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

September 30, 2009

Cunard's Queen Victoria Welcomes Famed Boston Chef Todd English during Maiden Call to His Native City


29 September 2009 - As part of her Autumn Colours voyage, which features maiden calls through the New England and Canada coasts, Cunard's Queen Victoria made her inaugural visit to Boston yesterday. Joining the festivities was celebrity chef Todd English, whose at-sea eponymously named restaurants are exclusively featured aboard both Queen Victoria and flagship Queen Mary 2. Travel agents, media and local dignitaries, including British Consul-General Phil Budden, were among the guests who enjoyed a sumptuous lunch prepared by the native Boston chef in his onboard restaurant.

"It's a privilege for me to welcome Queen Victoria to my city," said English. "To have my Todd English restaurants - the only at sea - aboard Cunard?s legendary liners is truly an honor for me."

"It is a pleasure to bring Queen Victoria into Boston for her inaugural visit, a city with which Cunard shares a great history - welcoming us and our guests so warmly for many years," said Queen Victoria's Master, Captain Ian McNaught. "We continue to provide our guests with legendary voyages and historic ports of call, and Boston is always a highlight," he added.

Pictured above: Captain Ian McNaught, Master of Queen Victoria, and celebrity chef Todd English

Also welcoming Queen Victoria into the largest city in New England was CEO & Executive Director of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), Thomas J. Kinton, Jr., and Massport's Chairman of the Board, John A. Quelch.

For more information about Queen Victoria and to book a voyage, consult a Travel Professional at 1-800-738-8837.

Cruise Specials on Cunard Line . . .

7 Day Trans-Atlantic Cruise onboard Queen Mary 2 January 4, 2010 From $695 US!

21 Day segment of the World Cruise - Cape Town to New York - onboard Queen Mary 2 March 25, 2010 From $2999 US!

Posted by Denise at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

Voting Opens for Grand Prize Winner in Carnival's "Virtual Book of Dreams" Children's Essay and Drawing Contest


Contest Entries and Votes to Generate Donation from Carnival to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

MIAMI (Sept. 28, 2009) - The five finalists in Carnival Cruise Lines' Virtual Book of Dreams Contest were unveiled this morning at www.carnivalbookofdreams.com and public voting is now underway to determine a Grand Prize Winner. The contest invited children between the ages of 7 and 12 to share their awesome dreams in a short essay and accompanying hand-drawn illustration for a chance to become the world's first-ever cruise ship waterslide Godchild. The winner and family will travel to New York City to christen the spectacular Carnival WaterWorks aqua park on the new Carnival Dream in November and also receive a free cruise.

The five finalists include four chosen by a panel of judges and one chosen via public voting. The finalists are: "Dream Viewing Invention" submitted by Alice, age 10, Pleasant Hill, CA; "Going to the Moon for Vacation" submitted by Amanda, age 10, from Bridgeport, PA; "My Famous Pancake" submitted by Alyssa, age 9, from Napa, CA; "Sending My Dreams to Iraq" submitted by Emily, age 8, from Holly Springs, NC; and "Wake Me When We Leave" submitted by Hailee, age 9, from Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Voting is open to the public and currently underway at www.carnivalbookofdreams.com.

For every vote received, Carnival is making a $1 donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital up to a maximum contribution of $25,000. St. Jude is one of the world's premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases.


"It was so much fun to read all the creative, funny and heart-warming entries we received," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. "The contest has provided a wonderful means for children to be a part of the excitement of launching the Carnival Dream while at the same time benefitting kids in need."

Information on the new Carnival Dream, which made its European debut last week, is available at www.carnival.com/dream.

Voting to determine the Grand Prize Winner will run through Oct. 4, 2009 and the winner will be announced on Oct. 12, 2009.

About Carnival Dream
Carnival Cruise Lines' newest and largest ship, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, is a new class of vessel for the line and ushers in an exciting new era in "Fun Ship" cruising. The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream offers a host of innovations including a stunning indoor/outdoor cafe and entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza, a two-level Serenity adults-only retreat, a wrap-around promenade encircling the ship, the cruise industry's largest water park which features the Carnival WaterWorks waterslide, and a 23,750-square-foot health spa - Carnival's largest to date. Several new accommodation categories, including five-berth, two-bathroom staterooms particularly appealing for families, are also offered on the Carnival Dream.

About Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 23 "Fun Ships" operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Europe and Bermuda. In addition to the recent delivery of the Carnival Dream, the line has one new ship on order, the Carnival Magic, which is scheduled for delivery in 2011. For additional information or reservations contact a travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

About St. Jude Children?s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org.

See www.carnivalbookofdreams.com for contest rules and details.

Posted by Denise at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2009

Parking the ms Rotterdam in Barcelona, Spain

I have to include this amazing photo taken by a staff member onboard the ms Rotterdam. Captain Peter Harris is parking the ship in Barcelona, Spain on September 28th, 2009 right next to the Ruby Princess.

The ship is not being assisted by a harbour tug. Take a look...


Written by Denise Blackmore

Posted by Denise at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

Princess Cruises and Cruise Critic Announce Winning Real Life Love Story


Winner Tracey Pettit?s Story ?The Contest? Tells of Romantic Meeting at Sea

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (September 29, 2009) - "Someone e-mailed me today and told me that Princess was hosting a contest for the best romantic on-board love story . . . 'Well, that sounds nice,' I said to myself, and thought about entering the contest ? But I don't think I'm going to."

Despite what she wrote, Tracey Pettit did enter the Real Life Love Stories contest sponsored by Princess Cruises and Cruise Critic and her entry, "The Contest," was voted the most romantic by Cruise Critic members.

In her story, Pettit, from Rocklin, Calif., tells of meeting her husband while on a Christmas cruise to the Mexican Rivera aboard Regal Princess. "I was standing at the bar in the Bengal Lounge . . . and I turned to find a tall man with broad shoulders and bedroom eyes? twenty minutes later, as he walked out of the bar, I said to my sister "I'm going to marry that man. . . . it sounds ridiculous. It sounds like something that only happens in the movies."

Her entry was one of more than a 100 stories submitted and posted on the Cruise Critic site. The romantic stories chronicled onboard meetings, marriage proposals, weddings at sea and vow renewals. The top five stories were selected by Gavin MacLeod, Princess' well-known ambassador and member of the line's "Department of Romance," and Cruise Critic editor-in-chief Carolyn Spencer Brown. People were then invited to vote for their favorite story from the five finalists. As the winner, Pettit will receive a seven-day Princess cruise to the Caribbean.

"We are absolutely thrilled to win," said Pettit. "I'm very glad my mother-in-law told me about the contest -- I had so much fun writing the story, and we have a great story to share. We're coming up on the 10th anniversary of when we met, so it was very serendipitous that the contest came at this time. We feel very blessed to have met on a Princess ship, and we always tell people that we met on the Love Boat."

Pettit's story can be found at http://www.princess.com/romance/

The other finalists in the competition will receive DVD copies of "The Love Boat" television series.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by calling 1-800-738-8837.

View Princess Cruises Alaska Cruises
View Princess Cruises Europe & Mediterranean Cruises
View Princess Cruises Mexico Cruises
View Princess Cruises Tahiti Cruises
View Princess Cruises to all other destinations

Posted by Denise at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

Cunard Line Continues Partnership with Variety Screening Series


25 September 2009 ? Cunard Line, operator of the most famous ocean liners in the world, announces its continued partnership with Variety, the leading publication for business entertainment news, recognized and respected throughout the world of show business. During this year's annual Academy season, Cunard is supporting the Variety Screening Series in Los Angeles and New York. The Series will showcase at least 40 of the Academy season's most anticipated films from major and independent studios through the end of the year. The Variety Screening Series is open to voting members of the various guilds, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences® and entertainment industry tastemakers.

After each film screening, Variety will conduct Q&A sessions with the film's director, writers, producers and/or cast members that will be streamed on Variety.com, and later, select sessions will play onboard Cunard's luxury ocean liners, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. The association also affords Cunard the opportunity to invite selected Q&A participants to later participate in the line's award-winning enrichment programme, Cunard Insights, providing guests an up-close-and-personal opportunity to meet and hear from prominent filmmakers and glean an intimate look inside the industry.

Cunard's first film sponsorship in Los Angeles is "Bright Star" - a drama based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats' untimely death at age 25. The film is written and directed by Academy Award winner Jane Campion and stars Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish and Paul Schneider.

"We are very pleased to continue our partnership with Variety for a second year," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. "Cunard has a longstanding association with Hollywood, and this partnership further demonstrates our tradition of welcoming luminaries and offering our guests engaging and compelling entertainment on board."

For decades, Cunard Line has been the favoured line for ocean travel, welcoming such Hollywood luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby and Clark Gable. More recently, the new golden age of ocean liner travel has been enjoyed by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin, Uma Thurman, Angela Bassett, Richard Dreyfuss, Terrence Howard, John Cleese, film composer Bill Conti and screenwriting duo Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement.

"We are delighted to once again have Cunard support the Variety Screening Series where we showcase some of the most impressive films to be seen this year," said Neil Stiles, president of Variety. "It is wonderful to share our passion for such prestigious films with a company that has a legacy with stars of the same caliber."

For more information on the screening series, please visit www.varietyscreeningseries.com.

For information and to book a Cunard voyage, please contact a travel professional at #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2009

Norwegian Epic Inaugural Cruise Now For Sale!


Norwegian Cruise Line has begun taking reservations for the first Caribbean cruises onboard the Norwegian Epic. This 4,200 passenger ship (double occupancy) will have 19 decks and be only second to Royal Caribbean's soon-to-debut, 5,400 passenger ship Oasis of the Seas in capacity. It's 60% larger than NCL's current largest ship. The Norwegian Epic will boast groundbreaking features like cabins with curved walls, adults-only Vegas-style nightspots, and ice-bar complete with fur coats for guests and more!

The inaugural Caribbean sailing is one week earlier than originally planned. NCL announced this new date earlier this month, and also announced a new 7 day Trans-Atlantic cruise from Southampton to New York on June 24, 2010.


The Norwegian Epic is schedules to offer 7 night voyages to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Miami, FL. The Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau. The ship's Western Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Costa Maya, Roatan and Cozumel.

Here are some cruise deals on Norwegian Epic:

7 Day Eastern Caribbean January 1, 2011 From $644 US!

7 Day Western Caribbean September 4, 2010 From $649 US!

7 Day Trans-Atlantic Inaugural Cruise June 24, 2010 From $799 US!

View Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska Cruises
View Norwegian Cruise Line Europe & Mediterranean Cruises
View Norwegian Cruise Line Mexico Cruises
View Norwegian Cruise Line South America Cruises

Written by Denise Blackmore

Posted by Denise at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

Norwegian Cruise Line Launches Print, Digital Epic Advertising Campaign


Miami - Sep 22, 2009 - Norwegian Cruise Line has kicked off its Norwegian Epic advertising campaign, entitled "That's Epic," focusing on the new ship's multitude of innovations with some never before seen at sea. The campaign supports Norwegian's largest and most impressive ship to date, set to cruise to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Miami next summer, and includes national print and rich media online banner advertisements; full website take-overs; and online Epic video advertising. The "That's Epic" campaign debuted Monday, September 21 with a full take-over of the New York Post website followed by a full range of rich media advertisements launching on popular cruise and travel websites on Monday, September 28. Print advertisements in national consumer travel magazines hit newsstands in the October issues.


"Norwegian Epic will offer world-class entertainment with the Blue Man Group and Cirque Dreams" & Dinner; new accommodations with the largest luxury complex at sea; a unique collection of dining options; incredible nightlife with the first ever true Ice Bar at sea; and a multi-slide Aqua Park with the biggest bowl slide on water. Now that's Epic," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "This multi-faceted campaign promotes the exciting and surprising elements on board Norwegian Epic, along with the benefits of our signature Freestyle Cruising. Simply put, Norwegian Epic will deliver a unique experience filled with the freedom and flexibility that a cruise vacation should offer."


The "That's Epic" campaign speaks to the vacationer who wants a truly unique experience at sea which can only be found on Norwegian Epic. Advertising lines include: "A world class resort that likes to travel," "Blurring the line between journey and destination," "7 days that will make your whole year," "200 feet of OMG" to describe the ship's Epic Plunge waterslide; and "A butler and a concierge might sound excessive. That's the point," promoting the experience of the ship's Villas Complex.


The national print campaign features four-page gatefolds and spread advertisements in 10 major consumer travel magazines with messages promoting Epic's on-board entertainment highlighting Blue Man Group; the 20 restaurants and 20 lounges with one of the major features being the Ice Bar; the luxurious Villas Complex; and several destination, and cruise vacation focused pieces.


Norwegian has also created an array of digital extensions that provide consumers with tools and information to experience Norwegian Epic virtually. Rich media banner advertisements will put potential vacationers inside the ship's Spiegel Tent as one of the Cirque Dreams performers tumbles from the top of their computer screen; websites will literally freeze over promoting the ship's Ice Bar; and the Blue Man Group will perform on screen. In addition, banner advertisements will be combined with video, showcasing all that Norwegian Epic has to offer.

In addition, a full public relations campaign will bring the advertising to life and combine traditional and social media efforts. Norwegian Epic will also be promoted through a series of events over the next year with the first event being the New York Food and Wine Festival taking place October 8-11, 2009 with Norwegian sponsoring the Welcome Center, featuring Norwegian Epic.

For more information on Norwegian Epic, or to book a cruise to the Eastern or Western Caribbean call a travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

About Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian) is the innovator in cruise travel with a 43-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian has the youngest fleet in the industry with 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.

Norwegian is presently building Norwegian Epic, a new third generation Freestyle Cruising ship, for delivery in 2010. High resolution, downloadable images are available at www.ncl.com/pressroom. For further information on Norwegian call at travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2009

Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam


Holland America Line is currently building the Nieuw Amsterdam. It's inaugural date is scheduled for July 4, 2010; only 281 days away.

New photos have been released of the ship in Fincantieri. Below you'll see the azipods are now in place. They are first positioned, then lifted by hydraulic jacks and bolted to the ship from the inside. The propellers will be next to be hoisted and installed.





Below are sections of the Lido Dome, which is a retractable roof above the pool. As you can see, the come dome sections arrived untreated. They will be painted inside the shipyard and then added to the ship.


Now they're painted and the ceiling windows have been installed. I think they're ready to be installed! They will be placed on Panorama Deck 10.



FUNnel acount! September 2nd the Nieuw Amsterdam's funnel was towed in by barge.



This ship is really coming together! He's a view the aft cabin section of the ship.



The steel surface preparation is carried out before applying primer and a final paint job. You see scaffolding around the bow and the ship's name is peeking out.



View Holland America Line Europe & Mediterranean Cruise Specials

Check Out These Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Deals . . .

Nieuw Amsterdam - 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruises November 28, December 5 or 12, 2010 From $699 US!

Nieuw Amsterdam - 7 Day Mediterranean Cruise July 7, 2010 From $1399 US!

Nieuw Amsterdam - 12 Day Mediterranean Cruise July 26 or August 7, 2010 From $1899 US!

Written by Denise Blackmore

Photos Courtesty of Holland America Line

Posted by Denise at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

Luggage Less Traveled: Crystal and Luggage Concierge Offer 2-For-1 Service in 2010


LOS ANGELES, September 23, 2009 - Worldwide travel without the stress and worry of losing one's luggage is one thing, but getting that peace of mind for half the cost is a welcome luxury.

Luggage Concierge, Crystal Cruises' exclusive partner in door-to-door luggage delivery service, is offering the line's guests the convenience of shipping their luggage to and from every Crystal cruise in 2010 at reduced two-for-one pricing. In fact, the new pricing for shipping two bags in 2010 is even less than shipping one bag in 2009.

Airline industry reports claim that each year nearly 2 million bags are lost and not found. Luggage Concierge has successfully delivered tens of thousands of bags, including thousands for Crystal guests, in the last twelve months without the loss of one bag. With this service, guests are able to travel with the peace of mind that their luggage will await them in their stateroom.


Additionally, included in Luggage Concierge's service is automatic insurance of $2,500 per bag, for all domestic and international shipments. Guests also receive personalized tracking notification via their preferred method of phone, e-mail or fax.

"Crystal guests appreciate convenience and ease as a significant part of the luxury travel experience," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs. "The Luggage Concierge service continues to provide our guests with great service, and the added value for 2010 is a fantastic bonus."

Crystal's 2010 worldwide itineraries span the globe, from exotic Middle East and European voyages to a Panama Canal cruise from New York to Los Angeles.

Arrangements for luggage shipment can be made through luggageconcierge.com/crystal, or through the line's own website.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent at 1-800-738-8837.

View Crystal Cruises Europea & Mediterranean Cruises
View Crystal Cruises South America & New England/Canada Cruises

Posted by Denise at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2009

Brazil Visa Backlog could impact your cruise!


If you are planning a trip or cruise vacation to South America this winter book now. If your trip includes Brazil, and you live in the West, you better be sure to apply for a visa far in advance.

A report has marked a slowdown in visa processing at Brazil's Los Angeles consulate office and this could cause problems for thousands of cruisers heading to South America in the coming months.

Brazil's Los Angeles consulate handles visa applications from California, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. That represents a significant percentage of cruisers nationwide.

The head of the National Assoication of Passport and Visa Services states the slowdown is "severe and it hit at the worst time. We're not at the point of no return, but we're getting close." That means as a worst case, if passengers are unable to get visas lines may have to bypass Brazil this winter.


If you're planning on visiting South America this winter there are many cruises that don't include Brazil, focusing on Argentina and Chile cruising around Cape Horn. View South America cruise specials now!

Written by Denise Blackmore

Posted by Denise at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

Cruise Passenger Missing Off Princess Ship


Today off the west coast of Canada a massive search-and-rescue operation is under way for a passenger who has gone missing from a Princess cruise ship. An unidentified U.S. citizen 67 years of age was noticed missing Wednesday after the 2,670 passenger Sapphire Princess docked in the port of Vancouver. It was the end of a 4 night Alaska cruise.

The Sapphire Princess departed Ketchikan late Monday and traveled down the Inside Passage to Vancouver until early Wednesday. Rescuers are now searching the entire route for the women; an area that stretched more than 500 miles.


The U.S. Coast Guard says during a search of the cruise ship on Wednesday, the women's belongings were found in her stateroom. The U.S. Coast Guard has deployed several aircraft and a rescue boat to try to find the passenger.

Princess Cruises issued a short statement on the missing passenger: "Yesterday morning when Sapphire Princess disembarked passengers at the conclusion of its Alaska cruise, records showed one passenger did not depart the ship," the statement reads. "Staff members subsequently went to the cabin of the passenger, a 67-year-old female U.S. citizen, and discovered her belongings, but we regret to say she is missing. We notified authorities and are offering our full cooperation in order to detemine where she is or what many have happened to her."

The statement also notes the Sapphire Princess ship is now heading south to begin Mexican Riviera cruises. This week's cruise to Alaska was the last of the season.

View Alaska Cruise Specials
View Mexico Cruise Specials


Constable Lisa Ramsay of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the Vancouver Sun newspaper that a video camera captures images of the woman leaping from the back of the Sapphire Princess early Tuesday. "It appears to be a suicide. She was by herself, and the video shows her jumping." Ramsay tells the Sun.

The Vancouver Sun also reports the woman had a life-threatening illness, but her family was unaware she was suicidal. The news outlet says Princess found the video Thursday afternoon.

Carney Edelgar, 67, of Sutter Creek, CA was noticed missing Wednesday when the Sapphire Princess pulled into Vancouver at the end of a 4 night Alaska cruise. In a statement late Thursday, Princess said the passenger remained missing but it could not comment further on the case. "We continue to work closely with various investigating authorities, and we've been advised not to discuss any details of the incident, including potential evidence, or to speculate on the cause of the incident," the statement reads.

Written by Denise Blackmore

Posted by Denise at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2009

Carnival Corporation May Pull More Cruise Ships From Alaska


Micky Arison, the CEO and chairman for Carnival Corporation told Wall Street analysts today that the company is likely to pull more cruise ship our of Alaska over the coming year due to the rising cost of doing business in the state.

The parent company of Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line. Princess Cruises and Holland America Line are cruise lines that have been traveling to Alaska for over 50 years and offer lodges and trains by have built and own. All three cruise lines already announced plans to reduce capacity in Alaska significantly for 2010, as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line. But Arison says further reductions to begin in 2011 now are under discussion.

Arison stated "It is likely we are going to do more of (the capacity cutting) in '11," during a conference call to discuss third quarter earnings. "The amount of cost that they've put on to the industry during this short season is astronomical, and it will continue to negatively affect Alaska."


Arison and other Carnival executives said destination like Europe hold more appeal for their ships as its becoming increasingly difficult to make money in Alaska due to growing fees, taxes and regulations imposed on cruise lines by the state.

"The brand will decide to put this ship where there is the best return and the most profitable returns," Arison told analysts. "They have to put it in the context that they already have seven ships in Europe or they already have two ships in Australia, but they will model it out, and if it pays to pull a ship from Alaska and put it in Europe or . . . the Far East they will do that."

Arison also noted that Alaska is a summer destination, and there are plenty of alternatives during the summer. "You're talking the peak July and August period where we can make a lot of money on a lot of different itineraries, and (because of rising fees and taxes) we can't make a lot of money in Alaska."

These comments come just a few days after an association that represents 9 major cruise lines sailing to Alaska filed a lawsuit challenging the state's recently added $50 tax on vacationers arriving on cruise ships.

A few days ago Disney Cruise Line announced in 2011 they will put one of their ships in Alaska. Arison said this decision by Disney Cruise Line was an outlier event, and he didn't expect Disney to stick anound for long. Arison stated "Disney has historically cherry-picked markets. It may do this one year and not come back for three, four or five years. The basic Alaska business will be declining. You may get Disney, Crystal or maybe even a Seabourn" for a season, he said, but on the whole ships will be pulling out due to the rising cost of doing business and the falling return.

View Alaska Cruise Specials

Written by Denise Blackmore, MCC

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

September 22, 2009

Book Now for the Best Cruise Deals!


Carnival Corporation today reported better than expected earnings for the third quarter of 2009. They state it's attributed to rebounding prices and hinted that pricing will continue to bounce back.

The parent company of Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line and The Yachts of Seabourn says it earned $1.1 billion on revenues of $4.1 billion during the quarter a year ago.

CEO Micky Arison states "Given the global economic environment earning more than $1 billion this quarter was quite an achievement and is a testament to the power of our global brands." He also states "Our net income for the quarter exceeded our previous guidance as a result of better than expected pricing on close-in bookings worldwide during the seasonally strong summer period."


Late last year cruise lines began dropping prices in reaction to a sharp slowdown in bookings brough on by the economic crisis. The prices for many cruise itineraries remained unusually low through the winter and into spring. However, lately bookings have been bouncing back which has allowed cruise line to begin slowly raising the rates.

Carnival says booking volumes for the remained of 2009 and the first half of 2010 are 19% ahead of a year ago, this since June.

"While the environment for travel remains challenging . . . consumers are responding to the attractice pricing and product offerings our brands have in the marketplace, " states Arison. "We have begun to experience an extension in the booking window as consumers realize the best value by booking early."

I've included some of these great deals below. Call a travel agent to book a cruise vacation now at #1-800-738-8837.

Carnival Valor - 7 Day Caribbean Cruise roundtrip Miami, FL October 18, 2009 From $309 US

BRAND NEW SHIP! Carnival Dream - 12 Day Mediterranean Cruise roundtrip Rome, Italy October 15, 2009 From $949 US

Island Princess - 10 Day Panama Canal Cruise roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, FL From $999 US

Pacific Princess - 10 Day Tahiti Cruise roundtrip Papeete, Tahiti From $699 US

View Alaska Cruise Specials
View Europe & Mediterranean Cruise Specials
View Mexico Cruise Specials
View Tahiti Cruise Specials
View South America Cruise Specials

Written by Denise Blackmore, MCC

Posted by Denise at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2009

Crystal Introduces All-New Lower Fares Plus Added Value for 2010


2-For-1 Fares, All-Inclusive Spending Credits, Free Air and Price Guarantee, NOT for New Bookings Only!

LOS ANGELES, September 21, 2009 - In response to recent research on today's affluent travelers' cruise decision-making priorities, Crystal Cruises announced a complete revamping of its 2010 pricing and promotions with extended value-added features. Effective today, the luxury specialist is introducing:

  • Two-for-one fares for all destinations
  • All Inclusive ? As You Wish spending credits for all destinations ? up to $2,000 per couple
  • Free round-trip air with most cruises
  • Business class air for Penthouse categories in Europe
  • Price Guarantee

    With these new promotions, offered in conjunction with Crystal's 20th Anniversary of luxury cruising, 2010 cruises will be as much as 15-20% lower than comparable cruises in 2009 - whether one takes advantage of the free air/sea package, including transfers, or opts for the cruise-only credit.

    More than 2,000 consumers and travel agents were researched by the Harrison Group and Dialogue. The research confirmed that Crystal Cruises was the most respected brand of all the luxury cruise lines measured. It also revealed that even the most high-end cruise travelers respond to some savings messages over others. Based on the findings, virtually all of Crystal's 2010 cruises have been re-priced to offer guests bigger savings, convenience, and greater value for its worldwide sailings.


    "The scope of changes we've made is unprecedented as we literally have to reproduce every piece of collateral we've had in the marketplace," says Bill Smith, senior vice president of Crystal Cruises. "However, our research validated that consumers respond to the value of the 'two-for-one' more than any other discount messages. The benefits for discerning travelers are extraordinary - especially when one considers the new promotions are combined with all of the inherent value, luxury and comfort of the award-winning Crystal experience. Additionally, we have an incredible pattern of itineraries for 2010 - with fascinating destinations like Sydney, Stockholm and even Saudi Arabia."

    2-for-1 Cruise Fares

    Crystal's recent consumer travel research confirmed that travelers are most attracted to the "two-for-one" pricing message. More than twice as many responded to two-for one pricing than 50% off or even greater savings messages. With this in mind, all Crystal cruises - in every category - boast two-for-one pricing, and, for most destinations, fares are lower than previously published.

    All Inclusive - As You Wish spending credits of up to $2,000 per couple

    Consumer research also indicated that luxury travelers appreciate the luxury of choice and Crystal's spending credits, which offer a truly customized all-inclusive experience. All 2010 cruises will offer 'All Inclusive - As You Wish' shipboard spending credits of either $500 or $1,000 per person, including every segment of the World Cruise. Guests can use these credits toward just about any conceivable shipboard purchase, including any custom Private Adventures, any spa treatment, personal training, one-on-one golf instruction, boutique purchases, rare wines, and/or Vintage Room experiences.

    Brand New Free Air Program

    With few exceptions, Crystal is offering free economy air transportation from more than 20 North American gateways for cruises through Australia/New Zealand, Mediterranean, Baltic, and New England/Canada. New fares also include round-trip Business Class air transportation to Europe for guests in Penthouse accommodations. Research reflected consumers' strong response to the free air value equation. Even Crystal's World Cruise, which is endowed with hundreds of enrichment opportunities and special events, will enjoy a new air bonus for any two back-to-back segments. As always, Crystal includes round-trip airport/ship transfers with all of its air/sea programs. Guests can opt to deduct a credit for cruise-only fares.

    Price Guarantee

    Research confirmed that Crystal Cruises' Price Guarantee resonates more than ever with travelers who feel they might be penalized for booking early. For 2010, Crystal Cruises will retain its Crystal Assurance Plan (CAP), which means that guests are assured they will get Crystal?s lowest published fares, even if the line reduces fares. With the new 2010 fares, Crystal guests will enjoy lower air/sea and cruise-only fares for just about all of Crystal's 2010 cruises.

    Birthday Bonus

    In celebration of Crystal's 20th anniversary in 2010, the line is retaining its Birthday Bonus promotion. If travelers book by December 31, 2009 and sail on their birthday in 2010, they can save 50% off a second cruise-only fare taken before their 2011 birthday. In addition, birthday guests can celebrate their 2010 birthday with a special champagne breakfast and a Captain's Quarters birthday party, as well as enjoy the pampering Crystal experience.

    Crystal Family Memories

    Another program in place for all 2010 cruises is Crystal Family Memories, which supports the huge trend for reunions and multi-generational travel. For as few as six full-fare guests traveling together (three staterooms!), guests will enjoy pre-paid gratuities, $100 per person, shipboard credit, in addition to the All Inclusive-As You Wish spending credit, a group family photo, kids under 17 sail free in a third berth and a $500 credit toward a Crystal Private Adventure. For 10 full-fare guests, the group will get all of the above plus free cruise berth (no air)


    About Crystal Cruises
    In 2010, Crystal Cruises is celebrates 20 years of luxury cruising. Its cruises to six continents range from seven to 108 days. Among the highlights of the year is the World Cruise, which can be enjoyed in individual voyages of 12 to 21 days, and the annual Presidents' cruise, which in 2010 travels from Dubai to Piraeus.

    Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony are the two highest rated ships in the world, ranked #1 and 2, respectively. Aboard the ultra-luxurious vessels, refined elegance meets casual simplicity. With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, the renowned Crystal experience is distinguished by warm, gracious service, abundant space, extensive choices and superior quality.

    Crystal Cruises was most recently honored for a record 14th consecutive year as "The World?s Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. Attesting to the consistency of its reputation and product delivery, Crystal Cruises was also awarded "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" for a record 15th year by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Crystal ratings topped all small-ship lines as well. In fact, Crystal has been voted "World's Best" by the readers of Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler more than any other cruise line, hotel or resort in history.

    For terms and conditions and Crystal reservations call #1-800-738-8837.

    View Crystal Cruises Europe & Mediterranean Cruises
    View Crystal Cruises New England/Canada Cruises
    View Crystal Cruises South America Cruises

    Posted by Denise at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)
  • September 20, 2009

    Carnival Cruise Lines Takes Delivery of its Newest and Largest Ship, 130,000-Ton Carnival Dream



    MIAMI (September 18, 2009) - In a traditional maritime handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, earlier today, Carnival Cruise Lines officially took delivery of its newest and largest ship, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream.

    Following the ceremony, Carnival Dream departed for Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, for its inaugural cruise, a 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyage departing Sept. 21 - the first of three voyages within the region.


    The ship will then sail a trans-Atlantic crossing from Rome to New York followed by a special two-day cruise and two eight-day Caribbean voyages from the Big Apple. Carnival Dream will then reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., for a special one-time nine-day voyage Dec. 3 before launching year-round seven-day Caribbean service Dec. 12.

    "With some truly unique spaces and amazing entertainment options, Carnival Dream is dramatically different from any other ship we've introduced and ushers in an exciting new era in "Fun Ship" cruising," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "Value is more important than ever and the Carnival Dream - with its unique public spaces and exciting on-board innovations - provides the type of quality, affordable vacation experiences that today?s consumers are seeking," he added.


    Representing a new class of vessel for the line, the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream offers a host of innovations, including Ocean Plaza, a stunning indoor/outdoor cafe and live music venue; The Lanai, an outdoor area featuring a wrap-around promenade and cantilevered whirlpools that are suspended over the ship?s side; a host of new accommodation categories, including two-bath, five-berth staterooms that appeal to families and cove balcony cabins located closer to the water line; a sprawling Carnival WaterWorks aqua park featuring the longest water slide at sea; and a 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, the largest in the fleet.

    Exciting new entertainment choices, including a comedy club offering 24 performances per voyage and outdoor laser shows on Lido Deck, are also featured. Also new is the "Fun Hub," a comprehensive intranet portal and the first shipboard social network that provides a variety of helpful information on the vessel and allows guests to interact and connect with their fellow passengers on board.


    Dining options include two formal restaurants with extensive menus and wine lists nightly, an expansive Lido-area eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, Indian tandoori and new Italian pasta bar, an elegant steakhouse serving USDA prime dry-aged beef, a sushi bar, a patisserie and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service.

    A host of bars, lounges, nightspots and live music venues - all bearing the unmistakable design stamp of Carnival's renowned interior architect Joe Farcus - are also featured.

    Carnival Dream is the 23rd vessel in Carnival Cruise Lines' fleet, which operates three- to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda and Europe.

    A sister ship to the Carnival Dream, the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic, is scheduled for delivery in June 2011. It is also being built in Italy by Fincantieri.

    For additional information and reservations on the "Fun Ship" vacation experience, contact a travel agent at 1-800-738-8837.

    About Carnival:
    Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is a proud member of the exclusive World's Leading Cruise Lines. Our exclusive alliance also includes Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Costa Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, our member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together, we offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world?s most desirable destinations.

    Posted by Denise at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

    Princess Continues to Give Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Ship Refurbishment with Sea Princess Drydock Journal


    Latest Ship Remodel Chronicled with Daily Online Updates

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (September 14, 2009) - The enthusiastic following for Princess Cruises' recent online drydock journals for Golden Princess and Dawn Princess, has prompted yet another installment for Sea Princess' current drydock. Visitors to www.princess.com can follow along through September 25 as the ship receives new interior furnishings and finishes, fresh hull paint and exterior refurbishment, plus the addition of the line's adults-only Sanctuary.

    The Sea Princess Drydock Journal features regular updates of the work in progress at BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair at Pier 70 in San Francisco. The journal can be found on the Sea Princess page in the website's "Ships" section, and it will be regularly updated throughout the ship's two-week drydock. The photos will also be posted to Princess' Twitter feed, Facebook page and Flickr photostream.

    "We've received great feedback from passengers who have enjoyed following along with these drydock journals, and have gained a new appreciation for the work that goes into maintaining our vessels," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "Viewers love watching how quickly ships are transformed when in drydock."


    When Sea Princess emerges from the drydock, the ship will feature the opportunity to get away from it all in the tranquility of The Sanctuary, Princess' signature adults-only 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 listen to a relaxing playlist of music.

    Other changes viewers will see throughout the drydock include a remodeled photo gallery area, the installation of new carpet and upholstery, plus a rare view of the bottom of the ship's hull as it receives several new coats of silicone paint.

    Once out of drydock, Sea Princess will transit the Panama Canal on her way to the Caribbean to begin a series of 14-day cruises from Barbados.

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

    View Princess Cruises Alaska Cruises
    View Princess Cruises Alaska Cruisetours
    View Princess Cruises Europe & Mediterranean Cruises
    View Princess Cruises Mexico Cruises
    View Princess Cruises Tahiti Cruises
    View Princess Cruises Australia/New Zealand & Canada/New England Cruises

    Posted by Denise at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

    September 18, 2009

    Culinary Cruise with Italy's Buon Ricordo Association on MSC Poesia October 17


    Limited-edition, Italian Plates Handcrafted by Vietri Available in L'Obelisco

    FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (September 17, 2009) - MSC Cruises is hosting a culinary cruise for dining epicureans onboard MSC Poesia during a 7-night cruise departing October 17 and sailing throughout Turkey, Greece and Croatia.

    MSC Cruises is partnering with Italy's renowned Buon Ricordo Association to offer guests seven fabulous culinary specialties. Guests who dine in L'Obelisco and order the Buon Ricordo specialty meal of the day receive a limited-edition, collector plate handcrafted by Vietri. Each plate carries an inscription on the back, "Crociera del Buon Ricordo - Nave MSC Poesia - ottobre 2009" (Cruise Buon Ricordo - Ship MSC Poesia - October 2009).


    Every night, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a different meal from one of the seven Buon Ricordo's restaurants located in Paris, France; Kanagawa, Japan; and in various regions of Italy including MSC Poesia's L'Obelisco during this Mediterranean cruise.

    This special event takes place on MSC Poesia's 7-night "Turkish Treasures & Croatian Coasts" itinerary. Sailing roundtrip from Venice, the ship calls at Bari, Italy; Katakolon, Greece; Izmir, Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Rates begin at $599 per person, double occupancy; government fees and taxes are additional.

    Savor Tuscany's famed truffle soup Ribollita, a creamy polenta and Montasio cheese dish from Friuli; grouper escalopes with citrus fruits from Sicily; lamb with juniper from Calabria; or a succulent dish of pigeon, mushrooms, and potatoes from France.

    On the final day of the cruise, guests will indulge in L'Obelisco's specialty dish of king prawns tossed with sweet garlic on a bed of fresh spinach, pine nuts and capers.

    There's more than just fine dining as guests will also have the opportunity to participate in wine tasting and cooking courses.

    Master oenologist Genuino Del Duca will lead a wine-tasting demonstration. Special red and white wines sampled at the tasting will be served with regional Buon Ricordo specialties. These include vintages from the Vino della Pace, a unique Friulian cellar with wines from five continents and 600 varieties of grapes.

    Buon Ricordo's award-winning Chef Paolo Teverini will welcome and oversee the cooking classes where guests will be taught how to prepare the daily specialty. Participants will receive an Italian cooking certificate from the Buon Ricordo chefs.

    The Buon Ricordo Association was founded in 1964 to safeguard and promote local Italian cooking traditions. MSC Cruises and Buon Ricordo Association have been partnering together since November 2008.

    About MSC Cruises:
    MSC Cruises has the most modern fleet in the world with ten ships: MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia (the largest ships built for a European ship owner), MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. The fleet cruises year round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, North America and Canada, South America, the Indian Ocean, South and West Africa. MSC Magnifica launches in 2010. MSC Cruises recently forged a three-year, million-dollar partnership with UNICEF to fund a community project in Brazil while increasing awareness of this cause onboard its ships.

    Posted by Denise at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

    Countdown to the Caribbean: MSC Cruises Ready For Exciting Season with MSC Poesia, Lineup of Theme


    The countdown continues as MSC Cruises prepares for an exciting 2009-10 Caribbean season that includes the much-anticipated arrival of MSC Poesia in North American waters, a wide variety of special theme cruises and interesting itineraries.

    The Italian, family-owned line is bringing the elegant MSC Poesia to Fort Lauderdale for a season featuring itineraries of 3-, 5-, 7-, and 10-nights throughout the Caribbean and to Bermuda during the winter season before returning to Europe in spring 2010.

    MSC Poesia features 1,275 staterooms, of which 80% are outside staterooms and 65% have a balcony. There will be 2 pools and 4 hot tubs, a 13,000-square-foot spa, and four restaurants, including a Sushi Bar themed restaurant.


    MSC Poesia will arrive in Fort Lauderdale Nov. 10, after a 17-night transatlantic journey from Venice. Her Caribbean season will include:

  • 5-night sailings: Nov. 10 and Nov. 15
  • 10-night itineraries - Nov. 20, Nov. 30, Dec. 10
  • 7-night Christmas itinerary, departing Dec. 20
  • 7-night New Year's itinerary, departing Dec. 27
  • 7-night itineraries - a variety of eastern and western itineraries Jan. 16-April 10
  • 7-night Bermuda itinerary - departing April 17, features 3 nights in Bermuda
  • 3-night Bahamas cruise, departing April 24

    MSC Poesia departs Fort Lauderdale April 27 on an 18-night voyage to Hamburg.

    Guests can experience an extensive lineup of theme cruises during the 2009-10 season, including:

  • President's Cruise: Nov. 10, 2009 -- 5-night "Caribbean Escape"
  • Latin Music: Jan. 23 -- 7-night "Eastern Caribbean Enchantment"
  • Comedy: Jan. 30 -- 7-night "Eastern Caribbean Enchantment"
  • Country Music: Feb. 20 -- 7-night "Eastern Caribbean Enchantment"
  • Oldies Music: March 20 -- 7-night "Eastern Caribbean Dream"
  • Festa Italiana: April 10 -- 7-night "Island Treasures & Ancient Temples"
  • Baseball Greats: Nov. 20, 2009 10-night "Dazzling Dutch Caribbean & The Panama Canal"; 7-night sailings: Jan. 16 and Feb. 6 "Island Treasures & Ancient Temples"; March 6 "Eastern Caribbean Enchantment"; April 3 "Eastern Caribbean Dream."
  • Big Band: Dec. 10, 2009 -- 10-night "Remarkable Rainforests & The Panama Canal"
  • Polka: Jan. 9 -- 7-night "Eastern Caribbean Enchantment"
  • Baseball Greats & Big Band: Feb. 27 -- 7-night "Island Treasures & Ancient Temples"

    For more about MSC Cruises or contact a travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)
  • September 17, 2009

    Carnival to Launch First Year-Round Cruise Program from Charleston in 2010


    Starting on May 18, 2010, Carnival will introduce the first year-round cruise schedule from Charleston, S.C., with the deployment of the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy. Carnival Fantasy will operate from the Passenger Terminal in historic downtown Charleston.

    Charleston's centralized location within the southeastern U.S., as well as the city's strong appeal as a tourist destination, were key factors in the decision to launch year-round service. The Carnival Fantasy is expected to carry more than 140,000 passengers annually from the port.

    Carnival Fantasy will operate five-, six- and seven-day voyages on a variety of different departure days. Five-day voyages departing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will call at Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas. Six-day voyages departing Saturdays will visit Freeport, Nassau and Key West, Fla. Seven-day voyages depart Saturdays and will feature Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Nassau.


    Replacing the Carnival Fantasy in Mobile will be its sister ship, the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation, which will reposition from San Diego to launch year-round service from that port May 15, 2010.

    With the addition of Charleston, Carnival will operate from 12 year-round homeports which are among the line's 20 North American departure points - the most in cruising.

    Written by Denise Blackmore, MCC

    Posted by Denise at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

    Celebrity Chef Creates Carnival Ship Replica on "Ace of Cakes"


    MIAMI (Sept. 16, 2009) - A ship-shaped cake modeled after a Carnival Cruise Lines vessel is set to star in an upcoming episode of Food Network?s hit reality series "Ace of Cakes." Premiering Thursday, Sept. 17, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, the episode features Chef Duff Goldman presenting the cake to Captain Alessandro Galotto, master of Carnival Pride.

    The Carnival Pride operates cruises year-round from Baltimore, Md., also home to Goldman?s Charm City Cakes bakery, where Chef Duff and his eclectic staff of culinary experts, artists and architects use drills, saws and blowtorches as they bake, construct and frost the most elaborate and unconventional cake creations imaginable.

    "Food Network is one of the most popular channels on television and is seen in over 90 million households each week," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. "Having Carnival?s Baltimore connection highlighted on such a widely watched national broadcast enables us to have our cake and eat it, too, as it were."

    From the festive balloons flying off the top deck to the signal flags swaying in the wind, from the ship's giant funnel to the twisting waterslide, the latest creation by the Charm City Cakes team looks exactly like Carnival Pride in miniature. The cake measured about two feet long and featured Baltimore?s skyline in the background.


    The 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride is Baltimore's first year-round cruise ship, and offers seven-day cruises to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida. Carnival Pride offers a host of facilities and features, including 16 lounges and bars, three restaurants, four swimming pools and a 14,500-square-foot health and fitness center. For additional information, contact a travel agent at 1-800-738-8837.

    More Information About Carnival Cruise Line
    Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is a proud member of the exclusive World's Leading Cruise Lines. Our exclusive alliance also includes Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Costa Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, our member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together, we offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world?s most desirable destinations.

    Posted by Denise at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

    Princess Cruises Announces Winners of 10th Annual Alaska Shore Excursion Awards


    2009 C.R.U.I.S.E. Service Awards Recognize Local Tour Operators
    Rated Best by Passengers

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (September 10, 2009) - For the tenth year, Princess Cruises is ending the Alaska season by recognizing top-rated local tour operators with the line's C.R.U.I.S.E. service awards for best shore excursion experiences, based on passenger feedback.

    The annual awards, which underscore the important role that Alaska and Northwest tour operators play in a passenger's cruise experience, celebrate the most popular tours, individual guides and dock representatives in the communities where Princess ships call. Winners are determined primarily by tour scores and comments made on passenger surveys throughout the season, and are chosen from the extensive line-up of more than 200 Alaska shore excursion options offered on Princess ships.

    "The local tour operators who provide tours to our passengers really contribute to the overall Princess experience in Alaska," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "So many visitors rave about their adventures in port, and these awards recognize the role of our shore excursion providers and thank them for making the Great Land experience extra special for our passengers."

    The C.R.U.I.S.E. program is the longest running customer service program in the cruise industry. The Alaska awards were begun in 2000 and cap off a season-long effort to recognize the role that Alaskan-owned tour partners play in passengers' cruise experiences. Tour Guide of the Season and Dock Representative of the Season award winners receive $100, a letter of commendation, a plaque, a ship tour and lunch onboard with their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season receive a plaque and a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship, and lunch onboard for company officials.

    The 2009 winners include:


    Icy Strait Point:
    Shore Excursion:
    ZipRider Adventure, Icy Strait Point
    Tour Guide:
    Dottie Johanson, Icy Strait Point

    Co-Shore Excursions:
    Helicopter Glacier Walkabout, NorthStar Trekking
    Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition, Alaska Canopy Adventures
    Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest, Allen Marine Tours
    Co-Tour Guides:
    Julie Kinamore, Alaska Zipline Adventures
    Stacy LaMascus, Gastineau Guiding Company
    Dock Representative:
    Nathan Barzee, Allen Marine Tours

    Co-Shore Excursions:
    Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour, Commercial Fishing Adventures
    Misty Fjords Seaplane Exploration, Promech Air and Taquan Air
    Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition, Alaska Canopy Adventures
    Co-Tour Guides:
    Bob Haskell, Lighthouse Excursions
    Kurt Trennert, Snorkel Alaska
    Dock Representative:
    Jill Gates, The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

    Shore Excursion:
    Best of Kodiak, First Group
    Tour Guide:
    Dee Ann Valdivia, Kodiak Tours

    Shore Excursion:
    Best of Seattle, Gray Line of Seattle

    Shore Excursion:
    Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise, Kenai Fjords Tours
    Tour Guide:
    Nick Allen, Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking Company


    Co-Shore Excursions:
    Chilkoot Trail Hike & Float Adventure, Chilkat Guides
    Glacier Discovery by Helicopter, TEMSCO Helicopters
    Klondike Rock Climbing & Rappelling, Alaska Mountain Guides
    Co-Tour Guides:
    Jessica Blick, Chilkat Guides
    Nicki Bunting, Skagway Street Car Co.
    Dock Representative:
    Brian Hart, White Pass & Yukon Route

    Shore Excursion:
    Columbia Glacier Cruise, Stan Stephens Cruises
    Tour Guide:
    Laura Hering, Pangaea Adventures

    Shore Excursion:
    Vancouver Overview, Horizon Coach Lines
    Tour Guide:
    Michael Lawrence, Rockwood Adventures

    Shore Excursion:
    Enchanting Butchart Gardens, Gray Line West
    Tour Guide:
    Norman Archer, D'Costa Ports of Call

    Shore Excursion:
    Blackstone Glacier Adventure Cruise, Prince William Sound Cruise & Tours
    Tour Guide:
    Megan Davis, Alaska Sea Kayakers

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

    View more information on Princess Cruises Alaska Cruises
    View more information on Princess Cruises Alaska Cruisetours
    View more information on Princess Cruises Europe & Mediterranean Cruises
    View more information on Princess Cruises Mexico Cruises
    View more information on Princess Cruises Tahiti Cruises
    View more information on Princess Cruises Asia, Australia/New Zealand & Canada/New England Cruises

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

    September 16, 2009

    Food and Wine Cruises Added to Select MSC Cruises? Sailings in 2009-10


    Learn the culinary skills needed to prepare fine food and select wines from Italy and around the world on select MSC Cruises itineraries in 2009-10.

    Guests onboard MSC Poesia's April 10, seven-night "Island Treasures & Ancient Temples" Caribbean cruise itinerary will experience "Festa Italiana." This celebration of "all things Italian" features culinary demonstrations to learn the secrets of cooking European dishes by top Italian chefs or attend lectures on Italian art and architecture, automobiles, fashion and design while enjoying entertainment by opera singers and contemporary Italian vocal artists.

    Exclusive "Food and Wine" theme cruises have been created on the luxurious MSC Melody, MSC Armonia, MSC Orchestra, and the new sister ships, MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, to teach guests many of the culinary secrets that have given them such a special stay while on board.

    These special culinary programs are available on the following sailings:

  • MSC Melody: Oct. 23, 14-night repositioning from Genoa to Salvador de Bahia

  • MSC Armonia: Nov. 15, 21-night repositioning from Venice to Buenos Aires

  • MSC Splendida: Nov. 27, 11-night Eastern Mediterranean itinerary roundtrip from Genoa

  • MSC Fantasia: Feb. 20, 11-night Western Mediterranean itinerary roundtrip from Genoa

  • MSC Orchestra: Aug. 28, 11-night repositioning from Copenhagen to Genoa

    The magnificent cellars of the MSC Cruises fleet are opened in a series of superb wine tastings that can be combined to take you on a tour of Italy?s great wine-producing regions.


    From mountainous Trentino Alto Adige in the far north to sun-kissed volcanic Sicily in the south, you?ll be able to sample famous names while also discovering some of the country?s best-kept secrets. And like every good wine tasting, you can buy any of your favorite discoveries at privileged prices to savor at leisure in your cabin or any of the restaurants on board.

    For the health-conscious cruise guests, there?s a session about preparing fruit and vegetable drinks and smoothies such as those available in the MSC Aurea Spa wellness center.

    Other events will reveal the secrets of homemade fresh pasta or the gourmet sauces used to decorate the exquisite pastries on board. Guests also can learn presentation and decoration skills and everything from complex place settings with exquisitely folded napkins to carved fruit and vegetables, cake decorations and marzipan flowers.

    Full-color brochures with recipes and tips are provided in five languages to make sure everyone can continue the creative journey and share the experience with family and friends when they return home.

    Except for the wine tastings, all the special food & wine programs on these theme cruises are included in the cruise fare. Check out our websitefor a wide array of theme cruises at www.MSCCruisesUSA.com. Children ages 17 and younger sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults.All cruises offer just a $100 deposit on all sailings and itineraries.

    About MSC Cruises:
    MSC Cruises has the most modern fleet in the world with ten ships: MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia (the largest ships built for a European ship owner), MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. The fleet cruises year round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, North America and Canada, South America, the Indian Ocean, South and West Africa. MSC Magnifica launches in 2010. MSC Cruises recently forged a three-year, million-dollar partnership with UNICEF to fund a community project in Brazil while increasing awareness of this cause onboard its ships.

    View more information about MSC Cruises Europe & Mediterranean Cruises here!

    Posted by Denise at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)
  • September 14, 2009

    Norwegian Epic's Transatlantic Crossing Set For June 24, 2010


    New seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise added to inaugural season

    Miami - Sep 14, 2009 - Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Epic, the company's largest and most innovative ship to date currently under construction in France, will make her inaugural transatlantic seven-day cruise on June 24, 2010, departing from London (Southampton). The 4,200 passenger Freestyle Cruising ship will arrive in New York, her first port of call in the United States, on July 1, 2010. In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line also announced that a new seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise has been added to Norwegian Epic's inaugural season, departing Miami on July 10, 2010, one week earlier than previously scheduled.

    "In true maritime fashion, Norwegian Epic will make the non-stop crossing from the U.K. to New York in just one week," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "This seven-day voyage gives our guests the opportunity to be the first to immerse themselves in all of the innovative and varied activities, world-class dining and spectacular entertainment that will be offered on Norwegian Epic."


    After an unprecedented response to a waitlist for Norwegian Epic's transatlantic last month, Norwegian Cruise Line will give those guests on the waitlist first priority to confirm their booking on the transatlantic today and tomorrow. A special guest services team will be contacting those guests so that they can choose from Norwegian Epic's wide range of accommodations from the innovative new Studios to the largest suite and villa complex at sea. On Wednesday, September 16, 2009, members of Norwegian's past guest program, Latitudes, will have a special preview sale day to book the cruise. The much-anticipated transatlantic sailing will officially open to the public for booking on Thursday, September 17, 2009.

    Norwegian Epic's new seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise with stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas, will go on sale to the public on September 28, 2009. Guests currently booked on Norwegian Epic's July 17, 2010 Eastern Caribbean cruise will have priority to switch to the new sailing date if they so choose by calling NCL or their travel agent by September 25, 2009.

    In addition, Norwegian Epic's 2010/11 inaugural season sailings from Miami to the Eastern and Western Caribbean are currently open for sale. The ship's alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, available as seven-day individual sailings or 14-day combined sailings, are available through April 2011.

    Guests can make a reservation on Norwegian Epic by contacting their travel professional or NCL. More information about the ship, her itineraries and offerings can be found at http://epic.ncl.com.

    Norwegian Epic's Innovations & Features


    Norwegian Epic is changing the face of cruise line entertainment. In an industry first, Blue Man Group will perform in the ship's 685-seat Epic Theater. Blue Man Group is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The blissful party atmosphere created at their live events has become the trademark of a Blue Man Group experience and beginning next summer will be seen for the first time ever at sea only on Norwegian Epic during a 90-minute show customized specifically for Norwegian Epic.


    Norwegian Epic will have multiple, specially-designed entertainment venues throughout the ship so that guests can choose from a wide variety of entertainment each evening of their cruise. No longer will entertainment be focused on two nightly shows in one large main theater. Norwegian Epic will offer a number of entertainment options in specially-designed venues, some offered for the first time ever at sea, with choices to appeal to a broad audience.


    On this ship, guests will find the only "big top" at sea. In this intimate 265-seat theater-in-the-round, famed producer/director Neil Goldberg will present Cirque Dreams and Dinner. This one of a kind interactive theatrical dining experience will be performed in the air, while juggling dinner courses, with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. During this two-hour show, guests will marvel in amazement and become part of a celebration of spectacle and fantasy. The entire experience will be unlike anything else at sea.


    Norwegian Epic will offer the next generation of Freestyle Dining with 20 dining choices and 20 bars and lounges. The ship also boasts unique nightlife options with the first Ice Bar at sea, Spice H20 and Posh, exclusive open-air hotspots; an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea -- The Epic Plunge; seven decks of Freestyle Family Fun with highlights including a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six in two venues; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; as well as three separate kids' and teen activity areas and the first squash court at sea.


    Norwegian Epic also incorporates several new types of accommodations - the modern, curved New Wave staterooms where all outside staterooms have balconies; the largest Villas complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship; a new category of inside staterooms, The Studios with exclusive access to the Living Room; and spa and family-friendly accommodations.

    About Norwegian Cruise Line
    Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian) is the innovator in cruise travel with a 43-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian has the youngest fleet in the industry with 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.

    Sep 10, 2009 - Epic DVD available for order Now everyone can experience the exciting Norwegian Epic from our newly released DVD and glossy 50-page brochure at their own leisure. From renderings of the industry-changing curved staterooms, suites and villas, to a menu of mouth-watering restaurants and even a sneak peak of the outstanding entertainment options aboard; the DVD and brochure have it all. Order it online now, free of charge and we?ll ship it directly to you. Simply complete an order form on ncl.com to quit dreaming about this Epic vacation, and start planning it!

    Posted by Denise at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

    September 13, 2009

    Royal Caribbean Changes Price Guarantee


    Our Price Guarantee is our committment to you. When you book with Royal Caribbean and subsequently find a lower fare advertised by us, we will honor that rate by applying an onboard credit to the reservation equal to the price difference. For reservations outside of final payment period, the onboard credit may be replaced, upon request, with a reduction to the outstanding balance or a refund as applicable.

    To be eligible, the fare must be a) available for the same ship, sailing, category and number of guests as the current booking; b) be available at the time the request for rate conversion is made; and c) a rate the current booking would be eligible to receive, if any special restrictions apply. Price protection will not be available within 72 hours of departure. Price protection will be available for most fare types with the exception of Royal Sales Event and Exciting Deals; Travel Agent, Interline or Industry Reduced Rates; Employee rate programs; and a select number of price programs and promotions for new bookings only, as specified in the price program detail. Price protection will be subject to the prevailing taxes and fees and/or fuel supplement, if applicable.



  • No forms to fill out
  • Book anytime and know you are protected up until 72 hours prior to departure
  • Outside of final payment - Upgrade options, Onboard Credit, or price reduction (refund if applicable)
  • Inside final payment - Upgrade options or Onboard Credit


    Terms & Conditions
    Program applies only to guests in the fifty states and Canada and applies only to bookings that were fully deposited prior to the expiration of this program, Guests who have a qualifying booking booked at a higher fare can receive the difference between that fare and a lower fare advertised or offered by the applicable Cruise Line in the form of an onboard cruise credit. (For reservations outside of final payment period, the guest may request the difference be granted in the form of a refund.) Requests for adjustments must be received by the cruise line at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled departure time for the cruise. The lower fare must be a) available for the same ship, sailing, category and number of guests as the current booking; b) available at the time the request for rate conversion is made; and c) a rate program that is not limited to new bookings only. If the lower rate is available under any of the following special price programs, it shall not be available under this Price Protection Program: Royal Sales Event and Exciting Deals; Travel Agent, Interline or Industry Reduced Rates; Employee rate programs. The Price Protection Program does not apply to any berths that are part of a group booking, any charter arrangements nor does it apply to any space that sold to a third party for resale. Price protection does not apply to government taxes and fees and/or fuel supplement charges. This Price Protection Program may be discontinued or modified at any time without prior notice and shall be void where prohibited or restricted by applicable law.

    Some Frequently Asked Questions:

    What is Price Guarantee?

    When you book with Royal Caribbean and subsequently find a lower fare advertised by Royal Caribbean, we will honor that rate by applying an onboard credit to the reservation equal to the price difference. For reservations outside of final payment period, the onboard credit may be replaced, upon request, with a reduction to the outstanding balance or a refund as applicable. To be eligible, the fare must be:

    a) available for the same ship, sailing, category and number of guests as the current booking;
    b) be available at the time the request for rate conversion is made; and
    c) a rate the current booking would be eligible to receive, if any special restrictions apply.

    Price protection will not be available within 72 hours of departure. Price protection will be available for most fare types with the exception of Royal Sales Event and Exciting Deals; Travel Agent, Interline or Industry Reduced Rates; Employee rate programs; and a select number of price programs and promotions for new bookings only, as specified in the price program detail. Price protection will be subject to the prevailing taxes and fees and/or fuel supplement, if applicable.

    What should I do if I find a lower rate?

    Simply call your travel agent or a Royal Caribbean representative to have your onboard credit applied. There are no forms to fill out. The adjustment will be made to your reservation. Onboard credits will be applied to the first and second guest on the reservation for the full amount of the price difference unless otherwise requested at the time of application. If you prefer, you will also be given the option of upgrading your stateroom based on availability and the price paid. Outside of final payment period, you also have the option to have your price reduced to the lower rate.

    When can I make my reservation?

    Anytime! Royal Caribbean price protection applies anytime between booking and 72 hours prior to sailing as long as you are eligible for the new lower rate. So make your reservation early to get your choice of staterooms and departures and rest easy knowing that we will adjust your price should we lower our rates.

    When can I call for price guarantee?

    Anytime between when you make your initial reservation and 72 hours prior to departure of the sailing. The new rate must be available at the time of request for conversion and no conversions will be made after departure.

    View Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruises
    View Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruisetours
    View Royal Caribbean Europe & Mediterranean Cruises
    View Royal Caribbean Europe & Mediterranean Cruisetours
    View Royal Caribbean Mexico Cruises
    View Royal Caribbean Asia, Australia/New Zealand & Canada/New England Cruises

    Posted by Denise at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)
  • September 11, 2009

    Disney Cruise Line Sets Sail for Alaska in 2011


    CELEBRATION, Fla. (Sept. 11, 2009) - For the first time ever, Disney Cruise Line will offer Alaskan cruises during a four-month season of seven-night sailings aboard the Disney Wonder in summer 2011. Combining the natural wonder and adventurous spirit of Alaska with the unparalleled, family-friendly experience provided by Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Wonder will depart out of Vancouver, B.C., calling on popular ports such as Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.

    Before and after the 2011 summer season in Alaska, the Disney Wonder will sail seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from the Port of Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

    In response to guest demand, the Disney Magic will once again return to the Mediterranean in 2011 with 10- and 11-night cruises sailing out of Barcelona. In addition to popular ports in Italy, France and Spain, the Disney Magic will visit Tunis in northern Africa and the island nation of Malta.

    "We're excited to offer this incredible choice of itineraries for 2011, with cruise vacation options for every family - whether that's outdoor adventure in Alaska, the beauty and culture of Europe, folklore and pageantry of Mexico or tropical fun in the Caribbean," said Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. "The unique advantage of Disney Cruise Line is that we offer a customized ship experience that brings families together, while still catering to the personalized vacation needs of every guest who sails with us."

    Disney Cruise Line also will offer a number of repositioning cruises and special sailings in 2011, including a 15-night Panama Canal crossing, two 14-night transatlantic voyages, a five- and six-night cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and Vancouver to Los Angeles, with first-ever stops in San Francisco and Victoria, B.C., and 10- and 11-night holiday sailings to the Mexican Riviera and the eastern Caribbean.

    Guests will be able to book Disney Wonder and Disney Magic itineraries for the 2011 season beginning Sept. 28, 2009.

    Disney Wonder 2011 Schedule

    Departing out of Vancouver, the Disney Wonder will sail a total of 18 seven-night cruises to Alaska for the 2011 summer season, calling on Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

    As part of the new Alaska itinerary, Disney Cruise Line guests will be able to experience breathtaking natural vistas, an abundance of wildlife and the rich history and customs of Alaska's native culture. On their Alaskan adventure, guests may catch a glimpse of a brown bear, bald eagle or humpback whale, and explore magnificent glaciers and fjords in Juneau. In Ketchikan, guests can fish for some of the largest wild salmon in the world and learn about local culture through hand-carved totem poles. In Skagway, Disney Cruise Line guests can traverse panoramic landscapes by railway, or pan for gold like miners from the famous Klondike gold rush.

    The first-ever Disney cruise to Alaska will depart on May 3 with the last cruise of the season scheduled for Aug. 30. Rates for the seven-night Alaskan itinerary start at $939 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

    To prepare for the Alaska sailings, a brand-new venue called Outlook Cafe will be added to the Disney Wonder during dry dock in October. Located high atop deck 10, the 2,500-square-foot Outlook Cafe is a stylish retreat for guests to relax and enjoy a beverage or cocktail as they peer out through floor-to-ceiling, curved glass windows at breathtaking vistas. The design of Outlook Cafe is sophisticated with contemporary Art Deco inspiration. An elegant spiral staircase connects Outlook Cafe with the existing Cove Cafe one deck below. The 65-seat lounge has a granite-topped cocktail bar with comfortable seating throughout the space, all providing picture-perfect views of the surrounding landscapes.


    Book-ending the 2011 summer season in Alaska, the Disney Wonder will sail seven-night itineraries to the Mexican Riviera. Rates for the seven-night Mexican Riviera itinerary start at $639 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

    Disney Wonder 2011 - Alaska and Mexican Riviera Itineraries

    Seven-Night Alaska
    5/3 to 9/6

    Day 1 - Vancouver
    Day 2 - At Sea
    Day 3 - Tracy Arm
    Day 4 - Skagway
    Day 5 - Juneau
    Day 6 - Ketchikan
    Day 7 - At Sea
    Day 8 - Vancouver

    Seven-Night Mexican Riviera
    1/23 to 4/17 and 9/25 to 12/18

    Day 1 - Los Angeles
    Day 2 - At Sea
    Day 3 - At Sea
    Day 4 - Puerto Vallarta
    Day 5 - Mazatlan
    Day 6 - Cabo San Lucas
    Day 7 - At Sea
    Day 8 - Los Angeles

    Prior to repositioning to Alaska, the Disney Wonder will sail a special 10-night Mexican Riviera voyage, including a stop at Manzanillo.

    Disney Magic 2011 Schedule

    Departing out of Barcelona, the Disney Magic will sail 10- and 11-night Mediterranean itineraries for the 2011 summer season - a total of 10 sailings starting on May 28. Once again, guests will be able to explore the culture and beauty of Italy, France and Spain, with a family-friendly experience only Disney can deliver. This itinerary also includes visits to Tunis in northern Africa, the island nation of Malta, and Ajaccio, Corsica, an island oasis off the southern coast of France.

    Rates for the 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises start at $1,739 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

    For the majority of 2011, the Disney Magic will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Caribbean itineraries - alternating eastern (St. Maarten and St. Thomas) and western (Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel). Both itineraries include a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

    Disney Magic 2011 - Mediterranean Itineraries

    11-Night Mediterranean
    5/28, 6/18, 7/9, 7/30, 8/20

    Day 1 - Barcelona
    Day 2 - At Sea
    Day 3 - Malta
    Day 4 - Tunis
    Day 5 - Naples
    Day 6 - Civitavecchia
    Day 7 - At Sea
    Day 8 - La Spezia
    Day 9 - Ajaccio
    Day 10 - Villefranche
    Day 11 - At Sea
    Day 12 - Barcelona

    10-Night Mediterranean
    6/8, 6/29, 7/20, 8/10, 8/31

    Day 1 - Barcelona
    Day 2 - At Sea
    Day 3 - Malta
    Day 4 - Tunis
    Day 5 - Naples
    Day 6 - Civitavecchia
    Day 7 - La Spezia
    Day 8 - Ajaccio
    Day 9 - Villefranche
    Day 10 - At Sea
    Day 11 - Barcelona

    A leader in the family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line delivers a vacation experience that every member of the family feels was created especially for them.

    All pricing reflects a category 11C standard inside stateroom, Government Taxes and Fees not included. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line, to book a vacation or for more detail on offer terms and conditions, guests can contact a travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

    Regent Seven Seas Cruises Price Increase


    Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced to travel agency partners and Seven Seas Society Members they will be increasing their cruise prices on October 1, 2009. In 2010 they are offering some of the best deals we've ever seen on Regent. 2-For-1 cruise fares plus uo to an additional $1,000 per guest savings, free airfare and free shore excursions on select cruises. These offers will expire on September 30, 2009.

    "With many 2010 cruises already sold out, time is running out for your clients to take advantage of our exceptional savings offers. After September 30, 2009, prices will be increasing on nearly half of our voyages. Guests will still be able to enjoy Unlimited Complimentary Shore Excursions and Included Air, but 2-for-1 Fares plus up to an additional $1,000 per guest savings will no longer apply on select 2010 cruises effective October 1, 2009. But don't wait until then - book now as space is limited, many cruises are already sold out, and some suite categories are already waitlisted!

    Visit www.RSSC.com and find a perfect cruise for your clients to experience the all-inclusive, award-wining service which has earned top honors for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. They will sail on a fully-refurbished fleet of ships in suites voted World's Best, dine in the new Prime 7 ? a contemporary interpretation of a traditional grill restaurant, relax in redesigned public rooms and lounges, and be pampered in the brand-new Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

    It's all theirs to discover, as Luxury Goes Exploring."

    Some Examples of these incredible deals are:

  • Seven Seas Navigator February 2, 2010 - 7 night Caribbean Cruise roundtrip Fort Lauderdale From $3265 US!

  • Seven Seas Mariner April 27, 2010 - 7 night Mediterranean Cruise Venice to Rome From $4050 US!

  • Seven Seas Navigator September 1, 2010- 7 night Alaska Cruise Seward to Vancouver From $3380 US!

    View Regent Seven Seas Cruises Alaska Cruises
    View Regent Seven Seas Cruises Europe & Mediterranean Cruises
    View Regent Seven Seas Cruises Tahiti Cruises
    View Regent Seven Seas Cruises Asia, Australia/New Zealand & South America Cruises

    Written by Denise Blackmore, MCC

    Posted by Denise at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)
  • September 10, 2009

    Crystal's Computer University@Sea Expands with 1st Look at Windows 7® and Collegiate Courses


    LOS ANGELES, September 9, 2009 - Luxury specialist Crystal Cruises is expanding its innovative Computer University@Sea programming with the brand new Windows 7 operating system, and more options for guests earning college credit during the World Cruise.

    This fall, the line will offer classes based on Microsoft's Windows 7, exclusively available on both ships - a month before the operating system will be available to the public. Additionally, guests aboard Crystal Serenity's 2010 World Cruise will be able to earn three transferable college credits for various computer courses, and can learn using two different operating systems, Microsoft and Apple.


    The Windows 7 classes will be taught by Crystal's Computer University@Sea instructors, and cover basic computing and valuable tips for mastering the operating system and maximizing ease and efficiency. The collegiate courses aboard the World Cruise, taught by an instructor from Del Mar College, include:

  • Components of the System Unit
  • Computer Storage Devices
  • Database Management
  • Privacy and Ethics

    "Our guests expect sophisticated enrichment that includes progressive programming and the latest equipment," says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's senior vice president, hotel operations. "We continue to strive to offer the very highest level of curriculum, as well as options to suit virtually any interest."


    Every Crystal Cruise offers complimentary instruction on the Windows 7 operating system, e-mail, website design, digital video editing, digital camera orientation, Photoshop, and even surfing the Web. Other topics include Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, greeting and business card design, and various financial research tools and spreadsheet preparation. Private instruction is also available. There is a nominal fee for those wishing to earn collegiate credit.

    Renowned for its onboard enrichment, Crystal also offers varied, comprehensive programming on every worldwide itinerary, including keyboard classes through Yamaha and language classes through Berlitz. World Cruise segments feature expanded options, with additional lectures and classes.

    The epic 108-day 2010 World Cruise departs Miami on January 11, and visits such exotic destinations as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Iran, among more than 40 ports in 37 countries. For terms and conditions and Crystal reservations, please contact a travel agent at 1-800-738-8837.

    View details on Crystal Cruises to Europe
    View details on Crystal Cruises to Canada/New England and South America

    Posted by Denise at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)
  • September 09, 2009

    Cruise Passengers & Antigua Police Brawl

    On September 4th the Carnival Victory cruise ship was docked in the port of Antigua when six U.S. citizens went ashore. The incident apparently began when the passengers refused to pay their cab driver after a tour. The cab driver reportedly quoted the tourists a price of $50 for the tour, ending in Fort James Beach. The dispute arose after the cab driver told the group the price was $100 to get them back to the ship. The tourists refused to pay $100, stating that they would stick to the original fare.

    To settle the dispute the cab driver took the passengers to the St. John's police station. This is where the brawl broke out.

    Several police officers were injured in the brawl, as well as some of the six tourists. The tourists were then arrested and held at the station.

    According to resports the following occurred: the cab driver called the police station while driving there. When the cab pulled up two plain-clothes officers were awaiting its arrival. One of the female tourists attempted to exit the cab in an effort to get back to the ship. One of the female plain-clothes officers then restrained the women tourist while a meal officer allegedly struck her and thus the brawl started.

    An eyewitness told the Antigua Sun newspaper that police officers closed the gates to the station while other officers started running from various offices and began throwing kicks and punches.

    After some research the cruise ship terminal to Fort James Beach ride is only a $12 per car (based on four passengers) cab fare. However, this tour allegedly included other island sites.

    The six tourists are apparently from Brooklyn, New York and have contacted congressional representatives. The six tourists were charged Monday, September 7th with assult and malicious damage. The names of the tourists released are: Shoshannah and Rachel Henry, Nancy and Dolores Lalane, Mike Tierre and Joshua Jackson. They are expected to enter pleas at a court appearance today.

    Written by Denise Blackmore
    Details of the incident taken from the Antigua Sun newspaper article

    An update Thursday in the USA today states the six tourists will plead not guilty. Henry, one of the plan-clothes officers did not annouce who they were and initiated the flight. Shoshannah Henry, one of the tourists, says "We thought these people were trying to kill us," alleging an officer punched her in the face during the brawl.

    An update Friday in the USA today states police in Antigua are saying the six tourists hit them, choked them and pulled their hair during the brawl. Constable Alcia Browne-Weston is quoted telling the court the tourists behaved "in a very aggressive manner". Later states "She pushed me and I fell (to the ground). She then held me in my collar and began to choke me. The six U.S. tourists are currently out on $5,000 bail but have had to surrender their travel documents.

    An update Monday, October 5th says five of the six Carnival cruise ship passengers have pleaded uilty to various charges related to the incident. The Associated Press says Antigua prosecutors and desfense attoneys worked out a plea deal Saturday. Prosecutors ropped charges against the sixth defendant. The cruises will be sentenced Monday.

    Posted by Denise at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

    September 08, 2009



    MIAMI, FL - September 2, 2009 - Oceania Cruises announced that several new company booking records were achieved during the month of August including phone volume, new reservations and pricing performance.

    The month of August set new booking records for the company while the one week period of August 23rd through the 29th marked the busiest week on record and August 31st registered as the biggest single booking day in the company's history. The company credits the record booking activity to the culmination of promotional offers on its popular 2010 European Collection voyages which expired at month-end.

    "The tremendous demand we are witnessing for the Oceania Cruises experience is extremely gratifying and speaks to the strength of our brand and value proposition," stated Bob Binder, President of Oceania Cruises.

    32 of the line's 2010 voyages are already sold out and overall pricing has strengthened back to the record setting 2007 and 2008 pre-recession levels which prompted the line to raise prices on over 40% of its 2010 departures effective September 1st. Another price increase is slated effective January 1, 2010.


    "The demand and pricing strength Oceania Cruises is experiencing showcases the resilience of the cruise industry in the wake of a challenging economy and demonstrates once again how important vacations are to consumers. What we are seeing is an industry-wide trend that Oceania's sister brand Regent Seven Seas Cruises is also enjoying" stated Frank Del Rio, Chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings, parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

    Travel Agent partners are also reporting record booking levels as consumer confidence strengthens. "Oceania Cruises, along with all of our cruise industry partners, have done a phenomenal job of marketing the value of cruise travel and driving consumers into the offices of agents," stated Brad Anderson, Co-President of San Diego-based Anderson Travel and Miami-based America's Vacation Center.

    Oceania Cruises is expecting the remainder of the 2010 European Collection to continue selling at a brisk pace and has moved-up the introduction of its 2010-2011 Winter Collection voyages to September 15th in order to provide agent partners with additional itineraries and sales opportunities. The line's hotly anticipated 1,258 guest Marina, the first ship designed specifically for the Upper Premium market, is expected to go on sale during the 1st quarter of 2010.

    About Oceania Cruises
    Oceania Cruises is the world?s only upper-premium cruise line and offers an unrivaled combination of the finest cuisine at sea, elegant accommodations, exceptional personalized service and extraordinary value. Award-winning itineraries visit more than 300 ports in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Americas aboard three luxurious, 684-guest ships: Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. The 1,258-guest Marina, the first ship designed specifically for the Upper Premium market segment, joins the fleet in winter 2010.

    About Prestige Cruise Holdings
    Prestige Cruise Holdings is the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Formed in 2007 to manage select assets in Apollo Management's cruise investment portfolio, PCH is led by Chairman and CEO Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises. PCH is the market leader in the upper-premium and luxury segments of the cruise industry with nearly 4,000 berths between the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, a number the company expects will grow to more than 6,500 berths by 2011.

    Posted by Denise at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

    September 04, 2009

    Regent Seven Seas Cruises Announces The Addition Of Canyon Ranch?s Renowned Spaclub To Its Luxury Cruise Fleet


    FORT LAUDERDALE, FL. September 1, 2009. Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) announced today that world famous Canyon Ranch, the leading operator of destination health resorts, will soon operate the spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness facilities on board the line's fleet of all-suite ultraluxury ships.

    "It gives us great pleasure to welcome the world's leading luxury spa brand aboard our ships," said Mark Conroy, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. "Canyon Ranch's unique approach to lifestyle perfectly complements our brand and the lifestyle of our guests," he added.

    Aboard Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, from the Canyon Ranch at Sea division, will feature a state-of-the-art spa, wellness and fitness facility, plus a luxurious full-service beauty salon. SpaClub will offer the most desirable spa amenities available: massage, body and skin-care treatment rooms, a gym and weight room with cardio and weight training equipment, a juice bar, men's and women's locker rooms, thalassotherapy, sauna and steam rooms.

    Canyon Ranch SpaClub will be installed on each ship in December 2009, with the first cruises featuring this luxurious facility being December 18 for Seven Seas Voyager, December 20 for Seven Seas Mariner, and December 28 for Seven Seas Navigator.

    Regent Seven Seas Cruises will also feature a full range of culinary offerings from Canyon Ranch's incomparable Spa Cuisine, which is both nutritious and created with the highest gourmet standards.

    This array of healthy cuisine will be available starting in the spring of 2010 at breakfast, lunch and dinner in each of the ships' main dining room, Compass Rose; for breakfast and lunch in the more casual dining venue La Veranda; at the Pool Grill, and on the 24-hour Room Service menu for in-suite dining.

    "Canyon Ranch shares our passion for fine and healthy cuisine and our culinary teams will be working together to create a unique and diverse array of healthy, gourmet meals," added Conroy.


    More Than a Spa, A Lifestyle
    Canyon Ranch certified fitness instructors will conduct daily group and private fitness, yoga and tai chi classes for guests. In addition, on select voyages Canyon Ranch healthy living experts will offer onboard presentations and workshops addressing lifestyle change, healthy living, stress managementand a variety of other topics.

    The Canyon Ranch SpaClub Beauty Salon will offer complete beauty services for women and men.

    The extensive Salon menu will feature hair design and nail care treatments, including luxurious spa manicures and pedicures, makeup consultations and makeovers.

    The facility will offer an array of rejuvenating spa treatments, some created specially for Regent guests, include massages and therapeutic bodywork, mud, aromatherapy, ayuvedic and seaweed treatments, facials and masks featuring Canyon Ranch's award winning Your Transformation skincare products, conditioning body scrubs and therapeutic body cocoons.

    "Canyon Ranch is thrilled to be expanding its 'at Sea' division aboard the ultra-luxury ships of Regent Seven Seas Cruises," stated Chief Operating Officer Peter Smith. "We share Regent's passion for unparalleled service and look forward to bringing our highly acclaimed amenities to our mutual guests."

    About Canyon Ranch
    Canyon Ranch pioneered the evolution of wellness lifestyle and has been an industry leader for nearly 30 years. Operating the world's most celebrated collection of life-enhancement properties, Canyon Ranch has destination health resorts in Tucson, Arizona and Lenox, Massachusetts, and SpaClub facilities (spa, wellness and fitness facilities designed to give guests a taste of the full immersion resort experience) at The Venetian/The Palazzo hotel in Las Vegas, Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, and onboard cruise ships. In addition, the company recently opened Canyon Ranch Living and Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach, the nation's first luxury wellness hotel and residential community. The only 11-time recipient of the Conde Nast Traveler Best Destination Spa Award, Canyon Ranch has also been named the "Healthiest Spa in America" by Health magazine as well as the "Best Spa for Food" by Gourmet magazine.

    About Regent Seven Seas Cruises
    Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a Prestige Cruise Holdings company, operates a fleet of medium-sized luxury cruise ships that visit over 300 ports on all seven continents, including Antarctica. RSSC is consistently rated among the world?s top three cruise lines by readers of luxury travel magazines. Travel professionals worldwide voted RSSC the "World's Best Luxury Cruise Line" for the fifth consecutive year as part of the 2008 Travel Weekly Awards and readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted RSSC "World's Best Small-Ship Cruise Line" in 2007. For further information, call a travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

    About Prestige Cruise Holdings
    Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH) is the parent corporation of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Formed in 2007 to manage select assets in Apollo Management's cruise investment portfolio, PCH is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frank J. Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises. PCH is the market leader in the Upper Premium and Luxury segments of the cruise industry with more than 4,450 berths between the Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises brands, a number the company expects will grow to more than 6,700 berths by 2011.

    Posted by Denise at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

    September 02, 2009

    Princess Ships Start Plugging Into Shore Power at Port of Vancouver


    Island Princess Inaugurates New Canada Place Facility to Reduce Air Emissions

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (August 31, 2009) - Today Island Princess helped inaugurate the Port of Vancouver?s new shore power facility by turning off its engines and instead "plugging in" to clean hydroelectric power from shore.

    The new shore power technology at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal enables Princess Cruises? ships, and other equipped vessels, to use power from the city's grid instead of the onboard diesel-powered engines, reducing emissions when docking in Vancouver.

    The port becomes the third in the world where Princess Cruises' ships can take advantage of this innovative technology. The new shore power installation is the very first use of this technology in Canada and is the result of a $9 million cooperative partnership among Port Metro Vancouver, Transport Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, British Columbia Hydro, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.

    "We've been committed to shore power for many years, so we're pleased we can now 'plug in' our ships at Port Metro Vancouver," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "We know that local air quality issues are important to the community, and we?re proud to join with all those involved in realizing this important environmental initiative."

    Princess' shore power program made history when it debuted in Juneau, Alaska in the summer of 2001. It expanded to Seattle in summer 2005 and is planned to roll out in other ports that have made commitments to the technology, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Currently nine of the line?s ships are outfitted with the capability to "plug in" to a shoreside power source.

    Four Princess ships will use shore power in Vancouver during the remainder of the 2009 Alaska season. The vessels - Coral Princess, Diamond Princess, Island Princess and Sapphire Princess - sail on seven-day Gulf of Alaska cruises.

    To create this unique power system, Princess has outfitted its ships with custom-built connection cabinets that connect the ship's electrical network to the local electrical system ashore. Since 2001, Princess has invested nearly $7 million in equipment alone to enable its vessels to connect to shore power. The ships currently equipped with this technology include:

  • Coral Princess
  • Dawn Princess
  • Diamond Princess
  • Golden Princess
  • Island Princess
  • Sapphire Princess
  • Sea Princess
  • Star Princess
  • Sun Princess
  • Also known as "cold ironing," shore power uses electrical power transmitted from a landside transformer to the vessel via four 3.5-inch diameter flexible electrical cables. The actual cable connection on a vessel is a traditional, though quite large, plug and socket. The length of time needed to connect a ship to shore power and shut down the vessel's diesel generator is approximately 40 minutes. Once connected, the ship's engines are powered down and, simultaneously, the necessary amount of power, provided by BC Hydro, will be used to run the ship's services while in port.

    Posted by Denise at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

    September 01, 2009

    New Pictures of Oasis of the Seas


    The Oasis of the Seas is the newest ship by Royal Caribbean International. It is currently being built in Turku, Finland. It's first scheduled departure is December 1st, 2009 offering a 4 night Labadee Extravaganza Cruise. However the ship is scheduled for a later October delivery and will offer multiple cruises in November for travel agents only.

    The Oasis of the Seas is currently 95% complete. Below I've included two of the newest pictures of the ship.



    Here are some statistics about Oasis of the Seas:

    1.7 million ? hours spent designing the ship.

    8,000 ? person years working on the Oasis.

    15 ? architectural firms involved in Oasis-class design design.

    3,000 ? miles of cable on the Oasis.

    2,300 ? workers still onboard.

    2,160 ? crew members that will staff the Oasis.

    95% ? percentage pulled from existing Royal Caribbean ships.

    2.5 years ? average experience of each crew member.

    5,000 ? cumulative years of customer service on Oasis.

    24 ? restaurants on Oasis.

    37 ? bars.

    13 ? retail outlets.

    12,000 ? Number of plants that will be transplanted onto the grounds of the Boardwalk neighborhood of the ship.

    30,000 ? weight of cars equivalent to the weight of Oasis? hull.

    650,000 ? liters of paint used on Oasis.

    2.4 million ? square footage of the Oasis

    150 ? suites on the Oasis.

    2,700 ? deck chairs on the ship.

    6 and 3 ? maximum and minimum number of trips up and down per hour the Rising Tide bar can make.

    21 ? depth in feet of the diving pool in the AquaTheater.

    139,000 ? gallons of water in the AquaTheater pool, more than all the pools on the Freedom of the Seas combined.

    There are so many activities on the Oasis of the Seas and with 5,400 passengers onboard one may think there will be line-ups for activities, dining, etc. Royal Caribbean's senior vice president of hotel operations has been quoted regarding passenger flow on the Oasis, saying it will be the best at sea. Here are some of the new innoations.

    Activities like Flowrider (surfing at sea), rock-climbing and zip-line passengers will be able to sign a universal sports waiver when they check-in for the cruise. This is instead of signing an individual form for each activity.

    Onboard Oasis of the Seas when you purchase a drink, cappuccino or other a la carte items a waiter will use a handheld machine that the guest will sign. That means the end of signed receipts and paper.

    A show ticketing system is also expected to cut down on lines and crowds. Guests will be able to pre-reserve shows at each entertainment venue before they get on the ship. Pre-reserving can also be done from the TV in all staterooms.

    Royal Caribbean has also announced that the embarkation process on port days will be faster because the security check will be done before passengers board the ship. The Oasis of the Seas plans to use face-recognition technology with each cruise keycard.

    These new features will eventually be seen on the entire Royal Caribbean fleet...once the bugs are worked out of course! View more details about Oasis of the Seas cruise vacations here.

    Written by Denise Blackmore, MCC

    View details on Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruises here
    View details on Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruisetours here
    View details on Royal Caribbean Europe Cruises here
    View details on Royal Caribbean Mexico Cruises here
    View details on Royal Caribbean Asia, Australia/New Zealand and Canada/New England Cruises here

    Posted by Denise at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)