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Archive for January, 2015


Norwegian launches Freestyle Choice Plus offering choice of upgrades and more

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 30 - 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line is taking its best Wave Season offer to the next level with Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus, bringing guests more ways to enhance their dream cruise vacation, with up to $3,500 in added value.  Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus builds on the popular Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, and gives those who book a new three-day or longer cruise vacation from February 1through February 28, 2015 the option to choose from up to four special offers†– a free Ultimate Dining Package, a free Ultimate Beverage Package, up to $300 in onboard spending money and the recently added Friends, Family & Kids Sail Free on select sailings, where the third through eighth guest in each stateroom sails for free.

During Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus, guests who book inside staterooms can choose either Friends, Family & Kids Sail Free or opt for onboard credit. Cruisers who book any destination in an oceanview stateroom or higher can choose one offer. Guests who book a cruise vacation in Europe or Hawai’i* in an oceanview stateroom or higher can choose any two offers. Norwegian guests who book a suite or The Haven by Norwegian™ will receive all four offers, valued at up to $3,500.

Those who enjoy traveling in large groups can invite all of their loved ones on their cruise vacation during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus and opt for Friends, Family & Kids Sail Free, where the third through eighth guest in each stateroom sails for free. Foodies have the incredible opportunity to indulge in a different specialty restaurant every night of their cruise during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus with the Ultimate Dining Package, which provides guests with the option to dine at any of the brand’s signature specialty restaurants, whether they wish to enjoy Certified Angus Beef and truffle fries at Cagney’s Steakhouse or savor the finest crème brûlée at Le Bistro and beyond. Guests who choose the Ultimate Beverage Package* during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus can enjoy their favorite wine, beer and cocktails throughout their entire cruise. Or, those who prefer to indulge in anything their heart may desire onboard including spa treatments, shore excursions, gifts and more will receive up to $300 in onboard spending money with Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus.

Norwegian’s 13 purpose-built Freestyle ships allow guests the freedom and flexibility to do as much or as little as they’d like while cruising some of the most sought-after destinations around the globe.

Norwegian Epic will arrive in her new homeport of Barcelona on April 30, 2015 and begin sailing a seven-day Western Mediterranean itinerary for the summer from May 3 through September 13. Guests can embark on a cultural quest with stops in history-rich ports like Rome and Florence, Italy; and marvel in picturesque ports like Cannes, France and Majorca, Spain. Fares start at $749**.

Thrill-seekers can pack up their sense of adventure and explore the stunning coastline of Alaska on board one of Norwegian’s three modern ships: Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Jewel or Norwegian Pearl—the youngest fleet cruising to Alaska.  Guests can head deep into the frozen wilderness,  gaze out to spectacular scenery and breathtaking glaciers or take an exhilarating dog sledding tour and so much more, with fares starting at $499**.

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 $449**.

To book a cruise during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus, 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.


Seabourn names new ships Seabourn Encoure and Seabourn Ovation

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 29 - 2015

The award-winning ultra-luxury, small ship cruise line Seabourn has unveiled the names of its two new ships, both inspired by its current fleet. Announcing Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation – the first will launch in late 2016 and the second in spring 2018.

The line has revealed renderings and updates about Seabourn Encore via a new dedicated microsite: http://encore.seabourn.com. Filled with imagery, details and news on the ship’s progress, including “sunsets until launch,” the microsite offers an inside look at Seabourn’s stunning new ultra-luxury ship. Additional details, news and images will be revealed on the site on an ongoing basis.

seabourn-encore

Expanding on the line’s popular and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will build on the success of the Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. This award-winning class of ships revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line’s high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service by close to one staff member for each guest on board. With the addition of the two new ships, Seabourn will have the youngest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will applaud the current fleet in both vessel design and guest experience,” said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. “Both words, Encore and Ovation, pay tribute to the tremendous success and outstanding accomplishments our current ships have achieved. They are perfect names to celebrate Seabourn’s expanding fleet.”

Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will be configured with one additional deck, newly expanded public areas, and modern design elements and innovations consistent with Seabourn’s reputation for understated elegance. The new 40,350-GRT vessels are expected to carry 604 guests each, based on double occupancy, and every suite will feature a private veranda.

Hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany has signed on to design both Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation in their entirety, drawing inspiration from the line’s rich history and yachting heritage. He will design all indoor and outdoor guest areas, including the multiple dining venues, The Spa at Seabourn, showrooms, casino and lounges, outdoor deck areas, and the popular Seabourn Square, the social hub of the ship with a club-like ambiance.

Seabourn offers key elements that set the cruise line apart: thoughtfully appointed all-suite accommodations, most with verandas; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary open bars throughout the ship; complimentary fine wines poured at lunch and dinner; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board. The ships travel the globe throughout the year, sailing to many of the world’s most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and lesser-known ports and hideaways.

For more details about the award-winning Seabourn fleet, or to explore the worldwide selection of Seabourn cruising options, contact a professional travel advisor, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit www.seabourn.com.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, gallery, new ships

Carnival Vista is bigger, badder and Euro bound

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 23 - 2015

There’s big fun and spectacular views on the horizon, as Carnival Cruise Line today announced the details of its most innovative ship ever, Carnival Vista, debuting in spring 2016.   Designed to connect guests to the ocean with sweeping views and plenty to do both outdoors and in, Carnival Vista will take cruising to new heights and introduce an exciting array of groundbreaking new features including: SkyRide, a breakthrough suspended open-air cycling experience; the world’s first IMAX® Theatre on a ship; an expanded water park featuring the colorful Kaleid-O-Slide, the line’s first raft-riding water tube slide; Seafood Shack, a delectable New England-inspired eatery; RedFrog Pub, including the line’s first onboard brewery, and other enhanced dining, bar and entertainment options; as well as new scenic and family-friendly accommodation types. The ship’s inaugural Mediterranean itineraries will mark the line’s return to Europe.

High-Powered Outdoor Fun

With SkyRide, the cruise industry’s first pedal-powered open-air aerial attraction, Carnival is creating some of the best and highest outdoor vistas ever offered on a cruise ship.  Adventurous riders can climb aboard hanging recumbent-like bikes to cycle their way around the 800-foot suspended track with panoramic views from 150 feet above the sea. Nearby will be SkyCourse, an exhilarating suspended ropes course.  Both are part of the expanded outdoor activity park that also includes a new indoor sports hangout, The Clubhouse at SportSquare¸ featuring mini-bowling, ping-pong, arcade basketball, sports video gaming and more.

In the largest WaterWorks water park in the fleet, kids and kids at heart will find a thrilling array of splash-tastic fun including Kaleid-O-Slide, the line’s first-ever water tube attraction. Riders will hop on inflatable one or two-person rafts taking them on a fun-filled    455-foot adventure of exhilarating twists and turns with stunning kaleidoscopic visual effects.

Big-Time Entertainment at the Multiplex

Carnival Vista’s views are truly spectacular inside, too. Carnival is partnering with entertainment innovator IMAX® (NYSE: IMAX) to bring the world’s most immersive   cinematic experience to sea with the first-ever IMAX® Theatre on a ship. Guests will take in the latest Hollywood blockbusters, IMAX classics and IMAX documentary content on a screen that’s three decks high. Next door at the Thrill Theater, moviegoers can enjoy a multi-dimensional special effects experience.  Both are part of the Carnival Multiplex, a first at sea for film fans, complete with concession stand offering popcorn and movie snacks. The Warehouse, featuring a variety of video and arcade games, is located adjacent to the Carnival Multiplex.

Fresh New Dining & Bar Options

Featured on Carnival Vista and a first for the fleet will be the New England-inspired Seafood Shack, a casual indoor/outdoor dining venue near the Lido Marketplace eateries. This seafood-lovers’ paradise will feature a menu full of delicious, fresh favorites available for purchase, including lobster rolls, steamed lobster, fried shrimp, crab cakes, fried clams and more.

At the RedFrog Pub, Carnival will brew up great beer for good times in its first ever brewery. During each sailing two giant copper-topped glass kettles will create tasty ales and lagers that can be enjoyed on tap from the bar and through unique tabletop taps that allow guests to pour their own beer. The full bar will also offer an array of Caribbean-inspired cocktails, beers and rums. Indoor/outdoor seating, live music and brewing tours and tastings will also be offered in this fun venue.

Carnival is expanding the line’s popular Latin-infused Havana experience inside and out on Carnival Vista. Celebrating Cuba’s gloried past, Havana Bar serves traditional cocktails and bites during the day and transforms into a sizzling Latin dance club at night. The fun also extends outdoors with a new Havana Pool located aft and offering stunning views of the ocean, whirlpools and relaxation area, complete with colorful umbrellas, faux palm trees, thatched patio huts and comfy seating, perfect for soaking up the sun while enjoying a refreshing mojito.

More Accommodation Options

Carnival Vista will offer a wide variety of well-appointed, beautifully designed staterooms and suites including two new accommodation classes. Tropics-inspired Havana Cabanas feature accommodations with private outdoor patios – complete with lounge chairs and hammock – that face the expanded Lanai ocean-air outdoor promenade and offer magnificent sea views in addition to easy access to the Havana Bar and Pool.

Located within a new dedicated family zone on Deck 2, the new Family Harbor accommodations offer an array of deluxe ocean-view, balcony and interior staterooms that accommodate up to five family members. Parents and kids will have even more room to relax at the new, exclusive Family Harbor Lounge, a secluded space designed as the ultimate family hang out with large-screen TVs, games and complimentary breakfast and snacks. A special family concierge desk will be available here to assist families in making this their best vacation ever.

“Carnival Vista celebrates the connection to the oceans on which we sail and gives our guests amazing seascapes around every corner and more ways to enjoy every moment of sun and fun during their cruise vacation,” said Mark Tamis, Carnival’s senior vice president of guest operations. “From our exhilarating new high-altitude SkyRide to the Kaleid-O-Slide water tube slide to our IMAX anchored Carnival Multiplex to the multitude of dining and bar options, we are thrilled to share the details about our largest and most innovative ship with our guests while providing our valued travel agent partners with an exciting new option to offer to their clients.”

New Meaning to Dining Out

Thanks to an expanded Lanai on Deck 5 guests can stroll or sit and enjoy a beverage at one of the many dining and bar venues that will now feature outdoor areas.

  • The line will offer its first-ever outdoor seating options at specialty eateries including Fahrenheit 555, a classic American steakhouse, and Japanese-style Bonsai Sushi restaurant where diners will enjoy sea views as delicious as their meals.  Cherry on Top will be the sweetest spot at sea, with a new premium mixed-to-order custom ice cream creation bar, outdoor seating and more than 80 bulk candy options.
  • The intimate Library Bar will also offer guests indoor/outdoor options, in addition to the hoppin’ RedFrog Pub and stylish Havana Bar.

Carnival Vista

Vacationers will find Fun Ship 2.0 favorite poolside eateries and bars including Guy’s Burger Joint, award-winning burgers and hand-cut fries created by chef and author Guy Fieri, and BlueIguana Cantina, featuring freshly made tacos and burritos. Poolside bars BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar will also provide innovative cocktail options, as will the mixologists at the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar.

The ship’s main dining rooms, Reflections and Horizons, offer a tantalizing array of delicious menu items for guests who want to enjoy a full-service breakfast, lunch or dinner. The striking modern interiors created by award-winning designer BigTime Design Studios offer decidedly different décor than previous Carnival ships. The Horizons dining room will also feature a unique bar that’s the perfect spot for meeting friends and enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail or an after-meal aperitif.

The beautiful Vista Atrium will set a festive mood with its giant, multi-deck-high centerpiece that will delight guests with its LED screens and changing visuals to create the right atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to welcome guests boarding the ship, meet friends at the bar or enjoy live entertainment and dancing. 

Relax and Recharge

For those looking to unwind and relax, Carnival Vista has a lot to ahhh about. The luxurious two-level Cloud 9 Spa will feature an array of chill-worthy amenities, including a thalassotherapy pool, four steam chambers, the line’s first infrared sauna and hamam, and special “experience showers” that provide a soothing fragrance element, along with a high-tech indoor cycling studio. Guests can get away from it all at the adults-only Serenity retreat, where there’s breathtaking views, tranquility and even more lounging options to relax including the line’s first outdoor massage huts.

Family Fun for All

As the family cruise leader, carrying more than 700,000 children on board each year, the company designed Carnival Vista with even more fun for families day and night.

  • The indoor/outdoor Camp Ocean for children under age 12 is a dedicated undersea-themed play space with more than 200 fun and educational ocean-inspired activities.
  • Carnival Vista will be the second ship in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss Bookville, a special reading and play space inspired by the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. Here kids and their families can read beloved Dr. Seuss books, make arts and crafts and stretch their imagination with toys and games. Also part of the line’s Seuss at Sea program, Carnival Vista guests can enjoy Green Eggs and Ham with The Cat in the Hat and Friends character breakfast, the Seuss-a-palooza Story Time and Parade and more.
  • Carnival Vista will also introduce four new games at the family-centric HASBRO the Game Show, as well as special family-friendly comedy performances at Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez. 

Carnival’s Return to Europe

The largest ship in the fleet, Carnival Vista will measure 133,500 tons, 1,055 feet long and have a guest capacity of 3,936 (based on two per cabin). The new vessel will debut May 1, 2016, with a 13-day cruise departing from Trieste, Italy — the first European voyage for Carnival in three years. A variety of spectacular Mediterranean itineraries will be offered with port calls throughout Italy, France, Spain, Croatia and Turkey, as well as several new destinations for Carnival such as Crete (Heraklion), and Corfu, Greece; Valletta, Malta; Palermo, Sicily; Cagliari, Sardinia; and Gibraltar. On October 21, 2016, Carnival Vista will embark on a special 13-day transatlantic crossing and arrive in New York November 3, 2016, then operate a series of voyages from the Big Apple. Carnival Vista’s European cruises are currently available for reservations.  Additional information on the New York departures will be available next month.

Cruise fans, those new to cruising and travel partners can get a preview of Carnival Vista at www.carnival.com/carnivalvista or follow @CarnivalVista for regular Twitter updates.

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

Filled Under Blog, gallery, new ships

Disney Cruise Line launches ‘Frozen’ at sea!

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 23 - 2015

Beginning in summer 2015, Disney Cruise Line guests can immerse themselves in the animated hit “Frozen” with brand-new experiences inspired by the film, including a spectacular deck party, a three-song stage show production number, new character meet and greets, storybook adventures ashore and more.

Land of  Frozen Coming to Disney Cruise Line in Summer 2015

A Day of Frozen Fun, Including New Deck Party

Debuting this summer, on select Disney Magic and Disney Wonder sailings to Europe and Alaska, Disney Cruise Line guests are transported to the land of “Frozen” when the ship is transformed into a winter wonderland and a day of frozen fun culminates with an extravagant celebration with friends from the Kingdom of Arendelle.

New Production Number in “Disney Dreams”

This summer, friends from “Frozen” are making their stage show debut at sea in the Walt Disney Theatre aboard the Disney Magic. In the Disney Cruise Line original production, “Disney Dreams … An Enchanted Classic,” Anna, Elsa and Olaf join the line up of beloved Disney characters who together teach a young girl the power of her dreams.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, gallery

MSC Cruises launches interactive mobile app

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 23 - 2015

MSC Cruises has launched a new, interactive, mobile app for iOS and Android devices that allows vacationers to easily explore the fleet’s 12 ultramodern ships and the multiple destinations visited around the world.  

The official MSC Cruises app, which is free to download from the App Store and Google Play, is packed with easy to use functions, tips and information, from finding the perfect itinerary and shore excursions to 360 degree virtual ship tours in which users can view actual staterooms, restaurants, lounges, pool decks, the theatre and spa.

“As MSC continues to grow in the North American market, it’s critical that vacationers can quickly and easily get a sense of the overall MSC Cruises’ experience across our 12 ship fleet,” said Ken Muskat, executive vice president of sales, PR and guest services for MSC Cruises USA. “The new app is the perfect tool to help potential guests discover MSC Cruises and our huge range of cruise offerings.”

Key functions of the MSC Cruises’ app include:

  • View hundreds of MSC Cruises’ worldwide itineraries and info about the destinations and ports visited.
  • Find all the latest cruise deals and news from MSC Cruises.
  • Take virtual tours of the 12 ships in the fleet including staterooms, restaurants, public lounges and sun decks.
  • Watch live onboard webcam feeds from each ship (including the view from the bridge).
  • Save “favorite” cruises of interest so that they can easily be viewed later.
  • Track the fleet in real time through a global positioning feature.

The launch of the MSC Cruises’ App is the first phase of a strategic effort by MSC to enhance the overall user experience. Throughout the year, MSC will introduce improved consumer and travel agent platforms, ultimately resulting in more consumers engaging with MSC and exploring the line’s diverse cruise offerings and travel agents having the tools to better sell and promote MSC.

For more information on MSC Cruises’ App, visit http://www.msccruisesusa.com/us_en/Multimedia/New-MSC-Cruises-App.aspx

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews

Cunard introduces The Grills Suites Inclusive Package offering vast amenities

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On January - 21 - 2015

To celebrate Cunard Line’s 175th Anniversary and the storied Queens Grill and Princess Grill Suites  tradition, the company announces The Grills Suites Inclusive Package, featuring an array of complimentary amenities, elevating what is already an unsurpassed level of elegance at sea aboard flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.  The Grills Suites Inclusive Package is available for bookings made now through 28 February 2015.  Grills passengers will enjoy a number of complimentary services and amenities such as a wine package, Internet minutes, a keepsake photo, a specialty coffee card, gratuities and an alternative dining credit. Britannia guests sailing in Inside, Oceanview and Balcony staterooms will also have something to celebrate with a 175th Celebration Package offering complimentary Balcony upgrades and Onboard Credit.

The Grills tradition began on the original Queen Mary in 1936 when guests paid an extra tariff for an evening of dining and dancing in the sophisticated Verandah Grill.  The extra amenity touches proved so popular that Queen Elizabeth 2 continued the concept with the Grill Room.

Today, the iconic Grills experience continues aboard Cunard’s current fleet of Queens, providing passengers with deluxe suite accommodations and the opportunity to unwind in the sublime comfort of intimate, sophisticated spaces reserved exclusively for them.  Once onboard, Grills guests discover fresh strawberries and a bottle of wine or champagne chilling in their suites.  As they toast their voyage, a special concierge is available to orchestrate arrangements.  For Queens Grill guests, a friendly yet formal butler is on hand to assist with every need, from unpacking to serving nightly canapés.  Dining is equally seamless and refined as Grills Suites guests enjoy single seating, exemplary White Star Service, and the freedom to order personalised, one-of-a-kind meals in the world-renowned Queens Grill or Princess Grill restaurants.

Now, with The Grills Suites Inclusive Package, Grills guests can indulge in an array of complimentary services for an even more carefree voyage.  In 2015 (excluding World Voyages), Grills Suite staterooms (Q1 – P2) will include the following:

  • Onboard Credit:  Grills guests will receive an Onboard Credit of $60 per stateroom ($30 per person) per day.
  • The Captain’s Wine Collection:  Grills guests will receive four select bottles of wine per stateroom for voyages of 13-days or less, six select bottles of wine per stateroom for voyages of 14-20 days, and nine select bottles of wine per stateroom for voyages of 21-days or more.
  • Alternative Dining Credit:  Grills guests will receive a dining credit of $70 per stateroom for Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth voyages, or $48 per stateroom for Queen Victoria voyages.
  • Complimentary Gratuities:  The suggested daily amount of $13.50 per person for Grills Suites will be credited.
  • Keepsake Photo:  Grills guests will receive up to two 8” x 10” professional portraits per stateroom.
  • Internet Minutes:  Grills guests will receive 120, 240, or 480 minutes per person based on voyage length.  Voyages of 13-days or less, 120 internet minutes per person; voyages of 14-20 days, 240 internet minutes per person; voyages of 21-days or more, 480 internet minutes per person.
  • Specialty Coffee Card:  Grills guests will receive up to two specialty coffee cards per stateroom.

For Britannia guests, the 175th Celebration Package offers special complimentary Balcony upgrades, Onboard Credit and a reduced, refundable deposit on all three Cunard Queens. For Europe voyages, the offer features Complimentary Double Upgrades from Inside to Balcony stateroom; up to $300 Onboard Credit per stateroom; and a reduced, refundable deposit of $175 per person. For Transatlantic Crossings, New England & Canada and Caribbean voyages, the offer features Complimentary Upgrades from Oceanview to Balcony staterooms; up to $200 Onboard Credit per stateroom; and a reduced, refundable deposit of $175 per person. Inside fares start at $999.  Free Gratuities on select 14-day Mediterranean, 5-day New England & Canada and 13-day Caribbean.

The Grills Suites Inclusive Package and the 175th Celebration Package are applicable to most sailings from 3 May 2015 to 3 January 2016.  The packages can be booked with the following promotional codes: R2G/R3G and Z2G for The Grills Suites Inclusive Package and R2W/R3W for the 175th Celebration Package.

These offers apply to new bookings only on select Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth voyages. For more details, click here.

For more information about Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth and to book a voyage, contact your Travel Consultant, call Cunard toll free at 1-800-728-6273, or visit www.cunard.com.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruise sales, cruisenews