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


Have a question or a review to submit?

Copyright © 1995-2011
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, 2011

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

Return to's Cruise News Index & Cruise News Archive

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

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

Carnival Cruise Lines Kicks Off 2012 With New Advertising Campaign

MIAMI, Dec 21: Carnival Cruise Lines today unveiled a new advertising campaign that takes a fun, light-hearted approach to promoting the quality and value of “Fun Ship” cruising versus traditional land-based vacations. Created by the line’s advertising agency, Arnold Worldwide, the multi-channel campaign launches Dec 26, 2011, and blends national and regional executions across TV, out-of-home (billboards) and on-line media. The central theme of the campaign reinforces the notion that everyone deserves a fun, memorable vacation at a great priceand Carnival delivers on this promise with a unique on-board experience at an exceptional value. The engaging Land vs. Sea campaign pits the carefree fun of a Carnival cruise against the most common land-based vacations such as visiting relatives, camping and going to an amusement park, in a humorous and memorable way.

“The value of a Carnival cruise is clearest when juxtaposed against a land-based vacation and to get our message out in a big way, we used humor and identifiable moments to reach out to the 80 percent of the population who has never taken a cruise,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We believe that everyone has the right to an exceptional vacation at a great value, and this campaign will remind Americans that they don’t need to compromise, or break their budgets, in their pursuit of fun,” he added.

The campaign takes into account two vacation trendsconsumers’ desire for avoiding the hassles of air travel and finding great value. Research shows that many Americans are curbing expenses by taking vacations that are within driving distance. With a huge array of close-to-home ports and a wide variety of short and longer cruises that fit any budget, Carnival provides the perfect alternative to costly and complicated land-based vacations. The first of the new ads can be viewed here.

Online videos, digital display and out-of-home (OOH) work round out the campaign and provide additional avenues for reaching cruise rookies. For example, a 3D billboard in Times Square will portray the beauty of a Carnival cruise ship on the Caribbean Sea juxtaposed against the bustle of the city, with the phrase “Cruising From New York.” Other customized OOH elements will be featured in subway cars, atop taxi cabs, on elevators and in prospecting displays.

Throughout the year, the new campaign will also feature digital and branded experiences that leverage Fun Ship 2.0, the line’s recently announced $500 million enhancement program that will dramatically transform Carnival’s on-board guest experience. The initiative includes mouth-watering new dining choices, more exciting bars and lounges, captivating entertainment options and celebrity partnerships with top talent including entertainer George Lopez, who will become Carnival’s creative director for comedy and enhance the cruise line’s fleetwide comedy clubs, and Food Network star Guy Fieri, who has partnered with Carnival to introduce Guy’s Burger Joint, a shipboard dining venue offering a variety of complimentary burgers and hand-cut fries. For additional information on Carnival’s cruise vacations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Fine Food & Wine Cruise to Host "Wine, Dine & Jazz at Sea" in French Polynesia

ATLANTA, Dec. 21: From Sept 29 through Oct 6, 2012, Fine Food and Wine Cruise is collaborating with DeLille Cellars, Celebrity Chef Kevin Gillespie of Top Chef fame, and a Grammy nominated jazz ensemble to host the luxury trip of a lifetime to the Polynesian Islands. This party at sea on the m/s Paul Gauguin, created by Fine Food and Wine Cruise Co-Founders Jonathan and Lori Baltuch, features the best in fine food, wine, and music.

Richard Smith, Eric Marienthal, Dan Siegel, Sean Holt, Alec Milstein, and Land Richard are the artists who will be performing on board, and their musical achievements range from performing with artists such as Elton John to recording 19 solo albums to playing in the house band on TBS' "Lopez Tonight" show.

Chef Gillespie's achievements are equally as impressive. As many guests will recall from his time on Bravo's sixth season of Top Chef, Gillespie's true passion lies in incorporating organic and sustainable ingredients in all of his dishes. He stood out as one of the season's final three chef-testants and the "fan favorite." The executive chef and co-owner of Woodfire Grill in Atlanta is also working on two cookbooks.

Like Gillespie, the winemakers of DeLille Cellars also have an uncompromising philosophy about the quality of their product. DeLille is the leading boutique winery in Washington that produces five Bordeaux-style wines.

The m/s Paul Gauguin was designed to sail the shallow seas of French Polynesia and features staterooms with private balconies, a watersports marina, three open-seating dining venues, a spa and a local Tahitian staff. The full itinerary includes visits to Tahiti, Huahine, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora and Moorea. The Super Inclusive package for this cruise includes airport transfers in Tahiti, all meals aboard the ship, unlimited DeLille Cellars wines, alcohol, wine tasting events, water sports, jazz concerts and live entertainment, and seminars on wine, food, and ports of call. Interested cruisers are encouraged to register at For more information, call 800-218-6031 or email .

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal's Ultimate VIP Fireworks Blowout to Ring in New Year's 2013 In Sydney

LOS ANGELES, Dec 21: On the eve of New Year's Eve, Crystal Cruises is reminding travelers it's not too early to start planning next year's holiday, with an ultra-luxe, private floating party in Sydney Harbor welcoming in New Year's 2013. The over-the-top celebration offers exclusive front-row "seats" to the world's biggest New Year's fireworks, gratis for guests of all ages on Crystal Symphony's lavish culinary-themed holiday cruise through New Zealand/Australia beginning Dec 20, 2012.

The tres chic fete unfolds aboard two luxury catamarans, sailing past Sydney's crowd-lined shores in the uber-exclusive, select-vessel Harbor of Light Parade flotilla. Crystal has special-arranged final VIP stationing under Sydney Harbour Bridge, inside the off-limits Harbor Exclusion Zone, for the preeminent fireworks vantage point. The intimate post-dinner soiree includes hors d'oeuvres, desserts, premium open bar, music, dancing, midnight champagne countdown, Crystal's renowned six-star service, and spectacular city views, with guests among the globe's first ringing in 2013.

"This promises to be our most opulent New Year's Eve in years," says Crystal's Senior Vice President Operations, Thomas Mazloum. "The night is not only an incredible backdrop for once-in-a-lifetime memories, the entire cruise is a tremendous value, considering the party, other holiday festivities, and all Wine and Food Festival events are complimentary."

The festive itinerary includes grand holiday decor, gourmet Christmas dinner, Chanukah traditions, and other seasonal delights during overnights in Auckland, Melbourne, and Sydney (two nights), plus calls in Tauranga, Napier, Christchurch/Lyttleton, and Dunedin, NZ. Numerous experts--including guest chefs, mixologist, oenologist, oceanographer, conservation biologist, CBS News correspondent, and South African Ambassador—are also scheduled to host enlightening destination-related presentations.

Until Dec 31, 2011, "Book Now" cruise-only fares apply for the 16-day voyage that includes fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, plus pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff. If flying from one of 24 North American cities, "Book Now" rates that include airfare and airport transfers are available. For more information/Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Enhances Celebrity Life With Interactive Behind-the-Scenes Tours

MIAMI, Dec 20: Consistently striving to provide its guests with unmatchable vacation experiences, Celebrity Cruises is now offering guests an inside look into the fascinating world of cruise ship operations. A new addition to the unique and robust Celebrity Life onboard activities program, “Celebrity Inside Access” takes guests on a once-in-a-lifetime journey behind the scenes of Celebrity’s renowned fleet, inviting them to discover the intricate details and functions behind modern luxury at sea. Celebrity’s Inside Access program invites guests to join two intimate and exclusive activities, the “See How It’s Done Tour” and the “Bridge Sail Away Experience.”

Designed to provide a thorough and rich three-hour experience, the See How It’s Done Tour guides an intimate group of guests through several otherwise non-public areas of the ship, including the bridge, mooring deck, crew gym, theater, engine control room, prep rooms and the main dining room galley. At each area of the tour, guests have the opportunity to interact with expert members of the Celebrity crew. Each tour is followed by a savory wine-paired lunch hosted by an officer in the main dining room.

The Bridge Sail Away Experience presents the opportunity for vacationers to join the navigational team on the bridge as the ship sails away from port. Beginning 30 minutes before and concluding 30 minutes after departing, guests are given a tour and an overview of the bridge conducted by a senior Celebrity bridge officer. Guests also have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the ship’s captain.

“Celebrity has dedicated itself to providing guests with the finest in culinary experiences, award-winning service and engaging onboard activities,” said Simon Weir, Director of Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises. “Now, with the addition of Celebrity Inside Access, vacationers can also satisfy their curiosity and gain rare, behind-the-scenes insight into a Celebrity ship’s inner workings.”

The Celebrity Inside Access program is offered on all ships and available for purchase onboard.

Back to the top of the news list

Mahogany Bay Cruise Center Welcomes One Millionth Cruise Passenger

MIAMI (December 19, 2011) – The Mahogany Bay Cruise Center (MBCC) in Roatan reached a significant milestone last week when it welcomed its one millionth cruise passenger since opening nearly two years ago. The one millionth visitor to the MBCC was one of 4,268 passengers aboard the Carnival Dream which makes year-round calls at the $62 million facility on alternating weeks.

“Achieving our one millionth visitor in less than two years of operation is a testament to the outstanding facilities and quality landside experience enjoyed by the thousands of guests who visit the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center each week,” said Mike Reimers, general manager of the facility.

This week’s visit by the Carnival Dream is one of 280 annual cruise ship calls at the MBCC, which 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 Corporation & plc and Roatan businessman Jerry Hynds. In addition to Carnival Cruise Lines, vessels from Seabourn, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Costa Cruises, and P&O Cruises, as well as non-Carnival Corporation brands, have called at the new facility since it opened in 2009.

Along with a two-ship cruise pier, the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center offers a welcome center and 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 chair lift system that takes visitors from the welcome center to beautiful Mahogany Beach, a 10-acre private island featuring an 825-foot-long white-sand beach with a volleyball court and myriad watersports opportunities. Eight exclusive cabanas are also available for rent. For more information on the MBCC, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Boston’s 2011 Cruise Business Has Strong Season

BOSTON, Dec 19: The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced today that the number of passengers at Cruiseport Boston exceeded 300,000 for a second year in a row as the 2011 season finished with 310,234 travelers. The 2011 cruise season saw 107 ships visit Boston, and some of the season’s highlights included a successful first year of the newly home-based, larger Bermuda ship Norwegian Dawn, the maiden call of Compagnie du Ponant’s luxury yacht LeBoreal on Sept. 16, and Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 22. On Oct. 2 Cruiseport Boston enjoyed its busiest day since 2005 when four cruise ships were in port at the same time, bringing more than 7,000 passengers to Boston in a single day. This was also the first full season passengers at Cruiseport Boston had an opportunity to enjoy the new $11 million renovation to the Black Falcon Terminal.

“Boston’s 2011 cruise season commemorated our 25th Silver Anniversary in style with new ships and more efficient operations,” said Mike Leone, Port Director for Massport. “This was the first full season utilizing our newly-constructed 21,000 sq. ft. departure lounge greatly enhancing passenger flow and overall customer experience.”

Overall, Cruiseport Boston ended the season with a four percent decline from the 322,161 cruise passengers who visited Boston in 2010. The fall off is due to visiting day ships primarily deploying to Europe instead of the Canada/New England itinerary.

“We saw a two percent increase in travelers who began their cruise from Boston,” said Leone. “Norwegian Dawn was regularly fully-booked on its weekly cruises to Bermuda. Next year, we will have many new ships and itineraries to be offered from Cruiseport Boston. The increase in home-based ships has a multiplier effect on the local economy because the vessels are restocked for each voyage in Boston.”

For day visitors, otherwise known as “port of call” visitors, Massport this year, in partnership with the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB), created a new map of Boston designed specifically for the Cruiseport Boston passenger. The map shows walking routes to Boston’s popular destinations and the ease of access to downtown shops, restaurants, and other attractions from the cruise terminal. Ships stopping in for the day generate tax revenues, and provide a great opportunity for these visitors to experience Boston as a destination, ultimately enticing them back for a longer stay.

In 2012 Cruiseport Boston will see brand new choices for Canada & New England cruising when Carnival Cruise Lines homeports the Carnival Glory for 4-, 5- and 7-day cruises during the summer. Holland America will homeport the Veendam, for two, 7-day (one-way) sailings to Montreal as well as a repositioning cruise to South America. And in addition to its regular Bermuda cruises, Norwegian Dawn will sail three, 7-day (one-way) cruises to Quebec, while three luxury linesCompagnie du Ponant, Seabourn, and Crystal Cruiseswill offer one-way itineraries to Canada & New England ports.

Cruiseport Boston serves as a growing economic engine for the region. According to a 2011 report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), cruise industry spending generated more than 7,000 jobs and $429 million in income for Massachusetts’ workers through direct, indirect, and induced impact in 2010. Furthermore, it is estimated that Massachusetts accounted for more than $492 million in cruise industry direct spending, and passengers and crew spent $26 million in Boston in 2010.

Back to the top of the news list

Rascal Flatts to Perform on Norwegian Spirit

MIAMI, Dec 16: Norwegian Cruise Line and Rascal Flatts, one of the hottest groups in country music, announced today that the band will perform an exclusive, first-ever concert at sea on board Norwegian Spirit’s Feb 26, 2012 sailing from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean. The intimate acoustic performance will take place when the ship is docked in Cozumel on March 2, 2012.

“It’s not even Christmas yet, but we are already looking forward to next spring when we make our first-ever appearance on a cruise ship,” said Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts. “We will perform and meet fans aboard Norwegian Spirit as it’s docked in Cozumel, Mexico on March 2. We hope you will join us!”

To promote the performance and the band’s current Top 5, "Easy," which has just been certified gold with 500,000 digital downloads, radio stations in more than 20 top markets, including Canada, are holding on-air contests over the next several weeks for lucky listeners and their guests to win the 7-night cruise on Norwegian Spirit, along with airfare to New Orleans, and receive VIP tickets to the concert, including a special meet and greet with the band.

In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering guests on board the ship the opportunity to see the concert with two different ticket options available for purchase. The VIP package is available for $150 per person and gives guests the chance to get up close and personal with the band during a private cocktail reception, where they will have the opportunity to meet and greet with band members Jay, Joe Don, and Gary, have their photo taken with the band and receive an autographed souvenir. Standard tickets are available for $50 per person and guarantee a seat in the ship’s Stardust Theater for the concert.

Rascal Flatts has reached heights and achieved milestones reserved for country music’ elite. They have set more venue attendance records than any country act en route to ticket sales of six million and counting. They have sold 20 million albums, 25 million digital downloads and earned 13 #1 singles. With the #1 debut on the Country Albums sales chart of Nothing Like This, Rascal Flatts becomes one of only four country acts to debut six consecutive studio albums at #1. They have won over 40 awards from the ACM, CMA, AMA and People's Choice, among others, and they have received that ultimate honor for those who have impacted the culture—a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Norwegian Spirit will set sail from New Orleans on Saturday, Feb 26, 2012 on 7-day Western Caribbean cruise. Ports of call include: Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Roatan, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico, along with two relaxing days at sea. Norwegian Spirit features the best of Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising® with the choice of nine dining options, 10 bars and lounges, a full casino, spa and fitness center, pools and sports deck. This sailing has limited availability and can booked by contacting a travel professional, calling 866-234-7350, or visiting Passengers already booked on Norwegian Spirit’s Feb 26, 2012 cruise, can book the concert as a shore excursion online prior to the sailing or once onboard.

Back to the top of the news list

Windstar's Wind Surf Debuts New Look For Accommodations and Corridors

Windstar Cruises announces the completion of the first phase of Wind Surf's refurbishment encompassing the yacht's staterooms, suites, bridge suites and corridors. When Wind Surf welcomed guests Dec 10 in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, it set sail for the start of its Caribbean season with a new luxurious, classic, stylish yacht look for its accommodations and corridors. Wind Surf's staterooms now feature leather headboards, stately arm chairs, linen wall coverings, new lighting features, elegant window coverings, plush wool carpeting, art work, and stylish bed cushions. Suites were additionally outfitted with new furniture that converts easily to lounging, dining, or accommodating a third occupant. Corridors were completely renovated from floor to ceiling with new wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, lighting and art work.

"The new look enables us to provide an unparalleled guest experience and dramatizes Windstar's brand position of providing a unique, boutique yacht vacation that is 180 Degrees from Ordinary," said Hans Birkholz, President and CEO of Windstar Cruises.

Images of Wind Surf's accommodations and corridors along with updates and behind-the-scenes coverage of Windstar's $18 million fleet refurbishment can be viewed on Windstar's blog:

The second phase of Wind Surf's refurbishment will take place in the fall of 2012 and focuses on the yacht's public spaces including the Lounge, The Restaurant, Degrees, Veranda, Compass Rose, WindSpa, Yacht Club and Pool Bar.

-- In the Lounge, wall-to-wall carpeting will be replaced with hard flooring accented with inset rugs, a contemporary mix of furniture, lighter color palette and improved sound insulation around the casino.
The Restaurant will be completed with a new seating layout, all new soft goods, and state-of-the art wine display and storage.
-- Degrees Restaurant will be transformed into a Mediterranean bistro, anchored by a central wine bar for counter dining as well as an inviting area to relax before and after dinner. Wine tastings and cooking demonstrations will also be conducted here.
-- The Veranda's outdoor seating will be significantly expanded, creating an ideal mid-ship area for enjoying breakfast and lunch alfresco. The interior will include a new buffet, new lighting, and epicurean style display counters.
-- The Compass Rose will be reconfigured to open up expansively to the adjoining outdoor deck, and its interior completely renovated to reflect the sophisticated elegance of a private club.
The Pool Bar will sport new awnings for additional shade, new deck furniture, and improved outdoor dining layout for Candles Grill.

Wind Star and Wind Spirit will undergo complete refurbishments of staterooms, owner's suite, and corridors along with public spaces including The Restaurant, Veranda, Lounge, WindSpa, Library, Reception, and Pool Bar following their respective Costa Rica and Caribbean seasons. After the completion of work, both yachts begin their Mediterranean seasons with Wind Spirit starting April 15, 2012, and Wind Star beginning April 29, 2012.

Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises' Award-winning Culinary Team to Kick Off New 'Excite the Senses' Cruises
with Food & Wine Extravaganza

MIAMI, Dec. 14: The visual feast that comes to life in the pages of Celebrity Cruises' new lifestyle book, Excite the Senses, has inspired a new series of food-and-wine-themed cruises that will offer guests a unique, behind-the-scenes experience and a rare opportunity to get to know the Celebrity culinary team through intimate demonstrations, tastings and dinners. Developed and hosted by the talent behind the cruise line's award-winning culinary program, Celebrity's "Excite the Senses Culinary Theme Cruises" will kick off on March 24, 2012, on a seven-night sailing headlined by Celebrity's Master Chef and Vice President of Culinary Operations, the James Beard Foundation Award-nominated Jacques Van Staden.

"Every Celebrity cruise is a modern luxury vacation, and a large part of that is the culinary experience," said Van Staden. "The culinary-themed activities at the heart of Celebrity's Excite the Senses cruises are designed to appeal to everyone from the novice to the sophisticated oenophile - just like the book itself - and shine a spotlight on all the elements of Celebrity's culinary experience, from outstanding service to innovative menus to cutting-edge trends and more."

Each of the eight cruises scheduled for 2012 will showcase the various culinary disciplines featured in Excite the Senses - "Captivate" (dining), "Accentuate" (wine, spirits, coffee and tea), and "Illuminate" (entertaining). Each voyage will be led by a member of Celebrity's culinary team, along with partners from Celebrity's award-winning wine and spirits program.

The March 24 cruise, which will take place on Celebrity Eclipse, will feature not only Van Staden, but also the other members of Celebrity's culinary team who will later host their own cruises. Special guest "The Liquid Chef" and Master Mixologist Junior Merino also will share his expertise, along with various partners from a variety of wineries. The kickoff cruise will offer guests an extravaganza of special culinary-themed activities including an exclusive cocktail and Qsine pairing dinner hosted by Van Staden and Merino, a "Corporate Star Chefs" cooking demonstration and question-and-answer session with Celebrity's food and beverage team, mixology demonstrations, hands-on cooking classes with chefs in the galley and an Excite the Senses book signing event, and more.

"The Excite the Senses cruises offer even more insight into the amazing operation here at Celebrity Cruises, where the food and beverage experience is an essential part of every guest's vacation, and will help them discover ways to enhance not only their palates but also their home entertaining," said Scott Steenrod, Associate Vice President, Food and Beverage Operations.

Activities during Excite the Senses Culinary Theme Cruises will range from exclusive dinners in Celebrity's chic specialty restaurants, cooking demonstrations focused on the importance of using locally sourced ingredients, wine tastings, sessions on how to host elegant afternoon teas and unique cocktail parties, ways to enliven holiday traditions with modern twists, tips for creative table settings, and more.

Celebrity's 2012 Excite the Senses Culinary Theme Cruises' dates and hosts are:

-- March 24: 7-night Caribbean cruise on Celebrity Eclipse , roundtrip from Miami, Florida, hosted by Van Staden and team; activities will focus on food, wine, mixology, and entertaining at home.
-- April 10: 12-night Caribbean cruise on the brand-new Celebrity Silhouette , roundtrip from Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey, hosted by Celebrity Cruises Traveling Pastry Chef Thierry Houlbert; activities will focus on baking, pastries and sweets.
-- May 5: 8-night wine cruise on Celebrity Century from San Diego, California, to Vancouver, British Columbia, hosted by Celebrity Cruises Senior Traveling Executive Chef W. Thomas Szymanski; activities will build on the popular cruises with an even greater focus on food.
-- May 27: 7-night Bermuda cruise on Celebrity Summit – which will have emerged from an extensive drydock revitalization known as 'Solsticizing' several months prior – sailing roundtrip from Cape Liberty and hosted by Celebrity Cruises Traveling Executive Chef Steve van der Merwe; activities will be themed around culinary exploration and Bermuda culinary traditions.
-- June 29: 7-night Alaska cruise on Celebrity Infinity , which has just been "Solsticized," roundtrip from Seattle and hosted by Celebrity Cruises Director of Culinary Operations John Suley and his wife and Celebrity's wine expert Chanelle Duarte, who serves as Celebrity's Beverage Development Consultant. Activities will focus on local ingredients, food and wine pairing and more.
-- July 10: 12-night Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity Solstice , Celebrity's flagship vessel, sailing roundtrip from Barcelona and hosted by Corporate Executive Chef Rufino Rengifo. Activities will celebrate Mediterranean cooking.
-- Aug 12: 12-night Baltic cruise on Celebrity Constellation , the first of Celebrity's Millennium Class ships to be Solsticized, sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam and hosted by Lorenzo Davidoiu, Celebrity's Restaurant Operations Manager, who will focus on easy, modern entertaining tips.
-- Sept 14: 8-night wine cruise on Celebrity Millennium , which will be Solsticized in May 2012, sailing from Vancouver to San Diego and hosted by Celebrity's Traveling Restaurant Manager and former star maitre d' Dominique Gamba, who will focus on specialty cheeses from around the world, the art of tea service, table settings and entertaining tips.

Each cruise will feature an expert from the wine or spirits industry, in addition to Celebrity's culinary team members. Participating beverage partners, who will offer talks on their products, include representatives from Jack Daniel's, Jackson Family Wines, St. Francis Vineyards and Marchesi Antinori. Some of the activities specific to Celebrity's Excite the Senses culinary theme cruises will require a per-person fee. For more details, visit

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Announces Winter 2013/14 Deployment

MIAMI, Dec 14: Norwegian Cruise Line announced its winter deployment for the 2013/2014 season with six ships sailing to the Caribbean and Bahamas & Florida from four homeports: Miami, New Orleans, Tampa and New York. Norwegian Jewel, the first Jewel class ship to homeport in New Orleans, will make her debut there on Oct 13, 2013, offering 7-day Western Caribbean itineraries. The line also plans to return to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles, with Norwegian Star sailing 7-day cruises in Dec 2013, March and April 2014, along with a series of Panama Canal voyages between Los Angeles and Miami. Norwegian will also continue its commitment to Canada & New England with two ships sailing to the region: Norwegian Gem from New York and Norwegian Dawn from Boston and Quebec. The line also is offering four transatlantic crossings and several repositioning cruises.

These cruises are on sale to Norwegian’s top travel partners and Latitudes Rewards members (past guests) now, and open to the general public on Thursday, December 15.

“The Caribbean and the Bahamas & Florida represent the majority of our winter cruising destinations and therefore we are pleased to offer a variety of itineraries, ships and homeports,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “Following a two-year hiatus, we are also pleased to bring Norwegian Star back to the West Coast to sail to the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal.”

Caribbean and Bahamas & Florida Deployment
Norwegian will have three ships sailing from Miami in the winter of 2013/14. Norwegian Epic returns for her fourth season in Miami, sailing a series of 25 seven-day Easter Caribbean cruises from Nov 2, 2013 to April 19, 2014 departing on Saturdays. Norwegian Pearl is set to embark on a series of 26 seven-day Western Caribbean cruises from Oct 20, 2013 through April 13, 2014. Offering a longer cruise option, Norwegian Sun will sail 10 and 11-day Southern Caribbean cruises with Sunday and Wednesday departures from Oct 9, 2013 through April 16, 2014. Ports of call on the 10-day cruise include: St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Roseau, Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten; along with four relaxing days at sea. On the 11-day cruise, Norwegian Sun’s ports of call include: Cartagena, Colombia; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; as well as five days at sea.

In New Orleans, Norwegian Jewel will make her debut on Oct13, 2013, offering a series of 26 seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 13, 2014. This is the first time the line is bringing a Jewel class ship to the Big Easy, offering increased capacity. Additional features include The Haven by Norwegian, a deluxe enclave of suites, pool and other amenities in a private access area on the top of the ship, along with Nickelodeon programming. New for 2013, Norwegian Jewel will sail alternating Western Caribbean itineraries in November and December. The first Western Caribbean itinerary features Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Bay Islands Honduras; and Belize City, Belize. The second itinerary includes Ocho Rios or Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico

Norwegian Dawn will return to Tampa and sail a series of 22 seven-day Western Caribbean sailings from Nov 17, 2013 through April 20, 2014. The ship will also offer a 2-night cruise on Nov 15, 2013.

From New York, Norwegian Gem will continue her year-round sailings offering 7-day Bahamas & Florida cruises from April 27, 2013 through Sept 7, 2013. The port order of the Bahamas & Florida sailings has been changed to include more port time in Orlando & the Beaches (Port Canaveral). The ship’s first port of call will be Nassau, Bahamas, followed by Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, Norwegian’s private island; followed by Orlando & the Beaches (Port Canaveral) and three relaxing days at sea. Beginning October 19, 2013, Norwegian Gem will sail 21 nine-day Eastern Caribbean cruises through April 23, 2014 with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Samaná, Dominican Republic, along with four relaxing days at sea. The ship will also offer a series of six one-night cruises from New York offering a quick getaway on Nov 15 and Dec 13, 2013, along with Jan 10, Feb 7, March 7 and April 4, 2014.

Panama Canal & Mexican Riviera Deployment
For the first time since April 2011, Norwegian will seasonally base a ship in Los Angeles, sailing a series of both 14-day Panama Canal and 7-day Mexican Riviera voyages. Beginning on Oct 13, 2013, Norwegian Star is scheduled for eight Panama Canal cruises between Los Angeles and Miami. The nine 7-day Mexican Riviera sailings are interspersed in Dec 2013 and March and April 2014. Ports of call include: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, along with three relaxing days at sea.

Canada & New England
For fall foliage viewing at its best, Norwegian Dawn will embark on four Canada & New England itineraries between Boston and Quebec from Sept 13 through Oct 4, 2013. These sailings can also be combined for an ultimate 14-day Canada & New England experience.

Norwegian Gem offers a series of five 7-day Canada & New England cruises from New York from Sept 9 through Oct 12, 2013. Ports of call include: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island.

In addition, Norwegian Epic will make two transatlantic voyages: an 11-day sailing on April 20, 2013 from Miami to Barcelona and a 13-day cruise Oct 20, 2013 from Barcelona to Miami. Norwegian Star will also make two transatlantic crossings: a 16-day from New Orleans to Copenhagen on April 21, 2013 and a 12-day voyage from Copenhagen to Miami on Oct 1, 2013.

There are also a number of repositioning cruises available between various departure ports that visit exotic destinations in the Southern Caribbean and Panama Canal. Norwegian Dawn will set sail on a 12-day Caribbean Escape from Tampa to Boston on April 21, 2013. The ship will return to Tampa from Boston on November 1, 2013 on a 14-day Caribbean Escape. Norwegian Jewel, Pearl, and Sun will also offer a number of Panama Canal repositioning cruises between Miami and Los Angeles varying in length from 14 to 17 days.

To book these new sailings in conjunction with the company’s “Norwegians Take it to the Next Level” sales event, contact a travel professional, call 866-234-7350 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Launches New Brand Campaign, Beckoning You to Hear the Call of the Sea

MIAMI, Dec. 13: Royal Caribbean Intl has launched a new brand campaign today that embodies the most inspirational element at the very core of the global cruise line's offering ... the sea. The campaign is aimed at reawakening consumers to the sights and sounds of the sea and conveys the relaxation, romance and adventure that only can be had on the open waters aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation. The campaign will kick off with playful imagery of a conch shell as a phonedubbed the "Shellphone"and communicates the campaign's decree: "The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally."

Through the new campaign, Royal Caribbean is addressing the emotional aspects and motivations for taking a vacation with the award-winning cruise line. "The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally." engages consumers and invites them to explore their individual best selves on a Royal Caribbean ship. The new campaign speaks to the universal truths discovered through focus groups and quantitative research conducted in 16 countries around the world, where people feel a connection to the sea; where, at sea, one can feel detached from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and the responsibilities of taking care of everyone else; and that the Royal Caribbean brand conveys a sense of quality and best in class. Throughout, "The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally." is presented in an easily relatable fashion through the playful and witty tone of voice for which Royal Caribbean has been known, particularly through the "Shellphone."

"We are tapping into the sea's powerful, emotional force to reframe the context of cruising for consumers who don't understand what a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation offers," said Betsy O'Rourke, senior vice president, Marketing, Royal Caribbean Intl. "'The Sea is Calling' is a global-scale campaign that will resonate with people no matter where they live, what language they speak, or whether or not they've cruised before. And we want vacationers everywhere to know that Royal Caribbean's distinctive and innovative ships, personal service and breadth of destination experiences is how we 'Answer it Royally.'"

Created by Royal Caribbean's lead advertising agency, JWT New York, in partnership with media agency Mindshare, the campaign will unfold over the coming weeks and officially launch in North America in Jan. 2012, and then deploy globally throughout the new year. The Shellphone will begin appearing on Dec. 19 in a series of wild postings in major cities including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston and Miami. Headlines incorporated in the teaser campaign, such as "Not 3G, Sea G" and "Our Rollover Plan: Tan Front, Then Back," center on the Shellphone, driving curious consumers to, where they will view the new brand campaign's concept video that reminds them of the call of the sea and invites them to answer it with Royal Caribbean. More information about "The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally." is also available at the link.

The official kick-off will be the airing of aspirational television commercials of everyday people interacting with the "Shellphone" (30-second and 60-second versions) beginning Jan. 9, 2012. Consumers also can answer the call of the sea by declaring where in the world they would like to cruise and be entered into a sweepstakes at

Royal Caribbean has been committed to answering the call of the sea for the past 40 years, sailing every major sea in the world. With its history of creativity and innovationdelivering many at-sea industry firsts, such as ice rinks, rock climbing walls, zip lines and Broadway showsthe cruise line continues to strive to deliver to guests an unforgettable and rejuvenating experience that appeals to vacationers of all ages. Royal Caribbean provides a world-class vacation experience with a wide range of signature onboard amenities, entertainment, and award-winning family programming. The cruise line has a 40-year history of giving guests the Royal Advantagethe most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to popular destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service. For additional information, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Paradise Launches Year-Round 4- & 5-Day Cruises From Tampa

MIAMI, Dec 12: Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise arrived this morning in Tampa following a 14-day Panama Canal cruise and will sail on its inaugural cruise from the port later this afternoon. Carnival Paradise is replacing the Carnival Inspiration on 4- and 5-day western Caribbean cruises from the Port of Tampa, becoming the newest Carnival “Fun Ship” to operate this popular itinerary. On this route, Carnival Paradise departs Thursdays on 4-day cruises to Cozumel and on Mondays and Saturdays on 5-day voyages to Cozumel and Grand Cayman. The Carnival Inspiration is being deployed to Long Beach, California, to operate year-round 3- and 4-day cruises.

Carnival Paradise offers a distinctive décor with dramatic public spaces that pay homage to great ocean liners of the past, with memorable venues such as the Queen Mary Lounge, Normandie Theater, Rotterdam Bar and the Leonardo Lounge. The ship also features spacious, modern facilities and programming for children in three age groups, along with a three swimming pools, including one with a spiral water slide. Dining options include two formal restaurants with extensive menus and wine lists and an expansive poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria. Other features include a 12,000-square-foot health and fitness center, a jogging track, and Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat.

Carnival Paradise joins the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend, which sails year-round 7-day Caribbean voyages from Tampa. Carnival is the only cruise line to offer year-round cruises from Tampa and has maintained a year-round presence since it launched 7-day Caribbean cruises in 1994. Over the years, the company has dramatically expanded its presence at the Port of Tampa, adding newer and larger ships and offering a greater variety of itineraries. This year, the line’s two-year-round ships, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Legend, are expected to carry an estimated 300,000 passengers from Tampaa 10-fold increase versus Carnival’s first year of operations there.

“With its convenient location, excellent facilities and proximity to top tourist attractions, Tampa has become one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Paradise will provide an exciting and affordable short cruise option from Florida’s west coast,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO.

Reservations are currently being accepted for all of Carnival’s Tampa-based programs. For additional information, call 1-800-327-9501 or visit

 Back to the top of the news list

Silversea Offers Guests Exclusive 'Grand Prix de Monaco' Tour

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Dec 12: Guests sailing on the nearly sold-out Silver Spirit voyage of May 24, 2012 are in for a special treat. Silversea is offering an optional two-day "70th Grand Prix de Monaco" land package. Silver Spirit guests will have the opportunity to experience the thrill of a Formula One race at the Monaco Grand Prix during the ship's overnight visit on May 26. On Saturday, guests will enjoy witnessing the time trials (practice runs for the drivers and their cars) from Tribune K reserved seats. From this section of the grandstand, guests will see cars racing towards them at tremendous speed, slow down, and then accelerate, before making the next turn. In the evening, guests attend an invitation-only cocktail reception hosted by the ship's captain and a former Grand Prix driver, followed by a themed dinner of Mediterranean and Monegasque cuisine served in La Terrazza. On Sunday, guests return to their same reserved seats for the exciting final race.

"This is an amazing opportunity for our guests to experience the thrill and excitement of the world's most renowned Formula One race," said Darius Mehta, Silversea's vice president of air and land programs.

The tour includes escorted transfers and a gift package of spectator essentials featuring Bushnell binoculars, an official "70th Grand Prix de Monaco" program, souvenir drawstring bag, hat, seat cushion, and protective earplugs. Priced at $1,799 per guest, this special 2-day, mid-voyage land adventure is only offered on Silver Spirit's May 24 voyage, sailing from Barcelona to Rome. It requires advance booking through Silversea's reservations department by Jan 24, 2012. However, since space is limited, the tour may sell out before the booking deadline.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spiritall designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the expedition ship Silver Explorer, Silversea Cruises' itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both polar regions and over 450 fascinating destinations in between. For more information, please contact a travel agent, call toll-free (877) 215-9986, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Azamara Club Cruises Teams With Master Perfumer Olivier Decoster To
Provide Signature
‘About Rose’  Amenitites

MIAMI, Dec 9: Azamara Club Cruises is adding yet another element of exclusivity for its guests by becoming the only cruise line to introduce the European ‘About Rose’ collection of toiletry products on its two intimate ships, Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey. The brainchild of famed-French, master-perfumer Olivier Decoster, ‘About Rose’ offers guests a new range of specially tailored toiletry products to enjoy aboard a destination-immersive voyage with Azamara. The signature collection, available now, blends rich product formulations and unique fragrance compositions to offer spa-quality hair, bath and body products for both men and women.

Aboard Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, guests may pamper themselves with About Rose foaming body wash, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner plus a vanity set. The elegant collection, inspired by notes of tangerine, iris and amber, will add to the upscale experience for guests. The fragrance is an exotic blend of fruity, floral and spicy scents and develops further with strong fusion of wood, amber and iris essences.

Decoster, the founder and artistic director for HD Fragrances, is widely recognized across the world for having created exclusive perfumed and fragrances for some of the world’s leading hotels, fashion design and interior design brands. Trained in Grasse, France, perfume has been Decoster’s lifelong passion and he is one of the few perfumers who also holds a medical degree.

“Up-market travelers on a destination-immersive voyage with Azamara Club Cruises can now enjoy the exclusive spa-like amenities of ‘About Rose’ in their stateroom after exploring some of the world’s most exclusive destinations or exclusive events,” said Edie Bornstein, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Azamara Club Cruises. “We are thrilled to offer this signature amenity kit designed by the renowned Master Perfumer Olivier Decoster to our guests to enjoy in the comfort of their staterooms, as well as during rejuvenating sessions in our world-class day spas onboard.”

Azamara Club Cruises is a destination-immersive cruise line for up-market travelers who want to not only see the places and cultures they visit, but to live them. Azamara’s two intimate, 694-guest ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with a combination of 347 suites and staterooms, offer a European-boutique hotel ambience with extraordinary service, fine cuisine and wines from around the world, and wellness and vitality programs, all while sailing to a host of destinations larger ships cannot reach. Azamara Club Cruises sails European destinations, as well as Asia, South America and lesser-traveled islands of the West Indies, with more overnight and late-night stays in every region. Travelers also can choose even more immersive experiences with Azamara cruisetours in eight of the world’s most exciting destinations, including Rome, Athens, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Istanbul, Jordan and Israel, India, and China. For more information, travelers can call their travel professional, dial 1-877-999-9553, or visit online.

Back to the top of the news list

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 Refit Completed

Dec 9: Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 has returned to her homeport of Southampton after a major refurbishment that will prepare her to welcome guests for a luxury cruise vacation on her upcoming Transatlantic Crossings, Europe and World Voyages. The refurbishment took place at the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, from 24 November to 6 December, with work undertaken in all staterooms and suites, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, the Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants, the Commodore Club, the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, Sir Samuel’s Bar and Lounge and the children’s Play Zone. The popular Golden Lion Pub also was completely redesigned. Tillberg Design Company who were involved in Queen Mary 2’s original concept, were engaged by Cunard to develop the new designs.

“Queen Mary 2 is an iconic leader in the world of luxury ocean travel and consistently receives high ratings by guests and the cruise industry. A ship that still turns heads everywhere she goes, she is unquestionably the pride of our fleet,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “We are committed to maintaining that impeccable reputation, and this significant refurbishment is an important investment on behalf of our guests.”

A special new portrait of Her Majesty The Queen was unveiled today in honor of her role in launching Queen Mary 2 in 2004. The commissioned oil painting, which will be displayed in the Grand Lobby, depicts The Queen during her final visit to Queen Elizabeth 2 in Southampton on 2 June 2008, and was painted by Gail Graham, an art director of The European magazine. This will be the second portrait of Her Majesty on board a Cunard ship. A specially-commissioned portrait of Her Majesty also hangs in the Grand Lobby of the Line’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, which she also launched in October 2010.

“Her Majesty has named four Cunard ships: Caronia (1947), Queen Elizabeth 2 (1967), Queen Mary 2 (2004) and Queen Elizabeth (2010),” said Shanks. “We had a magnificent Cunard-commissioned portrait of her by Sir Oswald Birley which originally hung on Caronia and then aboard QE2, and we have the celebrated official portrait of Her Majesty on board Queen Elizabeth which was painted last year by Isabel Peachey. So, it is with great pleasure that we extend this tradition to our flagship, Queen Mary 2, today.”

Queen Mary 2’s 14-day refit required a team of thousands of workers replacing the equivalent of almost ten football fields of carpet and manufacturing about 18 miles of fabric into over 6,000 individual items. Specific details of her refurbishments include:

-- Staterooms: All 1,310 staterooms and suites aboard Queen Mary 2 received a fresh look with new carpeting, curtains, bedspreads and some received new furniture. The revised design is in keeping with current concepts, but with an enhanced sense of comfort, as can be experienced in luxury hotels around the world.
-- Golden Lion Pub: With its increasingly popular traditional British pub lunch menus, busy bar, exciting sports events and nightly music offerings, the Pub has benefitted from a complete refurbishment and redesign to enhance its endearing appeal. The new design retains the British pub atmosphere with warm colours and plush seating in keeping with the same venues aboard sister ships Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Upgraded plasma television screens also have been installed.
-- Canyon Ranch SpaClub: An extensive refurbishment of the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea included reconditioning the teak surrounds of the hydrotherapy pool and adjacent wet areas and a general upgrade of all the facilities. In addition, new exercise machines in the fitness centre and new and improved features in the Beauty Salon have been installed.
-- Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants: A new, lighter carpet design for both of Queen Mary 2’s exclusive Grill restaurants will enhance the existing ambience as guests get decked out to experience the finest dining at sea.
-- Commodore Club: One of the most popular public rooms on board, this lounge overlooking the ship’s bow has been refreshed with a new carpet design and additions to the white leather furnishings of chairs, sofas and bar stools.
-- Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar: This venue featuring the exquisite Veuve Clicquot brand of champagne has a new carpet and new soft furnishings.
Sir Samuel’s – This busy venue, which features specialty coffees during the day and an impressive menu of wines at night, received new carpeting and furniture coverings.
-- The Play Zone: These facilities for younger guests underwent a complete refurbishment, including new soft play areas, plus upgrades including the very latest in electronic gaming technology and entertainment.

For more information about Cunard Line and to book a glamorous voyage, consult your travel professional, call toll-free 1-800-728-6273 or go to

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line's ms Volendam to Sail a Series of Far East Itineraries in Early 2013

SEATTLE, Dec. 9: When Holland America Line's ms Volendam heads to Asia in 2013, the ship will sail a series of 14-day itineraries between Singapore and Hong Kong, China; Kobe (Osaka), Japan, and Hong Kong, as well as a roundtrip Kobe cruise. Guests will have the opportunity to also visit the countries of Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand and Cambodia on the Far East explorations, including the option to take an overland tour to the Great Wall of China.

The nine voyages, including a 16-day Great Barrier Holiday sailing Sydney to Singapore via Indonesia departing Dec. 22, 2012 and a 17-day trans-Pacific crossing from Kobe to Vancouver, British Columbia, will sail from December through April and offer extended ports calls and overnight stays at some of the most historical and exciting cities in the region, including Bangkok, Thailand; Shanghai and Xingang (Beijing), China, and Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan. Itineraries can be combined to form longer 28- or 31-day Collectors' Voyages, enabling guests to experience a more in-depth exploration of Asia's landmarks, as well as explore its mystical allure.

14-day Far East Explorer Voyages
Volendam's three 14-day Far East Discovery voyages sail between Hong Kong and Singapore and feature port calls at Koh Samui and Bangkok (overnight), Thailand; Sihanoukville (Kampong Saom), Cambodia, and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City), Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Halong Bay, Vietnam. Departure dates are Jan. 7 and 21, and Feb. 4.

14-day China and Japan Discovery Voyage
Four14-day China and Japan Discovery voyages sail between Hong Kong and Kobe (Osaka) and roundtrip Kobe, and include two overnight calls at Shangahi and Xingang, China. Additional ports of call include Dalian, China; Busan (Pusan), South Korea, and Nagasaki, Japan. Departure dates are Feb. 18, March 4 and 18, and (roundtrip Kobe) April 1.

17-day Trans-Pacific Repositioning Voyage
The 17-day trans-Pacific repositioning voyage departs April 15 from Kobe and sails east to Vancouver. In addition to exotic ports of call, the itinerary features scenic cruising through Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage in Alaska, and relaxing days at sea. Following an overnight at Yokohama (Tokyo), the ship calls at Hakodate and Kushiro, Japan, and Kodiak and Ketchikan, Alaska, as it makes it way to Canada for the start of the Alaska sailing season.

Memorable Shore Excursions
Guests can maximize their experience in Asia by booking notable optional shore excursions including a visit to the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh to explore the major highlights or discovering the Cu Chi Tunnels Discovery near Phu My, Vietnam; enjoying a cultural-experience at either Beomeosa or Tongdosa Temple complete with tea ceremony outside of Busan; and from Nagasaki, exploring the magnificent Shimabara Castle and Fugen Volcano.

"Travel research continues to indicate that interest in the Far East is rising and Asia explorations remain on the wish lists of our guests," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, for Holland America Line. "Our Asia itineraries offer everything, from interesting shore excursions and cultural encounters to ports with deep historical roots and unique experiences."

For more information on Holland America Line's cruises and cruisetours, consult a professional travel seller, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Oceania cruises Introduces New Beverage Packages

Miami, Dec 8: Oceania Cruises will introduce two new beverage packages on voyages beginning in 2012. The new wine, beer and spirits beverage packages were designed to enhance the culinary experience for guests while at the same time offering additional convenience and value. All Oceania Cruises guests will continue to enjoy unlimited complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, specialty coffees and teas on every sailing.

House Wine and Beer, priced at $29.95 per guest, per day, includes house wine by the glass and beer with lunch and dinner in any dining venue or via room service. House wine options are from a selection of red and white wines that change daily.

The second option, Open Bar, priced at $49.95 per guest, per day, includes beer and premium house wine by the glass and most beverages on the bar menu. Guests can also order spirits and beer through room service. Premium house wine options are from an exclusive selection of featured red and white wines that change daily.

“Our new beverage packages offer guests a convenient and affordable way to further enjoy the finest cuisine at sea,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president. “By paying one set price, guests can enjoy a wide variety of wine, beer, spirits or even a nightcap at a terrific value.”

The new beverage package prices include gratuities and can be pre-booked online or through a reservations representative. They can also be purchased onboard at any time during the cruise, with prices prorated for the days remaining. Guests can upgrade packages during the sailing. For more information, visit, contact a professional travel agent or call toll-free 800-531-5658.

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Cruises' Entire 2013 Now Open for Booking

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 8:  Ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises has launched its complete 2013 worldwide cruise collection, becoming the first of the luxury cruise lines to release its entire 2013 calendar and fares, as well as open all cruises for bookings. For travelers who like to plan ahead, '13 is a lucky number as "Book Now" fares offer guests the best prices for early bookings made by Feb 28 or June 30, 2012 (depending on cruise departure).

Significant changes, such as many more shorter cruises distinguish 2013 Crystal's repertoire of 64 itineraries visiting 62 countries and 226 ports-of-call worldwide. Due to the overwhelming popularity of its Northern Europe itineraries in 2012, Crystal has opted to switch its initially scheduled vessel deployment: Crystal Serenity will summer in the Baltic, North Cape and British Isles (in addition to spring and summer Mediterranean seasons), while Crystal Symphony will spend her summer in the Mediterranean.

Other new highlights include:
-- 16 maiden calls: Baie-Comeau and Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec; Canakkale, Turkey; Castellon de la Plana, Spain; La Spezia, Italy; Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Natal, Brazil; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England; Santa Marta, Colombia; and Skiathos, Greece; Manta, Equador; Salaverry, Peru; Chacabuco and Cape Horn, Chile; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Langkawi, Malaysia
-- More shorter/7- to 10-day sailings (29 overall); more than 250% increase in shorter cruise offerings in Europe
-- 74-day World Cruise with a comprehensive focus on South America
-- 9-7-12-day cruise-length rotation in Europe for choice of shorter or longer back-to-back options without repeating ports, plus Saturday departures for most 7-day sailings
-- 98-day/eight segment Australasian Grand Cruise from Auckland to LA
-- Cruises beginning and ending in Reyjkavik, Bali, Brisbane, Dublin, and Kobe
-- 25% more port days, including cruises without any days at sea
-- Strategic scheduling around local events: Monte Carlo Grand Prix, Seville's La Fiera de Abril, and Tuscany's Il Palio di Siena
-- More than 85% of voyages with two or more days in port
-- Three-day, complimentary pre- or post-cruise Beijing land package with two cruises (one of which also includes three days in Shanghai)
-- Increase of 10-day New England/Canada itineraries
-- More than 50% increase in shipboard overnight stays in port on embarkation day
-- Antarctica for the holidays; Crystal is absorbing the extra cost and planning efforts to meet the new environmental requirements
-- Returns to ports less-frequented by Crystal: Murmansk, Russia; the Shetland Islands; Izmir, Turkey; Isle of Man; Cartagena, Spain; Newcastle, Australia; Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadaloupe; General San Martin/Pisco, Peru; Pusan, Korea; Agadir, Morocco; Trogir, Croatia; Savannah and Baltimore, U.S.
-- 15 renowned waterways, including New Zealand's Millford, Doubtful, and Duskey Sounds; Norway's North Cape and Svartisen Glacier; Glacier Bay, Alaska; the Chilean Fjords; Halong Bay, Vietnam; the Amazon and Saguenay Rivers; and Panama Canal

In all, Crystal Symphony kicks off 2013 with a super-VIP New Year's fireworks gala in Sydney, then remains in the region, exploring Australia, New Zealand and Asia prior to a European/Mediterranean-focused summer, North American fall, and Central/South American/Antarctic holiday season ending in Chile. Crystal Serenity's 2013 routing begins in the Caribbean before heading to a South American World Cruise, then Europe for most of the year before returning to the Caribbean/Central America for the holidays.

Early bookings offer maximum savings on 2013 itineraries, including: $4,000/person full World Cruise savings; $700 or $1,000/person savings for 7- to 24-day sailings; "Save Now, Save Later"--20% savings on 2014's World Cruise for booking the 2013 World Cruise (or segments thereof). Two-for-1 fares  include "Book Now Savings," free round-trip air transportation (or generous air credit), airport/ship transfers, and all-inclusive amenities such as complimentary gratuities, fine wines and spirits, specialty restaurants (including the lauded cuisine of Nobu Matsuhisa), Open Dining by Reservation®, and stimulating onboard entertainment and enrichment.

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

Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Significantly Expands Modern Luxury Suite Selections on Celebrity Reflection

MIAMI, Dec 7: While celebrating the highly anticipated stateside debut of its stylish Celebrity Silhouette, the fourth and newest member of Celebrity Cruises’ widely heralded Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Cruises also is intensely focused on the fifth member of the class, Celebrity Reflection, which sets sail in the Fall of 2012. And when she does, she’ll boast all the attributes that have netted Celebrity’s Solstice Class the broadest array of honors in the brand’s 20-year history and a host of entirely new features, including a significantly expanded array of luxury suites. In designing Celebrity Reflection, the line focused on what could make the best even better, and already announced plans to add a new deck to allow for additional staterooms and the line’s first AquaClass Suites, inspired by guest demand. And today, the line announced plans to also introduce Celebrity’s first “Signature Suites,” and the jaw-dropping new “Reflection Suite.”

“Everything we introduced on Celebrity Silhouette illustrated our devotion to offering new and differentiated experiences for our guests, and the feedback we’re receiving is rewarding validation that our guests love it, from The Lawn Club Grill, to The Porch, to The Alcoves, to The Hideaway, not to mention they continually tell us how much they love the first three Solstice Class ships,” said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “On Celebrity Reflection, we’ve taken the opportunity to further elevate our onboard offerings, with entirely new ‘Signature Suites’ and our first ‘Reflection Suite,’ in addition to our first-ever AquaClass Suites, collectively creating the most vivid examples yet of the modern luxury that defines Celebrity.”

Located in a private area of the ship’s 14th deck, Celebrity Reflection’s five Signature Suites each offer a 441-square-foot stateroom area and 118-square foot veranda, with floor-to-ceiling windows and veranda doors, all designed to maximize the stunning views of the sea. Celebrity’s Signature Suites each can accommodate up to four guests, and will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet. The entire area, including the stunning new Reflection Suite, features cardkey access exclusively for guests booked in the elite group of suites, such that a family or group of up to 26 guests traveling together can enjoy a private, six-suite modern luxury vacation experience.

Nestled in the highly desirable corner location near Celebrity’s new Signature Suites, the Reflection Suite will be the brand’s first two-bedroom suite, complete with a truly distinctive sea-view bathroom extending out over the edge of the ship, a veranda tub with soothing rain shower, and panoramic views courtesy of the wraparound veranda. The 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite with 194-square-foot veranda – complete with Celebrity’s luxurious 24/7 butler service – can accommodate up to six guests.

From today through Dec 11, 2011, Celebrity is offering its most loyal guests, Captain’s Club members, an exclusive opportunity to be the first to book the new Reflection Suite and Signature Suites, before they open for booking among the general public Dec 12. Captain’s Club members interested in booking during this private event are invited to call 1.800.760.0654 or contact their travel agent.

To provide an entirely new, breakthrough bedding experience for guests booked in Celebrity’s Reflection Suite, Signature Suites and Penthouse Suite, Celebrity has partnered with Reverie®, a leading innovator in luxury bedding, to deliver the Reverie® Dream Sleep System™. The patented sleep system features a premium Reverie mattress that allows guests, with the assistance of their butler, to customize the softness of their bed.

Additionally, Reverie's exclusive technology enables the iPod Touch (third and fourth generation), iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPad 2, iPad and Reverie Remote app to act as a remote control for the Reverie Sleep System, allowing guests to easily operate massage features and adjust the elevation of the mattress. Pressing "zero gravity" on the remote will take guests to a position in which the feet and head are raised slightly to improve circulation and relieve lower back pressure, creating the ultimate sensation of “weightlessness,” similar to the sensation felt in a zero-gravity chamber.

Reverie also has integrated remote control technology into the Sleep System so guests can turn appliances around the room that are connected to the power outlet off or on with the touch of the screen on the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad. Guests can enjoy this innovative technology through an iPad provided in each of the new suites. To complete the innovative sleep experience, Celebrity’s suite guests also will enjoy the custom-embroidered, 100% Egyptian cotton linens featured in Celebrity’s new “eXhale” bedding program, which was introduced on the newly-Solsticized Celebrity Infinity December 3.

Driven by high demand for Celebrity’s industry-first AquaClass category of spa-inspired accommodations, and by way of an additional deck being added to Celebrity Reflection, as previously announced, Celebrity will introduce on Celebrity Reflection the line’s first AquaClass Suites. Each will offer 300 square feet of luxurious interior space and spacious 79-square-foot verandas, paired with all the amenities associated with Celebrity’s AquaClass accommodations, including exclusive and complimentary access to the highly-rated specialty restaurant, “Blu,” noted for its inviting, modern design and flavorful, healthy cuisine. The new suites also will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet.

In addition to the 34 new AquaClass Suites, Celebrity Reflection also will present an additional eight luxurious new Sky Suites, 19 additional plush ConciergeClass staterooms, and 11 additional inside staterooms, bringing the stateroom/suite total to 1,515.

“We gave a great deal of thought to how to ideally accommodate everything we’re adding,” said Hanrahan. “We’re widening the ship slightly, enabling us to introduce each of these exceptional new venues without compromising an inch of Celebrity’s premium space ratio and traffic flow.”

Celebrity Reflection will offer 245 more loungers on its expanded pool deck to suit the increased overall guest capacity, as well as 45 additional seats in the Celebrity Theater, 118 in Oceanview Café, 24 additional seats each in Blu and in Tuscan Grille, four more in Qsine, and 40 additional seats in the main dining room, where Celebrity offers Celebrity Select DiningSM, the industry’s first flexible dining option allowing guests to choose when they wish to dine on a flexible, day-by-day basis.

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

Back to the top of the news list

Disney Fantasy Takes Family Entertainment to New Heights

PORT CANAVERAL, FL, Dec 7: Like never before, Disney Cruise Line takes cruise ship entertainment to new heights: Performers soar and surf over the stage in aerial maneuvers … Pirates rappel from atop the ship’s funnel during a swashbuckling adventure … The evening sky lights up with a dazzling display of sound and color. On the Disney Fantasy, entertainment is designed to charm and bedazzle the entire family. Guests delight to some of the most elaborate original musicals presented at sea, over-the-top deck parties and, bursting above it all, the largest fireworks spectacular aboard a cruise ship.

It’s Show Time!
Every night is show time at Walt Disney Theatre, an elegant, 1,340-seat entertainment palace that is at once classic and ultra-modern. Spanning three decks with orchestra and balcony seating, the theater is resplendent with art deco styling recalling luxurious show places of a bygone era. At the same time, it is equipped with theatrical technology that makes it one of the most advanced venues on land or sea, bringing original productions and Disney stories to life in a whole new way.

The lineup of musicals presented at the Disney Fantasy Walt Disney Theatre includes “Wishes,” “Disney’s Aladdin–A Musical Spectacular,” “Disney’s Believe,” “A Fantasy Come True” and “An Unforgettable Journey.” Here’s a look at what’s in store:

A new ship means new main stage entertainment at the Walt Disney Theatre, and “Wishes” is a spectacular production debuting on the Disney Fantasy. This signature show is a 45-minute musical journey about three best friends who discover the secret to being a grown-up is staying connected to their inner child.

The story begins as long-time best friends Kayla and Nicole along with Nicole’s twin brother Brandon visit Disneyland to celebrate their high school graduation. Each is unsure of what the future holds for them, so they make a wish to go on the “Ride of Our Lives” – the show’s original opening number.

Their wish evokes an enchanted world where a cavalcade of Disney characters–including Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Lilo, Stitch, Mulan, Hercules, Pinocchio, Timon and Pumbaa–materialize to guide the teens through their magical journey. Full-scale production numbers and special effects bring excitement to the stage as the cast of “Wishes” performs original songs and classic Disney tunes with a contemporary twist. Notable moments include:

• In an over-the-top musical comedy production number, the song “I’ve Got a Dream” from “Tangled” sets the scene as the Snuggly Duckling Tavern comes alive, with Rapunzel, Flynn Rider and a tavern full of hilarious thugs.
• In the “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” from “Lilo and Stitch” scene, the stage fills with giant windsurfing sails, kites and surf boards. The infectious music inspires Kayla as she rides a surfboard, flying atop a giant blue wave silk.
• King Louie and the Monkeys perform a high-energy swing band version of “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Jungle Book. In the final act, the trio celebrates their extraordinary journey at a graduation party as the pop tune “Breakthrough” from the Disney Channel original movie “Lemonade Mouth” keeps the revelry going.

“Disney’s Aladdin–A Musical Spectacular”
New to Disney Cruise Line, “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” takes the stage on the Disney Fantasy. During this Broadway-style production, guests laugh along with the wise-cracking Genie and the characters from the classic animated Disney film “Aladdin.” In this fast-paced musical comedy, Aladdin is back as the “street rat” of Agrabah meeting a Genie who grants him three wishes, battling the evil Jafar, and falling in love with Princess Jasmine.

Classic scenes and songs from the movie are re-created on stage and some of the action even spills out into the aisles, like Prince Ali’s jubilant arrival in Agrabah on the back of a stallion. Magic lamps, wise-cracking genies, princesses and evil wizards are all part of this musical production. And of course, an Aladdin production would not be complete without a magic carpet scene. In this spectacular, mechanical wizardry and state-of-the-art projections combine to send Jasmine and Aladdin soaring as they perform a heartfelt duet of “Whole New World.”

Many of the songs from the movie are featured in the 45-minute musical production, including “Friend Like Me,” which is performed as a lively, Las Vegas-style production number featuring special effects, illusions and more than a dozen dancing genies. Composer Alan Menken, who created the original soundtrack with songwriters Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, composed an original song for the stage production entitled “To Be Free.”

“Disney’s Believe”
“Disney’s Believe” is a stage spectacular that combines a heartfelt story with a captivating musical score. The lavish production tells the story of a workaholic father who, through the power of Disney magic, reconnects with his daughter and learns a valuable lesson about what is important in life. “Disney’s Believe” takes guests to the garden of Dr. Cornelius Greenaway, a brilliant botanist obsessed with cultivating his precious plants. Dr. Greenaway is so preoccupied with his garden that he overlooks the birthday of his daughter, Sophia. Saddened, Sophia makes a special birthday wish and the impossible happens: Genie from Disney’s “Aladdin” appears to make her wish come true.

Joined by a host of characters, Genie takes Dr. Greenaway on an enchanting journey into the world of Disney stories. Through spirited production numbers, Dr. Greenaway learns that magic is real and is embodied in his beloved daughter. More than 20 of Disney’s most beloved characters take the stage during “Disney’s Believe,” including Cinderella, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Belle (“Beauty and The Beast”), Rafiki (“The Lion King”) and Princess Tiana (“The Princess and the Frog”).

“A Fantasy Come True” Welcome Show
“A Fantasy Come True” is a 45-minute, high-energy, multimedia musical production that follows one family’s journey as they discover the amazing experiences and enchanting surprises that await them aboard the Disney Fantasy. Ultimately, they learn the greatest experience the ship has to offer is the opportunity to make memories together as a family that will last a lifetime.

“An Unforgettable Journey” Farewell Show
“An Unforgettable Journey” is a good-bye hug in the form of a 45-minute musical production that allows guests to reflect and savor the experience they have had onboard the Disney Fantasy. This farewell show connects the guests’ experiences to the man who started it all–Walt Disney–through audio and video clips that steep the memorable moments and distinctly Disney touches in Walt’s words and wisdom.

Party on Deck
In addition to nightly stage productions, Disney Cruise Line brings the upper decks of the Disney Fantasy to life with incredible live entertainment. The fun begins with “Sailing Away,” a “welcome aboard” show starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the Disney gang. The show is a celebration of the fun aboard a Disney cruise, building to the exciting sounding of the ship’s horn.

On a special night each cruise, the entire Disney Fantasy transforms into a pirate ship with a night of events brimming with buccaneer fun and a fireworks spectacular. The evening kicks off on the Donald’s Pool stage with “Mickey’s Pirates IN the Caribbean,” a family-friendly interactive show featuring the famous Disney characters. Guests become members of Mickey’s Pirate Crew as they participate in a series of pirate-themed musical numbers. Later in the evening, Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films makes a special appearance on deck in “Hunt Fer Jack,” a thrilling live-action pirate showdown which culminates in “Buccaneer Blast”–a spectacular display of piratical pyrotechnics. As the night rolls on, a high-tech, open-air dance party on the upper decks of the ship heats up. Guests unleash their inner pirate and dance their boots off during “Club Pirate,” a family-friendly bash featuring electrifying music, stunning visuals and special effects.

Fireworks at Sea
The only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea, Disney Cruise Line ups the entertainment ante and lights up the sky with a fireworks extravaganza. As part of the pirate night celebration, the skies above the Disney Fantasy explode with brilliant colors during “Buccaneer Blast.” With more “bang” than ever before, the pyrotechnic spectacular is choreographed to a dramatic score featuring songs from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit , call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Announces Summer 2013/14 Deployment

MIAMI, Dec 6: Norwegian Cruise Line has announced its summer deployment for the 2013/2014 season with the addition of a third ship in Alaska. Norwegian Sun, sailing 7-day open jaw itineraries between Vancouver, British Columbia and Whittier, Alaska, will join Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl in Alaska for the summer of 2013, marking the first time the company has offered three ships in Alaska since 2009. For a more in-depth Alaskan experience, the company is also introducing land packages that can be combined with Norwegian Sun’s itinerary. The line’s summer deployment also features four ships sailing in Europe, including the continuation of two year-round, along with two ships cruising to Bermuda. These cruises* go on sale to Norwegian’s top travel partners and Latitudes Rewards members (past guests) today, Dec 6, 2011, and to the general public on Thursday, Dec 8.

“Alaska, with its extraordinary beauty and wildlife, continues to be an extremely popular summer destination for cruisers and therefore there is a lot of demand for increased capacity and more varied and unique cruises,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “With the strides made by the state government, we felt the time was right to add a third ship in Alaska, and give our guests the once in a lifetime opportunity to see more of this incredible destination. We’ve also added the option of extending their stay with a Cruisetour that will enhance their overall experience.”

Alaska Deployment
In Alaska, beginning May 20, 2013, Norwegian Sun’s northbound itinerary departs Vancouver, British Columbia on Mondays, and will cruise the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and make stops in the Alaskan favorites of Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau. On her southbound itineraries from Whittier, Alaska, the ship will cruise the Inside Passage, Sawyer Glacier and Hubbard Glacier, as well as making stops in Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Icy Strait Point.

Beginning May 18, 2013, Norwegian Jewel will sail a series of eighteen 7-day Sawyer Glacier itineraries from Seattle, Washington every Saturday with stops in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska; along with Victoria, British Columbia. Norwegian Jewel not only offers a fantastic itinerary, but also brings extra fun for the kids with Nickelodeon family programming. The 2,394 passenger Norwegian Pearl begins a series of eighteen 7-day Glacier Bay itineraries from Seattle, Washington every Sunday with stops in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska; along with Victoria, British Columbia.

New for the 2013 summer season in Alaska are four Cruisetour options which provide the opportunity to combine a pre or post-cruise land package with Norwegian Sun’s cruises from Whittier, Alaska. Ranging in length from four to six days, the Cruisetours feature two nights in Denali National Park and are fully escorted by a local Alaskan tour guide for the most authentic experience possible. Highlights of the Cruisetours also include a stop at an Iditarod sled dog musher’s house (on 4- and 5-night tours), along with a ride on the Alaskan railroad. More details on the Alaska Cruisetours will be available in early 2012.

Europe Deployment
In Europe, Norwegian Epic will return for her third season, sailing 7-day Western Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona beginning May 5, 2013 through Oct 14, 2013. The new Western Mediterranean itinerary features five ports of call in three countries--Spain, Italy, and France--and a call to Palma, Majorca, Spain. Guests will also have the opportunity to sail round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy or Marseille, France giving them the flexibility to choose the homeport that is more convenient for them. There is also a four-day Western Mediterranean sailing on May 1, 2013.

Norwegian Star will make her debut in the Baltic replacing Norwegian Sun and will offer a series of fifteen 9-day Baltic Capital cruises from Copenhagen, Denmark. Some highlights of this popular itinerary include two full days in St. Petersburg, Russia and an afternoon cruise of the Stockholm Archipelago upon the ship’s departure from Stockholm, Sweden. Rounding out the season, Norwegian Star will offer a unique 14-day Norway, Iceland and Faroe Island cruise from Copenhagen on Sept 19, 2013.

Norwegian Jade returns to Venice on May 4, 2013 for the summer season and will offer alternating 7-day Greek Isles and 7-day Adriatic, Greece and Turkey itineraries. In the fall/winter, Norwegian Jade will reposition to Rome (Civitavecchia) and offer a series of eight 10-day Eastern Mediterranean and nine 11-day Mediterranean & the Holy Land beginning on Oct 26, 2013 through April 12, 2014.

Beginning on April 17, 2013, Norwegian Spirit will once again sail the waters of the Mediterranean offering 12-day Grand Mediterranean open jaw itineraries from Barcelona, Spain and Venice, Italy through Oct 14, 2013. The comprehensive itinerary highlights the best of the Mediterranean with nine ports of call in five different countries including an overnight in Venice. On Oct 26, 2013, Norwegian Spirit begins a series of 20 nine-day Canary Island cruises. Guests will have the option to sail round-trip from Malaga, Spain giving them the flexibility to choose the homeport that is more convenient for them.

Bermuda Deployment
In the summer of 2013, Norwegian Cruise Line will significantly increase its capacity in Bermuda with the arrival of its newest ship, the 4,000-pasenger Norwegian Breakaway, sailing a series of twenty-two 7-day cruises from New York, New York, beginning May 12, 2013. Departing on Sundays, the ship will spend three full days in Bermuda, along with three days at sea.

The newly refurbished Norwegian Dawn will return to Boston, Massachusetts for the summer on May 3, 2013 and will sail a series of twenty-two 7-day Bermuda cruises departing every Friday.

Hawaii Deployment
Pride of America will continue as the only US-flagged vessel sailing among all four of Hawai`i’s main islands. Because of popular demand for this itinerary, the company is opening Pride of America’s 7-day Hawai`i inter-island cruises departing Honolulu, Hawaii every Saturday through April 18, 2015**. Ports of call include: an overnight in Kahului, Maui; Hilo, Hawaii; Kona, Hawai`i; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kaua`i; and an afternoon cruise of the breathtaking Nãpali Coast.

Bahamas “Getaway” Cruises
For a shorter cruise option, Norwegian Sky will continue sailing 3- and 4-day cruises to the Bahamas year-round from Miami through April 25, 2014. The 3-day Bahamas cruise departs on Fridays and includes stops in Nassau, Bahamas and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas, which has recently received $25 million in enhancements, including a new dining facility, marina and expanded beachfront. On Mondays, the ship departs Miami on a 4-day Bahamas cruise with stops in Grand Bahama Island, Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island; and Nassau, Bahamas.

To book these new sailings, contact a travel professional, call 866-234-7350 or visit

*Please note all summer cruises go on sale this week. Europe fall/winter cruises will go on sale Dec 13 for top travel partners and Latitudes Rewards members and Dec 15 for the general public. Alaska Cruisetours will go on sale in early 2012.

**Pride of America’s cruises in 2015 will go on sale in Jan 2012.

Back to the top of the news list

Master Photographers Aboard Crystal Cruises in 2012

LOS ANGELES, Dec 6: Crystal Cruises is putting its trademark elegant spin on cruise vacation memories by featuring award-winning Master Photographers to shoot guest portraits on eleven 2012 sailings. "The Master Collection" line-up consists of top-tier professional portrait photographers who have the distinction of being Fellows (highest certification possible) of the British Institute of Professional Photographers (BIPP) and the Master Photographers Association (MPA).

During their voyage, travelers can arrange private photography sessions aboard Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity, or at exotic destinations on land with pros renowned for their portraiture. Individuals, couples, or families/groups can opt for different wardrobe, locations, and activities to customize their shoots. Reservations include pre-planning consultation, unlimited shoot time, unlimited number of pictures, and photo review. Final, retouched photographs are printed in a handcrafted, custom-bound, 16"x12", embossed-aluminum album. Other framed photo and presentation product options are available to celebrate a special occasion, create a family treasure, or just give a grand gift to one's self. All products are created at Europe's leading professional photo laboratory and shipped anywhere in the world four weeks after the end of the cruise.

Operated by esteemed photography company Paragon Pixels, the program is an expansion of the popular "Crystal Celebrations" Private Portrait Program. The Master Photographer will also host an informal talk giving trade tips and insight into their life and work, as well as mentor staff photographers while aboard.

"One's wedding might be the only time one secures a professional photographer to record meaningful moments in one's life," says Paragon founder Keith Roberts. "This program provides rare access and opportunity to have one's personality, relationship, lifestyle, or intimate vacation memories beautifully captured by a prominent industry artist."

Photographers include:

David MacDonald: UK Family Portrait Photographer of the Year
Sophocles Alexiou: Four-time BIPP Gold Medal-winner for Outstanding Photographic Art
Richard Dutkowski: Past MPA President, UK Master Photographer of the Year
John Parris: British Fashion, and Scottish Wedding, Photographer of the Year
Kevin Wilson: 17-time Kodak European Gold Award-winner, three-time Kodak UK Portrait Photographer of the Year

One Master Photographer will be on each of the following sailings: Jan 18 LA-Sydney; Feb 6 Miami-Rio; Feb 7 Sydney-Singapore; March 3 Buenos Aires-Miami; March 13: Hong Kong-Osaka; March 31 Osaka-LA; May 8 NY-London; July 8 Copenhagen-Stockholm; Sept 5 London-NY; Oct 12 Athens-Venice; Oct 31 NY-LA.

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

Back to the top of the news list

New ‘Riviera’ Cruise Ship Ideal For Epicureans Says Oceania Cruises

Miami, Dec 5: Oceania Cruises will raise the bar once again on culinary excellence when it launches Riviera in April 2012. Purposely built for epicureans, the 1,250-guest ship offers 10 dining venues comparable to the very best shore-side restaurants.

“Our guests are in for a true epicurean odyssey with Riviera,” states Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president. “Riviera offers diverse dining experiences that cater to the palates of inquisitive travelers. Best of all, regardless of which gourmet restaurant they choose to enjoy, there are no additional dining charges.”

Continental Cuisine, Asian Fusion & American Favorites
Riviera offers six, open-seating gourmet restaurants, two private-dining venues and two casual eateries. The décor of each is distinctive, yet a common design thread is evident in the extensive use of rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and supple leather. Below is an outline of the ship’s dining venues:

1. The Grand Dining Room – Tuxedo-clad wait staff serve a six-course menu in a setting reminiscent of a grand European hotel. Menus include Continental and American dishes plus spa cuisine from Canyon Ranch. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
2. Toscana – Three, illuminated etched-glass panels provide a dramatic backdrop to savory Italian specialties, many of them family recipes handed down from Oceania Cruises’ staff and crew. Open for dinner, reservations suggested.
3. Polo Grill – Fine cuts of Prime, dry-aged beef, as well as chops and fresh seafood, are featured. The décor evokes a classic steakhouse with leather upholstery, mahogany wall panels and rich crimson, gold and green colors. Open for dinner, reservations suggested.
4. Jacques – One of only two restaurants by the world-renowned chef Jacques Pépin, this French bistro is exquisitely decorated with antiques, pickled wood furnishings and rough-hewn wood floors. Open for dinner, reservations suggested.
5. Red Ginger – Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese flavors are showcased in a contemporary setting that features three Buddhas carved from a single piece of backlit glass as a dramatic centerpiece. Open for dinner, reservations suggested.
6. Terrace Café – Shades of burgundy, rust, gold and yellow create a bright and pleasant indoor ambiance or guests may dine al fresco. Lunch and dinner buffets feature carved meats and regional delicacies. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
7. Waves – This relaxed, open-air brasserie serves gourmet burgers, swordfish, chicken and other grilled items, and features a salad bar and homemade ice cream bar. Open for lunch.
8. Baristas – This coffee bar adjoining the library is the place to enjoy Illy espresso and cappuccino, plus homemade biscotti and coffee cake. Open throughout the day.

Optional Wine Dinners & Private Dining

9. La Reserve by Wine Spectator – This intimate venue hosts tastings and seven-course pairing dinners with premium wines selected in consultation with Wine Spectator editors. This venue is also home to wine-tastings during the day. Per guest charge for premium wines applies. Reservations required.
10. Privée – This elegant private dining room can accommodate up to 10 guests. Selections from the Polo Grill and Toscana menus are served with great flair. Room charge applies. Reservations required.

Oceania Cruises’ Riviera also features a Bon Appétit Culinary Center, which offers hands-on cooking classes with a changing curriculum. In select ports guests can accompany the chef to shore-side markets to purchase fresh, local ingredients, which they later learn how to prepare in the culinary center. For reservations or to order a brochure, contact a travel agent, visit or call toll-free at 800-531-5658.

Back to the top of the news list

New Royal Caribbean Dining Packages Offer Specialty Restaurant Variety

MIAMI, Dec 5: Offering so many delicious onboard dining options, Royal Caribbean today announced seven dining packages for guests to enjoy the variety of specialty restaurants available aboard select ships. Guests can take advantage of the new specialty dining packages, which range from $50 to $120 per guest, and save at least 25 percent compared to the sum of the individual restaurants’ cover charges. Additionally, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are offering exclusive reservation-only, themed parties for guests to join in a special onboard celebration. The dining packages and special parties aboard Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, and Splendour of the Seas are ideal to help celebrate an anniversary, birthday or milestone and are available immediately to book through, as well as aboard the select ships.

“We are delighted to offer our guests these packages so that they can enjoy the unique variety of specialty dining options at a great value, while aboard our globally acclaimed Oasis-class and newly revitalized ships,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We’ve expanded some of the most successful concepts, including dining, that were introduced aboard the Oasis-class ships to the rest of our fleet. This is part of the ongoing revitalizations of Royal Caribbean’s fleet to ensure that we are delivering to vacationers the most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to compelling destinations and friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, known as the Royal Advantage.”

Aboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, guests have a choice of three dining packages. The Central Park Dining Package, at $65 per guest, includes Giovanni’s Table Italian Trattoria, 150 Central Park fine-dining restaurant and Chops Grille steakhouse, all located in the ship’s lush Central Park neighborhood. The Chef’s Dining Package, at $120 per guest, includes the five-course, gourmet Chef’s Table and wine pairing, 150 Central Park and Chops Grille. The Choice Dining Package includes Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table and a choice of Izumi Asian Cuisine or Solarium Bistro aboard Oasis of the Seas ($50 per guest) or Samba Grill Brazilian steakhouse aboard Allure of the Seas ($55 per guest.)

Guests aboard Radiance of the Seas may choose the Radiance Dining Package, which includes Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table, Izumi and Samba Grill for $70 per guest. The Radiance Chef’s Dining Package adds the Chef’s Table, offering an opportunity to experience every onboard specialty dining venue at $120 per guest. Splendour of the Seas also offers a Chef’s Dining Package for $105 per guest, which includes the Chef’s Table, Chops Grille and Izumi.

Additionally, guests can opt to join in special reservation-only parties aboard the two ships that share the title of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships. In the evenings, guests can enjoy ‘Rita’s Fiesta’ in Rita’s Cantina on Allure of the Seas’ Boardwalk, which feature the restaurant’s most popular dishes and up to three non-alcoholic beverages for a $10 cover charge per guest, or $20 for up to three alcoholic beverages. The ‘Surf’s Up Party’ in the Seafood Shack on Oasis of the Seas’ Boardwalk also features the restaurant’s most popular dishes and three non-alcoholic beverages for a cover charge of $15 per guest, or $25 per guest for up to three alcoholic beverages.

Allure of the Seas also offers guests a 1920s-themed ‘Prohibition Party’ on every fifth night in the Jazz on 4 lounge in Entertainment Place. Guests are invited to don their favorite Jazz Age outfit and step back in time. This event is only open to guests ages 21 and older and has a cover charge of $35 per guest, which includes alcoholic beverages.

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

Norwegian Cruise Line Enhances Guest Loyalty Program

MIAMI, Dec 5: Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian) today announced exciting enhancements to its guest loyalty program. Renamed Latitudes Rewards, the new program better recognizes Norwegian’s valued loyal guests. Key program changes include new ways for members to earn points, additional onboard recognition and benefits and access to online account tracking. Current Latitudes members will automatically be enrolled in the new Latitudes Rewards program and will remain in the same tier or will be upgraded to the appropriate higher tier, depending on the total number of cruise nights and stateroom categories sailed.

“The satisfaction and loyalty of our guests is very important to us,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer. “Our new Latitudes Rewards program demonstrates our commitment to delivering the highest levels of guest satisfaction while rewarding our loyal guests with enhanced benefits. We are dedicated to making sure our guests have the best possible cruise experience and look forward to welcoming them back on board again and again.”

Latitudes Rewards members earn rewards points in four different ways, making it faster and easier than ever before to move up to the next tier. Members now earn one point per cruise night, providing an opportunity to gain more points the longer the guests’ sail. Additional points can be earned when booking a suite or any accommodation in The Haven by Norwegian, booking nine months or more in advance, or when taking advantage of the exclusive monthly “Latitudes Rewards Insider” offers. Latitudes Rewards tiers are based on the total amount of points earned: Bronze members are classified as guests with one to 19 points; Silver members are 20 to 47 points; Gold members are 48 to75 points; and Platinum members are those with 76 or more points.

In addition to current member benefits such as priority check-in, members-only cocktail parties, access to an on-board program representative, and a complimentary online magazine, new benefits have been added to the program. For cruises departing on or after Dec 5, 2011 the new loyalty program includes special onboard perks, based on the guest’s tier level, such as chocolate covered strawberries, ship pins, nightly treats, and discounts on packages in the photo gallery.

Latitudes Rewards members will now be able to see their total rewards points, view their cruise history and tier status, including how many points are needed to advance to the next tier, at For more information on Norwegian’s Latitudes Rewards program or to book a cruise, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit

Back to the top of the news list

American Safari Cruises Offers Complimentary Night At Juneau’s Baranof Hotel

Seattle, WA, Dec 2: Travelers interested in an Alaskan adventure cruise this summer aboard American Safari Cruises newly acquired yacht, the upscale 86-guest Safari Endeavour, have an extra incentive to book a trip now. Guests reserving a stateroom between Dec 1, 2011 and Jan 31, 2012, receive a complimentary one night hotel stay per stateroom—a value of $380 for two people—either pre- or post-cruise at Juneau’s historic Westmark Baranof Hotel, which is centrally located downtown near shops and the waterfront. The Safari Endeavour will cruise in Southeast Alaska from May to September. Weeklong cruises roundtrip from Juneau, Alaska include two days exploration in Glacier Bay National Park and expedition cruising in Icy Strait, Frederick Sound, Thomas Bay, Chichagof Island, Ford’s Terror and Endicott Arm. Two-week cruises from Seattle to Juneau and reverse will be offered in spring and fall.

“To kick off our first season with the Safari Endeavor and our new partnership with the Baranof Hotel, we are offering guests a complimentary hotel stay in Juneau,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “This is an extra incentive to book the Safari Endeavour’s inaugural season in Alaska now.”

The Safari Endeavour is undergoing an extensive renovation project to add American Safari Cruises’ exceptional comfort and refined atmosphere on board. Five stateroom categories include three Master, 21 Commander, 12 Captain, three Admiral and four Commodore Suites. The suites will be created by merging two former staterooms and adding new step-out balconies. All staterooms have one or two outside view windows. Other amenities being added to the ship include a bow-mounted underwater camera to stream video to interior viewing monitors, two massage rooms, two hot tubs, sauna, exercise equipment, wine bar and a library. An all-American crew of 34 will ensure attentive service with a guest-crew ratio of 2.5 to 1.

American Safari Cruises’ active, adventure cruises allow freedom to engage in many activities. Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards are available for excursions. Skiff rides will explore shoreline, wildlife and glaciers up close. Expert naturalists and guides lead excursions on land and sea. An enhanced program of educational presentations will be presented in the salon. In Glacier Bay, a National Park Ranger boards the ship for two days to lead hiking and kayaking excursions and provide interpretation of the area’s history, culture and geography.

The inclusive cruises include all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; hand-crafted meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; a massage and all port charges, taxes and fees. To book a yachting adventure or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or American Safari Cruises at 888-862-8881 or email .

Back to the top of the news list

Prince Rupert Implements Port Improvement Plan Based on Global Destinations Development's Cruise Fitness Test Results

MIAMI, Dec. 2: Facing a significant reduction in cruise ship business booked for 2012, Prince Rupert Port Authority in British Columbia, Canada, engaged Global Destinations Development in 2011 to assess its viability as a port of call on Alaska itineraries and offer recommendations to attract cruise lines. Using the results of the Cruise Destination Fitness Test, Global Destinations Development concluded that the town's appeal, history and character, geographical attributes and potential to expand current attractions make Prince Rupert a viable cruise destination. GDD estimated that an investment of CA$15 million to $22 million (US$14.4 million to $21.1 million) over several years would transform Prince Rupert into a first-class port of call.

"Based on Global Destinations' findings we are acquiring property from the city and advancing development planning for the entire upland area, which will include pedestrian corridors, public spaces, commercial property developments and programming areas," said Shaun Stevenson, vice president, marketing and business development for Prince Rupert Port Authority. "We have completed concept development on an aboriginal cultural interpretive center for one of the development sites, and a port interpretive center will be complete in time for the 2012 cruise season."

Created by Michael Greve, the trademarked Cruise Destination Fitness Test provides a realistic assessment of a port's prospects in the industry, including recommendations for improvement. It analyzes major attributes that contribute to a cruise destination's success, including geographic location, docks, condition of the town, marketing attractiveness to cruisers and travel agents, direct costs of calling, on-board revenue potential, operations and guest satisfaction. The Fitness Test The test employs a simple A to F grading system, with pluses and minuses, and a 100-point scoring scheme.

"Potential homeports and ports of call around the world come to Global Destinations for expertise on how to be successful in the cruise industry," said Michael Greve, president. "Prince Rupert in British Columbia and Banana Coast in Honduras both used Global's Fitness Test to assess strengths and weaknesses, and to create capital plans for improvement."

For Prince Rupert Port Authority, the analysis was applied twiceto assess its current situation and to estimate the score after hypothetical improvements were made. On the second test, PRPA's score rose from C- to B+. Based on the findings of the Fitness Test, PRPA embarked on a program to build community involvement with the City of Prince Rupert. A cruise task force was formed to develop volunteer programs, excursions and new businesses. The success of the community cruise task force initiatives in 2011 culminated in increased guest numbers ashore, guests lingering at waterfront markets to enjoy local artisans, First Nations carvers and student-led walking tours, and a higher concentration of activity near the ship, within reach of every guest who came ashore. Prince Rupert Port Authority's 2011 Alaska season ended with more than 50,000 cruise passengers arriving on 21 ship calls from May through September.

Back to the top of the news list

Princess Cruises Ships Deck the Halls for a Festive Season at Sea

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Dec 1: For the fifth year in a row, Princess Cruises ships are expecting snow flurries to set the stage for a festive holiday season at sea. No matter where they are sailing, passengers won’t miss out on a white Christmas as snow magically falls in the ships’ multi-story atriums, transforming them into winter wonderlands. The innovative snow-making process creates falling flakes that vanish on contact, letting cruise passengers enjoy the excitement of snow without the need to bundle up. Princess’ daily snowfall will occur on all ships except for the lines’ two small vessels (Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess, which do not have large atriums).

The shipboard snowfall is one of many ways Princess ships will surround passengers with a merry atmosphere. With the halls decked out in holiday décor, including a Christmas tree on the mast, and strolling carolers filling the air with the sounds of the season, Princess ships will offer a festive cruise experience from bow to stern.

The Christmas spirit will be found in activities throughout the ship. Passengers can challenge themselves with a gingerbread house-building competition to see who can construct the most creative structure. Or they can express their creativity with holiday card making, enjoy the entertaining cheer of a Christmas variety show, and even pick up tips at a turkey-carving demonstration to prepare themselves to do the honors at their next holiday feast.

Passengers can join in the sounds of the season by participating in a special holiday-themed Pop Choir, and the ships’ Piazzas will feature seasonal entertainment. Movies Under the Stars screens will show favorite holiday films, as well as a virtual Yule log that will turn the giant screens into the “world’s largest holiday fireplace.” Stateroom televisions will also add the traditional burning Yule log broadcast for a warm and cozy touch inside the room. And of course Santa is expected to make a visit, with passengers receiving their own stocking on Christmas Eve. Religious services will be held as well, and passengers can participate in Catholic mass or a non-denominational church service performed by onboard clergy.

“The festive atmosphere onboard makes the holidays one our passengers’ favorite times to cruise,” said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president. “Our welcoming crew members take the worry out of all holiday preparations, and what better way to celebrate than with a winter snowfall,  even on a tropical cruise vacation.” Swartz added that space is still available on select holiday sailings.

Holiday Feasts: Each Princess ship’s culinary team will delight the senses with spectacular holiday displays and will serve up several delicious feasts. Christmas dinner features traditional holiday fare including slow-roasted Vermont turkey with chestnut stuffing and cranberry chutney. Special desserts include English Christmas pudding and gingerbread soufflé, while freshly prepared stollen and Christmas cookies also make an appearance. Passengers can also try a taste of traditional holiday dishes from around the world as the Horizon Court serves up some favorites based on the cuisines of crew members’ home countries.

Christmas For Children: Younger cruisers can anticipate the big day with a full schedule of holiday activities. The youth centers will host holiday parties for each age group, and kids can make decorations to display on the center’s Christmas tree, or can try their hand at cookie decorating. Youngsters can get creative with other holiday-themed arts and crafts projects throughout the cruise, and they will have an opportunity to sing Christmas carols for passengers. Naturally, Santa Claus makes an appearance with his sack full of toys, and, in what has become a holiday tradition, a senior officer will read “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve.

For parents who want to stay up later to celebrate the holidays, free late-night group kid-sitting sessions will be available on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

Hanukkah: From Dec 20-28 passengers can celebrate the Festival of Lights onboard with special Hanukkah activities. Ships will organize services, and passengers will find menorahs and fresh flower arrangements in blue, silver and white on display. Kosher meals are available upon request, and kid’s centers will host activities for young cruisers, including a reading of “Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah.”

Happy New Year: Passengers will count down to a fun-filled 2012 with festive New Year's Eve parties, complete with music, confetti, noise-makers and a balloon drop to ring in the new year. Earlier in the evening, the dinner menu will feature special treats just for New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, football fans can follow the action of the day’s traditional college bowl games, as the telecasts will be shown (as available by satellite) on the giant Movies Under the Stars screens or in shipboard lounges.

Holiday Shopping: Passengers who love to shop will not miss out on the holiday sales just because they’re at sea. Princess will provide a wide array of holiday shopping and gift-giving opportunities on board including tax- and duty-free fine jewelry, watches, fragrance, cosmetics and fine art. New this year on the days after Christmas and New Year’s, the Princess boutiques will open early in the morning to offer shoppers "door-busters" and other holiday discounts and specials.

The 16-ship Princess fleet will cover the globe this holiday season, with sailings to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Australia/New Zealand, South America, Hawaii, and the South Pacific. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company's website at

Back to the top of the news list

Great American Steamboat Company Announces Star-Studded
Lineup of Headline Entertainers

MEMPHIS, TN, Dec 1: The Great American Steamboat Company is pleased to announce the first details of the entertainment line-up for the inaugural season of the Steamer American Queen, including the line’s inaugural season Riverlorian. Night after magical night, top entertainers will bring down the house in the American Queen’s majestic Grand Saloon. Two decks tall, the Grand Saloon is absolutely palatial, the most elegant showplace on the river. Every evening, guests will be treated to a different celebration of America’s best music, from Broadway hits to Dixieland Jazz, big band to bluegrass, ragtime to rock and roll. Showboat-style cabaret acts and old-fashioned radio shows add variety and charm to the evening lineup.

“The American Queen and her fabled predecessors were consistently renowned and acclaimed for their lavish, award-winning entertainment and we could not be more pleased to offer our guests all of these legendary names aboard the most legendary riverboat in the world,” stated Christopher Kyte, president of Great American Steamboat Company.

The Return of the Riverlorians
While the entertainment in the Grand Saloon will have guests’ toes tapping, the enrichment and historical aspects will have their senses piqued. As the American Queen carries forward the 100+ yearlong legacy of the fabled Delta Queen Steamboat Company, it is only fitting that a much-loved Delta Queen veteran serve as the inaugural Riverlorian. Mary Charlton, who has served as Riverlorian aboard the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, and American Queen in the past is returning in her starring role.

“The American Queen is not just the only authentic steamboat on America’s waterways, she presents the only truly authentic Steamboating experience and the only true Riverlorians, which of course were a staple of the Delta Queen boats for decades,” stated Kyte.

Additional details on the following and other acclaimed acts, along with additional voyage dates will be available online at

Glenn Miller Orchestra – The big band show, with a sound of its own, draws rave reviews performing original arrangements of classics that defined a generation. Swing, sway or just tap in time with nostalgic tunes like In the Mood, Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo and many others.
Voyage dates: July 27, Aug 3, Dec 28

Harry James Orchestra – Directed by Fred Radke, who played first trumpet for the master himself and is held in esteem by jazz greats, the incredible orchestra stirs memories of the good old days with hits including All or Nothing at All, Ain’t She Sweet, Up a Lazy River and more. Voyage Dates: April 19, April 27

Rat Pack Show – Guests will close their eyes and swear it’s Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. Amazing performers evoke the sounds and memories of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, backed by our onboard orchestra. Enjoy hits that include Fly Me to the Moon, That’s Amore, Everybody Loves Somebody, New York, New York, When I Was Seventeen and others. Voyage Dates: May 8, May 15, May 22, June 28, July 18, Oct 22, Dec 14

B.J. Thomas – The voice is unmistakable and the audience will return to the late 60s and early 70s as the legendary B.J. Thomas sings his chart-topping songs, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, Hooked on a Feeling, I Just Can’t Help Believing, Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song and others. Voyage Dates: July 11, July 18, July 22

The Lovin’ Spoonful – Playing the hits that put them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band will transport the Grand Saloon to the 60s with their great songs, including Do You Believe in Magic, Daydream, Summer in the City and Nashville Cats. Voyage Dates: July 11, July 18, July 22

The Platters – The original doo-wop act brings back the sound of the 50s with the songs that became classics: Only You, The Great Pretender, My Prayer, Twilight Time, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and others. Voyage Dates: Sept 7

Bill Haley’s Comets – The genesis of rockabilly and early rock, Bill Haley’s Comets will have guests moving to energetic hits like Rock Around the Clock and Shake, Rattle and Roll. Voyage Dates: Sept 7

Annie Moses Band – This incredible classically trained family will have everyone in the holiday spirit performing seasonal music. Featured are violin, viola, cello, harp, guitar, piano and stunning vocals. Voyage Dates: Nov 19, Dec 9, Dec 14

The New Orleans Jazz All-Stars –These maestros of the Big Easy’s jazz scene will take the American Queen on a journey through the history of a purely American music genre. Voyage Dates: April 13, April 19

Juggernaut Jug Band – Steamboaters will delight in the authentic form of river music known as “jug music.” Rooted in the port towns of the Deep South, jug music includes styles of swing, jazz and bluegrass, performed by Juggernaut’s amazing artists. Voyage Dates: May 4, May 29, Sept 28, Oct 12

Storefront Congregation – Graze on their smooth blend of bluegrass, country and blues and it will be known why the band is called “bluegrass’s newest sensation.” Voyage Dates: April 27

Great American Steamboat Company offers a variety of voyage lengths, ranging from three nights to ten nights, and fares beginning at $995 per guest, offers exceptional value and convenience, with little or no flying required. And with one of the best early booking bonuses in the industry, our ‘Steamboating Plus’ program offers a complimentary luxury hotel stay before or after sailing along with transfers, a welcome brunch and much more.

The Steamer American Queen is the largest, grandest, and most opulent riverboat in the world. Featuring plush accommodations for 436 privileged guests, she is a marvelous blend of old-world luxury and modern amenities and comforts. Under the guidance of famed American chef Regina Charboneau, guests will be treated to her acclaimed cuisine in their choice of four dining venues, all at no additional charge.

The Great American Steamboat Company not only has an exceptional management team behind it but exceeds all current Federal financial protection guidelines, offering a unique ‘Total Financial Security Program’ where 100% of fares paid are held in escrow accounts until the voyage is completed. The Great American Steamboat Company has assembled many of the same talented individuals that made the steamboat experience one of the most successful and acclaimed cruise products of its day. Every one of the senior executives has a total commitment and passion for the very unique niche steamboats occupy in American history and legend.

Given the long absence of steamboats from the great rivers of America, we expect that our Inaugural Season to fill quickly and prompt reservations are encouraged to avoid disappointment. For additional information and reservations, kindly contact the Great American Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit us online at or call your professional travel agent.

Back to the top of the news list

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

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 featured on ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA — In case you missed the story, you can still watch it online at
ABC News.

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected

Cruise News Archive
Past cruise news items listed by month


Back to the top of  this page

            Use keywords to search...

Search Search the Internet