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Follow ExpertCruiser onboard Windstar Cruises Star Pride

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 21 - 2017

For the next eight days follow my Twitter and Instagram feed from Windstar Cruises Star Pride as she sails from Lisbon to Barcelona. 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.


Silversea Cruises christens Silver Muse in Monaco

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 20 - 2017

Ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea welcomed VIPs and other distinguished guests to Port Hercule in the heart of Monaco yesterday, including His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco; His Excellency Minister of State of the Principality, Serge Telle; His Excellency Archbishop of Monaco Barsi; Mr. Peter Greenberg (CBS-TV Anchor and News Travel Editor, Master of  Ceremony); Mr. Geoffrey Kent (Abercrombie & Kent Founder) and Mr. Gerald Lawless (Chairman of WTCC), for an intimate ceremony marking the christening of the latest addition to the fleet, Silver Muse.

The historic celebration, hosted by Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, was honored with incredible performances by the Sinfonietta Orchestra of Rome and renowned violinist Charlie Siem, both of whom enriched the ceremony with sublimely moving musical renditions.

Silver Muse, the ninth ship in the Silversea fleet, caters to the most discerning passengers at sea, offering the highest expression of elegance and comfort while aiming to redefine the ultra-luxury cruising experience.

Over the past two weeks, guests from around the world were invited to preview the new flagship on a number of exclusive voyages in the Mediterranean. Initial feedback from media, as well as trade and industry representatives has been overwhelmingly positive, with the quality of the finished Fincantieri vessel and Silversea’s level of service by the Silver Muse crew exceeding guests’ expectations.

Accommodating 596 passengers, the ship boasts an unrivalled selection of dining options on board, including three restaurants new to the Silversea fleet: Atlantide, a seafood and grill concept representing the ultimate in culinary excellence and creativity by using the finest ingredients sourced from around the world; the Asian-accented Indochine; and an Italian-themed poolside restaurant, Spaccanapoli, which serves homemade Italian pizzas throughout the day. With the addition of these new culinary venues, Silver Muse guests have a choice of eight onboard restaurants and the freedom to dine on “anything, anywhere, at any time” on the ship.

Silver Muse is also home to the unique Zàgara Beauty Spa, which offers a relaxing sanctuary while transporting guests on a journey of the five senses tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

Monaco is not merely the base of Silversea’s operations; it is also the home of the company’s proud Monegasque history. Silversea shares the culture, traditions and values of the Principality with the world, with its nine ships visiting more than 900 different ports of call each year.

Attending the christening ceremony, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said: “On behalf of the Principality of Monaco, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Silver Muse, its crew and passengers. She represents the next generation of cruise ships with respect to both fuel efficiency and energy saving technology. We share with Silversea common values and principles surrounding responsible environmental practices, and the development of sustainable business activities. The preservation of the oceans is a crucial priority for future generations.”

Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said: “The close ties between Silversea and the Principality of Monaco reflect not only our commitment to this beautiful region but also to the history and values to which we adhere. Silversea is an Italian, family-owned business, yet our heart will always be shared with the Principality as we continue to move forward. As the home of Silversea, Monaco was always the natural choice for the christening of our new flagship, Silver Muse, and it is with great pleasure that we can share this milestone with both the residents and guests of the Principality.”

Roberto Martinoli, CEO of Silversea Cruises, added: “Silversea is associated with exceptional quality and voyages that leave long-lasting memories of discovery and wonder. As we continue to invest in our entire fleet, Silver Muse offers guests a taste of what is to come. Silver Muse represents an evolution of the Silversea hallmarks that set the company apart from the competition. With eight dining options, offering 28 varieties of culinary delights, Silver Muse has redefined the art of gastronomy at sea. With more open-air spaces and state-of-the-art facilities on board, we are positive that both new and returning guests will enjoy unforgettable memories.”

For information on Silversea’s flagship, Silver Museclick here.

To discover Silversea’s unrivalled list of destinations and itineraries, click here.

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


Norwegian Joy to feature Ferrari branded race track

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 17 - 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced a partnership with Scuderia Ferrari Watches as a part of the entertainment and activities on board Norwegian Joy, its soon to-be-unveiled 3,850 passenger vessel. Norwegian Joy will be Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship for the Chinese market, designed to deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy ‘First Class at Sea’ experiences. Norwegian Joy will home port in Shanghai and Tianjin, following a grand inaugural port tour leading up to a christening ceremony on June 27, led by her Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop’ Wang Leehom.

The two-level Ferrari branded competitive racetrack will be located on the top deck of the ship, where guests may take a thrilling ride in electric go-carts. Up to ten drivers at a time will be able to race each other on the course and have photos taken at the finish line to share with friends and family back home. Guests of Norwegian Joy’s The Haven and Concierge class will enjoy a number of complimentary rides as part of the amenities and benefits of their suites and staterooms.

Ferrari represents fun, passion, and competitive spirit, and this partnership will bring the spirit of the brand to Norwegian Joy’s guests.  This is the first time Ferrari Watches has partnered on a branded go-kart track and Scuderia Ferrari Watches will be featured in a retail store adjacent to the racetrack.

Norwegian Joy will officially be delivered on April 27 in Bremerhaven, Germany. The ship will then set sail for China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Tianjin. This unique showcase tour will give travel agents and valued partners across the region the special opportunity to experience all that Norwegian Joy has to offer leading up to the ship’s christening ceremony on June 27, led by her Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom.

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


Silversea Cruises Silver Muse unveils amazing Owner’s Suite

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 6 - 2017

Ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea, has revealed details of Silver Muse’s Balsorano Owner’s Suite, a unique space which reflects the taste and Italian tradition of chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio.

Named Balsorano, the suite draws inspiration from the chairman’s full name, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio di Balsorano de Clunieres. Balsorano is also a castle in Italy.

At more than 1000 square feet in size, the Balsorano Suite contains a specially curated selection of Mr Lefebvre’s personal items including books, sculptures, works of art and family photographs. Among the items chosen are a chesterfield chair and ottoman and an additional chair from Mr. Lefebvre’s former family residence in Rome, and photos of Mr. Antonio Lefebvre, Mr. Lefebvre’s father and mentor.

The bookshelf in the Balsorano Suite is adorned with Mr. Lefebvre’s favorite titles, including The Great Navigators of the Eighteenth Century by Jules Verne, The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean by David Abulafia, and After the Victorians: The World Our Parents Knew by A.N. Wilson.

The Balsorano Suite will also be stocked with vintage port, each variety having been specially selected by Mr. Lefebvre himself.

 Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said: “I am incredibly proud to present the Balsorano Suite, a space which superbly encapsulates my family’s Italian heritage and taste. I hope that guests will, like me, find the Balsorano Suite a spectacular home away from home aboard Silver Muse.”

Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises, said: “Owned and operated by one family – the Lefebvres of Rome – Italian tradition is firmly ingrained in the Silversea brand. As is reflected across the entire ship, much passion and pride has gone into the creation of the Balsorano Suite, the most luxurious suite on Silver Muse.”

Calling at 34 countries and 130 ports in 2017 alone, Silver Muse will redefine ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy with spacious all-suite accommodations that are the hallmarks of the Silversea experience. The addition of Silver Muse will expand Silversea’s fleet to nine ships and will once again significantly raise the bar in the ultra-luxury cruise market.

For information on Silversea’s recently launched flagship, Silver Muse, click here

To discover Silversea’s unrivalled list of destinations and itineraries, click here

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


Cruise-onomics: 12 money-saving tips

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 31 - 2017

Cruising is one of the best vacation values going. The all-inclusive fare includes accommodations, meals and entertainment. But did you know that cruise lines get most of their revenue from the things passengers buy aboard ship? Yep. That’s why they aggressively peddle their photos, spa services, art auctions, shore excursions, jewelry, casino and drinks of the day.

Do you really need that faux-gold-by-the-inch jewelry or another souvenir cocktail glass? If you’re not careful, you can easily spend more for onboard extras than you did on the cruise fare. The key to avoiding a bank-breaking bill is knowing what to expect.

Tipping. Except on a few luxury cruise ships, which have no tipping required policies, you are expected to tip your cabin steward, dining room waiter and assistant waiter. Don’t fight it. These crew members work very hard for low wages, and your tips are necessary to their livelihood. Many lines recommend that each passenger tip on average about $13 per day, as follows: cabin steward, $5.50; dining room waiter and assistant waiter, $6.50 (shared); bistro service waiter and cooks, $1. Bar bills are automatically charged a 15 percent gratuity for the bartender. Special service personnel such as the maitre ‘d, deck stewards and bellmen should be tipped as service is rendered; for other crew tips, payment at the end of the cruise is customary.

Airport transfers. The cost of a round-trip airport transfer purchased through the cruise line is often $60 per person or more. A better (and often faster) way to get to and from the ship is by local taxi or Uber or Lyft. The fare is usually around $30 for a cab and less for Uber and Lyft.  Best of all you can take up to four people.

Photo opps. It starts before you even set foot on the ship, with the obligatory pose by the S.S. Life Preserver. Ship photographers are everywhere — in the dining room, on the pool deck, in the showroom. You’ll feel like you are being stalked by paparazzi before you sit down to your first dinner. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to have your picture taken and you don’t have to buy any photo taken of you. Considering that prices range from $20 to $30 for each picture, you can certainly save a lot of money by bringing your own camera and asking fellow passengers to snap photos for you. On the other hand, professional portraits do make nice souvenirs, especially when you’re all gussied up for the formal night of the cruise.

Art auctions. Shipboard art auctions can be a lot of fun, and they do offer free champagne and that’s the problem. If you’re not careful with the cheap bubbly, you could end up owning a picture that resembles four dogs playing poker. I’ve seen this happen a number of times, and I’ve seen the remorseful bidder go home hundreds of dollars poorer. If you see something you really like, take a picture of it and see if a local art gallery can find it or something like it for you. You usually get better art deals on land, where you can play the competition among art galleries.

Bar bill. Soft drinks, bottled water and alcoholic drinks can really add up. These refreshments are seldom included in the cruise fare, except on luxury cruises, so you have to think ahead. Find out if your ship offers a soda package — a deal that offers unlimited sodas for $44,  a real boon for people traveling with kids. Cruise lines prefer that you buy alcoholic drinks directly from them, but you can bring your own wine aboard to be served to you at dinner. The catch is that you will be charged a corkage fee usually around $10 per bottle. (Do not try to bring bottles of liquor aboard; the cruise line will confiscate them, though they will return them to you at the end of the cruise; however, you might get away with a flask.) One of the easiest ways to save beverage money is to bring a water bottle or coffee mug on board and fill it up in the self-serve buffet. Instead of plopping down $2 for a bottle of water, I fill up a few of my own.

Specialty restaurants. Many mainstream and premium cruise lines now have onboard alternative restaurants, which offer specialty menus with prices ranging from $15 to $75 per person. Sure, the food is interesting, but is it any better than what’s served in the ship’s dining room for free? It depends on your taste and what the cruise line is offering. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a variety of excellent alternative dining choices, including an amazing teppanyaki table experience at a reasonable cost of $25.

Internet access. Most ships have Internet access, but they often charge a fee. Some cruise lines like Viking River and Viking Ocean offer unlimited internet access whereas most offer package deals for a set fee. You can save a lot of money by visiting an Internet facility in port. Ask a crew member where to find an Internet cafe on shore, or check out the local public library, where you can sometimes check your e-mail for free.

Gambling. Shipboard casinos are getting bigger and bigger, which means that more and more money is being lost at sea. If you decide to roll the dice, set a limit on how much you are willing to risk, then leave as soon as you lose it.

Spa services. While pampering should be part of every cruise vacation, frequenting the ship’s spa can be costly. A massage can range anywhere from $80 to $180 per hour not to mention the 18 percent tip. You can save money on spa treatments by looking for discounted spa specials, which are usually offered when the ship is in port. Keep in mind that the spa staff works on commission; this means you will often get a sales pitch for their products after your treatments. Unless you really like the products, don’t feel obliged to purchase them. Many shipboard spas feature products by Steiner Leisure. If you like them, check out the prices on TimeToSpa.com; you can often get a better deal there than on the ship.

Shore excursions. Shore excursions can be pricey, especially on such destination-intensive itineraries as Alaska, Europe and Hawaii. In most cases, it’s easy to arrange your own excursions and save money. Visit the port’s official tourism Web site for up-to-date information on tour operators and pricing. You can find a comprehensive list of worldwide tourism sites at JohnnyJet.com.

Companies that specialize in planning tours for cruise passengers include Viator and Shore Trips. Both allow you to book your shore excursions before you leave home, and the savings can be significant.  If you are going to Alaska, try to get your hands on Alaska TourSaver.  You can order the book or download the App, both offer coupons for free admissions, two-for-one tours, flight-seeing, whale watching, free car rentals, second night free hotels and much more.

Despite the cost, there is one very good reason to purchase your shore excursions through the cruise line: If your excursion runs late, the ship will not leave port without you. Anytime you schedule an independent trip, you lose that safety net, so be sure to leave enough time to get back to the ship before departure because, believe me, the ship will leave without you.

Laundry. Laundry and dry cleaning charges on a cruise can be exorbitant. For example, a T-shirt can cost $4 to wash and a pair of underwear $2. Check to see if there is a self-service launderette. That will be much cheaper typically $3 to $5 per load. If you don’t feel like doing your own laundry and need some clean clothes, don’t despair. Most cruise lines set aside one day on each voyage when they will wash a bag of laundry for a set fee, usually $15 to $25 per bag (the cruise line provides the bag).

Film and sundries. Buy plenty of film and other camera supplies at home, because once on board, the price doubles.  The same can be said for pain relievers, sunscreen and many other small, personal-use items.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating spending nothing aboard ship, just that you stay the course within your allotted budget. If you don’t, your next hard-earned cruise vacation could be at risk.

By Anita Dunham-Potter (editor@www.expertcruiser.com)

© www.expertcruiser.comYour online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under Advice, gallery, What's New?

Princess Cruises takes delivery of Majestic Princess

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

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s leading cruise vacation company, today took delivery of Majestic Princess, from shipbuilder Fincantieri at an official handover ceremony at the shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The cruise line’s first international luxury ship tailored for the China market, will start her inaugural season in Europe until May and then embark on a repositioning cruise themed the Silk Road Sea Route journey to her new homeport in Shanghai where she will begin her first homeport season in July.

 

The ceremony was attended by the Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni; executives from Carnival Corporation & plc including Micky Arison, Chairman; Arnold Donald, Chief Executive Officer; Stein Kruse, Chief Executive Officer of Holland America Group; Jan Swartz, Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia; Anthony Kaufman, Executive Vice President International Operations of Princess Cruises, and Cherry Wang, Vice President and General Manager of the Princess Cruises’ brand offices in China. Fincantieri was represented by Giuseppe Bono, Chief Executive Officer, and Giampiero Massolo, Chairman.

  

“Majestic Princess has arrived and we are thrilled to add this new jewel to our crown representing the newest, most stylish and most luxurious flagship in fleet and ready to deliver an exceptional international cruise vacation experience to our guests,” said Jan Swartz Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia group president.

 

“Fincantieri proudly delivers Majestic Princess today to our long-term partner, Princess Cruises” said Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer and SEVP Merchant Ships Business Unit ad interim, “The collaboration between Fincantieri, Carnival Corporation & plc and Princess Cruises to tailor Majestic Princess for China makes her special for us. We are proud to deliver this stunningly beautiful luxury cruise liner and highly value the partnership we have with Princess Cruises dating back to the 1980’s. We will continue to deliver increasingly sophisticated ships in the future that serve the needs of our partners and their treasured guests.”

 

After the successful handover from Fincantieri, Majestic Princess sets sail on a preview cruise (March 31 to April 4) that will include loyal Princess guests, international media, travel agent partners and brand partners from around the world, including many guests from China.

Departing April 4, 2017, the 143,000-ton Majestic Princess will sail on her inaugural voyage, a five-day Adriatic Sea cruise roundtrip from Rome with stops in Kotor and Corfu. Following her maiden cruise, Majestic Princess will tour Europe, offering guests a chance to experience the ship on 7-, 14-, 21- and 28-day cruises departing from Rome, Barcelona or Athens.

On May 21, Majestic Princess will embark on the “Silk Road Sea Route” a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage she will visit a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang and Xiamen before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from China on July 11 carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of cruise destinations.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, gallery