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November 30, 2010

Holland America Line Partners With Legendary Le Cirque Restaurant

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Famed Dining Experience Offered to Guests on All Sailings

Holland America Line is adding another famous partnership to its innovative culinary program as it enters into an exclusive agreement with the illustrious Le Cirque restaurant to offer "An Evening at Le Cirque" in the Pinnacle Grill aboard its fleet of 15 ships.

Holland America Line's Master Chef Rudi Sodamin is working with Le Cirque's Executive Chef Craig Hopson to re-create the legendary eatery's whimsical ambiance and award-winning dining experience on board - from serving the cuisine on fanciful orange Le Cirque china to featuring the restaurant's famous creme brulee.

"Le Cirque epitomizes the best of the best, further expanding our culinary program with innovative partnerships and world-renowned names," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "To be able to extend one of the most exceptional dining experiences in the world to our guests is another exclusive element that we're excited to be able to offer, and even the most discerning foodie will be impressed."

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On virtually every voyage, the Pinnacle Grill will be transformed for at least one night into a Le Cirque?like atmosphere. On those special evenings, menu offerings, wine selections, table decorations and the restaurant setting will be tailored to create an authentic Le Cirque dining experience that is sure to impress both the eyes and palates of Holland America Line guests. Reservations can be made for "An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill" for a charge.

Not only will guests have the opportunity to dine on unique Le Cirque dishes including Lobster Salad "Le Cirque," Sweet Corn Soup and Cote de Boeuf, they also will be able to learn how to cook a dish or two during special Le Cirque demonstrations in the on-board Culinary Arts Center.

"My family and I are excited to enter into a partnership with a cruise line that has such a celebrated and highly regarded reputation," said Sirio Maccioni, founder of Le Cirque. "I recently sailed with Holland America Line and was very impressed with their cuisine, impeccable service and high level of hospitality. I look forward to putting my own culinary touch on the dining experience and sharing Le Cirque with Holland America Line guests."

Additional enhancements to the program include screenings of the HBO documentary "Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven" on in-stateroom television, as well as the opportunity to purchase a Le Cirque creme brulee dish and Le Cirque founder Sirio Maccioni's book, "Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque."

A recipient of the coveted James Beard Award for restaurant of the year, Le Cirque has been ranked among the best in the world for decades by food experts, celebrities and high society. Le Cirque restaurants are located in New York, Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic and its founder, Sirio Maccioni, is a legend and one of the industry's most-respected restaurateurs.

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While the restaurant attracts many celebrity customers, Le Cirque and Maccioni also have helped launch the careers of many illustrious chefs, including Daniel Boulud, Christophe Bellanca, Alain Sailhac, Rick Moonen and Holland America Line Culinary Council Member Jacques Torres.

Posted by Denise at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2010

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Sails Into Unchartered Waters ON CBS's Hit Show "Undercover Boss"

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Miami - Nov 23, 2010 - Norwegian Cruise Line and CBS jointly announced today that Norwegian's CEO Kevin Sheehan will appear on an upcoming episode of the Emmy-nominated hit reality series "Undercover Boss" on the CBS Television Network.

"With 11 Freestyle Cruising ships in our fleet and more than 16,000 employees both shipboard and shoreside, it's challenging to keep in tune with our crew who are the face of the company and interacting with guests on a daily basis," said Sheehan. "When I joined the company, one of my goals was to ensure consistency across our fleet and make sure that we are delivering exceptional cruise vacations for our guests. Participating in 'Undercover Boss' helped me to see that we have phenomenal crew members who are working extremely hard to deliver on that promise, but it also shed some light on areas that could be improved."

Each week, "Undercover Boss" follows a different executive as he or she leaves the comfort of the corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their companies. While working alongside their employees, they see the effects that their decisions have on others, where the problems lie within their organizations and get an up-close look at both the good and the bad while discovering the unsung heroes who make their companies run.

During the episode, Sheehan went undercover on two of the company's Freestyle Cruising ships: Norwegian Epic, the company's newest, largest and most innovative vessel; and Pride of America, the only US-flagged passenger cruise ship sailing inter-island cruises in Hawaii. While on board, Sheehan worked alongside crew members in various departments.

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"It definitely was an eye-opening experience," added Sheehan. "I've always had the utmost admiration for our crew, but after this experience, I can proudly say we have truly remarkable crew members throughout our fleet."

For more information on Norwegian Cruise Line contact a Freestyle Cruise Specialist at Cruising2Mexico.com #1-800-738-8837.

About Kevin Sheehan
Since taking the helm of Norwegian Cruise Line in 2008, Kevin Sheehan has overseen major company initiatives including vastly improving on-board service and amenities across the fleet; expanding the line's European presence; repositioning two of the line's Hawai'i-based ships creating a profitable business model; revitalizing top management with a mixture of cruise industry and outside expertise; and using his extensive 30-year background in the business world to help Norwegian post a sharp turnaround in profitability in the midst of a tough economic climate.

Sheehan comes from a diverse professional background that includes helping to found Spanish-language television network Telemundo; taking several companies public including rental car giant Avis; aiding in the inception and launch of the Sega Channel, the first interactive game platform over cable; teaching full-time at Adelphi University in New York and consulting for a variety of private equity firms, including Apollo Management, a Norwegian shareholder. Sheehan's tell-it-like-it-is persona and personal philosophy of leading by example has allowed him to reinvigorate the organization by opening lines of communication and creating a positive corporate culture.

Before joining Norwegian in 2007, Sheehan was Chairman and CEO of Cendant Corp Vehicle Services Division where he was responsible for Avis Rent A Car, Budget Rent A Car, Budget Trucks, PHH Vehicle Management, First Fleet and Wright Express. While there, he integrated the Avis and Budget rental car brands into one network and also successfully completed a 100 percent initial public offering of Wright Express.

Prior to joining Cendant Corp, Sheehan served in leadership positions at STT Video Partners LLP and Telemundo Group, Inc. He also spent two and a half years consulting to private equity firms and lecturing full-time at Adelphi University in New York as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Accounting, Finance, and Economics.

Sheehan, a native New Yorker and avid basketball fan, is married with two children.

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About Undercover Boss
CBS's reality series UNDERCOVER BOSS was the Emmy-nominated No. 1 new series of the 2009-10 season and, in its second season, has featured companies such as Choice Hotels International, Great Wolf Resorts, DIRECTV, Frontier Airlines, NASCAR, Chiquita Brands International, The Chicago Cubs, Lucky Strike Lanes and SUBWAY Restaurants.

About Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 44-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 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea. The Company has reached an agreement for two 143,000-gross ton vessels for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

Norwegian's largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic, debuted 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, as well as the official cruise line of Legends in Concert, Second City Comedy Troupe, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, Gibson Guitar, and Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids. Cirque Dreams" & Dinner is also featured on board Norwegian Epic as the first show of its kind at sea under a big top.

Posted by Denise at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2010

OCEANIA CRUISES UNVEILS 'PILLARS OF DISTINCTION' PHASE TWO

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iPads, Jacques Pepin Specialties, Bulgari Amenities Among the Highlights

MIAMI, November 2, 2010 - As part of its ongoing Pillars of Distinction initiative - the most significant product investment in the company's history - Oceania Cruises has announced the second phase of innovative fleet-wide enhancements. These multi-million-dollar updates are in addition to the previously announced physical enhancements being made during the regularly scheduled dry-docks for Regatta, Insignia and Nautica.

"As the leader in upper-premium cruising, we continually raise the bar to exceed our guests' expectations and offer unrivaled value," stated Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises. "This latest phase of our Pillars of Distinction program reinforces the three hallmarks of the Oceania Cruises experience: cuisine, service and comfort."

CUISINE

  • An expanded menu of "Jacques Pepin Signature Items" in the Grand Dining Rooms, which include Cotes d'Agneau Grillees - grilled lamb chop served with ratatouille and lamb gravy with thyme, and Gambas Saute Provencal - sauteed shrimp in olive oil from Nice with garlic, parsley and tomatoes
  • Evening menus in the Terrace Cafe will focus on regional specialties from the area the ship is sailings in addition to each evening's ever changing range of traditional favorites
  • Gourmet VIP canape service for all suite guests now includes a wider array of specialty, gourmand-inspired delicacies which are presented on new, custom designed china
  • Espresso and Cappuccino from the famed Illy Coffee of Italy

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    SERVICE

  • Free shuttle service in more than 90 ports worldwide where the ship is docked away from the city center
  • Introduction of production shows created by the legendary Gary J. Musik company that feature a full ensemble, original choreography, lavish costuming and rousing musical numbers
  • Dramatically faster internet speeds as a result of new partnership with MTN
  • Complimentary in-suite newspaper delivery for Owner's, Vista and Oceania suites

    COMFORT

  • Upgraded bath amenities and toiletries in all accommodations, including Bulgari for Concierge-level and suite guests.
  • Laptops, currently featured in all Owner's and Vista suites on Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, will be added to all Penthouse Suites
  • iPads for all Owner's, Vista and Oceania suites

    Pillars of Distinction amenities will be featured on Oceania Cruises' new Marina, scheduled for delivery in January 2011, and sister ship Riviera, which joins the fleet in April 2012 and be introduced aboard Regatta, Insignia and Nautica in the spring of 2011.

    The line's Pillars of Distinction is an ongoing initiative, with more enhancements and updates to be announced. For reservations or to order a brochure, contact a travel professional at Cruising2Paradise.com #1-800-738-8837.

    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 the luxurious Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and brand new Marina. Riviera, a sister ship to Marina, is scheduled to join the fleet in April 2012.

    About Prestige Cruise Holdings
    Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH) 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 approximately 6,500 berths by 2012.

    Posted by Denise at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)
  • November 24, 2010

    Allure Of The Seas

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    I have just returned from the brand new, largest ship in the world, Allure of the Seas. If I had to sum it up in one word it would be WOW!

    The Allure of the Seas is the second, and last, of the Oasis-class of ships. Here are some ship stats and fun facts! 225,000 gross tons; 1,187 feet long; 22 knots cruising speed; 6,296 guests; 24 guest elevators; 4 bow thrusters (each 7,500 horsepower); 30 feet draft; 208 feet wide; 16 passenger decks; 2,165 crew

    The AquaTheater pool is 17.9 feet deep; the largest pool at sea. Allure of the Seas is 5 centimeters longer than her sister, the Oasis of the Seas. The Central Park Neighborhood is a living park at sea, with 12,175 plants, 62 vine plants, 56 trees and bamboo, some over 24 feet in length. 5,070,632 pounds of water in the swimming pools. 110,231 pounds of ice cubes made onboard every day. 4,700,000 pounds of fresh water consumption per 24 hours.

    I will write a full review of the ship and post it here in a few days. In the meantime, I have just heard that Oprah made a big announcement last Friday regarding the ship.

    On Friday, November 19th the Oprah Winfrey Show had Oprah's Ultimate Favourite Things 2010! 44 items were choosen, but the ultimate travel item was what stood out. Drum roll please . . .

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    Number 38 on the list is ALLURE OF THE SEAS.
    All members of the studio audience for the taping of that episode received a 7 day cruise aboard the Allure of the Seas.

    "Cruising, of course, is one of my favorite things," Oprah says. "And you are going to have the time of your lives."

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    Oprah is right. The Allure of the Seas is the cruise ship of all cruise ships. This massive ship contains the first-ever 3D movie theater at sea, a two-story dance floor, an ice skating rink, a zip line, a rock-climbing wall and its very own park.

    Set sail on your own Allure of the Seas adventure beginning December of 2010. The ship will offer alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruise itineraries shown below. Pricing starts at just $719 US!

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    7 Day Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary

    Day 1 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Departs 5:00 PM

    Day 2 Nassau, Bahamas 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM

    Day 3 Cruising

    Day 4 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

    Day 5 Philipsburg, St. Maarten 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM

    Day 6 Cruising

    Day 7 Cruising

    Day 8 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Arrives 7:00 AM

    7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise Itinerary

    Day 1 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Departs 5:00 PM

    Day 2 Cruising

    Day 3 Labadee, Haiti 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM

    Day 4 Cruising

    Day 5 Costa Maya, Mexico 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM

    Day 6 Cozumel, Mexico 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM

    Day 7 Cruising

    Day 8 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Arrives 7:00 AM

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    The Allure of the Seas is causing quite a wave in the cruise industry. In addition to being selected as one of Oprah's Favourite Things, NBC's Today broadcasted live from the ship with hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Adam Sandler and Katie Holmes sailed onboard the Allure to film scenes for their upcoming movie, Jack & Jill. Four-time Grammy Award-winning artist Taylor Swift is scheduled to perform live onboard the ship on January 21, 2011.

    If you want to enjoy this fabulous ship for itself, contact a Royal Caribbean Specialist at Cruising2Mexico.com #1-800-738-8837. View the Allure of the Seas Cruise Deals Here!

    Written By Denise Lovrich

    Posted by Denise at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

    November 11, 2010

    Princess Cruises Honors Veterans Day with Military Onboard Credit Program

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    Active Personnel and Veterans Eligible for Shipboard Credit

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (November 11, 2010) - In recognition of Veterans Day, Princess Cruises is promoting the line's military onboard credit program for active and retired military personnel. The credit, which ranges from $50 to $250 per stateroom depending on the length of the cruise, is available to members of the United States and Canadian armed forces with appropriate service identification.

    "As I discovered when I recently wrote about my own military experience on our company blog, we have a large number of veterans among our passengers," said Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises president and CEO. "We want to honor all military personnel this Veterans Day and thank them for their service."

    The line's military personnel onboard credit program is available to active military personnel plus retired and disabled military veterans with proper verification as follows:

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  • Active personnel currently serving in the following service divisions: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserves, Canadian National Defense (military verification certificate)

  • Retired personnel defined as: Enlisted personnel or officers with a minimum of 20 years of service, medically retired or 100% disabled (blue or tan uniformed ID card/Canadian white N.D. 21 ID card)

  • Veterans with an Honorable Discharge serving a minimum of 2 years or 6 months in an active war zone in any of the United States service divisions listed above or Canadian National Defense (DD 214 plus current photo ID)
    The onboard credit amount is $50 for cruises 6 days or less, $100 for cruises of 7-13 days, or $250 for cruises of 14 days or longer, offered on a per stateroom basis.

    To request the military personnel onboard credit, eligible persons should apply no later than one week prior to the cruise departure date. Passenger and sailing information should be accompanied by proof of eligibility and provided to either the passenger's travel agent or to Princess Cruises. For more information about how to submit information, contact 1-800-738-8837.

    Buckelew's story about his return to Vietnam, "A Soldier Returns . . . as a Tourist" (along with many comments from veterans) can be found on Princess' blog: www.50EssentialExperiences.com.

    Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by contacting a Princess Expert at Cruising2Europe.com #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)
  • November 10, 2010

    PRESTIGE CRUISE HOLDINGS APPOINTS GARY GERBINO VICE PRESIDENT OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS

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    MIAMI, November 8, 2010 - Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH), the parent corporation of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, has named Gary Gerbino as vice president of corporate communications, effective today.

    A 25-year public relations veteran, Gerbino's vast cruise industry experience covers ships carrying as few as 250 to as many as 2,620 guests, and includes three highly successful new-ship launches.

    In his new position, he will oversee media relations and marketing communications for both Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, including spearheading the launch of the company's magnificent new Marina in January 2011 and Riviera in April 2012.

    "Gary has been a great asset in introducing Marina to media and our travel partners, both here and abroad," said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO, Prestige Cruise Holdings. "We are pleased to welcome him to the PCH family and believe his expertise will prove invaluable to the continued success of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises."

    Gerbino joins PCH from the public relations agency Lou Hammond & Associates, where he directed external communications for both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruise, in addition to boutique luxury resorts in Florida.

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    Prior PR agency experience includes serving as a vice president at M. Silver Associates, where he managed the Cruise Lines International Association account team and led the firm's award-winning launch of Queen Mary 2 for Cunard Line. Previously, Gerbino held management posts at Seabourn, Orient and Ocean/Pearl/Paquet cruise lines.

    "Oceania Cruises is an innovator and industry pioneer and Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the most luxurious line at sea," stated Gerbino. "At this point in my career and I am very proud and excited to be working with the best of the best in the cruise business."

    Gerbino earned a bachelor's degree from The American University in Washington, D.C., and resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. For more information about Oceania Cruises contact an Oceania Specialist at Cruising2Alaska.com #1-800-738-8837.

    About Prestige Cruise Holdings
    Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH) 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 approximately 6,500 berths by 2012.

    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 the luxurious Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and brand new Marina. Riviera, a sister ship to Marina, is scheduled to join the fleet in April 2012. For more information, visit OceaniaCruises.com.

    About Regent Seven Seas Cruises
    Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world's only cruise line that includes award-winning service, acclaimed cuisine, premium spirits and fine wine, gratuities and sightseeing excursions in every port for the ultimate ultra-luxury vacation. A fleet of perennially praised and elegantly appointed, all-suite ships operate seven- to 119-night voyages to more than 300 destinations worldwide.

    Posted by Denise at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

    November 09, 2010

    French Polynesia Has 10 Resorts Voted Oceania Best By Conde Nast Traveler Readers

    Conde Nast Traveler just released it's Best In The World Top 100. It declares 26,000 votes were made by readers of their Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.

    French Polynesia has come out on top! In the section of Top Resorts under the Top 20 Oceania section 10 out of the 20 resorts are located in French Polynesia. I have included the full list below, highlighting the resorts in French Polynesia and including pictures.

    Top 20 Resorts Oceania:

    1. Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, located in Northland, New Zealand 98.4 rating

    2. Huka Lodge, located in Taupo, New Zealand 95.5 rating

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    3. Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa, located in Raiatea, French Polynesia 91.1 rating

    4. Voyagers Longitude 131, located in Ayers Rock 90.3 rating

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    5. Le Meridien Bora Bora, located in Bora Bora, French Polynesia 88.6 rating

    6. Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach and Private Island, located in Bora Bora, French Polynesia 88.6 rating

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    7. Te Tiare Beach Resort, located in Huahine, French Polynesia 88.2 rating

    8. Lizard Island, located at the Great Barrier Reef, Australia 86.7 rating

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    9. Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, located in Bora Bora, French Polynesia 86.4 rating

    10. Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, located in Gold Coast, Australia 85.9 rating

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    11. Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, located in Bora Bora, French Polynesia 85.6 rating

    12. Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, located in Denarau, Fiji 84.7 rating

    13. Sofitel Moorea Le Ora Beach Resort, located in Moorea, French Polynesia 84.7 rating

    14. Palau Pacific Resort, located in Palau 84.2 rating

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    15. Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, located in Moorea, French Polynesia 83.3 rating

    16. Silky Oaks Lodge & Spa, located in Daintree, Australia 82.9 rating

    17. Lilianfeis Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, located in Katoomba, Australia 82.4 rating

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    18. InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa, located in Moorea, French Polynesia 82.3 rating

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    19. Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa, located in Moorea, French Polynesia 81.8 rating

    20. Hayman, located at Great Barrier Reef, Australia 81.5 rating

    I have had the pleasure of travelling to French Polynesia multiple times. I've cruised around the islands, as well as enjoyed Beach Bungalows and Overwater Bungalows on various islands.

    French Polynesia is paradise on earth! I agree with the list above and encourage couples to think of French Polynesia when planning your next romantic vacation.

    For more information about a French Polynesia holiday contact a Tahiti Tiare Agent at Cruising2Tahiti.com #1-800-738-8837.

    Written By Denise Blackmore, MCC

    Tahiti Air & Hotel Packages From $1298 US!

    10 Day Tahiti Cruises From $899 US!

    Posted by Denise at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

    November 08, 2010

    Princess Cruises Introduces Two New Europe Cruisetour Options for 2011

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    Passengers Can Experience the Ancient Wonders of Petra or Cruise by Castles on the Rhine

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (November 4, 2010) - Princess Cruises has unveiled two new cruisetour options for passengers on Europe cruises next year, providing them the opportunity to explore the mysteries of ancient Petra in Jordan or to enjoy a cruise up the dramatic Rhine River. The new itineraries join the line's previously announced cruisetours giving passengers a total of five land/sea vacation choices in the 2011 season.

    The 16-night Ancient Petra and the Dead Sea cruisetour steeps travelers in the history of the ancient world with visits to Jerash, Petra and the Dead Sea in Jordan in addition to the wonders of a Holy Land cruise to Israel and Egypt. The new 20-night Timeless Cities of the Rhine River cruisetour offers passengers a week-long cruise up the scenic Rhine River by riverboat combined with a Princess sailing to Scandinavia and Russia.

    In addition, Princess has added a new Rome and Venice tour combination that enables passengers on itineraries traveling between the two Italian cities to simplify their air travel with roundtrip flights.

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    "These new cruisetours add two significant new destinations to our Europe lineup," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "The Petra and Dead Sea tour makes a fascinating addition to the wonders already included on our Holy Land sailings such as Jerusalem and the pyramids of Egypt, while the Rhine offers outstanding scenery and history around every bend.

    Ancient Petra and the Dead Sea -- This four-night tour combines with 12-night Holy Land cruises on Pacific Princess for a 16-night vacation through some of the most marveled at wonders of the ancient world. The fully escorted tour takes travelers to the ancient city of Jerash, one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world; Petra, a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site with a vast city carved into a sheer rock face that became a vital trade route junction; Mount Nebo, home to a number of remarkable mosaics; and the extraordinary Dead Sea. The tour features two nights in Amman, one night in Petra and one night at the Dead Sea. Cruisetour departures include May 15, June 20, July 26, September 24, October 18, and November 11, 2011.

    Timeless Cities of the Rhine River -- This 20-night cruisetour adds a nine-night tour, including a Rhine River cruise, to an 11-night Scandinavia and Russia cruise on Emerald Princess. The seven-night riverboat cruise from Basel to Amsterdam aboard Avalon Felicity, sails by the castles and vineyards of one of Europe's greatest rivers, and includes guided excursions in Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Mainz, Rüdesheim, Koblenz and Cologne. Passengers will also sail through the captivating Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, considered the river's most beautiful stretch. After the river cruise passengers will enjoy overnights in Amsterdam and Copenhagen. The cruisetour departs on July 31, 2011.

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    Rome and Venice -- Because of popular demand, Princess will now offer the opportunity to include extra time in Venice and Rome to cruises that begin in one city and end in the other. These packages give passengers the advantage of booking roundtrip flights from either city for more convenient air travel. Combinable with a variety of Greek Isles and Mediterranean Collection itineraries, the tours offer two nights in storied Rome as well as two nights among the magical canals of Venice, plus first-class rail travel between the cities.

    These tours join the line's three other European cruisetour options: Europe's Imperial Treasures which visits the enchanting cities of Budapest, Vienna and Prague; Classic Italy, exploring the Eternal City of Rome, the Renaissance masterpiece of Florence and the stunning Tuscan countryside; and Ring of Kerry, a chance to discover the beautiful landscapes and charming villages of Ireland.

    Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a Princess Expert at Cruising2Europe.com #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

    November 05, 2010

    Norwegian Spirit Arrives to Homeport in New Orleans

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    Freestyle Cruising ship to sail seven-day cruises from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean through April 2012

    Miami - Nov 4, 2010 - Norwegian Cruise Line's 2,018-passenger Norwegian Spirit will arrive in her new homeport of New Orleans on Sunday, November 7, 2010. This marks the first time Norwegian is homeporting a ship year-round in New Orleans with weekly seven-day Western Caribbean cruises departing every Sunday through April 8, 2012. Norwegian has homeported cruise ships in New Orleans seasonally since 2003 and was the first line to return to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

    "We are thrilled to return to the Crescent City, which has been a popular seasonal homeport for us," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "By bringing Norwegian Spirit to New Orleans year-round, we are able to open up the cruise market to more people that may not have experienced the incredible value of a Freestyle Cruising vacation."

    "The Port of New Orleans and the City thanks Norwegian Cruise Line for their ongoing commitment and investment in Louisiana," said Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange. "Norwegian plays a critical role in Port-related activity and our tourism industry as a whole. We are extremely excited about Norwegian's increased presence here and look forward to a long and successful partnership."

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    The strong sense of community in New Orleans matches that of Norwegian Spirit's crew members, often recognized for their outstanding community service work. In recent years, they have come together to donate goods and supplies to local orphanages and continue to assist with charitable activities in the ports they visit. Earlier this year, the ship led the first Tweetup for Good conducting humanitarian activities throughout the Western Caribbean which was simultaneously broadcast live via Twitter.

    Norwegian Spirit features 12 Freestyle Dining options including Norwegian's signature steak house, Cagney's; 10 bars and lounges; two swimming pools with four hot tubs, a kid's pool area with two water slides; a complimentary kid's club and video arcade for teens; a casino; a full-service spa and salon; and a fitness center offering state-of-the-art exercise equipment. For those looking to experience the suite life on board Norwegian Spirit, luxurious amenities with exclusive butler and concierge service await. Two owner's suites feature private bedrooms with queen-size beds, a living room and dining area, full bath with whirlpool tub and shower, and private balconies. For large families cruising together, penthouse suites can interconnect to create multiple bedroom configurations, with a separate bathroom and shower.

    Norwegian Spirit's seven-day Exotic Western Caribbean cruises will depart New Orleans every Sunday with ports of call including: Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan (Bay Islands), Honduras; and Belize City, Belize. Cruises are priced from $349 per person, based on double occupancy and excluding taxes and fees.

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    Guests can experience the rich history of the Crescent City on the "Past, Present and Perfect" shore excursion either before or after their cruise. The narrated bus tour takes guests to century-old landmarks through the French Quarter and follows the traditional route of Mardi Gras parades. While in the Caribbean, guests can tour ancient Mayan ruins in Costa Maya and Cozumel; or stroll through the popular Gumbalimba Park in Roatan for a close look at native wildlife. In Belize, those looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure can zip-line through the forest followed by cave tubing in the undergrounds of the jungle.

    To book a cruise on Norwegian Spirit, contact a Freestyle Certified Specialist at Cruising2Mexico.com #1-800-738-8837.

    About Norwegian Cruise Line
    Norwegian Cruise Line is a cruise travel company with a 44-year history. Today, Norwegian has 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation. Norwegian's largest Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic, debuted 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, as well as the official cruise line of Legends in Concert, Second City Comedy Troupe, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, Gibson Guitar, and Nickelodeon. Cirque Dreams & Dinner is also featured on board Norwegian Epic as the first show of its kind at sea under a big top.

    7 Day Western Caribbean Cruises on Norwegian Sun Roundtrip Orlando From $299 US!

    Posted by Denise at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

    November 02, 2010

    Santorini, Greece

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    Princess Cruises is offering 'The Sounds of Santorini' by Kristen Helgren, the Rooms Department Manager, Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. We have included this great story and some pictures for you.

    Kristen's Story:
    I approached my visit to Greece with some clear preconceived notions. I envisioned sun-baked stairs leading from the crystal clear Mediterranean and bright white-washed houses perched atop cliffs. I knew I'd see those iconic blue-domed churches, and I anticipated spectacular views. At home in Alaska, it was those images that were my idea of a "Greek Island paradise."

    As our ship maneuvered to drop anchor at Santorini, I got my first glimpse of the island's iconic steep cliffs. Though I may have glimpsed what towered above me at that point, my attention was actually focused downward, as I contemplated the fact that we had just sailed into a giant, submerged volcanic crater, or caldera. Santorini is what remains from an enormous volcanic eruption more than 3,000 years ago, and we were anchoring in the deep lagoon formed when the crater of the volcano collapsed. I wondered, as many now believe, if this caldera could really be the site of the Lost City of Atlantis, the legendary civilization that sunk to the bottom of the sea.

    With my attention now back on the island's 300-meter high cliffs, I could see our destination, the town of Fira, perched high on the rim above. But, how best to get there? The answer became delightfully apparent. Waiting at the bottom of the steep string of switchbacks and stairs that formed a zigzagging path up the steep incline, were donkeys.

    I happen to love donkeys (actually, anything with a tail), so I was as excited to see them as I was to explore the island. But at this point I found myself torn. I could travel up the cliffs by donkey as has no doubt been done since mythical times, or I could walk up and hopefully work off the wonderful desserts I'd been enjoying on the ship. Since it was a beautiful crisp October day ? perfect for hiking - I decided to set out on foot.

    An iconic blue-domed church in Oia.
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    I climbed around corner after corner up more than 500 steps, passing donkey teams headed up or down along the way. The donkeys all wore colorful beaded neck collars with a bell attached that jingled as they clomped along. Each switchback brought the tinkling of bells and better views of the crystal clear waters below.

    After about 45 minutes we reached the top eager to explore Fira, and then afterward set out by local bus to the small town of Oia, located at the north end of the island. My immediate impression was that this magical place should definitely be on a travel bucket list. Oia is situated atop an impressive cliff with more views of the sparkling expanse of sea, and the charming village is made up of traditional white houses and blue domed churches, with the narrow streets between buildings just wide enough for pedestrians and the occasional passing donkey. We discovered that many artists have made this picturesque setting their home and enjoyed wandering through the array of art galleries full of original works.

    After a day in this island paradise, it was time to head back to Fira where we would descend down the cliffs to our anchored ship. Again I decided to make the journey by foot, once more passing the donkeys and their sweet sounding bells along the way. When I got to the bottom, I realized I had encountered a sound I did not want to leave behind. And as I really do like to support the local economies of the places I visit, I had the perfect idea for a souvenir!

    Kristen talks the donkey herder out of her perfect souvenir.
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    Not speaking any Greek, I somehow was able to communicate with a donkey herder that I would like to buy one of the donkey bells with the colorful beads. What a perfect addition to my collection of authentic animal bells (I have many...really...including cow bells from Bali and Switzerland). Although it did take some time to convince him that it really wasn't a ride on his donkey that I was after, I finally was able to walk away with the perfect memento of this perfect day.

    Now, as I sit in our cabin in Alaska, our wonderful cruise may seem a distant memory, but I keep my donkey bell in a spot where I see it often and can reflect on my journey to the cliffs of Santorini.

    View Mediterranean Cruises with Princess Cruises!

    Posted by Denise at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

    November 01, 2010

    "Happy Birthday" Gift from MSC is a Free, 7-night Caribbean Cruise

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    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (October 28, 2010) - MSC Cruises presents guests with a free, 7-night Caribbean cruise for those celebrating birthdays onboard between Nov. 14 - Dec. 19; companions pay from only $529 per person plus government fees and taxes (GFTs). Guests celebrating a birthday onboard MSC Poesia for a Caribbean cruise can choose from select dates and itineraries on bookings made by Dec. 12, based upon availability. Additional guests, up to two staterooms, travel for the same family and friends rate of $529 plus GFTs. This special birthday gift is valid for new bookings, while space is available, on the following 7-night, Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing from Fort Lauderdale:

  • Eastern Caribbean cruise, calls in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Nassau Bahamas; departs Nov. 14, 28, and Dec. 12, 2010; rates from $264.50 for traveling companion plus GFTs, for all guests, of $69.62 each;

  • Western Caribbean cruise, calls in Key West, Florida; Ocho Rios, Jamaica;Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico; departs Nov. 21 and Dec. 5, 2010; rates from $264.50 traveling companion plus GFTs, for all guests, of $81.35.

    At least one person per stateroom must be celebrating his/her birthday during the chosen cruise as it will be requested at the time of booking. Rates are based on double occupancy for U.S. and Canadian residents. Government fees and taxes for all guests are additional; restrictions apply. Suites are excluded from this offer. MSC Cruises reserves the right to pass on any fuel surcharge without notice to all guests.

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    Kids ages 17 and younger cruise for just $99 (GFTs are additional) when sharing a stateroom with two adults offering affordable family vacations. All cruises offer just a $100 deposit. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit www.MSCCruisesUSA.com, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional.

    ABOUT MSC CRUISES:
    MSC Cruises has the most modern fleet in the world with 11 ships: MSC Magnifica, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, 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, Canada & New England.

    Posted by Denise at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)