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May 30, 2008

Sydney, Samoa, Surfing and Scenery: Celebrity Cruises Announces Third Season in Australia/New Zealand, Hawaii and the South Pacific

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Miami - (May 28, 2008 ) - Cruise enthusiasts seeking a vacation experience that pairs the delights of a "downunder" vacation with outstanding onboard service need look no further than Celebrity Cruises' third season of Australia/New Zealand, Hawaii and South Pacific sailings. In the winter of 2009-2010, Celebrity will offer 14 sailings in the region, visiting a total of 33 ports in eight countries. Guests wishing to extend their vacation also may take advantage of a five-night pre- or post-voyage cruisetour in Australia. Celebrity's 2009-10 Australia/New Zealand/Hawaii/South Pacific sailings opened for sale today.

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Departing from Vancouver, British Columbia; Honolulu, Hawaii; Auckland, New Zealand; and Sydney, Australia, all of Celebrity's 2009-10 Australia/New Zealand sailings are scheduled to take place on the 2,038-guest Celebrity Millennium, the same ship that will sail there later this year. The 2009-10 season also includes the brand's only Hawaii departures.

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The season's highlights include:

  • Calls at five ports new to Celebrity Cruises: Vila, Vanuatu; Apia, Samoa; Pago Pago, American Samoa; Noumea, New Caledonia; and Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

  • Itineraries ranging from 11 to 19 nights

  • Ten Australia/New Zealand cruises ranging from 12 to 16 nights, sailing between Auckland and Sydney

  • A special 16-night Christmas and New Year's sailing from Auckland to Sydney, departing December 20, 2009, which includes Celebrity's first passage through the Marlborough Sounds

  • Overnight, in-port stays in Sydney or Melbourne on most sailings, including a two-night in-port stay at the start of the February 27, 2010 sailing

  • A five-night pre- or post-voyage cruisetour option in Australia, including one night in Sydney, two nights in Ayers Rock, including a "Sounds of Silence" dinner and a tour of Olgas, and two nights in Port Douglas, including a Great Barrier Reef Cruise and Hartley's Croc Adventure; the package includes deluxe hotel accommodations, all transfers, intra-Australia flights, breakfasts and several other meals, and is 100% escorted

  • Two South Pacific sailings, both of which spend three days in French Polynesia's Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora

  • A 19-night sailing from Sydney to Honolulu, featuring Celebrity's first visits to Vila, Apia, Pago Pago and Noumea

  • A 15-night repositioning cruise from Honolulu to Vancouver on April 9, 2010, that features visits to six Hawaiian ports, including an overnight, in-port stay in Lahaina, Maui, as well as visits to San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington, and Victoria, British Columbia.
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    Celebrity Cruises' 2009-10 Australia/New Zealand/Hawaii/South Pacific sailings 2/2 Guests can make the most of their experience by booking Celebrity's shore excursions. These in-port experiences include offerings such as the following:

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  • Wine, Cheese and Oysters" in Hobart, Tasmania, where guests visit the Coal Valley Vineyard for a tasting and an informative session on oyster farming and tasting before traveling to Meadowbank Wines for a wine and cheese tasting

  • "Sydney Bridgeclimb and The Rocks" in Sydney, where guests make a once-in-a-lifetime climb up Sydney Bridge and enjoy the view before visiting "The Rocks," Sydney's oldest village known for its pioneering settlers

  • "Deluxe Tranz Alpine Tour" in Christchurch, New Zealand, where guests board the Tranz Alpine Express and experience views of mountain peaks, rain forests and gorges where traveling, with tea service, to the alpine village of Arthur's Pass, the highest point on the road in the Southern Alps before enjoying lunch and traveling back through rich farmland and visiting several other attractions

  • "Leading Wineries of Hawkes Bay" in Napier, New Zealand, which gives guests a tour through New Zealand's leading wine-producing region, including visits at three wineries

  • "Volcano, Lavender, Wine and Cheese Sensation" in Lahaina, which takes guests on an interactive adventure aboard a limo-van that visits Haleakala rater, Ali'I Kula Lavender Garden, Tedeschi Vineyards and Surfing Goat Dairy

  • "Pearl Harbor VIP Military Base Tour" in Honolulu, which takes guests to the USS Arizona Memorial, Wheeler Field, the "Pineapple Pentagon," Fort Shaffer, and the Home of the Brave Museum. Celebrity Cruises encourages cruise enthusiasts to visit www.celebritycruises.com for more information.
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    Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for four of the top ten "Top Cruise Ships in the World" in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (February 2008 readers' poll), Celebrity's current fleet will be joined by Celebrity Solstice in 2008, Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, and a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011. For more information, call your travel agent at 1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

    May 28, 2008

    NCL's First F3 Ship Takes Shape With Keel Laying At Aker Yards

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    St. Nazaire, France - Apr 24, 2008 - During a ceremony today at Aker Yards in St. Nazaire, France, the keel was laid for the first of Norwegian Cruise Line's F3 ships, the third generation and the next evolution of the company's innovative Freestyle Cruising ships. The first block of the keel, number 5006, a double bottom block weighing 322 tons, was put into place marking the start of the overall construction of the ship.

    The milestone ceremony was attended by executives from Star Cruises, Apollo Management, NCL and Aker Yards. Upholding maritime tradition, each attendee was invited to put a specially designed coin in a tube that was welded shut and placed in the keel for good luck.

    "The F3 ships are our most innovative project in the company's 41-year history and will provide a totally unique vacation experience," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "Today as we lay the keel for this groundbreaking new ship, we are one step closer to revolutionizing cruising as we know it."

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    The two 150,000-ton F3 ships will each total 4,200 passenger berths, representing the largest ships in NCL's fleet.

    Chairman of Star Cruises Tan Sri KT Lim added, "History is in the making today as NCL's first F3 ship begins to take shape. We are proud to be a part of bringing this new innovative ship to fruition, one unlike any the world has seen before."

    Steve Martinez, partner at Apollo Management, noted, "NCL already has the youngest fleet in the industry. We are excited to launch the construction of this next generation of Freestyle Cruising ship."

    The new ship design will offer 60 percent more guest space than NCL's largest ships to date, which will be used to provide guests an even wider range of on-board activities, amenities and stateroom options. The ships' cabin mix will be the richest of any NCL ship with 100 percent of outside staterooms featuring private balconies. In total, each ship will have 1,415 balcony staterooms.

    More details about the F3 ships including other innovative accommodations, public spaces, dining, entertainment/nightlife, cutting-edge technology and casino will be announced leading up to the launch of the first F3 ship in 2010.

    For the latest updates on F3 with downloadable high-resolution images of the New Wave staterooms, visit F3.ncl.com.

    NCL Corporation Ltd. is the holding company for various subsidiary companies involved in owning and operating the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line.

    NCL is building two new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery in 2010. NCL today has the youngest fleet in the industry, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea, and has recently added its latest new ship, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Gem.

    Posted by Denise at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

    May 26, 2008

    Red Lion Hotel Seattle, WA Review

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    Red Lion Hotel Seattle, WA
    1 night stay April 25, 2008

    I had purchased this 1 night stay through priceline, pre-paying for the room. After making my reservation I emailed the hotel and requested a king or queen bed, non-smoking.

    We checked in at 3pm on April 25th with a friendly young man. His computer was slow so the check-in process took longer than normal. After receiving our rooms keys and asking where a good pub was nearby we took the elevator up to our room.

    The room was small, but for only 1 night I wasn't concerned. We left our bags and walked a block west to the pub recommended, which was okay (not somewhere I would return to). After shopping for a few hours we went back to the hotel, watched a movie and went to bed around 10pm.

    After settling in, some guests started checking into rooms down the hall. It must have been a group or family traveling together because they had to go room to room talking to each other in the hall. The talking and laughing was so loud my husband phoned the front desk and asked to have security come up. These guests must have heard him because they disappeared for 30 minutes. We think security did visit the floor during this time. Then the group started doing it again?going door to door talking to each other. I felt like they were in my room (it was that loud).

    The walls are paper thin. Another example of this is at 6am in the morning the vacant room next to us had its radio alarm turn on and we listened to it until we left the hotel in the morning.

    The bathroom was small and the toilet was very low to the ground. I would not recommend this hotel for a senior. The shower/tub combination had a large nuzzle, but the spray was wide and low in strength. I could not wash my hair under this nuzzle.

    My husband and I were unimpressed with our stay. He had planned to say something while checking out, however the woman at the front desk did seem to care. She did smile when we first arrived at the front desk, but didn't ask how our stay was and took a phone call from someone while checking us out. She wasn't professional.

    I have visited Seattle many times and will return in the future. However, I will not be returning to the Red Lion Hotel in Seattle on Fifth Avenue.

    Written by Denise Lovrich

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    Posted by Denise at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

    Princess Cruises Showcases "The Heart of Alaska" with Unique Video Production

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    Viewers Can Explore "The Great Land" through the Eyes of Diverse Group of Local Residents

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 22, 2008) - "We are so lucky that we have Alaska . . . everything is different here - it is all so unique." This view from Denali National Park Ranger Patrick Gamman is one of 12 Alaska voices featured in "The Heart of Alaska," a dramatic new video produced by Princess Cruises. This production has already received widespread praise from the film and travel communities, and has been honored with acceptance into two film festivals.

    Shot exclusively by Princess in high-definition format to showcase the Princess cruisetour experience, "The Heart of Alaska" beautifully depicts the land, wildlife and people of Alaska, with interviews from some of the people who make the state unique, and who tell a compelling story of life in the untamed wilderness of Alaska's interior.

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    Available exclusively from Princess, the 26-minute film was photographed and directed by Princess Video Editor Scott Martin. Filmed over nine days last summer in Alaska, the production was coordinated by Becky Buxton, manager of Princess Tours in Alaska. The video will be shown on board Princess ships in Alaska and can be purchased on the ships and at Princess' five Alaska wilderness lodges. "The Heart of Alaska" is the first of a series of Princess videos taking a unique look at many of the company's destinations.

    "The Heart of Alaska" has been accepted into the First Take Film Festival and the prestigious New York Independent Film & Video Festival, where it will compete this summer in the best documentary category.

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    "We wanted to create something that really captures the spirit of this extraordinary destination - particularly the diverse people who make the state so unique," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "This is a unique production for us - it not only gives our guests a stunning look at so many aspects of this amazing place, it does so in brilliant high definition. We believe that this new view of the Great Land easily outshines the quality of the traditional Alaska travelogue."

    The documentary offers a unique introduction to the wonders of the state as it is seen through the eyes of Alaskans. Viewers will meet rangers from both Denali and Wrangell St. Elias National Parks, Alaska natives, homesteaders and dog mushers who share an insiders' perspective of life in the 49th state. Other voices include a bush pilot, a captain from Fairbanks' iconic riverboat and a mountain climber.

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    The film also brings the audience up close to the wildlife of Denali National Park, including bears, moose, dall sheep, and caribou. Soaring photography takes viewers high above the world's tallest peaks, including 'The Great One,' Mt. McKinley.

    "The Heart of Alaska" tells its story through many Alaskan voices, each with a unique perspective on life in the state. Among the observations shared on screen are:

    "Being Alaskan to me means being connected to everything around you. My dad had always told me that people live the way the land tells them to - they follow the rhythm of the waters that they're nearest." - Alaska Native Quentin Simeon.

    "We have glaciers the size of states - the Malaspina Glacier is the size of Rhode Island" - Wrangell St. Elias National Park Ranger Kelly L. Vandenberg.

    "It is quite a humbling place because we quickly realize just how small we are in the scheme of things" - Mountain Climbing Guide Laurent Dick.

    "People here do what they do - they don't retire. They have a lifestyle and they live it to their last day" - Homesteader Janel Porterfield.

    "They teach me something constantly. No two days are alike when you live with 18 dogs" - Musher John C. Fowler.

    "Still today when I see a moose alongside the road, I have to stop and look at it myself as if it's the first one I ever saw" - Wildlife Conservation Center Executive Director Mike Miller.

    "The Heart of Alaska" video also includes special features on the Princess cruisetour program, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Inside Denali, and trailers for the Heart of Alaska.

    Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent by calling #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

    May 22, 2008

    Princess Announces Schedules for 2009-10 Cruises to Sunny Caribbean and Mexican Riviera

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    Classic Warm Weather Escapes Feature Many of Line's Newest Vessels

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 13, 2008) - Princess Cruises has announced a new season of cruises to the sun swept Caribbean and Mexican Riviera. These relaxing, seven- to 14-day voyages offer passengers the opportunity to experience these colorful ports filled with dramatic scenery, diverse cultures, white-sand beaches and ancient ruins, while enjoying the youngest fleet in the Caribbean and some of the largest and most amenity-filled vessels sailing the Mexican Riviera.

    In the Caribbean, Princess will sail six ships on 13 itineraries with 129 departures visiting more than 25 ports in these fabled islands. Ruby Princess will take over the line's 10-day Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries, offering some of the less-visited ports in the region. Emerald Princess sails on the line's Eastern Caribbean itinerary and Crown Princess will feature the Western Caribbean with an enhanced itinerary now featuring the lovely island of Roatan, Honduras. Caribbean Princess continues to sail on alternating seven-day Southern Caribbean sailings from San Juan. Grand Princess returns with an extensive 14-day Caribbean Collection route and Sea Princess will again sail on 14-day voyages from Barbados.

    On the Pacific side, Princess again returns to its "south of the border" cruising roots with two ships - Sapphire Princess sailing on the classic seven-day Mexican Riviera route from Los Angeles and Star Princess cruising on 10-day voyages from San Francisco.

    "The Caribbean and Mexican Riviera both offer the delightful sense of fun and make for a wonderful warm weather escape," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president. "And passengers will also be able to enjoy an array of fantastic ships on these routes, including Caribbean Princess and Star Princess with brand new piazza-style atriums and a number of new features."

    Princess' Caribbean and Mexican Riviera itineraries for 2009-10 include:

    Caribbean

    Emerald Princess - Emerald Princess sails to the Eastern Caribbean, with roundtrip cruises from Ft. Lauderdale on Sundays. The itinerary features calls in line's own Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. Emerald Princess offers 28 sailings between October 11, 2009 and May 2, 2010.

    Crown Princess - Crown Princess takes over the line's roundtrip seven-day sailings to the Western Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale with an enhanced itinerary that now offers calls in Roatan. The ship will sail on 27 Saturday departures with stops at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Princess Cays. Crown Princess' season will run from November 7, 2009 through May 8, 2010.

    Caribbean Princess - Caribbean Princess sails from San Juan on two alternating seven-day itineraries. The Classic Southern Caribbean route features 14 sailings to the ports of St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia, while 14 Southern Caribbean Explorer sailings travel to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Cruises depart between November 1, 2009 and May 9, 2010. Caribbean Princess will also offer one eight-day Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean sailing from New York to San Juan calling at Bermuda, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Thomas, departing October 24, 2009.

    Ruby Princess - Ruby Princess offers a set of alternating 10-day sailings roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale - one to the Southern Caribbean and the other to the Eastern Caribbean. The Southern Caribbean Medley itinerary, offered on 10 sailings, includes calls at Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. The Eastern Caribbean Voyager itinerary, featured on nine sailings, offers calls at Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. Emerald Princess' Caribbean season runs between October 25, 2009 and April 29, 2010.

    Grand Princess - Grand Princess offers more time to explore the islands with a 14-day Caribbean Collection itinerary roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. The ship sails to Grand Turk, La Romana, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Barbados, Trinidad, Curacao and Aruba. Grand Princess offers nine departures between December 21, 2009 and April 23, 2010. The ship also offers a new 11-day Grand Southern Caribbean sailing on January 4, 2010, calling at Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba.

    Sea Princess - Sea Princess will offer a series of alternating 14-day Caribbean voyages from Barbados. Seven sailings of the Grand Caribbean Islander route feature calls at St. Lucia, Trinidad, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Montego Bay, Samana, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua and Dominica. The ship will also offer seven sailings on a Grand Caribbean Adventurer itinerary that features stops at St. Vincent, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Samana, Tortola, St. Kitts, Antigua and Dominica. To begin her season, Sea Princess offers a seven-day Southern Caribbean sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Barbados featuring calls at Princess Cays, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua and St. Lucia. In spring the ship sails back to Ft. Lauderdale from Barbados with a six-day sailing to Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Sea Princess sails between October 10, 2009 and May 1, 2010.

    Mexican Riviera

    Sapphire Princess - Sapphire Princess will again set sail from the Port of Los Angeles on 32 departures to the sunny Mexican Riviera. This favorite seven-day roundtrip route takes in the prime ports of call of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Sapphire Princess will depart on Saturdays between September 26, 2009 and May 1, 2010.

    Star Princess - Star Princess will a offer a longer, 10-day roundrip Mexican Riviera voyage from San Francisco featuring calls at Acapulco, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. The ship will sail on two cruises on April 16 and 26, 2010.

    Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises are available for booking on June 5, 2008. Escape Fares for seven-day sailings start at $599 per person, based on double occupancy. Past Princess passengers are eligible for up to $50 in Captain's Circle Launch Savings on bookings made by December 31, 2008.

    Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent by 1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

    May 13, 2008

    Loyal Princess Passengers Receive New Launch Discounts

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    Princess Captain's Circle Members Rewarded with Extra Discount for Early Bookings

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 5, 2008) - Loyal Princess passengers who book early to reserve their favorite destination and accommodations can now receive extra savings with the line's new Princess Captain's Circle Launch Savings benefit. This new discount offers Circle Members up to $300 off when they make their cruise reservations shortly after new cruise schedules are announced. The program offers one of the industry's best past passenger values, as it can be combined with other promotional fares.

    Debuting with summer 2009 itineraries, the savings vary by destination and apply to all cabin categories. The program is offered to Circle Members at all membership levels - Gold, Platinum and Elite. For 2009-2010 departures, Europe and Alaska cruises must be booked by September 30, 2008 and all other destinations must be booked by December 31, 2008.

    "We have many loyal past passengers who routinely book their sailings soon after we announce our new schedules," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "So we created this new discount to offer them extra rewards for their loyalty and for booking their cruises early. And unlike many other cruise industry discounts, these savings apply even if the passenger qualifies for other offers - whether a special group rate or subsequent fare specials."

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    Once booked, Launch Savings remain in effect, and can be applied to most other subsequent promotions, allowing past passengers to always have the best fares for which they qualify. The savings can be combined with Escape Fares, group rates, regional promotions, and other past passenger discounts.

    The Princess Captain's Circle has received acclaim for offering some of the richest loyalty benefits in the cruise industry. Among the many perks available to the most loyal past Princess cruisers are a free mini-bar set up, free Internet packages, free laundry services, priority tender embarkation, complimentary wine tasting, a boutiques discount, and preferred embarkation and disembarkation.

    For more information about the Princess Captain's Circle, visit the Circle Center and click on "Member Benefits."

    Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent by calling 1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

    May 09, 2008

    Jewish Heritage Focus Set For New European Crystal Adventures

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    Excursions enable travelers to trace their roots and explore Judaic history

    LOS ANGELES, May 5, 2008 - For summer 2008, Crystal Cruises has expanded its Jewish Heritage programs in Northern Europe. The luxury line has set five excursions, including a new tour in Berlin that transports guests on a heartrending excursion to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Orianenburg, which served as a prototype for all the camps that followed. These thought-provoking and eye-opening excursions - which will prove fascinating to Jews and non-Jews alike - are also available in Dublin, St. Petersburg and Stockholm aboard virtually all of Crystal Symphony's Northern Europe itineraries from June through August.

    "Our experience is that these Crystal Adventures sate guests' interests in their roots and culture, as well prove captivating to many of our intellectually curious travelers who want to delve more deeply into Jewish history and the Holocaust," said John Stoll, director, land programs. "This is just one of the many special interest areas we've explored and expanded with niche excursions. In 2008, we're even offering a Jewish heritage tour in Mumbai, which showcases an array of Indian synagogues and other important Judaic cultural sites. For many, this kind of experience provides a common bond among global travelers."

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    The tours, which feature in-depth visits to Jewish Old Towns, museums, synagogues and Jewish families, include:

    Berlin (from the port of Warnemunde)

  • NEW Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp & Berlin Highlights - Visit Sachsenhausen, the camp that housed political prisoners and dissidents beginning in the 1930s, where thousands of prisoners perished from starvation.

  • Echoes of the Past: Berlin's Jewish History - Explore Berlin's Jewish heritage, visiting the Jewish Old Quarter and the New Synagogue, whose stone was laid in 1988, exactly 50 years after the "Night of Broken Glass."

    St. Petersburg

  • The Jewish Highlights of St. Petersburg - Travel to the Great Choral Synagogue, the second largest in Europe, listening to a concert performed by the synagogue's cantor, and visit a local family active in the Jewish community.

    Stockholm

  • Jewish Stockholm - Pass through the walls of the 19th-century, 1,000-seat Great Synagogue, with a memorial wall to 8,500 victims of Jewish relatives residing in Sweden, continuing on to one of the few the Jewish museums in Scandinavia.

    Dublin

  • Historic Jewish Dublin - Browse through the Irish Jewish Museum, formerly an old synagogue, officially opened by President Chaim Herzog of Israel, who was raised in Dublin, and travel on to President Herzog's former home and site of the first Jewish Day School.

  • The Jewish Heritage Crystal Adventures are priced from $75 per person to $421 per person and are available aboard Crystal Symphony's seven Northern Europe itineraries, with fares starting at $3,395.

    The Crystal Difference

    Aboard the ultra-luxurious Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, 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 superior quality, providing worldwide vacations of seven to 100+ days that bridge the best of land and sea. Grounded in more than a decade of accolades, Crystal has been voted "World's Best" by the readers of Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler more than any other cruise line, hotel or resort in history.

    For additional information please contact #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)
  • May 08, 2008

    Celebrity Cruises gives 'Spring Cleaning' new meaning

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    Miami - (April 28, 2008 ) - For many homeowners, "spring cleaning" can be an overwhelming chore. But just imagine if the effort involved replacing 2,707 square feet of tile, 9,843 square feet of carpeting, and 2,500 yards of fabric.

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    Within just 17 days, Celebrity completed all that and more on Celebrity Summit during the ship?s scheduled drydock period from April 11-27 at Blohm + Voss in Hamburg, Germany. The ship resumes its European season tomorrow, complete with a new 11,000-kilowatt diesel genset (dedicated electrical generation system), which reduces fuel consumption by generating electricity for the ship while in port.

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    Additionally, dance enthusiasts will find an entirely new floor in the ship?s Rendezvous Lounge, shoppers can enjoy a completely renovated boutique gift shop area, and guests with attention to detail will notice freshly-varnished wood railings and newly-polished surfaces throughout the ship. "We are constantly focused on the care and maintenance of our fleet, and evaluate the exterior and interior appearance of every ship, every day, to ensure we?re consistently delivering the best guest experience," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Marine Operations, John Krousouloudis. ?We tend to be modest about talking about the work that takes place during scheduled drydocks, but it?s a high priority, and a significant investment, because we know how important it is to guest satisfaction and our brand as a whole,? added Celebrity's Vice President of Hotel Operations, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.

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    In 2007 alone, as part of its standard maintenance program, Celebrity Cruises invested more than $13 million across the fleet in bedding upgrades, new gym equipment in the fitness centers, marble polishing and repair, carpet replacement, new teak surfaces on several pool decks, varnishing of wood surfaces, revitalization of various gift shop areas, and new upholstery.

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    Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for "The Top Cruise Ships in the World," as voted by the readers of Conde' Nast Traveler (February 2008 readers' poll), Celebrity's current fleet will be joined by Celebrity Solstice in 2008, Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, and a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011. For more information call your travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

    May 07, 2008

    NCL Welcomes Return of Norwegian Sky to Miami

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    Ship to sail three and four-day cruises to the Bahamas beginning mid-July 2008 with introductory kids sail free promotion

    Miami - May 6, 2008 - NCL Corporation (NCL) announced today that it will reflag and rename Pride of Aloha and launch the ship as Norwegian Sky, offering three and four-day Bahamas cruises from Miami commencing this summer. The 2,002-passenger ship, built in 1999, will return to the NCL international fleet, and will be outfitted with NCL's Freestyle 2.0 enhancements. It will be the youngest and highest quality ship sailing three and four-day cruises to the Bahamas from Miami beginning July 14, 2008. The new itineraries go on sale today with fares from $229 per person for an inside stateroom and from $329 per person for a balcony stateroom.

    To welcome the ship to Miami, NCL is offering a "Kids Sail Free Summer Vacation" promotion for reservations on Norwegian Sky made from May 6, 2008 to May 31, 2008 for sailings taking place July 14, 2008 to September 26, 2008. Children ages six months to 17 are eligible to sail free (government taxes and fees and fuel supplement apply).

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    "NCL pioneered the first Bahamas cruise from Miami more than 41 years ago and last had a ship in the three and four-day cruise market from Miami in 2003. By reintroducing Norwegian Sky and positioning the ship in Miami sailing short cruises to the Bahamas, we are returning to our roots. At the same time, we are raising the bar by offering a modern Freestyle Cruising ship that features a variety of accommodations, including balconies and suites, a multitude of on-board amenities and a choice of six restaurants," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "In addition, we will outfit Norwegian Sky with the Freestyle 2.0 enhancements currently being introduced across our fleet. This, coupled with the port-intensive itineraries, offers guests seeking a quick getaway an unmatched cruise experience. There is no doubt that NCL's three and four-day Freestyle product on the industry's newest ship offers the highest quality and best value for money in the market."

    Norwegian Sky will depart Miami on Mondays sailing four-day Bahamas cruises with full-day stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island in the Bahamas. On Fridays, the ship will sail a weekend getaway three-day Bahamas itinerary, departing Miami at 5 p.m. with all-day stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, returning to Miami at 7 a.m. on Monday mornings. These sailings are scheduled through April 17, 2009.

    Norwegian Sky will enter a wet dock in Miami during which a casino will be added. In addition, the ship will receive the significant product and hardware upgrades that are part of the company's major fleetwide initiative, Freestyle 2.0. These enhancements include: a major investment in the total dining experience such as all new menus and Lobster Galore; upgrading the stateroom experience; new wide ranging on-board activities for all guests; and additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony and suite guests.

    Originally launched in 1999, Norwegian Sky has more than 240 balcony staterooms, a choice of six different restaurants, 10 bars and lounges, multiple entertainment venues, two pools, extensive children's facilities, a sports deck and a variety of spacious public rooms. Norwegian Sky had been reflagged and renamed Pride of Aloha in 2004 and sailed Hawai'i inter-island cruises until May 2008.

    For more information or to book a sailing on Norwegian Sky, call your travel professional at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

    May 06, 2008

    Princess Expands Canal Experience in 2009-10 with Extra Day in Panama

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    New Two-Day Visit Offers Opportunity to Enjoy Both Full Canal Transit and Time to Explore Region
    Canal Leader Now Offers Three Ways to See Modern Marvel of Engineering

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 6, 2008) - Panama Canal passengers marvel at this dramatic transit through the Canal's locks, but often wish they could also explore the country's natural beauty and culture. To give travelers more time in Panama, Princess Cruises is introducing a new "Two-day Canal Experience" on all 2009-10 Canal transits of 15 days or longer, featuring a second day in port so passengers can enjoy both the engineering wonder of the Canal and further discover the country.

    This new double dose of Panama will be offered on 23 sailings on four ships. In addition, Princess will also offer two other favorite itineraries, with a shorter 10-day full-transit option and the convenient 10-day roundtrip voyage from Ft. Lauderdale featuring a partial transit to Gatun Lake - giving passengers three distinct options for visiting the Panama Canal. In total, the season will feature 44 Canal sailings, with calls at 20 ports in 10 countries.

    The Two-day Canal Experience will feature the full Canal transit plus a day with the ship at anchor at Fuerte Amador, on the Canal's Pacific side. Passengers can take advantage of this day to enjoy a variety of shore excursion options including the Panama Canal Railway, Panama City, Soberania National Park Rainforest or a visit to an authentic Embera Indian Village. The intimate Royal Princess' 20-day sailing will also introduce a new port for Princess, Puerto Chiapas in Mexico, the gateway to the rich culture of the Mayan region featuring opportunities to explore coffee plantations and architectural landmarks.

    "Panama is such a rich country with so much to see, and many passengers don't get the opportunity to experience it because they naturally want to savor the marvel of engineering that is the Panama Canal," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president. "So we're now offering the opportunity to do both - spend one day on the ship as it is lifted and lowered through all three sets of locks, plus have a day in port to venture further into Panama."

    Panama Canal Two-Day Experience - Coral Princess and Island Princess will feature 15 sailings on this 15-day Los Angeles/Ft. Lauderdale route, with the two-day Canal experience plus calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Cartagena, and Aruba. In addition, Island Princess and Sea Princess will offer three similar sailings between San Francisco and Ft. Lauderdale. Royal Princess will offer one 20-day itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale to Seattle, offering the two-day Canal experience, plus calls at Aruba, Costa Rica (Puntarenas), new port Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, and San Francisco. Coral Princess and Island Princess also offer longer 17-, 18- and 19-day options, sailing to and from Vancouver. Coral Princess sailings depart between September 21, 2009 and April 21, 2010. Island Princess sailings depart on September 14, 2009 and April 29, 2010; and Sea Princess sailings depart September 25, 2009 and May 7, 2010. Royal Princess sails on April 30, 2010.

    Full Transit Sailings - The 10-day Panama Canal Adventurer route between Ft. Lauderdale and Acapulco offers a full Canal transit plus a focus on Central America with visits to Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Nicaragua (San Juan del Sur) and Guatemala (Puerto Quetzal), as well as Ocho Rios and Huatulco. Island Princess offers eight sailings on this route, with departures between December 10, 2009 and March 20, 2010.

    Roundtrip Panama Canal - Island Princess will sail on this classic 10-day itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale, which offers a partial Panama Canal transit to Gatun Lake followed by a call in Cristobal, plus calls in the Caribbean ports of Aruba, Cartagena, Limon (Costa Rica), and Ocho Rios. The ship offers 13 departures between October 1, 2009 and April 19, 2010.

    Panama Canal cruises are available for booking on May 22, 2008. Escape Fares for 10-day sailings start at $1,199 per person, based on double occupancy. Past Princess passengers are eligible for up to $50 in Captain's Circle Launch Savings on bookings made by December 31, 2008.

    Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)