Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam to debut new innovations

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On November - 12 - 2014

When Holland America Line welcomes ms Koningsdam to the fleet in February 2016, the ship will debut a new era in design approach for the line. As the first ship in the Pinnacle class, the 2,650-guest ship will have an interior that blends a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line’s renowned classic elegance. Future guests, travel agents and ship fans can now get the first look at select interior renderings on Holland America Line’s website,

MS-KoningsdamThe story of the ship will unfold online over the coming months through vibrant renderings, engaging videos, ship facts and more details about the interiors created by Adam D. Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten.  “When guests come aboard ms Koningsdam they’ll know they’re on a Holland America Line ship, but they’ll see we’re taking a forward-thinking approach to many of the design elements,” said Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group. “Revealing the first renderings and video of ms Koningsdam enables us to give future guests an advance look at the stunning interiors and over the coming months will reveal innovative new features along with our classics hallmarks that will create a cruise experience for the travelers of tomorrow.”

At the helm of the interior conceptualization is Tihany, regarded as one of the world’s pre-eminent hospitality designers. A leader in creating luxurious and creative interiors at some of the world’s most iconic properties, Tihany has approached ms Koningsdam with an eye toward creating public spaces that reflect the tradition and signature elegance for which Holland America Line is known, while elevating the design to strike a more modern balance of past, present and future.

Focusing on fluid curves and graceful lines, light-filled spaces and the natural flow of public areas, Tihany’s metaphorical approach to the interiors of ms Koningsdam was inspired by the “architecture of music.”  “The idea was to tell a story that guests can connect with throughout their voyage,” said Tihany. “I was inspired by the thought of what you might see from the inside of a musical instrument, what the architecture of the surfaces and the geometry look like.” Key to his concept is utilizing visual interaction, where guests actively engage with the architecture rather than passively moving through it. “The design isn’t a literal translation of music, but a conceptual approach where we seek to evoke the feeling and beauty of an instrument with graceful lines, dramatic textures, lighting effects and use of materials,” said Tihany. “My inspirations were not only instruments, but also majestic spaces and exaggerating the feeling of height, so guests feel the grandeur of every room.”

For example, at the heart of the ship Tihany is creating visual drama with the central atrium. Soaring three decks high, the space is graced by an airy stainless-steel sculpture that represents the synthesis of a string quartet. Like music, the experience changes as guests move around and through it, so no two perspectives are the same. The atrium is capped by a ceiling “skylight” that serves as a backdrop for subtly changing high-definition projections. Guests will look up by day and see wispy cirrus clouds floating in an azure sky or perhaps soothing images of light in water. By evening, the atrium takes on dramatic lighting hues or reflects the starlit constellations of the night sky.

Hallmark Venues Reimagined with A Fresh Approach
The main Dining Room aboard ms Koningsdam will span two floors and be framed by views of the sea. A bright interior will be inspired by a modern, global design and sets the stage for the exceptional culinary experience to come. Strong, curved architectural pillars will accentuate the soaring ceiling. Chic, custom furnishings and modern glass lighting are being fabricated especially for the ship. The centerpiece is a curved copper sheath surrounding a two-story wine tower showcasing an impressive selection.

The iconic Queen’s Lounge has been completely reimagined as an elegant theater and entertainment venue that spans two floors. Tihany once again drew inspiration for the space from music, nodding to the sensual curves of a violin and featuring extensive use of wood, fluid waveforms and light. With state-of-the-art technology, the Queen’s Lounge will showcase world-class musicians and the largest dance floor on the ship.

Architect and Designer Bjørn Storbraaten Joins Tihany in Blending Contemporary Styling with Brand Hallmarks

Architect and designer Bjørn Storbraaten joins Tihany in bringing the ship to life in a familiar yet innovative style. With his previous work on ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam, Storbraaten adds continuity of the brand to ms Koningsdam, while taking elegance to the next level.

“It’s been fascinating to work on ms Koningsdam where we are introducing design elements never before seen on Holland America Line,” said Storbraaten. “We were tasked with evolving the look and feel of the ship while keeping it true to the brand, making this an exciting and rewarding project.”

Storbraaten’s hand is clearly present in the design of the central pool area. The Magrodome, which typically is a single level on Holland America Line ships, has been expanded to two levels to create a vast glass-enclosed space. The lower level will have more traditional poolside elements, while the mezzanine level will be a new concept for the brand. In addition to other areas, Storbraaten is designing the exotic look of Tamarind, the line’s Pan-Asian restaurant that emphasizes nature’s basic elements: water, wood, fire and earth.

Across the ship, Tihany and Storbraaten are working together to make ms Koningsdam an evolution of the Holland America Line brand.

Over the coming months, even more innovative features and detailed renderings of ms Koningsdam will be released on the company’s website. Early season premier itineraries will be revealed in the coming weeks, in advance of these first ms Koningsdam sailings opening for booking on Dec. 1.

For more information about ms Koningsdam and Holland America Line, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Princess Cruises offers up to two-for-one savings during the Winter Clearance Sale

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On November - 11 - 2014

Princess Cruises is giving guests the chance to escape the winter chill with special savings and up to two-for-one cruise fares on over 50 cruise vacations to popular warm weather destinations around the world.

In addition to clearance cruise deals, guests can secure their stateroom with only a $100 per person non-refundable deposit. The sale runs November 11 through December 2.

Examples of Winter Clearance Sale cruise deals include:

  • Caribbean cruise — 7 days; $399 interior, $599 balcony
  • Mexico cruise — 7 and 10 days; $449 interior, $699 balcony
  • Panama Canal cruise — 11 days; $1,099 interior, $1,799 balcony
  • South America cruise — 17 days; $1,400 interior, $2,199 balcony
  • Grand Asia cruise — 19 or 20 days; $1,999 interior, $3,199 balcony

More information about the “Winter Clearance Sale” can be found at

All cruise prices are per person based on double occupancy. The “Winter Clearance Sale” begins at 12:01 a.m. PST on November 11 and runs through 11:59 p.m. PST on December 2, 2014 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Additional cruise deals can be found at

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at

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Live ‘Tweets’ from Regal Princess’ christening with ‘The Love Boat’ cast

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On November - 5 - 2014


ExpertCruiser will be onboard Princess Cruises brand new Regal Princess for the next four days as the ship is christened in Fort Lauderdale. Princess is having the original cast of the popular 70′s and 80′s televison show “The Love Boat” to serve as Regal’s godparents. The original cast members include: Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher the ship’s purser), Ted Lange (Issac the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc aka ship’s doctor), Lauren Tewes (Julie the cruise director) and Jill Whelan (captain Stubing’s daughter Vicki).

Regal Princess’s naming ceremony will be hosted by Tori Spelling, daughter of series creator Aaron Spelling. In addition to the original cast various guest stars of the show will be there from Florence Henderson to Charo (Goochie! Goochie!) The celebration kick’s off Princess Cruises 50th anniversary in 2015!

Follow on Twitter @ExpertCruiser and @PrincessCruises hashtags #RegalPrincess #frananddavidwedding  Also, follow ExpertCruiser on Instagram!

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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.

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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

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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

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