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January 30, 2006

NCL Win 2005 Best Alternative Dining Room Cuisine and Best Hawai’i Itineraries



Brands Win 2005 Best Alternative Dining Room Cuisine and Best Hawai’i Itineraries

MIAMI, FL (January 5, 2006) - Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and NCL America have been awarded “2005 Best Alternative Dining Room Cuisine” and “Best Hawai’i Itineraries” by Porthole Cruise Magazine. These prestigious awards illustrate the best in the cruise industry as deemed by Porthole readers, who cast their votes online or via mail-in entries.

“NCL’s alternative Freestyle Dining restaurants have always had a reputation for the highest caliber service, fine cuisine and unique presentation,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “To garner this recognition from our passengers and Porthole readers is truly an honor.”

From tapas to French fare to Teppanyaki, NCL’s Freestyle Dining alternative restaurants were deserving of the Porthole award as each has a taste for every palate. Some highlights include: The award-winning Le Bistro, available on every ship in the NCL fleet, is an upscale French restaurant offering an a la carte menu of nouvelle and classic French Mediterranean cuisine; Tango's Tapas & Latin Restaurant, aboard Norwegian Jewel, is a contemporary, brightly colored restaurant decorated with colorful ceramics and mosaics to compliment the hot and spicy Latin/tapas fare and is inspired by the steps of the Tango; and a Teppanyaki room, featured on several NCL ships, offers an interactive Japanese dining experience where food is prepared in front of guests.

In addition to earning recognition for NCL’s fine dining, NCL America received “Best Hawaiian Itineraries.” NCL America, the brand under which all U.S.-flagged ships operate, focuses exclusively on the Hawai’i market.

“To be given this honor shows just how much NCL America is not only meeting, but exceeding our customer’s needs and expectations,” Veitch said.

Porthole features expertly written, sophisticated cruise and travel editorial for savvy consumers worldwide. Seasoned travel writers feature their stories, opinions, tips, and insights into the places they go and adventures they experience. From the relaxing pampering of an onboard spa to a wild African safari, subscribers are able to read about the cruise ships themselves, as well as the destinations — both near and far — that they visit around the globe.

NCL Corporation (NCL) is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 15 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines.

NCL took delivery of its newest Freestyle Cruising vessel, the 93,502-ton Norwegian Jewel on August 4, 2005. The company is currently building three ships, including one more for the NCL America brand in Hawai`i - Pride of Hawai`i (delivery in April 2006) - and two further Norwegian Jewel class ships, which are scheduled for delivery in 2007.

Press Release by Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska Cruise Information
Norwegian Cruise Line Europe Cruise Information
Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
Norwegian Cruise Line Hawaii Cruise Sale

Posted by Denise at 09:01 AM

January 27, 2006

Celebrity Dominates Annual Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Survey



Constellation, Millennium, Summit, and Infinity Rank One Through Four, Respectively

MIAMI, FL – (January 20, 2006) – Within the same week of launching its major new “Celebrity Treatment” ad campaign, Celebrity Cruises received some celebrity treatment of its own. For the fourth consecutive year, the line swept Condé Nast Traveler’s annual readers’ survey ranking “The Best Cruise Ships in the World.”

In the large-ship category, Constellation, Millennium, Summit and Infinity ranked first through fourth, respectively. While Celebrity has held the majority of the top rankings in the annual survey since its inception, this is the first time the line has held every spot from one through four.

Galaxy (ranked seventh) and Mercury (ranked ninth) rounded out the top 10. Celebrity’s Century – which will undergo a $55-million revitalization in April of this year – earned a 12th-place ranking. Full survey results are published in the February edition of Condé Nast Traveler.

Celebrity reprised its 2005 sweep of the survey’s ratings in the category of food/dining, with Mercury, Millennium, Century and Galaxy shutting out the competition. Celebrity’s Constellation and Summit earned the first and third spots in the category of cabins, while Galaxy and Constellation ranked second and fourth for itineraries.

The informed subscribers of Condé Nast Traveler evaluated ships on five criteria: itineraries, crew/service, cabins/design, food/dining, and activities/excursions “Condé Nast Traveler’s annual readers’ survey is one of the most prestigious polls in the business, so this is particularly meaningful for us,” said Celebrity’s President Dan Hanrahan. “It is an enormous endorsement of the extraordinary service and experience we offer onboard.”

Press Release by Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
Celebrity Cruises Alaska Cruisetour Packages
Celebrity Cruises Canadian Rockies Cruisetour Package
Celebrity Cruises Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
Celebrity Cruises European Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 09:04 AM

January 25, 2006

Luxury From Head to Toe: Holland America Line Introduces Elemis Aromapure “Time To Spa” Stateroom Amenities


Luxury From Head to Toe: Holland America Line Introduces Elemis Aromapure “Time To Spa” Stateroom Amenities

Seattle, WA (January 3, 2006) – Holland America Line is bringing the luxuries of the exclusive Greenhouse Spa and Salon to each individual stateroom with the introduction of a new line of amenities by Elemis Aromapure that once again defines Holland America as the leader in premium cruising. Traditionally, the Elemis line of aromatherapy products could only be found in the ships’ award-winning Greenhouse Spa and Salon, a tranquil oasis of pampering, relaxation and the latest skin, body and hair treatments. Now, guests can indulge daily with Elemis Aromapure’s “Time to Spa” miniatures in their own stateroom. The fleet wide roll out of new amenities begins with the launch of the ms Noordam on February 22, 2006.

“We selected the premium Elemis Aromapure line to complement our Signature of Excellence stateroom upgrades,” says Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. “Every experience, from sleeping upon a plush Euro-Top mattress to indulging in the internationally acclaimed Elemis soaps, shampoos and conditioners, is part of our overall initiative to set a new standard in premium cruising.”

Elemis is one of the world’s leading companies in aromatherapy skincare and spa-therapies. Each product is infused with essential oils and exotic plant extracts to treat the skin and re-awaken the senses. Holland America Line’s guests will enjoy luxuriant and subtle fragrances in each of the Elemis “Time to Spa” amenities including:

  • Elemis Pure Shine Shampoo: Infused with the aroma of lime, basil and grapefruit, this gentle shampoo leaves hair and scalp deeply cleansed.

  • Elemis Pro-Vitamin Conditioner: A citrus experience that replenishes moisture with conditioning Vitamin B5, penetrating hair to nourish from root to tip, while detangling and strengthening.

  • Citrus Soap Slice: This clear pure Glycerin soap is lightly infused with the aroma of grapefruit, basil, clove and lime and promises to leave the face feeling cleansed and refreshed.

  • Sharp Shower and Bath Gel: This aroma-therapeutic blend of mint, chamomile, wild marjoram, nettle and thyme in a mineral rich sea salt base leaves skin tingling with vitality.

  • Pure Zest Cleansing Soap: Infused with nature’s own lime, clove leaf, lavender and rosemary extracts in palm oil; designed to inspire a new zest for life.

  • Vitamin Rich-Body Lotion: Infused with vitamin-rich wheat germ, carrot and sweet almond oil; a welcome treat for thirsty skin.

    As part of Holland America Line’s Signature of Excellence initiative, the addition of Elemis Aromapure “Time to Spa” amenities is the latest in a long list of recent stateroom enhancements. With the upgrades, each stateroom now features Mariner’s Dream Beds with plush, Sealy Posturepedic Premium Plush Euro-Top mattresses, 250-thread-count, white cotton bed linens, 100 percent Egyptian cotton towels and deluxe waffle and terry cloth bathrobes. New amenities also include premium massage showerheads, 5x magnifying make-up mirrors with halo lighting and stylish, quiet, salon-quality hair dryers. Guests are welcomed with a polished stainless steel basket filled with complimentary fresh fruit including a variety of apples, oranges, grapes and pears and each room features an elegant stainless-steel ice bucket and serving tray for use with in-cabin beverages.

    The Signature of Excellence luxuries of a Holland America Line cruise can also be enjoyed at home. Many of the amenities found onboard including Mariner’s Dream Beds, terry cloth bathrobes and 250-thread-count, white cotton bed linens can be purchased at www.shophollandamerica.com. Elemis Aromapure’s “Time to Spa” products can be purchased at the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, in the ships’ boutiques or from home at www.timetospa.com.

    Press Release by Holland America Line

    Holland America Alaska Cruise Information
    Holland America Alaska Cruisetour Information
    Holland America Europe Cruise Information
    Holland America Mexican Riviera Cruise Information

    Posted by Denise at 08:52 AM
  • January 24, 2006

    Holland America Line Names New Signature Class


    Holland America Line Names New Signature Class

    Seattle, WA (January 9, 2006) – Holland America Line will call its recently announced pair of new-builds the Signature Class, taking the name from an integral component of the premium line’s branding and the current US$225 million Signature of Excellence initiative.

    With a firm order for one ship due in summer 2008 and an option for another in spring 2010, the Signature Class marks Holland America Line’s latest class of new build vessels and the largest ever constructed for the premium line. Previous new-build series include the four-ship Statendam Class group, four-ship Rotterdam Class, and four-ship Vista Class. The line also owns and operates the 793-passenger Elegant Explorer, the ms Prinsendam. With an estimated all-in cost of $450 million each, the new 86,000-ton Panamax Signature Class vessels will be built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard. The vessels are unnamed at this time.

    “With innovative design and guest offerings, the Signature Class ships will continue the evolution of Holland America Line’s sophisticated mid-sized ships and further our premium leadership position,” said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer. “The two 2,044-passenger ships represent a 22 percent increase in our capacity and will allow us to achieve a greater share of the growing premium cruise market.”

    The ships of the Signature Class will evolve from the line’s Vista Class ships and further define and expand the Holland America Line premium brand with new concepts such as an innovative topside 144-seat restaurant and 50-seat lounge surrounded by panoramic views overlooking the ocean expanse and the Lido pool. Other additions are an Explorer’s Lounge Bar, a premium wine-tasting lounge, an elegant luxury jewelry boutique, new atrium bar area, enhanced and reconfigured show lounge, and a new photographic and imaging center.

    The Signature Class goes beyond the Vista Class, adding decks and 63 new staterooms. Forty-seven will be verandah cabins and ten will be a new style of stateroom with ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall panoramic windows. Total, the new Signature Class will carry 1,022 double occupancy staterooms, with 67 percent featuring verandahs and 86 percent outside.

    Staterooms will spotlight all the Signature of Excellence premium amenities of plush Euro-top Mariner’s Dream Beds, deluxe waffle/terry cloth robes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat panel TVs, dvd players, make-up mirrors with halo lighting, massage shower heads, professional grade hair dryers, fresh flowers and complimentary fruit baskets.

    The Signature Class will continue several much-admired Holland America Line features, including outside-view, glass elevators at midship; the Explorations Café — a cyber-coffee house powered by The New York Times; the Pinnacle Grill and Pinnacle Bar; the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, where culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and intimate classes in a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchens; an expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon with thermal suites and hydro-pool, the largest gymnasium ever built for Holland America Line; and a youth facility that includes the teens-only Loft.

    On the technical side, Signature Class ships will feature the latest state-of-the-art navigation and safety systems including dynamic positioning abilities to hold the ship in a precise position. The vessels will be powered by six diesel generators and propelled by the latest Azipod propulsion technology.

    “This new class of ships demonstrates the strength of our brand, the loyalty of our guests and the dedication of our more than 15,000 employees worldwide,” said Kruse. “The added capacity will provide greater opportunities for our guests and employees alike.”

    Press Release by Holland America Line

    Holland America Alaska Cruise Information
    Holland America Alaska Cruisetour Information
    Holland America Europe Cruise Information
    Holland America Mexican Riviera Cruise Information

    Posted by Denise at 08:42 AM

    January 23, 2006

    Nine Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises Ships Earns Kuoni Travel Group's Green Planet Award



    Miami - (January 04, 2006) - Six Royal Caribbean International and three Celebrity Cruises ships have been awarded Kuoni Travel Group's 2005 Green Planet Award for their commitment to environmental excellence and innovation.

    Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas, as well as Celebrity Cruises' Galaxy, Infinity and Millennium, were awarded the global travel company's "seal of eco-approval." The ships were recognized for initiatives involving onboard recycling, waste management, energy and fresh water conservation, crew training and guest communications.

    Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Kuoni introduced the Green Planet awards program in 2000 to recognize ecologically advanced hotel management. In 2003, the program was expanded to include cruise lines. Kuoni officials say the award is intended to help environmentally conscious consumers more easily identify eco-friendly companies in the hospitality and tourism sector.

    All Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships operate under a comprehensive environmental protection program entitled "Save the Waves." Established in 1992 by the brands' parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the program operates on three key principles: reducing the creation or generation of waste materials; recycling as much as possible; and ensuring any remaining waste is properly treated.

    Further evidence of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises' commitment to environmental stewardship is its development of management systems that meet international standards, including ISM, ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004 environmental and quality standards. In fact, Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line to develop and implement an environmental management system that was certified as conforming to the ISO 14001 standard.

    For more information about the company's efforts to protect the environment, visit http://www.royalcaribbean.com/ourCompany/environment/rcAndEnvironment.do.

    Press Release by Royal Caribbean International

    Royal Caribbean International Alaska Cruise Information
    Royal Caribbean International Alaska Cruisetour Packages
    Royal Caribbean International Mexico Cruise Information
    Royal Caribbean International Europe Cruisetour Packages

    Posted by Denise at 09:08 AM

    January 22, 2006

    What’s New In Alaska Excursions For 2006


    What’s New In Alaska Excursions For 2006

    Create Highly Personalized Experiences On Holland America Line Alaska Cruises And Cruisetours

    Seattle, WA (January 9, 2006) – Ultimate excitement and exploration summarize Holland America Line’s new excursions for 2006 in Alaska. Drive in a Hummer through the back country near Ketchikan or glide on a zipline through a rich rain forest canopy on the Canopy Adventure & Wildlife Expedition. Take a gentle hike through the Chilkat Rainforest or paddle a kayak on glistening Glacier Lake. Whether enjoying a Holland America Line Alaska Cruise or CruiseTour, guests have the opportunity to fully experience each destination through a wide variety of optional in-depth and exciting excursions. For 2006, Holland America Line has added more than 30 new excursions to complement its already extensive list.

    “All excursions are designed to make the most of guest’s time at each destination, create memories and provide the best guide services available in all 22 port and inland destinations in Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia and home port Seattle,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. “With such an array of interests among our guests, we created excursions that range from sightseeing, history and culture to flightseeing adventures and high activity.”

    Each year, Holland America Line offers more than 230 excursions on Alaska and Yukon Cruises and CruiseTours, many featuring national parks. New excursions are being introduced in Haines, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, Homer, Seward and Cooper Landing. For example, in Haines, guests may enjoy the provocative scenic Valley of the Eagles Gold Adventure or Photo Safari by Land & Sea led by a professional photographer in Juneau. New excursions such as Tribal Dance & Cultural Legends and Remote Bush Exploration & Grizzly Bear Search in new port call, Icy Strait Point, highlight local culture, wildlife and wilderness. On the Homer & Kenai Peninsula Exploration CruiseTour guests may take advantage of world-class sports fishing for halibut and salmon or the outstanding Marine and Whale Watching Discovery Cruise. Most excursions are suitable for families and many are available for guests with disabilities.

    Guests enjoy thrilling experiences from numerous excursions including Helicopter Flightseeing & Glacier Trek; Musher’s Camp and Dog Sled Adventure; Alaska Bear Adventure by Floatplane; Tatoosh Islands Sea Kayaking; and the Eagle Preserve Float Adventure – a float trip through the world famous Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. In the Yukon, guests have the opportunity to explore majestic Kluane National Park by foot, cultural cruise, fishing tour or river rafting, and rugged Tombstone Territorial Park, by motor vehicle or hiking one of three trails with a guide. Over the Arctic Circle near Coldfoot, the Anaktuvuk Pass Adventure takes guests to the remote Nunamiut Eskimo village of Anaktuvuk to discover their way of life. Numerous excursions spotlight National Parks, Preserves and Refuges and make the most of the Great Land.

    Press Release by Holland America Line

    Holland America Alaska Cruise Information
    Holland America Alaska Cruisetour Information
    Holland America Europe Cruise Information
    Holland America Mexican Riviera Cruise Information

    Posted by Denise at 01:18 PM

    January 20, 2006

    Celebrity Cruises Launches New Ad Campaign Highlighting 'The Celebrity Treatment'



    Miami - (January 17, 2006 ) - Celebrity Cruises has launched a major new advertising campaign built around the theme, "The Celebrity Treatment." Created by Arnold Worldwide, the TV and print campaign showcases how Celebrity Cruises' service and experience as a whole makes the line's guests feel like celebrities.

    "This campaign is designed to convey the emotional connection our guests feel from the minute they step aboard until the moment they reluctantly leave," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Marketing, Ellen Taaffe. "It playfully conveys that special something that only we can offer, which we call 'The Celebrity Treatment'."

    The broadcast campaign - consisting of two 30-second ads directed by award-winning commercial director Erich Joiner - hits the airwaves this week and marks the first time in several years that Celebrity has advertised on network TV. The new ads will appear this month on hit shows such as Desperate Housewives, Lost and According to Jim, and also will appear on select cable channels including the Travel Channel and Food Network throughout the year.

    The print campaign - a portion of which features work by well-known photographer Peggy Sirota - will run in a breadth of consumer publications and newspapers throughout the year, while separate ads will appear in a variety of publications geared for travel agents.

    "Arnold's new campaign for Celebrity continues our conscious creative approach of focusing on the emotional impact that comes from taking care of people during their vacation," said Arnold Worldwide Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Ron Lawner.

    About Celebrity Cruises
    Celebrity Cruises offers a comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experience with highly personalized service, authentic five-star dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Its nine ships and the line's service, cuisine and spas consistently dominate top travelers' surveys.

    Celebrity sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America.

    Press Release by Celebrity Cruises

    Celebrity Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
    Celebrity Cruises Alaska Cruisetour Packages
    Celebrity Cruises Canadian Rockies Cruisetour Package
    Celebrity Cruises Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
    Celebrity Cruises European Cruise Information

    Posted by Denise at 09:12 AM

    January 16, 2006

    Travel Weekly Readers Give Top Honors To Carnival Cruise Line



    Line Earns ‘Best Sales and Service,’ ‘Best Rookie Cruise Ship’ in Publication’s
    2005 ‘Readers’ Choice Awards’

    MIAMI (Jan. 3, 2006) – Travel agents selected Carnival Cruise Lines for providing the “Best Sales and Service” and named the new Carnival Liberty as the “Best Rookie Cruise Ship” in a poll conducted by a leading trade publication, Travel Weekly, in its 2005 Readers’ Choice Awards.

    The awards were based on an on-line survey of thousands of Travel Weekly readers who were asked to name their top choices in a broad range of product- and service-related categories.

    “Travel Weekly readers are experienced and knowledgeable about all facets of the travel industry. Receiving these awards is a gratifying endorsement of the high level of service provided by our talented sales personnel, as well as the wide-ranging facilities and features of our spectacular new ‘Fun Ship,’ Carnival Liberty,” said Vicki Freed, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

    The new 110,000-ton Carnival Liberty launched the line’s first Mediterranean cruise program this summer then repositioned to Fort Lauderdale to operate six- and eight-day cruises beginning Nov. 12. The 2,974-passenger vessel will then return to Europe to operate an extended program of Med cruises in summer 2006.

    Its many on-board features include a 270-square-foot LED screen poolside on Lido deck that displays movies, concerts and other programming, as well as 22 lounges and bars, four restaurants, and expansive children and teens facilities. Carnival Liberty is also the first Carnival ship to feature the new “Georges Blanc Signature Selection” menu items which were created by the world-renowned French master chef and scheduled to be rolled out fleetwide next year.

    Carnival’s 84-member field sales force works with more than 25,000 travel agents throughout the U.S. and Canada in developing new business opportunities. In addition to assistance in organizing cruise nights and other sales functions, Carnival’s “business development managers” conduct in-agency training sessions that help travel agents hone their selling and closing skills. BDMs are supported by a team of 50 back-office personnel at Carnival’s Miami headquarters who work with travel agents in servicing their day-to-day needs.

    Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with a fleet of 21 “Fun Ships” operating three- to 16-day voyages to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda and Europe.

    The line will expand its fleet with the launch of three new SuperLiners – the 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom in February 2007 and an as-yet-unnamed 112,000-ton vessel and an as-yet-unnamed 130,000-ton ship – the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed – in spring 2008 and fall 2009, respectively.

    Press Release by Carnival Corporation

    Carnival Cruises Mexico Cruise Information
    Carnival Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
    Carnival Cruises Europe Cruise Information

    Posted by Denise at 08:48 PM

    January 08, 2006

    Uniworld Unveils New Ship - River Royale



    Only River Cruise Ship To Offer Wi-Fi and Internet Access

    (Los Angeles, CA – Jan. 6, 2005) -- Uniworld, the premier river cruise and tour operator, announced today it will launch a new ship, the River Royale , and new 2006 itineraries for its popular river sailings in France. The River Royale will be the first river cruise ship anywhere to provide Wi-Fi and internet access with email and satellite ship-to-shore calling. Costs will be comparable to those in any internet café or long distance cellular provider.

    “We are excited to be the first on the river to provide this important technology for our passengers,” said Scott Franey, vice president, marketing, for Uniworld. “The ability to offer this amenity will allow us to attract an even broader clientele – those who require the facility to stay connected even while on vacation,” he added.

    The River Royale will be the flagship of the Uniworld fleet. It will feature a number of technological advances beyond Wi-Fi, including a hydraulic system that allows the bridge and the top deck railings to be efficiently lowered for passage under the historic and low-span bridges of the Rhone and Saone rivers.

    Built at the Vahali Shipyard in Holland, the ship is 460 feet (110m) in length and 37.5 feet (11.40m) wide. It will feature 64 staterooms and one suite of approx. 247 square feet, most of which have large floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows. The 132-passenger vessel will join Uniworld’s premium fleet of 18 ships which the company owns and/or markets in Europe, Russia, China, South America/Antarctica, and Egypt. The River Royale will feature staterooms of between 155 – 162 square ft. all with flat screen TV’s, spacious and luxuriously decorated public areas, an onboard spa and exercise area, and deck marquees providing ample shade against the sun. The interiors will

    be French provincial in design and each deck will be tastefully themed with a French-styled motif. One of the most distinctive aspects of the ship will be the extensive use of walnut paneling and various marbles and decorative finishes throughout the ship, including white Thasos marble in the well-appointed bathrooms. The 2006 program will focus on the regions of Provence, known for artisans, gastronomy, and Cote du Rhone wines. “We are confident that Provence, with its rich historical past and world-class cuisine will be among our most popular offerings. The “good life” aboard the River Royale will mirror the region itself, steeped in the flavors, colors and style that make this one of the most treasured journeys for experienced travelers,” said Franey.

    Uniworld’s River Royale will offer itineraries that give French connoisseur’s an overview of the region, dipping in and out of areas made famous by Peter Mayle’s A Year In Provence. The ship sails along the Rhone and Saone rivers from the cultural and historical city of Lyons, making port calls in Chalon, Macon, Tournon Viviers, Avignon, Provence and Arles. Along the way, guests will see contrasting terrain of plummeting gorges, salt flats, lavenders fields and sun-drenched vineyards. Among the many gastronomical highlights of these sailings will be Market Day in Lyon and Cote du Rhone wine tastings. Other highlights include excursions to L’Abbaye de Collonges, Paul Bocuse’s famed restaurant; chocolate sampling at the L'Ecole du Brand Chocolat de Valrhona, the renown school that adjoins the famous Valrhona chocolate factory in Tournon; tours through the villages and regions forever captured in the paintings of Van Gogh; and wine tastings at the Ferraton Winery outside Tain, a fourth-generation winemaker who uses winemaking methods from the turn of the century.

    On board River Royale, both Provencal and American cuisine will be featured and paired with some of the more memorable private reserve wines from the region.

    Inaugural season pricing for the seven-night sailings begins at $2748. per person, double occupancy, including air from New York. Departures begin April 12 and run through November 1, 2006. Pre-and post-trips include three-night visits to Paris or Nice for an additional $1,198.

    Los Angeles-based Uniworld, North America’s premier river cruise company, features custom-designed ships for the experienced traveler, expertly planned itineraries, and professionally trained staff and crew. It offers more than 30 itineraries sailing on 13 rivers in 17 countries across four continents.

    Press Release by Uniworld

    Posted by Denise at 01:15 PM

    January 06, 2006

    ABC's Good Morning America Teams Up With Norwegian Cruise Line To Offer GMA's Girls' Week Out Onboard The New Norwegian Jewel



    NCL to give cruises to winners to enjoy a week onboard its newest Freestyle Cruising vessel as she sails the Western Caribbean

    MIAMI, FL - (January 4, 2006) - ABC's Good Morning America and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) have announced they will offer dozens of women and their friends a week aboard NCL’s newest Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Jewel, for the popular morning news program's “Girls' Week Out!” event.

    Good Morning America is inviting women from around the country to write a 500-word essay describing why they and up to nine of their girlfriends deserve a get-away from their everyday lives. The lucky viewers will be treated to a Caribbean cruise aboard Norwegian Jewel. Participants can enter until January 11, 2006. Details on how to enter can be found on their website.

    "Good Morning America" will select at least 15 teams of entry writers and their friends by January 18, 2006; they will travel onboard the Norwegian Jewel cruise that departs from Miami on February 5, 2006. The ship will call in Roatan, Honduras; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica and NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

    The morning program will host special events and activities for the lucky viewers during the week-long cruise and broadcast live with a special correspondent from the ship for five days.

    “This morning television event with 'Good Morning America' exemplifies what NCL is all about. We offer guests the freedom from the stress and demands of everyday life and the freedom to do whatever they want on their own schedule,” said Andy Stuart, executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services for NCL. “Freestyle Cruising gives our guests the opportunity to dine whenever, wherever and with whomever they like; choose what they want to wear, and enjoy a relaxed, resort-like environment, allowing them to personalize every aspect of their cruise experience to make it exactly what they want it to be.”

    "'Good Morning America' is very excited to work with Norwegian Cruise Line on this live morning television event," said GMA executive producer Ben Sherwood. "Cruising is one of America's most popular vacation choices, and some very lucky GMA viewers will have the rare chance to take a trip of a lifetime," Sherwood said. "Millions of GMA viewers will also get to escape a little each morning, enjoying the fun and surprises of our live broadcasts aboard one of the most luxurious ocean liners on the water today."

    Norwegian Jewel is the company’s fifth purpose-built ship for Freestyle Cruising and is a sister to NCL’s innovative Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn. Like her sisters, she features 10 restaurants, dynamic public rooms and two Garden Villas but offers a brand new style of accommodations – the addition of 10 courtyard villas with a private courtyard and sundeck on deck 14. Both courtyard and garden villa guests have a concierge lounge available to them and dedicated butlers offer continental breakfast, refreshments all day and canapés and drinks before dinner.

    The ship also includes a new concept for NCL – a “Bar Central” -- featuring a martini bar, a champagne and wine bar, and a beer and whisky pub all connected but touting three distinct personalities.

    About NCL Corporation
    NCL Corporation is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida. With a fleet of 15 ships in service and under construction, the corporation oversees the operations of NCL, NCL America and Orient Lines. The company is currently building three ships, including one more for the NCL America brand in Hawai`i - Pride of Hawai`i (delivery in April 2006) - and two further Norwegian Jewel class ships, which are scheduled for delivery in 2007. For further information, please contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL's website at www.ncl.com or on AOL at keyword: NCL; or to download high-resolution photography, visit www.ncl.com/hires

    About "Good Morning America"
    ABC News' "Good Morning America" is anchored by Diane Sawyer, Charles Gibson and Robin Roberts. The two-hour news program airs live Monday through Friday from 7:00am - 9:00am / EDT on the ABC Television Network. Ben Sherwood is the executive producer of ABC News' "Good Morning America."

    Press Release by Norwegian Cruise Line

    Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska Cruise Information
    Norwegian Cruise Line Europe Cruise Information
    Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
    Norwegian Cruise Line Hawaii Cruise Sale

    Posted by Denise at 09:01 AM

    January 05, 2006

    Silversea Welcomes Acclained Egyptologist Zahi Hawass As An Enrichment Lecturer For World Cruise 2007



    Ft. Lauderdale, FL - (December 22, 2005) Renowned Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass is set to join Silversea's World Cruise 2007 as an enrichment lecturer. Hawass is Egypt's secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the man most responsible for bringing the King Tut exhibition to the United States this year. He is slated to host a series of presentations aboard Silver Shadow as the ship journeys from Dubai to Alexandria from April 12 to 27, 2007.

    "With the successful launch of the King Tut tour in the U.S., there's enormous excitement and interest in Egyptian archaeology right now," said Joseph Proto, Silversea's director of World Cruise and business development. "We're honored and thrilled to be able to welcome Dr. Hawass aboard our World Cruise in 2007. He is famous for his ability to captivate an audience with tales of his discoveries and passion for Egypt's archaeological treasures, so we know our guests will be treated to a truly once-in-a-lifetime learning experience."

    For over 30 years, Hawass has dedicated himself to the excavation and conservation of many of Egypt's most important monuments and antiquities. Included among his many discoveries are the tombs of the pyramid builders found at the Giza Plateau, in the shadow of the great pyramids, and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis. He has received numerous international awards for his work, including a First Class Award of Art and Science, one of Egypt's highest awards, presented to Hawass by President Hosni Mubarak to honor the archaeologist's work on the Sphinx restoration project.

    Departing January 15, 2007 from Fort Lauderdale, Silver Shadow's World Cruise 2007 will cross three oceans, seven seas and six continents, visiting 61 different ports, and conclude on the originating coast, in New York City, on May 22. Additional guest lecturers will be announced in the coming weeks.

    Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. For the ninth year, Silversea was named "Number One" small-ship line in the 2005 "Readers' Choice" survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. For the sixth time, Silversea was selected "World's Best" small-ship line in the 2004 Travel + Leisure readers' poll.

    Press Release by Silversea Cruises

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    Posted by Denise at 09:23 AM

    January 04, 2006

    NCL Corporation Announces Names For Its Two New Ships



    Company's newest Freestyle Cruising vessels will be delivered in 2007

    NCL is proud to announce the names of its two newest ships - Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem. The ships, previously known as hull S.669 and S.670, will be Norwegian Jewel class ships and will be delivered in February 2007 and October 2007 respectively.

    Currently under construction at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem will feature all the attributes of NCL's dynamic modern Freestyle Cruising fleet with multiple restaurants, vibrant public rooms, versatile, family-friendly accommodations and NCL's popular new style of accommodations - Courtyard Villas - which along with each ship's two Garden Villas -- make up the biggest, most luxurious, most innovative suite complexes at sea.

    "Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem will be the ninth and 10th big new ships to join the NCL fleet since the fleet modernization began in late 1999," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. "Once Norwegian Gem is delivered in 2007, over 80 percent of NCL's capacity will be big, new and modern, keeping NCL on track to offer the youngest fleet in the industry by 2010."

    Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem will join Pride of Hawai`i when she is launched in April and the seven big new ships built since 1999 and already in service - Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Spirit, Pride of Aloha, Pride of America and Norwegian Jewel.

    NCL will announce specifics on the new ships' public rooms and itineraries in the near future including details about each ship's distinctive hull artwork.

    NCL Corporation ("NCL") is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 15 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines. The company is currently building three ships, including one more for the NCL America brand in Hawai`i - Pride of Hawai`i (delivery in April 2006), and Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem for delivery in 2007.

    Press Release by Norwegian Cruise Line

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    Posted by Denise at 09:13 AM

    January 03, 2006

    From Organ Donors to Foster Parents, 40 Hometown Heroes Shine Brightly in the Princess Spotlight


    From Organ Donors to Foster Parents, 40 Hometown Heroes Shine Brightly in the Princess Spotlight

    In Celebration of its 40th Anniversary, Princess Cruises Awards Deserving Contest Winners with "Escape Completely" Cruise Vacations

    SANTA CLARITA, CA (December 19, 2005) - In a survey commissioned by Princess Cruises earlier this year to mark its 40th anniversary, the line found that homemakers, nurses and teachers rank among the most over-worked professions in America. But that was only part of it. The survey inspired an unusual contest in which respondents were asked to nominate someone they felt most deserved an escape. Surprisingly, the contest generated a record 12,000 entries - more than any previous contest - and offered an opportunity to showcase and celebrate a group of hometown heroes who work tirelessly to comfort and console, inspire and engage.

    "Naturally, teachers, nurses and homemakers factored prominently among the winners, but the heartening, and sometimes heart-wrenching, stories of dozens of selfless individuals kept entry-readers enthralled," said Jan Swartz, senior vice president of customer service and sales, who devised the contest to complement Princess's "Escape Completely" tagline while celebrating the line's 40 years of pioneering innovation. "The contest gave us an opportunity to recognize some truly remarkable individuals and mark our anniversary in a compelling and memorable way," said Swartz.

    No doubt the winners will not soon forget the commendation - or the cruise that will follow. Gavin MacLeod, The Love Boat's beloved Captain Stubing, was on hand to surprise selected winners at their homes with a seven-night cruise vacation for two to the Caribbean or Mexican Rivera.

    The 40 winners came from around the U.S., in professions ranging from law and law enforcement to medicine and social work. Winners included:

    Mary H. of Florida - A "military mom" who saw four of her own children and one son-in-law off to Iraq and, ever since, has been sending shoebox care packages to troops overseas. With the help of her community and nearly 500 volunteers, she has shipped more than 100,000 shoebox care packages to overseas troops to date.

    Brad W. of Missouri - A father of three adopted, learning-disabled children and full-time teacher who started an interactive art program for children at risk within the community.

    Patricia J. of Michigan - A housecleaner and personal assistant who donated a portion of her liver to her boss after just a few months on the job and saved his life.

    Debbie C. of Arizona - A patient service representative at the Mayo Clinic who has been a long term, single foster parent to seven girls in the past 15 years, in addition to raising her own daughter.

    Eric M. of Washington - A teacher who has developed a non-for-profit program offered in collaboration with the local police department and school district, which educates kids and teens on the dangers of drunk driving and the importance of making good choices.

    Amy M. of Massachusetts - A mom with a knack for fund raising who has raised nearly $50,000 to fund a trip for local school kids to NYC, and more than $10,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims in the last year alone.
    Princess launched the "Help Someone Escape Completely" contest with a national consumer survey in May asking U.S. adult consumer opinions about people's need to "escape." Topics covered in the survey ranged from ways people most escape to the celebrity they'd most often like to accompany on an escape.

    More than 12,000 people took time to nominate someone they felt deserved a well-earned vacation. Winners are posted at www.princess.com, and site visitors can view video footage of Gavin MacLeod surprising several of the winners with their awards at their homes and offices.

    Press Release by Princess Cruises

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    Posted by Denise at 09:10 AM

    January 02, 2006

    National Transportation Safety Board Issues Report On The April 2005 Norwegian Dawn Wave Incident



    Report concurs with earlier finding in May 2005 by the Bahamas Maritime Authority

    MIAMI - (December 23, 2005) - The National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") has released its report on the large wave that struck Norwegian Cruise Line's ("NCL") Norwegian Dawn on April 16, 2005. After experiencing extremely rough weather, the ship was hit by an unpredictable, large wave near South Carolina on its return trip to New York from Miami during a Bahamas/Florida cruise.

    The NTSB's report regarding this incident is at: http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2005/MAB0503.htm.

    The NTSB determined that NCL acted appropriately during the severe weather and tried to accommodate and comfort its passengers. The report notes that: "Rather than attempting to maintain the scheduled arrival time in New York, the master decided to lower the ship's speed and change its heading for the passengers' comfort." Moreover, "the hotel staff tried to accommodate the passengers' needs and make them comfortable."

    NCL's officers and crew are trained to handle situations at sea like the one that faced Norwegian Dawn and the NTSB praised the crew for having "properly prepared the vessel for heavy weather" and noted that NCL kept its passengers apprised of the developments by continually providing "advisory announcements to the passengers."

    "We are pleased with the report from the NTSB and that it further clarifies the Bahamas Maritime Authority's (BMA) report that the company, the Captain of Norwegian Dawn and his officers and crew acted appropriately in this rare large wave incident," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation.

    The NTSB report notes that the winds and seas experienced by the ship became "heavier-than-expected" and recognized the unpredictability of the incident by concluding that "the probable cause of the damage to Norwegian Dawn and of the injuries suffered by its passengers was waves breaking over the bow during the ship's unavoidable encounter with severe weather and heavy seas."

    Similarly, after a thorough investigation immediately following the incident, the BMA previously issued its findings and found that the action of Norwegian Dawn's Captain was "prudent and appropriate throughout." In addition, the BMA determined that "there is no evidence that any real or perceived urgency to arrive at New York earlier was a factor in the handling of the ship or that Norwegian Cruise Line did anything but support the captain's on-scene decisions."

    Press Release by Norwegian Cruise Line

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    Posted by Denise at 11:14 AM

    January 01, 2006

    Radisson Seven Seas Navigator Returns to Europe



    FT. LAUDERDALE, FL (November 29, 2005) - New menus, globetrotting itineraries, and personalized shore programs are at the forefront for Radisson Seven Seas® in 2006. The acclaimed Seven Seas Navigator® will return to Europe for her first full season since 2002; the luxury line will roll out its multi-tiered, customized "Travel Concierge" program; new alternative dining concepts will be introduced fleet wide; and nine new ports of call will be added to the more than 300 global destinations as "luxury goes exploring."

    Worldwide Adventures
    From the winding canals of Copenhagen and St. Petersburg to the dramatic ruins of Athens and Rome, experience the best of Europe aboard the 490-guest Seven Seas Navigator in 2006. The all-suite (90% with private balconies) ship will join the all balcony-suite 700-guest Seven Seas Voyager® in the Mediterranean in April for her first full season in Europe in four years. Featuring two transatlantic crossings and 24 seven- to 14-night voyages, the ship will call at legendary ports from one end of Europe to the other, exploring the alluring British Isles, the classical capitals of Scandinavia and Russia, the ancient glories of the Mediterranean and Greek Isles, plus Byzantium, the Balkans, the sun-kissed coasts of the Adriatic Sea, the Côte d'Azur and Iberia.

    Capping off the line's Europe news, in August the Seven Seas Voyager will make maiden calls in England's Dartmouth, Liverpool, and Greenwich (London) - the latter serving as a turnaround port.

    On January 10, the 700-guest all-balcony suite Seven Seas Mariner® will set sail from Ft. Lauderdale on a 62-night "Grand Circle South America" journey featuring famed ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau and experts from his Ocean Futures Society. New ports of call on this voyage include first-time visits to Punta del Este (Uruguay), West Point Island (Falkland Islands), and Fuerte Amador (Panama).

    Elsewhere around the globe, exciting maiden calls will be made at Tripoli (Libya), Chan May (for Hue, Vietnam), and Phillip Island (Australia) during the Seven Seas Voyager's 108-night World Cruise departing Ft. Lauderdale January 10. Also reaching the exotic Far East next year, the Seven Seas Mariner will call on Chan May for the first time during her 96-night "Grand Asia Pacific" voyage, departing Vancouver September 13.

    Rounding out long cruise itineraries in 2006 will be the Seven Seas Mariner's leisurely "South Seas Passage," sailing roundtrip from San Francisco on April 18, reaching nine island paradises in French Polynesia, the Marquesas, Kiribati and Hawaii during the 26-night odyssey.

    Giving guests the freedom to go beyond traditional land and city tours to explore each destination in greater depth, "The Travel Concierge" program will roll out in its entirely in 2006. Imparting a more personal, experiential touch in every locale, the multi¬faceted tour and hotel program expands upon the line's distinctive roster of destination offerings with exclusive, more highly customizable land options. "Concierge Choice," "Concierge à La Carte," "Concierge Collection" and "Hotels à La Carte" will be implemented fleet wide.

    New Onboard Distinctions
    From romantic Tuscan dining to a burst of exotic Asian and classical French flavors, intimate reservations-only alternative dinner venues on all four ships have further refined and diversified their dining concepts for 2006. Taking a cue from the French Polynesian islands she calls home year-round, the 320-guest Paul Gauguin® serves fine Le Cordon Bleu® cuisine in her La Veranda restaurant. The Seven Seas Navigator's Portofino features regional Italian specialties served in a casually elegant, yet festive atmosphere - complete with singing waiters. And, a new Indochine menu - based on authentic Vietnamese cuisine prepared with French cooking techniques - has been introduced in Latitudes on both the Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner.

    The New Year will also ring in a series of new cabaret shows on the Seven Seas Navigator. The cabaret quartet will celebrate a spectrum of music in four revue-style productions with "Showstoppers - a Broadway Cabaret," a homage to the Great White Way; "Hot Rhythms," a showcase of toe-tapping tunes; "The Cole Porter Songbook," a tribute to the legendary song master; and "Somewhere in Time - a Musical Voyage," a stroll through the decades - from the Charleston to the Hustle.

    In addition, all ships will feature two new concert-style piano performances with an orchestra accompaniment. Creating a visual as well a melodic experience, documentary-style photography will flash in the background, pulling the performer, musicians and images into a complete show of sights and sounds. A "Hand Full of Keys" will feature music from such legends as Nat King Cole, Billy Joel, and Sir Elton John, while "Play it Again" will include the best of Motown, Ragtime, Blues, Swing, and Rock and Roll.

    The line's Spotlight cruise series continues to evolve with 26 voyages celebrating Photography, Yoga & Wellbeing, Music, Antiques, Film, Chocolate, and Food & Wine. Among the highlights will be a "James Beard Celebrity Chefs Tour" voyage and a "Theatre at Sea" cruise with Ed Asner, Cliff Robertson, Patricia Neal, Lee Roy Reams, John Tillinger and Leslie Uggams.

    Press Release by Radisson Seven Seas Cruises

    Read A Review On Seven Seas Mariner
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    Posted by Denise at 05:18 PM