Friday, July 29, 2016

Explore the Mississippi on a Riverboat This Fall

The Mississippi is the world’s mightiest and most interesting river and it’s time to consider exploring the dramatic landscapes that have long inspired artists, writers, and steamboat passengers on one of the American Queen Steamboat Company’s 9-day voyages to the river’s upper reaches this fall. From St. Louis to St. Paul, the river is rich with frontier tales of fur traders and pioneers set among picturesque geography and abundant wildlife. Hidden gems around each bend fuel guests’ sense of discovery as the very best of America’s Heartland unfolds before their eyes. Plus, the fall foliage along the river can rival any in the country.

“River Cruising is a unique blend of American beauty and history, acclaimed cuisine, lively showboat-style entertainment, and the adventure of exploring Mark Twain’s riverside America,” says Ted Sykes, President of American Queen Steamboat Company. “Guests will discover a side of our country that few ever see, from the indescribable perspective of the river.”

These are the Upper Mississippi River Voyages aboard the American Queen during the fall 2016 season:
• Big Band Swing, Memphis to St. Louis (Alton): Sept. 11-19
What better way to start this voyage than an overnight stay amidst the rich musical heritage of Memphis, Tenn.? This sentimental sailing includes nightly dancing accompanied by the 13-piece Great American Swing Band with instructors on hand for those with clumsy feet. Guests can also enjoy onboard lectures from expert historians and special onboard guest entertainment. Ports of call include New Madrid, Mo., Paducah, Ky., Cape Girardeau, Mo. Chester, Ill., and Alton, Ill.
• Autumn Colors, St. Louis (Alton) to St. Paul (Red Wing): Oct. 2-10
Each autumn, nature takes out her paintbrush and splashes vibrant colors across the land with white church steeples poking up amidst the splendor. On this voyage, guests will have a chance to enjoy fall foliage in all its glory and towns that come alive with the bounty of the harvest and a generosity of spirit reflected in the smiles of the locals who greet them in every port. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, wildlife takes center stage both on and above the rolling hills and limestone bluffs that cradle the river on its journey through the Heartland. Ports of call include Alton, Ill., Hannibal, Mo., Clinton, Iowa, Dubuque, Iowa, and La Crosse, Wis.
Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, the 9-day Upper Mississippi journeys include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner, and a host of other amenities.

The American Queen Steamboat Company owns and operates the U.S. flagged American Queen, the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world. Longer than a football field, towering six decks in height and laced with fanciful gingerbread trim, she is a marvel of modern engineering. Her journeys through the heartland offer a unique perspective on America’s history, culture and landscape with convenient departures from some of America’s most iconic river port cities including Memphis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, and St. Paul. In April 2014, American Queen Steamboat Company began serving the Pacific Northwest with opulence and grandeur on the American Empress.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line's First Ship for China to Feature Hull Artwork By Chinese Artist Tan Ping

Spotting a Norwegian Cruise Line Ship from afar is easy—the distinctive artwork on each ship's hull is hard to miss. Not only is it visible from long distance, but each work of hull art is meaningful. So, it comes as no surprise that the line has commissioned renowned Chinese artist Tan Ping to design the artwork to be featured on the hull of its soon to-be-unveiled Breakaway-Plus class vessel Norwegian Joy. Scheduled for release in Summer 2017, with home porting in Shanghai and Beijing, Norwegian Joy will be Norwegian's first ship that is purpose-built for the Chinese market to deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy 'First Class at Sea' experiences, starting with her VIP accommodations. Tan Ping's distinctive artwork will serve to underscore Norwegian Cruise Line's commitment to providing an unparalleled cruise experience for Chinese consumers.

A painter, printmaker, and educator, Tan Ping straddles the worlds of both art and design. His abstract paintings and copper plate etchings are in the collections of such renowned museums as The National Art Museum of China; Portland Art Museum, USA; Ludwig Museum, Germany; and The Shanghai Art Museum. Tan Ping also enjoys the distinction of having led and directed a team of designers from Central Academy of Fine Arts to complete the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Image and Landscape Design Project. His subject for Norwegian Joy is the phoenix, an iconic mythical bird believed to reign supreme over all birds of the world. It is a ubiquitous motif in Chinese art and can be found throughout the centuries in paintings, silk brocades, architectural flourishes, and more.

"The Phoenix symbolizes beauty and good luck in Chinese culture, and Norwegian Joy will bridge across the West and the East and bring Chinese people's best wish to the world and everyone in her path," said Tan Ping.

Tan's modernistic design is simple, yet graceful, as flowing lines simultaneously convey forward movement and majestic poise. The artwork's color palette is dominated by red and yellow, traditionally the two most regal colors in China. Red signifies joy, a perfect match for a ship of the very same name. Yellow represents grandeur, the feeling that a ship of this size evokes in those who see it. The design also includes hints of blue, signifying the sea. These three colors are also primary colors, the starting point for all other colors in the spectrum of visible light. Through this subtle reference, Tan conveys the sense of an auspicious beginning to an unforgettable voyage.

"We are incredibly honored to be partnering with Professor Tan Ping," says David Herrera, President, Norwegian Cruise Line China. "Tan Ping’s ability to design concepts that easily blend traditional Chinese culture with moving and changing aspects of life is inspiring. He has perfectly captured the feel of Norwegian Joy as a luxurious, technologically advanced ship while honoring traditional Chinese values. The hull art embodies the essence of the best of The East meshing perfectly with the best of The West.”

Norwegian Joy will see the vision of the Phoenix artwork transferred to a medium of enormous scale on the hull of this unique ship. "This design is by far my largest artwork," says Tan. "Traveling worldwide on Norwegian Joy, I also expect that it will reach a far greater number of viewers than any of my previous works."

Tan Ping's stunning hull artwork promises to be the finishing touch on one of the most ambitious vessels in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. Norwegian Joy will accommodate 3,850 guests with luxurious suites in the exclusive ship-within-a-ship complex, The Haven by Norwegian®, along with a brand new Concierge category of staterooms, plus a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view, and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies, to meet every guests' needs. Dining options will feature both Chinese and Continental cuisine. When it comes to at-sea entertainment, guests aboard Norwegian Joy will be spoiled for choice with state-of-the-art Virtual Reality gaming at The Galaxy Pavilion, the world’s first two-level competitive racetrack at sea, an open-space park, two multi-story waterslides and plentiful options for duty-free shopping.

Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cruise Travel: Planning & Packing & Lists


Before you break out the suitcases and affix the luggage tags, you need to decide what to pack for your cruise. That doesn't sound difficult, but it can make or break your trip, especially if you forget something essential.

I became a confirmed packing list maker following my very first cruise on the SS Norway. I forgot one little grooming aid that I really really needed—my tweezers. One of my tablemates forgot to bring her hairdryer. We were both able to find suitable replacements ashore but we spent two days at sea before arriving in port where we could shop for them.

Aha! A light went on in my brain! If I had a checklist, I would be less likely to leave something out of my suitcase. What simplicity... why hadn't anyone thought of it before? Mind you, this was twenty-five years ago, the Internet was in its infancy, and there were no cruise-specific packing lists making the rounds. No lists at ALL, in fact. So I devised one with everything I could think of and, when fellow cruisers on Prodigy, AOL, CompuServe, and the newsgroup (remember them?) heard about it, my email box was flooded with requests for "the packing list." Now, mind you, it contains just about everything anyone would need so there are many items you can just cross off.

Thus, my web site was originally created to share the packing lists! A new career was born and I now lecture on ships about packing light. Yes... it's true! I can pack everything I need for a two week cruise in an airline regulation size carry-on and my backpack purse.

A cruise is unlike a resort vacation. There's no local supermarket or drugstore to pop into when you need something. Although many ships stock a variety of sundries these days, they can cost considerably more than comparable items at home.

I hope the lists and articles linked from the Packing & Lists page on the Cruise Diva website are helpful to you. If so, let me know. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear that as well.

Bon Voyage!
Linda Coffman, the Cruise Diva (& Packing Guru)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Seabourn Sets Sail For the South Pole

Setting sail for uncharted waters, luxury cruise line Seabourn is launching new pre-cruise experiences taking guests to the South Pole on select Antarctica & Patagonia itineraries during the 2016-2017 season. Guests bound for the Great White Continent aboard Seabourn Quest can extend their adventure with two new travel packages that also travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including: Polar Quest & Patagonia and Polar Quest, Tierra del Fuego & Iguazu Falls.

"Seabourn has made its reputation for offering guests astonishing experiences in places that are beyond the ordinary, and there are few travel opportunities less-expected or out-of-the-ordinary than a visit to the South Pole," said Robin West, Senior Manager, Expedition Planning and Operations for Seabourn. "These experiences will be the icing on the cake for guests bound for Antarctica aboard Seabourn Quest over the season ahead."

Both of the pre-cruise packages include stays at Union Glacier Camp in the southern Ellsworth Mountains, one of a few private seasonally occupied camps in Antarctica. Operated by renowned land-based tour operator Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE), the full-service camp offers spacious, double-occupancy sleeping tents; freshly prepared gourmet cuisine; and a spectacular setting for activities from scenic excursions to technical climbs and ski tours. Hold onto your hats—these are extraordinary high-end experiences with ultra high-end prices.

There are many memories waiting to be made and much for guests to enjoy on the new pre-cruise experiences on Seabourn Quest in Antarctica & Patagonia this season, including:
• Polar Quest & Patagonia (14 nights/15 days): In addition to a transantarctic flight and landing at the South Pole, this overland journey takes guests on an exploration of breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site Torres del Paine National Park that encompasses 450,000 acres of forests, rivers, lakes and virgin pampas in southernmost Chile. Choose from a variety of included excursions providing daily opportunities to explore the various environments, including vivid blue ice pools, raw glacial moraines and abundant wildlife from guanacos to Andean condors. Package rates start at $50,999 per person based on double occupancy; pre-cruise departure Dec 4, 2016 followed by Seabourn Quest sailing Dec 19, 2016.
• Polar Quest, Tierra del Fuego & Iguazu Falls (16 nights/17 days): In addition to a transantarctic flight and landing at the South Pole, guests will join a select company of intrepid explorers en-route to one of the world's most remote and unspoiled destinations: the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site of Iguazu Falls National Park on the border of Brazil and Argentina. From Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, guests will witness an immense complex of waterfalls. Explore the falls and its surroundings from extensive walkways or take options such as inflatable boats or helicopter tours. Package rates start at $53,999 per person based on double occupancy; pre-cruise departure Dec 26, 2016 followed by Seabourn Quest sailing Jan 12, 2017.
Images Courtesy of Seabourn

Monday, July 25, 2016

Carnival Introduces Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea

Carnival Cruise Line and Build-A-Bear Workshop have entered into an exclusive partnership to bring the unique retail-entertainment experience to the cruise line’s fleet. The first Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea is being rolled out aboard Carnival Dream and is expected to be fleetwide aboard all 25 Carnival ships by summer 2017.

Building upon Carnival’s position as the family cruise leader hosting 700,000 kids a year, Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea provides children of all ages an opportunity to make their own cuddly bear that can be customized with a variety of outfits and accessories, from tutus and high-top sneakers to, appropriately enough, vacation wear like bathing suits and sunglasses. Each bear comes complete with its own “birth certificate” with the bear’s name and date he or she was created, as well as a logoed drawstring bag. Additionally, the bears have their own “voice” via a recordable sound chip with kids recording their own special message. And the fun doesn’t stop at just making bears—kids can create monkeys, leopards, turtles and other furry friends, as well as a St. Jude Bear with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of Carnival’s primary charitable partners.

“Build-A-Bear Workshop is a popular part of American culture and we’re delighted to provide our guests with an opportunity to make their own custom-designed bear and create a lifetime of memories,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We are equally grateful to partner with Build-A-Bear Workshop to help raise money for the special kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” she added.

Participants can make their custom-designed bears at pop-up Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea workstations located within the Camp Ocean facilities or join the ships’ cruise directors with festive Build-A-Bear At Sea parties held each cruise and featuring music, bear-themed snacks and photo opportunities. The pop-up workstations are set up at designated times throughout the cruise and include everything to make a cute, huggable bear with racks filled with various outfits and accessories as well as an iconic stuffer that allows participants to add soft stuffing to make their bear as plush and cuddly as they want.

Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea complements the wide variety of family-friendly activities available aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships which also include complimentary children’s programs for kids 2-17, spectacular water parks with corkscrew water slides and splash zones, miniature golf courses, video arcades, poolside DiveIn Movies on giant LED screens, outdoor play spaces, volleyball and basketball courts and more. Prices for the bears start at $20 with outfits and accessories starting at $5.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trio of Waterslides on The Sea Tops Harmony of the Seas

Five decks above a main courtyard of the world's largest cruise ship, passengers on Royal Caribbean's new Harmony of the Seas might catch a glimpse of the expansive ocean as they ride slides towering 10 stories above the blue sea. But that word "might" gives a clue as to what typically grabs their attention during the slip-sliding journey: the heart-pounding adrenaline rush. A guest called one of the attractions the "quite possibly the best waterslide at sea."

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line launched the new ship—the world's largest ever built—in May 2016. Among its most popular features are its three waterslides, together referred to as The Perfect Storm: the Cyclone, Typhoon, and Supercell. Polin Waterparks manufactured the waterslides using two of its most popular waterslides namely the Aquatube and Space Hole.
Aquatube. Polin installed two of these slides—individually named on Harmony as the Cyclone and Typhoon—to form the ship's signature attraction, which RCCL calls The Ultimate Abyss. Guests enter the slides on Deck 18 in the Pool and Sports Zone at the back of the ship. They zip in whooshing circles through its enclosed tubes, alternating between transparent and dark sections, before dropping about 100 feet and exiting to the Boardwalk onto Deck 15.
Space Hole. This ride—named the Supercell on Harmony—features a giant basin that some reviewers have referred to as an elegant "champagne bowl." The attraction is one of the largest slides available for speed riding. Guests zoom through an enclosed tube that deposits them into the open bowl. There, centrifugal force whirls them around the interior before they exit through the center and make a breathtaking splash below. Guests access the slides from a glass platform, which provides a feeling of being suspended in mid-air, giving many riders pause before they even begin the 10-story plunge. (More than a few, in fact, change their minds about taking on the challenge, which begins 150 feet in the air.)
All of Harmony of the Seas' waterslides are produced using Polin's innovative Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) technology. This process which is the latest technology in waterslide manufacturing creates waterslides components that are smooth and shiny on both sides. This feature—which Polin calls Magic Shine—means the tunnel components don't get dirty as quickly and are easier to clean—definite advantages for the variety of weather conditions a cruise ship can encounter. It also means the slides are stronger—yet lighter—and easier to install. Especially important, it provides the slides with extra strength to stand up to high wind loads. Plus, the waterslides offer Polin's patented Natural Light Effects technology.

Polin worked with project-management partner Myrtha Pools (Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy) to oversee the special engineering and installation requirements that the project required. Despite the unique considerations that a cruise ship offers, Polin's waterslides on Harmony of the Seas still deliver the same heart-thumping thrills of slides on terra firma. In fact, the slides on RCCL's ship offer a wholly different kind of excitement.

A Special Section for the Littlest Guests
While being the largest ship in the world is reason enough to get guests' attention, and offering a 10-story slide to boot, Harmony is also the first ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet to feature a mini waterpark area for kids: Splashaway Bay. The aqua play structure is a colorful waterscape specially created to entertain the ship's youngest guests. It features sea-creature water cannons, winding slides, a gigantic tipping bucket, and a multiplatform jungle-gym.

Following the Trend in Attracting Families
Between waterslides for all and the splash park for little ones, Harmony's inclusion of a variety of aquatic attractions is now considered crucial by many within the cruise industry. The different slide options are attractive to family members of all ages but are especially critical for entertaining teens who want options where they can spend time with others their own age. It's no surprise, then, that including highly engineered and exciting waterpark options was important to RCCL. In fact, being asked to develop the plans for Harmony's family-friendly offerings followed a trend Polin Waterparks has seen coming. Over the last several years, Polin Waterparks has been involved in innovative installations on many other cruise ships.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sail the Caribbean All Year-Long with Celebrity Equinox

It’s been a while, but Celebrity Cruises has announced it will soon reintroduce year-round Caribbean sailings to its list of itineraries. Celebrity Equinox is set to call on some of the most breathtaking places in the region and Celebrity is further elevating each sailing by introducing new unique experiences and enriching activities that all ages can enjoy. This is the Celebrity Distinction.

“Our guests, first-time cruisers, and our travel partners have been asking me for many years to offer year-round Caribbean cruises. They wished we offered these itineraries,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “The response we have received so far to our year-round Caribbean sailings has been overwhelming, and we are excited to offer our guests endless summers in such a beautiful place.”

Celebrity Cruises is offering 24 sailings alternating between the Western and Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Equinox and seven exceptional itineraries in 2017—all from Miami. As a prelude to summer, Celebrity Cruises is offering a special 11-night Signature Event sailing in the Caribbean that includes a double-overnight stay in New Orleans, Louisiana, coinciding with the city’s famous jazz festival. In addition, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, will be hosting a special President’s Cruise in the Caribbean, departing on Aug 27, 2017, for an 8-night Eastern Caribbean sailing. Lutoff-Perlo will be hosting special events and excursions to take the vacation to the next level of indulgence.

The Most Distinctive Summer Camp at Sea, for Children and Adults: In addition to offering new sailings onboard the Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Cruises is introducing the most unique “Summer Camp at Sea,” allowing children to enjoy a vacation that moves beyond purely entertainment, to also deliver enriching and inspiring activities. From offering an “Adventure through Science” program to becoming a director for the day and creating a short video onboard, children ages 3-17 have a range of one-of-a-kind educational activities at their fingertips.

Taste of the Caribbean: Adults can partake in the excitement too with Celebrity Cruises’ newest culinary program. Celebrity is bringing a taste of the Caribbean to travelers with its new Taste of the Caribbean program, which offers complimentary events for adults at sea. Events include a culinary demo with Celebrity featured chefs, mixology demos, the biggest wine tasting at sea, rum and reggae party on The Lawn Club, and brunch and bubbles. Exclusive events are also available for a fee, including a fresh pasta and mozzarella making class and lunch in Tuscan Grille and an exclusive five-course tasting dinner with Celebrity chefs.

Adults looking to be fully immersed in the culinary indulgences can enjoy the Taste of the Caribbean Premium Package. This luxurious package gives guests a taste of all of the culinary, wine and cocktail indulgences available on the Celebrity Equinox. From the Chef Market Discovery excursion to a “Blendtique” wine blending class to a Riedel Wine comparison workshop, guests’ taste buds will be pampered throughout their sailing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MSC Cruises Enhances Onboard Family Programs

Family-friendly MSC Cruises is adding to its already rich family cruise offerings with the introduction of an innovative kids sports program, DOREBRO; a kids-dedicated interactive cooking class designed with Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco; and a new, exclusive MSC Cruises ship toy developed by LEGO.

"As a family-owned company, from day one we have understood and focused on the importance of offering families and their kids on-board our ships a vacation that has all the elements that can make it a truly unforgettable one for the entire family, in addition to being stress-free," said Gianni Onorato, Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises. "For this reason, kids-dedicated activities and other family related services have always been at the very core of our guest offering and are strengthened on an ongoing basis by further additions—thus making this element of our offering one of the richest at sea."

Across its entire fleet, which is the most modern at sea, MSC Cruises provides a very extensive offering for family vacations, including:
• Dedicated clubs segmented by age group as well as daily entertainment for all ages;
• Family dining options;
• Modern and fun-filled on-board facilities such as aqua parks and pools, bowling alleys and 4D cinemas; and
• Dedicated shore activities designed with the needs of the entire family in mind.
New this summer is the DOREBRO sports program, an on-board entertainment innovation designed especially for kids who love sports. Children and teens aged from 3 to 17 years old can join the program, which is now available on most MSC Cruises ships sailing in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. The program offers an exciting variety of sports and active games for all levels, broken down in two daily sessions, with activities designed for the different age groups. The program has been designed in collaboration with King's Active, the UK-based company expert in designing engaging and fun youth activities to inspire sports stars of the future.

Alongside this addition, starting this summer season, MSC Cruises has also introduced "DOREMI Chef by Carlo Cracco," a cooking class designed in collaboration with the two-starred Michelin chef Carlo Cracco. Led by MSC Cruises chefs and the on-board MSC Cruises mascot DOREMI, children aged 3 to 11 will learn how to make homemade pasta from scratch while receiving plenty of cooking hints and tips from the globally renowned chef. Upon completion of the course, each child will receive an official mini-chef certificate signed by Carlo Cracco himself.

MSC Cruises also offers its guests a wide range of on-board entertainment especially for kids, developed in collaboration with the LEGO Group, the world's leading toy producer. As part of this relationship, LEGO Group has recently launched a very special LEGO® MSC Cruises toy of MSC Meraviglia, the company's new next-generation cruise ship that launches in June 2017 and will sail the Mediterranean for its inaugural season. This toy LEGO model, which is made up of 180 bricks and is available for sale fleet wide at the on-board MSC Cruises Logo shop for $12, will make the perfect souvenir for children who can then relive their MSC Cruises family vacation at home in a fun and creative way.

MSC Cruises also offers a range of services for babies and young children including the Mini-Club for children under 3 as well as a dedicated childcare service giving parents the freedom to enjoy the ship, safe in the knowledge that their children are being cared for by dedicated and highly trained staff. Many of these services are offered in collaboration with Chicco®—a leading global baby brand and yet another exclusive MSC Cruises partnership.

Additional highlights for families sailing with MSC Cruises’ include:
• Kids 11 and under sail free; Teens 12-17 receive a significant discount
• MSC Cruises is an ideal vacation option for families looking to combine fun with a variety of cultural and educational experiences (for instance, we offer language courses, where children learn basic sentences in 6 different languages; and we have a MSC for UNICEF Day that includes a variety of fun and educational activities for children while educating them on important topics about UNICEF and malnutrition).
• Kids traveling with MSC Cruises are exposed to multiple cultures and backgrounds as they play and interact with other kids from around the world.
Image Courtesy MSC Cruises

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Knighted Cunard Commodores Inspire New Cocktails

To share the unique story of the Knighted Cunard Commodores, Cunard's iconic cocktail bar the Commodore Club has introduced a new and distinguished menu. Each historic and decorated story is infused into the cocktail experience with a modern menu design, illustration, and new signature cocktails. These fresh additions to the renowned bar, found in prime locations on each of the Cunard Queens, highlight the craftsmanship that has gone into each drink. Cunard's onshore and on board bar teams have carefully mixed ingredients reflective of the personalities of these celebrated men to create cocktails such as 'Punch Romain à la Carpathia', believed to be the last libation served aboard Titanic. The intriguing cocktail inspired by Commodore Sir Arthur Rostron who led the safe rescue of all survivors of Titanic features Advocaat as the signature ingredient.

The recent $132 million remastering of the Queen Mary 2, provided Cunard with an opportunity to add contemporary enhancements to the bar interior, and with a number of new food and beverage concepts being launched across the entire fleet. One of the first to be available on every Cunard Queen is the transformed flagship cocktail menu for the popular Commodore Club.

Steering the fleet forward through their unfaltering precision and expertise, Cunard Commodores have led the fleet across the sea for almost two centuries. Alongside the number of knighted Commodores, Cunard is also honored to claim more knighthoods, seven, among its Captains than any other cruise line.

Cunard worked with illustrator Lauren Crowe to bring to life these seven men, beautifully creating intricate pencil illustrations of each of the knighted Commodores, inspired by their steep history and stories. The new depictions of these respected individuals are presented within a bold contemporary menu design that takes inspiration from Cunard's rich maritime past. Together with the illustrations, part of the new designs include a set of distinct and striking monograms specifically crafted to represent each individual Commodore, subtly referencing an aspect of the Commodore's story.

"Cunard has continued to receive recognition as a leader in world exploration within its more than 176-year history," said Richard Meadows, President, Cunard North America. "We are proud to recognize seven of the most decorated Cunard Commodores in Queen Mary 2's iconic Commodore Club, who have led the Cunard fleets and flagships throughout the company's illustrious past. Inspired by character and history, each cocktail has been thoughtfully created to honor their remarkable stories."

Guests of the Commodore Club on board Queen Mary 2 can enjoy one of seven newly designed cocktails, including 'Over the Top, inspired by Commodore Sir James Charles (1865-1928). Known for doing things on a grand scale, this Commodore's dinner parties aboard Aquitania were well renowned as opulently social affairs, and this aromatic and refreshing sharing cocktail is extravagantly presented, just the way Sir James would come to expect.

Image Courtesy Cunard Line

Monday, July 18, 2016

Celebrity Cruises Introduces “Celebrity Distinction”

As the brand that launched the Solstice Class ships, with their industry-first half acre of real grass lawn at sea, followed by the multi-million dollar “Solsticizing” of its Millennium Class ships, Celebrity Cruises continues to showcase why the brand is distinctively different and truly cutting-edge. Travelers are choosing Celebrity for the brand’s skill in blending cultural exploration with lavish accommodations, world-class cuisine and hospitality, that can only be summed up as the Celebrity Distinction—an unwavering commitment to consistently provide a vacation experience unlike any other.

 “The Celebrity Distinction is our commitment to continually offer fresh, enticing and uniquely differentiated travel experiences,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “When I rejoined Celebrity, we re-established our vision first introduced with the award winning Solstice Class ships, and we have been extremely busy over the last 18 months bringing even more one-of-a-kind offerings to our guests.”

In addition to introducing the Solstice Class ships and “Solsticizing” the Millennium Class ships, during the last 18 months Celebrity has premiered new offerings to further enhance the guest experience. These Celebrity Distinction initiatives include:

Unique Destination Experiences:
• Increased number of overnight sailings in the most in-demand destinations
• Greater variety of Signature Event Sailings to the hottest global events
• New destination experiences, including Chef Market Discoveries, exclusively Celebrity and Private Journeys shore excursions with dedicated Destination Insiders to assist guests in creating the best vacation
• The expansion in the Galapagos Islands with two distinct new ships, and a multi-million dollar refresh per vessel for signature modern experiences. Guests can enjoy new ports-of-call and exclusive shore excursions
Onboard Enhancements and Experiences:
• Multi-million dollar refresh of the Celebrity Summit, Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Millennium with new spaces and experiences—more luxurious than ever before
• New lavish Suite Class services and amenities, including the exclusive Luminae restaurant, personal butler service for every suite and a private lounge featuring a dedicated concierge
• Recognition by the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or Austria for the outstanding service from Celebrity’s Michael’s Club concierges
• Advancing women's leadership in cruising with the hire of the industry's first-ever American female captain, Kate McCue
• A one-of-a-kind multi-sensory experience, Taste of Film, combining delicious food with film on the new Rooftop Terrace, onboard Millennium Class Ships
• The world’s first permanent "World Class™ Bar” in partnership with Diageo Global Travel Americas, with interactive and luxurious drinks experiences created by World Class-certified mixologists
• Series of 18 spectacular shows in 18 months
• Unique Take Care of Your Selfie spa and wellness program to encourage guests to find a tech-life balance while on vacation
• New Evening Chic nights, with upscale, more relaxed attire—replacing the traditional formal nights
• One-of-a-kind experiences and benefits for MGM Resorts’ M life and Celebrity’s Captain’s Club loyalty program members, from VIP experiences at Las Vegas resorts to modern luxury cruises
• Introduction of Xcelerate, Celebrity’s new high-speed internet capability across the entire fleet to make it faster and easier to stay connected
Celebrity Cruises has also recently announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with French Shipbuilder STX France to build four Edge-class ships scheduled for delivery in 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Solstice-class ushered in a new era of design for modern cruise ships, and Edge-class will not disappoint as the new generation of high style and design. Celebrity will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible at sea.