Thursday, February 23, 2017

Oceania Cruises Serves Up the Finest Cuisine of Cuba

Crema de Malanga
Oceania Cruises, renowned for serving some of the finest cuisine at sea, is now bringing the flavors and heritage of traditional Cuban cooking on board with the introduction of Cuban menus on all Cuba sailings, beginning with Marina’s inaugural voyage to Cuba on March 7. Mirroring its culture and people, Cuban cuisine is a vibrant mélange of spicy, sweet, and savory elements. Guests will enjoy an array of iconic Cuban meals in the Grand Dining Room, while the Terrace Café will allow them to sample an exquisite Cuban Tapas menu during special themed evenings.

Recognized for cuisine that is always inspired by the finest and freshest ingredients available, and reflective of the many varied regions to which the line travels, Oceania Cruises’ guests will now have the opportunity to try classic Cuban dishes such as ropa vieja, a slowly stewed dish of shredded beef, mild spices, white wine, and tomato; arroz con pollo, a Cuban staple of chicken and Arborio rice made with saffron; and crispy malanga fritters, made from a root similar to taro. Meanwhile, fresh coconut, aromatic pineapple, and sweet lime infuse seafood dishes with island flair. Local tropical fruits and expertly crafted local rums transform into signature Cuban cocktails such as mojitos and daiquiris, perfect for relaxing poolside.

“With Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises, and many of our team members hailing from Cuba, our Cuban menus were created with great pride and passion, and reflect a deep understanding of the cuisine’s traditional roots,” said Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises. “These menus feature many generations-old family recipes from our Cuban team members. The vibrant and authentic dishes offer flavors to please every palate–we are thrilled to be showcasing the celebrated cuisine of this captivating island on board our ships.”

Guests can savor the finest Cuban cuisine at sea aboard Marina’s voyages to Cuba this March as well as during Insignia’s six recently announced November and December 2017 cruises to Cuba. For more information about Oceania Cruises, visit OceaniaCruises.com.

Image Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

SeaDream Yacht Club Announces 2018 Wine Voyages

Continuing its commitment to and enhancing the superbly established level of award-winning culinary experiences, SeaDream Yacht Club announces nine Wine Voyages for the 2018 season. Showcasing the most picturesque yachting ports of the Mediterranean, and Caribbean for 2018, on five-to-ten day sailings, each itinerary pairs the ultimate wine experience with the regions’ most scenic backdrops. Whether a seasoned wine connoisseur or new to learning about and liking wine, these voyages are a perfect occasion for developing a passion and knowledge of wine and cuisine.

Guests onboard these vino-centric sailings will explore the flavors and history from some of the world’s most renowned wineries, as well as several less familiar, but equally notable vineyards. Exclusive wine tastings are followed by the popular Winemaker’s hosted Dinner, where SeaDream’s Executive Chef’s degustation menu is complemented with top cuvees from the visiting Winemaker. A different selection of wines will be offered for the Winemaker’s Dinner, an evening unique to the Wine Voyages; an unforgettable culinary experience that is incomparable to other wine cruises.

“We are eager to announce the 2018 Wine Voyages, offering our guests enhanced culinary experiences they have come to expect from SeaDream,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “With newly unveiled additions, we hope to welcome new travelers as well as familiar faces onboard.”

Two new wine sailings in the Caribbean, which will bookend the 2018 wine voyage season, have been added as well as a unique land adventure in the Mediterranean of truffle hunting in the Italian forests of Castello Delle Regine followed by a delicious meal with the “catch of the day” paired with exquisite wines from the vineyard. Guests onboard the Mediterranean wine voyages will also have the pleasure of meeting Clovis Taittinger, whose family is recognized worldwide for producing some of the finest champagnes available and is notably one of the last remaining family-owned and operated champagne houses. Andrea Mullineux, South African winemaker and Swartland revolutionary who was recently named “Winemaker of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast, will also be onboard for wine tastings and the Winemaker’s Dinner. In 2018, SeaDream will be honored with the presence of Angelo Gaja of Gaja Winery, an Italian wine producer from the Piemonte region whose history and legacy started over 150 years ago.

Below is a full listing of SeaDream’s 2018 Wine Voyage itineraries:
• Bridgetown, Barbados to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Jan 13–20, 2018. Seven days including boutique ports of Mayreau, Port Elizabeth, Le Marin, Deshaies, Saba, and Gustavia.
• Nice, France to Civitavecchia (Rome), May 12–19, 2018. Seven days calling on Villefranche-sur-Mer, Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Portofino, Portoferraio (Elba) and Porto Ercole.
• Monte Carlo roundtrip, May 28–June 2, 2018. Five days including ports of San Remo, Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Calvi and Corsica.
• Civatavecchia (Rome) to Venice, June 16-26, 2018. Ten days including boutique ports of Capri, Amalfi overnight, Taormina (Sicily), Kotor (Montenegro), Dubrovnik, Korcula and Hvar.
• Athens (Piraeus) to Civitavecchia (Rome), Aug 4–11, 2018. Seven days calling on Hydra, Monemvasia, Elafonisos Island, Taormina (Sicily) and Capri.
• Civitavecchia (Rome) to Athens (Piraeus), Sept 1-8, 2018. Seven days including ports of Capri, Positano, Amalfi, Taormina (Sicily), Itea (Delphi), Corinth Canal (Transit) and Hydra.
• Civitavecchia (Rome) to Nice, France, Oct 6-13, 2018. Seven days including boutique ports of Porto Ercole, Portoferraio (Elba), Livorno (for Florence), Portovenere, Portofino, and Monte Carlo.
• Barcelona to Malaga, Oct 20-27, 2018. Seven days including ports of Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Cartagena, Puerto Banus and Gibraltar.
• Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas roundtrip, Nov 17–24, 2018. Seven days calling on Cruz Bay (St. John), Sandy Ground (Anguilla), Gustavia, Spanish Town and North Sound (Virgin Gorda), Soper’s Hole (Tortola), Norman Island and White Bay (Jost van Dyke).
On all SeaDream voyages, bar drinks and selected wine are complimentary. Wine packages by-the-glass during Winemaker’s dinner and Wine Land Adventures are offered for an additional cost. During the Wine Voyages, a representative from the visiting winery will be present, to host the scheduled wine tastings and the Winemaker’s Dinner. SeaDream Yacht Club’s inclusive fare includes ocean view accommodations, gourmet meals, gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner, and so much more. For additional information, visit SeaDream.com.

Disney Cruise Line Reveals New Destinations & New Itineraries for Summer 2018

In summer 2018, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to new ports, including first-time visits to destinations in Italy and Ireland. Disney Cruise Line takes guests on a grand tour of Europe with visits to the Mediterranean, northern Europe, Norway, and Iceland. Plus, adventures continue with sailings to Alaska, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas.

Bookings open to the public on Feb. 23, 2017. More details on 2018 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2018 page of disneycruise.com.

New sailings from Rome & Barcelona
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line guests can experience the rich culture of Barcelona and inspiring history of Rome as bookend experiences in a single cruise. In Rome, guests can explore the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican, and sample authentic local cuisine. Barcelona offers beautiful beaches, the market streets of Las Ramblas, the artistic architecture of Gaudi and the famed Sagrada Família church.

On June 16, 2018, the Disney Magic will sail a 7-night cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome). Ports of call include Marseilles and Villefranche, France; and Genoa (Milan), Livorno (Florence, Pisa) and Naples, Italy.

On June 23, 2018, the Disney Magic will sail a 7-night itinerary from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Barcelona. Ports visited on this cruise are Naples, Livorno (Florence, Pisa) and Genoa (Milan), Italy; and Cannes and Marseilles, France.

First-time visits to Milan, Italy
Disney Cruise Line will call on Genoa, Italy for the first time in 2018, as part of three special sailings from Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome). The historic port town of Genoa, located on the Italian Riviera, is a gateway to the beautiful metropolis of Milan and the picturesque locale of Portofino. Milan is a global capital of fashion and design, featuring top-name designer stores, boutiques, open-air markets and art galleries. A 10-night Mediterranean itinerary sailing from Barcelona on July 7, 2018, calls on Genoa, as well as other popular ports in Italy, France and Spain.

First-time visit to Cork, Ireland & first 7-night British Isles
The Disney Magic will call on Cork, Ireland for the first time as part of Disney Cruise Line’s first-ever 7-night British Isles cruise, departing on Sept. 2, 2018. Additional ports visited on this sailing include Dublin, Ireland; Greenock, Scotland; and Liverpool, England. Cork is home to a vibrant culinary scene and a plethora of pubs, shops and cafes. It invites visitors to connect with Ireland’s ancient past, with historic sites like Blarney Castle, where visitors can kiss the famed Blarney Stone.

Throughout the summer, the Disney Magic’s tour of Europe continues with engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, British Isles and the Mediterranean.

Return to Alaska
In 2018, the newly re-imagined Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer season, opening up a world of natural vistas, magnificent glaciers and awe-inspiring wildlife. A variety of 5-, 7- and 9-night itineraries will depart from Vancouver, Canada, with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Tracy Arm Fjord.

Southern Caribbean special sailing
The Disney Fantasy will embark on a special 11-night southern Caribbean itinerary departing June 30, 2018, visiting tropical destinations, renowned for beautiful sun-kissed beaches, including Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and the Disney private island, Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay: More opportunities to explore Disney’s exclusive private island
Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, is consistently a top-rated destination. In 2018, the Disney Dream will sail a series of cruises that include two stops at Castaway Cay so guests can have twice the fun in the sun and enjoy even more of the pristine island paradise.

On June 6, 20, and July 4, the Disney Dream will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla., on 4-night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, plus two stops at Castaway Cay. On June 1, 10, 15, 24, 29, and July 8, the Disney Dream will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla., on 5-night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, plus two stops at Castaway Cay.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Carnival Cruise Line Expands 'Carnival Journeys' Program in 2018-19

Carnival Cruise Line has expanded its popular Carnival Journeys enrichment cruise series with 13 new 12- to 14-day seagoing adventures departing from homeports along the East and West Coasts and the Gulf of Mexico in 2018 and 2019. The new voyages are in addition to a number of previously announced nine-to 15-day Carnival Journeys cruises departing in 2017-18.

In addition to visiting some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises can participate in unique on-board activities where they can sample local cuisine and enjoy entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on a broad range of topics—everything from photography and cooking to arts and crafts and social media—along with a 1980s-themed “Throwback Sea Day,” are also offered.

“Our Carnival Journeys cruises have proven enormously popular with guests who enjoy both unforgettable landside experiences and one-of-a-kind onboard enrichment activities that this unique program offers,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival president. “We’re thrilled to expand Carnival Journeys with these 13 new voyages that showcase some of the world’s most captivating destinations,” she added.

The new Carnival Journeys voyages include:
Carnival Splendor: a 14-day Alaska cruise round-trip from Long Beach Aug. 25 to Sept. 8, 2018, visiting Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia.
Carnival Breeze: a 14-day Southern Caribbean voyage departing Galveston Sept. 16 and arriving in Port Canaveral Sept. 30, 2018, calling at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, Dominica and St Maarten.
Carnival Splendor: three 14-day Hawaii cruises round-trip from Long Beach departing Oct. 13, 2018, Dec. 1, 2018, and Jan. 12, 2019, visiting Maui (Kahului), Honolulu, Kona and Hilo.
Carnival Freedom: a 14-day Panama Canal voyage round-trip from Galveston Oct. 27-Nov. 10, 2018, visiting Montego Bay, Aruba, Curacao, and Cartagena prior to a partial transit of the Panama Canal followed by Limon (Costa Rica) and Cozumel.
Carnival Breeze: a 14-day Southern Caribbean voyage operating round-trip from Port Canaveral Nov. 3-17, 2018, with stops at St Thomas, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, St. Maarten, Tortola, and San Juan.
Carnival Pride: a 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise round-trip from Baltimore Nov. 4-18, 2018, calling at Grand Turk, Aruba, Curacao, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Maarten.
Carnival Ecstasy: a 12-day Southern Caribbean cruise round trip from Charleston Nov. 10-22, 2018, featuring Amber Cove, Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten and San Juan.
Carnival Miracle: a 14-day Panama Canal voyage round-trip from Tampa Dec. 2-16, 2018, visiting Cozumel and Limon prior to a partial transit of the Panama Canal followed by Cartagena, Aruba, Curacao and Ocho Rios.
Carnival Pride: 14-day Southern Caribbean voyage round-trip from Baltimore Jan. 6-20, 2019, visiting St Thomas, Antigua, Grenada, Dominica, St. Maarten, San Juan and Grand Turk.
Carnival Sunshine: a 13-day Southern Caribbean cruise round-trip from Port Canaveral, Fla., Jan. 12-25, 2019, calling at Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic).
Carnival Freedom: a 14-day Southern Caribbean sailing round-trip from Galveston Jan 19-Feb. 2, 2019, featuring Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire, and Cartagena prior to a partial transit of the Panama Canal followed by Limon and Cozumel.
Carnival Journeys activities are tailored to each itinerary in the areas of dining, entertainment, team member connections and enrichment, all infused with the line’s spirited brand of fun. These experiences include:
Authentic Eats: Partnering with local restaurants and chefs, Carnival Journeys participants enjoy on-board cooking demonstrations where these culinary artists will recreate their signature dishes and traditional cuisines from their country. Participants also have an opportunity to dine at the chef’s restaurant ashore for a nominal fee and accompany the chef as he or she visits local markets for delectable regional specialties.
“Local”-tainment: From calypso, soca and Goombay to colorful folkloric entertainment, Carnival Journeys participants will get an up-close-and-personal look at their destination through local entertainment performances taking place outside the ship or on board.
Academy of Fun: Through these educational enrichment sessions, Carnival’s shipboard experts instruct guests in topics ranging from cooking and arts and crafts to digital photography and social media. All of these activities are performed with the fun and entertaining style that only Carnival can provide.
Throwback Sea Day: Carnival sets the “way back machine” to 1987 and recreates a fun day at sea with retro pool and deck games, old school dining options like Baked Alaska and the gala midnight buffet, a white glove Captain’s Celebration, popular movies from that era, a circa 1987 version of the Carnival Capers shipboard newsletter, and more.
Shipboard Team Member Connections: Here, Carnival Journeys participants can learn more about shipboard life through informative question and answer sessions hosted by the ship’s captain, cruise director, hotel director and others, held at different times throughout the voyage and providing an opportunity to engage and interact with the Carnival team in a fun and casual setting. There is also an unforgettable show performed by the ship’s crew during the voyage.
For additional information, visit carnival.com.

Norwegian Partners with Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to Host Conservation Cruise

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that the line is partnering with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) and Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute to host an ocean conservation-themed cruise on Norwegian Escape this fall. Departing Oct 21 from Miami, guests who sail on this unforgettable cruise will experience an exciting week of breathtaking tropical destinations, plus have the opportunity to meet world-renowned marine artist Guy Harvey and participate in exciting events revolving around ocean conservation and education, with the goal to foster a more sustainable future for our seas.

“Conservation and sustainability are bedrock values of Norwegian Cruise Line, and the opportunity to further educate guests on the importance of marine conservation to help ensure that future generations will enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem is one that we are incredibly excited about,” said Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart. “Guy Harvey has been an incredible partner and his passion for our oceans is unmatched. We are thrilled to invite guests to join us onboard for this once-in-a-lifetime cruise.”

Guests who set sail on Norwegian Escape’s Cruising & Conservation sailing will have the opportunity to meet Guy Harvey and learn more about the GHOF’s efforts to conserve the marine environment, listen in on expert-led discussions about marine conservation and shark tagging and tracking—including the making of a shark documentary—enjoy live painting with Guy Harvey, and so much more. Each day of events will have a theme, from “Guy Harvey Day” to “Save our Sharks.” Key events will include:
Brief History of Guy Harvey—Guy and Jessica Harvey
Guy Harvey takes guests through a photo tour of his childhood in Jamaica and discusses how a marine biologist became one of the world’s foremost marine wildlife artists. Guy’s daughter Jessica tells tales about growing up on, and under, the water with her explorer father.
Documenting Guy’s Expeditions—George Schellenger
GHOF Videographer and Producer George Schellenger talks about life on the water with Guy Harvey, documenting Guy’s research and exploration expeditions. From hooking into 1,000-lb. marlin to fending off angry mako sharks, hear first-hand what it’s like to be the guy behind Guy.
Introduction to Sharks—Mahmood Shivji
Dr. Mahmood Shivji, a professor and research scientists from NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography and the Director of NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute gives an introduction to sharks, highlighting the diversity of shark species, their unique biology that has made them successful species for millions of years, and the overfishing issues that are threatening their survival.
Those looking to get lucky in Norwegian Escape’s expansive casino can do so for a cause with a GHOF slot tournament, where the funds from the buy-in will benefit the foundation’s research and conservation initiatives. All attendees of the Cruising & Conservation sailing will also receive special edition Guy Harvey swag with exciting one-of-kind items including an exclusive special issue of the Guy Harvey Magazine.

Featuring Guy Harvey’s spectacular marine life artwork on her hull, Norwegian Escape is the largest ship in the Norwegian fleet, cruising each week to the Eastern Caribbean. Guests will set sail for tropical ports of call in St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI; and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian Escape features 27 dining options, 21 bars and lounges, and entertainment options to thrill cruisers of all ages with the largest Ropes Course at sea, the largest Aqua Park at sea, and dedicated adults-only and kids-only spaces including the brand’s first nursery offering supervised care for young cruisers ages six months to two years old. The ship’s headlining entertainment includes the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical After Midnight and 80s movie classic theatrical mash-up For The Record: The Brat Pack.

Space on the exclusive Guy Harvey Cruising & Conservation sailing is limited. Norwegian Escape offers a variety of flexible accommodations including Norwegian’s Studio staterooms designed and priced for solo travelers, family staterooms that accommodate up to four guests, and expansive suites in The Haven™, Norwegian’s ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex featuring amenities including private butler and concierge service, exclusive restaurant and private pool, courtyard and sundeck. For more details, visit NCL.com/guyharvey. To book the Guy Harvey Conservation Cruise, call your travel professional or 877.397.1503 and reference ‘Conservation Cruise.’

Images Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Princess Cruises Announces Fourth Ship to Debut Medallion Class Ocean Vacations

Princess Cruises has revealed that Island Princess will be the fourth cruise ship to feature the Ocean Medallion™, debuting May 16, 2018 for the Alaska season. The wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network™ (O·C·E·A·N™), enables a new level of personalization and delivers an enhanced guest experience not previously available in the global vacation industry.

Unveiled by Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald during his opening keynote last month at CES 2017, Princess Cruises is the first Carnival Corporation brand to debut this groundbreaking innovation. The Ocean Medallion is the only accessory needed to elevate the guest experience on cruises by offering unparalleled customer service. Island Princess joins three other cruise ships scheduled to debut Medallion Class Ocean Vacations—Regal Princess on Nov 13, 2017, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018, and Island Princess starting on May 16, 2018. The Medallion Class Alaska cruise will set sail on the top-rated Voyage of the Glaciers seven-day itinerary between Vancouver and Anchorage (Whittier), with a trip to the state’s best glacial waters including Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“As the leading cruise line in Alaska, it’s fitting that our fourth ship to feature Medallion Class Ocean Vacations is Island Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Sailing on our most popular Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary, our guests will enjoy the best Alaska has to offer and enjoy an elevated cruise vacation experience—connecting each other and the extraordinary people and culture of the ‘Great Land’ in a more memorable way.”

Medallion Class makes cruising 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 engagement 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™—a digital concierge accessible by all guests using interactive displays throughout the ship, on stateroom TVs, via guests’ own smart devices, or through a crew member. For example, guests can find their way to venues around the ship; make reservations at the Lotus Spa, specialty dining restaurants, 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 will invite guests to experiences based on their individual needs, wants and desires.

Some of the initial service innovations include:
• Ocean Ready™: Expedites embarkation as required information is added to the guest profile at home.
• Stateroom Access: The Ocean Medallion will unlock a guest’s stateroom door—replacing the key card.
• HERE & NOW™: Guests can place food & beverage orders and have them delivered to select locations.
• THERE & THEN™: Guests can place select food and beverage orders and have it delivered to where they plan to be at a designated time.
• 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 a seamless messaging service.
More information about O·C·E·A·N is available at Ocean.com. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at Princess.com.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

From Ft. Lauderdale or Charleston: Crystal’s Caribbean Holiday Cruise

By popular request, Fort Lauderdale, Florida joins Charleston, South Carolina as an embarkation port on Crystal Serenity's 2017 Caribbean Holiday cruise. Tailor your travels to the departure city that suits you best—from the culture and cuisine of America's #1 city in Charleston, to the legendary beaches and sunshine of Fort Lauderdale—and set sail for the tropical magic of the Caribbean on a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Luxury Cruise Line, where all-inclusive is All Exclusive™.

Wherever you choose to join Crystal's Holidays in the Caribbean voyage, you'll celebrate the season in Crystal's inimitable Six-star style. Crystal Serenity will be decked out with extravagantly festive décor featuring thousands of glittering lights, ornately trimmed trees, ribbon-wrapped wreaths, elaborate menorahs, candy canes, crystal ornaments and more. Holiday-themed entertainment, lavish feasts and special celebratory parties are planned, as are dedicated multi-faith services.

Spending the holidays with Crystal is the perfect gift for yourself and your loved ones.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line's Wade Cleophas wins 2017 BACARDÍ® Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Wade Cleophas has bested competition from more than 2500 entries across 13 different cruise lines to win the title of 2017 BACARDÍ® Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year. The finals took place in Miami on February 13 in a live competition judged by a panel of experts from the beverage industry, held at award-winning restaurant Alter in Miami’s hip Wynwood neighborhood.

Wade’s winning creation is the ‘Legend Reviver’—inspired by classic cocktails with spices reminiscent of travelling to exotic places—featuring BACARDÍ® OCHO (8) ANOS, mixed with star anise infused sweet vermouth, caramel/cinnamon syrup with drops of whisky barrel aged bitters and finished with a mist of Absinthe. His perfectly presented cocktail was artistically finished off with a garnish resembling the sails of a merchant ship and the wings of the BACARDÍ bat. A key element of the competition was the requirement for finalists to promote their cocktail around the world. In the three months that Wade was promoting Legend River Reviver, Norwegian sold almost 2000 servings of the specialty drink. Wade will now move on to The BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition, held this May in Berlin. The BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition is a global search to find a cocktail that can stand the test of time to become a true BACARDÍ classic; a cocktail that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with cocktails, such as heritage classics including the BACARDÍ Daiquiri or BACARDÍ Mojito.

Wade began his bartending career over 12 years ago, starting out in his hometown of Cape Town, progressing to work with many leading bartenders in Dubai and Miami, before joining Norwegian Cruise Line. Today, he is the Assistant Beverage Manager onboard Norwegian Escape, sailing weekly from Miami to the Caribbean. “This is such an exciting time for me, and moving on to compete in the global finals means for the next year I am regarded as one of the top bartenders in the world,” said Wade Cleophas. “I couldn’t be happier to be part of such an amazing company that honestly feels like my extended family.”

“We are incredibly proud of Norwegian Cruise Line assistant beverage manager Wade Cleophas for winning the 2017 BACARDÍ Legacy Cruise Competition,” said Karl Muhlberger Vice President, Food and Beverage for Norwegian Cruise Line. “To be deemed the very best amongst 2500 cruise line applicants is a testament to Wade’s dedication to his craft and the entire beverage team at Norwegian. We are thrilled he will be representing not just Norwegian, but the entire cruise industry at the Global Finals in Berlin.”

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Crystal River Cruises To Offer Exclusive Complimentary Event At Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw

When Crystal River Cruises' newest luxury vessel embarks on her maiden voyage this June, guests will be treated to numerous experiences specially designed to showcase the elegance and history of the destinations along the Rhine and Moselle River itinerary. Among the grandest of these occasions will be a Crystal Signature Event in Amsterdam where guests will enjoy a complimentary exclusive concert at the Royal Concertgebouw, considered one of the finest concert halls in the world. The 19th-century neoclassical theater has hosted musical greats in everything from classical to rock, from Strauss, to Louis Armstrong, to Sting; and its orchestra has been lauded for more than 125 years as one of the best in the world. Guests will tour the theater's great hall, which is famous for its superb acoustics; then enjoy a private performance of master works in various genres in the charming "Kleine Zaal," or the "Spiegelzaal," two of the hall's more intimate Baroque venues.

"It is a hallmark of Crystal shoreside experiences to showcase the rich culture and most special places unique to each destination, and an exclusive event at the Royal Concertgebouw is a truly special occasion," says Crystal Chairman, CEO and President Edie Rodriguez. "We're delighted to offer our guests the opportunity to enjoy some of the world's most celebrated masterpieces in a venue as grand as the music itself."

Crystal Bach will be the first of Crystal River Cruises' four new luxury river yachts to launch in 2017 (Crystal Mahler) and 2018, (Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel), and Crystal's introduction of Europe's only all-balcony, all-suite ships in the river category. All four river yachts will offer Crystal's acclaimed butler service in every room category, plush king-sized beds that face toward the Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines. Additional enticing features include Crystal's farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court.

The Classical Concert at the Royal Concertgebouw is offered on all Crystal Bach voyages, which sail between Amsterdam and Frankfurt, calling in Basel, Switzerland; Antwerp, Belgium; and Nijmegen, Netherlands; Breisach, Kehl, Speyer, Mainz, Rüdesheim, Cologne, Kolbenz and Cochem, Germany. Voyages range from 10 to 14 days, with all-inclusive cruise fares starting at $3,675 per person. Crystal's Early Booking Savings are available for 2018 voyages booked by March 31, 2017, offering additional savings of $500 per person on cruise only fares. For more information, visit Crystal's website, CrystalCruises.com.

Image Courtesy Crystal Cruises

Friday, February 17, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Announces Order for Next Generation of Ships for Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has announced it has reached an agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A. to construct the next generation of extraordinary ships for its Norwegian Cruise Line brand. Four ships are on order for delivery in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in 2026 and 2027. The four 140,000 gross ton ships will each accommodate approximately 3,300 guests. The new class of ships will build upon the highly successful offering of freedom and flexibility found on the brand’s most recent Breakaway-Plus Class ships and feature a host of innovative designs that will further elevate its already award-winning guest experience. A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimizing fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment. Details on the ships’ many innovative guest facing and first at sea features will be announced at a later date.

“This new class of ships will continue Norwegian Cruise Line brand’s legacy of introducing meaningful innovation to the cruise industry,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “This order continues to highlight our disciplined newbuild program, extends our growth trajectory well into the future, enhances our already attractive earnings profile, and drives expected long-term returns for our shareholders.”

“For the past 50 years, Norwegian Cruise Line has been focused on offering our guests the very best in cruising,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “It is with great excitement that we look ahead to our next 50 years, which includes this next generation of ships that will offer guests the innovative experiences that have come to define the Norwegian Cruise Line brand.”

The contract price for each of the four vessels is approximately €800 million per ship. The Company has obtained export credit financing with favorable terms to fund 80 percent of the contract price of each ship delivered through 2025, subject to certain conditions.

About Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) is a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands. With a combined fleet of 24 ships with approximately 46,500 berths, these brands offer itineraries to more than 510 destinations worldwide. The Company will introduce eight additional ships through 2025, and has the option to introduce two additional ships for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

Cunard Presents 2017 WKC “Best in Show” Winner with Transatlantic Crossing

Cunard, the only line to carry pets across the Atlantic, presented Rumor, the Westminster Kennel Club’s Best in Show winner, with an invitation to sail on a Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2 in New York’s Times Square. Rumor will have an opportunity to take his place in history among celebrity dogs who have sailed with Cunard.

Cunard sponsored the 2017 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City February 11-14, 2017 and was the only travel company represented at the show. Cunard bellman offered white gloved "doggie” tea service to canine attendees who stopped by Cunard’s photo booth at the show, including @WallytheWelshCorgi, one of the top Instagram dogs in New York. Dogs (and humans) took photos in front of an oversized backdrop of Queen Mary 2 and posted to #CunardatWKC.

As the only cruise line to offer dogs and cats passage on the company’s famed Transatlantic Crossings, Cunard has a long history of sailing pets—its pet-friendly policy dates back 176 years to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840. Since then, the company has transported a surprising number of notable pets: Rin-Tin-Tin, Elizabeth Taylor’s pampered pooches, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s beloved pup and Pudsey, winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2012. It was at the Duke’s behest that Cunard originally installed a lamppost beside the kennels on Cunard’s former flagship Queen Elizabeth 2.

Pet travel continues to soar in the United States and due to increased demand, Cunard doubled the size of its kennels on Queen Mary 2 during the flagship’s $132 million renovation last year. In addition, the ship expanded the kennel area, adding an owner’s lounge and a new pet playground. Guests can enjoy an extended outdoor area for dog walking featuring a lamppost from Liverpool and fire hydrant from New York so dogs from both sides of the pond will feel at home. Overall, Queen Mary 2’s enhanced pet service offers a kinder, gentler alternative to pet transportation. To ensure that pet passengers are as glamorous as their human counterparts, Cunard partnered with the British sportswear brand Barbour in 2016 to offer smart accessories onboard such as jackets, collars and leashes.

For more information about Cunard and Queen Mary 2, visit Cunard.com.

Image Courtesy of Cunard Line

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oceania Cruises Announces Late 2017 Voyages To Cuba

Oceania Cruises, the world's leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, announced an additional series of journeys to Cuba in November and December 2017. Ranging in length from six to thirteen days with departures from Miami, these voyages include the line's first calls to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, in addition to Havana. These new itineraries are open for reservation.

"There is tremendous demand from consumers for voyages to Cuba and our inaugural voyages to the island have been a sell-out success," stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises. "An Oceania Cruises voyage is the best way to experience all Cuba has to offer with nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, warm and welcoming people, and a burgeoning culinary scene."

All voyages and excursions will fully comply with existing U.S. Federal Regulations and the most recent pronouncements from the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Shipboard Highlights
Sailing to Cuba with Oceania Cruises is a journey into the extraordinary. Aboard Insignia, there are only 684 privileged guests who are catered to by 400 professionally trained staff. Travelers will indulge in the Finest Cuisine at Sea in four open seating gourmet restaurants where they will dine on continental specialties along with the bold and vibrant tastes of Cuba. Each of these voyages will feature a wide array of authentic Cuban dishes that were born from generations-old family recipes. Adding to the enriching nature of the journey, authoritative and engaging experts will deliver lectures on Cuban history, art, and music or perhaps you'll join a group of your fellow travelers in a Cuban staple, the game of Dominos. Throughout the journey, Insignia is a bastion of modernity and old-world comfort. Her 342 staterooms and suites are elegantly appointed and 70% of them have their own private teak veranda, the perfect perch from which to take in stunning Caribbean seascapes.

Itinerary Highlights
• Panoramic Caribbean: 10 days from Miami visiting Havana (two days), Roatan, Santo Tomas, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya, and Nassau. Departs Nov 14.
• Hemingway's Hideaways: 7 days from Miami visiting Key West, Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Departs Nov 24.
• Timeless Cuba : 7 days from Miami visiting Havana (two days), Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Departs Dec 1 & 8.
• Vibrant Vistas: 6 days from Miami visiting Key West, Havana, Cozumel, and Great Stirrup Cay. Departs Dec 15.
• Holidays in the Tropics: 13 days from Miami visiting Key West, Havana (two days), Roatan, Santo Tomas, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya, Cozumel (two days), and Nassau. Departs Dec 21.

Destination Highlights
• Havana, Cuba: The door to Cuba's soul, Havana captivates with its larger-than-life culture, sultry rhythms and weathered beauty. Take a relaxing stroll along the evocative Malecón, the quintessentially Cuban thoroughfare and get lost among the Baroque facades and colonial cobblestone alleys of Old Havana. Visit the grandiose Capitolio Nacional and explore the world-class Cuban art collection at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, which showcases everything from colonial-era paintings to countless masterpieces from Cuba's famed Vanguard Period. Enjoy memorable explorations such as touring one of Havana's venerable old cigar factories for an inside look at the birthplace of these world-famous cigars and the centuries-old process of how they are made.
• Cienfuegos, Cuba: Situated in a beautiful bay in the heart of Cuba's fertile agricultural region on the southern coast, Cienfuegos will quietly charm you with its French spirit, tranquil seaside setting and neoclassical architecture. Known as La Perla del Sur (the Pearl of the South), Cienfuegos was originally founded by French settlers and its city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Rich in educationally engaging diversions, its historic center features well-preserved 19th-century structures, gorgeous plazas and a layout inspired by the Spanish Enlightenment. Discover the ornate and eclectic Palacio de Valle and take in the stunning views as you explore Punta Gorda, the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. Step back in time at Teatro Terry with a performance by local artists or discover nearby Trinidad, a remarkably well-preserved colonial town recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and anchored by its impressive Plaza Mayor, an open-air museum of Spanish colonial architecture.
• Santiago de Cuba, Cuba: A tropical and energetic cultural epicenter, Santiago de Cuba is the country's second largest city and has played an instrumental role in the evolution of Cuban music, literature and architecture. Wedged between the looming Sierra Maestra mountain range and the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, the city offers a plethora of rich heritage and cultural diversions amidst a dramatic backdrop. Discover the city's fascinating history at Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca and the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, where Cuban hero José Martí and Emilio Bacardí Moreau of the famed rum dynasty are both buried. Countless musicians have emerged from Santiago de Cuba including Miguel Matamoros of Trío Matamoros and Sindo Garay, and many say the heart of this thriving city lives in its music scene.
For more information about Oceania Cruises, visit Oceania Cruises.

Image Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises 'Ships' New Voyages Brochure

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has unveiled the luxury cruise line’s newest Voyages to Explore brochure. In between the eye-catching, spot-gloss and satin pearl-finished covers are more than 200 voyages, sailing May 2017 through April 2019, aboard the brand’s four ships, Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner, and Seven Seas Navigator, renowned as the world’s most luxurious fleet. Among the listed voyages are special 25th Anniversary sailings in 2017 that will feature a variety of exclusive programs and events to commemorate the line’s Silver Jubilee, as well as World Cruises in 2018 and 2019, and two 2018 Grand Voyages: a 51-night South America Sojourn and an 89-Night Grand Arctic Splendors itinerary.

“Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ free and included shore excursions and business-class air on intercontinental flights, as well as included land programs on select itineraries, are a distinguishing part of our most-inclusive luxury experience,” said Jason Montague, the line’s president and CEO. “Not only do our guests enjoy an exceptional and relaxing voyage, but we also help them delve deeper into exciting cultures with our expertly crafted experiences in some of the world’s most compelling destinations. Throughout, our outstanding staff and crew will deliver individualized, personal service and unforgettable gourmet dining to every guest.”

The new brochure also details Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ free and included, three-night, pre- and post-cruise land programs in Africa, Dubai, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand on select sailings. Additionally, travelers can learn about Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ supplemental three-night Iceland or South America, four-night Alaska, or five-night Canadian Rockies land programs, which carry an additional fare.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world's most inclusive luxury cruise line with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 425 destinations around the world. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is currently undergoing a $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment that will elevate the level of elegance found throughout the fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer, which entered service on July 20, 2016, and has since been recognized as the most luxurious ship ever built. A leader in luxury cruising, the line's fares include all-suite accommodations, round-trip air, highly personalized service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, gratuities, ground transfers and a pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in concierge-level suites and higher. Beginning in summer 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises also will include Business Class air for all intercontinental flights.

For the latest information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises and to request a copy of the new Voyages to Explore brochure, please visit RSSC.com.

Photo: Seven Seas Mariner © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

Explore Hidden Glacier Bay Aboard Seabourn during 2017 Cruise Season In Alaska

There are so many natural wonders for guests to behold on a Seabourn cruise to Alaska, but nothing quite like the mysterious and exotic Glacier Bay. As the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line returns to The Last Frontier starting this May, Seabourn will provide a select number of opportunities for guests to witness the icy beauty of the remote 3.3 million-acre wilderness area with five separate sailings into Glacier Bay aboard Seabourn Sojourn over the 2017 season ahead.

A U.S. National Park and Preserve that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Glacier Bay is located along the Inside Passage on the southeastern coast of Alaska. The park encompasses 5,130 square miles of wilderness dotted with vast waterways, dynamic glaciers, emerald rainforests, striking coastlines, deep sheltered fjords, and snow-capped peaks. A vibrant ecosystem made up of terrestrial and marine species, the abundant wildlife includes grizzly and black bears, mountain goats, numerous bird species, sea lions, harbor porpoises, orcas, humpback whales and many more. Glaciers are geared for dramatic displays of ice and iceberg formation, including calving of icebergs into the bay—a wonder of sight, sound, and splash that is not to be missed.

"Whatever the region we're exploring, Seabourn always strives to offer the most enriching experiences to our guests," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Taking them to see the wonders of Glacier Bay is a fitting way to return to Alaska for the first time in a decade-and-a-half."

With no roads leading into the park, air and water are the only ways to explore Glacier Bay. As such, a cruise ship is an ideal way to visit one of the world's largest international protected areas.

Seabourn Sojourn's 2017 cruise schedule offering access to Glacier Bay includes:
• 21-Day Kuroshio Route & Alaska: Kobe, Japan to Seattle (May 11-27)
• 11-Day Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn: Vancouver to Seward (Jun 1-12. Additional itineraries include Jun 26-Jul 7; Jul 21-Aug 1; and Aug 15-26)
Whatever the itinerary, Seabourn guests are guaranteed adventure in Alaska with new optional shore excursions and Ventures by Seabourn guided kayak and Zodiac tours led by teams of scientists, scholars and naturalists that bring the awe-inspiring beauty of Alaska and British Columbia alive. The up-close explorations will be featured on Seabourn Sojourn's full series of 11-14 day itineraries sailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, and Anchorage (Seward), Alaska.

Seabourn's ships circle the globe throughout the year and include more than 150 designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in its itineraries. Through its multi-year partnership with UNESCO, Seabourn offers deeper insight and behind-the-scenes information about current and future World Heritage sites and projects. The line has created special World Heritage Discovery Tours with exclusive and enhanced content developed in cooperation with UNESCO World Heritage site managers and tour experts. Fares for Seabourn optional excursions that include UNESCO World Heritage Sites include a small donation to UNESCO's World Heritage Fund.

Seabourn Sojourn's season in Alaska launches with the 11-DAY Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn, departing from Vancouver, B.C., on Jun. 1, 2017. For more details, visit Seabourn.com. A dedicated shore excursion call center is available for guests at 1-800-984-3225.

Image Courtesy of Seabourn

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Carnival Dream Undergoes Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation

The New Orleans-based Carnival Dream recently completed an extensive makeover that added a variety of exciting food and beverage concepts.

Following the renovation, which took place in Freeport, The Bahamas, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream has resumed its year-round schedule of seven-day western Caribbean and Bahamas/Florida cruises from the Big Easy.

The new spaces include:
• Guy’s Pig & Anchor Barbeque Smokehouse: Designed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the open-air free-of-charge venue offers a variety of BBQ favorites with a menu that includes Championship Pork Butt, Blue Ribbon Chicken, smoked Andouille sausage, and Sliced Smoked Round of Beef, and Fieri’s own take on traditional sides. The eatery complements the popular Guy’s Burger Joints featured on Carnival Dream and 13 other Carnival ships.
• BlueIguana Cantina: A complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
• Alchemy Bar: A “cocktail pharmacy”-themed lounge with mixologists dressed in lab coats who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients with creative monikers like Forty is the New Twenty and The Restorative Basil Drop.
• Pizzeria del Capitano: Here, guests can enjoy five different varieties of hand-tossed, artisanal-style pizza, including Margherita, quattro formaggio, mushroom, prosciutto and pepperoni—all free of charge 24 hours a day and made in a traditional pizza oven.
• Bonsai Sushi: A full-service sushi restaurant offering delicious Asian-inspired delicacies—sushi, sashimi, bento “ships” for two and more, along with popular beers and cocktails from the region—all enjoyed amidst a striking contemporary décor inspired by the Far East.
These additions complement Carnival Dream’s wide variety of onboard innovations, including a massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 304-foot-long water slide, a Serenity adults-only retreat, a luxurious Cloud 9 Spa with a thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite, and Ocean Plaza, a stunning indoor/outdoor live music and entertainment venue. Carnival Dream also offers Seuss at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, as well as play spaces for kids in three age groups. A variety of accommodation categories—including nearly 900 balcony cabins and extra-roomy family staterooms that sleep up to five guests—are available, as well.

Carnival Dream operates year-round seven-day cruises from New Orleans offering three distinctly different itineraries—western Caribbean cruises visiting Montego Bay, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman; or Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize and Cozumel; and a Bahamas/Florida route calling at Key West, Freeport, and Nassau. For additional information, visit Carnival.com.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Havana, Cuba, To Be Featured on Select Carnival Paradise Cruises from Tampa Beginning in June

Following the history-making launch of cruises from the U.S. to Cuba on Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand last year, the company’s namesake and largest cruise brand—Carnival Cruise Line—has now received approval to sail to Cuba. The Cuban capital of Havana will be added to select Carnival Paradise voyages from Tampa beginning in June 2017. The overnight visits to Havana will be featured on 12 four- and five-day cruises aboard Carnival Paradise departing from the Port of Tampa starting June 29, 2017, providing vacationers with a rare and exciting opportunity to explore this fascinating and previously off-limits destination.

Four-day cruises will depart June 29, July 13, August 24, September 7 and 21, and October 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana. Five-day voyages will depart August 14 and 28, September 25 and October 9, 2017, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West. Carnival Paradise guests will be able to choose from a range of exciting shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba’s vibrant culture and majestic beauty, along with the island’s warm and friendly people and centuries-old architectural landmarks.

“Cuba is an island jewel unique from anywhere else in the Caribbean and we are thrilled to have this rare opportunity to take our guests to this fascinating destination,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The opportunity to visit Havana, combined with the fun, relaxed ambiance and wide variety of amenities and features offered on Carnival Paradise, will make for a truly one-of-a-kind vacation experience,” she added.

Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests can enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment. A variety of dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside choices. The ship also features a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness facility and an exclusive Serenity adults-only retreat. Popular family-friendly programming includes Seuss at Sea in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and featuring the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups. Four swimming pools and a 115-foot-long water slide are additional features.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control. The new voyages can currently be booked via travel agents or by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL. Later today, the cruises will also be available on Carnival.com. Please note that a passport is required for cruises that call in Cuba. Additional information on all special requirements for these voyages can be found on Carnival.com.

Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea Celebrates 10th Anniversary Today

Special Needs Group®/Special Needs at Sea® (SNG), the leading global provider of special needs equipment rentals, will celebrate its 10th anniversary of delivering an accessible world on Feb. 14, 2017. Since 2007, SNG has been achieving unprecedented milestones in providing those with special needs and/or disabilities the ability to travel, whether it be across the globe or within their own area. Since it was launched, SNG has completed over 150,000 orders, making travel dreams come true for individuals with special needs and/or disabilities. This includes "slow walkers," and the baby boomer/silver segment of the population. The accessible travel segment is the fastest-growing market segment in travel.

"SNG was founded with a strategic vision to deliver an accessible world and make it possible for anyone to travel, even if they have a disability or special need," stated Andrew J Garnett, SNG founder, president & CEO. "Today, we are breaking travel barriers for hundreds of thousands of individuals with special needs who wish to see the world."

SNG services 165 metropolitan areas in 35 countries across the globe. It is the leading global provider of wheelchair rentals, scooter rentals, oxygen rentals and other special needs equipment rentals, and also offers a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase. The only mobility and oxygen equipment supplier in the world trusted by all major cruise lines, the company also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. In addition to providing special needs equipment, SNG continuously raises awareness of special needs travel through newsletters, webinars, blogs, social media tools, panel discussions, and presentations. Also, the company supports ARC Broward, Camillus House, and local elementary schools.

Over 3,200 travel professionals have become Certified Accessible Travel Advocates™ through SNG's groundbreaking Certified Accessible Travel Advocate program, launched in 2011, which allows travel professionals to become conversant with the accessible travel market segment through online study and testing. Plus, over 14,000 travel agents are registered with SNG, allowing them to provide clients with the confidence of booking with one of the top providers of special needs equipment.

About Special Needs Group®/Special Needs at Sea®
Special Needs Group®/Special Needs at Sea® is the leading global provider of wheelchair rentals, scooter rentals, oxygen rentals and other special needs equipment rentals. It also offers a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase. Recommended by the world's major cruise lines for superior service and value, Special Needs Group also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. Special Needs Group is the only mobility and oxygen equipment supplier that is approved to deliver to all major cruise lines Special Needs Group is the travel industry's only total special needs travel solution. Special Needs Group provides service in 165 ports and cities located in 35 countries. It is located at 302 NW 1st Street, Dania Beach, FL 33004. For more information, visit SpecialNeedsGroup.com

Monday, February 13, 2017

Carnival Splendor to Operate 14-Day Alaska Cruise Round-Trip from Long Beach in August 2018

Continuing the expansion of its popular Carnival Journeys longer duration enrichment sailings, Carnival Splendor will offer a 14-day Alaskan adventure round-trip from Long Beach, California, featuring sites such as majestic Hubbard Glacier and a day-long visit to Icy Strait Point, an unspoiled wilderness area offering some of the best whale and bear watching in the state and the world’s longest zip-line. The voyage will depart Long Beach and Aug. 25 and return Sept. 8, 2018.

Plus a full day at Hubbard Glacier and Icy Strait Point, the 14-day cruise will feature port calls in Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka, Alaska, along with a day-long call at Victoria, British Columbia. In addition to unique cultural opportunities and historic landmarks, each of these destinations offers awe-inspiring natural wonders, including calving glaciers, magnificent fjords and native sea and animal life. A wide variety of shore excursions—from helicopter flightseeing and rainforest canopy tours to hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions, and alpine lake snorkeling—will also be available.

The 14-day Carnival Journeys Alaska cruise will also feature unique on-board experiences where guests can enjoy local cuisine, entertainment, and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing topics such as photography, cooking and arts and crafts, and a 1980s-themed “Throwback Sea Day” will be offered, as well.

Guests aboard Carnival Splendor can also enjoy the ship’s many onboard features and amenities, including a classic American-style steakhouse, the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, and a retractable dome covering the main pool area that also houses the ship’s massive Seaside Theatre LED screen. Kids can have an amazing cruise experience with supervised programs catering to three age groups—Camp Ocean (2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17), along with fun activities that are part of Seuss at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

The 14-day Carnival Splendor cruise complements the line’s wide-ranging Alaska schedule that includes a two-week-long voyage round-trip from Long Beach aboard Carnival Miracle in September 2017 and 38 seven- and eight-day voyages aboard Carnival Legend in summer and fall 2017-18. Several of the seven-day cruises feature a day cruising Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site. All of Carnival’s 2017-18 Alaska cruises aboard Carnival Splendor, Carnival Legend, and Carnival Miracle are current open for reservations. For additional information, visit Carnival.com.

Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine Embark on Exclusive Partnership

Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine announce an exclusive partnership that will unite the soul-stirring power of travel with O's deep commitment to connection and personal growth. Oprah Winfrey; O The Oprah Magazine editor at large Gayle King; and others will join the inaugural O, The Oprah Magazine Share the Adventure Cruise setting sail to Alaska this July. Four additional O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life sailings featuring O Magazine-inspired activities will be scheduled aboard select North America ships through 2018.

“I’m so excited to continue 2017 as my Year of Adventure with another bold, new place I’ve never been before: Alaska!” said Oprah Winfrey.

The O, The Oprah Magazine cruises will feature exclusive programming developed with the magazine’s editors, including editor in chief Lucy Kaylin and creative director Adam Glassman. Members of the SuperSoul 100—thought leaders and visionaries who use their talents to elevate humanity—will be on board sharing inspirational ideas and tips for living your best life. More than 300 Holland America Line cruises sailing in North America from August 2017 through 2018 will have a variety of engaging, stimulating activities that bring the magazine to life, including meditation, tai chi, healthy cooking demonstrations, an onboard book club and more.

“We are deeply honored that O, The Oprah Magazine chose Holland America Line as its first cruise line partner to further our shared belief that travel and wellness have the power to open minds, build connections and inspire shared humanity,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Our commitment to providing authentic experiences for our guests is at the forefront of all we do, and this collaboration is going to empower our guests in a whole new way with thought-provoking and enriching activities and content developed together with the experts at O, The Oprah Magazine.”

The magazine will kick off the partnership with a contest in March 2017 awarding three deserving readers the chance to join the inaugural cruise to Alaska with Oprah and Gayle, followed by a high impact unit in the April 2017 issue, with in-book, online and broadcast integrations running throughout the remainder of 2017 and 2018.

“What better way to celebrate Oprah’s Year of Adventure than to partner on an incredible new initiative with Holland America Line,” said Jayne Jamison, senior vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer of O, The Oprah Magazine. “Offering readers a chance to experience the thrill of adventure firsthand, this partnership pairs the eye-opening wonder of travel with the soulful, inspiring content found in every issue of O.”

O, The Oprah Magazine Share the Adventure Cruise to Alaska will take place July 15–22, 2017. O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life cruises will include the following dates/destinations:
• Nov 29, 2017: 11-Day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on ms Koningsdam
• March 3, 2018: 7-Day Eastern Caribbean roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on ms Nieuw Amsterdam
• Aug 11, 2018: 7-Day Alaska roundtrip from Seattle on ms Eurodam
• Oct 28, 2018: 7-Day Western Caribbean, ms Nieuw Amsterdam
For more information, visit HollandAmerica.com/OprahMag.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Silversea Expeditions to the Kimberley Reveal Australia's Best Kept Secret

Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea is featuring exceptional opportunities this year for adventure enthusiasts to explore Australia's amazing Kimberley Coast. The natural vistas of the country's isolated northwest region have been enhanced by the wettest December on record. Seven times greater than normal, as recorded in Broome, the unusual rainfall will power the most spectacular waterfalls ever to plunge down the region's gorges, which can be witnessed on any of five mostly 10-day voyages aboard Silver Discoverer, sailing between Darwin and Broome.

For the duration of Silversea's expedition cruises along the Kimberley coastline from March to May 2017, the famous King George Falls and Talbot Bay's Horizontal Falls will thunder more spectacularly than ever before. The twin cascades of King George Falls are among Australia's highest, plunging over 262 feet. At Talbot Bay, the region's tides of nearly 36 feet create an amazing spectacle. And depending on whether the tides are ebbing or flowing, Silversea guests can experience an exhilarating Zodiac ride through the Horizontal Falls. An optional helicopter flightseeing excursion is also available to observe the dazzling four-tiered Mitchell Falls.

"We purposely schedule our expeditions to the Kimberley Coast at the end of the wet season, when the waterfalls are in full flow," said Conrad Combrink, Silversea's global head of expedition planning and strategic development. "With December's extraordinary rainfall, the region's magnificent waterfalls will be on peak display this year, and we're very pleased to offer our guests this rare opportunity to witness nature at its most majestic."

With its landscape of striking contrasts, the Kimberley Coast offers travelers a kaleidoscope of images—from white sand beaches and glistening turquoise waters filled with colorful marine life to towering red-hued sandstone cliffs and captivating, ancient rock art paintings. Its incredible untouched wilderness offers nature lovers the chance to observe a variety of bird species, including white-bellied sea eagles, ospreys, Brahminy kites and peregrine falcons. And the dramatic tiger-striped Bungle Bungle mountain range is perfect for aerial exploration on a complimentary Silversea excursion.

The freshly refurbished Silver Discoverer offers a comfortable, intimate and convivial onboard lifestyle where guests can feel at home as they explore these secluded realms. They will enjoy ocean-view suites, sumptuous cuisine, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, and free Wi-Fi. In true Silversea Expeditions style, guests will be enriched by an onboard program of destination lectures, photo presentations and daily recaps. Exploratory Zodiac excursions and interactive walks ashore, led by experts in their field—marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, botanists, historians, and anthropologists, are complimentary.

Departure dates for the 2017 Kimberley expeditions are March 26, April 6, April 16, April 26, and May 6.For complete details, visit Silversea.com/expeditions.

Image Courtesy Silversea

“Beauty and the Beast” to Become a Brand-New Stage Spectacular Aboard Disney Cruise Line

A tale as old as time gets ready to take the stage with “Beauty and the Beast,” a brand-new musical production inspired by Disney’s live-action adaptation of the animated classic. The show will expand upon the most imaginative elements of the highly anticipated live-action and classic films and delight Disney Cruise Line guests aboard the Disney Dream, beginning this November.

Audiences will once again fall in love with the enchanting fairytale as they embark on a sweeping journey to discover the power of transformation through true love and courage. This new production of “Beauty and the Beast” celebrates the romance, adventure and magic of the live-action film, weaving in the charm and nostalgia of the award-winning animated feature. “Beauty and the Beast” will bring the timeless fable to life like never before, featuring a style of theater that interlaces classic storytelling elements with cutting-edge technology, to create a unique, theatrical experience in the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre. An innovative take on the story will transform renowned songs into spectacular, show-stopping numbers, and lavish costumes and puppetry will bring a fresh perspective to beloved characters.

Re-imagining a tale as old as time
Drawing inspiration from the live-action film, the stage musical uses the scenic motif of a music box to guide spectators through the story. Set designer, Jason Sherwood (“Paint Your Wagon,” “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular”), worked in concert with video designer, Aaron Rhyne (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “Anastasia”), to create a transforming set that will take audiences on a magical journey through the music box, from Belle’s provincial French town to the Beast’s mysterious castle.

To bring “Beauty and the Beast” to the stage, Disney assembled an all-star creative team, led by director and choreographer Connor Gallagher (“Tangled: The Musical,” “Found”). Gallagher collaborated with writer Sara Wordsworth (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “In Transit”) and a talented collection of Broadway artists to create an imaginative, new approach to this iconic story. Through a combination of high-definition projections, dynamic scenery and a little bit of Disney magic, this new interpretation of “Beauty and the Beast” will create a visual panorama that reaches beyond the stage and into the audience. Complementing the immersive set, lighting design by four-time Tony Award-nominated, Japhy Weideman, punctuates the powerful emotions of the classic tale.

Orchestrating a song as old as rhyme
“Beauty and the Beast” features songs from the original animated film’s award-winning soundtrack by acclaimed composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. Complementing the score, the show also includes two of the new songs created for the live-action film by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice, “How Does a Moment Last Forever” and “Days in the Sun.” Enchanting arrangements and orchestrations by Matt Castle and Frank Galgano (“Into the Woods”) will bring a unique musical identity to the production.

Beloved songs like “Belle,” “Something There” and “Beauty and the Beast” will receive a musical makeover that reflect the show’s stylized approach, while songs like “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” will leap to the stage as joyful and exuberant production numbers. One of the most iconic songs in the Disney canon has been completely re-imagined for the stage. “Be Our Guest” is becoming a multi-course French dinner rooted in imagination and fantasy. Rousing choreography and dazzling visual effects will fill the stage during this full-fledged spectacle.

Unveiling the magic of the enchanted objects
Blurring the line between costuming and puppetry, costume designer Sarah Cubbage (Broadway’s “Skylight”) and puppet designer Lake Simons (“Etiquette Unraveled”) joined forces to give life to the enchanted objects of “Beauty and the Beast.” Beloved characters like Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth are realized in an unprecedented way, using innovative puppetry and elaborate costumes to bring these characters to life in their true scale.

“Beauty and the Beast” will debut during the Disney Dream voyage departing Nov. 6, 2017, joining a lineup of Broadway-style stage productions aboard the ship, including “The Golden Mickeys” and “Disney’s Believe.” The Disney Dream sails 3- and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line, visit Disneycruise.com

Crystal AirCruises Partners With Wine Spectator For 'Savoring The Winelands' Journey

Crystal AirCruises has announced a partnership with Wine Spectator magazine that will feature enhanced specialized programming for the 16-day "Savoring the Winelands" itinerary, departing on June 1, 2018. Aboard Crystal's fully customized Boeing 777, guests will journey to the world's most celebrated wine regions and be treated to tasting and educational experiences, inspired by Wine Spectator magazine. Expert sommeliers and renowned wine lecturers will accompany guests on this exciting journey, and conduct numerous special tastings throughout the trip. Wine connoisseurs from the lauded publication have also guided the selection of wine estates to be visited in the storied regions of Bordeaux, Champagne/Paris, Tuscany, Mendoza, Santiago and Cape Town. On board, wine lovers can expand their knowledge with sommelier-guided tasting sessions, as well as through certificate courses by Wine Spectator School. "Savoring the Winelands" in cooperation with Wine Spectator is the world's only private jet tour offering expert-guided in-flight wine tastings in the comfort of an expansive, on-board lounge and Skye Cellar.

The "Savoring the Winelands" Crystal AirCruise in cooperation with Wine Spectator is available for booking now. For additional information, visit crystalaircruises.com

During the journey, Crystal guests will explore the vineyards and surrounding cities of the regions with immersive experiences that include:
• Chianti tasting at 16th century Castello Della Paneretta Winery, dining at Michelin-starred La Torre, truffle hunting with the local Savini family, and exploring the surrounding landscape by Vespa in Tuscany, Italy.
• Exploration of Chateaux Margaux and Pomerol, a hot-air balloon ride over Saint-Émilion, and dining at Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsay's Le Pressoir d'Argent and Phillippe Etchebest's Le Quatrième Mur in Bordeaux, France.
• Roaming the vineyards and underground cellars of the Montagne de Reims, exclusive access to the Louvre and Palace of Versailles, and Michelin-starred dining at Le Fouquet's and Victoria in Champagne/Paris, France.
• Learning the art of blending at South Africa's Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate, and a cooking safari at Cape Malay that showcases local ethnic cuisines in Cape Town, South Africa.
"The specialized experiences planned for this Crystal AirCruises' journey are simply unparalleled. Our experts, along with the esteemed authorities recommended by Wine Spectator, have created a global travel adventure that will whet any wine and food lover's appetite for travel," says Crystal Chairman, CEO and President Edie Rodriguez.

Throughout the journey, guests will have access to further wine discoveries with editions of the magazine's tasting reviews aboard the aircraft, a dedicated Wine Spectator app on the personal iPad® devices included on board, and additional tastings in the spacious tasting lounge. In flight, guests will enjoy the extraordinary amenities of the well-appointed private jet, including Michelin-inspired cuisine and the renowned vintages within the expansive Skye Cellar, which will be stocked with wines relevant to the specialized itinerary. Aircraft operated for Crystal AirCruises by Comlux Aruba NV.

As it expands its reach to all luxury travelers across the globe, Crystal evolves to The World's Most Luxurious Hospitality and Lifestyle Brand Portfolio™. The newest and upcoming extensions of the celebrated Crystal brand include Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal River Cruises—The World's Most Luxurious River Cruise Line ™, Crystal AirCruises, and Crystal Exclusive Class™ with Crystal Residences.