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Archive for January, 2014


Carnival Pride is coming back to Baltimore in 2015

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 30 - 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines and the Port of Baltimore today announced that the cruise line will resume year-round departures from Baltimore when the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride begins seven-day cruises in spring 2015.

Carnival Pride is currently based in Baltimore where it will remain through October 2014 then reposition to Tampa for a winter cruise schedule before returning to Baltimore for year-round service in March 2015, hosting nearly 120,000 guests annually.

In anticipation of Carnival Pride’s return to Baltimore, the ship will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar makeover in fall 2014 that will add a host of dining, bar and entertainment innovations that are part of the line’s $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program.

In addition to the new on-board features, Carnival Pride is one of several Carnival Cruise Lines ships that will be outfitted with exhaust gas cleaning technology – known as scrubbers –designed to reduce air emissions from cruise ships and large marine vessels. Scrubber technology will be installed on Carnival Pride prior to its Baltimore deployment in spring 2015.  This new technology will enable the Carnival Pride to exceed the stricter air emission standards established for operation within the North American Emission Control Area (ECA).

Carnival Pride sails into Baltimore

Carnival Pride sails into Baltimore

“Baltimore is a convenient mid-Atlantic embarkation point for ‘Fun Ship’ cruising and we’re pleased to resume these attractive year-round departures which offer our guests an opportunity to visit a variety of beautiful, tropical destinations,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “We would like to extend our thanks to officials from the port and the state of Maryland for their outstanding support in our efforts to resume year-round cruising from Baltimore,” he added.

“We are pleased to welcome Carnival Cruise Lines back to Maryland and the Carnival Pride cruise ship back to the Port of Baltimore,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Our Administration has a proven track record of advocating for a strong, healthy environment and fighting for high-quality jobs for Maryland families. I’m pleased Carnival and the Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard have agreed on a plan that will keep family-supporting jobs in Maryland and allow a cleaner and even greener Carnival Pride to return to this thriving cruise market.”

On its year-round deployment from Baltimore, Carnival Pride will offer two distinctly different itineraries with voyages departing every Sunday beginning March 29, 2015.  Week-long exotic eastern Caribbean cruises will visit Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Freeport, The Bahamas, while a Florida/Bahamas schedule will feature Port Canaveral, Fla. (Orlando), and Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas.

During these cruises, guests can relax on beautiful white-sand beaches, participate in fun watersports activities and visit popular landmarks and attractions throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Central Florida. 

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruisenews, gallery

First look at Norwegian Getaway

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 27 - 2014

Have a cruise question about Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship Norwegian Getaway?  Join ExpertCruiser onboard the Getaway from January 27-29.  I’ll be reporting live from the ship and will be taking your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram questions.  Find out what’s new and get the scoop on what’s to come.  Bon Voyage!

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

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Norwegian launches ‘Spectacular Bonus Days’ sale

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 24 - 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line is launching its “Spectacular Bonus Days” sale, offering exceptional savings on all three of Norwegian’s biggest and newest ships: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. Guests who book a cruise vacation on board one of these spectacular vessels from Monday, January 27 through Wednesday, February 12, 2014, can receive up to $200 per stateroom to spend on board, free balcony upgrades, reduced deposits and an e-coupon worth more than $300 in on board savings. Military, AARP, Latitudes Rewards discounts and air deals from $99 may also apply to select sailings.

Norwegian-GetawayUKGALLMiami’s ultimate ship, Norwegian Getaway makes her debut in her year-round home port of Miami on February 8, 2014, setting sail on seven-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean. This spectacular new ship will visit tropical ports of call including Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Guests will be dazzled by the ship’s Miami flair, exceptional dining and entertainment, as well as the excitement of 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront, a variety of interconnected indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that creates a multiplex of dining, activities and more that enhance guests’ connection with the ocean, fares start at $639*.

Norwegian Breakaway, the ship that brings the best of NYC to Sea is currently sailing seven-day cruises to the Bahamas and Florida, through April 27, 2014. Guests on board visit sunny destinations including Port Canaveral (Orlando and Beaches), Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, Norwegian’s very own Private Island. Fares start at $649*.

Norwegian Epic, the “Best Ship for Sea Days” by Cruise Critic and “Best Overall Cruise Ship” by the readers of Travel Weekly two years in a row, cruises to sunny Western Caribbean destinations on seven-day cruises from Miami, through April 20, 2014. Cruisers can explore ports of call including Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico; with fares starting at $449*.

To take advantage of these spectacular savings, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit www.ncl.com.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruise sales

That’s Amore! MSC Cruises has sweet romance packages

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 24 - 2014

Treat yourself and loved one to an unforgettable Valentine’s gift — a blissful week in paradise aboard MSC Divina. With this special Valentine’s “Suite Deal” enjoy floor to ceiling, panoramic views and the spacious elegance of the Aurea Suites while sailing to the island jewels of the Caribbean, such as St. Maarten and the Virgin Islands during February and March, 2014.

As a special treat, included in the Valentine’s “Suite Deal” is a relaxing Wave Spa Package for two, featuring welcome herbal tea, a personal spa consultation, soothing Bali massage, Relax Facial Treatment and entrance to the thermal suite of the renowned MSC Aurea Spa throughout your cruise. Offer expires February 28, 2014. The Valentine’s “Suite Deal” is available for the following 7-night sailings:

• Feb. 1, March 1 – 7-night sailing visits Philipsburg, St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and the private island of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Starting at $899 pp.
• Feb. 8, 22, March 8 and March 22 – 7-nights with stops at Falmouth, Jamaica, Georgetown, Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Mexico and the private island of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Starting at $899 pp.
• March 15 – Sail 7-nights with stops at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Starting at $899 pp.

Romantic Dining on MSC Divina

Guests looking to maximize their romantic cruise holiday can enjoy a candle light dinner for two at one of various specialty restaurants. The intimate Ristorante Italia offers a “table d’hôte‟ menu every night with Italian delicacies, such as handmade linguini with Liguria pesto, Lamb cutlets with Ustica lentils and Creamed Carnaroli risotto with Sardinian pecorino cheese. Regional steakhouse, Eataly Steakhouse, fashioned after Eataly‟s famed Manzo steakhouse in Manhattan, offers an array of delectable dishes, including T-Bone, New York Strip, Sliced Steak “Tagliata” and Rib-Eye, among other favorites.

MSC Spa image courtesy of MSC Cruises for use by Expertcruiser.comOn Deck 16, couples can enjoy a leisurely brunch of Mediterranean specialties and sparkling mimosas at the Galaxy, MSC Divina’s 1950s Italian nightclub-inspired venue featuring sophisticated ambience, refined live music and breathtaking panoramic views of the Caribbean. For a more laid back ambience, La Cantina di Bacco wine bar offers the perfect venue to try several authentic wines and specialty pizzas representing each Italian region.

Top 18

An adults-only sanctuary of serenity boasting premium deck space and stunning sea views, Top 18 offers the ideal private getaway for couples.

With its own dedicated spa service, bar menu and comfortable lounge setting, Top 18 is the perfect venue to relax and unwind surrounded by incredible ocean vistas. Guests are greeted at a private entrance (on deck 18), provided a refreshing chilled towel and escorted to their own personal lounge beds, where they can idly spend the day enjoying their own serene seaside respite. A variety of specially tailored spa treatments are available to Top 18 guests.

The MSC Aurea Spa

With more than 5,500 square feet, the lavish MSC Aurea Spa is an oriental paradise with superb sea views, where the scent of essential oils, soft candlelight and exotic modern décor invites guests to create a personal path to health, wellness and beauty.

Surrounded by natural stones, rich woods and mosaics, the MSC Aurea Spa offers couples a haven of peace and tranquility, featuring Turkish bath, sauna, whirlpool baths and relaxation room. The Aurea Spa offers 21 kinds of massage spanning from Shiatsu to Thai, 13 body treatments from thalassotherapy scrubs to hot lava stone treatments, and eight different types of indulgent facials. Many treatments are exclusive creations and available as couples massages. Try the signature Candle Massage made with 100% natural vegetable butter, which creates aromatic fluids used to massage the body or the exotic shell therapy, l’Aurea del Mare, which uses sea shells enriched in oils to buff muscular tension in the shoulders, skull and facial muscles.

Rates are USD, per person, double occupancy, valid only for new retail bookings for U.S. and Canadian residents. Government fees and taxes for all sailing guests are additional. Other restrictions may apply. Ask for “Suite Deal” when booking. Offer expires February 28, 2014.

For more information about MSC Divina’s first season in the US and its exciting new features and special offers, please visit www.msccruisesusa.com, call 1-877-665-4655 or contact your local travel agency.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruise sales, gallery

Bang on the drum all day – get married on a Fun Ship!

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 24 - 2014

Yes, you’re wedding can be a ‘Carnival’.   Today, Carnival Cruise Lines has totally revamped its popular wedding program – upgrading everything from floral arrangements, decorations and photography to delicious new culinary selections and an even greater variety of romantic on-island ceremonies – allowing couples to make their “big day” even more special and memorable.

Available both aboard ship on embarkation day or in tropical ports of call, Carnival’s wedding packages are already immensely popular – with more than 2,600 ceremonies performed each year.

Couples can say “I do” during unforgettable shipboard celebrations which now include a diverse array of lavishly presented culinary options and upgraded beverage service, along with new multi-tiered wedding cake choices like chocolate ganache, coconut cream, and red velvet, all baked on board.  Enhanced amenities such as a decorated wedding aisle and other traditional touches, along with upgraded champagne flutes and other keepsake items, are also included.

For those who want to tie the knot in paradise, Carnival offers a variety of beachside ceremonies with recently added choices such as Grand Turk and Freeport complementing Barbados, Grand Cayman, St. Thomas, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and other beautiful and exotic locales.

Carnival’s enhanced wedding packages include:

  • Just You & Me (maximum of eight people) – starting at $1,355 and includes

–          Wedding ceremony

–          Bouquet and boutonniere

–          Tiered wedding cake with keepsake wedding topper

–          Champagne toast with keepsake flutes

–          Photography services

–          Decorated wedding aisle

–          Pre-recorded music

–          Officiant (couples are also welcome to bring their own clergy)

 

  • Time to Celebrate (based on 20 guests) – starting at $1,795 and includes

–          All of the amenities of Just You & Me plus:

–          One-hour reception

–          Open bar

–          Selection of hot & cold hors d’ oeuvres

–          Coffee/tea service

 

  • Time to Celebrate…Big! (based on 20 guests) – starting at $1,975 and includes

–          All of the amenities of Just You & Me plus:

–          One-and-one-half-hour reception

–          Open bar

–          Selection of hot & cold hors d’ oeuvres

–          Custom-designed ice carving

 

  • Let Us Serve You (minimum 8 guests) – starting at $1,595 and includes

–          All of the amenities of Just You & Me plus:

–          Full-service dining room luncheon  with four-course menu

–          Open-pour wine

 

  • Island Breeze – starting at $1,395 and includes

–          Romantic ceremony performed at an exotic island location

–          Complimentary round-trip transportation to island venue

 

Wedding packages include the services of a personal wedding planner to assist the couple on their special day, as well as priority check-in and boarding for all wedding guests.  Wedding packages can be customized with music and videography services at an additional cost.

Couples can also reaffirm their marriage vows with Carnival’s Renewal of Vows ceremonies which are performed by the ship’s captain.

Carnival has also updated its wedding web site (www.carnival.com/wedding-cruises) to reflect all of the new choices and has also created a glossy new brochure to provide an at-a-glance view of the company’s wide-ranging offerings.

For additional information on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” vacations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruisenews

Rock on! Carnival launches LIVE Concert Series with Grammy winning artists

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 22 - 2014

Turn up the volume live music fans! Carnival Cruise Lines today unveiled a new entertainment offering to bring the best in live music to the seas. A first-of-its-kind experience in the cruise industry, the Carnival LIVE Concert Series offers Carnival guests the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive onboard performance by a diverse roster of popular music artists while ships are docked at select ports of call.

Carnival has booked 49 performance dates for the 2014 concert series with the following artists:

  • 38 Special
  • Chicago
  • Daughtry
  • Foreigner
  • Gavin DeGraw
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Jewel
  • Kansas
  • Lady Antebellum
  • LeAnn Rimes
  • Martina McBride
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • REO Speedwagon
  • STYX
  • Trace Adkins

carnival-live-hero-collageGALL“Performing live is one of my favorite things,” said GRAMMY® Award-winner, Jennifer Hudson at an exclusive launch event for Carnival LIVE in New York City on January 22. “I’m excited to be part of this unique concert series that will allow me to interact with my fans in such an intimate and memorable setting.”

In addition to the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, Carnival is also enhancing its popular shipboard house bands. The bands will feature both male and female lead singers, a more choreographed, themed and diverse set list, and increased interaction with guests. Nine Carnival ships currently feature the new bands, with implementation across the full fleet over the course of this year.

“Onboard entertainment is an important part of the overall guest experience when cruising,” said Mark Tamis, senior vice president of guest operations for Carnival Cruise Lines. “With the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, our guests will enjoy an exclusive performance with one of their favorite artists for an extraordinary value. Combined with our enhanced house bands fleetwide, this is just another example of the many ways we are constantly looking to create even more fun and memorable moments for our guests.”

Tamis added, “The Carnival LIVE 2014 Concert Series is also a great tool for our travel agent partners, providing an additional feature at a great value that can be promoted when selling Carnival cruises.”

Beginning in April 2014, Carnival LIVE concerts will take place on board eight Carnival ships that call in the following ports: Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau, the Bahamas; and Catalina Island, California. Artists will join the ship while in port, perform in the main show lounge that evening, and debark following their show.

Tickets cost $20-40 each and a limited number of VIP tickets are also available for each show for $100-$150 each. The VIP experience includes an artist meet and greet, photo opportunity, seating in the first three rows and a commemorative laminated concert pass. All tickets can be purchased through Carnival’s online Shore Excursion System prior to sailing, or on board participating ships at the Shore Excursion Desk based on availability.

Beginning today, consumers can visit www.carnival.com/CarnivalLive to view the full list of 2014 Carnival LIVE concert dates.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruisenews, gallery