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Cruise News
June 1-30, 2015

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

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

Cruise Diva

Viking Ocean Cruises Celebrates Float Out Of Second Ship

LOS ANGELES, June 26: Viking Ocean Cruises today announced its second ship,the 930-passenger Viking Sea, was "floated out," marking a major construction milestone and the first time that the new ship touches water. The traditional ceremony took place yesterday, June 25, at Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard, little more than a month after the new ocean line christened its first ship, Viking Star, in Bergen, Norway. Viking Sea is set to launch in early 2016; the company's third ship on order, Viking Sky(®), is also currently under construction in Ancona and will debut in 2017. As a response to strong demand for Viking's immersive itineraries, all three ships will sail popular routes in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

"The day that a new ship first touches water is always a special day, and today is indeed a proud one for our Viking family," said Torstein Hagen, founder and chairman of Viking Cruises. "Having just celebrated the launch of our first ocean cruise ship, we are pleased at the positive reviews she is receiving from our guests and travel industry partners. We have no doubt that her sister ship, Viking Sea, will be met with the same reception upon her debut next spring."

In addition to the float out of Viking Sea, the company also announced that Karine Hagen, Viking's senior vice president of product and daughter of Torstein Hagen, will be godmother to Viking Sea and will officially "name" the ship during the christening ceremony in early 2016. Widely recognized as the face of the brand in Viking's television ads and online cultural enrichment videos, Karine is responsible for infusing the company's itineraries with extraordinary experiences. She is also the author of the children's books, "The World of Finse", an educational series that showcases the adventures of Karine's yellow Labrador, Finse, set largely along the global destinations and routes of Viking's cruise itineraries.

"Viking Sea is a magnificent ship, and I am very honored to be her godmother," Karine said at the ceremony. "It has been a great pleasure to meet so many of the Fincantieri Ancona shipyard staff today, and share the pride in their work."

A float out ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Sea's float out began at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, with the maritime tradition of welding coins under the ship mast. Karine welded Norwegian commemorative coins representing four generations of birth years in her family: 1911 (grandmother Ragnhild, after whom the onboard restaurant Mamsen's is named); 1943 (father Torstein, Viking's chairman); 1970 (Karine's own birth year) and 2012 (Karine's Labrador, Finse, who was also present at the ceremony). Karine then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Sea 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; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service--a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.

Viking Star, Viking Sea & Viking Sky
Viking's ocean ships are engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet 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: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound 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 ships feature a glass-backed Infinity Pool off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
-- LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic qwewellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind, from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air.
-- Explorers' Lounge and Wintergarden: Spaces designed to facilitate mingling and storytelling, the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow 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's ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices, from The Restaurant and the World Café, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties and Mamsen's, which serves Norwegian deli-style fare, to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, Manfredi's Italian Restaurant and The Kitchen Table, all serving meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer more al fresco dining than any other ships.
-- Enriching Entertainment: Connecting passengers to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and onboard venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where passengers can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Theater, home of enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard cooking school where guests can learn how to prepare local specialties; and Torshavn, a piano lounge where guests can relax, mingle, and exchange stories after a day of exploring.
-- Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ocean ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

For additional information, visit

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Holland America Line Breaks Ground on New Base Camp Complex
at the McKinley Chalet Resort at Denali National Park

Seattle, June 25: Holland America Line has broken ground on a new “Base Camp” complex at the company’s McKinley Chalet Resort near the entrance to Alaska’s Denali National Park. Expected to be complete for the 2016 Alaska cruise season, Base Camp is part of Holland America Line’s ongoing enhancement program at the property that also includes room updates, upgrades to soft goods and hotel decor and additional modifications. The McKinley Chalet Resort provides accommodations for guests on Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys that combine an Alaska cruise with an overland tour to Denali National Park and beyond. Base Camp will be centrally located between the main part of the property, containing the reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms, and the riverfront guest rooms that provide stunning views of the Nenana River.

“Our McKinley Chalet Resort is the premier destination hotel in Alaska, and the addition of Base Camp to this already-spectacular property will make the guest experience all the more memorable and enriching,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Base Camp enables us to showcase Alaska and Denali National Park on a whole new level by bringing even more of the local history to our guests through art, dining and music.”

Base Camp will serve as a new gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The largest building in the complex will be the grand 7,800-square-foot restaurant reaching two stories high to showcase views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit the Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the “Music of Denali Dinner Theater” that becomes a bar and music venue after the show. At the center of Base Camp is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and a semicircle of bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows, ranger talks and demonstrations.

The new location also will feature cozy fire pits to gather around on cool Alaska evenings; outdoor seating for guests who wish to enjoy the scenery; three retail shops offering local goods; and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists will display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Base Camp show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting nestled just across the Nenana River from Denali National Park.

Alaska-based companies heading up the McKinley Chalet Resort’s enhancement project include general contractor Dawson Construction and Stantec, which is providing engineering services. Additional firms involved are lead and landscape architect The Portico Group, restaurant architect Heliotrope Architects, structural engineering company Michael Leonard Associates and project manager Costigan Integrated, all of Seattle, Wash. Spanning nearly 60 acres, the McKinley Chalet Resort currently features 478 rooms, fine and casual dining, an on-site dinner theater, on-site raft departures and walking trails along the Nenana River.

Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys combine the “must-see” of Denali National Park with the “seldom-seen” wonders of the Yukon, including one- or two-night stays in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush country and up to three-night stays at Denali National Park. This year, the Land+Sea Journeys run May through September and offer 13 options, ranging in total length from 10 to 20 days in two distinct series: Yukon+Denali Land+Sea Journeys and Denali Land+Sea Journeys. All Land+Sea Journeys combine a three- to seven-night Holland America Line cruise with an overland adventure that includes a one-, two- or three-night stay at Denali National Park as a centerpiece of the Alaska experience.

Each Land+Sea Journey also showcases places such as the gold rush town of Dawson City, charming Seward, historic Fairbanks, colorful Skagway and the historic narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. For more information about the Alaska Land+Sea Journeys and Holland America Line, visit The Holland America Line Alaska tablet app also is available in the Apple, Android or Windows app stores.

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All-Inclusive Just Got Better: on Silversea Asia Voyages in 2016

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, June 25: From the rainforests of Borneo to neon-lit Tokyo, the Far East offers intriguing ports, exotic cultures and breathtaking scenery that the luxury cruise guests of Silversea may now conveniently explore with the following all-inclusive package amenities offered on all Silver Shadow Asia cruises in 2016:

--Free Silver Shore Select excursions
--Free Wi-Fi
--Roundtrip economy air travel and transfers
--Two-night, pre-cruise hotel stay

"Our goal is to make it as convenient as possible for our guests to experience a luxury vacation in the Far East by offering the most inclusive all-inclusive fares in cruising," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas.

The all-inclusive packages are available for new bookings made on or after June 24, 2015 on 17 cruises. The all-inclusive Asia cruise packages include a 2-night, pre-cruise stay at a five-star Shangri-La hotel in Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo, transfers between airport, hotel and Silver Shadow, and roundtrip economy airfare from over 50 gateways in the U.S. and Canada. Plus, a business class air upgrade is also available from $1,999 for transoceanic flights each way.

Guests may enrich their travel experience with a choice of included Silver Shore Select excursions offered in every port of call. Whether it's exploring an enchanted seascape of jade-colored islets rising from the waters of Ha Long Bay, witnessing the great apes of Borneo in their natural habitat, or marveling at the gilded opulence of Yangon's legendary Shwedagon Pagoda, these small-group excursions present a destination's art, history, and culture in an intimate, authentic way, utilizing comfortable transportation and expert local guides.

The all-inclusive packages also include one hour of free Wi-Fi per day, for every guest, and unlimited free Wi-Fi for the ship's top-tier suites (Medallion and higher categories). The new perks join an array of included amenities that already features: open-seating gourmet dining; butler service for all suites; Champagne, select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; in-suite bar stocked with guests' preferences; in-suite dining and 24-hour dining service (from a formal dinner ordered from The Restaurant menu and served in-suite, to lighter fare served in attended lounges); lecture and enrichment programs; roundtrip transportation into town (in most ports); and onboard gratuities (exclusive of spa treatments).

In addition to the included Silver Shore Select excursions, guests may purchase tours from a variety of land programs offering exceptional value, including the more-immersive Silver Shore Collection tours, as well as Silver Shore Privato, which provides a private car and driver for independent exploring. For further details and a complete list of the Asia cruises, visit

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MGM Resorts Intl & Celebrity Cruises Team Up to Deliver One-Of-A-Kind Experiences & Benefits

MIAMI & LAS VEGAS, June 24: Celebrity Cruises and MGM Resorts International have come together to give loyalty program members more ways to travel in style. Beginning today, Celebrity’s Captain’s Club and MGM Resorts’ M life members can choose from exclusive premium offers throughout the year. These include complimentary cruises for qualified M life Platinum and NOIR members, and Captain’s Club members can enjoy benefits and special access at MGM Resorts’ destinations, including concerts, events, entertainment venues, restaurants and more.

“Aligning MGM Resorts with Celebrity Cruises, one of the top cruise lines in the world, ensures more spectacular experiences for our loyal guests not only on land, but also at sea,” said Lance Evans, Vice President of Marketing Partnerships for MGM Resorts International. “This new relationship brings together two world-class brands to further enhance the value of being a member of M life, with special offers, benefits, rewards and exclusive access.”

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, said, "We are incredibly grateful for our Captain's Club members' continued loyalty, and I'm thrilled to thank them by giving them even more special benefits. We are just as excited about introducing M life members to Celebrity's modern luxury vacations, from the award-winning culinary program and personalized service on our sexy, stylish ships, to in-depth destination experiences on all seven continents.”

Exclusive premium perks for M life and Captain’s Club members include:

• Captain’s Club – Quarterly offers and M life benefits for each tier, including room discounts, pre-sale access to tickets for A-list concerts and championship fights, exclusive seating at shows and events, priority reservations, special hotel check-in areas, VIP services and more.
• M life – Celebrity cruise offers, elevated onboard benefits and the ability to earn M life Tier Credits for onboard slot play. Qualifying M life members who reach Platinum or NOIR, the highest M life Tiers, receive one complimentary Celebrity cruise annually.

For complete Captain’s Club and M life benefit details, visit and, respectively.

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Seven Holland America Line Ships to Sail 98 Caribbean Departures Roundtrip
from Fort Lauderdale & Tampa in 2015-16

Seattle, June 24: With longer itineraries and a unique mid-size ship experience, Holland America Line’s 2015-16 Caribbean season features a diverse range of options up to 21 days that include not-to-be-missed calls and ports not regularly found on typical Caribbean cruises. Seven of the line’s premium ships will explore the entire region on cruises that sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while ms Veendam returns to the Caribbean in January 2016 to take over the roundtrip Tampa, Fla., departures.

“Holland America Line provides the most port intensive and exclusive experience in the Caribbean, with a breadth of itinerary options to highlight the diversity of the region to our guests,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The Caribbean is a popular destination because it’s a relaxing, tropical paradise that’s accessible to so many travelers, and by offering a wide range of ships and itineraries, we’re able to offer a dream vacation at a great value.”

From October 2015 through April 2016, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Veendam, ms Westerdam, ms Prinsendam and ms Zuiderdam sail a total of 98 seven-, 10-, 11-, 12- and 14-day cruises that can be combined into longer Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 21 days. The itineraries span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as a partial transit of the Panama Canal.

Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale Itineraries
During the season, Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam will sail a series of 7-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries that can be combined to form 14-day Collectors’ Voyages spanning both regions. Westerdam maintains a weekly schedule of 7-day eastern Caribbean cruises, while Maasdam sails 7- and 10-day eastern routes, as well as longer 11-day southern itineraries. Oosterdam also features 10- and 11-day southern Caribbean cruises ideal for guests looking for a longer vacation. All Fort Lauderdale itineraries feature a call at Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities.

The Nieuw Amsterdam will also feature a new 7-day Tropical Caribbean itinerary in 2016 that calls on maiden port Amber Cove, Carnival Corporation’s new $85 million cruise center in the Dominican Republic. Located near the historic town of Puerto Plata, Amber Cover will provide access to a purpose-built facility with a welcome center, craft marketplace, eateries, a swimming pool and transportation hub for access to inland shore tours for a wide variety of interests.

In addition to the 14-day Collectors’ Voyages, other itineraries can be combined to form a diverse range of options, including a 21-day southern cruise on Oosterdam, a 21-day southern and eastern option on Maasdam and a 17-day nonrepeating double-eastern route, also on Maasdam.

Partial Panama Canal Transits
Guests looking to explore the Panama Canal without going through to the West Coast can embark on a convenient roundtrip Fort Lauderdale partial transit aboard Zuiderdam. The ship makes its way to Gatún Lake and spends the day leisurely scenic cruising. During the 10- and 11-day departures the ship also visits several Caribbean ports.

Zuiderdam recently underwent an extensive drydock to add 25 new staterooms and enhance several public areas— including the dining room, Neptune Lounge, Canaletto restaurant, The Greenhouse Spa and Salon, and the Dive-In outdoor grill serving signature burgers—with new furniture, signage, carpet and design updates.

Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries
Beginning in January 2016, Veendam spends the Caribbean season cruising roundtrip from Tampa on 7-day western and 12- and 14-day southern itineraries. The 7- and 14-day options can be combined to form a 21-day western/southern Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage.

Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise
For travelers who like to get away from the hustle, and chill of December, the holiday season is a special time onboard. A total of 13 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on far-reaching itineraries ranging from seven to 16 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form 14- or 21-day Holiday Collectors’ Voyages. Prinsendam also offers a 16-day southern Caribbean cruise, departing Dec. 19, 2015, sailing during both Christmas and New Year’s Day.

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships’ international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and sing-alongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts. The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a Champagne toast.

Go On Location in the Caribbean
On each cruise, regional cultural experiences are brought onboard, such as the Island Magic Steel Drum Band, learning to weave and craft with palm leaves and local rum tastingsall part of Holland America Line’s On Location program. The itinerary sets the stage for guests to indulge in localized experiences that makes the journey as enriching as the ports of call through lectures, demonstrations and performances. For more information about Caribbean itineraries and Holland America Line, visit

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Bookings Open for 2016 Caribbean Cruises on Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam

Seattle, June 24: Guests who have been awaiting the opportunity to book a Caribbean voyage on Holland America Line’s newest ship, ms Koningsdam, can now make their reservations. The ship, launching in April 2016, will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sailing 7- to 11-day Caribbean voyages from November 2016 through March 2017. Koningsdam’s 7-day Caribbean cruises visit popular ports in the region, while the longer nine-, 10- and 11-day itineraries provide more time for exploring a diverse array of off-the-beaten-path islands.

“Since we began taking reservations for Koningsdam’s summer Europe season, guests have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to book a Caribbean voyage on our beautiful new ship,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Demand for being among the first to experience our latest innovations on Koningsdam is high, so we encourage anyone interested in a Caribbean cruise to book early. It’s going to be a fantastic inaugural season.”

Beginning in November, the ship will offer 9-, 10- and 11-day Caribbean itineraries. A 7-day and 9-day Holiday cruise departs on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, respectively. The ship’s longer cruises showcase more ports in the region and include unique and lesser-visited islands such as Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Jamaica, Martinique and St. Lucia, to name a few.

Two different 7-day itineraries provide an ideal getaway in winter with six departures in January and February 2017. The first calls at the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private Bahamian island. The second route visits Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Mexico and Key West, Fla.

When Koningsdam sets sail on its Premier Voyage April 8, 2016, the vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public venues while still featuring popular amenities guests associate with Holland America Line. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy fine dining in several alternative restaurants including Sel de Mer, a new French seafood brasserie; a new immersive farm-to-table dinner experience in the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine; a re-designed casual Lido Market with themed serving stations; a stunning main dining room; and favorites such as Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto Italian restaurant and pan-Asian Tamarind. The ship also will feature Holland America Line’s first purpose-built staterooms for families as well as single staterooms among its 1,331 guest accommodations.

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

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Crystal Thanksgiving Cruises Serve Up Caribbean & Mediterranean Culture... With All The Trimmings

LOS ANGELES, June 24: The luxury cruise line is inviting travelers to "give thanks" on board this Thanksgiving, with two ultra-luxury voyages that capture the tranquility and adventure of the Caribbean and romance and culture of the Mediterranean, while still offering the customary celebration of the traditional North American holiday. Crystal Cruises' November 14 and November 22 cruises aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, respectively, provide travelers with a stunning change of scenery for the holiday, without the need to sacrifice the feast or quality time with family. Both sailings feature enticing savings for families of virtually all sizesfrom free third berths for kids age 17 and under to the line's popular Crystal Family Memories Program, which includes perks for groups and families of six or more, plus extras for families of 10 or more sailing together.

"Any holiday is made extra special when celebrated on a Crystal voyage," says Crystal President & CEO Edie Rodriguez. "We believe that travel, like Thanksgiving itself, has a way of bringing people and families closer together; we love when our guests choose to not only spend the holiday with their own friends and families, but with ours, too."

Crystal's Thanksgiving voyages for 2015 include:

November 14, Round-trip Miami on Crystal Symphony (14 days) Active, intrepid travelers can indulge in white-sanded beaches, clear blue waters and warm sunsets of the Caribbean in exchange for the crisp cool autumn air further north. The "Caribbean Cornucopia" sailing calls in Cozumel, Mexico; Jamaica/Montego Bay; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Grand Cayman; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Barts, French West Indies; St. Kitts, West Indies; and Grand Turk/Turks & Caicos. The islands lend themselves naturally to intrepid endeavors like rugged ATV exploration, ziplining, kayaking, deep sea fishing, scuba experiences for all levels of expertise, plus cultural pursuits that explore ancient Mayan ruins and countless local flavors.

November 22, Monte Carlo to Marseille on Crystal Serenity (7 days) Foodies and history buffs alike will revel in the legendary sites featured on the "Renaissance Rendezvous" sailing. Beginning with an overnight in grand Monte Carlo, the voyage calls in Genoa, Florence/Livorno, Rome/Civitavecchia and Naples, Italy; and Corsica/Ajaccio, France before disembarking in Marseille. Beauty, both past and present, is all around with shore-side experiences featuring visits to Ferragamo & Gucci Museums, the famed Uffizi Gallery and a behind-the-scenes look at the Monte Carlo Ballet.

On board, guests can savor Crystal's acclaimed service and cuisine, with a gourmet Thanksgiving turkey feast, including traditional trimmings such as butternut squash soup drizzled with pumpkin seed oil, roasted turkey with apple sage dressing, sweet potato praline, cider giblet gravy and traditional pumpkin and pecan pies. For more information, visit

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Quantum of the Seas Sets Sail From Her New Homeport of Shanghai In World’s Largest Market

SHANGHAI, June 24: Royal Caribbean International today celebrated the arrival of Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai (Baoshan), China, set to sail on 3- to 8-night, roundtrip itineraries, year-round from Shanghai to North Asia destinations, and deliver an unprecedented vacation experience to guests from China and other international markets. The ship sailed a 53-night epic journey across the world from New York to Shanghai via the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, following its inaugural season at Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. and bringing the largest group of international cruise vacationers everup to 4,000 gueststo Shanghai. Government officials, port authority from Baoshan district together with executives from Royal Caribbean International joined the welcome ceremony for Global Odyssey guests at Wusong International Cruise Terminal this morning.

Quantum of the Seas is now joining Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in China and together rank as the most advanced and innovative cruise ships in the region, reaffirming the brand’s commitment to the Asian market.

“Chinese consumers have grown to expect the best the world has to offer, and Quantum of the Seas meets that standard like no other ship – this is a cruise from the future,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The addition of Quantum of the Seas has increased our brand’s capacity to the highest ever in the region. There is incredible potential in the Chinese market, and bringing our newest and most technologically advanced ship to China will cement our leadership position in the area.”

The groundbreaking Quantum-class ships, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas (debuting April 2016) feature Royal Caribbean’s unmatched innovations in onboard attractions, including the North Star, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views, and the RipCord by iFly skydiving, a heart-pounding skydiving experience and FlowRider surfing simulators.

Guests will be dazzled with the ships’ cutting-edge transformative venues, such as the Two70, a great room by day and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacular at night, and SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating, circus school, basketball, and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever. Guests enjoy a choice of 18 onboard restaurants, each serving a distinctive menu of delectable fare, and rollicking live entertainment in Music Hall, the Royal Theater and Royal Esplanade. The Quantum-class ships span 18 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.

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Sir Richard Branson Raises Virgin Cruises Flag In Miami

MIAMI, June 23: Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, announced today that Virgin Cruises has selected PortMiami as the home port for its first cruise ship that will set sail in 2020. He also revealed Virgin Cruises has signed a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) with Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri for three new mid-size ships.

Emerging through a cloud of iconic Virgin red smoke, Richard flew across Miami's Biscayne Bay via helicopter landing at Museum Park. Joined by Virgin Cruises' President and CEO Tom McAlpin, the two raised a Virgin Cruises flag to mark the cruise line's official arrival in Miami.

"This is a very exciting day for Virgin and travelers around the globe," said Richard. "We now have the right partners in place to build a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good. The Virgin Cruises approach will appeal to cruisers and non-cruisers alike, and we look forward to being in Miami and delivering an experience for people who want a new way to cruise."

Virgin Cruises' three new mid-size ships, of about 110,000 gross tons each, are slated for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Each ship will feature 1,430 guest cabins to host more than 2,800 guests. There also will be 1,150 crew on board to deliver the famed Virgin customer service. Embarking from PortMiami, Virgin Cruises plans to offer a range of seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with a Sunday sail date.

Virgin Cruises' binding LOI with Fincantieri is the first part of a two-step process with both companies committed to signing a contract in Q4 of 2015. The PortMiami agreement will be presented to the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners for their consideration and approval on June 30, 2015.

"Virgin is a customer built brand that listens carefully to what customers want and then works hard to deliver for them. We are committed to making waves in the cruise industry, and partnering with Fincantieri and PortMiami sets Virgin Cruises up to do just that," said Tom. "Today's announcement brings together important ingredients in our future success -- Miami's vibrant culture paired with the excellent Port infrastructure and Port team; and Fincantieri's expertise in prototyping, their creativity and understanding of our vision." Customers are invited to join the journey by visiting to share their ideas on what the new cruise line can do to deliver an incredible experience at sea.

Virgin Group announced the formation of Virgin Cruises in a venture with Bain Capital, one of the world's leading private investment firms, in December 2014. Ryan Cotton, a Managing Director of Bain Capital, and Virgin Cruises board member said: "As lead shareholder, Bain Capital is excited to contribute our deep experience in building and growing great consumer brand companies. We believe there is a large, underserved market and strong growth prospects for a cruise line that delivers a superior experience for young-at-heart customers. We're very pleased to be partnering with the other important shareholders who share the same long term vision, and together we will provide a strong and broad support base for Virgin Cruises."

Virgin expects the experts at Fincantieri to bring these ideas to life. Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: "I am honored our company is the selected partner for Virgin Cruises for such an important development in the cruise industry. I'm convinced this choice will contribute to the expansion of the cruising audience, especially considering the market segment still has wide growth margins. I am sure that together, our teams will create cutting edge ships that deliver a memorable guest experience."

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez noted, "With the largest cruise port in the world, Miami is an exciting city that offers companies and brands an excellent environment for business. We are delighted to be selected by Virgin Cruises as their home port and I can't wait to see their beautiful ships become part of Miami's spectacular skyline."

About Virgin Group
Virgin is a leading international investment group and one of the world's most recognized and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including mobile telephony, travel and transportation, financial services, leisure and entertainment, health and wellness, and space tourism.

About Virgin Cruises
Virgin Cruises is a new cruise line based in South Florida that is planning to offer its guests an outstanding experience matched with the famed Virgin service.

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SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I Charts Course to Southern Caribbean for 2016

MIAMI, June 22: SeaDream Yacht Club’s 112-guest twin-mega yachts will once again return to the Caribbean for the winter 2015/2016. After both yachts ring in New Year’s Eve overnighting in legendary St. Barts on sold out itineraries, SeaDream I will begin making her way to the southern Caribbean. Offering more ports in these less visited islands than ever before, a total of 12 sailings will depart between Jan. 3 and April 2, 2016 showcasing St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia and more. In response to popular demand, three round-trip sailings from Bridgetown, Barbados will be available complimented by nine itineraries between Bridgetown and Marigot, St. Martin.

“The islands hold a special place for the SeaDream Yacht Club crew and guests, evident by our recent onboard fundraiser during the transatlantic crossing benefitting Hands Across the Sea, an organization dedicated to raising literacy levels in the Caribbean,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club Manager Adrienne d’Annunzio. “We look forwarding to exploring all the islands in 2016, but especially the less-sailed southern Caribbean including the Grenadines, and making a positive impact on these small communities along the way.”

The full 2016 Southern Caribbean schedule for SeaDream I is available on the SeaDream Yacht Club website at Shore excursion highlights include a trip to the elite private island of Mustique, which measures just three miles by 1.5 miles and is home to such names as Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger. In Nevis, guests can set off on horseback and experience paradise in a whole new way as they ride along the beach and visit the magnificent vistas and historical sites of the island. While in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia guests will board an open air jeep to journey into the Cul de Sac Valley, visit Latille Waterfall for an optional swim and take in spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

SeaDream Yacht Club’s signature Champagne and Caviar Splash™ is offered throughout the 2016 southern Caribbean voyages. Guests wade into the surf to indulge in premium caviar and bubbles served on a surfboard covered in white linens. Guests are then treated to a BBQ feast on a white sandy beach where they mingle with the crew and are free to swim, snorkel or lounge on the beach.

SeaDream Yacht Club emphasizes relaxed luxury. Guests can take advantage of the SeaDream Spa, with the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea. Both SeaDream I and SeaDream II are also equipped with wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and many other watersports activities, all of which can be launched directly from the yachts’ Marina. While passengers sailing with other lines fight the crowds in larger ports, guests sailing with SeaDream Yacht Club enjoy unsurpassed experiences while visiting ports that only they can access.

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MSC Meraviglia: Next Gen Ship Opens for Sale

Geneva, Switzerland, June 22: MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned global cruise line, announced that sales for the inaugural summer 2017 cruises of MSC Meraviglia, its first next generation cruise ship, are now open. Sales of sought-out cruises on this ground-breaking 1033 foot-long ship will first open exclusively to MSC Club members, rewarding loyal guests across MSC Cruises’ growing fleet. Then, on July 5, sales will open to the rest of the public.

Gianni Onorato, Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises, said: “The opening of sales marks yet another decisive milestone in MSC Cruises’ expansion plan, especially as MSC Meraviglia’s inaugural cruise will take place two years from now. MSC Meraviglia is a true maritime marvel and will be one of the greenest and safest ships in the industry, as well as one of the most technologically advanced. We are thrilled to offer our loyal MSC Club members the opportunity to be the very first to book their distinctive vacation experience so far in advance, demonstrating one more way in which we provide best-in-class service. The ship is perfect for cruising year-round in almost any destination around the world, in outstanding comfort and style. The demand we are seeing for our product demonstrates the eagerness with which MSC Meraviglia is awaited.”

MSC Meraviglia will be the largest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line. The cutting-edge, 4,500-guest (based on double occupancy), 167,600-ton ship—due to be delivered in May 2017—will spend her first summer sailing the western Mediterranean, and will be the first to have three major ports of embarkation: Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona. MSC Meraviglia will be able to call at any cruise port in the world, providing North Americans the opportunity to sail to some of the best and most exciting destinations in the world.

MSC Meraviglia will be a ship full of cutting-edge technology and will feature a range of services ranging from ‘Near Field Communication’ technology to mobile applications and the use of smart devices throughout the ship, thus enabling guests to interact with the ship and the onboard community or select and plan their activities. This technology will also allow guests to make payments, access their staterooms or geo-locate children, friends and onboard locations using their cruise card or smartphone. Another jaw-dropping feature, and an industry first, will be a 5,167-square-foot LED screen, which forms the entire ceiling of the ship’s interior promenade. Like a digital sky, this LED image vault will beam out compelling images and vistas throughout the dayincluding highly impactful visual eventscreating a variety of powerful atmospheres at all times.

Adding to the unique and innovative features of the ship, MSC Meraviglia will also have new categories of staterooms, with specially crafted Family and Super Family staterooms, duplex staterooms and an extended MSC Yacht Club, the wholly self-contained luxury area on the prestigious foredecks, which includes a vast solarium, private lounge and restaurant. MSC Meraviglia will be packed with extraordinary features that make it ideal for cruising year-round in any destination, including wide dining options and entertainment choices, stunning panoramic spaces, a large theatre and a spectacular amusement park linked to an outdoor aqua park, as well as a three-deck interior promenade.

Entertainment options will also be widely available throughout the day for all ages, including standout activities for familieswith partnerships with global brands such as LEGO and Chicco that further exemplify the company’s commitment to creating unforgettable vacations for parents and their children. The line also offers a rich program of varied and spectacular shows, impressive Broadway and Las Vegas-style theatrical performances, live music and dance-'til-dawn nightlife. MSC Meraviglia is the first of two identical ships on order from STX France, the second of which will be entered in to service in 2019. In addition, MSC Cruises has options for two further Vista project ships to be delivered by 2022.

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MSC Cruises: First Steel Cut for Next Generation Cruise Ship, MSC Seaside

Monfalcone, Italy, June 22: MSC Cruises and industry-leading shipyard Fincantieri, today cut the first steel for its next generation cruise ship named MSC Seaside. In a ceremony held at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and Chief Executive Officer, Gianni Onorato, along with Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Bono, launched the cutting of the first steel of MSC Seaside.

MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Today, we have witnessed the beginning of the work on an extraordinary new ship, MSC Seaside. It is a ship that revolutionizes industry standards, with an audacious and innovative design that brings guests and sea closer. It is also a testament to MSC Cruises’ constant focus on innovation, as it is the fifth prototype ship we’ve designed.” Vago added, “Moreover, MSC Seaside represents a key pillar in a $5.8 billion, seven-ship investment plan that will double our capacity by 2022. It also steps up our investment in Italy and marks our return to a partnership with Fincantieri, which is something that makes me particularly proud. In fact, the building of the new Seaside ships as well as our other current project with Fincantieri – the $225 million Renaissance Program – are just one example of how a global organization like MSC, of which MSC Cruises is part, plays a key role in the Italian economy.”

MSC Seaside will be based year-round in Miami and will sail a wide range of highly appealing Caribbean itineraries. In addition, MSC Cruises’ Miami-based cruise operations, which also includes the stunning MSC Divina that will sail year-round from Miami starting November 2015, will benefit from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami, signifying the company’s strong ambitions in the North American market and commitment to providing guests with best-in-class service.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO said: “For MSC Seaside, we chose a name that speaks of our vision for cruising in warm weather locations, the proximity with the sea, the joy of traveling, and discovering the wonders of sunny climates in a unique setting. We also call it ‘the ship that follows the sun’ and it will offer a truly remarkable experience for families, sun worshippers and adventurers. In addition, MSC Seaside will spearhead our campaign to expand our presence in North America. MSC Cruises has the unique opportunity to provide North American guests with an outstanding ‘Mediterranean Style Cruise’ experience, and guests from around the world a unique setting as it will sail to the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean.”

With a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and the ability to accommodate up to 4,140 guests at double capacity, this new cruise ship will be the largest ever built by Fincantieri. The ship is set to arrive in Miami in December 2017, where she will also be christened, marking the first time an MSC Cruises’ ship is christened in the US. Sales for cruises on MSC Seaside will start approximately two years ahead of its inaugural season, to reflect the high demand for this unique product.

Large, spacious and designed for the utmost comfort, MSC Seaside will benefit from a bold design and leading-edge technology while boasting a 360° seafront promenade. In addition, the ship will be characterized by the most interactive and originally-designed aqua park at sea with five water slides and attractions for all ages.

The ship will feature open modular connected stateroomsconvertible staterooms that can accommodate up to 10 peoplefor families and groups, as well as luxury suites with private Jacuzzis and hanging gardens. MSC Seaside will also boast an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with private solarium, lounge and pool. The public spaces of the ship will feature breathtaking views with a two-deck glass-walled atrium and panoramic exterior elevators. This ship will set a new standard in cruise vacations by seamlessly blending wide family offerings with distinct elegance, with a wide choice of indoor/outdoor dining and bars and beautifully designed entertainment spaces.

MSC Seaside and her sister ship will set new standards for eco-friendliness, featuring Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) systems to remove pollutants and hazardous substances from waste water; garbage treatment plants for highly efficient solid waste management; scrubbers to reduce emissions; antifouling paints; and optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders to reduce drag and fuel consumption. In addition, the ships will have LED lighting, meaning lower energy demand and significantly lower fuel consumption, as well as advanced heat recovery plants to feed fresh water, laundry, swimming pools and hot water. The ship is fully compliant with the Safe Return to Port requirement.

MSC Seaside is the first of two identical ships on order from Fincantieri, the second of which will enter in to service in 2018. In addition, MSC Cruises has an option for an additional Seaside generation ship to be delivered by 2021.  The company, which grew by 800 percent since 2004, carried 1.67 million guests in 2014 and reported strong financial results with a turnover of $1.7 billion. In addition, MSC Cruises is forecasting an additional 10 percent growth for 2015.

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Cunard Announces Natalie Cole to Join Queen Mary 2 for Blue Note Jazz at Sea

June 22: Cunard is thrilled to announce that multiple Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Natalie Cole will headline the first-ever Blue Note jazz themed cruise, which will debut on Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2, on Oct 29, 2015. Cole will join a roster of venerable jazz musicians on this very special Transatlantic Crossing including Grammy® Award-winning jazz pianist and record producer Robert Glasper, acclaimed trumpet player Keyon Harrold, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott. Cole was introduced to the world of jazz as a child in the 1950s through her famous father, vocal legend and trailblazer Nat King Cole. Throughout her celebrated career, Natalie has paid tribute to the Latin American, R&B and Jazz genres, as well as to her father through posthumous pairings and renditions of his most popular songs.

“Cunard is very pleased to host Natalie Cole onboard Queen Mary 2. Her presence, together with Blue Note Records’ talented musicians, will be a real treat for our guests,” states Richard Meadows, President, Cunard, North America. “We believe this collaboration with Blue Note will be truly unforgettable.”

In addition to headliner Natalie Cole, this special Transatlantic Crossing will feature a catalog of several celebrated jazz musicians including:

-- Grammy® Award-winning jazz pianist and record producer Robert Glasper, who has returned to his acclaimed acoustic jazz trio for his new album, Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios), which will be released in June 2015.
-- Much-admired musician Alan Hampton, who attended the Thelonious Monk Institute in LA, where he studied bass with jazz and performed with Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, and John Clayton and performed internationally with Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter.
-- Piano prodigy and Grammy® Award-nominated Fredrico Peña, who was born in Montevideo (Uruguay) and raised in Buenos Aires (Argentina), where his piano training began under the tutelage of world renowned classical pianist Antonio de Raco.

In addition to these celebrated musicians and others, the Blue Note Jazz at Sea October 29 Transatlantic Crossing will also feature intimate jazz performances by Blue Note’s 75th anniversary supergroup, Our Point of View, as well as a Q&A with Grammy® Award-winning producer and President of Blue Note, Don Was.

Throughout its 175 years of history, Cunard has been known for offering guests unique access to some of the most beloved musicians and entertainers in the world, from Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, who sailed on the beloved Queen Mary, to James Taylor, Carly Simon, and the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck. For more information, visit

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Quantum of the Seas' Historic Entry into Hong Kong Waters Toasts Royal Caribbean Regional Success

HONG KONG, June 22: Royal Caribbean International, the world's largest global cruise brand, is making new waves in Hong Kong's cruise travel history with the grand entrance of Quantum of the Seas. the most technologically advanced ship ever. The berthing of the largest cruise ship to enter Hong Kong was celebrated at a prestigious ceremony that was held on 20 June, and was attended by government officials, key industry stakeholders and loyal guests. The event also commemorated Royal Caribbean's one-year success in driving local cruise demand and standards by investing millions to launch a fully-owned and operated office and the home porting of Voyager of the Seas in Hong Kong.

The berthing ceremony, which saw senior government dignitaries and key VIPs attending, was held onboard the 16-deck, 168,000 ton Quantum-class Quantum of the Seas. The attendees included the Honorable Gregory So Kam-leung, GBS, JP (Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development); Mr. Philip Yung Wai-hung, JP (Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic DevelopmentCommerce, Industry and Tourism); Miss Cathy Chu Man-ling, JP (Commissioner for Tourism); and Dr. Peter Lam (Chairman, Hong Kong Tourism Board). They were joined by the cruise line executives, Mr. Michael Bayley (President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International) and Mr. Dominic Paul (Senior Vice President, International).

"The arrival of Quantum of the Seas reinforces Royal Caribbean's commitment to the region's fast-growing cruise travel market. Cruising has been gaining popularity over the past few years, with Hong Kong region becoming a key strategic location for the Asia and China markets. Launching in April 2016, a fourth Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas will join Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas,Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in the China seas. The five ships will comprise the largest fleet deployment for any cruise brand in Greater China, home porting in four metropolitan Chinese citiesShanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen," said Mr. Bayley.

The ceremony was followed by an extensive tour that saw guests experiencing the unique Quantum-class innovations by Royal Caribbean International. These included the North Star aerial observatory, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views; RipCord by iFLY skydiving and FlowRider surfing simulators; and SeaPlex, the multi-purpose sports facility offering a variety of activities, including a first for any cruise ship, bumper cars.

The grand arrival of Quantum of the Seas caps a successful first year for Royal Caribbean's operations in Hong Kong which has experienced a stellar increase in revenues. By the last quarter of 2015, it is expected that more than 35,000 Hong Kong guests will have boarded Royal Caribbean International cruises, of which more than 20,000 guests will have sailed on Voyager of the Seas, proving the decision to home port Voyager of the Seas in Hong Kong to be a strategic success.
Following strong demand, the 2016-17 vacation season is already being pre-booked. Among the varied destinations, Okinawa, Japan is the most popular choice for Hong Kong cruise travelers, with the average age range shifting to a younger demographic due to the strong emphasis on family packages and facilities catering to the younger generation.

The strong interest has prompted Royal Caribbean International to extend the home port season for Voyager of the Seas in Hong Kong to five months from May to October for next year.

"Moving Voyager of the Seas to home port in Hong Kong was a strategic move that has enhanced our presence in the very important Asia-Pacific region. It has made cruising more attractive and accessible to travelers in this region. Coupled with our world-renowned, friendly and engaging 'GOLD Anchor Service' and the strong support of all the top travel agencies in Hong Kong, we have established a strong business model in Hong Kong in the past year. With further initiatives and investments, we are looking to bring cruising into the mainstream travel market," said Mr. Bayley.

Royal Caribbean International will homeport Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai, offering regional cruise aficionados more choices to enjoy the impeccable service that has become the trademark of Royal Caribbean. She will return to Hong Kong briefly during the Christmas season this year after the homeport season of Voyager of the Seas.

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Princess Cruises Brings Guests Closer to Shark Week

SANTA CLARITA, CA, June 19: As part of the recently announced Discovery at Sea program, in partnership with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications, Princess Cruises is bringing guests closer than ever to the entertainment phenomenon of Shark Week with premiere television content, onboard parties, trivia games, giveaways and even shark-themed culinary bites and beverages. Shark Week at Sea will challenge adults and kids alike with activities designed to surprise, amuse, educate and create an appreciation for these tremendously misunderstood denizens of the deep.

“We know how wildly popular Shark Week is worldwide and we’re excited to bring even more fun, education and entertainment to our guests,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Through our Discovery at Sea partnership, we offer our guests exclusive themed activities and TV content we know they will enjoy.”

Princess guests fleetwide can enjoy Shark Week year round with the following onboard activities:

Fish Stories About Sharks: Guests will learn amazing and interesting facts about sharks through a quiz-style participative activity, hosted by the Cruise Staff. The theme will be fun and humor separating truth from “fish tales.”
Swim with the Sharks: An interactive competition will have guests taking part in various fun, active and hilarious challenges. At the end of five rounds the contestant or team who has won the most challenges ultimately wins the game.
Guess the Number of Shark Teeth in the Jar: A strategically located jar filled with “faux” shark teeth along with entry slips allow guests to participate anytime during the cruise for a chance to guesstimate the correct number.
Premiere TV Content: Before Shark Week airs, July 5-12 on Discovery Channel, Princess guests will get a sneak peek at select trailers and promotional spots, as well as a first look at “Ninja Sharks,” a new special exploring six sharks with unique adaptations that have evolved over millions of years making them the most lethal of their kind.

Additionally, each year Princess Cruises will offer select cruises with enhanced Shark Week experiences, giveaway items and culinary bites and beverages. To kick off Shark Week at Sea in 2015, guests aboard four voyagesGolden Princess departing San Francisco on June 21 and July 1 and Ruby Princess departing Seattle on June 28 and July 5will not only enjoy the sights of their Alaska cruise and the Discovery at Sea activities, they will also be treated to the following limited-time only Shark Week offerings:

Décor & Giveaways: One elevator on each ship will be wrapped to appear as though guests are inside a shark cage and public restrooms will feature themed mirror decals. Families traveling with kids 3-12 years old will receive a rubber shark toy at turndown and special prizes for Shark Week activities including shark fin hats. Kids will also be treated to special shark-themed activities including crafts, t-shirt decorating, temporary tattoos and face painting.
Shark Week Premiere Party: Each cruise ship will host premiere parties to live stream Shark Week content and roll out the blue carpet, complete with a Shark Week themed backdrop for photos. Guests will also enjoy themed table top decals, trivia games and giveaways.
Bites & Beverages: Shark cakes created by Princess pastry chefs, as well as ice and fruit carvings will be on display in the atrium for guests to enjoy. Shark cookies will also be offered in the International Café and during daily Atrium milk and cookie hour, as well as specialty shark-themed cocktails and custom drink koozies.
Entertainment: Even onboard comedians will keep guests in stitches with shark-themed humor, while casino lovers can test their luck at blackjack and craps tables wrapped with shark-themed images. Costumed sharks will make appearances around the ship and special photo borders and green screens will be available for the ultimate photo opportunities and selfies.

The Discovery at Sea partnership, which debuted in 2015, creates new memorable vacation experiences for the whole family. From Stargazing to activities featuring Discovery hit shows such as MythBusters, Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush to immersive Discovery and Animal Planet shore excursions, Princess guests will come back with a story to tell. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available on the company's website at

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Viking Ocean Cruises Unveils Four New Itineraries & Opens 2017 Sailing Season

LOS ANGELES, June 18: Fresh off the christening of its first ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star®, Viking Ocean Cruises® today announced that four new itineraries and 2017 departures for Viking Starand sister ships Viking Sea® and Viking Sky®are now open for booking. The 2017 program includes sailings on Viking's most popular itineraries in the Mediterranean, Western Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic. Viking's guests now have even more opportunities for destination-focused cruises in 2016 and 2017 that span from ancient empires to the towering fjords of Norway and beyond.

"We are encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response Viking Star has generated among our guests and travel industry partners," said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises. "We made a commitment to reinvent ocean cruising, and we are well on our way. By 2017 we will have two more ships designed to enable our guests to better experience their destination. We will also have four new itineraries that offer our guests more time in port and enriching, cultural experiences at a better value than our competitors."

New Mediterranean & Holy Land Itineraries
Not only is Viking adding sailing dates to existing itineraries, but the company has also created four new enrichment-filled programs that will take guests from the sun-soaked region of the Mediterranean to the cultural capital of St. Petersburg.

-- NEW FOR 2016: Ancient Empires & Holy Lands (15 days; Rome to Istanbul)This 15-day itinerary offers the opportunity to explore historic destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean and experience some of the sacred sights of the Middle East while traveling through the heart of the Holy Land. Guests will have the chance to spend three days in Israel, making stops in Jerusalem and Haifa, gateways to Bethlehem and Nazareth, and will also be able to explore the ancient cities of Rome, Athens and Istanbul.
-- NEW FOR 2016: Bergen to the Bosphorus (15 days; Bergen to Istanbul)This epic journey begins in beautiful Bergen before cruising south to the Mediterranean, stopping in Paris and Lisbon along the way. Once in the Mediterranean, travelers visit Tunis, Valletta and Athens before concluding the trip in the ancient cosmopolitan city of Istanbul.
-- NEW FOR 2017: Secrets of the Southern Mediterranean (8 days; Rome to Barcelona)Guests will set sail through the southern Mediterranean, departing from glorious Rome and continuing on to some of North Africa's most historically significant destinations, including Tunis, a dazzling city that mixes North African tradition and French colonialism, and Algiers, home of the Notre Dame d'Afrique. The itinerary also stops in Valletta, Sardinia and Valencia before concluding the trip in beautiful Barcelona.
-- NEW FOR 2017: Barcelona, the Baltic & Beyond (22 days; Barcelona to Stockholm)This voyage travels through the waterways of Western Europe and the Baltic, giving guests the opportunity to explore iconic world-class cities such as Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris, Amsterdam and St. Petersburg.

Viking Star, Viking Sea & Viking Sky
Recently christened in Bergen, Norway, the 930-passenger all-veranda Viking Staras well as her two sister ships under construction, Viking Sea (2016) and Viking Sky (2017)is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet 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: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category on board.
-- Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable dome permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a glass-backed Infinity Pool off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
-- The Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mindfrom 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's ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choicefrom The Restaurant and the World Café, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties and Mamsen's, which serves Norwegian deli-style fareto intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, Manfredi's Italian Restaurant 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 guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and onboard venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where guests can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Theater, home to enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard cooking school where guests can learn how to prepare local specialties; and Torshavn, a piano lounge where guests can relax, mingle, and exchange stories after a day of exploring.
-- Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ocean ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

About Viking Cruises
Viking Cruises offers destination-centric river and ocean cruising designed for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. Featuring onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions, Viking's journeys are competitively priced for genuine value. Debuting its maiden season of ocean cruising in 2015, the sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Star will host 930 guests on itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; the Western and Eastern Mediterranean; and the British Isles. Two additional ocean ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, are also on order. As the world's leading river cruise line, since its 1997 inception the company has grown to a fleet of 60 river vessels (in 2015) offering scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, China, and Southeast Asia. For additional information, visit

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Silversea Introduces Free Wi-Fi For All Guests

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, June 18: Starting with voyages departing in January 2016, Silversea guests will enjoy the most comprehensive Wi-Fi package ever offered by an ultra-luxury cruise line: free Wi-Fi to all guests, throughout the ship, including all suites and public spaces, on all cruises, including expedition cruises.

"For well over 20 years, Silversea has set the course in defining the all-inclusive, ultra-luxury cruise experience. By offering truly free Wi-Fi to all guests regardless of the suite reserved, Silversea is once again setting the standard for all-inclusive luxury," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president of sales and general manager for the Americas. "Because we know how important it is for travelers to stay informed and connected, we're delighted to enhance the all-inclusive Silversea experience with this new benefit."

Silversea's offer is unprecedented in the industry. Every guest will enjoy at least one hour of free Wi-Fi per day. Unlimited free Wi-Fi will be available to guests sailing in the Owner's, Grand, Royal, Silver and Medallion suites on the line's ocean ships, and as follows for expedition ships:

Silver Explorer: Owner's, Grand, Silver, Medallion, and Expedition suites
Silver Galapagos: Silver, Deluxe Veranda, and Veranda suites
Silver Discoverer: Medallion, Veranda, and Vista suites

Silversea's all-suite ships feature stem-to-stern Wi-Fi, in port and at sea, enabling guests to conveniently access the Internet on their personal devices in public spaces and suites, or on the computers in the Internet cafés available on all ocean ships and the Silver Explorer.

For all-inclusive at its most inclusive, Silversea Cruises is leading the way. The 2016 free Wi-Fi service will join an array of included amenities that already features: open-seating gourmet dining; butler service for all suites; Champagne, select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; in-suite bar stocked with guests' preferences; in-suite dining and 24-hour dining service (from a formal dinner ordered from The Restaurant menu and served in-suite, to lighter fare served in attended lounges); lecture and enrichment programs; roundtrip transportation into town (in most ports); and onboard gratuities (exclusive of spa treatments).

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Video Series From Carnival Offers Fun Behind-the-Scenes Look at Construction of Carnival Vista

MIAMI, June 18: Carnival Cruise Line is taking a fun and engaging approach to showcase the construction of its newest “Fun Ship,” Carnival Vista, creating a series of monthly behind-the-scenes videos shot at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, where the 3,954-passenger vessel is being built. The video can be viewed here. Host Peter Gonzalez, who has traveled to 30 countries to create videos showcasing the “Fun Ship” fleet, takes viewers on his 5,132-mile journey from Miami to Monfalcone, Italy, to document Carnival Vista’s 26-month construction.

In the first video, “Birds’ Eye View,” Gonzalez dons a hard hat and ventures high above the Fincantieri shipyard to demonstrate the incredible size of Carnival Vista while highlighting the painstaking process for cutting and assembling the 150,000 tons of steel needed to build the massive 1,055-foot-long vessel, the largest in the Carnival fleet. Gonzalez visits Fincantieri’s fabrication bunker where he follows workers as they cut, with expert precision, six-ton steel panels that are conjoined into 1,000-ton sections positioned via crane to form Carnival Vista’s superstructure. Once the exterior build-out is completed, workers will begin installing innovations such as SkyRide, a one-of-a-kind suspended cycling experience, a new 455-foot-long tube slide called Kaleid-o-Slide, and more.

Future segments in the series include preparations, both on board and ashore, to create the line’s first on-board brewery, a below-deck look at the ship’s technical spaces, and the logistics of installing the three-deck-high IMAX Theater, the first on a cruise ship.

Carnival Vista is scheduled to enter service from Europe May 1, 2016, then reposition to New York for a series of voyages in November 2016 followed by the launch of year-round Caribbean service from Miami later that month. Cruise fans, those new to cruising and travel partners can get a preview of Carnival Vista at

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Grand Circle Cruise Line Acquires Ocean Vessel - M/V Tere Moana

BOSTON, June 18: Alan E. Lewis, Chairman of Grand Circle Cruise Line, the leader in small ship and river cruising worldwide, announced today that the fleet has acquired the 88-passenger M/V Tere Moana from Paul Gauguin Cruises for an undisclosed price. The acquisition will allow Grand Circle to expand its small ship itineraries and meet growing demand for small ship travel among Americans over 50. The Tere Moana joins Grand Circle's fleet of small ships that Conde Nast Traveler readers rated among the Top 5 "World's Best Small Ships" in 2014, including the #1 (M/V Artemis) and #2 (M/V Arethusa) ratings.

"Small ship travel, which for us means ships of fewer than 100 passengers, has become increasingly popular among Americans 50 and older because it offers ease of travel as well as access to small portsand the places, people, and cultures beyond these portsthat are inaccessible to larger ships," said Lewis. "We are delighted to have acquired the Tere Moana and to soon be able to offer travelers additional intercultural cruises for active travelers."

Grand Circle Cruise Line's acquisition of the Tere Moana supports Grand Circle's efforts to grow its small ship operations worldwide, and it follows last year's acquisition of the 98-passenger M/V Corinthian, now operating in Antarctica, South America, and Europe. Grand Circle's other small ships include the award-winning, 4-star-plus 50-passenger sister ships--the M/V Artemis, Arethusa and Athena, which operate throughout the Adriatic and the Mediterranean.

The Terre Moana was built in 1998 and was last refurbished in 2012. Grand Circle Cruise Line will assume operations of the ship in the summer of 2016 and will make a significant investment to refurbish the ship to its unique style of small ship cruising designed for American travelers. As it does on all of the ships it owns, Grand Circle will operate the ship with its own nautical and hospitality crews.

The cruise line is considering relocating the ship to Asia/Southeast Asia and offering itineraries that explore Japan, Indonesia, Borneo, Sydney, Australia, and beyond. Three potential itineraries are The Best of Southern Japan & South Korea; Bali to Australia: Komodo Island & the Timor Sea; and Indonesia: Java, Bali, Borneo & Komodo Islands; however, exact destinations and itineraries are yet-to-be determined.

Grand Circle Cruise Line's small ships are known for their small group size (24 to 98 passengers aboard a ship with 1 Program Director for every 25 passengers); outstanding local Program Directors (guides) and nautical and hospitality crew; and itineraries that connect travelers with locals through activities that include visits to homes, schools, markets, neighborhoods, and beyond. They also are known for exceptional valueproviding a 4-star experience at a 3-star price, per diem rates typically $50-$250 less than other small ship cruise lines', and free and low-cost single supplements for solo travelers.

The Tere Moana's specifications are as follows: Passenger capacity: 88; Cabins: 44, all w/ocean views, dining room, lounge, five decks; Length: 330 feet (100.58 meters); Shipyard: Alstom Leroux, St. Malo, France; Gross Tonnage: 3504; Cruising Speed: 14 knots; Ship's Registry: Bahamas; Built: 1998; Refitted: 2012.

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Holland America Line’s ms Statendam Achieves Third Consecutive Perfect Score of 100
on United States Public Health Inspection

Seattle, June 17: On a recent routine United States Public Health inspection conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Holland America Line’s ms Statendam achieved a perfect score of 100, marking the ship’s third consecutive perfect score. The unannounced inspection was conducted June 5, 2015, while the ship was at Juneau, Alaska, during a 14-day cruise roundtrip from Seattle, Washington. Prior to that inspection, Statendam received a score of 100 in February 2015 during a call at Hilo, Hawaii, as well as a perfect score in June 2014 during a call at Ketchikan, Alaska.

“Achieving a perfect score on a U.S.P.H inspection is not easy, and we congratulate everyone on the team who worked diligently toward this success,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We always aim for a score of 100, and for Statendam to continue its perfect streak for the third consecutive time is something we celebrate with great pride.”

Recently, ms Eurodam achieved its eighth consecutive score of 100, and in the past year ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Ryndam, ms Zuiderdam and ms Westerdam also earned perfect scores of 100.

CDC inspections are part of the Vessel Sanitation Program, which was introduced in the early 1970s and is required for all passenger ships that call at a U.S. port. The inspections are unannounced and are carried out by officials from the United States Public Health Service twice a year for every cruise ship. The score, on a scale from one to 100, is assigned on the basis of a checklist involving dozens of areas of assessment, encompassing hygiene and sanitation of food (from storage to preparation), overall galley cleanliness, water, shipboard personnel and the ship as a whole. The Holland America Line ships received perfect scores in all of those areas. For more information about Holland America Line, visit

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Princess Joins International Maritime Organization to Celebrate Day of the Seafarer

SANTA CLARITA, CA, June 17: Princess Cruises is joining the International Maritime Organization in celebrating the 5th annual Day of the Seafarer on June 25, which is also a United Nations international observance day. Day of the Seafarer brings awareness to and recognizes the world’s 1.5 million seafarers to thank them for their service and contribution during their career at sea. Around the world, there are organizations that support the well-being of seafaring crew by providing important humanitarian services that directly benefit the shipboard crew at Princess, as well as all international maritime workers. Princess Cruises actively supports these organizations located in ports of call the cruise line visits often including Seafarers’ House (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida); Seafarers UK (Southampton, England); Mission to Seafarers, (Seattle, Washington); and International Seafarer’s Center (Long Beach/Los Angeles, Calif.).

On every cruise, Princess raises money for charity by conducting an auction of the nautical charts, a one-of-a-kind collector’s item signed by the Captain that details the routes of the voyage. To celebrate the 2015 Day of the Seafarer, Princess guests will have the opportunity to show their support for their favorite crew members and seafarers and take home this unique keepsake from their cruise vacation. Fleetwide, through the month of July, the proceeds from each commemorative nautical chart auction will be collected on behalf of seafarers. Princess Cruises Community Foundation will match the auction proceeds up to $10,000. Both the auction proceeds and the matched funds will be donated to seafarer organizations that promote the well-being of seafarers and their families.

The 2015 Day of the Seafarer campaign aims to inspire young people to consider a career at sea. In support, Princess Cruises will turn to social media to celebrate its shipboard team, using the hashtag #CareerAtSea to highlight that a career at sea is a rewarding opportunity that will take you to exciting and often exotic destinations around the world.

Princess Cruises is showing appreciation and gratitude to seafarers everywhere and this day offers the opportunity to acknowledge the company’s nearly 18,000 shipboard crew who work aboard Princess cruise ships and come from more than 70 countries. Princess is also taking this opportunity to salute three long-serving employees who have dedicated themselves to a lifelong career at sea:

• Tom Beck (Coventry, United Kingdom), Newbuild Guarantee Engineer, 51 years at sea
• Alastair Calder (Genoa, Italy), Fleet Marine Inspector, 48 years at sea
• Nigel Stewart (Fortrose, Scotland), Hotel General Manager, 47 years at sea

“We are grateful for the commitment and dedication of our seafaring staff - they are truly what makes Princess Cruises special for our guests,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Because of their choosing to have a career at sea, our guests enjoy a safe, meaningful and memorable cruise vacation.”

In an additional show of support, the company will also donate a cruise to the Seattle branch of Mission to Seafarers and will be hosting their annual luncheon aboard Crown Princess on August 22 in the Port of Seattle.

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Carnival Breeze to Shift to Galveston, Carnival Magic to Port Canaveral In Spring 2016

MIAMI, June 16: Carnival Cruise Line today announced deployment changes designed to enhance its leadership position in two key homeports – Galveston and Port Canaveral, Fla., – while providing exciting “Fun Ship” itinerary choices in time for next summer’s cruise season.

Carnival Breeze will reposition to Galveston in May 2016 and Carnival Magic to Port Canaveral in April 2016, several months earlier than previously announced. Carnival Breeze will assume Carnival Magic’s year-round schedule of 7-day day Galveston cruises beginning May 8, 2016. Carnival Magic will take over Carnival Valor’s current 7-day day Port Canaveral cruise program April 23, 2016. In turn, Carnival Splendor will assume Carnival Breeze’s 6- and 8-day Caribbean schedule from Miami May 1, 2016. Carnival Valor will offer a new series of 5- and 8-day departures from Port Canaveral beginning June 4, 2016 instead of October 2016 as previously announced.

“Galveston and Port Canaveral are two important markets for ‘Fun Ship’ cruising and these deployment changes provide our guests and travel agent partners with exciting new options featuring a variety of on-board innovations and visiting top destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas and Florida,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

Carnival Breeze to Launch Year-Round Service from Galveston in May 2016
Carnival Breeze will kick off its new Galveston-based cruise program May 8, 2016, departing every Sunday on three different week-long itineraries: western Caribbean cruises calling at either Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, or Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Cozumel, and a 7-day Bahamas/Florida route with stops in Nassau, Freeport, and Key West.

The line’s newest ship, Carnival Breeze offers such innovations as a multi-dimensional cinema experience called Thrill Theater, the Bonsai Sushi full-service Asian restaurant and WaterWorks, an aqua park that includes a 312-foot-long slide, a 150-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket, the DrainPipe funnel-style attraction and a splash area for younger cruisers. Originally scheduled to reposition to Galveston in December 2016, Carnival Breeze replaces Carnival Magic, which will reposition to Port Canaveral in April 2016.

Carnival Magic to Sail Seven-day Cruises from Port Canaveral in April 2016
Carnival Magic will reposition to Port Canaveral to operate 7-day Caribbean cruises beginning April 23, 2016, offering two distinctly different week-long itineraries from the Space Coast – a western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove. Prior to launching its new 7-day schedule from Port Canaveral, Carnival Magic will operate a special 3-day cruise to Nassau April 20-23, 2016.

Carnival Magic was the first cruise ship to feature a suspended ropes course, part of an expansive open-air recreation area called SportSquare, as well as the Cucina del Capitano Italian family-style restaurant and the RedFrog Pub, a Caribbean-inspired watering hole serving the line’s private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red. Carnival Magic’s previously announced schedule from Port Canaveral was scheduled to begin in December 2016.

Carnival Splendor to Offer Six- and Eight-Day Cruises from Miami in May 2016
Carnival Splendor will launch 6- and 8-day Caribbean cruises from Miami May 1, 2016, departing alternating Saturdays and Sundays. The schedule, which runs through December 2016, includes 8-day southern Caribbean cruises featuring Grand Turk, La Romana (Dominican Republic), Curaçao, and Aruba, along with 8-day eastern Caribbean departures visiting Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. Carnival Splendor will also offer a three-port, 6-day option featuring Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Ocho Rios. Carnival Splendor will offer a 9-day Carnival Journeys cruise round-trip from Miami departing May 26, 2016, and featuring an overnight call in King’s Wharf, Bermuda, as well as visits to Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) and Grand Turk. A number of special on-board activities and programming are planned, as well.

The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor boasts on-board features like a 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa featuring a thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite, a retractable dome covering the mid-ship pool, and a classic American steakhouse serving prime steaks and other gourmet cuisine.

Carnival Valor to Offer Three- to Eight-day Cruises from Port Canaveral in May 2016
Carnival Valor will offer a new short cruise schedule from the Space Coast in May 2016 before launching year-round 5- and 8-day departures in June 2016. Three- to 5-day sailings will take place throughout May and visit such popular ports as Grand Turk, Nassau, Freeport, and Amber Cove. The ship will also offer a one-time six-day cruise departing May 15 and featuring Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk.

Carnival Valor’s year-round 5- to 8-day voyages begin June 4, 2016. Five-day cruises will visit Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport. Eight-day eastern Caribbean cruises will call at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts and St. Maarten; while 8-day southern Caribbean sailings will include Curaçao or Bonaire, Aruba and Grand Turk. Carnival Valor is currently based in Port Canaveral and scheduled to undergo an extensive dry dock in spring 2016 that will add a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations.

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Seabourn Announces World-Class Line-Up for Seabourn Conversations

SEATTLE, June 16: Seabourn has announced a new line-up of accomplished lecturers for Seabourn Conversations, the award-winning cruise line's onboard enrichment and special guest entertainment program. Prominent speakers scheduled to sail late 2015 and early 2016 include Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, Forbes Media Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes, and legendary American journalist Dan Rather.

The ultra-luxury line's onboard enrichment program continues to feature outstanding adventurers, artists, historians and the business elite sharing tales of success and personal insights. On Seabourn's intimate ships, distinguished speakers not only provide skilled presentations of their expertise for guests to enjoy, but just as importantly, they may share meals, adventures ashore and casual chats with guests throughout the voyage.

"We always seek the most engaging speakers to participate in our Seabourn Conversations program on Seabourn vessels around the world," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president, marketing and sales. "With global perspectives drawn from personal experiences in the realms of culture, history, innovation, adventure and art, we're very excited to welcome the line-up of distinguished speakers for our guests."

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Ronald Reagan in 1985 and inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2000, will participate in the Seabourn Conversations program on Seabourn Odyssey's 20-day Holiday Panama Canal cruise, which departs Fort Lauderdale on Dec 15, 2015, and arrives in Los Angeles on Jan 4, 2016.

Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather, who retired in 2005 as the longest-serving anchor on a nightly newscast in American broadcast history after 24 years at helm of CBS Evening News, will join Seabourn Conversations aboard Seabourn Odyssey's 20-day Panama Canal cruise from March 21-24, 2016. Renowned in the industry and country for his compelling reporting, he is one of the most famous television news journalists and an author of several best-selling books including his autobiography Rather Outspoken.

The rest of the conversationalists will sail on the 77-day Pacific Realm Exploration of Seabourn Odyssey, which will depart Los Angeles on Jan 4, 2016, bound for Sydney, Australia and return to L.A. on March 21, 2016. Featured speakers in Seabourn Odyssey's Seabourn Conversations program include:

• Royal portrait painter Richard Stone, who painted the British Royal Family for four decades, as well as luminaries such as Luciano Pavarotti, Margaret Thatcher, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. (Jan 4-16, 2016)
• Australian cultural historian, author and filmmaker Warren Fahey has been awarded the Order of Australia, the Prime Minister's Centennial Medal, and the Banks Music Award for lifetime contribution to the arts. (Jan 4-20, 2016)
• Globetrotting adventurer Paul Deegan has climbed Mount Everest and most mountainous regions on five continents. A highly sought-after speaker on the corporate circuit, Deegan has also been featured on TED Talks and has appeared on BBC, CBS and Sky News. (Jan 16-27, 2016)
• One of Australia's few true titled "Master and Commanders," Captain Peter Martin is a maritime historian and foreign affairs expert. Martin has piloted the Barrier Reef and navigated the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. (Feb 6-19, 2016)
• Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media Steve Forbes is an engaging speaker with unique perspectives on business, technology, the economy, and politics through personal experience in the Republican presidential primaries of 1996 and 2000. (Feb 15-19, 2016)
• Discussing the world beneath the ship's keel, George Losey is a Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Biology and Zoology at the University of Hawaii. (Feb 26-March 11, 2016)
• The former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry and Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Digby Jones was knighted in 2005 and has been a member of the House of Lords since 2007. He is currently Business Ambassador at UK Trade & Investment, Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles, and Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars. (Feb 28-March 21, 2016)

View the full list of scheduled guest speakers for Seabourn Conversations here.

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Carnival Corporation Finalizes Contract with Meyer Werft to Build Four Next-Generation Cruise Ships

MIAMI, June 15: Carnival Corporation, the world's largest travel and leisure company, today announced it has signed a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world. The contract with Meyer Werft is part of larger previously announced strategic memo of understanding with leading shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri S.p.A for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022. The four new ships will also feature a revolutionary "green cruising" design. The ships will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, representing a major environmental breakthrough.

The company said two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft's shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Additional information about the ships, including which new ships will be added to each brand, will be made available at a later date.

Based on Carnival Corporation's innovative new ship design, each of the four next-generation ships will have a total capacity of 6,600 guests, feature more than 5,000 lower berths, exceed 180,000 gross tons and incorporate an extensive number of guest-friendly features. A major part of the innovative design involves making much more efficient use of the ship's spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for guests.

Pioneering a new era in the use of sustainable fuels, the four new ships will be the first in the cruise industry to use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea. LNG will be stored onboard and used to generate 100 percent power at sea, producing another industry-first innovation for Carnival Corporation and its brands. Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulfur oxides.

In addition to the two ships being built in Germany, Meyer Werft, which had the capacity to accommodate these four ship-building orders in its production schedule, will also build the two additional ships detailed in today's announcement at its shipyard in Turku, Finland. Each new ship will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and the guests it will serve, underscoring the company's goal to consistently exceed guest expectations and provide first-time and repeat guests with the vacation experience of a lifetime on each and every cruise.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said the contract is consistent with the company's measured capacity growth strategy to replace ships with less efficient capacity with newer, larger and more fuel efficient vessels over time. "We are looking forward to executing on the next step in our fleet enhancement plan," said Donald. "At a cost per berth in line with our existing order book, these new ships will enhance the return profile of our fleet. These are exceptionally efficient ships with incredible cabins and public spaces featuring a design inspired by Micky Arison and Michael Thamm and developed by our new build teams." Arison is chairman of the board of directors for Carnival Corporation & plc and Thamm is CEO of the Costa Group, which includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises. Donald added, "It will be exciting to see our shipbuilding team bring these new ships to life. Every step of the way, our focus is on designing state-of-the-art ships that provide a vacation experience our guests will love, and we are putting all of our creative energy and resources into making sure we achieve that goal."

"These ships will expand our leadership position for the Costa Group, the market leader in all the major European markets," said Thamm. "These will be spectacular ships designed specifically for our guests who sail on our Costa Group brands."

Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft, said: "In past years, we have built seven highly successful ships for AIDA Cruises. We are honored that Carnival Corporation has entrusted us with the implementation of this ambitious shipbuilding program, and we look forward to building these four magnificent ships."

The new ship order will allow the Costa Group to continue to build on its leadership position in the European cruise market; a market in which five out of 10 cruise guests in 2014 sailed onboard a Costa Group ship. The Costa Group, along with Princess Cruise Lines, also part of the Carnival Corporation family, also occupies the leading position in the rapidly growing cruise market in China.

As part of each shipbuilding company's long-term strategic partnership with Carnival Corporation, additional new ship orders are being explored over the coming decade.

About Carnival Corporation
Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise company in the world, with a portfolio of 10 cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia), P&O Cruises (UK) and fathom. Together, these brands will operate 100 ships in 2015 totaling 219,000 lower berths with eight new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2018, along with four additional new ships on order between 2019 through 2022. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

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Silversea Launches Website in Multiple Languages

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, June 12: Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises today announced that its website,, is now available in Spanish, French, and Portuguese, in addition to English and German.

"As a worldwide luxury cruise operator, we are committed to expanding our global reach," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas. "By offering easy access to information on our website in five languages, we are better able to serve our loyal guests, attract new guests, and support our travel agent partners in a variety of markets."

Visitors can now easily switch between English, German, Spanish, French, and Portuguese by simply clicking on the appropriate language tab at the top of each page. Packed with in-depth information on destinations, ships, services, enrichment programs, (e.g., culinary and wine cruises, etc.), exclusive offers, and more, each translation invites travelers to explore the world in a more meaningful way aboard intimate boutique ships, renowned for their all-inclusiveness, personalized service, and tailor-made tours ashore.

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A Woman's Vision Rocks the Music Cruise World with Largest-Ever Classic Rock Festival at Sea

MIAMI, June 12: Cruise event specialists Landry & Kling are pleased to announce the Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) has only a few cabin categories left for their Rock Legends Cruise IV, the biggest rock music festival at sea, sailing January 21-25, 2016 from Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip to Grand Turk. Now in its fourth year, this is the first rock music cruise charter series backed by a woman.

A sell-out crowd of over 4,000 rock fans are expected to cruise in support of a great cause aboard Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, chartered by NAHA for 4 nights allowing fans to immerse themselves in a 'round-the-clock showcase of the greatest ever line-up of legendary rock bands performing their greatest hits.

It Began With One Woman's Vision
When NAHA President, Pam Myers, sailed on a music cruise several years ago, it ignited her vision: Why not plan a rock cruise as a fundraiser? Her goal: Bring like-minded people together, encourage artists to mingle with fans, and keep costs reasonable with a short cruise and no VIP packages or additional fees, all as a new way to raise money for the charity. A great experience for the fans and the artists AND a successful fundraiser for the charity would equal a "win-win" for everyone involved. NAHA (Native American Heritage Association) is a 4-star charity founded in 1993 by Pam's father, David Myers. It exists to help in-need Native American families living on South Dakota Reservations.

In pursuit of her vision, Pam approached some well known music cruise organizers who didn't think she could succeed. "Those guys didn't understand how persistent I am," Pam says. So she turned to theme cruise specialists Landry & Kling - a women-owned firm with a staff full of women - who easily related to her mission, and Rock Legends Cruise was born: Pam explained:

"When we started this five years ago, I don't think any of us imagined how big or how amazing this (incredibly insane) 'little idea' would become. But my dad always told me 'do it well, or don't do it', so we set out to be the 'best of the best' and we've lived and learned with each of our past cruises. All of them had an incredible lineup, but next year, between the remarkable talent, a newer ship on a new itinerary and our 'legendary' fans, we fully expect Rock Legends Cruise IV to be the best one yet!"


-- Fans sail with 22 Rock Legends bands, including Peter Frampton, Gregg Allman, Grand Funk Railroad, America, John Kay & Steppenwolf, The Marshall Tucker Band, Randy Bachman, Ace Frehley, Jaimoe's Jasssz Band, Uriah Heep, Foghat, The Outlaws, Rik Emmett, Orianthi, Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown, The Pat Travers Band and 6 more exciting Legends.
-- Sixty-four festival-style shows planned from 10 AM to 4 AM in various ship soundstages including theaters, lounges, and poolside. See Schedule of Concerts from last cruise.
-- The hilarious "Fun Size" stand-up comedy of Brad Williams, a Comedy Central star.
-- Along with concerts, Meet & Greets, Q & A forums, autographed memorabilia auction and special events, Rock Legends passengers will enjoy Independence of the Seas' surf simulator, basketball, mini-golf, rock-climbing, four pools, and variety of dining venues.
-- The 4-night voyage includes a day in Grand Turk, in the Turks & Caicos Islands, where visitors can enjoy beautiful beaches, swim with stingrays or watch for migrating whales.

Working closely with NAHA, Landry & Kling has handled all cruise logistics since the original 2011 Cruise. "Rock Legends IV is going to be a rock festival like no other, with a mind-boggling 64 concerts over 4 days!" said Joyce Landry, CEO of Landry & Kling. "We are honored to team up with Pam Myers and NAHA to fulfill her vision of a fun fundraiser that supports Native Americans, the forgotten minority in this country, while giving rock fans an experience of a lifetime."

For more information about the cruise and the staterooms still available, see

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Windstar Cruises Announces Former Miss Tahiti as Newest Private Event Host

Los Angeles, June 11: Today Windstar Cruises announced their newest Private Event Host, former Miss Tahiti Mareva Georges, at an exclusive event on the roof of West Hollywood’s newest hotspot, E.P. & L.P. Mareva Georges, who grew up in the city of Punaauia, just outside of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, was crowned Miss Tahiti in 1990, and went on to be crowned Miss France in 1991. Today she is a Tahitian ambassador promoting Tahiti within the United States in addition to sitting on the council for Miss France and the jury of the Miss Tahiti Committee. She returns often to Tahiti to visit her family and to keep in touch with the roots of her native culture. Mareva will be onboard the August 17th Dreams of Tahiti voyage.

“We are thrilled to have Mareva as our Private Event Host in Tahiti,” says Hans Birkholtz, CEO of Windstar Cruises. “Sailing through the islands is the by far the most beautiful way to explore Tahiti, so it was the perfect fit to have the former Miss Tahiti help celebrate our Private Events in the region.”

Windstar also announced its new Take 10 Tahiti Sweepstakes at the event today. Starting on June 17 through July 19, Windstar is offering the chance to win a Tahitian cruise for one winner and nine close friends. Guests can enter online on After entering, guests receive a referral link to share with friends. The more friends who use that link to enter, the more entries they receive. The winner of the sweepstakes will be revealed on July 31.

In addition, the event celebrated the start of Windstar’s year-round weekly voyages in the South Pacific, the first of which began June 5th, aboard the beautifully renovated, 148-passenger Wind Spirit sailing yacht. Wind Spirit recently completed a 17-day dry dock in Panama, where its 73 staterooms were completely updated. The new staterooms include a transformed seating area for relaxing, as well as new cabinetry and a more open layout. Other updates to the ship include new teak decking, updated public bathrooms, and new pool furniture. The upgrades quickly follow up Windstar’s $18 million, fleet-wide renovation project from 2012.

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Cunard Celebrates 175th Anniversary with Commemorative Events in
Ports of Halifax, Boston & New York

June 11: On July 4, 2015, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 will embark on the capstone of Cunard’s 175th worldwide anniversary celebrations with a commemorative Transatlantic Crossing departing from Liverpool, England, paying tribute to the original voyage made by the company’s first flagship, Britannia, on 4 July 1840. This journey inaugurated the first scheduled mail and passenger service across the Atlantic and Cunard will be celebrating this historic milestone in three cities which hold a special place in the company’s storied past: Halifax, Boston and New York.

Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s reigning flagship, will depart Southampton on 2 July, then call on Liverpool, the “spiritual home” of the company, amid fanfare and fireworks, and then sail onward to North America with celebratory on board and commemorative shoreside events scheduled for each port of call.

“Cunard is honored to be one of the few companies who can claim a 175-year history, and to celebrate this milestone and our enduring relationships with these cornerstone cities means so much to us,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. “We look forward to honouring Sir Samuel Cunard in his birthplace of Halifax, to commemorate our heritage in Boston in what was the first American company headquarters, and to salute our U.S. homeport, New York in a festive and fitting fashion,” he continued.

Halifax, July 10
Halifax, Nova Scotia, the home of founder Sir Samuel Cunard, will be the first port to welcome Queen Mary 2 on 10 July.

• Cunard will mark the milestone occasion in a special outdoor ceremony, which will include local dignitaries, port officials and key members of the Halifax community. As a key component of the anniversary celebration ceremony, a public area of the future waterfront development will be named for Cunard. The ceremony will take place on the grounds of an upcoming mixed use development created by Southwest Properties and Streamliner Properties in collaboration with the Waterfront Development Corporation. Rhapsody Quintet, who are also members of Symphony Nova Scotia will perform during the event.
• Cunard has joined together with the Canadian Maritime Heritage Foundation and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to create the first annual “Samuel Cunard Prize for Vision, Courage and Creativity,” which will be awarded to James D. Irving, Canadian industrialist. This inaugural prize event will take place every year aboard Queen Mary 2 and recognize a different recipient who exemplifies the world-changing vision, courage and creativity shown by Samuel Cunard throughout his life.
• Re-opening of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic’s Cunard exhibition, as well as the launch of a new Samuel Cunard retrospective exhibit, showcasing the company founder’s impact on global business, transportation and world events.
• Queen Mary 2 will sail away with a festive evening departure, slated to include local navy cadets, with more details to be announced shortly.

Boston, July 12
Early morning on 12 July, Queen Mary 2 will sail into Boston, Massachusetts, the company’s first port of call in the U.S. and the home of its first North American headquarters.

• A special dedication ceremony to launch the newly renovated Cunard Building with the donation of the Servia ship model by Cunard. The model, built in 1881, is being brought over on Queen Mary 2 from the Science Museum in England and will be placed in the front entrance of the former North American Cunard headquarters at 120 State Street. Located in the Customs House District, the building is part of a redevelopment of the area and historically renovated by Highland Development and Morris Architects through the stewardship of the building’s owner, Bill Mosakowsi, Public Consulting Group.
• 1:30 pm: Captain Kevin Oprey, Master of Queen Mary 2, will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees game at Fenway Park.
• Evening: Fireworks will mark Queen Mary 2’s evening departure as she sets off towards New York City for the final leg of her 175th Anniversary tour.

New York, July 14
Although not a port of call in the original Crossing made by Britannia, New York has been Cunard’s North American home port for over a century.

• Captain Kevin Oprey, Master of Queen Mary 2 to ring the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
• Evening: Public viewing from Battery Park of a theatrical light and music show on Queen Mary 2 while the ship pauses in lower Manhattan harbor in front of the Statue of Liberty.

Further information regarding these special events will be forthcoming soon. For more information about Cunard Line, visit

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New Icy Strait Point Pier Project Under Construction

Installation of a new floating pier began last week at Icy Strait Point, a seasonal cruise destination along Alaska’s Inside Passage in the Alaska Native village of Hoonah. Turnagain Marine Construction, an Alaska-based heavy marine construction firm, is working offshore at Icy Strait Point with completion expected by early October.

“It’s an exciting time for the community to see this pier coming together in front of our eyes,” said Tyler Hickman, Icy Strait Point vice president of operations. “ Thanks to the partnership between the City of Hoonah, State of Alaska and Huna Totem Corporation, this investment will further improve our world-class destination. Even better, the construction does not negatively impact our current operations and guest experience.”

Since opening in 2004, cruise lines have tendered guests ashore to the century-old salmon cannery at Icy Strait Point. The new 400-foot floating pier, which was designed with input from the cruise industry and accommodates the largest cruise ships, will allow ships to tie up directly, thus greatly improving accessibility for ships and their passengers beginning in 2016. Icy Strait Point will manage the pier’s operation and provide long-term maintenance. Additionally, a new Tlingit-style, wood-beamed welcome center and excursion departure lounge will also be in place for the beginning of the 2016 season. Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2015, after the cruise season has ended.

Icy Strait Point is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Huna Totem Corporation, the village corporation owned by approximately 1,350 Alaska Natives with aboriginal ties to Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area. Located 35 miles west of Juneau and 22 miles from Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Icy Strait Point is the only private large-ship destination in Alaska. For more information, please visit

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Norwegian Announces New Flexible Specialty Dining Packages

June 11: Today Norwegian Cruise Line announced the introduction of new Specialty Dining Packages that allow guests the freedom to savor an array of tastes and unique experiences at our signature specialty restaurants and the flexibility to choose the number of nights they'd like to dine for one set price. Norwegian guests sailing fleetwide from August 7th* and beyond can enjoy a Specialty Dining Package ranging from three days to the length of their entire cruise, with pricing starting at $59 per person** for a three-day package when purchased online prior to sailing, providing cruisers with an excellent value.

Guests who purchase a Norwegian Specialty Dining Package can opt to go medium-rare at Cagney's, Norwegian's signature steakhouse; make it al dente at a Norwegian's La Cucina Italian restaurant; enjoy an evening of fine Parisian dining at Le Bistro; and experience fun and fare at Teppanyaki, Norwegian's signature Japanese Hibachi restaurant.

With Freestyle Cruising and Norwegian's new Specialty Dining Packages, our guests have the freedom to choose how, where and when they'd like to dine. Guests can tailor their taste buds to their cruising schedule and discover a different specialty restaurant each night or find a favorite and dine there a few nights during their vacation. Guests on a 7-day cruise can choose from packages ranging from three to seven nights, to make the most of their vacation experience and at a savings from the restaurant's individual cover charges.

Specialty Dining Packages are honored in all specialty steakhouses, Brazilian churrascarias, French, Japanese Hibachi and Italian restaurants. Norwegian guests who have purchased a Specialty Dining Package additionally have the flexibility to indulge in their heart's desire in select à la carte priced restaurants and entertainment-based restaurants for a small upcharge*** including:

• Ocean Blue (Norwegian Getaway/ Norwegian Breakaway) - $15
• Cirque Dreams (Norwegian Breakaway/Norwegian Epic) - $10 general seats/$15 premium seats/$35 VIP seating on Norwegian Breakaway
• The Illusionarium - $10 general seats/$15 premium seats
• For the Record: Dear John Hughes (Norwegian Escape)- $15
• Bayamo (Norwegian Escape)- $10
• Pincho Tapas Bar (Norwegian Escape)- $7
• The Raw Bar (Norwegian Getaway/ Norwegian Breakaway)- $7
• Sushi Bar (fleetwide)-$7

Specialty Dining Packages can be pre-purchased prior to sailing for additional savings or onboard during the first two days of the voyage; the dining packages are exclusively sold on the first day of the voyage on three-day itineraries only. Norwegian guests who pre-purchase a Specialty Dining Package prior to sailing can reserve their dining reservations online within 90 days of their sail date or go Freestyle and decide when and where to dine once onboard. Specialty Dining Packages are pre-purchased individually and guests traveling in the same stateroom do not need to purchase packages as a group. For more information on the new Specialty Dining Packages, visit

*Guests sailing aboard Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Star and Pride of America can purchase packages beginning August 1, 2015. Guests sailing aboard Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Pearl can purchase packages beginning August 2, 2015. Guests sailing aboard Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun can purchase packages beginning August 3, 2015.

**Pricing based on number of dinners purchased in package. An 18% gratuity and specialty service charge is added to all package pricing. Dining packages are not available on 1- and 2-day sailings. Specialty Dining Packages purchased online through MyNCL provide greater savings.

*** Carlo's Bake Shop items, Ice Cream Bar, Gelato, Chef's Table, Special Occasion/Holiday menus (New Year's, Christmas, etc.), and beverages are not included as a part of Specialty Dining Packages.

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Crystal Adds A Dozen New Mouthwatering Adventures To Menu Of Mediterranean Shoreside Options

LOS ANGELES, June 10: Epicurean travelers this summer and fall have an abundance of opportunities to savor the Mediterranean in the most literal sense, as luxury cruise leader Crystal Cruises unveils an extensive menu of culinary experiences ashore, with 12 brand new options added this year. In total, three dozen Crystal Adventures in 2015 are specially designed to highlight the local flavors and signature cuisine of Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Malta, Portugal and Greece, including hands-on cooking instruction, wine tasting and pairing, and exploring local marketplaces for the freshest ingredients.

"Like many of our guests, we feel that food, drink and the dining experience are among the best ways to intimately acquaint oneself with a destination," says Crystal's CEO, Edie Rodriguez. "It's only natural that the immersive culinary programs that travelers relish aboard our ships should continue ashore, allowing guests to expand their palates while learning about new cultures."

Among the mouthwatering shore-side Mediterranean excursions this year are:

-- NEW Meandering through the Tuscan countryside to Verrazzano Castle, in a small village within Chianti, for an extravagant wine-pairing meal (from Florence, Italy in June, August, October and November)
-- NEW Roaming the local marketplace to select fresh ingredients, then use those ingredients to create a feast of traditional Turkish delicacies with hands-on instruction at a local family farm (from Kusadasi, Turkey in September and October)
-- NEW Crafting, bottling and labeling one's own wine in Spain's renowned Vera de Estenas wine region, led by an expert winemaker and oenologist (from Valencia, Spain in June and November)
-- Wine tasting and dining on world-famous Ston oysters in Dubrovnik, Croatia in June, September and October
-- Hands-on cooking instruction from the head chef of Faggera Restaurant in the charming village of Megalochori, creating appetizers, entrees and desserts using traditional local ingredients (from Santorini, Greece in September and October)

With an impressive onboard culinary program that comprises a bevy of globally-inspired delicacies, from Nobu Matsuhisa's Silk Road and The Sushi Bar and regional Italian comfort food in Prego to internationally-themed selections in the Lido Cafe, tastes of the world have always been an integral part of the renowned Crystal Experience. Crystal's 2015 Mediterranean voyages range from seven to 12 days. For more information, visit

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Adventures by Disney Introduces New Ways to Experience Europe in 2016

BURBANK, Calif., June 10: Adventures by Disney, a leader in guided group travel worldwide, continues to add remarkable vacation itineraries to their growing portfolio with the introduction of  additional departure dates for the recently announced all-new Danube river cruise itineraries.

The announced lineup of European river cruise vacations planned for 2016, have proved so successful that additional sail dates have now been added. On these exciting new adventures, travelers will sail down the famed Danube River to experience iconic locations and hidden gems in eight destinations across four countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

The new Adventures by Disney 7-night, 8-day Danube River Cruise itineraries, sailing with AmaWaterways, the travel industry's premier luxury river cruise line, offer guests the chance to discover the heart of Europe in a way that is active, immersive and easy. Now offering five sailings in the summer of 2016, as well as two holiday themed sailings in December 2016, these river cruises allow travelers to explore castle ruins in Slovakia, sip and savor wine from local vineyards in Austria, climb along a treetop path in Germany and more.

These sailings offer maximum port time in each city, arriving at dawn and departing late night. That means more time for travelers to discover the destination through guided activities and individual exploration for a customizable vacation experience.

Adventures by Disney guests will sail aboard the all-new, 170-passenger AmaViola, a river cruise ship being custom built by AmaWaterways with families in mind. New family-friendly features include specific room configurations, including six sets of connecting staterooms, as well as some rooms and suites that accommodate three- and four-person families, and other exquisite details that allow families to feel luxury and comfort while onboard.

Endless shipboard activities await guests of all ages. From wine tastings, dancing, and an onboard fitness center, along with some of the finest cuisine and services, adults will feel the charm and luxury onboard. Exciting and exclusive activities for Junior Adventures include activity nights, karaoke, movies, video games, relay games, life-size chess and more. Teens will also find activities and themed nights created specifically just for them. Adventures by Disney exclusive sailings will take place July 7-14, July 14-21, July 21-28, July 28 - Aug. 4 and Aug. 4-11, 2016. Highlights of the 8-day/7-night adventures include:

-- Tour of Mirabell Gardens and adventures through a salt mine (Austria)
-- Nighttime Illuminations Cruise (Budapest)
-- Horse show at Lazar Equestrian Park (Hungary)
-- Private marionette performance and strudel making demo at Schonbrunn Palace (Austria)
-- Falconry show at Hohenwerfen castle (Austria)
-- Oktoberfest event at a local brewery (Germany)
-- Themed meals and culinary activities, such as interactive goulash and strudel making
-- Biking in every port

Special holiday themed sailings will depart Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, 2016. Guests looking for even greater immersion into local culture can add an Adventures by Disney 3-day/2-night pre- or post-stay experience in Prague, Czech Republic, that includes a variety of additional active experiences.

These new itineraries join a lineup of more than 30 other Adventures by Disney vacations around the globe. From exploring storybook villages on the Austria, Germany & Czech Republic vacation, to visiting the sites that inspired films such Frozen and Brave on the Norway and Scotland itineraries, there is a trip for everyone. On every Adventures by Disney vacation, specially trained Adventure Guides, along with local experts, ensure that every detail of the vacation is expertly taken care of, allowing guests to create everlasting memories without the stress of planning.

For more information on the itineraries offered and activities included on an Adventures by Disney vacation, visit

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Un-Cruise Adventures Releases 2016 Schedule of Small Ship Adventure & River Cruises

Seattle, WA, June 9: Expanding operations across the West Coast of the Americas, small ship operator Un-Cruise Adventures has released its full deployment schedule for 2016 with nine ships offering adventure and river cruises in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Columbia and Snake Rivers, Mexico, Hawaii, and new for 2016, the Galápagos Islands and Costa Rica & Panama. Un-Cruise Adventures’ fleet of boutique yachts and small ships carry 22-88 guests on adventure and river cruises from one week to 21 nights. Adventure activities, tours, and presentations are included.

“Central and South America are prime adventure travel destinations,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “The quality of included adventure activities and opportunities for wildlife encounters make these trips stand out.”

Costa Rica & Panama – New destination in 2016
From October 2016 through April 2017, the 64-guest Safari Voyager sails 29 weeklong adventure cruises on an Uncharted Isthmus! Sloths, Monkeys & Mangroves itinerary between San José, Costa Rica and Panama City (or reverse). Jungle hikes and watersports activities occur throughout the week in Curú National Wildlife Refuge, Isla Tortuga, Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica; and Coiba National Park, Gulf of Panama Islands, Panama. A full Panama Canal transit is included in each voyage. Rates begin at $2,995 per person, double occupancy.

Galápagos Islands – New destination in 2016
Following in Darwin’s footsteps, eight departures are scheduled on a 10-day Unequaled Ecuador! Colonial Quito & Galápagos Islands itinerary including a two-day tour of historic Quito, Ecuador and a weeklong cruise among the islands. The 48-guest La Pinta explores Isla San Cristóbal, Isla Santa Cruz, Isla Bartolomé , Isla Santiago, and two of the archipelago’s showcase islands—Genovesa and Española. Island hikes, glass bottom boat touring, snorkeling and kayaking bring guests up close to wildlife including iguanas, sea lions, birds, penguins and giant tortoises. Adventures include transfers; air between Quito and Galápagos; fees/taxes; tours and adventure activities; and premium wine, beer and spirits on board La Pinta. Rates begin at $8,995 per person, double occupancy. Optional tour extensions include a five-day Amazon rainforest voyage and a seven-day guided land tour exploring Peru and Machu Picchu.

Southeast Alaska
Travelers may choose from seven adventure cruise itineraries on 113 departures lasting a week or 12 days, many with visits to Glacier Bay National Park, from homeports of Seattle, WA; Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka, Alaska. Two new adventure cruise itineraries debut in 2016: Exploring Muir’s Wilderness and Yachter’s Alaskan Frontier, both roundtrip Juneau, AK. Itineraries may be combined to create adventures from two to three weeks long while remaining on the same vessel. Six vessels—22-guest Safari Quest, 36-guest Safari Explorer, 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer, 74-guest Wilderness Explorer, 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer and 84-guest Safari Endeavour—sail adventure cruises in remote Alaskan wilderness with a focus on exploring wilderness and wildlife. With no port calls during the week on most itineraries, the emphasis is on exploring outside: hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff excursions and whale watching are included. Rates begin at $2,295, per person, double occupancy.

Pacific Northwest
From April to May and September to November, weeklong adventure cruises sailing roundtrip from Seattle explore the islands, temperate rainforests and hidden coves found in the secluded waterways of the Pacific Northwest. The 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer offers 14 departures on an Explore! Olympic Wilderness & San Juan Islands cruise sailing in Washington’s Puget Sound from south Hood Canal north through the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands with visits to Olympic National Park, Sucia Island and Orcas Island. The 22-guest Safari Quest sails 19 departures on a British Columbia’s Yachters’ Paradise itinerary exploring Victoria, Harmony Islands, Princess Louisa Inlet, Jervis Inlet, Gulf Islands, B.C.; and San Juan Island, WA. Rates begin at $3,695 aboard the Safari Quest and $1,795 aboard the Wilderness Discoverer. Rates are per person, double occupancy.

Columbia & Snake Rivers
The 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer, offers 34 river cruise departures on two itineraries on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, roundtrip Portland, Oregon from April through November. In 2016, seven departures are offered on a new Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine & History itinerary featuring Washington and Oregon wines. Wine experts join the ship for wine tastings and presentations on board. Highlights include visits to Washington and Oregon wineries, Hood River, Palouse Falls State Park and Cannon Beach. A Legacy of Discovery itinerary cruises through the scenic Columbia River Gorge to the rolling hills of the Palouse, east to Hells Canyon and back to the coastal town of Astoria, Oregon while transiting eight sets of locks and dams. Included tours focus on the history of the area—early explorers such as Lewis and Clark, pioneers, native cultures and entrepreneurs. An on board heritage team and local experts from along the route recreate yesteryear in authentic garb of the era. Rates begin at $3,395 per person, double occupancy.

Mexico’s Sea of Cortés
From San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, the 84-guest Safari Endeavour operates 21 Baja’s Bounty adventure cruises exploring Baja’s remote Sea of Cortés, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from January through March and November through December. Depending on the time of year, weeklong adventures include either an opportunity to snorkel alongside whale sharks in Bahía de la Paz or a scenic trip across the peninsula to Bahía Magdalena to see gray whales and calves up close. A flexible sailing schedule explores Isla San Francisco, Bahía Agua Verde, Isla Partida, Isla Espíritu Santo and La Paz. Highlights include snorkeling with sea lions, a burro ride with local rancheros into the arroyo, kayaking, hiking and snorkeling excursions. Rates begin at $2,995 per person, double occupancy.

Hawaiian Islands
In 2016, 23 departures explore four islands by yacht—Hawai’i, Maui, Lana’i and Moloka’i—on a Hawaiian Seascapes adventure cruise. From January through April and November through December, the 36-guest Safari Explorer sails one-way itineraries between Hawai’i and Moloka’i (and reverse). Highlights include a full day of exclusive cultural activities on Moloka’i, snorkeling with Giant Pacific Manta rays, whale watching and marine life search in the Humpback National Marine Sanctuary, snorkeling among sea turtle habitat and kayaking near volcanic cliffs. Rates begin at $3,795 per person, double occupancy.

Inclusive cruises are available in seven destinations and fares may include premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews; port taxes and fees; exceptional cuisine; and massage and stretching classes. Theme cruise topics include photography, marine biology, ornithology, wine, craft beer, and Lewis & Clark. A Family Discoveries program encourages families to bring children eight years and older along with a savings of $500 on fares for kids ages eight to 13. For additional information, visit

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Sixthman's Cayamo Setting Sail On Ninth Voyage

ATLANTA, GA: Sixthman, the industry leader in festivals at sea, continues the tradition of delivering groundbreaking musical moments on its 9th Cayamo cruise sailing Jan 31–Feb 7, 2016, from Miami to St. Maarten and Tortola on Norwegian Pearl.

Fans of Americana and Folk music will not be disappointed by Cayamo’s seemingly endless buffet of performers featuring John Prine, John Hiatt, Jason Isbell, Lucinda Williams, Buddy Miller, Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin who will be joined in no small part by the likes of Jim Lauderdale, David Bromberg, Watkins Family Hour, Hurray for the Riff Raff, John Fullbright, Johnnyswim, Foy Vance, Angaleena Presley, Willie Watson, The Bros. Landreth, The Black Lillies, Birds of Chicago, Mingo Fishtrap, The Alternate Routes, American Babies and more to be announced in the coming months. Guests can look forward to non-stop musical performances on six stages, rare artist collaborations, late night jam sessions, workshops, and a whole host of yet-to-be-announced activities that have grown to be a staple of this legendary event.

"Setting sail for our 9th adventure with a group of artists of this caliber and guests from all over the world is something we are extremely grateful for. This community continues to grow stronger and we plan on hosting them on vacation for many years to come." Says Andy Levine, Sixthman's Chief Experience Officer.

Coveted spots on this floating festival went lightning fast. This is the 8th year in a row that Cayamo has filled up during its presale and shows no sign of losing steam. The caliber of artists, the passion of the fans, many returning year after year, and Sixthman’s unwavering dedication to surprise and delight makes Cayamo a force to be reckoned with and THE event not to miss. Signups for the wait-list are now underway at The full lineup of Sixthman festivals at sea can be found at

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Celebrity Cruises Kicked Off Summer with Luxury Picnic Baskets for
Hundreds of Park-goers Across the U.S.

MIAMI, June 6: Playing off the fact that it has half-acre lawns of real, growing grass on the top decks of its cruise ships, Celebrity Cruises surprised several unsuspecting people in New York City, Chicago, and the Bay Area, with a luxury trip of a lifetime when hundreds of butlers amazed park-goers across the nation. Each butler presented a packed, complimentary, luxe picnic basket to lucky recipients, and several excited park-goers also received tickets for a Celebrity cruise. The cruise line launched the stunt to kick off the summer season as part of its "Grass is Greener" campaign, which began on Monday and highlights the ways in which Celebrity's premium cruises are unmatched. Anyone who missed the action in these cities can enter for a chance to win one of five 7-night Celebrity cruises for two to the Caribbean by visiting through June 13, 2015.

Celebrity Cruises is the premium cruise brand that made vacationers and the travel industry rethink the impossible, when it introduced a half-acre of real grass to the top deck of its Solstice Class ships. Guests can sink their toes in and experience the great outdoors with jazz concerts at sea, gourmet picnics on the lawn or on their private veranda, and much more, when sailing on Celebrity's ships. Summer is the perfect time to explore Europe or Alaska, or set sail for Bermuda. Visit for additinal information.

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New Pan-Asian Restaurant to Delight Both Eye and Palate Aboard Seven Seas Explorer

MIAMI, June 5: A dramatic new Pan-Asian specialty restaurant, Pacific Rim, will join an eclectic array of gourmet dining options aboard the most luxurious ship ever built, Seven Seas Explorer. As the third specialty restaurant revealed for Seven Seas Explorer, Pacific Rim will feature a diverse array of delightfully prepared Pan-Asian dishes, to be savored in an elegantly appointed dining room, for a truly remarkable culinary experience.

“We are setting new luxury standards across the board with Seven Seas Explorer, and with our sights set on buildingthe most luxurious ship ever, we had to create an unrivaled collection of specialty restaurants for our guests,” said Jason Montague, president and chief operating officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The elegant Asian architectural elements found in Pacific Rim perfectly complement an exquisite menu, for a gourmet dining experience that brings to life the rich culinary traditions of Asia unlike any other at sea.”

Explore the Flavors of Asia while at Sea
Designed by leading architectural firm RTKL, the architectural and interior design for Pacific Rim is a perfect example of Asian fusion. The design takes inspirational cues from a variety of Asian cultures and melds them harmoniously together into a singular concept ideal for the restaurant’s Pan-Asian fare.

In the restaurant lobby, guests encounter a modern interpretation of a Tibetan prayer wheel which sets the mood for the visual and culinary feast to come. The large cylindrical sculpture spans from floor to ceiling with decorative panels embossed with wishes for good fortune. The prayer wheel gives way to a dramatic entry flanked by doors reminiscent of an Asian temple. Upon entering the dining room, a rich dark color palette dominates the scene with black midcentury metal and wood tables surrounded by banquette seating upholstered in sumptuous leather. A fashionable sideboard topped with a richly veined marble surface backs each banquette and adds to the overall ambiance of the room. Each seating alcove features an ornate brass lamp with a decorative brown and white chinoiserie toile fabric shade to provide soft, elegant lighting throughout the restaurant.

During dinner, guests are treated to incredible ocean views through windows designed in an abstract lotus shape, a universal Asian motif. Smoky mirrors between the windows add volume to the room by reflecting muted light throughout the space and illuminating intricate architectural details. Airy floor-to-ceiling partitions formed from a combination of traditional Japanese rain chains suspended from frames and customary Chinese screens help convey a sense of intimacy.

Demure wall-coverings, such as slightly iridescent crystalline matrix stones and Thai wood carvings, add texture and tactile warmth throughout the space. Interior floors are dark wood surrounded by muted carpet. Along the ceiling, brushed brass cubes with an antiqued patina form a latticework design that simultaneously reflects and diffuses light cast by interspersed recessed ceiling lamps. The design and décor artfully complements the inventive menu inspired by the diverse cuisine available throughout Asia. The menu offers artfully plated Pan-Asian creations with delightful first courses highlighted by a tempura encrusted crispy soft shell crab with a touch of heat from a green chili aioli, and a succulently caramelized cassia-braised pork belly topped with perfectly grilled diver scallops; a seaweed and wakame salad drizzled with a black pepper soy and onion dressing.

After a sensational starter, guests will find delectable entrées such as tempura battered Canadian lobster with shiso leaf finished with an orange ponzu sauce and spicy mayo, a miso-spiced black cod wrapped in hoba leaf accompanied by pickled daikon and spicy den miso, and grilled Korean barbecue lamb chops, wok-fried beans, eryngii mushroom and gochujang dressing. For dessert guests will find delicacies such as a banana and green tea cake served with coconut ice cream and matcha ganache.

For additional information, visit

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Carnival Corporation Launches New Brand, Creates New Travel Category

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, NY, June 4: Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest travel and leisure company, today launched a new brand called fathom™, defining a new travel category it is calling “social impact travel,” that will offer consumers authentic, meaningful impact travel experiences to work alongside locals as they tackle community needs. What sets fathom apart is the long-term, systematic partnership approach with its partner countries paired with the unique business model that allows for sustained impact and lasting development. fathom’s scale and global vision reach beyond what the world has ever seen. The company’s first destination will be the Dominican Republic, a country known for its spectacular beauty but also a country where the average household income is approximately $6,000 USD a year and more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water.

fathom will operate as a stand alone brand, the 10th global brand in the Carnival Corporation family
Beginning in April 2016, fathom will embark on 7-day voyages from PortMiami aboard the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger vessel redeployed from Carnival Corporation’s P&O Cruises (UK) for the start-up of the new operation. Depending on their passions, interests and skills, travelers will have the opportunity to choose from a range of social impact activities and experiences both onboard and onshore.

Travel That Creates Enduring, Transformative Social Impact
“fathom will cater to a growing market of consumers who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and aren’t always sure where to begin,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We believe travel is a meaningful way to allow for personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions to the world. We are so pleased that fathom will give travelers a unique opportunity to work alongside local people as part of a larger scale effort that will demonstrably improve lives. Both our travelers and the local citizens will learn and benefit from the opportunity to serve together.”

Donald brought in a non-traditional, social entrepreneur, Tara Russell, Founder and Chairman of Create Common Good, a food production social enterprise, to lead this effort. Russell will serve as President of fathom and as Global Impact Lead for Carnival Corporation. Russell established and led the team that has been working on the design and business model for fathom since late 2013.

“We created fathom to meet the real hunger in the world for purpose, while at the same time tackling profound social issues through a sustainable business model,” said Russell. “We harness the assets and resources of the world’s largest travel and leisure company and combine them with the talents and hearts of those working in social enterprises around the world. Travelers will work in partnership with proven, trusted local organizations on the ground to amplify their missions for far greater, sustained impact,” Russell added. “Because fathom will bring hundreds of travelers to a destination on a regular basis, fathom can achieve focused and holistic, collaborative contributions in a broad region of the country, allowing fathom travelers to make a collective, transformative impact that they know will extend far beyond their involvement. They also will know they played an important role in ensuring the region flourishes. We are excited about making the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic our first partner destination, and we are optimistic about taking all that is being built in and through fathom to other global destinations and to the broader Carnival corporate family.”

According to Russell, the fathom team took an innovative design-thinking approach to deeply understanding both its travelers, as well as the needs identified by stakeholders across all parts of society in the Dominican Republic, and will continue to leverage the unique approach.

“fathom will mobilize, educate and equip up to 700 travelers on every trip allowing for thousands of impact activity days per week and tens of thousands of travelers a year to communities of promise, providing unprecedented scale for impact,” said Russell. “fathom has been built differently, having worked carefully to ensure any and all efforts fathom travelers engage with are authentically impactful, scalable and sustainable. fathom’s scale allows the opportunity to continuously innovate in the social impact space, while achieving holistic, transformational societal contributions that will help a broad region flourish.”

Based on extensive market research, fathom has identified a sizable and growing market of potential social impact travel consumers, approximately one million North Americans who are strongly predisposed, in addition to global travelers already pursuing service-oriented travel experiences worldwide, who will be interested in this type of travel offering. In addition, the company believes fathom will attract a significant number of travelers who have never before cruised. According to research, nearly 40 percent of the individuals who will book a social impact trip on fathom might otherwise never have chosen to cruise.

According to Russell, fathom will attract people of all ages and from all walks of life, but especially North American, U.K. and Australian citizens ages 20 to 60 years old who are eager to discover their individual gifts, and unleash their personal passions and talents to improve the world. The company expects to be particularly popular among:

Millennials: people in their 20s and 30s looking to make a difference in the world;
Parents: seeking a way to open their children’s eyes to other parts of the world in a meaningful way (approximately half of travelers are expected to be families); and
Adults 50+ years of age: eager to find rewarding ways to help other people apart from writing a check.

“During the past 10 years, in countless conversations I have had with people eager to serve others and make meaningful societal contributions, there has been a common theme, people struggle to know where they fit in and often people have challenges finding trusted, easy ways to make a difference,” said Russell. “fathom exists to address this desire and to create enduring, life-changing impact, both in the communities where fathom operates, and in the lives of the travelers who embark on one of our journeys, allowing for unique impact experiences before, during and after the trip.”

Dominican Republic identified as fathom’s first social impact partner destination
The new brand selected the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic as its first impact destination based on a number of factors: genuine needs, infrastructure to support social initiatives, enthusiasm for the fathom concept by locals at all layers of society including country officials, its location (proximity to Miami and Amber Cove, the new Dominican destination being launched by Carnival Corporation in October 2015), its innate beauty. The fathom team worked closely with local Dominicans, resident Dominican business and educational leaders, Dominican government officials and leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country to fully understand the societal needs and determine the best way for fathom to participate in addressing those needs.

fathom has initially identified two lead impact partners in the Dominican Republic, Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc. (IDDI). Both organizations have deep roots in the country, including long-established programs and strong social connections in the northern Dominican region. fathom travelers will work alongside these organizations across the northern region to help Entrena and IDDI programs achieve much greater impact. Because fathom will regularly transport hundreds of travelers to the country, the support will be significant and sustainable. fathom travelers will make long-lasting contributions to the community.

A portion of every ticket purchase price will go directly to fathom partner organizations to cover on-the-ground activities in the Dominican Republic, including supplies, travel, personnel to assist with the activities and funding to support the partner organizations’ overall missions. This sustained partnership between fathom and its impact partners allows these organizations to have predictable revenue streams to even further amplify their missions.

"Having led the Dominican based non-profit IDDI, for more than 31 years, I have worked with a very large number of corporations ranging from energy, sugar, chocolate and cigar producers, as well as tourism and free-trade zone companies,” said David Luther, founder and executive director of IDDI, a non-profit organization with the mission to help alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas of the Dominican Republic. “I have always insisted on a horizontal relationship based on a win-win partnership, but on many occasions it has taken a great deal of convincing on our part for these to understand the benefits to the private sector of improving the overall well-being of Dominican society.

“fathom and Carnival Corporation are without a doubt the exception. They are making a strategic bet on contributing to the development of the Dominican Republic incorporating this initiative into their business plan, which is to me a remarkable step for a corporation of their size. This is not just Corporate Social Responsibility, but a vision of bringing people together as a catalyst for change, be they passengers on a ship or members of low-income communities – very, very innovative. In this, fathom and Carnival Corporation are demonstrating they are willing and capable of creating experiences that transform lives."

“Entrena is excited about and committed to the fathom concept of impact travel for the north coast of the Dominican Republic,” said John Seibel, founder and president, Entrena, an organization specializing in training, education, and social enterprise. “We believe this concept will enhance sustainable development efforts to foster widespread prosperity among these Dominican communities by improving lives, creating hope for the future, and providing profound and meaningful experiences for fathom and for all Carnival Corporation passengers.”

fathom experience focuses on education, environment & economic development
The fathom journey is a carefully designed, holistic impact journey and will begin with one to two days at sea preparing hearts and minds for the on-the-ground experience, including a wide variety of fun and engaging impact-readiness experiences, ranging from an orientation to the Dominican Republic, conversational Spanish lessons, impact activity training, creative workshops, personal enrichment and much more. fathom travelers may build their own schedules and will have the flexibility each day to choose from a variety of social impact and recreational activities. At launch, the company will offer a selection of fun, immersive, and meaningful activities focused on education, the environment, and economic development along with all the incredible experiences the Puerto Plata region innately has to offer.

Impact activities will vary in length from a few hours to multiple days. Depending on their passions and skills, travelers may spend up to three days on causes they care about, working alongside locals and fathom partner organizations on one or more projects suitable for a wide range of ages, levels of skill and amounts of physical activity. Sample activities may include:

Economic Development: Help cultivate cacao plants and organic fertilizer at a nursery and assist a local women’s cooperative in producing artisan chocolates. This activity is designed to produce high-quality plants to increase farmers’ yields through sustainable practices and, importantly, create income opportunities for rural women. Over time, this activity will allow the cooperative to increase their workforce so the cooperative can achieve economic independence.
Educational: Work side by side with Dominican school teachers in classrooms to teach English skills and help boost students’ academic performance; and participate in adult-learning programs to teach small groups of local community members conversational English to help improve their ability to qualify for jobs that provide a higher level of income.
Environmental: Provide hands-on support to craft and build water filters using clay, a natural resource found locally, and deliver those filters to families throughout the community to provide healthy drinking water. With limited piped water supply, this will make a meaningful difference in the quality of people’s lives throughout the region.

“Together we aim to help communities and travelers flourish by providing immersive, life-changing experiences for travelers and allowing our partner communities to prosper,” said Russell.

When not participating in social impact activities, travelers will enjoy exploring the beauty of the region, experiencing the many Dominican beaches and sites of interest, or participating in any one of an array of different recreational activities available to the entire family of Carnival Corporation brands visiting Amber Cove and the Puerto Plata region. The onboard experience will be customized to this unique travel market, including specialized, purposeful retail options and amenities, as well as geographically inspired menus, music, and additional onboard cultural immersion. While docked in the Dominican Republic, the fathom ship will serve as a comfortable, convenient home-base for travelers. Additional information can be found at

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Frisco RoughRiders & Carnival Cruise Line Host 'Kids Day' Event For Local Youth

MIAMI, June 3: Carnival Cruise Line, 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 this weekend at Dr Pepper Ballpark for 500 children and their families from across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The second annual “Carnival Kids Day” was part of the cruise line’s multi-year partnership with the ‘Riders.

Carnival and the RoughRiders hosted kids from a number of local youth organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club, Captain Hope’s Kids, CASA of Collin County, CASA of Denton County, CASA of Tarrant County, Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County, City House, Inc., Frisco Family Services, Make-A-Wish North Texas and HopeKids North Texas, for an unforgettable day of fun.

During Sunday’s RoughRiders vs. the Tulsa Drillers game, 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 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 photo booth that allowed fans the chance to pose for their own take-home baseball card
• A fun-filled inflatable obstacle course and an appearance by the RoughRiders’ mascots Deuce and Daisy
• A Cracker Jack stand offering free samples of the classic ballgame snack

“The second annual Carnival Kids Day was a big success and offered deserving children and their families an opportunity to enjoy a memorable day at the ballpark,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with the RoughRiders and give these kids and families an unforgettable day at the ballpark.”

As the Official Cruise Line of the Frisco RoughRiders, Carnival is hosting a number of fun activities throughout the 2015 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.

The “Carnival Crush Inning” promotion started this weekend, giving lucky contestants the chance to the win a free Carnival cruise, based on when a ‘Riders player gets a hit during a designated “Crush Inning.” 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.

For tickets to see the RoughRiders in 2015, please call (972) 731-9200, e-mail   or visit For additional information on Carnival Cruise Line, visit

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The Grass is Greener with Celebrity Cruises

MIAMI, June 3: As vacationers crave outdoor luxury for their summer getaways, Celebrity Cruises has unveiled the "Grass is Greener," a campaign rooted in highlighting ways in which Celebrity's upscale cruises are unmatched. The campaign highlights the modern luxury brand's most iconic, compelling attributes. The most unique of thesethe Lawn Club, a half-acre of real grassis the backdrop for the message that everything is better with Celebrity. This month, guests can order picnic experiences to enjoy on their private verandas and indulge in special onboard events, including jazz concerts at the onboard Lawn Clubs and evening parties, with more to come. Celebrity also has brought back its most popular offer, "123go!"

"When we say 'the grass is greener with Celebrity Cruises,' we mean that everything someone could want on their vacation is more authentic, more stylish, and more compelling with Celebrity," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Real grass growing on our top decks, private and spacious veranda staterooms, our Suite Class, and globally inspired cuisinethese are some of the reasons why the grass is greener with Celebrity. Through this campaign, we want to celebrate everything that makes Celebrity the ultimate modern luxury vacation, and tell that story to affluent travelers, their friends and families who are considering a cruise to any of the world's seven continents."

Guests can choose from two private veranda picnic experiences—for brunch or sunset. Curated by Celebrity's new James Beard-featured chef, the picnic experience is the first of its kind for vacationers sailing with the premium cruise line, and will roll out across the fleet beginning in June, to be available on all ships in July (except Celebrity Xpedition). Today, Celebrity has surprise Grass is Greener events in store for sailing guests, including evening celebrations, complete with entertainment, food and the new Grass is Greener cocktaila summer-themed blend of cucumber juice, vodka, agave nectar, jalapeno, lemon juice and basil.

With one more reason to sail with Celebrity, guests may benefit from the return of 123go! if they book by July 5, 2015, for select cruises departing on August 2015 through April 2016, and choose one of three benefits: onboard credit of up to $300 per stateroom, free "Classic Beverage Packages" for two, or free gratuities for two. For full details about 123go!, visit

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Azamara Club Cruises Announces Major Ship Upgrades

MIAMI, June 3: Azamara Club Cruises, the boutique line delivering an up-market experience at sea with unparalleled destination immersion on land, announced today that its two shipsAzamara Journey and Azamara Questwill undergo “major upgrades” while in dry dock in early 2016, reinvigorating the onboard guest experience. The mid-size ships that accommodate up to 686 guests will be outfitted with new venues, public spaces and technologies to bring fresh services and amenities to guests. From bow to stern, there is no area on the line’s ships that will be untouched. The upgrades include all staterooms and suites, dining, spa and entertainment. The Azamara Journey will enter dry dock in January 2016 in the Bahamas, and the Azamara Quest in April 2016 in Singapore.

“We are best known for our Land Discoveries programs which have enabled us to boast an unprecedented number of repeat guest bookings as well as strong back to back voyage reservations. As we continue to evolve our destination immersive offerings, we also want to ensure our onboard experience is modernized to meet guests’ every need,” says Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “We can’t wait for our ships to come out of dry dock as these major upgrades are going to have an instant impact on our guests’ experience. Each corner of the ships will have a new look and feel, setting a brighter, more contemporary ambiance, while the new venues will bring guests fresh experiences. We’re also investing in new onboard innovations and have paid close attention to the smallest of details. We really are redefining our onboard experience in every way.”

For more information, visit

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Seabourn Reveals Details of Signature Lounge On Board Seabourn Encore

Seattle, June 2: With the debut of Seabourn's newest ultra-luxury vessel, Seabourn Encore, scheduled for December 2016, the award-winning small ship cruise line is heightening anticipation by revealing the renderings of the lounge space on the ship: The Club. As envisioned by design icon Adam D. Tihany, who is fashioning interiors throughout Seabourn Encore, The Club will unfold as an elegant and inviting lounge with striking elements to catch the eye and a world class program of music, dancing and entertainment.

"One of the hallmarks Seabourn is known for is the private country-club-like ambiance that adds to the very social and friendly atmosphere aboard our ships," said John Delaney senior vice president, marketing and sales of Seabourn. "From pre-dinner drinks to late-night dancing, The Club is the perfect spot for guests to gather and mingle and enjoy their journey as they travel the globe aboard the world's finest ultra-luxury vessel."

Expanding on his vision throughout Seabourn Encore, Tihany has employed modern design elements to cast The Club as a bespoke and engaging space. The multifaceted lounge, located on Deck 5 of the 12-deck vessel, will be arrayed with contemporary seating with yachting references visible in the furnishings, design elements and balustrade. Modern illumination will highlight the line's extensive array of complimentary spirits and liquors and will provide a central focal point for the bar.

The Club will feature custom-crafted cocktails and fine wines, canapés served at cocktail hour, and live music before and after dinner. In addition, The Club will house an intimate, full-gaming casino, where guests wishing to indulge in games of luck and skill can test their odds on a variety of slot machines, and blackjack and roulette tables. Adding to the elegant atmosphere, guests will have direct access to the Club Terrace, an intimate exclusive aft pool lounge area set immediately behind The Club. This al fresco space will beckon guests to relax in the plunge pool or either of two whirlpool spas. At the heart of the Club Terrace will be an elegant fountain illuminated through the night for viewing from inside or out. Meanwhile, deck service will be available throughout the day providing refreshments, bites, or whatever else guests desire.

Seabourn Encore will feature modern design elements and innovations consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and is expected to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda. Seabourn has revealed renderings and updates about Seabourn Encore via a dedicated microsite: Filled with imagery, details and updates on the ship's progress, including "sunsets until launch," the microsite offers an inside look at the most exciting Seabourn launch in years. Additional details, news and images will be revealed on the site on an ongoing basis. For more details, visit

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Discover Shackleton's White Continent With Silversea Expeditions

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, June 1: Silversea Expeditions, the luxury expedition cruise line, will be operating a series of four unique Shackleton Centenary Voyages to Antarctica in 2015 and 2016 to mark the 100-year anniversary of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition. It is one of humankind's most remarkable stories of leadership, determination, and survival. Shackleton's ship, the Endurance, sailed from Plymouth, U.K. towards Antarctica when, in 1915, just 200 miles from the Antarctic mainland, she was trapped between two ice floes in the Weddell Sea. The crew initially stayed put, hoping that the winds would change and free the ship but, after 10 months, they were forced to abandon the Endurance and strike out across the ice in search of help. The story of how Shackleton led his men in the Weddell Sea party over ice and ocean to safety is one of the greatest survival tales in human history.

The itinerary for Silver Explorer's 18-day Shackleton Centenary Voyages, sailing roundtrip from Ushuaia, offers guests the possibility of exploring on foot or by Zodiac the lands and waterways of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Elephant Island, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Voyage departure dates are November 14, 2015, and in 2016: January 3, February 2, and December 22. Guests will discover how six men traveled in a tiny lifeboat across the Southern Ocean to fetch aid for their stricken crewmates and hear how the rest of the party managed to endure 138 days in one of the most inhospitable places on earth.

On these special voyages, guests will not only follow in the footsteps of the great explorer Shackleton but also encounter wild- and birdlife like nowhere else in the world, including rockhopper, gentoo, king, Adélie, and chinstrap penguins. They will watch for seals, dolphins, whales, albatross, shearwaters, and petrels as well as visit historic sites of the early explorers and remains of whaling operations accompanied by a team of experts that includes eminent naturalists, geologists, biologists, historians, and ornithologists.

Silversea's long-term partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) will bring other benefits for those booked to travel on Silver Explorer. An exclusive onboard exhibition will show a specially curated gallery of artifacts and images by the Endurance's official photographer Frank Hurley, who documented the expedition on film and through iconic still photography. There will also be a major exhibition, "The Enduring Eye: the Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley," which will be held at the headquarters of the RGS in London from the end of November 2015 to the end of February 2016, before a U.K. and international tour commences in 2017. Silversea guests sailing on Antarctica voyages will have VIP access to the exhibition, with special tours arranged pre- or post-departure for the White Continent.

The Society's historical collection relating to Antarctica provides a wealth of artifacts, photographs, archives, maps, charts and books which tell the story of the Endurance and Antarctica from its beginnings to the present day with a focus on the early explorers who gave us a greater understanding of the White Continent.

The Shackleton Centenary Voyages aboard the all-suite Silver Explorer include gourmet food, wine and spirits, the personalized service of a butler, and all excursions including Zodiac tours. A special Shackleton centenary commemorative dinner, with an elegant keepsake menu, will include such delicacies as a mousseline of Dover sole, beef Wellington, Antarctic bass filet, and a bitter-chocolate soufflé. To find out more about Silversea's Shackleton Centenary Voyages to Antarctica, visit:

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Seven Holland America Line Ships Offer More Ways to Experience the Panama Canal in 2015–16

Seattle, WA, June 1: Six Holland America Line ships will sail 11 full transits of the Panama Canal and one ship will offer 14 itineraries that feature both the southern Caribbean and partial transits during fall 2015 through spring 2016. With cruises ranging from 10 to 22 days, Holland America Line provides guests more in-depth ways to experience the Panama Canal than any other cruise line. In the 2015-16 season, the combined full and partial transits will carry more than 44,500 guests through the lakes and locks of the man-made marvel.

“To witness the fascinating operation of the Panama Canal from the deck of a Holland America Line ship is the ultimate way to experience one of the great engineering wonders of the world,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Our diverse itineraries bring travelers to all seven continents and to many of the world's most compelling marvels; and with 25 departures we offer more ways to experience the Panama Canal than any other line."

Go Between Oceans on a Full Panama Canal Transit
From September 2015 through May 2016, ms Amsterdam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Veendam, and ms Westerdam will make 11 transits between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from six departure cities. Guests can set sail from Boston, Mass.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; San Diego and San Francisco, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; and Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to the Panama Canal transit, the 14- to 22-day cruises include a variety of port calls along the way, making each voyage all the more enriching. On the full transits the ships visit destinations in Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and the Caribbean, along with Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private Bahamian island.

Partial transits include the ‘ABC’ Islands
Besides the full transits, ms Zuiderdam will make 14 partial transits between November 2015 and April 2016. The 10- and 11-day “Panama Canal Sunfarer” itineraries include an exploration of the canal’s Gatún Lake and a combination of southern Caribbean calls in Aruba, Bonaire, Columbia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Panama, and Half Moon Cay.

Go ‘On Location’ in the Panama Canal
On each Panama Canal cruise, guests can enjoy the On Location enrichment program that brings local experiences onto the ships through lectures, presentations, cuisine and entertainment. Guests can learn to weave with palm fronds during Caribbean sea days; and while the ship is in the Panama Canal an expert historian recounts the history and drama of constructing the famous waterway. A Panamanian market and buffet on the Lido Deck is a highlight of the voyage, where guests can indulge in regional delicacies such as empanadas, arroz con pollo, ropa vieja and pastel de tres leches.

For more information, visit

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