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

tLinda Coffman's
Linda Coffman
Author & Cruise Authority

Cruise Lines & Ships Articles & Advice

Cruise Reviews

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

Cruise Essentials:

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

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

Cruisers' favorites:

Cruise Travel Magazine
Cruise Travel

Porthole Cruise Magazine

Have a question or a review to submit?

Copyright © 1995-2014
Linda Coffman,

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

Cruise News
July 1-31, 2014

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

Return to's Cruise News Index & Cruise News Archive

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

Cruise Diva

Silversea to Host Rare Buccellati Exhibition

Monaco, July 31: Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises' Silver Cloud will welcome Luca Buccellati, of the legendary jewelers' family Buccellati, on board her October 13 sailing. He will present a rare exhibition of one-of-a-kind jewelry creations. Sharing in Silversea's rich Italian heritage, the Buccellati family, who opened their first boutique in Milan nearly a century ago, continues to design exquisite pieces with unparalleled craftsmanship.

"We're delighted to be able to share this collection with our guests, and also have an actual member of the Buccellati family on board to reveal the history of his family and this remarkable brand," said Cristina Levis, Silversea's head of business development. "Buccellati creations have been exhibited at such prestigious galleries as the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and Washington's Smithsonian Institution National Museum, so it's truly a special honor for us."

During this 9-day eastern Mediterranean cruise, Silversea guests will enjoy intriguing lectures and view displays of rare jewelry pieces. And, as an exclusive benefit, guests will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to custom-design their own piece of exquisite jewelry with a member of the Buccellati family.

The voyage sails roundtrip from Istanbul with calls in Kavala, Thessaloniki, Volos (gateway to the famous rock towers and monasteries of Meteora), Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Constanza, and Nessebur, and includes passage through the historic Dardanelles and Bosphorus. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list 

Windstar Cruises Launches New Cruisetours

Seattle, July 30: Windstar is launching its first-ever series of Cruisetours, premiering in Asia and Arabia. For those wanting to extend their cruise vacation with a land experience, the Cruisetour collection allows guests to experience the wonders of the Far East without the stress of planning the travel. Starting at $5,299 Cruisetours include: the cost of the cruise, flights to the Cruisetour city, accommodations in a luxury hotel, excursions with an expert guide in each new city, select meals, and transfers. Guests who book by August 29, 2014 will receive up to a $1,000 airfare credit per person, free hotel and transfers on arrival, a complimentary exclusive Private Event on the voyage crafted solely for Windstar guests, and savings of up to 50% of the cruise fare.

“We’ve applied our philosophy of exploring hidden harbors and secluded coves to our land experiences, handpicking the best excursions to taste the local culture,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “Our Cruisetours take care of all the logistics, so our guests can truly relax and enjoy the destination at hand in exclusive Windstar style, both on land and at sea.”

Singapore, the Malay Peninsula, & Myanmar Cruisetour
• Cruisetour Experience: Travel to a world long closed to western eyes to enjoy the mystical beauty of Myanmar on this 4-day journey. Guests will visit Yangon and Bangan to explore one of the world’s most revered UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Bagan Archaeological Zone. Highlights include a trip to Phwar Saw Village where locals welcome participants into their homes and share cooking secrets, using the market’s fresh ingredients.
• Cruise: Singapore & the Malay Peninsula, 10-day round trip voyage from Singapore
• Hotels: 5-Star Sule Shangri-La and 5-star Bagan Lodge
• Special Tip: For a limited time receive a FREE hot air balloon ride in Bagan.

Southeast Asia Unveiled & Angkor Wat Cruisetour
• Cruisetour Experience: Journey to the ancient temples in Cambodia on this 3-day excursion. Guests will start in Siem Ream, with visits to Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Tonle Sap Lake, and Les Artisans d’Angkor. Highlights include a traditional Cambodian feast with a cultural dance performance and a guided tour on board a small shaded vessel moving between floating homes and small fish farms.
• Cruise: Southeast Asia Unveiled, a 10-day voyage from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City.
• Hotels: Le Meridien Angkor in Siem Reap and Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
• Special tip: The Angkor Wat Cruistour can be booked either pre- or post- cruise.

Wonders of Civilization Cruisetour
• Cruisetour Experience: Explore the ancient city of Cairo on this 5-day excursion. Guests will leave the ship in Luxor before traveling to Cairo to tour the ancient Pyramids of Giza and the mysterious Sphinx. Local highlights include a tour of the Solar Boat, the ritual vessel believed to provide transport for the Pharoah’s soul to the afterlife, as well as a camel ride through the desert.
• Cruise: Wonders of Arabia, a 6-day voyage from Athens to Safaga
• Hotels: Hilton Luxor, and 5-Star Mena House Hotel in Giza
• Special tip: Join Windstar CEO Hans Birkholz as he hosts this Wonders of Arabia voyage.

To learn more about Windstar’s Cruisetours, visit

Back to the top of the news list 

Princess Cruises to Add New Ship to Fleet

SANTA CLARITA, CA, July 30: Today Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation , announced that it has reached an agreement with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a new ship, which will enter service in 2017. The as-yet unnamed 143,000-ton vessel, which will be built at an all-in cost of approximately 600 million euros, will carry 3,560 passengers, and feature the successful design platform introduced by sister ships Royal Princess in 2013 and Regal Princess which entered service this past May.

The new ship will include the signature elements that have become synonymous with the Princess Cruises guest experience such as a soaring central atrium hub with multiple dining, entertainment and retail venues; the adults-only Sanctuary; Movies Under the Stars cinema experience, and 80 percent of all staterooms with balconies. The ship will also include some brand-new innovations to enhance the guest experience even further.

"We are incredibly excited to add this fabulous new ship to our already formidable fleet," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Royal Princess and Regal Princess have been exceptionally successful for us and have received numerous accolades from guests, travel agents and media, so adding another sister ship will enable us to continue to expand our innovative vacation experiences. We're very pleased that this new ship order is an indication of the confidence that our parent Carnival Corporation has in the future of the Princess brand." She added that this is the only new order Carnival Corporation & plc anticipates for 2017.

Specific features and amenities for the ship, along with deployment details, will be revealed in the coming months. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line Introduces All-Inclusive Package

MIAMI – July 30, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line is debuting a new All-Inclusive package that takes the line’s signature Freestyle Cruising to a new level, providing guests yet another way to customize their cruise vacation. Representing more than $2,400 in value per stateroom, Norwegian’s All-Inclusive package is a first for major cruise lines, and is available for a limited time for all 2015 sailings* fleetwide**, for new reservations made from Aug 4, 2014 through Aug 29, 2014. The comprehensive package includes signature dining, alcoholic beverages, unlimited soda, shore excursions, internet access, service charges and more.

“Based on the popularity of our Fly, Cruise and Stay vacations, along with our onboard dining and beverage packages, we are now offering the first All-Inclusive package for our guests who want to experience all that the freedom and flexibility of Freestyle Cruising has to offer,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Always an innovator, we are making it easy for those that want everything included in their cruise vacation with the option of our All-Inclusive package.”

The All-Inclusive package is available for 2015 sailings from three to 14 days in length, is priced by the number of days, and is available for all stateroom categories, including the Haven by Norwegian. When adding the All-Inclusive to a selected cruise, guests receive 10 percent off the cruise fare. For a seven-day cruise, the $899 package includes the Ultimate Dining package; the Ultimate Beverage package; shore excursion credit of $200 per person, pre-paid daily service charges; a 250-minute Internet package per person; 20 photos of any size; chocolate-covered strawberries; a bottle of wine; one bingo session and six bottles of water. For cruises from three to five days, the shore excursion credit is $100 per person; and for sailings from 9-14 days, the package includes 12 bottles of water.

As part of the All-Inclusive offer, Norwegian’s Ultimate Dining package provides complimentary access to one of the line’s specialty restaurants every night of the cruise, including Cagney’s, the popular steakhouse; French bistro, Italian restaurant, Moderno Churrascaria, Asian-Fusion restaurant and more. The Ultimate Beverage package includes a variety of spirits, cocktails, draft beer, bottled beer and glasses of wine up to $10 and unlimited fountain soda and juices at all bars, lounges, restaurants and on Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.

For more information or to book a 2015 cruise with the All-Inclusive package, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit

* Includes all scheduled 2015 sailings from three to 14 days (excludes back to back sailings)
** Does not include Pride of America; not applicable to bookings made in Continental Europe or United Kingdom.

Back to the top of the news list

Plans Announced For Second Phase of Silver Galapagos Refurbishment

Monaco, July 29: This September, Silversea Expeditions' all-suite Silver Galapagos will undergo a second phase of refurbishment during a month-long dry dock in Panama. The renovations will entail a complete refurbishment of all suites, corridors and the Explorer Lounge. An elegant blue and beige color palette will create an interior décor echoing that of the recently refurbished Silver Discoverer.

These further enhancements will achieve a consistency of interior design within the expedition fleet. The 100-guest Silver Galapagos underwent an initial partial refurbishment last year, highlighted by the installation of new in-suite bathrooms featuring rich marble detailing, plus a new fitness center, massage room, beauty salon, outdoor Jacuzzi, and Silversea's signature outdoor dining venue, The Grill.

Silver Galapagos sails Saturday to Saturday on seven-day voyages through the Galápagos Islands, following either a western or north central route. These expedition cruises offer adventurous travelers the life-enriching chance to discover a wild, pristine paradise that has long been regarded as a natural laboratory of evolution. On complimentary expeditions ashore guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galápagos National Park Service), Silversea's guests may experience up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife that includes sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colorful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin's famous finches.

Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Offers PressReader's Digital Newspaper and Magazine Service

SEATTLE, July 29: Seabourn is enhancing the travel experience for guests with the launch of PressReader Offline, a customizable digital newspaper and magazine service, on its award-winning, intimate ships - Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. Through this breakthrough technology, Seabourn is offering guests complimentary, full editions of their favorite global newspapers and magazines from a selection of more than 2,500 that guests can download on personal iOS or Android mobile devices while in port or at sea.

"We pride ourselves on giving our guests the highest quality amenities, as well as all of the comforts of home during their cruising vacation," said Seabourn President Richard D. Meadows. "With PressReader Offline, we are setting new standards for customer service by keeping our guests connected to the daily news and events from around the world - a service they've come to expect during their travels."

The PressReader app supplies newspapers and magazines in their entirety, including all printed sections and even advertising. Seabourn ships will download the requested content daily, and store it on the ships' local network, so guests can access their choice without going online. Guests may download the app in advance or while they are on board. In addition, each ship will make available a small supply of tablets with PressReader already downloaded for use by guests who do not carry personal mobile devices.

Based on a recent PressReader study about consumer reading habits, more than half of U.S. adults own a tablet and are reading their news on a mobile device. People now travel with their devices and having access to news is becoming an expectation while on land and at sea. PressReader Offline is a new digital solution designed specifically for the cruise industry to meet the needs of today's cruise guests. This revolutionary service gives guests the luxury of reading same-day newspapers or enjoying a selection of magazines on their tablet or mobile smartphone anytime during the cruise - whether relaxing by the pool, eating breakfast deck side or lounging in their suite.

PressReader Offline technology offers a customizable solution to businesses that don't have continuous access to a broadband network, such as an airline's in-flight entertainment system or on cruise ships. Businesses customize their library of publications on a designated offline server and make them available to their consumers via the local Wi-Fi. For more details about the award-winning Seabourn fleet, or to explore the worldwide selection of Seabourn cruising options, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Pacific Northwest: Un-Cruise Adventures’ Weeklong Adventure Cruises Explore
Coastal Washington & British Columbia

Seattle, WA, July 29: Sailing from Seattle, Washington, Un-Cruise Adventures explores the scenic islands, shorelines and glacial fjords of coastal Washington’s and British Columbia’s Salish Sea on two adventure cruise itineraries offered in fall and spring. An adventure savings of up to $200 per couple is offered on fall 2014 and all 2015 sailings.

The 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer expedition vessel sails a weeklong Explore! Olympic Wilderness & San Juan Islands itinerary exploring south Hood Canal, Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands. The 22-guest Safari Quest yacht sails a weeklong British Columbia Yachters’ Paradise itinerary exploring the San Juan Islands, Canada’s Harmony and Gulf Islands and Princess Louisa Inlet. Both itineraries sail roundtrip Seattle, WA from September–November and April–May. Travelers booking a cruise departing fall 2014 through fall 2015 by Sept 30, 2014, save $100 per couple on the Wilderness Adventurer and $200 per couple on the Safari Quest.

“The waterways, fjords and islands of the Pacific Northwest are a playground for boaters and well known for gunkholing adventures,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “We keep a flexible schedule as we search for wildlife and each day’s new adventure.” Gunkholing is a term widely used in the Northwest to describe a style of boating among the islands—meandering from place to place seeking out isolated anchorages.

Highlights of the coastal Washington itinerary include hiking in Olympic National Park (a World Heritage Site), Mt. Constitution and Washington State Parks. Explore the scenic San Juan Islands by land and sea with time ashore on Orcas, Sucia and San Juan Island. In Quilcene Bay, a local family hosts a home-grown oyster and clam tasting. Guests enjoy free time in scenic Friday Harbor and discover Native cultures in Port Townsend.

The British Columbia itinerary explores Harmony Islands, Jervis Inlet, Gulf Islands and Victoria, BC; San Juan Islands and Friday Harbor, WA. A highlight is extended time in Princess Louisa Inlet, a stunning fjord with mile high cliffs rising up from the water and Chatterbox Falls at the head of the inlet. A port call in Victoria allows free time for shopping, a visit to the Empress Hotel or the Royal British Columbia Museum before departing for High Tea at Butchart Gardens.

Outdoor adventures await on both itineraries—kayaking, hiking, skiff excursions, shore walks, paddle boarding. Eyes are kept peeled for marine life and seabirds such as gray whales, orcas, seals, sea lions, pigeon guillemots and bald eagles.
For additional information, visit .

Back to the top of the news list

Princess Cruises Debuts "Chocolate Journeys"the Most Delectable Chocolate Experience at Sea

SANTA CLARITA, CA, July 29: Princess Cruises today announced a delectable new partnership with internationally acclaimed master chocolatier and pastry designer Norman Love. "Chocolate Journeys," the line's new onboard chocolate experience will entice guests with an impressive array of onboard chocolate offerings among which are custom-crafted desserts, chocolate and wine pairings, and exquisite chocolate bites created by one of the top names in artisan chocolate.

Since debuting Norman Love Confections in 2001 after a notable career as a pastry chef for many luxury resorts, Love has since received wide-spread recognition for his hand-crafted, chocolate-making artistry including being named as one of the "top 10 chocolatiers in North America" and creating "the best ultra-premium chocolates in the nation." His sea-going chocolate creations will debut this fall aboard the new Regal Princess for her inaugural Caribbean season, and will continue to roll out to the rest of the Princess fleet throughout the next year.

"Around the world there's incredible passion for chocolate, as evidenced by ever-growing consumption and the plethora of specialty varieties," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "So we're excited to partner with one of the best chocolatiers in the world to bring some additional moments of decadence and delight to our guests with truly amazing chocolate experiences that we know they'll love!" Swartz added that she believes the partnership with Norman Love was meant to be, because of the line's close association with the iconic TV show "The Love Boat" and Princess' reputation for romance. "Based on his name alone this is a perfect match," she said.

In a recent national survey conducted by the cruise line about people's passion for chocolate, Princess found that 58 percent of women would choose chocolate over sex; 69 percent surveyed have frequent chocolate cravings; 53 percent surveyed would turn to chocolate over a friend when feeling sad; two thirds surveyed (67 percent) eat chocolate more often when they're happy than when they're stressed; 81 percent agree that chocolate improves their mood; and 84 percent would like to receive chocolate as a gift.

"One thing is for certain, chocolate makes people happy," said Love. "So what I create and what Princess Cruises offers its guests are quite similar - what could make people smile more than savoring decadent chocolate creations while enjoying their cruise vacation? I think we have a winning combination."

Love has personally trained Princess Cruises' pastry team to deliver this unprecedented chocolate experience across the company's fleet of ships.

"Chocolate Journeys" will offer Princess' guests the following sweet experiences:

Decadent Desserts - Norman Love has produced 15 chocolate dessert designs for Princess Cruises that will be offered on a rotational basis in the ships' main dining rooms, specialty restaurants (Sabatini's and Crown Grill) and Chef's Table experience. Examples of the desserts include a Chocolate Tart with Vanilla Mousse and Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond and Pistachio Nougatine, and a truly unique Chocolate Tiramisu with Mascarpone Cream and Espresso Gelato that shouldn't be missed. (Complimentary in main dining rooms. Specialty restaurants carry a cover charge.)

Chocolate & Wine Pairings - In Vines, Princess' signature wine bar, wine and chocolate enthusiasts alike can sample Norman Love's exquisite Black(TM) Single Origin Dark chocolates paired with specific wine varietals designed to enhance the tasting experience, all selected by Love. (Extra charge)

Captain's Welcome Reception Treats - Guests will be able to toast the start of their cruise with a glass of bubbly along with "Chocolate Love Pop" truffles created by Love, at the signature welcome reception hosted by the Captain. (Complimentary)

Chocolate Libations - Throughout the ships' lounges and bars, guests can splurge on a number of decadent chocolate drinks including a Chocolate Salted Caramel Hard Shake, Chocolate Bacon Bourbon Bliss or a Chocolate Chile Margarita. (Extra charge)

Chocolate Dessert Demonstrations - Princess pastry chefs will treat guests to entertaining and informative demonstrations so they can learn some simple tips for creating tasty chocolate treats for their family and friends back home. (Complimentary)

Chocolate Petits Fours at Formal Night - Chocolate bites designed by Love will accompany the dessert menu presented to guests following the formal night dinner, for guests to enjoy as they peruse the evening's sweet endings.

Norman Love Renowned Boxed Chocolates Available for Purchase - Passengers wishing to bring some of Norman Love's exquisite chocolate confections home to family or friends (or to enjoy themselves during the cruise) will be able to purchase these extraordinary creations in the onboard shops.

Chocolate Spa Treatments - Because chocolate is not only for eating, the ship's Lotus Spa will offer guests the opportunity to relax with the aroma of pure bliss by offering a Chocolate Indulgence Body Treatment combining a chocolate renewal scrub, whipped chocolate body mask and chocolate massage oil. (Extra charge)

Additional information about Princess' new Chocolate Journeys experience can be found at

Back to the top of the news list

New Crystal Boutique Adventures Offer Hidden Peek At Coveted East Coast Sites

LOS ANGELES, July 29: A private tete-a-tete with Van Gogh's The Starry Night. Sharks and champagne. Giant and princess...scallops? Smelling the roses at Charleston's most famous private garden. Such unique experiences are among six Boutique Adventures Crystal Cruises is offering on Crystal Serenity East Coast/New England cruises from September to November 2014. The Boutique Adventures--extremely intimate shoreside outings not available on any other cruise line--include new excursions in Boston and New York City. Thanks to Crystal's connections, exclusive access and behind-the-scenes insight will be available in:

New York City
-- A Private Tour of an empty MoMA - While the Museum of Modern Art is closed to the public, a local art historian will take the small group on a private tour, followed by independent exploration, through an unparalleled collection of masterpieces by such greats as Van Gogh, Rousseau, Chagall, Dali and Warhol.
-- Skybox at Daniel: Manhattan's Most Exclusive Chef's Table - Crystal has reserved seats for just four culinary connoisseurs to not only dine at Chef Daniel Boulud's three Michelin-Starred DANIEL, but indulge in an eight-course tasting menu at the chef's table--a glass-enclosed Skybox suspended above the main dining room and open kitchen.

-- Behind the Scenes at the New England Aquarium - An expert museum educator will walk guests through how the aquarium is run behind-the-scenes, from feeding to nursing sick fish, with opportunities to pet sharks and stingrays, then sip champagne at "America's Oldest Restaurant."
-- The Flavors of Boston's North End - A local Italian foodie expert will guide travelers' stomachs through Boston's Little Italy with a "cuisine crawl" of authentic neighborhood markets, and a climatic final meal at award-winning local fave, Antico Forno restaurant.

Magdalen Islands
-- Cooking Lesson with Locavore Chef Johanne Vigneault - lles de la Madeleine's most renowned regional gourmet chef and restaurateur will teach participants secrets only the locals know for preparing the islands' delectable giant and princess scallops in a comprehensive gastronomic experience that travels from epicurean marketplace to hands-on kitchen to tasty table.

-- "Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden" - Step inside the incredibly-manicured backdrop of this renowned book, with a private garden tour personally led by Mrs. Whaley's daughter.

"Whether it's VIP treatment for a sought-after luxury experience, or simply the opportunity to gain insights only a local expert would know, the Boutique Adventures allow our well-traveled guests to experience destinations in ways that most travelers cannot, and band with each other in the shared intimacy of the adventure," says John Stoll, vice president of land programs.

Five, 7- and 10-day cruises sail from Boston, New York City and Quebec City Sept 19 and 29; Oct 6, 16 and 26, calling in Baie-Comeau, Magdalen Islands, Sept-lles, and Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Saint-Pierre & Miquelon, France; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island. A sixth East Coast cruise sails from New York to Miami for fourteen days starting Nov 5, visiting Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Turks & Caicos, Caracao, and Aruba. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line Entices Travelers to Book Early with ‘Explore 4’ Rewards
on Select 2015 & 2016 Cruises

Seattle, July 28: Holland America Line knows the trend for savvy travelers is to book vacations well in advance. To encourage those early bookings the line is returning with its popular “Explore 4” savings program that is better than before with four exceptional offers on select 2015 and 2016 sailings. The “Explore 4” benefits include a free Signature Beverage Package and free Pinnacle Grill dinner for guests booking an ocean-view and higher category stateroom, free or reduced cruise fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom on select sailings and 50 percent reduced deposits. Suite bookings also receive a $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom ($150 per person) and a free Canaletto dinner in addition to the other four offers. Guests may receive all of the offers when booking a qualified itinerary.

“This years ‘Explore 4’ promotion is the best we’ve ever had and is all about rewarding guests who book their cruise vacation early with our four excellent value-added benefits and great cruise fares,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “By planning ahead, next year’s cruise becomes an even better value, plus helps ensure the best choice of sailing dates and staterooms.”

Guests looking to take advantage of the “Explore 4” program can choose select itineraries to nearly all of Holland America Line’s global destinations, including Alaska and Alaska/Yukon Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico/Hawaii, Panama Canal and South America/Antarctica.

Suite Travelers Receive Added Perks
Guests who book a cruise in a suite category stateroom will receive all of the above offers, plus an additional $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom ($150 per person) and a free Canaletto dinner. Canaletto is the line’s alternative dining venue that showcases cuisine from regions throughout Italy and a new “small plate” menu designed around contemporary new serving styles with flavorful dishes designed for sharing.

Good Things Come in Fours for Holland America Line Cruisers
Guests who book an ocean-view or higher category stateroom receive a free Signature Beverage Package that is valued at $100 per stateroom ($50 per person), per day and includes wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, sodas and coffee. The beverage offer is only applicable on the cruise portion of Alaska Land+Sea Journeys.

“Explore 4” offers also include a complimentary dinner at the award-winning Pinnacle Grill for guests who book an ocean-view or higher stateroom. The Pinnacle Grill features a tantalizing menu highlighting steak and seafood dishes like filet mignon and broiled Alaska king salmon, yet also includes favorites like roasted pumpkin risotto and grilled lamb chops.

With free or reduced cruise fare for third and fourth guests on select sailings, a family of four can take a vacation to Europe, a tropical sailing to the Caribbean or longer journey to an exotic destination. In the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexico, fares for seven-day cruises start from $799 for the first and second guests in an ocean-view stateroom, and the third and fourth guests sail free. A seven-day European cruise starts at $1,199 for an ocean-view stateroom for the first and second guests, and the third and fourth guests sail free.

By taking advantage of the 50 percent reduced deposit offer, guests will have more flexibility and time before paying the final deposit on their cruise. For more information about Holland America Line and the “Explore 4” offers, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines & Dallas Cowboys Announce Multi-Year Partnership

MIAMI, July 25: Carnival Cruise Lines, Texas' largest cruise operator, has announced an exclusive, multi-year partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, making Carnival the Official Cruise Line of the legendary NFL franchise and expanding the cruise operator's already wide-ranging commitment to the Texas market. Carnival, which will homeport a third year-round ship in Galveston next year, will enjoy extensive branding and visibility through Dallas Cowboys-owned properties and bring its signature brand of fun to fans.

In its new role as the Official Cruise Line of the Dallas Cowboys, Carnival will add fun and memorable fan experiences to tailgaters at home games with its new "Fun Crew," which tours the lots at AT&T Stadium on branded golf carts, offering exciting prizes to Cowboys fans, including the chance to win one of many cruise vacation giveaways. The Carnival brand will also be highly visible on digital marquees in the stadium and on other Cowboys media and online properties. Fans can also get in on the fun through a host of social media promotions and activities, giveaways and more.

The line's partnership kicks off this week with the exclusive sponsorship of the Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Daily News Show airing regionally on Fox Sports Network. During nightly camp updates, new "Carnival 1st & Fun" segments offer an inside look at the fun firsts Cowboy's reporter Lindsay Cash experienced on her recent Carnival cruise vacation. The segments will also be available at Carnival's YouTube page at

"Carnival is far and away the most popular cruise line in Texas and millions of Texans have enjoyed exceptional vacations sailing with us from our homeport in Galveston," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. "Partnering with one of the most successful and storied franchises in professional sports makes perfect sense for us as the avid Cowboys fan base is among the most spirited in the country, much like Carnival guests."

"We're thrilled to bring Carnival Cruise Lines aboard as our Official Cruise Line," said Jerry Jones Jr., chief marketing officer of the Dallas Cowboys. "We look forward to enhancing the game-day experience for every Cowboys fan with the unique brand of fun and entertaining activities Carnival will be bringing to our home games."

The Dallas Cowboys partnership coincides with the line's upcoming deployment of a third year-round ship, Carnival Freedom, to Galveston in February 2015. With the addition of Carnival Freedom, which recently underwent an extensive multi-million dollar makeover, Carnival expects to carry more than 600,000 guests a year from Texas--the most of any cruise operator. Carnival Freedom will join Carnival Magic in offering 7-day Caribbean cruises and Carnival Triumph which sails on 4- and 5-day voyages to Mexico. For additional information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Celebrate 50 Years of Charles Darwin Research Station

NEW YORK, NY, July 25: Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Charles Darwin Research Station with complimentary round-trip airfare to Galápagos from New York or Miami. The special free air promotion is available to guests that book the 10 day Galápagos aboard National Geographic Endeavour and the 16 day Galápagos Aboard National Geographic Endeavour + Peru's Land of the Inca on any available September to December 2014 departures.

Consistently rated one of the world’s best island destinations, Galápagos is like being in the ultimate zoo without the fences, and offers unprecedented proximity to wildlife that exhibit no fear of humans. Every Lindblad-National Geographic expedition visits the Charles Darwin Research Station, which is celebrating 50 years of their important work breeding giant tortoises for repatriation, and scores of programs to protect the island and wildlife. Guests will see the results of their efforts firsthand—while walking among endemic giant tortoises in the wild.

Lindblad Expeditions’ profound knowledge of the destination provides guests a unique, richly immersive experience and a life changing adventure, with a top team of naturalists, plus a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor and an undersea specialist on each voyage.

The special free air promotion is available for bookings made by Sept 30, 2014; is valid for new bookings only, and subject to availability. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Rolls Out Cruise Schedules For Fall 2015, Early 2016

SEATTLE, July 24: Seabourn has announced an exciting schedule of cruises for fall 2015 and winter/spring 2016, featuring more than 70 departures of 10 to 97 days in length. The three intimate, award-winning ships, Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest, will comprise the newest, most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry when it sails to exotic locales on all seven continents.

The schedule includes 25 destinations that are either maiden calls or ports that the cruise line has not visited in years. Among the notable additions are visits to South Korea, China and Japan aboard Seabourn Sojourn, as well as the South Pacific Isles on Seabourn Odyssey. Perennial favorites such as Antarctica, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Arabia, Canada/New England, the Panama Canal and the Caribbean will also be offered. In addition, the schedule includes visits to destinations featuring shore excursions to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Itineraries, fares and additional details for Seabourn's complete 2015 and winter/spring 2016 schedule of cruises can be viewed on

"From the historic and culturally-rich destinations in Asia to the 'white continent' of Antarctica, our ships will sail to many of the most desirable and exotic locales in the world," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "We're proud to be visiting so many ports with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and through our partnership with UNESCO, our guests will have opportunities to gain privileged insights into these unique cultural and natural places."

Seabourn Sojourn will offer a variety of exciting voyages in the Far East in late 2015 and early 2016. Its Asia season begins with a 14-day voyage roundtrip from Singapore to Malaysia & Myanmar, where the ship will stay in Yangon (Rangoon) for three days to allow ample time for guests to explore the amazing city and the 2,000-plus temples at Bagan and the fabled city of Mandalay. Seabourn Sojourn's 2015 holiday cruise will be one of the line's most popular itineraries, a 14-day Vietnam & Thailand voyage from Singapore to Hong Kong, which includes Christmas Day in Cambodia (Angkor Wat) and New Year's Day in Halong Bay. Other highlights include visits to a bevy of islands in the Philippine Archipelago and a 21-day round-trip from Hong Kong to Korea, China and Japan.

Seabourn Odyssey will offer four 12-day voyages sailing round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale to the "Uncommon Caribbean." The line's only Caribbean voyages of the season, these cruises offer the ideal opportunity for guests to experience the line's signature "Caviar in the Surf" beach barbecue events. Following a 20-day Holiday Panama Canal voyage from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles, Seabourn Odyssey will sail a 77-day circumnavigation around the South Pacific, visiting a string of exotic isles, including French Polynesia, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii, as well as New Zealand and Australia.

Seabourn Quest begins the fall season exploring the splendor of North America's northeast seaboard with a series of 10-day Canadian Maritimes & New England voyages featuring an overnight in Québec City. The ship then heads down the Atlantic coast to the Amazon and then along the Brazilian coast to arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to start its third season in Antarctica & Patagonia. The four 21- to 24-day voyages will sail between Valparaíso, Chile and Buenos Aires, and include six days of cruising and complimentary landings on the Antarctic Continent.

Back to the top of the news list

First-Ever MASTERCHEF Cruise Unveils Event Itinerary

SEATTLE, July 23: The MASTERCHEF Cruise announced today the line up of programming for the first-ever 7-day culinary journey sailing to the Caribbean Nov. 8-15, 2014 on Holland America Line's ms Westerdam. Foodies and fans of America's most-watched cooking competition series MASTERCHEF (Mondays, 8:00pm ET/PT on FOX) will hone their culinary skills while getting up close and personal with their favorite series talent with over 15 hours of event programming including Pressure Tests, Mystery Box Challenges, MasterChef Trivia, Tag Team Challenges, cocktail parties, meet and greets and more.

Presented by Shine America, producers of the television series, and events company Life Journeys, the MasterChef Cruise features a series of live demonstrations and over 13 hours of original programming with world-class Michelin-Star Chef and MASTERCHEF Judge Graham Elliot, series winners Luca Manfe and Christine Ha, the first ever MASTERCHEF JUNIOR winner Alexander Weiss and other fan-favorite talent including the current season's winner (to be revealed in the Sept. 15 finale).

Guests will become immersed in the live MASTERCHEF experience with exclusive programming:

-- Christine Ha's Mac-n-Cheese at Sea Competition - Christine will judge the first-ever Mac-n-Cheese at Sea competition where guests will compete to create their best version of the classic dish.
-- Blind Taste Test with Graham Elliot - A few willing audience members will have the opportunity to test their taste buds with a challenge led by Graham.
-- Tag Team Sushi - Get a front-row seat to the famous Sushi Tag Team Challenge featuring the MasterChef Stars.
-- Master the Macaroon with Alexander - Learn to master Alexander's signature dessert, the ever-elusive Macaroon.
-- Designer Pasta - Learn how to make authentic, homemade pasta with a demonstration from Luca Manfe.
-- Craft Cocktails - Create craft cocktails with MasterChef season 5 winner.
-- The Finale - The MasterChef Stars compete in an all-out food war to see who is crowned the first-ever "MasterChef Cruise Champion."

Many of the activities will take place in the ship's Vista Show Lounge, which showcases state of the art video equipment, high-resolution LED panels and a seating capacity of 856 guests.

"MASTERCHEF fans and food lovers alike are in for an incredible journey with hours of original live programming that both entertains and instructs," said Vivi Zigler, President Shine 360 Degrees and Digital, Shine America. "Guests will get to live the 'MASTERCHEF experience with some of the most skilled and beloved talent from the series, while also honing their own culinary skills."

The cruise will set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and visit Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I; and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's award-winning private island in the Bahamas.

Special guest Chef Graham Elliot is a "Navy brat" who has traveled the world and all fifty states. He's a creative culinary wizard with an innate ability to successfully juxtapose four-star cuisine with humor, wit and out-of-the-box artistry. At age 27, he became the youngest Four Star Chef to be named in any major U.S. city and was named one of Food & Wine Magazine's "Best New Chefs" in 2004. He also is a judge for MASTERCHEF and MASTERCHEF JUNIOR. In recent years Elliot has accrued several prestigious accolades, including multiple James Beard Foundation nominations as well as being named one of Crain's Chicago Business list of "40 Under Forty." Elliot operates the award-winning Graham Elliot Bistro in Chicago.

MASTERCHEF culinary talent featured on the cruise include:

-- Season 3 Winner Christine Ha, who will share Asian-inspired dishes from her best-selling cookbook.
-- Season 4 Winner Luca Manfe, who will demonstrate homemade pasta and Italian sauces.
-- Season 1 Junior Winner Alexander Weiss, who will share tips on creating cakes and desserts.
-- Season 3 Contestant Becky Reams, who will discuss plating and food styling.
-- Season 4 Contestant Bri Kozior, who will share her knowledge of vegetarian dishes.

As a special highlight, cruisers will meet the winner of Season 5, who will be revealed in the season finale airing Monday, Sept. 15 at 8:00pm PT on FOX. Fares for the 7-night "MasterChef" cruise include all of the exciting activities associated with the MASTERCHEF Cruise shipboard programming. For full details regarding this exciting event and to make reservations, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Playtech & MSC Cruises Extend System Partnership to Cover MSC Preziosa

LONDON, July 23: Playtech, the international designer, developer and licensor of software and services for the online, mobile, TV and land-based gaming industries, is proud to announce the extension of its relationship with MSC Cruises, which has ordered the Neon Casino Management System for its newest ship, MSC Preziosa.

The Neon Casino Management system is an enterprise-level system for land-based gaming operators that can be tailored to suit specific needs and is designed to cover a range of gambling operations. MSC Cruises already operates Neon on four of its 12 cruise ships, with a central data warehouse at MSC headquarters providing MSC Cruises management with in-depth analysis across all connected ships.

Neon is integrated with the ships' Fidelio Cruise property management system, enabling guests to use their room key to charge transactions to their bill using a multilingual app at each slot, an iPad at each table or via the cashier. Neon also enables MSC Cruises to offer a range of bonus programs designed to stimulate entertainment and increase participation, including free and bonus play offers, virtual prize draws, targeted jackpots and hot seat bonuses.

MSC Cruises Corporate Casino Operations Manager Sergio Porcasi said, "We chose Neon because the system offers a modern platform that can cover our entire operation, both on board and ashore. We felt that Playtech was able to adapt the solution to our specific needs, and the first phase of the implementation has been a success. As we continue to roll out Neon across our fleet, we are confident that we'll be able to control our casino operations more effectively and offer an even more exciting entertainment option to our guests."

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line & Sixthman Announce Fall & Spring Lineups For Music Festivals at Sea

MIAMI, July 23: Norwegian Cruise Line and Sixthman, the industry leader in music festivals at sea, have announced the full line up of fall 2014 and spring 2015 festivals sailing from Miami onboard the beautiful Norwegian Pearl. Each of these unique, music-themed cruises are sure to give fans an intimate experience with their favorite artists, featuring outdoor performances, meet and greets, personal Q&A sessions and much more. With artists ranging from Heart to KISS, to 311 and Kid Rock, there is floating festival for every musical taste.

Highlights from the upcoming Fall and Spring seasons are as follows:

Debuting in fall 2014, Grammy Festival at sea presents “Women Who Rock featuring Heart, the Indigo Girls, Emmylou Harris and many more. This group cruise sets sail Nov 4-8, 2014.
Country-Pop fans will not want to miss ACM’s 2013 New Artist of the Year and Vocal Duo of the Year, Florida Georgia Line as they take to the seas with Nelly, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Three and more for “This is How We Cruise” from Nov 8–12, 2014.

Music fans also have some exciting events to choose from in the spring, including Sixthman’s longest running festival The Rock Boat XV, The World’s Greatest Floating Music Festival at Sea, hosted by Sister Hazel and featuring Barenaked Ladies, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Will Hoge, who will be joined by more than thirty other artists for four days of non-stop entertainment. Cruisers will sail from Miami to Cozumel on this weekend getaway perfect for music lovers, January 24 – 28, 2015.

With love in mind, Train’s Sail Across the Sun will include musical performances by the host as well as a full lineup of special guests, including Andy Grammer, A Great Big World, The Wailers and more along with wine tastings and cooking demonstrations from some of America’s top chefs. The cruise departs on February 13, 2015, making it the perfect Valentine’s Day celebration setting sail over the long President’s Day weekend.

A perfect venue for festivals, Norwegian Pearl features a spectacular outdoor stage area and expansive pool deck. In addition, Norwegian Pearl offers access to 13 bars and lounges, 19 dining experiences, one outdoor pool, four hot tubs, and an award-winning fitness center and spa. Guests looking for more active amenities can visit the outdoor climbing wall, bowl a few frames at the on board bowling alley, shoot hoops on the sports court or tempt lady luck at The Pearl Club Casino.

The full line up for the Fall ’14 season includes:

• KISS Kruise IV Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2014, Featuring KISS, Cheap Trick (pre-party only onboard ship Oct 30th), Leogun, Purson, Big Rock Show, Priss, Needeep
• GRAMMY Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock! Nov. 4-8, 2014, Featuring Heart, Emmylou Harris, Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin, Estelle, Skylar Grey, Joan Osborne, Mindi Abair
• Florida Georgia Line Cruise Nov. 8-12, 2014,, Featuring Nelly, Thomas Rhett, Colt Ford, Tyler Farr, Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Tree, Black Stone Cherry, Canaan Smith, Chris Lane, Maggie Rose, Russell Dickerson, Clare Dunn, and Jacob Powell
• Mad Decent Boat Nov. 12-16, 2014,, Featuring Diplo, Major Lazer, Flosstradamus, Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead, DJ Snake, Benny Benassi, Big Gigantic, and more.
• Simple Man Cruise VIII Nov. 16-20, 2014,, Featuring Lynyrd Skynrd, Blackberry Smoke, Foghat, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Lukas Nelson and P.O.T.R., Drake White and the Big Fire and more.

The full line up for Spring ’15 includes:

• Sandy Beaches Cruises – Jan 10-17, 2015,, Featuring Delbert McClinton, Marcia Bell, Paul Thorn, The Mavericks, Fred Eaglesmith, Wayne Toups and more.
• Cayamo 2015 – Jan 17-24, 2015,, Featuring Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, Buddy Miller, Kacey Musgraves, Shawn Colvin, and more.
• The Rock Boat XV – Jan 24-28, 2015,, Featuring Barenaked Ladies, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sister Hazel, Will Hoge, Red Wanting Blue, Kris Allen, and more.
• Sail Across the Sun 2015 – Feb 13-17, 2015,, Hosted by Train along with The Wailers, Andy Grammer, A Great Big World, comedian Michael Ian Black, chefs Chris Cosentino and Ryan Scott and more to be added soon.
• Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea – Feb 17-21, 2015,, Featuring Joe Bonamassa, John Hiatt, Robben Ford, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Ana Popovic, Joanne Shaw Taylor.
• 311 Caribbean Cruise, Sound System Jamaica – Feb 25-March 1,, Featuring 311, Dirty Heads, Pepper and More.
• Kid Rock’s 6th Annual Chillin’ The Most Cruise – March 2-6, 2015,, Featuring a host of surprise bands to be announced onboard.

For more information on these special events, visit

Back to the top of the news list

New Series of Longer Cruises From Galveston & San Juan to be Offered on Carnival Triumph in Winter 2015

MIAMI, July 22: Following strong consumer response to Carnival Triumph’s first-ever longer length voyages from Galveston and San Juan, the cruise line has added three new 10- to 12-day cruises departing in winter 2015 and visiting beautiful and exotic destinations throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Additionally, Carnival Magic will offer a series of 4- to 6-day voyages from Galveston in winter 2015, marking the first time that the 130,000-ton ship has offered a short cruise program from Texas.

“Based on feedback we’ve received from our guests and valued travel agent partners, we are pleased to be able to provide even more itinerary choices from Galveston,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “These new longer cruises on Carnival Triumph visit a variety of beautiful destinations while offering more time to enjoy the ship’s many fantastic and exciting features. At the same time, the 4- to 6-day sailings on Carnival Magic are the perfect choice for those looking for a shorter cruise featuring all the wonderful innovations aboard our newest class of ships,” he added.

The newly scheduled voyages on Carnival Triumph include three appealing options:

• An 11-day southern Caribbean voyage from Galveston to San Juan Feb. 9-20, 2015, calling at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica and St. Maarten.
• A 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean voyage from San Juan to Galveston Feb. 20 - March 2, 2015, with visits to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix and Falmouth (Jamaica).
• A 12-day Journey of Discovery cruise round-trip from Galveston March 2-14, 2015, featuring Grand Cayman, Limon (Costa Rica), Colon (Panama), and Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia). From Colon, guests will have the opportunity to take an optional excursion for an up-close view of the wonders of the Panama Canal. The call at Santa Marta will mark Carnival’s first-ever visit to this beautiful seaside city.

The three voyages can be combined to create a 33-day seagoing adventure visiting 15 ports across two continents.

During these voyages, guests can relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, visit centuries-old historical landmarks and attractions, and enjoy a diversity of shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities, all while experiencing Carnival Triumph’s impressive array of Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment innovations. These include Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican venue, the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, and more.

The three new voyages complement Carnival Triumph’s previously announced series of 10- and 11-day cruises from Galveston and San Juan in 2015 and 2016. Two 11-day cruises sail from Galveston to San Juan Oct. 24, 2015, and Jan. 16, 2016, and two 10-day cruises will operate from San Juan to Galveston Nov. 4, 2015, and Jan. 27, 2016.

While Carnival Triumph is sailing these longer length cruises, Carnival Magic will, for the first time, offer a series of 4- to 6-day voyages from Galveston in February and March 2015, providing consumers an opportunity to experience the ship’s many unique features on a short cruise program. Aboard Carnival Magic, guests can experience SkyCourse, a suspended ropes course offering breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, as well as the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Prime classic American steakhouse, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub and a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live music venue called Ocean Plaza.

Carnival Magic’s short cruise program will encompass two 4-day cruises to Cozumel departing Feb. 19 and March 5, 2015; two 5-day cruises to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico, departing Feb. 14 and 23, 2015; and two unique 6-day cruises to Cozumel, Progreso and Costa Maya departing Feb. 8 and March 9, 2015.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for new departures aboard both Carnival Triumph and Carnival Magic. For additional information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

New Off-The-Beaten-Path Tours Highlight Silversea's 2015 Voyages

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, July 22: Eleven new overland adventures in some of the world's most exotic locales are among more than 60 extended mid-voyage excursions ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises will be offering in 2015. Unlike a partial-day shore tour, single- or multiple-day inland adventures offer a more intimate, in-depth and personal encounter with the local people, history, wildlife, and natural attractions that lie just beyond the ports of call.

"We always strive to offer fresh, innovative programs that provide a variety of authentic onshore options," said Darius Mehta, Silversea's vice president of air and land programs. "These new mid-voyage adventures are carefully designed for travelers seeking one-of-a-kind experiences that will take them further into a region, giving them plenty of time to actively engage in its scenery, activities, and cultural heritage."

From the soaring Andes to the glistening lakes of Patagonia, from the beaches of Polynesia to the glaciers of New Zealand, from the grasslands of Kenya to the monuments of India, Silversea's new overland adventures offer rare access to transformational places and experiences. On these exciting overland tours, participants may come face-to-face with a giant tortoise in the Galapagos, track mountain gorillas in Africa, or marvel at unique marine life from the balcony of an overwater bungalow in Polynesia.

The following is a sampling of the new mid-voyage land adventures for 2015:


Tsavo East National Park Bush-Walking Safari (2 Days / 1 Night -- Depart / Rejoin Ship: Mombasa)
The Tsavo East National Park offers a vast and untapped arena of arid bush washed by the azure and emerald meandering of the Galana River. Visitors who explore the diversity of the park on foot may observe lions, cheetahs, serval cats, zebras, elephants, monitor lizards, and more. Two game drives are included. Available on Silver Whisper's March 6 voyage (#4506).

Gorillas in the Forest (6 Days / 5 Nights -- Depart: Cape Town / Rejoin Ship: Luanda)
A truly inspiring experience awaits visitors to the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Nestled deep inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwest Uganda and home to half the world's mountain gorillas, the sanctuary's tented camp is the ideal base for launching guided safaris to track and interact with these amazing primates in the wild. Available on Silver Whisper's April 5 voyage (#4508).


Taj Mahal & Jaipur – A Magical Journey to India (4.5 Days / 4 Nights -- Depart: Phuket / Rejoin Ship: Colombo)
There are few places in the world that evoke such profound impact on its visitors as the Taj Mahal in Agra. Once the capital of the great Mughal Empire, Agra itself is well worth a visit for its repository of some of the Mughals most famous monuments. And there are few places in the world that compare with the Pink City of Jaipur, where guests stay on this magical journey into India's wonders. Available on Silver Whisper's March 6 voyage (#4506).


Over-the-Water Overnight (1.5 Days / 1 Night -- Depart: Moorea / Rejoin Ship: Papeete)
Perched above the water on stilts, the overwater bungalows of Moorea's InterContinental Resort & Spa offer a unique escape. They are iconic, thatch-roofed symbols of a tropical paradise. Guests can watch marine life from their balcony or climb down steps to snorkel directly in a Pacific lagoon. Available on Silver Whisper's Jan 5 voyage (#4501) and Silver Spirit's sailing of January 22 (#5502).

New Zealand Explorer (4 Days /3 Nights -- Depart: Akaroa / Rejoin Ship: Milford Sound)
New Zealand's highest peaks, longest glaciers, and many of its most beautiful lakes are revealed with scenic drives through its two famous national parks – Mount Cook and Fiordland – both located in the Te Wahipounamu area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Memorable highlights include a ski plane flight to the Tasman Glacier, a cruise on Lake Tasman, and a jet boat excursion on the Shotover River. Available on Silver Spirit's Feb 12 voyage (#5504).


The Andes & the Train to the Devil's Nose (5 Days / 4 Nights -- Depart: Manta / Rejoin Ship: Callao)
Travelers can immerse themselves in the cultural and natural diversity of Ecuador's majestic Andean region, witnessing up-close its grassy highlands, cloud forests, mountain lakes, active volcanoes, colonial towns, and haciendas. Highlighting the program is the Devil's Nose, a thrilling train ride through the Andes featuring a 45-degree descent. Available on Silver Shadow's Jan 7 voyage (#3501).

Galápagos Adventure (5 Days / 4 Nights -- Depart: Manta / Rejoin Ship: Callao)
There is no place on earth quite like the Galápagos Islands, carved out by roaring volcanoes and titanic geothermic upheavals. Visitors may come face-to-face with a giant tortoise, or admire blue-footed boobies and sunbathing sea lions. The program includes two days exploring the islands by boat, plus accommodations at the Royal Palm Hotel, located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Available on Silver Shadow's Jan 7 voyage (#3501).

Patagonia Express (3 Days / 2 Nights -- Depart: Punta Arenas / Rejoin Ship: Ushuaia)
The southern cone of South America, known as Patagonia, is home to ice-clad mountain peaks, ancient forests, dazzling lakes, and immense glaciers. Visitors can experience this spectacular scenery in the national parks of Torres del Paine, in Chile, and Los Glaciares, in Argentina, both included in this tour. Available on Silver Shadow's Jan 25 voyage (#3502).

The optional mid-voyage land programs feature deluxe accommodations (if overnight stays are required), all transportation, transfers, guided sightseeing and some meals. Prices for the above-listed adventures range from $1,899 to $8,999 per person, based on double occupancy. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Un-Cruise Adventures Releases New 2015 Brochure of Adventure Cruises

Seattle, WA, July 22: Small ship cruise line operator Un-Cruise Adventures has released a new printed brochure detailing adventures through April 2016 in Alaska, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Hawaiian Islands, Columbia & Snake Rivers, coastal Washington and British Columbia. New on the horizon are cruise adventures in the Galápagos Islands and Costa Rica/Panama. The 72-page brochure may be ordered online and is currently being mailed out to requestors and travel agent partners. The line’s fleet of seven adventure vessels carries 22-84 guests on adventure cruises in remote and scenic destinations and one replica coastal steamer carries 88 guests on a Northwest river cruise with an eye on history. The brochure offers a first peek at upcoming destinations—Galápagos in 2016 and Costa Rica/Panama in late 2015.

“New adventures in Central and South America are a welcome addition, especially for returning guests who are ready for a new Un-Cruise destination,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “These small group adventures will also be trips of a lifetime with our unique multi-sport exploration in nature’s most enriching hideaways.”

Quito & Galápagos: Debuting in 2016, an inclusive 9-night vacation in Ecuador visits two UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Quito and Galápagos Islands. The adventure begins with two nights at Casa Gangotena, a 31-room boutique hotel in Quito’s historic center and a full day of dining and tours exploring the historic city. The seven-night island cruise sails from San Cristóbal Island aboard the 48-guest La Pinta and visits both island favorites of Española and Genovesa. Other islands visited include Santa Cruz, Bartolomé, Santiago and Chinese Hat Islet.

Departure dates in 2016 include Feb 17, March 16 and 30, May 25, July 6, Aug 3, Sept 14 and Nov 9. Adventures include transfers, air between Quito and Galápagos, fees/taxes, tours and adventure activities, wine/beer/spirits on board La Pinta. For 2016, rates begin at $8,995 per person for the inclusive land tour and island cruise adventure. Extensions will include a 3-night cruise on the Napo River in the Amazon and a six-night journey to Machu Picchu.

The 64-guest Safari Voyager will sail inclusive weeklong adventures exploring Costa Rica and Panama beginning in December 2015. Details are pending.

Southeast Alaska – From April-September, two boutique yachts and four small ships sail adventure cruises from homeports of Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau with few, if any, port calls and a focus on outdoor adventure, nature and wildlife.

Hawai‘i—The 36-guest Safari Explorer visits four islands from November-April. Weeklong adventures sail between Moloka‘i and Hawai‘i and visit Lana‘i and Maui. An inclusive vacation option, the Safari Explorer is the only small overnight passenger ship in the islands.

Mexico’s Sea of Cortés—From November-March, the 84-guest Safari Endeavour explores the marine-rich waters of the sea and scenic, remote desert islands on weeklong adventures from San José del Cabo, Baja.

Columbia & Snake Rivers—From April-November, the 88-guest S.S. Legacy plies the rivers roundtrip Portland, Oregon visiting towns and points of historical interest on a scenic weeklong river cruise stretching from the verdant west to Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. All shoreside tours are included. A new wine cruise itinerary is offered on four departures.

Coastal Washington & British Columbia—In spring and fall, the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer explores the islands and shoreline of coastal Washington and the 22-guest Safari Quest ventures north to explore British Columbia and Princess Louisa Inlet. Both adventure voyages sail from Seattle, Washington.

Travelers may uncover more details in the brochure. Kids in Nature cruises are planned for families traveling with children 12 and younger. Theme cruises – birding, craft beer, music, Lewis & Clark, marine biology, photography and wine—are peppered throughout the sailing calendar. Each vessel’s deck plan, cabin categories and amenities appear in the back of the brochure. To order the new brochure, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Desmond Tutu To Join Crystal Spring 2015 South Africa Voyage

LOS ANGELES, July 22: World-renowned peace and human rights crusader Archbishop Desmond Tutu will bring an especially intimate perspective of South Africa and the world aboard Crystal Cruises' March 13, 2015 voyage through Tutu's African homeland. The 1984 Nobel Laureate was considered his country's "voice of conscience" throughout its struggle against apartheid, and is still one of world's leading voices for freedom and justice. Via a complimentary presentation and interactive Q & A session, the Archbishop will share personal insights about South Africa's history and topics like "Bridging the Chasm between Black and White," as well as speak to universal themes that can inspire all, such as the search for spiritual values in today's world and the power of unity and goodness in business. The World Cruise segment sails from Perth to Cape Town, where Tutu is Archbishop Emeritus.

"Our inquisitive guests are engaged travelers who will relish the rare opportunity to experience South Africa through the eyes of one of the country's most precious sons...and perhaps take some of his inspirational spirit home with them," says Bret Bullock, vice president of entertainment.

The son of a schoolteacher and a domestic worker, service to others is part of Desmond Tutu's heritage. Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Tutu has advocated for human rights and equality, acting as a spiritual and political leader during South Africa's perhaps most tumultuous period in history. As General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the often controversial Tutu pursued his objective to end apartheid and achieve racial reconciliation vigorously, and became internationally renowned for his efforts toward the cause. He continued to bridge South Africa's racial gap as Bishop of Johannesburg and Archbishop of Cape Town.

Still making headlines in the name of justice, Mr. Tutu now works to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS and Climate Change as chairman of the Elders, a nonpartisan group of statesmen from around the world. Most recently, he made headlines by joining Ireland's President Mary Robinson in the fight for environmental justice at the world's first International Conference for Climate Change. The Archbishop boasts some of the world's highest honors for his contributions to humanity, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as honorary degrees from more than 130 worldwide universities.

Tutu is just one of 50 stimulating speakers planned for Crystal's 25(th) Anniversary "Silver Celebration" World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity. The 108-day voyage is comprised of six 16- to 21-day segments sailing between Miami, Lima, Auckland, Perth, Cape Town, and Rio.

This segment visits several South African cities central to Archbishop Tutu's legacy, including Durban, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay (maiden call) and Cape Town (overnight). Other calls include Mauritius/Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius; St-Denis, Réunion, France; Ambodifotatra and Taolanaro, Madagascar (both maiden calls); Maputo, Mozambique, and the embarkation port of Perth, Australia. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

MSC Cruises & Chicco Announce New Partnership

Fort Lauderdale, FL, July 22: MSC Cruises and Chicco have teamed up to bring even more happiness on vacation with a cruise tailor-made for babies. The brands, two global flag-carriers of Italian excellence, have joined forces to make a range of Chicco’s outstanding products available to families in custom-built children areas on six ships of the expanding MSC Cruises fleet. MSC Cruises and Chicco partnered to offer an ideal vacation for families with very small children free of any practical worries. Indeed, the well-being of babies is at the heart of the partnership and everything has been thought of in order to help parents handle the schedule of a baby’s day: feeding, napping, changing, and all other necessities.

“We are enthusiastically starting this new journey with Chicco, a dynamic company that marries an innovative approach with experience and tradition,” declared Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “With this new collaboration MSC Cruises improves even more its family-oriented offers and services. We always have the safety of our guests in mind, especially children, and Chicco embodies exactly that, as well as the ‘made in Italy’ label that both our companies proudly represent across the world. We offer tailor-made vacations mixed with incomparable hospitality. The partnership with Chicco is set in the long term as they will play an essential role also in the design of specific and innovative kids’ areas in the ships that are being built in France and Italy.”

“It is with equal enthusiasm that we have embraced the collaboration with MSC Cruises, a partner and a project in which we have found the same values and the same attention that we give to families,” commented Claudio De Conto, CEO of Gruppo Artsana to which Chicco belongs. “We are delighted and proud to have contributed our experience to design with MSC Cruises an onboard holiday fit for toddlers. Our expertise is the result of constant research with experts and especially with parents, as they know the needs of their children better than anyone else. It is a valuable knowhow that we have shared with MSC Cruises because for more than 50 years our biggest reward has been the smile of children - especially when on vacation with their parents.”

MSC Cruises has made available on board a wide choice of Chicco childcare equipment, including strollers, bottle warmers, and baby backpacks for shore excursions, to make cruising even simpler for families with babies and toddlers. MSC Cruises will also give families a “Baby Globetrotter"–-a printed guide packed with information on services and mini-club activities, game ideas, kids menus, and handy tips for family excursions according to the ship’s itinerary. In addition, the Chicco Observatory, a developmental research lab focusing on the under threes, will provide the special training of MSC staff who will manage onboard childcare and give advice to families, in order to enjoy a relaxed and entertaining family cruise.

The collaboration between MSC Cruises and Chicco will be enhanced with the building of special areas on two Lirica class ships within the Renaissance Program*. These areas will also be found on the new ships to be built by STX France** and FINCANTIERI***.

*About the Renaissance Program
The $273 million Renaissance Program will see the four MSC Cruises ships in the Lirica class (MSC Armonia; MSC Sinfonia; MSC Opera; MSC Lirica) physically extended and refitted between September 2014 and November 2015 to increase their capacity and provide far enhanced onboard services. The work, entrusted to Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, will furnish each of the four ships with numerous new entertainment options, technological enhancements, more shops and nearly 200 new cabins per ship.

**About the ships to be built by STX France
The two units are due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. The ships will be 1033 feet long and 141 feet wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600 tons, boasting 2,250 cabins for guests, nearly 820 crew cabins, and accommodating 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.

*** About the ships to be built by FINCANTIERI
With a length of 1060 feet, a width of 135 feet and a height of 230 feet, the new Seaside ships built by FINCANTIERI will have a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and will accommodate up to 5,300 passengers plus 1,413 crew members. The ships will boast 2,070 guest cabins, 759 for crew members, and 468,230 square feet of public areas available. The two ships will be delivered to the company at different times: the first in November 2017, the second in May 2018.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit online at

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line Enriches Onboard Dining With Culinary Favorites, New Menus & More Variety

MIAMI, July 21: Guests setting sail with Norwegian Cruise Line this summer and beyond will have more choices and flexibility in the line’s complimentary dining venues. These new offerings are a further development of the Norwegian NEXT program, focused on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet, with the goal of elevating the guest experience and building on the success of the line’s two newest ships: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. The culinary enhancements include the debut of multiple new menus in the ships’ main dining rooms that offer an increased variety of selections and contemporary dishes; a dedicated “Chocoholic Night” one evening per cruise, featuring specialty chocolate-based desserts in each restaurant; and the ability for guests to make main dining reservations up to 90 days in advance.

“Dining is an essential part of cruising and an experience that our guests look forward to,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO. “We want to make sure that we are exceeding our guests’ expectations with culinary delights in our complimentary dining venues. These enhancements with such a wide variety of choice along with guest favorites and of course, chocolate, are bringing our complimentary dining venues to new heights.”

The new regionally-focused complimentary dining room dinner menus vary by ship itinerary and change each evening of the sailing, ensuring that guests have a wider selection of dishes to choose from during their cruise. Featuring a sleeker design along with wine pairing recommendations and anecdotal culinary history, the new menus display several sections – starters, classic dishes, main courses, chef’s signature dish and dessert – and offer an increased variety, with up to 12 starters and up to 15 entrees per evening. The menus have been carefully developed by Norwegian’s culinary team with a focus on balancing popular traditional dishes like prime rib, chateaubriand, rack of lamb and escargot with current dining trends and heightened guest expectations. The new offerings include increased seafood options such as grouper, barramundi, sushi and crab dishes. Contemporary dishes include mojito shrimp ceviche, seared Atlantic scallops with fennel puree, and braised beef short ribs with Cajun shrimp. Additionally, guests can enjoy new lunch menus in the main dining room.

In the popular, complimentary dining venue, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on board Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jewel, the company is introducing exclusive specialty dish nights, such as prime rib, all-you-can-eat baby back ribs, and chicken and waffles. These specialty dish nights give guests an alternative dinner venue in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. One of the most popular additions to the new dining program is sure to be Norwegian’s “Chocoholic Night,” which offers a choice of up to seven signature chocolate desserts in every restaurant one evening each cruise. Ranging from the delectable warm chocolate volcano to the decadent chocolate Nutella pot de crème and the white chocolate strawberry mousse, the desserts are sure to satisfy any cruiser’s sweet-tooth.

In keeping with the line’s Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian is also making it easier than ever for guests to further customize their vacation experience by offering the ability to make reservations for complimentary dining rooms up to 90 days prior to the cruise date. With reservation times at 5:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, and 8:30 pm, the new system provides guests the option of selecting a dining time during any evening of their cruise, for a party size of up to 12 guests.

“After a trial on Norwegian Breakaway, the main dining reservation option has been met with overwhelming support from our guests,” said Frank Weber, vice president of product development for Norwegian Cruise Line. “The program has been extremely successful because it allows guests to select their experiences ahead of time if they wish to, or they can choose to simply walk up to the restaurant they wish to dine at once onboard. It’s another way to offer more freedom and flexibility to our guests.”

The new menus and concepts will be available on most of Norwegian’s fleet by July 31, and onboard Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sky and Pride of America by early 2015. For more information on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian NEXT program, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Historic First: Crystal Cruises To Sail Elusive Northwest Passage In 2016

LOS ANGELES, July 17: Crystal Cruises is introducing a new expedition-style voyage traversing the Arctic Ocean via the legendary Northwest Passage--one so mysterious and remote (500 miles north of the Arctic Circle), that explorers spent centuries seeking the passage, until it was first completed successfully by Roald Amundsen just over 100 years ago. Crystal will be the first luxury cruise line to ever navigate the route, maneuvering through 900 miles of majestic waterways lined with spectacular glaciers, towering fjords, and vast unspoiled landscapes away from mainstream civilization and tourism, north of mainland Canada. Beginning August 16, 2016 in Anchorage/Seward, Alaska, the award-winning Crystal Serenity will sail for 32 days from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean/New York City.

"Crystal's inaugural Northwest Passage offers guests the opportunity to begin a new story of thrilling adventure, all the while indulging in the world's very best luxury vacation experience," said Crystal President Edie Rodriguez. "The voyage combines intrepid adventure, the great outdoors, and immersive cultural experiences with Six-Star service as only Crystal can deliver."

Crystal's Executive Vice President Thomas Mazloum spearheaded the strategic planning of the itinerary, with the help of Expedition Voyage Consulting by EYOS Expeditions, providers of bespoke expeditions to the most remote regions on Earth in safety and luxury.

"From reviewing operations with Canadian officials to meeting with Inuit elders of the Arctic who have provided their backing, our team has spent almost two years diligently gathering the field experts, information, resources, and support to ensure an epic experience that is exceptionally rewarding and safe for guests and crew, and respectful of local lands and cultures," says Mazloum. "During this voyage, speakers will enlighten guests on information regarding climate change, and how it has impacted this passage. With the recent retreat of polar ice, the time is right for us to lead the way within the travel industry, as Crystal has done throughout our 25-year history."

Following in the footsteps of intrepid explorers, the once-in-a-lifetime journey through once-unpassable waterways marks Crystal's maiden expedition-style itinerary and a break from many cruising traditions. Approaches to itinerary scheduling, destination visits, onboard offerings, and safety standards are all new or enhanced, with major changes including:

A flexible itinerary: Extra "surprise" days are built into the schedule to allow unplanned "calls of the wild" for polar bear-viewing, whale-watching, glacier-cruising, scenic helicopter flights, and/or seeking out the best wildlife and weather on the advice of local specialist guides.
New adventures ashore: Crystal will introduce "Wilderness Adventures" that take guests across polar tundra, up ice-strewn fjords, and into scenic coves to explore areas in and near maiden ports-of-call. Travelers will also be able to respectfully visit the small, remote communities and uninhabited, unscheduled spaces/lands/waterways en route - often with champagne waiting at the other end. Although some excursions will only be determined "in the moment" based on circumstances and environment, Crystal will spend the next two years planning a plethora of excursions and "Arctic safaris" involving kayaks, Zodiacs, a helicopter, ATVs, fishing, hiking, climbing, golfing at the world's northernmost nine-hole course, and even possible camping and/or overnighting away from the ship. Voluntourism opportunities to help local lands and communities will also be offered complimentarily to guests and crew via the line's "You Care. We Care." program.
New enrichment: A 14-person expedition team of experts in a variety of subjects -- including a native Arctic guide, scientists, and accomplished wildlife and landscape photographers -- will not only provide lectures on subjects such as the science and history of the area, but also offer hands-on seminars and workshops, host dinners with guests, guide wildlife watching from the ship, and accompany excursions, where appropriate.
Respect & understanding of the local culture: Guests will be given a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the lifestyles of these small and remote communities during port visits, with activities created in partnership with the communities. Designed to show modern life today in the Arctic, as well as the rich cultural heritage of the region, visits will include demonstrations of local arts and crafts, Arctic sports, traditional drum dancing and throat singing, and tastings of local foods, such as Arctic char and bannock bread.
Onboard experience, expedition-style: Embracing the spirit of expedition, Crystal's usual onboard atmosphere of rest and relaxation will be relaxed even further with wardrobe (complimentary parkas, boot rentals, outfitter recommendations, and no "black tie optional" nights) and cuisine that, although still gourmet, is modified to reflect the locale and limited ability to re-supply goods and store waste during the month-long voyage.
Ports-of-Call: Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, and Nome*, Alaska; Ulukhaktok*, NW Territories; Cambridge Bay* and Pond Inlet, Nunavut; Ilulissat*, Sisimiut*, and Nuuk, Greenland; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island, and New York, New York. (*=maiden call)
Waterways: North Pacific Ocean; Bering Sea & Bering Strait; Chukchi & Beaufort Seas; Amundsen Gulf; Dolphin & Union Strait; Coronation Gulf; Dease Strait; Queen Maud Gulf; Victoria Strait; Larsen Sound; Franklin & Bellot Straits; Peel Sound; Parry Channel; Barrow Strait; Prince Regent Inlet; Lancaster Sound; Croker Bay; Navy Board Inlet; Eclipse Sound; Baffin Bay; Davis Strait; Labrador Sea; North Atlantic Ocean.
Enhanced safety & environmental standards: Crystal Serenity and its escort vessel will be using low-sulphur Marine Gas oil fuel, exceeding environmental regulations. The escort vessel will carry additional safety and environmental protection equipment, as well as personnel specifically trained in its use. In addition, it will serve as a platform for a helicopter and zodiacs, and be manned by a crew highly experienced in all aspects of operating safely in this unique area.

The first call in the Canadian Arctic is planned for the Hamlet of Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, a settlement of just a few hundred people on the shores of the Amundsen Gulf, just 1,400 miles from the North Pole. "The community is very pleased to see the thought that has been given to ensure that the experience for the passengers, as well as the residents, is positive and beneficial," said William Bennett, Senior Administrative Officer of the Hamlet of Ulukhaktok.

With the new cruise comes a new booking process. A 20% initial deposit will be required to secure all bookings, with $500 of the deposit being non-refundable. Starting July 17, the initial booking window will only be available to guests who have sailed with Crystal before (i.e., Crystal Society members). Non-members may add their name to a waitlist, and remaining space, if any, will open to the public on September 2. Crystal Adventures will open for pre-reservation 18 months in advance of the cruise. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Viking River Cruises Extends Sponsorship Of PBS' Masterpiece For Additional Year

LOS ANGELES, July 17: Viking River Cruises announced today it has renewed its national corporate sponsorship of PBS' celebrated series MASTERPIECE for another year. The announcement comes on the heels of MASTERPIECE earning 24 nominations for the 2014 Primetime Emmy® Awards, which will be given out in a ceremony on August 25. The new deal will extend through 2015 and will support programming that includes season five of the Emmy® Award-winning series Downton Abbey, as well as the hit series Mr. Selfridge and the Emmy®-nominated Sherlock. Viking first came onboard as a MASTERPIECE national corporate sponsor in 2011.

"Our partnership with MASTERPIECE is successful largely because of similarities between our audiences. Viking's guests, many of whom are MASTERPIECE viewers, enrich their lives through history, culture and exploration," said Richard Marnell, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Viking River Cruises. "We strongly believe in marketing the Viking experience to like-minded travelers, so we are proud to continue our relationship with MASTERPIECE, and we congratulate them on their 2014 Emmy nominations."

In addition to its MASTERPIECE sponsorship, and as a response to the incredible popularity of Downton Abbey, Viking also offers its guests an optional excursion to Highclere Castle, the setting of the hit series. The Oxford & Highclere Castle pre- or post- trip experience is available for guests on the Cities of Light or Paris & the Heart of Normandy itineraries. Co-created with the owners of Highclere Castle, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, Viking guests spend three days in the rolling hills of England's countryside, with a champagne welcome and special tour of the famous home.

With river cruising as the fastest-growing segment of travel, Viking is expanding rapidly to meet customer demand. In March, Viking broke its own world record and christened 18 vessels across four countries in five days. Viking also recently announced it plans to launch 12 new river vessels in 2015, bringing the company's total river fleet size to 64 vessels next year. Additionally, the company's first ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star®, is currently under construction and will set sail in early 2015. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises Adds ‘Around the World in 180 Days’ Voyage for 2016

MIAMI, July 17: Oceania Cruises announced an additional 180-day journey aboard the newly refurbished Insignia, scheduled to depart on Jan 4, 2016. Encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response by guests to the first two 180-day cruises offered by Oceania Cruises, this newest voyage is the latest in a series that represents the longest and most comprehensive world exploration itineraries available in the cruise industry. Reservations open for the new Around the World in 180 Days itinerary on July 30, 2014.

“Oceania Cruises provides guests with the opportunity to explore the world on their terms by offering an incredible array of diverse itineraries and unique destinations,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Oceania Cruises. “The Around the World in 180 Days itinerary is a dream come true for those looking to traverse the globe in comfort and style. Not only do we offer the most destinations, but we also have the added luxury of time, providing our guests with longer port days and more overnight stays to fully appreciate the breadth and diversity of art, architecture and cuisine found around the world.”

Embarking from Miami on Jan 4, 2016, Insignia will set sail for the Caribbean before continuing on a southern course to South America where the ship will visit ports in Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana and Brazil. The ship then heads to Africa where guests will enjoy some of the most incredible scenery the world has to offer in countries such as Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique. After traveling around the African continent, Insignia sails for Asia where guests will enjoy two-night stays in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar), and Shanghai, China, as well as visits to a myriad of exotic and alluring locales. Insignia then heads to the South Pacific for a number of stops, including Oceania Cruises’ first call on the Australian port of Cooktown, serving as a gateway for the Great Barrier Reef and the Aboriginal community of Hopevale. After sailing through the azure Hawaiian waters, Insignia stops in Los Angeles before heading down the west coast, through the Panama Canal and completing the journey in Miami on July 1.

As the leader in destination-rich itineraries, Oceania Cruises designed the Around the World in 180 Days voyage with 14 overnight stays and visit a total of 92 ports of call. The full list of overnights includes:

• Cape Town, South Africa – Feb 9-10
• Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar) – March 8-10 (Two nights)
• Singapore, Singapore – March 14-15
• Bangkok, Thailand – March 18-19
• Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam – March 22-23
• Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam – March 25-26
• Hong Kong, China – March 28-29
• Xiamen, China – March 30-31
• Shanghai, China – April 2-4 (Two nights)
• Beijing (Tianjin), China – April 6-7
• Bali (Benoa), Indonesia – April 26-27
• Sydney, Australia – May 9-10

Bookings for the Around the World in 180 Days cruise open at 8:30 a.m. EST on July 30, 2014, and guests reserving their suite or stateroom by Oct. 31, 2014, will receive 2 for 1 cruise fares, free First Class roundtrip airfare from major U.S. and Canadian gateways and early booking savings of up to 71%. In addition, guests will receive the Exclusive Prestige Package, which includes:

• Free pre-paid gratuities – a value up to $8,300
• Free onboard medical services
• Free unlimited Internet
• Free laundry services
• Free exclusive shoreside events
• Free visa package
• Free luggage delivery for up to two bags 50 lbs. or less
• Free one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay
• Free roundtrip transfers from pre-cruise hotel or 50-mile radius of PortMiami

For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

A Frightfully Good Time Awaits Disney Cruise Line Guests this Halloween

CELEBRATION, FL: Disney Cruise Line will treat guests sailing this fall to a wickedly good time as the Disney ships transform into a ghoulish wonderland filled with frightfully fun events and activities, special decorations, unique menu items in the restaurants and themed parties on deck. In 2014, Halloween on the High Seas takes place on most voyages aboard all Disney Cruise Line ships from September through October. This extra-spooky celebration features Halloween-themed parties, lively entertainment and elaborate décor, including The Pumpkin Tree, which magically transforms throughout the cruise. Other special experiences include:

-- Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, a celebration in addition to Pirate Night with games, dancing and lots of candy! Beloved Disney characters, wearing special Halloween costumes just for the occasion, will join guests for this fun-filled costume party.
-- A Nightmare Before Christmas—Sing and Scream, an interactive movie experience where guests are part of the action, followed by a meet-and-greet with Jack Skellington and Sally.
-- Haunted Stories of the Sea, where the bravest cruisers gather under the stars to hear some true—or not so true—tales of the sea told by a mysterious sea captain storyteller.
-- Creepy Cabaret, a party in the atrium featuring favorite Halloween-themed music performed live by a band of ghostly musicians.
-- Halloween Isn’t Just For Kids: For adults, the nighttime entertainment district on each Disney ship becomes the ghoulish setting for a costume contest and a Villainous Takeover on the dance floor.
-- Spooky Movies: To get guests into the spirit of the season, Halloween-themed movies will be shown in Buena Vista Theatre, on Funnel Vision by the family pool and in guest staterooms.
-- Ghoulish Delights: Disney Cruise Line chefs have conjured some very special treats for Halloween, including chocolate cake with pumpkin filling, spider cakes and “Spooky Juice.”
-- More spooky fun includes mask-making and a ghostly takeover of the ship announcements!

To celebrate Halloween, the Disney Magic sails 3-, 5- and 7-night Bahamian and Caribbean cruises departing Sept. 27 to Oct. 26; the Disney Wonder sails 4-, 5- and 6-night Bahamian cruises departing Sept. 26 to Oct. 31; the Disney Dream sails 3- and 4-night Bahamian cruises departing Sept. 7 to Oct. 31; and the Disney Fantasy sails 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing Sept. 6 to Oct. 25. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Performing Artists to Bring Magic to Queen Mary 2

July 17: Enchanting stories and music will light up Queen Mary 2 with special shows from London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and performances featuring students and faculty from The Juilliard School. The separate events continue through November on Transatlantic Crossings, sailing from New York to Southampton, England, via Halifax, Nova Scotia. These returning additions to Cunard Line’s entertainment and award-winning enrichment program further enhance the 10th anniversary celebration for Queen Mary 2 in 2014.

The graduate company from RADA, one of the most famous acting schools in the world, will present specially edited versions of renowned plays and adaptations of great literary works. Each show lasts no more than an hour and includes classics such as “Hamlet,” “Arabian Nights” and “Pride and Prejudice.” Additionally, interactive workshops will invite guests to explore storytelling in their daily lives.

The Juilliard School Jazz Series will treat guests to the best in contemporary and classic jazz performed by students and faculty from the prestigious education institution in New York. This exclusive partnership will introduce guests to emerging world-class musical talent.

“The elite, unique abilities of the Juilliard and RADA performers will continue to delight our guests and showcase Cunard’s rich tradition of celebrating the arts,” said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “These two lively partnerships give guests exclusive experiences they won’t forget as they take in the engaging on board entertainment programming.”

RADA performances are scheduled during the July 21, Aug 20 and Oct 8 westbound Crossings.

Juilliard School members will perform during the July 28, Aug 27, Sept 27, Oct 28, and Nov 19 eastbound Crossings.

For nearly 175 years, Cunard Line’s Transatlantic Crossing has offered sophisticated travelers a rich range of elegance and entertainment. In addition to the Juilliard and RADA events, each Crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 features a series of Royal Nights themed balls on the largest dance floor at sea in the Queens Room; and the Royal Court Theatre presents West End-style musical revues and guest performers. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line Revamps Their Smoking Policy

July 16: Travel agents were informed today that Norwegian Cruise Line will ban smoking on private balconies effective for all departures on or after November 1, 2014. The revised smoking policy is as follows:

As the health and well-being of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance, Norwegian Cruise Line will institute changes to its smoking policy for all sailings on or after November 1, 2014. The specific changes prohibit smoking on stateroom balconies and limit smoking in the casino to players. On Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway, smoking on The Waterfront will be permitted on the starboard side, except by the outdoor dining areas.

Public areas throughout all our ships are smoke-free. If you smoke regular or electronic cigarettes, you can do so in designated areas only. If you prefer pipes or cigars, you can smoke in the Cigar Bar or designated smoking lounge. Smoking cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes is permitted in outdoor public guest spaces and open decks where designated by the ship's management based on the ship's specific characteristics and arrangement. Smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is prohibited in or near venues serving food, the jogging track, outdoor sporting venues, The Haven outdoor areas and children's pool areas. On ships with The Waterfront, smoking is permitted on the starboard side excluding any food service areas. Active Casino players may smoke cigarettes in the Casino during gaming hours. Cigarette smoking is not permitted in any other indoor venue or location.

Guests are not permitted to smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars or pipes in their staterooms or on their balconies. Cigar and pipe smoking in staterooms and on balconies is prohibited. Smoking inside your stateroom or on your balcony will result in a $250 cleaning charge added to your onboard account. If cigarette burns on furniture, linens, towels or carpeting are detected; guests will be advised and charged for the damages.

Electronic cigarettes cannot be used in public areas where there is a No Smoking policy in force; simply because these cigarettes look so realistic and therefore other guests' perception is that we are not enforcing the No Smoking rule.

Back to the top of the news list

Paul Gauguin Cruises Debuts Its 2015 Tahiti, French Polynesia, Fiji & The South Pacific Brochure

BELLEVUE, Wash., July 15: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 88-guest m/v Tere Moana, debuts its 2015 Tahiti, French Polynesia, Fiji & the South Pacific brochure. The 68-page brochure showcases a variety of dream cruises in exotic destinations aboard The Gauguin and can be viewed online at Itineraries, cruise schedules, maps, highlights, and fares are detailed. Fleet distinctions, dining venues, entertainment options, special occasions, activities, shore excursions, pre- and post-cruise hotel programs, the air/sea program, deck plans, and general information are also highlighted.

The Gauguin's 2015 sailings feature its most popular voyages and showcase a host of exquisite islands with white-sand beaches, aqua lagoons, mist-laden mountains, and warm Polynesian culture. Itineraries include: 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands; and 12- and 13-night Fiji, Tonga, Cook & Society Islands.

New for 2015 is a 10-night Roundtrip Fiji voyage that visits Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji; lle des Pins, New Caledonia; Noumea, New Caledonia; IIe de Lifou, New Caledonia; Tanna Island, Vanuatu; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji; and Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji, departing October 31, 2015, with cruise fares from $5,445 per person, including airfare from Los Angeles.

Designed specifically to sail the pristine lagoons of these islands, The Gauguin provides an up-close, authentic experience of the South Seas and offers an elegant yet casual ambiance with luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, trademark Polynesian hospitality, and extraordinary all-inclusive value. On sailings in Tahiti and French Polynesia, guests also receive complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises' two exclusive retreats. Off the coast of Taha'a lies the islet of Motu Mahana for enjoying a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a sumptuous barbecue feast, and cocktails from a floating bar. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a private, white-sand beach and enjoy drinks, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.

Paul Gauguin Cruises is currently offering savings of 50% off standard all-inclusive cruise fares on all 2015 voyages, plus included airfare from Los Angeles on itineraries on The Gauguin. Past guests of Paul Gauguin Cruises enjoy additional savings of 5% off final cruise fares as a member of the Paul Gauguin Society. For a complimentary copy of the 2015 Tahiti, French Polynesia, Fiji & the South Pacific, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines Fundraising Efforts For St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® Surpass $5 Million

MIAMI, July 15: Through a variety of innovative fundraising activities, Carnival Cruise Lines has raised more than $5 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® for the hospital's many lifesaving pediatric cancer research and treatment programs. In addition to its Care to Play: Carnival for St. Jude Kids shipboard fundraising campaign, the cruise line also serves as the Official Celebration Partner for St. Jude, supporting birthday parties, proms and other celebratory events at the Memphis, Tennessee, hospital.

Carnival Cruise Lines is on track to raise $8 million by 2017 through a range of engaging activities, both on board and ashore. These include Groove for St. Jude, a fun dance activity where guests make a $10 donation and receive a Careto Play T-shirt and wristband, and the Beary Cuddly program where kids can build their own stuffed animal with optional accessories such as medical scrubs, all available for purchase with proceeds benefiting St. Jude.

Planned for this year is a special bingo game with a portion of each card benefiting St. Jude, as well as a water slide activity with a $1 donation for each ride during a specified time on board. And when guests purchase a designated bakery item from the line's on-board shops or prior to their cruise on, Carnival donates a portion of each item sold to St. Jude.

Carnival's Official Celebration Partner activities include supplying entertainment at the annual St. Jude Teen Formal and hosting an annual Day of Play with music, food, dancing, giveaways and more. Earlier this year, in conjunction with National Dance Day, Carnival provided kids and their parents an afternoon of fun at the first-ever in-hospital Groove for St. Jude, modeled after the popular shipboard activity. Birthdays are also celebrated at the hospital with a special gift from Carnival complementing traditional festivities.

"St. Jude has truly become part of the Carnival family," said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. "Our employees, guests and travel agent partners take tremendous pride in our role as a financial supporter and provider of fun and memorable experiences for the patients of this truly extraordinary hospital and research institution."

Carnival has also revamped the St. Jude portal within its web site at, which includes information on the partnership and a chart reflecting progress toward the company's $8-million fundraising goal.

Back to the top of the news list

Construction Begins on Regent Seven Seas Cruises Seven Seas Explorer

GENOA, Italy, July 15: Construction began this morning on Seven Seas Explorer at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. The crisp pop of a cork being freed from a Krug Grande Cuvée magnum initiated a laser, which cut the ceremonial first piece of steel for the new ship. Incorporating a bottle of the world’s finest champagne to start the building process is symbolic of the high level of sophistication and design being developed for Seven Seas Explorer, which is scheduled to debut in summer 2016.

The ceremonial first piece of steel cut this morning will serve as the foundation for an opulent, one-of-a-kind owner’s suite unlike any other at sea. The suite, resplendent with exquisite stonework and luscious fabrics, will serve as a hallmark for the superior level of elegance found throughout the ship. When it debuts, Seven Seas Explorer will establish a new benchmark for style and service and perfectly complement the all-inclusive luxury experience currently enjoyed by guests sailing with Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

During the ceremony, Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Gabriele Cocco, senior executive vice president of merchant ships for Fincantieri, began a countdown that culminated with Maison Krug Italy’s master sommelier, Michela Cimatoribus, releasing the cork from a magnum of Krug Grande Cuvée. As the cork soared and the champagne flowed, confetti cascaded down and the laser cut the first piece of steel for the 750-passenger ship.

“We’re one step closer to fulfilling our dream of building the most luxurious ship in the world and giving our guests another exciting option to explore inspired global destinations with our special brand of all-inclusive luxury,” noted Kamlani. “Seven Seas Explorer will surpass the current standard in luxury cruising, offering a new level of grandeur throughout the ship from its lavish suites to its elegant public spaces and gourmet restaurants.”

At 54,000 gross-registered tons and carrying only 750 guests, Seven Seas Explorer will boast the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in the cruise industry and further strengthen Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ widely recognized position as the most inclusive luxury cruise line. Seven Seas Explorer will join the rest of the award-winning Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet in the summer of 2016. Regent Seven Seas Cruises will begin taking reservations for the maiden voyage and inaugural season for Seven Seas Explorer in early 2015. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line Orders Two New Ships

MIAMI, July 14: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GmbH of Germany to build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and the fourth quarter 2019. Each ship will be 164,600 gross tons and include 4,200 passenger berths.

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game-changers and are extremely popular with our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “It was only natural that we build on their success with this new ship order that further solidifies our long-term growth strategy.”

The contract price for both ships is approximately euro 1.6 billion. The Company has export credit financing in place for each ship, arranged and underwritten by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH of Germany.

“We are thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Line has the continued confidence in MEYER WERFT to expand their fleet,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT. “We are very proud of our longstanding relationship with Norwegian.”

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise vacation on their own terms, including multiple dining venues, relaxed attire, a variety of accommodations and world-class entertainment. The Company took Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Norwegian Epic in June 2010 and subsequently launched two game-changing vessels, Norwegian Breakaway based in New York in May 2013 and Norwegian Getaway homeported in Miami in February 2014. These ships incorporate groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that create a whole new complex at sea and connect guests with the ocean.

About Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 47-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which revolutionized the industry by giving guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian invites guests to “Cruise Like a Norwegian” on one of 13 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed, resort style cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea. Recently, the line was named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the sixth consecutive year, as well as “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” and “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” by the World Travel Awards.

The Company recently took delivery of its most innovative ship to date, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway on January 10, 2014. The largest ship to homeport year-round in Miami, Norwegian Getaway boasts 28 dining options, including seafood restaurant Ocean Blue by famed New York Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and a branch of Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of the TLC series “Cake Boss.” The entertainment lineup includes Broadway shows Legally Blonde and Burn the Floor and a unique magical theatrical experience, the Illusionarium. Known as New York’s ship, Norwegian Breakaway is the largest vessel to homeport year-round in the city. The Company currently has four vessels on order at Meyer Werft for delivery in fall 2015, spring 2017, spring 2018 and fall 2019.

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines Signs Exclusive Agreement with Cigar City Brewing

MIAMI, July 14: Capitalizing on the growing popularity of craft beer in the U.S., Carnival Cruise Lines has entered into an exclusive agreement to offer Tampa-based Cigar City Brewing’s craft beers on all of its Florida-based ships. Cigar City’s Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale and Invasion Pale Ale will be available on 13 Carnival ships sailing from five Florida ports beginning this week. Combined, those ships carry more than two million guests each year. The agreement—the first partnership of this magnitude between a craft brewery and a major cruise line—was announced Sunday, July 13, at an event aboard Carnival Legend at the Port of Tampa.

“Carnival continues to seek high-quality brands to enhance our guests’ experience, and Cigar City Brewing has been rated among the top craft breweries in the world,” said Eddie Allen, Carnival’s vice president of beverage operations. “Cigar City Brewing craft beers are a fantastic addition to our already extensive beverage menus and will provide our guests a chance to enjoy two delicious and refreshing beers that aren’t available on any other cruise line.” Allen noted that Carnival also offers its own private label draught beer, ThirstyFrog Red, which is available throughout the fleet.

Carnival has 13 Florida-based ships sailing 3- to 8-day itineraries to the Caribbean, Mexico and The Bahamas, including Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Glory, Carnival Victory and Carnival Splendor from Miami; Carnival Sensation, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral; Carnival Freedom from Fort Lauderdale; Carnival Paradise and Carnival Legend from Tampa, and Carnival Fascination from Jacksonville.

"Cigar City Brewing could not be happier than to partner with another great Florida institution, that being Carnival Cruise Lines. Everyone at Cigar City Brewing is thrilled to start this wonderful partnership," said Joe Burns, national sales manager for Cigar City Brewing.

Cigar City’s Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale is named for the colonial-era “Cracker” cowboys of Florida. Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale is brewed with unmalted wheat, orange peel and coriander, which ends with a spicy, dry finish. The beer pours cloudy straw in color and has moderate notes of orange peel, coriander and hints of vanilla. Gold in color, Invasion Pale Ale is Cigar City's version of a “session” beer (a beer with a relatively low alcohol content), in a hoppy ale that celebrates Tampa’s alleged history of being a pirate hideout. The tropical aroma offers suggestions of peach, mango, lime and papaya. Invasion has a light caramel malt character laced with a slight “breadiness” and the finish offers a bounty of tropical and citrus hop flavor and bitterness.

Unlike most U.S. craft breweries, Cigar City Brewing packages most of its beverages in aluminum cans. Aluminum cans are the most widely recycled containers in the United States, and aluminum may be reused repeatedly without loss of strength or quality. From a beer drinker’s perspective, cans have zero light penetration to better preserve the integrity of the brew, they chill faster, are easier to store and have a longer shelf life than bottles. Cans also are shatterproof and therefore are allowed where bottles are not—such as poolside. Producing new cans from recycled aluminum reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent.

Florida Craft Brewing Trends
Over the past decade, the number of craft and microbreweries has grown dramatically across the United States and consumer demand for craft brews continues to increase. In 2013 in Florida, the state’s 66 small breweries produced 130,000 barrels (4.03 million gallons) of craft-brewed beer for an economic impact of $875.8 million, ranking the state 12th in the nation. Nationwide, in 2013 the overall beer market represented total sales of $100 billion, of which $14.3 billion was craft beers. That represented a 20 percent increase in craft beer sales and an 18 percent increase in production volume over 2012, according to the Brewers Association.

Back to the top of the news list

MSC Cruises to Offer 24/7 Pediatric Telemedicine Service On Board

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, July 11: MSC Cruises has become the first cruise line in the world to offer guests a 24/7 multilingual pediatric telemedicine service on board, through a partnership with the Giannina Gaslini Institute, in Genoa, Italy, a world-class center of excellence in pediatric medicine. MSC Cruises will install new technology across its entire fleet to enable ship-to-shore care of children with onshore support from specialists at the Gaslini Institute. Operational September 1, 2014, fleet-wide, MSC Cruises’ onboard doctors will be able to consult specialist pediatricians at any time to seek a second opinion or carry out procedures such as remote diagnosis, radiology and monitoring.

No other cruise company in the world provides such a service, which will bring peace of mind to the thousands of families that take cruise vacations every year. The project was announced in Genoa by the CEO of MSC Cruises, Gianni Onorato, the Director General of the Giannina Gaslini Institute, Paul Petralia, and the President of the Liguria Region, Claudio Burlando.

Mr. Onorato said: “MSC Cruises is a family-owned company and we strongly believe in caring for the health and safety of our guests on board, with particular attention to younger travelers, who can require help and treatment quite different from other age groups. We’re really excited about this collaboration, which is particularly adapted to our family cruises, no matter where in the world. Pediatric telemedicine is an addition to other existing services on our ships, such as teleradiology and teleconsultation, for a cruise vacation where we can respond to any need."

"The expertise of our specialists is being made available beyond the walls of the Gaslini,” said the Director General of the Gaslini, Paolo Petralia. “This enables onboard doctors to confirm their diagnoses and treatments using a cutting-edge system of remote image and data transmission. All this reaffirms the Gaslini Institute’s commitment to offer the best care everywhere while developing the most advanced and efficient means of care and information technology."

This innovation further improves onboard medical responses through diagnostic and therapeutic functions that were once only possible on land. The link-up, via satellite, will be available on all MSC Cruises itineraries anywhere on the planet. The telemedicine technology is managed by Carestream, which has developed a platform to enable requests for distance consultation to be made easily from the remotest locations, allowing Gaslini doctors to move quickly with diagnoses and referrals. The process is fully computerized, from the consultation request to the response, and respects the highest of safety standards.

For more information about MSC Cruises, please visit

Back to the top of the news list

"Star" Of Bergen, Norway To Be Godmother Of New Viking Star

LOS ANGELES, July 11: Viking Ocean Cruises® has announced that Trude Drevland, the mayor of Bergen, Norway, will be godmother to Viking Star and will officially "name" the ship during a christening ceremony on May 17, 2015,  Norwegian Constitution Day. "Trude," as she is known throughout Norway, was on-hand at the shipyard to assist with the float-out ceremony, helping weld coins to the ship--a good luck practice that dates back to Roman times--and cutting a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock.

"I am so privileged to be godmother to the new Viking Star," said Drevland. "She will be the soul of Scandinavia, with some touches of Bergen. I will love it!"

"For our first ocean ship it was very important to have a godmother who personifies our company's Scandinavian heritage and the Viking spirit, so it is an absolute honor to have Trude as godmother to Viking Star," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises and a native of Norway. "Bergen, with its colorful harbor and stunning scenery, has always been one of my favorite cities, and we are delighted for our guests to experience it firsthand starting next spring."

Trude Drevland, Godmother of Viking Star
Mayor of Bergen, Norway's second largest city, Trude Drevland is one of the city's most charismatic and recognizable citizens. She is known for her many civic engagements and support of the arts, having served as a member of the City Council and as Deputy Mayor from 2007 until she was elected Mayor in 2011. For five years, she served as General Secretary of the Norwegian Band Federation, the biggest volunteer music organization in Norway, and she was the Leader of Business Development for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 2002 to 2003. Born in Northern Norway, Drevland began her career as a nurse, eventually rising to various roles in healthcare administration, before entering public service. Leading up to the arrival of Viking Star in Bergen, Drevland has also showcased her city in some of Viking's other online videos, which explore the cultural treasures of the Baltic region.

Viking Ocean Cruises: With three sister ships now under construction, Viking developed its ocean cruises by leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises® passengers, and with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides unparalleled value--with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service--a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.

Viking Star: Classified as a "small ship," the 930-passenger all-veranda Viking Star, as well as its two sister ships under construction--Viking Sea and Viking Sky--is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. Light-filled and intimate, the ship features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. For addition information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

MSC Cruises Unveils Winter 2015-2016 Caribbean Itineraries

Fort Lauderdale, FL, July 10: MSC Cruises has announced its November 2015 through April 2016 winter Caribbean itineraries for MSC Divina. Now available for booking, the collection of 7-night Caribbean sailings features new ports of call and a 10-night cruise visiting Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica.

Starting on Nov 11, 2015 with a 10-night roundtrip from Miami sailing highlighting three marquee ports--Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica--MSC Divina will continue her winter 2015-2016 season with 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings featuring new ports of call in La Romana, Dominican Republic; Charlotte Amali, St. Thomas; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Named after godmother Sophia Loren, MSC Divina offers several divine new features, including two Eataly restaurants - the upscale Ristorante Italia and spectacular regional Eataly Steakhouse fashioned after the famed restaurant in Eataly’s Manhattan location and artisanal marketplace, and is the first ship to offer Aqua Cycling at sea. The 1,751-cabin ship boasts 322,900 square feet of public spaces including 18 bars and lounges, five swimming pools, a bowling alley, gym and exotic Aurea Spa, the popular Formula 1 simulator, 4-D Cinema, and new Segafredo Zanetti gourmet coffee bar. MSC Divina also features the MSC Yacht Club, an innovative “ship-within-a-ship” concept with 69 suites on board. MSC Yacht Club guests can indulge in comfort and convenience, from their own personal Butler and 24-hour concierge service to complimentary wines and spirits available any time of the day throughout MSC Yacht Club’s exclusive lounges and pool area. For more information about MSC Cruises, please visit

Back to the top of the news list

Costa neoRiviera Earns Top Ratings in Costa Cruises' Fleet

HOLLYWOOD, FL, July 9: Costa Cruises' Costa neoRiviera recently achieved the highest scores across the fleet on customer satisfaction surveys. When Costa asked guests how likely they were to recommend their cruise to a friend, colleague or relative, passengers gave Costa neoRiviera the highest ratings, highlighting how quickly the line's neoCollection has gained popularity since its inception.

Costa introduced its neoCollection late in 2013, featuring two of the line's smaller ships --Costa neoRiviera and Costa neoRomantica--both able to sail to destinations inaccessible to larger vessels. The ships feature "slow cruising," a style of cruise vacation that features longer, leisurely itineraries and extended time in port. The cruise line also designed small-group shore excursions to showcase cultural and natural attractions in each destination.

"We launched the neoCollection because we recognized that many travelers are looking for a more immersive cruise experience," said Scott Knutson, vice president of sales and marketing for Costa Cruises North America. "Costa neoRiviera's number-one ranking in the fleet validates our decision to develop the slow-cruise product and we're pleased that it’s been so well received."

For guests who want to embark on a neoCollection cruise there is a range of enticing itineraries to choose from. This fall both ships will sail 11-night itineraries in the Mediterranean roundtrip from Savona, Italy.

Costa neoRiviera's 11-night itinerary features an overnight stay at Barcelona, Spain, and calls at Toulon, France; Valletta, Malta; and Porto Empedocle, Salerno and Livorno, Italy. Dates for that itinerary are Sept. 12 and 23; Oct. 4; and Nov. 6.
Costa neoRomantica's 11-night itinerary features calls at Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Messina, Sicily; Piraeus (Athens) and Heraklion, Greece; Izmir, Turkey; Valletta; and Marseille, France. The ship departs Savona Oct. 9, 20 and 31; and Nov. 11 and 22. Guests can also enjoy the same itinerary, but roundtrip from Civitavecchia, with departures Sept. 29; Oct. 10 and 21; and Nov. 1 and 12.

Following a refurbishment, Costa Classica will join the neoCollection in December as Costa neoClassica and will sail the Indian Ocean and east coast of Africa. Costa neoClassica's first sailing will be a 25-night cruise from Savona, departing Dec. 18, and featuring calls at Naples, Italy; Sharm El Sheik and Safaga, Egypt; Aqaba, Jordan; Salalah, Oman; Diego Suarez, Madagascar; St. Denis, Reunion; with overnights at Eilat, Israel; Mahe, Seychelles; and Port Louis, Mauritius. In January 2015, the ship will begin 15-day itineraries roundtrip Port Louis, featuring an overnight at Port Louis and two nights at Mahe. The ship will also call at Nosy Be, Diego Suarez and Tamatave, Madagascar, and St. Denis. Departures are Jan. 12 and 26; and Feb. 9 and 23.

For more information on Costa's neoCollection cruises,visit

Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn to Offer "Best of the Riviera Food & Wine Cruise"

SEATTLE, July 9: Seabourn is pulling out all the stops to create a rare epicurean themed cruise aboard Seabourn Sojourn. Guests aboard the 11-day "Best of the Riviera Food & Wine Cruise" will visit some of Europe's most appealing food and wine regions, enjoying daily special culinary events, "Shopping with the Chef" excursions in local markets, cooking demonstrations by celebrity guest chefs, tastings of local specialties and more. The culinary voyage will depart Oct 30, 2014 from Monte Carlo and sail the French and Italian Rivieras to Rome.

"Seabourn is synonymous with fine dining and superb cuisine that delights guests on every voyage," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "It only made sense to create this special epicurean cruise to showcase our culinary strengths in one of the most popular and revered food and wine regions in the world."

Two celebrity guest chefs from the region will accompany the cruise, providing cooking demonstrations and menus for guests on board:

• Raised in Provence and schooled in Marseille, French Chef Patrice Olivon brought the skills he learned in Southern France to Washington D. C., where he cooked at the French Embassy, the White House and at Camp David for special occasions. He is program director of Culinary Arts at the prestigious L'Academie de Cuisine and a popular instructor and presenter.
• After training and staging in some of Italy's best kitchens, Italian Chef Alfio Longo has traveled the world learning and practicing his craft at fine dining restaurants and in private service in New York, as well as the Dominican Republic, China and Turkey. He is currently the Executive Chef at Osteria del Circo in New York operated by Sirio Maccioni's Le Cirque International group.

The "Best of the Riviera Food & Wine Cruise" will be packed with culinary events such as expanded "Shopping with the Chef" trips in local markets in Marseille, France; Livorno and Messina, Italy; festive epicurean deck events and gala luncheons; and local specialties and regional flavors featured on menus throughout the voyage. Seabourn Sojourn's onboard culinary staff will also be augmented by the company's award-winning team of corporate executive chefs and wine experts.

Seabourn has also created optional custom food and wine excursions at each of the Mediterranean ports of call: Marseille, St. Tropez and Ajaccio on Corsica in France; Santa Margherita Ligure, Messina (Taormina) and Sorrento in Italy and Valletta, Malta, plus an overnight stay at Livorno and two full days to explore Florence, Pisa, Lucca and the culinary delights of Tuscany.

Seabourn offers award-winning cuisine and gourmet dining experiences that rival the finest restaurants anywhere. A distinguished panel of culinary and travel experts assembled by the editors of Saveur magazine rated Seabourn the "Best Culinary Cruise Line" in the magazine's Culinary Travel Awards 2013. The line's team of highly talented chefs prepares gourmet dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. For more information or reservations on Seabourn's "Best of the Riviera Food & Wine Cruise," visit

Back to the top of the news list

Cunard Line Readies for James Taylor Performance on Queen Mary 2

July 9: The stage is set and final voyage tickets are selling as Cunard Line prepares for the return of Grammy® Award-winning singer-songwriter James Taylor and his band during the 27 August 2014 Transatlantic Crossing. The legendary American artist will appear aboard Queen Mary 2 on the heels of his successful summer tour, earning accolades from the Orange County Register, The Seattle Times and other press. Iconic songs such as “Fire and Rain” and “Carolina In My Mind” continue to enchant audiences around the country and will heighten the 10th anniversary celebration for Queen Mary 2.

Recent music reviews have praised Taylor’s relaxed demeanor that transforms large venues into intimate, warm experiences for audiences. His smooth voice and authentic energy can transport fans back in time to when they first heard “You’ve Got a Friend” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” Queen Mary 2 passengers will have this same transformative opportunity at two concerts in the ship’s Royal Court Theatre during the eight-day Crossing from New York to Southampton, England, via Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“Fans who have read about James Taylor’s recent tour still have the opportunity to join us for a memorable Transatlantic Crossing with this American legend,” said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “Our guests will be thrilled to enjoy this intimate concert experience with a music icon, which will make this milestone Crossing that much more memorable.”

Best known for his mellow voice, guitar style and simple, powerful lyrics, Taylor has inspired generations of audiences and young musicians throughout his career. His records have sold more than 100 million copies, earning gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards. Industry recognition includes multiple Grammy awards and induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame. His international appeal extends to the highest offices, as he has earned the distinguished Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony.

James Taylor first performed on Queen Mary 2 in 2009, to standing room only audiences. Taylor’s second visit builds on the long history of legendary entertainers who have graced Cunard Line decks over nearly 175 years. Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant and Clark Gable frequently crossed the Atlantic on Cunard’s earlier Queens, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth; and since Queen Mary 2’s debut 10 years ago, the flagship has welcomed musical notables such as jazz legend Dave Brubeck, Rod Stewart and Lenny Kravitz.

The glamour and diversity of activities on Cunard Line’s Transatlantic Crossing treat sophisticated travelers to new experiences and memories. Each Crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 features a series of Royal Nights themed balls on the largest dance floor at sea in the Queens Room; and the Royal Court Theatre which presents West End-style musical revues and guest performers. For more information, go to

Back to the top of the news list

Windstar Cruises to Début Exclusive Private Events on All 2015 Voyages

Seattle, July 9: Starting in 2015, all Windstar Cruises’ itineraries will feature a spectacular onshore Private Event, created exclusively for Windstar guests. These complimentary events are crafted to give guests an in depth and authentic local experience that compliments their voyage. Private Events include activities such as an after-hours tour and dinner under the stars in the magnificent Celsus Library of Ephesus or a private ballet performance in the famed Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theatre.

“We curated these Private Events with the local experience in mind. Our product managers toured the regions sampling cuisines, talking to locals, visiting the UNESCO sites to create the best experience possible,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “Our guests gain an even deeper involvement into the local culture.”

Windstar débuted its first exclusive Private Event on its Dreams of Tahiti voyage in May. The event, included on all 2014 sailings through the South Pacific, features an evening of entertainment with music and a dazzling performance by local fire dancers on a secluded island or “motu.” The evening also includes a dinner of local Tahitian cuisine with tender suckling pig slowly steamed in a traditional ”ahima’a” earth oven. New Private Events featured on 2015 voyages:

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

• Luxor: Temples and Tombs on the Nile: Featured on the Wonders of Arabia and Wonders of Civilization Cruisetour voyages, guests will travel to Luxor for a two-day tour of the Luxor Temple that includes an evening showing of the Sound and Light display at Karnak Temple, and a one-night hotel stay in the Hilton Luxor. On the second day of the tour, guests will explore the Valley of the Kings, the most important archaeological site in the world that features the tombs of King Tutankhamun and Ramses IV, followed by lunch aboard a felucca, a traditional sailboat, as they float down the Nile.

Greek Isles, Turkey & Black Sea
• Rhodes: The Tantalizing Tastes of Greece: Featured on the Greek Isles & Turkish Delights (Athens to Istanbul) voyage, guests will be wined and dined at the award winning Hatzikelis Fish Taverna in Rhodes that will include a sampling of traditional and modern Greek fare and wines from the local Cair Winery, followed by an exhilarating performance by local musicians and dancers.
• Kusadasi: Evening in Ephesus: Featured on the Greek Isles & Turkish Delights (Istanbul to Athens) and Pride of the Aegean voyages, guests will enjoy an after-hours tour of the magnificent Celsus Library of Ephesus. The evening includes a five-course, white-glove-service dinner in the courtyard of the Library serenaded by a trio from the Aegean Chamber Orchestra.
• Odessa: Artistry in Architecture and Dance: Featured on the Black Sea Tapestry voyage, guests will enjoy an exclusive ballet performance in the Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theatre – one of the most important landmarks of Eastern Europe designed by Viennese architects F. Felner and H. Helmer. The evening also includes champagne and canapés served during intermission, and a chance sighting of the famed ghost of Pavlova.

Caribbean & Panama Canal
• Prickly Pear Beach: Island Beach Party: Featured on the Yachtsman's Caribbean Voyage the event includes a day of relaxation and fun on Prickly Pear Beach, a secluded and uninhabited nature refuge in the British Virgin Islands. Activities include water skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, friendly games of beach volleyball, horseshoes, and bocce ball, and a lunch of freshly grilled local seafood.
• Mayreau: Private Beach Getaway: Featured on the Jewels of the Windward Islands voyage, this Private Event includes a day in paradise on the small island of Mayreau. Guests will enjoy music and a Mixology Class to learn how to make favorite local drinks, in addition to an amazing lunch of fresh local food.
• St. Lucia: Getaway in Paradise: Featured on the Classic Caribbean voyage, guests will spend a day of fun and adventure on a secluded beach on Pigeon Island, where the bar is open and the steel drums are playing. Guests can take part in an escorted snorkeling excursion or a number of water sports. After working up an appetite, Windstar chefs will serve a dinner of local fresh fish, lobster, and the uniquely Caribbean specialty, conch.
• Isla de Coiba: Tropical Beach Delights: Featured on the Passage Through Panama voyage, guests will have opportunity to explore the Isla de Coiba, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, accessed only by special permit. Snorkel or take a guided hiking tour through the island’s untouched natural beauty. The day will be accompanied by live music, cocktails, and a beachside lunch.

• Messina: Taste of Sicily: Featured on the Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast voyage, the event begins with a wine tasting and tour of Vinicola Benanti, a family-run winery, followed by lunch featuring traditional Sicilian food paired with a selection of the family’s wines.
• Monte Carlo: Glitter & Games: Featured on the Yachting the Riviera, Rivera Enchantment, and Glitter & Glam of the Riveras voyages, guests will enjoy red carpet treatment during an on deck cocktail party set against the glittering backdrop of Monte Carlo. After dinner and cocktails on board, guests will enjoy a champagne and dessert reception in the legendary Grand Casino, followed by an evening of gaming in the city.
• Agrigento: Beauty Among the Ruins: Featured on the Sicilian Splendors voyage, guests will enjoy an exclusive tour through the Valley of Temples – one of the most important archaeological sites in the world that features ancient temples and edifices built between 510 and 430 B.C. The day will include lunch at the five-star Hotel Villa Athena.

• Giardini Naxos: Taste of Sicily: Featured on the Enchanting Greece & the Amalfi Coast voyage, the event begins with a wine tasting and tour of Vinicola Benanti, a family-run winery, followed by lunch featuring traditional Sicilian food paired with a selection of the family’s wines.
• Mallorca: Bolero, Fandango, and Other Works of Art: Featured on the Islands of the West Med and Spanish Serenade voyages, this event features a private guided tour through the March Palace, which features a renowned works of art collection. At the end of the tour, guests will enjoy tapas on the terrace and a performance by 30 local artists featuring Mallorcan folk dances such as the bolero, the jack, the fandango, and the copeo.
• Cádiz: Best of Breed – Andalusian Horses and Sherry: Featured on the Splendors of Southern Spain voyage, this event starts with a tour and sherry tasting at the internationally recognized González Byass Bodega. The day also includes a spectacular equestrian ballet performed at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art Foundation, followed by tapas and a sherry tasting.
• Marrakech: Textures and Treasures: Featured on the Casablanca & the Canary Islands voyage, this event starts with a tour of the famed Majorelle Gardens, followed by a private lunch served in the heart of the exclusive Palm Groves neighborhood of Marrakech. Guests will go on to visit the holy site of Ben Youssef Madrasa – a stunning example of 16th century Moorish architecture – followed by treasure hunting in Souk Smarine. Guests will end the day in Djemaa el Fna square, where fireeaters, mime artists, snake charmers, and street musicians perform.
• Butrint: Bronze Age to Venetians: Featured on the Venetian Passageways voyage guests will enjoy a day of exploration in Butrint, which features some of the world’s most significant and beautiful Roman ruins. The day will also include a presentation by the former director and founder of Butrint National Park, Auron Tare, followed by a cocktail reception.

Northern Europe
• St. Petersburg: Private Reception at the Catherine Palace: Featured on the Baltic Delights voyage, this event includes an exclusive tour through the Palace led by guides and followed by a champagne reception in the Throne Room, accompanied by “Catherine the Great” herself who will take part in a Farewell Dance in the Courtyard before departing in her royal carriage.
• Bordeaux: A Perfect Blend: Featured on the Culinary & Wine Delights of Spain & France voyage guests will enjoy a wine tasting and estate tour of the Chateau Giscours. The tour includes a French cooking class at the Halle Suzanne followed by dinner accompanied by a quartet of classical musicians.
• Porto: Songs and Spirits of Portugal: Featured on the Gems of France & Iberia and Best of Europe's West Coast voyages this event includes a guided tour through the historic center of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Ferreira Cellars, where guests will enjoy a glass of port accompanied by a fado performance by the national known singer, Joana Costa.
• Nærøyfjord: Dramatic Passage: Featured in the Lands of the Midnight Sun voyage, this event includes a sailing tour of the cascading waterfalls and stunning beauty of Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour will include a picnic of regional delicacies as guests enjoy the vivid scenery.
• Ijmuiden: Swords and Dungeons: Featured on the Northern Europe Wonderlands voyage, this event includes a guided tour through Forteiland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one-of-a-kind fortress built half underground near Amsterdam. Following the day of exploration, guests will also enjoy a candlelit tapas dinner in the Koepelzaal (Dome Hall).
• Copenhagen: An Evening with Princes and the Gods: Featured on the Spectacular Scandinavia and Scandinavian Tapestry voyages, this event includes a canal cruise through Copenhagen and a tour through The National Museum, closed to the public for Windstar’s exclusive use. The tour will also feature a classic Danish smorgasbord paired with local beverages.
• SAIL Amsterdam: Parade Of Tall Ships: Featured on the Windmills & Tall Sails voyage, guests will have deck-side seats to one of the world’s largest sailing parades on board Wind Surf. Enjoy a lunch and cocktails as the yacht sails with hundreds of sailing heritage craft, modern and naval ships, and historical replicas during SAIL Amsterdam.
• Culloden: Fields of the Bonnie Prince: Featured on the Gaelic Explorers voyage, guests will enjoy canapés and champagne at Fort George, during an exclusive after-hours tour with expert guides who will take guests through the history of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Highlanders loss to the Duke of Cumberland during the Battle On The Moor. The event will include the traditional military and musical performance, Beating Retreat, complete with pipes, drums, and marches.

Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of small luxury cruise ships known for its intimate yacht style experience and unique voyages to the world’s best small ports and hidden harbors. Its three recently renovated sailing yachts carry just 148 to 310 guests and cruise to 50 nations, calling at 150 ports throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America. In May of 2014, Windstar launched Star Pride, the first of three newly acquired power yachts. In May of 2015 the company will launch Star Breeze and Star Legend. The power yachts, with a capacity of 212 guests each, will double the size of Windstar’s fleet, making the company the market leader in small ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,242 berths. The additional capacity will open up new itineraries such as voyages to Southeast Asia, Arabia, Iceland, and beyond. For more information including rates and itineraries, visit Windstar Cruises online at

 Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises to Host World Premier of PBS Documentary Series, "The Italian Americans"

MIAMI, FL, July 8: Oceania Cruises and Artful Travelers are teaming up to host the world premiere for the highly anticipated new PBS documentary series, The Italian Americans. Guests sailing on this special 10-day “Enchanting Riviera” voyage departing Oct. 29, 2014, will have an opportunity to interact with producers, writers and directors involved in the development of this exceptional new series, all while traversing the Mediterranean and Italian coastline aboard the award-winning mid-size ship Riviera.

Narrated by Academy Award–nominated actor Stanley Tucci, The Italian Americans consists of four, one-hour documentary films that chronicle the history of Italian Americans from the mid-19th century to present day. It examines the struggles and powerful ideals shared by many Italian immigrants and how, as a group, they left a distinct mark on America’s political, social and cultural landscape.

During the cruise, filmmakers will host screenings for each individual one-hour episode. Prior to the showing, filmmakers will provide compelling insight into the making of the film, and they will engage with guests during question-and-answer sessions at the end of each screening. Scheduled to appear during the voyage include:

• Jeff Bieber – Executive producer for The Italian Americans and veteran executive producer for public television documentaries, specials, news and cultural programs at WETA, the public broadcasting station for the Washington, D.C. area.
• John Maggio – Writer, producer and director for The Italian Americans and acclaimed producer and director for PBS series Finding Your Roots, American Experience and FRONTLINE.
• Maria Laurino – Creative nonfiction professor at New York University and the celebrated author of the national bestseller "Were You Always an Italian?," an exploration into ethnic identity.

Held in the Riviera Lounge, the screenings and subsequent question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers are complimentary experiences available to all guests sailing. Additional experiences in celebration of The Italian Americans premiere and available for a nominal fee include wine tastings featuring some of Italy’s finest vintages and Italian-inspired cooking adventures at the Bon Appétit Culinary Center. There will also be a book signing event with Maria Laurino, who penned a companion book for the series entitled The Italian Americans: A History.

Special experiences with limited capacity, such as private dinners and intimate cocktail functions with guest speakers, will only be available for guests booked specifically on The Italian Americans package using code “ARTFUL.” In addition, exclusive shore excursions tying into The Italian Americans theme will be available for guests booked on this promotion to purchase. The Italian Americans package is available at no additional cost for guests booking the “Enchanting Riviera” voyage. At the time of booking, guests or their travel agents need to request the promotional code "ARTFUL" to be added to the guest’s reservation. Space is limited to the first 300 guests who sign up for this promotion.

For more information on The Italian Americans cruise, guests can visit the Artful Travelers website at or contact Oceania Cruises directly.

Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Announces Premier Expedition Team for 2014/2015 Antarctica & Patagonia Voyages

SEATTLE, July 7: Seabourn has assembled a world-class expedition team for its 2014-2015 "Ultimate Antarctica & Patagonia" voyages aboard Seabourn Quest beginning November 2014. With one of the largest expedition teams on any ship going to Antarctica, the 17-person team will bring intimate knowledge of the "White Continent" and expedition travel to ensure guests have the ultimate experience on board and on shore during the four 21- to 24-day voyages.

From Antarctica's singular landscapes and abundant wildlife to the rugged grandeur of Patagonia, guests are sure to experience a journey like no other when they sail on Seabourn's Antarctica and Patagonia voyages. There will be ample opportunities for guests to explore the region up close and personal, including a complimentary Zodiac landing each day to selected Antarctic locations, digital photography coaching, myriad opportunities for wildlife sightings from the ship and on the shore, and guidance and insight from a skilled expedition staff. The cruises will also host inspiring, special guest speakers as part of the line's Seabourn Conversations enrichment and entertainment program.

Handpicked and led by Seabourn Expedition Program Manager and Leader Robin West, the expedition team consists of naturalists, scientists, cultural and historical experts, and other lecturers who will share their wealth of knowledge and passion for Antarctica. Award-winning nature photographers will offer coaching tips on digital photography for guests to capture the diverse wildlife and remarkable landscapes. From distant sightings on-board to landings ashore, the staff will expertly guide guests to add valuable insights to the adventure. Many team members who participated in the line's inaugural Antarctic season are returning for the second season.

"We are proud to offer a very experienced expedition team that grasps the significance of Antarctica and its diverse landscape, wildlife and climatic conditions," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "With their expertise and dedication, our team will create an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime Antarctic journey for our guests.

West, a veteran of more than 40 Antarctic voyages, led the expedition team during Seabourn's highly successful first season in Antarctica in 2013. Guided by real-time reports on wildlife, weather and ice conditions, he will join his staff in planning and organizing days on the Antarctic Continent, seeking the best opportunities to spot wildlife from the ship and securing landing sites with significant historical, scenic and nature interest. To meet the members of Seabourn Quest's Antarctic expedition team, see

Beginning Nov. 29, 2014, Seabourn Quest will sail on a series of four 21- to 24-day voyages between Valparaíso, (Santiago) Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Each includes days exploring the Chilean coast and fjords, Beagle Channel, Glacier Alley, the breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park,the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, Montevideo and six days of cruising and landings on the Antarctic Continent in uncompromised Seabourn luxury. A 24-day Holiday version, departing Dec. 20, 2014, will include two days exploring the sub-Antarctic wildlife Eden of South Georgia, renowned for its beauty and its vast, teeming rookeries of king penguins and other seabirds, as well as breeding elephant and fur seals.

Back to the top of the news list

Silversea Debuts Haute Couture Uniforms

Monaco, July 7: Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises' newly designed uniforms were previewed in a fashion show held aboard Silver Wind in Venice recently. They were created by Italy's prestigious Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) of Milan, a specialized fashion school for designers destined for the fashion brands globally.

The project was launched in September 2012, when the IED team spent several days aboard Silver Spirit, drawing creative inspiration from the elegant ship's Art Deco interior, and gaining insight into the functions and needs of the ship's officers and staff working in a diversity of settings, including reception, restaurants, lounges, and housekeeping. The IED designers have created an elegant and distinguished look in several variations that complements the luxury line's brand image. The collection features natural fabrics, including cotton and wool, in a black, white, blue, and gray color palette.

"We're delighted to showcase the talents of the up-and-coming fashion designers of IED," said Cristina Levis, Silversea's head of business development. "They have created stylish and comfortable uniforms that will be made in Italy and that effectively project the sophistication, professionalism, and graciousness of the ladies and gentlemen who represent our brand."

The collection was designed by Antonio Pala, Alla Polozenko, Laura Liistro, and Magdalena Kilkovich. The project was coordinated by Francesca Tottoli, manager of special projects for IED Moda, and professors Valentina Conzo and Alfonso Granieri.

In the coming months, several hundred Silversea shipboard employees will be outfitted in the elegant uniforms from Milan.

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Becomes First Cruise Line to Use Google Street View Technology

MIAMI, July 7: Royal Caribbean International today announced it is changing the way how people plan their vacations by working with Google to be the first cruise line to launch Google Maps Business View using Google’s Street View technology onboard the world’s largest and innovative cruise ship Allure of the Seas. By using Street View technology, Royal Caribbean International will provide consumers with an immersive and interactive experience when they are searching for a vacation.

"Business View allows people all over the world to explore a range of businesses and organizations in great detail in just a few clicks” said Deborah Schenker, Program Manager at Google UK, “You can check out anything from restaurants to aircraft in Google Maps, and now for the first time you can sail the seas too with the first ever cruise ship coming on board."

With just a few clicks, guests will be able to virtually walk through the various decks of Allure of the Seas including the Royal Promenade, a boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship, flanked by restaurants, boutiques and lounges; Central Park, an outdoor park longer than a football pitch complete with over 12,000 live plants and trees; the Boardwalk, featuring a hand-crafted carousel, two rock-climbing walls and the AquaTheater, a high-dive aquatic performance venue with the deepest pool at sea; Entertainment Place, with an elaborate theatre, night club, comedy club, jazz club and ice-skating rink, which offers professionally produced ice shows; the Pool and Sports Deck featuring a zip line, twin FlowRider surf simulators, full-size basketball/sports court, nine-hole mini-golf course, 15 pools and whirlpools and 22 restaurants, and many, many more.

Vacationers will be able to access the technology, a first for the cruise industry at or via Google Search results, Google Maps and Google+ whether they’re using their computers, smartphones, or tablets.

Jo Briody, director of marketing & PR, Royal Caribbean International commented: “We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of the industry when it comes to delivering innovative consumer facing technologies, whether it be Roboscreens and digital shows on our newest ships or Google Street View technology on our website. Consumers go online to research their vacations and this is the closest they can get to actually being onboard. We are confident that once people get virtually immersed in Allure of the Seas’ various decks and features thanks to Google Street View technology, they’ll be eager to experience the real thing.”

Over 20,000 images were taken over the course of 60 man hours and eight days to complete the virtual representation of the ship which stands taller than Nelson’s Column (165 feet) at 240 feet high and can accommodate more guests per sailing than the capacity of the Royal Albert Hall (5,544 seats). The images were taken using a basic DSLR camera using a fisheye lens and a panoramic head resting on a tripod. This method takes twelve photographs at each point and uses high-dynamic-range imaging to ensure the best exposure for areas of different light.

Back to the top of the news list

Installation of All Sponsons Complete; 10 Days to Possible Refloating of Concordia Wreck

Genoa: Installation of the last sponson, P1, on the port side of the wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia has been completed as planned on July 3rd. Now, ahead of authorization from the Monitoring Observatory, technicians can start to test all the systems for the final refloating of the Concordia.

"Following installation of the last sponson, we can start the countdown to refloating and final departure of the wreck from Giglio Island," said Costa Crociere S.p.A. Group CEO Michael Thamm. "Now all our energies are focused on the successful conclusion of this unprecedented engineering challenge to respect a precise commitment: Remove the Concordia wreck as soon as possible, in compliance with the highest environmental and safety standards."

Thirty sponsons have been positioned on the two sides of Concordia. When the refloating operation begins, the sponsons will be gradually emptied of ballast water by means of a pneumatic system, thereby providing the necessary buoyancy to refloat the wreck. At the end of this operation the wreck will have a draft of approximately 18.5 meters (60.7 feet). The Concordia will then be towed from Giglio Island to Genoa for dismantling and recycling.

The last phases of the Concordia wreck removal project will be explained in detail in the next few days. Information about the progress of operations and details of upcoming media briefings will be posted on the project website

Back to the top of the news list

2015 Soul Train Cruise Announced

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, July 7: The Soul Train Cruise unveils a star-studded lineup for its 2015 voyage, which travels through the Caribbean from Feb 22 through March 1, 2015 with more than 30 R&B superstars performing nightly concerts and interacting with cruise guests during over 25 special events. The fourth sailing of the hippest trip at sea will star Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Gladys Knight, James Ingram, KC & The Sunshine Band, The Spinners, Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Regina Belle, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., original 5th Dimension stars, Valerie Simpson of Ashford and Simpson, Will Hart of the original Delfonics and comedian Alonzo Bodden. Also joining the cruise are Hitzville: Las Vegas Style Motown Revue, Chicago’s legendary R&B record store merchant “Uncle George” Daniels and cruise host Tony Cornelius. Held aboard the luxurious Holland America Eurodam, the Soul Train Cruise departs from Fort Lauderdale, FL for Turks and Caicos, San Juan (Puerto Rico), St. Thomas, the Bahamas and the private island of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” says Frankie Beverly, “it’s going to be fun and I am very much looking forward to this.” "I am very excited to be sailing on The Soul Train Cruise in 2015," adds James Ingram. "It’s going to be a great trip full of unbelievable shows, meeting up with fans and friends, sight-seeing and cruising the beautiful Caribbean." He continues "I’m looking forward to having a whole lot of fun with everyone." “We are very good friends with every artist that will be on the ship,” says Henry Fambrough of The Spinners. “It will be great to be on the Soul Train Cruise with them and I’m quite sure that the ship is going to be rocking.” “I will see the other concerts,” he adds, “be down right in the front row. It’s a beautiful thing when you are onstage and look in the audience and see your peers. It’s gonna be off the charts, everybody come on and enjoy yourself!”

“This cruise has become the ultimate luxury vacation for fans of great R&B music,” says Michael Mitchell, StarVista/Time Life Vice President and Executive Producer of the Soul Train Cruise. “If you grew up watching Soul Train, this cruise will bring back all the memories-the great artists, fantastic songs, the dancers, the fashions and most of all the fun!” Chris Hearing, President of StarVista/Time Life, adds, “Our guests return time and time again for the music and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hang out with the biggest names in R&B history.”

The Soul Train Cruise not only offers more than 30 concerts throughout the 7-day voyage, but also invites travelers to meet the stars during over 25 special events, ranging from cooking demonstrations to dance lessons, Q&A panel discussions to tribute shows, a gospel hour, musician seminars, wine tasting and personal meet and greet sessions. The cruise will also film interviews with artists in front of a live audience, airing on television on a future date. And Soul Train Cruise partner XM Sirius will be aboard once again, recording exclusive radio shows with the artists and giving fans a backstage view into the excitement and the music that fill the ship while CENTRIC television also returns as title sponsor, hosting a number of the cruise’s most popular onboard activities.

Soul Train has been an integral part of popular culture since its debut in 1970 and continues be a vital force in entertainment with its all-star Soul Train Awards shows. Soul Train is also one of the most successful shows ever created, holding the record for the longest, first-run, nationally syndicated television show ever and remains popular to this day. Vintage episodes have aired on CENTRIC in recent years, nearly 500,000 DVDs have been sold, and the Soul Train Awards draw international superstars to its annual ceremony. Reservations for cabins on this cruise may be made now by visiting

Back to the top of the news list

One Year to Go until Cunard’s Historic 175th Anniversary Celebration Sailing from Liverpool

On July 4, 2015, Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 will return to Liverpool, England, to celebrate the departure exactly 175 years earlier of Britannia, the first ship built for Cunard's revolutionary new Transatlantic Crossing service, from Liverpool on July 4, 1840.

“Exactly one year from now, we’re looking forward to creating a piece of living history as Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, the grandest ocean liner ever built, sails from Pier Head to Halifax and Boston, just as Cunard’s first ever ship, the little paddle-steamer Britannia, did 175 years ago,” said David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line. “It’s a moment that will bring a lump to the throat of all those who have shared in the Cunard story over the generations since the company first chose Liverpool as its company base back in 1840, and where it built its magnificent headquarters, the Cunard Building last century. Liverpool has been, is and always will be our spiritual home.”

Britannia, the hull of which could fit inside the Britannia Restaurant on board Queen Mary 2, changed the face of ocean travel forever by establishing the first scheduled service across the Atlantic. Every year in the 174 years since then, Cunard ships have crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic, in peace and in war, without fail.

Cunard's Head Office was based in Liverpool from its founding until 1967, and the city will play a key role in the 175th Anniversary celebrations next year. The 4 July 2015 visit will come just six weeks after the “Three Queens, One Magnificent City” celebration, which will see the current Cunard fleet salute the company’s “spiritual” home. From 24 to 26 May 2015, Liverpool will play host to the three largest Cunard ships ever built in an historic, news-making, head-turning three-day event.

Queen Mary 2 will arrive in Liverpool on Sunday 24 May and make her first-ever overnight stay in the city, berthed in sight of the Cunard Building. The following morning, on Monday 25 May, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will sail into the city, and for a time all three Cunard ships will line up on the Mersey in a spectacle that is expected to draw huge crowds. Over a million people saw QE2 sail into Liverpool for the first time in July 1990.

Queen Mary 2 will then take her leave and sail out of Liverpool late morning on Monday 25 May as Queen Elizabeth berths at the landing stage where she will remain until late that night. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria will anchor in the Mersey. Late in the evening of Monday 25 May, Queen Elizabeth will set sail and Queen Victoria will then take the berth and remain there overnight and for the following day, Tuesday 26 May.

Yet-to-be-announced events will take place on 4 July 2015 before Queen Mary 2 will follow in the wake of Britannia and recreate the original Crossing to Halifax and Boston before arriving in New York on 14 July. The voyage is also special as it is the first time a Cunard ship has left Liverpool for America since January 1968.

For more information, or to book a voyage, contact your Travel Agent, call Cunard Line toll free at 1-800-728-6273, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

From Annapolis To Arlington: Crystal Voyage Salutes U.S. History With Visits To Iconic Sites

LOS ANGELES, July 2: Luxury travelers can plan for an immersive exploration of some of the most important sites in the nation's history during Crystal Cruises' November 5 East Coast sailing from New York to Miami aboard the award-winning Crystal Serenity. Visiting military training grounds and war memorials and walking in the footsteps of presidents - through the Revolutionary-era buildings that George Washington visited and the Capitol Building hallways - guests will gain a profound perspective on the people and places that shaped the country's history. American heritage excursions include:

Steps back in time...

-- Through Colonial Williamsburg, as period-costumed hosts lead guests through the 18(th) century homes and Merchants Square, plus reenactments of authentic colonial life (from Norfolk, Virginia)
-- Retracing George Washington's visit to Charleston, including the Heyward Washington House where he stayed and the Old Exchange, where he greeted citizens and where the Declaration of Independence was first read by South Carolina Governor (from Charleston, South Carolina).


-- A new tour of the 9/11 Memorial, personally guided by a survivor, rescue worker, volunteer or other veteran of the 2001 attacks highlights the survival tree that was pulled from the rubble and cascading 30-foot waterfalls where the Twin Towers stood (from New York City)
-- At Arlington National Cemetery, where thousands of soldiers from the Civil War to present rest, as well as presidents, the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger and other notable Americans (from Baltimore, Maryland)
-- At the National Mall, where World War II and the Korean and Vietnam War memorials are housed (from Baltimore, Maryland).

Iconic symbols

-- The original and current U.S. capitals, at Annapolis and the Maryland State House, where George Washington famously resigned his commission before Congress; and a new tour of the current Capitol Building in Washington D.C., plus stops at the White House, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and the Smithsonian (from Baltimore, Maryland)
-- Two of the country's most significant symbols of freedom: Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, with expert insights of the sites' historical influence on our modern culture (from New York City).

On board, renowned author and presidential journalist Ken Walsh will share insights and tales from his many years spent as chief White House correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, having reported on five administrations and every presidential campaign since 1984.

The Nov 5 "Colonial Collection" cruise begins with an overnight stay in New York City, then calls in Baltimore, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Turks & Caicos/Grand Turk; Curacao/Willemstad; and Oranjestad, Aruba, before disembarking in Miami. For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Kid Rock’s 6th Annual Chillin’ the Most Cruise to Sail

ATLANTA, GA: Kid Rock and Sixthman, the industry leader in music festivals at sea, are joining forces once again to bring you Kid Rock’s 6th Annual Chillin’ the Most Cruise. This floating music festival will set sail March 2–6 from Miami, FL to Cozumel Mexico aboard Norwegian Pearl.

For the first time in Kid Rock Cruise history, guests will be invited to go on a “blind date” with Kid Rock. In previous years, the full festival lineup has been announced prior to the event. On this 6th voyage, Kid Rock has decided to keep guests guessing about the artists joining the supporting lineup. Guests will find out which artists are coming along for the ride the moment they board the ship, bringing an exciting twist to this highly successful festival at sea. The activities, contests, theme nights, and all other details guests are accustomed to knowing prior to sailing will be announced periodically in the months leading up to the event.

Norwegian Pearl will sail to the island of Cozumel, which offers an array of activities for Kid Rock Cruisers. From fishing and snorkeling to shopping, local dining and more, travelers have plenty of adventures sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. With an exclusive “Chillers-only” shore excursion, guests can take the party from the ship to this little slice of paradise at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.

With 15 decks of dining and entertainment, Norwegian Pearl is a destination of her own, offering guests access to 13 bars and lounges, 19 dining experiences, one outdoor pool, hot tubs, and an award-winning spa. Guests can also visit the ship’s outdoor climbing wall, shoot some hoops on the sports court, bowl a few frames at the onboard bowling alley or try and tempt lady luck at the Pearl Club Casino. Visit to learn more about the upcoming booking process and for announcements on performances, contests, activity details, and special guest artists.

Back to the top of the news list

George Takei Documentary to Premiere on Queen Mary 2

July 2: Before Queen Mary 2 sails her 28 July Transatlantic Crossing, select Cunard Line guests will take an enlightening journey through the life of actor, activist and social media superstar George Takei. The actor will participate in an exclusive on board screening of his biographical documentary, “To Be Takei” (Starz Digital Media), and will join as the ship’s distinguished guest on the eight-night voyage from New York to Southampton, during which the film will also be screened.

Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot, “To Be Takei” is an entertaining and moving look at the many roles played by eclectic 77-year-old actor/activist George Takei whose wit, humor and grace have allowed him to become an internationally beloved figure who may be more relevant today than ever. The film balances unprecedented access to the day-to-day life of George Takei and his husband and business partner, Brad Takei, starting with Takei's fascinating personal journey from his childhood in U.S. internment camps for Japanese Americans during WWII, through his iconic and groundbreaking role as Sulu on "Star Trek" to his rise as an internet phenomenon with over seven million Facebook fans.

“The opportunity to screen ‘To Be Takei’ with the iconic actor also on board brings a whole new level of interaction and enjoyment for our guests,” said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “Mr. Takei’s extraordinary story and reinvention will inspire many on Queen Mary 2 as the conversation continues throughout our Transatlantic Crossing.”

In addition, Takei will speak twice for Cunard’s Insights program. The first presentation will cover the many communities that influenced him throughout his life, while the second talk will highlight his 50-plus years in Hollywood. Takei’s most recent project is the musical Allegiance, based on his own internment camp experience during WWII.

“The documentary gives viewers an honest look at me and my career, and I’m looking forward to the discussion with fellow passengers,” Takei said. “With such an impressive history of guests over the past 10 years, Queen Mary 2 is a wonderful place to share stories and laughter.”

Starz Digital Media acquired the North American rights to “To Be Takei” following its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The film will be available exclusively on DIRECTV from 3 July through 6 August and will be released in theaters and via On Demand, iTunes and other digital stores on 22 August.

For more information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

American Cruise Lines Launches New Mississippi Riverboat

GUILFORD, CT, July 2: American Cruise Lines has announced the successful launching of the new paddlewheeler being built for the Mississippi River at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland. The launching, which occurred on Sunday, went picture perfect. Immediately after being launched into the Wicomico River, tugboats skillfully nudged the new riverboat into Chesapeake Shipbuilding’s East Outfitting Basin where the upper decks and outfitting will be completed.

“This is a significant milestone in the construction process and also for American Cruise Lines,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “We look forward to introducing yet another new paddlewheeler on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.”

The launching comes just a few weeks after the joining of the two hull sections, weighing at almost 600 tons a piece. With the installation of the upper decks up next, the new riverboat will come together quickly, and upon completion will be the second new riverboat built for the Mississippi River by American Cruise Lines. Two additional riverboats are also on the way.

The new boat, still unnamed, will have a capacity of 150 passengers and is scheduled to begin navigating the Mississippi River and its tributaries in the spring of 2015. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines Promotion Provides Discounts & Complimentary Upgrades to Military Personnel

MIAMI, July 2: Carnival Cruise Lines is hosting a special mid-year promotion during July offering discounts of up to 30 percent and complimentary two-category upgrades to active and retired personnel of the U.S. military and Canada National Defense. Military personnel can also book up to two additional staterooms at these special discounted rates. The promotion runs from today through July 13, 2014, and is valid on a wide variety of three- to 13-day departures to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Canada, New England and the Panama Canal through Dec 31, 2014. Voyages operate from 12 convenient North American homeports along the east and west coasts and the Gulf of Mexico.

The promotion is valid for individual bookings only. Military personnel must provide proof of service. Eligible military personnel must sail to take advantage of this offer. Upgrades are automatically assigned at the time of booking and are based on availability in similar categories only (interior to interior, ocean view to ocean view, balcony to balcony). Certain other restrictions apply. Thirty percent discount is based off Fun Select rates. For additional information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Silversea Unveils World Cruise 2016

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, July 1: Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises opened the books today on its World Cruise 2016, an extraordinary 115-day sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Venice, departing January 5, 2016. This far-reaching cultural exploration will be hosted aboard the elegant, all-suite Silver Whisper, enabling travelers to journey in unsurpassed luxury across six continents as they visit 51 destinations in 31 countries, enjoying 13 multi-day port calls along the way, plus many late-night departures.

Named "Venetian World Odyssey 2016," the epic voyage will follow a westward path from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal to South America and the Pacific. Guests will explore the island paradises of the South Seas, including Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, and Bora Bora before sailing to the most desirable destinations of New Zealand, Australia, and Asia, including vibrant Hong Kong and Singapore, the enticing resorts of Bali and Phuket, and mysterious Myanmar. The odyssey will continue to exotic India, Arabia, and timeless Mediterranean hideaways before concluding with two nights in magnificent Venice.

"A world cruise is an experienced traveler's dream," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas. "Our intimate Silver Whisper offers the perfect setting for guests to mingle and form long-lasting friendships as they traverse our planet, discovering its ancient cultures, cosmopolitan cities, rainforests, golden beaches, coral wonders, and so much more. It truly is the voyage of a lifetime."

Guests will enjoy an exceptional onboard enrichment program featuring distinguished destination experts, academics, journalists, diplomats and other specialists. Local entertainment, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and regional specialties will provide further immersion in each global destination.

A Host of Added-Value Amenities
Guests sailing the complete World Cruise will enjoy a variety of special amenities, including a gala Bon Voyage reception, dinner, and overnight stay at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami, complimentary Business Class air and transfers (between home, airport, hotel and Silver Whisper), complimentary baggage valet service, a $4,000 onboard spending credit (per suite), complimentary laundry service, Internet package and commemorative gifts.

Additionally, for guests sailing the full 115 days, there will be three complimentary exclusive World Cruise events. These include a masked ball in Venice, an elegant lunch on a private island in Sydney Harbor, and a chartered jet flight to India's legendary Taj Mahal for a tour followed by lunch and a return flight to Silver Whisper. Plus, three complimentary Silversea Experiences will highlight enigmatic Easter Island, the otherwordly seascape of Halong Bay, and the magnificent Royal Opera House of Muscat.

For additional information and to view the complete itinerary, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Italian Government Approves Transportation of Concordia Wreck to Genoa, Italy
for Dismantling & Recycling

HOLLYWOOD, FL, July 1: The Italian Cabinet has authorized Titan Micoperi to tow the Concordia wreck to Genoa, Italy, for dismantling and recycling. The decision marks the beginning of the final phase of the removal of the wreck from the coast of Giglio, Italy.

"The cabinet's approval of the project for transportation of the Concordia to Genoa for dismantling and recycling means that achievement of the goal we set ourselves 2½ years ago, namely, the safe and definitive removal of the wreck from Giglio Island, is now well within sight," said Costa Crociere CEO Michael Thamm. "We are now just two weeks away from refloating the ship. We will supervise the final phase of the Concordia project with the same commitment and attention that we have put into this challenge since the very beginning, using the best expertise and technologies, in compliance with the highest environmental safety standards, and in full cooperation with the authorities."

With the green light for towing the Concordia wreck to Genoa, more than 350 Titan Micoperi technicians are working 24/7 at Giglio Island to rapidly complete the preparations for refloating. Only two more sponsons are still to be installed to reach the total of 30 needed to refloat the wreck. Refloating is scheduled to start by mid-July upon authorization of the Monitoring Observatory, and towing of the wreck from Giglio Island is planned by the end of the month.

"The Concordia's last voyage will be provided by Titan Micoperi, the consortium commissioned to carry out the salvage operation on Giglio Island," Thamm explained. "Once the ship is in Genoa, we will be able to count on the cutting-edge technical and management skills of the Saipem consortium to deal with the environmental aspects of the Concordia dismantling operations. The work will be done at San Giorgio del Porto, the first shipyard in Italy to be included in the Special Register of Environmental Ship Reclamation & Recycling Facilities, which has many decades of experience in ship repairs and refitting. The technical and financial solidity of Saipem/SGdP represents an important guarantee for the project."

The last phases of the Concordia wreck removal project--refloating, transportation and dismantling/recycling--will be explained in detail by Costa Crociere and its partners in the coming days. Information about the progress of operations and details of upcoming media briefings will be posted on the project website:

Transportation from Giglio Island to Genoa
Once it is refloated, the wreck will be towed to the Port of Genoa Voltri under the direction of the Titan Micoperi team, which is in charge of the Concordia salvage operation. It will travel a distance of about 190 nautical miles (219 statute miles) at an average speed of 2 knots (2.3 mph), taking an estimated four days.

The window for the transportation falls statistically in the period characterized by the best sea and weather conditions for the region. Studies and analyses have confirmed the safety of the planned method of transportation. As has always been the case in all phases of the Concordia removal project, environmental protection is the top priority.

The ship will be towed at low speed and escorted by other vessels carrying specialized equipment and personnel, including a team of marine biology experts who will be ready to intervene should any problem arise.

Background on the dismantling/recycling project
Dismantling and recycling will be provided by a consortium formed by Saipem, part of state-owned ENI Group, a leading company in engineering and environmental projects, and San Giorgio del Porto, a shipyard active since 1928 in ship repairs and refitting, and the first shipyard in Italy to be included in the Special Register of Environmental Ship Reclamation & Recycling Facilities.

The Saipem/San Giorgio del Porto plan for dismantling and recycling of the Concordia wreck will be carried out in four phases that are expected to last a total of 22 months.

• Phase I: The Port of Genova Voltri will be readied to receive the vessel and perform initial ship breaking activities including stripping of the interior furnishings and fittings on the decks above water.
• Phase II: The wreck will be transferred from the Voltri Breakwater to the Molo Ex Superbacino dock, where the structures of decks 14 to 2 will be dismantled.
• Phase III: Will consist of preparatory activities for transfer of the wreck to Dry Dock no. 4. At this stage the sponsons will be removed and the food storerooms and cold storage rooms on Deck 0 will be cleaned.
• Phase IV: Operations will be carried out in the segregated area of Dry Dock no. 4 with complete disassembly of the wreck, involving removal of the other interior fittings, cleanup of various areas and final demolition of all remaining structures. This phase will conclude with appropriate handling, disposal and recycling of the discarded materials.

The Concordia wreck removal is an extremely complex technical engineering feat--considered the biggest salvage ever attempted on a ship of its size--with the deployment of the finest international expertise, state-of-the-art technology and unprecedented financial resources. The priorities of the project were clear from the outset: respect for the environment, workplace safety and protection of the Giglio Island’s socio-economic fabric. The Concordia wreck was rotated to a vertical position with a successful parbuckling operation Sept. 17, 2013.

Back to the top of the news list

MSC Cruises Donates $4.1 Million to UNICEF

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, July 1: MSC Cruises has donated more than $4.1 million to UNICEF, the United Nations agency that fights for the rights of children around the world, during a handover ceremony at MSC Cruises’ Geneva headquarters. MSC Cruises and UNICEF joined forces in 2009 under the “Get on Board for Children” initiative, which encourages guests on board the 12 MSC Cruises ships to make a contribution to UNICEF.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is active in more than 190 countries and territories, and since 2009, MSC’s collaboration has provided UNICEF in Brazil with funds to combat poverty and inequality. The money has helped children in 126 vulnerable communities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo gain access to a quality education.

In January of this year, MSC Cruises and UNICEF started a new life-saving partnership to provide assistance to malnourished children by delivering Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), such as Plumpy’Nut®, to treat severe malnutrition in developing countries and in countries affected by crisis situations.

During a ceremony at the company headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago handed the Executive Director of UNICEF Switzerland, Elsbeth Müller a check for more than €3 million (more than 4.1 million in US dollars).

“At MSC Cruises we are honored to be able to assist UNICEF in its endeavour to help starving children around the world. It was our duty to set in place such a concrete partnership that can save the lives of children for whom RUTF is an essential lifeline,” said Vago. “We are proud of the hard work achieved by all our staff, which made it possible to raise such an incredible amount of money. MSC as a group, which means cruises and cargo, is working hard to raise awareness of the project and to provide support to UNICEF through our very extensive network around the world.”

In addition to donations from guests, MSC Cruises also organizes “edutainment” activities for children on board, raising awareness of UNICEF’s work and the needs of children around the world. Each week will see a dedicated UNICEF Day that includes fun games, a children’s parade and the distribution to each participating youngster of a UNICEF World Citizen passport, making them an ambassador for the rights of the child worldwide. In addition, MSC Cruises has launched a new song performed by an Italian children’s choir called “I Can Believe – MSC for UNICEF,” to provide a soundtrack to all UNICEF support efforts on board MSC Cruises ships.

Guests on board each ship of the MSC fleet have the possibility to donate at least $1.50 to the “Get on Board for Children” initiative. More information is available on the following dedicated website For more information about MSC Cruises, please visit

Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Conversations to Host Steve Wozniak & Lord Digby Jones

SEATTLE, July 1: Seabourn is introducing two prominent authorities on innovation and industry over the year ahead for "Seabourn Conversations," the award-winning cruise line's onboard enrichment and special guest entertainment program. Sharing their insights and interests onboard Seabourn Odyssey will be Steve Wozniak, co-founder (with the late Steve Jobs) of Apple Computer Inc., and Lord Digby Jones, former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Minister of State for UK Trade and Investment.

With notable backgrounds and impressive resumes, both Wozniak and Lord Jones remain active and engaged on many levels. Wozniak designed the hardware, circuit board designs and operating system for the Apple I personal computer and was awarded the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor bestowed on America's leading innovators, by President Reagan in 1985. He was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2000, and released his New York Times-bestselling autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple and Had Fun Doing It in 2006.

Lord Jones is the former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (2000-2006) and Minister of State for Trade and Investment (2007-2008). He was knighted in 2005 for his services and became member of the House of Lords in 2007. He is currently Business Ambassador at UK Trade & Investment, Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Limited, Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars, among many other titles.

Steve Wozniak will be on board Seabourn Odyssey's Dec 21, 2014 voyage and Lord Jones on Seabourn Odyssey's March 23, 2015 cruise.

"The art of conversation is a key element onboard our ships, and nowhere will the chatter be more listenable than on Seabourn Odyssey when Steve Wozniak and Lord Digby Jones start the dialogue," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president, marketing and sales. "We're very excited to welcome both dignitaries and allow our guests to enjoy their insights and knowledge."

Seabourn's intimate, award-winning ships offer key elements that set Seabourn apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas; superb dining in a choice of venues; open bars throughout the ship; fine wines poured at lunch and dinner; award-winning personalized service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board. Seabourn's ships circles the globe throughout the year, sailing to the world's most desirable destinations at their peak seasons including marquee cities and lesser-known yachting harbors and hideaways that few travelers ever see. Remarkably all-inclusive fares offer tremendous value for one of the world's finest travel experiences. For more details,  visit

Back to the top of the news list

SeaDream Yacht Club’s Caribbean Highlights

MIAMI, July 1: SeaDream Yacht Club will spend the fall and winter 2014/2015 season sailing to some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands, visiting ports so small that only their 112-guest twin mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II can enter. In addition to the intimate atmosphere, award-winning dining and 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio, guests will enjoy unique access to some of the most beautiful locales the world has to offer.

“Sailing on our mega-yachts allows guest to explore a side of the Caribbean less traveled,” shares President Bob Lepisto. “The intimate size of our vessels allows us to dock at ports that other lines cannot, and we’re excited to have SeaDream I and SeaDream II both in the islands this winter offering that kind of exclusive access to our guests.”

With an emphasis on 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, glass-bottom 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 will enjoy an experience like none other, visiting ports that only they can access.

Caribbean highlights include:

Anegada, British Virgin Islands: In contrast to the other British Virgin Islands, Anegada is a low coral atoll only 11 miles long, and at its highest point is only 28 feet above sea level. The trees on this tiny paradise are more than double the height of the island itself, and navigating by smaller vessels is the only way to get there. Guests will enjoy a day at Cow Wreck Beach, miles of stunning, secluded sandy beach and incredible snorkeling.
Dominica (The Nature Isle): SeaDream can either dock alongside the unique wooden pier or stay at anchor in Prince Rupert Bay to offer water activities from the marina. A must-do SeaDream Land Adventure is a trip down Indian River aboard wooden rowboats (oarsman provided) where guests will enjoy a beautifully peaceful float through a “tunnel of flora and fauna.”
Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes: Part of the Iles des Saintes group of Islands, Terre-de-Haut offers guests one of the most picturesque locales in the world. They will also enjoy views of the sister island, Ilet a Cabrit, the main island of Guadeloupe and the volcanic La Soufriere mountain, which reaches a height of 4,810 feet.
Norman Island: Located at the southern tip of the British Virgin Islands, Norman Island is an uninhabited, privately owned tropical paradise of a mere 600 acres. A large harbor known as “The Bight” offers guests one of the most protected anchorages in the area. Guests will enjoy great hiking opportunities as well as snorkeling and scuba diving.
Union Island, the Grenadines: Nicknamed the ‘Tahiti of the West Indies’ due to its volcanic silhouette, Union Island is the southernmost island of the Grenadines. Among the many restaurants and bars, Happy Island, a man-made island featuring a bar, sits in the middle of Clifton Harbor and is an absolute must-see for guests. Guests will also marvel at Mount Taboi, which at 999 feet above sea level and the highest peak on Union Island. Another key feature of the Union Island region is the Tobago Cays National Marine Park. The Tobago Cays are a group of small uninhabited islands surrounded by reefs, where SeaDream offers snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming.

For additional information, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Cruise News Archive - Past cruise news items listed by month

More from

Articles & Advice

Cruise Reviews

Cruise Line Profiles

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

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

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected

Cruise News Archive
Past cruise news items listed by month

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


Back to the top of  this page

            Use keywords to search...

Search Search the Internet