combined choreography of screen movement and innovative on-screen display provides an extraordinary accessory to the entertainment experience.

“We are always looking for the next thing, and by coincidence I came across the ABB RoboScreen in the Entertainment environment. It looked very interesting as a potential good fit for Two70° on the Quantum of the Seas,” said Christopher Vlassopulos, an entertainment technology manager with Royal Caribbean. “After getting some valuable information from one of my contacts at ABB in Miami, the connection to ABB Robotics and Andy Flessas at Casino Arts was made.”

The project involves the close collaboration of a number or parties, both within ABB and externally. Being the first installation of an ABB robot on any ship, the ABB Marine Power Group in Helsinki, Finland and the ABB Robotics North American team in Auburn Hills, Michigan worked together for the first time. The ABB PC software team in Gothenburg, Sweden is also involved, working on the programming software and addressing the unique challenges of operating robots at sea. The external partners include Royal Caribbean, andyRobot, Daktronics, Waagner Biro, the gantry provider, Coolux, the video server manufacturer, and Meyer Werft, the shipbuilder based in Papenburg, Germany.

andyRobot and the ABB PC software team collaborated to create a custom developed Show Builder software to allow the various live performance teams that work with Royal Caribbean to easily program the choreographed RoboScreen movements to complement their specific shows. The core of the Show Builder software is a library of pre-programmed choreography building blocks that show producers can select from to model the RoboScreen movements. The library components are created using a Maya-based Robot Animator software package co-developed several years ago by andyRobot and the ABB RobotStudio simulation software team. A show is ultimately produced by selecting building block movements from the library in succession until the choreography is complete.

“Robot Animator is huge for the production companies that are going to be using the system to make theater,” said andyRobot. “These tools will make it easy for production companies that have no experience with robots to incorporate the robots into their shows. They may not be familiar with robots, but they are all very familiar with animation.”

The complexity of the project is magnified by the challenges that are presented by installing robots on a ship, safely withstanding the natural rolling movement and the varying seas the ship will routinely encounter.

“The challenge of installing robots on a ship are from the natural pitch and roll that occurs in varying magnitude from normal to moderate to rough seas,” said Hunt. “To minimize the effects of this motion, the robots will have well defined thresholds for varying sea conditions.”

The Quantum of the Seas is scheduled to launch in November of this year, and Anthem of the Seas will launch in April 2015.

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Frisco RoughRiders and Carnival Cruise Lines Host 'Kids Day' Event for Local Youth

FRISCO, TX, JUNE 9: Carnival Cruise Lines, Texas’ number one cruise operator, and the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, hosted a special day of fun, food and baseball on Sunday, June 8, at Dr Pepper Ballpark for 500 children and their families from across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The inaugural “Carnival Kids Day” was part of the cruise line’s multi-year partnership with the ‘Riders.

“Carnival Kids Day” participants came from a variety of Dallas/Fort Worth-area organizations, including YMCA Frisco, Plano and Irving, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Frisco Family Services, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club of Denton County, Collin County Frisco Branch, Collin County Plano Branch, Greater Fort Worth, Greater Dallas and Rockwall County.

During Sunday’s RoughRiders vs. the Midland RockHounds game, part of an eight-game home stand, children and their families participated in a variety of activities and took photos with RoughRiders players. In addition, every participant received complimentary game tickets and parking.

For this year’s Kids Day event, Carnival added its own signature brand of fun with experiences that included:

• An inflatable batter’s box and small ball toss, providing kids the opportunity to work on their swing or practice their pitching technique.
• An airbrush face painting booth and art station where youngsters could create their own souvenir drawstring backpack.
• A hula hoop activity and photo booth that allowed fans the chance to pose for their own take-home baseball card.
• A Pucker Powder candy stand to further sweeten up the day.

“The inaugural Carnival Kids Day was a huge success and much like our cruises provided children and their families an opportunity to create a lifetime of wonderful memories,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “We’re thrilled to partner with the RoughRiders and give these deserving kids and families a memorable day at the ballpark filled with great activities, food and lots of smiles.”

As the Official Cruise Line of the Frisco RoughRiders, Carnival is hosting a number of fun activities throughout the 2014 season. At each game, fans enjoy two specially designed promotions. Every time a RoughRiders player hits a home run, fans hear the sound of the Carnival ship horn, fireworks launch from the iconic Carnival funnel in the outfield and celebratory graphics illuminate the LED signs around the stadium. Carnival is also matching monetary donations made by fans during the age-old Texas League tradition of "Passing the Boot" for the RoughRiders Foundation, team and individual players after each RoughRiders' home run.

A new promotion that debuted this weekend is the "Carnival Crush Inning" during which fans are randomly selected to win a free Carnival cruise for two, and a $250 cash prize from the team, based on RoughRiders batting performance during that inning. The contestant will win a four-day cruise if a RoughRider gets a hit during the specified inning, and will be upgraded to a seven-day cruise if the home team hits a home run. Fans can sign up for the promotion at the stadium or online before the game at The cruise line is also sponsoring the Carnival Getaway Grill featuring unlimited ballpark favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, bratwursts, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, and Dr Pepper products for one all-inclusive price.

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Windstar Cruises Celebrates Return to the Islands of Tahiti with Cruise Giveaway

Seattle, June 9: To celebrate Windstar Cruises’ return to the Islands of Tahiti for the first time in more than a decade, the company has partnered with Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Tourisme North America to give away a dream trip to Tahiti. The Dreams of Tahiti contest includes a 7-day cruise for two through the Polynesian islands, round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti, and a one night hotel stay in Papeete, Tahiti. The Dreams of Tahiti Facebook contest runs now through June 13th. Entry to the contest on Windstar’s Facebook page can be found at TahitiDreams.

Wind Spirit, one of Windstar’s small, graceful sailing yachts, is the perfect way to experience the true wonder of Tahiti. This is the first voyage to premiere Windstar’s new Private Events, an exclusive evening of music and entertainment created solely for Windstar guests. The Dreams of Tahiti’s Private Event features a dazzling performance by local fire dancers, and a traditional Tahitian barbecue, all happening on a secluded private island or “motu.”
Guests sailing on Wind Spirit cruise from one beautiful island after another staying overnight in Moorea, Raiatea, and Bora Bora.

Voyage destinations include:

• Moorea – the beauty of this unforgettable island of love lies in drama and adventure in breathtaking mountain peaks and serene lagoons.
• Tahaa – this fragrant island is known for its abundance of vanilla and offers a glimpse of the traditional tranquil life of the Tahitians.
• Raiatea – recognized through Tahiti as the ‘Sacred Island,’ it also serves as the cultural heart of French Polynesia.
• Huahine – known as the Garden of Eden, with lush forests, untamed landscape and quaint villages.
• Bora Bora – considered the most romantic island in the world.

For guests looking for adventure, Windstar’s comprehensive dive program opens up the best of underwater Tahiti for any level. For those looking for a more intimate experience, Windstar’s romance package offers guests a night in a luxurious overwater bungalow with direct access to Tahiti’s turquoise waters. The evening also includes a private beachside dinner, followed by an breakfast served the next morning on the bungalow’s private deck.
Wind Spirit is currently sailing 28 voyages through Tahiti, with its last cruise scheduled for November 7, 2014, before returning to Panama and Costa Rica for the winter season. Wind Spirit will return to Tahiti in May of 2015.

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New Destination Adventures in the Galapagos Islands

MIAMI, FL, June 9: Explorers can enjoy new vacation experiences when sailing to the Galapagos Islands with Celebrity Cruises. The line, celebrating its 10-year anniversary in the unspoiled region, has launched immersive and inspiring land excursions that range from dining on authentic cuisine prepared by local residents to contributing to the protected islands by giving new life to a native tree species.

Building on 10 years of involvement in the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity continues its commitment to supporting and empowering the communities of the region with a medical clinic, fishing and agriculture cooperatives, and a partnership with the Galapagos Conservancy, which includes a matching program to double the value of guests’ donations. Now for vacationers, Celebrity has introduced more Galapagos experiences that include:

• Authentic Dining in the Highlands: Dine on local fare at a family’s farm nestled in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz, Galapagos. Arranged exclusively by Celebrity, the immersive cultural experience directly connects vacationers with residents of the local community and the beauty of the island, its farms and even the giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat.
• Scalesia Reforestation Project: In close collaboration with the Galapagos National Park, in Santa Cruz, guests guided by Celebrity’s naturalists now can join a reforestation project with the goal to plant 5,000 Scalesia trees – an endemic tree that has lost much of its habitat in the Galapagos, adversely impacting wildlife that call the forest home. The Scalesia-saving project is the first-ever of its kind conducted by a cruise line with the Galapagos National Park.
• Collaborating with Farmers for Onboard Menus: The one-of-a-kind dining menu onboard Celebrity Xpedition reflects Celebrity’s effort to preserve the natural conditions and support local growers and farmers in the Galapagos region. From Ecuadorian ceviche to roasted fish, soups and even desserts such as tres leches – a variety of the locally caught, sustainable fish and seafood, vegetables and fruits served onboard are fresh, organic and sourced from Galapagos fishermen and farmers.
• Commemorative Book: Each explorer onboard Celebrity Xpedition between June 2014 and December 2015 will receive a complimentary coffee table book featuring fun, touching and inspiring stories and photos submitted via Facebook by past guests who have explored the islands with Celebrity Cruises, along with information on the Galapagos Islands environment and community. Vacationers whose stories were featured also will receive a copy of the exclusive book.

The new adventures are included when sailing onboard Celebrity Xpedition, in addition to the immersive Galapagos vacation itinerary that features daily naturalist-led lectures and excursions of the untouched islands, its highlands and beautiful beaches. Galapagos vacations range from seven to 15 nights aboard the 98-guest Celebrity Xpedition. Select packages feature all-inclusive amenities, including adventure gear, chartered luxury air transfers and creature comforts such as gourmet cuisine, in-stateroom dining and cocktails. For more information, visit

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Celebrity Cruises Wishes a "Sail to Victory" to New York Rangers

As a gesture to honor its partnership with The New York Rangers, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Summit ship at Port Bayonne, NJ, recently held a "pep-rally" with scores of passengers unfurling a large “Sail to Victory” banner and waving Rangers' flags. Celebrity Cruises is the Official Cruise Line of the New York Rangers. The affiliation gives 'Blueshirt' fans access to exclusive offers from Celebrity Cruises as well as the first-ever New York Rangers Legends Cruise. The partnership has provided Celebrity Cruises with a prominent presence at Madison Square Garden during Rangers games throughout the season.

The "New York Rangers Legends Cruise" is a 7-night cruise vacation to Bermuda onboard the Celebrity Summit departing Aug 3, 2014 from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, featuring Rangers greats Ron Duguay, Adam Graves, Ron Greschner and Stephane Matteau. The rare vacation package will include unprecedented access to Rangers stars, as well as exciting activities onboard and ashore, including meet and greet events, shore excursions featuring quintessential Bermuda experiences, private receptions such as a sunset barbecue on the ship's pool deck, and more.

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Princess Cruises Presents Donation to American Heart Association

SANTA CLARITA, CA, June 6: Princess Cruises has presented a check to the American Heart Association (AHA) for $832,000, the result of the line’s fundraising cruise this past February to support heart health. The special sailing was fully themed around this important cause and was part of the company’s “Cruising for a Cause” program. The funds were raised from a portion of each guest’s cruise fare and a 100 percent matching amount from Princess Cruises.

“We are pleased to have presented such an enlightening cruise experience, as well as raise money to educate and provide resources to combat heart disease which is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “Because we care about the health and well-being of our employees and guests, supporting the American Heart Association was a great partnership.”

This special cruise, which fittingly took place over Valentine’s Day aboard Ruby Princess, included a variety of activities and educational opportunities focused on heart-healthy living, including training in the American Heart Association’s Hands-Only™ CPR; seminars on how to better manage stress, diet and exercise; a survivor’s reception for those who had overcome heart disease; complimentary blood pressure screenings; and a fundraising walk on deck, patterned after AHA’s successful HeartWalks.

“The American Heart Association is extremely grateful to Princess and guests aboard the Cruise for Heart for helping raise awareness about heart disease and stroke,” said Al Royse, American Heart Association chair-elect. “Thanks to their generous donation, we can help even more people improve their heart and brain health.”

An impressive lineup of special guests on the cruise included a renowned cardiac surgeon, a celebrity chef, a fitness expert, an award-winning author, a four-time Super Bowl champion, and even Bernie Kopell, the actor who played the doctor on the iconic television series The Love Boat. The festivities were capped off with an elegant Ruby Red Gala party, romantic onboard renewal of vows ceremony and heart-warming wedding of a couple who had been affected by heart disease.

This cruise was the company’s second fundraising voyage. Princess Cruises previously raised $600,000 for veterans causes last November aboard Caribbean Princess, with donations made to Operation Homefront and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at

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Kristin Chenoweth Plays Expanded Role With Royal Caribbean As
Quantum Experience Advisor for Entertainment

MIAMI, June 6: Royal Caribbean International is pulling out all the stops when it comes to the entertainment offerings for its newest ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, with a keen eye on pushing boundaries and introducing brand new innovations that have never before been seen on land or sea. With such a strong emphasis on entertainment, the cruise line has partnered with some of the most creative and talented minds in the industry to lend their expertise, including Quantum of the Seas' godmother, Kristin Chenoweth, who has been named Quantum Experience Advisor for Entertainment. Chenoweth joins a lineup of Quantum Experience Advisors who are working with Royal Caribbean to ensure the amenities and activities onboard Quantum of the Seas are nothing short of amazing, including HGTV-star and interior designer Genevieve Gorder, athlete and adventurer Dhani Jones, and James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz.

An Emmy and Tony award-winning performer, Chenoweth brings an invaluable perspective to her role as Advisor for Entertainment. As Advisor, she's had the opportunity to participate in an executive review committee, previewing the concepts for all of the shows, productions, and themed events in development for Quantum of the Seas, and giving feedback on every aspect ranging from sets and music, to costumes, casting and more.

"Kristin is by far our most involved godmother yet and it is such a joy to be working with her," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "We are privileged to have a world renowned performer such as her, sharing insights and feedback on the entertainment that we are so passionate about. Seeing the excitement and energy she has for what we are doing with Quantum of the Seas is such a powerful reinforcement that we are creating something truly special."

The groundbreaking Quantum-class ships, Quantum of the Seas and sister-ship Anthem of the Seas (debuting in Southampton, U.K. in April 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 above the sea; 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, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms. More information is available at

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New Crystal 'Boutique' Excursion Gives Exclusive Access To Faberge Eggs,
Dostoevsky & Royal Russian Life

LOS ANGELES, June 5: Today's luxury travelers can step into Russia's luxury world of the imperial past with Crystal Cruises' latest Boutique Adventure, a shore excursion unavailable on any other cruise line and only available to a limited number of Crystal guests. Offered with four Crystal Symphony Northern Europe cruises in summer 2014, the new outing affords rare, exclusive access to areas of St. Petersburg's Faberge Museum that are not open to the public, including Romanov family exhibits, former aristocratic domiciles, and Brothers Karamazov art collections. Precious bejeweled Faberge eggs are, of course, the centerpiece of the "insider" tour, although more than 4,000 antique pieces of Russian decorative arts and palatial surroundings will also envelop guests in opulence during their visit.

Via special arrangements, the museum curator himself will guide guests through Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's impressive private collection of imperial Faberge, which includes 15 of the world's remaining 50 eggs elaborately designed by St. Petersburg's own Carl Faberge. Nine of the iconic eggs showcased belonged to Russia's final tsarist family, the Romanovs, and are considered to be the jeweler's finest works. These, combined with rare silver, religious ornaments, paintings and other objets d'art, are housed within 18(th)-Century Shuvalov Palace, itself a masterful work located in St. Petersburg's historic city center, elegantly restored following partial destruction during WWII.

Tour participants will be taken into palace rooms typically off-limits, including the White Column Hall, once the city's largest ballroom; the Cream Hall, encasing ornate silverware handcrafted by St. Petersburg and Moscow jewelers; and the private quarters of former palace owner, Count Shuvalov, now containing an exhibit dedicated to the last Romanovs. Literary enthusiasts will thrill to see the original illustrations for Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, created by Boris Grigoriev and displayed in the Walnut Drawing Room.

"Nothing epitomizes the grandeur of Russian luxury like its spectacular palaces, decorative arts, and, especially, Faberge eggs," says John Stoll, vice president of land programs. "This new Boutique Adventure offers guests not only an exceptionally rare encounter with some of the world's most prized works of art, but also allows them to truly sense the lavish lives of the Russian nobility that walked the very halls they explore, an ultra-luxurious look at the culture, as can only be experienced through the World's Best cruise line."

The "Special Visit to the Private Faberge Museum" is available for $229 per person with Crystal Symphony's 10-day cruises from Stockholm and Copenhagen, departing June 24, July 4, July 28 and August 7. Guests who explore St. Petersburg with an organized Crystal Adventure avoid the need for a visitor's visa within the city. With at least two overnight stays on each sailing, the voyages call in Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Berlin/Warnemunde and Berlin/Rostock, Germany; and St. Petersburg, Russia (double overnight on all four voyages).

The renowned Crystal Experience has been voted "World's Best" more than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history.
For more information, visit

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Offers Free Ambassadors Of The Environment Youth Program

BELLEVUE, WA, June 5: 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, will offer oceanographer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program free on holiday voyages in French Polynesia this December when booked by July 31, 2014--a value of $299 per child.

Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society created the Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program, which is a unique, groundbreaking program that introduces young travelers to the extraordinary natural wonders of French Polynesia through direct, hands-on, interactive learning. The mission of the Ocean Futures Society is to explore our global oceans, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for their protection.

Under the guidance of expert Ocean Future Society naturalists, young Ambassadors (ages 9-17) explore coral reefs, hike rainforest trails, experience Polynesian culture, and visit marae (ancient Polynesian temples). They also learn how black pearls and vanilla are cultivated, how volcanic islands become coral atolls, and how to paddle an outrigger canoe. Parents are encouraged to join their children on eco-excursions and other activities aboard and ashore.

The Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program is offered free on 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands Holiday Cruises departing December 20 & 27, 2014, with cruise fares starting from $5,195 per person and includes airfare from Los Angeles. The third guest in a stateroom sails free.

For more information, visit

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Single Staterooms Now Available on Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth

June 4: Recognizing the increasing popularity of solo travel, Cunard Line is pleased to announce the addition of single staterooms on board Queen Elizabeth. The eight outside and one inside staterooms are on sale now and available for booking beginning with the Dec 16, 2014 sailing (voyage number Q422).

The inclusion of single staterooms builds upon Cunard’s offerings that cater to this growing audience. Across the Line’s fleet, passengers travelling on their own can look forward to special activities organized by the ships’ social hostesses, including a welcome reception on embarkation day, coffee and cookies every sea day morning, and specially organized meeting points and excursions on port days.

Single ladies who enjoy dancing will love Queen Elizabeth’s Gentlemen Dance Hosts, who know all the formal ballroom dances and are available during evening balls held in the Queens Room.

These special touches enhance Queen Elizabeth’s myriad of activities for all guests, including Cunard’s signature afternoon tea service, Cunard Insights speakers and enrichment programs, world class retail shopping and fine dining, on board casino, spa, library and many more.

Single stateroom features include:

• Ideal mid-ship location in close proximity to the social areas of the Empire Casino, the Royal Court Theater and the Queens Room
• Single bed with generous width of over 47”
• Large windows (outside staterooms only)

For more information, visit

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Seabourn Announces 2015 European Voyages

SEATTLE, June 4: When Seabourn's three intimate, award-winning ships - Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest - begin their Europe season in 2015, the line will offer the newest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the region. The trio will explore more than 100 different destinations on nearly 60 departures ranging from seven to 24 days in length, visiting some of the most beautiful destinations, from the stunning coastlines on the French and Italian Rivieras to the majestic fjords of Norway to the beautiful Greek Isles. The schedule includes overnight stays in a number of popular cities, such as Barcelona, Paris (Rouen), Malta, Amsterdam, Edinburgh (Leith), St. Petersburg, and Istanbul, allowing guests ample time to explore these premier destinations.

Seabourn Odyssey will explore the iconic Greek Isles, the historic cities of Turkey and the charming ports on the Dalmatian Coast on 7-day cruises departing from Athens, Istanbul, and Venice. The ship will visit such hidden gems as Monemvasia and Nydri in Greece, as well as popular ports including Dubrovnik, Mykonos and Santorini. Many of these voyages will also visit Kusadasi, Turkey, featuring Seabourn's signature complimentary "Evening at Ephesus" private classical concert in the ancient ruins under the stars.

Seabourn Sojourn will traverse the Western Mediterranean on a series of 7-, 10- and 11-day voyages between Monte Carlo and Rome. These cruises mark the company's return to Italy's Amalfi Coast, one of Europe's most spectacular coastlines. In addition, Seabourn Sojourn will visit the best of the French Riviera, stopping at yacht harbors and quintessential Mediterranean islands.

Seabourn Quest will begin its Europe season with a series of seven-day Mediterranean cruises between Barcelona and Rome, followed by an 18-day voyage to Copenhagen, exploring the west coast of Europe. The ship will spend the rest of the season in Northern Europe, offering a series of 7-day Baltic and Scandinavia cruises between Copenhagen and Stockholm and a pair of 14-day voyages to the beautiful Norwegian fjords and the remote North Cape. The ship will complete the season with a 24-day cruise from Copenhagen to Montreal, stopping at quaint towns and ports in Ireland, Scotland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and Québec.

Many of these sailings will include Seabourn's hallmark "Marina Day" experience, featuring complimentary watersports from the ships' fold-out watersports platform at some of the most scenic ports in the Mediterranean. The three ships garnered rave reviews and acclaim as "game changers" for the luxury cruise segment when they entered service beginning with Seabourn Odyssey in 2009, and followed by Seabourn Sojourn in 2010 and Seabourn Quest in 2011. The ships offer key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, most with verandas; superb dining in a choice of venues; open bars throughout the ship; fine wines poured at lunch and dinner; award-winning personalized service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere. At 32,000 tons and carrying just 458 guests each, the ships provide one of the highest ratios of space per guest in the industry and unmatched levels of personalized service from nearly one staff member per guest. For additional information, visit

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World’s Best Cruise Line Bartenders Compete For Place In The Diageo Reserve World Class
Bartender Of The Year Competition

Miami, FL, June 3: Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Celebrity Cruises together with the Diageo Global Travel team, today revealed the names of the final four cruise line bartenders who have battled on the high seas to secure a place at the semi-final of one of the world’s largest luxury mixology competitions.

The final four, who have been victorious over 5,500 cruise line mixologists, will go head to head at the DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS™ Global Travel semi-final event. The cruise line winner will then go forward to compete at the star-studded DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year global final in London, competing against the best bartenders from around the globe for the coveted title of Bartender of the Year.

The four semi-finalists, who will face-off at the glitzy global travel semi-final in the deluxe Diageo Bar 396 in Miami, Florida on 12th June, are:

Princess Cruises: Carlos F Lintag Jr, 42, from The Philippines is Bar supervisor on the Pacific Princess. Carlos’ favorite drink is TANQUERAY® No.TEN™ Gin and it features in his signature serve, the ‘ABCD: Amazing Bartender Cocktail Drink.’

Norwegian Cruise Line: O’Neil Anant James Pandit, 33, from India is Assistant Beverage Manager on the Norwegian Getaway. O’Neil has been selected as a semi-finalist for the second year in a row and will conjure up the ‘Botanical Wave,’ featuring TANQUERAY No.TEN Gin, as his signature cocktail.

Royal Caribbean International: Shekhar Grover, 27, from India is Lead Bartender on board the Oasis of the Seas. His inspiration to become a mixologist stems from a fascination with the mystery of how a carefully created concoction can transport consumers to a state of bliss. His signature serve is the ‘French Royale,’ featuring CÎROC® Vodka.

Celebrity Cruises: Agus Gandu Adyana, 27, from Bali is a Flaring Bartender aboard the Celebrity Century. He was inspired to get into mixology by his father, and mentor, and his signature creation is the ‘Don Spicy Mangorita,’ made with DON JULIO® Tequila.

Each of the semi-finalists has proved themselves among the best floating bartenders, winning a series of heats during completion of the DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS training program. This is the biggest year yet for the Global Travel leg of the competition, with 15 times the number of bartenders taking part (5,500) from four cruise lines than in 2013 when 400 took part from two cruise lines.

Mario Seijo, World Class Global Winner for Latin America & Caribbean 2013, travelled the high seas this year as he led the training program coaching onboard bartenders. He trained them in showmanship and the latest cocktail-making trends such as ‘Mediterranean Mastery,’ a theme inspired by the botanicals and culinary influences of the Mediterranean, and an exploration of ‘Gin and the Secrets of Distillation’ and the impact these have on resulting cocktail creations.

He said: "DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS is driving amazing innovations in the fine-drinking category. The program serves to elevate the craft of the cruise line bartender, unlocking great onboard experiences for passengers by investing in the industry and working with cruise line partners. In order to impress the judges, these semi-finalists will need to put everything they learned about cutting-edge trends and the flair they have developed, into creating show-stopping high-end cocktails, using some of the world’s leading portfolio of fine spirits - the Diageo Reserve Brands portfolio. I remember my WORLD CLASS experience well and I wish the four competitors the best of luck in reaching the final.”

Mario will be joined by Enrique De Colsa, Master Distiller at Don Julio Tequila and Arturo Savage, one of Diageo’s Senior Reserve Ambassadors, to make up the panel of industry-leading judges who will put the semi-finalists through their paces.

If one of the cruise line bartenders is successful at the Global Final, becoming the Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year, it will set them on a life changing journey. Previous winners of Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year have become recognized industry names, travelling the globe as WORLD CLASS Ambassadors, participating in international high-profile events such as Petra Ecclestone’s lavish wedding and consulting on the James Bond film, Skyfall.

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Holland America Line's ms Volendam to Add 21 Lanai Staterooms and Mix Bar Area at End of 2014

SEATTLE, June 2: When Holland America Line's ms Volendam completes dry-dock in December 2014, the ship will feature 21 new exclusive lanai staterooms, the contemporary bar area Mix and updated bathrooms in all suites and select other stateroom categories. With the conversion of existing outside staterooms to the new lanai accommodations, Volendam's guest capacity of 1,432 will not change.

The unique lanai accommodations feature large sliding-glass doors with direct access to the Lower Promenade wrap-around teak walking deck. Each lanai stateroom includes reserved deck chairs, and the sliding-glass doors have a one-way mirrored coating to ensure privacy. Holland America Line ships already outfitted with lanai staterooms are ms Maasdam, ms Rotterdam and ms Veendam.

"Volendam's itineraries in Alaska and other scenic parts of the world are ideal for direct promenade deck access and the enhanced views of the popular lanai layout," said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line's executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest relations. "We're also making other exciting enhancements to the ship, and adding Mix presents a stylish multi-themed venue for our guests to mingle and enjoy themselves."

During the dry dock, all suite bathrooms will also be updated to feature new whirlpool bathtubs, stone vanities, lighted mirrors, Grohe fixtures, floors, walls and sinks. Several additional categories, including the Lanai Staterooms, will also receive new bathroom appointments and walk-in showers.

Mix and Mingle in New Branded Theme Space Volendam's centrally located bars will be reconfigured to feature Mix, a space that incorporates three specialty theme bars: Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales.

Martinis serves 19 Grey Goose martinis elegantly offered in individual shakers as well as a full range of cocktails. Guests can also enjoy a martini flight made up of several mini martini concoctions. A featured cocktail is Holland America Line's signature martini, the Yellow Tulip, a mixture of Grey Goose vodka, lychee juice, pineapple juice, guava juice, coconut cream and fresh lime juice.

The bubbly flows at Champagne, which offers a selection of 20 champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world. This venue will offer events such as late champagne breakfast, pre-lunch Mimosa and Bellini hour, champagne tea time and pre-dinner champagne hour with caviar canapés.

Spirits & Ales features an international selection of beers and premium whiskeys and brandies sure to impress even the most discerning connoisseur. Here guests can drop by to enjoy a wide array of beers on tap while watching sporting events or relax after some shopping in the nearby boutiques.

Ships that already have Mix are ms Maasdam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam, ms Statendam and ms Veendam.

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Explore Four Islands By Yacht on Hawai‘i Adventure Cruise With Un-Cruise Adventures

Seattle, WA, June 2: From November through April, Hawai‘i-bound travelers can explore four Hawaiian Islands—Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i—by yacht on a weeklong cruise with small ship cruise line Un-Cruise Adventures. An adventure savings of $600/couple is offered on bookings made by July 31, 2014 for cruises departing Nov 2014–April 2015, excluding holiday departures on Dec 20 and 27.

Hawai‘i cruises sail one-way between Hawai‘i, the Big Island and Moloka‘i or reverse aboard the 36-guest Safari Explorer. With an aft swim step and a full complement of water sports equipment, guests aboard the Safari Explorer enjoy the freedom of water exploration. Kayak through a lava tube or nearby volcanic cliffs. Jump in a skiff to look for whales or other marine life. Watch dolphins off the bow. Snorkel among tropical fish, green sea turtles and dolphins. Swim, sail or paddle board nearby the yacht. Expert naturalists provide interpretation on guided excursions ashore and at sea.

Highlights include a night snorkel with Giant Pacific Manta rays and snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay where Captain Cook was slain in 1779. Hike along a beach up to a scenic, rocky overlook for sweeping views of neighboring bays on Lana‘i. Visit Lana‘i City and the Lana‘i Culture and Heritage Center. Explore the old town of Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i. In the Humpback National Marine Sanctuary, expedition cruising allows time for searching out marine life—humpback whales, dolphins, green sea turtles and other marine life. Tour the historic town of Lahaina, Maui and take a turn paddling a traditional outrigger canoe.

“The inclusive nature of our yacht cruise is very appealing and freeing and welcomed by vacationers who enjoy inclusive packaging,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “Step aboard and relax as we visit four islands. And we’ve arranged exclusive tours for our guests to see the traditional ways of life and meet the local people of Moloka‘i.”

Embarking or disembarking at Moloka‘i allows time for an evening and full day of cultural activities on the less-visited isle. Guests may hike to a secluded waterfall in sacred Halawa Valley or spend time at Anakala Pilipo’s home learning the ways of traditional life in Hawai‘i; take time to “talk story” and learn how to make poi from taro root. An evening pa‘ina (a traditional Hawaiian feast) at Moloka‘i Museum and Cultural Center serves local cuisine including fresh fish, poi, seaweed, Moloka‘i sweet potatoes and other staples of the Hawaiian diet. Local musicians and a kumu hula dancer entertain.

The yacht’s warm wood interior is inviting and public spaces include a wine library, dining room, bar and lounge area, an open bridge and an aft deck area with large table for gatherings. A spacious top deck has chairs, loungers and tables for relaxing and taking in the view. Included in the cruise fare: premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews; superb hand-crafted meals featuring local Hawaiian flavors; massage; yoga; guided tours geared toward small groups; from-yacht activities and equipment; whale and dolphin encounters; transfers; lei greeting; and port charges and taxes. For additional information, visit

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Milestone Moment: Oceania Cruises Records 1,000,000th Booking

MIAMI, FL, June 2: Travel advisor Jenny Malka of Atlanta-based Century Travel, a Virtuoso affiliated agency, booked Oceania Cruises’ one-millionth reservation earlier today. This is a significant milestone for Oceania Cruises, which was founded by cruise industry veterans Frank Del Rio and Bob Binder with three, 684-passenger ships – Insignia, Nautica and Regatta. A little more than a decade since its first voyage, the line now operates a five ship fleet following the construction of two additional ships, Marina and Riviera, which debuted in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

“I couldn’t believe that I made the one-millionth booking,” said Malka. “I book many of my clients on vacations with Oceania Cruises because consumers are seeking exceptional value for their vacation dollar and Oceania Cruises delivers that value while providing an upscale experience.”

“Virtuoso has been a trusted partner with Oceania Cruises since its early days, so it only seems fitting that one of our affiliate agencies made this booking,” shares Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. “We’re honored and very proud to be a part of this remarkable achievement.”

Malka is a Toronto based travel advisor who joined Century Travel in 2002. Century Travel is based in Atlanta and was started in 1985 by Gene Lashley and Peter Lloyd. Century Travel joined the Virtuoso network in 1998 and currently has over 60 advisors throughout North America.

The ambitious mission of Oceania Cruises is to deliver “best in class” cuisine and service while in an inviting, country club-casual environment, all while exploring the world on a wide variety of unique itineraries ranging from 7-days to 180-days. An industry pioneer, Oceania Cruises was the first line to provide two-for-one cruise fares and free airfare with every booking.

“When we started the business, we envisioned a fleet of midsized ships taking people to exotic and interesting locales around the world, serving the finest cuisine at sea and providing exemplary service to our guests.” explains Oceania founder Frank Del Rio. “We’re extremely proud of our efforts, and yet humbled by the loyalty of our guests who embraced this new way of cruising, and the never-ending hard work of our employees, crew and travel partners who all helped us reach this milestone.”

The upper-premium line made a name for itself by offering destination-intensive sailings at a tremendous value, and ongoing partnerships with Bon Appétit and Wine Spectator, as well as a focus on all things culinary have also earned the line the unofficial reputation as the “cruise line for foodies.” Oceania also made major headlines in recent years by launching two new ships – Marina and Riviera, and by announcing a massive $50 million refurbishment of Regatta, Insignia and Nautica.

Oceania Cruises headquarters opened on January 6, 2003 in Miami. The 30,277-ton, 684-guest Regatta, the company’s flagship, was christened in June of that year in Barcelona, and sailed her maiden voyage on July 5 departing from Barcelona on a 14-day voyage to London. Regatta was followed by sister ships Insignia, christened March 2004 in Monte Carlo, and Nautica, christened November 2005 in Istanbul. The first new build for Oceania Cruises, Marina, debuted in February 2011, followed by sister ship Riviera in March 2012. For more information on Oceania Cruises, visit

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SeaDream I Kicks Off Summer Season in Northern Europe

MIAMI, June 2: SeaDream Yacht Club’s 112-guest SeaDream I entered the Baltic Sea today for her summer season, which features voyages showcasing Northern Europe. The itinerary began from Hamburg, Germany on May 31 as the mega-yacht embarked on a journey through the Kiel Canal that will now call on the metropolises of Helsinki; Stockholm and St. Petersburg, Russia, where multiple-night stays allow guests to explore highlights such as the world-famous Hermitage museum, or the renowned Jacobson Ballet School. Due to her intimate size, this summer SeaDream I is able to dock in locations where larger ships cannot reach including the charming islands of Saaremaa in Estonia and Finland’s Aland archipelago.

“As SeaDream I embarks on her summer season, guests sailing onboard can look forward to visiting founder Atle Brynestad’s hometown of Oslo, overnights in St. Petersburg and more,” shares President Bob Lepisto. “Limited space remains on these voyages and we encourage travelers new to SeaDream to consider exploring the Baltic by mega-yacht.”

Defined by her intimate atmosphere, award-winning dining and 1:1 crew to guest ratio, SeaDream I will sail the secluded ports and popular harbors along the Baltic coast and throughout the Norwegian fjords. Northern Europe highlights include:

• An itinerary featuring three overnights in St. Petersburg, Russia. Guests will have access to unique land adventures, which include a special private opening of the Hermitage museum and a visit to the palace at Peterhof, unofficially known as the “Versailles of Russia.” Tours of the Neva River and its canals will also be available, and offer incredible vistas of St. Petersburg’s renowned architecture.
• Overnights in Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord, Norway. Guests will get up close and personal with the majestic Norwegian Fjords as they visit hidden coves accessible only by small craft or mega-yacht. Exciting outdoor activities such as kayaking directly from the SeaDream I marina, mountain biking and hiking on secluded and sparsely populated islands will also be available.
• Exclusive complimentary land excursion in Oslo to Hadeland Glassworks factory, owned by SeaDream Founder Mr. Atle Brynestad.

For additional information, visit

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