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January 28, 2011

Norwegian Sun Shines Brighter With Recent Renovations

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Two additional Freestyle Cruising ships to receive updates this year

Miami - Jan 25, 2011 - Norwegian Sun re-entered service today after undergoing a multi-million dollar 12-day dry dock during which the 1,936-passenger ship received extensive renovations focused on enhancing the guest experience. The Freestyle Cruising ship received enhancements to its public areas, suites and restaurants. Following on the popularity of the Brazilian steakhouse that debuted on Norwegian Epic, the Moderno Churrascaria has been added as a new on-board restaurant. Guests can sample a variety of skewered meats presented by tableside passadors, as well as a salad bar. Additional updates and enhancements were made to some of the back-of-house areas of the ship to increase efficiencies.

"We have a company-wide commitment to ensuring our ships are in excellent condition. Therefore, Norwegian Sun is the first of three ships this year that will enter dry dock for enhancements, along with several that will take place in 2012," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "We will continue to enhance and refresh Freestyle Cruising for our guests and are pleased to now offer a new restaurant choice on Norwegian Sun."

Additional ships undergoing dry dock improvements this year are: Norwegian Dawn in May and Norwegian Spirit in September.

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Norwegian Sun's refurbishment to guest areas includes:

  • Updated decor in all 33 of the ship's suites;
  • Improvements to the Kids Crew area which offers complimentary children's programs;
  • The addition of Moderno Churrascaria, the line's new and popular Brazilian steakhouse (in the space previously occupied by Pacific Heights);
  • Overall replacement of carpets and wall coverings in public areas.

    In addition, back-of-house enhancements include:

  • An energy conservation project focused on the ship's HVAC system to save an estimated six million kilowatts per year (when complete in May 2011);
  • Replacement of all potable water piping (continuing over the next 12-18 months);
  • Propeller and rudder modifications to decrease power consumption by six percent;
  • Removal and replacement of all lifeboat davit hooks with new state-of-the-art hooks to further ensure guest safety.

    Norwegian Sun sails alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral, departing every Saturday through April 7, 2011. The ship's seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise stops in Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. On the seven-day Western Caribbean cruise, the ship will call in Cozumel, Mexico; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; Belize City, Belize and Key West, Florida. The two itineraries can be easily combined to create a port-rich 14-day Caribbean tour for guests looking for a longer cruise escape.

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    Beginning May 8 2011, Norwegian Sun will spend her summer in Europe sailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, for the first time in the company's history, embarking on 15 nine-day Baltic Capitals cruises. Ports of call include: Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm (Nynashamn), Sweden.

    Norwegian Sun has a variety of stateroom options, a choice of 14 dining venues, 10 bars and lounges, multiple entertainment venues, a luxurious spa and salon, state-of-the-art fitness center, a complimentary kid's club and teen lounge, a sports deck and several spacious public rooms.

    For more information or to book a sailing on Norwegian Sun, call a travel professional.

    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.

    Norwegian Sun Scandinavia & Russia Cruises From $959 US!

    Posted by Denise at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)
  • January 26, 2011

    In Search of Marco Polo in Venice, Italy

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    Princess Cruises Director of Food & Beverage Services' Omar Silingardi Tells Us His Story Of Travelling To Venice, Italy

    January 25, 2011 - Marco Polo was just 17 years old when he first set off for a lifetime of adventure and exploration with his father and uncle. Polo departed his home town of Venice, Italy by ship and did not return for another 24 years.

    I thought about this young explorer as I visited Venice with my own children, who were at the time 12 and 13 years old. I did a little mental age progression as we went, trying to fit these babies, my children, into a form that could possibly be prepared for such a journey of a lifetime. Could the next five years turn one of my headphone-wearing, video game-playing, American "tweens" into a world-class explorer like Polo? It was hard to imagine.

    Marco Polo was essentially what - or rather, who - brought us to Venice. My children studied the Italian explorer in school. Because I'm originally from Italy, they began to ask questions. What did I know about him, and was he as famous in Italy as he was here in the United States? Where is Venice, exactly, and why is it so well known? Their questions both amused and intrigued me, hitting as they did on a place and a piece of history of such great significance in my home country.

    I began to see that a visit to Venice was in order. It wouldn't be their first time in Italy, though; I'd taken them almost annually since they were babies.

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    But our usual travels involved extended stays in my home town of Modena, enjoying some splendid home cooking and visiting local landmarks such as the Modena cathedral, or the Ferrari factory, as Modena is the home of Italy's auto industry. But a trip to Venice would expose them to an entirely different side of the country.

    We began our Venetian holiday with an afternoon in Piazza San Marco,or Saint Mark's Square. Dating back to the 9th century, the square served as the point of entry to the original Saint Mark's Basilica. It's the lowest point in Venice, which means it's nearly always the first to flood during a storm. But otherwise, the square is usually bustling with tourists snapping photos of the 15th century clock tower at one end or the campanile that looms over the entire square. We were graced with fine weather, so I bought a couple bags of corn to feed the birds. With the grand St. Mark's Basilica as a backdrop, my children raised fists full of kernels as though making an offering to the sky itself. The pigeons wasted no time, and seemed to know no boundaries. They jumped on heads and shoulders, provoking a string of giggles from my daughter while my son squirmed and tried to resist batting them away.

    Venice is also known for its exquisite glass, though the center of the city's glassmaking industry has been located on the nearby island of Murano since 1291. That's when the government moved the glass makers out of Venice to keep their furnaces from burning down the entire city. With one short vaporetto ride, we found ourselves on the island, touring a factory some 400 years old. My kids found great wonders there - such extremes of creativity and fragility. They had never seen glass blown by hand before and helping them to understand the specialness of a thing of beauty created by hand gave me a thrill.

    No visit to Venice is complete without a ride on one of the city's famous gondolas - though the gondoliers know it and their prices show it. There was a time - a long time, centuries in fact - when gondolas were the main form of transportation in Venice, though today they mostly carry tourists. As I paid our gondolier, I wondered if flying to Las Vegas for a tour by gondola at the Venetian Hotel would cost as much as this one ride. But the price receded from my mind as we got underway, and the water-level scenery enveloped us. Our gondolier stood aft on our vessel, serenading us with his songs of romance. I had the advantage of speaking the language, and I asked in Italian if he could point to the site that had lured us to Venice to begin with.

    As we drifted down one of the many narrow canals, passing buildings showing all the signs of advanced age, walls distressed by water, old bricks and stonework exposed where plaster had worn away, through our gondolier's thick accent emerged the name "Marco Polo," and he pointed to an unremarkable building with a stone edifice held up by two columns.

    Perhaps seeing the site of Polo's home wasn't as exciting to my kids as some of the other wondrous sights we'd set our eyes on in Venice, but for me it was an essential experience. Helping my kids draw a connection between the history they read about in books and the actual physical place where it happened was well worth the cost of a gondola ride. Helping them bridge the gap between their American culture and my Italian one was priceless.

    Maybe my kids will be ready for adventures on their own in the next few years - maybe not. But until then, they've had at least one important travel adventure, and just like Marco Polo, it was with their father.

    Princess Cruises Europe & Mediterranean Cruises

    Princess Cruises Alaska Cruises & Cruisetours

    Posted by Denise at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

    January 21, 2011

    The Original Love Boat Comes to Life - in 250,000 LEGO Bricks

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    Master LEGO Builder Immortalizes Princess Cruises Ship Pacific Princess, Complete with Interior Details

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (January 19, 2011) - A love of cruising has led to a remarkably creative version of Princess Cruises' famous "Love Boat" - Pacific Princess - as reincarnated in LEGO by a fan in Melbourne, Australia.

    Measuring 10.5 feet long and nearly 5 feet high and made from more than 250,000 LEGO bricks, the extraordinary model took six months to build and is the largest single project ever undertaken by professional LEGO builder, Ryan McNaught. Images of the LEGO Love Boat can be seen on www.flickr.com/photos/ryanmcnaught.

    The son of Melbourne travel agent Lyn McNaught, the 36-year-old McNaught was inspired by the many cruises he has enjoyed over the years.

    He also recently built a giant Airbus 380 LEGO model, so he decided the time had come to tackle a ship.

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    "I wanted to do something with character so I chose the original Love Boat, Pacific Princess, and studied photos and deck plans to capture her features and her beauty," McNaught said.

    While one side of the model features the exterior of the famous ship, the other side is an open cutaway revealing all the action inside -- from chefs in the kitchen to passengers working out in the health club.

    McNaught has also brought the cast of the famous Love Boat TV show to life with LEGO models of the legendary Captain Stubing, Gopher and cruise director Julie, along with some of the show's most famous guests such as David Hasselhoff.

    Flashing LED lights for the disco and tiny motors powering the propellers and elevators complete the picture.

    McNaught (www.thebrickman.com) is one of only 12 certified LEGO builders in the world.

    Having shown his Love Boat model at Australia's LEGO Convention - Brickvention - in Melbourne this month, he now plans to move it to Chicago for Brickworld. Held in June, Brickworld is one of the largest LEGO conventions in the world, attracting tens of thousands of visitors and featuring 700 exhibitors.

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

    Princess Cruises Alaska Cruise Specials

    Princess Cruises Europe Cruise Specials

    Posted by Denise at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

    January 20, 2011

    OCEANIA CRUISES TAKES DELIVERY OF NEW FLAGSHIP ?MARINA?

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    SESTRI PONENTE, Italy, January 19, 2011 - Oceania Cruises officially took delivery today of Marina, the line's first newly built ship which measures 66,000 tons and accommodates 1,250 guests. The handover took place at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente shipyard near Genoa, where Marina officially became a part of the Oceania Cruises' fleet joining Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. Her sister ship, Riviera, is currently being built in the same shipyard and will debut in April 2012.

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    A ship of firsts, Marina features the Bon Appetit Culinary Center, the first hands-on cooking school at sea, Master Chef Jacques Pepin's first namesake restaurant at sea, Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner's Suites, luxurious accommodations by designer Dakota Jackson, Wine Spectator wine program, a Lalique grand stairway and Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Moreover, Marina has been designed for epicureans offering an unprecedented 10 dining venues - comparable in quality to the very best shore-side restaurants.

    According to Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises and chairman & CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings, "Marina is unlike any ship built in the past 50 years and is destined to be a game-changer in the industry. The superb gourmet restaurants and exquisite residential interiors reflect the best of what makes Oceania Cruises such an unrivaled experience."

    "The new Marina is not only beautiful, but one of the most elegant ships we have built in the last years," stated Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. "Today is a proud day for all of our employees and partners associated with this first new build for Oceania Cruises. We are honored to have been chosen to build the first ships from the vision of Mr. Del Rio."

    The new flagship of the Oceania Cruises fleet will set sail on her maiden voyage from Barcelona, Spain, on January 22. When she arrives in Miami on February 4, she is expected to receive a celebratory welcome that will last through the weekend. ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT Icon Mary Hart will name Marina at a lavish gala ceremony on February 5 and christen her with a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne, custom-made by Armand de Brignac, commemoratively crashing against the hull. The evening will be capped by an extravagant fireworks display, a gift from Oceania Cruises to the ship's US home port.

    After the christening festivities in Miami, Marina sets sail Feb. 8 on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco or San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises. Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.

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    Oceania Cruises' new Marina has been purposefully designed to carry 1,250 guests to the world's most alluring ports in elegance and style. Rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and illustrious leathers adorn public rooms. Facilities include 10 dining venues including six open-seating gourmet restaurants, an array of bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

    For more information contact an Oceania Cruise Specialist at Cruising2Alaska.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 new Marina.

    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 and Regent brands, a number the company expects will grow to more than 6,500 berths by 2011

    Posted by Denise at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

    January 19, 2011

    Princess Cruises Launches Facebook Contest for Best Travel Bucket List Story; Winner Picks Their Dream Cruise Destination

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    Most Inspiring Video or Essay Submissions Determined by Popular Vote

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (January 17, 2011) - Princess Cruises is today launching a Facebook contest inviting its fans to share their most essential travel experience for a chance to check another place off their travel bucket list. The contest winner, to be determined by popular vote, will receive their choice of eight remarkable cruise destinations - Europe, Asia, Tahiti, Australia/New Zealand, the Holy Land, Panama Canal, Alaska or South America.

    The cruise vacation choices range from 10 to 16 days in length in a balcony stateroom, and include roundtrip airfare for two people.

    Travelers can submit their compelling tales through the special contest tab on the line's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PrincessCruises) either as a written story or video. The public will then have the opportunity to vote on the experience that inspires them the most, and the eligible entrant with the highest number of votes will win their dream cruise vacation.

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    "We're encouraging our Facebook fans to share an inspiring travel experience they think everyone should do at least once in their lifetime," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "And the unprecedented aspect of this contest is that the winner gets to choose from among eight incredible cruise destinations, and cross yet another experience off their travel bucket list."

    There are two ways to enter the Princess Cruises Travel Bucket List Contest - with a written story up to 300 words and up to five photos, or with a video up to two minutes in length. Entries can be submitted any time until February 7, 2011. Fans can vote for the story that inspires them most between February 11-25, 2011 and the winner will be announced on or around March 11, 2011.

    The contest is inspired by Princess' popular blog, 50 Essential Experiences, which chronicles bucket list travel experiences from the company's most-traveled employees. The blog, which has attracted over half a million page views since it launched in October, has motivated many travelers to think about their own travel bucket lists and plan essential travel experiences.

    "We know our passengers are passionate about travel, so we're looking forward to reading some wonderful stories," said Swartz.

    The eligible top vote-getter will receive his or her choice of one of the following eight cruise itineraries:

    13-day New Zealand
    Sydney, Bay of Islands, Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch (Lyttelton), Dunedin (Port Chalmers), Fiordland National Park Scenic Cruising, Sydney

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    12-day Holy Land
    Rome (Civitavecchia), Sorrento (for Capri & Pompeii), Patmos, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Galilee/Nazareth (Haifa), Jerusalem (Ashdod), Port Said (for Giza/Cairo), Alexandria, Santorini, Athens (Piraeus)

    16-day Southeast Asia & China
    Beijing (Tianjin), Busan, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Singapore

    12-day Grand Mediterranean
    Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples (for Capri & Pompeii), Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Athens (Piraeus), Venice (Overnight)

    14-day Panama Canal
    Ft. Lauderdale, Aruba, Cartagena, Full transit of the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador, Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Los Angeles

    12-night Alaska Connoisseur Deluxe Escorted Cruisetour
    Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord, Whittier/Denali, Denali, Denali/Mt. McKinley, Mt. McKinley, Anchorage/Mt. McKinley, Anchorage

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    10-day Tahiti & Polynesia
    Tahiti (Papeete), Huahine, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Bora Bora (Overnight), Moorea, Tahiti (Papeete)

    14-day Cape Horn Route to Rio
    Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Falkland Islands (Stanley), Cape Horn scenic cruising, Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), Punta Arenas (Strait of Magellan), Chilean Fjords scenic cruising, Santiago (Valparaiso)

    The Princess Travel Bucket List contest is open to all residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada (excluding Quebec), the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, aged 21 years or older. Official rules can be found at http://tinyurl.com/4ap4mdz.

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

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

    January 18, 2011

    OCEANIA CRUISES' NEW 'MARINA' TO FEATURE 10 DINING VENUES, INCLUDING 6 GOURMET RESTAURANTS

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    First-Ever Ship Built for Epicureans Details Culinary Offerings

    Miami, January 10, 2011 - Oceania Cruises' new Marina is destined to set new standards for culinary excellence at sea with 10 dining venues, six of which are no-charge, gourmet restaurants. The 1,250-guest ship, which debuts later this month, was designed for food and wine lovers with an ambitious goal to offer dining experiences comparable to the very best shore-side restaurants.

    According to Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises' president, "Marina is the first ship purpose-built for epicureans. Unlike many cruise lines, all of our meals are cooked to order, a la minute. We are committed to serving cuisine that rivals some of the world's very best restaurants."

    Continental Cuisine, Asian Fusion & American Favorites
    Marina will offer six, open-seating gourmet restaurants, two private-dining venues and two casual eateries. The decor of each is distinctive, yet a common design thread is evident in the extensive use of rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and supple leather. Below is an outline of the ship's eight no-charge dining venues and two exclusive options:

    The Grand Dining Room - Tuxedo-clad wait staff serve a six-course menu in a classic setting reminiscent of a five-star restaurant at one of Europe's grandest hotels. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Toscana - Three, illuminated etched-glass panels provide a dramatic backdrop to savory specialties, many of them family recipes handed down from Oceania Cruises' staff and crew. Open for dinner, reservations suggested.

    Polo Grill - Plush and supple leather upholstery, a rich palette of crimson, gold and green, and gold-edged mahogany wall panels evoke the glamour of a vintage Hollywood steakhouse. Fine cuts of Prime, dry-aged beef, as well as chops and fresh seafood, are featured. Open for dinner, reservations suggested.

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    Jacques - The first-ever restaurant at sea for its renowned namesake, Jacques Pepin, draws inspiration from fabled brasseries of Paris and his hometown of Lyon. Open for dinner, reservations suggested.

    Red Ginger - Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese flavors are showcased in a contemporary setting that features three Buddhas carved from a single piece of backlit glass as a dramatic centerpiece. Open for dinner, reservations suggested.

    Terrace Cafe - Shades of burgundy, burnt orange, gold and lemon create a bright and pleasant ambiance or guests may dine al fresco. Regional delicacies and sumptuous buffets are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Waves - This relaxed, open-air bistro serves gourmet burgers, swordfish, chicken and other grilled items, and features a salad bar and homemade ice cream bar. Open for lunch, weather permitting.

    Baristas - This coffee bar adjoining the library is the place throughout the day to enjoy Illy espresso and cappuccino, plus homemade biscotti and coffee cake.

    Optional Wine Dinners & the Ultimate Chef's Table
    La Reserve by Wine Spectator - This intimate venue hosts tastings and seven-course pairing dinners with premium wines selected in consultation with Wine Spectator editors. Extra charge for wines; reservations required.

    Privee - This posh private dining room offers the ultimate Chef's Table. Eight fortunate guests can create a personalized menu featuring such specialties as Kobe beef, Brittany lobsters, foie gras, caviar and truffles. Room charge is $1,000. Open select evenings, reservations required.

    Oceania Cruises' new Marina also features a Bon Appetit Culinary Center and full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Interior design highlights include a Lalique-designed grand lobby, luxurious suites designed by Dakota Jackson as well as Owner's Suites furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home.

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    For reservations or to order a brochure, contact an Oceania Cruise Specialist at Cruising2Europe.com at #1-800-738-8837.

    Additional information about Marina dining venues, including sample menus, can be found online. For more information on Oceania Cruises or to order a brochure, see a travel agent.

    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 new Marina.

    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 and Regent brands, a number the company expects will grow to more than 6,500 berths by 2011

    Posted by Denise at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

    January 11, 2011

    Celebrity Cruises celebrates new yearby offering new ways to save

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    Destination-focused booking promotion aims to help consumers enjoy precious vacation time

    Miami - (January 06, 2011 ) - Premium vacation brand Celebrity Cruises has kicked off a "New Year, New Cruise" booking promotion aimed at helping vacationers to make the most of their time off. Each week this month, Celebrity is offering up to $150 in stateroom credit, for select cruises in particular destinations.

    The savings will be issued in the form of a shipboard credit. Offered to help vacationers make the most of their time onboard, the credit can be used for spa treatments, specialty dining, shopping, shore excursions and more. The promotion is intended to offer guests an added opportunity to enjoy Celebrity's line-up of onboard experiences as well as to get to know the destinations on the itinerary through shore excursions.

    Exotic experiences in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii

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    This week (through January 9), guests booking 2011 Australia/New Zealand, Panama Canal and Hawaii sailings are eligible to take advantage of the promotion. Not only do Celebrity's cruises in these regions introduce numerous new ports of call, but sailings in Australia and New Zealand also will feature a line-up of onboard activities such as local speakers/entertainers and destination-focused food and beverage menus, all geared toward immersing guests in the region. While in port, Celebrity offers shore excursions that give guests the opportunity to observe local wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils and kiwis, learn more about the Aboriginal and Maori cultures, climb the Sydney Bridge, explore the New Zealand countryside by train, and more.

    Seven ships in the Caribbean

    From January 10 through January 16, 2011, guests who book Caribbean cruises sailing from March through December 2011 are eligible. Seven Celebrity Cruises ships will present Caribbean cruises in 2011, including Celebrity Constellation, which was "Solsticized" last year, and four Solstice Class ships. Among these is the forthcoming Celebrity Silhouette, which will debut this summer in Europe before transitioning to Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey for a fall and winter Caribbean season offering Northeast travelers an easy way to escape the cold weather in style. With multiple specialty restaurants, hip, stylish bars and coffee lounges, a variety of fun activities in its Celebrity Life program and more, Celebrity's Solstice Class is a popular choice for upscale travelers seeking a Caribbean getaway. While ashore, travelers can opt to zipline through the trees in St. Maarten, enjoy a sailing trip by catamaran in St. Thomas, visit a rainforest in Puerto Rico, explore Mayan ruins in Mexico, or snorkel with stingrays in Grand Cayman.

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    Cultural exploration in Europe

    Europe and transatlantic cruises departing from April through November of 2011 are the focus of the offer for those guests booking cruises from January 17 through January 23, 2011. The five ships that Celebrity will sail throughout Europe in the summer of 2011 will offer travelers the Solstice Class experience; one of these is Celebrity Constellation. Visiting a total of 63 ports in 23 countries, Celebrity's Europe lineup in 2011 will feature seven new ports: Leknes (Lofoten) and Longyearbyen, Norway; La Spezia, Italy; Bodrum and Marmaris, Turkey; Chania (Souda Bay), Greece; and Kotor, Montenegro. Shore excursion options in Europe include Celebrity's private car/van arrangements available in over 20 ports, a visit to the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, a trip to explore the ruins of Pompeii in Naples, a rare opportunity to visit the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, and more.

    Scenic views in Alaska

    From January 24 through January 30, guests who book Alaska sailings taking place from May through September of 2011, will be eligible for the onboard credit offer. Highly appealing to families and first-time cruisers, Celebrity's Alaska itineraries include seven-night Tracy Arm Fjord and 10-night "Ultimate Alaska" voyages, among others. Guests seeking the opportunity to view Alaska's Inside Passage and other points of interest from the privacy of their stateroom veranda will have more opportunities to do so in 2011, with the introduction of Celebrity Century to the region; the ship was refurbished in 2006 to include 314 new veranda staterooms. Guests who book during the January promotion and earn onboard credit can opt to use it toward popular shore excursions such as whale watching, The Great Alaska Lumberjack show, a trip on the White Pass Scenic Railway, salmon bakes and more.

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    The shipboard credit earned during the promotion is valid only during the cruise booked during the promotion. The offer is valid only for new, individual bookings, and bookings within a group that are named and deposited within the booking window, paid partially or in full. Incentive contracted groups and charters are not eligible. The amount of onboard credit offered is based on stateroom category and sailing length; for example, select sailings of seven nights, such as those on Celebrity's award-winning Solstice Class ships, will offer vacationers onboard credit in the amount of $50 per stateroom for inside and oceanview staterooms; $100 per stateroom for standard verandas; and $150 per stateroom for Concierge Class, AquaClass and suites. Click here for additional details.

    Celebrity Cruises is designed for discerning vacationers, with modern, sophisticated environments, impeccable service, enriching and inspiring onboard programs, and award-winning cuisine. The ultimate in premium cruising, Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, California, Canada/New England, Europe, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal, South America, and year-round in the Caribbean and the Galapagos Islands. Celebrity also offers immersive cruisetour experiences in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Europe and South America. Celebrity's mega-series of honors include being named the top mega-ship line in Conde Nast Traveler's annual Readers' Choice Awards (November 2009). Celebrity's fleet currently consists of 10 ships. Its $3.7-billion investment in building five stylish Solstice Class ships between 2008-2012 represents the largest five-year investment in premium cruising.

    For more information, contact a Celebrity Five-Star Agent at Cruising2Alaska.com #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

    January 07, 2011

    Alaska Tops Bucket Lists in 2011 Travel Resolutions Poll; Consumers Cite Oprah as Most Desired Celebrity Travel Companion

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    Princess Cruises Surveys Travelers to Learn Most Desired Destinations, Experiences, and Travel Styles for 2011

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif., January 6, 2011 - With New Year's resolutions fresh in consumers' minds, Princess Cruises fielded a poll to its Facebook fans to learn which destinations and travel experiences top their bucket lists in 2011. And respondents decisively answered that their number-one destination choice for the coming year is Alaska.

    One-fourth of respondents resolved to travel to the 49th state in the coming year. Other questions revealed that most are looking for a relaxing vacation and plan to travel with their spouse or significant other - but would be quite willing to travel with Oprah as their choice for celebrity travel companion.

    Princess' own Essential Experiences blog also offered travelers inspiration for their bucket lists, with most respondents eager to try dog sledding on an Alaskan glacier or to plan a visit to the "lost city of the Incas," Machu Picchu, in Peru.

    "Most people have a travel bucket list," said Princess executive vice president, Jan Swartz, "and with New Year's resolutions top-of-mind right now, we wanted to learn which destinations and experiences our fans are most excited about this year."

    Domestic vs. International Travel
    Surprisingly, more than one-fourth of consumers chose a U.S. destination over an exotic international location, citing Alaska as their first choice. The Caribbean (15%) and Europe (14%) also made many people's lists this year, with fewer folks choosing Hawaii (8%); Panama Canal (7%); Africa (5%); Australia (5%); Amazon (4%); Asia (2%); Canada/New England (2%); Mexican Riviera (2%); New Zealand (2%); South America (2%), and India (1%).

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    Ultimate Travel Bucket List Experience
    Alaska was also popular for future bucket list experiences. Seventeen percent of respondents chose dog mushing on an Alaskan glacier as their top pick inspired by a growing list of essential experiences shared by destination experts on Princess' recently launched blog, 50 Essential Experiences:The Travel Bucket List.

    Equally inspiring was the dream of discovering the lost city of Machu Picchu in Peru, which also got 17% of the vote, as did visiting historic castles in Scotland (17%). Other travelers selected climbing the cliffs of Santorini, Greece (14%); traveling the golden circle in Iceland (7%); exploring the ancient city of Petra, Jordan (7%); journeying to Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (7%); visiting Vietnam (6%); bobsledding in Jamaica (5%); and visiting art deco treasures in Napier, New Zealand (4%) for their bucket lists.

    Most Desired Travel Companions
    Spouses and significant others won the popularity contest for most desired travel companions in 2011, with 68% of respondents planning to take along their "other half." The next most common co-travelers are good friends (15%); while kids garnered only 6% of the vote as did extended family groups. Only a few people resolved to travel with their siblings (3%) and parents (2%) this year.

    Celebrity Fancy
    However, if they could choose a celebrity instead of their spouse, most travelers want to pack their bags with Oprah, who outranked 11 other notable figures as the most desired celebrity travel companion with 19% of the vote. Other famous folks that travelers wanted to take along included Jack Black (17%); Tina Fey (14%); Bono (12%); Heidi Klum (10%); Mario Batali (8%); Michelle Obama (6%); and Peyton Manning (5%). However, future princess Kate Middleton only received 3% of the vote and surprisingly few people chose Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (2%). Teen sensation Justin Bieber (1%) and Mike 'The Situation' from reality show "Jersey Shore" (1%) were the least popular choices.

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    Travel Experiences
    Despite the adventurous nature of many of their favorite destinations, what Princess fans really want on vacation is relaxation. Nearly 50% of respondents chose this as an essential component to culling a travel bucket list, followed by adventure (19%); entertainment (17%); culture (12%); and romance (12%).

    About the Poll
    Results are based on findings from a poll fielded on the Princess Cruises Facebook page from December 27, 2010 to January 3, 2011.

    For more information about a cruise vacation or Princess Cruises contact Cruising2Alaska.com #1-800-738-8837.

    View Alaska Cruise & Cruisetour Specials!

    Posted by Denise at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

    January 06, 2011

    Oceania Cruises Announces Travel Agent Contest

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    Miami, January 3, 2011 - Oceania Cruises has announced the Ultimate Alaska Getaway sweepstakes in celebration of its inaugural Alaska season in 2011. For each Alaska booking made between now and March 31, 2011, travel agents will automatically be entered to win one of three vacations for two onboard the line's Regatta. Each Ultimate Alaska Getaway prize includes free round-trip air for two, pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodations and a choice of the following itineraries:

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    Alaskan Grandeur - 12 days between San Francisco and Vancouver. Ports include Astoria and Victoria, as well as Wrangell, Juneau, Hoonah, Sitka and Ketchikan. Departures: May 26 and August 14.
    Glacial Wilderness - 12 days between Vancouver and Anchorage, with visits to Ketchikan, Wrangell, Juneau, Hoonah, Skagway, Sitka, Seward and Homer. Departures: June 17 and 29, July 11 and 23.

    Winning agents will additionally receive free shore excursions valued at up to $4,598, which include a five-day "Discover Denali Experience," three-day "Wild Bear Experience" or a $1,000 shore excursion credit.

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    "Our travel partners have played a vital role in creating a strong demand for our inaugural season in Alaska," states Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises. "We are thrilled at the response and delighted to offer the Ultimate Alaska Getaway sweepstakes."

    For more information, contact an Oceania Specialist at Cruising2Alaska.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 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    January 03, 2011

    Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Shows His Appreciation To Crew During Undercover Boss

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    Sheehan rewards crew fleet-wide with a $100,000 addition to crew enrichment program

    Miami - Jan 3, 2011 - Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Kevin Sheehan made the most of his undercover journey on the Emmy-nominated hit reality series "Undercover Boss" that aired in the U.S. and Canada on Sunday, January 2, 2011 on the CBS Television Network.

    Not only did he reward each of the four crew members with whom he worked alongside, but he also showed his appreciation for the crew across the line's 11 ships by making a $100,000 addition to the crew enrichment program during the show's finale which took place in front of more than 800 crew members on Pride of America in Hawaii. The enrichment program is a fleet-wide initiative to support and enhance the welfare of the company's more than 14,000 crew members. This includes a variety of activities, equipment and events for the crew of each ship, such as DVD movies, sports equipment, parties, karaoke and entertainment, video game equipment and much more.

    "Each of the four crew members that I worked with had incredible passion for their jobs, along with interesting personal stories and I enjoyed getting to know each of them," said Sheehan. "However, it's not just these four individuals that make Norwegian Cruise Line special. It's all of our employees, particularly the 14,000 crew members who are working hard every day to make our guests' experiences onboard special, so I wanted to make sure to do something that would benefit all the crew."

    On Pride of America, Sheehan worked with John Nersten, a deck repairman in the Deck and Engine department. Nersten was very appreciative of Sheehan's offer to fly him, his wife and new baby from his home in Saipan (near Guam) to visit his parents and extended family in New York. While there, they will be treated to a seven-day cruise from New York. In addition, Sheehan made a $10,000 donation in Nersten's name to the Families of September 11, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about terrorism, as a tribute to John's patriotism following the September 11 tragedy. Despite being over the age limit, Nersten enlisted in the military following September 11 and served his country for two years.

    "I cannot begin to express how happy you have made my wife, my family in New York and me," said Nersten.

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    On Norwegian Epic, Sheehan worked with Recreation Host Jessica Barnes, a Pittsburgh native and recent college graduate. Sheehan was impressed with Barnes' guest service skills and invited her to join the company's management training program. Barnes begins her new position at the corporate headquarters in Miami this week. In addition, Sheehan treated Barnes' parents to a cruise on Norwegian Epic so they could see their daughter at work. While working with Barnes, Sheehan also decided to remove the ship's ice skating rink and change the rappelling wall waiver system to an electronic version.

    Also on Norwegian Epic, Sheehan's true identity was revealed by Silvia Veigas, a waitress in the Manhattan Room restaurant. Veigas is on her seventh contract with Norwegian and is originally from India. Sheehan was impressed with Veigas' work ethic, dedication and good rapport with guests. During their conversations, Veigas had many suggestions for enhancements to the Manhattan Room and to the overall crew experience. Sheehan recognized her hard work and commitment by promoting her to senior waitress and giving her a position on the ship's advisory board to help implement crew suggestions. In addition, he offered to give her and her partner a wedding on board where they could celebrate with family and friends.

    Remarking on her favorite part of the experience, Veigas said, "The most important thing is knowing that I had been heard. It was wonderful to have a voice and be able to make a change."

    Sheehan also donned angel wings and led 1,000 party-goers at the company's signature White Hot Party in a line dance with the assistance of Michael Guida, a member of the cruise staff and a native of Buffalo, New York. Sheehan recognized Guida's commitment to excellence by promoting him to assistant cruise director on Norwegian Epic. In addition, Sheehan, who had lost a brother unexpectedly, sympathized with Guida whose mother passed away suddenly from brain cancer. Guida and his family had made a commitment to raise money for cancer research and are in the midst of planning their next fundraiser. Sheehan pledged to match dollar for dollar the money that Guida and his family raise at their next event.

    "It was shocking how everything turned out," said Guida. "When Kevin told me about the donation, I was stunned, it was completely unexpected."

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    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 Hawaii-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 is an Emmy-nominated series in its second season and has featured such companies such as Choice Hotels International, DIRECTV, Frontier Airlines, NASCAR, The Chicago Cubs, 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.

    For more information about a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise vacation contact a Freestyle Certified Specialist at Cruising2Europe.com #1-800-738-8837.

    Posted by Denise at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)