Friday, October 31, 2008

Celebrity Cruises Is Having A “Post-Election Sale-A-Bration”

Are you as tired of listening to political advertisements and politicians’ empty promises as we are?

Celebrity Cruises’ post-election Sale-A-Bration is giving cruise enthusiasts something to look forward to in addition to the end of the political silly season—the premium cruise line is offering us the opportunity to save on winter vacations. Most Celebrity Cruises voyages sailing in January and February 2009 will be offered at a discounted rate of 50% off the cruise fare for the 2nd guest in a stateroom, when booked following the election on November 5, 6, or 7, 2008.

To reserve your cruise, simply call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit
The promotion is valid for new, individual FIT bookings only and excludes sailings on Celebrity Xpedition & Celebrity Solstice. The promotion also excludes the following sailings: Jan 8 & Jan 22, 2009, on Celebrity Century, and Feb 28, 2009, on Celebrity Mercury.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another Fuel Supplement Gets Tossed Overboard

Following in the wake of Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, this time it's Norwegian Cruise Line's turn to announce that the company’s current fuel supplement will no longer apply to bookings made on or after Nov 10, 2008 for sailings that depart on or after Jan 1, 2010.

For guests booked prior to Nov 10, 2008 for sailings that depart on or after Jan 1, 2010, the company has established the following guidelines for the refund of fuel supplements paid: The criteria for refund will be determined on a quarterly basis. Should the closing price on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) of West Texas Intermediate fuel be below $65 per barrel two weeks prior to the beginning of the calendar quarter (dates listed in's Cruise News), the company will refund fuel supplements paid in the form of an on-board credit.

The same criteria applies for guests booked on sailings that depart in 2009 (on or after Jan 1, 2009 and that depart on or before Dec 31, 2009), regardless of booking date.

NCL is implementing these changes in response to the recent decrease in global fuel prices; however, the company will continue to closely monitor global fuel prices to assess whether a reinstatement of the fuel supplement will be necessary.

If the dates on which the price of West Texas Intermediate fuel will be measured and the quarters during which refunds could apply, appear to be eerily similar to those of RCCL, that's no Halloween trick. They are identical.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Europe Will Be Slightly Less "Fun" Next Summer

Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that its Miami-based Carnival Liberty, which was originally scheduled to reposition to Europe in May 2009, will instead remain in Miami to operate year-round Caribbean cruises. Carnival Liberty (pictured here)will continue to offer its existing schedule of 7-day Caribbean cruises through next spring and then introduce a new 7-day program from Miami beginning in April 2009.

In turn, Carnival Pride, currently based in Long Beach, CA, and originally scheduled to shift to Miami for a 5-month Caribbean deployment from April through August, will instead launch its Baltimore-based program on April 27, 2009. Prior to its Baltimore deployment, Carnival Pride will operate its previously scheduled Panama Canal cruise from Long Beach to Miami on March 22–April 5, 2009, as well as a 6-day cruise departing April 5 and two 7-day Caribbean cruises departing April 11 and 18, 2009, all operating from Miami.

“Based on current market conditions, continued economic uncertainty and high air costs to Europe, we are shifting our focus to an even greater extent toward our core, close-to-home cruise options which are clearly the preference of the vast majority of the mainstream vacation market right now,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “We are excited that this change in deployment will also enable us to bring the Carnival Pride to Baltimore four months earlier than originally planned to start up that city’s first year-round cruise program, which is proving to be extremely popular based on advanced bookings so far,” he added.

Cahill noted that Carnival will still offer several European cruises next year when the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream–the line’s newest and largest ship–debuts with a series of three 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises from Rome (Civitavecchia) in Sept and Oct 2009. Carnival Dream will also operate a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to New York in late Oct 2009.

Cahill said that the company will be offering assistance in finding vacation alternatives to Carnival Liberty guests who were scheduled to sail in Europe, including European cruises on Carnival’s sister companies that have a strong presence in the region such as Holland America and Princess. “We understand that our guests who were scheduled to sail in Europe are going to be disappointed by this development and we sincerely apologize to them for this disruption to their vacation plans. Europe remains a desirable vacation choice for many and we will endeavor to help our guests find alternative plans to sail within the region,” he said.

Existing Bookings - Carnival Liberty & Carnival Pride: Guests booked on the Carnival Liberty Europe cruises will be provided special onboard credit offers toward other 2009 Carnival cruises, including the Carnival Dream European departures. In addition, Carnival will assist guests with the cost of changes/cancellations for non-refundable air transportation. Guests who were booked on the Carnival Pride’s Caribbean cruises from April 25, 2009 to Aug 29, 2009 from Miami will be automatically shifted to the same accommodations on the Carnival Liberty. Carnival Liberty will also operate the same itineraries as previously scheduled on the Carnival Pride.

Carnival Liberty’s New 7-Day Caribbean Cruises From Miami: Carnival Liberty will continue its current program of 7-day Caribbean cruises from Miami through April 18, 2009 and then assume a new schedule of weeklong cruises to the Western and Exotic Eastern Caribbean beginning Saturday, April 25, 2009, through Nov 28, 2009. The new Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruise route will feature Half Moon Cay, a private Bahamian island; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands. The western route will visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico

Carnival Pride’s New Spring/Summer Departures From Baltimore: Carnival Pride will launch Baltimore’s first year-round cruise program on April 27, 2009, four months ahead of the original schedule. From April 27, 2009 to Sept 6, 2009, the ship will operate a series of 6-, 7- and 8-day cruises. These cruises will visit a wide variety of ports including Nassau, Freeport, Half Moon Cay (a private Bahamian island), Port Canaveral (Orlando) and Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos.

Reservations: Carnival will begin accepting reservations for the new Carnival Liberty and Carnival Pride programs from Miami and Baltimore beginning Oct 30, 2008. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wedding Bells to Ring During Ruby Princess Naming Festivities

What better way for "the most romantic cruise line" to celebrate the launch of its new Ruby Princess than by incorporating an actual wedding in the naming ceremony? In a first, a California couple will be married during the ship's christening festivities on Nov 6. Ruby Princess godparents, Trista and Ryan Sutter, who met and married on the television show The Bachelorette, will christen the ship and also serve as attendants for the lucky couple. Former Love Boat captain, Gavin MacLeod, will be on hand to give away the bride.

The couple, Danielle Vurpillat and Kip Hickman from Dunsmuir, CA, were invited to share their nuptials with guests onboard after entering the Princess Cruises "Romance on the Ruby" contest. In their submission they shared that it was their dream to create their own romantic milestone by getting married onboard the new Ruby Princess and in the spirit of the Love Boat, Princess Cruises is making their dream come true.

The wedding will take place during the ship's naming ceremony on Thursday, Nov 6 at 5:00 pm while Ruby Princess is berthed in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The couple will then enjoy the festivities during the subsequent 2-night inaugural preview cruise for VIPs. The wedding and entire Ruby Princess naming ceremony will be available for viewing on line at beginning Nov 7; however, Cruise Diva will be blogging live from the ship and plans to share her first-hand impressions right here. Mark your calendar and save the date!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Carnival Cruise Lines Kicks Off ‘Fun For All. All For Fun’ Campaign

With the introduction of a new branding campaign this month, Carnival Cruise Lines is reprising the concept of fun afloat with a new twist: ‘Fun For All. All For Fun.’ As suggested by the tagline, the campaign is designed to capture the unique essence of the Carnival vacation experience, which embodies spirited and spontaneous fun. We all remember Kathie Lee spontaneously bursting into song in the old ads, right? The new campaign, which will kick off with special events featuring Guinness World Record attempts in Dallas and Philadelphia is a bit quirkier.

The first event took place yesterday in Dallas and involved setting a Guinness record for the world’s largest beach ball. Actually, there were two 35-foot tall beach balls. Think approximately three stories high. Handled by scores of “extras,” the balls bounced along Dallas's downtown canyon-like streets and nearly took out a street light. (Photo above.) The second event, to take place in Philadelphia on Nov 2, will feature a Guinness attempt for the world’s largest piñata. Footage from both events will be used to create two TV spots, which will soon begin airing nationally, and eventually in select local markets as well.

The campaign also features a variety of online elements including Towel Animal Theatre, which involves a series of online videos that depict towel animals, a signature Carnival cruise feature, having amusing conversations with each other while the stateroom’s occupants are away. The videos capture the fun, whimsical kind of spirit that towel animals bring to the overall Carnival vacation experience. The videos will be available beginning Nov. 3 for viewing and downloading at The new “Funville” web portal will also feature a number of other video assets, along with interactive opportunities.

Video of the Dallas event:

World Record Breaking Beach Ball
Uploaded by thatsfunny

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ahoy! Two New Cruise Ships Are Sailing For Fort Lauderdale

The newest addition to the Princess fleet, Ruby Princess, was formally delivered to Princess Cruises Thursday, Oct 23rd in Monfalcone, Italy by the ship's builder, Fincantieri. The 3,070-passenger vessel has set sail for Fort Lauderdale where she is scheduled to arrive on Nov 4. The ship will be christened on Nov 6 by celebrity couple Trista and Ryan Sutter from ABC's reality series, The Bachelorette. In keeping with the launch's "romantic milestones" theme, Princess will help the duo celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. The Cruise Diva will be on board, blogging about the festivities and sharing impressions of the preview cruise from Nov 6-8.

We hope to try out some of the new services and amenities making a debut on board Ruby Princess, including new dining options such as a pub lunch in the Wheelhouse Bar, unique enrichment programs, and the new Ultimate Ship Tour. The vessel also includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers, Princess' signature adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary, Sabatini's Italian restaurant, Crown Grill seafood and steak house, "Movies Under the Stars" giant outdoor movie screen, and Hearts & Minds wedding chapel.

On Nov 8, Ruby Princess will set sail on her maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale, beginning a program of Western Caribbean sailings taking passengers to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Princess Cays. Following her inaugural Caribbean season, the ship will offer a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009.

In another ceremony—this one in Emshaven, Netherlands—one of the most anticipated cruise ships to launch this year, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Solstice, was delivered on Friday, Oct 24th, marking the formal transfer of the ship—the first in a class of five—from shipbuilder Meyer Werft to Celebrity Cruises. The ship began its transatlantic voyage today, with an anticipated Nov 3rd arrival in Fort Lauderdale.

After its arrival in Fort Lauderdale, Celebrity Solstice will serve as the perfect platform for Celebrity Cruises' first Global Sales Meeting, followed by a series of exclusive, 2-night preview cruises for invited travel agents, press, and other dignitaries. Among them, The Cruise Diva will be sailing on the Nov 12-14 preview cruise and sharing the experience here on the blog.

Celebrity Solstice will then be named in formal ceremonies on Nov 14, and officially embark on its inaugural season Nov 23, on a series of 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In spring 2009, the stunning new ship will introduce a series of romantic 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Rome.

For a peek at what is in store aboard the all-new Celebrity Solstice-class ship:
  • Celebrity Solstice — Get an inside preview of what's new, what's not, what's cool, and what's hot on Celebrity Cruises' new class of cruise ships.
  • Celebrity Solstice Dining — Ten of 2008’s hottest new restaurants will open this fall, on board one of the year’s most anticipated new cruise ships.
For a preview of what to expect on Ruby Princess, revisit a review of her sister-ship Crown Princess.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Announces End to Fuel Supplement

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has announced that the company's fuel supplement will no longer apply to new Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises bookings made on or after Nov 10, 2008, anywhere in the world, for sailings that depart on or after Jan 1, 2010. This decision takes into consideration the recent reductions in global fuel prices. The company has also established specific guidelines that will determine whether fuel supplement refunds will be provided for sailings that begin in 2009 and later, which were booked prior to Nov 10, 2008, if fuel prices remain below a specific price threshold.

For 2009 sailings and 2010 sailings booked before Nov 10, 2008, the company will determine on a quarterly basis whether fuel supplements will be refunded. Refunds, in the form of an onboard credit, will be provided if the closing price of West Texas Intermediate fuel is $65 or less, at the closing time of the New York Mercantile Exchange, two weeks prior to the beginning of the upcoming calendar quarter. When those conditions are met, an onboard credit will be provided to all guests on sailings that begin during the upcoming calendar quarter. The dates on which the price of West Texas Intermediate fuel will be measured, and the quarters during which refunds could apply are listed in today's Cruise News on

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises, and CDF Croisieres de France. The company has a combined total of 38 ships in service and six under construction. RCCL will continue to closely monitor the movement of global fuel prices and recognizes that an upturn in those prices could necessitate the reinstatement of a fuel supplement.

For more cruise industry news, visit's Cruise News.

MSC Cruises Introduces Express Online Check-In Service

MSC Cruises now offers online express check-in, expediting embarkation for its passengers.

In order to utilize the new MSC Express, guests can log onto up to 48 hours prior to departure and click on the MSC Express icon to enter their booking information. The completed printed form, cruise ticket, and required identification information can then be presented at the MSC Express priority check-in desk at the port.

“MSC Express serves to fast-track guests through the check-in process, saving them valuable time and letting them start their MSC Cruises experience as soon as possible,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises, USA.

Bravo! We wish every cruise line could smooth the way aboard like this.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Port of Galveston Set to Welcome Back Carnival Cruise Lines

The Port of Galveston is ready to welcome back Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships and passengers even sooner than many people expected. Galveston's only year-round cruise operator, Carnival has announced that it will resume service from the Texas port on Nov 1, 2008 following the temporary suspension of cruise operations due to Hurricane Ike last month. The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy will resume year-round 4- and 5-day cruises from Galveston with a 5-day voyage departing on Saturday, Nov 1. The 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest will begin year-round 7-day service on Sunday, Nov 2. Until that time, the ships will continue to operate round-trip from the Port of Houston's Bayport Cruise Terminal where they were shifted temporarily following Hurricane Ike.

Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO said, “We are extremely pleased to be resuming service from the Port of Galveston and extend our congratulations and appreciation to the port and the Galveston community as a whole for enabling us to return so quickly. We would also like to express our gratitude to the Port of Houston for their tremendous efforts in accommodating our ships and being such exceptional partners. Their support enabled these ships to remain Texas-based while Galveston worked through its recovery process," Cahill noted. Carnival Ecstasy cruises departing on Oct 23 and Oct 27; and the Carnival Conquest cruise departing on Oct 26 will operate round-trip from Houston.

Galveston’s Port Director Steven M. Cernak had high praise for Carnival’s operational work and customer service in the weeks following Hurricane Ike. He said, “Carnival’s advance planning and experience enabled them to swiftly relocate the ships temporarily while they continued to provide excellent passenger service. That allowed us to fast-track our repairs at the cruise terminal.” Following the storm, Galveston’s Cruise Terminal 1 underwent a speedy but thorough top-to-bottom cleaning and overhaul, with work crews on the scene as soon as the storm waters receded. All cruise terminal services and operations are now in place; for example, air-conditioning, web-based pre-paid parking, and Customs and Border Protection services are up and running. Cernak said, “We almost have a new terminal. It is spotlessly clean and nicely appointed, with fresh paint and carpeting. All of the equipment is in working order and ready to receive guests.”

Carnival launched the first year-round cruise program from Galveston in 2000 and has expanded its presence dramatically over the past eight years. With the return of its two year-round ships, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Conquest, the line expects to carry an estimated 350,000 guests annually from Galveston. Both vessels will embark passengers only on their first post-storm call, but will be back to a normal schedule thereafter, both disembarking and embarking in Galveston.

Additionally, RoShelle Gaskins, public relations manager at the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau reports that many attractions have reopened, including all beaches, Moody Gardens and its golf course, the Texas Seaport Museum’s tall ship Elissa, and Bishop’s Palace. A wide selection of hotels and entertainment venues are also open and receiving guests. According to Gaskins, “Substantial progress has been made and the Island is excited to welcome back cruise passengers.”

For details and more cruise industry news, visit's Cruise News.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Francine Cousteau Headlined Official Opening Events for Puerta Maya

Official grand opening ceremonies for the Puerta Maya Cruise Center in Cozumel, Mexico, operated by Carnival Corporation, encompassed a variety of festivities over the two-day period Oct. 21-22.

The events were presided over by Francine Cousteau, president of the Cousteau Society and widow of pioneering undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau. During the activities, Cousteau served as 'godmother' to a new artificial reef off the coast of Cozumel named Lol-Ha, which was created from 56,000 tons of salvaged concrete piling taken from Puerta Maya’s original pier that was destroyed by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Cousteau is pictured just off the reef location in the above photo.

For additional information and details, visit's Cruise News.

Oasis of the Seas Reveals "Kid Stuff"

It's no secret that Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest ships feature some of the most family-friendly facilities and programs afloat. With the introduction of the 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas in November 2009, the line’s goal is to provide guests with even more opportunities to seek out relevant experiences onboard based on their personal style, preference or mood in seven neighborhoods, including Central Park, Boardwalk with the AquaTheater, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, and Entertainment Place. To that end, the seventh and final neighborhood was announced last night: The Youth Zone, a haven for children and teens.

The latest neighborhood unveiling introduces a wealth of kid- and teen-friendly adventures that lie within the Youth Zone—covering a total expansive area of more than 28,700 sq. ft.—including, Kids Avenue, a central boulevard connecting children with dedicated Adventure Ocean spaces and various themed play areas; the cruise line’s first nursery for infants and toddlers six months or older (pictured above); and state-of-the-art teen areas.

Complete details are outlined in's Cruise News and a video preview of these areas, including interviews with Royal Caribbean executives, is now available online at the Oasis of the Seas web site.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review on

Join avid cruisers Mary & Vincent Finelli aboard Liberty of the Seas for their 75th cruise... and their 35th cruise on Royal Caribbean!

In addition to reviewing their cruise for, the Finellis share some of the reasons why they are such loyal Royal Caribbean passengers:

There isn't a cruise line at sea that welcomes passengers back like Royal Caribbean International (RCI). First day on board there were several knocks at our stateroom door; each bringing the following: One dozen American Beauty Roses, a bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut Champagne chilling in an ice bucket with two glasses, a tray of chocolate dipped strawberries, and finally a huge bowl of fruit. VIP treatment for “Diamond + frequent floaters” is wonderful and it signals a wonderful week to come: Exotic destinations, unique experiences with old and new friends on board!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Princess to Debut Array of New Features & Special Touches Aboard Ruby Princess

When Ruby Princess launches next month, the ship will introduce a host of new shipboard services and special features, underscoring Princess' tradition of continually evolving the onboard experience for its passengers. The 3,070-passenger vessel will feature the familiar favorites that have become passenger pleasers aboard its sister ships Crown Princess and Emerald Princess but, in addition, other special touches and innovations will be found throughout the service, dining and entertainment areas.

Many of the ship's enhancements are slated to become staples across the Princess fleet following their debut on Princess' newest ship. Among the new features being introduced on Ruby Princess:
  • Wheelhouse Bar Pub Lunch - On sea days, Ruby Princess' Wheelhouse Bar will be transformed into an authentic English-style pub, serving a selection of traditional fare.
  • Sabatini's Breakfast for Suite Passengers - Suite passengers aboard Ruby Princess will have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive breakfast in Sabatini's.
  • Artisan Cheeses at Vines - In addition to serving more than 30 wines by the glass and seafood appetizers that have made Vines a passenger favorite, the atrium-area bar on Ruby Princess will now feature a selection of domestic and imported artisan cheeses.
  • New Enrichment Programs - A number of new ScholarShip@Sea enrichment programs debut aboard Ruby Princess to expand passengers' horizons, whether they aspire to host the perfect party or increase their maritime knowledge.
  • Two New Production Shows - Ruby Princess audiences will be able to enjoy two new Princess-produced shows in the ship's theater. "Broadway Ballroom" presents the music of the 'Great White Way' and "Once Upon a Dream" uses unique multidimensional cinematic projection to follow a dreamscape unlike anything seen a sea.
  • The Audience Gets in the Act - A variety of new audience-participation events will also debut on the ship, giving passengers a number of ways to seek their 15 minutes of fame.
  • A Few Fine Touches - A number of new service touches will be introduced to delight passengers.
  • Kid Stuff - Young passengers can enjoy a new Wizards Academy, an exclusive presentation from the award-winning California Science Center, as well as activities and projects from popular arts and crafts company Klutz.
  • Wireless Internet and Cell Phones - Expanding on Princess' Internet and phone connectivity, Ruby Princess will offer laptop users additional wireless hot spots around the vessel, including staterooms.
  • Ultimate Ship Tour - A new exclusive opportunity to experience an array of "back of house" areas that are key to a ship's daily operations, the Ultimate Ship Tour will give passengers the unique opportunity to explore beyond the public areas with visits to the ship's engine control room, medical center, print shop, laundry, photo lab, funnel, bridge and other spaces.
Ruby Princess also includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers, Princess' signature adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary, Sabatini's Italian restaurant, Crown Grill seafood and steak house, "Movies Under the Stars" giant outdoor movie screen, and Hearts and Minds wedding chapel. The ship will feature an inaugural season of Western Caribbean cruises round trip from Fort Lauderdale, followed by a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009.

For more details regarding the new features about to set sail aboard Ruby Princess, go to's Cruise News.

And, here's a heads-up! Mark your calendar to follow along when Cruise Diva blogs from the Inaugural sailing Nov 6-8, 2008.

Holland America Line Goes Multi-Lingual on The 'Net

While Holland America Line’s Web site has always enjoyed a global audience, the 135-year-old company has announced the addition of a translation feature that allows visitors to select the language of their choice to the Web site’s highest traffic areas. Now, visitors can display destination information, fares, online e-brochures, news articles, special offers, Mariner Society information, and more in German, Spanish and Dutch.

“As a global company, we recognize the value of offering our Web site in a variety of languages,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, Holland America Line. “It is our goal to make our Web site user experience as clear, convenient and as welcoming as possible.”

Translation Access: Once on the Web site, visitors are able to switch between languages at any time simply by choosing a different language from the “Select a Language” drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of each applicable Web page. If a visitor does not choose a language, the site will automatically default to English.

For more information about Holland America Line, visit

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Norwegian Jade Cruise Review on

This one's a must-read, especially if you've always dreamed of a voyage that takes you to ancient Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Rome. Explore those sites and more with this new cruise review of an Eastern Mediterranean voyage aboard Norwegian Jade by our contributor who says, "Overall this is one of the best cruises we've done and we highly recommend others to give it a try if you like to visit many ports with less sea days."

You'll even find tips about private tours to Ephesus, Giza, and what it's like to go inside the pyramids. Don't miss it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Puerta Maya Cruise Center Reopens in Cozumel, Mexico

The newly rebuilt pier at the Puerta Maya Cruise Center in Cozumel, Mexico–closed since being damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005–welcomed its first ships when the 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy and 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy docked at the facility earlier this week.

The $50 million cruise center, built and operated by Carnival Corporation, features a new two-berth pier designed to withstand a threshold category 5 hurricane. The pier can accommodate any vessel among Carnival Corporation’s various brands. This week’s calls by the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Ecstasy are the first of 550 cruise ship visits scheduled for Puerta Maya over the next year. Additionally, vessels from Carnival Corporation brands will continue to utilize the other two piers in Cozumel. Collectively, these ships will bring an estimated 1.5 million visitors annually to Cozumel, who are expected to spend $126 million on the island each year.

Puerta Maya Cruise Center also includes a variety of shopping and dining opportunities, as well as a transportation hub, and a new shore excursion pier. A pharmacy, convenience store and international phone center are also available. Get more information about what to See & Do in Cozumel from

Friday, October 17, 2008

Storms in the Caribbean are Depressing

Cruise News Daily says, "It doesn't even have a name, but Carnival Legend moved out of its way. " It was Tropical Depression 16 and CND's Cruiseblogger reports its demise.

Shop 'Til You Drop With Celebrity Cruises' Revamped Gifts & Amenities Program

Celebrity Cruises has launched a new shopping program, and it's open for business 24 hours a day. “Shop Celebrity” is an online portal that allows you to order a wide variety of items for delivery either onboard or at home. "Shop Celebrity" also includes the launch of Celebrity's new amenity program, "Gifts by Celebrity.”

With a wide range of Celebrity Cruises logo items and apparel, gifts and memorabilia, “Shop Celebrity” also offers culinary delights, spirits, wine, and soda. Within the portal, you will have the opportunity to order from partner websites including: LeapFrog® School; timetospa®; and Celebrity Vineyards, which features products by Riedel® Crystal, the world-renowned manufacturer of wine glasses that offers comparative wine workshops on Celebrity’s ships.

“Shop Celebrity” includes a comprehensive new amenities program named “Gifts by Celebrity,” which is comprised of three categories:
  • “Shop Aboard,” where consumers or travel agents can purchase items for themselves or gifts for others, that will be delivered onboard during a particular sailing. Travel agents are eligible for a 10% discount when placing “Shop Aboard” orders by phone, and will soon have access to a unique, agents-only website that will offer the same discount. The discount applies exclusively to gifts that the travel agents are buying for their clients who are sailing with Celebrity.
  • “Shop Ashore,” where consumers or travel agents can purchase items to be delivered to Celebrity guests’ homes or offices either before or after a cruise. Items can be delivered throughout the continental United States and to select cities around the globe.
  • “Group Gifts by Celebrity,” which offers a wide variety of items that consumers, travel agents and meeting planners can order, for delivery to affinity and incentive groups sailing with Celebrity; these items can be delivered before, during or after a cruise. Groups also have the opportunity to add their logo to certain items that include the Celebrity logo. A volume discount is available online.
Check it out and prepare to “Shop Celebrity” online.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Carnival's Fantasy-class Ships Are Getting More "Sensational"

One by one, Carnival Cruise Lines has been upgrading its Fantasy-class ships with “Evolutions of Fun” enhancements. Earlier this year, Cruise Diva reported on the just-completed Carnival Imagination. Next up is the 2,052-passenger Carnival Sensation and Carnival has announced that in addition to the “Evolutions of Fun” features outlined below, it will add balconies to 98 existing staterooms aboard the ship during a 35-day scheduled dry dock taking place in January 2009.

Ocean view staterooms will be retrofitted with new balconies that will extend from the ship and measure approximately 230 square feet. Twenty-four of the new balcony staterooms will be located mid-ship on both the port and starboard sides and 12 will be located near the stern, while the other 62 will be located within the aft section of the ship, with several of these cabins featuring extended balconies. Additionally, a number of the Carnival Sensation’s suites will be modified to feature larger, extended balconies to create a more spacious area from which to enjoy panoramic sea views.

The stateroom modifications are just one aspect of the ship’s extensive multi-million-dollar renovation, all part of the line’s wide-ranging “Evolutions of Fun” product enhancement initiative. Carnival Sensation’s “extreme makeover” will also include a previously announced Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, Serenity adults-only area, and a redesigned tropical-themed main pool area. Additionally, all staterooms will be completely refurbished, as well as virtually all dining, dancing and entertainment venues. Guest corridors will be renovated and a new “Circle C” facility catering to 12- to 14-year olds will be added, as well.

Carnival Sensation currently operates year-round 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral, FL. On this route, 3-day cruises depart Thursdays and call at Nassau while 4-day voyages depart Sundays and visit both Nassau and Freeport. Carnival Sensation’s new and extended balcony staterooms will be open for reservations Oct 24, 2008. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL. or visit

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hurricane Omar & Cruise Ship Itinerary Alterations

For the latest information regarding Hurricane Omar and cruise ship itinerary alterations in the Caribbean, check in with Cruise News Daily's Cruiseblogger.

Star Princess Boasts New Signature Features

Star Princess has set sail after a 3-week drydock that dramatically transformed several spaces on board, including turning the ship's atrium into a vibrant street café-like piazza, adding Princess Cruises' signature adults-only retreat called The Sanctuary, and installing a 300-square-foot Movies Under the Stars poolside screen. These features, which have been enthusiastically enjoyed by passengers on Princess Cruises' newest vessels, have inspired an expansion to other ships in the fleet, and Star Princess is the first to be revitalized with these favorite elements.

Star Princess' updated piazza-style atrium will now feature an array of dining and entertainment opportunities including the specialty coffees, freshly baked goods, paninis, salads and tapas of the International Café. It will also introduce an expanded Vines wine bar concept, which will feature more than 30 wines by the glass, a selection of artisan meats and cheeses, plus a wine shop where passengers can purchase their favorite bottle.

On the top deck of the ship, passengers can now relax in the tranquil environment of The Sanctuary (pictured above), Princess' signature adults-only retreat featuring plush padded lounge chairs and the services of dedicated Serenity Stewards. Along with enjoying refreshing beverages and light snacks, visitors to this exclusive space can also receive a massage in one of two private cabanas.

Princess' trademark Times Square-style Movies Under the Stars poolside screen is now in place and will show a variety of films, concerts and special events daily. And in the evenings it becomes an outdoor theater with specially covered lounge chairs and cozy blankets, where moviegoers can enjoy free popcorn, plus other snacks and beverages.

Additional changes made during the drydock include a new Internet Café and library area, enhancements to the onboard boutiques, the addition of LCD flat screen televisions in all staterooms, and a variety of other cosmetic updates.

Star Princess is the first of three ships to receive these updates. Caribbean Princess and Golden Princess will also receive similar transformations in subsequent drydocks, in January and April of 2009, respectively. Caribbean Princess and Golden Princess will also receive additional enhancements including a new Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant, a new casino area and six additional suites.

More info: profiles Princess Cruises.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Cruise Review With A Theme: Avoid Hurricanes And Cruise For Free

Austin and Joanne Kearney booked their Enchantment of the Seas cruise with scheduled stops to be Key West and Cozumel about two weeks before sailing. However, prior to departing for Ft. Lauderdale from Atlanta, Austin said, "all you had to do was watch a weather report, which tracked Hurricane Gustav and you knew this cruise was going elsewhere. If we headed to Cozumel as scheduled, it would have involved sailing through the category three hurricane, TWICE! Not recommended."

Despite the weather-related itinerary alterations, they had a great time and, while Austin didn't hit a big jackpot in the casino, he did manage to get a free cruise as well as avoid Hurricanes Gustav & Hanna. How did he do that? He explains it all in his Enchantment of the Seas cruise review available on

Monday, October 13, 2008

Royal Caribbean Expands Its Presence To Dubai

Royal Caribbean Intl has announced its entry into Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with the deployment of Brilliance of the Seas in 2010. From January to April 2010, the cruise line will offer its signature style of cruising for active vacationers to an international mix of guests, on seven-night sailings from this increasingly popular destination.

"Dubai is a dynamic and thriving city that shows great growth potential. Building on our reputation for introducing revolutionary cruise experiences, we are excited to provide a different cruise vacation than traditionally offered in this region," said Michael Bayley, senior vice president, international, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Royal Caribbean continues to attract vacationers globally and we are thrilled to offer new and exciting choices for our guests, combining our distinct onboard amenities with compelling itineraries including the Arabian Gulf's most popular destinations."

Brilliance of the Seas has a sleek profile and features vast expanses of open space, mirrored surfaces and glass paneling with nearly three acres of exterior glass. The open Centrum with ten-deck high windows and ocean-facing glass elevators offers guests breathtaking vistas of the passing landscape and sea. Among the ship's unique features is a pair of ultra-high-tech, self-leveling pool tables in the Bombay Billiards Club.

For Royal Caribbean's typically active guests, recreational amenities include a rock-climbing wall, jogging track, basketball and volleyball court, golf simulator and nine-hole miniature golf course, and a large gym with treadmills facing the sea.

Five dining venues allow guests to enjoy a variety of choices, from Chops Grille steakhouse to Portofino Italian restaurant, Minstrel main dining room, or the casual Windjammer Cafe and Seaview Cafe. Freshly-brewed coffee, cappuccino or pastries can be found in Latte-tudes coffee bar.

Itineraries for the new cruises from Dubai will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more daily news from the cruise industry, visit's Cruise News.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Planning Your Family Cruise

Families take cruises and they cruise often because the price is right, the value for money spent is outstanding and the cruise experience offers unique advantages over comparably priced land-based vacations. Those are the conclusions to be drawn from a just released survey of more than 1,000 households by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

“Experts tell us that family vacations are one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry and this certainly is true for cruises. It’s not just the amazing new generation of ships and shipboard activities and facilities for young travelers,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. "Most important, families are choosing to cruise because of price and, even more important, value. They recognize that a cruise vacation offers advantages and features that are simply not found on any other type of vacation.”

Among the key findings:

  • Families take a lot of cruises. Almost half (46 percent) of respondents have taken two to four cruises with children under the age of 18; 15.2 percent have taken five to seven cruises, and 4.8 percent have taken more than ten.
  • Outstanding value. Over 83 percent of families said cruise vacations are very good or extremely good value.
  • The price is right. Among all family cruisers, 73.4 percent said that their last cruise was the same price or less than a resort vacation, with almost 50 percent saying that the cruise was slightly or much less costly.
  • Multiple advantages over resort vacations. Family cruisers listed many key advantages to taking a cruise over a family resort stay, including: the opportunity to visit multiple destinations (62.8 percent); the all-inclusive nature of a cruise vacation – accommodations, meals, entertainment and shipboard activities included in one price – (57.7 percent); onboard kids programs and facilities (30.2 percent); the variety of onboard amenities (28.0 percent); and onboard entertainment (20.3 percent).
  • Destination rules. 36.6 percent of families said that the destination or itinerary was the primary deciding factor in choosing a family cruise. Almost 30 percent were most motivated by price.
  • Planning is easy. Almost 70 percent of respondents said that planning a cruise was easier than planning a resort vacation.
  • Cruising is relaxing, hassle-free and provides for quality family time. The survey found that 44.3 percent of families spend about half their time together on a cruise, while 42.7 percent said they spend all or most of their cruise vacation together as a family.
  • Over 30 percent of respondents said quality shared family time was the best thing about a cruise while over 20 percent cited the hassle-free “don’t need to plan anything” quality of a cruise as the most enjoyable feature of a vacation at sea. The opportunity to see multiple destinations, kids’ enjoyment of the cruise experience, the quality of shipboard service and amenities, and kids’ facilities and services were other leading reasons to choose a family cruise.
  • Cruising can be a great choice for a multi-generational vacation. Over 60 percent of respondents say they sometimes or always travel as an extended family (with grandparents and/or grandchildren).
  • Almost 76 percent of families reported that their kids took advantage of kids-only activities, facilities and/or entertainment onboard ship. shares what you need to know about The Basics of Family Cruising, as well as Do's and Don'ts when planning a family cruise and why you might need a Consent Letter when going to sea with children and especially grandchildren.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Carnival Corp's North American Brands Eliminate Fuel Supplement, Sort Of

Six Carnival Corp brands -- Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn -- have announced that effective Oct 31, 2008, the existing fuel supplement will be eliminated for all new bookings on 2010 departures. At that same time, a price increase on 2010 sailings will become effective. Additionally, the company has established specific guidelines under which the current fuel supplement may be reimbursed to consumers for 2008 and 2009 voyages.

For 2008 and 2009 departures, if the price of light sweet crude oil according to the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange Index) is $70 per barrel or less at the 2:30 p.m. close of business as reported by Reuters on each of the 25 consecutive trading days ending five trading days prior to the guest's cruise departure date, the fuel supplement will be refunded in the form of a shipboard credit. Guests who book a 2010 cruise prior to Oct 31, 2008, will be charged the current fuel supplement but will also be eligible for a refund of the fuel supplement in accordance with the same fuel price conditions that are being implemented for the 2008 and 2009 departures. Whew! Got that?

Bill Harber, director of marketing for Carnival Corporation, said the company was implementing these initiatives due to the recent trends in declining fuel prices in an effort to migrate away from charging a separate fuel supplement. "If fuel prices stabilize below $70 a barrel, we will be able to effectively eliminate a separate fuel supplement." However, he cautioned that there is still a risk that fuel prices could move higher "which would require us to maintain or reinstate a fuel supplement but the company is hopeful that the goal of eliminating the fuel supplement can be achieved." Harber added that "these industry-leading initiatives demonstrate our commitment to our guests and travel agents to make our brands the most attractive cruise vacations available."

The fuel supplement for five of the six Carnival Corp brands is currently $9 per person per day for the first and second guest (not to exceed $126 per person per voyage) and $4 per person per day for third, fourth and fifth guests (not to exceed $56 per person per voyage). Seabourn's fuel supplement is $15 per person per day for the first and second guest (not to exceed $210 per person per voyage) and $4 per person per day for third and fourth guests (not to exceed $56 per person per voyage).

Want to know even more about what's happening in the cruise industry? Read the daily Cruise News from

Friday, October 10, 2008

Freedom of the Seas: A "Sweet" Cruise Review contributor Tara Jacobs shares a MOOvelous cruise and UDDERly fantastic ship! For her second Royal Caribbean cruise and fourth cruise overall, she chose this Freedom of the Seas voyage to experience the largest cruise ship in the world, as well as visit the Western Caribbean.

What makes this review unique is that Tara booked the Ben & Jerry’s “Sweet,” also known as the “Cow Butt” cabin – Stateroom 6305 on Freedom, Liberty, and Independence of the Seas. You might ask, “What is different about that cabin?” Tara answers that the Ben & Jerry’s Sweet, as it’s called, is an Inside Promenade cabin with an obstructed view of two cows’ behinds as one looks out the window! Because of the view (which was unplanned by Royal Caribbean), passengers in this cabin each receive some very special perks.

For Tara's “sweet” details and her complete review from pre- to post-cruise, visit Freedom of the Seas on

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cunard's QE2 Bids Farewell to America

On Thursday, October 16, Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) will bid farewell to America during a celebratory call befitting of the company's longest-serving ocean liner. The historic occasion will mark the iconic ship's 706th and final call to New York. Escorted by FDNY fireboats and flotilla of pleasure craft, the beloved QE2 will depart the Westside Terminal at 5 pm to meet her sister ship, Queen Mary 2, for a Cunard Royal Rendezvous at the Statue of Liberty as both renowned ocean liners embark on a tandem voyage to Southampton, England--marking QE2's 806th and final Transatlantic Crossing.

Recognised as the most famous ship in the world and for 35 years, flagship of the Cunard fleet, QE2 was named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1967. During nearly four decades at sea, she has logged 5.9 million nautical miles (equivalent to traveling to the moon and back 13 times), carried more than 2.5 million passengers and has sailed 25 World Cruises. With a top speed of 32.5 knots, QE2 is the fastest passenger ship in the world. As a true ocean liner she can sail backwards faster than most cruise ships sail forward. Her service, however, has not only been one of romanticized ports and luxury ocean travel. In 1982, she was requisitioned by the British government for military service in the Falkland Islands and thus joined the ranks of such great Cunarders as Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth who were also called upon to serve in times of conflict.

"It is most fitting that QE2's farewell to America be celebrated in New York, the city Cunard has called our North America homeport since 1847. She will always be remembered as the best loved ship in the world and we are delighted that she will be cherished by future generations of travelers at her new home in Dubai," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "Her mantle as flagship of the British merchant fleet has proudly been bestowed upon Queen Mary 2, a ship recognised as the grandest ocean liner ever built and surely destined to continue Cunard's legacy," Marlow added.

During her arrival in the early morning of October 16, QE2 will fly a traditional "Paying-Off Pennant," a maritime flag signifying the ship's length of service to the fleet. The pennant will be presented as a commemorative gift to a local dignitary during a reception onboard the ship.

Thousands of well-wishers are expected to gather at ideal New York harbour viewing locations including:
  • Battery Park: On the southern shoreline of Manhattan, Map: link
  • Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park: Overlooking the Hudson River with great views of the Statue of Liberty. Getting there: Just south of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. By subway: 4 or 5 to Bowling Green, or N or R to Whitehall.
  • The Esplanade: Running the entire length of Battery Park City, along the Hudson River from Stuyvesant High School on the north end all the way south to Battery Park.
  • Hudson River Park: The 550 acre park extends for five miles along the Manhattan shoreline from Battery Place to West 59th Street.
To celebrate this historic occasion, a pipe and drum corps will perform in Battery Park as a fitting salute and final "Bon Voyage" to Queen Elizabeth 2.

QE2 completes service to Cunard in November after sailing a final voyage to Dubai where she will be refurbished and become a luxury hotel, entertainment destination and maritime museum.

For information and to book a voyage on Cunard, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit online.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Carnival's Puerta Maya Cruise Center in Cozumel Set to Re-open Next Week

Closed since being damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Carnival Corporation's pier at Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico will officially re-open when the 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy and 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy dock at the facility on Thursday, Oct. 16. Representing an investment of more than $50 million, the new two-berth pier has been specifically constructed to withstand a threshold category 5 hurricane and can accommodate any ship among Carnival Corporation's various cruise brands. The Oct. 16 calls by the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Ecstasy will be the first of 550 scheduled cruise ship visits at Puerta Maya over the next year. In addition to calling at Puerta Maya, vessels from Carnival Corporation brands will continue to utilize the other two piers in Cozumel. Collectively, these ships will bring an estimated 1.5 million visitors annually to Cozumel, who are expected to spend $126 million on the island each year.

In addition to the newly rebuilt pier, Puerta Maya's nine-acre cruise center, which features a wide variety of shops and restaurants, will also re-open, along with a four-acre transportation hub capable of accommodating dozens of taxis and tour buses. Four rental car facilities will be available, as well. Puerta Maya's expansive cruise center houses 42 different outlets offering apparel, fine jewelry, artwork and other merchandise from such recognizable retailers as Goodmark Jewelers, Del Sol, Piranha Joe's, Dufry, and Diamonds International. The facility also features 15 stand-alone carts where local merchants market colorful handmade crafts, costume jewelry and souvenirs.

On-site dining options in the Puerta Maya complex include the Tres Amigos Bar, a new theme restaurant inspired by the 1986 hit movie starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short. The waterfront eatery, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, offers traditional Mexican fare, along with an extensive beverage menu. Also featured is Pancho's Backyard, a new franchise from the popular downtown Cozumel eatery featuring magnificent ocean views, as well as Fat Tuesday, a waterfront bar offering frozen drinks and light snacks, along with a DJ and dance floor. Other retail outlets at Puerta Maya include a pharmacy, convenience store, and international pay phones. There is also a newly constructed shore excursion pier, separate from the main pier, which allows for quick and convenient access to all water-bound excursions, as well as water-based transportation to and from the facility.

The Puerta Maya pier and cruise center is located on the southwestern part of Cozumel, approximately five miles south of San Miguel, the island's largest city. Before you go, check out for Things to See & Do in Cozumel.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Disney Cruise Line Sets Sail for Russia, Northern Europe & the Med in 2010

Europe has it all for cruisers, especially Disney Cruise Line cruisers. You could almost describe Northern Europe as a centuries-old Fantasy Land with castles, real life princes and princesses, and an honest-to-goodness Little Mermaid... and now you can see it all on a Disney cruise. In response to passenger demand, Disney Cruise Line will reposition Disney Magic to Europe for an unprecedented five-month season of Northern European and Mediterranean cruises in 2010. With a wide variety of European itineraries in 2010, families have the ability to explore exotic and unexpected destinations with the safety and comfort of traveling with Disney Cruise Line, the leader in family cruising.

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will offer a 12-night Northern European Capitals cruise, where guests can experience breathtaking fjords, historic city centers and Viking lore at enchanting Scandinavian ports such as Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. The ship will also sail to Warnemunde, Germany, gateway to Berlin, and to St. Petersburg, Russia. Disney Magic will overnight in St. Petersburg, allowing Disney Cruise Line guests time to experience the city known as the "Cultural Capital of Russia" or use the second day to book a shore excursion to Moscow. Departing out of Dover, England, Disney Magic will sail a total of four 12-night cruises to the Northern European capitals in June and July 2010.

"The Northern European Capitals itinerary provides our guests with an amazing collection of destinations to explore," said Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin. "We're excited to bring the rich history, culture and folklore these ports offer to life for our guests in a family-friendly way only Disney Cruise Line can deliver."

Book-ending the summer season in Northern Europe, Disney Magic will once again return to the Mediterranean with 10- and 11-night cruises, but with three new ports of call not offered when Disney Cruise Line last sailed the Mediterranean. In addition to popular ports in Italy, France and Spain, Disney Magic will visit Tunis, in Northern Africa, the island nation of Malta, and Corsica, an island oasis off the southern coast of France known as the birthplace of Napoleon. Departing out of Barcelona, Spain, Disney Magic will sail four 10-night and four 11-night cruises in the Mediterranean in April, May, August and September.

Disney Cruise Line will also offer four repositioning cruises including two 14-night transatlantic voyages, a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Dover, England, and an eight-night cruise from Dover back to Barcelona.

Caribbean-bound cruisers will also find new, longer itineraries in 2010 available on Disney Wonder, which will shift to 4- and 5-night cruises sailing to Nassau, Key West, and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. The shift is designed to accommodate passengers looking for slightly longer cruises with Disney Cruise Line while children are enjoying their summer break. The 5-night cruises alternate the itinerary between sailings that include Key West and sailings that visit Castaway Cay not once, but twice during the cruise.

For itinerary details and pricing, visit's Cruise News.

Monday, October 6, 2008

"World’s Largest Cruise Night" Highlights Incomparable Value of Cruising

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is anticipating record cruise sales during World’s Largest Cruise Night, the centerpiece of National Cruise Vacation Month as vacationers across North America take advantage of irresistible special savings on 2008 and 2009 cruises. WLCN is Oct 16 and consumers may participate online or by attending special events and promotions at their nearest participating travel agency.

“World’s Largest Cruise Night is designed to rivet consumer attention on the incomparable value and variety of cruise vacations. Last year some 4,000 CLIA agents participated, generating an estimated 35,000 cruise bookings in a little more than a day. For consumers that meant significant additional savings on cruises that already offer the best value of any vacation available,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. “We urge everyone who is considering a vacation in the coming months to discover just how irresistible a cruise can be during World’s Largest Cruise Night.”

The following is a preliminary list of WLCN consumer offers from participating CLIA member cruise lines – available only through CLIA member travel agencies conducting A World’s Largest Cruise Night event across the U.S. and Canada:
  • Disney Cruise Line: Onboard credits of up to $50 on cruises and land & sea packages through December 13, 2009 (booking window: Oct 16 - Nov 15)
  • Carnival Cruise Lines: Complimentary upgrades on all bookings made Oct 16
  • Celebrity Cruises: Onboard credits up to $200 per stateroom based on cruise length for seven Celebrity ships with sailings between Jan 1 and June 30, 2009, plus a 50 percent reduced deposit (booking window: Oct 16 - 18)
  • Costa Cruises: $50 per person onboard credit (up to $100 per stateroom) on Caribbean 2008/2009 and Winter Europe 2009 sailings (booking window: Oct 16 - Oct 21)
  • Crystal Cruises: $100 per person discounts on most 2008 sailings for bookings made during WLCN (booking window: Oct 14 - Nov 7)
  • Cunard Line: Onboard credits up to $300 and a waiver of deposit for second guest, for bookings on 2008 Holiday voyages and 2009 voyages aboard Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.
  • Holland America Line: Special fares to be communicated to travel agents and reduced deposits up to $300 for bookings made during WLCN (booking window: Oct 15-17)
  • MSC Cruises: Special prices on a variety of sailings in the Caribbean and Europe with rates as low as $399 for a 7-day Caribbean cruise, plus shipboard credits of up to $200 (booking window: Oct 16 - Nov 3)
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: Double onboard credits up to $500, plus reduced deposit on sailings of five days or more (booking window: Oct 15 - 23)
  • Princess Cruises: Reduced deposit of $100, plus a Princess coupon booklet with more than $120 in onboard discounts
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises: $100 per person shipboard credit on departures of seven nights or longer (booking window: Oct 16 - Nov 16)
  • Royal Caribbean Intl: Up to $200 off per person on select cruises and cruise dates for bookings made on Oct 16
  • Uniworld Grand River Cruises: $100 savings per person on all 2009 cruises if purchased through an agent having a cruise night on Oct 16 (booking window: Oct 16 - 23)
  • Windstar Cruises: $50 in shipboard credits per person (maximum $100 per stateroom) on any Wind Spirit sailing between Jan 31 and March 28, 2009 and any Wind Surf sailing between Jan 4 and March 15, 2009 (booking window: Oct 16-Nov 9)
For specific details and conditions of each offer, contact a participating CLIA member travel agency. For more information about World’s Largest Cruise Night and an event near you, or to find a CLIA travel agency, Certified Cruise Counsellor or Luxury Cruise Specialist near you, please visit CLIA.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Uncover the Spirit of Aloha Aboard Golden Princess

Hawaii is the United States’ most magical cruise destination--a state, and state of mind, infused with the soul of Polynesia, a tradition of independence and royalty, and a culture of overwhelming warmth. A cruise is the ideal way to visit the Hawaiian Islands. You unpack once and visit numerous ports without the hassle of inter-island flights. And, surely, the most satisfying way to arrive in Hawaii is the same way the first Polynesians did—by sea.

As Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess begins a new season of sailings to the Hawaiian Islands, passengers will find themselves immersed in all things Hawaii, with the culture, traditions, arts and tastes of the island paradise highlighted throughout their cruise. Whether attending demonstrations by local artisans, learning to play the ukulele, exploring historic attractions, or savoring regional cuisine in the dining room, the ship’s Hawaii travelers will enjoy the aloha spirit each day.

"Our goal is to captivate our passengers with onboard experiences that capture the heart and soul of Hawaii," said Jan Swartz, Princess’ senior vice president. "We want to make sure that our guests go home with a deeper understanding of the islands and the people who live there."

This year, Princess’ Hawaiian programs have been enhanced with a variety of cultural presentations and demonstrations, interpretive lectures, folkloric performances, hands-on activities, Hawaiian cuisine, and a number of new Adventures Ashore excursion options throughout the islands. Among these Hawaiian experiences are:
  • In-Port Guest Artists
  • Kaua‘i: Ni‘ihau Shell Artists
  • Hilo: Selected Artisans
  • Honolulu: Hula Show
  • Naturalists and Lecturers
  • Regional Hawaiian Cuisine
  • New Adventures Ashore
Additionally, for passengers who want to immerse themselves further in Hawaiian culture, onboard instructors teach a number of classes throughout the cruise, including the opportunity to learn such local skills as orchid lei making, hula dancing (both traditional and contemporary), sarong tying, Hawaiian language, and ukulele playing. Ukulele aficionados can even show off their new skills at the end of the cruise with a passenger talent show.

The ship’s movie and television programs will also put passengers in the island mood with Hawaiian topics and stories. Princess partnered with the National Park Service to produce an exclusive video presentation on Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that gives passengers a comprehensive preview of this spectacular attraction. Hawaiian-themed films have been added to the ships’ selection of recent Hollywood movies as well, with classics such as "From Here to Eternity" and documentaries such as "Riding Giants," profiling the world’s top surfers. In addition, a selection of travel videos and documentaries give passengers a feel for the islands. Among them are a series of National Geographic presentations covering the islands’ unique species, Pearl Harbor and Hawaiian culture, as well as a variety of specials on local-interest topics.

For the 2008-09 season, Golden Princess sails to the Hawaiian Islands on 14 departures. The ship offers 14-day round-trip Hawaii cruises from Los Angeles that include calls at Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai (Nāwiliwili), and Maui. The ship sails between Oct 1, 2008 and April 1, 2009. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting the company's website at

For specifics about the Hawaiian experiences listed above, check’s detailed reort in Cruise News.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Start Planning Your Holiday Cruise

Who says you have to go over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house for a perfect holiday? This year you might want to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner while cruising through the Mexican Riviera, spend a white sand Christmas in the Caribbean, or ring in the New Year in exuberant Rio.

Whether you want to get away from all the holiday hassle or look forward to spending your time at sea connecting with your loved ones, while on board you'll dine on holiday feasts, enjoy nightclubs and shows without having to appoint a designated driver, cool off swimming, or simply chill with the family on a ship entirely decked out for the holidays. The best part is that the cruise line does all the work, so there’s more time to celebrate the spirit of the holidays.

For an idea of what to expect, here's what NCL has planned on all the ships in their fleet, including holiday caroling by members of the staff, Christmas Eve services, and a holiday show in which both crew members and children participate. While kids enjoy NCL’s youth program, parents can check out the high-energy parties on New Year's Eve, featuring NCL’s White Hot Party and NCL’s Monte Carlo Night.
  • Thanksgiving – Thursday, Nov. 27: Ships are festively adorned with Thanksgiving decorations to put guests in the holiday mood. Special Thanksgiving-themed menus are available in the main dining rooms featuring culinary delights such as smoked duck breast, pumpkin soup, and of course traditional roast turkey with chestnut sage dressing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake.
  • Chanukah – Sundown, Sunday, Dec. 21: A rabbi is on board each ship to conduct services for the holiday period, and a menorah is placed in a central location and lit each day to commemorate the eight-day celebration.
  • Christmas – Thursday, Dec. 25: NCL makes Christmas at sea an unforgettable experience. To help guests get into the holiday spirit, select public areas are outfitted with a variety of festive holiday decorations. Crew members stage an interactive holiday show in the ship’s theater, while the cruise director and staff add to the merriment by performing carols. A priest and a minister are on board each ship to conduct Christmas Eve services for guests who choose to partake, and Santa takes time out of his busy schedule to hand out gifts on Christmas Day. NCL ships also offer special holiday-themed menus in the main dining rooms with dishes such as honey-glazed Black Forest ham with sweet potato mash, roasted turkey with apple and apricot stuffing, pumpkin soufflé and a pear and chestnut torte.
  • New Year’s Eve – Wednesday, Dec. 31: After enjoying a special menu in the main dining rooms including decadent fare such as foie gras, Blue Point oysters, and oxtail, party-goers are given hats, noisemakers and colorful streamers. Each ship’s captain leads a special countdown from the bridge to usher in the New Year.
Check out what to expect for Holiday Dinners at Sea from and then book your holiday cruise as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Photo Above: Carving the holiday bird on Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Great Balcony Value from MSC Cruises

Get on board with MSC Cruises’ “Balcony Blowout” promotion and save more than 60 percent on select Saturday departures of MSC Orchestra this winter and enjoy the added luxury of a balcony stateroom.

Cruise-only balcony rates on select 7-night Caribbean sailings of the elegant MSC Orchestra begin at just $749 per person, double occupancy (government fees and taxes and fuel surcharge are additional) and up to two category upgrades. The limited-time “Balcony Blowout” rates are available on the following itineraries, all sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale:
  • Western Caribbean: departing Jan. 10, Jan. 24, March 7, and March 21
  • Eastern Caribbean: departing March 28
In addition to the promotion pricing, as with all MSC Cruises’ sailings, kids under the age of 17 sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults (government fees and taxes are additional). This offer cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Restrictions apply and the offer is capacity controlled.

Act quickly if you are interested because“Balcony Blowout” savings expire Oct. 13, 2008. For more information, visit or contact a local travel professional.