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 canap├ęs 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.