Monday, February 28, 2011

New Cruise Review: Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam

The "Nieuw-est" Ship in the Holland America Line Fleet bears a name you may recognize. The fourth vessel to be named Nieuw Amsterdam is the second to launch in Holland America Line's Signature-class.

Cruise Diva recently sailed on a one-week Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the new Nieuw Amsterdam and is pleased to share a profile of this beautiful and gracious ship.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bears and Other Critters on Royal Caribbean

This is such a cute activity available for kids aboard Royal Caribbean ships that we just had to share it.

Please don't overload on the sweetness.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Seabourn's Europe Cruises Offer Winning Combinations This Summer

Top-rated Seabourn will have all six of its intimate, award-winning ships in Europe this year, sailing itineraries of different lengths in destinations as diverse as the majestic fjords of Norway, the glamorous resorts of the French Riviera, gorgeous Greek and Dalmatian isles and the opulent czarist palaces of the Ukraine's Black Sea coast. The good news for travelers is that the entire season is being offered at Seabourn Value Fares, saving them up to 50 percent off brochure fares, and numerous back-to-back opportunities add even more value.

"Virtually our entire Mediterranean season is crafted into 7-day voyages," noted Seabourn President Richard D. Meadows. "These are enchanting on their own," he continued, "and you can also combine them for two, three, or up to four weeks of superb cruising, visiting a completely different set of ports and saving an extra 10 percent off the fares."

Travelers can enjoy the remarkably inclusive Seabourn cruise experience—complimentary open bars throughout the voyage, superb dining, gracious, personalized service and spacious, all-suite accommodations—plus exceptional delivery of desirable destinations, all for less than they would pay for a four-star hotel room alone.

Making its debut in June, the new 450-guest Seabourn Quest will spend the summer navigating the wildly popular Greek Isles and Turkish coast between Istanbul and Athens, alternating with another week in the breathtaking Dalmatian islands and on the Adriatic coast to Venice. Quest's sister Seabourn Odyssey will sail the same series of voyages on alternate weeks, allowing travelers the widest possible choice of departure dates on which to explore these superb destinations aboard one of the most acclaimed ships in the world.

Seabourn Legend will be mingling with the yachts of monarchs and moguls in the favored marinas of the Cote d'Azur, Mediterranean islands and the Italian Riviera, sailing combinable, week-long voyages between Monte Carlo and Rome, and round-trip from both cities.

Seabourn Spirit will summer in the Adriatic, sailing two different 7-day cruises round trip from Venice to the medieval gems of Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia. Combining these affords guests the opportunity to enjoy a full day in La Serenissima in between.

In Northern Europe, Seabourn will have two different ships sailing the same region, but offering a choice of cruise lengths and content. Seabourn Sojourn, introduced to acclaim last June with 225 luxurious suites, will be offering cruises of seven days visiting the highlights of the Baltic, including three days in St. Petersburg, between Copenhagen and Stockholm. These alternate (and can be combined) with 9-day Norwegian Fjords cruises round-trip from Copenhagen.

Meanwhile its smaller sister Seabourn Pride will carry 208 guests on 12-day Scandinavia & Russia voyages that deliver the same highlights and add some charming islands and cities on the Baltic's Amber Coast. Pride's pair of cruises in Norway are likewise longer, sailing from Copenhagen all the way to the North Cape and back in 15 days.

All of these options promise travelers an unmatched level of luxury and convenience, and a tremendous value when compared with the cost of visiting these European destinations by other means. For more information on Seabourn's Combo Fares, or to book a Seabourn voyage, contact your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391, or visit

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good News For Rock Boat Cruise Fans

Our friends at Sixthman have just announced that The Rock Boat XII will sail March 1-5, 2012, on Carnival Ecstasy from New Orleans to Cozumel. This time around, joining Sister Hazel on Sixthman's inaugural floating music festival, are Alternate Routes, Tim Brantley, Carbon Leaf, Freddy Jones Band, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, and Vertical Horizon.

The return to New Orleans is a special one for veteran Rock Boaters—in 2005, The Rock Boat V was canceled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and in response, Sixthman organized "Rock For Relief," featuring many of the bands that were scheduled for the cruise, to raise funds for residents of New Orleans. Sixthman is very excited to bring The Rock Boat back to Louisiana for the newest cruise adventure.

Since it's inaugural sailing in 2001, The Rock Boat has undergone many changes—ports, dates, bands, etc—but one thing remains the same: the guests. About sixty percent of guests on each Rock Boat have been on more than one Sixthman cruise, and when new guests sail, they become part of an extended family-like community. The love for great live music brings people together at sea, and this year will be no different. Pre-sale for The Rock Boat XII begins February 28; reserve your spot now by signing up at

Your host, Sixthman LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, creates theme cruises with an emphasis on celebrating music and fan communities. These one-of-a-kind vacation experiences bring like-minded people together in exclusive, interactive, and intimate environments. Sixthman's mission is to break down the walls between artists, heroes, partners, and their passionate fan bases. Sixthman has partnered with entertainers such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mayer, Kid Rock, Jillian Michaels, Barenaked Ladies, Sister Hazel, Lyle Lovett, Sarah MacLachlan, Patty Griffin, Zac Brown Band, and 311, and brands such as VH1 and Graceland. Sixthman has hosted more than 25 full-ship charters since 2001, and maintains a more than sixty percent return rate amongst guests. You can count on them to provide a great cruising and musical experience.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Cruise Review: Allure of the Seas

Come aboard Allure of the Seas with avid cruisers and frequent Cruise Diva contributors Vincent & Mary Finelli. You'll want to check out their posh Crown Loft Suite. Outfitted for accessibility, get the pros and cons of its comfort and functionality.

As the Finellis say, "Crown Loft Suite 1742 is located on Decks 17 & 18, starboard aft. It is one of the best suites we have had until now. The décor is a beautiful combination of light oak and dark walnut woods, blue carpeting and beige walls." They also point out that the wheelchair elevator with a capacity of 400Kg or 5 passengers is an excellent feature. However, in a less than excellent twist, they did have a bit of difficulty with some of the furnishings.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Queen Victoria & Queen Mary to Meet for Historic Cunard Royal Rendezvous in Long Beach

Many cruise passengers arrive in the area of their embarkation port to spend a day or two pre-cruise exploring the sights. Those who visit Long Beach have a real treat—that's where Cunard Line's original Queen Mary is docked as a floating museum. If they happen to be present on March 3rd, they will be witnesses to maritime history being made once again in Long Beach Harbor, when Queen Victoria and Queen Mary meet for the first time during a Cunard Royal Rendezvous. At approximately 6:00pm, Queen Victoria will sail into Long Beach Harbor to meet Queen Mary, and the two ships will exchange whistle salutes amidst a sparkling fireworks display. Spectators can view the two ships together for approximately 30 minutes before Queen Victoria continues on her Panama Canal Adventure to Ft. Lauderdale.

This rendezvous marks only the second time in Cunard’s venerable history that a modern Queen has visited her docked sister ship; the very first-ever rendezvous was in February 2006 when, on the occasion of her maiden call to Los Angles, flagship Queen Mary 2 met her namesake, garnering international attention. This historic event also signals the celebration of a significant milestone: the upcoming 75th anniversary of Queen Mary’s maiden voyage from Southampton, England (on May 27, 1936).

“After the spectacular Cunard Royal Rendezvous in New York with our three modern Queens back in January, it is quite fitting that we continue the grand celebration on the West Coast,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “Queen Mary is an important part of our history and legacy and what better way to salute her than with a visit from Queen Victoria to celebrate the completion of her debut Americas season.”

The best viewing location is on the Promenade deck of Queen Mary, at the aft (back) of the ship. Queen Mary will offer free admission for guests to board the ship to experience her attractions, including:

• Dining at the Promenade Café, Sir Winston’s and the Chelsea Chowder House
• Tours, including Behind-the-Scenes, WWII, Haunted Encounters, Twilight Historical and the Ghosts & Legends show, among others (All tours sold separately.)
• Shopping at more than a dozen shops, including Stacks, Queen Mary’s signature souvenir boutique
• Experience vast views of the Harbor from the Observation Bar, the ship’s original first class cocktail lounge, and enjoy live entertainment until 7:00 p.m.

Earlier that day, Queen Victoria makes the last of four visits to the Port of Los Angeles as part of her debut Americas Season, which continues through late March and features several transits through the Panama Canal, two roundtrip voyages to Hawaii, and one Getaway voyage to Mexico. Queen Victoria returns to the West Coast again in early 2012.

Debuting in December 2007, Queen Victoria is the third largest Cunarder ever built, weighing in at 90,000 tons. The 2,000 passenger liner is infused with a sense of luxury and tradition, from the Royal Court Theatre, which includes the first private viewing boxes at sea, to the signature two-storey library featuring a spiral staircase and nearly 6,000 volumes.

During Cunard’s legendary 171-year history, the iconic Queen Mary epitomized the golden age of ocean travel and served as a Cunard liner for more than 30 years. Additionally, she served as a troopship during World War II and a Royal Mail Ship, under contract with the British Royal Mail service. Queen Mary’s influence lives on today serving as interior design inspiration for the modern Cunard fleet, the youngest at sea, and continues to be a popular destination for maritime enthusiasts. She retired from service in 1967 and remains in Long Beach, Calif. as a hotel, museum and tourist attraction. For more information about Queen Mary, visit For more information about Cunard Line, visit

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

News For Cruise Passengers At Half Moon Cay: Captain Morgan Mixes It Up

Cruise Diva introduced you to the new Captain Morgan On The Rocks bar at Half Moon Cay when we visited there during our Nieuw Amsterdam cruise on January 26th. At that time I enjoyed a Pina Colada, but now they have some new cocktails featuring—you guessed it—Captain Morgan Rum!

Although we don't know where the "Myrtle Bank" name comes from, we love rum punch here at Cruise Diva's homeport and look forward to mixing up the tasty concoction in the recipe below. We plan to close our eyes, take a sip, and instantly be transported to Holland America Line's private island paradise.


2 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz cherry liqueur
1/2 oz lime juice
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 lime wedge for garnish

Mix together and serve on the rocks in a hurricane glass. Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

News: Full Spanish-Language Cruise Atlas; An Industry Exclusive for Crystal Cruises

Se habla Espanol? Crystal Cruises does! And with Crystal's new, 211-page, full Spanish-language Atlas outlining its entire 2011 cruise line-up, now the more than 400 million Spanish-speaking people in the world can fully access itineraries, pricing, and complete information about the world's most luxurious cruise line's offerings for this year. As the only luxury cruise line to publish a full Atlas in Spanish, Crystal's Spanish Atlas effort is yet another mark of its trend-setting leadership.

"With a growing marketplace of 23 countries in the world for whom Spanish is the primary language, we're making it easier for native speakers to understand all of the nuances of a Crystal adventure," says Director of International Sales Karen Mann. "Crystal prides itself on being the ultimate service-oriented cruise line on the planet. The new Atlas demonstrates the continued commitment and support that Crystal has to Spanish-speaking countries and millions of Spanish-speaking travelers worldwide."

With worldwide itineraries circling both American continents, all of Europe, the Holy Land, Asia, the Pacific, and South and West Africa, Crystal is offering huge savings in 2011: Discounts on 22 fall cruises, record-low fares for a March 31 sailing to the Mexican Riviera, and up to $3,000/couple off Verandahs and Penthouses on select spring/summer Baltic and Alaska voyages. Additional savings are available for New-to-Crystal travelers and/or family and friend groups through programs such as "Crystal Family Memories," "BONUS Share the Experience Program," and "Kids Sail Free" on select cruises. All 2011 vacations also include up to $1,000/person in "All Inclusive - As You Wish" on-board credit to spend on just about anything. New "Open Dining by Reservation" adds even greater flexibility to evening dining.

With 23 sailings through Spanish-speaking countries in 2011, and on-board concierge teams fluent in multiple languages, Crystal is the perfect choice for both a familiar, and exotic, vacation experience for Spanish speakers seeking a sophisticated escape. The Spanish Atlas can be viewed or ordered at, or by emailing For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or visit

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Princess Cruises: News About Upcoming Calls to Egypt

Princess Cruises has issued the following statement regarding cancelled port calls in Egypt and revised itineraries:

Due to the current political unrest in Egypt, the US State Department has issued a travel warning which recommends that US Citizens avoid travel to Egypt at this time. Based on this information, and the ongoing unrest, we have decided to alter our itineraries for 18 cruises departing May through November 2011.

We understand this may come as a disappointment to passengers booked on these voyages, and we hope they understand the decision was made because the safety and security of our passengers and crew is always our foremost priority. We will continue to evaluate the situation, and if it improves and/or the US State Department lifts the travel warning, we will return to our original published itineraries.

The affected cruises are:

Star Princess
Voyages 9112 & 9125
Departs Rome May 18 & Oct 21

It has been decided to alter the itineraries and cancel the call to Alexandria, Egypt. Instead, calls to Livorno (for Florence), Malta and an overnight in Istanbul will be added. The revised itinerary is now as follows.

Day 0 Civitavecchia Dep 1800
Day 1 Livorno 0700-1900
Day 2 At Sea
Day 3 Valletta 0800-1700
Day 4 At Sea
Day 5 Khios 0700-1600
Day 6 Istanbul Arr 0800
Day 7 Istanbul Dep 1700
Day 8 Kusadasi 1200-1900
Day 9 Piraeus 0600-1745
Day 10 At Sea
Day 11 Naples 0700-1800
Day 12 Civitavecchia Arr 0400

Dawn Princess
Voyage D111
Departs Sydney May 25

It has been decided to alter the itinerary and cancel the call to Port Said, Egypt. The call to Port Said has been replaced with an overnight call to Istanbul 1-2 July. To accommodate this change, the call to Ashdod will now be on June 28 instead of June 29 and the call to Mykonos will now be on Jun 30 instead of July 1. The revised portion of the itinerary is now as follows.

June 28 Ashdod 0700-2000
June 29 At Sea
June 30 Mykonos 0700-1400
July 1 Istanbul Arr 0900
July 2 Istanbul Dep 1900

Ocean Princess
It has been decided to alter the itineraries and cancel the calls to Sharm El Sheik and Safaga, Egypt. The revised portions of the itineraries are now as follows.

Voyage 7110
Departs Singapore on April 29

The call to Safaga, 20 May, has been cancelled and replaced with a call to Aqaba, Jordan (for Petra) 0700-1900, on the same day.

Voyage 7124
Departs Rome Oct 15

The calls to Sharm El Sheik, 22 Oct, and Safaga, 24 Oct, have been cancelled and replaced by an overnight call to Dubai, 30-31 Oct. The remainder of the voyage is unaffected.

Oct 22 At Sea
Oct 23 Aqaba 0700-1900
Oct 24 At Sea
Oct 25 At Sea
Oct 26 At Sea
Oct 27 At Sea
Oct 28 At Sea
Oct 29 At Sea
Oct 30 Dubai Arr 1200 Oct 31 Dubai Dep 1700

Pacific Princess
It has been decided to alter the itineraries and cancel the calls to Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt. The revised itineraries are now as follows.

Voyages K104, K110, K113, K117
Departs Rome May 7, July 18, Aug 23 & Oct 10

A call to Istanbul has been added on Day 9. To accommodate this change, the port order and timings have been revised and the itinerary is now as follows:

Day 0 Civitavecchia Dep 1800
Day 1 Sorrento 0700-1700
Day 2 At Sea
Day 3 Santorini 0900-1900
Day 4 At Sea
Day 5 Haifa 0700-2000
Day 6 Ashdod 0700-2000
Day 7 At Sea
Day 8 Kusadasi 0700-1300
Day 9 Istanbul 1000-2300
Day 10 At Sea
Day 11 Patmos 0700-1800
Day 12 Piraeus Arr 0600

Voyages K105, K116
Departs Athens May 19 & Sept 28

A call to Istanbul has been added on Day 7. To accommodate this change, the port order and timings have been revised and the itinerary is now as follows:

Day 0 Piraeus Dep 1900
Day 1 Patmos 0700-1800
Day 2 At Sea
Day 3 Haifa 0700-2000
Day 4 Ashdod 0700-2000
Day 5 At Sea
Day 6 Kusadasi 0700-1300
Day 7 Istanbul 1000-2300
Day 8 At Sea
Day 9 Santorini 0700-1700
Day 10 At Sea
Day 11 Sorrento 0700-1700
Day 12 Civitavecchia Arr 0500

Voyages K107, K115, K119
Departs Venice June 12, Sept 16 & Nov 3

A call to Istanbul has been added on Day 10. To accommodate this change, the port order and timings have been revised and the itinerary is now as follows:

Day 0 Venice Dep 2300
Day 1 Ravenna 0700-1700
Day 2 Dubrovnik 1200-1900
Day 3 At Sea
Day 4 Patmos 1200-1900
Day 5 At Sea
Day 6 Haifa 0700-2000
Day 7 Ashdod 0700-2000
Day 8 At Sea
Day 9 Kusadasi 0700-1300
Day 10 Istanbul 1000-2300
Day 11 At Sea
Day 12 Piraeus Arr 0600

Voyages K108, K111, K118
Departs Athens June 24, July 30, Oct 22

A call to Istanbul has been added on Day 7. To accommodate this change, the port order and timings have been revised and the itinerary is now as follows:

Day 0 Piraeus Dep 1900
Day 1 Patmos 0700-1800
Day 2 At Sea
Day 3 Haifa 0700-2000
Day 4 Ashdod 0700-2000
Day 5 At Sea
Day 6 Kusadasi 0700-1300
Day 7 Istanbul 1000-2300
Day 8 At Sea
Day 9 At Sea
Day 10 Dubrovnik 0700-1400
Day 11 Ravenna 0800-1800
Day 12 Venice Arr 0400

Voyages K120
Departs Athens Nov 15

A call to Istanbul has been added on Day 7. To accommodate this change, the port order and timings have been revised and the itinerary is now as follows:

Day 0 Piraeus Dep 1900
Day 1 Patmos 0700-1800
Day 2 At Sea Day 3 Ashdod 0700-2000
Day 4 Haifa 0700-2000
Day 5 At Sea
Day 6 Kusadasi 0700-1300
Day 7 Istanbul 1000-2300
Day 8 At Sea
Day 9 Santorini 0700-1700
Day 10 At Sea
Day 11 Sorrento 0700-1700
Day 12 Civitavecchia Arr 0500

Norwegian Cruise Line First In The Industry To Be Awarded Travel + Leisure Design Award

As a rule we don’t pay much attention to awards given to cruise lines and ships here at Cruise Diva. It’s difficult to determine whether they are legitimate and how the award recipients are arrived at. This one is different and we’re pleased to share the news that Norwegian Cruise Line is the first in the cruise industry to be honored by Travel + Leisure, the popular guide for world travelers with the largest audience of any travel magazine, with its distinguished Design Award. The recipients of the seventh annual award represent the best new examples of design in a range of categories from hotels and transportation to luggage and travel fashion.

Norwegian Epic was awarded “Best Transportation” for its innovative Studio staterooms (pictured above), a private key-card access complex on two decks consisting of 128 staterooms and the Studio Lounge. The concept was pioneered by Norwegian and designed and priced specifically for solo travelers, allowing them the comfort and convenience to travel without the industry’s single supplement cruise price. Priestmangoode, a design firm in the United Kingdom, designed the Studios for Norwegian.

“The Studio staterooms on Norwegian Epic have been extremely well received and we are pleased to be able to offer solo travelers an opportunity to visit great destinations while experiencing Freestyle Cruising on board our most innovative ship,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer.

Each Studio stateroom, at approximately 100 square feet of living space, features a contemporary design with a full-size bed and separate areas for the bathroom, sink and shower. In addition, guests in the Studios have private access to the exclusive Studio Lounge where they can grab a cup of coffee in the morning, meet up with fellow cruisers, and plan their day or relax with a drink in the evening. Since many of the Studio staterooms are connecting, there is also the opportunity for friends to travel together while giving each their own private space.

Norwegian Epic is currently featured at and is highlighted in the magazine’s March issue, which will appear on newsstands tomorrow, Feb 21. Winners of the 2011 Travel + Leisure Design Awards were selected by an esteemed panel of judges, including Henry Urbach, curator of architecture and design for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Norma Kamali, fashion designer; Danny Meyer, restaurateur; Paulette Cole, CEO and creative director of ABC Carpet & Home’s; and David Childs, Chairman of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.

We’re impressed and are sure you will be as well. Good job and kudos to NCL!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Carnival Splendor Resumes Year-Round Service From Long Beach

Scheduled to Re-Enter Service Feb 20, 2011

She’s back and we hear she’s as good as new! After completing repairs in a San Francisco dry dock facility and successfully undergoing sea trials, the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor is now en route to its homeport of Long Beach, California, where it will resume its year-round schedule of 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises tomorrow, Feb. 20, 2011.

On this route, the ship departs the Long Beach Cruise Terminal every Sunday on week-long cruises to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. With the Carnival Splendor’s resumption of service, combined with the Carnival Paradise’s year-round 3- and 4-day Baja voyages, Carnival Cruise Lines will return to its normal passenger volume from Long Beach, carrying nearly 400,000 passengers a year.

“Carnival Cruise Lines continues to be the number one West Coast operator with two ships based in Long Beach year-round, as well as a ship operating seasonal itineraries from San Diego and Los Angeles. We have more year-round capacity dedicated to the West Coast than any other cruise line and we are committed to maintaining our leadership position in this important market,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO.

Cahill noted that Carnival Splendor has been thoroughly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard and Lloyd’s Registry, a ship classification society, which monitored the repair process during dry docks in San Diego and San Francisco.

“We’re obviously very pleased that the Carnival Splendor is returning to service and we’re looking forward to welcoming our guests aboard this fantastic ship,” Cahill said. “We would also like to thank our guests for their patience over the past few weeks, as well as our travel agent partners, the ports of San Diego and San Francisco and all of the government agencies, repair contractors and countless others who have provided invaluable assistance and support.”

Reservations are currently being accepted for the Carnival Splendor’s 7-day sailings from Long Beach. For additional information and reservations, visit the line’s web site at

Friday, February 18, 2011

Media Barred From Falmouth Port As First Cruise Ship Arrives

Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas made history of a sort when it became the first ship to call at Historic Falmouth port in Jamaica yesterday. Situated between the popular cruise ports of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, Falmouth is the first-ever thematic cruise port for the island nation. It is also a convenient gateway for passengers to embark on more than 60 land experiences along the north coast, which are incidentally also available from the other ports. Additionally, restoration throughout the town of Falmouth will offer visitors a wide selection of cultural and historic experiences when the work currently underway is complete. Many prominent houses, shops, and public buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries are still standing, but are in need of refurbishment.

“We are delighted to see Voyager of the Seas make the first-ever ship call at Historic Falmouth,” said Craig Milan, senior vice president of Land Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “By partnering with the Port Authority of Jamaica, we are working to deliver our shared vision of Falmouth’s rebirth. Together, we are bringing the town’s historic sites to life and integrating the culture and authenticity of this destination into a superior guest experience.”

Although the arrival of the first ship at the new port was delayed for more than a year and there is still a lot of work to be done, the docking of the first cruise ship sounds like things are on track, right? That's what we thought here at Cruise Diva until we read in Go-Jamaica that the media was barred from the Falmouth pier even as residents gathered to witness the maiden visit by Voyager of the Seas. As reported by Ruddy Mathison, a writer for The Gleaner, “Journalists and camera crew who turned up for the 8 o’clock arrival of ship were told by security personnel at the entrance gate that the media would not be allowed on the compound.”

Apparently the port security guards were instructed to turn the media away and inform them they would be admitted upon invitation to cover the official opening of Falmouth Pier on March 22nd when the world's largest cruise ship Oasis of the Seas is slated to arrive.

That didn't seem to put a damper on the enthusiasm of local residents who appear to be pleased about the opening of the pier and are hopeful that the long anticipated arrival of cruise ships will lead to job opportunities and a stimulation of Falmouth's economy. Cruise Diva will be in Jamaica in a little over a week and we look forward to checking out the progress in Falmouth first hand.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Celebrity Cruises Reveals 2011 'Savor Your Destination' Chef Lineup

Since the line's launch, food has always been an important element on Celebrity Cruises ships and now their guest chef theme cruise program, "Savor Your Destination," is serving up a roster filled with gifted culinarians who will participate this year.

Recognizing that vacation time is precious, Celebrity created "Savor Your Destination" to give food and wine enthusiasts more ways to experience a memorable and enjoyable trip. In 2011, Celebrity will present a total of 12 guest chef theme cruises on its award-winning Solstice Class ships. Each cruise will offer food-and-wine themed activities that complement Celebrity's overall premium experience, emphasizing the love of fine food and wine. Activities may include a meet-and-greet cocktail reception, guest chef-led cooking demonstrations highlighting techniques and ingredients, book signings, and a "Star Chefs" cook-off featuring an interactive cooking competition, complete with a special recipe booklet featuring the guest chef's creations. For a fee, guests also can participate in hands-on cooking classes led by the guest chef in the ship's galley, or enjoy an exclusive food-and-wine-pairing dinner designed and presented by the guest chef in either Murano or Tuscan Grille, two of the five specialty restaurants on board.

Among the guest chefs is renowned television personality Chef Sara Moulton who will sail on Celebrity's newest ship, Celebrity Eclipse, on March 26, 2011, on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise sailing round trip from Miami, Florida. One of television's Food Network's founding personalities, Moulton has hosted numerous cooking programs. In addition, she has served as the food editor of ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" since 1997 and hosted "Sara's Weeknight Meals" on public television in 2008. She has also authored several cookbooks and was the executive chef of Gourmet magazine from 1987 until the magazine folded in late 2009. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Moulton worked and taught at numerous restaurants before working for Julia Child on public television's "Julia Child and More Company." Moulton founded the New York Women's Culinary Alliance in 1982.

In addition to Moulton, a line-up of highly regarded chefs with unique approaches to their craft is in place for 2011. Additional Savor Your Destination guest chef theme cruises will be led by:

-- Chef Dean James Max of 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and five other restaurants, sailing on Celebrity Eclipse on March 12, 2011
-- Chef Timon Balloo of Sugarcane in Miami, sailing on Celebrity Equinox on April 1, 2011
-- Chef Govind Armstrong of 8 Oz. Burger Bar in Louisiana, Los Angeles, and Miami's South Beach, sailing on Celebrity Equinox on April 11, 2011
-- Chef John Suley of Gotham Steak at Miami's Fontainebleau Resort, sailing on Celebrity Equinox on April 22, 2011
-- Chef Angel Palacios of La Broche in Madrid, Spain, sailing on Celebrity Solstice on June 7, 2011
-- Chef Jordi Valles of The Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, Mexico, sailing on Celebrity Solstice on Oct 11, 2011

The guest chefs for two additional Savor Your Destination theme cruises in 2011, one on Celebrity Eclipse on Dec 10 and the other on Celebrity Equinox on Dec 12, will be announced at a later date.

Two Savor Your Destination guest chef theme cruises have already taken place this year, featuring South Beach-based chefs Sean Brasel and Dena Marino. This year, Celebrity is also offering five Savor Your Destination guest winemaker theme cruises as well as five "Guest Glass Artist" cruises highlighting The Hot Glass Show at The Lawn Club, an area featuring a lawn of real, growing grass on the top deck of its Solstice Class ships. More information is available at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Princess Cruises Ships to Broadcast Historic Royal Wedding

No need to set your DVR if you won’t be at home for the upcoming Royal Wedding on April 29th. If you’re on a Princess cruise, the highly anticipated nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be televised live on your ship and you’ll be able to attend “virtually” with full coverage of the pomp and majesty of the historic wedding through BBC World’s broadcast of the event.

Not only can you watch as the future princess walks down the aisle, but you’ll also enjoy viewing parties on board when you follow the most extensive coverage of this royal event. BBC is the official wedding broadcaster and has exclusive access inside Westminster Abbey during the ceremony. The onboard viewing parties will add a celebratory flair to the event with British-style refreshments and special royal-themed cocktails. You can also test your knowledge with royal wedding trivia competitions and participate in a William and Kate look-alike contest.

“As this is the first British royal wedding in years we know there will be wide interest among our passengers,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We at Princess also feel a connection with Prince William because his mother, Princess Diana, christened our original Royal Princess back in 1984.”

Making it even more exclusive, the Royal Wedding is one of several special events that will be shown on the Movies Under the Stars screens, including the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. The giant LED screens are more than 300 square feet in size with a 69,000-watt sound system and have sufficient lighting power to be seen clearly at mid-day and heard even while the ship is moving at full speed–offering a movie experience comparable to the best shoreside movie theater. Royal Wedding broadcasts are planned for all ships in the Princess fleet, even those without the giant outdoor screens. Subject to satellite availability, in some time zones the broadcast may be delayed for viewing at a convenient hour.

Haven’t booked a cruise yet? Information about Princess Cruises is available through your professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Harborside Blaze in Downtown Nassau

The last time a fire roared through the downtown tourist area of Nassau in the Bahamas it was the Straw Market that was destroyed. Yesterday, a blaze started downtown in Kelly's dockyard at around 7:45am and spread to numerous nearby buildings east of the Bacardi Store on Bay Street and East Street.

Just beyond the new Disney Dream in the photo at right you can see the fire to the left of the landmark yellow tower. The cruise terminal is located to the right of the tower, just out of view behind the Disney Dream.

It has been reported that the original fire broke out in the Betty K building, located just east of East Street North. The densely packed nature of the buildings in the area is said to have enabled the fire to spread quickly. Several fire engines from throughout New Providence Island, including as far away as the airport, were dispatched to the scene to pump harbor water onto the conflagration, which took hours to bring under control.

According to the Tribune, "Police estimate the entire block of buildings affected by the fire, including the Bacardi building and the Green Parrot Crew Pub, has been extensively damaged and is not salvageable." No serious injuries or deaths have been reported. has photos taken at the height of the fire and new photos that reveal the extent of the damage and show cruise ships docked at the pier beyond the waterfront.

In port yesterday, Disney Dream and Carnival Glory were allowed to disembark passengers at the nearby Nassau cruise terminal, but did so later than usual. Cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean Intl are scheduled to visit Nassau within the week and no itinerary changes have been announced at this time.

For perspective, here are Cruise Diva's personal photos showing the area of the cruise terminal during a recent call at Nassau. In the photo at left, the brightly lit building just visible above the ship's bow to the right of the yellow tower is the cruise terminal at dusk.

Pictured at right, with the harbor behind it, is the iconic yellow tower. The buildings on the right-hand side of the street are those engulfed in the fire pictured above.

The fire and its aftermath will no doubt deal a heavy blow to the city and merchants of Nassau. We hope they recover and rebuild quickly and we look forward to visiting there again on future cruises.

UPDATE: For a follow-up story, see The Nassau Guardian.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Celebrating Valentine’s Day “Love Boat” Style

Couples gather in the atrium of Crown Princess for a special Valentine’s Day renewal of vows ceremony. Performed by the captain, this annual celebration of love is a Princess Cruises tradition, with thousands of couples participating fleetwide. To add a playful touch, some ships outfitted passengers with veils and bow ties to wear during the ceremony.

Other romance-themed shipboard festivities held today include a festive holiday dinner capped off by one of the line’s most popular desserts “The Princess Love Boat Dream,” Valentine games, and romantic films.

Making Cruise Memories At Sea

Cruise Diva's friend and writing colleague Georgina Cruz says, “Making memories at sea, to carry with me always, is a priority for me whenever I sail. I want to remember a special meal, activities and other aspects of life onboard, places I visited–I want to remember it all so I can place it on a prominent shelf of my mind to enjoy it at will whenever the mood strikes and to own it forever. Photos are nice, of course–and I take them–but the best, most portable album is in our own minds. With plenty of good memories, I can re-live the voyage wherever and whenever I wish, and go on it again countless of times, for as an old Spanish saying proclaims, To remember is to live anew.”

Georgina has a strategy to make and save memories at sea that she employs whenever she sails and generously shares her successful approach to Making Memories at Sea. We hope you will give them a try.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Get In The Mood For Romance; Cruise Diva Picks The Most Romantic Cruise Ships

With Valentine's Day tomorrow, are you in the mood for love? Are you in the mood for a romantic cruise? Ask six couples what the most romantic aspect of a cruise is and you are likely to get a dozen different responses. To some, it could be the freedom to relax and enjoy one another's company. Or maybe it's the joy of getting away from home, work, and responsibility for a few cherished days.

One thing is certainly true, many couples consider a cruise the most romantic vacation imaginable. Which cruise ships are the most desirable for lovers? With Valentine's Day just a day away, Cruise Diva shares her picks for the Most Romantic Ships.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Royal Caribbean Signs Letter of Intent For New Generation of Ships: "Project Sunshine"

It isn't often that we see this much news out of Papenburg, Germany, but this has been a big week for ship building announcements. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. has signed a letter of intent with shipyard Meyer Werft to build the first of a new generation of Royal Caribbean International cruise ships. Developed under the code-name "Project Sunshine," the new vessel design incorporates new and exciting features that take advantage of the best of Royal Caribbean's experience and imagination. The project is a result of over a year of dedicated research and development.

The order calls for one ship to be delivered in the Fall of 2014 with an option for a second ship for Spring 2015. The 158,000 Gross Registered Tons (GRT) new build will carry just over 4,100 guests based on double occupancy. The estimated all-in cost per berth is about euro 170,000. This all-in cost includes the yard's base contract price plus everything needed to design, operate and build the vessel, from architect fees to supervision costs and all loose inventories from computers to art and bed linens.

"Royal Caribbean has worked hard to earn a reputation of offering the most innovative ships in the cruise industry and this next generation will not disappoint," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. "While we continue our policy of keeping our newest ideas and features under wraps during the early stages of construction, I can say that I am very excited about the passion and imagination that our teams have devoted to the project. Project Sunshine builds on the best ideas of our existing ships and adds exciting new activities and entertainment concepts. It will offer features for everyone: from grand, spectacular spaces to small intimate settings; from active, invigorating activities to the serenity of more personal space; and from a plethora of dining alternatives to a cornucopia of opportunities for families. I am also excited about the energy efficiency and environmental technologies which have been incorporated. Our existing ships are some of the most energy efficient in the world and Project Sunshine takes this one further step. Based on our over 20 years of experience with Meyer Werft, along with their compelling proposal, we know they will deliver on all of the innovations Royal Caribbean's guests have come to expect."

"Meyer Werft is pleased to be working with Royal Caribbean especially in light of their reputation for building such innovative ships. I am very happy we are continuing our long time partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and its brand Royal Caribbean International. Their projects always present incredible opportunities for Meyer Werft to create the latest cutting edge hardware in the cruise industry," said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft shipyard.

The letter of intent is subject to customary conditions being satisfactorily met.

Disney Fantasy Moves a Step Closer to Reality During Keel Laying Ceremony

Disney Cruise Line celebrated the keel laying of the Disney Fantasy yesterday at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. This is the second of two newly-designed ships that take the family cruise experience to all new heights. Sister ship to the Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, entered service on Jan. 26, 2011.

A significant milestone in the ship building process, the keel laying ceremony is when the first block, or section of the ship, is lowered into the building dock and a coin is placed under the keel for good fortune. Placing the coin was Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line, assisted by Minnie Mouse, pictured here.

Disney Cruise Line tells us that Disney Fantasy will offer many of the innovations that the Disney Dream introduced to the cruise industry for the very first time, including AquaDuck, the world’s first shipboard water coaster. For insight into those innovative features and more, was on board for the christening cruise and previews Disney Dream. However, while the sister-ships will be essentially similar, Disney is always full of surprises and reveals that Disney Fantasy will feature a few new design elements and guest experiences to give the ship a unique identity all her own.

The 4,000-passenger Disney Fantasy will sail week-long Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida with its maiden voyage scheduled for March 31, 2012. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line,visit

Friday, February 11, 2011

Man Charged With Allure of the Seas Crew Member's Death

Determined to be Tragic Isolated Incident

Mexican authorities have charged a 24-year old national with the murder of Monika Markiewicz. The 32-year old victim was a crew member aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Allure of the Seas.

Ms. Markiewicz did not report back to the ship before it departed Cozumel on Feb 4. Her body was discovered the next day in the water off of a remote beach in Cozumel. Royal Caribbean has been informed that law enforcement in Cozumel has identified and charged a local resident and bartender, 24-year old Nelson Perez Torres, with the murder. Reports indicate that Torres and Ms.Markiewiczwere casually acquainted for several months and he followed her for a period of time before killing her along the roadway on her way back to the ship. Royal Caribbean's Global Security Department fully supported and assisted Mexican officials in their investigation of this isolated and uncharacteristic crime for Cozumel.

"We thank the Mexican authorities for their commitment to quickly solving the murder of our crew member, Monika Markiewicz. Her untimely death is tragic and has saddened all of us at Royal Caribbean. We have informed Monika's family in Poland of today's news update and we will continue to be in contact with them and to support them during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends," said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

Grand Princess to Undergo Dramatic Transformation During Spring Drydock

There will be no more “shopping cart” jokes after the most significant transformation ever of a Princess Cruises ship occurs this spring aboard Grand Princess. The artist rendering here shows her new profile once the aft Skywalkers Nightclub (the “shopping cart” handle) is removed. During a 24-day makeover Grand Princess, which was the prototype for the line’s “Grand Class” vessels, will undergo a remarkable renovation to receive many of Princess’ trademark features introduced since the ship’s 1998 debut, including the signature Piazza atrium. Several new features will be also be added including a unique tea lounge and library called “Leaves”; and “Alfredo’s,” a full-service pizzeria showcasing this renowned Princess dish.

A brand new nightclub called One5, inspired by its deck location, will be created on the top deck of the ship, replacing its iconic Skywalkers Nightclub, which has given the ship its distinctive profile. Skywalkers will be removed from its 18th deck perch, with its replacement located on deck 15. This change will significantly improve the operational performance of the ship, including greater fuel efficiency. As an added bonus, the removal of Skywalkers will allow more sunshine to reach the aft pool area.

“This is the largest makeover we’ve ever undertaken for any of our ships,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “When Grand Princess was launched she was the most innovative ship at sea, and now we’re adding some of the later innovations we introduced on subsequent ships.”

The changes will be made during a drydock from April 11 to May 4 at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas. Highlights of the dramatic makeover include:

New Piazza atrium: The atrium space of Grand Princess will be completely rebuilt to include this signature Princess feature--a multi-faceted social hub of the ship combining always-changing quick bites and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services. The Piazza will feature the International Café for pastries, grilled panini sandwiches, salads, fresh-baked cookies and a variety of coffee drinks. Passenger will also enjoy a new Vines wine bar offering a selection of more than 30 wines by the glass, plus a selection of tapas and sushi, and a wine shop where passengers can purchase their favorite bottle.
Leaves Tea Lounge and Library: A fusion of tea lounge and library, the new Leaves offers a distinctive opportunity for passengers to custom-blend a variety of base teas with herbs, fruits and spices to create a personalized tea blend. Created in partnership with Mighty Leaf Tea Company, one of the world’s premier maker of artisan teas, Leaves will give passengers an impressive choice of up to 500 different tea blends to suit their palates. A trained tea sommelier will assist passengers in blending a personalized tea creation, which which they can enjoy in the midst of the library and a good book.
Alfredo’s Pizzeria: Known for serving the best pizza at sea, Princess will introduce Alfredo’s, a new sit-down pizzeria with an enticing menu of freshly prepared individual-size pizzas. Named for the line’s master executive chef, Alfredo Marzi, the pizzeria will feature an open kitchen where passengers can watch chefs create the pizzas they’ll enjoy with a glass of wine or other beverage.
One5 Lounge: The new One5 lounge will replace Skywalkers as the place to be for nighttime dancing and relaxing. The new lounge on deck 15 (hence its name) takes its inspiration from the chicest urban nightclubs, and will offer a cool vibe, contemporary seating and lighting, and a dramatic back-lit bar.
Crown Grill: A classic steakhouse with rich wood surroundings, this specialty restaurant features an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs custom-prepare premium aged beef and fresh seafood items, including live lobsters.

Also part of the renovation will be 10 new suites; remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery; enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner’s Martini Lounge. The newly renovated Grand Princess will debut on May 5 in Ft. Lauderdale where the ship will depart on a transatlantic crossing for her summer and fall homeport of Southampton, from which she will cruise a variety of European itineraries. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting the company's website at

And what about the other Grand Class ships with the “shopping cart” handle? Lighter materials were used in the construction of Golden Princess, Star Princess, and Caribbean Princess and there are no plans on the drawing board to redesign them by removing Skywalkers at this time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Norwegian Cruise Line Opens New Marina & Dining Facility At Great Stirrup Cay

Norwegian Cruise Line has completed the first phase of enhancements at Great Stirrup Cay, the line’s 250-acre private island in the Bahamas. On Thursday, Feb 3, the new marina and dining facility opened for guests, representing a significant milestone in the more than $20 million enhancement project currently underway. Norwegian Sky’s 2,000 passengers were the first to experience the opening of the marina basin with four docks for the island’s tenders and the new 8,500 square foot dining facility, complete with two bars and four picnic pavilions.

“Both the new marina and the dining facility greatly enhance the guest experience on Great Stirrup Cay which is our second busiest port of call this year,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and CEO. “By moving the tenders’ arrival to the marina and away from the beach, we have now opened up a great expanse of beachfront for our guests to enjoy and relax. We’ve also built a new large dining facility that is similar to the action station restaurants we have on board our Freestyle Cruising ships.”

The marina is approximately 12 feet deep at low water and is home to the island’s four tenders. It took more than eight months to excavate the basin and the entrance channel. The dining facility (pictured right) includes a central pizza making station, two grills, hot and cold food stations, as well as fresh fruits and breads. There are two full bars on either side of the facility for added convenience. The four pavilions, each more than 1800 square feet, offer picnic tables with a total seating capacity for more than 500 guests.

Enhancements to Great Stirrup Cay have been underway since January of 2010 and will continue through the end of this year. Several new island activities have been added since the project began including more than 16 wave runners, kayak rentals and an eco-adventure boat tour around the island. These are in addition to the existing snorkeling; floats; inflatable hippo slide; and parasailing. The second phase of enhancements includes an arrival/departure pavilion, additional bar facilities; several comfort stations; a band stand; cruise program activity area; private beachfront cabanas; a kid's play area; straw market; and beach volleyball courts. The beachfront will continue to be expanded on the island’s west end.

Norwegian has owned the island since 1977 when it became the first cruise line to offer an uninhabited tropical island experience exclusively for its guests. Great Stirrup Cay offers magnificent white sand beaches, majestic palms and calm, pristine waters where an abundance of colorful marine life inhabits the surrounding coral reefs.

Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Sky, and Norwegian Pearl regularly call on Great Stirrup Cay throughout the year. For more information on Norwegian, visit

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Disney Dream: Cruise Diva's Preview

The first new ship to be launched by Disney Cruise Line in over a decade is freshly christened and welcoming guests on board.

You've heard about the AquaDuck—here's what else you'll find.

Cruise Diva previews the Disney Dream, where dreams come true if only you believe and there's something for Mousketeers of all ages. Join us for a look around in our illustrated two-part ship preview.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oceania Cruises’ New Ship Marina Christened in Miami

Oceania Cruises raised the bar in the upper-premium cruise ship market with last Saturday's christening of their new ship, Marina. Godmother, “Entertainment Tonight” Host Mary Hart, named Marina at a lavish, invitation-only gala ceremony, which culminated with a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of champagne, custom-made by Armand de Brignac, crashing against the hull.

Among the ceremony highlights were inspirational performances by the Marina Choir, assembled just for this event, and the appointment of Master Chef Jacques Pépin as honorary commodore of the Oceania Cruises’ fleet. Entered into service in January 2011, Marina brings the vision of Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises and chairman & CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings, to reality with the line’s first newly built ship measuring 66,000 tons and accommodating 1,250 guests.

“The saying goes, ‘good things come to those who wait.’ Although Marina’s arrival has been long awaited, she’s more than just GOOD,” stated Del Rio “She’s the most beautiful, sophisticated and stylish ship launched in the modern era of cruising–a span of some 50 years.”

A ship of firsts, Marina features the first Bon Appétit Culinary Center, Master Chef Jacques Pépin’s first namesake restaurant at sea, Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner’s Suites, luxurious accommodations by Dakota Jackson, a Wine Spectator wine program, and a Lalique grand stairway.

Purposefully designed to carry guests to the world’s most alluring ports in elegance and style, Marina is full of rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and lustrous leathers which adorn public rooms. Facilities include 10 dining venues–six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants, an array of bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

Marina arrived in Miami on Feb 4, after her maiden voyage from Barcelona. Following a short preview cruise, she will depart on Feb 8 for the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco and San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises. Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.

The new Marina joins the Oceania Cruises’ fleet consisting of the 684-passenger Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica, which have taken guests around the world since 2002. Her sister ship Riviera will be christened in April 2012. A leader in destination cruising and defining the upper-premium market, Oceania Cruises offers gourmet cuisine, gracious service and award-winning itineraries at an exceptional value. For more information on Oceania Cruises or to order a brochure, visit or call toll-free 800-531-5658.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cruise Travel Cost Control

Those boarding passes/room keys... ultimately, they are "Sail 'n Spend" cards.

To keep your vacation budget from sinking, Cruise Diva offers Money Saving Tips that you can use when planning your cruise as well as once you are on board. We also clear up the confusion about What's Included In Your Cruise Fare (and what isn't).

You have to get to port before sailing, so we take a look at Air & Sea Programs and how you can save time, money, and aggravation on flights.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kids Sail Free on Select Disney Alaska Cruises

If your children aren't yet school-age, or if their school year ends early (as many do in southern states), you may be able to take advantage of this offer from Disney Cruise Line to book a memorable cruise to Alaska this season. Kids age 17 and under sail free on Disney Wonder when traveling with 2 full-fare Guests in the same Oceanview or Verandah stateroom on most Alaska cruises from May 3, 2011 to May 24, 2011. Government Taxes and Fees are not included.

One of the following stateroom categories must be booked to be eligible for this offer:

- Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah
- Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator's Verandah
- Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah
- Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom

Act now while this offer lasts—you can book online at, call (800) 951-3532 or contact your Travel Agent. Guests under 18 years of age must have their parent or guardian call this number. Be sure to indicate booking code "KFO" at time of booking.

Important Details
Offer is only available to U.S. and Canada residents and is valid on most sailings from May 3, 2011 to May 24, 2011 in Verandah and Oceanview staterooms only. Suite, concierge and inside staterooms are excluded. The number of staterooms allocated for this offer is limited. Eligible kids will be required to provide proof of age. Offer applies to cruise fare only. Government Taxes and Fees and Port Adventures are not included. This offer cannot be combined with any other special offers or discounts. Additional Terms and Conditions apply.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl XLV to Star on Princess Cruises “Ultimate Big Screen”

Are you ready for some football? Fans aboard all Princess Cruises ships around the world will have the opportunity to enjoy a super tailgate party at sea tomorrow (Feb 6), with prime viewing of the match-up between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. The “Big Game” will be broadcast fleetwide to passengers, including viewing on the ships’ 300-square-foot super-size “Movies Under the Stars” screens.

Passengers will be able to follow the action between the AFC and NFC Champions, plus see the halftime show with a performance by the Black Eyed Peas. Fans can enjoy the game with an array of tailgate treats including specially prepared chicken wings, pizza, pigs-in-a-blanket, and other game day "munchies," plus beer specials.

“The Super Bowl has become one of the favorite special events we show on our Movies Under the Stars screens each year,” said Jan Swartz, Princess’ executive vice president. “Passengers can also enjoy the exciting halftime show, so we expect a festive party around our poolside big screens.”

The Super Bowl is one of several special events shown on the Movies Under the Stars screens, which will also broadcast the Academy Awards on February 27. The giant LED screens are more than 300 square feet in size with a 69,000-watt sound system and have sufficient lighting power to be seen clearly at mid-day and heard even while the ship is moving at full speed – offering cruise passengers a movie experience comparable to the best shoreside movie theater. In addition to regular movie showings, other special programs presented on the giant screens include sporting events such as the college football Bowl Championship Series, video game contests, a variety of event concerts, and even midnight showings of cult films such as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Super Bowl broadcasts are planned for all ships in the Princess fleet, subject to satellite availability. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

Friday, February 4, 2011

Norwegian Cruise Line's New Show Boat

Welcome aboard Norwegian Epic as Cruise Diva's contributor Robert W. Bone shows us around, points out the best spot for quiet relaxation with a book, and explains how the entertainment on Norwegian Epic sets the bar high at sea.

After Bob explores the ship, activities, dining, and entertainment on a high energy one-week Western Caribbean sailing, he says, "On the Epic, the show must go on, and it does, at full speed ahead."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED! Scenes Filmed Aboard Carnival Dream

Fox 2000 Pictures began production on ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED!, the third installment of the blockbuster movie franchise, on Jan 22 during a Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Dream, the newest and largest ship in Carnival Cruise Lines’ fleet. Filming took place primarily on the ship’s upper, open decks with scenes featuring actor Jason Lee (reprising his role as Dave Seville) and the antics of the beloved chipmunks in the Carnival Dream’s expansive outdoor recreation areas.

Stops on the itinerary included Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, and Costa Maya, which provided a stunning tropical backdrop for many of the movie’s shipboard scenes. Twentieth Century Fox releases ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED! in theaters everywhere on Dec 16, 2011.

The first two films grossed over $804 million worldwide. Alvin and the Chipmunks was the number-one grossing family live-action DVD of 2008, while Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel has been the best-selling family DVD since its release in March 2010.

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream operates year-round, alternating 7-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cunard Line’s First Female Captain Brings Queen Victoria Back to Los Angeles

Captain Inger Olsen is at the helm of Queen Victoria’s debut American season

Danish-born Inger Olsen made history on Dec 1, 2010 by becoming the first female captain in Cunard Line’s 171-year history of sailing luxury cruise vacations. Last weekend, she continued her historic maiden sailings as Captain of Queen Victoria, as she brought the ship back to the Port of Los Angeles.

Captain Olsen and Queen Victoria are coming off the heels of the momentous Cunard Royal Rendezvous in New York City on Jan 13th, where all three of Cunard’s Queens met for a spectacular fireworks display in front of the Statue of Liberty before departing on their respective voyages. Olsen joined Queen Victoria just prior to the commencement of the ship’s debut Americas season, departing from New York and sailing to Los Angeles. During this first 17-day voyage, the ship called on Ft. Lauderdale and Bonaire, traversed the Panama Canal, and visited three ports in Mexico–Huatulco, Acapulco, and Manzanillo–before arriving in Los Angeles.

Queen Victoria's Americas season continues until March 18th, and features additional transits through the Panama Canal, four total calls to Los Angeles, two roundtrip voyages from Los Angeles to Hawaii, and one Getaway voyage to Mexico.

Forty-three-year-old Captain Olsen was raised in the Faroe Islands, which accounts for her maritime abilities, and she joined Cunard in 1997 as First Officer on board Caronia. In 2001 she transferred to sister-brand Seabourn. She sailed on Seabourn Sun and Seabourn Spirit before being promoted to the rank of Staff Captain on Seabourn Pride in 2003. Following some years with other companies within the Carnival Corp. family, Captain Olsen returned to Cunard in August this year as Deputy Captain of Queen Victoria. When not at the helm of the majestic Cunard ocean liner, Captain Olsen lives in Denmark.

For more information about Queen Victoria, visit or take an inside look at’s Queen Victoria Review.

Photo Courtesy of Cunard Line

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Viking River Cruises Transports Passengers From Cairo to Frankfurt

Viking River Cruises moved swiftly to transport passengers who were in Cairo to safety in Frankfurt, Germany following travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department. All 91 guests are now safely in a Frankfurt hotel and will travel home to the United States tomorrow.

“It was a lifelong dream for me to travel to Egypt,” said 80-year-old Betty Stein of Lafayette Hill, PA, and a Viking River Cruises guest. “While I didn’t get to see the Pyramids, I did get the opportunity to experience history in the making. The Egyptians were great, Viking was great and our Program Director was a doll. When we took off out of Cairo, we all broke out in a round of applause and we did it again when we landed in Frankfurt because we were happy to be safe.”

“Passenger safety is our #1 concern,” states Torstein Hagen, Chairman and CEO of Viking River Cruises. “Understanding the challenges on the ground, we chartered an Airbus 320 and transported 91 guests out of Cairo who had been in Egypt the previous 2-10 days. They flew to Frankfurt where their safe arrival was happily met by our staff. We have arranged for them all to return home to the U.S. tomorrow, weather permitting.”

Amidst the unrest in the region, the world’s leading river cruise line announced they have cancelled their Egypt itineraries for all departures through Feb 28, 2011, and is working to rebook those scheduled to visit the destination. Guest reaction to the company’s response has been positive as evidenced by the outpouring of support on the Viking River Cruises Facebook page. Guests who need additional information can contact Viking River Cruises directly at 1-877-668-4546 (press option #2) or Up to date announcements are also available at

Exhibit Commemorating NASA’s Mercury Space Program Opens at Grand Turk Cruise Center

When Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam docked at Grand Turk last Friday her passengers were among the first to view a brand-new unique exhibit at the Grand Turk Cruise Center that commemorates the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s (NASA) Mercury space program and the historic 1962 splashdown of the Friendship 7 capsule off the coast of Grand Turk. “Splashdown Grand Turk” is a 3,500-square-foot attraction celebrating the unique relationship of the American human spaceflight mission and its importance to Grand Turk’s history. Grand opening festivities were held before our arrival, with representatives from the Turks and Caicos Islands’ government, Carnival Corporation, and the Grand Turk Cruise Center in attendance. Special guest speakers included Janet E. Petro, deputy director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center and former NASA astronaut Winston Scott. Other special guests were students from local Grand Turk schools.

Located on the south side of the Grand Turk Cruise Center (when you exit the pier and pass through the duty-free shopping center, walk to your right), the free exhibit features replicas unique to the Mercury space program, including a scaled 20-foot-tall Atlas rocket and a full-size, three-dimensional replica of astronaut John Glenn in spacesuit, and, of course, a detailed replica of the Friendship 7 capsule, which splashed into the Atlantic in 1962, a few short miles from the island of Grand Turk. Storyboards at the exhibit depict the accomplishments of the NASA space program and detail the differences in space equipment of yesterday and today while offering an overview of the current space program and future plans.

“This exhibit together with the replica of the Friendship capsule at the entrance of the Grand Turk Airport will serve to educate and inform cruise guests, the citizens of Turks & Caicos and other visitors to the islands about this fascinating connection between Grand Turk and the early days of the Mercury space program,” said H.E. Governor Gordon Wetherell, governor of the Turks & Caicos Islands, BWI.

Opened by Carnival Corporation in 2006, the Grand Turk Cruise Center serves as a gateway to this unique destination and encompasses a state-of-the-art pier and a 14-acre complex offering a variety of shops and restaurants. The 2011 cruise season will bring 285 ship calls to the Grand Turk Cruise Center carrying approximately 625,000 visitors who will have an opportunity to learn more about Grand Turk’s involvement with the NASA space program.

For more information on the Grand Turk Cruise Center visit Additional information on the Mercury space program is available at When you visit Grand Turk, don’t forget your camera. Everyone wants their picture taken with John Glenn.