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Archive for October, 2014


MSC Cruises teams up with LEGO

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 31 - 2014

MSC Cruises and the LEGO Group have joined forces to bring children and families the ultimate LEGO Experience at sea, including LEGO® designed playrooms and entertainment options. As part of the partnership, MSC Cruises is implementing a special program across its fleet in which children, as well as adults, will have the chance to compete in LEGO® themed competitions and games on a designated day during a sailing. Children who participate in the LEGO® Experience Day will receive an official LEGO® Junior Master Builder diploma. In addition, all guests will have the chance to meet and greet Sailor Walkabout – the LEGO Sailor Mascot – who will be available during cruises for photos and entertainment. The LEGO Group is also working to design completely new play areas on the MSC Armonia, the first ship in MSC Cruises’ Lirica class of ships undergoing the Renaissance Program.* Currently in dry dock, the newly enhanced MSCArmonia will re-enter service on Nov. 19, with an inaugural cruise departing from Genoa, Italy and stopping in France, Spain, and Gibraltar, before arriving at its final destination in Portugal. MSC Armonia’s dedicated offerings of LEGO® play materials when she begins sailing again will include:

  • LEGO® DUPLO® for children under three, including fun games and challenges;
  • Classic LEGO® bricks and Vertical Play Wall for 7-11 year olds; and
  • “Building Happening” for 6-11 year olds – themed builds with limited bricks.

All the LEGO features will be available free of charge to guests, and will be replicated on the two new ships** of the MSC fleet, scheduled to be delivered in 2017.  Guests who want to take the LEGO® experience home with them will be able to visit the LEGO®  corner found in shops on board. In addition, the companies are currently working to design a LEGO® MSC Cruise Ship toy, which will be available on MSC Cruises’ fleet in the future. MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said: “The LEGO Group and MSC Cruises are both family businesses – built on strong values – that are recognized worldwide, so our two companies are a great match. The LEGO Group bricks and toys are close to the hearts of millions of people who grew up playing with them, and with this partnership we hope to give our younger guests some magical memories that they’ll treasure forever. We’re proud to be able to make The LEGO Group a contributor to the MSC Cruises’ concept, and I know our younger guests are going to love this exciting new addition.” MSC Cruises’ partnership with LEGO comes as the line seeks to optimize the overall onboard experience for guests and families by partnering with top global brands that are emblems of excellence in their fields. While MSC Cruises’ has long made the LEGO® toys available on all 12 ships in its’ fleet, this partnership enhances the offering, bringing MSC guests more dedicated products and areas for younger travelers. Other enhancements for families being made to MSC’s fleet include: ships undergoing the Renaissance Program will feature separate clubs and facilities for five age groups – specifically Baby (under 3s); Mini (3-6); Junior (7-11); Young (12-14) and Teen (15-17); and a new partnership with Chicco, announced in July 2014, which will provide families with childcare equipment, a dedicated family guide and custom built children areas on select MSC ships.

Visit MSC Cruises website for further details on sailings.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, gallery

Holland America’s Eurodam gets a perfect score!

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 31 - 2014

Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam achieved a perfect score of 100 on a recent routine United States Public Health inspection conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This achievement marks the seventh consecutive perfect score for the ship.

The unannounced inspection of ms Eurodam was held Oct. 22, 2014, during a call at Boston, Mass. The ship recently repositioned cruise to Fort. Lauderdale, Fla., for its Caribbean season.

“To earn a score of 100 on any given public health inspection is fantastic, but to earn seven consecutive perfect scores is beyond extraordinary,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs. “The perfect scores reflect the dedication by all involved, and congratulations go out to all of the hard-working team members both onboard and ashore who contributed to this incredible achievement.”

During U.S.P.H. inspections earlier this year, ms Westerdam and ms Statendam also earned scores of 100. Along with ms Eurodam, ms Zaandam achieved a 100 on its inspection in 2013.

CDC inspections are part of the Vessel Sanitation Program, which was introduced in the early 1970s and is required for all passenger ships that call at a U.S. port. The inspections are unannounced and are carried out by officials from the United States Public Health Service twice a year for every cruise ship. The score, on a scale from one to 100, is assigned on the basis of a checklist involving dozens of areas of assessment, encompassing hygiene and sanitation of food (from storage to preparation), overall galley cleanliness, water, shipboard personnel and the ship as a whole.

For more information about Holland America Line, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews

Norwegian launches ‘Freestyle Choice’ offeing big savings

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 31 - 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line is debuting Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, a first of its kind offer that gives guests the freedom to choose how they want to save and combines two great offers sure to make for one ultimate vacation. Those who book a new cruise from October 29 through November 9 will receive free balcony upgrades, plus a choice of either a free dining package or up to $2,000* cash back in onboard credit based on their cruise fare.

During Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, foodies can opt to receive a complimentary dinner for two at Norwegian’s signature specialty restaurants.   On one to two-night sailings, cruisers will enjoy a meal at Italian restaurant La Cucina . On sailings of three-nights or longer, food lovers can indulge in various cuisines with three evenings of complimentary dinners for two at Norwegian’s signature restaurants La Cucina, Cagney’s steakhouse, and Le Bistro French restaurant.

For those who prefer to indulge in decadent spa treatments, handcrafted cocktails, adventurous shore excursions and more, Norwegian is also offering an option for guests to receive 10 percent cash back on their cruise fare in onboard credit during the Freestyle Choice offer.

Whether it’s soaking up the sun in the Caribbean, being captivated by cultural treasures in the Mediterranean, embracing serenity at sea on a transatlantic voyage or beyond, Norwegian Cruise Line guests can do as much or as little as they’d like with the freedom and flexibility of Freestyle Cruising.

Guests can cruise aboard Miami’s Ultimate Ship, Norwegian Getaway, as she sails seven-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean from her year-round homeport of Miami, Florida. The line’s newest ship visits 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 begin at $419*.

Vacationers looking to cruise around the majestic state of Hawaii can do so aboard the recently-refurbished Pride of America. This port-packed itinerary gives guests the opportunity to explore the islands of Hawaii on seven-day inter-island cruises, year-round from Honolulu. Offering nearly 100 hours of port time, Pride of America visits Hawaii’s four main islands, including an overnight in Kahului, Maui; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kauai; stops in Hilo, Hawaii and Kona, Hawaii; as well as an afternoon cruise by the spectacular Nãpali Coast, with fares starting at $899*.

The newly-refurbished Norwegian Jewel features fresh enhancements and additions such as Norwegian’s popular signature Sugarcane Mojito Bar, treats by TLC’s Cake Boss and Next Great Baker at Carlo’s Bake Shop and O’Sheehan’s, Norwegian’s classic Irish pub casual restaurant. Guests can enjoy all of Norwegian Jewel’s new features sailing from Houston, between now and April 18, 2015, to tropical Western Caribbean destinations including Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Banana Coast, Honduras with fares beginning at $349*.

To book a cruise during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 866-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 Blog, cruise sales, gallery

Ho! Ho! Ho! Holland America offers all-inclusive holiday packages with airfare

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 21 - 2014

Put a holiday cruise aboard Holland America Line on your gift list this season and you just might get your wish. With special all-inclusive packages in verandah staterooms and suites, travelers can leave the hustle and hassle behind and let Holland America Line spread the holiday cheer by doing all of the decorating, cooking and cleaning. “The holidays are a magical time on our ships, and these special offers make it even more appealing to take a cruise to the Caribbean with us this season,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “We invite our guests to let Holland America Line do all of the work—   just come on board, relax and have a great time.”

All-Inclusive Package

Guests looking to splurge on a verandah cabin or suite can take advantage of the all-inclusive package that starts at just $1,899 per person, double occupancy. The package includes roundtrip air from select U.S. gateways*; transfers between the airport and ship; the cruise fare; taxes;  a Signature Beverage Package valued at $50 per person, per day; and a $25 per-person shipboard credit. All-inclusive third and fourth fares for guests in the cabin with two full fares start at $799 per person and include air, transfers, cruise and taxes.

Special Packages for Third/Fourth Guests

In addition to all-inclusive fares, Holland America Line offers special cruise-only ocean-view and interior stateroom fares for third and fourth guests on seven-day Caribbean holiday sailings.  Making it affordable for a family of four to set sail for as little as $1,596, double occupancy cruise-only rates start at just $599 per person and reduced third/fourth fares begin at $199 per person.

‘Tis the Season to Cruise to the Caribbean

Holland America Line has six ships cruising the crystalline waters of the eastern and western Caribbean on seven-day itineraries in December 2014 that are included in the packages. Guests can sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam. Each ship offers two holiday sailings: one over Christmas and one over New Year’s.

The ships call at a variety of ports including Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Falmouth and Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Key West, Fla.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. All roundtrip Fort Lauderdale itineraries include a call at Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, diverse shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and kid-friendly activities.The only ship in the fleet sailing roundtrip from Tampa, Fla., ms Ryndam also has two holiday departures and calls at Key West; Banana Coast, Honduras; Santo Tomas, Guatemala; and Costa Maya, Mexico. Amsterdam, ms Maasdam and ms Prinsendam also will be in the Caribbean during the holidays, but those cruises are not included in the Holiday all-inclusive packages.

Holiday Cruises Around the World

The Caribbean isn’t the only region to welcome a Holland America Line ship this season. While not part of the packages, travelers can still celebrate the holidays on a cruise to South America, Mexico & Hawaii, the Canary Islands, Far East, New Zealand and the South Pacific.  Itinerary and departure dates are available at www.hollandamerica.com.

‘Deck the Hulls’ Onboard

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships’ international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and singalongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts. The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in 2015, featuring a festive holiday ball with a champagne toast at midnight.

*Air gateways for the all-inclusive package are Atlanta, Ga.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; and New York, N.Y. (JFK only); The all-inclusive package also is available from 21 additional U.S. and Canadian cities for an additional surcharge.

For more information about Holland America Line, contact a travel professional or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruise sales, gallery

MSC Cruises offers great Caribbean deals from $329

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 21 - 2014

This holiday season, MSC Cruises is encouraging guests to take the break they deserve with a 7-night escape on the stunning MSC Divina, one of the largest and most luxurious cruise ships sailing from Miami to the Caribbean. With MSC Cruises taking care of the catering, entertainment and clean up, guests have the opportunity to relax and spend time with loved ones while enjoying all the beautiful amenities MSC Divina has to offer and visiting some of the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean. “The holiday season is really about spending quality time with family and friends,” said Ken Muskat, executive vice president of sales, PR & guest services for MSC Cruises. “We’ve worked very hard to ensure that guests sailing on MSC Divina this holiday season can enjoy the festivities and traditions that come along with the holidays such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, without worrying about all the planning details.”

Highlights of MSC Divina holiday celebrations include:

Thanksgiving – Nov. 22nd departure to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas: Spend Thanksgiving Day at sea enjoying festive entertainment, a traditional Turkey dinner and all-day Thanksgiving football displayed on multiple large screens in the sports bar. Kids ages 3-11 can participate in a special Turkey Day cooking class and a Thanksgiving Day costume parade and show. A Thanksgiving scavenger hunt, flash mob and party will take place for children ages 12-17. Prices start at $379.

Hanukkah – Dec. 13th departure to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas:

For those celebrating Hanukkah, MSC Divina will host a nightly Menorah lighting as well as serve traditional Hanukkah foods. Special kosher meals can also be ordered in advance. Prices start at $329.

Christmas – Dec. 20th departure to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas:

During Christmas MSC Divina will be decked out in the best traditional trimmings, with sparkling lights, shimmering decorations and festive Christmas trees. Guests will enjoy traditional Christmas carols, a visit by Santa Claus who will present a gift to every child on board, and special Christmas menus honoring the culinary traditions of the holiday. In addition, kids will delight in Christmas-themed cooking classes, parades, scavenger hunts, and disco dances. A Christmas mass will also be available onboard. Prices start at $599.

Bookings made by Oct. 31, 2014 qualify for the line’s National Cruise Vacation Month deal, which includes balcony staterooms at ocean view rates for select sailings in both the Caribbean and Mediterranean, plus kids aged 11  and under sail free. MSC Cruises is also offering a complimentary drink package on these select sailings for those who upgrade to MSC Cruises’ new “Fantastica experience.” Finally, bookings made before the end of the month will qualify for pre-paid gratuities for all MSC Divina seven-night Caribbean sailings between now and December 13, 2014.

For more information, visit www.msccruisesusa.com.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruise sales, gallery

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle Dash Sale is back!

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 21 - 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle Dash Sale is back by popular demand, offering exceptional savings on select sailings of three days or longer. Guests who book a Norwegian cruise vacation from Tuesday, October 21 through Friday, October 24, 2014, can enjoy reduced deposits and up to $500 in onboard credit* on Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway or Pride of America sailings and up to $250 in onboard credit to spend on other select ship sailings.

Vacationers looking to cruise around the majestic state of Hawaii can do so aboard the recently-refurbished Pride of America. This port-packed itinerary gives guests the opportunity to explore the islands of Hawaii on seven-day inter-island cruises, year-round from Honolulu. Offering nearly 100 hours of port time, Pride of America visits Hawaii’s four main islands, including an overnight in Kahului, Maui; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kauai; stops in Hilo, Hawaii and Kona, Hawaii; as well as an afternoon cruise by the spectacular Nãpali Coast, with fares starting at $1,049**.

Guests can cruise aboard Miami’s Ultimate Ship, Norwegian Getaway, as she sails seven-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean from her year-round homeport of Miami, Florida. The line’s newest ship visits 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 $419**.

Norwegian Breakaway, the ship that brings the best of NYC to Sea, sails from the Big Apple on seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises from now through April 19, 2015 to Orlando & the Beaches (Port Canaveral), Florida; Norwegian’s private island Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas, with fares starting at $429**. Starting April 26, 2015, Norwegian Breakaway will sail seven-day cruises to Bermuda through October 18, 2015, offering guests three full days to explore King’s Wharf, Bermuda and unwind on the island’s famous pink sand beaches, with fares starting at $759**.

To book a cruise during Norwegian’s Freestyle Dash sale 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 Blog, cruise sales, gallery