Monday, December 31, 2012

More on the Atlantic Star.

Shown as Sitmar Line's Fairsky - the Atlantic Star has been sold to STX Europe
Shown as Sitmar Line's Fairsky - the Atlantic Star has been sold to STX Europe
As per reported yesterday - Royal Caribbean Ordered a third Oasis class ship with an option for a fourth.

As part of the financing deal, STX Europe took ownership of the Atlantic Star. The Atlantic Star is a unique ship. She is not old but is one of the last cruise ships built with fuel hungry, steam propulsion systems. Originally built for Sitmar Line as the Fairsky, she has been passed to various owners and has spent the last few years in lay-up due to her high fuel consumption.

Due to a lack of work at the STX Europe Shipyard, cruise enthusiasts are hopeful that the Atlantic Star will be re-engined and returned to profitable cruising. The shipyard will benefit from the work to provide the new engines, since it will occupy shipyard workers until the actual construction of Oasis 3 begins in September. In addition, STX Europe should be able to sell or charter out the vessel for additional cruising.

Below is a brief history on the Atlantic Star.
  • FairSky: Sitmar Line: 1984-1988
  • Sky Princess: Princess Cruises: 1988-2000
  • Pacific Sky: P&O Australia;  2000-2006
  • Sky Wonder: Pullmantur: 2006-2009
  • Atlantic Star: Pullmantur: 2009-2012
  • Atlantic Star: STX Europe: 2012


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Royal Caribbean Orders 3rd Oasis Ship From STX France

Royal Caribbean Oasis Class Ship Ordered from STX France
Royal Caribbean Oasis Class Ship Ordered from STX France

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that it has executed a contract with STX France to construct a third Oasis-class vessel for delivery in mid-2016.

The first two ships in the class, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are considered the largest and most revolutionary cruise ships in the world. These architectural marvels at sea,  span 16 decks, encompass 225,282 gross registered tons, carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms.  Currently the ships sail weekly from their home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In addition to the ship ordered for 2016, there is an option for a second ship with a potential delivery in mid-2018.

In an unusual turn of events the deal included the the transfer of Pullmantur’s Atlantic Star to STX. The Atlantic Star has proven expensive to operate with her steam engines and RCCL has been trying to find a buyer for the ship. The ship is currently laid up. It is expected that STX (who originally built the ship) will have her re-engined and then sell her. This is a win/win for both the shipyard and Royal Caribbean since it helps with the financing.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals 2014 Summer Cruise Schedule

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced and opened for sale its 2014 summer and year-round cruises. The deployment includes the line’s newest and most innovative ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway in their respective homeports of New York and Miami, along with three ships in Alaska, and four in Europe for the summer.  Norwegian will also continue to offer its unique Hawaii cruises year-round on Pride of America from Honolulu and short Bahamas itineraries year-round on Norwegian Sky.
“With our new ships joining the fleet combined with our existing ships sailing to a variety of destinations, we have a robust offering of exciting cruises for our guests to choose from in 2014,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “We continue to offer our guests the freedom and flexibility to cruise to summer destinations such as Europe, Alaska and Bermuda on some of the youngest ships in the industry with the most innovative programming, entertainment and dining at sea.”
Norwegian will continue its tradition of sailing from both Boston and New York City to the pink sand beaches of Bermuda between May and October, 2014.
            Norwegian Breakaway will enter her second season in Bermuda, sailing from New York City on seven-day cruises every Sunday from May 4, 2014 through September 28, 2014.
            From Boston, guests can set sail on a seven-day cruise on board Norwegian Dawn, every Friday, from May 9, 2014 through October 31, 2014.
Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, will sail year-round from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on seven-day cruises every Saturday beginning February 1, 2014. Ports of call include: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.
            Three ships will sail Alaska in the summer of 2014: Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel from Seattle, and Norwegian Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia and Whittier, Alaska.
            Norwegian Jewel, departing Saturdays, will sail a series of 18 seven-day Sawyer Glacier cruises from Seattle between May 17, 2014 and September 13, 2014. Departing Sundays, Norwegian Pearl will set sail a series of 19 seven-day Glacier Bay itineraries from May 18, 2014 through September 21, 2014. 
            Norwegian Sun will sail from Vancouver, British Columbia to Whittier, Alaska and from Whittier to Vancouver on Mondays from May 19, 2014 through September 22, 2014. Sailing north from Vancouver, guests will enjoy a cruise through the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and visits to Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, Alaska. On Norwegian Sun’s Southbound itineraries from Whittier, Alaska guests will cruise the Inside Passage, Sawyer Glacier and Hubbard Glacier and enjoy stops in Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Icy Strait Point, Alaska.
            Norwegian Epic will return to Europe for her fourth season, sailing a series of 24 seven-day Western Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona, Spain and from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, between May 11, 2014 and October 19, 2014. The itinerary features five exciting ports of call in three different countries: Italy, Spain and France and includes a stop in the very chic port of Cannes, France.
            Norwegian Star will sail a series of nine-day Baltic Capitals cruises from Copenhagen, Denmark between May 19, 2014 and September 13, 2014. This exciting itinerary includes an
overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as a scenic sail through the Stockholm Archipelago following the ship’s afternoon departure from Stockholm, Sweden.
On September 22, 2014, Norwegian Star will embark the popular, 14-day Norway, Iceland and Faroe Islands itinerary from Copenhagen, Denmark visiting Bergen and Alesund, Norway; Lerwick, Shetland Islands; Thorshavn, Faroe Islands; Reykjavik, Iceland; Glasgow, Scotland; and Dublin, Ireland.
Norwegian Jade will sail alternating seven-day cruises to the Greek Isles and Adriatic, Greece and Turkey from Venice, Italy between May 10, 2014 and October 18, 2014. Guests may also choose to combine these two exciting itineraries to enjoy the ultimate 14-day adventure.
For an incredible combination of eastern and western Mediterranean itineraries, guests can embark on Norwegian Jade’s ultimate Mediterranean voyage. This one-time-only itinerary sets sail from Venice, Italy on July 12, 2014 and visits some of Europe’s most sought-after ports of call including Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Greece; Santorini, Greece; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; Cannes, France; Valletta, Malta; and Messina, Sicily.
Norwegian Spirit will offer spectacular 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyages from April 24, 2014 through November 2, 2014. Guests can choose to depart from either Barcelona or Venice on this incredible itinerary that visits five different countries – Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Turkey.
Bahamas and Florida
Norwegian Gem will sail from New York City on a series of 19 seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises between May 3, 2014 and September 6, 2014. This popular family-friendly itinerary includes a stop in Port Canaveral (Orlando and the beaches), Florida and also features exclusive Nickelodeon programming on board.
For a shorter cruise option, Norwegian Sky will continue sailing three and four-day cruises to the Bahamas year-round from Miami departing Fridays and Mondays.  Ports of call include: Nassau, Grand Bahama Island and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island.
Pride of America will continue to sail her seven-day Hawaii itinerary departing from Honolulu every Saturday through April 2016. Ports of call include an overnight in Kahului, Maui; Hilo, Hawai`i; Kona, Hawai`i; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kaua`i; and an afternoon cruise past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast.
To book these new sailings in conjunction with the “The Upgrade WAVE” sales event, contact a travel professional, call 866-234-7350 or visit 
About Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 46-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which revolutionized the industry by giving guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian invites guests to “Cruise Like a Norwegian” on one of 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea.
Norwegian’s largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic, debuted in June 2010 and has been named “Best Overall Cruise Ship” by the readers of Travel Weekly and “Best Ship for Sea Days” by Cruise Critic. Norwegian Cruise Line is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, appearing for the first time at sea on Norwegian Epic, as well as the official cruise line of Legends in Concert, The Second City®, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, and Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids. Cirque Dreams™ & Dinner is also featured on board Norwegian Epic as the first show of its kind at sea under a big top.
The Company has two 4,000-passenger vessels, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, under construction for delivery in April 2013 and January 2014, along with one larger “Breakaway Plus” vessel for delivery in fall 2015.  Known as New York’s ship, Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest vessel to homeport year-round in the city, sailing to Bermuda for the summer beginning May 12, 2013.  Norwegian Breakaway’s features include hull art by legendary artist Peter Max, seafood restaurant Ocean Blue by famed New York chef Geoffrey Zakarian, and fitness classes and a retrospective display from the ship’s iconic godmothers, the Rockettes®.  The entertainment lineup includes three Broadway shows: Rock of Ages, Burn the Floor and Cirque Dreams™ & Dinner: Jungle Fantasy.  Norwegian Getaway, the largest ship to homeport year-round in Miami, will sail Eastern Caribbean voyages beginning in February 2014.  Sailings for both vessels are now on sale.  

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Increase in 2013 Hawaii Fares.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that based on strong demand for its Hawai`i cruise, it will raise fares an average of 10 percent on Pride of America for new bookings beginning January 1, 2013.  The only large US-flagged cruise ship, Pride of America sails year-round from Honolulu on a spectacular seven-day inter-island Hawai`i cruise, featuring close to 100 hours in port and overnights in both Maui and Kaua`i.  Ports of call include Kahului, Maui; Hilo, Hawai`i; Kona, Hawai`i; Nãwiliwili, Kaua`i; and an afternoon cruise past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast. This cruise was recently voted the “Best Hawai`i” itinerary by Porthole Cruise Magazine in their 13th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
“Because she is US-flagged and crewed, Pride of America is in the unique position of being the only cruise ship that can sail to the four islands of Hawai`i from Honolulu without visiting a foreign port,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer.  “As a result of this unique offering, there is strong, ongoing demand for the ship, propelled by record-breaking guest satisfaction scores.  This is a spectacular one-of-a-kind itinerary and the cruise delivers an incredible value for the money compared to the high cost of land-based vacations in Hawai`i.”

As her name implies, the 2,124-passenger Pride of America, celebrates a ‘Best of America’ theme inspired by favorite places in the United States.  From the Capitol Atrium to the Alaska-influenced Gold Rush Pub to a New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Cabaret Lounge and Hawai`i-themed Café and Waikiki Bars, guests experience the flavor of the U.S. while visiting the country’s beautiful 50th state. The ship features 14 restaurants, nine bars and lounges, dynamic public rooms such as the Hollywood Theater, expansive children’s area featuring Norwegian’s new Splash Academy children’s programs and the state-of-the-art Santa Fe Spa & Fitness Center. The heart of the ship, the Capitol Atrium, is inspired by the Capitol Building and White House and features a decorative stone floor and a stunning backlit glass dome.

The company also recently announced that Pride of America will receive major enhancements beginning in March 2013, including the addition of 24 ultra-luxurious suites, four Studio staterooms and four inside staterooms; Moderno Churrascaria, the line’s signature Brazilian-style steakhouse; ship wide wireless internet connectivity; new carpeting throughout; flat screen televisions in all staterooms; updated décor; upgrades to the fitness center; new directional signage; renovations to the gift shop, photo gallery and art gallery; and much more. 

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Carnival Cruise Unveils More Details as the Destiny Becomes a Sunshine

Carnival Cruise's Carnival Destiny to Re-emerge as Carnival Sunshine After Major Refit
Carnival Cruise's Carnival Destiny to Re-emerge as Carnival Sunshine After Major Refit
Carnival Cruise Lines today unveiled additional details of the $155 million makeover that will transform Carnival Destiny into Carnival Sunshine during a 49-day dry dock in Italy. The ship will re-enter service in April 2013 with all of the dining, bar and entertainment elements of the line’s groundbreaking Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program, along with several exciting new features.   
            Among the new highlights are a new racing-themed water park featuring Carnival’s longest water slide, the tropical-themed Havana Bar, a full-service Asian restaurant, and more.  
            Carnival fans who want to get a sneak peek at these and a variety of other fantastic features of the ship can visit, which showcases a number of interior and exterior renderings and details the ship’s inaugural European and Caribbean itineraries. 
            Carnival is also hosting the “Bring Home Some Sunshine and Win” contest on its Facebook page ( that celebrates the company’s most comprehensive ship transformation project by awarding one lucky fan with a free Carnival Sunshine cruise for submitting “before and after photos” of a space that was transformed incorporating “sunshine.” 
            Here’s a look at the unique features only available on Carnival Sunshine:
·         Havana Bar, which by day serves as a casual gathering spot for relaxing with friends and enjoying Cuban coffee and Cuban finger foods such as pastelitos and croquetas, while at night transforms into a Cuban-inspired courtyard with a cool Latin vibe where guests can listen to live music, enjoy classic Cuban cocktails, and dance the night away  Located aft within Lido Marketplace, Havana Bar’s interiors pay homage to Cuba’s gloried past with palm trees, elegant archways, and vibrant tile work, along with floor to ceiling windows offering panoramic ocean vistas.
·         WaterWorks, an all-new water park where the young – and the young at heart – can zip down five different slides and have a splash-tastic time with 40 different interactive water features, including a 300-gallon drenching bucket that will serve as the signature element of the SplashZone kids’ water play area. Here, guests can race to the finish on Carnival’s newest ride, Speedway Splash, with dual side-by-side 235-foot-long slides with racers’ times displayed on a scoreboard and special lighting effects that add to the adventure. When they’re not challenging each other to a race, fun-lovers can check out the enclosed 334-foot-long Twister slide – Carnival’s longest – featuring a crystal clear turn that extends out over the edge of the ship, offering dramatic views with each twist and turn.
·         A stunning full-service Asian restaurant that will feature delicious favorites from the Far East, enhanced by a serene décor of prayer rolls, wood-beamed ceilings and other design elements.  The new restaurant will feature an open kitchen where guests can view highly skilled chefs artfully preparing a tantalizing menu that will offer a variety of Asian specialties, including soups, appetizers, noodle and rice dishes, as well as seafood and meat delicacies (lunch is complimentary; $12 charge for dinner).
·         Shake Spot, the ideal place to “chill” where guests can enjoy delicious hand-crafted milkshakes while taking a break from all the fun in the sun.  In addition to a distinctive island-inspired décor, Shake Spot will offer classic milkshakes and floats, as well as tropical fruit shakes and “adult shakes and floats” made with           Grand Marnier, Cointreau and other liqueurs, all available with a variety of fun toppings. There’s even an all-inclusive “Shake Lover’s Package” for those who simply can’t get enough of these unique and nostalgic treats on vacation.
·         Located adjacent to Shake Spot on Promenade Deck is JavaBlue Café, the place to connect, meet up and savor sweet and frothy cappuccinos, lattes, espressos and other caffeinated favorites, as well as coffees made with liqueurs, along with decadent confections such as extra-large cinnamon buns, giant cupcakes, and huge slices of red velvet cake meant to be shared within the venue’s island-infused atmosphere featuring comfortable seating and breathtaking views of the sea.
·         For those guests who crave delicious, hand-tossed, artisanal-style pizza anytime of the day or night, there’s Pizzeria del Capitano, an expansion of the line’s popular Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant. Here, guests can watch as chefs prepare five different kinds of authentic Italian-style, thin-crusted pies, from traditional Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto – all free of charge 24 hours a day and made in a traditional pizza oven which serves as the venue’s centerpiece. Whether it’s a casual lunch, a late-night snack or a delicious dinner alternative, Pizzeria del Capitano will definitely hit the spot.
            Carnival Sunshine will also offer all of the exciting elements that make up the line’s $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement program.
            These include delicious dining options like Guy’s Burger Joint, developed with Food Network personality Guy Fieri, and BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary Mexican eatery offering authentic burritos and tacos, along with innovative bar concepts such as the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub; the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar; EA SPORTS Bar, a partnership with the leading sports video game company; and the Alchemy Bar, featuring a vintage cocktail “pharmacy” theme. 
            Top-deck amenities will include a spectacular three-level Serenity adults-only retreat – the largest in the Carnival fleet offering a pool, waterfall, a full bar, whirlpool, and, of course, magnificent sea views – as well as SportSquare featuring a ropes course, including an exciting new zip line feature, an array of deck and table games, a basketball court, jogging track, and a two-level miniature golf course.
            A variety of captivating entertainment choices – from the family-friendly Hasbro, The Game Show, featuring larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic games to high-tech Playlist Productions, which combine live performances with spectacular staging and special effects – will be offered, as well.   
            Carnival is celebrating the transformation of the Carnival Destiny to Carnival Sunshine with the “Bring Home Some Sunshine and Win” contest which will run from November 8-22, 2012, with the grand prize winner announced on Dec. 17, 2012.  Contestants’ “before and after” photos must be submitted to and Carnival will select five finalists based on the quality of their entries.   Fans will then vote to select the grand prize winner.  Additional information and complete contest rules are available at     
            Following its 49-day dry dock at Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, Carnival Sunshine will debut with a series of Mediterranean cruises beginning with a 14-day voyage from Venice to Barcelona April 12-16, 2013, followed by nine- and 12-day Mediterranean cruises either round-trip from Barcelona or sailing between Barcelona and Venice through October 20, 2013.  Carnival Sunshine will then sail on a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New Orleans Nov. 1-17, 2013, positioning the vessel for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises from the Big Easy.  

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Silversea Cruise Silver Galapagos Now Accepting Bookings

Silversea Cruises Silver Galapagos Now Open for Bookings
Silversea Cruises Silver Galapagos Now Open for Bookings
Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has opened the books for its 2013 and 2014 Galápagos programs.
Its year-round schedule of 7-day expedition voyages aboard the 100-guest, all-suite Silver Galapagos will begin operating in late September 2013 featuring the following options:
  • Western Itinerary: Sailing Saturday to Saturday roundtrip from Baltra Island, Silver Galapagos will trace a path across the western, southern and eastern islands, including  Santiago, Bartolomé, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, San Cristóbal, and Santa Cruz.
  • North Central Itinerary: Sailing Saturday to Saturday roundtrip from Baltra Island, this itinerary encompasses the northeast, central and southeast islands of Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Seymour Norte, San Cristóbal, Española, and Plazas Sur.
Fares start at $5,450 per person based on double occupancy.
The Galápagos schedule offers adventurous travelers the life-enriching chance to discover a wild, pristine paradise that has long been regarded as a natural laboratory of evolution. On complimentary expeditions ashore guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galápagos National Park Service), Silversea's guests may experience up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife that includes sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colorful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin's famous finches.
The program also offers opportunities to swim and snorkel in tranquil clear waters, witness unique highland ecosystems, hike through lush mangrove forests and across volcanic fields, explore natural lava tunnels, watch for wild flamingos (in season), read cave inscriptions from the 1800s, and learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
In true Silversea Expeditions style, the guests of Silver Galapagos will enjoy full-scale exploring from an enclave of luxury at sea that includes spacious, ocean-view accommodations, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, and stocked in-suite beverage cabinet. 

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Princess Cruises Announces 2013 Cruises From Houston Texas

Princess Cruises will launch new service from the Port of Houston beginning in 2013 when it starts sailing from the state-of-the-art Bayport Cruise Terminal.

Princess Cruises and the Port of Houston Authority confirmed an agreement Nov. 15 for the line to make passenger cruise calls during the 2013-2014 cruise season at the port’s cruise facility.

The new service is scheduled to begin in November of 2013. A total of 26 departures are planned for the season.

The inaugural cruise is an unprecedented sailing aboard the Caribbean Princess to support U.S. veterans. The historic cruise, which will sail between Nov. 5 and Nov. 9, is expected to raise $1 million for two U.S. veterans organizations, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and Operation Homefront.

"We're pleased that Houston will be the home port for Caribbean Princess during her 2013-2014 season," said Jan Swartz, executive vice president. "We expect that the port's state-of-the-art facilities and convenient airport-close location will provide a great experience for our passengers embarking there."

The Port Authority’s agreement with Princess Cruises marks the first full contract with a cruise line to use the Bayport Cruise Terminal. Both Princess and the Port Authority project the cruise activity will have a significant positive impact on the economy of Harris County and the greater Houston area, including the cities of Houston and Pasadena. Smaller cities near the cruise terminal are also expected to benefit.

“We are very pleased with the decision by Princess, as it helps us fulfill our commitment to build Bayport as a means of spurring job creation and economic development for the entire Houston region,” Port Authority Chairman Jim Edmonds said.

Economic activity from a single cruise line is expected to generate $50 million annually, according to the firm Martin Associates, including local purchases of $3.6 million. Over a four-year period, this is expected to result in a $200 million dollar economic impact to the greater Houston region over the four year period.

A total of 222 jobs will be touched, including the creation of almost 100 new jobs. An estimated $941,000 annually in state and local taxes is anticipated.

When it began sailing in 2004, Caribbean Princess introduced Movies Under the Stars, a giant poolside movie theater featuring first run movies, concerts and sporting events, Onboard, passengers can also enjoy a variety of street performing acts in the Italian-inspired Piazza, indulge in a soothing massage from an outdoor cabana at The Sanctuary, or savor a premium steak cooked to order in the Crown Grill.

Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company taking more than 1.3 million passengers each year to more than 300 worldwide destinations on six continents. Princess currently operates a fleet of 16 ships, with two more under construction.

Princess Cruises has been named by cruise industry travel agents as having the “best cruise line itineraries.”

The Bayport Cruise Terminal, which was fully completed in 2011, is located in Pasadena, Texas, which is outside of Houston.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

MSC Cruises Transforms Buffet Restaurants on Select Ships

MSC Cruises Redesigned Buffet Area and menu
MSC Cruises Redesigned Buffet Area and menu
MSC Cruises’ has transformed the buffet restaurants on board MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia and MSC Poesia.

With the help of famous Italian food designer Paolo Barichella from food and lifestyle designers Enocultura, the buffet area has been restyled around new concepts of presentation and service, offering guests a sensational casual dining experience morning, noon and night.

The buffet is the most visited dining area on board, particularly during breakfast and lunch, and continually enhancing this area is a priority for a company which prides itself on making each cruise a culinary voyage of discovery.

“The idea behind the new buffet was not only to increase the quality of service and variety of fresh choices but also to create a real culinary experience and reshape the way we present food on board,” said Enrico Borniotto, general manager of MSC Italcatering. “Guests can now enjoy watching our skilled chefs prepare a range of fresh dishes, from MSC’s signature authentic Italian pizzas and breads to perfect sautéed pasta and tasty cuts of meat.”

“Aside from redesigning the area in terms of decor, we tried to bring on board the concept of the visible kitchen,” he continued. “Some guests cannot imagine that most of the food is fresh on such big ships and that pasta, pizza, bread and desserts are handmade. This is an extraordinary added value to be proudly presented to guests.”
“Restyling the buffet areas of the MSC fleet was an exciting project for me,” said food designer Barichella. “I am used to working with restaurants and chefs from all over the world, but this was my first experience with a cruise company. This restyled area will enable guests to discover MSC’s high quality, fresh products in a holistic way.”

The redesigned buffet now includes many different specialty corners, arranged with a more intuitive feel for guests trying to decide what delicious dishes to select. 

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Australian Cruise Line - Coral Princess Cruises Unveils New Website

Oceanic Discoverer - One of Coral Princess Cruises Small Ship Fleet
Oceanic Discoverer - One of Coral Princess Cruises Small Ship Fleet
Coral Princess Cruises' new website is up and running at

Coral Princess Cruises is Australia’s leading small ship and expedition cruise line, with a reputation for cruising excellence built over almost 30 years. Coral Princess Cruises specializes in Australian holiday experiences of 3, 4 or 7 night cruises. Regions cruised include the Great Barrier Reef cruise from Cairns or discover Australia’s ancient outback on an expedition to the remarkable Kimberley region or Cape York and Arnhem Land. Venture further afield into the South Pacific and discover  Papua New Guinea, the magical island cultures of Melanesia and the scenic beauty of ‘the land of the long white cloud’, New Zealand.

To learn more about this unique cruise experience check out their website.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Princess Cruises Adds 2 New Asia Cruises in 2013

Princess Cruises Add 2 Additional Asia Cruises Due to Delayed Drydocking
Princess Cruises Add 2 Additional Asia Cruises Due to Delayed Drydocking

  Princess Cruises has just announced two special new Asia cruise opportunities, offering unique itineraries that explore some of the most alluring ports in the region.

Departing in October and November 2013 aboard Diamond Princess, these 10- and 11-day Asia cruises sail roundtrip from Singapore, taking in some of the best of Southeast Asia’s ports of call, including Bangkok, Bali, Nha Trang and Phuket, as well as two ports not usually visited on Diamond Princess itineraries – Penang, Malaysia and Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

“Because we’ve rescheduled Diamond Princess’ drydock during this time, it has opened up a great opportunity for us to present travelers with some intriguing new Asia options,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “These sailings offer a memorable travel opportunity for those who have always wanted to explore Southeast Asia.”

The new cruises are:

Southeast Asia – 11 Days (Departing October 24, 2013)
Sailing roundtrip from Singapore, Diamond Princess will call at Brunei, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Bangkok, and Ko Samui in Thailand.

Malaysia Peninsula & Indonesia – 10 days (Departing November 4, 2013)
Also cruising roundtrip from Singapore, passengers will explore exotic Bali, Malaysia’s Capital of Kuala Lumpur, Penang (Malaysia), and Thailand’s beach resort of Phuket.

For those with more time, both sailings can be combined into a 21-day Southeast Asia Grand Adventure.

Passengers on these sailings can enjoy shore excursion options that include some of Asia’s most intriguing sights and experiences, including the stunningly beautiful Grand Palace in Bangkok, Long Son Pagoda with its bird’s-eye view of Nha Trang, the skilled artisans of Mas Village in Bali, and Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple at Wat Chalong. An overland excursion offers visitors the opportunity to visit the magnificent Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Fares for Diamond Princess’ new Asia cruises begin at $1,449 per person, based on double occupancy.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crystal Cruises 2013 Med Season Has Some Firsts

Crystal Cruises 2013 Cruise Brochure Features New Mediterranean Ports.
Crystal Cruises 2013 Cruise Brochure Features New Mediterranean Ports.

For its 2013 Mediterranean cruise season, ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises is making first-time-ever visits to Çanakkale, Turkey; La Spezia, Italy; and Castellón de la Plana, Spain.  The maiden calls offer new exploration of historic and off-the-beaten path areas from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the west, including the Dardanelles/Adriatic, Italian Riviera, and Costa del Azahar.  The 7- to 13-day itineraries surrounding the new destinations also offer cultural capital overnights and extra port intensiveness.

Highlights of, and cruises featuring, the inaugural ports include:

·         ÇANAKKALE: A popular vacation getaway for local Turks, the harbor city also offers easy access to the archaeological site of Troy and Gallipoli’s historic battlefield and monuments.

Ø  May 9, Crystal Serenity -- 9 days: Rome, Sorrento (overnight), and Sicily/Taormina, Italy; Santorini, Greece; Kusadasi, Çanakkale, and Istanbul (overnight), Turkey

Ø  July 25, Crystal Symphony – 9 days: Istanbul (overnight), Çanakkale, and Kusadasi, Turkey; Valletta, Malta; Sicily/Taormina, Sorrento (overnight), and Rome, Italy

·         LA SPEZIA: Balcony-lined streets and a palm-lined promenade usher travelers into Italy’s Liguria region, offering a point of departure for walking uber-picturesque Cinque Terre, or a less-touristed day of sampling fine museums or delicious local cheese stalls in the town’s outdoor market.

Ø  Sept. 28, Crystal Serenity -- 7 days: Monte Carlo (overnight), Monaco; Genoa and La Spezia, Italy; St. Tropez and Marseille, France; Barcelona (overnight), Spain

·         CASTELLÓN DE LA PLANA: Dating back to 1251, this Valencian town is the capital of one of Spain’s most mountainous provinces, offering a range of rural tourism, a Gothic and Renaissance-architecture “old quarter,” and fragrant orange trees blossoming in the Fall.

Ø  Nov. 2, Crystal Serenity -- 13 days: Rome, Florence, and Porto Venere, Italy; Monte Carlo (overnight), Monaco; Palamós, Barcelona (overnight), Castellón de la Plana, and Cartagena, Spain; Gibraltar, UK; Cadiz/Seville, Spain; Lisbon (overnight), Portugal

“New adventures are part of Crystal’s signature travel experience, even in such a popular cruising area as the Mediterranean,” says Jack Anderson, senior vice president sales and marketing.  “After sailing for more than two decades, we’re thrilled to still be finding novel destinations for our guests to discover, and combine them with much beloved locales to which they also love returning, time and time again.”

All-inclusive “Book Now” fares for the series start from $3,110/person, with up to $1500/person in savings if booked by December 28.

Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history. 

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