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

Insure My Trip
Use the automated quote form to compare plans
Click here -- Cruise Insurance Comparison Guide

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 © 1995-2012
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
October 1-31, 2012

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

Carnival Corporation Orders New Ships for Its Holland America Line
& Carnival Cruise Lines Brands

MIAMI, Oct. 26: Carnival Corporation announced today it has reached an agreement for the construction of two new cruise ships - a 99,000-ton ship for its Holland America Line brand and a 135,000-ton vessel for its Carnival Cruise Lines brand.

A memorandum of agreement has been signed with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of a 2,660-passenger ship for Holland America Line scheduled for delivery in fall 2015 and a 4,000-passenger ship for Carnival Cruise Lines scheduled for delivery in winter 2016. The total cost for the two vessels combined, which includes the U.S. dollar denominated contract price and all owner's costs, will be approximately $195,000 per lower berth. The memorandum of agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including execution of shipbuilding contracts and financing.

The Holland America ship, which will be a new class of vessel for the line, will enter service five years after the last Holland America ship, the ms Nieuw Amsterdam, delivered in 2010. The Carnival Cruise Lines vessel, also a new class of ship, will be launched four years after the introduction of Carnival Breeze, which debuted in spring 2012. The timing of capacity additions for these brands is similar to the five year span between upcoming new ship introductions for both Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises (UK), as previously announced.

"Today's order continues the company's strategy of introducing two to three ships per year across the corporation's 10 brands. We have strategically timed the introduction of these new ships to allow ample time for those brands to further grow their passenger base and absorb the new capacity while minimizing revenue yield dilution in the remainder of their existing fleets," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

Including the newbuilds announced today, Carnival Corporation currently has nine new ships scheduled for delivery - two for 2013, two for 2014, three for 2015 and two for 2016. Arison also noted that the addition of new tonnage is expected, to some extent, to replace existing capacity reductions from possible sales of older ships.

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Expands Luxury Golf Opportunities In 2013

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26: Crystal Cruises is expanding its luxury golfing opportunities around the world with a 25% increase in international course offerings in 2013, many of them new-to-Crystal. With three golf-themed cruises boasting new itineraries in the British Isles, New England/Canada, and the Canary Islands/Iberia, the Experience of Discovery voyages offer both exotic and close-to-home immersion in the regions' best and most breathtaking courses (more than a dozen total), as well as onboard clinics, classes, and mingling to improve one's game.

April 10's 11-day cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona presents a preeminent example of the Six-Star caliber of related outings and programming. Britain's best golfer in history, Tony Jacklin, will be aboard to share tips and tales from his esteemed career, as well as play with guests at renowned championship courses, including:

-- Valderrama (Cadiz) - Considered by many to be the #1 course in Europe, with a design that utilizes natural hazards to challenge golfers.
-- Oitavos Dunes (Lisbon) - Called "one of the finest pieces of golfing heaven anywhere in continental Europe," thanks to a game-enhancing design that complements a natural setting, including 50-year-old umbrella pines lining the outward nine.
-- El Saler Golf Course (Valencia) - Named one of Golf Magazine's 100 Greatest Courses in the World and designed by the "architect of Spanish golf," Javier Arana, with a notoriously deceptive 6(th) hole to challenge even the most seasoned competitors.
-- Golf Club del Sur (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) - Home to several PGA European tour competitions, with water hazards, volcanic sand bunkers, and 8,000 palm trees surrounding its 27 holes. (Crystal guests will play 18.)
-- Palheiro Golf Club (Funchal) - Designed to test players' strategic game, with tight fairways, fast greens and stunning bay views from 200 year-old estate grounds.

"We're thrilled to offer our discerning guests the opportunity to meet other greens fans and share such premier golf experiences with them," says John Stoll, vice president of land and port operations. "Whether one is gleaning beginner's tips from the on-board workshops with our pros, or already starting off with a low handicap, a Crystal golf itinerary is a dream vacation for exploring the nuances of this universally-loved game."

Crystal's golf program includes a VIP welcome reception; pre-/post-round refreshments in legendary clubhouses; welcome kits with course info and gifts; team-pairing; transportation to/from courses; game carts or caddies (where available); 45-minute warm-ups; awards; storage and cleaning of clubs and shoes; and more all included. TaylorMade clubs, putting greens, driving ranges, and golf pros (who offer private lessons or complimentary group coaching sessions) are also available on board for extra practice, as they are on every Crystal cruise.

With calls in Lisbon (overnight) and Madeira/Funchal, Portugal; Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Arrecife, Canary Islands; Agadir and Casablanca, Morocco; and Cadiz/Seville, Valencia, and Barcelona, Spain, all-inclusive fares for April's "Canary Islands Classic" and August 26's 7-day Dublin to London voyage are open for reservation. "Book Now" savings of up to $2,000/couple are available if cruises are booked by October 31. Guests can ship their own clubs to and from the ship with Luggage Concierge.

Crystal's passion for creating exclusive, eye-opening luxury shore-side experiences are cornerstones of its Crystal Adventures program, earning the line top ratings for two decades. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Windstar Cruises Nears Completion of Fleet Renovation

SEATTLE, Oct. 25: Windstar Cruises announced the latest plans for the $18 million fleet-wide renovation project to be completed in December of this year. Wind Surf, the company's flagship, will enter into dry dock on November 12th at Lisnave, a Portuguese shipyard. Wind Spirit's public spaces will be refurbished shortly after, starting on November 25th. Wind Star, the sister yacht to Wind Spirit, was fully renovated in April of this year. The staterooms and suites of all three yachts were refurbished last fall and this spring.

"We are looking forward to having our whole fleet enter 2013 with an elevated feeling of private yacht style," said Hans Birkholz, CEO and President of Windstar Cruises. "We want to continue to offer the best vacation experience possible on board our unique sailing yachts."

The 310-passenger Wind Surf will start its stem-to-stern renovation with a five-day dry dock. The yacht will cross the Atlantic, with only crew on board to complete its 13-day wet dock. The first post-renovation voyage, Yachtsman's Caribbean, will sail on December 1(st) from St. Maarten. The 148-passenger Wind Spirit will spend its two-week dry dock in Lisnave as well, before starting her wet dock on the December 9(th) transatlantic crossing. Wind Spirit will arrive in Barbados on December 22(nd) and start receiving guests for its Jewels of the Windward Islands cruise.

Similar to Wind Star, both sailing yachts will have updated decor in the public areas, complete with new furnishings, upholstery, art, lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, window treatments, and floor coverings. The enhanced color palette combines sand and marine shades to contrast with the warmth of wood finishes, elevating the look and feel to casual elegance.

One of the most exciting features of the renovation is the transformation of the main dining room, The Restaurant, into a whole new cuisine experience as AmphorA Restaurant. The venue will be introduced with a redesigned seating layout and state-of-the-art wine display and storage. A new menu will be featured, spotlighting local dishes as well as savory courses such as ling cod, quail delight, as well as porcini and truffle fettuccini. The Veranda's outdoor seating will also be expanded to create an ideal mid-ship area for guests to enjoy breakfast and lunch alfresco. A live-action cooking station will give guests a chance to order exactly what they want. The interior includes a new buffet, new lighting, and epicurean displays.

On Wind Surf only, Degrees Restaurant will be transformed into an elegant French Bistro, featuring a new name and menu, details which will be announced soon. The venue will receive an enhanced look with new furniture, flooring, wine display cabinet, and a mix of classic and contemporary pendent lighting. Also onboard Wind Surf, the popular Compass Rose will be redesigned with fresh contemporary furnishings, new flooring and comfortable chairs and bar stools designed for socializing.

Other enhanced areas on both ships include:

-- The Lounge Bar: will receive sleek, contemporary furniture to match the new tawny, color palette giving a friendly ambiance.
-- Reception Area: will be decorated with a new alabaster centerpiece and pendent lighting.
-- The Pool Bar: is set to be redesigned with a variety of seating options and new awning. By evening the deck transforms into the romantic Candles, where on-deck, candlelit dinners are served.
-- Yacht Club: will be refreshed with new furnishings.

"We've had really positive feedback from the renovations on Wind Star," said Birkholz. "Our guests are also really excited to see the enhancements to the remaining two yachts; our advanced bookings are already fifty percent ahead of last year at this time."

Already completed on all three yachts are the staterooms and suites. They were redesigned in April to include new leather headboards, contemporary furniture, linen wall coverings, new lighting features, window coverings, plush wool carpeting, new art work, stylish bed cushions and luxurious bed throws. In addition, all three sailing yachts received 69,000 square feet of brand new, hand-crafted sails. To learn more about what's happening with Windstar Cruises renovations, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises Announces New 14-Day Itinerary for Alaska 2013

MIAMI, Oct 24: Oceania Cruises has announced changes to its 2013 Alaska sailings on Regatta including the addition of a new 14-day Pacific Exploration voyage roundtrip from Seattle on June 4, 2013. The new itinerary features calls into Kodiak, Hoonah and Seward as well as cruising Alaska’s Inside and Outside Passages and the awe-inspiring Hubbard Glacier. The new Pacific Exploration voyage combines two originally scheduled 7-day sailings on June 4 and June 11, 2013. The company also amended its June 28 and July 5, 2013 Coastal Alaska sailings to now begin and end in Seattle. The changes were made based on feedback from the line’s guests and travel partners.

“Our guests and travel partners were asking for a longer itinerary and an enhanced experience to enjoy all the wonders that Alaska has to offer,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president. “With two-for-one savings on our Unlimited Passport Collection package, these voyages offer great value for travelers who wish to explore Alaska on a smaller ship, going ashore with a select few rather than waiting in line with thousands.”

Oceania Cruises always features two-for-one cruise fares and free air delivering additional value to guests especially at a time when air costs are rising. The line is also offering bonus savings of up to $3,000 per stateroom, two-for-one deposits and an Unlimited Passport Collection shore excursion promotion valued at up to $999 per stateroom on select sailings that are booked by Dec 31, 2012.

Scenic highlights for Oceania Cruise’s Alaska itineraries include cruising the Inside and Outside Passages, Hubbard and Sawyer Glaciers and Tracy Arm Fjord. The destination experience can be further enhanced with excursions such as a sea kayaking adventure at Mendenhall Glacier, a day of fishing for salmon, trout and halibut and the Spasski River Valley Wildlife & Bear search.

Travelers can choose from eight Alaska itineraries:

Gateway to Alaska – 9 days between San Francisco and Vancouver, visiting Astoria, Oregon, Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Departure: May 9;
Fjords & Frontiers – 7 days roundtrip from Vancouver. Ports include Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka and Wrangell. Departure: May 18;
Majesty of Alaska – 10 days between Vancouver and Seattle, calling at Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Hoonah and Ketchikan. Departure: May 25;
Pacific Exploration – 14 days roundtrip from Seattle, visiting Ketchikan, Sitka, Seward, Kodiak, Skagway, Wrangell, Hoonah; and Prince Rupert and Victoria, BC. Departure: June 4;
Coastal Alaska – 7 days roundtrip from Seattle, with visits to Ketchikan, Wrangell and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Departures: June 28 and July 5;
Alaskan Wilderness – 10 days roundtrip from Seattle. Ports include Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Hoonah, Sitka and Victoria, BC. Departures: June 18 and July 12;
Glacial Passage – 7 days between Seattle and Vancouver, calling at Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan. Departures: July 22, July 29 and Aug 5;
Alaskan Grandeur – 10 days between Vancouver and San Francisco, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Victoria, BC and Astoria, Oregon. Departure: Aug 12.

Travelers will discover Alaska aboard Oceania Cruises’ 684-guest Regatta, an intimate ship acclaimed for its open-seating gourmet dining (no surcharges), luxurious public rooms and accommodations, and warm and attentive service. For more information, visit To make a reservation, see your travel agent or call toll-free 800-531-5658.

Back to the top of the news list

Costa Mediterranea Repositions to Miami for 10-Day Caribbean Cruises

HOLLYWOOD, FL, Oct. 23: Costa Cruises is bringing back a taste of Italy to the tropics this winter when Costa Mediterranea repositions to the Caribbean beginning Nov. 20, 2012. The ship is set to sail 10-day cruises that feature six ports of call and cover an expanded area of the region. Costa Mediterranea is replacing sister ship Costa Atlantica, which will reposition to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

From November to February 2013, the 86,000-ton, 2,144-guest Costa Mediterranea will sail two 10-day round-trip Caribbean itineraries from Miami with calls at Nassau, Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico, and a call at either Belize City, Belize, or Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. A special New Year's Eve holiday sailing departs Dec. 30, 2012.

"Costa Mediterranea's itineraries are unique because of their extended length and span of both the eastern and western Caribbean," said Scott Knutson, vice president of sales and marketing for Costa Cruises North America. "The 10-day cruises enable guests to explore more of the Caribbean's diverse destinations in one itinerary and provide an opportunity to take part in the more than 80 shore excursions offered throughout the voyage."

Inspired by 17th-century Italian palaces, Costa Mediterranea's décor boasts Carrara marble, Murano glass accents and inlaid wood, creating a palatial atmosphere. The Maschera d'Argento Atrium features dancers suspended mid-air in a tribute to dance and the Italian "Commedia dell'Arte" by artist Gigi Rigamonti.

Costa Mediterranea has 1,057 staterooms including 678 with private balcony, four restaurants, 12 bars including a Wine Bar and a Cognac and Cigar Bar, four swimming pools, solarium, multipurpose sports court and outdoor jogging track. A three-level theater, casino and disco provide a variety of entertainment options. The ship's wellness program includes a two-level Ischia spa with fitness center, hydromassage pool, sauna and steam room.

For more information about Costa Cruises, contact a travel professional, call 800-GO-COSTA or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Launches "Suitestakes" Contest

SEATTLE, Oct 23: Seabourn has launched a "Seabourn Difference Suitestakes" on Facebook that provides the line's fans the opportunity to win a suite for two on a 7-day cruise. The suitestakes runs through Dec. 31, 2012, and the winner will be chosen in January 2013. The suitestakes invites Seabourn's Facebook fans to discover the "Seabourn Difference"—nine unique features that exemplify the line's award-winning cruise experience. Visitors are then asked to choose the three features that make the most difference to them. They can also share their choices with their friends on their Facebook wall, although sharing is not required for entry to the Suitestakes. Vew the Seabourn Difference Suitestakes here.

To enter the suitestakes, first-time visitors must first "like" Seabourn's Facebook page. Existing Seabourn fans can click on the "Suitestakes / Win a Cruise" tab on the company's Facebook timeline. Once on the contest page, Seabourn Facebook fans can complete and submit the entry form for a chance to win the cruise.

"Facebook is fun, and it has become one of the most popular ways Seabourn's loyal guests can keep up with each other and with us," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "This suitestakes is a way for our fans to tell their friends what they like best about Seabourn, and also get a chance to win a Seabourn cruise."

For the complete Official Rules and more information, please visit No purchase is necessary. Some restrictions apply. The contest is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the United Kingdom and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are age 18 or older as of the date of entry. The contest is void where prohibited.

Back to the top of the news list

Silversea's Second Expedition Ship Will Set Sail As Silver Galapagos

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 22: Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has announced Silver Galapagos as the name for its second small-sized expedition ship, which is currently sailing as the Galapagos Explorer II. The new name signals the company's intent to maintain a consistent level of elegance throughout its fleet, and will take effect after the all-suite, 100-guest vessel undergoes a major refurbishment in September 2013. In a related move, the hull of the Galapagos Explorer II has already been painted the same dark blue as Silver Explorer, the company's other expedition ship.

Silver Galapagos will be the only luxury expedition ship offering socially and environmentally responsible ecotourism to the Galápagos archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This important distinction enables Silversea to broaden its portfolio of expedition cruises tailored to tap into the rising interest in green tourism.

Silversea has also revealed that it will start selling its 2013 Galápagos program in mid-November of this year, offering two exciting new 7-day itineraries that will begin operating in late September 2013 as follows:

-- Sailing Saturday to Saturday roundtrip from Baltra Island, Silver Galapagos will trace a path across the western, southern and eastern islands, including Santiago, Bartolomé, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, San Cristóbal, and Santa Cruz.

-- Sailing Saturday to Saturday roundtrip from Baltra Island, this itinerary encompasses the northeast, central and southeast islands of Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Seymour Norte, San Cristóbal, Española, and Plazas Sur.

The 2013 Galápagos schedule offers 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. Above itineraries are subject to change.

The program also offers opportunities to swim and snorkel in tranquil clear waters, witness unique highland ecosystems, hike through lush mangrove forests and across volcanic fields, explore natural lava tunnels, watch for wild flamingos (in season), read cave inscriptions from the 1800s, and learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

In true Silversea Expeditions style, the guests of Silver Galapagos will enjoy full-scale exploring from an enclave of luxury at sea that includes spacious, ocean-view accommodations, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, and all gratuities. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent, call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Complimentary Three-Day Beijing Adventure On Crystal Cruises'
New Spring China Voyages

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22: Crystal Cruises is taking guests off the ship and through Beijing's most historic and cultural sites for three nights next spring, as part of two new 2013 cruises to China. For the first time in four years, the all-inclusive Overland Adventure will be featured as a complimentary pre- and post-cruise package on two different luxury cruises, both sailing aboard Crystal Symphony for 10 days before and after the unique land trip:

-- An "All China" voyage, departing March 23, offering extended time in several of the country's greatest cities, as follows: Hong Kong (overnight)-Xiamen-Shanghai (two nights)-Dalian-Beijing/Zingang.
-- A "Pan-Asia" sailing, departing March 30, offering not just a taste of several Asian countries, but plenty of time in port, with several overnights, as follows: Beijing/Zingang- Dalian-Shanghai (overnight)-Pusan, S. Korea-Nakasaki-Kobe, Japan (two nights).

Travelers can sail all the way to North America by also adding the following Kobe-Vancouver voyage, through Russia and Alaska (Crystal's only Alaska cruise in 2013), afterward.

"These cruises offer incredible itineraries for easily exploring a region that is fascinating, extremely vast, and growing very quickly in terms of travel popularity," explains John Stoll, vice president of land and port operations. "To also spend three nights and days immersed in one of the area's greatest cities, with the benefit of still traveling in Crystal's signature Six-Star style while on land, brings even more value and destination enrichment to these vacations."

The Beijing land program provides in-depth exploration of the city and surrounding's most popular landmarks -- like Tiananmen Square, The Great Wall, Olympic Park, and The Forbidden City -- as well as exclusive access to intimate cultural experiences - like a rickshaw tour through Beijing's complex alleyways/hutongs and a spectacular dinner and performance at the government's Great Hall of the People. Throughout, Crystal provides expert guidance, enriching insight, luxury accommodations, traditional meals, transportation (including transfers between Beijing and the ship), porterage, gratuities, and English-speaking escorts.

Crystal's passion for creating exclusive, eye-opening luxury shore-side experiences are cornerstones of its Crystal Adventures program, helping earn the line top ratings for two decades. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line Debuts Jonnie Boer’s ‘De Librije Dinnner’ in the Pinnacle Grill
Aboard ms Rotterdam

Seattle, WA, Oct. 22: Holland America Line is expanding its culinary offerings with the debut of a new alternative dining option exclusively aboard ms Rotterdam called “Taste of De Librije” featuring the cuisine of Culinary Council member and Michelin Three Star Chef Jonnie Boer. Named after Boer’s restaurant in the Netherlands, the menu will showcase a selection of starters, soups, entrees and desserts from his land-based eatery. Once per cruise the Pinnacle Grill will be transformed with service staff wearing the uniform livery from De Librije, the restaurant’s table set-up will be replicated and the wine list will highlight a selection of labels from the Lady De Librije collection. Reservations can be made for “Taste of De Librije” for a US $69 surcharge per person including wine parings.

“De Librije is one of the finest restaurants in the world, and we are thrilled to highlight Jonnie’s recipes onboard ms Rotterdam,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “Not only will our guests enjoy Three Star Michelin cuisine, but they will also get a taste of the truly unique De Librije dining experience.”

The five-course menu starts with an amuse bouche of North Sea Scallops served to all diners. From there, guests can select from among three appetizers, two soups, four entrees and three desserts. The tantalizing dishes include Oysters on the Beach, oysters and micro greens; Chilled Tomato Gazpacho with black olive and celeriac mousse; Venison Loin and Beef Tenderloin with bulgur wheat and smoked olive oil foam; Duo of Lamb Loin and Crusted Lamb Neck with lentil sprouts, watercress, carrot coulis and lamb jus reduction; Deconstructed Apple Pie with vanilla gelato and Chantilly-style cream; and Rice Chocolate Stones with tuile and strawberries. When guests return to their stateroom following the dining experience, they will find a Jonnie Boer surprise gift.

Boer is a star of the Dutch culinary scene. In addition to being a member of Holland America Line’s esteemed Culinary Council composed of five international chefs, he is chef and co-owner of Michelin-rated De Librije Restaurant and De Librije Hotel in Zwolle, Netherlands. Boer holds the Relais & Chateaux grand chef designation. For more information about Holland America Line’s cruises and CruiseTours, consult a professional travel seller, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal's New Garden & Floral Design Theme Cruise Brings Mediterranean
 Into Full Bloom Next Spring

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19: Luxury specialist Crystal Cruises is providing a uniquely verdant perspective on the Mediterranean with a new Garden & Floral Design-themed voyage sailing from Barcelona to Venice on April 21. Aptly named "La Dolce Vita," the Crystal Serenity cruise offers more than 15 serenity-filled Crystal Adventures visiting some of the most renowned, romantic, and private gardens that epitomize the Catalan coast and French and Italian Rivieras. On board, Britian's celebrity floral designer, Paula Pryke, and Sybil Sylvester, founder of flower "creative think tank," Wildflower Designs, will also offer hands-on workshops and presentations in floral design, arrangement, and other floral-related topics.

"The scenery in these destinations is simply spectacular, and is only enhanced by the artistry and historical significance expressed in their gardens," says Victoria Harris, Crystal's manager of hotel services and design. "Together, the ship and shore enrichment allow travelers to get to know the area, and its unparalleled landscape, in a really novel way, while also teaching green and black thumbs alike valuable 'trip souvenir' skills they can bring back home."

Vacationers can "smell the roses" (and other flora and fauna blossoming next spring) in/near:

-- Venice - Insider explorations of cozy Venetian squares and private courtyards include a garden created by Italian modernist architect Carlo Scapa, inside the 16(th)-century Palazzo Querini Stampalia museum and library complex.
-- Monte Carlo - From exotic gardens of succulents and sub-tropical microclimate species, to umbrella pines and rare fruit trees, Crystal takes guests throughout the Cote d'Azur to explore classic French, Spanish, and even English garden design, complete with stunning coastline views and even a lesson in cooking with flowers.
-- Barcelona - Excursions go off the beaten-tourist-path, from the city's newest garden hotspot - the conservation-focused Botanical Garden, showcasing the plants of five Mediterranean climate - to the city's oldest garden, the neoclassical Cypress-filled maze of Labyrinth well as to the area's popular Park Güell, one of Gaudí's most famous works.
-- Rome - Italy's finest Renaissance garden includes cascading fountains and dripping grottoes dating back almost 450 years.

In between overnights on both ends, the Experiences of Discovery luxury cruise visits Trogir, Croatia and Florence, Sorrento, and Sicily, Italy. A second Garden & Floral Design-themed voyage sails from LA to NYC on May 6, offering visits to lush private and public gardens in Charleston, Florida, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Presents New California Coastal & Alaska Vacations

MIAMI, Oct 18: Celebrity Cruises has announced five new vacation options, available at enticing rates for a limited time, through the “Sale of the Century,” the modern luxury line’s theme for the new sailings.

Vacationers interested in a cool, carefree taste of the breathtaking California coastline now have two new options:

A 4-night getaway departing San Diego April 18, with visits to Santa Barbara and Catalina Island, California, and Ensenada, Mexico
A 5-night escape departing San Diego April 22, with visits to Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Ensenada, complete with a relaxing day at sea

Wine enthusiasts, and those who simply enjoy the modern luxury experience Celebrity offers onboard, combined with exceptional destinations, are sure to relish Celebrity Century’s new 8-night Coastal Wine Cruise departing San Diego April 27, with visits to Santa Barbara, Monterey and an overnight stay in the famed “City by the Bay,” San Francisco, along with a rejuvenating day at sea, prior to visits to Astoria, Oregon and Victoria, British Columbia, ending in Vancouver, Canada.

Celebrity Cruises has expanded Celebrity Century’s Alaska season, adding two new 7-night sailings departing roundtrip from Vancouver May 5 and May 12, each featuring several hours beside the majestic, ice-blue Hubbard Glacier—considered the largest tidewater glacier in North America, and what many vacationers in Alaska consider their most memorable sight—along with visits to the charming Alaskan communities of Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikan, complete with two journeys through the picturesque Inside Passage.

Vacationers are encouraged to book the new sailings on Celebrity Century by October 28 to receive the guaranteed lowest rate for inside, oceanview, and veranda staterooms. For bookings made between Oct 15-Nov 15, an onboard credit of $75 per stateroom will be offered to Celebrity’s loyal Captain’s Club members, or $50 for non-members. Additionally, from Oct 15-Nov 15, guests booking a standard veranda category stateroom on any of the new sailings have the option to upgrade to ConciergeClass accommodations for only $49 per person, based on availability.

Vacationers who book the new sailings will sail on the ship that not only introduced the highest number of verandas ever added to an existing ship, but also the vessel that first introduced Celebrity’s now-signature, wildly-popular, ice-topped Martini Bar and the elegant Murano specialty restaurant. Celebrity Century continues to retain a proud following among guests who enjoy its slightly smaller capacity (1800 guests) and rich maritime décor. For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit, or call your travel agent.

Back to the top of the news list

Azamara Offers $500 Onboard Credit for 2013 Europe Voyages During
National Cruise Vacation Week

MIAMI, Oct 18: Azamara Club Cruises is celebrating Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) National Cruise Vacation Week by offering up-market travelers up to $500 onboard credit when they book a 2013 Europe voyage between Oct. 21 and 27, 2012. Travelers taking advantage of the National Cruise Vacation Week offer also will enjoy up to $2,000 ChoiceAir credit, when making an Azamara ship the destination of choice for a Europe voyage. The cruise line’s twin boutique ships, Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey, will sail European waters beginning March 27 and May 15, 2013, respectively, transporting travelers, aboard newly refreshed ships, to unique and culturally-rich destinations on voyages featuring late-night departures and overnight port stays. Savvy travelers can apply their onboard credit toward Land Discovery shore excursions or rejuvenate in the onboard spa after a long day exploring a newfound, favorite European port.

Azamara’s National Cruise Vacation Week offer is applicable for new individual bookings made with deposit from Oct. 21 through 27, 2012, in the U.S. and Canada. Up-market travelers can enjoy $500 onboard credit per stateroom when booking a suite; $400 for a veranda stateroom; and $300 for an oceanview stateroom. More information on Azamara's National Cruise Vacation Week offer can be found at

“CLIA’s National Cruise Vacation Week is a great opportunity for up-market travelers to take advantage of even greater value for a destination-immersive Azamara voyage in Europe,” said Edie Bornstein, senior vice president of Marketing and Sales for Azamara Club Cruises. “Guests on our Europe voyages also will be the first to participate in the inaugural season of AzAmazing Evenings, a complimentary evening event on every voyage that no other cruise line offers. Travelers can delve deeper into and savor more of a destination with Azamara’s distinction of more late-night and overnight port stays on all of our itineraries.”

Additionally, travelers eager to start exploring sooner can take advantage of Azamara’s current offers, such as the Holiday Voyages airfare savings of up to $2,000 per stateroom, when guests choose between either Azamara Journey’s roundtrip 14-night voyage from Singapore departing Dec. 23, or Azamara Quest’s 9-night voyage, departing Dec. 18, from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires.

The cruise line recently announced that the guest experience will soon include the new AzAmazing Evening, an immersive complimentary destination event ashore featured on every voyage. In addition, the cruise line is introducing a selection of complimentary standard spirits, wines and international beers in onboard bars and lounges during opening hours. Both offerings will begin with Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey’s 2013 Europe season. One-hundred percent of Azamara’s 2013 itineraries feature late-night departures or overnight port stays, some as long as two or three days. This concept of slowing the ships down to offer guests the opportunity to experience a city’s night life, is an almost unique concept in the cruise industry that will now be further showcased through AzAmazing Evenings, destination affairs to remember.

Guests aboard Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest enjoy more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees, teas, and complimentary red and white boutique wines to accompany lunch and dinner, complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available.

Azamara Club Cruises is a destination-immersive cruise line for up-market travelers who want to not only see the places and cultures they visit, but to live them. Azamara’s two intimate, 694-guest ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with a combination of 347 suites and staterooms, offer a European-boutique hotel ambience with extraordinary service, fine cuisine and wines from around the world, , all while sailing to a host of destinations larger ships cannot reach. Azamara Club Cruises sails European destinations, including the Baltic and Scandinavia, British Isles, Western Europe, French and Italian Rivieras, Greek Isles, Croatia, Holy Land and Black Sea, as well as Asia, South America, lesser-traveled islands of the West Indies, and in 2014 the West Coast of the United States, with more overnight and late-night stays in every region.

Travelers also can choose even more immersive experiences with Azamara cruisetours in four of the world’s most exciting destinations, including Asia, Buenos Aires, India and Turkey. For more information, travelers can call their travel professional, dial 1-877-999-9553, or visit Azamara Club Cruises at

Back to the top of the news list

American Cruise Lines Experiences Pre-Wave Season with Record Sales

GUILFORD, CT, Oct 18: American Cruise Lines, operator of the newest riverboats and small cruise ships in the United States, announced record sales in the months of August, September and October, creating a unique pre-Wave Season for the company and a strong start to the fourth quarter. Revenues and high early-occupancy levels followed the record sales numbers closely. American Cruise Lines expects a strong 2013 Wave Season.

Each of the past 10 weeks has broken previous company sales records. “We predicted significant sales growth for 2012, especially with the launch of new itineraries on the Mississippi River, Alaska and Puget Sound,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. The company has since scheduled more cruises on its most popular itineraries in response to demand.

Beebe attributes the sales growth to a number of other important factors, the largest of which may be American Cruise Lines’ strengthening travel partner relationships. “We are working with more new travel agents and our existing travel partners are booking more cruises than ever,” said Beebe.

As sales continue to grow, so is the company’s fleet. American Cruise Lines launched its brand new paddlwheeler, Queen of the Mississippi, on August 4th of this year, and has already ordered another new riverboat, scheduled to enter service in 2014. Details such as the name of the new riverboat and its itineraries will be released over the next few months. Passenger response to the Queen of the Mississippi has been fabulous, with rave reviews about the new riverboat and the service provided.

American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise company, operates the newest fleet of riverboats and small cruise ships in the industry and offers more than 35 unique itineraries along the rivers and inland waterways of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, the Mississippi River and the U.S. East Coast, from Maine to Florida. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit or call 800-814-6880.

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Breakaway Takes a Bow

MIAMI, Oct 18: Norwegian Breakaway’s construction, underway at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany celebrated a very significant milestone in the early morning hours on Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012, when the ship’s bow was lowered into place. The bow, known as block 73, weighed 361 tons, measured 72 feet long, 101 feet wide and over 39 feet high. The process of putting the bow in place was efficiently completed in just 30 minutes. This significant step represents the completion of the lower part of the steel hull, those areas that come in contact with the sea, and indicates that only the superstructures, or topsides of the ship, remain to be finalized.

“Placing the bow is a very symbolic and momentous step in the building of Norwegian Breakaway,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Meyer Werft is doing an incredible job of constructing our most groundbreaking ship to date in record time.”

The 4,000 passenger Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her year-round homeport of New York City in early May 2013. The ship will begin weekly summer 7-day cruises to Bermuda on Sunday, May 12, 2013. From October 2013 through April 2014, New York’s ship will offer voyages from the heart of Manhattan to the Bahamas & Florida and the Southern Caribbean.

To date, the company has revealed the ship’s groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place; a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that will create a whole new complex at sea that enhances guests’ connection with the ocean. Norwegian Breakaway’s entertainment will include three Broadway shows: five-time Tony nominated ROCK OF AGES; the dance sensation BURN THE FLOOR; and CIRQUE DREAMS & DINNER JUNGLE FANTASY. The famed comedy troupe The Second City, Howl at the Moon dueling pianos, and New York’s own Slam Allen will also perform on the vessel. Celebrity Chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian will also debut his first restaurant at sea on Norwegian Breakaway: Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian.

The top decks of Norwegian Breakaway will feature the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides, the first ever at sea, and a three-story sports complex that includes the largest ropes course at sea, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and more.

The ship will also feature a rich mix of stateroom options including The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 Suites at the top of the ship and 18 additional Suites located throughout the ship; the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; the re-introduction of Oceanview staterooms, Balcony and Mini-Suites; along with Spa Balcony, Mini-Suites and Suites in close proximity to the spa. For more information on the incredible features and accommodations on Norwegian Breakaway, visit

Entering service in April 2013, Norwegian Breakaway will sail from her year-round homeport of New York City to Bermuda in the summer and The Bahamas & Florida and The Caribbean in the winter. To book a cruise on Norwegian Breakaway, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line Orders New Cruise Ship with Option for Second

MIAMI, Oct 17: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GMBH of Germany to build a new cruise vessel, for delivery in October 2015, with the option for a second ship for delivery in spring 2017. The new ship, at 163,000 gross tons and approximately 4,200 passenger berths, will be larger than the Company’s Breakaway class ships currently under construction at MEYER WERFT and incorporate many of those vessels’ unique design elements and innovations. With the project name “Breakaway Plus,” this new vessel will be the largest in Norwegian’s fleet. The ship’s contract price is approximately euro 700 million and the Company has export credit financing in place which was arranged and underwritten by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH of Germany.

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have garnered significant attention in the marketplace with their innovative design, rich stateroom mix and world-class amenities. Building on that momentum, along with MEYER WERFT’s expertise and efficiency in the design and construction process, we are extending the excitement and anticipation with a new, larger edition Breakaway Plus class ship to further distinguish the Norwegian brand,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “This new order further solidifies our commitment to continued innovation in terms of the guest experience and will incorporate technical and environmental advances as well.”

MEYER WERFT, based in Papenburg, Germany, is currently building Norwegian’s two new 146,600 gross ton, 4,000-passenger Breakaway class vessels: Norwegian Breakaway, scheduled for delivery in late April 2013, and Norwegian Getaway, scheduled for delivery in mid-January 2014. Prior to the Breakaway class ships, MEYER WERFT built Norwegian’s four Jewel-class ships – Norwegian Gem delivered in 2007, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jade delivered in 2006, and Norwegian Jewel delivered in 2005. This new vessel on order, along with the option for the second ship, will be the tenth and eleventh that the Company will build with MEYER WERFT.

“We are pleased that Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to expand and enlarge its exciting Breakaway class at MEYER WERFT,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT. “Our companies have a long history together and we appreciate Norwegian Cruise Line’s continued commitment to MEYER WERFT.”

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising and currently 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 is continuing to innovate with the launch of “New York’s Ship” Norwegian Breakaway in late April 2013. The company has revealed the ship’s groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place; a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that will create a whole new complex at sea that enhances guests’ connection with the ocean.

Norwegian Breakaway’s entertainment will include three Broadway shows: five-time Tony nominated ROCK OF AGES; the dance sensation BURN THE FLOOR; and CIRQUE DREAMS & DINNER JUNGLE FANTASY. The famed comedy troupe The Second City, Howl at the Moon dueling pianos, and New York’s own Slam Allen will also perform on the vessel. Celebrity Chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian will also debut his first restaurant at sea on Norwegian Breakaway: Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian. The top decks of Norwegian Breakaway will feature the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides, the first ever at sea, and a three-story sports complex that includes the largest ropes course at sea, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and more.

Norwegian Breakaway will also feature a rich mix of stateroom options including The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 Suites at the top of the ship in an exclusive, private key-card enclave and 22 additional Suites located throughout the ship. The innovative Studios are designed and priced for solo travelers. Other accommodations include Oceanview and Balcony staterooms, and Mini-Suites; along with Spa Balcony, Mini-Suites and Suites in close proximity to the spa.

Norwegian Cruise Line has two 4,000-passenger vessels, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, under construction for delivery in April 2013 and January 2014, along with one larger “Breakaway Plus” vessel for delivery in fall 2015. Known as New York’s ship, Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest vessel to homeport year-round in the city, sailing to Bermuda for the summer beginning May 12, 2013. Norwegian Breakaway’s features include hull art by legendary artist Peter Max, seafood restaurant Ocean Blue by famed New York chef Geoffrey Zakarian, and fitness classes and a retrospective display from the ship’s iconic godmothers, the Rockettes®. The entertainment lineup includes three Broadway shows: Rock of Ages, Burn the Floor and Cirque Dreams™ & Dinner: Jungle Fantasy. Norwegian Getaway, the largest ship to homeport year-round in Miami, will sail Eastern Caribbean voyages beginning in February 2014. Sailings for both vessels are now on sale.

Back to the top of the news list

New Orleans-Based Carnival Conquest Departs For Multi-Million-Dollar Refurbishment

MIAMI, Oct 17: The rollout of Carnival’s $500 million “Fun Ship 2.0” fleetwide enhancement program continues with New Orleans’ largest year-round cruise ship, Carnival Conquest, departing for a two-week dry dock in Freeport, The Bahamas. The ship, which left New Orleans last Sunday, will undergo a major multi-million-dollar refurbishment to receive dramatic upgrades in dining, bar and entertainment. Among the many highlights are Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network personality Guy Fieri, an EA SPORTS Bar, and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

To celebrate, Carnival is hosting a sweepstakes via its Web site awarding one lucky winner a free Carnival Conquest cruise for two to the Caribbean. Entering the contest is easy: participants simply complete an on-line registration form at between Oct. 15-28, 2012, and they are automatically entered into a random drawing for the 7-day cruise. Consumers can also view a series of fun videos documenting Carnival Conquest’s refurbishment progress on the web site throughout the two-week period.

When Carnival Conquest returns to service at the Port of New Orleans October 28, 2012, the ship will feature a host of enhancements, including:

RedFrog Rum Bar, an open-air Caribbean-themed watering hole offering refreshing rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s private label draft brew, ThirstyFrog Red, all enjoyed in a laid-back island-infused atmosphere.
BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a friendly rival just across the deck from the RedFrog Rum Bar, this Mexican-themed poolside bar specializes in frozen cocktails and Mexican beers.
Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” featuring interesting drink flavors, and ingredients, with expert mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different fun categories. Guests can also try their hand at creating their own custom cocktails.
EA SPORTS Bar, the ultimate hangout for sports fanatics where patrons can view live sporting events on large-screen televisions, play popular EA SPORTS video games and keep up with the latest scores on a 24/7 sports ticker.
Guy’s Burger Joint, created in partnership with Food Network personality and chef Guy Fieri, this complimentary poolside venue serves the best burgers at sea and hand-cut fries with innovative toppings and condiments.
BlueIguana Cantina, a free-of-charge Mexican cantina offering a variety of fresh tacos and burritos that can be personalized by diners at an extensive salsa and toppings bar.
The Punchliner Comedy Club & The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez brings even more laughs with a lineup of comedic talent, curated by the popular comedian and TV personality, along with a humorous twist on brunch.
Cherry on Top celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.

New Entertainment Offerings
By early December, Carnival Conquest will also feature Hasbro, The Game Show and Playlist Productions. Hasbro, The Game Show makes guests the stars of the show through larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic board games, while Playlist Productions is a dramatic retooling of Carnival’s legendary revues that combines captivating live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects that set a new standard in seagoing productions.

“The refurbishment of Carnival Conquest is the latest example of our continued investment in our New Orleans-based cruise program,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “Carnival is New Orleans’ largest cruise operator with two year-round ships carrying nearly 340,000 passengers a year.”

In addition to Carnival Conquest, which operates 7-day Caribbean cruises, Carnival Elation offers 4- and 5-day cruises from New Orleans to Mexico. For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Offers More to Savor with New Culinary Program

MIAMI, Oct 11: Royal Caribbean Intl is once again elevating the cruise vacation experience, this time, wowing guests’ taste buds. The cruise line, known for bringing the most innovative feature and amenities to the high seas, has redefined its onboard culinary program with an extensive multi-million dollar investment to its main dining room across the fleet. The culinary enhancements continue Royal Caribbean’s tradition of culinary excellence emphasizing the freshest, highest quality ingredients availableon land or at sea. The investment to Royal Caribbean’s complimentary dining program focuses on an increased variety of menu options in the main dining room, including dishes infused with regional flavors reflective of the destinations of the world the line’s ships sail to; improved choices for guests with dietary restrictions; and superior presentation.

“In today's food-aware culture, the palettes of our guests have evolved and they have come to expect, not only a variety of choices, but cuisine of the highest quality made with the freshest of ingredients,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “In recent years, we have introduced many new specialty dining concepts and in this next evolution we are expanding the options in our main dining room with even more variety, allowing us to cater to our international guests while offering them the highest quality dining on land or at sea.”

The cruise line has revamped the menus in the main dining room with added variety and made sure to include classic favorites that guests have long enjoyed, such as aged hand-cut Manhattan steak, escargot bourguignonne, shrimp cocktail and crème brulee, popular selections now available every night.

Royal Caribbean—sailing to more than 270 destinations in 72 countries around the world—will continue to cater to its growing global clientele by adding international flavors to the dining room experience with a renewed focus on authenticity. Sourcing and understanding flavor profiles has become an essential direction the cruise line has taken in its international menu development. All of the new menu offerings will include upgraded entrees such rack of lamb and surf & turf with new offerings like premium beef sliders and daily entrée dinner salads. There also has been a focus on the desserts with a new “hot from the oven” blueberry peach crumble, sticky bread and butter pudding and sumptuous carrot cake. Guests also will notice a change in the menu with a new fresh design featuring the cruise line’s international culinary team. As part of the investment the cruise line will continue to focus on training which includes a sous chef certification program with the American Culinary Federation and a new wait staff training curriculum targeting the new menus, standards training, and allergen and dietary programs.

Catering to the increasing demand of heart-healthy, gluten-free and lactose-free options for guests, Royal Caribbean also has enlisted a registered and licensed dietitian and nutrition consultant to evaluate existing menus, create new offerings for guests with dietary restrictions, and shape the cruise line’s current gluten-free and lactose-free program into a more guest-friendly experience. All low calorie, gluten-free and lactose-free options will be clearly identified with respective menu icons as well as menu selections that can be modified to fit these requirements for guests. The updated menu format also includes a new vegetarian symbol, which is the official symbol of the European Vegetarian Union and considered the most widely used vegetarian symbol worldwide for easy recognition. In addition to the new menu designations, Royal Caribbean is rolling out new daily gluten-free bread offerings, available on request in all venues, including specialty restaurants.

These new enhancements are yet another example of how Royal Caribbean has continuously evolved the onboard dining experience over the last decade, leading the industry with the most complete and innovative dining options on the high seas including introducing more than 20 new dining concepts onboard the revolutionary Oasis-class ships such as Izumi Asian cuisine, Giovanni’s Table, Park Café and The Cupcake Cupboard. These popular venues are being introduced to all the other ships in the fleet during an extensive revitalization program that will be conducted through 2014 and beyond. Royal Caribbean has the most extensive selection of dining venues at sea with a total of 100 options across the fleet.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand. Royal Caribbean provides a world-class vacation experience with a wide range of signature onboard amenities, entertainment, and award-winning family programming. The cruise line has a 40-year history of giving guests the Royal Advantage—the most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to popular destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Cruises Is First Luxury Line To Announce Its Full Year Of
2014 & Early 2015 Itineraries

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11: In a luxury industry-first, award-winning Crystal Cruises unveils, and opens for booking, its full year of ultra-luxe, worldwide voyages for 2014, plus itineraries up to mid-April 2015. New 7- to 89-day cruises in 2014 are among the 61 sailings aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, with 16 maiden calls, 194 total ports and 68 countries, including a glamorous World Cruise. Early 2015's global calendar offers 15 exotic cruises and a 20th World Cruise, as well as nine maiden calls and a return to ports Crystal hasn't visited in more than a decade.


-- UNESCO World Heritage Sites are featured on 54 of 61 cruises (or 89% of 2014's itineraries), visiting 135+ dedicated historical destinations, from the ancient—Istanbul, Dubrovnik, and Tallin—to the intriguing—Casablanca, Cartagena, and Takoradi.
-- World Cruise: 89-day, Jan-Apr, 5-segment LA-London cruise, with Crystal's first return to West Africa since 2011
-- 34% of cruises are 10 days or less.
-- New ports include Galway, Ireland; Luanda, Angola; Lombok, Indonesia; Ibiza, Spain; Oban, Scotland; Skagen, Denmark; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
-- Returns to places less-frequented by Crystal include the Andaman Islands; Brunei; Ghana; Helsingborg, Sweden; Ko Samui, Thailand; Zihuatanejo, Mexico; Tokyo, Japan; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Korcula, Croatia.
-- Nearly every itinerary features at least one overnight stay in renowned cities—often in the city of embarkation—plus, two consecutive overnights in many places like Yangon, Shanghai, Hong Kong, St. Petersburg, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Itinerary Highlights:


-- Twice as many Asia sailings than 2013
-- First-ever cruises to and from Bangkok, including a new round-trip Holiday voyage with Christmas and Hanukkah in Vietnam and New Year's Eve overnight in Hong Kong. (Dec 21)


-- More port-intensive voyages, including four sailings with no sea days
-- Five North and South Europe combination voyages, with four of them offering time in Bordeaux
-- New North Cape itinerary, with maiden call in Skagen, Denmark and rare calls in Alta and Kristiansand (Jul 14)

U.S., Caribbean, & Panama Canal:

-- Crystal Serenity sailing the New England/Canada season for the first time ever, with new cruises to/from Quebec City and Boston.
-- More Caribbean, including 5 Panama Canal cruises, extending coast-to-coast as well as between Costa Rica and Miami.
-- New cruises to and from San Diego.


-- Crystal kicks off its 25th Anniversary year of ultra-luxury cruising with virtually all itineraries from Jan to mid-Apr being brand new.
-- New ports include Ambodifototra and Tolanaro, Madagascar; Richards Bay, South Africa; Sanya, China; and Albany, Australia.
-- Returns to locales less-frequented include Alter do Chao, Brazil; Yantai, China; and Maputo, Mozambique.

Itinerary Highlights:

-- Crystal Symphony spends the entire first quarter in Southeast Asia, with eight new, exotic sailings between Bangkok, Bali, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
-- Crystal Serenity makes her first-ever complete circumnavigation of the world, from Miami, with the company's 20th annual World Cruise. Six voyages sailing through Miami, Callao, Auckland, Perth, Cape Town, and Rio comprise the 108-day Crystal Serenity adventure.

"As a leader in luxury vacation experiences, we are constantly pushing ourselves to find new ways to show the world to savvy travelers," says Crystal's Senior Vice President Marketing & Sales, Jack Anderson. "Our 2014 to early 2015 calendar is especially exciting, with dozens of new routes and places to see, via one of the most pampering ways one can travel: a Six-Star Crystal cruise."

All-inclusive Book Now fares for early 2014 are available until Oct 31, 2012. (New Book Now fares will be announced Nov 1). All-inclusive Book Now fares for spring 2014 through spring 2015 are available until April 30, 2013. Book Now fares offer up to $9,000/person in savings for the 2015 World Cruise and up to $1,500/person for individual, 7- to 21-day voyages. Attractive air add-ons are available.

Crystal Cruises' award-winning "World's Best" ocean resort experience always includes a host of complimentary amenities, from enlightening enrichment speakers and fitness classes to pampering pillow menus and specialty restaurant dining, featuring the cuisine of Nobu Matsuhisa and all-inclusive beverages and gratuities. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Princess Cruises Announces Winners of 2011-12 Caribbean & Panama Canal
Shore Excursion Awards

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 11: With the Caribbean and Panama Canal cruise season about to kick off, Princess Cruises is celebrating last season’s favorite local tour operators with special shipboard ceremonies. The winners of the line’s 13th annual C.R.U.I.S.E. service awards have just been announced, honoring the best shore excursion experiences and guides in ports on Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries, based largely on passenger feedback throughout the season.

The awards recognize the most popular tours and individual guides in the destinations where Princess ships call. Chosen from the extensive line-up of Caribbean and Panama Canal shore excursions offered to Princess passengers, the awards highlight the important role local tour operators play in each destination as part of a passenger’s overall cruise experience. Winners are determined largely by tour scores and comments made on passenger surveys. A number of tours have topped the list for several years, and five of them have been passenger favorites for five or more years in a row. One excursion—Americas Cup 12-Metre Yacht Regatta tour in St. Maarten—has now been voted ‘Shore Excursion of the Season’ for the 13th year in a row.

“We feel it’s important to recognize these local tour operators who do a great job of continuing Princess’ commitment to high service levels when our passengers are in port,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “These local guides and companies are ambassadors both for us and their respective destinations throughout the Caribbean and Panama Canal.”

The C.R.U.I.S.E. (Courtesy, Respect, Unfailing In Service Excellence) program is the longest running customer service program in the cruise industry. The Caribbean and Panama Canal awards began in 1999 and cap off a season-long effort to recognize the role that local Caribbean and Panama Canal tour partners play in passengers' cruise experiences. Tour Guide of the Season award winners receive $100, a letter of commendation, a plaque, a ship tour and lunch onboard with their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season receive a plaque and a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship, and lunch onboard for company officials.

The 2011-2012 winners are:

Rainforest Zipline Adventure, Rendezvous Co
Champagne and Lobster Lunch, Scenic Cruise & Swim, Tropical Adventures

Mi Dushi Sail, Snorkel, Antilla Shipwreck & Lunch, Windfeather Charters
Countryside Horseback Ride, DePalm Tours

Harrison's Cave & Scenic Drive, Goddards Shipping & Tours
Five Star Sail, Turtle Encounter & Lunch, Attractions of Barbados

Jungle Zipline Adventure, Cave Tubing & Lunch, Chukka Caribbean Adventures

Klein Bonaire, Bonaire Marine Park & Snorkel, Bonaire Tours
Mangrove Eco-Cruise by Kayak & Lac Bay, Bonaire Tours

"Old City" & Folkloric Show, Compania Internacional de Excursiones Terrestres Seico Ltda

“America's Cup 12-Metre” Yacht Race, Sand Dollar Sports
Dolphin & Manatee Swim & Sea Lion Show, Caribbean Interactive Adventures

Cooking Demonstration/Participation & Dinner, Funbini B.V.

Wacky Rollers 4WD Safari, Gardens & Titou Gorge, WRAVE Ltd.
Titou Gorge Swim, Hot Springs & Scenic Drive, WRAVE Ltd.

Monkey & Wildlife Nature Cruise on Gatun Lake, Aventuras 2000
Authentic Embera Indian Village, Elite Shore Excursions Foundation

Dolphin Swim & Stingray Encounter, Dolphin Cove Cayman
Sea Trek Coral Canyon Helmet Dive, Sea Trek Cayman

Horseshoe Reef & Round Cay Snorkel Adventure, Oasis Divers
Horseback Beach Ride, Swim & Scenic Drive, Chukka Caribbean Adventures

Harbor Cruise, Grand Anse & Morne Rouge Beaches, Best of Grenada Ltd.

Original Canopy Zipline Tour at Veragua Rainforest, OCT Enterprises
Hacienda Tour, Fruit Cultivation, Lunch & Shopping, Swiss Travel Service

River Tubing Eco-Adventure, Chukka Caribbean Adventures
Dolphin Encounter & Dunn's River Falls, Dolphin Cove

Panama Canal Experience by Boat, Aventuras 2000
Authentic Embera Indian Village, Elite Shore Excursions Foundation

Rainforest Aerial Tram, Tarcoles River & Lunch, Elite Shore Excursions
Corobici River-Raft Float, Scenic Drive & Lunch, Rios Tropicales

Eco-Hike & Pirates Bay Tourist Village, Fun & Sun Tours
Dolphin Encounter & Museum, Anthony's Key Resort

Amayo Hacienda Experience, Lake Nicaragua & Lunch, Gray Line

Scenic Railway Ride & Circle Island Drive, St. Kitts Scenic Railway, Ltd.
Cruise to Nevis, Pinney's Beach, Snorkel & Lunch, Kantours

Sulphur Springs, the Pitons, Scenic Cruise & Lunch, Cox & Company Ltd.
Rainforest Aerial Tram & Canopy Zipline Adventure, Elite Shore Excursions Foundation

"America's Cup 12-Metre" Yacht Race, St. Maarten 12 Metre Enterprises N.V.
Segway Waterfront Boardwalk Adventure, Caribbean Segway Tours

Turtle Cove Catamaran Sail & Snorkel, Fun Water Tours, Inc.
Coral World, Sea Lion Swim & Scenic Drive, Coral World

Tour Guides of the Season Winners:

ARUBA – Maria Geerman and Angelique Lacle of Atlantis Submarines
CARTAGENA – Willy Gutierrez of CTG Margarita, C.A
LIMON – Erick Aguilar and Jose Romero of Swiss Travel Service
PANAMA CANAL – Arthur Wagner of Elite Shore Excursions Foundation

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises Announces 2013-2014 Winter Itineraries

MIAMI, Oct 10: Oceania Cruises has announced its 2013-2014 Winter Collection, detailing 61 voyages and 18 new itineraries. With new ports in China, the Caribbean and the South Pacific, Oceania’s four ships—Riviera, Marina, Regatta and Nautica—will sail to 160 destinations throughout the world. The far-reaching cruise schedule also includes 21 all-new Grand Voyages ranging from 24 to 63 days. Bookings made by Dec 31, 2012, offer added value with two-for-one deposits and free pre-paid gratuities. All winter 2013-2014 voyages feature two-for-one cruise fares, free air transportation and bonus savings of up to $5,000 per stateroom.

“The 2013-2014 Winter Collection showcases the depth and diversity of our multi-faceted itineraries and a number of exciting new ports of call including Dalian, China, Aitutaki, Cook Islands and Kralendijk, Bonaire to name a few,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, Oceania Cruises’ president. “We have once again raised the bar on offering tremendous value to our guests by providing complimentary pre-paid gratuities across every new winter sailing for those who book by year-end."

Caribbean Sailings Onboard ‘Riviera’
Riviera, the newest ship to join the Oceania Cruises’ fleet, will spend her second winter season offering 13 Caribbean voyages featuring new itineraries along with some favorites from the previous year. In addition to popular 10-day cruises in both the Eastern and Western Caribbean, she will sail a new 14-day voyage Caribbean Sand & Sea (departing March 4, 2014) venturing deep into the Southern Caribbean, visiting islands such as Aruba, Curacao and Kralendijk, Bonaire, a new port for Oceania Cruises.

‘Marina’ to Cruise Down Under
Starting the winter season with a 20-day South American Holiday itinerary departing from Rio de Janeiro (beginning Dec. 8, 2013), Marina will offer a series of 10- to 18-day South Pacific itineraries visiting exotic ports in Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand and the Coral Sea. The 14-day Tahitian Pearls itinerary (departing April 5, 2014) visits Rarotonga and a new port of call for Oceania, Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.

‘Nautica’ Returns to Africa & Asia
The 684-guest Nautica will return to Africa and Asia with six itineraries—three voyages are 16 or 21 days in length and three voyages are 30 or 35 daysproviding a number of destinations for guests to discover. These include a 30-day Lands of Grandeur (departing Dec. 8, 2013) holiday sailing from Dubai to Cape Town, visiting parts of India, the Maldives, the Seychelles and Kenya, followed by a 30-day Sands & Safari journey (departing Jan. 7, 2014) to Singapore. Nautica then begins three new Asian exploration cruises of 16 and 21 days that showcase a range of ports throughout Japan, Vietnam, and Korea including two itineraries that will visit Dalian, China, a new port of call for Oceania Cruises.

Explore the Panama Canal & South America on ‘Regatta’
The 684-guest Regatta will commence her winter 2013 schedule with a series of Panama Canal and South American sailings ending up in Peru, to start a series of South American cruises. A new itinerary, Mystical Andes & Majestic Fjords (beginning Feb. 3, 2014), takes guests on a 30-day journey from Lima to Rio de Janeiro, highlighting both obscure and well-known parts of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. An Amazon River cruise in the spring brings Regatta to Miami for a single 12-day Southern Allure voyage (April 19, 2014) to Bermuda and the Southern United States to end the winter season.

All New Grand Voyages
Oceania Cruises offers 21 Grand Voyages, including new departures, from 24 to 63 days in length. Each blends multiple itineraries for in-depth exploration of as many as 19 different countries on some voyages. Marina, Regatta and Nautica sail distinct Grand Voyages in different parts of the world, offering guests over-night stays in port for extended visits as well as significant value, including free airfare, two-for-one cruise fares, bonus savings of up to 45 percent, two-for-one deposits, and free pre-paid gratuities.

For more information on the 2013-2014 Winter Collection, see a professional travel agent, visit or call 800-531-5658.

Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Takes Delivery of Celebrity Reflection

MIAMI, Oct 9: The sleek Celebrity Reflection today officially became part of Celebrity Cruises’ modern luxury fleet. Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Michael Bayley and Richard D. Fain, Chairman & CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., joined Bernard Meyer of shipbuilder Meyer Werft in a celebratory handover ceremony onboard the ship.

Celebrity Reflection will present a two-night promotional cruise for an invitation-only audience of European press and travel partners October 10-12, ending in Amsterdam. The ship then sets sail on a series of Mediterranean sailings before crossing the Atlantic to begin the ship’s first Caribbean season. Celebrity Reflection will be named December 1 in Miami, with four Godmothers – all of them employees of the company whose lives have been touched by breast cancer – presiding over the ceremony.

For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit, or call your travel agent.

Back to the top of the news list

American Queen Steamboat Company Announces Paddlewheel Steamboating
Society of America Reunion Voyage

MEMPHIS, TN, Oct. 9: The American Queen Steamboat Company announces the re-launch of the Paddlewheel Steamboating Society of America loyalty program, which has been re-established to welcome and recognize steamboaters in special ways throughout the year. For many years, the Paddlewheel Steamboating Society of America hosted its honored travelers from the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen on specially arranged insider experiences ashore prior to voyages and the tradition has returned once again with the re-launch of the American Queen.

“The loyal community of former Paddlewheel Steamboating Society of America members has played a major role in bringing authentic steamboating to fruition once again and we are grateful for their support during our inaugural season,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company CEO Jeffrey D. Krida. “Those new to steamboating will become a member during this reunion voyage and be enthusiastically welcomed into this passionate community.”

When guests reserve the Old Fashioned Holidays cruise aboard the legendary American Queen from December 14 to 21, 2012, they will be invited to a pre-cruise Reunion Celebration in New Orleans from December 12 to 14. The package includes two nights’ accommodations at The Roosevelt New Orleans and a gala cocktail in the hotel’s famed Blue Room. Other exclusive features include brunch at The Court of Two Sisters in the heart of the French Quarter, motorcoach city tour, holiday party at the private residence of Houmas House Plantation owner Kevin Kelly, dinner and dancing with the Dixieland Band at the Palm Court Jazz Café and tour of the WWII Museum.

Upon boarding the American Queen, guests will experience a 7-night New Orleans roundtrip voyage calling on Oak Alley, La.; St. Francisville, La.; Natchez, Miss.; Vicksburg, Miss.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Houmas House, La. In addition to pre-cruise festivities, all shore tours onboard deluxe SteamcoachesSM in all ports are included along with complimentary wine and beer with dinner and a host of other amenities. For additional information and reservations, kindly contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit us online at or call a professional travel agent.

Back to the top of the news list

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Unveils 2013-2014 Winter Collection

MIAMI, Oct 8: Today, Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced its new Winter Collection, featuring voyages from November 2013 through May 2014 to South America, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Caribbean and Alaska. All sailings include two-for-one fares, free air and bonus savings of up to $15,000 per suite when booked by Dec 31, 2012.

As part of the introduction, the ultra-luxury line is offering a complimentary one-night, post-cruise luxury hotel package on all 2013-2014 Winter Collection itineraries booked by December 31, 2012. Additional collection highlights include three new ports, five Grand Voyages with exclusive amenities, and special offers on pre- and post-cruise land programs.

Recognized as The Most Inclusive Luxury Cruise Experience™, all Regent Seven Seas Cruises sailings also include all-suite accommodations, 97 percent with private balconies, gourmet cuisine, premium spirits and fine wines, free shore excursions, gratuities, and a pre-cruise luxury hotel stay, at no additional cost.

“Our new winter collection offers travelers added opportunities to explore a specific region of the world in further depth with complimentary shore excursions in each port and enriching land programs,” said Mark Conroy, the line’s president. “It’s all included on Regent, from flights and a pre-cruise hotel stay to specialty restaurants, fine wine and even gratuities. Coupled with our hallmark personalized service and spacious all-suite accommodations, we provide an ultra-luxury cruise experience that is unmatched in the travel industry.”

2012-2013 Winter Collection Highlights
From November 2013 through June 2014, the all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager visits the South Pacific and Asia with stops in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, China, Japan, and India offering guests a variety of itineraries ranging from 10- to 136-nights, including four Grand Voyages. Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers a specially priced 3-night pre-or post-cruise land program for $499 per person on select South Pacific and Asia itineraries. These include Angkor Wat, Beijing and the Great Wall of China, Hong Kong, Sydney, as well as Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, two new land programs.

Seven Seas Mariner returns to South America where guests can sail along the mighty Amazon, cruise around Cape Horn, explore the Panama Canal and visit the largest Magellanic Penguin colony in the world. Sailings range from 10- to 70-nights, including the coveted “Circle South America” Grand Voyage.

In March, the 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony ship heads back to the Mediterranean with a grand crossing from Rio de Janeiro to Barcelona featuring maiden calls in Dakar, Senegal and Tangier, Morocco.

The newly refurbished, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator explores the tropics from November 2013 to April 2014 with 16 departures roundtrip from Miami to the Eastern and Western Caribbean ranging from seven- to 24-nights including a maiden call in La Romana, Dominican Republic. The ship then departs Miami on April 21, 2014 for an 18-night voyage to San Francisco transiting the Panama Canal to begin its highly popular cruises through the natural beauty of Alaska.

All Grand Voyages offer an array of exclusive amenities such as free Business Class air, an upgraded pre-cruise hotel stay with ground transfers, visas, internet access, and more. To receive a brochure or for more information on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, see a professional travel agent, visit or call toll-free 800-285-1835.

Back to the top of the news list

Bulgari Ginza Chef Added To Crystal's Winter Wine & Food Cruise
Through Australia/New Zealand

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 8: Tokyo star chef Luca Fantin, of the 5-Star Bulgari Ginza Tower restaurant, Il Ristorante, has been added as a guest expert to Crystal Cruises' Jan 17 Wine & Food-themed voyage. The Crystal Symphony "Koalas & Kiwis" cruise sails through some of Australia and New Zealand's hottest destinations, such as Lonely Planet "Top 10" travel cities Newcastle and Wellington. Fantin joins fellow esteemed culinary master Chef Damien Pignolet, wine expert Eugenio Jardim, and Master Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim in presenting complimentary, on-board culinary enrichment about the area.

Fantin's contemporary Italian fare and Japanese pedagogy, combined with Pignolet's Australian-French fusion, mirror the international influences found in Aussie-Kiwi food. Combined with Crystal's own creative cuisine and Japanese-Peruvian dishes from Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, guests are in for a truly eclectic, yet incredibly sophisticated, mix of global tastes. The two chefs will treat guests to hands-on instruction in preparing some of their specialties, live cooking demonstrations, and specially-designed menus for select Crystal Dining Room dinners. Wine expert Jardim will lead pairing and tasting sessions and mixologist Abou-Ganim will teach perfect cocktail-making for home entertaining.

More than 65 Crystal Adventures, many brand new, in destinations both classic and up-and-coming spice up the gastronomic theme. Delectable onshore experiences include:

-- Gourmet dining and wine, olive, vodka and traditional cheese tasting in Newcastle's Morpeth and Hunter Valleys;
-- Cooking lessons using Christchurch's local fare, including the catch of the day from fisherman just steps away;
-- Three-course vineyard lunch, wine and olive oil tasting in Wellington's Greytown & Martinborough.

"Australia and New Zealand are fantastic destinations for foodies," says Crystal's Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations, Toni Neumeister. "We're thrilled to welcome such a high caliber of food and beverage experts aboard to underscore the tremendous flavor of the itinerary."

The 12-day itinerary calls in Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney (overnight), Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland and is currently the most value-priced of Crystal's 2013 New Zealand cruises. Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Crystal's extensive, innovative choices for dining include the ultra-luxury line's coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers-certified); fresh, chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists; and gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in Nobu and Piero Selvaggio's specialty restaurants. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

A Dozen Dance Partners Added To Crystal's Big Band Spring 2013 Trans-Atlantic

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5: Ultra-luxury specialist Crystal Cruises has tripled the number of its Ambassador Host dance partners, from the normal four aboard every sailing, to 12 for its March 31 "Big Band and Ballroom Dance" voyage. The Experience of Discovery cruise will also have double the usual amount of dance instructors on board, along with the legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra to keep toes tapping. The Miami-Lisbon voyage aboard the award-winning Crystal Serenity provides an easy U.S. departure for Americans and easy return home for Europeans.

Crystal's gentlemen Ambassador Hosts serve as engaging dancing, dining, and conversation partners for solo women during their cruise. Hosts are also available to accompany women on the dance floor whose companions might not be dancers. The social hosting services are complimentary, as are all musical theme activities, including daily intro and advanced dance classes teaching everything from classical ballroom to Latin favorites and swing.

The 17+-piece Glenn Miller Orchestra and vocalists will also play into the wee hours nightly, providing a lively soundtrack of timeless hits. Numerous grand and intimate spaces on board, including Palm Court, Stardust Lounge, Pulse nightclub, and the central atrium near the Cove Bar, serve as on board music and dancing venues during the cruise.

"Big Band and Ballroom Dance is hotter than ever now, and our music cruises are always among our most popular voyages, packed with fun," says Bret Bullock, vice president of entertainment. "Solo travelers feel comfortable sailing Crystal because we offer so many ways to socialize with others, from dining to dancing. On this particular cruise, we will have plenty of dance partners to go around."

Also featured during the 10-day sailing are new Magic Castle at Sea shows and Crystal's newly-released Elton John tribute production, Rocket Man. The classic Trans-Atlantic luxury cruise provides ample days at sea to fully enjoy the indulgent Crystal resort experience, with a call in sub-tropical Madeira/Funchal, Portugal en route. Crystal Cruises' award-winning entertainment offerings include a range of venues and performances, from cabaret nightclub to piano bar saloon; acclaimed productions to headline entertainers; and sophisticated enrichment activities to in-room Blu-ray-viewing, for all world travelers. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

SeaDream Yacht Club Announces its Asia debut Scheduled for Late 2013

Miami, FL, Oct 4: Prompted by demand from it’s very loyal Club members, SeaDream Yacht Club has just released full details on its plans to sail a series of voyages in Asia and Northern Australia beginning in late 2013. The line reports that one of its twin mega-yachts, SeaDream II will sail to Asia after completing her 2013 Mediterranean season. Sure to be a unique voyage, the “Passage to the Far East” will depart Athens, Greece in October 2013 and include a transit of the Suez Canal, excursions to Egypt’s fascinating archeological sites (accompanied by Egyptologist) and calls to several other intriguing destinations before arriving in Mumbai, India. From Mumbai, the yacht will sail to Singapore and the Far East, planning to offer 18 unique voyages in the region. Voyages are 7 to 15 days long, but most may be combined as a back-to-back voyage for a lengthier holiday.

Scheduled to stay in Asia through April 2014, itineraries include numerous exotic ports in several different countries including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), East Timor, Northern Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong. “Whether you crave the peace and tranquility of undiscovered beaches and islands or the exhilarating energy and buzz of foreign cities, Asia offers something for everyone” said SeaDream’s President, Bob Lepisto. Adding, “Virtually every country in the region is accessible by water and SeaDream’s yachting itineraries include an incredible mix of commercial cities, pristine beaches and impressive historical sites. We’ve planned very unique calls, such as the little-visited islands of the Burmese Mergui Archipelago in the Andaman Sea and Sanya, on Hainan Island in China.”

Each voyage offers exciting and unique ports of call. Highlights include:

· Overnight, 2-day stay in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), site of The Shwedagon Pagoda. Optional full day excursions by air to Mandalay and Bagan; a valley covered with 2,000 pagodas and temples.
· Yachting the beautiful Langkawi Archipelago of Malaysia.
· Visiting “the beach” (made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “The Beach”) in the Phi Phi Islands of Thailand.
· Diving the vibrant underwater paradise of Thailand’s, Similan Islands National Park.
· Playing great golf in Malaysia, Phuket and at the Andaman Club, a five star golf resort & casino on Thahtay Kyun Island, Burma.
· Spending New Year’s Eve in Patong Bay, Phuket, Thailand. A night of fireworks and thousands of floating, candlelit paper “magic lanterns”.
· Exploring the world heritage site of Halong Bay, Vietnam; one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
· Seeing giant monitor lizards on Komodo Island.
· From Singapore, pre & post voyage overland packages to Cambodia including Angkor Wat and the many famous temples. Also from Singapore, overland packages to Borobudur (UNESCO site) and Yogyakarta, site of the Prambanan Temple.

SeaDream first shared the news with their devoted past guests and their travel professionals, allowing their Club members to be the first to reserve space, on what are expected to be highly sought after voyages. SeaDream has these new itineraries and voyage information on their website

Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Honors Its Own, Naming Four Employees
Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection

MIAMI, Oct 4: Celebrity Cruises is marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in a particularly unique and meaningful way: Richard D. Fain, Chairman of Celebrity Cruises and Chairman & CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), and Celebrity’s President & CEO Michael Bayley today revealed plans to honor four employees – two who work aboard its ships, and two in its corporate offices – as Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection, the fifth in its five-ship Solstice Class series. Like the Godmothers of every prior Solstice Class ship – all with remarkable life achievements, including overcoming breast cancer – the cause is of great personal interest to the selected employees.

The Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection are:

Jovanka Goronjic – Jovanka joined Celebrity Cruises’ AquaSpa staff in 2009, after previously working with Celebrity’s sister brand, Royal Caribbean International. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and endured several rounds of treatment. In tribute to her mother and the cause, Jovanka donated her hair for the creation of wigs for cancer patients. With support from Celebrity, she arranged time off to be with her mother at critical times during her treatment. Her mother has since defeated the illness, and Jovanka now is AquaSpa Manager on Celebrity Constellation.
Megan Mathie – Megan is a glassblowing artist in the Hot Glass Show aboard Celebrity Solstice, and previously performed the same role aboard Celebrity Eclipse. Earlier this year, she was informed that both her sister and mother were diagnosed with breast cancer, and flew home to spend time with them. However, both convinced her to return to the ship to continue her work. Determined to support the cause, Megan and her team now host a “Hot Pink Glass Show” on every cruise. There, she shares her story with her audience and through her art, in honor of her sister and mother. At each cruise’s end, she auctions a one-of-a-kind pink glass creation to raise funds for Celebrity’s charitable partner, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.
Helen O’Connell – An eight-year employee of the company, Helen manages Community Relations, and has a clear and contagious passion for serving her community. She is widely lauded internally and externally for leading the corporation’s annual “G.I.V.E. (Get Involved, Volunteer Everywhere) Day,” and events leading to it in South Florida and in many of the company’s offices and ports of call around the world. Helen also serves as the corporation’s primary liaison with Make-A-Wish Foundation and supports Celebrity’s fundraising activities for BCRF. Before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, she traveled to New York every weekend for three months to help care for her father, who was battling bone cancer. Helen is known for always putting others’ needs ahead of her own, such as volunteering with numerous organizations in South Florida and caring for her sick aunt in Ireland, while also making her work a top priority.
Rosey Rodriguez – A 17-year employee of RCCL, Rosey is manager of the company’s Special Events team and recognized at Celebrity for being a key contributor to planning and implementing the events surrounding every Solstice Class ship launch. She is a devoted single mother of two children, Joey, 21, and Alexis, 15. On June 8 of this year, she was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer, and has since been resolute in her commitment to beat it. While many women would legitimately take short-term disability at this stage, Rosey instead takes her laptop to treatments to allow her to work remotely. Her colleagues say this is entirely in character, as she puts everyone and everything – including her work – ahead of her own desires. She is considered a dedicated leader of her team, admired employee of the company, loving mother and selfless individual.

“The breast cancer cause is one we’ve adopted across the Celebrity brand, and one with deep meaning for each of these women and their four predecessors,” said Fain. “These ladies are not only inspiring in their professional lives, but in their personal lives, as well, with each of them devoted to their own and our company’s interest in doing all we can to find a cure for breast cancer.”

“These impressive women personify the qualities we admire among our Solstice Class Godmothers: remarkable strength and courage, along with optimism, warmth and genuine care for others,” said Bayley. “They beautifully represent countless other women within our company and around the world who have battled the disease or supported the cause in honor of friends or family who have done so.”

Celebrity Cruises’ support of the cause began in 2008 with an event on Celebrity Solstice to raise funds for breast cancer screenings for low-income women. Next, the brand sponsored the first “Celebrity Sunwalk” in association with Walk the Walk, a breast cancer charity founded by the Godmother of Celebrity Equinox, Nina Barough. And last year, Celebrity became an official corporate partner of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), offering Celebrity’s guests the opportunity to make a difference while enjoying their vacation through a unique lineup of onboard experiences that help raise awareness and funds for BCRF.

Celebrity is showing its support of the cause even further this month through multiple initiatives, including an integration and cruise auction featured in Bloomingdale’s “Big Pink Book,” with a percentage of sales benefiting BCRF; a sweepstakes to win a cruise with a $1,000 donation to BCRF in the winner's name; a "pink" home page takeover of Celebrity’s web site,, and relevant content on its Facebook page,, throughout the month; a donation to BCRF of $2 for every “Excite the Senses” lifestyle book sold onboard and online; pink-hued emails to customers; “Starring Crew Week” honoring Celebrity’s crew across the fleet with special events to raise funds for BCRF, and events engaging and educating employees at Celebrity’s headquarters. All of this complements the continuation of the year-around activities supporting BCRF: “Celebrity Freedance” and the auction of works of art created by glassblowing artists from The Corning Museum of Glass at the Hot Glass Show on Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Eclipse.

The four Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection will preside over the naming of the ship in Miami on December 1, and consistent with Celebrity’s Solstice Class tradition, will be joined by the Godmothers of each of Celebrity Reflection’s sister ships.

Back to the top of the news list

Book by Oct. 31 for Complimentary Balcony Upgrades on MSC Cruises’
 Caribbean Holiday Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Oct. 4: There is still time to book a Caribbean holiday celebration on the luxurious MSC Poesia and receive a complimentary balcony upgrade valued at up to $220 per person. MSC Cruises’ special “Holidays On Sale” rates are available now through Oct. 31, 2012, offering guests complimentary upgrades from oceanview to balcony staterooms or from balcony standard to balcony superior staterooms.

The cruise-only rates are per person, double occupancy; government fees and taxes are additional for all guests. Plus, kids traveling as the third or fourth guest in a stateroom sail for only $99. MSC Cruises’ ships are kid friendly, offering daily entertainment and plenty of space for running, exploring, diving, swimming and playing.

“Holidays on Sale” rates are available on the following MSC Poesia roundtrip sailings from Fort Lauderdale:

• 7-night Christmas in the Caribbean: departs Dec. 21, 2012, calling at Falmouth, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Isla de Roatan, Honduras. Balcony staterooms from $809.
7-night New Year’s Colors of the Caribbean: Eastern Caribbean itinerary departs Dec. 28, 2012, calling at St. John’s, Antigua; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Freeport, Bahamas. Balcony staterooms from $909.
7-night Presidents Day: departs Feb. 16, 2013, calling at Cozumel, Mexico; Isla de Roatan, Honduras; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Falmouth, Jamaica. Balcony staterooms from $699.
5-night Passover Cruise: departs March 25, 2013, calling at Georgetown, Cayman Islands and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Balcony staterooms from $629.
7-night Easter Cruise: departs March 30, 2013, calling a Cozumel, Mexico; Isla de Roatan, Honduras; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Falmouth, Jamaica, Balcony staterooms from $699.

While spending the holidays onboard a Caribbean MSC Poesia sailing, guests will enjoy a truly international experience that draws upon MSC Cruises’ rich Mediterranean heritage, complete with the exotic MSC Aurea Spa, international cuisine, and world-class entertainment that is appropriate for the entire family.

On MSC Cruises, adults can truly enjoy a stress-free vacation. While they are working out in our gym, enjoying the sports center, getting pampered in the spa or swimming on deck, their kids are absorbed with a variety of supervised activities, ranging from a Stone Age dinosaur-themed play area, treasure hunts, dance competitions, sports challenges, theatre activities, and for those technology enthusiasts, an arcade, Microsoft Xbox Kinetic® and Nintendo Wii®. Four separate Kids’ Club programs are available for young guests, each tailored to a specific age group, ranging from 3 to 17 years of age. Recently, MSC Cruises also introduced a daily Nanny’s Hour from 9-10 a.m., with games and activities for toddlers ages 10-36 months and their parents. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit, call 877-665-4655, or contact your local travel advisor. Be certain to ask for the “Holidays on Sale” promo.

Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises Hosts Culinary Stars on Bon Appétit Wine & Food Festival
 Sailing in October

Miami, Oct 4: On October 14, Oceania Cruises will welcome the renowned culinary stars and wine experts from the Myriad Restaurant Group, including founder Drew Nieporent, on Riviera’s 10-day “Bon Appétit Wine & Food Festival” cruise departing Athens to Rome. Myriad operates the famed Tribeca Grill, Nobu New York City, Nobu Fifty Seven, Nobu London, Nobu Next Door, Corton, Crush Wine & Spirits, Acela Club and Daily Burger at Madison Square Garden.

Nieporent, one of America's most respected and celebrated restaurateurs, will speak to guests about new trends and developments in the restaurant industry. Joining him are Myriad Wine Director David Gordon, who will give a series of wine lectures and tastings for guests, along with Ted Rozzi, corporate chef of Myriad, who will lead a series of culinary demonstrations in the Riviera Lounge.

“Oceania Cruises’ reputation for fine cuisine has intrigued me for quite some time and my team and I are excited to be part of this special sailing,” Nieporent said. “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and work with Oceania’s guests, as well as sample the restaurants and dining we’ve heard so much about.”

The October 14 Enchanted Grandeur cruise visits Kusadasi (Ephesus), Monemvasia, Cephalonia (Argostoli), Taormina, Sorrento/Capri, an overnight in Livorno (Florence/Pisa/Tuscany), Marseille (Provence) and Monte Carlo, disembarking in Civitavecchia (Rome) on October 24.

“It’s truly an honor to welcome onboard Riviera a team with such vast culinary expertise as Drew Nieporent, David Gordon and Ted Rozzi to share their knowledge and experience with our inquisitive, culinary-minded guests,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president. “Oceania is truly the cruise line for epicureans and I know our guests will love to spend time with these culinary visionaries.”

Riviera and her sister ship, Marina, feature the Bon Appétit Culinary Centers, which are the only hands-on cooking schools at sea. Classes cater to all levels of aptitude from beginner to master-chef level. For more information on the Bon Appétit Wine & Food Festivals cruises and other Signature Sailings, see a travel professional, visit or call 800-531-5658.

Back to the top of the news list

Windstar Cruises Offers New Golf and Cruise Experience in Scotland & Ireland

SEATTLE, Oct. 4: Windstar Cruises is now offering an exclusive golf and land tour add-on package, Legendary Links, where guests can play five world-famous courses across Scotland and Ireland on the new Gaelic Explorers voyage. Guests on board the August 24, 2013 cruise of Wind Surf, the largest of Windstar's three sailing yachts, will have the opportunity to live out their golf fantasy on a 10-day vacation that spans from Edinburgh to Dublin. Fares for the Gaelic Explorers voyage start at $3,899 per person. The optional Legendary Links package, which also includes a two-night hotel stay in Edinburgh as well as two shore excursions, start at $2,995 per person.

A true golfer's pilgrimage, players will enjoy the following courses:

-- St. Andrews Jubilee: the first course played is at the legendary Home of Golf in Edinburgh, Scotland.
-- Cruden Bay: a historical golf course that has been open since 1791 in Peterhead, Scotland.
-- Struie at Royal Dornoch: the third course showcases the beauty of Scotland with a white, sandy beach and views of Dornoch Firth to Tain in Invergordan, Scotland.
-- Dunluce at Royal Portush: Dunluce is overlooked by Dunlunce Castle and is laid out among giant sand dune, along the tops of cliffs and through valleys in Portrush, Ireland.
-- Castletown: the last course to be played was laid out by golfing legend Mackenzie Rose in the late 20s and early 30s in Isle of Man, UK.

The Legendary Links package will tee-off with a Welcome Dinner and 2-night stay at the beautiful Fairmont St. Andrews in Edinburgh. Throughout the cruise, golfers will also have the expertise and advice of an onboard golf pro. For days in port without a golf course, exclusive shore excursions are included. Other highlights of the package include a Gala Farewell and Awards Dinner the last night of the cruise, green fees and golf trolleys at the five courses and all transfers and porterage fees between the airport, hotel and port.

The 312-passenger Wind Surf will sail through Northern Europe giving guests the chance to sample the spirits and pubs of Dublin, view the sweeping beauty of Loch Ness and explore the ancient Castle and Royal Mile of Edinburgh. For guests looking to experience an intimate look at the culture surrounding the magical islands of Ireland and Scotland, the Gaelic Explorers Premiere Package is the perfect option. A ten-day land and cruise vacation, the add-on package includes exclusive shore excursions for every port, a 2-night stay at the Fairmont St. Andrews and a Gala Farwell. Prices start at $1,995 per person. To book the Gaelic Explorer voyage, Legendary Links package or Gaelic Explorers Premiere Package, contact a travel professional or call Windstar Cruises at 800-258-7245.

Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Announces 2014 World Cruise

SEATTLE, Oct 4: Seabourn Sojourn will sail a 116-day world cruise in 2014, encompassing destinations such as Hawaii, the South Pacific and Australia, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, India, Arabia and the Mediterranean. The ship will depart Los Angeles on Jan 4, 2014, and arrive in Venice, Italy, on May 1, 2014.

Seabourn Sojourn will stop at 53 ports in 20 countries and, for the first time on a world cruise, will explore Western Australia. Several new ports are scheduled in the land "down under," including Geelong, Victoria; Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island; Bunbury, Geraldton and Exmouth, Western Australia. The itinerary also includes an exciting combination of many of the world's most popular cities, as well as smaller treasures and charming towns. In addition, Seabourn Sojourn will overnight in many of the world's greatest cities, such as Honolulu, Sydney, Hong Kong, Mumbai and more.

"Our world cruises always offer unique experiences in some of the most well-known destinations on the globe," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president of marketing & sales. "There's no better way to travel the world than on a Seabourn ship, and Seabourn Sojourn's 2014 world cruise promises unforgettable experiences in amazing places -- on the most highly rated cruise line in the world."

Fares for the full 116-day voyage include a value-packed menu of complimentary benefits and amenities, including:

A pre-cruise Gala Bon Voyage event and luxury overnight stay in Los Angeles
Specially created shoreside events and exclusive shore excursions
Personal Valet luggage shipping service
Shipboard credits of $2,500 per guest
Private car transfers
Complimentary round-trip business class air or $2,500 air credit
Gala onboard celebrations
A variety of commemorative gifts

Rates for the full 116-day world cruise begin at $52,299 per person, based on double occupancy and including round trip air and a host of other complimentary amenities. For guests who cannot sail on the entire 116-day voyage, shorter segments ranging from 22 to 94 days are also available, with rates starting at $13,599 per person based on double occupancy, including air and certain complimentary amenities.

The intimate, all-suite Seabourn Sojourn entered service June 6, 2010, and offers travelers highly personalized service in a relaxed, sociable and luxurious atmosphere. Seabourn Sojourn's 225 luxurious and spacious suites, 90 percent of which offer private verandas, feature separate living areas and bedrooms, writing desks with personalized stationery, and generously sized granite bathrooms with separate bath and shower and twin sinks. Suites are outfitted with walk-in closets, an interactive flat-screen TV with a wide selection of music and movies, and iPod and MP3 connections. Personal bars and refrigerators are stocked according to guest preferences.

For foodies, Seabourn Sojourn offers award-winning dining experiences in four dining venues that rival the finest restaurants anywhere, all at no extra charge. All dining venues, as well as six bars and lounges, serve a full range of beverages, including Champagne, fine wines and spirits, with Seabourn's compliments. Like its sister ships, Seabourn Sojourn also houses an 11,400-square-foot Spa at Seabourn, the largest spa on any luxury vessel, providing the ultimate pampering experience at sea.

Seabourn Sojourn offers a host of other amenities and features, including two swimming pools, six whirlpools, and a unique marina with a variety of watersport activities. One of the most popular spots is Seabourn Square, an innovative concierge lounge with a "club room" ambiance, making guests feel at home during their cruises. For more information or reservations about the 2014 world cruise, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Vantage Deluxe World Travel Launches Two New Ships
for its Deluxe European River Fleet

BOSTON, Oct. 3: Vantage Deluxe World Travel  announced that the ms River Splendor and ms River Venture, the newest, most state-of-the-art vessels for American travelers in the European river cruise market, will depart on dual inaugural voyages from Antwerp to Amsterdam on March 13, 2013.

"Our travelers, mature Americans who have an interest in, and a curiosity about, the world and its people, have discovered the magic of river cruising," says Debbie Allen, CMO of Vantage Deluxe World Travel. "We've had an overwhelming demand for the up-close, just-unpack-once experience that European river cruising provides. These new vessels will help meet that demand by providing a Deluxe river cruise experience in a convivial, casual environment."

Designed with the American traveler in mind, the 442 ft. ms River Splendor and the 360 ft. ms River Venture will offer luxury amenities and the best crew-to-passenger ratios in the industry, says Allen. "Our extensive selection of river cruise itineraries is really changing the way travelers experience all corners of Europe."

The two vessels are part of a $120 million fleet investment program, which will double Vantage's river cruising fleet by 2014. They follow the successful inaugural season of the ms River Discovery II, which launched in March 2012. In addition to new amenities, passengers can choose from new itineraries along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers, a new Grand River voyage in France, and revamped itineraries in Portugal and Russia.

Vantage continues to be the leader in river boat innovation and passenger satisfaction with many industry firsts. The modernized new fleet is a testament to Vantage's commitment to meet the American traveler's growing expectations. The newest ships offer an array of luxurious guest accommodations such as:

-- French Balcony staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows
-- Owner's Suite including 330 square feet and a luxury bathtub Jacuzzi
-- 8 solo cabins on the ms Splendor and 4 solo cabins on the ms Venture offered at an affordable single-friendly rate
-- Captain's Cafe boasting a retractable roof where passengers can enjoy el fresco dining as they cruise the waterway
-- Wi-Fi and satellite service throughout the entire ship in addition to real-time GPS tracking for passengers
-- Intimate cruising with no more than 176 passengers on board
-- Elevator between Explorer and Navigator decks, with a hydraulic chair lift to open-air Solaris Deck
-- Best passenger-to-staff ratio in the industry of 4-1
-- Each new vessel features the American traveler's dream of a fitness
center with LifeCycle equipment, free weights and a walking/jogging track

Vantage has been a pioneer in the riverboat industry since 1999 and was the first river boat operator to offer their guests spacious statements with increased storage space, deluxe suites, upper level staterooms with two single beds which convert to double, and flat-screen television sets in every cabin. Vantage was the first company to introduce headsets, allowing passengers the freedom to listen to guided commentary without having to stand next to the guide, a European Vantage Program Manager per coachload to give personalized attention to each passenger and more included activities than any other company. Its famous Cultural Connections Program allows passengers to get closer to the local culture by experiencing authentic and quintessential experiences such as participating in local village chores, dining in local homes, and partaking in educational lectures and historical walking tours. For more information on current travel programs, please visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines Launches Pinterest Contest

MIAMI, Oct 3: Carnival Cruise Lines has launched a fun and unique new Pinterest contest called “I’d Rather be Carnival Cruising to _______” that will award one lucky winner a 7-day “Fun Ship” Caribbean cruise for two.

Starting today, participants can visit and begin by choosing one of four cruise destinations – the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or Hawaii. Participants are then encouraged to tell a visual story of what their dream cruise to that location would look like by pinning various images to their newly created contest board.

Participants must pin at least five images or videos from any of Carnival’s social media sites or, while the rest of the board can feature any other images of their choice. Consumers can enter the contest up to four times by simply re-visiting the contest page, choosing a new destination, and entering again. The contest runs through October 14, 2012.

At the end of the contest period, judges from Carnival will select the top 10 boards based on beauty, creativity and originality. The grand prize winner will be chosen by guest judge and “pinning rock star” Mike Dew who has more than three million followers on Pinterest. To inspire participants, Dew will also be creating his own board specifically for the contest.
“Pinterest is a terrific social media platform for discovering different vacation choices and this contest allows consumers to create and share their idea of the perfect Carnival vacation,” said Jordan Corredera, vice president - digital for Carnival Cruise Lines. “We’re also excited to have Mike Dew – a true Pinterest guru – selecting the grand prize winner and sharing his pinning expertise with participants,” he added.

In addition to a grand prize Caribbean cruise for two, the participant whose board has the most followers will win a $250 Fun Ship Dollars gift certificate. Complete rules and contest information are available at

Back to the top of the news list

MSC Cruises Celebrates ‘World’s Largest Cruise Event’ with Limited-Time
Shipboard Credit Offer

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Oct 3: As part of the much anticipated National Cruise Vacation Week, which is sponsored by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry organization, MSC Cruises is offering a shipboard credit of as much as $200 per stateroom for guests who book a 2013 cruise this month.

CLIA’s National Cruise Vacation Week, scheduled for Oct. 21-27, 2012 offers the industry’s most exclusive promotions and features a wide array of special events and offers from CLIA-member cruise lines. MSC Cruises is marking the event with a month-long “World’s Largest Cruise Event” offer available to residents of the United States and Canada who book select 2013 MSC Cruises sailings of five or more nights by Oct. 31, 2012. South American itineraries are excluded from this promotion.

The amount of shipboard credit is based on the following:

-- Inside and oceanview staterooms: $25 per person (maximum of $50 per stateroom);
-- Balcony standard and superior staterooms: $50 per person (maximum of $100 per stateroom);
-- Suites and MSC Yacht Club accommodations: $100 per person (maximum of $200 per stateroom).

Guests can enjoy MSC Cruises’ heritage on a Mediterranean sailing, explore the beauty and mystery of Northern Europe or escape to tropical islands on a Caribbean cruise. On each sailing, guests are treated to the line’s white-gloved service, elegant and pristine décor, delicious cuisine (including Mediterranean specialties) and acclaimed world-class entertainment as they visit popular and off-the-beaten-path destinations. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit us online at, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional and ask for the “WLCE SBC 2012” offer.

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Getaway to Sail to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami Year-Round
Beginning in February 2014

MIAMI, Oct 2: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Getaway will be delivered in late January 2014, earlier than originally scheduled, and will sail a 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary from PortMiami year-round. Carrying 4,000 passengers, Norwegian Getaway will be the largest ship to home port year-round in Miami and will embody a unique Miami vibe.

“We are pleased that Meyer Werft will deliver this incredible vessel three months earlier than scheduled,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer. “Norwegian Getaway is going to offer a fantastic cruise opportunity sailing to the Eastern Caribbean.”

Following inaugural events in Europe, Norwegian Getaway will arrive in Miami in late January 2014 and begin her first Eastern Caribbean sailing on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014. Ports of call include: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. In addition, the company announced the ship’s Transatlantic sailing, which will depart Rotterdam, The Netherlands on Jan 16, 2014 and include a stop in London (Southampton), England where guests can also embark, followed by nine days at sea before arriving in Miami on Jan 27, 2014.

Norwegian Getaway will open for group block bookings to travel partners on October 8, 2012. Reservations will open to the public on October 22, 2012.

To accommodate Norwegian Getaway’s arrival in January, the company is modifying the itineraries of its existing ships in Miami during that time. Beginning Feb 2, 2014, Norwegian Epic will depart Miami on Sundays and sail a Western Caribbean itinerary. Ports of call include: Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. Norwegian Sun will now depart Miami on her 10 and 11-day Southern Caribbean itineraries a day later than scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays. Norwegian Pearl, which had been scheduled to depart Miami on Sundays will be chartered from Jan 19 to March 21, 2014. In addition, four new 7-day Western Caribbean itineraries will be added on March 21, March 28, April 4 and April 11, 2014.

Currently being built at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Getaway will be 146,600 gross tons and offer a wide range of accommodations. The ship will also feature a rich mix of stateroom options including The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 Suites at the top of the ship in an exclusive, private key-card enclave and 22 additional Suites located throughout the ship; the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; a wide range of Oceanview staterooms, Balcony and Mini-Suites; along with Spa Balcony, Mini-Suites and Suites in close proximity to the spa. Norwegian Getaway’s sister ship, Norwegian Breakaway, will begin sailing from her year-round home port of New York City in May 2013.

Beginning October 22, guests wanting to make a reservation on Norwegian Getaway should contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

New Laos Overnight Adventure Augments Crystal's March Voyage

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 2: A brand new optional Crystal Overland Adventure takes Crystal guests deep into the heart of landlocked Laos during a March 7, 2013 Southeast Asia cruise. The three-night Laos Overland Discovery offers an intimate window into the rich history, secluded culture, and stunning scenery of the former French colony and UNESCO World Heritage site, Luang Prabang, considered the best-preserved city in Southeast Asia.

Participating guests will depart the port of Laem Chabang, Thailand for Bangkok, where they will spend a luxurious first night. From there, they fly to Laos for two nights, to witness a Laotian Buddhist alms-giving ceremony, visit sacred temples, taste rice wine in a local village, stroll through the last royal palace, shop the Hmong night market, and sail across the Mekong River to the Buddha-filled Pak Ou Caves. Travelers rejoin Crystal Symphony in Ho Chi Minh City.

Sixteen days sailing through Singapore (overnight), Bangkok/Laem Chabang (overnight), Ho Chi Minh City (two overnights), Chan May, Hanoi/Hongai, and Hong Kong (overnight) offer not only extensive time in Vietnam, but a choice of seven additional optional Overland Adventures--a rarity in one voyage. The exotic one and two-evening overnights ashore include:

-- The Wonders of Angkor Wat - Cambodia's "wonder of the world," walled city Angkor Thom, Banteay Srei and Ta Promh temples, and an Apsara dance show.
-- Phong Nha Caves & Vietnam Heritage - Perfume River voyage, magnificent caves, and former imperial capital Hue, its Citadel and Royal Palace
-- Overnight in Bangkok and Ayuthaya - An elephant ride through the former royal capital of Siam, the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, Mable Temple, Asian art and shopping
-- A Portrait of Vietnam: Hue, Hoi An & Hanoi - Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, China Beach, an imperial-style costumed dinner, and highlights of foreign influences
-- One Night in Bangkok - A Chao Phraya River cruise, Wat Trimitr, Wat Arun, and the Grand Palace

Fifty-five carefully crafted Crystal Adventure shore excursions, almost a dozen available as Private Options, take travelers from tasting local culinary specialties and hearing native music, to thrilling helicopter rides above Hong Kong and contemplative visits to ancient spiritual sites.

"Our guests continually seek new and broader ways to immerse themselves within destinations and cultures," says John Stoll, vice president of land and port operations. "Southeast Asia is rich with sights, smells, tastes and history that create an unparalleled vacation experience."

Crystal's passion for creating exclusive, eye-opening luxury shore-side experiences are cornerstones of its Crystal Adventures program, earning the line top ratings for two decades.
For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises Expands Loyalty Program

MIAMI, Oct 1: Oceania Cruises has announced enhancements to its Oceania Club loyalty program including a new Blue membership level for guests to start earning rewards as quickly as their first cruise. Considered the industry-leading cruise loyalty program, Oceania has also added complimentary air deviation fee waivers as well as substantial savings on internet, shore excursions, beverage packages and logo merchandise into its generous mix of benefits.

Current benefits include on-board recognition and membership-level pins, exclusive Oceania Club cocktail receptions and member-only offers. Higher levels also include free cruises, free Canyon Ranch SpaClub® treatments, and a combination of benefits that no other cruise lines provide--rewarding guests with BOTH shipboard credits and pre-paid gratuities.

“As we approach our 10th anniversary in 2013, it seemed the ideal time to redesign our loyalty program significantly enhancing the benefits at each milestone level and adding a new entry level so that guests can start earning rewards faster,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president. “These changes along with both meaningful shipboard credits and complimentary gratuities make our loyalty program truly the best in the industry.”

The new program is effective with the first 2013 sailings. Complete details of the Loyalty Program and eligibility requirements for the Oceania Club are available on the Oceania Cruises website at To further discuss details of the Oceania Club Loyalty Program, guests can call toll-free 800-531-5658.

Back to the top of the news list

Azamara Club Cruises Includes More Amenities for Up-Market Travelers

MIAMI, Oct 1: When it comes to compelling enhancements for discerning up-market travelers, boutique cruise line Azamara Club Cruises is clearly a winner – and now it has scored again. The cruise line today announced that the guest experience will soon include the new AzAmazing Evening, an immersive complimentary destination event ashore featured on every voyage. In addition, the cruise line is introducing a selection of complimentary standard spirits, wines and international beers throughout the ship during the bars’ opening hours. Both offerings will begin with Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey’s next Europe season, March 27 and May 15 2013, respectively.

“Azamara Club Cruises’ guests have an unquenchable desire to immerse themselves in the history, culture and night life of the destinations we visit, which is why we offer them longer stays, more overnights and night touring,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “This new concept is an evolution of Azamara’s core differentiator that resonates with our guests, who love their time onboard, but have made it clear that the cruise experience extends to their time ashore. With these new amenities added to Azamara Club Cruises, guests are offered an unmatched vacation experience at a tremendous value.”

One-hundred percent of Azamara’s 2013 itineraries feature late-night departures and overnight port stays, some as long as two or three days. This concept of slowing the ships down to offer guests the opportunity to experience a city’s night life, is an almost unique concept in the cruise industry that will now be further showcased through AzAmazing Evening, destination affairs to remember.

The new AzAmazing Evening events will replace the current 50 percent savings off Land Discovery shore excursions program and provide guest with an even great value that further emphasizes the night touring concept and highlights a region’s culture and distinct personality with a customized event exclusively for Azamara guests. The complimentary evening ashore varies from voyage to voyage, offering guests sailing consecutive voyages a wide variety of experiences. Guests sailing and pre-booking Land Discoveries, before March 2, 2013 for Azamara Quest or April 17, 2013 for Azamara Journey can still save 50 percent on most Land Discoveries when booking online at least four days prior to their sailing date.

During the events all interested guests will be transported via private motorcoaches to an unforgettable evening. Guests sailing a Baltic voyage, for example, could enjoy a private ballet performance in St. Petersburg, Russia, while walking the red carpet and sipping champagne. Or those on a Mediterranean voyage may find themselves sampling Jerez, Spain’s, famous sherry wine at Gonzalez Byass and later enjoying a private equestrian ballet at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.

Also new, beginning with the 2013 Europe season, is the expansion of Azamara’s complimentary beverage offerings. In addition to Azamara’s existing selection of complimentary boutique wines, served at lunch and dinner, guests will enjoy a wider complimentary selection that includes a selection of standard spirits, wines and international beers throughout the day at any of the ships’ bars and lounges.

Guests aboard Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest already enjoy more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees, teas, and complimentary red and white boutique wines to accompany lunch and dinner, complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available. And now, guests will also enjoy the new AzAmazing Evening event on every voyage, and selected standard spirits, wines and beers throughout the voyage from bars and lounges.

Azamara Club Cruises is a destination-immersive cruise line for up-market travelers who want to not only see the places and cultures they visit, but to live them. Azamara’s two intimate, 694-guest ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with a combination of 347 suites and staterooms, offer a European-boutique hotel ambience with extraordinary service, fine cuisine and wines from around the world, , all while sailing to a host of destinations larger ships cannot reach.

Azamara Club Cruises sails European destinations, including the Baltic and Scandinavia, British Isles, Western Europe, French and Italian Rivieras, Greek Isles, Croatia, Holy Land and Black Sea, as well as Asia, South America, lesser-traveled islands of the West Indies, and in 2014 the West Coast of the United States, with more overnight and late-night stays in every region. Travelers also can choose even more immersive experiences with Azamara cruisetours in four of the world’s most exciting destinations, including Asia, Buenos Aires, India and Turkey. For more information, travelers can call their travel professional, dial 1-877-999-9553, or visit Azamara Club Cruises at

Back to the top of the news list

Silversea's Silver Cloud to Undergo Extensive Refurbishment

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 1: Starting this November, ultra-luxury Silver Cloud will welcome guests to a stylishly renovated shipboard environment brimming with a host of new enhancements. A major stem-to-stern refurbishment will take place this month, with most of the work being completed during a three-week dry dock at Fincantieri's shipyard in Palermo, Italy. Overseeing the design and construction elements of the project is renowned Italian architect Giacomo Mortola.

The goal is to completely renovate Silver Cloud's interior decoration, including the suites, public spaces and dining venues, in order to introduce a fresh and contemporary classic atmosphere. Silversea is making a significant financial investment in this refurbishment to ensure its guests experience a renewed sense of luxury and comfort when sailing aboard Silver Cloud.

Highlights of Silver Cloud's makeover will include:

Refreshed Public Spaces: As soon as guests step aboard Silver Cloud, they will notice a totally renewed lobby displaying a color palette of warm earth tones that will be carried throughout most areas of the ship with the installation of stylish new carpets, wall treatments and artwork in the corridors, staircases and public spaces. Providing contrast to the main color scheme of the ship will be The Bar, which will be decorated in cooler shades of teal mixed with neutral tones of brown and beige. All new furniture, carpet, curtains and reconditioned wood flooring will give the Panorama Lounge a refreshed contemporary look, while The Spa and Beauty Salon will also get a makeover.

Dining Enhancements:

-- Le Champagne, the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea, will be completely transformed with an upgraded entrance design, the addition of gleaming, backlit wine displays, a redesigned seating layout, and new wood flooring, fabrics and window treatments.

--La Terrazza's updated interior will include a remodeled buffet area and handsome new banquettes along the walls, offering greater seating flexibility, including more tables for two.

--The Restaurant will be refreshed with chairs dressed in bright new fabrics, new window treatments and reconditioned hardwood flooring.

--The Grill, with its unique interactive dining concept, will now be featured aboard Silver Cloud as the existing Pool Bar and Grill area is expanded with additional seating, a large overhead awning, and the removal of the central stair unit, which will be replaced with a curving corner staircase. At this new outdoor restaurant, guests will enjoy an innovative dining experience that lets them cook prime meats and fresh seafood on heated volcanic rocks at their table.

Sophisticated New Decor for Suites: The sofas and chairs will be updated with new fabrics. All carpets, headboards, curtains and outside veranda furniture will be replaced. Each suite will have a new mattress custom-made exclusively for Silversea. The mattress will feature an individual spring system with a soft and firm side that can be reversed to suit each guest's preference. The new beds will be outfitted with plush new Pratesi sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers. All bathrooms will be enhanced with new flooring, marble appointments and either a new bath-and-shower combination or a new walk-in, glass-enclosed rainforest shower with sitting area, offering a soothing, spa-like experience. (This will replace the existing bath-and-shower combination in nearly 90% of the Veranda and Vista Suites). The Owner's and Grand Suites will be outfitted with a modern wet room bath configuration featuring a new rainforest shower that will be separate from the bathtub.

Upgraded Outdoor Spaces: The jogging track will feature all-new synthetic turf and the pool area will be outfitted with new deck furniture.

In addition to enjoying a fresh reconditioning and polishing of teak decks and woodwork, the ship will undergo thorough maintenance on mechanical and propulsion systems. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent, call toll-free (877) 215-9986, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

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

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, and their agents.


Back to the top of  this page

            Use keywords to search...

Search Search the Internet