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Cruise News
July 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

Holland America Line to Feature New Itineraries for 2013 Europe Cruise Season

SEATTLE, July 31: Lucky seven is the magic number for Holland America Line in summer 2013 when the line deploys seven ships to Europe and features seven maiden ports of call. The seven ships sailing on more than 53 unique European itinerariesms Eurodam,ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendamwill cruise throughout the region on 107 departures that span from the northern tip of Norway to the Black Sea and across the Mediterranean.

"While the popularity of European cruising continues to grow, the region is opening new ports, which enables us to offer more maiden calls and exciting new itineraries," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Whether it's a shorter cruise or a longer Collectors' Voyage, Holland America Line is proud to offer comprehensive experiences around the world, and these new European itineraries are sure to entice any cruise enthusiast."

Ranging from seven to 64 days, these cruises allow travelers the opportunity to explore a variety of destinations, from iconic ports of call as well as smaller, less-traveled and equally fascinating port cities.

The 2013 Europe cruise season reflects Holland America Line's focus on destination diversity, timeless appeal and quality. Maiden port calls include Alanya, Turkey; Alcudia (Mallorca), Spain; Galway and Killybegs, Ireland; Hydra and Igoumenitsa, Greece; and Sassnitz, Germany. A total of 20 overnight stays at some of Europe's popular ports provide guests with more time to explore several of the world's most interesting destinations. Overnight calls include Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Bordeaux, France; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Venice, Italy; Hamburg, Germany; St Petersburg, Russia; Istanbul, Turkey and more.

Notable New Itineraries
Ryndam's 7-day Turkish Explorer voyage sails round-trip from Piraeus (Athens), Greece, with calls that enable guests to experience the landmarks and highlights of Turkey and Greece, including an overnight stay in Istanbul, Turkey. The ship departs Sept. 7, 21 and Oct. 5.

The 7-day Homeric Quest voyage also aboard Ryndam sails round-trip from Piraeus (Athens) and is perfect for any Greece lover looking for an in-depth exploration of the country. Guests will experience five different Greek ports, as well as visit the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey, which was once ruled by the Persians and Alexander the Great. The ship departs Sept. 14, 28 and Oct. 12.

Eurodam's 11-day Mediterranean Odyssey voyage sails round-trip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, with an overnight stay at Piraeus (Athens). Guests can explore the best of Greece during port calls at Kerkira (Corfu), Katakolon (Olympia) and Santorini, Greece, as well as two calls at the Italian ports of Messina and Naples. The ship departs April 29.

The Noordam's 11-day Adriatic Explorer voyage sails between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Piraeus (Athens), and features a fascinating mixture of ports that were once home to the legendary Roman and Greek empires. With overnights in Venice and Piraeus (Athens), guests can take their time exploring these culturally rich cities. The ship departs April 25, May 28, August 4, Sept. 6 and October 9.

Also new for 2013 is the 11-day Ancient Mysteries voyage sailing between Piraeus (Athens) and Istanbul aboard ms Noordam. This itinerary offers a unique experience with a call at Port Said, Egypt, the gateway to Cairo. In Cairo, guests can visit the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx or the renowned Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. During an overnight stay at Istanbul, guests can take time to explore the historic Turkish Bazaar, known for its exotic spices and other Turkish delights. The cruise departs May 6 and 17 and Aug. 15 and 26.

Prinsendam's 16-day Mediterranean Explorer itinerary sails from Barcelona to Piraeus (Athens). This cruise gives guests the opportunity to visit many intimate, unique ports such as Sete and Toulon, France; Brindisi, Italy; and Igoumenitsa and Hydra, Greece, while still experiencing popular ports like Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Kotor, Montenegro, and Rhodes, Greece. The ship departs Sept. 16.

Popular Itineraries Return
Other ships calling in Europe in 2013 include the line's newest vessel, Nieuw Amsterdam, and Veendam and Rotterdam. The 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam will sail a series of seven- to 12-day cruises throughout the Mediterranean, visiting some of the region's most popular ports, from Marseille (Provence), France, to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Rotterdam sails a series of 7- to 18-day voyages throughout Europe. Itineraries allow guests to explore the gems of the Baltic, experience the beauty of Norway's fjord-scalloped coastline and discover the Canary Islands. In July, Veendam sails a 35-day Voyage of the Vikings roundtrip from Boston, Mass., tracing the path of past explorers across the Atlantic to ports in Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

Longer Voyages Offer Exceptional Value
For true explorers seeking an in-depth experience at an exceptional value, extended Collectors' Voyages ranging from 14 to 33 days offer the ultimate European cruise experience. These artfully crafted, longer cruises combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring centuries of art, history and culture. Per-person cruise fares begin at $1,799, double occupancy.

A highlight of the Mediterranean season comes spring 2013 when ms Prinsendam, the line's smallest and most intimate shipjust 835 guests, departs Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 14, 2013, on its roundtrip 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage. Visiting 32 ports in 14 countries, the itinerary includes overnights in seven world-class ports including Funchal, Madeira; Istanbul, Turkey; Piraeus, Greece; Venice and Sorrento, Italy; and Barcelona, Spain. Seven shorter segments are also available ranging from 14-to 46-days.

Engaging Unique Experiences
Additional exciting Holland America Line Europe itineraries enable guests to be among the few to cross the Arctic Circle, transit Germany's Kiel Canal, cruise the Gironde Estuary into Bordeaux, France, or explore the world's third largest volcano with an overnight stay at Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Other exciting itineraries include visiting the ancient pyramids in Egypt, along with the holy lands in Jerusalem and Nazareth. Those interested in taking a dip in the famous "Blue Lagoon," Iceland's unique geothermal seawater, can choose the Icelandic Adventure aboard Prinsendam, which includes an overnight stay at Reykjavik.

For more information on 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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Choose to Un-Cruise Through the Holidays with American Safari Cruises

Seattle, WA, July 30: Leave the holiday planning behind this year and enjoy a weeklong Un-Cruise Adventure aboard an American Safari Cruises luxury yacht in a sunny destination. The 86-guest Safari Endeavour offers weeklong cruises departing Dec. 22 or Dec. 29 in the Sea of Cortés and the 36-guest Safari Explorer sails a weeklong holiday cruise in the Hawaiian Islands departing Dec. 22. Families, couples or singles enjoy the relaxation and freedom of vacationing during the holidays—often a stressful and busy time at home. The festivities of the holidays are tastefully incorporated into the yachts’ décor, activities and meals. Santa has even been known to make an appearance if young kids are on board.

“Getting away for the holidays can be a very rejuvenating experience, especially by escaping to warm climes on an un-cruise,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. ”A special camaraderie develops between guests and crew sharing holiday celebrations.”

As an added incentive, guests who book by September 30, 2012 receive a $500 travel credit per couple in the Hawaiian Islands or $300 per couple in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés.

The 86-guest Safari Endeavour explores the wildlife rich Sea of Cortés on weeklong Baja’s Bounty expeditions roundtrip La Paz, Baja, Mexico. Transfers are included from either Los Cabos or La Paz airports. Highlights include snorkeling with sea lions, water sports activities, a visit to the mission town of Loreto and viewing dolphins and whales.

The 36-guest Safari Explorer embarks on its second season of Hawaiian Islands cruises sailing seven-night inclusive Hawaiian Seascapes adventures between Hawaii, the Big Island and Lana’i with two days of activities on Moloka’i. Flexible yacht itineraries focus on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands.

In the Hawaiian Islands and the Sea of Cortés, guests can be as active as they like and activities include hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. Expert guides provide interpretation on excursions ashore and at sea. Unstructured itineraries allow time for viewing wildlife such as whales and dolphins.

The inclusive cruise includes all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; exquisite meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; and all port charges, taxes and fees. An all-American crew has a guest-crew ratio of about 2 to 1. Yachts can be booked as a private charter or by individual stateroom. To book a yachting adventure or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or American Safari Cruises at 888-862-8881 or email .

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Silversea Details Exclusive Events & New Overland Tours for World Cruise 2013

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, July 30: Silversea is rolling out an array of exclusive complimentary events and exciting new mid-voyage land adventures for Silver Whisper's World Cruise in 2013, an epic 115-day journey from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, departing Jan 5, 2013.

"A world cruise is the trip of a lifetime for most travelers," said Ellen Bettridge, Silversea's president of the Americas. "For this far-reaching voyage, our onshore events and overland tours offer great opportunities for authentic experiences that spotlight local cultures and enable guests to gain a better understanding of the fascinating regions they will visit."

In addition to a gala Bon Voyage reception, dinner and overnight stay at the renowned Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel on the night prior to embarkation, other complimentary events that will be offered to guests sailing the full World Cruise include an exclusive evening of cocktails and dinner at Singapore's members-only China Club. Built atop the Capital Tower, the club offers panoramic views and an exotic '30s and '40s atmosphere where guests may revel in the glamour of a bygone era. And from Cape Town, guests will journey through the scenic Cape Winelands region to enjoy a wine tasting, gala dinner and overnight stay at a luxury hotel in Stellenbosch.

Plus, a complimentary Silversea Experience, Dinner in the Desert, will be offered in Walvis Bay. Set in the captivating atmosphere of the Namib Desert, this enchanting evening under the stars will include live music, a fire-spinning performance and sumptuous buffet-style dinner.

Also available is a collection of 14 optional mid-voyage land adventures, nearly half of which are brand new. These extended off-ship programs will enable World Cruise guests to spend more time discovering the true culture, heritage and uniqueness of the exotic destinations they will visit. Each of the unique overland extensions includes deluxe accommodations (if overnight stays are required), porterage, all transfers, sightseeing and some meals. Prices range from $999 to $7,999 per person, based on double occupancy.

Briefly recapped below are the NEW overland tours that will debut on World Cruise 2013:

"Outback Odyssey": Venture into one of Australia's most remote areas, famous for its rugged beauty and one of the country's most enduring symbols, Ayers Rock, shrouded in myths and legends since time began. This five-day/four-night program is offered from Adelaide on February 8.

"Discover Laos": Explore the country's charming capital, Vientiane, and temple-filled Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 2,296 feet (700 metres) above sea level amid a backdrop of scenic mountains. This two-and-a-half-day/two-night program is offered from Ho Chi Minh City on March 2.

"River Kwai & WW II Memorials": A visit to Kanchanaburi offers both scenic and serene natural beauty. But for many travelers the main draw is its link to the Second World War and the world famous River Kwai Bridge, commemorated in numerous books and films. This one-and-a-half-day/one-night program is offered from Bangkok on March 4.

"Myanmar: Golden Pagodas & Ancient Temples": Venture into Myanmar, the golden land formerly known as Burma, and discover one of the most fascinating destinations in Asia. Visit its exotic capital Yangon, with its magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, and take a trip to ancient Bagan. This three-and-a-half-day/three-night adventure is offered from Bangkok on March 4.

"Kandy by Chartered Sea Plane": Journey by private air taxi into the center of the Kandy plateau to explore the last royal citadel of ancient Ceylon. Nestled in a valley surrounded by hills and dense jungle, Kandy is the cultural heartland of Sri Lanka. This full-day adventure is offered from Colombo on March 15.

"Pumba Private Game Reserve & Safari Lodge": Discover wildest Africa on a unique safari adventure in the heart of the Eastern Cape, renowned for its beauty and abundance of wildlife. The game reserve is home to lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinos and elephants, and more than 250 species of birds. This two-and-a-half-day/two-night adventure is offered from Richards Bay on March 31.

For more information and complete details on the full collection of World Cruise overland tours or visit

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Kid Rock & Sixthman Announce The 4th Annual Chillin' The Most Cruise

ATLANTA, GA- July 2012; Kid Rock calls this annual cruise his "adult Christmas" and this year, Kid Rock fans everywhere are feeling like it is Christmas morning with the news that Kid Rock and Sixthman are teaming up again to produce the fourth annual "Chillin' The Most" Cruise, March 6-10, 2013, on board Norwegian Pearl. Guests will depart from Miami to Kid Rock's Redneck Paradise in the Bahamas for two days of music, sun and fun, on the private beaches of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, Norwegian's Private Island

The cruise kicks off with Kid Rock's signature sail away performance on the pool deck, a highlight of past cruises. Accompanying Kid Rock at sea will be some of his favorite musicians and friends with performances on multiple stages around the ship. In addition to all of the amazing music, guests will also enjoy the variety of intimate onboard activities with artists and other fun, competitive ship-sports such as flip cup, ping-pong, and trivia.

Once Norwegian Pearl has reached Great Stirrup Cay, guests will enjoy an experience unlike any other when Kid Rock takes the stage on Norwegian's Private Island. Set against the scenic backdrop of a tropical island, guests will enjoy a full day of music while floating comfortably on an inflatable raft or lounging on the island's white sand beach. Afternoon sets by supporting artists, a gigantic "hippo" water slide, and plenty of other beachside activities will make the stay on Great Stirrup Cay an unforgettable experience.

This year, guests will enjoy the freedom and flexibility of Freestyle Cruising in on board Norwegian Pearl, the new home of the "Chillin' The Most" Cruise. Guests will have their choice of 13 bars and lounges and 19 different dining experiences - from poolside BBQ to an upscale Steakhouse. A world-class spa and Pearl Club Casino will offer respite from the Caribbean sun and for those who prefer to stay active, the ship is complete with incredible fitness center, a rock climbing wall and four-lane bowling alley. Norwegian Pearl offers a variety of accommodations including ocean view, balcony and inside staterooms, as well as luxurious suites and multi-room villas.

In addition to this year's cruise taking place on a new ship and new island, guests will also have the opportunity to attend one of the most unique pre-parties that Kid Rock and Sixthman have ever produced. Norwegian Pearl will start rockin' the night before the cruise even sets sail! For the first time ever, guests will have the opportunity to check in throughout the day on March 5, 2012. The ship will set sail that evening and guests who board early will enjoy live music by supporting bands, casino, restaurants and all of the ship's bars and lounges. Those who embark early will already be unpacked, settled, and free to sleep in when Norwegian Pearl returns to Miami to pick up the remaining guests embarking on March 6, 2012.

Kid Rock fans can go to for more details. Veteran guests will have first chance at booking their staterooms; new guests can sign up for the mailing list and will be notified of on-sale information as soon as it is available. Pre-party reservations can be made at the same time guests book their regular reservations for the cruise.

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Celebrity Cruises' New Celebrity Reflection 'Clearly' Presents Industry's Most Unique Shower

MIAMI, July 27: After revealing in April that the "Reflection Suite" on Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Reflection will feature an all-glass shower extending out over the edge of the ship, the modern luxury brand has received so much interest that it has released renderings of the intriguing space. The 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite with 194-square-foot veranda will be Celebrity's first two-bedroom suite, complete with its distinctive sea-view bathroom with soothing rain shower, and the host of amenities associated with Celebrity's luxury suites, including the brand's round-the-clock European butler service.

Celebrity's Senior VP of Hotel Operations Lisa Lutoff-Perlo was completely "transparent" about how the brand will preserve the privacy of guests using the unique glass shower: "We made a big investment in ensuring our guests can enjoy the shower entirely free of any concerns of being seen," said Lutoff-Perlo. "They can enjoy breathtaking sea views while discreetly showering, courtesy of the shower's special reflective glass. But, if they seek even further privacy, the shower also features 'smart glass.' At the flick of a switch, guests can activate an electrochromatic technology which instantly transforms the glass from transparent to translucent. We even went so far as to install a special sensor, so if guests prefer, the glass can be automatically transformed for them. It's yet another example of the modern luxury experience that only Celebrity delivers."

Nestled in the highly desirable corner location of the ship's 14(th) deck, and designed by New York-based BG Studio International Inc., the Reflection Suite is adjacent to the brand's five new "Signature Suites," each offering a 441-square-foot stateroom area and 118-square foot veranda, with floor-to-ceiling windows and veranda doors, all designed to maximize the stunning views of the sea. Celebrity's Signature Suites each can accommodate up to four guests, and also will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet.

The entire area housing the Reflection Suite and Signature Suites can be accessed only by cardkey, exclusively among guests booked in the elite group of suites, such that a family or other group of up to 26 guests can enjoy a private, six-suite modern luxury vacation experience.

Driven by high demand for Celebrity's industry-first AquaClass category of spa-inspired accommodations, and by way of an additional deck being added to Celebrity Reflection, as previously announced, Celebrity also will introduce on Celebrity Reflection the line's first AquaClass Suites. Each will offer 300 square feet of luxurious interior space and spacious 79-square-foot verandas, paired with all the amenities associated with Celebrity's AquaClass accommodations, including exclusive and complimentary access to the highly-rated specialty restaurant, "Blu," noted for its inviting, modern design and flavorful, healthy cuisine. The new suites also will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet. In addition to the 34 new AquaClass Suites, Celebrity Reflection also will present an additional eight luxurious new Sky Suites, 19 additional plush ConciergeClass staterooms, and 11 additional inside staterooms, bringing the stateroom/suite total to 1,515.

Celebrity Reflection will enter service October 12, 2012, on a 9-night European cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona. For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit, or call your travel agent.

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World-Class Athletes Michelle Kwan & Greg Louganis Go Head-to-Head in
First-Ever Royal Deck-Athlon at Sea

MIAMI, July 27: It’s “game on” this summer when world-class figure skating champion Michelle Kwan and world-champion diver Greg Louganis go head-to-head in the first-ever Royal Deck-athlon at sea onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas. The skating and diving legends are facing-off in two commercial spots that will air on NBC-owned stations throughout the country. Viewers will be directed to visit the cruise line’s Facebook page to see the legends compete in a series of 10 events onboard the world’s most revolutionary cruise ship including: surfing the FlowRider; climbing the rock wall; skating in the ice rink; diving at the AquaTheatre; zip lining across the Boardwalk; table tennis, mini-golf and basketball in the Sports Zone; playing blackjack in Casino Royale; and cupcake decorating in the Cupcake Cupboard.

Consumers can get in the game by voting for their favorite competitor at the cruise line’s Facebook page. Fans can vote once a day until August 12 for the chance to win daily prizes as well as the ultimate grand prize – the opportunity to recreate their own Deck-athlon on a 7-night Caribbean cruise for two on Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas.

“Whether you’re an amateur athlete or a world champion like Greg Louganis and Michelle Kwan, there’s something for everyone onboard our ships,” said Lisa Bauer, Senior Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “Each day onboard a Royal Caribbean ship is a chance to take on a new challenge, and every moment on our fleet is an event you won’t find anywhere else at sea.”

The commercial spots featuring the world-class pair will air on NBC-owned stations in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego, and San Francisco as well as select affiliates in Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Myers, West Palm Beach, and Atlanta this summer.

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

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Offers Two December Holiday Voyages On The m/s Paul Gauguin

BELLEVUE, WA, July 27: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, offers two 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyages on The Gauguin providing the perfect way to celebrate December holidays. Both sailings feature special savings of 50% off standard cruise fares plus included airfare from Los Angeles. On The Gauguin's Dec 22, 2012, voyage, guests can enjoy a "White Christmas" on French Polynesia's white-sand beaches, or they can ring in the New Year on the South Seas in style during the Dec 29, 2012, sailing.

Both Tahiti & the Society Islandsholiday voyages cruise roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti, visiting Raiatea and Taha'a, and overnighting in Bora Bora and Moorea. A highlight of each voyage is a visit to Paul Gauguin Cruises private islet, Motu Mahana, off the coast of Taha'a, to enjoy an expansive barbecue with full-service bar, snorkeling, watersports, and activities such as learning the art of cracking a coconut. Paul Gauguin Cruises also offers the opportunity to relax at its exclusive, private white-sand beach in Bora Bora, with bar service, volleyball, swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.

Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program is available on both sailings and introduces young travelers (ages 9 to 17) to the extraordinary natural wonders of French Polynesia. The program provides hands-on, interactive experiences with marine and island ecosystems with participants exploring coral reefs, hiking rainforest trails, and visiting marae (ancient Polynesian temples) as well as learning how black pearls and vanilla are cultivated and how volcanic islands become coral atolls. The program is available for a fee of $299 per child, and parents have an option to join their children on eco-excursions and other activities aboard and ashore.

Cruise fares for both holiday voyages include airfare from Los Angeles. As an added benefit, the third person in a stateroom sails free (airfare not included), making it even easier for families to travel to paradise together. For rates and reservations for Paul Gauguin Cruises, contact a travel professional, call 800-848-6172, or visit

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Holland America Line to Increase Departure, Guest Capacity in Alaska for 2013

Seattle, WA, July 26: For the 2013 Alaska cruise season, Holland America Line is increasing its presence in the region with more departures and more guests than in previous years. Although the number of Holland America ships deployed in Alaska will remain at seven — the same as 2012 — ms Amsterdam will double its departures on new seven-day roundtrip sailings from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As a result, Alaska-season departures will increase 8.5 percent and guest capacity will increase 6 percent over 2012. Plus, Early Advantage savings feature complimentary upgrades and free and reduced fares for third or fourth guests who share the same stateroom on select sailings. By planning ahead, a family of four can take advantage of fares on select departure dates.

“Increasing our capacity in Alaska means that Holland America Line will offer nearly 1.6 million passenger days in the 2013 season,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “These itineraries have always been among our most popular, and Amsterdam’s new seven day departures will allow us to bring more guests to Alaska and show off the natural beauty of this part of the world. We also encourage travelers to book early and enjoy greater benefits with Early Advantage savings.”

When the 1,380-guest Amsterdam begins its Alaska season May 24, the ship will sail a series of 17 seven-day Inside Passage voyages. The Vancouver sailings feature port calls at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as scenic cruising throughout Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm Fjord/Twin Sawyer glaciers.

For the 2013 Alaska cruise season, Holland America Line also will feature ms Zaandam and ms Statendam each sailing on 18 Gulf of Alaska departures from Vancouver. Statendam and Zaandam also will sail four total Inside Passage routes, along with Amsterdam (17), ms Volendam (21) and ms Zuiderdam (20). In addition, ms Oosterdam and ms Westerdam are slated to sail 21 and 20, respectively, seven-night voyages from Seattle, Wash.

Seven-day Alaskan Explorer Voyages Sail Roundtrip from Seattle
Starting May 5 and 11, respectively, the 1,916-guest Oosterdam (Sunday departures) and 1,916-guest Westerdam (Saturday departures) will sail 21 and 20 seven-day Alaskan Explorer voyages departing roundtrip from Seattle. The itinerary features port calls at Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska; Victoria, British Columbia; and a scenic cruising experience at Tracy Arm Fjord/Twin Sawyer glaciers or Glacier Bay National Park.

Seven-day Inside Passage Voyages Sail Roundtrip from Vancouver
Five Holland America Line ships, Amsterdam, Statendam, Volendam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam, will sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a series of seven-day Inside Passage voyages. The 1,432-guest Volendam (Wednesday departures) and 1,916-guest Zuiderdam (Saturday departures) sail a total of 41 voyages from May 1 to Sept 21. During those voyages guests will visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay National Park and make a shore excursion call at Tracy Arm Fjord.

Four additional Inside Passage cruises sail aboard Statendam and Zaandam. Statendam departs Vancouver May 5 and 12, and Sept 22. Zaandam departs May 5.

During embarkation for the Seattle voyages, a ranger from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park will be available to talk to guests about the Klondike parks and other national parks located throughout the Inside Passage. On all Glacier Bay sailings, a park ranger and native interpreters from the Huna people board the ships to explain the origins of their tribe and cultural traditions.

Seven-Day Glacier Discovery Voyages Sail from Vancouver to Seward (or reverse)
The 1,260-guest Statendam and 1,432-guest Zaandam once again will provide the only mid-sized cruise ship experience available in the Gulf of Alaska. Glacier Discovery cruises sail between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage) with Sunday departures May 13 through Sept 16. The itinerary features port calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, a day at sea in the Gulf of Alaska and scenic cruising through the Inside Passage. Each ship will sail 18 voyages and include a visit to Glacier Bay.

CruiseTours and Exclusive Shore Adventures Provide More Discovery of Alaska
Added capacity and departures also will send more guests on the line’s CruiseTours, which combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior. Offering up to three days at Denali National Park for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, CruiseTours are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history.

Holland America Line offers more than 250 optional shore excursions in conjunction with its Alaska cruises. While in port, guests can optimize their Alaskan experience with excursions that involve everything from adventure and wildlife watching to history, art and cuisine. Exclusive Cruise with Purpose shore excursions turn vacation time into an exciting give-and-take opportunity—combining traditional tour content with a chance to make a difference to society, the environment, animal welfare or economic growth. Guests also can enjoy active excursions such as sea kayaking, fly or sport fishing, dog sledding and viewing eagles, sea otters and whales. Other exciting excursions feature such attractions as the White Pass Summit Scenic Railway from Skagway, Russian heritage in Sitka, a photography tour in Haines and a five-course tasting meal featuring Alaska seafood prepared by a local chef in Ketchikan.

For more information, consult a professional travel seller; call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425); or visit

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Senior Officers Announced for Royal Princess

SANTA CLARITA, CA, July 25: When the new Royal Princess launches in June 2013, Captain Tony Draper will be at the helm of Princess Cruises’ newest vessel, leading a senior officer team with more than 100 years of seagoing experience among them. The senior four-stripe team will also include Relief Captain Dino Sagani, Chief Engineer Fabio Braccelli, Hotel General Manager Dirk Brand, and Staff Captain Tim Stringer.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship currently under construction in Italy that will debut a number of new features for Princess, including a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a 50 percent larger atrium, a new Princess Live! television studio, and balconies on all outside staterooms.

“It takes a talented team to launch a new ship of the caliber of Royal Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “These experienced officers bring considerable seagoing and management skills that we believe will contribute to the success of the ship’s maiden season.”

Captain Tony Draper – Captain Tony Draper has been in command of a number of the company’s vessels since 2006, including Ruby Princess, Crown Princess, Caribbean Princess, Dawn Princess, Sun Princess and Coral Princess, as well as ships for sister companies P&O Australia and Cunard. Draper began his seagoing career with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service – the UK’s civilian manned supply and logistics division of the Royal Navy. After gaining his Masters Certificate in 1994, he also pursued a lifelong interest in aviation, gaining a UK commercial pilot’s license in the same year. In 1995, he joined Princess Cruises as navigator of the original Island Princess. It was on this ship, one of the original Love Boats, that he met his wife, Joanna. Originally from Scotland, Captain Draper now lives in Cornwall, UK with his wife and young daughter, Alysia.

Relief Captain Dino Sagani – Captain Dino Sagani commanded a variety of Princess vessels, including Sea Princess, Dawn Princess, Sapphire Princess and, most recently, Diamond Princess. Sagani was born in Trieste on the North East Adriatic coast of Italy. Following the family tradition, he studied at the Nautical College in Trieste, which is one of the oldest Nautical Schools in Europe. On completion of his studies, he joined the Italian Navy, serving on a minesweeper during the first Gulf War. After the Navy, he joined Princess Cruises in 1995, where he quickly climbed the ranks and was promoted to captain in 2007.

Chief Engineer Fabio Braccelli – Hailing from the town of Lerici along the Italian Riviera, Chief Engineer Fabio Braccelli oversees all the maintenance and operation of the ship’s extensive machinery systems. Braccelli has worked aboard 12 Princess ships, including most recently on Sapphire Princess. A graduate of the nautical school Nazario Sauro in La Spezia, Italy, Braccelli subsequently served in the Italian Navy and first joined Princess Cruises as a cadet in 1990 aboard the original Dawn Princess. He moved up through the engineering ranks and was promoted to chief engineer officer in 2004.

Hotel General Manager Dirk Brand – Hotel General Manager Dirk Brand will oversee all hotel functions aboard Royal Princess, a position he has held aboard a variety of Princess ships, including Ruby Princess during the ship’s inaugural. He has also worked aboard the ships of sister company Cunard. Brand was born in Berlin, Germany and grew up in Munich. After completing his education and apprenticeship in hotel management, he served with the Air Force in Sardinia, Italy. Fluent in three languages, Brand began his career at sea in 1998 as a senior assistant food and beverage director during the inaugural season of Grand Princess. He currently resides in Spain.

Staff Captain Tim Stringer – Head of the deck department and second in command to the captain, Staff Captain Tim Stringer has worked aboard eight Princess ships, plus several vessels from sister companies P&O and P&O Australia. He has also been involved in the plan approval team for the construction of the new Royal Princess. Stringer first joined Princess as a second officer aboard the original Royal Princess in 1995. A native of Bedford, England, Stringer began his career as a cadet aboard tankers, and holds both UK and Canadian master mariner certification.

Royal Princess debuts on June 16, 2013, and will sail on a maiden season of Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer, followed by Caribbean sailings in the fall. 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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Crystal Cruises Focuses On The "New" In New England/Canada 2012 Season

LOS ANGELES, July 25: Crystal Cruises' fall voyages through America and Canada's "East Coast" roots offer dozens of new boutique adventures ashore; new chic spaces on board; and a brand new, exotic Quebecois itinerary with three off-the-beaten-path maiden calls. Beginning Sept 19 aboard Crystal Symphony, freshly redesigned during a $15 million extreme makeover, five 7- to 11-day cruises will sail between Boston, Manhattan and Montreal. The season's centerpiece, Crystal's first-ever round-trip from Montreal, is an easy, 7-day intimate exploration of European-flavored French Canada, including a maiden call to France itself.

Twenty-nine new Crystal Adventures offer novel ways for foodies, adventurers, and culture-hounds to experience the historic region's most iconic and less-expected areas, like:

-- Saint-Pierre & Miquelon: Visit North America's last vestige of the French Republic and see Al Capone's "home-away-from-home" during the island's golden era of Prohibition profiteering.
-- Quebec City: Join Huron natives in a Friendship Dance and sacred ceremonies following a traditional feast of bison, wapiti meat and Indian bannock bread.
-- New York: Sail past the Statue of Liberty to the newly-completed 9/11 Memorial or enjoy an exclusive, private visit to the American Museum of Natural History while closed to the public.
-- Havre-Aubert Island (from Magdalen Is.): Listen to a Madelinot fisherman's tales of maritime life of yore.
-- Halifax: Look for the majestic North American bald eagle during a Shubenacadie River Zodiac ride.
-- Bar Harbor: Glide over Acadia National Park's treetops in an open-cockpit biplane.
-- Magdalen Islands (maiden call): Learn about the distinct Acadian culture and taste local specialties like porto-style fortified wine, Pied-de-Vent cheese and bagosse "island beer."
-- Montreal: Jet boat away from the Old Port, down the Lachine Rapids.
-- Sept-Iles (maiden call): Train-ride to a marshland Innu camp for immersion into traditional First Nations life, from chanting and smoked salmon secrets to moccasin and medicine-making.
-- St. John: Heli-fish in the footsteps of Prince Charles on the Miramichi River or have "Tea with Eleanor" Roosevelt at her and Franklin's former summer residence.
-- Boston: See what some call New England's most well-preserved and picturesque Colonial town during a half-day in Marblehead and witch trial-famed Salem.

Aspiring photographers can also learn pro tips to capture the "perfect shot" of Halifax or St. John during photo excursions there, and bike-riders can work off their sea legs through NY's Central Park, or Montreal's 236 miles of bike paths. Additionally, Crystal's You Care, We Care voluntourism program offers complimentary opportunities to assist with local Canadian food banks or help low-income and homeless Bostonian children.

"New England/Canada is one of the most storied and stunning regions in North America and offers so much to explore and discover. Each year, we strive to not only expand our offerings with new ports, but also re-invent the journey with new experiences in traditionally popular destinations," says John Stoll, vice president, land and port operations.

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

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Discover ‘Distinctive’ Journeys This Fall with MSC Cruises

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, July 25: MSC Cruises is making two distinctive fall repositioning journeys available at special rates. Available only for bookings made by Aug. 31, 2012, guests in the United States and Canada can book a balcony stateroom at the early booking rate for an interior stateroom as MSC Poesia and MSC Magnifica reposition from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean for the fall season:

MSC Poesia departs Copenhagen Sept. 9 on an 8-night “Distinctive Treasures” itinerary that calls at Kiel, Germany; Le Havre, Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Gibraltar, United Kingdom, before arriving in Genoa, Italy.
MSC Magnifica departs Kiel Sept. 16 on a 9-night “Distinctive Heritage” cruise that calls at Le Havre, France; La Coruna, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Gibraltar, United Kingdom; and Barcelona, Spain, before arriving in Genoa.

Both itineraries include cruising the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Like all 12 of the ships in the MSC Cruises’ fleet, guests onboard MSC Poesia and MSC Magnifica will find themselves surrounded by elegance and white-gloved service. Guests can be pampered with a Balinese massage in the MSC Aurea Spa, dine in the many restaurants featuring international cuisine, sunbathe poolside, gamble in the casino or enjoy the highly acclaimed entertainment in the lounges or the magnificent theater. For guests seeking more activity, there is miniature golf, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and shuffleboard as well as a wide variety of excursions sure to satisfy the interests of all guests. For more information about MSC Cruises and these special fall offers, visit us online at, call 877-665-4655, or contact a travel professional. Be certain to ask for Fall Promo for eligible fall dates and rates).

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Abracadabra! Magic Castle Appears On Crystal Cruises

LOS ANGELES, July 24: Ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises has pulled the ultimate rabbit out of a hat with a new, industry-first program entitled "Magic Castle at Sea." Thanks to an exclusive arrangement magically orchestrated by Master Magician Rich Bloch, magicians from Hollywood's renowned private magicians' club, the Magic Castle, will come aboard to entertain and mystify guests of all ages. Starting today aboard Crystal Symphony and on August 6's Crystal Serenity voyage, the incredibly intimate evening shows add yet another live entertainment option to 13 luxury European cruises this year, and every voyage in 2013. The new affiliation also offers complimentary classes for adults to develop their own magical acts, educational enrichment on subjects like Houdini, and children's shows on select summer and holiday access to the secret Castle itself when in Los Angeles.

"Considering club guests can only gain entrance if they're in LA and invited by a member, Crystal's Magic Castle at Sea provides rare access to a truly spellbinding entertainment experience," says Crystal's Vice President of Entertainment, Bret Bullock. "We're thrilled to offer our guests yet another unique choice in high-caliber vacation fun."

Like at the Magic Castle itself, on-board performances are "invitation-only," with advance, complimentary "invitations"/tickets available at the ships' libraries. Guests can choose from multiple, half-hour performances over the course of several nights. Come showtime, they enter a special entrance to find the ship's Pulse or Luxe lounge transformed into the mysterious spirit of the Victorian-era Castle, with flameless candles, lighting, music, murals, bookshelves and magic movies from the 1920's. With attendance limited to just 25, audience members are privy to an extremely up-close look at sleight-of-hand tricks, impossible feats, and bewitching hocus pocus.

After vacation's end, invitations can further be used for one-time access to the real Magic Castle in Hollywood. Show attendees must call the number on the back of their used ticket to reserve entry, then present the same ticket upon arrival at the Castle.

Crystal's European season includes Baltic and Northern European cruises until Sept and Mediterranean sailings until Dec. Book Now fares for 7- to 12-day Magic Castle at Sea voyages have attractive air add-ons, plus savings for groups of six or more, combining cruises, and shorter, 5- to 8-day cruise itineraries.

Crystal's award-winning, luxurious offerings always include a diverse selection of thought-provoking, scholarly, and sophisticated enrichment activities that provide extensive on-board choices for cultured world travelers. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

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MTN Satellite Communications & Wireless Maritime Services Outfits New Carnival Breeze
 with Integrated Voice & Data Communications

MIRAMAR, Fla., July 23: MTN Satellite Communications (MTN), the global provider of communications, connectivity and content services to remote locations around the world and Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), the world leader in cellular service to the cruise line and ferry industry, today announced unprecedented services to Carnival Cruise Lines' newest ship, Carnival Breeze, during her first month in service. Carnival leveraged the telecommunications expertise of MTN and WMS to deliver a "shore-side" experience to more than 4,000 passengers and nearly 1,800 crew members on each sailing. Carnival Breeze began a summer schedule of European cruises June 3 and will launch year-round Caribbean service from Miami starting November 24, 2012.

MTN's VSAT services exceeded the connectivity demands of the crew, passengers and corporate communications requirements during its inaugural month. Carnival Breeze also leveraged MTN's Internet Café solution delivering access to passengers and crew on mobile devices such as tablets, smart phones and laptops as well as fixed PCs to stay connected while at sea. Additionally, MTN integrated this seamless connection with Carnival's FunHub portal to provide passengers with immediate digital access to all of the Breeze's ship services, facilities, daily activities and social media.

"New services introduced to the Carnival Breeze created unique challenges to provide ship-wide coverage for telecommunication services, and we knew there would be a heavy demand for onboard cellular and Internet, especially in our inaugural month," said Eric Merz, Carnival's Director of Guest Technology. "During all phases, from the yard, to testing, to having onboard support, both MTN and WMS have proven to be critical partners. The integration of our FunHub to the Internet, the call management and calling solutions has truly brought a full telecommunications solution to Carnival, our guests and crew."

Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a joint venture of AT&T and MTN, launched cellular calling, texting and data services for guests and crew onboard the Carnival Breeze. "We are delighted to be Carnival Cruise Lines' exclusive cellular service provider on their entire fleet of 24 vessels. During Carnival Breeze's first month in service, WMS carried tens of thousands of voice calls to and from the ship. In addition, on June 20th a live Twitter chat session was held onboard Carnival Breeze inaugural highlighting the cellular voice, text and data services available to passengers and crew. Stewart Chiron, cruise expert, known in the industry as 'The Cruise Guy(®),' fielded live questions while sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. The session resulted in over 2.6 million impressions which helped spread the word about Carnival's newest ship and the communication services available onboard," said Jim McKenna, Vice President of Customer Support and Product Management for WMS.

"There is clearly a demand by users to access data from their personal mobile devices as well as having the ability to surf the Internet while at sea," said Brent Horwitz, Senior Vice President and General Manager for MTN Cruise and Ferry Services. "The number of Internet and mobile minutes used on the inaugural sailing of the Carnival Breeze underscores the importance of today's society of staying connected even while on vacation. MTN is proud of our collective success with Carnival over the years, and will be introducing more exciting technology innovations to the maritime market later this year."

Through MTN's exceptionally reliable VSAT solutions, a comprehensive portfolio of onboard revenue opportunities is offered to cruise line partners. The products and services, which add to the overall cruising experience, include remote access for Internet, fixed and mobile phones, MTN Worldwide Television, OceanPhone crew calling, a payroll solution for crew and other enterprise solutions.

The WMS solution delivers seamless cellular connectivity to guests and crew members just as they would on land, at sea beyond any land based towers. Connectivity is activated when the ship leaves port and turned off when in range of land based providers. WMS provides uninterrupted service to guests and crew so they can stay in touch with family, friends or business associates back home while they enjoy the experiences of their cruise. Guests and crew can make and receive calls, send text messages, access email and surf the Internet at rates similar to roaming internationally.

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Norwegian Cruise Line to Host Second Annual #SeaTweetup Cruise on Norwegian Sky

Norwegian Cruise Line will host the second annual #SeaTweetup cruise on board Norwegian Sky from Oct 12-15, 2012. The social media infused sailing departs from Miami and will set sail on a weekend getaway to the Bahamas, visiting Nassau, Bahamas and Norwegian’s Private Island, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. The interactive cruise, coordinated by influential members of the South Florida social media community, allows enthusiasts to participate in special networking events throughout the cruise including group activities, social media marketing panels and discussions, giveaways, and cocktail parties. Guests will also be amongst the first to experience the exciting new enhancements to Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.

The 3-day cruise takes networking to the next level allowing social media insiders to share their experiences with followers, as they build and strengthen relationships, as well as create new ones. Participants will have access to the ship’s Internet Café and Wi-Fi network, as well as invitations to in-port events to post, tweet, and blog throughout the weekend to the twitter hashtag #SeaTweetup.

In addition to planned group activities, guests can enjoy the weekend at their leisure with the perks of Norwegian’s exclusive Freestyle Cruising. The 2,002-passenger Norwegian Sky sets sail year round from Miami to the Bahamas and has 10 dining options; more than 10 bars and lounges; a spa and fitness center; casino; and duty-free retail shops. For more information and to connect with other participants, follow @SeaTweetup and Norwegian (@CruiseNorwegian) on Twitter and include hashtag #SeaTweetup. To reserve your spot on the sailing, please visit

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Costa Cruises North America Posts Best Sales of 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FL, July 20: Costa Cruises North America has posted its highest sales numbers of 2012. June bookings represented a 32 percent increase over figures for June 2011, and the line reported that Monday, July 16, was the best single day of bookings of the entire year.

"Our recovery is well under way, and we are ahead of where we expected to be at this point in 2012," said Scott Knutson, CTC, vice president of sales and marketing for Costa Cruises North America. "While effective marketing and strategic pricing have played a part in generating our strong bookings, we believe that they also are a result of increased consumer interest and renewed confidence in the Costa brand."

Knutson noted that the line's top agency accounts are reporting double-digit increases over the same period last year. "We are grateful to all of the travel agents and our key accounts who continue to support us as we work through our recovery, and we're very encouraged by these results," said Knutson.

For more than 60 years Costa Cruises’ ships have sailed worldwide, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine, while providing holidays focused on fun and relaxation. The line’s ships visit 250 destinations throughout the Mediterranean, northern Europe, the Baltic, Caribbean, South America, United Arab Emirates, Far East and Indian Ocean. The line has 14 ships in service and one new 130,000-ton ship on order from Fincantieri for delivery in April 2014. For more information about Costa Cruises, contact a travel professional, call 800-GO-COSTA or visit

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Windstar Cruises Releases 2013 Voyage Collection Brochure

Seattle, July 19: Windstar Cruises, known for its fleet of luxury yachts and unique destinations, has just released its new 120-page Voyage Collection Brochure showcasing the 2013 sailings. The brochure gives detailed information on itinerary schedules, destination information and news on Windstar’s renovations.

Windstar Cruises 2013 deployment features luxury sailings in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Northern Europe, Italy, Mediterranean, Greek Isles and the Transatlantic Crossings. The brochure showcases the unique voyages day-by-day, such as the signature Greek Isles and Turkish Delights, or the new Idyllic British Islands, giving an in-depth look at adventures off the yacht, culinary dining specific to that region and other magical moments that make Windstar Cruises feel like its own private yacht experience for guests.

Seven new voyages will debut in 2013. Among those sailing for the first time are Footsteps of Faith, which explores the origins of world religions between Athens and Alexandria and the Gaelic Explorers, a journey through the hills and highlands, castles and pubs of Scotland and Ireland.

Along with the enticing collection of voyages, the new Voyage Collection brochure also shares the floor-plans for the newly renovated Wind Star and the soon-to-be renovated Wind Surf and Wind Spirit. The $18 million, fleet-wide renovation features completely redesigned staterooms and a new level of casual elegance on board in all public areas.

The Voyage Collection brochure also includes helpful information on Windstar’s land packages, shore excursions, amenities and other on board experiences. Brochures may be ordered by visiting

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Celebrity Cruises Adds Even More Class to ‘ConciergeClass

MIAMI, July 19: Vacationers who love the personalized services of a professional concierge are likely to relish the new, modern luxury amenities Celebrity Cruises has added to its plush “ConciergeClass” accommodations. Guests booked in Celebrity’s ConciergeClass staterooms still will be treated to the full slate of services and amenities associated with the category since it was introduced, including a bottle of chilled Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine with a commemorative label featuring exclusive artwork from the ArtCenter/South Florida artists upon arrival; fresh fruits and flowers; daily delivery of afternoon savories; pillow menu and the Celebrity eXhale™ bedding program, with premium mattresses, 100% Egyptian cotton linens, and plush duvets and pillows; personalized stationery; oversized tote bag; special room service breakfast menu; Frette bathrobes; plush bath rugs; two hair dryers; Hansgrohe massaging showerhead; use of in-stateroom golf umbrellas and binoculars; custom-blended bath amenities including fine shampoos, body lotions and soaps; a veranda table large enough for dining al fresco, with cushioned chairs; and special services including priority luggage delivery, dining time, shoe shine service, and priority embarkation and debarkation privileges.

Now, the list of services and amenities has been expanded to also include even more personalized service with hand-delivered, customized courtesy cards to ensure that guests can directly contact the Concierge at any time during the cruise for assistance with special occasions or any requests they may have. Additionally, priority debarkation services have been enhanced to include an exclusive ConciergeClass pre-departure lounge with complimentary coffee and juices.

“Expanding our already broad array of ConciergeClass amenities is yet another illustration of our recognition of how rare and important vacation time is for our guests, and our continuous focus on finding the best ways for them to maximize that time,” said Celebrity’s Senior VP of Hotel Operations Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. “Just as a professional, personal concierge is devoted to ensuring his or her clients’ specific, individual preferences are met, so is our ConciergeClass category of accommodations.”

ConciergeClass staterooms are offered on every ship in the Celebrity fleet, with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition, the line’s luxurious megayacht sailing year-round in the Galapagos Islands.

One of the fastest-growing major cruise lines, Celebrity is one of five cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Celebrity’s fleet currently consists of 10 ships, with an additional Solstice Class ship, Celebrity Reflection, scheduled to join the fleet in fall 2012. For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit

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Princess Cruises Unveils Royal Princess Fitness Facilities

SANTA CLARITA, CA, July 19: Princess Cruises today revealed the sports and fitness features that will be aboard the new Royal Princess when the ship debuts next June. Passengers of all athletic abilities can test their mettle and keep in shape with a new outdoor jogging track and additional circuit exercises, the multi-activity Princess Sports Central and a fitness center full of the latest equipment with a private aerobics studio for special classes. The new sports and fitness features are detailed in the company’s latest video previewing Royal Princess, available at

“Many of our passengers are very active on vacation,” said Jan Swartz, executive vice president for Princess Cruises. “These new facilities will offer them state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge classes to keep up – or even step up – their fitness routines at sea.”

Among the fitness facilities on Royal Princess are:

Jogging Track – This new double-lane jogging track on Deck 18 features separate paths for runners and walkers. In addition, a new circuit program with unique outdoor exercise stations will be set at intervals along the track, making it the perfect place for passengers who want to burn a few extra calories or work on strength moves al fresco. This modern outdoor fitness equipment will offer a new option for those who wish to work out on deck and enjoy the sea air. The track area will be decorated with art picturing iconic global travel destinations, giving passengers the opportunity to “run around the world.”

Princess Sports Central –The multi-sport area on decks 18 and 19 is designed to offer a collection of fun options, including court games, lawn activities and even a lounge for virtual gaming. The Center Court can be used for basketball, tennis, volleyball and badminton, while baseball fans can even practice their swing at the portable batting cage. Golfers will find a driving range facility, while the simulated laser shooting range offers a new onboard activity. On the upper level, the Lawn Court offers a grassy area for putting, bocce ball, croquet and lawn bowling. The Game Lounge will offer a comfortable space to meet up for games, including table tennis and virtual gaming with KinectTM systems. The cruise staff will be on hand to organize sports competitions and fun group games.

Fitness Center/Aerobics Studio – The Fitness Center on Deck 17 pairs a state-of-the-art gym with spectacular ocean views. This multi-tiered facility will offer something for all fitness levels, so everyone from beginner to expert will find challenging exercise options. Passengers will find the latest in exercise equipment like treadmills, recumbent bicycles, elliptical machines, strength equipment, as well as a selection of free weights. Most equipment will feature personal TV screens, and some will even offer an interactive, virtual experience that makes exercising a bit more fun and engaging.

New to Royal Princess at the back of the gym is a private aerobics studio that will host a selection of fitness classes, including some intriguing new workout options to keep passengers on their toes. Among the class options will be:

TRX® – Born of the U.S. Navy SEALS, TRX suspension training bodyweight exercise is a revolutionary method of functional training. Using a TRX Suspension Trainer combined with bodyweight, participants can perform hundreds of different exercises and control the intensity by adjusting body position and angle. Classes will be held in the indoor studio as well as outside on the fitness court.
MyRide – A new era in indoor cycling, MyRide offers the opportunity to ride through inspiring scenic landscapes from around the world, with varying levels of intensity controlled by the user.
Body Sculpt Boot Camp – Passengers can increase muscle tone, improve muscular strength, enhance endurance and energy levels with this workout program that burns up to 700 calories in the 40 minute class. Participants will receive a take-home poster/program which outlines all the exercises and breaks the program up into four manageable workouts so they can continue their workouts after the cruise.
Chi Ball Yoga – This relaxing new class uses an aromatherapy-scented ball infused with different mood-enhancing essential oils.

Passengers can meet with fitness instructors in consultation rooms where they can privately discuss their fitness goals and design a workout routine. The fitness center is part of the ship’s Lotus Spa, so passengers can wind down after their workout with a relaxing massage.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship currently under construction for Princess Cruises. Among the new features found on board will be a 50 percent larger atrium which is 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; a dazzling water and light show; the new Princess Live! television studio; a dedicated pastry shop; more dining options including a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private space 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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Celebrity Cruises' Luxurious Ship To Provide Backdrop For First-Ever "S.S. COACHELLA"

MIAMI, July 18: Celebrity Cruises is known for offering memorable vacation moments like no other, and for music lovers, the latest news is no exception. Goldenvoice, producers of the legendary Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, is taking to the high seas for the first time with S.S. COACHELLA debuting on the modern, luxurious Celebrity Silhouette. Offering music and vacation lovers the opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime getaway filled with performances by Coachella artists in intimate settings, S.S. COACHELLA on Celebrity Silhouette will take place on two separate cruises with the same line-up of performers.

Guests can choose from two exotic itineraries: Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas, Dec 16-19, 2012 or Fort Lauderdale to Jamaica, Dec 19-23, 2012. Pulp will headline, with performances by Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Girl Talk, James Murphy (DJ Set), Sleigh Bells, Simian Mobile Disco, Z-Trip, !!!, Warpaint, DJ Harvey, El-P, Killer Mike and more (complete line-up below). Additional planned activities and surprises will unfold during the voyage, along with all the experiences Celebrity Silhouette provides to help guests relax and kick back.

"We're thrilled to be providing the setting for S.S. COACHELLA," said Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President, Sales, Celebrity Cruises. "Just as the Celebrity Cruises name is synonymous with modern style, service and cuisine, the Coachella name is synonymous with cutting-edge, of-the-moment music trends."

The breathtakingly elegant Celebrity Silhouette is one of the most stylish, luxurious ships at sea. Currently the newest ship in the world-renowned Solstice class, Celebrity Silhouette offers 12 dining venues, 9 bars, multiple theaters and a pool deck reminiscent of some of South Beach's hottest hotels, making it the ideal backdrop for the inaugural S.S. COACHELLA.

Reservations for S.S. COACHELLA can be made beginning Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 10:00 am PDT (1:00 pm EDT) with prices starting at $500 per person. Easy payment plans are available with only $250 due at time of purchase. Reservations and additional details are available at

The complete lineup as of this release includes Pulp, Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Girl Talk, James Murphy (DJ Set), Sleigh Bells. Simian Mobile Disco, Z-Trip, !!!, Warpaint, DJ Harvey, El-P, Killer Mike, Black Lips, The Gaslamp Killer, Grimes, Cloud Nothings, Jason Bentley, The Rapture (DJ Set), Father John Misty, Tokimonsta, Alf Alpha.

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Princess Cruises Unveils Exclusive Onboard Photo Exhibit

SANTA CLARITA, CA, July 18: Princess Cruises has unveiled a special exhibit aboard its seven Alaska ships that takes passengers back in time to the early days of cruising in Alaska. Developed in partnership with Princess and the Alaska State Museum, the show, entitled “Then & Now: 100 Years of Cruising Alaska’s Waters,” gives cruisers a glimpse of Alaska and the Inside Passage as it was a century ago, as experienced by early steamship “excursionists.”

Displayed in the atrium of Princess ships during the port of call in Juneau, the exhibit features a selection of 30 historical photographs and artifacts largely from the collections of the Alaska State Library and Alaska State Museum, both in Juneau.

The images, taken in the early 20th century in Vancouver, Victoria, Ketchikan, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway and the Inside Passage are paired with premier historical artifacts from the museum’s collection. Most of the places in the photos are still traveler destinations today, so cruisers can learn the history of places they’ll visit during their vacation, and see how these places have changed over the past century.

“Although certainly Alaska has changed since these photos were taken, the essence of the state passengers visit today has its roots in the past century,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “This is a fascinating opportunity to learn a bit about those who made Alaska journeys before them.”

Alaska tourism had its beginnings in the late 1870s, not long after the United States purchased Russia’s claim to Alaska in 1867. “The steamships of the era were tiny compared to the cruise ships of today,” said Steve Henrikson, senior curator of collections for the Alaska State Museum, “and carried cargo and passengers, visitors as well as locals.”

Steamship accommodations were cramped and visitors were treated to, for better or worse, a “real Alaskan experience,” which could include visits to Native villages, big game hunts, wading through muddy streets, and frequent groundings. The early tourists didn’t just learn about history—they lived it. They encountered U.S. Navy ships practicing “gunboat diplomacy” with Alaska Natives, rubbed elbows with miners heading to the Klondike Gold Rush, or were even swindled by criminals such as Skagway’s Soapy Smith. “Then & Now: 100 Years of Cruising Alaska’s Waters” will run through the summer Alaska cruise season.

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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New Sights & Sounds For Crystal Holiday Voyages

LOS ANGELES, July 17: This holiday season, globe-trotters and their families have two ultra-luxe, warm weather opportunities to celebrate Christmas and New Year's with stylish Crystal Cruises. With expanded options for the holidays, the award-winning line will offer a brand new exotic holiday option through Australia and New Zealand aboard the newly redesigned Crystal Symphony, complete with a complimentary over-the-top New Year's Eve fireworks celebration in Sydney's famed harbor. Travelers seeking a tropical Christmas/New Year's getaway round-trip from Miami can enjoy the holidays aboard Crystal Serenity as she sails to eight ports in Tortola, St. Lucia and other coveted Caribbean locales.

The award-winning ships will be lavishly outfitted with holiday trimmings and decor, from fantastical forest-themed atriums with pines covered in snow and shimmering lights, to Santa's Bakery inside Bistro Cafes. Elaborate, hand-painted accoutrements and ornaments will adorn areas throughout the ships, creating a romantic, nostalgic winter wonderland. Santa Claus will be on hand for any last minute wishes from junior cruisers, along with other specially planned activities and parties. Christmas days at sea offer traditional culinary delights, including Christmas goose, roast turkey, and chestnut stuffing, plus religious services; New Year's Eve dinner and champagne countdown celebrations are followed by Bloody Mary parties and mimosa brunch on New Year's Day.

Jack Anderson, senior vice president of sales and marketing, elaborates on the special voyages: "With activities and excursions for every interest and age, our holiday cruises offer unparalleled choices and a unique, festive setting for discerning families and friends to share the spirit of the season together in a truly memorable way."

Dec 20 (16 days): From Auckland (overnight), Crystal Symphony calls at Tauranga, Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin, New Zealand, spends two nights in Sydney and cruises the awe-inspiring Millford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds before arriving for an overnight stay in Melbourne.
Dec 21 (14 days): Crystal Serenity sails from Miami and explores the picturesque islands of Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Lucia, Barbados, and Guadeloupe, West Indies; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Ponce, Puerto Rico (a maiden call); and Key West, Florida.

Crystal's passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more "World's Best" awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

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Holland America Line's Fall Europe Cruises Feature Exciting Itineraries, Exceptional Value

Seattle, WA, July 17: This fall, Holland America Line is offering an extensive selection of cruises that explore ports of call that span from Turkey to the Canary Islands and across the Atlantic. Setting sail after the bustling summer months, these idyllic itineraries showcase the best of the region at a beautiful time of year. Ranging from a 7-night Mediterranean cruise to a grand 42-night trans-Atlantic journey, the fall favorites feature port-intensive itineraries, overnight calls and plenty of time to explore on one of Holland America Line’s exciting shore excursions.

“Fall is a wonderful time of year to visit Europe because the temperatures are cooler and the summer crowds have diminished,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest programs. “It is also an opportunity to enjoy an extended European holiday at a great value.”

Sailing roundtrip from Barcelona, Spain, ms Ryndam embarks on three 11-day cruises to jewels in the Mediterranean. The Cultural Mosaic cruise visits ports in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro, while the Ancient Discoveries itinerary calls at ports in Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Malta and Monaco. The Canary Island Explorer itinerary sails west, calling at ports in Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and Morocco.

Noordam will follow two alternating 10-day roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, itineraries. Roman Empires visits the eastern Mediterranean with calls at ports in Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Italy, and Mediterranean Enchantment sails the western Mediterranean and includes Monaco, Spain, Italy and North Africa.

Holland America Line’s newest ship, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, sails alternating 12-night cruises between Barcelona and Venice, Italy. Both the Mediterranean Romance and Mediterranean Tapestry itineraries call at differing ports in Italy, Croatia and Greece, with both featuring an overnight call at Venice.

Three of ms Rotterdam’s itineraries are showcased this fall, all sailing roundtrip Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The 14-night Spain and Portugal Explorer itinerary calls at several ports throughout the two countries, with an added stop at Gibraltar. The 17-night Moorish Empire cruise sails all the way to Civitavecchia (Rome) and back, with calls along the way in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Gibraltar. Guests looking to explore western Europe and the shores of Africa can set sail on the 17-night Canary Island Adventure that calls at ports in Portugal, Spain, the Canary Islands and Morocco.

Guests who truly love the thrill of sailing across the Atlantic and enjoy leisurely sea days will have the opportunity to take an ocean crossing on several of Holland America Line ships this fall. Whether repositioning back to warmer waters for the winter season or making an epic roundtrip journey across the ocean and back, the crossings range from 13- to 42-nights and combine exciting ports of call and days at sea ready to be filled with all of the on-board enrichment activities showcased by Holland America Line. For more information on Holland America Line’s fall Europe cruises, consult a professional travel seller; call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425); or visit

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Oceania Cruises’ ‘Riviera’ Makes North American Debut in November

MIAMI, July 16: Riviera, Oceania Cruises’ newest ship in the upper-premium cruise segment, arrives at her homeport of Miami on Nov 29 for her inaugural winter season. Riviera will sail five Caribbean voyages over 12 departure dates featuring ports of calls from the exotic Eastern to the deep Southern Caribbean. Guests can enjoy the sun-drenched beaches, natural wonders and the diverse cultures of the Caribbean while foodies can experience the line’s new Culinary Discovery Tours exploring the local food offerings of the islands side-by-side with an expert chef. Riviera comes to the U.S. fresh from her inaugural European season, which kicked off in May after a gala christening ceremony in Barcelona. The ship has received much acclaim from guests and travel agents.

“Since her introduction, Riviera has been praised for her beautiful design, exceptional cuisine and outstanding service, consistently surpassing expectations,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, Oceania Cruises’ president. “With Miami as Riviera’s home port this winter, our guests will have the opportunity to enjoy this truly outstanding ship while experiencing all that the Caribbean has to offer.”

Travelers can choose from five different itineraries over 12 departure dates:

· Idyllic Isles 11 days roundtrip from Miami, visiting Philipsburg, St. Maarten (new port for Oceania Cruises); St. John’s, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, Saint Lucia; Gustavia, St. Barts; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Departure: Nov 29.
· Mayan Mystique – 10 days roundtrip from Miami. Ports include George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Santo Tomas, Guatemala; Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Key West, Florida. Departures: Dec 10, Jan 13, Feb 22, Mar 18.
· Island Holiday – 14 days roundtrip from Miami, calling at Charlestown, Nevis; St. John’s, Antigua; Kingstown, St. Vincent (new port for Oceania Cruises); Bridgetown, Barbados; St. George’s, Grenada; Gustavia, St. Barts; Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Departure: Dec 20. On this sailing, Riviera will celebrate the holidays with traditional décor, festive menus and themed entertainment with special guest performers.
· Caribbean Hideaways – 10 days roundtrip from Miami, with visits to Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, Saint Lucia; and Gustavia, St. Barts. Departures: Jan 3, Jan 23, Feb 2, Feb 12, Mar 28.
· Ultimate Southern Caribbean – 14 days roundtrip from Miami. Ports include Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; St. George’s, Grenada; Bridgetown, Barbados; Kingstown, St. Vincent; Castries, Saint Lucia; St. John’s, Antigua; and Gustavia, St. Barts. Departure: Mar 4.

Plenty of Time Ashore to Discover the Caribbean
With evening departures from many ports, guests have ample time ashore to explore majestic Mayan ruins, relax on pristine beaches or admire the colorful Dutch colonial architecture in Aruba, among many other options. In fact, Oceania has added numerous new shore excursions to its already robust Caribbean schedule as part of its Pillars of Distinction initiative. For example, in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, a new port of call for Oceania Cruises, motorcycle enthusiasts can sign up for the Harley in Paradise tour for a memorable island ride. Oceania Cruises’ Artist Loft tours, designed to showcase the immense creativity and natural beauty of a port through art, will be offered in Barbados (Barbados Photo Adventure), Saint Lucia (Saint Lucia for Art Lovers) and Antigua (The Art of Antigua).

Food lovers can partake in Oceania Cruises’ popular Culinary Discovery Tours and explore the gastronomic landscape of several Caribbean ports. These tours take culinary enrichment to a new level combining hands-on classroom learning in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center with visits to local food markets alongside the ship’s chefs. In Tortola, for example, the Culinary Discovery Tour includes a visit to Good Moon Farm, an organic oasis of plants and crops where the planting is orchestrated around the lunar cycle.

The 1,250-guest Riviera is purpose-built for epicureans with six open-seating, gourmet restaurants – including a French bistro by Master Chef Jacques Pépin. Interior design highlights include a Lalique-designed grand staircase, elegant public rooms, spacious accommodations and Owner’s Suites furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home.

Guests who book by Sept. 30, will receive two-for-one cruise fares and free air transportation and bonus savings of up to $3,000 per stateroom. For more information on Riviera’s 2012-2013 Caribbean season, see a professional travel agent, visit or call 800-531-5658.

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Seabourn Announces Ten Exclusive Events for 2013 World Cruise

Seattle, July 16: Guests sailing on Seabourn Quest's 116-day World Quest departing Fort Lauderdale on Jan 6, 2013, will be treated to ten exceptional experiences ashore, providing indelible memories of the places and ports of call along their way. Five of these are reserved strictly for those booked for the full world cruise, and the remaining five are also open to all guests sailing on that particular segment of the voyage.

Full World Cruise events include a privileged viewing of the Panama Canal's mighty Miraflores Locks operation; an exclusive "dinner in the sky" high above Sydney, Australia; afternoon tea in the Members Enclosure at a Hong Kong horse-racing track; a desert sunset in the world's highest restaurant at Dubai's Burj Khalifa and a fabulous Turkish festival dinner in a romantic Aegean resort in Bodrum, Turkey.

The five experiences to which all guests are invited include a delicious "castaway" barbecue on a Polynesian motu off Bora Bora; a colorful, kaleidoscopic cultural festival on Bali; a private visit to the Prasart collection of antique Thai arts and crafts in Bangkok; a lively afternoon among elephants and floating markets at Phuket's Village of Four Regions and a vivid performance of Croatian folk music and dance in Dubrovnik's medieval Revelin Fortress.

These shoreside experiences will be supplemented by a stellar array of expert enrichment speakers, special guest entertainers, celebrity chef demonstrations and a wonderful series of gala parties and festivities on board throughout the voyage, ensuring that even travelers who are unable to take the whole voyage can enjoy the unique atmosphere of a true world cruise while on board.

"A world cruise is a dream voyage for travelers," noted Richard Meadows, Seabourn's president. "Guests stepping aboard to sail around the world expect to return somehow changed by experiences they encounter along the way. I am certain that these exclusive events will be among many moments they will remember forever."

Seabourn's World Quest 2013 includes 49 ports of call in the South Pacific, Australia, Southeast Asia, India, Arabia and the Mediterranean, and ends in Venice on May 3, 2013. Ten overnight visits are also featured in marquis ports such as Hong Kong, Sydney, Bangkok, and Mumbai.

Introduced on June 20, 2011, Seabourn Quest is the third iteration of the sleek and widely admired design that has been hailed as "a game-changer for the luxury segment." Seabourn Quest's wealth of luxurious amenities and features make it the ideal ship for extended voyages such as a world cruise.

Fares for the full world cruise include round trip air and a host of other complimentary amenities. For guests who cannot sail the entire voyage, shorter segments are available from 21 days. For more information or reservations, contact a travel professional, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Plans For The Rock Boat XIII Announced

ATLANTA, GA, July 16: In partnership with Sixthman, Host Sister Hazel announces the 13th adventure of The Rock Boat, the longest running music festival at sea. The Rock Boat XIII will set sail with over 2,000 lucky guests aboard Norwegian Pearl on February 24–March 1, 2013 from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

Featuring non-stop music and two days on Norwegian’s private island destination, this musical marathon will showcase both fan favorites and emerging talent across multiple stages around the ship as well as intimate activities with artists and collaborations between musicians that won’t be seen anywhere else but onboard this ocean based traveling circus. The Rock Boat host, Sister Hazel, will be joined by Alternate Routes, Bronze Radio Return, Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers, Good Old War, Will Hoge, NEEDTOBREATHE, Ponderosa, Ben Rector, Red Wanting Blue, Rusted Root, Saints of Victory, DJ Soulman, Yacht Rock Revue, and many more artists to be announced.

“We had no idea that The Rock Boat would become the family of guests and artists that it has become when began in 2001. We are fortunate to be able to host some of the most promising new artists each year and are so excited to have NEEDTOBREATHE back for an encore performance,” said Sixthman CEO Andy Levine.

Norwegian Pearl was destined to be the new home of The Rock Boat XIII. With 15 decks of fun, guests will have access to thirteen bars and lounges, nineteen dining experiences, two pools, four hot tubs, and spa treatments to help forget about the world left behind. Onboard concerts aren’t the only things that rock on Norwegian Pearl. Guests looking for more activities can visit the outdoor climbing wall, bowl a few frames at the onboard lanes, or tempt lady luck at The Pearl Club Casino. Don’t tempt fate! Book your passage on The Rock Boat XIII immediately as past voyages have sold out quickly. Guests can book their stateroom today at

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Royal Caribbean Assists Springfield Community At 15th Annual G.I.V.E. Day

SPRINGFIELD, OR, July 16: More than 120 volunteers associated with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. spent last Saturday painting and landscaping Centennial Elementary School in their Springfield community as part of the company's 15th annual G.I.V.E. Day and the 6th event at its Springfield office. G.I.V.E., which stands for "Get Involved Volunteer Everywhere," is a community service event that brings together Royal Caribbean employees, their families, friends, vendors and business partners to assist non-profit organizations and improve the quality of life in their local communities.

"As one of the largest non-Government employers in Springfield, we are committed to supporting and helping our local communities," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We hope that the personal satisfaction and enjoyment of assisting our neighbors on G.I.V.E. Day will help inspire our employees to pursue volunteer and public service opportunities throughout the year."

Centennial Elementary School was built in 1963 and serves approximately 400 students from kindergarten through fifth grade, in a mixed-income area of west Springfield. About two-thirds of the students are eligible for Free/Reduced lunch thus establishing Centennial as a school receiving Federal Title 1 support. In May 2008, Centennial Elementary was recognized by the Oregon Department of Education as a "Closing The Achievement Gap - Champion School," and more than 50 percent of Centennial teachers hold advanced degrees and have an average of 17 years of classroom teaching experience.

Now in its 15th year, G.I.V.E. Day is an example of how the more than 40,000 Royal Caribbean employees give back to their communities around the world, by donating thousands of volunteer hours to assist their communities with neighborhood development, civic drives, environmental improvement and disaster recovery. Similar G.I.V.E. Day events took place in South Florida, Wichita, Kansas and Seattle, Washington and are planned for Anchorage, Alaska, United Kingdom, Germany and other International Offices.

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Holland America Line Releases Details On Early Advantage Savings For 2013

SEATTLE, July 13: Holland America Line is offering exceptional Early Advantage savings on a wide selection of 2013 cruises and CruiseTours to guests who book well in advance of departure. The promotion features free upgrades on select sailings, as well as savings of up to 50 percent by combining two cruise itineraries on select Collectors' Voyages in Europe. Also on some sailings, free and reduced cruise fares are available for third or fourth guests who share the same stateroom.

"By planning ahead, our guests can take advantage of significant savings and ensure they are able to take their dream vacation," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Whether it's upgrading to a verandah stateroom or deciding to enjoy a longer cruise vacation, these savings show the value of booking in advance."

With savings of up to 50 percent off per person, the Early Advantage promotion makes it possible for guests to take a longer Collectors' Voyage in Europe at an even more affordable rate. These artfully crafted, longer cruises combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring the history, culture and beauty of the region. With Early Advantage savings, guests can book a 14-day Collectors' Voyage with fares starting as low as $1,799 per person, double occupancy, for an inside stateroom, and receive a free upgrade to an ocean-view while staterooms are available.

Free upgrades and free or reduced third and fourth guest Early Advantage savings are available on an extensive selection of the line's cruises to more than 415 ports of call in destinations around the world: Alaska, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama Canal and South America/Antarctica. A family of four can take advantage of free or reduced third and fourth guests in the Caribbean, with fares starting at $699 for the first two guests, and the third and fourth sailing free. Guests also may book an ocean-view category for $999 and receive a complimentary verandah upgrade.

A 14-day Australia/New Zealand cruise starts at $1,699 for an inside stateroom and $1,999 for an ocean-view stateroom for the first and second guests, with reduced fares for the third and fourth starting at $1,049. In addition, guests aboard Australia/New Zealand cruises can receive a complimentary upgrade from an ocean-view stateroom to a verandah category while staterooms are available.

Popular 7-day Alaska Inside Passage cruises from Seattle, Wash., or Vancouver, British Columbia, start at $699 for inside staterooms or $999 for verandahs, with free upgrades available. Another option is one of Holland America Line's Alaska CruiseTours, varying in length from 10 to 20 days and starting at $999 for inside staterooms and ocean-view staterooms.

For more information on Holland America Line's Early Advantage savings, consult a professional travel seller; call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425); or visit

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Luxury Adventure Cruises in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés—American Safari Cruises
Debuts Bigger Yacht, New Itinerary

Seattle, WA, July 12: New to the American Safari Cruises fleet of upscale yachts, the refurbished 86-guest Safari Endeavour spends its first winter sailing Luxury Adventure cruises in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés. Travelers interested in an Un-Cruise Adventure—up close access to nature and wildlife and exclusive excursions—may choose a warm water adventure exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site & Biosphere Reserve. Weeklong Baja’s Bounty expeditions sail roundtrip from La Paz, Baja, Mexico from November through April 2013. As an added incentive, guests booking by September 30, 2012 earn a $300 travel credit per couple for travel through April 2013.

“The stunning desert landscape and rich marine life are the perfect backdrop for an un-cruise adventure,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “We’re able to navigate into small coves and access islands inaccessible to larger boats.”

An unstructured itinerary explores hideaways such as Isla Espíritu Santo, Isla San Francisco, Bahia Agua Verde, Los Islotes and Loreto. Labeled the “Aquarium of the World’ by Jacques Cousteau, the relatively unknown Sea of Cortés rivals the pristine environment and geo- and biological diversity of the world-renowned Galapagos Islands. Flexible itineraries spend time seeking out dolphins and blue, fin, sei, orca and sperm whales. At Los Islotes, guests enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime adventure snorkeling with playful, young sea lions.

Guests can be as active as they like and activities include hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. A swim step and kayak launch platform on the stern of the vessel serves as the hub for guests embarking on water-borne adventures. Expert naturalists provide interpretation on guided excursions ashore and at sea.

During a port call in the historic mission town of Loreto, guests may join an included walking tour of the picturesque village exploring the historical buildings, mission, shops and plazas. Those interested in seeing gray whales may take an optional tour to lagoons on the Pacific side where the whales congregate seasonally. Ashore, guided hikes explore forests of giant Cardón cactuses, traverse island ridges with sweeping views and head inland to explore scenic desert landscapes. Depending on whim, weather and the moon’s cycle, guests may partake in an evening barbecue ashore at Bahia Agua Verde, swim in a bay filled with bioluminescence, enjoy a late night snorkel under the stars and visit with local fishermen on Isla Coyote, a remote inhabited island.

Transfers are included in the cruise fare from either Los Cabos or La Paz airports. The inclusive cruise includes all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; a massage, exquisite meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; and all port charges, taxes and fees. An all-American crew has a guest-crew ratio of 2.5 to 1. Yachts can be booked as a private charter or by individual stateroom. To book a yachting adventure or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or American Safari Cruises at 888-862-8881 or email .

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Celebrity Cruises' Chef John Suley To Cook Up Good Times At Miami Beach Hotspot

MIAMI, July 11: Around the country and around the globe, sharing good food with friends is one of life's simplest and most satisfying pleasures, which is why fresh, made-from-scratch, award-winning cuisine is central to Celebrity Cruises' modern luxury vacation experience. When friends not only share a meal but share in the preparation, the results are even more exceptional. Such will be the case at midnight this Friday, July 13, 2012, at Miami Beach hotspot Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, when Celebrity Cruises' director of culinary operations, James Beard Award-nominated Chef John Suley, joins longtime close friend and fellow James Beard nominee Chef Jeffrey McInnis as part of the highly acclaimed restaurant's Midnight Chef's Table Series.

The ongoing dinner series, which offers foodies the opportunity to dine family-style with notable and up-and-coming chefs, is presented in an intimate setting in front of Yardbird's open kitchen. Suley will create a menu reflective of his modern, upscale, creative approach to simple, stunning presentation, evident in Celebrity's luxurious culinary offerings. The menu will also reflect Suley's friendship with McInnis and their history of cooking together, both professionally and personally. The two will host the dinner together in a casual, relaxed style typical of the Midnight Chef's Table and Yardbird's friendly ambience, giving diners a glimpse into what makes them successful as chefs as well as an opportunity to hear about their history together. Most seating at the July 13 dinner has been reserved; to see if tickets are still available, call (305) 538-5220.

"Jeff was the first person I met when I moved to Miami in 2006, and now he's one of my best friends," Suley said. "We've seen a lot of growth in each other's careers in the past few years. Jeff has a great ability to adapt to any environment, and he cooks food that is tasty, clean and simple, while bringing a great energy to create an upbeat vibe - you can see it every day at Yardbird. We've worked together formally and informally, but we have the most fun when we hang together and cook, whether it's at each other's houses, on his boat, or doing nothing at all! "

"John and I have cooked a lot of great food together over the years," said McInnis. "July 13th will not just be a reunion of two great friends, but also a reunion of great food and I'm very much looking forward to it!"

An accomplished, dynamic chef who has worked with some of the world's leading culinarians, Suley leads the team of more than 2,000 chefs behind Celebrity Cruises' award-winning cuisine, one of the most memorable aspects of Celebrity's modern luxury vacation experience. On every Celebrity cruise, guests enjoy sophisticated, globally influenced and artfully presented cuisine and impeccable service in stunningly designed restaurants. Celebrity also offers "Excite the Senses" culinary theme cruises on select itineraries.

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New Campaign Launches to Save the 'United States'

New York, NY, July 11: In celebration of the 60th anniversary of her historic maiden voyage, the SS United States is steaming onto computer screens across America. The Save the United States Campaign blends social networking with historic preservation to raise awareness and resources for the cause of saving one of the nation’s most iconic national symbols. The groundbreaking interactive experience will create an online community committed to protecting a unique and inspiring expression of American pride and innovation.

Like the Space Shuttle and the 747, the SS United States is one of the nation’s crowning technological achievements. Larger than the Titanic, she shattered the transatlantic speed record 60 years ago this week – a record that has never been broken. The safest, fastest and most advanced ship of her time, SS United States epitomizes “Made in America” and remains the largest passenger ship constructed entirely in her namesake nation. The historic vessel was part of a top secret Cold War program to build the fastest ship afloat; the SS United States could be quickly transitioned from the luxury liner of choice for Hollywood celebrities to a massive, high-speed troop carrier. Today, America’s Flagship sits idle and in a state of disrepair in Philadelphia awaiting restoration and repurposing as a museum and self-sustaining stationary waterfront destination.

“The Save the United States Campaign is as an exciting and inspiring project the entire nation can rally around,” states Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy, which purchased the vessel last year. “This new campaign leverages the power of social networking and the internet to save one of the 20th century’s crowning technological achievements for future generations. This campaign will allow people from the world over the chance to connect with the vessel online and participate in the ship’s restoration in a very personal way.”

The dynamic web platform, designed by Social Control of Los Angeles, enables visitors to scroll across the exterior of the ship and zoom in to uncover historical information about the ship’s passengers and crew, from the Presidents who sailed aboard her as well as immigrants, movie stars, diplomats, and people from all walks of life.

For $1 per square inch, supporters can select and save their own sections of the ship. They can also upload photos, stories, anecdotes, and tributes which can be linked to their Facebook pages and other social networking sites. Individuals and corporations have a variety of customization options including highlighting their sections with badges, colors and other graphics.

“We’re creating a new online community of people who care about this great ship and who are eager to celebrate our common history,” states Gibbs. “The platform makes participating in the campaign fun and exciting while being accessible to all ages and income levels.” All donor profiles will be included in a new high-tech Wall of Honor in the permanent shipboard exhibition. The interactive display will insure that all participants’ stories become a lasting part of the larger story of the SS United States.

Funds raised by the campaign will be used to restore the exterior of the nearly 1,000-foot-long ship to her former glory. They will also be used to develop a 20,000-square-foot museum as well as a dynamic Center for American Design and Discovery that will explore history, science, technology and innovation themes. Those interested in supporting the campaign can log onto

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Sail Europe in a Balcony Stateroom at an Interior Rate on Select MSC Cruises’ Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, July 11: With youngsters back in school and temperatures ideal for exploring the history, culture and nature of Europe, travelers can take advantage of special fall rates on balcony staterooms that begin at $669 on select MSC Cruises’ sailings that reflect the region and the line’s Mediterranean heritage. Available only for bookings made by Aug. 31, 2012 on select sailings, guests can book a balcony stateroom at the early booking rate for an interior stateroom for select itineraries on MSC Cruises’ elegant fleet of ships, including the new MSC Divina.

While visiting some of Europe’s most beautiful and historic destinations in the Mediterranean, guests will also enjoy MSC Cruises’ rich Mediterranean heritage and international experience with world-class entertainment, the exotic MSC Aurea Spa and Mediterranean cuisine on the line’s elegant ships, including MSC Divina, which entered the fleet in May. Like sister ships MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, MSC Divina features the exclusive MSC Yacht Club, 69 suites (71 on the sister ships) in a “ship-within-a-ship” oasis of tranquility where guests indulge in comfort and convenience, complete with 24/7 Butler and concierge services; complimentary wines and spirits; private restaurant, lounge, pool and relaxation area; private access to MSC Aurea Spa and more.

Among the roundtrip itineraries available this fall at limited-time-only rates are:

• MSC Divina’s 7-night “Divine Mediterranean” itineraries, sailing from Bari and calling at Venice, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik.
MSC Splendida’s 7-night “Splendid Mediterranean” cruises, sailing from Barcelona or Rome and calling at La Goulette, Valletta and Messina.
MSC Magnifica’s 7-night “Autumn Iberian Discovery,” sailing from Barcelona and calling at Genoa, Malaga, Lisbon and Casablanca.
MSC Musica’s 7-night “Greek Islands in the Sun,” sailing from Venice or Bari and calling at, Katakolon, Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus, Corfu and Dubrovnik.
MSC Orchestra’s 11-night sailing from Rome or Genoa, calling at Heraklion, Piraeus, Istanbul, Messina and Valletta.

On all 12 of MSC Cruises’ ships, guests will discover what earned the line Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Award for “Best Onboard International Experience.” Surrounded by elegance and white-gloved service, guests can be pampered with a Balinese massage in the MSC Aurea Spa, dine in the many restaurants featuring international cuisine, sunbathe poolside, gamble in the casino or enjoy the highly acclaimed entertainment in the lounges or the magnificent theater. For guests seeking more activity, there is miniature golf, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and shuffleboard as well as a wide variety of excursions sure to satisfy the interests of all guests.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit us online at, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional. Be certain to ask for Fall Promo for eligible fall dates and rates. Alternate departure ports and itineraries may be available. Prices may vary. Contact your local travel professional, as space is limited.

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Updated Lawsuit Filed By Costa Concordia Victims

NEW YORK, July 10: This week, victims of the doomed Costa Concordia Cruise Ship that capsized off the Italian coast in January filed a new Complaint against Miami headquartered Carnival Corp., the builder of the Costa Concordia, for product liability, against Carnival's Miami-based architect for defective ship design and against Carnival for a pattern and practice of concealing and/or delaying notification of life threatening situations to passengers on board their cruise ships, amongst other causes of action. Another claim, alleging wrongful death on behalf of several other parties, is to be filed shortly.

The suit alleges that Carnival was aware that the ship's hull design and power systems were defective. In February 2010 the hull of Carnival's Costa Europa was punctured against a dock in Egypt creating a small hole, roughly 1/30th (6 feet) the size of the hole in the Costa Concordia's hull, yet that ship flooded and listed severely at the cost of multiple lives. To date, the company refuses to release the incident report relating to the Europa accident to the public.

In November 2010, Concordia's sister ship the Carnival Splendor caught fire and was stranded off the coast of Mexico due to a catastrophic failure of a generator in one of the engine rooms. Splendor's second generator, located in another engine room, should have kicked in but failed to work. At the time, Carnival Cruise Lines' CEO Gerry Cahill was quoted in Travel Weekly: "Having two engine rooms like we do is pretty much the norm in the cruise industry". Cahill added that Carnival had determined that "there are certain things that we can do to increase the effectiveness of that redundancy." Cahill also said that these lessons would likely be applied to Carnival's sister brands in the Carnival Corp. group, but the Concordia was plagued by multiple electrical failures after the crash, causing tremendous loss of life and property, personal injury and terror for those on board.

Indeed, as Marc Jay Bern of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, LLP, co-lead attorney along with Mitchell Proner of Proner & Proner, representing Costa Concordia victims recently noted, "No one got off the Concordia unscathed. Even those who survived and avoided serious physical injuries will never be the same after the horror they lived through. These people trusted a well-known cruise industry brand and had every reason to believe they were in responsible and experienced hands but unfortunately that proved to be anything but the truth."

Law firms Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik & Associates, LLP (with offices in New York and Florida) and New York-based Proner & Proner, along with the Italian firm CODACONS, are representing the plaintiffs in their litigation against the Carnival Group and the other responsible parties. At least $2 million dollars in compensation per passenger is sought and attorneys plan to request $590 million dollars in punitive damages.

The action, filed in State Court before the Florida Circuit Court (11th Judicial Circuit) in Miami-Dade County, Florida is against Carnival Corporation, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Costa Cruise Lines, Inc. and Costa Crociere SPA, are all registered in the State of Florida and face state law claims for Maritime Negligence, Gross Negligence, Negligence - Product Defect as to Carnival Corp., Professional Negligence of the Ship's Architect, Intentional Failure to Warn, Intentional Failure to Abandon Ship, Intentional Failure to Notify Authorities, Corporate Pattern and Practice of failure to warn, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligent Retention (by the Cruise Line of Captain Schettino), Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Fraudulent Inducement.

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National Symphony Orchestra Reprises Popular Performances Aboard Queen Mary 2
 for Fourth Consecutive Year

July 10: Cunard Line guests aboard the Oct 14, 2012 Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing on flagship Queen Mary 2 will have the opportunity to enjoy performances by select members of London’s prestigious National Symphony Orchestra (NSO). Under the direction of GRAMMY®-nominated conductor Anthony Inglis, the NSO will give two concerts throughout the seven-day Crossing, one a tribute to American music, and the other in traditional “Last Night of the Proms” style. In an exclusive partnership between Cunard Line and the NSO, guests will have the opportunity to join an all-passenger chorus. They will rehearse and perform with Inglis and the NSO on stage and lead the audience in song during the latter concert, on the final evening of the voyage.

The line-up for this year’s passenger-led chorus includes landmark numbers such as “Rule, Britannia!,” “Jerusalem,” and “Land of Hope and Glory.” Guests interested in participating in this year’s chorus can find detailed information in advance of the sailing here.

“From our award-winning lecture series and magnificent on board theatrical productions, to this exclusive partnership with the National Symphony Orchestra, we are pleased to continue to offer our guests the finest in on board enrichment and entertainment,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.

Conductor Anthony Inglis commented, “A Cunard crossing of the Atlantic had been a dream of mine since I was a boy brought up in Cowes [England] in the 60s and first saw the former Cunard Queens sailing out of Southampton past The Brambles. To take part with my orchestra on the magnificent Queen Mary 2 of such a wonderful occasion as the two concerts we give, one of which will include some volunteer passengers, is that dream come true.” He continued, “This will be our fourth crossing, and each time the opportunity to take part is keenly sought by both orchestra members and the chorus of passengers, let alone seats for the actual performances. So much fun is had by all that everyone will want to do it again – and they can, next year.”

The only liner to provide regularly scheduled Transatlantic service between New York and Southampton, 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 workshops, lecture programs, dining menus and spa treatments.

Guests can also take advantage of the popular Cunard Insights enrichment program, which offers lectures by famous authors, historians, celebrities and personalities. This season’s line-up includes such guests as former BBC news anchor and Royal correspondent, Nicholas Bowen; Chief White House Correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, Kenneth Walsh; and Steve Rivellino, TV producer and former vice president and general manager of New York’s Radio City Music Hall™.

Nights on board a Cunard Transatlantic Crossing are filled with Royal Nights themed balls, where guests can dance the night away to a live orchestra in the Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea; while days are spent with such leisurely activities as perusing more than 8,000 books in the largest library at sea, enjoying traditional white-gloved afternoon tea, or exploring the cosmos in the only planetarium at sea. For more information about Queen Mary 2 or to book a voyage, consult your Travel Agent, call Cunard toll-free 1-800-728-6273 or go to

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Seabourn Announces Guest Speakers for 2013 World Cruise

SEATTLE, July 10: Seabourn has announced a diverse line-up of prominent guest speakers who will be among those enhancing the 116-day World Cruise aboard Seabourn Quest in 2013. The speakers' breadth of knowledge is as worldly as the cruise itself, including such notables as the sly, witty comedienne Rita Rudner, NASA astronomer Dr. Norman Caisse and satirical author Christopher Buckley. Seabourn Quest's world cruise will depart Jan 6, 2013, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and end in Venice, Italy on May 3.

Luminaries including scientists, historians, scholars, maritime experts, documentary filmmakers and politicians will share their expertise and provide valuable insights on destinations to Seabourn Quest guests during their memorable world cruise.

"This is a very exciting group of speakers with personalities and portfolios as diverse as the ports of call the cruise will visit," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Many of them specialize in the regions we visit, and their knowledge will undoubtedly enhance our guests' cruise experiences and entertain them on their way around the globe."


Rita Rudner: American comedienne, actress, screenwriter, author. She has starred in numerous television specials and performs live in the U.S. and U.K. April 27-May 3.
Christopher Buckley: American political satirist and novelist. March 26-31.


• Dr. Norman Caisse: NASA engineer and astronomer who participated in a variety of space exploration projects. Jan 16-30.

Destination Experts

• Dr. Roderick A. McDonald: professor, author, Caribbean and Latin American historian. Jan 6-16.
Dr. Michelle Craig McDonald: professor and author of Early American, Caribbean and maritime history. Jan 6-16.
Dr. Adrian Kerr: author and historian in ancient civilizations. April 8-21.
Farhana Qazi: international relations analyst and expert on Middle Eastern political conflicts. April 12-23.

Military History/Foreign Relations

• Captain Peter Martin: Commander, Royal Australian Naval Reserve, one of Australia's few titled Masters and Commanders, maritime expert and foreign affairs scholar. Feb 22-March 2.
Col. Ralf Vargas: retired U.S. Army officer, former Chief of the NATO Situation Center, specializing in European Affairs. April 23-May 3.


• Dr. Lawrence Blair: adventurer and documentarian whose acclaimed TV series Ring of Fire highlights his 10-year exploration of Indonesia. March 1-23.
Paul Deegan: mountaineer and award-winning author whose ascents include Mount Everest and other major peaks worldwide. March 9-19.

The onboard enrichment lineup augments an extensive array of daytime and nightly entertainment that ranges from dynamic, up-to-the-minute vocal revues, classical recitals, comedy, engaging quiz shows, dance classes and live music for dancing.

Introduced on June 20, 2011, Seabourn Quest is the third iteration of the sleek and widely admired design that has been hailed as "a game-changer for the luxury segment." Seabourn Quest's wealth of luxurious amenities and features make it the ideal ship for extended voyages such as a world cruise.

Seabourn Quest's 116-day world cruise sails from Ft. Lauderdale to Venice, visiting an array of exotic destinations in the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, India, Arabia and the Mediterranean. Rates for the full world cruise begin at $51,999 per person, based on double occupancy, including round trip air and a host of other complimentary amenities. For guests who cannot sail the entire voyage, shorter segments are available from 21 days. For more information or reservations, contact a travel professional, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Cunard Line Announces Grand Summer Event Sale

July 10: For those looking to experience a Cunard luxury cruise vacation, Cunard is holding an exclusive five-day Grand Summer Event Sale on select voyages aboard Queen Elizabeth and flagship Queen Mary 2, featuring savings of up to 60% off Mediterranean voyages and a special offer of complimentary balcony upgrades on ships departing U.S. ports. Included in the sale are the spectacular 9-day Mediterranean Memories to Sevilla, Barcelona and Florence, and the 12-day Greek Isles & Aegean Treasures to Rome, Turkey, Israel and the Greek Isles. The sale starts on July 12.

Grand Summer Event Sale voyages aboard Queen Elizabeth include:

9-day Mediterranean Memories; Aug 28
12-day Holy Land Explore; Sept 6
12-day Pearls of the Black Sea; Sept 30
12-day Greek Isles & Aegean Treasures; Oct 12
15-day Panama Canal Adventure; Jan 20

Grand Summer Event Sale voyages aboard Queen Mary 2 include:

11-day New England & Canada Sojourn; Sept 21
12-day Caribbean Fiesta; Dec 22

Guests sailing a luxury cruise vacation aboard Cunard Line delight in the experience of the voyage itself, not just the destination. By day, guests enjoy voluminous libraries, world class spas, white-gloved afternoon tea service and engaging award-winning Insights guest enrichment programs; and by night are entertained by black tie dinners, Royal Nights themed balls, West End-style productions and Veuve Clicquot champagne cocktails.

All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Each promotional voyage also offers the option to receive up to $300 in on board credit per stateroom. The sale runs through July 16. For more information about Queen Elizabeth or Queen Mary 2, or to book a voyage, consult your travel agent, call Cunard toll-free 1-800-728-6273 or go to

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Luxury Cruise Industry First: Crystal Previews 2015 World Cruise

LOS ANGELES, July 9: Crystal Cruises is looking far into the future, sans crystal ball, revealing early details of its 2015 World Cruise. In honor of its 20th World Cruise, and 25th anniversary of the company, the ultra-luxe line will be offering a brand new route: a full circumnavigation of the globe conveniently round-trip from Miami starting January 15, 2015. The 108-day, warm weather voyage aboard Crystal Serenity will consist of six all-inclusive segments that will traverse Central and South America, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and the Caribbean, as follows:

-- Miami to Callao/Lima (16 days)
-- Callao/Lima to Auckland (19 days)
-- Auckland to Perth (21 days)
-- Perth to Cape Town (21 days)
-- Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro (15 days)
-- Rio de Janeiro to Miami (16 days)

"For our 20th World Cruise, travelers can expect an especially spectacular addition to their personal bank of once-in-a-lifetime memories, with popular cultural capitals and off-the-beaten-path jewels that appeal to both our loyal regulars and those new to us," says Crystal President Gregg Michel. "Add the hands-on world education, the bonding among guests, easy country-hopping, and luxurious home base of Crystal Serenity to the round-trip Miami circumnavigation and 25th anniversary celebrations, and this is sure to be one of the finest global explorations any adventurer could ever experience."

Additional itinerary highlights include maiden calls in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Albany, Australia; Ambodifotra and Taolagnaro, Madagascar; and Richards Bay, S. Africa (in addition to three other South African calls), and stops in Easter Island, Bora Bora, the Cook Islands, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne, Reunion Island, Buenos Aires, Cartagena, Turks & Caicos, and more. Full World Cruisers receive a host of complimentary perks such as private enrichment classes, fitness programs, entertainment, social invitations, and mementos. The full itinerary will be posted on by July 16.

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Carnival Splendor Earns Unprecedented Sixth Perfect Score on
Most Recent US Public Health Inspection

June 9: The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor earned a 100 score on its United States Public Health Service inspection conducted in Long Beach, California, yesterday. In its eight U.S.P.H. inspections since entering service in 2008, Carnival Splendor has achieved six 100 scores, as well as two near-perfect marks of 99 and 98, an unprecedented accomplishment in the cruise industry. The ship’s average U.S.P.H. inspection score during its four years of service is a remarkable 99.6.

Carnival Splendor received perfect marks on all 42 items that comprise the U.S. Public Health Service’s comprehensive Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) checklist. The unannounced inspections, which are conducted twice a year and required for any cruise ship with an international itinerary calling at a U.S. port, evaluate vessels in a variety of areas, including adherence to proper food handling, preparation and storage procedures, and overall galley cleanliness. Ships’ potable water supplies used in spas and pools are also evaluated.

Carnival Splendor, which currently operates seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, will reposition to New York on year-round eight-day Caribbean/Bahamas voyages beginning March 23, 2013. Prior to its upcoming New York schedule, Carnival Splendor will offer three South America voyages in February and March 2013, visiting some of the continent’s most beautiful and breathtaking destinations.

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Set Sail With Larry Maguire of Far Niente Winery on the m/s Paul Gauguin

BELLEVUE, WA, July 9: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, offers guests the opportunity to learn about fine wines from Larry Maguire of Napa Valley's Far Niente Winery on The Gauguin's October 6, 2012, Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage.

With more than 30 years of professional experience in the fine wine industry, Mr. Maguire brings a wealth of knowledge about wine to share with guests aboard The Gauguin. Founded in 1885 and restored in 1979, Far Niente winery is consistently recognized as a benchmark producer of Napa Valley Chardonnay and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Mr. Maguire, President and CEO of Far Niente, joined the winery in 1983 and together with his partners, grew it from a small, locally known winery to a critically acclaimed producer. A dedication to winemaking in its highest form, paired with a focus on house style, vineyard ownership, and social responsibility, has established Far Niente as one of the world's great wine estates. Passionate about wine, Mr. Maguire regularly visits the great wine regions of the world, tasting wines in the cellars and homes of some of the world's most acclaimed vintners. He will present a lecture on wine and conduct a tasting of Far Niente wines during the voyage.

The Gauguin's 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage cruises roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti, visiting Raiatea, Taha'a (Motu Mahana), Bora Bora (overnight), and Moorea (overnight) in the Society Islands. Cruise fares include free airfare between Los Angeles, Calif., and Papeete, Tahiti. For more information and reservations for Paul Gauguin Cruises, contact a travel professional, call 800-848-6172, or visit

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Norwegian Cruise Line Launches the Great Upgrade Event

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering guests the opportunity to receive free stateroom upgrades during “The Great Upgrade Event” starting today, Monday, July 9. Vacationers planning to set sail on any 3-day or longer cruise vacation in 2013 or 2014 will receive an up to four category stateroom upgrade and reduced deposits on sailings to Alaska, the Bahamas & Florida, Bermuda, Caribbean, Canada & New England, Europe, Hawaii, and the Mexican Riviera, when they book before August 12, 2012. In addition, those who take advantage of the offer will receive e-coupons worth up to $300 in on board savings.

Norwegian offers many exciting new cruise options during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, including the launch of Norwegian Breakaway. Departing from New York City on 7-day cruises to Bermuda beginning May 12, 2013, the ship will spend three full days in Bermuda, along with three days at sea giving guests the opportunity to experience all of the innovative public areas, exciting entertainment and incredible dining that will be found on board the line’s newest ship. Following her Bermuda season, Norwegian Breakaway will set sail on 7-day cruises from New York City to the Bahamas & Florida between Oct 13, 2013 and April 27, 2014.

With six ships sailing to the Caribbean and Bahamas & Florida from four different US homeports: Miami, New Orleans, Tampa and New York; there is no shortage of fun in the sun on Norwegian. Guests will enjoy free stateroom upgrades on Norwegian Epic, sailing 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from Miami between Nov 2, 2013 and April 19, 2014; 7-day Western Caribbean cruises on board Norwegian Pearl between Oct 20, 2013 and April 13, 2014; or 10- or 11-day Southern Caribbean cruises on board Norwegian Sun, from Oct 9, 2013 through April 16, 2014.

In an exciting first for the line, Norwegian Jewel will be the first Jewel-class ship to homeport in New Orleans, starting Oct 13, 2013, offering 7-day cruises to the Western Caribbean. Norwegian Dawn will return to Tampa for 7-day Western Caribbean sailings between Nov 17, 2013 and April 20, 2014. Norwegian Gem will continue sailing from New York year-round offering seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises between April 27, 2013 and Sept 7, 2013.

Guests looking to sail through the Panama Canal can sail on 14-day cruises one-way from Los Angeles or Miami on board Norwegian Star from Oct 13, 2013 through Feb 16, 2014. Norwegian Star will also offer 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles on Dec 22 and 29, 2013 and from March 2, 2014 through April 13, 2014.

For fall foliage viewing at its best, Norwegian Dawn will sail four Canada & New England itineraries between Boston and Quebec between Sept 13 and Oct 4, 2013. Norwegian Gem also offers a series of five 7-day Canada & New England cruises from New York between Sept 9 and Oct 12, 2013.

For the perfect Hawaii vacation, guests can inter-island hop on board Pride of America, year-round on a 7-day cruise from Honolulu enjoying over 100 hours in port, and a sail past the scenic Na Pali Coast.

Guests can look forward to spending next summer cruising through Alaska on a 7-day cruise on board Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Jewel, or Norwegian Sun or through Europe on Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jade, or Norwegian Spirit.

To book a cruise vacation to any of Norwegian’s incredible destinations during “The Great Upgrade Event,” contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 866-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit

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Fincantieri Awarded Contract to Build the 'Caissons' for Costa Concordia Removal

Genoa, July 3: As part of the salvage plan to remove the wreck of Costa Concordia, which will be carried out by the Italo-American Titan-Micoperi consortium appointed by Costa Crociere S.p.A., Fincantieri has been awarded a contract worth tens of millions of euros for the building of the watertight boxes, known as caissons, to be used in the operation to refloat the ship.

A total of 30 steel caissons, with combined weight of approximately 11,500 tons, will be built in different Fincantieri shipyards. The Costa Concordia salvage plan entails the use of these caissons to right and refloat the wreck so that it can be removed in one piece.

Once the ship has been stabilized, caissons will be fixed to the upper side of the hull and gradually filled with water as part of the operation to right the ship; righting will be performed using a system of “strand jacks” - a hydraulic mechanism for pulling cables - fixed to an undersea platform. When the ship is upright, caissons full of water also will be fixed to the other side of the hull. Then the caissons on both sides will be emptied to refloat the wreck; once floated, the wreck will be towed to an Italian port.

Meanwhile, on Giglio Island preliminary work to prepare the wreck for salvage is proceeding on schedule; this includes steel structural jobs needed to cut and remove some external parts of the ship (OVI SAT antenna, forward masthead light, water slide) and facilitate the next stage of the plan. The seabed also is being inspected regularly ahead of the site clean-up operation devised to conserve the marine environment, which will be the main focus once the wreck has been removed. The preliminary stage is expected to finish by the end of July; it will be followed by the ship stabilization phase.

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New "Local Insights" Adds Niche Expertise to Crystal Cruises' Port Visits

LOS ANGELES, July 2: New in 2012, carefully-selected curators, officials, and doyens are bringing an ultra-insider's perspective to Crystal Cruises' European port calls. The exclusive program, called "Local Insights," brings aboard native experts to share their unique, niche knowledge about the destination's art, politics, archaeology or history. Guests of all nationalities and interests can enjoy live, intimate talk show-style interviews (all complimentary) when Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity call in more than two dozen towns along the Mediterranean and Northern European coasts this year. Programs will be rebroadcast on in-stateroom televisions during each luxury cruise.

Examples include:

-- Barcelona: Gaudi Centre architect Toshiaki Tange
-- St. Petersburg: Ex-Mayor of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Khodyrev, or Managing Director of the Hermitage, Olga Arkhipova
-- Belfast: Titanic expert Joe O'Neill
-- Copenhagen: Managing Director of Tivoli Gardens, Lars Liebst or the Mayor of Culture and Leisure Activities, Pia Allerslev
-- Bodrum: Archaeological diver and Director of the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, Yasar Yildiz
-- Venice: Chairman of the 16-church-wide Chorus Association, Father Don Aldo Marangoni or Venetian Port Manager Roberto Perocchio

Additional ports where the program will be offered include Dublin, Piraeus/Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Reykjavik, Odessa, Kotor, Ashdod, Livorno, Malaga, Cadiz, Valencia, Sorrento, Dubrovnik, and Bilbao, with some itineraries offering experts at up to three different calls during the cruise.

"Our guests seek - and expect - profound travel experiences that allow them to explore the heart of destinations and see them in new ways," says Bret Bullock, Crystal's vice president of entertainment. "This Crystal Visions Enrichment Program addition offers easy access to first-hand knowledge of cultures and regions using those who know these nuances best: the locals...and the most distinguished locals at that."

With more overnights and time in port in 2012, Crystal is visiting dozens of culturally and historically significant destinations throughout Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Turkey, Russia, France, Israel, the Ukraine, the UK and more. Until August 31, all-inclusive Book Now fares for 5- to 15-day European voyages sailing until December feature optional air add-ons and savings for groups of six or more, combining cruises, and Crystal Society member-sponsored, new-to-Crystal guests.

Crystal's award-winning, luxurious offerings always include a diverse selection of thought-provoking, scholarly, and sophisticated enrichment activities that provide extensive on-board choices for cultured world travelers. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

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