Monday, October 31, 2011

Dawn Princess Update for Passengers Departing on Nov 1, 2011

Princess Cruises Advisory For Embarking Passengers

Dawn Princess experienced a fault with the propulsion motor on her return to Sydney. This required the ship's current voyage to operate at reduced speeds, resulting in a late arrival time into Sydney on Oct 31. Therefore the departure for the Nov 1 cruise aboard Dawn Princess is expected to be delayed. The safety and security of our passengers and crew is our priority and we appreciate your patience while we assess the issue.

Due to the late arrival embarkation has been delayed. To ensure a smooth start to your voyage, we operate a staggered check in schedule according to deck. Please do not arrive at the pier prior to your scheduled check in time as you will not be permitted to enter the port due to security reasons.

• Passengers on the Aloha, Plaza, and Riviera Decks (Stateroom starting with the letters A, P, or R) should arrive at 5:00pm.
• Passengers on the Caribe and Emerald Decks (Stateroom starting with the letters C or E) should arrive at 6:00pm.
• Passengers on the Baja and Dolphin Decks (Stateroom starting with the letters B or D) should arrive at 7:00pm.
• All passengers are required to be onboard by 7:30pm.
Again, we appreciate your patience and we look forward to welcoming you aboard Dawn Princess.

Polishing Queen Mary 2’s Crown Jewels

Queen’s Grill
Upon her launch, Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 was the world’s largest passenger ship. Although she can no longer claim that title, she is still the grandest liner at sea and Cunard Line is making sure she retains that distinction by planning a refit in preparation for her eighth birthday in January 2012. With major refurbishments and redesigns of carpets, curtains, bed covers, and linens, and other enhancements, a luxury cruise vacation will be even more appealing aboard the Queen Mother of the venerable British line.

Commodore Club
To ensure that the latest changes will complement the ship’s signature elegance and glamour throughout, Cunard has again partnered with the noted Tillberg Design AB in Höganäs, Sweden, the company involved in Queen Mary 2’s original design. Taking place at Blohm + Voss Shipyards in Hamburg, Germany, from Nov 24 through Dec 7, the major soft goods refurbishments will comprise all staterooms, Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, the Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants, the Commodore Club, the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, Sir Samuel’s, the Play Zone/Kids’ Zone, and a complete redesign of the Golden Lion Pub. The 14-day refit will require a team of thousands of workers replacing the equivalent of almost ten football pitches of carpet and manufacturing about 18 square miles of fabric into over 6,000 individual items.

Specific plans include:

Staterooms: All 1,310 staterooms aboard Queen Mary 2 will receive a fresh look with new carpeting, curtains, and beddings, and some will receive new furniture. The revised design will be in keeping with current designs but with an enhanced sense of luxurious comfort, as can be experienced in luxury hotels around the world.
Golden Lion Pub: With its increasingly popular traditional British pub lunch menus, busy bar, televised sports events, and nightly music offerings, the pub will benefit from a complete refurbishment and redesign to enhance its endearing appeal. Pictured below, the new design retains the British pub atmosphere and also evokes an American country club feel similar to the warm colors and plush seating in the same venues aboard sister ships Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Upgraded television screens will also be installed.
Canyon Ranch SpaClub: An extensive refurbishment of the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea will include the teak surrounds of the hydrotherapy pool and adjacent wet areas, and a general upgrade of all the facilities. In addition, new exercise machines in the fitness centre and new and improved features in the Beauty Salon will be installed.
Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants: A new, lighter carpet design for both of Queen Mary 2’s exclusive Grill restaurants will enhance the existing ambiance, maintaining the reputation of these fine dining venues as among the best at sea or on land.
Commodore Club: One of the most visited public rooms aboard Queen Mary 2, this breathtaking lounge overlooking her bow will be refreshed with a new carpet design and additions to the white leather furnishings of chairs, sofas and bar stools.
Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar: A popular space especially on Transatlantic Crossings, this venue featuring the exquisite Veuve Clicquot brand of champagne will see a new carpet and soft furnishings design.
Sir Samuel’s: This busy venue which features specialty coffees during the day and an impressive menu of wines at night, will receive a new compliment of carpeting and furniture coverings.
The Play Zone/Kids’ Zone: Cunard’s first-rate facilities for younger guests will undergo a complete refurbishment, including new soft play areas, plus upgrades to the very latest in electronic gaming technology and entertainment.
Golden Lion Pub, above and right
 
Carpeting of public areas, central walkways and landings on Decks 2 and 3,which began with the ship’s last refit in 2008, will also be completed. In addition to the current major refit, when Queen Mary 2 returns to service on Dec 8th, she will introduce several new on board features, details of which will be disclosed soon.

Queen Mary 2 is an iconic leader in the world of luxury ocean travel and continues to receive high ratings by guests and the cruise industry,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “A ship that still turns heads everywhere she goes, she is unquestionably the pride of our fleet. We are committed to maintaining that impeccable reputation, and this significant refurbishment is an important investment on behalf of our guests.”

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

Artists Renderings Courtesy of Cunard Line

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Norwegian Gem Rescues Storm Tossed North Atlantic Sailors

At 10 am yesterday, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Gem responded to a call from the US Coast Guard, who had received a distress notification from Sanctuary, a 39-foot sailboat, stating that they had large breaking waves over the bow, had lost power and their life raft, and were taking on water. Sanctuary was located approximately 350 nautical miles from New York in the North Atlantic Ocean, two hours away from Norwegian Gem, the closest vessel in the area. Norwegian Gem’s Captain Hakan Svedung immediately diverted course to rescue the four men and one woman aboard.

Upon reaching the Sanctuary, Norwegian Gem encountered extreme weather conditions with wind force up to 40 knots and large swells, making it challenging to launch the ship’s rescue boat. Once in the water, the rescue boat made contact with the sailboat and quickly transferred the five occupants who were Canadian citizens.

At approximately 2 pm, the sailboat passengers and rescue team were all safely aboard Norwegian Gem. The ship, which was returning from Bermuda, continued on its route back to New York and arrived today, Sunday, October 30 at approximately 8:30 am, 30 minutes later than the scheduled arrival. The five Sanctuary passengers will be disembarked in New York.

“This rescue operation was conducted under extremely difficult circumstances,” said Captain Svedung. “I am proud of our crew who braved their lives to rescue the five people in distress.”

Photo Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Carnival Valor & Carnival Legend To Sail Original Itineraries

October 29, 2011 (1:00pm) Update from Carnival Cruise Lines

Due to weather related concerns, yesterday Carnival Cruise Lines issued revised itineraries for three ships: Carnival Legend, Carnival Valor, and Carnival Dream. We just received word that Carnival Legend and Carnival Valor will return to their originally scheduled itineraries. Please scroll down to see the schedules below.

NOTE: Scroll down for additional cruise line itinerary alterations.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cruise News: Carnival Cruise Lines’ Weather-Related Itinerary Changes For The Upcoming Weekend

Following are changes Carnival Cruise Lines is making to this weekend’s departures due to inclement weather caused by Rina.

CARNIVAL VALOR: 10/30/11 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Miami)

Revised Itinerary                Original Itinerary
10/30 – Miami                     10/30 – Miami
10/31 – At Sea                   10/31 – At Sea
11/1 – Ocho Rios                 11/1 – Grand Cayman
11/2 – Grand Cayman           11/2 – Roatan
11/3 – At Sea                     11/3 – Belize
11/4 – Cozumel                   11/4 – Cozumel
11/5 – At Sea                     11/5 – At Sea
11/6 – Miami                       11/6 – Miami

CARNIVAL DREAM: 10/29/11 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Port Canaveral)

Revised Itinerary                 Original Itinerary
10/29 – Port Canaveral         10/29 – Port Canaveral
10/30 – Nassau                    10/30 – At Sea
10/31 – At Sea                    10/31 – Cozumel
11/1 – St. Thomas                11/1 – Belize
11/2 – St. Maarten                11/2 – Roatan
11/3 – At Sea                       11/3 – Costa Maya
11/4 – At Sea                       11/4 – At Sea
11/5 – Port Canaveral             11/5 – Port Canaveral

CARNIVAL LEGEND: 10/30/11 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Tampa)

Revised Itinerary                 Original Itinerary
10/30 – Tampa                    10/30 – Tampa
10/31 – At Sea                    10/31 – At Sea
11/1 – At Sea                      11/1 – Cozumel
11/2 – Grand Turk                11/2 – Belize
11/3 – Falmouth (Jamaica)     11/3 – Roatan
11/4 – Grand Cayman            11/4 – Grand Cayman
11/5 – At Sea                      11/5 – At Sea
11/6 – Tampa                      11/6 – Tampa

NOTE: Scroll down for additional cruise line itinerary alterations.

Splendour of the Seas Is the Latest Royal Caribbean Ship To Receive Revitalization

When Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas begins a five-week long dry dock at the Navantia ship yard in Cadiz, Spain, she will be the latest vessel in the fleet to receive an array of new amenities. The revitalization is part of the Royal Advantage, the line’s commitment to offer the world’s most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to popular destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service.

Included in the new amenities onboard Splendour of the Seas will be new dining venues: Chops Grille, Izumi, the Boardwalk Dog House, Chef’s Table, and the Park Café; the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, a Diamond lounge for Crown and Anchor loyalty guests, a Concierge Lounge for suite guests and upgraded technology throughout. In addition the ship will receive 124 new balconies and a host of new stateroom amenities including flat panel televisions. Other features being added to Splendour include ship-wide WIFI, a digital way finding system, electronic mustering and an outdoor movie screen. Other enhancements to Splendour will be announced in the coming weeks.

With the $35 million dry dock refurbishments complete, on Nov 25, Splendour of the Seas will sail a transatlantic voyage from Lisbon, Portugal to her seasonal homeport of Sao Paulo (Santos), Brazil. From there she will offer a variety of South American itineraries that take advantage of the summer season in the southern hemisphere. For additional information, visit RoyalCaribbean.com.

Image Courtesy of Royal Caribbean Intl.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

So Many Cruise Ships, So Little Room

With Hurricane Rina (now downgraded to tropical storm status)causing port cancellations and itinerary changes in the Western Caribbean yesterday, Nassau, Bahamas experienced its busiest port day ever.

Seven—yes, count 'em!—seven cruise ships tied up in Nassau Wednesday, Oct 26, and The Nassau Guardian reports that 25,000 passengers streamed ashore. In order to accommodate so many ships (three were unexpected diversions), space was created at the piers by using special structures placed 300 feet out into the water.

NOTE: Scroll down for cruise line itinerary alterations.

Cruise News: Royal Caribbean Says No Hurricane Rina Itinerary Changes

Royal Caribbean International Statement
Royal Caribbean is closely monitoring the path and progress of Hurricane Rina to ensure guests enjoy safe and comfortable cruises, and to make certain our ships steer clear of the storm. The safety of our guests and crew is always our foremost concern.

Given Hurricane Rina current location and projected path, Royal Caribbean has not altered the itineraries of any ship that departs today, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Updates will be issued as required.

NOTE: Scroll down for additional cruise line itinerary alterations.

Cruise News: Carnival Cruise Lines’ Itinerary Changes

Due to the forecasted path of Hurricane Rina, for the safety of passengers and crewmembers aboard Carnival Ecstasy, Saturday’s scheduled call at Cozumel, Mexico has been canceled and replaced with a call to Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico.

Carnival Ecstasy Revised Itinerary
10/27/11 Thursday: Depart New Orleans, LA at 4:00pm
10/28/11 Friday: At Sea
10/29/11 Saturday: Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico 8:00am to 5:00pm
10/30/11 Sunday: At Sea
10/31/11 Monday: Arrive New Orleans, LA at 8:00pm
Carnival Destiny will also cancel a port visit to Cozumel and substitute calls at Nassau and extended time in Key West.

Carnival Destiny Revised Itinerary

10/27/11 Thursday: Depart Miami, FL at 4:00pm
10/28/11 Friday: Key West, FL 7:30am to 4:00pm
10/29/11 Saturday: Nassau, Bahamas 11:00am to 10:00pm
10/30/11 Sunday: At Sea
10/31/11 Monday: Arrive Miami, FL 8:00am
NOTE: Scroll down for additional cruise line itinerary alterations.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cruise News: Disney Cruise Line Avoids Hurricane Rina in the Western Caribbean

Disney Cruise Line Statement
Disney Cruise Line advises that with Hurricane Rina moving through the Western Caribbean and the prediction that it may be near Key West on Sunday, they have modified the itinerary of the Oct 29th sailing of Disney Magic to include ports of call a safe distance away from the storm.

Due to the possible impact of the storm on Western Caribbean ports over the next few days, the revised itinerary will be as follows:

Saturday – Port Canaveral
Sunday – Day at Sea (Formal Night)
Monday – Day at Sea (Halloween)
Tuesday – St. Maarten (Pirates IN the Caribbean)
Wednesday – Tortola
Thursday – Day at Sea (Semi-Formal Night)
Friday – Disney's Castaway Cay
Saturday – Port Canaveral
The safety and well-being of our guests and crew members is our highest priority, and we always monitor approaching weather systems closely and are prepared to alter our ship's courses and itineraries to navigate away from severe weather. Guests currently booked on the Oct 29, 2011, sailing of Disney Magic may call 1-800-939-2784 for more information. Other ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet are unaffected by this storm system.

NOTE: Scroll down for additional cruise line itinerary alterations.

Cruise News: Hurricane Rina Alters Celebrity Cruises & Norwegian Cruise Line Itineraries

Celebrity Cruises’ Statement
Celebrity Cruises is closely monitoring the path and progress of Hurricane Rina to ensure guests enjoy safe and comfortable cruises, and to make certain our ships steer clear of the storm. The safety of our guests and crew is always our foremost concern.

Due to the forecasted path of Hurricane Rina, Celebrity Cruises is altering the itinerary for the Celebrity Millennium sailing that departs Thursday, Oct 27. Celebrity Millennium will now call at Key West, Florida, on Friday, from 7:00am to 5:00pm, so that guests may have more time to enjoy the port of call. The ship will spend Saturday, Oct 29, at sea, instead of calling to Cozumel, Mexico. On Sunday, Oct 30, the ship will call on Nassau, Bahamas, from 8:00am to 5:00pm and return to the Port of Miami, on Monday, as scheduled.

No other Celebrity Cruises ship’s itinerary is currently being affected by Hurricane Rina. Celebrity Cruises will continue to closely monitor weather conditions and will update this information if there are any additional itinerary alterations due to the storm’s projected path.

Norwegian Cruise Line Statement
At Norwegian Cruise Line, the safety and security of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance. Therefore, the company is closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Rina.

Norwegian Star cancelled her call to Belize City, Belize today and is spending the day at sea. The ship is expected to call Belize City, Belize on Thursday, Oct 27. Norwegian Star’s scheduled call to Cozumel on Friday has been cancelled. Instead, the ship is expected to call in Costa Maya, Mexico.

Norwegian Spirit is expected to call Belize City, Belize as scheduled on Thursday, Oct 27. On Friday, Oct 28, the ship will cancel her call to Cozumel, Mexico and spend the day at sea.

Norwegian Pearl will cancel her calls to George Town, Grand Cayman on Thursday, Oct 27 and Cozumel, Mexico on Friday, Oct 28. Instead, the ship will visit Nassau, Bahamas on Friday, Oct 28.

All sailings departing on or after Friday, Oct 28 continue to operate as scheduled. If any further changes are necessary, guests will be notified.

Cruise News: Hurricane Rina Alters Itineraries

Hurricane season isn't "over" until Nov 30th, but that doesn't necessarily mean there will be a let-up of storm activity in the Caribbean any time soon. The National Hurricane Center indicates that Hurricane Rina could gather enough strength to make it a Category 3 hurricane today as it makes a northwestward turn toward the Yucatan Peninsula and Cozumel. As the storm moves near or over the eastern Yucatan Peninsula tomorrow, it is expected to dump 8 to 16 inches of rain on the area, including Cozumel, through Friday.

A few more cruise ship itinerary alterations we've learned about (see Carnival Cruise Lines' changes below):

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas will not call in Cozumel on Friday as scheduled. Instead, the ship will visit Nassau, Bahamas.

A colleague aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Star reports that the ship will stay at sea today instead of making a scheduled visit to Belize City, Belize. The ship will try to call at Belize City tomorrow.

Princess Cruises has canceled Island Princess' Friday call at Grand Cayman in favor of Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Celebrity Cruises has altered Celebrity Millennium's itinerary; however, we have no specific details yet.

Carnival Liberty Shows Off “Fun Ship 2.0” Enhancements

She's back at sea. Carnival Liberty–the first ship to undergo the initial phase of Carnival Cruise Lines’ recently announced $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement initiative–re-entered service this week following an extensive two-week dry dock that added a host of new dining, bar and entertainment features, including:

Guy’s Burger Joint, a new free casual dining venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality and restaurateur Guy Fieri offering hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries in a fun atmosphere that celebrates his California roots and love of car culture.
• RedFrog Rum Bar, (pictured here at left) a poolside version of the line’s popular RedFrog Pub that debuted on Carnival Magic, offering a quintessential Caribbean island vibe and specializing in Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's private label draft brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
• BlueIguana Tequila Bar, featuring a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and a variety of tequila-based frozen drinks and beers.
• BlueIguana Cantina, a casual eatery that evokes the feel of a fun, relaxed Mexican beachside dining spot serving authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas.
• EA SPORTS Bar, created in tandem with the leading sports videogame brand where guests can catch the latest action and play popular EA SPORTS video games on a 16-screen video wall.
• Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” with imaginative cocktails and a wide array of ingredients.
• A revamped nightclub experience with DJs trained by celebrity song master DJ IRIE, Carnival’s official DJ who created DJ IRIE’s Spin’iversity, the first DJ academy at sea.

In addition to the Fun Ship 2.0 features, Carnival Liberty’s dry dock also included new carpeting, tile work, wall coverings, and furniture, as well as other cosmetic upgrades and routine maintenance. A Serenity adults-only retreat was also added and offers colorful umbrellas, comfortable chaise lounges and chairs, and oversized whirlpools.

Carnival Liberty operates year-round 7-day cruises from Miami, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean cruises include the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas/St. John, San Juan and Grand Turk, while the western route features Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios or Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay–Roatan, and Grand Cayman.

Photo: RedFrog Rum Bar, Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cruise News: Norwegian Cruise Line's Hurricane Rina Update

Tropical Weather Statement

At Norwegian Cruise Line, the safety and security of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance. Therefore, the company is closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Rina.

Depending on the speed and path of the storm, we may have to alter some itineraries. Guests onboard will be notified and the Norwegian web site will be updated if any changes are made.

Cruise News: Carnival Cruise Lines' Hurricane Rina Updates & Itinerary Alternations

Carnival Cruise Lines continues to closely monitor Hurricane Rina in the Caribbean. As always, the safety of their guests is the number one concern and their ships will maintain a safe distance from the storm at all times.

All sailings departing on or after Thursday, Oc 27, 2011 will operate as scheduled. In the event they need to make a deviation to the itinerary, guests will be updated. Until that time, following are deviations to current sailings.

HURRICANE RINA ITINERARY CHANGES
Updated: October 25, 2011

CARNIVAL FREEDOM: 10/22/11 Departure (8-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale), Revised Itinerary
10/22 – Fort Lauderdale
10/23 – At Sea
10/24 – Cozumel
10/25 – At Sea
10/26 – Montego Bay
10/27 – At Sea
10/28 – Grand Turk
10/29 – At sea
10/30 – Fort Lauderdale

CARNIVAL INSPIRATION: 10/22/11 Departure (5-day cruise from Tampa), Revised Itinerary
10/22 – Tampa
10/23 – At sea
10/24 – Cozumel
10/25 – Progreso
10/26 – At sea
10/27 – Tampa

CARNIVAL DESTINY: 10/22/11 Departure (5-day cruise from Miami), Revised Itinerary
10/22 – Miami
10/23 – At sea
10/24 – Ocho Rios
10/25 – At Sea
10/26 – Nassau
10/27 – Miami

CARNIVAL LIBERTY: 10/22/11 Departure (7-day cruise from Miami), Revised Itinerary
10/22 – Miami
10/23 – At Sea
10/24 – Cozumel
10/25 – At Sea
10/26 – Ocho Rios
10/27 – Grand Turk
10/28 – At Sea
10/29 – Miami

CARNIVAL LEGEND: 10/23/11 Departure (7-day cruise from Tampa), Revised Itinerary
10/23 – Tampa
10/24 – At Sea
10/25 – Belize
10/26 – Cozumel
10/27 – Progreso
10/28 – At Sea
10/29 – At Sea
10/30 – Tampa

CARNIVAL VALOR: 10/23/11 Departure (7-day cruise from Miami), Revised Itinerary
10/23 – Miami
10/24 – At Sea
10/25 – Cozumel
10/26 – At Sea
10/27 – Grand Cayman
10/28 – Ocho Rios
10/29 – At Sea
10/30 – Miami

CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: 10/24/11 Departure (5-day cruise from Galveston), Revised Itinerary
10/24 – Galveston
10/25 – At sea
10/26 – Cozumel
10/27 – Progreso
10/28 – At Sea
10/29 – Galveston

CARNIVAL IMAGINATION: 10/24/11 Departure (4-day cruise from Miami), Revised Itinerary
10/24 – Miami
10/25 – Key West
10/26 – At Sea
10/27 – Nassau
10/28 – Miami

Three New Legendary Performers To Set Norwegian Epic Rockin’ & Gaga

When Norwegian Epic returns to her winter season Miami homeport to sail 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises, in addition to passengers the next three "Legends" to perform as part of Legends in Concert will also be on board. The tribute artists are performing as some of the world's most recognized entertainers—Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler, and Elvis Presley.

Legends in Concert on Norwegian Epic features three celebrity tribute performers taking the stage in the Epic Theater for six 45-minute shows over three days during a seven-day cruise. In addition, a Legends “Unplugged” show is performed on three additional nights in the Manhattan Room, the ship's New York-inspired supper club, providing an unprecedented dining and entertainment experience. The celebrity performers change every four months, keeping the show fresh. The last performers were Shakira, Elton John, and Whitney Houston.

"Legends in Concert continues to be a guest favorite. We are excited to present Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler, and Elvis as our next round of tribute artists," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "With Norwegian Epic returning to its homeport in Miami, this is the perfect time to debut these talented performers as they appeal to music fans of all ages."

Who The Legends Are
A staple on the Las Vegas' center strip for over 25 years, Legends in Concert is known as the pioneer of live tribute shows and has assembled the greatest collection of live tribute artists and celebrity look-alikes in show business.
Portraying the latest ‘lady’ of pop is no easy feat, but Kate Steele (channeling Lady Gaga above) is no stranger to the "Legends in Concert" family. A Minnesota native, she has been performing for nine years as a singer/dancer in many of the Legends’ venues across the country. Steele is thrilled to perform as Lady Gaga, as she can combine all of her talents into one performance.

Chris Van Dahl is an award-winning impersonator whose compelling showmanship and young Tyleresque appearance and swagger quickly landed him his first record deal in his early-20s. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Van Dahl started performing at age 11 and has gone on to share the stage with the real-life Steven Tyler and Aerosmith, as well as the Rolling Stones, among others.

The first ‘Legend’ to return to Norwegian Epic, Leo Days performed with Norwegian Epic’s inaugural Legends in Concert cast last year. Days is one of the few Elvis tribute artists who performs all three eras of Elvis, including the rock ‘n’ roll ’50s, the movies and the comeback special of the ’60s, and the Vegas and concert years of the ’70s. Days won his first tribute artist contest when he was 15 years old.
Norwegian Epic’s 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises will depart every Saturday, from Nov 5, 2011 through April 7, 2012. Ports of call include St. Maarten, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and Nassau, Bahamas, as well as three days at sea. For additional information, visit NCL.com.

Photo Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Monday, October 24, 2011

Carnival to Feature Hasbro, The Game Show

As part of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Fun Ship 2.0, a multi-year initiative valued at more than $500 million, it will create Hasbro, The Game Show, under license from Hasbro, Inc. The new series of interactive productions and entertainment activities, based on the popular Family Game Night television show from The Hub, will debut on Carnival Breeze in 2012 and are planned to be rolled out to several other ships in the fleet over the next few years.

Hasbro, The Game Show will put guests right in the middle of their favorite Hasbro games. Six main games are to be featured: Sorry Sliders, which involves a giant shuffleboard court; Simon Flash, where two teams of four guests wear giant light-up color boxes and must shuffle themselves quickly to repeat a color sequence; Yahtzee Bowling, with a giant ball and larger-than-life-sized bowling pins; Operation, which is set up like a skee-ball board where contestants try to get the balls into different slots on the “patient’s” body, and Connect 4 Basketball, which uses a basketball setup rather than the traditional checkers to play.

Each show will end with a Monopoly Deal inspired grand finale. As guests win each challenge, they will receive a debit card. At the end of the game, contestants insert their cards into a giant “ATM” that dispenses oversized Monopoly money — whoever receives the most Monopoly money wins. Winners receive Hasbro or Carnival branded prizes.

Guests can qualify to star in Hasbro, The Game Show by answering Trivial Pursuit trivia questions in order to qualify as contestants for the main shows, or through Guesstures, where guests will be videotaped around the ship during the cruise doing charades with the resulting video used during the shows. Each game show will be scheduled multiple times per cruise, both as evening entertainment and as matinees, providing guests several opportunities to attend.

“Our guests love fun, participatory experiences and these larger-than-life adaptations of Hasbro’s beloved and iconic games and brands will add some fantastic new entertainment and activity choices that we know are going to be hugely popular with our guests,” said Mark Tamis, Carnival’s senior vice president of guest operations.

In addition to Hasbro, The Game Show, many beloved Hasbro brands will be integrated into Camp Carnival’s decor and programming. Sports action brands, NERF and SUPER SOAKER and everyone’s favorite spud, MR. POTATO HEAD, will be “on board” to help create fun and surprising ways to inspire play for Carnival guests of all ages.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Sunday, October 23, 2011

150 Central Park Chef's Table Preview

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas will soon have a new chef at the helm of its upscale 150 Central Park restaurant. 150 Central Park by Michael Schwartz on Oasis will launch Oct 29, 2011, with new pairs of menus rolling out every three months during the year-long collaboration. Even though Chef Schwartz hasn't taken full command of the galley yet, he's been on board getting ready and offers this behind the scenes advance preview of his Chef's Table menu.


Known for his commitment to sustainable and seasonal food sourcing at Miami’s Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, Chef Schwartz will offer his expertise as the cruise line selects and integrates local produce farmers into 150 Central Park’s supply chain.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cunard Says ‘I Do’ to Weddings at Sea

Had they only waited, Prince William and Kate could have avoided the crowds in London on their wedding day by celebrating their nuptials at sea. The very British Cunard Line, one of the oldest names in passenger shipping, will offer its guests the opportunity to be married on board for the first time in its 171-year history. Beginning Spring 2012, a cruise aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth will offer a selection of wedding packages, commencing after the World Voyages have been completed. After the fleet has been re-flagged and the homeport name on the sterns changed from Southampton to Hamilton, Bermuda (necessary for the marriage ceremonies to be legal), the Weddings Program will go on sale in December 2011, with expanded details available soon at Cunard.com.

On a luxurious cruise vacation aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, guests revel in the experience of the voyage itself, not just the destination. Newlyweds on board can enjoy activities such as the only planetarium and largest library at sea, white-gloved afternoon tea service, the engaging Cunard Insights enrichment program, and West End-style productions, as well as the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea. Or they can do nothing at all except relax with each other in an idyllic honeymoon setting.

Cunard Line has long been synonymous with the quest for new discoveries and the epitome of British refinement since the company's first paddle-wheeled steamer, Britannia, crossed the Atlantic in 1840. Cunard voyages bring together like-minded travelers who seek a civilised adventure and relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star Service, gourmet dining, and world-class entertainment. Today, Cunard offers the only regularly scheduled Transatlantic liner service and continues the legacy of world cruising which it began in 1922. The ships’ new registry and re-flagging won't change that any more than when ownership of the historic line passed to cruise industry giant Carnival Corporation. It’s just business.

Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line, said, “Most of our competitors have been offering increasingly popular and lucrative ‘Weddings at Sea’ programs, and these are now very big business in the cruise industry. We receive a lot of enquiries about the possibility of being married on one of our ships—particularly during our regularly scheduled Transatlantic Crossings on our flagship Queen Mary 2, which no other company can offer.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Royal Princess Keel Laying Marks Construction Milestone

This week’s keel laying marked a construction milestone for Princess Cruises’ new Royal Princess. As the keel—the bottommost part of the ship—was ceremoniously lowered into position in the building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, officials from Princess Cruises and the shipyard marked the occasion with a celebration and countdown to the ship’s debut in spring 2013.

Following a traditional blessing by a priest, the ship’s keel, which weighs approximately 500 tons, was moved into position by a huge crane onto the keel blocks (shown here). The computer-guided maneuver took only minutes, belying the more than two million man hours that will ultimately go into building the vessel. The 3,600-passenger, 141,000-ton ship will remain in the building dock until its float-out next summer.

“It’s always very exciting to mark this step in a ship’s construction, when several of the pre-built sections come together to form a new addition to our fleet, especially with a prototype design,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises who was present at the ceremony. He explained that Royal Princess’ evolutionary design will include some exciting new elements and expanded spaces, while maintaining the classic profile and popular features passengers have come to associate with Princess.

One of the most dramatic new design elements of Royal Princess is an over-water SeaWalk—a glass-bottomed enclosed walkway extending more than 20 feet beyond the edge of the vessel. From here passengers will enjoy dramatic views off the side of the ship and to the sea below. On the ship’s opposite side, an over-water SeaView bar will also extend over the waves to provide cocktails and unbeatable vistas.

On her top decks, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by seven plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two additional pools will flank a tropical island that will offer pool seating by day, and by night will become an outdoor dance club, complete with a dazzling water and light show. Princess’ signature adults-only haven, The Sanctuary, will be expanded both in size and amenities. The popular poolside theater, Movies Under the Stars, will play a starring role mid-ship with an expanded size and high-definition viewing.

Royal Princess will feature an expanded version of the company’s signature Piazza, the ship’s central atrium incorporating a myriad of dining, entertainment and retail experiences. And each of the vessel’s outside cabins will include a balcony, meaning 80 percent of all staterooms will offer this popular feature. Additional details about the ship will be released over the coming months, but we have a video preview below.


Image and Video Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Silversea Dangles A Few Tempting Details For World Cruise 2013

World Cruise. Those two words set dedicated travelers' hearts aflutter. To temp them a bit more than usual, Silversea Cruises has revealed a few tantalizing details of World Cruise 2013, which promises to be an epic journey from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale aboard Silver Whisper. Spanning 115 days, from Jan 5 to May 1, 2013, the voyage will cross the equator four times. Silver Whisper's World Cruise itinerary will follow the tropical belt to 52 destinations in 28 countries with overnight stays in several key ports. The warm-weather itinerary will explore an array of far-flung cultures and scenic wonders including New Zealand and Australia's remote west coast; the isles of French Polynesia; fascinating Asian cities of Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore; and Africa's rarely seen western coast.

At this time, members of Silversea's Venetian Society loyalty club can take advantage of priority reservations to reserve a suite for the entire 115-day voyage—before it is released to the general public.

Some world travelers prefer not to fly, so Silversea is offering the added convenience of a full North America-to-North America circumnavigation. Sailing between Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, the 115-day voyage features additional opportunities to embark or disembark in Fort Lauderdale, New York, and Southampton. The optional extensions are:

--Fort Lauderdale Embarkation: 16-day Panama Canal Holiday pre-cruise, Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, Dec 20, 2012-Jan 5, 2013
--New York Disembarkation: 3-day post-cruise leg extension from Fort Lauderdale to New York City, May 1-4, 2013
--Southampton Disembarkation: 15-day post-cruise transatlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton via New York City, May 1-16, 2013
A Host of Added-Value Amenities
In addition to all-inclusive fares, full World Cruise guests will enjoy an array of special amenities, from complimentary air or air credit and transfers to a generous shipboard credit. There will also be a magnificent World Cruise event ashore, a gala Bon Voyage reception, dinner and overnight at the exclusive Peninsula Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, commemorative gifts, Silver Shore Baggage Valet, and even laundry is included. The intimate Silver Whisper is the perfect escort to the far corners of the globe. She can sail along secluded waterways or into small harbors for authentic, life-changing encounters with nature, wildlife and the seldom-seen.

All-Inclusive Silversea distinctions include:
--Intimate, ultra-luxury ship for just 382 guests
--All-suite accommodations, over 80% with verandas
--Butler service for every suite
--Complimentary wines and spirits
--Included onboard gratuities
--Complimentary transportation to town (most ports)
"The itinerary for our World Cruise 2013 is an experienced traveler's dream," said Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America. "Guests will be able to visit some of the most exotic places on the planet, from Bali and Bora Bora to Madagascar and Tasmania, returning every evening to the comfort and all-inclusive luxury of Silver Whisper."

Silversea expects to open reservations for World Cruise 2013 to the general public in the next several weeks, when pricing and more details will be available at Silversea.com.

Image Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Norwegian Star Arrives in Tampa Homeport

Norwegian Star has arrived for the first time in Tampa, her new homeport through April 2012. This is also the first time Norwegian Cruise Line has based a ship in Tampa. The 2,348-passenger ship is sailing a series of 7-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 8, 2012 with stops in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; along with two sea days.

The 2,348-passenger ship underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2010. Norwegian Star features 10 Freestyle Dining options including Norwegian's signature French restaurant, Le Bistro; nine bars and lounges; a swimming pool with a kid's pool and five hot tubs; a complimentary kid's club and teen lounge; a casino; a full-service spa and salon; and a fitness center offering state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

Norwegian Star's extensive choice of accommodations is suitable for families on vacation to couples on a romantic getaway. Families of all sizes can choose from a large number of staterooms (including suites and mini-suites) that can interconnect to create multiple bedroom configurations, with a separate bathroom and shower. Couples may unwind in the luxurious Romance Suite with floor-to-ceiling doors that open to a private balcony, bedroom with queen-sized bed, and full bath with tub and shower.

“Tampa offers our guests another homeport choice in Florida, joining Miami and Port Canaveral. The newly-refurbished Norwegian Star offers all the benefits of Freestyle Cruising®, along with a port-rich itinerary to the Western Caribbean,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We look forward to a successful season in Tampa.”

Norwegian will continue to make Tampa its home in 2012 when Norwegian Dawn arrives on Nov 11, 2012 to sail 7-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 14, 2013. The 2,224-passenger ship will call on Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

For more information visit NCL.com.

Photo Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dream Cruise Ends In A Nightmare

Sadly, a 20-year old Carnival Dream passenger, who reportedly told authorities she was unaware of her pregnancey, gave birth aboard the ship last week and the newborn did not survive.

This isn't an uncommon occurance, although it usually takes place on land—cruise lines have very strict regulations when it comes to pregnant women sailing. The Carnival Cruise Lines policy states, "Pregnant women are only allowed to sail if pregnant for 24 completed weeks or less at time of cruise disembarkation. All pregnant women are required to produce a physician’s letter stating that mother and baby are in good health, fit to travel and the pregnancy is not high-risk. The letter must also include the estimated date of delivery (EDD)."

Apparently the young woman, who was on the cruise to celebrate a girlfriend's birthday, gave birth after Carnival Dream left Port Canaveral, Florida a week ago Saturday, Oct. 8, but before the ship reached St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands on Tuesday, Oct. 11. If that is accurate, the baby was dead for several days before it was found by a stateroom attendant when the ship reached St Maarten on Wednesday, October 12. After the gruesome discovery, authorities on the Dutch island were notified and the body was taken into custody for autopsy. The unidentified mother was detained for questioning, but the autopsy seems to have confirmed her story and she has since returned to the United States according to the FBI, who have taken over the investigation.

The FBI's Evidence Response team boarded the ship last Saturday, Oct 15, when Carnival Dream returned to its Port Canaveral homeport and agents searched two guest cabins and interviewed crew members and passengers.

Carnival Cruise Lines and Dutch authorities are cooperating with the FBI, but there are a lot of unaswered questions remaining about the events surrounding the newborn's death. Was it actually a late-term miscarriage? A still born? Why didn't the young passenger seek medical attention on board when she realized something was wrong? We hope to get answers when the investigation is complete.

Carnival Dream Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Monday, October 17, 2011

Celebrity Cruises Swaps Out Troubled Waters For Wine & A Bonus Free Sailing

Inspired by guest interest, and to continue to offer the best vacation experiences in Europe (not to mention avoiding areas of possible future conflict), Celebrity Cruises has modified a portion of its European lineup for 2012 to offer a series of new and distinct vacations designed to appeal to wine enthusiasts, as well as those who simply love the beauty and culture of the top-producing wine regions in Europe.

With six of its 11 ships (including the 2012 debut of Celebrity Reflection) sailing in Europe next year, Celebrity will have the newest hardware in the region, and the line’s already extensive itinerary portfolio in Europe—with new Venice homeport offerings and first-time Iceland and Fjords sailings—now will include seven exceptional wine-themed sailings, replacing several of the line’s previously announced Holy Land and Greek Isles/Turkey sailings from Istanbul in 2012.

From Sept 7 through Nov 18, 2012, Celebrity Constellation—which completed a $40-million “Solsticizing” renovation just last year—will present entirely new “Immersive Europe Wine Cruises” from Southampton, England. The new sailings opened for booking last Friday, Oct 14, 2011.

Here's The Bonus Freebie...
Celebrity Cruises’ unique Free 2-Night Constellation Cruise Fare Offer* invites guests to embark on a journey through the English Channel on a free* 2-night sailing departing Sept 5, 2012. On board Celebrity Constellation, guests will sail the historical English Channel as they cruise from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Southampton, England. In order to participate, travelers must simply book either Celebrity’s 12-night Scandinavia and Russia Cruise departing Aug 24, 2012 or the 12-night Immersive Europe Wine Cruise departing Sept 7, 2012. Travelers have the choice of sailing before or after the English Channel cruise. To take advantage of this offer, bookings must be made by Dec 16, 2011.

Now, back to the itinerary changes...designed to offer rich experiences in the classic wine countries of France, Spain, and Portugal, the new itineraries feature overnight stays in Le Havre (for Paris/Normandy) and Le Verdon (for Bordeaux), France, as well as Bilbao, Spain, allowing passengers ample time to enjoy tours and tastings at some of the region’s most renowned wineries, grape harvesting experiences, and gain in-person insight into how Port wine is blended and aged in Porto, Portugal. Celebrity’s onboard experience will reflect the flair and flavor of the region, too, with activities developed in partnership with local wineries, including Rioja tastings, Champagne brunches, Bordeaux samplings featuring up to five wines from well-known Chateaus, Port and food pairing dinners. Also included will be events in the ship’s Cellar Masters bar, complete with its “Enomatic” by-the-glass wine serving system. A seasonal wine package featuring special selections from the region will be added to Celebrity’s package offerings.

After departing from Southampton, Celebrity Constellation’s new wine-themed 12-night itineraries begin with three consecutive overnight stays: one each in Paris (Le Havre) and Bordeaux (Le Verdon), France, and Bilbao, Spain, and also feature visits to Vigo, Spain and Porto, Portugal. The sailings depart roundtrip from Southampton Sept 7 and 19; Oct 1, 13 and 25; and Nov 6 and 18, 2012. The ship’s 15-night transatlantic voyage from Europe to the U.S. now will depart Southampton Nov 30, 2012, with visits to Paris/Normandy (LeHavre), France; Lisbon, Portugal, and Tenerife, Canary Islands, ending in Miami, Florida.

At the same time, Celebrity is enhancing its presence in the Mediterranean on two of its Solstice Class ships—the new Celebrity Silhouette and flagship Celebrity Solstice—to offer more appealing experiences, with more ports in both Italy and Croatia.

Five previously announced Holy Land sailings on Celebrity Silhouette in 2012 have been modified to the following:

• 13-night Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruise departing Civitavecchia (for Rome) Aug 22, with calls on Naples/Capri and Catania, Sicily, Italy; Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Chania (Souda), Crete and Athens (Piraeus), Greece, and Valletta, Malta, ending with an overnight stay in Venice
• 13-night Italy and Croatia cruise departing roundtrip from Venice Sept 4, with visits to Koper, Slovenia; Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Greece; Valletta, Malta; and Sicily (Messina), Bari and Ravenna, Italy, ending with an overnight stay in Venice
• 12-night Adriatic cruise beginning Sept 17 with an overnight in Venice, and visits to Koper, Slovenia; Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Valletta, Malta; and Ravenna, Bari, Catania, Sicily, and Naples/Capri, ending in Rome (Civitavecchia)
• 12-night Italy and Croatia cruise departing Rome (Civitavecchia) Oct 11, with an overnight stay in Naples/Capri, in addition to visits to Bari, Ravenna and Catania, Sicily, Italy; Corfu, Greece; Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; and Koper, Slovenia, ending with an overnight stay in Venice
• 11-night Adriatic cruise beginning Oct 23 with an overnight stay in Venice, and including another overnight stay in Naples/Capri, with visits to Ravenna and Catania, Sicily, Italy; Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; and Valletta, Malta, ending in Rome (Civitavecchia)

Four previously announced Mediterranean cruises on Celebrity Solstice in 2012, roundtrip from Barcelona, Spain, also have been modified, to offer more ports in the Western Mediterranean, as well as an overnight stay in romantic Venice, as follows:

• 12-night Mediterranean departing May 11, with visits to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Ajaccio, Corsica; Provence (Toulon), France; Naples/Capri, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Florence/Pisa (La Spezia), in addition to the overnight in Venice, Italy
• 12-night Mediterranean departing June 28, with visits to Cannes/Monte Carlo, France; Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Florence/Pisa, Naples/Capri and Rome, in addition to the overnight stay in Venice
• 12-night Mediterranean departing Aug 15, and Oct 2, with visits to Kotor, Dubrovnik, Naples/Capri, Rome (Civitavecchia), and Malta, in addition to the overnight stay in Venice

With an eye on rewarding its most loyal guests, Celebrity is presenting an offer exclusively to Captain’s Club members: From Oct 14 to Dec 16, 2011, members who book any 9-night or longer Celebrity cruise vacation on any of the line’s six ships sailing in Europe in 2012 will receive an onboard credit of $400 per suite, $225 for each AquaClass or ConciergeClass stateroom, $175 for each veranda stateroom, and $125 for each inside or oceanview stateroom. Non-members get join in on the special offer, as well. In recognition of National Cruise Vacation Week, consumers who book any 9-night or longer Celebrity Europe vacation from Oct 14-23, 2011, will receive an onboard credit of $250 per suite, $200 per AquaClass or ConciergeClass stateroom, $150 per veranda stateroom, and $100 for inside or oceanview accommodations.

Guests with bookings on the newly modified European itineraries are being notified and have the option to retain their reservation on the modified sailing, move to another like sailing in a like category of accommodations, or cancel with a full refund. Guests with questions about the itinerary modifications also are welcome to contact Celebrity at 1-888-281-9343.

*Free 2-Night Constellation Cruise Fare Offer includes complimentary cruise fare only for the 2-night cruise; government taxes and fees are additional; standard gratuities apply. Full terms and conditions available here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Visit Fort Lauderdale Pre- or Post-Cruise

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) wants to invite you to visit before or after your next cruise from Port Everglades. As an enticement, they have launched a video to promote the area just in time for Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) National Cruise Vacation Week, scheduled for October 17-23.

Come along with Towel Turtle, one of the many whimsical animal figures that cruise ship stateroom attendants fashion out of bath towels to amuse passengers, to discover what Fort Lauderdale has in store for you.


Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, hosting 12 cruise lines and 45 ships, including the biggest in the CLIA fleet. Among the major lines calling the area home are: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn and Silversea Cruises.

To ensure that the millions of cruise passengers sailing from Port Everglades have every opportunity to stretch their vacations and enjoy added value, the CVB has a comprehensive “Cruise and Play” program featuring special offers and other incentives for choosing a pre- or post-cruise vacation in Greater Fort Lauderdale. More information is available on the CVB web site.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Carnival Cruise Lines & Maroon 5 Set to Rock Texas for Carnival Magic’s US Debut

Texans know everything is bigger in Texas (even if the rest of us don't), and following that logic Carnival Cruise Lines’ celebration for the U.S. debut of its newest ship, Carnival Magic is set to be a Texas-size event. Carnival has teamed up with three-time GRAMMY Award-winning band Maroon 5 (pictured here) to perform an exclusive concert to welcome the line’s newest “Fun Ship” to its year-round homeport of Galveston, Texas.

Carnival Magic, which entered service in May in Europe, will make its transatlantic voyage to arrive in Galveston on Nov 13. That afternoon, lucky invited guests will enjoy a performance by the globally recognized group known for hits like “Moves Like Jagger," “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved,” “Wake Up Call” and “Makes Me Wonder.” Free tickets for the event will be distributed through various channels, including Carnival’s Facebook page, which will feature a contest that asks fans to record a video of their best dance moves for a chance to win two tickets to the concert, along with round-trip airfare, hotel, ground transportation, and spending money. Tickets will also be given away through select Texas radio stations.

Adam Levine, Maroon 5 frontman and coach on the hit NBC series “The Voice,” said, “We’ve played every kind of venue imaginable across the world, but we’ve never helped to launch a new cruise ship. We’re excited to work with Carnival and to be part of the Carnival Magic celebration for fans in Texas.”

On Nov 14, Carnival Magic will launch its Caribbean cruise program which will feature two different week-long itineraries from Galveston, including 7-day western Caribbean voyages to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, and 7-day eastern Caribbean cruises to Nassau, Freeport, and Key West.

Maroon 5 Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Friday, October 14, 2011

Disney Fantasy’s Watery Delights

When Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship Disney Fantasy sets sail in March 2012 guests can splash and play in a brand new feature, the AquaLab. Pictured here, the water play area on deck 12 near the entrance to the AquaDuck water coaster is a fun and fanciful 1,800-square-foot space designed for families to frolic among pop jets, geysers, and bubblers.

This is Disney, so the story behind AquaLab is that it was created by Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and includes a variety of water “experiments” designed to drench the whole family. Children entering the AquaLab will see that the nephews are away for the time being, leaving the young cruisers in charge of the AquaLab. Through hand-painted notes left by the nephews, kids are put in charge of the AquaDuck water coaster. By turning wheels and moving levers at three wacky aqua stations kids “control” the speed and temperature of AquaDuck.

At a leaky wall, the water fun is all hands on deck as kids try to keep the water circulating by covering holes in squirting and spurting pipes with their hands. In another area, kids scramble to stop leaky pipes from filling Uncle Donald’s row boat with water. Water leaks and sprays from the Ducky Dinghy, suspended overhead, and as the boat fills a fish pops his head out of a bucket while everyone gets thoroughly drenched.

In addition to AquaLab, the Disney Fantasy features another new area for guests of all ages to cool off. On deck 12 forward, a wading pool with a fountain water feature and ample seating and lounge chairs under a canopy offer a respite from the sun.

Like her fleetmates, the Disney Fantasy isn’t just for kids. In addition to Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar, a new adult-exclusive area offers a retreat on the upper decks for guests 18 and older. At Satellite Sun Deck on deck 13 forward a brand-new water feature called Satellite Falls is a circular splash pool with benches and a gently falling rain curtain that provides cool comfort. Around this upper deck, adult guests can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a canopy. That’s where you’ll find me.

Images Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Get Ready to “Cruise Like a Norwegian” on Norwegian’s Newest Ship

Put your travel agent’s number on speed dial and get your credit card ready. Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,000-passenger Freestyle Cruising ship now under construction, is available to book by Latitudes members, Norwegian’s frequent guests, starting tomorrow, Friday, Oct 14, 2011. Bookings will open to the general public on Monday, Oct 17, 2011.

Norwegian Breakaway will sail a 7-day Transatlantic cruise from Southampton, England to New York City on April 30, 2013. Once in New York, the ship will sail a series of 22 7-day cruises to Bermuda beginning May 12 through Oct 6, 2013. Departing on Sundays, the ship will spend three full days on the beautiful island of Bermuda, along with three days at sea.

Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

What Is “Cruise Like a Norwegian”?

As a second-generation American of Norwegian descent (whose family arrived in the United States from Stavanger, Norway), Cruise Diva has a soft spot in her heart for Norwegians. Naturally I took my first cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line more than two decades ago. And naturally I chose the SS Norway for that first voyage.

You could say that I “Cruise Like a Norwegian,” and now you can as well. If you happened to be watching ABC television’s “Dancing With The Stars” this week, you might have seen a version of this advertising video:


You might be confused about what cruising like a Norwegian means, so here’s the background. Norwegian Cruise Line, which now prefers to be known simply as Norwegian, has unveiled a new brand platform and national advertising campaign, “Cruise Like a Norwegian.” The campaign is designed to celebrate the community of diverse vacationers who embody the freedom and flexibility inherent in a Norwegian Cruise Line Freestyle Cruising® vacation. Cruising like a “Norwegian” is for those who live life to the fullest, embrace new adventures, and are passionate about their experiences. In addition, the campaign marks Norwegian’s first return to network television advertising since 2008.

Norwegian suggests that their cruisers can “Dine like a Parisian,” “Surf like a Hawaiian,” “Party like a Brazilian,” “Chill like a Jamaican,” and “Love like a Venetian,” among other things. An original score “Let’s Go!” was created to accompany the video. Television advertising includes one 30-second and two 15-second spots running during prime time on the ABC and CBS television networks, as well as on seven national cable channels, including Travel Channel, HGTV, MSNBC, and Discovery Channel.

Their new brand platform comes to life on board Norwegian’s ships when guests are officially welcomed into the Norwegian community and can experience the “Cruise Like a Norwegian” themed Sail-Away Party and drink menu; all new White Hot Party with “Norwegian” elements; special “Cruise Like a Norwegian” photo and video opportunities; and a revised farewell show, so guests will continue to feel a part of the Norwegian community until their next cruise.

I just hope they don’t take it too far and start featuring the Norwegian “delicacy” lutefisk on the fleet’s menus.

Video Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“I Name this Ship Queen Elizabeth”

It doesn't seem like an entire year has passed since Cruise Diva traveled to Southampton to witness Her Majesty The Queen name Cunard’s new Queen Elizabeth during a spectacular ceremony on Oct 11, 2010. Not only was a new chapter in the history of Cunard opened that day, it was also the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Cunard Queen Elizabeths—perhaps the most significant ship name in the company’s history.

Queen Elizabeth officially entered service on Oct 12, 2010, and since then the third ship to bear this proud name has sailed 124,375 nautical miles. Her first year has also seen her carry 52,600 guests, many of whom enjoyed the experience so much that they have traveled several times with the ship already on 28 voyages to 107 different ports. She has transited both the Suez and Panama Canals, undertaken one World Voyage and 600 of her 1,000 crew currently on board were part of the delivery team. Queen Elizabeth spent Oct 11th at sea this year and a celebratory dinner was held on board.

The naming by The Queen was even more significant as Her Majesty was the only person able to claim presence at the launch of all three Elizabeths. She accompanied her mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, to the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth in 1938 and The Queen herself launched QE2 in 1967.

“Who could forget the magnificent spectacle in Southampton last year when The Queen graciously named our new liner, the second largest Cunarder ever built? A truly memorable occasion for all of us at Cunard and around the world, and one still talked about today,” said Peter Shanks, president, Cunard Line. “Queen Elizabeth has established herself as a firm favourite and I am very proud of both the ship and her crew,” he added.

Queen Elizabeth has also become one of the most celebrated ships to be introduced in recent years and has quickly established herself in the Cunard fleet continuing in style the line’s traditions established more than 170 years ago.

Image: Queen Elizabeth Naming Ceremony (c) CruiseDiva.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Seabourn Launches 'Seabourn Moments' Contest

Here's a chance for Seabourn guests to be rewarded for doing what many like to do the most—share their Seabourn cruise vacation experiences. The luxury line has launched a "Seabourn Moments" contest on Facebook, calling on the company's Facebook fans to share their most memorable Seabourn Moments. The top story based on the judging criteria will win the entrant a 7-day Seabourn cruise for two in 2012.

Your Seabourn Moment can be a unique experience that occurred onboard, or an example of Seabourn's staff going above and beyond during a voyage, or even an outstanding, unforgettable experience ashore. It can be a romantic or emotional moment, a humorous incident, or an exciting occurrence. Seabourn fans will vote for their favorites and then a panel of judges will select the winner from the top vote-getters. The "Seabourn Moments" contest will run from Oct 10 through Nov 7, 2011.

"Our guests have always told us about unexpected, exceptional moments they have experienced during their Seabourn cruises," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president, marketing and sales. "They are the ones who started calling them 'Seabourn Moments.' This contest will allow them to tell our Facebook community about what made their cruises unforgettable."

To enter, or for more details about the "Seabourn Moments" contest, visit Seabourn's Facebook page. First-time visitors can "like" Seabourn to see details or enter. Existing Seabourn fans simply click "Enter" and submit a story about their memorable Seabourn Moments. Between Oct 24 and Nov 7, 2011, all of Seabourn's Facebook fans will be able to read and vote for their favorite entries, and entrants can enlist their friends and families in voting for their entries. After the voting period closes, the five most popular Seabourn Moments will be submitted to a panel of judges who will determine the winner in November 2011.

No purchase is necessary to enter. Limit one entry per person, and every entry submitted will be posted on the page for Seabourn's Facebook fans to read. Some restrictions apply. The contest is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the United Kingdom and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are age 18 or older as of the date of entry. The contest is void where prohibited.

Image Courtesy of Seabourn Cruises

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ships Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy & Ahoy in Boston Harbor

Last Sunday, Oct 2nd, marked a milestone in Bean Town when Cruiseport Boston experienced its busiest cruise ship day since 2005 with four ships visiting port simultaneously. The four vessels—Carnival Glory, Crown Princess, Crystal Symphony, and Seabourn Sojourn—brought more than 7,000 passengers to Boston to wine, dine, shop, and sightsee in the historic city.

While the 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn (shown above) was at anchor in the inner harbor, the other three ships docked along Cruiseport Boston’s 3,000 foot pier. Those aboard Seabourn Sojourn were “tendered,” or brought to shore by small boats, getting off at Commonwealth Pier located at the World Trade Center in the Seaport District.

The last time four ships were in port simultaneously was on Oct 6, 2005, which was also the same day Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 came to Boston for the first time. The other ships that day were Crystal Symphony, Enchantment of the Seas, and Golden Princess.

“September and October are our busiest cruise months,” said Mike Leone, Port Director for the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport). “Boston is increasingly becoming a desired port of call on many cruise lines’ itineraries which provides good opportunity for local businesses.”

To welcome visitors arriving by sea, Massport in partnership with the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, created a new Cruiseport Boston map designed specifically for cruise passengers. The map shows walking routes to Boston’s popular destinations and the ease of access to downtown shops, restaurants, and other attractions from the cruise terminal.

Image Courtesy of The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cruise Travel News: Dengue Fever Health Advisory

Dr. Grant Tarling, Chief Medical Officer of Princess Cruises has issued the following advisory to Princess passengers.

"We would like to advise you of widespread activity of dengue fever reported throughout the Caribbean region. The disease is transmitted through mosquitoes which mainly bite during daytime hours. It is not transmitted from person to person. Symptoms of dengue typically develop 2-7 days after being bitten and include fever, headache, nausea/vomiting, and, in severe cases, bleeding problems.

The Bahamas reports the greatest activity over the past two months. In response, health authorities have instituted control measures such as fogging and spraying to reduce mosquito breeding sites on the islands including Princess Cays which is located on Eleuthera Island, Bahamas.

You can reduce your risk of infection by protecting yourself from mosquito bites by following these steps prior to going ashore:

•Apply insect repellent which contains one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin (KBR 3023), Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus/PMD, or IR3535. Limited quantities of insect repellent are available for purchase on board and on Princess Cays. The insect repellent should be applied on top of any sunscreen or lotion. Always follow the instructions on the label.

•Wear loose, long-sleeved shirt and long pants when outdoors to minimize the likelihood of being bitten.

Please regularly review the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, which contains additional and updated information, and the CDC dengue activity map.

If you experience any symptoms of dengue, please contact either the Medical Center or your doctor if you have already returned home. Remember to tell them about your recent travel. Thank you for taking the time to read this important information."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Norwegian Breakaway To Call New York, New York Home

It takes a lot to get New Yorkers to take notice, but Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was on hand with Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan yesterday to announce that that Norwegian’s new state-of-the-art 4,000 passenger ship, Norwegian Breakaway, scheduled for delivery in April 2013, will make New York City her year-round home port. Beginning in May 2013, Norwegian Breakaway—which will be the largest ship ever to home port in the City—will replace Norwegian Star, and embark on a minimum of 88 cruises from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal through March 31, 2015. The ship calls will bring an estimated 140,000 additional embarking passengers into New York City over two years, resulting in an estimated $35 million in additional direct spending.

“New York is not only one of our top markets, but also my hometown,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan. “Therefore, I am thrilled to announce that New York will be the year-round home for our next generation Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Breakaway. In addition, we are offering an exciting inaugural summer itinerary cruising to the beautiful island of Bermuda, a much sought-after summer destination.”

Norwegian Cruise Line broke ground (or parted the waters) as the first cruise line to homeport year-round in New York City beginning in 2003. Since then, the company has been committed to bringing its newest and largest ships to the Big Apple, with two ships calling in New York City since 2005. In 2013 alone, Norwegian Breakaway is expected to make 34 calls at Manhattan Cruise Terminal (MCT). Norwegian Gem will continue to call year-round at MCT as well, with an expected 47 calls, and Norwegian Star will make 15 calls in 2013 before being replaced. In total, Norwegian Cruise Line ships will bring approximately 285,000 embarking passengers into New York City in 2013, generating approximately $70 million in direct spending in the City, a $13.5 million increase due to the additional passengers on Norwegian Breakaway.

In addition, Norwegian also announced that pop icon and America’s most popular living artist, Peter Max, has been commissioned to paint the signature hull artwork for Norwegian Breakaway. This is the first time Norwegian has asked a well-known artist to paint the hull artwork on one of its ships. With paintings on exhibition in hundreds of museums and galleries worldwide, Peter Max and his vibrant colors have become part of the fabric of contemporary culture. Max has been successively called a Pop Icon and the United States’ "Painter Laureate." Max has achieved his place in history having painted for various Heads of State, including six U.S. Presidents.

Currently under construction at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Breakaway will be 144,017 gross tons and have 4,000 passenger berths. Norwegian Breakaway, and sister ship Norwegian Getaway (scheduled for delivery in April 2014), will take the best of the best from all of Norwegian’s existing ships, drawing on the line’s experience of having launched 10 ships in the past 10 years—starting with Norwegian Star and Sun in 2001 and culminating with the launch of Norwegian Epic in 2010. To date, the company has revealed details on all of the ships’ staterooms which combine the form and function of the line’s Jewel class ships’ staterooms with the modern and contemporary design touches of Norwegian Epic.You can find details about them here on the Cruise Diva blog at:

· Norwegian Cruise Line Begins “Project Breakaway” Reveal
· Norwegian Cruise Line Introduces “The Haven”
· “The Haven” by Norwegian: Posh Accommodations For Project Breakaway
· Norwegian Breaks Out More Project Breakaway Accommodations
Further information on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway can be found at NCL.com/Breakaway.

Norwegian Breakaway’s New York to Bermuda cruises are scheduled to go on sale to Latitudes members, Norwegian’s frequent guests, on Friday, Oct 14, 2011 and to the public on Monday, Oct 17, 2011.


Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Princess Cruises Award-Winning Blog Wraps Up The Year With “The Ocean”

Every week during the past year I’ve looked forward to reading the latest travel adventures on Princess Cruises’ blog “50 Essential Experiences.” Sadly, the year was up this week, but the final post is most appropriately entitled “The Ocean.” Written by Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations Rai Caluori, the story shares his top place, one that is close to the hearts of many of us. In his story, he describes how he “ran away to sea” and discovered his passion for the ocean.

Caluori writes: “I leaned against the railing and watched as Pacific Princess glided away from picturesque Acapulco Bay. It was evening and the vastness of the horizon, the inky night sky and endless sapphire waters made me think, this must be what eternity looks like. Just imagine how I felt. At last, I had found my home and my calling.” His words give me chills.

Princess Cruises didn't merely create a blog because it was the thing to do. Theirs had a purpose and the goal was to create an ultimate travel bucket list compiled of personal stories told by Princess’ own destination experts and they invited readers to participate as well. Each week the blog featured a “Reader Essential Experience.” I'm extremely proud that my experience The Hidden Value of Travel: Amsterdam, The Netherlands was chosen by Princess to share in the early weeks. In fact it was almost an entire year ago in October 2010.

“Twelve months ago we set out to create not just a list of places, but instead a collection of experiences that we hoped would inspire others,” said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president. “We think the resulting list is remarkable not only for its scope of destinations, but also for the insights our authors shared about their lifelong memories. The amazing array of 50 stories touch 36 countries on six continents, and we’re so grateful to our employees who contributed them.”

Since it debuted in October 2010, the popular 50 Essential Experiences blog has received more than 2.6 million page views and more than 5,000 reader comments, making it one of the most popular blogs in the industry. The authors included a wide assortment of Princess employees from the president and CEO, and the commodore of the Princess fleet; to cruise directors and hotel general managers working onboard; to shoreside employees in areas including itinerary planning, hotel operations, shore excursions and sales. Travelers can now download a copy of the full list to use as inspiration for their own travel bucket planning.

In a special bit of serendipity that caps their year-long collection of inspiring travel stories, Princess has received a 2011 Gold Magellan Award from Travel Weekly magazine for its “50 Essential Experiences: The Travel Bucket List.” The award recognized their blog for its high standard of excellence within the travel industry.

Once again, we applaud Princess with not only a good read, but a valuable travel tool. We haven’t gotten word of their plans for the future, but hope to see their blog continue on the journey they began fifty weeks ago.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fun Ship 2.0, the Details, the Schedule

When the lights dimmed and Cruise Diva had some more time to examine Carnival Cruise Lines' Fun Ship 2.0 initiative, a few points became clear. Interestingly we received this comment from our reader Sharaz. "I think Carnival is updating their ships to what guests expect—fun vacation at a value price. Very smart to not charge extra for these amenities—it does differentiate them from other lines. Also, making the dining, entertainment options the same across all the ships is going to help their brand as well."

While the new features are indeed engaging (and mostly free!), unfortunately, there's a problem with the sameness. As I discovered while scrutinizing the Implementation Schedule, don't look for all the changes across the fleet right away. Once known for their consistency—for instance Carnival passengers could count on having 24-hour room service, plus great pizza and a water slide on every ship—that expectation met with a subtle change when enhancements were made to Fantasy-class ships in the past few years. While the "Evolutions of Fun" initiative introduced new features to some of that ship class, the ships themselves didn't all "evolve" equally. Balconies were added to some and not others.

So, when can you expect to see the Fun Ship 2.0 features aboard your favorite Carnival ship? And what will they be? Implementation begins with Carnival Liberty and when she emerges from drydock in late-October 2011 she will have some, but not all, the 2.0 elements. For instance Carnival Liberty will not immediately offer Punchliners Comedy Club and Brunch presented by George Lopez or have a Library Bar, although we suspect the entertainment features will be added as soon as possible. It will be a year before Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory emerge from drydock with even more of the elements, but still lacking a Library Bar. The program continues through 2015 and we have the Implementation Schedule on CruiseDiva.com. We also explain the Details with images of the new spaces.

We certainly agree with Sharaz that the new features will enhance the Carnival brand. The line is certainly getting a lot for their half-billion dollar investment and future passengers will reap the rewards.

Image: Guy's Burger Joint, Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines