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April 29, 2009

Travel Advisory By NCL

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Travel Advisory

Miami - Apr 28, 2009 - The health and well-being of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance to Norwegian Cruise Line. Accordingly, the company is closely monitoring the health advisories regarding the current Swine Influenza (Swine Flu) situation.

Norwegian Cruise Line's scheduled deployment does not include regular calls to Mexico until the end of September. Norwegian Pearl's current repositioning cruise includes ports of call in Mexico; the company is aware of the recent travel advisory relating to Mexico and is very closely monitoring the situation. Norwegian Cruise Line has stringent protocols for cleaning and sanitation on all of its vessels to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In addition, the company is taking proactive precautionary measures to protect its valued guests, including, but not limited to, fleet-wide guest screening via a health questionnaire prior to embarkation and on-board education regarding Swine Flu symptoms and preventative actions. As a result, the company does not anticipate that its guests' cruise experience will be impacted.

Furthermore, Norwegian Cruise Line's on-board medical centers are stocking an appropriate amount of the anti-viral medication used to treat the illness, in the unlikely event the need for its use becomes necessary.

Any further updates will be posted to ncl.com. For information on swine influenza, visit the CDC's web site at www.cdc.gov

Travel Advisory: Updated 7pm 04/28/09

Miami - Apr 28, 2009 - The health and well-being of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance to Norwegian Cruise Line. Accordingly, the company is closely monitoring the health advisories regarding the current Swine Influenza (Swine Flu) situation.

As a precautionary measure due to the recent travel advisory relating to Mexico, the company is cancelling Norwegian Pearl's final two calls in Mexico on its current repositioning cruise. The stops were scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, April 29 and Friday, May 1, 2009. Instead, the ship will call on San Diego, Calif., on Saturday, May 2. Apart from this sailing, Norwegian Cruise Line's scheduled deployment does not include any other ports of call in Mexico until the end of September 2009.

Norwegian Cruise Line has stringent protocols for cleaning and sanitation on all of its vessels to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In addition, the company is taking proactive precautionary measures to protect its valued guests, including, but not limited to, fleet-wide guest screening via a health questionnaire prior to embarkation and on-board education regarding Swine Flu symptoms and preventative actions. As a result, the company does not anticipate that its guests' cruise experience will be impacted.

Furthermore, Norwegian Cruise Line's on-board medical centers are stocking an appropriate amount of the anti-viral medication used to treat the illness, in the unlikely event the need for its use becomes necessary.

Any further updates will be posted to ncl.com. For information on swine influenza, visit the CDC's web site at www.cdc.gov

Posted by Denise at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

Statement on Swine Flu by Princess Cruises

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In light of the travel warning issued yesterday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommending against non-essential travel to Mexico because of concern over swine flu, Princess Cruises has modified its itineraries to suspend calls to Mexican ports through the few remaining voyages of the spring season, which concludes next month.

Six Princess ships are currently scheduled for calls in Mexican ports through May, as they reposition to Alaska for the summer season. In total, eight itineraries and 22 calls in Mexico are affected, and passengers who are booked on these cruises will either visit alternative ports or spend an additional day at sea. Affected passengers will be advised of the itinerary changes once the new berthing arrangements have been confirmed.

We are sorry that circumstances beyond our control have caused these itinerary changes, and we recognize that these modifications may cause some disappointment among our passengers. However we hope our passengers will also agree that adhering to the recommendations of the CDC is the best course of action for the safety of our passengers and crew.

Our ships and medical staff are already well equipped to prevent and contain the spread of contagious diseases, including swine flu. Even though the risk of contracting this illness is very low, we will be taking extra precautions, and will be guided by advice from the CDC and other health authorities.

In an abundance of caution, some of the measures we are taking onboard all our ships worldwide include:

We are enhancing our screening practices for passengers and crew embarking our ships. We are adhering to CDC guidelines for reporting and treatment of persons with suspect swine flu. We will isolate and treat passengers and crew with suspect swine flu. Anti-viral medications that effectively treat the swine flu are currently available onboard all Princess ships. We will continue our rigorous cleaning and sanitization of our ships to minimize the spread of any contagious disease. Our ships are routinely cleaned with a disinfectant proven to be highly effective against the flu.

We are communicating to our passengers and crew that they should take extra care to practice healthy habits such as washing their hands often.
We are asking passengers and crew to report to the medical center immediately if they exhibit any symptoms of flu.

As always, we will continue to do everything possible to protect the health of our passengers and crew.

Posted by Denise at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Temporarily Suspends Port Calls In Mexico

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Miami - (April 28, 2009 ) - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced it is temporarily suspending its port calls in Mexico. The decision was made in an abundance of caution, and allows additional time to better understand the full impact of the Swine Flu.

The suspension involves the company's Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands. Royal Caribbean International has four ships currently making regularly scheduled port call in Mexico - Enchantment of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas. Two additional Royal Caribbean International ships were scheduled to make upcoming Mexican port calls as they repositioned - Serenade of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas. Celebrity Cruises had one ship scheduled to make upcoming Mexico port calls as it repositions - Celebrity Infinity.

All but one of the affected ships will either make alternative port calls or spend additional time at sea. Royal Caribbean International's Mariner of the Seas will sail a fully revised itinerary, visiting Canada and the U.S. West Coast. The temporary suspension takes effect immediately and will be in effect for the immediate future. It will be regularly reviewed in light of any Swine Flu developments.

"Like our guests, we take all health matters seriously," said Dr. Art Diskin, chief medical officer for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Although authorities have not raised specific concerns regarding the ports we visit in Mexico, we want to err on the side of caution. We're taking proactive steps onboard our ships to help ensure the health and well-being of our guests and crew members, and this is just one more step in that process. We apologize for the disruption these changes will cause our guests, and we appreciate their understanding."

The company has been closely monitoring Swine Flu developments and is utilizing its Influenza Prevention and Response Plans. That plan was developed by its office of Medical and Public Health in coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts. The plan is based on three pillars: Preparedness and Communication; Surveillance and Detection; and Response and Containment.

The company's onboard activities regarding the Swine Flu include:

  • Providing guests with Swine Flu information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Screening embarking guests and crew members regarding recent visits to, or travel through Mexico, contact with people ill with the Swine Flu, and for recent flu-like symptoms
  • Conducting enhanced sanitizing of all high-touch areas onboard Providing hand sanitizers throughout all ships
  • Asking guests to follow the advice of medical experts regarding the best ways to help prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses - via proper and frequent hand washing, and covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • And, if necessary, onboard medical staff can isolate and treat guests or crew members who display flu-like symptoms, using the supply of anti-viral medications kept onboard all ships.
  • Additional details will be posted on the Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises consumer websites.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises and CDF Croisieres de France. The company has a combined total of 38 ships in service and six under construction. It also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and South America.

    Posted by Denise at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

    Statement Regarding Swine Influenza by Carnival Cruises

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    Miami - (April 29, 2009 ? 10:30 a.m.) There are currently no reported cases of swine influenza on Carnival ships or in any of the ports that we normally visit in Mexico. We are consulting closely with public health officials and government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Homeland Security to monitor the situation.

    Nonetheless, we have decided to cancel calls at Mexican ports for all current sailings. Additionally, we will cancel calls in Mexico for all voyages departing Thursday, April 30 through Monday, May 4. In many cases, we will be able to substitute the cancelled call with an alternative port and are currently working on those itineraries. Full details will be available by 5 p.m. today. Guests who do not wish to sail on a modified itinerary will be given the option to re-schedule their cruise for a later date.

    Updates will be posted on our website at www.carnival.com.

    Carnival enforces the highest of standards for cleaning and sanitation on all of our ships to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We have well trained medical staff and expansive reporting capabilities on board. Working with U.S. public health officials in the CDC?s Vessel Sanitation Program, we have extensive practices and procedures that are effective in mitigating illness aboard our ships.

    For further information on swine influenza, visit the CDC?s web site at www.cdc.gov.

    Posted by Denise at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

    April 23, 2009

    Golden Princess Enters Drydock for Dramatic Makeover; Transformation Chronicled Daily With Twitter Updates

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    Online Photo Journal Features Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Look at Princess' Most Extensive Ship Remodel to Date

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (April 21, 2009) ? As Golden Princess begins the most extensive makeover ever undertaken by the company, Princess Cruises is inviting cruise fans to follow the progress through Twitter updates that will showcase a daily photo journal of the ship?s transformation. A first for Princess, the online posts will chronicle the dramatic changes throughout the ship during its nearly three-week drydock at Victoria Shipyards in British Columbia.

    The journal has launched at princess.com/goldendrydock and will run through May 5, when the ship sets sail again with its new features, including a new piazza-style atrium, an adults-only Sanctuary, a Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, a new Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant, and a variety of other enhancements.

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    Twitter users will receive a daily ?tweet? about the latest construction progress after they follow an easy sign up process and elect to follow Princess at http://twitter.com/PrincessCruises.

    ?We know there?s a great deal of interest in a ship transformation such as this, so we?re inviting cruise enthusiasts to get a unique glimpse of the ship?s progress through this drydock,? said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. ?None of our other vessels have ever had this many new features added in a single drydock, so our online journal will offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the amount of work required for such a huge undertaking.?

    The amenities being added during the drydock are the Princess signature features already aboard the line?s newest ships, Crown Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess. Many have also been introduced aboard on Caribbean Princess, Star Princess and Grand Princess during earlier drydock periods.

    When Golden Princess emerges from drydock, its atrium will feature a new Piazza with an inviting street cafe atmosphere featuring roving entertainers and two new dining options. The International Cafe will serve up specialty coffees, fresh baked cookies, pastries, panini sandwiches and tapas. Vines, a wine bar, will offer a selection of more than 30 wines by the glass, plus a selection of seafood, artisan meats and cheeses, and a wine shop where passengers can purchase their favorite bottle.

    A new restaurant, the Crown Grill, will offer an open kitchen where passengers can enjoy watching as chefs prepare chops, steaks and seafood, including live lobsters.

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    And adult passengers looking to get away from it all will be able to relax in the tranquility of The Sanctuary, Princess? signature retreat featuring plush padded lounge chairs and the services of dedicated Serenity Stewards. Visitors to this exclusive space can enjoy refreshing beverages and light snacks, or receive a massage in one of two private cabanas.

    Above one of the ship?s pools, Movies Under the Stars will debut onboard with a state-of-the-art Times Square-style LED screen, offering evening movies and a variety of daytime programming. The 300- square-foot screen offers passengers a movie experience comparable to the best shoreside movie theater. In addition to family cinema and first run hits, Movies Under the Stars also features major sporting events, concerts and other can?t-miss programming ? up to 50 different offerings per week.

    As part of the renovation, Golden Princess will also be fitted with seven new window suites with ocean-view picture windows, and a relocated casino on deck 7, bringing it into the ship?s central entertainment area. In addition, 10 new balcony suites and two ocean view cabins will be added in the aft of the ship, replacing the former video arcade. Other changes include new locations for the sports court, a new Limelight boutique, new shore excursions and Captain?s Circle desks, new Internet cafe and library, and the addition of new gym equipment in the fitness center.

    Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-73-8837.

    Watch a video on the Golden Princess by clicking here!

    Posted by Denise at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

    April 20, 2009

    Princess Announces 2010 Alaska Cruise and Cruisetour Program

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    Season Features Widest Array of Cruise Itineraries, More Options to Visit Glacier Bay National Park, Simplified Cruisetour Choices, and Convenient New ?Seattle Air Advantage? Package

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (April 20, 2009) ? Princess Cruises? 2010 Alaska program will offer the most diverse array of opportunities to experience the ?Great Land,? with a simplified lineup of cruisetour options, more sailings that include the ?must see? destination - Glacier Bay National Park - and a new ?Seattle Air Advantage? package that turns every cruisetour into a convenient roundtrip journey.

    The lineup will continue to offer passengers the company?s hallmark Alaska experience, whether at sea on board amenity-filled ships or on land with Princess? signature wilderness lodges and exclusive Direct to the Wilderness program, where guests step right from their ship onto luxury railcars that transport them directly to magnificent Denali National Park.

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    Next summer the Princess fleet will offer a total of 112 Alaska sailings aboard seven ships offering four itinerary options during the May to September season. The lineup includes Diamond Princess, Coral Princess, and Island Princess traveling on the line?s popular ?Voyage of the Glaciers? route through the scenic Gulf of Alaska; Golden Princess, Sapphire Princess and Sea Princess sailing the Inside Passage from Seattle and San Francisco, and Royal Princess offering the line?s small ship experience on an extended 14-day Connoisseur voyage to some of the state?s less-visited ports.

    Princess cruisetours will offer passengers the opportunity to enjoy an immersive Alaska experience, combining a seven-day ?Voyage of the Glaciers? cruise with three to eight additional nights on land exploring Alaska?s interior. All Princess cruisetours include the company?s exclusive wilderness lodges, rail travel, plus the two top attractions in the state - Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park, where visitors spend at least two nights exploring the wonders of this area.

    ?Alaska is indeed ?The Great Land? with a myriad of ways to experience the state, so we wanted to simplify the choices, and make it easy for our passengers to find the perfect itinerary including the breathtaking scenery and wildlife they came to see,? said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours and senior vice president of Princess Cruises. ?And we?re also making it easier than ever to travel to Alaska by introducing a new Seattle roundtrip package for cruisetours, eliminating the need for one-way airfare in or out of the state.?

    Cruises - Princess offers four ways to experience the awe-inspiring glaciers, historic towns and scenic waters of Alaska, with sailings from seven to 14 days.

  • Voyage of the Glaciers - The line?s famed Gulf of Alaska route between Vancouver and Whittier features calls at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway with daylight cruising in Glacier Bay and the 16 glaciers of College Fjord (or Hubbard Glacier on southbound sailings). Three ships, Diamond Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess, will sail on 54 sailings throughout the season.

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  • Inside Passage from Seattle - Golden Princess and Sapphire Princess offer convenient seven-day roundtrip itineraries from Seattle with calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, B.C. In addition, passengers will enjoy dramatic glacier viewing in Tracy Arm or Glacier Bay National Park. The two ships will sail on 37 departures.

  • Inside Passage from San Francisco - Sea Princess returns to the City by the Bay to offer 13 voyages from San Francisco on 10-day roundtrip cruises to Victoria, Juneau, Ketchikan, and either Skagway, Haines or Icy Strait Point, plus Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm.

  • Connoisseur Voyage - The intimate Royal Princess takes over this extended Alaska route featuring a small ship cruising experience on a 14-day voyage from Seattle, featuring the less visited ports of Kodiak, Icy Strait Point and Seward, plus Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, B.C., with daylight cruising of Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. Royal Princess will sail on eight Connoisseur voyages.

  • Cruisetours - Princess introduces a new simplified cruisetour lineup, making it easy for passengers tochoose the perfect land/sea Alaska experience with itineraries ranging from three to eight nights. All tour options feature at least two nights in the Denali National Park area, stays at Princess? own riverside wilderness lodges, and a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers sailing including Glacier Bay National Park.

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  • Direct to the Wilderness - Princess? exclusive direct rail service between the Whittier cruise terminal and the dramatic Denali wilderness features seven itinerary options offering multiple nights at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and/or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.

  • Explorer - These itineraries enable travelers to explore both Denali and other scenic areas, including the Kenai Peninsula at Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park with stays at Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. Passengers can even choose to venture to the state?s far north into the Arctic Circle and Prudhoe Bay.

  • Deluxe Escorted - Three cruisetour options offer the services of a professional tour director and additional time for passengers to experience the Great Land. Most meals are also included in these extended vacations.

    New Seattle Air Advantage - With this new package, any Princess cruisetour can become a convenient roundtrip vacation from Seattle. This package includesmotorcoach transportation between Seattle and Vancouver, airfare between Alaska and Seattle, and an overnight stay in a Seattle-area hotel. All passengers will need to do is make arrangements to get themselves to and from Seattle.

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    Gulf of Alaska cruises and cruisetours for 2010 are available for reservations on May 7, 2009. Launch Fares begin at $749 for seven-day voyages, and $1,649 for cruisetours.

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

    Posted by Denise at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)
  • April 15, 2009

    Azamara Cruises' 2010-11 Winter Season to Bring Deluxe Cruising Close to Home Line to offer Caribbean/Panama Canal and first-time Sea of Cortez itineraries out of two major US cities

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    Miami - (April 07, 2009 ) - Travelers with easy access to Miami and San Diego and a desire to explore unique destinations in relaxed, luxurious style will delight in Azamara Cruises? 2010-11 winter offerings on Azamara Journey. The 694-guest ship, which features Azamara butler service in every stateroom, complimentary specialty dining, a laid-back, no-formal-nights elegance, and a variety of available in-depth shore excursions, will sail a variety of first-time-ever Sea of Cortez voyages as well as its popular Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises, between November 2010 and April 2011. The cruises in Azamara Journey's 2010-11 winter season features visits to 23 ports in 13 different countries during her 2010-11 winter season; Azamara opened these cruises for sale today. Not only are Miami and San Diego easily accessible drive-market ports for travelers living within easy reach, they are also attractive tourist destinations for out-of-town visitors.

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    Azamara Journey's 2010-11 Caribbean season will begin earlier than it will at the end of 2009, making the crossing from Europe on November 15, 2010. Upon arriving in Miami, Azamara Journey will sail several 12-night Caribbean itineraries roundtrip out of Miami, visiting ports such as St. John and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Marigot, Saint Martin; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Pointe A Pitre, Guadeloupe; Gustavia, St. Barts; and Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; Castries, St. Lucia; and Roseau, Dominica. The ship will also offer 12-night Caribbean voyages between February and April of 2011.

    Numerous available shore excursions make the Azamara Caribbean experience especially memorable. During "Historical Plantation Ruins of St. John," guests have the opportunity to experience the unspoiled natural beauty of the Virgin Islands National Park through an exclusive historical and cultural island tour conducted by a leading local expert in Virgin Islands history. "Caribbean Scenic Rail and Brimstone Hill" in St. Kitts give guests the chance to experience a unique rail/highway excursion that circles the entire island and visits the "Gibraltar of the West Indies" at Brimstone Hill Fortress.

    Azamara will offer two 16-night Panama Canal voyages, sailing from Miami to San Diego on December 23, 2010 and from San Diego to Miami on January 30, 2011, include stops at numerous culture-rich central American destinations rife with tropical foliage and other breathtaking scenery. These include Cartagena, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua; and Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Throughout these cruises, optional shore excursions such as "Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary and Mangrove Boat Tour" in Puntarenas can enhance the in-port experience. During this excursion, guests visit the bird sanctuary and learn about scarlet macaws, one of the most endangered species in the American tropics.

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    Azamara Cruises' 2010-11 winter season to offer US drive-port departures 2/2 The Panama Canal sailings will bookend two "Sea of Cortez" cruises roundtrip out of San Diego, marking the first time that Azamara Cruises or its sister lines Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International have sailed such itineraries. Taking place on January 8 and 19, the two 11-night voyages will visit five ports new to Azamara: Mazatlan, Topolobampo, Loreto, Guaymas and La Paz, Mexico, in addition to the previously visited Cabo San Lucas.

    The new ports offer travelers the opportunity to experience lesser-known areas in Mexico. Topolobampo, a beachfront town overlooking one of the largest bays in the Americas, is close to the Copper Canyon, Farrallon Island and Mayo tribe villages. Loreto, located on the northern tip of the Baja California Sur state, was the first Spanish settlement in the California peninsula, and is located near the Sierra la Gigante Bahia de Loreto Marine Park, the Our Lady of Loreto Mission and several beaches. La Paz, Baja California Sur?s capital, features several natural and historical attractions such as beaches, churches, museums, whale watching, fishing and water sports. La Paz is close to Los Islotes in the Pichilinque Bay, where guests can see the area?s large sea lion population. Mazatlan, located among Mexico's Sierra Madre mountain range along the Golden Coast, has been a major seaport since the 1800s, and today, is a popular tourist destination for locals and international visitors alike. Guaymas, one of the oldest and largest seaports on Mexico's Pacific coast, was founded in 1701 by Jesuit missionaries. Cruise tourism is new to Guaymas, as its first cruise ship visit occurred in 2008; this untouched gem is an ideal complement to Azamara's exotic-destination-focused itineraries.

    Shore excursions available in the new ports include "Copper Canyon by Train" in Topolobampo, during which guests will enjoy a rugged, full-day adventure that includes an early-morning motorcoach ride and a privately chartered train ride through the Sierra Madres on the Chihuahua Pacifico railway before arrival at the Copper Canyon, which is accessible only by train. Winding through tunnels and bridges, guests will be transported from sea level to 7,200 feet before enjoying lunch, stunning vistas and a leisurely journey back to the ship. In La Paz, "Snorkeling with the Sea Lions" offers a taste of the region?s popular eco-tourism offerings. The Sea of Cortez is home to marine creatures including sea lions, whales, dolphins, Cortez angel fish and parrot fish, and this excursion offers multiple photo opportunities. The highlight of the excursion is a boat ride to the Los Islotes sea lion colony, and the snorkeling and swimming with sea lions that follow.

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    Travel enthusiasts are encouraged to visit Azamara Cruises website or contact their travel agent for more information.

    Azamara Cruises unlocks the hidden corners of the world for those who desire to immerse themselves in the rich details of every voyage. The deluxe ships - Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest - offer an intimate experience, while allowing access to exotic destinations experienced travelers long to reach. For the 694 guests on each Azamara Cruises ship, every moment at sea embodies the pinnacle of luxury, and each footstep on shore accentuates the difference between visiting a place and getting a true sense of place. This year, Azamara Cruises presents the best of enchanting Europe, elite Asia, and the most captivating Caribbean and the Panama Canal. The line also offers unique cruisetours in Asia and Europe. For more information, call a travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

    April 10, 2009

    Long Beach Welcomes The Carnival Splendor

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    During a reception commemorating the Carnival Splendor's inaugural voyage from Long Beach, the city's Mayor Bob Foster presented Carnival Splendor Captain Claudio Cupisti with a key to the city this past weekend.

    The 3,006-passenger vessel - the largest ship in the Carnival fleet- commenced its year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises April 5. The inaugural cruise set sail for Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas shortly after the ceremony.

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    Representing a new class for the line, the Carnival Splendor offers a host of innovations, including a 21,000-square-foot health and wellness center - the largest in the fleet - and the line's most elaborate children's facilities to date. Other features include 22 lounges and bars, four swimming pools, and a massive LED screen on Lido Deck displaying movies, concerts, sporting events and other programming.

    Posted by at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

    April 09, 2009

    MSC CROCIERE TAKES CUSTOMER SERVICE TO NEW LEVELS

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    MSC CROCIERE BRINGS CUSTOMER SERVICE TWO NEW PAIRS OF EARS

    Fine service is all about listening. No one understands that better than MSC Crociere. Which is why the acclaimed cruise leader has added two new pairs of ears to its highly-trained service teams.

    All guests on the luxury MSC Crociere fleet are now offered the support of a dedicated Guest Relations Manager with a very special role, while ships in the Fantasia class also receive their own Concierge.

    The story behind the new Guest Relations Manager is typical of MSC Crociere's passionately uncompromising approach. The company's attentive customer support team noted that traditional service structures only become aware of certain disappointments after the event, often only when a cruise is over, discovering for example that a guest travelling on their own would have liked to dine seated with other singles who spoke the same language, or that arrangements had not been made for a guest's special vegetarian menu.

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    MSC Crociere's dedication to preventing this led it to create the new figure of Guest Relations Manager especially to ensure similar problems could be attended to promptly, even when they have nothing do with MSC Crociere.

    The Guest Relations Managers - who speak several languages fluently - are consequently available throughout every cruise, providing a single point of contact and the reassurance of being empowered to handle any issue immediately.

    Guests will now benefit from the services of their own Concierge with all the skills and contacts to cater for even the most exotic requests, from private visits and exclusive bookings on shore to special events at sea. As a result, the most beautiful ship on the seas now offers by far the most beautiful service.

    The new Concierges and Guest Relations Managers take MSC Crociere's outstanding service even further into a class of its own, typical of the company's passionate insistence that perfection is always achievable, so every guest can enjoy the cruise of their dreams.

    Posted by at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

    April 08, 2009

    Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Equinox to Make Stateside Debut with Rare "Solstice Class Sampler"

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    Miami - (April 02, 2009 ) - An equinox occurs twice a year, but the opportunity to experience a special four-night cruise on Celebrity Cruises' new Celebrity Equinox will occur only once.

    On the heels of her eagerly awaited inaugural season in Europe this year, Celebrity Equinox will arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, November 19, to welcome guests with reservations on the special four-night sailing, which is now open for booking.

    "The response Celebrity Solstice has received from the press, our guests and our travel partners since she launched in November has exceeded even our own high expectations," said Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "We're confident Celebrity Equinox will meet with equally glowing reviews, and think there's no better way to introduce her in the U.S. than with a four-night Solstice Class sampler."

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    With three tranquil days and nights at sea and a day in one of the most popular ports in the Caribbean - Cozumel, Mexico - the special itinerary offers ample time for guests to experience the series of brand-defining, industry-first attributes associated with Celebrity Solstice, including a half-acre Lawn Club with real grass, a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass, unrivaled dining venues offering trendsetting cuisine and design, and widely varied entertainment, including spectacular new shows in partnership with Poet Theatricals. Like Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox also will have spacious staterooms and bathrooms, and several categories of accommodations, including Celebrity's spa-inspired AquaClass staterooms.

    Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, 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, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for four of the top 10 "Top Cruise Ships in the World" in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler (February 2009 readers' poll), Celebrity's fleet - including the new Celebrity Solstice - will be joined by Celebrity Equinox this year, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

    April 07, 2009

    Newest and Largest 'Fun Ship' Launches Year-Round Mexican Riviera Service From Long Beach

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    Including Carnival Splendor, Carnival's Four California-Based Ships Expected to Carry a Record 620,000 Passengers Annually, More Than Any Other Cruise Operator

    Carnival Cruise Lines' 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor - the line's newest and largest ship offering a host of innovations - embarked yesterday on its inaugural seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise from Long Beach, Calif., building upon the company's distinction as California's number one cruise operator.

    On its new schedule, Carnival Splendor departs the Long Beach Cruise Terminal every Sunday on weeklong voyages to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

    Including Carnival Splendor, the company operates four ships from the West Coast which collectively will carry a record 620,000 guests annually from California ports - more than any other cruise line.

    In anticipation of the Carnival Splendor's arrival, the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, owned and operated by Carnival?s parent company Carnival Corporation & plc since 2003, has undergone an $8 million upgrade.

    Based on information collected by the Office of Economic Research at California State University, Carnival Cruise Lines? Long Beach operations have a significant impact on the local economy, with $82.4 million in direct expenditures generating an employment impact of 525 jobs with an annual payroll of $18.2 million. The arrival of Carnival Splendor is expected to generate an additional $14 million in direct annual expenditures - this impact will be immediate.

    "Carnival has earned its distinction as the West Coast's number one cruise operator by offering fun, affordable vacations from two convenient homeports and Carnival Splendor - with its many innovations and features - provides guests with yet another exciting choice for Southern California cruising," said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival's executive vice president of marketing and guest experience. "We are also very pleased with the renovations to the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, which provides our guests with a comfortable, state-of-the-art venue for embarking and debarking on their cruise," he added.

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    Steve Goodling, president & CEO of the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, "The size, capacity and appeal of the Carnival Splendor will give us the opportunity to showcase the revitalization of Long Beach and our beautiful skyline to the many thousands of passengers who will set sail on this incredible ship. We believe that this experience will generate repeat visits by many of these passengers."

    A new class of vessel for the line, the 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor offers a wide range of on-board facilities and features, highlighted by a two-level 21,000-square foot health spa - the largest in the fleet - featuring a thalassotherapy pool, an elaborate thermal suite and 17 private treatment rooms. Adjacent to the facility are 68 spa staterooms and suites - a first for Carnival.

    Carnival Splendor also offers the most elaborate children?s facilities of any "Fun Ship," including a 5,500-square-foot children's play area - the largest in the fleet - along with a water spray park and dedicated facilities for tweens and teens. Also featured on Lido Deck is Carnival's Seaside Theatre, a massive 270-square-foot LED screen displaying movies, concerts, and other programming.

    Dining options include four restaurants - two two-level main dining rooms, a 1,400-seat casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, and an elegant reservations-only restaurant. Rounding out the Carnival Splendor's many diverse features are 22 lounges and bars, a duty-free shopping mall, full casino gambling, and ship-wide Internet access and cell phone service.

    Reservations are currently being accepted for all of Carnival Cruise Lines' West Coast departures. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

    April 06, 2009

    Princess to Offer New Three-Day Sampler Sailings Aboard Ruby Princess

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    Passengers Can Enjoy a Quick Pre-Holiday Getaway on Line's Newest Ship

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (April 3, 2009) Princess has added two new sampler sailings aboard the new Ruby Princess, offering passengers an opportunity to escape from the holiday hustle and bustle with three-day cruises from Fort Lauderdale.

    Departing on Monday, December 14 and Thursday, December 17, 2009, the new getaways each offer a call at the line's private island, Princess Cays an exclusive beach resort offering a day of relaxation and water sports. The sailings replace a previously scheduled wetdock.

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    "We were able to cancel an unnecessary maintenance period scheduled for Ruby Princess and turn it into a great opportunity for passengers to try our newest ship," said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president. "These sampler sailings are a rare opportunity to experience the Princess product on a quick getaway. We think our passengers will appreciate the great value of these mini cruises, plus the chance to escape just before the busy holiday period."

    Launched in November 2008, the 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess features the line's most popular new features including a dramatic piazza-style atrium with small-bite eateries and an ever-changing line-up of street performers. Passengers will also enjoy an array of dining venues including the signature Sabatini's Italian restaurant and the Crown Grill steak house, plus the new Wheelhouse Bar pub lunch. The ship offers many other Princess innovations including the relaxing adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary, the poolside Movies Under the Stars experience, and a unique behind-the-scenes option called the Ultimate Ship Tour.

    Escape fares for the new sailings begin at $249 for the December 14 departure, and $299 for the December 17 cruise.

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

    Posted by at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

    April 03, 2009

    Seven Seas Voyager to enter dry-dock to facilitate repairs to damaged propulsion pod

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    Fort Lauderdale - April 1, 2009 - Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) confirmed today that it is necessary to cancel the upcoming April 18th and May 8th cruises of the 700-guest Seven Seas Voyager in order to make the necessary repairs to one of its pod propulsion units.

    The starboard propulsion unit became entangled with a fishing net on or about March 18th after departure from Singapore and subsequently experienced a mechanical failure which resulted in the shutdown of the pod. While this in no way compromises the ship's safety or seaworthiness, the damaged propulsion unit substantially reduces the vessel's cruising speed, thus impeding the ability to operate its scheduled itineraries.

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    Following thorough inspections in Cochin, India and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it has been determined that the extent of the damage is greater than originally anticipated and the ship must be dry-docked to facilitate the necessary repairs. Seven Seas Voyager will now be withdrawn from service upon arrival in Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy on April 18. Arrangements will be made to transport all guests back to their city of origin, including the shipping of luggage, from Rome.

    Guests on the April 18th voyage from Istanbul and the May 8th voyage from Fort Lauderdale and are being informed of these cancellations, along with their travel agents.

    All guests will be offered a variety of options which may include re-accommodation on an alternative RSSC voyage or voyages or a full refund. Travel Agent commissions are being protected for all affected sailings.

    Specific re-accommodation details and refund offers for each sailing will be sent in a separate letter to guests and their travel agents and dedicated team of Regent Seven Seas cruise specialists will be contacting all affected guests and agents.

    Posted by at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

    April 02, 2009

    Azamara and Celebrity Cruises Kick Off April with Special Two-for-one Cruise Fares

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    Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises Kick Off April with Special Offer Two-for-one cruise fare, price protection guarantee and travel agent incentive mark

    Miami - (April 01, 2009 ) - Upon hearing of a two-for-one cruise fare offer starting on April 1, some may wonder whether they're hearing an April Fool's Day joke, but the latest booking promotions from premium cruise brand Celebrity Cruises and deluxe sister brand Azamara Cruises are the real deal. Beginning today and running through April 30, 2009, cruisers can book a limited number of berths on select Alaska and Europe sailings at a two-for-the-price-of-one rate based on published brochure rates. Any of these cruises booked during April 2009 also feature a price-protection component and a travel agent booking incentive.

    "With these unprecedented two-for-one promotions and their price protection component, when our guests book these sailings early, they can feel secure that they will get the best price, lock in an ideal stateroom assignment, and begin the countdown to their well-deserved vacation," Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President of Sales, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, said. "With fantastic cruises available for prices as low as $75 per person per day, quite simply, there has never been a better time to book a cruise."

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    Azamara offering Europe for less
    The Azamara Cruises offer, called "The Azamara Assurance," offers savings of up to 50% off published brochure rates on 21 different cruises sailing between May and November 2009 through the Mediterranean, the Greek Isles, the Black Sea, Western Europe, Iceland and Scandinavia/Russia. Ranging in length from seven to 15 nights, the discounted cruises offer travelers the opportunity to experience the spectacular service, cuisine and amenities on the 694-guest Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest.

    Sample discount fares being offered in "The Azamara Assurance," based on double occupancy in a veranda stateroom, are a 14-night "Best of Italy" cruise sailing on August 9, 2009, that was $3,999 per person and is $1,999 per person; and a seven-night Mediterranean cruise sailing on May 2, 2009, that was $2,099 per person and is being offered at $1,049 per person.

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    Celebrity offering Alaska and Europe at a discount
    Celebrity Cruises? offer is called "The Celebrity Starring You Promise," and offers savings of up to 51% off published brochure rates on 53 different cruises sailing in Alaska and Europe between May and September 2009. Alaska sailings in "The Celebrity Starring You Promise" range from seven to 13 nights in length and are being offered on Celebrity Mercury, Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Millennium. An example of the type of discount guests can receive by booking their Alaska cruise on one of the sailings featured in the offer is a seven-night "Southbound Alaska" cruise between Vancouver and Seward on June 5, 2009, that was $999 per person based on double occupancy in an inside stateroom and is being offered at $499 per person.

    Guests who book select Celebrity Europe cruises between today and April 30, 2009, are eligible for savings such as a 12-night Mediterranean cruise on July 21, 2009, that was being offered at $2,199 per person for an inside stateroom, based on double occupancy, and is being offered today at $1,149 per person. The Europe cruises in the promotion range from 10 to 14 nights in length.

    Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises kick off April with special offers 2/2 Offer's price protection component adds security Price protection, a component of both the Azamara and Celebrity offers, gives guests who book during the promotion access to lower rates up to 48 hours before their sailing. If Azamara or Celebrity publish a lower price for the same stateroom category on the same sailing that the guest previously booked, the guest must call Azamara/Celebrity to verify eligibility for the lower price. A limited number of special rate programs are excluded. Guests or their travel agents must make their requests for a price adjustment no later than 48 hours prior to sailing by calling Azamara/Celebrity. Prices offered in "The Celebrity Starring You Promise" and "The Azamara Assurance" are per person, cruise only, based on double occupancy, in US dollars, subject to change without notice, and capacity controlled. The price protection component does not apply to price programs, such as resident and senior rates, that the guest does not qualify for at the time the request is made and cannot be used to obtain rates offered as part of other select pricing programs. Other terms and conditions apply.

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    About Azamara Cruises
    Azamara Cruises unlocks the hidden corners of the world for those who desire to immerse themselves in the rich details of every voyage. The deluxe ships Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest offer an intimate experience, while allowing access to exotic destinations experienced travelers long to reach. For the 694 guests on each Azamara Cruises ship, every moment at sea embodies the pinnacle of luxury, and each footstep on shore accentuates the difference between visiting a place and getting a true sense of place. This year, Azamara Cruises presents the best of enchanting Europe, elite Asia, and the most captivating Caribbean. The line also offers unique cruisetours in Asia and Europe. For more information, call 1-800-738-8837.

    About Celebrity Cruises
    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 10 "Top Cruise Ships in the World" in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler (February 2008 readers' poll), Celebrity's fleet including the new Celebrity Solstice will be joined by Celebrity Equinox this year, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

    April 01, 2009

    Royal Caribbean Enhances Family And Youth Offerings

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    Award-Winning Youth Program Expands Options For Stress-Free Family Vacations

    Miami - March 09, 2009 - Royal Caribbean International today announced new fleetwide programming for cruise vacationers, expanding services and activities that cater to families with children as young as six months old. The new program includes enhancements to Royal Caribbean's award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program, which will help families traveling with children enjoy a fulfilling and stress-free vacation. As a leader in innovative family vacations, Royal Caribbean provides enriching and entertaining programs that appeal to children of all ages, while providing options for parents and grandparents that contribute to a more carefree family vacation.

    "Royal Caribbean's new family programming will offer greater convenience for parents and give family members more opportunities to connect with each other on a cruise vacation," said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "We have conducted extensive research and sought the feedback of our guests to identify ways to enhance the family cruise vacation. By keeping up with the evolving vacation needs of parents and children, we are delivering what guests want and at a value not found elsewhere."

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    New Dining Options for Kids
    Royal Caribbean International has enhanced the cruise line's dining experience to further cater to parents and children for a more enjoyable cruise vacation all around. My Family Time Dining aims to help kids complete dinner within 45 minutes, freeing parents to enjoy coffee and desert at their leisure. Once seated, kids will enjoy expedited service and be immediately served. Available only during the first seating in the main dining room, kids registered in the complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program and My Family Time Dining will be met by Adventure Ocean counselors at the main dining room entrances at 6:45 p.m. and be escorted back to the Adventure Ocean spaces for ongoing evening activities, while parents can continue to enjoy their dinner.

    Expanding on the cruise line's focus to provide healthier onboard dining experiences, Royal Caribbean's new children's menu will include Vitality options and be presented on playful, brain-teasing placemats designed by Fisher-Price for kids up to age seven, and a more mature interactive menu for kids age 8 -13. Similar to adult menus in the main dining room, the new children's menu will include selections that focus on healthful cooking and wholesome ingredients, and can help families begin and continue practices for a healthier lifestyle. My Family Time Dining and children's menu options will be available fleetwide in July 2009.

    Lunchtime, also, no longer means a break from the fun for kids. Available immediately, Royal Caribbean's Lunch and Play option provides children, ages 3 - 11, a nutritious meal with their new friends in the middle of the day on days at sea. For a service charge of $7.95 per child, Lunch and Play provides Adventure Ocean kids with lunch, movies, cartoons and play time between noon and 2 p.m. under the supervision of Adventure Ocean counselors. Parents registering their kids for Lunch and Play will pre-select items for their kid's lunchbox, from options such as a salad or ham and/or cheese sandwich; a fruit salad, banana or apple; a cookie, serving of potato chips, granola bar, or vegetable sticks; and a beverage of fruit punch, milk, or water.

    New Royal Babies and Royal Tots Programming
    New programs for Royal Babies (ages 6 - 18 months) and Royal Tots (ages 18 - 36 months) will provide a wider breadth of activities and services to guests sailing with young children, adding to the already popular Fisher-Price playgroup program. Parents traveling with infants and toddlers can now pack lighter for their cruise with Royal Caribbean's Babies 2 Go program, where parents can order organic baby food and diapers, wipes and creams by Huggies - the world's leading diaper brand - for delivery to their staterooms upon their arrival. These baby essentials can be ordered online through Royal Caribbean's Gifts & Gear section at RoyalCaribbean.com starting March 23.

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    In the mornings, Stroll & Roll will dedicate the jogging track to guests with infants in strollers, where parents and infants can continue their exercise regimen together. During the day, Royal Tots can create early childhood memories at four new Crayola Beginnings workshops. During each 45-minute session, parents and their children enjoy story-time with an Adventure Ocean counselor, and use Crayola Beginnings products to create the toddler's first works of art. Themed sessions include My Colorful World (introducing the concept of colors); Families Have Fun (introducing the world of coloring); Let's Explore the Sea; and Our Big, Big Ship.

    A treasure chest of Fisher-Price toys is available to families during their stay in the Fisher-Price Toy Lending Program, comprising a collection of developmental toys specifically created for infants and toddlers, ages 6 - 36 months. Parents can borrow and exchange toys for a new activity every day to help growing minds learn through play.

    Parents can enjoy a little time away from their children with complete peace of mind through Royal Caribbean's Sitters at Sea, created by Fisher-Price - an in-stateroom babysitting service for guests with infants, one year old and above. A Royal Caribbean staff-member will arrive equipped with Fisher-Price toys and Mattel games, and engage and entertain the young cruisers until their parents return. Parents will need to reserve a sitter at least 24 hours in advance and complete a checklist that includes information on where they will be, when they expect to return, bedtime routines and particular preferences for each child. Upon their return, parents will be presented a log of the child's activities with the babysitter, including books read, games enjoyed, food consumed, and when the child was put to bed. Service charges for Sitters at Sea are $10 per hour for up to two children; and $15 per hour for 3 or more children.

    Children also can create a personalized plush toy souvenir with their parents in a fun activity with Royal Caribbean's new Pets at Sea. Guests can choose from a collection of animals and more than 20 outfits and accessories to create and bring home a new pet from their cruise vacation, no quarantine required! Pets at Sea will be available fleetwide in May 2009.

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    Where Kids Want to Be
    Kids and teens can enjoy activities into the late evening with newly extended hours in the Adventure Ocean and teen-only spaces. Scheduled programming will now run everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. (extended from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.)

    Young cruises also have their own book nook aboard every Royal Caribbean ship. The Adventure Family Library is a section within the onboard library, which offers classic and popular family titles in a variety of languages (based on the ship's itinerary) and a comfortable reading area for kids to relax and delve into a book, individually or with a parent. In the evenings, Royal Bedtime Stories invites the whole family to the Adventure Family Library to enjoy a bedtime story and lullabies. Children are encouraged to dress in their pajamas and enjoy a cookie or two with milk, while an Adventure Ocean counselor reads from one among a variety of popular storybooks.

    Family Time with Mattel Board Games
    Through a partnership with Mattel, Royal Caribbean International offers guests a wide array of popular games for the whole family. Younger cruisers in Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean program can enjoy a variety of Mattel games, including titles such as 20Q; Apples to Apples; Piranha Panic; Rhino Rampage; Scene It? Nickelodeon Edition; and UNO.

    Family play sessions led by activities staff include games such as Skip-Bo Get Together; Scrabble Scramble; and UNO H2O (held poolside). These live versions of popular Mattel games provide an opportunity for anyone in the family to compete with other families in active and fun games. Mattel board games also are stocked in the card room, where guests can accept an impromptu family challenge. Additionally, guests in suite category staterooms may request Mattel board games off a menu in their suite, for enjoyment in the privacy of their stateroom. Titles include Balderdash, Pictionary Man Game, Snorta, UNO Flash, and games featured in Adventure Ocean.

    As a consistent innovator, Royal Caribbean is currently the only cruise line with dedicated teen spaces aboard every ship across the fleet. Onboard areas such as The Living Room teen hangout, Fuel or Optix teen discos, and The Back Deck sun-deck for teens give young cruisers ages 12 - 17 their own space to create new friendships and relax with their peers. Younger cruisers, ages 3 - 11, have scheduled and supervised activities all day long in three age-tiered curricula: Aquanauts, ages 3 - 5; Explorers, ages 6 - 8; and Voyagers, ages 9 - 11. All Adventure Ocean counselors are college graduates, with a degree in education, recreation or a related field.

    Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 20 ships currently in service and two under construction. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, South America and New Zealand.

    Posted by at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)