Thursday, November 30, 2017

Carnival Cruise Line Revamping Specialty Dining & Breakfast Menus, Reintroducing Baked Alaska

As part of its ongoing effort to keep its culinary offerings fresh and exciting for its guests, Carnival Cruise Line is revamping the menus for several of its specialty dining venues and reintroducing Baked Alaska across the fleet. The menus for Carnival’s steakhouses, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurants, and delis, as well as main dining room breakfast offerings, have undergone a transformation with a variety of tantalizing new items reflecting lighter ingredients, updated preparation techniques and exquisite presentation to keep pace with changing palates. Baked Alaska—a classic dessert made of cake and ice cream topped with merengue—is also being reintroduced after several years with uniformed waiters performing the time-honored tradition of parading the tasty confection throughout the dining room prior to service.

The updated steakhouse menus, currently available on three ships, offer appetizers such as Iced and Smoked Fresh Oysters with Apple Mignonette; Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Sphere and Avocado “Leche de Tiger”; Risotto with Crab, Mushroom and Brown Butter, and Heritage Berkshire Pork Belly with Apple Walnut Preserve. These complement a selection of USDA prime steaks, including new items such as an A-5 Wagyu steak and lighter fare like Farmhouse Chicken with Roasted Honey Vinegar and Dover Sole Pan-Seared with Lemon Potato-Mousseline and Shallot Emulsion. Four additional ships are expected to get the new menus by early next year.

The new menu for Cucina del Capitano reflects the diversity of Italy’s culinary regions, with dishes like Branzino Al Forno in Crosta Dorata with tomatoes, stewed chickpeas, salmoriglio and mushroom bark, along with Risotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan cheese, Grande Braciola Di Maiale—a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage—and Costina Di Manzo Con Porcini with salsa verde and young tomato bruschetta. House-made burrata—an Italian favorite made with mozzarella and cream and distinguished by its rich buttery flavor—has been added to menus as well, with classic Italian favorites like chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari also available. The new Cucina del Capitano menus are currently on three ships—Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista, and Carnival Breeze—with Carnival Sunshine expected to updated next month.

Breakfast menus in the main dining rooms are just as varied with delicious options such as avocado toast; a Breakfast Bowl featuring kale, spinach, faro wheat berries, sesame seeds, feta cheese, raspberries and a sunny side up egg; and fresh-baked Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Frittata. There’s also a Broken Egg Sandwich served panini-style with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, greens and hash browns; and a “Breakfast Board” with a soft boiled egg, house-made yogurt, seasonal jam, baby lettuce salad, pastrami, and grilled sour dough bread. For those on the go, a new “breakfast express” is available on port days featuring orange juice, eggs, hickory-smoked bacon or sausage and pastries, all “in and out” within 25 minutes. An assortment of traditional breakfast favorites such as French toast, pancakes and cereals is also offered. Thus far, 12 ships feature the popular new breakfast items with the balance of the fleet expected to receive the new menus by mid-2018.

The line’s delis have undergone a dramatic change, as well, with an updated design and host of new choices, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano with roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps. Diners can enjoy a sweet finish to their meal with a Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie baked fresh every morning.

Carnival is also re-branding its 24-hour pizzerias to Pizzeria del Capitano offering five kinds of hand-tossed, thin-crusted pies—from Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto. The re-branded delis and pizzerias will be incorporated into additional vessels during scheduled dry docks.

With the popularity of Seafood Shack which debuted on Carnival Vista last year and offering lobster rolls, fried clams, chowder and other New England-inspired fare, the concept has been expanded to nine additional ships. To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Princess Cruises Announces Finalists for Seventh Annual Entertainer of the Year Competition

Princess Cruises will soon crown the top guest entertainer for 2017 during the cruise line's seventh annual Entertainer of the Year competition. Four talented finalists have been carefully chosen from the vast array of onboard performers — including vocalists, comedians, magicians, tribute bands and other specialty acts—who delight guests each year, and will compete for the title during Princess' upcoming Entertainer of the Year cruise.

Guests aboard the March 25, 2018 Regal Princess seven-day cruise to the Caribbean will be able to cast their vote for their favorite performer after viewing several live performances from each act during the cruise vacation.

The four nominees for the title of Entertainer of the Year are:
The Modern Gentlemen — Individually, Landon Beard (San Diego, CA), Todd Fournier (Toledo, OH), and brothers Brian and Brandon Bingham (West Covina, CA), were all in-demand singers prior to being brought together as a quartet by the legendary Frankie Valli. For well over a decade now, they've been wowing audiences worldwide providing all the background vocals and choreography alongside the rock & roll icon. Since then, they've developed their own signature sound blending modern voices together with four part harmonies performing the classic hits of Pop, rock and Doo-Wop. They've toured all over the world on the biggest stages from Royal Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Proms in the park for an audience of over 40,000 people. They've appeared onstage with The Beach Boys, The Manhattan Transfer, Tony Bennett and Smokey Robinson, and in front of U.S. Presidents, as well as Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge at the esteemed Arts Club in London.

Tom Franek — Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tom Franek is a rising star whose talents are celebrated by over a quarter million fans online, with a debut role on ABC in 2017. His stage shows are performed around the world and combine clean comedy, genuine charisma, dynamic piano playing, singing, dancing, quick wit, and contortionist acrobatics in an unforgettable experience that leaves audiences' jaws dropped and people talking. There is something special to his particular brand of entertainment that makes him a must see.

Jo Little — Known as "Yorkshire's Queen of Comedy", Jo Little began her career in the United Kingdom as a DJ and vocalist, and found her true passion on stage to be comedy. Little has performed around the world, including engagements across Europe for Thomson's and Choice Holidays. She is currently appearing as support to British Show Business Legend Joe Longthorne, on his UK theatre tour appearing at most major theatres throughout the UK.

Michael Barron — Michael Barron is one of America's hottest illusionists, with over 7,000 performances and 300 television appearances in 35 countries. After attending DePaul University in Chicago to study theatre, he was invited to perform a long running illusion show at Arabian Nights Arena in Orlando, Florida. After five years and 2,200 performances, Michael left the show and was cast to star in a multi-million dollar touring show produced by Kenneth Feld. In addition to his busy touring schedule, Michael performs all over the world at colleges, theaters, corporate functions, and arenas with his own show "Michael Barron: Magic Unhinged," a tradition shattering blend of magic, sarcastic comedy, epic illusions, dangerous stunts, and shocking performance art.
The finalists were selected by the Princess Cruises entertainment department based on guest surveys and onboard audience response. View the highlight video featuring this year's finalists below.



"For a seventh year in a row, we have a fantastic docket of finalists for our Entertainer of the Year competition," said Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president, entertainment experience. "With such an array of talent, our guests are sure to be entertained on board, but might have a difficult time casting their final vote for a winner."

The seventh annual Entertainer of the Year voyage will depart on March 25, 2018 aboard Regal Princess on a Western Caribbean cruise, with port calls including Princess Cays, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico. The 2017 Princess Cruises Entertainer of the Year winner will be announced on the final evening of the cruise at a celebratory event in the Piazza and will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

The seven-day sailing from Ft. Lauderdale is currently available for booking. More information about the live entertainment on Princess Cruises and other onboard activities is available at Princess.com/activities. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at Princess.com.

Video Courtesy Princess Cruises

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Repositioning of Celebrity Eclipse Kick-Starts What Promises to be a Season of Firsts in the Last Frontier


Sailing from Vancouver through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage to the iconic Hubbard Glacier and beyond, Celebrity Cruises’ 2019 Alaska cruise season features 13 unforgettable destinations, with more than 40 extended port visits and countless experiences. With three ships in the region—Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, and Celebrity Millennium—the brand’s expertly thought-out 7-night itineraries and in-depth shore excursions will bring guests up close and personal with all of Alaska’s must-see wonders.

“With Celebrity Millennium emerging fresh from the Celebrity Revolution—the largest investment the brand has ever made to modernize our fleet—longer port visits, and one-of-kind cruisetour experiences, our 2019 Alaska season is shaping up to be the most impressive yet,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Add to that the addition of Celebrity Eclipse and we have what promises to be an unrivaled season of unexpected splendor in the region.”

Celebrity Eclipse
Embark on round-trip sailings from Vancouver through the stunning Inside Passage, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and more. Guests can settle in with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket at The Lawn Club or on their spacious, private veranda, and watch the awe-inspiring scenery unfold before them. These are whale-breaching, breathtaking modern luxury sailings previously only offered on Celebrity Infinity.

A new eclipse is coming to the Pacific Coast in 2019 as well; Celebrity Eclipse is the perfect complement to this majestic stretch of coastline. Sail round-trip from Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, or from San Diego to Vancouver, on an array of seven- to nine-night Pacific Coastal sailings.

The 2019 Pacific Coastal season features 10 dazzling destinations, including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina, and more. Overnight stays in San Francisco mean guests can explore all the city’s must-sees, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Painted Ladies, head into the wine country and sample the best local vintages, and enjoy the legendary restaurant scene and nightlife.

Celebrity Millennium
Modern luxury travelers looking to venture farther into the vast expanse of the region can enjoy alternating open-jaw sailings out of Vancouver, British Columbia, or Seward, Alaska, aboard Celebrity Millennium.

Fresh from her multi-million-dollar revitalization, part of the Celebrity Revolution, Celebrity Millennium returns to Alaska. Completely redesigned staterooms will make unwinding after a day of adventure easier than ever, and dazzlingly renovated public venues will be the perfect complement to the exciting destinations guests will visit along this Seward-to-Vancouver (or vice versa) route.

Celebrity Solstice
Once again, Celebrity Solstice embarks from the dynamic city of Seattle for a roundtrip exploration that visits Victoria, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and traverses the incredible Tracy Arm Fjord.

Under the starry Alaskan night sky, guests can enjoy the iconic gastronomic adventure A Taste of Film, which pairs films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests’ taste buds.

Cruisetour Experiences
Guests looking for a more in-depth encounter with Alaska are invited to embark on a Celebrity Alaska Cruisetour; pair a modern luxury Alaska sailing with a guided land tour that takes them deep into the heart of Alaska, complete with luxury motor coaches, glass-domed trains, authentic lodging, and a knowledgeable, local tour director who’s with them every step of the way. With 11 Alaska Cruisetours to choose from, ranging from nine to 13 nights, Celebrity offers Alaskan adventures for every modern explorer.

Celebrity Canadian Rockies Cruisetour’s invite guests to journey into the heart of this majestic region. Embrace nostalgic flair with an overnight rail journey aboard VIA Rail’s legendary train, “The Canadian.” The route between Jasper and Vancouver offers daylight views of the mountains, which guests can take in from the domed cars, parlor cars, and their own private cabin. Guests can choose from two different Canadian Rockies Cruisetour options ranging from 12- to 13-nights.

Captain’s Club members have early priority access to begin planning their ultimate vacation, two days before the 2019-2020 sailings open to the public on Thursday, November 30, 2017. Over the coming weeks, Celebrity will continue to reveal more of its robust 2019-2020 cruise vacation lineup. To learn more, visit CelebrityCruises.com.

Image Courtesy Celebrity Cruises

Holland America Line Hosts 22nd Annual South Florida Business Leaders’ Luncheon for Seafarers’ House at Port Everglades

Holland America Line hosted the 22nd annual South Florida Business Leaders’ Luncheon for the Seafarers’ House aboard ms Oosterdam on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford was in attendance to celebrate the long-standing partnership with the local organization. During the event, Seafarers’ House honored Bob Swindell, the 2017 Business Leader of the Year. Swindell is president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Broward County’s official public/private partnership for economic development.

“Seafarers’ House is a vitally important organization for our crew when our ships are visiting Port Everglades, giving them a place to turn for guidance or simply relax when they are so far away from their own homes,” said Ashford. “I’m thrilled that I was able to come in from our Seattle headquarters and attend the luncheon, which is a highlight of our community giving season in South Florida.”

Swindell, a lifelong Broward resident, has served in several business and community leadership roles. He was appointed commissioner for the Florida Board of Harbor Pilot Commissioners by Florida governors Martinez, Chiles and Bush; and in 2012, Governor Scott appointed him to the Board of Pilot Commissioners for a two-year term. He serves on several boards including CareerSource Broward, United Way of Broward County, Junior Achievement of South Florida, Winterfest and the Broward Education Foundation. He is a past chairman of the Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC). Since October of 2005 he has served on the Florida Atlantic Research & Development Park Authority as an appointee of the Broward County Commission. Swindell also served on the board of directors for NAIOP and Enterprise Florida.

“Holland America Line and Seafarers’ House have built an incredible relationship over the years, and it’s because of our community partners that we’re able to provide so many services to the deserving crew members that visit Port Everglades,” said Lesley Warrick, executive director of Seafarers’ House. "Every year we look forward to our annual luncheon on board a Holland America Line ship, and we’re thankful for another memorable event and the generous cruise donation that we raffled off to raise funds."

Seafarers’ House at Port Everglades is a multi-faith cooperation that is open throughout the year as a safe, friendly place where mariners can connect with their families, relax or get emergency assistance if needed. Seafarers’ House offers many services including low-cost international phone calls, free transportation, internet access, counseling services and recreational facilities. Seafarers’ House hosts more than 150,000 visitors annually by cruise and cargo ship crew members. For additional information visit SeafarersHouse.org.

Photo © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Turnaround Day, How Royal Caribbean Does It

See how Royal Caribbean cleans, stocks, and prepares the world’s largest cruise ships for new guests, in only 12 hours.



Monday, November 27, 2017

Carnival Cruise Line Transforming Onboard Shopping

As part of an ongoing effort to provide its guests with the widest variety of choices at sea, Carnival Cruise Line is totally transforming its shipboard shopping experience with renovated spaces and popular items from some of the world’s best-known retailers, including Victoria’s Secret, Swarovski, Pandora, TAG and others.

According to Carnival’s Vice President of Retail William Butler, the upgraded retail venues and expanded offerings are the result of months of intensive research and data gathering to customize its onboard shopping options to match the preferences of Carnival guests.

“We’re committed to enhancing every aspect of our operations—which includes, of course, onboard shopping—and our expanded and enhanced retail offerings provide guests with an opportunity to enjoy some ‘retail therapy’ and take home a unique and memorable keepsake from their Carnival vacation,” he said.

Here’s a breakdown on some of the many new offerings available across the fleet:
• Effy (12 ships) — one of the largest manufactures of fine jewelry in the U.S., Effy’s tax- and duty-free items feature a lifetime guarantee and run the gamut from colored gemstones and diamonds to tanzanite and other top-of-the-line products.
• Swarovski (25 ships) — one of the world’s leading retailers of fashion jewelry offering custom jewelry, pearls, sterling silver and more.
• TAG (24 ships) — a leading manufacturer of high-end luxury timepieces, TAG’s constantly evolving line of fine watches are worn by celebrities and sports stars the world over.
• Pandora (10 ships) — the nation’s top costume jewelry provider offers a selection of custom bracelets, rings, necklaces, and charms, including, appropriately enough, some tied to a vacation theme with cruise ships, palm trees and sandals.
• Invicta (25 ships) — this high-end retailer offers a full line of fashion watches with hundreds of different styles to choose from—from exercise to every day and special occasions—providing consumers with a watch to suit any mood or taste.
• Victoria’s Secret (22 ships) — purveyor of top beauty products offering a variety of popular items and accessories, including mists, lotions and perfumes, with convenient displays divided by the categories of Prestige, VS Fantasies and Rollerballs.
• Los Cincos Soles (4 ships) — this Mexican-themed retailer offers sterling silver jewelry, souvenirs, T-shirts, authentic arts and crafts created by local artisans.
Additionally, the line’s Cherry on Top sweets shops offering bulk candies, novelty items and apparel are currently available on 20 ships.

Carnival’s shipboard retail experience has also been enhanced with fun activities, special promotions, and giveaways, in-store parties and more. Select ships also feature stand-alone kiosks with “wearable tech” accessories that include the latest fitness trackers, pedometers, and heart rate monitors by brands like Fossil and others. Carnival has also made a significant investment in digital marketing across the fleet directing guests to marquee retail events and upcoming deals during their cruise.

Over the past year, Carnival has completely renovated the shopping outlets on Carnival Sensation, Carnival Elation, Carnival Conquest, and Carnival Valor with Carnival Victory, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Legend, and Carnival Paradise scheduled for retail refurbishments in the coming year. The new Carnival Horizon, set to debut in spring 2018, will take the line’s retail offerings to the next level with the line’s largest, most elaborate and diverse shopping experience to date with two decks of shops, boutiques and displays featuring top-name retailers.

For additional information, visit Carnival.com.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Friday, November 24, 2017

AmaWaterways Partners With Master Chef & Award-Winning Cookbook Author Jonne Weir

AmaWaterways has proudly announced its partnership with Master Chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Joanne Weir, as the lead sponsor of her new PBS series, “Plates and Places with Joanne Weir.” Two episodes of the series, set to debut in February 2018, were filmed in Fall 2017 during AmaWaterways’ Enchanting Rhine river cruise, capturing the culinary highlights on board as well as regional specialties from the cities and towns along the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel. During the cruise, which took place on board the fleet’s newest ship, AmaKristina, Weir shared her love of cooking with guests through cooking demonstrations and the addition of small touches to the tasting menu at the intimate Chef’s Table restaurant.

AmaWaterways is continuing its collaboration with Weir and her team by presenting a special sailing, Taste of Bordeaux–Culinary Cruise Hosted by Joanne Weir. The seven-night cruise will embark on July 26, 2018, traveling through the Bordeaux region along the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. Fans of Weir will have the opportunity to engage with the celebrated chef both on board and during shore excursions exploring local culinary and viticulture highlights. The author of 18 cookbooks, including her latest, Kitchen Gypsy, will also give culinary presentations on board the AmaDolce, which are open to all guests.

“Food and wine have become such critical parts of the way travelers expect to experience a country or city that it is important that we continue to propose a diversity of culinary experiences on our ships and during our excursions,” said Rudi Schreiner, president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “Our culinary team, led by our award-winning Executive Chef Primus Perchtold, always strives to bring unique epicurean experiences to our guests. We are proud to be collaborating with Joanne as she not only brings a wealth of experience but a warm, engaging way of expressing and sharing her love of cooking with fresh ingredients paired with regional wines.”

The 2018 Culinary Cruise takes guests through the Bordeaux region of France, one of the world’s undisputed wine capitals, and will be punctuated by a comprehensive choice of complimentary shore excursions highlighting French culture, food, and wine, including visits to vineyards and a wine festival exclusive to AmaWaterways guests. Led by knowledgeable local guides, guests will make their way through the renowned vineyards of Saint-Émilion, Pauillac, Pomerol and Libourne, discovering timeless traditions from the winemakers themselves. They will also visit iconic chateaux for wine tastings, including a tasting at the 14th-century Château de Montaigne, once the former residence of French philosopher Michel de Montaigne. Optional pre-cruise stays in Paris or a post-cruise tour of the Loire Valley are also available.

“I travel a lot and for me, this recent river cruise with AmaWaterways was beyond incredible! I love the fact that you don't have to drive a car from city to city or pack and unpack every day. For a whole week, you have a home away from home on a luxurious river ship in a beautifully appointed stateroom and the quality and variety of the food and wine are excellent. I can’t say enough about the warm, friendly service - there isn’t a detail that AmaWaterways hasn’t thought of,” said Joanne Weir about her recent cruise on the Rhine. “I am so excited to return in July to host the Bordeaux cruise as this region holds special personal memories for me. I can’t think of a better way to experience the food and wine diversity of this region than on board an AmaWaterways ship.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Adjusts Final Payment Schedule

Norwegian Cruise Line is making an adjustment to its final payment schedule for all bookings beginning December 18, 2017.

To align to a consistent schedule amongst stateroom categories for the majority of our itineraries, all seven-night or longer cruise bookings will now require final payment 120 days prior to sail date. One to six-night cruises will now require full payment 90 days prior to sail date for non-suite stateroom categories, while Haven and suites category stateroom bookings will continue to require final payment 120 days prior to sail date.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year we're home for Thanksgiving with family and friends, but there's nothing quite like a holiday feast at sea when someone else does the cooking and cleaning up. Pictured here is Cruise Diva's traditional turkey being carved aboard Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow on a previous Thanksgiving cruise from Rio to Buenos Aires. It tasted as good as it looked.

Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The iconic Magens Bay is back

In a milestone for the island's post-hurricane recovery, St. Thomas unveiled a newly restored Magens Bay on November 10th, eight weeks after the world-famous beach suffered extensive damage in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Royal Caribbean partnered with the Magens Bay Authority and USVI local government to undertake the major restoration effort, working with local contractors and businesses to remove debris, save downed trees and replant new ones, rebuild structures, and restore the white-sand coastline to its renowned beauty.

The beach, often named among the top ten beaches in the world, reopened just in time to welcome Adventure of the Seas and 3,000 Royal Caribbean guests back to the island. Magens Bay visitors enjoyed steel drum celebrations, dancing, water sports and tours, plus beautiful weather.

We're thrilled to mark this major milestone in the hurricane relief effort, and remain committed to the continued recovery of our home, the Caribbean. At the end of the month, we’ll be sailing back to San Juan, and by mid-December, back to St. Maarten. Stay tuned for more updates from these resilient islands, and come back aboard soon to see all the remarkable progress for yourself.

For more information on itinerary updates, please visit RoyalCaribbean.com.

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean

Seabourn Announces "Wellness Cruises with Dr. Andrew Weil" for 2018 Voyages

Luxury cruise line Seabourn is sharpening its focus on mindful living with two new content rich Wellness Cruises with Dr. Andrew Weil in the year ahead. Bound for Alaska and Greece, each voyage will feature engaging experts in the field of integrative medicine and Dr. Weil, a celebrated physician and best-selling author who partnered with Seabourn to introduce Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, an exclusive mindful living program at sea.

"As wellness tourism continues to grow, we know it is on the minds of many travelers these days, especially our Seabourn guests," noted Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "With the remarkable success of the Spa & Wellness program with Dr. Andrew Weil on our ships, we couldn't wait to have him onboard to create even more focused spa and wellness voyages to be enjoyed amid the remarkable destinations of Alaska and Greece. With the beauty and culture of these destinations as a backdrop, these wellness cruises reinforce our continuing focus on enhancing the lives of luxury travelers."

Both itineraries will feature panel discussions, a number of complimentary wellness seminars, and interactive sessions led by Dr. Weil and his team, which also includes the onboard Mindful Living coach. A selection of optional, for-charge shore excursions will also be offered, taking the wellness mindset to enriching destinations ashore.

"When you travel, exciting things happen to your mind, your body and your spirit. Your mind opens, your imagination and curiosity are aroused," said Dr. Andrew Weil. "I'm incredibly pleased to join some of my esteemed colleagues in the field of integrative medicine to offer this level of depth and enrichment onboard through an array of specially curated wellness options."

The first dedicated Wellness Cruise with Dr. Andrew Weil will explore Alaska on the Wellness in the Wilderness with Dr. Weilsailing aboard Seabourn Sojourn, June 16-28, 2018. As the vessel makes its way north from Vancouver, British Columbia, exploring wonders such as Sumner Strait, Seduction Point, Tracy Arm, and Misty Fjords en route to Seward, Alaska, the Wellness Cruise program will unfold with more than 20 complimentary lectures and demonstrations to guide guests in living a life that is healthy, satisfying and well. A sampling of wellness topics include:
• Healthy Aging presented by Dr. Weil, with strategies to reduce the risk and delay the onset of age-related disease. Other programs presented by Dr. Weil include Fish, Wellness & the Environment; panel discussions including Getting the Most out of Integrative Therapies; Worried You're Over Medicated? Questions to Ask Your Doctor; and Vitamins and Supplements; as well as a cooking demonstration.
• Heart to Heart with preventive cardiologist Steve Devries M.D., Executive Director of the Gables Institute for Integrative Cardiology. Devries will further lead discussions including a session on using nutrition to boost heart function.
• Vibrantly Healthy Women with Victoria Maizes, M.D., an internationally recognized leader in integrative medicine and a Professor of Medicine, Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Arizona. Dr. Maizes will present Nourishing Your Health by Living Green, and examine everything from cutting-edge nutritional advances to the neuroscience of happiness in Vitality - How to Uncover More.
• Guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek will lead programs including Guided Imagery: The Lazy Man's (or Woman's) Meditation; Guided Imagery for Deep, Restorative Sleep; and Guided Imagery for Overcoming Anxiety. Naparstek is creator of the popular Health Journeys audio series featuring her and scores of gifted, handpicked guided imagery practitioners.
• Sanford Newmark, M.D., an expert in nutrition and its impact on childhood development, will examine several areas in his field including ADHD Today and Stress Levels in Kids. A clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Newmark will also lead discussions on the significance of nutrition, sleep, exercise and social activity in Raising Healthy Kids.
• Quick & Easy Wellness with Jim Nicolai, M.D., an expert in combining conventional medicine with the intelligent use of complementary and alternative therapies, will reveal how easy it is to embrace wellness with presentations including Breathwalking for Wellness; and Quick & Easy Herbs.
In the Mediterranean, Dr. Weil will sail the region where integrative medicine is rooted on the Origins of Wellness with Dr. Weil sailing, October 6-20, 2018. Headed round-trip from Piraeus (Athens), Seabourn Odyssey will take in sights and scenes along and off the southern coast of Greece including Mykonos, Crete, Naxos, and Rhodes, as well as Syracuse, Italy; and Valletta, Malta. The onboard Wellness Cruise program will include more than 25 complementary workshops and discussions from authorities on integrative medicine, including:
• Origins of Healing with Dr. Weil, a fascinating look through the lens of integrative medicine that recognizes the innate healing power of the human organism. Other topics led by Dr. Weil include Nutrition 101: The Mediterranean and Anti-Inflammatory Diets; Integrative Medicine: The Future of Health Care; and Healthy Aging.
• Harvesting the Natural Wisdom of the Body for Self-Healing by Ann Marie Chiasson, M.D., Co-Director of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Additional topics led by Dr. Chiasson include Energy Healing: Old Wives' Tale or Old Wives' Wisdom; Heart Center Meditation; and The Transformational Process.
• Board certified in internal medicine, cardiology and integrative medicine, Vivian A. Kominos M.D., is focused on the prevention, mitigation and healing of heart disease. She will explore the health benefits of Mediterranean cuisine in What I Learned from My Giagia: Cooking with Heart and leadsmall group programs including How to Attain Optimal Heart Health: It's Never too Late!, and Women's Hearts: We are Not Just Small Men.
• Vibrantly Healthy Women with Victoria Maizes, M.D., an internationally recognized leader in integrative medicine and a Professor of Medicine, Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Arizona. Dr. Maizes will present Nourishing Your Health by Living Green, and examine everything from cutting-edge nutritional advances to the neuroscience of happiness in Vitality - How to Uncover More.
• Gulshan K. Sethi, M.D., has a long history in the field of cardiac surgery and heart transplantation, including performing the first lung transplant in Arizona in 1989. Dr. Sethi will weigh in on The Healing Power of Laughter, while also leading discussions including An Integrative Approach to Prepare for Surgery; and Obesity: A Global Epidemic.
Guests can always find Dr. Weil's integrative approach at Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, which will be available onboard every Seabourn cruise by the end of 2017. Created via partnership between Seabourn and The Onboard Spa by Steiner, the program is led by an onboard Mindful Living coach, a certified yoga and meditation practitioner whose role is to inspire and educate guests throughout the voyage. Complimentary Mind and Body seminars adapted from Dr. Weil's best-selling books and research are offered to educate on philosophies and practices aligned with the program's mission, while individualized one-on-one wellness sessions and other spa & wellness services are also available for a fee. For more details, visit Seabourn.com.

Image Courtesy Seabourn

Sail to the Historic Grand Prix Races in Monaco On Board a Historic Star Clippers Ship

Every spring, racing fans flock to Monaco for the famous Grand Prix races, held in the city’s narrow streets and considered by many to be the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world. In addition to the Formula One Grand Prix trials and finals, the streets of Monaco also play host to the lesser-known Historic Grand Prix, a series of races featuring seven categories of historic automobiles from pre-war "Voiturettes" and other 1930s-era racing equipment to F1 and sports cars dating from the early 1950s to the late 1970s. Attending the Historic Grand Prix is a great way to see a race through the famed Circuit de Monaco without the crowds associated with the F1 events, and appeals to car enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Continuing this historic theme, the Royal Clipper—Star Clippers’ thoroughly modern vessel based on the historic tall ship, Preussen which launched in 1902—offers a round trip sailing departing out of Cannes on May 12, 2018 timed to coincide with the Historic Grand Prix races. After departing Cannes, the ship docks in Monaco on May 13, where interested guests can attend the Historic Grand Prix races. From there, the Royal Clipper will call on Lerici, Sardinia and Elba, Italy as well as Bonifacio, Portoferraio, Palombaggia, Porticcio Beach and Ajaccio in Corsica, France before returning to Cannes.

Star Clippers also offers sailings aboard the Star Flyer timed to coincide with the Formula One Grand Prix trials and finals. The May 19 Barcelona to Cannes sailing stops in Monaco on May 24 for the trials, and the May 26 Cannes round trip sailing docks in Monaco on May 27 for the finals.

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, Thailand and Singapore. 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 end of 2018.

For more information and applicable restrictions, visit StarClippers.com.

Image © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

MSC Cruises Enriches Entertainment Options On Board MSC Seaside With Brand New Concepts For All Ages

MSC Cruises has announced more details of the new entertainment options aboard its latest flagship, MSC Seaside. MSC Cruises is committed to providing world-class entertainment on its ships to constantly surprise and delight guests. MSC Seaside will offer around-the-clock entertainment in a range of venues ensuring there is never a dull moment.

Late-Night Fun and Laughter with BeerProv, New Improvised Comedy Concept
For the first time on the MSC Cruises fleet, guests will be able to enjoy improvised comedy at sea. The well-known North American comedy troupe BeerProv, famed for instantly creating hilarious, unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, offering guests an entirely unique and unexpected show every performance. This new 45-minute concept features four comedians and includes a high level of audience participation.

Seven Brand New Broadway-Style Shows
MSC Cruises places a large emphasis on delivering quality entertainment, and has been recognized multiple times for its top-notch productions. The cruise line received the award for Best Production Shows in Porthole Cruise Magazine's Editor in Chief Awards for 2017 and earned a spot under Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment in USA Today's 10 Best Reader's Choice 2016 Awards.

MSC Cruises has worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another eye-catching show, The Wizard, will feature breathtaking illusions, and Peter Punk provides a fresh new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano, and tenor, for fans of live music.

More Flexible Theater Show Sittings
Also for the first time in MSC Cruises' fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility to fit a fantastic show around even the busiest schedule. The shows will feature 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

Activities Kids Will Love
As a family-owned company, MSC Cruises is dedicated to creating unique moments for families, and each and every new ship offers an even greater family offering. Two special LEGO® rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, will allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world's most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club—LEGO® Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship's Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO®, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club—LEGO® Pirates is for kids aged seven to eleven, filled with the latest LEGO® toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO®.

Parents can enjoy a night to themselves, by dropping their kids off at late night group babysitting services, available for ages 3 to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am to enjoy everything the ship has to offer by night. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm, for a full, stress free day. Each kids' club will be equipped with the latest, cutting-edge equipment, including 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

To create more opportunities for together-time for the whole family, the Metropolitan Theatre will host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids' clubs for both kids and their parents, so that the "big kids" can join in on the fun!

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

Interactive Entertainment
A thrilling entertainment area offers guests high-tech thrills, including an authentic F1 racing simulator, immersive XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a whole host of arcade games. Two of the longest zips line at sea will also take guests on a high-speed thrill ride, finishing at the back of the ship. Guests can either take the plunge on their own or race a friend side-by-side.

New shows in the ship's atrium will also offer surprise performances. Game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more will make up the varied line-up in this uniquely designed space.

Image Courtesy MSC Cruises

American Song Launched Seven Weeks Ahead of Schedule

American Cruise Lines has announced that it successfully launched its brand new riverboat American Song into the Wicomico River on Friday, November 17th. The first ship in the Line's highly anticipated Modern Riverboat Series, American Song has made a big splash—both in the water and the news. With its sleek modern design and state-of-the-art technical features, it sails past the competition and will be the finest ship available in U.S. river cruising.

Built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD; American Song is already 7 weeks ahead of schedule. Immediately after the launch, the ship was positioned in Chesapeake's East Outfitting Basin where it will receive its upper decks and outfitting. Chesapeake Shipbuilding has a long history of designing and building innovative new ships for American Cruise Lines. American Song embodies this tradition and will possess a host of superior technical advancements, revolutionary in the industry.

American Song has 5 decks, accommodates 190 passengers, and has 102 staterooms. The bow of American Song is designed to open, allowing a retractable rotating gangway to extend from the ship's main deck directly to a river bank or dock. The uniqueness of this advanced bow and nimble gangway gives the ship the ability to make "bow landings" wherever needed. This feature will give American Song an array of options for its itineraries unmatched by other ships. The new riverboat also employs a superior propulsion system; 2 Veth Propulsion Z-drives (supplied by Veth of the Netherlands). These 360-degree azimuthing forward and aft propellers give American Song total flexibility for docking and maneuvering. American Song is also equipped with 2 advanced main engines from Caterpillar. These twin, ultra-low-sulfur diesel engines require less fuel and produce lower emissions than other engines currently in use on the market. In all, American Song will be the most technically superior, efficient, and environmentally friendly ship in U.S. river cruising.

The Inaugural season aboard American Song will begin in Fall 2018 on the Mississippi River and will continue on the West Coast in 2019 for American Cruise Lines' magnificent Columbia and Snake River itineraries.

American Cruise Lines is the largest cruise line in the U.S. and the premiere leader in the industry. The Line has become the gold standard for cruising in the U.S. through a focus on ship innovation and a tradition of introducing only brand new ships. With two new vessels being introduced in 2018, the Line will operate 10 ships; the largest modern fleet of small cruise ships, modern riverboats, and authentic paddlewheelers in the country. With over 35 itineraries, the Line cruises along the rivers, as well as the coastal and inland waterways of the U.S. including New England, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi River system, and the Southeast.

To learn more about American Cruise Lines and the 2018-2019 season on American Song, visit AmericanCruiseLines.com.

Image Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Alaskan Dream Cruises Adds Two New 2018 Itineraries, Including ‘Alaska’s Spring Wilderness & Wildlife Safari’

Alaskan Dream Cruises is getting a head start on the 2018 season with the addition of a five-night “Alaska’s Spring Wilderness & Wildlife Safari” cruise in March and April. The Alaska Native-owned, small-ship cruise line is also introducing two special departures of its seven-night “Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure” that will sail round trip from Juneau.

Following the lead of its motto “True Alaska with True Alaskans,” Alaskan Dream Cruises staff will be sharing one of Southeast Alaska’s best-kept secrets with travelers this spring during the “Alaska’s Spring Wilderness & Wildlife Safari,” sailing round trip out of Sitka. As Pacific herring concentrate in Sitka Sound, humpback whales, eagles and humans alike congregate to enjoy the seasonal wonder of the herring migration. Many locals prefer this season over any other time of year, with its crisp mornings, lengthening daylight hours, and flora and fauna springing to life.

With five departures from mid-March through mid-April on the 10-passenger Misty Fjord, the five-night expedition provides guests with optimal wildlife viewing and photography opportunities in Sitka Sound. As with all Misty Fjord itineraries, routes are not strictly defined on this expedition. A knowledgeable local captain and experienced, onboard naturalist will choose the best activities based on each day’s unique circumstances and guest interests.

Highlights will include a chance for wildlife viewing and birdwatching, such as humpback whales, sea otters, Steller sea lions, eagles, and more. Kayak, paddleboard, and hiking excursions will also be an integral part of the expedition. Guests may visit rustic mineral pools at Goddard Hot Springs, where visitors can soak in healing tubs, hike in spectacular forest areas or pay a visit to St. Lazaria Wildlife Refuge, an offshore volcanic island that is home to multiple seabird species. Travelers may even have the possibility of witnessing the spirited and competitive commercial herring fishery.

This intimate exploration of Sitka Sound includes a stateroom on the vessel, all meals, excursions, a pre-cruise tour of Sitka, and airport transfers. Departures are scheduled for March 17, 24 and 31, and April 7 and 14.

“As locals, we anxiously await the spring season every year. Residents know about the amazing wildlife, including humpback whales, that follow the herring migration during this time,” said Alaskan Dream Cruises Senior Vice President Jamey Cagle. “We’re thrilled to offer an itinerary that will immerse guests in a unique and exciting time here in Sitka that few Alaska travelers are able to experience.”

The two new sailings of the seven-night “Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure” will sail round trip from Juneau, scheduled for June 22 and Aug. 24. These departures give guests the chance to spend two days in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve with the opportunity for small-group hikes onshore in the park. The round-trip departures out of Juneau also allow for more extensive exploration of Alaska’s capital city before or after the cruise.

Other highlights of the seven-night “Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure” include opportunities to explore beautiful Sitka, the only community in Southeast Alaska that faces the open ocean waters of the Gulf of Alaska, as well as exploration of the Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness, a place famous naturalist John Muir referred to as "a wild, unfinished Yosemite.” This itinerary also includes a feast of king crab, prime rib, and Alaska salmon at an exclusive, company-owned island lodge. This private retreat provides peaceful seclusion with modern comforts in an idyllic wilderness setting.

These new departures' cruise fares include a stateroom on the Admiralty Dream, all meals, excursions, pre-cruise activities in Juneau, and airport transfers.

With vessels ranging from 10-74 guests, Alaskan Dream Cruises offers a casual atmosphere and an insider’s view of Alaska’s Inside Passage. The company was launched in 2011 by the Allen family, members of the Alaska Native Tlingit clan. The Allen family also founded Allen Marine, Inc., a boat-building company, in 1967, and Allen Marine Tours, which offers day cruise tours to travelers in Alaska’s Inside Passage. For more information, please visit AlaskanDreamCruises.com.

Image Courtesy Alaskan Dream Cruises

Monday, November 20, 2017

Silversea's Silver Cloud Has Embarked on Its Inaugural Expedition Voyage

Fresh from a $40 million refurbishment and conversion to an ice-class expedition ship, Silversea's ultra-luxury Silver Cloud set sail last week from Buenos Aires on her first-ever expedition voyage. Over the course of 16 days, the newly reimagined ship will explore the iceberg sculptures, calving glaciers, and rare and majestic wildlife of Antarctica, while her guests will enjoy such signature comforts as spacious all-suite accommodations with butler service, open bars and five dining options offering sumptuous cuisine, including the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea.

"We are proud to celebrate this momentous occasion when the ship that launched Silversea on a path to redefine luxury travel now embarks on a new path to redefine expedition cruising," said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea's CEO.

The completely transformed Silver Cloud accommodates 254 guests (200 in polar waters) in exquisitely updated suites, most featuring a private veranda. Her elegantly redesigned public spaces include the new Tor's Observation Lounge, offering commanding views of the scenery, and refreshed boutiques stocked with essential expedition gear. Other amenities rarely found on an expedition ship include a heated, resort-style pool, the all-new Zàgara Spa, and the new Photo Studio, where a manager, state-of-the-art equipment and professional photo editing software are available to assist guests with their photography.

A fleet of 16 Zodiacs provides unprecedented opportunity for up-close exploration, while 10 kayaks offer a truly personalized experience of nature in the polar realms. Depending on the region, between 20 and 22 passionate and dedicated Expedition Team members are always at hand to share their considerable knowledge and insights. They give lectures in the multi-tiered Explorer Lounge, run workshops, lead Zodiac and kayak trips, and guide nature walks—all of which is complimentary.

Following her first season in Antarctica, Silver Cloud will trace a path up Africa's seldom-seen western coast to Northern Europe and the Norwegian Arctic, where she will spend the summer sailing glacier-filled bays and fjords in search of polar bears, whales, walruses and other amazing wildlife. Then, a series of expeditions to Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Central and South America will culminate with a return to Ushuaia for another season of exhilarating Antarctic expeditions.

For additional details about Silver Cloud expeditions, visit Silversea.com.

Images Courtesy of Silversea

Carnival Cruise Line to Increase Capacity on Short Cruise Programs from Galveston & New Orleans in 2019

Building upon its position as the leader in Gulf Coast cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from Galveston and New Orleans beginning in 2019.

Carnival Dream will launch 4- and 5-day cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning in May 2019, becoming the newest and largest Carnival ship to operate a short cruise program from that port and providing Texans with an exciting and convenient new vacation option.

In turn, Carnival Valor, currently based in Galveston, will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round 4- and 5-day cruises from the Big Easy beginning May 2019. It will be the largest ship to offer a year-round short cruise schedule from New Orleans.

Four-day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while 5-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso. Some 5-day itineraries from Galveston feature Cozumel and Costa Maya.

Each of these stunning Mexican destinations offer world-class beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, and opportunities to visit historical attractions and landmarks, including centuries-old Mayan ruins. A wide variety of “fun in the sun” shore excursion choices, from paddle-boarding and ziplining to ATV adventures and watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, is also available.

“Galveston and New Orleans are two of our most popular and fastest-growing homeports and Carnival Dream and Carnival Valor provide wonderful short cruise options in these markets, offering an exciting array of features which, combined with our convenient and value-packed short cruise itineraries to Mexico, add up to an unbeatable vacation experience,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival Dream from Galveston
The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream will kick off its year-round 4- and 5-day schedule from Galveston beginning May 23, 2019, representing a 22 percent increase in capacity on this program.

Carnival Dream recently underwent an extensive makeover that added a number of food and beverage options, including Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare and the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant. These complement such attractions as a WaterWorks aqua park, luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and more.

Carnival Dream will join Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018, and together these three ships are expected to carry nearly 650,000 passengers annually from Galveston—more than any cruise line.

Carnival Valor from New Orleans
The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will kick off its new year-round schedule of 4- and 5-day cruises from New Orleans May 16, 2019, replacing Carnival Triumph and representing a nearly 10 percent increase in capacity on the line’s short cruise program from that port. Carnival Triumph will be deployed to another homeport to be announced at a later date. Also in May 2019, Carnival Glory will take over the New Orleans-based year-round 7-day schedule of Carnival Dream. Together, Carnival Valor and Carnival Glory are expected to carry nearly 400,000 passengers from New Orleans.

Carnival Valor underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation last year that added such popular highlights as Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, SkyBox sports bar, Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Other features on Carnival Valor include an adults-only Serenity retreat, a 214-foot-long water slide and Scarlett’s, a classic American steakhouse.

For additional information, visit Carnival.com.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Friday, November 17, 2017

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Names New Ship—Seven Seas Splendor Launching in 2020

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the most inclusive luxury experience, has announced the name of its new ship, scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2020. The second Explorer-class ship will embody and enhance the elegance, style and luxury that brought forth the high-end features and amenities that have made sister-ship Seven Seas Explorer renowned as the most luxurious ship ever built with her launch in 2016.

“The naming of a ship is an important milestone in maritime tradition and it is my pleasure to announce that the name of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new ship to launch in 2020 is Seven Seas Splendor,” said Jason Montague, President and Chief Executive Officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The extraordinary demand for Seven Seas Explorer has reinforced our decision to expand our fleet and Seven Seas Splendor will offer guests a fifth option that will provide unforgettable experiences in the world’s most compelling destinations, with the incredibly high standards of luxury and service that lure guests back again and again.”

As part of the naming process, Regent Seven Seas Cruises sought suggestions from its valued travel agents, loyal guests and employees for the ship’s name in a sweepstakes held in September. Seven Seas Splendor was chosen among nearly 2,600 unique names from more than 14,000 submissions.

The new all-suite, all-balcony ship will have a gross tonnage of 55,254 and capacity of 750 guests. Stay tuned for more details about Seven Seas Splendor and her exciting inaugural season.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world's most inclusive luxury experience with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 450 destinations around the world. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is currently undergoing a $125 million fleetwide refurbishment that will elevate the level of elegance found throughout the fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer.

A leader in luxury cruising, the line's fares include all-suite accommodations, round-trip domestic air or business-class air on intercontinental flights from U.S. and Canada, highly personalized service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, gratuities, ground transfers and one-night, pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in Concierge-level suites and higher. For more information about the world’s most inclusive luxury experience, RSSC.com.

Image Courtesy Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Port Canaveral Posts Record Cruise Numbers

Port Canaveral has set a new record for the Port's cruise operations. More than 4.5 million cruise passenger movements were logged at the Port in 2017, outpacing numbers set in 2016.

“Port Canaveral is proving to be the Port of choice for more cruise travelers year after year,” said Captain John Murray, Port CEO. “Our focus on providing quality service and commitments we have made to improve and expand our infrastructure ensures our cruise partners can deliver an exceptional customer experience at our Port, which provides increased jobs and business opportunities in our community.”

Total cruise passengers, which includes multi-day passengers coupled with one-day cruise passengers, totaled 4,520,229 in fiscal year FY2017, up 6.4% from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. Multi-day passengers totaled 4,234,545 in FY2017 up 7.1% over the previous year hitting an all-time high number of passengers.

Port Canaveral is the second busiest cruise port in the world, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and is considered a leading homeport for the world’s largest cruise lines. Port Canaveral hosts Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International, as well as numerous port-of-call vessels from the world’s cruise lines.

Image Courtesy Port Canaveral

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Disney Cruise Line Introducing Even More Fun for All Ages with New Spaces & New Experiences Debuting on the Disney Magic in 2018

Exciting new spaces and new experiences designed for guests of all ages are coming to the Disney Magic in March 2018. From family dining in an enchanted kingdom, to a transformed teen club, to a sophisticated café exclusively for adults, the ship’s newest highlights include:

An Enchanting Dining Experience for Families
At Rapunzel’s Royal Table, families will delight in an all-new dining experience inspired by the beloved story of Disney’s “Tangled.” The first table service restaurant themed to “Tangled” that features characters and live entertainment will transport Disney Magic guests to the kingdom of Corona for an evening of music and interactive fun featuring Rapunzel and the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs. Guests will step inside a regal ballroom in the royal castle, lit by glowing wish lanterns and adorned with colorful drawings that reflect Rapunzel’s artistic talents. Here, the King and Queen of Corona invite everyone to take part in a festive celebration of Rapunzel’s birthday and the anniversary of her return to the kingdom.

Throughout dinner, guests of all ages will be treated to live entertainment, including spirited singing and dancing led by the maître d’, a merry band of musicians, the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs and of course, Princess Rapunzel herself. The family fun is complete with themed menus, special activities and a lively parade to cap off the evening in Corona. The charm and enchantment of “Tangled” in Rapunzel’s Royal Table is the perfect pairing to “Tangled: The Musical”—the spellbinding original production that delights guests during each Disney Magic sailing.

Redesigned Retreat Just for Teens
Vibe, the space on the ship reserved for teens ages 14-17, is being transformed into a trendy urban loft environment. At Vibe, teens can enjoy a new coffee and smoothie bar, play video and virtual reality games, and check out other cool activities like a DJ spin-off and movie making. Activities at Vibe are organized and hosted by trained Disney counselors who facilitate the fun and interaction among teen guests.

Refined Escape Exclusively for Adults
Adults can relax at Cove Café, an adult-exclusive retreat that will be redesigned in a sophisticated tropical style. It’s the perfect place to sip a specialty coffee or tea throughout the day, or indulge in wine or a cocktail and light bites during the evening hours. In this serene setting by the Quiet Cove Pool, adult beverage tastings are also available at select times for an additional fee. Just steps away, the adjacent Signals Bar will also be transformed with a similar look.

Elsewhere around the Disney Magic, other enhancement highlights include the addition of Club Disney Junior in Disney’s Oceaneer Club for children and a redesigned Rainforest Room with steam and hydrotherapy in Senses Spa for adults.

The new enhancements debut on Disney Magic starting March 9, 2018, on sailings from Miami, Florida. The 4- and 5-night Disney Magic sailings from Miami visit Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Beginning on May 14, 2018, the Disney Magic repositions to Europe for the summer season.

These additions are part of an overall commitment by Disney Cruise Line to invest in their ships, helping to deliver incredible family vacation experiences for years to come. While making these enhancements to the Disney Magic, crews perform regularly scheduled and wide-ranging maintenance to keep the fleet in tip-top shape, further demonstrating the unwavering commitment by Disney Cruise Line to continually elevate the guest experience.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line, visit DisneyCruise.com

Image Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

American River Cruise Revolution: Introducing American Song—New Ship Brings New Era of U.S. Cruising

American Cruise Lines has announced that its brand new riverboat will be named American Song. The first ship in the Line’s highly anticipated Modern Riverboat Series, American Song will be the finest state-of-the-art ship available to the U.S. river cruise market. The first of its kind and unlike anything seen before on American waters, this innovative ship will bring a whole new dimension to river cruising in the U.S.

American Song integrates modern design without sacrificing the refined comfort that American Cruise Lines is known for. Wider, faster, and quieter than any other river cruise ship, American Song will be the most environmentally friendly ship in the industry. While other companies are repurposing old casino boats, American Cruise Lines contracts only for brand new ships to maintain its reputation for premium quality and consistency. Each American Cruise Lines’ new ship build incorporates the most innovative design and is U.S. built, crewed, and flagged.

Showcasing gorgeous interior design elements, from a four-story glass atrium to spectacular spacious lounges, American Song inspires. Thoughtfully designed to bring the outside world in, American Song boasts sweeping views throughout the ship. With the largest staterooms in the industry, private furnished balconies, full-size bathrooms, and all the finest amenities available in cruising, American Song will not only set the standard for U.S. river cruising—it will redefine it.

The Inaugural season aboard American Song will begin in Fall 2018 on the Mississippi River and then continue to the West Coast in 2019, for American Cruise Lines’ magnificent Columbia and Snake River itineraries.

American Cruise Lines is the largest cruise line in the U.S. and the premiere leader in the industry. The Line has become the gold standard for cruising in the U.S. through a focus on ship innovation and a tradition of introducing only brand new ships. With two new vessels being introduced in 2018, the Line will operate the largest modern fleet of 10 small cruise ships, modern riverboats, and authentic paddlewheelers in the country. With over 35 itineraries, the Line cruises along the rivers, and coastal and inland waterways of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi River region, the Southeast, and New England.

To learn more about American Cruise Lines and the 2018-2019 season on American Song, visit AmericanCruiseLines.com.

Image Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MSC Donates & Dedicates New 4,000 Square Foot Structure To Serve As School For Children In The British Virgin Islands

As part of MSC's global relief efforts in the Caribbean following the recent hurricanes, MSC, along with members of the government of the British Virgin Islands, welcomed and dedicated a new, 4,000 square-foot, pre-fabricated building that will serve as a school on the island of Virgin Gorda. With all 15 schools destroyed in the British Virgin Islands, this new school will allow the children of the island to focus on the future and continue their education. This donation from MSC is one of many ways the family-owned company is working to help support the Caribbean and its people through global resources.

"It is our responsibility as a family-owned company in the seafaring business for more than 300 years, to come to the aid of our family, friends and neighbors in dire times," said Richard Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA. "This donation is one of many ways we are working to set the industry standard to help those who need it most and we're proud to utilize our global resources to assist as the Caribbean works to recover and rebuild."

Dona Regis, CEO, Tortola Pier Park adds, "We are honored to work with MSC to bring their donation of a much needed, prefabricated building to life for use as a school in the British Virgin Islands. This donation will allow our children to continue their education and focus on the future. It is with deep and heartfelt gratitude that we say thank you to MSC as we continue to rebuild a stronger island."

To date, MSC has tapped its global network of partners to ship goods, including water, food, medical supplies, building materials, mattresses and empty containers for shelter and safety use to the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands and Dominica. This effort includes shipment of materials through cargo containers provided by MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, ferries provided by GNV, MSC's ferry division, as well as external partners to deliver essentials to the islands. As one example, due to the catastrophic consequence of no power across many islands, MSC provided shipping services specifically to bring emergency lighting from Cyalume Technologies to the people who needed it most in Puerto Rico.

While most cruise ports in the region are now open for business, MSC continues to work with credible and connected partners to assist in restoring islands in the area, working to create a better and stronger Caribbean for the future.

Image Courtesy of MSC Cruises

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

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

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

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

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

Orchestrating a song as old as rhyme
“Beauty and the Beast” features songs from the original animated film’s award-winning soundtrack by acclaimed composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. Complementing the score, the show also includes two of the new songs created for the live-action film by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice, “How Does a Moment Last Forever” and “Days in the Sun.” Enchanting arrangements and orchestrations by Matt Castle and Frank Galgano (“Into the Woods”) bring a unique musical identity to the production. Beloved songs like “Belle,” “Something There” and “Beauty and the Beast” received a musical makeover that reflects the show’s stylized approach, while songs like “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” leap to the stage as joyful and exuberant production numbers. One of the most iconic songs in the Disney canon has been completely re-imagined for the stage. “Be Our Guest” is a multi-course French dinner rooted in imagination and fantasy, as rousing choreography and dazzling visual effects fill the stage during this full-fledged spectacle.

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

“Beauty and the Beast” debuted during the Disney Dream voyage that departed Nov. 6, 2017, joining an incredible lineup of Broadway-style stage productions aboard the ship, including “The Golden Mickeys” and “Disney’s Believe.” The Disney Dream sails 3- and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line, visit DisneyCruise.com.

Image Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

In a Show of Support, Windstar Cruises President to Join First San Juan Sailing of the Season

Resurrecting tourism after a natural disaster isn’t easy. There’s the perception that everything is destroyed or closed, with the second wave of damage then hitting in economic form when tourists are hesitant to return. Windstar Cruises President John Delaney wants to fight that negative narrative after the recent storms by revealing, in person, that San Juan and the Caribbean are open for business. As a show of support, Delaney will be sailing on Windstar’s first cruise departing from San Juan this season on November 25.

“Although areas of the Caribbean are still rebuilding after the recent hurricanes, so much of the Caribbean is open and welcoming visitors to their wondrous islands,” Delaney said. “Travelers should not be concerned about beginning or ending a cruise in San Juan, where the cruise terminal has been operational for weeks, along with the airport. I’ll be personally making the trip, arriving the day before my cruise to enjoy time in Old San Juan, giving updates on my Twitter account, and sharing first-person stories on Windstar’s Facebook page.”

To encourage guests back to the tropics, Windstar is offering a special Caribbean Is Open Cruise Package with significant savings, a $200 shipboard credit, and free onboard Wi-Fi, with rates starting at $1,499 per person.

Part of helping is just showing up. With smaller yacht-like vessels (some of which still boast sails), Windstar can avoid overcrowded waterfronts and bring the much-needed vacationer to smaller islands and more intimate ports of call, contributing to the greater economy of the region. For example, Windstar just announced it will call at Anse Mitan in Martinique and Deshaies in Guadeloupe. While many ships will chart a course towards familiar harbors in the Western Atlantic and Western Caribbean, Windstar is going in the other direction to smaller, rarely visited jewels of the Caribbean islands.

“Windstar can offer experiences and destinations others logistically can’t,” said Delaney. “We also do things many travelers think are long gone, like our open bridge policy, private beach barbecue experiences, and a water sports platform to jump right into the blue waters the Apollo astronauts swooned over from space. Not everyone has to chart the same course.”

Caribbean-bound vacationers should check out the new Star Collector Voyages in the Caribbean, which are cruises 14 days long that also include complimentary daily laundry. Additionally, Windstar added its popular Jewels of the Windward Islands itinerary to its 2017/18 Caribbean sailings, with the journey being a “fan favorite” of past Windstar guests. The cruise sails to the rugged natural beauty of St. Lucia and little-known isles that are off the tourist radar, like Bequia in the Grenadines. Bet most people have not been there before.

For more information on cruising with Windstar in the Caribbean, visit WindstarCruises.com.

Image Courtesy Windstar Cruises

Carnival Horizon Successfully Completes Sea Trials in the Adriatic Sea

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, successfully completed its final sea trials in the Adriatic Sea last week in anticipation of its inaugural cruise from Barcelona on April 2, 2018.

Currently in the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the 3,974-passenger vessel had a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers on board who thoroughly tested Carnival Horizon’s sophisticated technical, mechanical and navigation systems.

As the newest ship in the fleet, Carnival Horizon will offer a number of innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss WaterWorks aqua park, a new teppanyaki dining venue, and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse, a new BBQ restaurant offering favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri along with a four different kinds of craft beer brewed at a brewery on board.

Carnival Horizon will also offer such popular Vista-class features as an IMAX Theatre, a bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, the tropics-inspired Havana section with colorful staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, and Family Harbor with extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge.

Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona—the first of four round-trip departures from that port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of 4-day Bermuda and 8-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of 6- and 8-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special 2-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Monday, November 13, 2017

Caribbean Princess Traverses Panama Canal as First-Ever, Neo-Panamax Cruise Ship to Sail Through Expanded Locks

Princess Cruises was the first cruise line to take guests through the Panama Canal in 1967, one of the world's most coveted engineering marvels. Fifty years later, the cruise line marks another major milestone with the very first mega-cruise ship, Caribbean Princess, to traverse the newly expanded "Neo-Panamax" Locks.

Marking the 50th anniversary in 2017, Caribbean Princess is the first post-Panamax cruise ship to take more than 3,000 guests through the newly opened Agua Clara locks on the Atlantic side of the canal that opened in June 2016, as part of the 10-year, $5.4 billion "Neo-Panamax" expansion. Previously, only vessels with a maximum width of 106 feet could enter the locks. Caribbean Princess with a width of 118 feet, 112,894 tons and carrying 3,200 guests, sailed through the expanded locks for the first of 13 scheduled crossings on October 26, during the ship's 2017-2018 Panama Canal schedule.

"Marking our 50th anniversary taking guests to the Panama Canal in 2017 is a huge milestone so it's equally thrilling that we will also observed the occasion by being the first cruise line to sail a mega-ship through the newly expanded locks," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia group president. "The widely anticipated expansion of the Panama Canal allows us to showcase this engineering spectacle to more guests than ever on our larger ships."

Princess guests sail through the epic waterway that shaped the course of history by linking the world's two mightiest oceans with an industrial feat that, even 100 years later, remains so breathtaking and monumental that it was named a "Cruise World Wonder" by Condé Nast Traveler. Onboard, expert narration enlightens guests as Princess ships pass through the locks and authentic Panamanian cuisine is served in the dining rooms. With port calls in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, ashore there is everything from Costa Rican rainforests to old world cities like Cartagena that recall the age of exploration.



The only cruise line to offer a full season of voyages from fall through spring, Princess Cruises delivers the most itinerary options and sailing dates with three ways to experience the Panama Canal—roundtrip from the East Coast on 10-day sailings, roundtrip from the West Coast on 19-day sailings, or a full transit from ocean to ocean on 15-day sailings.

Caribbean Princess recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that included seven new food and beverage offerings, an updated youth & teen Center-Camp Discovery, more interconnecting staterooms, and updated décor.

More information about Panama Canal cruise vacations aboard Caribbean Princess, Coral Princess, and Island Princess can be found at Princess.com/panamacanal.

Image & Video Courtesy of Princess Cruises