Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Seabourn Ovation Maiden Season Ready to Book

Seabourn has opened for sale the maiden season itineraries for Seabourn Ovation, the newest addition to their ultra-luxury cruise line. Scheduled to join the Seabourn fleet in spring 2018, the ship will sail on a variety of voyages in and around Europe between May and November 2018, hailing at ports throughout Northern Europe, the United Kingdom and Mediterranean.

"We are very excited to begin taking reservations and building anticipation for the diverse range of itineraries for the maiden season of Seabourn Ovation, and we look forward to providing guests with opportunities to explore some of the most culturally significant, naturally beautiful, and thoroughly enjoyable destinations within Europe on the world's newest ultra-luxury ship," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "Seabourn Ovation will continue the new standard of ultra-luxury cruising that can only be found on Seabourn. We can't wait to welcome our guests on board."

Following the ship's delivery in spring 2018, Seabourn Ovation will embark on an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship will sail along the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas, visiting charming towns and cities in Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Malta, Italy, France and Spain.Seabourn Ovation will spend the majority of its maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, exploring the Baltic, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. The ship will offer a series of 7-day Baltic and Scandinavia cruises between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles.

Seabourn Ovation will be the second new ship to expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed fleet of Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. Sister ship Seabourn Encore was introduced in Singapore on Jan 7, 2017. Like the rest of the Seabourn fleet, Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, along with highly personalized service for each guest on board from an exceptional crew. The addition will further designate Seabourn with the youngest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, Seabourn Ovation will feature modern design elements and innovations in keeping with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance. Like Seabourn Encore before it, the 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and will carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda. For more details about the Seabourn fleet, or to explore the worldwide selection of Seabourn cruising options, visit seabourn.com.

Seabourn Encore Pool Deck Image Courtesy Seabourn

MSC Cruises Breaks Ground on Private Island–Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

MSC Cruises broke ground on Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve yesterday. Located south of Bimini in The Bahamas, the island is set to become a natural paradise exclusive to MSC Cruises guests as of November 2018. The Right Honorable Perry Gladstone Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas joined Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, at the official Groundbreaking Ceremony along with other Bahamian ministers and government officials. This milestone marks the official commencement of the works that will turn this former industrial sand extraction site back into its original pristine state.

The development of the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is part of MSC Cruises’ unprecedented $10.2 billion investment plan, which includes the building of up to 11 next-generation smart ships coming into service between 2017 and 2026. The first phase of development of the marine reserve will now begin as the island is cleared of existing industrial infrastructure so it can be turned again into a pristine marine reserve.

“Working in partnership with the Government of The Bahamas, our aim is to turn an industrial wasteland into a thriving environment for man and nature alike, bringing the island and its surrounding waters back to their original stat,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises. “In so doing, we will substantially grow our Group’s already strong investment in the Bahamian economy, offering long-term employment opportunities to the local population. Bearing testament to our ability to innovate, unlike other Caribbean cruise resorts, a purpose-built berth and pier will allow our cruise ships to dock directly at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Thus the island will de facto become an extension of the ship.”

“Located merely 65 miles east of Miami, Florida, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve has 11,400 feet of beautiful coastline and crystal blue waters teaming with unique marine life. The island has some of the finest aragonite sands in the world and once the work is completed, its surrounding waters will be home again to beautiful corals and rich aquatic life,” added Gianluca Suprani, head of global port development and shore side activities at MSC Cruises. “It will become a truly exclusive destination for MSC Cruises guests to experience the best the Caribbean has to offer.”

A comprehensive landscaping plan will see more than 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs, planted on the island, returning to their lush natural habitat. MSC Seaside and other MSC Cruises ships operating in the Caribbean will call Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve regularly on their itineraries from November 2018 onwards. For more detailed information about itineraries that call at this destination, see MSCCruisesUSA.com.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Behind the Bar at Wonderland

For the Royal Caribbean mixologists at Harmony of the Seas’ Wonderland, cocktails are more than just drinks—they are masterpieces. These artists use innovative flavors and artisanal ingredients to create cocktails that are almost too stunning to drink!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Viking Ocean Adds New Cruise Itineraries In Alaska, Australia, Asia & The Caribbean

Viking Ocean Cruises has announced 13 new itineraries that will roll out in 2017, 2018, and 2019. By 2019, fast-growing Viking will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line, with six 930-passenger ocean ships and will offer guests new opportunities for exploration in Alaska, Australia, Asia and the Caribbean.

"Viking will mark major milestones in 2017. We celebrate our 20th anniversary; we will welcome two new Longships on the rivers in Europe; and we will double our ocean fleet to four sister ships by the end of the year," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Our destination-focused ocean itineraries are built on the same successful principles as our river itineraries—we offer our guests more time in port, enriching cultural experiences, the best-designed ships at sea, and we do not nickel-and-dime. Starting later this year, our guests will have even more choices to explore around the world in 'the Viking way.'"

New 2017–2019 Itineraries
Viking's new ocean itineraries will bring guests to a growing number of iconic destinations around the world, providing behind-the-scenes insights and opportunities in each port of call. With new sailings embarking in Miami, Mumbai, Bangkok, Beijing, Bali, Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Vancouver, guests can choose base itineraries ranging from eight to 23 days, with additional combination cruise options. Highlights of the new itineraries include:
• Turquoise Seas of the Western Caribbean—(Miami to Miami; sailing on Viking Sky; Nov 2017–Feb 2018)—Discover the diverse treasures of the western Caribbean during this eight-day itinerary, from ancient ruins to colonial architecture. Guests will explore the mysterious temples of Altun Ha in Belize, the heart of the Mayan Center; walk in the steps of Hemingway's Key West haunts; and marvel at Cozumel's blue waters at Punta Sur. Sailing roundtrip from Miami, guests will visit three countries and five ports.
• Panama & Central America—(Miami to Miami; sailing on Viking Sky; Nov–Dec 2017 and Jan 2018)—From Central American countries including Costa Rica, Columbia, Honduras, Belize and more, guests will immerse themselves into the colorful cities and rich cultures, visiting eight countries and nine ports on this 15-day itinerary. While making the roundtrip from Miami, guests will experience one of the world's great engineering feats, the Panama Canal, discover Costa Rica's famous rainforest and explore Old Town Cartagena's colonial architecture, a UNSECO World Heritage Site.
• Atlantic Crossing—(Miami to Barcelona; sailing on Viking Sky; March 3, 2018)—During this classic trans-Atlantic journey, guests enjoy dining, taking in the ship's amenities and relaxing while cruising the Atlantic Ocean. The 14-day sailing will also call on ports in both Europe and the New World, including Florida's sun-kissed city of glorious beaches and art deco buildings. In Europe, destinations include the "Garden Island" of Madeira and the artistic, vibrant city of Barcelona.
• Passage to India—(Athens to Mumbai; sailing on Viking Spirit; Aug 18, 2018)—On this 21-day itinerary, guests will trace the routes of the earliest merchants from Greece to India, with ports of call in six countries including Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Oman. Along the journey, guests will accompany local guides to ancient treasures, visit the astonishing red sandstone city of Petra and see the Great Pyramids and Sphinx in Cairo.
• Across the Bay of Bengal—(Mumbai to Bangkok; sailing on Viking Spirit; Sept 8, 2018)—Guests will experience five unique countries on one spectacular 16-day journey, including overnight ports of call in Mumbai, Colombo and Bangkok to fully explore these exciting cities. From meeting the caretakers of the National Gandhi Museum to mingling with shoppers at a traditional Bangkok market, guests will immerse themselves into the experience of each city and discover its rich culture first-hand.
• Capitals of the Far East—(Hong Kong to Beijing or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit, Oct 7 & Oct 21, 2018)—Voyage to the iconic cities across three countries including China, Taiwan and South Korea. Along this 15-day journey, guests will experience the region's culture and heritage while exploring sites including the Forbidden City and Great Wall of China, and the Huaxi Street Night Market in Taiwan. Guests will also enjoy a day of sailing along the Yellow Sea, relaxing with complimentary tea service on board in the Wintergarden or yoga on the Sports Deck.
• Southeast Asia & Hong Kong—(Bangkok to Hong Kong or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; Sept 23, 2018, Nov 4, 2018 & April 7, 2019)—Discover the gems of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong during this 15-day cruise visiting four countries and seven ports. Spend two days in Bangkok touring the vibrant city and its landmarks, including the Grand Palace featuring the Emerald Buddha, and sampling Thai cuisine. Guests continue the journey with ports of call in Cambodia and Vietnam and then enjoy two nights visiting the many museums and stores in this shopper's paradise of Hong Kong.
• Komodo & the Australian Coast—(Sydney to Bali or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; Nov 30, 2018 & March 10, 2019)—During this 17-day sailing, guests will experience 11 ports of call including Indonesia's popular island of Bali and Australia's cosmopolitan city, Sydney, and the stunning Whitsunday Island near the Great Barrier Reef. Viking will also bring guests face to face with the region's residents, including the Komodo dragon, at the Komodo National Park.
• Bangkok, Bali & Beyond—(Bangkok to Bali or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; Nov 18, 2018 & March 26, 2019)—Spanning 13-days, guests will experience the capitals of Asian art and culture in the seven ports of call throughout Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Witness Southeast Asia's long-held traditions and bustling capital cities. Marvel at Kuala Lumpur's soaring Petronas Towers, and absorb the cultural diversity of Singapore with a resident by your side; and experience the historic riches of Jakarta.
• Australia & New Zealand—(Sydney to Auckland and the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; Dec 2018–Feb 2019)—Witness a rich blend of native and European cultures amid the sophisticated coastal cities of Australia and New Zealand. From the metropolitan cities of Melbourne and Sydney to the natural beauty of coastal New Zealand, guests will explore nine ports of call during this 15-day journey to the "Land Down Under." Sip on the famous wines of the region; explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Australia's Blue Mountains; capture panoramic views from Mt. Victoria in New Zealand; and greet the indigenous wildlife, such as kangaroos and wallabies.
• Far Eastern Horizons—(Hong Kong to Tokyo; sailing on Viking Spirit; April 21, 2019)
—Explore the imperial treasures of one of the most captivating corners of Asia during this 15-day sailing. Mingle with merchants in Hong Kong's vibrant Stanley Market; learn the nuances of Taiwan from a local resident; and witness the bustling Japanese culture. This itinerary calls upon four countries and nine ports, with overnights in Hong Kong, Hiroshima, Shimizu and Tokyo to fully explore these cities.
• North Pacific Passage—(Tokyo to Vancouver; sailing on Viking Spirit; May 5, 2019)—Guests will experience the cultural riches and majestic beauty of Japan, Russia, Alaska and Canada on this 23-day sailing. Unravel the mysteries of Japan with local guides, and learn about life in a remote Russian city before crossing the Bering Sea, tracing the legendary path of the first human migration to the Americas. In Alaska, sail into glacier-strewn, mountain-ringed bays onto iconic frontier towns, such as Kodiak, Sitka and more. Guests will also enjoy scenic cruising through the famed Inside Passage.
• Alaska & the Inside Passage—(Vancouver to Seward or the reverse; sailing on Viking Spirit; May–August 2019)—During this 11-day itinerary, guests will sail into the wilds of the "Great Frontier," immersing themselves in a world of Tlingit heritage, exploring charming seaside towns and pristine glacier-lined bays, and cruising the narrow channels of the famed Inside Passage. Sailing from Vancouver, Canada, guests will experience eight iconic ports of call including Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau and Skagway.
Ships Designed for Destination Cruising
Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boast 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. In 2017, the company will welcome Viking Sky and Viking Sun to join Viking Star and Viking Sea in its fleet. Viking's fifth ship, Viking Spirit, will be delivered in 2018, and its sixth, yet-to-be-named ship will be delivered in 2019.

Light-filled with modern Scandinavian décor, Viking's ships were designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships®. Throughout each ship, details are incorporated to pay homage to Nordic heritage and to help guests immerse themselves in local surroundings. A glass-backed infinity pool cantilevered off the stern offers unobstructed views; indoor-outdoor spaces offer more options for al fresco dining than any other vessels in their class; huge windows and skylights blur the lines between inside and out; and a wrap-around promenade deck nods to a bygone era of classic ocean liners.

Onboard Viking's ships, clean lines, woven textiles and light wood evoke the Viking spirit of discovery and connection to the natural world. A carefully curated collection of Scandinavian artwork adorns the walls of restaurants and public spaces. In the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow of the ships, the décor was inspired by ancient Viking trade routes and navigation methods—imagery of star constellations and astronomical maps are complemented by antique globes, astrolabes and sofas with cozy pelts. In the LivNordic Spa, the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia is in mind—from the Nordic ritual of the hydrotherapy pool and a real snow room, to materials inspired by Scandinavian nature: Swedish limestone and black slate; juniper and teak wood details; recycled and etched opaque glass; and cast iron. In the Wintergarden, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood—an homage to Norse mythology and Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life. And in the Viking Living Room, a geometric garden was inspired by the wild lichen of Norway's Finse Mountain Plateau.

The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers, the Viking Difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local culture at night or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," appealing to those with an interest in history, art, music, and cuisine. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

While onboard, guests enjoy informative talks from local experts and carefully selected lecturers in The Theater. Dining options onboard Viking's ships elevate food as a cultural experience—the World Café features global cuisine with live cooking and open kitchens; Mamsen's features Norwegian deli-style fare, according to the recipes of Hagen's mother, Ragnhild, otherwise known as "Mamsen;" The Chef's Table celebrate cuisines from around the world with multi-course tasting menus and wine pairings; and Manfredi's Italian Restaurant embraces authentic Tuscan and Roman cuisine. With the Kitchen Table experience, guests have an immersive opportunity to shop, cook and eat with the Executive Chef.

Viking Inclusive Value
Viking Inclusive Value provides a small ship experience at a big ship value onboard Viking Ocean Cruises—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; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—an included value of more than $200 per person, per day for an average cruise.

Booking Details
From now through January 31, 2017, Viking is offering U.S. residents an Early Booking Discount on new 2017-2019 itineraries: 2-for-1 cruise fares, plus up to free roundtrip international air. For more information, visit vikingoceancruises.com.

Image Courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises

Friday, January 13, 2017

Silversea's World Cruise 2017 Sets Milestone With First San Francisco Departure

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises' Silver Whisper embarked on her 116-day World Cruise 2017 last Friday from the Port of San Francisco, marking the first time in the company's history that a World Cruise has been launched from the city renowned for its picturesque harbor and iconic Golden Gate Bridge. January 6 also marked the first-ever visit of Silver Whisper to the city, an occasion celebrated by a plaque exchange between port officials and Mark Conroy, Silversea's managing director for the Americas, and Silver Whisper's staff captain, Zbigniew Jaszewski.

The evening prior to embarking on their epic journey to Monte Carlo, Silver Whisper's guests enjoyed a gala bon voyage dinner and live music presentation hosted in the elegant main ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. The dinner is one of several special complimentary benefits for World Cruise guests, including exclusive cultural events in Honolulu, Hawaii, Xi'an, China, and Abu Dhabi, UAE, plus a three-night Grand Finale cruise aboard the new Silver Muse, sailing from Monte Carlo to Rome.

"World Cruise 2017 was designed to be an extraordinary global adventure, and we're delighted to have the voyage depart from such an extraordinary and incredibly beautiful city as San Francisco," said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea's CEO. "Silver Whisper's guests, about 80 percent of whom are members of our Venetian Society loyalty club, will visit 62 ports in 25 countries, while enjoying an onboard experience completely revitalized by the ship's recent major renovation."

The all-suite Silver Whisper's refurbishment, which took place during a dry dock in the Bahamas last month, features an array of enhancements ranging from elegant new carpeting in all the guest suites to new wall treatments and rejuvenated wood flooring in the restaurants, Connoisseur's Corner, Panorama Lounge, Spa and Beauty Salon. The Restaurant and La Terrazza have also been outfitted with newly upholstered chairs. A new marble-topped bar and stylish new wood display cases grace the Observation Lounge, which has been refreshed with rich new wood panelling and wood accents. The pool deck has been upgraded with the installation of two new whirlpools. Plus, beautiful new synthetic turf has been placed on the jogging and spa decks, creating an inviting setting for outdoor activities.

WORLD CRUISE 2018
Next year, Silver Whisper will embark on a 121-day World Cruise, sailing from Los Angeles to Rome. Departing January 6, 2018, this magnificent odyssey will showcase 60 destinations in 21 countries across the globe, including virtually every highlight recommended by the line's veteran world cruise guests. Plus, with 17 overnight calls and 13 late-night stays, guests will have ample time to fully immerse themselves in local culture. The unique voyage, titled "La Grande Bellezza," will sail west across the Pacific to the beautiful lands of Hawaii, French Polynesia, and New Zealand, then weave a path through the Java Sea to fascinating Bali, Probolinggo, Semarang, and Borneo, and to a host of exotic isles in the Philippines. After two nights in Hong Kong and overnight stays in Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Singapore, Silver Whisper will follow the route of ancient spice traders to Sri Lanka, India, and Oman. Then she will continue through the Red Sea to fabled Luxor and Petra, storied islands in Greece, and along the coast of Italy to Rome.

Image Courtesy of Silversea

Carnival Cruise Line to Reposition Ships in Three Key Homeports in 2018

Carnival Cruise Line will reposition three of its newest and largest ships to new homeports in 2018, expanding upon the exciting variety of cruise options available from Galveston, Texas, Port Canaveral, Florida, and Miami. In September 2018 Carnival Vista will move to Galveston; Carnival Breeze will reposition to Port Canaveral; and Carnival Magic will shift to Miami.

Carnival Vista to Offer Two Week-Long Caribbean Itineraries from Galveston
Beginning Sept. 23, 2018, the newest ship in Carnival’s fleet, the 133,500-ton Carnival Vista, will begin sailing from Galveston and offer two different 7-day western Caribbean itineraries departing every Sunday and visiting the region’s most popular destinations. The first itinerary includes calls at Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, while the other features visits to Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize, and Cozumel.

Designed to connect guests to the ocean with sweeping views and plenty to do both outdoors and in, Carnival Vista offers an exciting array of features including SkyRide, a suspended open-air cycling experience; the world’s first IMAX Theatre on a ship; an expansive water park featuring the colorful Kaleid-o-slide, the line’s first tube slide; RedFrog Pub & Brewery featuring the first brewery on a North American-based ship; and Family Harbor with family-friendly staterooms, a family concierge, the Family Harbor Lounge and more. Carnival Vista, which debuted in 2016, will join Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor sailing year-round from Galveston.

Carnival Breeze to Offer Seven-Day Cruises Year-Round from Port Canaveral
Carnival Breeze will kick off its new Port Canaveral-based program with a one-time 6-day cruise to Nassau; Amber Cove (Dominican Republic); and Grand Turk on Sept. 30, 2018, followed by the start of year-round alternating eastern and western Caribbean cruises beginning Oct. 6, 2018. Those voyages will depart every Saturday with eastern Caribbean itineraries calling at Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk. Western Caribbean voyages will feature Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay and Costa Maya, part of Carnival’s exclusive Cozumel Plus itineraries offering extended stays in Cozumel and a variety of unique and interesting shore excursions on the island and on the Mexican mainland.

Longer Length Carnival Journeys Cruises on Carnival Breeze
For guests who desire a longer length experience, Carnival Breeze will operate two Carnival Journeys cruises. On Sept. 16, 2018, as the ship repositions from Galveston to Port Canaveral, it will operate a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise calling at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Curaçao, Grenada, Barbados, Dominica and St. Maarten. Another 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise operating round-trip from Port Canaveral Saturday, Nov. 3-17, 2018, includes stops at eight Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, St. Maarten, Tortola, and San Juan.

Carnival Breeze will be the newest and largest Carnival ship to sail from Port Canaveral, which is also the year-round homeport for Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Liberty. Carnival Breeze features Thrill Theater, an immersive multidimensional special effects experience that makes viewers feel as if they’re part of the movie. Other highlights include a massive WaterWorks aqua park offering splash-tastic water slides and the 300-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket, and SportSquare, an expansive recreation area with a suspended ropes course, mini golf, an outdoor fitness area and more.

Carnival Magic to Offer Seven-Day Caribbean Cruises from Miami
Carnival Magic will launch a year-round schedule of 7-day alternating eastern and western Caribbean cruises departing Sundays from PortMiami beginning Sept. 30, 2018. Eastern Caribbean cruises will call at Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. Western Caribbean sailings will feature Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel. Carnival Magic will also offer a special 7-day Cozumel Plus holiday cruise departing Miami Dec. 23, 2018, and calling at Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay and Grand Cayman.

The 130,000-ton Carnival Magic features the line’s signature RedFrog Pub, the SportSquare outdoor recreation area and Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant. In 2016 the ship underwent an extensive multimillion-dollar makeover that added a variety of dining and bar innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, Pizzeria del Capitano and the Alchemy Bar. Carnival Magic will join Carnival Glory, Carnival Sensation, and Carnival Victory at the line’s busiest homeport.

Star Wars Day at Sea Returns to Disney Cruise Line in Early 2018 on Select Disney Fantasy Sailings

In 2018, the epic day at sea returns to Disney Cruise Line with 15 special Disney Fantasy sailings to the Caribbean from January through April.

Star Wars Day at Sea transports guests to a galaxy far, far away to celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga with Jedi, Wookiees, droids, Stormtroopers and others during the special day-long celebration. Star Wars Day at Sea summons the power of the Force, the magic of Disney and the excitement of cruising for an out-of-this-galaxy experience unlike any other.

“The Force is stronger than ever onboard the Disney Fantasy, and we are excited to bring back Star Wars Day at Sea in 2018,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “The popularity of the event over the past two years inspired us to continue immersing our guests in the Star Wars galaxy. Everyone, from the youngest Padawan to the most knowledgeable Jedi Master, is invited to enjoy this event of galactic proportions and make memories that will last a lifetime.”

The event features a full day of Star Wars celebrations including a deck party spectacular with an extraordinary fireworks display, encounters with the galaxy’s most formidable and heroic characters, Star Wars-themed family and youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings and special merchandise. Throughout the day, guests enjoy immersive entertainment and activities that are all a part of the galactic adventure…
Discover the Force
• Characters from across the Star Wars galaxy are onboard for interactions and photos.
• Guests are encouraged to bring costumes for a special gathering in the atrium lobby.
• Guests indulge in the Star Wars films and television series, including all the films in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars Rebels and the latest installment in the new standalone series “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
• Specialty Star Wars-themed beverages, snacks, dinner menu items and desserts please the palates of everyone from Padawans to Rebel pilots to Tusken Raiders.
Learn the Ways of the Jedi
• In “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple,” Force-sensitive children learn the ways of the Jedi and use their new-found skills in a final face-off with Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister.
• Star Wars-themed arts and crafts, games and activities are offered throughout the day in all youth spaces for younglings to explore their powers.
• Kids and families test their knowledge during Star Wars trivia games.
“Summon the Force”
• The epic day at sea concludes with the “Summon the Force” deck celebration where guests unleash the Force during games, music and a galactic dance party.
• The grand finale features legendary Star Wars characters, pyrotechnics, stunts, special effects and a stunning fireworks display accompanied by John Williams’ iconic music.
Star Wars Day at Sea will be on 15 Disney Fantasy 7-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida. Departing Jan. 6, 20; Feb. 3, 17; March 3, 17, 31; and April 14, 2018, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. Departing Jan. 13, 27; Feb. 10, 24; March 10, 24; and April 7, 2018, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line, visit disneycruise.com.

Image Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Alaskan Dream Cruises Introduces Land Tour Extensions on 2017 Inside Passage Cruises

The Alaska Native-owned, small-ship cruise line Alaskan Dream Cruises will offer guests a chance to combine their 2017 cruise vacations with land packages to Denali National Park and Preserve, Seward, Valdez, Anchorage and Fairbanks through a new partnership with John Hall’s Alaska.

Passengers aboard Alaskan Dream Cruises’ “Alaska's Glacier Bay and Island Adventure” itinerary spend seven nights cruising the famed Inside Passage between Sitka and Juneau on the Chichagof Dream. Now they can extend their stay in Alaska on one of two John Hall’s Alaska land itineraries: the 7-night “Denali Explorer” or the 8-night “Grand Slam Alaska.”

“Over the years guests have asked us for our recommendations on how to continue their journeys on land,” Alaskan Dream Cruises Senior Vice President Jamey Cagle said. “We are thrilled to join hands with another longstanding, family owned Alaska operator that emphasizes local experiences and small-group sizes. As a locally owned company, our mission is to help guests experience the true Alaska. John Hall's Alaska will help us showcase the diversity and beauty of Alaska in areas beyond where we cruise.”

Both the 7-night “Denali Explorer” and the 8-night “Grand Slam Alaska” travel by deluxe motor coach and the Alaska Railroad with a group of no more than 42 guests. Spending time deep within the wilderness of Denali National Park and Preserve, both trips explore Southcentral and Interior Alaska and offer a wide-array of premier excursions in Alaska’s larger cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as in small towns like Valdez, Seward and Talkeetna. Days are filled with activities, such as flightseeing over Denali, North America’s largest peak; visiting a dog mushing kennel; and taking a private jet boat tour into Devil’s Canyon. Meals are included, as well as accommodations at award-winning properties. A John Hall's Alaska land tour manager accompanies guests on every adventure providing educational enrichment, a local’s point-of-view and assistance in searching for Alaska's big five: moose, caribou, bear, Dall sheep and wolves.

Both land packages begin and end in Anchorage and pair perfectly as pre-cruise tours. After the tour, guests can make a connecting flight from Anchorage to either Sitka or Juneau, where Alaskan Dream Cruises adventures begin. Guests who are looking for a post-cruise tour or who are on other Alaskan Dream itineraries can speak with an Alaskan Dream Cruises reservation specialist about trip coordination.

These cruise and land tour combinations are available between June 2 and Sept. 3. Prices for the land tours start at $5,270 and include a hotel night and breakfast during the transition between land and sea. Rates for the seven-night “Alaska's Glacier Bay and Island Adventure” cruise start at $3,990. Accommodations on the ship, all meals during the cruise, scheduled shore excursions, airport transfers, use of recreational equipment and standard onboard services are included. Detailed information on these land and cruise packages can be found at alaskandreamcruises.com.

The Alaska Native-owned cruise line specializes in providing guests with an insider’s view and local experiences in Southeast Alaska. Itineraries combine not-to-miss destinations, like Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and Tracy Arm Fjord, with more remote natural areas and small Native villages. Wildlife viewing, wilderness exploration and cultural experiences are prioritized, with flexible itineraries allowing ship captains to alter plans when extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities arise. On each Alaskan Dream Cruises itinerary, guests can take advantage of daily educational presentations by naturalists and cultural heritage guides who share unique perspectives on the area’s natural wonders, culture and history.

On board each ship, meals are prepared to highlight local ingredients and wild Alaska seafood, and can be paired with Alaska spirits. Even the soaps and shampoos in guest cabins are Alaska-made products. With its largest ship holding up to 74 passengers, Alaskan Dream Cruises offers a casual atmosphere and an insider’s view of Alaska’s Inside Passage. The company was launched in 2011 by the Allen family, members of the Tlingit Kaagwaantaan clan. The Allen family also founded Allen Marine, Inc., a boat building company, in 1967, and Allen Marine Tours, which offers day cruise tours to travelers in Alaska’s Inside Passage.

Crystal Unveils Crystal Living In-Suite Publication

As it continues forward with the epic expansion of its brand and award-winning fleet, Crystal has unveiled an artful in-suite book that commemorates the spirit of what the company has dubbed The New Crystal—The World's Most Luxurious Hospitality & Lifestyle Brand Portfolio™. Crystal Living, produced in partnership with HCP Media, a division of McClatchy, comprises a comprehensive look at the expanding Crystal collection of worldwide travel experiences
.
"Crystal Living is a gorgeous snapshot of Crystal's selection of bespoke experiences that are crafted to exceed travelers' wishes as they explore the world," says Edie Rodriguez, Crystal's Chairman, CEO and president. "While aboard Crystal vessels, travelers can immerse themselves in the journey they're on, and get inspired for their next adventure while exploring the book's exquisite pages."

The 120-page tome features the stunning photography that launched Crystal's recent All Exclusive brand campaign, as well as layouts depicting the acclaimed personal service, fascinating destinations, and luxurious amenities that have earned Crystal top accolades for more than 25 years. Across Crystal's fleet—Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal AirCruises and Crystal Luxury Air—exclusivity, customization and options are the cornerstone of the guest experience.

The recently unveiled Crystal Living publication is the first edition of what will be an annual release, featuring refreshed content representative of Crystal's expanding collection. In the coming three years, the company will add six more new build river yachts, two polar class expedition yachts, a second Global Express Bombardier Jet for private charter, and Crystal Exclusive Class™ ocean vessels that will house exclusive Crystal Residences. For more information, visit Crystal's website crystalcruises.com.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Princess Cays Added To Itineraries Of Six Carnival Cruise Line Ships Beginning In May 2017

The private Bahamian destination of Princess Cays has been added to the itineraries of six different Carnival Cruise Line ships beginning in May 2017. Carnival Cruise Line ships are expected to make 40 calls to Princess Cays in 2017 and 98 the following year.

Located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas and operated by Carnival's sister company Princess Cruises, Princess Cays is a breathtaking tropical oasis where vacationers can relax on miles of unspoiled white-sand beaches and swim in crystal clear waters teeming with tropical fish. The facility includes a 40-acre complex highlighted by an observation tower offering panoramic views of the island, along with bars, restaurants and retail shops with local crafts, souvenirs, and artwork. A complimentary barbeque lunch service featuring an array of delicious choices is also offered. Princess Cays is connected by a series of paved paths that lead to palm tree-dotted beaches where clamshells and private bungalows are available for rent. A variety of shore excursions—from dune buggy adventures and glass bottom boat tours to paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking—are also available. Various operational enhancements, including the addition of larger, more efficient tenders to facilitate getting guests ashore quickly and comfortably, are currently underway.

Princess Cays will be featured on the following Carnival itineraries in 2017: select 7-day cruises aboard Carnival Pride from Baltimore; 5-day voyages aboard Carnival Ecstasy from Charleston, S.C.; 8-day sailings on Carnival Conquest from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; 5-day voyages on Carnival Elation from Jacksonville, Fla.; 4-day voyages aboard Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral, Fla.; and 4-day cruises aboard Carnival Sensation from Miami.

"At Carnival, we're always looking for new and exciting destinations for our guests and Princess Cays is a beautiful island paradise with gorgeous beaches and an array of 'fun-in-the-sun' activities that our guests will really enjoy experiencing on their vacation," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Princess Cays is one of several private destinations and cruise facilities operated by Carnival Corporation. Others include Half Moon Cay (Bahamas), Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos), Puerta Maya (Cozumel), Mahogany Bay (Roatan) and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic).

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Launches Three New Holland America Line ‘Ships’ in Seattle

Holland America Line launched three new commuter “ships” on Monday, Jan. 9, that will run on the Sound Transit Light Rail System in Seattle. The trains, which are wrapped to resemble Holland America Line’s newest ship, ms Koningsdam, will cruise the tracks through April 2017, when the summer cruise season to Alaska begins from the Port of Seattle.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the University of Washington Station, with Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford and Honorary “Captain” Miles Lamb, an 11-year-old cancer survivor and patient of Seattle Children’s Hospital—a local nonprofit partner of the cruise line. During the ceremony Holland America Line presented a $5,000 check to Strong Against Cancer, an effort to gain funding for a cancer immunotherapy treatment being developed at Seattle Children’s Hospital with support from volunteer team captain Russell Wilson.

“As Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line, we’re always looking for creative ways to increase awareness that we’re headquartered here. We sail from Seattle to Alaska all summer long, and we are a big contributor and supporter of the local community,” said Ashford. “Millions of people ride Seattle’s light rail each year, and we're excited to have these eye-catching trains sailing around the city and spreading the word in a fun and engaging way.” See a photo of the new rail cars here.

“Miles is a wonderful young man and a great honorary ‘captain’ for Holland America Line’s first-ever rail ‘ships,’” added Ashford. “This event also gave us a great opportunity to continue our support of Seattle Children’s Hospital and Strong Against Cancer to treat cancer among children.”

As Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line, Holland America Line contributes $389 million to the city’s economy and $547 million across Washington state. The company employs 1,170 people at its headquarters in Seattle and works with more than 600 local vendors. The cruise line operates an extensive corporate social responsibility program benefiting the local community and Washington state, including partnering with Seattle Children’s Hospital, Northwest Harvest and the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team. During the 2017 Alaska cruise season, more than 101,000 guests will sail on Holland America Line ships from Seattle.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Norwegian Bliss to Sail From Miami in Winter 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that Norwegian Bliss, the brand's sixteenth ship, will set sail for the Cruise Capital of the World after her inaugural summer season in Alaska, to seasonally homeport in Miami in winter 2018.

Beginning on November 17, 2018, Norwegian Bliss will sail 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian Bliss’ custom design will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to “imagine Bliss” and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, Studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families traveling together. Norwegian Bliss will also feature two observation lounges, including one exclusive to guests of The Haven, perfect for whale watching in Alaska or taking in sunsets in the Caribbean.

“We are incredibly excited to announce that we are once again bringing our newest and most innovative ship to Miami, with the arrival of Norwegian Bliss in November 2018," said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “As the Caribbean is our most sought-after winter destination, there was no question that Norwegian Bliss would sail from Miami. This incredibly dynamic ship will offer stunning ocean views from almost every venue, spacious and thoughtfully designed accommodations that fit with every cruiser’s needs, and a variety of exciting and engaging venues that will continue Norwegian’s history of innovation in providing the ultimate dining and entertainment experiences at sea.”

En route to Miami following the completion of her Alaska cruising season, Norwegian Bliss will sail one 5-day Pacific Coastal sailing from Vancouver to Los Angeles on September 30, with an overnight stay in Vancouver and calls in Victoria, British Columbia and San Francisco. Norwegian Bliss’ 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises will feature calls in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas, adding Ensenada, Mexico on its 8-day itinerary. For those looking for a once-in-a-lifetime cruise experience, Norwegian Bliss will depart Los Angeles on November 3 for a 14-day journey to Miami through the new locks of the recently expanded Panama Canal, with calls in Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Costa Rica; and Cartagena, Colombia.

The same features that make Norwegian Bliss the ideal ship for the ultimate Alaska experience will also allow guests to experience the Caribbean like never before. The crown jewel of these features is an incredible 180 degree Observation Lounge, located at the front of the ship on deck 15. Spanning 20,000 square feet, the sprawling Observation Lounge will be a breathtaking experience, offering floor-to-ceiling windows that will be the perfect spot from which to take in the stunning sunset views of the beautiful islands of the Caribbean during her winter season or the awe-inspiring glaciers and vistas of Alaska in the summer. The lounge, designed with rich woods and a silver and gray color palate, will offer an abundance of plush, modern seating including couches and chaise loungers to take in the view, along with a 360 degree polished aluminum and quartz-topped central bar where guests can enjoy fine cocktails and spirits.

In the spirit of Norwegian’s long history of innovation, Norwegian Bliss will have accommodations for everyone on board, with options ranging from staterooms designed for solo travelers, family-friendly connecting staterooms, ultra chic suites, and more. Norwegian’s signature ship-within-a-ship concept, The Haven by Norwegian®, will once again adorn the top of the ship with 80 ultra-luxurious suites. The exclusive key-card access three-story enclave on decks 17 -19 will be a secluded paradise with a private restaurant with outdoor terrace, private lounge with a dedicated mixologist, courtyard area with retractable roof that features a pool, two whirlpools, sauna, spa treatment rooms and sunbathing deck. All suites in the Haven will enjoy the services of a butler and a private concierge, as well as priority access to reservations, VIP embarkation and disembarkation, exclusive reserved seating in the ship's theatre and much more.

Guests staying in The Haven on Norwegian Bliss will take in luxury, style and stunning views with their very own exclusive two-story Haven Observation Lounge, a brand new feature for The Haven, which will feature expansive 180 degree views from two decks, the same as the ship’s officers’ experience from the Bridge, and beverage service. Each suite in The Haven by Norwegian® will feature crisp ultra-luxurious modern furnishings in rich wood tones, accented by custom stonework, marble-topped nightstands and vanities, and indulgent linens. Suite options will include the largest and most luxurious suites onboard, The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suites, which will have a new look and feel with an indulgent cream and gray color scheme, include captain’s views and two spacious balconies. Additional Haven suites include The Haven Two-Bedroom Family Villa, The Haven Courtyard Penthouse, The Haven Deluxe Spa Suite, The Haven Forward and Aft-facing Penthouses and the all-new The Haven Suite that can connect with a Balcony stateroom, so large families and groups are able to be accommodated with ease.

Norwegian Bliss will also feature new connecting stateroom options across stateroom categories—ideal for large groups and families traveling together who want to enjoy quality time together at sea. The ship’s 308 Mini-Suites are designed for guests looking to enjoy a little more of a spacious experience at sea featuring larger bathrooms than a standard Balcony stateroom with some offering bathtubs, and a balcony for gazing out to sea. Designed to offer guests near constant views of the sea, Norwegian Bliss will have 1,088 Balcony staterooms that feature plush décor in soothing cool tones, along with a sofa, vanity and desk area and coffee maker. Norwegian Bliss will also include 111 Oceanview staterooms that feature large picturesque windows to take in the spectacular sea views.

Solo travelers can enjoy Norwegian’s popular award-winning Studio staterooms aboard Norwegian Bliss, now with virtual ocean views. The Studio staterooms include thought-out features and amenities designed and priced for solo travelers. The Studio complex is comprised of 82 staterooms, accessible by private keycard-entry with access to a private lounge exclusively for Studio guests with snack service, board games and a member of the Cruise Staff dedicated to leading solo traveler meet ups and activities. All staterooms feature a full-sized bed, a window to the corridor, and separate areas for toilet, sink, and shower. Select Studios connect, perfect for single friends traveling together. Norwegian Bliss also offers 374 Inside staterooms, which include two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed. Select Inside staterooms also have up to two additional Pullman beds to accommodate families. All rooms feature USB plugs

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss is being constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018. The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss’ hull art work was designed by premier marine life artist Wyland and will feature images of humpback whales, found in every ocean around the world, which will serve as large canvas to showcase the importance of conservation and ocean preservation.

During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly 7-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Princess Cruises Unveils Newly Reimagined Youth & Teen Centers

Princess Cruises, in partnership with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications™, announced plans to expand its Discovery at Sea partnership with reimagined youth centers, including new experiences and center designs to help young Princess explorers learn, play, and create fun memorable memories while on a cruise vacation. This multi-million investment is currently rolling out fleet-wide through 2018, with program implementation taking place in early 2017 and new center designs planned for installation during scheduled ship renovations.

“As part of our Come Back New promise, we are recommitting to our youngest cruisers and their families,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Through the Discovery brands, we have enriching new content to add to our already popular youth offerings and we’re excited to incorporate interactive and age-specific design elements to share with our younger cruisers to give them the ultimate onboard experience.”

Catering to specific age groups, there are three center themes where kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle, including:
• The Treehouse, ages 3-7 (formerly Pelicans): A bright, whimsical forest and animal-themed center including captivating creatures and hands-on activities for kids to focus on play time, creativity and the world around them.
• The Lodge, ages 8-12 (formerly Shockwaves): Inspired by the great outdoors, this cozy center is filled with sports activities and fun places for kids to explore, hang out and lounge.
• The Beach House, for ages 13-17 (formerly Remix) offers a contemporary surf-themed lounge, featuring a cool place for teens to hang out and socialize.
New youth and teen center programming includes MythBusters science activities with three hands-on challenges, featuring show star, Tory Belleci. In addition, new Camp Discovery destination-themed programs focusing on the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe will immerse young cruisers into the culture, nature and customs of these regions.

A framework of current and brand new children’s programming (ages 3-12) are bundled under Camp Discovery categories. Core experiences include:
Play – indoor and outdoor gaming, sports and physical activities:
• Shark Hunters: Investigate mysterious Caribbean sharks on an interactive scavenger hung
• Alaskan Explorers: Hunt for clues to the connections between Alaska’s animals and people
• Try your skills on PlayStation®, Nintendo Wii™, XBOX Kinect consoles, board games, air hockey and ping-pong
• Join dance classes and engage in friendly competitions
• Enjoy sports including basketball, mini golf, yoga and miniature Olympics

Discover – places, animals and hands-on experiments:
• MythBusters Science Activities: Try three hands-on challenges, featuring Tori Belleci from the show
• Survive Alaska: Invent tools to survive the harsh environment of The Great Land
• Animal Planet uncovers ferocious secrets in Shark Attack, and learn squid anatomy in Just Squiddin’ Around
• Learn the science of magic or become an engineer for a day with programs from the California Science Center, home of the Endeavour space shuttle
• Inspire a love of nature from the regions we sail with Animal Planet Endangered Species activities and our Glacier Bay Jr. Ranger program

Huddle – fun interactions with peers:
• Extreme Sea Carnival: Caribbean music, dance, trivia and crafts light up the night for the whole family
• Wild Alaska Festival: Celebrate Alaskan nature at this family theme night
• Discovery at Sea™ theme days with activities inspired by Shark Week and Animal Planet
• Talent shows showcase singing, dancing, musical skills and jokes
• Theme nights: Include Pirate Night, with eye patch making, tattoos and a treasure hunt; Mexican Fiesta with music, Spanish lessons, traditional dances and costume making; Challenge Night with puzzle, riddle and physical challenges

Create – arts, crafts, science exploration:
• Make Animal Planet puppets, masks and paintings inspired by regional wildlife
• Create a solar system or build a “stomp rocket,” inspired by Science Channel
• The Greatest Catch: Design your own invention to help you explore the ocean
• Compete: Join the Klutz® paper airplane challenge or Lego® boat-building contest
• JrChef@Sea: Learn cake decorating and enjoy the results with your family
• Klutz art projects: Craft bracelets, velvet art, jewelry and more

For The Beach House, teen activities include:
• Rock the Boat Party: It’s the occasion to dress up, stroll down the red carpet and flash your VIP badge, then enjoy an evening of mocktails, awards and celebrating your friends
• Movies: Get your scream on at Scary Movie Night or catch some recent hits at Late Night Movies.
• Teen makeovers and glitter tattoos
• Dance Classes: Perfect your moves with guidance from one of our crew dancers, then show what you’ve got at dance competitions and parties
• Competitions: Give your skills a workout in our video game tournaments. Or play to win in air hockey, foosball and ping pong tables
In addition, fun for the whole family can be enjoyed through a family fair in the Piazza featuring carnival-like booths and activities, family trivia, Stargazing with Discovery at Sea, family game night and new soon-to-be announced family-themed programs. Interactive experiences are designed to bring to life the nature, wildlife, and history of the regions guests are sailing. Guests can let their imaginations set sail with a variety of activities including stargazing, exclusive Discovery and Animal Planet shore excursions and various onboard activities.

Grand Princess, sailing year round from San Francisco, is the first ship to offer young cruisers and teens, ages 3-17, this new wonder-filled center to discover new interests, make new friends and create lifelong memories. The next ships to receive newly renovated youth centers include Caribbean Princess (March) and Regal Princess (April), Sea Princess (October) and Island Princess (November). Find the full rollout schedule at princess.com/family.

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

UnCruise Adventures Adds Wellness to 2017 Theme Cruise Schedule

UnCruise Adventures invites travelers to take a new wellness theme cruise in 2017. Spring wellness cruises in Alaska feature certified trainers, nutrition and skincare experts, and yogi masters from Life TimeSM—The Healthy Way of Life Company. The small ship cruise line released its full theme cruise schedule with other adventures planned for marine biology, photography, alumni, ornithology, craft beer, nostalgic music, wine and a chairman’s cruise.

In 2017, three wellness theme cruises are planned in Alaska and one in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés. Two guest experts sail on board the ship for a week of wellness with special programs focused on fitness, nutrition, and overall well-being. Guest experts will customize activities based on their expertise.

In April, wellness cruises in Alaska feature certified trainers and experts from Life Time. A natural fit with UnCruise Adventures’ active, outdoor adventure style, wellness experts lead activities that range from dedicated core strengthening classes to hands-on cooking tutorials in addition to other active excursions such as hiking, bushwhacking, paddle boarding and kayaking.

“A wellness theme is a perfect fit for our guests who enjoy being active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on vacation,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO.

2017 wellness theme cruise schedule:
Alaska—Wellness theme cruises are offered aboard the 74-guest Wilderness Explorer and 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer. Ships sail adventure cruises in remote Alaskan wilderness from Juneau, Seattle and Sitka.
Wilderness Adventurer, April 17. Hosts: Personal Trainer, Lindsay Ogden and Yogi, Alex Schimmel
Wilderness Explorer, April 22. Hosts: Personal Trainer, Anna Winton and Yogi, John Farchione
Wilderness Explorer, April 29: Hosts: Personal Trainer, Steven Bronston and Master Esthetician, LeAnne Erickson
Mexico’s Sea of Cortés—The 84-guest Safari Endeavour sails in Baja’s Sea of Cortés exploring islands, bays and marine life in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Safari Endeavour, December 2. Hosts: TBA
Other theme cruise departures include: Mexico’s Sea of Cortés—chairman’s, marine biology and ornithology; Columbia & Snake Rivers—chairman’s, 1940’s era music and wine; Coastal Washington—ornithology, craft beer; Alaska—marine biology and photography; Costa Rica and Panama—chairman’s, photography, alumni, ornithology, and marine biology.

UnCruise Adventures’ fleet of boutique yachts and small ships carry 22-88 guests on adventure and river cruises lasting one to three weeks. All adventure activities and shore excursions are included.

Find more information at uncruise.com.

American Cruise Lines Announces 2017 Pre-Cruise Inclusions

In the New Year, American Cruise Lines is offering attractive cruise inclusions aboard their new small cruise ships and paddlewheelers. The line is offering all guests traveling on the Mississippi River and Columbia River a complimentary pre-cruise package which includes a premium hotel stay and transportation to the ship. This not only makes getting to and boarding the ship easier, but also enhances the guest experience as our participating hotels are ideally located in each vibrant port of call.

Mississippi cruises that depart from New Orleans have several complimentary hotels to choose from including the Omni Riverfront and the Intercontinental St. Charles which are ideally located downtown, near the ship and French Quarter. Guests can arrive a day before the cruise and enjoy all the area has to offer then meet our transportation the next morning for a seamless boarding process. Similar packages are offered in Memphis, St. Louis, St. Paul, Nashville, and Pittsburgh.

Guests on the Columbia and Snake Rivers cruises receive a complimentary pre-cruise stay in Clarkston, WA, but also have the option to purchase an enhanced package which includes 2 hotel nights in Clarkston (including one complimentary night) and a jetboat tour of Hells Canyon. At the complimentary hotel, guests can wake up on the morning of the cruise and view the ship from their window.

“The complementary pre-cruise packages which started as a short term promotion in 2016 have been so well received that they have been extended all the way through the 2017 schedule,” says Kallie Biggs, Travel Agent Market Manager. “Additional packages are being planned, including one in the Boston area.”

American Cruise Line is offering the pre-cruise packages, as well as additional complementary excursions, in an effort to create a more inclusive experience for guests in 2017. American Cruise Lines is committed to continuous growth through an innovative ship building program that elevates the standard of cruising in America. The line has been continuously recognized for its new ships and for providing superb service to guests before, during, and after a cruise. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit americancruiselines.com.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First Steel Cut For Two Luxury River Yachts For Crystal River Cruises

Yesterday, MV Werften celebrated the cutting of the first piece of steel in Wismar, marking the ceremonial start of construction of Crystal River Cruises' two additional Rhine Class luxury river yachts, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, scheduled to sail in spring 2018. The first plates of the luxury river ships were flame cut in the presence of the Genting Group Executive Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's Economics Minister Harry Glawe and numerous other guests.

The structurally identical Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel will be built completely at MV Werften's Wismar site, and measure approximately 135 metres long and 11 metres wide. Specifically designed for the growing European luxury river cruise market, the ships will cruise the Rhine, the Danube, the Main, and the Moselle Rivers, exploring the iconic locales of Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary. Europe's only all-balcony, all-suite river ships will accommodate up to 106 guests, and offer luxurious services and amenities, including a 1.55 guest to crew ratio, Crystal's acclaimed butler service for every suite, plush king-sized beds that face toward the Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets, and wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs. Additional enticing features include Crystal's highly-acclaimed cuisine in multiple eateries and a swimming pool.

"Today is another crowning achievement in the growth of the Crystal brand, as we take another step closer in further delivering the growing demand for a true luxury experience on Europe's rivers," said Edie Rodriguez, Crystal's Chairman, CEO and President. "I, along with my leaders at our wonderful parent company and our expert partners at MV Werften, are excited in bringing Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel to life."

Image Courtesy Crystal

Paul Gauguin Cruises Unveils Wedding Ceremony & Renewal Of Vows Packages

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, now offers wedding ceremony and renewal of vows packages at Motu Mahana, the cruise line's private islet off the coast of Taha'a, or at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa.

Couples sailing on The Gauguin can celebrate their love in a romantic setting amid the turquoise lagoons and exotic islands of French Polynesia. Two optional packages offer these exclusive features:


Motu Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows*
• Private Polynesian Blessing Ceremony on Motu Mahana
• Congratulatory letter from the Captain
• Invitation to dine with the Captain or Hotel Director
• In-stateroom celebratory bottle of Champagne
• Reception cake and box of chocolates
• Heis (crowns of flowers)
• Deluxe flower arrangement
• One 8"x10" photo portrait
The Motu Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows package is $315.
Bora Bora Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows at Thalasso*
• Bride's arrival at the chapel on a traditional outrigger canoe ride through the lagoonarium
• Tahitian blessing by a local priest, at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa's air-conditioned chapel with glass floors showcasing the lagoon below, and splendid views of Mount Otemanu
• Flower leis for the bride and groom
• Tapa certificate with the couple's Polynesian name
• 2-course lunch at the resort
• Love lock to attach to a palm tree in the resort's Secret Garden of Love to seal and symbolize the couple's eternal love in Polynesian style
• Use of the resort's facilities after the ceremony
• Transfers
The Bora Bora Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows at Thalasso package is $950. Guests can save $50 by combining it with the "Romantic Escapade" shore excursion or a pre- or post-cruise stay at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa when arranged by Paul Gauguin Cruises.

Paul Gauguin Cruises also offers a gift registry for those celebrating a wedding, honeymoon, or other special occasions at pgcruises.celebrationwishes.com.
*Wedding ceremony is not legally binding. Limit: 2 Wedding Ceremony and/or Renewals of Vows per sailing, subject to availability. Motu Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows package must be booked at least one week prior to sailing, and availability is subject to weather conditions. Bora Bora Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows package must be booked at least 72 hours prior to sailing and is subject to availability; additional guests may attend by booking the "Day at the Beach" shore excursion at the listed price. Additional services are available for a nominal fee; please call for details. Payment is due upon booking of the event. Cancellation fees apply as follows: 50% for cancellations up to 8 days prior to event; 100% for cancellations 7 days or less prior to event.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Seabourn Encore Christened in Singapore

Seabourn Captain Mark Dexter, Sarah Brightman and
Seabourn President Richard Meadows
On a night to remember—Saturday, Jan 7th—Seabourn formally introduced Seabourn Encore to the world at a festive evening ceremony pier side in Singapore. International recording artist and world's best-selling soprano Sarah Brightman presided over the naming ceremony as godmother of the new 600-guest ship, the first of two new all-suite vessels for the company.

Guests and VIPs joined Seabourn staff to enjoy the vibrant, entertainment-filled launch festivities as a projection screen showed the climactic moment when Brightman sent a bottle of champagne smashing against the bow of the ship, a time-honored ship christening tradition. A host of local musicians and cultural acts, including lion dancers and stilt walkers, energized the event to send the ship and its guests off in style.

"The launch of Seabourn Encore marks the start of a new era of ultra-luxury cruising," said Richard Meadows, President of Seabourn. "Seabourn Encore marks a major step forward in terms of growth for our company. This ship is stunningly beautiful and I know guests are going to be absolutely captivated as they step aboard and see it firsthand."

Following the naming ceremony, Seabourn Encore departed on its Inaugural Voyage, the 10-day Gems of the Java Sea cruise, bound for Indonesia. The ship will then move on to a 16-day Great Barrier Reef & Gold Coast and back-to-back 16-day Australia & New Zealand voyages. The ship will then reverse the earlier 10-day Gems of the Java Sea cruise to Singapore, proceed on 16-day Jewels of India & Arabia cruise to Dubai, and finish her first season with a 19-day Arabian Gems & Holy Land voyage before ending her winter season at Athens on May 5.

Seabourn Encore will spend summer 2017 along the Mediterranean, offering diverse itineraries including a 7-day Greek & Italian Jewels cruise departing from Piraeus (Athens), Greece on May 6, followed by a 7-day Riviera Allure voyage departing Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy on May 13. She will go on to offer a series of 7-, 10-, and 14-day cruises throughout the region, including a dynamic Mediterranean Moments itinerary that departs Barcelona (Spain) on June 3 and makes stops along the charming cities and coastal villages of France, Monaco, Italy and Greece. In August, the ship will finish summer with a 10- or 20-Day UNESCO Gems of the Western Mediterranean cruise, arriving in Barcelona, Spain, on September 13 for the start of its autumn season.

Seabourn Encore is the fourth luxury vessel to join the Seabourn fleet and the first of two ships to be designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany. The second, Seabourn Ovation, is currently under construction and is scheduled to launch in spring 2018. Intended by Tihany "to feel more like a luxury yacht," Seabourn Encore features modern design elements and innovations in keeping with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance, as well as one additional deck and newly expanded public areas. New features include The Retreat, a secluded for-charge sanctuary for guests to stretch out and relax in private cabanas, and Sushi, a one-of-a-kind dining destination found on no other ship in the Seabourn fleet.

With the inaugural voyage, Seabourn Encore is also marking the formal debut of several new onboard partner programs. Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil is being introduced in partnership with The Onboard Spa by Steiner, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being. A new production show, 'An Evening with Tim Rice', created exclusively for Seabourn in association with Belinda King Creative Productions, will also have its debut on board in the ship's Grand Salon. Seabourn Encore will also feature The Grill by Thomas Keller, a restaurant inspired by the classic American chophouse that first opened on Seabourn Quest last year. All three partner programs will be rolled out across the entire Seabourn fleet by 2018.

Images Courtesy of Seabourn

Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam Receives Perfect Score on 1st US Public Health Inspection

Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam earned a perfect score of 100 on its first routine United States Public Health inspection conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ship launched in April 2016 in Europe and made its maiden visit to the United States in November. Koningsdam’s first unannounced U.S.P.H. inspection was held Dec. 20, 2016, during a call at San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the middle of a 10-day Caribbean cruise.

“A new class of ship means many firsts for our crew in managing operations on board, and we couldn’t be more proud of everyone on Koningsdam who worked diligently to earn a perfect score for the ship’s first public health inspection in the United States,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We’re doing very well on our U.S.P.H. inspections, and we’re going to continue to focus on maintaining the highest standards across our fleet. Congratulations to the officers and staff of Koningsdam for this well-earned accomplishment.”

In 2016 five additional Holland America Line ships previously received perfect scores, including ms Maasdam, ms Veendam, ms Noordam, ms Eurodam, and ms Westerdam. Four ships earned scores of 99, including ms Nieuw Amsterdam on Dec. 22. Eurodam was the first ship in company history to receive 10 consecutive perfect USPH scores when it received its inspection last March.

CDC inspections are part of the Vessel Sanitation Program, which was introduced in the early 1970s and is required for all passenger ships that call at a U.S. port. The inspections are unannounced and are carried out by officials from the United States Public Health Service twice a year for every cruise ship. The score, on a scale from one to 100, is assigned on the basis of a checklist involving dozens of areas of assessment, encompassing hygiene and sanitation of food (from storage to preparation), overall galley cleanliness, water, shipboard personnel and the ship as a whole. Health Canada's Cruise Ship Inspection Program harmonizes with the United States’ CDC Vessel Sanitation Program, and inspections are conducted once a year when cruise ships visit Canadian ports.

Image Courtesy Holland America Line

American Cruise Lines Raises Funds For CT Food Bank

American Cruise Lines, operator of the newest cruise ships in the United States, has raised $14,000 for the Connecticut Food Bank with its Holiday Give-Back Program. American Cruise Lines continues to support the Connecticut Food Bank through its Give-Back program by donating $50 for each ticket sold on select holiday cruises, which include:
• Mississippi River 7-night cruise offered aboard the Queen of the Mississippi
• Historic South & Golden Isles 7-night cruise offered aboard the Independence
• Great Rivers of Florida 7-night cruise offered aboard the American Glory
Since the Give-Back Program began in 2013, American Cruise Lines and its ability to contribute to the community have grown. This year, American Cruise Lines has surpassed the previous year’s donation of $10,500.

Susan Shultz, Director of Sales, presented the Connecticut Food Bank with the donation on behalf of American Cruise Lines at the Food Bank’s distribution center in Wallingford, CT. “There is nothing as rewarding as giving back to the local community and helping those in need,” says Shultz. “It’s our goal to continue to share our successes with the Connecticut Food Bank in the coming years.”

Connecticut Food Bank CEO Bernie Beaudreau said the donation from American Cruise Lines would support critically needed food for hungry families in Connecticut. “This generous donation will provide enough food for 28,000 meals. We are grateful for the generosity of American Cruise Lines, given in recognition of their travelers, who shared the bounty of their holiday with Connecticut families in need.”

American Cruise Lines is the leading US cruise line, with the largest fleet of US ships. It offers more than 35 itineraries, ranging from 4 to 21 nights in length including the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast and the entire Mississippi River system. The line has been continuously recognized for its new ships and for providing superb service to guests and travel agents before, during, and after a cruise. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit americancruiselines.com.

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Images of Seabourn Encore's Spa & Public Spaces

Seabourn has unveiled additional images of its newest all-suite vessel, Seabourn Encore that will be officially launching in Singapore tomorrow, January 7th. She will go on to spend her maiden season sailing the Pacific Rim in Australia and New Zealand, before returning to Europe in April 2017 to spend summer along the Mediterranean.

The Spa

Fitness Center

The Grill by Thomas Keller

Observation Bar

SeaDream Yacht Club Showcases 2017 Schedule with New Brochure

SeaDream Yacht Club is preparing for 2017 with a new brochure currently arriving to loyal guests and valued travel agents. The 36-page, glossy brochure showcases the SeaDream Yacht Club experience in time for the upcoming 16th season of its iconic twin mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II. With stunning photography, the brochure highlights the yachts’ spectacular common areas and staterooms, land adventures, destinations and the luxury of yachting life that is synonymous with SeaDream Yacht Club. Guests can begin planning their 2017 holiday on SeaDream I and SeaDream II exploring the waters and ports throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

“We are eager to begin the upcoming 2017 season, offering our guests exciting experiences they have come to expect from SeaDream Yacht Club,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “With newly unveiled additions to our 16th season operating, we hope to welcome new travelers as well as familiar faces onboard both of our elegant yachts exploring the world’s most beautiful waters.”

Highlights in the new 2017 season brochure include:
• Dream Cuisine from the Early Riser’s Coffee to dining alfresco on deck or in the elegantly appointed Dining Salon, SeaDream’s cuisine and impeccable service is certain to make dining aboard a SeaDream yacht unforgettable. Aboard these mega-yachts, guests will always enjoy “Cuisine A La Minute” with the freshest ingredients, often selected by the chef locally while in port, as well as the only raw food menu at sea.
• Land Adventures are designed so guests may experience each destination to its fullest. SeaDream Yacht Club always offers the best guides as well as knowledgeable crew leading a variety of excursions to suit the sportsman, history buff, gourmand or thrill seeker. While on holiday, guests may be as active or as relaxed as they please, having the option to choose from adventures such as sampling local wines and olives, swimming with dolphins or enjoying an evening concert.
• Wellness and Fitness in the Thai certified SeaDream Spa, the only member of the Thai Spa Association at sea, provides treatments for body, face, hair and nails. The Fitness Center features panoramic ocean views, natural light and state of the art equipment including treadmills, bikes and free weights.
• Water Sports Marina, available on both yachts, provides a variety of exciting water activities including Laser sailboats, Hobie Cat catamarans, kayaks, wake boards and water skis, snorkeling gear, standup paddle boards and more.
• Exceptional and Intriguing Itineraries, whether it’s traveling through the azure, crystalline waters of the Caribbean from November through April or exploring the history of the Mediterranean from May through October, SeaDream navigates to well-known destinations as well as a host of idyllic ports–many of which are beyond the reach of larger ships. Guests also have the option of taking a Trans-Atlantic voyage offered in the early spring, typically navigating from the Caribbean to Europe and in the fall, from Europe back to the Caribbean.
SeaDream Yacht Club inclusive fares includes ocean view accommodations, gourmet meals, gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner and so much more. For additional information, visit SeaDream.com.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Princess Cruises to Debut Ocean Medallion Class

Princess Cruises, a long-time innovator of cruise industry products, will be the first Carnival Corporation brand to feature the Ocean Medallion™, a wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the O·C·E·A·N, One Cruise Experience Access Network. The Ocean Medallion enables a new level of personalization that delivers an enhanced guest experience previously not available in the global vacation industry.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald unveiled the Ocean Medallion today during his opening keynote at CES 2017, the world's largest consumer technology trade show. The Ocean Medallion is the only accessory needed to elevate the guest experience on cruises. Ocean Medallion Class™ will be available November 13, 2017, onboard Regal Princess, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018.

"We are in the business of providing our guests incredible vacation experiences that create memories that they will cherish for a lifetime," said Jan Swartz, president, Princess Cruises. "Ocean Medallion Class will deliver an elevated cruise vacation experience by connecting people, places and cultures from around the world in a more profound way. The service Princess guests have always loved will be amplified by the Ocean Medallion."

Medallion Class makes Ocean Vacations more personal, immersive, simple and seamless than previously considered possible. At the heart of this personalized experience is the Ocean Medallion, which enables endless vacation possibilities. The Ocean Medallion has no discernible technology—no on-off switch, no charging, no menu to navigate—and can be worn as a pendant on a wristband in a clip or simply placed in a pocket to reveal enhanced services and personalized experiences without guests having to push a button or take any action. The pre-cruise engage will allow guests to provide preferences that detail their wants, needs and desires so that their onboard experience can be personalized. Pairing with the Ocean Medallion is the Ocean Compass™ (for both guests and crew). The Ocean Compass is a personal digital experience concierge accessible by all guests using interactive displays throughout the ship, on stateroom TVs or via guests' own mobile devices. For example, guests can find their way to venues around the ship; make reservations at the Lotus Spa, specialty dining restaurant and shore excursions; arrange celebrations; view photographs; learn about the destinations they will visit and activities at each port of call and more. The Ocean Compass via Ocean Concierge will invite guests to experiences based on their individual needs, wants and desires.

Loyal Princess cruisers and potential future cruisers collectively feel having an exceptional vacation occurs when guests' vacation time is spent doing more of what they love. With Ocean Medallion Class on Princess Cruises, there is endless possibility for personalized attention and the ability to truly relax knowing everything will be handled. Some of the initial service innovations include:
• Ocean Ready: The Ocean Medallion expedites embarkation as required information is added to the guest profile at home.
• Stateroom Access: The Ocean Medallion will also unlock a guest's stateroom door—replacing the key card and its sign and sail functions.
• HERE and NOW™: Guests can place dining orders and have them delivered to their current location. For example, by using the Ocean Compass guests can order select food and beverages from a lounge chair and not miss a moment of Movies Under The Stars. While Stargazing with Discovery at Sea™ on the top deck, parents can order and surprise the kids with hot chocolate without interrupting a moment of the family fun.
• THERE and THEN™: Guests can place a beverage order and have it delivered to where they plan to be at a designated time. For example, guests wanting to enjoy a glass of wine at the theater can place an order prior to the show and it will be delivered to them at their seat.
• Crew at Your Service: With the OCEAN Medallion, from the moment you embark, your experiences will be curated in alignment with your preferences allowing the crew to assist at all times. For example, a room attendant or bartender will have the ability to assist a guest with booking Lotus Spa services or specialty dining reservations.
• Ocean Navigate: Accessed through the Ocean Compass, guests can learn the whereabouts of their family as they enjoy activities throughout the ship and be guided seamlessly in finding their way around the ship. Friends and family will also be able to easily communicate with each other through seamless messaging service.
More announcements surrounding innovations and enhancements from Medallion Class Ocean Vacations will be announced in the months leading up to the first sailing on Regal Princess. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at princess.com.

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Carnival Corp Introduces Interactive Guest Experience

Carnival Corporation, the world's largest leisure travel company with 10 global cruise line brands, has revealed it has developed the world's first interactive guest experience platform capable of transforming vacation travel into a highly personalized and elevated level of customized service for millions of guests.

The company unveiled the Ocean Medallion™, a first-of-its-kind wearable device that enables a personal concierge by bridging the physical and digital worlds to deliver a new level of personalized service not previously considered possible, including sophisticated wayfinding, food and beverage on demand, an array of interactive gaming, personalized entertainment experiences and more. The quarter-sized, 1.8-ounce disc can be accessorized with jewelry, clips, key chains, and bands or simply carried in a pocket or pocketbook. The Ocean Medallion goes well beyond the growing number of wearables used by theme parks and other vacation companies by leaving behind the required action of "tap" and ushering in a new paradigm for guest interactions.

Some of its benefits will:
• streamline and expedite the port embarkation and disembarkation process
• allow guests to access their staterooms as they approach the door (no keycard required)
• locate friends and family around the cruise ship
• enable guests to purchase merchandise without any transaction, cards or paper
• deliver enhanced dining experiences based on food and beverage preferences
• power an array of interactive gaming and immersive entertainment experiences
• significantly enhance interactions with crew members and guests.
The Ocean Medallion is the only accessory needed to elevate the guest experience before, during, and after each cruise in what the company is calling Ocean Medallion Class™. The Ocean Medallion pairs with an optional personalized digital concierge called the Ocean Compass™, a digital experience portal available online, on smart devices, on kiosks in home ports, on stateroom TVs, on interactive surfaces located throughout the cruise ship and on devices carried by all guest service hosts.

The new guest experience platform will debut on Princess Cruises' Regal Princess in November 2017, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in 2018. The new Medallion Class on Princess Cruises will be rolled out over multiple years on the entire Princess Cruises fleet.

Throughout each guest's vacation, the Ocean Medallion will enable ease and simplicity, while also creating special moments to delight guests in unexpected ways, creating an entirely new level of service that will elevate the vacation experience. Examples of never-before-possible service innovations include:
• Ocean Ready™: Streamlined and expedited port embarkation and disembarkation processes. For instance, at the terminal, Ocean Medallion-carrying guests can board the ship, engage with crew members and begin their vacation at their leisure as they already have the "key" to their stateroom (no check-in required).
• Easy Access to Everything: Allows guests to browse and purchase products (utilizing Medallion Pay™) such as retail merchandise, photos, spa services and destination excursions both intuitively and conveniently from any Ocean Compass (mobile device, browser, stateroom, public) at anytime (before, during or after cruise).
• Seamless Navigation: Enables point-to-point wayfinding across the ship thanks to an intelligent navigation assistant–similar to a car or phone GPS app.
• Personalized Dining: Facilitates ordering, menu exploration and delivery of food and beverage services. Guests can even place orders and view the whereabouts of their food and beverage, as well as place future orders and have them delivered wherever they plan to be at a designated time.
• Anytime-Anywhere Entertainment and Gaming: Expands gaming options to include new digital games guests can play independently or with others, for fun or based on casino rules of the house, inside or outside of the casino including poolside, in staterooms or in any other ship location.
• Enhanced Crew Interactions: Takes personalized service to a new level because crew members are equipped with a Crew Compass that empowers personalized guest interactions. For example, when guests arrive at the airport, guest service hosts will be able to provide personalized greetings and guest services.
• Easy Payment: Enables guests to conveniently and securely make payment for experiences using their Ocean Medallion. Guests can associate any number of credit cards, reward cards, gift cards and advanced payment services with Medallion Pay.
Carnival Corporation will demonstrate its Experience Innovation Operating System today at the company's invitation-only Experience Center at CES in Las Vegas, including in-depth and interactive displays of the new technology.