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Cruise News
October 1-31, 2016

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Norwegian Cruise Line Celebrates the First Steel Cut for Norwegian Bliss

PAPENBURG, Germany, Oct 31: Norwegian Cruise Line is celebrating the cutting of the first piece of steel for Norwegian Bliss, the line’s sixteenth vessel and the first one designed for the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and MEYER WERFT executives gathered at the MEYER WERFT Laser Center in Papenburg, Germany on October 28 to mark the ceremonial start of construction of Norwegian Bliss, which is set for delivery in Spring 2018 and will be the twelfth Norwegian ship built by MEYER WERFT. Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., pressed the start button of the computer-controlled cutting machine, commencing construction. The first plate of steel was cut by a plasma torch in the yard’s state-of-the-art facility and will become part of the first of 81 blocks that will comprise the new vessel.

“As we close in on Norwegian Cruise Line’s 50th anniversary, we are thrilled to celebrate the start of construction for Norwegian Bliss, our latest and most innovative ship yet,” said Del Rio. “Norwegian Bliss will offer the ultimate in Alaska adventures, both on and off the ship, and we look forward to welcoming guests onboard in June 2018.”

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience and the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in Seattle. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly 7-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. The ship’s artwork is designed by Wyland, one of the world’s premier marine life artists. Entitled “Cruising with the Whales,” the engaging and beautiful art prominently features a stunning image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centerpiece of the design, signifying the beauty of Alaska and the importance of conservation. Norwegian Bliss will also come outfitted with exhaust gas scrubbers, which significantly decrease air emissions including the reduction up to 99 percent of sulfur into the atmosphere, furthering Norwegian’s commitment to protecting the unique ecosystems found throughout Alaska and across the world.

Additional details on the ship’s accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. Norwegian Bliss will be available for reservations beginning January 2017. For more information on Norwegian Bliss, please visit

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Holland America Line Makes $25,000 Donation to Seattle Children’s Hospital
as Part of ‘K’s for Kids’ with the Seattle Mariners

Seattle, Oct. 27: Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford presented a check for $25,000 to Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Uncompensated Care Fund Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at the Seattle Mariners’ home game at Safeco Field. The company made the donation as part of its partnership with the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team and the “K’s for Kids” program that debuted during the 2014 baseball season. With “K’s for Kids,” for each strikeout (represented as a “K” on a baseball score card) recorded by a Mariners pitcher at Safeco Field throughout the season, a cash donation was made to reach the $25,000 donation to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Ashford was joined on the field during the check presentation by 6-year-old Seattle Children’s patient and cancer survivor Mason Nettleton and his family.

“As Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line, Holland America Line is proud to make our third ‘K’s for Kids’ donation to Seattle Children’s Hospital through our partnership with the Seattle Mariners,” said Ashford. “It was an exciting baseball season, and we are honored to present a check for $25,000 to a young man as courageous as Mason that will go toward helping other kids like him at Seattle Children’s Hospital.”

For the past five years, Holland America Line and the Mariners have enjoyed a partnership that expanded at the beginning the 2016 Major League Baseball season. In addition to “K’s for Kids,” Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line became the presenting sponsor of the “Salute to Those Who Serve” program honoring the men and women of the United States military. As well, the line continued to sponsor “Get Well Tours” to area hospitals and the annual Fan Appreciation Night where two lucky fans at that game won Holland America Line cruises.

Salute to Those Who Serve Military Program: At 26 Mariners home games this season, the Salute to Those Who Serve program honored some of the men and women of the United States armed forces. During Friday and Sunday games, a member of the military (active, reserve, veteran or retired) was recognized on field for his or her service to our country. Each honoree received four tickets and one parking pass to the game. Holland America Line is the presenting sponsor of the program.

Holland America Line Get Well Tours: Holland America Line is the presenting sponsor of the Seattle Mariners Get Well Tours, visits to area hospitals by Mariners players and the Mariner Moose where children receive photos and autographs and a Holland America Line-branded sports bag filled with Mariners- and baseball-related items such as replica baseballs and a stuffed Moose doll.

Holland America Line Fan Appreciation Night: Holland America Line is the presenting sponsor of the annual Fan Appreciation Night celebration at Safeco Field. Traditionally the final Friday home game of each season, Fan Appreciation Night celebrates the loyalty and support of Mariners fans with prize drawings throughout the game. As part of its sponsorship, Holland America Line provides cruise giveaways at Fan Appreciation Night.

For more information about Holland America Line, visit

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Princess Cruises Announces Finalists for Sixth Annual Entertainer of the Year Competition

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct. 27: Princess Cruises will soon crown the top guest entertainer for 2016 during the cruise line's sixth annual Entertainer of the Year competition. Four talented finalists have been carefully chosen from the vast array of onboard performersincluding vocalists, comedians, magicians, tribute bands and other specialty actswho delight guests each year, and will compete for the title during Princess' upcoming Entertainer of the Year cruise. Guests aboard the February 25, 2017 Ruby Princess 7-day cruise to Mexico will be able to cast their vote for their favorite performer after viewing several live performances from each act during the cruise vacation.

The four nominees for the title of "Entertainer of the Year" are:

• Cheaza Figueroa: Vocalist Cheaza Figueroa is a multi-talented performer. Her performing career includes television appearances on NBC and hosting on the CW Network. Her dynamic talent has also been featured on MTV's "The X Factor," "Extra," and "South of Nowhere" on CBS. As an improvisation backup singer for Wayne Brady, Figueroa graced such stages as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Las Vegas where she performed as the lead singer and host of "Peepshow," at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Figueroa was also voted "Best Singer of Las Vegas" in 2013 by The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
John Bressler: Musician John Bressler is a multi-talented piano player and keyboardist known for his exuberant stage presence. His performances feature talent, passion, wit, and a genuine likeability. His unique blend of beautiful music and interactive comedy is one-of-kind, making his show a must see.
Robbie Printz: Comedian Robbie Printz delivers a dynamic performance, serving as a reminder of childhood wonders and adulthood absurdities, delivered with high energy and a fast pace that keeps audiences of all ages laughing from start to finish. Printz's act has been seen on such networks as Comedy Central, NBC, MTV, and A&E.
Steve Larkins: From his home in New Zealand, Musician Steve Larkins travels the world to perform his remarkably accurate impression of Freddie Mercury, as a tribute to the music of Queen. International appearances include Beijing, where he appeared at corporate events during The Olympics, South Africa, Australia, Europe, and The Legends Theatre in Las Vegas. With a strikingly similar physical appearance to Freddie and a vocal range of equal powerLarkins' hugely entertaining show regularly brings audiences of every age group and nationality to their feet.

"For a sixth year in a row, we are proud to unveil the fantastic talent found in the finalists of our Entertainer of the Year competition," said Rai Caluori, Princess Cruises executive vice president, hotel services. "Our guests will have quite the task determining the winner based on the high caliber of talent we have in our finalists."

The finalists have been established by the Princess Cruises entertainment department based on guest surveys and onboard audience response. The winner, who will hold the title of "2016 Princess Cruises Entertainer of the Year," will be announced on the final evening of the cruise at a celebratory event in the Piazza and will receive a $5,000 cash prize. Previous Princess Cruises Entertainer of the Year winners include comedian Carlos Oscar, vocalists Tony Tillman and Zach Winningham, comedic magician Ben Seidman, and singer, dancer and musician Nathan Foley for the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively.

The sixth annual Entertainer of the Year voyage will depart on February 25, 2017 aboard Ruby Princess on a Mexican Riviera cruise, and port calls include Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas. The 7-day sailing from Los Angeles is currently available for booking. For more information about the live entertainment on Princess Cruises and other onboard activities is available at

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Costa Cruises' Shipboard Staff to Receive Comprehensive 'Scuole di Mestiere' Training
to Promote Italy's Finest Onboard

Genoa, Oct 27: Costa Cruises is investing in the "Scuole di Mestiere" (Schools of Trades), a project aimed at providing its shipboard staff with specific training of the highest level with a focus on "Italy’s finest." The "Scuole di Mestiere" consists of a series of top-quality workshops and master's courses, designed in collaboration with some of Costa's partnersnames that stand for Italian excellence worldwide: the Universitá del Caffé illy, Cantine Ferrari, Academia Barilla, CAST Alimentithe school of trades of taste and the Universitá degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche (UNISG Pollenzo). By the end of 2016 Costa Cruises will have trained more than 90 shipboard managers, giving them the opportunity to become more familiar with the values, vision, professionalism, quality and know-how of these brands that are known for Italian excellence.

The initiative further strengthens the already well-established alliance between Costa Cruises and its partners, which makes it possible for cruise guests to enjoy the famous bubbly Ferrari Trentodoc, Barilla pasta dishes, inimitable illy blend coffee and pizza made with yeast base, the result of Costa's collaboration with the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche (UNISG Pollenzo). In addition, this year Costa began making use of the professionalism and experience of CAST Alimentithe school of trades of taste for the training and selection of its pastry chefs onboard.

"The Scuole di Mestiere project is a first for our industry, which further consolidates the ties between Costa Cruises and the leading brands of Italian excellence, with whom we have been collaborating for some time now so as to offer our guests only Italy's finest: illy, Barilla, Ferrari, CAST Alimenti and the Universitá degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo. Excellent Italian products that are the envy of the world are also the fruit of a culture and expertise that we are bringing onboard our ships by means of the Schools of Trades," said Costa Cruises President Neil Palomba.

The trained managers will become custodians of secrets of the trade and will, in turn, act as trainers, passing this teaching on to their teams onboard and turning the Costa ships into veritable continuing education centers.

At the Universitá del caffé illy in Trieste, a center of excellence was set up with a brief to foster coffee culture and knowledge worldwide by means of education. Course participants learn the techniques required to make the "perfect" espresso and cappuccino, in keeping with the finest Italian tradition.

Cantine Ferrari is providing its many decades of experience on a journey of discovery of the secrets of top-of-the-range Italian bubbly, embracing history, values, local roots and food & wine pairings, thus giving participants the tools they need to tell all Costa's guests about the characteristics of Ferrari Trentodoc spumante.

At Academia Barilla, the first international center dedicated to the diffusion, promotion and development of Italian gastronomic culture in the world, Costa chefs are certified as ambassadors of authentic Italian cuisine. After taking part in training that alternates visits to Barilla's laboratories with practical lessons, the cruise line's chefs can stage cooking demonstrations and effectively present Italy's most famous staple food and internationally recognized exportpasta.

At CAST Alimenti, the school of trades of taste, under the watchful eye of Master Chef Massari, Costa's pastry chefs have the chance to do a refresher course, hone their skills and master the finest patisserie techniques; demonstrations and practical lessons touch on subjects related to decorating and chocolate-making, enable participating pastry chefs to create even tastier and more refined desserts.

Last but not least, at UNISG, the Universitá degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo, Costa's pizza chefs and bakers learn all about excellent products like flour, yeast base and mixes for bread and pizza with special attention to the environmental implications and sustainability.

The "Scuole di Mestiere" project is the latest addition to a wide range of training programs that Costa has always provided for all its shipboard and shoreside employees to ensure the continuous improvement of their skills.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals Wyland's Visionary Hull Artwork for Norwegian Bliss

FORT LAUDERDALE, Oct 27: Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ship’s hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the signature art designed by one of the world’s premier marine life artists, Wyland, for its upcoming new ship Norwegian Bliss, which will cruise to Alaska beginning in June 2018. Entitled “Cruising with the Whales,” the engaging and beautiful art prominently features a stunning image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centerpiece of the design, signifying the beauty of Alaska and the importance of conservation. Known for his iconic whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired generations to be passionate about preserving the oceans and the incredible wildlife that calls it home. Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer, joined Wyland to reveal the design today at the Wyland Galleries in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“Humpback whales are an iconic part of the Alaska landscape and one of the most compelling sights visitors can see while cruising the Last Frontier,” said Stuart. “It was only fitting that an artist of Wyland’s caliber should create the artwork for our first ship designed for Alaska, which includes humpback whales and other signature marine life found in the world’s oceans. We hope that our guests are just as inspired as we are by this beautiful artwork.”

The enormous extent of Wyland’s public artworks, his award-winning art galleries and his non-profit foundation’s community service projects have made him one of the world’s most recognized and beloved artists. An artist inspired by different canvases, Wyland has been diving the world’s oceans for the past 30 years and these wildlife encounters have inspired him to paint the animals life size, on more than 100 ocean murals throughout the US and 18 countries around the world. Wyland has taken advantage of Norwegian Bliss’ unique canvas to create a life size portrait of the planet’s most spectacular marine life, including giant manta rays, dolphins, sea lions and sea turtles, to give the viewer a sense of being part of the ocean’s realm. The beauty in Alaska and along the Pacific coast has inspired many of Wyland’s paintings and sculptures and contributed to his inspiration for Norwegian Bliss’ hull artwork.

“As a marine artist who has painted the largest murals in the world, it is an honor to have the opportunity to collaborate with Norwegian and present my art on such a grand scale,” said Wyland. “I can’t think of a more perfect canvas for a marine artist than Norwegian Bliss and I hope my art inspires people to see the beauty in nature and hopefully work to preserve it. Norwegian is as committed as I am to ensuring the health of the oceans and our planet and I look forward to our partnership as we use art, science and adventure to inspire a generation to take care of our blue planet.”

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience and the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in Seattle. The ship will also come outfitted with exhaust gas scrubbers, which significantly decrease air emissions including the reduction up to 99 percent of sulfur into the atmosphere, furthering Norwegian’s commitment to protecting the unique ecosystems found throughout Alaska and across the world.

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss will be constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018. She will sail weekly 7-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Additional details on the ship’s accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. Norwegian Bliss will be available for reservations beginning January 2017. For more information on Norwegian Bliss, please visit

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces Line-Up Of Wildlife Discovery Series Lecturers

BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct. 26: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is pleased to announce the line-up of Wildlife Discovery Series lecturers aboard 2017 voyages, as part of its partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). WCS has been saving wildlife and wild places worldwide for over 120 years and aims to protect half of the planet's biodiversity, while ensuring a positive impact on millions of people. The Wildlife Discovery Series is an exciting new program where guests of The Gauguin have the opportunity to learn about marine wildlife and habitats from some of the world's most fascinating scientists, oceanographers, and conservationists. For this series, lecturers will be sharing their research and expertise during presentations aboard select sailings.

Katherine Holmes, Associate Director, WCS Global Marine Programs Feb 18, 2017, Tahiti & the Society Islands From WCS headquarters in New York, Holmes supervises conservation programs across the Caribbean, North America, Latin America, and Western Africa. With extensive experience in Melanesia and the South Pacific, Holmes has previously served as the WCS Marine Director in Papua New Guinea. She is knowledgeable about marine area management, coral reef ecology, and sea turtle biology. Holmes is also adept at biocultural conservation, and has developed community-based initiatives and educational tools that blend traditional and modern approaches. Throughout her career, she has studied sea turtle populations, helped to establish marine reserves, and surveyed coastal habitats to inform conservation planning. Holmes has participated in marine science research in the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Emily Darling, PhD, Associate Scientist, WCS Global Marine Programs June 7, 2017, Bali to Fiji As an Associate Conservation Scientist for WCS global marine programs, Dr. Darling helps to save wildlife and wild places, and inspires people to value nature in oceans and seascapes worldwide. She is a dedicated coral reef ecologist, passionate about sustaining tropical corals in a changing climate. In her present role at WCS, Dr. Darling coordinates a coral reef monitoring program across Melanesia, Indonesia, the Caribbean, and Western Indian Ocean. Her research focuses on fisheries management, community ecology, and coral responses to climate change. In addition to publishing in scientific journals, Dr. Darling has contributed to popular science blogs for major media networks.

Sangeeta Mangabhai, PhD, Director, WCS Fiji June 7, 2017, Bali to Fiji Dr. Mangabhai is currently based in Suva, Fiji, and has worked for WCS since 2014. She has empowered local communities to make informed decisions about their natural resources. Dr. Mangabhai specializes in designing marine protected areas, assessing coral reef resilience, monitoring fisheries, and evaluating the return on investment of conservation action. Throughout her career, she has studied ecology and advised policy in Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Indonesia, and East Africa. Dr. Mangabhai has served as an adjunct scientist for the New England Aquarium, editor for Pacific Conservation Biology, and committee member for the Women in Fisheries Network.

Tim McClanahan, PhD, Senior Zoologist, WCS Kenya Aug 12, 2017, Tahiti & the Society Islands Dr. McClanahan specializes in coral reef ecology. He studies the links between coral reef ecosystems and the humans who depend on them, integrating marine biology with cultural psychology to achieve social-ecological conservation outcomes. Dr. McClanahan has published an impressive archive of journal articles, book chapters, and reviews to inform science worldwide. His research explores the benefits of marine protected areas and fisheries management on ocean diversity and sustainability, as well as the impacts of overfishing, pollution, and climate change on coral reefs.

Nyawira Muthiga, PhD, Marine Director, WCS Kenya Aug 12, 2017, Tahiti & the Society Islands Dr. Muthiga has dedicated her career to protecting East African marine ecosystems, managing projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius, and the Seychelles. Her conservation has focused on coastal areas, wetlands, coral reefs, and sustainable fisheries. Dr. Muthiga has also created community eco-tourism initiatives, as well as training programs to develop the next generation of East African scientists. She has been actively involved in the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, the Western Indian Ocean Consortium, the Coral Reef Task Force, and the Kenya Sea Turtle Conservation Committee. Dr. Muthiga has been internationally recognized for her leadership, receiving awards from the Kenyan president, the National Geographic Society, and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation.

Alexander Tewfik, PhD, Conservation Scientist, WCS Belize Oct 7, 2017, Cook Islands & Society Islands Dr. Tewfik is currently based at the Glover's Reef Research Station and South Water Caye Marine Reserve, and has previously lived in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Asia-Pacific, and United States. His expertise includes marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, community-based conservation, and livelihood diversification. He has studied conch and lobster invertebrates, and has developed best practices for recovering coral reefs, sandy beaches, and seagrass habitats.

Stacy Jupiter, PhD, Director, WCS Melanesia Nov 11, 2017, Tahiti & the Society Islands Dr. Jupiter and her team collaborate with local communities and governments to protect the region's biodiversity, along with the livelihoods and well-being of the people. In 2015, she received the Early Career Conservationist Award in recognition of her holistic approach to integrate local knowledge and traditional beliefs into conservation action and natural resource management. Dr. Jupiter's expertise includes designing marine protected areas, recovering coral reefs, and land-sea spatial planning. Her research has focused on human impacts to tropical habitats and ecosystem services, and she has authored several guides for conservation best practices in the Pacific islands.

Martin Robards, PhD, Director, WCS Arctic Beringia Dec 23, 2017, Tahiti & the Society Islands Dr. Robards manages a trans-boundary conservation program that comprises Alaska, the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in northwestern Canada, and the Chukotka Peninsula in northeastern Russia. In this role, he collaborates with indigenous hunters in Arctic communities, as well as policy makers in Washington D.C., to protect marine mammals, shorebirds, and other threatened species in remote northern habitats. Dr. Robards is an expert in the ecological, social, and economic conditions of the Arctic. He has studied the impacts of energy development, commercial shipping, and climate change, and has helped to develop environmental policy.

Paul Gauguin Cruises is proud to partner with WCS to offer this program on these select sailings in 2017. For additional information on the Wildlife Discovery Series, please visit

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Oceania Cruises Releases New Brochure Collection

MIAMI, Florida, Oct 26: Oceania Cruises is pleased to introduce its new selection of artistic, coffee-table style brochures which showcase why Oceania Cruises is the foodie cruise line of choice for travel connoisseurs. The brochure collection, which features The Best of Europe 2017, North America 2017-18, The Exotics 2017-18, and The Tropics 2017-18 is accompanied by Savor the World, the line’s new signature culinary and brand brochure that details Oceania Cruises’ acclaimed dining experiences, designer-inspired suites and staterooms, exemplary service and boutique-hotel style ships.

The covers of the brochures are pieces that can be considered artistry in their own right as each tells the story of the region it covers. The intricate gilded and gold-trimmed gates of The Hermitage in St. Petersburg graces the Europe brochure and signifies the artistry and magnificence of the continent while the Tlingit Totem Pole on the cover of the North America brochure exemplifies the many myths, intriguing history and diverse cultural make-up of the United States, and Canada. The brilliant green eyes and golden coat of the leopard capture the spellbinding beauty of the lush landscapes of Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific while the pearlescent luster of the iconic Nautilus shell projects the beauty of the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America.

“With so much beauty and artistic inspiration throughout the world, we wanted to produce a series of brochures that captured not only the beauty and breadth of experiences, but would spark the imagination and ignite conversations,” stated Bob Binder, President & CEO. The new brochures are the ideal travel research tools for discerning travelers to focus in on the regions of the world they wish to explore while making it easier for travel agents to market and sell the Oceania Cruises experience to their clientele.

To learn more about Oceania Cruises, or to order a brochure, visit

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Fathom Celebrates the Meaningful & Collective Impact in the Dominican Republic

MIAMI, Oct 26: Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel and Carnival Corporation’s 10th and newest brand, today highlighted the collective impact made during its first 13 sailings to the Dominican Republic. Travelers have dedicated thousands of impact days to help areas of economic, educational and environmental opportunity to flourish in Dominican communities. From planting more than 16,000 seedlings to producing 730 clay water-filters, travelers have become part of something bigger and unleashed their own potential in fun, creative, engaging and surprising ways.

“From the beginning, Fathom, our travelers and our incredible community partners have been weaving a beautiful impact mosaic that is inspiring hope and ongoing potential,” said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation & plc. “We have done this by learning, immersing and coming alongside the vision of our partner communities in a way that supports holistic flourishing. We participated closely with local community leaders and our partner organizations to understand their hopes and dreams for the region, and then identified specific, measurable success metrics we could track to begin understanding definitively certain elements of the impact story being woven together. It is humbling to see the collective impact story we are beginning to affect in just a few months.”

During sailings to the beautiful Puerto Plata region on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, mindful travelers playfully engaged and participated alongside partners to learn, understand and address the various opportunities for local families. To date, Fathom travelers and local Dominicans have collectively:

Student English Conversation & Learning/Community English Conversation & Learning:
• Impact: Fathom travelers provided approximately 17,500 hours of English interaction to individual adult and youth students, better preparing youth and adults for future employability and increased economic opportunity.
• Why It Matters: The largest driver of employment success in the tourist-driven Dominican Republic economy is English proficiency.

Water Filter Production:
• Impact: Fathom travelers produced and installed 730 water filters in community homes, positively impacting the health and wellbeing of thousands of local Dominicans.
• Why It Matters: The estimated 3,650 Dominican recipients of these filters will experience a reduction in instances of waterborne illnesses, as well as cost savings from not having to purchase expensive bottled water. Indirect benefits could include better work and school attendance.

Reforestation & Nursery:
• Impact: Fathom travelers planted more than 16,000 seedlings and plants, offsetting the environmental impact of travelers coming to the region.
• Why It Matters: Over time, Fathom’s reforestation and nursery efforts will contribute to more nutrient-rich soil, helping to reduce soil loss, improve air and water quality, increase localized biodiversity and potentially producing higher agricultural yields for citizens.

Concrete Floors in Community Homes:
• Impact: Installed concrete floors in 40 homes, improving the living environments for hundreds of local Dominicans.
• Why It Matters: Concrete floors provide a safer and cleaner living environment for residents while reducing the health risks associated with dirt floors.

Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative:
• Impact: Fathom travelers cleaned 3,700 pounds of cacao nibs, which translates to more than 109,000 finished chocolate bars; they also have wrapped, packaged and prepared for sale more than 57,400 products.
• Why It Matters: In a region with limited employment income, Fathom and its travelers are helping this small woman-owned business grow and thrive, which is contributing to the overall well-being of its employees and their families as well as other cooperatives.

Recycled Paper & Crafts Entrepreneurship:
• Impact: Fathom travelers produced more than 9,800 sheets of paper.
• Why It Matters: By helping entrepreneurs expand both their production and sales, Fathom travelers are creating critical income opportunities and financial independence for women workers.

“We have seen tangible benefits thanks to our passionate travelers,” said David Luther, executive director of Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI). “Revenues have increased, wages have gone up accordingly and we’ve given hard-working and enterprising Dominican women a workshop to stay close to their families. The quality of work life has been greatly enhanced for the women who work thereand that’s after just 13 sailings. When we look at the potential long-term impact, it’s amazing to think what might be possible.”

Fathom’s Focus on Shared Value and Long-Term Transformation
What sets Fathom apart is its shared-value partnership approach to creating significant, lasting and sustainable social impact within communities, while at the same time within the lives of its travelers. Additionally, Fathom’s human impact journeys embrace fun and playfully engaging opportunities to develop human connections with like-minded travelers onboard and become a part of a global community that acts together for common good.

“My highlight of the trip was Community English. This impact activity not only gave us direct access to Dominican families and their homes, but we played an essential role in teaching them English,” said Laura Lawson Visconti, a nonstop explorer from Truckee, Calif. “While this experience impacted me deeply, and I had to allow some time to process on my own later that evening in my cabin onboard Adonia, I was struck by the joy I felt from each Dominican I met. After a few moments together, we were family.”

“The trip is not just about giving back, it’s also about cultural immersion, discovering the beauty of the Dominican people/land, personal growth and yes, having fun,” stated Justin Walter, a writer from Los Angeles, Calif.

“The Fathom experience attracts people who want to learn, give and be transformed through travel,” said Ellen Christiansen, a travel advisor from Alexandria, Va. “A Fathom cruise bridges together people of all ages. While on my journey, I met everyone from young solo travelers to retired friends and couples, to families with young children; all stages of life, but all there with a sincere desire to give back in a unique new way.”

Creating a Lasting Impact
The average household income in the Dominican is about $6,000 a year and more than three million people do not have access to piped water. However, the country has a strong infrastructure for impact including proven community development organizations with deep roots in the country.

Fathom worked closely with two of these organizations, along with various other stakeholder groups throughout the countryEntrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc. (IDDI)to identify the areas of most need and undertake a range of projects focused on education, environment and economic development to provide meaningful, long-term and sustainable impact. Depending on travelers’ interests, passions and desires, they venture off into intimate communities for up to three days to participate in social impact activities they care about, unleashing their potential and instantly developing friendships and partnerships.

While the impact results to date are real and tangible, Fathom is eager to continue building on the foundation laid by the company and its travelers to make meaningful, long-term and sustained impact. Fathom will continue taking up to 700 travelers to the Dominican Republic to adventure and come alongside local citizens for three days a week every other week, while continuing to closely monitor and measure its ongoing impact. The company has the potential to offer thousands of traveler impact days per month to its partner communities, so the results over time have the potential to be substantial. For more information about Fathom, visit

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Royal Caribbean Names Inspirational Hometown Hero in Education as Godmother of Harmony of the Seas

MIAMI, Oct. 26: The results are in; after a six-week search for an educator who is inspiring South Florida's next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo, 23-year-old Brittany Affolter from the Miami-Dade region of Teach For America, has been selected as Godmother of Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, Harmony of the Seas. With this honor, Affolter will join the ranks of renowned athletes, celebrities and royalty when she officially breaks a bottle to name the ship on Nov. 10, 2016. Royal Caribbean received nearly one thousand nominations from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, of which three Finalists were selected and voted on by the public to help choose a South Florida hometown hero in education.

"The Godmothers of our ships are remarkable individuals whose life lessons and achievements are rooted in courage, dedication and determination," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Brittany exemplifies these qualities and so much more. We were exceptionally impressed by the passion she has for empowering our youth to believe in a better world and brighter future. She is wise beyond her years, and we can only imagine the accomplishments that she will continue to achieve."

"At Royal Caribbean, we view education as a crucial stepping stone for our young people," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We are very proud to be in a position to 'pay it forward' by celebrating the unsung heroes in our local communities who have dedicated their lives to this goal. Congratulations to Brittany and the nearly thousand other heroes who were nominated."

Brittany Affolter pursued a career in education as a way to pay it forward and inspire children in the same way she had been during her early years. She grew up in a challenging home environment where she received little support and guidance, and was able to remove herself from that setting with the help of teachers and mentors. Instead Affolter found the encouragement and inspiration she sought from caring and devoted teachers who believed in her, helping her realize that college was within grasp and that a quality education was essential for a successful, fulfilling life. Ultimately, these teachers advanced her to where she is today.

Affolter has been working with Teach For America Miami-Dade since 2014, engaging classrooms in Title 1 schools across the county that meet the needs of at-risk and low-income students. In order to reach as many kids in Miami as possible for the greatest impact, she now trains teachers at 14 high-need schools in Miami-Dade, serving more than 500 students. In her spare time, she tutors students, is working to become a mentor for children in foster care, and is completing her masters in educational leadership.

"I am so honored to have been selected as Godmother to Harmony of the Seas and hope that my story can help give a voice to all the hard-working teachers that give so much of themselves to make a meaningful difference," said Affolter. "It's most important for me to help kids understand that no matter what is going on in their lives, they can reach the dreams they have for themselves. It's amazing what you can achieve when you have the support and encouragement of teachers who go above and beyond."

Royal Caribbean set out to find a hometown hero in education to honor the homecoming of Harmony of the Seas, which will make her U.S. debut in a few short weeks when she arrives into her new homeport of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on November 5. The South Florida-based company sought an outstanding candidate that is making a positive impact on the community's youth and received nearly 1,000 motivating and heartfelt nominations. After narrowing the selection to three standout finalists, and thanks in part to votes from South Florida residents, Affolter rose to the top as the educator most deserving to be named Godmother of the world's largest cruise ship. Royal Caribbean will award a $25,000 grant to Teach For America Miami-Dade, funding education initiatives that further Affolter's mission to inspire the local community's youth. For more information on how Affolter is inspiring the next generation, as well as the role of Royal Caribbean Godmothers, past and present, visit

Harmony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences found nowhere else on land or at sea. Harmony combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities, including imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, such as VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. From the Ultimate Abyss, a thrilling 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway's hit musical Grease and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater, world-class dining in venues ranging from Jamie's Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Wonderland, a unique whimsical culinary adventure for the senses; and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for guests of all ages onboard Harmony. Harmony of the Seas spans 16 guest decks, encompasses 226,963 gross registered tons, carries 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,747 staterooms.

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New Princess Cruises Livery Makes U.S. Debut

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct. 25: Princess Cruises revealed its new livery as Royal Princess made her U.S. debut on arrival into Ft. Lauderdale on October 22. The ship is the first to sail with the new hull design featuring the iconic brand mark, which was added during a recent dry dock in Civitavecchia, Italy.

The 3,600 passenger ship is currently sailing the Caribbean. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting the company's website at

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Disney Cruise Line Unveils Ports and Itineraries for Early 2018

CELEBRATION, FL, Oct. 25: Disney Cruise Line introduces a popular Caribbean destinationBonaireinto the lineup of favorite itineraries for early 2018. Limited-time engagements in Puerto Rico and California, plus a variety of cruises from Florida, offer Disney Cruise Line guests the opportunity to visit exciting ports of call in the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexican Riviera from January through May. Bookings open to the public on Oct. 27, 2016. More details on 2018 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2018 page of

San Juan to Southern Caribbean, including Bonaire
Bonaire is a new port of call for Disney Cruise Line and part of a 7-night sailing that departs San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 28. Located just north of the South American coast, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is favored for arid climate and sunny weather. Beautiful waters and a reef-lined coast lure water-sport enthusiasts for scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and kiteboarding.

From San Juan, the Disney Wonder sets sail on three 7-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean. Departing Jan. 14, 21 and 28, each voyage offers a unique itinerary with four destinations and two days at sea. This limited-time engagement includes a combination of calls on Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Kitts.

San Diego
Disney Cruise Line will return to San Diego with seven Disney Wonder cruises to Baja and the Mexican Riviera, where guests can enjoy world-famous beaches and snorkeling. Five-night sailings visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, while 2- and 3-night cruises call on Ensenada. Friday departures for the 2-night cruises offer the ultimate weekend getaway from San Diego.

Port Canaveral
With three Disney ships in port and cruise lengths spanning three, four and seven nights, vacationers looking for a Disney Cruise Line getaway in early 2018 have a full menu of options from Port Canaveral, Florida. Every sailing includes a day at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests.

The Disney Fantasy continues to sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages, while the Disney Dream embarks on 3- and 4-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. From Feb. 8 through April 8, the Disney Wonder will alternate similar 3-, 4- and 7-night itineraries.

To kick off 2018, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with 4- and 5-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus 5-night Western Caribbean cruises. Castaway Cay awaits guests aboard every one of these Disney Magic sailings. Other Bahamian ports of call include Nassau and Key West, while a stop in Grand Cayman or Cozumel headlines the Western Caribbean itineraries.

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Festive Entertainment, Themed Activities & Seasonal Delights Make Sailing with MSC Cruises
the Best Place to Celebrate the Holidays

FORT LAUDERDALE, Oct 25: From Thanksgiving through the New Year, MSC Cruises—the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa—is creating extraordinary onboard experiences, with a host of seasonal touches ensuring guests have an unforgettable holiday season. In particular, on the ultra-modern MSC Divina, sailing from Miami to the Caribbean, MSC Cruises has designed the perfect holiday escape for guests looking to enjoy a relaxing, stress-free vacation. Highlights of MSC Divina holiday celebrations include:

Thanksgiving – Nov. 19th departure to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas

Guests will spend Thanksgiving Day at sea enjoying festive entertainment, a traditional Turkey dinner and all-day Thanksgiving football displayed on multiple large screens in the sports bar. Kids ages 3-11 can participate in a special Turkey Day cooking class and a Thanksgiving Day costume parade and show. A Thanksgiving scavenger hunt, flash mob and party will take place for children ages 12-17.

Christmas & Hanukkah – Dec. 23rd departure to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico & the Bahamas

During Christmas, MSC Divina will be decked out in the best traditional trimmings, with sparkling lights, shimmering decorations, festive Christmas trees, and a spectacular gingerbread village created by MSC’s pastry chefs. Adding to the festivities, guests will enjoy traditional Christmas carols; a Broadway-style festive show; a special Christmas market place, selling a range of Christmas gifts and traditional decorations; Christmas-themed cooking classes, arts & crafts, and parades; a visit by Santa Claus who will present a gift to every child on board; and seasonal Christmas movies played on an outdoor jumbo screen throughout the week. A Christmas mass will also be available onboard.

MSC Cruises knows that the holidays are also about enjoying seasonal delights. Thus, guests will enjoy a Christmas Eve Gala dinner and a special Christmas lunch consisting of traditional holiday specialties as well as festive cocktails served throughout the cruise such as the Christmas Star, made using a mixture of limoncello and Prosecco, and the Snowflake, made with dark rum and fresh banana.

For those celebrating Hanukkah, MSC Divina will host a nightly Menorah lighting as well as serve traditional Hanukkah foods in the buffet and main dining rooms. A large menorah will also be on display in the main atrium. Special kosher meals can be ordered in advance.

New Year’s – Dec. 30th departure to Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos & the Bahamas

Guests sailing on this 7-night cruise will celebrate the New Year in style. The festivities will start with a special New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner before guests head up to the pool deck for the ship’s annual New Year’s Eve dance party, complete with themed decorations, a countdown to midnight, and champagne. Guests will also enjoy a special New Year’s lunch as well as special seasonal cocktails. For those traveling with kids, MSC Cruises is extending the kids club hours and offering babysitting in the kids club for free so that parents can enjoy New Year’s celebrations.

2017 Holiday Cruises: For those that like to plan in advance, it’s not too early to start booking your 2017 holiday vacations. In fact, for those looking to be one of the first to experience the revolutionary new cruise ship MSC Seaside, now is an ideal time to book the Christmas and New Year’s cruises.

The first 7-night sailing on MSC Seaside out of Miami will take place during Christmas 2017, embarking on Dec. 23rd with stops in St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The following week, MSC Seaside will embark on its New Year’s cruise, leaving from Miami on Dec. 30th with stops in Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas.

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American Queen Steamboat Company Reveals American Duchess Suite Details

MEMPHIS, Oct 25: American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of the American Queen and American Empress, will be the first and only all-suite boat with lofts on the Mississippi River with the addition of the new American Duchess. The first purpose-build boutique paddlewheeler will offer the river cruiser an intimate and relaxing experience through America’s heartland with the option of five different suite categories in 2017.

“As we are the first in offering loft suites in the North American market, we are proud to announce that our luxury suites will allow guests to stay in some of the largest accommodations on the rivers,” shares Ted Sykes, American Queen Steamboat Company president and COO. “Relaxing and gathering with friends, family and fellow cruisers in these luxury suites will enhance the cruising experience on the American Duchess as she travels the Mississippi.”

The luxury paddlewheeler will have five different suite category options for her 166 passengers including Owner’s Suites and Loft Suites at 550 sq. ft., Deluxe Suites at 450 sq. ft., Veranda Suites ranging from 240-330 sq. ft., and Interior Suites ranging from 180-220 sq. ft. Unique to the American Duchess are her spacious Loft Suites. The lower level features a full bathroom, small dining area, a beautiful lounge section furnished with a queen sofa-bed and desk area, along with sliding doors to access a private balcony. The loft area upstairs, as pictured above, is a tranquil retreat with its semi-private bedroom, a full bathroom and gracious closet space.

For additional information, visit

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Costa Cruises to Celebrate World Pasta Day Across Its Fleet Oct. 25

HOLLYWOOD, FL, Oct. 21: Italian cruise company Costa Cruises and its partner Barilla will pay tribute to pasta across its fleet in observance of World Pasta Day, Oct. 25. World Pasta Day was established in 1998 by the Union of the European Industrial Pasta-Manufacturers Association and the International Pasta Organization. As an international ambassador of Italian excellence, Costa is taking this event to sea, giving pasta a starring role on its ships to mark the day.

The cruise line will serve creations of two famous chefs from the "Pasta World Championship" organized by Academia Barilla. Chef Melissa Kelly, a lover of healthy and genuine cuisine, offers rigatoni with sausage, ricotta and fresh sweet tomato sauce. Chef Daniel Evangelista successfully joins Western and Eastern cuisines in a dish of vermicelli in a sauce of mussels and nettles with the scent of orange.

Food lovers will also have a chance to learn how to make Kelly's recipe during a special Show Cooking Demo with Costa's onboard chefs as well as try their hand at making "Gioielli di Pasta" (pasta jewels). Children also can take part in World Pasta Day by participating in the "Pasta Salad Contest," a cooking competition for young chefs, and "Pasta Creations," where kids can express their imagination.

For Costa, World Pasta Day is a perfect opportunity to share with guests the reasons pasta is simple, delicious, healthy and sustainable:

• Simple: because the perfect combination of ingredients, such as flour and water, give rise to an extraordinary product.
• Delicious: because its infinite versatility makes pasta the undisputed star of sophisticated combinations and familiar flavors.
• Healthy: because its balance of complex carbohydrates and essential energetic support for the body have made pasta the "Queen of the Mediterranean Diet."
• Sustainable: because the virtuous relationship between human consumption of natural resources and the ability of the earth to regenerate them ensures sustainable production for future generations.

Lovers of the most important dish in the Italian culinary tradition won't just celebrate it on Costa ships during World Pasta Day, but also for the rest of the year. There will be special "Pasta in Festa" days held on all Costa cruises for almost a year, during which guests can sample recipes inspired by Italian regional traditions using Barilla pasta.

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Canaveral Port Authority Approves Complimentary Cruise Parking for Disabled Veterans

PORT CANAVERAL, FL, Oct 21: During its October Board meeting, the Canaveral Port Authority approved waiving cruise parking fees for vehicles displaying a Disabled Veteran (DV) license plate issued under s. 320.084; s. 320.0842; or s. 320.0845, Florida Statutes. The complimentary parking is effective immediately.

“We honor our veterans for their service and appreciate sacrifices they have made on behalf of our country,” said Commission Chairman Jerry Allender. “We are happy to tangibly show our gratitude for their contributions to our freedom.”

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Disney Cruise Line Introduces First-Ever Marvel Day at Sea on Select Disney Magic Sailings from New York in Fall 2017

CELEBRATION, FL, Oct. 21: In 2017, Disney Cruise Line guests will unite and celebrate the epic adventures of the legendary Super Heroes and Super Villains from the Marvel Universe during a brand-new, day-long celebration: Marvel Day at Sea. The seven special voyages on the Disney Magic will depart from New York City in the fall of 2017. Marvel Day at Sea combines the thrills of renowned Marvel comics, films and animated series, with the excitement of a Disney Cruise to summon everyone's inner Super Hero for the adventures that lie ahead during this unforgettable day at sea.

Occurring on one action-packed day during each of the seven Disney Magic sailings, guests are transported to a new realm of possibilities when the Marvel Universe assembles on the ship. The event features all-day entertainment including exclusive interactions with some of the mightiest Marvel Super Heroes and the menacing foes that oppose them, an extraordinary deck party, Marvel-themed youth activities, special merchandise and unique food and beverage offerings.

Also featured are exclusive at-sea screenings of fan-favorite films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe including the newest theatrical releases, as well as viewings of the Disney XD shows: Marvel's Avengers Assemble, Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel'sGuardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Day at Sea hosts an awesome mix of immersive entertainment that is sure to empower guests to unlock their hidden superhuman abilities as they assemble their own Super Hero community onboard the Disney Magic on this very special day. Highlights include:

Unleash Your Inner Super Hero during the Ultimate Day at Sea

Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor and other Marvel Universe Super Heroes are onboard for scheduled meet-and-greets and photos.
A brand-new spectacular party fills the upper deck with music, dancing and games.
The deck party culminates in a stunning display of themed pyrotechnics, lighting, sound effects and the largest collection of Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains ever assembled on a cruise ship.
Kids and families summon their Marvel knowledge and enjoy friendly competition during trivia games, covering courageous heroes and fun facts from the Marvel Universe.
For young heroes-in-training, Marvel-themed games, activities and arts and crafts will be offered throughout the day in the Marvel's Avengers Academy in the Oceaneer Club.

Marvel Day at Sea will be on 7- and 8-night Disney Magic Bahamian cruises departing from New York on Oct. 6, 14, 28; Nov. 4, 11 and 18, 2017. All will include a stop at Disney's private island Castaway Cay and Port Canaveral, Fla., with a day at the Walt Disney World Resort. Marvel Day at Sea will be on one 7-night Canadian Coast cruise departing from New York on Oct. 21, 2017, with stops at Charlottetown, Sydney and Halifax. To learn more visit

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Holland America Line Receives Association for Rescue at Sea AMVER Award for ms Veendam’s
2015 Rescue of Airplane Pilot from Pacific Ocean

Seattle, Oct. 21: The captain and crew of Holland America Line’s ms Veendam were honored by the Association for Rescue at Sea with a prestigious AFRAS AMVER Award for the 2015 rescue of a pilot who ditched his aircraft in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. The Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System was implemented by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1958, and the AMVER Awards were created in 1971 to recognize vessels that participate in the program.

Holland America Line received the award at the annual Coast Guard Award Ceremony Sept. 21, 2016, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Veendam’s Captain Eric van der Wal accepted the honor on behalf of the cruise line.

“The pilot rescue in the Pacific Ocean is a proud moment in our company history, and we are honored to receive the AFRAS AMVER Award from the Association for Rescue at Sea,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “We are proud to support the AMVER motto, ‘No Call for Help Goes Unanswered,’ and on behalf of Veendam’s captain and crew we thank you for the recognition.”

The AMVER awards honor the heroism of those who take extraordinary measures to effect a successful rescue at sea. On Jan. 25, 2015, Veendam rescued a pilot 225 miles off the coast of Maui, Hawaii, who had to ditch his single-engine aircraft after a malfunction with the fuel system. The plane had a parachute system, and the pilot was able to safely escape into a life raft from which he was retrieved by Veendam.

The ceremony was hosted by California Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Marine Transportation, with additional members of Congress and the Vice Commandant, Adm. Charles D. Michel, of the United States Coast Guard and his senior staff also in attendance.

The AFRAS AMVER Award was inaugurated in 1996 by the nonprofit, charitable-status Association for Rescue at Sea, which is devoted to supporting services concerned with saving lives at sea and promoting the importance of safety in concert with other maritime and aviation organizations. Selection criteria for the award include seamanship, ship handling, degree of effort involved in the rescue and the ship’s initiative in responding.

The Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System, or AMVER, which is sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard, is a computer-based voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.

This was the third rescue at sea by a Holland America Line ship in 2015. On Jan. 3, ms Zuiderdam rescued eight crew members from a sinking vessel in the Caribbean, and on Jan. 4 ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven stranded crew members at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica.

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Silversea’s Silver Muse to Offer the Finest Culinary Experience at Sea

Monaco, Oct 19: Silversea Cruises, the world’s leading luxury cruise line, today announced details of its industry-defining culinary experience aboard its new flagship Silver Muse, due to launch in April 2017. With just six months to go before the Christening of Silver Muse in Monaco, Silversea releases details about the eight restaurants on board, underlining the fact that its flagship will boast more dining options than any other ultra-luxury cruise ship, offering an unrivalled selection for guests.

Silversea’s exclusive partnership with Relais & Châteaux continues on board Silver Muse in the form La Dame, a refined and elegant French restaurant. La Dame offers gastronomic excellence in a refined and timeless setting with bespoke menus created by top chefs from the Relais & Châteaux team. The menu will be underpinned and enhanced with locally sourced ingredients and guests can enjoy carefully paired wines to enrich the dining experience.

Showcasing the distinct flavors of contemporary Asia at Kabuki and Indochine. Kabuki, inspired by the ancient art of Kabuki theatre, honours traditional Japanese culture and presents a performance of flavour to a backdrop of elaborate design, while Indochine delivers a journey for each and every one of the senses. From the spice markets of Mumbai to the fragrant aromas of Thailand, guests are encouraged to explore the diverse flavours for which this fascinating region is renowned.

The newly announced Silver Note will present an intimate, elegant setting with exceptional acoustics playing tribute to the iconic jazz clubs of Manhattan. The finest musicians will perform while exquisite tapas-styled dishes deliver sensory delight.

Hot Rocks will offer one of the most creative restaurant concepts on board Silver Muse. A proven favorite with Silversea Venetian Society members, guests are invited to make their own selection from the finest meat, fish and vegetables on offer, and invited to cook for themselves, at their table, on top of the 400-Degree-Celsius lava stone.

La Terrazza is the hallmark of Silversea dining. Drawing inspiration from Silversea’s distinctive Italian heritage, this traditional restaurant uses the freshest ingredients to recreate the finest Italian cuisine. Whether enjoyed al fresco or in the ocean-view restaurant, guests can make the most of the interactive food stations; an olive oil cellar, mozzarella bar, seafood station and salumeria.

Italian-themed restaurant, Regina Margherita, will be open throughout the day serving relaxed Italian favorites, including its signature home-made Italian Pizzas from the pool-side, while Atlantide will feature the best of the ocean’s yield. Bespoke dishes such as royal crab, blue lobster and Verbena infused red snapper will be showcased alongside the best steaks sourced from offshore.

“Fine dining has always been at the heart of the ultra-luxury Silversea service. We are proud to develop this further with our new flagship, Silver Muse, where our eight restaurants offer an unprecedented dining experience at sea,” said Roberto Martinoli, CEO at Silversea Cruises.

Calling at 34 countries and 130 ports in 2017 alone, Silver Muse will redefine ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy with spacious all-suite accommodations that are the hallmarks of the Silversea experience. The addition of Silver Muse will expand Silversea's fleet to nine ships and will, once again significantly raise the bar in the ultra-luxury cruise market. For additional information, visit

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Sir Richard Branson Announces Virgin Voyages

MIAMI, Oct. 18: Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson today revealed Virgin Voyages as the inspiring new identity for the company’s cruise line. Joined by the company’s President and CEO Tom McAlpin, they announced the name, and shared that Virgin Voyages has officially signed a ship building contract for three vessels with Italian master shipbuilder Fincantieri, and that the company will be the first cruise line to adopt the clean energy system, Climeon Ocean. The revealing event held at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach featured a stunning theatrical performance where Sir Richard appeared with two performers who danced on deck chairs in front of an audience of international news media, Miami politicos and business leaders.

Sir Richard expressed Virgin Voyages’ commitment to changing cruising for good. “Thousands of future sailors and travel professionals shared their thoughts with us and tasked us with delivering the most irresistible vacation at sea and that our name alone should leave them dizzy with anticipation,” said Sir Richard. “I’m excited to reveal we are now Virgin Voyages, and while we have lots of work ahead to build our three ships, we can’t wait to welcome you aboard the ship of things to come.”

Virgin Voyages, backed by lead investors Bain Capital Private Equity and Virgin Group, expects the multi-billion dollar financing package for the purchase of its three ships to be finalized shortly. The lead lending partners will be Cassa depositi e prestiti (Cdp) and UniCredit, and the loan will be fully backed by Italian export credit agency SACE and supported by SIMEST, both subsidiaries of Cdp. McAlpin outlined a ship building schedule including steel cutting in early 2017, followed by the keel laying in Genoa in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“Our world class partners like Bain Capital Private Equity, Virgin Group and Fincantieri as well as financial powerhouses like Cdp, UniCredit, SACE and SIMEST, showcase Virgin Voyages’ strong backing and commitment to developing an incredible product. This is anything but just another cruise or holiday, it will be a transformational experience delivering a very ‘Virgin style’ of adventure,” said McAlpin.

Virgin Voyages is the first major cruise line to partner with Climeon, a world-renowned clean energy innovator. Virgin will install Climeon Ocean, a system that will transform low-grade energy into clean electricity, on all three of its ships. The resulting environmental impact will be an estimated 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide savings annually per ship—an amount that would take 180,000 trees 30 years to absorb.

“The Climeon heat power system is an environmental breakthrough, and working with Virgin is of major importance to us. We are excited that Sir Richard Branson and Virgin, with their focus on sustainability, have decided to become a pioneer of this technology. Transforming hot water to electricity will be a major source of energy production going forward,” said founder and CEO of Climeon, Thomas Öström.

Virgin Voyages’ first ship will arrive at PortMiami in 2020, hosting more than 2,700 sailors and 1,150 spirited crew members. For the first ship, Virgin Voyages will offer a range of Caribbean itineraries to ports that deliver unique and very social experiences. Future sailors are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting

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Carnival Cruise Line Signs Agreement To Expand Terminal Operations At The Port Of Long Beach

MIAMI, Oct. 17 Carnival Cruise Line has signed an agreement with landlord Urban Commons and the City of Long Beach, Calif., to expand the Long Beach Cruise Terminal facility to accommodate larger ships in the future and enhance its terminal operations. The deal will nearly triple the size of Carnival’s current terminal facility from approximately 66,000 square feet to 142,000 square feet. Carnival has operated the Long Beach Cruise Terminal since 2003 using a partial area of the Geodesic Dome that was the former museum housing Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” attraction. The agreement gives Carnival 100 percent use of the Dome, allowing for larger ships and providing additional space needed to accommodate two-way operations, enabling embarking guests to access the terminal prior to completion of disembarkation. Construction is slated to be completed in late 2017. During the construction period, measures will be taken to ensure a continued smooth operational flow and high standard of customer service for cruise guests.

“For years we have been working toward reaching an agreement to expand the Long Beach Cruise Terminal to accommodate larger ships on the West Coast, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to move forward with our plans to assume full usage of the Dome, making Long Beach one of our largest homeport facilities,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We would like to thank the City of Long Beach and Urban Commons for their efforts in facilitating this expansion that will ultimately enhance the guest experience and build upon our leadership position as the number one cruise operator from the West Coast.”

“The expansion of the Carnival Cruise terminal is great news for Long Beach and great news for visitors to our city,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “The added capacity will bring more tourism and economic activity to Long Beach, and we’re pleased to continue working with Carnival for many years to come.”

Added Taylor Woods, co-founder of Urban Commons, “Carnival Cruise Line is a tremendous asset for the Long Beach community, and we are pleased to reach an agreement with their team that will support the exciting expansion of their operations immediately adjacent to The Queen Mary. We have big plans for the facility and the surrounding land, and Carnival’s success will only add to the vitality and energy of what promises to be one of the top destinations in California. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Carnival for many years to come.”

Plans also include expansion of portside cold-ironing capacity to accommodate larger vessels. The technology enables cruise ships to plug into the local electric grid and reduce exhaust emissions while docked. In addition, Carnival is working with Urban Commons on enhancements to the area surrounding the dome and the adjacent Queen Mary attraction, as well as ways to expand parking capacity to accommodate future growth.

Currently, the recently enhanced Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination operate year-round 3- and 4-day Baja cruises from Long Beach while Carnival Miracle sails 7-day voyages to the Mexican Riviera and 14- and 15-day cruises to Hawaii and Alaska round-trip from Long Beach. For additional information, visit

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Viking Star Arrives In New York Following First Transatlantic Crossing

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 14: Viking Ocean Cruises welcomed its first ship, Viking Star®, into the New York harbor yesterday as part of its inaugural North American voyage. The 930-guest ship docked at Manhattan Cruise Terminal at noon, just after sailing past the Statue of Liberty with a reception by New York Fireboats. On October 11, Viking officially commemorated its first United States port of call in Boston, with a traditional maritime plaque ceremony attended by local officials and dignitaries. This is the first time Viking has sailed into North American ports, which are part of the company's new itineraries exploring the Americas and the Caribbean.

"To sail past Ellis Island and into New York for the first time is a proud moment for our entire Viking family. With the same spirit as the Vikings who originally sailed their longships across the Atlantic, arriving in North America signifies a new era of possibilities for our company and our guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "As our fleet continues to grow, we will look for new ways to bring our unique destination-focused approach to more regions of the world. There are no kids onboard, and there are no umbrella drinks. Instead, our Caribbean itineraries are inspired by iconic 18(th) century navigation routes and were developed to highlight the rich history and culture of the region."

After departing from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on October 14, Viking Star will sail for San Juan, Puerto Rico, which will serve as her homeport for the winter season. From San Juan, the ship will sail the 11-day West Indies Explorer itinerary, which also calls on ports in the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With no sea days on the itinerary, guests are able to avoid the time at sea typically associated with Caribbean cruises originating in Florida. While sailing West Indies Explorer, guests will have an opportunity to learn onboard about the destinations from local experts, historians and lecturers, as well as through a variety of shore excursions, including optional visits to museums, gardens and historic sites. Viking Star will return to Europe in February 2017, with a transatlantic sailing from San Juan to Barcelona.

Viking Star
Classified as a "small ship," Viking Star features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. In its debut season Viking Star was awarded with the cruise industry's highest honors, including being named Best New Ocean Ship and scoring a 5-star rating by the editors of Cruise Critic, as well as receiving the highest rating in the mid-size ship category in Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016. In addition to the recently christened Viking Sea®, Viking will launch four additional ocean sister ships in the coming years, including Viking Sky® and Viking Sun® in 2017, Viking Spirit® in 2018 and the remaining, yet-to-be-named ship in 2020.

Designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships®, Viking's ocean ships feature:

-- All Veranda Staterooms
-- Explorer Suites
-- Two Pool Choices
-- LivNordic Spa
-- Explorers' Lounge & Mamsen's
-- The Wintergarden
-- Dining Choices
-- Enriching Entertainment
-- Sustainable Features

The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that facilitate engagement with the cultures of the world. Ships are small allowing privileged access to smaller ports and getting guests closer to their destination, with more time in port, more overnights and fewer days at sea. Onboard, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. All-veranda ships mean that guests experience every day with a new, expansive vista. With the most al fresco dining at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences onshore and onboard. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides a small ship experience at a big ship valuewith every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room servicean included value of more than $200 per person, per day. For additional information, visit

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Norwegian Cruise Line to Debut New Ship Designed for Alaska Cruising in 2018

SEATTLE, Oct 13: Norwegian Cruise Line will once again pioneer a new era of Alaska cruising beginning June 2018, as the company announced today that its next new vessel, named Norwegian Bliss, will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience. Norwegian Bliss will cruise to America’s Last Frontier from Seattle and will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in the Emerald City. At a ceremony held at Port of Seattle’s Pier 66, Norwegian President and CEO Andy Stuart shared the exciting news, alongside Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick and Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton.

“Norwegian was the first cruise line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it’s only fitting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location,” said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Alaska is one of the top destinations for our guests to explore and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line to offer our guests the opportunity to experience this coveted destination aboard a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise ship custom designed for Alaska, the first of its kind to ever debut in Seattle.”

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss is designed with features and amenities to offer guests the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship will be constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018.

After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit through the new locks, the ship will sail north along the West Coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the summer cruising season. Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

Continuing Norwegian’s tradition of decorating each ship’s hull with signature art, Norwegian has also announced that the world’s premier marine life artist, Wyland, has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss. Known for his iconic whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired generations to be passionate about the importance of marine life conservation. The enormous extent of Wyland’s public artworks, his award-winning art galleries and his non-profit foundation’s community service projects have made him one of the world’s most recognized and beloved artists. His engaging and beautiful design for Norwegian Bliss’ hull art will be revealed later this month.

To further enhance the overall guest experience for cruisers from Seattle, Norwegian’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has entered into a groundbreaking 15-year agreement with the Port of Seattle to collectively invest $30 million to upgrade the Pier 66 facilities. From expanding the guest check-in space by 300% to more than 150,000 square feet to a new VIP lounge with expansive views of Elliott Bay and the addition of two new elevated passenger boarding bridges to provide easy and comfortable passenger boarding, the new amenities will provide guests with the perfect send-off to start their Alaskan adventure.

“The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line as we work to bring people from around the world to see the great Pacific Northwest from Seattle to Alaska,” said Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick. “Our long relationship together is evident in this historic and unprecedented 15-year lease here at Pier 66.”

Norwegian Bliss will feature amenities and interactive experiences that will excite and inspire, and more details on the ship’s accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. The ship will be available for reservations in January 2017. For more information on Norwegian Bliss, please visit

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Oceania Cruises' New Snowbirds in Residence Program

MIAMI, Oct 13: Oceania Cruises is proud to introduce a groundbreaking new concept in extended vacations for snowbirds, residents of northern climes looking to escape the cold and snow for warm tropical breezes and swaying palm trees. Beginning January 3rd, guests can kick off the New Year enjoying a tropical ultimate vacation home for 58 or 72 days with no need to worry about meals, housekeeping or even laundry. Instead, they are free to bask on sugar-sand beaches, indulge in gourmet meals, or relax and rejuvenate at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club. Of course, this winter home also comes with a gracious staff of more than 800 to look after every detail from laundry and housekeeping to keeping your refrigerator stocked with your favorite libations and snacks.

“Travelers fleeing the cold and gloom of the wintry north can enjoy the vacation home of their dreams, a home that takes them to one carefree Caribbean destination after the next and affords them the luxury of being as active or laid-back as they wish,” stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises.

Snowbirds in Residence is offered on two exclusive departures and guests will enjoy a wealth of amenities and added-value extras to ensure their total comfort in their home away from home, all for a price that is extraordinarily affordable.

• Veranda Stateroom fares at only $15,999 per guest for Marina’s 58 day voyage departing Jan 22nd and $19,999 per guest for Riviera’s 72 day voyage departing Jan 3rd
• Free Economy or low-cost First-Class Airfare from only $499 per guest
• Free Pre-paid Gratuities, a value of up to $1,656 per guest
• A choice of:
o Up to $4,200 Shipboard Credit
o Up to 42 Free Shore Excursions
o Free Beverage Package

Highlights of Riviera’s 72 day January 3, 2017 departure include:

Gustavia, St. Barts: Tour this beautiful island and marvel at the rugged coastline and its unspoiled, upscale atmosphere, unique in the Caribbean for its Swedish and French heritage. Enjoy the spectacular beaches and resorts, snorkel or dive in the crystalline waters, or see underwater wonders from a semi-submersible marine vessel. Shopping: Lovely jewelry, local art and elegant European fashions fill the shops. Dining: Sample spicy Creole dishes like stuffed crab or indulge in the creations of young French chefs.
Bridgetown, Barbados: Discover the many beautiful aspects of this island, from its rugged Atlantic coastline to its beautiful Great Houses, cane fields, exquisite gardens and glorious beaches. See the island’s spectacular underwater treasures on your own snorkeling expedition. Shopping: Buy duty-free treasures in Bridgetown, from Scottish woolens and cashmere to fine porcelain and jewelry as well as local crafts and pottery. Dining: Enjoy freshly prepared flying fish and myriad other delicacies from the sea.

Highlights of Marina’s 58 day January 22, 2017 departure include:

Harvest Caye, Belize: Featuring an enchanting range of environments such as tropical rainforests, marshes and coral reefs, Harvest Caye offers both relaxation and adventure amid lush landscapes. This 75-acre paradise invites you to explore its incredibly biodiverse surroundings, witnessing exotic wildlife or perhaps discovering the world’s second largest coral reef. Shopping: Contemporary art with ancient designs, weavings, bark paintings, hand-embroidered items and clothing all make wonderful souvenirs. Dining: Savor delicious native dishes of fish, chicken and local vegetables.
George Town, Grand Cayman: Swim and snorkel with shy and gentle stingrays, see the underwater world from a semi-submersible sub, send a postcard from “Hell,” visit a turtle farm where green sea turtles are raised, or just relax on miles and miles of exquisite white sand beach. Shopping: Jewelry, cashmere, British woolens, resort wear and an extraordinary variety of luxury goods as well as fine art and Tortuga Rum fill the duty-free shops. Dining: Sample West Indian fare and savor fresh snapper, conch or marlin prepared Cayman style with tomatoes, peppers and onions.

For more information about Oceania Cruises, visit

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Oceania Cruises Presents New Tropics Voyages for 2017-18

MIAMI, Oct 13: Oceania Cruises has unveiled a collection of more than 30 new itineraries for the Winter 2017-18 season aboard the line’s acclaimed Regatta, Marina, Riviera, and Sirena. Ranging in length from nine to 34 days, these new voyages afford discerning travelers to embark on an Oceania Cruises voyage that is close to home or explore paradise half a world away. “Each of these voyages has been crafted to provide our guests with imaginative, immersive and most importantly of all, memorable travel experiences,” stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises.

Highlights of the new voyages include Sirena’s in-depth exploration of South America including an all-new Amazon voyage from Miami to Rio de Janeiro and a 35-day journey from San Diego to Rio de Janeiro which includes coastal Mexico, the Panama Canal and Devil’s Island. Regatta covers the South Pacific in almost its entirety including a reprisal of the epic circumnavigation of the Australian continent and an adventurous jaunt through the Coral and Timor Seas to Indonesia. Marina combines the best of South America and the South Pacific with a mélange of alluring itineraries featuring the breathtaking icons and ruins of lost civilizations with the languid and pearl-like seas of Tahiti and French Polynesia. Regatta, Marina, Riviera, and Sirena all offer Oceania Cruises’ inimitable Caribbean experiences as they travel to boutique ports that are havens of the jet-set, plus the lines’ very own resort-destination in Belize along with some of the region’s most renowned and popular ports of call.

South Pacific, Tahiti & Australia
• San Diego to Papeete, 18 Days, Nov 1, 2017
• Papeete to Auckland, 16 Days, Nov 19, 2017
• Auckland to Sydney, 14 Days, Dec 6, 2017
• Sydney to Sydney, 34 Days, Dec 20, 2017
• Lima to Papeete, 18 Days, Jan 16, 2018
• Sydney to Auckland, 13 Days, Jan 23, 2018
• Papeete Roundtrip, 10 Days, Feb 3 and 25, 2018
• Auckland to Bali, 24 Days, Feb 5, 2018
• Papeete Roundtrip, 12 Days, Feb 13, and March 7, 2018
• Bali to Honolulu, 29 Days, March 1, 2018
• Papeete to Los Angeles, 18 Days, March 19, 2018
• Honolulu to Miami, 24 Days, March 29, 2018

South America
• Miami to Rio de Janeiro, 22 Days, Oct 8, 2017
• Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, 12 Days, Oct 30, 2017
• Buenos Aires to Lima, 21 Days, Nov 11, 2017
• Lima to San Diego, 14 Days, Dec 2, 2017
• San Diego to Rio de Janeiro, 35 Days, Dec 16, 2017
• Miami to Lima, 18 Days, Dec 29, 2017
• Rio de Janeiro to Miami, 21 Days, Jan 20, 2018
• Miami to Lima, 18 Days, Feb 10, 2018
• Lima to Buenos Aires, 21 Days, Feb 28, 2018
• Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, 12 Days, March 21, 2018
• Rio de Janeiro to Miami, 21 Days, April 2, 2018

Caribbean & Panama Canal
• Miami Roundtrip, 9 Days, Oct 8, 2017
• Miami to San Diego, 15 Days, Nov 1, 2017
• Miami Roundtrip, 10 Days, Dec 12, 2017
• Miami Roundtrip, 12 Days, Dec 17, 2017
• Miami Roundtrip, 10 Days, Jan 13, & Feb 16, 2018
• Miami to Montreal, 16 Days, April 22, 2018
• Miami Roundtrip, 11 Days, April 23, 2018
• Miami to San Francisco, 16 days, May 6, 2018

For more information about Oceania Cruises, visit

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MSC Cruises Announces New Destinations for Itineraries in the Mediterranean, Antilles & Caribbean

Geneva, Oct 12: MSC Cruises has released details of further enhancements to its itineraries in the Mediterranean for the 2017 summer season, and for its itineraries in the Antilles for the 2017-2018 winter season. The Company also released updated itineraries for its ships serving the Caribbean between December 2017 and May 2018.

Mediterranean itineraries
Starting in April 2017, MSC Cruises will add an inspiring new destination to its Eastern Mediterranean itineraries and will be the first global cruise line to call the Sarande port in Albania weekly with MSC Poesia. Guests departing from Venice will have the opportunity to discover the beautiful city of Sarandea key new addition to the itinerary now featuring 7 destinations in 7 daysas well as visit Bari, Italy; Katakolon/Olympia, Mykonosthe jewel of the Cycladesand Athens/Piraeus in Greece; and Dubrovnik in Croatia.

Steeped in history, Sarande was founded in the 6th Century B.C. and guests can either learn about the region’s past or visit the Blue Eye Spring and enjoy the beauties of this natural park. This charming historic town is a hidden gem on the Albanian Riviera, hosting a wealth of UNESCO protected archaeological treasures amongst other attractions. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in the region, with a slightly cosmopolitan and lively vibe to it with plenty of ocean-side bars and restaurants which offer great local produce and freshly-caught seafood.

Antilles itineraries
Similarly, starting in November 2017 and in response to strong market interest and demand from travellers, MSC Fantasia will replace MSC Orchestra in the Antilles and the South Caribbean. MSC Fantasia will depart from Fort de France, Martinique and Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, with two different itineraries that can be combined to make one longer journey. One itinerary explores the Antilles with calls in St. Maarten, Philipsburg; Road Town, Tortola; the new port of Kingstown, Saint Vincent and The Grenadinesinstead of La Romana, Dominican Republic; Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis; and St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda. The other itinerary visits the pearls of the South Caribbean, including Castries, Saint Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; St. George’s, Grenada; and Roseau, Dominica.

MSC Fantasia is one of the Company’s largest and most modern ships, with 1,637 staterooms, of which 72 percent have balconies offering a panoramic sea view, and featuring some of the most modern cruise ship facilities available to guests. These include: the MSC Yacht Club, an exclusive area of privacy and personalized amenities; five restaurants serving refined international cuisine; an authentic Balinese spa; and the award-winning MSC Cruises on-board entertainment offering, featuring an impressive theatre with a seating plan for 1,603 guests; and plenty of other features. For discerning cruise ship guests looking for an extra touch of luxury on board MSC Fantasia, the ship’s award-winning MSC Yacht Club experience features 71 butler-serviced suites with a focus on privacy and exclusivity. MSC Fantasia is the only cruise ship in the region that is offering such an on-board service.

MSC Orchestra guests, instead, will be able to experience the wonders of the Mediterranean in true MSC Cruises style. In addition to Genoa, Marseille, Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome)and with different cruise durations up to 12 nightsMSC Orchestra will sail to the most popular destinations including Valencia and Malaga in Spain; the Canary Islands and Madeira; Valleta in Malta; Corfu and Crete in the Greek Islands; and Messina and Livorno in Italy, with a wide range of shore activities carefully designed to help guests discover each destination and its unique culture.

Caribbean itineraries
In the Caribbean, in conjunction with the additional enhancements that have been planned ahead of the opening of the exclusive Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve destinationnow scheduled for October 2018the MSC Cruises ships in the region that previously were scheduled to call this new destination between December 2017 and May 2018, will now call ports in other attractive destinations in the Caribbean and continue to offer top-level quality destinations across all itineraries in the region. As a result:

For the Eastern Caribbean 7-night itinerary, MSC Seaside will be calling at Philipsburg (St. Maarten), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Nassau (Bahamas), instead of Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas), Nassau (Bahamas) and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
For the Western Caribbean 7-night itinerary, visiting the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Mexico, MSC Seaside will now be calling at Nassau (Bahamas) instead of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
MSC Cruises other ship in the region, MSC Divina, on her 10- and 11-night cruises to Panama or Antilles, will call now at Nassau or Freeport (Bahamas), Fort de France (Martinique) or San Juan (Puerto Rico), instead of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

For any further detail on the updated itineraries from MSC Cruises, please check:

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American Queen Steamboat Company Opens Reservations for New All-Suite American Duchess

MEMPHIS, Oct 12: American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of the American Queen and American Empress, announces reservations are now open for voyages on the new boutique, all-suite American Duchess. The first purpose-build boutique paddlewheeler will offer the river cruiser an intimate experience through America’s heartland in 2017. Those eager to be among the first to sail on the 166-guest luxury paddlewheeler can now view itineraries and book voyages along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

“We are thrilled to officially open reservations for sailings on the newest member of our fleet, the American Duchess,” shares Ted Sykes, American Queen Steamboat Company president and COO. “As demand for more capacity on the Mississippi River has been overwhelming the past two seasons, we look forward to offering river cruisers more opportunities to explore our country’s heartland.”

American Queen Steamboat Company will be promoting the vessel to travel agents beginning in June 2017 and will set sail with the first Mighty Mississippi voyage on July 3. New itineraries offered on the American Duchess include overnight stays in the heart of Nashville as well as shorter roundtrip itineraries from the “Music City” and New Orleans. For added convenience, guests can also enjoy departures from Chicago (Ottawa, Il.), a first in the company’s history.

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Transforms Compass Rose Into Largest Specialty Restaurant at Sea

MIAMI, Oct. 12: Regent Seven Seas Cruises is revolutionizing its gourmet dining experience fleet-wide by transforming its signature restaurant, Compass Rose, into the largest specialty restaurant at sea. The new concept and menu for Compass Rose offer an unprecedented, fully customized epicurean experience with an unequaled variety of gourmet options available nightly. Completely transforming the main dining room experience, the new Compass Rose experience brings together two Regent Seven Seas Cruises hallmarksexquisite gourmet dining and unrivaled personalized service.

This bold, innovative new culinary approach provides guests with a seemingly endless combination of dishes to choose from during dinner service at Compass Rose. Guests can select from more than a dozen different meat, fish and seafood items, have it prepared to taste, garnish with a sauce of choice and pick from a wide variety of side dishes and accompaniments to complete the meal. Additionally, each evening the ship’s executive chef creates nightly specials, which adds more than a dozen mouthwatering appetizers, pasta dishes and entrée choices to the menu. To complete the meal, Compass Rose will offer a separate dessert menu with international cheeses, premium handmade ice creams and delectable pastries, cakes, crumbles and soufflés.

“In much the same way we changed the luxury cruise market by offering the industry’s only true all-inclusive luxury experience, we’re now revolutionizing the dining experience by introducing the largest specialty restaurant at sea,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Our culinary team has created a truly extraordinary dining experience for Compass Rose with a degree of customization and variety typically reserved for more intimate specialty restaurants. We tested this new menu concept on a couple test cruises over the summer and our guests absolutely love it.”

The menu for Compass Rose is divided into two equal portions. The left-hand side provides guests with the ability to fully customize their dinner, while the right-hand side feature’s the executive chef’s nightly specials as well as a multi-course “menu degustation.” For the customizable section of the menu, guests can select from a list of high-quality entrees that include seafood items like lobster, shrimp, scallops, salmon and dover sole, or specialty cuts such as New York strip steak, filet mignon, lamb chops and veal medallions.

After making their selection, guests determine how they would like it preparedgrilled, baked, broiled, poached, or roastedand select from a complementary list of sauces to garnish the dish, such as madeira-truffle, creamy herb, hollandaise, green peppercorn and hickory barbeque. From there, guests can choose from more than a dozen side items that range from lyonnaise potatoes, potatoes gratin and sweet potato fries, to sautéed spinach, brussel sprouts and green asparagus.

Adding to the variety, the ship’s executive chef will prepare a list of special appetizers and entrees for the dinner service. Since Compass Rose is the ship’s primary dining room, the dinner specials will change nightly with sample entrees that include veal medallions oscar, braised turbot fillet, cornish hen, roasted duck Beijing style and seared mahi mahi.

Capping off the gourmet meal, guests will find a dessert menu filled with new decadent offerings each and every night. The dessert menu will always feature a selection of fine international cheeses offered with a glass of port wine, assorted crackers and French bread along with a variety of handmade premium ice creams and sorbets. Guests will delight in nightly specials prepared by the ship’s pastry chef such as Tanzanian chocolate cake, almond croquant, bananas foster and Viennese apple strudel.

“The culinary teams on our ships have always been able to cater to our guests’ special culinary desires with advanced notice,” said Bernhard Klotz, senior director of culinary for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The new Compass Rose menu is so encompassing and customizable that guests with special dining requests no longer need to make them in advance, our chefs can prepare whatever their heart’s desire a la minute.”

Along with the dinner menu, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is also reinventing the lunch menu for Compass Rose on Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner. In celebration of the launch of Seven Seas Explorer, Compass Rose on the line’s other ships will feature lunch selections from the three specialty restaurants on ExplorerPrime 7, Chartreuse, and Pacific Rim. As with the dinner menu, the lunch menu will be updated daily and feature entrée items such as Croque-Monsieur or Croque-Madam from Chartreuse, Aromatic Duck from Pacific Rim and Yellowfin Tuna Salad from Prime 7.

Guests on Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Navigator were treated to a preview of the Compass Rose menu during a multi-week test period, and it will remain as the standard menu for those two ships moving forward. The menu is scheduled to debut Nov. 9, 2016 on Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner on May 13, 2017, following each ship’s scheduled dry dock. For more specific details about the dining offerings or for general information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises, guests can visit

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Costa Cruises Supports 'Pink is Good' Project on Board Its Ships

GENOA, Oct 11: To coincide with breast cancer prevention month, Costa Cruises has announced the beginning of a series of awareness-raising activities from October 10 to the end of the month on board its ships deployed in the Mediterranean. The initiatives are being staged in support of the "Pink is Good" project carried out by the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, which has always been at the forefront of efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer.

Thanks to the fundraising activity promoted by Costa, cruise guests will be able to make an active contribution by helping to fund a scholarship for a deserving young Italian researcher. At the same time, an information campaign will be conducted on board with the aim of conveying the mission and values of "Pink is Good", a Fondazione Umberto Veronesi project that has the set objective of finally beating breast cancer by promoting prevention and providing annual support for many medical researchers.

"Thanks to enlightened and forward-thinking partners such as Costa Cruises we can provide ongoing support for more and more of the most deserving researchers who have decided to dedicate their lives and work to the study and treatment of breast cancer, a disease that affects over 48,000 women in Italy every year. Above all, by supporting the scientific research of the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi you are also forming a new generation of scientists of the highest level," explained Fondazione Umberto Veronesi General Director Dr. Monica Ramaioli.

"We are proud to support the 'Pink is Good' campaign. There will be a total of 9 of our fleet ships involved. The goal is, on the one hand, to make a significant contribution to the awareness-raising efforts of the Foundation and, on the other, to give tangible support to their research by donating all the proceeds from these events in October entirely to the Foundation," said Costa Cruises Sustainability and External Relations Director Stefania Lallai.

Pink is the color of the campaign and pink hues will set the tone on the Costa ships participating in the project. Special events will include a "Pink Day" when guests can make their own donations to the cause and help advance research, for example by buying one of the delicious non-alcoholic pink cocktails or a pink mask in preparation for the "Notte in Maschera" (Costume Party Soirée). The company is also organizing a special marathon on the external decks of the ships and runners will be able to support the Foundation by purchasing their race bibs on board. Last but not least, during the "Pink" events onboard souvenir portraits will be taken and printed with a pink frame; guests can purchase them later, again with the proceeds going to scientific research.

Breast cancer prevention month will also provide a chance to inform Costa guests about the related issues: a video will be broadcast in their cabins illustrating the details of the "Pink is Good" campaign, accompanied by a study pack and a schedule of all the "pink" happenings on board included in the diario di bordo (onboard daily program). Thanks to Costa's engagement, guests will also be invited to take part in drawing and painting activities designed to convey the message and values underpinning the "Pink is Good" project.

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Powered by LNG & Fuel Cells, Royal Caribbean International's New Ships Will Ride the Wave of the Future

MIAMI, Oct. 11: The newest class of ships from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and introduce the use of fuel cell technology, ushering in a new era of shipbuilding that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The ships will join the fleet of Royal Caribbean International, an industry leader in innovation and breakthrough ship design. RCL said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for the new class of vessel under the project name "Icon." The vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. In the meantime, the company said, it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years.

Royal Caribbean is already known for making steady progress on energy efficiency and reduced emissions through such technologies as air lubrication, which sends billions of microscopic bubbles along the hull of a ship to reduce friction, and AEP scrubbers, which clean exhaust gases before they leave the ship. Use of the new technologies will result in much cleaner emissions, as they produce no sulfur and significantly reduce the production of nitrogen oxides and particulates.

"With Icon class, we move further in the journey to take the smoke out of our smokestacks," said Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. "We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement, and environmental responsibility, and Icon gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars."

"Our guests expect us to push every envelope we can," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International. "And on this new class of ship, we began by challenging ourselves to find a new approach to power and propulsion that is safe, reliable, and more energy-efficient than ever before." Bayley added that exciting and innovative new guest experience elements of the Icon class design will be revealed later in the development process.

"Our partnership with RCL has created a number of groundbreaking ship classes, such as Oasis, Celebrity Solstice, Quantum, and Mein Schiff, and we are grateful that Royal Caribbean is again giving us the opportunity to partner with them on a new class of ships," said Jan Meyer, the CEO of Meyer Turku.

The switch to LNG provides further momentum for the technology, which has begun making significant inroads in the maritime industry. "Increasing the commitment to LNG makes it easier for suppliers to make their own infrastructure commitments," said Fain. "As more ships are built for LNG, the number of ports that support it will grow." The Icon ships are expected to run primarily on LNG but will also be able to run on distillate fuel, to accommodate occasional itineraries that call on ports without LNG infrastructure.

The introduction of fuel cells represents another dramatic step forward for the maritime industry, which has only made limited experiments using the technology. "We believe fuel cells offer very interesting design possibilities," said Harri Kulovaara, RCL's chief of ship design. "As the technology becomes smaller and more efficient, fuel cells become more viable in a significant way to power the ship's hotel functions. We will begin testing those possibilities as soon as we can, and look to maximize their use when Icon class debuts." Kulovaara said RCL had been eyeing fuel cells for nearly a decade, and believes the technology is now at a stage of development that justifies investment. "There is a long lead time for Icon class, and we will use that time to work with Meyer Turku to adapt fuel cell technology for maritime use." Kulovaara said that additional regulatory standards would also need to be developed for the technology.

Because of the long lead time, Kulovaara said that many Icon design elements are in early stages. The Icon ships would likely accommodate approximately 5,000 passengers, he said, but details are still being worked out. Icon is the first new ship class announced by RCL since Celebrity Cruises' new Edge class, which debuts in 2018. The company is also expanding its fleet with new Oasis- and Quantum-class ships for Royal Caribbean International. Fain said the new ships are in line with RCL's strategy of moderate capacity growth.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, as well as TUI Cruises through our 50 percent joint venture interest and Pullmantur and CDF Croisières de France through our 49 percent joint venture interest. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 48 ships with an additional 11 on order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents.

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Seven Seas Voyager Next Up For Luxurious Renovations

MIAMI, Oct. 5: Another Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship is about to experience a luxurious transformation with Seven Seas Voyager scheduled to undergo renovations later this month as part of the luxury line’s $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment program. Following the refurbishment effort, Seven Seas Voyager will feature the same elegant style and indisputable attention to detail famously featured on Seven Seas Explorer, providing guests with a consistent look-and-feel, no matter which Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship they choose to sail.

Seven Seas Voyager joins Seven Seas Navigator as the second ship to receive this stylish new update to the public spaces and suites onboard, with Seven Seas Mariner scheduled to receive a similar makeover in April 2017. Seven Seas Voyager will emerge from this refurbishment with a sophisticated new look reflective of the pinnacle of luxury. The first post-refurbishment cruise will be a 23-night Barcelona to Dubai voyage departing on Nov. 9, 2016, which is also the line’s annual Reunion Cruise hosted by President and Chief Executive Officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Jason Montague.

“This fleet-wide renovation brings a new level of elegance to the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet, strengthening our position as the undisputed leader in luxury cruising,” said Montague. “Our continued fleet investment ensures our ships look better today than the day they were delivered from the shipyard. We are making certain that we not only have the most luxurious ship ever built with Seven Seas Explorer, but the most luxurious fleet at sea.”

While the shipboard enhancements extend from bow-to-stern, some of the more notable renovations include:

• Penthouse, Concierge and Deluxe Suites: The largest collection of suites onboard the ship will receive a luxurious new look. The contemporary design accentuates the spaciousness of the suites and the suites include large oversized marble accented bathrooms. A plush padded leather headboard supports the ultra-comfortable Elite Slumber Bed in the bedroom and the sitting area features a stylish sofa with accent table and new artwork.
• Compass Rose: The ship’s flagship restaurant will be grander and more resplendent than ever before. Throughout the spacious, 422-seat dining room are subtle geometric patterns underscored with rich wooden accents and antique bronze highlights. Plush cobalt blue drapes accent oversized windows that run along both sides of the restaurant to provide incredible ocean vistas for diners. Grand crystal chandeliers are enhanced by recessed ceiling lights, providing a dramatic dining experience for guests seated at intimate tables ringed by sleek leather chairs adorned with swirls of celestial blue fabric.
• Chartreuse: Already a guest favorite on Seven Seas Explorer, Chartreuse will make its debut on Seven Seas Voyager as part of the ship’s refurbishment. The restaurant will feature new furnishings, china, flooring and décor elements inspired by the Chartreuse on Seven Seas Explorer. The menu will be identical with specialties such as roasted rack of lamb with rosemary persillade and chickpea fritters, and poached lobster and scallop ballotine, green asparagus and Fava beans.
• La Veranda: Effortlessly chic, La Veranda will feature a fresh and airy design with light grey colored flooring and accent walls that accentuate the natural light coming from floor-to-ceiling windows that encircle the restaurant. In a major structural change, the buffet area will be more openallowing guests easy access from both sides of the restaurant. A major highlight is a new cook-to-order grill station at the buffet. Guests can enjoy casual indoor and al fresco dining with a delectable buffet for breakfast and lunch. Each evening for dinner service, the restaurant transforms into an elegant fine dining restaurant Sette Mari at La Veranda, with delectable dishes prepared á la minute.
• Pool Grill: The outdoor eating area adjacent to the pool deck will be completely refurbished with stylish, yet casual, seating areas that flank both sides of the ship. For the food preparation, a new infrared barbeque grill is planned, so the chefs can prepare savory barbeque specialties such as steaks, chops, lamb and salmon on the open deck.
• Voyager Lounge: Located on Deck 4, the Voyager Lounge is the perfect venue to meet friends and fellow travelers for a pre-dinner cocktail. Inspired by a modern interpretation of a French cabaret the new décor is timelessly elegant, with large champagne-colored chandeliers cascading down over crimson colored loveseats along a wall of oversized windows. A black-and-white marble topped bar surrounded by plush red leather bar stools anchors one end of the lounge while intimate grey seating alcoves facing the stage spread across the other. Live musicians will entertain nightly and during late hours a DJ will play a variety of tunes for guests’ listening or dancing pleasure.
• Reception Area: Guests’ first exposure to the renovations will take place in the completely-redesigned reception area, where contemporary and classical design elements seamlessly meet. The reception desk is surrounded with rich wood finishes, plush carpeting and intimate seating areas.

In addition to the aforementioned enhancements, the refurbishment of Seven Seas Voyager will also touch Coffee Connection, Connoisseur Lounge, Card Room, boutiques, casino and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub. For more specific details about the Seven Seas Voyager, visit

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Miss USA Deshauna Barber to Serve As Godmother of New Carnival Vista

MIAMI, Oct. 5: Miss USA Deshauna Barber has been named godmother of Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship, Carnival Vista. Barber made history earlier this year when she became the first woman serving in the U.S. military to win the title of Miss USA. Barber will officially name the massive 133,500-ton vessel during a shipboard ceremony that is part of an overnight gala event honoring Operation Homefront and featuring an exclusive invitation-only concert by seven-time GRAMMY-award winning country music super star Carrie Underwood.

In addition to the concert, the festivities will include overnight accommodations, meals, activities and entertainment for hundreds of military families. The concert and overnight gala event are the culmination of Honor. Family. Fun., Carnival’s year-long celebration designed to raise funds for Operation Homefront to help the organization fulfill its mission of building strong, stable, and secure military families.

“Deshauna is the ideal candidate to serve as Carnival Vista’s godmother, embodying the spirit of commitment and sacrifice to those who protect our freedom each and every day,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Carnival is a longtime supporter of the military carrying more active and retired Armed Forces personnel than any other cruise line so it’s our honor and privilege to have Deshauna serve as the godmother to our newest and largest ship.”

The daughter of a retired Army master sergeant who was a member of the Special Forces, Barber joined the Army Reserve as a quartermaster officer in 2011. After earning her bachelors in business management from Virginia State University, Barber went on to complete her masters in computer information systems from the University of Maryland University College. She currently serves as logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit in Rockville, Md. A passionate advocate for the U.S. military and a champion of gender equality, Barber will focus her efforts on PTSD treatment for soldiers returning from deployments and suicide prevention throughout the Armed Forces.

“It is truly an honor to be named the godmother of Carnival Vista and I’m very excited to represent the U.S. military and be a part of the ship’s official naming ceremony next month,” said Barber. “I love that Carnival carries more families, including military families, than any other cruise line and I’m looking forward to checking out all of the ship’s many innovative features when I’m on board next month.”

As the line’s newest ship, Carnival Vista has introduced a number of groundbreaking innovations including the first brewery on a North American-based cruise ship, the first IMAX Theatre at sea, the most elaborate water park in the fleet highlighted by the 455-foot-long Kaleid-o-slide, a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, and the new Family Harbor with specially designed staterooms for families, a family concierge and more.

Currently sailing its inaugural season in Europe, Carnival Vista will reposition to the U.S. in November operating a pair of 11-day sailings from New York before launching year-round 6- and 8-day Caribbean service from Miami later that month. For additional information, visit

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Holland America Line Hosts Fundraiser & Survivor Luncheon for Komen Puget Sound

Seattle, Oct. 5: Holland America Line hosted a fundraiser luncheon and survivor celebration for the Puget Sound affiliate of Susan G. Komen Puget Sound on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, onboard ms Westerdam at the Port of Seattle. Breast cancer survivor Juliet Disparte gave an inspiring speech about her journey from her diagnosis at the age of 27 to her current role in numerous cancer organizations. To enhance the celebrations, the band Cinderella’s Dirty Little Secret entertained attendees in the ship’s main show lounge during the program. Prior to the entertainment, guests enjoyed lunch in the main dining room.

“Cancer is a disease that affects nearly everyone in some way, and by supporting organizations like Susan G. Komen we’re able to join the fight in finding a cure,” said Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford. “This is our 10th year of hosting this luncheon and we always look forward to celebrating with survivors, as well as helping the organization’s efforts to eradicate this disease.”

Guest speaker Juliet Disparte was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 at the age of 27. Since her diagnosis, Disparte has been named an Education Ambassador with Bright Pink, joined the Stakeholder Advisory Board for Young Women with Breast Cancer at The Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and also is an active volunteer with Komen Puget Sound.

Each year, Holland America Line hosts more than 25 shipboard charity luncheons for nearly 5,000 guests in its homeport cities. In addition, Holland America Line and its corporate foundation’s charitable-giving programs provide cash sponsorships, in-kind donations, free- and reduced-fare cruise donations for nonprofit fundraising events and donations of usable shipboard items around the world while encouraging employee volunteerism and other philanthropic activities. For more information about Holland America Line, visit

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Port Canaveral Evacuation Ordered in Wake of Hurricane Matthew

PORT CANAVERAL, FL, Oct 4: With forecasts indicating severe weather conditions related to Hurricane Matthew, Port Canaveral CEO John Murray today issued an evacuation order for landside operations. The order affects Jetty Park campers, marinas, and all Port businesses and tenants. The deadline to evacuate is noon on Wednesday.

In addition to the land-side evacuation, the U.S. Coast Guard has given notice that the Canaveral harbor will close by tomorrow afternoon. Under the Captain of the Port order, no vessel traffic--including cruise and cargo ships, as well as recreational and commercial fishing boats—will be allowed in harbor until after the storm passes and the order is lifted.

“This is a serious storm and the protection of people and property is our primary concern,” said Port Canaveral CEO John Murray. “We expect high winds and storm surge throughout the port and have urged the Port community to prepare their facilities so business can resume as quickly as possible after the storm.”

Port Canaveral has not shut down operations due to severe weather since the 2004 storms when the harbor was closed for 11 days to ship traffic.

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MSC Cruises Intro New Family Programming: Kelly & Kloe

Geneva, Switzerland, Oct 4: MSC Cruises—the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa—today announced a further addition to its family-focused offerings, this time with a new range of fun kids’ activities and supporting web series, “Kelly & Kloe On Board.” After a landmark year of enhancements and expansions to family entertainment, the new onboard experience will also engage younger guests through an accompanying web series, so that the fun can start prior to the cruise vacation and continue well after disembarkation.

“We’re very excited about launching this new experience for kids and their families both on and off-board. It really brings to life our commitment to providing our youngest guests with original entertainment products that are delivered to them in a unique and exciting way,” explains Matteo Mancini, MSC Cruises’ Children’s Entertainment Manager.

The “Kelly & Kloe On Board” experience day will be rolled out across the MSC Cruises fleet this month and follows the story of two young girlsKelly and Kloewho spend time on board an MSC Cruises ship alongside their fatherthe Master. One day, despite promising him an afternoon of quiet study in their stateroom, the girls embark on an adventure filled with fun and mischief with their longsuffering butler and two cruise staff members in tow. During their adventure throughout the ship, they experience magic, videogames, 4D movies, a water-slide, sports, and dances with endless costume changes.

The full day of kids’ entertainment, designed around the “Kelly & Kloe” overall story, will allow children on board to explore the ship and play like “Kelly & Kloe” themselves, bringing to life the magic of the story. With a day packed with seven different activities, kids will be able to learn the theme song and accompanying dance routine from the web series, take part in a selfie contest dressed up as characters from the story as well as have the opportunity to get creative with the chance to write their very own episode and continue the adventure.

The web series, which kids can watch on the MSC Cruises website, features in its first season four three minute episodes that the kids can watch before they go on their vacation or once they return hometo relive the fun that was had on board. To watch the web series visit The new entertainment offering was developed by MSC Cruises’ entertainment team, working in cooperation with seasoned professionals from the world of TV and musical theatre to bring to life the story of “Kelly & Kloe” also through the web series.

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Cunard Celebrates World Space Week with a Celestial Voyage

VALENCIA, CA, Oct. 4: Cunard today announced its flagship liner, Queen Mary 2, will offer an extraordinary Transatlantic Crossing to coincide with International World Space Week in October 2017. To celebrate this international event, Cunard has curated a bespoke voyage which will take guests on an exceptional journey across the Atlantic, featuring a range of space themed experiences including talks from renowned space exploration experts including:

• Dr Jeffrey Hoffman, NASA Astronaut, Scientist and former Shuttle Pilot
• Charles Barclay from the Royal Astronomical Society
• Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic
• Ken MacTaggart, NASA Historian

“Throughout history, the Cunard brand has been synonymous with exploration and adventure,” said Richard Meadows, President, Cunard North America. “We are pleased to offer guests the opportunity to understand, explore and delight in the universe as Queen Mary 2 sails across the Atlantic, giving guests a unique vantage point to discover land, sea and space.”

Taking place every year on October 4-10 since its United Nations declaration in 1999, World Space Week has grown into the largest public space event on Earth. More than 1,800 events in 73 countries celebrated the wonders of space exploration in 2015. Following a recent remastering in the region of $132 million, Queen Mary 2 will become part of this global celebration of space in 2017. As well as the featured speakers, guests will be able to visit the world’s only Planetarium at sea, a spectacular venue with an impressive dome that takes guests on virtual journeys into the stars as they recline and enjoy the magnificent three dimensional shows.

The sheer size and expanse of Queen Mary 2’s outside deck space also affords guests the opportunity to take a look for themselves and star gaze from the unique vantage point of the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. To enhance this unique at sea experience, Cunard is also offering Queen Mary 2’s guests a VIP pre-voyage tour of the Hayden Planetarium and the Rose Center for Space at the American Museum of Natural History followed by a VIP tour of the Intrepid Museum of Air, Sea and Space in New York. Upon arrival into the UK, there is a tailor-made package available including a two-night stay and a tour of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. For more information, visit

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Top Reasons to Take a Cruise Over a Land-Based Vacation

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct 4: October is Plan a Cruise Month and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is celebrating all cruise travel has to offer by highlighting the benefits of cruising over land travel. From ease of travel to the best return on experience, cruise travel has a leg up on land-based travel any time of year. According to Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) 2016 State of the Cruise Industry report, cruise travel is outpacing land-based general leisure travel by 22 percent in the United States.

“Cruise travelers know that cruising offers a chance to completely customize your vacation and create the trip of your dreams,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “The benefits of cruise travel over land-based travel are exponential and the cruise industry is excited to share them with travelers in honor of Plan a Cruise Month."

Five benefits of cruise-based travel versus land-based travel:

• Convenient Cruising: The cruise industry is constantly expanding availability of ports, both domestically and internationally, meaning travelers have never had so much access to a cruise ship with many of them are within driving distance of major cities. Cruising internationally also offers travelers a less intimidating chance to sample different destinations while negating anxieties about dealing with foreign airports, hotels and transportation. Cruising gives travelers the chance to see, do and experience great things from all over the world, packing as little or as much into their trip as they’d like, but their suitcase only needs to be unpacked once.
• A Cruise for Every Traveler: A cruise vacation affords travelers a chance to create a trip that is completely customized to their tastes and preferences. Whether a traveler hopes to indulge in a luxe massage every morning or check out a spin class, a cruise can be tailored to every kind of traveler. From yoga classes for kids to craft beer tastings for adults, travelers of all ages don’t need to worry about being bored onboard.
• Diverse Destinations: Both ocean and river cruising allow travelers to see exotic and unique destinations. Ocean cruisers can look forward to distant voyages around the globe and river cruises offer a chance to sail more intimate spaces. Whether traveling by ocean or river, cruises offer the chance to visit far ends of the Earth all in one single trip.
• Experts at the Ready: A certified cruise travel agent help travelers partake in a nearly hands-free vacation planning experience while also lending an ear for questions once onboard. Agents can help travelers maximize their dollars, tailor activities to each guest’s preference, and help scout out the best excursions, among other things.
• Best Return of Experience: Cruising offers travelers a window to the world within their vacation budget. Instead of having to worry about travel, hotel, transportation, meals and entertainment costs, many cruisers pay one flat fee and travelers are able to enjoy paradise.

For more information about cruise travel or how you could enter to win a cruise of choice from October 1-31, 2016, please visit

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Cunard’s Iconic Queen Mary 2 Makes Québec Debut After Extensive Remastering

QUÉBEC CITY, Oct 3: Queen Mary 2 rolled out the red carpet for Quebec to debut the newly remastered Queen Mary 2. The ship gave a royal welcome to the city’s most famous pet, Daphnie, Le Château Frontenac’s canine ambassador.

Cunard’s flagship ocean liner sailed into Quebec to debut its significant refit costing in the region of $132 million. The luxury liner has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, many of which take their design inspiration from the original Queen Mary, which debuted into service 80 years ago. As the only passenger vessel to carry dogs and cats, Queen Mary 2 has expanded its kennel service during this multi-million dollar renovation, adding 12 new kennels for a total of 24. In addition, the ship extended the kennel area, adding an owner’s lounge, new pet playground, and expanded the outdoor area to accommodate an historic British lamppost and American fire hydrant so canines from both sides of the pond feel at home. A full-time Kennel Master takes care of daily pet responsibilities including feeding, walking and cuddling the pets onboard.

Cunard’s pet-friendly policy dates back 176 years to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840 when the ship sailed with a cow to provide fresh milk for passengers. Famous canines such as Rin-Tin-Tin, Elizabeth Taylor’s pampered pups and the Duke of Windsor’s dogs traveled on Cunard, and to continue that tradition, Boston’s top Instagram dogs joined Cunard on board the ship to test out the new, expanded kennels.

The refit was conducted in the Blohm + Voss Shipyard, in Hamburg, one of the only shipyards in the world large enough to hold Queen Mary 2. It was a 24-hour a day operation, with over one million man hours put into the refurbishment, during a 25-day period

The Remastering Features:

• Redesign and refurbishment of the Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites and restaurants, as well as Britannia staterooms, the latter to be fully completed by the end of the year
• The addition of 30 further Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms and five Britannia inside staterooms
• Redesign of key public spaces and restaurants, including the transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge, the introduction of The Verandah as the ship’s new specialty restaurant, and the complete refresh and restructuring of the Kings Court, the ship’s popular buffet area
• 12 additional kennels and other enhancements
• And as befitting the flagship of the Cunard fleet, a complete repaint of the ship exterior and significant technical enhancements and structural changes

Queen Mary 2 overnighted in Quebec and departed for Saugerties on October 4 as part of a 10-day Canada/New England sailing round-trip from New York.

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Carnival Corporation Signs Agreement with Shell to Fuel World’s First LNG-Powered Cruise Ships

MIAMI, Oct. 3: Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company, today signed a framework agreement with Shell Western LNG B.V. (Shell) to be its supplier of marine liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power the world’s first fully LNG-powered cruise ships. Under this framework agreement, Shell will initially supply Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises brands with fuel for two new LNG-powered ships expected to launch in 2019 with itineraries visiting popular northwest European and Mediterranean ports.

As part of the agreement, these two ships, built with Carnival Corporation's next-generation "green cruising" ship design, will utilize Shell’s infrastructure in cruise ports to refuel with LNG throughout their itineraries. The vessels, equipped with dual-fuel engines, are the first of a new generation of cruise ships fully powered by LNG both while in port and at seaan industry first and an environmental breakthrough that will improve air quality with cleaner emissions and produce the most efficient ships in company history.

“We are committed to reducing our air emissions and improving air quality by evaluating new and established solutions such as LNGan especially promising option because of its environmental and other benefits,” said Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation. “We are proud to be on the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry and creating an entirely new model for powering next-generation cruise ships. We look forward to a productive partnership with Shell, which has the experience and shared commitment to quality, safety and operational efficiency needed to help us bring this innovative LNG initiative to life with the first fully LNG-powered ships in the global cruise industry.”

Pioneering a new era in the use of alternative fuels that reduce air emissions, these ships will be the first in the cruise industry use LNG to generate 100 percent of the ship's power both in port and on the open seaan innovation that will significantly improve air quality to help protect the environment and support Carnival Corporation’s aggressive sustainability goals.

““We have been working closely with Carnival to get to this point in our commercial partnership,” said Lauran Wetemans, Shell’s General Manager Downstream LNG. “Working together from an early stage is critical in helping the transition to cleaner LNG cruising. This is a unique partnership that will contribute to a robust and reliable LNG fuel supply chain, along with opportunities for future growth.

This agreement builds on the partnership established between Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises brand and Shell in April of this year to supply its AIDAprima ship with LNG to power the vessel while docked. The AIDAprima is the first cruise ship in the world to use LNG while in port, leading to a major reduction in emissions. Additionally, the agreement furthers the realization of Carnival Corporation’s LNG efforts that began in 2015 with AIDAsol becoming the first cruise ship in the world to be supplied with power by an LNG hybrid barge, which also saw major benefits while in port.

Today’s announcement was made on the heels of the company’s order in September of three additional next-generation cruise ships that will be fully powered by LNG, bringing its fully LNG-powered ship orders total to seven across four of its 10 global cruise lines. Two of the new LNG-powered ships are designated for the world's most popular cruise brand, Carnival Cruise Line, with delivery dates expected in 2020 and 2022, and one is designated for P&O Cruises UK with an expected delivery date in 2020. The remaining two vessels will also be built for the Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises brands and are expected to enter service in 2021. As part of the framework agreement, Carnival Corporation and Shell have the opportunity to partner together on supplying marine LNG fuel to future LNG-powered vessels or additional itineraries. The overarching agreement enables each Carnival Corporation brand to negotiate individual LNG supply contracts with Shell as new LNG-powered cruise ships begin to launch in coming years.

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