Opinions, Tips on Cruises by the Industry leader! Find out which cruise lines and which destinations are appropriate for you through reading the insight of the industry leaders!
Home Beginners Guide Cruise Destination Guides Cruise Ship Reviews General Tips on Cruises Hotel Reviews Press Releases

June 29, 2006

MSC Musicia Inaugural Celebration



ST. NAZAIRE, FRANCE (June 19, 2006) – The official ceremony of MSC Musica’s delivery took place today at St. Nazaire at Aker Yards France, in the presence of the President Patrick Boissier, shipowner Gianluigi Aponte and the CEO of MSC Crociere Pierfrancesco Vago.

An exceptional guest was invited for this extraordinary event: Gerard Depardieu, the international celebrity who is very popular in Italy. The Ceremony has also been attended by Karl Erik Kjelstad, President and CEO of Aker Yards and Mrs Ela Aponte, godmother of the new flagship MSC Musica.

MSC Musica has been the feature in Saint Nazaire since last Saturday, when almost 25,000 guests from the work force, relatives and families of all the staff who have been involved in the construction have visited this splendor of the Italian fleet.

MSC Musica is the latest ship generation custom designed and built for MSC Cruises. She carries the latest and most advanced technology developed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique/Aker Yards France. The naval architecture and design of this new flagship, 22.000 sq.m. of common areas, have been carefully planned to guarantee the best possible guest/space ratio so that all passengers can experience a vacation where the sea is the main feature, thanks also to the high percentage (80%) of outside cabins, the majority of which have a balcony.

Security on board is guaranteed by the use of extremely sophisticated technology and in total environmental respect. Soon after the delivery ceremony, MSC Musica will sail from Saint Nazaire toward Venice, where on June 29 she will be officially launched at the presence of the godmother Sophia Loren and numerous VIPs. She will then leave Venice for her first Mediterranean cruise, touching the most beautiful destinations in Greece, Turkey and Croatia.

MSC Musica is the first of five ships commissioned by MSC Cruises from Aker Yards France to be delivered over a period of three years: next delivery will be MSC Orchestra, followed by MSC Poesia and MSC Fantasia in 2008 and MSC Serenata in 2009. MSC Fantasia and MSC Serenata will be the biggest ships ever commissioned by a European company.

Press Release by MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises Europe Cruise Information
MSC Cruises Caribbean Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 10:06 AM

June 28, 2006

Stretching Mind and Body: Seven Seas Voyager's "Active Exploration & Wellness" Circle of Interest Program Features Yoga and Pilates Experts on Eight Baltic Sailings


Ft. Lauderdale, FL (June 20, 2006) - Luxury, balance and discipline come together on eight Seven Seas Voyager Baltic sailings in July and August as the creators of IntelligentYoga and the owner of the Pilates Institute of Scottsdale guide guests to enhance control of their minds and bodies and strengthen their core abdominal muscles. In addition to special daily fitness classes open to all, those seeking a full enrichment program can participate in the "Active Exploration and Wellness" Circle of Interest which includes personal training, biking, hiking, canoeing and walking excursions.

The eight seven-night Baltic sailings on the all-balcony suite 700-guest Seven Seas Voyager - with convenient weekly Saturday departures - feature two onboard overnights in the gilded city of St. Petersburg and calls in Tallinn, Estonia, and Visby, Gotland, two of the best-retained medieval towns in Europe.

Voyages sailing from Stockholm to Copenhagen include a call in Helsinki, Finland, and voyages sailing from Copenhagen to Stockholm include an onboard overnight in the Swedish capital city.


Catering to individuals who enjoy personalized workouts that improve both physical condition and mental attitude, G Pelliteri, owner of the Pilates Institute of Scottsdale, uses her 20+-year background in the fitness industry to creatively instruct. Bringing her unique perspective to guests of the Seven Seas Voyager's July 1, 8 and 15 cruises, G will teach daily Pilates mat classes for all levels, incorporating balance and strengthening work with the ball.

Devoted to optimal physical and mental wellbeing, G strives to make fitness and health an integral and fun part of her students' lives. Demonstrating and instructing the tenets of Pilates, her body-conditioning program will feature exercises that require fewer repetitions but concentrate on highly precise movements, proper control and form. This workout in turn develops a balanced musculo-skeletal system with strong, flexible muscles and better posture.


Michael Lechonczak and Robin Whitney Levine, a New York City-based husband and wife team with over 20 years of shared teaching experience, will bring the art and science of yoga to guests on July 22, 29, and August 5 sailings; their colleague Paul Malley will join the August 12 and 19 voyages.

The couple's clear, comprehensive teaching approach, called IntelligentYoga weaves mindfulness, breath, alignment and movement into a synergistic whole. The result is balance: a conscious, calm mind present in a radiant, healthy body. Their daily onboard program will offer a variety of options for men and women, yoga beginners and experts of all ages.

Michael is a nationally recognized yoga professional who has been practicing and teaching for over 15 years. Versed in the Iyengar, Astanga and Anusara schools of yoga, his teaching style blends alignment, form, and consciousness into a fun, athletic approach. Most recently, Michael collaborated on the bestselling book Real Men Do Yoga.

Robin is a certified fitness professional specializing in yoga and holistic wellness. She is a skilled and dynamic instructor who integrates western modalities such as Pilates and core conditioning with her knowledge of yoga, aromatherapy and reflexology. Robin is an Anusara affiliated teacher.

Certified in the techniques of IntelligentYoga with over 15 years of yoga instruction under his belt, Paul Malley initially taught the Iyengar style of yoga and since 1992 has specialized in the Anusara style.

Active Exploration and Wellness

Guests participating in the "Active Exploration and Wellness" package will find fellow travelers enjoying a wealth of active pursuits both aboard and ashore. Circle of Interest tours include: "Visby by Bicycle," a nine-mile ride with dramatic views of the medieval Swedish town and cathedral; "Finnish Forest Hike and Canoeing Adventure," a vigorous climb through a natural park and a canoe trip through valleys forged in the Ice Age; and a "Walking Tour: Experience Daily Life in St. Petersburg," with an insider's view to the city's rich history.

Onboard, guests will maintain their active glow with an exclusive Pilates/yoga workshop in addition to daily exercise and stretching classes, a personal fitness assessment and training session, a half hour European in-suite massage, and a private dinner and reception. This Circle of Interest package is $395 per person.

Inaugural Season Savings

Per person prices for the July 1, 8, 15, 22, August 5 and 19 Seven Seas Voyager Baltic voyages start from $5,276. The July 29 and August 12 voyages feature two-for-one savings, with fares starting at $3,298 per person. All prices include a complimentary Regent Inaugural Season commemorative album, shipboard gratuities, wine with dinner, an in-suite bar set-up, and Inaugural Season Savings* offers: a choice of roundtrip economy class air from 86 North American gateways, $499 business class upgrade when an economy class air add-on is purchased (roundtrip business class airfares starting at $1,828), or $1,000 savings off the cruise fare.

Press Release by Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Information On Regent Seven Seas Alaska Cruises
Information On Regent Seven Seas Mexican Riviera Cruises
Information On Regent Seven Seas Tahiti Cruises
Information On Regent Seven Seas Europe Cruises

Posted by Denise at 08:57 AM

June 24, 2006

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Offers More Liquor on 2007 Voyages


Regent Seven Seas Cruises Offers More Liquor on 2007 Voyages

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL., June 12, 2006 - Regent Seven Seas will ring in 2007 with good cheer - literally toasting its guests with a new inclusive liquor policy. Topping off its already acclaimed dining options and personalized service, the recently re-branded luxury cruise line will offer select complimentary wine and spirits at all bars and restaurants fleet wide on every sailing. "Luxury Goes Exploring" in 2007 with worldwide cruises from seven to 111 nights in length - reaching 21 new ports of call from Kotor (Montenegro) to Yasawa (Fiji).

"As part of our re-branding to Regent in March, we're instituting an inclusive liquor policy across the fleet for all 2007 cruises," said Mark Conroy, president of Regent. "Our World Cruises already have this inclusive liquor policy, and our guests have told us how much they like it. In fact, we've noticed how the policy has contributed to the air of conviviality aboard, with more people getting out of their suites socializing. It's this open, intimate spirit of camaraderie we wish to foster on all Regent voyages."

While most aspects of Regent Seven Seas' re-branding will be in place in 2006, final touches will be applied in 2007 with the updating of staterooms/suites (including installation of flat screen TVs) and an expanded roster of personalized Regent Travel ConciergeSM offerings.

Luxury Goes Exploring New Ports of Call
Recipient of the 2005 Cruise Critic "Cruise Innovation Award" for being "the luxury line with the most innovative, path-finding itineraries," Regent Seven Seas will continue its trailblazing ways in 2007 with the addition of 21 new ports of call in Asia, Africa, the South Pacific, Europe, the Caribbean/Mexico and South America.

The 700-guest all-balcony suite Seven Seas Voyager will depart Ft. Lauderdale January 9 on a roundtrip six-segment, 111-night World Cruise - Regent's most extensive ever. The cruise line will return to southern and eastern Africa for the first time since 2003, calling at Walvis Bay, Cape Town, Richards Bay, Maputo (Mozambique), Mombasa, Mahe (Seychelles), and Male (Maldives). And, among the almost four-dozen destinations reached, four will be maiden calls at Maputo (Mozambique), Maura (Brunei), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Valencia (Spain - for America's Cup), in addition to a series of complimentary shore side events, including a game drive through Amboseli in the shadow of the mighty Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Following this extended voyage, the ship will head to Europe for a summer in the Baltic and fall in the Mediterranean with new calls at Falmouth (England), Kos (Greece), Korcula (Croatia) and Golfo di Porto (Corsica) (the latter two are also new calls for the Seven Seas Navigator).

Other Seven Seas Voyager highlights will be a 14-night Norway cruise to the North Cape and Spitzbergen, hosted by Captain Dag Dvergastein, including a call to his hometown of Nevlunghaven, Norway. And, due to the popularity of longer cruises, Regent will launch new 42- and 44-night Grand Europe voyages in May and October, each calling at 33 ports.

The 700-guest all-balcony suite Seven Seas Mariner will begin the year with a four-segment, 59-night roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale "Circle South America" voyage reaching 31 ports in 16 countries with a first time call at Laguna San Rafael (Chile), and the personal insights of famed ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, who will sail the Amazon. In the spring of 2007, the ship will sail the Caribbean, then head to the West Coast of the U.S. with a turnaround in San Francisco. She will then enjoy a season of seven-night Gulf of Alaska sailings before a westward departure September 12 for an eight-segment, 107-night "Grand Asia Pacific" journey returning to Burma after an interval of several years, and calling for the first time in Yokohama (Japan), Ko Samui (Thailand) and Pusan (South Korea), with Osaka (Japan) to be used as a turnaround port.

The 490-guest all-suite (90% with private balconies) Seven Seas Navigator will spend the first four months of 2007 sailing a series of Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale. New next year, the vessel will be deployed exclusively in the Mediterranean from April through early November where she make maiden calls at Cartagena (Spain), Kotor (Montenegro) and Koper (Slovenia).

When the three ships sail the Caribbean in the winter and fall of 2007, they will add Cayo Levantado (Dominican Republic) to their itineraries, and the Seven Seas Mariner will also reach Chiapas (Mexico).

The 330-guest all-ocean view (more than 50% with private balconies) Paul Gauguin, which makes her home sailing French Polynesia year-round, will offer guests a selection of seven-, 10, 11-, and 14-night voyages roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti, calling at the Society, Tuamotu, Marquesas, Cook and Austral Islands. New for 2007 will be four 14-night sailings calling at Nuku Alofa (Tonga), Vanua Levu, Lautoka and Yasawa (Fiji).

Press Release by Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Information On Regent Seven Seas Alaska Cruises
Information On Regent Seven Seas Mexican Riviera Cruises
Information On Regent Seven Seas Tahiti Cruises
Information On Regent Seven Seas Europe Cruises

Posted by Denise at 01:07 PM

June 22, 2006

Crystal Cruises Returns To Asia In 2007


Luxury Line Celebrates 10th Season In Asia With New Singapore To Dubai Itinerary

LOS ANGELES, June 6, 2006 - Crystal Cruises returns to Asia in 2007 for the first time in two years with a collection of four destination rich itineraries, including its first-ever cruise from Singapore to Dubai. Savvy travelers eager to explore the allure of the East in greater depth will appreciate the luxury line's increased offering of overnight stays in renowned destinations. An expanded collection of extended land programs also includes a new six-night adventure to Tibet.

From March through May, 2007, the award-winning Crystal Symphony offers two 14-day journeys exploring China, an 11-day cruise spotlighting Vietnam, and the new 16-day Singapore to Dubai itinerary that features three days in Myanmar. During the line's 10th season in Asia, Crystal Symphony will visit 17 cities in nine different countries, including a maiden call at Chan May, Vietnam. Overnight stays in some of the world's most intriguing cities - Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Osaka, Japan; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore; Yangon, Myanmar; and Dubai, UAE - afford travelers the luxury of time to immerse themselves in the cultural nuances of each destination.

"Crystal's 2007 Asia season offers travelers the enviable combination of a distinctively rich onboard experience aboard Crystal Symphony, fascinating itineraries with time to explore the exotic destinations, and the seamless luxury of visiting as many as five different countries and only having to unpack once," says Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president, marketing and sales.

With an emphasis on destination enrichment, Crystal incorporates a complimentary three-night land program to Beijing as a pre- or post-cruise component of the season's first two cruises. Showcasing the Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, Sacred Alley, and concluding with a private dinner at the Great Hall of the People, the all-inclusive "Adventures in Beijing" features accommodations, sightseeing and transportation, porterage, gratuities, and tour escort.

Crystal Symphony's 2007 Asia series includes:

Ancient Dynasties: March 29 - April 12; 14 days; Hong Kong (overnight) to Beijing, China. Visiting Taipei, Taiwan; Kagoshima, Japan; Shanghai (overnight) and Dalian, China. Complimentary "Adventures in Beijing" land program included post-cruise.

Mysteries of Asia: April 6 - 20; 14 days; Beijing to Hong Kong (overnight), China. Visiting Shanghai (overnight), China; Nagasaki and Osaka (overnight), Japan. Complimentary "Adventures in Beijing" land program included pre-cruise.

Kingdoms of Jade & Gold: April 20 - May 1; 11 days; Hong Kong to Singapore (overnight). Visiting Chan May (maiden call) and Ho Chi Minh City (overnight), Vietnam; and Bangkok (overnight), Thailand.

Exotic Asian Odyssey: May 1 - 17; 16 days; Singapore to Dubai (overnight), UAE. Visiting Phuket, Thailand; Yangon (two nights), Myanmar; Cochin and Mumbai, India.

Guests wishing to extend their Asia odyssey may also consider a new six-night "Journey to Tibet" excursion offering extreme enrichment and an opportunity to travel to the top of the world. Offered as an optional pre- or post-cruise extended land program on select itineraries, the new program is added to a roster of established favorites including a five-night "Yangtze Splendor" program exploring the riverfront city of Chongquing and a Yangtze River cruise through the dramatic Three Gorges (from Beijing); and the "Xi'an and the Terra Cotta Warriors" excursion, a comprehensive five-night program to Xi'an and Guilin from Hong Kong featuring the famed sculptures and the enduring magic of the River Li.

In conjunction with the cruises, Crystal is developing more than 100 optional shoreside Crystal Adventures. Guests also have the opportunity to tailor their own Asian experience through the luxury line's Crystal Private Adventures program.

With rates beginning at $4,295 per person, double occupancy, a cruise to Asia aboard Crystal Symphony provides extraordinary value and exceptional opportunity for discovery.

The Award-Winning Crystal Difference

Aboard the 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Symphony refined elegance meets casual simplicity. With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, the renowned Crystal experience is distinguished by classic service, abundant space, extensive choices, and quality, providing worldwide vacations that bridge the best of land and sea.

Together with the 1,080-guest, 68,000-ton Crystal Serenity, the ships of Crystal enjoy an unrivaled reputation for excellence, having received "World's Best" awards from the readers of both Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines for 10 consecutive years.

Press Release by Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises to Alaska
Crystal Cruises to Mexico
Crystal Cruises to Europe

Posted by Denise at 08:58 AM

June 21, 2006

Crown Princess, Newest Jewel in the Princess Cruises Fleet, Makes New York Debut


Ship Christened by Home and Lifestyle Expert Martha Stewart While America's Newest Pop Princess, Katharine McPhee Gave a Star Performance

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (June 14, 2006) - Under sunny skies with the Manhattan skyline as a dramatic backdrop, Crown Princess, the newest ship in Princess Cruises fleet, was christened today marking its official debut. Home and lifestyle expert Martha Stewart pulled the lever which broke the traditional champagne bottle on the ship, while singing star Katharine McPhee wowed ceremony guests with the same vocal talent that recently catapulted her to television fame.

The naming ceremony took place at the ship's new home port in New York, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, with "crowning" New York landmarks -- the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge -- in clear view.

Over the last several days, the ship has played host to thousands of special guests who were given an advance preview of the 113,000-ton vessel. One of the special guests feted for her crowning achievement was 13-year-old Katharine Close, the recent winner of the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee Tournament and the first female winner in seven years. Miss Close competed in the very first "Bee At Sea," Princess' new spelling bee tournament which makes its debut on Crown Princess, and she was easily declared the winner among a group that included the ship's captain and officers, and "Love Boat" Captain, Gavin MacLeod.

The ship departs today on its first Caribbean cruise with stops in Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Port Canaveral, Florida.

The 113,000-ton Crown Princess introduces a number of new design innovations to the Princess fleet, including a dramatic new piazza-style atrium and new casual dining venues. Within the new street café environment of the atrium, passengers find an International Café serving up fresh pastries and baked goods in the morning and assorted other offerings throughout the day, as well as a wine and seafood bar. Several signature Princess venues have been further enhanced, including an expanded Sabatini's Italian trattoria with a new piano lounge, and the Crown Grill, a new steak and seafood restaurant with an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs will custom-prepare steamed shellfish and cooked-to-order steaks and chops.

The ship also features the many hallmark features that define the Princess experience, including the dramatic Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, multiple dining and entertainment options, a Lotus Spa fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, a wedding chapel and nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies.

The inaugural 2006 summer season for Crown Princess features nine-day roundtrip voyages to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and marks the return of Princess visits to Bermuda, as well as the line's first-ever regular calls to Grand Turk. In the fall the ship will reposition to San Juan for winter Caribbean sailings.

Press Release by Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Europe Cruise Information
Princess Cruises Europe Cruisetour Information
Princess Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
Princess Cruises Alaska Cruisetour Information
Princess Cruises Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
Princess Cruises Tahiti Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 08:48 AM

June 18, 2006

Holland America Line And Food & Wine Savor Successful Recipe For Culinary Cruises


Celebrity Chefs Perform in Culinary Arts Centers Worldwide

Seattle, WA (June 16, 2006) – Holland America Line continues its successful on-board culinary program through 2006 and 2007 in conjunction with Food & Wine magazine. The multi-year partnership provides guests on select Holland America Line cruises an opportunity to experience demonstrations and seminars conducted by top chefs, wine experts and leading cookbook authors affiliated with Food & Wine. The partnership developed in response to consumers’ increasing interest in learning about fine wines and international cuisine.

The initiative is part of the line’s Culinary Arts Center program, which is offered on every sailing. As a part of the line’s $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative, Holland America Line has spent more than $13 million to create and install the Culinary Arts Center facilities. The Culinary Arts Centers are now in place on all but one of the fleet of 13 premium cruising vessels including the new 1,918-passenger ms Noordam; the remaining ship ms Oosterdam will be completed in October of 2006.

Resembling the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs, each Culinary Arts Center features an innovative theater-style venue. The state-of-the-art “show kitchen at sea” has two large plasma video screens to display overhead and close-up video views of the food preparation, and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn new cooking techniques and dishes. Culinary demonstrations are filmed and aired on the in-stateroom televisions.

The Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine brings the pages of the epicurean magazine alive on dozens of sailings of the world’s leading premium cruise line. The program debuted in Fall of 2005.

“This collaboration has been a total success and we could not be more pleased. The dynamic partnership with Food & Wine magazine demonstrates how travelers love the opportunity to hone and enrich their epicurean knowledge and skills,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, Holland America Line’s senior vice president, marketing and sales. “Our guests learn from and mingle with acclaimed culinary experts, these are rare experiences found exclusively on Holland America Line.”

"Our enthusiasm continues to grow with the myriad possibilities of this partnership," said Julie McGowan, Food & Wine's senior vice president/publisher. "By pairing Holland America Line's stellar reputation and worldwide itineraries with Food & Wine's expertise and celebration of the epicurean lifestyle, we attract the most dynamic, sought-after talents in the world of food and wine."

Guests learn tricks-of-the-trade from top professionals and can try their hand at preparing dishes and tasting wines representative of specific ports-of-call. Food & Wine also designs and provides recipe cards and wine-tasting notes that guests can take home along with copies of the magazine. Other opportunities include book signings, question-and-answer sessions, market tours in ports of call, specially designed on-board menus and more.


Food & Wine provides chefs, wine experts and cookbook authors who appear in the magazine’s pages as well as those featured at the publication’s premier culinary events, specifically the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado held each June. The following culinary experts are scheduled to sail in the latter half of 2006:

  • Cat Cora, host and producer of The Cat Cora Show and frequent guest and host on various Food Network shows, sails June 23rd aboard ms Zaandam to Alaska.
  • Jim Coleman, chef, Normandy Farm and host of Flavors of America, sailing on the June 25th Alaska sailing aboard the ms Veendam.
  • Nick Stellino, chef, author and host of public television’s Nick Stellino’s Family Kitchen, sailing on the July 9th Alaska cruise aboard the ms Westerdam.
  • Ari Nieminen, Executive Chef, Water's Edge; former Chef at FireBird, on the ms Maasdam’s Transatlantic cruise July 10th.
    Clay Conley, Chef, Azul at Mandarin Oriental sails aboard ms Volendam in Alaska on July 19th.
  • Gerald Dawes, expert in Spanish food, wine and culture, sailing on the July 20th Western Mediterranean cruise aboard Noordam.
  • Jean-Francis & Alessandra Quaglia, chefs/proprietors, Provence Mediterranean Grill and Provence Marinaside, sailing on the July 22nd Alaska cruise aboard the ms Zuiderdam.
  • Akira Oshima, Executive Chef, Hotel Okura cruising aboard the Ryndam in Alaska on July 23rd.
  • John Howie, Chef at Seastar Restaurant cruising aboard Noordam in the Mediterranean on July 30th.
  • Mark Fiorentino, chef boulanger, Daniel, sailing on the August 11th Baltic cruise aboard the ms Amsterdam.
  • James Boyce, chef, Studio at Montage Resort & Spa, sailing on the August 14th Europe cruise aboard the ms Prinsendam.
  • Dean Fearing of the Mansion on Turtle Creek sails to Canada/New England August 19th aboard Maasdam.
  • Aaron Sanchez, chef, Paladar, and regular on TV Food Network, sailing aboard the August 27th Alaska cruise aboard Westerdam.
  • Charles Dale, founder, Range and Rustique, sailing on the September 18th Western Mediterranean cruise aboard Noordam.
  • John Besh, executive chef, Restaurant August, sailing on the September 28th Alaska cruise aboard the ms Veendam.
  • James Mazzio, executive chef, The Studio of Long Grove, sailing on the September 30th Panama Canal cruise aboard Zuiderdam.
  • Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne, mother-daughter duo and authors, The Cast Iron Skillet, sailing on the October 11th Canada/New England cruise aboard Amsterdam.
  • Ernie Pino, Culinary Instructor, cruises in the Mediterranean on ms Rotterdam Oct. 22nd.
  • Marcus Samuelsson, chef/owner, Aquavit and Riingo, sailing on the October 22nd Mexico cruise aboard the ms Zaandam.
  • Anthony Giglio, wine and spirits expert, sailing on the November 25th Caribbean cruise aboard the ms Noordam.

    Culinary experts for 2007 cruises will be announced in the next few months.

    In addition to the program with Food & Wine magazine, Holland America Line offers culinary demonstrations, wine tasting and hands-on cooking classes in its Culinary Arts Center program aboard every sailing. These include culinary demonstrations by the line’s own executive chefs and culinary staff as well as regional and specialty chefs from the ports visited on Mexico, Alaska, Europe and Asia/Pacific cruises

    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 02:21 PM
  • June 16, 2006

    Celebrity Cruises Pairs With Food Network For Wedding Special


    Miami - (June 13, 2006 ) - In partnership with Food Network, Celebrity Cruises is preparing to ensure that one lucky couple enjoys a wedding of "infinite" possibilities.

    Celebrity's Infinity has been selected to serve as the platform for "Food Network Caters Your Hawaiian Wedding," a two-hour special that will premiere during the network's "Wedding Weekend" in June 2007. Giada de Laurentiis, star of Everyday Italian, will host the entire event.

    Food Network on Sunday night launched its third annual contest to select the winning couple, whose all-inclusive wedding will include luxury accommodations onboard Celebrity's Infinity in Hawaii, a sumptuous rehearsal dinner in the ship's dramatic, two-level "Trellis" dining room, a designer wedding cake, a consultation with editors from Brides magazine, a beach-side ceremony, and the ultimate wedding reception with cuisine designed by Food Network stars, held in the elegant "SS United States" specialty restaurant onboard the ship.

    Couples interested in entering the contest for the lavish wedding should log onto www.FoodNetwork.com to download the application. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 24, 2006.

    "Celebrity Cruises is thrilled to partner with Food Network for its next wedding special, and we think it's a perfect fit," said Celebrity's President Dan Hanrahan. "Our line is widely recognized for providing an outstanding culinary experience within a romantic atmosphere, so it's the ideal platform for an extraordinary wedding catered by Food Network's star chefs."

    As a recent testament to Celebrity's ideal fit for "foodies," the line's cuisine and service were among the attributes leading to the brand's fourth consecutive year of sweeping the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler magazine's "Best Cruise Ships in the World" readers' poll (February 2006), with Celebrity's Infinity and sister ships ranking first through fourth. Just this month, Infinity was singled out by TravelAge West magazine for providing the "Best Overall Dining Experience on a Specific Ship."

    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 10:46 AM

    June 15, 2006



    Alaska’s little Russia

    The history of the United States is but a heartbeat in the history of Sitka. The Kiksadi Clan of the Tlingit Indians had lived in and around Sitka centuries before the Russians or Americans ever set foot on the island’s rocky shores. Choosing the seaward side of the island they named Shee, the Tlingits called their settlement Shee Atika, meaning “people on the outside of Shee”.

    The name Sitka is merely a contraction. The Tlingits thrived undisturbed on their island paradise until 1799, when the Russians arrived. It wasn’t long before Alexander Baranof, Manager of the Russian-American Company, established a fort a few miles north of the present day Sitka.

    The Tlingits grew immediately hostile, understanding that submission to the Russians meant allegiance to the Tzar and slave labor to the fur trade company. Their suspicions turned to violence, when the Tlingits finally attacked the Russian outpost in 1802, killing nearly all of the Russians and their Aleut slaves. Two years later Baranof retaliated. For six days, the island Natives fought gallantly, but were out-gunned and exited silently into the night. The Russians renamed the settlement New Archangel.

    Russian Orthodox Church clergy soon took up residency and fortress-like structures systematically replaced clan houses atop a shore-side hill, a site later known as Castle Hill. The fur-trade flourished and the Russian-American Company became the most profitable fur trader in the world.

    By mid-century, however, over-hunting had diminished the number of sea otters, and thus the Russians’ interest in the new world. In 1867, the Russians sold Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million with a transfer ceremony that took place in Sitka on October 18th of that year.

    More Information on Alaska Cruises
    More Information on Alaska Cruisetours

    Posted by Denise at 05:31 PM

    June 14, 2006

    Norwegian Cruise Line Announces 2007 Alaska Deployment


    Three ships including company’s newest ship Norwegian Pearl – to sail Alaska cruises from Seattle and Vancouver; NCL features youngest fleet sailing Inside Passage cruises

    MIAMI – May 30, 2006 – NCL Corporation (NCL) today announced that Norwegian Pearl, its newest Freestyle Cruising vessel to be delivered in November, will join Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star in Alaska for the 2007 season. Norwegian Star and Norwegian Pearl will sail sevenday roundtrip cruises from Seattle, and Norwegian Sun will return to Vancouver for sevenday
    roundtrip cruises. NCL has the youngest fleet sailing Inside Passage cruises and all of its itineraries will feature either Glacier Bay or Sawyer Glacier giving NCL guests plenty of time to enjoy the natural majesty of Alaska.

    “Alaska is one of the most compelling destinations in the world, and its unique
    combination of beauty and nature make it one of our most desirable destinations," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. “By dedicating three new ships to this market, including Norwegian Pearl, we are giving our guests ships rich with balconies and suites that are perfectly suited for viewing Alaska’s inspiring natural beauty.”

    NCL offers the following Alaska itineraries from May through September 2007:

  • Norwegian Pearl - Seven day Alaska Glacier Bay, roundtrip from Seattle: Ports of call include Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia
    -Norwegian Pearl sails May 13, 20 and 27; June 3, 10, 17 and 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; August 5, 12, 19 and 26; and September 2, 9 and 16.

  • Norwegian Star - Seven day Sawyer Glacier itinerary, roundtrip from Seattle: Ports of call include Ketchikan , Juneau and Skagway, Alaska and
    Prince Rupert, British Columbia
    -Norwegian Star sails May 5, 12, 19 and 26; June 2, 9, 16, 23 and
    30; July 7, 14, 21 and 28; August 4, 11, 18 and 25; and September 1, 8 and 15.

  • Norwegian Sun - Seven day Sawyer Glacier itinerary, roundtrip from Vancouver: Ports of call include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska
    -Norwegian Sun sails May 6, 13, 20 and 27; June 3, 10, 17 and 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; August 5, 12, 19 and 26; and September 2 and 9.

    Cruises are on sale now beginning at $749 US.

    NCL’s Alaska voyages all feature Freestyle Cruising with passengers enjoying a
    more relaxed lifestyle, with a resortstyle experience offering up to 10 restaurants to choose from, familyfriendly accommodations, dynamic public rooms, resort casual attire and more than 80 adventurous shore excursions including:

  • Four Glacier Helicopter and Dogsled Adventure. This tour in Juneau gives
    guests the opportunity to experience some of the Iditarod’s top dog mushing
    teams, as well as soar over glacial landscapes where they will see four
    unique glaciers – HoleintheWall Glacier, Taku Glacier, Norris Glacier and a
    unique, floating glacier.

  • Rainforest Canopy and Zip Line Adventure. This tour in Juneau combines
    a onceinalifetime thrill of flying across a series of zip lines in the rich
    rainforest, traversing a suspended “skybridge”, crossing the channel aboard
    an expedition craft, ascending a mountain in a 6 x 6 offroad vehicle, and
    exploring hidden relics of a worldfamous historical gold mine.

  • Whales and Marine Life Encounter. This tour by Zodiac in Prince Rupert
    takes passengers on an exciting ride to the whale viewing grounds. While
    whales are the tour’s focal point, it is a complete nature experience with an
    array of other marine wildlife residing in these waters.

  • Haines Wilderness Kayak. This tour in Skagway provides unrivaled
    mountain scenery, making it one of Alaska’s most interesting destinations for
    kayaking. Depending upon the time of the season, explorers may see eagles,
    humpback whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, otters, numerous sea birds,
    spawning sockeye or pink salmon, brown bear or moose.

    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 08:43 AM
  • June 09, 2006



    The front yard of Alaska's pristine wilderness

    Juneau, Alaska's capital is the third largest city in the state. Like Alaska, Juneau is full of contrasts, a sophisticated cosmopolitan city in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. Nestled at the base of towering mountains overlooking the Gastineau Channel, the community's rich culture is displayed throughout the town and several museums.

    Travelers can hike miles of scenic trails through temperate rainforests, tidal beaches and up mountains capped by alpine meadows. The area’s stunning beauty is best viewed from the air and sea. Helicopters and fixed-wing air crafts whisk visitors up to the spectacular Juneau icefield.

    While fleets of marine vessels stand ready to provide personal encounters with Southeast Alaska’s abundant aquatic wildlife. View the Mendenhall Glacier, the state’s top attraction. Its impressive face is roughly 100 feet high and 1.5 miles wide. The U.S. Forest Service observatory provides visitors with rare insights to glacial movements.

    Because of Juneau’s location, the area offers convenient access to Glacier Bay National Park, Tracy Arm Fjord, the Taku River, Admiralty Island and Pack Creek Bear Preserve, as well as a host of secluded wilderness resorts. Whether it’s the serenity of an alpine meadow or the thrill of witnessing a breaching whale, adventure runs wild in Juneau.

    More Information on Alaska Cruises
    More Information on Alaska Cruisetours

    Posted by Denise at 09:37 AM

    June 08, 2006

    Celebrity Cruises Celebrates "New" Century


    MIAMI – May 30, 2006 – Today marks the beginning of a new century for Celebrity Cruises, as the line’s Century sets sail following a $55-million makeover that began just five weeks ago.

    Designed to incorporate a variety of Celebrity’s most popular Millennium-class attributes, the revitalization of Century is the line’s most extensive refurbishment to-date, and the largest cruise ship modification completed by Fincantieri’s Palermo, Italy, shipyard.

    A total of 314 new verandas have been added to the ship – a first, for an existing cruise ship – along with 14 new suites, 10 new staterooms ranging from inside to veranda categories, an expanded number of ConciergeClass category staterooms, a new specialty restaurant, an expanded AquaSpa, and a series of features and amenities that typify the line’s acclaimed Millennium-class fleet.

    “This initiative is nothing short of miraculous, technically and otherwise – particularly the veranda program,” said Celebrity’s President Dan Hanrahan. “Think of what it takes to thoroughly renovate a home, then consider what it took to do what we did onboard a 70,000-ton ship…in just five weeks. It’s extraordinary.”

    New Culinary Delights
    Among Century’s multiple new attributes is a specialty restaurant, quite literally, featuring a heart of glass. The new “Murano” specialty restaurant in the center of the ship sparkles with magnificent chandeliers handcrafted of Murano glass, named for the island of Murano near Venice, Italy; where glass-blowing has been a fine art and tradition since the 13th century.

    Celebrity’s longtime culinary and wine consultant, renowned Master Chef Michel Roux, designed the menu for Murano, with the cuisine and service following the celebrated style of Celebrity’s Millennium-class specialty restaurants, which presented the industry’s first tableside cooking, carving and flambé.

    Century’s dramatic, two-level “Grand Restaurant” has been entirely refurbished, retaining the glamour and sophistication that made it so popular prior to the revitalization, and maintaining the quality of service and impeccable culinary standards that have won the line extensive praise every year under the deft direction of Chef Roux and Celebrity’s culinary team.

    Among the many other dining options onboard Century is a 76-seat Sushi Bar – Celebrity’s first designed specifically to reflect the popular regional cuisine – with a casual Asian atmosphere, and a collection of thematic artifacts and artwork.

    Surrounded by glass walls offering magnificent ocean views, Century’s Ocean Grill offers an alternative dining area with an upscale ambience, where guests can select cuisine ranging from steaks, chops, salads, antipastos and desserts from a fixed menu.

    Opposite the Ocean Grill, guests will find fresh, made-to-order omelettes and crepes each morning, and an endless array of pizzas and made-to-order pastas every afternoon and evening. For the sweet tooth in everyone, just around the corner, there is a station offering a tantalizing array of homemade ice creams and sorbets.

    Pairing refreshing sea air with panoramic views, Century’s outdoor Sunset Bar features a full-service bar where guests can enjoy an assortment of fresh tapas and appetizers with cocktails and other beverages.

    A Celebrity favorite across the fleet, Cova Café, the seagoing version of the stylish coffeehouse in the fashion district of Milan, Italy, serves fresh pastries and cookies to complement its coffees, teas, and other beverages every day, while at night, the space transforms to a romantic, lamp-lit wine bar, with live music.

    Ample Opportunities to Exercise Mind, Body and Soul
    Celebrity’s award-winning AquaSpa onboard Century now welcomes guests within a new reception area featuring a 42-inch LCD TV highlighting spa services; 10 new sea-view treatment rooms; new locker rooms with lounge seating; a new beauty salon with enhanced manicure and pedicure bars; a dedicated teeth-whitening station; a new Persian Garden with Turkish steam room; three tropical showers; both infrared and Finnish saunas; Celebrity’s first barber shop, complete with a 42-inch LCD TV, and a new, 54-set Spa Café serving light, healthy cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Adjacent to the AquaSpa, Celebrity’s Acupuncture at Sea – the only such program in the industry – offers guests acupuncture treatments, therapies and enrichment lectures by licensed doctors of Oriental Medicine.

    The fitness center within the AquaSpa area features new equipment throughout, including treadmills and cardio machines with personal LCD TVs, and a variety of strength-training equipment.

    To exercise the mind, “High Seas Computing” offers computer training courses ranging from basic program use to web site creation to digital photography, within a newly dedicated space.

    An art gallery joins a new array of trendy boutiques in “The Boulevard,” allowing art aficionados the opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind works, and avid shoppers to purchase designer beauty products and fashions, leather goods, premium gifts, rare gems, and designer accessories, including watches and sunglasses.

    “Cool” Clubs and Lounges
    Century boasts the first “ice bar” concept at sea within its Martini Bar, featuring a liquid wall that freezes to form a sparkling crystalline appearance, and a bar counter that freezes into ice-cold stone, while a solid block of ice will creatively display bottles of liquor behind the bar, creating a very “cool” way to serve Celebrity’s famed menu of more than 30 versions of martinis.

    All other clubs and lounges onboard have been entirely refurbished, including the Crystal Lounge, Michael’s Club jazz/piano bar, Rendezvous Lounge, and Hemispheres observation lounge and disco.

    Teen travelers also have a lounge all their own – Century’s new “X-Treme” teen lounge and video arcade. The dedicated space includes a dance floor, video arcade, juice bar, jukebox, and karaoke, along with computers offering Internet access.

    Stylish Staterooms, Suites and Sweet Dreams
    Century promises sweet dreams, as the first ship in the Celebrity fleet to present Celebrity’s new bedding program – which will be introduced onboard Galaxy and Millennium later this year, and across the balance of the fleet in 2007. The program features new premium mattresses, 100 percent Egyptian cotton linens, duvets, Euro pillows, colorful bed throws and pillow shams.
    Every ocean-view and inside stateroom onboard Century is now equipped with new flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet access, new carpet, textiles, windows, lighting fixtures, and art. The bathrooms have new vanities and enhanced lighting, stylish surface-mounted sink basins and fixtures, curved-rod shower curtains, and renewed architectural surfaces.

    Century’s suites are now that much sweeter, with new carpeting, wall covering, windows and textiles, luxurious new bedding and new light fixtures. Each suite also is equipped with new phones, 26-inch LCD TVs, DVD players, wireless Internet access, new accessories, and new veranda furniture.

    Enticing Itineraries
    Celebrity’s “new” Century sets sail today on a 9-night "Best of Europe" cruise, followed by a series of 12-night Baltic and 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings, a 13-night “Best of Europe” voyage, and a seven-night Norwegian Fjords cruise.

    Century also will be one of the first Celebrity ships to offer short cruises from the cruise capital of the world, the Port of Miami, beginning in November 2006. The ship will present four- and five-night roundtrip Caribbean cruises through April 2007, offering travelers with more limited vacation time the opportunity to experience what the award-winning Celebrity brand has to offer.

    “When Century returns to the Caribbean this fall, Celebrity will have the best short-cruise product in the industry,” said Hanrahan.

    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. For more information, call #1-800-738-8837 or visit one of the website below.

    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 09:05 PM

    June 03, 2006



    The Unique Gold Rush Town

    Relive the Klondike gold rush as you walk Broadway’s planked board-walks past false-front shops, drift-wood-adorned Arctic Brotherhood Hall, horse-drawn carriages and folks in 1890’s attire. Learn about “Ma” Pullen, Mollie Walsh, and the cribs (huts of ill-repute). Listen to Golden North Hotel ghost stories and quench your thirst at the Red Onion Saloon. Skagway is walk through history.

    Think gold – a ton of gold. To get to the heavy metal, head north to Alaska and the Yukon. It’s easy. The reward: 24-pund gold nuggets weighing more than Thanksgiving’s stuffed turkey. Don’t know a gold pan from a bedpan? No matter. It will be the adventure of your life “Ho for the Klondike.”

    Let the wild ruckus begin: When the SS Portland docked July 1897 in Seattle with a ton of Klondike gold on board, an estimated 100,000 men and a few stalwart women bolted north, visions of fist-size nuggets dancing in their heads. During the last grand adventure of the 19th century, 20,000 optimistic gold-seekers paddled and steamed up the inside passage, easiest of six routes, landing at the boom-and-bust tent towns of Skagway and Dyea, gateways to the Klondike.

    By 1898, Skagway mushroomed from a homestead to Alaska’s largest metropolis. Soapy Smith saga: As Stampeders unloaded the Canadian mounty-mandated year’s worth of supplies – one ton of goods-onto Skagway’s mudflats, 18-foot tides stirred beans, bacon, flour and coffee into an unsavory stew.

    Next problem: thieves. The daddy of all Skagway con-men, “soapy” Smith, and his motley crew, fed the hungry, then robbed them in their sleep. In Gold Fever, editor Art Petersen notes there was no honor even among thieves. “Cough up your pile,” one thief told another, “or I’ll blow your specs off.” With 70 bars, a bevy of bordellos and schemers fleecing dreamers, Skagway was “about the roughest place in the world,” said Canadian Mounty Sam Steele, “little better than a hell on earth.” Hell ended July 8, 1898, when surveyor Frank Reid, another character of dubious morals, put a bullet in Smith’s heart just as Smith shot Reid in the groin. Both now rest in Skagway’s Cemetery.

    For More Information About Alaska Cruises

    Posted by Denise at 10:07 AM