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For the next sixteen days follow my Twitter and Instagram feed from Holland America Line’s Noordam as she sails from Sydney to Auckland. Have a question?

Tweet me or post a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer as quickly as possible.

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

Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, has been voted “Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” for 2017 by the sophisticated readers of Condé Nast Traveler. Over the past decade, the line has dominated and frequently secured the top honor in the “Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” category in the magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards.

“Condé Nast Traveler readers truly understand luxury travel and service, and we are honored to receive this incredible recognition again from this very discerning audience,” said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. “Our hardworking teams, both on the ships and ashore, take pride in delivering the ultimate ultra-luxury travel experience, and receiving this recognition speaks volumes about their dedication to delivering at a high level day in and day out.”

Earning the Condé Nast Traveler “Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” Readers’ Choice Award is a true testament to the line’s exceptional itineraries, immersive experiences, and outstanding service that continue to attract sophisticated travelers year after year.

Seabourn represents the pinnacle of ultra-luxury travel with intimate ships offering key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas and all 100% ocean front; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board. The ships travel the globe to many of the world’s most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser-known ports and hideaways.

Guests who sail on Seabourn will continue to find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction matches Seabourn. These programs include ‘An Evening with Tim Rice’, the new evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50’s and 60’s. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes. Guests will be treated to table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes, as well as a range of other favorites like premium steaks, whole roasted chicken, and Lobster Thermidor, presented à la carte.

For more details about the award-winning Seabourn fleet, or to explore the worldwide selection of Seabourn cruising options, 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, News

Silversea Cruises introduces Couture Collection for 2018

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 10 - 2017

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is introducing a new 2018 Couture Collection, an exclusive series of ocean and land adventures custom-designed for the world’s most discerning travelers. The inaugural 2018 Couture Collection is an inspired portfolio of nine pre- and post-cruise luxury land programs of five to 11 days, offering authentic and immersive travel experiences in the most remote and untouched regions of the Earth.

“Our guests are seasoned luxury travelers looking to discover the least accessible corners of our planet, where nature can still astound with its untouched beauty,” said Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea’s Executive Chairman. “The Couture Collection reveals the most exotic places, cultures and people on carefully curated journeys that feature all the extraordinary touches of comfort and luxury for which Silversea is renowned.”

Silversea’s own experience architects, drawing on the best itinerary expertise and global knowledge, have custom-crafted each element of the 2018 Couture Collection down to the smallest details. Silversea’s experts designed the inaugural collection with inspiration from Silversea guests; a survey of North American travelers, 87 percent of whom are from the United States, explored guests’ “dream destinations” and most sought-after cultural experiences.

The pre- and post-cruise Couture Collection includes exclusive amenities ranging from private helicopter service in Mongolia to vintage rail in India and Gulfstream jets in and out of Antarctica. Prices average $34,000 per guest for each five- to eleven-day adventure, with the 11-day South Pole itinerary leading the collection starting at $78,000 per guest.

The Couture Collection programs are limited to small groups and include most meals, beverages and exclusive culinary events. Guests enjoy inclusive luxury accommodations at renowned boutique hotels, lodges and private tents specifically built for these experiences. Each bespoke adventure is fully escorted. Each program provides a perfect extension to select Silversea cruises, creating an unrivaled luxury travel experience, deeper on land.

Conrad Combrink, Vice President Strategic Development Expeditions and Experiences hand crafted each of these expeditions under the watchful eye of Silversea’s Executive Chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio.

Following is a snapshot of the all-new Couture Collection programs:

Rwanda & Serengeti: Walking in the Footsteps of Giants — Come face-to-face with the power and beauty that is Africa. Explore the lush rain forests of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park while looking for the majestic mountain gorilla in an exclusive 2 day trekking experience. Go on a game drive seeking the Big Five from a custom 4×4 in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site best known for its amazing annual migration of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras. Eight days from $19,959; departures on Nov. 20 or 27; combinable with Silver Discoverer expeditions departing on Nov. 16 or 27.

 White Desert & South Pole: Standing on the Bottom of the Earth — No place on Earth can compare to the vast white desert of Antarctica. Explore spectacular ice caves and tunnels. Climb a glacial island. Photograph a remarkable colony of emperor penguins at Atka Bay. Follow in the footsteps of Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott and be among the privileged few who have reached the South Pole. Enjoy the comforts and luxury of a stay at Whichaway Camp. Fly in and out of Antarctica on a Gulfstream business jet. Eleven Days from $78,000; departure on Jan. 2; combinable with Silver Spirit’s Dec. 18, 2017 voyage.

 Namibia & Rovos Rail — Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Namibia Desert at the award-winning Little Kulala Camp in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve. Go flightseeing over the Skeleton Coast. Marvel at Sesriem Canyon. Float above enchanting desert landscapes in a hot-air balloon. From Pretoria to Cape Town, journey in luxury aboard the iconic Rovos Rail, known as The Most Luxurious Train in the World. Savor the South African scenery from a carefully restored carriage that evokes the charms of a bygone era. Six days from $11,299; departures on Jan. 8 or Mar. 14; combinable with cruises on Silver Spirit (Jan. 15) or Silver Cloud (Mar. 21).

 India: In the Path of Powerful Titans — Enjoy the luxury of private flights throughout India. Track tigers in Ranthambore wildlife reserve. Journey by vintage rail to the magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, where an elegant dinner includes stunning views of Mehrangarh, an impressive centuries-old fort. Witness the charms of the ancient city of Jaisalmer from the comfort of The Serai luxury camp. Explore majestic desert dunes on a jeep or camel safari, then sample delicacies at an elegant bush dinner. Six days from $32,799; departure on Oct. 23; combinable with Silver Muse’s Oct. 8 cruise.

 Australia: Exploring the Unforgiving and Unforgettable Outback — Enjoy private air travel to and from Darwin to experience an authentic outback adventure at the Bullo River Station, a cattle ranch tucked in the northwest corner of Australia’s Northern Territory. Explore Aboriginal rock art galleries. Cruise up the spectacular Bullo River Gorge. Discover the amazing landscape of the Bungle Bungle Range. Swim in the jade-green natural rock pools of the Cascades. Five days from $19,919; departures on Jul. 23 or 29; combinable with Silver Discoverer expeditions departing on Jul. 19 or 29.

 Iceland: Revealing the Legends of Fire and Ice — From thermal springs to glaciers, Iceland is a land of remarkable contrasts. Enjoy private helicopter travel to explore its most amazing wonders. Sip a champagne toast at the famous Godafoss Waterfall. During at stay at Deplar, a sheep farm turned luxury lodge, go kayaking, mountain biking, whale watching and more. Visit the bird-watching wonderland of Drangey Island. Lunch atop a glacier-capped volcano. Enter a man-made ice tunnel at Langjokull Glacier. Five days from $45,199; departures on Aug. 2 or 8; combinable with Silver Cloud expeditions departing on Jul. 27 or Aug. 8.

 Tibet: Standing on the Rooftop of the World — Discover some of the most amazing and isolated places on Earth. Observe morning prayers at a Buddhist nunnery. Visit Jokhang Temple, considered the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism. Witness a lively debate among monks at Sera Monastery. Unwind with a meditation class led by a monk. Picnic amid the stunning beauty of Yamdrok Yumtso Lake. Stroll through Norbulingka, the splendid former summer palace of the Dalai Lama. See the gigantic gilded statue of Maitreya Buddha at Tashilhunpo Monastery. Five days from $12,499; departures on Oct. 7 or 14; combinable with a Silver Shadow cruise departing Sep. 28 or Oct. 14.

 Mongolia: Echoes of Genghis Khan — Visit with one of the last remaining groups of reindeer herders, the Tsaatan community of Northern Mongolia. Marvel at the beauty of Lake Khuvsgul. Learn about the culture of the Kazakh people and witness their ancient tradition of hunting with golden eagles. At the Naadam Festival (Three Games of Men), observe an ancient spectacle of horse racing, archery and wrestling, valued as sports of strength, wisdom and courage. Six or seven days from $29,199; departures on May 2 or 10; combinable with a Silver Shadow cruise departing Apr. 25 or May 10.

 Bolivia: A Short Walk onto Another Universe — Stay at the bottom of ice-capped Sajama, Bolivia’s highest peak. Explore volcanoes, hot springs and 3,000-year-old plants. Visit Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, and stay in a unique luxury camp of geodesic dome tents. Discover the small village of Tahua, at the foot of the Tunupa Volcano, then hike to the cave of the Coquesa mummies and learn about their history. Relish stunning vistas on a drive through Los Flamencos nature reserve before indulging in the luxuries of the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa. Eight or ten days from $24,499; departures on Oct. 17 or 26; combinable with Silver Cloud expeditions departing on Oct. 15 or 26.

Please visit www.silverseacouture.com for additional details on the 2018 Couture Collection.

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


Windstar Cruises tells you how to swill at sea

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On June - 30 - 2017

Let’s face it: Many guests who vacation on cruise lines like to lift a pint or have a drink or cocktail while escaping the rushing, worried world. But the days of bringing your own on board or stocking up in a foreign port have changed over the years, mostly for the safety of the guests themselves. Yes, people are still trying to get that vodka on by putting it in a mouthwash container and coloring it with blue food dye, but the cruise lines are onto that trick.

And while there are many myths and misperceptions about cruising in general, there are any number about drinking on a ship.

So while others may not want to talk about this, Windstar Cruises, which says that it’s “180 degrees from ordinary” will. And why not? It’s great customer / guest service. So we asked the person in the know, Peter Tobler, the new director of marine hotel operations for Windstar Cruises. With more than 30 years of experience managing beverage operations for brands like Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as luxury lines Seabourn and Cunard, Peter shared his words of wisdom. Here are Windstar’s/Peter’s tips for finding your sea legs:

  1. Order a Bottle/Save it For Later. On many cruise lines, you can order a bottle of wine at dinner, and if you don’t finish it, have the wine steward save it for another evening. Check with your cruise line for specific rules and fees, but this is a great way to save money for light drinkers, rather than purchasing everything by the glass.
  1. Plan on Throwing Back a Few? Invest in a Beverage Package. Beverage packages vary, so make sure you purchase one that fits your needs. At Windstar, for example, our packages are now available on a per-guest basis rather than a per-cabin basis (so if one person drinks and the other does not, you only pay for the one package). We also are adjusting our packages to accommodate those who just drink wine and those who would like a more comprehensive beverage option with liquor, beer, and wine. It’s all about options, so make sure your cruise’s beverage package matches your preferences and you’re not paying for what you don’t want to sip and savor.
  1. Buy the Beverage Package Before You Get on Board. As a rule, there is no savings gained by purchasing your beverage package once onboard. In fact, sometimes it can be cheaper or even included in a special cruise rate in advance. This is really about psychology. Throwing down $10,000 to book your vacation? It’s not that big a deal to add an extra $300 to your bill for the beverage package and just be done with it. If you wait and purchase the beverage package months (or even years) later when you’re actually on your cruise, that $300 on its own suddenly seems like an unnecessary luxury. Do yourself a vacation favor and just buy it early and enjoy.
  1. Bring Your Own. A lot of cruisers don’t know you can bring a certain amount of alcohol onboard (during the first day of your cruise only) and consume it in the dining room with a corkage fee – or in your room for free. At Windstar, you can bring aboard two bottles of wine or champagne (750ml) per cabin for a seven-day voyage or three bottles for an eight-or-more-day voyage. Check with your cruise line to figure out what is allowed, but don’t try to sneak extra booze onboard. (X-rays will catch you, and it’s embarrassing.)
  1. Consider a Themed Cruise. Really into wine? Consider a designated wine cruise. (There are beer- and tequila-themed cruises, too – options abound.) At Windstar, we have an incredible food- and wine-themed voyage through France, Spain, and Portugal, which includes a variety of expert-led wine tastings and an evening in a private chateau in Bordeaux included in the cruise price.
  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Alcohol in Port, but Don’t Expect to Consume It on Board. I love visiting local wine shops and bringing home special souvenirs for friends and family. But all alcohol purchased at ports of call along your cruise route will be kept by the ship’s crew and delivered to your room the last evening of the voyage. You’ll just have to wait to pop the cork when you get home, and remember your journey with each glass.

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


Norwegian Joy christened in Shanghai

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On June - 27 - 2017

Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line’s first custom-designed ship for the Chinese cruise market, was christened today in a lavish ceremony held onboard the vessel in Shanghai that featured an over-the-top performance by the ship’s Godfather, singer songwriter, music producer, actor and film director, Wang Leehom.

At 167,725–gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy features an innovative design, world-class finishes and amenities tailored to provide a “First Class at Sea” experience for Chinese guests, along with Norwegian’s signature cruising style that offers guests the freedom and flexibility to design their perfect vacation experience.

“After years spent carefully designing this amazing vessel, my team and I are both proud and thrilled to finally christen the world’s first cruise ship custom-designed for the wonderful people of China,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “This is truly a special moment for the entire Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings family, our valued travel partners, honored guests and dedicated officers and crew across our fleet.”

Norwegian Joy christened in Shanghai, China (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Norwegian Joy christened in Shanghai, China (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

In homage to Norwegian Joy’s eye-catching hull art, designed by famed Chinese artist Tan Ping and featuring a majestic phoenix, the christening ceremony began with a performance by renowned dancer and choreographer Yabin Wang, with her interpretation of the spirit of the phoenix through dance. Tan Ping, who also made a special guest appearance at the ceremony, selected the phoenix as the focal point for the ship’s hull artwork, as the iconic bird represents beauty and good luck in Chinese culture.

The pinnacle moment of the christening ceremony came as Wang Leehom, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings executives and local Chinese government officials simultaneously smashed bottles of champagne against the side of a replica ship hull, which released an oversized bottle of Veuve Cliquot that shattered against the ship’s actual hull, signifying the maritime tradition of bringing good luck to all who sail on her.

Wang Leehom, who serves as Godfather and brand ambassador for Norwegian Joy, ended the ceremony with an electrifying performance that wowed the crowd of VIP Chinese and Western guests.

“I’m honored to officially welcome this incredible ship to China and share the cruising lifestyle with Chinese guests as the Godfather for Norwegian Joy,” said Wang Leehom.

Norwegian Joy’s christening marks the end of a month-long grand inaugural tour where she has been showcased through events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s homeports of Shanghai and Tianjin.

 

Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Joy is Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship customized for the Chinese cruise market. The ship was designed to provide First Class at Sea experiences with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests.

Norwegian Joy offers a multitude of VIP accommodations including The Haven by Norwegian®, the brand’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex, and a Concierge level, an all-new accommodations category that provides a VIP experience that includes an exclusive Concierge Observation Lounge with 180 degree breath-taking views and larger balcony staterooms.  Accommodation choices also include staterooms designed specifically for families, with a multitude of connecting staterooms for extended families traveling together, as well as a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies.

Norwegian Joy boasts engaging and innovative activities including a first-at-sea two-level competitive racetrack; an open-air laser tag course; the Galaxy Pavilion that features thrilling simulator rides, Oculus virtual reality technology and interactive video walls; and two multi-story waterslides. In addition, Norwegian Joy features 28 dining options that range from traditional Chinese cuisine to upscale French, Italian and Steakhouse fine dining restaurants, along with a tranquil open space park, as well as the line’s largest upscale shopping district, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to world-renowned global luxury brands.

For more information on Norwegian Joy, please contact an authorized Norwegian travel partner or visit www.goncl.cn (in China) or https://www.ncl.com/norwegian-joy (in US) or follow Norwegian Joy’s official wechat: NuoWeiZhen.

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

On Sunday, June 25, 2017, Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 set sail from Saint Nazaire, France, to cross the Atlantic in a once-in-a-lifetime Transatlantic “Race” against four of the world’s most famous trimarans in ‘The Bridge 2017.’

‘The Bridge 2017’ is a series of events commemorating the centenary of the first landing of American soldiers in France during WWI in June 1917. It is also a celebration of 100 years of friendship between France and the U.S. ever since that landing. The luxury cruise line Cunard, a company known for its rich history and significant role in both World Wars, is taking part in this historic celebration by sailing Queen Mary 2 from Saint Nazaire, France, where the ship was originally built, to her U.S. homeport in Brooklyn, New York, arriving on July 1.

The four multi-hulls accompanying Queen Mary 2 across the North Atlantic are helmed by award-winning skippers Thomas Coville for Sodebo Ultim, Francis Joyon for Idec Sport, and the two fastest around-the-world sailors, François Gabart for Macif, who has won the most races, and Yves Le Blévec for Actual.

“We are honored to be part of The Bridge 2017,” said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. “Cunard, with its 177-year history, has been recognized for its role in World War I and we are privileged to be an important part of this historic event which celebrates Franco-American relations and their shared pastime of sailing.”

For more information about Cunard, or to book a voyage, contact your Travel Consultant, call Cunard Line 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, cruisenews, gallery, News