Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Cruise Review: Carnival Conquest

As the old saying goes, "Good things come to those who wait."

In this case, a desired ship came to our cruise review contributors Mary and Vincent Finelli. They had long wanted to sail on Carnival Conquest; however, her homeports prior to this season had been either Galveston or New Orleans, not very convenient for those South Floridians who are accustomed to driving to nearby embarkation ports.

When the Finellis learned the ship would be sailing from Miami, they finally booked their cruise and have generously shared their Carnival Conquest Review with us.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Seabourn Partners With UNESCO & Brings World Heritage Experts Onboard

Our travels have taken us to many interesting and historic places around the world and in some cases we were unaware of their designation as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), or why they were chosen to be designated as such. Some are obvious—such as the Alhambra in Spain and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece—but others are not entirely clear.

To answer those questions and more, in conjunction with its newly-formed partnership with UNESCO, Seabourn is making insight into those designations available to guests by hosting prominent world heritage experts for its Seabourn Conversations enrichment and special guest entertainment program. Conversation topics will include culture, heritage, history, and the importance of sustainable tourism in preserving World Heritage Sites. Sharing their insights onboard Seabourn vessels over the next year-and-a-half will be a host of UNESCO advisors and consultants. UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

More than a dozen UNESCO speakers are scheduled to take part in Seabourn Conversations on voyages around the world through fall and the year ahead. A sampling includes: Jacinta Nzioka, (Seabourn Sojourn, Dec 13, 2014) the Director of Marketing at the Kenya Tourist Board; Dr. Carol Westrik, author of "The Future of World Heritage" for UNESCO's 40th anniversary, and Dr. Juan Jose Negro, an internationally renowned speaker on natural heritage and director of the Doñana Biological Station in Spain (Seabourn Quest, May 12, 2015); and Dr. Ray Bondin (Seabourn Sojourn, May 31, 2015), who has extensive experience in the rehabilitation of heritage sites and served as Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Malta to UNESCO. The full list of scheduled UNESCO guest speakers is available at Seabourn.com/luxury-cruise-vacation-onboard/Seabourn-Conversations.action.

Seabourn's ships circle the globe throughout the year and include more than 150 designated World Heritage Sites in its itineraries. In addition to the deeper insight guests receive on board their ships, the line has created special World Heritage Discovery Tours with exclusive enhanced content developed in cooperation with UNESCO World Heritage site managers and tour experts. Fares for Seabourn optional excursions that include UNESCO World Heritage Sites will include a small donation to UNESCO's World Heritage Fund.

"UNESCO's vital role in encouraging cultural understanding and preservation will make for fascinating conversation on Seabourn vessels around the world," said John Delaney, Seabourn's senior vice president, marketing and sales. "The significance of cultural experiences only continues to grow, and we're excited to welcome those who lend their expertise to UNESCO to engage our guests about such important topics as sustainable tourism, culture and heritage."

Image Courtesy of Seabourn

Friday, September 26, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines, The Dallas Cowboys & Rascal Flatts Are A Winning Combination

Carnival Cruise Lines, which recently announced that it is the Official Cruise Line of the Dallas Cowboys, is turning up the music as part of its multi-year partnership with "America's Team." Texas' largest cruise operator revealed that it will bring country music superstars Rascal Flatts to town for a special pre-game Carnival LIVE concert for Cowboys fans attending the October 19 game against archrival New York Giants. Rascal Flatts is the most-awarded country group of the past decade with 22.5 million albums sold and 15 number-one singles.

Carnival's major sponsorship of the Dallas Cowboys is adding fun and memorable fan experiences to Dallas Cowboys home games throughout the season. In addition to the Rascal Flatts performance, at each game at AT&T Stadium, Carnival's "Fun Crew" is touring the lots on branded golf carts and offering exciting prizes to fans, including the chance to win one of many cruise vacation giveaways.

On a related note, Carnival also announced that Rascal Flatts—which is one of the hottest selling acts on tour—will be among multiple artists entertaining guests as part of the Carnival LIVE Concert Series in 2015 (next year's concert dates go on sale in October).

A first-of-its-kind in the cruise industry, Carnival LIVE debuted earlier this year and offers Carnival guests the opportunity to enjoy an intimate on-board performance by a diverse roster of popular music artists while ships are docked at select ports of call. Artists performing as part of the inaugural 2014 lineup include Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Trace Adkins, LeAnn Rimes, Jewel, Styx, Kansas, REO Speedwagon, Daughtry and more.

"We are thrilled to have Rascal Flatts join all of the great gameday fun Carnival has planned for Dallas Cowboys fans at AT&T Stadium on October 19 and throughout the season," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. "We also look forward to welcoming Jay, Joe Don and Gary on board our 'Fun Ships' in 2015 as we extend the fan-favorite Carnival LIVE Concert Series into its second year of great shows."

Carnival, Texas' number one cruise operator, will deploy a third year-round ship in Galveston, Carnival Freedom, in February 2015. Together with Carnival Triumph and Carnival Magic, the line will carry more than 600,000 passengers annually from Texas, more than any other cruise line. Learn more about Carnival LIVE at Carnival.com/CarnivalLive.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Lines

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Conveying Quantum of the Seas

A drive through the Lower Saxony region of Germany along the banks of the River Ems reveals pastures, wetlands, and farmland dotted with small towns and villages. But there was a lot of excitement in this northwestern district as one of the world’s largest cruise ships made its journey, or conveyance on Tuesday, from the shipbuilding town of Papenburg out to the North Sea.

The fuss is about Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International’s newest and most technologically advanced cruise ship, which was constructed at Meyer Werft, a family owned Papenburg-based shipyard. The conveyance is a unique process for ships built here, as Meyer Werft is unconventionally situated inland, along the banks of the River Ems, to avoid the impact of storms on the North Sea. This makes it necessary for ships to travel down the river to get to the sea.

“For hours we are actually taking the ship along this very, very tight channel where there is only about two to three feet of distance on each side between the ship and the river bank,” said Patrik Dahlgren, Vice President for Marine Operation at Royal Caribbean International. “We can’t set a firm date or time for the conveyance because it’s all timed with the tides and weather conditions to help balance the movements of the ship along the river.”

While the conveyance of ships is not new for Meyer Werft–the shipyard has been doing this since 1795–there are plenty of challenges to having a successful conveyance, and Quantum of the Seas will be especially demanding due to the size of the ship. At 348 meters long (1,141.73 feet long), 41.4 meters wide (135.8 feet wide) and weighing in at 168,666 gross tons, this ship is the largest ever to go through conveyance.

“With Quantum being the largest ship that has ever been built at Meyer Werft, there are some power lines that need to be rerouted, and some bridges along the river actually have to be lifted out of the way with a crane to allow the ship to pass, including one that is used by one of the main railways into Holland,” continued Dahlgren.

Making the process even more of a spectacle, ships are conveyed backwards because it’s usually easier to maneuver them in reverse, and Quantum’s journey will be managed the same way. Thousands of residents from the surrounding local villages along the 26 mile route typically gather at the river bank to watch and celebrate each ship’s distinct journey.

What happens once the ship completes the conveyance? Quantum of the Seas will dock in Eemshaven, The Netherlands, where she will begin a series of tests, called sea trials, to measure the vessel’s seaworthiness, as well as test things like speed, maneuverability, equipment and safety features.

From shipbuilder Meyer Werft, we have a video perspective of the conveyance.

Come November, crowds will once again line a river bank to catch a glimpse as Quantum passes by, only this time it will be as she sails through the New York harbor… when she’ll be sailing forward instead of in reverse.

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean International; Video Courtesy of Meyer Werft

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ovation of the Seas to Join Quantum Class

Although the first in a new generation of technologically advanced cruise ships for Royal Caribbean International hasn’t made its debut yet, the line marked an important milestone last week when the first piece of steel was cut marking the official construction start on Ovation of the Seas, the third Quantum class ship that is scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2016.

The steel cutting for Ovation of the Seas (pictured here) took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and now Ovation of the Seas are being built.

The Quantum class ships will debut new unprecedented features, such as dancing Roboscreens in the unique Two70 entertainment venue; robotic bartenders in Bionic Bar; RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; transformative venues, such as Sea-Plex, 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, including the industry’s first-ever Virtual Balcony staterooms, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations for interior staterooms.

The Quantum class will debut in autumn 2014 with Quantum of the Seas sailing from the New York harbor, followed by her sister-ship Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015 sailing from Southampton in the UK. Quantum ships span 16 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Coming Soon Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2015

While Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2015 won’t be published until Nov. 1, 2014), we have a first look at some of the new content it will debut. In this latest 30th anniversary edition, author Douglas Ward introduces a broader focus on the star performers at sea. New categories in the seafaring equivalent of the Oscars include Best in Class for: families, teenagers, water slides, most luxurious suites, spas, child-free cruising, foodies and the longest swimming pools. These categories make the guide even more indispensable for veterans as well as first-time cruisers.


5 Best Ships for Families – Chosen for family-friendly facilities, activities and entertainment: Allure of the Seas/Oasis of the Seas; Disney Dream/Disney Fantasy; Mein Schiff 3, MSC Preziosa, Norwegian Breakaway/Norwegian Getaway

5 Best Cruise Lines for Teenagers - Teenagers like space away from adults to hang out and meet others. Some ships get it, others don’t. These do: Disney Cruise Line (Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy); Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Getaway); Princess Cruises (Royal Princess, Regal Princess); Royal Caribbean International (Quantum of the Seas), TUI Cruises (Mein Schiff 3).

5 Best Water Slides - Children can’t wait to go for a ride once they are on board: DrainPipe (Carnival Cruise Lines); Aquaduck (Disney Cruise Line); Vertigo (MSC Cruises)
Epic Plunge (Norwegian Cruise Line); Parthenon Slide (Star Cruises).

5 Most Luxurious Suites - Suites are not just about size and space but also the furnishings, service and all the little details:
• Royal Loft on Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International - Their upstairs/downstairs layout, baby grand piano, and huge glass wall together hit the spot;
• Crystal Penthouse on Crystal Serenity (Crystal Cruises) - The master bathroom is wonderfully decadent, and, imagine, it’s possible to eat Nobu sashimi and sushi in your own dining room;
• Owner’s Suite on Europa 2 (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) - The bathroom is simply stunning with a bath that could accommodate four, and a window-side day bed;
• Owner’s Suite on Marina, Riviera (Oceania Cruises) - Ralph Lauren décor and fine furnishings, a baby grand piano, and a delightful outdoor balcony deck;
• Sandringham Suite on Queen Mary 2 (Cunard Line – An Art-Deco apartment on two levels with a sweeping curved stairway, and an oversized balcony deck.
5 Best Cruise Ship Spas - Wellness and pampering on board have become major attractions for people who want to take care of their bodies, even when on holiday: AIDA Cruises (AIDAprima); Cunard Line (Queen Mary 2); Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (Europa 2); MSC Cruises (MSC Fantasia, MSC Preziosa, MSC Splendida); P&O Australia (Pacific Pearl);

5 Best ships for Child-free Cruising – One from each of five different cruise lines: Adonia (P&O Cruises); Grande Mariner (Blount Small Ship Adventures); Island Sky (Noble Caledonia); Minerva (Swan Hellenic Cruises); Saga Sapphire (SAGA Cruises);

5 Best Cruise Lines for Foodies - chosen for the quality and variety of ingredients, their creativity and presentation: Crystal Cruises; Hapag-Lloyd Cruises; Oceania Cruises; SeaDream Yacht Club; Silversea Cruises;

5 Longest Swimming Pools - Most cruise ship pools are small considering the size of the large resort ships today, but that’s because water can slosh around when the weather’s bad. Here are the longest: Mein Schiff 3 (25.0 meters); Europa (17.3 meters); Europa 2 (14.0 meters); Asuka II (13.5 meters); Crystal Serenity/Crystal Symphony (13.5 meters).

It isn’t too early to pre-order your copy at Amazon.com by clicking this link or the one above.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Norwegian Escape Keel Laying Held

Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Escape at MEYER’s state of the art facility in Papenburg, Germany last Friday. During the ceremony, block 35/41, the first of 86 blocks that will comprise the 164,600 gross ton vessel, was lifted into the covered building dock, officially marking the start of the ship’s construction. Norwegian Escape will be Norwegian’s largest ship to date, carrying 4,200 passengers, set for delivery in October 2015.

Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer, was on hand in the dock and laid the traditional “lucky coin,” (pictured here) before the first block, weighing 400 tons, was placed by a massive crane. A special commemorative coin featuring the ship was created to celebrate the day’s activities. Sheehan said, “Norwegian Escape will be our largest and most innovative ship to date, building on the phenomenal success of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. We are looking forward to seeing this ship take shape over the next year and welcoming her to our fleet in October 2015.”

Norwegian Escape is the first ship in her class, and is being built by MEYER WERFT through a highly-efficient construction process that will deliver the ship of 164,600 gross tons in just over 19 months from steel cutting to delivery.

Norwegian Escape will begin weekly 7-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on Nov. 14, 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

The ship’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey, which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife. Norwegian’s newest ship is Harvey’s largest canvas to date, at 1065 feet in length, with his artwork spanning from the hull to the aft featuring two undersea scenes that blend seamlessly. Norwegian Escape will boast all of the exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, plus a number of new spaces and interactive experiences that are yet to be announced.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Friday, September 19, 2014

Leaf Peeping Update from Maine

Even this early in the season there is a hint of color in northern Maine as The Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry reports low 10-30% color change and very low leaf drop.

“We are right on target for a glorious fall foliage season, said Gale Ross, Fall Foliage Coordinator for Maine. “With the low leaf drop we anticipate that the northern part of the state will soon be a tapestry of beautiful colors,” she added.

From past experience we found many colorful scenes–such as the one here in Bar Harbor–on fall foliage cruises taken in mid-October. For more information on what you can expect to see on your cruise, visit the state’s official website Maine Foliage and sign up for weekly email reports. Peak fall foliage dates for the entire United States can be found at Farmers’ Almanac.

Image © CruiseDiva.com

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines Extends Its 'Great Vacation Guarantee' Through 2015

This scenario happens, but perhaps not as often as some may think: You’re unsure whether you’ll enjoy a cruise, but decide to take the plunge after weighing the pros and cons. Your vacation dollars are an important consideration, however your time is valuable as well. Once on board, you discover a cruise just isn’t for you. What then? If you are on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship, you have a decision to make because the line is renewing its groundbreaking Great Vacation Guarantee which provides consumers an opportunity to receive a 110 percent refund, complimentary transportation home, and a $100 shipboard credit on a future cruise if they are dissatisfied with their vacation for any reason.

Proof that the vast majority of passengers decide their cruise is a good choice for them is that in the year since Carnival originally introduced the guarantee, the line’s 24 ships have carried 4.5 million guests and the guarantee has been invoked only 47 times. Both consumers and travel agents have lauded the guarantee—the only one of its kind in the cruise industry. But did your travel agent tell you about it? If not, here’s the scoop.

To exercise the Great Vacation Guarantee, guests simply notify the ship’s guest services desk within the first 24 hours of the voyage to receive a full refund of their cruise fare plus an additional 10 percent, along with complimentary return air transportation from the next port of call, and complimentary ground transportation and hotel accommodations (if necessary), along with a $100 shipboard credit to be used on a future Carnival cruise. Carnival will fully handle all travel arrangements to make it a truly hassle-free experience.

The Great Vacation Guarantee is valid on all 3- to 8-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Bermuda, Canada and New England through Dec 31, 2015, including holiday sailings. The program applies to U.S. and Canadian residents only and guests must possess a valid passport to return to the U.S. by air. Additional information on the Great Vacation Guarantee can be obtained by visiting Carnival.com/VacationGuarantee.

Carnival’s chief marketing officer Jim Berra says, “You are statistically more likely to date a supermodel than you are to invoke the Great Vacation Guarantee. However, we believe it is important to keep the guarantee in place given its effectiveness in communicating to consumers that we stand behind our product and are extremely confident you will have an exceptional vacation experience when you sail with Carnival.”

Berra added that with more than 300 new spaces and experiences added to Carnival’s fleet under the company’s multi-million-dollar Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement program, guest satisfaction has increased considerably since the program was first introduced. Sadly, there are no supermodels on board to date.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Lines

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Princess Cruises Launches New "Seawitch" Craft Beer

Princess Cruises' iconic Seawitch symbol will be more than simply their logo when the line begins pouring a new craft beer to toast its upcoming 50th anniversary. The "Seawitch" West Coast IPA beer—playfully named for the company's logo—was developed exclusively for Princess Cruises, in partnership with award-winning Strike Brewing Company, and is the first in the line's new series of craft beers. The brew will be introduced aboard Regal Princess when the cruise ship debuts in Florida for a season of Caribbean cruises this November.

"We know our guests love distinct experiences and authentic flavors so we're excited to debut a new craft beer series with this special 50th anniversary blend aboard our newest ship," said Jonathan Wilson, Princess Cruises vice president of food and beverage services. "The Seawitch West Coast IPA not only commemorates our milestone anniversary, but is also meant to inspire our guests to celebrate their sea journeys with Princess."

Strike Brewing Company, located near San Francisco—one of Princess Cruises' home ports—is an award-winning microbrewery well known to fans of local craft beer. The Seawitch West Coast IPA (India Pale Ale) features the balanced aroma of lightly roasted malt and barley which is strongly accented by the crisp dry flavor of a unique hop blend.

The Seawitch West Coast IPA will retail for the premium price of $6.25 and be available in bars and lounges throughout Regal Princess. It is expected to be available fleetwide by early 2015. The cruise line will roll out additional Seawitch craft beers in partnerships with regional breweries that specialize in local flavors and represent some of the cruise destinations Princess ships visit.

Princess Cruises will officially kick off its 50th anniversary year with the naming ceremony of Regal Princess on Nov. 5 in Ft. Lauderdale. The company is honoring the role the The Love Boat played in its five-decades-long history by having the original Love Boat cast members serve as godparents for its newest cruise ship.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fit For A King: Holland America Line Names First Pinnacle Class Ship ms Koningsdam

Since 1883 every Holland America passenger vessel has borne the "dam" suffix, and their newest ship carries on that tradition. The word koning means "king" in Dutch, and ms Koningsdam, the unique name selected for the first Pinnacle Class ship, celebrates the majestic new design. The name also pays honor to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the first king of the Netherlands in over a century. Slated for delivery in February 2016, while the name the name ms Koningsdam pays homage to the company's rich heritage and deep roots in the Netherlands, it also reflects a new era with a bold name that is an original in Holland America Line's 141-year history. The 2,650-passenger ship is also an evolution in design for the line.

Holland America Line was founded in the Netherlands in 1873 as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company headquartered in Rotterdam. The original headquarters building still stands today as the Hotel New York on the Wilhelmina Pier, with the company's European headquarters located nearby. In celebration of their long, proud history with the Netherlands, all 15 premium Holland America Line cruise ships fly the Dutch flag as they sail throughout the world. The historic greatness of the line's Dutch heritage is shared with nearly one million guests each year. Additionally, the line has many Dutch employees, including most of the fleet's captains and officers.

Many of Holland America Line's ships have been christened by members of the Dutch Royal Family over the past 75 years. Most recently, ms Nieuw Amsterdam was christened by Her Royal Highness Princess Maxima in 2010. And in 2008 ms Eurodam was christened by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

"In choosing the name Koningsdam, we are honoring our rich Dutch heritage while reflecting that we're entering a new era as a company," said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of the Holland America Group. "This new Pinnacle Class ship will be our largest, most contemporary vessel, and it was only fitting to give it a name that embodies great achievement for the future, while embracing timeless tradition."

When it debuts in February 2016, ms Koningsdam will be a new type of ship for Holland America Line. At 99,500 gross tons and carrying 2,650 guests and 1,025 crew members, the vessel is the largest ever built for the company. The increased size provides more opportunities to add new public spaces and venues, and several innovative features will debut on ms Koningsdam. Familiar spaces and amenities currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will also be included on the new ship.

To bring a fresh vision to ms Koningsdam, Holland America Line tapped Adam D. Tihany, one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. Tihany joins distinguished maritime designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten who worked with Holland America Line on ms Nieuw Amsterdam and ms Eurodam. The two firms will create a modern and contemporary ambiance while incorporating Holland America Line's classic hallmarks.

Image Courtesy of Holland America Line

Monday, September 15, 2014

SeaDream Yacht Club Offers Wine Voyages & Wine Education Certification at Sea

“It’s yachting, not cruising”
For wine lovers, or travelers who want to learn more about the immense variety of wines produced in the world today, SeaDream Yacht Club has an offer that may be impossible to pass up. The line has been approved by the British Wine and Spirits Education Trust to deliver wine courses, exams and certifications under the organization’s prestigious umbrella beginning in the Spring 2015. The accreditation is the latest example of an emphasis on wine and cuisine onboard the two mega-yachts SeaDream I and II.

The British Wine and Spirits Education Trust offers courses in four levels from one to four and guests may now take the first two levels onboard SeaDream. The aim of the Level 1 is to give a basic introduction to wine followed by food pairings.

Level 2 is a comprehensive 12-day program program only offered on dedicated Wine Education Voyages, starting with the 12-day San Juan, Puerto Rico to Malaga sailing departing April 18, 2015. It focuses on the key grape varieties and growing regions of the world as well as what factors influence a wine’s style and quality. The all-around course is ideally suited for the interested beginner or aficionado wishing to strengthen their knowledge.

Additionally, SeaDream recently announced Wine Voyages beginning fall 2014. These experiences add to the two mega-yachts’ innovative culinary and beverage program, which features the first and only full raw cuisine menu onboard as well as showcasing local delicacies from ports of call. Each voyage will offer heightened experiences for beginners and veteran oenophiles with itineraries that have been expertly developed by SeaDream’s Wine Director, Erica Landin, one of Sweden’s most internationally recognized wine writers. Activities onboard the Wine Voyages include visits to high-quality vineyards in the world’s most exclusive wine destinations; informal and formal tastings of local varietals; wine master classes and a special Winemaker’s Dinner, in which a local grower or winery owner shares treasures from their own cellars.

Image Courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club

Friday, September 12, 2014

Windstar Cruises Highlight Culinary Destinations Around the World with SAVEUR

Foodies often look upon a cruise as a way to savor the cuisine of many destinations, but unless they have recommendations they may not know where the best food is served. To that end, SAVEUR and Windstar Cruises have created a one-of-a-kind platform to uncover the world’s most delicious destinations for culinary travelers. Windstar Local Dining Tips Curated by SAVEUR offer SAVEUR-recommended culinary guides to Windstar’s ports. The tips for more than 20 destinations around the globe include insider advice on where to find the tastiest restaurants, most unique local markets, authentic culinary shops, and hidden watering holes.

“From eating fried sardines at Istanbul’s Karakoy Fish Market to seeking out the go-to coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City, SAVEUR will help guide those looking for the best culinary experiences abroad,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “We are excited to bring our guests even closer to exploring the world of food in the destinations we sail to throughout the world.”

To celebrate the launch of Windstar Local Dining Tips, the small ship cruise company is giving away a Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast cruise for two, an 8-day voyage that explores the magic of Venice, the grandeur of Rome, and the stunning beauty of the Dalmatian Coast. Entrants must provide an insider international destination tip on Windstar’s Facebook page.

Windstar Local Dining Tips will be provided to guests through a variety of platforms while on board, with the entire collection also available on Windstar’s blog. Additionally, travelers who embark on a Windstar voyage themselves will be encouraged to post their photos from the local dining tip locations using #WindstarDiningTips for a chance to win a travel tote from SAVEUR and Windstar.

The Local Dining Tips program is the result of a continued partnership between Windstar and SAVEUR, which celebrates human connection through food, cooking, and travel. How we experience cuisine and culture—from childhood meals to five-star destination dining, farmers’ market stalls to artisan shops—becomes part of who we are and informs our entire way of thinking. SAVEUR seeks to indulge readers' culturelust and satisfy their hunger for the flavorful and undiscovered. For more information, visit Windstar Cruises online at WindstarCruises.com or Blog.WindstarCruises.com.

Image Courtesy Windstar Cruises

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MSC Armonia “Stretched” at Fincantieri Shipyard

When a cruise line wants to expand its capacity it doesn’t necessarily have to start from scratch and build an entirely new ship. The process of “stretching” ships is a tried and true method to accomplish expansion and yesterday MSC Cruises began the process of physically enlarging the MSC Armonia, the first of four ships in the line’s fleet to undergo the Renaissance Program. During an event at Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, the separated 14,000 ton bow of the MSC Armonia slowly advanced 30 meters away from her stern to allow a new pre-built 24-meter section to be inserted midship.

The procedure marked a key milestone in the $273 million Renaissance Program, which will enlarge and enhance the MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia, and MSC Opera, giving them all an array of new improvements and amenities and adding up to nearly 200 new staterooms per ship. After the Renaissance Program, MSC Armonia’s environmental impact will also be significantly reduced. She will receive a new hull treatment to minimize drag and lower water resistance, considerably reducing fuel consumption. In addition, LED technology in all public spaces on the ship will mean less energy is consumed on board. A Variable Speed Drive Inverter will also be installed, an energy-saving system that significantly reduces the ship’s electricity consumption by adjusting it in line with operational conditions. Finally, a new design of propeller blade is being studied by MSC Cruises’ blade manufacturer to maximize efficiency and lower fuel consumption even further.

Additional enhancements that will be available when the cruise begins sailing again on Nov. 17 include new areas for the Baby Club built in partnership with Chicco; a new Mini Club, Young Club, Junior Club, and Teen Club; new exciting features in the buffet as well as extended hours; new lounge area and an extended restaurant; an additional library; upgrades to the MSC Aurea Spa; and a completely new spray park, with a pathway of water features and water cannons.

MSC Armonia entered dry dock on Aug. 31 and will remain on site for 11 weeks, until resuming service on Nov. 17 with a one-off inaugural Mediterranean cruise from Genoa to the Canary Islands.

Images Courtesy of MSC Cruises

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Oceania Cruises To Offer Free Internet to High End Accommodations

In a bid to become the go-to cruise line in the upper-premium category, Oceania Cruises is expanding their inclusive on board amenities by adding complimentary Internet access to guests booked in either a suite or Concierge Level stateroom on any of its five mid-size ships.

This is the first time the upper-premium cruise line has offered a free Internet program, with the new benefit commencing during the 2015 winter season. As part of the program, guests booked in Owner’s, Vista, and Oceania suites will receive unlimited complimentary Internet access to use throughout their voyage. Guests booked in Penthouse suites or Concierge Level staterooms will receive blocks of complimentary Internet time based on cruise length, starting with 200 minutes for a 7-night cruise and extending to 500 minutes for voyages over 16 nights.

Oceania Cruises ships feature a larger number of Concierge Level and above accommodations, which means this free Internet program will cover more than 55 percent of all guests sailing on Marina and Riviera, and nearly half of all guests sailing on Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica. Guests will be able to take advantage of the free Internet either through the ship’s Wi-Fi system or at the Oceania@Sea Internet café. Oceania Cruises recently upgraded the Wi-Fi system across the fleet to increase bandwidth and provide connectivity throughout the entire ship, including all public spaces, outdoor decks, and all suites and staterooms.

The complimentary Internet rollout will be staggered across the fleet, tied to the official start of each ship’s winter schedule. The first sailings will be Nautica on Oct. 25, 2015, followed by Marina on Nov. 3, Regatta on Nov. 4, Riviera on Dec. 2, and Insignia on Jan. 4, 2016, when it begins its third 180-day Around the World voyage. Complete itinerary details for the winter schedule will be released and available to book at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2014.

“Oceania Cruises is committed to providing our guests with an extraordinary cruise vacation for an incomparable value, so we’re excited to add free Internet to an already long list of included amenities such as free roundtrip airfare and complimentary dining experiences at our exquisite specialty restaurants,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Oceania Cruises. “We know our guests want to stay connected with friends and family while exploring the world with Oceania Cruises.”

Oceania Cruises’ signature 2-for-1 cruise fares include numerous of complimentary amenities such as unlimited soft drinks, coffee beverages, juices, and bottled water. Guests can enjoy some of the finest cuisine at sea at any of the ships’ specialty restaurants without any supplemental dining charges. Oceania Cruises also eliminates the hassle of searching for flights by including free roundtrip air service from major U.S. and Canadian gateways.

Image Courtesy Oceania Cruises

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Back-To-Back Cruises Times 33

Back-to-back cruises can offer double the fun, double the pleasure, and half the cost of getting to and from the ship’s homeport. However, Mark Fosselman of Diamond Head, Mississippi had a more compelling reason for boarding Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Elation to take 33 consecutive voyages totaling a whopping 270 cruise days.

Carnival Elation has a special place in Fosselman’s heart as he and his wife, Becky, sailed on the ship numerous times over the past few years, even after she became ill and was unable to walk or talk. Fosselman said his wife loved sailing with Carnival and believed that the cruises contributed greatly to her quality of life despite her declining health.

After his wife passed away in April 2014, Fosselman decided to return to the ship that brought them so many fond memories, boarding Carnival Elation for the first of 33 consecutive voyages later that month. Fosselman believes that cruising was very therapeutic following his wife’s passing and the Carnival Elation’s staff went above and beyond in providing much-needed support and assistance during this challenging period in his life.

Fosselman embarked in New Orleans for his first cruise in April aboard Carnival Elation and sailed 32 additional 4- and 5-day cruises, visiting the Mexican ports of Cozumel and Progreso dozens of times during that period. It’s believed to be the longest streak of consecutive cruise days in Carnival Cruise Lines’ 42-year history.

When Fosselman debarked the ship after 33 consecutive voyages and 270 days overall on board, the Carnival Elation staff warmly greeted him in the ship’s atrium and held a special farewell reception, including the banner pictured above, which was created especially for the occasion.

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Lines

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Great Team: Princess Cruises & Football

It's autumn and you know what that means. The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are cooling off, and football season is here. To celebrate the changing season, Princess Cruises has announced partnerships with the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, and Chicago Bears to offer fans the opportunity to win a cruise and enjoy a game at sea.

Princess Cruises football fans can catch more of the action than ever before aboard 13 of its ships as the line is showing the most highly watched games the NFL has to offer on its signature Movies Under the Stars screens, and throwing a tailgate party each week to celebrate. Guests will be "ready for some football" while sailing through the balmy waters on a Caribbean cruise or enjoying cruising from the West Coast, with the game showing on a giant LED screen above the pool.

Each Monday, ships will offer Tailgate at Sea parties, bringing the best of the American football experience on deck. Passengers can enjoy their favorite snacks such as hot wings, burgers, hot dogs, chips and salsa, pizza, and other party foods football fans would enjoy during a traditional BBQ in a stadium parking lot or while hosting a football get-together. Beer buckets and team-inspired drink specials will add to the tailgate experience.

San Francisco 49ers
Princess Cruises has become a Proud Partner of the San Francisco 49ers, including a fan-based sweepstakes, expanding the cruise line's presence in this market. As part of the partnership, San Francisco 49ers fans will have the opportunity to win a 10-day cruise to Alaska or Mexico, sailing roundtrip from San Francisco. The sweepstakes, which will be promoted with digital ads on 49ers.com, runs through Dec 31, 2014, and fans can enter at princess.com/sanfrancisco.

Princess offers a variety of ways to explore Alaska and Mexico from San Francisco, including:
• Inside Passage from San Francisco: Golden Princess will sail from the "City by the Bay" on 10-day roundtrip Alaska cruises. The ship offers 14 voyages from San Francisco featuring the scenery of Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm Fjord, with calls at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria (with some sailings substituting Icy Strait Point). Departures sail between May 12 and Sept 9, 2015.
• Mexico: Star Princess will depart San Francisco on 10-day cruises to Mexico, visiting Cabo San Lucas, Loreto, La Pax, and Puerto Vallarta. Departures sail between Oct 1, 2014 and April 19, 2015.
Houston Texans
Princess Cruises has also become a Proud Sponsor of the Houston Texans, including a fan-based sweepstakes, expanding the cruise line's presence in this key market. As part of the partnership, Houston Texans fans will have the opportunity to win a 7-day cruise to the Western Caribbean, sailing roundtrip from Houston. The sweepstakes, which will be promoted with digital ads on houstontexans.com and game day radio advertising, runs through Dec 31, 2014, and fans can enter at princess.com/texans.
• Princess offers 7-day Western Caribbean cruises aboard Emerald Princess sailing roundtrip from Houston. These cruise vacations visit Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel and sail between Nov 16, 2014 and April 26, 2015.
Seattle Seahawks
Additionally, Princess Cruises has become a Proud Sponsor of the Seattle Seahawks, including a fan-based sweepstakes, expanding the cruise line's presence in this key market. As part of the partnership, Seattle Seahawks fans will have the opportunity to win a 7-day cruise to Alaska, sailing roundtrip from Seattle. The sweepstakes, which will be promoted with digital ads on seahawks.com and game day radio advertising, runs from Sept 4 to Dec 31, 2014, and fans can enter at princess.com/seattle.

Princess offers a variety of ways to explore "The Great Land" of Alaska from Seattle, as well as nearby Vancouver, for the upcoming 2015 cruise season:
• Inside Passage from Seattle: Ruby Princess and Crown Princess offer convenient weekend departures on two different 7-day roundtrip cruises from Seattle along the scenic Inside Passage. Both visit Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, B.C., and passengers will enjoy dramatic glacier viewing in either Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm. The two cruise ships will sail on 36 departures between May 10 and Sept 12, 2015.
• Voyage of the Glaciers: Princess' favorite Gulf of Alaska route between Vancouver and Whittier (for Anchorage) features two glacier-viewing experiences on every Alaska cruise, with visits to Glacier Bay National Park plus either Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord. Ships also call at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway cruise ports. Guests have a variety of cruise ship choices for this signature itinerary, with Grand Princess and Star Princess sailing Saturdays, while Coral Princess and the intimate Pacific Princess sail on Wednesdays and Mondays. In total, the ships will offer a total of 70 sailing choices between May 9 and Sept 12, 2015.
Chicago Bears
In a final partnership announcement, Princess has become a Partner of the Chicago Bears, expanding the cruise line's presence in this key market. Chicagoans will have the opportunity to win a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean, sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. The sweepstakes runs through Dec 31, 2014, and fans can enter at princess.com/chicago.

Fans of the 49ers, Texans, Seahawks, and Bears will also have access to special cruise deals from Princess throughout the season.

Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Friday, September 5, 2014

Silversea Completes Inaugural Expedition Through The Northwest Passage

In a first ever achievement, luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea's 132-guest Silver Explorer has successfully completed a journey through the legendary Northwest Passage. The 23-day voyage commenced in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on August 9 and concluded in Nome, Alaska on September 1. It covered a distance of nearly 3,500 nautical miles, following a route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago similar to Roald Amundsen's momentous east-to-west expedition of 1903 to 1906, the first successful navigation by boat through the passage.

"Sailing the Northwest Passage is an experience reserved for true adventurers and dedicated explorers," said Conrad Combrink, Silversea's director of expedition planning and strategic development. "We are honored to know that what was once an unfulfilled dream for such renowned explorers as Captain James Cook, Henry Hudson, and many others, is now a successful chapter in the history of Silversea Expeditions."

The Northwest Passage is famous for its shallow channels and floating ice. Although summer ice conditions have permitted a number of successful transits since Amundsen's expedition, the passage can still present challenges. The small-sized Silver Explorer, with her shallow draft, ice-strengthened hull, 1A ice class certification, and Captain Alexander Golubev at the helm, is well suited to take on such missions.

"It's a special privilege to sail through the world's most elusive and historic waterways. Such a journey requires careful and meticulous planning at every stage," said Golubev, who has led over 50 voyages to the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland. In an abundance of caution, Captain Golubev enlisted the services of an icebreaker to escort Silver Explorer through a critical portion of the route. "I'm pleased that all our strategizing and preparations resulted in success for Silversea's first-ever Northwest Passage expedition, and I'm very grateful to be among a small group of mariners who have experienced such an extraordinary opportunity during their careers."

Silversea is a member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), dedicated to managing respectable, environmentally friendly and safe expedition cruising in the Arctic.

Images Courtesy of Silversea

Thursday, September 4, 2014

As Her Farewell Season Ends, Celebrity Century Will Sail To A New Owner in China

As Celebrity Century's "Farewell Season" approaches its close, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell the cruise ship to Exquisite Marine Ltd., a holding company led by Ctrip.com International Ltd. A leading travel service provider of accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours, and corporate travel management in China, Ctrip aggregates accommodation and transportation information to enable business and leisure travelers to make informed and cost-effective bookings and book vacation packages and guided tours. Since its inception in 1999, Ctrip has experienced substantial growth and become one of China's best-known travel brands.

"Since its inaugural sailing, Celebrity Century has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to the Chinese cruise market," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "The vessel's sale is an excellent business opportunity for both Royal Caribbean and Ctrip, and will generate strong value for both companies' shareholders."

Celebrity Century joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in December 1995, and was built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. The 71,545-ton ship carries 1,814 guests (double occupancy) and 860 crew in her current configuration. Celebrity Century will complete its scheduled sailings through its March 22, 2015, itinerary. The 15-night, Dubai to Rome sailing on April 5, 2015 is being redeployed to a 14-night sailing from Dubai to Singapore. Guests with affected individual bookings and named group bookings on Celebrity Century's April 5, 2015 sailing from Dubai to Rome have the option to either cancel their booking and receive a full refund or move to an alternative sailing and receive a re-accommodation onboard credit as well as compensation to cover air change fees. Guests with reservations affected by the transition will be proactively contacted by Celebrity Cruises. Guests and Travel Agents with specific questions are welcome to call 1-888-283-7275.

Image © CruiseDiva.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's A Done Deal: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Will Acquire Prestige Cruises Intl, Inc.

Frank Del Rio & Kevin Sheehan
The rumors we’ve heard for a while have turned out to be true and the high end line Regent Seven Seas Cruises and upper-premium line Oceania Cruises that make up Prestige Cruise Holdings will be purchased by the mainstream cruise company, Norwegian Cruise Line. Here’s the announcement, which explains the rationale behind the deal and offers some “fine print” details. It’s interesting reading for anyone who follows the cruise industry.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (“Norwegian Cruise Line” or “Norwegian,” (NASDAQ: NCLH)), a leading global cruise operator, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prestige Cruises International, Inc. (“Prestige”), the market leader in the upscale cruise segment and parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt.
“The acquisition of Prestige represents an extraordinary opportunity for Norwegian Cruise Line to expand our market presence by adding two established, award-winning brands in the upscale cruise segment with loyal followings,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Not only does this acquisition immediately enhance our financial performance, but it also deepens the bench of talent that we have been developing over the years. Our complementary strengths and skillsets will pave the way for new cross-selling opportunities, cross-brand collaboration, cross-business support, as well as joint partnerships which, coupled with meaningful synergies that can be quickly implemented, will provide solid accretion to earnings per share and drive long-term shareholder value,” added Sheehan.

“We are excited to become part of the Norwegian family and start a new chapter for our company,” said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige. “With Oceania and Regent, we have built iconic brands with distinctive product offerings and strong customer loyalty. The combination is very compelling and will allow us to further enhance our renowned guest experience. We are looking forward to joining the Norwegian team and building upon the success that our three brands have already achieved.”

Prestige operates eight ships and approximately 6,500 berths under two segment-leading brands. Oceania Cruises is the market leader in the upper-premium cruise segment with five ships offering destination-oriented cruise vacations to more than 330 ports around the globe, gourmet culinary experiences, elegant accommodations and personalized service. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the market leader in the luxury cruise segment and operates three award-winning, all-suite ships, with an additional ship on order for delivery in summer 2016. Regent offers the industry’s most inclusive luxury vacation experience visiting over 250 destinations worldwide. Frank Del Rio will remain chief executive officer of Prestige.

“The combination of three distinct brands, each serving a different market segment, under one umbrella immediately creates an industry-leading cruise operator with an unmatched growth trajectory and a portfolio of products that allows us to appeal to guests at every stage of their life cycle,” added Sheehan. “We are fully committed to retaining the brand propositions, guest experiences and cultures of the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent brands that have allowed each to realize such success.” 
Transaction Rationale
The compelling rationale to acquire Prestige includes:
• The diversification of cruise market segments by adding upper premium and luxury brands;
• The further enhancement of industry-leading financial metrics;
• Opportunities for synergies and the sharing of best practices among brands;
• An increase in economies of scale providing greater operational leverage;
• The expansion of growth trajectory and global footprint; and
• The opportunity to complement Norwegian’s new build program with the existing Regent order that provides measured, orderly capacity growth through 2019.
Transaction Details
The total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion includes the assumption of debt. Additionally, a contingent cash consideration of up to $50 million to Prestige shareholders would be payable upon achievement of certain 2015 performance metrics. 
In early July, Norwegian's Board of Directors formed a Transaction Committee and delegated it full authority to negotiate and approve a transaction. The Committee consisted entirely of disinterested directors. Genting Hong Kong Limited and certain funds affiliated with TPG Capital, each of whose consent was required pursuant to Norwegian's existing shareholders’ agreement have consented to the transaction. The Transaction Committee, who retained its own financial and legal advisors, has unanimously approved the transaction. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Norwegian will finance the acquisition with existing cash, new and existing debt facilities and the issuance of approximately 20.3 million shares of its common stock. Pursuant to the requirements of NASDAQ Rule 5635, holders of a majority of Norwegian's common stock have consented to the issuance of such shares.
In a letter to travel agents, a part of which pertains to cruise consumers, Sheehan and Del Rio state:
“Norwegian Cruise Line has entered into an agreement to acquire Prestige Cruises International, Inc., the privately-held parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. With this acquisition, we are expanding our share in the marketplace by extending our presence into market segments which nicely complement the Norwegian brand: Prestige is the leading cruise operator in the upper premium and luxury cruise segments with 46% of the combined berth capacity. The combined offerings of the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent brands will allow us to offer guests a diverse portfolio of products and experiences for every stage of their lives. From family cruises on our amazing Freestyle Cruising ships, to a country–club casual experience on Oceania’s fleet, to the all-inclusive, more intimate experience afforded by Regent’s luxury offering, together our three brands indeed have something for everyone.

Norwegian, Oceania and Regent have built excellent reputations in the industry with loyal followings that are integral to maintain. This is why it is critically important to keep these brands distinct and intact in order to preserve those outstanding attributes that have made each one so successful.

Each business will continue operating as usual. We are committed to providing quality guest experiences and preserving each brand’s uniqueness. Over time, we will strive to build brand loyalty across the Norwegian family of brands to provide unique experiences for generations of guests and their families.”
While I don’t remember the exact date, I’m reminded of a previous deal involving Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Cruise Line, and Royal Viking Line. Never heard of the high end Royal and Royal Viking? The less said about that the better and, unlike that previous debacle, this seems to be a well thought out acquisition, particularly since their intention is to keep these brands distinct and intact.

Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines’ Ships Are On The Move

Some of the world’s best “islands” are those that float and move—they’re called cruise ships. Avid cruise passengers have their favorite lines and ships, but sometimes those ships’ itineraries get stale when repeated too often. Carnival Cruise Lines fans now have some new routes to look forward to as the line shuffles things up a bit to offer more choices in homeport as well as destinations.

Carnival Liberty to San Juan; Carnival Valor to Port Canaveral
Beginning in March 2015, the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Valor will swap homeports with the Carnival Liberty shifting to San Juan to operate year-round 7-day Caribbean cruises, a program currently operated by Carnival Valor. At the same time, Carnival Valor will shift to Port Canaveral to take over Carnival Liberty’s program of 5- to 8-day year-round Caribbean cruises.

Carnival Liberty’s San Juan-based schedule kicks off March 29, 2015, with an itinerary featuring day-long visits to six tropical destinations: St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten, each featuring gorgeous beaches, a distinctive island ambiance and a variety of water sports.

Carnival Valor will launch a 5- to 8-day schedule from Port Canaveral March 27, 2015. Five-day cruises call at Nassau, Freeport and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay or Key West, while 7-day Caribbean voyages visit Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya or St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau. Two different 8-day itineraries will be offered—one featuring Grand Turk, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and San Juan, and another calling at Aruba, Curacao or Bonaire, and Grand Turk.

Carnival Valor and Carnival Liberty will also operate two special voyages in March 2015 in preparation for their new homeport deployments. Carnival Liberty will offer a four-port, 7-day voyage from Port Canaveral to San Juan March 22-29, 2015, calling at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, and Tortola. Carnival Valor will offer a one-time 5-day voyage departing San Juan March 22 and arriving in Port Canaveral March 27, 2015, featuring visits to St. Maarten and St. Thomas.

Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Pride & Carnival Splendor Sail to Bermuda in 2015-2016
Carnival Sunshine will offer an 8-day cruise to Bermuda round-trip from Port Canaveral, Florida, Oct. 2-10, 2015, featuring three full days at this island paradise. During their visit to Bermuda, guests can relax on the island’s legendary pink sand beaches, partake in a wide variety of watersports, including snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving, and visit landmarks such as the Royal Naval Dockyard and Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere.

In addition to Carnival Sunshine’s 8-day voyage, Carnival will offer three other Bermuda cruises in 2015-16—a 7-day voyage on Carnival Splendor from Norfolk departing Oct. 23, 2015, and two 5-day cruises on Carnival Pride from Baltimore departing Oct. 26, 2015, and April 10, 2016.

Images Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines