Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category


More Freestyle Fun! Norwegian orders two new ships

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On July - 14 - 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GmbH of Germany to build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and the fourth quarter 2019. Each ship will be 164,600 gross tons and include 4,200 passenger berths.

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game-changers and are extremely popular with our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “It was only natural that we build on their success with this new ship order that further solidifies our long-term growth strategy.”

norwegianbreakawayplusThe contract price for both ships is approximately euro 1.6 billion. The Company has export credit financing in place for each ship, arranged and underwritten by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH of Germany. “We are thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Line has the continued confidence in MEYER WERFT to expand their fleet,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT.  “We are very proud of our longstanding relationship with Norwegian.”

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise vacation on their own terms, including multiple dining venues, relaxed attire, a variety of accommodations and world-class entertainment.  The Company took Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Norwegian Epic in June 2010 and subsequently launched two game-changing vessels, Norwegian Breakaway based in New York in May 2013 and Norwegian Getaway homeported in Miami in February 2014.  These ships incorporate groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that create a whole new complex at sea and connect guests with the ocean.

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

Filled Under Blog, gallery

Ooh La La Seabourn offers Best of Riviera Food & Wine Cruise

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On July - 9 - 2014

Seabourn is pulling out all the stops to create a rare epicurean themed cruise aboard Seabourn Sojourn. Guests aboard the 11-day “Best of the Riviera Food & Wine Cruise” will visit some of Europe’s most appealing food and wine regions, enjoying daily special culinary events, “Shopping with the Chef” excursions in local markets, cooking demonstrations by celebrity guest chefs, tastings of local specialties and more. The culinary voyage will depart October 30, 2014 from Monte Carlo and sail the French and Italian Rivieras to Rome.

“Seabourn is synonymous with fine dining and superb cuisine that delights guests on every voyage,” said John Delaney, Seabourn’s senior vice president of marketing and sales. “It only made sense to create this special epicurean cruise to showcase our culinary strengths in one of the most popular and revered food and wine regions in the world.”

Two celebrity guest chefs from the region will accompany the cruise, providing cooking demonstrations and menus for guests on board:

  • Raised in Provence and schooled in Marseille, French Chef Patrice Olivon brought the skills he learned in Southern France to Washington D. C., where he cooked at the French Embassy, the White House and at Camp David for special occasions. He is program director of Culinary Arts at the prestigious L’Academie de Cuisine and a popular instructor and presenter.
  • After training and staging in some of Italy’s best kitchens, Italian Chef Alfio Longo has traveled the world learning and practicing his craft at fine dining restaurants and in private service in New York, as well as the Dominican Republic, China and Turkey. He is currently the Executive Chef at Osteria del Circo in New York operated by Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque International group.

SeabournsmThe “Best of the Riviera Food & Wine Cruise” will be packed with culinary events such as expanded “Shopping with the Chef” trips in local markets in Marseille, France; Livorno and Messina, Italy; festive epicurean deck events and gala luncheons; and local specialties and regional flavors featured on menus throughout the voyage. Seabourn Sojourn’s onboard culinary staff will also be augmented by the company’s award-winning team of corporate executive chefs and wine experts. Seabourn has also created optional custom food and wine excursions at each of the Mediterranean ports of call: Marseille, St. Tropez and Ajaccio on Corsica in France; Santa Margherita Ligure, Messina (Taormina) and Sorrento in Italy and Valletta, Malta, plus an overnight stay at Livorno and two full days to explore Florence, Pisa, Lucca and the culinary delights of Tuscany.

To see additional details about the “Best of the Riviera Food & Wine Cruise,” please click here.

For more information or reservations on Seabourn’s “Best of the Riviera Food & Wine Cruise,” 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

Starting in 2015, all Windstar Cruises’ itineraries will feature a spectacular onshore Private Event, created exclusively for Windstar guests. These complimentary events are crafted to give guests an in depth and authentic local experience that compliments their voyage. Private Events include activities such as an after-hours tour and dinner under the stars in the magnificent Celsus Library of Ephesus or a private ballet performance in the famed Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theatre.

“We curated these Private Events with the local experience in mind. Our product managers toured the regions sampling cuisines, talking to locals, visiting the UNESCO sites to create the best experience possible,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “Our guests gain an even deeper involvement into the local culture.”

imageWindstar débuted its first exclusive Private Event on its Dreams of Tahiti voyage in May. The event, included on all 2014 sailings through the South Pacific, features an evening of entertainment with music and a dazzling performance by local fire dancers on a secluded island or “motu.” The evening also includes a dinner of local Tahitian cuisine with tender suckling pig slowly steamed in a traditional ”ahima’a” earth oven.

New Private Events featured on 2015 voyages:

Asia

  • Phuket: A Feast for the Senses: Featured on the Singapore & the Malay Peninsula voyage, guests will start the evening with a performance by local dancers and a Long Drum Parade, followed by dinner at the award-winning restaurant, Sala Bua (Pavilion of Lotus), overlooking the Andaman Sea, and a private performance of graceful Thai dance.
  • Hoi An: Dreams of Floating Lanterns: Featured on the Treasures of Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia Unveiled, and Southeast Asia Unveiled & Angkor Wat Cruisetour voyages, guests will start the evening with a private performance of lion dancers, before dining in the beautiful Nam Long restaurant surrounded by lush gardens on the Thu Bon River. Floating lanterns gliding down the river accompanied by traditional music and dancers will add to the enchantment of the evening. Guests will also have the opportunity to take part in interactive workshops of Vietnamese letter drawing, lantern-making, and wood-engraving.

Arabia

  • Luxor: Temples and Tombs on the Nile: Featured on the Wonders of Arabia and Wonders of Civilization Cruisetour voyages, guests will travel to Luxor for a two-day tour of the Luxor Temple that includes an evening showing of the Sound and Light display at Karnak Temple, and a one-night hotel stay in the Hilton Luxor. On the second day of the tour, guests will explore the Valley of the Kings – the most important archaeological site in the world that features the tombs of King Tutankhamun and Ramses IV – followed by lunch aboard a felucca, a traditional sailboat, as they float down the Nile.

Greek Isles, Turkey & Black Sea

  • Rhodes: The Tantalizing Tastes of Greece: Featured on the Greek Isles & Turkish Delights (Athens to Istanbul) voyage, guests will be wined and dined at the award winning Hatzikelis Fish Taverna in Rhodes that will include a sampling of traditional and modern Greek fare and wines from the local Cair Winery, followed by an exhilarating performance by local musicians and dancers.
  • Kusadasi: Evening in Ephesus: Featured on the Greek Isles & Turkish Delights (Istanbul to Athens) and Pride of the Aegean voyages, guests will enjoy an after-hours tour of the magnificent Celsus Library of Ephesus. The evening includes a five-course, white-glove-service dinner in the courtyard of the Library serenaded by a trio from the Aegean Chamber Orchestra.
  • Odessa: Artistry in Architecture and Dance: Featured on the Black Sea Tapestry voyage, guests will enjoy an exclusive ballet performance in the Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theatre – one of the most important landmarks of Eastern Europe designed by Viennese architects F. Felner and H. Helmer. The evening also includes champagne and canapés served during intermission, and a chance sighting of the famed ghost of Pavlova.

Caribbean & Panama Canal

  • Prickly Pear Beach: Island Beach Party: Featured on the Yachtsman’s Caribbean Voyage the event includes a day of relaxation and fun on Prickly Pear Beach, a secluded and uninhabited nature refuge in the British Virgin Islands. Activities include water skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, friendly games of beach volleyball, horseshoes, and bocce ball, and a lunch of freshly grilled local seafood.
  • Mayreau: Private Beach Getaway: Featured on the Jewels of the Windward Islands voyage, this Private Event includes a day in paradise on the small island of Mayreau. Guests will enjoy music and a Mixology Class to learn how to make favorite local drinks, in addition to an amazing lunch of fresh local food.
  • St. Lucia: Getaway in Paradise: Featured on the Classic Caribbean voyage, guests will spend a day of fun and adventure on a secluded beach on Pigeon Island, where the bar is open and the steel drums are playing. Guests can take part in an escorted snorkeling excursion or a number of water sports. After working up an appetite, Windstar chefs will serve a dinner of local fresh fish, lobster, and the uniquely Caribbean specialty, conch.
  • Isla de Coiba: Tropical Beach Delights: Featured on the Passage Through Panama voyage, guests will have opportunity to explore the Isla de Coiba, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, accessed only by special permit. Snorkel or take a guided hiking tour through the island’s untouched natural beauty. The day will be accompanied by live music, cocktails, and a beachside lunch.

Italy

  • Messina: Taste of Sicily: Featured on the Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast voyage, the event begins with a wine tasting and tour of Vinicola Benanti, a family-run winery, followed by lunch featuring traditional Sicilian food paired with a selection of the family’s wines.
  • Monte Carlo: Glitter & Games: Featured on the Yachting the Riviera, Rivera Enchantment, and Glitter & Glam of the Riveras voyages, guests will enjoy red carpet treatment during an on deck cocktail party set against the glittering backdrop of Monte Carlo. After dinner and cocktails on board, guests will enjoy a champagne and dessert reception in the legendary Grand Casino, followed by an evening of gaming in the city.
  • Agrigento: Beauty Among the Ruins: Featured on the Sicilian Splendors voyage, guests will enjoy an exclusive tour through the Valley of Temples – one of the most important archaeological sites in the world that features ancient temples and edifices built between 510 and 430 B.C. The day will include lunch at the five-star Hotel Villa Athena.

Mediterranean

  • Giardini Naxos: Taste of Sicily: Featured on the Enchanting Greece & the Amalfi Coast voyage, the event begins with a wine tasting and tour of Vinicola Benanti, a family-run winery, followed by lunch featuring traditional Sicilian food paired with a selection of the family’s wines.
  • Mallorca: Bolero, Fandango, and Other Works of Art: Featured on the Islands of the West Med and Spanish Serenade voyages, this event features a private guided tour through the March Palace, which features a renowned works of art collection. At the end of the tour, guests will enjoy tapas on the terrace and a performance by 30 local artists featuring Mallorcan folk dances such as the bolero, the jack, the fandango, and the copeo.
  • Cádiz: Best of Breed – Andalusian Horses and Sherry: Featured on the Splendors of Southern Spain voyage, this event starts with a tour and sherry tasting at the internationally recognized González Byass Bodega. The day also includes a spectacular equestrian ballet performed at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art Foundation, followed by tapas and a sherry tasting.
  • Marrakech: Textures and Treasures: Featured on the Casablanca & the Canary Islands voyage, this event starts with a tour of the famed Majorelle Gardens, followed by a private lunch served in the heart of the exclusive Palm Groves neighborhood of Marrakech. Guests will go on to visit the holy site of Ben Youssef Madrasa – a stunning example of 16th century Moorish architecture – followed by treasure hunting in Souk Smarine. Guests will end the day in Djemaa el Fna square, where fireeaters, mime artists, snake charmers, and street musicians perform.
  • Butrint: Bronze Age to Venetians: Featured on the Venetian Passageways voyage guests will enjoy a day of exploration in Butrint, which features some of the world’s most significant and beautiful Roman ruins. The day will also include a presentation by the former director and founder of Butrint National Park, Auron Tare, followed by a cocktail reception.

Northern Europe

  • St. Petersburg: Private Reception at the Catherine Palace: Featured on the Baltic Delights voyage, this event includes an exclusive tour through the Palace led by guides and followed by a champagne reception in the Throne Room, accompanied by “Catherine the Great” herself who will take part in a Farewell Dance in the Courtyard before departing in her royal carriage.
  • Bordeaux: A Perfect Blend: Featured on the Culinary & Wine Delights of Spain & France voyage guests will enjoy a wine tasting and estate tour of the Chateau Giscours. The tour includes a French cooking class at the Halle Suzanne followed by dinner accompanied by a quartet of classical musicians.
  • Porto: Songs and Spirits of Portugal: Featured on the Gems of France & Iberia and Best of Europe’s West Coast voyages this event includes a guided tour through the historic center of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Ferreira Cellars, where guests will enjoy a glass of port accompanied by a fado performance by the national known singer, Joana Costa.
  • Nærøyfjord: Dramatic Passage: Featured in the Lands of the Midnight Sun voyage, this event includes a sailing tour of the cascading waterfalls and stunning beauty of Nærøyfjord – a UNESCO World Heritage Site rated by the National Geographic Society as the world’s number one natural heritage site in 2006. The tour will include a picnic of regional delicacies as guests enjoy the vivid scenery.
  • Ijmuiden: Swords and Dungeons: Featured on the Northern Europe Wonderlands voyage, this event includes a guided tour through Forteiland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one-of-a-kind fortress built half underground near Amsterdam. Following the day of exploration, guests will also enjoy a candlelit tapas dinner in the Koepelzaal (Dome Hall).
  • Copenhagen: An Evening with Princes and the Gods: Featured on the Spectacular Scandinavia and Scandinavian Tapestry voyages, this event includes a canal cruise through Copenhagen and a tour through The National Museum, closed to the public for Windstar’s exclusive use. The tour will also feature a classic Danish smorgasbord paired with local beverages.
  • SAIL Amsterdam: Parade Of Tall Ships: Featured on the Windmills & Tall Sails voyage, guests will have deck-side seats to one of the world’s largest sailing parades on board Wind Surf. Enjoy a lunch and cocktails as the yacht sails with hundreds of sailing heritage craft, modern and naval ships, and historical replicas during SAIL Amsterdam.
  • Culloden: Fields of the Bonnie Prince: Featured on the Gaelic Explorers voyage, guests will enjoy canapés and champagne at Fort George, during an exclusive after-hours tour with expert guides who will take guests through the history of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Highlanders loss to the Duke of Cumberland during the Battle On The Moor. The event will include the traditional military and musical performance, Beating Retreat, complete with pipes, drums, and marches.

For more information visit Windstar’s website.

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

Filled Under Blog

Breaking: Carnival bans smoking on all balconies starting October 9

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On July - 8 - 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines quietly rolled out its new non-smoking policy today to their travel agency partners and currently booked customers.  According to Carnival Cruise Lines spokesperson, Vance Gulliksen, the changes are a result of responses received by the majority of its customers.  “Effective October 9, 2014, Carnival Cruise Lines will no longer allow smoking on stateroom balconies fleetwide.  The company already prohibits smoking within staterooms.  Carnival’s updated smoking policy is consistent with most other major cruise lines.  Smoking will continue to be allowed in designated open deck areas, as well as night clubs and certain areas within the casino and casino bar.

carnivalbreezegallery

Guests who smoke in their staterooms or on their balconies will be assessed a $250 cleaning and refreshing fee on their Sail & Sign shipboard account.  Information on this fee is included in Carnival’s ticket contract. We appreciate our guests’ understanding of this modification to our smoking policy based on guest feedback.”

In addition to the smoking changes, the line will be increasing it’s daily gratuity guideline from $11.50 a day to $12.00 per day.

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

 

Filled Under Blog, gallery

Norwegian’s ‘Free for All Dash Sale’ – kids sail free and more

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On July - 8 - 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line is launching its Free for All Dash Sale, offering exceptional savings on select sailings of three days or longer. Guests who book a Norwegian cruise vacation from Tuesday, July 8 through Friday, July 11, 2014, can take advantage of the line’s popular Kids* Sail Free offer, plus receive free balcony upgrades. Additionally, guests who book a new cruise vacation can enjoy up to $250 on board credit (based on stateroom category selected) to spend fleetwide. Military, Latitudes Rewards and AARP discounts may also apply to select sailings.

Guests can extend their summer aboard Miami’s newest 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. On-board 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 create a multiplex of dining, activities and more that enhance guests’ connection with the ocean. Fares start at $529**.

Also sailing from Miami, 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 sailings between November 9, 2014 and April 19, 2015. Cruisers will explore ports of call including Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico; with fares starting at $399**.

Sailing from Houston between October 11, 2014 and April 11, 2015, the newly-refurbished Norwegian Jewel cruises to tropical Western Caribbean destinations. Guests on board can go island hopping in Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Banana Coast, Honduras. Fares start at $429**.

Cruisers looking to set sail from New Orleans can do so aboard Norwegian Dawn from November 23, 2014 through April 12, 2015. Guests can explore the history of the Mayan ruins in Cozumel, Mexico; relax on the beach in Roatan, Honduras; discover our new island destination, Harvest Caye in Belize City, Belize; and tour Costa Maya, Mexico at their own pace. Fares start at $419**.

Beginning October 5, 2014 through April 19, 2015, cruisers can set sail from the Big Apple on seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises on board Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway’s sister-ship and the ship that brings the best of NYC to Sea. Fares start at $549**.

Guests looking to cruise to beautiful Costa Maya, Mexico, can do so from Tampa aboard Norwegian Sun, starting October 26, 2014 through April 12, 2015. Additional ports of call include Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico. Fares start at $429**.

Vacationers looking to cruise around the majestic state of Hawaii can do so aboard the newly-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, this breathtaking itinerary 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 $999**.

To book a cruise during Norwegian’s Free for All Event with the special DASH offer now through July 11, 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

Hamas rocket debris lands on AIDAdiva in Israel

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On July - 8 - 2014

German cruise ship AIDAdiva found itself in the middle of the latest Israel-Palestine conflict last night when remnants from a destroyed Palestinian rocket landed on the vessel’s passenger deck.  The 2050-passenger AIDAdiva, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, was departing the Israeli port of Ashdod at 8:30 p.m. when according to a company statement “small particles” of the rocket landed on the ship. The statement also added that none of the 2,700 passengers and crew were hurt and that the ship was not damaged in the incident and would continue on its scheduled journey to Crete, Greece.  Several news reports state cruise lines with itineraries sailing in the Middle East are reassessing their ship deployment to the area following this incident.

AIDA

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

Filled Under Blog