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

Carnival Corporation Completes Multi-Million-Dollar Upgrade of Port Everglades Terminal

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company, has completed an extensive, multi-million-dollar redesign and upgrade of Cruise Terminal 2 at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Used exclusively by the company’s Princess Cruises brand, the upgraded terminal now features a more streamlined departure design, interactive experiences, movie theater and more comfortable pre-boarding areas transforming guests’ experience as they prepare to depart for their cruise vacation.

“When our guests arrive at the terminal excited about their cruise, that’s a great opportunity for us to begin immersing them in a more personalized and hassle-free vacation experience,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. “We have completely transformed the arrival so that our guests can board at a pace that’s more relaxed and convenient for them. Our focus is on the entire guest experience with a special emphasis on making the arrival experience exceptional. From guests’ homes through the cruise terminal and to their stateroom, every guest engagement is intended to maximize their vacation experience.”

The transformation includes the addition of Carnival Corporation’s proprietary xIoT (Experiential Internet of Things) network, which is activated by the Ocean Medallion™. As a result, guests sailing on Medallion Class ships will enjoy expedited boarding and a more personalized arrival experience as soon as they enter the terminal.

That includes interacting with their Ocean Tagalong™ on a gigantic LED screen (8’ 3” tall by 53’ 5” wide) that surrounds the Ocean Portal area where guests enter after clearing the security and check-in area.

Ocean Tagalongs are digital companions that guests create and personalize using the SocialOcean™ app—available for download through the Apple App Store and GooglePlay. Guests can select from among three sea creatures—Sea Turtle, Seahorse, or Butterfly Fish—to best reflect their personality or mood, then further customize their Ocean Tagalong by body shape, color, pattern, markings and more. Guests’ Ocean Tagalongs take center stage on the Ocean Portal screen in the heart of the terminal as the avatars of guests in the immediate area appear in a vibrantly-animated ocean setting that creates an excellent photo moment.

For guests wanting to stay connected prior to boarding their cruise, Terminal 2 now features Carnival Corporation’s new MedallionNet™, a connectivity service that delivers the best Wi-Fi experience in the cruise industry. MedallionNet provides cruise guests in the terminal and onboard Medallion Class ships with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency.

That unprecedented connectivity also lets guests enjoy the company’s portfolio of original mobile games before and after boarding. PlayOcean Everywhere™ features four social casino games that can be played anywhere at any time with virtual currency, in addition to in-app purchases to boost gameplay for even more fun.

On the first floor, guests also can relax in the OceanView Theater—a comfortable cinema that features the award-winning, originally produced Ocean Original travel series that transports viewers to new and exotic places, introduces them to extraordinary people who live there and provides inspiration for near and far ocean travel.

The terminal’s second level offers picturesque views of Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway and the magnificent Princess Cruises ships docked for departure. It also includes another interactive Ocean Tagalong experience that allows guests to direct their “creatures” through a series of screens by moving their arms and hands to control the creature’s swimming motions and directions, as guests prepare for ship boarding.

The 141,000-ton Regal Princess will be the first ship to depart from the newly redesigned terminal, as she begins a series of preview cruises introducing Ocean Medallion Vacations.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Corporation

Royal Caribbean Celebrates Spectrum of the Seas Keel-Laying

an An important milestone in the development of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Spectrum of the Seas, was achieved last week when her keel was lowered into place at the Neptun Werft shipyard in Rostock, Germany.

The keel-laying signifies the beginning of the ship's physical construction. During the ceremony, a 620-ton block measuring 59 feet by 121 feet (18 x 37 meters) was lifted into the building dock with an 800-ton crane.

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

Image Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Record Holiday Season for American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines has had record sales for its 2017 holiday-themed cruises. All Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s cruises have experienced unprecedented demand on both the Historic South and Lower Mississippi River itineraries. Many travel agents are already reserving their clients’ space on the 2018 holiday-themed cruises.

This year, American Cruise Lines has included a complimentary pre-cruise night on board, including welcoming holiday celebrations to start the cruises. In addition, during each cruise, guests enjoy seasonal festivities from Thanksgiving feasts to New Year’s Eve galas, and customized holiday shore excursions that make the whole cruise a joyous celebration. American Cruise Lines will continue its holiday tradition of supporting the Connecticut Food Bank through its “Give-Back” program by making a donation for each ticket sold on select holiday cruises.

Thanksgiving cruises: American Cruise Lines’ Thanksgiving cruises depart from Memphis on the Lower Mississippi 8-day itinerary, or from Charleston, on the Grand Historic South 11-day cruise.

Christmas cruises: The Line’s Historic South and Golden Isles Christmas Cruise highlights include Charleston’s famous Festival of Lights and a day on Amelia Island, where guests will have afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton and visit the elaborate holiday gingerbread displays created by the Ritz’s world-renowned chefs. The 8-day Mississippi River Christmas Cruise highlights include a special dinner celebration at Antoine’s, the renowned French-Creole fine-dining restaurant in the heart of New Orleans and a customized holiday tour of Oak Alley in all of its holiday splendor.

New Year’s cruises: American Cruise Line’s New Year’s Cruise guests, on the 8-day Historic South & Golden Isles itinerary will dine at the famous High Cotton Club in Charleston and celebrate the New Year with a quintessential southern gala. The New Year’s guests on the 8-day Mississippi River cruise, roundtrip from New Orleans, will dine at Antoine’s, the renowned French-Creole restaurant and ring in the New Year Mardi-Gras-style.

For more information on the 2017 or 2018 holiday cruises, visit AmericanCruiseLines.com.

Image Courtesy American Cruise Lines

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Port Canaveral Salutes our Nation’s Veterans

Port Canaveral joins the nation in recognizing the men and women of our Armed Forces to honor them on Veteran’s Day, November 11th.

Port Canaveral has a long and rich history with our nation’s military, dating back to 1878 when the Department of the Navy recognized the Port’s geographical importance and asked Congress to create a deepwater port at Cape Canaveral.

Port Canaveral is proud of the more than 230 employees who contribute to the successful operation and management of Port Canaveral, a number of them having served in all branches of the U.S. military and the U.S. Merchant Marine. The Port salutes all Veterans past and present who made sacrifices in service to our nation at home and abroad.

“Veteran’s Day is a time to remember the sacrifices our military members make in service to this great country,” stated Capt. Murray, Port CEO.

“This is a time for reflection and expressed gratitude to all those in service our country, past and present, many of whom work here at Port Canaveral,” said Port CEO John Murray.

Image Courtesy Port Canaveral

Friday, November 10, 2017

The frustration-free vacation is arriving on Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is rolling out an unprecedented wave of digital innovations touching every aspect of its business, charting a course for a world where travel frustrations have disappeared, erased by technology that is transforming cruise ships from stem to stern. Most visible to consumers through a guest-empowering app that will blanket the company's 48-ship fleet over the next two years, the surge of innovation will also banish check-in lines at ports, equip crew members to anticipate guests' needs, and enable giant cruise ships to sail through the water on a fuel-saving curtain of air.

"The pace of change is relentless—and so are we," said Richard D. Fain, RCL's chairman and CEO. "We are harnessing a range of technologies to enhance every facet of our business, every minute of our guests' vacations, and every inch of the ships we build."

Jay Schneider, RCL's senior vice president, digital, said one focus of RCL's company-wide innovation initiative is zeroing in on wasted effort and wasted energy. "We are finding ways to eliminate friction and frustration, giving guests more time to make the memories that make vacations special," said Schneider. For example, guests will:
• Board ships in the time it takes to order fries from the drive-through, skipping check-in lines thanks to facial recognition technology that knows who they are on arrival.
• Sign up for shore excursions, order drinks and make dinner reservations without ever leaving their chairs by the pool thanks to an intuitive app on a device most of them already have—a smartphone.
• Indulge in VR and AR experiences that transform ship spaces into virtual environments and interactive games, where stateroom ceilings might be replaced by starry skies, the walls of a restaurant can transform into the sights and sounds of an outdoor café and digital signs challenge you to play an arcade game.
"Consumers are buying experiences now, not things," Fain said. "So we are creating ways for them to design vacations rich in made-to-order, memory-making moments, and even providing recommendations based on what they have enjoyed before or shared with us about their preferences. And with our mantra of continuous improvement, our strategy is to constantly upgrade the guest experience across the fleets of all our brands."

The technological transformation also encompasses areas beyond the guest experience, including innovations to make ships more energy-efficient, enhance ship management and put more connectivity into the hands of crew members than ever before.

For guests: less friction, more time to make memories
One specific focus is removing time-stealing moments from the cruise experience. "Time spent in line—whether you're waiting for your food, waiting for your bags to arrive, waiting on a table, or booking an excursion—is time stolen from your time off," Schneider said. To return that time to guests, the company is combining technologies ranging from facial recognition to RFID tagging to GPS mapping to Bluetooth-enabled beacons to streamline boarding, manage check-ins automatically and improve wayfinding.

"Many of these same technologies are being deployed to put the power to manage your vacation in the palm of your hand," said Schneider. "Our new app will make it simpler than ever to book and plan your cruise vacation from home or with a travel agent. Once on board, you can navigate our ships with interactive maps and guides, explore the ship with cool features like x-ray vision, or order drinks that can be delivered to you wherever you are on the ship." The app, along with the next generation of the company's WOW Bands, will also unlock guest staterooms and enable guests to control stateroom lighting and temperature.

An initial release of the cruise guest app is already available on selected ships in RCL's fleet. Schneider said RCL will continue to refine the app, adding new ship-specific features and capabilities, with each subsequent release. "Our aim is to have the app enabled on about 15 percent of our fleet by the end of this year, and more than double that by the end of 2018," said Schneider.

Other innovations showcased at Sea Beyond are in the "concept car" phase, said Schneider. "Sea Beyond attendees will get glimpses of what happens when we let our imaginations run wild. So think of sampling an exotic dessert where, with each bite, the entire environment changes—at least virtually. Or imagine a stateroom where you not only control the lighting and the temperature, but can change the scene from starry night to rainforest canopy or island home with the touch of a button."

For crew: better interaction with guests and home
The innovations enriching the cruise guest experience will be complemented by a suite of tools for crews, as well. For example, the app-enabled offerings for guests will be mirrored on the crew side by mobile applications that help crew members check-in guests, complete required paperwork, track delivery of guests' bags to their staterooms, and interact with guests and anticipate their needs throughout their vacations. In addition, crews will have access to easier means to manage their own schedules, stay connected to friends and family while onboard, and stay connected to RCL during their off-contract periods.

"We regularly earn industry-leading guest satisfaction ratings—which is first and foremost a tribute to the outstanding work our crews do every day," said Fain. "To continue to improve, we will put more capability to delight and surprise our guests into our crews' hands even as we help them better manage the special challenges of being away from their homes and families while on board."

For the RCL fleet: smarter, safer ships & a reduced environmental footprint
Also showcased at Sea Beyond will be innovations aimed at enhancing overall ship management and improving energy efficiency. For example, forthcoming command centers will use augmented reality to assist with navigation and maneuvering. "Think of it as enabling the nautical equivalent of flying on instruments," said Fain. "Our ships always operate with keen sensitivity to the limitations the weather may impose. But having new means to mitigate the weather's impacts on departures and arrivals helps us uphold schedule and itinerary commitments important to our guests," added Fain.

In addition, in a safety-related application of the same technologies that will help servers deliver a drink to a guest anywhere on board, next generation bridge technology will allow officers to track guests on their way to muster stations to ensure all are accounted for and locate stragglers.

RCL is also innovating to reduce fuel consumption across its fleet, which not only lowers operating costs but also lightens stack emissions that are part of cruising's environmental footprint. Historically, each new class of RCL ships is significantly more fuel efficient than its predecessors as new high efficiency appliances, window tinting and improved lighting, heating and cooling technologies help reduce energy needs. The company continues to evolve hull designs to reduce drag, an evolution most evident in the "bulbous bows" now common on cruise ships. In addition, RCL is pioneering the use of an air lubrication system that coats the hulls of its ships with millions of microscopic air bubbles to further reduce resistance and drag. In initial uses, air lubrication has reduced fuel consumption at speed by 7 to 8 percent.

Complementing RCL's energy conservation efforts are initiatives to use alternative energy sources. Some RCL ships are already equipped with solar panels that generate sufficient power for limited onboard needs. At Sea Beyond, RCL will be previewing the use of fuel cells for power generation. Fuel cell use could fundamentally change ship design by distributing power sources throughout the ship. Furthermore, adoption of fuel cells would also mean producing less energy from diesel generators, reducing ships' environmental footprints. The company is planning fuel cell experiments on existing ships, with an eye to extensive use of fuel cells and liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion on its upcoming Icon class of ships. "We are fully embracing the expectation that we run an environmentally sustainable business," said Fain. "Experimenting with new ways to power our ships is just part of our broad commitment to being a responsible environmental steward."

Sea Beyond sets the course
"Every year, millions of guests are entrusting us with something very precious: their vacation time," said Fain. "To merit that trust, we work to surpass guests' expectations at every opportunity, from planning their trips to boarding our ships, whether on sea days or shore excursions, and in every dining, recreation and entertainment venue. Sea Beyond is a preview of how we are bringing those aspirations to life in a stem-to-stern transformation of our entire company while creating a new world on the water."

Image Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Port Canaveral to Host New Royal Caribbean International Ships

Port Canaveral has been selected to host two of the world’s newest and largest ships. In an announcement made by Royal Caribbean International, Oasis Class Harmony of the Seas will sail from Port Canaveral beginning May 2019, offering 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Voyager Class Mariner of the Seas returns to Port Canaveral with 3- and 4-night itineraries to The Bahamas. Both ships represent some of the best products in the cruise industry offering vacations to the Caribbean.

“This is great news for Port Canaveral. We are excited to be part of Royal Caribbean’s new deployment plans and proud of their confidence in us to support their brand,” said Port CEO Captain John Murray. “With record numbers of cruise passengers coming through our Port year after year, this is yet another demonstration that Port Canaveral can effectively handle some of the largest and most sophisticated cruise ships in the industry,” Captain Murray stated.

The Harmony of the Seas will be relocated to Port Canaveral from Port Everglades beginning in May 2019. The Harmony of the Seas is currently the largest ship in the world and newest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet and offers innovations such as the tallest slide at sea, the Ultimate Abyss as well as the Perfect Storm water slides and Splashaway Bay, a children’s water park. The ship hosts 6,687 passengers in 2,747 cabins with a Crew of 2,100.

The Mariner of the Seas will return to Port Canaveral following a $100 million upgrade. Mariner of the Seas, which has 1,557 cabins can host nearly 4,200 passengers with a crew of 1,181. She will replace RCCI’s Majesty of the Seas currently sailing from Port Canaveral with a passenger capacity of 2,744. Mariner of the Seas first arrived at Port Canaveral as a brand new Voyager Class ship in 2003 and sailed her inaugural cruise from the Port on November 14, 2003.

In announcing the new itineraries, Royal Caribbean stated the Oasis of the Seas will leave Port Canaveral in 2019 and will be redeployed to PortMiami.

Harmony of the Seas Image Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

SeaDream Yacht Club Celebrates The Caribbean Season & Announces Limited Availability

SeaDream Yacht Club is kicking off November with a full schedule of Caribbean sailings. Voyages sailing from Bridgetown, Barbados offer glorious itineraries through The Grenadines. Fortunately, this southern region of the Caribbean did not have a hurricane this year, and remains a stunning destination for yachting. Islands such as Mayreau, Bequia, and St. Lucia are mountainous and vividly green. These islands are largely undeveloped and their allure is their natural, unspoiled beauty.

Please see itinerary highlights below:
02-Dec-2017 SD-I Antigua - Barbados 7-days
09-Dec-2017 SD-I Barbados roundtrip 7-days
16-Dec-2017 SD-I Barbados - Antigua 5-days
21-Dec-2017 SD-I Antigua - Barbados 7-days
SeaDream I and Seadream II are the ideal size to explore the Caribbean and we are delighted to launch into our season supporting the region,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “We look forward to bringing guests to our favorite island destinations and visiting our friends that make them so special to SeaDream Yacht Club.”

SeaDream Yacht Club also calls on the lovely Caribbean islands of Nevis & St. Kitts; were both untouched by the Sept. hurricane. Mount Nevis, a dormant volcano seen from afar, offers spectacular hiking along lush jungle trails. Listen carefully on St. Kitts for the chatter of the vervet monkeys; island residents since the 1600s.

The beautiful Virgin Islands remain a long-time favorite of SeaDream Yacht Club. While both the U.S and British Virgin Islands sustained damage in September’s hurricane, they have steadily been repairing and preparing for their peak tourism season: November–April. The local businesses are re-opening their doors from St. Barts to St. John, eager to see yachts arriving in their harbors.

Please see itinerary highlights below:
20-Nov-2017 SD-I Antigua roundtrip 5-days
21-Nov-2017 SD-II San Juan roundtrip 4-days
25-Nov-2017 SD-I Antigua roundtrip 7-days
02-Dec-2017 SD-II St. Thomas roundtrip 7-days
09-Dec-2017 SD-II St. Thomas - San Juan 7-days
16-Dec-2017 SD-II San Juan - St. Thomas 5-days
21-Dec-2017 SD-II St. Thomas roundtrip 7-days
For additional inormation, visit SeaDream.com.

Image Courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Silversea’s Unique Silver Cloud Completed Refurbishment

Silversea’s Silver Cloud has completed an extensive two-month refurbishment at a total investment of over $40 million to become an ice class expedition vessel. The ship has undergone comprehensive enhancements to bring guests the luxury, style and comfort synonymous with Silversea’s classic vessels while maximizing guests’ expedition experience.

The ship is now travelling to Buenos Aires where guests will embark on her inaugural expedition voyage to Antarctica on November 15. En route final technical and safety checks will be completed to ensure guests boarding in Argentina will receive the world-class experience for which Silversea is renowned.

Unique to Silver Cloud, guests will benefit from a newly installed Photo Studio which enables content editing onboard. The Photo Studio will be a vibrant, creative and inspiring space where guests can master the art of digital photography. With several masterclasses on offer, a dedicated photo manager and an editing suite, guests can perfectly capture their expedition voyage and print images on board. State-of-the-art equipment will cater to both MAC and PC users.

The ship will carry 16 zodiacs in addition to 10 kayaks which have been installed to allow guests to experience kayak polar exploration. Voyages are led by a team of 20 expedition experts in non-polar regions and 22 in polar regions to enhance guests’ knowledge and experience from their voyage. Daily presentations and lectures by experts in the state-of-the-art theatre will also be streamed live to all suites.

The refurbishment undertaken by Palumbo Shipyards in Malta involved a series of technical enhancements including extensive steel reinforcement to give the ship the strength and maneuverability required for expedition cruising. The bulbous bow was replaced with a reinforced ice-class bulb to allow for navigation of polar waters; new sonars have been installed for underwater detection and new windows resistant to polar temperatures have been installed to ensure comfortable temperatures inside the vessel for guests.

“The successful transformation of Silver Cloud into an expedition vessel following the exhaustive work by Palumbo Shipyards is another milestone for Silversea. Silver Cloud was the first vessel in the Silversea classic fleet in 1994 and it is with great pride that we now welcome her to our expedition fleet alongside Silver Explorer, Silver Discoverer, and Silver Galapagos,” said Silversea CEO, Roberto Martinoli.

Guests will be able to enjoy the Zàgara Beauty Spa which was first introduced on Silversea’s flagship Silver Muse. Zàgara melds its beautiful Italian heritage with a 360 mind and body philosophy to evoke awareness and nurture well-being.

Further, Silver Cloud’s boutique has been reworked to offer merchandise aligned with an expedition vessel with dedicated essential gear selections.

A guest capacity of 254 in non-polar regions and just 200 in polar regions means that guests will enjoy the highest levels of personalized and attentive service on board. The limited capacity in polar regions also means that all guests can disembark at the same time to explore each region. For more information, visit Silversea.com.

Image Courtesy of Silversea

Carnival Cruise Line Signs Agreement With Shell To Fuel North America's First LNG-Powered Cruise Ships

Carnival Cruise Line, a unit of Carnival Corporation, has announced it has signed an agreement with Shell NA LNG, LLC to be its supplier of marine liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power North America's first fully LNG-powered cruise ships. Under this framework agreement, Shell will supply Carnival Cruise Line with fuel for its two new LNG-powered ships expected to launch in 2020 and 2022 and to be homeported in North America. As part of the agreement, the two ships, built with a next-generation "green cruising" ship design, will be fueled through Shell's LNG Bunker Barge (LBB)—a project announced earlier this week as part of Shell's strategic plan to develop a global LNG bunkering network. The ocean-going LBB, which is designed to support growing cruise line demand for LNG as a marine fuel, will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and will allow these ships to refuel with LNG at ports along the southern U.S. East Coast.

"This agreement is a significant stepping stone in our relationship with Carnival Corporation building upon our previous LNG marine fuel supply agreements in Europe," said Tahir Faruqui, president, Shell NA LNG, LLC. "It also marks a milestone as we continue to establish the marine LNG fuel market in the U.S. as a credible part of the global marine fuel mix."

The two new Carnival Cruise Line vessels will be fully powered by LNG both while in port and at sea—an industry first and an environmental breakthrough that will improve air quality with cleaner emissions and produce the most efficient ships in company history. The 180,000-ton ships will be the largest ships in Carnival Cruise Line's fleet with an approximate passenger capacity of 5,200 based on double occupancy.

"Carnival Cruise Line is strongly committed to leading the way in the implementation of technology innovations to help protect the environment and support our aggressive sustainability goals," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Our two new cruise ships entering service in 2020 and 2022 will not only be the largest and most technologically advanced in our fleet but will break extraordinary new ground as the first LNG-powered cruise ships in North America."

Added Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation, "We are proud to be on the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry. One of the keys to establishing LNG as a standard for powering cruise ships is building out an extensive, safe and reliable infrastructure across the globe for this clean burning fossil fuel. We are looking forward to working closely with Shell as they help to bring LNG to North America in what we hope will be the first step in building a strong foundation for the future of LNG fuel supply for cruise ships in the region."

This agreement builds on the partnership established between Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises brand and Shell in April of 2016 to supply its AIDAprima ship with LNG to power the vessel while docked. AIDAprima is the first cruise ship in the world to use LNG while in port, leading to a major reduction in emissions.

The partnership was extended in fall 2016 when Carnival Corporation signed an agreement with Shell to supply LNG for the first of its next-generation LNG ships from its European AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises brands. These two ships will be the world's first fully LNG-powered cruise ships when they enter service in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, the agreement furthers the realization of Carnival Corporation's LNG efforts that began in 2015 with AIDAsol becoming the first cruise ship in the world to be supplied with power by an LNG hybrid barge, which also saw major benefits while in port.

In total, Carnival Corporation has agreements in place with leading German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku to build seven LNG-powered cruise ships across four of its 10 global cruise brands with delivery dates between 2018 and 2022—two for AIDA Cruises with expected delivery dates in 2018 and 2021, two for Costa Cruises with expected delivery dates in 2019 and 2021, one for P&O Cruises UK with an expected delivery date in 2020, and two for Carnival Cruise Line with expected delivery dates in 2020 and 2022.

As part of the framework agreement, Carnival Corporation and Shell have the opportunity to partner together on supplying marine LNG fuel to future LNG-powered vessels or additional itineraries. The overarching agreement enables each Carnival Corporation brand to negotiate individual LNG supply contracts with Shell as new LNG-powered cruise ships begin to launch in coming years.

Montréal's Cruise Season Sees a record 33% Increase in 2017

The Port of Montréal welcomed 114,517 passengers and crew members during the 2017 cruise season, up 33% compared to 2016. In all, some 21 ships representing 16 international cruise lines moored 52 times at the newly renovated T1 Terminal located at the Alexandra Pier in Old Montréal and at Terminal T3 located east of Jacques-Cartier Bridge. This season also saw 16 domestic cruises operating between Montréal and the Magdalen Islands.

Three new luxury international cruise liners visited Montréal for the first time this season, namely the MS Viking Sky and MS Viking Sea from Viking Cruises, and the MS Silver Muse from Silversea Cruises. The season opened on May 6 with the arrival of the MS Veendam from Holland-America and closed on October 27 with the departure of the MS Seven Seas Mariner from Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The Montréal Cruise Committee is delighted with the outstanding results posted in 2017. Since its creation in 2011, the committee has seen the numbers of passengers and crew members visiting Montréal increase by more than 140%.

"I would like to congratulate and extend my sincere thanks to the Montréal Cruise Committee's partners and teams on the ground for receiving a record number of cruise passengers and crew members in 2017," said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montréal Port Authority. "Since June 10, we have been proudly welcoming ships to our revamped cruise terminal in the Port of Montréal. It features modern and effective infrastructure for use by visitors and cruise lines, in addition to an international-calibre maritime architectural signature. This season also underscored the importance of maintaining our facilities east of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge to ensure our mooring capacity during the high season."

According to Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal, 2017 was a springboard year, elevating Montréal among the top urban destinations for international cruise lines. "I am extremely satisfied with the results we achieved. Next season promises to be just as busy with forecasts of approximately 130,000 passengers and crew members."

Based on data collected by the Montréal Cruise Committee, clients are primarily American (68%), English (12%), Canadian (7%) and Australian (5%). Nearly 70% of passengers who began or ended a cruise in Montréal prolonged their stay by an average of two nights.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Oceania Cruises' Regatta Experiences Power Loss

At approximately 2:00 a.m. local time in Honolulu, HI (7:00 a.m. local time in Miami, FL) Oceania Cruises' M/S Regatta experienced a failure of its power generation plant. All guests and crew are safe and accounted for. The power plant has been restored and all guest services are fully functioning. The ship is currently making its way back to Honolulu to effect a technical assessment and the vessel's current ETA alongside in Honolulu is 1 p.m. local time. At the time of the power loss, the vessel was approximately 20 miles off the coasts of the island of Oahu.

Image Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

A World of Adventure Awaits: Royal Caribbean Brings Together Innovations & Bold Itineraries for 2019-2020

Royal Caribbean International's expanding global footprint is evident in the 2019-2020 deployment plans, thanks to having unparalleled product offerings in the Caribbean, four new ports of call in Europe, and the first-ever Quantum Class ship to visit the Alaskan frontier. Combined with newly transformed ships designed to offer an unmatched short Caribbean vacation, Royal Caribbean is offering more adventures than ever for guests of all ages.

More Ways to See the Caribbean
Royal Caribbean is changing the game when it comes to short Caribbean cruise vacation offerings. Newly modernized and purposefully redesigned with families in mind, two of the cruise line's Voyager Class ships—Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas—will sail 3- and 4-night itineraries to The Bahamas. Touting favorites unique to Royal Caribbean, and new features catering to emerging trends and traveler preferences, both ships will represent the best product in the industry offering short, weekend vacations to the Caribbean. Mariner will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, while Navigator will be based in Miami where guests will be welcomed through Royal Caribbean's new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in PortMiami. Voyager Class changed the industry by introducing unexpected activities and adventures, including the rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, and Royal Promenade. Together with some exciting new features, they will be perfect introductions for first-time guests and families, who are short on time, to experience the best of the Caribbean in a weekend.

Travelers from the Southwest also seeking short Caribbean getaways can take advantage of 4- and 5-night sailings on Enchantment of the Seas from Galveston, Texas to various destinations in Mexico, year-round. Short Caribbean itineraries will be available to book the week of Nov. 20, 2017. All itineraries will be available to book by Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members one day prior to the general opening date.

All four of the world's largest cruise ships—Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas—will set sail from Florida in 2019 through April 2020. Oasis of the Seas, the first ship in its class, will undergo a bow-to-stern transformation before homeporting at Royal Caribbean's custom-built Terminal A at PortMiami for the fall and winter seasons, alongside her newest record-setting sister ship, Symphony of the Seas, which will be a year-round Miami resident.

After spending the previous year in Miami, Allure of the Seas will return to Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades, while Harmony of the Seas will make Port Canaveral her new home. This move to Central Florida brings first of its kind innovations like the Ultimate Abyss—the tallest slide at sea—within driving distance for markets throughout Florida, Georgia, and the southeast region. All four Oasis Class ships will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, Liberty of the Seas will sail 7-night Western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas and Freedom of the Seas will sail 7-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 7-night Caribbean itineraries are available to book the week of Nov. 13, 2017.

Royal Caribbean will continue to have a strong footprint in the Northeast with Anthem of the Seas, sailing from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. The smartship will sail 5- to 9-night summer itineraries to Bermuda, The Bahamas and the Caribbean. For the fall season, Anthem of the Seas will offer 9-night itineraries to Canada and New England. For the second consecutive year, Royal Caribbean is doubling up on fan favorites in the New York metro area. Anthem will be joined by the recently upgraded Adventure of the Seas, offering 6- to 8-night itineraries to The Bahamas and Caribbean. Adventure also will offer select 6-night itineraries to Canada and New England during the summer, and longer 10- to 11-night fall foliage cruises beginning in September. Northeast, Canada, and Bermuda itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 4, 2017.

The Views of Alaska Just Got Wilder
Making her U.S. debut for the 2019 Alaska summer season, Ovation of the Seas will transition from Sydney, Australia to her new summer homeport in Seattle, Washington. Only on Ovation will guests glimpse the Northern Lights and other Alaskan wonders from the North Star, the ship's signature glass observation capsule with panoramic views from 300 feet above sea level—the best views possible without taking flight. Ovation guests also will have the chance to skydive, surf, and swim alongside glaciers from the comfort of the ship's thrilling indoor SeaPlex sports complex, Solarium, and indoor or outdoor pools.

Ovation will sail 7-night itineraries to destinations from Juneau to Victoria, British Columbia, showcasing Alaska's natural treasures and luring adventure seekers with stately spruce forests, island-studded waters, native wildlife and awe-inspiring glaciers. Ovation will join Radiance of the Seas in the Alaska market, which sails 7- night open-jaw itineraries between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia. Alaska itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 11, 2017.

New Northern Europe & Mediterranean Adventures
Royal Caribbean will discover the untold stories of four new European ports of call. Travelers can now visit the world's best preserved medieval city and UNESCO World Heritage site, Visby, Sweden; Zadar, Croatia, offering national parks, waterfalls and Roman-era history; the glamorous, picture-perfect fishing village of Portofino on the Italian Rivera; and Porto, Portugal, the country's second largest city, famed for its charming, breathtaking scenery steeped in history.

For the first time since 2014, Oasis of the Seas will spend the summer season in Europe, sailing from the iconic port city of Barcelona, Spain, known for its world-class art, architecture, design and culinary scene. As the largest ship sailing in the Mediterranean, Oasis will bring together old world destinations and modern experiences only found on board Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships—the distinct seven-neighborhood concept, imaginative and sophisticated dining, Broadway entertainment and the iconic waterfront AquaTheater. Oasis will sail 7-night itineraries, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseille, France; and Florence, Rome and Naples, Italy. Europe itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 11, 2017.

For additional information, itinerary details, and a peek into the Royal Caribbean adventures coming in May 2019 through April 2020, visit RoyalCaribbean.com/cruise-itineraries-2019.

Image Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Holland America Line Launches ‘Best Price Guarantee’ on Thousands of Worldwide EXC Tours

Holland America Line is making sure that guests who pre-book the cruise line’s  EXC Tours will have the lowest rates through a Best Price Guarantee program. Best Price Guarantee is available on all ships and all itineraries except Asia cruises and promises that if a guest finds a comparable shore excursion elsewhere at a lower price, Holland America Line will provide an onboard credit of 110 percent of the price difference.

“Shore excursions are an essential part of the cruise for many of our guests, and we’re introducing Best Price Guarantee because we believe our EXC Tours offer exceptional value, competitive pricing and the highest quality,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “We’ve taken an extensive amount of care in creating experiences that showcase the best of each destination and offer something for every taste, whether it’s enjoying the iconic sites through a different lens or someone who’s looking for something special and unique.”

If a guest pre-books a Holland America Line EXC Tour (shore excursion) and then finds an equivalent tour that offers the same amenities and experiences, including date, time, duration, transportation and meals, then a request easily can be submitted through an online form up to seven days before cruise departure. Guests will be notified within two days of submission if the tour meets the requirements for Best Price Guarantee.

If eligible, guests will receive a non-refundable onboard credit to be used during their cruise. Best Price Guarantee only applies to shore excursions that are advertised with pricing and publicly available. Guests who cancel their EXC Tour on board will not be eligible for the Best Price Guarantee credit.

Numbering more than 4,100 tours in nearly 550 ports, Holland America Line’s EXC Tours are carefully crafted to ensure travelers are able to deeply connect with the people and places visited during each cruise. With a variety of options for every level of activity and interest, guests who book an EXC Tour through Holland America Line can rest assured that they will experience an unparalleled level of comfort, care and convenience. Professional, local guides offer a unique perspective and exceptional guidance, and a worry-free return to the ship is guaranteed.

Group EXC Tours Allow for a Tailored Experience
For guests or travel professionals with a group on board, Holland America Line’s knowledgeable Group EXC Tours Specialists have a worldwide network of innovative tour operators at their fingertips to develop a tailored program for groups of 30 or more. Booking EXC Tours for groups through Holland America Line ensures the most competitive net rates and allows guests to create the perfect, personalized experience—from an eco-tour or culinary adventure to a more traditional sightseeing tour. Groups have a dedicated liaison on board and receive additional perks like priority dispatch, exclusive transportation and language-specific guides.

The Best Price Guarantee submission form can be accessed at HollandAmerica.com by all booked guests once they have checked in online.

Image Courtesy of Holland America Line

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What’s Cooking on Amsterdam’s Grand Asia Voyage

Over the course of Holland America Line’s Grand Asia Voyage aboard Amsterdam, a host of extremely talented guest chefs will be coming on board to share their culinary knowledge, passion, and delicious dishes with fortunate guests.

The first chef to join the cruise was Denise Vivaldo and you can get a taste of what the passengers are experiencing with one of Chef Vivaldo’s personal recipes—Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with a Porcini Wine Sauce. This delectable dish sounds easy to create at home.

ROASTED TENDERLOIN OF BEEF

Ingredients:
1 (about 4 pounds) prime center cut beef tenderloin
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Directions:
Sear tenderloin, before you place in oven. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Brush meat with olive oil and sprinkle generously with thyme, salt and pepper. Place in a baking pan and roast for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 degrees F and continue roasting until desired doneness is reached: Rare for 35-40 minutes when it registers 125 degrees F on an instant read thermometer; medium-rare for about 45-50 minutes when it registers 130 degrees F.

Remove from oven and let meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 8
PORCINI WINE SAUCE

Ingredients:
1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon (4 cups)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces porcini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 cup homemade or good quality beef stock
Salt to taste
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Directions:
Place wine in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and continue to boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 17 minutes.

In a large skillet sauté mushrooms in half of the olive oil over medium high heat until golden. Set aside. In the same pan sauté the shallots in remaining olive oil until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in beef stock and reduced wine. Lower heat, add mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Remove from heat. Gradually add butter while gently stirring sauce. Spoon sauce over tenderloin before serving.

Image Courtesy Holland America Line

Monday, November 6, 2017

In Honor of Veterans Day, Carnival Cruise Line Unveils Enhanced Military Appreciation Program

In honor of Veterans Day, Carnival Cruise Line is enhancing its military offerings benefiting active and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The cruise line is launching a new monthly cruise giveaway for military families who attend one of Carnival’s military appreciation events held on board during every cruise across the fleet. Additionally, a special booking incentive in November provides special discounts for military personnel which are combinable with the line’s already-low Early Saver rates.

New beginning this November, Carnival’s shipboard military appreciation events will feature a chance for military families to win a free three- to eight-day cruise from any U.S. homeport to the Bahamas, Caribbean or Mexico. One drawing per month will be held from all entries received fleetwide, with the monthly winners to be announced on the Facebook page of Carnival’s well-known cruise director turned brand ambassador, John Heald. The events will also feature a moving new video tribute honoring the Armed Forces and narrated by Carnival President Christine Duffy.

A special booking promotion for active and retired military personnel running from Nov. 3-14, 2017, provides a $50 onboard credit per cabin plus a two-category upgrade and reduced deposits from $99 per person, which can be combined with Carnival’s highly attractive Early Saver rates. In addition, guests who qualify for the promotion can book up to two additional staterooms with the same bonuses and pricing.

“Carnival has always been a big supporter of military families and I’m proud to say that we carry more active and retired military personnel than any other cruise line in the world,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We take great pride in showing our appreciation for those who serve with this expanded program.”

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, visit Carnival.com.

Crystal Symphony Completes Her Most Dramatic Onboard Redesign Ever



One of the most awarded luxury ships in the world has a sophisticated new look, offering travelers freshly imagined choices during their global vacations. Crystal Symphony has emerged from dry dock, returning to the seas with newly designed spaces, features and amenities that luxury travelers crave. The ship's new Open Seating dining concept ushers in new restaurants on board, while more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouse accommodations were added. Throughout the ship, state-of-the-art technological upgrades were installed, enhancing guests' connectivity and access to entertainment and news on demand. The month-long dry dock redesign marks the most expansive makeover in Crystal Symphony's esteemed history, and reaffirms Crystal's commitment to providing the most luxurious ocean experiences in the world.

"The enhancements made on Crystal Symphony provide guests with more choices and flexibility than ever before, whether it's the ability to dine at their leisure, stay connected to family and friends on shore, or enjoy a variety of new entertainment options onboard," says Crystal's president and CEO, Tom Wolber. "While we continue to innovate at the forefront of the industry, our focus will always be on the consistent quality and personal attention to detail and service that makes Crystal Cruises the world's most awarded luxury cruise line."

Crystal Symphony's new look is decidedly modern, particularly in regard to the high-tech features in staterooms and penthouses, although, the ship still boasts the classic elegance that has enabled it to transcend trends throughout the years. Crystal Symphony's stunning redesign includes:

New Penthouses & Penthouse Suites
Crystal Symphony now features more spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites, with the newly added Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (12 new suites) and Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (28 new suites), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses are paired by shared entryways recessed from the hall.

Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ship's guest capacity to 848, while the number of crew on board remains the same. Crystal has long led the industry in abundant space and number of crew per guest aboard its ships, and the decreased guest capacity enhances the atmosphere of copious space in public areas and dining venues.

New Open Dining Concept & Restaurants
The world-class culinary experience also enjoyed an evolution, as brand new stylish restaurants are debuted. Most significantly, a brand new Open Seating concept allows guests to dine at their leisure, affording more choices and flexibility for evening dining and entertainment. While the design and menu of global selections have evolved, the classic elegance, Michelin-level cuisine and superlative service remain.

Waterside has emerged in place of the former Crystal Dining Room, reflecting the chic décor and sophisticated ambiance found in the restaurants of the same name aboard Crystal River Cruises. Added tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine as they wish eliminating Crystal's previous format of assigned seating and times. Waterside continues to serve breakfast and lunch.

Moving into the former Lido Café space are Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. Marketplace continues to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and is converted into Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue in the evening creating an additional dining option for guests. Churrascaria features a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serves a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled meats presented by Crystal "gauchos" on sword-like skewers.

Newly adjacent to the existing Trident Grill on the Lido Deck is Silk Kitchen & Bar, offering full service dinner of modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. The Trident Grill remains in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.

Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, has been rebranded as Umi Uma & Sushi Bar. The authentic venue serves the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and remains the only Nobu restaurants at sea. The ship's second specialty restaurant, Prego, remains the same, continuing to serve regional specialties of Italy.

High-Tech Enhancements
Upon completion of Crystal Symphony's dry dock, all guests now enjoy unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal's investment in technological amenities for guests includes hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. Additionally, a new guest portal–Crystal Connect–is now featured on the landing page of onboard internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions; and the ship's location, itinerary and points of interest. A number of international newspapers are available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, music, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect is also available for use on guests' personal devices.

In all rooms throughout the ship–in each stateroom and in all public areas–high-definition, interactive flat-panel TVs enable guests to conveniently access onboard programs, view the Crystal Spa & Salon menu, the Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus.

Reimagined Public Spaces & Entertainment
Several favorite shipboard spaces also enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of guests' onboard experience. Crystal Symphony's mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, was also refitted, boasting a fresh design to complement its vast sea views and brand new technological capabilities.

Underlining the newly revamped entertainment venues is a brand-new production show, Crystal in Motion. The production showcases the vast repertoire of the Crystal Ensemble, featuring various genres of music and dance, and replaces the former "welcome aboard" show in the Galaxy Lounge. Additionally, the ship will offer evening-long entertainment options around the ship as guests enjoy anytime dining. The Starlite Club features varied acts from the Crystal Ensemble, as well as comedians, ballroom dance group and the Crystal Show Band, performing on select evenings of each voyage.

Crystal will continue its investment into its award-winning ocean ships with the equally extensive redesign for Crystal Serenity, set for fall 2018. For more information, visit CrystalCruises.com.

Video Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

Friday, November 3, 2017

Silversea Rolls Out Free Shore Excursions Offer on Caribbean Voyages

To take the chill off the coming winter, luxury line Silversea Cruises has launched a limited-time offer of Free Shore Excursions on sailings to the tropical, sun-kissed isles of the Caribbean. On select 2018 voyages of the all-suite, butler-serviced Silver Wind and Silver Muse, guests may enrich their luxury Caribbean cruise experience with a Free Shore Excursion in every port of call. Whether it's exploring Antigua's historic English Harbor and Nelson's Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, spotting celebrity hideaways in the Grenadines while sailing on a Catamaran, or admiring the scenic white-sand beaches of Grand Turk on horseback, these small-group excursions present a destination's history, culture and natural wonders in an intimate, authentic way, utilizing comfortable transportation and expert local guides.

Below is a small sampling of the Free Shore Excursions:
--Nutmeg and Waterfall (St. George's, Grenada): The spice industry in Grenada played an important role in the island's history and development. This half-day excursion explores the spice production process during visits to the Dougaldston Estate, Gouyave Nutmeg Factory and Concord Falls, where nutmeg and cocoa trees grow along the flanks of the hills of the tropical forest.
--Turtles and Snorkeling (Bridgetown, Barbados): Swim with turtles and discover the undersea beauty along the coast of Barbados during this unforgettable snorkeling adventure. Your half-day excursion features a relaxing ride aboard a sleek, comfortable catamaran, swimming with turtles, and snorkeling over a shipwreck or coral reef teeming with tropical fish and marine life.
--Botanical Gardens and Suspension Bridge (Fort-de-France, Martinique): Experience the scenic splendor of Martinique during this memorable sightseeing tour. This half-day excursion visits the Balata Church, which offers panoramic views of the city and bay. Next, proceed to the Botanical Garden. Here, explore the island's flora and fauna via a guided walking tour and the scenic suspension bridge.
"We invite winter travelers to take advantage of this special offer to enjoy a warm-weather luxury cruise to the beautiful islands of the Caribbean, which are ready to welcome our guests with the region's signature warmth and hospitality," said Mark Conroy, Silversea's managing director for the Americas. "With these carefully selected shore excursions, our guests can immerse themselves deeper in each island's remarkable culture and heritage."

The promotion is available in U.S. and Canadian markets for new bookings made through November 30, 2017, and may be combined with a $199 roundtrip economy air offer available on select Caribbean sailings from dozens of gateway cities in the U.S. and Canada. Following is a list of the voyages offering Free Shore Excursions, all of which also feature the $199 roundtrip economy air offer:
--Silver Wind departs February 4 on a 7-day voyage from Fort Lauderdale to San Juan with calls in Grand Turk, Samana, Spanish Town, St. Thomas, and St. Barts.
--Silver Wind departs February 18 on a 7-day roundtrip voyage from San Juan with calls in Spanish Town, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Martinique, Antigua, and Jost Van Dyke.
--Silver Wind departs February 25 on a 10-day roundtrip voyage from San Juan with calls in Spanish Town, St. Barts, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guadeloupe, Antigua, and Tortola.
--Silver Wind departs March 11 on a 7-day roundtrip voyage from San Juan with calls in Spanish Town, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Barts, and Tortola.
--Silver Muse departs March 13 on a 9-day roundtrip voyage from Fort Lauderdale with calls in Cozumel, Belize City, Santo Tomás de Castilla, Roatán Island, and Key West.
--Silver Muse departs March 22 on a 13-day voyage from Fort Lauderdale to San Juan with calls in Grand Turk, Tortola, St. Kitts, Martinique, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua, St. Barts, and St. Thomas.
--Silver Wind departs March 23 on a 7-day roundtrip voyage from San Juan with calls in St. Barts, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, and St. Maarten.
--Silver Wind departs March 30 on a 7-day voyage from San Juan to Fort Lauderdale with calls in St. Barts, Tortola, Samana, Grand Turk, and Key West.
The Free Shore Excursions are complemented by an array of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including a selection of complimentary wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; in-suite bar stocked with guests' preferences; in-suite 24-hour dining service; lecture and enrichment programs; roundtrip transportation into town (in most ports); onboard gratuities (exclusive of spa treatments), and at least one hour of free Wi-Fi per guest, per day. For additional details on the Free Shore Excursions offer, visit Silversea.com.

Image Courtesy of Silversea