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Cruise News
January 1-31, 2009

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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

Grand Turk Cruise Center Expected To Host Record 500,000 Passengers in 2009

GRAND TURK, B.W.I., Jan 30 — With 229 cruise ship calls scheduled for 2009, the Grand Turk Cruise Center (GTCC) is on track for hosting a record 500,000 passengers in the coming year. The unprecedented half-million passenger mark is a 25 percent increase over 2008, during which the GTCC was closed for 30 days following Hurricane Ike.

A key reason for Grand Turk’s continued popularity is the wide array of organized excursion opportunities for visitors, from horseback riding and kayaking to world-class diving, snorkeling and fishing. For those guests who want to explore the island on their own, the new Grand Turk Grace Bay Car Rentals recently opened at the Grand Turk Cruise Center. With this new service, guests visiting Grand Turk will be able to discover the island’s numerous historical sites, gorgeous white-sand beaches, quaint Bermudian-influenced architecture and friendly locals at their own pace.

“The Grand Turk Cruise Center is poised for a record-breaking year and we look forward to showcasing our island’s magnificent beaches and diverse shoreside experiences to cruise-ship visitors,” said Mike Reimers, general manager of the GTCC. “Additionally, the new on-site car rental agency provides GTCC guests with yet another option for experiencing and exploring the fascinating beauty of this island paradise,” he added.

The Grand Turk Cruise Center, which can accommodate up to 6,000 passengers per day, consists of a 13-acre complex including an 800-foot-long private beach, swimming pool, expansive recreation area with a diversity of retail shops, FlowRider® surfing adventure and the Caribbean’s largest "Margaritaville"-themed bar and restaurant. For more information about the island, the Grand Turk Cruise Center, as well as the 2009 cruise ship schedule, shore excursion offerings, and a copyright-free photo library, visit

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Azamara Cruises Guests Can Add Eight “Lucky” Days With China CruiseTours

MIAMI, Jan 30 – Some tenets of Asian culture hold the number eight in high regard as being a number of incredibly good fortune, and guests experiencing Azamara Cruises’ inaugural Asia season can enjoy the number eight and make their Asia adventure even more memorable at the same time. The line is offering 8-day pre- and post-cruise cruisetours in China during its sailings from January through March of 2009. The pre-cruise package begins in Beijing and ends in Hong Kong; guests board Azamara Quest on the last day of the package. The post-cruise package begins in Hong Kong and ends in Beijing; after disembarking Azamara Quest, guests will be met by their cruisetour tour director at the pier. Both packages feature multiple opportunities for travelers to engage firsthand with some of China’s most breathtaking sights, scenes and tastes.

Some of the most widely known spots that guests on Azamara Cruises’ pre- and post-cruise tours will visit include the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall at Mutianyue, and Victoria Peak. All of these visits – as well as all planned activities in the tours – are fully escorted and guided by knowledgeable escorts who will share a great deal of information about each place.

Throughout the eight-day tours, guests will overnight in multiple cities, including Beijin, Xian, Guilin and Hong Kong. Some meals are included, most notably a traditional Peking duck dinner in Beijing, a Chinese dumpling dinner followed by dumpling-making and noodle-throwing demonstrations in Xian, and lunch during a scenic cruise along the River Li in Guilin.

The tours also include visits to museums such as the famed Terracotta Warriors Museum, the Bronze Chariots Museum, Yangling Museum, and Shaanxi Provincial Museum. There, guests will have the opportunity to learn about important historical and cultural milestones in China, while browsing unforgettable collections of artifacts. Guests will also experience several temples, including the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, the Great Mosque of Xian, and Hong Kong’s Man Mo Temple. All cruisetours include baggage transfers as well as air and ground transportation.

Coupled with Azamara’s Asia cruises themselves, these cruisetours elevate guests’ experience of Asian culture. Rich with overnight stays, the Southeast and Northeast Asia cruise itineraries range from 14 to 18 nights on the 694-guest Azamara Quest. Azamara Quest will sail 14-night Northeast Asia cruises open-jaw between Hong Kong and Beijing (Tianjin), China, on February 14, February 28 and March 14, 2009. Ports of call during these sailings include an overnight stay in Shanghai, China; Pusan, South Korea; Hiroshima, Japan; an overnight stay in Kyoto (Osaka), Japan; Seoul (Incheon), Korea; and Dalian, China. The final Asia voyage will depart on April 7, 2009 from Singapore back to Athens (Lavrion), Greece. Ports will be the same, in reverse order, as those during the Athens-to-Singapore sailing at the start of the season.

Guests wishing to make the most of their time in Asia may want to take advantage of Azamara’s pre-packaged shore excursions, available during the cruise portion of the cruisetour. The packages offer guests savings of up to 5% over the retail value of the tours in each package. The three remaining Northeast Asia sailings during the current season will offer the excursion packages. Sample excursions included in each package during these itineraries include:

-- In the Alpha Collection, a visit to Shanghai, China, called “Shanghai Famous Acrobats.” This evening activity includes an acrobatic performance that follows a tradition that has been unbroken since 200 BC.
-- In the Omega Collection, a multi-day overland tour of Hiroshima, Japan, called “Bullet Train Overland Tour.” On the Jan 31 and Feb 28 sailings, this tour goes from Hiroshima to Osaka, and on the Feb 14 and March 14 sailings, it goes in the reverse direction. The tour features time in Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for 1,100 years. Kyoto has over 1,200 Buddhist temples and more than 400 Shinto shrines, most of which are completely intact. In Kyoto, this tour features visits to several temples and the Nijo Castle. In Hiroshima, the tour includes visits to Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb dome. The centerpiece of this tour is a ride between Hiroshima and Osaka on the famous “Shinkansen,” or bullet train, which makes the trip in approximately 105 minutes.

Shore excursion packages are available for purchase online, and must be purchased before four days prior to the date of sailing. Tours within the package cannot be exchanged or cancelled by the guest. If Azamara Cruises cancels a tour, the guest will receive a refund for the full retail value of the tour. For more information, guests are invited to call 1-877-999-9553. Or, visit

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MSC Cruises & Nintendo Embark on a New Era in Onboard Entertainment

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 28 -- MSC Cruises, the fastest-growing cruise company with the most modern fleet on the seas has teamed up with gaming leader Nintendo to bring cutting-edge interactive play to its world-class entertainment programs and facilities. The new partnership can already be seen in the incredible flagship MSC Fantasia, christened by Sophia Loren on Dec 19, 2008. The largest ship to be commissioned by a European ship owner, MSC Fantasia is equipped with 114 Wii consoles, including 9 Wii Sport consoles in the Sport Bar, 4 Wii fit stations with balance board in the Fitness Center, a competition console on the Sport Deck and a further console in the main pool area that’s connected to a massive 23X9-foot screen for public competitions and activities. Other consoles form part of the sumptuous fittings in the elegant suites of MSC Fantasia’s exclusive MSC Yacht Club complex. And, of course, guests can buy their own Wii console and accessories in the Tax & Duty Free shops.

MSC Cruises’ uncompromising dedication to its guests is nowhere more evident than the unrivalled entertainment programs and facilities offered on board MSC Fantasia, with its interactive 4D cinema, state-of-the-art 1,603-seat theater, 18 themed bars, futuristic Liquid Disco and Casino delle Palme with more than 1,000 square feet of casino gaming. The sports amenities are equally extensive, with tennis, squash and basketball courts, shuffleboard, a jogging track and four swimming pools, including the amazing Acqua Park with its 150 fountains which provide endless fun during the day and an astonishing spectacle when lit up to music at night. The MSC Aurea Spa wellness and spa center with solarium completes the picture, for total relaxation after every exertion.

It was only natural for a leading innovator like MSC Cruises to partner with Nintendo, the leader in interactive gaming innovation. Whereas others have responded to videogame demand with increasing and some would say excessive complexity, Nintendo has totally rethought the experience, adding a physical dimension that takes player involvement to completely new levels. But MSC Cruises was also attracted to Nintendo and the Wii because it provides so much in addition to gaming, offering passengers full access to Wii Channels for surfing the net, editing photos, catching up on the news or weather forecasts and much, much more.

MSC Cruises, the world’s leading private cruise company with offices in 36 countries, and Nintendo, which has sold 2.4 billion video games and over 420 million consoles, plan to consolidate their partnership by organizing special events, games and tournaments for video game fans worldwide.

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MSC Cruises Reveals New Europe 2009 Virtual Brochure

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, JAN 28 – Guests can get a close-up look at all that MSC Cruises has to offer for the 2009 Europe season with new virtual brochure now available online. The 57-page brochure, which is now available at and, provides guests and travel agents an easily accessible way to view what they can expect when they choose to explore Europe the European way onboard an MSC Cruises ship.

The brochure covers itineraries from March through November and provides the following:

-- An overview of the MSC Cruises ambiance and amenities available on an MSC Cruises sailing
-- Itinerary information for the line’s Mediterranean and Northern Europe voyages
-- Ship details for the line’s nine ships, including information about the line’s two largest ships, MSC Fantasia (launched in December) and MSC Splendida (scheduled to debut in July). Both ships feature the line’s luxurious MSC Yacht Club, a dedicated VIP area with 99 beautiful, spacious suites fitted out to the highest standards, special restricted-access areas and exclusive, personalized butler service and a concierge.

For more information about MSC Cruises and its 2009 Europe season, visit or a local travel professional.

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Holland America Line & Port Everglades Partner To Help Locals In Need

Seattle, WA, Jan 27 — Holland America Line and Port Everglades in Broward County, FL, are debuting Ship to Shelter, an innovative community charitable program designed to donate valuable and reusable goods from the line’s cruise ships to local people in need. Holland America Line first launched Ship to Shelter in April 2008 in partnership with the Port of Seattle in Washington and is expanding the program to Port Everglades beginning Jan 23, 2009. Partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Cooperative Feeding Broward, Port Everglades will work with the Seattle-based cruise line to donate items from its ships that regularly call at Port Everglades. The goods will be distributed to individuals and families in need by Cooperative Feeding Broward.

In addition to the weekly donations of individual-sized toiletries, Holland America Line periodically will provide items such as towels, linens, dishes, cookware, silverware, televisions and mattresses. The program kicks off in South Florida today with ms Noordam, ms Maasdam, ms Westerdam and ms Eurodam providing hundreds of items that would otherwise have been discarded.

“Giving back is part of the corporate culture at Holland America Line and it is part of our corporate social responsibility,” said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer. “Over the years Holland America has worked with nonprofits around the world to donate reusable goods in a socially conscious, environmentally friendly method. These items are periodically replaced on our ships and can be put to good use for a worthy cause.”

The Ship to Shelter program incorporates strategic partnerships between Port Everglades, Cooperative Feeding Broward and Holland America Line to provide partially used stateroom amenities that are no longer needed on cruise ships for re-use by the needy, while providing an environmentally friendly solid waste disposal solution. Holland America Line will continue to donate other items from various Port Everglades–based ships from January through April and October through December each year.

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NCL Names F3 Norwegian Epic; Announces Inaugural Season Itineraries

MIAMI, Jan 27 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced that it has selected the name for its new F3 ship: Norwegian Epic. Just as the name implies, the ship will be the largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date. The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic is scheduled to sail year-round to the Caribbean from Miami, beginning in summer 2010. Following a series of inaugural events in Europe and the U.S., the ship will homeport in Miami and will sail year-round to the Caribbean offering alternating 7-day Western and Eastern Caribbean voyages through April 2011. These cruises are scheduled to go on sale to the public later this spring. NCL will open Norwegian Epic’s sailings for group block bookings exclusively for travel partners in mid-March 2009.

“The F3 experience will take our already successful Freestyle Cruising to the next level, affording our guests the ultimate freedom and flexibility. Norwegian Epic, denoting a ship that is very impressive on a grand scale, is the most fitting name,” said Kevin Sheehan, NCL’s president and CEO. “The combination of the ship’s exciting new features, along with the tropical allure of these Caribbean destinations, will provide an extraordinary cruise vacation for our guests.”

The ship’s Western Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico. Norwegian Epic’s Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Epic represents the next generation of Freestyle Cruising – a ship that incorporates a wide range of new features and amenities, including curved New Wave staterooms and unique nightlife options. To date, the company has revealed five unique nightlife venues that rival the experiences of Las Vegas, Ibiza, the Riviera and South Beach. The five venues include the industry's first true Ice Bar; POSH Beach Club, a first of its kind beach club at sea that offers an exclusive, adults-only setting at the top of the ship; Halo, the Über Bar, a private bar and lounge in the ship-within-a-ship villa complex; Bliss Ultra Lounge, NCL's all-day entertainment and nightclub complex with four-lane bowling alley; and Spice H20, an adults-only aft pool deck experience.

In addition, the ship will feature the New Wave standard, New Wave balcony and New Wave deluxe staterooms that represent a giant leap forward in cruise ship accommodations with a completely fresh take on bathroom design, contemporary curved architecture and open living space. The New Wave stateroom’s most distinctive design element is its curved walls and lines creating a modern and chic experience. NCL has maximized the living space with a bathroom that is completely unique with a separate shower stall, separate water closet and a modern vanity top sink. The staterooms feature a sophisticated earth-tone palette accented with a splash of color and rich, dark wood. Concealed contour LED lighting and back-lit domed ceilings set a relaxing vibe. NCL plans to unveil additional details about Norwegian Epic in the near future. To view renderings and register for news, visit

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Holland America Line Introduces Fleetwide Weblog

Seattle, WA, Jan. 27 — Following in the wake of its successful Eurodam News Blog, Holland America Line has launched an ambitious fleetwide weblog that highlights all 14 existing ships, the upcoming newbuild ms Nieuw Amsterdam and a wide array of topics. The blog, which has been in development for several months, officially goes live today at The new Holland America Blog comprises 16 blogs — one for each ship in the fleet and a shared main “landing page” that features the latest posts on all ships and serves as the portal to the rest of the blog. All of the individual ship blogs are cross-referenced through a series of categories listed on the main landing page.

“With Eurodam News Blog we created a community surrounding the building of our newest ship,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Now, with the Holland America Blog, we want to expand that community to engage Mariners, ship aficionados, potential guests and people interested in learning more about Holland America Line’s brand of premium cruising.”

Site navigation is both simple and self-evident. On the landing page, pull-down menus in the right column invite visitors to explore the blog by ship, category, destination, chronologically by date or through links in the site’s blogroll. Categories include “Captain’s Log,” “Crew News,” “Dining,” “Entertainment,” “Meet the Staff” and the popular “Postcards from …” feature, where guests and Holland America Line staff and crew submit photos from ports of call and interesting places.

The site also features podcasts and video content, as well as Captain Albert’s Blog, created by Albert Schoonderbeek, master of ms Veendam. Many of the line’s other captains, officers, staff and crew also contribute to the blog, giving each ship a voice while entertaining visitors with fun posts ranging from the captain’s own personal journal entries to photos from a crew celebration.

Another popular feature on the Holland America Blog is the ability for visitors to post comments or ask questions, making the blog truly interactive. For more information about Holland America Line, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-724-5425 or visit

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Cruise West Celebrates Alaska’s 50th Anniversary with Itineraries That Salute Alaskan History, Culture & Cuisine

Seattle, WA – What makes a legend? When it’s a truly legendary state like Alaska – now celebrating its 50th year of statehood – it’s a birthday celebration that includes special guests, delectable food, great wine and the kinds of trips down the state’s memory lane that only its oldest (and most famous) friends can offer!

Cruise West (, one of the world’s leading providers of small-ship specialty cruises to the most fascinating destinations on earth, is celebrating Alaska’s golden anniversary with 89 individual cruises to the nation’s largest state. And, to provide even better value, the company has partnered with Alaska Geographic ( to offer discounted memberships and numerous additional benefits.

“The West family has deep roots in Alaska. My father, Chuck West, started operating land tours in Alaska 63 years ago and was fondly called ‘Mr. Alaska,’” said Chairman and Managing Director Dick West. “We started offering cruises in Alaska in 1973 and since then have grown to be the major small-ship cruise line in Alaska, now offering ten distinct itineraries.”

And, while no velvet ropes are involved, like all great birthday celebrations this party has a select VIP guest list; with Cruise West ships catering to no more than 138 guests per sailing. Each guest receives personal attention as they explore Alaska in the kind of up-close, casual and personal manner that larger ships simply can’t offer. Plus, as part of the celebration, select itineraries in 2009 will feature some of the state’s oldest friends joining the party including Vic Fischer and Jack Coghill, both of whom signed the original statehood document in 1959; former Governor of Alaska Tony Knowles; famous Iditarod champion Dick Mackey as well as an ever-changing group of talented Alaskan entertainers who will bring to their performances a sense of what makes Alaska their home and inspiration.

For foodies and localvores, Cruise West – already known for the fresh and delicious cuisine offered onboard all nine of their ships – is serving up a special 2009 Alaska itinerary menu that features the very best of Alaska’s culinary bounty. From breakfasts featuring birch tree syrup, preserves made from local berries and locally roasted coffees to dinner entrees celebrating the state’s world-famous salmon, black cod, halibut and crab, each guest will return from “America’s Last Frontier” with a new appreciation of the gourmet delights that Alaska has to offer. And, to remember just whose birthday it is, the original Baked Alaska will be served on every cruise!

Ten distinct Cruise West itineraries offer guests wanting to experience Alaska in its special year the opportunity to focus in on everything from sea-based and land-loving wildlife to indigenous cultures. Cruises range from four-to-twenty-five days and are as diverse as Alaska’s Inside Passage and Glacier Bay Highlights to extended trips that include coastal Alaska and the Russian Far East. Land tours are equally exciting and include visits to the historically rich “Gold Rush” cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks as well as awe-inspiring Denali National Park. Exceptional optional excursions in Denali include the Heli-Hiking Adventure and fly-fishing for Arctic Grayling.

Ready to RSVP for this year-long party?! Early booking discounts are still available for all of Cruise West’s Alaska itineraries through Feb 27, 2009 and if you’re lucky enough to be celebrating your own special 50th – think birthday or wedding anniversary - Cruise West will provide an additional credit of $50 to your onboard experience. Anniversary introductory rates start at $999 (with early booking discount) for Glaciers of Prince William Sound.

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Third Guest in Triple-Berth Cabins Sail Free On Star Clipper's Tahiti Cruises

MIAMI, Jan. 26 -- Imagine seeing the wonders of Tahiti and her islands through the eyes of a child. Or sailing with two of your closest friends or family members. With Star Clippers' new "Third Berth Free in Tahiti" program in 2009, that dream can be an affordable reality. Under the new program that runs from May through Dec, the third guest in a triple-berth cabin sails free on the 7-, 10- and 11-night 2009 Tahiti itineraries. If the third guest is under the age of 11, they even fly for free with Air Tahiti Nui on select dates.*

"Multigenerational travel and reunions at sea are hugely popular, and with this new program visiting an exotic destination like Tahiti is now affordable in today's rough economy," said Mark Carlson, director of marketing for Star Clippers Americas. "We also get a lot of groups of friends sailing with us, so they can come on board and have a great time all while being cost-conscious."

As Star Flyer glides into hidden harbors and lagoons teeming with marine life, cruisers get an up-close look at this Polynesian paradise. And with shore excursions designed to showcase the best of the region both on land and in the water, they can learn about local history and culture or safely encounter a stingray or shark on a diving exploration.

The seven-night itinerary calls at Huahine, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Cook Bay and Opunohu Bay, Moorea, with an overnight in Papeete before disembarkation. The 10- and 11-night cruises take Star Flyer to the Society Islands and Tuamotu Atolls, with special cruising in the Rangiroa Lagoon. The ship calls at Fakarava, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha'a, Huahine and Moorea.

For more information on Star Clippers' Tahiti savings and cruises, contact a travel professional, call Star Clippers at (800) 442-0551 or visit

*Kids Fly Free With Air Tahiti Nui When Flying With an Adult: Adult guests purchasing the air for their Star Flyer sailing adventure from Star Clippers will receive a free ticket for children under the age of 11. Air Tahiti Nui, Star Clippers' preferred airline to Tahiti, is offering this special fare to make it even more affordable for a family to join Star Flyer in Tahiti. One free child ticket is earned for every adult guest as long as the child is under the age of 11 years. This offer is available for sailings departing during the following periods in 2009: Feb through May; Aug 19 through Sept 7; Nov through Dec 10. Restrictions apply, so call Star Clippers or visit for details on this excellent family offer.

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Cruising with Little Ones is Child's Play Onboard Disney Cruise Line

CELEBRATION, FL, Jan. 29 -- Traveling with infants and toddlers on Disney Cruise Line will soon be easier than ever thanks to a cruise industry-first service that delivers baby supplies directly to guest staterooms and a host of child-friendly offerings onboard the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder.

Beginning March 15, families preparing to sail on Disney Cruise Line with little ones will have access to an online service that allows them to order baby supplies in advance of their cruise and have them delivered to their stateroom. The new service is exclusive for Disney Cruise Line guests and provided by Babies Travel Lite, an online retailer offering more than 1,000 brand-name baby products including diapers, baby food, infant formula and specialty travel items.

By visiting, guests will be able to access a special section of the Babies Travel Lite Web site where they can create orders for familiar brands in quantities customized to the duration of their cruise.

"Disney Cruise Line prides itself on delivering a vacation experience that caters to every member of the family including our youngest cruisers," said Tom Wolber, senior vice president of operations for Disney Cruise Line. "The new delivery service eliminates the challenges of packing for infant travel, while onboard conveniences simplify family travel for parents looking to relax during their cruise vacation."

The new delivery service is just one of the many products and services available to families traveling with children under 3. Guests also have access to a host of onboard services to facilitate traveling with toddlers in tow:

-- Diaper Genie units, cribs and playpens are available complimentary upon request from the stateroom host/hostess for use during the cruise.
-- Bottle warmers, bottle sterilizers and strollers are available complimentary at Guest Services for use during the cruise.
-- At Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas, wagons are available to facilitate navigating the island's sandy beaches.
-- Baby supplies are available for purchase on the ships.

These amenities are the perfect complement to Disney's infant-care center at sea, Flounder's Reef Nursery. The nursery features an "under the sea" soft play area themed to Disney's "The Little Mermaid" where children 12 weeks to 36 months can enjoy themselves under the watchful eyes of trained Disney caregivers. Even Mickey Mouse or another Disney pal might swing by for a surprise visit involving fun and games.

Also for infants and toddlers is Mickey's Splash Zone, a water playground inspired by The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Disney's "Fantasia." This extension to the Mickey Pool features star- and moon-shaped interactive fountains, a soft play surface and whimsical splash zones, creating an inviting environment for children not yet toilet trained and in swim diapers.

Guests sailing on 7-night cruises can enjoy some 'together' time with their little ones during Family Time Sessions at Flounder's Reef Nursery. Families have the opportunity to explore the nursery and meet the team of counselors who supervise the children. Also on 7-night cruises, guests can enjoy Toddler Time at the Oceaneer Club and at Mickey's Splash Zone. Families can join their little ones and explore the world together as they participate in musical games and fine motor skills exercises led by Disney's youth activities counselors.

A leader in the family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line delivers a cruise experience that every member of the family feels was created for their own individual vacation wants and needs. Departing from Port Canaveral, FL, Disney Cruise Line offers 3-, 4- and 7-night itineraries to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Land/sea vacation packages that include a stay at Walt Disney World Resort are also available. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call Disney Cruise Line at 888/DCL-2500.

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Crystal Unveils Industry's Most Exclusive Tennis Package

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 26 -- In an industry first, Crystal Cruises is introducing an unparalleled 6-night, tennis-themed, post-cruise land program with VIP access to the Wimbledon Championships semifinals and finals. The program is available following Crystal Symphony's June 19 cruise from London to Stockholm, which features tennis-themed Experiences of Discovery programming. In addition to Wimbledon Centre Court tickets, participating guests have access to Fairway Village, the luxury Wimbledon hospitality area near Centre Court, private car service and accommodations at London's posh Savoy hotel. In yet another industry first, onboard tennis programming will include an excursion to the Tennis Hall of Fame in Bastad, Sweden, where guests will have the chance to pour over photos and memorabilia of some of the greatest players in the world and tour the Hall of Fame's stadium.

"This Wimbledon program exemplifies our commitment to creating one-of-a-kind experiences that are completely exclusive to Crystal and not available anywhere else," said John Stoll, director, land programs. "Crystal's goal is to ensure that all its guests enjoy vacations that are tailor-made to their needs and desires, culminating in vacation experiences that are truly unique."

Wimbledon package features include:
-- VIP access to Fairway village - The Wimbledon hospitality area for complimentary champagne, four-course lunch and traditional afternoon tea;
-- Centre Court seats - For women's singles semifinal and final, and men's singles and semifinal and final;
-- Six-night stay at The Savoy - One of London's most iconic luxury hotels, with private car service to and from Wimbledon, and
-- European Business Class air - from Stockholm to London-Heathrow.

The tennis focus is one of six newly introduced Experiences of Discovery designed to enrich more than two dozen Crystal cruises. Departing London, the Baltic voyage calls in Oslo, Norway; Helsinki, Finland; Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm and Visby, Sweden, and includes a two-night stay in St. Petersburg. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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Carnival Cruise Lines Rolls Out New On-Line Spa Pre-Purchase System

MIAMI, Jan 26 – Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator, has introduced a new on-line pre-purchase system for guests interested in booking spa treatments prior to their “Fun Ship” cruise. With the advanced reservations system, available on all 22 “Fun Ships,” guests who have a fully deposited cruise can log onto Carnival’s web site ( and designate a specific spa treatment and appointment time and submit payment information.

The site lists more than 30 different treatments which are available for purchase, everything from acupuncture services, soothing massages and Elemis advanced facials to invigorating detoxification wraps and slimming treatments, pricing and details of which can be viewed on the site. A full menu of nail, tooth whitening, and men’s services is also available for pre-purchase.

“Personal pampering in our luxurious spas are a highlight of the Carnival vacation experience and our new on-line spa reservations system provides our guests with an easy and convenient way to pre-purchase a variety of treatments which serve as the perfect complement to a ‘Fun Ship’ cruise,” said Bob Woodry, Carnival’s vice president of hotel commerce. “Since our spa appointments are known for filling up rather quickly on board, this on-line reservation system allows guests to secure their preferred spa treatment before their vacation begins,” he added.

To access the new on-line spa treatment pre-purchase system, guests must be registered on and have a fully deposited cruise booking. After accessing their reservation through the “My Reservation” link, guests are prompted with the “Plan Activities” option and “Spa Appointments” link where they can search for spa services available on their particular voyage by treatment type, date, and preferred time.

To purchase a spa treatment, guests simply select the treatment of their choice and enter credit card payment information via a secure encrypted reservations portal. Guests are provided with a printable spa treatment order confirmation with details on the specific treatment and appointment time included. On-line spa treatment reservations can be made prior to seven days before the cruise departure date. Guests are also welcome to visit the ships’ spa once on board to purchase spa treatments and obtain additional information.

Operated in conjunction with Steiner Transocean Limited, Carnival Cruise Lines offers some of the most elaborate spas at sea, ranging in size from 12,000 to 21,000 square feet. The new Carnival Dream, set to debut Sept. 21, 2009, will set a new standard for the line’s health and wellness centers, with a two-level 23,750-square-foot “Cloud 9 Spa” – the largest in the fleet. In addition to a variety of treatments and salon services, Carnival’s fleetwide spa facilities offer expansive gymnasiums with sophisticated exercise equipment and aerobics rooms which serve as the venue for a host of organized exercise classes. Wellness counseling such as nutrition and fitness classes is also available. For additional information and reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Celebrate Spring on an MSC Cruises Caribbean Sailing

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan. 26 -- The weather in much of the country is still in winter's grip, and, according to MSC Cruises, that makes this the perfect time to plan a great spring vacation. Combining Italian zest for life, an iconic American theme cruise and outstanding values, a 7-night cruise on the MSC Orchestra or 10-night sailing on MSC Lirica from Fort Lauderdale to the sunny islands of the Caribbean offers a perfect way to say good-bye to winter and celebrate the arrival of spring.

Here's a sampling of the special opportunities MSC Cruises is offering this spring:

A family cruise to make this year's "spring break" special without breaking the bank. MSC Cruises makes it easy to take the entire family on a Caribbean vacation with its "Kids Sail Free" offer. Kids ages 17 and under always sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults (government taxes and fees are additional, per person).

As spring training gets underway, sail with the Major League Baseball heroes of your youth on two special "Baseball Greats" theme cruises: Guests on the March 28 and April 11 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailings of MSC Orchestra, will meet and spend quality time with some of the greats of "America's Pasttime" who will be onboard to share their memories and offer tips for budding ballplayers. One of the highlights of the cruise is the free autograph session.

Special values for Boomers and Seniors: Boomer/Senior Saver prices on all 2008-09 Caribbean sailings of MSC Lirica and MSC Orchestra begin at just $499 per person, double occupancy (cruise only, not including government fees and taxes) on 7-night itineraries and $699 per person, double occupancy on 10-night itineraries -- savings of up to 50 percent from regular prices. At least one guest in the stateroom must be 50 years of age on the departure date.

A great value for multi-generational family vacations and reunions. When you combine the Boomer/Senior Saver rates with "Kids Sail Free," an MSC Cruises' Caribbean sailing is a fantastic value and a memorable experience ideal for multi-generational family vacations and reunions.

For more information about MSC Cruises' Caribbean spring celebration offers, visit or a local travel professional.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Launches New Brand Advertising Campaign Featuring Stand-up Comedian

MIAMI, Jan 23 – Carnival Cruise Lines kicks off the second phase of its new brand advertising program with its “Fun Director” television campaign which begins airing in select local markets today and nationally on Feb 2. The “Fun Director” ads were shot aboard the line’s newest ship, the Carnival Splendor, and feature improvisational comedian Matt Fisher who humorously extols various highlights of the Carnival vacation experience. Some spots include amusing interactions with actual shipboard employees such as the “Horn” spot which features Fisher with the ship’s captain on the vessel’s bridge ‘testing out’ various equipment. In the “Stateroom Steward” spot, Fisher introduces viewers to the renowned towel animal-making skills of Carnival’s stateroom stewards, referring to the featured steward, Modesto, as a “terrycloth Michelangelo.”

“The ‘Fun Director’ campaign uses humor to convey the unique experiences and exceptionally fun nature of a Carnival cruise vacation through a spokesperson we believe viewers will connect with and thoroughly enjoy,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. “The first phase of our new brand advertising work featured our world record-breaking beach ball and piñata events in Dallas and Philadelphia. Those spots were designed to run for a limited time and serve as attention-getters to get people thinking and talking about the Carnival brand,” Berra explained. “Now we are moving to the next phase of the campaign, which brings the images and message back on board the ships while continuing to focus on spirited and spontaneous fun. The new brand positioning is designed to capture the uniquely social, participatory and spirited nature of a Carnival cruise vacation which creates an environment where people have the freedom to be themselves and have fun.

The campaign was created by Boston-based Arnold Worldwide and directed by Rick Lemoine of Biscuit Filmworks, who specializes in comedy dialogue and has done a number of award-winning spots for VW, ESPN and Budweiser. “We created ‘Fun Director’ to allow Carnival to roll up its collective sleeves and invite people on board to show them how amazing the Carnival cruise experience truly is,” said Pete Favat, chief creative officer for Arnold Boston.

The new spots begin airing today in select local markets including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, on national cable Feb 2 including Food Network, The Learning Channel and the Travel Channel, and on major U.S. network primetime programming beginning Feb 9 on shows including CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” and “CSI,” and ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and “Brothers and Sisters.” The “Fun Director” spots are part of a new overall branding campaign for Carnival under the tagline “Fun For All. All For Fun.”

Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 18 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Europe, Bermuda and South America. The line currently has two new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2011. The first of those, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, is set to debut Sept 21, 2009.

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Travelogue at Center of New Azamara Cruises Brand Campaign

MIAMI, Jan 21 – With a refined flair reflective of its onboard offerings, Azamara Cruises has launched a new brand campaign designed to illustrate the deluxe, intimate nature of its ships and the intrigue of the destinations they sail to. Titled “Journal,” the new print campaign began appearing in newspapers and magazines this month.

“Azamara Cruises launched in May of 2007 and in less than a year, has grown into a popular, in-demand cruise experience for the enlightened traveler,” said Wayne Wielgus, senior vice president of marketing for Azamara Cruises. “Without any formal advertising campaign, our travel agent partners and our guests have been our primary force in driving bookings thus far, and now we are ready to take that brand awareness to a new level. We believe that this new campaign exemplifies Azamara’s ability to deliver unique destinations uniquely.”

The first ad’s backdrop is that of an opened travel journal filled with images of dusk setting in above the glow of Venice’s Rialto Bridge and the timelessly quaint buildings that line it, the basilica in St. Mark’s Square, and inset “snapshots” of an Azamara ship, a map depicting her Venice-based itinerary, and a stateroom.

Captain Anastasios N. Lekkas’ photo appears to be affixed to the “journal’s” page with a paper clip, and his thoughts appear in cursive font on the page. “You can’t explore Venice in one day,” notes Captain Lekkas. “Luckily, we’re not in a hurry.” These sentiments illuminate the fact that many of Azamara’s cruises, which typically range from 12 to 18 nights in length, feature multiple overnight stays in port, giving guests more time to explore destinations more immersively.

The ads also introduce Azamara Cruises’ new tagline, “Azamara Cruises Worlds Apart.” This sums up the Azamara Cruises philosophy of delivering such outstanding service in such unsual destinations, that guests will ask themselves which is more intriguing – the destinations or the ship that takes you to them. Azamara Cruises’ onboard experience aims to answer that question by offering the best of both worlds: extraordinary ports and cities that our out of the way, combined with a ship experience that goes out of its way to be refined.

Azamara Cruises unlocks the hidden corners of the world for those who desire to immerse themselves in the rich details of every voyage. The deluxe ships – Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest – offer an intimate experience, while allowing access to exotic destinations experienced travelers long to reach. For the 694 guests on each Azamara Cruises ship, every moment at sea embodies the pinnacle of luxury, and each footstep on shore accentuates the difference between visiting a place and getting a true sense of place. This year, Azamara Cruises presents the best of enchanting Europe, elite Asia, and the most captivating Caribbean and the Panama Canal. The line also offers unique cruisetours in Asia and Europe. For more information, travel agents are encouraged to call 1-877-222-2526. Guests are invited to call 1-877-999-9553. Or, visit

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NCL Continues Year-Round Commitment to Europe & Homeports Two Ships in NYC for 2010-2011 Winter Deployment

MIAMI, Jan 21 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced its 2010-2011 winter deployment which includes a continued year-round commitment to Europe with Norwegian Jade sailing from Barcelona and the addition of Norwegian Jewel, joining Norwegian Gem, sailing from New York, giving guests the opportunity to choose from among NCL’s newest ships, purpose-built for Freestyle Cruising.

NCL will continue its popular sailings to the Caribbean from New Orleans on the newly refurbished Norwegian Spirit and to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles on Norwegian Star. In addition, NCL has also released its 2010-2011 repositioning voyages which include the Panama Canal, Pacific Coastal and Transatlantic. These cruises go on sale January 22, 2009.

“Having Norwegian Jade homeported in Barcelona for the winter gives guests another option for exploring the many different ports in Europe, during a time of the year when it is less crowded and the weather is mild,” said Kevin Sheehan, NCL’s president and CEO. “By bringing Norwegian Jewel to New York, along with our newest ship, Norwegian Gem, we are giving guests more choice and more ways to escape the cold Northeast winters without the hassle of air travel.”

In Europe year-round, the 2,402-passenger Norwegian Jade will sail alternating 12- and nine-day cruises from its homeport of Barcelona, Spain. The 12-day Eastern Mediterranean sailings include the following ports of call: Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey; an overnight in Alexandria, Egypt; and Valletta, Malta. The nine-day Canary Islands & Morocco sailings include stops in Casablanca and Agadir, Morocco; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands: Funchal, Madeira; and Granada (Málaga), Spain. Since there is no port repetition between the two itineraries, they can be easily combined to create a port-rich 21-day European tour.

The 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel homeports for the first time in New York, along with the 2,380-passenger Norwegian Gem; both ships will sail a series of 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruises with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises with stops in Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida; Great Stirrup Cay (NCL’s private island) and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Spirit, which underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2008, returns to New Orleans sailing a series of 24 seven-day Exotic Western Caribbean cruises. Ports of call include: Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Santo Tomás de Castilla, Guatemala; and Belize City, Belize. Norwegian Star sails back to Los Angeles for a series of 24 seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Repositioning cruises in the 2010-2011 deployment include:

§ On April 10 (New York to Venice) and Oct 30 (Venice to New York), 2010, Norwegian Gem sails a 14-day Transatlantic with stops in Ponta Delgada, Azores; Lisbon, Portugal; Seville (Cádiz) and Granada (Málaga), Spain.
§ On April 10, 2010, Norwegian Pearl will sail a 14-day Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles. Ports of call include: Cartagena, Columbia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and a daylight transit through the Panama Canal.
§ On April 11, 2010, Norwegian Jewel sails a 15-day Transatlantic from Miami to London (Dover), England. Ports of call include: Ponta Delgada, Azores; Lisbon Portugal; Vigo and La Coruña, Spain; Waterford, Ireland; and Guernsey, Channel Islands.
§ On April 11, 2010, Norwegian Spirit embarks on a 12-day Caribbean Escape from New Orleans to Boston. Ports of call include: Costa Maya, Mexico; Santo Tomás de Castilla, Guatemala; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstand, Curacao; and Hamilton, Bermuda.
§ On April 24, 2010, Norwegian Pearl sails from Los Angeles to Vancouver with stops in San Francisco, California; Astoria, Oregon; Victoria and Campbell River, British Columbia.
§ On May 1, 2010, Norwegian Star repositions on a seven-day cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, British Columbia with stops in Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska through the Inside Passage.
§ On Sept 8, 2010, Norwegian Jewel sails from London (Dover), England, to New York. Ports of call include: Lerwick, Shetland Islands; Thorshavn, Faroe Islands; Reykjavik, Iceland; St. John, Newfoundland; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
§ On Oct 2, 2010, Norwegian Star sails on a seven-day British Colombia and U.S. West Coast cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Ports of call include: Campbell River and Victoria, British Columbia; Astoria, Oregon; and San Francisco, California.
§ On Oct 10, 2010, Norwegian Dawn departs from New York to Miami on a 12-day Caribbean Escape with stops in Samana, Dominican Republic; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Belize City, Belize.
§ On Oct 23, 2010, Norwegian Spirit sails a 15-day Caribbean Escape from Boston to New Orleans. Ports of call include: Samaná, Dominican Republic; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Bridgetown, Barbados; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico.
§ On Sept 19, 2010, Norwegian Pearl sails a five-day Pacific Coastal from Vancouver to Los Angeles with stops in Astoria, Oregon and San Francisco, California.
§ Norwegian Star will sail four 14-day Panama Canal sailings from Miami to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Miami on Nov 20 and Dec 4, 2010 and Jan 1 and Jan 15, 2011. Ports of call include: Cartagena, Columbia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and a daylight transit through the Panama Canal.

To book one of these new itineraries, guests should contact a travel professional or NCL at 866-234-0292. Further information can be found online at

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Windstar Cruises Offers a Cannes Film Festival & Monaco Grand Prix Cruise Departing May 17, 2009 Aboard Wind Surf

SEATTLE, Jan. 20 -- Windstar Cruises, which operates a 3-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, offers a special 8-day cruise aboard the elegant 312-guest Wind Surf departing May 17, 2009, from Nice, France, featuring the glamour of the Cannes Film Festival and the thrill of the Monaco Grand Prix race.

Guests will overnight in Cannes, France during the star-studded Cannes Film Festival and spend three nights in Monaco during the prestigious Formula One Grand Prix race. The cruise also visits St. Tropez, France and San Remo, Italy. Rates begin at $2,999 per person, double occupancy for this sailing.

Two exclusive Windstar shore excursions are offered in Monte Carlo--the Monaco 67e Grand Prix Package for racing fans or the Monaco Styling and Shopping Package for those interested in fashion, style and shopping.

Monaco 67e Grand Prix Package: Guests who wish to attend the Grand Prix may purchase the Monaco 67e Grand Prix Package Tour which begins on Friday, May 22 and ends on Sunday, May 24, 2009. The package includes a private transfer to the luxurious L'Hermitage for an exclusive cocktail party overlooking Monaco's Marina and Royal Palace with open bar, original Monegasque canapes and live music. A lavish dinner with wine pairings and live music follows. Guests also receive entrance to the renowned Grand Casino and an exclusive gift package of Bushnell binoculars, official 67e Grand Prix de Monaco program, official Club Ticket holder, souvenir hat and souvenir jacket.

On Saturday, guests tender to the pier in Monaco to take their seats in Tribune K reserved section of the Formula One Grand Prix time trials. That evening an exclusive private cocktail reception will be held followed by a Grand Prix private dinner on board Wind Surf.

Sunday morning guests enjoy a private Grand Prix brunch on board the ship followed by a thrilling day of viewing the final Grand Prix race from the same track-side reserved seats. Rates for the limited 3-day shore excursion package is $2,600 per person and must be pre-booked at

Monaco Styling and Shopping Package: Windstar also offers a Monaco Styling and Shopping Package May 22-24, 2009. The package includes a private transfer to L'Hermitage for an exclusive cocktail party overlooking Monaco's Marina and Royal Palace with open bar, original Monegasque canapes and live music. A lavish dinner with wine pairings and live music follows. Guests also receive entrance to the renowned Grand Casino and an exclusive gift package of a jacket, scarf and exclusive shopping tote.

Saturday morning, personal shoppers and stylists meet with guests during a private breakfast before being transferred from the ship to a Monaco heliport for a helicopter ride to Nice. Once in Nice, the personal shoppers and stylists guide guests through a private fashion show at the posh Dessert Boutique. Lunch follows at Nice's famous La Cambuse restaurant. Next, guests visit the official hairdresser to the Cannes Film Festival -- the Jacques Dessange Salon. There, they will receive hair and make-up styling before being whisked away by helicopter back to the Wind Surf. In the evening, guests take part in an exclusive private cocktail reception followed by a Grand Prix private dinner on board Wind Surf.

On Sunday, a private Grand Prix Brunch on board the ship is offered, followed by an exclusive cooking class and one-hour spa treatment in Wind Surf's WindSpa. Guests end their day with personalized packing assistance from their stateroom steward before disembarking in Nice the next day. Rates for the limited 3-day shore excursion package is $2,600 per person and must be pre-booked at

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Norwegian Cruise Line Introduces Online Check-In

MIAMI, Jan 19 – As part of its continuing commitment to Partnership 2.0, a company-wide initiative to strengthen its relationship with travel partners, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has launched online check-in via its new “My NCL” portal. This online gateway enables both travel partners and guests to update and track pre-cruise activity through a quick three step process.

“By checking in online with ‘My NCL,’” guests will speed up the boarding process allowing them to start enjoying their Freestyle Cruising vacation sooner,” said Vivian Ewart, vice president of passenger services. “Travel partners will find ‘My NCL’ especially helpful in ensuring a seamless process from the moment a guest books to the minute they begin enjoying their vacation.”

Booked guests can log onto, from reservation inception up until 24-hours prior to departure, and click on the online check-in icon to begin the process. Guests will be asked to enter their name, ship, sailing date and reservation number in order to create a username and password. Once a profile is created, all guest preferences including reservation details, important required pre-cruise information including the guest check-in form, shore excursion reservations, and printable cruise ticket are stored on their “My NCL” account. The guest check-in form on “My NCL” is intuitive based on the guest’s nationality and itinerary and will automatically alert the guest of the appropriate documentation needed to sail.

Travel partners can access the “My NCL” portal through NCL’s travel partner web site,, to check the status of their client’s pre-cruise activity and to assist in the process.

Guests can also log into their “My NCL” account at any time to update their profile and cruise vacation preferences, as well as check on their Latitudes (past guest program) status.

Since Partnership 2.0’s inception, the company has implemented more than 75 new programs and services for travel partners including earlier processing of group commissions, a seven-day a week resolution desk, simplified and consistent pricing quotes, improved credit card policies, electronic payment processing, enhanced confirmations; the availability of a premium air desk and a flight assistance hotline, NCL University, the first-of-its-kind online travel partner networking and education community, as well as Groups 2.0, an enhanced group booking program.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is the innovator in cruise travel with a 42-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, NCL has the youngest fleet in the industry with 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea. NCL is presently building a new third generation Freestyle Cruising project known as F3, for delivery in 2010. For further information on NCL, visit or contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (866) 234-0292.

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Holland America Line Committed to Culinary Excellence

Seattle, Jan 19 — Holland America Line has opened a new Culinary Training Program, designed in cooperation with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), at its training center in Manila, the Philippines, to train shipboard culinary staff for its expanding fleet of premium cruise ships. Trainees will live at the facility while completing a three-week immersion culinary course.

“Holland America Line is renowned for its culinary expertise and extraordinary food presentations in the dining rooms and many specialty restaurants,” said Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Our new culinary training program in Manila will ensure that our culinary and beverage staff continues to raise the bar as we provide outstanding meals and service to our guests.”

The curriculum was designed by the CIA under the direction of a Holland America Line Culinary Operations team lead by Steve Kirsch, director of culinary operations, and Rudi Sodamin, master chef. CIA Master Chef Almir Da Fonseca launched the initial training course in Manila this past fall.

“Those attending the school will receive culinary training as well as specific coursework that covers our upscale Pinnacle Grill restaurants, main dining rooms, renowned Lido Restaurants, specialty lounges and the Tamarind and Canaletto restaurants found currently on our new Signature-class ship, ms Eurodam,” said Meadows. “The CIA curriculum is thorough and means that graduates will arrive on the ships with even greater culinary skills.”

The residential training center located on a hill overlooking Manila also functions as a school for front desk personnel and beverage staff, and has space to conduct leadership and other training classes for crew and officers. A former hotel manager aboard the line’s ships, Brian McNeil serves as director of training at the facility and manages all training programs. Holland America Line corporate trainers facilitate the three-week culinary classes comprised of 20 candidates.

“The residential facility gives us the ability to fully immerse students in their coursework,” Meadows continued. “We were able to design the training areas to give the students a realistic experience that replicates many of the conditions they will encounter when they are assigned to our ships.”

Holland America Line operates a similar residential program in Indonesia at the ms Nieuw Jakarta facility where dining room waiters, housekeeping stewards, clerks and other staff receive training.

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Silversea's New Summer Travel Deal Enhances Experience On Board & Ashore

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 19 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is introducing a $1,000 per suite "Onboard Spending Credit" promotion on select voyages in Alaska, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean this summer. The $500 per person (or maximum $1,000 per suite) Onboard Spending Credit is being offered for a limited time on new bookings made on or before March 31, 2009. The special promotion is available on the following:

ALASKA: Silver Shadow cruises departing May 28 through Sept 12 (Voyages 3912 - 3923).
NORTHERN EUROPE: Silver Cloud cruises departing May 30 through Sept 19 (Voyages 1911 - 1923).
MEDITERRANEAN: Silver Wind cruises departing April 15 through June 26 (Voyages 2911 - 2920) and Silver Whisper cruises departing May 19 through June 20 (Voyages 4912 - 4916).

To take advantage of the Onboard Spending Credit offer, the guest or travel agent must request promotional code WWSBC500 at the time of booking.

Always willing to go the extra mile in matters of flexibility and choice, the Silversea promotion allows guests to apply the Onboard Spending Credit toward their onboard purchases without limitations; this includes any spa treatments and shore excursions (none are excluded). In addition, the offer can be combined with other available discount promotions, including Early Booking Incentive, Advance Payment Bonus, Silver Sailing, and Free Air programs.

For example, the Onboard Spending Credit is available on Silver Wind's May 14, 7-day Mediterranean cruise (#2915) sailing from Barcelona to Nice with calls in Valencia, Corsica, Livorno (overnight stay) and Antibes. Promotional cruise fares start at $3,196 per person--a savings of 50%--plus free roundtrip economy air transportation is also available from select U.S. and Canadian gateway cities.

"This new summer promotion is designed to reward travelers with an extra perk that provides added value and flexibility," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "With the Onboard Spending Credit they have the freedom to apply the savings toward a rejuvenating spa treatment, a sumptuous gourmet dinner in our Relais & Châteaux Wine Restaurant or an enriching shore experience--the choice is theirs."

The Onboard Spending Credit is being launched simultaneously with the introduction of new branding and other enhancements to the line's shore excursions. The changes have been created to emphasize the new flexibility, unique qualities and personalized service that characterize the tours. Under the new umbrella name of "Silver Shore," the optional tour programs include:

** Silver Shore Excursions: intimate and rewarding small-group touring.
** Silver Shore Collection: unique and exclusive in-depth explorations of local history and culture.
** Silver Shore Expedition: adventurous and educational tours for the active explorer.
** Silver Shore Concierge: during the cruise, the Tour Manager and, on many sailings, the new Destination Specialist (a position created in conjunction with the upgraded Silver Shore programming) are available to assist with knowledgeable suggestions, personalized planning and hassle-free coordination of all private, independent touring, including sightseeing, sporting activities, and securing behind-the-scenes or after-hours access to exclusive designer shops, museums, cathedrals, and more.

Starting in the next few months, the Silver Shore Concierge service will also be available in advance of sailing. The company will announce more details about this enhanced service at a later date.

** Silver Shore Privato: private car service that can be reserved on board or in advance of sailing via

Guests might choose to apply their Onboard Spending Credit toward a "Silver Shore Privato" tour of fascinating St. Petersburg. They'll spend the day exploring the city's history, opulent palaces, and museums at their own pace, in a private, air-conditioned car with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide. Or, in Alaska, they might use their credit toward an exhilarating "Silver Shore Collection" air adventure over the spectacular Misty Fjords by private aircraft, or use it to explore Juneau's glacier-carved fjords at their own leisure aboard a private catamaran with personalized itinerary. These are just a few of the exciting optional Silver Shore adventures that await guests this summer. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Announces Successful Completion of Major Refurbishment Project

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 16 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) announced that the first phase of the company’s most ambitious refurbishment program ever is now complete. The line’s 700-guest all-suite, all-balcony luxury vessels, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner, completed their respective dry-docks just in time to debut on their 2009 World Cruises.

The refurbishment program, which cost approximately $40 million – the largest investment on existing tonnage ever by RSSC – was overseen by the line’s Vessel Operations team working in conjunction with renowned marine architectural firm of Yran and Storbraaten of Oslo, Norway. The resulting feel aboard each ship is fresh, elegant and luxurious, while retaining the warmth and charm for which RSSC is acclaimed.

Radiating a new sense of warmth and sophistication, the ships’ public spaces are resplendent with elegant new furnishings, carpeting and accents. From the bold jewel tones of Signatures, to the elegant Chablis and Merlot palettes of Compass Rose, or the soothing colors of sand and sea in the Observation Lounge, every area exudes a new sense of style and elegance.

“Both ships have never looked better, they are nothing short of stunning,” said Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Seven Seas Voyager and Mariner each set the benchmark for ultra-luxury cruising when they were introduced. They are now setting new standards and are now undoubtedly the most beautiful vessels in the industry,” he added.

Highlights of the refurbishment on both ships include:

--The creation of Prime 7, a fresh, contemporary interpretation of a traditional grill restaurant
--The re-design of lounges and public rooms to create more spacious areas for relaxation
--The creation of new lounge and dining areas around the Pool Grill
--New carpeting, wallpaper, upholstery, light fixtures, and drapes in most public areas and guest suite accommodations
--More casual dining options with the installation of a pizza oven and ice cream bar
The creation of an extended coffee and snack bar area on Seven Seas Voyager, similar to the popular Coffee Connection on Seven Seas Mariner

Reaction to the new look and feel of the ships has been universally positive from guests and travel agents alike. Members of RSSC’s newly-formed Regent Seven Seas Council, comprised of the line’s top-producing travel agents, visited Seven Seas Voyager in Los Angeles on Monday.

“I have always sold RSSC to my clients with confidence,” said Greg Nacco of Cruise Specialists, a Council member. “But now, with the recent refurbishment and the Free Shore Excursions, I am even more passionate about the product. We’ve had a number of clients already return from their cruises raving about the changes,” he added.

The second phase of the refurbishment program, a similar makeover for the third ship in the RSSC fleet, Seven Seas Navigator, is scheduled to take place in April 2010. Visit for more information.

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Pinnacle Grill Recognized by Porthole Magazine as Best Alternative Restaurant in the Cruise Industry

SEATTLE, Jan. 16 -- Holland America Line's Pinnacle Grill has been chosen best alternative restaurant in the cruise industry in Porthole Magazine's 2009 Editor-in-Chief Awards. "The Pinnacle Grill offers a level of elegant sophistication unmatched anywhere on the seven seas," says Bill Panoff, Porthole Magazine's Editor-In-Chief.

Available on all 14 ships in Holland America's premium fleet, the intimate, reservations-only Pinnacle Grill is an upscale alternative restaurant featuring distinctive Bvlgari china, Frette linens and elegant Riedel stemware.

"The Pinnacle Grill has fast become a favorite in the industry, and we are proud to be recognized by Porthole," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Although there are many alternative restaurants today, we have continued to ensure the quality of the Pinnacle Grill's dining experience stands out."

The menu highlights Pacific Northwest cuisine and features Sterling Silver beef and seafood prepared in innovative ways. In fall 2008, Master Chef Rudi Sodamin expanded the menu with creations ranging from "Lobster Macaroni and Cheese" to "Colorado Lamb Chops".

Choice seafood and Sterling Silver beef are the highlights of the Pinnacle Grill. Dishes include broiled, troll-caught salmon, broiled or poached lobster tail, cedar-planked black cod with shrimp scampi and the Master Chef's interpretation of surf-and-turf: filet mignon and jumbo prawns on whipped potatoes with garlic rosemary beurre blanc.

Selected cuts of prime hand-selected beef come with choice of seasoning and hand-crafted sauces. In addition to beef, guests may choose the time-honored classic of Filet Steak Diane, a grilled veal chop marinated overnight in a savory blend of rosemary, garlic and pepper vinegar with scallions, or oven-baked chicken breast stuffed with spinach and garlic herb cheese. A sophisticated selection of appetizers, soups, salads and dazzling desserts rounds out the menu. The Pinnacle Grill's wine list features an extensive selection of premium Pacific Northwest wines, French champagnes, port and dessert wines. It also offers Wine Flights, which let guests sample four selected wines during their meal.

Ideal for a romantic dinner for two or elegant dining for a group celebration, guests need to make reservations and pay a modest surcharge of $20 per person for dinner and $10 for lunch.

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New Costa Ships to Feature First-Ever “PlayStation Worlds” At Sea Including PlayStation®3 in Cabins

MIAMI, Jan 16 – Costa Cruises and Sony Computer Entertainment Italia have announced a partnership to bring Sony’s popular PlayStation to sea. Under the agreement, PLAYSTATION®3 and PlayStation®2 will be featured in certain public areas and cabins aboard Europe’s Number One Cruise Line. Ships will feature a “PlayStation World,” an area dedicated exclusively to PS3. There will also be PlayStations available in the cabins, on the big screens overlooking the lido decks as well as in the children’s and teens’ clubs. In addition, the million-plus guests who sail with Costa each year will be able to try out the latest PlayStation video games as well as purchase the PlayStation products and releases on board.

The fun starts in May 2009 aboard the Costa Luminosa, which will sail Northern European routes her first season) and the Costa Pacifica in June 2009, which will sail Western Mediterranean routes her first season. The program will be gradually extended to the other 12 ships of the Costa fleet. In addition to the PS3 and PS2 consoles available on board the Costa fleet, four PS3 touch screen cabinets will be set up in the Savona Palacrociere, the cruise terminal managed directly by Costa Cruises in Savona, Italy.

“The PlayStation has been preempting the demands of our clientele for over 13 years now. With PS2 and PS3 we have brought innovation and entertainment into people’s homes,” said Sony Computer Entertainment Italia Marketing Director Andrea Cuneo. “Now, thanks to Costa Cruises, we’re going to take the dynamism and cutting-edge technology of our brand around the seas of the world.”

“Costa Cruises was the first company in Italy and across Europe to turn the cruise into a fun, accessible holiday and continues to build increasingly innovative ships at the cutting edge, offering amenities, entertainment activities and services designed to satisfy the demands of a modern international customer base,” said Costa Cruises Vice President Corporate Marketing & Communication Fabrizia Greppi. “After the Grand Prix driving simulator, the golf simulator and the 4D cinema, this partnership will bring our guests another exciting innovation and another world exclusive feature – the PlayStation, a veritable cult object for all video gamers."

“PlayStation World,” available on the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica, is a first for the global cruise industry, and will be completely dedicated to latest generation PS3-exclusive video gaming, PlayStation 3 being Sony’s multimedia entertainment system.

Guests on the Costa Luminosa will be able to enjoy PlayStation 3 from the comfort of their own cabins, thanks to the “PlayStation on demand” service, which will enable PS3 availability for the entire cruise.

Onboard the entire fleet, young guests will enjoy the PlayStation 2 in the children’s Squok Club and in the Teen Club. These areas will be outfitted with the ultimate in interactive entertainment in the form of “Social Games” like Buzz! ™, the crazy general knowledge quiz, and SingStar®, the competitive music videogame, which unite friends and family around the console for fun and challenging games.

The fun is set to continue after dark as well, with “PlayStation Nights” on the giant 18 m² screens installed on the lido decks of four of Costa’s fleet members (Costa Concordia, Costa Serena, Costa Luminosa, Costa Pacifica); these facilities can be used all year round in any weather thanks to a retractable glass roof. Guests here will also be able to enjoy SingStar® and Buzz!™.

For complete information including reservations or more information regarding Costa Cruises, guests may contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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A Valentine's Gift From Windstar Cruises

SEATTLE, Jan. 15 -- Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, offers a Windstar Romance Package to guests who book with a deposit from Jan 15 to Feb 14, 2009, on a 2009 sailing. Windstar's Romance Package includes an in-room delivery of chocolate-dipped strawberries and a bottle of chilled Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label as well as his and her relaxing 50-minute massages in WindSpa. Package value is $250.

Any new 2009 booking made and deposited between Jan 15 and Feb 14, 2009, may be eligible for the Windstar Romance Package. The Windstar Romance Package offer is not combinable with other shipboard credits or package offers. Guests should refer to the Windstar Romance Package when booking their cruise with their Travel Professional.

Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations. Carrying just 148 to 312 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. For more information including rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

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James Cabello Named Commodore of the SeaDream Club

James Cabello, long-time Activities Director aboard SeaDream Yacht Club’s mega-yacht cruisers, has been named Commodore of the SeaDream Club, the company’s past guest loyalty organization. Cabello office will be in SeaDream’s Miami offices, headquarters for worldwide marketing and sales. He will work closely with Adrienne d’Annunzio, Manager of the SeaDream Club, and will report directly to Bob Lepisto, President SeaDream Yacht Club.

Cabello’s announcement was made by Lepisto who stated: “James has enjoyed a long and successful career as a top guest services executive aboard all types of cruise ships. He was one of the original SeaDream Yacht Club team members and is well-known to our guests. Now, we have been fortunate to coax him ashore.

“In his new role James will add an extra degree of high touch involvement with our clientele. Specifically he will be an important extension of our sales and marketing efforts and focus on building rapport and good relationships with our SeaDream Club members. He will also interact with the travel agency community to make certain that SeaDream guests needs and desires are understood and fulfilled,” Lepisto said.

Cabello’s career with cruising and cruise ships goes back more than 15 years and with several cruise lines. His earlier experience includes positions as a cruise director, headline entertainer and on-ship production manager. He was serving aboard the Seabourn Goddess 2, when it and Seabourn Goddess 1 were purchased by SeaDream Yacht Club in 2001 and redesigned and named SeaDream I and II.

Lepisto concluded: “At SeaDream Yacht club we recognize that among the best ways to assure our continued success is to make our onboard guests exceedingly happy. We are small enough to treat them as family. That’s James Cabello’s mission,”

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Holland America Line Serves Up Authentic Alaska Cruise Souvenir

SEATTLE, Jan 13 -- Guests who cruise in Alaska can relive the culinary experience of the Great Land with Fresh Ketch, an Alaskan seafood feast delivered at home for friends and family to enjoy. The innovative 'home excursion' brings a taste of Alaska home through a partnership with seafood specialists, Alaska Fresh Ketch.

Ketchikan-based Alaska Fresh Ketch serves up the ultimate in Alaskan souvenirs -- wild Alaskan king salmon, halibut, smoked salmon and king crab. With two variations, the feast for six to eight people comes wrapped in a keepsake box decorated with local artwork and filled with menus, recipes, cooking tips, special cooking tools, place cards for your table and secret sauces. A souvenir memory book includes descriptions about the seafood, the local Alaskan fishing fleet and other facts about Alaska.

Available for purchase on ships in Alaska this year, it is also available online year-round at a website developed especially for Holland America Line at

On each cruise, guests may attend a complimentary cooking demonstration in the ship's Culinary Arts Center--professional show kitchens installed for guests' culinary entertainment and enrichment. The ship's own chef will open a box of wild seafood from Fresh Ketch and take guests step-by-step through the process of preparing a true Alaskan feast.

"Our Alaska cruise guests tell us that enjoying wild Alaskan seafood is a major part of their vacation experience," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "We've prominently featured wild Alaskan seafood on our ships' menus, and now we're taking it a step further and providing a convenient way for guests to take that culinary experience home as a gift or souvenir."

Guests may choose from two packages -- the Halibut Schooner and the Salmon Troller. The Halibut Schooner features wild Alaskan halibut as the entree and includes appetizer portions of Alderwood-smoked sockeye salmon and wild Alaskan king salmon. The Salmon Troller features an entree portion of wild Alaskan king salmon and appetizer portions of Alaskan king crab. Seafood is flash-frozen to preserve its fresh flavor and texture, and all seafood is sustainably harvested in Alaska. Each package contains six-pounds of seafood, enough to treat six to eight diners.

"Fresh Ketch has done an outstanding job creating this culinary adventure," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Besides the quality seafood, the package contains personal stories about the fishermen and fishing fleet responsible for the catch. It creates a real connection between diners and the food on the table."

Guests sailing in Alaska can order the home excursion at the shore excursion desk. Guests, along with friends and family, can also place their order for either Fresh Ketch home excursion at Each package is $294 including all shipping and handling.

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Regional experts to accompany Crystal Adventures in Israel, Egypt & Jordan

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13 -- In 2009, Crystal Cruises is introducing two Ancient Civilizations-themed journeys through the Middle East, Holy Land and Mediterranean. Guest historians, archeologists and a foreign correspondent will bring new and substantive perspectives to Cairo, Jerusalem and Jordan's archeological site of Petra. Referred to as the "Cradle of Civilization," the destinations offer more than five millennia of history and cultural heritage. In addition to onboard presentations, guest experts will accompany Crystal Adventures ashore. The Ancient Civilizations voyages include Crystal Symphony's May 17 sailing from Dubai to Athens and Crystal Serenity's October 8, Athens to Venice cruise.

"The 'Ancient Civilizations' voyages are designed to add relevance and perspective to ports and countries that have shaped world history," said John Stoll, director, land programs. "Visiting these destinations in the company of renowned experts will arguably deepen our guests' understanding and appreciation of different cultures - and how those cultures have impacted the evolution of civilization."

Depending on the itinerary, archaeologist and professor Barbara Buxton, historian and author Diana Preston and veteran foreign correspondent Ken Rees will lead tours in Petra Cairo and Jerusalem.

In addition to live onboard and shore-side programming, the cruises will feature theme-related films in staterooms and the Hollywood Theaters.

The 14-day Dubai to Athens voyage transits the Suez Canal, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden and calls in Salalah, Oman; Luxor and Cairo, Egypt and Aqaba, Jordan. The 12-day Athens to Venice itinerary calls at Santorini, Rhodes and Corfu, Greece; Ashdod, Israel; Cairo, Egypt and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Cruise fares begin at $5,690 per person, double occupancy.

With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, the renowned Crystal experience is distinguished by classic service, abundant space, extensive choices and superior quality, providing worldwide vacations of seven to 100+ days that bridge the best of land and sea. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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Stowaway with Cruise West and Save 25 Percent

SEATTLE, WA, Jan 13 – Cruise West (, the global leader in small-ship exploration voyages and the largest American-owned cruise line, offers a Stowaway Program that provides guests with flexibility the opportunity to travel on short notice and receive a savings of 25 percent on the cruise-only brochure rate. This program is currently available on spring departures of Japan, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Columbia & Snake Rivers, British Columbia and Costa Rica & Panama itineraries.

“Our Stowaway program is particularly attractive in today’s challenging economy and is tailored to a unique set of guests,” said Dietmar R. Wertanzl, president and chief executive officer, Cruise West. “The savings are for example, on our 11-night Hidden Treasures of Japan cruise is $3,622 per cabin, double occupancy (Classic Cabin), and up to $1,777 per cabin (based on Category AAA) on a Baja Whales & Wildlife cruise.”

The Stowaway Program is a straightforward process. The traveler may request to cruise on a specific itinerary and cabin category within a 30-day window. At the time of the request a $700 per person deposit is required. At least 30 days before departure, Cruise West will offer to confirm the guest(s) on a specific departure within that requested 30-day travel window. If the guest cannot be accommodated, the full deposit will be refunded. If the guest declines the offered departure date, the deposit amount may be applied to a future cruise or cruise-tour within 24 months. The deposit is also transferable, but is non-refundable.

Cruise West includes a shore excursion in every port and numerous optional excursions are available to further personalize the experience. For additional information or to book a cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit Consumers are encouraged to attend one of the company’s online live presentations. Visit to view the live presentation schedule.

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Microsoft Digital Workshop Rolls Across Holland America Line Ships

SEATTLE, Jan 13 -- Holland America Line has announced the roll-out schedule for its popular Microsoft Digital Workshops. The successful program begun last April has already been implemented on five of the ships, ms Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam, ms Eurodam and ms Noordam. Installation on 12 of the 14 ships will be completed by May 27, 2009. While ms Prinsendam and ms Rotterdam are not currently scheduled for implementation due to itinerary lengths, Holland America Line aims to ultimately apply the program to the entire fleet.

"The Microsoft Digital Workshops have become among the most popular activities for all ages on our ships," says Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "The relationship with Microsoft has been fantastic and we are looking forward to having this well-received program across most of the fleet."

The complimentary onboard workshops led by Microsoft-trained "techsperts" showcase state of the art technology, enabling all levels of camera and computer users to take better photos, make movies, edit and create scrapbooks and share digital memories. Guests learn how to share all their digital memories through email, blogging and social networking allowing friends and family to participate in their cruise experience even before they return home.

The program has its own dedicated space on each ship. Guests can choose to attend all or just some of the multiple workshops which are held daily. In addition, one-on-one coaching, called "Techspert Time," is available for more than 20 hours each week.

The various workshops offer photo tips and introduce resources and Microsoft maintained technology available on the cruise. Guests can learn to download, crop and color-correct digital images as well as how to create panoramic pictures, photo cards and scrapbooks with Windows Live Photo Gallery. There are also sessions on how to produce and publish videos onto a DVD using Windows Movie Maker and how to create personal webpages or blogs with Windows Live Services and Windows Live Writer.

Microsoft Digital Workshops will begin with the cruise dates and ships listed below:

ms Zaandam, Jan 21, 2009 in Hawaii
ms Maasdam, Jan 30, 2009 in Caribbean
ms Zuiderdam, Feb 17, 2009 in Caribbean
ms Ryndam, Mar 5, 2009 in Mexico
ms Veendam, April 27, 2009 in Panama Canal
ms Statendam, May 10, 2009 in Alaska
ms Volendam, May 27, 2009 in Alaska

For a cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Costa Cruises Gives Travelers 'So Much More Amore' Including Free Upgrades and Onboard Credits on Select Europe 2009 Sailings

MIAMI, Jan 13 -- Costa, Europe's Number One Cruise Line, is offering travelers so much more "amore" on 2009 Europe sailings, including free upgrades, onboard credits, Kids Sail Free specials and up to 60% savings. These special offers are available on select Europe 2009 sailings aboard Costa's fleet of ships, including the new Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica, which will come into service in April and May 2009 respectively.

The "So Much More Amore" promotion features a variety of exciting deals for travelers sailing to Europe in 2009. It includes free upgrades of up to two categories on numerous sailings from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean. In addition, onboard credits of $200 per cabin are available on select Mediterranean sailings, including popular 11-night Canary Island routes aboard the Costa Serena (departing from Savona and Barcelona) and the Costa Concordia (departing from Civitavecchia). Families will love available "Kids Sail Free" specials on numerous Mediterranean sailings, including summer departures and on the new Costa Pacifica. Fares beginning at just $449 per person offer up to 60% off regular fares on various Summer Mediterranean routes, making a European sun-filled vacation well within reach for many travelers.

"With free upgrades and onboard credits, incredible savings of up to 60% and 'kids sail free' specials, travelers are going to be hard-pressed to find a better way to see Europe in 2009 than with Costa," said Maurice Zarmati, president and ceo of Costa Cruise Lines-North America. "There's truly something for everyone to enjoy with this special promotion, from couples and families to groups of friends, which makes it the perfect time for travelers to come together and set sail with us in Europe."

Costa Cruises is Italy and Europe's number one cruise line. For the past 60 years its ships have sailed the world, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine and providing dream vacations with the best in fun and relaxation. In 2007 over 1.1 million guests chose to cruise with Costa, a record for the European cruise industry. The company's 12 fleet members, each with her own distinctive characteristics and unique style, all fly the Italian flag and sail each year to 250 destinations in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, South America, the United Arab Emirates, the Far East and the Indian Ocean. For complete information regarding reservations or more information, guests may contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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MSC Cruises’ 2009-10 Caribbean Season to Feature MSC Poesia

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 9 – MSC Cruises has announced a new 2009-10 Caribbean program featuring MSC Poesia. The ship, which joined the MSC Cruises fleet in spring 2008, will sail itineraries of 3-, 5-, 7-, 8- and 10-nights throughout the Caribbean sea and to Bermuda during the winter season before returning to Europe in spring 2010.

“MSC Poesia’s program will feature a variety of itinerary lengths and destinations, offering a full range of choices to guests in the Caribbean,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO, MSC Cruises (USA), Inc.

MSC Poesia will arrive in Fort Lauderdale Nov. 10, 2009, after a 17-night transatlantic journey from Venice. Her Caribbean season will include the following:

· 5-night sailings: Nov. 10, Nov. 15 and Jan. 3
· 10-night itineraries – beginning Nov. 20
· 7-night Christmas itinerary, departing Dec. 20
· 7-night New Year’s itinerary, departing Dec. 27
· 7-night itineraries – a variety of itineraries Jan. 16-April 10
· 7-night Bermuda itinerary – departing April 17, features 3 nights in Bermuda
· 3-night Bahamas cruise, departing April 24

MSC Poesia departs Fort Lauderdale April 27 on an 18-night transatlantic voyage to Kiel.

MSC Poesia features 1,275 staterooms, of which 80% are outside staterooms and 65% have a balcony. There will be 236,000 square feet of public spaces, 2 pools and 4 hot tubs, plus a 13,000-square-foot spa. Guests can select from four restaurants, including a Sushi Bar alternative dining restaurant. Like her sister ships (MSC Musica and MSC Orchestra), MSC Poesia features sophisticated and elegant decor, attention to detail, the finest in international entertainment and Italian hospitality.

Although the new MSC Magnifica, currently under construction at STX France, will not be completed in time for the ship to join MSC Poesia in North America for the 2009-10 Caribbean program, the ship is expected to arrive in North America in fall 2010 to inaugurate MSC Cruises’ first Canada/New England program. MSC Magnifica, complete with magrodome for magnificent views, will sail roundtrip Fall Foliage itineraries from New York and Quebec City before sailing to Fort Lauderdale to join MSC Lirica for the 2010-11 Caribbean season.

For more information about MSC Cruises and MSC Poesia’s 2009-10 Caribbean itineraries, visit

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Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces Expanded 2010 Program
Featuring New Itineraries

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan. 12 -- Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest rated and longest continually-sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, today announced an alluring menu of voyages for the m/s Paul Gauguin's 2010 season, along with Early Booking Savings of up to 45 percent plus Free Roundtrip Air between Los Angeles and Tahiti when booked by March 31, 2009. Reservations are now open for the season, which features 38 extraordinary itineraries ranging from 7 to 15 nights, highlighting such exquisite destinations as Tahiti, the Society Islands, Tuamotus, the Cook Islands, Marquesas, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand -- spectacular cruises that cater to the tastes of discerning travelers seeking a legendary, multiple-award-winning cruise experience.

"It is a pleasure to open m/s Paul Gauguin's 2010 season for advance reservations, as we are very enthusiastic about the innovative new cruise itineraries, fascinating ports of call and special events that are included in our 2010 calendar," said David A. Giersdorf, President and CEO of Paul Gauguin Cruises. "Our exceptional officers and crew look forward to welcoming back many loyal past guests and introducing the magic and romance of m/s Paul Gauguin to first time guests, as well."

m/s Paul Gauguin's 2010 Sailing Season
The 2010 season marks the twelfth year of m/s Paul Gauguin's unequalled expertise cruising among the idyllic islands and ports of the South Pacific. The intimate 332-guest ship will add two new itineraries in 2010, including five 11-night adventures amidst the beautiful and culture-rich Cook Islands, as well as two exclusive 14-night cruises featuring New Zealand, Tonga and the Cook and Society Islands.

Awarded the "Highest Rated Small Luxury Cruise Ship" in the 2008 Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Poll and consistently receiving top honors worldwide for superb luxury, quality and service, the m/s Paul Gauguin will continue to offer time-tested itineraries that allow guests to discover and explore the enchanting islands of the South Pacific like never before. From the verdant peaks and pristine beaches of the Society Islands to the vibrant culture of New Zealand and the exotic and endlessly lush islands of Fiji, the 2010 season showcases the most coveted destinations in this unique corner of the world. Highlights of the 2010 sailing season include:

-- Sixteen classic 7-night departures featuring Tahiti and Society Islands;
-- Six 10-night and two 9-night voyages of Tuamotus and Society Islands;
-- Five 11-night Cook Islands adventures;
-- Four 14-night sailings featuring the Marquesas Islands;
-- In-depth 13- and 15-night discoveries of Fiji, Tonga and the Cook and Society Islands; and
-- Two exclusive 14-night cruises featuring New Zealand, Tonga and the Cook and Society Islands

Special Departures accenting the 2010 schedule include:

-- The President's Cruise on January 6, 2010, where guests can sail with Paul Gauguin Cruises President David A. Giersdorf;
-- The Jean-Michel Cousteau Cruise, featuring environmental advocate and son of the legendary Jacques Cousteau, on May 22, 2010;
-- Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program is available on all departures June through August, as well as Dec 18 and 27, 2010, introducing young travelers to the breathtaking natural wonders of French Polynesia -- perfect for families traveling during these months; and
-- In keeping with its longstanding tradition, the ship will embark on two special Holiday Cruises on Dec 18 and 27, 2010, where guests will savor a different kind of "White Christmas" on the white sand beaches of the Society Islands and Tuamotu Atolls.

A Unique Experience, Every Time
Regardless of which departure guests choose, they are always promised an extraordinary experience -- both onboard and off. Each voyage is highlighted by unparalleled, five-star service, with the freedom to discover the wonders of each destination without limitation. From an extensive selection of optional shore excursions to flexible hotel options, Paul Gauguin Cruises allows guests to tailor their vacation to satisfy their own desires.

Adding to the unique experience that comes aboard a Paul Gauguin Cruise, the Special Occasions programs allow guests to commemorate new beginnings and unique celebrations -- whether whisking away on a honeymoon, toasting a milestone or simply planning a romantic escape for two, the enchanting Tahitian backdrop will create an experience unlike any other. Paul Gauguin's Hotel and Air/Sea programs only further enhance the ease of personalizing and extending the guest travel experience as they forge unforgettable memories.

Aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin
Having recently enjoyed a multi-million dollar enhancement, the intimate, Polynesian-themed m/s Paul Gauguin features world-class cruise ship appointments, including private balconies in nearly 70 percent of suites and staterooms and an expanded al fresco dining experience. The spacious and elegantly adorned staterooms feature deluxe European linens, feather-down duvets, robes and cotton slippers as well as other amenities found only in the most luxurious of travel destinations.

When not relishing the lavish comforts of their individual staterooms, guests can pamper themselves in the onboard spa, enjoy the multiple dining venues, lounges, entertainment, casino, Internet area and Fitness Center, or lose themselves in an unforgettable adventure at the newly-enhanced retractable watersports marina. Here, explorers-at-heart can choose from complimentary windsurfing, kayaking, waterskiing or optional scuba diving -- and because of its size, the m/s Paul Gauguin brings the mystic beauty of the crystalline South Pacific waters closer to her guests than most any other cruise ship.

"Due to the intimate capacity of the vessel, we are able to create a more private, more personal and more exclusive travel experience for our guests--in fact, we have one of the best crew-to-guest ratios at sea at nearly 1-to-1.5, as well as one of the highest onboard space ratios," said Giersdorf. "Whether our guests are seeking romance or adventure--or both--we pride ourselves on providing the ultimate dream vacation for each and every guest. However, the smaller size also creates limited availability. For this reason we are announcing the 2010 program earlier than ever before and offering significant incentives to encourage early booking."

Early Booking Ensures the Best Deals
Guests planning a vacation with Paul Gauguin Cruises can currently take advantage of several opportunities to save, including Early Booking Savings of up to 45 percent, representing savings from $2,500 to $18,650 per person, when booked by specified Early Booking Date. Further savings of $1,250 to $2,500 per couple are available on select sailings when booked by March 31, 2009 as a result of Free or Two-for-One Roundtrip Airfare between Los Angeles and Tahiti. Also, families planning a voyage on m/s Paul Gauguin may take advantage of the third person in stateroom sails free promotion when booked by March 31, 2009. All Early Booking Promotional Savings are capacity-controlled, and subject to availability at time of booking.

Additionally, recognizing the value of experienced and loyal travelers, Paul Gauguin Cruises welcomes all past guests of an elite collection of luxury small ship cruise lines into the m/s Paul Gauguin Society. Any past guest of Paul Gauguin Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea, The Yachts of Seabourn, Crystal Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club or Windstar Cruises will receive an additional 5 percent off any m/s Paul Gauguin cruise fare.

Reservations are being accepted now and guests are encouraged to book early for the best values, choices of departures and accommodations. Reservations must be made by March 31, 2009 to receive special air promotions from Los Angeles or the third person in stateroom sails free promotion. A new 68-page catalog detailing the m/s Paul Gauguin's superb collection of experiences is also now available. Guests should contact their Professional Travel Agent or call 1-800-848-6172 to reserve a cruise or request a brochure. For additional information, please visit

About Paul Gauguin Cruises
Paul Gauguin Cruises operates the award-winning luxury cruise ship m/s Paul Gauguin, providing a luxury cruise experience tailored to the unparalleled wonders of Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. The m/s Paul Gauguin was built at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France. The ship is 513 feet long, 71 feet wide and has a draft of 16.9 feet. The ship can accommodate 332 guests with a staff of 215 and is one of the top Exclusive Charter and Incentive Group venues in the industry. The m/s Paul Gauguin has undergone more than $25 million in enhancements since its inaugural sail in 1998. Since 1998, the m/s Paul Gauguin has completed more than 500 South Pacific cruises and served more than 140,000 guests, including more than 12,000 honeymooners.

Please contact your Professional Travel Agent or call 1-800-848-6172 to reserve a cruise or request a brochure. For additional information, please visit

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MSC Cruises to Bring Its International Ambiance to
Canada/New England Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 9 – MSC Cruises, long a leader in the European market and a growing presence in the Caribbean winter market, will be adding Canada/New England sailings to its offerings in 2010. MSC Magnifica, currently under construction and scheduled to debut in March 2010, will be sailing a series of Fall Foliage cruises from both New York City and Quebec in the fall of 2010 before sailing to Fort Lauderdale to join MSC Lirica for the 2010-11 Caribbean season.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for residents of the Northeastern United States and Canada to enjoy an MSC Cruises experience on one of the line’s newest and most elegant ships without having to add in the cost and time of airfare,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc. He adds, “MSC Magnifica is ideal for Fall Foliage cruises. With nearly 80 percent outside staterooms and a magrodome (retractable roof over the swimming pool), guests can appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature throughout the cruise.”

MSC Magnifica, which is scheduled to debut in March 2010, will depart Venice on Sept. 4, 2010 on an 18-night transatlantic journey to New York City. Along the way, it will call at Bari, la Vallette, Malaga, Cadiz, Lisbon, Ponta Delgada and King’s Wharf (Bermuda), arriving in New York City on Sept. 22.

The ship will then sail the following itineraries:
* 10-night roundtrip, departing Sept. 22 and calling in Sydney, Charlottetown, Quebec, Halifax and Newport
* 7-night New York City to Quebec, departing Oct. 2 and calling in Halifax, Charlottetown and Corner Brook
* 7-night Quebec to New York City, departing Oct. 9 and calling in Sydney, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport
* 7-night New York City to Quebec, departing Oct. 16 and calling in Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown
* 9-night Quebec to Fort Lauderdale, departing Oct. 23 and calling in Sydney, Boston, Newport and New York City

The itineraries can be combined, making them ideal for those who want a longer, roundtrip experience or even a 16-night cruise from New York City to Fort Lauderdale.
For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel professional.

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NCL Launches Second ‘Wave’ of Savings With Limited Time
Reduced Deposit Offer

MIAMI, Jan 9 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is expanding its Wave Season Freestyle Resolution Sales Event by offering 50 percent off the standard cruise booking deposit for all sailings fleet-wide*. This special offer runs for one week only from Saturday, Jan 10 through Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 and is combinable with NCL’s on-board credit promotion, which launched last month. The 50 percent reduced deposit offer makes a cruise deposit on a 3- to 5-day sailing just $50; cruises from 6-to 9-days can be held for $125 and guests booking cruises of ten days or more pay a $200 deposit, down from $400.

“We understand that everyone needs a break from these turbulent times and cruising offers incredible value for today’s consumer,” said Kevin Sheehan, NCL’s president and CEO. “These offers, with as little as a $50 deposit and up to $500 in on-board credit, make it the perfect time to book a Freestyle Cruising summer vacation to explore Alaska, relax in Bermuda or take the kids on a vacation of a lifetime to uncover the rich history of Europe.”

In mid-December, NCL kicked off its biggest ever Freestyle Resolution Sales Event where guests who make a reservation from now through Feb 1, 2009 on any NCL sailing are given up to a $500 on-board credit. The amount of the on-board credit varies depending on the length of cruise** and category of stateroom booked. For example, on sailings of six days or longer, the on-board credit ranges from $50 for an inside stateroom; $100 for an oceanview; $150 for a balcony and $500 for a suite or villa. For three to five day sailings, the on-board credit ranges from $30 for an inside stateroom up to $150 for a suite or villa.

Popular sailings for this summer include, a 7-day Sawyer Glacier sailing round-trip from Vancouver, British Columbia on Norwegian Sun with ports of call including Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, Alaska. Norwegian Spirit features a 7-day Bermuda cruise round-trip from Boston; and Norwegian Gem features a 7-day Western Mediterranean sailing round-trip from Barcelona, Spain to Valletta, Malta; Naples, Rome and Florence, Italy; and Cannes, France. Pride of America offers a 7-day inter-island Hawai`i cruise departing from Honolulu and visiting Hilo and Kona, Hawai`i; along with overnights in Kahului, Maui and Nawiliwili, Kaui.

The Freestyle Resolution Sales Event is another facet of NCL's Partnership 2.0, a company-wide initiative to further strengthen its relationship with travel partners. For further information on NCL, visit or contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (866) 234-0292. 

* The reduced deposit offer is applicable for Inside, Oceanview, Balcony, Mini-Suite, Penthouse and Romance Suites. It does not apply to Garden Villas, Courtyard Villas and Owner's Suites.
**One and two-day sailings are excluded from NCL’s Freestyle Resolution promotion.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Unveils New Early Booking Savings Program Offering Rate Protection Assurance

MIAMI, Jan 9 – Carnival Cruise Lines is launching an exciting new cruise pricing option called Early Saver which offers fares as much as 25 percent lower than the best generally available rates and provides rate protection if rates later drop below what the consumer originally paid. Early Saver further enhances the exceptional value of a Carnival cruise vacation.

Early Saver rates will be available beginning January 12, 2009 and offered up to three months prior to sailing date for cruises of five days or less and up to five months prior to sailing date for longer length voyages, subject to availability. Early Saver fares include all stateroom types, including suites. The Early Saver rate protection feature provides that if a lower Carnival advertised rate becomes available after the booking is made, a rate adjustment can be requested and the cruise line will issue the difference in the form of a non-refundable shipboard credit. The lower fare must be for the same ship, sailing date, stateroom category and number of guests.

“Early Saver is a fantastic savings opportunity for those who are able to plan ahead and book early,” said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival’s executive vice president of marketing and guest experience. “It is designed to provide consumers with complete confidence that the fare they are booking is the lowest Carnival rate available and that in the event they find a lower fare later, they need simply submit a rate protection request and we will provide a shipboard credit equal to the difference.”

When booking an Early Saver fare, consumers are able to choose a specific stateroom. The standard required deposit is immediately non-refundable at time of booking. Any changes in ship or sailing date outside of Carnival’s standard penalty period require a $50 change fee. For changes inside the penalty period, normal penalties apply. To request a price adjustment, a rate protection form must be completed and emailed to Carnival. Consumers can access the form via the cruise line’s web site at or their travel agent may complete the form via the cruise line’s travel agent web portal. The lower rate must be available at the time the form is submitted and rate adjustments will be processed within two business days. Rate adjustment requests can be submitted up to two business days prior to the cruise departure date.

Early Saver fares are available for both individual and group reservations.
The Early Saver fare program will be available on virtually all Carnival ships and itineraries, which include voyages ranging from three to 18 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Europe, Bermuda and South America. The fares are subject to availability and certain restrictions apply. To book an Early Saver rate, consumers may contact a travel agent, call 800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Princess Introduces Convenient New Alaska Cruisetours from Seattle

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 8 – Princess Cruises is marking the annual wave selling season with an innovative Alaska Wilderness Sale promotion. The line is introducing a special new lineup of cruisetours that offer passengers the extra convenience of roundtrip travel from Seattle at unprecedented low fares. These new options make planning an Alaska land/sea vacation easier than ever by including all travel once the passenger gets to Seattle, including airfare between Seattle and Anchorage, as well as a free stateroom upgrade.

The Alaska Wilderness Sale runs through February 28, 2009, and features four new Seattle-based cruisetour options. Offering both northbound and southbound travel, the 11- or 12-night cruisetours feature a 7-night Voyage of the Glaciers cruise plus Direct to the Wilderness rail transportation and stays at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. Air travel between Seattle and Anchorage, as well as motorcoach transfers between Seattle and Vancouver are included in the package. Free stateroom category upgrades are included as well.

“Since 2009 is the 50th anniversary of Alaska’s statehood, this is the perfect year to visit the 49th state,” said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. “And with these special cruisetour packages, we’re making a visit to the heart of Alaska more convenient than ever. All our passengers need to do is plan their travel to and from Seattle. We take it from there, so visitors can simply enjoy this incredible opportunity to visit Alaska’s top attractions, including Glacier Bay and Denali National Park.”

The new Alaska Wilderness Sale cruisetours include the line’s famed Voyage of the Glaciers sailings between Vancouver and Whittier featuring calls at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway with daylight cruising of Glacier Bay National Park and the 16 glaciers of College Fjord. Passengers can choose departures on either the 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess or the 1,970-passenger Coral Princess and Island Princess. In addition, passengers will enjoy Direct to the Wilderness rail transportation right from their ship to the Denali area, giving them extra time in the heart of Alaska’s wilderness. Cruisetour options include two nights at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge and one or two nights at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. The packages also include an overnight stay in Seattle.

Princess’ 2009 Alaska season runs from May 9 to Sept 14, and features a total of 130 Alaska sailings, including the signature Voyage of the Glaciers sailings, Inside Passage routes from Seattle and San Francisco, and a small ship experience on 14-day Connoisseur voyages to some of the state’s less-visited ports. In addition, Princess will again take more passengers to the ice-filled wonder of Glacier Bay National Park than any other line, with 81 visits (all Gulf and Connoisseur voyages). Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Celebrates Fifth Birthday

Jan 8 -- Queen Mary 2, the grandest ocean liner ever built and, since the retirement of QE2, the fastest passenger ship in the world, celebrates her fifth birthday on Jan 12th. And with 2009 fares for Transatlantic Crossings starting from just $745 per person, there is no better time to join the half a million other guests who have so far enjoyed Cunard’s flagship.

Queen Mary 2 entered service in January 2004 just four days after being named by Her Majesty The Queen during the most spectacular naming ceremony Southampton, her home port, had ever seen. Since that historic entry into service, Queen Mary 2 has sailed almost 750,000 nautical miles, completed 104 Atlantic crossings (the route for which she was specifically built, the first passenger ship to be built for that trade in 35 years), and made calls to 115 ports in 45 countries. She will spend her fifth birthday in the Caribbean. Since becoming Cunard’s flagship in May 2004, taking over the mantle from QE2, Queen Mary 2 has also become one of the most celebrated ships in the world and successfully continues the Cunard passenger liner tradition established almost 170 years ago.

“This is an important milestone for Queen Mary 2 and we are very proud of her many achievements,” said Carol Marlow, president and managing director of Cunard Line. “In her young life, Queen Mary 2 has attracted thousands of well-wishers in many ports around the world, achieving iconic status. Cunard is one of the oldest names in shipping; however, we currently are sailing the youngest fleet in the industry which we are poised to continue upon the new Queen Elizabeth’s debut in 2010.

To mark her fifth birthday, Queen Mary 2 will undertake a “lap of honour” around the UK departing from Southampton on Oct 15, 2009. This will be her first voyage around Britain, a journey that became so popular for QE2 to undertake as crowds came out to welcome her in every port. It is expected that Queen Mary 2, as the flagship of the British merchant fleet, should continue this Cunard tradition. This voyage will feature maiden calls for Queen Mary 2 at Greenock and Liverpool, ports which have close historic ties with Cunard. For more information and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Silversea Explores The World Less Traveled With Record Number Of Voyages During 2010

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 8 -- Silversea, the ultra-luxury cruise line known for exploring the planet's most exotic destinations, rolls out its worldwide schedule for 2010 with a record number of voyages visiting more than 355 ports in 95 countries and island destinations. In total, over 175 diverse itineraries will be offered aboard the company's quintet of all-suite ships: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and the new Silver Spirit. Reservations open on Jan 12, at which time the complete day-by-day itineraries for all ships will be available at

"Our fleet expansion presents many opportunities for innovative deployment," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "With the addition of a fifth all-suite ship in 2010, our schedule will offer an exceptionally broad range of travel choices, including Silver Spirit's exciting 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage, and the first-ever, year-round deployment of Silver Cloud in the Mediterranean."

From Australia's vast Outback and China's Great Wall to the fairy tale castles of Edinburgh and the gilded palaces of St. Petersburg, Silversea will present a varied collection of the world's most enticing hidden treasures. Among the highlights are Silver Shadow's return visits to scenic Alaska plus nine new Silversea destinations: Le Verdon, France; Rimini, Italy; Ile Rousse, Corsica; Cardiff, Wales; Sendai, Japan; Chan May, Vietnam; Lakshadweep, India; Buzios, Brazil; and Seydisfjordur, Iceland.

On Jan 21, 2010 the newest addition to Silversea's fleet, the beautiful Silver Spirit, will embark from Fort Lauderdale on a fascinating Grand Inaugural Voyage that concludes in New York City. On this magnificent 91-day "Spirit of South America" odyssey, guests will visit more than 45 ports in over 20 different countries and island destinations across two continents. Highlights include a visit to Rio de Janeiro in time for Carnaval, a journey around the end of the earth at Cape Horn, an in-depth exploration of the Mexican Riviera, and a crossing of the Panama Canal.

Silver Cloud starts the year exploring South America, where she makes a maiden call to the sun-kissed beaches of Buzios, Brazil, before heading to the most exclusive destinations of the Caribbean. After spending May in the Mediterranean, the ship will be positioned in Northern Europe from June through mid-September exploring the British Isles, Iceland, and Norway, plus several Baltic voyages offer extended stopovers in St. Petersburg. Other cruise itineraries include a first-time visit to Le Verdon, gateway to France's famous Medoc vineyards and an inaugural call to picturesque Seydisfjordur, Iceland. In autumn, the ship heads south, kicking off its first-ever year-round deployment in the Mediterranean with in-depth explorations of Egypt, Israel and Turkey.

For Silver Wind, 2010 begins in South Africa with a series of convenient roundtrip departures from Capetown, followed by a cruise along the west coast of Africa positioning the ship in the Mediterranean for spring and summer cruises. Her Mediterranean season will feature maiden calls to the chic resort port of Ile Rousse on Corsica's northwest coast and Rimini on Italy's Adriatic coast--gateway to the medieval enclave of San Marino. Of special interest to Formula One racing enthusiasts is an itinerary that overnights in Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix. In the fall, the ship heads to the Indian Ocean where she makes a first-ever call to the idyllic coral islands of India's Lakshadweep archipelago.

Silver Shadow kicks off the year with a series of Caribbean voyages highlighted by three Panama Canal crossings. She returns to Alaska for the summer, offering a series of 14 cruises ranging from 7- to 12-days, including round-trip or open-jaw departures from San Francisco, Seward and Vancouver. For the first time, the ship will reposition by sailing the Bering Sea from Alaska to the Far East and also make a maiden call in Sendai, Japan, where guests can explore the ruins of its renowned 17th-century castle. During October and November, the ship will offer cruises focusing on China and Vietnam, before heading to the South Pacific to spend the holidays in Australia and New Zealand.

For Silver Whisper, the year opens with Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East featured on six itineraries, ranging from nine to 18 days. Highlights include an inaugural call to Chan May, Vietnam, gateway to the former imperial city of Hue. During spring, the exotic destinations of the Arabian Peninsula are showcased with convenient cruise departures from Dubai. The summer finds Silver Whisper exploring Northern Europe on a series of mostly seven-day voyages, many offering extended stays in St. Petersburg. A grand transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York will reposition the ship to offer a collection of fall foliage cruises through Canada and New England before heading to Bermuda, the Caribbean and South America for the balance of the year.

During spring, following the fanfare and celebrations of her inaugural season, Silver Spirit will embark on a grand, two-week transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton, highlighted by Silversea's first-ever call in Cardiff, the vibrant capital of Wales rich in both ancient and modern charm. From May through October, the line's newest ship will explore the Mediterranean, offering mostly seven-night cruises that can be combined to create unique, extended vacations. Silver Spirit wraps up her first year of service back in the warm waters of the sunny Caribbean.

Details on the 2010 schedule for Silversea's expedition ship, Prince Albert II, will be available in the coming weeks.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard five intimate, all-suite vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, and Silver Spirit, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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MSC Lirica Earns Fourth ‘Perfect’ US Public Health Score

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 8 – MSC Cruises continues to set the highest standards for cruise ship excellence. For an extraordinary fourth straight time, MSC Lirica has earned a perfect score in a surprise inspection by U.S. Public Health (USPH). Conducting a surprise inspection Tuesday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, USPH officials awarded MSC Lirica a perfect score of 100 following a rigorous examination. This is the fourth straight perfect score for the MSC Cruises’ vessel; the ship was awarded a score of 100 during a March 2008 inspection in Puerto Rico and a surprise Christmas Eve 2007 inspection in St. Thomas, V.I. This exceptionally rare scoring performance reflects the outstanding state of sanitation, safe food handling, and the general high level of understanding and compliance in the areas of food, water, air and general hygiene onboard MSC Lirica.

“Our commitment to cleanliness and safety is a priority and we are honored that the USPH has once again acknowledged our achievements with this top-rated score,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc. “The USPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have very strict enforcement policies so to be consistently recognized in this way is a credit to our own strict policy in passenger and crew safety and health.”

The CDC officers conducted intense inspections of the food provisioning, storage and preparation areas, the ship’s laundry, bars, self-serve buffets, restaurants, warewashing machinery, room service operations, medical and children’s centers, as well as its Integrated Pest Management Program, waste management, housekeeping and public area cleanliness, recreational and potable water protection and supply system, air purity controls, and the ship’s general procedures to prevent or control illnesses such as Norovirus. Over the years, MSC Cruises’ ships sailing in Caribbean waters have consistently earned “Superior” scores on USPH inspections. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit

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Regent Seven Seas Announces New Ultra-Inclusive Voyages

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL. Jan 7 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) announced today that free shore excursions will be included on 35 stellar voyages as part of its new ultra-inclusive cruise pricing initiative. For a limited time, guests on select 2009 voyages of Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator may choose from a selection of complimentary tours from the broad spectrum of RSSC’s award-winning shore-excursion choices, a value of up to several hundred dollars per guest.

Adding even more value than ever to RSSC’s new ultra-inclusive pricing, guests will also save from $5,995 to $23,250 with Free Airfare and 2-for-1 Cruise Fares on select 2009 voyages. Now, in addition to all-suite accommodations and an onboard experience that includes gratuities, all soft drinks, premium wines and spirits, acclaimed cuisine in up to four open-seating gourmet restaurants and RSSC’s renowned six-star service, the line’s all-inclusive product has been extended to offer an immersive destination experience.

“We are delighted to be able to offer our valued guests even greater value with a Regent experience that now encompasses both the ship and the destination. At a time when travelers are seeking greater value and unique vacation opportunities, we offer a spectacular array of voyages that offer more value and more luxury than ever before,” stated Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

With special offers of Free Airfare, Cruise Fares that begin at only $3,995 per guest and Free Unlimited Shore Excursions, these voyages are certain to be in great demand given their unrivaled value proposition.

On each of the cruises listed below, guests will have the opportunity to participate in at least one complimentary shore excursion in each port where excursions are offered. These excursions are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability. Guests with deposited reservations can pre-request their excursions online starting 120 days in advance of their sailing date. In addition to the wide choice of free excursions, there will be a number of special (Regent Choice) excursions that will require payment of a supplement, allowing guests to experience some of the finest programs ashore at an outstanding value.

Voyages featuring the included shore excursions are:

Seven Seas Voyager Baltic and Mediterranean cruises
-- June 26: 14 nights roundtrip Copenhagen
-- July 24, 31; August 7, 14, 21: 7 nights Copenhagen to Stockholm (or reverse)
-- Aug 28: 10 nights Stockholm to Southampton
-- Sept 25: 7 nights Venice to Istanbul

Among the wide selection of complimentary shore excursions in the fairytale kingdoms of the Baltic and Russia are: An evening at the ballet, a visit to the famous Hermitage museum, or a tour of Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia; A walking tour and concert or a countryside fishing and lunch tour in Tallinn, Estonia; A city tour by sea and visit to Fortress Island, or a Sailing Adventure tour in Helsinki, Finland

Here is a selection of exciting complimentary excursions from the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean:  A visit to Ancient Pompeii or a scenic Riviera tour from Sorrento, Italy; A tour of the glories of ancient Ephesus from Kusadasi, Turkey; A tour of Hidden Sicily from Taormina; A visit to Malta’s hidden treasures in Valletta; A tour of Alexandria’s Library and Museum; A tour of ancient Rome from Civitavecchia, Italy

Seven Seas Navigator Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises
-- July 10; August 7; September 4; October 16: 7 nights Monte Carlo to Athens
-- July 17; August 14; September 11: 7 nights Athens to Istanbul
-- July 24: 7 nights Istanbul to Venice
-- July 31: 7 nights Venice to Monte Carlo
-- Sept 28: 7 nights Athens to Rome
-- Oct 30: 7 nights Istanbul to Rome
-- Nov 8: 7 nights Rome to Funchal
-- Dec 18: 10 nights roundtrip Fort Lauderdale

Here is a selection of exciting complimentary excursions in the tropical paradise of the Western Caribbean: A tour of Mayan ruins and New River cruise in Belize; A visit to Q’eqchi indigenous river community in Guatemala; A stingray sandbar swim and snorkel in Grand Cayman

Seven Seas Mariner Alaska and Asia Pacific cruises
-- June 3, 10, 24; July 1, 8, 15; Aug 26, Sept 2: 7 nights Vancouver to Anchorage (or reverse)
-- Sept 16: 14 nights Anchorage to Osaka
-- Oct 1: 16 nights Osaka to Hong Kong
-- Oct 17: 15 nights Hong Kong to Singapore
-- Nov 1: 17 nights Singapore to Sydney
-- Nov 18: 14 nights Sydney to Auckland
-- Dec 2: 19 nights Auckland to Los Angeles

Guests on these cruises can select from an enticing list of complimentary tour options in the 49th state and the capitals of the Pacific Rim including: A native canoe adventure or an adventure hike to Mendenhall Glacier from Juneau, Alaska; A Klondike zipline tour or a ride on the White Pass Scenic Railroad in Skagway, Alaska; A sea otter and wildlife quest in Sitka, Alaska; A tour of the Peace Park in Nagasaki, Japan; A full day tour to Hanoi from Hong Gai, Vietnam; A kangaroos and koalas tour in Melbourne, Australia; A Maori cultural experience in Wellington, New Zealand; An off-road adventure in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Guests wishing to take advantage of this extraordinary value are required to reserve and deposit their cruise by March 31, 2009. Visit for more information.

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Cunard’s Storied Transatlantic Crossings to Feature Literary Luminaries

Jan 7, 2009 – In 2009, guests sailing a Transatlantic Crossing aboard Cunard’s flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with some of the literary world’s most fascinating personalities. Among the best-selling authors and playwrights scheduled to sail are E.L. Doctorow, Erica Jong, Amy Bloom, John Guare and Susan Cheever. They are among several celebrated, award-winning authors who are set to infuse Cunard Insights, the line’s top-rated onboard enrichment programme, with a dose of literary lore from April through September, 2009. Guests can look forward to engaging Q&A discussions, lectures, book signings and readings with select titles to be featured in the Cunard Book Club.

“Our Transatlantic Crossing is a most storied voyage and therefore it is quite fitting to feature these literary luminaries to engage and delight our guests,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. “Queen Mary 2 is the only ocean liner in the world providing regularly scheduled service between New York and Southampton. A Cunard voyage across the Atlantic truly epitomizes the new Golden Age of Ocean Travel, and the addition of these renowned authors will further enhance an experience that is already considered one of the most thrilling journeys in the world.”

Among the authors scheduled to sail are:

Kathryn Harrison – April 20, 2009 (Southampton to New York)
A prolific author, Harrison has published six novels, three memoirs, a travelogue, a biography and a book of true crime. A frequent reviewer for The New York Times Book Review, Harrison also writes personal essays that have been included in many anthologies and have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Vogue, O Magazine, More, Bookforum and other publications.

Oscar Hijuelos – May 8, 2009 (New York to Southampton)
American novelist Hijuelos is the first Hispanic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His first novel, Our House in the Last World, was published in 1983 and received the 1985 Rome Prize, awarded by the American Academy in Rome. His second novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, received the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was adapted for the film The Mambo Kings in 1992 and as a Broadway musical in 2005.

Rita Dove – May 25, 2009 (Southampton to New York)
An American poet and author of American Smooth, Dove was the second African American poet to win the Pulitzer Prize (1987). From 1993 to 1995, she served as the second Black and the youngest Poet Laureate of the United States and Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress. Her next book, Sonata Mulatica, will be published in April.

E. L. Doctorow – May 31, 2009 (New York to Southampton)
Doctorow is the author of several critically acclaimed novels that blend history and social criticism. Although he had written books for years, it was the publication of The Book of Daniel in 1971 that earned him notoriety. His next book, Ragtime, was a commercial and critical success. As of 2006, he held the Glucksman Chair in American Letters at New York University. His personal papers are held by the Fales Library at NYU.

Erica Jong – June 13, 2009 (Southampton to New York)
Erica Jong is a poet, novelist and essayist best known for her eight best-selling novels, including Fear of Flying and her mid-life memoir Fear of Fifty. Sheis also the author of six award-winning collections of poetry. She is a frequent lecturer in the US and abroad.

Susan Cheever – June 25, 2009 (Southampton to New York)
Daughter of John Cheever and sister of Benjamin Cheever, Cheever is an author whose books include My Name is Bill - Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, a biography of Alcoholics Anonymous cofounder Bill Wilson; Home Before Dark, a memoir about her father, John Cheever; Note Found in a Bottle, a memoir of her own alcoholism and recovery; Treetops: A Memoir; as well as five novels: Looking for Work, A Handsome Man, The Cage, Doctors and Women and Elizabeth Cole.

Amy Bloom – July 6, 2009 (New York to Southampton)
An American writer, Bloom has been nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In addition to novels Away and Love Invents Us, Bloom has written articles in periodicals including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate and Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories and several other anthologies, and has won a National Magazine Award.

Brad Gooch – July 30, 2009 (New York to Southampton)
Gooch is an American writer and current Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey. His novels include Zombie 00, Billy Idol and Scary Kisses.

John Guare – September 8, 2009 (New York to Southampton)
An American playwright, Guare is best known as the author of The House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation and Landscape of the Body. His style, which mixes comic invention with an acute sense of the failure of human relations and aspirations, is at once cruel and deeply compassionate.

In 2009, Queen Mary 2 marks her fifth year of service with an extended Transatlantic season including more than 20 classic six-day voyages between New York and Southampton, two voyages between New York and Hamburg and two voyages between Boston and Southampton. Cunard’s iconic Transatlantic Crossing offers guests the classic ocean travel experience with an abundance of sea days affording guests the luxury of time to enjoy myriad leisurely, health & wellness, gourmet dining and intellectual pursuits.

Cunard has long been synonymous with onboard enrichment and was the first company to install a library aboard a passenger vessel - on the Bothnia in 1874. Queen Mary 2 continues this tradition with the largest library at sea filled with more than 8,000 books. Delving deeply into a variety of compelling and relevant topics, Cunard Insights introduces guests to stimulating experts and accomplished visionaries who reflect the line's heritage of adventure and prestige. Through a series of lectures, Q&A's, debates, social gatherings and workshops, guests connect with personalities who have achieved notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, politics, arts and literature. The Insights program underscores Cunard’s longstanding view that onboard entertainment should afford guests a provocative and rewarding cerebral experience.

For more information and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2 or Queen Victoria, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Silversea Sweetens Deals for Savvy Travelers
Who Book Early on 2010 Voyages

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 7 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is kicking off the New Year with the launch of enhanced "Early Booking Incentive" and "Advance Payment Bonus" programs for voyages in 2010. The new savings options are designed to generously reward those travelers who plan, book and pay for their vacations a year early. The company's current Early Booking Incentive (EBI) discount ranges from 10% to 30% off the published cruise fare, while the Advance Payment Bonus (APB) option provides an additional 5% savings for guests who make full payment six months prior to sailing. Starting with voyages in 2010, the Early Booking Incentives will range from 15% to 35% and a new Extended Advance Payment Bonus (XAPB) will offer a second, more generous savings level of 15% for payments made in full one year prior to sailing.

"We recognize that given the current economic environment, travelers may be tempted to postpone their purchase decisions, including vacations," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "Yet it is times like these when people are most in need of an uplifting diversion, so we want to encourage travelers by offering our best deals early."

Added Morris, "Our enhanced 'Advance Payment' and 'Early Booking' programs are designed to help consumers firm up their travel plans as early as possible in order to take advantage of very generous fare discounts. When guests book and pay in full a year before sailing, they can enjoy savings of up to 50% and better appreciate the tremendous value of an all-inclusive, ultra-luxury cruise experience. Ultimately, our goal is to reduce or eliminate the need for additional tactical promotions like our 'Silver Sailings' discount program."

Silversea will announce its 2010 schedule shortly and start accepting reservations on January 12, following a private presale this week to members of the company's Venetian Society past-guest loyalty club. For guests wishing to benefit from the new Extended Advance Payment Bonus on voyages departing during the first quarter of 2010, an introductory grace period will allow them to receive the 15% XAPB savings on top of the applicable EBI discount provided they make their full payment by March 31, 2009.

For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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Silversea Announces Inaugural Itineraries of Silver Spirit

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 6 -- Silversea announced today that its newest ultra-luxury ship, Silver Spirit, is set to debut in lavish style with a Grand Inaugural Voyage on Jan 21, 2010. On this extraordinary 91-day journey, dubbed "The Spirit of South America," Silver Spirit will sail from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles and twist back to New York on a fascinating itinerary highlighted by a visit to Rio de Janeiro in time for Carnaval, a journey around the end of the earth at Cape Horn, an in-depth exploration of the Mexican Riviera, a crossing of the Panama Canal and an unforgettable Statue of Liberty event in New York Harbor. Silversea will begin accepting reservations on Jan 12. An area of the company's website ( is now dedicated to Silver Spirit.

"As the new year begins and the construction of our new ship moves forward steadily, I am delighted we're able to reveal some of the highlights of her much anticipated inaugural season," said Amerigo Perasso, Silversea's president and CEO. "When Silver Spirit sets sail, she will embody the hallmarks of Silversea's understated elegance and distinct luxury with even more spacious suites, expansive spa facilities and enticing epicurean venues."

On the magnificent "Spirit of South America" odyssey, guests will visit more than 45 ports in over 20 different countries and island destinations across two continents, enjoying overnight stays in Fort Lauderdale, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Punta Arenas, Lima, Acapulco and Los Angeles.

In addition, guests on the full voyage will be invited to attend the naming ceremony, a gala dinner event on the eve of departure with accommodations aboard ship, exclusive shoreside events in select ports of call, and a VIP evening at the Rio Carnival, not to mention special commemorative gifts and a $2,000 per suite onboard spending credit. A complimentary Business Class air upgrade is also available for guests who purchase Silversea's optional air program. Fares for the full Grand Inaugural Voyage start at $39,187 per person, based on double occupancy, and include "Extended Voyage Savings" of 5%, plus enhanced "Early Booking Incentive" and new "Extended Advance Payment Bonus" discounts applicable to voyages in 2010. (The company plans to announce more details about these generous new savings options shortly.)

Other highlights of the inaugural itineraries include an 11-day "Holiday Spirit" maiden voyage (#5901) on December 23, 2009, sailing from Barcelona to Lisbon; a "Maiden Crossing" (#5001), departing January 3 from Lisbon for 16 fascinating days exploring the Atlantic and Caribbean islands before arriving in Fort Lauderdale; and a two-week grand "Atlantic Crossing (#5011) to Southampton from New York on April 23.

After completing her inaugural season, Silver Spirit will spend the summer in the Mediterranean and then reposition to the Caribbean for fall and winter cruises.
The 36,000-ton vessel will indulge her 540 guests with the largest suites in the fleet95% feature a private verandaand with one of the highest space-to-guest ratios at sea today, 67, providing 6,700 cubic feet of space per guest. The onboard décor will lend a sophisticated 1930s Art Deco ambience to the public spaces, highlights of which include an indoor/outdoor spa measuring no less than 8,300 square feet (770 square meters), three whirlpools (two adjacent to outdoor pool, one in spa area), enriching performances in The Show Lounge and a choice of six dining venues including Seishin, a Japanese restaurant, and the innovative Stars Supper Club, featuring live music, dancing and nightclub-style entertainment.

A new full-color, 36-page brochure showcasing Silver Spirit's Inaugural Season will be available in the coming weeks. To order a complimentary copy, visit or call toll-free (877) 215-9986.

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Carnival’s New ‘FUN4ALL’ Sales Event Offers Best Available Upgrades For Bookings Made Jan 5-23, 2009

Miami, Jan 5 -- Carnival Cruise Lines has rolled out a new sales event offering free best available upgrades on a wide variety of “Fun Ship” departures throughout 2009.
The new “Fun4All” promotion is available in conjunction with virtually all three- to 12-day cruises departing through Dec. 18, 2009, including voyages to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England and Europe. To be eligible for this special offer, bookings must be made between Jan. 5-23, 2009.

“With consumers beginning to make their summer and fall vacation plans, there’s no better time to book a ‘Fun Ship’ vacation and this free best available upgrade promotion makes the value of a Carnival cruise even greater,” said Lynn Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services.

The new “Fun4All” sales event is capacity controlled and applies to new individual bookings for categories 4A and higher. Upgrades are available within specific stateroom accommodation types (i.e., interior to interior, ocean view to ocean view, balcony to balcony, etc.). Guests must request fare code PFF when making the reservation.

Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 18 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Europe, Bermuda and South America. The line currently has two new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2011. The first of those, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, is set to debut Sept. 21, 2009. For additional information and reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Top 10 Ways to Save on Luxury With Crystal Cruises in 2009

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 5 -- While a Crystal Cruises vacation is inherently loaded with inclusive value, the luxury line is sweetening the cruise savings for 2009 and beyond. From getting there to being there, Crystal's significant savings promotions range from upgraded and complimentary air travel to family incentives, extended land programs and dollars off.

"This is the broadest scope of savings opportunities we've ever offered," says Bill Smith, senior vice president, sales and marketing. "Even the most affluent travelers are seeking strong value now. Discerning cruisers also place high importance on brand, reputation and consistency of product delivery, which is continually validated by the unprecedented number of consumer and industry awards Crystal has earned in the past year alone."

The top 10 ways to save in 2009 include:

1. Save Now, Save Later: Guests booking and sailing on any 2009 Europe, transatlantic or Crystal Symphony Asia cruise can realize significant savings on these sailings, and also save 20% on virtually any 2010 voyage, excluding the World Cruise and its segments.

2. Asia Stateroom Upgrades and Penthouse Savings: Crystal is offering complimentary two-category stateroom upgrades and up to $2,000 per person for Penthouse accommodations with Crystal Symphony's spring cruises in China & Japan and Southeast Asia. The two cruises between Hong Kong and Beijing also feature an inclusive three-night land stay in Beijing.

3. Free One-Way Air with Panama Canal Cruises: Guests originating in Los Angeles, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or Palm Beach air gateways on the Feb 16 or May 7 cruises between Los Angeles and Miami can fly for free one way.

4. Europe Celebration Savings: In celebration of an unprecedented 15 years as "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line," Crystal is offering savings of $1,500, $1,000 or $750 per person off nearly all 11-day Baltic and 12-day Mediterranean cruises, and half that off most shorter European sailings, depending on accommodations selected. Savings also apply to Crystal Symphony's September 3 port-filled transatlantic sailing and Crystal Serenity's combination of two weeklong cruises in June.

5. Air Upgrades to Europe: Promotional business class air add-on fares start at just $799, one-way to the Baltic, and $899, one-way to the Mediterranean in conjunction with virtually all Baltic itineraries aboard Crystal Symphony, and Mediterranean voyages aboard Crystal Serenity, from June through August. Low premium economy upgrades are also available with Crystal Symphony's Northern European itineraries between June and September.

6. Crystal Family Memories Program: Valid with virtually all of the line's 2009 itineraries, the Crystal Family Memories Program offers one complimentary berth for every 10 full-fare berths, plus other perks like prepaid gratuities and credit toward a Crystal Private Adventure.

7. Value Collection Sailings: Save up to 50% on more than a dozen sailings of seven to 17 days through the Panama Canal, South America, the Mediterranean, Western Europe, New England and Canada, Caribbean and the Amazon, as well as Atlantic and Pacific Ocean crossings.

8. Crystal Assurance Plan: In combination with its existing price guarantee, Crystal is reducing cruise fare depositsas low as 5%deadlines and cancellation periods.

9. Combo Cruise Savings: Guests booking two or more cruises back-to-back, with the exception of World Cruise segments, can save up to 5% on the fare for each voyage.

10. Book 180 Days in Advance: All guests save 3.5% when they pay in full six months in advance.

Plus, Bonus Savings with Crystal Society Benefits: Not only do returning Crystal cruisers automatically save between 4% and 4.5% on their next cruise, but they can enjoy additional savings that range from shipboard credits, gifts and parties to stateroom upgrades and an 11-day free cruise in a Crystal Penthouse. All guests who book a future cruise on board save an additional 4% to 4.5% off their next cruise.

Always an Exceptional Value: Crystal Cruises continues to offer the highest level of luxury on every itinerary, adhering to the winning formula of service, space, quality and choices. Thoughtful amenities include:

-- Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages
-- Complimentary specialty restaurants, including the celebrated cuisine of Nobu Matsuhisa
-- Complimentary enrichment classes, including computer learning, yoga and mat-based Pilates, wine tasting, language, wellness, music, art and bridge
-- Complimentary transportation to the town centers from most ports
-- Complimentary Ambassador Host program offering dance partners
-- Complimentary lavish Broadway-style evening productions in the Galaxy Theatre
-- Complimentary daily feature films in the Hollywood Theatre
-- Complimentary elegant afternoon tea service in Palm Court

Restrictions apply for air arrangements. The Business Class and Premium Economy air promotions are capacity controlled and subject to space availability. For more information and Crystal reservations, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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Windstar Extends Its Season of Special Offers

SEATTLE, Jan. 5 -- Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, extends its special offers benefiting travel professionals and Windstar cruise guests.

Winter Sails Season Offer: Windstar has extended its Winter Sails Season Offer giving travel professionals a $50 American Express gift check upon final payment for 2009 cruises booked with a deposit between December 2008 and February 2009. Travel professionals must mention "Windstar Winter Sails Offer" when placing a booking with Windstar to receive the $50 American Express gift check. The $50 American Express gift check will be mailed to travel professionals after final payment has been received by Windstar for the cruise booking. Offer valid for bookings with deposits made between December 1, 2008 and February 28, 2009.

All the Luxury, Half the Deposit Offer: Windstar is extending its 50 percent reduction on cruise deposits on all new bookings made now through Feb 28, 2009, for any 2009 sailing that is not within final payment requirement. The program allows guests between now and Feb 28, 2009, to make a deposit of $375 per person, instead of $750 per person, within three days of booking a Windstar cruise to secure a reservation for 2009 sailings that are outside of the final payment period. The remaining deposit is due March 31, 2009, or 90 days prior to sailing, whichever comes first.

One for Five Tour Conductor Credit Offer: For travel professionals who book a new group of five full-fare guests on select 2009 sailings on Windstar by Feb 28, 2009, they receive a complimentary group tour conductor credit on the same sailing.

The applicable 2009 sailings are:

-- Wind Spirit Sailings: 5/9, 6/20-7/25, 8/8-8/29, 10/31, 11/7, 12/12
-- Wind Star Sailings: 4/25, 5/9, 5/16, 6/6, 6/13, 7/4, 7/18-8/29, 10/24, 10/31, 12/5, 12/12
-- Wind Surf Sailings: 4/19, 4/26, 5/10, 5/25, 5/31, 6/7, 6/21-11/2, 11/22-12/13

The offer applies to all agencies and is combinable with pre-approved group rates. Offer is not combinable with any other promotions/programs and is capacity controlled and may be withdrawn or modified at the discretion of Windstar. Valid only on new groups set up by February 28, 2009. A maximum of ten groups per agency is allowed. Tour conductor credit is based on average cruise fare tariff paid by group guests, excluding non-discountable amounts and taxes with credit applied toward every sixth guest. A maximum of four tour conductor credits are available on Wind Surf and a maximum of two tour conductor credits are available on Wind Spirit and Wind Star. To set up their group booking, travel agents should contact Windstar Reservations at 1-800-258-7245.

Up to 50 Percent Savings on Select 2009 Europe Sailings: Windstar guests can enjoy savings of up to 50 percent on select 2009 European cruises departing April through Nov offering the history, culture, charm and grandeur of some of the most exciting places in the world. Wind Spirit and Wind Star itineraries include sailings between Athens and Venice, Istanbul and Athens, Rome and Barcelona, and Barcelona and Lisbon. Wind Surf itineraries include sailings between Barcelona and Rome, Rome and Nice, Venice to Venice, Rome to Rome, Barcelona and Nice, Rome and Venice, and Barcelona to Lisbon.

The offer applies only to select 2009 Europe sailings. Seven-day sailings start at $1,799 per person, double occupancy. Offer is not combinable with any other promotions/programs and is capacity controlled and may be withdrawn or modified at the discretion of Windstar. Taxes are additional.

Family Offer on European Sailings: Windstar is offering special family rates on summer European sailings aboard Wind Surf. Families who book one full-fare stateroom on Wind Surf sailings departing June 7 through Aug 30, 2009, will receive a second stateroom for family members on the same sailing at 50 percent off per person. European cruises offer families the chance to experience together some of the most exciting and historical places in the world at values superior to land-based vacations. Wind Surf's 7-day summer European itineraries include: Venice to Venice, Venice to Rome, Rome to Nice, Nice to Rome, Rome to Barcelona, Barcelona to Nice and Rome to Venice.

Wind Surf provides families with entertaining activities on board and on land. Wind Surf features an outdoor pool and fitness room. The ship is also equipped with a water sports platform for complimentary waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking in selected ports when the ship is at anchor and is subject to weather conditions and local restrictions. Other amenities include board games, books, an expansive DVD movie collection and Apple iPods for check out. On land, Wind Surf offers a variety of shore excursions in each destination to please any traveler.

Space is limited, so guests are encouraged to book early in order to take advantage of the offer. Families are considered two adults and two children between 2 and 18 years of age. Rates are capacity controlled and can be removed at any time. Taxes are additional. The family offer expires March 31, 2009.

Windstar Suspends Fuel Surcharge: Windstar announced its suspension of fuel surcharges on all sailings departing after Jan 1, 2009, due to declining fuel prices. Windstar's fuel surcharge applied only to sailings through March 31, 2009. Windstar will automatically refund the fuel surcharge to guests in the form of a shipboard credit to use during their sailing for those sailings departing between January 1 and March 31, 2009. Windstar reserves the right to impose fuel surcharges if fuel prices escalate.

Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations. Carrying just 148 to 312 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. For more information including rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

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Oceania Cruises Launches Its 5th Anniversary Savings Celebration

Miami, FL, Jan 5 – As previously announced on Dec 29th, Oceania Cruises will launch its largest promotion ever on Jan 7th with unprecedented price reductions on more than 40 voyages. In celebration of the completion of its fifth year of business, the line is offering exceptional savings on its most alluring voyages in Europe, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, South America, and the Caribbean. With savings of up to 72%, travelers can enjoy the Oceania Cruises Experience for as little as $1,249 per guest. In addition, solo travelers may enjoy the Oceania Cruises Experience for a single supplement of only 25% and 3rd and 4th guests in a stateroom will receive an additional 50% reduction off of their cruise fare.

“With these significant pricing incentives and valuable amenities such as shipboard credits and pre-paid gratuities, this is the perfect opportunity for travelers to enjoy the acclaimed destination experience and unrivaled value that Oceania Cruises represents,” stated Bob Binder, President of Oceania Cruises.

2009 European Collection: On select 2009 European Collection voyages, guests will receive Free Airfare, 2 For 1 Cruise Fares and an additional Price Reduction of $2,000 per stateroom on accommodation in categories G through A.

Applicable Sailings:
April 4, 2009 – Barcelona to Istanbul, 14 Days
May 31, 2009 – Rome to Istanbul, 12 Days
June 5, 2009 – Athens to Rome, 12 Days
July 23, 2009 – Athens to Istanbul, 12 Days
July 26, 2009 – Venice to Barcelona, 14 Days
August 4, 2009 – Istanbul to Rome, 12 Days
August 16, 2009 – Rome to Athens, 12 Days
August 23, 2009 – Istanbul to Athens, 12 Days
Sept 4, 2009 – Athens to Rome, 12 Days
Sept 9, 2009 – Istanbul to Athens, 12 Days
Sept 28, 2009 – Venice to Barcelona, 14 Days
Oct 12, 2009 – Barcelona to Athens, 10 Days
Oct 17, 2009 – Athens to Venice, 12 Days
Oct 17, 2009 – Venice to Istanbul, 14 Days
Oct 22, 2009 – Athens to Venice, 12 Days
Oct 29, 2009 – Athens to Istanbul 12 Days
Nov 3, 2009 – Venice to Rome, 12 Days
Nov 15, 2009 – Rome to Barcelona, 10 Days

2009-2010 Winter Collection: For the 2009-2010 Winter Collection, guests will receive the following Price Reductions in addition to Free Airfare and 2 For 1 Cruise Fares along with amenities valued at up to $1,500 per stateroom.

-- 10 Day Voyages: $500 per Stateroom Price Reduction, $500 Per Stateroom Shipboard Credit and FREE Prepaid Gratuities.
-- 12-24 Day Voyages: $1,000 per Stateroom Price Reduction, $500 Per Stateroom Shipboard Credit and FREE Prepaid Gratuities.
-- 25-40 Day Voyages: $1,500 per Stateroom Price Reduction, $500 Per Stateroom Shipboard Credit and FREE Prepaid Gratuities.

Applicable Sailings: All Winter 2009-2010 Collection voyages to Australia and New Zealand, Asia, South America and the Caribbean and Panama Canal.

With Free Airfare from 20 North American Gateways and Bonus Savings on top of 2 For 1 Cruise Fares, the Oceania Cruises Experience represents the greatest vacation value ever. The Celebration of Savings officially kicks off on Wednesday, January 7th and these historic savings are certain to generate extraordinary demand. Be certain to call your travel agent or Oceania Cruises to reserve your preferred voyage and accommodations. For additional information on the Oceania Cruises Experience or to order a brochure on the 2009 European Collection or 2009-2010 Winter Collection, call your Travel Agent or Oceania Cruises at 800-531-5658 or visit us online at

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MSC Orchestra Ship Arrives in Fort Lauderdale for Inaugural Caribbean Season

Fort Lauderdale, FL, Jan 2 – With tug boats spraying a watery welcome, MSC Orchestra arrived in Port Everglades today to begin her inaugural season of Caribbean sailings.

“We are very excited to introduce MSC Orchestra to North America,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc. “It is an elegant ship in every respect – spectacular public areas, and a wealth of choices for dining, entertainment and activities, all with a style that epitomizes MSC Cruises.”

MSC Orchestra is the largest of the line’s ships to sail in North American waters. At 92,400 gross tons, the MSC Orchestra can carry 2,550 passengers and the majority of staterooms have private balconies. With more than 236,800 square feet of public areas and 5 restaurants (L’Ibiscus, Villa Borghese, La Piazzetta, Four Seasons, the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant – the only dedicated Chinese restaurant at sea), 10 bars (two of which are open air), 3 meeting and conference rooms, a 21-foot by 12-foot outdoor LED screen, and the 16,146 square-foot Body and Mind Spa, MSC Orchestra represents the perfect combination of grace and style.

MSC Orchestra will sail alternating 7-night roundtrip itineraries from Jan. 10-April 18, 2009:

-- Eastern Caribbean: calling at Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John, Antigua; and Nassau, Bahamas, as well as two days at sea.

-- Western Caribbean: calling at Key West, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic, and two days at sea.

A special 7-night roundtrip Bermuda sailing departs Fort Lauderdale April 25. This itinerary includes three days in King’s Wharf, Bermuda and a day in Nassau, Bahamas, as well as two sea days.

During her inaugural season, MSC Orchestra will host baseball greats on its Jan. 24 Western Caribbean itinerary, and its Feb. 28, March 28 and April 11 Eastern Caribbean itineraries. On each of these special sailings, unique insight into the world of Major League Baseball as seen through the eyes of some of the greats of the game.

MSC Orchestra is scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale May 2, 2009 on an 18-night voyage that will include a two-day visit to New York before heading eastbound to Copenhagen. The itinerary includes calls at Ponta Delgado, Azores; Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain; La Coruna, Spain; and Dover, England before arriving in Copenhagen.

On each sailing, guests will enjoy the line’s highly acclaimed entertainment, European-style ambiance, dishes from “La Cucina Italiana,” and top-of-the-line pampering. For more information on how you can celebrate MSC Orchestra’s arrival, visit or a local travel professional.

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

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