Friday, December 31, 2010

Undercover Boss’ Norwegian Cruise Line Episode to Air on Jan 2, 2011

Wouldn't you love to boss around your boss? Giving orders to the top guy might be even more satisfying. Each week that happens when "Undercover Boss" follows a different executive as he or she leaves the comfort of the corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their companies. While working alongside their employees, they see the effects that their decisions have on others, where the problems lie within their organizations and get an up-close look at both the good and the bad while discovering the unsung heroes who make their companies run.

In an upcoming episode, "Undercover Boss" goes to sea as Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Kevin Sheehan has his cover blown while working on the frontlines during the company’s episode of the Emmy-nominated hit reality series set to air on Sunday, Jan 2, 2011 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

In the Jan. 2 Norwegian Cruise Line episode, Sheehan is recognized by Silvia, a waitress in the Manhattan Room restaurant on Norwegian Epic. During his undercover journey, Sheehan also hosts the line’s signature White Hot Party where he’s forced to step out of his comfort zone to lead a crowd of more than 1,000 guests in a line dance. That’s him above toiling away in his bearded disguise on Pride of America in Hawaii, where he worked alongside a deck repairman, John, a fellow New Yorker, who was quite critical of Sheehan’s performance.

"Going undercover gave me a much deeper appreciation for our crew and how hard they work everyday creating memorable cruise vacations for our guests,” said Sheehan. "I can now better relate to our crew members. I was humbled by the experience and have an even greater respect for our crew since I’ve walked in their shoes."

For more information on Sheehan’s undercover experience and Norwegian Cruise Line, visit

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Adventures by Disney Sets Sail with Disney Cruise Line To Offer Unique Travel Tours in 2011

Award-winning travel companies Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise Line have once again teamed up to offer immersive vacation opportunities for families aboard select Disney cruise vacations in 2011. The Adventures by Disney experience is available as an add-on booked in advance of the cruise that features privately-guided tour packages in Mediterranean or Alaskan ports of call or a pre-cruise adventure at the port of embarkation.

"We have combined the best of both vacations to bring the ultimate adventure package to life," said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "Families can enjoy the benefits of a cruise with the ease and convenience of a shore experience series unique to the destination, all completely planned and scheduled in advance."

Disney's new sea and shore offers broaden guest travel options. Cruises can be combined with guided tours of the world's most fascinating and scenic destinations. They include interaction with Local Experts and provide active, hands-on experiences to create a unique vacation that families will never forget.

"Our itineraries are designed to connect families with the world - and each other," said Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures by Disney. "We kept this top of mind when selecting the best activities in ports of call and surrounding areas. When guests book this option, they can be certain that the quality and characteristics of Adventures by Disney are ingrained in each trip as they enjoy the magic, innovation and world-class service of Disney Cruise Line."

Escape to an Adventure on Land
Considered two vacations in one, the Escape packages are mini Adventures by Disney trips available on select Disney Cruise Line departures that begin prior to the cruise, allowing guests to further explore the local culture and history of the specific destination.

The Vancouver Escape is a 4-day/3-night vacation that takes place prior to the Disney Cruise Line itinerary to Alaska. Guests enjoy breakfast "Under the Sea" at Vancouver Aquarium as beluga whales swim nearby followed by a tour of the Marine Science Center. Starting from the Aquarium, guests receive a guided tour of Stanley Park, including a visit to the famed totem poles. Families hop a gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain to visit the resident bears and wolves of the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife and take a ride on the Mountain Zipline - all before boarding the Disney Wonder for a 7-night voyage to Alaska.

On the 4-day/3-night Barcelona Escape, guests will explore the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Antoni Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece and the landscape architecture of Parque Guell. Junior Adventurers are treated to an exclusive archaeological experience and mountain hike and even transition back in time as they visit Pueblo Espanol followed by a flamenco farewell. Guests then board the Disney Magic, where they will enjoy unrivaled onboard entertainment and hassle-free travel as they explore the Mediterranean.

"Sea" More with Onboard Upgrade
Travelers aboard the 7-night Alaskan Wonders cruise and the 7-, 10- and 11-night Mediterranean Magic cruises can opt for a combined Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise Line vacation that provides an immersive experience on land and at sea, including specially planned shore experiences led by Disney-trained Adventure Guides. Mediterranean Magic offers a privately-guided tour of Florence featuring top sites such as Michelangelo's David, followed by visits to cultural and historical locations throughout Rome, an authentic pizza-making lesson and even a private boat tour of Capri, stopping for a swim. At night, guests return to the splendor and services aboard the Disney Magic.

Between scenic views of North America's western shoreline aboard the 7-night Alaskan Wonders cruise, guests take a helicopter to a glacier, visit the Yukon Suspension Bridge in Canada and receive a private tour of the Jewell Gardens. Whether attending a glassblowing demonstration or dog sledding, details are perfected to ensure the itinerary includes local flair and unforgettable moments. Afterward, guests return to the amenities and comfort of the Disney Wonder.

Adventures by Disney's Signature Service
With every trip, guests discover the best of each location and participate in experiences nearly impossible to book on their own. Families will depart on vacation knowing every detail is taken care of as they travel from one destination to the next, receiving world-class service all the while. Adventures by Disney itineraries feature Adventure Guides, Local Experts and expedited entrance to some of the most popular sites, unique experiences for Junior Adventurers and special surprises for every traveler. Guests return home with a well-rounded tour of the location from land and by sea, and memories they can treasure for a lifetime.

For more information or to book these unique vacations, contact a Disney Cruise Line reservation agent at 888/272-0571. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, contact your travel agent, visit, or call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dancing With The Stars At Sea

If you love cruises and ballroom dancing and were a Brady Bunch fan, get set for the ultimate experience that combines all three. Now you can sail with Dancing With The Stars contestant Florence Henderson and her pro partner Corky Ballas. This special Inaugural Ballroom Dance Celebration at Sea 2012 not only includes Henderson, of The Brady Bunch fame, but also two of the Brady ‘kids,’ Barry Williams (“Greg Brady”) and Susan Olsen (“Cindy Brady”) as special guests.

The Caribbean cruise sails aboard the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse from Jan 7-14, 2012, on a roundtrip sailing from Miami. Ports include San Juan (Puerto Rico), Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas), Philipsburg (St. Maarten), along with three days at sea.

Other special private group events for those who book quickly will include:
  • A cocktail party hosted by Florence Henderson
  • A question-and-answer session with Florence and Brady Bunch Friends Barry Williams, also known as Greg Brady, and Susan Olsen, also known as Cindy Brady, plus more
  • Private performances
  • Dance exhibitions
  • Group dance lessons
  • The comedy of famous stand-up comic Mrs. Hughes.
Luxury and spectacular design are mainstays aboard the Celebrity Eclipse, a floating masterpiece, as well as exceptional service. Whether you're being pampered in the AquaSpa, indulging at the main dining room, beneath a two-story glass wine tower and dazzling chandeliers, or inside the Eclipse Theatre, you will enjoy the show, the personal aspects, and the chance to meet and take part up close and personal.

Only by calling the official reservation numbers 877-625-5859 (USA Toll-Free) or 609-945-9802, or booking on the official site, will those interested be a part of the group and be able to participate in all private group events. Fares start at $1,154 per person, double occupancy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Carnival Adds Fun To New Year’s Eve

With Christmas behind us, the new year is less than a week away and it’s time to think of resolutions and hopes for the future. Each year people from around the globe write their wishes for the New Year on pieces of official Times Square New Year’s Eve confetti. Whether it’s a personal goal, a dream for the future, or doing something for the very first time, these wishes will be posted on the Carnival New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall located in the Times Square Visitor Center. (7th Av between 46th and 47th Sts). The wishes are collected at the end of the year, and added to the one ton of confetti that flutters down at midnight onto the crowd gathered in Times Square in celebration of the New Year.

Can’t make it to Times Square? No worries, your wishes can still fall from the sky this New Year’s. Just submit your wish, your dream, your first, online. It will be printed onto a piece of confetti for you by Carnival Cruise Lines, the official confetti sponsor of the Times Square New Year's Eve 2011 celebration, so that no matter where you are on New Year’s Eve, your wish will be part of the Times Square celebration. Happy New Year!

Submit Your Wish Online to the Virtual Wishing Wall! Instructions Here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Carnival Cruise Lines Kicks Off 2011 With A Simple Question: ‘Hey America, Didja Ever?’

It seems that every traveler these days has a bucket list of things they want to do and places they want to see. To help them achieve their goals, Carnival Cruise Line hopes to inspire people to experience new things and make their lives happier and more satisfying. For instance, “Didja Ever” zip line across a rain forest? Catch air on a wave runner? Jump into an impromptu performance of Thriller between courses at dinner? Well, mark your new calendar for more fun and firsts! Carnival Cruise Lines unveiled its “Hey America, Didja Ever” campaign that inspires people to try new things to add more fun–and ultimately, happiness and satisfaction–to their lives. Carnival will help consumers share, fulfill and celebrate first-time experiences throughout the year, driven by the “Didja Ever” campaign headquarters on Carnival’s Facebook page ( and promoted through exciting and interactive broadcast, online, social media, and local marketing efforts.

Carnival is collecting the Top 100 Firsts from its more than 420,000 (and growing) Facebook fans and all of America. The company is encouraging people to check things off their lists, share experiences through photos and video, and create once-in-a-lifetime events and memories. Of course, the Fun Ship company will also help to fulfill many firsts for participants that will include everything from giving away monthly cruise vacations for four to offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like appearing on-stage as the opening act for a favorite band, and many other fun activities online and in major markets.

“As a company that is built upon fun and memorable vacation experiences, we thought that it was time to help Americans put fun on the front burner,” said Jim Berra, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. “The ‘Didja Ever’ campaign reminds people it’s time to make their list and start living that list to the fullest. And we’ll provide a little help along the way to fulfill some of these wishes in surprising and unexpected ways throughout the year.”

According to a consumer survey commissioned by Carnival earlier this month, nine out of 10 adults have a list of things they wish to accomplish in their lifetime. Robert Mack, author of the bestselling book, “Happiness From the Inside Out: The Art and Science of Fulfillment,” and celebrity life coach explains, “If you want to live your best life, start by setting a goal that deeply inspires and excites you on a personal level so you’ll stick to it. If you can stay engaged and keep it fun, you’ll be more committed.” Mack added that another important element of success is sharing your goal with other people who will support you and cheer you on. Studies have shown people are up to 10 times more likely to accomplish a goal when they write it down. So sharing that wish or First with your friends on Carnival’s Facebook page is a great first step to achieving success.

On The Air Waves and Online: To promote the new “Didja Ever” campaign, Carnival debuts the first of its newest television spots today that continue the popular “Fun For All. All For Fun.” theme. The ads utilize stunning slow-motion to capture Carnival cruise fans enthralled in first-time moments. The first in the series features a mom who awes her young boys when she catches air on a wave runner. The spots feature the familiar voice of actor John Krasinski who notes “Now, there’s a first,” and the rock anthem “Bang the Drum” by Todd Rundgren.

The new TV spots will air on major networks and top-rated daytime and primetime shows including NBC’s Today Show, Parenthood and The Office, ABC’s Good Morning America, Grey’s Anatomy, and Extreme Home Makeover, and CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, Mike and Molly, and Undercover Boss. In addition to new TV spots, Carnival is helping to ring in the New Year as the official confetti sponsorship of the Times Square New Year’s Eve 2011 celebration, and also promoting the “Didja Ever” campaign through online advertising and video which will appear on leading sites such as YouTube, Yahoo!, Hulu and

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Celebrity Cruises Gives St. Kitts A Vote Of Confidence

You may recall reading St, Kitts: Will Seabourn Sojourn Call There? in a recent story here on Cruise Diva's Blog. My apprehension about a change in Seabourn Sojourn's Nov 30-Dec 10 Yachtsman’s Caribbean itinerary was due to an attack on cruise passengers by armed robbers in mid-November. The robbers, who ambushed a tour bus carrying passengers from Celebrity Mercury, blocked a road and boarded the bus when the driver stopped to clear the way.

As it turned out, Seabourn Sojourn did call at St. Kitts as planned and we chose “The Best of St. Kitts” shore excursion offered by Seabourn in order to tour the island. One of our stops was Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park (pictured here), where security along the road we traveled to the site was armed and highly visible.

It’s obvious St. Kitts takes the safety of their visitors seriously and is making ongoing efforts to assure cruise lines don’t avoid their homeland in the future due to an isolated incident. “A very positive meeting” is the comment made by Minister of Tourism & International Transport, Senator Ricky Skerritt, to describe a visit this month by himself and Tourism Authority CEO, Rosecita Jeffers, to the Port of Miami offices of Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises.

Senator Skerritt said the face-to-face meeting with top Celebrity officials enabled him to apologize in person on behalf of the Government and citizens of St Kitts & Nevis for the unprecedented Nov 14 robbery of a tour bus carrying passengers from the Celebrity Mercury. The Tourism Minister also took the opportunity to discuss measures being taken locally to strengthen cruise passenger safety and security, and to minimise the risk of a similar incident recurring.

Celebrity’s Head of Security, Gary Bald, also confirmed that, since the incident, security officials from the cruise line were in ongoing contact with the St. Kitts & Nevis Police High Command on matters related to the police investigation. During the meeting, the good news was also revealed by Federico Gonzalez-Denton, RCI/Celebrity’s Director for Government Relations, that the Celebrity Solstice will make two unscheduled calls to St Kitts on Feb 2 and March 3 next year. According to Skerritt, the addition of these two calls is a clear vote of confidence in the viability of St. Kitts as a port-of-call for Celebrity Cruises. Five other Celebrity ships are already making 47 scheduled calls to St Kitts, but this season’s schedule did not previously include calls from the ‘Solstice’.

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and the more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at one of St. Kitts’ two casinos or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches. For more information about St. Kitts, visit

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

One of our favorite traditions when we lived in Lousiana was to listen to The Night Before Christmas, Cajun-style. Cruise Diva would like to share it with you.

Merry Christmas To All!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

NCL to Take Europe by Storm in 2012/2013

Norwegian Cruise Line is bringing “homeland cruising” to a homeport near you, provided you live in Europe. The line has announced its largest European deployment ever for the 2012/2013 season with four Freestyle Cruising ships, including two that will remain positioned in Europe year-round. Norwegian Spirit will join Norwegian Jade sailing year-round in Europe beginning in April 2012. This is also the first time Norwegian Spirit will sail in Europe offering 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyages in the summer and fall, along with 9-day Canary Islands in the winter and spring. NCL’s largest and most innovative ship, Norwegian Epic, and Norwegian Sun will continue cruising seasonally from Barcelona and Copenhagen respectively.

“Europe is one of the world’s fastest growing cruise markets and one where Freestyle Cruising is very well received. Given this, we felt it was the right time to deploy four ships, including two year-round, in Europe, marking our largest European deployment in the company’s history,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “Guests now have the flexibility of embarking from four homeports in Europe sailing to some of the most exciting destinations in the world.”

The 2,018-passenger Norwegian Spirit will make her European debut with two memorable itineraries including a 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruise from Venice, Italy and Barcelona, Spain during the summer, and a 9-day Canary Islands cruise from Barcelona through the fall and winter. The 12-day Grand Mediterranean sailings run from April 28, 2012 to Oct 25, 2012 and begin in either Barcelona or Venice. The 9-day Canary Islands cruises from Barcelona will sail from Nov 6, 2012 to April 8, 2013. Norwegian Spirit will also sail an 11-day Grand Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Venice on July 9, 2012 and a 13-day Grand Mediterranean from Venice to Barcelona on July 20, 2012.

Continuing her year-round sailings in Europe, the 2,402-passenger Norwegian Jade will sail seven unique itineraries with ports of call in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Israel, and Egypt from her homeports of Rome (Civitavecchia) and Venice, Italy. Norwegian Jade will continue her popular alternating 7-day Greek Isles and Greece and Turkey cruises departing on Saturdays from Venice from April 28, 2012 to Oct 6, 2012. Since there is no port repetition between those two itineraries, they can be easily combined on most sailings to create a port-rich 14-day European tour. Also from Venice, Norwegian Jade will sail a 6-day Croatia and Greece cruise on July 14, 2012; and an 8-day Greek Isles and Turkey cruise on July 20, 2012, as well as a 7-day Adriatic and Italy cruise on Oct 13, 2012 with disembarkation in Rome (Civitavecchia).

From Rome, Norwegian Jade will sail alternating 11-day Mediterranean & the Holy Land cruises departing on Saturdays and 10-day Eastern Mediterranean cruises departing on Wednesdays from Oct 20, 2012 to April 17, 2013.

Norwegian’s newest and most innovative ship, Norwegian Epic, will return to Barcelona sailing a series of 25 seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from April 29 to Oct 14, 2012. In addition, Norwegian Epic will sail one 4-day Western Mediterranean cruise on April 25, 2012.

Norwegian Sun will continue sailing her 9-day Baltic Capital cruises from Copenhagen, Denmark from May 4 to Sept 7, 2012and will also sail one 14-day Norway, Iceland & Faroe Islands cruise on Sept 16, 2012.

In addition, there are five opportunities for guests to have an experience of a lifetime crossing the Atlantic with Norwegian’s Transatlantic cruises. Norwegian Epic offers two options: an 11-day Transatlantic from Miami to Barcelona on April 14, 2012 and a 13-day Transatlantic from Barcelona to Miami on Oct 21, 2012. Norwegian Spirit offers a 13-day Transatlantic from New Orleans to Barcelona on April 15, 2012. Norwegian Sun crosses the Atlantic on April 21, 2012 from Orlando (Port Canaveral) to Copenhagen and back to Miami from Copenhagen on Sept 30, 2012.

For additional information and to book these new sailings, visit

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holland America Line To Explore Hawaii & Tahiti in 2011 & 2012

In fall of 2011 and winter of 2012 two Holland America Line ships, ms Westerdam and ms Rotterdam, will sail three 30-day “Circle Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas Islands” explorations, visiting beautiful and picturesque islands throughout French Polynesia and the Aloha state. Best of all, there is no long flight across the Pacific to endure. Westerdam’s voyage sails round trip from San Diego, California, and departs Sept. 29, 2011. Rotterdam also sails round trip from San Diego and departs Jan. 4 and March 4, 2012.

“The South Pacific islands are known for their impressive landscape, crystalline waters, lush foliage and pristine beaches,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Holland America Line gives our guests a full range of experiences, offering some of the best diving and snorkeling opportunities in the world as well as unique land excursions including tours to pearl farms and vanilla plantations.”

Guests sailing on the Westerdam will have two opportunities to extend their voyage and embark early for the coastal portion of the cruise. The ship departs Seattle, Washington, Sept. 24, making it a 35-day voyage, or Sept. 25 from Vancouver, B.C., making it 34 days.

During the voyages the ships will call at Hilo, Lahaina, Honolulu, and Hawaii; Fanning Island, Kiribati; Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, and Raiatea, Bora Bora, Papeete, Moorea, Rangiroa, and Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia. Highlights of the journey include crossing the equator and international date line, two “musts” on every traveler’s bucket list. Extended stays at Lahaina, Hilo, and Honolulu allow for a more in-depth Hawaiian experience, while an overnight call at Papeete, Tahiti, affords guests time to explore the island’s French culture as well as learn more about painter Paul Gauguin. When in port, guests can choose from a multitude of diverse shore excursions including Overland Adventures, off-the-beaten-track explorations, Signature Collection private-car touring, and exclusive Medallion Collection excursions.

Rotterdam features the latest Signature of Excellence enhancements, including new Lanai cabins and new stateroom décor. Highlights also include Mix, a new bar concept with three specialty lounges serving their namesakes: Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales; Showroom at Sea, a glamorous nightclub with a new slate of performances featuring seasoned Broadway entertainers; a new resort pool feature called The Retreat, a shallow area where guests may lounge in chairs and dip their fingers and toes in the water; and Canaletto, a complimentary Italian restaurant that is open in the evening.

For more information on Holland America Line’s Hawaii, Tahiti, and Marquesas Islands Voyages, visit

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Presenting The Exclusive MSC Yacht Club

Perhaps one of the best kept "secrets" afloat was conceived and launched by MSC Cruises, one of the world’s youngest cruise companies and the market leader in the Mediterranean, South Africa, and Brazil. It's the MSC Yacht Club, a unique experience to the cruise industry that seldom gets the recognition it deserves.

Purpose built around an uncompromising vision of comfort on two of the company’s biggest and ultramodern ships, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, MSC Yacht Club is located on the ships’ two premier foredecks, keyed off as an exclusive sanctuary for travelers wanting a luxury all-inclusive cruise experience with the added benefit of a ‘downtown’ option incorporating the entire ships’ services and facilities. The MSC Yacht Club’s 99 superbly appointed suites offers the ultimate in luxury, privacy and personal service combined with elite access to a number of amenities aboard the ship. Yacht Club access includes:
  • All-inclusive soft drinks, cocktails, beers, wines, and spirits in all MSC Yacht Club venues and from the mini-bar in the guests suite
  • Fully-inclusive dining in the MSC Yacht Club restaurant: L’Etoile on MSC Fantasia and L’Olivo on MSC Splendida, with exclusive menu and open sitting
  • A unique 24-hour butler service
  • 99 Designer suites with plush linen and bathrobes by Mascioni, extensive pillow menu, complimentary equipment for Internet access, Samsung LCD screens, Nintendo WII consoles, marble bathrooms, and complimentary mini-bar
  • Private Top Sail Lounge: a panoramic lounge with breathtaking views and prestige services
  • Private access to The One sun deck, with The One Pool, two whirlpools, a solarium, and The One Bar
  • Direct private elevator access to the luxurious MSC Aurea SPA with massage and treatment rooms reserved exclusively for MSC Yacht Club guests, in addition to a complimentary thermal spa suite
  • Exclusive private areas reserved for MSC Yacht Club guests within the ships’ entertainment venues and restaurants
  • Private entrance for embarking and disembarking the ship
  • 24-hour Concierge Reception
  • International newspapers printed in their original layout every day
Offering year-round sailings throughout the Mediterranean, itinerary highlights include visits to a number of Europe’s most treasured destinations, including Rome, Naples, Barcelona, North Africa, Athens, Heraklion, Rhodes, Alexandria, and Genoa. Currently available on the MSC Splendida and the MSC Fantasia, MSC Cruises will add the MSC Yacht Club aboard a third ship, MSC Divina, in 2012. For additional information, call (877) 665-4655 or visit

Monday, December 20, 2010

Norwegian Declares ‘Free Upgrades For All’ During Wave Promotion

To celebrate Wave Season a bit earlier than normal (it usually doesn't begin until after the first of the year), Norwegian Cruise Line is launching its “Free Upgrades For All” Sales Event. All new reservations booked through March 27, 2011 on select sailings on any of the line’s 11 Freestyle Cruising ships will receive an up to a four-category upgrade, along with e-coupons in on-board savings of up to $400. In addition, bi-weekly promotions beginning Jan 3, 2011 will feature special offers on select ships and destinations.

“Our special Wave season offers make this the perfect time to book a cruise for 2011 and beyond,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “A cruise vacation already represents a great value and now when combined with our Wave offers and signature Freestyle Cruising, there’s no better time to plan a cruise vacation.”

Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 44-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian has 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea. The Company has reached an agreement for two 143,000-gross ton vessels for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

Norwegian’s largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic, debuted in June 2010. Norwegian Cruise Line is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, debuting for the first time at sea on Norwegian Epic, as well as the official cruise line of Legends in Concert, Second City® Comedy Troupe, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, Gibson Guitar, and Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids. Cirque Dreams™ & Dinner is also featured on board Norwegian Epic as the first show of its kind at sea under a big top. For more information, visit

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cunard Line Encourages Fans to Vote for Its Inaugural Float in The 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade Viewers’ Choice Awards

Cunard Line encourages its global fan base to vote for its inaugural float entry, “A Grand Celebration at Sea,” which is eligible for a Viewers’ Choice Award at the 122nd Rose Parade presented by Honda. For the third year in a row, the Viewers’ Choice Award will allow Rose Parade fans to choose their favorite float by voting online and, for the first time ever, via text message.

Viewers will be able to vote for the Viewers’ Choice Award by texting the keyword FLOAT followed by the float I.D. (50 for Cunard) to 50649, or by voting online at Fans can vote up to five times for their favorite float. Voting will take place from 8:00 a.m. (PST) to 2:10pm (PST) on Jan 1, 2011 (message and data rates may apply*).

Just last month, Cunard announced its first-ever participation in the world-famous Rose Parade with an unveiling of its float, “A Grand Celebration at Sea,” created by Fiesta Parade Floats in collaboration with renowned artist and float designer Raul Rodriguez. The inaugural float will illustrate the Cunard fleet of Queens – flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and the new Queen Elizabeth – and depict the ultimate sense of occasion, including ballroom dancing, a big band orchestra, champagne toasts, and multigenerational families celebrating their dreams, friendships and making memories, all on board a luxury cruise vacation with Cunard.

From bow to stern, Cunard’s float will be decorated in floral grandeur, reflecting the Line’s classic ocean travel experience. The float will also depict signature hallmarks found on a Cunard liner, including the Grand Lobby staircase and the Queens Room Ballroom. Additionally, an oversized floralgraph of Cunard’s three Queens takes center stage at the top of the float’s ascending staircases, a fitting reference to the modern fleet and also to the upcoming Cunard Royal Rendezvous taking place on Jan 13, 2011 in New York Harbor. This rare maritime event will be only the second time in Cunard’s 170-year history that three regal Cunard Queens have docked together in New York.

Featuring an eloquent fusion of floral and architectural detail in Cunard’s rich tradition of elegance and grandeur, the float stands at 24 feet high, 18 feet wide and 55 feet in length. It will include a big band orchestra and ballroom dancers to bring to life the Line’s famed Royal Nights Themed Balls, along with theatrical smoke rising from Cunard’s signature black and red funnel.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that annually hosts the Rose Parade taking place Saturday, Jan 1, 2011, at 8 a.m. (PST) featuring majestic floral floats, high-stepping equestrian units and spirited marching bands. For more information about Cunard Line, visit

*There is no charge to vote, but message and data rates may apply. To cancel your participation, text the word STOP to 50649 at anytime. For help, text the word HELP to 50649. For more information contact Terms and conditions can be viewed at

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Holidays Light Up During Winter Nights & Lights At Miami Seaquarium

If you're arriving in Miami to spend some time before your cruise, or plan to remain in the area after you disembark your ship between Dec 18 and Dec 30, here's an idea to help you get into the holiday spirit. In a dazzling display of holiday splendor, Miami Seaquarium will transform into a winter wonderland for its annual Winter Nights & Lights Celebration. Complete with nightly snowfall, a Kids Winterfest play area, extended park hours, Holiday themed shows and exhibits, and a fireworks grand finale, Winter Nights & Lights, will light up Miami Seaquarium with colorfully illuminated animal sculptures and holiday lights. Gates are open from 9:30 am to 8 pm daily, except on Dec 24 & 25 when the park will close at 6:00 pm.

Winter Nights & Lights will also feature a variety of holiday themed shows after dark. Come early and enjoy your favorites and stay late for their new holiday spectaculars, "Flipper & the Nutcracker" and "Salty Saves the Holidays." Also enjoy Top Deck's Holiday Cruise, a seasonal classic. And don't miss the fireworks grand finale following the Flipper holiday show each evening. Thrill to the sensation of sliding down an icy mountain in the Kid's Winterfest play area on the 20 foot tall and 100 foot long 'Ice Slide,' which promises to be fun for all ages. In addition, kids will have a blast in the Adrenaline Rush Obstacle Course, Coconut Tree Climb, and the Mind Winder, along with carnival games to test one's skill.

Miami Seaquarium, South Florida's most popular tourist attraction, is a family-oriented marine-life park open to the public 365 days a year. The park, accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, provides visitors with a greater understanding and appreciation for marine life through shows, presentations and marine-life exhibits. For information on Winter Nights & Lights, call (305) 361-5705 ext. 225 or visit Coupons offering the child's admission rate for adults are available through the end of the month at participating South Florida McDonald's restaurants. Other special holiday offers can be found at

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food Network Challenge Competitors Face Off After Cruise on the Carnival Dream

Get set for some "Dream-y" sugar conconctions with a cruising ports-of-call twist this weekend. Carnival Cruise Lines recently hosted four of the country’s top pastry chefs on a 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Dream during which they experienced a series of exhilarating and memorable shore excursions that provided inspiration for their extraordinary creations to be featured on the Dec. 19th episode of Food Network Challenge: Sugar Destinations. Food Network Challenge is a highly popular, long-running show on Food Network, which pits professional-chef competitors against each other to create incomparable feats in their food specialty.

This episode’s competition has the chefs experiencing four of Carnival Dream’s signature shore excursions and then creating edible sugar masterpieces that bring them to life. The featured shore excursions include a Catamaran and Snorkel adventure in the crystal blue waters off Cozumel, Mexico; a Dolphin Encounter experience in lush Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; an exotic Lost World Canopy Tour and Zipline adventure in Belize, and a fascinating visit to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins deep in the tropical rain forest near Costa Maya, Mexico. Each excursion provided inspiration for one of the astonishing feats of confectionary and sugar created by the competing chefs.

Contestants Chris Hanmer, owner of The School of Pastry Design, Las Vegas, NV; Matt James, from the Everglades Country Club, Palm Beach, Fla.; Orlando Santos, from The Duquesne Club, Pittsburg, Penn., and Tracy Dewitt from Le Cordon Bleu College, Scottsdale, AZ are judged by Carnival Cruise Lines’ Director of Advertising Jennifer Vandekreeke, as well as two highly-esteemed sugar-crafting experts. To be successful, each chef must capture the extraordinary beauty and tropical ambiance of the Caribbean while evoking the magic of their own personal experience during their Carnival Dream shore excursion. The first prize winner receives $10,000.

“Judging the competition was fascinating,” says Vandekreeke. “I never knew you could do such amazing things with a raw ingredient like sugar. It was exciting to hear how much they enjoyed their Carnival cruise and all the new experiences they had during their week. The hardest part was choosing a winner.”

See how the competing chefs’ sugar depictions of the Carnival Dream’s shore excursions fare at the judging table by tuning in to Food Network Challenge: Sugar Destinations on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream operates 7-day eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida. Currently the newest ship in Carnival’s fleet, it offers a wide range of onboard amenities and facilities, including Carnival Cruise Lines’ first comedy club, elaborate outdoor recreation areas including a water park, several exhilarating water slides, an adults-only Serenity Deck, an array of complimentary dining options, and a 23,750-square-foot spa and health club. Visit for more information.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Carnival Cruise Lines Cancels Additional Carnival Splendor Voyages as Repairs Continue

Ship Now Scheduled to Re-Enter Service Feb 20, 2011

As we suspected, the initial announcement of plans to return Carnival Splendor to service next month were a bit premature.

Carnival Cruise Lines has now cancelled additional departures of the damaged ship including the Jan 16, 23, & 30 and Feb 6 & 13, 2011 voyages to allow for additional repair time following an engine room fire aboard the vessel in Nov 2010. The ship is now scheduled to re-enter service Feb 20, 2011.

As repairs progressed and damaged components were tested, other issues came to light. Also, some of the needed parts were not readily available and are being manufactured in Europe. Carnival Splendor is currently in San Diego; however, it will sail to San Francisco in mid-Jan where repairs will be completed at a dry dock facility.

"We sincerely apologize to our guests for having to cancel these additional cruises," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "We made our best effort back in November to estimate the necessary repair time with a strong goal of not having to modify it at a later point in time. Unfortunately, as the repairs have progressed and we have discovered additional issues, it is now clear that we need more time. We know this is extremely disappointing for our guests and particularly disheartening for those who already had their vacations cancelled once and are now being affected again."

Guests booked on the cancelled voyages will receive a refund or future cruise credit equal to the amount paid, along with reimbursement of air transportation-related change fees. Those who re-book may also receive a 25 percent future cruise discount and/or onboard credit depending on the ship and sailing date of the new booking. Additional details are available at

Carnival is contacting travel agents and guests affected by the new cancellations to provide assistance. Travel agent commissions on cancelled sailings are being protected. Carnival Splendor operates year-round 7-day Mexican Riviera voyages from Long Beach, California.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Message from Royal Caribbean About Brilliance of the Seas

A picture is worth a thousand words and most vacationers, including cruisers, pack their cameras and camcorders to capture their travel highlights. Passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas probably caught more dramatic images than they anticipated last Sunday as the ship encountered heavy weather while making its way to Alexandria, Egypt.

Captain William Wright, Senior Vice President of Marine Operations for Royal Caribbean International, explains what happened during Brilliance of the Seas' approach to Alexandria, Egypt on Sunday morning in the video below. An official statement by Royal Caribbean that follows further outlines the incident, the extent of passenger injuries, and compensation for the passengers who had completed six days of the twelve day cruise itinerary.

"Royal Caribbean International continues to assess the serious incident guests and crew onboard Brilliance of the Seas experienced early Sunday morning as the ship was sailing to Alexandria, Egypt.

During Brilliance of the Seas' approach to Alexandria, the ship experienced extreme wind and sea conditions, including heavy seas and 70 knot winds, nearly double what had been forecasted. The combination of the wind and sea conditions resulted in severe ship movement.

Some guest injuries were reported, the most serious of which were two guests with fractures. The medical facility onboard is fully operational and our medical team is diligently caring for guests.

The severe ship movement caused damage to some public areas and a loss of electricity in some staterooms. Aesthetic damages to the ship's interior have caused the closure of three public venues for the remainder of the sailing: the beauty salon, video arcade and disco. There has been no impact to the ship's operating systems or engines and the ship continues to be fully seaworthy.

Because of the inclement weather, Brilliance of the Seas was unable to call in Alexandria, and instead proceeded to the next port of call, Valetta, Malta, where it will arrive on Tuesday [ed note: yesterday] at 7:00 a.m. The ship will conclude its sailing in Barcelona, Spain on Friday, as scheduled. Subsequent cruises will sail as scheduled and the ship will not require a dry dock, as repairs are underway.

As a gesture of goodwill, and to thank guests onboard Brilliance of the Seas for their understanding during this difficult situation, Royal Caribbean International has provided guests with an onboard credit, as well as a full refund of their cruise fare paid for the sailing.

Royal Caribbean understands that this has been a frightening experience for our guests and crew, and our officers and crew onboard Brilliance of the Seas will make every effort to ensure that the remainder of the cruise is as enjoyable as possible.

Brilliance of the Seas is sailing on a 12-night itinerary that departed Barcelona, Spain with port calls in Sicily (Palermo), Italy; Athens (Piraeus) and Rhodes, Greece; Alexandria, Egypt and Valetta, Malta."
In an ABC News video report yesterday passengers were interviewed coming ashore in Malta. One young man who clung to his upper berth during the storm described it as an adventure, while others related a near "mutiny" on board when a Royal Caribbean rep announced the $200 on board credit being offered. That discontent subsided when the cruise line offered full refunds. When asked if they would use their refund to take another cruise, at least one woman responded, "Of course... but I might wait a while."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cruise Wear: Look So Right in a Sarong

Cruise Diva is always on the hunt for new apparel items to add to her cruise wardrobe and has discovered the Boomerang Sarong: a Sarong So Right™ and ideal for cruise travel. These figure flattering sarongs can be worn day or night—at the beach and as a pool cover-up on board, or even for dinner with a coordinating solid color top. Where ever you wear one, you'll feel fashionable, comfortable, and dressed just right.

One thing that has always bugged me is the big knot that is required to keep a sarong in place. With a Boomerang Sarong, there's no wrapping, no tying, no bulky knots, and no unwanted opening. You have to see them to appreciate how beautiful and functional they are.

The "SEA ISLE" collection offers light weight quality sarong-skirts in batik, floral, smoked, Celtic, and animal print designs ($48, plus shipping & handling). Each Boomerang Sarong is handmade in the United States from 100% quality lightweight rayon. The exotic fabric designs were handcrafted by artists on the islands of Bali and Java, Indonesia. using the ancient art of Batik.

The "RIVIERA" collection offers premium quality sarong-skirts in six beautiful designs ($58, plus shipping & handling). Premium Quality Rayon Artisan Batik Sarongs are made by Balinese experienced in the art of Batik. They are made of a heavier, higher thread count rayon and the colors are deeper and richer. Most of these sarongs are a triple process batik, as opposed to
the more common single and double process batiks.

With the holidays just around the corner, one of these would make a lovely gift for the cruising women on your list.

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Cruise Review: Celebrity Century

The review of a first-time cruisers' experience aboard Celebrity Century reveals unmet expectations on a short Western Caribbean itinerary and some misconceptions about cruise travel.

Identified only as Robindebbieusa in email to Cruise Diva, the reviewer says, "My purpose for writing this review is to try to help someone else who is in a similar position to me, having travelled extensively and stayed in very nice hotels but considering giving a short cruise a try. If you are determined to try, my recommendation is to go with a much newer ship with better facilities and to reserve a large cabin with balcony."

Robindebbieusa also shares, "Finally, I am noting some tips/information which are not a direct criticism of Celebrity as I would think all cruise liners are the same but they caught us by surprise and might be useful for anyone who is new to cruising."

We hope they will give cruising another try and agree with some of their advice for new cruisers.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cunard Appoints the Line’s First Female Captain

Many passengers are anxious to meet their ship's captain and some eyebrows may be raised when they are greeted aboard Cunard Line's Queen Victoria by Captain Olsen.

When Inger Klein Olsen assumed command of Queen Victoria on Wednesday, Dec 1st, she made history by becoming the venerable shipping line's first female captain. Captain Olsen’s first task at the helm of Queen Victoria was to take the ship, without passengers, to drydock in Hamburg for its planned refit. Next Wednesday, Dec 15, she will be on the bridge as the ship sets sail with a full complement of guests.

Forty-three-year-old Captain Olsen was born and raised in the Faroe Islands, which accounts for her maritime abilities, and she joined Cunard in 1997 as First Officer on board Caronia. In 2001 she transferred to the Seabourn fleet, which at that time was part of Cunard. She sailed on Seabourn Sun and Seabourn Spirit before being promoted to the rank of Staff Captain on Seabourn Pride in 2003. Following some years with other companies within the Carnival Corporation group, Captain Olsen returned to Cunard in August this year as Deputy Captain of Queen Victoria.

“While we are far from being the first shipping company to have a female captain, it is nonetheless noteworthy when such a long-established British institution as Cunard makes a break with its captaincy tradition,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard. “But as Mark Twain drily observed, 'the folks at Cunard wouldn't appoint Noah himself as captain until he had worked his way up through the ranks.’ Inger has certainly done that,” Shanks continued, “and we are delighted to welcome her as our first woman driver.”

Olsen will helm Queen Victoria during the ship's debut Americas season, commencing from New York to Los Angeles on Jan 13. During the first 17-day voyage, the ship will call on Ft. Lauderdale and Bonaire, transit the Panama Canal, and visit three ports in Mexico—Huatulco, Acapulco and Manzanillo—before arriving into Los Angeles on Jan 30, 2011. Captain Olsen, who lives in Denmark, will take her leave on Feb 13.

Queen Victoria's Americas season continues until March 18, and features several transits through the Panama Canal, four calls to Los Angeles, two roundtrip voyages from Los Angeles to Hawaii, and one Getaway voyage to Mexico. For more information about Queen Victoria, go to or Cruise Diva's Queen Victoria Preview.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Celebrity Cruises To Introduce More Avant-Garde Features On Celebrity Silhouette & Celebrity Reflection

How do you make the best even better? Celebrity Cruises believes you break the rules, stay ahead of the curve, and provide what vacationers want most.. often before they even say they want it. That belief is vividly reflected in the distinctive, luxurious, vacation-enhancing venues Celebrity will introduce on the fourth and fifth ships in its award-winning Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection.

"We recognize that consumers' vacation time is precious, and that's what drives us to continually create new and unique experiences that enhance their rare time away," said Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "The host of honors our Solstice Class and Millennium Class have won have been incredible validation of that commitment, and on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection, we're capitalizing on the opportunity to further elevate our onboard offerings, particularly in our Solstice Class' iconic Lawn Club, and with our wildly popular AquaClass category of accommodations and its exclusive specialty restaurant, Blu. Initially, we planned to introduce these exciting new enhancements only on Celebrity Reflection, but to our delight, our outstanding partners at Meyer Werft were able to also deliver every new feature with the exception of AquaClass Suites on Celebrity Silhouette."

New AquaClass Sky suites highlight expanded accommodations
Driven by high demand for Celebrity's industry-first AquaClass category of spa-inspired accommodations, and by way of an additional deck being added to Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity will introduce on that ship the line's first AquaClass Suites, each offering 251 square feet of luxurious interior space and spacious 57-square-foot verandas, and all the amenities associated with Celebrity's AquaClass accommodations, including exclusive and complimentary access to the highly-rated specialty restaurant, "Blu," noted for inviting, modern design and flavorful, healthy, clean cuisine. The new suites also will offer the luxurious 24/7 butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet. In addition to the 34 new AquaClass Suites, Celebrity Reflection also will present an additional eight luxurious new Sky Suites, 19 additional plush ConciergeClass staterooms, and 11 additional inside staterooms, bringing the stateroom/suite total to 1,515.

Maintaining Celebrity's best-in-class, premium space ratio and lauded traffic flow, Celebrity Reflection will offer an additional 245 loungers on the expanded pool deck to suit the increased overall guest capacity, as well as 45 additional seats in the Celebrity Theater, 118 in Oceanview Café, 24 additional seats each in Blu and in Tuscan Grille, four more in Qsine, and 40 additional seats in the main dining room, where Celebrity also offers Celebrity Select DiningSM, the industry's first flexible dining option allowing guests to choose when they wish to dine on a flexible, day-by-day basis.

The Lawn Club
Inspired by the popularity of its iconic, industry-first Lawn Club, Celebrity will leverage its brand pillars of outstanding dining experiences, enriching activities, relaxation and pampering, and modern design to offer vacationers on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection significantly expanded opportunities to eat and drink, relax and lounge, and participate and socialize within the inviting space.

The Lawn Club Grill
Both Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection will present "The Lawn Club Grill," the industry's first outdoor, interactive grill venue. A new, exceptionally social specialty dining option overlooking the lush lawn and soothing sea, The Lawn Club Grill will boast a design likely to be the envy of novice and experienced chefs alike, with gleaming stainless steel grills and other appliances, custom pizza-making tables and large ovens.

By day, in addition to a casual lunch menu highlighted by a variety of high-end burgers, the venue will present interactive demonstrations and classes focused on pizza-making - including the art of dough-tossing - grilling secrets, mouth-watering marinades and more, led by Celebrity's own chefs, as well as guest chefs participating in Celebrity's "Savor Your Destination" program.

By night, in a particularly unique twist, guests will have their choice from an array of top-quality meats to either grill themselves, side-by-side with Celebrity's chefs, or have grilled to order. A nominal surcharge will apply. Complementing the dinner experience will be libations ranging from wines, beer and sangria, all consistent with the casual nature of the 56-seat restaurant.

The Porch
With its chic, Hamptons-style design, modern furnishings, and creative use of natural light, all complemented by the enticing aroma of fresh-baked breads and pastries, The Porch will be the idyllic spot for quick, simple, casual and complimentary breakfasts and lunches. The intimate, 48-seat venue will be the perfect place to enjoy complimentary fresh pastries, salads, paninis and other sandwiches, in addition to specialty coffees, beer and wine, all enhanced by views of the lawn and sea.

The Art Studio
With one of the world's largest corporate collections of contemporary art exhibited across its fleet, and given the enthusiasm guests expressed when the line introduced the industry's first art tours to be offered on an iPad®, Celebrity will further appeal to its guests' love of art in "The Art Studio" within the area of The Lawn Club. There, experienced and novice artists alike can participate in intimate, hands-on instruction from experts in drawing, painting and beading, as well as the art of food, with plating, tastings, mixology and other culinary-themed classes. The Art Studio also will present exclusive, intimate pairing dinners hosted by guest chefs participating in Celebrity's Savor Your Destination program.

The Alcoves
For a private retreat overlooking the lawn, ocean and coastlines, Celebrity also will present within The Lawn Club "The Alcoves," eight exclusive, cabana-style settings, each designed for two to four guests. Each of The Alcoves on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection will offer WiFi for guests who want to stay connected while relaxing, themed picnic baskets and an a la carte beverage menu. The Alcoves will be available as partial or all-day rentals. Adjacent to The Alcoves, guests will find eight inviting hammocks and two whimsical, oversized Adirondack chairs, each offering complimentary, additional opportunities to relax amidst the atmosphere of the lawn and sea.

Michael's Club
Celebrity's history and future will converge in Michael's Club - a venue found on every Celebrity ship - where the line will present on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection a restyled, casually elegant bar where vacationers can sit back and enjoy the comfortably sophisticated atmosphere while watching the World Cup games and sipping a Chimay Blue.

Across the Celebrity fleet, Michael's Club offers an impressive selection of rare malts, whiskies and scotches. Building on that tradition, the "new" Michael's Club on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection will add an equally impressive selection of more than 50 beers, including flavorful craft beers, and will allow guests to participate in engaging experiences such as ideal food and beer pairings, how to pour the perfect draft, or how to select the proper beer glass, all while snacking on homemade, gourmet potato chips and bread sticks, and fresh, lightly-spiced caramel popcorn, amidst a vibe of live music and cool playlists, or major international sporting events airing on the venue's large, 46" TV screens.

The Hideway
Guests seeking a particularly quiet spot to get away from it all can do so in a new venue inspired precisely by that interest. "The Hideaway" on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection will provide a high-tech escape for vacationers relaxing with their iPads or perhaps trying out a new Apple product from the Celebrity iLounge, or a low-tech retreat for reading a good book. Inspired by the live trees suspended within the Grand Foyer of every Solstice Class ship, the design of The Hideaway reflects that of an upscale, avant-garde tree house, with cozy, intimate lounging "nests," or niches.

The Solstice Class Difference
"We are constantly dedicated to building every aspect of the Celebrity vacation experience around what vacationers want most during their precious time away, and the greatest validation of that commitment has been the response to our stunning Solstice Class," said Hanrahan. "We're eager to have our guests continue to experience all the distinctive attributes of those stunning ships, as well as the new offerings they have inspired on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection. We are confident all of this will further solidify our leadership role in the industry and keep vacationers coming back."

In addition to the innovative new venues and experiences, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection will join sister ships Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Eclipse in offering:

•The hip "Celebrity iLounge" that made Celebrity Cruises the industry's first Authorized Apple Reseller
•Uniquely unordinary "Qsine," the first seagoing restaurant to feature a menu and wine list on an iPad®, and an engaging food-as-theater dining experience
•Ten unrivaled restaurants - in addition to "The Lawn Club Grill" and "The Porch"
•Modern, stylish interiors designed by some of the world's best architects and designers, including Adam Tihany
•Cool nightclubs and lounges, including CellarMasters, complete with the industry's first installation of the innovative Enomatic wine serving system
•One of the broadest and best wine offerings in the industry, served by one of the world's largest staffs of certified sommeliers
•One of the world's largest permanent collections of original contemporary art, and the industry's first self-guided art tours to be presented on an iPad®
•Top-tier entertainment, including custom aerial production shows and live music
•The extensive array of fun, entertaining and enriching onboard programming offered through "Celebrity Life," including games, instruction on the latest iPods®, MacBooks® and iLife® classes; language learning through Rosetta Stone®; comparative wine tastings with Riedel Crystal, and enrichment presentations with Smithsonian Journeys.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Seabourn Sojourn: At Sea

From the moment we stepped board Seabourn Sojourn, we felt the difference. We weren’t mere passengers—we were guests. We’ve learned the true meaning of pampering as the staff aboard Seabourn Sojourn has spoiled us with constant, yet unobtrusive service. While Mel and I consider ourselves low key and low maintenance, the crewmembers have gone out of their way to satisfy our every whim—even whims we didn’t know we had. The Coffee Bar in Seabourn Square now stocks Mel’s favorite Scotch and I get my iced coffee just the way I like it. When the specialty coffee maker (nicknamed Dolores by Simon from South Africa) was on the blink for a day, the baristas went out of their way to have coffee available for anyone who stopped by for a cup. That’s “her” pictured here—I promised to share a photo when she was up and running again.

Every crewmember, from officers on down to security and maintenance workers pass us with a smile and a pleasant greeting. When returning to Seabourn Sojourn following a day ashore we have been greeted with a sincere “welcome back.” Toiletries in our suite bathroom are never allowed to run out before replacements appear and room service arrives promptly and just as ordered.

After experiencing such conscientious service and attention to detail, we hope we can adjust to life back at home. In our household, it’s our feline companions (Elvis and Priscilla) who are the pampered ones, but we may just have to find a way to change that to the Seabourn way of doing things.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Seabourn Sojourn: At Sea

Food and cruise travel just naturally go hand-in-hand and for us the breadsticks symbolize the excellence of the meals on Seabourn Sojourn. Everyone loves them and every night they are perfect—crispy and flavorful. They’re so good that many guests would like to take the breadstick baker home with them.

Seabourn Sojourn has four restaurants. The Restaurant is the main dining room where the atmosphere is stylish and elegant, but not stuffy and the menus are diverse and interesting. The Colonnade is the daytime buffet for breakfast and lunch and features themed bistro dining such as French, Italian, Midwestern, Spanish, and Indian, as well as alternative steak and fish offerings with table service, either inside or al fresco, each evening. The Patio Grill is poolside with salads, burgers, and other favorites at lunch and table service on most evenings when grilled steaks and seafood are featured. Innovative tasting menus in the reservations-required Restaurant 2 include seven sensibly portioned courses served in a casual, friendly style. And, of course there is room service which is set up with flair—and crisp tablecloths—en suite.

Wines chosen to complement each meal have proven to be very good and we’ve enjoyed trying a wide variety of new vintages.

Come to think of it there is another spot we’ve frequented quite often that might be overlooked in the food department—in addition to coffee, tea, and bar beverages, the Coffee Bar in Seabourn Square serves sandwiches, ice cream, cookies, and cakes from about 6am to 6pm. It’s difficult to pass by without stopping for a snack. We’ll certainly miss it when we debark Seabourn Sojourn day after tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Seabourn Sojourn: “Caviar in the Surf”

As we tendered ashore for Seabourn’s signature “Caviar in the Surf” Beach Barbeque our expectations were high and they were met from the moment we stepped on the dock at Isla Catalina. To say that the officers and staff of Seabourn Sojourn know how to throw a party is an understatement.

Whether full sun or shade was your preference, there were lounge chairs available beneath umbrellas (or not) for either choice. Stewards circulated amongst the guests offering cold beverages, icy towels, sun screen lotions, and spritzing us with cooling mists. For water sports fans there was snorkel gear, kayaks, water skiing, banana boat rides, and even a sedate paddle boat.

Seabourn Sojourn’s culinary staff prepared a superb barbeque that not only featured burgers and dogs, but also shrimp skewers, steak, and lobster and enough side dishes to satisfy even the largest appetite. Oh yes, and there was ice cream for dessert.

However, the biggest draw on the beach was the arrival of caviar and champagne. Announced by Seabourn Sojourn’s horn, the ship’s officers zipped toward shore on zodiacs, hopped into the water (in their uniforms) and began serving their guests.

As is the case with all good things, our carefree day at the beach came to an end, but not before I was told just to leave used towels and empty glasses where they were. From the thoughtfully provided Molton Brown lotion in the bathrooms to the endless supply of… well… whatever we wanted, it was an unforgettable day of pampering and fun in the sun.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Seabourn Sojourn: A Day in St. John

Perhaps my expectations were a bit too high due to St John’s reputation as the idyllic unspoiled US Virgin Island, but I admit to being somewhat under whelmed by our time there. After tendering ashore to Cruz Bay from Seabourn Sojourn we shared an open-air taxi ($6 per person each way) with some fellow passengers to Trunk Bay beach where the admission charge is $4 per person. The facilities are very adequate, including a snack shop, showers and bathrooms, as well as a shop where rental snorkel gear, beach chairs, and lockers are available. We found the beach itself a lovely place to enjoy the tranquil views; however, it’s quite narrow in spots and was beginning to fill with people as noon approached.

For the ride back to Cruz Bay we found ourselves the sole occupants of another open-air taxi and the driver graciously made several stops at scenic outlooks for us to take pictures. It was really difficult to take a bad shot. The shopping in Cruz Bay was more plentiful than expected, but our day ashore was somewhat short as Seabourn Sojourn’s scheduled departure was 3pm. As we waited for a tender pierside we relaxed beneath the shade of a Seabourn canopy set up for our comfort and cooled off with icy towels and bottled water provided.

Back at sea there’s more going on than in the past few days. After a sail-away ice cream social where the Ballroom Couple Dima and Anastasia performed, I took advantage of a lull before dinner to do some laundry. Two complementary launderettes are located on Deck 5, each with two washing machines and clothes dryers and two ironing stations. I found the machines empty, but was soon joined by another passenger who’d also packed light and planned ahead to do laundry. While the machines churned away, we relaxed in a shady spot aft on Deck 5 beside the swimming pool and twin whirlpools. Although there is no bar adjacent to the aft pool area, stewards keep a cart stocked with soft drinks and water and occasionally make a pass through to offer chilled fruit punch and ask if they can bring anything else.

With the laundry caught up and put away, it’s time to fully relax once again and enjoy the second half of our cruise aboard Seabourn Sojourn. Tomorrow should be a highlight as we head ashore for Seabourn’s signature “Caviar in the Surf” Beach Barbeque.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Seabourn Sojourn: A Day in St. Kitts

Although we’ve visited St Kitts in the past we’ve never really ventured outside Basseterre, the capital and port city. This time we chose “The Best of St. Kitts” shore excursion offered by Seabourn in order to see the island properly. After a drive through town, our first stop was in the middle of a rainforest at the Botanical Gardens of Romney Manor. Not merely beautiful, the site also holds historic significance to Americans since it was once owned by Sam Jefferson, the great-great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. The gardens are luxuriant with a variety of greenery and flowers, but it couldn’t compare with our next stop at Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (pictured here).

High atop Brimstone Hill is Fort George, where visitors are invited to watch a short video recounting the building of the fortress in 1690 and the subsequent struggles that took place there among the British and French colonial powers. The trek up the stone steps is tricky, but well worth the effort. From there, views of the lush green countryside only stop at the brilliant blue sea. The fort is definitely a must-see on any tour of St. Kitts.

Seabourn Sojourn is docked in the commercial Deep Water Port as there are two large cruise ships at Port Zante, from which the center of town is a short stroll. When our tour ended back at the pier, we caught the courtesy shuttle that runs every 15 minutes to take us to the shopping area. Very convenient and much appreciated.

Once back on board Seabourn Sojourn we have another delightful (and delicious) dinner to look forward to as well as a show featuring the Seabourn Singers.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Seabourn Sojourn: A Day in St. Barts

Since we’ve been to St Barts several times, instead of spending a lot of time ashore today, I plan to take advantage of one of the semi-undiscovered spots to relax aboard Seabourn Sojourn. All the way forward on Deck 6 is a door leading to the bow and a seldom used hot tub. While at anchor today, it’s the perfect perch with the island’s lush green hillside as a backdrop.

Otherwise, there’s not a lot on the schedule today. Our shipmates will be pleased to find two trivia challenges, but there are no ballroom dance classes. I managed to trick Mel into participating in one the other day and he developed his own unique style of cha-cha that looks vaguely like a odd version of the shag.

After dinner we’ve been drawn to the Observation Bar where Lisa, the pianist from Jasper, Tennessee, plays everything from Broadway show tunes to Elvis favorites. The atmosphere is delightful and the music never too loud to drown out conversation. It’s our choice as the ideal spot for a nightcap.

Tonight though, there’s flambé being served poolside and dancing under the stars as Seabourn Sojourn doesn't raise the anchor to leave St Barts until 11:30pm, which offers anyone who wishes to do so the opportunity to dine ashore in one of the fine French restaurants.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Seabourn Sojourn: A Day in San Juan

One of the beauties of our Seabourn Sojourn itinerary is that we are in port on days when other cruise ships aren’t. We’re sharing the dock in San Juan with only one other ship, Regent Seven Seas Voyager, and there isn’t a mega-ship in sight. With beautiful weather and Old San Juan totally uncrowded, we took the opportunity to visit to both forts, San Cristobal and El Morro, and do a bit of window shopping. While the city is very walkable, there is also an on-and-off trolley that stops at most spots of interest.

After a few hours ashore we were happy to be back home aboard Seabourn Sojourn. Something I’ve never encountered before is that each passenger has been issued a Port Identification card with passport information and the security picture that was taken upon embarkation on it. Used as a photo ID for seamlesss admittance when returning to the terminal gate to reboard the ship, it’s very handy. And, inserted into the case that also holds our room key, it’s all we need ashore. Well, except for some spending money and a credit card, of course.

One of our favorite spaces aboard Seabourn Sojourn has turned out to be Seabourn Square on Deck 7. The coffee bar at the entrance is popular not only for the assortment of freshly brewed coffee drinks and tea, but also for small sandwiches and baked treats available throughout the day. The library shelves are well stocked with a variety of books and the computer center, Guest Services, and Destination Services are located there as well. However, the most sought after person in Seabourn Square is the Cruise Sales Specialist, who is available to assist passengers with booking their next Seabourn cruise.

Aft of Seabourn Square is an open deck area with comfortable seating and a view of Seabourn Sojourn’s wake. One side is the lone designated cigar-smoking area and it has become quite a popular spot with smokers all day and into the evening, although there is no bar service there after 6pm. Whenever I lose track of Mel, I know where to find him.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Seabourn Sojourn: At Sea

Nothing defines cruise travel like a day at sea and we have two of them to start our sojourn through the Caribbean as well as two to end it, with daily port calls in between. Although Seabourn Sojourn sailed “full,” with only one empty suite (someone missed the embarkation in Port Everglades), it’s never a problem finding a spot to relax, either by the pool or in the lounges. We arrived fairly last minute for the show last evening and seats were still plentiful. Performed by the Seabourn Singers & Dancers, the show was “I Write The Songs,” a tribute to the songs of three beloved singer/songwriters: Billy Joel, Elton John, and Barry Manilow. The Grand Salon is an ideal setting for staging this style of cabaret as the audience can closely connect with the artists.

The daily schedule consists of only a dozen or so daytime activities and nighttime entertainment is low key, but the staff is working their magic to make everyone on board feel right at home. As first-time Seabourn passengers, I was a bit concerned that we might feel a bit out of place among a high number of repeaters. While there are many repeat passengers aboard, a whopping 65% of us are sailing with Seabourn for the first time and we’re loving it. It’s impossible to pass a crewmember without a smile and a greeting.

In a bit of a misunderstanding, our pre-cruise documents stated there would be one Black-Tie Optional evening, but the schedule actually includes two formal nights. With my tendency to over-pack, we’re prepared, but it’s something you might keep in mind when booking a Seabourn cruise. Last evening was formal and not many tuxedoes were in evidence. With the luggage weight restrictions imposed by the airlines, most men packed a dark suit or sport coat instead and women leaned toward cocktail attire instead of gowns. It was a most comfortable and festive evening, with delicious Maine lobster tail on the menu.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Where’s Cruise Diva? Aboard Seabourn Sojourn

“This Is My Yacht”—that’s what the documents say for the Yachtsman’s Caribbean cruise on Seabourn Sojourn and I’m setting out to discover if that’s true. So far, so good. Embarkation in Port Everglades was a snap and we settled into our verandah suite after a short wait in the Grand Salon where we enjoyed snacks and beverages.

When the luggage arrived, it became apparent how generous the storage spaces are on Seabourn Sojourn. Even with the clothing we packed for a 10-day cruise put away in the walk in closet and drawers, there is room for more in a cabinet at the foot of the bed. At first it appeared that storage might be tight in the bathroom because there are only two small shelves on the wall beside one sink and a “medicine” cabinet that is oddly located on the wall behind the double-sink vanity. We made it work when we discovered more shelves beneath the vanity. The only problem we’ve encountered is the confusing array of knobs that control the rain shower head and hand-held shower wand, although I had better luck figuring them out than Mel did.

With everything organized, we headed topside for the sailaway party. As we bid farewell to Fort Lauderdale, we began meeting our shipmates and discussing the possibility of joining them for trivia—a serious pursuit aboard Seabourn yachts. It appears we’ve chosen the right voyage for our first Seabourn experience—one where we’ll find relaxation in good company with fair skies and calm seas.

Cruise Diva invites you to join us for the next ten days as we visit San Juan, St. John, St. Kitts, St. Barts, and splash in the water off Isla Catalina for Seabourn’s signature champagne and caviar in the surf party. We’ll also spend four relaxing days at sea and hope you’ll follow along here on the blog as we discover what makes a Seabourn cruise so popular with the many repeat passengers on board.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The King’s 75th Birthday Celebrated on Carnival Fascination with Fourth Annual Elvis Cruise

Once again Carnival partnered with Elvis Presley Enterprises and Sixthman to produce the Elvis Cruise, this year celebrating The King’s 75th birthday. The 4-day voyage set sail earlier this month on the Carnival Fascination from Jacksonville, Florida.

Hosted by Elvis’ longtime friend Jerry Schilling, the cruise attracted 1,800 Elvis fans who enjoyed entertainment by a number of musical artists, including original members of Elvis’ own TCB Band and performances by winners of the last three Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contests: Shawn Kush, Brandon Bennett, and Bill Cherry.

In addition, guests had the opportunity to preview a special screening on a new Elvis documentary called “Homecoming: Tupelo Welcomes Elvis Home,” along with never-before-seen clips of The King. Another highlight was the unprecedented opportunity to hear Elvis’ stylist and close personal friend, Larry Geller, share many personal stories and memories.

For more information, visit

Carnival Fascination operates 4-, 5- and 7-day sailings to the Eastern Caribbean and Bahamas year-round from Jacksonville.