Friday, July 3, 2015

Silversea Cruises' New Ship, Silver Muse to Launch in 2017

Silversea Cruises has announced their new flagship, the Silver Muse, is on order and will be delivered in the spring of 2017. The new ultra-luxury ship is being built by Fincantieri and at 40,000 tons accommodates 596 guests, representing an evolution of the Silver Spirit that will redefine ultra-luxury ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations that are the hallmarks of the Silversea experience.

The addition of Silver Muse will expand Silversea's fleet to nine ships and will raise the bar in the ultra-luxury cruise market with a wealth of enhancements to the onboard experience, while satisfying the uncompromising requirements for comfort, service, and quality of the world's most discerning travelers.

"We have always had a special relationship with Fincantieri, since my father ordered from them the first cruise vessels for Sitmar Cruises in 1987," said Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, chairman of Silversea. "Both companies have a clear understanding of what today's affluent traveler seeks, and each approaches the market with originality, creativity, and quality."

According to Enzo Visone, Silversea's CEO, "With enhanced design specifications and enriched content, the Silver Muse will continue to build on the sophistication, innovative style and ground-breaking concepts for which Silversea ships are renowned. This ship contributes to our ambitious growth plans that will ensure our continued leadership in ultra-luxury cruising."

Additional details and specifications on the new ship will be announced in the near future.

Image Courtesy Silversea Cruises

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cunard to Celebrate 175th Anniversary in Halifax, Nova Scotia on July 10th

Cunard Line has a milestone anniversary this year and its celebration of 175 years of history, tradition, and industrial achievement continues in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 10th when Queen Mary 2 calls on the ancestral home of its founder Sir Samuel Cunard. This commemorative Transatlantic Crossing will pay tribute to the original voyage made by the company’s first flagship, Britannia, in 1840. The flagship vessel is scheduled to arrive in port at 6:00 a.m. A.D.T.

Cunard will mark the anniversary with a series of commemorative events, beginning with a special outdoor ceremony on the Halifax waterfront. Local dignitaries, port officials, and key members of the Halifax community will be in attendance as a part of the new public space of the future waterfront development will be named in honor of Cunard. The ceremony will take place on the site of an upcoming mixed use development led by Southwest Properties and in collaboration with Waterfront Development. Nova Scotia’s popular Rhapsody Quintet will perform during the event.

“We look forward to honoring Sir Samuel Cunard in his birthplace of Halifax, and to celebrating the company’s first North American port of call,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. “Cunard is honored to be one of the few companies who can claim a 175-year history and Halifax plays an instrumental role in that story,” he continued.

As part of the celebration, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic will re-open the Cunard portion of their Age of Steam exhibition and launch a new Samuel Cunard retrospective exhibit that will showcase the founder’s impact on global business, transportation, and world events. The exhibit, Cunard 175: Engine for Change is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic’s celebration of Sir Samuel Cunard’s vision and achievement in revolutionizing maritime travel and global communications. His drive to create an “ocean railway”—with comfortable, technologically advanced ships making established oceanic passages—is continued by Cunard today. The museum will be opening the exhibit on July 10 when the guests of Queen Mary 2 arrive, and at 5:00 p.m. A.D.T, the museum will be open for free for the exhibit opening reception.

Upon departure, the Royal Canadian Navy will salute Queen Mary 2 from the Frigate HMCS Montreal as Royal Canadian Sea Cadets fire salute from the shore. The cadets are ages 12-18 and are part of a youth organization co-sponsored by the Canadian Armed Forces and the civilian Navy League of Canada.

Queen Mary 2 will depart the berth at 8:00 p.m. A.D.T. and then conduct a counter clockwise tour of the harbor. Upon leaving the berth Queen Mary 2 will proceed in a north easterly direction leaving Georges Island to starboard as she continues on a course that will take her approximately mid harbor and directly opposite HMC Dockyard (this is also the site of the original Cunard Wharves where RMS Britannia berthed). Here she will turn to port and fall into line with the escort vessels. The convoy order will be:
1. Theodore Tugboat
2. Tugboat Atlantic Oak (with water canons)
3. Queen Mary 2
4. HMCS Montreal
The procession will then proceed in a southerly direction close to the Halifax Boardwalk/Waterfront, providing ample opportunity for the public to view this ceremonial conclusion to Halifax’s celebration of Cunard Line’s 175th Anniversary. A naval artillery salute will take place shoreside from the wharf of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic where music will be provided by the Stadacona Band. Queen Mary 2 and escort vessels will continue moving slowly southward along the Halifax sea wall and leaving Georges Island to port.

Upon passing Pier 21 the flotilla will be joined by yachts and other pleasure craft from the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron and other yacht clubs. Queen Mary 2 will then continue on her commemorative Crossing sailing down to Boston and New York, with special events scheduled for each port of call.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Harmony of the Seas Reaches Construction Milestone

Exterior construction on Harmony of the Seas was completed last week at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. Soon to be one of the world's largest cruise ships, the newest member of Royal Caribbean International's Oasis class of ships is now one step closer to full completion as her April 2016 debut approaches. With the exterior complete, Harmony of the Seas was floated out of her dry dock to begin the next phase of interior construction.

Harmony of the Seas will sail the Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, Spain during her inaugural season before arriving at her homeport of Fort Lauderdale in November 2016 where she will sail the Caribbean. Harmony of the Seas will feature seven distinct neighborhoods, 20 restaurants and 2,394 crew to serve her guests.

Guests will experience new amenities on board including three multi-story water slides, the Bionic Bar with robot bartenders, first introduced aboard Quantum of the Seas, and Voom, the fastest Internet connection at sea which gives guests the ability to instantly share their vacation through their social media channels.

Harmony of the Seas will span 16 decks, encompass 227,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,747 staterooms. The Oasis class features Royal Caribbean's exclusive seven neighborhood concept, including Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place, and Youth Zone.

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean International

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Holland America Line Breaks Ground on New Base Camp Complex in Alaska

Holland America Line’s McKinley Chalet Resort, which spans nearly 60 acres and currently features 478 rooms, fine and casual dining, an on-site dinner theater, on-site raft departures, and walking trails along the Nenana River, is about to get even better. Ground has been broken on a new “Base Camp” complex at the company’s resort near the entrance to Alaska’s Denali National Park. Expected to be complete for the 2016 Alaska cruise season, Base Camp is part of Holland America Line’s ongoing enhancement program at the property that also includes room updates, upgrades to soft goods and hotel decor, and additional modifications. The McKinley Chalet Resort provides accommodations for guests on Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys that combine an Alaska cruise with an overland tour to Denali National Park and beyond. Base Camp will be centrally located between the main part of the property, containing the reception hall, dining facilities, and guest rooms, and the riverfront guest rooms that provide stunning views of the Nenana River.

Base Camp will serve as a new gathering area to relax, shop, dine, and enjoy music and entertainment. The largest building in the complex will be the grand 7,800-square-foot restaurant reaching two stories high to showcase views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit the Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the “Music of Denali Dinner Theater” that becomes a bar and music venue after the show. At the center of Base Camp is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and a semicircle of bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows, ranger talks, and demonstrations. The new location also will feature cozy fire pits to gather around on cool Alaska evenings; outdoor seating for guests who wish to enjoy the scenery; three retail shops offering local goods; and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists will display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Base Camp show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting nestled just across the Nenana River from Denali National Park.

“Our McKinley Chalet Resort is the premier destination hotel in Alaska, and the addition of Base Camp to this already-spectacular property will make the guest experience all the more memorable and enriching,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president.

Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys combine the “must-see” of Denali National Park with the “seldom-seen” wonders of the Yukon, including one- or two-night stays in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush country and up to three-night stays at Denali National Park. This year, the Land+Sea Journeys run May through September and offer 13 options, ranging in total length from 10 to 20 days in two distinct series: Yukon+Denali Land+Sea Journeys and Denali Land+Sea Journeys. Alaska Land+Sea Journeys combine a seven-night Holland America Line cruise with an overland adventure that includes a one-, two- or three-night stay at Denali National Park as a centerpiece of the Alaska experience. Each Land+Sea Journey also showcases places such as the gold rush town of Dawson City, charming Seward, historic Fairbanks, colorful Skagway and the historic narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad.

Image Courtesy Holland America Line

Monday, June 29, 2015

Second Viking Ocean Cruises Ship Floats Out

Viking Ocean Cruises' second ship,the 930-passenger Viking Sea, has "floated out," marking a major construction milestone and the first time that the new ship touches water. A traditional ceremony to mark the occasion took place on June 25th, at Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard, little more than a month after the new ocean line christened its first ship, Viking Star, in Bergen, Norway. Viking Sea is set to launch in early 2016; the company's third ship on order, Viking Sky, is also currently under construction in Ancona and will debut in 2017.

"The day that a new ship first touches water is always a special day, and today is indeed a proud one for our Viking family," said Torstein Hagen, founder and chairman of Viking Cruises. "Having just celebrated the launch of our first ocean cruise ship, we are pleased at the positive reviews she is receiving from our guests and travel industry partners. We have no doubt that her sister ship, Viking Sea, will be met with the same reception upon her debut next spring."

In addition to the float out of Viking Sea, the company also announced that Karine Hagen, Viking's senior vice president of product and daughter of Torstein Hagen, will be godmother to Viking Sea and will officially "name" the ship during the christening ceremony in early 2016. Widely recognized as the face of the brand in Viking's television ads and online cultural enrichment videos, Karine is responsible for infusing the company's itineraries with extraordinary experiences. She is also the author of the children's books, "The World of Finse", an educational series that showcases the adventures of Karine's yellow Labrador, Finse, set largely along the global destinations and routes of Viking's cruise itineraries.

"Viking Sea is a magnificent ship, and I am very honored to be her godmother," Karine said at the ceremony. "It has been a great pleasure to meet so many of the Fincantieri Ancona shipyard staff today, and share the pride in their work."

A float out ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Sea's float out began at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, with the maritime tradition of welding coins under the ship mast. Karine welded Norwegian commemorative coins representing four generations of birth years in her family: 1911 (grandmother Ragnhild, after whom the onboard restaurant Mamsen's is named); 1943 (father Torstein, Viking's chairman); 1970 (Karine's own birth year) and 2012 (Karine's Labrador, Finse, who was also present at the ceremony). Karine then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Sea afloat, she will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.

Viking developed its ocean cruises by leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers, and with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides unparalleled value, with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service.

Viking Star, Viking Sea & Viking Sky
Viking's ocean ships are engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Viking's ocean fleet features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:
-- All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas, king-size beds, large showers and LCD TVs.
-- Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
-- Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable dome permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a glass-backed Infinity Pool off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
-- LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic qwewellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind, from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air.
-- Explorers' Lounge and Wintergarden: Spaces designed to facilitate mingling and storytelling, the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow is the perfect spot for taking in scenery through double-height windows over a glass of aquavit or pint of local craft beer; and the Wintergarden is a serene environment in which to relax and enjoy afternoon tea service complete with a hand-selected teas.
-- Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices, from The Restaurant and the World Café, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties and Mamsen's, which serves Norwegian deli-style fare, to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, Manfredi's Italian Restaurant and The Kitchen Table, all serving meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer more al fresco dining than any other ships.
-- Enriching Entertainment: Connecting passengers to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and onboard venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where passengers can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Theater, home of enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard cooking school where guests can learn how to prepare local specialties; and Torshavn, a piano lounge where guests can relax, mingle, and exchange stories after a day of exploring.
-- Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ocean ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
As a response to strong demand for Viking's immersive itineraries, all three ships will sail popular routes in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

Image Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises

Friday, June 26, 2015

Celebrity Cruises Update from the Galapagos Islands

In close collaboration with the Galapagos National Park, Celebrity Xpedition guests guided by Celebrity’s naturalists have joined a reforestation project with the goal to plant thousands of Scalesia trees, an endemic tree that has lost much of its habitat in the Galapagos, adversely impacting wildlife that call the forest home. Guests onboard Celebrity Xpedition were recently part of the major Ecuadorian national effort.

Some fun facts about the effort:
• Led by the Ministry of Environment, in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park, the nation set out to break the world's reforestation record by encouraging thousands to plant more than 647,000 trees in one day.
• Celebrity guests and dedicated crew, already involved in Celebrity Xpedition's newly introduced, immersive Scalesia tree reforestation shore excursion project, were able to contribute to the country's major feat.
• The Celebrity Cruises Scalesia-saving project is the first-of-its-kind experience conducted by a cruise line in collaboration with the Galapagos National Park.
In addition, another group of Celebrity Xpedition vacationers also had "front-row seats" to the eruption of Volcán Wolf, off the northern end of Isabela Island.

Image Courtesy Celebrity Cruises

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Virgin Cruises Enters Miami

His ships are yet to be built, but Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, doesn't do anything in a small way and his entry into the cruise market was done in a typically splashy manner. Emerging through a cloud of iconic Virgin red smoke, Richard flew across Miami's Biscayne Bay via helicopter landing at Museum Park. Pictured here in Virgin red shorts and cap, he was joined by Virgin Cruises' President and CEO Tom McAlpin, to raise a Virgin Cruises flag to mark the cruise line's official arrival in Miami. The occasion was to announce that Virgin Cruises has selected PortMiami as the home port for its first cruise ship that will set sail in 2020. He also revealed Virgin Cruises has signed a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) with Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri for three new mid-size ships.

"This is a very exciting day for Virgin and travelers around the globe," said Richard. "We now have the right partners in place to build a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good. The Virgin Cruises approach will appeal to cruisers and non-cruisers alike, and we look forward to being in Miami and delivering an experience for people who want a new way to cruise."

Virgin Cruises' three new mid-size ships, of about 110,000 gross tons each, are slated for delivery in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Each ship will feature 1,430 guest cabins to host more than 2,800 guests. There also will be 1,150 crew on board to deliver the famed Virgin customer service. Embarking from PortMiami, Virgin Cruises plans to offer a range of 7-day Caribbean itineraries, with a Sunday sail date.

Virgin Cruises' binding LOI with Fincantieri is the first part of a two-step process with both companies committed to signing a contract in Q4 of 2015. The PortMiami agreement will be presented to the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners for their consideration and approval on June 30, 2015.

"Virgin is a customer built brand that listens carefully to what customers want and then works hard to deliver for them. We are committed to making waves in the cruise industry, and partnering with Fincantieri and PortMiami sets Virgin Cruises up to do just that," said Tom. "Today's announcement brings together important ingredients in our future success—Miami's vibrant culture paired with the excellent Port infrastructure and Port team; and Fincantieri's expertise in prototyping, their creativity and understanding of our vision." Customers are invited to join the journey by visiting to share their ideas on what the new cruise line can do to deliver an incredible experience at sea.

As we reported last year in Cruising "Like A Virgin" Takes On A New Meaning, Virgin Group announced the formation of Virgin Cruises in a venture with Bain Capital, one of the world's leading private investment firms, in December 2014. Virgin Cruises plans to offer its guests an outstanding experience matched with the famed Virgin service.

Image Courtesy of Virgin Group

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sharks Ahoy!

As part of the recently announced Discovery at Sea program, Princess Cruises is bringing guests closer than ever to the entertainment phenomenon of Shark Week with premiere television content, onboard parties, trivia games, giveaways, and even shark-themed culinary bites and beverages. Shark Week at Sea will challenge adults and kids alike with activities designed to surprise, amuse, educate and create an appreciation for these tremendously misunderstood denizens of the deep.

“We know how wildly popular Shark Week is worldwide and we’re excited to bring even more fun, education and entertainment to our guests,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Through our Discovery at Sea partnership, we offer our guests exclusive themed activities and TV content we know they will enjoy.”

Princess guests fleetwide can enjoy Shark Week year round with the following onboard activities:
Fish Stories About Sharks: Guests will learn amazing and interesting facts about sharks through a quiz-style participative activity, hosted by the Cruise Staff. The theme will be fun and humor separating truth from “fish tales.”
Swim with the Sharks: An interactive competition will have guests taking part in various fun, active and hilarious challenges. At the end of five rounds the contestant or team who has won the most challenges ultimately wins the game.
Guess the Number of Shark Teeth in the Jar: A strategically located jar filled with “faux” shark teeth along with entry slips allow guests to participate anytime during the cruise for a chance to guesstimate the correct number.
Premiere TV Content: Before Shark Week airs, July 5-12 on Discovery Channel, Princess guests will get a sneak peek at select trailers and promotional spots, as well as a first look at “Ninja Sharks,” a new special exploring six sharks with unique adaptations that have evolved over millions of years making them the most lethal of their kind.
Additionally, each year Princess Cruises will offer select cruises with enhanced Shark Week experiences, giveaway items and culinary bites and beverages. To kick off Shark Week at Sea in 2015, guests aboard four voyages—Golden Princess departing San Francisco on June 21 and July 1 and Ruby Princess departing Seattle on June 28 and July 5—will not only enjoy the sights of their Alaska cruise and the Discovery at Sea activities, they will also be treated to the following limited-time only Shark Week offerings:
Décor & Giveaways: One elevator on each ship will be wrapped to appear as though guests are inside a shark cage and public restrooms will feature themed mirror decals. Families traveling with kids 3-12 years old will receive a rubber shark toy at turndown and special prizes for Shark Week activities including shark fin hats. Kids will also be treated to special shark-themed activities including crafts, t-shirt decorating, temporary tattoos and face painting.
Shark Week Premiere Party: Each cruise ship will host premiere parties to live stream Shark Week content and roll out the blue carpet, complete with a Shark Week themed backdrop for photos. Guests will also enjoy themed table top decals, trivia games and giveaways.
Bites & Beverages: Shark cakes created by Princess pastry chefs, as well as ice and fruit carvings will be on display in the atrium for guests to enjoy. Shark cookies will also be offered in the International Café and during daily Atrium milk and cookie hour, as well as specialty shark-themed cocktails and custom drink koozies.
Entertainment: Even onboard comedians will keep guests in stitches with shark-themed humor, while casino lovers can test their luck at blackjack and craps tables wrapped with shark-themed images. Costumed sharks will make appearances around the ship and special photo borders and green screens will be available for the ultimate photo opportunities and selfies.
The Discovery at Sea partnership, which debuted in 2015, creates new memorable vacation experiences for the whole family. From Stargazing to activities featuring Discovery hit shows such as MythBusters, Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush to immersive Discovery and Animal Planet shore excursions, Princess guests will come back with a story to tell.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Silversea Introduces Free Wi-Fi For All Guests

Starting the new year with a bang, on voyages that depart in 2016, Silversea guests will enjoy the most comprehensive Wi-Fi package ever offered by a luxury cruise line: free Wi-Fi to all guests, throughout the ship, including all suites and public spaces, on all cruises, including expedition cruises.

"For well over 20 years, Silversea has set the course in defining the all-inclusive, ultra-luxury cruise experience. By offering truly free Wi-Fi to all guests regardless of the suite reserved, Silversea is once again setting the standard for all-inclusive luxury," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president of sales and general manager for the Americas. "Because we know how important it is for travelers to stay informed and connected, we're delighted to enhance the all-inclusive Silversea experience with this new benefit."

Silversea's offer is unprecedented in the luxury segment of the cruise industry. Every guest will enjoy at least one hour of free Wi-Fi per day. Unlimited free Wi-Fi will be available to guests sailing in the Owner's, Grand, Royal, Silver, and Medallion suites on the line's ocean ships, and as follows for expedition ships:
Silver Explorer: Owner's, Grand, Silver, Medallion, and Expedition suites
Silver Galapagos: Silver, Deluxe Veranda, and Veranda suites
Silver Discoverer: Medallion, Veranda, and Vista suites
Silversea's all-suite ships feature stem-to-stern Wi-Fi, in port and at sea, enabling guests to conveniently access the Internet on their personal devices in public spaces and suites, or on the computers in the Internet cafés available on all ocean ships and the Silver Explorer.

The 2016 free Wi-Fi service will join an array of included amenities that already features: open-seating gourmet dining; butler service for all suites; Champagne, select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; in-suite bar stocked with guests' preferences; in-suite dining and 24-hour dining service (from a formal dinner ordered from The Restaurant menu and served in-suite, to lighter fare served in attended lounges); lecture and enrichment programs; roundtrip transportation into town (in most ports); and onboard gratuities (exclusive of spa treatments).

Monday, June 22, 2015

Princess Sets Sail on Seahawk Fan Cruise with Ultimate Sailgate Party

Princess Cruises, the Official Cruise Line of the Seattle Seahawks, kicked off the “Sail with the 12s” Seahawks Fan Cruise on Saturday, June 20th with a spirited onboard rally featuring Seahawks Wide Receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, the high energy Blue Thunder drumline, Sea Gals, and mascots Blitz and Boom. Attended by hundreds of fans, the rally featured a special “Spirit of the 12s” flag-raising ceremony by local military veteran John Kaiser.

The 7-night Alaska cruise, sailing over Father’s Day, departed Seattle aboard Crown Princess and offered fans the exclusive opportunity to meet with current players and alumni, including:
• Former Safety Jordan Babineaux (2004-2010)
• Former Guard Edwin Bailey (1981-1991)
• Tackle Justin Britt (2014-present)
• Tight End Cooper Helfet, (2012-present)
• Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon (1997-1998) and current commentator for Seahawks Radio
• Defensive End Gregg Scruggs (2012-present)
• Ring of Honor Quarterback Jim Zorn (1976-1984)
Fans will hear them talk about off-season moves, the 2015 game schedule and their favorite memories as Seahawks during Q&A sessions, meet-and-greet autograph signings and photo opportunities.

The cruise to Alaska will feature spectacular glaciers, abundant wildlife and the area’s incredible natural beauty with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria, B.C., with scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord. On board, guests will also enjoy the line’s new North to Alaska! program, created in partnership with local experts and featuring a variety of authentic Alaska culinary, educational and entertainment experiences designed to delve deeper into the fascinating frontier guests are exploring around them.

The fan cruise builds on the partnership Princess Cruises and the Seattle Seahawks established last fall, offering fans special cruise deals on Princess cruise vacations and opportunities to win a cruise. Princess Cruises also shows NFL games on its giant “Movies Under the Stars” poolside LED screen and throws tailgate parties at sea on Caribbean cruises and West Coast cruises, allowing football fans to catch the action-packed season during their cruise vacations.

About U.S. Army Veteran John Kaiser (Spirit of the 12s Flag Raiser):
John Kaiser joined the U.S. Army in 1997 and served 10 ½ years on active duty as an infantryman. He was deployed on two tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2006. On October 16, 2006, an enemy mortar round landed in front of Kaiser’s Stryker inflicting severe damage including the loss of his right eye, a shattered cheek bone, temple, multiple skull fractures, broken jaw and gunshot wound to the right shoulder. After multiple reconstructive surgeries, Staff Sergeant Kaiser was medically retired. Kaiser was honored for his brave service with a Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, and Jump wings.

He now volunteers with Northwest Battle Buddies, an organization that provides service dogs to veterans struggling with PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury. The organization trained his chocolate lab, Ruger. Kaiser was born and raised in Washington state and is a Seahawks fanatic, flying a 12s flag year round under the American flag in his front yard. Princess Cruises is hosting John, his family, and service dog Ruger on the Seahawks Fan Cruise to thank him for his service.

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises