Friday, September 29, 2017

Princess Cruises Wilderness Treehouse Unveiled in Finale Episode Of Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters”

Princess Cruises new one-of-a-kind wilderness treehouse at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge was revealed on the season finale of Animal Planet’s hit show “Treehouse Masters,” bringing an opportunity to view Denali, North America’s highest peak, from a unique perspective as the latest guest experience enhancement created from its partnership with Discovery Communications.

As the newest addition to the line’s property, the treehouse was the first ever designed and constructed in Alaska by Pete Nelson, the star of the hit TV series. As one of the highest land-based north-facing viewing areas, the treehouse provides Princess guests a one-of-a-kind experience to see the south face of Denali from the trees, and is powered by solar panels. At approximately 500 square feet, guests can access the treehouse by hiking the short “hill trail loop” and be rewarded by the ultimate Denali view.

Guests traveling on a Princess Cruises cruisetour will be able to enjoy the treehouse, along with visits to other Princess-owned lodges, and a ride on the Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service, saving time on travel and allowing for more time to experience the wilderness of Alaska. Plans are underway for treehouse programming that will be announced in the months leading up to summer 2018.

“The treehouse here at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge was our first-ever build in Alaska,” said Pete Nelson, star of Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters.” “We took the opportunity to connect the treehouse with this beautiful frontier by utilizing materials from areas around the state—reclaimed wood from Ketchikan, wooden benches from Palmer—all of these elements will help to connect visitors to Alaska in a unique way.”

A special wilderness treehouse ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge located within Denali State Park, and one of Princess Cruises’ five wilderness lodges. The event featured lumberjack ax throwers and the release of a rehabilitated juvenile bald eagle back into the wild. Dave Salmoni, zoologist and the star of Animal Planet hit show, “Pet Nation Renovation” kicked off the ceremonial event, assisting the lumberjacks by holding the ribbon as it was cut by a swift throw of an ax.

“We invite guests visiting Alaska from around the world to join us at our Lodge and the new treehouse,” said Lisa Syme, Princess Cruises vice president. “Alaska provides one of the most unique travel experiences and our new wilderness treehouse encourages our travelers to explore and experience it with child-like curiosity and wonder.”

Starting in 2015, the partnership between Princess Cruises and Discovery Communications began creating memorable vacation experiences for the whole family through the Discovery at Sea program, bringing programming on board the line’s fleet including stargazing, activities featuring Discovery hit shows, Science Channel activities, and immersive Discovery and Animal Planet shore excursions.

For nearly 50 years, Princess Cruises has been recognized as the destination leader in Alaska. On board, Alaska guests experience the award-winning program, North to Alaska, which includes unique Alaska onboard enrichment , entertainment, and food and beverage offerings, as well as Discovery Channel and Animal Planet recommended and exclusive shore excursions, as part of the cruise line's Discovery at Sea partnership.

More information can be found at Princess.com/Alaska.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Silversea's 2019 Summer Collection Now Open For Reservations

Luxury Silversea Cruises, known for its elegant boutique ships and exotic destinations, has unveiled an inspired collection of 160 voyages for summer 2019, which can now be reserved.

The 2019 Summer Collection, a rich diversity of itineraries visiting over 400 destinations in 64 countries, spans the globe from the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Alaska, and Canada to the Arctic, South Pacific, Galápagos Islands, and Australia's Kimberley Coast. This amazing collection also includes Silver Cloud’s early 2020 Expeditions to Antarctica. Highlighting the schedule are dozens of fascinating new destinations, including Milos, Greece; Corsica's L'Ile Rousse and St. Florent; Porto Santo Stefano, Italy; St. Mary's (Isles of Scilly), U.K.; Rudyerd Bay (Misty Fjords), Alaska; Alert Bay (Cormorant Island), British Columbia; and Little Bay, Montserrat.

"Our 2019 Summer Collection is perfectly tailored to inquisitive travelers seeking inspirational journeys that enrich the mind and soul," said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea's CEO. "With a fleet of nine ships, we're able to offer a wealth of choices, from marquee cities to far-flung destinations, which travelers can explore on port-intensive getaways as short as five days, or longer journeys, such as our 47-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage."

Highlights of the 2019 Summer Collection:
Silver Muse's Inaugural Season in Alaska: For the first time since her debut in 2017, Silver Muse will spend the summer discovering the enchanting natural wonders of Alaska on 15 mostly seven-day voyages between Seward and Vancouver. Four convenient roundtrip sailings of 10 to 12 days from Vancouver offer more-immersive explorations of this magnificent region.

Epic Northeast Passage: One of the world's great journeys, this 25-day expedition aboard Silver Explorer departs August 10 from Nome, Alaska, to explore the wonders of the Russian Arctic. Before disembarking in Tromso, Norway, just 130 intrepid voyagers will have enjoyed the rare privilege of exploring a legendary region of remarkable seascapes, intriguing wildlife and fascinating cultures.

Grand Mediterranean Voyage: After an 11-year absence, Silver Shadow returns to the Mediterranean in splendid style with a 47-day Grand Voyage through nine countries, visiting 39 destinations along the way. Departing roundtrip from Barcelona on June 10, guests will discover this fabled region's great art and architecture, jet-set hideaways and sun-kissed beaches as they enjoy exclusive events and amenities.

Mediterranean & Northern Europe:
From France's Atlantic Coast and the British Isles to the Italian Riviera and the Holy Land, dozens of easily combinable voyages offer a variety of options for travelers seeking to discover the regions' cultural treasures, picturesque harbors, and storied cities. Notable itineraries include:
• On May 22, Silver Shadow sails roundtrip from Nice to spend five days soaking up the glamour and excitement of two premier world events: the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. Plus, a stopover at La Spezia offers the chance to explore Italy's famous Cinque Terre.
• On Silver Shadow's October 23, 10-day voyage to the Holy Land, departing roundtrip from Athens, guests will not only discover the amazing history and culture of revered destinations, but they will be treated to an exclusive opera-themed onboard enrichment program featuring four soloists and one pianist from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala.
Silver Spirit's June 12, 15-day voyage from London (Greenwich) to Copenhagen offers guests the rare chance to savor every minute of the longest day of the year in the land of the Midnight Sun, when the ship visits Norway's North Cape in time for the summer solstice. For an enhanced experience, the voyage can be combined with the June 27, 7-day sailing from Copenhagen to Stockholm, which features an overnight stay in glorious St. Petersburg.
• In 2019, both Silver Cloud and Silver Wind feature opportunities to sail the Thames River to dock near the iconic Tower Bridge in the heart of historic London—a journey most cruise ships are too large to navigate. One such Silver Cloud voyage departs May 1 from Lisbon for a 12-day expedition along France's Atlantic Coast, offering the chance to explore Bilbao's renowned Guggenheim Museum, Bordeaux's legendary vineyards, the ancient ramparts of St. Malo and the D-Day beaches of Normandy—before concluding in London.
Kimberley Coast & South Pacific:
Silver Discoverer's eight expedition cruises along Australia's scenic Kimberley Coast highlight an exotic program that encompasses the remote isles of the South Pacific. On the schedule are opportunities to visit Borneo's Camp Leakey, a renowned refuge for orangutans, aboard two voyages: a 15-day sailing from Darwin to Bali, departing June 24, and a 12-day adventure from Bali to Kota Kinabalu, departing July 9.

Galápagos Islands:
Silver Galapagos retains her ever-popular explorations of the pristine and biologically diverse islands of the Galápagos with seven-day expedition voyages that may be combined into 14-day sailings.

Aboard Silversea voyages guests enjoy ocean-view suites, gourmet cuisine, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits, a stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, onboard gratuities, and complimentary Wi-Fi for each guest.

Visit Silversea.com for additional details on the 2019 Summer Collection.

Image Courtesy of Silversea

Seabourn Expands Land-Based Journeys Program

Luxury cruise line Seabourn is offering lasting memories in exotic locations through its expanded land-based excursion program, Seabourn Journeys—offering a selection of pre- and post-cruise trip extensions through land-based immersive experiences in remarkable destinations in conjunction with select voyages in 2018 and 2019.

You will enjoy captivating experiences of local culture, history, beauty, hospitality, and relaxation. The fully-escorted Journeys have been uniquely curated to showcase the very best of the destination they visit and include select meals, transportation, and guided experiences. Luxury hotels and lodges have been hand-selected to offer them accommodations at the finest iconic properties in the best locations that showcase their indigenous surroundings - all conveniently timed to the start or finish of scheduled Seabourn cruises.

"We're truly excited to offer opportunities to extend the on board luxury experience with these new on shore Seabourn Journeys at a very attractive rate," said Chris Austin, senior vice president of global marketing and sales for Seabourn. "Each Seabourn Journey is expertly curated with customized, guide-led tours of the most memorable sites and scenes around the world. They are perfect for luxury travelers desiring a seamless, robust land-and-sea experience."

All Seabourn Journeys are available pre- and post-cruise, with transfers to and from Seabourn ships and various destinations included. Departures on most Journeys are guaranteed with a minimum of two guests. (The Denali Experience and South Pole Quest require a minimum of 10 guests.)

The following are 10 Seabourn Journeys currently offered around the world:
• Splendours of Peru: Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu (8 day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) - Experience ancient and contemporary culture in the capital of Peru, the former capital of the Inca empire. Highlights include the Church of Santo Domingo and Lima's oldest mansion, 16th century Casa Aliaga; impressive displays of Inca masonry at the Convent of Santo Domingo and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, as well as the fortress of Ollantaytambo; and mountaintop Machu Picchu, in a class and an altitude by itself.
• Cambodia: Phnom Penh & Temples of Angkor (6 days) - Cambodia's ancient and modern history are on display in Phnom Penh including the Silver Pagoda of the Royal Palace, ancient Khmer art at the National Museum, and infamous Khmer Rouge sites. Explore the complex of Angkor Wat by helicopter and then on foot with a guided tour of the breathtaking ruins including Bayon Temple, fig tree-wrapped Ta Prohm Temple, and other captivating temples including Angkor Thom and Rolous Khmer.
• India's Golden Triangle: The Taj Mahal & Jaipur (6 days) - Tour Old Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque and Chandni Chowk in a cycle rickshaw. In New Delhi, it's the Parliament House, India Gate and more, with dining on heirloom recipes in the elegant residence of a local family. In Agra, marvel at sprawling Agra Fort and the marble mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, then proceed to the Pink City of Jaipur with sites including the ornate Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of Winds". An elephant safari, the Amber Fort, and the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing round out a very full experience.
• Sydney, The Red Centre & Great Barrier Reef (8-day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) - Sydney welcomes with the historic Rocks precinct, the Botanical Garden, and a private tour of the Sydney Opera House. Fly to the Red Centre to tour the 500-mlllion-year-old red rock domes of Kata Tjuta, The Olgas, and catch the sunset over Uluru during the Sounds of Silence experience, which includes an unforgettable dining experience and introduction to Aboriginal culture and a traditional Anangu performance. Take time to explore Uluru by camel, then a sunrise helicopter tour before transferring to Cairns and Port Douglas for the UNESCO World Heritage Daintree National Park, with a cruise on the Daintree River, guided forest walk to the Botanical Ark, and more. Guests then can experience a full day of snorkeling underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef from a luxury catamaran.
• Myanmar: Yangon, Bagan's Temples & Inie Lake (8 day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) - Enjoy previously inaccessible Myanmar with access to timeless attractions and unforgettable experiences. In Yangon, visit 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, the 230-foot Reclining Buddha statue, and the magnificent carved Lion's Throne. In Bagan, float over thousands of stupas in a hot-air balloon and visit Shwezigon Pagoda, Kubyaukgyi Temple, Ananda Temple, and Htilominio Temple. At Inle Lake, a boat ride includes views of the gold-leaf Buddhas at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and Ngaphechaung Monastery perched on stilts over the lake.
• South Africa: Cape Town & Kruger Park Safari Lodge (7 day pre-cruise/6-day post-cruise) - Enjoy luxury and adventure in South Africa's scenic Cape followed by a multi-day safari experience amid one of Africa's densest concentrations of native wildlife. Pop a cork on Cape Town's oldest wine-producing region, Groot Constantia, and visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens under Table Mountain, then head for the top by cable car. See Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, with additional highlights including the Castle of Good Hope and Company Gardens. Then fly to Kruger National Park for a stay at spectacular Singita Lebombo Lodge overlooking the N'wanetsi River, with two game drives daily to see leopard, lion, white and black rhino, elephant, hippo, cheetah and more.
• UNESCO South America: Rio, Iguazú Falls & Buenos Aires (6 days) - Two of South America's most captivating cities bookend this journey to the UNESCO World Heritage natural wonder of Iguazu Falls. In Rio de Janeiro, pass lush Tijuca Rainforest Park crowned by the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Peak en route to famed Copacabana Beach. Absorb the earth-shaking roar of Iguazu Falls from a suspended walkway on the Brazilian side with a helicopter ride to dinner to follow. Finally, spend a day in Buenos Aires with Plaza de Mayo, San Telmo and colorful La Boca, and finish with a tango lesson at legendary Café de los Angelitos.
• UNESCO Treasures of China: Beijing, Xi'An & Hong Kong (6 days) - Immerse in the world's oldest civilization with exploration of the captivating contrasts of burgeoning Beijing, the Silk Road outpost of Xi'An, and the glittering melting pot of Hong Kong. Follow a welcome feast of Peking Duck with visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City in Beijing. Observe the dramatic Mutianyu section of the Great Wall by cable car and see highlights of the Beijing Olympic Village. In Xi'An, tour the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, the Chinese-style Great Mosque, and the ancient City Wall. Then enjoy Hong Kong with tours of a colorful market, the Man Ho Temple and Hollywood Road, as well as scenic views from the Peak Tram.
• The Denali Experience (5 days) - Take in the many natural splendors of Alaska at the highest mountain in North America with travels focused on the looming, snow-capped peak and its National Park. Fly over the Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier before heading deep into the Park with a guide to spot grizzly and black bears, wolves, moose, caribou and more. After a day at leisure in the Park with many options for activities, ride in a domed observation car on a scenic railway to enjoy celebratory hospitality in Anchorage, viewing unspoiled taiga forest and wild rivers all along the way. This Journey requires a minimum of 10 guests per departure.
• South Pole Quest (13 days) - A true expedition awaits on the White Continent. From the Chilean capital of Santiago, fly to Punta Arena, staging location for the Antarctic portion of the adventure, then head by plane to Union Glacier Base Camp with a stay in comfortable camp facilities. Expedition guides share knowledge of life in an Antarctic climate and wildlife likely to be encountered. There will be opportunities to explore the glacier including Elephant's Head, Drake Icefall, Hidden Valley and the beach at Rossman Cove. Then board a ski-plane and head for the bottom of the world, with time at the South Pole before return to base camp and Punta Arenas. This Journey requires a minimum of 10 guests per departure.
For additional details on itineraries and specific inclusions for Seabourn Journeys, visit Seabourn.com.

Image Courtesy of Seabourn

Carnival Corporation Will Deliver Best Wi-Fi in Cruise Industry with Launch of MedallionNet

Carnival Corporation, the world's largest leisure travel company, today announced MedallionNet™, a game-changing connectivity service enabled by SES Networks that will deliver the best Wi-Fi experience in the cruise industry. MedallionNet will provide guests with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency.

The connectivity service—to be delivered in connection with SES Networks, a business unit of SES —will collectively leverage the leading global satellite operator's geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) constellations, managed services, antenna and shipboard technology to significantly enhance the guest experience by providing high-performance and reliable broadband connectivity at sea. This innovative service is enabled by hardware and software shipboard technology advances associated with Carnival Corporation's proprietary O·C·E·A·N Experience Platform.

"Staying connected is inextricably linked to our daily life experiences and that now extends to the vacation experience, even when sailing in the middle of the sea," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "MedallionNet will set the new standard for Wi-Fi service at sea and we look forward to rolling it out to our guests. Our top priority is doing everything we can to exceed guest expectations, and by listening closely to our guests, we know Wi-Fi connectivity is important to many of our guests. For guests who want to disconnect, they are free to do so. But for those who want to stay connected, MedallionNet will make it easy for them—and that includes being able to easily send photos, videos, and messages letting everyone know they are having a fabulous vacation."

MedallionNet is another development to emerge from Carnival Corporation's Global Experience and Innovation Center located in Miami and is the first end-to-end Wi-Fi service development formulated with a focus on exceeding guest expectations through "GuestCentricity™"—an initiative to enhance all aspects of the vacation experience by delivering guests what they want, when, where and how they want it.

MedallionNet leverages multi-band antennas uniquely configured in an innovative shipboard formation to minimize any potential impact to guest connectivity due to seasonal weather or ship positioning, and it fuses multi-orbit satellite bandwidth to deliver a truly immersive guest connectivity experience.

By combining multiple sources of bandwidth to achieve the highest capacity shipboard network ever brought to a cruise ship with an unprecedented volume of shipboard access points, MedallionNet introduces a level of service reliability and signal pervasiveness not previously achieved on ships sailing at sea. More specifics about MedallionNet and specific cruise brand implementation will be announced later this year.

MSC Cruises Celebrates Plan A Cruise Month In October With 2-for-1 Deals & Bonus Perks

Now is the perfect time to take to the sea, since October is Plan a Cruise Month, and MSC Cruises USA—the North American arm of MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe and South America—is celebrating the month by offering travelers 50% savings until October 31 on brochure rates in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and United Arab Emirates, plus incredible bonus perks in the Caribbean like onboard credit, internet and drink packages. To top it all off, Kids 11 and under sail free on select sailings.

MSC Cruises Two for One Plus Caribbean Deal
Guests have the chance to enjoy half off 7+ night sailings in the Caribbean between December 2017 and March 2019 on MSC Divina and, the hottest new ship to sail the Caribbean, MSC Seaside, arriving to Miami in December 2017. Plus, cruisers enjoy perks like $50-$150 onboard credit, free WiFi packages, and drink packages, depending on category of stateroom booked.

Sample itineraries for sailings on MSC Seaside and MSC Divina include:
MSC Seaside: December 23, 2017 - Guests can experience the first 7-night Caribbean sailing of the revolutionary MSC Seaside as she departs for the first time from Miami, Fla with ports of call in St John's, Antigua and Barbuda; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, Bahamas. Prices start at $958 per person.
MSC Seaside: January 27, 2018 - 7-night cruise departing from Miami, Fla with ports of call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico. Prices start at $589 per person.
MSC Divina: February 15, 2018 - 11-night cruise departing from Miami, Fla with ports of call in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadaloupe; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Fort de France, Martinique; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Freeport, Grand Bahama. Prices start at $829 per person.
MSC Cruises Two for One Mediterranean, Northern Europe & United Arab Emirates Cruise Deals
Cruisers can save 50% off brochure rates, and reduced deposits of $99 for all Mediterranean, Northern Europe & United Arab Emirates sailings.

Mediterranean:
For those looking to explore the Mediterranean, 50% savings apply to all sailings between November 2017 to November 2018, including MSC Cruises' newest ships—the sparkling new MSC Meraviglia, which debuted in June 2017, and MSC Seaview, which will debut in June 2018—as well as MSC Orchestra, MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia, MSC Musica, MSC Opera, MSC Poesia, and MSC Sinfonia.

Sample itineraries for sailings in the Mediterranean include:
MSC Meraviglia: January 19, 2018 - 7-night cruise departing from Barcelona, Spain with ports of call in Marseille, France; Genoa, Italy; Civitavecchia, Italy; Palermo, Italy; and Valleta, Malta. Prices start at $439 per person.
MSC Seaview: June 17, 2018 - 7-night cruise on MSC Cruises' newest Seaside-class ship, arriving June 2018, departing from Genoa, Italy with ports of call in Naples, Italy; Messina, Italy; Valleta, Malta; Barcelona, Spain; and Marseille, France. Prices start at $908 per person.
Northern Europe:
Northern Europe sailings from March 2018 through October 2018 are eligible for half off, including MSC Meraviglia, which after sailing her inaugural season in the Mediterranean will be repositioned to Northern Europe for the summer 2018 season. Sailings are also available on board MSC Magnifica, MSC Orchestra, and MSC Preziosa.

Sample itineraries for sailings in Northern Europe include:
MSC Meraviglia: May 20, 2018 - 11-night cruise departing from Hamburg, Germany with ports of call in Kirkwall, United Kingdom; Akureyri, Iceland; Isafjordur, Iceland; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Invergordon, United Kingdom. Prices start at $1,329 per person.
MSC Magnifica: April 23, 2018 - 7-night cruise departing from Southampton, United Kingdom with ports of call in Le Havre, France; Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Hamburg, Germany. Prices start at $429 per person.
United Arab Emirates:
Cruises to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and MSC Cruises' newest private destination, Sir Bani Yas Island Beach Oasis, are also reduced by 50% between December 2017 and March 2019 on the magnificent MSC Splendida.

Sample itineraries for sailings in the United Arab Emirates include:
MSC Splendida: February 3, 2018 - 7-night cruise departing from Dubai with ports of call in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Sir Bani Yas Island, United Arab Emirates; Muscat, Oman; and Khor al Fakkan, United Arab Emirates. Prices start at $499 per person.
MSC Splendida: February 10, 2018 - 7-night cruise departing from Dubai with ports of call in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Sir Bani Yas Island, United Arab Emirates; Bahrain; and Doha, Qatar. Prices start at $499 per person.
For information on all MSC Cruises' Plan a Cruise Month 2-for-1 deals, see MSC Cruises USA.
Plan a Cruise Month is a campaign, created by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. that takes places every October and is a worldwide movement to learn more about cruising and how to plan and take a cruise vacation.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Silversea Announces Plans To Lengthen Silver Spirit

Luxury travel innovator Silversea has unveiled plans for its first-ever ship lengthening. The turn-key transformation of Silver Spirit will take place early next year at the Palermo shipyard of Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one by diversification and innovation.

Starting in early March, Silver Spirit will be lengthened by inserting a pre-built 49-foot-long midsection housing six Silver Suites, 26 Veranda Suites, and two Panorama Suites. Technical upgrades will also be implemented.

As the ship's extensive redesign takes its inspiration from the innovations of the line's new flagship, Silver Muse, creative dining concepts will be incorporated, and stylish décor enhancements will be made to existing suites and throughout the public spaces and outdoor areas, providing an increased level of comfort and spaciousness.

"Based on the wonderful feedback from guests sailing aboard our beautiful Silver Muse, we believe the comprehensive makeover we have planned for Silver Spirit will enrich the onboard experience and be equally appreciated by guests. They will see many of Silver Muse's innovations and elevated comforts embodied by our reimagined Silver Spirit," said Christian Sauleau, Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations for Silversea Cruises.

Silver Spirit offers a lively, convivial atmosphere for cosmopolitan travelers who enjoy a greater variety of shipboard diversions, yet crave the personalized service and authentic and “up-close” experiences for which Silversea is known. Silver Spirit is a true definition of Silversea’s heritage, with a modern edge. Amplifying everything that matters: public and personal space, beautiful interior design, superior service, gastronomic cuisine and world class wine, she remains small enough to visit both secluded and iconic ports.

Image Courtesy of Silversea

It's a Pleasure Doing Business at The Meeting Place on Celebrity Edge

Celebrity Cruises redefines what it means to "work remotely" with the reveal of The Meeting Place—a state-of-the-art meeting venue onboard Celebrity Edge. Designed by Wilson Butler Architects, the 1,970-square-foot venue commands a central location on the ship, complemented by brilliant, awe-inspiring views like no other meeting space on land or at sea—perfect for any need. With soundproof dividers, advanced audiovisual capabilities, varied seating options, private office space for event planners, dynamic mobile bars set up for food and beverages, and a fully equipped pantry with a bar, the possibilities for this venue are truly endless.

"Of course, the most advanced ship we've ever designed would include the most exciting venues for get-togethers, including The Meeting Place," said Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service, Celebrity Cruises. "When you host events at sea, you really elevate your brand. Imagine the spectacular conferences, trade shows, weddings, and reunions you can plan with the gorgeous Celebrity Edge as your setting and an ocean as your brilliant backdrop."

"When designing The Meeting Place we asked ourselves what would be more appealing; being subjected to lectures in a conference room, or socializing with colleagues in a hip lounge?' The latter seemed obvious. Thus the flexibility and functionality of a 'state of the art' meeting space was designed for pleasure first," said Scott Butler, AIA, Founding Partner, Wilson Butler Architects. "The word that defines The Meeting Place is 'connected'. It facilitates guests getting connected to one another; to the latest technology and to the greatest new ideas. It also happens to connect to other venues on the ship that vastly expand the opportunities for groups."

Seating is modern and comfortable: Choose theater-style, classroom, U-shaped, or circular layouts, while table tops work well with or without covers or skirts. The space transforms seamlessly from day into night, with high-top bar tables or comfortable lounge seating for mixing and mingling.

It wouldn't be Celebrity Edge without innovative technology at guests' fingertips. Audiovisual systems—from wireless microphones to a mini sound board—come as standard equipment. An electronic whiteboard helps capture brainstorming sessions easily, while the impressive 98-inch and 75-inch LED screens add a powerful punch to business meetings and a subtle mood for social occasions.

Previously unveiled venues on Celebrity Edge are also available for private events and meetings based on availability, including the three-deck spanning Eden; the revolutionary, cantilevered Magic Carpet; the serene Rooftop Garden; and the tech-savvy Destination Gateway. Each venue is offers extensive audiovisual capabilities, unrivaled, expansive views, and a one-of-a-kind experience.

To learn more about The Meeting Place onboard Celebrity Edge, visit CelebrityCruises.com/Edge.

Photo © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Partners with All Hands Volunteers for 'Hope Starts Here' Hurricane Relief

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, has announced a partnership with All Hands Volunteers, the world’s leading disaster relief organization powered by volunteers, and set a goal to raise $2.5 million for the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program. Under Hope Starts Here, the company is committing to match up to $1.25 million of donations from its valued guests, team members, suppliers and partners in order to substantially help All Hands Volunteers, a 501(c)3 non-profit relief organization, and Happy Hearts Fund deliver early relief response for the Florida Keys, and rebuild safe, resilient schools in the Caribbean islands impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“We are heartbroken to see the devastation that Hurricanes Irma and Maria have inflicted on the Florida Keys and several Caribbean islands, where our ships have been visiting since the beginning of our 50 years in business,” said Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “The Caribbean is part of our family, and we are grateful to work with All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund to create the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program and do our part in giving back to these destinations. We’re proud to start our campaign with a $600,000 donation to help begin the rebuilding efforts.”

“We are incredibly grateful for this support from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., and for our continued partnership with Happy Hearts Fund to provide their support and expertise,” said David Campbell, Chairman and Founder of All Hands Volunteers. “As the single largest donation in our organization’s history, this funding could not have come at a more crucial time as we work to rebuild communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands after the destruction brought by recent natural disasters, Hurricanes Irma and Maria. All Hands Volunteers will work together with the local communities to meet their long-term needs and rebuild hope.”

“We are thrilled to receive this donation from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and to work in partnership with All Hands Volunteers with their hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean islands and the Florida Keys,” said Petra Nemcova, Founder of Happy Hearts Fund. “This funding will allow us to together rebuild safe, resilient schools in areas most impacted by recent natural disasters to keep children safe, but also to ensure that these communities are not forgotten when the emergency response efforts are complete. Children often wait four or more years for schools to be rebuilt, and I hope that more companies will take the same thoughtful actions for long-term recovery.”

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. immediately deployed Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas, USVI to bring 35 pallets of much-needed supplies and assist in humanitarian efforts to evacuate residents and visitors. Additionally, one of the company’s newest ships, Norwegian Escape, also housed approximately 4,000 displaced guests who were unable to secure flights home due to hurricane closures. The company is continuing to collect essential items, including medical supplies, diapers, baby formula, water, food, construction materials, blankets, sleeping pods and more, and is working with partners on the ground to support disaster relief efforts. To help hurricane relief and recovery, and to make a donation that will be matched by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. will match up to $1.25 million in donations), please visit NCL.com/hope-starts-here.

About All Hands Volunteers
Since its inception following the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004, All Hands Volunteers has responded to 79 disasters worldwide, engaging over 39,000 volunteers to help more than 500,000 individuals impacted by natural disasters all over the world; including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in 2015. Philanthropic leaders say the organization is known for being nimble, collaborative, and professional in its response to the immediate and long term needs of those suffering in the aftermath of a natural disaster. All Hands Volunteers has received Charity Navigator’s highest 4 Star Rating. All Hands Volunteers currently has disaster relief programs in Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Louisiana, Missouri, Nepal and Peru. Find out more at hands.org.

About Happy Hearts Fund
Happy Hearts Fund (HHF), founded in 2006 by Petra Nemcova after she survived the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, rebuilds safe, resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters. HHF works during the gap period when children are forgotten after emergency response is complete, bringing hope and empowerment to generations of children and entire communities. Globally, Happy Hearts Fund is active in 10 countries and has built 165 schools. Since inception their programs have benefited more than 110,000 children and 618,000 community members. For more information, please visit happyheartsfund.org.

Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam Continues to Set Records with 12th Consecutive Score of 100 on U.S. Public Health Inspection

Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam made it an even dozen by earning its 12th consecutive perfect score of 100 on a routine United States Public Health (USPH) inspection conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The six-year run of perfect scores continues to set records in both the cruise industry and company history.

Eurodam’s unannounced USPH inspection was held Sept. 16, 2017, during a turnaround in Seattle at the start of a 7-day Alaska cruise. The perfect score follows soon after ms Zaandam’s June score of 100 on its USPH inspection.

“As the impressive streak continues and the commitment to earning that perfect 100 remains steadfast, the Eurodam team has proven their ability to maintain the highest standards with each inspection,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “I’m proud to once again say congratulations to everyone, both shoreside and on board, who continues to put forth relentless hard work and dedication in this critically important area.”

Over the past three years, Holland America Line ships have achieved a perfect 100 more than 20 times. In addition to Eurodam and Zaandam this year, ms Koningsdam and ms Oosterdam received perfect scores in March.

CDC inspections are part of the Vessel Sanitation Program, which was introduced in the early 1970s and is required for all passenger ships that call at a U.S. port. The inspections are unannounced and are carried out by officials from the United States Public Health Service twice a year for every cruise ship. Health Canada's Cruise Ship Inspection Program harmonizes with the United States’ CDC Vessel Sanitation Program, and inspections are conducted once a year when cruise ships visit Canadian ports.

The score, on a scale from one to 100, is assigned on the basis of a checklist involving dozens of areas of assessment encompassing hygiene and sanitation of food (from storage to preparation), overall galley cleanliness, water, shipboard personnel, and the ship as a whole.

For more information about Holland America Line, visit HollandAmerica.com.

Photo © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Azamara Club Cruises Announces Expansion Of The Fleet

Azamara Club Cruises®, the upmarket cruise line subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

"We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises®. "Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them."

The new addition, the Azamara Pursuit (currently sailing as P&O's Adonia), is comparable in size to the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. As such, it will also allow visits to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will support the brand's commitment to enrich destination immersion around the world, by staying longer in port to allow guests to experience more.

The ship's décor will be updated to match the brand's upmarket position. These updates will be similar to the renovations recently introduced on the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, bringing guests the experience of a boutique hotel at sea.

Information about deployment and itineraries for Azamara Pursuit will be available in October. For additional information please visit Azamara.com/Pursuit.

Carnival Corporation Launches OceanView, the World's First Digital Streaming Travel Channel for Land & Sea

In another first for the travel industry, Carnival Corporation, the world's largest leisure travel company, announced it is launching OceanView—the world's first over the top (OTT) digital streaming channel from a travel provider for completely free access on land and at sea to compelling, immersive and experiential travel content for viewers across the globe.

Original shows from Carnival Corporation's OceanView channel are now available on major digital streaming platforms Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. Additionally, as the world's largest cruise company with nine iconic cruise line brands such as Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, OceanView will also debut on more than half of its 103 cruise ships. OceanView content also will be available in late October on the company's Ocean.com website.

OceanView features a slate of more than 100 acclaimed "Ocean Original" episodes produced by Carnival Corporation. The lineup includes the company's four original series that have been broadcast on network and cable TV over the past year, as well as two new direct-to-digital streaming original series, "GO" and "Local Eyes."

OceanView also will showcase video collections from the corporation's cruise brands, with viewers able to check out majestic new-ship christening ceremonies featuring royalty and celebrities, as well as the fascinating process of ship design and construction, elaborate culinary creations from world-renown chefs and ever-evolving, pushing-the-envelope ship attractions.

Carnival Corporation will celebrate the official availability of OceanView on Thursday with an event in Times Square that synchronizes multiple digital billboards to showcase the new streaming channel, as well as an activation center where people can learn more. The company will also use the event to demonstrate its new PlayOcean interactive gaming platform – also unveiled in an announcement from the company today – including two new mobile apps and onboard, location-based experiences for guests.

Enhancing & Sharing the Cruise Experience to Grow Industry Demand
OceanView is another innovation built upon the company's O·C·E·A·N Experience Platform, unveiled in January at the CES 2017, that will enable a new higher level of personalization in the media, games and vacation experience. The collective innovations tap into the growing interest in digital entertainment, immersive experiences and personalized interaction to expand the market for more popular-than-ever cruise vacations.

"One of the great things about our cruise vacations is that we connect people, places and cultures around the world through extraordinary experiences on state-of-the-art ships to more than 760 global destinations—and over the past year we have been bringing that unique experience to life through original storytelling that breaks perceptions by showcasing why cruise holidays are the fastest-growing segment of the vacation sector," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "Our original programming is already a big hit on network and cable TV. And now, with the launch of OceanView, we are excited about making our authentic experiences accessible to people around the world through digital media. Our ultimate goal is to continue generating broad awareness of cruising as a great vacation and exceptional value, and to inspire consumers to consider cruising as a vacation option."

Carnival Corporation's original TV series, which debuted in fall 2016 and are now available on OceanView, recently were honored with 10 Telly Awards, which recognize the best in TV and cable, digital and streaming, and non-broadcast productions. The programs are part of the company's larger strategy to increase awareness and demand for cruise vacations through the creation and broad distribution of compelling and authentic experiential content. Three shows were ranked as number one or number two in their time slot during their 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 global interest in cruise vacations is becoming more and more popular.

OceanView Content Coming to Screens Around the Globe
"Ocean Originals" use compelling and authentic storytelling to share the powerful way travel by sea connects people, places and cultures by showcasing exciting adventures, exotic cultures and popular global destinations. Ships from all nine of the company's cruise line brands ¬– Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK)—serve as the platform for engaging and emotional experiences, and each of the company's brands are featured in at least one of the episodes.

Two New Direct-to-Digital Series to Debut on OceanView
As part of its move into global digital content, the company announced it has created two additional direct-to-digital platform series—"GO" and "Local Eyes." Shows for each direct-to-digital series run 10 minutes commercial-free, feeding a growing interest for shorter, "snackable" content, with episode collections that will be released periodically.

"GO"
With visually stunning cinematography, "GO" chronicles the artist and explorer Trek Thunder Kelly as he travels the world by ocean in search of his next exotic destination. Through his passion for authentic experiences and ability to strike up a conversation with fellow travelers, viewers are transported to new and interesting places, and introduced to extraordinary people who live there, creating epic adventures that provide inspiration for everyone to get off the couch and travel near and far.

"Local Eyes"
From Trieste to Curacao and Cabernet to Moko Jumbie, "Local Eyes" introduces viewers to unique destinations through those who know each destination the best – local residents. Hosted by dynamic world traveler Anji Corley, "Local Eyes" immerses viewers into the authentic side of each destination, as Corley interacts with everyday people living in each destination who share compelling stories about local culture, history, places off-the-beaten path and more. Viewers will see destinations in a whole new light after watching Local Eyes.

In addition to these two new series, OceanView features programs from the company's O·C·E·A·N (One Cruise Experience Access Network™) original content portfolio that includes "Vacation Creation" (ABC), "Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin" (ABC), "The Voyager" (NBC) and "Good Spirits" (A&E Networks)—four weekly series that debuted on network and cable TV within the past 12 months with programs. The second seasons of the company's three network series begin this week.
• "Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin" (ABC): "Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin" follows Emmy-winning host Jeff Corwin as he embarks on adventures in some of the world's most exciting destinations, such as rappelling down cliffs, flight-seeing to glacier landings, mountain climbing in a national park and zip lining through a rainforest. The show 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, and begins its second season on September 30.
• "Vacation Creation" (ABC): "Vacation Creation," featuring "In Living Color" star and comedian Tommy Davidson and YouTube celebrity Andrea Feczko as hosts, goes 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. The series aired during its first season as part of The CW's "One Magnificent Morning" Saturday morning block. The show moves to ABC stations for season two which begins September 30.
• "The Voyager with Josh Garcia" (NBC): "The Voyager with Josh Garcia" follows video journalist and world-traveler Josh Garcia as he goes off the beaten path in fascinating seaside ports to meet locals who share their rich history, life stories and exotic foods, and introduces viewers to the hidden beauty, cultural diversity and amazing flavors native to each destination. The program airs as part of NBC's three-hour programming block that extends the network's "The More You Know" brand with inspiring stories on NBC stations throughout the country on Saturday mornings.
• "Good Spirits" (A&E, FYI): "Good Spirits" joins pioneering cocktail chef Matthew Biancaniello as he sails the globe on the company's world-leading cruise lines in search of extraordinary everyday people, sharing the stories of spirits and collecting farm-fresh, native ingredients to inspire one-of-a-kind cocktail creations. The first season of the show aired on A&E and FYI.
PLAYOCEAN
Also being introduced is PLAYOCEAN:
• A portfolio of original mobile games and in-person interactive experiences that expands gaming into new categories by providing the opportunity to play anytime, anywhere, for cruise guests and consumers alike.
• With the launch of its PlayOcean, Carnival Corporation will be the first travel company to produce original mobile games catering to the vacation market.
• Offers a selection of original games through two free downloadable mobile apps, PlayOcean Everywhere is available for download on mobile devices via Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google Play, and PlayOcean Casino is available this November.
o PlayOcean Everywhere features four free-to-play mobile games that can be played for fun anywhere at any time.
o While on board select Carnival Corporation ships, guests will have access to the real-money casino gameplay app PlayOcean Casino that converts the mobile games into onboard wager games.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cunard Will Add Fourth Ship To Its Fleet

Luxury cruise brand Cunard has announced it is adding a fourth ship to its fleet. This investment is part of the company’s ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally.

Carnival Corporation—the world’s largest cruise company and parent of the Cunard brand—has signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A., Italy, to build a new ship that will join the Cunard fleet in 2022.

The as yet unnamed ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the Cunard fleet, the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.

The iconic and unparalleled luxury cruise brand is going from strength to strength, having seen crowds of more than one million people gather in 2015 to celebrate the company’s 175th anniversary. Cunard has subsequently invested over $172 million refurbishing the flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

Alongside an array of exciting new itineraries featuring new destinations and special event voyages for 2018 and 2019, Cunard has also continued to evolve the guest experience to meet the needs of the luxury consumer by introducing new bar and dining signatures, entertainment offerings and brand partners across the fleet.

“Cunard continues the legacy of our liners with the commissioning of a magnificent new ship. It’s an especially fitting time with the recent 50th Anniversary of the beloved Queen Elizabeth 2 marking the occasion. We are proud to share Cunard’s enduring luxury liner experience with future generations to be enjoyed the world over," says Josh Leibowitz, Senior Vice President, Cunard, North America.

Cunard will be revealing exciting details about the new ship during the course of 2018 and through to the ship’s launch.

Statistics:
• The new 113,000 GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage) ship will carry 3,000 guests and will be launched in 2022
• The new cruise ship will be the 249th ship to fly the Cunard flag since the company’s founding in 1839
• Cunard’s first new ship in 12 years, since the launch of Queen Elizabeth in 2010
• The first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service

Cunard Line
Defining true excellence at sea with over 176 years of legendary voyages, Cunard is renowned for impeccable White Star Service, gourmet dining and world-class entertainment. The three Queens offer luxury on a grand scale in Britannia, Britannia Club, Princess Grill, and Queens Grill accommodation. Cunard is the only line to offer regularly scheduled Transatlantic service and continues the legacy of world cruising which it began in 1922. For more information about Cunard, visit Cunard.com.

Images Courtesy Cunard Line

Viking Takes Delivery Of Fourth Ocean Ship

Viking Ocean Cruises has taken delivery of Viking Sun, the company's fourth ocean ship. The delivery ceremony took place yesterday when the ship was presented at Fincantieri's shipyard in Ancona, Italy. On October 4, Viking Sun will set sail from Venice, making her way through the Adriatic and Ionian Seas on her maiden voyage.

In early November, Viking Sun will cross the Atlantic to sail fall itineraries. On December 15, the ship will embark on Viking's first-ever World Cruise. Over the course of 141 days, Viking Sun will journey around the world, visiting 35 countries and 66 ports, before the itinerary ends in London on May 5, 2018. In 2019, Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe on the recently-announced second World Cruise, which spans 128-days, five continents, 21 countries and 44 ports with 10 port overnights.

"As we celebrate two decades of helping guests travel the world in comfort, this year also marks one of significant growth. We are pleased that with the delivery of Viking Sun we now have four small ships, each carrying only 930 guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "With the continued expansion of our offerings, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration."

Viking Sun
Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can accommodate 930 guests.The all-veranda Viking Sun is the newest addition to Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, and Viking Sky. Viking will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, and by 2019 it will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are also on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Viking's ocean fleet features modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail. Highlights include:
• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from 270 sq. ft. Veranda Staterooms, all with private verandas, sweeping views of the destination and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, generously proportioned closets, large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand, unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi and award-winning bathrooms with large showers, premium Freyja® bath products developed exclusively for Viking and heated floors.
• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer expansive views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category on board.
• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."
• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow of the ship and designed to represent the Scandinavian spirit for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.
• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.
• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer eight dining options, all with no additional charge or fee—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and a variety of culinary options, and the World Café, which features international fare and regional specialties including a sushi and seafood cold bar—to intimate alternative dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. The Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers, while afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden. Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare, and complimentary 24-hour room service allows all guests to enjoy many signature dishes in the comfort of their stateroom. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea. Additionally, The Kitchen Table specializes in regional dishes from market to table.
• Cultural Enrichment: Viking experiences from ship to shore are designed for unparalleled access and cultural enrichment. Viking Resident Historians deliver high-level historical and cultural education specific to the journey, offering invaluable insight in to the rich history of the destination. Guest Lecturers who are experts in their fields shed light on the destination's art, architecture, music, geopolitics, natural world and more. Destination Performances represent the most iconic cultural performing arts of the region—whether it be Italian opera or Portuguese fado. Resident Classical Musicians—pianists, guitarists, violinists and flautists—perform classical compositions throughout the ships. And Culinary Classes in The Kitchen Table, Viking's onboard cooking school, focus on regional cuisine.
• Nordic Inspiration: Even the smallest details take their inspiration from the exploratory spirit of the original Vikings, reflecting deeply held Nordic traditions. Light wood grains, touches of slate and teak, Swedish limestone and fragrant juniper appear throughout the public spaces and Spa. The Clinker-built design of the Viking Bar mirrors the construction style of the original Viking Longships. A Viking Heritage Center provides history and context from the Viking Age. And characters from Norse Mythology are subtly incorporated into the design, providing curious guests with inspiration to further explore Viking's Nordic heritage.
• Sustainable Features: Designed to be environmentally friendly, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that reduces exhaust pollution and meets the strictest worldwide environmental regulations.
The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. On board, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is both beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. With the most al fresco dining opportunities at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences ashore and on board. And only The Viking Way of Exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

In addition, Viking offers the best value at sea, with each cruise fare including much more than what competitors offer—an included value of more than $200 per person per day for an average cruise. Every cruise fare includes an exterior stateroom, a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; alternative restaurant dining; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service.

Image Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises

Monday, September 25, 2017

Silversea Plans Refurbishment For Silver Whisper & Silver Wind

Ultra-luxury cruise travel innovator Silversea has announced plans for Silver Wind and Silver Whisper to undergo a concrete refurbishment program in some areas of the two ships. The transformation of these two ships will be accomplished in December. The project is part of the elegant fleet-wide refurbishment program launched at the end of 2016 that will continue with new announcements to come soon.

Silver Whisper will incorporate technical improvements that will increase the already excellent level of guest satisfaction. The refurbishment will also incorporate a significant redesign of public areas. Many of the public areas will take inspiration from Silver Muse's décor, which will be reflected in carpet replacements and upgrades for La Terrazza, as well as the Observation and Panorama lounges.

Silver Wind will also be upgraded in a similar format, taking inspiration from Silver Muse as well. Public areas will also receive stylish enhancements, including the reupholstering of chairs and new carpets for the casino, and a new floor upgrade in the spa and beauty salon based on the inspiring concepts of Silversea’s flagship, Silver Muse.

"Silver Muse has been a sophisticated inspirational milestone for our brand. We are confident that the comprehensive makeover we have planned for Silver Wind and Silver Whisper will enhance the onboard experience and be equally appreciated by our guests," said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea's CEO.

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.

For more information on Silversea Cruises, visit Silversea.com.

Images Courtesy Silversea

Crystal River Cruises Welcomes Crystal Mahler To The Fleet At Handover Ceremony In Germany

Crystal River Cruises officially welcomed Crystal Mahler to its award-winning fleet in Germany during a handover ceremony held at MV WERFTEN Shipyard last week. The second "Rhine Class" river ship was received by Crystal's newly appointed president and CEO, Tom Wolber and was then christened by godmother Lauren Barfield. Ms. Barfield is an American volleyball star who has led teams to victory since her professional career began in Europe in 2012, and is currently playing for reigning German champions SSC Palmberg Schwerin, a team sponsored by MV WERFTEN. Ms. Barfield christened the ship with the traditional German blessing and champagne bottle breaking, as Crystal executives, local dignitaries and guests from Crystal parent company, Genting Hong Kong, looked on.

"Welcoming this stunning new ship to Crystal's celebrated fleet is incredibly gratifying, as we continue to expand the celebrated Crystal Experience to a broader audience of discerning world travelers," says Wolber. "Like her sister ships, Crystal Mahler surpasses all previously established standards of luxury in the river cruising industry, with Crystal's signature service and attention to detail that our guests have long expected from the 'World's Best.'"

Crystal Mahler joins Crystal Mozart and sister "Rhine Class" ship Crystal Bach, which embarked just last month, as part of the Crystal River Cruises fleet. Sailing 7-, 11- and 16-day voyages along the Rhine and Danube Rivers, she will call in medieval towns and modern hubs in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Netherlands and Hungary. Two additional "Rhine Class" ships, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, will join the fleet in 2018.

The four 106-guest, all-suite, all-balcony "Rhine Class" river ships will offer plush amenities and spaces rarely seen in river cruising, featuring Crystal's signature service thanks to the highest crew-to-guest ratio in the industry. The ship features French balconies in all suites, many with walk-in closets and dual vanities in the bathrooms, and Crystal's celebrated butler service in every suite to attend to guests' individual wishes. ETRO robes and slippers, personal iPads, wall-mounted 42-inch, flat-screen HD TVs with streaming movies, complimentary Wi-Fi, and Nespresso machines are standard in every suite. Additional enticing features include a luxurious spa and separate fitness center and Crystal's farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries including the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro café, the exclusive Vintage Room and the Palm Court.

"The enthusiastic response to Crystal's first Rhine Class ship, Crystal Bach, has been tremendous," says Wolber. "The innovative design of these ships and industry-leading features and amenities are truly impressive, and the world's most selective travelers are taking notice."

For more information, visit Crystal Cruises.

Image Courtesy Crystal Cruises

Cruise Lines International Association Finds Cruising Popular Among Men & Millennials

The new Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook, conducted on behalf of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), found men and Millennials are more interested in taking a cruise among all travelers surveyed. This is the latest installment in the Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook of 2017, in partnership with J.D. Power, and new findings than six out of ten (63 percent) respondents have an increased interest in cruising—with overwhelming interest among men and Millennials. The report details consumer traveler behaviors, attitudes, and opinions toward both cruise and land-based travel.

“CLIA highly values keeping a finger on the pulse of consumer cruise attitudes and preferences in order to create an ever-improving industry based on traveler feedback,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “The Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook plays a key role in helping us continue to adapt and appeal to every type of traveler with evolving business practices, varied cruise durations, and available destinations.”
Who is interested in cruising?

When it comes to specific generations interested in cruising, about 85 percent of Millennials expressed that an interest in cruise travel has increased within the last year, while 64 percent of Gen Xers said the same, compared to 40 percent of Baby Boomers citing the same sentiment. Across all generations, the report found that the increased interest in cruising is higher for men (74 percent) than for women (54 percent). Further, more than seven out of ten (71 percent) men named ocean cruises as the type of vacation they are most interested in taking within the next three years. In regards to cruise atmosphere, more than half (62 percent) of both female and male respondents cite casual elegance as their preferred cruise style.

Other key findings from the latest Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook of 2017:
• Repeat Cruising: The report found 80 percent of past cruisers have an increased interest in taking a cruise, while 50 percent of non-cruisers said the same. Repeat cruisers are drawn to cruise travel largely due to the value this vacation type offers.
• Cruising Costs: When compared to both land-packaged tours and all-inclusive trips, more than half (57 percent) of respondents surveyed believe cruising offers a high value, compared to 48 percent saying the same for land-based vacations. When it comes to outside factors impacting leisure travel plans, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of respondents cite job responsibilities as the top factor.
• Keeping it Close: The report also found travelers are drawn to cruising for a variety of reasons including destinations and convenience. Regarding cruise ports being within driving distance, respondents acknowledged the convenience of driving to the cruise ship (68 percent), the reduced hassle of not having to fly to a port (64 percent), and the cost savings when not needing to fly (57 percent) as the primary benefits of having a lot more cruise embarkation options available in North America.
• Destinations & Durations: Cruise destinations and durations also positively impacted consumer attitudes toward cruising. When it comes to cruise destinations, more than one-third (36 percent) of travelers prefer the Caribbean region, while a quarter (27 percent) chose the Mediterranean. The Caribbean is more favored by people in the lower income brackets while interest in the Mediterranean is higher for higher-income brackets. Seven-day cruises are also the most popular among those surveyed (33 percent) when compared to other cruise durations.
• Oceans of Interest: According to the new research, respondents are showing an increased interest in ocean cruising when compared to reports earlier in the year. Currently, 34 percent of respondents interested in cruising will definitely be taking an ocean cruise compared to 23 percent reported in January.
About the Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook
J.D. Power conducted the latest North America Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook web-based surveys earlier this year targeting 500 consumers who: 1) earn more than $50,000 annually; and 2) had taken a vacation within the past three years. This survey will be conducted three times per year to establish industry trends.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Carnival Cruise Line San Juan Cruise Departures Update

ITINERARY UPDATES 9/23/2017 – 11:30:00 AM (EDT)

Carnival Fascination – San Juan
The Port of San Juan is open and Carnival Fascination wass expected to dock at 12:00 PM yesterday. Guests were given the opportunity to debark or continue with us as the ship repositions to Miami, where it will arrive on Monday evening at 7:00 PM. All guests are invited to stay on board until Wednesday afternoon as they wait for their flights. Our airline partners are committed to working with our guests to waive any change fees associated with rescheduling flights.

Port officials have informed us that our terminal in San Juan has sustained extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Maria. The assessment is still in progress but it now appears that it will take several weeks to make the necessary repairs. Unfortunately, this means the following San Juan and Barbados sailings will have to be cancelled:

San Juan departures
September 24
October 1
October 8

Barbados departures
September 27
October 4
October 11

For all canceled cruises, a full refund will be automatically processed, including Fly2Fun reservations, pre-purchased Carnival Adventures, Fun Shop purchases and beverage packages. The refund will be processed to your original form of payment.

Given the circumstances, we are working with our airline partners to assist those guests with independent air travel regarding the waiver of change fees.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Itinerary Updates

At Norwegian Cruise Line, the safety and security of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance. The company is closely watching Hurricanes Maria and Jose in the Atlantic, and will be slightly modifying the itinerary for Norwegian Breakaway, to ensure that our guests have the best vacation experience possible. To avoid the storm's path, Norwegian Breakaway will sail a longer route back to New York for her cruise that departed on Sunday, September 17. Norwegian Breakaway will now spend two days in port in Bermuda and depart a day early at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 21 and will arrive back in New York on Sunday, September 24, as scheduled. Norwegian Dawn will sail as scheduled and return to Boston on Friday, September 22.

We are saddened by the devastating impact Hurricane Irma has had on several islands in the Eastern Caribbean, ports that we have called on since the start of our 50 years in business. We are working with our partners on the ground to provide assistance to ensure these spectacular destinations are up and running and ready to welcome guests again very soon. In the interim, due to the destruction caused by the storm, we have altered the itineraries for Norwegian Escape’s Eastern Caribbean cruises for the remainder of 2017. Travel Partners and guests booked on these sailings will be receiving updated itinerary information shortly.

Should there be any further updates, guests will be advised.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Itinerary Updates/Hurricanes Irma & Maria

Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in San Juan and the other affected islands as they rebuild after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The following sailings are being modified due to Hurricane Maria:

Adventure of the Seas: September 23
Due to the uncertainty of the timing of the port re-opening in San Juan, we anticipate our new departure date will be Wednesday, September 27, sailing a 3-night itinerary to Antigua and St. Kitts.

We know these changes are disappointing, and we are truly sorry for the storm’s impact on your vacation. Should you choose to sail with us we will provide you with a refund of 60% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit, for a cruise booked within the next year.

If you are unable to travel and need to cancel your cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit, for a cruise booked within the next year. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new ports of call once onboard.

Anthem of the Seas: September 23
Due to the forecasted track of Hurricane Maria, we will be modifying Anthem’s upcoming itinerary and replacing our call in Bermuda with calls on Portland, Maine and Halifax, Nova Scotia. We are very sorry for the impact this storm has had on your vacation. Given the change to this sailing, we will be adding a 50% refund of your cruise fare to your onboard account in the form of a refundable onboard credit. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new ports of call once onboard.

The following sailings are no longer modified:

Empress of the Seas: September 23 & 27; October 2, 7 & 11 Cuba cruise
Havana welcomed our Empress of the Seas guests on September 20th. The terminal, port and transportation were ready and all tours ran as scheduled. The city is ready and receiving visitors and delivering the authentic experience this historical destination is known for.

Additionally, we are happy to announce that we received confirmation that we can return to Key West starting this weekend with our call on Sunday, September 24th. With both Havana and Key West ready, and excited to welcome us, we are now able to offer the Royal Caribbean vacation guests are looking forward to.

Immediately following Hurricane Irma we recognized guests may have had concerns visiting Cuba and offered the ability to cancel and receive a future cruise credit. As Havana and Key West are both ready to welcome guests, our offer will end by close of business Sunday, September 24. All cancellations to receive a cruise credit must be completed by this time so we can offer the stateroom to another traveler. We look forward to welcoming guests on board Empress of the Seas for a truly once in a lifetime experience to visit Key West and Havana, Cuba
Future itineraries:

Given Hurricane Irma’s impact to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Key West, as well as Hurricane Maria’s impact to San Juan, we are altering the following ports for future sailings until these islands have fully recovered.

As the recovery effort remains fluid and each island is working diligently to get back to normal operations, we will continue to communicate any port changes approximately four weeks prior to departure.

Adventure of the Seas:
9/30 – St. Maarten to St. Kitts
10/7 – St. Maarten to St. Croix
10/14 – St. Thomas to St. Croix

Allure of the Seas:
10/1 – St. Thomas to Labadee
10/15 – St. Maarten to Labadee

Enchantment of the Seas:
9/25, 10/2, 10/9 – Key West to Freeport

Harmony of the Seas:
9/23 – St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee to Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Nassau
10/7 – St. Maarten to St. Kitts

Oasis of the Seas:
9/24 – St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee to Cozumel, Costa Maya and Nassau
10/8 – St. Maarten to Nassau

Itinerary Updates for Charter Music Cruises: Entertainment Cruise Productions & StarVista LIVE

Cruise Diva has sailed with both of these music-centric cruise hosts and can assure future passengers that they will have a wonderful experience no matter where they go. For insight into how our hosts and Holland America Line took care of us in a stormy 2012 situation, see A Hurricane Sandy Cruise.

Port Update for Entertainment Cruise Productions Cruises

Important Announcement to Patrons of Entertainment Cruise Productions from Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director:

Sadly, the Caribbean continues to be battered by terrible storms. Our thoughts and best wishes are with the wonderful people of the Caribbean and their road to recovery. The loss of life and property is far more important and devastating than our cruise programs, but we can only address what is in front of us, so we are speaking, as promised, about the itineraries for our upcoming cruises on a cruise by cruise basis.

Cruise Programs Unaffected by the Storms

The following cruises appear to be unaffected by the storms and will continue as planned:

Star Trek: The Cruise I January 5–11, 2018 (Miami, Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya)
Star Trek: The Cruise II January 11–17, 2018 (Miami, Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya)
The Jazz Cruise February 3–10, 2018 (Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, Cozumel)
The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’18.1 February 10–17, 2018 (Ft. Lauderdale, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel, CocoCay)
The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’18.2 March 10–17, 2018 (Ft. Lauderdale, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel, CocoCay)

Cruise Programs Which Are Affected by the Storms

Both Blue Note at Sea, which sails from January 27–February 3, 2018, and The 80s Cruise, which sails from March 17–24, 2018, are scheduled to call upon St. Thomas and other ports in the Virgin Islands. These itineraries will be changed as St. Thomas will not be available as a port-of-call for many months. We are working now to determine what our alternative ports-of-call will be for Blue Note at Sea and The 80s Cruise. We promise you that we will keep you informed and will do our very best to continue to create the very best cruise programs in the world.

Port Updates for StarVista LIVE Cruises

We have been working diligently with our cruise line partners to evaluate the ports that have been affected by the recent hurricanes. First, we want to assure you that all of our planned cruises are still scheduled to depart as planned from Florida this fall 2017 and spring 2018.

For our November 5 departure from Ft. Lauderdale on the 2017 Malt Shop Memories Cruise, we are pleased to announce that Holland America Line was able to secure a new itinerary of ports that were unaffected by Hurricane Irma and that will provide our guests with beautiful Caribbean destinations. The new ports of call will be the breathtaking islands of Willemstad, Curaçao and Oranjestad, Aruba.

We have been notified that the 2018 Soul Train Cruise and The Country Music Cruise will not be able to stop in St. Maarten due to the heavy damage from Hurricane Irma. Holland America Line has been in close contact with our team and the port authorities of the local governments to identify a new itinerary and ports of call that showcase the natural beauty that the Caribbean islands offer. We will announce an update on the new ports to the guests sailing with us on the Soul Train Cruise and The Country Music Cruise as soon as we receive word from Holland America Line.

The itineraries for the Southern Rock Cruise, Flower Power Cruise and '70s Rock & Romance Cruise remain unchanged at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation in the Caribbean and alert you to any updates as they become available.

We want to extend our gratitude to our cruise line partners and to all those involved in granting us the ability to make stops at new destinations. Also, we want to thank you for your patience and words of support for those affected by the hurricanes this season. All of us at StarVista LIVE will continue to keep them in our thoughts as they recover and rebuild their lives and homes. We will plan on visiting the Caribbean jewels whose ports are closed due to damage again in the future.

SeaDream Yacht Club Highlights 2019 Cuba Sailings

SeaDream Yacht Club, known for showcasing the most picturesque ports and harbors, will visit the rich, cultural landscape of Cuba in 2019 from January through April. With itineraries departing directly from Havana and Cienfuegos, guests will experience the ideal vantage point of the striking and colorful island nation. With miles of beaches, charming ports of call and brilliant turquoise water, the scenic landscape of Cuba is brought to life with the casual luxury of a SeaDream yacht.

“We have already seen terrific results with our 2019 Cuba sailings with a response beyond our expectations,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club Vice President of Marketing Colby Goodman. “Many of our bookings so far have come from past guests eager to see Cuba for the very first time. We are thrilled to deliver unique, new itineraries that our guests desire.”

Whether exploring the Spanish elegance of the cultural treasure chest and capital city of Havana, experiencing the pristine beaches of Cayo Largo, an idyllic paradise off the northwest coast of the mainland or visiting multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites, SeaDream opens the door to a world that few have experienced before. With a maximum of only 112 guests to a 95-person crew, those who travel with SeaDream are able to experience one of the best culinary programs at sea while receiving exceptional service within an intimate setting, truly embodying the phrase “It’s yachting, not cruising.”

After an initial on-sale period available only to past guests, the 2019 Cuba sailings are now on sale to the general public. Very limited availability remains. Fares for the 7-day Cuba voyages start at $5,399 per guest plus fees. The inclusive fare includes ocean view accommodations, gourmet meals, gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner, and so much more. Due to strong demand and the quick pace of bookings, a 9th sailing has been opened for general sale to the public, leaving from Cienfuegos on March 4, 2019 and disembarking in Havana on March 11, 2019. A full list of SeaDream Yacht Club’s 2019 Cuba voyages is available.

Highlights of the ports of call include:
• Cabo Cruz Cuba, originally founded as a Spanish port in the earth 18th century, “Cape Cruz” is a cape that forms the western edge of the Granma Province in southern Cuba. It is recognized for its 19th-century manned lighthouse called “Faro de Cabo Cruz.”
• Cayo Largo, Cuba, an intimate resort island, this cay has a zero-permanent population and some of the most pristine beaches you can find. Its beaches Playa Sirena and Playo Paraiso are two of the finest undeveloped beaches in the world.
• Cienfeugos, Cuba, this city, on Cuba’s south coast, was a major port for the sugar trade during the 19th century. The city’s Urban Historic Center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and serves as an example of urban planning accomplished by the Spanish in the 19th century.
• Havana, Cuba, the capital of the island nation is one of the largest cities in the Caribbean and cultural delights abound at every corner. Its walled capital was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century. “Old Havana,” the city’s center, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Isla de Juventud, Cuba, the second largest island off Cuba’s shore, this spot is popular with divers hunting buried treasure and is also rich in pirate lore. Beautiful black-sand beaches line the island’s striking turquoise waters.
• Maria la Gorda, Cuba, a port only accommodating smaller vessels, the lush landscape is home to many species of exotic wildlife and is popular with scuba divers and snorkelers. Authentic Cuban mojitos and fresh seafood are served along the beachfront.
• Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, the second largest city in Cuba was founded by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. The city is home to the citadel of San Pedro de la Roca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is also where Bacardi Rum was founded.
• Trinidad, Cuba, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is a preserved Spanish settlement from the 16th century. Its charming cobblestone streets evoke a bygone era, and the city is known as Cuba’s oldest and most captivating outdoor museum.
For additional information, visit SeaDream.com.

Image Courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Post-Hurricane Maria Statement from Kenneth E. Mapp, Governor, U.S. Virgin Islands

The past two weeks have been a challenging period for the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Residents of the St. Croix district were impacted by Hurricane Maria in the wee hours of yesterday morning, and the good folks of St. John, St. Thomas, and Water Island, still recovering from Hurricane Irma’s passage, experienced a second onslaught with Maria’s wind and rain. As difficult as things are, Virgin Islanders are resilient, and we will come through this together even stronger. Your Government is doing everything in its power to restore our infrastructure and our communities.

I will resume my daily media briefings today, Thursday, September 21, to provide you with recovery information for the Territory. Effective immediately, a 24-hour curfew must be in place on all four islands until further notice. Your presence on the roads during the curfew hours will only hamper clean-up efforts, and could delay the distribution of critically needed supplies.

To assist with the recovery and reconstruction of the U.S. Virgin Islands, please visit usvirecovery.org. Thank you again for your continued prayers and your support. God bless the United States and these Virgin Islands.

“Mighty Cruise Ships” Takes Viewers Behind the Scenes of the Royal Clipper

The lure of cruising lies as much in the grandeur and majesty of the ships as the destinations to which they travel. Sailing enthusiasts can get a real-life, behind the scenes view of the world’s largest squared-rigged ship—Star Clippers’ five-masted Royal Clipper—on Smithsonian Channel’s newest episode of “Mighty Cruise Ships” when it airs this Sunday, September 24 at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT. The episode is slated to be repeated on Sept. 24 at 11 p.m., Sept 27 at 8 a.m., Sept. 28 at 4 p.m., Sept. 29 at 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., Sept. 30 at 1 a.m. and Oct. 1 at noon.

Built in 2000, Royal Clipper preserves and celebrates the traditional seagoing ways of the late-1800s, calling to mind the grand age of sailing. Her design was based on the Preussen, a famous German five-mast windjammer built in 1902. This modern-day tall ship boasts five masts that soar 190 feet in the air, and 42 sails spanning nearly 56,000ft² that can catch even the slightest of breezes. The upcoming episode of Mighty Cruise Ships follows the guests and crew aboard the Royal Clipper as it sails a 12-night voyage along the western coast of Italy, then heads east to Greece and north into the Adriatic Sea.

“Mighty Cruise Ships,” which airs on the Smithsonian TV in the US, explores some of the world’s mightiest, most remarkable cruise ships around the world. The audience is transported to remote spaces and historic places aboard these unique vessels, visiting breathtaking destinations from tropical Caribbean oases to the frozen Northwest Passage to idyllic and storied places in the Mediterranean.

For more than 25 years, Star Clippers has been introducing travelers to the thrill of modern tall ship sailing to remote ports in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indonesia, and Far East. The company operates three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels: Star Clipper and Star Flyer are traditional clipper ships with modern amenities carrying 170 guests, while the 227-guest Royal Clipper holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest and only five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship in service today. All three ships have expansive teak decks, swimming pools, informal dining, convivial tropical bars on deck and piano lounges. The brand’s newest vessel, Flying Clipper, will debut in Fall 2018. For more information, visit StarClippers.com.

Image © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com