The Online Cruise Travel Guide
Created by the Author of FODOR'S

tLinda Coffman's
Linda Coffman
Author & Cruise Authority

Cruise Lines & Ships Articles & Advice

Cruise Reviews

Before You Go 
On Board In Port Get a Fare Quote   Home Page

Cruise Essentials:

Site Search
Cruise News
Planning Tips
Packing & Lists
HOT Tips
Cruise Links
About Us

Insure My Trip
Use the automated quote form to compare plans
Click here -- Cruise Insurance Comparison Guide

CLICK HERE for savings--CruiseCompete
Don't pay more than your tablemates...
CruiseCompete makes it easy to let independent agents compete to offer you the best deal.

Cruisers' favorites:

Cruise Travel Magazine
Cruise Travel

Porthole Cruise Magazine

Click Here for Magellans Travel Gear  
Magellan's Catalog  
It's where to shop for a wide selection of travel clothing & gear


Have a question or a review to submit? Write

Copyright © 1995-2010
Linda Coffman,

ll content is protected by United States Copyright Laws. Violators of our copyright, as well as bandwidth theft by "direct linking" of images, will be pursued by all means necessary. Find out more in
  Terms of Service

Cruise News
January 1-31, 2010

Click the following links to the cruise news stories...

Return to's Cruise News Index & Archive

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

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected.

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

MSC Announces Baseball Greats, Big Band Themes for 2010-2011 Caribbean Cruises

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 27: Celebrate the sun, sand, and surf with MSC for its 2010-11 Caribbean cruises onboard MSC Poesia to experience a line-up of popular Baseball Greats and Big Band themes departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Baseball Greats
The Baseball Greats theme cruise includes free interactive guest/player activities. Participate in a player-hosted trivia game where guests test their baseball knowledge, question-and-answer sessions with the players, and a guest pitching contest. Be entertained during lively story-telling sessions where they share some candid revelations about “characters” of the game. Players will also host pitching, hitting, fielding and base running clinics. The free autograph session at the end of the cruise is an extremely popular activity among the guests onboard. The player line-up on these itineraries will be announced at a later date.

Caribbean cruises featuring the baseball theme include:

Nov 14, 2010: 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise calling at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Nassau, Bahamas.
Dec 5, 2010: 7-night Western Caribbean Wonders calling at Key West, Florida; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.
Jan 9, 2011: 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise
Jan 23, 2011: 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise
Feb 6, 2011: 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise

Big Band

The 16-piece Les DeMerle Big Band, with vocalist Bonnie Eisele, will be featured on two MSC Poesia sailings. Dynamic drummer Les DeMerle has toured and recorded with the Harry James Big Band and Wayne Newton; the band has also accompanied many performers such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., The Manhattan Transfer, Mel Torme and Al Jarreau. In addition to their performances, the band will present a Big Band Jazz Concert and Les will conduct a lecture on the Big Band Era.

Oct 23, 2010: 9-night Canada/New England repositioning cruise departing Quebec City, Quebec, Canada and calling at Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; New York, New York; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

For more information about MSC Cruises and its selection of theme cruises, visit, a local travel professional, or call 877-665-4655.

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Epic to Set Sail in Europe in 2011

NEW YORK – Jan 26: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that its largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date, Norwegian Epic, debuting this July, will summer in the Mediterranean as part of her 2011/2012 deployment. The ship will sail a 7-day Western Mediterranean itinerary from Barcelona, Spain from May through Oct 2011. Ports of call include: Florence/Pisa (Livorno); Rome (Civitavecchia); Naples, Italy; and Palma, Majorca, Spain, along with two full days at sea. These cruises, along with the ship’s Caribbean and transatlantic sailings for 2011/2012, go on sale to Latitudes members (Norwegian’s past guests), and the company’s top travel partners on Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010 and to the general public on Thursday, Jan 28, 2010.

“In bringing the ship to Europe during her second season, we are combining the excitement of Norwegian Epic with a very popular European itinerary,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “With her world-class entertainment, wide range of accommodations, incredible amenities and plethora of dining options, Norwegian Epic will offer the best cruise experience for a wide-range of travelers looking to enjoy Europe in a whole new way.”

Following her inaugural season, Norwegian Epic will continue sailing her alternating 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami, Florida through April 30, 2011. On May 7, 2011, the ship will depart Miami on an 11-day transatlantic crossing to Barcelona, Spain with one stop in Ponta Delgada, Azores. Upon her arrival in Barcelona on May 18, 2011, the ship will sail a 4-day Western Mediterranean sailing with stops in Marseille, France and Palma, Majorca, Spain. She will then sail a series of twenty-two 7-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona through Oct 16, 2011. A 13-day transatlantic sailing from Barcelona to Miami, Florida is scheduled for Oct 23, 2011 with stops in Ponta Delgada, Azores and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Once back in Miami, Norwegian Epic will sail a series of 23 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from Nov 5, 2011 through April 7, 2012. Ports of call on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary include: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas, along with two full days at sea. To book one of these itineraries or for more information on Norwegian Epic, call Norwegian at 866-234-7350, visit, or contact a travel professional.

Norwegian Epic
World-class entertainment is Norwegian Epic’s hallmark. For the first time at sea, Blue Man Group will perform their exhilarating fusion of comedy, theatrics and paint, exclusively on Norwegian Epic. In the only “big top” at sea, Cirque Dreams and Dinner will present a one-of-a-kind interactive theatrical dining experience with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. Legends in Concert, the original and world’s greatest live tribute show, will be featured for the first time at sea in more than a decade on Norwegian Epic, along with The Second City improvisational comedy and Howl at the Moon, the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll dueling piano show that encourages audience participation.

In addition to world-class entertainment, the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic incorporates many innovations including several new types of accommodations – the curved New Wave staterooms; the largest Villas suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship; and spa and family-friendly accommodations. Kids will have a blast with Nickelodeon at Sea offering Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment and programming including: character meet and greets; interactive game shows; and more.

The ship also boasts unique nightlife options with the first Ice Bar at sea and Spice H20 with non-stop entertainment day and night; an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea -- The Epic Plunge; seven decks of Freestyle Family Fun with highlights including a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six in two venues; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; as well as three separate kids’ and teen activity areas. In addition, Norwegian Epic will offer the next generation of Freestyle Dining with 20 dining choices and 20 bars and lounges. For further information on Norwegian Cruise Line, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Destiny to Undergo Dry Dock Next Month to Fix Propulsion Problem

MIAMI, Jan 26: Carnival Destiny will undergo a 7-day dry dock next month to resolve a propulsion problem. The issue is only affecting the vessel’s sailing speed and all other systems are operating normally. The dry dock will take place Feb. 13-20. Carnival is cancelling two cruises that were scheduled to take place during the dry dock period – the 5-day departure of Feb. 13 and the 4-day departure of Feb. 18 (the Feb. 18 cruise will now operate as a modified 2-day cruise to Nassau Feb. 20-22). Effective with the Feb. 22, 2010 departure, the Carnival Destiny will be operating its regularly scheduled itineraries.

Guests scheduled to sail on the Feb. 13 or 18 voyages will have the option of receiving a future cruise credit or full refund of their cruise fare. A $100 shipboard credit will be provided to those guests who were scheduled on the Feb. 13 voyage, while those on the Feb. 18 departure will receive a $75 shipboard credit. The shipboard credit can be used on a future cruise departing prior to Dec. 15, 2011. For guests with independent air transportation, Carnival will reimburse up to $200 per person in the form of a shipboard credit for airline change fees when rebooking a future cruise. Travel agent commissions will be protected.

Additionally, three other cruises taking place prior to the dry dock will now operate modified itineraries. The 5-day cruise departing Jan. 30 will now visit Cozumel and Costa Maya instead of Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. The 4-day cruise departing Feb. 4 will visit Cozumel and cancel the scheduled call in Key West; and the 5-day cruise departing Feb. 8 will now replace the scheduled call in Grand Turk with a stop at Freeport, along with visits to Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Although the itineraries for these voyages were modified because of the propulsion problem, all of the Carnival Destiny’s normal dining, activity and entertainment options will be available. Guests booked prior to Jan. 25 who sail on these three modified voyages will receive a $50 per person shipboard credit. If guests elect to cancel, they will have the option to receive a full refund or a future cruise credit equal to the amount of their cruise fare. Travel agent commission will be protected for cancellations on these cruises.

“We sincerely apologize for the impact of these changes on our guests' vacations plans and wish to thank them for their understanding,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO.

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Offers Two VIP Wimbledon Options

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 26: VIP access to the most famous tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon Championships in London, is the latest in Crystal Cruises' roster of one-of-a-kind shoreside experiences. In keeping with its penchant for choices, this year the ultra-luxury line is offering a choice of two posh Extended Land Programs. A 1-night option is available following Crystal Symphony's June 14, 7-day British Isles cruise, with all of the opening day, Centre Court action. For guests wishing to see the dramatic ladies' and men's finals, a 3-night option is available following Crystal Symphony's June 21, 11-day Baltic itinerary. With both programs, participating guests will enjoy the highest level of service at Fairway Village, the luxury Wimbledon hospitality area near Centre Court, Champagne and canapes upon arrival, a four-course lunch and traditional English tea. Additionally, the 3-night program includes business class air from Stockholm to London's Heathrow airport, stay at the famed Dorchester Hotel and private car service.

"The Wimbledon programs offer exclusive, VIP access to one of the most renowned tournaments in the world, and are the kind of truly unique experiences our guests seek out; the kind that are only available with Crystal," says John Stoll, director, land programs. "We continually strive to ensure that our guests enjoy the same level of luxury and service with our programs ashore as they've come to expect on our ships."

Crystal Symphony's June 14 new 7-day British Isles voyage sails roundtrip from London and visits Guernsey, Channel Islands; Waterford, Dublin and Belfast, Ireland; and Liverpool, England. Two-for-One cruise fares begin at $4,210 per person, double occupancy, including a $500 per person 'All Inclusive - As You Wish' shipboard credit. The 11-day June 21 voyage sails from London to Stockholm, calling at Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; Visby, Sweden; St. Petersburg, Russia (two overnights); and Helsinki, Finland. Two-for-One cruise fares start at $5,395 per person, double occupancy, with a $1,000 per person 'All Inclusive - As You Wish' shipboard credit. Both sailings include complimentary air transportation from more than 20 North American gateways, and Business Class air for Penthouse guests.

Fares for the 1- and 3-night Wimbledon programs start at $3,099 and $13,199 per person, respectively. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Disney Cruise Line Brings Fun in the Sun, Water Play For Little Ones &
Goofy’s Golf on the Disney Dream

CELEBRATION, FL Jan. 26: An elaborately themed interactive sports deck, whimsical water play area, and relaxing poolside oasis for adults join the first-ever shipboard water coaster – AquaDuck – to provide fun in the sun for guests sailing on the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Dream. These additions, announced today, one year from the maiden voyage of the Disney Dream, offer new experiences for guests of all ages.

Goofy’s Sports Deck
On Goofy’s Sports Deck, the magic tees off on deck 13 with Goofy’s Golf – a miniature golf course where “lessons” featuring Goofy and his son, Max, lead guests through nine themed holes of wacky fun. Each hole offers special golf instructions – with a goofy twist. Lessons include:
• “Handling a dog leg” – Guests avoid a fire hydrant and use Pluto’s dog bone to guide them to the hole.
• “Stuck in the rough” – Goofy shows golfers how to avoid the tall turf and steer clear of a lawn mower.
• “Reading the green” – Stacks of books and a large magnifying glass are obstacles to circumvent on this undulating green.
• “Attacking the green” – Yo ho, yo ho! Golfers and landlubbers take a swashbuckling approach to sinking their putt on this pirate-themed hole.

Guests can choose to use the Goofy or Max tee on each hole, offering twice the fun. Family-friendly competitions and tournaments will keep the excitement on par while quirky golf clubs, some crooked and bent, will challenge golfers to stay on course. Goofy and Max may even swing by to interact with guests and offer some tips on club selection, stance or just goofing around.

Also on Goofy’s Sports Deck, two digital sports simulators provide a variety of virtual game experiences such as soccer, tennis, basketball, golf and more. With the simulators, guests can kick, swing and throw, participating in favorite high-action sports without the hassle of chasing the ball.

Max’s Courts are two mini-sized sports courts for little ones to enjoy soccer, basketball or group play. There’s full-court basketball that may also be transformed into a mini soccer pitch or volleyball court, plus table tennis and foosball tables. A walking track rings Goofy’s Sports Deck.

Nemo’s Reef
Little ones discover oceans of fun at this fanciful water-play area overflowing with pop jets, bubblers and lovable underwater friends like Nemo, Dory, Marlin and other favorites from the Disney Pixar film, “Finding Nemo.”

Shaded for protection from the sun and featuring a soft wet-deck surface, the 1,500-square-foot Nemo’s Reef is a place for children to cool off and play among colorful, interactive figures that move and spray water. Children will delight as they splash alongside Nemo swimming in a sea anemone, glide down a pint-sized water slide shaped like Mr. Ray and frolic near Pearl the octopus who “inks” herself with a mist of water. Kids can even get soaked in a water curtain that undulates back and forth like the EAC (East Australian Current).

Nemo’s Reef is surrounded by a glass enclosure, with a main guest entrance and a wheelchair-accessible entrance.

Quiet Cove Pool & Cove Bar
Reserved exclusively for guests 18 and older, the Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar is a retreat for adults to sunbathe and swim, indulge in a cool drink or enjoy a relaxing dip in a nearby hot tub overlooking the ocean.

One of three fresh-water pools on the Disney Dream, Quiet Cove Pool features varying depths for taking a dip, sunbathing in comfort and enjoying a poolside cocktail. A series of connected circular pools includes a 4-foot-deep plunge pool and a 6-inch-deep sunbathing pool with built-in loungers and a mister. Guests also can splash up to Cove Bar, which is part of the pool, and sip a refreshing beverage.

Nearby, on the sides of deck 11, guests can soak in a whirlpool hot tub while overlooking the ocean. Four “infinity” whirlpool hot tubs, two for families and two just for adults, provide spectacular views of the ocean beyond.

AquaDuck & More!
The Disney Dream will feature the world’s first shipboard water coaster – AquaDuck, which will sweep guests away on an exhilarating high-speed flume ride featuring twists, turns, drops, uphill acceleration and river rapids – all while traversing the upper decks of the ship.

Donald Pool is the place for families to gather and enjoy all of the activities up on deck. Overlooking Donald Pool is the giant Funnel Vision LED screen – more than 30 feet wide and 18 feet high – showing Disney films and other live broadcast events. A retractable floor extends over the pool, providing an ideal dance floor for deck parties.

Continuing a favorite feature of the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the Disney Dream will also have a Mickey Pool for children. The shape of Mickey Pool resembles the beloved Disney character, and an oversized version of Mickey’s hand supports a yellow winding slide that splashes down near the pool.

As an added convenience for parents with children of different ages, Donald Pool, Mickey Pool and Nemo’s Reef are all located within the same vicinity, on deck 11 between the forward and aft funnel.

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

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line Launches A New Look for Mariner Magazine

Seattle, Jan 26: Holland America Line debuts a new look and format for its loyalty magazine directed at members of its Mariner Society, guests who have sailed one or more times with the premium cruise line. Titled Mariner, the newly redesigned 64-page magazine presents a sophisticated, eye-catching design and offers fascinating editorial features by celebrated writers, superb photography and informative regular sections.

“Holland America Line is proud to launch this exciting new lifestyle look for our magazine as one more benefit to our Mariner Society members,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “We consistently strive to reward loyal guests with great benefits. As a result, Holland America has one of the highest repeat guest ratios in the cruise industry.”

The premiere issue features “Writing the Book on Venice” with short vignettes by Erica Jong, Anne Rice, Francine Prose, Kenneth Turan and John Berendt on favorite books and movies, restaurants and experiences from Venice. Other highlights include features on Jamaica and Hawaii, the courageous cliff divers in Mazatlan and a freewheeling conversation between a veteran Alaska guidebook writer and a top wildlife photographer.

Each four-color issue of Mariner also contains featured sections including “Onboard,” which highlights what’s new on Holland America ships; “Ports of Call,” which profiles select ports and shore excursions; “Mariner Values,” which details special cruise opportunities for past guests; and “Now Voyager,” a short destination article written by travel journalists and found on the last page.

The Mariner magazine is just one benefit of the new Mariner Society Rewards Program Holland America Line launched last fall. The program provides past guests with exciting rewards that range from generous onboard discounts while sailing and special rates on select cruises to reduced or free third and fourth rates when booking future cruises. All guests who sail with Holland America Line are automatically welcomed into the Mariner Society.

The Mariner Society Rewards Program offers a four-level progressive membership ranging from Star Mariner to Four-Star Mariner based on a guest’s cruise history. Guests automatically collect additional “cruise days” or cruise day credits based on their onboard spending or through the purchase of one of the premium line’s suite options.

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line's Newest Ship—ms Nieuw Amsterdam—Highlights 2011 Europe Season

Seattle, WA, Jan. 25: Holland America Line’s 2011 Europe season will feature the newest Signature-class ship, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, on popular Mediterranean sailings and more round-trip and 7-day itineraries than ever before. Seven ships—Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Noordam, ms Rotterdam, ms Prinsendam, ms Maasdam and ms Ryndam—will be based in the region with the first voyage departing April 3 on the Nieuw Amsterdam and the final trans-Atlantic sailing departing Nov. 7 on the ms Prinsendam.

“In 2011, we are catering to a broader range of interests as the appeal of cruising Europe continues to grow,” said Rick Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “By expanding our cruise opportunities — both in new ports and varied itineraries—we expect to entice both first-time and seasoned cruisers.”

The 2011 season has something for everyone. Featuring 15 maiden calls and offering overnight visits at 16 diverse ports, it marks the debut of several new European itineraries including two commemorative 9-day historical trans-Atlantic crossings aboard Rotterdam in July. Two Signature-class ships, Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam, will both sail European itineraries during the 2011 season. Eurodam, the line’s first Signature-class ship, will start the Europe season with two 7-day Mediterranean sailings before continuing a series of mostly northern Europe itineraries. Nieuw Amsterdam, the newest ship, will sail the popular 12-day Mediterranean Romance, 12-day Tapestry and 12-day Empires itineraries as well as two 7-day Mediterranean cruises mid-season.

Additional round-trip itineraries, which allow time to explore a departure city before or after the cruise, depart from nine European cities—Tilbury and Dover (London), U.K.; Rome and Venice, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Athens, Greece; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Additionally, the line will offer a round-trip sailing to the continent from Boston, Massachusetts, aboard the Maasdam in July.

For those short on time, eighteen 7-day sailings provide an array of cruises exploring the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, or the Baltic. The season also will feature three new itineraries aboard the Ryndam. A 21-day Mediterranean Adventure offers a comprehensive tour of fascinating Mediterranean ports as well as the less-visited Sète, France, and Sardinia, Italy. The 14-day North Cape cruise features a crossing of the Arctic Circle and a sail by the North Cape and Norwegian ports. And an 11-day Canary Island Explorer sailing round-trip Rotterdam visits the Canary Islands, Morocco and Spain. More ambitious cruisers looking to expand their port collections can combine itineraries for a Collectors’ Voyage, which range from 14 to 45 days and are perfect for true explorers who seek an in-depth experience at an exceptional value.

For guests booking before June 1, 2010, there is an Early Booking Bonus of a choice of dinner for two in the Pinnacle Grill or Tamarind, or a welcome bottle of champagne on embarkation day. For more information, or to book a 2011 Europe cruise, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Corporation to Resume Dividend

MIAMI, Jan. 21: Carnival Corporation & plc announced today that its Board of Directors voted to resume its quarterly dividend, which was suspended effective March 2009. The board declared a dividend of $0.10 per share and approved a record date of Feb 19, 2010, and a payment date of March 12, 2010.

"Resuming the quarterly dividend demonstrates our confidence in the earnings power of our global cruise brands despite the current economic environment. In addition, there has been a notable improvement in our access to the capital markets since the suspension was announced at the height of the financial crisis. Initiating the dividend at this level allows us to begin to return cash to shareholders at the peak of our capital expenditure program in 2010 and still maintain our strong balance sheet and solid investment grade credit rating. We are committed to returning cash to shareholders and expect to grow the dividend as our capital investment program slows beyond 2010 leading to significant free cash flow," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman and CEO.

Holders of Carnival Corporation common stock and Carnival plc ADSs will receive the dividend payable in U.S. dollars. The dividend for Carnival plc ordinary shares will be payable in U.S. dollars or sterling. In the absence of instructions or elections to the contrary, holders of Carnival plc ordinary shares will automatically receive the dividend in sterling. Dividends payable in sterling will be converted from U.S. dollars at the exchange rate quoted by the Bank of England in London at 12 noon on March 1, 2010. Holders of Carnival plc ordinary shares wishing to receive their dividend in U.S. dollars or participate in the Carnival plc Dividend Reinvestment Plan must elect to do so by Feb 19, 2010.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia. Together, these brands operate 93 ships totaling more than 180,000 lower berths with 13 new ships scheduled to be delivered between January 2010 and May 2012. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices. Additional information is available on-line at and

Back to the top of the news list

MSC Cruises’ Newest Ship MSC Magnifica Completes Sea Trials

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 20: MSC Magnifica, the fourth Panamax cruise ship in the MSC Cruises Musica class, successfully completed her sea trials on Sunday, Jan 17, returning to the Forme Joubert, Saint-Nazaire, France dock after 72-hours on the open seas.Despite inclement weather and 50-knot winds on Saturday, MSC Magnifica performed to the satisfaction of the MSC Cruises’ team. The trials involved a team of about 300 performing more than 60 separate tests involving everything from speed and manageability to acoustics and vibrations.

Following the sea trials, MSC Magnifica will participate in a flag-changing ceremony on Feb 25, in Saint-Nazaire and be christened on March 6 in Hamburg, Germany. The christening celebration includes an evening of entertainment and celebration both onboard and ashore through a live broadcast shown on two giant screens. Renowned Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti, adult contemporary/soft rock/pop artist, performs on stage during the christening while MSC Cruises’ traditional godmother, Italian screen legend Sophia Loren, participates in the ribbon cutting. Ramazzotti is one of the most popular Italian singers and songwriters selling more than 40 million records in his 25-year career.

MSC Magnifica combines the intimacy of her three Musica Class sister vessels—MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra, and MSC Poesia—with the state-of-the-art facilities and comfort of the company’s larger flagships, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia. A magrodome or retractable roof covers the pool area making it possible to enjoy one of the four pools onboard throughout the year regardless of the weather. The Il Bar del Sole area on the top deck boasts its own whirlpools and solarium.

The ship’s 17 bars and lounges, four restaurants, and a large new buffet area will serve Italian and international cuisine; an à la carte restaurant L’Oasi will provide fine dining in an exotic Moroccan atmosphere. Entertainment features on board include a high-tech 4D cinema, mini-bowling alley and a billiard table in the L’Olimpiade sports bar. Relaxation opportunities await guests in the MSC Aurea Spa wellness center for massages, facials, and other specialty spa treatments in a resort-standard setting.

The new addition to the MSC Cruises’ fleet will sail the Eastern Mediterranean beginning March 20, for 7-night itineraries departing Venice, Italy and calling at Bari, Italy; Katakolon (Olympia) Greece; Izmir, Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Back to the top of the news list

Complete With New Look & Style, Seabourn Pride Begins Year-Round Cruises in Asia

MIAMI, Jan 20: With a fresh look and style, modern upgrades and new carpeting and furnishings, Seabourn Pride has received a multi-million dollar refurbishment  just in time to begin a new year-round schedule of cruises in Asia.

“The Pride is polished and stunning, and ready to impress her guests in the Far East,” said Seabourn President and CEO Pamela Conover. "Pride’s cruises in Vietnam, Thailand, China, Korea and Japan are designed for travelers who have been to Europe and want to cruise in new and exotic destinations. They offer authentic travel experiences filled with enriching and lasting memories, but in relaxed, elegant Seabourn style.”

The intimate, all-suite vessel is deployed in Asia to operate a variety of new itineraries combining visits to popular cities with new ports of call, such as Dalian, China; Busan and Yeosu, Korea; Nagasaki and Kagoshima, Japan. The schedule also includes the line’s first summer voyages in Vietnam and Thailand, which are typically featured in winter itineraries, as well as direct sailings between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, another first for the company. A selection of escorted pre- and post-cruise land options is also available for guests who wish to extend their Asian vacations.

The Yachts of Seabourn is currently offering complimentary round trip business class airfare from 27 North American gateways to eight 12-day voyages in Asia aboard Pride from June 3 to Aug 22, 2010. Bookings must be made by Feb 15, 2010. The included airfare is combinable with Early Booking Savings of up to 30 percent off brochure fares. All-inclusive fares for the 12-day voyages include round trip business class air, airport transfers, and deluxe hotel accommodation where flight schedules require it. The complimentary business-class air offer is subject to space availability. Certain restrictions apply. For more information or to make a reservation, contact a professional travel agent, visit, or call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391.

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line’s ms Prinsendam Completes Signature of Excellence Drydock

Seattle, Jan 20: Holland America Line’s ms Prinsendam departed Jany 13 on a 70-day South America Grand Voyage following a ten-day drydock in Freeport, Bahamas, with new staterooms, an expanded aft pool deck, upgraded public areas and other enhancements.

"As part of our $525-million Signature of Excellence program, we’ve added elegant new staterooms to Prinsendam, as well as expanded the aft pool deck area,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Prinsendam has one of our most loyal followings so the new, mostly verandah staterooms and other improvements will enrich the guest experience on this much-loved ship even further."

With the addition of 21 staterooms aft, the pool deck expanded with more space and deck chairs for guests to enjoy. A new sea-view bar was created to enhance the ambiance further. Several lounges and other public areas received new carpeting and the Wajang Theatre and Culinary Arts Center were updated with furniture and carpeting in warm, light colors. Other standard maintenance and technical service also took place along with upgrades of laundry and galley equipment.

Fifteen of the new staterooms are deluxe verandah ocean view categories. There are six new standard inside staterooms. As customary with all Prinsendam staterooms, appointments feature Mariner Dream Beds, 250-count linens, recently redesigned closet space, elegant bathrooms with Elemis amenities, flat panel televisions and DVD players and more. Guest capacity increased from 793 to 835.

Designed to explore the remote corners of the world in elegance and style, the ms Prinsendam is Holland America Line's most intimate ship, with the feel of a classic yacht and the spaciousness, amenities and service of a premium cruise ship.

Following the Jan 13, 70-day South America Explorer Grand Voyage cruise, Prinsendam sails a 54-day Quest of the Argonauts voyage, departing March 24 roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale to the Mediterranean and Black Sea. The ship will sail a leisurely eastbound course across the Atlantic for an extensive Mediterranean exploration with calls at ports in more than 10 countries, including Morocco, Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Russia, Georgia, Greece and Turkey. The cruise includes overnight stays in Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal and Istanbul, Turkey, as well as late-night departures in Athens and Santorini, Greece; and Lisbon, Portugal. Prinsendam will visit Bermuda and New York City before returning to Fort Lauderdale. 54-day cruises fares begin at $8,099 per person, double occupancy. For a cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines to Return to Europe in 2011

MIAMI, Jan 19: Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship, the 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic, will debut with a schedule of 7-, 9- and 12-day Mediterranean cruises operating round-trip from Barcelona from May to October 2011. This marks Carnival’s first full season of Mediterranean cruises in three years, as well as the first time the line has homeported a ship in Barcelona.

To commemorate the line’s return to Europe, for the first time ever Carnival is offering an exclusive pre-sale for past guests from Jan 19 to Jan 25, including complimentary two-category upgrades, along with special pricing with rates starting at just $829 per person, based on double occupancy. For consumers new to Carnival, the line’s full range of cruise fares, including highly attractive Early Saver rates will open on Tuesday, Jan 26.

The 130,000-ton Carnival Magic will offer a host of features popularized on its sister ship Carnival Dream, including a WaterWorks aqua park, a stunning café/live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza; Serenity adults-only retreat; spacious, modern facilities for children and teens; and a wide range of stateroom categories. Several innovations unique to the Carnival Magic will be announced in the coming months.

“Our past guests and travel agent partners have provided a tremendous amount of feedback in terms of their desire for more Mediterranean cruises from Carnival,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “This extensive program in 2011 will offer an excellent variety of itinerary lengths and options for consumers to experience and explore one of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating regions aboard the new Carnival Magic.” Cahill added, “Making the decision to return to Europe is an indicator of our confidence in the increasing willingness of North Americans to travel internationally as we move toward 2011.”

Carnival Magic’s 2011 Mediterranean schedule will encompass three 7-day departures, six 9-day cruises, and eight 12-day voyages round-trip from Barcelona May 10 - Oct 16, 2011. A special one-time 9-day voyage from Venice to Barcelona will operate May 1-10, 2011.

Each of the three itineraries start and end on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, which reflects consumers’ traditional vacation patterns and provides convenient opportunities for adding a pre- and post-cruise stay.
Seven-day cruises will feature Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples and Messina, Italy. Departure dates include July 3, 10 and 17, 2011.

Nine-day cruises will call at Marseilles, France, the line’s first call at this charming coastal town, followed by Monte Carlo (excluding the August 26 departure); Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples, and Messina; and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Voyages will operate June 3 and 24, Aug 5 and 26, Sept 16, and Oct 7, 2011. The special 9-day cruise departing May 1 will visit Dubrovnik, Croatia; Messina, Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia), Livorno; and Monte Carlo.

The 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyages will feature Monte Carlo or Marseilles; Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), and Naples; Dubrovnik (excluding the May 22 departure which will visit Palma de Mallorca); Venice (overnight call) and Messina. These voyages will depart May 10 and 22, June 12, July 24, Aug 14, Sept 4 and 25, and Oct 16, 2011.

On the Carnival Magic’s Mediterranean cruises, guests can sample the region’s renowned cuisine, experience unique sightseeing opportunities, view stunning architecture and visit centuries-old historical landmarks and museums. All three itineraries will operate round-trip from Barcelona, a bustling, cosmopolitan city whose modern cruise terminal is considered one of the finest in Europe.

As the line’s newest ship, Carnival Magic will offer a host of on-board amenities and facilities, including Ocean Plaza, an indoor/outdoor café and live entertainment venue with full bar service, a patisserie and a dance floor; Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat offering magnificent sea views; and The Lanai, a wrap-around promenade encircling the ship with cantilevered whirlpools that will extend over the ship’s sides.

Carnival Magic will also build upon the line’s distinction as the family cruise leader, with dedicated facilities and programming for children in three age groups – Camp Carnival (2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17) – along with a miniature golf course and an expansive WaterWorks aqua park with multiple water slides and other features.

Extensive formal and casual dining options, including two two-level main dining rooms, an expansive poolside Lido restaurant, an elegant steakhouse serving U.S.D.A. prime dry-aged beef, a sushi bar, and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service, will also be available.

High-tech features aboard the Carnival Magic will include the Fun Hub, a comprehensive intranet portal and shipboard social network, along with ship-wide Wi-Fi access. Health-conscious guests will enjoy a 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa featuring a thalassotherapy pool, thermal suite and elaborate spa and gymnasium facilities.

Carnival Magic will also feature 1,845 staterooms, the most ever on a Carnival ship, and will offer a wide range of accommodation categories. These include the affordable cove balconies, located on Deck 2 and closer to the water line, and a wide range of staterooms including deluxe ocean views with two-bathrooms, some of which feature five berths.

The past guest promotion is capacity controlled and available until midnight Monday, Jan 25. A valid past guest number is required at the time of booking. The promotion applies to new individual bookings for stateroom categories 4A and higher. Offer is capacity controlled and certain restrictions apply. Upgrades are available within specific stateroom accommodation types (i.e., interior to interior, ocean view to ocean view, balcony to balcony, etc.). Ship highlights and itinerary details are available at

Itineraries for Carnival Magic beyond October 2011 will be announced at a later date. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501.

Back to the top of the news list

Silversea's New Flagship, Silver Spirit, Arrives in America

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 19: Silversea Cruises' brand new flagship, Silver Spirit, arrived this morning at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, completing her maiden crossing of the Atlantic, a 16-day voyage which began in Lisbon on Jan 3. As the first new cruise ship in 2010 to arrive in Port Everglades, Silver Spirit's arrival was celebrated in grand style with escorting fireboats providing a glistening water salute, while a plane circled overhead towing a large banner that read "WELCOME SILVER SPIRIT."

The elegant, all-suite Silver Spirit will host several days of inaugural activities while in Fort Lauderdale, including an exclusive evening event on January 20 for guests sailing on the 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage that will feature acclaimed singer and pianist Michael Feinstein. In a first for the cruise company, the invitation-only Christening Ceremony taking place on Jan 21 will be broadcast live on the Silver Spirit Blog on the company's Internet site,, starting at 10:00 a.m. East Coast time. Following the event, a replay of the webcast will also be available on the line's website.

"It's a great honor for us to welcome our beautiful new Silver Spirit to the Americas," said Kenneth W. Watson, Silversea's chief operating officer. "This ship is the perfect expression of the graceful elegance and comfortable ambiance found aboard our ships fleetwide, plus her 1930s Art Deco-inspired features recall the glamour of ocean travel's grandest era. With exciting new dining options and the most spacious accommodations in our fleet--all enhanced by the attentiveness of a butler offering guests new services and amenities to personalize their suite experience--Silver Spirit is the new standard bearer for ultra-luxury cruising."

Among the highlights of the inaugural events is a gala fundraising dinner to be hosted this evening aboard ship by Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. and Silversea to benefit The Wolfsonian–Florida International University. Guests include Mitchell Mart, ocean liner collector and cruise expert, and Laurence A. Miller, ocean liner archivist and historian. Located in the historic Art Deco district of Miami Beach, The Wolfsonian–FIU is a museum that uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design.

On the evening of Jan 21, following the Christening Ceremony festivities, Silver Spirit will set sail on a 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage aptly themed "The Spirit of South America." During this expansive journey, Silver Spirit is set to explore over 20 countries and 45 ports. The ship will follow a southward course to Rio (for an unforgettable evening at Carnaval), sail around Cape Horn and through the majestic Chilean Fjords before heading to the Mexican Riviera. Guests have the option to personalize their voyage by disembarking in Los Angeles, or sailing through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale, or continuing up America's colonial coast to New York City.

Following the Grand Inaugural Voyage, Silver Spirit will spend the summer in the Mediterranean and then reposition to the Caribbean for fall and winter cruises. At 36,000 tons, and accommodating just 540 guests, this intimate ship has the largest suites in the Silversea fleet, with 95% featuring a private veranda, and one of the highest space-to-guest ratios at sea today. The onboard decor lends a sophisticated 1930s Art Deco ambiance to the public spaces, highlights of which include an indoor/outdoor spa measuring over 8,300 square feet (770 square meters), a resort-style pool, four whirlpools, and a choice of six dining venues including Seishin, showcasing Asian-fusion cuisine, and the innovative Stars Supper Club, offering trendsetting menus and all-night entertainment.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its 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 inclusion 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. To receive a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Corporation & Its Cruise Brands to Donate $5 Million
Toward Haiti Relief Efforts

MIAMI, Jan. 19: Carnival Corporation and its affiliated cruise brands are donating at least $5 million toward relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The funds will be forwarded to several different international organizations coordinating relief efforts within the country.

"We are saddened by this tragedy, one of the worst natural disasters of our lifetime and we are deeply concerned for the people of Haiti and hope that this donation will help provide much-needed assistance," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this catastrophe," he added.

Carnival Corporation & plc's donation has been earmarked for the following relief organizations: UNICEF, the University of Miami's Project Medishare, American Red Cross, and Save the Children. The $5 million donation includes a large corporate contribution along with monies raised from a variety of fundraising efforts coordinated by Carnival Corporation's cruise brands, both in their offices in North America, Europe, and Australia and throughout the fleet. The company is also working with the Miami HEAT on a coordinated relief effort for collecting various emergency supplies that are being shipped and distributed to Haiti by the University of Miami's Project Medishare.

Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia. Together, these brands operate 93 ships totaling more than 180,000 lower berths with 13 new ships scheduled to be delivered between January 2010 and spring 2012. Carnival Corporation also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon.

Back to the top of the news list

Enter to Win a Canada/New England Cruise for Two
on MSC Poesia During ‘Splendors of Fall’ Sweepstakes

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 19: Become a fan of MSC Cruises on Facebook for a chance to win a balcony stateroom for two aboard MSC Poesia for a 7-night cruise during her inaugural Canada/New England season with the “Splendors of Fall” Sweepstakes. Guests interested in cruising Canada/New England can also follow MSC Cruises on Facebook during this sweepstakes which runs through April 15. Find everything from photos and updates to the latest promotional offers on the MSC Cruises’ Facebook Fan page.

Entering is fast, free, and easy. Become a fan of MSC Cruises, click on the “Sweepstakes” tab, and then click on the “Enter Sweepstakes” button to complete the sweepstakes registration form. If you’re already a fan on Facebook, look for the Promotions sweepstakes box on the MSC Cruises page in order to enter. If not, sweepstakes registration is also available online at

Limit one entry per person, per e-mail address regardless of method of entry. The sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 states in the U.S. and Canada (including Quebec), who are 18 years of age or older as of April 15, 2010. The Grand Prize winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries on or about April 20, 2010. The winner receives a balcony stateroom for two onboard the MSC Poesia for a Canada/New England cruise valued at about $4,500, including cruise fare, port charges and government taxes.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel professional.

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Toasts 20th Anniversary With New Pinot Noir

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18: Continuing on a 20-year path of culinary innovation, luxury specialist Crystal Cruises introduces its own Pinot Noir for 2010. Crystal's new 20th anniversary vintage joins the distinct cuvees comprising its "C" and "C" Reserve wine labels, including a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve; 2005 Merlot and Merlot Reserve; and 2006 Chardonnay. Produced in the "C" Vineyard in California's Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2010 Pinot Noir boasts flavors of strawberries and red cherries with earthy herbal undertones, and spicy aromas from French oak barrels. Crystal's "C" wines were created to both complement the line's fine and varied cuisine, as well as sate the palates of the most sophisticated connoisseurs.

"The demand for Pinot Noir has soared in recent years, specifically for those from California's coast," says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food and beverage. "Given this demand, as well as the tremendous response to our existing variety of 'C' Wines, our new Pinot Noir is a natural addition to Crystal's extensive and diverse wine program."

To create the "C" wines, Neumeister worked closely with Crystal sommeliers, all certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Also created exclusively for Crystal to celebrate its platinum anniversary is a 20th Anniversary Billecart-Salmon Champagne, which is available on every 2010 Crystal voyage.

Crystal's culinary program boasts:
  -- More than 20,000 bottles of 380+ vintages in the ships' wine cellars,
  -- More than 100 culinary classes and tastings offered each year,
  -- More than 250 guest chefs, wine experts and mixologists during 15 years of Crystal's popular Wine & Food Festival theme cruises,
  -- Two specialty restaurants on each ship (Silk Road and The Sushi Bar) featuring the signature cuisine of Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa,
  -- Dozens of food and wine-focused Crystal Adventures ashore each year, including privately hosted chateau dinners in Bordeaux, cooking lessons in Barcelona and exclusive wine cellar tours in Sicily, and
  -- Abundant fresh seafood, fruits and epicurean indulgences. More than 1,500 lbs. of caviar, 35,000 lbs. of fresh live lobster and 40,000 lbs. of strawberries are served on board annually.

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

Back to the top of the news list

Seriously South Pacific, Cruise West Offers Five New Voyages

Seattle, WA, Jan 18: From Pitcairn Island, the final destination of the mutineers aboard the HMS Bounty, to the cosmopolitan sophistication of Sydney, Australia, warm water adventurers can sail the pristine blue waters of the South Pacific, visiting numerous remote tropical islands on five new memorable voyages offered by Cruise West for the 2010 season. Starting in November, 2010, the five voyages explore from Easter Island to Tahiti; the Tahitian Islands to Fiji; the Fijian Islands to New Zealand; The Maori Coast; and a thrilling New Year’s Eve discovery of Australia. Shore excursions are included at every port and each voyage will be enhanced by an extraordinary ‘Ultimate Explorers Experience’ (UEE), designed to bring guests into direct personal contact with fascinating people, cultures and natural wonders.

Cruise West, the world’s leading provider of small-ship explorations to the most fascinating destinations on earth, offers the South Pacific voyages of discovery sailing aboard the 120-guest, all-suite Spirit of Oceanus. Guests will save up to $2,900 per cabin when booking and paying in full by March 26, 2010.

An exploration of the rich Pacific begins on Easter Island
Described as a “string of island pearls,” the South Pacific islands beckon travelers bent on warm water exploration. Voyage 19: Easter Island to Papeete, Tahiti travels to such uninhabited locales as Henderson and Ducie Islands, renowned for their rare birds and indigenous flora, pristine coral atolls, and remote beaches; and Fakarava, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. A highlight of the tour is a visit to Pitcairn Island, where Fletcher Christian brought the HMS Bounty following a mutiny against Captain Bligh. Accompanied by anthropology expert Dr. Charlie Urbanowicz, a Life Member of the Polynesian Society, and the Association for Social Anthropology of Oceania, who will offer his keen insights into the islands’ peoples and cultures throughout the voyage.

Sailing further into the heart of the Polynesian island chains, Voyage 20: Papeete, Tahiti to Lautoka, Fiji offers visits to atolls and villages not accessible by larger cruise lines including Maupiti, Atiu, Palmerston and Vava’u. Highlights of this serene exploration include an exclusive cultural performance, visits to inland villages, and the living coral gardens of Aitutaki (UEE). Zodiac visits to private islands, snorkeling safaris, cave swimming, a Fiji firewalking ceremony and a traditional kava ceremony fulfill the promise of an unforgettable experience. Joining Urbanowicz on this voyage as co-lecturer is Dr. Aldona Jonaitis, noted expert on arts and culture of aboriginal people and a much sought after speaker on the arts of the South Pacific. This 15-night voyage departs Nov. 17, 2010.

Voyage 21: Lautoka, Fiji to Auckland, New Zealand. Delivering a true explorer experience, this voyage visits the most remote islands of the South Pacific to view elaborate dances on Ambrym and indulge in pristine snorkeling and wildlife viewing accessible only via Zodiac boat. Guests will learn about the centuries old Maori culture and early New Zealand history in the historic areas of Waitangi and Kerikeri before concluding the voyage in Auckland, one of New Zealand’s great scenic cities. Highlighting this voyage is ascending the slopes of Mt. Yasur on Tanna Island (UEE), one of the world’s most active volcanoes that often spews molten rocks in thrilling pyrotechnic displays. With Jonaitis continuing as guest lecturer, this 14-night voyage departs Dec. 2, 2010.

Known as “The Land of the Long White Cloud,” New Zealand is the focus of Voyage 22: Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia. Guests will immerse themselves deep into Maori culture, explore the famous geothermal region of Rotorua with bubbling hot springs and the country’s most active volcanic landscape (UEE). Napier offers Art Deco architecture and wine tasting, while British culture abounds in Christchurch, ripe with art galleries and museums. After celebrating Christmas at Stewart Island and Rakiura National Park – a stunning natural paradise with rare trees and vegetation, and native birds -- the voyage visits Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a series of dramatic fiords and inlets. After a visit to beautiful Milford Sound, the voyage concludes in Sydney Harbor just in time to see the firecracker lavish spectacle on New Year’s Eve.
Accompanied by special guest speaker Dr. Kirt Kempter, an expert in plate tectonics and related volcanism, this 17-night voyage departs Dec. 15, 2010.

The Land Down Under is the final star in this five-voyage constellation that begins with the New Year. Voyage 23: Sydney to Darwin, Australia brings guests up close and personal to a country and continent that boasts unique flora and fauna blended with sophisticated metropolitan culture. With no less then three UNESCO World Heritage Sites featured in the 19-night itinerary, highlights of this Australian adventure include cruising up the Brisbane River, visiting a koala sanctuary, exploring the Kuranda rainforest, and delving into Aboriginal culture through art, music, and dance. Heritage site, Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, features the natural marvel of tall rainforests growing on sand dunes over 700 feet high. Heritage sites Hamilton and Whitsunday Islands offer exploration of the Great Barrier Reef (UEE) via a glass-hulled, semi-submersible coral viewer or through numerous world-class snorkeling opportunities. Traversing the northern coast of Australia, the voyage concludes in modern Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory and situated on a gulf of the Timor Sea. Special guest speaker Clyde Roper, a senior emeritus zoologist in the Smithsonian’s Department of Invertebrate Zoology, will lend his insights and research in marine biology and bioluminescence. Roper’s field studies have taken him on extensive explorations of the South Pacific. This 19-night voyage departs Dec. 31, 2010.

Book by Individual Voyage or Multiple Segments
The five voyages mark the fifth chapter of the Voyages of the Great Explorers, a series of 24 separate and unique cruises that combine to form a 335-day circumnavigation of the world along the major routes inspired by history’s great ocean explorers. Beginning March 5, 2010, the world voyage will sail ever westward, returning to Singapore on Feb 3, 2011. Price per voyage includes a pre-cruise hotel night, all excursions and transfers and a tour of the embarkation city. Guests who book more than one voyage will save an additional 5 percent. For more information call 1-800-689-1783 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Swan Hellenic Launches North American Cruise Atlas & Updated Website

FORT LAUDERDALE, Jan. 16: Small ship cruising specialist Swan Hellenic has published a North American cruise atlas with pricing in US dollars, air programs from 21 North American gateways, and exclusive promotions for the US and Canadian market. The venerable British cruise operator also has launched an updated website,, featuring complete details on the line’s worldwide ocean and river programs.

“We’re very excited to reintroduce Swan Hellenic to the US and Canadian market,” said Mark Flager, vice president, North America. “Swan Hellenic has been defining the art of discovery cruising for more than 50 years. Our new programs and promotions will make it easier for past guests and new clients to enjoy Swan’s cultural travel experiences and exceptional value.”

Swan Hellenic offers culturally enriching cruise programs aboard the 350-guest Minerva and aboard the river vessels A-Rosa Stella, A-Rosa Riva and A-Rosa Aqua. Fares include shipboard gratuities, all port charges and government taxes, and shore excursions in each port of call. Swan Hellenic’s Guest Speakers include noted academics, diplomats and writers, and onboard workshops often feature writing courses, art workshops and yoga classes. Each cruise itinerary is a unique cultural travel experience, blending world class sites with smaller, off the beaten track destinations. A program of tailor-made shore excursions is included in the cruise fare, with excursions accompanied by experienced Swan Hellenic staff. Swan’s vessels feature open-seating dining.

The new cruise atlas offers Early Booking Savings up to 30%, with an additional $250 per person launch discount available on selected summer cruises for bookings made and deposited by March 1.

In 2010/11 the Minerva navigates the Mediterranean to Northern Europe, returning to the Mediterranean en route to Arabia and the Far East. Cruises range from 13 to 17 days, with Grand Voyage combination cruises available from 29 to 45 days.

Cruises commence April 7 with A Mediterranean Spring (Cadiz to Piraeus); followed by Lure of the Levant (Piraeus to Aqaba, Apr. 19); Classical Civilisations (Aqaba to Istanbul, May 1); Gods and Tsars (Istanbul to Valletta, May 15); and Romans and Moors (Valletta to Dover, May 30).

Round-trip Dover cruises include The North Cape (June 14), A French Vintage (June 29), Treasures of the Baltic (July 13); Sagas of Ice and Fire (July 28) and Highland & Islands (Aug. 12). The $250 per-person additional discount is available on these dates and on the 15-day “All Roads Lead to Rome” cruise sailing Aug. 26 from Dover to Naples.

Fall 2010 cruises include The Venetian Republic (Naples to Piraeus, Sept. 9); The ‘Hospitable’ Sea (Piraeus to Istanbul, Sept. 23); Suleiman the Magnificent (Istanbul to Pireaus, Oct. 7); A Byzantine Mosaic (Piraeus to Valletta, Oct. 21); Roman Africa (Valletta to Limassol, Nov. 5) and Crusaders and Pharaohs (Limassol to Aqaba, Nov. 20).

Minerva’s winter 2010/11 cruises include Arabian Nights (Aqaba to Dubai, Dec. 4); Muscat to Malabar (Dubai to Colombo, Dec. 19); Treasures of the East (Colombo to Singapore, Jan 3); Islands of the South China Sea (Singapore to Hong Kong, Jan. 17); Palaces and Pagados (Hong Kong to Bangkok, Feb.1); Bangkok & Beyond (Bangkok to Chennai, Feb 16); Jewels of India (Chennai to Muscat, Mar. 2); and Ancient Cities in the Sand (Muscat to Aqaba, Mar. 16.).

Round-trip air fare and transfers are available from 21 US and Canadian gateway cities and are detailed online at The North American website also features Swan’s River Cruises aboard A-Rosa Stella (Rhône), A-Rosa Riva (Danube) and A-Rosa Aqua (Rhine). Swan’s River program mirrors Minerva’s all inclusive features. To book or to request a brochure, contact your travel professional or Swan Hellenic at (866) 923 9182 or visit

Back to the top of the news list


Royal Caribbean Cruises Provides Humanitarian Relief to Haiti After Earthquake

MIAMI, Jan. 15: Royal Caribbean Cruises, one of Haiti's largest foreign investors for almost 30 years, today announced its plans to provide at least $1 million in humanitarian relief to Haiti in response to the catastrophic earthquake in Port-Au-Prince. Royal Caribbean will be partnering with charitable organizations--such as Food for the Poor, Pan American Development Foundation, and the Solano Foundation, the company's foundation in Haiti--to provide additional assistance to the people of Haiti. Royal Caribbean will also be delivering much needed goods and supplies to Haiti via their cruise ships.

"The effect of the earthquake on Haiti has been catastrophic, leaving the country in need of not only immediate support, but assistance in their long-term recovery," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Royal Caribbean wants to do its part to help out not only the general response, but also our hundreds of Haitian employees and their families through this disaster. "In addition to our financial contribution, Royal Caribbean will continue to provide economic support through the continuous business we bring to Labadee."

Leslie Voltaire, Special Envoy of the government of Haiti to the United Nations said, "Given the terrible economic and social challenges we now face in Haiti, we welcome the continuation of the positive economic benefits that the cruise ship calls to Labadee contribute to our country."

The benefits start with Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas' call today to Labadee, Haiti, which includes much needed supplies for the country. The supplies were loaded on the ship during its call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and include items such as rice, dried beans, powdered milk, water and canned goods. In addition, 100 percent of the company's net revenue from the destination will be contributed to the relief effort.

In the next two weeks, the following ships are scheduled to call on Labadee with additional supplies: Navigator of the Seas on Monday, January 18; Liberty of the Seas on Tuesday, January 19; and Celebrity Solstice on Friday, January 22. When the supplies arrive in Labadee, they will be transported to an offsite location to be distributed by Food for the Poor, a long time partner of Royal Caribbean in Haiti.

In addition to working with Food for the Poor to distribute relief supplies, guests sailing onboard Royal Caribbean Intl, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises will be able to make a donation to Food for the Poor's Haiti Relief Fund, via a charge to their onboard account. Guests who would like to contribute immediately can visit to make a donation. Royal Caribbean also plans to use a portion of the $1 million donation to augment the company's Crew Relief Fund, which can be drawn on by any of the company's more than 200 Haitian crew members for assistance, as well as to match employee contributions to the partner organizations. As the initial response effort gives way to the long-term recovery effort, Royal Caribbean will consider further support efforts.

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines Enhances ‘Funville’ Web Site
to Include Shipboard Blogs, Games & More

MIAMI, Jan 15: Always looking for new ways to engage its guests and convey the uniqueness of the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, Carnival Cruise Lines has revamped its web site,, to include a new community and social media hub called “Funville.” Located at, the site brings all of the line’s diverse on-line communities into one area, offering visitors an opportunity to connect with other Carnival enthusiasts via forums, cruise reviews and games. Additionally, the site allows guests to interact with Carnival by reading and commenting on employee-written blog posts, view exclusive photos and videos, download wallpapers and more.

The enhanced Funville section is part of a comprehensive overhaul of the cruise industry’s most popular web site,, which attracts more than five million monthly visits. In addition to an entirely new look and feel, the redesigned site includes new navigation tools and an updated “find a cruise” function available anywhere on the site. Carnival, the cruise line leader in social networking, has also redesigned its Facebook fan page,, where visitors can watch videos, participate in on-line polls, send virtual cruise gifts to friends and create fun status updates.

“Our goal is to provide our guests with a wide variety of fun and engaging ways to interact with the Carnival brand and with each other,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “Funville is designed to be informative, entertaining and interactive in a way that appeals to consumers no matter whether they are just beginning the travel planning process or have already sailed,” he added.

Areas contained within Funville include the “Fun Feed” featuring links to the popular blog of Senior Cruise Director John Heald and Carnival’s profiles on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. The “Share” section houses blog posts from a number of popular shipboard personnel, including Captain Pier Scala, Cruise Directors Butch Begovich and Todd Wittmer, and Dance Captain Claire Heslop, each of whom share their unique insight and experiences of their life aboard ship.

Unique to Funville is the “Action Cruiser” feature that allows visitors to create their own custom-made printable 3-D action figure. Located within the “Rally” section, the Action Cruisers are accompanied by Carnival-themed downloads and e-cards. Visitors to the site can also find an interactive aquarium where they can create their own colorful fish and play games such as Reef Racer, Flippaball and Finvasion.

Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 15 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada and New England. The line’s newest ship, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, made its U.S. debut last month. Carnival also has two new ships on order, the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic, which is scheduled for delivery in 2011, and a sister ship set to debut in 2012. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501.

Back to the top of the news list

New Marina Breaks Booking Records for Oceania Cruises

MIAMI, Jan 15: Oceania Cruises reported record single day bookings on Wednesday when its new flagship Marina went on sale for the first time exclusively to the line’s past guests. Reservations for the day exceeded the line’s previous record by 26%. In its booking debut, nearly 50% of Marina’s released inventory covering 5 inaugural winter season sailings sold in less than 12 hours. On Jan 18, reservations for Marina’s inaugural season open to the general public.

“The response to Marina’s five inaugural sailings has surpassed our greatest expectations,” stated Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises. “The demand from our loyal past guests underscores the quality and value of the Oceania Cruises brand and is a testament that we are building exactly what our guests want.”

Scheduled to debut in January 2011, the 1,258-guest Marina will boast an array of stylish bars and lounges and 10 dining venues – six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants – including Jacques, the first restaurant at sea for world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pépin. Other highlights include a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, Bon Appétit Culinary Center, Owner’s Suites furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home and a grand stairway custom-crafted by renowned French glass master, Lalique. For more information or to order a brochure, contact a travel agent, visit or call toll-free 800-531-5658.

Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises Unveils Inaugural Itineraries For New Marina

Miami, Jan 14: Oceania Cruises has begun accepting reservations for its highly anticipated new flagship Marina, which sets sail Jan 22, 2011. Priority reservations opened yesterday for Oceania Club members, which is comprised of past guests. On Jan 18 reservations will open to the general public. The 1,258-guest Marina is destined to set new cruise industry standards for her elegant and spacious accommodations and 10 dining venues, which include six, gourmet restaurants. Rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and lustrous leathers adorn public rooms. Facilities also include sophisticated bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch® SpaClub and fitness center, Bon Appétit Culinary Center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

“We are delighted to unveil the alluring itineraries that have been crafted for Marina’s inaugural season,” said Bob Binder, the line’s president. “Travelers can visit intriguing ports in the Caribbean and Mexico along with San Francisco and New York City, both of which are maiden calls for Oceania Cruises.”

High Style Hits the High Seas
The maiden voyage of Marina is a 13-day transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to Miami, departing Jan 22, 2011. The itinerary calls at Malaga, Spain; Casablanca and the Canary Islands before crossing the Atlantic. Seven days at sea will give guests time to explore Marina from stem to stern. From Miami, Marina will transit the Panama Canal, departing Feb 8, and visiting Cartagena, Colombia, whose Old Town is a medieval wonderland of mansions, monasteries and cobblestone streets, and Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The ship includes two ports in Mexico: Puerto Chiapas, the gateway to Mayan ruins, and the popular resort Cabo San Lucas before calling at Los Angeles and San Francisco, a new port for Oceania Cruises.

The ship returns to Miami with a never-before-offered Panama Canal itinerary, departing Feb 26. The fascinating voyage departs San Francisco, cruising California’s Pacific coast before calling at San Diego, another maiden port for Oceania. Guests enjoy a Latin interlude in Puerto Chiapas before transiting the Canal and making landfall at Cartagena. A stop in George Town, Grand Cayman, will offer time to rest and relax before disembarkation in Miami. Next, Marina embarks on the definitive Caribbean cruise. The 12-day voyage departs Miami March 16 for the British Virgin Islands, before calling at St. Barts, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grand Turk.

Before Marina returns to Barcelona to begin her summer season she will sail along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, departing Miami March 28 and visiting Savannah and Charleston before making her curtain call in New York City, where an overnight stay allows guests to visit the Great White Way. From Manhattan the ship sails for Hamilton, Bermuda. Five uninterrupted days at sea provide sufficient time to savor Marina’s many dining options before visiting Funchal, Portugal and Barcelona. For reservations or to order a brochure, contact a travel agent, visit or call toll-free at 800-531-5658.

Back to the top of the news list

Nickelodeon & Norwegian Cruise Line Partner
To Deliver The Ultimate Family Experience

NEW YORK, Jan. 13: Norwegian Cruise Line today announced a new partnership with Nickelodeon in which select Norwegian ships will feature Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment and programming all year long. Beginning in April on Norwegian Jewel and this summer on Norwegian Epic, Nickelodeon and Norwegian experiences for the entire family will include: character meet and greets; interactive game shows; and more. The three-year partnership also includes select specialty Nickelodeon-themed cruises each year, featuring Nickelodeon TV stars, show premieres and continuous themed-entertainment on the ship.

“Nickelodeon is an incredible family brand that is well-known to kids and parents of all ages,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “Combining its worldwide appeal with our signature Freestyle Cruising will create the ultimate experience at sea for families. For any family considering a cruise vacation, there is no better value and experience than Nickelodeon at Sea on Norwegian Cruise Line.”

"At a time when families are seeking special travel experiences, we see an opportunity to build on the success of our previous Nickelodeon cruises to create a unique family cruise vacation experience with Norwegian Cruise Line," said Howard Smith, executive vice president, Nickelodeon Recreation. "By partnering with Norwegian, we are now able to offer families Nickelodeon entertainment and programming at sea all year long."

Nickelodeon at Sea will launch on Norwegian Jewel when the ship begins sailing from New York in late April, and on Norwegian’s latest addition to its fleet—Norwegian Epic--when she launches in July. Each cruise will feature live Nickelodeon-themed interactive shows, including: SlimeTime LIVE! with Nick’s signature slime; Nick Live! Poolside entertainment; character breakfasts and meet and greets; Nick-themed dance parties; and more. Nickelodeon-themed elements will also be incorporated into Norwegian’s Kids’ Crew program.

In addition to the year-round programming on Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Epic, special Nickelodeon-themed cruises will be offered annually where families can immerse themselves in everything Nickelodeon all day, every day. These unique cruises will include: special appearances by the Network’s live talent; show premieres; more live game shows; even more opportunities to visit with kids’ favorite Nick characters; and much more. The first of the Nickelodeon-themed specialty cruises is scheduled on Norwegian Jewel later this year. More details and an on sale date will be released soon. To book a cruise on Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Epic, or any of Norwegian’s ships, go to, call 800-327-7030 or contact a travel professional.

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line Gives Solo Travelers A Reason To Sail On Norwegian Epic

NEW YORK, Jan 13: Continuing its history of innovation, Norwegian Cruise Line today announced a completely new concept to make cruising more attractive to solo travelers on the company’s largest and most exciting Freestyle Cruising ship to date, Norwegian Epic, launching this July. Norwegian Epic’s Studios are the first staterooms designed and priced for single occupancy, starting from $799 on the ship’s 7-day alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. These specially designed and priced Studio staterooms available on all of Norwegian Epic’s sailings, with no single supplement, go on sale Monday, January 18, 2010.

“Historically, the cruise industry has not embraced the large number of people who enjoy traveling solo,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We are breaking the mold of traditional cruising once again by offering a stateroom designed and priced specifically for solo travelers, making cruising a more attractive travel option. We invite all solo travelers, whether they are first-time cruisers or cruising veterans, to sail on our incredible new Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic.” The Studios on Norwegian Epic are a private key-card access complex on two decks consisting of 128 staterooms and the Studio Lounge. This unique and thoughtfully designed concept provides comfort and convenience for the solo traveler.

Each Studio stateroom, at approximately 100 square feet of living space, features a contemporary design with a full-size bed and separate areas for the bathroom, sink, and shower. In addition, guests in the Studios have private access to the exclusive Studio Lounge where guests can grab a cup of coffee in the morning, meet up with fellow cruisers and plan their day, or relax with a drink in the evening. Since many of the Studio staterooms are connecting, there is also the opportunity for friends to travel together while giving each their own private space.

World-class entertainment is Norwegian Epic’s hallmark. For the first time at sea, Blue Man Group will perform their exhilarating fusion of comedy, theatrics and paint, exclusively on Norwegian Epic. In the only “big top” at sea, Cirque Dreams and Dinner will present a one-of-a-kind interactive theatrical dining experience with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. Legends in Concert, the original and world’s greatest live tribute show, will be featured for the first time at sea in more than a decade on Norwegian Epic, along with The Second City improvisational comedy and Howl at the Moon, the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll dueling piano show that encourages audience participation.

In addition to world-class entertainment, the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic incorporates many innovations including several new types of accommodations – the curved New Wave staterooms; the largest Villas suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship; and spa and family-friendly accommodations. The ship also boasts unique nightlife options with the first Ice Bar at sea and Spice H20 with non-stop entertainment day and night; an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea -- The Epic Plunge; seven decks of Freestyle Family Fun with highlights including a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six in two venues; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; as well as three separate kids’ and teen activity areas. In addition, Norwegian Epic will offer the next generation of Freestyle Dining with 20 dining choices and 20 bars and lounges.

For more information on Norwegian Epic as well as to book a cruise on Norwegian Epic to the Eastern or Western Caribbean, call Norwegian at 866-234-7350, visit, or contact a travel professional.

Back to the top of the news list

Silversea Taps Michael Feinstein to Perform Aboard Silver Spirit

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 13: Guests sailing aboard Silver Spirit's 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage this month are set to enjoy an exclusive evening of entertainment when multiple Grammy Award-nominee Michael Feinstein takes to the stage. The performance will follow a gala bon voyage dinner to be held aboard Silver Spirit in Fort Lauderdale on Jan 20, the day before the ship embarks on an expansive journey exploring over 20 countries and 45 ports throughout the Americas--for the very first time. The newest addition to Silversea's ultra-luxury, six-ship fleet, Silver Spirit debuted in Europe in December and will host several days of inaugural activities in Fort Lauderdale when the 540-guest, all-suite ship arrives on Jan 19. Among the highlights is the Christening Ceremony scheduled to take place on Jan 21.

"Every detail of Silver Spirit's Grand Inaugural Voyage has been designed with a highly discerning and experienced traveler in mind, and we want the onboard entertainment experience to be of equally exceptional caliber," said Christian Sauleau, Silversea's executive vice president of vessel operations. "We're delighted to have such an extraordinary performer as Michael Feinstein on hand to help us celebrate the launch of our new flagship and what is sure to be the voyage of a lifetime for our guests."

An outstanding vocalist and pianist, Michael Feinstein is arguably the single most knowledgeable and dedicated musical anthropologist and archivist the Great American Songbook has ever known. Renowned for finding "lost," older songs and breathing new life into them, his repertoire includes songs by such great songwriters as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, and Duke Ellington. His 150 plus shows a year have included Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and major concert halls, as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace. At his nightclub in Manhattan, Feinstein's at Loews Regency, a showcase for top-drawer cabaret performers, Feinstein plays to a sold-out crowd. The Sinatra Project – his new CD from Concord Records which celebrates the musical sensibilities of "Old Blue Eyes" – earned Feinstein his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009. He is currently preparing the PBS-TV series "Michael Feinstein's American Popular Song," to start airing in 2010, in which Feinstein discovers treasures of the Great American Songbook around the world.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its 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 inclusion 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

Back to the top of the news list

Record January Sales for Crystal Cruises

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 12: Crystal Cruises reports record bookings for its week ending Jan 11. For same year bookings, the multi award-winning line enjoyed its highest January sales in more than five years. While the record bookings were primarily for Baltic and Mediterranean cruises, Crystal enjoyed a surge of reservations for closer-in World Cruise segments, as well as strong sales for fourth quarter cruises in New England/Canada and its 2010 holiday cruises.

In the fall of 2009, the ultra-luxury line completely revamped its fares and value-added promotional offers with two-for-one pricing, generous 'All Inclusive - As You Wish' spending credits, free roundtrip air transportation (even free Business Class!) from almost two dozen North American gateways, and a much-respected price guarantee. Also in the fall, the line's dramatic Crystal Symphony makeover and 2010 Cruise Atlas debuted to rave reviews.

"The response to our 20th Anniversary promotions for 2010 and Symphony redesign has far exceeded our expectations," says Gregg Michel, Crystal's president. "We hoped for -- and enjoyed -- a strong December due to a very attractive Birthday Bonus promotion that expired at the end of the 2009. We assumed there would be strength in late January into February, but the year has kicked off to a great start. Our Reservations Department is busier than ever with the strongest call volume we've seen in a long time. People are choosing brands they trust."

Crystal Cruises' ultra-luxurious Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony are renowned for their service, space, quality and choices, as well as innovations and value. The ships sail worldwide on itineraries through the Mediterranean, Australia/New Zealand, Southeast Asia, India, Middle East, Baltic, British Isles, North Cape, Africa, South America, Panama Canal, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera and New England/Canada. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line Highlights the Yukon in 2010 Alaska & Yukon CruiseTours

SEATTLE, Jan. 11: In 2010 Holland America Line highlights the magnificent wilderness of Canada's Yukon Territory. Of its 31 Alaska and the Yukon CruiseTours, 13 include Yukon destinations such as Whitehorse, Dawson City, Tombstone Territorial Park and Kluane National Park. New in 2010 is the "Best of the Yukon" CruiseTour, one of three adventuresome Expedition CruiseTours just introduced by Holland America Line.

"With more than 60 years' experience in Alaska and Yukon tours, Holland America creates itineraries to highlight the best and most comprehensive Yukon experiences," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs.

CruiseTours featuring the Yukon range from 10 to 20 days in length and depart May 9 through Aug. 28, 2010. All combine a 3-, 4-, or 7-day Inside Passage cruise with a land tour of top destinations in Alaska and the Yukon. Guests experience the wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history while traveling by luxury motor coach, rail and often river boat.

The new "Best of the Yukon" Expedition CruiseTour is designed to provide an in-depth Yukon experience. The itinerary is 12 days with a three-day, north-bound cruise or 13 days with a south-bound sailing that includes Glacier Bay. Guests visit Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon Territory, and Dawson City, a Klondike National Historic Site where they have three nights and two full days to explore its gold rush heritage, Tombstone Territorial Park and active adventures from rafting to hiking. The tour also visits Tok, Beaver Creek and Skagway in Alaska. It includes an exciting Yukon River cruise aboard the Yukon Queen II, Kluane National Park sightseeing, White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad with Lake Bennett excursion and the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines.

Holland America Line offers six Great Land Klondike CruiseTours ranging from 11 to 15 days that all feature Whitehorse, Dawson City, and the Yukon Queen II river cruise between Dawson City and Eagle, Alaska. Four of the CruiseTours also include a scenic trip on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad via Lake Bennett between Whitehorse and Skagway. All feature an overnight in Denali National Park and the six-to-eight-hour Tundra Wilderness Tour within the park.

Four Great Land Wilderness CruiseTours ranging from 10 to 13 days offer itineraries that include Whitehorse. Here guests may enjoy a natural history presentation at the entrance to Kluane National Park or a summer sled dog demonstration by Uncommon Journeys. On two tours they can take an optional full-day excursion to Kluane, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All Great Land Klondike and Wilderness CruiseTours are escorted by a tour director and include travel on deluxe Explorer Coaches.

Two Glacier Discovery CruiseTours offer extensive 19- or 20-day adventures that include two nights in Whitehorse and Dawson City and "Double Denali."

Find Holland America Line online at

Back to the top of the news list

Australia's Natural Gifts Are Highlighted With Crystal's New
 'Great Barrier Reef Escape'

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 11: What is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space? Answer: The Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world. This March, Crystal Cruises is introducing a new opportunity to explore this region's remarkable sea life, rainforests and wildlife via a three-night "Great Barrier Reef Escape" Extended Land Program available before and after four Crystal Symphony voyages beginning or ending in Sydney, Australia. The program flies guests more than 1,200 miles from Sydney to Cairns to some of the most breathtaking locations on the Australian coast, including:

-- The Great Barrier Reef -Guests can swim and snorkel, or view the abundant coral and sea life via the underwater theater or a semi-submersible vessel. The reef comprises more than 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays developed over centuries of natural evolution.
-- World Heritage Rain forestation Nature Park - Guests will explore lush tropical rainforest and visiting resident crocodiles, wombats, wallabies, snakes, dingoes and kangaroos.
-- Kuranda Scenic Railway - From the rainforest back to Cairns, and traveling at 34 kilometers above sea level, the rail showcases the region's rainforests, plus steep ravines and cascading waterfalls and rivers.

"Australia's environmental culture is fundamental to its heritage and lifestyle," says John Stoll, director, land programs. "With continuing comfort and ease, the escorted Great Barrier Reef program allows Crystal guests to more deeply explore one of the earth's most spectacular natural gifts."

The 3-night optional land program is offered post-cruise for Crystal Symphony's February 28, Los Angeles-Sydney cruise and March 30 Auckland-Sydney cruise; pre-cruise with the March 18 Sydney-Auckland and April 11 Sydney-Singapore voyages. The "Great Barrier Reef Escape" land option, includes air transportation from Sydney, hotel accommodations at Sydney's Intercontinental and Cairns' Shangri-La hotels, many meals, tours, transfers and more March and April voyages also include complimentary airfare from more than 20 North America gateways.

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

Back to the top of the news list

Paul Gauguin Cruises Celebrates Inaugural Sailing

BELLEVUE, WA, Jan 9: Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest rated and longest continually-sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, sails its inaugural voyage under the Pacific Beachcomber umbrella. From Jan 6 until Jan 16, 2010, the exclusive ten-day President’s Cruise, hosted by Richard Bailey, President of Pacific Beachcomber, S.C., will visit the islands of Tahiti, Huahine, Raiatea, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Taha’a, and Moorea.

The itinerary will feature a myriad of enriching travel experiences and excursions, including:
- Dolphin watching with marine biologist Dr. Michael Poole (or his assistant), following schools of spinner dolphins.
- Visiting the Motu Pearl Farm, where guests learn all about the magnificent black pearl, as well as snorkeling in the crystal clear lagoon of Taha’a.
- Exploring Tahiti “off the beaten path,” visiting areas of the island not commonly seen by visitors, traveling in an off-road vehicle during a scenic journey, passing by cascading waterfalls, luxuriant tropical vegetation, exotic flowers, and lush valleys offering wonderful views and photo opportunities.
- Discovering an ancient side of Tahiti via a journey through the Opunohu Valley with resident archaeologist Mark Eddowes, visiting an ancient temple at the edge of the native forest along with a guided walk along the ancient trails.

About acquiring the m/s Paul Gauguin, Bailey says, “We at Pacific Beachcomber were truly honored to recently welcome Paul Gauguin Cruises into our portfolio. Paul Gauguin Cruises’ leading cruise ship reputation in French Polynesia combined with our 25 years of luxury resort hotel experience in the Tahitian islands will ensure that all our guests enjoy a seamless island vacation experience of the highest caliber.”

The m/s Paul Gauguin will embark on 38 expeditions in 2010 to destinations including Tahiti, the Society Islands, the Tuamotus, the Cook Islands, the Marquesas, Tonga, Fiji, and New Zealand. Each of these exclusive voyages will highlight the beauty of French Polynesia from the luxurious and spacious accommodations on board the m/s Paul Gauguin, which underwent a multi-million dollar enhancement in 2009. The ship’s staterooms, public areas and restaurants have been upgraded to reflect the luxurious standard that is characteristic of Paul Gauguin Cruises.

Owned by Pacific Beachcomber S.C., the leader in French Polynesia luxury destination resorts, 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

•  Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Marks 20th Anniversary With Plan
To Add Solstice-class Elements to Millennium-class Quartet

MIAMI, Jan 8: New year. New look. “What better time than our 20th anniversary to celebrate Celebrity’s history of award-winning service, cuisine, and our new, brand-defining Solstice Class?” said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “Everything we’ve offered over the course of 20 years, and everything we’ll offer in the future, is designed for discerning cruisers – from our contemporary, new Celebrity Life onboard experiences, to the world-class cuisine of Chef Jacques Van Staden, to our enhanced Captain’s Club loyalty program. So, we’ve summed up our longtime commitment to understanding them and delivering what they want within a new brand platform: ‘Designed for You’.”

The introduction of Designed for You, pairing Celebrity’s commitment to stunningly-designed ships and innovative onboard experiences with its commitment to impeccable guest service, marks the culmination of an extensive, 6-month exploration into more deeply understanding the needs of discerning cruisers. The process included an in-depth market research survey of nearly 10,000 international cruisers, numerous focus group sessions with past guests and travel partners, in-home interviews with some of Celebrity’s frequent guests and prospects, and exhaustive reviews of cruisers’ needs, attitudes, and behaviors. All these efforts, combined with Celebrity’s 20 years of focusing on guest needs, helped the brand create the ultimate combination of ship design, service, cuisine and programs for cruise lovers.

“We’ve always been committed to identifying and designing what our guests want, and the awards our brand continues to receive are welcome validation that it’s working,” said Hanrahan. “Our new Celebrity Life onboard experiences, inspired by our guests’ interest in more widely varied onboard programming, are netting consistently high marks from our guests, as are the enhancements we’ve made to our Captain’s Club loyalty program, built to suit what our members wanted most. But, the greatest validation has been the response to our stunning Solstice Class.”

Celebrity’s 5-ship Solstice Class fleet represents an investment of $3.7-billion 'the largest newbuild commitment for a single brand in industry history, offering modern cruising “firsts,” including The Lawn Club; The Hot Glass Show; AquaClass; the industry’s first application of solar technology, and stylish staterooms whose design was influenced by a panel of women with unique travel and hospitality insights.

“Through our Designed for You platform, we plan to leverage our Solstice Class ships’ stylish, modern design and ambience even further,” said Hanrahan, revealing that Celebrity plans to incorporate iconic Solstice Class attributes across the fleet, most notably through a significant revitalization of all four Millennium Class ships. Celebrity Constellation will be the first to receive the new enhancements during scheduled drydock in April of this year.

Among the Solstice Class features to be introduced on the Millennium Class ships:
•  More opportunities to relish Celebrity’s world-class cuisine with the addition of Tuscan Grille, the Napa Valley-meets-Italian-steakhouse venue found on Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox
•  Bistro on Five, the vibrant, popular creperie introduced on Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox
•  A Solstice Class-inspired, ice-topped Martini Bar paired with Crush, whose ice-filled table presents a selection of chilled, top-tier vodkas
•  The cool Café al Bacio and Gelateria, replacing the former Cova Café
•  As introduced on the Solstice Class, an Enomatic wine bar, the state-of-the-art, Italian designed wine serving system allowing guests to select and serve, at the touch of a button, the wines of their choice by the glass
•  More sumptuous suites, on a par with those in the most modern hotels in Europe, with all new furniture, flat-screen TVs, upholstery, bedding and carpeting
•  Restyled staterooms, with entirely new carpeting, flat-screen TVs, upholstery and bedding
•  New color schemes, carpeting and upholstery reflective of Solstice Class in every public venue, from the Celebrity Theater to Seaside Grill, from the main dining room to Michael’s Club

The revitalization is just part of Celebrity’s full Designed for You platform, which, when combined with the brand’s Celebrity Life onboard experience, more robust, well-received Captain’s Club, and multiple other brand enhancements, represents a nearly $200-million investment. The beauty of Celebrity’s Solstice Class also takes center stage in the brand’s new ad campaign, with dramatic, distinctive images, a modern, contemporary graphic treatment, a copy voice promoting the brand’s differentiating elements, and the tagline, Designed for You. Marking a first for Celebrity, a hip new video shot on Celebrity Solstice to capture the essence of the Celebrity cruise experience will run on multiple travel, video, social, lifestyle and news sites. Print ads will appear in trade and consumer magazines and major daily newspapers across North America.

“We’ve studied where cruise enthusiasts go to research options for their next vacation, and more than 70 percent go online,” said Hanrahan. “So, we’ll have a big presence there, on some of cruisers’ favorite sites, to allow them to briefly and virtually immerse themselves in a vacation experience designed for them.” Celebrity also will continue to ensure its web site is designed for cruisers who appreciate online options, such as Celebrity Select Dining, the industry’s first pre-cruise, day-by-day flexible dining reservation system; pre-cruise AquaSpa reservations; specialty dining reservations; shore excursion bookings; and online documentation, or “e-docs.”

Celebrity’s new Designed for You brand platform, revitalization program and ad campaign are only part of the investment the line is making to continue to offer the best in premium cruising, said Hanrahan, adding, “All this is part of a total package, including our robust, new Celebrity Life enrichment and entertainment programming; our enhanced Captain’s Club loyalty program; museum-quality contemporary art collections; our industry-first ConciergeClass accommodations across the fleet and, on the Solstice Class fleet, AquaClass; and guest-inspired partnerships with Riedel Crystal, Rosetta Stone, Smithsonian Journeys and, on the Solstice Class fleet, The Corning Museum of Glass.”

Hanrahan also praised a partnership Celebrity has considered invaluable since its founding. “For 20 years, we have benefited enormously from our relationships with the travel agent community. We look forward to continuing to help them grow their business with new programs and promotions designed for them, and to drive cruisers to capitalize on their expertise when booking their next Celebrity vacation.” To check out Celebrity’s new Designed for You branding and video, visit the Celebrity web site at

•  Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn’s Next Yacht Will Be Names Seabourn Quest

Jan 7, Miami: The Yachts of Seabourn has announced that Seabourn Quest will be the name given to its newest vessel. Poised to become the third of three new ultra-luxury yachts launched by the award-winning, small-ship cruise line in as many years, Seabourn Quest will debut in June 2011. Seabourn Quest will be the third iteration of the sleek and widely admired design that first appeared on Seabourn Odyssey in June 2009. Indeed, Odyssey has been hailed as a “game-changer for the luxury segment.” The second sister ship, Seabourn Sojourn, will debut next June in Greenwich, England, and is already selling strongly for its maiden year. Together, the three new vessels represent a capacity increase of over 200 percent for the line in a three-year period, underlining the company’s confidence in a burgeoning demand for top-shelf cruising options in the leisure travel market. At 32,000 GRT and carrying just 450 guests each, the three new Seabourn yachts are the smallest cruising vessels being built by any major cruise company, in keeping with the line’s strategy of offering travelers highly personalized service in a relaxed, sociable and luxurious atmosphere.

“The selection of the name Seabourn Quest completes the triad of names we chose for these three new vessels,” noted Pamela C. Conover, Seabourn’s President and CEO. “Taken together, we believe that Odyssey, Sojourn, and Quest represent the passion for adventure and discovery that spurs our guests’ desire to travel in Seabourn style.”

Last September, the cruise line launched a contest inviting people to guess the name they will give to the newest addition to its fleet, with a complimentary cruise for two aboard the vessel as the prize. The contest drew more than 2,100 email responses by the time it closed on Dec 31, some offering as many as a hundred different possibilities. The contest winner is Kevin Staub of Newtown, PA, who submitted “Quest” along with 15 other suggestions on Oct 12. Staub wasn’t alone in admiring the name, and so his name was drawn at random from a pool of 120 contestants who submitted correct guesses. Staub and his guest will enjoy a complimentary 7-day cruise on Quest during the vessel’s maiden year of operation.

The three new Seabourn yachts join another trio of small, 208-guest ultra-luxury vessels already in the fleet: Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. All offer Seabourn’s award-winning combination of all-suite accommodations, personalized service, superb cuisine and exceptional itineraries in the world’s most desirable destinations. Innovative onboard features on the new yachts include a delightfully unorthodox gathering spot called Seabourn Square, which replaces the traditional reception lobby with a comfortable, relaxed, club-like room that combines a library, internet café and a discreet guest services center with a social lounge and konditerei-style coffee bar. The 11,400 square-foot, indoor/outdoor spa facility is the largest on any luxury vessel, even those that carry more than twice as many guests. Four dining venues, six bars and lounges and a wide range of open decks and terraces provide venues to suit every mood, from sociable to secluded.

With its expanded fleet, The Yachts of Seabourn is able to offer travelers an array of new itineraries throughout the year, including year-round sailings in Asia aboard Seabourn Pride, exploring Vietnam, Thailand, China, Korea and Japan. For a limited time, many of these voyages are being offered with free round-trip business class airfare included in the fares. The new vessels will continue to offer popular itineraries such as Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas, and will also add annual World Cruises to the line’s offerings. 2010 voyages are currently being offered at Yachting Collection Savings of up to 65 percent off of published brochure fares, starting from $2,799 per person, for a 7-day Mediterranean voyage, based on double occupancy of a spacious, ocean-view suite. For more information or to book a cruise on The Yachts of Seabourn, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

•  Back to the top of the news list

Cunard Partners with The Juilliard School to Present Jazz Performances
Aboard Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossings in 2010

Jan 7: Cunard Line, operator of the most famous ocean liners in the world, is pleased to announce a partnership with The Juilliard School that will present stellar jazz performances on select 2010 eastbound Transatlantic Crossings aboard Queen Mary 2. Students and faculty from Juilliard, which has set America’s standard for education in the performing arts, will perform programmes in the ship's Royal Court Theatre, treating guests to the best in classic and contemporary jazz. These presentations are part of Cunard’s entertainment and award-winning enrichment programme, which showcases a variety of compelling entertainers – from new and emerging world-class talent to today's most enduring and iconic artists. Last August, Juilliard Jazz scholar Jumaane Smith became the first student from the school to take the stage onboard Queen Mary 2, presenting a trumpet recital that proved to be very popular with the voyage’s guests.

"Our partnership with Juilliard will provide our guests access to outstanding, world class performances, reflecting both the rich history and lineage of Juilliard, as well as Cunard’s ongoing commitment to supporting the arts and to offering our guests exclusive onboard experiences," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.

Juilliard performers are scheduled for the following Transatlantic voyages (*denotes a Juilliard Jazz faculty member):

April 15 - 22
•  Brandon Lee* – Trumpet: One of 18 students admitted to the inaugural class of the Juilliard Institute of Jazz Studies, thus forming the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra. In the fall of 2008, Lee became the youngest member of the Juilliard Jazz faculty as an assistant to the Director of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra. After spending one year as the Assistant, he has been named the Director of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra for the fall of 2009.
•  Kris Bowers – Piano: Currently a bachelor of music student at The Juilliard School. Since his arrival in New York, Bowers has shared the stage and/or recorded with artists such as Terell Stafford, Mulgrew Miller, Terence Blanchard, Clarence Penn, Carl Allen, Ben Wolfe, Ron Blake, Rodney Jones, Benny Green, Bobby Watson, Kurt Elling, Duane Eubanks, EJ Strickland, Ambrose Akinmusire, Walter Smith and Ingrid Jensen, to name a few.
•  Philip Kuehn – Bass: As a member of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, he will appear this year at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. In September 2006, he performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for John Coltrane’s 80th birthday celebration. He also has performed with Dr. Billy Taylor’s Jazz and the New Generation II at the Kennedy Center and the White House.
•  Aaron Kimmel – Drums: Currently a bachelor of music student at The Juilliard School, where he studies with Billy Drummond, Kenny Washington and Carl Allen. While in junior high, Kimmel was selected for the Mellon Jazz Festival’s “Swing into Spring All-Star Student Big Band” for three consecutive years. In high school, he was selected for the Pennsylvania All-State Jazz Ensemble in 2005 and 2006.

May 21 - 28
•  James Burton – Trombone: A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Jackie McLean’s Institute for Jazz Studies and the Juilliard Jazz Studies Artist Diploma program. Burton recently completed a master of music degree in jazz studies from The Juilliard School, studying with trombone icon Steve Turre. He currently is the Director of Jazz Studies at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

June 7 - 14
•  Rodney Jones* – Guitar: Hailed by guitar master George Benson as “a legend among musicians,” Jones continues to push the boundaries of modern jazz guitar playing, while at the same time, working with many notable artists, including Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Ruth Brown and Dizzy Gillespie. He currently is the professor of Jazz Guitar Studies at The Juilliard School.

July 6 - 13
•  Jeremy Viner – Tenor Saxophone: Recently completed his master of music degree at The Juilliard School. Since moving to New York in 2004, Viner has had the honor to work and perform with many popular musicians in the jazz and new classical music communities.
•  Chris Burbank – Trumpet: Since beginning his studies at The Juilliard School, he has been fortunate enough to study with the great Eddie Henderson. Burbank has been honored to share the stage with such jazz icons as Terence Blanchard, Maria Schneider, Benny Green, Mulgrew Miller and Benny Golson.

August 8 - 22
•  Michael Cottone – Trumpet: Recently completed his master of music degree at The Juilliard School in New York City. Cottone’s performance experiences include the Downbeat Award-winning Eastman Jazz Ensemble, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, The Grand Hotel Orchestra on Mackinac Island and the Broadway Production of Hair.
•  Andrew Gutauskas – Alto Saxophone: Attended the Artist Diploma program at The Juilliard School, where he studied with Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra baritone saxophonist, Joe Temperley. During his short but impressive career, Gutauskas has shared the stage with such artists as Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Michael Buble, Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Antonio Hart, Jon Gordon, Tom Harrell, Carl Allen and many others.

September 12 - 19
Juilliard Jazz Faculty Ensemble
•  Eddie Henderson* – Trumpet: Has been on the faculty at The Juilliard School since 2007. Henderson received his first few trumpet lessons at the age of nine from Louis Armstrong and went on to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Eddie first got worldwide recognition for his jazz-trumpet playing from the popular recordings he made with Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi group during the early 1970s.
•  Frank Kimbrough* – Piano: Currently on the Jazz Studies faculty at The Juilliard School and previously taught at The New School University and New York University. Kimbrough has been active on New York’s jazz scene for more than 25 years. He currently is a Palmetto Records artist, with previous recordings as a leader for OmniTone, Soul Note and Mapleshade, and nearly 50 more as a sideman.
•  Ben Wolfe* – Bass: Currently on the teaching faculty at The Juilliard School: Jazz Division. Early on in his career, Wolfe performed with Harry Connick, Jr., the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Diana Krall’s touring band. He recently released his fifth album.
•  Carl Allen* – Drums: Currently Juilliard Jazz Artistic Director. With more than 200 recordings to his credit, Allen is a drummer, sideman, bandleader, entrepreneur and educator. He has toured and recorded with a number of notable artists, including Freddie Hubbard and The Brecker Brothers. His latest release on the Mack Avenue label is “Work to Do” with co-leader, bassist Rodney Whitaker.

October 12 – 19
•  Randall Haywood – Trumpet: Recently received his master of music degree in Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School. At age 15, Haywood joined the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, becoming the youngest member in the prestigious organization. He also has shown his multi-talented skills by performing as a drummer with great artists such as jazz vocalist Nneena Freelon, saxophonist Bill Pierce and pianist/actor Johnnie Oneal.

Queen Mary 2 offers an array of accommodation combining classic Cunard touches with a stylish, refined elegance. The liner's legendary Queens Grill and Princess Grill Suites afford guests spacious five-star accommodation and dedicated single-seating dining in the famed Grills Restaurants, along with a private sun terrace and cocktail and concierge lounges. Guests sailing in Britannia category accommodation enjoy gourmet dining prepared by world-class chefs in the Britannia Restaurant, the liner's grand three-tier dining venue. As an added bonus, guests can experience the culinary creativity of celebrity chef Todd English in the first restaurant at sea bearing his name.

Nights are filled with themed Royal Balls and Galas, where guests can dance the night away to a live orchestra in the Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea. Days are filled with such activities as perusing a vast selection of 8,000 books in the largest library at sea, enjoying traditional afternoon English tea or exploring the cosmos in the only planetarium at sea. Queen Mary 2's Transatlantic Crossings reflect the pinnacle of civility in ocean travel and refinement. The only company offering regularly scheduled Transatlantic liner service, Cunard is sailing 21 crossings in 2010, singularly offering the New Golden Age of Ocean Travel through such unique Cunard experiences as Cunard Insights, the line's award-winning enrichment programme. The Crossings afford guests opportunities for leisurely pursuits, ranging from wellness in the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea to wine tastings with a world-class sommelier.

This year marks the introduction of extended Crossing options. Now, in addition to classic 6-day Crossings between New York and Southampton (UK), a 7-day option also is available. Additionally, extended 7-, 8- and 9-day Crossings are offered to Cherbourg (France) and Hamburg (Germany). To book passage on these very special voyages or on another Transatlantic Crossing aboard Queen Mary 2, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go online to

•  Back to the top of the news list

Silversea Expands Culinary Enrichment Program

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, January 7: Through its exclusive partnership with Relais & Châteaux, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is introducing L'École des Chefs, a new interactive cooking school that will be featured on 11 voyages in 2010. The Relais & Châteaux L'École des Chefs program offers guests a special culinary curriculum and entertaining events hosted by Silversea executive chef David Bilsland. Educated in classic French cooking, Bilsland's career includes several years as a chef instructor at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London. He will present a program developed in collaboration with Jacques Thorel, the owner of L'Auberge Bretonne and a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux.

The curriculum for each of these cruises is carefully designed to celebrate the cultural flavor of the ship's itinerary. Highlights include specialized workshops covering a range of topics from basic knife skills and kitchen terminology to sauces and baking; cooking demonstrations with wine pairings and interactive Q&A sessions; lively cooking competitions between Chef Bilsland and the ship's own culinary team; a "Lunch and Learn" event offering small groups of guests a chance to sample a delicious meal of specially prepared dishes; and inspired "Take It Home" recipes that will give guests an edge when entertaining at home.

Also offered on certain voyages, when the itinerary permits, is a "Market to the Plate" experience that provides an escorted tour of a local market followed by a cooking class, and a "Culinary Outing," an instructor-escorted excursion to a local restaurant, hotel or other venue where guests can enjoy a unique culinary exploration.

"Thanks to our partnership with Relais & Châteaux we're able to offer the exclusive L'École des Chefs program and provide our guests with a top-notch, in-depth cooking class that is also fun and entertaining," said Rudi Scholdis, Silversea's culinary director. "Of course, in addition to this new program, we'll continue to offer our popular Culinary Arts voyages showcasing the artistry of award-winning chefs of top dining establishments from around the world, including the internationally acclaimed chefs of Relais & Châteaux."

Select L'École des Chefs voyages will also feature Silversea's celebrated wine consultant, Lyn Farmer. The James Beard Foundation Award-winning wine and food writer, a passionate advocate of experiencing different cultures by sharing wine and food, will host lectures, conduct tastings and guide guests through wine and food pairings as part of Silversea's Wine Series enrichment program.

Following is a list of the L'École des Chefs voyages for 2010.

AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN: Silver Wind departs Athens November 9 on a 16-day sailing to Dubai with calls in Rhodes, Alexandria, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Aqaba, Safaga and Muscat.

ALASKA & PACIFIC COAST: Silver Shadow departs Los Angeles May 13 on a 12-day sailing to Vancouver with calls in San Francisco, Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria. Guests will also enjoy a Wine Series program hosted by Lyn Farmer.

CARIBBEAN, MEXICO & PANAMA CANAL: Silver Shadow departs Los Angeles March 5 on a 17-day sailing to Fort Lauderdale with a crossing of the Panama Canal and calls in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Puerto Quetzal, Cartagena and Santa Marta. Silver Shadow departs Fort Lauderdale April 28 on a 15-day sailing to Los Angeles with a crossing of the Panama Canal and calls in Santa Marta, Cartagena, Puntarenas, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas. Silver Spirit departs Fort Lauderdale November 22 on a round-trip, 10-day sailing with calls in Grand Turk, Antigua, St. Bart's, St. Kitt's and Spanish Town, B.V.I. Guests will also enjoy a Wine Series program hosted by Lyn Farmer. Silver Spirit departs Fort Lauderdale December 20 on a round-trip, 14-day sailing with calls in Grand Turk, Antigua, Bequia, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Bart's, Spanish Town, B.V.I., and Key West. Guests will also enjoy a Wine Series program hosted by Lyn Farmer.

FAR EAST & SOUTH PACIFIC: Silver Whisper departs Sydney January 18 on an 18-day sailing to Singapore with calls in Brisbane, Whitsunday Islands, Cairns, Thursday Island, Komodo Island, Bali, Semarang and Karimunjawa Archipelago.

MEDITERRANEAN: Silver Wind departs Nice October 20 on a 10-day sailing to Istanbul with calls in Portovenere, Livorno, Sorrento, Taormina, Athens, Santorini and Kusadasi. Guests will also enjoy a Wine Series program hosted by Lyn Farmer.

NORTHERN EUROPE: Silver Cloud departs London June 7 on a 10-day sailing to Stockholm with calls in Rostock, Visby, Tallinn and St. Petersburg (extended three-day, two-night stopover). Guests will also enjoy a Wine Series program hosted by Lyn Farmer.

SOUTH AMERICA: Silver Whisper departs Santiago December 3 on a 16-day Chilean Fjord sailing to Buenos Aires with calls in Puerto Montt, Laguna San Rafael, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, Puerto Madryn and Montevideo. Guests will also enjoy a Wine Series program hosted by Lyn Farmer.

TRANSOCEANIC: Silver Cloud departs San Juan April 14 on a 15-day transatlantic sailing to Barcelona with calls in St. Maarten, Antigua, Tenerife, Las Palmas, Casablanca and Malaga.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its 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 inclusion 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

•  Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises Previews Accommodations Aboard New ‘Marina’ Flagship

Miami, Jan 6: When she debuts in January 2011, Oceania Cruises’ new Marina will offer elegantly appointed and custom-crafted accommodations that are reminiscent of a luxurious private estate. The ship’s 629 staterooms and suites, among the most spacious at sea, are destined to set new cruise industry standards. Standard veranda staterooms on Marina are 282 square feet – the largest standard veranda staterooms in the cruise industry. Both Veranda- and Concierge-level accommodations feature a sitting area and private teak balcony furnished with a chaise lounge, armchair and occasional table.

“Marina is the first-ever vessel purpose-built for the upper-premium segment of the leisure market,” stated Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises’ president. “She is also the first ship we have designed from scratch to deliver the award-winning Oceania Cruises Experience.”

Savor the Suite Life
Penthouse Suites measure an industry-leading 420 square feet with living/dining room separate from the sleeping area, walk-in closet and bathrooms with a double vanity.

Oceania Suites, a new category of accommodations for Oceania Cruises, are 1,030 square feet of luxurious living area. The layout is comprised of a large living and dining area, media room and separate bedroom. As a highlight, a large veranda features a hot tub.

Vista Suites range in size from 1,200 to 1,500 square feet and offer the same features as Oceania Suites but with the added benefit of floor-to-ceiling windows affording sweeping views over the ship’s bow.

Owner’s Suites offer 2,000+ square feet of palatial luxury. Unlike any luxury suites at sea, Marina is the first ship to offer suites completely appointed from furniture and fabrics to lighting and bedding using the acclaimed Ralph Lauren Home collection. New York-based Tocar, Inc. penned a design that exudes a rich, clubby and refined sophistication.

In addition to the standard stateroom amenities, suite guests enjoy the added luxury of Champagne upon arrival, 1,000-thread-count linens, 42” plasma TV, Hermès and Clarins bath amenities, butler service, and en-suite delivery from any of the ship’s restaurants.

Guests Influence Design
Binder, along with Oceania Cruises Founder Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings, sought counsel and direction from past guests and travel agents prior to approving the final design of accommodations. The pair escorted the select group to the Italian shipyard to view full-scale mock-ups of staterooms and suites. There, they had the opportunity to see the layout, sit on the furniture, feel the bed linens, even walk into the stall shower. Suitcases full of clothes were on hand so guests could test whether storage space was sufficient.

According to Del Rio, “The staterooms and suites were universally described as glamorous. Our guests said ‘wow’ the moment they opened the door.” Upon entering they were awed by the upholstered floor-to-ceiling headboard, which serves as a dramatic backdrop for the line’s exclusive Tranquility Beds.

Other stateroom amenities include a flat-panel TV, lap-top computer with wireless access, refrigerated mini bar, security safe, writing desk, plush terry robes, bed slippers, and marble and granite bathroom.

Standard bathrooms on Marina are the largest of any vessel in its class. In fact, Del Rio was resolute that each should have a tub and shower, an industry first among upper-premium cruise ships. Moreover, he tasked the design team to fabricate an oversized vanity with drawers so toiletries can be hidden from view.

Casual Elegance Meets High Style
Oceania Cruises’ new Marina has been purposefully designed to carry 1,258 guests to the world’s most alluring ports in elegance and style. Rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and lustrous leathers adorn public rooms. Facilities include 10 dining venues – six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants, an array of bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

Reservations are scheduled to open in the coming weeks. For more information or to order a brochure, contact a professional travel agent, visit or call toll-free 800-531-5658.

•  Back to the top of the news list

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth Reaches Major Milestone

Jan 6: Special ceremonies at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard near Trieste, Italy, were held yesterday to mark the float out of Cunard’s newest liner, Queen Elizabeth. Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks, was joined by 79-year-old Florence (Dennie) Farmer, who served as guest of honour at the event. Dennie’s husband, Willie Farmer, joined Cunard in September 1938 and served as Chief Engineer on both the first Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth 2 until retirement in October 1979. Since her husband’s passing, Dennie has sailed with Cunard many times and her link with the two previous Queen Elizabeth ships is unparalleled. In recognition of this, Cunard has bestowed Dennie with the honour, in Italian tradition, of being “Madrina” to the third Queen Elizabeth.

The first ceremony involved the welding of significant coins beneath the mast of Queen Elizabeth for good luck. Three coins were chosen – a half crown dated 1938 (the year the first Queen Elizabeth was launched), a sovereign dated 1967 (the year Queen Elizabeth 2 was launched) and a sovereign dated 2010 (to acknowledge the new Queen Elizabeth being floated out in 2010). After the coin ceremony, the focus moved to the dockside, where the liner was blessed and a bottle of Italian prossecco was smashed against the hull by the Madrina. The valves of the dry dock were then opened and the liner met the water for the first time.

“It is only a little over six months since the keel for this great ship was laid. In that short time, a solitary block at the bottom of the dry dock has, as a result of the skill and discipline of the workforce here at Fincantieri, grown into this awe-inspiring vessel,” said Shanks. “Even in her present unfinished state, devoid of the carpets and curtains, furnishings and facilities, paintings and porcelain that we associate with a Cunard luxury liner, she is awesome. Of our 170 years of history, there has been an ‘Elizabeth’ in the fleet for more than 70 and this ship – the second largest Cunarder ever built – will take the name far into the 21st Century.”

Queen Elizabeth will feature many unique Cunard traditions linking her with her sisters, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, and their predecessors. It also will feature all the modern day luxuries Cunard’s guests have come to expect. Additionally, there will be features that will give the vessel her own style and personality.

The first Queen Elizabeth was one of Cunard’s greatest ships, and the new Queen Elizabeth will reflect her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist. From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at an experience that differentiates a Cunard liner from a modern-day cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship’s adherence to liner traditions, with elegant double- and triple-height public rooms on a grand scale, luxuriously endowed with rich wood panelling, intricate mosaics, hand-woven carpets, gleaming chandeliers and cool marbles. Art Deco features will pay homage to the original Queen Elizabeth and will allow the new ship to reflect a more civilized era of travel. As successor to Queen Elizabeth 2, the ship will also reflect this great liner through artwork and memorabilia, and its very own “Yacht Club.” Queen Elizabeth will acknowledge the links that Cunard has enjoyed with royalty and the maritime world over the years with photography, memorabilia and exhibits.

Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden Voyage, now sold out, will depart on Tuesday Oct 12, 2010. This 13-night celebration will leave from the company’s home port in Southampton (UK), and will call at Vigo, Lisbon, Cadiz, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (overnight call) and Funchal.

Her Maiden Season will run from October 2010 to January 2011 and include voyages to the Western and Central Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Queen Elizabeth will depart Southampton on Jan 5, 2011 on her 103-night epic Maiden World Voyage, which has just opened for sale. This tour will feature 35 maiden calls, including Cunard’s first call ever at Port Denarau (Fiji). In total, Queen Elizabeth will call at 38 ports in 23 countries as she makes her way west around the globe, with maiden transits of both the Panama and Suez Canals and calls at Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Lisbon.

Queen Elizabeth will be in great company, as her sisters will be on hand for several Cunard Royal Rendezvous meetings during the voyage: she will sail in tandem en route to New York with Queen Victoria before all three Cunard Queens meet in New York on Jan 13; she will meet Queen Mary 2 in Sydney on Feb 22 and in Civitavecchia on April 13; and she will meet Queen Victoria again in Aruba on Jan 19. For more information about Cunard and to book a voyage aboard Queen Elizabeth, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

•  Back to the top of the news list

New York Chef Nikki Cascone to Sail on Holland America Line’s
 ms Prinsendam March 13

Seattle, Jan. 6: Nikki Cascone, television personality, chef, author and co-owner of Prince 24 Restaurant in New York, is scheduled to sail aboard ms Prinsendam as part of the guest-enrichment program on a 10–day segment of Holland America Line's Grand South America Explorer Voyage. Cascone will board the vessel March 13 in Manaus, Brazil, and sail until March 24, when the voyage ends in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. During Cascone's time on board, the ship will call at Parintins, Brazil; Devil's Island, French Guiana; Bridgetown, Barbados, and Ponce, Puerto Rico. While cruising, Cascone will conduct cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes for guests in the ship's state-of-the-art show kitchen.

Chef Nikki Cascone studied at the School of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Ga., before going on to work at restaurants in the Atlanta area including Bacchanalia Restaurant and Floataway Café with renowned chef Anne Quatrano. Cascone also is a certified sommelier with extensive wine knowledge and a seasoned mixologist, designing both the specialty cocktails and wine lists for several New York restaurants. In 2005, Cascone served as director of food and beverages at Yankee Stadium, overseeing all of the restaurants, clubs and private suites within the venue. In 2007 she was a contestant on Bravo's Emmy-nominated show "Top Chef."

Holland America Line's Culinary Arts Center
Holland America Line's Culinary Arts Center is featured on each of the line's 14 ships. A first-class "show kitchen at sea," the Culinary Arts Centers presented by Food & Wine magazine resemble the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs. The facilities offer demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes aboard every Holland America Line sailing.

Each facility features a theater-style venue, with two large plasma video screens and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn from and interact with the masters. In partnership with Food & Wine magazine, Holland America Line will schedule approximately 60 celebrated chefs and wine experts to sail in 2010. On cruises that do not have a celebrity chef on board, hands-on classes and demonstrations in the show kitchen are scheduled with Holland America Line's own expert chefs.

Holland America Line also offers a youth Culinary Arts Center activity program to teach kids and teens how to cook. The program incorporates dishes from breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in complimentary 45-minute-long classes. Kids under eight years old learn to make theme cookies, fruit roll-ups, ice cream sandwiches, salad people art and scones. Kids eight and over make soft pretzels, granola bars, pita chips and hummus, and saltwater taffy. Teens also can attend adult culinary demonstrations.

For a full schedule of Holland America Line's culinary guest program, visit and click on the Culinary Arts Center tab. For cruise brochures or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

•  Back to the top of the news list

Princess Cruises Rings in Year with Two Wave Season Promotions

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 5: Princess Cruises is ringing in the new year with two ways for passengers to save on this summer’s vacation during the annual “Wave Season” booking period through February 28. Travelers can choose to enjoy their own private balcony for the cost of an oceanview stateroom with the “Balcony Bonanza” promotion, and those planning travel to Alaska can save up to 25 percent on a land and sea cruisetour with the “Denali on Sale” event.

“The beginning of the year is a favorite time for making travel plans, so we’re offering our customers some great reasons to book now,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Denali National Park is a highlight not to be missed on a trip to Alaska, so with the Denali on Sale cruisetour promotion, it’s the perfect time to plan a vacation to the Great Land. And a private balcony adds so much to a cruise, so we’re offering a free upgrade to a balcony with our Balcony Bonanza deal.”

Balcony Bonanza – Passengers will discover just why a balcony stateroom is the only way to travel for many cruisers. For the price of an oceanview stateroom, cruisers can enjoy the fresh air and sweeping ocean vistas of a private balcony on select summer 2010 cruises and cruisetours to Europe, Alaska or the Caribbean. Balcony Bonanza pricing begins at just $899 per person for a 7-day Caribbean sailing, with balconies on a 12-day Europe sailing starting at $2,799.

Denali on Sale – Travelers who book their Alaska vacation with Princess can now can save up to 25 percent off select Alaska cruisetours featuring the state’s spectacular Denali National Park. All Princess cruisetour itineraries include at least two nights in the Denali area, with lodging at Princess’ own wilderness lodges, plus a cruise featuring the dazzling ice of Glacier Bay National Park. The promotion features a variety of 10- to 15-night itineraries, including the popular Direct to the Wilderness rail service, which gets travelers to the wilderness faster, plus options in the Kenai and Copper River areas. Passengers can also take advantage of Princess’ special roundtrip packages that include air from Seattle or Vancouver, and two family cruisetour options with special amenities and tours included just for family groups. Cruisetour fares for a 10-night vacation begin at $1,274 per person.

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

•  Back to the top of the news list

On Disney Cruise Line, Children Customize Their Cruise Experience
 with More Choices than Ever

CELEBRATION, FL, Jan 5: Disney Cruise Line, the leader in family cruising, is once again reinventing onboard children’s experiences. Through an entirely new approach to youth activities, kids can let their imaginations set sail by customizing their cruise vacation. More youth activities than ever before are available and children choose experiences based on interest, not age. Exciting new youth activities and dedicated children’s spaces are available now on the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder and are coming to the Disney Dream beginning with the ship’s maiden voyage in Jan 2011.

“The changes within Disney Cruise Line youth activities will allow children freedom to create a customized experience onboard our ships,” said Disney Cruise Line Vice President of Entertainment Jim Urry. “Children can select their own adventures and immersive experiences for a truly personalized, memorable cruise vacation.”

Customized Experiences
On Disney Cruise Line, children can personalize their cruise vacation by selecting activities and events, regardless of age. Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab are open to children age 3 to 12 on the Disney Wonder and age 3 to 10 on the Disney Magic.

While Disney Cruise Line will continue to recommend activities that appeal to specific maturity levels and ages, the entire menu of offerings is open to every child. With this evolutionary approach to shipboard youth activities, children and parents select programs based on the specific interests of each child to create a customized and very personalized experience. Best of all, children of different ages--siblings, extended family and friends--can participate in youth activities together throughout their cruise.

The majority of children’s events and free-time activities occur within dedicated youth spaces on the ship and on Castaway Cay. As always, Disney Cruise Line youth activities are supervised by specially trained, experienced counselors. Specific program information is available to guests on the day of check-in at the Youth Activities registration desk located in the Disney cruise ship terminal building prior to boarding, or onboard in the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab.

A World of Youth Activities
With more than 100 activities, events and programs, and with all youth activities open to all ages, children have more choices than ever before on Disney Cruise Line.

Many experiences draw inspiration from classic Disney stories and popular Disney characters:
• During the new Cinderella’s Royal Ball, young guests can feel like royalty as Cinderella shows them how to be a prince or princess.
• So You Want to be a Pirate offers adventurous tales of the high seas, pirate training for young buccaneers, swashbuckling fun and a special appearance by Captain Hook.
• Children are immersed in the world of Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story” during Toy Story Boot Camp. Led by Corporal Green, toy recruits participate in interactive activities.

Hands-on activities appeal to children’s sense of creativity and invention:
• The next great celebrity chef could be discovered at Ratatouille Cooking School, where children work together to bake tasty chocolate chip cookies.
• During the new Animal Tracking Series, children discover that conservation can be fun as they learn about endangered animals, create an animal tracking device and locate (plush) cotton-top tamarin monkeys using telemetry tracking on Castaway Cay.
• In Flubber, one of the most popular youth activities on Disney Cruise Line, children join Professor Goo in creating magical green goo and other interesting concoctions.

Other onboard youth activities include playful programs such as Mouseketeer Training and Little Einsteins for preschoolers; challenge-and solution-games like Stitch’s Great Adventure and Detective School with Goofy; high-action group activities such as Kim Possible: Cruise Control and The Challenge of Davy Jones; and unstructured free time to enjoy the youth areas, play on computers and spend time having fun with new friends.

The Most Family-Friendly Cruise
Along with this evolution in youth activities, Disney Cruise Line continues to provide the most family-friendly cruise experience available. While children are enjoying the most extensive youth activity areas at sea, parents can enjoy the ship “worry-free,” thanks to an onboard paging service that allows kids to contact their parents anytime and anywhere on the ship. Plus, Disney Cruise Line has the industry’s longest operating hours for children’s activities, providing greater flexibility for parents and even more fun for kids.

Recently introduced, Dine and Play allows families to enjoy dinner together, then gives kids more time to enjoy youth activities while parents relax at the end of the meal. With Dine and Play, parents may check their children (age 3 to 12) into evening youth activities during second seating in all of the main dining rooms. Families enjoy dinner together, then youth counselors whisk children away to play so the grown-ups can savor some time together in the adult-exclusive areas of the ship.

Disney stage productions, family activities, special events, first-run films in digital 3-D, poolside movies, deck parties, a family club and the Castaway Cay Family Beach provide even more opportunities for families to experience a memorable cruise vacation together.

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

•  Back to the top of the news list

Star Clipper to Return to St. Maarten for Winter 2010

MIAMI, Jan. 5: Star Clipper is slated to return to the Caribbean for the 2010 winter season, sailing 7-night round-trip cruises from St. Maarten to some of the jewels of the Caribbean. Following its summer sailings in the eastern Mediterranean, Star Clipper will reposition to St. Maarten in November 2010. The four-masted tall ship will sail alternating itineraries from St. Maarten to ports where large cruise ships typically don't call. The Leeward Islands itinerary features calls at Nevis, Dominica, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Antigua and St. Barts. The Treasure Islands route offers calls at Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Tortola, Jost van Dyke, St. Kitts and St. Barts.

"This region of the Caribbean has proven very successful with our guests in the past, providing an interesting mix of the colonial heritage of the British, French and Dutch," said Mikael Krafft, owner of Star Clippers. "And St. Maarten has excellent airlift from both the United States and our markets in Europe. Plus, having two ships in the Caribbean provides an opportunity for Royal Clipper and Star Clipper to easily rendezvous off Dominica for tall-ship racing, which is an amazing thrill and was always much appreciated by our guests."

Star Clippers' Panama Canal cruises have always been very popular, with the spring 2010 Star Flyer sailing selling out in record time. "Therefore, we have decided to have Star Clipper sail two Panama Canal cruises in early 2011 season," said Krafft.

For more than a decade Star Clippers has deployed a tall ship to the Far East during winter. The Far East itineraries, featuring Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, have been well received, however, geopolitical conditions not related directly to the destinations themselves have dictated this decision.

"Ensuring the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority, and that is what we have considered in taking this difficult decision," Krafft said. "Due to the rise of piracy in the Strait of Malacca, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and the increasing boldness of the pirates, we believe it is not prudent to transit those areas between our cruising grounds in the Mediterranean and the Far East. The future stability of the region is too unpredictable at this time. It is our sincere hope that the piracy situation can be alleviated, and when that happens, we plan to return to Thailand and Malaysia."

Prices will be published and reservations will open for Star Clipper's upcoming winter Caribbean season in January 2010. For more information or to make a reservation, contact a travel professional, call Star Clippers at (800) 442-0551 or visit to view a video about the line or take a virtual tour of the Star Clippers ships. To request a brochure, call (800) 442-0556.

•  Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line Kicks Off ‘Year of the Freestyle Vacation’
 With A Norwegian Epic Offer

MIAMI, Jan 5: Norwegian Cruise Line ushers in 2010 with a special “Year of the Freestyle Vacation” limited time offer on all new Norwegian Epic bookings made for the next two weeks, now through Jan 17, 2010. The offer includes 50 percent reduced deposits and third through eighth guests in the same stateroom from $249 on the ship’s alternating 7-day cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. In addition to this special two-week offer, guests can also take advantage of Norwegian’s “Year of the Freestyle Vacation” promotion that includes up to a six category upgrade and on-board savings certificates of up to $400 for all new reservations made through March 14, 2010 on any of the line’s 10 Freestyle Cruising ships. More information can be found on Norwegian’s web site.

This summer, kids and their parents can experience innovative Freestyle Family Fun on Norwegian Epic, the line’s largest ship to date. Family-friendly accommodations adjacent to Norwegian’s popular complimentary Kid’s Crew make it easy for both parents and kids to have fun along with an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea, The Epic Plunge; a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; as well as three separate kids' and teen activity areas.

A multitude of varied Freestyle dining and entertainment will keep families busy each evening. The wildly popular Blue Man Group will perform for the first time ever at sea in the ship's Epic Theater. The only “big top” at sea – the Spiegel Tent – will be home to Cirque Dreams and Dinner, a one of a kind interactive theatrical dining experience performed in the air, while juggling dinner courses, with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. During this two-hour show, guests will marvel in amazement and become part of a celebration of spectacle and fantasy. The entire experience will be unlike anything else at sea. Also, Legends in Concert, the original and world’s greatest live tribute show, will be featured for the first time at sea in more than a decade on Norwegian Epic. A staple on Las Vegas’ center strip for the past 25 years, Legends in Concert is known as the pioneer of live tribute shows and has assembled the greatest collection of live tribute artists and celebrity look-alikes in the industry. Norwegian Epic will also be home to Howl at the Moon, the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll dueling piano show that encourages audience participation, and The Second City, the Chicago-based improv comedy troupe which has fostered the careers of many Saturday Night Live comedians.

The first cruise on July 10, 2010 to the Eastern Caribbean includes stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. The Western Caribbean cruise sails to Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico.

The “Year of the Freestyle Vacation” promotion officially launched in mid-December and runs through March 14, 2010 and will include additional bi-weekly promotions through March featuring special offers on select ships and destinations. For more information on Norwegian Cruise Line and to book a cruise, call 866-234-7350, visit or contact a travel professional.

•  Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Offers Free Air on Europe Cruises in 2010

MIAMI, Jan 4: For a limited time, The Yachts of Seabourn is offering complimentary round trip business and economy airfare from 27 North American gateways to 52 European voyages in the summer of 2010. The featured cruises are aboard four of its intimate, all-suite yachts – Seabourn Spirit, Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Odyssey and the new Seabourn Sojourn, slated to debut in June 2010. To qualify, bookings must be made between Jan 4 and Feb 28, 2010.

Special promotional fares, which save up to 50 percent off brochure fares, start from $3,799 per person, based on double occupancy and, during this promotion, include economy or business class air, depending on the suite category booked, plus airport transfers. Guests booking Odyssey and Sojourn voyages will receive free economy class air for suite categories A through V6, and free business class air for PH through GR. On Spirit and Legend, bookings in categories A through B3 include economy class air, and bookings in Classic or Owners Suite categories include business class air.

“This inclusive air promotion makes this the best time ever to book a Seabourn yachting vacation in Europe,” said Pamela Conover, Seabourn’s president & CEO. “It’s also the perfect opportunity to experience the beautiful new Seabourn Sojourn in her maiden season.”

The voyages span the entire European cruising season between May and Sept 2010, departing from Istanbul, Rome, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Venice, Athens, London and Copenhagen. Cruises of 7- to 12-days explore the French and Italian Rivieras, Spain, the Adriatic and Dalmatian coasts, the Greek Isles and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the Baltic, Russia, Scandinavia and the Scottish coast.

The complimentary air offer is subject to space availability. Certain restrictions apply. For more information or to make a reservation, contact a professional travel agent, visit, or call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391.

•  Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines Launches New TV Advertising Campaign

MIAMI, Jan 4: Carnival Cruise Lines debuts a new television advertising campaign today featuring three new spots that speak to the unique kind of genuine, participatory fun unleashed on a Carnival cruise. The new commercials retain the brand’s existing “Fun For All. All For Fun” tagline. Each spot features the song “Bang the Drum” by Todd Rundgren.

Additionally, Carnival will be the exclusive cruise line advertiser during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games with the new spots running throughout 17 days of the Olympic broadcast period on the NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and USA networks. Carnival will also be the exclusive sponsor of the athletes’ section on, featuring custom videos of the Olympic competitors.

The first TV spot showcases the fun of a Carnival cruise through the eyes of a teenager who watches as her father leaves his email, computer and cell phone behind, getting lost in the joys of dancing, poolside shenanigans and family fun, Carnival-style.

Another spot, “Gangway,” captures the moment of transformation that happens to a Carnival guest when he/she crosses the bridge and goes from land to sea, leaving the everyday worries and routine of today back onshore.

“Everybody In” celebrates the one-armed photo--that photo everyone wants to be in, so someone ends up holding the camera with one arm while posing with the group--all with the goal of highlighting the feeling of fun that is true to the Carnival experience.

“The new work does a great job of portraying the social and participatory nature of the Carnival vacation experience, capturing those moments that make our cruises so uniquely memorable and enjoyable for our guests,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines.

“We leveraged truisms about the brand and about our Carnival loyalists to communicate moments that capture quintessential Carnival fun,” said Pete Favat, chief creative officer at Arnold Worldwide, which produced the commercials. “People who want to have pure fun on a vacation will see themselves in the work, and that connection should help propel interest.”

•  Back to the top of the news list

Cruise News Archive - Past cruise news items listed by month

More from

Articles & Advice

Cruise Reviews

Cruise Line Profiles

CLICK HERE TO ORDER - Fodor's The Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises
Order My
Latest Book

Don't Miss!
Cruises Guide & Cruise Forum

Back to the top of  this page

            Use keywords to search...

Search Search the Internet