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February 26, 2010

Mexico Travel Alert Revision

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February 23rd, 2010 - Travel Alert Revision Overview

The US Department of State has extended a travel alert to Mexico. The text of the alert has remained virtually unchanged, with a few additional border areas being added to the list of those where extra caution is recommended.

The travel alert expresses no concern whatsoever regarding Mexican beach resorts and key tourist and business destinations. Tourist areas are safe to travel to, which means that the vast majority of U.S. citizens visiting Mexico should not have any hesitation in doing so.

Mexico's tourist destinations and resort properties remain fun, safe, affordable and popular vacation destinations. Indeed, Mexico remains the number one international destination for U.S. tourists.

Regarding the alert renewal, here are a few points that we consider is important to know, in case your costumers or partners ask about it:

This is not a new alert. It is an extension of an alert already in place.

What has been extended is a travel alert, not a warning. Travel warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable, and/or when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.

A travel alert, on the other hand, disseminates information about short-term conditions of which U.S. citizens abroad should be aware to maximize their safety.

The alert for Mexico does not discourage U.S. citizens from traveling to the country's tourist destinations.

The main tourist destinations for U.S. citizens are geographically far from the very specific areas included in the alert. For example, Cancun and Acapulco are at least a two-hour flight away from the main areas identified in the alert. The distance from Cancun to Ciudad Juarez is 1,312 miles ? approximately the same distance between New York and Miami (1,290 miles), Chicago and Laredo, Texas (1,395 miles), or Los Angeles to Oklahoma City (1,328 miles).

More than 21.5 million international tourists visited Mexico in 2009. Air arrivals from the U.S. in December 2009 were up approximately 6.2% from December 2008, demonstrating that U.S. travelers view Mexico's unique vacation destinations and attractions as safe and violence in northern Mexico as unrelated to Mexico's principal tourist destinations.

More than one million Americans reside in Mexico.

Please feel free to contact the Mexico Tourism Board if you have any questions or doubts.

Posted by Denise at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2010

Carnival Cruise Lines Reports Record Wave Season Activity

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Carnival Cruise Lines is reporting record wave season bookings, with strong reservations activity for 2010 departures. As a result of the strong booking volumes, a general price increase will be implemented effective March 22 for all summer sailings in June, July and August.

For the period of Jan. 1 through Feb. 21, 2010, bookings were at unprecedented levels for the line's 22 ships which operate three- to 15-day voyages from a variety of convenient North American home ports.

Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill said, "We're seeing significantly increased volume as consumers are taking advantage of the incredible value that a Carnival cruise provides. And while pricing hasn't fully recovered to 2008 levels, we are increasing prices and will implement an across-the-board increase effective March 22."

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He said that the price increases will vary by departure date but will be up to 5 percent.

Cahill attributed the record booking activity to a wide range of factors, including strong travel agent partner support, targeted marketing initiatives, itinerary enhancements and the wide variety of close-to-home departure points.

Wave season typically runs from about mid-January through early spring and is traditionally the busiest, most important booking period in the cruise industry.

Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 "Fun Ships" operating voyages ranging from three to 15 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England and Europe.

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Carnival also has two new ships on order - the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic, which is scheduled for delivery in 2011, and a sister ship set to debut in 2012.

For additional information on the Carnival vacation call a Carnival Cruise Specialist at Cruising2Mexico.com #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2010

QSINE by Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises had a telephone call for travel agents this morning announcing a new restaurant onboard Celebrity Eclipse. This new restaurant is called QSINE. It will launch in April 2010 in Southampton, England.

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The chef spoke to travel agents this morning and explained that QSINE takes a modern and playful approach to familar dishes around the world! Below is a list of items on the menu . . .

Meatball Trilogy
Sushi Lollipops
Lobster Escargot
BBQ Rib Spring Rolls (served in a spring roll dish)
TresViche
Crunchies Munchies (variety of snacks to nibble on)
Bento Box (array of garnishes filled to dress your cupcakes)
Chitini's (combination of Chinese food displayed in martini glasses)
Slider Party (your own pinic, you assemble sliders to please your palate)
Curriedfull Lamb
Cataplana of the Sea
Disco Shrimp
Popcorn Fish-n-Chips
Lava Crab
M's Delight (variety of 12 different types of meze displayed in a custom-built vetical plate)
Soup & Souffle
Taj Mahal

The concept is interesting and the pictures of the food was amazing. As I was looking at the pictures and hearing the chef describe the food I was so hungry. I can't wait to try this restaurant!

Written By Denise Blackmore, MCC

Posted by Denise at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

NCL Annoucement

Norwegian Cruise Line had a special annoucement for travel agents yesterday, February 23, 2010. They held a special webinar and had Corporate Executive Chef Eric Cousin on the call.He announced a new menu at the Le Bistro onboard all NCL ships.

He is a 5th generation chef and restaurateur. Born and raised in the south of France. As a child, his passion for cokking was passed down from his father. At age 18, he studied in New York with renowned culinary masters Alain DuCasse, Christian De Louvier and Paul Bocuse. Created the menu of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones wedding at The Plaza Hotel.

Posted by Denise at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2010

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE'S WINTER/SPRING 2011/12 DEPLOYMENT ADDS TAMPA AND ROME AS HOMEPORTS

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Line will visit Israel for the first time in more than 10 years; expands Caribbean offerings and extends sailings in Hawaii

MIAMI - February 23, 2010 - Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that its 2011/12 winter/spring deployment includes two new seasonal homeports: Tampa, Florida and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, marking the first time Norwegian has initiated voyages from these cities. In addition, for the first time since 1999 the cruise line will visit Israel.

Guests cruising from Tampa on Norwegian Star will sail a seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary beginning October 16, 2011 through April 8, 2012. In Europe, Norwegian Jade will sail from Rome (Civitavecchia) on 11-day Mediterranean and Holy Land cruises, along with 10-day Eastern Mediterranean sailings, from October 15, 2011 to April 11, 2012.

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In the Caribbean, Norwegian Pearl's seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Miami now includes Ocho Rios, Jamaica as a port of call. The company also announced new sailing dates for Pride of America in Hawaii.

"Norwegian's 2011/2012 winter/spring cruise season will be one of our most exciting Freestyle Cruising seasons yet with opportunities to sail from three cities in the Sunshine State, including from Miami on our newest ship Norwegian Epic," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "We've also added an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cruise to five countries in 11 days on Norwegian Jade, which includes a visit to the Holy Land, a first for Norwegian since 1999."

These new sailings go on sale today to Latitudes members (guests who have cruised with Norwegian before) along with the line?s top travel partners. The cruises open for sale to the public on Thursday, February 25, 2010. As part of Norwegian's "Year of the Freestyle Vacation" promotion, all new reservations from today through March 14, 2010 will receive up to a six-category upgrade. In addition, book any category suite including Penthouse, Deluxe Owners Suite, Courtyard Villa and Garden Villa from now through April 1, 2010 on a cruise departing at least nine months prior to sailing and receive up to $300 in on-board credits.

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Norwegian in Europe
Norwegian Jade's 11-day Mediterranean and Holy Land itinerary offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Alanya, Turkey; Limassol, Cyprus; Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt, along with four relaxing days at sea. Featured shore excursions include overnight tours in Israel to Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, the Dead Sea and Masada, as well as in Egypt to Cairo?s pyramids and tombs. Guests can also discover the Taurus Mountains in Turkey on a 4x4 safari and set off on a wine tour through the picturesque villages in Cyprus. Norwegian Jade?s 10-day Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Rome (Civitavecchia) includes the following ports: Olympia (Katakolon) and Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey; and an overnight in Alexandria, Egypt, offering two full days to experience all of the ancient treasures.

Norwegian in the Caribbean
Norwegian Star's seven-day Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa will depart on Sundays and include stops in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; along with two days at sea.

Norwegian Sun will return to Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida from October 8, 2011 through April 7, 2012 offering alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Norwegian Sun?s Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes the following ports of call: Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian?s private island in the Bahamas. The ship's Western Caribbean itinerary includes: Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay.

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From Miami, Norwegian Cruise Line will feature its largest and most innovative ship to date, Norwegian Epic, sailing seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises with stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas with three full days at sea to enjoy all of the ship?s amenities and world-class entertainment.

Norwegian Pearl will return to Miami from October 16, 2011 to April 8, 2012, sailing seven-day Western Caribbean cruises with stops in Great Stirrup Cay; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico, along with two days at sea.

Rounding out Norwegian's winter/spring deployment from Miami is Norwegian Dawn offering 10 and 11-day Southern Caribbean escapes from November 13, 2011 through April 8, 2012. The ship's 10-day itinerary visits the following ports: Samana, Dominican Republic; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John's, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts; along with three full days at sea. Norwegian Dawn's 11-day Southern Caribbean cruise includes Samana, Dominican Republic; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John?s, Antigua; Roseau, Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts; and three days at sea.
For those in the Northeast looking to escape the cold winter temperatures, Norwegian Gem will sail 10-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries from New York City departing January 8, 2012 through February 8, 2012. This offers guests an easy and convenient departure point without the expense and hassle of air travel. Ports of call include: San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; St. John's, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Norwegian in Hawaii
Pride of America will continue as the only US-flagged vessel sailing among all four of Hawaii's main islands. Pride of America?s seven-day Hawaii inter-island cruises departing from Honolulu are now available through April 7, 2012. Ports of call include: an overnight in Kahului, Maui; Hilo, Hawaii; an evening sail by the Kilauea Volcano; Kona, Hawaii; an overnight in Nawiliwili, Kauai; and an afternoon cruise of the breathtaking Napali Coast.

Norwegian in Canada & New England
Norwegian Jewel will sail four seven-day sailings from New York City to Canada & New England from September 17 through October 8, 2011. Ports of call include Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine.

Norwegian Repositioning Cruises
Norwegian's repositioning cruises are a great way to hit several cruise regions on one trip and include more sea days offering a relaxing vacation without back-to-back port calls. Norwegian Jade offers a 15-day Best of the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Venice and a seven-day Adriatic & Italy from Venice to Rome. Closer to home, Norwegian Pearl offers two 14-day Panama Canal cruises from Miami to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Miami; a seven-day British Columbia & US West Coast from Los Angeles to Vancouver and a five-day Pacific Coastal from Vancouver to Los Angeles; Norwegian Star offers a 14-day Panama Canal cruise from Los Angeles to Tampa; and a seven-day British Columbia & US West Coast from Vancouver to Los Angeles. For an extended Caribbean vacation, Norwegian Gem will offer a 13-day Caribbean Escape from Miami to New York and Norwegian Jewel will offer an 11-day Caribbean Escape from Miami to New York.

To book one or more of these new sailings, please contact a Cruise Specialist at Cruising2Europe.com #1-800-738-8837.

About Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line 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 10 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, the company's largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date, for delivery in June 2010. Norwegian Cruise Line is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, debuting for the first time at sea on Norwegian Epic.

Posted by Denise at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2010

Princess Introduces New "A la Carte" Alaska Cruisetours this Summer for Independent-Minded Travelers

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Affordable New Cruisetour Options Offer More Flexibility and Extra Time at Denali

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 19, 2010) -- Princess Cruises is introducing four new "A la Carte" Alaska cruisetour options for this summer's season, offering more affordable and flexible options for independent-minded travelers. These new cruisetours spend an extra day at one of the Denali-area Princess lodges, and do not include excursions, giving travelers the time to customize their own daily schedules.

The four A la Carte tours range from 10 to 12 nights, offering at least three nights in the Denali area. All cruisetours feature a northbound "Voyage of the Glaciers" Gulf of Alaska cruise aboard Coral Princess or Island Princess, departing from Vancouver; combined with a three-, four- or five-night land tour to the heart of Alaska, featuring stays in Princess' two Denali-area wilderness lodges and exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service. All tours will visit both of the state's top attractions: Denali National Park and Glacier Bay National Park.

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Travelers choosing these itineraries will not be scheduled on the Denali National Park tour or other activities usually included with cruisetours, and instead can choose to add any of four park tour options or a variety of other area excursions offered at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.

"These new A la Carte cruisetours are designed specifically with the value-conscious, independent traveler in mind," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "With fewer ‘extras' included, we can offer a more affordable tour option with greater flexibility for travelers who prefer to discover the wonders of Alaska at their own pace. Passengers can truly customize their vacation to suit their own interests, whether they want to spend extra time viewing Denali's fascinating wildlife, hike through the spectacular wilderness or try an exhilarating pursuit such as river rafting."

The four A la Carte cruisetours itineraries are:
Tour 101 -- 10 nights (Two nights at Denali lodge, one night at Mt. McKinley lodge)
Tour 102 -- 11 nights (Two nights at Denali lodge, one night at Mt. McKinley lodge, one night Fairbanks)
Tour 103 -- 11 nights (Two nights at Denali lodge, two nights at Mt. McKinley lodge)
Tour 104 -- 12 nights (Two nights at Denali lodge, two nights at Mt. McKinley lodge, one night Fairbanks)

All A la Carte tour options are available throughout the May to September Alaska season, with fares beginning at $899 per person.

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Princess offers a variety of land/sea Alaska experiences with itineraries ranging from 10 to 15 nights. All cruisetour options feature at least two nights in the Denali National Park area, stays in Princess' own riverside wilderness lodges, and a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers sailing with Glacier Bay National Park.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a Certified Alaska Specialist at Cruising2Alaska.com #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2010

Carnival Glory Returns to Service Following Extensive Multi-Million-Dollar Refurbishment

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New Features Include Adults-Only Retreat, Seaside Theatre LED Screen, 18 New Balconies

MIAMI - (February 15, 2010) - The 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory has resumed Caribbean service from Miami following a multi-million-dollar renovation that added a host of new facilities and features, including a Serenity adults-only retreat, a 270-square-foot Seaside Theatre poolside LED screen, and a Circle "C" facility for 12- to 14- year olds.

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Eighteen new balconies were also incorporated onto existing ocean view staterooms and a new Mongolian wok venue was added to the casual poolside restaurant. Bow-to-stern Wi-Fi access was added, as well.

From February to May, Carnival Glory operates seasonal seven-day cruises from Miami, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean. Seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises visit Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk, while the western route features Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel.

The ship will then be deployed to New York where it will offer a series of four- and five-day Atlantic Canada voyages from June 6 - September 6, 2010, followed by a series of seven-day Canada/New England cruises, from September 11 - October 9.

"We are constantly looking for ways to improve and expand our product to deliver fun and memorable vacations to our guests while at the same time offering exceptional value," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "The new Seaside Theatre, adults-only area and Circle ?C? facility, which are all available to our guests on a complimentary basis, serve to enhance an already terrific, value-packed vacation choice," he added.

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New Seaside Theatre
Located poolside on Lido Deck is the Carnival Glory's new "Seaside Theatre," a massive 270-square-foot LED screen displaying movies, concerts, sporting events, and other programming, including the popular "Morning Show" hosted by the ship's cruise director. Utilizing the same technology featured in large stadiums and New York's Times Square, the state-of-the-art entertainment system includes a 70,000-watt sound system, providing concert quality sound, even outdoors.

New Balcony Accommodations
During dry dock, 18 new balconies were added to existing Spa Deck accommodations, creating spacious 220-square-foot verandah staterooms. They are conveniently located next to the ship?s 14,500-square-foot "Spa Carnival" facility offering sophisticated exercise equipment, expansive workout facilities and a variety of soothing European-style treatments.

With the addition of these newly reconfigured staterooms, nearly 40 percent of the Carnival Glory's 1,487 cabins now feature private balconies.

New Adults-Only Retreat
Another popular feature added during the dry dock is Serenity, a two-level adults-only retreat located forward on Sun Deck and Sky Deck. Designed as an oceangoing oasis for relaxation, with decorative latticework and teak-style decking, this area features different styles of seating, including shaded sun loungers and hammocks, a full bar, and two oversized whirlpools.

Circle "C" Facility for 12- to 14-Year-Olds
A new Circle "C" facility catering to 12- to 14-year-olds has been added as part of the line's unique offerings for kids. The center features a high-tech sound and lighting system, plasma-screen TVs displaying movies and music videos, and gaming pods with the latest video games and consoles.

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Dining Enhancements
A new Mongolian wok option was added to the Carnival Glory's Red Sail casual restaurant located poolside on Lido Deck. At the new venue, guests can select their favorite meat, sauce, vegetables and other ingredients and watch as a chef creates their custom-designed stir fry dish right before their eyes.

Additionally, the Golden dining room, located forward, was reconfigured for Your Time Dining providing guests the option of open seating between 5:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly.

For additional information and reservations on the Carnival Glory or any other vessel in the "Fun Ship" fleet, contact a Carnival Specialist at Cruising2Mexico.com #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2010

Cunard Welcomes Filmmakers Dori Berinstein and Judd Ehrlich on 29 April

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Film industry documentarians to be featured Cunard Insights speakers

18 February 2010 ? In association with Cunard's partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival, which included the sponsorship of the 2009 World Documentary Feature competition and recognition as the 2009 Official Cruise Line of the Tribeca Film Festival, the iconic ocean liner company welcomes acclaimed documentary filmmakers Dori Berinstein and Judd Ehrlich on the 29 April Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton aboard Queen Mary 2. With this upcoming sailing, Berinstein and Ehrlich join a distinguished list of luminaries and tastemakers that have sailed this legendary voyage with Cunard, operator of The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World.

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April marks the start of Cunard's Transatlantic Crossing season, and the 29 April voyage is one of more than 21 six-, seven-, eight- or nine-day Crossings between New York and Southampton, Cherbourg or Hamburg offered by Cunard until mid-November this year.

During the Crossing, Berinstein and Ehrlich will participate in Cunard Insights, the line's award-winning onboard enrichment programme, and will each screen one of their films. Berinstein will discuss "Gotta Dance," a documentary focusing on a unique dance team made up entirely of senior citizens. Ehrlich will screen ?Run for Your Life,? a feature-length documentary about the enigmatic running guru and founder of the NYC Marathon, Fred Lebow. In addition, they will engage in a panel conversation with the ship?s entertainment director where they will share stories about their multi-faceted careers and the many roles they play in the entertainment industry ? from director to producer to writer. All programmes will be held in Queen Mary 2?s spectacular 450-seat, stadium-style theatre, Illuminations, which is also the only planetarium at sea.

"Cunard's partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival represents our commitment to celebrating the art of filmmaking," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. "We welcome these distinguished documentarians aboard Queen Mary 2 and are confident that the real-life stories they capture through their work, and in turn share through the Insights programme, will thoroughly entertain and engage our guests."

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Dori Berinstein is an award-winning director, producer and writer of film, theater and television. Her first feature film, "Show Business: The Road to Broadway," about Broadway behind-the-curtain, was named one of the top five documentaries of 2006 by the International Documentary Association. Berinstein's second feature, "Some Assembly Required," about kids nationwide competing in a toy invention competition, will be released in 2010. Her most recent film, "Gotta Dance," was released theatrically during the summer of 2009; a Broadway adaptation is underway. Berinstein is a three-time Tony-winning Broadway producer ("Thoroughly Modern Millie," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Fool Moon"). Her 11th Broadway show, "Legally Blonde: The Musical," currently is playing in London and on tour across the United States. Berinstein has served as an executive and/or consultant at DreamWorks, Walt Disney Imagineering, Paramount and Sony Pictures.

Judd Ehrlich, a native of New York City, most recently directed and produced "Run for Your Life." The film, which features interviews with notables from Olympian Frank Shorter to Mayor Ed Koch, premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, was acquired by Screen Media Films/Universal Studios and was released theatrically. Ehrlich's directorial debut, "Mayor of the West Side," the coming-of-age story of a teenager with multiple disabilities, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Documentary and is airing on PBS nationwide through 2010. Ehrlich collaborated on the editing of Ric Burns' epic PBS series and Emmy Award-winner, "New York," and worked for acclaimed PBS independent documentary series "POV" and edited for CBS News. Ehrlich has also created and curated multiple film series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Museum and the JCC in Manhattan. He currently is completing a documentary, following young magicians at the country's premier magic camp.

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"It has been wonderful to again share our commitment to providing quality entertainment and engaging thoughtful experiences for audiences with Cunard," said Nancy Schafer, executive director of the Tribeca Film Festival. "Both Dori and Judd?s crowd pleasing films played to sold out audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival and I know that Cunard guests will enjoy the experience of not only screening their films but having the rare opportunity to connect with the filmmakers directly."

Delving deeply into a variety of compelling and relevant topics, Cunard Insights introduces guests to stimulating experts and accomplished visionaries who reflect the line's heritage of adventure and prestige. Through a series of lectures, Q&A's, social gatherings and workshops, guests connect with authors and intellectuals who have achieved notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, politics, arts and literature. The Insights programme underscores Cunard's longstanding view that onboard entertainment should afford guests a provocative and rewarding cerebral experience.

Widely considered the definitive ocean travel experience, a Cunard Transatlantic Crossing offers guests myriad opportunities for intellectual interaction, leisurely pursuits, health and wellness activities and gourmet dining. Unique Cunard amenities found aboard Queen Mary 2 include the famed Princess and Queens Grill accommodation, the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea and the first Todd English restaurant at sea.

For more information and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2, consult a travel professional at Cruising2Europe.com #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2010

Norwegian Epic Sea Trials A Triumphant Success

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121 days until Norwegian Cruise Line's largest ship is delivered

Saint-Nazaire, France - Feb 15, 2010 - Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Cruise Line's largest and most innovative ship to date, returned from her first successful sea trials on Sunday, February 14, 2010, after four days of sailing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. During the sea trials, 300 technicians and engineers from STX FRANCE SA, along with 30 Norwegian Cruise Line representatives, checked more than 60 different aspects of the ship's performance by running trials of the vessel's speed, maneuverability, hydrodynamics and propulsion, amongst others.

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"During her first time ever at sea, Norwegian Epic performed above expectations with excellent marine behavior," said Roberto Martinoli, Norwegian's president and COO, who was on-board during the sea trials. "All tests were conducted with positive results. She is a beautiful ship with outstanding performance. Now that sea trials are completed, we can concentrate on finishing the ship and showing her to the world in June."

A second round of sea trials is scheduled for mid-April in order to finalize all tests, including final speed measurement. The 153,000-gross ton, 4,200-passenger ship - the largest ship ever built in Saint-Nazaire - is scheduled for delivery on June 15, 2010.

Photos from the sea trials along with new construction photos can be seen on Norwegian's Facebook page at www.ncl.com/facebook.

Following her seven-day transatlantic crossing from Southhampton to New York on June 24, 2010 and inaugural activities in New York and Miami, Norwegian Epic will sail alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami from July 10, 2010 through April 30, 2011. Ports of call on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary include Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. The Western Caribbean cruises visit Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico. The 2011 cruise season from May-October will have Norwegian Epic sailing a series of seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona. When she returns to Miami on November 5, 2011, she will sail a series of seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises through April 7, 2012.

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To book one of these itineraries or for more information on Norwegian Epic, call a travel professional at Cruising2Europe.com #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 10 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, the company's largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date, for delivery in summer 2010. Norwegian Cruise Line is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, debuting for the first time at sea on Norwegian Epic.

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

February 11, 2010

Princess Revives Nostalgic Cruising Tradition with New Bon Voyage Experience

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Passengers Can Once Again Invite Friends and Family Aboard Ship On Embarkation Day

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 11, 2010) -- Reviving a signature tradition from the early days of cruising, Princess Cruises is debuting an innovative, new program giving passengers the opportunity to invite their friends and family aboard their ship on embarkation day to wish them "bon voyage" and get a taste of the onboard experience.

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Called the "Bon Voyage ExperienceSM," the program is a new twist on the departure celebration of bygone days, when friends and family would routinely come aboard to see off passengers. Because of increasingly tighter security procedures, this practice disappeared more than two decades ago, but it's now back -- complete with lunch in the dining room and tour of the ship.

Unique in the cruise industry, the Bon Voyage Experience enables passengers to extend an invitation to their guests to join them onboard during sailing day for a four-course dining room lunch with wine, a ship tour and even a souvenir photo. Passengers and their guests can enjoy priority embarkation and will be able to spend approximately four hours together on the ship before it sets sail. The cost for the program is $39 per person, which can be applied toward a future Princess cruise.

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The program will debut in March in the ports of Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, and then roll out to New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

"Long-time cruisers will recall the fun of the bon voyage send-off with their family and friends, and we're excited to re-introduce a new, modern version of this experience," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.

Cruise passengers will be notified about the program through the pre-cruise emails they receive from Princess as their cruise date approaches. In-port guests can be booked through a travel agent or by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, beginning 120 days before the cruise and up to six days before the sailing date. Once registered, guests will be able to input their required security information through the line's Cruise Personalizer.

The number of guests who will be able to participate in the Bon Voyage Experience on any given embarkation day will be approximately 50.

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The roll-out schedule for the launch of the Bon Voyage Experience is:

Sapphire Princess -- March 6 in Los Angeles
Crown Princess -- March 6 in Fort Lauderdale
Coral Princess -- March 7 in Los Angeles
Emerald Princess -- March 7 in Fort Lauderdale
Island Princess -- March 10 in Los Angeles
Ruby Princess -- March 10 in Fort Lauderdale
Golden Princess -- March 14 in Los Angeles
Royal Princess -- March 27 in Fort Lauderdale
Star Princess -- April 10 in Fort Lauderdale
Caribbean Princess -- May 18 in New York
Sea Princess -- June 1 in San Francisco

During the Alaska season, Sapphire Princess, Golden Princess and Royal Princess will offer the program in Seattle, beginning in May.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by calling Cruising2Paradise.com at #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2010

Princess Cruises Debuts 20 New Shore Excursions in Alaska This Summer

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Passengers Can Help Out with a Scientific Expedition or Get Up Close and Personal with Glaciers and Wildlife

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 9, 2010) ? This year Princess Cruises offers passengers some fresh ways to experience Alaska up close and personal with a variety of new shore excursions for the summer. Among the 20 new options is a unique opportunity to join a scientific expedition while in Juneau to help study climate change and wildlife behavior patterns.

Passengers can also get closer to the dramatic glaciers of Tracy Arm, pilot their own zodiac on a tour of Ketchikan or enjoy the opportunity for animal encounters at a film trainer's wildlife park. These new options join Princess' extensive shore excursion program, which currently offers 215 different Alaska tour options for passengers starting in May.

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"Alaska offers so many thrilling experiences for visitors ? there's beautiful scenery nearly everywhere you turn, great opportunities to encounter wildlife, an intriguing Native culture, and of course the towering glaciers," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "These new excursions showcase some of the many wonders available throughout this amazing state, and offer visitors a number of ways to get a very personal Alaska vacation."

New tours available to Alaska passengers this summer include:

Whales & Glaciers Citizen Science Adventure (Juneau) - This unique tour will give participants a taste of what it?s like to be a research scientist in the wilds of the Last Frontier. Passengers join a science-based excursion giving them the opportunity to participate in a GPS time-lapse photo project at the Mendenhall Glacier that documents the effects of climate change on the Juneau Icefield. Citizen scientists can also collect water samples, net plankton and record humpback whale and other marine wildlife behavior. This observational data will improve scientists' understanding of the many variables that affect Alaska's marine ecosystem. In addition, passengers will enjoy a whale-watching cruise, with guaranteed whale sightings.

Back Country Zodiac Expedition (Ketchikan) - Passengers can be their own captain for the day as they skipper their custom-built motorized inflatable along the coastline of Revillagigado Island for a unique Alaska adventure. Participants will follow their guide on a journey that explores Native culture with a view of Saxman Native Village, and a search for wildlife such as bears, eagles, whales, seals and more. The group guide will explain the area's history, geology, culture and ecology.

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Alaska Wildlife Park (Princess Exclusive - Skagway) - Visitors can meet many types of animals at the Kroschel Films Wildlife Park Center. The park is run by trainer Steve Kroschel who has a lifetime of experience working with wild animals for movies such as "Never Cry Wolf" and the PBS "Wild America" series. His center provides a home for numerous orphaned wild animals including wolves, Arctic fox, lynx, porcupine, pine marten, mink, reindeer and wolverines. Guests will enjoy hands-on, face-to-face encounters and intimate close-up photography of many of these animals as they learn about the behavior of these intriguing creatures and gain an understanding of the time and trust required to train them.

Whales, Bears & Glaciers Adventure (Princess Exclusive - Juneau) - This excursion offers an opportunity to experience the perfect Alaska trifecta: whale watching, bear viewing and a scenic flight over the glaciers of the Juneau Icefield. Visitors will see two of Alaska's most impressive creatures with a whale watching cruise that guarantees sightings, plus a bear search at a salmon-bearing stream. The tour caps off with a flight over the Juneau Icefield and the Mendenhall Glacier on the way back to town.

Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer (Juneau) - Sapphire Princess passengers have a new way to get a close-up look at the glaciers of Tracy Arm as they cruise aboard a luxurious, high-speed catamaran for an in-depth exploration of the twin Sawyer Glaciers. The adventure begins just before Sapphire Princess reaches the entry to Tracy Arm, as participants board their catamaran directly from the ship. After viewing glaciers from a much closer vantage point than is possible from a cruise ship, they will travel to Juneau to rejoin Sapphire Princess.

Adventure Park & Zip Lines (Skagway) - Thrill-seeking passengers can walk along raised balance beams, cross suspension bridges and fly through the air on a series of zip lines with this adventurous excursion. The exciting course will keep passengers challenged and exhilarated as they soar through the air on a series of six zip lines through the lush Alaska canopy.

Juneau Jeep Adventure (Princess Exclusive) - Visitors can experience Juneau's most scenic and historic locales in the rugged comfort of a Jeep Wrangler for a small group adventure. A diver/guide will take each group on a tour through Juneau, to a scenic view of Mendenhall Glacier and other local sites, ending with a stop at the award-winning Alaskan Brewing Company for a final taste of Juneau.

Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter & Salmon Bake Combo (Princess Exclusive - Juneau) - This unique tour combination gives passengers a stunning aerial view of the famed Mendenhall Glacier plus the chance to feast on wild Alaska salmon. Participants will enjoy a glacier landing where they can explore the glacier's surface and learn how glaciers form, flow and shape the landscape. Once they've worked up an appetite, visitors join the salmon bake festivities for an all-you-can-eat meal.

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Historical Ketchikan Walking Tour (Princess Exclusive) - Visitors can gain a unique understanding of Ketchikan and its Tlingit culture on this guided walking tour of Alaska's "First City." Led by a former city mayor of Tlingit descent, the tour offers personal knowledge of the many changes Ketchikan has experienced over the years. Visitors will also learn the significance of totem poles within Native culture, see the former red light district, and visit a salmon ladder to see the incredible journey salmon endure as they return to their spawning ground.

Bear Country & Wildlife Expedition (Ketchikan) - Passengers can view black bears in their natural habitat on a wildlife experience just a short drive from downtown Ketchikan. Participants will enjoy a nature walk on their way to a stream where more than 100,000 Pacific salmon return each year to spawn. Large concentrations of bears and other wildlife gather to feed on the huge runs of salmon. In addition to the bears, bald eagles wait for scraps, while mink, marten and wolf frequent the area, and seals can usually be seen feeding on the bountiful fish harvest.

Behind the Scenes at Butchart Gardens (Victoria) - One of Victoria's premiere attractions, Butchart Gardens is a beautiful place to explore independently. However, with this tour, guests have the unusual opportunity to go beyond the usual self-guided visit, and enjoy an exclusive in-depth guided tour behind the scenes. Visitors will learn the history of the gardens and explore the Mediterranean Garden and botanist?s greenhouse, plus see a demonstration by the gardens' ceramics master as he displays his skills in flower-pot making.

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All Alaska shore excursions are currently available for pre-reservation. Passengers who are already booked on an Alaska cruise can reserve their tours by logging on to the Cruise Personalizer on princess.com, to ensure they get the excursions of their choice. As many tours fill up quickly, passengers are encouraged to make selections as early as possible.

Posted by Denise at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2010

Norwegian Cruise Line Sails Into Summer With New Deployment For 2011/2012

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Deployment includes several firsts, including homeporting in Copenhagen; deploying Norwegian Gem to Bermuda; and sailing year-round from New Orleans

Miami - Feb 9, 2010 - Norwegian Cruise Line today announced its 2011/2012 summer deployment and itineraries with highlights including a new homeport in Europe; more capacity and newer ships to Bermuda from the Northeast; and a year-round commitment to New Orleans. In a first for the line in Europe, Norwegian Sun will homeport in Copenhagen offering nine-day cruises to the Baltic. Continuing its ongoing commitment to Bermuda, the company is deploying Norwegian Gem from New York for the first time and Norwegian Dawn from Boston. In addition, Norwegian Spirit will homeport year-round in New Orleans, home to the 2010 Super Bowl Champions the New Orleans Saints, representing the first time the company will homeport a ship year-round in the Crescent City.

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These cruises go on sale to Norwegian's top travel partners and Latitudes members (past guests) today, February 9, 2010, and to the general public on Thursday, February 11. Norwegian is currently offering a 50 percent reduced deposit for all bookings made fleetwide through February 14, 2010. In addition, for all cruises booked to Europe, the line is offering up to a six category upgrade, if booked by February 14, 2010.

"Our summer 2011 deployment is filled with exciting itineraries and new choices, so that our guests can enjoy Freestyle Cruising to a variety of destinations around the world during the popular summer travel season," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's CEO.

In the Baltic, Norwegian Sun will sail from Copenhagen, Denmark, a new homeport for Norwegian, on 15 nine-day Baltic Capitals cruises. Ports of call include: Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm (Nynashamn), Sweden.

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In addition to Norwegian Epic's deployment from Barcelona to the Western Mediterranean in the summer of 2011, Norwegian Jade, which currently sails year-round in Europe, will replace Norwegian Gem sailing from Venice on a seven-day Greek Isles cruise with ports of call including: Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Olympia (Katakolon), Greece. The ship will also sail a seven-day Adriatic, Greece and Turkey cruise with ports of call including: Dubrovnik, Croatia; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey and Split, Croatia. These sailings can be booked back-to-back for a 14-day cruise with no port repetition sailing to Greece, Italy, Croatia and Turkey.

Norwegian will continue its commitment to Bermuda, sailing two ships from the Northeast to Bermuda weekly from May through October calling on King's Wharf. Norwegian Gem, one of Norwegian's newest and largest Freestyle Cruising ships carrying 2,400 guests, will replace Norwegian Dawn sailing from New York on Sundays to Bermuda, staying for three full days. In Boston, the 2,224-passenger Norwegian Dawn will homeport there for the first time, replacing Norwegian Spirit which sailed from Boston for two years. The ship will depart on Fridays with three days in Bermuda.

For the first time in Norwegian's history, the line will homeport year-round in the Big Easy with Norwegian Spirit sailing weekly seven-day Western Caribbean cruises from April 2011 through April 2012. The 2,000-passenger Norwegian Spirit will depart New Orleans every Sunday. Ports of call include Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Belize City, Belize. Norwegian has homeported cruise ships in New Orleans seasonally since 2003 with Norwegian Spirit there in the winter since 2007.

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Norwegian Jewel, carrying 2,400 passengers, will continue her year-round deployment in New York sailing seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises departing on Saturdays through April 2012. Ports of call include: Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida; Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian's private island) and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian Jewel will offer Nickelodeon" at Sea, exclusively on Norwegian Cruise Line, with Nickelodeon-themed family programming on all of its sailings. Guests will have the opportunity to experience character meet and greets; interactive game shows; and more.

Also from New York beginning in December 2011 through April 2012, Norwegian Gem will sail a series of weekly seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises, departing on Sundays, with stops in Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida; Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian's private island) and Nassau, Bahamas.

In Alaska, both Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Star will return, sailing seven-day Glacier Bay and Sawyer Glacier cruises respectively, both from Seattle, Washington. Norwegian Pearl's weekly Glacier Bay cruises depart on Sundays and will sail through Alaska's Inside Passage with ports of call including: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, Alaska; and Victoria, British Columbia. Norwegian Pearl will also sail a seven-day Alaska & Sawyer Glacier cruise from Vancouver to Seattle on May 8, 2011 and a seven-day Glacier Bay cruise from Seattle to Vancouver on September 18, 2011. Norwegian Star's weekly Sawyer Glacier cruises depart on Saturdays sailing through Alaska's Inside Passage with ports of call including: Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska; and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Norwegian Star will also sail a seven-day Sawyer Glacier cruise from Vancouver to Seattle on May 14, 2011 and a seven-day Sawyer Glacier from Seattle to Vancouver on September 17, 2011.

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For the shorter cruise option, Norwegian Sky will continue sailing three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas year-round from Miami through April 20, 2012. The three-day Bahamas cruise departs Fridays and includes stops in Nassau, Bahamas and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas. On Mondays, the ship departs Miami on a four-day Bahamas cruise with stops in Grand Bahama Island, Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island; and Nassau, Bahamas.

To book one of these new itineraries, guests should contact a travel professional at Cruising2Europe.com or Cruising2Alaska.com 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 10 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, the company's largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date, for delivery in summer 2010. Norwegian Cruise Line is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, debuting for the first time at sea on Norwegian Epic.

Posted by Denise at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2010

Cunard to Launch Special Relationship Enrichment Programme

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New speaker series aboard Queen Mary 2 to focus on close political and cultural ties
between the United States and the United Kingdom

2 February 2010 - In keeping with its longstanding tradition of offering guests award-winning enrichment programmes, Cunard Line announces the Special Relationship speaker series. Guests sailing on select 2010 Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossings will have the unique opportunity to attend lectures by ambassadors, statesmen, politicians, journalists, academics and broadcasters with a shared interest between the United States and United Kingdom, an association first referenced as a "special relationship" by Winston Churchill in 1946. The programme was developed in direct response to guests noting their interest in hearing about politics and contemporary issues while onboard.

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"When Cunard began its Transatlantic liner service 170 years ago, it began a tradition of bridging the United Kingdom and the United States. With this programme, we will bring to life and explore the historical connection between these two countries with our guests, who have expressed great interest in the subject," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. "Additionally, the Special Relationship series further underscores Cunard's commitment to bringing its guests not only legendary voyages aboard the most famous ocean liners in the world, but also engaging and intellectual pursuits during their journey."

Joining the 15 April Crossing will be Iwan Morgan, professor of U.S. Studies and head of U.S. Programmes at the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London. The political scientist also has been published widely in various fields of modern U.S. political history and economy. His latest book, The Age of Deficits Presidents and Unbalanced Budgets from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush, was published at the end of 2009.

Kenneth T. Walsh, chief White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, is scheduled to sail on the 1 June Transatlantic Crossing. He has covered the residencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and, currently, Barack Obama. Walsh is the author of four books focused on presidential topics and has won the two most prestigious awards for White House coverage ? the Aldo Beckman Award in 1991 and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency in 1992 and 1998.

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Sailing aboard the 22 April and 25 June Crossings is Jeffrey Weinberg, who has served each of the last seven U.S. presidents as a legislative attorney at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Executive Office of the President. While onboard, Weinberg will be leading discussions on the following topics: insights into the Obama Administration, strengths and weaknesses of the governments of the U.S. and the U.K., and "tools" that are available to the President to enhance his effectiveness.

Additional programme participants will be announced in the coming months. Other scheduled voyages featuring Special Relationship speakers include:

  • 12 September
  • 1 October
  • 10 November
  • The Special Relationship series is part of Cunard Insights, the enrichment programme that introduces guests to stimulating experts and accomplished visionaries who reflect the Line's heritage of adventure and prestige. Through a series of lectures, Q&A's, social gatherings and workshops, guests connect with personalities who have achieved notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, arts and literature. The Insights programme underscores Cunard?s longstanding view that onboard entertainment should afford guests a provocative and rewarding cerebral experience.

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    In 2010, Cunard offers guests more choices of Transatlantic Crossings, sailing classic six- and seven-day voyages between New York and Southampton, as well as new extended seven-, eight- and nine-day Crossings to Cherbourg, France, and Hamburg, Germany, between April and November. Widely considered the definitive ocean travel experience, a Transatlantic Crossing offers guests a myriad of opportunities for intellectual interaction, leisurely pursuits, health and wellness activities and gourmet dining. Unique Cunard amenities found aboard Queen Mary 2 include the famed Princess and Queens Grill accommodation, the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea and the first Todd English restaurant at sea.

    For more information and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2, consult a travel professional at Cruising2Europe.com by calling #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

    February 06, 2010

    Tropical Strom Oli in the South Pacific

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    February 3, 2010 - We would like to inform you that tropical Storm "Oli" is currently heading towards French Polynesia.

    The office of the High-Commissioner has upgraded the alert status to the red level for the Leeward Islands (Bora Bora, Maupiti, Taha'a, Raiatea, Huahine, Tupai), as tropical storm "Oli" has come closer to the archipelago.

    Currently, the orange alert level is maintained for the rest of the Society Islands (Tahiti and Moorea), the Tuamotu Atolls and the Austral Islands. However, it is expected to rise to the red level in the coming hours for the islands of Tahiti and Moorea.

    As a result, all traffic is stopped and all airports are closed. In addition, all maritime traffic has been halted until further notice.

    Please note that the hotels have taken measures to protect their guests and have been sending out individual updates.

    We will keep you informed as we receive information.

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    February 4, 2010 - We would like to follow up on our Special Update sent out yesterday afternoon in regards to the Tropical Cyclone "Oli." We received information from NASA this morning, which we have included below.

    As of 03:00 UTC (7:00 PM PST and 5:00 PM Tahiti time) on February 3, "Oli" was about 250 nautical miles WSW of Bora Bora. It then moved southeast by about 100 nautical miles, placing its center southeast of the main island of Tahiti. The tropical cyclone has now completely passed through the Society Islands including Tahiti and Moorea; the heaviest rains and strongest winds have passed.

    The airports in the Society Islands are all still closed.

    We have not yet received information in regards to damages that may have been caused throughout the Society Islands due to the high wind levels and rain, however we will be keeping our partners updated as we receive more information.

    The office of the High Commissioner has upgraded the alert status to the red level for the southernmost Austral Islands of French Polynesia including Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae, Rapa and Maria. You can access a forecast for the system on the CIMSS (Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies) by clicking here.

    You can also find up-to-date information on the High Commissioner's website, however it is all in French.

    We will keep you informed as we receive information.

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    February 4 - Here is the latest news that I received from our office in Papeete less than an hour ago regarding the Cyclone Oli.

    Tahiti and the Leeward Islands are still in a red alert level, meaning everyone must stay at home. Uncertain if the weather alert warning will drop to orange level by noon or this evening. The cyclone is reported going south towards Rurutu. The wind is weakening in Tahiti and the Leeward Islands but still strong and up to 100-150 km per hour. At present, rough waters at sea. Information provided to me from Tahiti Tourisme North America mentions that NASA is reporting that the cyclone is veering away from Tahiti.

    Regarding the Pearl Resorts, everyone is safe and there has been no damage to report. The hotel staff is taking good care of all guests and accommodating their individual needs as best as possible.

    There is still no flights between the islands as the Air Tahiti fleet has been sent to the Marquesas.

    We do hope that normal operations will resume by tomorrow.

    For More Informatin About A Vacation In French Polynesia Contact Cruising2Tahiti.com at #1-800-738-8837 or visit www.Cruising2Tahiti.com!

    Photos Courtesy Of Tahiti Tourisme

    View Tahiti Cruise Deals Here!

    Posted by Denise at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

    February 04, 2010

    Introducing The Juilliard School Jazz Series

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    As part of Cunard Insights, The Juilliard School Jazz Series will feature performances, lectures and Q&A sessions with students and faculty from the school's Institute of Jazz Studies onboard select Transatlantic Crossings in 2010. Guests joining QUEEN MARY 2 on these voyages will be treated to the best in classic and contemporary jazz in the regal Royal Court Theatre.

    Become part of this extraordinary entertainment experience. Reserve your stateroom on one of the Transatlantic Crossings featured below and enjoy world-class jazz performances whilst sailing aboard the grandest ocean liner at sea.

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    Jazz Series artists are scheduled for the following Transatlantic Crossings:

    15 APRIL:
    Brandon Lee - Trumpet
    Kris Bowers - Piano
    Philip Kuehn - Bass
    Aaron Kimmel - Drums

    8 AUGUST
    Michael Cottone - Trumpet
    Andrew Gutauskas - Alto Saxophone

    21 MAY
    Rodney Jones - Guitar

    12 SEPTEMBER
    JUILLIARD JAZZ FACULTY ENSEMBLE
    Eddie Henderson - Trumpet
    Frank Kimbrough - Piano
    Ben Wolfe - Bass
    Carl Allen - Drums

    7 JUNE
    James Burton - Trombone

    6 JULY
    Jeremy Viner - Tenor Saxophone
    Chris Burbank - Trumpet

    12 OCTOBER
    Randall Haywood - Trumpet

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    For More Information Contact a European Cruise Specialist at Cruising2Europe.com at #1-800-738-8837.

    The April 15, 2010 Crossing is a Segment of QUEEN MARY 2's World Voyage.

    All entertainment and enrichment programming is subject to change without notice. In the event of such changes in schedule or performers, Cunard will not be liable to compensate guests. Any guest who elects to cancel their voyage will be subject to cancellation charges in accordance with our booking policies. Further information on the entertainment and enrichment programming schedule will be posted on our website, www.cunard.com, as it becomes available.

    Ship's registry: Great Britain. ©CUNARD 2010. The CUNARD logo and logotype are registered trademarks of Carnival plc, an English Company trading as Cunard Line Ltd. QUEEN MARY 2 and Cunard Insights are trademarks owned by CUNARD. All rights reserved in the United States and other countries.

    Posted by Denise at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

    February 03, 2010

    Olympic Ship Charter Cancelled

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    NEWWEST SPECIAL PROJECTS LP
    STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF NEWWEST SPECIAL PROJECTS

    February 2, 2010. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

    It is with regret that Newwest Special Projects LP is announcing the cancellation
    of its charter of the Norwegian Star. The cancellation includes the pre cruise,
    scheduled for 6-10 February from LA to Vancouver, the post cruise, scheduled
    for 2-6 March from Vancouver to LA and the Vancouver stay for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

    We sincerely apologize to the guests who have booked with us for this
    inconvenience. Newwest will be issuing refunds. Guests who have booked should contact us at 877.254.2010 or 780.450.1555.

    FAQ
    How many staterooms were available on board the ship?
    1108 staterooms were for sale, including the pre, post and Vancouver portion of the charter.

    Will Newwest issue a refund for passengers?
    Yes, Newwest will refund money to passengers in a timely manner. Passengers who had booked with us should contact our Edmonton office at 877.254.2010 or
    780.450.1555.

    Will Newwest assist guests? in finding alternative accommodations?
    Yes, we will make every effort to assist in finding alternative accommodations for guests attending the Olympics.

    Why did Newwest cancel the charter?
    Newwest made the decision to cancel the charter due to slower than expected sales.

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    Norwegian Cruise Line had these comments:

    "Norwegian Cruise Line was notified today, February 2, 2010, that Newwest Special Projects Limited Partnership has cancelled its agreement with the cruise line for Norwegian Star to be based in Vancouver from February 6 through March 6 for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Newwest cited the reason for cancelling their charter as a lack of funding due to poor sales.

    The cancellation covers the full 28-day charter, including a four-day sailing from Los Angeles to Vancouver on February 6 and a four-day cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles on March 2.

    As the ship was chartered to Newwest for the entire 28 days, Newwest customers should contact them directly at 877-254-2010 or 780-450-1555 for further information. The statement issued by Newwest Special Projects is listed below if you have any further Q&A."

    Posted by Denise at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

    New Crystal Cruise Culminates in Venetian Fireworks

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    LOS ANGELES, February 1, 2010 ? This July, guests aboard Crystal Cruises' award-winning Crystal Serenity will be treated to one of Italy's most popular Venetian traditions. The ultra-luxury line is introducing a new cruise for 2010 that sails into Venice just in time for the annual Redentore Festival, a spectacle of brightly colored boats, gondola races, costumes and traditional feasts culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The 12-day Mediterranean/Adriatic voyage, departing from Athens on July 7, marks Crystal Cruises' first ever itinerary with two shipboard overnights in Venice.

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    Dating back to the 16th century, the Redentore Festival commemorates the church of the same name, built on the island of Giudecca to mark the end of a plague that had stricken the city. Each year on the third Saturday in July, Venetians gather in San Marco Basin to celebrate, where they remain until late-night fireworks are set off in the bay of San Marco.

    On board, guests can celebrate with an al fresco champagne reception, local entertainment, Venetian dinner and view of the fireworks from the spacious open deck.

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    "Venice is one of the most magical cities in the world; to be there during this festival adds yet another layer to the authentic experience that our guests seek and expect with a Crystal vacation," says Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president, hotel operations. "We're thrilled to be a part of the celebration and to offer our guests more time to immerse themselves in the culture."

    In addition to dozens of shoreside activities offered in the seven ports included in the itinerary, guests can maximize their stay in Venice with extravagant experiences like exclusive cooking lessons and lunch with Countess Lelia Passi or a bird?s eye view of Padua from a hot air balloon.

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    The voyage visits Athens, Santorini, Crete and Patmos, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey; Kotor, Montenegro; Split, Croatia; and Venice, Italy. Two-for one cruise fares start at $6,465 per person, double occupancy. Complimentary air transportation from more than 20 North American gateways, including Business Class air for Penthouse guests, plus a $1,000 per person 'All Inclusive - As You Wish' shipboard credit are included.

    For more information and Crystal reservations contact Cruising2Europe.com at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

    February 02, 2010

    Mayor Gavin Newsom Gives Cunard?s Queen Victoria a Golden Gate Welcome during Maiden Call to San Francisco

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    27 January 2010 ? Wrapping up her Expedition of the Americas segment, a part of her current world voyage, Cunard Line?s Queen Victoria made her inaugural visit to San Francisco today. Welcoming her to this historic maritime port was the honourable Mayor Gavin Newsom, along with travel agents, media and local dignitaries - including the British Consul-General of San Francisco, Julian Evans. In addition, by official order of proclamation, Mayor Newsom declared today as "Cunard Queen Victoria Day" in San Francisco.

    "The City is proud to welcome Queen Victoria to San Francisco's waterfront as we so warmly welcomed her sister ship, Queen Mary 2, in 2007. Her arrival creates work for our longshoremen and women and business for our hotels, restaurants and shops," said Mayor Newsom. "As part of our commitment to create jobs and economic vitality, the City is working diligently to renovate San Francisco's Pier 27 into an international cruise terminal. We invite Cunard and all the lines to return often to this world-renowned cruise destination," added Mayor Newsom.

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    Queen Victoria's Panama Canal Transit

    "We are once again delighted by the warm welcome we received today, and it is with great pride that we now add San Francisco to the list of more than 150 different ports visited since Queen Victoria began service two years ago," said Captain Paul Wright, Master, Queen Victoria. "Our maiden call today marks Queen Victoria's third maiden call on this world voyage and our only U.S. maiden call of the eight in total on this around-the-world-journey," he added.

    Also welcoming Queen Victoria to the City by the Bay was the CEO and President of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, Joe D'Alessandro; President of the San Francisco Port Commission, Rodney Fong; and the President and CEO of Nautilus International Holding Corporate (parent company of Metro Cruise Services), James Callahan.

    Queen Victoria continues her third World Voyage upon departing San Francisco this evening at approximately 6:00pm, crossing the Pacific en route to her next port of call: Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.

    Queen Victoria will spend more time on the west coast in winter 2011, sailing her Americas voyages, when she will make two transits through the Panama Canal, two roundtrip voyages from Los Angeles to Hawaii, and her first short Getaway voyage to Mexico.

    For more information about Cunard call a Cruise Consultant at Cruising2Mexico.com at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

    Line Celebrates Announcement of Newest Members of Its "Department of Romance" With Theme Cruise Featuring Lectures, Vow Renewal and Romance Gala

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    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 1, 2010) ? In celebration of the most romantic holiday of the year, and to usher in the newest members of its Department of Romance, Princess Cruises is hosting the first-ever Romance Summit cruise.

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    The Summit, which will be held on board Crown Princess during Valentine's week, February 13-20, will feature a host of themed activities and presentations by the line's Department of Romance members. Designed to celebrate the many aspects of cruising with Princess that can help couples reconnect, these special events will give passengers insight and inspiration on infusing romance into their everyday lives.

    The entire Department of Romance will be aboard the special sailing. In addition to current members "Love Boat" captain Gavin MacLeod, "The Bachelorette's" Trista and Ryan Sutter, and destination wedding expert Lisa Light, three new members will join the department. The new love experts are Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post who will be discussing romance etiquette; "The Dating Diva" Dee Frazier of The University of Dating, an authority on finding love at any age; and Princess Cruises comedian Kevin Hughes, who keeps audiences laughing with his comedic and insightful take on relationships.

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    "Hosting the first-ever Romance Summit seems like the perfect way to celebrate Princess' legacy of romance in a fun, unique way with something for everyone onboard," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises' executive vice president. "It's also the perfect way to introduce the newest members of our Department of Romance. We look forward to starting some lively conversations, as well as provide our passengers with great relationship tips, and a lot of fun."

    During the Romance Summit passengers will be treated to an abundance of romantic events, including an opportunity to meet all the Department of Romance members at a group panel discussion, plus attend individual presentations where each member will offer expertise on a particular aspect of love and relationships. Additionally, passengers will enjoy a variety of romance-themed activities, including a group renewal of vows for all couples on the ship and a Valentine's Gala where passengers are invited to dress up in their best red attire for an evening of romantic dining and entertainment.

    Throughout the sailing, passengers will enjoy themed food and beverage, entertainment, movies, and daytime activities.

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    Crown Princess is sailing on a western Caribbean itinerary during the Romance Summit, with calls at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Princess Cays.

    Further information about Princess is available through Cruising2Mexico.com at #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

    February 01, 2010

    MANAVA SUITE RESORT TAHITI honored as best hotel in the 2010 TRIPADVISOR TRAVELERS? CHOICE AWARDS

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    TAHITI - FRENCH POLYNESIA, MANAVA SUITE RESORT TAHITI was chosen as a Best Relaxation/Spa Hotel by TripAdvisor in its 2010 Travelers' Choice awards. Now in its eighth year, the annual TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards honor the world's best hotels, earning their distinction from those who know them best - real travelers.

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    Unlike any other hotel awards programs in the world, TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice winners are based on the millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions about hotels on tripadvisor.com and content from across the web.

    "Inspired by the millions of trusted traveler reviews and opinions on TripAdvisor.com, the Travelers' Choice awards have once again highlighted the finest hotels in the world," said Christine Petersen, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. "From remarkable bargains to the trendiest hotels, travelers worldwide are recognizing more than 700 hotels for their outstanding service, value and quality."

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    Located on the west coast of the island in the community of Punaauia, five minutes from the international airport of Faa'a, lies the four-star Manava Suite Resort Tahiti, geared for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel has 121 rooms, suites and duplexes as well as a restaurant, two bars, a conference room, a spa and a fitness center. Designer Bruno Hervochon?s theme was inspired directly by the Polynesian culture, but equipped with the most modern amenities. Most rooms feature modern kitchenettes.

    For more information and reservations contact Cruising2Tahiti.com at #1-800-738-8837. All our their agents are Tahiti Tiare Certified!

    Posted by Denise at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)