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Cruise News
May 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

Princess Cruises to Base Ship Year Round in San Francisco

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 4: Princess Cruises announced today that for the first time it will base a ship in San Francisco year round, beginning in May 2013. The extensively renovated Grand Princess will first offer a series of Alaska cruises during the summer months from the "City by the Bay," followed by a schedule of Hawaiian Islands, Mexico and the California Coast sailings during the fall 2013 to spring 2014 season. Last year the 2,600-passenger Grand Princess underwent the largest drydock in Princess Cruises history, adding a host of new features so that passengers will enjoy the same onboard experience as offered by the line's other newer ships.

"Princess has been cruising from San Francisco nearly as long as our company has been in operation, so we have a rich history with the city, and we are the leading cruise line homeporting there," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "Our Bay Area passengers and travel agents have long been asking for more cruise options from San Francisco and our new year-round schedule with Grand Princess will now give them a great selection of itinerary choices, plus the benefit of sailing on a ship that offers our signature features and amenities."

"Princess ships have been cruising from San Francisco for more than 40 years, and we greatly appreciate the company's longstanding partnership with our city," said Monique Moyer, executive director of the Port of San Francisco. "We are delighted to now have our first year-round ship based here, and it is a natural fit that the vessel is the caliber of Grand Princess. Having this ship sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and berth at the foot of Coit Tower will be spectacular, both for the guests on board and the people of San Francisco."

During the 2013-14 season Grand Princess will sail roundtrip from San Francisco to:

Alaska - Grand Princess' first Alaska season features 10-day Inside Passage sailings. The ship will offer 13 voyages featuring the stunning scenery of Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm, with calls at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria. Cruises depart between May 10 and September 7, 2013.

Mexico - Grand Princess will offer two sailings on a new 10-day itinerary to Mexico, featuring two new ports for Princess - Loreto and La Paz, both in Baja California. Passengers will also enjoy calls at Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Sailings depart on September 17, 2013 and March 5, 2014.

California Coastal - An increasingly popular Princess itinerary, Grand Princess will take passengers to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles (Long Beach), San Diego, and Ensenada. Four sailings are offered on September 27 and October 19, 2013; plus March 15 and April 6, 2014.

Hawaiian Islands - Passengers can explore each of the main Hawaiian islands on this 15-day voyage to the Big Island (Hilo), Oahu (Honolulu), Kauai (Nawiliwili), Maui (Lahaina), and Ensenada. Grand Princess will offer 12 departures between October 4, 2013 and April 28, 2014.

During last year's drydock Grand Princess added a variety of passenger amenities, including a completely new Piazza atrium, several new eateries - including Alfredo's Pizzeria and the Crown Grill - and the line's first specialty tea lounge called Leaves. Also included in the renovation were a remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery; enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner's Martini Lounge and a new nightclub, The One5.

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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President George H.W. Bush & Former First Lady Barbara Bush Sail First Transatlantic
Crossing aboard Cunard’s Flagship Queen Mary 2

May 4: The 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, and former First Lady Barbara Bush, joined by their daughter, Dorothy, and granddaughter, Georgia, sailed their first Transatlantic Crossing aboard Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 this week. The 7-day voyage originated in Southampton, England, on 27 April and arrived into New York this morning.

Upon embarking in Southampton, they received a White Star welcome in the ship’s Commodore Club by Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line; David Dingle, CEO, Carnival UK; Captain Kevin Oprey, master of Queen Mary 2; and John Duffy, the ship’s hotel manager. During the greeting, President Bush was heard to say of their Queen Mary 2 voyage, “I've been looking forward to this for weeks!” Barbara Bush agreed, “You've been talking about nothing else for months!”

“We are honored to have welcomed President Bush and his family as guests aboard Queen Mary 2,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “Throughout our history, countless dignitaries have enjoyed the height of leisure and luxury offered aboard Cunard’s Transatlantic Crossings, and we are pleased that the President now joins in that legacy.”

During the voyage, the President and First Lady enjoyed production shows in the Royal Court Theatre, experienced the world-class Canyon Ranch SpaClub® and attended one of Cunard’s new Apple iStudy enrichment classes. By night, they could be seen dining with the captain, as well as in the Queens Grill Restaurant, La Piazza and Queen Mary 2’s specialty restaurant, Todd English.

"Barbara and I have always wanted to make a Crossing, and it gives us great joy to be able to do so aboard Queen Mary 2 with our family and close friends. We have enjoyed the voyage from its beginning, and our experience has been made even better by the amazing crew and staff. We will always have fond memories of our Transatlantic Crossing,” said President Bush.

Cunard’s legendary Transatlantic Crossings reflect the pinnacle of adventure and civility in ocean travel. Queen Mary 2 is the only liner offering regularly scheduled Transatlantic service, ranging from seven-day voyages between New York and Southampton, England, to eight- and nine-day Crossings offered to Hamburg, Germany. Travel aboard Queen Mary 2 offers the ultimate luxury cruise vacation, rich in classic British traditions, fine cuisine and stimulating on board enrichment. This year’s season includes several new offerings, such as new theatrical productions, jazz music workshops, lecture programmes, dining menus and spa treatments.

Cunard Line, operator of the luxury ocean liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, has long been synonymous with the quest for new discoveries and the epitome of British refinement since the company's first paddle-wheeled steamer, Britannia, crossed the Atlantic in 1840. Cunard voyages bring together like-minded travellers who seek a civilised adventure and relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star Service, gourmet dining and world-class entertainment. Today, Cunard offers the only regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic liner service and continues the legacy of world cruising which it began in 1922. For more information about Queen Mary 2 or to book a voyage, consult your Travel Agent, call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6723 or go to

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Princess Cruises Opens the Books on 2013-2014 Exotics and Americas Sailings

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 3: Princess Cruises today opened its 2013-2014 Americas and Exotics cruises for booking, offering a variety of vacation options from close-to-home cruises to far-flung worldwide adventures. The season includes a new series of shorter cruises in the Caribbean and along the West Coast, the line’s first year-round ship based in San Francisco, and the Caribbean debut of the new Royal Princess. Passengers can now book cruises to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, West Coast, Hawaii, Mexico, South America, the South Pacific, Asia & Africa, Australia & New Zealand, as well as a 100-day World Cruise. In total, the line’s 17 ships will sail on more than 400 cruises on 90 itineraries to 182 destinations around the globe. Together the ships will debut seven new ports--Loreto, La Paz and Progreso in Mexico; Komodo Island, Indonesia; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Rouen, France; and Kangaroo Island, Australia.

Among the new offerings debuting this season are Princess’ first-ever series of shorter cruises. These 3- to 5-day sailings are perfect for a quick break or as a way to sample the Princess experience. In the Caribbean, passengers can enjoy 4- and 5-day sailings aboard Ruby Princess visiting one to three ports, while on the West Coast, 3- and 4-day cruises aboard Golden Princess head for a variety of Southern California destinations.

Also for the first time, Princess will have a year-round ship based in San Francisco, giving the line two West Coast homeports, with an expanded schedule of cruising from California. Bay Area cruisers will now be able to sail aboard the extensively renovated Grand Princess throughout the year to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and on the line’s popular California Coastal cruises, never before offered from San Francisco. Another highlight of the new program is the line’s largest ever deployment to the Caribbean, including the first season for the new Royal Princess, which will be based in Ft. Lauderdale for a series of Eastern Caribbean cruises.

“With sailings from three days to 100 days, this cruise season really does offer something for everyone,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Those looking for a quick break will love our new shorter cruise options, while our most adventurous passengers will find an extensive collection of enticing areas of the world to explore.”

Highlights of the 2013-2014 Americas and Exotics seasons include:

Asia & Africa – Two ships will sail to the wonders of Asia and Africa with 17 itineraries that can take passengers to more than 60 destinations. Diamond Princess passengers can explore the best of Asia on a 17-day Grand Asia voyage between Beijing and Bangkok or Singapore, while small ship Ocean Princess offers a variety of intriguing adventures, including a 30-day West Africa cruise from Cape Town to London, and a 31-day voyage from Singapore to Cape Town. Travelers can also choose optional overland excursions to “must see” UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Taj Mahal and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat on select voyages.

Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific – Pacific islands and “Down Under” destinations are the main attraction on 27 itineraries throughout the season, with five ships sailing on 76 voyages. Diamond Princess will again sail between Sydney and Auckland on 12-day Australia & New Zealand cruises, while Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, and Sea Princess will offer a variety of “Aussie Experience” sailings-–offering authentic Aussie-style food, music and ambience--from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, to a variety of “Down Under” and South Pacific destinations. Ocean Princess will return to the heart of the South Pacific for a series of 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia and 11-day Hawaii & Tahiti cruises. Passengers who want to see more of Australia can choose from several land & sea vacations that visit iconic UNESCO sites such as Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kakadu National Park in the Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, and Hayman Island.

Canada & New England – Two ships, Caribbean Princess and Emerald Princess, return to offer sailings along the Eastern seaboard to see the spectacular fall scenery. Itinerary options include 7-day roundtrip sailings from New York and 10-day itineraries between New York and Quebec. In addition, a 14-day voyage from Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale will take passengers along the full eastern coast. All itineraries with Quebec City include an overnight in this historic city. For passengers wanting to extend their vacation, Princess offers cruisetour options with land tours to fabled sites of Colonial America or fascinating Canadian cities including Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

Caribbean – Princess’ largest deployment ever in the Caribbean features five ships sailing on more than 160 voyages of 14 different itineraries. Sailings range from four to 20 days, and depart from Ft. Lauderdale and Galveston. The new Royal Princess will make her North American debut, starting with a 5-day Eastern Caribbean cruise followed by a program of popular 7-day Eastern Caribbean sailings. The season also sees a new series of 4- and 5-day cruises on Ruby Princess, offering quick getaway options featuring one to three ports. Other Caribbean options include Crown Princess sailing on 7-day Southern Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean itineraries; Caribbean Princess sailing from Galveston on 7-day Western Caribbean voyages; and Emerald Princess sailing on two 10-day options to the Southern or Eastern Caribbean.

Panama Canal – Princess continues to lead the way in Panama Canal cruising with Coral Princess and Island Princess offering full seasons of cruising this landmark waterway. A variety of full-transit options include 15-day sailings between Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles, and select 15-day Canal voyages featuring Princess’ signature 2-Day Canal Experience – one day cruising through the Panama Canal, and a one-day call at Fuerte Amador on the Pacific Ocean side of the Canal. Partial transit cruises offer a convenient 11-day roundtrip itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale, with transit through the Gatun Locks.

South America – Two Princess ships will sail on South American itineraries, including Pacific Princess cruising the Amazon and Golden Princess, which returns to South America cruising for the first time in more than a decade. Passengers can choose from two itinerary options for their 14-day Cape Horn & Strait of Magellan cruise--with departures from either Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires around the southernmost tip of the continent. In addition passengers can expand their South America experience by combining a Cape Horn cruise with a 17-day Andes cruise to or from Los Angeles. Cruisers can also choose to explore the Amazon on a 14-day itinerary between Manaus and Ft. Lauderdale. For those who want to explore some of the continent’s most famous landmarks, Princess cruisetour options include opportunities to visit dramatic UNESCO sites such as Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian-Argentine border or mysterious Machu Picchu in the Andes.

West Coast Sailings – Princess cruises from the West Coast take on a new dimension with two homeports--Los Angeles and now, San Francisco which will see Grand Princess based there year-round. New 3- and 4-day sampler cruises aboard Golden Princess add a new shorter vacation option to the line-up of sailings to Hawaii, Mexico, the California Coast and even the South Pacific with 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa sailings from Los Angeles. In total, four ships will sail on 14 different itineraries from West Coast ports, ranging from three to 28 days. Three ships, Grand Princess, Star Princess and Sapphire Princess will sail on 15-day voyages to the fabled Hawaiian Islands from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Mexico sailings from San Francisco offer a 10-day itinerary featuring the new ports of Loreto and La Paz on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. The season will also offer more Pacific coastal sailings than ever before, including California Coastal voyages now roundtrip from San Francisco as well as Los Angeles.

World Cruise – Pacific Princess will again set out on a round-the-world adventure in January 2014, sailing on a 100-day World Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Athens, visiting six continents and 40 destinations in 25 countries. The itinerary includes new opportunities to sail along the south coast of Australia and into the Black Sea. World Cruise passengers also have the chance to spend more time in Tahiti, Dubai, Istanbul and Safaga, with overnight or late evening calls to these intriguing destinations.

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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All New Full-Size Sushi Restaurant & Outdoor BBQ Venue Are Among
Tantalizing Cuisine Choices On Carnival Breeze

MIAMI, May 3: Dining is a highlight of the Carnival vacation experience and the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze will feature a huge array of culinary choices when it enters service June 3. Two new offerings will include Bonsai Sushi, the line’s first full-service sushi restaurant, and an open-air barbecue venue called Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ.

To celebrate Carnival Breeze’s exciting variety of dining choices, today Carnival Cruise Lines is launching a sweepstakes on its Facebook fan page at that is tied to another of the ship’s dining spots, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina. The sweepstakes asks fans to choose their favorite burrito or taco toppings available at the casual dining venue for a chance to win a Caribbean cruise for two on the new 130,000-ton “Fun Ship,” along with round-trip air transportation.

Here’s a look at the Carnival Breeze’s many different tantalizing dining choices:

Bonsai Sushi – Carnival’s first full-service sushi restaurant, Bonsai Sushi offers a wide variety of Asian-inspired delicacies with a contemporary decor featuring artwork by world-renowned graffiti artist Erni Vales, colorful koi kites flown during impromptu celebrations, and, of course, several Bonsai trees. Located along Promenade Deck, Bonsai Sushi includes a number of varieties of sushi, sashimi, and rolls along with bento boxes and the venue’s own interpretation of a sushi boat–- in this case, a sushi “ship”-–with prices ranging from $1 for appetizer-sized portions to $15 for a sushi ship for two.

Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ – Reminiscent of a backyard barbecue, this complimentary open-air dining venue located on Promenade Deck offers a mouth-watering array of grilled favorites, including barbecued chicken breast, kielbasa, Italian sausage, and Fat Jimmy’s signature item, pulled pork sandwiches, along with traditional sides like baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and mini-corn muffins.

Guy’s Burger Joint – fresh-made burgers, hand-cut fries and innovative toppings created in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri.

BlueIguana Cantina – offering authentic tacos and burritos that can be personalized by diners at an extensive salsa and toppings bar.

The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez – featuring hilarious comedic performances and an extensive menu of brunch-time favorites.

Fahrenheit 555 – a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks and other gourmet fare with impeccable service (venue will carry a surcharge consistent with other steakhouses in the Carnival fleet).

Cucina del Capitano – a family-style restaurant reminiscent of a cozy Italian home with dishes such as Piatto della Nonna, inspired by the grandma of Carnival Breeze Captain Vincenzo Alcaras with penne pasta, crispy shrimp and prosciutto in a vodka cream sauce (venue will serve as a free lunch-time pasta bar during the day with a nominal charge for dinner).

Lido Marketplace – a casual poolside eatery offering an array of international favorites, from paninis and 24-hour pizza to Indian Tandoori and a Mongolian Wok station and just about everything in between.

“The Comfort Kitchen” – new venue located within Lido Marketplace offering American-style “comfort food.”

Ocean Plaza – an indoor/outdoor café serving cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos as well as pastries and other confections.

RedFrog Pub – an island-themed pub where guests can nosh on Caribbean-inspired fare while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance.

Serenity – salads, sandwiches, wraps and other light fare available at the ship’s exclusive adults-only retreat.

The Taste Bar – complimentary bite-size offerings inspired by popular Carnival dining venues, along with a signature cocktail tied to that eatery’s particular theme available for purchase.

Sea Dogs – a hot dog-shaped cart within the SportSquare outdoor recreation area offering all-beef franks and traditional toppings (debuts on Carnival Breeze in November).

‘BlueIguana Cantina Fight for Your Appetite’ Sweepstakes
Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, the “BlueIguana Cantina Fight for Your Appetite” sweepstakes runs from today through May 10 on Carnival’s Facebook fan page . Fans are asked to choose their favorite taco and burrito toppings in a series of head-to-head competitions pitting such options as guacamole vs. sour cream or breakfast burritos vs. traditional tacos. All participants who vote are entered into a drawing for a Carnival Breeze Caribbean cruise for two, as well as round-trip air transportation, that will be awarded on May 17. In a fun twist, the sweepstakes includes a unique feature in which fans can digitally throw images of burrito and taco toppings and other BlueIguana Cantina food items at their fellow Facebook enthusiasts’ pages. Additional information and sweepstakes details are available at Images, information and videos specific to the Carnival Breeze are available at

Exciting European, Caribbean Itineraries
Following an inaugural 12-day cruise from Venice departing June 3, 2012, Carnival Breeze will operate a series of 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona through Oct 25, 2012. After its trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Breeze will sail year-round from Miami beginning Nov 24, 2012, offering port-intensive 6- and 8-day cruises that showcase the best the Caribbean has to offer. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Aboard ‘Riviera,’ Enrichment Opportunities Fulfill Guests’ Passion For Personal & Cultural Discovery

MIAMI, May 3: As visually appealing as Riviera is to the eye, with its Lalique grand staircase and a multi-million-dollar art collection, she also provides guests with an array of innovative and exciting enrichment opportunities.

“While Riviera is a beautiful vessel, our goal was to also offer soul-stirring experiences that motivate our guests to explore their interests in great depth,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president.

From the Bon Appétit Culinary Center to the Artist Loft and Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, Riviera is purpose-built to engage and inspire guests across the worlds of art, cuisine, wellness and more. Artist Loft Guests who aspire to quench their creative curiosity can study under the guidance of the ship’s talented artists-in-residence in the fully equipped Artist Loft. From painting with watercolors to needlepoint and more, this enrichment program encourages budding artists to explore their interests with step-by-step instruction from such talented artists as watercolorist Barbara Ashton and interiors and landscapes artist Nan Hass Feldman.

An accomplished watercolorist and art educator, Ashton has practiced professionally for 25 years. She has painted on location throughout the world and for the past 15 summers has taught in France and Italy. Ashton will join Riviera’s Lisbon to Rome itinerary, Sept 14-24. Likewise, Nan Hass Feldman, a founder of the Danforth Museum of Art, will sail Riviera’s 10-day Mediterranean Tapestry voyage, May 16–26, 2012, sharing her passion for interiors and landscapes.

Canyon Ranch SpaClub
Capturing the global spirit of cruising, the ship’s Canyon Ranch SpaClub offers a range of services anchored in the philosophies and healing traditions of ancient China, India and Asia, including Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Thai Massage, Shiatsu and Reflexology. In addition, the SpaClub offers traditional spa, beauty, wellness and fitness services. Highlights of the facility include 16 different types of massage, body and skin-care treatment rooms, a fitness center with more than 50 pieces of cardio and weight-training equipment, and a thermal suite. A private spa deck with a thalassotherapy pool is available before or after treatments. Canyon Ranch SpaClub offers a range of daily fitness and wellness programs, including yoga, Pilates, indoor cycling as well as personal training sessions.

Bon Appétit Culinary Center
Catering to all culinary skill levels, from beginner to master-chef, the Bon Appétit Culinary Center aboard Riviera affords guests the opportunity to gain hands-on cooking experience in a range of innovative new classes, such as Oceania Highlights, which features some favorite recipes from Oceania Cruises’ signature restaurants; Healthy Cooking, inspired by the line’s collaboration with Canyon Ranch; and Emerging Cuisines, focusing on Moroccan, Peruvian and Asian-fusion dishes. New one-hour classes such as Beyond Brie: the Innovative Cheeses and Favorite Pairings with Favorite Foods tackle fun, “real-world” dining topics in an inviting and easy-to-learn atmosphere.

In addition to the onboard program, Riviera will debut Culinary Discovery Tours, which provide guests the opportunity to explore local food markets in small groups, side-by-side with an expert chef. Tours to a produce or fish market, cheese maker, chocolatier, or vineyard, will incorporate mini-lectures, demonstrations or lunch before returning to the ship’s Bon Appétit Culinary Center for a cooking class drawing inspiration from the local market. In Barcelona, where Riviera is being christened on May 11, guests will enjoy a Spanish olive oil tasting, shop at the Santa Caterina Market and then finish the day with lunch at one of the finest tapas restaurants in the city. To learn more about Riviera, contact a travel professional, visit or call toll-free at 800-531-5658.

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World-Renowned Oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau Guest Hosts
Four Sailings on The m/s Paul Gauguin in 2013

BELLEVUE, WA, May 3: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, announces that world-renowned oceanographer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau will guest host four sailings on The Gauguin in 2013. During voyages on The Gauguin, Mr. Cousteau will offer a series of lectures with videos of his work in the world's oceans and accompany guests on several dives.

Mr. Cousteau is a diplomat for the environment, educator, author, and film producer communicating his passion and concern for the Earth's oceans. For more than 60 years, he along with his father, the legendary Jacques Cousteau, and his family, have been part of the greatest exploration of the oceans in all of history. In 1999, Mr. Cousteau founded the Ocean Futures Society to explore global oceans, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for their protection, documenting the critical connection between humanity and nature, and celebrating the ocean's vital importance to the survival of all life on our planet. For more information on Mr. Cousteau and the Ocean Futures Society, visit

Voyages Featuring Guest Host Jean-Michel Cousteau:

-- 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands Cruise: Feb 2, 2013
-- 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus Cruise: June 26, 2013
-- 11-night Australs & Society Islands Cruise: Sept 21, 2013
-- 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands Cruise: Nov 2, 2013

Also available in 2013 is Mr. Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program which introduces young travelers (ages 9-17) to the natural wonders of French Polynesia through interactive, hands-on experiences with island ecosystems. The program is available on sailings from June through August and on select holiday cruises for a nominal fee of $299 per child.

For rates and reservations for Paul Gauguin Cruises, contact a professional travel agent, call 800-848-6172, or visit

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MSC Cruises’ Chocolate Cruise is the Ultimate Sweet Treat

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, May 3: MSC Cruises has joined forces with Gerry Wilton, international chocolatier and founder of the world’s first chocolate-themed hotel, the chic and unique Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth, United Kingdom, to offer a voyage of discovery with a difference for guests on board MSC Opera from May 13-23, 2012.

Combining visits to Northern Europe’s most fascinating Baltic capitals with a veritable “choc fest,” guests will witness the transformation of MSC Opera into a chocolate factory as she departs from Southampton for an 11-day cruise, visiting Amsterdam, Tallinn, St. Petersburg and Copenhagen before returning to Southampton. During the four full days at sea, Wilton will host a series of four mouth-watering, two-hour-long chocolate classes, starting at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. These are not your typical theory classes in which the teacher holds court, but rather “hands-on” tutorials where the emphasis is on interactive fun.

Guests will learn all about the history of chocolate and the production process from bean to bar while enjoying every chocolate-filled minute. They will taste samples from all over the world, learn how to make both molded chocolates and Belgian truffles and even paint portraits of themselves – using delicious white, dark and milk Belgian chocolate - which will then be framed for them to take away. The 4-session series can be booked onboard at a cost of €34 per person.

For more information about MSC Cruises and this special “chocolate discovery” cruise, visit us online at, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel advisor.

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Holland America Line Now Serves A New Vegetarian-Only Alternative Menu

SEATTLE, May 3: Holland America Line has introduced a new alternative, vegetarian-only menu, as well as 30 new vegetarian dishes to their main dining room menu, furthering the line's commitment to providing exceptional dining experiences for all guests. Holland America Line's award-winning Master Chef Rudi Sodamin has designed an exclusive 22-dish vegetarian and vegan menu that highlights vegetables and other naturally healthy ingredients in vibrant, flavorful culinary selections. The alternative menu includes a full range of appetizers, salads, soups and main entrees, and is available upon request at no extra cost for lunch and dinner in the main dining room aboard all 15 ships in the fleet.

"Many more people are choosing a vegetarian culinary experience, yet the options can be limited," said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line's executive vice president of marketing, sales and guest programs. "By offering a complete vegetarian-only menu and the largest vegetarian selection at sea, we are ensuring that all guests can take part in an exceptional dining experience while cruising with Holland America Line."

The savory collection of dishes on the new vegetarian-only menu include Portobello Mushroom and Chipotle Quesadillas, Vietnamese Vegetable Spring Rolls, Curried Vegetable Empanadas, Spicy Lentil and Garbanzo Salad, Sweet and Sour Vegetable Tempura, Vegetable Jambalaya, Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Kebobs, and Baked Cheese Polenta with Mushrooms and Artichoke Hearts.

In addition to the new vegetarian-only menu, 30 new vegetarian dishes will be added to the main dining room menu. These offerings also will be featured as a second vegetarian option in the casual Lido buffet during lunch. Additionally, every dinner menu will now offer guests the option of one appetizer, one soup or salad, and at least one vegetarian entrée each evening, increasing the total number of vegetarian options on board to 52 delectable dishes.

Some of the newly expanded vegetarian selections on the main dining room menu include Corn and Zucchini Pancakes served with Southwest-style cous cous salad, Asparagus and Zucchini Torte with wild rice and sun-dried tomato coulees, Carrot and Parmesan Risotto topped with a lemony arugula salad and crispy carrot ribbons, and Grilled Eggplant and Bell Pepper Masala braised in yogurt with Indian spices and served with coconut-pistachio basmati rice.

Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Holland America Line vacation. Aboard each cruise, guests can choose from an array of dining options--from gourmet-quality fare served in the elegant Pinnacle Grill to casual food favorites served buffet-style in the relaxing Lido Restaurant. For a full listing of Holland America Line's culinary offerings, visit

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Royal Caribbean Announces Europe 2013 Vacations Aboard
Brilliance of the Seas & Splendour of the Seas

MIAMI, May 2: Royal Caribbean Intl has announced summer 2013 vacations aboard Brilliance of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas, totaling 40 sailings and calling at 41 exciting ports. Brilliance of the Seas will sail round-trip from Harwich, England to Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea on 12-night itineraries, while Splendour of the Seas will offer 7-night round-trip Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean itineraries from Venice, Italy. Guests will enjoy virtually new ships, with Brilliance of the Seas scheduled to complete an extensive drydock revitalization in May 2013, while Splendour of the Seas is currently featuring greatly expanded dining options, new cutting-edge entertainment, and refreshed décor and staterooms from its late 2011 drydock revitalization. Brilliance of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas’ summer 2013 vacations are now open for booking.

Beginning May 15, 2013, Brilliance of the Seas’ Northern Europe season includes eight sailings that offer the best of the North and Baltic seas, calling at Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Talinn, Estonia; Gothenburg, Sweden; and an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. An 11-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland itinerary, sailing July 27, will call at Bergen and Geiranger, Norway; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands; and an overnight in Reykjavik, Iceland. Brilliance of the Seas departs for Boston, Mass. on August 31 on 15-night itinerary, calling at Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), France; Portland, Dorset, UK; Cork (Cobh) and Dublin, Ireland; Klaksvik; and an overnight at Reykjavik.

Splendour of the Seas begins its Europe season with a 6-night sailing from Barcelona, Spain to Venice, Italy, departing May 5 and calling at Provence (Marseilles), France; Split, Croatia; and Florence/Pisa and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. The ship will offer four itineraries, two Greek Isles, a Greek Isles & Turkey, and a Greek Isles & Croatia. On the Greek Isles itineraries, guests call at Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Corfu, Santorini, Athens (Piraeus) and Katakolon, Greece; or Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; and Mykonos, and Argostoli, Greece. The Greek Isles & Turkey itinerary calls at Bari, Italy; Corfu, Santorini, Ephesus (Kusadasi) and Katakolon, Greece. The Greek Isles & Croatia itinerary replaces Santorini and Katakolon from the Greek Isles itinerary with Bari and Mykonos. On Nov. 23, Splendour of the Seas returns to South American on a 15-night trans-Atlantic from Barcelona to Sao Paolo (Santos), Brazil.

Brilliance of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas augment Royal Caribbean’s already announced Europe 2013 vacation offerings, which includes Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Serenade of the Seas. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Jam Cruise Goes to 11!

For the past decade, Jam Cruise has been delivering a musical experience like no other. Whether it's listening to a late night pool deck performance while sitting in a hot tub, hanging with 100 of your closest friends on a private tropical beach, delivering pallets of donated shoes to smiling children in need, or chatting with one of your musical heroes while your eating dinner - Jam Cruise is full of moments when you can't help but stop and ask yourself "is this really happening?" But yes, it is happening, and it's what has kept fans coming back again and again for over ten years.

Picked as a favorite by The Travel Channel in their US Music Festival Guide, Jam Cruise offers more than just a music festival. “By taking the music to the seas, Jam Cruise makes the music festival a full-blown vacation. When you set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, enjoy all the amenities of a cruise and see your favorite jam bands while making stops in [exotic] locales.”

There is a feeling of being in another world on Jam Cruise, which this years sets sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on January 7th and returns on the 12th. With port stops in the beautiful Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos, where crystal clear waters meet soft sandy beaches, and a stop at Coco Cay, a Private Island in the Bahamas, Jam Cruise lets you get away from it all in beautiful, remote locations. The music doesn’t stop in port though; Coco Cay will be host to a Beach Party highlighted by waterside musical performances.

The MSC Poesia remains home to Jam Cruise 11, where venues like the Zebra Bar, the Teatro Carlo Felice and the Pigalle feel like home to returning guests. Cabins go on sale to the public Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at noon EST. Anyone who pre-booked will be able to book a cabin prior to the general on sale according to their assigned booking time beginning on May 8, 2012 at

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Less Than 30 Days to the Gastronomic Delights of MSC Divina

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, May 1:  The divine dining experience awaiting guests of MSC Cruises’ newest ship will be celebrated in appropriate style at MSC Divina’s christening ceremony in Marseilles, France, on May 26, when renowned French Chef Christian Constant will delight guests with two signature menus created especially for the event.
Chef Constant, who is also a favorite on the European version of the popular Top Chef program, runs three stylish Parisian restaurants, each known for its individual style, ambiance and menu.

A sneak preview of Chef Constant’s christening menus reveals culinary gems such as Medallion of Spiny Lobster accompanied by diced Niçoise vegetables flavored with horseradish, and Crispy Supreme of Mediterranean Sea-Bass with almonds accompanied by caper Ravigote sauce and a salad of spinach sprouts. An impressive selection of France’s best wines has been carefully chosen to accompany the menu, and for dessert guests will savor the delicious Christian Constant mille-feuille Divina with half-salted butter caramel.

MSC Cruises wholeheartedly believes that delicious, authentic cuisine lies at the heart of a wonderful vacation and that a cruise should always be a gastronomic tour of discovery. MSC Cruises also knows that for guests to make the most of MSC Divina’s fabulous design, innovative new features and breathtakingly beautiful ports of call, they must be nourished with the finest dishes made from the freshest, best quality, ethically sourced, and locally inspired ingredients. That’s why, when the christening ends and guests board the ship, they will be dazzled by the multiple dining options available and by MSC Divina’s ability to provide something delectable to meet all tastes and moods.

New and unique to MSC Divina and a highlight for many guests will be Galaxy, a fashionable new panoramic restaurant in the disco. Based on the style of famous 1950s Italian nightclubs such as La Capannina and Forte dei Marmi, Galaxy takes La Dolce Vita and the theme of light as its inspiration and appeals to all of the five senses. Galaxy’s theme of light also means that the overall space has been created around specially designed lamps. Refined, elegant and reflecting modern minimalism, the stylish black, grey and Bordeaux color scheme means that the fabulous cuisine will look, as well as taste, wonderful whatever time of day.

Providing a fabulous brunch menu for late risers, including the delectable eggs Benedict, savory croissants and tasty Parma ham, a selection of fresh juices, and the “bubbles” menu including spumante, champagne and rosé, Galaxy will be the perfect kick-start to a day on board or on shore.

In the evening, diners will indulge in fabulous Mediterranean fusion cuisine such as roasted scallops on a cream of courgette and basil soup with porcini mushrooms and fried leeks, or succulent sea bass tartare with fresh goat cheese, crispy sesame seed wafers and liquorice sensation. The emphasis is on sampling the food, enjoying the music in red, grey and black surroundings, while watching the stars and sipping a Galaxy cocktail or a high quality wine from the sommelier selection, which can be purchased by the glass.

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‘Seven Seas Navigator’ Enters Dry-Dock to Completely Refurbish Top Suites

MIAMI, May 1: Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator will enter dry-dock in mid-May, signaling Phase Four of the line’s fleet-wide Seven Seas Signature enhancement initiative. The two-week renovation will encompass a complete redecoration of the ship’s eight Grand Suites and Master Suites and the debut of Sette Mari at La Veranda, an intimate Italian dining experience offering both buffet and a la carte service. Phase Four underscores Regent Seven Seas’ ongoing commitment to delivering the most sought-after, all-inclusive luxury travel experience.

“We are constantly looking for ways to enhance and evolve the Regent Seven Seas experience, from small touches to major renovations,” stated Mark Conroy, the line’s president. “Whether our guests are strolling the refreshed teak Pool Deck or enjoying a Porterhouse steak in the expanded Prime 7, they will feel the subtle luxury and unparalleled comfort of these enhancements throughout.”

The ship’s Grand Suites and Master Suites will be completely renovated featuring new built-in cabinetry, custom-crafted furnishings, as well as new headboards and bedding, balcony furniture, plush carpeting and designer accessories. All Navigator Suites will be refreshed with new plush carpeting and wall coverings. Concierge-level Suites and above will have modern amenities such as illy coffeemakers, along with a range of new perks and privileges, including priority shore excursion and restaurant reservations, and enhanced amenities, as the program is rolled out starting May 30, 2012. All suites will benefit from new teak on all of the ship’s balconies for an added dose of luxury and comfort.

Masterfully repurposing La Veranda, the ship’s popular breakfast and lunch buffet venue, Sette Mari at La Veranda will welcome dinner guests with an extensive menu of authentic antipasti and Italian specialty dishes. Guests can choose a selection of items from the buffet and also order al momento (cooked to order). Al fresco dining is also available so guests can dine under the stars.

Additional public room enhancements include enlarging Prime 7, the ship’s modern American-style steakhouse, to accommodate 60 guests. A new contemporary sculpture at its entrance will set a warm, relaxed tone. The popular Galileo Lounge will also be renewed and redecorated. As part of the ship’s fresh new look, ultra-plush carpeting will be installed throughout the public spaces. Guests who enjoy leisure pursuits will find enhanced and refreshed spaces on Deck 12 including updated saunas at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, while the luxurious teak-covered pool area on Deck 10 will have renewed surfaces. Seven Seas Navigator emerges from dry-dock on May 30, 2012, with a 7-night voyage from Vancouver to Seward, Alaska. To receive a brochure or for more information on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, see a professional travel agent, visit or call toll-free 800-285-1835.

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Carnival Promotion Allows Military Personnel To Book Up To Three
 ‘Fun Ship’ Staterooms At Discounted Rates

In honor of Memorial Day, Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a promotion throughout May that allows active and former military personnel to book up to three “Fun Ship” staterooms at discounted rates for themselves and their friends and family members. Reservations must be made between May 1-31, 2012, to qualify for this special offer, which is available in conjunction with a variety of 3- to 8-day “Fun Ship” departures through April 30, 2014, including voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico and Europe.

Rates start at $299 per person for 3- to 5-day cruises; $334 per person for six-day departures; and $534 per person for seven- and eight-day voyages. Also included are 12-day Europe voyages starting at $949 per person. Voyages to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico operate from 12 convenient year-round North American homeports along the east and west coasts and Gulf of Mexico. Europe cruises depart from Barcelona, Spain. The promotion is valid for individual bookings only. Military personnel must provide proof of service. Eligible military personnel must sail to take advantage of this offer. Certain other restrictions apply. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Celebrity Cruises Expands Rich Slate of Suite Offerings

MIAMI, May 1: Vacationers who love a rich array of luxurious services and amenities have always enjoyed an indulgent experience while sailing in any Celebrity Cruises suite. And now, the "suite life" on Celebrity -- already offering one of the industry's broadest array of luxury amenities -- is even sweeter. In addition to one of Celebrity's most idolized suite offerings--modern, 24/7 butler service that has consistently yielded rave reviews--suite guests now will enjoy an even broader list of services and amenities, including the Celebrity eXhale™ bedding program, with premium mattresses, 100% Egyptian cotton linens, and plush duvets and pillows; BVLGARI luxury bath products; dual iPod/iPad docking stations; reserved theater seating, and an upgraded "welcome" bottle of Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine, complete with a commemorative label featuring exclusive artwork from ArtCenter/South Florida artists.

"Expanding our already broad slate of suite amenities is yet another outgrowth of Celebrity's deep understanding of how rare and meaningful vacation time is for our guests, so we're laser-focused on offering the absolute best ways for them to escape from their everyday routine and feel totally relaxed and re-energized," said Celebrity's Senior VP of Hotel Operations Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. "Vacationers investing in suites expect -- and deserve -- a luxurious experience with a generous host of premium services and amenities, which we've always been devoted to delivering. And now, we're thrilled to enhance their experience even further, with additional amenities that match their lifestyle and reflect our modern luxury ambience."

The new amenities enhance the inclusive premium services and privileges already provided in every category of suites across the Celebrity fleet, beginning with Celebrity's European-trained butlers, who offer assistance with unpacking and packing, arranging in-suite dining and afternoon tea service or espresso from Cafe al Bacio, shoeshine service, and assistance booking spa treatments, shore excursions and specialty dining. Additional services and amenities include priority boarding and debarkation, priority boarding of tenders ashore, one complimentary dinner for two (on 7-night itineraries) or two dinners for two (on 8-night or longer sailings) in one of Celebrity's specialty restaurants, priority selection of dining time, spacious verandas, Hansgrohe showerheads, use of plush Frette bathrobes, oversized 100% cotton bath towels, a pillow menu, fresh cut flowers, daily fresh fruit platter, and a complimentary tote bag.

"We continue to hear from guests who've sailed with the leading all-inclusive luxury lines that Celebrity's suite experience is just as spectacular, and represents an even better value," said Lutoff-Perlo. "And just wait until you see the suites we're introducing on Celebrity Reflection!"

The new categories of suites debuting on Celebrity Reflection in October of this year will feature even more amenities to suit the personalities of each suite category and the guests within them:

-- Celebrity's jaw-dropping, two-bedroom, 1,636-square-foot "Reflection Suite" with 194-square-foot wraparound veranda will feature what sketches alone are already creating buzz among consumers and press: a fully glass-enclosed--including glass floor and ceiling--shower room extending out over the edge of the ship, offering breathtaking, 360-degree ocean views, a rain showerhead and heated bench seat. The industry-first shower isn't the only area of the suite offering stunning views: the Reflection Suite also will feature 10-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding door, and include a grand piano, dining room table, wet bar, and choice of a complimentary bottle of vodka, scotch, or gin with accompanying mixers, all in addition to Celebrity's existing slate of suite amenities.
-- Celebrity's new 441-square-foot "Signature Suites" debuting on Celebrity Reflection also will boast stunning views of land and sea via 10-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding door leading to a 118-square-foot veranda, and will complement the host of previous and new fleetwide suite amenities with a whirlpool on the private veranda, which is also associated with the "Celebrity Suite" category across the fleet.
-- Guests vacationing in Celebrity's new "AquaClass Suites" can enjoy the additional services of a personal Spa Concierge to arrange AquaSpa treatments; exclusive access to the Mediterranean-themed specialty restaurant, "Blu", along with AquaClass stateroom guests; complimentary access to the Persian Garden and Relaxation Room; five-head Hansgrohe shower tower; fog-free bathroom mirrors; custom-blended bath products; aromatherapy diffuser, and on-demand wellness programming on the in-stateroom network, including meditation and yoga.

For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

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Seabourn Adds More Variety to Patio Grill Dinners

SEATTLE, May 1: Seabourn has expanded the variety of menu options served at dinner time in the Patio Grill aboard Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. The popular casual poolside eatery now offers an additional three new themed menus, more than 40 new appetizing dishes, and features a different pasta dish and pizza every day.

"The Patio Grill has been a huge hit among our guests, so much so that many of them want to dine there multiple nights during a voyage," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president, marketing and sales. "In response, we've decided to offer guests more choices and variety to enhance the casual outdoor dining experience on their Seabourn cruise."

The line has added three new themed dinner menus, supplementing the popular Surf and Turf menu. The new ones are Chop House, Al Fresco and BBQ, and feature many new appetizing dishes. Entrees on the Al Fresco menu include Garlic and Herb Roasted Suckling Pig, Pancetta Wrapped Veal Tenderloin, Grilled Branzino and Rack of Lamb Chops. The Chop House theme features Cowboy Beefsteak, Veal Chop, Single Bone Lamb Chops and Fresh Salmon Cotelette. For a barbeque experience, guests can choose such tasty dishes as BBQ Beef Short Ribs, BBQ Glazed Corn Fed Chicken Breast, Glazed Salmon and Tamarind Glazed Jumbo Shrimp.

Also new in the Patio Grill dinner menus is a selection of "pick and go" appetizers and desserts, allowing guests to choose from a selection of four of each, already prepared and beautifully plated. The new appetizers include Seared Beef Carpaccio (Al Fresco), Prawn Cocktail with Horseradish Cream (Chop House), Smoked Halibut (BBQ) and much more. The menus also offer a different featured pasta dish every day, such as Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese and Shrimp Tagliatelle, as well as a different pizza creation daily.

Complementing the new dinner menus, Patio Grill will continue to feature a variety of grilled specialties, salads and sides for lunch, as well as daily specials celebrating 15 themes, such as West Indies, delicious Panini creations, gourmet tacos, satay and more. The highly popular, freshly baked pizzas will also be available throughout the afternoon, as well as pastries in the morning. The Patio Grill has been a popular dining spot for Seabourn guests since it was first introduced on Seabourn Odyssey three years ago. The new dinner themes and dishes offer more choice and variety for guests, inviting them to return often and enhancing their dining experience when they sail on Seabourn.

For additional information or reservations, contact your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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