Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Cruise Review: Carnival Miracle to the Mexican Riviera

It's been a long time since the Cruise Diva crew embarked on a cruise from Long Beach to visit the Mexican Riviera. Keith Henderson's review of a Carnival Miracle voyage to the Mexican Riviera brought back a lot of memories

Sail along with Keith for a comprehensive look at both the ship and ports of call.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Seven Seas Explorer to Feature an Opulent Outdoor Oasis

Am I the only cruise passenger who doesn’t pack a bathing suit? Even those of us who don’t swim can appreciate a glistening pool ringed by teak decking with plush oversized lounge chairs and chic circular sunbeds. Those amenities form the centerpiece of a new outdoor oasis on the luxury cruise ship Seven Seas Explorer. The pool and sports decks of the all-suite Seven Seas Explorer will feature the same extraordinary level of detail found in the ship’s opulent suites, gourmet restaurants, and elegant lounges, and offer a variety of relaxation and outdoor recreation options.

“The pool and sports decks will become a must-experience indulgence for guests sailing on Seven Seas Explorer,” said Jason Montague, president and chief operating officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Tillberg Design created a beautiful outdoor haven where guests can enjoy an assortment of recreational activities, relax while taking in breathtaking panoramic vistas, or delight in gourmet al fresco dining, all while completely ensconced in luxury befitting the world’s most luxurious ship.”

Luxurious Pool Deck Provides Intimate Retreat
Drawing inspiration from pool retreats at exclusive boutique hotels, with a fusion of Southeast Asian design elements and Caribbean accents, the Deck 11 oasis on Seven Seas Explorer provides an intimate setting for relaxing, swimming and enjoying the ever changing vistas. With rich teak, natural stone, and luxurious marble, the geometrical design of the ship’s centerpiece pool evokes a welcoming, modern feel.

The pool provides the perfect respite for guests seeking a refreshing swim and offers an expansive 3-inch deep shallow section for guests looking to cool off by dipping their toes in the water poolside. Paying homage to the ocean, sea-inspired ceramic tiles line the pool. At the end nearest the Pool Grill, shaded under contemporary circular overhangs, are two hot tubs perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring.

Sheer curtains impart a level of intimacy around the pool, creating secluded, private escapes for relaxation. Stylish double loungers, some perched on raised platforms, enhance the elegant design, with a center stage that creates the perfect venue for special poolside musical performances. Adjacent to the pool area, guests can enjoy al fresco covered dining or grab a bite to go at the Pool Grill which serves breakfast, lunch, snacks, sweets, and refreshing drinks.

In the evening, an array of lighting effects help set the mood for any occasion, whether it’s bringing the deck alive by infusing light on the glowing azure pool for a colorful celebration or using backlit canvases to produce a more serene, romantic evening retreat.

Sports & Sun-Deck Offer Recreation at Sea
Deck 12 combines a dedicated sports area with a sun-deck for those wishing to enjoy more active pursuits or soak in the sun with spectacular views over the horizon. The sports area features a deck shuffleboard, putting greens, golf nets, bocce court, paddle tennis, and jogging track. The sun-deck has inviting circular loungers where guests can feel the ocean breezes and unwind.

The maiden voyage for Seven Seas Explorer will be a 14-night sailing from Monte Carlo to Venice on July 20, 2016. The ship will remain in Europe for the majority of its inaugural season, sailing 11 voyages that crisscross the Mediterranean before making its North American debut in Miami in December.

Image Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Seabourn to Partner With Michelin-Starred Chef & Introduce New Signature Restaurant

Seabourn, long a culinary leader in the cruise industry, offers award-winning cuisine and gourmet dining experiences that rival even the world's finest restaurants. Even so, dining on Seabourn ships is about to reach new heights as the luxury line announces its partnership with world-renowned American chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller. The culinary genius behind a trio of Michelin-starred restaurants—The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon—Keller will bring his award-winning French and American cuisine to the ultra-luxury cruise line in 2015, adding new flavors and flair to complement Seabourn's already celebrated cuisine.

Chef Keller will develop an array of dishes, ranging from appetizers to entrees to desserts prepared with high quality ingredients and to exact specifications, for multiple dining venues aboard Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Quest beginning early fall 2015. In addition, Seabourn will partner with Keller to introduce a new signature restaurant that will be revealed early next spring on Seabourn Quest before being expanded to the entire fleet, including the line's two new ships—Seabourn Encore launching in late 2016 and Seabourn Ovation launching in early spring 2018. Keller will also advise on various aspects of the line's culinary operations, sharing his expertise and vision.

Keller is globally recognized for his culinary skills and exceptionally high standards, and has established a collection of 12 restaurants and bakeries that set a new paradigm within the hospitality profession. He is the only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide, as well as the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France. His countless accolades include The Culinary Institute of America's "Chef of the Year" Award and the James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Chef" and "Outstanding Restaurateur" Awards.

"There is really no chef more accomplished or held in higher esteem than Chef Keller, and we are both honored and delighted to have a restaurateur of his stature take our onboard culinary offerings to an even higher level," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "His culinary talent and sophisticated cuisine are beyond compare and the perfect match for our guests. We have no doubt our guests will be as excited as we are to taste and enjoy Chef Keller's dishes on our ships."

Seabourn's intimate ships offer key elements that set the line apart: spacious, well-appointed suites, many with verandas; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary open bars throughout the ship; fine wines poured at lunch and dinner; outstanding service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home. The ships travel the globe throughout the year, sailing to many of the world's most desired destinations and lesser-known ports and hideaways.

Seabourn Encore Pool Deck Image Courtesy Seabourn

Monday, April 27, 2015

Meet The Designer Behind Seabourn Encore

The design icon behind the newest addition to the Seabourn fleet, Seabourn Encore, shares his vision in a video released by the ultra-luxury cruise line. Designer Adam D. Tihany discusses the modern design elements he has created for Seabourn Encore, the line's new ship scheduled to launch in late 2016.

Seabourn Encore will launch from Athens in December 2016 and make its inaugural voyage from Singapore starting January 7, 2017. To follow the progress of Seabourn Encore, visit the ship's dedicated microsite at Filled with imagery, details and updates on the ship's progress, including "sunsets until launch," the microsite offers an inside look at the most exciting Seabourn launch in years. Additional details, news and images will be revealed on the site on an ongoing basis.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Bar Is “Open” Aboard Norwegian Sky in 2016

While many people think of cruises as all-inclusive vacations, that has never been the case in regard to cruise ship bars. With the exception of voyages on the most expensive, luxury lines, there has been an extra charge for adult beverages and even soft drinks on contemporary and premium cruise lines. Until next year, that it. Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that beginning January 2016 all guests sailing aboard Norwegian Sky from Miami will enjoy an even more inclusive cruise experience with dining, entertainment, and (yes!) free unlimited beer, wine, and premium spirits included. Whether they choose white or red, shaken or stirred, on the rocks or straight up, Norwegian Sky guests will revel in the freedom and flexibility of the most inclusive contemporary cruise vacation at sea.

“We’re taking Freestyle Cruising to the next level to provide our guests with an experience unmatched by any other contemporary cruise line,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Norwegian Sky guests will have the freedom to enjoy a cruise vacation the way they desire—whether it’s lounging by the pool with a margarita, having a laugh at a comedy show, catching up on their favorite book on their balcony, or indulging in fine dining—all included in their cruise fare.”

Guests who are at least 21 years of age at time of sailing will enjoy for free a variety of unlimited premium spirits, cocktails curated by the award-winning mixologists from Miami’s Bar Lab, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to $11 aboard Norwegian Sky in 2016 and beyond. Guests 3 to 20 years of age will enjoy unlimited sodas and juice throughout their cruise.

Norwegian Sky sails 3- and 4-day round-trip cruises from Miami to the Bahamas year-round. The new all-inclusive experience will also provide guests with unlimited premium beverages while soaking up the sun on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.

In addition to the wide variety of inclusive offerings onboard, Norwegian Sky guests also have the option to indulge in a variety of extra onboard experiences—some of which carry a surcharge—such as specialty restaurants and spa treatments. While in port, Norwegian Sky guests can also opt to choose from a wide array of shore excursions offering leisure, adventure, and cultural experiences. Norwegian Sky features a broad selection of staterooms options including spacious suites and penthouses that accommodate up to five guests, balcony staterooms, oceanview staterooms, and moderately priced inside staterooms designed with families in mind to accommodate up to four guests. The ship features 13 dining options, 12 bars and lounges, two pools, five hot tubs, an onboard spa, casino, and children’s programming.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Disney Cruise Line Dreams a Little Bigger with Enhancements to the Disney Dream This Fall

Star Wars: Millennium Falcon
It seems like only yesterday that Disney Dream was launched, but already Disney Cruise Line is imagineering exciting new experiences for guests with spaces throughout the vessel that will be transformed this fall. Headlining the enhancements are two new interactive youth areas, one themed to Star Wars and another to the Disney Infinity video game. In addition, a whimsical sweet shop serving handmade gelato and the popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will debut after the Disney Dream undergoes dry dock Oct. 4-24, 2015, in Freeport, Bahamas. Here is a glimpse at what is in store for guests of all ages:

Star Wars Area Brings Force-filled Fun for Children
A newly themed area in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to ages three to 12, will delight children with an out-of-this-galaxy experience inspired by the Star Wars saga. Kids will be transported to a far away galaxy at Star Wars: Millennium Falcon, a Force-filled play area inspired by the spacecraft from the legendary saga. Upon entering the spaceship, younglings will join the Rebel Alliance in the epic battle of good versus evil by assisting with the navigation of this powerful space vehicle. Sitting in the cockpit, children can pilot this super-cool spaceship through hyperspace and trigger lightspeed jumps to different locations around the galaxy.

In Millennium Falcon, children can express their creativity through Star Wars-themed crafts, games and activities. They can also watch episodes from the new Disney XD animated series, “Star Wars Rebels,” on a large screen or virtually join the rebellion at gaming stations featuring the series’ action-packed adventures. The excitement continues with a shipboard version of the popular Jedi Training Academy experience that invites young Jedi hopefuls—known as “Padawans”—to learn lightsaber moves from a Jedi Master. They can then use the Force and face off in a final test against the evil Darth Vader.

High-Tech Disney Infinity Space Adds Adventure for Kids
Also in the Oceaneer Club, a high-tech interactive space based on the Disney Infinity video game offers more fun for kids. In the Disney Infinity Toy Box area, children can experience a whole new way of playing together with exciting virtual experiences and immersive activities. Customized, on-screen adventures will bring to life characters and stories from across The Walt Disney Company. The complete set of Disney Infinity character figures will be on display for creative inspiration and available for gameplay. Kids visiting this special room—found only on the Disney Dream—will be able to unlock exclusive Disney Cruise Line content that they can continue to enjoy when playing Disney Infinity at home.

Special activities will bring the virtual gameplay experience to life in the real world. For example, a life-sized Disney Infinity Base sets the stage where children take the place of character figures for a group gaming experience unlike any other. Lighting up in response to gameplay on a large screen, this interactive floor will allow kids to be immersed in the Toy Box.

Specialty Sweet Shop for Families
Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats will satisfy the sweet tooth of cruisers of all ages, with handmade gelato and ice cream, an assortment of candy, and delectable novelty treats for purchase. New to Deck 11, the smell of freshly baked waffle cones and candy will linger from the specialty store’s two entrances, inside Cabana’s restaurant and outside by the pool deck. Resembling the whimsical candy land of the Sugar Rush race car game in “Wreck-It Ralph,” the sweet shop’s décor features nods to the film, including a race track and checkerboard patterned floor, gas pump-style gumball dispensers, Vanellope’s race car and King Candy’s throne.

Magical Makeover Salon for Princesses & Pirates
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, coming to Deck 5 midship, will bring to life the storybook fantasies of young guests with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers. This very special salon will offer aspiring princesses and knights ages three to 12 the chance to transform into royalty with the help of a fairy godmother-in-training. On pirate party night this boutique becomes The Pirates League where swashbuckling pirates of all ages will have the opportunity to unleash their inner buccaneer.

Cool & Comfortable Retreat for Adults
Exclusively for adults, Deck 13 forward will include a new water feature, Satellite Falls, a circular splash pool with benches and a gently falling rain curtain that provides cool comfort. Around this upper deck, adult guests can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a canopy.

This wave of enhancements to the Disney Dream debuts on the Oct. 26th 4-night voyage from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The Disney Dream will continue to sail 3- and 4-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas throughout 2015 and into 2016.

Image Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Anthem of the Seas Christened

Marking the launch of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Anthem of the Seas, the cruise line hosted an unusual naming ceremony in Southampton U.K. this week led by Godmother Emma Wilby, a British travel agent who was selected for the honor in a singing competition for travel agents. In addition to the champagne bottle-breaking and blessing duties traditionally performed by a ship’s godmother, Wilby took center stage during the ceremony together with Welsh choir Only Boys Aloud to deliver the performance of her life.

The second vessel in the Quantum-class for Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas has set sail with previously introduced innovations in ship design, exciting activities, state-of-the-art technology, multidimensional entertainment, and flexible dining opportunities. She spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,090 staterooms. Anthem of the Seas will sail out of Southampton for her inaugural season before departing for New York Harbor and her new homeport of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J.

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean International

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MSC Cruises Reveals New Vista Class Ships

MSC Cruises has marked a key milestone in its $5.4 billion growth plan as the first steel for its new Vista generation of megaships was cut this week at STX France, during a ceremony in Saint-Nazaire. At the steel-cutting ceremony, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago revealed that the cutting-edge 4,500 guest (double occupancy), 167,600-GRT ship—due to be delivered in May 2017 and open for bookings from June 2015—will be named MSC Meraviglia. She will spend her first summer sailing the western Mediterranean, and will be the first to have three homeports: Genoa, Marseille, and Barcelona.

“MSC Meraviglia will be the biggest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line,” said Vago. “We chose a name that denotes the sense of awe and wonderment felt when you experience the ship’s stunning features, which only an MSC cruise, with its unique Mediterranean-style, can deliver. MSC Meraviglia brings together the industry know-how of MSC Cruises, a young, bold company built upon 300 years of seafaring tradition and the expertise of one of the most advanced shipyards in the world. Today, building started on a true maritime marvel.”

Among the ships’ features will be specially crafted ‘cluster cabins’ for families and an extended MSC Yacht Club, the wholly self-contained luxury area on the prestigious foredecks, which will be enhanced with duplex suites, a vast solarium and a private lounge and restaurant. They will be packed with extraordinary features that make them ideal for cruising in summer and winter, including wide dining options and entertainment choices, stunning panoramic spaces, a large theatre and a spectacular amusement park linked to an outdoor aqua park, as well as a three-deck interior promenade.

MSC Meraviglia will also feature a range of technological advancements, such as ‘Near Field Communication’ technology, enabling guests to do things like make onboard payments, access their staterooms or geo-locate children, simply by using their cruise card, bracelet or smartphone. Another jaw-dropping feature will be a 5,167 square foot LED screen, which forms the entire ceiling of the ship’s interior promenade. Like a digital sky, this LED image vault will beam out compelling images and vistas day and night–including scheduled visual events–creating a variety of powerful atmospheres at all times.

Designed for unrivalled agility, MSC Meraviglia and the other upcoming Vista project ships will be able to call at any cruise port in the world, meaning guests from around the world will be able to explore more of the best destinations on one of MSC Cruises’ next generation ships. MSC Meraviglia is the first of two identical ships on order from STX France, the second of which will be entered in to service in 2019. In addition, MSC Cruises has options for two further Vista project ships to be delivered by 2022. The Vista project is the result of a lengthy development process under STX’s ECORIZON® program to create cleaner, smarter, more efficient ships. They will be water emission free, and their hulls and propulsion systems will be optimized for extreme energy efficiency. Scrubber technology will neutralize fumes and CO2 emissions in accordance with the latest international maritime regulations. In addition, the ship is fully compliant with the Safe return to Port requirement.

Image Courtesy MSC Cruises

Monday, April 20, 2015

Upcoming Carnival LIVE Concert Performers

Bringing the best in entertainment experiences to cruising continues to be an extremely important component of Carnival Cruise Line’s product, as evidenced by their continuing Carnival LIVE concert series. The roster of artists for its upcoming concerts includes some old and new favorites, adding The Band Perry, BOSTON, Lionel Richie, and Heart to the diverse and talented lineup of musical acts set to perform on board the “Fun Ships” this summer and fall. The shows complement the spring series which kicked off last month and includes performances by Journey, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Smokey Robinson, and Styx.

Carnival LIVE is a one-of-a-kind entertainment option that provides guests an opportunity to experience concerts by major musical artists at a tremendous value. Carnival LIVE concerts are performed on Carnival vessels while they are docked in one of three ports of call: Cozumel, Nassau and St. Thomas and are held in the ships’ intimate main theaters—ranging in capacity from 900 to 1,300—meaning there’s never a bad seat in the house.

“We’re thrilled to build upon the tremendous success of Carnival LIVE with concerts this summer and fall by The Band Perry, BOSTON, Lionel Richie and Heart—four incredibly talented acts that will provide our guests with an extraordinary entertainment experience,” said Bernie Dillon, director of Carnival LIVE.
The Band Perry will perform July 28-29-30 on Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination, and Carnival Magic, respectively, while those ships are docked in Nassau. During these shows, guests can enjoy up-close-and-personal performances by this award-winning trio who recently won Best Country Duo/Group Performance for Gentle on My Mind at the 57th Grammy Awards.

Fans will get “more than a feeling” as they can enjoy four shows this summer by rock superstars BOSTON which has sold more than 31 million records worldwide, including 17 million copies of their self-titled debut. BOSTON brings their high-energy performances to four Carnival ships in Nassau—Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Sensation, and Carnival Ecstasy—Aug. 19-22.

Multiple Grammy and Oscar award-winning singer Lionel Richie will have audiences “dancing on the ceiling” on Carnival Freedom Oct. 14 and Carnival Pride Oct. 15 while those ships are docked in Nassau. One of the most popular recording artists of all time, Richie has sold 100 million albums worldwide and is only one of two songwriters in history to have a number one record for nine consecutive years.

Rounding out the series is Heart, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and have sold more than 35 million records during their accomplished musical career that spans more than 35 years. Guests can enjoy three shipboard performances in Cozumel by these rock legends: Oct. 20 aboard Carnival Paradise, Oct. 21 aboard Carnival Ecstasy and Oct. 22 aboard Carnival Breeze.
Carnival LIVE tickets for 2015 range from $35 to $75 for general admission, significantly less than land-based venues. VIP tickets priced at $125 to $250 offer seating in the first four rows, a photo opportunity with the artist, and a commemorative concert pass.

A complete listing of the 2015 Carnival LIVE concert series is available online at

Image Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Friday, April 17, 2015

Princess Expands Australia Cruises in 2016-17

On the heels of Royal Caribbean’s announcement about its plans for Australia home porting in Winter 2016-17, Princess Cruises has revealed it will also home port five ships in Australia to sail the cruise line’s largest-ever program offering in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific for the 2016-17 season. Princess Cruises will introduce the 3,082-guest Emerald Princess to the market, with Golden Princess returning to sail from Melbourne and Sun Princess, Sea Princess, and Dawn Princess rounding out the fleet and expanding the cruise line’s in-market capacity by 20 percent.

“Australia and the entire South Pacific region has always had an allure as a magical place for travellers, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this part of the world,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “As demand for the region grows, we’re responding with more voyages, more destinations, and more creative itinerary options.”

Cruise-goers can choose from 120 cruise options, in total visiting 113 destinations in 39 countries. Some of the choices include:
• An 84-day Circle South America cruise on Sea Princess departing Sydney, Australia on January 11, 2017 and visiting 28 destinations in 18 countries including Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Overnight calls in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Lima and a full-transit of the Panama Canal add to this special voyage.
• More ways to explore the natural wonders of New Zealand with all five Princess ships sailing to the country’s beautiful coastal landscapes on cruises ranging from 11- to 14-days.
• Circle Australia voyages on Sun Princess with departures from Sydney in October 2016 and March 2017 as well as the first-ever roundtrip voyages from Brisbane and Fremantle.
• 10- to 14-day voyages through the idyllic and remote islands of the South Pacific from Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne, on Sun Princess and Sea Princess.
• A 42-day four continent voyage from England to Australia on Sept 28, 2016 aboard Emerald Princess as she sails south for her first-ever season Down Under.
• Two 42-day journeys to the Orient aboard Dawn Princess sailing from Sydney and Brisbane with visits to multiple destinations in China and Japan. The Sydney sailing departing March 16, 2017 is timed to visit Japan during its famous Cherry Blossom season.
To further enhance the cruise vacation experience, Princess Cruises will offer two Land and Sea Vacation packages. The Australian Outback package immerses guests in Aboriginal culture and includes visits to the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock in Uluru National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The more extensive Ultimate Australia package highlights include a Sydney city tour, the Great Barrier Reef, the northern tropical city of Darwin, the Outback and more. On sale beginning April 22, 2015, the new Princess Cruises’ Australia season runs from October 2016 to April 2017.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Australia to Welcome Ovation of the Seas for 2016-17 Winter Season

It was only last month that Royal Caribbean International announced that that Tianjin, China, would be the new home for its third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas. However, the line has now revealed that it won’t be there year-round with the news that Australia will welcome its very own brand new cruise ship for the first time when Ovation of the Seas homeports in Sydney for winter 2016-17. Currently under construction in Germany, Ovation of the Seas will not only claim the title of the largest cruise ship to ever call Australia home, but also the most technologically advanced in the region.

“Royal Caribbean has been breaking the boundaries in Australian cruising since we arrived in 2007 but today, we have completely changed the face of the cruise industry, making the single largest investment in Australia by any cruise line,” said Gavin Smith, regional vice president, Royal Caribbean, Asia Pacific. “Ovation of the Seas will completely redefine the idea of cruising in Australia, taking the industry to the next level by offering a host of incredible never-before-seen features and technologies. This demonstrates our belief in, and long term commitment to, the Australian cruising market.”

Ovation of the Seas will be the fifth ship in the Royal Caribbean Australian fleet for winter 2016-17, joining four other Royal Caribbean ships—Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas in Sydney and Legend of the Seas in Brisbane—offering a range of the newest and most modern style of cruising Australians have ever experienced. Additional details for the Royal Caribbean’s winter 2016-17 season will be revealed at the end of April.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seabourn Encore Construction Begins With Steel Cutting

Small ship luxury cruise line Seabourn is one step closer to the December 2016 launch of its newest vessel, Seabourn Encore, with the commemorative cutting of the first steel (pictured here) that took place at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy on Monday.

"The cutting of steel for Seabourn Encore is an important milestone in the evolution of both our beautiful fleet and the ultra-luxury cruise segment overall," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "We're looking forward to seeing the ship come together and are excited to continue to add to our fleet. With Adam D. Tihany's innovative design vision and Fincantieri's excellent craftsmanship, Seabourn Encore will be the most beautiful ultra-luxury ship ever built."

In a special nod to the line's departing original fleet, joining the ceremony were two crew members from Seabourn Legend, the last of the three original Seabourn sister-ships currently on its final sailing under the Seabourn banner. Their presence signified the closing of a chapter in the line's history, while marking the start of a new era with the beginning of the construction of Seabourn Encore.

Seabourn Encore will expand and build on the line's highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which introduced enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they debuted between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Encore will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling a personalized level of Seabourn service. A sister ship, Seabourn Ovation, will join the fleet in 2018, and, with the addition of the two new ships, Seabourn will have the youngest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, Seabourn Encore will feature modern design elements consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and is expected to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

To follow the progress of Seabourn Encore, visit the ship's dedicated microsite at Filled with imagery, details and updates on the ship's progress, including "sunsets until launch," the microsite offers an inside look at the most exciting Seabourn launch in years. Additional details, news and images will be revealed on the site on an ongoing basis.

Image Courtesy of Seabourn

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line Drops Surcharges For Asian Dining Venues Across The Fleet

Norwegian Cruise Line is investing significantly into enhancing guests’ dining experiences on board their ships and offering even more culinary options to provide the best cruise vacation as part of the Norwegian NEXT program. A feature of these new initiatives includes eliminating the cover charge and à la carte pricing for many Asian dining concepts across the fleet.

“Norwegian’s Freestyle Dining is the most fun and flexible way for guests to enjoy some of the best dining experiences at sea, when they want and how they want,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are thrilled to continue that legacy by providing guests with more of the food they have come to love and enjoy with the introduction of fleetwide complimentary Asian cuisine.”

Guests cruising aboard Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising ships can indulge in favorites like fried rice, spicy seafood udon noodles, steamed pork dumplings, and more free of charge at the following venues:
• Orchid Garden, Norwegian Gem
• East Meets West, Pride of America
• Lotus Garden, Norwegian Pearl
• Shogun, Norwegian Spirit
• Chin Chin, Norwegian Jewel
• Bamboo, Norwegian Dawn
• Jasmine Garden, Norwegian Jade
• Ginza, Norwegian Star
• Shanghai’s, Norwegian Epic
• Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway & Norwegian Getaway
Norwegian’s popular Teppanyaki restaurants will continue to provide the showmanship and culinary delights of Japanese iron-griddle cooking for a per guest cover charge, and Sushi venues across the fleet will retain nominal à la carte pricing.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Monday, April 13, 2015

Anthem of the Seas Enters The Royal Caribbean Fleet

Royal Caribbean International officially took delivery of its 23rd ship, Anthem of the Seas last week. The second ship in the Quantum-class, Anthem of the Seas reflects the best of Royal Caribbean’s history of innovating cruise ship design and cruise vacations.

Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K., where the ship will homeport through October and sail to the Mediterranean and Canary Islands. The ship will be inaugurated in Southampton on April 20, when travel agent Godmother Emma Wilby will christen the ship to impart good luck and divine protection over the ship and all that sail on board, and perform a song to more than 1,300 invited guests. In November, New York Harbor will be Anthem of the Seas’ permanent home, where the ship will sail regularly from Cape Liberty Cruise Port on adventures to Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Canada and New England.

“It’s wonderful to welcome Anthem of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family of ships,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “Just like every Royal Caribbean ship, Anthem of the Seas will deliver to guests its own distinctive set of amazing adventures, whether sailing in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.”

Guests will enjoy a wide range of Royal Caribbean’s onboard features, such as the North Star aerial observatory, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views, and the RipCord by iFLY skydiving and FlowRider surfing simulators. Guests will enjoy the ships’ transformative venues, such as the Two70 lounge, a great room by day and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacle at night. SeaPlex changes throughout the day to offer bumper cars, disco roller skating, circus school, and basketball and other sports. Guests also will delight at the expansive array of delicious fare in 18 distinctive onboard restaurants and enjoy Royal Caribbean Productions’ entertainment in Music Hall, the Royal Theater, and the Royal Esplanade. Anthem of the Seas spans 16 guest decks; encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons; carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and features 2,090 staterooms.

Friday, April 10, 2015

PortMiami Will Welcome Seven Seas Explorer For Its North American Debut

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new Seven Seas Explorer, designed to be the world’s most luxurious cruise ship, will make its North American debut by sailing into the cruise capital of the world, Miami, on Dec. 2, 2016. As part of its inaugural Caribbean season, the all-suite, all-balcony, 750-guest luxury cruise ship will sail two round-trip voyages from PortMiami to island oases before heading west on a Panama Canal cruise.

After sailing its maiden voyage from Monte Carlo on July 20, 2016, Seven Seas Explorer will sail 10 destination-rich Mediterranean itineraries before traversing to North American on a 16-night Atlantic Retreat voyage from Rome to Miami. From Miami, the ship will embark on a 14-night Serene Islands roundtrip voyage on Dec. 4 followed by a 10-night Caribbean Dawn roundtrip on Dec. 18. Seven Seas Explorer will ring in the New Year with a 16-night Grand Canal Crossing from Miami to Los Angeles with stops throughout the Caribbean and Central America.

Seven Seas Explorer has been a labor of love for our CEO, Frank Del Rio, Executive Vice President of Vessel Operations, Robin Lindsay and the entire Regent Seven Seas Cruises team, so it’s exciting to have this ship, the most luxurious ship ever built, make its North American debut in our hometown of Miami,” said Jason Montague, President and Chief Operating Officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “With two round-trip sailings from Miami and a maiden Panama Canal cruise, we’re providing guests the opportunity to experience the unprecedented luxury Seven Seas Explorer will offer with the convenience of departing from a domestic homeport.”

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Enriching Fall & Winter Crystal Cruises For Families

Crystal Cruises, the only luxury cruise line with dedicated facilities for young travelers, is now offering tremendous savings on multi-generational family travel for more than a dozen of its ultra-luxury cruises this fall and winter, with complimentary berths for kids and a host of perks for families traveling together. From September through December, kids under 17 can sail free in a third berth with two full fare adults, while groups and families of six or more also enjoy additional shipboard credits of up to $400 per stateroom, a $500 credit toward a Crystal Private Adventure, family photo and other benefits offered with the line's "Crystal Family Memories" program. The limited offer is available through the April 30 "Book Now" deadline.

Sailing through the Mediterranean and Western Europe; New England/Canada and the North American East Coast; South America and the Caribbean, the voyages feature a bevy of locales rich in history and cultural pursuits as well as enriching adventures that only Crystal can deliver. Crystal Adventures ashore provide inquisitive guests and junior cruisers to explore the ruins of Pompeii (from Sorrento, Italy); take painting lessons from a local artist in Santorini, Greece; experience an up close encounter with dolphins at Prospect Reef (Tortola, British Virgin Islands); explore the rich array of marine life aboard a submarine in Aruba; and even enjoy South American holiday customs in Brazil.

On board, stimulating enrichment opportunities continue for the young travelers. Crystal's purpose-built Fantasia and Waves children's and teens' facilities—the only ones of such kind in luxury cruising—also feature events and top video games and toys. On select voyages, junior activity directors arrange organized programs for little ones, older kids and teenagers.

Voyages featuring the "Kids Sail Free" offer and other family-friendly incentives include:

Crystal Symphony
-- Sept 13 (7 days)/New England & Canada (New York to Montreal)
-- Sept 27 (7 days)/New England & Canada (Montreal to New York)
-- Oct 24 (7 days)/New England & Canada (Round-trip New York)
-- Oct 31 (14 days)/U.S. East Coast & Caribbean (New York to Miami)
-- Nov 14 (14 days)/Caribbean (Round-trip Miami)
-- Nov 28 (14 days)/Caribbean (Round-trip Miami)
-- Dec 19 (15 days)/South America/Holiday (San Juan to Rio de Janeiro)
Crystal Serenity
-- Sept 6 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Venice to Istanbul)
-- Sept 13 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Round-trip Istanbul)
-- Sept 20 (12 days)/Mediterranean (Istanbul to Rome)
-- Oct 11 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Athens to Venice)
-- Oct 18 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Venice to Monte Carlo)
-- Oct 25 (12 days)/Mediterranean (Round-trip Monte Carlo)
-- Nov 6 (7 days)/Mediterranean & Western Europe (Monte Carlo to Lisbon)
-- Nov 13 (9 days)/Mediterranean & Western Europe (Lisbon to Monte Carlo)
-- Nov 22 (7 days)/Mediterranean (Monte Carlo to Marseille)
-- Nov 29 (12 days)/Mediterranean (Marseille to Lisbon)
"Our guests are discerning travelers who recognize that travel is one of the most enriching and educational experiences we can share with our families," says Crystal's president, Edie Rodriguez. "The additional incentive offers for families on these voyages make it even easier for parents traveling with children of virtually any age to broaden their horizons in ways not possible from text books, television or a digital device."

Image Courtesy Crystal Cruises

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Room Service "Extras" on Norwegian & Carnival

Room service on cruise ships has traditionally been complimentary. However, that hasn't always been the case. On my first Norwegian Cruise Line sailing aboard the SS Norway the line was adding a $2 service charge for room service. That was in 1989 and the charge disappeared the following year. While some lines add a late-night delivery charge, none of the lines we cover are eliminating complimentary room service altogether. However, at least two are rolling out expanded selections with a charge. In the testing phase, here are the details.

Norwegian Cruise Line
An enhanced room service menu is debuting on board Norwegian Cruise Line's two newest ships, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway. The expanded menu includes more hot choices for breakfast, such as hot cereals and eggs and grilled tomatoes, as well as bacon and sausage. A wider selection of additional items is also being offered on the 24-hour room service menu on the two new ships. While individual items on the menu remain available on a complimentary basis, a convenience charge of from $4.95 per order on Norwegian Getaway up to $7.95 per order on Norwegian Breakaway will be added during the testing period. Note that the charges are per order—not per item—and are subject to change. Room Service orders placed by guests sailing in Suites and The Haven will not incur a charge. Norwegian's other ships are not affected at this time.

Carnival Cruise Line

A new room service menu, with selections listed below, will be introduced for testing on Carnival Imagination, Carnival Conquest, and Carnival Pride on April 12th. The menu includes some hot food items, which many passengers have requested.

Complimentary Room Service
Continental Breakfast is available upon request by completing a menu form and hanging it on your door knob by 5am, or by calling at anytime.
Tuna Salad; Roast Turkey; Ham and Cheese; Peanut Butter and Jelly; Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, onWhite, Whole Wheat, or Rye Bread. Served with Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Potato Chips or Pretzels
Hot Sandwiches
Grilled American Cheese, Grilled Reuben with Corned Beef and Swiss Cheese
Garden Salad and Caesar Salad
New York Cheesecake; Assorted Cookies;Chocolate Cake
Available at an Extra Charge
$ 5.00 Totally Awesome Wings Tossed in Your Choice of Honey BBQ or Buffalo Sauce
$ 6.00 Spicy Fried Firecracker Shrimp with Chili Ginger Dip, Served with French Fries
$ 4.00 Cobb Salad
$ 5.00 Killer Chicken Quesadilla with Guacamole
$ 5.00 Authentic Philly Cheesesteak, Served with French Fries
$ 5.00 Pan Pizza Hand-Stretched Dough, Topped with Cheese or Pepperoni
$ 1.50 Side of French Fries
$ 6.00 Cheese and Crackers
$ 6.00 Mediterranean Mezzes: Hummus and Tzatziki Served with Grilled Pita Bread, Olives, Lavosh, and Feta Cheese
On the Carnival Pride from 5:30 PM until Midnight, fresh from Bonsai Sushi:
$ 5.00 California Roll with Crab, Avocado, Cucumber, Sesame, Tobiko Mayo
$ 5.00 Spicy Tuna with Tempura Flakes, Asparagus, Azuki, Tobiko, Yukon Gold Potato Straws, Spicy Mayo
$ 7.00 Tempura Roll with Fried Shrimp, Cucumber, Tenka, Yuzu Mayo,and Bonsai Sushi Sauce
$ 7.00 Bonsai Triple E Roll, Fresh Water Eel, BBQ Eggplant, Tamago (Japanese Egg Omelet), Pankossorted Garden Vegetables with Dips
Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New On Stage: “Tangled: The Musical” To Premier On Disney Magic

The endearing characters of the animated film “Tangled” is coming to a favorite Disney Cruise Line ship in November 2015—this time as an original stage show spectacular at sea aboard the Disney Magic—the first time the Disney tale has been adapted for the stage.

“Tangled: The Musical” will immerse audiences in Rapunzel’s fairytale world through lavish production numbers and music. Three new songs created exclusively for this show by Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Glenn Slater will bring the story to life onstage.

While the show will stay true to the storyline from the hit film—featuring favorite characters like Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, the villainous Mother Gothel, and Maximus the police horse—a few special twists have been added to create a live staged production. The story follows the adventure of Rapunzel as she escapes the confines of her tower and the clutches of Mother Gothel, who wishes to shield the secret of Rapunzel’s magical golden tresses and royal roots. Rapunzel strikes up an unlikely friendship with the suave, crown-stealing bandit Flynn Rider, and together they face ruffians, thugs, and a budding romance on a hair-raising journey filled with classic Disney playfulness and whimsy.

New Songs Debuting with Film Favorites
Composer Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and lyricist Glenn Slater, the prolific pair behind the original soundtrack for “Tangled,” teamed up again to adapt the score and story for the stage. Complementing the score from the film, three new songs weave a delightful combination of narrative, humor and theatrics into the performance. In addition to new melodies, audiences will enjoy live performances of favorite songs from the movie.

Adapting “Tangled” from Screen to Stage
Elaborate costumes, groundbreaking puppetry, and stunning set designs transform the 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre into a fanciful Bavarian kingdom to immerse audiences in Rapunzel’s world. Disney assembled an all-star creative team to develop this extravagant production, with director Gordon Greenberg and choreographer Connor Gallagher joining Menken, Slater, and a bevy of top-notch theatrical talent.

Master puppet designer Michael Curry, whose creations are featured in Disney’s Tony Award-winning musical “The Lion King” on Broadway, is breeding a brand-new pedigree of puppetry in Maximus, the rambunctious police horse whose exaggerated demeanor becomes even more hilarious with the addition of the whinnying puppet performer within. This cleverly constructed character is sure to be the “mane” attraction of every scene he steals.

Dazzling costumes created by Tony Award-winning designer Paloma Young will bring the flair and vibrancy of the animated world to life onstage in “Tangled: The Musical.” The townspeople’s bright hues and Rapunzel’s feminine florals are perfectly balanced by the bristly browns of the rugged thugs and royal regalia of the kingdom officials, creating a sensational fusion of colors, patterns and textures.

Set designs by scenic designer Bradley Kaye (Disney’s “Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular”) will transport audiences to storybook locales that include Rapunzel’s tower home, the outlandish Snuggly Duckling tavern, a brightly adorned kingdom town, and the resplendent lakeside setting of the iconic floating lanterns scene from the film.

New Show Joining Line Up of Exclusive Stage Productions
“Tangled: The Musical” complements the line-up of Disney Cruise Line-exclusive live entertainment performed every voyage aboard the Disney Magic, joining “Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story” and “Disney Dreams… An Enchanted Classic,” which will feature a new segment from the blockbuster animated hit “Frozen” beginning in summer 2015. “Tangled: The Musical” will premiere during the Nov. 11th 4-night Bahamian sailing aboard the Disney Magic, which will sail 4-night Bahamas and 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami beginning Sept. 30 through the new year.

Image Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Monday, April 6, 2015

Say “I Do” To Weddings On Land & At Sea With Norwegian Cruise Line

Engaged couples whose dreams of the perfect being include exchanging vows while sailing into the sunset can now do so on a Norwegian Cruise Line sailing. The line has announced it will begin offering legally recognized weddings at sea performed by the ship’s captain beginning this month on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, and on Norwegian Escape when she launches this fall.

Norwegian’s Wedding At Sea package includes everything necessary for couples to celebrate their nuptials, including a bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere, champagne toast, wedding cake, and more. An experienced wedding coordinator will assist them every step of the way during the planning process and, once on board, they will enjoy their big day stress free, as on-site wedding coordinators handle all of the day’s details so the happy couple can relax and enjoy their special day. The onboard ceremonies will be performed by the ship’s Captain, with the couple’s marriage license issued by the Bahamas.

In addition to weddings at sea, Norwegian also offers customizable destination wedding experiences in one of the line’s romantic ports of call. Whether they choose to tie the knot overlooking the sparkling ocean, atop a majestic glacier in Alaska, or under a canopy of palm trees on an exotic Caribbean beach, couples planning their dream destination wedding with Norwegian can select a Harborside Ceremony, performed on board while the ship is docked in select ports of call, or Destination Ceremony, performed on shore in select ports of call.

Ceremonies are available in a wide range of destinations—including Norwegian’s domestic embarkation ports, as well as beautiful ports of call in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. From a romantic, intimate ceremony in Santorini, Greece to an elaborate portside affair in Maui with dozens of guests, engaged couples sailing with Norwegian can commemorate the most important day of their life as they’ve always imagined it.

With a wide range of packages available, Norwegian offers everything that couples need for their perfect celebration. All packages include an officiant or ship officer to perform the ceremony, on-site wedding coordinator, private ceremony location, ceremony vows, flowers, prerecorded ceremony music, a bottle of sparkling wine, keepsake wedding certificate, and wedding cake. Norwegian is also pleased to offer legal same-sex ceremonies, available in destinations where same-sex marriages are recognized by local law, including Boston, Hawai’i, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Vancouver, Tampa, Miami, and Port Canaveral.

Norwegian also offers a wide selection of enhancements and services that couples can choose from to further personalize their celebration, including spa and beauty treatments, flowers (including custom orders), professional photography and videography, transportation to and from the ship or wedding location, priority check-in, and a variety of wedding reception options, ranging from an elegant cocktail reception with gourmet selections and open bar to a four-course sit-down luncheon with wine service.

For couples who wish to re-confirm their love while at sea, Norwegian’s Vow Renewal package offers married couples the opportunity to celebrate their love all over again with a private vow renewal ceremony performed by one of the ship’s officers. The package includes ceremony music, a romantic single red rose, champagne toast, a celebration cake for two, a commemorative vow renewal certificate, an 8x10 professional portrait in an engraved frame, sparkling wine, canapes and chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to their stateroom the evening of the ceremony.

Honeymooners, too, can take advantage of all that Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising has to offer including romantic dinners for two in the line’s signature restaurants; pampering couples spa treatments in Norwegian’s award-winning Mandara Spas; and adventurous excursions in exciting ports of call. For additional information, visit

Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Friday, April 3, 2015

Silversea Plans Culinary & Wine Cruises For 2015 & 2016

Ultra-luxury Silversea is spicing up its 2015 and 2016 schedules with tasty enrichment offerings on 26 sailings that feature either a culinary or wine focus, including four with culinary and wine themes paired together.

"Our culinary and wine voyages add an extra dimension that enriches our guests' experience, and can deepen their understanding of a region's culture," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas.

Silversea enjoys the privilege of featuring the only "L'École des Chefs by Relais & Châteaux" cooking school at sea. The innovative program, which is offered completely free of charge, provides a special culinary curriculum, including hands-on instruction, and entertaining events. It's hosted by acclaimed culinary trainer David Bilsland, a former instructor at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London.

Highlights include specialized workshops covering an array of topics from basic knife skills and kitchen terminology to sauces and baking; cooking demonstrations with wine pairings and interactive Q&A sessions; lively cooking competitions between Chef Bilsland and the ship's own culinary team; a "Lunch and Learn" event offering small groups of guests a chance to sample a delicious meal of specially prepared dishes; and inspired "Take It Home" recipes that will give guests an edge when entertaining at home.

Also offered on certain voyages, when the itinerary permits, is a "Market to Plate" experience that provides an escorted tour of a local market to shop for fresh ingredients, followed by a cooking class on board or at an actual Relais & Châteaux property.

On each wine cruise, discerning travelers with a passion for fine wines will enjoy sampling great vintages and learning about the tradition and art of winemaking in special complimentary tastings and lectures conducted by Silversea wine ambassador Lawrence d'Almeida, a wine production expert and former winemaker. 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. And as on all Silversea sailings, guests will also enjoy an extensive complimentary selection of fine red and white wine pairings with both lunch and dinner.

Guests can experience the perfect pairing of culinary and wine enrichment programs on select voyages, including two on Silver Spirit: Voyage 5534, a 15-day transatlantic crossing from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale departing Nov 9, 2015, and Voyage 5603, a 21-day Brazil-focused sailing from Barbados to Buenos Aires departing Jan 25, 2016.

For more information, visit

Photo ©

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Sound of Music Goes to Sea on Princess Cruises

What do Princess Cruises and the beloved musical "The Sound of Music” have in common? Both are celebrating their 50th anniversary by teaming up to make the seas come alive with the sound of music. Beginning in mid-April, Princess Cruises will partner with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to screen the biggest movie musical of all time, The Sound of Music, onboard all 18 of its cruise ships and feature sing-a-longs, trivia games, and other movie-themed experiences throughout the year.

In addition, Princess Cruises is offering movie fans chances to win a free cruise and a $500 onboard gift card every month through December 2015. More details about the themed onboard experiences and cruise giveaways are available at

A phenomenon upon its debut in 1965, The Sound of Music won five Academy Awards®, including “Best Picture” and continues to inspire audiences around the world with unforgettable songs including “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Every Mountain,” and “The Sound of Music.” Starring Oscar® winners Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the film follows Maria (Andrews), the warm-hearted young woman who brings joy and music to Captain von Trapp (Plummer) and his seven children.

"The Sound of Music isn’t just a classic film—watching the movie together is a classic family activity. In a year in which both Princess Cruises and The Sound of Music mark their golden anniversaries, this is truly a fun and memorable way to join in the celebrations,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

The Sound of Music will be shown once on every sailing throughout 2015 on Princess Cruises giant Movies Under the Stars top deck screens, with the sing-a-long version featured in the Princess Theater. Song birds can meet and rehearse for a special The Sound of Music edition of Princess Pop Choir and a themed Trivia Challenge will test fans' movie knowledge.

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Viking Ocean Cruises Takes Delivery Of Viking Star

Viking Star
Marking the company's official arrival into the ocean cruise industry, Viking Ocean Cruises® has taken delivery of its first ship, Viking Star. The delivery ceremony took place on March 28 when the ship was delivered at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard outside of Venice, Italy. On April 11, Viking Star will set sail from Istanbul on her maiden voyage and make her way through the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic on her way to be officially christened on May 17 in Bergen, Norway.

"This has been a remarkable journey, and I am grateful to everyone at Viking and Fincantieri who has worked tirelessly to turn our vision into reality," said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises. "With Viking Star's maiden voyage and christening now within sight, we are ready to bring our destination-focused experiences to ocean cruising."

A "small ship" in size the all-veranda Viking Star has a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boasts 465 cabins and will accommodate 930 passengers. It is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have an easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. Light-filled with modern Scandinavian decor, the ship was designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships®. Viking Star is one of three ocean cruise ships on order; the remaining two ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, are currently under construction.

Image Courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises