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 © 1995-2009
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
December 1-31, 2009

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

Seven Seas Navigator Emerges From Refit

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Dec 29: Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 490-guest Seven Seas Navigator debuted in Port Everglades yesterday fresh from a comprehensive, stem-to-stern 50-day transformation. Considered one of the most luxurious ships afloat, the intimate, all-suite vessel sports a sophisticated new décor, with rich fabrics and furnishings, much like those found in an elegant estate home.

“The makeover of Seven Seas Navigator gives the ship a stunning new look and feel,” stated Mark Conroy, the line’s president. “Along with the new Canyon Ranch SpaClub, I’m sure our loyal repeat guests will love the new dining options, including La Veranda, Prime 7 and the Patio Grill, as well as the redecorated main dining room.”

Highlights at a Glance:

· Prime 7, a new restaurant, features a rich palette of green and gold, with supple leather seating, granite and burnished woods. The menu features prime-aged steaks and chops as well as poultry and fresh seafood.
· Compass Rose, the ship’s main dining room, has undergone a dramatic update with new window treatments, carpets and plush cranberry and camel armchairs. New signature china, silver and glassware complete the redesign.
· La Veranda, with both indoor and al fresco seating, replaced Portofino’s restaurant. New furniture, carpeting and draperies create an elegant ambiance. Food stations have been redesigned and enhanced for guests to enjoy lavish breakfast and lunch buffets. In the evening diners select from a menu of regionally themed specialties.
· A new Pool Grill features a hot and cold buffet, panini sandwich station and coffee and dessert area in addition to a state-of-the-art barbecue grill. The Pool Bar, at the other end of the pool deck, was expanded and enhanced with a new ice cream station, fully equipped with machines for milkshakes and frappes.
· Stars Lounge received a masterful makeover. A ruby-red carpet running the length of the entryway sets the stage for this glamorous club with furnishings that exude a classic Hollywood elegance.
· Galileo’s sports bold new interiors, window coverings and a sleek new bar area. An outdoor lounge has been added with stylish sofas and chaises overlooking the sea.
· Navigator Lounge features rich hues of cappuccino, camel and navy accented by apple-green. The card room and library were redecorated and all public spaces throughout the ship were refreshed.

Canyon Ranch SpaClub: Last, but certainly not least, the former health club and an observation lounge have been transformed into the ship’s new Canyon Ranch SpaClub. The serene and stylish wellness center has body and skin-care, massage and thalassotherapy treatment rooms, including a couples’ suite. Added is an aerobics studio and new gymnasium with cardio and strength-training machines, both affording forward-facing, panoramic ocean views. Locker rooms, including his and hers sauna and steam rooms, have been updated as has the full-service beauty salon, which features new wood cabinetry and granite accents. A juice bar and relaxation lounge are additional SpaClub amenities.

Seven Seas Navigator will operate 7- to 11-night cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America this winter, followed by a summer series of seven-night Alaska cruises between Vancouver and Anchorage. Upon completion of the Alaska season, the ship embarks on a 96-night Grand Asia Pacific cruise.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world’s only cruise line that includes award-winning service, acclaimed cuisine, premium spirits and fine wine, gratuities and sightseeing excursions in every port for the ultimate ultra-luxury vacation. A fleet of perennially praised and elegantly appointed, all-suite ships operate seven- to 119-night voyages to more than 300 destinations worldwide.
To receive a brochure or for more information on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, see a professional travel agent, visit, or call 800-285-1835.

· Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Cruises Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Billecart-Salmon Bubbly

LOS ANGELES, Dec 29: In celebration of its 20-year milestone, Crystal Cruises has partnered with renowned Champagne maker Billecart-Salmon to create a commemorative bubbly especially for the line's 20th Anniversary in 2010. Available only in 2010, and only on Crystal Cruises, the Brut Reserve is a light blend aged in the Billecart-Salmon House's traditional cellars. Crafted from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from three different years, and sourced from the best sites in France's Champagne region, the special cuvee for Crystal Cruises boasts a mature floral aroma with hints of fresh fruit and ripe pears.

"Our guests are savvy travelers with sophisticated palates, who appreciate exclusive, fine details like this," says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food and beverage operations. "Billecart-Salmon shares the well-deserved reputation for excellence and sophistication that Crystal enjoys, and we are thrilled to introduce this extraordinary vintage for such a special occasion for Crystal Cruises."

The Champagne will certainly play a key role in the many celebrations aboard Crystal's award-winning ships in 2010. Every voyage will feature 20th Anniversary themed cocktail parties and Vintage Room experiences with wines from 1990, and select cruises commemorating inaugural dates in the line's history will feature special dinners with original wine prices, among other festivities.
For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

· Back to the top of the news list

Silversea's New Silver Spirit Welcomes Guests For Maiden Voyage

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Dec 23: Silversea Cruises' newest ultra-luxury ship, Silver Spirit, today welcomed guests aboard its maiden voyage, an 11-day "Holiday Spirit" cruise departing from Barcelona tomorrow and concluding in Lisbon after visiting Malaga, Gibraltar, Cadiz, Casablanca and Tangier.

"The delivery of Silver Spirit is an important milestone for our company and represents our commitment to the development of the Silversea brand," said Amerigo Perasso, Silversea's president and chief executive officer. With her Art Deco touches lending a timeless elegance, this new flagship of our fleet represents an important evolution in the design of our vessels. As guests step aboard Silver Spirit today, they will find a ship that continues our legacy of innovation, offering all our signature luxury amenities, plus more space, more dining options, and more unique features. Although Silver Spirit is larger than her sister ships, she has the same intimate feel, relaxed ambiance, and sense of camaraderie so treasured by our international clientele. I'm sure guests sailing on this maiden voyage, many of whom are repeat guests of Silversea, will feel right at home."

Perasso added, "We have heavily invested over the past few years in expanding and upgrading the fleet, a strategic decision that has helped us achieve record bookings this year. Silversea will close 2009 with more than 70% of next year's revenue plan already in the books. I wish to express my deep gratitude to the entire team of professionals that contributed to the development of Silver Spirit, including those on Silversea's side, the teams at Fincantieri and V. Ships, and of course, the ship's architect, Giacomo Mortola. Most of all, I am grateful to our shareholders for their continued support."

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 décor 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, 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 a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

· Back to the top of the news list

Costa Group Invests 66 Million Euros in Fleet Ships

MIAMI, FL, Dec 23: Costa, the largest Italian tourism group and Europe’s number one cruise company, entered four ships in dry docks for routine and extraordinary maintenance between December and November. The investment totaled approximately €66 million.

The most significant investment, worth approximately €55 million, is being carried out on Iberocruceros’Grand Holiday in the S. Giorgio shipyards in the port of Genoa from December 2009 through April 2010. These operations entail a radical restyling of the ship that previously operated for Carnival Cruise Lines as the “Holiday.” The ship will enter service with the Iberocruceros brand in May 2010. The objective is to adapt the ship to the quality standards of the Spanish clientele for which it will operate. In addition to completely restyling the cabins and public areas, four new suites with balconies as well as a new wellness center will be built. The hull will be painted with a special silicone-based ecological paint that reduces the formation of micro-organisms on the hull without releasing toxic substances into the sea. This increases the vessel’s hydrodynamic performance while reducing its environmental impact given reduced fuel consumption. At the end of the refurbishment, the Grand Holiday will be the fourth ship of the Iberocruceros fleet. The first cruise will depart from Barcelona on May 18, 2010, with destinations including Villefranche-sur-Mer, Leghorn, Civitavecchia and Porto Torres. For the entire summer season, the ship will sail seven-day cruises in the western Mediterranean. Departing from Barcelona on Sundays, the ship will call on Villefranche-sur-Mer, Leghorn, Civitavecchia, Naples and La Goulette.

In addition to the Grand Holiday, three ships belonging to the Costa Cruises brand recently completed dry docks: the Costa Magica (Nov 4-18) and the Costa Mediterranea (Nov 21-Dec 5) in Palermo and the Costa Marina (Nov 4-18) in Genoa.

The Costa Mediterranea, Costa Magica and Costa Marina underwent routine maintenance, operations that the Italian company carries out every two years to maintain its fleet’s high quality standards and to comply with Italian and international safety norms. The maintenance involved the hull and engine as well as the hotel section of the ships. In the hotel area, carpeting, curtains, fabrics and other objects and materials subject to wear and tear were replaced in the public areas and in cabins. For the hull and engine, the largest amount of maintenance entailed cleaning and painting the hull. Inverter devices that optimize conditioning system operation while reducing fuel consumption and subsequent CO2 emissions, were installed in the engine room of the Costa Magica. These were already successfully tested on two other ships.

For more than 60 years Costa's ships have sailed the seas of the world, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine and providing dream vacations filled with fun and relaxation. In 2008, 1.2 million guests chose to cruise with Costa, a record for the European cruise industry. The company’s 14 fleet members, each with her own distinctive characteristics and unique style, all fly the Italian flag and sail each year to 250 destinations in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, South America, the United Arab Emirates, the Far East and the Indian Ocean. Three more new ships are due to enter service by 2012. Costa Crociere S.p.A. is a member of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company.

· Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Announces Allure of the Seas Financing

MIAMI, Dec. 22: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced yesterday that it has arranged commitments for unsecured financing in the amount of up to USD 1,130,000,000 or 80 percent of the contract price of Royal Caribbean International's Allure of the Seas.

The facility will be 95 percent guaranteed by Finnvera, the official export credit agency of Finland, and amortizes over 12 years. BNP Paribas, Citi, Nordea Bank and SEB have each committed to provide 25 percent of the financing and each has a seven year put option. The company has an option of a floating or fixed rate of interest. The commitments are subject only to customary closing conditions.

· Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Celebrates Winter Solstice by Revealing Name of Fourth Ship
in Award-Winning Solstice Class

MIAMI, Dec 21: The word “silhouette” conjures up images of light and shadow, and sleek profiles in the world of design and fashion, so it’s fitting that Celebrity Cruises has named the fourth ship in its stylish Solstice Class fleet Celebrity Silhouette. And what better date to announce it than on winter solstice?

Like its widely acclaimed sister ships – Celebrity Solstice, which was named “Best Premium Ship” and “Best Rookie Ship” in Travel Weekly’s annual awards gala just last week; Celebrity Equinox, which set sail in July 2009; and Celebrity Eclipse, which will enter service in April 2010 – the 122,000-ton Celebrity Silhouette will offer the series of brand-defining, industry-first attributes that guests, travel agents and press have praised about Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox, including a half-acre Lawn Club with real grass, a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass, unrivaled dining venues offering trendsetting cuisine and design, and widely varied entertainment. Like its sisters, the 2,850-guest Celebrity Silhouette will have larger staterooms – 90 percent outside, and 85 percent with verandas – and spacious bathrooms, as well as several categories of accommodations, including Celebrity’s ConciergeClass and spa-inspired AquaClass staterooms.

“Countless guests and travel partners have asked us to reveal the ship’s name over the past few months, which is yet another indicator of the widespread interest in these stunningly designed ships,” said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. “The enormous response to our unique new sweepstakes is a powerful indicator, too.”

Cruise lovers interested in being among the very first to see Celebrity Silhouette while under construction in Germany actually have a chance. By entering Celebrity’s “Eclipse of a Lifetime” sweepstakes, running through Jan 14, 2010, 10 winners and their guests will be the first individuals outside of the line’s employees to board Celebrity Eclipse when it sets sail for the very first time; the first to have exclusive, up-close-and-personal views of the construction process of Celebrity Silhouette at Meyer Werft, one of the most modern shipyards in the world; first to be led and hosted throughout Celebrity Eclipse by Celebrity's President and CEO Dan Hanrahan; first to nestle into the ship’s AquaClass staterooms; first to sample the ship's innovative cuisine created by the line’s VP of Culinary Operations and Chef Jacques Van Staden, and the first to have the chance to interact with the ship’s senior officers.

To enter, visit the Celebrity web site, at and click the “Eclipse of a Lifetime” tab to access the entry form and sweepstakes rules. Or, click The sweepstakes runs through Jan 14, 2010. Winners will be announced Jan 28, 2010. This sweepstakes is open only to residents of the US and Canada. See Official Rules on the site for complete information. For more information about Celebrity Cruises, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

· Back to the top of the news list

Set Sail For Elvis' 75th Birthday

Atlanta, Dec 20: Elvis Presley Enterprises and Sixthman proudly announce The Elvis Cruise 2010, sailing Nov 4 through Nov 8, 2010, on the Carnival Fascination from Jacksonville, Florida, to beautiful Nassau, Bahamas. Similar to the most recent 2009 Elvis Cruise, the voyage will feature the best performers and personalities from the Elvis Presley world, as well as non-stop Elvis-themed activities.

The Elvis Cruise 2010 is part of Graceland's yearlong celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Elvis' birthday. Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley will be part of Elvis Presley's Birthday Celebration in Memphis on January 7-19 and other highlights during the year include the launch of Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, special exhibits at Graceland, Elvis Week 2010 and more.

The Elvis Cruise 2009, which sailed in November, was the first partnership between Sixthman and Elvis Presley Enterprises. The voyage featured live performances by Elvis' band mates, friends, and Elvis tribute artists; additionally, stars and others who worked with the King of Rock 'n' Roll reminisced during informative panels. Seventy-five cruisers were invited to participate in Sunday morning's gospel show choir, and on Monday morning, guests debarked with nothing but positive feedback for the event.

Hosted once again by Jerry Schilling, The Elvis Cruise 2010 features Elvis-themed entertainment, parties and activities, including music and presentations by those who knew and performed with Elvis himself. Elvis' Imperials, Joe Guercio, The Memphis Boys with Bobo Moreno, Terry Mike Jeffrey, Andy Childs, and Larry Geller are just some of the artists scheduled to perform. Also, no Elvis Cruise would be complete without Elvis Tribute Artists: we will be joined by some of the most renowned in the world, including Mark Anthony, Brandon Bennett, Bill Cherry, Victor Trevino, and more. Supporting these entertainers once again will be The EAS Band. DJ Argo will also be featured, and more musicians, special guests and tribute artists will be announced soon. Elvis fans can purchase cabins on The Elvis Cruise 2010 beginning December 21, 2009 by visiting

· Back to the top of the news list

Rotterdam Latest Holland America Ship to Receive
Signature of Excellence Enhancements

Seattle, WA, Dec 18: When ms Rotterdam sailed from Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, Dec 16th, guests enjoyed many new Signature of Excellence enhancements and amenities just completed in a 28-day drydock in Freeport, Bahamas. Rotterdam received the trendy Mix lounge, innovative Retreat Pool, classy Showroom at Sea and the addition of the industry’s only Lanai staterooms. Every stateroom now features a fresh new cabin and bathroom design as well.

“Rotterdam looks spectacular,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “The enhancements are going to impress our guests and engage them in exciting, new ways. This continued investment reaffirms our commitment to our fleet of mid-sized ships and our ongoing leadership in the premium category by continually raising the bar in terms of products and services.”

Signature of Excellence upgrades began with new fixtures and soft goods in staterooms and bathrooms. New Lanai accommodations were added along with several additional staterooms on the aft portion of each ship. Additional highlights feature a resort pool called The Retreat, the Showroom at Sea, Canaletto Italian restaurant and the new Mix lounge midship.

The most visible and engaging alteration is to the aft of Rotterdam, allowing for a new resort-style pool area on Lido deck called The Retreat. With a shallow area where guests may lounge in chairs and dip their toes in the water, the new pool invites guests to relax and enjoy a new pool bar, an upscale pizzeria called Slice, and a giant LED screen for evening movies. A new canopy and wind screens provide additional covered seating for the Lido Restaurant, too. In the Lido restaurant, Canaletto comes to life for dinner when a section is transformed each evening into the complimentary specialty restaurant with glass partitions and an Italian ambiance. Dishes range from putanesca to penne alla vodka. Although reservations are encouraged for this casual dining venue, walk-ups will be accepted. Canaletto is open for dinner from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

The latest Signature of Excellence enhancements include several other public areas. Notably, the Casino and Piano bars were reconfigured into a multi-themed area called Mix with three separate bars—Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales—serving their namesakes. Next door, the high-energy casino was redesigned and the main show lounge was transformed into the Showroom at Sea with the ambiance of a glamorous nightclub and a new slate of shows. Carpets were replaced in most public areas and an upscale luxury jewelry shop called Merabella also was added midship.

All staterooms received new décor, carpeting and soft goods and bathrooms saw an “extreme” makeover with new vanities and cabinetry. Rotterdam now has an additional 44 staterooms with additional verandah, new Lanai and inside availability. On Rotterdam, 23 staterooms near the spa (on Verandah deck) will become “spa staterooms” featuring a variety of enhanced spa amenities. On Lower Promenade Deck, 39 new Lanai staterooms will be created by replacing existing windows with lanai doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade, and adding a few additional rooms in this category.

Three additional ships are scheduled for enhancements: ms Maasdam, ms Ryndam and ms Statendam will receive Signature of Excellence enhancements beginning in early 2010. ms Veendam received all enhancements last April. Future enhancements will be completed in two phases. First, in a series of drydocks in 2010 and 2011, the three additional ships will receive the addition of Mix, Showroom at Sea, Canaletto and other public area enhancements, and stateroom upgrades. The second series of drydocks in 2012 and 2013 will add The Retreat and new staterooms on the aft portion of the ships, as well as forward verandah and spa staterooms.

The industry-leading Signature of Excellence initiative announced nearly five years ago in November 2003 has evolved into an ongoing and comprehensive review of every aspect of the Holland America Line experience and exceeds $525 million. Signature of Excellence features and amenities are evident in every aspect of the Holland America Line cruise experience, offering guests more luxurious accommodations, more enticing destinations, enhanced dining experiences, more creative activities and even higher levels of service. 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

Norwegian Surprises Ellen DeGeneres Show Audience With
 7-day Freestyle Cruise Giveaway

MIAMI, Dec 17: Norwegian Cruise Line spread holiday cheer by taking part in The Ellen DeGeneres show’s 12 Days of Giveaways with a huge surprise for the entire audience: a 7-day Freestyle Cruising vacation for two. Airing today, Dec 17 on day 11 of the 12-day series on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the cruise giveaway to more than 300 in-studio audience members was also in celebration of Norwegian declaring 2010 as “The Year of the Freestyle Vacation.” The audience cheered and jumped up from their seats as Ellen announced that they would all receive a cruise for two aboard Norwegian Cruise Line while four ship officers distributed the bright yellow cruise packets to the audience. A video clip of the giveaway can be seen at

“We are thrilled to present Ellen’s audience members with a cruise on one of our signature Freestyle Cruising vessels as part of our ‘Year of the Freestyle Vacation’ promotion,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Ellen is one of the funniest, most engaging personalities on television today. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate 2010 as the year to take a Freestyle vacation than by giving away cruises to Ellen’s entire audience so that they can experience Norwegian’s signature Freestyle Cruising for themselves.”

With Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian provides a more flexible cruising experience, so guests have the freedom to enjoy their cruise with a variety of choices. Sailing to destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, Bermuda and Mexican Riviera, Norwegian Cruise Line offers up to 20 dining options, luxury accommodations, incredible nightlife, and a variety of family activities, including the only bowling alleys, first rappelling wall and largest bowl slide at sea. The company is preparing to welcome its largest, most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date, Norwegian Epic, next summer.

Norwegian is offering at-home viewers the opportunity to book a Freestyle vacation similar to the one provided to Ellen’s audience. For more information and to book a Freestyle vacation, fans of the Ellen show should visit

Norwegian’s “Year of the Freestyle Vacation” promotion offers up to a six-category upgrade and on-board savings certificates of up to $400 for bookings from now until March 14, 2010 on any of the line’s 10 Freestyle Cruising ships. In addition, bi-weekly promotions will feature special offers on select ships and destinations. The first offer from Jan 4-17, 2010 includes reduced deposits and kids from $249 for bookings on Norwegian Epic’s 7-day cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

For further information on Norwegian Cruise Line, visit www.ncl.comor call in the U.S. and Canada at 866-234-7350.

· Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises' Marina to Feature Lalique Grand Stairway

Miami, Dec 17: Oceania Cruises has commissioned Lalique, the fabled French artists of jewelry and crystal to design a grand stairway for the reception area of its new Marina, currently under construction in Italy. The stunning Lalique Grand Staircase will feature double curved staircases and balcony with balustrades of crystal medallions and scrolled iron. Six crystal pillars rising from the landing adorn the two-story, glass elevator surround. A brass banister is complemented by a mahogany handrail. At the base – as a dramatic centerpiece – is Lalique’s highly prestigious Cactus table surrounded by etched crystal screens and flanked by newels capped with prominent crystal finials. An exquisite and striking Lalique vase, with fresh flower display, will sit atop the table.

“The Grand Staircase is an icon aboard all the ships of Oceania Cruises and a signature element of our brand. It is only fitting that Marina, being the design masterpiece that she is, will welcome her guests with this magnificent two-story display of the world’s finest artistry and craftsmanship,” stated Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises.

Lalique sculptures and crystal accessories will also be displayed throughout the ship as part of Marina’s multi-million dollar art collection. “We have designed Marina with the same superior craftsmanship and finite attention to detail that you would find in the finest designer homes and Lalique has been a fixture of timeless, elegant design for over a century,” added Binder.

The 1,258-guest Marina has been purposefully designed to carry discerning travelers to the world’s most alluring ports in elegance and style. Crystal, rich woods, marble and granite, 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, outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs. Oceania Cruises previously announced that its palatial Owner’s Suites would be furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home. Additional design elements will be unveiled over the next month.

Inaugural itineraries for Marina will be revealed in the coming weeks. Reservations open in Jan 2010. For more information or to order a brochure, contact a travel agent, visit, or call Oceania Cruises toll-free at 800-531-5658.

· Back to the top of the news list

Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria Sets Sail for San Francisco Maiden Call

Dec 17: Cunard Line’s youngest ship, Queen Victoria, will be making her maiden call to San Francisco on 27 Jan 2010, marking her only U.S. inaugural call in the next year. Queen Victoria will stop in the City by the Bay as part of the first segment of her 2010 World Voyage, before continuing across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii.

“We were elated by the welcome our flagship Queen Mary 2 received from San Franciscans in 2007, and have been eagerly anticipating Queen Victoria’s arrival to this illustrious city since the ship entered service,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “We look forward to a warm welcome during this historic port of call.”

Many well-wishers and maritime enthusiasts are expected to view Queen Victoria when she arrives at the famous Embarcadero at approximately 6:30 a.m. at pier P35 South, and upon her departure later that evening at 6:00pm. The ship’s arrival can be seen from several excellent viewing locations including: the Golden Gate Bridge, vista points on both north and south sides of the bridge, Pier 45 and Pier 39, Fort Mason, Aquatic Park and Crissy Field.

2010 will mark Queen Victoria’s third full year in service with a traditional 99-day westbound circumnavigation of the globe from New York to Southampton, featuring three convenient U.S. embarkation points. The ship sails from New York on 12 Jan, embarking guests in Ft. Lauderdale on 15 Jan and in San Francisco on 27 Jan. Highlights of Queen Victoria’s third World Voyage include three overnight calls in Sydney, Hong Kong and Dubai, as well as 10 additional maiden calls. The ship will traverse the Panama and Suez Canals, visiting 41 ports including Acapulco, Melbourne, Shanghai, San Francisco, Cartagena, Phuket and Sharm El Sheikh. Guests have the option of adding a seven-day Transatlantic extension from Southampton to New York aboard Queen Mary 2 for a full 106-day circumnavigation.

Designed in grand Cunard tradition, Queen Victoria is the second largest Cunarder ever built, weighing in at 90,000 tons. Having debuted in December 2007, she captured the world stage in a way few ships ever do – becoming one of the most fêted ships to be introduced in recent years and quickly establishing herself in the Cunard fleet. Every inch of the 2,000 passenger liner is infused with a sense of luxury and tradition, from the Royal Court Theatre, which includes the first private viewing boxes at sea, to the signature two-storey library with a spiral staircase and nearly 6,000 volumes.

Queen Victoria features double- and triple-height public rooms that evoke the rich and well-recorded history of ocean liner and Victorian era design. Most distinctive of all, of course, is the line’s legendary White Star Service™ for which Cunard is renowned. Onboard, guests revel in the luxury of time, experiencing such Cunard hallmarks as traditional afternoon tea served by white-gloved waiters, an engaging variety of intellectual and stimulating pursuits, including fencing, and extraordinary dining rivaling the finest restaurants in the world.

For more information about Queen Victoria or to book a voyage, consult your travel professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

· Back to the top of the news list

Kids Sail Free on Select Crystal Symphony Summer Voyages

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 16: Crystal Cruises invites kids 17 and under to cruise for free on two Crystal Symphony European voyages this summer. The new offer, valid for children sailing in a third berth with two full-fare adults, is available for Crystal Symphony's seven-day British Isles and Baltic itineraries:

 -- June 14, Roundtrip London - The "Ballads of Britain" cruise includes calls at London, England; Guernsey/St. Peter Port, Channel Islands; Waterford, Dublin and Belfast, Ireland; and Liverpool, England.
 -- August 7, Copenhagen to Stockholm - The "Russian Inspiration" voyage visits Copenhagen, Denmark; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia (two nights); and Stockholm, Sweden.

Junior Activities Directors will be on board to oversee dozens of organized activities from arts and crafts and story time for little ones to disco-themed pool parties for older kids and teenagers. As with all summer and holiday cruises, Crystal's Northern European summer voyages also feature destination-related enrichment for junior cruisers, like "dress-up" photo sessions in traditional Russian costumes, or scavenger hunts promoting fun facts about Stockholm.

Crystal's purpose-built Fantasia and Waves children's and teens' facilities, rare in luxury cruising, also feature events and top video games and toys. Also ideal for families, Crystal's Family Memories program offers two savings options: $500 credit toward a Crystal Private Adventure, kids under 17 sail free in third berth, plus other perks for six full-fare bookings; all of this, plus one complimentary berth for 10 full-fare bookings.

"We continue to see a growing number of multigenerational families and groups traveling together, particularly in the summer months in Europe," says Bill Smith, senior vice president, sales and marketing. "Combined with our collection of 2010 promotions, this offer makes an already tremendous value even sweeter for families." For more information or Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

· Back to the top of the news list

AARP Selects MSC Cruises as a Preferred Cruise Line

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16: AARP and MSC Cruises today announced a new relationship giving AARP's nearly 40 million members access to a discount and other great benefits on Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern European and transatlantic cruises. Exclusive pricing reflects a $50 per person/$100 per stateroom discount off the price of MSC Cruises' Early Booking rates and up to a two-category upgrade. AARP member rates and upgrades can be combined with MSC's Kids Sail Free promotion (kids traveling with two adults in same stateroom pay only government fees and taxes, as applicable). Member benefits also include a reduced deposit rate of $100 per person and special pricing for members traveling solo.

"Family travel is on the rise, as is the popularity of multi-generational cruises like grandparents cruising with their children and grandchildren," said Tim Fitzgerald, senior director of the AARP Travel Program, a member benefit program managed by AARP Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AARP. "We are pleased to make available to our members a discount that not only fits older Americans' active lifestyles, but also offers the flexibility to bring younger family members along."

"We're in the business of creating memories, and MSC Cruises has provided more than a million guests with the experience of a lifetime on board our ships," said Richard E. Sasso, President and Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc. "We look forward to the opportunity to reach even more guests through this relationship with AARP."

To celebrate the new relationship, MSC Cruises is making a special offer available to AARP members. The offer is valid for new bookings made through January 31, 2010 and includes additional savings on balcony staterooms with up to a five-category upgrade on select sailings to various ports in the Eastern and Western Caribbean, Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Certain restrictions apply. To take advantage of these offers, AARP members can call their preferred travel agent or MSC Cruises at 1.800.666.9333.
MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family owned and operated cruise line offering more than 125 itineraries including exotic destinations worldwide.

· Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line Launches Annual View & Verandah Sale

SEATTLE, Dec. 16: Holland America Line has launched its annual View and Verandah Sale that features extraordinary fares on ocean-view and verandah staterooms for hundreds of departures in the coming year. Cruisers can enjoy savings of up to 45 percent off ocean-view and verandah accommodations. Cruisers also enjoy reduced deposits, third and fourth guest savings, and 25 percent savings on select hotels for pre- or post-cruise stays. Fares for the View and Verandah Sale start at $499 for 7-day Alaska cruises, $599 for 7-day Caribbean sailings, and $1,199 for 12-day Europe and Panama Canal voyages.

"Cruising provides the best vacation value today," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest relations. "Holland America Line already stands out for providing a premium vacation and now is the best time to book with these great cruise fares."

Holland America Line Sails to All Seven Continents
Holland America Line's fleet of 14 ships offers nearly 500 cruises to 320 ports in more than 100 countries. Two- to 108-day itineraries visit all seven continents and highlights include Antarctica, South America, Australia/New Zealand and Asia voyages, a Grand World Voyage, and popular sailings to ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Canada/New England, Europe and Panama Canal. A 15th ship, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, is scheduled to join the fleet on July 4, 2010.

The fleet features more than $525 million in Signature of Excellence enhancements that showcase new staterooms and public areas on Statendam- and Rotterdam-class ships. Highlights also include the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes, Explorations Cafe powered by The New York Times, teens-only activity areas and all new stateroom amenities of flat-panel televisions and plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Beds.

For more information on Holland America Line's View and Verandah Sale promotion, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

· Back to the top of the news list

A Holiday Gift from the Heart: Romantic Getaway on MSC Poesia for
“Valentine’s Day” Caribbean Cruise

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Dec: ‘Tis the Season to be giving and there’s still time to buy a romantic getaway for you and your sweetheart this holiday season onboard MSC Poesia for her February 13, 7-night Caribbean Cruise. Cruise the “Island Treasures and Ancient Temples” of the Caribbean calling in Key West, Playa Del Carmen, Georgetown, Montego Bay, and Nassau from Ft. Lauderdale, Feb 13-20.

Rates for this gift from the heart begin at $499 and include chocolate-covered strawberries. Ask for the “Valentine’s Day” special when booking. To make the most of this romantic getaway, special services such as champagne en-suite can be pre-booked. Relaxing and sensual couples massage and other sensual spa pleasures for love birds can be combined into spa packages and pre-arranged as well. Couples on MSC Cruises ships will find romance at every turn, from elegant Italian ambiance and white glove service, evenings filled with dancing and live entertainment throughout the ship, seven-course gourmet cuisine and even breakfast served on the private veranda of their stateroom or suite.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit us online at or contact a local travel professional.

· Back to the top of the news list

Adventures by Disney & Disney Cruise Line® Come Together
 to Create the Ultimate Mediterranean Vacation for Summer 2010

BURBANK, CA, Dec. 16: Adventures by Disney, named the World's Best Luxury Tour Operator by the 2009 World Travel Awards, and Disney Cruise Line announced today a special add-on option for a series of Mediterranean cruises in 2010 that will combine the best of both Disney vacations to create a one-of-a-kind family vacation experience at sea and on shore. Featuring Adventures by Disney's expertise in guided travel across the world and the magic of a Disney Cruise Line voyage, guests participating in this new vacation offering can enjoy onboard activities and unique shore experiences that immerse each member of the family in the cultures and sights of this European region. This limited-time product offering may be booked now for 10- and 11-night Disney Cruise Line Mediterranean vacations on the following departure dates: May 5, 15, 26; Aug 7, 18, 28 and Sept 8.

"This new product brings the best of both Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise Line to families interested in the ultimate Mediterranean experience," said Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line & New Vacation Operations. "Visiting some of Europe's most captivating destinations, the trip is designed to ensure that the guest's only agenda is to soak up the culture, relax and have fun in the Mediterranean."

A Mediterranean Adventure, On Land & By Sea
Adventures by Disney now brings the history and wonder of the world's best destinations to families taking a Disney Cruise Line Mediterranean voyage. The first-time add-on package combines Adventures by Disney's highly-trained Adventure Guides and incomparable itineraries designed specifically for families with the unparalleled Disney Cruise Line experience at sea. Leveraging Adventures by Disney's signature "Disney Difference," the Adventure Guides oversee every aspect of the itinerary, serving as VIP host and expert tour guide for each traveler throughout the vacation. Families enjoy a hassle-free vacation, while the Adventure Guides handle all the details so parents and children can spend their time having the time of their lives in each port.

While at sea, guests may participate in many special shipboard activities and programs available only as part of the Adventures by Disney/Disney Cruise Line vacation package. As part of the Mediterranean trip, families are entitled to scheduled shore experiences and meals, a night of fine dining for adults, wine tasting at Palo aboard the Disney Magic, private receptions, and onboard and onshore photos.

While in ports of call, guests step into the region's must-see cities including beautiful Barcelona and scenic Naples, are immersed in the ancient history and culture of Tunisia, Malta and Corsica, and even explore the French Riviera. Another Adventures by Disney point of difference is that itineraries are developed with the family in mind and boast an array of activities that immerse each member in the culture and history of every city, including thrills created especially for children.

Featuring Adventures by Disney's signature service, guests take pleasure in daily outings that are nearly impossible to book on their own. For example, families who take the Mediterranean vacation embark on a powerboat ride to the Island of Gozo featuring its striking scenery and serene beaches, followed by an off-road tour to uncover the island's hidden charms - one of the many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities guests experience. Other special touches include a tasty behind-the-scenes tour of a Florence gelateria, granted expedited entrance into the Vatican or travel via coach to various destinations. All said, families receive a well-rounded tour of the Mediterranean matched with specific off-the-beaten-path experiences just for them. To learn more about this new itinerary or to make reservations, visit

· Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Offers New Optional Pre- & Post-Cruise
Seabourn Journeys Land Packages in Asia

MIAMI, Dec: The Yachts of Seabourn is offering a range of new optional pre-, mid- and post-cruise Seabourn Journeys in Asia that can be combined with the company’s Asia voyages offered year-round in China, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam aboard Seabourn Pride in 2010. Designed for guests who wish to extend their travels to Asia to further explore the region, the one- to five-night land packages can be added to select itineraries aboard the all-suite, 208-guest Pride, which will operate a year-round schedule of sailings in the Far East. All Journeys packages are fully escorted, and include deluxe hotel accommodations, transportation, some meals and guided tours.

“Asia is a vast region filled with numerous extraordinary and treasured sites, and we have created a remarkable collection of unique experiences that can be combined with our year-round Asia voyages,” said Pamela Conover, President and CEO of Seabourn. “Our Seabourn Journeys can add these sites and less-traveled lands in a convenient, seamless way, to round out our guests’ experiences in Asia.”
Seabourn Journeys tours in Asia are available from Bangkok, Thailand; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; and Kobe, Japan. Highlighted packages include:

 -- Angkor, Royal City of the Khmer Empire: During this one-night, mid-cruise Journey from Bangkok, guests will travel to Cambodia and discover Angkor Wat, heralded as one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. Built in the 12th century during the Khmer Empre, it is a magnificent, ornately carved complex of temples, towers and Hindu paintings.
 -- Laos & Cambodia (Luang Prabang & Angkor Wat): On this 5-night pre- or post-cruise excursion from Bangkok, guests will experience “Old Asia” as they travel to the “fairy-tale” kingdom of Laos, which is home to the splendid Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will also visit the impressive Angkor Wat and other stunning temples in Cambodia.
 -- Bhutan: Travelers will be among the few to visit the secluded nation of Bhutan, an unspoiled cultural and ecological preserve nestled in the eastern Himalayas. This kingdom is often called the “Last Shangri-La” and “Heaven on Earth,” with an ancient and fascinating Tibetan culture, gentle people and majestic scenery. This is a five-night pre- or post-cruise Journey from Bangkok.
 -- Beijing: This 3-night pre- or post-cruise excursion from Shanghai explores the many wonders and landmarks of China’s capital, and includes visits to Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, once home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Guests will also have the chance to experience the local culture, including an elaborate Peking Duck dinner and a rickshaw ride through the traditional hutongs to visit a family in their home.
 -- Xi’an Terra Cotta Warriors: This 3-night Journey, which can be added on to all Beijing Journeys from Xingang and Shanghai, takes guests to the site of an astounding archaeological discovery: an army of thousands of life-sized ancient terra cotta statues buried 2,200 years ago.
 -- Guilin: On this 3-night pre- or post-cruise Journey from Hong Kong, guests will visit Guilin, China, widely considered to be one of the most stunning landscapes in the world, with towering rocky peaks looming over beautiful rivers and lakes. Guests will visit some of the area's most picturesque sites, including the Elephant Trunk Hill, a magnificent limestone karst arch that is often regarded as the symbol of Guilin, located on the junction of the Li River and Peach Blossom River.
 -- Tokyo & Kyoto: This 3-night pre- or post-cruise Journey from Kobe begins in the vibrant capital city of Tokyo, where guests will be immersed in Japanese culture, visiting the impressive Sensoji temple and Meiji Jingu Shrine and experiencing the city’s high energy atmosphere. Guests will then travel on a bullet train ride to Kyoto, a cultural gem that is home to approximately 20 percent of Japan's national treasures. Historic architecture and sites are well preserved in this former capital, where visitors can visit exquisite Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.

For a limited time, The Yachts of Seabourn is offering complimentary round trip business class airfare from 26 North American gateways to eight 12-day voyages in Asia aboard Pride from June 3 to August 22, 2010. The included airfare is combinable with Early Booking Savings of up to 45 percent off brochure fares. All-inclusive fares for the 12-day voyages are based on double occupancy and 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

Windstar Cruises Debuts Yachtsmen's Discovery Wine Program

SEATTLE, Dec. 15: Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, unveils its new Yachtsmen's Discovery Wine Program featuring Wines By The Glass, Wine Flights and Wine Tastings. The Wines By The Glass program debuts this month, followed by the launch of Wine Flights and Wine Tastings in early 2010.

An impressive 21 wines comprise the Wines By The Glass menu offering guests an outstanding choice of 14 distinct varietals/blends, drawn from the soils of 13 distinct appellations from Pacific Rim locales of California, Washington, Oregon, Australia and New Zealand. Ten white wines, ten red wines and one blush in the varietal categories of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel and Vin Gris de Cigare are offered.

The carefully-crafted wine selections are from New World wine producers with well-established reputations for consistently producing high quality wines and who are thought of as innovators and leaders within their own regional or product focus. Each glass is a generous 6-ounce pour and are priced from $6.50 to $14.50 per glass. Entire bottles are also available for purchase. Wines By The Glass will be available in the Lounge and The Restaurant on all three ships as well as in the Yacht Club and in Degrees on Wind Surf.

Wine Flights will feature a selection of four glasses of wine for guests to enjoy at their leisure. Wine Tastings will be scheduled sessions on each sailing and led by a sommelier. Here guests will sample a selection of varietals and learn about each one in an intimate, relaxing environment.

The Yachtsmen's Discovery Wine Program is part of the next phase of Windstar's Degrees of Difference initiative, which will add amenities and enhancements to the fleet in the areas of dining, accommodations, entertainment, spa, fitness and shore excursions. For more information including brochures, rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

· Back to the top of the news list

Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises & Royal Caribbean Intl
Take ChoiceAir to the Next Level

MIAMI, Dec 15: ChoiceAir, the innovative air travel program that Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International launched earlier this year, is now set to provide even more benefits to cruisers, with yesterday’s introduction of “ChoiceAir Specials.” Since August, the three cruise lines’ travel agent partners and guests have had access to highly competitive airfares, along with full control of their air arrangements through ChoiceAir. Beginning today, with the launch of ChoiceAir Specials, the three cruise lines are offering even more value on certain sailings when accompanied with ChoiceAir arrangements.

“ChoiceAir Specials provide dollars-off savings that make our cruise vacations an even more compelling value," said Doug Santoni, senior vice president of Revenue Management, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Cruisers appreciate that ChoiceAir provides value and choice, but many don’t realize that ChoiceAir also includes a bonus in the form of travel support before, during and after their trip. It’s more than just helping our guests find great flights at great prices and choose the flight options that work best for them. ChoiceAir guests have peace of mind, knowing that the ChoiceAir team is watching out for them on the way to and from their cruise vacation, offering support in the event of disruptions to airline schedules that might otherwise jeopardize their cruise vacation.”

When guests book ChoiceAir with their cruise, they can be more confident in their vacation decision and the value they are receiving, and this should result in fewer guest cancellations and changes. This translates into the ultimate in value and selection for guests. ChoiceAir provides the three cruise lines’ guests with the ability to select flights from all published airline schedules, taking advantage of some of the most competitive fares, as well as exclusive promotions available only through Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean Intl and their travel agent partners. Additionally, ChoiceAir offers the convenience of single-phone-call service and day-of-travel support in the event of airline schedule disruptions. ChoiceAir Specials provide an additional discount off the price of the cruise vacation on certain sailings when accompanied with air purchased through the three cruise lines’ ChoiceAir program.

Guests can purchase ChoiceAir Specials through a travel agent, directly from Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International contact centers, and online at each of the cruise lines’ secure ChoiceAir websites:
  · Azamara Club Cruises:

  · Celebrity Cruises:

  · Royal Caribbean International:

· Back to the top of the news list

Bedouin Camp, Belly Dancers & Birthday Celebrations Set for
 2010 Crystal President's Cruise

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 14: As Crystal Cruises commemorates its 20 year milestone in 2010, the ultra-luxury line's annual President's Cruise, hosted by Crystal President Gregg Michel, will have a decidedly festive feel. Kicking off the May 12 voyage through the Middle East is a new two-night optional pre-cruise hotel program in Dubai featuring a lavish welcome dinner at a Bedouin camp in the desert dunes with traditional Arab music, henna artists and belly dancers.

An illustrious group of notable insiders are set to present, along with specially arranged "Presidential" events, including:

 -- Peter Bergen - CNN terrorist analyst and author;
 -- General Hugh Shelton - Former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff;
-- John Hanny - Former White House chef;
 -- President's Shore Excursion - The optional tour, accompanied by Michel, explores Luxor and the Valley of the Kings;
 -- President's Cruise Alumni Party - Hosted by Michel for past President's Cruise guests; and
 -- Question & Answer session with Michel.

Aptly named "Arabian Treasures," the 14-day 2010 President's Cruise aboard the elegant, recently redesigned Crystal Symphony visits Dubai, UAE; Muscat, Oman; Aqaba, Jordan; Luxor/Safaga and transits the Suez Canal to Alexandria/Cairo, Egypt; and Athens, Greece.

"I look forward to engaging with our guests each year and sharing these fascinating historical destinations together," says Michel. "Intelligent and successful, our guests have an insatiable curiosity for history. The rich itinerary provides a wondrous historic backdrop to the insightful conversations that will occur on board with our guest experts."

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

· Back to the top of the news list

Singles Can Cruise the Caribbean on MSC with Special Rate

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL. Dec 11: Single travelers can experience the beauty and tranquility of the Caribbean with special rates for MSC Cruises’ 7-night sailings on the beautiful MSC Poesia. Single guests can book an interior, oceanview, or balcony stateroom for one on select MSC Cruises’ 2009-10 Caribbean itineraries with rates starting at $649. This limited-time offer expires on January 31, 2010.

This special single promotion offer is applicable for Categories 1, 4, and 6 on the following MSC Poesia itineraries from Fort Lauderdale:
  · 7-night–“Island Treasures & Ancient Temples” on February 13 and March 13 to Key West, Florida; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau, Bahamas; single rate begins at $749 and $699, respectively;
  · 7-night—“Eastern Caribbean Enchantment” on February 20 and March 6 to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas; single rate begins at $699 and $649, respectively;

Rates are per person, cruise only and subject to availability; government fees and taxes are additional. For more information, visit or a local travel professional.

· Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Celebrates 10 Years of Freestyle Cruising; Declares 2010
‘The Year of the Freestyle Vacation’

MIAMI, Dec 14: Norwegian Cruise Line is ringing in the New Year three weeks early with a bevy of promotions marking 2010 as “The Year of the Freestyle Vacation.” All new reservations from today through March 14, 2010 on any of the line’s 10 Freestyle Cruising ships will receive up to a six-category upgrade and on-board savings certificates of up to $400. In addition, bi-weekly promotions will feature special offers on select ships and destinations. The first offer from January 4-17, 2010 includes reduced deposits and kids from $249 for bookings on Norwegian Epic’s seven-day cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

“It has been ten years since Norwegian first introduced its innovative Freestyle Cruising, so it is fitting that we celebrate 2010 as ‘The Year of the Freestyle Vacation’ as we move to introduce the next phase of Freestyle Cruising with the launch of Norwegian Epic in the summer of 2010,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “We encourage travel partners to take advantage of these value-oriented offers to help spur consumers into booking their Freestyle vacation.”

Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 43-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian has the youngest fleet in the industry with 10 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea. Norwegian is presently building Norwegian Epic, the company’s largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date, for delivery in summer 2010. Norwegian Cruise Line is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, debuting for the first time at sea on Norwegian Epic. For further information on Norwegian Cruise Line, visit or contact us in the U.S. and Canada at 866-234-7350.

· Back to the top of the news list

Oceania Cruises' New Marina to Feature First Suites at Sea Designed by Tocar
Featuring Furnishings From Ralph Lauren Home

NEW YORK, Dec. 11: When she debuts in winter 2011, Oceania Cruises' new Marina will be the first ship to offer luxury suites completely appointed from furniture and fabrics to lighting and bedding using the acclaimed Ralph Lauren Home collection. To accomplish this industry first, the cruise line tapped New York-based Tocar Interior Design because of the award-winning partners' keen familiarity with the Polo Ralph Lauren esthetic. Susan Bednar Long, co-founder and president, previously oversaw the decoration of flagship retail stores for Polo across North America. Christina Sullivan, co-founder and vice president, began her career at Polo in the store design department, where she launched Double RL Collection Shops across the U.S.

"To appeal to discerning travelers we wanted the best suites on Marina to feel like a luxurious estate home. We thought out-of-the box, insisted on the finest craftsmanship and sought out the most talented residential designers," stated Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises' president. "Tocar has designed the first suites at sea exclusively using furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home."

A Grand Entrance
The three Owner's Suites on board Marina are unlike any luxury suites at sea. Upon entering the foyer guests will be struck with a sense of awe, as though they have entered an opulent estate home. Walls of inset Georgian wood paneling are finished in an ivory gloss. Art niches on either side are framed with polished stone and mirrored to reflect the statuary. An ivory marble entryway with a David Hicks inspired black and camel mosaic tile inset is surrounded by plush black carpeting trimmed with a polished nickel metal edge. The foyer also contains a mahogany gloss bar with three ivory leather and chrome stools, stately burnished silver armchairs covered in faux crocodile and brown and white faux zebra skins and an oversized ivory brocade and black satin chaise in front of floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping ocean vistas. An ebony baby grand piano serves as the room's focal point while a brilliant alabaster and polished nickel chandelier hangs overhead.

Luxurious Living & Dining
Guests will spend most of their time in the spacious living and dining room, which exudes the rich, clubby and refined elegance of a world-class yacht. Macassar ebony-veneered chests with silver hardware topped by faux Zebra-framed mirrors flank the entrance. Walnut herringbone wood flooring rings a field of camel carpeting with an inset chocolate border. A full wall of windows affords uninterrupted aft views. A camel-colored, suede L-shaped Modern penthouse sectional is prominently positioned in the corner. To its side is a mahogany Anglesey end table and oversized, Mayfair tufted armchair upholstered in coffee-brown velvet; the Planar brushed stainless steel and acrylic coffee table centers the seating area. A 42" flat-screen TV mounted atop a striking nickel and mahogany entertainment center is anchored by a black teak and nickel Aldgate etagere.

An elegant mahogany Mayfair dining table with smooth caramel leather Clivedon dining chairs affords seating for six topped with a classic candelabra chandelier finished in nickel complete the dramatic dining area. Wraparound teak-covered verandas feature stylish pieces custom-crafted from Ralph Lauren in white marine lacquer suitable for outdoor living.

Sumptuous Sleeping Quarters
For restful nights at sea the Tocar designers used ivory wainscoting and plush silvery grey carpeting to set the stage for the high-style and luxurious bedrooms of the Owner's Suites. The walls above the wainscoting are covered in Austyn cashmere and all windows and balcony doors are dressed with ivory wool sheers and silver drapery panels in a shimmering, silk/cotton blend.

The bedroom's centerpiece is the distinctive, Bel Air bed in a deep, library mahogany - its headboard, footboard and side rails upholstered in steel-blue mohair with polished nickel nail-head accents. To its left and right are City Modern bedside chests with stainless trim and hardware, finished in rosewood mahogany. Night-stands are topped with Faceted Crystal Prism lamps with white silk shades. A custom ceiling fixture in polished nickel with teardrop glass balls provides overhead boudoir lighting.

A Mayfair mirror with a burnished silver-leaf frame and beveled glass adorns one wall, framed by polished nickel sconces with white-pleated silk shades. Across the room is the Ralph Lauren Highbridge desk featuring stainless steel sawhorse base with glass top and Noble Estate side chair upholstered in camel wool seat base with contrasting ivory ribbed seat back and polished nickel nail heads. A Noble Estate settee upholstered in taupe leather with polished nickel sabos and two Hasley slipper-chairs upholstered in a light gray cashmere wool blend provide additional seating.

Throw pillows upholstered in both silver textured fabric with contrasting ivory cord and ivory brocade pattern with contrasting blue double-fringe trim add to the elegance. The finishing touch on this grand boudoir is a marble, six-fixture master bathroom with both a separate shower and large soaking tub. The whimsical mahogany double vanity is topped with double portholes and accented with nickel ceiling-mounted round pivoting mirrors and Ralph Lauren's classic small sconces with silk fabric shades.

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. Information about Marina itineraries will be revealed in the coming weeks. Reservations can be made beginning in January 2010. For more information or to order a brochure, contact a travel agent, visit or call Oceania Cruises toll-free at 800-531-5658.

· Back to the top of the news list

Disney Villains Cast a Comical Spell on New Stage Spectacular
Aboard Disney Cruise Line Ships

CELEBRATION, FL: The malevolent world of the Disney villains takes a comical spin in “Villains Tonight!,” a musical spectacular that Disney Cruise Line is premiering in spring 2010. The revue-style show will debut during the March 27 voyage aboard the Disney Magic and will delight guests aboard the new Disney Dream cruise ship in early 2011. “Villains Tonight!” is the first full-scale musical production dedicated to the Disney villains. The show is a family-friendly, fun-filled musical extravaganza that places these famous evil-doers in some irreverent funny moments.

“We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional entertainment and magnificent stage spectaculars aboard our ships,” said Jim Urry, Vice President of Entertainment for Disney Cruise Line. “With ‘Villains Tonight!’ we are bringing the lovable and loathsome Disney villains to life in a way never seen before--as the stars of the first musical comedy devoted to the anti-heroes of our films.”

“Villains Tonight!” begins as Hades and his faithful sidekicks, Pain and Panic (“Hercules”), welcome new souls (the audience) to the Underworld. But instead of a frightening realm, guests will discover that Hades has turned the Underworld into an upbeat and happier place. The lively fun comes to a halt when The Fates arrive and predict that Hades will lose his position as Lord of the Underworld if he doesn’t ramp up the evil factor. Worried by the news, Hades checks his Evil-O-Meter and discovers it is running dangerously low. So he comes up with a plan: He’ll conjure up the very best of the worst – the most powerful Disney villains – to help him replenish the world of evil. What ensues is a comical journey as Hades, Pain and Panic embark on a quest filled with wacky antics and amusing musical numbers featuring everyone’s favorite Disney villains and their sidekicks.

“Villains Tonight!” features a “Who’s Who” of the Disney villains, including Disney’s newest crook, Dr. Facilier from “The Princess and the Frog.” The show also features classic divas and scoundrels like Ursula (“The Little Mermaid”), the Evil Queen (“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”), Captain Hook (“Peter Pan”) and Scar (“The Lion King”).

During “Villains Tonight!,” the 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre becomes a hilariously wicked world through the use of elaborate sets and special effects, extravagant costumes and a fun-filled, contemporary musical score. The show’s scenery takes guests on a dazzling journey through many villainous worlds, from the deck of Captain Hook’s ship to Scar’s Elephant Graveyard to Ursula’s Undersea Lounge. “Villains Tonight!” features irreverent versions of classic Disney villain tunes including a dance club version of “Cruella De Vil” (“101 Dalmatians”), a Copacabana-inspired take of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (“The Little Mermaid”) and an electrifying version of “Friends on the Other Side,” from Walt Disney Pictures’ newest animated feature, “The Princess and the Frog.” In addition, Bell and Bowen developed two original songs especially for the show, “Welcome to the Underworld” and “Villains Tonight.”

The show was produced by Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, which has received acclaim for its productions around the world, including “Finding Nemo – The Musical” (Walt Disney World Resort in Florida), “Disney's Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” (Disneyland Resort in California), “Twice Charmed” (Disney Cruise Line) and “The Golden Mickeys” (Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line). “Villains Tonight!” joins the lineup of shipboard stage musicals as the Disney Magic gets ready to embark on an unprecedented 5-month season of Mediterranean and Northern European cruises. Departing from Barcelona, Spain, Mediterranean cruises go from April 24 to May 26 and Aug. 7 to Sept. 8, visiting popular ports in Italy, France and North Africa. Departing out of Dover, England, the Northern European cruises will sail from June 12 to July 18, visiting St. Petersburg, Oslo, Copenhagen and other enchanting ports.

A leader in the family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line delivers a vacation experience that every member of the family feels was created especially for them. 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

Norwegian Gem Returns To New York For Winter Cruise Season

MIAMI, Dec 11: On Saturday, the Big Apple welcomes back Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest Freestyle Cruising ship, as she returns for the winter cruise season, sailing 7-day Bahamas & Florida and 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruises direct from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in the heart of New York City. Beginning Saturday, Dec 12, the 2,380-passenger Norwegian Gem will set sail on the first of ten 7-day Bahamas & Florida cruises with stops in Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida; Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s private island) and Nassau, Bahamas. The cruises sail on Dec 19, and 26, 2009; Feb 13, 20, and 27; March 6, 13, 20, and 27 and April 3, 2010. The ship will sail a 10-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary on Jan 3 and 24; and Feb 3, 2010 with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Norwegian Gem also offers two 1-night cruises, great for those who want a quick getaway or want to sample Norwegian’s signature Freestyle Cruising, on Jan 2 and 23.

“As a fellow New Yorker, I know how winters in the city can be, so what better way to escape the coats and cold weather then to hop on Norwegian Gem and head to warmer weather on a relaxing Freestyle cruise vacation,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “Norwegian Gem conveniently departs from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal making it an easy taxi or subway ride to your vacation destination.”

Norwegian Gem features 13 dining options including guest favorites such as Cagney’s Steakhouse, and Norwegian’s signature French restaurant, Le Bistro; 13 bars and lounges; a bowling alley; rock climbing wall; a two-story Wii wall; two swimming pools including one kid’s pool and six hot tubs; a complimentary kid’s club and teen lounge; a casino; a full-service spa with 18 treatment rooms and indoor thalassotherapy pool; and fitness center.

Norwegian Gem offers an extensive choice of staterooms including some of the most high-end accommodations afloat. Guests can cruise in style in one of two impressive Garden Villas, each spanning approximately 5,000 square feet. These extravagant Garden Villas offer a spacious living room, dining room and three separate bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. Garden Villa guests also enjoy their own private sun beds, hot tub and steam room in their private garden, plus butler and concierge service. Norwegian Gem also features the Courtyard Villa suite complex with private courtyard complete with lap pool, hot tub, male and female steam rooms and a small fitness area. These 10 villas also share a private sundeck with sun beds and hammocks. Positioned high atop the vessel, the villas tout sweeping views of the ocean and an impressive assortment of amenities typically found at five-star land-based resorts. High above everything else are two Deluxe Owner's Suites offering a master bedroom, en-suite bathroom, and dining/living area, together with a large balcony accessible through the bedroom and dining/living area. For families of all sizes, Norwegian Gem offers a large number of staterooms (including suites and mini-suites) that can interconnect to create a 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-bedroom area.

In 2010, Norwegian Gem will spend her summer in Europe sailing from Venice, for the first time in the company’s history, embarking on a series of 7-day Greek Isles and 7-day Adriatic, Greece & Turkey cruises. For more information or to book a sailing on Norwegian Gem, call Norwegian at 866-234-7350, visit or call a travel professional.

· Back to the top of the news list

Costa Kicks Off Fourth Cruise Season In Dubai

MIAMI, FL, Dec 10: Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, is beginning its biggest and best season yet in Dubai with two of its newest ships positioned from the region for the 2009/2010 season. The stunning Costa Luminosa, inaugurated this past June, will set sail on 7-night sailings from the international locale beginning this week. Her sister ship, the Costa Deliziosa, will sail similar routes after she is inaugurated in the international locale on Feb 23. Stylish and stunning, both ships (92,600 tons; 2,260 double occupancy) are designed to exude the ultimate in elegance and refinement.

The inaugural season of the Costa Luminosa from Dubai will feature Saturday departures complete with two overnights in Dubai and visits to Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. Her season will begin on Dec 12 and run through April 10. On Feb 23, the Costa Deliziosa will be named in Dubai during her “Grand Inaugural Cruise,” which departs from Savona on Feb 5. The ship will call on Dubai for her inaugural festivities from February 23-26. Guests sailing on the February 5th departure will be able to attend the naming ceremony. The ship’s regular route from Dubai will feature the same 7-night routes as her sister ship, the Costa Luminosa, with departures on Sundays. Her season will begin on March 14 and extend through May 9.

Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa will also be joined by the Costa Europa (55,000 tons; 1,494 double occupancy). The ship will offer a brand new itinerary with a series of eight alternating cruises from Italy to Dubai, a unique route crossing the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.

“Costa Cruises was the first and it’s still the major operator to believe in the value of this new cruise destination, confirming the pioneering spirit of our Italian company,” said Gianni Onorato, president of Costa Cruises.” The appreciation of the destination from the public is increasing. In the 2009/2010 winter season, bookings to date are in line with the increase of the offer, that was 40% over last winter, thanks to the positioning in the area of three ships. In particular, for the first time ever we are deploying in the same area the “top of the range” sister ships Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa. Moreover, the naming ceremony of the Costa Deliziosa in Dubai confirms our growth strategy, while strengthening the partnership between Costa Cruises and DTCM (Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing). We are working together towards the same goal of creating an unforgettable event rich with surprise and atmosphere, combining the charming tradition of an Arabian night with the unique Italian style of Costa Cruises,” he added.

Costa Cruises, along with AIDA Cruises, the German brand that also belongs to the Costa Crociere group, was the first cruise company to market regular cruises in the Arabian Gulf. This presence helped turn Dubai into a major cruise destination and contributed to its growth as a tourism destination. In winter 2009/10 Costa’s ships are expected to bring 140,000 passenger movements to Dubai given the presence of three ships - the Costa Luminosa, the Costa Deliziosa and the Costa Europa - for a total of 32 calls. The estimated economic impact will be approximately €14 million,* coming from Costa guests’ direct spending, shore excursions, transfers, cruise operation expenditures, and general food and beverage expenditures. In addition to Costa Cruises’ ships, the AIDAdiva (69,200 tons; 2,500 total guests), will call 20 times in Dubai during the winter 2009/10 season.

The immediate success of Costa’s operations in the area began in winter 2006/07 with the Costa Classica (53,000 tons; 1,308 double occupancy). The new cruise destination prompted Costa Cruises to increase its capacity in the area year after year. Costa Cruises’ passenger movements in Dubai increased from 44,000 in winter 2006/07 to 100,000 in winter 2008/2009. Costa Cruises’ ships have generated substantial and growing business for the emirate of Dubai and the other ports of call on the itinerary.
In a survey, 80 percent of cruise passengers in Dubai noted that they would extend their visit to the Emirate during their next visit and 95 percent said they would recommend others to visit Dubai to enjoy its all-appealing facilities, pristine beaches and unparalleled shopping options.

Per a WEFA report, one of the most respected economic information companies, tourism’s direct contribution to Dubai’s GDP stands at 19.89 percent, while the indirect contribution is 35 percent. Dubai is poised to become the ultimate cruise destination of the Middle East. The cruise industry is rapidly growing with 260,817 cruise tourists predicted to visit the emirate during 2009, nearly a 25 percent increase over last year. In 2010, Dubai is expected to host 99 calls with over 383,000 passengers. The burgeoning cruise industry is set to grow further as the new Dubai Cruise Terminal becomes operational in January 2010.

· Back to the top of the news list

Royal Princess to Leave Princess Cruises Fleet & Join
British Sister Line P&O Cruises

Santa Clarita, CA, Dec 9: One of the small ships of Princess Cruises, the 710-passenger Royal Princess, will depart the line’s fleet in spring 2011, transferring to sister company P&O Cruises in the U.K. The ship will be renamed Adonia.

As a result, five sailings in April and May will be cancelled, and in place of these a 26-day South Pacific and Andes Explorer cruise will be offered prior to the transfer. The ship’s 2010 cruise program includes sailings to the Amazon, Caribbean, Panama Canal, Alaska, Hawaii and French Polynesia.

With the transfer of Royal Princess there will be one less Princess ship in Alaska for the 2011 season, though full details are not yet available. During summer 2010, the ship will sail on a 14-day roundtrip “Connoisseur” cruises from Seattle to Alaska.

The following 2011 sailings are being cancelled:

· April 6, 2011 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia
· April 16, 2011 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia
· April 26, 2011 12-day Hawaii & Tahiti
· May 8, 2011 10-day Hawaiian Islands
· May 18, 2011 1-day coastal

The new 26-day cruise that replaces these sailings will depart April 6, 2011 and travel between Papeete, Tahiti and Fort Lauderdale. Ports of call will include Bora Bora, Moorea, Pitcairn Island (for scenic cruising), Easter Island, Pisco (San Martin), Lima (Callao for Machu Picchu overland excursion), Quito (Manta), Panama Canal Transit, San Blas, and Limón.

The ship will then go into a drydock in the Bahamas to change its livery prior to joining the P&O Cruises fleet in May 2011.

Royal Princess joined the Princess fleet in 2007, having originally been built in 2001. 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

Holland America Line Announces Europe and Alaska Cruises for Summer 2011

SEATTLE, Dec. 9: Holland America Line is announcing its Europe and Alaska cruise schedule for summer 2011, which increases sailings from the homeports of Dover, England and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

"We'll offer more sailings in Europe in 2011 to meet the increase in demand for European itineraries," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs. "Our guests are finding a cruise to be the best value for their money in Europe, and interest in Mediterranean and Northern European itineraries continues to grow."

Europe cruises
In 2011 Holland America Line will feature seven ships cruising the Mediterranean, Baltic and Northern Europe from Civitavecchia (Rome), Venice, Barcelona, Dover (London), Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Athens and Amsterdam. Both ms Nieuw Amsterdam and ms Noordam will sail the Mediterranean all season. The Nieuw Amsterdam, which debuts on July 4, 2010, will offer 12-day sailings while the Noordam will feature 7- and 10-day cruises.

The ms Ryndam will sail a series of Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises ranging from 7 to 21 days. The ms Rotterdam will also sail Northern Europe and Mediterranean itineraries of 7 to 12 days, including some that feature the Black Sea and the Holy Land. The Rotterdam will also sail two 9-day historic transatlantic cruises mid-season.

The ms Eurodam begins her 2011 season with two 7-day Mediterranean sailings and then offers 10- and 12-day cruises in the Baltic. Both the ms Prinsendam and ms Maasdam will also feature Europe cruises, the Maasdam again sailing its traditional transatlantic roundtrip itinerary from Boston that visits Greenland and Iceland.

Many of the above cruises can be combined into Collectors' Voyages ranging from 17 to 39 days. Holland America will begin accepting 2011 Europe cruise bookings late January 2010.

Alaska Cruises
Holland America's 2011 Alaska season will feature a total of 50 cruises from Seattle. The ms Amsterdam will again sail 14-day Alaskan Adventurer cruises roundtrip from Seattle, a new itinerary that debuts in summer 2010. The ms Westerdam and ms Oosterdam will also sail roundtrip from Seattle on Saturdays and Sundays, offering 7-day roundtrip cruises of the Inside Passage.

The ms Volendam and ms Zuiderdam will sail roundtrip from Vancouver, offering a total of 38 cruises. The ms Zaandam will also sail one roundtrip cruise from Vancouver in addition to its main itinerary of 7-day, one-way cruises between Vancouver and Seward. The ms Statendam joins the Zaandam in featuring this itinerary, each sailing 18 cruises through the Inside Passage and Alaskan Gulf.

Many of the cruises are highlighted by scenic cruising of tidewater glaciers in either Glacier Bay National Park or Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay. Holland America will begin taking 2011 Alaska cruise bookings in April, 2010.

For more information and to book a 2011 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

The Spa Aboard Silversea's New Silver Spirit to Offer
Unique Blend of Luxury & Wellness

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Dec 9: When Silversea's elegant new Silver Spirit sets sail this month, guests will discover a spa experience that goes beyond the traditional pursuits of restoring inner peace and balance to offering the latest cutting-edge anti-aging beauty therapies.

"We designed The Spa aboard Silver Spirit to be the ultimate environment for relaxation and rejuvenation," said Christian Sauleau, Silversea's executive vice president of vessel operations. "It adds yet another dimension of luxury and personalized wellness options for our guests, who already enjoy an unmatched level of service and all-inclusive amenities."

Guests entering The Spa will discover a welcoming retreat from the pressures of today's hectic lifestyle. At 8,300 square feet (770 square meters), The Spa will be the largest in the Silversea fleet, featuring a beauty salon, fitness center, nine spa treatment rooms, two sauna rooms and two steam rooms. Of special note is the debut of the ceramic-tiled Thermal Suite, an exclusive spa area furnished with heated lounge chairs. With its connecting private Hammam (Turkish bath) Chamber, it serves as the setting for the Private Hammam Experience, one of several new treatments to be rolled out aboard Silver Spirit. In addition, an outdoor relaxation area will be open to all guests at no charge and will offer bar service so guests can enjoy a complimentary fruit smoothie, champagne or cocktail while soaking in its expansive whirlpool.

New Medi-Spa Program
Among the new spa treatments and services that will be introduced aboard Silver Spirit is a selection of physician-administered facial treatments using such popular wrinkle-reducing agents as BOTOX Cosmetic and the dermal fillers Restylane and Perlane. Guests can consult with the medi-spa physician on board to determine a personalized treatment plan. Medi-spa treatments are the perfect complement to traditional spa therapies, offering guests the added benefit of returning home looking as refreshed as they feel.

New Oriental Medicine Program
** Acupuncture Therapy: Experienced and fully accredited acupuncturists will offer programs designed to aid weight loss, relieve stress, manage pain and benefit many other physical and psychological conditions. Acupuncture is recommended as an integrative therapy that can assist the healing process when combined with traditional medication and resources.
** Chinese Herbal Medicine Program: Almost all acupuncture programs utilize Chinese herbs. These herbs are termed "whole food" as they consist of dried bark, leaves and flowers of specific plant life that aid the body in its self-healing process. Under the brand name Jou, the Chinese herbs featured at The Spa are harvested in China and meet strict manufacturing standards.

Other spa highlights include the following ALL NEW treatments:
** Private Hammam Experience: One of the most innovative treatment additions is the Private Hammam Experience, where guests can indulge with an ancient Arabian body scrub ritual performed by a therapist in their private Hammam Chamber. The Hammam Experience offers a greater exfoliation, because the intense heat of the Thermal Suite will have softened and opened the pores, allowing for enhanced nourishment of dry skin and optimum absorption of oils. The Hammam Experience can be enjoyed as an individual treatment or as a prelude to a massage.
** DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Scrub Bar Experience: This fun and unique Scrub Bar Experience is a new spa feature that enables guests to choose their own exfoliating blend of scrub ingredients before they begin the DIY process with just a few easy steps that can soothe sore muscles, slough away dead skin, and reveal a smoother, more polished glow.
** Silversea Facial: Debuting aboard Silver Spirit, this signature Silversea Facial is designed to nourish, soothe and revitalize all skin types with its indulgent alchemy of expert touch, medicinal plants, rose quartz and a pure silver leaf mask.
** Bamboo Massage: The Spa aboard Silver Spirit also has the pleasure of introducing the Bamboo Massage, a warm, soothing massage that will awaken the senses. Imagine bamboo shoots of various sizes soaked in essential oil rolling, sliding and massaging the body's muscles. Customized to each guest's preference, the therapist will use deep tissue techniques or gentle strokes to relieve tension and soothe muscles.
** Thai Herbal Poultice Massage: This energizing, rhythmic massage utilizes scented herbal poultices that are heated and applied to the body at pressure points to relax the muscles and release tension. The spa therapist then follows with an array of Eastern and Western massage techniques and acupressure movements combined with essential oils to create a wonderfully relaxing experience.
** The Happy Couple: The Spa offers a relaxing and enjoyable opportunity for couples to reconnect in a stress-free environment. Whether it's a couples massage or customized package for two, The Spa can cater to all couples who need an escape. For a more romantic retreat, couples services can be enhanced with a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

All organized group fitness classes and seminars are complimentary. Personalized, one-on-one training programs, salon services, spa therapies, including medi-spa and Oriental Medicine programs, are offered at an additional charge. The Spa is operated by Steiner Leisure Limited, a leading provider of spa services.

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

Cruise West Offers Exclusive Land Tour to the Oberammergau Passion Play

SEATTLE, WA, Dec 9: Cruise West, the world’s leading provider of small-ship explorations to the most fascinating destinations on earth, has secured tickets to the exclusive Oberammergau Passion Play. The renowned play was first performed in 1634 and for the past four centuries the tradition has continued every ten years. Guests booking the line’s new 11-night Danube, Main & Rhine Rivers cruise have the option to add-on the three-night Munich & Oberammergau Land Tour that includes the 2010 Passion Play.

The villagers of Oberammergau in the early 1600’s created the five-hour Passion Play after surviving war, poverty and plague. What makes the reenactment of the life, death and resurrection of Christ unique is that the talent – close to 2,000 performers – are all local laymen. The play is performed on an open-air stage and includes dinner during the three-hour intermission.

The pre-cruise Land Tour may be booked in conjunction with Cruise West’s new Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers cruise, traveling from Vienna to Cologne on the elegant 148-guest Amadeus Diamond. Departing October 2, 2010, guests will sail into Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site resplendent with over 1,200 historic buildings; through the beautiful Altmühl Valley to Nuremberg, the capital of Franconia and historically the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire; and along the River Rhine to Rüdesheim, a charming old wine town nestled in the upper middle Rhine Valley area.

Among the excursion highlights are a visit to a 900-year-old Benedictine Melk abbey; a full day in Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; a wine sampling at Dürnstein, the most famous wine-growing town in Austria’s Wachau Valley; a full day in the historic city of Nuremberg; and an exquisite meal at the Michelin-starred Stromburg gourmet restaurant.

Cruise rates start at $4,999 per person, double occupancy. Book and pay in full by February 19, 2010, and save up to $400 per cabin. Add-on the three-night Munich & Oberammergau land tour for $3,199 per person, based on double occupancy. For further details on Cruise West’s itineraries, visit, call 800-296-8307 or a travel professional.

· Back to the top of the news list

Azamara Cruises Becomes Azamara Club Cruises

MIAMI, Dec 8: Azamara Cruises, the two-ship brand launched in 2007 with the 694-guest Azamara Journey and sister ship Azamara Quest, today became “Azamara Club Cruises,” with a newly refined focus, and a series of new attributes designed for upmarket, experienced travelers.

“This isn’t a strategy of going ‘from good to great’,” said Azamara Club Cruises President & CEO Larry Pimentel. “This is about taking an already great product and making it exceptional.”

 Tapped to take the helm of Azamara Cruises in July of this year, Pimentel spent several weeks talking with travel agents, past guests and press to determine how to make his great-to-exceptional goal a reality. He also tapped a small new team focused 100 percent on Azamara, including VP of Sales & Marketing Edie Bornstein, AVP of Hotel Operations Bert Van Middendorp, Director of Marketing Signe Bjorndal, Director of National Accounts Michelle Nevin, and an eight-member field sales team dedicated solely to Azamara. Together, Pimentel and team shaped the new Azamara Club Cruises, whose most distinguishing new attributes will be in effect by April 2010.

“Today’s cruisers have incredible new vacation options – like Celebrity’s stunning Solstice Class, and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas,” said Pimentel. “Azamara Club Cruises will distinguish itself by delivering the destination like no other line.”

Azamara Club Cruises will visit 140 ports in 50 countries in 2010, with itineraries featuring more overnight stays to allow guests to immerse themselves in communities and cultures. Among the overnight locations are Istanbul, Turkey; Sorrento, Italy, which offers a host of tour options along the Amalfi Coast and Capri; a full three days and two nights in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Azamara’s Scandinavia and Russia Itineraries; and multiple overnight stays in Azamara’s Southeast Asia region, including Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“We’re going to slow down the tempo, and allow our guests to not just see the destination, but to live it,” said Pimentel. “Consider destinations like St. Tropez or St. Petersburg, Russia. If you’ve experienced them only by day, you haven’t really experienced them. With Azamara, through more overnight stays and late-night stays, you can.”

The destination focus of Azamara Club Cruises inspired the brand’s new tagline--“You’ll love where we take you”–-and will extend to its shore excursions, too, an essential ingredient to allow guests to truly experience a community and its culture.

Azamara has created distinctive two-day packages tailored to the overnight destinations, to make it easy for guests to immerse themselves in each location, whether it’s Dubrovnik, Croatia; Odessa, Ukraine; Livorno (Florence), Italy, Warnemunde (Berlin), Germany, or London, in addition to Sorrento and St. Petersburg. Azamara also will offer experiences such as a two-night package from Bangkok to Laos; an overnight tour from Hiroshima to Osaka via bullet train; a three-night experience from Mumbai including a visit to the Taj Mahal; overnight tours in Israel between Ashdod and Cairo, and a Grand Egypt tour featuring the best of both Luxor and Cairo. Among Azamara’s specialty tours include a Ferrari driving tour in Civitavecchia, Italy; a walk down memory lane in Liverpool with the “In the steps of The Beatles” tour; a private demonstration of chocolate flavors in Dubrovnik; a “Theatre A La Carte” evening in London; Croatian liqueur tasting in Zadar; an Imperial Russian Court evening at Tsarskoye Selo in St. Petersburg; an evening gondola serenade in Venice; and high tea at the Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai.

Praised for its dining experience since its founding, Azamara will continue to place a heavy emphasis on fine cuisine, and will expand its focus on wine to include vintages from boutique wineries around the world. Guests will have the opportunity to taste high quality wines that may be unavailable at home, because the selected vineyards produce a strictly limited quantity each year, distributed primarily locally. The featured wines will be offered complimentary at lunches and dinners on every sailing.

Wellness and vigor will be a core component of the Azamara Club Cruises experience, too, with onboard and land-based experiences designed to help guests feel and look healthier and more youthful. Azamara’s aim in wellness and vigor is to help guests balance their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual needs through massages, facials and other spa treatments, as well as acupuncture, yoga, Pilates, and enrichment programs.

The newly refined brand also is intensely focused on offering an intangible attribute essential to a successful upmarket product: exceptional service. “Extraordinary service is paramount with Azamara Club Cruises,” said Pimentel. “We know every travel and hospitality organization proclaims it’s committed to great service, so what will make Azamara stand out? First, our butlers will be trained to be true English butlers, to offer that fine balance of anticipatory, pampering, yet non-intrusive service to guests in every suite.” Guests in staterooms will be served by the line’s host of experienced stateroom attendants.

Azamara Club Cruises also will offer many inclusive amenities, with the following included in the cruise fare beginning with the first voyages in April 2010 on Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest: a specific brand of bottled water offered at no charge throughout the voyage, whether in public venues or in staterooms; specialty coffees and teas; housekeeping and dining gratuities; shuttlebus service to/from port communities, where available; destination-influenced entertainment and enrichment programs; most meals and room service; house wine at lunches and dinners; and self-service laundry. Specialty dining in Azamara’s intimate Prime C steakhouse and the Mediterranean-influenced Aqualina will be complimentary for suite guests for the duration of their cruise.

Cruisers who can’t get enough of Azamara will be invited to join the line’s new loyalty program, “Le Club Voyage,” with specific features and benefits yet to be announced.
For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-877-999-9553, or visit

· Back to the top of the news list

Wellness Cruise Offers Crystal Guests 'Indian Ocean Insight'

LOS ANGELES, Dec 8: Steeped in ancient wellness practices, Thailand, Myanmar and India are featured destinations on Crystal Cruises' April 26 "Mind, Body and Spirit" Experiences of Discovery voyage. Optional Crystal Adventures explore the spiritual heritage of the region via personal meetings with Buddhist monks, therapeutic spa rituals and a visit to a meditation center, while guest health experts share insights on life balance, Tai Chi, yoga and family health.

Enlightening experiences ashore include:
 -- Myanmar: A rare conversation with the monks of the World of Buddhist Institute, plus famed meditation center Chanmyay Yeiktha Monastery.
 -- Phuket: Detoxifying Cheraim Spa experience using natural oils and tea. Also, Wat Chalong Temple, the largest of Phuket's 29 Buddhist monasteries.

Specialists include:
 -- Jim Karas: Acclaimed fitness expert will help guests develop a "Business Plan for the Body"
 -- Dr. Martin Lee: Founder of the Tai Chi Cultural Institute will teach classes and lecture on youthful longevity
 -- Dr. Donald B. Ford: Cleveland Clinic expert will address family health and the latest research
 -- Sandy Shaner: Yoga expert will lead classes in the ancient discipline
 -- Susanne Sweeny: Author will speak to how to turn stress into strength
 -- Susan King: Intuitive counselor will highlight the soul faction of the mind-body-soul connection.

"The connection between mind, body and spirit is fundamental to the culture of Asia and India," says Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president, hotel operations. "The programming on board and ashore provides the unique opportunity to examine physical and spiritual health with today's top experts, in a destination with a centuries-long wellness heritage."

Guests can also enjoy Crystal Symphony's Feng Shui-inspired Spa & Fitness Center, 360-degree Promenade deck for walking or jogging, new Nordic Poles walking program, indoor cycling classes and acupuncture treatments. Tropical fruit, fresh fish and salads, low-calorie and low-carb selections are available throughout. Even cocktails include only the freshest fruit purees and juices.

The 16-day voyage visits Singapore; Phuket, Thailand; Yangon/Rangoon, Myanmar; Cochin and Mumbai, India; and Dubai, UAE. 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 Introduces Family-Friendly Port Adventures for
2010 Mediterranean & Northern Europe Sailings

CELEBRATION, FL, Dec 8: In 2010, Disney Cruise Line will offer the most diverse itineraries in the line's history - sailing Mediterranean, Northern European, Caribbean and Bahamian routes. With a wide variety of European itineraries, Disney Cruise Line is working closely with local tour operators to create family-friendly Port Adventures that allow guests to best experience these culturally rich and exotic locales. All Port Adventures will offer impeccable Disney guest service and are designed to entertain and inspire both children and adults - in true Disney fashion. Added touches such as more scheduled breaks, complimentary snacks and beverages, and fun port journals for kids are provided on all Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures.

While every port of call will offer Port Adventures for families to enjoy together, many tours integrate separate activities for children and adults. While kids are engaged in age-appropriate activities supervised by youth counselors from the ship, parents are given the opportunity to explore cultural sites and points of interest in greater depth. For the 2010 European season, each itinerary will include at least one tour that features distinctly Disney touches, beloved characters and rich storytelling to help bring local culture and customs to life. Itineraries also will showcase authentic cultural experiences in intimate, upscale settings during Signature Collection tours.

Some of the Port Adventures exclusive to Disney Cruise Line guests include:

Distinctly Disney
At one port of call, on both Mediterranean and Northern European itineraries, a magical, one-of-a-kind experience brings local history and stories to life with the help of some Disney friends.

For example, in St. Petersburg, Russia, the majestic Catherine Palace provides the setting for an elaborate Royal Ball. The noble estate served as Russia's imperial family summer residence for more than 200 years, but on this Port Adventure it is Disney Cruise Line guests who are treated like royalty. Catherine Palace is the stage for a grand gala hosted by Disney princesses such as Cinderella, Snow White and Belle. Arriving by horse-drawn carriages, the princesses and their princes will entertain guests in the gilded Grand Ballroom. Live musicians and royal courtiers resplendent in period costumes and powdered wigs add to the ambiance and lead guests in song, dance and regal revelry.

Something for Everyone
At many ports of call during the 2010 European season, at least one Port Adventure will bring youth counselors from the Disney Magic ashore to join the tour and direct special activities for children. While kids are enjoying "mini adventures" designed just for them, adults on the tour continue on with a more in-depth exploration of the destination. Everyone reconnects later in the tour to share their experiences.

During a tour of Florence, families experience city highlights together then divide into separate groups for their own style of fun. Children spend about an hour honing their skills as the next Michelangelo as they create their own traditional Italian fresco painting. During this time, parents are free to explore the rest of the impressive Palazzo Vecchio and take a deeper dive into the masterpieces of this Florentine palace.

Family Adventures
Unique to Disney Cruise Line, one-of-kind family adventures will be offered at select ports of call. These immersive, interactive tours allow families to experience the sites and culture of the destination in a fun and entertaining way while spending quality time together.

In one instance, the Sidi Bou Said Treasure Hunt in Tunis guides families throughout focal points of this popular destination by following clues. This entertaining quest brings to life the culture, sites, sounds and flavors of the city. As part of this Port Adventure, families visit a traditional Tunisian house, learn about the origin of Sidi Bou Said from a local storyteller, receive a hand-painted henna tattoo, bargain with local merchants for a keepsake water vessel, sip freshly prepared mint tea and get their name written in Arabic as a souvenir.

Signature Collection
Signature Collection tours are found on all Disney Cruise Line itineraries and will be available as part of the 2010 European season. These exclusive tours are customized for guests seeking deluxe experiences ashore in intimate, upscale settings.

In Florence, the Tuscan Cooking School and Wine Tasting takes guests on a northern Italian culinary journey. An authentic Tuscan farmhouse is the venue where guests learn how to create delectable Tuscan cuisine using fresh, local ingredients. An Italian chef provides one-on-one instruction and guides the hands-on participation. Guests then enjoy their culinary creations such as antipasto, grilled meats, pasta, focaccia and cantucci - traditional Tuscan almond biscotti. A sampling of wines bottled onsite at the farmhouse provides the perfect pairing to the regional feast.

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 Features Microsoft Surface in New Mix Lounge on Several Ships

SEATTLE, Dec 8: As part of its ongoing Signature of Excellence enhancements, Holland America Line will install five Microsoft® Surface® units in Mix, its newest lounge venue with three specialty bars: Martinis, Champagne, and Spirits & Ales. Already in full operation on ms Veendam, Mix and Surface units will be completed on ms Rotterdam by mid-December, followed by three additional ships. An exciting new entertainment space, Mix is a destination lounge where guests can meet and mingle throughout the day and night. Mix is an open and inviting space anchored by a pianist providing entertainment for the three distinctly themed specialty bars.

"Microsoft Surface is an exciting focal point in the trendy Mix entertainment venue, which is designed as the ultimate place to both socialize and be entertained with the latest innovations," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Our guests greatly enjoy Mix and Surface on Veendam so we are confident they will embrace the new features on Rotterdam and our other ships, too."

In Mix, while sipping their favorite drink, guests can interact with the Microsoft Surface touch-screen technology to listen to music and play checkers and chess, air hockey, Tetris, cards and the Touch Sports games of football, basketball and skee-ball. Holland America Line became the first cruise line to offer Microsoft Surface when it furnished Mix with five units aboard ms Veendam in March of this year. Mix and Microsoft Surface will be featured on five Holland America Line ships: ms Veendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam, ms Statendam and ms Maasdam.

Microsoft Surface is an innovative computing platform that responds to touch, natural hand gestures and real-world objects placed on the display, providing effortless interaction with information and digital content in a simple and intuitive way. With a large, 360-degree, horizontal user interface, Microsoft Surface offers a unique gathering place where multiple users can collaboratively and simultaneously interact with content and each other.

Mix & Mingle at Mix
Microsoft Surface is showcased in the new Mix entertainment space that combines three specialty theme bars in one central area. Champagne features 20 different champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world and events such as champagne breakfast and pre-dinner champagne hour with caviar canapés. Martinis serves up 19 Grey Goose martinis elegantly offered in individual shakers as well as a full range of cocktails. Spirits & Ales will feature an international selection of beers and premium whiskeys and brandies while broadcasting premium sports programming.

As part of its latest Signature of Excellence enhancements, Holland America Line adds Mix and five Microsoft Surface units to ms Rotterdam in December 2009, ms Ryndam in February 2010, ms Statendam in April 2010 and ms Maasdam in April 2011. Veendam is complete. Holland America Line's latest investment in Signature of Excellence enhancements also includes a new resort pool concept, innovative lanai staterooms, new entertainment and enrichment options, complimentary Italian Canaletto restaurant and all new stateroom décor. The premium cruise line's commitment to enhancing its fleet now exceeds $525 million.

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

· Back to the top of the news list

Costa Deliziosa Completes Successful Sea Trials

MIAMI, Dec 8: The Costa Deliziosa, Costa’s newest flagship, completed her official technical trials in the open sea successfully. She will be inaugurated on Feb 23, 2010 in Dubai, which marks the first time the international locale has hosted a cruise ship naming ceremony. The stunning ship, Costa’s 15th fleet member, built at Fincantieri’s Marghera (Venice) shipyard, was put through her paces in the open sea for the first time, with a series of running tests on the ship’s systems, machinery and engines. During the official trials performed at sea, the Costa Deliziosa sailed at maximum speed (in excess of 23 knots = 40 km/h), for eight hours non-stop during the endurance test. A crash stop was also carried out. This maneuver involves the total shutdown of propulsion with full ahead movement to see the distance required to bring the vessel to a total stop in the event of an emergency. During the UMS trial, the Costa Deliziosa sailed for six hours non-stop using only her automatic control systems for power generation and propulsion. Lastly, the blackout test was conducted whereby all the ship’s control equipment is shut down and reactivated automatically.

After the trials, the Costa Deliziosa returned to the yard in Marghera for her final touches before entering service. The Costa Deliziosa will be ready for delivery on Jan 29, 2010, while her inauguration will take place in Dubai on Feb 23, 2010 during her Grand Maiden Cruise, which departs from Savona on February 5. The inaugural event promises to be an unforgettable occasion combining traditional Arabian enchantment, reminiscent of “A Thousand and One Nights,” with Costa’s traditional Italian style.

The Costa Deliziosa is part of the Italian Company’s fleet expansion program, presently the largest of its kind in the world, with five new ships launched between 2009 and 2012, for a total investment worth 2.4 billion euros. The Costa Luminosa, Costa Pacifica and the Costa Deliziosa will be followed by the Costa Favolosa, due for delivery in summer 2011, and the Costa Fascinosa, which will make her debut in spring 2012. All five ships are Italian builds commissioned from Fincantieri, each one requiring the labor of nearly 3,000 people, comprising both the shipyard’s own employees and those of about 500 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms.

Costa Deliziosa
Along with her sister ship, the Costa Luminosa, the Costa Deliziosa will be the fleet’s “flagship,” offering the most exclusive and innovative elements in the fleet and designed for Costa’s most discerning clientele. These innovations include the ship’s avant-garde design and the use of premium materials, such as various type of marbles, granite, mother-of-pearl and Murano glass, stucco applied by spatula using the technique known as “spatolato veneziano” and other decorative interior finishes including “parchment scroll” lamé, refined Zebrano wood, Wenge timber and stylish polished and glazed steel. The stunning atrium features fine works of art, including “Sphere” by Arnaldo Pomodoro, and “Delizia fisica e Delizia intellettuale” (Physical Delight and Intellectual Delight), a piece by leading contemporary Italian painter Mario Donizetti. In addition, there are a variety of entertainment options onboard including a 4D cinema; roller skating track; the latest generation golf simulator with an outdoor putting green, a Grand Prix race car driving simulator with the same software and technology used by the F1 champion drivers in training; the exclusive “Samsara Spa,” “PlayStation World,”an area on board dedicated exclusively to PlayStation3, as well as the “PlayStation on demand” cabin service.

· Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Launches Sweepstakes for “Eclipse of a Lifetime”

MIAMI, Dec 7: Celebrity Cruises caters to cruise lovers, and today, the line launched a sweepstakes for an experience that is the stuff of dreams for any cruise enthusiast. Celebrity’s “Eclipse of a Lifetime” sweepstakes, running from today through Jan 14, 2010, will entitle 10 winners and their guests to be the first individuals outside of the line’s employees to board Celebrity Eclipse when it sets sail for the very first time; the first to have exclusive, up-close-and-personal views of the construction process of Celebrity’s fourth Solstice Class ship in Germany at Meyer Werft, one of the most modern shipyards in the world; first to be led and hosted throughout Celebrity Eclipse by Celebrity's President and CEO Dan Hanrahan; first to nestle into the ship’s AquaClass staterooms; first to sample the ship's innovative cuisine created by the line’s VP of Culinary Operations and Chef Jacques Van Staden, and the first to have the chance to interact with the ship’s senior officers.

All this will take place surrounding an experience that will occur only once in the ship’s life, and only once in the lives of the winners: the “conveyance” of Celebrity Eclipse. Scheduled for March 13, 2010, the conveyance marks the occasion when Celebrity Eclipse departs Meyer Werft shipyard for the first time, and navigates the narrow River Ems – backwards – from Papenburg, Germany, to Emshaven, Netherlands, prior to embarking on sea trials.

During the "conveyance" through Germany's River Ems, more than 75,000 residents are expected to line the river banks – in cars, on bikes, on horseback and in RVs – to watch and cheer as one of the largest ships ever to transit the river meanders past charming villages and quaint farmlands. An indisputable rarity in cruising, the conveyance takes the ship along a truly challenging course: At its tightest points along the way, there will be as few as two feet between each side of the 1,040-ft-long, 121-ft-wide Celebrity Eclipse and the locks. The depth of the river and the draft of the ship allow for mere inches – or less – beneath the ship. Celebrity and shipbuilder Meyer Werft have essentially created a science all their own, to closely and carefully monitor the position of the moon and tidal conditions to pinpoint the precise moment when the depth of the river is ideal for the ship to depart the shipyard.

“The science and precision of the process is actually more complex than transiting the Panama Canal,” said Hanrahan. A railway bridge must be completely dismantled, and normal train schedules adjusted, to allow for the ship’s passage at one point on the course, among other narrow passages. The journey will take between 12 to 15 hours to complete, and is likely to be the most challenging ride the ship will encounter in its life. Only one captain in the world – who sweepstakes winners will have the exclusive opportunity to meet – is licensed and qualified to take the helm during the conveyance. The limited space available for navigation, the nature of sailing in reverse, and the number of narrow passages and bridges to transit are factors cruise ship captains normally don’t have to deal with; but, it provides the chance for them to test the ship’s maneuverability at slow speeds.

In addition to the series of 'first-ever' experiences, Celebrity's
“Eclipse of a Lifetime” prize package includes a night in Dusseldorf, one of the hippest cities in Germany, prior to boarding the ship, and a night in freewheeling Amsterdam after departing the ship. Each “Eclipse of a Lifetime” prize package also includes coach-class air for two from each winner’s nearest major gateway to Dusseldorf, Germany; hotel accommodations and meals prior to boarding Celebrity Eclipse; all meals and activities onboard the ship; all pertinent gratuities; ground transfers to and from airports, hotels, and Celebrity Eclipse; the exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the Meyer Werft shipyard, and coach-class air from Amsterdam to the U.S.

Celebrity has made it a breeze to enter the sweepstakes. Simply visit the Celebrity web site, at and click the “Eclipse of a Lifetime” tab to access the entry form and sweepstakes rules. Or, click The sweepstakes runs from Dec 7, 2009 through Jan 14, 2010. Winners will be announced Jan 28, 2010. This sweepstakes is open only to residents of the U.S. and Canada. See Official Rules on the site for complete information.

· Back to the top of the news list

Silversea Announces Silver Spirit's Inaugural World Cruise 2011

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Dec 7: In 2011, for the very first time, Silversea's new Silver Spirit will embark on a full World Cruise traversing both hemispheres. This grandest of voyages, appropriately themed "Spirit of Discovery," begins in Los Angeles on January 19, when Silver Spirit is set to welcome no more than 540 privileged guests for a 119-day odyssey exploring 60 destinations in 25 countries, with 11 overnight port visits, before concluding in Southampton on May 19. Along the journey, Silver Spirit will take in the tranquillity of French Polynesia, Australia's untamed landscapes, the unique customs and cultures of Asia, ancient Egyptian wonders and timeless Mediterranean hideaways spanning from Italy and Monaco to Spain and Portugal.

To offer guests aboard this far-reaching voyage an opportunity to gain a closer look at the regions they visit, Silversea is hosting four complimentary World Cruise Events for guests sailing the full 119-day itinerary. These exclusive, custom-designed events include the chance to explore the history and sample some of Australia's premier wines at the original Penfolds winery, Magill Estate, and the National Wine Center in Adelaide; savor a Thai-themed gala dinner, staying overnight in the private Krungthep Wing of the five-star Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok; experience the exuberance of a traditional souk in Dubai, enjoying a festive dinner set amid the dunes of the Arabian desert as the sun sets; and attend a private opening of Barcelona's renowned Picasso Museum, with plenty of time to explore its treasures at a leisurely pace, without the usual crowds.

"A Silversea World Cruise is truly the ultimate travel experience," said Kenneth Watson, Silversea's chief operating officer. "Not only will our guests have the chance to visit incredible destinations and explore fascinating cultures, but aboard our new Silver Spirit they'll also enjoy an unmatched level of pampering and personalized service set in a stunning 1930s Art Deco-inspired environment."

Guests aboard Inaugural World Cruise 2011 will enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations, sumptuous gourmet cuisine served in six dining venues, the personalized service of a butler assigned to every suite, and Silversea's generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities.

In addition to the four complimentary World Cruise Events ashore and a 5% Extended Voyage Savings, the following complimentary amenities will also be available to guests who book the full 119-day cruise: an overnight stay on January 19 on board Silver Spirit, including a Bon Voyage Gala cocktail reception and dinner; eight Silversea Experiences ashore (one per voyage segment); baggage handling service between guest's home and ship in Los Angeles and Southampton; a $2,000 Onboard Spending Credit (per double-occupancy suite); roundtrip Business Class Air and private car transfers (airport/ship/airport); and special commemorative gift. Fares start at $61,924 per person, based on double occupancy.

Guests may also travel on shorter segments, enjoying the following benefits:

Sail 58 to 117 days:
-- 5% Extended Voyage Savings
-- $1,000 Onboard Spending Credit (per double-occupancy suite)
-- Silversea Experiences ashore (one per voyage segment)

Sail 45 to 57 days:
-- 5% Extended Voyage Savings
-- $500 Onboard Spending Credit (per double-occupancy suite)
-- Silversea Experiences ashore (one per voyage segment)

Sail 30 to 44 days:
-- 5% Extended Voyage Savings
-- $250 Onboard Spending Credit (per double-occupancy suite)
-- Silversea Experiences ashore (one per voyage segment)

For more information and complete details, visit the Silversea World Cruise 2011 micro website at

· Back to the top of the news list

The Yachts of Seabourn Embarks Upon Triple Refurbishment

Miami, Dec 4: Capping off a year that saw the launch of its first new yacht in over a decade, The Yachts of Seabourn has embarked upon a multi-million dollar renovation of the original trio of its award-winning, small-luxury fleet. Seabourn Spirit has just completed a makeover, and Pride and Legend are planned to undergo extensive refurbishments during the coming year, transforming the look and feel of each vessel with open and airy interiors, modern embellishments, and richly colored contemporary on-deck furnishings.

“Seabourn Spirit came out of drydock a couple of weeks ago,” said Seabourn President and CEO Pamela Conover, “and the response of our guests, both multi-repeaters and first-timers, has been unanimous—the Spirit looks absolutely beautiful.”

Overseen by RTKL Associates Inc. in Miami, an award-winning international design firm, the extensive work is being done during regularly scheduled periodic maintenance. The extensive work is being done during regularly scheduled periodic maintenance. With Spirit finished, Pride and Legend will head to dry dock in January 2010 and fall 2010, respectively.

Enhancements begin just steps into the Reception Lobby with honey-toned wood paneling, two-toned marble flooring and furnishings reupholstered in rich burgundy. Onboard entertainment spaces shine, with the main show lounge transformed with cut-velvet banquettes in muted blues and taupe chairs beneath glittering stars. In The Club, floral-motif carpeting plays off warm reds and burnt oranges while elegantly toned, matte stone panels invoke spaciousness throughout. That play of color and comfort continues in the observation lounge, where wrap-around windows illuminate new pale-green accents and soothing creams and beiges with the ever-changing light of sea and sky. New club chairs and sofas of creamy leather are inviting perches for taking it all in, accented with leaf-patterned throw pillows that echo the foliage theme in the carpeting.

In The Restaurant, celebrity Chef Charlie Palmer’s cuisine is presented in a rich, yet understated elegance realized in handsome toffee-toned woods, creamy caramel accents, dramatic sheer curtains striped horizontally in violet and gold interspersing muted purple drapes, and flooring finished in sumptuous golden stone with sage infusions. Meanwhile, the open decks are going modern with graceful new furniture of coffee-hued, powder-coated metal and chocolate-toned fabric.

“The renovation of Pride, Spirit and Legend ensures that guests will be enjoying the Seabourn experience on these unique vessels in a fresh, contemporary style,” said Conover. “With our original three yachts scheduled for refurbishment, Seabourn Odyssey enjoying a stellar maiden year, and Seabourn Sojourn scheduled to launch in June 2010, Seabourn can now offer travelers more beautiful yachts in more exciting destinations throughout the year.”

For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

· Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Dream Launches Year-Round Service From Port Canaveral Today

MIAMI, Dec 3: Later this afternoon, Carnival Cruise Lines’ 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, the line’s newest and largest “Fun Ship,” will depart on its inaugural cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida, kicking off its year-round Caribbean cruise schedule from that port. Carnival Dream’s inaugural departure from Port Canaveral, a 9-day cruise to Antigua, Tortola/Virgin Gorda, St. Thomas/St. John, San Juan and Grand Turk, will be followed by the launch of year-round 7-day cruises, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean, beginning Dec. 12. On this route, eastern Caribbean cruises visit Nassau, St. Thomas/St. John, and St. Maarten while the western Caribbean itinerary features Cozumel, Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Belize and Costa Maya.

Representing a new class for the line, Carnival Dream ushers in an exciting new era in “Fun Ship” cruising, offering a sleek, modern hull design and a host of on-board innovations and features. These include 19,000 square feet of space dedicated to children and families, an expansive WaterWorks aqua park offering the longest water slide at sea, new entertainment choices such as a comedy club and outdoor laser shows set to high-energy rock music, a half-mile wrap around promenade and whirlpools that extend over the ship’s sides, and Ocean Plaza, a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live entertainment venue.

Other features include innovative accommodation options such as deluxe ocean view staterooms with two-bathrooms, some of which feature five berths and hold particular appeal for families, as well as the Fun Hub, a comprehensive intranet portal and the cruise industry’s first shipboard social network. A wide variety of formal and casual dining options, including a new made-to-order pasta venue, Indian tandoor, 24-hour pizzeria, sushi bar, and burrito station, along with the largest health and wellness center in the Carnival fleet, the 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, are also featured.

“Carnival has enjoyed a wonderful 20-year relationship with Port Canaveral and we can’t think of a better homeport for our newest and largest ship,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “With its many on-board facilities and features, response to Carnival Dream has been nothing short of sensational and its new schedule from Port Canaveral provides our guests with two exciting year-round Caribbean cruise vacation options,” he added.

Carnival Sensation also operates 3- and 4-day Bahamas voyages from Port Canaveral and, combined with Carnival Dream’s new week-long departures, Carnival Cruise Lines expects to carry some 450,000 passengers annually from Port Canaveral, more than any other cruise operator.

J. Stanley “Stan” Payne, CEO, Port Canaveral, stated that the port takes obvious pride in homeporting the largest and newest ship in the Carnival fleet. “For two decades, Port Canaveral has been committed to providing Carnival with outstanding services, facilities and infrastructure to ensure that its guests experience a relaxed, enjoyable vacation from start to finish,” he said.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations on the Carnival Dream’s new 7-day schedule from Port Canaveral. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

· Back to the top of the news list

New Adventures Abound at Royal Caribbean’s Labadee Beach Destination

MIAMI, Dec 3: A longtime favorite port of call for guests sailing on select Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, Royal Caribbean International’s private beach destination of Labadee, Haiti now boasts extensive new infrastructure enhancements and amenities for guests. This multi-year development project will be completed in time to welcome Royal Caribbean’s newest and most innovative cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, on the ship’s Dec 1, 2009, special voyage. Refurbishments at the exclusive island destination located on the north coast of Haiti began in the summer of 2007 as a joint venture between the Haitian government and Royal Caribbean Intl. The primary areas of focus under the development plan included renovations to the island’s pier to allow for the accommodation of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom- and Oasis-class ships, an overhaul of the facilities and dining venues, and a complete revamp of Labadee’s upland areas, including the construction of new bars and the renourishment of area beaches. To date, all renovations to the pier and dining venues have been completed, establishing a 57 percent growth in dining capacity and introducing a new pier area that stretches 1,300 feet (Pier and Trestle) in length and allows the berth of the 225,282 GRT Oasis of the Seas.

Two areas new to Labadee and central to the redesign of the destination are Dragon’s Plaza and Labadee Town Square, both of which offer convenient meeting places where guests can enjoy the rich Haitian culture and take in shopping, shows, cultural activities and other memorable experiences. Within Dragon’s Plaza, Columbus Cove Beach offers family-friendly attractions including water slides, which complement the area’s aqua park. Labadee Town Square boasts an expanded version of the popular artisan market and a festive atmosphere that comes alive with music, folkloric dancers and more.

Adventure-hungry guests will find a fresh variety of activities and redesigned public areas elsewhere on Labadee, including the new Dragon’s Tail Coaster, offering a high-speed ride through 2,232 feet of the destination’s tropical flora and rock formations. Upland-area favorites like Barefoot Beach Club, dedicated for the use of Royal Caribbean’s suite guests, offers enhanced food and beverage services, and a total of 20 private cabanas are available for rent along the water’s edge and within the hillside areas. The spa facilities at Barefoot Beach have also been revamped to provide an Oasis-like feel, and an expanded area has been set aside for yoga classes and other spa services.

“Oasis will offer a new dimension to our onboard guest experience,” said Adam Goldstein, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “These new major additions to Labadee will further expand offerings for our guests, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the first sailing of Oasis of the Seas than with a special cruise to our already popular private beach destination.”

The new adventures join a list of already popular activities, including the Dragon’s Breath Flightline, which was introduced in 2007 and offers pristine aerial views of Labadee’s coral reefs and crystal blue waters for individuals brave enough to take the ride down the 2,633 foot cable zip-line. Labadee’s Wave Jet Adventure also is still available, offering guided journeys down one of the wildest coasts in the Caribbean via personal SeeDoo watercrafts.

Naturally, with Oasis of the Seas introducing additional calls to Labadee and other ports on the ship’s Eastern Caribbean itinerary, shore excursions and tour capacities at each stop have increased. On Labadee guests can discover and engage with the area’s picturesque landscape no matter what their tolerance for adventure may be with newly-introduced tours including the High Speed Coastal Cruise & Swim excursion and the Discover Haiti Coastal Cruise.

Visits to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau also offer new ways to explore each of the islands, with at least two new excursions available at each port of call. Golf fans can tee up for a 9-hole round at One&Only Golf Course in Nassau, exclusively offered for Royal Caribbean guests and those visiting Atlantis, Paradise Island; adventure seekers can pay a visit to “The Extreme” – a 930 foot cable zip-line suspended 120 feet in the air, and a new addition to St. Maarten; and guests to St. Thomas can now enjoy three new snorkel excursions or sign up for the new St. Thomas Spotlight 5-Star Island Tour – the first island tour in the Caribbean to offer headset commentary for visitors. These tours will be offered exclusively for Oasis of the Seas guests for the first six months of the ship’s operation, after which they will be introduced to all Royal Caribbean guests on ships that call on these ports.

Oasis of the Seas is the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she spans 16 decks, encompasses 225,282 gross registered tons, carries 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,700 staterooms. Oasis of the Seas is the first ship to tout the cruise line’s new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which includes Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship will sail from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Additional information is available at For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

· Back to the top of the news list

Princess Cruises Ship Receives New Name & First-Ever Virtual Christening

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Dec 2: Princess Cruises is celebrating the new name of its ship Ocean Princess (formerly Tahitian Princess) by extending an open invitation to anyone wishing to become an honorary godparent for the vessel, with the first-ever virtual christening.

In a new twist on the time-honored tradition, the naming ceremony will occur completely online, at Each new godparent will trigger a $1 donation from Princess to the New England Aquarium, a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation, up to $25,000. One of the small ships of Princess, Ocean Princess, fresh out of a 2-week drydock, departed Singapore today on the first voyage with her new name. The virtual christening will run throughout the ship’s 16-day Southeast Asia cruise, ending on Dec. 18.

“At the end of her current cruise, we hope to have a huge group of honorary godparents for Ocean Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president. “In this digital age, we wanted to design a way that all our fans worldwide could be part of the celebration. But not only do we want to entertain people with this fun approach, we also want people to think about our oceans, and in doing so support the important work of the New England Aquarium.”

In addition to virtually christening the ship and becoming an honorary godparent, participants will be able explore the following areas online:

 -- Honorary Godparents: Real-time collection of the names of Ocean Princess’ honorary godparents
 -- Ocean Princess Webcam: Live web cam from the ship
 -- Ocean Princess Itinerarie – Link to Ocean Princess’ extensive list of itineraries
 -- Ocean Princess Drydock Photo Journal: Pictorial of the ship’s drydock in Singapore
 -- About Ocean Princess: Details about Ocean Princess and her offerings
 -- The Small Ships of Princess: Information about the small ships of Princess
 -- About the New England Aquarium: Information about this renowned non-profit conservation and research organization

During the ship’s recent drydock at the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore, the Ocean Princess name was placed on the bow and throughout the vessel. The ship also received new fuel-efficient silicone paint on its hull, and interior enhancements including new upholstery, carpet and flooring. The ship was renamed Ocean Princess to more accurately represent her global range of itineraries.

Following its inaugural Treasures of the Southeast Asia cruise from Singapore to Shanghai, Ocean Princess will offer a season of unique Asia, India and Africa sailings, followed by a summer of European voyages.

Ocean Princess is a part of Princess’ fleet of small ships, which also includes Royal Princess and Pacific Princess. Offering a classic and intimate cruise experience, each small ship carries around 680 passengers and travels to more remote destinations around the world. Further information about Princess is available through a professional travel agent, by visiting, or by calling 1-800-PRINCESS.

· Back to the top of the news list

Mahogany Bay Cruise Center in Roatan Officially Opens

MIAMI, Dec 2: The $62 million Mahogany Bay Cruise Center at Roatan in the Bay Islands officially opened this week and began welcoming cruise ships. The Yachts of Seabourn’s’ 208-passenger Seabourn Legend arrived on Saturday, Nov. 28, followed by Princess Cruises’ 3,070-passenger Crown Princess yesterday. Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor is in port today. Reaction from cruise guests to the new facility has been outstanding.

This week’s ship visits are the first of 200 annual ship calls at the new facility, which is expected to host more than 500,000 passengers each year. In addition to the Yachts of Seabourn, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruises, vessels from Holland America, Costa Cruises, and P&O Cruises, as well as non-Carnival Corporation brands, are expected to call at the new facility, as well.

In addition to a 2-ship cruise pier, the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center offers a welcome center along with a variety of retail outlets, including two themed bars, a restaurant and several shops. A transportation hub with the ability to accommodate taxis, rental cars and tour buses, along with a wide range of shore excursion opportunities, which can be purchased on board the cruise vessels, are also available.

Unique to Mahogany Bay is a new chair lift system that takes cruise ship guests from the welcome center to beautiful Mahogany Beach, a 10-acre private island featuring an 825-foot-long white-sand beach with a beach volleyball court and myriad watersports opportunities. Eight exclusive cabanas are also available for rent. The “Magical Flying Beach Chair” takes guests on a six-minute ride across nearly 1,200 feet of suspended cables, providing not only convenient beach access but views of the lush countryside as well. All-day passes for the beach chair lift are $5 per person. An elevated path is also available for those who prefer to walk.

“The Mahogany Bay Cruise Center not only serves as a gateway to one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands but is also a destination unto itself, with a magnificent white-sand beach and a wide range of shops, restaurants and shore excursion opportunities,” said Giora Israel, senior vice president of port and destination development for Carnival Corporation.

More than five years in development, and two years under construction, Mahogany Bay Cruise Center encompasses 20 acres of waterfront property and includes a two-berth cruise terminal which can accommodate up to 8,000 passengers daily. It is a joint project of Carnival Corp and Roatan businessman Jerry Hynds. For more information on the new Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, visit

· Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Intl Celebrates Naming of Oasis of the Seas

MIAMI, Dec 2: Royal Caribbean Intl officially named its newest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, yesterday, during an elaborate maritime celebration designed especially for the world's largest and most revolutionary cruise ship. Putting a new twist on one of maritime's longest standing traditions, the global cruise line was honored to have not one, but seven celebrity godmothers - Gloria Estefan, Daisy Fuentes, Shawn Johnson, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Michelle Kwan, Jane Seymour and Dara Torres - preside over the festivities. The celebration took place throughout the seven signature neighborhoods onboard Oasis of the Seas, culminating with the traditional Champagne bottle breaking ceremony followed by a fireworks display in the AquaTheater, the ship's dazzling oceanfront theater. Video of the event is available on the ship's dedicated website,

Marking the finale of 10 days of preview sailings, the naming ceremony provided Royal Caribbean the opportunity to give back to the community, doubling as a one-night inaugural celebration-fundraiser to benefit the non-profit Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Celebrities including NBA legend Michael Jordan, Corbin Bleu of High School Musical, and Olympic gymnast, Oasis godmother Shawn Johnson and Dancing With the Stars professional dancer, Karina Smirnoff were in attendance, granting the wishes of several children that wanted to meet them. Royal Caribbean has enjoyed a long relationship with Make-A-Wish. Since 2000, the cruise line has hosted more than 1,300 children who wished to go on a cruise to destinations around the world and has contributed more than $2.8 million in in-kind services and $372,000 in discount savings through its Wishes at Sea program. The cruise line donated 1,000 staterooms for this inaugural, once-in-a-lifetime event to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with all proceeds benefiting the nonprofit organization.

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

Oasis of the Seas is the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she spans 16 decks, encompasses 225,282 gross registered tons, carries 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,700 staterooms. Oasis of the Seas is the first ship to tout the cruise line's new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which includes Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship will sail from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Additional information is available at

· Back to the top of the news list

Windstar Cruises Signature Collection Host Series Welcomes
Jay Schuppert of Cuvaison Estate Wines

SEATTLE, Dec 2: Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, offers guests a unique opportunity to travel with Jay Schuppert, President of Cuvaison Estate Wines, on a Mediterranean sailing aboard Wind Surf departing April 4, 2010, from Lisbon, Portugal. Wind Surf's 7-day Lisbon to Barcelona itinerary includes ports in Tangier, Morocco; Malaga, Spain; Alicante, Spain; Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Valencia, Spain.

Windstar's Signature Collection Host Series features distinguished guests and lecturers throughout the 2010 season, including Schuppert who will host a wine lecture and wine tastings. Schuppert leads the premium winery to record profits and global presence. Schuppert will lecture on the wine-making process and conduct wine tastings during the sailing. Cuvaison's winery is situated on the historic Silverado Train in Northern Napa Valley and is known for its award-wining wines. Since 1969, Cuvaison Estate Wines has been hand-crafting classic and elegant Napa Valley wines. Cuvaison's estate grown wines capture the uniqueness of their Carneros and Mount Veeder estate vineyards and reflect the finest attributes of each vintage. From vine to bottle, Cuvaison does their best to maximize sustainability efforts in order to minimize the impact on our environment. Cuvaison complies with the code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices and holds certifications from Bay Area Green Business and Napa Green Certified Land and Winery.

Wind Surf accommodates 312 guests and offers deluxe, oceanview staterooms that include beds with luxury linens and mattresses, flat-screen TV and DVD player, Bose SoundDock speakers for Apple iPods, waffle-weave robes with slippers and sumptuous L'Occitane products. Suites also include an extra bath, TV and sitting area. Bridge Suites give guests the additional luxury of a spacious private living room and relaxing whirlpool spa. Culinary wonders abound in Wind Surf's The Restaurant, Degrees, Le Marche and Candles. Water sports enthusiasts will appreciate Windstar's complimentary waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking from the ship's water sports platform.

Windstar recently announced the latest phase of its Degrees of Difference initiative featuring added amenities and enhancements to its luxurious ships in the areas of dining, accommodations, entertainment, spa, fitness and shore excursions. With this latest initiative, Windstar continues to raise the bar, delivering a vacation experience that is "180 Degrees from Ordinary." For more information including rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

· Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Offers Free Business Class Air for Eight Departures in 2010

MIAMI, Dec 2: The Yachts of Seabourn has announced a special promotion offering complimentary round trip business class airfare from 26 North American gateways to eight voyages in Asia aboard the intimate, all-suite Seabourn Pride in the summer of 2010.

“Seabourn Pride’s 2010 cruises in the Far East are some of the most exciting we’ve ever offered,” said Pamela Conover, Seabourn’s president and CEO, “and with free business class air included, they also offer travelers a tremendous value.”

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. This represents Early Booking Savings of up to 45 percent. To qualify, bookings must be made between Dec 1, 2009, and Feb 15, 2010.
The complimentary business-class air offer is subject to space availability. Certain restrictions apply.

The promotion includes the following voyages aboard the 208-guest Seabourn Pride:

-- China Journey I, June 3; 12-day voyage from Hong Kong to Xingang, China, and includes a 2-night post-cruise Beijing Journey, which offers accommodations in the luxurious Peninsula Hotel, meals featuring local cuisine, transportation and in-depth guided tours to historic attractions, such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City
-- Beijing, Korea & Japan Journey I, June 11; 12-day sailing from Beijing to Kobe, Japan, and includes a two-night pre-cruise Beijing Journey
-- Japan, Korea & China, June 23, August 10; 12-day voyage from Kobe to Shanghai
-- China, Vietnam & Thailand, July 5, August 22; 12-day journey from Shanghai to Bangkok
-- China, Korea & Japan, July 29; 12-day cruise from Shanghai to Kobe
-- Thailand, Vietnam & China, July 17; 12-day sailing from Bangkok to Shanghai

Beginning Jan 2010, Seabourn Pride will operate year-round in Asia and offer a variety of new itineraries featuring stops at many new ports of call, such as Dalian, China; Busan and Yeosu, Korea; Nagasaki and Kagoshima, Japan. The program also includes the first summer voyages to Vietnam and Thailand, which are typically featured in winter itineraries, and also offers direct sailings between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, another first for the company.

For guests who wish to extend their Asian vacations and further explore the region, Seabourn offers a selection of pre- and post-cruise land packages that can be combined with their voyages. One of the newest packages is a five-night journey from Bangkok to Laos and Cambodia, which features a visit to UNESCO World Heritage Site Luang Prabang. Also available is a three-night journey to Xi’an, China, where guests can marvel at the thousands of ancient terra cotta statues buried 2,200 years ago. Journeys are also available to Guilin, China; Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan; and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. All journeys are fully escorted, and include deluxe hotel accommodations, transportation and guided tours. For more information or to make a reservation, contact a professional travel agent, visit, or call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 and ask for code PRIFBA.

· Back to the top of the news list

New 130,000-ton Cruise Ship Ordered for Carnival Corp's Carnival Cruise Lines Unit

MIAMI, Dec. 1: Carnival Corporation has reached an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to construct a 130,000-ton cruise ship for its Carnival Cruise Lines brand, scheduled to enter service in spring 2012. To be built at Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard under a U.S. dollar denominated contract, the all-in cost of the vessel is approximately $200,000 per lower berth. The new 3,690-passenger vessel will offer many of the same innovations featured on the recently launched Carnival Dream, as well as some exciting new elements to be announced at a later date.

Like Carnival Dream, which has earned accolades for its creative design and on-board amenities, the new 130,000-ton ship will include a WaterWorks aqua park with a 300-foot-long corkscrew water slide, a stunning indoor/outdoor cafe and live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza, and a wide range of staterooms including deluxe ocean views with two-bathrooms, some of which feature five berths and hold particular appeal for families. Expansive, modern facilities for children and teens, a 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, and The Lanai, an outdoor promenade featuring cantilevered whirlpools that extend over the ship's sides, will be included, as well.

Already under construction at Fincantieri is the second sister ship to the Carnival Dream, the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic, which is scheduled to enter service in May 2011.

"Barely in service for two months, Carnival Dream is already earning rave reviews from guests and travel agents and ordering a third Dream-class ship speaks volumes about the confidence we have in the continued success of this series," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Lines' president and CEO. "The Dream class of ships embodies the evolution of our brand by providing the type of fun, affordable vacations that today's consumers are seeking," he added.

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.

· Back to the top of the news list

Wild Encounters in Store for Crystal Symphony Guests

LOS ANGELES, Dec 1: From kangaroos to koalas to crocodiles, Crystal guests can closely encounter some of the wildest residents of Australia and Singapore. On Crystal Symphony's April 11 sailing from Sydney to Singapore, dozens of Crystal Adventures explore some of nature's most treasured habitats and species, trekking through rainforests, jungles, wildlife conservatories and sanctuaries.

"Our guests seek experiences that take them to the heart of a destination and allow them to discover things they couldn't anywhere else in the world," says John Stoll, director of land programs. "These excursions highlight the fundamental beauty of the region."

Ideal for rugged outdoorsmen as well as urban jungle dwellers, the excursions include such natural marvels as:

-- The Great Barrier Reef (Cairns, Australia) - Either by helicopter or with mask and snorkel in hand, get a comprehensive look at the world's richest marine habitat, home to endangered sea turtles, humpback whales and thousands of other sea life.
-- Koala Park Sanctuary (Sydney, Australia) - Guests can greet the cuddly marsupials, along with fellow inhabitants, the dingo, kangaroo, wombat and emu.
-- Crocodylus Park (Darwin, Australia) - Guests watch the dramatic feeding process of the toothy reptiles, and learn about the animal's habits and efforts toward their preservation; adventurous guests may even hold a baby croc!
-- Jurong Bird Park (Singapore) - Southeast Asia's first and largest ever bird sanctuary, housing more than 8,000 birds.

In addition to nature and wildlife adventures, the 15-day voyage offers dozens of boutique shore options to suit most any interest in Sydney, Cairns and Darwin, Australia; Bali and Semarang, Indonesia; and Singapore. For more information and Crystal reservation, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

· 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