Thursday, August 31, 2017

Royal Caribbean/Port of Galveston Update

Royal Caribbean Statement

We received some good news from the Port of Galveston yesterday. The U.S. Coast Guard has opened the Port to vessel traffic in specific areas. Port officials anticipate Liberty of the Seas should be able to return to Galveston on Friday morning.

Houston airports are also slowly getting back up and running. Authorities at George Bush International Airport and Hobby Airport expect to resume full service by this weekend. We will continue to monitor both airports and encourage you to visit fly2houston.com for the most up-to-date information.

If you are driving to Galveston, you can check the latest information on road conditions at the Texas Department of Transportation website, conditions.drivetexas.org/current.

James Van Fleet, Chief Meteorologist for Royal Caribbean International, continues to keep an eye on the situation in the Galveston/Houston area.

We understand that some guests may not feel comfortable joining the ship on Sunday, September 3, once we arrive to Galveston. If you have any questions about your upcoming Liberty of the Seas sailing, or if you are coping with significant storm impacts that affect your ability to take your cruise, please call us at 1-800-256-6649.

Carnival Cruise Line/Port of Galveston Update

Carnival Cruise Line Statement

The Port of Galveston has reopened with certain operating restrictions.

Carnival Valor and Carnival Freedom departed New Orleans yesterday afternoon and have resumed course to Galveston. Carnival Breeze spent last night in New Orleans and will start making her way to Galveston on Thursday evening.

Carnival Freedom is expected to dock on Friday and debark guests from its previous cruise. Embarkation for the September 2 voyage will take place on Saturday.

Carnival Valor will also arrive in Galveston on Friday to disembark guests. As previously mentioned, the August 31 sailing of Carnival Valor has been cancelled. However, the September 4 sailing will operate as scheduled.

Carnival Breeze is scheduled to arrive on Saturday morning to disembark guests from the previous cruise. Embarkation for the September 3 sailing will take place on Sunday.

We are in the process of finalizing docking and check-in times for this weekend’s sailings. We will update this page as soon as our plans have been confirmed.

To stay up to date on any changes that may affect your upcoming cruise, we encourage you to sign up for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).
Carnival Freedom 09/02/17 - CCL1
Carnival Valor 09/04/17 - CCL2
Carnival Breeze 09/03/17 - CCL3

Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation & Chairman Micky Arison’s Family Foundation to Donate $2 Million to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Carnival Cruise Line, and its parent company, Carnival Corporation, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging a minimum of $2 million to relief and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2004.

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation, are each donating $500,000 to Harvey disaster relief efforts, for a total donation of $1 million from the company. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine are matching the corporation’s commitment with a $1 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.

To help generate additional relief funds, cruise guests sailing on certain Carnival Cruise Line cruises will have the option to make a donation when they check in for their cruise, while the corporation’s brands and employees will be participating as well.

“Our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, and all of us throughout the Carnival Corporation family feel a responsibility to do our part in supporting relief and rebuilding efforts in a region that we call home and where so many of our guests and business partners live and work,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We are very committed to the Gulf Coast as a vibrant and special part of the North American cruise industry, and our commitment will remain as strong as ever during the region’s recovery process. We know this storm is still active, so we will continue to hold positive thoughts for everyone in the region while exploring ways to support affected communities as they recover and rebuild.”

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation are working together with emergency response authorities, community leaders, and key relief and recovery organizations to identify the most urgent needs and immediate allocations for the donated funds. The donation will be used to maximize positive impacts on recovery efforts and support on-the-ground teams that are distributing emergency supplies and aiding rebuilding efforts targeting the most affected families in the region.

Carnival Corporation's support will help relief and recovery organizations provide families with access to food, shelter, water, hygiene products, general necessities, medicines and healthcare supplies as they begin the relief and recovery process after initial life-saving and well-being needs are met.

High Demand Brings Annual Zumba Cruise Back For Its Third Year



After two years of maxing out registrations and catering to more than 7,000 adventure-seeking fitness enthusiasts, Zumba® has officially announced 2018 dates for its third annual Zumba® Cruise onboard Royal Caribbean International's Navigator of the Seas. Travelers can take those shower-dancing skills to the sea and prepare to move like never before when they depart for five nights on April 8-13, 2018.

Along with visiting two all-new tropical destinations—Costa Maya, Mexico and the Grand Cayman Islands—cruisers may partake in on-ship entertainment like Broadway-style shows, incredible live music experiences, relaxing spa treatments and daily pool parties; but most importantly, experience some of the best Zumba classes ever.

"The Zumba Cruise is the ultimate class pass, and with two new destinations, we know 2018 will be another major opportunity for us to continue bringing happiness and health into the lives of so many through exercise and music," said Carolina Moraes,VP of Marketing for Zumba. "2018 is just around the corner and we don't plan on slowing down. New music performances, new classes, new parties—get ready!"

The music and live entertainment events being planned are no joke. More than 20 concerts have featured some of today's hottest artists, like 2017 headliners Shaggy and Wyclef, and 2018 promises to deliver even more dynamic experiences within fitness and music.

"What an experience performing on the Zumba Cruise and feeding off all the positive vibes and energy. The happy factor, the dancing, the people—all of these elements made it one of the best performances I've ever had," said Shaggy, Jamaican artist and award-winning reggae star. "Zumba has become such a valuable platform for music discovery, and aside from live classes, the cruise is another opportunity to get to party with the global Zumba fam."

If the idea of concerts and music doesn't excite you enough, guests also have the chance to 'get their workout on' with 50 of the best celebrity Zumba instructors from all over the world, including master classes with Zumba® creator, Beto Perez. There are also specialty classes, like Aqua Zumba® and Zumba® Toning, plus sun-seekers may try Zumba's new popular music-led HIIT workout, STRONG by Zumba® (no dancing here!).

"Hosting Zumba's energy-packed cruises has been another great opportunity to show travelers exactly how a cruise vacation with Royal Caribbean is an incredible adventure," said Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International. "Offering our signature features on board Navigator of the Seas, from rock climbing and ice skating to world-class entertainment, we're thrilled to be collaborating with Zumba for the third consecutive year to discover more ways to take dancing and fitness at sea to the next level."

No matter what you are looking for, your adrenaline and endorphins will hit an all-time high as the Zumba Cruise is guaranteed to be a party you will never forget. And remember, too much smiling may lead to a permanent state of happiness. Visit Zumba-Cruise.com for more details.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Seabourn Launches New "Seabourn Source" Web App

Luxury cruise line Seabourn has introduced a newly launched web app, Seabourn Source. All guests will have the opportunity to access Seabourn Source on a complimentary basis aboard every Seabourn ship.

Seabourn Source offers guests an up-to-the-minute access to daily details of their voyage directly on their smart phone, tablet, or laptop.




Users can tap Seabourn Source to instantly:
• Review daily activity and entertainment schedules
• Peruse menus and meal times for all onboard dining venues
• Track port times, including arrivals and departures
• Learn about onboard spa treatments and wellness classes
• Browse and book shore excursions
• Connect to paid satellite internet
• Stay on top of shipboard account records
"Intuitive, personalized service is at the core of Seabourn, and the launch of Seabourn Source represents another example of our goal to continue to provide a smooth and seamless service for our guests to enjoy," said Gerald Mosslinger, Seabourn's vice president of hotel operations. "Seabourn Source will enhance our guests' onboard and shoreside experience, allowing them to easily navigate and identify the information they need to plan their days and nights with just a few clicks on their personal device."

Seabourn Source further connects travelers to PressReader Offline, Seabourn's complimentary digital newspaper and magazine service offering full editions of more than 2,500 global newspapers and magazines that can be downloaded to personal iOS or Android mobile devices while in port or at sea.

Guests will find Seabourn Source efficient, convenient, and enjoyable to use: Simply connect to the Internet via onboard Wifi, open the browser on a mobile device or laptop and the app opens automatically. Seabourn Source operates on the shipboard network, so users will not incur additional Internet or cellular data charges while in use.

The line will continue to add new features and services to Seabourn Source in the coming months. For more information regarding Seabourn, visit Seabourn.com.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Carnival Corporation’s O•C•E•A•N Original Network TV Programs Sail into Second Season

A year following the award-winning debut of its first original travel experience programming, Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company, has announced that its hit series have been extended for a second season on ABC stations and NBC. Season two of “The Voyager with Josh Garcia” premieres on NBC stations beginning Saturday, September 30. “Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin” and “Vacation Creation with Tommy Davidson and Andrea Feczko” make their new season debuts on ABC stations the following week on Saturday, October 7.

“Based on the exceptionally positive viewing results and the overall increased interest in cruise vacations following our shows’ inaugural year, we are extending our programming and growing our content library for the 2017-18 season,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation, which includes the world’s leading cruise line brands. “Championing the extraordinary experiences that our guests enjoy while on a cruise vacation via original programming is key to expanding the market’s awareness and generating demand for cruising.”

Three of Carnival Corporation’s original series—which debuted in fall 2016 and are distributed by Litton Entertainment—recently were honored with 10 Telly Awards, which recognize the best in TV and cable, digital and streaming, and non-broadcast productions.

Back for a second season on ABC stations is “Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin.” It broadcasts nationally as part of the daytime Emmy-winning block “Weekend Adventure,” a three-hour programming block airing Saturday mornings on 98 percent of the country’s ABC affiliate channels. In season two, Corwin takes audiences to Iceland, Belize and Peru, and even shares his family with viewers as they visit Japan. It’s also in Japan that Corwin connects with the one creature that’s alluded him for more than 20 years—the giant Japanese salamander.

This season the popular “Vacation Creation Creation with Tommy Davidson and Andrea Feczko” will also be featured on ABC’s “Weekend Adventure” and take viewers beyond the typical travel show by personalizing vacations of a lifetime for couples, individuals and families facing hardship, in need of hope or seeking much-needed time together. From revealing the wondrous glaciers of Alaska to encounters with the mystical Moko Jumbie of the Virgin Islands, “Vacation Creation with Tommy Davidson and Andrea Feczko” celebrates the importance of spending time with family and friends, as well as how discovering the world can help people learn more about each other and their own family history. Along the way, viewers share in their stories of overcoming adversity, while taking part in extraordinary experiences.

“The Voyager with Josh Garcia” returns to NBC for a second year as part of the network’s nationally broadcasted “The More You Know” programming block, continuing to provide inspiring stories on NBC stations throughout the country. This season, viewers will travel with Garcia as he treks along Alaska’s majestic Mendenhall glacier, samples traditional Thai food in Bangkok, and ventures to the mountains of Taiwan to learn how traditional tea is farmed and prepared.

The original content is part of Carnival Corporation’s focus on producing and broadly distributing engaging and compelling experiential content. All three shows were ranked as number one or number two in their time slot during the inaugural season. With cruise vacations growing 20 percent faster than land-based vacations and with more people than ever taking cruise vacations in 2017, the strong ratings are further evidence that Americans’ interest in cruise vacations is becoming more and more popular. Most recently, a study from Adobe Digital Insights released earlier this year showed the number of visits to cruise websites had increased 32 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Carnival Cruise Line Statement—Port of Galveston & Cruise Cancellations

August 28, 2017

Unfortunately, extreme flooding conditions caused by the storm continue to impact the Galveston and greater Houston areas. As a result, officials from the Port of Galveston and United States Coast Guard cannot predict with any certainty when the port will re-open, but they now expect it will remain closed until late this week.

All three Carnival Cruise Line ships—Carnival Valor, Carnival Freedom, and Carnival Breeze—will perform a stop in New Orleans during the next two days to allow guests to disembark if they wish to make independent arrangements to return home, or another location. Alternatively, if their schedule allows, guests can elect to sail back to Galveston with us. Our ships will depart New Orleans Tuesday/Wednesday and expect to be in position to enter the Port of Galveston as soon as it re-opens, later in the week.

Based on the uncertainty of the port closure, the August 26th sailings of Carnival Valor and Carnival Freedom, and the August 27th departure of Carnival Breeze, are now cancelled.

A full refund will be automatically processed, including any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures, Fun Shop purchases, and beverage packages. The refund will be processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. Additionally, a 25% future cruise credit will be applied to their next reservation with Carnival if booked within the next 60 days.

We sincerely apologize to all our Galveston guests for the disruption to their vacation plans and thank them for their patience and understanding. We look forward to welcoming them on a Carnival cruise in the future.

On behalf of Carnival Cruise Line, our thoughts and prayers remain with those in the affected communities.

Carnival Cruise Line Shares the Recipe of the Month for Conch Fritters


INGREDIENTS:
plantains - 3lbs for garnish
cilantro leaf - 2oz for garnish
leeks - 1/2 lbs for garnish
water - 1/4 qt for choux paste
gruyere cheese - 3ea for choux paste
salt - for choux paste
butter - 2 oz for choux paste
cayenne pepper - for choux paste
flour - 4 oz for choux paste
eggs - fresh 4 ea for choux paste
cilantro leaf - 4 oz
red onions - 2 oz
oregano - 0.25 oz
peppers - green med 0.25 lbs
whole conch - 2 lbs
thyme - 1.5 tsp
peppers scotch bonet fresh - 1/2 lbs
lemons - 1 ea
limes - 1 ea
peppers - red med 0.25 lbs
For Conch
Clean and Tenderize the Conch and marinate with hand crush Scotch Bonnet, lemon and lime rind,white part of scallion, lime juice and crush cilantro stem, for 2 hours. Dice the conch, chop the onion, red pepper, green pepper, puree scotch bonnet and fine chop all the herbs. Combine all the ingredients with choux paste, finish with cornstarch if necessary, adjust the seasoning and shape them into small rough shape balls and deep fry them in medium hot oil till golden brown and crisp. (DO NOT OVERCOOK)

Choux Paste
Add butter to water and boil. Add flour and mix without forming lumps. Remove from heat, season with nutmeg, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Add the eggs and mix with the gruyere cheese to finish.

Plating
Place 4 ea of fried plantain and 6 fritters on plate and garnish. Serve with pickapeppa sauce.

Pickapeppa sauce - 10 portions:
tomato (medium size) - 1 ea
yellow onion (medium size) - 1 ea
garlic clove - 1 ea
fresh thyme - 1 sprig
dark raisin - 2 cup
tomato paste - half cup
ketchup - 0.25 cup
worcestershire sauce - half cup
mango pulp - 1 cup
tamarind pulp - 0.25 cup
rice wine vinegar - 0.50 cup
ginger juice (from pickle ginger) - half cup
scotch bonnet chili - 2 ea
cloves powder - half tsp
pellegrino water - half quart
extra virgin olive oil - 1 tsp
brown sugar - 0.25 cup
honey - 0.25 cup
Pickapeppa Sauce
Heat sauce pan add oil, lightly sauté onion, garlic add tomatoes, thyme, scotch bonnet, raisin and cook for few minutes. Add in tomato paste, ketchup and rest of the ingredients. Simmer for an hour and remove from the heat and blend, place back on heat and cook further and strain.

Cruise Diva Helpful Hint... If you are pressed for time, buy bottled Pickapeppa Sauce at the grocery store.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Carnival Cruise Line Statement—Port of Galveston & Itinerary Updates

While Hurricane Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm yesterday, the storm continues to generate significant rainfall in Galveston and Houston, which has caused severe flooding. The heavy rains are impacting the roads leading in and out of Galveston. The port announced it will be closed for at least the next 24 hours, so our earliest potential opportunity to debark current guests is on Tuesday. As you can imagine, this is a fluid situation and we have no way of knowing if the port opening could be delayed further. We will continue to maintain close contact with port officials in Galveston monitoring conditions on Galveston Island, and within neighboring areas including Houston, and will provide ongoing updates as we receive additional information. At present, we intend to operate shortened itineraries on Carnival Freedom and Carnival Breeze once we are able to dock in Galveston, weather and local conditions permitting.

Carnival Freedom—is currently in position to enter the Port of Galveston as soon as the port reopens.

Carnival Breeze—is on its way to New Orleans to make a short technical stop to replenish water and provisions on Monday. She will then resume her course to Galveston.

More information for guests who were scheduled to sail on Carnival Freedom and Carnival Breeze on 8/26 and 8/27 will be provided as soon as we have a more definitive estimate of the ships’ arrival into Galveston.

Guests who opt to sail on the shortened itineraries will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare as well as an onboard credit posted to their Sail & Sign account. Specific details on the itinerary and onboard credit amount will be determined once our plans for these voyages are finalized. Additionally, anyone who purchased our beverage packages will also receive a pro-rated adjustment. These refunds will be processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. Pre-purchased Carnival Adventures for cancelled ports, as well as any taxes, fees and port expenses will be refunded to your onboard Sail & Sign account. Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened duration.

Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you have received notification from us with additional details.

We regret the impact the storm has had on your vacation plans. Should you wish to cancel and receive a future cruise credit*, please call 1-800-CARNIVAL, contact your Personal Vacation Planner at 1-800-819-3902, or your travel agent. A refund for any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures or Fun Shop purchases will be processed within three weeks to the original form of payment.

Carnival Valor—Unfortunately, as a result of the delay caused by the weather and considering the short duration of this 5 day cruise, it will now be necessary to cancel this voyage. A full refund will be automatically processed, including any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures, Fun Shop purchases and beverage packages. The refund will be processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. We would love nothing more than to welcome you on a future Carnival cruise where we will apply a 25% future cruise credit*.

We sincerely apologize to all our Galveston guests for the disruption to your vacation plans and are grateful for your patience and understanding. On behalf of Carnival Cruise Line, our thoughts and prayers remain with those in the affected communities.

To stay up to date, please sign up for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).
Carnival Freedom 08/26/17 - CCL1
Carnival Breeze 08/27/17 - CCL3 
*The future cruise credit is based on the cruise fare paid for this voyage, is non-transferable, cannot be used as a deposit or applied to a chartered sailing, and has no cash value. The credit must be redeemed by September 27, 2017 on a sailing prior to February 27, 2019. There is no refund for unused portions of the credit or for any cancellation penalties that may be assessed. After you have booked your cruise, please use the link below to provide us with the new booking information so we can process your credit.

http://www.carnival.com/request-forms/reimbursement-form.aspx

Royal Caribbean Statement—Tropical Storm Harvey/Liberty of the Seas Itinerary Update

Royal Caribbean International is diverting Liberty of the Seas to Miami until conditions at the Port of Galveston permit safe travel. Due to port closure because of Hurricane Harvey, Liberty was not able to make her scheduled arrival into Galveston today. We anticipate Liberty will be able to return to Galveston on Friday, conditions permitting. We are doing all we can to help guests adjust their travel arrangements and appreciate their patience as we work through this.

The next sailing of Liberty of the Seas, scheduled for Sunday, August 27 has been cancelled, and all guests will have their fares fully refunded and have been provided a future cruise credit.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1(866) 562-7625.

Royal Caribbean Statement—Tropical Storm Harvey/Liberty of the Seas Itinerary Update

Due to Tropical Storm Harvey and weather conditions around the Galveston/Houston area, as well as the port's current closure, Liberty of the Seas will arrive to the Port of Galveston today later than originally scheduled. Because of this, boarding for the next cruise will now take place on Monday, August 28 between noon and 3 p.m. We ask that guests not arrive to the port before noon.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Royal Caribbean Statement—Hurricane Harvey Update

ROYAL CARIBBEAN ITINERARY UPDATE—August 26, 2017

Liberty of the Seas is keeping a safe distance behind the storm and is currently making her way back to Galveston. Our intention is to keep with our original schedule return to Galveston on Sunday. However, because of the path and progression of Hurricane Harvey, the situation remains uncertain and the Port of Galveston remains closed. We ask that guests scheduled to sail on Liberty of the Seas tomorrow not proceed to the port until we let you know it is okay to do so.

We will provide you with another update on August 26 at 9 p.m. CT.

Carnival Cruise Line Statement—Hurricane Harvey Update

HURRICANE HARVEY UPDATE—08/26/17—1:00 PM

Carnival Cruise Line continues to closely monitor Hurricane Harvey and our thoughts and prayers are with the communities affected by the storm.

The Port of Galveston remains closed to all marine traffic. It is expected to stay closed until the storm has passed and a port assessment has been completed. Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you hear from us again.

Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor are in New Orleans today for a short technical stop to replenish provisions before resuming course to Galveston this evening. Carnival Breeze is currently docked in Cozumel and will depart for Galveston at 6:00 PM. Our intention is to be in position to take advantage of any docking opportunity that may become available in Galveston on Sunday or Monday.

The duration of your cruise will have to be shortened and the itinerary modified. Cruise details will be finalized once we have confirmed our arrival into Galveston.

Guests who sail will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare for missed days and refund of any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures for canceled ports. Additionally, guests who pre-purchased any of our beverage packages will receive a pro-rated refund. Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened duration.

We certainly understand the impact Hurricane Harvey is having on your cruise plans. Should you wish to cancel and receive a future cruise credit, please call 1-800-CARNIVAL, contact your Personal Vacation Planner at 1-800-819-3902, or your travel agent.
Carnival Freedom 08/26/17 - CCL1
Carnival Valor 08/26/17 - CCL2
Carnival Breeze 08/27/17 - CCL3
We apologize for the disruption to your vacation plans and look forward to welcoming you on board.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Royal Caribbean Statement—Hurricane Harvey Update

ROYAL CARIBBEAN ITINERARY UPDATE—August 25, 2017

Royal Caribbean is still actively monitoring path and progression of Hurricane Harvey. At this time, Liberty of the Seas will keep her original schedule for Sunday’s turnaround in Galveston, Texas. Should we make any changes to Liberty of the Sea’s itinerary, we will make sure to inform our guests.

We will post another update on Saturday, August 26, 2017 by 12:00 PM CT.

Carnival Cruise Line Statement—Hurricane Harvey Update

HURRICANE HARVEY WEATHER UPDATE—8/25/17—4:00 PM

The Port of Galveston remains closed to all marine traffic. It is expected to remain closed until the storm has passed and a port assessment has been completed. Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you hear from Carnival Cruise Line again.

Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor are on their way to New Orleans for a short technical stop to replenish provisions before resuming course to Galveston. Carnival Breeze is currently docked in Cozumel and will now overnight there. The ship will depart for Galveston tomorrow afternoon. Our intention is to be in position to take advantage of any docking opportunity that may become available in Galveston late Sunday evening or Monday.

The duration of your cruise will have to be shortened and the itinerary modified. Cruise details will be finalized once we have confirmed our arrival into Galveston.

Guests who sail will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare for missed days and refund of any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures for canceled ports. Additionally, guests who pre-purchased any of our beverage packages will receive a pro-rated refund. Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened duration.

We certainly understand the impact Hurricane Harvey is having on your cruise plans. Should you wish to cancel and receive a future cruise credit, please call 1-800-CARNIVAL, contact your Personal Vacation Planner at 1-800-819-3902, or your travel agent.

We continue to actively monitor the storm and will update you tomorrow at 3:00PM CDT. To stay up to date, please sign up for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).
Carnival Freedom 08/26/17 - CCL1
Carnival Valor 08/26/17 - CCL2
Carnival Breeze 08/27/17 - CCL3

Carnival Cruise Line Statement—Hurricane Harvey

HURRICANE HARVEY WEATHER UPDATE—08/24/17—2:30 PM

Tropical Storm Harvey has been upgraded to a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and the Port of Galveston is now closed to all marine traffic. At this time, no changes have been made to any of Carnival Cruise Line's Galveston sailings for this weekend and our itineraries remain as scheduled.

We will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Harvey’s forecasted track and provide guests with an update by 12:00 PM (CDT) Friday.

To stay up to date on any changes, guests are asked to sign up for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).
Carnival Freedom 08/26/17 - CCL1
Carnival Valor 08/26/17 - CCL2
Carnival Breeze 08/27/17 - CCL3

Cruising to Totality with Kevin Lieber: A Unique Perspective On Board Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

Earlier this week the Captain of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas followed the sun—and moon—to find totality. See how science communicator Kevin Lieber, host of YouTube channel Vsauce2, experienced his first total solar eclipse.



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Silversea Cruises Announces Global Creative Partnership with Renowned Photographer Steve McCurry

Luxury and expedition cruise line Silversea Cruises and renowned photographer Steve McCurry have announced a global creative partnership that will chronicle Silversea’s extensive fleet and portfolio expansion designed to take guests to some of the world’s most intriguing and remote destinations.

McCurry, one of the foremost photographers of his generation, is best known for his haunting portrait of a green-eyed Afghan refugee girl in National Geographic. A master of visual storytelling, McCurry has traveled the world for four decades capturing vibrant cultures and the human experience. His color-saturated images have appeared on international magazine and book covers, in major gallery and museum exhibitions, and in permanent and private collections worldwide.

Silversea’s luxury and expedition itineraries offer guests more than 850 destinations in more than 130 countries on all seven continents, more than any other cruise line. The company’s purpose-built fleet features sleek, smaller vessels that can navigate narrow waterways to reach the most secluded ports and destinations. Its newest vessel, Silver Muse, is redefining ocean travel by enhancing the small-ship intimacy with spacious suites that are the hallmark of the Silversea experience. The addition of Silver Muse expands the line's fleet to nine ships, creating a new standard of elegance in the ultra-luxury cruise market.

“Silversea has launched the most ambitious fleet and product expansion in its history, with the goal of unlocking new territories for guests and going deeper,” Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises, says. “Steve McCurry’s artistry and storytelling align perfectly with Silversea’s immersive experiences, intimate vessels and unforgettable destinations. He has the ability to capture the authentic beauty in the world, and express it with passion and clarity. We look forward to capturing the emotion and inspiration of global travel through Steve’s lens.”

McCurry’s art has taken him from war-torn Afghanistan to rural villages in India to the collapse of New York’s twin towers on 9/11. Since his iconic Afghan Girl portrait in 1984, McCurry has published more than a dozen books; won scores of professional awards including the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his coverage of the war in Afghanistan; shot the last remaining rolls of Kodak’s Kodachrome film in a portrait project; and collaborated with timeless global brands including Valentino, Vacheron Constantin and the Pirelli calendar. “You’re present, in focus; that’s traveling, to me,” McCurry says. “It’s an urgent need to go and observe this world that we all share.” Even after decades of exploration, McCurry believes he has many more stories to tell. “There’s always room for discovery,” he says.

Silversea Cruises, which is chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, is recognized as an innovator in the ultra-luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit, and Silver Muse—all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the expedition ships Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, Silver Discoverer, and with Silver Cloud joining the Expedition fleet in 2018, Silversea's itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both polar regions and hundreds of fascinating destinations in between.

Image Courtesy Silversea Cruises

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Seabourn Names Captain, Hotel Director for New Seabourn Ovation

Pictured left to right, Hotel Director Helmut Huber
& Captain Stig Betten
Luxury cruise line Seabourn has named Stig Betten as captain of its newest vessel, Seabourn Ovation, and Helmut Huber as hotel director.

Betten will oversee all operations of the line's newest vessel, which is scheduled to launch in May 2018 in Italy. Huber will oversee the hotel department, which includes suites, housekeeping, and food & beverage services.

"These gentlemen are two seasoned professionals and they will be fantastic as we launch Seabourn Ovation," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "They both have years of luxury experience to guide them and our guests and crews have really enjoyed their distinct personalities during prior assignments on our ships. I'm confident they will do well as they provide leadership throughout the ship's delivery and into the maiden season."

Betten was born and raised in the small village called Surnadal on the west coast of Norway. Hailing from many generations of seafarers, it was natural for Betten to follow in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great grandfather by choosing a career at sea. Betten began his seagoing career in 1997, initially with a Norwegian seismic exploration company. He joined Seabourn in 2001 and has worked his way up the ranks from Second Officer to Captain. He has been assigned on past Seabourn ships Pride, Spirit, and Legend, as well as Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Quest, including being a part of the start-up team as Staff Captain during the construction of Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. When he is not at sea, Betten enjoys spending time with his family in Istanbul. When visiting his hometown in Norway, he enjoys fishing, trekking and hunting.

Huber is a native of Innsbruck, Austria. He started his career in the cruise industry in 1992 as a busboy/assistant waiter, working his way up through various positions to the management level. After almost 10 years at sea, Huber decided to go back to university, acquiring several degrees and certificates. Once he completed his studies, he returned to the hospitality industry in Food & Beverage and Hotel Management positions at luxury properties before returning to the cruise industry in 2007. Huber joined Seabourn in 2015 as Hotel Director. He splits time between Innsbruck and Los Angeles during his time off, where he enjoys activities such as scuba diving, snow skiing, mountain biking and travel.

Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service. A sister ship, Seabourn Encore, launched to much acclaim in December 2016.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, Seabourn Ovation will feature modern design elements and innovations consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance in a yacht-like environment. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. Every suite will also feature a private veranda supported by impeccable service.

Image Coortesy of Seabourn

Holland America Line Sponsors Hometown Golfer Landon Jackson in the Boeing Classic PGA TOUR Champions Event

Holland America Line, Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line, is sponsoring golf professional Landon Jackson at the Boeing Classic, a PGA Tour Champions Event. A Seattle native, Jackson is participating in the event with an eye on the 2018 PGA TOUR Champions Tour. Holland America Line also has sponsored Jackson as he competed in several other tournaments this summer throughout Arizona, finishing in the top 20 in every tournament this season.

In addition to sponsoring Jackson, Holland America Line is a sponsor of the Boeing Classic taking place Aug. 21-27 at the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge. Jackson will be competing against 73 other PGA TOUR Champions professionals and will lead a team in the Pro-Am two-day tournament during the week and provide instruction to aspiring junior golfers at the Youth Clinic Aug. 22.

“As Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line, it’s exciting to have Holland America Line’s first-ever sponsored golfer be a local talent like Landon as he pursues making it on to the PGA TOUR Champions,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Our mission every day is to fulfill the vacation dreams of our guests, and supporting Landon on his path to realizing his dreams is gratifying, and we’re eager to see the great things that Landon has waiting for him in his golfing future.”

A graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle, Jackson was the first African-American pro at Pebble Beach Golf Links, where he was an assistant golf pro. He then moved to another Pebble Beach property, Del Monte Golf Course, on California’s Monterey Peninsula before returning to Pebble Beach. During his career, Jackson has conducted clinics that teach not only golf skills but also golf etiquette, and he co-founded the Monterey Junior Golf Summer Clinics for the Monterey Boys and Girls Club.

Jackson played on the golf team at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, winning a Southwestern Athletic Conference championship. Among the highlights of his career were instructing during the first Fir State Golf Club Clinics, where he played with a then 16-year-old Tiger Woods; qualifying for the Ben Hogan tour; and meeting presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Royal Caribbean Teams Up With Shay Mitchell As Adventure Ambassador

Royal Caribbean International is teaming up with award-winning actress and avid traveler Shay Mitchell to be the brand's Adventurist—an adventure adviser and storyteller for the world's most adventurous cruise line. In addition to embarking on inspirational journeys with the brand and sharing her experiences, Shay will collaborate with Royal Caribbean experts to develop a series of destination experiences for the ultimate Caribbean cruise, to be revealed this fall. As a seasoned traveler, Shay will personally set sail on board one of Royal Caribbean's adventure-packed ships this month to begin shaping the new, Shay-recommended adventures.

"I've always had a love for travel, and am fortunate to have been able to explore some of the most amazing places around the world, learning quickly that the journey is as important as the destination," said Shay. "I'm thrilled to take what I have learned from my own travels and dive in with Royal Caribbean to develop the ultimate Caribbean adventure for travelers like me, who are always seeking something new and craving deeper connections to the destinations they visit."

"It's in Royal Caribbean's nature to seek and deliver the unexpected—the adventures and experiences that make travelers' jaws drop, their adrenaline rise and their memories unforgettable," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "When we started to think of who could perfectly embody what vacationing with us is all about in our newly created Adventurist role, Shay was someone who rose to the top immediately. She personifies who we are and our spirit—the spirit to 'Come Seek.' The ideas that Shay brings to the table will help create an adventure in the Caribbean that will redefine what many think of as a cruise vacation and inspire the next generation of cruisers."

A star in one of TV's most popular dramas, "Pretty Little Liars," Shay's adventurous spirit has led her to visit some of the world's most inspiring destinations, from hot-air ballooning over Morocco to skydiving in Dubai. She's become an expert at seeking out authentic experiences, sharing them with her following of more than 17 million across several social media platforms, including her immersive YouTube series—Shaycation—which debuted in 2015 and gives viewers an inside look at her wanderlust-inducing explorations.

Shay Mitchell Image Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Crystal River Cruises Names Internationally Renowned Soprano Anna-maria Kaufmann Godmother Of Crystal Bach

Crystal River Cruises, the Luxury River Cruise Line, has announced that famed soprano vocalist and beloved German performer, Anna-Maria Kaufmann, is the godmother of Crystal Bach. The newly-built "Rhine Class" river ship embarked on her maiden voyage from Amsterdam, Sunday, August 13, and was christened by Kaufmann during her call to Rüdesheim, Germany, on August 20.

Kaufmann's decades-long career has spanned the globe, bringing her from her native Edmonton, Alberta to some of the world's most prestigious stages and events. As Crystal Bach's godmother, she blessed the ship during the christening ceremony, and serenaded her and attending guests with her own special performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Air."

"It is an honor to have one of Germany's most gifted and cherished talents christen Crystal Bach as she officially embarks on the Rhine as part of the award-winning Crystal fleet," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. "Naturally, Anna-Maria's remarkable career in classical music and passion for her chosen homeland are apropos for this stunning ship, but beyond that, her grace and internationally recognizable charm are representative of the elegance found aboard a Crystal river voyage."

Crystal Bach is the first of four Crystal "Rhine Class" river ships to debut on the rivers of Europe, joining Crystal Mozart as part of the Crystal River Cruises fleet. Sailing 10- and 14-day voyages predominantly along the Rhine River, she will call in medieval towns and modern hubs in Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

Crystal's "Rhine Class" river ships are the river cruising industry's first and only all-balcony, all-suite vessels in Europe, with every category of accommodation perched above the waterline. All four river ships will offer Crystal's acclaimed butler service in every room category, king-sized beds, Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines. Additional enticing features include Crystal's farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court. For more information, visit CrystalCruises.com.

Image Courtesy Crystal Cruises

Monday, August 21, 2017

Silversea's Grand Voyage 2018 Unveils the Wonders of South America

Guests will fall under the magical spell of South America when Silversea's new Silver Muse sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on January 3, 2018 on an immersive 69-day Grand Voyage to some of the most remarkable and culturally enriching places in the Southern Hemisphere. They will completely circumnavigate South America, visiting 34 ports in 14 countries, while experiencing the mystery and pulsating rhythm of this vast continent on an intimate, ultra-luxury voyage that is Simply Divine™.

Designed for travelers who can spare the time and prefer a more immersive experience, Grand Voyage 2018 combines the luxury of sailing aboard an intimate, elegant ship with the excitement of discovering fascinating destinations. Highlights include a crossing of the Panama Canal, cruising Chile's majestic fjords, a three-day stopover in Rio de Janeiro in time for Carnival, plus overnight calls in Valparaiso, Punta Arenas, Buenos Aires, and Manaus, nestled in the heart of the Amazon.

"Grand Voyage 2018 is perfectly tailored to travelers who have the time and passion to indulge in travel on a grand scale. It combines adventure and immersive cultural experiences with leisurely days wrapped in the exquisite luxury and impeccable service of our beautiful new Silver Muse," said Mark Conroy, Silversea's managing director for the Americas.

Guests will enjoy an exceptional onboard enrichment program featuring distinguished destination experts, academics, journalists, diplomats and other specialists. Local entertainment, guest chefs, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and regional specialties—many featured poolside at the new Chef's Table interactive experience—will provide further immersion in each destination.

Ark of Taste
Through Silversea's association with Slow Food Italy, a selection of Ark of Taste products, such as Ecuador's Nacional cacao, Peru's native potatoes, Chile's Merkén chili peppers, and sugarcane products from Santa Rita, Brazil, will be sourced locally by Silversea chefs to introduce guests to the remarkable flavors of these cultural treasures, which are being catalogued by the Ark of Taste to help ensure their preservation.

Aboard Silver Muse guests will enjoy spacious ocean-view suites, sumptuous cuisine at eight dining venues, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including a complimentary selection of wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; in-suite bar stocked with guests' preferences; in-suite 24-hour dining service; lecture and enrichment programs; roundtrip transportation into town (in most ports); and onboard gratuities (exclusive of spa treatments).

Exclusive Added-Value Benefits
In addition to a gala Bon Voyage dinner and overnight stay at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Fort Lauderdale on January 2; a unique "Panama Hat Party" event at the Montecristi Golf Club in Manta, Ecuador on January 12, showcasing the talents of local artisans; and a box-seat view of the Carnival Winners' Parade at the Sambadrome in Rio on February 17, full-voyage guests will enjoy a generous array of benefits, including:
—$2,000 Onboard Spending Credit (per suite)
—Free unlimited Wi-Fi
—Baggage valet service
—Visa service (U.S., Canada and select markets)
—Commemorative gifts
Fares for Grand Voyage 2018 start at $36,955 per guest, based on double occupancy. For further information and the complete itinerary, please visit Silversea.com.

Image Courtesy of Silversea

Stop Snoozing on Sleep, Celebrity Cruises & Canyon Ranch SpaClub Introduce Mindful Dreams

Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch SpaClub want to ensure that modern travelers remember the importance of beauty sleep with the launch of their new wellness program, Mindful Dreams.

This curated program invites modern luxury travelers to experience new treatments, products and sleeping aids. Additionally guests receive nutrition advice on the best culinary choices to aid in sleep, access to expert lectures and special instructional classes promoting a holistic approach to mindful sleep, both on land and at sea.

“Vacation is a prime opportunity to rest and recharge, so partnering with Canyon Ranch SpaClub to offer Mindful Dreams was a natural evolution of our wellness program onboard,” shared Susan Bonner, Vice President, Revenue Management and Onboard Revenue, Celebrity Cruises. “Through this partnership we hope to not only help guests further relax during their sailing, but also take home a lifetime of wellness tips that they can incorporate mindfully into their daily routines.”

“Sleep is no luxury,” states Param Dedhia, Director of Sleep Medicine, Canyon Ranch, adamantly. “With a restorative night’s sleep, you nourish your mind, body and spirit.”

Among the exclusive offerings is the relaxation treatment of which the program takes its namesake—Mindful Dreams. This incomparable sleep-encouraging experience incorporates products specifically designed to soothe alongside a sleep-inducing cultural massage and meditation techniques. This focused treatment promises to evoke instant tranquility and fosters inner well-being, calmness and serenity, transporting guests to the perfect getaway state-of-mind.

Additional treatments include:
• Organic lavender and seaweed sugar glow
• Age-defying restorative facial
• Lazy days detox seaweed bath
• And more!
The program features VOYA luxury products designed to deeply hydrate and smooth even the driest skin. The lavender body care range, Tranquility, incorporated in many of the treatments, helps to ease the stresses of everyday life, leading to a feeling of relaxation and peace. All ingredients are organic and sustainably harvested on the western coast of Ireland.

Mindful Dreams programming will debut on Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Summit in August 2017 and become available fleet wide throughout September 2017. For more information on Mindful Dreams, please visit CelebrityCruises.com and CanyonRanch.com/at-sea.

Image Courtesy Celebrity Cruises

Northwest Passage Commemorative Coffee Table Book Added To 'Exclusively Crystal' Collection

Crystal's 2016 history-making voyage through the elusive region is now commemorated in the gloriously colorful pages of the Northwest Passage Coffee Table Book: Aboard Crystal Serenity August 2016. The photographic tome is available for purchase through the Exclusively Crystal online boutique, just as the award-winning vessel embarks on her second epic Arctic journey, which departed last week from Anchorage/Seward, Alaska, with 100 percent of all proceeds from the book going toward the Inuit communities that graciously welcome Crystal guests into their villages. Amidst breathtaking photography of polar bears and other wildlife, as well as the wild frozen landscapes and remote harbors of the far north, are accounts of the memorable visits to local Inuit communities as well as a look into the extensive planning and behind-the-scenes logistics of the voyage. The featured images range from stunning professional photographs to memorable moments captured by guests.

"While it is impossible to translate the profound magnificence of the Northwest Passage journey into ink and paper, we do hope this commemorative book serves to inspire travelers to discover places and cultures outside of traditional 'comfort zones,' and showcases the brilliance of the region and warmth of the local people there," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. "It is truly our privilege to share the proceeds of this beautiful publication with the people of those communities, as they so warmly shared their traditions and personal time with us."

Crystal reciprocated the hospitality of the local towns along the voyage, many of which wait for months in between shipments of basic necessities due to their remote locations and dynamic weather conditions. During the 2016 sailing, Crystal Serenity delivered school supplies to Ulukhaktok, Pond Inlet and Cambridge Bay, as a token of appreciation for the special experiences offered to guests by the local people. Additionally, Crystal presented the town of Pond Inlet with a symbolic direction sign, perched atop "Contemplation Hill," a gift to the town perfectly situated for gazing into the endless landscapes. Special gifts and assistance are planned for the 2017 voyage, as well. The commemorative Northwest Passage Coffee Table Book retails for $55.

For the second year, Crystal Serenity's 32-day Northwest Passage voyage is captained by Master Birger J. Vorland, who last year entered an exclusive club of maritime explorers to successfully lead a vessel through the Northwest Passage, and joined Norwegian-born sailors Roald Amundsen and Henry Larsen on achieving the professional milestone. During the route of the Northwest Territories the luxury ship will be accompanied by an escort vessel, which will provide Crystal Serenity's already enhanced crew with icebreaking assistance, and will also carry additional expert guides and crew and specialized safety and adventure equipment.

Flight-seeing journeys over glaciers; navigating floating sea ice via kayaks; "wet landing" by zodiac; overnights at ice camps; possible polar bear and other wildlife sightings; and Crystal's Unexpected Adventures (impromptu opportunities to explore ashore and in the surrounding areas) will all satisfy guests' inner explorers. Likewise, engaging events with local residents in the Inuit communities visited will provide authentic insights into daily life in the remote Arctic.

True to its policy to continually "surprise and delight" guests by exceeding their expectations of enriching world travel, Crystal has seen to every detail to ensure travelers are comfortable and prepared for the unprecedented trip. Specially designed parkas, boots and other outdoor gear have been provided to guests, sporting official Crystal Northwest Passage expedition patches, while added technological perks are evident throughout the ship. Four premium telescopic binocular sets stand at the ready near the floor-to-ceiling windows in Palm Court, as well as large flat-screen TVs for streaming updates from crew and expedition team members, safety precautions and fascinating facts about the voyage. An in-depth photographic journey into the history of the passage and its previous explorers is displayed near the posh Galaxy Lounge.

"No detail has gone unaddressed, no forethought missed in the planning process of this journey," says Rodriguez. "The magnitude of the transit combined with the immense cultural and natural encounters in store for guests is so great, we are absolutely committed to ensuring that our guests' experience is as remarkable as the region itself."

For more information, visit CrystalCruises.com.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Royal Caribbean to Feature Bonnie Tyler Singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on Total Eclipse Cruise

Guests aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas Total Eclipse Cruise will have a very meta experience, with pop singer Bonnie Tyler singing her hit song during an actual eclipse.

Tyler, who sang the 1983 hit song, "Total Eclipse of the Heart," will be featured aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas special sailing centered around the upcoming total eclipse of the sun.

Tyler will be a special guest on the Oasis of the Seas for a few days of the week-long cruise, which departs from Port Canaveral on Aug. 20. Her performance is in addition to pop-rock band DNCE.

In addition to these performances, guests on Oasis of the Seas will be treated to other eclipse-themed activities, including dance parties, trivia, interactive science fun for kids and their families, and tasty cocktails and dishes.

Royal Caribbean will stream Bonnie Tyler's performance on Instagram on Monday 8/21, 1pm EST.

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean

Friday, August 18, 2017

Princess Cruises Ships Present Unique Viewing For Great American Eclipse on August 21

For the first time in 99 years, a total eclipse of the sun will pass over the continental United States on August 21, and Princess Cruises guests sailing on six cruise ships in Alaska will be invited to special viewing parties as part of the cruise line’s exclusive Stargazing with Discovery at Sea program.

From the top decks in Alaska, nearly 18,000 guests aboard Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Grand Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess, and Star Princess will be invited to enjoy an approximately 54 percent view of the eclipse.

Guests will be provided specially-branded Science Channel™/Discovery at Sea eclipse glasses for ultimate viewing, paired with educational background on what causes an eclipse from the exclusive Stargazing with Discovery at Sea staff as they provide a “tour” of three intervals the morning of August 21.

“Through our exclusive partnership with Discovery Communications, we’re able to offer expert tips and background from Science Channel experts that provide intriguing commentary around this rare phenomenon and for the ultimate viewing party onboard,” said Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president, entertainment experiences.

The Great American Eclipse onboard event is part of the Stargazing with Discovery at Sea program which is led by Discovery at Sea Science Channel Ambassador and astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi who has created entertaining family stargazing programming enabling the crew to lead cosmic voyages from the ship’s top deck. Branded posters, Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center solar projector building projects, and even specialty Eclipse Cookies also will be offered to celebrate this rare occasion.

In partnership with Discovery, Princess Cruises introduced Discovery at Sea in 2015, offering memorable cruise vacation experiences for the whole family to enjoy based on Discovery’s breadth of brands and programming like Shark Week and Mythbusters. Interactive experiences are designed to bring to life the nature, wildlife and history of the regions guests are sailing. Guests can let their imaginations roam free with a variety of activities including stargazing, exclusive Discovery and Animal Planet shore excursions and newly introduced Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers.

While it’s too late to get on board for the eclipse cruises, additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting Princess.com.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Carnival Paradise To Offer Five Additional Cruises to Havana, Cuba, from Port of Tampa in 2018

Carnival Paradise Arrives in Havana
Following strong response to its first-ever cruises to Cuba announced earlier this year, Carnival Cruise Line has added five more voyages featuring extended calls in Havana in 2018 aboard Carnival Paradise, sailing from Tampa. The new voyages include three 5-day cruises to Havana and Cozumel or Key West departing Feb. 17, July 2 and Sept. 5, 2018; a 6-day sailing featuring Havana and Grand Cayman departing Aug. 26, 2018; and an 8-day voyage with stops at Havana, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel departing Aug. 18, 2018. All of the voyages include a day-long call and overnight in Havana with the 8-day cruise of Aug. 18, 2018, offering two full days at the historic Cuban capital.

“Our cruises to Cuba have been very well received and we’re delighted to provide our guests with additional opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating and sought-after destination,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Earlier this year, Carnival announced a series of 4- and 5-day voyages to Havana that kicked off in late June. Upcoming voyages in the initial program include 4-day cruises departing Aug. 24, Sept. 7 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and 5-day voyages departing Aug. 28, Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, 2017.

Carnival Paradise guests can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba’s vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks. Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment, including newly added Cuban-themed entertainment and activities. Dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria.

The ship also features a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness facility and an exclusive Serenity adults-only retreat. Family-friendly programming includes Seuss at Sea in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises as well as fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups. Four swimming pools and a 115-foot-long cascading water slide are also featured.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control. To learn more, visit Carnival.com.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean Marks First Major Construction Milestone of the New Quantum Ultra Ship, Spectrum of the Seas

Excitement was in the air this week at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, as Royal Caribbean International marked the official start of construction by cutting the first piece of steel for its new Quantum Ultra ship. The next engineering marvel in the innovative cruise line’s lineup will officially be named Spectrum of the Seas.

Set to debut in 2019, Spectrum will be the next evolution of the cruise line’s groundbreaking and high-tech Quantum class of ships placing the ship in a new class of her own. The revolutionary Quantum Ultra ship will specifically be designed for guests in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and will feature cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

“Today is a very special day in the development of our new Quantum Ultra ship, Spectrum of the Seas. We are now one step closer to delighting our guests in Asia Pacific with this remarkable ship,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Spectrum will be another giant leap forward in vessel design and guest experiences that will provide travelers with ample opportunities to create unforgettable memories.”

Image Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun to be Celebrated in Unique Style Aboard Carnival Cruise Line Ships

Leave it to Carnival Cruise Line to find a unique and creative way to celebrate the upcoming total eclipse of the sun set for Monday, August 21, at approximately 2 p.m. EDT.

To mark this truly rare and fascinating astronomical event—which is the result of the alignment of the sun, Earth and moon to block sunlight from reaching the Earth—Carnival Cruise Line is offering a number of activities across its fleet, everything from eclipsed-themed viewing and sailaway parties complete with appropriate music, games, and more to a Sun Dance Competition with participants vying to “bring out the sun” on deck. In keeping with the spirit of the eclipse, specials on Blue Moon beer will be available throughout the event.

So if you’re sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship on August 21st be sure to check out all the eclipse-themed fun they have planned for you!

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Cunard Prepares to Set Sail for QE2 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Luxury cruise brand Cunard, is honoring the 50th anniversary of its longest serving ocean liner, QE2, with a special voyage onboard the luxury cruise liner Queen Elizabeth.

The 50th anniversary of this much-loved ship will be remembered as Queen Elizabeth sets sail from Southampton on Friday, September 8 for a 17-night voyage. Departing guests will enjoy Venice’s iconic canals, mythical Mount Etna in Sicily and Corfu's leafy beauty.

Angus Struthers, Vice President, Cunard said, “This Mediterranean cruise is perfectly timed to pay tribute to QE2’s launch and naming by HM Queen Elizabeth II 50 years ago. When QE2 came into service in the 1960s, many critics said she wouldn’t last a decade in the age of the jet but her unique design as a dual-purpose ship meant that she was versatile enough to operate both as a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship.” He added, “Given how famous and loved she was, we felt this was a great opportunity to pay tribute to this Cunarder’s remarkable life onboard our newest ship, Queen Elizabeth; herself designed to offer a perfect luxury cruise holiday.”

Celebrations focus on five special theme days, each of which will be accompanied by QE2 inspired menus, talks from special guests, historical snippets in the daily program, past-passenger gatherings, and QE2 quizzes. Themes include Moving in Royal Circles which looks back at the unique and special bond between QE2 and the Royal Family; The Falklands which acknowledges the ship’s service as a troop ship in the 1982 conflict; Triumph of a Great Tradition examining the QE2’s remarkable career achievements and the long history of Cunard ‘firsts’, and World Flagship in tribute to QE2’s 26 world cruises that made her an icon in cities across the globe.

Celebrations culminate on QE2 Day—September 20, 2017—exactly 50 years since the ship was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Events will include a QE2 ball, and a historical retrospective of the ship’s service life to be hosted in Queen Elizabeth’s 850 seat Royal Court Theatre.

As part of Cunard’s renowned and award winning Insights Speaker program, a number of special guests connected to QE2 will be sailing onboard. One such guest is Captain Ian McNaught, QE2’s last Master, who said, “This voyage is a significant and timely tribute to the world’s best loved ship. QE2 remains the longest serving express liner in history. She carried 2.5 million passengers over 5.6 million miles; that's further than any passenger ship—ever! This remarkable ship sailed alone on the North Atlantic for most of her career. She carried the Cunard tradition from the bygone era of the ocean liner and sustained it into the 21st century. The QE2 carried Royalty, celebrities and served in the Falklands War.” He added: “What I remember most as her Master, were the passengers. Everyday people who saved up to experience life onboard the world's best loved ship. Many came back time and time again. That is a tribute to the countless people who served as QE2's crew, each one making the experience special and memorable. QE2 has been gone for nearly a decade now, however on her 50th anniversary the memory of her is strong. It is very fitting to be acknowledging the QE2's remarkable career here onboard Queen Elizabeth."

Other guests include Commodore R. W. Warwick who served as QE2’s Captain for 13 years; QE2 social hostess Maureen Ryan who served onboard the original Cunard Queens as well as Queen Mary 2; and maritime historian Chris Frame, author of a series of books about QE2 and Cunard.

The voyage departs September 8 and returns September 25. For additional information, visit Cunard.com.

QE2 Image Courtesy Cunard Line; Queen Elizabeth Photo © CruiseDiva.com

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Features for Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed features and amenities for Norwegian Bliss, the line’s sixteenth ship, which has been designed for the ultimate cruising experience and will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean with select voyages to the Mexican Riviera beginning in June 2018. Custom-built for the spectacular, Norwegian Bliss will boast many firsts at sea for the global market including the largest competitive race track at sea and an open-air laser tag course. The ship’s exciting new features will join the brand’s signature elements of freedom and flexibility that Norwegian is known for across the globe including a myriad of dining options and a vibrant onboard atmosphere fueled by dynamic intimate spaces and a multitude of bars and lounges, award-winning youth programs and more.

Norwegian Bliss will no doubt be our most incredible ship to date,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. “We have elevated Norwegian Bliss’s onboard experience to new heights, bringing the best features from across our fleet plus exciting new first-at-sea activities like the largest race track and new dining concepts to create the ultimate cruising experience.”

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss is currently being constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018.

Imagine Exhilaration
Norwegian Bliss will boast excitement around every corner and delight guests with thrills, with activities spanning the entirety of the ship’s top deck. Following overwhelming popularity aboard Norwegian Bliss’ sister ship in China, Norwegian Joy, guests will be able to put the pedal to the metal for the first time aboard a North American-based cruise ship with a two level electric-car race track. The competitive track, the longest at sea at nearly 1,000 feet, will rev up the hearts of all who race around her many twists and turns with four speed settings accommodating novice, intermediate and advanced drivers, reaching up to 30 miles per hourwith a special “turbo boost” available on each lap. The electric cars run silent so as to not disturb those seeking to enjoy the serene environment. But guests will have the full racing experience while they channel their inner Andretti, as the sounds of a race car engine are piped in through speakers located in the car’s headrest. After burning rubber at the race track, guests can test their agility at the open-air laser tag course. Themed as an abandoned space station, the course comes to life both day and night as guests go into stealth-mode and compete against family and friends with state-of-the art laser guns.

After working up a sweat, guests aboard Norwegian Bliss can cool down at the ship’s expansive pool and sundeck featuring two spacious pools and six infinity hot tubs that scale the side of the ship. The ship’s Aqua Park also includes two multi-story waterslides. Not for the faint of heart, the high-speed Ocean Loops free fall slide includes two exhilarating loops, one that extends out over the side of the ship and a second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below, sure to offer a wet and wild ride. The tandem Aqua Racer slide allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet, with a translucent section that provides stunning ocean views as guests twist and turn to the finish line.

Junior cruisers can splish, splash and have a blast at the Kids’ Aqua Park, a watery wonderland of splash pads, water cannons, tipping buckets and slides. The little ones will also have a blast at Splash Academy, the fleet’s award-winning complimentary youth program. Centrally-located on Deck 5, Splash Academy will offer age-appropriate supervised activities for children aged three to 12 with fun and energetic programming including games with the conservation-minded Officer Snook, a circus spectacular celebration, jungle-themed nights and more. Teens aged 13 through 17 will enjoy their own space aboard Norwegian Bliss on deck 5, Entourage, adjacent to the ship’s arcade. The exclusive teen space features plush lounge furniture, gaming stations, foosball, air hockey and a dancefloor with neon lighting, as the space transitions to the hottest teen nightclub at sea in the evening hours. Even tiny cruisers, ages six months to just under three years old, will have an dedicated space to enjoy aboard Norwegian Bliss with the fleet’s largest Guppies playroom, where Early Years Coordinators will host sensory-play activities for parents and babies including messy play, exploration, music and movement. In line with its youth programming across the fleet, Norwegian Bliss will offer a wide range of family-friendly activities for guests to enjoy including family balloon twisting, interactive games and the Family Glow Party.

Imagine Delectable
Foodies and cocktail connoisseurs will be able to dine, sip and savor to their heart’s delight with a breadth of dining and bar options aboard Norwegian Bliss, including signature Norwegian favorites as well as exclusive new concepts that will debut aboard the line’s newest ship.

Modern décor and premium ingredients will meet southern flavors at the all-new Texas Smokehouse, Q, where guests will be able to tap their boots to the beat of live contemporary pop country music each night as they indulge in authentic Texas barbeque in a sleek urban setting. The new à la carte specialty restaurant will infuse an explosion of flavors in every bite with a selection brisket, ribs, chicken and sausages and more freshly smoked over hickory, oak and pecan woods. Q will offer generous portions of sides and starters including deviled eggs with natural air cured ham, pickled jalapeños, fresh cheddar and breadcrumb-crusted mac-n-cheese, baked sweet potatoes smothered in pecan honey butter and cinnamon and more. Guests can round out their meal at Q with a mason jar of fresh banana pudding or indulge in bread pudding in whiskey sauce.

The flavors aboard Norwegian Bliss will travel south-of-the-border with Los Lobos, an outpost of the brand’s new restaurant serving elevated Mexican cuisine that made its debut in 2016 aboard Norwegian Dawn during her extensive dry dock enhancement under the Norwegian Edge, the brand’s investment program that encompasses the entire guest experience. Los Lobos will offer an upscale, modern take on traditional favorites like fresh guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole, handcrafted margaritas featuring private-label Patron Barrel Select, Norwegian's own tequila blend, and more. Featuring indoor and outdoor seating located on deck 8 aft, Los Lobos will be adjacent to Cagney’s Steakhouse, Norwegian’s popular signature American-style steakhouse that serves up choice cuts of Hartley Ranch Premium Black Angus Beef including the larger-than-life 20 oz. Porterhouse, an incredibly tender 8 oz. filet mignon, and signature ribeye. Between Los Lobos and Cagney’s Steakhouse, The A-List Bar, named for Norwegian President & CEO and 30-year veteran Andy Stuart, will serve handcrafted cocktails, wines and premium spirits.

Sweets and treats will be served up day and night at Coco’s, a completely new à la carte dessert venue located on deck 6 in the heart of the ship, 678 Ocean Place, where liquid chocolate in an enclosed oversized chocolate fountain will adorn its entranceway, delighting kids and kids at heart. The chocolate-themed dessert restaurant will feature handmade pralines, truffles, crepes and other decadent treats paired with fine coffees and teas.

In a nod to the ship’s homeport of Seattle, guests aboard Norwegian Bliss can warm up for their glacier walk with a Caramel Macchiato or grab a Teavana® Shaken Iced Green Tea Lemonade to sip on while lounging on a pristine Caribbean beach with a full service Starbucks® store on board. Guests can start their day with Starbucks® coffees, teas and bites available à la carte.

Norwegian will bring together the best of its specialty dining experiences aboard Norwegian Bliss with signature à la carte restaurants including French cuisine at Le Bistro; the tastes of Tuscany at La Cucina; the finest fresh seafood at Ocean Blue; global fusion cuisine featuring sushi, dumplings, handhelds and more at Food Republic; Cheeseburgers in Paradise® at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville® at Sea; and handmade cupcakes and macarons at The Bake Shop. Teppanyaki, the brand’s family-favorite Japanese hibachi steakhouse will also be onboard at cover charge pricing.

Norwegian Bliss will serve up premium quality cuisine with fresh ingredients in all complimentary dining venues with rotating menus curated by the brand’s coveted culinary team. In a new complimentary dining concept, The Local will offer guests pub fare in a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere 24 hours a day.

Norwegian’s original beverage concepts will round out the ship’s culinary offerings. The District Brew House will serve 24 beers on tap and more than 50 bottled beers, along with bites from the adjacent Food Republic. Local favorites on tap at The District will include craft beers from Red Hook Brewery and Elysian Brewery in Seattle as well as Wynwood Brewery and M.I.A. Beer Company in Miami. The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar will offer a curated wine list featuring 35 grape varietals including top selections from Washington-area vineyards, Tuscany and Michael Mondavi’s own Napa Valley Estate, as well as light bites from La Cucina. Wine will come to life at The Cellars with interactive educational seminars and tastings daily. Paying homage to her homeport cities, Norwegian Bliss’ beverage program will also feature a selection of local craft cocktails developed by Seattle-based celebrity mixologist and chef Kathy Casey as well as Miami-based Gabe Orta, one of the master curator’s behind the city’s ultra-popular BarLab concepts.

Imagine Tranquility
After glacier trekking in Alaska or discovering hidden caves and sea pools at the Baths of Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean, Norwegian Bliss guests will be able to revive, refresh and recharge at the ship’s Mandara Spa. Located on deck 16 aft, the Mandara Spa will offer the ultimate pampering experience with 24 treatment rooms, a full-service salon and barber shop, fitness center and thermal suite. The Fitness Center will offer latest state-of-the-art TechnoGym® cardiovascular and strength training equipment, as well as personal training and group fitness classes including TRX, Norwegian Fight Club, RYDE Cycle and more. The ship’s expansive thermal suite will be an exclusive enclave of relaxation where guests can soothe aching joints in the vitality pool and heated whirlpool; rinse off and clear mind and spirit in special experience showers; reduce inflammation and improve respiratory functions in the salt room; cleanse the body in the steam room or sauna; cool down in the snow room; or catch up on their latest reading on one of the 17 heated stone loungers. Passes to the exclusive enclave of relaxation will be available for purchase for a limited number of guests each sailing. In addition to the luxurious spa, adults will be able to unwind in two private lounge spaces while cruising aboard Norwegian Bliss at Vibe Beach Club and Spice H2O.

Imagine a New Scene
During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly 7-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, where she will be the largest and most innovative ship to ever seasonally homeport on the West Coast. Unlike any other ship sailing the West coast, Norwegian Bliss will feature the brand’s most celebrated elements of freedom and flexibility including 678 Ocean Place, a three-deck central hub where the pulse of the ship’s action takes place with restaurants, shops, entertainment and guest services all conveniently located in one area. Also a first for a ship on the West coast will be The Waterfront (pictured here), a popular feature that debuted on Norwegian Breakaway in 2013; the outdoor promenade is designed to enhance guests’ connection to the ocean with al fresco dining, bars and lounge spaces and offer spectacular views of Alaska’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife or the Caribbean’s stunning turquoise waters.

Norwegian’s vibrant nightlife scene will be taken to the next level aboard Norwegian Bliss with live entertainment, electrifying deck parties at Spice H2O and an expansive casino featuring hundreds of slot machines and table games to suit the likes of novice and pro gamblers alike. In a first for Norwegian, the casino will now offer a smoking and a non-smoking casino to cater to all guest preferences.

Norwegian Bliss’ custom design will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to “imagine Bliss” and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, Studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families traveling together. Norwegian Bliss will also feature an incredible lineup of entertainment offerings including the Tony-Award winner for “Best Musical” Jersey Boys and two observation lounges, including the exclusive Horizon Lounge for guests of The Haven®, perfect for whale watching in Alaska or taking in sunsets in the Caribbean, and more. Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ship’s hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line has commissioned Wyland, one of the world’s premier marine life artists, to design the hull art for Norwegian Bliss.

The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Images Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

American Queen Steamboat Company’s American Duchess Christened

American Queen Steamboat Company’s American Duchess was christened this week in New Orleans on the banks of the mighty Mississippi. The 166-guest riverboat, the first all-suite paddlewheeler on America’s rivers, officially joins the company’s fleet with the Memphis-based American Queen and the American Empress, based in the Pacific Northwest. Marissa Applegate, daughter of Chairman and CEO John Waggoner, is the godmother of the American Duchess and broke a bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon on the boat’s hull culminating the ceremonial festivities.

“I could not be more appreciative of all the hard work from every person involved in making the American Duchess dream come true; it’s times like these that I am reminded just how incredible this team and family is,” shared American Queen Steamboat Company Chairman and CEO John Waggoner. “Thank you for being here to witness this special celebration with our entire crew and myself. We are thrilled to welcome the American Duchess to our fleet.”

During the ceremony remarks were made by executives and dignitaries including John Waggoner, American Queen Steamboat Company Chairman and CEO; Ted Sykes, American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO; Wayne Arguin, New Orleans Port Captain at the U.S. Coast Guard and Bill Samuels, Jr., Chairman of Maker’s Mark. Joy Manthey of Seaman’s Church blessed the American Duchess and the ceremony concluded with a bourbon presentation by Maker’s Mark to celebrate the line’s partnership with American Queen Steamboat Company.

“The American Duchess is a culmination of our company’s core values and finest attributes, poised to deliver our trademark level of gracious service, first-class entertainment, superlative fine dining and award-winning shore excursions,” described American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “With the first Loft Suites on U.S. rivers, she is an innovation that will no doubt set new standards for excellence within the industry.”

Before christening the American Duchess, Marissa Applegate shared what it meant to join the elite club of ship godmothers including Princess Kate Middleton, Sophia Loren, American Queen Godmother Priscilla Presley and American Empress Godmother Claudette Waggoner. “In addition to the pride I take being the godmother of the American Duchess today, it has been such a joy to stand by my father and watch him grow this company from the ground up,” she said. “Thank you to everyone for bestowing this honor on me and letting me be a part of this special day.”

The American Duchess features a generous space ratio showcased by three 550 sq. ft. Owner’s Suites, four 550 sq. ft. Loft Suites, a U.S. riverboat first; and spacious Veranda Suites with sliding glass doors to private balconies and Interior Suites. The new vessel incorporates the highest standards of service, entertainment and shore excursions customers have come to expect from the American Queen Steamboat Company. Featuring open seating with two dining venues, The Grand Dining Room and The River Club and Terrace offer regionally inspired cuisine similar to that of the American Queen.

After the christening, the American Duchess departed on her maiden voyage up the Mississippi River with stops in Natchez, Ms., Vicksburg, Ms., Memphis, Tn., Paducah, Ky., St. Louis, Mo., and other charming ports before arriving in her disembarkation city of Red Wing, Mn. near the northern terminus of the river. This 23-day voyage spans the length of the mighty Mississippi and will provide guests with an unforgettable vantage point of America’s heartland.

A variety of voyage lengths, ranging from six days and up, offers exceptional value and convenience, with little or no flying required. Pre- or post-cruise luxury hotel stay, all bottled water and soft drinks, wine and beer at dinner, and complimentary shore adventures are included in each port of call. For additional information, visit AmericanQueenSteamboatCompany.com.

Image Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company