Sunday, October 26, 2008

Royal Caribbean to Base Brilliance in Dubai

Royal Caribbean International will deploy Brilliance of the Seas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from January to April 2010. The company will offer seven-night Middle East sailings, but exact itineraries will be announced in the coming weeks. “Dubai is a dynamic and thriving city that shows great growth potential. Building on our reputation for introducing revolutionary cruise experiences, we are excited to provide a different cruise vacation than traditionally offered in this region,” said Michael Bayley, senior vice president-international for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. During a visit to Dubai this week, Rama Rebbapragada, regional vice president-international sales and marketing for RCCL added, “We continue to win devotees from throughout the Middle East and are pleased to have exceeded our 2008 sales target for the region, achieving significant growth over last year.” The 90,090-ton, 2,500-passenger Brilliance of the Seas has a 10-deck-high Centrum, a rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole miniature golf course and five dining venues.

Ruby Princess to Debut Special New Features

When Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess launches on Nov. 8, the ship will introduce a host of new shipboard services and special features. Among the new options is a pub lunch, an exclusive breakfast for suite passengers, enrichment programs from astronomy to mixology, two new stage shows, and expanded wireless Internet and cell phone connectivity. The 3,070-passenger vessel will also feature the favorites aboard sister ships Crown Princess and Emerald Princess.
Among the new features being introduced on Ruby Princess is a pub lunch in the Wheelhouse Bar. On sea days, the Wheelhouse Bar will serve traditional British pub fare, including bangers and mash, fish and chips, ploughman’s lunch and cottage pie. Traditional pub brews such as Stella Artois, Bass Ale or Guinness will be served. The pub lunch meal service is free and will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Suite passengers will have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive breakfast in Sabatini’s, the line’s trademark Italian eatery. Beginning with a “Good Morning Mimosa,” the menu features a variety of breakfast favorites, plus specialty items such as brioche French toast with apple-and-cinnamon compote, yogurt and super granola parfait with raspberry swirl, soft-poached egg over potato and vegetables with hollandaise sauce, and freshly made Belgian waffles. Suite passengers can enjoy this from approximately 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Vines, the wine bar in the atrium, will now feature a selection of domestic and imported artisan cheeses, in addition to more than 30 wines by the glass and seafood appetizers. Twelve varieties -- including unique choices such as boschetto al tartufo bianchetto, reblochon and cambozola -- will be featured each day for a nominal fee. Vines will also host a series of events where passengers can meet members of the ship’s staff, and will continue to offer wine flights and parings. A number of new ScholarShip@Sea enrichment programs will debut aboard Ruby Princess, including party-planning tips from lifestyle expert Susie Coelho via a multimedia presentation hosted by the cruise director. Navigation@Sea focuses on the history of navigation as well as the complexities of plotting the route of a modern cruise ship, with a presentation by the ship’s navigator. Mixology@Sea is a hands-on course taught by the ship’s bar manager. For star gazers, the new Astronomy@Sea program allows passengers to explore the night sky through a telescope on the top deck, with the guidance of a ship’s bridge officer.
Ruby Princess will present two new Princess-produced shows in the ship’s theater. “Broadway Ballroom” presents the music of the Great White Way with a ballroom flair, pairing the songs of hit musicals with dance numbers ranging from foxtrot to rumba. The show also features the talents of a costume designer and choreographer from the TV hit “Dancing with the Stars.” Meanwhile, “Once Upon a Dream” uses multidimensional cinematic projection to follow a dreamscape. The audience will accompany a young woman’s journey as she dreams of everything from a tea party in an English garden to singing camels in the desert, and even a trip through a waterfall and brief nightmare before waking to a new day. A variety of new audience-participation events will also debut on the ship. Karaoke fans can go a bit farther with “Love Boat Legends,” where they are actually transformed into a famous artist of the past. “So You Wanna Be A Rock Star?” moves beyond pre-recorded karaoke tunes to give audience members the opportunity to rock with a live band on stage. “Oceans of Talent” puts passenger talent center stage, whether they play a musical instrument or try out their comedic timing. “The Wake Up Show” takes Princess’ morning show with the cruise director to a new level with an irreverent talk show format, live band, special guests and an opportunity for passengers to join the studio audience, as the show is taped in the evening before its broadcast the next morning.
A number of new service touches will be introduced. In the Horizon Court buffet, new waffle stations will offer cooked-to-order waffles at breakfast and throughout lunchtime, and the buffet will also begin serving complimentary lemonade as a beverage choice. In the evening, passengers will find a selection of canapés in several of the ship’s public lounges. Passengers arriving back from shore will be greeted with chilled face cloths, and, by the pool, misting stewards will offer a quick spritz with Evian. Young passengers can enjoy a new Wizards Academy, an exclusive presentation from the California Science Center. This program lets children explore the connection between science and magic in a fun and participative environment. Kids will also enjoy activities and projects from arts and crafts company Klutz, or participate in Yoga for Kids, a course designed specifically for children.
Expanding on Princess’ Internet and phone connectivity, Ruby Princess will offer laptop users additional wireless hotspots around the vessel, including staterooms. The ship will also be equipped so that passengers can use their personal cellular phones, if they have international roaming plans, while onboard. A new opportunity to experience an array of back-of-house areas, the Ultimate Ship Tour takes passengers beyond the public areas with visits to the engine control room, medical center, print shop, laundry, photo lab, funnel, bridge and other spaces. Participants will receive themed mementos at many of the stops along the route. The Ruby Princess will feature an inaugural season of Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, followed by a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Royal Caribbean Debuts Oasis of the Seas Pool & Spa Areas

Royal Caribbean International unveiled two more neighborhoods for the 220,000-ton, 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas -- the Pool and Sports Zone and the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center. Stretching the length of the ship, the Pool and Sports Zone will feature private cabanas, four pools, and two FlowRider surf simulators, each larger than the single FlowRider found on the line’s Freedom-class ships. Building on Royal Caribbean’s Vitality wellness program, the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center will feature spa treatments and Kinesis group classes, a no-impact workout utilizing natural movement to engage several muscle groups simultaneously.
Oasis of the Seas will have seven neighborhoods. Previously announced were Central Park, an open-air park setting with live foliage; Boardwalk, with a carousel; and a much wider Royal Promenade than found on earlier Royal Caribbean ships. The Pool and Sports Zone will include an adults-only Solarium and sports deck. The Beach Pool will have a sloped entry to wade into the water or relax in a beach chair under an umbrella as the water rolls underneath. Located on the opposite side of the ship from the Beach Pool and separated by Central Park six decks below is the Main Pool with two side-by-side whirlpools. Overlooking both pools will be private cabanas, complete with a dedicated attendant. Families will easily spot Royal Caribbean’s H2O Zone, marked by a giant octopus with slides and water-spraying tentacles. Separate wading and current pools, as well as a dedicated infant and toddler pool, will be surrounded by adult and child-sized lounge chairs. The Sports Pool will host afternoon water team sports such as basketball, badminton and water polo, while morning hours will be dedicated to lap swimming.
The adults-only, two-deck Solarium will be a glass-paneled enclave with seating on islands surrounded by water. The Solarium will offer a swimming pool, two whirlpools, and four cantilevered whirlpools suspended 136 feet above the ocean. The mezzanine level will overlook the pool deck below, offering additional chaise lounges and seating. The new Solarium Bistro will offer casual fare from the Vitality spa menu during the day, and in the evenings, transform into a venue for specialty dining and dancing, and later, for a late-night dance club called Club 20. The Sports Deck in the Pool and Sports Zone also will boast the first zipline at sea, and two of the FlowRider surf simulators, flanking either side of the elevated back deck. There also will be a nine-hole miniature golf course and the Sports Court for basketball and volleyball. Near the FlowRiders will be the Wipe Out Bar and the casual dining venue, the Wipe Out Café.
The Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center will feature relaxation rooms; a thermal suite with heated tile loungers, saunas and steam rooms; three couples massage suites; and seven individual treatment rooms. There also will be a dedicated spa for kids and teens. The Fitness Center will offer the latest cardio and resistance equipment as well as classes in spinning, kickboxing, Pilates and yoga. The Vitality Café will offer healthy snacks, light meals and juices.
Oasis of the Seas, which is scheduled to launch in November 2009, opens for general bookings on Sept. 3. Diamond and Diamond-plus members of the Crown & Anchor Society are already able to make reservations, and all Crown & Anchor members can do so starting Aug. 28. The ship will sail from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

Royal Caribbean Expands Partnership with Nickelodeon

Royal Caribbean International and Nickelodeon announced two new cruise adventures in summer 2009. Based on the success of the first-ever, sold-out Nickelodeon Family Cruise with Royal Caribbean, the two companies are teaming up to offer families new cruises from each U.S. coast -- one on Mariner of the Seas to the Mexican Rivera and another on the Freedom of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean. The announcement was made after the completion of the first Nickelodeon Family Cruise Aug. 10-17. “Coming off the success of the first Nickelodeon cruise this past week, we’re thrilled to build upon our relationship with the announcement of two additional themed cruises,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
The first 2009 cruise will sail from Los Angeles on July 26 on Mariner of the Seas and will travel to the Mexican Rivera (exact locations will be determined). The Eastern Caribbean itinerary will leave on Aug. 9 from Port Canaveral on Freedom of the Seas and will sail to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and the private island of CocoCay, Bahamas. Onboard, Nickelodeon will provide families with such experiences as interactive game shows, meet-and-greets and performances by their favorite Nickelodeon stars, screenings and premieres of new Nick TV shows and movies, and plenty of Nickelodeon’s signature slime. Also planned are visits with favorite Nick characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Diego and Aang from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The Nickelodeon Family Cruises go on sale to the public beginning in mid-September.

CLIA Lines Offer Increasing Number of World Cruises

Cruise Lines International Association said seven of its member cruise lines are offering 10 world cruises in 2009, including an unusual longitudinal itinerary from the top of the world to the bottom beginning in late September. The others, departing in early 2009 from ports on the East and West coasts, will follow the sun from west to east through the Caribbean, South Pacific, Asia, Africa and Europe. "Even during uncertain economic times, it appears that growing numbers of travelers are eager to sail the globe or, at the very least, take a nice long segment of a world cruise in a part of the world they probably have never seen before," said Terry Dale, CLIA's president and CEO. All the world cruises are available for the entire voyage -- typically 90 to 100 days -- and some lines report that almost half their guests stay onboard from start to finish, while others take segments ranging from less than two weeks to more than two months.
Crystal Cruises' 14th annual World Cruise, on Crystal Serenity, departs Los Angeles Jan. 21. The 106-day voyage will visit 45 cities in Mexico, the South Pacific, New Zealand, eastern and western Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia, Alaska, British Columbia as well as San Francisco and back to Los Angeles. Segments are available in lengths of 12 to 22 days. Special guests onboard will include Deborah Norville, Ed McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss, Jack Hanna and more than two dozen experts on world affairs and other topics. The trip will also feature 125 new shore excursions, including several on a complimentary basis.
At Cunard Line, both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will embark on their second World Cruises. Queen Victoria makes a 99-day "Exploration of Distant Horizons" world cruise departing from New York Jan. 10 and visiting the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It is available in four segments including the 17-day New York-to-Los Angeles segment and the 27-day Sydney-to-Singapore segment. Queen Mary 2's 90-day "Epic Expedition" departs Fort Lauderdale Jan. 13 and circumnavigates South America before sailing Down Under and then through Asia and Europe. Space is still available on some of the most popular segments including the 28-day Fort Lauderdale-to-Los Angeles segment and 31-day Singapore-to-New York segment.
Holland America Line's Rotterdam returns to world cruising in 2009 with a 114- or 117-day "Grand World Voyage" departing Jan. 19 from Los Angeles. The westbound route sails the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, and through Asia and Africa before visiting the Caribbean and concluding in Fort Lauderdale. Overnights are scheduled in Sydney, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, Mombasa and Cape Town. Segments of 22 to 69 days are available. In a departure from many other World Cruise itineraries, the trip will feature the east coast of Africa to South Africa and a rare "Midnight Golden Line Crossing" when the Rotterdam crosses the equator and the International Dateline simultaneously.
Based on the response to its return to world cruising, Princess Cruises will offer two global itineraries in 2009. The 670-passenger Tahitian Princess and 710-passenger Royal Princess will offer similar 107-day itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, the former departing Jan. 12 and finishing in Dover, England, and the latter sailing Jan. 20, concluding in Rome. The itinerary features South America, the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, India and Egypt as well as a variety of European destinations. Both will feature a new port for Princess - Port Blair in the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. Other exotic destinations include Vietnam, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef.
Regent Seven Seas is offering two simultaneous world cruises in 2009. The 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner will visit 110 ports of call in 50 countries on six continents. Segments range in length from 12 to 24 nights and visit the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, India, the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. Celebrity guests will include former Florida Gov. Bob Graham, football coach Don Shula, Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Al Worden, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and others.
Silversea Cruises is offering the company's first-ever "Grand Pacific Voyage" in 2009, a 92-day cruise timed to coincide with prime regional seasons of the Pacific Ocean. The voyage will depart Los Angeles on March 7 on Silver Shadow. On this journey, composed of six themed segments, guests will visit 45 ports in 15 countries and two hemispheres, with overnight stays in Bora Bora, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Guests sailing the full voyage will receive complimentary hotel accommodations in Los Angeles on the eve of departure, plus transfer and baggage handling between airport, hotel and ship. Scheduled enrichment speakers include Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, and author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Frank McCourt.

Carnival to Increase Capacity in New Orleans

Carnival Cruise Lines - which operates the only year-round cruise program from New Orleans - will increase capacity by 34 percent when the 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph replaces the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy in November 2009. Carnival Triumph will introduce new seven-day Western and exotic Western Caribbean schedules to complement the four- and five-day cruises to Mexico. The seven-day cruises will depart on Saturdays with Western Caribbean voyages to Belize City; Isla Roatan, Honduras; and Cozumel. Eastern Caribbean cruises will call at Key West, Freeport and Nassau. Four-day cruises will depart Thursdays to Cozumel, while five-day cruises will depart Mondays and Saturdays to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico.
Carnival Triumph will operate 65 departures annually from New Orleans, carrying approximately 200,000 passengers. Carnival Fantasy, which currently sails from New Orleans, will be deployed to Mobile, Ala., to operate four- and five-day cruises beginning in November 2009.Carnival Triumph will make its New Orleans debut with a special four-day cruise departing Nov. 10, then launch its new year-round four-, five- and seven-day schedule beginning with a weeklong voyage departing Nov. 14, 2009. The 102,000-ton Carnival Triumph offers a 14,500-square-foot spa, a jogging track, shipwide Wi-Fi access and cell phone service, a duty-free shopping mall, and three restaurants. Also featured are 18 themed lounges and bars, including a wine bar, sports bar, piano bar and a multi-level theatre showcasing lavish revues. A golf program offering professional instruction and opportunities to play top Caribbean courses is available, as well. Family-friendly amenities include programming for children in three age groups - Camp Carnival for youngsters, Circle C for 12- to 14-year olds, and Club O2 for older teens. Reservations are currently being accepted for the Carnival Triumph's cruises from New Orleans.

Princess Debuts In-Room Fitness Classes, Yoga for Kids

Princess Cruises is introducing new fitness programs, including the industry’s first in-room fitness program, yoga classes for kids and teens, and new Lotus Spa classes. Designed for cruisers of all ages and activity levels, these fitness choices will help passengers get moving in their own staterooms with Fitness@Sea hosted by celebrity trainer Gillian Clark, strike a pose in an interactive yoga class for junior cruisers, or take a “Tour de France” spin class. Fitness@Sea classes led by fitness DVD host Clark are designed as a way for passengers to comfortably start off their day with exercise. Clark leads nine classes shown exclusively on the line’s Wellness Channel, including core strengthening, flexibility, arm and leg strengthening, big muscle groups and overall body workout, cardio training, stretching, the mind/body connection, breathing to enhance a workout and back strengthening.
Fitness@Sea debuts fleetwide this month. On ships with Movies Under the Stars, morning sessions are offered on the 300-square-foot screens for those who want to work out in an open-air group setting.
Princess also will introduce yoga to kids and teens ages 3-17. The program promotes building coordination, breathing, balance and emotional strength with an element of play incorporating music, chants and singing. With yoga mats provided, kids can participate in a variety of yoga poses. Classes are complimentary and are currently rolling out fleetwide in the onboard youth and teen centers. Classes range from 30 minutes to one hour and parents are welcome to participate. The new onboard “Core.Balance.Strength” fitness program focuses on three vital components of balanced health in classes in the Lotus Spa.
“Core.Balance.Strength” is designed to help guests maximize their wellness potential by focusing on three fitness components, each with a series of corresponding classes. The Core component is designed to create a strong foundation and is based primarily on the principles of Pilates and correct postural alignment. Balance focuses on centering both mind and body, and features fusion yoga classes. Strength includes a high-energy mixture of both strength and cardio classes. As part of the new program, passengers can now try the Tour de Spin program, which will benefit LiveStrong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The Tour de Spin program will consist of three 45-minute classes, each featuring a ride named after various stages of the Tour de France. One dollar from each class series will be donated to LiveStrong to fight cancer, and at the conclusion of the three-ride program each participant will receive one of the foundation’s famous yellow wrist bands. The new “Core.Balance.Strength” program is currently being rolled out fleetwide and is expected to be in place aboard all Princess ships by the end of the year. A nominal fee is charged for each class. In addition, the new program will continue to offer a selection of complimentary classes.

Holland America to Spend $200 Million in Ship Upgrades

Holland America Line is doubling the amount to be spent in upgrades, enhancements and new features on five of the line’s most popular ships. As part of its ongoing Signature of Excellence program, over the next two years the Statendam, Ryndam, Maasdam, Veendam and Rotterdam will undergo extensive dry-docks to create new venues, new staterooms, new décor and more. The 18-month, $200 million program will begin when Veendam enters an extended dry-dock in spring 2009, and the last ship is slated for completion in late 2010. The investment in this new series of enhancements will include a new resort pool concept, lanai staterooms, new entertainment and enrichment options, new stateroom décor and more.
Holland America Line’s commitment to enhancing its premium fleet now exceeds $525 million. Signature of Excellence features and amenities are designed to offer guests more luxurious accommodations, more enticing destinations, enhanced dining experiences, more creative activities and even higher levels of service. Previously, during the first phase of Signature of Excellence, these five ships were enhanced with the addition of an Explorations Café, Culinary Arts Center, expanded Club HAL youth facilities and more. This next installment will add more verandah staterooms, introduce a new category of stateroom, expand the Lido Deck’s pool feature with The Retreat, create a showroom at sea and upgrade staterooms, bathrooms and fixtures.
“Holland America Line has long been the leader in the premium cruise segment,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest services. “This significant and continued investment reaffirms our commitment to our fleet of mid-sized ships and our ongoing leadership in the premium category by continually raising the bar in terms of products and services. In an era where cruise lines are building ships to carry more than 5,000 passengers, Holland America Line remains focused on mid-sized vessels. These enhancements will blend the latest innovations for premium travel into our ships, creating a deluxe experience that is unparalleled.” The most dramatic alteration will be to the aft portion of the ships, allowing for a new resort-style pool area on Lido Deck called The Retreat, which will have a shallow area where guests can lounge in chairs and dip their fingers and toes in the water or relax on a bench and dangle their legs in the water. A new pool bar and an upscale pizzeria called Slice will be installed, as well as a canopy and wind screens to provide additional covered seating for the Lido Restaurant.
All staterooms will receive new décor, carpeting and soft goods. Each ship also will have an additional 44 to 46 staterooms, 32 with verandahs and the remaining inside. On the four S-class ships, 12 staterooms near the spa on Deck 9 also will have verandahs added, and along with three inside staterooms, become spa staterooms featuring enhanced spa amenities. On the Rotterdam, 23 staterooms on Verandah Deck will become spa staterooms. On the five ships, 46 new lanai staterooms will be created by replacing existing windows of 42 staterooms (on Lower Promenade Deck 6) with lanai doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade, and adding four additional staterooms.
The program also involves enhancements to several public rooms. A Merabella luxury jewelry shop will be added. The casino and piano bars will be reconfigured into a multi-themed area called Mix with three separate bars -- Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. Next door, the casino will be redesigned. The main show space will be transformed into the Showroom at Sea with the ambience of a glamorous nightclub. The Ocean Bar will be refurbished and carpets will be replaced in most public areas. The new Sky Room on Sports Deck will feature the latest in multi-generational video games and high-tech entertainment. Entertainment and enrichment, or “edutainment,” is taking on a new, contemporary look and feel across the fleet. A new Explorations Team employs cruise staff, each specializing in a particular area, to educate and entertain guests with an expanded menu of activities including flower-arranging, hands-on cooking, dancing, and working with digital photos, blogs and movies. Each team consists of a party planner, a travel guide, dance directors and a “techspert.” On longer cruises, a book club leader joins the team to lead lively group discussions.
Renowned for service levels provided by its award-winning staff, the program will also include significant crew area enhancements including a new fitness facility, Internet centers, staterooms and recreational areas. The Signature of Excellence initiative announced in November 2003 has evolved into an ongoing and comprehensive review of every aspect of the Holland America Line experience. Signature of Excellence is Holland America Line’s brand promise and continues to bring innovation and relevance to guests.

Holland America Line Sets Bermuda Return in 2010

Beginning in 2010, Holland America Line will once again operate regularly scheduled cruises between New York City and Bermuda. Holland America is the only major cruise line that calls on both Hamilton and St. George’s, Bermuda’s cultural and shopping hubs. When the 1,350-guest Veendam sails in late August 2010 on the first of 10 roundtrips to the island, it will mark Holland America Line’s return to New York City as a homeport and to Bermuda as a destination. Holland America worked closely with Bermuda’s government to form the partnership that takes the line back to the island that it first visited more than 70 years ago. In 1926, Veendam II, with a guest capacity of approximately 500, left New York on the company’s first Caribbean cruise. During the summers of 1930 and 1931, Veendam II sailed on five-day roundtrip cruises between New York and Bermuda.
“We are thrilled to homeport a ship in New York City again and especially to be returning to Bermuda,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president-marketing, sales and guest programs. “It’s particularly relevant to be doing so on a ship with the same name as the one that sailed to Bermuda so many years ago. Veendam is ideal for this itinerary. She is a premium mid-size ship, the perfect size to navigate the narrow entrances to the harbors in Hamilton and St. George’s. Veendam’s guests are able to step off the ship right in the center of each town. Ships larger than Veendam must tie up at the Dockyard facility a considerable distance from both towns.” In addition to the 10 sailings between late August and October 2010, Holland America will visit the island for a full season beginning in May the following year, with 20 or more sailings anticipated.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Let the Government pay for your next cruise!

What are you Spending Your Stimulus Check on?

It's May 2008 and you know what that means, it's tax stimulus time. This gift from the government is being provided to get consumers spending. A recent Goldman Sacks report showed that stocks like Royal Caribbean are sure to benefit from these dollars as consumers seek out their next vacation or upgrade from an ocean view stateroom to a private balcony with their new found monies.

There are a lot of places to spend the stimulus monies like on a new sofa, paying down some credit card bills, doing some home repairs or getting away on an exciting cruise vacation. But how about spending it on all or at least some of those things? We have some amazing getaways that won't deplete your whole stimulus check.

Getaway with the whole family this summer for as little as $32 a person, a day (for a family of four). Norwegian Cruise Line just announced they are moving a ship to the Caribbean this summer that will sail 3- and 4-night cruises from Miami and for a limited time, Kids Sail Free. There are a number of other ships and itineraries to choose from for under $50 per person, per day. Sail a 4-night Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Imagination from Miami or sail a 5-night Bahamas cruise on the Carnival Fascination from Jacksonville. For under $60 per day you can sail a 4-night Baja Mexico cruise on the Carnival Paradise from Los Angeles, a 4-night Bahamas cruise on the Carnival Sensation from Port Canaveral, a 4- or 5-night Western Caribbean on the Carnival Holiday from Mobile, a 5-night Baja Mexico cruise on the Carnival Elation from San Diego, a 5-night Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Fantasy from New Orleans, or a 7-night Florida & Bahamas cruise on the Norwegian Majesty from Charleston. How about sailing in a Balcony stateroom for under $100 per person, per day? You can on a number of 7-night Caribbean cruises on the Carnival Triumph, Liberty or Valor, on Carnival Spirit's 8-night Mexican Riviera cruises or on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas 12-night transatlantic cruise.

There are a ton of deals out there and I am just the person to find them for you. So when your stimulus check arrives, go ahead and use some of it to pay down your mortgage, or make a car payment, but be sure to keep just a little to spend on a holiday for yourself and your family. This might be the only time the government pays for your vacation.

Try something new!

Baltic Cruising: The Land of Enchantment

Enjoy the multitude of enchanting fascinations that encompass the Baltic region of Europe. Whether you are looking for majestic landscapes,, the contrasts of ancient and modern culture, world-class gastronomy, outdoor activities, or simply want to experience life in another part of the world, you will find it all on a Northern European cruise.
The beautiful Baltic Sea extends from the British Isles to St. Petersburg, Russia and offers a number of distinct ports in England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Lithuania, Russia, Estonia, Finland, Amsterdam, Holland, Germany and Sweden.
Discover an unseen variety of destinations, sights and adventures. The region’s exciting history, rich traditions and spectacular nature invites an extraordinary experience.
Explore the medieval as well as modern cities with vibrant nightlife. Encounter the amazing culture of the Vikings in an area rich in folklore and fairy tales. Let yourself be transported back in time to the land of the original oceangoing explorers.
Shore excursions typically visit fascinating museums, palaces, castles and cathedrals. The close proximity of the Baltic landmarks makes it easy to see a lot in a small amount of time. Be one of the few to transit the Kiel Canal or discover the majestic beauty of the Norwegian Fjords. Sail to the polar ice cap, get back to nature with a hike in the mountains, delve into Celtic history or discover a grand winter palace filled with Masterpieces. The options are endless on a Baltic cruise.
Several cruise lines will sail the Baltic this summer. The season typically runs from May through August and you will find a variety of cruise ships in the area. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade and the Norwegian Jewel will be sailing on 12- and 13- night voyages from Southampton and Dover. Carnival will introduce the brand new Carnival Splendor to the Baltic region along with the Carnival Liberty, both sailing 12- night voyages from Dover. Royal Caribbean takes to the seas with 12- night sailings from Harwich on the Jewel of the Seas and MSC Cruises will sail seven, 10- and 11- night voyages on the MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Armonia from Copenhagen and Dover. Princess Cruises’ offer Crown Princess from Copenhagen and Southampton, and the Sea Princess and the Grand Princess from Southampton.
A number of premium lines will sail Northern Europe this summer. Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Century will sail from Amsterdam and Celebrity Constellation from Harwich. Holland America will have three ships in the region including the brand new ms Eurodam along with the ms Prinsendam and the ms Rotterdam. Sailings on these lines range from 5 nights to 16 nights.
If you are looking for a deluxe or luxury ship sailing in the Baltic look no further than the Azamara Journey, sailing 12- and 14- night voyages from Copenhagen. Oceania will sail Regatta all season long alternating between Stockholm and London on 14- night voyages while Cunard sails the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria from Southampton on voyages ranging from 7- to 14- nights. Regent Seven Seas will sail the luxurious Seven Seas Voyager on 7- to 15- night voyages from Dover, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Southampton and Reykjavik.
Like brilliant pearls on a string lie the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. In every port and in every city, there are countless precious gems just waiting for you to enjoy. Set sail on a Baltic cruise and begin a journey to the land of enchantment.

Choosing the right cruise line...

Cruising Your Style…

Today’s modern cruise industry is made up of many different styles and sizes of ships, from contemporary to deluxe to luxury and everything in between. All of this terminology can be very confusing but knowing the differences will help you and your Cruise Specialist make the perfect choice to fit your unique needs for your next cruise vacation. Let’s take a look at the differences between styles of cruise lines.

What exactly is a “Contemporary” Cruise Line?:
Contemporary cruises are the most popular segment of the cruise industry and may also be referred to as mass market or First Class cruises. Cruise lines included in this category are Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises and Costa Cruises. These larger ships cater to thousands of guests and typically have resort-style facilities with heavy emphasis on shipboard activities. Many short three, four and five day itineraries departing from close to home U.S. cities and visiting the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Baja Mexico are offered. In the seven day contemporary market, cruise travelers can enjoy the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera and Alaska. Longer international itineraries of 10-14 days such as Europe, South America and Asia are also seasonally offered. Contemporary lines tend to have newer and larger cruise ships with lots of amenities including lavish show rooms, extensive spa facilities, large casinos, expansive children's programs, televisions and in-room movies in all cabins, double/queen beds, etc. A contemporary cruise will have something for everybody - all age groups. Best for families and kids of all ages as the award winning kids programs dedicate staff and space to entertain kids and teens of all ages.

What makes a cruise line part of a “Premium” class of lines?:
A step above contemporary, premium lines offer more service and added amenities. Holland America and Celebrity are two well known premium lines and are famous for catering to more experienced cruisers. While still offering most of the activities of a contemporary line, premium lines include more upscale offerings such as white glove service, high tea, wine tastings, cigar bars, etc. Many itineraries are for seven+ days and travel to similar destinations as the contemporary lines, but longer more extensive itineraries including Europe and Alaska in the summer months. Holland America Line even offers a full 100+ day World cruise. Premium lines are great for couples of all ages and traditionally have good children’s programs.
I have not ever heard of a “Deluxe” Cruise Line can you explain the difference?:
The newest category in cruising is deluxe – the ships are more elegant but would not be considered “all inclusive” as most of the luxury lines are. The two cruise lines that fall into this category are Azamara and Oceania Cruises. The ships are smaller and carry fewer guests, approximately 800. Stateroom amenities are more luxurious with high thread count sheets, high end toiletries, pillow menus, etc. Entertainment is more cabaret style, casinos are smaller and the libraries are extensive. Itineraries tend to be longer that seven days and to more exotic destinations. These lines are not recommended for families with young children as there traditionally are not activities or staff dedicated to children and teens.

Is “Luxury” just a fancy word for expensive?:
Actually, when it comes to a luxury cruise, the value far exceeds what is delivered by a luxury hotel or resort. Luxury or ultra luxury cruising delivers personalized service and high space to guest ratios, and are considered the highest quality of cruise experience available. With a staff to guest ratio of 1:1.5, guests’ needs are always anticipated and attention to detail waits around every beautiful corner. World-class cuisine is created and designed by leading celebrity chefs and served in an “open seating” environment where every meal is prepared to order. Some of the top Luxury cruise lines include: Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Cunard Line, The Yachts of Seabourn and SeaDream Yacht Club. These lines are rich in amenities, service and style and focus on the world’s most unique destinations. These luxury cruise lines welcome between 100-900 guests and provide each traveler with the opportunity to be treated like an individual and not part of the crowd. Some sailings tend to be significantly more formal than contemporary cruise lines. Their ships tend to carry far fewer passengers and accommodations are often more spacious with a very high percentage of oceanview staterooms and balcony suites including king-sized beds, sitting areas and private teak wood verandahs. Many of these lines are “all inclusive” where items like gratuities, wine and spirits, custom shore excursions and more are included in the base cruise fare. These cruise lines are much more itinerary oriented and often feature longer cruises, international travel and follow warm weather around the world. Many luxury guests are more experienced and more discerning travelers. These sailings are not as "entertainment-oriented" as they are "experience-oriented". Luxury lines have very limited or no programs for children and would not be the first choice for families.

So now that you know the differences between a contemporary cruise line and a premium, deluxe and luxury cruise line you can make an educated decision on what type of ship you would like to sail on. Your Cruise Specialist is here to help you choose the right ship and the right itinerary to create your dream cruise vacation. Call me now and start planning your getaway today!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time for a Luxury Cruise!

Climb aboard a luxury vessel and you’ll immediately understand what sets the experience apart from life on a mass-market or contemporary cruise ship. Lavish attention to every detail. Ultimate convenience. A level of personal attention and pampering that leaves guests delighted and amazed. When you make the leap to luxury cruising, you’ll enjoy the best of everything – the finest available accommodations, cutting-edge amenities, gourmet dining from the world’s most celebrated culinary artists, an elegant array of enrichment programs and activities, and service that prides itself on knowing exactly what you need (and when you’ll need it). Today’s luxury cruise ships offer passengers every posh perk imaginable – from Evian spritzes by the pool to course-by-course in-suite dining – as well as a number of offerings that may never have crossed your mind.
Accommodations & AmenitiesAll-suite accommodations. Spacious marble baths and generously-sized walk-in closets. Expansive views of the sea from the comfort of large and private teak verandahs. Frette linens, feather pillows, and complimentary champagne. Depending on your stateroom of choice, you can expect to enjoy well over 1,000 square feet of personal space. And a sophisticated selection of room amenities is the standard. Watch first-run films on a 42” flat-screen plasma television with Bose® surround sound. Order from a pillow menu designed to cater to the wishes of a discerning clientele, and expect nightly turndown service (and delicious surprises) when retiring to your cabin each evening.
DiningLuxury dining equals imaginative gourmet creations prepared under the watchful eyes of award-winning chefs, a selection of vintage wines that even the most discerning sommelier would admire, innovative venues, and so much more. Open-seating policies are the rule, allowing guests the flexibility to dine as they choose, and mealtime options abound. Think tuxedo-clad waitstaff, multiple courses of truly inspired cuisine, and elegantly appointed tables set with fine China and European crystal. Casually elegant choices are also on the menu – sumptuous buffets served along teak-lined pool decks, as well as opportunities to enjoy course-by-course dining experiences in the comfort of your suite (complimentary butler service caters to every whim).
Entertainment / Enrichment ProgramsThe freedom to do anything. Or nothing at all. Aboard a luxury cruise, you’ll encounter the same simple pleasures you’d expect to find aboard any traditional cruise – sunbathing poolside, for example, or the chance to enjoy an invigorating workout. But a luxury cruise augments these activities with exclusive programming and special offerings that are unique to your voyage. Choice is paramount. Succumb to the tranquility (and the exotic treatments) that can only be found in the most elegant spa and wellness facilities at sea. Or treat yourself to the ultimate souvenir – exclusive partnerships with premier brands afford passengers some very luxurious shopping opportunities. Then, when night falls, attend a live orchestral performance conducted by starlight.
A luxury cruise will take you places you’ve only dreamed about. And onboard enrichment programs, a signature feature of the luxury cruise experience, help bring those places to life. World-renowned experts and celebrities set sail alongside passengers, sharing anecdotes, insights, and a wealth of behind-the-scenes information with guests. Stimulating lectures and hands-on demonstrations illuminate and enhance your journey. Study Renaissance art with a leading museum curator, or acting with performers from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Discuss a bestselling book with its author, or a destination included in your itinerary with a distinguished foreign ambassador. Head ashore to prepare a gourmet meal under the tutelage of chefs from the prestigious Relais & Châteux.
Exceptional Personalized ServiceHighly personalized service is the hallmark of the luxury cruise experience. Favorable staff-to-guest ratios mean that there’s always someone at your disposal, and you’ll reap the benefits instantly. Carefully selected professionals greet you warmly by name, take pride in anticipating your needs, and fulfill every whim. Personal butlers are also available (their services, in some instances, are already included in your fare) to attend to every detail of your stay, from special shipboard requests to shoreside arrangements. Luxury’s service is simply unrivaled, and the examples are legendary – uniform clad stewards that wade into the surf to serve caviar and champagne while you’re ashore, complimentary massages delivered on deck, and much more.
It's time for a Luxury Cruise; you deserve it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

E Docs vs Paper Docs...

In an effort to become more efficient and reduce the wait time at check-in, the Travel Industry has turned to the convenience of Electronic Documents. E-Docs are a fast and convenient way to access your cruise tickets and detailed pre-cruise information with the simple click of a mouse.
Advantages of E-Docs vs. Paper Docs
Convenient - This is a stress free documentation system and they are less likely to get misplaced or stolen. * No extra charge for re-prints due to option changes* No filling out forms manually* You are able to see room assignments online quicker* On board contact information such as e-mail and emergency phone numbers can be distributed to family members faster.
Secure - It creates a paperless way of viewing confidential information and no more shredding paper to avoid identity theft. At a time when people are more worried than ever about identity theft, we highly recommend using e-docs for your travel documents.
Fast - Because they are accessed electronically they can be available sooner. No more waiting for paper documents to be processed and mailed.
Environmentally Friendly - Less paper is used so therefore fewer trees will be sacrificed for our own convenience. Our company has even gone the extra mile and offer more information electronically to assist in going green.
No more racing home during your lunch hour to meet your delivery person to sign for your tickets. No more search frenzies the day before embarkation because you "misplaced" your documents. At your fingertips, you will have the ability to view and print your documents with ease. No hassles, no worries.

Carnival new fuel surcharge!

April 7, 2008
Fuel Supplement Increase
Effective for all new bookings on April 21, 2008, the fuel supplement will increase from $5 to $7 per guest, per day (based on double occupancy). In addition, a fuel supplement of $2 per guest per day will apply to third/fourth/fifth guests.
The fuel supplement was necessitated by significant rises in fuel prices which have dramatically increased Carnival’s operating costs. Unfortunately, we could not continue to shoulder this huge cost burden and it was necessary to implement a supplement to partially offset a portion of soaring fuel costs.
Implementing this fuel supplement was a difficult decision and we hope that our guests will understand that this is a necessary step in today’s challenging economic environment.
Voluntary Refund
Carnival announced a voluntary refund of the company’s fuel supplement on March 31, 2008 for applicable U.S. bookings that were made prior to November 7, 2007 under an agreement with the Florida Attorney General’s Office. The fuel supplement, announced November 7, 2007, was applied to all U.S. bookings for voyages departing on or after February 1, 2008.
The company will now refund the fuel supplement for those guests who were already booked at the time the supplement was announced. Refunds for affected guests will be implemented based on cruise departure date according to the following schedule:
- For cruises departing on or prior to April 4, 2008, guests will receive a refund in the same form they used to purchase their cruise;- For cruises departing from April 5, 2008 through June 23, 2008, guests will receive an on-board credit;- For cruises departing on or after June 24, 2008, guests’ bookings will be adjusted to eliminate the fuel supplement.

RCCL new fuel surcharge policy!

As Of May 1, 2008 As a result of ongoing record high fuel prices, bookings on or after May 1, 2008, will be subject to a revised fuel supplement. The revised fuel supplement will apply to bookings made throughout the world on Royal Caribbean International. United States and Canada:For first and second guests in a stateroom, the revised fuel supplement will be $8 (U.S.D./CAN.) per-person, per-day, and no more than $112 (U.S.D./CAN.) per-person, per-cruise. Additional guests in a stateroom will be charged $3 (U.S.D./CAN.) per-person, per day, and no more than $42 (U.S.D./CAN.) per-person, per-cruise.Europe, the Middle East and Africa:For the purpose for converting certain European currencies, the amount of the fuel supplement for first and second guests in a stateroom - per-guest, per-day - appears in the left-hand column of the table below. The maximum amount of the fuel supplement for first and second guests in a stateroom - per-guest, per-sailing - appears in the right-hand column.

Supplement for first and second guests in a stateroom - per-guest, per-day
Maximum for first and second guests in a stateroom - per-guest, per-sailing
GBP 4.00
GBP 56.00
EUR 5.00
EUR 70.00
USD 8.00
USD 112.00
CHF 8.00
CHF 112.00
DKK 38.00
DKK 532.00
SEK 47.00
SEK 658.00
NOK 40.00
NOK 560.00
Similarly, for the purpose for converting certain European currencies, the amount of the fuel supplement for additional guests in a stateroom - per-guest, per-day - appears in the left-hand column of the table below. The maximum amount of the fuel supplement for additional guests in a stateroom - per-guest, per-sailing - appears in the right-hand column.
Supplement for additional guests in a stateroom - per-guest, per-day
Maximum for additional guests in a stateroom - per-guest, per-sailing
GBP 1.50
GBP 21.00
EUR 2.00
EUR 28.00
USD 3.00
USD 42.00
CHF 3.00
CHF 42.00
DKK 14.00
DKK 196.00
SEK 18.00
SEK 252.00
NOK 15.00
NOK 210.00Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Asia-Pacific region: For first and second guests in a stateroom, the revised fuel supplement will be $8 (U.S.D.) per-person, per-day, and no more than $112 (U.S.D.) per-person, per-cruise. Additional guests in a stateroom will be charged $3 (U.S.D.) per-person, per day, and no more than $42 (U.S.D.) per-person, per-cruise. The supplement will assist our company in offsetting the widespread increases in fuel prices that have more than doubled in recent years. The supplement will be periodically reviewed, with the intent of being temporary, and may be adjusted as fuel prices fluctuate. We thank our guests for understanding our need to implement this fuel supplement. We have gone to great lengths to minimize the impact of rising fuel costs. Unfortunately, as fuel prices have reached record highs, we are forced to take this extraordinary step to offset our record costs and to remain competitive within our industry.

Renderings of the New Genesis!

Press release!

Check out the New Genesis class ship!!!!!

RCCL- 2009-2010 Caribbean cruise season!

Royal Caribbean Announces 2009-10 Caribbean Cruise Season, Offering Most Innovative Ships In The Industry Three Freedom-class Ships from Three Ports Offer More Choices for Caribbean Vacationers
MIAMI, April 22, 2008 - Consistently pleasant weather, beautiful beaches and rich cultures make the Caribbean a rejuvenating and enriching region for a tropical getaway or a family cruise vacation. For the 2009-10 cruise season, Royal Caribbean International will offer 31 distinct itineraries on 264 sailings, ranging from six to 14 nights. Vacationers can choose departures aboard nine of the world's largest and most innovative cruise ships from the ports of Miami, Port Everglades, and Port Canaveral, FL; Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ; Galveston, TX; San Juan, PR; and Colon, Panama. Booking for Royal Caribbean's 2009-10 Caribbean cruises open this week. "Royal Caribbean offers vacationers a wide range of Caribbean cruises departing from seven convenient homeports," said Alice Norsworthy, senior vice president, Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. "We continue our legacy of delivering exhilarating Caribbean experiences in one of the world's most spectacular destinations with some of the best ships in the industry geared for family and active vacations." Vacationers can choose year-round departures to the Caribbean from the ports of Miami, Port Canaveral, Cape Liberty, and San Juan. Freedom of the Seas debuts at Port Canaveral in May 2009 as the largest and most innovative cruise ship in the port's history. The Freedom-class cruise ship will sail alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, replacing Voyager-class Mariner of the Seas¸ which will depart for its new homeport of Los Angeles in January 2009. Unlike any other vacation experience, Royal Caribbean's Freedom-class of ships exclusively feature amenities that have revolutionized the industry, such as the FlowRider surf simulator, the H20 Zone water park, a boxing ring, cantilevered whirlpools, and the four-bedroom/four-bath Presidential Family Suite. With eight restaurants and more than 15 bars and lounges, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas offer guests more ways to enjoy a memorable Caribbean cruise vacation. From Miami, Liberty will sail alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries in the summer 2009 season, but changes to two alternating Western Caribbean itineraries in the winter. Liberty's traditional Western Caribbean itinerary will alternate with a new Western Caribbean itinerary in November, which includes ports of call at Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Adventure of the Seas will homeport year-round at San Juan, offering two new alternating seven-night Southern Caribbean itineraries with Sunday departures, while Serenade of the Seas will join Adventure in the winter and offer a Saturday departure. New ports of call at Grenada, Dominica and St. Croix for both ships, and additionally Tortola and St. Kitts for Serenade, create two back-to-back voyages with no repeat calls. The distinct alternating itineraries of either ship will give vacationers the opportunity to combine two sailings into an extended 14-night Southern Caribbean odyssey.
Additional winter season highlights include the following itineraries:
Independence of the Seas will sail six-night Western Caribbean and eight-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries from Port Everglades, giving vacationers a choice of six Caribbean itineraries aboard one of three Freedom-class ships.
Explorer of the Seas will continue its third consecutive year-round deployment at Cape Liberty sailing Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries, ranging from eight to 12 nights. A special 14-night holiday cruise departs December 20, 2009.
Voyager of the Seas will return to Galveston, TX in December 2009 to offer two alternating Western Caribbean itineraries, one new, featuring calls at Roatán, Honduras, and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.
Jewel of the Seas will sail 10- and 11-night Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises from Miami. On a very special holiday sailing, Jewel will make a maiden call on Christmas Eve at the new Jamaican cruise port of Falmouth.
Enchantment of the Seas will return to Colon, Panama to offer seven-night Southern Caribbean cruises to Colombia and the ABC Islands. Royal Caribbean International is the only cruise line to homeport in Colon.
Onboard every Royal Caribbean ship, guests enjoy complimentary 24-hour room service, award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions, top-rated Adventure Ocean kids programming with teen-only spaces fleetwide, and Royal Caribbean's Gold Service Standard of friendly and engaging service from staff and crew. On many Western Caribbean itineraries, guests also enjoy a call at Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private beach destination along the northwestern coast of Haiti. Labadee's features a wide variety of watersports and excursions, a craft market, Labadee Luc's Splash Bash pirate water park, and the Dragon's Breath Flight Line, the world's longest zip line over water at 2,600 ft.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Royal Caribbean Plans Eight Ships in Europe for 2009 (03/21/08)

Royal Caribbean International plans to deploy a record eight ships in Europe for the 2009 summer and fall seasons. Itineraries range from four to 14 nights aboard Independence of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas. All told, the line plans 70 itineraries to 87 ports of call in 32 countries. Itineraries will explore the Mediterranean Sea, Northern and Western Europe and a variety of transatlantic sailings. Bookings are open for the 2009 Europe cruises and cruise-tours for all ships except for Vision of the Seas, which will open in April. Cruise-tours allow passengers to combine a cruise with land journey, city tours and hotel stays ranging from three to five nights prior to embarkation. A tour director escorts each group to landmarks and attractions in Europe's popular cities, including Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Stresa, Verona, Venice, Florence and Rome. Air and ground transfers, hotel reservations, tours and some meals are included.
In 2009, Independence of the Seas returns to Southampton, U.K., for its second Europe season, offering 14-night Western Mediterranean, 10- and 11-night Western Europe and Canary Islands, and four-night British Isles itineraries. Navigator of the Seas will sail from homeports of Malaga, Spain, a new homeport for Royal Caribbean; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; and Barcelona. Voyager of the Seas is also homeporting in Barcelona through November 2009. In November and December 2009, Brilliance of the Seas will operate a new Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean itinerary roundtrip from Barcelona, featuring the Greeks Isles and calls at Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt. Vision of the Seas will operate Scandinavian itineraries from Copenhagen, Denmark, another new homeport for the cruise line; Oslo, Norway; and Stockholm, Sweden. Jewel of the Seas will operate 12-night Scandinavia and Baltic voyages, featuring an overnight in St. Petersburg. Jewel will also sail one 12-night itinerary that combines the British Isles and Norwegian Fjords, which includes a call at Geiranger, Norway, one of the highest rated ports by previous guests. Vision of the Seas will also offer 10- and 11-night Holy Land itineraries from the new homeports of Athens and Istanbul.

Celebrity Plans Biggest Europe Season Ever for 2009 (03/21/08)

Celebrity Cruises has scheduled its largest European deployment ever for 2009 with five ships, including two new vessels. The line will visit 76 ports in 29 countries, five of which are new to Celebrity. Celebrity's 2009 Europe season includes six homeports, overnight stays in eight ports, and five cruise-tour options. Celebrity also will offer nine transatlantic sailings in 2009. The cruises opened for sale Thursday. "Our guests have told us repeatedly that Europe is where they want to be, and they want to be there in style," said Celebrity President and CEO Dan Hanrahan.
Two new ships will debut in Europe in 2009, Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox. Joining them are Celebrity Century, which underwent a $55 million makeover in 2006, Celebrity Constellation, built in 2002, and Celebrity Summit, which launched in 2001. The six homeports are Amsterdam, Holland; Barcelona, Spain; Harwich and Southampton, England; and Rome and Venice, Italy. Celebrity's ships will explore Scandinavia and Russia, the Arctic Circle and North Cape, the Mediterranean, Israel and Egypt. Overnight port stays are scheduled for Alexandria, Egypt; Copenhagen, Denmark; Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey; Rome, Italy; Stockholm, Sweden; and Venice, Italy. Celebrity will make five maiden calls at Antwerp, Belgium, located on the River Scheldt, 50 miles from the sea; Ashdod, Israel's largest port; Haifa, Israel's third-largest city; La Spezia, Italy, on the Ligurian Sea; and Portofino, Italy.
Celebrity Century will offer seven-night Western Mediterranean sailings roundtrip out of Barcelona from Sept. 19 - Nov. 21, 2009. Celebrity's European itineraries have traditionally lasted 10 nights or longer, and this shorter offering is designed to appeal to those with less vacation time. From Aug. 18 through Oct. 23, 2009, Celebrity Equinox will sail 13- and 14-night "Ancient Empires" itineraries out of Rome, featuring calls on Ashdod, Haifa, an overnight in Alexandria, and ports throughout Greece, Turkey, and Italy. Beginning May 4, Celebrity Solstice will sail 10- and 11-night Eastern Mediterranean roundtrips from Rome, calling on ports throughout Greece, Turkey, and Italy. The 11-night sailings include overnight stays in Istanbul.
Celebrity has increased the number of "Scandinavia and Russia" cruises roundtrip from Amsterdam, with nine of these itineraries scheduled between May and August 2009. These voyages feature an overnight stay in St. Petersburg and calls in Germany, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Denmark. The Century's 12-night "Arctic Circle and North Cape" itinerary, offered June 26 and July 8 from Amsterdam, features calls on seven Norwegian ports, including Geiranger, which the line hasn't visited since 2006.
Celebrity Constellation's 14-night transatlantic sailing from Harwich on Sept. 5, 2009, will feature a stop in Reykjavik, Iceland; the voyage, which ends in Cape Liberty (Bayonne), N.J., also features stops in France, Ireland, Scotland, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick. Beginning May 10, Celebrity Summit will alternate 12- or 14-night "Classical Mediterranean" and "Mediterranean Legacies" sailings between Venice and Barcelona, calling on ports in France, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Turkey, collectively.
Mediterranean cruise-tours include a new five-night "Venice, Florence and Rome" package featuring two nights in Venice, one night in Florence and two nights in Rome. The three-night "Italian Lakes, Verona, and Venice" cruise-tour includes two nights in Lago Maggiore's Stresa, one night in Verona, touring in Venice and a lake tour to the Borromean islands and the Shakespearean city of Verona. A four-night "Madrid and Barcelona" cruise-tour offers two nights in Madrid, two nights in Barcelona, city tours in both locations, and a visit to the ancient city of Toledo. Northern Europe cruise-tours include a four-night "Paris and London" package, and a three-night "Brussels and Amsterdam" package.

RCCL to Homeport Freedom-Class Ships in Port Canaveral (03/20/08)

Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and the Canaveral Port Authority are expected to finalize an agreement in the next few months to homeport the 160,000-ton Freedom of the Seas at Port Canaveral. Royal Caribbean submitted a letter of intent to deploy the vessel to Canaveral in May 2009. "The Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise vessel homeported here," said Port Canaveral CEO Stan Payne. "And the agreement represents the longest commitment of Royal Caribbean to Port Canaveral." Adam Goldstein, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said, "Based on the popularity of Mariner of the Seas at Port Canaveral, we look forward to and anticipate similar success for Freedom of the Seas." The 3,634-passenger Freedom of the Seas was launched in 2006 as the world's largest cruise ship.

Disney to Homeport Two New Ships in Port Canaveral (03/20/08)

Disney Cruise Line has finalized an agreement with Port Canaveral to extend the company's current contract 15 years through 2023. In addition, the company said it would homeport its two new ships in Port Canaveral when launched in 2011 and 2012. The agreement was ratified Wednesday by Port Authority Commissioners. As part of the new agreement, the Canaveral Port Authority will expand and modify the Disney port facility including an extension of the dock and enlargements and enhancements to the terminal building to allow for additional luggage and passenger capacity. A multi-level parking structure, scheduled to be completed by 2011, will also be built for Disney. "We are very excited to call Port Canaveral our home and look forward to bringing our new ships here," said Tom McAlpin, President of Disney Cruise Line. "The new enhancements being made to our terminal will provide guests an even more seamless transition from land to sea."
Once completed, the enhancements will provide for improved passenger flow and additional guest conveniences. Disney will work with Port Canaveral to create a state-of-the-art facility, which will contain several Disney touches. The terminal and dock enlargements are necessary to accommodate the new and larger Disney ships, which will be significantly larger than the existing Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. Port Canaveral continues to be one of the world's busiest cruise ports. More than 3.5 million Disney Cruise Line guests have sailed from Port Canaveral since the line's beginning in 1998. Future itinerary information for Disney ships beyond 2009 will be released at a later date.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oceania Releases Design Details of New Ships (02/28/08)

Oceania Cruises unveiled the first design details of its new Oceania-class ships, which are scheduled for delivery in fall 2010 and summer 2011. The ships, to be constructed in Fincantieri's Sestre Ponente shipyard in Genoa, Italy, have been designed by Y&S Architecture and Interior Design of Oslo, Norway. Y&S will design the public spaces, suites and staterooms. Gunnar Aaserud, a partner and executive architect at Y&S who has done extensive work on the line's Regatta-class ships, is leading the design team for the Oceania class. Signature public spaces will include Martinis, Horizons, The Patio, and a grand staircase that sweeps up both sides of the lobby. The color palette will feature earthen and jewel tones, while furnishings and accent pieces will create an atmosphere designed to resemble that of a fine home or manor.
"One of the hallmarks of the Oceania Cruises experience is the refined yet relaxed atmosphere onboard and that is something that will continue with our new ships," said Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises. "Guests will experience the same intimate ambience as our current ships, and the staff-to-guest ratio will be even greater, resulting in an even higher level of personalized service onboard."
The new ships will feature dark woods, Italian marble, granite, wool carpets and leather. They will accommodate 1,252 guests in 626 staterooms and suites, and will be served by more than 780 staff members. Ninety-six percent of all accommodations will feature private teak verandas. Guests will dine in their choice of six open-seating restaurants. Deck 15 will feature Horizons, an observation lounge and nightclub, and a sports deck. On Deck 14, there will be a spa and fitness center, The Patio, a library, Polo Grill steakhouse and Toscana, a gourmet Italian restaurant.
Plans for Deck 12 are to feature guest suites, a Culinary Arts Center, an enrichment center, Waves Bar, swimming pool and Jacuzzis, Waves Grill & Milkshake Bar, private dining rooms, wine cellar and the Terrace Café buffet restaurant. Decks 7 through 11 will feature guest staterooms and suites. Overall, there will be four Owner's Suites, six Vista Suites, 10 Oceania Suites, 120 Penthouse Suites, 440 veranda staterooms, 20 ocean-view staterooms and 26 inside staterooms. Deck 6 will be home to the Upper Hall, Martinis, a casino, a card room, the Grand Bar and Grand Dining Room with continental cuisine. The main lounge, reception hall and lounge will be located on Deck 5, along with a country French restaurant and an Asian fusion restaurant. The new ships will boast a cruising speed of 20 knots, which is 20 percent faster than the Regatta class. In addition to their greater speed, the new ships will have a greater range that enables them to undertake the itineraries to destinations worldwide.

Carnival's New Splendor Undergoes Final Outfitting (03/05/08)

Carnival Cruise Lines' new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor is undergoing final outfitting at Fincantieri's Sestri yard in Genoa, Italy. The 3,006-passenger vessel -- the largest "Fun Ship" ever constructed -- is slated to debut July 2 with an eight-day voyage from Genoa before launching a series of 12-day Northern Europe cruises from London (Dover) -- Carnival's first within this region -- beginning July 13. Representing a new class for the line, Carnival Splendor will offer a 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa that will include a thalassotherapy pool and an elaborate thermal suite. Adjacent to the spa will be 68 spa staterooms and suites -- a first for the line. Carnival Splendor will also offer a 5,500-square-foot children's play area -- the largest in the "Fun Ship" fleet -- along with a water spray park. Following its European season, Carnival Splendor will reposition to Fort Lauderdale to operate a winter season of seven-day Caribbean sailings. The ship will embark on three South America voyages then operate year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages from Long Beach, continuing the line's expansion of its West Coast operations.

RCCL Tentatively Orders Fourth Freedom-Class Ship (03/04/08)

Aker Yards announced it has reached an understanding with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to build a fourth ship in the Freedom class -- currently the world's largest cruise ship at 158,000 tons and 3,600 passengers. The vessel would be delivered in the second half of 2011. The placement of the order is still subject to a number of conditions, including board approval and finalization of terms and conditions. Aker Yards has previously delivered two of these record-breaking cruise ships, and will deliver the third ship in April from its yard in Turku.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Celebrity Unveils New Restaurants for Celebrity Solstice

Celebrity Cruises said its new Celebrity Solstice, set to sail on its first revenue cruise on Dec. 14, 2008, will feature 10 restaurants. The line unveiled its dining plans at an event at New York's Per Se restaurant. "The dining experience has always been central to our guests' cruise experience, and on Celebrity Solstice we'll present the extraordinary service the brand is know for in venues designed to perfectly complement the spectacular cuisine," said Dan Hanrahan, Celebrity's President and CEO. "The larger size of Celebrity Solstice allows us to offer more options for our guests, with menus created by some of the best talent in the business." Celebrity Solstice will carry approximately 2,850 guests.

Celebrity said it has partnered with some of the best restaurant designers in the business to create the new restaurants onboard Celebrity Solstice, among them Adam Tihany, who has created such restaurants as Per Se, Jean Georges, Le Cirque, The Sea Grill and Osteria del Circo in New York; Aureole, Bouchon and Seablue in Las Vegas; and Monte's and the Mandarin Bar in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London. Tihany, in his first restaurant aboard a cruise ship, has designed the two-level Grand Epernay dining room; the classic steakhouse Tuscan Grille, and the Oceanview Cafe on the ship's lido deck. Grand Epernay features a two-story wine tower, similar to what Tihany created in Aureole in Vegas.

The new menus are being created by Jacques Van Staden, Celebrity's vice president of food and beverage, in conjunction with Celebrity's culinary consultant Blau & Associates. Van Staden was previously one of the top chefs and restaurateurs in Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas. Blau is credited with shaping the dining experience at Bellagio and Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, and is also developing the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's Simon Kitchen and Bar.

Dining venues aboard Celebrity Solstice will include Grand Epernay, the main dining room open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, featuring French cuisine and the two-story wine tower; Tuscan Grille, a combination of Mediterranean and California Napa cuisine; Silk Harvest, a casual specialty restaurant featuring Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Indian selections; Blu, which offers "clean cuisine" exclusively for guests booked on the new AquaClass category of accommodations, with healthy food options; Murano, a twist on the restaurant of the same name on Celebrity Century, blending classic and modern Continental cuisine in an elegant setting; Bistro on Five, a casual dining area where guests can eat or take out sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts and other entrees; Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria, an upscale coffee house serving European cafe fare as well as gelato, signature coffees, teas, fresh-baked pastries and more; AquaSpa Cafe, a dining option for guests seeking lighter fare; Mast Grill & Bar, featuring comfort food in a poolside venue; Oceanview Cafe & Grill, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with food stations reflecting where the ship is sailing.

Seabourn's First World Cruise Opens for Sale

Seabourn Cruise Line has opened reservations for the 2010 inaugural World Cruise of the new Seabourn Odyssey. The 108-day voyage departs from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 5, 2010. A 92-day, west coast alternative departs Los Angeles on Jan. 21. The voyage ends in Piraeus (Athens), Greece, on April 24, 2010, by which time guests will have visited 42 ports in 26 countries on five continents. It also represents the first time that any of The Yachts of Seabourn have undertaken a world cruise. "A world cruise is an exciting prospect for travelers at any time," said Seabourn President and CEO Pamela Conover. "And for any ship, there is only ever one first time. So when Seabourn Odyssey makes her maiden call at each port, it will be a special occasion that will never be repeated."

The full world cruise qualifies for Seabourn's Grand Voyage Savings of 50 percent, creating a range of per-person, double occupancy fares from $53,745 for a 295-square-foot Category A accommodations to $254,745 for a Grand Suite measuring 1,135 square feet with three private verandas adding another 301 square feet of outdoor space.

Seabourn has packed the voyage with value-added benefits and features for full World Cruise passengers. For those embarking in Fort Lauderdale, the voyage begins with a complimentary private-car transfer from their homes to any gateway airport within 100 miles. Upon arrival in Fort Lauderdale, full cruisers can attend a pre-cruise celebration and receive luxury accommodations the night before embarkation. Private car transfers at both ends of the voyage are included for all full-world cruise guests. Other complimentary ammenities include first-class roundtrip airfare, luggage shipping by Seabourn's Personal Valet and a $1,000-per-person shipboard credit. The voyage includes five shoreside events for full-cruise passengers in addition to six Exclusively Seabourn experiences to which all guests are invited. Commemorative gifts, gala balls and a full program of added enrichment programs and celebrity entertainment are also planned.

Three shorter "World Voyages" are also available -- a 69-day voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Hong Kong, a 53-day segment from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, and a 39-day cruise from Hong Kong to Piraeus. The Seabourn Odyssey will carry a maximum of 450 guests. Ninety percent of the 225 ocean-view suites have private verandas, and all feature full granite baths with separate tub and shower, Molton Brown products, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked to the guests' request, and a flat-screen entertainment system with movies, television and music. The Spa at Seabourn will feature a two-deck-high waterfall entry, gym with a Kinesis Wall, indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, a thalassotherapy pool and salon facilities. The ship will boast two outdoor swimming pools and six outdoor whirlpool spas.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Royal Caribbean International has released the following press release. Please review the information below to stay up to date with the latest Royal Caribbean news and updates.
Royal Caribbean International® New APIS Regulations Announcement Due to new government regulations requiring cruise lines to submit final departure manifests at least 60 minutes prior to sailing, guests are requested to complete Online Check-in at the appropriate website NO later than 3 days prior to their cruise. Please note: All guests must be checked-in and onboard the ship no later than 90 minutes prior to the published sailing time or they will not be permitted to sail.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

NCL new check in policy!

This new policy comes as a result of a new rule mandated by the US Customs and Border Protection. Beginning February 19, 2008, they are requiring all cruise lines to send an electronic transmission of their passenger and crew manifests no later than 60 minutes prior to departure. NCL is implementing the policy a little early, but all cruise lines will need to comply by February I wouldn't be surprised if all of the other cruise lines come out with revised policies shortly.

If we are scheduled to sail at 5:00 pm, then all guests who are sailing need to be checked in by 4:00 pm so we can send the manifest. At that point check-in would close. In order for us to get everyone checked in by the 60-minute mark, we are asking guests to arrive two hours before departure so that they have time to deal with luggage, go through security and check-in. It's like the airlines telling you to arrive two hours before a flight so you have enough time to go through the entire process before boarding the plane. If everyone shows up at an hour and 10 minutes before hand, it will be impossible to get everyone processed in 10 minutes and meet the 60-minute deadline.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Last minute deals?

Have you ever heard about someone who booked a last minute cruise deal and saved lots of money? Believe me there are some fantastic last minute deals out there but for those of us who do not live close to a major cruise port there is a disadvantage to the last minute cruise deal. Last minute airfare! Booking airfare on a minutes notice can cost big money and often will quickly make the savings of a last minute cruise deal disappear. So what can those of us do who do not live within driving distance to a major cruise port? Check airfare prices first and do the math. Consider doing a pre and/or post stay that will allow you to fly during a time when airfare may cost less. But if you are like me and don't live anywhere close then book your cruise early. Booking early allows you time to find a good deal on airfare while still getting a fantastic price on your cruise. Often the best prices on airfare are around 6 to 7 months prior to the departure date. Booking early means you get more cabins to choose from, a dinning time that you want and time to pay off your cruise before you go. Nothing like taking a vacation knowing that the only thing you have left to pay for is the fun stuff and even then you can pay much of that upfront if you want to. We get last minute email offers daily so if your looking for a last minute cruise deal and would like us to help please contact one of our cruise specialist and tell them what interest you. Catch The Wave, book a cruise today!

What is onboard credit???

So you are searching through the internet or have contact several agencies for a great cruise deal and you’ve stumbled upon a cruise agency’s making what appears to be an unusual offer. These cruise agencies are offering shipboard or onboard credit for you cruise package. I can’t tell you how many friends, family and clients have asked me what is shipboard or onboard credit. First let me state that there is no difference between these two, they are exactly the same thing. Now that I have cleared that up, for the rest of my article I will be commonly be referring to it as shipboard credit.
So let me start with the check in process to help you understand what shipboard credit can do for you. When you check in for your cruise the cruise line representative will ask you for a major credit card so the cruise line can set up a cabin charge account. Each passenger in your party receives an access key for your cabin during check in and these keys are also to be used to charge items to your cabins charge account and is also your identification during you cruise for debarkation and embarkation during your cruise. Does everyone in your cabin get charging privilege? That’s up to you! During the check in process you will decide who will have charging privileges. Sorry kids, it’s all up to the adults. If you don’t like the idea of using a major credit card with potentially unlimited charging power, don’t worry you can usually set up your account using cash or you may be able to set charging limits. Be sure to ask the cruise line representative to explain all of the options available to you during check in but you can also request changes before and during your cruise at the Pursers Desk. Once your cabin charge account has been set up and you have your cabin key this is, for the most part, the only card you will need while on the ship so I recommend you put all other personal item’s such as credit cards, other personal identification including passport, money and traveler checks in the room safe until a need arises for them, such as excursions or when visiting the casino. I personally use cash or traveler checks for my visits to the casino. It sets a limit to my gambling that I can live with and I avoid any cash advance fees or ATM fees that may be charged by the cruise line and/or my credit card that I used to setup the cabin charge account. When purchasing items on the ship from the gift shops, bar and night lounges, excursion deck and specialty restaurants, as well as anything that may not be covered in the price of your cruise, you will present your cabin key and your cabin charge account will be billed accordingly. At the end of the cruise you can see an itemized list of all your charges. If there is any dispute you must take care of it before you depart the ship at the pursers desk, departing the ship constitutes that you have agreed to the charges as listed by the cruise line and all charges will be charged to your credit card.
So now that I have covered a little bit about the check in process and what some of the things you will need your cabin key for you are probably still wondering what is shipboard credit? Shipboard credit is like having a gift card on your cruise. The cruise line representative may confirm your shipboard credit during your boarding process or you may receive a card in your cabin stating you have shipboard credit and the amount. The shipboard credit is applied to your cabins charge account as a credit therefore reducing you bill at the end of your cruise by that amount. Shipboard credit is offered for a variety of reasons with your cruise package, often it is being offered as part of a promotion either by the travel agency or the cruise line. Shipboard credit can be used to cover a wide variety of things including paying for you gratuities that if not pre paid will be automatically billed to your cabins charge account, for any excursions booked through the ships excursion desk, your bar tab, pop card for unlimited soft drinks, purchases at the gift shops, and any other purchases made while on the ship. Ask your cruise specialist that you booked your cruise through for other creative ways your shipboard credit will work for you during your cruise experience.
Even if shipboard credit is not being offered with your cruise package you can ask your travel agent to purchase it on your behalf before your cruise sails, that is if pre paying for some of your expected expenses makes your cruise vacation a more enjoyable experience.
Catch the wave and book your next cruise vacation today!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

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e-InvoicingComing to an Inbox Near You
In order to better serve our cruise clients, Cruises Inc. has converted to e-mail based invoicing. In addition to being more timely and responsive to our client's needs, we are pleased to be helping the environment by eliminating tens of thousands of pieces of paper and envelopes.We look forward to communicating more effectively with our clients and being more environmentally responsible.

Royal Caribbean to Base Genesis Ships at Port Everglades

Royal Caribbean International said it would homeport two new 220,000-ton "Project Genesis" ships in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Broward County said the port is poised to become the world's top cruise port within five years. The agreement between Royal Caribbean and Broward County is expected to be finalized by the cruise line company's board of directors and the Broward County Commission on or before Dec. 19.
The 5,400-passenger Genesis ships will be the largest cruise ships ever constructed. The first of the ships is scheduled to begin sailing year-round from Port Everglades in fall 2009, with the second sister ship to begin sailing one year later. Each Genesis ship, being constructed at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, is projected to generate approximately 584,000 in passenger traffic annually at Port Everglades. "We look forward to growing our outstanding relationship with Port Everglades," said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
As part of the agreement, Royal Caribbean will reimburse up to $37.4 million for the expansion and related infrastructure needs of Terminal 18, which is already one of the largest cruise passenger terminals worldwide. Along with sister brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, Royal Caribbean will generate approximately 17 million in passenger volume (embarking and disembarking) at Port Everglades during the first 10-year term of the contract.
"Now we can expect an average of 3.6 times more Royal Caribbean passengers, which is phenomenal," said Port Everglades Director Phillip Allen. An economic impact study conducted by Martin and Associates as part of the Port Everglades Master/Vision Plan, projects that homeporting the Genesis ships at Port Everglades will create more than 3,844 jobs, generate $172 million in personal income and $15.9 million state and local taxes. In addition, the analysis anticipates that more than 858 new construction jobs will be created during the Terminal 18 expansion.


NCL Christens New Norwegian Gem in New York (12/19/07)
Norwegian Cruise Line christened its new Norwegian Gem in a ceremony in New York yesterday. The 93,530-ton, 2,394-passenger Freestyle Cruising ship entered service on Oct. 1 in Europe and made its U.S. debut in Boston on Dec. 13. NCL is celebrating the arrival of Norwegian Gem with inaugural events in Europe, Boston and New York. The ship was christened yesterday by 31-year-old Cindy Cardella, who has taken 31 NCL cruises. Cardella was selected as the Norwegian Gem's "It" girl from a group of five finalists all of whom had submitted videos stating why they should be chosen to christen the ship.
Norwegian Gem will be homeported in New York during the winter, offering cruises to the Caribbean. In summer, it will offer cruises of the Mediterranean out of Barcelona. The ship is the final vessel in NCL's Jewel-class of ships. It features a four-lane bowling alley in the Bliss Ultra Lounge and Night Club, a rock climbing wall and a variety of high-end accommodations, including Garden Villas, Courtyard Villas and two top-of-the-ship Deluxe Owner's Suites. The ship also will feature Wii by Nintendo tournaments on a two-story LED screen.
Norwegian Gem features 10 restaurants, including Cagney's Steakhouse, Blue Lagoon, Le Bistro, Orchid Garden, Tequila, La Cucina, the Garden Café, and the Great Outdoors, plus two main dining rooms, Grand Pacific and Magenta. Guests can enjoy cocktails at Bar Central, which features a martini bar, champagne and wine bar, beer and whiskey bar, and cigar bar. The Yin & Yang Spa and Beauty Salon features 18 treatment rooms, three of which are designed for couples. It also includes a thalassotherapy pool. Body Waves Fitness Center features state-of-the-art cardio workout equipment, plus an aerobics and yoga area, steam and sauna rooms.

Happy New Year!

New Year's Resolutions
Now that 2008 is here, your renewed quest for the perfectly toned body with fitness resolutions and diets can still be continued while cruising. You can effortlessly maintain your fitness routine at sea. When it comes to a work-out, the cruise ships of today offer beautiful state-of-the-art fitness facilities with everything from cardio equipment, weight machines, boxing rings and exercise balls to top aerobics classes. After your workout, soothe your aching muscles and revitalize your mind, body and well being in the world-class spa. So, indulge yourself on a cruise vacation without one bit of guilt. Take advantage of the exclusive offers in our January Super Sale and plan your "guiltless" cruise experience today.