Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Norwegians Have An App For That

Everyone seems to have a smartphone app to share these days Norwegian Cruise Line has one for fans who want to click and cruise. Norwegian tells us that it's now easier and more convenient than ever to plan your cruise vacation with your family and friends.

To get the app for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, simply head over to iTunes and download it for free.

Then you'll have these features in the palm of your hand:
• Search for cruise itineraries
• Receive special offers & promotions
• Get destination and port information with photo galleries and videos
• View ship information, including deck plans and onboard amenities
• Take 360-degree virtual ship tours
• A countdown clock to your cruise
• Weather alerts
• Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Monday, April 29, 2013

Reimagine Disney Magic

An extra dose of magic is coming aboard the Disney Magic, when Disney Cruise Line’s original vessel relaunches with new spaces, reimagined areas and intriguing additions for the entire family. Guests will experience new adventures from stem to stern throughout the cruise ship that set the standard for oceangoing majesty and family fun.

From a new grand atrium lobby and a children’s area of “super hero” proportions to a three-story water thrill slide and a spa to stimulate the “Senses,” there are plenty of new and magical surprises in store for cruise guests. The ship features fun new experiences with Marvel characters, the first time Super Hero icons from the Marvel Universe have been introduced on a Disney Cruise Line ship.

“Storytelling is at the heart of everything we do,” says Joe Lanzisero, senior creative vice president for Walt Disney Imagineering. “Walt Disney was a master storyteller and knew how to engage people’s emotions into stories. Our job is to take what we learned from Walt and apply it to the experiences on board our ships.”

Here are some highlights of the new “magic” in store for guests aboard the Disney Magic after the “reimagineering” transformation of the ship that takes place during dry dock Sept. 7-Oct. 10, 2013 in Cadiz, Spain:

A Grand First Impression
When guests board the Disney Magic, they enter the grand atrium lobby that is redesigned to be “elegant art deco, inspired by elements of the sea,” according to Lanzisero. The spacious and spectacular three-deck lobby features a palette of vibrant coral, blue and aquamarine seashell-inspired designs. The art deco atrium chandelier is inspired by rays of the sun and the glistening ocean surface. Opulent furnishings, a grand piano and giant portholes recall the days of early 20th century ocean liners. The lobby’s centerpiece is a cold-cast bronze statue of “Helmsman Mickey” keeping watch as guests stroll past. The statue, which has stood in the Disney Magic atrium since its launch, will receive a special makeover bringing new luster to its golden hue.

Mickey Mouse Club
New Characters Join the Fun
Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to 3- to 12-year-old children, is a completely re-imagined area that transports children to the magical realms of super heroes, adventuresome toys, fanciful fairies, and Mickey Mouse’s club for creativity and fun. With Marvel now a part of the Walt Disney Company family, this will mark the first time the Super Hero icons of Marvel have been introduced on a Disney Cruise Line ship. Marvel and Walt Disney Imagineers have created a new space for children to enter into the Marvel Universe.

in Marvel’s Avengers Academy young crime-fighters will be transported to a high-tech command post used by The Avengers for special missions and operations training. Adjacent to Marvel’s Avengers Academy is Andy’s Room, where stars of the Disney-Pixar “Toy Story” trilogy come to life in a multi-level space stocked with all of Andy’s favorite toys. Next door is Pixie Hollow, the enchanted land of Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. In this magical forest setting, Tinker Bell’s teapot house serves as a costume closet and children can make crafts while sitting on stools shaped like mushrooms and acorns. Another new children’s area in the Oceaneer Club is the Mickey Mouse Club where kids can create crafts on ear-shaped tables and play with wacky, magnetic spinning gears in an oversized activity called Goofy Gears.

For the youngest cruisers—ages three months to three years—is the new It’s a Small World Nursery. Inspired by the style of Disney Legend Mary Blair, this whimsical world is a place of age-specific fun and discovery, with trained counselors.

The upper ship decks of Disney Magic have been redesigned for plenty of splashtacular fun, with waterful adventures that include a three-story water slide for thrill-seekers and a Huey, Dewey and Louie-themed toddler splash zone for smaller ducklings. Water thrills are found on the AquaDunk, a three-story body slide that begins with a surprise launch. Riders step inside a translucent tube and await the near-vertical launch that takes place when the floor beneath them opens like a trap door. The drop sends guests on an exhilarating, swift and splashy ride in a translucent tube that extends 20 feet over the side of the ship. Guests taller than 48 inches can enjoy the AquaDunk.

Guests can also soak in the sun and the water fun with AquaLab, an interactive water playground open to kids ages 3 and up. In the AquaLab, families can frolic among pop jets, geysers and bubblers in this fun and fanciful 1,800-square-foot space, while the Twist n’ Spout water slide gets them delightfully drenched with more than 250 feet of sliding fun of loops and turns. Twist n’ Spout is for guests between 38 and 64 inches tall.

Tots up to age 3 can play in the new Nephews’ Splash Zone, a splash-a-second area dedicated to interactive fun and starring Donald Duck’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. The area features water play with pop jets, squirting figures of Donald Duck’s nephews and plenty of high seas hijinks.

Disney Dining With an Extra Dash of Pixie Dust
New restaurants and new technology are on the menu for the restaurants aboard Disney Magic:

Animator’s Palate is updated with all-new, animation-adorned walls and larger high-definition flat-screens to provide the best views of the animation magic that takes place all around. A heaping helping of entertainment is served up during the brand-new “Drawn to Magic” experience at Animator’s Palate. Throughout this fresh take on Disney Cruise Line’s much beloved classic dinner celebration, the restaurant’s black and white “blank canvas” explodes into full color as favorite Disney and Disney-Pixar characters, such as Rapunzel from “Tangled” and Remy from “Ratatouille,” come to life right before guests’ eyes. On every Disney Magic cruise, guests will have an opportunity to experience the tremendously popular “Animation Magic” dinner show that celebrates the magic of Disney animation and allows families to create and participate in an innovative way. First unveiled on the Disney Fantasy, “Animation Magic” invites guests to create their own characters that magically spring to life, become fully animated and join the show onscreen.

The vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro creates an energetic atmosphere in Carioca’s, a new restaurant named after Donald Duck’s parrot pal in “The Three Caballeros,” Jose Carioca. The restaurant is designed to be “fun by day, elegant by night,” says Lanzisero. During the day, there’s a festival theme and, when night falls, the atmosphere transforms into an after-hours scene of Rio de Janiero, with city-side windows softly illuminated and lanterns flickering overhead. Carioca’s replaces Parrot Cay restaurant, currently on the Disney Magic.

Another reimagined restaurant on Disney Magic is Cabanas, a casual dining experience with food and beverage stations during daytime hours and a table-service restaurant during dinner, which replaces the current Topsider Buffet. More inside space is being added, increasing the total square-footage of air-conditioned area by nearly 3,400 square feet to more than 9,460 square feet and a total of 455 seats.

Disney Cruise Line’s popular Palo restaurant for adults receives a makeover with stylish fixtures, glass artwork and new stone floors. Red and white striped poles reminiscent of those found throughout the canals in Venice are a design feature.

The Fun’s Just Begun When Nighttime Comes
After a day of frolicking on the decks and out and about the ship, Disney Magic offers big city-style fun in After Hours, the nighttime adult entertainment district. An all-new lineup of clubs includes venues for dancing, comedy, music, and variety shows. After Hours replaces Beat Street, currently on the Disney Magic.

O’Gills Pub
Fathoms night club is a celebration of the sea that utilizes special effects, lighting and sound to create different atmospheres from early evening to night. For a more low-key nighttime experience, there is Keys piano bar and lounge. Pub days of olde are recalled in O’Gills, an Irish pub and sports bar designed with traditional decor. Live televised athletic events are on tap for sports-lovers.

Another reimagined area is Studio Sea, which will be transformed into D Lounge, offering a variety of family-friendly games, shows, dances and activities designed for all ages.

Open Up, and Say “Spa”
Redesigned with a sleek and contemporary style, Senses Spa & Salon is being expanded by 725 square feet, to a total size of nearly 11,500 square feet to include a new Smile Spa offering teeth whitening services, a new barbershop for men, and the new Chill Spa that provides treatments especially for teens 13 to 17 years of age.

Putting more “room” in Staterooms
This is a tough challenge within a limited amount of square footage, but to provide more usable storage space the bed frames are elevated to provide more room underneath for luggage and other gear.

“We have always been committed to reinvesting in our fleet and continuously making shipboard enhancements that elevate the guest experience,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “What we’re doing with the Disney Magic is yet another step forward in our commitment to delivering the absolute best family vacations at sea.”

Images Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas Begins Year-Round Service From Port Canaveral

Royal Caribbean International has introduced Enchantment of the Seas to her new homeport of Port Canaveral, where she replaces Monarch of the Seas and continues the cruise lines year-round, 3- and 4-night Bahamas itineraries.

Enchantment of the Seas joins fleetmate Freedom of the Seas at their Port Canaveral homeport, and her arrival marks the first time in four years that Royal Caribbean has introduced a new ship to the port. Ideal for corporate and incentive travel as well as for vacation travelers, Enchantment of the Seas delivers Royal Caribbean’s signature onboard amenities on short Bahamas getaways.

Fresh from an extensive revitalization, Enchantment of the Seas has new dining options, such as the complimentary Park Café where guests can grab gourmet sandwiches, salads and more; a Royal Babies and Tots Nursery in the cruise line’s Adventure Ocean kids’ program, which offers exclusive children’s programming developed in partnership with Fisher-Price and Crayola; and the R Bar, a retro-inspired bar in the ship’s Centrum that serves craft cocktails from expert mixologists. Guests also enjoy bow-to-stern Wi-Fi service, flat-panel televisions in every staterooms and interactive digital signage.

By day, guests can lounge by the pool and enjoy a new oversized outdoor movie screen; join in an invigorating session in the Vitality Fitness Center; take in a rejuvenating treatment in the Vitality Day Spa; and achieve new heights on Enchantment of the Seas’ rock-climbing wall and bungee trampoline. At night, guests can celebrate a special occasion in Royal Caribbean’s signature Chops Grille steakhouse; enjoy the cruise line’s award-winning Broadway-style musical revue in the Orpheum Theater; dance into the night in one of four lounges; and enjoy world-class excitement in the Casino Royale. Throughout, suite and Crown & Anchor Society member guests can respectively relax and enjoy the new exclusive Concierge and Diamond Lounges.

Every Monday and Friday, Enchantment of the Seas departs on short roundtrip Bahamas itineraries, calling at Nassau and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island that features beautiful beaches, shopping in a colorful craft market, and choose among a variety of thrilling watersports options.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Disney Cruise Line Monitors "Door Decorations"

We aren't quite certain how the practice of decorating cruise ship cabin doors got started, but it's grown in popularity over the past fifteen or so years. On theme cruises you might even be encouraged to decorate your door and possibly win a prize if yours is deemed the best. Passengers get very creative, but the materials they use to attach their decorations can damage door surfaces when removed. Keep that in mind before your next voyage on Disney Cruise Line or you could end up paying a $100 penalty.

Disney Cruise Line prohibits the use of any type of adhesive, including tape and removable gel adhesives, or over-the-door hanging organizers on doors. Passengers may only use magnetic decorations on their exterior cabin doors.

Cruise Diva has learned that passengers who put non-magnetic decorations on doors will be reminded of the line's policy. If the decorations are not removed, the passenger faces a fee to cover the cost of repairs.

Letters regarding this policy will be available in all cabins. Magnetic door decorations can be purchased in shops onboard and at guest services. Or, you can bring your own from home.

The following letter from Disney Cruise Line will be placed in guests' staterooms in the future:
Dear Guests,

We are glad that you have joined us aboard the Disney (Ship Name)!

As you may be aware, it is important to us to keep our facilities looking their best for all our guests. As part of our commitment to this area of focus, we ask that you do not affix anything to your stateroom door utilizing tape or any adhesive, including removable gel adhesives. We have found that these adhesives damage the finish on our stateroom doors; therefore we ask that you limit door decoration to those of the magnetic variety.

Concurrently, we ask that guests not use over-the-door hanging organizers as they have been found to scratch and/or disfigure stateroom doors and trim.

Guests found with damaged doors are assessed a $100 damage fee per incident to cover the cost of repairs.

Your attention to this matter will greatly assist us in keeping our shipboard environment looking ship-shape. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Guest Services, Deck 3 Mid-ship.

If interested, magnetic door decorations are available for purchase in our merchandise area. For your convenience, magnetic strips are also available at Guest Services.

We appreciate your cooperation and hope you have an enjoyable sailing.
Image (c) CruiseDiva.com

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crystal Cruises Extinguishes the Smoking Lamp

Crystal Cruises, whose current policy for smokers allows cigarette smoking in cabins and in designated areas of certain bars, lounges, and open decks, is about to tighten up their restrictions.

At the beginning of 2014, all indoor smoking areas on the luxury line's two ships will be eliminated, except in the Connoisseur Club lounge, where cigarette and cigar smoking is allowed, and designated open deck spaces. Smokers will no longer be able to light up in accommodations, lounges, and nightclubs.

The change was made after Crystal considered extensive guest input regarding lifestyle choices and determined their desire was for an expansion of the non-smoking environment.

Image Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Holland America Line Commemorates Its 140th Anniversary With 'Signature' Tulip

To commemorate its 140th anniversary, Holland America Line held an unusual christening last week. There was probably champagne involved, but it wasn't broken against the hull of a new ship...it was the official christening of the new Holland America Line "Signature" tulip that took place in the Netherlands on Friday, April 19 at the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens. President and CEO of Holland America Line Stein Kruse participated in the ceremony along with the President of the Board of Directors of Keukenhof Walter Jansen and Master Grower Jan Pennings.

A white-petal variety with delicate fringed petals was chosen to honor the company that was founded at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, April 18, 1873, as a trans-Atlantic cargo and passenger shipping company. Today the company's fleet of 15 premium cruise ships sails more than 500 cruises on all seven continents.

"Holland America Line has a deep connection to the Netherlands, and to have a tulip named especially for our company is a true honor," said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. "I can't imagine a more appropriate way to celebrate our 140th anniversary than to christen our tulip in the world's most beautiful and famous gardens."

In a November 2012 ceremony, Holland America Line "Signature" tulip bulbs were handed over from the grower near the windmill at Keukenhof that Holland America donated in 1957. In December, bulbs were planted at the cruise line's Seattle headquarters and its Southampton, England, office. In addition to collaborating with the gardens to develop the tulip, Holland America Line participated in the annual Bloemencorso Bollenstreek flower parade on April 19 and 20. The line last participated in the parade in 1948 when the company entered a 35-foot flower float modeled on s.s. Westerdam that was awarded first place.

Known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof is the world's largest flower garden, located in Lisse, the Netherlands. Approximately 7 million flower bulbs of 1,600 varieties are planted annually at the park. The Keukenhof is only open for two months each year, from March 21 through May 20, and attracts more than 800,000 visitors from around the world.

Image Courtesy of Holland America Line

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cruise Review: Holland America Line's Zuiderdam

Georgina Cruz shared that this spring she and her husband Humberto wanted to explore some of the off-the-beaten path islands of the Southern Caribbean, South and Central America, and the Panama Canal from Florida—but they wanted to do so conveniently and in a relaxed way, unpacking only once, and above all, without having to fly.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher, noted—they just did not want that first step to be at the airport. It was simple! Georgina and Humberto booked an 11-day Panama Canal Sunfarer voyage on Holland America’s Zuiderdam, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

Join our favorite cruise journalist Georgina Cruz aboard Holland America Line's Zuiderdam to spend a day in a cabana on the line’s private island Half Moon Cay, explore islands in the Southern Caribbean, and venture into the Panama Canal.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Silversea Offers Cruises For Wine Enthusiasts

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is rolling out a new Wine Series collection of 11 voyages this year designed for wine enthusiasts. On each wine cruise, travelers with a passion for fine wines will enjoy sampling great vintages and learning about the tradition and art of winemaking in special tastings and lectures conducted by wine professionals, vineyard owners, and winemakers. Depending on the itinerary, guests may also have the chance to explore some of the world's most celebrated wine regions on optional guided shore excursions. On board each of Silversea's luxurious cruise ships, guests also enjoy an extensive complimentary selection of fine red and white wine pairings with both lunch and dinner.

"Our wine-themed voyages offer guests the chance to broaden their understanding and appreciation of one of life's most cherished luxuries—fine wine," said Ellen Bettridge, Silversea's president of the Americas. "We've invited top experts from some of the world's most acclaimed vineyards and wineries to mingle and interact with our guests, guiding them through entertaining tastings and lectures that add a unique and enriching dimension to their travel experience."

Following is a list of the Wine Series experts and the voyages in 2013 on which they will be hosting an enrichment program devoted to wine appreciation:
Eileen Crane, founding winemaker and president of Domaine Carneros
Lawrence d'Almeida, Silversea Wine Ambassador & former winemaker
--Voyage 7309, Silver Explorer, April 29-May 13, Lisbon to Portsmouth

Lawrence d'Almeida, Silversea Wine Ambassador & former winemaker
--Voyage 1329, Silver Cloud, Oct 16-25, Nice to Barcelona
--Voyage 2336, Silver Wind, Dec 3-21, Las Palmas to Cape Town

Brian Davis, wine connoisseur and holder of Wine & Spirit Education Trust diploma
--Voyage 4308, Silver Whisper, May 1-16, Fort Lauderdale to Southampton

Ken & Grace Evenstad, founders, Domaine Serene Vineyards & Winery
--Voyage 2316, Silver Wind, May 30-June 8, Rome to Venice

Lyn Farmer, wine expert and senior editor of The Wine News magazine
--Voyage 3328, Silver Shadow, Sept 12-29, Vancouver to Tokyo
--Voyage 3329, Silver Shadow, Sept 29-Oct 9, Tokyo to Shanghai
--Voyage 1334, Silver Cloud, Dec 20-Jan 5, Buenos Aires to Valparaiso

Tor Kenward, founder of Tor Kenward Family Wines
--Voyage 5312, Silver Spirit, May 10-18, Venice to Istanbul

Florencia Palmaz, CEO of Palmaz Vineyards
--Voyage 1333, Silver Cloud, Dec 11-20, Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires

Pam Starr, co-owner and manager, Crocker & Starr Winery
--Voyage 1314, Silver Cloud, May 9-16, Barcelona to Monte Carlo
For more information on Silversea Cruises, visit silversea.com.

Photo © CruiseDiva.com

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Carnival Sunshine to Feature an Array of Dining Choices

The latest in the series of Carnival Sunshine videos showcases the expanded variety of food selections that will be available aboard the totally transformed ship when it debuts next month. From burritos and tacos at new BlueIguana Cantina and family-style Italian dining at Cucina del Capitano to the new full-service JiJi Asian Kitchen and the ever-popular Guy’s Burger Joint developed by Food Network personality Guy Fieri, Carnival Sunshine guests will have a tempting array of culinary choices.

The video also showcases the transformation of the Liquid Lounge which will serve as the venue for entertainment options like the high-tech Playlist Productions revues and the all-ages Hasbro, The Game Show. At night, this room transforms into a sizzling dance club. These are but a few of the many upgrades that will be featured on the Carnival Sunshine, which is in the final stages of being rebuilt in a massive $155 million dry dock project at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

Carnival Sunshine makes its maiden voyage May 5 from Venice, Italy, and then embarks on a series of 9- and 12-day Mediterranean cruises from Venice and Barcelona through October. That will be followed by a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New Orleans Nov. 1-17, positioning the vessel for year-round Caribbean 7-day service from the Big Easy.

Video Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The "Seven Sins of Cruising"

Our friends at The Cruise Web, a Washington, D.C.-based travel agency that specializes in cruises, has just created an infographic that they have shared with us. It's called the "Seven Sins of Cruising"—a fun look at all the indulgences that come with a true cruise getaway. We think you'll enjoy it as much as we did.

The Cruise Web's Seven Sins of Cruising Infographic

Friday, April 19, 2013

Meet the "New" Wind Surf

As part of Windstar Cruises' fleet-wide renovation, Wind Surf completed a stem to stern refurbishment in 2012, bringing a modern, casual elegance to the brand's private yacht-style cruise experience.

Take a look...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Two Additional Carnival Triumph Sailings Cancelled

The not unexpected news from Carnival Cruise Lines is that Carnival Triumph won’t return to service as previously announced. Carnival is cancelling an additional two five-day voyages of Carnival Triumph due to damages resulting from a severe storm on Wednesday, April 3, in Mobile, Alabama, where it was undergoing repairs at a local wet dock facility.

During the storm, which had winds exceeding 70 miles per hour, Carnival Triumph broke away from its moorings at the BAE shipyard when four of the bollards on the pier that the mooring lines were tied to broke apart, causing damage to the vessel and delaying the repair work. The ship was towed to the Mobile Cruise Terminal where repairs continue.

The situation has resulted in a 10-day delay in the scheduled repair plan. Carnival Triumph is now scheduled to return to service from Galveston, Texas, on June 13. Guests on the cancelled sailings will receive a full refund, reimbursement for travel expenses, and a future cruise discount of 25 percent. Travel agent commissions will be protected.

To complete the remaining repairs, Carnival Triumph will eventually be repositioned from Mobile to Freeport, The Bahamas. In order for the repairs to be fully completed, Carnival Triumph must be placed in a dry dock facility large enough to accommodate a vessel of this size, which is not available in Mobile.

“We’re extremely disappointed to have to cancel these additional voyages and, although the cause was beyond our control, we sincerely apologize to our guests for this disruption to their vacation plans,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “We know how much our guests were looking forward to their vacations and we sincerely regret the inconvenience this will cause.”

Carnival Cruise Lines Announces Enhancements in Operating Reliability & Guest Comfort

Carnival Cruise Lines, the namesake brand of Carnival Corporation has announced the implementation of a program to significantly enhance emergency power capabilities, introduce new fire safety technology, and improve the level of operating redundancies across its entire 24-ship fleet. This enhancement program will cost more than $300 million, and rapid upgrades have already begun. The actions by Carnival Cruise Lines will expand the availability of hotel services for the comfort of its guests in the rare instance of a shipboard event that involves the loss of main power. In addition, the plan will reinforce key shipboard operating systems to further prevent a potential loss of primary power. The improvement plan is the result of a comprehensive operational review, overseen by parent company Carnival Corporation, initiated immediately after the Carnival Triumph fire in February 2013.

"All of Carnival Cruise Lines' ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements," said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. "However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations. These initiatives reflect our commitment to safe and reliable operations and an enjoyable cruising experience for the nearly 4.5 million guests who sail with Carnival Cruise Lines each year."

Cahill and Micky Arison, the Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation, explain it further...

Increased Emergency Generator Power
The initial increase in emergency generator power across Carnival Cruise Lines' fleet of 24 ships will be completed over the next several months. An additional emergency generator will be installed on each vessel to provide for 100 percent of stateroom and public toilets, fresh water and elevators in the unlikely event of a loss of main power. The work is already underway and will not affect scheduled itineraries. Upon completion of the initial phase, the line will install a second permanent back-up power system on each ship to provide an even greater level of hotel and guest services if main power is lost. These additional services will include expanded cooking facilities and cold food storage, as well as internet and telephone communications.

"Although every ship in our fleet currently has emergency back-up power which is designed to enable the continuous operation of safety equipment and some hotel services, it is our intent to significantly bolster that back-up power to support the core hotel services. With this improvement, we will better ensure guest comfort in the rare instance of a loss of main power," said Cahill.

Increased Fire Prevention, Detection & Suppression Systems
The company will also make additional investments in the newest and most technically advanced fire prevention, detection and suppression systems. This includes upgrading the existing water mist fire suppression systems already in place on Carnival vessels to the newest generation. When triggered, this high-pressure water mist system instantly creates a larger and thicker blanket of water droplets than the present system. As the water droplets evaporate, the system also rapidly cools any hot areas to prevent the possibility of a fire restarting.

"On Carnival Triumph, our fire systems were effective and our teams performed well in controlling and extinguishing the fire. However, we want to take advantage of the latest and most-advanced generation of fire safety systems to enhance the current extensive capabilities across our fleet," added Cahill.

Enhanced Operating Redundancies
All of Carnival Cruise Lines ships have two separate, redundant engine rooms. The company's operational review has identified modifications to further decrease the likelihood of losing propulsion or primary power, as happened on Carnival Triumph in February. The modifications will include a reconfiguration of certain engine-related electrical components. On ships where these enhancements will be made, the design and fabrication of specialized components will require longer lead times for completion, in contrast to the immediate upgrades to back-up emergency power and other systems.

Last month, Carnival Cruise Lines announced results from the first phase of the company's operational review, specifically addressing Carnival Triumph and Carnival Sunshine, both of which are currently out of service. The plan for each of these ships addresses each of the three areas outlined above.

Company to Form New Safety & Reliability Review Board
Carnival Cruise Lines also announced the formation of a Safety & Reliability Review Board comprised of outside experts with significant expertise in marine and occupational safety, reliability and maintenance, marine regulatory compliance and quality control/assurance. The company already receives oversight and input from outside regulatory authorities and industry experts. The new Review Board will provide an additional, independent third-party perspective, drawing from deep experience across a number of relevant fields and organizations. The Review Board will be comprised of five external members. Active searches are underway for candidates with previous experience in organizations such as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and National Transportation Safety Board, as well as leading airlines and equipment manufacturers.

Carnival Corporation & plc Fleet Enhancements
In addressing the other brands they operate, parent company Carnival Corporation previously announced a corporate-wide operational review of all 10 brands and 101 ships. The review process will include learnings from the recent incidents that can be applied across the corporation's fleet. Carnival Corporation & plc has confirmed that, based on the results of the ongoing review, the latest versions of technologies and enhancements will also be implemented on the remainder of the fleet where they are not already present. The overall program of enhancements across the corporation's 101-ship fleet, including Carnival Cruise Lines' ships, is expected to cost between $600 and $700 million.

"Our fleet already operates at a high standard of reliability. The investments announced today for Carnival Cruise Lines, and those we will continue to make, will reinforce our ability to consistently deliver the customer experience that 10 million people every year have come to expect from us across our fleet of 101 ships. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and comfort of our guests and crew, and we will use the full resources of our company to meet that commitment," said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

Initial implementation of the upgrades to the Carnival Corporation fleet will take place during the next several months. Each class of ship is different and often systems differ on ships within a class, so the enhancements will be tailored to each vessel. All findings from the operational review will be shared with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) as part of the industry-wide operational review announced in March.

Video Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Carnival Conquest Assists Mariners in Distress Near Key West

Late last Friday afternoon, April 12, while Carnival Cruise Lines' ship Carnival Conquest was approximately 40 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida, a raft with 13 individuals on board was spotted.

In coordination with the United States Coast Guard, the 13 Cuban nationals were taken on board the Carnival Conquest and provided food, water, and medical treatment. Later, the Carnival Conquest rendezvoused with a U. S. Coast Guard cutter near Key West to transfer them to authorities.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Royal Caribbean International Reveals Quantum-Class Ships

Unmatched Design, Skydiving Experience, Bumper Cars, Virtual Balconies and More

Building on a legacy of more than 40 years of innovation and creative design, Royal Caribbean International today unveiled first details of the next generation of cruise vacations - Quantum cruising. The Quantum class of ships will take a dramatic leap forward, introducing more game-changing "firsts at sea" such as a skydiving experience, a thrilling adventure that transports guests more than 300 feet in the air on a breathtaking journey; cutting-edge transformative venues including the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line's largest and most advanced staterooms ever. These new, larger staterooms enable innovation in design, storage and comfort including the industry's first virtual balconies. Every stateroom on Quantum of the Seas will have a view. The much anticipated details were unveiled by stage, television and film star, Kristin Chenoweth - Godmother of Quantum of the Seas - at an event in New York City this morning.

"This new generation of ships gave us an opportunity to make another leap in vessel design. Innovation has always been part of our DNA and we have taken advantage of all that creativity to design Quantum cruising," stated Richard D. Fain, chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. "The unique features on Quantum will boggle our guests' minds, but the real strength of the design is how our people have integrated all these diverse components to create a comfortable and exciting experience."

Unprecedented "Firsts At Sea"
Having led the industry by introducing incredible signature offerings such as the Rock Climbing Wall, ice-skating rink, FlowRider surf simulator, Central Park and AquaTheater, Royal Caribbean will advance the onboard experience even further by delivering a groundbreaking lineup of "firsts at sea" on Quantum-class ships. New features exclusive to Royal Caribbean include:
-- RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving experience at sea which allows
everyone from first-time flyers to seasoned skydivers to enjoy the sheer
thrill and exhilaration of skydiving in a safe, controlled, and
simulated environment.
-- North Star, an engineering marvel (pictured above), takes guests to new heights -
literally - with a jewel-shaped, glass capsule, transporting them on a
spectacular journey more than 300 feet above the ocean and over the
sides of the ship to deliver awe-inspiring 360-degree views.
"We are excited to be introducing major advancements in ship design and offerings on Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas," said Adam Goldstein, president & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "The innovative spirit of our brand is alive and well, and with Quantum class, we will deliver more unexpected activities in the most extraordinary spaces. Our guests should prepare to be wowed."

New Transformational Signature Venues
With Quantum class, Royal Caribbean marries new innovations with significant architectural design elements to introduce spectacular spaces. On Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas guests will find endless possibilities with three new signature venues.
-- A revolutionary concept, Two70 degree is a multi-level great room that
is sure to become one of the most iconic venues onboard Quantum class.
The space is aptly named for its magnificent 270-degree panoramic sea
views through vast, floor-to-ceiling glass walls spanning almost three
decks at the stern of the ship. Two70 degree seamlessly fuses
entertainment and technology to create a transformative journey from day
to night. The perfect setting to connect with the sea during the day,
Two70 degree provides a modern and comfortable living room space for
guests to sit back and relax. As the sun sets and the lights go down,
the dazzling space gradually reveals its evening persona, delighting
guests with spectacular, mysterious and unexpected entertainment at
night. Unparalleled technology means every show at Two70 degree is
multidimensional and immerses the audience through a combination of live
performers, including aerialists, as well as breathtaking video and
digital scenery.
-- The largest indoor active space at sea, SeaPlex is a distinctive and
flexible sporting and entertainment venue with thrilling new features
that will inspire guests of all ages to let loose and connect with their
playful sides. Delivering more first at sea experiences, guests can
experience a circus school with flying trapeze, or play basketball on a
full-size regulation basketball court. By night, the first-ever bumper
car and roller skating offerings deliver fun and excitement. Or, guests
can dance to music orchestrated from a floating DJ booth which hovers
above the activity below.
-- A performance hall and the hottest live music venue on Quantum class,
Music Hall is the place for guests to enjoy intimate and exclusive
access to live performances, DJs, theme night parties, billiards and
more. Rebellious and edgy, Music Hall's two-story design is inspired by
the spirit of rock and roll.
The Next Generation of Stateroom Accommodations
With guest comfort and convenience in mind, Royal Caribbean debuts the most spacious and luxurious accommodations ever, introducing rooms that on average are nine percent larger than those of Oasis class ships. Sophisticated, upscale design, layouts and finishes create a home away from home. Boasting Royal Caribbean's new smart design concept, each stateroom features contemporary designs with easy-to-use customizable layouts and intuitive larger storage solutions.
-- Now every room on Quantum of the Seas has a view, with the exciting
introduction of Virtual Balcony staterooms. This design concept brings
virtual balconies to interior staterooms offering expansive real-time
views of the ocean and exciting destinations.
-- For multi-generational families, Family-Connected staterooms deliver
more flexibility, using three different stateroom categories which
connect to form a special layout that provides separate bedrooms and
bathrooms for all. These accommodations allow families and groups of
friends traveling together to enjoy the best of both worlds when it
comes to together and alone time.
-- With Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean introduces the largest variety
of stateroom categories, including new Studio staterooms, some with
balconies for single travelers, three Junior Suite categories and larger
Loft Suites.
Signature Features Return and More New Surprises To Come
The adults-only Solarium, along with an outdoor pool, a new indoor pool with operable roof and a H2O Zone kids' aqua park, will be featured on the top deck. Signature Royal Caribbean venues and experiences popular with families such as the Rock Climbing Wall; FlowRider surf simulator; the award-winning Adventure Ocean children's program; the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery; and the DreamWorks entertainment and events featuring the characters from animated movies: Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar; will all be back on Quantum class. Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas also will make a quantum leap forward in its culinary offerings providing the most flexible dining options and more specialty restaurants than ever before. Additional details about dining, entertainment and other unexpected features and amenities on Quantum of the Seas will be unveiled in the coming months.

Quantum class will debut in fall 2014 with Quantum of the Seas, followed by her sister-ship Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015. Quantum ships span 18 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of the New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty on 7- to 12-night itineraries during the winter 2014/15 season. Bookings will be available to Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program members starting May 27, 2013 before opening to the general public on June 4. More information on Quantum of the Seas is available at RoyalCaribbean.com/Quantum.

Carnival Corporation to Reimburse Federal Government

How often do we hear about any number of incidents when people find themselves in trouble and in need of rescue? Stop and think about it and you'll realize it happens all the time. Mountain climbers get stranded, skiers are caught in avalanches, and small children go missing in national parks. State and federal authorities come to their aid with no thought of being compensated for their time and effort. So, why should things be different at sea? Apparently some members of the United States Congress seem to think they are, and have made a big stink about the cost of federal assistance to Carnival Cruise Lines' ships.

In response to negative publicity, we have received this statement: "Carnival Corporation is in the process of voluntarily submitting payment to the U.S. Treasury Department to reimburse the federal government for costs related to the Carnival Triumph and Splendor incidents. It should be clearly noted that at no point in time has Carnival stated it would refuse to reimburse federal agencies if they sought remuneration. Although no agencies have requested remuneration, the company has made the decision to voluntarily provide reimbursement to the federal government."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Royal Princess Satisfies Every Craving For Casual Dining

In addition to its many elegant dining options, Princess Cruises’ new Royal Princess will feature a wide selection of casual eateries where passengers can grab a snack or enjoy a relaxed meal. The expanded atrium on the newest Princess ship will offer a variety of options, including Alfredo’s pizzeria, the new Ocean Terrace seafood bar, and the favorite International Café. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy ice cream and crepes at Gelato, while tea lovers will relish the new tea tower. The poolside Trident Grill will transform into a traditional smokehouse barbecue in the evenings and the Outrigger Bar will feature a range of margaritas accompanied by made-to-order Mexican fare.

In addition, the ship’s Horizon Court buffet will be transformed with fresh new options. Live stations serving regional fare, evening specialty options such as a crab shack and fondue restaurant, expanded seating and a dedicated pastry shop will revolutionize this favorite eatery. These and many other dining options will whet diners’ appetites in the latest Royal Princess preview video below.

“Although Royal Princess will be serving up some spectacular meals in its main dining rooms and specialty restaurants, we know passengers also want great food when they’re looking for a quick bite or a casual option,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “With these many informal choices, passengers will find the perfect taste, whether it’s pizza, seafood, Mexican, barbeque or even a sweet treat from Gelato.”

Casual dining options aboard Royal Princess include:

• Alfredo’s – Serving up fresh, hand-tossed Neapolitan-style pizzas hot out of the oven, Alfredo’s pizzeria has quickly become a passenger favorite since its debut aboard Grand Princess in 2011. Aboard Royal Princess the sit-down restaurant’s complimentary menu will be expanded to include a variety of Italian antipasti, soup and salads, a hearty calzone and pizza baguette, and delicious baked pastas in addition to desserts. Alfredo’s will offer more spacious seating and an open kitchen where passengers can watch as chefs craft the best pizza at sea.

• Gelato – Just one deck under Alfredo’s, Gelato – a charming new gelateria – offers a variety of creamy Italian-inspired gelato and ice cream creations, bringing Italy that much closer to Royal Princess. Passengers can have their favorite flavors in a delicious waffle cone or ice cream sandwich. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic sundaes will be available, as well as sweet crespelle with a choice of either nutty banana or spiced Washington Apple filling. Or passengers can indulge in a classic banana split—or a pineapple split for an old favorite with a new twist.

• International Café – A passenger favorite, the International Café will be serving up some new savory and sweet items including cupcakes, pies, and muffins to go with the café’s array of pastries, panini sandwiches, fresh-baked cookies and specialty coffees. In addition, a new variety of hot sandwiches with international flavors debuts, including Cuban sandwiches and Mexican tortas. The space also will have an expanded seating area, making it the perfect area to grab a light meal, meet friends for coffee or enjoy a snack while watching the array of Piazza entertainers.

• Tea Tower – At Royal Princess’ Piazza tea tower, passengers can purchase premium pre-blended tea varieties or blend their own individually tailored teas. Up to 250 tea varieties will be available, and the onboard tea sommelier will host tea tasting and tea flight events.

• Ocean Terrace – The new Ocean Terrace seafood bar will indulge those who love treats from the sea. The bar will offer an array of à la carte ocean treasures, including a flight of oyster shooters, fresh sushi and sashimi, ahi tuna poke, king crab cocktail, chili and lime crab margarita, a royal lobster dish, a chilled seafood sampler, and the world-renowned smoked Balik salmon, the salmon of the tsars.

• Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro – One of Princess’ most popular casual dining options, the Horizon Court will have expanded seating on Royal Princess and new options throughout the day. For early risers on the go, new “Grab & Go” options are available, while healthy breakfast options will offer the fuel passengers need to make the most of a day at sea or ashore. At lunch, a variety of new live stations feature a regional flair, including a rotisserie, Japanese Hibachi Grill and stations featuring Asian, Mexican and Mediterranean fare. For dinner, the Horizon Court will feature themed events such as a German Beer Fest and a Gaucho Barbecue feast. A new “Crab Shack” comes complete with crackers, bibs and buckets, and “Fondues” serves a menu with three different cheese fondues: classic Swiss with white wine, German cheese fondue with beer, and a French cheese fondue with champagne. Also in the Horizon Court, the largest pastry shop at sea serves up croissants & pastries during breakfast time, warm desserts & French Patisserie at lunch, as well as cakes, Flambes, tarts and a Croquembouche in the evening.

• Trident Grill – In addition to the hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken sandwiches passengers love at the Trident Grill, aboard Royal Princess this poolside spot will transform into a traditional smokehouse-style barbecue each evening, serving up on a rotational basis hearty plates of jumbo chicken wings, Route 66 beef chili and Texas-style barbecue brisket.

• Outrigger Bar – This top-deck bar celebrates throughout the day and includes a Margarita Bar starting a lunch time, accompanied by made-to-order burritos, fresh tortilla chips with guacamole and Mexican salsa to keep the fiesta going into the night.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship for Princess Cruises. Among the special features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; the new Princess Live! television studio; a pastry shop; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms. The ship’s 2013 maiden season will include cruises on the line’s signature Grand Mediterranean itinerary throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the fall.

Find more Royal Princess details, images, and videos on Cruise Diva's blog at:
Princess Cruises Newest Ship Will Be A Royal
Royal Princess: Expanded Atrium, New Features
Royal Princess Introduces Updated Amenities and A New Balcony Stateroom Category
Royal Princess: Expanded Atrium, New Features
Princess Cruises Raises the Curtain on New Royal Princess Entertainment Venue
The Ultimate In Relaxation Coming Aboard Royal Princess
Princess Cruises Shares A Look At New Royal Princess Fitness Facilities
Princess Cruises Takes Dining To The Next Level With New Royal Princess
Princess Cruises Unveils Posh Royal Princess Sanctuary & Retreat Pool With New Features
Junior Cruisers Have A Lot to Look forward to In New Royal Princess Youth & Teen Centers
Things You Might Not Know About Royal Princess
Video Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Latest Carnival Sunshine Video Showcases Ocean Plaza

From Carnival Cruise Lines, the latest installment in a series of Carnival Sunshine videos illustrates the dramatic progress being made toward the construction of Ocean Plaza, a stunning 4,600-square-foot café/entertainment venue on Promenade Deck that will serve as the ideal spot for coffee, cocktails, light snacks, and people watching.

Along Ocean Plaza, Carnival Sunshine guests can enjoy a cappuccino or latte at JavaBlue Café, cool off with a refreshing frozen treat at Shake Spot, sample bite-size appetizers at the Taste Bar, surf the web and check their email at the FunHub, or order a custom cocktail at the Alchemy Bar. Footage of the transformation of the striking new Sunshine Atrium and build-out of the RedFrog Pub—the largest in the Carnival fleet—is included below, as well.

These new spaces—and much more—are being added during a $155 million refurbishment of the Carnival Destiny which will emerge as the Carnival Sunshine when it enters service from Venice May 5 on its inaugural 12-day voyage, part of a summer schedule of 9- and 12-day European sailings through October. The ship will then sail on a trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New Orleans Nov 1-17, positioning the vessel for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises from the Big Easy.

Video Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In The Good Old Summertime... Aboard Caribbean Princess

It’s been four long years since Princess Cruises has offered summertime Caribbean cruising from Florida, but that’s about to change. In 2014, Caribbean Princess returns to her Caribbean roots to sail a full season of voyages ranging from a three-day getaway to full week-long tropical cruises, all of which can be combined for a longer vacation of up to 14 days.

The May to September program features 12 departures of the line’s popular 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages, which can be combined for a 14-day Caribbean Adventure sailing. In addition, the ship will depart on 13 three-, four- and five-day getaway cruises for a quick vacation and opportunity to sample the Princess experience. All cruises sail roundtrip from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Itineraries feature the ports of San Juan, St. Thomas, Costa Maya, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman, plus most voyages visit the line’s exclusive Bahaman beach sanctuary on Princess Cays.

Caribbean cruise options for summer 2014 include:
Eastern Caribbean (7 days): Passengers can enjoy a relaxing week in the Caribbean, including calls at the ports of Princess Cays, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk. Sailings depart May 31; June 14, 21; July 5, 12, 26; Aug 2 and 16.
Western Caribbean (7 days): Alternating with the Eastern Caribbean voyages, this itinerary features calls at Princess Cays, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Caribbean Princess sets sail on this route on June 7, 28; July 19; and Aug 9.
Eastern Caribbean Getaway (5 days): Both Princess Cays and Grand Turk are the featured ports on this getaway sailing, perfect for beach lovers. The ship departs on Sept 6 and 15.
Western Caribbean Getaway (5 days): Passengers can enjoy days in Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and the island of Cozumel. Caribbean Princess sails on May 26; August 23; Sept 1, 20, and 29.
Eastern Caribbean Getaway (4 days): Featuring a call at Grand Turk or Princess Cays, Caribbean Princess will offer these getaway sailings on May 15; Aug 28, and Sept 25.
Western Caribbean Getaway (4 days): On this getaway voyage, Caribbean Princess will visit Mexico’s island of Cozumel, perfect for a beach day or a chance to see the country’s spectacular Mayan ruins. Cruises depart on May 19 and Sept 11.
Eastern Caribbean Getaway (3 days): This special sailing offers a quick getaway especially for the Memorial Day weekend. Passengers will enjoy a day at Princess Cays, the line’s private beach in the Bahamas. Caribbean Princess will depart on May 23, 2014.
“Summertime is prime vacation season and we’re happy to be back in the Caribbean next year,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “No matter how much time passengers have to get away, we’ve got the perfect voyage to help them escape completely.”

All summer Caribbean cruises are now open for booking. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting the company's website at Princess.com.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Friday, April 12, 2013

‘Thomas The Tank Engine’-Themed Shore Excursion Offered During Carnival Glory Calls To Saint John

This is adorable and it’s a pleasure to see the cruise line that’s so popular with families offering a tour that’s sure to enchant little sailors. Fans of Thomas The Tank Engine can enjoy a fun, family-oriented shore excursion offering a chance to ride the rails on a full-size replica of the beloved locomotive in conjunction with select Carnival Glory voyages that visit Saint John, New Brunswick, this summer.

Carnival is the only cruise line to offer this engaging tour in Saint John, which is sponsored by Ambassatours Gray Line and provides little engineers and their families with a memorable and magical experience interacting with the iconic storybook character and his friends. Available exclusively on the Carnival Glory’s Aug. 5 and 10 five-day departures that visit the Port of Saint John, this excursion is part of the Day Out with Thomas: The Go Go Thomas Tour 2013 which is being hosted in only four Canadian cities this summer.

The excursion tour includes a 25-minute train ride along the Saint John waterfront aboard a full size Thomas The Tank Engine replica, a variety of Thomas & Friends-themed entertainment such as storytelling and videos, Imagination Station Arts & Crafts activities, an appearance by Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of the railway on the Island of Sodor, home to Thomas and his friends, temporary children’s tattoos, merchandise shops and other festival offerings. The excursion also includes an all-day pass on a popular Saint John excursion, The Big Pink Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Tour, on authentic double-decker buses—making for a fun-filled family day in Saint John.

Thomas The Tank Engine is the long-time television star of Thomas & Friends, which captures the imagination of children in 145 countries and 30 languages. To date, more than 200 million Thomas & Friends books and e-books have been sold and the computer-generated animated series is more popular than ever.

Carnival Glory will call at Saint John from June through September as part of a summer schedule of four- to seven-day voyages departing from both New York and Boston. Day Out with Thomas: The Go Go Thomas Tour 2013 is currently available for sale within the shore excursion section of carnival.com to booked Carnival Glory guests.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Carnival Offers New Military Promotion Including Shipboard Credits

Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a promotion that provides active and former military personnel with discounts of up to $600 per stateroom and shipboard credits of up to $100 per stateroom on a wide range of three- to 12-day “Fun Ship” departures. Reservations must be made before April 30, 2013, to qualify for this special offer, which is available in conjunction with a variety of departures through Aug. 31, 2013, including voyages to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska, and Europe.

The promotion offers U.S. military personnel savings of up to $300 per stateroom on 3- to 5-day voyages and shipboard credits of $50 per stateroom, as well as savings up to $600 per stateroom and shipboard credits of $100 per stateroom on cruises of 6-days or longer.

The promotion is valid for individual bookings only and is not transferable. Eligible military personnel must provide proof of service and must sail to take advantage of this offer. Certain other restrictions apply. For additional information, visit carnival.com.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Duchess of Cambridge to Name Royal Princess

The rumors flying around London have come to pass. Just like his late mother, Princess Diana, Prince William’s wife Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, will christen a Royal Princess. Princess Cruises made the announcement that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will name Royal Princess, the newest addition to the line’s fleet. The ceremony at which The Duchess will name the ship will take place in Southampton on Thursday, June 13, and will be the highlight of week-long inaugural celebrations to welcome the vessel into service.

The spectacular ceremony will uphold British ship-naming traditions including the blessing, a performance by the Royal Marines Band and the pipers of the Irish Guards, together with contemporary highlights.

Alan Buckelew, the line’s president and CEO said “It is a great honor for Princess Cruises that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has accepted our invitation to become the Godmother to Royal Princess. We are delighted that the Duchess will launch our new ship and can think of no better way to celebrate our company’s British heritage and our commitment to the country.”

Royal Princess will arrive at the Ocean Terminal in Southampton on Friday, June 7, where she will commence a series of events for customers and travel agents, including a special naming gala on the evening of Wednesday, June 12. The ship’s inaugural celebrations will conclude with her maiden voyage on June 16.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship. Among the special features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the new Princess Live! television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

The inaugural period of Royal Princess also includes two short preview cruises prior to and following the naming. After her maiden voyage the ship will sail Grand Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the autumn.

Find more Royal Princess details, images, and videos on Cruise Diva's blog at:
Princess Cruises Newest Ship Will Be A Royal
Royal Princess: Expanded Atrium, New Features
Royal Princess Introduces Updated Amenities and A New Balcony Stateroom Category
Royal Princess: Expanded Atrium, New Features
Princess Cruises Raises the Curtain on New Royal Princess Entertainment Venue
The Ultimate In Relaxation Coming Aboard Royal Princess
Princess Cruises Shares A Look At New Royal Princess Fitness Facilities
Princess Cruises Takes Dining To The Next Level With New Royal Princess
Princess Cruises Unveils Posh Royal Princess Sanctuary & Retreat Pool With New Features
Junior Cruisers Have A Lot to Look forward to In New Royal Princess Youth & Teen Centers
Things You Might Not Know About Royal Princess
Photo Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

MSC Cruises Announces "A Diva Like No Other" Weekly Sweepstakes

MSC Divina_D3X1871_By Ivan Sarfatti_728x484
MSC Divina Naming Ceremony
In anticipation of the arrival of one of the fleet's newest and most exclusive ships, MSC Cruises is inviting Facebook users to participate in their "Diva Like No Other" sweepstakes. Winners will enjoy a 7-night Caribbean cruise for two on board MSC Divina in a balcony stateroom.

Beginning April 8th, the line will give away a 7-night Caribbean cruise every week over the course of the next six weeks. Facebook users can "Like' the MSC Cruises (USA) Facebook page, click on the "sweepstakes" tab, select their favorite photograph and be entered to win a Caribbean cruise for two. Exciting images of MSC Divina will be posted weekly. To increase their odds of winning, Facebook users may enter once daily and can also share the sweepstakes with others on their Facebook wall.

"This sweepstakes marks the beginning of our official countdown," says MSC President and CEO, Richard Sasso. "With less than 7 months till the arrival of MSC Divina, we are looking forward to receiving one of our fleet's most stunning vessels. Cruise lovers will have the opportunity to experience MSC at its finest."

Christened by legendary film actress Sophia Loren, MSC Divina features a casino, seven restaurants, 18 bars and lounges, five swimming pools (including an aft-facing infinity pool), bowling alley, 4-D Cinema, Formula 1 simulator, world-class entertainment, expansive gym and spa, internet cafe, conference center, kids and teen areas, and the lines signature "ship within a ship" concept, MSC Yacht Club. MSC Yacht Club is a luxurious enclave located in the upper foredecks, which provides guests staying in one of its 69 suites with 24/7 butler and concierge service, private lounge and dining room, complimentary select wines and spirits, and specialty services, such as pillow menus and daily afternoon tea, among many other exclusive offerings.

This is the first time the line will have a ship sailing from North America year round. MSC Divina will sail alternating eastern and western Caribbean cruises departing from PortMiami.

The sweepstakes ends May 19, 2013 and is open to legal residents of U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec). For more information and to see the official rules, please refer to adivalikenoother.com.

Image Courtesy of MSC Cruises USA

Monday, April 8, 2013

Azamara Club Cruises Launches AzAmazing Evenings

Azamara’s Capt. Smith faces off against Sete’s seven-time
champion jouster at an exclusive event for Azamara Club Cruises’
guests in the French village as part of the cruise line’s
latest AzAmazing Evenings event.
In another ‘first’ for Azamara Club Cruises, the destination-immersion cruise line launches its new industry-differentiating inclusive program AzAmazing Evenings—authentic, exclusive, and bespoke night touring events that are inclusive for all guests aboard every Azamara voyage.

The latest AzAmazing Evenings event took place at Sete, France, during the cruise line's President’s Voyage, where President and CEO Larry Pimentel is hosting a very special itinerary along the Cote D’Azur. During the President’s Voyage, which concludes at Monte Carlo on April 10th, guests on Azamara Quest joined in unforgettable and authentic cultural experiences while calling at some of the region’s most intriguing destinations. While at Sete last Thursday evening, guests were treated to the regionally historic sport of ‘jouste,’ or water jousting, an AzAmazing Evenings event created just for Azamara Quest guests. A lively band heralded the impending contest as they led guests through the streets of Sete to the Grand Canal, where two vibrantly decorated boats awaited to carry two long-rivaling teams of men—those married in Red and bachelors in Blue—into one face-off after another. Azamara Quest's own Captain Carl Smith led the Red jousting team to guests’ delight, but lamentably, was vanquished by the village’s seven-time champion jouster. The festivities continued with local wine and delectable fare, concluding with an exhilarating fireworks exhibition as Azamara Quest departed Sete in the late evening.

Prior to Sete, the very first AzAmazing Evenings event was launched on March 30 at Gibraltar, U.K., where the historic St. Michael’s Cave was opened exclusively to guests of Azamara that night. Guests were welcomed to St. Michael’s Cave by members of the Re-enactment Society “History Alive,” clad in traditional Scottish Regiment dress uniform, and ushered into a unique night-time cocktail reception with local canapés in Cathedral Cave, a large cave within St. Michael’s Cave named for its pipe organ-like stalactite formations in the expansive space. The main feature of the evening was a private concert in the cave by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band and Corps of Drums in Cathedral Cave, accompanied by Gibraltar’s famed-vocalist Andrea Simpson.

These two special affairs were the very first AzAmazing Evenings. These once-in-a-lifetime experiences spotlight a destination’s true culture—sights, sounds and tastes that are mostly only found among the nightlife, and are individually created by Azamara in ports of calls on the cruise line’s mostly non-repeating itineraries. The AzAmazing Evenings events cannot be purchased off-the-shelf from any other supplier, and further establishes Azamara Club Cruises as the most distinctive destination immersion cruise brand, made possible through the cruise line’s philosophy of longer stays and more overnights in port on every voyage to provide guests the opportunity for night touring.

Along with the new AzAmazing Evenings events, Azamara Quest’s guest are also enjoying more inclusive onboard amenities, as outlined beloe. Azamara Journey will launch its AzAmazing Evenings events aboard every voyage and more inclusive amenities on its first 2013 Europe voyage, departing May 15.

Azamara Club Cruises offers distinctive destination-immersive experiences. The cruise line uniquely features longer stays and more overnights in ports on each voyage to provide guests the opportunity to experience night touring in some of the most compelling destinations of Europe, Asia, South America, and West Indies, as well as Central and North America. On board its two intimate ships, which embody a sophisticated country club ambience, Azamara guests receive personal service from every member of the crew whose aim is to anticipate guests’ every need. Guests also enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world, as well as more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary red and white boutique wines during lunch and dinner; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available. For more information, visit AzamaraClubCruises.com.

Image Courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Latest Video Shows Carnival Sunshine Taking Shape

The latest in a series of videos documenting the transformation of Carnival Destiny into Carnival Sunshine highlights the completion of the demolition phase of the dry dock and focuses on the initial build-out of the ship’s many dining, bar, and entertainment features.

The video also showcases the new Sunshine Atrium, which is being completely renovated with a stylish new décor, as well as the Serenity adults-only retreat that will span three decks and feature a pool, waterfall, colorful oversized umbrellas, and more. Construction of the Serenity area is so complex that it involves positioning pre-fabricated decks onto the ship via crane. Other spaces such as Ocean Plaza, a stunning café and live entertainment venue, along with top-deck watering holes like the RedFrog Rum Bar are also beginning to take shape.

More than 3,000 shipboard employees and contractors are working 24/7 to complete the unprecedented $155 million renovation, which is part of the line’s groundbreaking Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative.

Carnival Sunshine is set to debut May 5 with a summer schedule of 9- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona and Venice followed by a trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New Orleans, positioning the vessel for year-round 7-day Caribbean cruises from the Big Easy this fall.

Video Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Carnival Miracle On The Move

Carnival Miracle
It’s that time of year when cruise ships begin their annual migration from winter to summer season and Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Miracle has been on the move. The ship arrived in Long Beach, California last weekend after a 15-day Panama Canal repositioning cruise to begin its new West Coast deployment.

To kick things off on the west coast,Carnival Miracle departed last Sunday afternoon a 7-day cruise to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Another week-long Mexican Riviera cruise is on her schecule before she embarks on a 15-day Hawaii voyage departing Long Beach on April 14 to visit Hilo, Kona, Nawiliwili, Kahului, and Honolulu. That sailing ends in Vancouver on April 29, 2013 and marks the beginning of Carnival Miracle’s Alaska season with a special 8-day Alaska cruise from Vancouver to Seattle. That puts her in position for a summer schedule of 7-day Alaska cruises round-trip from Seattle commencing May 7 to Sept. 10. Those cruises will visit Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, and scenic cruising of Tracy Arm Fjord to view Sawyer Glacier.

Upon the completion of the Alaska season, Carnival Miracle will offer another 15-day Hawaii cruise from Vancouver to Long Beach from Sept. 17 to Oct. 2. Once in her Long Beach homeport, the ship will then resume a Mexican Riviera program. Carnival Miracle’s West Coast deployment also includes three round-trip Hawaii cruises from Long Beach departing Oct. 19 and Dec. 7, 2013, and Jan. 18, 2014.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Friday, April 5, 2013

Carnival Cruise Lines Statement Regarding Carnival Triumph Status

As reported Wednesday, due to unexpectedly strong winds that reached speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour during a severe storm in Mobile, Alabama, Carnival Triumph, which was in wet dock at a Mobile shipyard, broke away from its moorings.

According to meteorological experts, the excessive winds were produced by a phenomenon known as a gravity wave, which is difficult to predict and typically does not produce winds of the level of severity experienced Wednesday.

At this time, we know that numerous mooring lines were used to properly secure the ship. However, four of the bollards that the mooring lines were tied to and are embedded into the pier broke apart. The ship remains docked at the Mobile Cruise Terminal and repairs are continuing. At this time it has not yet been determined how long the ship will remain at the cruise terminal.