Friday, June 30, 2017

Carnival Paradise Sails from Tampa on Carnival Cruise Line’s First-Ever Voyage To Havana, Cuba

Carnival Cruise Line hosted a bon voyage reception at Port Tampa Bay yesterday to mark the line’s inaugural cruise to Havana, Cuba, aboard the Carnival Paradise. The event was a celebration of Cuban culture, music, cuisine and libations, featuring the “World’s Largest Cuban Sandwich at Sea” and a $25,000 charity donation to Tampa’s Ybor City Museum Society. Attendees included Carnival Cruise Line Executive Vice President of Guest Shipboard Operations Gus Antorcha, representatives of Port Tampa Bay, Ybor City Museum Society, and invited guests.

Yesterday’s voyage marks the first of 12 four- and five-day cruises, each with a daytime and overnight call at Havana to provide vacationers a rare opportunity to explore the fascinating and historic destination. Additional cruises in the series depart July 13, Aug. 14, 24 and 28, Sept. 7, 21 and 25, Oct. 5, 9 and 19, 2017; as well as May 3, 2018. Five-day voyages add a stop in either Cozumel, Mexico; or Key West, Florida.

Miami and Tampa Cuban cultures were uniquely represented in the “World’s Largest Cuban Sandwich at Sea.” The gargantuan 10-foot-long sandwich contained the traditional ingredients of all Cuban sandwiches: a light white bread, five pounds of sliced ham, 50 pounds of marinated and roasted pork, six pounds of Swiss cheese, one gallon of dill pickles and mustard and mayonnaise. But this sandwich had a twist. There is a long-standing rivalry between Tampa and Miami about which city can claim the most authentic Cuban sandwich recipe. Tampa’s Cuban community predates Miami’s and in Tampa they include one additional ingredient—Genoa salami—as a salute to the city’s large Italian population. In a spirit of solidarity and cooperation, the “World’s Largest Cuban Sandwich at Sea” was created to be half Miami-style and half Tampa-style with the addition of eight pounds of Genoa salami.

“Carnival is the only cruise line with a year-round ship in Tampa and we have a long-standing partnership with the local community, so it is exciting that we are inaugurating our cruises featuring Havana from this city with its very large Cuban population and strong affinity for Cuban culture,” said Antorcha. “Cruising is a fantastic and convenient way to visit Cuba and we are seeing tremendous demand for these cruises from consumers as well as our travel agent partners who are sharing this exciting new vacation option with their clients.”

Added Paul Anderson, president & CEO, Port Tampa Bay, “We are extremely honored that Carnival has selected Port Tampa Bay to offer cruises to Havana, Cuba and excited for the travel community that this fantastic new destination is now available. Carnival’s commitment to serving our market for nearly a quarter of a century is a testament to the strong support they receive from our community. And, in return, the economic impact of their Tampa operation is substantial considering a single call from an average size cruise ship generates more than $350,000 in direct economic contribution to our community.”

Carnival Paradise
In addition to experiencing Havana’s colorful history and culture, which includes the tradition of crafting hand-rolled cigars, guests sailing aboard Carnival Paradise can enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment. The ship features a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness facility and an exclusive Serenity adults-only retreat. Popular family-friendly programming includes Seuss at Sea in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises featuring the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups. The ship also boasts four swimming pools and a 115-foot-long water slide. Carnival’s Cuba voyages can be booked by contacting any travel agent, calling 800-CARNIVAL, or visiting

Images Courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

Welcome to Eden, Celebrity Cruises' Reimagined Garden of Eden, Featuring the Largest Window to the World

Celebrity Cruises reveals the next exciting feature on its newest ship, Celebrity Edge, which debuts next year. Eden, is a unique venue where state of the art design is fused into every element, including cuisine served by "Edenists." Spanning three decks at the aft of the ship with almost 7,000 sq. ft. of glass, Eden has more outward-facing glass than any other room at sea. It is a design and architectural feat, brought to life in collaboration with internationally-renowned visionaries.

Eden exemplifies the innovative outward-facing design of the new Edge Class ships. The first of these vessels, Celebrity Edge, launching in December 2018, reimagines what it means to be connected to the sea and transforms how guests experience each destination. The scale of Eden, measuring 368,640 cubic ft., is bigger than the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, and Eden's area, at 12,650 sq. ft., is larger than the Van Gogh Museum atrium in Amsterdam.

Three innovators partnered with Celebrity to help create this dramatic, multi-story venue, including veteran Scott Butler of Wilson Butler Architects and internationally renowned designer Patricia Urquiola—who has never designed a venue at sea before. Celebrity also engaged Queen of the Night creators Variety Worldwide, who have been blending unconventional theater with dining and nightlife for years. The result is an individualized, ever-evolving theatrical journey that puts guests at the epicenter of the performance.

"Eden, like so many aspects of Celebrity Edge, represents a unique advance in cruise ship design," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "It's an experience that's multi-faceted and innovative. Connectivity to the ocean is one of the most exciting hallmarks of Edge Class, and with more glass than any other room at sea, Eden embodies that outward-facing concept beautifully."

Eden—A Transformational Venue: Chillful. Playful. Sinful.
By morning, Eden is a chillful escape where yoga, a good book, or coffee and a croissant can be enjoyed with expansive views of the world. In the afternoon, Eden becomes more playful, with hands-on enrichment seminars and tastings to strengthen guests' culinary prowess, cocktail-making skills and wine knowledge. The afternoon also features performances from sitar players to aerialists. As the sun sets on Eden, the evening ushers in Eve at Eden, a sinful fusion of performance art, culinary exploration and nightlife—like nothing else at sea—that promises to indulge guests' every sense in the Eden Restaurant. Here, Edenists will serve a choreographed series of experiential culinary temptations sure to surprise and delight.

As dinner comes to an end, guests will be prompted by sensory cues to tempt them back upstairs, past the Tree of Life—the continuation of tradition and evolution of the iconic living tree installation onboard Celebrity's heralded Solstice Class ships—to Deck 5. Here, the Library of Plants towers 18-feet above Eden Bar, offering its bounty of fresh ingredients and garnishes for hand-crafted, artisanal cocktails.

Unique Design
Eden's breathtaking design by Scott Butler was inspired by the golden spiral as generated by the Fibonacci sequence. Represented in nature through the bloom of a rose or the curl of a snail's shell, the golden spiral is brought to life through the thoughtfully crafted architecture of the venue. Eden has a 90-meter ramp enveloping the space enabling guests to meander through the space on a serpentine journey of discovery. Patricia Urquiola designed some of the key features of Eden, including the towering Library of Plants and the impressive hanging plant pillars. Her signature furniture is also used throughout the space.

Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, making her first sailing Dec 16, 2018. Bookings are open at

Images Courtesy Celebrity Cruises

Viking Cruises Unveils New Winter Northern Lights Itinerary To Explore Norway's Far North

Viking Cruises has announced a new ocean cruise itinerary that will allow guests the rare opportunity to explore the far north in Norway's winter, during a peak period for aurora borealis sightings. Sailing between London and Bergen starting in January 2019, In Search of the Northern Lights will establish Viking as the first U.S. cruise line to offer a full-length itinerary in the Arctic Circle in the winter season.
"Our Nordic heritage is evident in all that we do, from our spirit of exploration to the serene, understated elegance of our ships. Scandinavia is Viking territory, and no other cruise line can show guests this part of the world like we can," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Norway's landscapes in the winter are truly magnificent, something few North Americans get to witness. I am pleased to offer this exclusive opportunity for our guests to explore my homeland."

Sailing on Viking's third 930-guest ocean ship, Viking Sky, guests will experience Norway's pristine beauty and dramatic snow-dusted wilderness, with a chance each day to stargaze and scan the dark skies for the northern lights. On the 13-day itinerary, guests will be able to immerse themselves in the rich culture of northern Europe, visiting seven destinations—with overnights in Tromsø, Alta and Bergen, Norway, and a complimentary excursion in each port. Highlights of the new In Search of the Northern Lights itinerary include:
• Experience the Northern Lights in Alta: Home to some of northern Europe's most magnificent natural beauty, Alta's frequent clear skies make it an ideal place to view the luminous aurora borealis during the height of the viewing season.
• Experience Nordic Life with the Sami Community of Máze: While in Alta, visit the nearby native Sami community of Máze for an authentic lunch of local dishes and an exciting ride in a reindeer-drawn sleigh.
• Visit the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø: Home to the largest concentration of wooden houses in northern Norway dating back to 1904, marvel at the classic architecture contrasted with modern buildings, including the Arctic Cathedral, a stunning triangular building in white and icy blue often called the "Opera House of Norway" for its resemblance to the Sydney Opera House.
• Step into the Viking Age in Stavanger: Visit the Archaeological Museum, where a host in traditional Viking dress will demonstrate essential tools and artifacts of the time period, then stop at the Swords in Stone monument commemorating the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872.
• Ascent of Mt. Ulriken in Bergen: A panoramic tour of Bergen takes you to the beautifully preserved wharf of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was central to Bergen's role in the Hanseatic League. Afterwards, embark on a gondola ride for a scenic ascent to Mt. Ulriken, the highest of Bergen's famous Seven Mountains.
For additional information, visit

Image Courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises

Join Finland's 100th Anniversary Celebrations & Save Money With The Helsinki Card

Looking for something different on this summer's Baltic cruise? Then Finland should be on your radar, as this year the country celebrates the 100th anniversary of its independence from Russia. Finland's capital Helsinki is a vibrant seaside city boasting striking architecture, enchanting neighborhoods and urban nature. It's also home to a range of great sights and attractions, which can best be experienced with the Helsinki Card, an all-in-one sightseeing package which provides the perfect introduction to the city.

The Helsinki Card offers free entry to 28 of the city's top attractions and tours, plus discounted entry to 22 extra attractions, as well as City Sightseeing Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour and a free detailed pocket-sized guidebook. UNESCO World Heritage Site Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Island, a scenic canal cruise and the Ateneum Art Museum, home to the best works of the Finnish National Gallery, are among the attractions included.

The Helsinki Card is available for one, two or three days; prices start at €46 (around US$51) per adult and €23 (US$26) per child aged 4-12 years for the one-day pass. The two-day adult pass is €56, while the three-day pass is €66. Prices include a free travelcard for unlimited journeys on Helsinki's public transport network of buses, trams, metro, and Suomenlinna ferry.

Helsinki Card highlights include:
• Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Island - a guided tour of this historic naval stronghold dating from 1748, which over the years has played a role in defending Sweden, Russia and Finland. Includes entry to the Suomenlinna Museum, Ehrensvard Museum, Military Museum and Submarine Vesikko. Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Island & Museums normally priced at €37 but included with the Helsinki Card.
• Beautiful Canal Route Cruise - a 90-minute exploration of some of Helsinki's most scenic banks, islands and waterways. Normally priced at €25 but included with the Helsinki Card.
• Ateneum Art Museum - the best place to experience Finland's artistic heritage, with works from the 19th century to the modern age. Normally priced at €15 but included with the Helsinki Card.
• City Sightseeing Hop on/Hop off bus tour, a 24-hour ticket for Helsinki's sightseeing buses, with 15 stops in and around the city center offering the chance to take in Market Square, the Sibelius Monument and Rock Church, among other highlights. Normally priced at €28 but included with the Helsinki Card.
Attractions offering discounted entry prices for Helsinki Card holders include the much-loved SkyWheel, which provides panoramic views of the city's coastline, picturesque Market Square and Majestic Uspenski Cathedral from a height of more than 130 feet; and SEALIFE Helsinki, a collection of 50 different aquariums including an underwater tunnel which places visitors just inches from some of the sea's most dangerous creatures. Using the Helsinki Card enables visitors to make significant savings on their sightseeing. A tour of the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress (normally €37), the Beautiful Canal Route Cruise (€25) and one-day City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour (€28) would come to €90 if purchased independently, but are all covered by the Helsinki Card at just €46 for one day.

The Helsinki Card is available for purchase at

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Norwegian Joy Christened by Wang Leehom at Gala Naming Ceremony in Shanghai

Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line’s first custom-designed ship for the Chinese cruise market, was christened today in a lavish ceremony held onboard the vessel in Shanghai that featured an over-the-top performance by the ship’s Godfather, singer songwriter, music producer, actor and film director, Wang Leehom.

At 167,725–gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy features an innovative design, world-class finishes and amenities tailored to provide a “First Class at Sea” experience for Chinese guests, along with Norwegian’s signature cruising style that offers guests the freedom and flexibility to design their perfect vacation experience.

“After years spent carefully designing this amazing vessel, my team and I are both proud and thrilled to finally christen the world’s first cruise ship custom-designed for the wonderful people of China,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “This is truly a special moment for the entire Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings family, our valued travel partners, honored guests and dedicated officers and crew across our fleet.”

In homage to Norwegian Joy’s eye-catching hull art, designed by famed Chinese artist Tan Ping and featuring a majestic phoenix, the christening ceremony began with a performance by renowned dancer and choreographer Yabin Wang, with her interpretation of the spirit of the phoenix through dance. Tan Ping, who also made a special guest appearance at the ceremony, selected the phoenix as the focal point for the ship’s hull artwork, as the iconic bird represents beauty and good luck in Chinese culture.

The pinnacle moment of the christening ceremony came as Wang Leehom, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings executives and local Chinese government officials simultaneously smashed bottles of champagne against the side of a replica ship hull, which released an oversized bottle of Veuve Cliquot that shattered against the ship’s actual hull, signifying the maritime tradition of bringing good luck to all who sail on her.

Wang Leehom, who serves as Godfather and brand ambassador for Norwegian Joy, ended the ceremony with an electrifying performance that wowed the crowd of VIP Chinese and Western guests.

“I'm honored to officially welcome this incredible ship to China and share the cruising lifestyle with Chinese guests as the Godfather for Norwegian Joy,” said Wang Leehom.

Norwegian Joy’s christening marks the end of a month-long grand inaugural tour where she has been showcased through events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s homeports of Shanghai and Tianjin.

Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Joy
is Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship customized for the Chinese cruise market. The ship was designed to provide First Class at Sea experiences with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests.

Norwegian Joy offers a multitude of VIP accommodations including The Haven by Norwegian®, the brand’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex, and a Concierge level, an all-new accommodations category that provides a VIP experience that includes an exclusive Concierge Observation Lounge with 180 degree breath-taking views and larger balcony staterooms. Accommodation choices also include staterooms designed specifically for families, with a multitude of connecting staterooms for extended families traveling together, as well as a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies.

Norwegian Joy boasts engaging and innovative activities including a first-at-sea two-level competitive racetrack; an open-air laser tag course; the Galaxy Pavilion that features thrilling simulator rides, Oculus virtual reality technology and interactive video walls; and two multi-story waterslides. In addition, Norwegian Joy features 28 dining options that range from traditional Chinese cuisine to upscale French, Italian and Steakhouse fine dining restaurants, along with a tranquil open space park, as well as the line’s largest upscale shopping district, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to world-renowned global luxury brands.

Images Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

American Queen Steamboat Company Unwraps the Holiday Season on its Expanded Fleet

The American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of the most opulent riverboats in the world, invites guests to enjoy the holiday season aboard the elegant American Queen and her sister ships the American Empress and the newly launched American Duchess. The American Duchess will embark on her first voyage in August and will offer one of the most luxurious river cruising experiences in the country this holiday season. With itineraries along the Lower Mississippi River and its largest tributaries beginning in mid-November and lasting through the New Year, the American Duchess and American Queen offer one-of-a-kind tours through America’s festive river ports. Surrounded by southern history and culture, these voyages offer music as well as seasonal and locally produced crafts and goods.

Holiday sailings this season will, for the second year in a row, include Christmas markets along the Lower Mississippi river as well as special onboard entertainment, strolling carolers in St. Francisville, Louisiana and departure serenades from the levees of Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi. Guests will also have the option of booking a music themed cruise through the heart of the American South, which will explore the rich musical heritage from the Mississippi Delta, up to Memphis, and on to Nashville. For the first time, two American Empress cruises in the Pacific Northwest will be included in this offer, exploring the diverse landscapes and rolling vistas of wine country along the Columbia River.

“This year we are pleased to launch the American Duchess and also to add the American Empress to our holiday cruise options” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “Each of these ships will provide our guests with an unforgettable experience while they enjoy their holiday season in comfort and style.”

Holiday Sailings on the American Queen, the American Duchess, and the American Empress include these themed voyages:
• Memphis, Tenn to New Orleans, La. Nov. 12–20, Nov. 19–27, Dec. 3-11, Dec. 17–26, Dec. 22–29: Float through living history and soak in the romantic spirit of the Antebellum era on the Lower Mississippi. Guests will enjoy festive enrichment activities, delight in fabulous nightly entertainment and so much more. Picturesque natural backdrops will provide the sights and sounds of Southern history.
• New Orleans, La. to Memphis, Tenn. Nov. 12–20, Nov. 19–27, Nov. 26–Dec. 4, Dec. 10–18: Explore the jewels of the Lower Mississippi during a magical time of year and experience the best of old world Southern opulence. Guests will be transported back in time as they visit the enchanting ports of Vicksburg and Natchez, Miss while taking in the dramatic scenery of a region unspoiled by the passage of time.
• Memphis, Tenn. to Nashville, Tenn. Nov. 26–Dec. 4: Enjoy learning about and experiencing the music of the South, from the Rock and Soul of Memphis to the country melodies of Nashville. Music harmonizes with the rhythm of the river as guests enjoy special on board entertainment highlighting the music of this region, steeped in the history of American music.
• Nashville, Tenn. to Memphis, Tenn Dec. 15–23: The sights and sounds of America’s rivers sprang from a variety of musical genres. From Rhythm and Blues to Country rock, this voyage covers the early history of American music. Special on board musical performances will enhance this journey through some of the most storied ports of the South.
• Nashville Round Trip Dec. 4–10 and Dec. 10–16: On board the opulent new American Duchess this week-long voyage showcases the best of the South. Enjoy the classic, homespun comforts of Nashville before visiting ports such as Paducah, KY and Clarksville, TN. Arrive back in Nashville to experience special holiday themed events during this magical time of year.
• Portland, Oregon Round Trip Nov. 12–20 and Nov. 19–27: This voyage on the American Empress exposes guests to the beauty and bounty of nature as well as the history and heritage of the people who inhabited this region. Stunning scenery of the Cascade Range will highlight a journey that takes guests through the heart of wine country in the Pacific Northwest. This special trip introduces guests to some of the best wine to be found in Oregon and Washington.
• New Orleans Round Trip Dec. 25–Jan. 2, 2018 and Dec. 28–Jan. 2, 2018: This special New Year’s celebration cruise is for those looking to experience authentic Southern culture in the Big Easy and along the charming ports of the Lower Mississippi. Toast a glass at midnight after a memorable voyage back to New Orleans.
Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, holiday fares with American Queen Steamboat Company 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, visit online at

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Princess Cruises Expands Ocean Medallion™ Vacations to a New Continent and More Destinations within North America

Princess Cruises®, the world’s largest international premium cruise line, has announced that Golden Princess, Crown Princess, and Ruby Princess will be the next three ships to feature the Ocean Medallion™. The wearable device—powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network™ (O·C·E·A·N)—enables a new level of personalization and delivers an enhanced guest experience not previously available in the global vacation industry.

Golden Princess (November 2018), Crown Princess (November 2018), and Ruby Princess (January 2019) join four other Princess ships scheduled to debut Ocean Medallion Vacations—Regal Princess on November 13, 2017, followed by Royal Princess on January 19, 2018, Caribbean Princess on March 18, 2018 and Island Princess on May 16, 2018.

“With the addition of Golden Princess to the fleet of Medallion Class ships, we will make available a more personalized vacation to guests sailing in and around Australia,” said Jan Swartz, group president, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia. “And, as we continue to enhance our ships with the Ocean Medallion, we do so to further our commitment in providing our guests the most memorable and relaxing vacation.”

Some distinctive sailing news on these ships for the 2018-2019 season includes:
Golden Princess returns to Melbourne for a season sailing October 2018 to April 2019 with departures to South Pacific, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand
Crown Princess will be Ocean Ready™ for the Fall 2018 Caribbean season. With this
news, all Princess Cruises Caribbean cruisers will experience Ocean Medallion
Ruby Princess sets sails from Los Angeles for a season of West Coast cruising
Announced at CES 2017 in January, the Ocean Medallion goes well beyond the growing number of wearables used by theme parks and other vacation companies by leaving behind the required action of "tap" and ushering in a new paradigm for guest interactions. The Ocean Medallion makes 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 their onboard experience can be personalized.

Pairing with the Medallion is the Ocean Compass™–a 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 for shore excursions; arrange celebrations; view and purchase 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:
• Ocean Ready: Expedites embarkation as required information is added to the guest profile at home.
• Stateroom Access: The Ocean Medallion will unlock a guest’s stateroom door—replacing the 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.
• Ocean Navigate: 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.
More information about O·C·E·A·N is available at For additional information on Ocean Medallion vacations on Princess Cruises, visit Princess.Com/Ocean. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by visiting the company's website at

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Sails Across the Atlantic with Four Famous Multi-hulls in THE BRIDGE 2017

On Sunday, June 25, 2017, Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 set sail from Saint Nazaire, France, to cross the Atlantic in a once-in-a-lifetime Transatlantic “Race” against four of the world’s most famous trimarans in ‘The Bridge 2017.’

‘The Bridge 2017’ is a series of events commemorating the centenary of the first landing of American soldiers in France during WWI in June 1917. It is also a celebration of 100 years of friendship between France and the U.S. ever since that landing. The luxury cruise line Cunard, a company known for its rich history and significant role in both World Wars, is taking part in this historic celebration by sailing Queen Mary 2 from Saint Nazaire, France, where the ship was originally built, to her U.S. homeport in Brooklyn, New York, arriving on July 1.

The four multi-hulls accompanying Queen Mary 2 across the North Atlantic are helmed by award-winning skippers Thomas Coville for Sodebo Ultim, Francis Joyon for Idec Sport, and the two fastest around-the-world sailors, François Gabart for Macif, who has won the most races, and Yves Le Blévec for Actual.

“We are honored to be part of The Bridge 2017,” said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. “Cunard, with its 177-year history, has been recognized for its role in World War I and we are privileged to be an important part of this historic event which celebrates Franco-American relations and their shared pastime of sailing.”

For more information about Cunard, visit

Image Courtesy Cunard Line

Emerald Waterways Christens Emerald Radiance In Portugal

Emerald Waterways christened the latest addition to its growing fleet of river ships, Emerald Radiance, on June 16 in Porto, Portugal, where the ship will sail on the Douro River. Gill Williams, a UK travel agent with cruise specialist Cruise Village, served as Godmother. 2017 marks a busy year for Emerald Waterways, in which the river cruise line has welcomed three innovative new Star-Ships to its fleet, bringing the total number of ships to seven. Emerald Destiny was christened last month in Vienna and Emerald Liberté is scheduled to be christened in Lyon, France in September.

Radiance is the river cruise brand’s most intimate ship to date, with a capacity of 112 guests and a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:3. A new category of stateroom, the Riverview Suites, are located at the rear of the ship on the Horizon Deck and will boast 300 square feet of living space and panoramic floor-to ceiling windows on two sides. A serenity pool on the sun deck provides an ideal spot for relaxation as well as for cooling off under the warm Iberian sun. Guests have a choice of two restaurants—Reflections, the main dining room, and The Terrace for light breakfast and lunch. All ships also feature an onboard hairdresser, massage therapy room and fitness area.

Emerald Radiance will explore Portugal’s Douro region, known for its steeply sloped valleys dotted with vineyards and quaint, historic villages. The eight-day Secrets of the Douro cruise sails round trip from the Northern Portugal city of Porto. Highlights include a day trip to Spain’s Roman city of Salamanca, the seat of the Spanish language and a historic city dating back to medieval times; an excursion to the Coa Valley Prehistoric Museum in Pocinho, where guests can view stone carvings made by early inhabitants of the Douro followed by dinner at a traditional local wine estate; an excursion to Mateus Palace, the historic icon depicted on the labels of Portugal’s famous rose wine; and a city tour of Porto, including the numerous wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia.

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours’ Family of Brands has grown over its 30-year history to include award-winning, all-inclusive escorted tours that take participants to many of the world’s most fascinating destinations; two award-winning river cruise lines—Scenic and Emerald Waterways; and, in 2018, the World’s First Discovery Yacht—Scenic Eclipse. Emerald Waterways' seven Star-Ships offer deluxe cruises in Europe, the Mekong, and Russia, while Scenic’s 15 Space-Ships offer the only truly all-inclusive, five-star river cruises in the same destinations as well as the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar. Additional information can be found on Emerald Waterways’ website, in the U.S. and in Canada

Image Courtesy Emerald Waterways

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebrity Edge Celebrates Its Next Milestone

The ceremonial keel laying took place for Celebrity Edge in Saint-Nazaire, France last week setting the foundation for the ship's innovative new structure.

An 875 ton block was lifted in the air and a lucky coin was placed in the dock before the block was lowered into position. With the solid foundation in place, the building blocks can be joined together to create the ship of the future. Leaders from both Celebrity Cruises and STX France were at the event to celebrate the next stage of the ships evolution.

Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., making her first sailing December 16, 2018.

Bookings are now open at for the ship’s two 7-night itineraries: an eastern and western Caribbean. Travelers will also have the option to book back-to-back sailings for a 14-night journey. Celebrity Edge will be joined by three sister ships in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Image Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Cunard Announces Tina Brown to be Featured Guest Speaker on Transatlantic Crossing This Summer

Luxury cruise line Cunard has announced that literary legend Tina Brown will be a featured guest speaker on flagship liner Queen Mary 2’s seven-night Transatlantic Crossing out of New York, departing August 12, 2017.

Brown joins the voyage as part of Cunard’s Insights® Program, and will give lectures, Q&A’s and mingle with guests during the Crossing to Southampton, England. As 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, Tina will discuss her in depth knowledge of the princess, including her personal relationships and life in the spotlight. Among many of Brown’s ground-breaking literary accomplishments, she is known for her 2007 New York Times Best Seller “The Diana Chronicles,” a detailed biography of the late princess, and she was also featured in the recent ABC special, “The Last 100 Days of Diana," which aired in May.

“We are delighted to have Tina Brown sail with us as a featured speaker,” said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. “She is a long-time patron of Cunard and our guests will be thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from her in such an intimate setting.”

Brown started out as a young writer for Punch Magazine and The Sunday Times and quickly rose through the ranks eventually becoming the Editor-in-Chief of Tatler. Her editorship of Tatler resulted in a 300% circulation rise, after which she edited Vanity Fair. In 1992 she became the first female editor of The New Yorker, which was honored with 10 National Magazine Awards during her tenure. She is currently CEO of Tina Brown Live Media, which produces global Women in the World summits. In 2000 she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to journalism, and in 2008 was inducted into the Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame.

Also joining the voyage is Brown’s husband, a literary giant in his own right, Harold Evans. As editor of The Sunday Times, Evans exposed the negligence in the poisoning of thousands of thalidomide babies, and the cover up of the treachery of Kim Philby, undetected for years as a KGB spy at the heart of the British establishment. The documentary “Attacking the Devil,” currently on Netflix, details his famous thalidomide campaign. He was knighted in 2003 for services to journalism. Since 2011, he has been editor-at-large for Reuters. Evans will also speak onboard, giving true insight to what has been an incredible career.

For more information about Cunard, visit

Windstar Launches New Star Collector Voyages

Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has launched a fresh series of back-to-back cruises, where longer and more in-depth voyages from 14 to 34 days feature few repeated ports in the new Star Collector Voyages. In addition to the elegance of an extended trip with the luxury of unpacking only once, guests also get to take advantage of traveling light for these epic journeys, as all Star Collector Voyages include free daily laundry service.

Star Collector Voyages combine some of Windstar’s most popular itineraries for a longer exploration of the region and feature overnights in port (like Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong, for example), allowing guests to make the absolute most of their trip.

“With dozens of sailings to choose from, and more to be announced for Europe 2018, we are thrilled to now offer an extensive collection of longer voyages designed for the person who wants to sail longer, get closer, and discover the world of Windstar 180 degrees from ordinary,” said Windstar President John Delaney.

Guests can cruise through multiple regions and even cross the Atlantic on unforgettable journeys that cover numerous parts of the world on one of eight Star Collector Voyages:

  • Arabia & Ancient Spice Routes - Athens to Singapore - 34 Days: Embark from Athens on an odyssey of contrasts and retrace some of the oldest known sea routes in the world, experiencing the cuisine, culture, and landmarks of Egypt, Jordan, Oman, UAE, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia.
  • The Grandeur of Southeast Asia - Singapore to Bangkok (or reverse) - 28 Days: Set sail on a journey of memorable contrasts to sample elegant cuisines and explore breathtaking UNESCO settings in Malaysia, Brunei, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. (There are two sail dates on this itinerary.)
  • Sailing Among Dragons: China & Japan - Singapore to Beijing (Tianjin) - 28 Days: Wander through ancient temples and cosmopolitan cities in this diverging adventure of old and new in Vietnam, China, and Japan.
  • The Best of China, Korea & Japan - Hong Kong to Tokyo (Yokohama) - 28 Days: An ideal choice for adventurous travelers seeking an array of excursion options, this journey from China to South Korea and Japan grants access to more than 17 exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Crossing to the Caribbean Saints - Lisbon to Philipsburg (St. Maarten) - 21 Days: Rekindle the romance of a classic ocean voyage with this transatlantic cruise from Lisbon, Portugal to tropical Bridgetown, Barbados. Once in the Caribbean, set a course among the southern island havens and highlights, with stops at some of the best beaches in the world, ending in St. Maarten.
  • Classic Caribbean Havens & Harbors - Philipsburg (St. Maarten) to Colón (Panama) - 14 Days: Cruise the southernmost and warmest waters of the Caribbean, stopping off in sun-drenched Aruba and exploring the untouched natural splendors in Colombia and Panama.
  • Caribbean Beaches & Costa Rican Cloudforests – Bridgetown (Barbados) to Puerto Caldera (Costa Rica) - 14 Days: With time in the Southern Caribbean Islands, the charming remote white beaches and quaint village markets then give way to tropical jungles, the Panama Canal, and the Pacific Ocean, ending in Costa Rica.
  • Caribbean Explorations - Philipsburg to Philipsburg (St. Maarten) - 14 Days: Skip the usual Caribbean cruise stops and discover the small harbors, overlooked havens, and most remote secrets among the Leeward Islands, with the lesser-known charms of Barbuda, Soper’s Hole in Tortola, Gustavia in St. Barthélemy, St. Lucia’s Pigeon Island, and much more. (There are 14 sail dates on this itinerary.)

Watch for Star Collectors voyages to be featured in Windstar’s upcoming Fourth of July One Week Sale, as well as “7 for 7” limited-time promotions. For additional information on private yacht-style cruising with Windstar, visit

Monday, June 26, 2017

American Cruise Lines Successfully Launches American Constitution the Old-Fashioned Way

American Cruise Lines has announced that American Constitution was successfully launched last week. The ship was launched into the Wicomico River in Salisbury, Maryland.

The new ship is being designed and built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding, located in Salisbury. American Constitution is a coastal vessel with full active wing stabilization. With the capacity for approximately 175 guests, the new ship will have large, well-appointed staterooms with private balconies and a number of spacious lounges.

“We’re happy to announce that construction of American Constitution is well ahead of schedule,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “We were incredibly pleased with the success of the launch. The team at Chesapeake Shipbuilding continues to exceed our expectations.”

American Constitution, sister ship to American Constellation, is scheduled to begin service on the East Coast in the spring of 2018. Last week it was announced that American Constellation will move to the West Coast, doubling the company’s capacity in the Pacific Northwest for the 2018 cruise season.

American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise line, is committed to continuous growth through an innovative ship building program that elevates the standard of cruising in America. The line is the leader in the US with more than 35 itineraries ranging from 4 to 21-nights in length, which visit the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast and the Mississippi River. The line has been continuously recognized for its new ships and for providing superb service to guests and travel agents before, during, and after a cruise. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit

Image Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Holland America Line Announces O, The Oprah Magazine Programming for Share the Adventure Cruise to Alaska

Holland America Line’s upcoming Share the Adventure Cruise to Alaska on July 15 aboard the ms Eurodam will feature tips and advice from Emmy Award winner and O, The Oprah Magazine creative director Adam Glassman. The style guru will host a Love That! presentation sponsored by women’s clothing brand Chico’s that will reveal the latest trends during a fashion show in the Mainstage. In addition to providing guidance on how to look and feel fabulous, Glassman will provide packing tips for every traveler and answer questions from the audience. Cruisers who wish to purchase the clothing seen in Glassman’s presentation will have the opportunity to do so at the pop-up O Shop on board. Additionally, jewelry brand Roberto Coin will host a trunk show on board.

“Adam is a pioneer in the magazine and fashion industries, and to be able to give our guests access to someone with his prominence is a rare opportunity that we know will leave a deep and lasting impression,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The Share the Adventure Cruise is going to inspire our guests, whether it’s gaining a new style sense on the outside or a deeper sense of well-being on the inside. Every activity developed in partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine is designed to make a meaningful connection, and for many that means both looking and feeling good.”

Glassman’s Love That! presentation is just one of many highlights during the Share the Adventure Cruise. O, The Oprah Magazine Editor-at-Large Gayle King and Editor-in-Chief Lucy Kaylin will present ‘The Making of O’, a behind-the-scenes look at how the publication makes the journey from rough concepts to the newsstand and mailboxes each month. O, The Oprah Magazine Books Editor Leigh Haber and #1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout will kick off O’s Reading Room, an on-board book club for passengers, with Strout’s latest release, “Anything is Possible,” currently available in bookstores and online.

SuperSoul 100 members, including Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter India.Arie; fitness evangelist Angela M. Davis; and author, activist and motivational speaker Glennon Doyle will share inspirational ideas for living one’s best life. A Let’s Eat! presentation, hosted by Elettra Wiedemann, author and founder of Impatient Foodie, will provide tips for healthy eating while on the ship, and the morning Just Breathe program will help guests greet each day with meaningful meditations and daily intentions. In addition, A Conversation with Oprah will feature Oprah as she takes the stage for a special evening event. All guests must make reservations using their booking number to attend one of the two presentations prior to boarding the ship.

Image Courtesy Holland America Line

Viking Marks Summer Equinox With Christening of Third Ocean Ship In Norway

Viking Cruises has revealed that its third ocean ship, Viking Sky, was officially christened during a public celebration in Tromsø, Norway. Located above the Arctic Circle on Norway's northwest coast, Tromsø is a popular destination for viewing the northern lights—and a key port of call on Viking's popular Into the Midnight Sun itinerary, which sails between Bergen and London, allowing guests to explore the northernmost reaches of Scandinavia. Viking's ocean ships are classified as "small ships" and the 930-guest, 47,800-ton Viking Sky navigated into the Tromsø harbor where she received a warm welcome with coordinated water cannons from Norwegian redningsskøyten boats, music from local bands and flag-waving Tromsø residents.

"This is a special time of year in Norway—these are the days of the midnight sun and the perfect backdrop for a celebration. All of our ships proudly carry the Norwegian flag, and it is an especially proud day to officially welcome our new ship in Tromsø, the arctic capital of the world," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Vikings were explorers, and our ships are built with their spirit of exploration in mind. We design every aspect of our ships and cruises so that our guests can spend more time immersed in their destination. Scandinavia is Viking territory, but as we continue to expand our fleet, we also look forward to introducing new travelers to the Viking way of travel around the world."

After arriving in Tromsø, Viking Sky was positioned in the harbor adjacent to a concert stage constructed specifically for the celebration. Viking guests and residents of Tromsø were treated to a public concert, with performances from a variety of Norwegian musicians—including Arctic Philharmonic, Lisa Stokke, Violet Road, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska and Jørn Hoel. During Viking Sky's christening ceremony, Marit Barstad, sister of Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sky—a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years.

Several elements of the christening ceremony paid homage to the Norwegian heritage of both the company and godmother. Instead of champagne for the traditional bottle-breaking, Viking Sky was christened with a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit, which hails from the same county in Norway where Torstein and Marit's mother, Ragnhild—also lovingly known as "Mamsen"—was born. "Mamsen's," the Norwegian deli onboard Viking Sky, was also named after Ragnhild, and Gammel Opland was her favorite brand of aquavit. Additionally, in honor of the original Viking explorers, a gilded Viking axe was used to cut the cord for the aquavit christening. The particular axe used is a replica of a gilded Viking axe artifact discovered near Tromsø. Also, the chopping block used for the ceremony was brought from the Rotnes Farm in Nittedal, where the godmother grew up. Immediately following the christening, Viking Sky set sail from Tromsø with a convoy of small boats and fishing vessels to mark the summer equinox in Nordkapp (North Cape). Onboard the ship, guests were also treated to a special christening dinner with Norwegian delicacies and musical performances by Lisa Stokke, Tor Jaran Apold and Mari Boine. The ship will now spend the summer season sailing Viking's popular itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic.

Viking Sky
Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boast 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. Viking Sky is the third of eight ocean cruise ships currently planned for the fleet. The fourth and fifth ships, Viking Sun and Viking Spirit, are under construction and will be delivered in September 2017 and 2018, respectively. By 2019 Viking will welcome its sixth ship and will become the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Viking's ocean fleet features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:
• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries, heated bathroom floors and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.
• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."
• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit, for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.
• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.
• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine parings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea.
• Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking in creating "the thinking person's cruise." Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking's Culture Curriculum® including: world-class lectures on history and art; personalized opportunities for learning with the Viking Resident Historian program; tasting of vintage wines from their destinations; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties.
• Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. Onboard, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. All-veranda ships mean that guests experience every day with a new, expansive vista. With the most al fresco dining at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences onshore and onboard. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

In addition, Viking Inclusive Value provides a small ship experience at a big ship value and no nickel-and-diming—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—an included value of more than $200 per person, per day for an average

Image Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises

Friday, June 23, 2017

Yao Ming & Ye Li to Serve as Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors for Princess Cruises in China & Officially Name the New Majestic Princess

Princess Cruises, the world’s largest international premium cruise line announced that Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, will serve as Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors for Princess Cruises in China and officially name the new Majestic Princess during a ceremony and gala celebration.

The inaugural festivities will take place aboard the ship in Shanghai on July 9, as the culmination of weeks of celebrations, upholding maritime traditions, as well as featuring traditional Chinese, contemporary Chinese, and western-inspired cultural performances that took place between Rome and Xiamen.

“It is a great honor that Yao Ming and Ye Li have graciously accepted our invitation to officially name Majestic Princess and serve as the Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors at our celebration welcoming our newest ship to China,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Yao Ming is globally recognized for his success in China and the United States, truly embodying the ‘East meets West’ spirit of our international cruise line.”

Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, were both born in Shanghai and were both team members of China’s national basketball teams. Yao Ming is an icon, one of the world’s best-known athletes, a global ambassador of basketball, an eight-time NBA All-Star, and most recently, an inductee into the NBA Hall of Fame. The couple has established The Yao Foundation in response to the devastating 8.0 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China in 2008. The Yao Foundation funded the construction of 23 schools in the region, Yao Foundation Hope Primary Schools, and is currently focused on helping provide sports education to the youth generation in the countryside regions of China with the implementation of “Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season" projects. They help to select volunteers to support sports education and basketball training, organize basketball leagues for the rural primary schools to help more students learn the team sport and understand the importance of growing up with fitness and good health. This year will be the 10th year for "Yao Foundation Charity event." It has become the biggest, the longest and most influential sports charity event in China. In 2017, Yao Foundation Charity event tournament will begin on July 30 in Hong Kong.

Majestic Princess promises the ultimate cruise vacation for Chinese travelers, offering Princess Cruises' renowned warm, welcoming, international service—now enhanced for Chinese travelers’ satisfaction. The new cruise ship also features two specialty dinner menus by Michelin star-awarded chefs at Harmony and La Mer, “Fantastic Journey,” the most technologically-advanced, immersive musical and cinematic production show at sea, and the Princess Luxury Bed developed with board-of-medicine certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus.

Princess Cruises is also debuting “Camp Discovery”—an interactive family enrichment program developed in part by Discovery Communications, California Science Center, and educators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University—that is designed to foster creativity and initiate a love for learning that prepares children to better navigate their education and development at early learning ages.

Majestic Princess is currently sailing on her “Silk Road Sea Route”—a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai, retracing the ancient Chinese maritime Silk Road trade route. During the voyage, she will have visited a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang, and Xiamen before her arrival at Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal. Majestic Princess will begin her first homeport season in Shanghai on July 11.

In 2018, two 14-day Grand Asia voyage sailings between Shanghai and Singapore, will be available to guests throughout the world on Majestic Princess. These sailings will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, including spending more time ashore on the late night call in Hong Kong. The first voyage departs Shanghai on February 25, 2018, with the second departing Singapore on March 11, 2018.

Princess Cruises will also call Australia home from September 2018 to March 2019. Majestic Princess will sail itineraries from Sydney and Auckland on voyages from 6 to 13 days in length, and will call in ports at destinations including New Zealand, Tasmania, Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific.

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Seabourn Announces Distinguished Speakers for 2017-2018 Seabourn Conversations Program

Luxury cruise line Seabourn continues its mission to intrigue and inform guests with an additional new series of Seabourn Conversations for the 2017-2018 cruise season. The popular onboard enrichment program will host distinguished speakers and personalities from a variety of fields including journalism, government, preservation and the arts. The Seabourn Conversations line-up is populated with both first-time and returning speakers and is featured on board Seabourn's award-winning, intimate ships.

"Whatever the season or the destination, we are pleased to bring the most engaging personalities onboard to inform and entertain our guests," said Seabourn President, Richard Meadows. "The highly successful series continues to introduce prominent personalities to share their life's work and experiences from a rarely heard perspective."

Select speakers of the 2017-2018 Seabourn Conversations program include:
Margaret Trudeau (Seabourn Quest, Oct 2, 2017) - The former wife of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the mother of the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, she will share thoughts on Canadian politics and the global landscape.
Paul Deegan (Seabourn Encore, Oct 25, 2017) - Award-winning author, motivational speaker, and veteran climber of mountainous regions on five continents, Deegan was co-leader of the first environmental expedition to Mount Everest at age 18.
Arturo Sandoval (Seabourn Quest, Nov 5, 2017) - Award-winning and legendary jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer, Sandoval is one of the most dynamic performers in modern jazz.
Richard Stone (Seabourn Encore, Nov 10, 2017) - As the Royal Portrait Painter, Stone has captured most members of Britain's Royal Family on canvas, as well as leading members of society and the community.
John Pizzarelli (Seabourn Sojourn, Nov 15, 2017) - The world-renowned jazz guitarist and singer, Pizzarelli is among the prime revivalists of the great American songbook, bringing to his work the cool jazz flavor of his brilliant guitar playing.
Steve Wozniak (Seabourn Quest, Dec 20, 2017) - Designer of the hardware, circuit board designs and operating system for the Apple I personal computer, Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Ronald Reagan in 1985 and the Hoover Medal in 2014.
Brad Goreski (Seabourn Sojourn, Dec 21, 2017) - No one knows what to wear better than celebrity fashion stylist and TV personality Goreski, co-host of Fashion Police on E!, brand stylist for Kate Spade NY, and author of the 2012 memoir Born to Be Brad: My Life and Style, So Far.
Grant Harrold (Seabourn Encore, Jan 5, 2018) - "The Royal Butler" draws on decades of passion for good manners, including time spent in Royal Households and leading his own The Royal School of Etiquette and Butlers, to be Britain's Official Etiquette Expert.
Sir Tim Rice (Seabourn Quest, Jan 13, 2018) - English author and lyricist Rice's talent has earned him awards at the Oscars, Golden Globes, Tonys, and Grammys. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994, he is perhaps most renowned for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and more. His production show, An Evening With Tim Rice, is currently playing fleet wide on all Seabourn ships.
Jeffrey Archer (Seabourn Encore, Aug 18, 2018 & Aug 25, 2018) - An Oxford alum and member of Parliament who wrote his first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less in 1976 at the age of 34. He has gone on to write many novels and is now published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages.
For the full schedule of speakers participating in Seabourn Conversations for 2017-2018, visit

Image Courtesy of Seabourn Cruises

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Seabourn is Offering New Cruise Itineraries for the 2018 & 2019 Season

Luxury cruise line Seabourn will feature new worldwide itineraries for the fall 2018 and winter 2019 seasons. The new program includes 37 unique sailings to hidden harbors, marquee ports and must see cities accessible only by smaller ships.

As always, Seabourn guests can look forward to exceptional personalized service, lavish amenities and unique experiences from the newest and most modern fleet in the luxury segment. Guests will have the opportunity to sail aboard Seabourn's newest ships, Seabourn Encore, which launched in late 2016, and Seabourn Ovation, which is scheduled to launch in May 2018.

The fall 2018 and winter 2019 seasons will allow guests to see our Extraordinary World with 103 departures of seven to 66 days in length, visiting exotic destinations in South America & Antarctica, India, Arabia, Australia & New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, along with classic favorites including the Panama Canal, Canada/New England, and the Caribbean.

"Each year we meticulously craft itineraries with carefully selected experiences to show guests the world as only Seabourn can," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "These itineraries will be truly exciting for our guests as they visit fascinating destinations around the world from the comforts of the finest ultra-luxury experience at sea."
Highlights for the Seabourn fleet include:
Seabourn Ovation—Following the ship's 2018 inaugural summer season in Europe, the line's newest ship will depart Athens on a 20-day Holy Land and Arabia voyage headed to Dubai. An additional 18-day voyage of Arabia, India and Sri Lanka will position the ship in Singapore to begin the ship's inaugural Asia season of five 14-day voyages between Singapore and Hong Kong. These itineraries will feature the line's popular Caviar in the Surf beach parties at Ko Kood in Thailand, an overnight stay at Ho Chi Minh City and an extended day at Halong Bay in Vietnam, allowing for optional excursions to Hanoi. The season will also include a 14-day voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore visiting China, the Philippines, and Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) in Malaysia, providing options for appealing 28-day combo cruises with the Vietnam/Thailand voyages. The ship will then depart Singapore on a 22-day voyage to Dubai via Myanmar, India and Oman, followed by a 20-day voyage to Arabia and the Holy Land, arriving in Athens to begin the 2019 Europe season.
Seabourn Encore—Following the summer season, Seabourn Encore will depart the Mediterranean bound for Australia & New Zealand via four voyages: 19 days through the Holy Land and Arabia; 18 days through Arabia and India to Singapore; a seven-day voyage between Singapore and Benoa, Bali, visiting Java and Celukan Bawang, Bali; and an 18-day sailing from Bali to Sydney via the Great Barrier Reef. The 2018-2019 season in Australia & New Zealand will consist of four 16-day voyages between Sydney and Auckland, interspersed with two alternate 16-day South Pacific Islands voyages round-trip from Auckland, visiting New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji. The start of spring will see Seabourn Encore depart Sydney for a 16-day voyage, featuring the Queensland Coast & Great Barrier Reef, plus Indonesia islands to Bali. A 10-day Gems of the Java Sea voyage will highlight Bali and Komodo, plus several ports on Java before reaching Singapore. The return to Europe will include a 16-day cruise through India and Arabia to Dubai, and an 18-day voyage from Dubai to Athens via the Holy Land.
Seabourn Quest—During fall 2018, Seabourn Quest will sail on four 10-day Canadian Maritimes & New England voyages between Montreal and Boston, as well as a 12-day cruise round-trip from Montreal. A 14-day positioning cruise ends in Miami, from which Seabourn Quest will sail 25 days southward to visit Key West, pass through the Panama Canal, and explore the Inca Coast of Peru. Seabourn Quest will then sail on five voyages in Antarctica & Patagonia, including a 24-day Holiday voyage from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso that features the South Georgia Experience and Ventures by Seabourn optional kayaking excursions led by the ship's top-flight expedition team. In spring 2019, Seabourn Quest will depart from Buenos Aires to travel up the coast of Brazil on a 21-day voyage into the Amazon. The ship will then sail a 24-day itinerary from Manaus, down the Amazon and across the Atlantic to Lisbon for its summer season in Europe.
Seabourn Odyssey—Following an Atlantic crossing, Seabourn Odyssey's fall 2018 season begins with a series of 18 seven-day Caribbean cruises between Bridgetown, Barbados and Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. Each of the cruises will offer both a Caviar in the Surf beach barbecue at Carambola Beach, St. Kitts or Mayreau in the Grenadines, as well as a Marina Day at Jost Van Dyke or Iles des Saintes. (All subject to conditions.) In early spring, Seabourn Odyssey will cross the Atlantic to Lisbon in 11 days, and then sail 14 days through the Canary Islands, Morocco and Spain to Barcelona to be poised for another European season.
Itineraries for Seabourn Sojourn are currently being finalized and will be announced soon. The ship will feature a number of Extended Explorations voyages in late 2018 & 2019, which are suited to the traveler looking for a longer, more in-depth experience from their journey.

As the youngest luxury fleet in the industry, Seabourn's intimate ships offer key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas and all 100% ocean front; superb dining in a choice of venues including The Grill by Thomas Keller; differentiated evening experiences in partnership with Sir Tim Rice, Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, open bars throughout the ship; fine wines poured at lunch and dinner; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home onboard. The ships travel the globe to many of the world's most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser-known ports and hideaways. Travelers who covet outdoor adventures will also find the Ventures by Seabourn optional for-charge excursion program on many itineraries, including Alaska, Antarctica, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Guests may book these tours in advance on Seabourn's website.

The itineraries, fares, and additional details of Seabourn's complete fall 2018/winter 2019 cruise schedule can be viewed at

Image Courtesy of Seabourn

Crystal Gives Guests VIP Access To Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Formula 1 Race

Adrenaline rushes are inevitable for Crystal Symphony guests in Abu Dhabi this November, as Crystal unveils three exclusive ways for travelers to experience the most glamorous international event in the United Arab Emirates. During the "Indian Ocean Discovery" voyage, the luxury ship will arrive in Abu Dhabi on November 25 for an overnight stay just in time for the capital city's Formula 1 Grand Prix at the famed Yas Marina Circuit. The 55-lap, approximately 190-mile race draws drivers from around the world to compete for the pole position. Crystal guests will enjoy VIP views for each lap, heightening the thrill of the event.
The most exclusive Crystal package for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix transports guests by luxury coach from the ship to Yas Island, where the Marina is located, and positions them in the heart of the action with Formula TEAM One Paddock Club™ access, with either Team Red Bull or Team Ferrari. Participants will walk the pit lane and enjoy premier seating in the air-conditioned upper floors of the pit building, as well as fine cuisine and beverage service throughout the day, open bar and access to the roof terrace to mingle with fellow VIP guests. Fares for this option are $9,999 per person.

A second race option offers premium hospitality seating in the shaded top level in the grand stand, offering access to an air-conditioned lounge where food and non-alcoholic beverages will be served throughout the race. Fares for this option are $2,399 per person.

A third option offers guests race tickets with premium grand stand seating, affording the opportunity to take in the contest amidst the excitement of the crowd and fellow race enthusiasts. Fares for this option are $999 per person.
"Regardless of one's chosen level of exclusive access, attendance of this remarkable international event is an unforgettable opportunity for any traveller," says Crystal CEO and President Edie Rodriguez.

In addition to Abu Dhabi, the 17-day voyage begins with an overnight in Dubai and a maiden call in Doha, Qatar before cruising the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean en route to Mahé/Victoria, Seychelles; Nosy Bé and Maroantsetra (maiden call), Madagascar; and Mauritius/Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius.

Cruise Industry Reveals Fast Facts about the Small Ship Cruise Experience

Interest in small ship cruising, traveling aboard ships with a smaller passenger capacity, is on the rise among travelers. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, has uncovered some interesting facts about small ship cruising.

“The small ship sector is a vital and constantly-evolving part of the overall cruise industry that excels at creating unmatched travel experiences, making it more popular than ever” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “Small ship cruising allows for a unique and intimate cruise unlike any other.”

Five fast facts about small ship cruising:

1.) Small Ships Can Cruise the World: Contrary to popular myth, small ships have the ability to sail to a myriad of destinations around the world, some of which are unattainable by bigger ships. Small ships often cruise along famous and historic rivers, offering a chance for the mode of transportation to become a wonder in itself. To create an even more memorable experience, many small ship cruise lines also offer themed itineraries that focus on different interests like diving or beer tasting.
• Avalon Waterways’ Danube Dreams for Beer Enthusiasts is a ten day European voyage that sets its sights on beer-lovers with ale-centric activities both on board and on land. This small ship cruise allows travelers to visit historic breweries; attend special beer tastings; learn about European beer-brewing techniques during onboard lectures and workshops; and take part in a beer expert-led dining experience. Not into beer and looking to see another part of the world? Avalon’s exclusive Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy cruise takes 36 passengers all the way from Bhamo, near the border of China, along the Irrawaddy River.
• In 2018, Paul Gauguin Cruises will be the first cruise line to visit the port city of Vairao in Tahiti Iti, the smaller of two landmasses that comprise the island of Tahiti and offers a wild coastline, ancient temples, Polynesian culture, and incredible surfing. The line takes travelers to hidden pockets of the world in a unique way with sailings to islands previously unsailed.
• In a partnership with BBC Earth, Tauck is taking cruise travelers to far-reaching destinations ranging from Costa Rica and Antarctica to the Galapagos Islands with a deeper understanding of each destination. Travelers can view destination-specific nature documentaries created by BBC Earth filmmakers and partake in shore excursions in which they use BBC Earth experts’ technologies, including thermal imaging cameras and underwater hydrophones, in order to truly become one with nature.
2.) Small Ship Cruising is Affordable for a Variety of Budgets: In the case of small ship cruising, exclusivity and intimacy don’t mean the experience is unattainable for the majority. In fact, small ship cruises are affordable at a variety of different price points.
• All-inclusive cruises can lend themselves to a variety of budgets. Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers all-suite accommodations, round-trip air, personalized service, cuisine in specialty restaurants, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, gratuities, ground transfers and a pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in concierge-level suites and higher. The cruise line also offers unlimited sightseeing excursions in every port and nearly 90 percent of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ shore excursions are free and unlimited for travelers to choose, as long as their time allows.
• Oceania has a wide range of small ship cruises available for every price point with voyages ranging from seven days to 180 days. Every guest is privy to Oceania’s trademark fine cuisine at sea, with meals cooked to order and always prepped with the freshest, finest quality ingredients that are cycled out every three to five days with an opportunity for onboard, intimate cooking lessons.
• SeaDream is yet another line offering small ship getaways at a variety of price points. Travelers on a tighter budget can still live the luxurious small ship life on a transatlantic crossing or five-day voyage. Those looking to spend a bit more can travel the cruise line’s 9+ day Mediterranean trips during peak season and spring for an all-inclusive trip. At any price point, cruisers can enjoy ocean views; gourmet meals that include a Raw food, vegan, and organic selection; and daily sunrise yoga and tai chi. While onboard, those looking to splurge can also indulge in SeaDream’s spa which features the only Thai-certification at sea, while also offering the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea.
3.) Small Ships Offer Unique Experiences On Board and On Shore: Just because smaller ships lack space doesn’t mean they lack amenities or entertainment. In fact, on many small ships the crew-to-traveler ratio is quite impressive, with some ships having a nearly one-on-one service ratio. Another large draw to small ship cruising is sailing to unique destinations thought nearly unattainable by ship and being able to enjoy all that those destinations have to offer on-land with port-intensive itineraries.
• Complete with all of the opulent finishing touches for which Scenic is universally celebrated, the Scenic Sapphire and Diamond ships have been transformed after emerging from the shipyard this season. In addition to opulent design touches, each vessel also received a host of new features and amenities, including a vitality pool, gym, spa and, for the first time ever, a private cooking area where guests can participate in  new cookery courses, Scenic Culinaire. Scenic refurbished the interior of its Space-Ships in France and is now offering a unique Culinaire experience that is unrivaled on the rivers. Small groups can spend the day with an onboard chef, in addition to accompanying the chef to the market to buy fresh ingredients that will be used to prepare a meal on board. The cooking station features a real-time overhead camera and screen to ensure each participant can see every cooking move in detail.
• Emerald Waterways has a unique indoor/outdoor pool with vitality lane for lap swimming that can be converted into a cinema in the evening. This is a great space for one to find quiet space in the morning, to get exercise anytime, or to host a group meeting or special cocktail reception. All of the star ships in Europe, with the exception of the Emerald Radiance in Portugal, have this feature. Due to the nature of the Douro River, and therefore the smaller size of the ship, a lounging pool on the upper deck replaces the indoor/outdoor pool and cinema.
• Uniworld itineraries offer exclusive experiences onshore that are only available to guests. The popular Enchanting Danube itinerary, for example, offers a “Morning with the Masters,” an exclusive early opening and art tour of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, showcasing the Habsburg’s imperial treasures and magnificent works of art by some of the world’s greatest artists. The same eight-day itinerary offers a Dürnstein “Village Day,” which includes a guided tour of the village and a choice of activities, including a sampling of the organic wines at the historic Nikolaihof estate, perhaps the oldest winery in Austria, which produces some of the world’s best Rieslings.
4.) Small Ship Cruising is Flexible to Each Traveler: Just because the ships are smaller doesn’t mean the schedule or planning is more rigid. In fact, small ship cruising lends itself to creating personalized trips for every type of traveler. There is something for everyone on a cruise, no matter the size of the ship.
• Fitness fanatics and active travelers, through AmaWaterways get a chance to get active and explore new destinations through hiking and biking excursions. AmaWaterways European fleet carries bicycles onboard for travelers hoping to take a guided bike tour through a port town or those looking to explore on their own. Enhanced active offerings for even more adventurous travelers are available on special sailings in partnership with Backroads. On board their AmaLyra ship, the cruise line is currently testing a wellness program that includes yoga, running, cardio, circuit training, and health and relaxation-focused discussion groups. Not into fitness? AmaWaterways’ offers more than 50 wine cruises that feature onboard wine experts, educational discussions, and wine tastings.
• Cruisers looking to enrich their lives in specific ways can find a multitude of flexible and passion-driven enrichment programs on Silversea Cruises. Opera and ballet fans, food and wine connoisseurs, bridge players, wellness enthusiasts and lifelong learners can appreciate indulging their passions with Silversea's onboard enrichment programs in 2017 that can be tailored to each participant’s liking in an intimate setting. Looking to satisfy travel companions who may not be so passionate about your interests? Silversea also offers signature cruise luxuries like sun decks, spas, delicious cuisine, and guest pools.
5.) Small Ship Cruising Differs from Large Ship Cruising in Ways Big and Small: It’s no secret that small ship cruising differs from travel on larger vessels, but small ships have points of differentiation that can make even the most skeptical cruise traveler fall in love. Small ships can navigate more narrow channels, offering a chance for cruisers to visit hidden gems unattainable by other means of sailing.
• Small ship cruising offers a more intimate travel experience in many ways. For example, Seabourn ships have no more than 300 suites and are modeled similar to private clubs where travelers share open decks, social spaces, and enjoy personalized attention from the crew. In fact, at its “Caviar in the Surf” beach barbecue, staff plunge into the water to offer guests iced champagne and caviar at a surfboard bar—a unique and personal experience for each traveler. Another one-on-one style perk of small ship cruising is a behind the scenes peek. Seabourn also offers travelers a chance to accompany the ship’s Executive Chef on a trip to the local market to learn more about local produce and prepare them together back in the ship kitchen.
• The size of the ship can create a unique experience in a variety of destinations. For instance, many large ships travel through the Panama Canal, but small ships are able to offer the most intimate experience along the famed canal. Windstar Cruises offers wet landings and access to ports like Bahia Drake, Puerto Jimenez, Parida, and Bocas del Toro in Costa Rica and Panama so travelers can get an up close and personal experience. In addition to the Panama Canal, Windstar also offers themed cruises for travelers with a specific passion like wine or racing. The line’s Barcelona & Grand Prix of Monaco voyage allows cruisers to experience the Grand Prix with a Formula One racing expert and cocktail reception.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Photos Show Off Extensive Enhancements to Holland America Line’s ms Westerdam

When Holland America Line’s ms Westerdam emerged from a 12-day dry dock at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Italy, in late April, the ship debuted major renovations that added many new public spaces and amenities, including two firsts for the fleet: Explorations Central, or EXC, in the Crow’s Nest and Rijksmuseum at Sea. Westerdam also received the popular Music Walk venues Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard, the intimate Gallery Bar, a reimagined Lido Market and The Retreat area with private cabanas.

Newly released photos show the renovations, along with additional upgrades and modifications including suite upgrades, enhancements to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, renovations to youth areas Club HAL and The Loft, and the new Holland America Line logo on the funnels. Deck 10 saw the addition of 25 guest staterooms, including 18 verandah and seven interior staterooms, increasing the capacity of the ship to 1,964 guests.

“We have many innovative new programs and enhancements launching across the fleet, and it’s exciting to see them finally come to life on Westerdam, which is the first Holland America Line ship to get Rijksmuseum at Sea and EXC,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Holland America Line is in a transformative era, and that will be reflected in on board spaces over the coming years as ships are updated with new venues and programming that are moving our brand forward.”

Rijksmuseum at Sea Introduced on Westerdam
Holland America Line’s partnership with Rijksmuseum—the Museum of the Netherlands in Amsterdam—celebrates the company’s Dutch heritage. With Rijksmuseum at Sea on Westerdam (pictured left), reproductions of some of the museum’s most famous masterpieces are showcased at a dedicated space located on Deck One of the Atrium. Guests also can view videos about the museum and its collections on the in-stateroom television.

New EXC (Explorations Central) Program Unveiled on Westerdam
Holland America Line is amplifying its destination immersion experiences with the launch of EXC programming on Westerdam. The multifaceted EXC experience combines a wide array of indispensable travel resources with enrichment opportunities for guests making their travel experience more engaging, vivid and meaningful. Much of the EXC experience is featured in the newly created Exploration Central’s hub located in the Crow’s Nest (pictured at right), now a comprehensive resource and engagement center with interactive screens and a Virtual Bridge. EXC programming also offers a full EXC Team to engage with guests, EXC Tours, EXC Destination Guides, EXC Channel and Theater EXC.

Music Walk Adds Lincoln Center Stage & Billboard Onboard
Guests have even more entertainment options with the addition of Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard (pictured left), complementing the already-existing and wildly popular B.B. King’s Blues Club. Under the exclusive partnership, Lincoln Center Stage showcases an ensemble of world-class musicians performing multiple chamber music programs nightly, while Billboard Onboard features the talents of two pianists performing dynamic shows centered around the interesting facts and figures of the music industry as chronicled by Billboard.

Raising a Glass in Gallery Bar
During the dry dock, Westerdam received the intimate Gallery Bar (pictured right). The sophisticated venue, serving an exclusive cocktail menu created by celebrity mixologist Dale DeGroff, replaces Northern Lights and is adorned with an eclectic and whimsical mix of artwork including portraits, landscapes, still lifes and abstract pieces.

America’s Test Kitchen Receives New Look
America’s Test Kitchen also sports a new look with the room receiving a new color palate and enhancements to the show kitchen featuring gray and red motifs as well as new tables and chairs for guests viewing the cooking demonstrations. Produced in partnership with the namesake, long-running public television cooking program, America’s Test Kitchen features shipboard cooking demonstrations and hands-on workshops—with topics ranging from creating authentic Asian dumplings to making the perfect pie crust—that will combine foolproof, accessible recipes and cooking techniques that are rooted in the rigorous testing and science-based approach of America’s Test Kitchen.

Food & Service Reign at Lido Market
The traditional, casual Lido buffet has been transformed into the Lido Market concept—a marketplace with different themed stations offering a selection of delicious options guests can grab on the go or have quickly made to order. Areas include fresh-baked breads and pastries at Breadboard, classic comfort food at Homestead, dishes from around the globe at Distant Lands, Wild Harvest’s freshly made personalized salads, and sweet treats at Sweet Spot. Service at Lido Market is enhanced with coffee, juices, water and iced tea served tableside, and in the evening the tables have an upgraded setting with placemats, glassware and cutlery awaiting guests after they have selected their food from the new menu.

The Atrium
Additional Upgrades and Enhancements to Westerdam
To further complete Westerdam’s transformation, 25 new staterooms were added near the top of the ship on Deck 10. The 18 verandah and seven interior staterooms increase the ship’s capacity to 1,964 guests.

Additionally, the suites on board received the fleetwide suite upgrades. The main living area was refreshed with a new headboard, new carpet, wall coverings, a privacy curtain, drapery, bed runner and bed skirt. New quartz-stone surfaces were added to the desk, dresser, nightstands and makeup vanity which, along with new vanity lighting, enhance the cosmetic transformation. Electronic upgrades include a new USB outlet added to the bed’s headboard, bedside LED lights, upgraded electrical outlets and a lighted closet rod. Suite bathrooms also were upgraded, including a wall of designer glass tile, new vanity area, stylish floor tiles and a nightlight.

A new interactive television system was installed throughout the ship, featuring large LED flat-screen TVs with complimentary movies and popular TV shows on demand as well as easy access to the daily program and shipboard information including restaurant overviews, spa services and guest billing.

The Retreat on Deck 11
The Retreat was relocated from Deck 10, providing a quiet lounging area and 15 private cabanas available for rental that offer a relaxing oasis on deck. (pictured right)

Various other public spaces around the ship received new soft furnishings including carpets, drapery, chairs and sofas, while additional outside enhancements include new pool deck loungers and teak decking.

Westerdam is currently cruising the Mediterranean on 12-day itineraries between Barcelona, Spain, and Venice or Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. For additional information, visit

Images Courtesy Holland America Line