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Cruise News
December 1-31, 2012

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

Cruise Diva

Royal Caribbean Orders Third Oasis-Class Vessel

MIAMI, Dec. 28:Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has announced that it has executed a contract with STX France to construct a third Oasis-class vessel for delivery in mid-2016. This order is consistent with the plan announced by the company in October to build a sister-ship to the very successful Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

"The Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas have fundamentally transformed the cruise experience for our guests," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "These ships have consistently generated outstanding guest satisfaction ratings and continue to produce superior financial results. We are thrilled to be adding a sister to this extraordinary class of vessels at a compelling price. Being back building in France just adds to the pleasure."

The newbuild contract includes the transfer of Pullmantur's Atlantic Star as part of the consideration. Additionally, the contract is subject to satisfaction of financing and other conditions. STX France has also provided the company with a one-year option for the mid-year 2018 delivery of a fourth Oasis-class vessel at similar pricing.

Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are the largest and most revolutionary cruise ships in the world. Architectural marvels at sea, they span 16 decks, encompass 225,282 gross registered tons, carrying 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. The ships sail weekly from their home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas debuted in November 2009 and November 2010 respectively, introducing a range of unique industry "firsts" and engineering marvels including a neighborhood concept - seven themed areas providing guests with the opportunity to seek out relevant experiences based on their personal style, preference or mood. Within these seven neighborhoods - Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone - are extraordinary elements such as the first park at sea, a thrilling zip line that races diagonally nine-decks above an open-air atrium, an original handcrafted carousel, 28 multilevel urban-style loft suites boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, an aquatic amphitheater - called the AquaTheater that serves as a pool by day and a dazzling ocean front theater by night; and an array of epicurean innovations that allow for new culinary experiences each day of a guest's cruise vacation.

"As the cruise line that revolutionized the industry with the FlowRider surf simulator, ice-skating rinks, cantilevered whirlpools and rock climbing walls, we are eager to add this third award winning Oasis-class ship to our brand portfolio. This addition will allow us to showcase our legacy of innovation and imagination to even more guests around the world," said Adam Goldstein, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International.

With the success of the Oasis-class ships, Royal Caribbean International is currently undergoing a fleetwide revitalization program to bring the latest innovations and the highest guest-rated programs from Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas to the cruise line's ships across the fleet. Additional information can be found on

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Culinary Masters Warm Up Arctic Cruise On Crystal In 2013

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27: A Norwegian Culinary Olympics Team member, Cordon Bleu Master Chef, and Domaine Laroche Brand Ambassador will bring spice to the ice during Crystal Cruises' luxury voyage through the Arctic Circle in 2013. The special guests will be aboard as part of a "Wine and Food" theme enhancing the ultra-luxe line's annual North Cape cruise next July. The Crystal Serenity voyage begins July 5, sailing from Copenhagen to Stockholm, visiting 10 ports over 15 days filled with sipping Europe's finest local beverages, learning about local dishes from gourmands, and seeing the breathtaking scenery of Lapland.

The culinary experts currently scheduled are:

-- Sven Erik Renaa: Proprietor of Norway's renowned Renaa Restaurants, winner of numerous Chef of the Year awards, and manager of the champion Norwegian National Culinary Team.
-- Gwenael Laroche: Brand Ambasadress for (and family member of) Burgundy's Domaine Laroche winery, a name that is virtually synonymous with Chablis and has won "The Best White Wine in the World" from Wine Spectator.
-- Mark Cummings: A certified Cordon Bleu Master Chef, restaurateur, and star of TV's The Very Best of Everything.

They will offer hands-on instruction in preparing chef specialties, live cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and specially-designed menus for select Crystal Dining Room dinners.

Foodie fun also segues to shore, with Crystal Adventures that take travelers on a "Quest for King Crab" in the waters of Sarnesfjorden (followed by eating the day's catch); to Tromso's oldest pub and Mack's Brewery to learn (and taste!) the art of crafting arctic beer; and to three different ice bars (in Leknes, Stockholm, Honningsvag) for perfectly-chilled vodka sipping. The voyage includes overnights in Copenhagen and Stockholm at the cruise's beginning and end; calls in Geiranger, Honningsvag, Tromso, Lofoten, Alesund, Loen, and Bergen, Norway; Crystal's first return to Murmansk, Russia in 18 years; and cruising the Norwegian Fjords, North Cape/Arctic Circle, and North, Barents, and Baltic Seas. All-inclusive "Book Now" fares offer special savings.

Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity's extensive, innovative choices for gourmandizing include the ultra-luxury line's coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board, certified cheese and wine sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers-certified); and gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio's specialty restaurants. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

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Carnival Foundation Donates $54,000 for Needy Kids in South Florida

MIAMI, Dec. 21: Carnival Cruise Lines and Carnival Corporation & plc have given $54,000 to 12 South Florida nonprofit organizations through the Carnival Foundation. The monetary donations were used to purchase holiday gifts for underprivileged children in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In addition to the organizations that received funds, Carnival Cruise Lines donated new toys to needy children through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program and the Toys for Tots Program. Altogether, the toy and monetary donations provide holiday gifts to more than 4,000 local children in need.

“With this donation, we hope to spread a little holiday cheer to families and children who might otherwise not receive gifts this year,” said Linda Coll, director of Carnival Foundation. “By spreading out the donations to 14 local organizations we are able to touch thousands of South Florida children in need this holiday season.”

Recipients of the holiday donations include:

4Kids of South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) is a South Florida foster care agency dedicated to finding a home for children in crisis.
Amigos for Kids (Miami, Little Havana) is dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect.
Chapman Partnership provides comprehensive services to homeless residents through two Homeless Assistance Centers, one in downtown Miami and one in Homestead.
CHARLEE Homes for Children (Miami) provides exceptional services for abused, abandoned and neglected children.
Children’s Harbor (Fort Lauderdale) provides therapeutic services to children and families in crisis, a safe and nurturing environment for children in foster care, and advocacy within the child welfare system.
Children’s Home Society of Florida (Miami) is Florida's largest and oldest statewide not-for-profit serving children and families. They offer a range of social services through programs that include foster care case management, special needs and international adoptions, abuse prevention and family strengthening support, abuse investigation, counseling for children and families, emergency shelter for children and services for children with — or at risk for — developmental delays or disabilities.
Jack and Jill Children’s Center (Fort Lauderdale) helps to break the cycle of poverty for children of low-income working families in Broward County through family-oriented child care services and family intervention and support.
Kids in Distress (Fort Lauderdale) prevents child abuse, preserves the family and treats children who have been abused and neglected. Recognized as a premier agency in South Florida, it provides family strengthening services as well as children's services to more than 10,000 children and their families.
Kristi House (Miami) is dedicated to healing and eradicating child sexual abuse.
Miami Children’s Hospital (Miami) is a worldwide leader in pediatric medicine.
Overtown Youth Center (Miami, Overtown) inspires and empowers youth and families by fostering hope through enrichment services.
Salvation Army/Angel Tree Program provides children in our community facing hardship with Christmas gifts.
Toys for Tots (Miami, Broward) collects new unwrapped toys and distributes them as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community.
Voice For Children Foundation (Miami) raises funds to ensure that abused children in Miami-Dade County have a court-appointed guardian ad litem.

Carnival Foundation coordinates the philanthropic efforts of Carnival Corporation & plc and Carnival Cruise Lines, including the line’s employee-driven service group, the Friends Uniting Neighbors (F.U.N.) Team. Carnival Foundation's contributions are primarily focused on nonprofit organizations based in South Florida, where the parent company and cruise line are headquartered, and in Carnival Cruise Lines’ homeport communities throughout the United States.

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Kids To Sail Free In Baltic And Mediterranean On Crystal In Summer 2013

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 21: Crystal Cruises is expanding its opportunities for family-friendly summer travel with new "Kids Sail Free" offers in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. On four June and July voyages, junior cruisers age 17 and under can travel for free when sharing a third berth stateroom with two adults. This is the first time ever the popular program has been offered in the Baltic, with three Crystal Serenity sailings of 10 days each on June 25, July 20 and 30, through Stockholm (overnight), Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia (two overnights); Helsinki, Finland; Berlin/Warnemunde, Germany; and Copenhagen, Denmark. A 7-day sailing through the Mediterranean departs July 6 on Crystal Symphony, visiting Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece; and Sicily/Taormina, Sorrento, and Rome/Civitavecchia, Italy.

"With attractive savings for bringing the kids along, combined with incredible opportunities to see and learn about Europe's history firsthand, these cruises offer not only great value, but also invaluable experiences in terms of family bonding, world education, and memories," explains Jack Anderson, Crystal's senior vice-president of sales and marketing.

Crystal Cruises' dedicated on-board kids and teens spaces is a rarity among luxury cruise lines. During summers and holidays, junior activities directors host complimentary supervised activities on board, ranging from behind-the scenes tours to cooking classes and scavenger hunts. The Crystal Visions Enrichment Program also offers entertaining education, including Magic Castle at Sea shows and classes, iPad Digital Filmmaking classes in association with USC's School of Cinematic Arts, and presentations from expert speakers. Every cruise also has babysitting services, "finicky eater" foods, movies, library books, family-friendly excursions, and more available.

With sophisticated tours worldwide, enriching learning opportunities, international gourmet cuisine, complimentary voluntourism excursions, and a host of other activities for all ages, the Crystal experience gives families exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime access to creating intimate bonds, gleaning a global education, and building lifelong memories while sailing in elegance, making Crystal Cruises the leader in family-friendly luxury cruising.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit
The Crystal Family Memories program also offers additional free berths and perks for groups of six or more.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Opens 2014 for Bookings & Releases New Brochure

Miami, FL, Dec 20: SeaDream Yacht Club opens 2014 for bookings in conjunction with their just released, glossy 80-page brochure. The impressive new brochure highlights SeaDream’s yachting lifestyle, provides destination information and pricing along with the comprehensive 2013 and 2014 voyage schedule. SeaDream made previous announcement of new voyages in Asia sailing late 2013 through April 2014. Now, the remainder of 2014 is released with details found on the lines’ website and in their new brochure.

Notable in 2014, is an April 26 Trans-Atlantic voyage sailing from San Juan to London. It will mark SeaDream’s second visit up the Thames. Following SeaDream I’s dry dock in Bremerhaven, Germany in May, she’ll spend June, July and August in the Baltic and Norwegian Fjords. Sure to be sought-after is a unique 14-day voyage sailing Dover, England roundtrip with intermediate ports in Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Germany and three days in St. Petersburg, Russia.

SeaDream’s website and new brochure detail their Caribbean, Costa Rica, Asia, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Black Sea and Trans-Atlantic voyages. The fascinating Black Sea voyages in 2013 & 2014 call on Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine. SeaDream’s onboard amenities include all gourmet dining, open bar with select premium brands, gratuities, golf simulator, complimentary mountain bikes and a water sports marina with motorized and non-motorized water toys.

SeaDream’s President, Bob Lepisto said “This elegant new brochure reinforces the unique differences one finds when yachting with SeaDream. Well thought-out sections highlight onboard fitness and wellness offerings, service and cuisine. The maps, images and destination descriptions make this an easy to use tool for travel agents and guests alike.” Lepisto added “Our hope is that family and friends gathered together for the coming holidays will discuss future travel plans having all the information needed at their fingertips”. An electronic version of the new brochure may be viewed at Printed brochures may be ordered from or your travel professional.

Since the company’s founding in 2001, innovative SeaDream Yacht Club has brought a refreshing change to the world of ultra-luxury holidays at sea, with the intention of being completely different from any and every other cruise product. The expression ‘Yacht Club’ is not only sentiment about size; it is a statement about lifestyle aboard the small, ultra-deluxe mega-yachts. Chic and stylish, SeaDream I and II are the ultimate hybrid of deluxe private yacht and luxury boutique spa. The elegant informality of the yachts sits comfortably with state-of-the art facilities, discreet, personal service and world class cuisine. SeaDream is the only cruise operator to be a member of the Thai Spa Association.

Yachting is about enjoying an unstructured lifestyle, dropping anchor offshore rather than tie up alongside, staying in port until well after midnight and taking a voyage to locations where large traditional cruise ships cannot sail. For details contact your travel professional or visit, phone (800) 707-4911.

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Carnival Corporation Donates $2 Million To Aid Hurricane Sandy Victims

MIAMI, Dec. 20: Carnival Corporation—the largest cruise company in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK)— is donating $2 million to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy that struck the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, and devastated New Jersey and New York. The funds are earmarked for four charities providing an array of relief and rebuilding services and support. The Robin Hood Relief Fund will receive $1 million, Habitat for Humanity International will receive $500,000, and Save the Children and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City—Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts each will receive $250,000.

"Super Storm Sandy was one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history and on behalf of the 90,000 global employees of Carnival Corporation & plc we are pleased to provide this financial support to those who were affected by the storm," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. “We also have a special relationship with the region, with several ships either homeported or visiting the area as a port of call, as well as hundreds of thousands of residents who sail on the fleets of our various cruise brands."

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Norwegian Cruise Line & Katie Couric Surprise NYC Moms Affected by Sandy with a Cruise on Norwegian Breakaway

MIAMI, Dec 20: Norwegian Cruise Line has invited all audience members and their families from the Dec 19th episode of Katie Couric’s talk show, Katie, onboard the exclusive inaugural sailing of the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, over Mother’s Day weekend, May 10–12, 2013.

In the “Katie Gives Back: Holiday Extravaganza,” the talk show’s audience included 150 New York-area mothers who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. During the grand prize giveaway, Norwegian Breakaway’s godmothers, the legendary Rockettes®, presented the audience with the cruise giveaway which will include a weekend of spectacular dining, entertainment and fun, as the best of New York sails to sea aboard Norwegian Breakaway.

“As a New Yorker, I know firsthand the kind of damage Hurricane Sandy inflicted on this area,” said Kevin Sheehan, chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are so pleased to offer these deserving families a chance to relax and reconnect during our exclusive inaugural sailing of Norwegian Breakaway, to experience the luxury, incredible amenities and wonderful service that New York’s ship has to offer.”

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

For further information on Norwegian Cruise Line, visit, or contact them in the U.S. and Canada at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784).

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Carnival Cruise Lines Expands West Coast Short Cruise Program

MIAMI, Dec 19: Carnival Cruise Lines will expand capacity on the West Coast with the introduction of year-round 3- and 4-day cruises on the 2,052-passenger Carnival Imagination from Long Beach, Calif., beginning Jan 26, 2014. The move will bring the total number of Carnival ships operating from Long Beach to three and further solidify the line’s position as Southern California’s largest cruise operator.

Carnival Imagination will offer 3-day cruises to Ensenada, Mexico, departing on Thursdays and 4-day voyages to Catalina Island and Ensenada departing on Sundays. The vessel’s sister ship, Carnival Inspiration, will continue to offer a similar program from Long Beach with 3-day cruises departing on Fridays and 4-day cruises on Mondays. Additionally, the 7-day Mexican Riviera and 15-day Hawaii programs from Long Beach currently operated by the Carnival Splendor through Feb 3, 2013 will continue on the Carnival Miracle seasonally from October 2013 through April 2014. Together, these ships will carry approximately 550,000 guests annually from Long Beach--more than any other cruise operator.

“Carnival’s West Coast cruises are exceptionally convenient and popular, particularly for guests from California and other areas within easy driving range of Long Beach,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “These fun, high quality vacation getaways offer an exceptional value compared to land-based options including Las Vegas. Carnival is the only cruise line to offer a year-round short cruise program from the West Coast and, with the addition of the Carnival Imagination, there will be even more cruises and departure dates to choose from,” Cahill added.

Carnival Imagination has undergone an extensive renovation and includes an expansive WaterWorks aqua park, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and a tropical-themed resort-style main pool area, renovated spa and children’s facilities, and more.

Carnival Ecstasy to Reposition to Miami
Carnival Ecstasy, currently sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida, will reposition to Miami to assume Carnival Imagination’s current 3- and 4-day Bahamas/western Caribbean itinerary. A sister ship to Carnival Imagination, the Carnival Ecstasy features a number of balcony staterooms, which is a ‘first’ for a Carnival ship operating short cruises from Miami. Carnival Ecstasy’s first voyage from Miami will depart Jan 10, 2014. Three-day cruises departing Fridays visit Nassau and four-day cruises departing Mondays visit Key West and Cozumel.

Exciting 16-Day Panama Canal Voyage on Carnival Imagination
Prior to the start-up of its new West Coast schedule, Carnival Imagination will offer a 16-day Panama Canal cruise departing Miami Jan 10, 2014, and arriving Long Beach Jan 26, 2014. In addition to a spectacular full transit of the Panama Canal, ports of call on this voyage include Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Cartagena, Punta Arenas, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.

Reservations are currently being accepted for the new scheduled on both the Carnival Imagination and Carnival Ecstasy. For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises, call 1-800-327-9501 or visit

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Princess Reveals Royal Princess Youth and Teen Centers

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Dec 19: Even the youngest passengers will enjoy the many special features aboard Princess Cruises’ new Royal Princess when the ship debuts in June. The line revealed the amenities just for kids and teens that will wow younger cruisers aboard the new ship. Royal Princess will offer expanded space for youth centers that adds a new level to the onboard experience for young passengers. All age groups will find more space with dedicated outdoor areas, including a new teen lounge. Toddlers can also join the fun with a special fun area just for kids under 3.

“It's always important to us that passengers of all ages have a great time onboard,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Naturally we’ve included features on Royal Princess to make every moment of the cruise memorable for our youngest passengers – we love hearing them tell their parents that they can’t wait to come back.”

The new areas for kids and teens are detailed in the company’s latest video previewing Royal Princess, available at

Some of the fun that young passengers will find on Royal Princess includes:

Princess Pelicans (ages 3-7): The youngest age group will enjoy a great space for group activities like movie nights, a new mini air hockey table, a special area for arts and crafts programs, and a new indoor play structure. In addition, they’ll have a new outdoor play area, which includes toys, games, tricycles, and a new playground. These features add to the lineup of popular activities that kids love on Princess ships, including the Jr. Chef@Sea program, educational workshops, pajama and ice cream parties, and a Kid's Fun Fair.

Shockwaves (ages 8-12): Junior passengers in the middle group will now have their own dedicated outside area complete with lounge chairs and a variety of fun games. Shockwaves kids will really get into activities geared for their age – like air hockey, skeeball, and exciting game stations. They’ll also find their own lounge with a giant TV, a DJ Booth, and arts and crafts tables with activities led by Princess’ youth counselors. Plus they can hang out and enjoy their own pizza and ice cream parties or kids-only dinners.

Remix (ages 13-17): The Remix area for teens will feature a Princess DJ booth loaded with cutting-edge tracks where music lovers can create their own playlist, kick back, relax, or dance to the latest club mix. In addition, there’s a new lounge area, perfect for meeting new friends, with games like foosball, skeeball and the latest video games. A brand new outdoor lounge fulfills a request from teens, and offers cool club lighting, contemporary seating, a great new wading pool, and of course music perfect for parties under the stars. Teens will also enjoy activities specially designed for their age group, including sports competitions, late-night movies, hip hop dance classes, teens-only “mocktail” parties, formal dinners, and the always-popular video game tournaments.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship currently under construction for Princess Cruises. Among the special features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; the new Princess Live! television studio; a pastry shop; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms. The ship’s 2013 maiden season will include cruises on the line’s signature Grand Mediterranean itinerary throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the fall. More information and video previews of the ship are available at

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company's website at

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Un-Cruise Adventures Adds Themes To Select Sailings In Hawaiian Islands &
Mexico’s Sea of Cortés in 2013

Seattle, WA, Dec 19: Adventure travelers with a passion for marine biology, photography, or with young kids in tow, can choose a theme cruise catering to their interest this winter. Un-Cruise Adventures adds themes to ten sailings in the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés.

Photography and marine biology theme cruises include an expert guest host on board for the week. Special presentations will be held in the lounge and guests are free to interact with the guest host throughout the week aboard the boat or on excursions. One-on-one time allows for questions to be answered and hands-on help with photography.

Kids in Nature departures cater to families traveling with kids 12 and younger. The expedition team gears the program to a variety of ages and activity levels with a focus on educating kids of all ages. Hiking excursions, kayaking trips, skiff explorations and snorkeling all provide hands-on learning in a fun environment. Active explorations in nature and wildlife sightings engage all ages.

“Themes bring together people with common interests and adds one more benefit for booking these dates,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

2013 Theme Cruises in Hawaii
-- Jan 5: Photography and Whales with Flip Nicklin, regarded as the premier whale photographer in the world
-- March 9 & 30: Kids in Nature; spring break departures for the whole family
-- April 6: Photography with Peter West Carey, a professional photographer whose love for travel has taken him around the world

2013 Theme Cruises in the Sea of Cortés
-- Jan 12: Marine Biology with Rodrigo Rocha Gosselin, a La Paz resident passionate about conservation and nature
-- Feb 16: Photography with David Julian, a professional photographer with 30 years’ experience capturing the essence of places, people and light with creative vision
-- March 16: Photography with Ellen Barone, an intrepid traveler, freelance writer and photographer
-- March 30: Marine Biology with Giovanni Malagrino, an oceanologist and professor of marine biology
-- March 9 and 23: Kids in Nature; spring break departures for the whole family

For Luxury Adventures in the Hawaiian Islands, the line’s 36-guest Safari Explorer sails seven-night cruises between Hawaii, the Big Island and Lana’i (or reverse) with two days of activities on Moloka’i. Flexible yacht itineraries focus on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands with explorations of four islands—Lana’i, Moloka’i, Maui and Hawaii, the Big Island.

In the Sea of Cortés, the 86-guest Safari Endeavour sails Luxury Adventures roundtrip La Paz, Baja, Mexico. An unstructured itinerary explores hideaways such as Isla Espíritu Santo, Isla San Francisco, Bahia Agua Verde, Los Islotes and Loreto.

In the Hawaiian Islands and the Sea of Cortés, guests can be as active as they like and activities include trekking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. Expert naturalists provide interpretation on guided excursions ashore and at sea. The unstructured itinerary allows time for viewing wildlife such as whales and dolphins. To book an Un-Cruise Adventure or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or the company directly at 888-862-8881 or email .

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Norwegian Announces 2014/2015 Caribbean, Bahamas & Florida Itineraries
 from Five Homeports

MIAMI, Dec 18: For the ultimate in sun and fun, Norwegian Cruise Line today announced its deployment for the fall and winter 2014/2015 season with eight contemporary ships sailing to the Caribbean and Bahamas & Florida from five homeports: Miami, New York, Tampa, Houston and New Orleans. Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Pearl will set sail from Miami. Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Gem will continue to depart from New York. Norwegian Sun debuts in Tampa while Norwegian Dawn will be introduced to New Orleans. As previously announced, Norwegian Jewel will set sail from Houston. The line will also increase its 7-day Mexican Riviera sailings from Los Angeles and a series of Panama Canal voyages between Los Angeles and Miami. All of these cruises go on sale today, Dec 18, 2012 and can be booked in conjunction with the line’s “The Upgrade Wave” sales event.

Caribbean and Bahamas & Florida
Norwegian will have three ships sailing seven day or longer cruises from Miami in the fall and winter of 2014/2015, including Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, sailing year-round to the Eastern Caribbean on 7-day cruises every Saturday. Miami’s newest ship will visit Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Epic returns for her fifth season in Miami, sailing a series of 7-day Western Caribbean cruises from Nov 9, 2014 to April 19, 2015. Departing on Sundays, the ship’s new, three-port itinerary features calls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico.

Offering longer cruise options, Norwegian Pearl is set to embark on alternating 10-day Eastern Caribbean and 11-day Southern Caribbean cruises between Oct 20, 2014 and April 6, 2015. Norwegian Pearl’s 10-day itinerary features stops in Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The new 11-day itinerary calls on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Castries, St. Lucia; Willemstad, Curacao; and Oranjestad, Aruba.

From New York, Norwegian Breakaway will sail a series of 7-day Bahamas & Florida itineraries from her year-round home port of New York City from Oct 5, 2014 to Dec 28, 2014 and from Feb 15, 2015 through April 9, 2015. New York’s ship will also sail three 12-day Southern Caribbean cruises on Jan 4, 2015; Jan 18, 2015; and Feb 1, 2015 with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts.

Norwegian Gem will continue to sail from New York offering 9-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from Oct 18, 2014 through April 15, 2015 with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands, along with four relaxing days at sea. The ship will also offer one-night cruises from New York throughout 2014 and 2015.

Norwegian Sun will arrive in Tampa for the first time and sail 7-day Western Caribbean itineraries departing every Sunday from Oct19, 2014 to April 12, 2015. Ports of call include: Roatan, Bay Islands Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

In 2014, Norwegian will return to Houston, Texas with the arrival of Norwegian Jewel, sailing a series of Western Caribbean cruises from Oct 11, 2014 through April 11, 2015. Ports of call include: Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Roatán, Bay Islands Honduras.

Norwegian Dawn will make her debut in New Orleans on Nov 23, 2014, offering a series of 21 seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 12, 2015 with stops in Roatan, Bay Islands Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Canada & New England
For fall foliage viewing at its best, Norwegian Dawn will embark on four Canada & New England itineraries between Boston and Quebec from Sept 12 through Oct 3, 2014. These sailings can also be combined for an ultimate 14-day Canada & New England experience.

Norwegian Gem will offer a series of five 7-day Canada & New England cruises from New York beginning Sept13 through Oct 11, 2014. Ports of call include: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island.

Panama Canal and Mexican Riviera
Norwegian will increase the number of Mexican Riviera sailings in 2014, offering a series of 7-day cruises from Los Angeles, California on Norwegian Star from Nov 30, 2014 through Dec 28, 2014. Norwegian Star will then return to the Mexican Riviera in 2015 between March 1 and April 12, 2015. Ports of call include: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, along with three relaxing days at sea. Norwegian Star will also sail seven Panama Canal cruises between Miami and Los Angeles or from Los Angeles to Miami in 2014 and three additional Panama Canal sailings in 2015.

On April 20, 2014, Norwegian Jewel will sail a 15-day Panama Canal cruise from New Orleans to Los Angeles, followed by a 5-day Pacific Coastal voyage from Los Angeles to Vancouver, British Columbia on May 5, 2014.

On Sept 20, 2014, Norwegian Jewel will sail a 5-day Pacific Coastal voyage from Vancouver, British Columbia to Los Angeles, followed by a 16-day Panama Canal cruise from Los Angeles to Houston departing on Sept 25, 2014.

Norwegian Pearl will sail a 15-day Panama Canal cruise from Miami to Los Angeles on April 18, 2014, followed by a 7-day British Colombia and US West Coast cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver on May 3, 2014. The ship will depart Vancouver on Sept 28, 2014 on a 5-day Pacific Coastal cruise to Los Angeles, followed by a 14-day Panama Canal sailing to Miami on Oct 3, 2014.

Norwegian Sun will depart Miami on April 28, 2014 on a 15-day Panama Canal voyage to Los Angeles, followed by a 6-day Pacific Coastal cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver on May 13, 2014. The ship will depart Vancouver on Sept 29 as it embarks on a 5-day Pacific Coastal cruise to Los Angeles. On Oct 4, 2014, Norwegian Sun departs Los Angeles on a 15-day Panama Canal cruise ending in Tampa.

Transatlantics & Repositionings
Norwegian Epic will make two transatlantic voyages: an 11-day sailing on April 27, 2014 from Miami to Barcelona and a 14-day cruise Oct 26, 2014 from Barcelona to Miami. Norwegian Star will also make two transatlantic crossings: a 14-day from Miami to Copenhagen on May 5, 2014 and a 14-day voyage from Copenhagen to Miami on Oct 6, 2014.

Norwegian Dawn will reposition from Tampa to Boston on April 27, 2014 and sail a 12-day Caribbean Escape with stops in George Town, Grand Cayman; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. On Nov 7, 2014, Norwegian Dawn will reposition from Boston to New Orleans and sail a 14-day Caribbean Escape with ports of call to include San Juan, Puerto Rico; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

To book these new sailings in conjunction with Norwegian’s “The Upgrade Wave” sales event, contact a travel professional, call 866-234-7350 or visit

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Crystal Reinvents Repositioning Cruises In 2013, With New Routes

LOS ANGELES: Ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises is offering a bevy of innovative repositioning cruises in 2013, with new itineraries on 60% of the voyages. As year-round, worldwide cruise ships, the award-winning Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity usually move to different regions (i.e., "reposition") seasonally. While repositioning cruises historically offer exceptional value, Crystal ups the ante in 2013, touting handsomely priced, reinvented journeys with unusual twists across the Atlantic, Pacific and American coastlines, from Northern to Southern Europe, North America to South America, and more.

New and interesting routes include:

Kobe to Vancouver (April 12)--A "Trans-Pacific/Alaska" crossing, on Crystal Symphony, featuring:
-- Kobe, Japan overnight.
-- Rare visit to Petropavlosk, showcasing Russian Far East culture and natural bounties such as 68 active volcanoes.
-- Crystal's only Alaskan cruise in 2013, with four calls including lesser-visited Dutch Harbor and Kodiak, plus Seward and Ketchikan.
-- "Ocean Views" theme featuring lively debate among world affairs experts about current issues.

NY to Reyjkavik (May 23)--A rare spring "New England/Canada "Trans-Atlantic" voyage on Crystal Symphony featuring seven ports and:
-- Manhattan overnight.
-- Traditional New England ports, including Newport, RI; Boston, MA;
Bar Harbor, ME; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and St. John's, Newfoundland.
-- New overnight in Reykjavik.
-- "Wine and Food" theme with guest culinary experts and complimentary classes.

Barcelona-London (May 30)/London-Barcelona (Sept. 2) --These nine-day
cruises reposition Crystal Serenity between Baltic/N. Europe and
Mediterranean/S. Europe seasons, offering:
-- Extended time in the world's preeminent wine country via Bordeaux overnights.
-- Beautiful colonial-architecture-filled Lisbon.
-- Intimate southern Spain, with Barcelona overnight and Cadiz/Seville
call from London, and Barcelona, Málaga, and rarely-visited Cartagena calls when sailing to London.
-- Unique UK islands: Gibraltar (Barcelona-London) and the Channel Islands (London-Barcelona).

Miami-Rio (Nov. 23)--Crystal Symphony moves from North to South America, offering:
-- Convenient Miami departure.
-- Rio de Janeiro overnight.
-- Caribbean stops in Barbados and Devil's Island, French Guiana.
-- Intimate, off-the-beaten-path Brazil, including a maiden call in Natal, plus Belém, Fortaleza, Maceió, and Salvador stops.
-- "Wine and Food" theme and extra-special culinary indulgences during U.S. Thanksgiving.

Additional 2013 "repos" that sail outside of the box include:
-- LA-NY Panama Canal (May 6) with rare call to Charleston and a "Garden and Floral Design" theme offering shore excursions to local gardens across the eastern seaboard .
-- "Trans-Atlantic" from London (Sept. 2), ending in Boston for Crystal's first time ever, with two calls in Scotland en route.
-- NY-Miami (Nov. 2) offering extended time in the U.S. Southeast (Charleston, Savannah, and maiden call to St. Augustine), plus Baltimore, Turks & Caicos, Curacao, Aruba and a "Film and Theatre" theme.

Classic crossings, each with a "Big Band and Ballroom Dance" theme, include:
-- Miami-Lisbon (March 31)--A dozen Ambassador Hosts to dance and dine with guests, 10 days across the pond, and a visit to Portugal's Madeira Island.
-- Barcelona-Miami (Dec. 9)--Nine luxurious sea days plus calls in the Canary Is. and St. Maarten.

"Next year, the variety and value of our repositioning cruises is exceptional: from classic trans-ocean experiences to more port-focused journeys," explains Crystal's Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Jack Anderson. "With more days at sea on most repositioning voyages, guests have even more time to savor one of the World's Best destinations: Crystal's all-inclusive shipboard resort, filled with abundant enrichment, entertainment and pampering."

The renowned Crystal Experience has been rated "World's Best" more than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

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Costa Cruises Names Newbuild Costa Diadema, First Block Laid

GENOA: The first block of the hull was laid Dec 10 at Fincantieri's Marghera, Italy, shipyard forming the central part of Costa Diadema, the future flagship of Costa Cruises. Diadema in Italian means "tiara" and the name was selected for the new ship that will serve as the crown jewel and flagship of the Costa Cruises fleet.

The ceremony was attended by Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chief Executive Officer Michael Thamm and President Gianni Onorato, with Fincantieri represented by its Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Bono. During the ceremony, the block--weighing approximately 496 tons, measuring 51.5 feet wide by 95 feet long--was lifted by a crane and laid in the dry dock where the ship will be built.

Construction and fitting out will continue until Oct. 30, 2014, the scheduled date of delivery. Construction of Costa Diadema will employ approximately 1,000 shipyard workers plus another 2,500 employees of allied industries. About 400 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms, will be involved in the project, especially regarding fitting out the ship's interiors.

"The construction of the Costa Diadema is a tangible commitment to the future growth of our company," said Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A. "It is significant not only for us but also for Italy in general and Venice in particular. The Costa Diadema consolidates our alliance with Fincantieri, which has already resulted in the building of 10 new ships for us since 2000, worth a total of almost 5 billion euros."

Costa will invest around 550 million euros in the new flagship. Costa Diadema will be the largest cruise ship flying the Italian flag, at 132,500 gross tons, 1,004 feet long, 122 feet in the beam, carrying 4,947 total guests and 1,253 crewmembers, with 1,854 guest cabins.

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The Duchess of Cornwall Meets Her Double on Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall came face-to-face with her own image in Southampton, England, when she unveiled a specially-commissioned portrait of herself on board Queen Victoria, the Cunard liner named by The Duchess in December 2007. Her Royal Highness made a special return visit to take part in celebrations marking the ship’s fifth anniversary.

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness joined us for such a special day in the life of the ship and her crew,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “Queen Victoria is very much The Duchess’ ship, and we are honored that she continues to have such an active interest in the ship and her crew.”

This new portrait of The Duchess is in keeping with the Cunard tradition of commissioning commemorative sculptures or portraits for display on board each ship named by a member of the Royal Family. The three-quarter length artwork shows The Duchess seated and dressed in a cream suit with ruffle detailing. It replaces a photograph of The Duchess which she signed just before naming Queen Victoria, and will be given a prominent place in the ship’s Grand Lobby. Renowned artist Richard Stone was commissioned by Cunard to paint the new portrait. He has been a portrait painter for 35 years and has painted most members of the Royal Family. The Duchess sat for Stone three times at Clarence House.

Peter Shanks added, “Tradition is very important to us at Cunard and I am delighted we are able to continue this fine tradition of specially-commissioned Royal portraits for our ships. Cunard is very proud of Queen Victoria, her officers and crew, and this striking portrait attests to our continuing relationship with Her Royal Highness.”

The visit to Queen Victoria by The Duchess of Cornwall also involved The Prince’s Trust. The Trust’s “Get into Customer Service” program, delivered by Cunard, recently gave twelve local unemployed young people, ages 16 to 23 years, the skills and confidence to find a job in the customer services industry through work placements across four Cunard departments. These young people were on board Queen Victoria to meet Her Royal Highness, who presented to them their certificates for completing the “Get into” program. As a Gold Patron of The Prince’s Trust, Cunard has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the youth charity since 2007 and has so far raised nearly $1.3 million for its work in the United Kingdom. Three in four young people supported by The Trust progress into work, education or training.

During her visit to Queen Victoria, The Duchess was greeted and escorted aboard by Peter Shank, president of Cunard Line. Captain Peter Philpott, master of Queen Victoria, then escorted her on a tour of the ship, meeting crew members from all ranks before attending a lunch where she cut a commemorative birthday cake. The Duchess then viewed a plaque marking her visit and signed the Visitors Book (making her third entry in this special book) before departing the ship. Participating in the events was Maureen Ryan, the ship's "madrina," or sponsor, at the ship's float-out from construction in January 2007. Queen Victoria’s crew lined the three tiers of the Grand Lobby when The Duchess arrived, and embarking passengers line the tiers for her departure.

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

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InnerSea Discoveries’ Wilderness Explorer Brings Active Un-Cruise Adventures
to Hawaiian Islands Beginning November 2013

Seattle, WA: Hawaii-bound vacationers looking to explore the islands next winter have a new, innovative option at hand with InnerSea Discoveries’ launch of AdventureBound Hawaii—a weeklong Active Adventure by expedition vessel. The multi-island Un-Cruise aboard the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer includes adventure activities by sea and ashore for up-close explorations of sea life and four islands—Oahu, Maui, Lana’i and Hawaii, the Big Island.

From November 2013 through April 2014, the Wilderness Explorer will sail 7-night AdventureBound Hawaii cruises between Oahu and the Big Island and reverse. The itinerary visits Ka’ena Point State Park, Wai’anae Harbor, Maui, Molokini, Lana’i, Honomalino Bay, Opihihali and Kailua-Kona. Guests will also enjoy scenic cruising and searching for whales and dolphins in the wildlife-rich Humpback National Marine Sanctuary.

“This Active Adventure Un-Cruise among the islands is packed with value and provides vacationers with an active, up-close choice as an alternative to more traditional mass market options,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “Unpack once and explore four islands with included tours and water sports activities awaiting you at your leisure.”

Guests may find themselves snorkeling with colorful fish, sea turtles, whale sharks and dolphins. Skiff tours explore the shoreline and seek out marine life. Kayaks and paddle boards await launch from the boat. A human-powered water craft quietly explores Hawaiian waters with up to eight paddlers. Search for marine life, go hiking on Oahu and Lana’i to see less visited areas of the islands, night snorkel with Giant Pacific Manta rays and explore the historic town of Kailua on the Big Island. Off Maui, guests enjoy a snorkel at Molokini, a crescent shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater rich in sea life and then explore the historic town of Lahaina.

On board, expedition guides provide interpretation on excursions ashore and at sea. Innovative meals are served buffet style to accommodate a flexible schedule of adventure activities. A wellness program includes a sauna, fitness equipment, complimentary yoga on deck and massages for a fee. Cabins feature a flatscreen TV/DVD player, iPod dock and eco-friendly bath amenities. In the lounge, guests will find a selection of games and a library of books and DVDs.

For Luxury Adventures in the Hawaiian Islands, the line’s 36-guest Safari Explorer sails 7-night cruises between Hawaii, the Big Island and Lana’i with two days of activities on Moloka’i. To book an Un-Cruise Adventure or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or InnerSea Discoveries at 888-862-8881 or email .

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Norwegian Opens Summer and Year-Round 2014 Itineraries

MIAMI: Norwegian Cruise Line has announced and opened for sale its 2014 summer and year-round cruises. The deployment includes the line’s newest and most innovative ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway in their respective homeports of New York and Miami, along with three ships in Alaska, and four in Europe for the summer. Norwegian will also continue to offer its unique Hawaii cruises year-round on Pride of America from Honolulu and short Bahamas itineraries year-round on Norwegian Sky.

“With our new ships joining the fleet combined with our existing ships sailing to a variety of destinations, we have a robust offering of exciting cruises for our guests to choose from in 2014,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “We continue to offer our guests the freedom and flexibility to cruise to summer destinations such as Europe, Alaska and Bermuda on some of the youngest ships in the industry with the most innovative programming, entertainment and dining at sea.”

Norwegian will continue its tradition of sailing from both Boston and New York City to the pink sand beaches of Bermuda between May and October 2014.

Norwegian Breakaway will enter her second season in Bermuda, sailing from New York City on seven-day cruises every Sunday from May 4, 2014 through Sept 28, 2014.

From Boston, guests can set sail on a seven-day cruise on board Norwegian Dawn, every Friday, from May 9, 2014 through Oct 31, 2014.

Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, will sail year-round from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on 7-day cruises every Saturday beginning Feb 1, 2014. Ports of call include: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Three ships will sail Alaska in the summer of 2014: Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel from Seattle, and Norwegian Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia and Whittier, Alaska.

Norwegian Jewel, departing Saturdays, will sail a series of 18 seven-day Sawyer Glacier cruises from Seattle between May 17, 2014 and Sept 13, 2014. Departing Sundays, Norwegian Pearl will set sail a series of 19 seven-day Glacier Bay itineraries from May 18, 2014 through Sept 21, 2014.

Norwegian Sun will sail from Vancouver, British Columbia to Whittier, Alaska and from Whittier to Vancouver on Mondays from May 19, 2014 through Sept 22, 2014. Sailing north from Vancouver, guests will enjoy a cruise through the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and visits to Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, Alaska. On Norwegian Sun’s Southbound itineraries from Whittier, Alaska guests will cruise the Inside Passage, Sawyer Glacier and Hubbard Glacier and enjoy stops in Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Icy Strait Point, Alaska.

Norwegian Epic will return to Europe for her fourth season, sailing a series of 24 seven-day Western Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona, Spain and from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, between May 11, 2014 and Oct 19, 2014. The itinerary features five exciting ports of call in three different countries: Italy, Spain and France and includes a stop in the very chic port of Cannes, France.

Norwegian Star will sail a series of nine-day Baltic Capitals cruises from Copenhagen, Denmark between May 19, 2014 and Sept 13, 2014. This exciting itinerary includes an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as a scenic sail through the Stockholm Archipelago following the ship’s afternoon departure from Stockholm, Sweden.

On Sept 22, 2014, Norwegian Star will embark the popular, 14-day Norway, Iceland and Faroe Islands itinerary from Copenhagen, Denmark visiting Bergen and Alesund, Norway; Lerwick, Shetland Islands; Thorshavn, Faroe Islands; Reykjavik, Iceland; Glasgow, Scotland; and Dublin, Ireland.

Norwegian Jade will sail alternating 7-day cruises to the Greek Isles and Adriatic, Greece and Turkey from Venice, Italy between May 10, 2014 and Oct 18, 2014. Guests may also choose to combine these two exciting itineraries to enjoy the ultimate 14-day adventure.

For an incredible combination of eastern and western Mediterranean itineraries, guests can embark on Norwegian Jade’s ultimate Mediterranean voyage. This one-time-only itinerary sets sail from Venice, Italy on July 12, 2014 and visits some of Europe’s most sought-after ports of call including Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Greece; Santorini, Greece; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; Cannes, France; Valletta, Malta; and Messina, Sicily.

Norwegian Spirit will offer spectacular 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyages from April 24, 2014 through Nov 2, 2014. Guests can choose to depart from either Barcelona or Venice on this incredible itinerary that visits five different countries – Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Turkey.

Bahamas & Florida
Norwegian Gem will sail from New York City on a series of 19 seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises between May 3, 2014 and Sept 6, 2014. This popular family-friendly itinerary includes a stop in Port Canaveral (Orlando and the beaches), Florida and also features exclusive Nickelodeon programming on board.

For a shorter cruise option, Norwegian Sky will continue sailing 3- and 4-day cruises to the Bahamas year-round from Miami departing Fridays and Mondays. Ports of call include: Nassau, Grand Bahama Island and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island.

Pride of America will continue to sail her 7-day Hawaii itinerary departing from Honolulu every Saturday through April 2016. Ports of call include an overnight in Kahului, Maui; Hilo, Hawai`i; Kona, Hawai`i; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kaua`i; and an afternoon cruise past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast.

To book these new sailings in conjunction with the “The Upgrade WAVE” sales event, contact a travel professional, call 866-234-7350 or visit

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American Cruise Lines Announces 2013 Alaska Guest Speakers

GUILFORD, CT: American Cruise Lines, operator of the newest riverboats and small cruise ships in the United States, has announced today the guest speakers to be featured aboard its 2013 Alaska Inside Passage cruises. Renowned enlighteners, authors, historians and naturalists have been invited to join guests onboard to offer expertise and unique insight on a range of topics, passing scenery and ports of call. Next season’s featured guest speakers include:

Todd Weber – This highly celebrated river-running historian shares with guests his appreciation for the stamina, ingenuity and character that existed in those who braved the Last Frontier. In addition to sharing the beauty and wonder of Alaska's wildlife and scenery, Weber brings its history to life with period clothing and colorful presentations.

Ian Sampson – A professional natural resources interpreter and historian, Sampson lends his skills to help guests gain an understanding of the history, culture, geology, geography, flora, and fauna of each area visited. Trained by world renowned professor and author, Sam Hamm, Sampson has accrued over 15 years of experience conducting interpretive programs in Alaska, the Northwest, and other regions of the world.

Tom Stanley – A well respected biologist with over 35 years of professional experience, Stanley has traveled on small cruise ships since 1995, sharing his knowledge of natural resources and the environment.

“Having our guest speakers aboard is really helpful to passengers; it gives context to what they’re seeing,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President, American Cruise Lines. “We are excited for our guests to spend time with these fascinating personalities. Enriching and educating our guests on each destination is an important element of every American Cruise Lines cruise and one which has earned us great praise from our guests.”

Additionally, to complement the guest speakers, when visiting Glacier Bay, a park service ranger and native cultural interpreter will join passengers aboard to provide added narration and insight. They will help guests spot wildlife, including humpback whales and orcas, share traditional songs and stories of the local Huna Tlingit people, and educate on their history and modern way of life.

Following this year’s successful inaugural season in Alaska, American Cruise Lines is again offering 7- and 11-night Alaskan itineraries aboard the 100-passenger American Spirit, including round trip cruises departing from Juneau, and one-way cruises between Juneau and Seattle. Proving popular, American Cruise Lines’ unique approach to small ship cruising in Alaska offers an intimate, pampered adventure of the Inside Passage. Aboard the newest and most elegant ship, guests enjoy top accommodations, personalized service, breathtaking views and up-close access to wildlife and glaciers.

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

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PokerTek and Carnival Award $150,000 in Prizes on the Fifth Annual
Carnival PokerPro Challenge

MATTHEWS, NC: PokerTek, Inc. continued its successful partnership with Carnival Cruise Lines by hosting the fifth annual Carnival PokerPro Challenge onboard the Carnival Magic Oct 28-Nov 4, 2012. In its fifth year, the Carnival PokerPro Challenge hosted a variety of tournaments with a total combined prize pool of $150,000, including a $50,000 prize for first place in the main tournament. Several thousand players competed throughout the year for seats at the Carnival PokerPro Challenge, and 360 players, the largest turnout yet, played in the final event.

"The Carnival PokerPro Challenge has continued to grow, and with 360 players this year we broke the 2011 Challenge record of 312 players," said Mark Roberson, PokerTek's Chief Executive Officer. "Our tournament software is unrivaled in the industry, accelerating the speed of play and providing player-friendly features such as complete real-time game information, player statistics, and live leader boards. We are truly thrilled to partner with Carnival in hosting this event each year."

Qualifying for the 2013 Carnival PokerPro Challenge has already commenced. The 2013 event will be held the week of Nov 9, 2013 on Carnival's newest ship, the Carnival Breeze, sailing from Miami to Aruba, Curacao, Grand Turk and La Romana, Dominican Republic. Players interested in playing in next year's tournament can qualify by winning a satellite tournament onboard Carnival's "Fun Ships" and at participating land-based properties. Seats are also available for purchase directly from Carnival for $750.

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Holland America Line Adds 325 Videos Detailing Ports &
Shore Excursions to its Website

SEATTLE, Dec. 6: Holland America Line has dramatically increased its video library on with the recent addition of 325 short videos showcasing the line's shore excursions in Alaska and select ports around the world.

Featuring 275 videos on Alaska tours and 53 port overviews with shore excursion details, guests can get a glimpse of select tours before departing on a cruise and deciding which ones to book. Whether it's a flightseeing tour in Anchorage, Alaska, or exploring the streets of Quebec City—the premium line's top-rated port call—the videos show the beauty and diversity of each port while highlighting a particular tour.

"Videos are the best way to show our guests what's in store when they book a tour and to let them know what they can expect," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "We have more than 4,000 shore excursions, so these videos help our guests select the right tour that fits their desires."

When in port, guests on a Holland America Line cruise can choose from several diverse shore excursions including Overland Adventures, off-the-beaten-track explorations, Signature Collection private-car touring and exclusive Medallion Collection excursions. For more information about Holland America Line's cruises and CruiseTours, consult a professional travel seller, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425), or visit

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Reveals Exciting 2013 Line Up of Special Guests

BELLEVUE, WA, Dec 6: Paul Gauguin Cruises (, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 90-guest m/v Tere Moana, proudly presents an array of 2013 itineraries with special guests appealing to a variety of interests—from the culinary arts to astronomy and marine biology.

-- Kicking off the new year, Herbert Nitsch, Champion Freediver, will be on board The Gauguin’s Jan 12, 2013, Cook Islands & Society Islands voyage; the Jan 23, 2013, Society Islands & Tuamotus sailing; and the Feb 2, 2013, cruise to the Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands. Hailed as the “Deepest Man on Earth,” Herbert Nitsch has set 32 world records in freediving and is the recognized master of the sport. During each voyage, Nitsch will provide lectures and demonstrations.

-- World-famous oceanographer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau joins several sailings aboard The Gauguin in 2013: Feb 2 to the Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands; June 26 to the Society Islands & Tuamotus; Sept 21 to the Australs & Society Islands; and Nov 2 to the Cook Islands & Society Islands. In addition to presenting lectures and videos of his work, he will accompany several dives from the ship.

-- Extreme artist Jean Francois Detaille will be aboard The Gauguin’s Feb 2, 2013, sailing to the Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands. Detaille is a classically trained fine artist with a flair for performance art combining stand-up comedy, speed painting, and audience participation. He will deliver original, one-of-a-kind, one-man shows during the voyage.

-- Diane Moore, President of Paul Gauguin Cruises, will host a special cocktail party and “town hall” meeting for guests on The Gauguin’s Feb 23, 2013, Tahiti & the Society Islands sailing. Richard Bailey, Chairman of Paul Gauguin Cruises, will host the May 11, 2013, Rome to Venice voyage aboard The Moana. Moore and Bailey will be available for informal conversations with guests throughout each cruise.

-- From the vineyards of California’s Sonoma County and Central Coast to the great estates of Bordeaux, France, Daniel Baron has learned the importance of the pursuit of excellence in winemaking. Today, he serves as winemaker for Napa Valley’s prestigious Silver Oak Cellars. Baron will be aboard The Gauguin’s March 9, 2013, Tahiti & the Society Islands sailing for a lecture and wine tasting, cocktail party, and more.

-- Dr. Chris Roelfsema has traveled the world studying coral reefs and imparting his knowledge to students at The University of Queensland in Australia. Joining Dr. Roelfsema is Diana Kleine, a project manager for CoralWatch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and education about these vital yet delicate ecosystems. They will deliver on-site lectures at the islands’ beautiful coral reefs and will also accompany dives from the ship on The Gauguin’s March 16, 2013, sailing to the Cook Islands & Society Islands.

-- Guy Buffet is famous for his whimsical portraits of chefs, waiters, and restaurant scenes. Several itineraries on The Gauguin will feature this renowned artist in 2013: May 18 and Nov 23 to the Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands; June 1 and 8 to Tahiti & the Society Islands; November 2 to the Cook Islands & Society Islands; and Nov 13 to the Society Islands & Tuamotus. Buffet will conduct lectures and art demonstrations, and offer the opportunity to purchase his signed artwork while onboard.

-- The sky above us, the seas that surround us, and the volcanoes that created the islands of French Polynesia: all are featured on a special thematic voyage to Tahiti & the Society Islands aboard The Gauguin. A series of special presentations of the complexities of our universe will be presented by astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, marine ecologist Cécile Gaspar, and marine geologist Yves Lancelot on the May 4, 2013, “Sky, Ocean & Volcanoes” voyage.

-- Chef Propriétaire of one of the finest restaurants in Paris, the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Apicius, Jean-Pierre Vigato has inspired signature menus for Paul Gauguin Cruises for several years. This celebrated chef will be aboard The Moana’s June 1, 2013, Roundtrip Istanbul voyage, and will provide culinary demonstrations featuring his gastronomic techniques.

-- James Beard award winner and critically acclaimed chef Alan Wong has made a highly successful career out of marrying elements of different ethnic cooking styles using the finest Island-grown ingredients. As his Asian roots combine with his French culinary background, east and west cuisines do not merely meet—they meld. This master of Hawaii regional cuisine will be aboard The Gauguin’s July 27, 2013, Tahiti & the Society Islands sailing, for a lecture, question-and-answer session, and cooking demonstration.

From July to October, humpback whales teem in the waters off the Australs island of Rurutu, delighting divers with their graceful antics and haunting songs. This special sanctuary will be visited on The Gauguin’s Sept 21, 2013, sailing to the Australs & Society Islands. Paul Gauguin Cruises Chairman Richard Bailey and renowned whale and dolphin expert Michael Poole host this special voyage. For rates or more information on Paul Gauguin Cruises, please contact a Travel Professional, call 800-848-6172, or visit .

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Norwegian Cruise Line Honored with Maritime Safety Award

MIAMI, Dec 6: Norwegian Cruise Line is proud to accept the 2012 Quality Ship Management Award from American Maritime Safety (AMS). This prestigious honor, which was bestowed during the maritime trade association’s annual safety awards in New York City, recognizes Norwegian’s extensive safety standards and pervasive safety culture. In presenting the award, AMS praised Norwegian’s strict adherence to safety guidelines and highlighted the implementation of quality controls systems that enhance crewmember efficiency. The organization focused on two of the line’s top safety projects, Norwegian’s Safety Culture Concept and Kaizen Project.

Norwegian’s Safety Culture Concept encompasses all of the line’s safety efforts under one umbrella, including Safety Thought of the Day, which changes automatically every 24 hours and is communicated daily to Norwegian’s team, as well as at the start and at the end of every meeting. Personal praise for good safety practices and a “no blame” environment are a high priority, along with recorded safety meetings and computer-based training modules.

The Kaizen Project seeks to increase team members’ efficiency while maintaining or raising their level of safety, and is accomplished through team member feedback. Many of the new practices that resulted from this program have been adopted fleet-wide to meet the project’s goals.

“This award is a testament to our valued team members, who work hard each and every day to provide our guests with an amazing vacation experience,” said Svein Sleipnes, Senior Vice President of Marine Operation for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are honored to accept the 2012 Quality Ship Management Award and will continue to strive for the highest safety standards for our guests and team members.”

AMS is a New York-based maritime trade association comprised of more than 400 vessel owners and operators that was established in 1988 to facilitate the maritime industry’s compliance with international shipping protocols and U.S. Coast Guard regulations.

For more information on Norwegian Cruise Line, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 866-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit

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Give The 'Gift of Fun' With Carnival's New Gift Card Program

MIAMI, Dec 5: Just in time for the holidays, Carnival Cruise Lines has launched its first-ever gift card program—a pre-paid card that can be used as payment toward a “Fun Ship” vacation or a variety of shipboard purchases. Available online at or on board Carnival’s ships, the cards are ideal for any occasion—from weddings and graduations to birthdays and anniversaries—offering consumers flexibility and convenience in their vacation purchases. The cards can be pre-loaded with funds ranging from a minimum of $10 to a maximum of $1,000.

“What better gift for friends and family than the gift of fun and great memories?” said Gus Antorcha, Carnival’s senior vice president of guest commerce. “These new gift cards are convenient and easy to use and can be applied either toward the purchase of a cruise or a wide variety of cruise-related experiences such as a relaxing spa treatment, an exciting shore excursion or a delectable meal in one of our specialty restaurants, to name a few.”

The Carnival Gift Card is simple to use—it may be applied online via the dedicated web site using the 16-digit card number, redeemed by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL, or used like cash on board as payment toward guests’ “Sail & Sign” shipboard account. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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MSC Preziosa Boasts New Aqua Park & ‘Vertigo’, the Longest Waterslide on the Waves

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Dec. 5: With less than four months to the official inaugural of its newest vessel, the MSC Preziosa, MSC Cruises is proud to announce the fleet’s latest innovative feature; the Doremi Castle Aqua Park and Vertigo.

Doremi Castle Aqua Park (located on MSC Preziosa’s deck 16) boasts an exhilarating pathway of water features on raised platforms including sprays, fountains, water pistols and valves, each designed to splash, soak and delight in equal measures. A drenching bucket builds suspense by filling up drip by drip over unsuspecting heads, ready to rain down from on high, while the area’s water cannons encourage mischievous fun between friends.

Next to the park (on deck 18), thrill seekers can embark on the wildest ride on the waves through 394 feet of fabulous twists and turns some even off the side of the ship. Certain sections of the slide have been enhanced with translucent bands of color which catch light, creating a strobe effect as guests zip through at top speed.

— MSC Preziosa’s waterslide is over 42 feet high, and 394 feet. long, with a diameter of 3 feet.
— The maximum weight of each rider is 330 pounds, and the minimum height is 47 inches.
— Riders will travel at an average speed of 20 feet per second.

As the Vertigo slide shoots out over the edge of the ship, a 30-ft. transparent stretch allows riders to experience “flying over water” with unobstructed views of the ocean below. Spectators who won’t dare ride for themselves can enjoy the adventurous views from decks below. Access to the Vertigo waterslide and waterpark are complimentary. Hours of the waterslide are likely to fluctuate depending on itinerary and season, so guests should check times daily.

While children under 47 inches are not permitted to ride the Vertigo waterslide, a slew of fun features, including double and single slides, will ignite imaginations and spark creativity for MSC Preziosa’s smallest guests. Children’s Club staff supervise the area daily. As a family-owned company, MSC prides itself in ensuring that there’s never a dull moment for families on board, with abundant features that appeal to children, teenagers and the young at heart.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or call 1-877-665-4655.

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SeaDream’s “End of the World” Promotion for Amazon Voyages 2013

Miami, FL, Dec 5: SeaDream Yacht Club assumes the Mayan calendar is wrong, and the world won’t be ending as they predict on Dec. 21. In fact, SeaDream is giving you and your friends reason to celebrate this month with a just announced, never offered before promotion; “Explore the Amazon and Your Friends Sail Free” for select 2013 Amazon voyages.

The 112 guest, luxury mega-yacht, SeaDream II will be sailing The Amazon in February and March 2013. SeaDream’s “Explore the Amazon and Your Friends Sail Free” promotion is valid for new Amazon bookings on voyage #21307A, #21308, #21310 and #21311B between Dec. 5-10, 2012. “This is an amazing opportunity to sail with friends & family not to be missed. It’s the Amazon, it’s the top rated ‘Boutique Ship’ in the world and its unique voyages hosted by a team of expert guides, naturalists and professional photographer” said Bob Lepisto, SeaDream’s President.

SeaDream sailed the Amazon in 2012 and returns again in 2013 with more voyage selections (from 7 to 20 days long) and unique, Upper-Amazon voyages sailing 7-days roundtrip from Iquitos, Peru. The Amazon is not included in 2014’s itineraries, so the line suggests those interested not miss The Amazon in 2013.

SeaDream is the only luxury vessel of its size to sail the Upper-Amazon. The intermediate ports for the Upper-Amazon voyages #21308 & #21310 include Leticia, Colombia; Panelas, Brazil; Jutai, Brazil; Santo Antonio do Ica, Brazil; Amatura, Brazil; Monkey Island, Colombia and Pebas, Peru. At the end of each day’s jungle adventures, guests return to their comfortable expedition base; SeaDream II.

2013 Amazon Highlights:

• SeaDream II will sail two 20-night voyages; Bridgetown, Barbados to Iquitos, Peru and the return.
Ports of call include Devil's Island, French Guiana; Parintins, Brazil; Manaus, Brazil; Panelas, Brazil; Leticia, Colombia and more.
A team of Naturalists will be aboard all Amazon voyages providing in depth information about the great river wilderness in addition to guiding guests on land & water exploration.
Award-winning Professional Photographer, Sue Flood will be aboard sharing her tips and techniques as she documents each voyage in photos made available to guests.
Excursions feature the jungle’s exotic plants and animals, Amazonian tribes, museums and markets.
SeaDream hosts their Champagne and Caviar Splash™ on one of Brazil’s best beaches in Alter do Chao.
Near Leticia, Colombia guests will arrive by zodiac to "Monkey Island", a sanctuary for monkeys and an opportunity to hand feed squirrel monkeys.
In Panelas, Brazil guests on zodiacs skim past massive lily pads and peer up at towering ceiba trees as they are taken to an area noted for its sloths, monkeys and Tamandua anteaters.

To compliment Amazon voyages, guests may book a pre- or post-cruise land based travel program to Machu Picchu. SeaDream has teamed up with experienced local partners and together have created insightful excursions through Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Tours include accommodations in five-star hotels, transportation on the Orient Express luxury train, the Hiram Bingham and more. Expertly escorted by specially selected local licensed guides, these are authentic cultural experiences designed for the sophisticated traveler.

About “Explore the Amazon and Your Friends Sail Free”

Promotion applicable to voyage number 21307A, 21308, 21310, 21311B only. Both paid stateroom and complimentary stateroom are double occupancy for the voyage only. New bookings only made between Dec. 5-10, 2012. Not combinable with any other savings or promotions. All guest names and payment must be provided at the time of booking. No offer extensions. Limit 2 complimentary staterooms per party. Complimentary stateroom to be assigned by SeaDream prior to sailing. Complimentary stateroom must be booked at the time of paid stateroom booking. No name changes. No TBA names. Government, Port, Document Issuance, Handling & Service charges per person per day for all guests are additional. Singles accepted at 200%. Yacht's Registry: Bahamas. Mention Promo Code: AMZNB1G1.

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Royal Caribbean Expands Partnership with DreamWorks Animation

MIAMI, Dec. 4: Vacationers of all ages will have more choices to join in the high-seas hijinks of Pandas, Ogres, Lions, Dragons and other beloved characters with a knack for adventure and comedy. Royal Caribbean International and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. announced the extension of their groundbreaking alliance, as well as the expansion of The DreamWorks Experience to a sixth-ship, Mariner of the Seas, when she arrives in the Far East in May 2013. The DreamWorks Experience was first launched aboard Allure of the Seas in November 2010, with beloved character Princess Fiona of the “Shrek” franchise inaugurating the ship as godmother, and continues to impress guests and receive accolades. The award-winning entertainment has since been expanded aboard Oasis of the Seas, sailing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Freedom of the Seas from Port Canaveral on Florida’s Space Coast; Liberty of the Seas, which splits her year between Port Everglades and Barcelona, Spain; and recently, Voyager of the Seas in the Far East and Australia and New Zealand.

“Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line to offer the DreamWorks Experience to vacationers throughout the world and we are delighted to expand our partnership with DreamWorks,” said Lisa Bauer, executive vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “The DreamWorks Experience really resonates with our guests since we launched it aboard Allure of the Seas. We worked with DreamWorks Animation to create an incomparable entertainment experience for our guests, no matter what their age, and their feedback has been nothing short of stellar.”

The DreamWorks Experience premiered aboard Allure of the Seas when the ship launched in late 2010 and uniquely features Let You Entertain Me: The Madagascar Aqua Show in the ship’s AquaTheater and How to Train Your Dragon Ice Show in Studio B ice rink. The ship also hosted South Florida’s Puss in Boots premier in 2011, attended by stars Selma Hayek and Antonio Banderas.

“Royal Caribbean continues to be the perfect host for the DreamWorks Experience and this expansion agreement ensures that more and more fans will have the opportunity to interact with our characters and properties,” said Kerry Phelan, Head of Worldwide Licensing for DreamWorks Animation.

Already, more vacationers around the world are reveling in the spectacular colorful parades and surprise character appearances, as part of the DreamWorks Experience, with the debut of Voyager of the Seas in the Far East and Australia and New Zealand. Having just completed her first season sailing from China, Voyager of the Seas arrived in Sydney this past November to combine the DreamWorks Experience with unforgettable South Pacific cruises and cruisetours.

Year-round, vacationers can join in the DreamWorks Experience aboard Freedom of the Seas, sailing weekly from Port Canaveral along Florida’s Space Coast, and Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Furthermore, Liberty of the Seas exclusively offers the DreamWorks Experience in the Mediterranean Sea in the summer season and is a fourth Caribbean option in the winter season.

Every Royal Caribbean ship with the DreamWorks Experience features parades, themed activities and events based on DreamWorks Animation’s popular feature-film characters, including Po of “Kung Fu Panda;” Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of “Shrek;” and Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, and the Penguins from “Madagascar.” Each ship also is equipped with a 3-D movie theater playing the latest DreamWorks Animation films, such as the summer blockbuster “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted in 3-D.”

Royal Caribbean’s younger guests in the complimentary award-winning Adventure Ocean children’s program can relish in an exhilarating line-up of activities, games and adventures rooted in the popular DreamWorks Animation films. Guests of all ages can meet their favorite DreamWorks characters over the DreamWorks Character breakfast in the main dining room and take advantage of plenty of photo opportunities throughout the day. Additionally, guests can enjoy DreamWorks Animation programming on a dedicated RCTV channel in every stateroom.

For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Disney Cruise Line Unveils Itineraries and Ports for 2014

CELEBRATION, FL, Dec. 4: The white sand beaches and azure waters of Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, take center stage in the early half of 2014 voyages for Disney Cruise Line. With all four Disney ships sailing from Florida ports, not only will guests have more options to visit Castaway Cay, but they may combine their cruise with a visit to Walt Disney World Resort and experience the expanded Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.

In the early part of 2014, the Disney Magic will return to Port Canaveral, Fla., joining the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, while the Disney Wonder will homeport in Miami. During this time, guests will have more opportunities than ever to enjoy a Disney cruise that visits Disney’s private island in the Bahamas reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, Castaway Cay.

Caribbean and Bahamas from Port Canaveral

In 2014, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral to the Caribbean and Bahamas on a variety of itineraries. Every cruise departing from Port Canaveral includes a stop at Castaway Cay. The itineraries also offer families magical days at sea to explore all of the fun aboard their Disney cruise ship and days in port to lounge on warm, golden beaches, swim and snorkel in azure waters or to shop to their heart’s content in local marketplaces.

Three-night Bahamian sailings are perfect for a quick getaway.
Ports: Port Canaveral, Nassau, Castaway Cay
Dates: Disney Dream departures Jan.-Aug., 2014; Disney Magic departures Jan.-May, 2014

Four-night Bahamian sailings include a day at sea to sample the one-of-a-kind Disney Cruise Line shipboard experience.
Ports: Port Canaveral, Nassau, Castaway Cay
Dates: Disney Dream departures Jan.-Aug., 2014; Disney Magic departures Jan.-May, 2014

Seven-night Eastern Caribbean. The Disney Fantasy will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises, including St. Maarten and St. Thomas with three days at sea.
Ports: Port Canaveral, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Castaway Cay
Dates: Disney Fantasy departures Jan.-Aug., 2014

Seven-night Western Caribbean. The Disney Fantasy will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Western Caribbean cruises, including Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel with two days at sea.
Ports: Port Canaveral, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Castaway Cay
Dates: Disney Fantasy departures Jan.-April, 2014

Seven-night Western Caribbean, including Jamaica. At Falmouth, Jamaica, guests can sample the city’s history and culture, taste Jamaica’s signature jerk recipes, enjoy lush tropical scenery on a bamboo raft river ride and visit the spectacular Dunn’s River Falls located nearby.
Ports: Port Canaveral, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Castaway Cay
Departure dates: Disney Fantasy departures May-Aug., 2014

Bahamas and Western Caribbean from Miami (Jan.-May, 2014)

In 2014, the Disney Wonder will sail from Miami on four-night Bahamian and five-night Western Caribbean cruises.

Four-night Bahamas
Ports: Miami, Castaway Cay, Nassau, Key West
Departure dates: Jan. 15, 29, Feb. 12, 26, March 12, 26, April 9, 23

Five-night Caribbean
Ports: Miami, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Departure dates: Jan. 10, 24, Feb. 7, 21, March 7, 21, April 4, 18

Five-night Caribbean, including Castaway Cay
Ports: Miami, Cozumel, Castaway Cay
Departure dates: Jan. 19, Feb. 2, 16, March 2, 16, 30, April 13, 27

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

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Miami Artist David "LEBO" Le Batard Unveils His Design for
Norwegian Getaway's Hull Artwork

MIAMI – December 3, 2012 – Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that popular Miami modern artist and muralist David “LEBO” Le Batard has been commissioned to paint the signature hull artwork for Norwegian Getaway, launching in January 2014. At an event held at LEBO’s Wynwood studio, the company also revealed the hull artwork, which features a whimsical tropical ocean theme complete with a mermaid holding the sun, pelicans and palm trees, befitting the ship’s year-round home port of Miami.

“Norwegian Getaway will be Miami’s ship and, therefore, we wanted to ensure that her hull was designed by an artist with strong ties to Miami and the Latin community,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Having begun his career in South Florida, Dave is an artist that is entrenched here. His work adorns the city and I’ve learned that he is also a genuinely nice guy. He is a shining star in Miami, as well as the global art community.”

Born in New York City in 1972 to Cuban émigré parents, LEBO was raised in South Florida and was heavily influenced by Miami’s Cuban art scene.

“Having grown up in South Florida, the ocean has been an immense presence in my life and has been infused into my work as an artist,” said David “LEBO” Le Batard. “When I was asked to design the artwork for Norwegian Getaway, I saw an opportunity to create a prominent image, one that would surely help define the Miami seascape and illustrate the world-class experience that Norwegian Cruise Line has come to stand for. It is truly an honor to have been offered this canvas, as it gives the world an opportunity to see my work in a way few artists ever get to see in their entire lives.”

According to LEBO, Norwegian Getaway’s hull art design is centered on a mythical mermaid, an iconic image that represents humanity’s connection to the sea, and features her seemingly skimming across the surface of the water. Surrounding the mermaid is a fusion of sea and sky dancing across the ship, where three pelicans gracefully glide along in the artist’s version of a tropical paradise.

“LEBO’s incredible design reflects all of the elements that Miami is known for – sea, sun and paradise,” said Sheehan. “This artwork will surely make Norwegian Getaway an iconic part of the Miami skyline when she arrives as Miami’s largest year-round ship in 2014.”

With paintings on exhibition in museums and galleries worldwide including Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Toronto, South Africa, Germany and Italy, LEBO is one of Miami’s most beloved and predominant Modern artists. His murals and site-specific installations have energized communities such as Miami’s Calle Ocho, Uptown New Orleans and downtown San Francisco. Inspired by his work on Norwegian Getaway, LEBO will be revealing his latest series of paintings, entitled “Where our souls meet the sea,” during Art Basel week in Miami.

Currently being built at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Getaway will be 146,600 gross tons and offer a wide range of accommodations. The ship represents an opportunity for the Norwegian guest to “get away” from the routine of work, school, and daily stress, and find a true respite at sea that reflects the energy and culture that Miami is known for worldwide.

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

Norwegian Getaway will sail 7n-day cruises from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on February 1, 2014, with ports of call including Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Information on Norwegian Getaway’s accommodations and itinerary can be found at To book a cruise on Norwegian Getaway, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 or visit

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Celebrity Cruises Celebrates Naming of Celebrity Reflection

MIAMI, Dec 3: Modern luxury brand Celebrity Cruises has formally named the fifth in its five-ship Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Reflection. Presiding over the ceremony December 1 were the ship’s four Godmothers – all employees of the company whose lives have been touched by breast cancer: Celebrity Reflection AquaSpa Manager Jovanka Goronjic; Solstice Class Hot Glass Show Artist Megan Mathie; shoreside Community Relations Manager Helen O'Connell; and shoreside Special Events Manager Rosey Rodriguez. Each took the stage with Chairman & CEO Richard D. Fain, Celebrity's President & CEO Michael Bayley, and Celebrity Reflection Captain Nicholas Pagonis, together with three of the Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection's sister ships, in a naming ceremony tradition unique to Celebrity.

Among the ship's multiple new, guest-inspired attributes are five 441-square-foot "Signature Suites" with 118-square-foot verandas; the brand's first "AquaClass Suites," building on the popularity of Celebrity's spa-inspired AquaClass staterooms, by adding additional space and 24/7 butler service to the host of amenities already associated with AquaClass; the jaw-dropping "Reflection Suite," a two-bedroom suite with a total of 1,636 square feet and 194-square-foot veranda, and a distinctive, all-glass shower extending out over the edge of the ship.

Celebrity Reflection also presents an entirely new, multi-functional Conference Center, and the host of industry-first venues and experiences introduced on Celebrity Silhouette in 2011, including the interactive “Lawn Club Grill,” where guests can select and grill their own meats side-by-side with Celebrity’s expert chefs, or have them cooked to order; the relaxing, private, wi-fi-equipped cabanas called “The Alcoves”; “The Porch,” a breezy, casual dining spot

offering sandwiches, coffees and captivating views of the sea and the ship’s lush lawn, and “The Art Studio,” where vacationers can bring out their inner artist. The ship also presents another venue first introduced on Celebrity Silhouette, “The Hideaway,” an intimate, quiet space reminiscent of a childhood tree house, not to mention the diverse array of other modern venues and attributes already associated with Celebrity’s Solstice Class ships.

Celebrity Reflection embarks on her inaugural Caribbean season with roundtrip 7-night sailings from Miami beginning Dec 8.

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Drumming Wonders 'Recycled Percussion' Bring High-Energy Act
 To Holland America Line

SEATTLE, Dec. 3: Holland America Line is featuring Recycled Percussion, a four-member band whose high-energy rock act involves ladders, buckets, power tools and electric guitars, on five Caribbean sailings on ms Nieuw Amsterdam and ms Westerdam.

Recycled Percussion was the highest-placed non-singing act on "America's Got Talent" and has enjoyed extended runs at both the MGM Grand and Tropicana in Las Vegas. Their fast-paced, highly interactive, audience-participation and family-friendly shows involve lots of drumming on objects ranging from 12-foot-tall ladders to low-tech drum kits suspended upside-down at center stage as well as sounds produced by household appliances (vacuum cleaners, fans) and power tools (circular saws, drills).

"Recycled Percussion currently is one of Las Vegas' hottest acts, and we're excited to bring them on board our ships," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "This exciting show has been a big hit with our guests and is a unique type of entertainment experience in the industry."

Recycled Percussion sailed recently on the first of five exclusive Caribbean cruises they will perform on, sailing roundtrip Fort Lauderdale on msNieuw Amsterdam on Nov. 18 and Dec. 2, and ms Westerdam on Nov. 25. Upcoming cruises include msWesterdam on Dec. 9 and msNieuw Amsterdam on Dec. 16.

Upon entering the ship's main show lounge, audience members receive a drumstick and a special instrument to join in creating the music and energy that has made Recycled Percussion Las Vegas' most interactive act. The band showcases their extreme talents while featuring a variety of musical genres, from rock n' roll to today's hits. To accommodate the show, Holland America installed the elaborate "Great Wall of Percussion," a suspended 3,000-pound set that has four drum kits created from cans and recycled buckets. The band is strapped into seats at the drum kits and perform as the wall rotates from upright to upside-down.

For more information about Holland America Line's cruises and CruiseTours, consult a professional travel seller, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Crystal's 2013 Northern Europe: Shorter Itineraries, More Overnights, & More Variety

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3: Shorter summer voyages with more overnight calls highlight Crystal Cruises' Baltic, Scandinavian, and British Isles cruise collection. Beginning June 8 aboard the award-winning Crystal Serenity, three new seven-day itineraries and five 10-day luxury cruises will take guests to some of the region's most beautiful, culturally significant cities and landscapes in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Estonia, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Russia and the UK, including Ireland. Crystal's Northern Europe cruises also offer a more than 25% increase in local overnights, with double the nights in Copenhagen alone.

"Summer is a spectacular time to explore Northern Europe," says Jack Anderson, senior vice president, sales and marketing. "The shorter voyages offer guests more convenient options for families and busy travelers to explore the history, culture, and beauty of the region."

While Crystal has traditionally presented 11- and 12-day Baltic itineraries, the new, carefully-crafted voyages offer abundant port time to delve into each destination's distinct charm. Several overnight stays allow travelers to immerse themselves in the sights, smells and sounds of each locale, with nearly all the voyages offering overnights at the cruise's start and end, and/or mid-cruise, including two nights in storied St. Petersburg.

Expanded destination options also add more choice for travelers in Scandinavia and Britain. Two new seven-day UK cruises sail to and from Dublin for the first time, and a new seven-day London-Copenhagen sailing marks the line's return to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Zeebrugge, Belgium; and Helsingborg, Sweden for the first time in several years.

Not all of Crystal's Northern European itineraries are 10 days or under. A 15-day North Cape voyage makes a maiden call to Loen and rare visit to Olden, Norway. North Cape and back-to-back Scandinavia/Russia cruises can be combined for further exploration, ease and luxury. Additionally, three Crystal Symphony cruises sail through Reykjavic, Iceland, expanding Crystal's Northern European presence beyond the Baltic.

Enhancing guests' experience of the locales, Crystal's acclaimed land programs for the 2013 Northern Europe season feature hundreds of uniquely crafted shoreside experiences, from UNESCO World Heritage Sites and elegant evening performances, to hands-on culinary instruction and adventurous exploration of the area's natural wonders.

Crystal's passion for creating exceptional itineraries and exclusive, eye-opening shore-side experiences that connect guests to the world and to each other has earned the company top accolades for more than two decades. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

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MSC Cruises Unveils a Sanctuary of Serenity With Top 18 Exclusive Solarium

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2012) - Designed exclusively for MSC Cruises’ Fantasia class ships, MSC travelers will soon be able to soak up the sun in style at the new Top 18 Exclusive Solarium, an adults-only sanctuary of serenity boasting premium deck space and stunning sea views. MSC’s Top 18 Exclusive Solarium will be available from the beginning of the 2013 summer season on the top decks of MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia, MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa (MSC’s newest ship, which will be christened in March 2013).

“We are excited to introduce another luxury feature to our Fantasia class vessels,” said Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc. “With the MSC Divina arriving in PortMiami in Fall 2013, we want cruisers to know that MSC is committed to offering a quality, cosmopolitan experience.”

With its own dedicated spa service, bar menu and comfortable lounge setting, Top 18 is the perfect venue to relax and unwind surrounded by incredible ocean vistas. As guests are greeted at a private entrance (on deck 18), they are provided a refreshing chilled towel and escorted to their own personal lounge beds, where they can idly spend the day enjoying their own serene seaside respite. For those who prefer unwinding in the shade, wide-brimmed “relaxation pods” are also made available.

Perfect for couples seeking a romantic hideaway, groups of friends, and for moms and dads eager for quiet time, every detail of the Top 18 experience has been specially designed to provide a soothing oasis from sunrise to sunset.

Top 18 guests will also revel in a variety of specially tailored spa treatments available right on deck. Exclusive reflexology and facial treatments can be enjoyed without leaving the comfort of Top 18’s personal lounge beds, while various head, neck and shoulder massages are available from the solarium’s private massage chairs. Lasting up to 20 minutes, these express treatments are the perfect way to instantly de-stress and re-energize mind and body.

While sunbathing, guests stay hydrated and quenched with a water mister, extensive Tiki bar menu offering a delectable variety of nutritious drinks and coolers and complimentary fresh fruit skewers offered throughout the day. Your choice of alcoholic beverages are also available at Top 18.

Daily and cruise-long access passes for MSC’s Top 18 can be purchased at the ships’ reception areas or directly at the entrance to the solarium. Full day passes are priced starting at 15 euros and weekly passes at 80 euros.

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Princess Cruises Ships Deck the Halls for a Festive Holiday Season at Sea

SANTA CLARITA, CA: As the holiday season begins, Princess Cruises ships are getting ready to celebrate this joyful time of year around the world. Whether they are sailing through the islands of the Caribbean and South Pacific or cruising through the waters Down Under in Australia and New Zealand, the ships will be decked from stem to stern, and may even experience an unusual snowfall.

“Our ships offer the perfect holiday combination – a relaxing warm-weather vacation mixed with the merriment of Christmas as well as the celebrations of Hanukkah and the chance to ring in the New Year,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “And don’t be surprised to see snowflakes falling in the atrium.”

Now a favorite holiday feature on Princess ships, most ships offer a daily snowfall using an innovative snow-making process that creates falling flakes that vanish on contact, letting passengers enjoy the excitement of snow flurries without the need to bundle up. Even when the snow isn’t coming down, Princess ships will feature a merry atmosphere. Vessels are decked out in holiday décor – even including a Christmas tree on many vessels’ masts – and strolling carolers fill the air with the sounds of the season.

Passengers will keep busy with special season activities, including a “gingerbread challenge,” where teams test their holiday house-building skills in a fun-filled competition to construct the most creative gingerbread structure. Kids can test their holiday craft skills by creating a personalized ornament. Turkey-carving demonstrations will prepare passengers to do the honors at their next holiday feast.

Special events also include a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” for children by either the captain or cruise director, and a holiday variety show adds a seasonal element to the ship’s entertainment offerings. For those who can’t get enough of Christmas carols, the ships’ Princess Pop Star talent show will feature a holiday edition where competitors can croon their favorite seasonal songs.

Religious services are held as well, and passengers can attend midnight mass or an inter-denominational church service. Passengers will receive a stocking turndown gift and can enjoy classic holiday films or even relax in front of a traditional burning Yule log … on their stateroom television!

Holiday Feasts – Each Princess ship’s culinary team will delight the senses with spectacular holiday displays and will serve up several delicious feasts. A sumptuous Christmas breakfast includes complimentary eggnog. On Christmas Day, passengers will sit down to a dinner of traditional holiday fare including roast turkey and all the trimmings. Freshly prepared stollen and Christmas cookies (even some for Santa) round out the seasonal treats.

Christmas For Children – Junior cruisers can count down to the big day with special holiday activities. Santa Claus makes an appearance with a gift for each child, and a fun-filled holiday fair in the atrium offers youngsters the opportunity to try their hand at Christmas cookie decorating, balloon making, face painting, games and other competitions. The youth centers will host holiday parties for each age group, and kids can make decorations to display on the center’s Christmas tree. Youngsters can get creative with other holiday-themed arts and crafts projects throughout the cruise, and they will have an opportunity to sing Christmas carols for passengers. For parents who want to stay up later to celebrate the holidays, free late-night group kid sitting sessions will be available on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Hanukkah – For passengers celebrating the Festival of Lights, beginning December 8 a special area of the ship is reserved for those participating in Hanukkah events. Ships display menorahs and fresh flower arrangements decorated in blue, silver and white. Children also get into the act with themed arts and crafts relating to the holiday.

Happy New Year – Passengers can ring in 2013 with fun-filled New Year's Eve parties, complete with all the festivities: music, confetti, noise-makers and a balloon drop to count down to the new year. Earlier in the evening, the dinner menu will feature special treats just for New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, football fans will be pleased to know they won’t miss the holiday’s traditional college bowl games, as the telecasts will be shown (as available by satellite) on the giant Movies Under the Stars screens or in shipboard lounges.

The 16-ship Princess fleet will cover the globe this holiday season, with sailings to the Caribbean, Mexico, the Panama Canal, Australia/New Zealand, South America, Hawaii and the South Pacific. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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