Friday, March 31, 2017

Majestic Princess Arrives as Newest Jewel in the Crown for Princess Cruises

Carnival Corporation, the world's leading cruise vacation company, took delivery of Majestic Princess, from shipbuilder Fincantieri at an official handover ceremony yesterday at the shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The cruise line's first international luxury ship tailored for the China market, will start her inaugural season in Europe until May and then embark on a repositioning cruise themed the Silk Road Sea Route journey to her new homeport in Shanghai where she will begin her first homeport season in July.

The ceremony was attended by the Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni; executives from Carnival Corporation including Micky Arison, Chairman; Arnold Donald, Chief Executive Officer; Stein Kruse, Chief Executive Officer of Holland America Group; Jan Swartz, Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia; Anthony Kaufman, Executive Vice President International Operations of Princess Cruises; and Cherry Wang, Vice President and General Manager of the Princess Cruises' brand offices in China. Fincantieri was represented by Giuseppe Bono, Chief Executive Officer, and Giampiero Massolo, Chairman.

"Majestic Princess has arrived and we are thrilled to add this new jewel to our crown representing the newest, most stylish and most luxurious flagship to our fleet," said Jan Swartz Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia group president. "We are ready to deliver an exceptional international cruise vacation experience to our guests."

After the successful handover from Fincantieri, Majestic Princess set sail on a preview cruise (March 31 to April 4) that will include loyal Princess guests, international media, travel agent partners, and brand partners from around the world, including many guests from China.

Departing April 4, 2017, the 143,000-ton Majestic Princess will sail on her inaugural voyage, a five-day Adriatic Sea cruise roundtrip from Rome with stops in Kotor and Corfu. Following her maiden cruise, Majestic Princess will tour Europe, offering guests a chance to experience the ship on 7-, 14-, 21-, and 28-day cruises departing from Rome, Barcelona or Athens.

On May 21, Majestic Princess will embark on the "Silk Road Sea Route" a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage she will visit a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang and Xiamen before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from China on July 11 carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of cruise destinations.

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Heywood Hill to Curate Bespoke Library for Silver Muse

Silversea has announced a partnership with literary institution Heywood Hill, which will create a bespoke library for its new flagship, Silver Muse. Over Heywood Hill’s illustrious 80-year history, the London-based bookshop has become renowned for curating collections of new, old, and antiquarian books for private libraries. Marked by old-fashioned courtesy and humor, Heywood Hill’s literary services have been awarded the Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen, among other accolades.

Arts Café
The bespoke library will be housed within Silver Muse’s all new Arts Café, nestled cozily on deck 8. Hosting varied and constantly evolving exhibitions, the Arts Café will also showcase paintings and sculptures from a range of artisans from around the world. Heywood Hill will also select books to be placed in some of Silver Muse’s top suites. A place for relaxation and inspiration by day, the distinctively designed Arts Café will turn into a lively lounge come evening. The Arts Café is also a great venue to enjoy a bite to eat or a tipple, with a café and deli-bar offering daytime cuisine and mouth-watering cocktails as the sun sets.

Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises, said: “Like Silversea, the Heywood Hill brand stands for quality, expertise, and personalization, so we are thrilled to have them curate Silver Muse’s library. We’re excited to offer guests the all-new Arts Café, which promises to be the ideal space for kicking back with a book, enjoying a cocktail or catching up with friends over a coffee.”

Arts Café is one of several new public spaces on Silver Muse, which launches next month. Calling at 34 countries and 130 ports in 2017 alone, Silver Muse will redefine ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy with spacious all-suite accommodations that are the hallmarks of the Silversea experience. The addition of Silver Muse will expand Silversea's fleet to nine ships and will, once again significantly raise the bar in the ultra-luxury cruise market.

For additional information, visit

Images Courtesy Silversea

Queen Mary 2 Featured on Vacation Creation

This spring Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 will be featured on the CW Network's Vacation Creation. Tommy Davidson, best known for his role in 'Living Color' hosts alongside travel expert and YouTube sensation Andrea Feczko. The episode features the Cheatham family as they sail on a transatlantic crossing onboard Cunard's signature flagship liner, Queen Mary 2, for some much needed time together.

Vacation Creation
Vacation Creation takes audiences on an inspirational journey as they follow the voyages of families who have been chosen to experience a custom-tailored cruise vacation of a lifetime. Families that are facing hardship, in need of hope, or are seeking much-needed time together get to travel to incredible destinations and create lasting memories.

The Episode
Miguel Cheatham believes he was blessed with the best parents a son could ask for. So, as a surprise for their 35th wedding anniversary, he nominates them for a trip of a lifetime a transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary 2. Diana and Keith have never taken a vacation and have struggled to make ends meet. Miguel even gets a surprise of his own when hosts Tommy and Andrea invite him and his fiancé along for the cruise. The family gets the full Queen Mary 2 experience as they prepare to be special guests at a masquerade ball in their honor. Miguel and his father attend dance lessons while the ladies enjoy a relaxing visit to the spa.

The episode will air April 1, 2017. To find scheduled air times, please check local listings.

Azamara Club Cruises Announces 2019 Voyages

Azamara Club Cruises, the boutique cruise line known for its destination-immersive voyages, has unveiled its 2019 itineraries to a record 250 ports of call, including 45 maiden ports, 69 countries, 94 overnight stays, and 145 late night stays. New offerings will include Azamara's first-ever sailings to Alaska, 9 Special Events Voyages, and 9 Country Intensive Voyages.

"Our 2019 itineraries span the world with new ports and destinations such as Alaska and go deeper than ever before into local cultures with one-of-a-kind experiences that you can't find through local tour services. We are confident that our growing number of first-time and millennial cruisers, along with repeat customers, will find that the new itineraries offer the type of personalized and unique experiences they seek," said Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "With the new itineraries, we are continuing to build upon our Stay Longer, Experience More brand positioning, with more onshore opportunities that allow guests to connect with locals for enriching travel moments, both on land and at sea."

Introducing Alaska
Azamara is offering a variety of Alaska experiences through 11 dynamic voyages each spanning eight to 10 days between May and September of 2019. The line's new Alaska voyages will feature more time in port with many late night stays, allowing nighttime experiences in this amazing land of the Midnight Sun. The itineraries will feature a combination of marquee ports, as well as unique and out-of-the-ordinary ports. Complimentary AzAmazing Evenings events will feature localized and authentic experiences, and carefully curated optional shore excursions in small groups of 20 – 25 guests will bring Alaska to life for our guests. Intimate shore excursion highlights include:
• Haines off the Beaten Path—Meet Local: Take a scenic drive to Picture Point along the Chilkat River to visit the artists' enclave of Mud Bay with a special tour of Extreme Dreams Art Studio—a handcrafted timber-frame gallery filled with unique creations by select local artisans. Then, return to Haines for a guided visit to the quirky yet fascinating Hammer Museum.
• Icy Strait Point—Taste Local: In Alaska's wildest kitchen, guests can capture the essence of real Alaskan flavors with fresh seafood tasting in a rustic setting hosted by an Alaskan fisherman and an expert filleting demonstration.
• Juneau Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier—Adventure Local: A dynamic helicopter ride to the Mendenhall Glacier is followed by an exhilarating dog sledding journey with about 300 spirited Alaskan huskies.
• Skagway White Pass Legacy Club Luxury Railway Experience—View Local: Experience the dramatic beauty of Southeast Alaska in opulence while traveling aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route's luxurious Legacy Club Car, featuring your very own private guide.
Azamara's Land & Sea Experiences include pre- and post-voyage land programs of two to six nights, combining the cruise with land programs for a truly immersive experience. Curated Land & Sea Experiences include Untamed Alaska, Native Villages for an authentic and traditional community gathering, riverboat cruising, or an afternoon in a local dog handler kennel, learning about the famed Iditarod Dogsled race where guests can meet with some furry and friendly Alaskan Huskies.

More 2019 Voyage Highlights
The line's immersive itineraries feature longer stays and more overnights across destinations worldwide, including smaller ports that the ships are just the right size to visit, many of which larger ships can't, making it more convenient to experience many marquee destinations directly off the ships.
• Golf Local with Perry Golf: In partnership with Perry Golf, Azamara has eight new voyages for golf enthusiasts that include The British Open in Portrush, Northern Ireland and The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
• Special Event Voyages: Azamara caters to niche travel interests with a handful of once-in-a-lifetime experiences worth celebrating with front row access to some of the biggest festivals and events around the world. Premier events include two Formula One races (the Monaco Grand Prix and Spanish Grand Prix), the Cannes Film Festival, a round-trip California Wine Cruise from Los Angeles and an Annular Solar Eclipse voyage through the Indian Ocean. The line will also be in Edinburgh for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo thought of by many as the "greatest show on earth," and on the Azamara Journey's 28-May-2019 voyage, guests will experience the 75th anniversary of D-Day, as well as the once every five years Rouen Festival featuring many of the world's largest and most beautiful tall ships.
• Country Intensive Voyages: Azamara is the first brand to launch Country Intensive Voyages which allow guests to experience a country in-depth, effortlessly and conveniently immersing themselves in the culture, places and things in a variety of destinations within the country. These itineraries consist of most—if not all—ports of call within the destination. Japan, one of the new intensive voyages, offers 13 ports in 15 days throughout a circumnavigation of the country allowing experiences in every part of the country. Other countries include New Zealand, Mexico, Norway, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Greece.
• 45 Maiden Ports of Call: 2019 will see Azamara sailing to a record 45 maiden ports of call including Aalborg, Denmark; Lorient, France; Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK; Boracay Island, Philippines; Stewart Island, New Zealand and many more.
Azamara's recently launched Cruise Global, Connect Local land programs offer an unprecedented variety of over one thousand new and existing intimate shore excursions. Custom experiences curated by Azamara's expert team accommodate every travel style whether it be an interest in experiencing local life behind the scenes (Cruise Global, Meet Local), food and wine (Cruise Global, Taste Local), guided historic tours (Cruise Global, View Local), enjoy exclusive, custom after-dinner experiences (Cruise Global, Nights Local), biking (Cruise Global, Bike Local) and much more. Opportunities to travel deeper are endless. Additionally, all guests experience complimentary, bespoke AzAmazing Evenings that provide true cultural immersion and local entertainment in places like a French chateaux, Caribbean gardens, Spanish forts, Russian ballet halls and Roman amphitheaters.

With a maximum of 25 guests per on-shore excursion, Azamara offers a more intimate connection, more local experience and more peace-of-mind. Every excursion is designed and delivered by locals who provide an authentic perspective and individual interaction and are trusted tour operators that provide the highest level of quality, service and convenience.

Azamara's Boutique Hotels at Sea were recently redesigned, and guests onboard the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest receive warm, authentic and personal service and enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world, as well as inclusive amenities, such as gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee and teas, wines from around the world, international beers and select standard spirits in the ships' bars, lounges and restaurants; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available. The 690-guest ships deliver a true boutique hotel atmosphere with a contemporary design that is inspired by the destinations Azamara visits.

Azamara is more than a cruise line; it's the brand that delivers a rich destination experience worldwide by staying longer and allowing guests to experience more. For a full list of 2019 Azamara Voyages, visit

Fall in Love with Santiago de Cuba with Fathom’s “Cultures of the Caribbean” Cruises

Fathom, one of Carnival Corporation’s 10 global cruise brands, offers one of the travel industry’s most unique experiences—a “Cultures of the Caribbean” cruise that visits the charming Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba and then travels to Amber Cove on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic for the Fathom brand’s highly rated social impact activities. Fathom’s Adonia departs from PortMiami on April 9, April 23 and May 7, and the voyage takes travelers to two beautiful and memorable destinations.

The first port of call is Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second-largest city, giving travelers a look at its colorful traditions, ranging from historic sceneries to remarkable memorials and a rare collection of cannons. Known for its legendary music scene and electric culture influenced by African, French and Spanish tradition and a bustling vibe, Santiago de Cuba is carving out a niche for itself as an “Alternative Cuba.” With an energy considered by many equal to or even exceeding Havana, travelers will quickly understand the difference between the two cities as they walk through the colorful streets populated with unique street vendors and a vibrant community.

Some of the key highlights of this Cuban gem include San Juan Hill, the site of a pivotal battle during the Spanish–American War; Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, a stone fortress perching high atop Bahía de Santiago de Cuba that took over 60 years to complete; and Cementerio de Santa Ifigenia, the final resting place of famed Cuban hero José Martí—the 19th century poet and political theorist—as he remains a figure central to Cuba’s national identity.

“One of my favorite things about Santiago de Cuba is witnessing the rare beauty and charm of the city—the people have great energy, the sights are captivating and the vibe is super cool. We want our travelers to walk away with lifelong memories, and Santiago de Cuba delivers,” said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. “With Fathom’s people-to-people experiences, travelers have the opportunity to engage with the Cuban people and discover the sights and sounds of this magnetic country. The challenge won’t be falling in love with Cuba; the challenge will be not wanting to leave.”

After the visit to Santiago de Cuba, travelers head to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic where they can be part of a bigger story while coming alongside new Dominican friends and communities. While there, travelers can participate in unforgettable impact activities alongside local residents and be a part of creating powerful and sustainable change. Specific impact activities include building water filters for Dominican homes; helping a women’s cooperative produce artisan chocolates; improving homes and common areas in impoverished communities; assisting arts and crafts entrepreneurs; participating in community English-language retention activities; and supporting reforestation efforts.

The Cultures of Caribbean itinerary includes:
• Sunday – Depart from Port Miami at 4:30 p.m. ET
• Monday – At sea
• Tuesday – In Santiago de Cuba from 9 a.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET
• Wednesday – Arrive in the Dominican Republic at 7 p.m. ET
• Thursday – In the Dominican Republic
• Friday – Depart the Dominican Republic at 1 p.m. ET
• Saturday – At sea
• Sunday – Arrive in Port Miami at 7:30 a.m. ET
Pricing for Fathom’s 7-day “Cultures of Caribbean” itinerary to the Dominican Republic and Santiago de Cuba start at $399. The price includes all meals on the ship and lunch in Santiago de Cuba, lunch during Dominican Republic impact activities, onboard experiences and select on-the-ground activities. Taxes, fees, port expenses, gratuities and Cuban visa excluded. The required Cuban travel visa is $75 per person and gratuities are estimated at $80.50 per person. Learn more at

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Princess Cruises Announces Largest Food & Beverage Innovation

World Fresh Marketplace
When Caribbean Princess debuts from a two-week, multi-million-dollar renovation on April 6, Princess Cruises will have completed its largest food and beverage innovation to ever take place during a drydock and guests will delight in seven new onboard dining destinations.

“Fresh, regionally-inspired and family friendly offerings were the inspiration behind our largest food and beverage makeover ever,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “With updated décor and designs that offer a welcoming atmosphere, the seven new dining options aboard Caribbean Princess are sure to please any palate and delight the senses.”

The new dining options aboard Caribbean Princess include:

World Fresh Marketplace—Replacing Horizon Court (deck 14), World Fresh Marketplace unveils a completely new look and improved layout, featuring freshly-made regional specialties and well-balanced food choices:
• Breakfast will include 24-hour cereal stations; a designer pancake station with “pancake of the day” stacks; unique hot cereal offerings such as shrimp & grits and polenta porridge.
• Lunch serves up signature hand-crafted sandwiches, regionally inspired dishes and soups, as well as carvery selections of specialty sausages, hams and roast meats.
• Dinner selections include breakfast at night with omelets and chicken & waffles, family kitchen comfort foods and a kid-friendly PB&J bar. Night-time offerings will also include a live-action station with stir-fry and customized pasta, plus composed salad choices.
Two Casual Specialty Restaurants—Café Caribe (deck 14 aft) transforms into two new, casual evening specialty restaurants great for families with kids who want to enjoy a special meal in a nice, yet laid back setting. These options include:
• Planks BBQ – serving up family-style “Planks” of loaded ribs, beef, sausages and chicken plus all the fixings – fries, chili, coleslaw, charred toast and dill pickles. Dinner is served by wait staff for a cover charge of $12 per person. Complimentary buffet-style breakfast and lunch options include savory customizable breakfast bowls and signature soup, freshly tossed salads and fork & knife sandwiches.
• Steamers Seafood – offers east coast-style Steamers with regional flair including Black & Blue Mussels, Scallops & Sausage, Classic Clams, Shrimp and Sausage and Broiled Scallops, Shrimp and Crab-stuffed Flounder. Dinner is served by wait staff for a cover charge of $12 per person. A delectable lobster tail and King Crab legs can be added for $10. Complimentary buffet-style breakfast and lunch options include specialty egg dishes and ramen bowls with regionally-inspired broths.
Top-Deck Dining Venues—Four Princess top-deck outdoor dining offerings will be revitalized, renamed and enhanced, including:
• The Salty Dog Grill (formerly Trident Grill) – guests can indulge in “The Ernesto” burger, voted “#1 Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic from Chef Ernesto Uchimura, as well as signature Princess burgers grilled up with 100 percent handmade beef patties and buns. In addition, guests can choose new Street Tacos of grilled chipotle-lime chicken or roasted sweet potato-green chile with corn tortillas. Loaded fries in tempting varieties include chili cheese and bacon & cheese. Classic hot dogs round out the menu offerings.
• Slice (formerly Pizzeria) – featuring west coast and east coast offerings, Princess guests will enjoy award-winning signature classic Neapolitan-style pizza. New menu items include Deep Dish Focaccia layered with marinara, meatballs and cheese, California Artisanal Toast including Cali-Avocado or Caprese, as well as Sliced Stromboli, an east coast take on an Italian calzone filled with deli meats and cheese.
• Coffee & Cones (formerly Scoops) – offering treats of gourmet ice-cream sandwiches, complimentary ice cream cones and now brewing specialty coffee on the top deck, serving New Grounds Crafted Coffee.
• The Mix (formerly Blackbeard’s Bar) – the poolside bar will be updated and redesigned with vibrant colors (full designs will be completed by fall 2017).
In addition to the food and beverage innovations, Caribbean Princess will emerge from drydock with new offerings appealing to families, including Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers, upgraded Movies Under the Stars, Princess Luxury Bed and interconnecting staterooms, just in time for the upcoming Europe summer and fall Caribbean seasons. The cruise ship will also be wired for the Ocean Medallion launch that will be available for the 2018 summer Caribbean season.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Norwegian Joy Begins Her Journey to China with Conveyance Along the Ems River

Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line’s first custom-designed ship for the Chinese cruise market, began her journey to her home port of Shanghai, China this week, as she departed the MEYER WERFT shipyard in Papenburg, Germany on Sunday, March 26 for her approximately 14-hour long conveyance along the Ems River. Norwegian Joy’s river conveyance marks another key milestone in the ship's highly anticipated delivery. Measuring 1,094 feet long and 136 feet wide, the ship is the second in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class and the first that was purpose-built for China.

“We are thrilled Norwegian Joy has officially begun her journey to China,” said David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China. “As the first custom-built ship for the Chinese cruise market, she will offer a First Class at Sea experience for our guests and we cannot wait to officially welcome her to the fleet this June.”

The 168,800–gross-ton Norwegian Joy departed MEYER WERFT at approximately 9:00 pm local time, making a narrow passage in reverse through the shipyard's locks, passing the structure with just 1.2 meters separating the ship from the "bumpers" installed along the locks. The ship’s navigation team, led by experienced yard captains and River Ems pilots, included several navigation officers in charge of overseeing the bow maneuvers and others overseeing the movement of the stern. Several local authorities and other partners were also involved in supporting this precise maneuver.

After passing through the sea lock in Papenburg, Norwegian Joy continued along the river, stern first. Due to the strong propulsion in the aft section of the vessel, traveling stern first helps with maneuverability, which is a key component when navigating the vessel through such narrow passages.

Before reaching her final destination in Eemshaven, Netherlands on Monday evening, March 27, Norwegian Joy passed through additional narrow passages including a railway Bridge in Weener; Jann-Berghaus Bridge in Leer and Ems-Barrier in Gandersum. Upon arrival in the Dutch port of Eemshaven, Norwegian Joy will take on additional provisions and further crew members, before heading toward the North Sea for sea trials later this month.

Following her delivery on April 27, Norwegian Joy sets sail for China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Tianjin. This unique showcase tour will give travel agents and valued partners across the region the special opportunity to experience all that Norwegian Joy has to offer leading up to the ship’s christening ceremony on June 27, led by her Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom. The spectacular inaugural celebration in Shanghai will include an exclusive concert and overnight cruise for honored guests.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New Luxury Suites Added During American Queen 2017 Lay-Up

Luxury Suite
American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of America’s most opulent and luxurious paddlewheel vessels, announces details of the Winter 2017 lay-up. Each year, the American Queen is scheduled for a “lay-up” period which consists of cleaning, repairs and updates to the boat. As this year marks the fifth season on the river, the American Queen was dry-docked for maintenance and inspection in Gretna, La where eight of her interior cabins were converted into four new Luxury Suites.

“Thanks to the addition of these new Luxury Suites, we look forward to being able to accommodate larger groups and families,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “With upgrades and improvements, we are delighted to have 2017 underway in style.”

The off-season is actually quite bustling and a time of rapid change for the vessels. With a dedicated crew, the management teams organized a schedule, budget and list of priority items to accomplish during the lay-up such as cosmetic changes including the replacement of public area flooring throughout the guest hallways and dining room.

Lay-up repairs and improvements made to the American Queen include:
• Sand-sweeping and painting of the hull
• Conversion of eight cabins to four new Luxury Suites
• Bolidt Teak Decking on deck three from mid-ship to the Front Porch
• New tiles for all public restrooms and approximately 25 guest bathrooms
• Rebuilding of River Grill & Bar
• Completion of mahogany handrails on deck three
Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, nine-day sailings on the American Queen journeys include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner, and a host of other amenities. For additional information and reservations, visit

Image Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company

Highly-Awarded Chef Graeme Cockburn Appointed Corporate Executive Chef at Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises announces the appointment of Graeme Cockburn as Corporate Executive Chef overseeing menu and recipe development; culinary talent retention, recruitment and training; culinary partnerships, standards and procedures, and innovations for the six-ship cruise line. Recently named Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, the leading line in small ship cruises places a distinct emphasis on an elevated culinary experience on board and ashore.

“We are energized by welcoming aboard Graeme to round out our team of experienced and inspired culinary professionals. Graeme’s breadth of experience and caliber of cuisine will enhance our cruise guests’ experience exponentially to rival the best land restaurants, hotels and resorts,” remarked Peter Tobler, Director of Hotel Operations.

Chef Cockburn begins immediately and is responsible for elevating the guest dining experience by developing destination-centric recipes and menu cycles that celebrate the authentic cuisine of the regions where the boutique line sails. Serving up to 148, 212 or 310 guests each cruise, the intimate size of Windstar’s small ships allows the new Corporate Executive Chef to source local ingredients, re-master and expand the popular “Shop with the Chef Local Market Tours,” developing new programs and culinary experiences to further immerse guests in the greater cultural community.

Cockburn has enjoyed an illustrious career established early on as an innovator affiliated with the crème de la crème of cuisine, including formative training at world-famous The Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland, the Royal Scotsman train, London’s exclusive Boodles private club, and the Pompadour Restaurant Edinburgh which was named top restaurant of Scotland during Cockburn’s tenure. The celebrated chef trained with Michelin-awarded chefs including; Michel Roux, London; Michel Guerard, South of France; and at the Hotel De Crillon, Paris.

Windstar was recently named the “Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation,” and as such, Cockburn also will be responsible for developing the onboard “Culinary Demonstrations Powered by the James Beard Foundation.” Recipes developed for that program will harness the talents and work of James Beard Foundation guest chefs who sail with Windstar as part of the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection, a series of sailings hosted by well-known chefs from around North America.

Cockburn answered the allure of travel when recruited by the venerable Cunard line to introduce the Queen Mary 2. Cockburn went on to establish a name synonymous with success in the cruise industry also working in various culinary capacities for Princess Cruises, and Seabourn developing and re-imagining comprehensive culinary operations, Cockburn has partnered with esteemed chefs such as Charlie Palmer, Daniel Boulud, Todd English and Curtis Stone to introduce new cuisine concepts at sea, and has prepared cuisine for audiences live and on television and radio.

Cockburn trained with the prestigious British Transport Hotels (BTH) Group and signed his apprenticeship within the group and attended courses at the Executive Management Leadership Program UCLA Anderson School of Management. He holds a degree in culinary management, and won the following:
• Gold Medal Hot Kitchen – Hot Chef Competition, Glasgow, Scotland
• Gold Medal Hot Kitchen – Hotel Olympia Competition, London, United Kingdom
• Young Chef of the Year United Kingdom
Cockburn also won medals and acknowledgments for Cold Larder work within the clubs of London, was invited to cook at Buckingham Palace for the Queen of England at a state honors event, and was invited to perform as guest chef for a charity event for the Culinary School of Alaska in Anchorage.

A native of Scotland, Cockburn will work aboard Windstar’s three sailing ships and three all-suite yachts deployed to destinations around the globe; and will work at times at Windstar’s Seattle headquarters.

For additional information on Windstar’s fleet, visit

Acapulco Registers a 64 Percent Increase in Cruise Ship Arrivals During 2017

Acapulco is a destination that attracts both national and international travelers year-round to enjoy the destination’s beaches, nightlife, natural attractions and the local people’s warmth and hospitality. Acapulco’s port receives ships coming from North and Central America during the cruise season, which takes place between September and July. Acapulco is ready to receive 28 cruise ships, which have been confirmed for 2017, compared to 18 cruise ships during 2016, representing a 64 percent increase for this upcoming season despite Holland America’s announcement about their route adjustment. Therefore, meetings have been established with Holland America’s executives to present them with ongoing security advances at the port.

Acapulco will receive a total of 10 more cruise ships this year while continuing to promote and supervise the port of Acapulco’s operations to attract more ships, in collaboration with international cruise lines. Currently, the following nine cruise lines operate in Acapulco: Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, V-Ships, Silversea, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Global, Saga and Hapag Lloyd.

Recently, a delegation headed by the Acapulco Tourism Board and integrated by the directive of the Integral Port Administration (API) of Acapulco, executives of the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office and several tour operators were present at the international convention, Seatrade Cruise Global—held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida—where they held meetings with the major shipping companies. Similarly, a meeting is scheduled with the Operations Committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) to deliver a firsthand report on the operation of cruise ships at the destination.

It is important to highlight that Norwegian Cruise Line Holding, a company with regular operations in Acapulco, put this destination as an example before the Port of Lima, as its operations model has been executed with zero incidents in recent years. Thus, Peruvian authorities from Lima will visit Acapulco to experience firsthand the successful program which links the port with the city of Acapulco for travel tours, supported by various reputable travel agencies.

Cruise operations in the Port of Acapulco are assisted by the Center for Tourist Attention and Protection (CAPTA), which is an innovative organization recognized worldwide for tourism assistance and safety implemented for the first time in Mexico. The federal, state and municipal authorities reiterate their commitment to the successful operation of the cruise ships in Acapulco and will continue collaborating with the international cruise lines, resolving their concerns while continually attracting tourists to the destination by sea, as well as providing the necessary conditions for their visit.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Debuts New Wellness Program

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, known for the world’s most luxurious fleet and unparalleled Canyon Ranch SpaClub® facilities, announces the introduction of Seven Seas Wellness, a new program aimed at holistic wellbeing with opportunities that nurture the body, as well as nourish the soul.

 The program, which debuts this summer on Mediterranean sailings aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Voyager, pairs a new collection of wellness-themed excursions with a curated selection of rejuvenating, signature Canyon Ranch SpaClub services; providing guests the opportunity to create their own invigorating and individualized wellness program.

“For many of our guests, the pursuit of wellbeing is an essential part of a life well-lived. From eating right and exercising to practicing ways to reduce stress and experience moments that uplift the spirit, wellness is quickly becoming the ultimate luxury,” said Jason Montague, president and CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

“This new initiative on Regent Seven Seas Cruises allows us to showcase the holistic lifestyle that Canyon Ranch embodies to like minded luxury travelers around the world, both on land and at sea,” said Kathleen Shea, Chief Marketing Officer of Canyon Ranch. “As an ever evolving brand based on intentions, we are constantly working to further our mission for transformative wellness.”

Guests who choose a Seven Seas Wellness experience will enjoy a wellness-themed excursion from a collection of more than 10 options in some of the most exciting Mediterranean destinations. To complete the distinctive, body and soul-enriching experience, they then select one of five included, 50-minute Canyon Ranch spa services: World of Relief Body Buff, Tangle Me Up Wrap, Ocean Scrub, Sole Rejuvenation, and Vitamin Infusion Facial.
Highlight Seven Seas Wellness experiences include:
• Marseilles, France: A special intimate Tai Chi class in the garden courtyard of the Pharo Palace. The 19th century palace is built on a promontory overlooking the Mediterranean and offers a breathtaking view as guests center their Chi with the ancient Chinese martial arts.
• Sorrento, Italy: Guests can immerse themselves in the restorative hydrothermal pools of the Stufe di Nerone Baths and tour the famous burning Phlegreaen Fields. The large caldera, known for its volcanic activities, will awe guests as they are ensconced in wellness traditions dating back to the Roman Empire.
• Venice, Italy: Not to neglect the important sense of smell, guests can visit the new attraction dedicated to the Venetian tradition of perfume at the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo. There, they explore how fragrance can help affect emotion and have the opportunity to create their own personal perfume to take home.
• Athens, Greece: Swim, snorkel, and simply delight in floating in the brackish hydrothermal, mineral waters of Vouliagmeni Lake and refresh in this most Zen of backdrops. Guests then continue onto a secluded spot on Faskomilia Hill overlooking the lake for a spiritual Yoga session.
To encourage all guests to try new healthy options and start every day right, Regent Seven Seas Cruises also is expanding the breakfast bar at the Pool Grill with an array of more healthful items—from low-fat yogurt and homemade muesli to a selection of nuts, exotic fresh fruits sliced or transformed to smoothies, to name a few. At dinner, guests also can choose Canyon Ranch Balanced Selection appetizers, entrees and desserts, which offer the perfect combination of flavor and nutrition in a satisfying portion. Furthermore, all guests can choose wellness experiences beyond Seven Seas Wellness, through a robust menu of onboard Canyon Ranch SpaClub and Fitness Center options, including Reiki, acupuncture, fitness classes, personal training, educational presentations and workshops, and more.

“Our discerning clientele expects that we anticipate their needs and the importance of integrating wellness into the travel experience. We are delighted to introduce Seven Seas Wellness,” added Montague.

The new Seven Seas Wellness program on Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager is available on 7- to 10-night Mediterranean itineraries from late-May through September 2017, except aboard the July 25, 2017, voyage. There is a supplemental charge of US$299 per guest per port experience and spa service pairing. Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new Seven Seas Wellness program will be available for reservations in April 2017.

Seven Seas Voyager recently completed a 25-day, bow-to-stern refurbishment in November 2016 as part of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ $125 million ongoing fleet-wide refurbishment program. The ship matches the same elegant style and indisputable attention to detail of recently launched Seven Seas Explorer, which entered service on July 20, 2016, and has since been recognized as the most luxurious ship ever built. The new refined décor of Seven Seas Voyager’s Penthouse, Concierge and Deluxe Suites accentuate their spaciousness, while flagship restaurant Compass Rose, is resplendent with stunning grand crystal chandeliers, new décor, and completely new menu that offers guests an unprecedented level of personal customization and choice, making it essentially the largest specialty restaurant at sea. Guests also enjoy unlimited free specialty dining in Prime 7 Steakhouse, and the new Chartreuse French restaurant.

Public spaces also renewed aboard Seven Seas Voyager include the La Veranda buffet restaurant, Pool Bar & Grill, Voyager Lounge, Reception Area, Coffee Connection, Connoisseur Lounge, Card Room, boutiques, casino and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub. In addition to the physical enhancements, the ship headlines four new captivating production shows: Lights, Camera, Music!, Broadway in Concert, Vegas The Show, and Dancin’ Fool.

For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises, visit

Photo © Linda Coffman,

Paul Gauguin Cruises Presents Its 2018 Voyages Brochure

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, debuts its new 2018 Voyages brochure featuring Tahiti, French Polynesia, and South Pacific itineraries. The brochure presents sailings by The Gauguin, which offers an elegant yet casual ambiance, luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, trademark Polynesian hospitality, and extraordinary all-inclusive value. Cruise itineraries, The Gauguin experience, adventures by land and sea, private retreats, dining venues, special guests, deck plans, and 2018 sailing schedule are also highlighted.

In 2018, Paul Gauguin Cruises will be the first cruise line to visit the port city of Vairao in Tahiti Iti, which is the smaller of two landmasses that comprise the island of Tahiti and offers a wild coastline, ancient petroglyphs, marae (temples), Polynesian culture, and surfing fame. Tahiti Iti is scheduled on 7-night Society Islands & Tahiti Iti voyages and a special sailing of the 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus itinerary. The Gauguin will also be showcasing its most sought-after itineraries in 2018: the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands, 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus, 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands, and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands.

Designed specifically to sail the pristine lagoons of these islands, The Gauguin provides an up-close, authentic experience of the South Seas. On all sailings, guests also receive complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises' two exclusive retreats. Off the coast of Taha'a lies the islet of Motu Mahana, where guests can enjoy a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a sumptuous barbecue feast, and cocktails from full and floating bars. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a private, white-sand beach and enjoy refreshments, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling and paddleboarding in crystal-clear waters.

Again in 2018, Paul Gauguin Cruises' partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) offers two interactive, educational programs to enrich guests' experience. During the summer months and holiday season, Stewards of Nature is offered and invites children ages 7 to 17, as well as their families, to discover and value nature through hands-on interactive learning. The Wildlife Discovery Series is an onboard lecture program focusing on the environment and wildlife of our planet presented by some of the world's most fascinating conservationists, scientists, and oceanographers.

Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering savings of 50% off standard all-inclusive cruise fares on all 2018 voyages, plus included roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles. For a brochure, rates, or more information on Paul Gauguin Cruises, please visit

Holland America Line’s ‘Ready Set Sail’ Promotion Features Pre-Paid Gratuities & Onboard Spending Money

As travelers get ready to cruise this year, Holland America Line is launching its popular Ready Set Sail promotion featuring pre-paid gratuities and up to $500 onboard spending money per stateroom. Guests who book a Holland America Line cruise by June 1, 2017, will be eligible to receive the offer, and guests who book a suite also will receive an additional $100 internet credit.

All cruises between June 1, 2017, and March 30, 2018, excluding Grand Voyages and Grand Voyage segments, are eligible for the Ready Set Sail promotion. Depending on stateroom category, guests will receive onboard spending money ranging from $100 up to $500 per stateroom.

“As we head into spring the weather is getting nicer and travelers are starting to think about their next vacation, so our Ready Set Sail promotion comes at the right time and features some exceptional values,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Covering gratuities represents nice savings for our guests, and the onboard spending money makes it possible for them to take advantage of many of our shipboard venues and experiences that will enhance their overall cruise vacation.”

Indulge with Onboard Spending Money
In addition to pre-paid gratuities for the entire cruise valued at up to $27 per stateroom per day, guests receive onboard spending money that can be used to enjoy a variety of shipboard experiences and amenities. Extras that the credit can be applied to include treatments at the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, gift shop purchases, Journeys Ashore tours, beverages or dinner at one of the specialty restaurants such as Pinnacle Grill, Sel de Mer, Canaletto, or Tamarind, depending on the ship.

By booking with Ready Set Sail, guests can cruise all over the world while taking advantage of the promotion. Eligible Holland America Line destinations include Alaska cruises and Land+Sea Journeys, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Bermuda, Mexico, South America, the Panama Canal, the Far East, the South Pacific, Europe and Australia/New Zealand. For more information about Holland America Line, visit

Monday, March 27, 2017

Silversea Reveals Images of New Silver Cloud Design

Silversea has released a selection of renderings showcasing the beautifully crafted Silver Cloud interiors ahead of her conversion into an ice-class expedition ship, which will take place between August and October this year. Silver Cloud, which launched the Silversea fleet in 1994, will offer the ultra-luxury distinctions of a classic Silversea ship combined with the strength and maneuverability required for expedition cruising.

The new renderings highlight the luxurious design of Silver Cloud’s public spaces including La Terrazza, The Restaurant, Observation Lounge, Panorama Lounge, and Venetian Lounge. The extensive refurbishment will include the creation of the Observation lounge, new teak flooring, upholstery and lighting in La Terrazza and new carpet and upholstery in The Restaurant. Silver Cloud will also feature a new gym with Technogym equipment.

In addition to interior updates, the multi-million dollar refurbishment will strengthen Silver Cloud’s hull enabling her to explore polar waters. Silver Cloud’s transition to an ice-class vessel will bring expedition guests the luxury, style and comfort synonymous with Silversea’s classic ships. A guest capacity of 260 in non-polar regions and just 200 in polar regions means that guests will enjoy the highest levels of personalized and attentive service on board. The limited capacity in polar regions also means that all guests can disembark at the same time to explore each region.

“As the first ship in our fleet, Silver Cloud has a special place in Silversea’s history, and we’re delighted to reveal further details of her refurbishment. We look forward to welcoming guests aboard to experience Silver Cloud’s luxurious interiors as well as her incredible itineraries later this year,” said Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises.

When Silver Cloud was launched in 1994 by Antonio Lefebvre, it set a new standard in luxury cruising. His son, Manfredi Lefebvre became chairman of Silversea in 2001 and has since expanded the fleet from four to eight vessels with a ninth currently under construction. The expansion has included the introduction of expedition cruising with the launch of Silver Explorer in 2008.

Silver Cloud will also have a team of up to 19 dedicated experts on hand to ensure guests leave with the best experiences from their voyages, whether they be the sights, the sounds, the history or the stories. Daily presentations and lectures by experts in the state-of-the-art theatre will also be streamed live to all suites.

Silversea Cruises, which is chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, is recognized as an innovator in the ultra-luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit and Silver Muse—all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the expedition ships Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, Silver Discoverer, and with Silver Cloud joining the Expedition fleet in November 2017, Silversea's itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both Polar Regions and 1000 fascinating destinations in between. For additional information, please visit

Images Courtesy Silversea Cruises

Celebrity Cruises Announces One-of-a-Kind ‘Leading Edge Mobile Cinema Tour’

Another industry first: Celebrity Cruises brings new experience to lovers of cinema and travel across North America with a unique mobile cinema tour. The cruise line is taking the story of Celebrity Edge on a cross-country journey; the ‘Leading Edge Mobile Cinema’ will make 48 stops over 12 weeks, beginning March 29 through June 20, and travel more than 10,000 miles while sharing the story of the ship designed to leave the future behind with more than 20,000 people.

Attendees will be welcomed on a red carpet as they enter Celebrity’s state-of-the-art, custom-built 91-seat high-definition mobile cinema for a 15-minute cinematic experience, including a 3-D animatic reveal of Celebrity's newest class of ships in nearly a decade—Edge Class. Inside, guests will enjoy beverages and gourmet truffle popcorn, and have the opportunity to win one of more than 50 modern luxury giveaways with Celebrity.

“The feedback on Celebrity Edge has been incredible and the ‘Leading Edge Mobile Cinema Tour,’ allows us to show even more people across the country how transformative the ship is,” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Celebrity Cruises. “By partnering with festivals and special events nationwide, we’ll be able to show the world what we mean when we say Celebrity Edge is designed to leave the future behind.”

Celebrity’s mobile tour will launch on March 29 at the Sonoma International Film Festival. Screening inside the mobile cinema will be the world premiere of “This Side of the Dirt” by Tito’s Vodka founder Tito Beveridge as well as the US premiere of “Goddesses of Food” by director Vérane Frédiani, a documentary following innovative, inspired women in the world of food—including star chefs, sommeliers, mixologists, and activists—working to change the world through gastronomy.

Sample tour stops include: California Jazz & Wine Festival, California Wine Festival, 50th Houston International Film Festival, SPAC Rock & Run, CitiCenter DC, Arlington Heights Promenade of Art, and the Toronto Wine & Spirits Festival on Sugar Beach. At select tour stops, Celebrity’s own Marine Research Naturalist Brent Nixon will provide an "Oceans Alive" experience featuring high definition 4K under water filming encounters with sharks, turtles, stingrays, and majestic humpback whales, allowing guests to feel the "pulse" of the living oceans Celebrity sails around the world. To view a complete listing of cinema tour stops, visit

Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., making her first sailing December 16, 2018. Bookings are now open for the ship’s two 7-night Caribbean itineraries. Celebrity Edge will be joined by three sister ships in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oceania Cruises Introduces Ten New Journeys To Cuba

Oceania Cruises has announced ten new Journeys to Cuba in 2018. Sailing roundtrip from PortMiami, itineraries range in length from 7 to 10 days; all include calls in Havana and the storied destinations of Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Imbued with a profound sense of culture and history, Cuba overflows with opportunities for authentic encounters and unforgettable experiences.

“I recently had the pleasure of sailing on Marina’s first voyage to Cuba, and the best way to get an insider’s view of Cuba is to be immersed in the culture and everyday lives of the people—meaningful cultural insights that invite you to experience the real Cuba,” stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises. “You can enjoy exactly that on these new voyages, all of which offer calls in Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Cienfuegos.”

Shipboard Highlights
Sailing to Cuba with Oceania Cruises is a journey into the extraordinary. Aboard Sirena, there are only 684 privileged guests who are catered to by 400 professionally trained staff. Travelers will indulge in "the finest cuisine at sea" in four open-seating gourmet restaurants where they will dine on continental specialties along with the bold and vibrant tastes of Cuba. Each of these voyages will feature a wide array of authentic Cuban dishes that were born from generations-old family recipes. Adding to the enriching nature of the journey, authoritative and engaging experts will deliver lectures on Cuban history, art, and music or perhaps guests will join a group of their fellow travelers in a Cuban staple, the game of dominos. Throughout the journey, Sirena is a bastion of modernity and old-world comfort. Her 342 staterooms and suites are elegantly appointed and 70% of them have their own private teak veranda, the perfect perch from which to take in stunning Caribbean seascapes.

Destination Highlights

Havana, Cuba: The door to Cuba’s soul, Havana captivates with its larger-than-life culture, sultry rhythms and weathered beauty. Take a relaxing stroll along the evocative Malecón, the quintessentially Cuban thoroughfare, and get lost among the Baroque facades and colonial cobblestone alleys of Old Havana. Visit the grandiose Capitolio Nacional and explore the world-class Cuban art collection at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, which showcases everything from colonial-era paintings to countless masterpieces from Cuba’s famed Vanguard Period. Enjoy memorable explorations such as touring one of Havana’s venerable old cigar factories for an inside look at the birthplace of these world-famous cigars and the centuries-old process of how they are made. Days ashore in Havana mean a short journey into the lush Viñales Valley, famous for its tobacco and limestone formations known as mogotes; a behind-the-scenes look at artisanal cigar-rolling methods at a local workshop or an evening of irresistible Cuban music at a legendary club. It means interacting with locals, delving into the thriving arts scene at a gallery and discovering the country’s storied history at museums, impressive monuments and other places of historical significance.

Cienfuegos, Cuba: Situated in a beautiful bay in the heart of Cuba’s fertile agricultural region on the southern coast, Cienfuegos will quietly charm you with its French spirit, tranquil seaside setting and neoclassical architecture. Known as La Perla del Sur (the Pearl of the South), Cienfuegos was originally founded by French settlers and its city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Rich in educationally engaging diversions, its historic center features well-preserved 19th-century structures, gorgeous plazas and a layout inspired by the Spanish Enlightenment. Discover the ornate and eclectic Palacio de Valle and take in the stunning views as you explore Punta Gorda, the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. Step back in time at Teatro Terry with a performance by local artists or discover nearby Trinidad, a remarkably well-preserved colonial town recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and anchored by its impressive Plaza Mayor, an open-air museum of Spanish colonial architecture.

Santiago de Cuba, Cuba: A tropical and energetic cultural epicenter, Santiago de Cuba is the country’s second largest city and has played an instrumental role in the evolution of Cuban music, literature and architecture. Wedged between the looming Sierra Maestra mountain range and the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, the city offers a plethora of rich heritage and cultural diversions amidst a dramatic backdrop. Discover the city’s fascinating history at Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca and the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, where Cuban hero José Martí and Emilio Bacardí Moreau of the famed rum dynasty are both buried. Countless musicians have emerged from Santiago de Cuba including Miguel Matamoros of Trío Matamoros and Sindo Garay, and many say the heart of this thriving city lives in its music scene.

For more information about Oceania Cruises, visit

Image Courtesy Oceania Cruises

Feature Film Florist Jenny Tobin Joins Queen Victoria’s Festival of Flowers Voyage

Jenny Tobin and her original bouquet created for Cunard
Cunard has announced leading film and TV floral designer Jenny Tobin will join its first-ever Festival of Flowers voyage this summer aboard Queen Victoria, giving guests the opportunity to explore some of the Atlantic Isles’ most awe-inspiring gardens and floral landscapes.

Jenny Tobin is renowned for her work on blockbuster films such as “Allied” and “Fantastic Beasts, and Where to Find Them,” as well as for her floral arrangements at the most sought-after hotels around the world and even for the British Royal Family. Jenny will be imparting her knowledge, tips and insight into her career during the voyage, which departs following Queen Victoria’s refurbishment this June.

“With the increasing popularity of gardening and flower arranging, we felt it was important to offer our guests a voyage tailored to their passions with some of the leading experts in the industry,” said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America.

To mark the voyage, Jenny has created a bespoke bouquet inspired by the tradition and luxury of Cunard, with a bounty of exotic and much-loved flowers including:
- Colored Ranunculus, to add a taste of the exotic and color, inspired by the loveliest of gardens from around the world
- Scented Genista Flower, for a soft, sweet smell
- One Garden Rose, to reflect the timeless, luxury of Cunard
- Umbrella Fern for a little pizazz
Jenny comments: “Cunard is known for its commitment to excellence, so I wanted to create a bouquet that reflects its premium nature, beauty from across the world and sense of luxury that runs through everything the brand does. I’m excited to be joining the first Festival of Flowers voyage on Queen Victoria and can’t wait to help inspire those travelling on board, exploring the extraordinary gardens the globe has to offer.”

This tailored voyage, taking place this year from June 8-22, will visit six iconic floral destinations, including La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Lisbon, as well as an overnight stay in the floral paradise of Madeira, an island renowned for its endemic fauna, flora and UNESCO World Heritage site-classified landscape.

Additional speakers on the voyage include Gay Search, one of England’s best-known gardening presenters, writers and lecturers, and Christine Wright, National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies demonstrator and Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist.

Prior to departure, guests will also be invited to enjoy the floral delights that surround Southampton with an optional pre-voyage stay at luxury hotel Chewton Glen, on the edge of the New Forest National Park. For more information, visit

Image Courtesy Cunard Line

Princess Cruises to Add Guest Experience Platform to Two More Cruise Ships

As a new era of cruise personalization and game-changing guest service nears, Carnival Corporation's international premium brand, Princess Cruises, will soon prepare two more vessels with the world's first interactive guest experience platform as the Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess transition into Medallion Class ships during dry docks taking place over the next six weeks.

Carnival Corporation's proprietary xIoT network, which is enabled by the Ocean Medallion™, will be installed on the Caribbean Princess during an extensive two-week dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas, March 26-April 6, followed by a dry dock of sister ship Regal Princess April 14-30 in Hamburg, Germany. During the upgrades, work teams will run roughly 75 miles of cable, install almost 7,000 sensors, 650 experience-edge computing devices and 1,780 in-cabin Wi-Fi access points on each ship. In addition, a total of 4,030 additional guest portals—in the form of stateroom door access panels, interactive touch-screen TVs and public area displays—will be added throughout each ship, allowing guests to easily access their own personal digital concierge featuring an endless number of guest experiences customized uniquely for them.

Medallion Class vacations debut in November aboard the Regal Princess at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, followed in spring 2018 by the Caribbean Princess. The Royal Princess, which underwent its transition during its dry dock last fall in Paloma, Italy, will make its first Medallion Class voyage in January 2018.

Medallion Class will make cruising more personal, immersive, simple and seamless than previously considered possible. At the heart of this personalized experience is the Ocean Medallion, which enables endless vacation possibilities. The Ocean Medallion has no discernible technology – no on-off switch, no charging, no menu to navigate—and can be worn as a pendant, on a wristband, in a clip or simply placed in a pocket to reveal enhanced services and personalized experiences without guests having to push a button or take any action. The pre-cruise engagement will allow guests to provide preferences that detail their wants, needs and desires so that their onboard experience can be personalized.

Pairing with the Ocean Medallion is the Ocean Compass™—a personal digital concierge accessible by all guests using interactive displays throughout the ship, on stateroom TVs, via guests' own smart devices or through a crew member. For example, guests can find their way to venues around the ship; make reservations at the Lotus Spa, specialty dining restaurants and shore excursions; arrange celebrations; view photographs; learn about the destinations they will visit and activities at each port of call and more. The Ocean Compass will invite guests to experiences based on their individual needs, wants and desires.

Some of the initial service innovations include:
• OceanReady™: Guests' cruise vacation can begin sooner with an expedited embarkation process made possible by required information added to their profile at home.
• Stateroom Access: The Ocean Medallion will unlock a guest's stateroom door – replacing the traditional key card.
• HERE & NOW™: Guests can place food and beverage orders and have them delivered to select locations.
• THERE & THEN™: Guests can place select food and beverage orders and have them delivered to where they plan to be at a designated time.
• OceanNavigate: Accessed through the Ocean Compass, guests can learn the whereabouts of their family as they enjoy activities throughout the ship and be guided seamlessly in finding their way around the ship. Friends and family will also be able to easily communicate with each other through a seamless messaging service.
For more information, visit

Viking Cruises Launches New Resident Historian Program

Viking Cruises has announced the rollout of its new onboard Viking Resident Historian program. Launching on Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky this month, a carefully selected faculty of historians will provide an enhanced level of enrichment for guests on board all of Viking's ocean cruise ships. The Viking Resident Historians will provide guests with a high-level historical and cultural education that is specific to their journey, offering a framework for understanding the major chapters in world history. They will also conduct seminar-style roundtables–smaller, more intimate forums for discussion with guests, where the Viking Resident Historian will examine in-depth subjects related to their own area of specialization and/or particular areas of interest of the guests.

"Our guests are explorers–they are curious travelers who want to learn," said Karine Hagen, Senior Vice President of Viking Cruises, who leads Viking's enrichment efforts. "Having a fundamental understanding of iconic historical events in the destinations our guests visit helps bring a deeper understanding of the present–and perhaps also a better perspective on the future."

The Viking Resident Historians have been engaged to provide a history course as a refresher, which is then supplemented by onboard Guest Lecturers who contribute their particular expertise (art, architecture, music, etc.) of the region. The responsibilities of Viking Resident Historians extend well beyond just lectures during each cruise itinerary and include:
• Presenting itinerary iconic lectures (examples in Europe and Scandinavia include: The Roman Empire; The Ottoman Empire; The Hanseatic League; Imperial Russia)
• Conducting roundtable discussions (examples include: The Elgin Marbles; Women Explorers; Venetian Naval Power)
• Hosting history-themed dinner discussions onboard
• Holding daily "office hours" for one-on-one time with guests
• Being available for guest questions and interactions outside lectures and office hours throughout the itinerary
The Viking Resident Historian lectures are exclusively produced by Viking, under the tutelage of Dr. Charles Doherty, Chief Viking Resident Historian. The lectures are standardized as a core curriculum to guarantee consistency throughout the fleet, regardless of which Viking Resident Historian is lecturing. As with other onboard lectures, the Viking Resident Historian series will be presented in The Theater–and each will also be filmed and made available for guests on the in-room entertainment system. Additionally, the series is currently being professionally filmed in-studio, and in early 2018 will be available in its entirety on-demand through the in-room entertainment system on all Viking river and ocean ships. Charles Doherty, PhD, has lectured in more than 60 countries for The National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Doherty received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and attended the Courtauld Institute in London as a Fulbright Scholar.

The first three Viking Resident Historians that will be featured onboard Viking's three ocean cruise ships this spring are:
• Dr. Mark Callaghan holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of London, an M.A. in Art History from Oxford University and a B.A. in Art History from the University of Manchester. Dr. Callaghan is a specialist in 20th century European art and culture and will serve as the Viking Resident Historian on Viking Sky on sailings of Empires of the Mediterranean this spring.
• Lt. Colonel Tony Coutts-Britton is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and served with the British Army in Europe and Asia – and later with NATO in the Partnership for Peace program. Lt. Col. Coutts-Britton lectures on the social and political aspects of European military history and will serve as the Viking Resident Historian on Viking Sea on sailings of Empires of the Mediterranean this spring.
• Dr. Fenella Bazin holds a Ph.D. from the University of Liverpool, is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and is a Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool's Center for Manx Studies. Dr. Bazin is a specialist in the Age of the Vikings and modern Norway and will serve as the Viking Resident Historian on Viking Star on sailings of Empires of the Mediterranean this spring.
The launch of the Resident Historian program is just the latest of several recent additions to the onboard cultural offerings for Viking Ocean Cruises, including:
• Munch Moments – In 2016 the company announced an exclusive partnership with Oslo's Munch Museum, designed to celebrate the life and artwork of Norway's most famous artist, Edvard Munch, with daily "Munch Moments," staged for guests each day in the ship's Atrium.
• The Metropolitan Opera – Viking has worked with the world renowned Metropolitan Opera to bring Puccini's classic love story "La Bohème" to guests. As part of the Metropolitan Opera's groundbreaking "The Met: Live in HD" series, this Viking Privileged Access experience takes guests beyond an ordinary visit to the opera with behind-the-scenes features such as interviews with cast and crew members.
• Viking Art Guide – Viking has launched the Viking Art Guide, a new mobile app available in the App Store, which is a walking tour of Viking's ocean ships and the extensive collection of Nordic art onboard that can be experienced at a guest's leisure.
For additional information, visit

Carnival Elation Earns Second Consecutive 100 U.S. Public Health Inspection Score

Carnival Elation scored 100 during its recent United States Public Health (U.S.P.H.) inspection which took place in Jacksonville, Florida. This marks the second consecutive time the ship has achieved a perfect U.S.P.H inspection score.

To earn a 100 score, cruise ships must receive perfect marks on all 44 items that comprise the U.S.P.H.’s comprehensive Vessel Sanitation Program checklist. The unannounced inspections, which are conducted twice a year and required for any cruise ship with an international itinerary calling at a U.S. port, evaluate vessels in a wide variety of areas, including adherence to proper food handling, preparation and storage procedures, and overall galley cleanliness. Ships’ potable water supplies used in spas and pools are evaluated, as well.

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation operates year-round 4- and 5-day cruises from Jacksonville, carrying 170,000 guests a year from JAXPORT.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

MSC Cruises Elevates Dining at Sea with More Flexibility

MSC Cruises has revealed new dining concepts that will be available first to guests on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside.

Designed to meet the needs of today’s cruise guests, the two ships—the first two of a total of 11 new mega-ships due to come into service starting this year, in June and December, respectively—will introduce highly flexible dining options and a choice of dining packages that can be booked at any time prior to embarkation and while on board. With greater flexibility, MSC Cruises guests can dine as they want, when they want, in an even wider range of specialty restaurants and international dining venues.

“At MSC Cruises, we strive to create memorable vacation experiences for our guests while on board our cruise ships, and internationally inspired dining is a key feature of our offering,” said Andrea Gangale, MSC Cruises’ Head of Product Development and Guest Experience. “We continue to drive innovation in cruising at many levels, which now also includes our onboard dining experience. The new dining concepts cater to the needs of today’s cruise guests, who are looking for more flexibility and choices,” continued Gangale. “Starting with MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, guests will be able to manage their choices, through cutting-edge onboard technology, and experience an even greater selection of international restaurants which will deliver culinary experiences from around the world.”

New Dining Styles on MSC Seaside & MSC Meraviglia
One of the new dining concepts that MSC Cruises is introducing is Flexi Dining. This new dining style allows guests to pre-select a time slot for their evening meal, with the ability to change it at any time during their cruise. This way guests can get the most out of their vacation by easily scheduling their dining around their plans for each day.

The Classic cruise dining experience will still be available, with a choice of two seatings each evening. This traditional dining style is popular with guests who prefer a dedicated table each night so that they can enjoy personalized service from the same waiter who will know their names, dining preferences and how to accommodate them. This way, they can also socialize with the same guests each evening.

In addition, MSC Yacht Club guests will continue to benefit from free-time dining in the dedicated MSC Yacht Club restaurant, with the option of reserving a table in advance.

Casual dining venues are available for all guests 20 hours-a-day, offering a wide range of freshly prepared dishes. The MSC Cruises buffet—already one of the richest at sea—has been further enhanced with a wide range of different international dishes suited to any taste. MSC Seaside, in particular, will feature two casual dining venues, one of which will be dedicated to families, serving family-friendly options and featuring child-friendly seatings.

Even More International Specialty Restaurants
Specialty restaurants are a standout feature on MSC Cruises’ ships, offering guests the opportunity to experience quality cuisines from around the world even while at sea. The cruise line’s new cruise ships launching in 2017—MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside—will feature restaurants with innovative ‘open kitchens,’ following the trend in restaurant design and creating a sensory experience that allows guests to see, smell and hear expert chefs at work. Selected restaurants on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside will also feature a Chef’s Table, a dining concept designed for those seeking a true gastronomic experience.

Following the success of Kaito Sushi Bar, hailed as “The Best Sushi at Sea,” serving fresh fish, sashimi and tempura, MSC Cruises will introduce the new Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant on board MSC Meraviglia to complement the ship’s Kaito Sushi Bar. With a modern twist on Asian cuisine, guests can sit at the cooking stations and watch authentic Japanese dishes come to life in front of their eyes. Expert chefs will cook with flare on an open grill—a visual spectacle with flames and sizzling ingredients coming together to form flavorful dishes.

Another new restaurant concept—featured on MSC Meraviglia as well as MSC Seaside—will be an authentic American Steakhouse—Butcher’s Cut—celebrating the craft heritage of America blended with the skillful mastery of the butcher. Guests can select their favorite steak from glass-fronted meat aging fridges and then watch the skilled chefs preparing their selections in the open kitchen. The bar will feature a bold wine list with selections from the New World, cocktails inspired by American heritage, and an assortment of craft beers.

A highlight of the dining on MSC Seaside will also be the Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi. The three distinct eateries created by the innovative Japanese-American chef will include: an à la carte restaurant serving gourmet Asian creations in a stylish venue with incredible sea views; a Sushi Bar; and an area with Teppanyaki Grills—each area offering authentic pan-Asian dining experiences at sea.

MSC Seaside will also feature the signature seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay. This stylish restaurant will serve American-style fish dishes with a Mediterranean twist. A simple menu with delicious signature dishes will include locally-sourced Stone Crabs, a delicacy in the homeport of Miami, beautiful fresh Sea Bass, flown in from the Mediterranean, and homemade spaghetti alle vongole (with clams).

Even More Collaborations with Renowned Chefs
MSC Cruises is committed to partnering with world-class experts in their fields and the dining experience on the new cruise ships is no exception. The collaboration with world-renowned chef Roy Yamaguchi on MSC Seaside extends beyond the creation of the menus. As part of the partnership, Chef Yamaguchi is personally involved in conceptualizing and designing every element of the new pan-Asian restaurant, including creating the recipes and menus, selecting chinaware, choosing music to create the right ambience, and designing wine pairings to complement the food.

A long-standing partnership with two-star Michelin chef Carlo Cracco will now encompass the development of signature dishes for the main restaurant menus on MSC Meraviglia as well as for the Christmas and New Year menus. Also onboard MSC Meraviglia, a partnership with award-winning French chocolatier and pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury will include Jean-Philippe Chocolat & Café, an open chocolate atelier, and Jean-Philippe Crêpes & Gelato, which will serve sweet treats in the ship’s Mediterranean-style promenade.

The chef collaborations extend beyond the new ships as part of MSC Cruises’ focus on international fine dining. For example, MSC Cruises is collaborating with international Chinese chef, Jereme Leung. Globally recognized for his contemporary interpretation of Chinese cuisine, Chef Leung’s modern approach has long caught the attention of top international restaurant critics, and he has brought his contemporary Chinese cuisine to MSC Lirica. In partnership with MSC Cruises, Chef Leung designed new and innovative dining concepts tailored to the tastes of Chinese guests, enhancing existing menus with creative flair and developing new exclusive signature dishes.
New Dining Packages for All Tastes

To help guests better plan their onboard dining experiences and make the most of their time on board, MSC Cruises is introducing a range of dining packages that can be booked prior to the cruise. For example:
• Guests on board MSC Meraviglia will be able to book a Dinner & Show package where they will enjoy an exclusive table d’hôte menu and then experience the breathtaking Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance in the impressive purpose-built Carousel Lounge.
• A special dining package is available for the Eataly Chef’s Table on board MSC Meraviglia, which includes a dedicated chef and sommelier for the night, seven gourmet dishes cooked to perfection and all perfectly matched with seven wines.
• For guests looking to explore a variety of specialty restaurants, special discounted packages can be pre-booked before the sailing.
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Image Courtesy MSC Cruises

Royal Caribbean Announces 2018 European Odysseys

Royal Caribbean International invites travelers to come seek Europe like never before with its 2018 European deployment, headlined by the fleet's newest ship Symphony of the Seas—the world's largest cruise ship. The global cruise line also will introduce a brand new port-of-call for the 2018 summer season: Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales, where the combination of peaks, lakes and waterfalls will capture guests' adventurous spirit. Destinations returning to European itineraries in 2018 after a brief hiatus include: Flam, Molde, and Skjolden in Norway and Isafjordur, Iceland. Across the continent, adventure awaits guests onboard eight of the RCI fleet's ships, with Spanish landmarks, Italian landscapes, French icons, Greek legends and Nordic Castles, comprising an unbelievable collection of more than 110 European odysseys. All itineraries are available to book as of March 23, 2017.

Making her debut in Barcelona, Spain in April 2018, Symphony of the Seas, the fourth sister ship in the Oasis-class, will spend her inaugural summer season sailing the striking blue waters of the Western Mediterranean. Starting April 21, she will offer 7-night itineraries from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples/Capri, Italy, where travelers can discover the views from atop Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, and revel in the artwork of the old masters housed within the museums of Florence. For those wishing to start and end their trip in Italy, round-trip sailings from Rome are also available.

New in 2018, Vision of the Seas will join Symphony for the season offering 12-night sailings from Barcelona with ports-of-call in Rome, Italy; Nice, France; Santorini and Athens, Greece. In Northern Europe, Brilliance of the Seas will sail new 12-night itineraries from Amsterdam visiting countries throughout the Baltics, Norway and the British Isles, including Holyhead, Wales.

Barcelona Offers Mediterranean Adventures
• Oasis-class returns to Barcelona with Symphony of the Seas, which will headline Europe's summer season exploring the Western Mediterranean on 7-night sailings, round-trip from Barcelona, Spain or Rome, Italy.
Vision of the Seas will embark on new 12-night Greek Isles itineraries from Barcelona, plus 12-night Mediterranean adventures to France and Italy, including stops in Rome and Florence/Pisa, the Amalfi Coast and an overnight in Venice.
British and Scandinavian Cruises
Brilliance of the Seas will call Northern Europe home for the first time, sailing 12-night itineraries from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, exploring the Baltics and British Isles, featuring new port-of-call Holyhead, Wales.
• British favorite Independence of the Seas returns to Southampton, offering 3- to 14-night voyages to the Mediterranean and a 14-night adventure to the Canary Islands all from Southampton. Navigator of the Seas will join Independence, sailing five- to 14- night itineraries.
Serenade of the Seas will offer 7-night sailings to the Norwegian Fjords, plus the ultimate Scandinavia and Russian adventure with departures from Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden.
Italian Adventures from Venice & Rome
• Following a $30 million makeover in 2016, Jewel of the Seas will sail 7- and 9-night sailings though the Greek Isles and Western Mediterranean.
Rhapsody of the Seas will return to Venice, Italy with 7-night excursions to the Greek Isles, and Greece & Croatia.
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Holland America Line Renews Seattle Mariners Partnership

Holland America Line announces the renewal of its partnership with the Seattle Mariners through the 2018 season. The partnership between Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line and the Hometown Major League Baseball Team includes several components, including in-ballpark advertising, sponsorship of the seventh-inning stretch, and presenting sponsorship of the “Salute to Those Who Serve” on-field recognition program honoring men and women of the United States Military. Additionally, for the fourth consecutive season each strikeout thrown by a Seattle Mariners pitcher during a home game earns a donation from the cruise line to Seattle Children’s Hospital under the “Holland America Line K’s for Kids” program.

“Our partnership with the Seattle Mariners is a home run, enhancing our community outreach efforts throughout our hometown,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We’re honored to be part of an organization that shares our values of giving back to the community, and we’re excited to be along for the ride as the team kicks off their season and sets their sights on the pennant.”

For the past seven years, Holland America Line and the Mariners have maintained a partnership that, in addition to a corporate sponsorship, has included community-based programs. The cruise line will continue to sponsor Get Well Tours with visits to area hospitals by Mariners players, in addition to “K’s for Kids” and the “Salute to Those Who Serve” recognition events.

‘Holland America Line K’s for Kids’ Donation Program
Under the “Holland America Line K’s for Kids” program, for each strikeout recorded by a Mariners pitcher at a home game throughout the season, the cruise line will make a cash donation to Seattle Children’s Hospital. In 2016, Ashford recognized the Mariners strikeouts at home by presenting a check to the hospital for $25,000 on Fan Appreciation Night.

“Salute to Those Who Serve” Military Program
At 26 Mariners home games this season, the “Salute to Those Who Serve” program will honor some of the men and women from various branches of the United States Military. During Friday and Sunday games, a member of the military (active, reserve, veteran or retired) is recognized on-field for his or her service to our country. Each honoree will receive four tickets and one parking pass to the game. Holland America Line is the presenting sponsor of this program.

Holland America Line Get Well Tours
Holland America Line is the presenting sponsor of the Seattle Mariners Get Well Tours, which includes visits to area hospitals by Mariners players and the Mariner Moose. During these visits children receive photos, autographs and a Holland America Line branded sports bag filled with Mariners- and baseball-related items such as replica baseballs and a stuffed Moose.

Holland America Line Fan Appreciation Night
Holland America Line also is the presenting sponsor of the annual Fan Appreciation Night celebration at Safeco Field. Traditionally the final Friday home game of each season, Fan Appreciation Night celebrates the community support by loyal Mariners fans with prize drawings throughout the game. As part of its sponsorship, Holland America Line provides cruise giveaways at the F.A.N.

“The support we receive from Holland America Line has been has been an incredible part of our program over the past seven years,” said Bob Aylward, executive vice president of corporate business for the Seattle Mariners. “The partnership has evolved to include a variety of outreach programs that impact so many different segments of our community, and we look forward to a successful season together.”

Holland America Line also is the presenting sponsor of the seventh-inning stretch, as well as the named sponsor for the Seattle Mariners team poster giveaway and of each of 10 home stands on radio broadcasts and stadium billboards. Attendees can look for Holland America Line signage in Right Center Field and on Mariner Vision during Fan Grams.

For more information about Holland America Line, visit