Monday, April 27, 2015

Meet The Designer Behind Seabourn Encore

The design icon behind the newest addition to the Seabourn fleet, Seabourn Encore, shares his vision in a video released by the ultra-luxury cruise line. Designer Adam D. Tihany discusses the modern design elements he has created for Seabourn Encore, the line's new ship scheduled to launch in late 2016.



Seabourn Encore will launch from Athens in December 2016 and make its inaugural voyage from Singapore starting January 7, 2017. To follow the progress of Seabourn Encore, visit the ship's dedicated microsite at encore.seabourn.com. Filled with imagery, details and updates on the ship's progress, including "sunsets until launch," the microsite offers an inside look at the most exciting Seabourn launch in years. Additional details, news and images will be revealed on the site on an ongoing basis.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Bar Is “Open” Aboard Norwegian Sky in 2016

While many people think of cruises as all-inclusive vacations, that has never been the case in regard to cruise ship bars. With the exception of voyages on the most expensive, luxury lines, there has been an extra charge for adult beverages and even soft drinks on contemporary and premium cruise lines. Until next year, that it. Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that beginning January 2016 all guests sailing aboard Norwegian Sky from Miami will enjoy an even more inclusive cruise experience with dining, entertainment, and (yes!) free unlimited beer, wine, and premium spirits included. Whether they choose white or red, shaken or stirred, on the rocks or straight up, Norwegian Sky guests will revel in the freedom and flexibility of the most inclusive contemporary cruise vacation at sea.

“We’re taking Freestyle Cruising to the next level to provide our guests with an experience unmatched by any other contemporary cruise line,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Norwegian Sky guests will have the freedom to enjoy a cruise vacation the way they desire—whether it’s lounging by the pool with a margarita, having a laugh at a comedy show, catching up on their favorite book on their balcony, or indulging in fine dining—all included in their cruise fare.”

Guests who are at least 21 years of age at time of sailing will enjoy for free a variety of unlimited premium spirits, cocktails curated by the award-winning mixologists from Miami’s Bar Lab, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to $11 aboard Norwegian Sky in 2016 and beyond. Guests 3 to 20 years of age will enjoy unlimited sodas and juice throughout their cruise.

Norwegian Sky sails 3- and 4-day round-trip cruises from Miami to the Bahamas year-round. The new all-inclusive experience will also provide guests with unlimited premium beverages while soaking up the sun on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.

In addition to the wide variety of inclusive offerings onboard, Norwegian Sky guests also have the option to indulge in a variety of extra onboard experiences—some of which carry a surcharge—such as specialty restaurants and spa treatments. While in port, Norwegian Sky guests can also opt to choose from a wide array of shore excursions offering leisure, adventure, and cultural experiences. Norwegian Sky features a broad selection of staterooms options including spacious suites and penthouses that accommodate up to five guests, balcony staterooms, oceanview staterooms, and moderately priced inside staterooms designed with families in mind to accommodate up to four guests. The ship features 13 dining options, 12 bars and lounges, two pools, five hot tubs, an onboard spa, casino, and children’s programming.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Disney Cruise Line Dreams a Little Bigger with Enhancements to the Disney Dream This Fall

Star Wars: Millennium Falcon
It seems like only yesterday that Disney Dream was launched, but already Disney Cruise Line is imagineering exciting new experiences for guests with spaces throughout the vessel that will be transformed this fall. Headlining the enhancements are two new interactive youth areas, one themed to Star Wars and another to the Disney Infinity video game. In addition, a whimsical sweet shop serving handmade gelato and the popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will debut after the Disney Dream undergoes dry dock Oct. 4-24, 2015, in Freeport, Bahamas. Here is a glimpse at what is in store for guests of all ages:

Star Wars Area Brings Force-filled Fun for Children
A newly themed area in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to ages three to 12, will delight children with an out-of-this-galaxy experience inspired by the Star Wars saga. Kids will be transported to a far away galaxy at Star Wars: Millennium Falcon, a Force-filled play area inspired by the spacecraft from the legendary saga. Upon entering the spaceship, younglings will join the Rebel Alliance in the epic battle of good versus evil by assisting with the navigation of this powerful space vehicle. Sitting in the cockpit, children can pilot this super-cool spaceship through hyperspace and trigger lightspeed jumps to different locations around the galaxy.

In Millennium Falcon, children can express their creativity through Star Wars-themed crafts, games and activities. They can also watch episodes from the new Disney XD animated series, “Star Wars Rebels,” on a large screen or virtually join the rebellion at gaming stations featuring the series’ action-packed adventures. The excitement continues with a shipboard version of the popular Jedi Training Academy experience that invites young Jedi hopefuls—known as “Padawans”—to learn lightsaber moves from a Jedi Master. They can then use the Force and face off in a final test against the evil Darth Vader.

High-Tech Disney Infinity Space Adds Adventure for Kids
Also in the Oceaneer Club, a high-tech interactive space based on the Disney Infinity video game offers more fun for kids. In the Disney Infinity Toy Box area, children can experience a whole new way of playing together with exciting virtual experiences and immersive activities. Customized, on-screen adventures will bring to life characters and stories from across The Walt Disney Company. The complete set of Disney Infinity character figures will be on display for creative inspiration and available for gameplay. Kids visiting this special room—found only on the Disney Dream—will be able to unlock exclusive Disney Cruise Line content that they can continue to enjoy when playing Disney Infinity at home.

Special activities will bring the virtual gameplay experience to life in the real world. For example, a life-sized Disney Infinity Base sets the stage where children take the place of character figures for a group gaming experience unlike any other. Lighting up in response to gameplay on a large screen, this interactive floor will allow kids to be immersed in the Toy Box.

Specialty Sweet Shop for Families
Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats will satisfy the sweet tooth of cruisers of all ages, with handmade gelato and ice cream, an assortment of candy, and delectable novelty treats for purchase. New to Deck 11, the smell of freshly baked waffle cones and candy will linger from the specialty store’s two entrances, inside Cabana’s restaurant and outside by the pool deck. Resembling the whimsical candy land of the Sugar Rush race car game in “Wreck-It Ralph,” the sweet shop’s décor features nods to the film, including a race track and checkerboard patterned floor, gas pump-style gumball dispensers, Vanellope’s race car and King Candy’s throne.

Magical Makeover Salon for Princesses & Pirates
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, coming to Deck 5 midship, will bring to life the storybook fantasies of young guests with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers. This very special salon will offer aspiring princesses and knights ages three to 12 the chance to transform into royalty with the help of a fairy godmother-in-training. On pirate party night this boutique becomes The Pirates League where swashbuckling pirates of all ages will have the opportunity to unleash their inner buccaneer.

Cool & Comfortable Retreat for Adults
Exclusively for adults, Deck 13 forward will include a new water feature, Satellite Falls, a circular splash pool with benches and a gently falling rain curtain that provides cool comfort. Around this upper deck, adult guests can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a canopy.

This wave of enhancements to the Disney Dream debuts on the Oct. 26th 4-night voyage from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The Disney Dream will continue to sail 3- and 4-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas throughout 2015 and into 2016.

Image Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Anthem of the Seas Christened

Marking the launch of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Anthem of the Seas, the cruise line hosted an unusual naming ceremony in Southampton U.K. this week led by Godmother Emma Wilby, a British travel agent who was selected for the honor in a singing competition for travel agents. In addition to the champagne bottle-breaking and blessing duties traditionally performed by a ship’s godmother, Wilby took center stage during the ceremony together with Welsh choir Only Boys Aloud to deliver the performance of her life.

The second vessel in the Quantum-class for Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas has set sail with previously introduced innovations in ship design, exciting activities, state-of-the-art technology, multidimensional entertainment, and flexible dining opportunities. She spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,090 staterooms. Anthem of the Seas will sail out of Southampton for her inaugural season before departing for New York Harbor and her new homeport of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J.

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean International

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MSC Cruises Reveals New Vista Class Ships

MSC Cruises has marked a key milestone in its $5.4 billion growth plan as the first steel for its new Vista generation of megaships was cut this week at STX France, during a ceremony in Saint-Nazaire. At the steel-cutting ceremony, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago revealed that the cutting-edge 4,500 guest (double occupancy), 167,600-GRT ship—due to be delivered in May 2017 and open for bookings from June 2015—will be named MSC Meraviglia. She will spend her first summer sailing the western Mediterranean, and will be the first to have three homeports: Genoa, Marseille, and Barcelona.

“MSC Meraviglia will be the biggest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line,” said Vago. “We chose a name that denotes the sense of awe and wonderment felt when you experience the ship’s stunning features, which only an MSC cruise, with its unique Mediterranean-style, can deliver. MSC Meraviglia brings together the industry know-how of MSC Cruises, a young, bold company built upon 300 years of seafaring tradition and the expertise of one of the most advanced shipyards in the world. Today, building started on a true maritime marvel.”

Among the ships’ features will be specially crafted ‘cluster cabins’ for families and an extended MSC Yacht Club, the wholly self-contained luxury area on the prestigious foredecks, which will be enhanced with duplex suites, a vast solarium and a private lounge and restaurant. They will be packed with extraordinary features that make them ideal for cruising in summer and winter, including wide dining options and entertainment choices, stunning panoramic spaces, a large theatre and a spectacular amusement park linked to an outdoor aqua park, as well as a three-deck interior promenade.

MSC Meraviglia will also feature a range of technological advancements, such as ‘Near Field Communication’ technology, enabling guests to do things like make onboard payments, access their staterooms or geo-locate children, simply by using their cruise card, bracelet or smartphone. Another jaw-dropping feature will be a 5,167 square foot LED screen, which forms the entire ceiling of the ship’s interior promenade. Like a digital sky, this LED image vault will beam out compelling images and vistas day and night–including scheduled visual events–creating a variety of powerful atmospheres at all times.

Designed for unrivalled agility, MSC Meraviglia and the other upcoming Vista project ships will be able to call at any cruise port in the world, meaning guests from around the world will be able to explore more of the best destinations on one of MSC Cruises’ next generation ships. MSC Meraviglia is the first of two identical ships on order from STX France, the second of which will be entered in to service in 2019. In addition, MSC Cruises has options for two further Vista project ships to be delivered by 2022. The Vista project is the result of a lengthy development process under STX’s ECORIZON® program to create cleaner, smarter, more efficient ships. They will be water emission free, and their hulls and propulsion systems will be optimized for extreme energy efficiency. Scrubber technology will neutralize fumes and CO2 emissions in accordance with the latest international maritime regulations. In addition, the ship is fully compliant with the Safe return to Port requirement.

Image Courtesy MSC Cruises

Monday, April 20, 2015

Upcoming Carnival LIVE Concert Performers

Bringing the best in entertainment experiences to cruising continues to be an extremely important component of Carnival Cruise Line’s product, as evidenced by their continuing Carnival LIVE concert series. The roster of artists for its upcoming concerts includes some old and new favorites, adding The Band Perry, BOSTON, Lionel Richie, and Heart to the diverse and talented lineup of musical acts set to perform on board the “Fun Ships” this summer and fall. The shows complement the spring series which kicked off last month and includes performances by Journey, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Smokey Robinson, and Styx.

Carnival LIVE is a one-of-a-kind entertainment option that provides guests an opportunity to experience concerts by major musical artists at a tremendous value. Carnival LIVE concerts are performed on Carnival vessels while they are docked in one of three ports of call: Cozumel, Nassau and St. Thomas and are held in the ships’ intimate main theaters—ranging in capacity from 900 to 1,300—meaning there’s never a bad seat in the house.

“We’re thrilled to build upon the tremendous success of Carnival LIVE with concerts this summer and fall by The Band Perry, BOSTON, Lionel Richie and Heart—four incredibly talented acts that will provide our guests with an extraordinary entertainment experience,” said Bernie Dillon, director of Carnival LIVE.
The Band Perry will perform July 28-29-30 on Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination, and Carnival Magic, respectively, while those ships are docked in Nassau. During these shows, guests can enjoy up-close-and-personal performances by this award-winning trio who recently won Best Country Duo/Group Performance for Gentle on My Mind at the 57th Grammy Awards.

Fans will get “more than a feeling” as they can enjoy four shows this summer by rock superstars BOSTON which has sold more than 31 million records worldwide, including 17 million copies of their self-titled debut. BOSTON brings their high-energy performances to four Carnival ships in Nassau—Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Sensation, and Carnival Ecstasy—Aug. 19-22.

Multiple Grammy and Oscar award-winning singer Lionel Richie will have audiences “dancing on the ceiling” on Carnival Freedom Oct. 14 and Carnival Pride Oct. 15 while those ships are docked in Nassau. One of the most popular recording artists of all time, Richie has sold 100 million albums worldwide and is only one of two songwriters in history to have a number one record for nine consecutive years.

Rounding out the series is Heart, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and have sold more than 35 million records during their accomplished musical career that spans more than 35 years. Guests can enjoy three shipboard performances in Cozumel by these rock legends: Oct. 20 aboard Carnival Paradise, Oct. 21 aboard Carnival Ecstasy and Oct. 22 aboard Carnival Breeze.
Carnival LIVE tickets for 2015 range from $35 to $75 for general admission, significantly less than land-based venues. VIP tickets priced at $125 to $250 offer seating in the first four rows, a photo opportunity with the artist, and a commemorative concert pass.

A complete listing of the 2015 Carnival LIVE concert series is available online at Carnival.com/CarnivalLIVE.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Friday, April 17, 2015

Princess Expands Australia Cruises in 2016-17

On the heels of Royal Caribbean’s announcement about its plans for Australia home porting in Winter 2016-17, Princess Cruises has revealed it will also home port five ships in Australia to sail the cruise line’s largest-ever program offering in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific for the 2016-17 season. Princess Cruises will introduce the 3,082-guest Emerald Princess to the market, with Golden Princess returning to sail from Melbourne and Sun Princess, Sea Princess, and Dawn Princess rounding out the fleet and expanding the cruise line’s in-market capacity by 20 percent.

“Australia and the entire South Pacific region has always had an allure as a magical place for travellers, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this part of the world,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “As demand for the region grows, we’re responding with more voyages, more destinations, and more creative itinerary options.”

Cruise-goers can choose from 120 cruise options, in total visiting 113 destinations in 39 countries. Some of the choices include:
• An 84-day Circle South America cruise on Sea Princess departing Sydney, Australia on January 11, 2017 and visiting 28 destinations in 18 countries including Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Overnight calls in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Lima and a full-transit of the Panama Canal add to this special voyage.
• More ways to explore the natural wonders of New Zealand with all five Princess ships sailing to the country’s beautiful coastal landscapes on cruises ranging from 11- to 14-days.
• Circle Australia voyages on Sun Princess with departures from Sydney in October 2016 and March 2017 as well as the first-ever roundtrip voyages from Brisbane and Fremantle.
• 10- to 14-day voyages through the idyllic and remote islands of the South Pacific from Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne, on Sun Princess and Sea Princess.
• A 42-day four continent voyage from England to Australia on Sept 28, 2016 aboard Emerald Princess as she sails south for her first-ever season Down Under.
• Two 42-day journeys to the Orient aboard Dawn Princess sailing from Sydney and Brisbane with visits to multiple destinations in China and Japan. The Sydney sailing departing March 16, 2017 is timed to visit Japan during its famous Cherry Blossom season.
To further enhance the cruise vacation experience, Princess Cruises will offer two Land and Sea Vacation packages. The Australian Outback package immerses guests in Aboriginal culture and includes visits to the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock in Uluru National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The more extensive Ultimate Australia package highlights include a Sydney city tour, the Great Barrier Reef, the northern tropical city of Darwin, the Outback and more. On sale beginning April 22, 2015, the new Princess Cruises’ Australia season runs from October 2016 to April 2017.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Australia to Welcome Ovation of the Seas for 2016-17 Winter Season

It was only last month that Royal Caribbean International announced that that Tianjin, China, would be the new home for its third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas. However, the line has now revealed that it won’t be there year-round with the news that Australia will welcome its very own brand new cruise ship for the first time when Ovation of the Seas homeports in Sydney for winter 2016-17. Currently under construction in Germany, Ovation of the Seas will not only claim the title of the largest cruise ship to ever call Australia home, but also the most technologically advanced in the region.

“Royal Caribbean has been breaking the boundaries in Australian cruising since we arrived in 2007 but today, we have completely changed the face of the cruise industry, making the single largest investment in Australia by any cruise line,” said Gavin Smith, regional vice president, Royal Caribbean, Asia Pacific. “Ovation of the Seas will completely redefine the idea of cruising in Australia, taking the industry to the next level by offering a host of incredible never-before-seen features and technologies. This demonstrates our belief in, and long term commitment to, the Australian cruising market.”

Ovation of the Seas will be the fifth ship in the Royal Caribbean Australian fleet for winter 2016-17, joining four other Royal Caribbean ships—Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas in Sydney and Legend of the Seas in Brisbane—offering a range of the newest and most modern style of cruising Australians have ever experienced. Additional details for the Royal Caribbean’s winter 2016-17 season will be revealed at the end of April.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seabourn Encore Construction Begins With Steel Cutting

Small ship luxury cruise line Seabourn is one step closer to the December 2016 launch of its newest vessel, Seabourn Encore, with the commemorative cutting of the first steel (pictured here) that took place at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy on Monday.

"The cutting of steel for Seabourn Encore is an important milestone in the evolution of both our beautiful fleet and the ultra-luxury cruise segment overall," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "We're looking forward to seeing the ship come together and are excited to continue to add to our fleet. With Adam D. Tihany's innovative design vision and Fincantieri's excellent craftsmanship, Seabourn Encore will be the most beautiful ultra-luxury ship ever built."

In a special nod to the line's departing original fleet, joining the ceremony were two crew members from Seabourn Legend, the last of the three original Seabourn sister-ships currently on its final sailing under the Seabourn banner. Their presence signified the closing of a chapter in the line's history, while marking the start of a new era with the beginning of the construction of Seabourn Encore.

Seabourn Encore will expand and build on the line's highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which introduced enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they debuted between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Encore will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling a personalized level of Seabourn service. A sister ship, Seabourn Ovation, will join the fleet in 2018, and, with the addition of the two new ships, Seabourn will have the youngest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, Seabourn Encore will feature modern design elements consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and is expected to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

To follow the progress of Seabourn Encore, visit the ship's dedicated microsite at encore.seabourn.com. Filled with imagery, details and updates on the ship's progress, including "sunsets until launch," the microsite offers an inside look at the most exciting Seabourn launch in years. Additional details, news and images will be revealed on the site on an ongoing basis.

Image Courtesy of Seabourn

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line Drops Surcharges For Asian Dining Venues Across The Fleet

Norwegian Cruise Line is investing significantly into enhancing guests’ dining experiences on board their ships and offering even more culinary options to provide the best cruise vacation as part of the Norwegian NEXT program. A feature of these new initiatives includes eliminating the cover charge and à la carte pricing for many Asian dining concepts across the fleet.

“Norwegian’s Freestyle Dining is the most fun and flexible way for guests to enjoy some of the best dining experiences at sea, when they want and how they want,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are thrilled to continue that legacy by providing guests with more of the food they have come to love and enjoy with the introduction of fleetwide complimentary Asian cuisine.”

Guests cruising aboard Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising ships can indulge in favorites like fried rice, spicy seafood udon noodles, steamed pork dumplings, and more free of charge at the following venues:
• Orchid Garden, Norwegian Gem
• East Meets West, Pride of America
• Lotus Garden, Norwegian Pearl
• Shogun, Norwegian Spirit
• Chin Chin, Norwegian Jewel
• Bamboo, Norwegian Dawn
• Jasmine Garden, Norwegian Jade
• Ginza, Norwegian Star
• Shanghai’s, Norwegian Epic
• Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway & Norwegian Getaway
Norwegian’s popular Teppanyaki restaurants will continue to provide the showmanship and culinary delights of Japanese iron-griddle cooking for a per guest cover charge, and Sushi venues across the fleet will retain nominal à la carte pricing.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line