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Follow ExpertCruiser on Viking Ocean’s Viking Sea

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On December - 3 - 2016

ExpertCruiser is off to check out Viking Ocean’s newest ship, Viking Sea.  Follow ExpertCruiser at @ExpertCruiser on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for the next 12 days with updates from Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy.  You can also follow the hashtag #MyVikingStory.  Updates may be sporadic due to the connectivity issues, thanks!

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


Princess Cruises statement on DOJ fine

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On December - 1 - 2016

We are extremely disappointed about the inexcusable actions of our employees who violated our policies and environmental law when they bypassed our bilge water treatment system and discharged untreated bilge water into the ocean.

When we became aware of this back in August 2013, our headquarters management cooperated with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and at the same time we launched our own internal investigation to learn all that we could about what happened.

As a result of our investigation we discovered practices, on some other ships, where we were operating out of policy and in violation of environmental law. We have reached a plea agreement with the DOJ, which was announced today.

Although we had policies and procedures in place, it became apparent they were not fully effective. We are very sorry that this happened and have taken additional steps to ensure we meet or exceed all environmental requirements.

In fact, over the past three years we have implemented a number of corrective measures to improve our oversight and accountability. For example, we completely restructured our entire fleet operations organization including new leadership. We also increased the scope and frequency of our training, and proactively invested millions of dollars to upgrade our equipment to new ship standards to ensure compliance with all environmental regulations.

The marine environment is incredibly important to us and we are using this experience to further improve our operations. Princess Cruises stands committed to environmental practices that protect our oceans.

Visit Princess.com/response for more detailed information.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, News, What's New?

Princess Cruises launches new celebrations packages

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On November - 29 - 2016

One in four guests is celebrating a special occasion with Princess Cruises and now the cruise line is making it even easier to turn “Sailabrations” into lasting memories with new packages and convenient online ordering.

With savings of up to 25 percent off of retail prices, “Sailabration” packages are a great value and can be added by a guest through the online booking management tool, Cruise Personalizer. Now, Princess Cruises has made it easier than ever for friends and family to browse and order gifts for Princess guests via the new Princess online gifting webpage found at princess.com/gifts.

New packages such as “Pamper Me” with a day at the Lotus Spa, named the Best Spa on a Cruise Ship by Spa finder Wellness 365TM and “Breakfast Lovers” with a deluxe balcony breakfast are available for those looking to relax and recharge or celebrate the joy of mornings at sea. In addition, “For the Birthday Guy,” featuring a men’s shave in the Lotus Spa, bucket of beers and casino credit and “For the Birthday Girl,” a manicure, flowers and coffee card are sure to delight guests.

Packages built around guest favorite specialty dining and culinary offerings include “Share the Love,” with dinner for two at SHARE by Curtis Stone, a box of decadent Norman Love chocolates and champagne, as well as “Salty Sea Days,” with dinner for two and whiskey flights at the Salty Dog Gastropub.

“Celebrating any of life’s big or small occasions is even more special aboard a cruise,” said Jill Whelan, Celebrations Ambassador for Princess Cruises. “These new ‘Sailabration’ packages add special touches that help reconnect guests and offer new experiences that inspire the senses.”

Princess, named the Best Cruise Line for Romance by Cruise Critic, has also refreshed classic romance packages for guests celebrating honeymoons and anniversaries to include new experiences such as deluxe balcony breakfast or specialty dining for two.

Guests with package purchases on their bookings will receive most items directly to their stateroom on the requested delivery date, which is either embarkation or the day they specify to celebrate. They will also receive a letter from the Customer Service Manager with a summary of the package and instructions for redeeming services.

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

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, Miscellaneous, News

Carnival Vista launches year round service from Miami

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On November - 29 - 2016

 

PortMiami welcomed Carnival Cruise Line’s newest, largest and most innovative ship, Carnival Vista, when it arrived yesterday to kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day cruises to the Caribbean.

To officially welcome Carnival Vista to its Miami homeport, Carnival Vista Captain
Stefano Battinelli and PortMiami Assistant Director Fred Wong participated in a traditional maritime plaque exchange prior to the ship’s inaugural departure from Miami.

As the line’s newest ship, Carnival Vista takes cruising to new heights, introducing groundbreaking features such as SkyRide, a suspended open-air cycling experience; the world’s first IMAX® Theatre on a ship; Kaleid-O-Slide, the line’s first water tube slide, part of the ship’s massive WaterWorks aqua park; and the RedFrog Pub & Brewery featuring the first brewery on a North American-based cruise ship.

“Miami has been our home since our company’s inception in 1972 and homeporting the new Carnival Vista here not only provides consumers with a convenient homeport with renovated facilities and numerous operational enhancements but speaks volumes about our confidence in growing this important market,” and said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

“We are thankful for Carnival Cruise Line’s continued growth at PortMiami,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The arrival of new and innovative cruise ships such as Carnival Vista helps solidify our place as a global hub for travel and tourism, vital to the continual growth and development of our community.”

“It’s an exciting day at PortMiami,” said PortMiami Director/CEO Juan M. Kuryla.  “There’s no doubt that the arrival of the Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and largest cruise ship, represents a new vacation option for passengers sailing out of the Cruise Capital of the World.  We’re grateful to have this opportunity, and we look forward to continue strengthening our partnership with Carnival,” he added.

 Island-Intensive Caribbean Cruises from Miami

Carnival Vista kicked off its new schedule from PortMiami with a special six-day cruise to Grand Turk, Ocho Rios and Nassau that departed yesterday.  The ship will then launch a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day cruises beginning with an eight-day voyage departing Dec. 3, 2016.  Six-day cruises feature Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, while a mix of different eight-day itineraries visit some of the Caribbean’s most sought-after destinations, including Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and La Romana (Dominican Republic).

The ship will also offer a combination of one-time voyages, including a five-day cruise departing Dec. 11 and seven-day voyages departing Dec. 17 and 24, 2016, that offer an exciting selection of ports including the Caribbean’s newest destination, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, as well as Mahogany Bay, Grand Turk, Belize, San Juan, St. Thomas and Cozumel, depending on the itinerary.

In addition to visiting breathtaking Caribbean destinations, guests can experience all the Carnival Vista has to offer – from the colorful Havana area with tropics-inspired staterooms and suites and Family Harbor with special accommodations and a new family concierge to delicious choices like Seafood Shack and new al fresco options at the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and Cherry On Top, featuring a mixed-to-order premium ice cream bar.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, Destinations, News

Leave the crowds behind on 12 new cruises through Asia and Arabia on Windstar

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On November - 28 - 2016

Boutique cruise line Windstar Cruises is sailing to Arabia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia in winter/spring 2017-18. The elegant, all-suite yacht Star Legend embarks just 212 guests on new itineraries with 12 sailing dates from 10 to 18 days in length departing Oct. to April and including dozens of maiden port calls, many off the tourist path. These small ship cruises are designed to immerse travelers into the heart of local cultures, indulging guests with the exclusive comforts and culinary delights of a private yacht.

Windstar’s Asia and Arabia cruises offer larger-than-life adventures and exceptional experiences only possible on a small ship. Star Legend will proudly sail into the hub of must-see Asian cities where larger ships typically dock on the outskirts. The agile yacht sails on routes less traveled, visiting out-of-the-way islands, and charming harbors that big ships skip. Itineraries are carefully crafted with scenic cruising and active exploration in mind.

The new itineraries span cosmopolitan marvels like Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo but also explore the smaller ports and villages, unspoiled islands, and exotic shores of Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Borneo and the Philippines.

“Planning the perfect voyage for our guests is a passion. Our team is thrilled to introduce a remarkably diverse collection of cruises to Asia and Arabia. Our guests will experience firsthand the wonderful people and compelling cultures of this incredible region, all in Windstar’s true small ship style, that is intimate and inviting. We create bespoke travel experiences that I call — destination authenticity,” remarked Windstar President John Delaney.

By day, the yacht may anchor at hidden harbors and tropical islands of the South China Sea where cruisers swim, snorkel, water ski, and stand-up paddle board right from the ship’s Watersports Platform. By night, guests gaze at star-filled skies from the unique Open Bridge, learning from the Captain where their yacht will navigate next. Adventures include sailing the majestic Yangtze River, “selfies” set off by glimmering skylines, tasting authentic Asian cuisine, chasing Japanese cherry blossoms, and kayaking amidst towering limestone pillars in Halong Bay.

New journeys of discovery center on the romantic, the exotic, and the cultural wonders of Arabia. Two one-time-only repositioning sailings visit Egypt, Arabia and the Indian Ocean in fall of 2017. Choose Athens to Dubai via the Suez Canal with a chance to see Petra and Luxor; or Dubai to Singapore via India and Malaysia with a visit to the beautiful beaches of Phuket. Combine the two for an incredible 34-day cruise without repeating ports.

Windstar’s 6 destination-centric Asian itineraries offer a choice of 10 departure dates and include a round trip Singapore cruise to Malaysia and Thailand; three cruises between Singapore and Hong Kong via Malaysian Borneo, Brunei and the Philippines; two Hong Kong to Bangkok (or reverse) cruises via Vietnam; one Hong Kong to Beijing cruise via Taiwan, islands of Japan and mainland China; a Beijing to Tokyo sailing via South Korea; and two Tokyo to Osaka (or reverse) cruises. Guests can combine cruises for an extended voyage of up to 43 days.

In conjunction with the new Asia and Arabia cruises, the line launched the Star Perks Event with reduced fares and a choice of one FREE perk when booked by December 9, 2016. Free perks include a choice of up to 2 free pre/post hotel nights; premium beverage package; unlimited Wi-Fi package; or up to US$1,000 shipboard credit.

Star Perks Event reduced fares start at US$3,999 per guest for a 10-day Grand Japan cruise sailing either April 14 or 24, 2018. The Grand Japan itinerary sails between Yokohama (Tokyo) and Osaka, with scenic cruising and visits to Shimizu, Shingu, Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Hakata and Hiroshima, Japan; as well as Busan, South Korea. Twelve departure dates on Asia and Arabia cruises are offered from October 2017 through April 2018; book by December 9, 2016 to select a FREE perk.

Exploring Asia aboard the all-suite 212-guest Star Legend

All Windstar sailings in Arabia and Asia in 2017 and 2018 will take place aboard the 212-guest Star Legend, boasting all-suite accommodations and beautifully-appointed public spaces such as the elegant AmphorA restaurant. The delightful Veranda restaurant doubles in the evening as romantic Candles with an eclectic menu and open air dining. The marquis Yacht Club lounge located on the top guest deck is a favorite spot for cruisers to relax, mix and mingle while enjoying 270-degree indoor/outdoor viewing opportunities from a comfortable living-room-style venue. Wi-Fi hotspots, specialty coffee/tea bar and á la carte light bites refreshed throughout the day, draw in cruisers, and the full-service open-air Star Bar is close-by.

Guests may choose from 106 suites, including 36 popular Balcony Suites with French balconies that invite cruisers to step out and enjoy ocean scenery up close; or choose one of 64 Ocean View Suites with large picture windows. Windstar suites offer more room than many hotels, with stylish décor, walk-in closets, marble bathrooms with tub or shower, top-of-the-line L’Occitane® toiletries, and a tranquil seating area with a view. Splurge on one of two luxurious Owner’s Suites just below the yacht’s Open Bridge, with a stunning view from the private veranda, living/dining room, separate bedroom, walk-in closet and marble bath. Or, engage one of four spacious Classic Suites, two forward with sweeping views, and two located near the Atrium, both with private verandas.

Tailored (optional) shore excursions offer numerous chances to experience awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and learn about the local history, cuisine, and art of both ancient and modern ports. Specialized programming on board by expert guest lecturers expounds on the individuality of the cultures and intricacies of the history of the region. On board Star Legend, yacht guests will enjoy regionally-themed cuisine, exotic libations, entertainment and activities with a local flair, and always gracious and attentive service.

For additional information on Star Legend, Star Perks and new Asia and Arabia cruises contact a travel professional or Windstar Cruises by phone at 877-958-7718, or visit www.windstarcruises.com.

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

Filled Under Blog, Destinations, News

MSC Cruises celebrates new ship MSC Seaside float out

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On November - 26 - 2016

MSC Cruises celebrated the float out of MSC Seaside, one of two new groundbreaking mega-ships that MSC Cruises is bringing into service between June and December 2017. The ceremony took place this weekend at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, where the ship is being built.

MSC Seaside will homeport in PortMiami as of December 2017 and will sail year round in the Caribbean — further enriching the company’s offering in the region with MSC Cruises having a total of five of the most modern cruise ships serving the Caribbean once MSC Seaside debuts.

“This is another exciting milestone in our ambitious expansion plans as we see the second of our 11 next-generation cruise ships entering the final stages of her construction,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman. “MSC Seaside has been specifically designed to provide our guests with a unique onboard experience in warmer regions and boasts one the highest ratios of outdoor space in the industry so that guests can enjoy a range of open-air activities such as dining and drinking al fresco, strolling along the promenade or simply taking in the beautiful sea views from the privacy of one of the many balcony staterooms.”

“We are delighted with the strength of sales for MSC Seaside so far, from both American and European guests alike,” said Vago. “The Caribbean continues to be an ever popular destination for travelers. With the addition of MSC Seaside, we are further strengthening our ability to serve this demand in this key region with five cruise ships for the winter 2017/18 season, each bringing our own, distinctive Mediterranean flair and elegance to the Caribbean vacation experience.”

 “Seeing this ship taking shape has a value which is not only symbolic for the group that I lead, but also for me personally,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. “We acquired the order for the construction of it, along with a sister ship, in 2014, at the turn of an unprecedented crisis and an equally extraordinary explosion of the market. We placed such great ambitions for this order, undertaking to give the owner a state-of-the-art product, able to meet its vision of modern cruising. Being successful with a prototype and such a recognizable design, which confirms our commercial and technology leadership in this sector, makes us doubly proud of the result.”

 MSC Seaside is the first of a completely new and innovative generation of cruise ships being built by MSC Cruises leading Italian shipyard FINCANTIERI. With this new prototype inspired by an elegant beach condo, MSC Cruises is pushing the boundaries with its bold design concept and demonstrates the Company’s continued commitment to put the guest experience at the center of all innovation and product development. Every element of the ship is designed to bring guests closer to the sea with special design features such as a unique 360° ocean level promenade, panoramic glass elevators, and a breathtaking 98 foot bridge on the top deck. In addition, with 73 percent of the staterooms featuring balconies, guests will never be far from a view of the ocean.

MSC Seaside brings to life the key distinguishing elements of an MSC Cruises’ experience. An extensive range of comfortable accommodations will meet the various needs of a wide range of cruise guests, including chic aft corner suites as part of the unique beach condo design, clever modular connected staterooms designed for families and groups of up to ten people, and a collection of balcony staterooms with a private terrace overlooking the promenade.

In addition, MSC Cruises has taken its MSC Yacht Club — a unique ship-within-a-ship concept first introduced by MSC Cruises — to the next level. Located on the prestigious foredecks of the ship and offering a private sun deck, a private lounge and private restaurant, the MSC Yacht Club has been expanded on MSC Seaside to now be over five decks. The MSC Yacht Club will also feature two coveted apartment suites that include a living room and a large balcony with a dining area and private whirlpool.

On board MSC Seaside, the dining experience has been designed to inspire and delight with a huge choice of Mediterranean and international cuisines served in 11 different dining venues, including five specialty restaurants. Of these, one is a Pan-Asian specialty restaurant created in partnership with world renowned chef Roy Yamaguchi and two are buffets serving food 20 hours a day, with one designed specifically for families.

The onboard entertainment, another award-winning feature of the MSC Cruises offering, will cater to all age groups and includes a stunning 934 seat theater offering four performances every night. Meanwhile, the interactive aqua park with its four exhilarating slides will provide hours of fun for the entire family, the 394 foot long zip line will appeal to thrill-seekers, and the aft pool will be the perfect spot for those looking for complete relaxation.

In addition to all of the fun that will be had while on board, MSC Seaside will enable guests to experience the Caribbean Sea like never before, while calling at exotic and stunning ports such as George Town in the Cayman Islands, Cozumel in Mexico and Nassau in the Bahamas. From October 2018, MSC Seaside will also call at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the stunning marine reserve private island in the Bahamas, exclusively available for MSC Cruises guests.

The float out is an important milestone in the construction of a cruise ship as it is the moment where the ship first floats on water when the dry dock is flooded and the ship is moved to a wet dock for the final phase of her construction. The exterior of the ship is complete and work moves to complete interiors, fixtures and fittings.

At 1059 feet long with a GRT of 160,000 tons, the ship will feature a maximum capacity of 5,179 guests (4,140 guests at double occupancy). MSC Seaside is the first of two identical ships in the Seaside generation. Her sister ship — MSC Seaview — is set to enter service in the Spring 2018 and will be based in the Western Mediterranean, while a third one — reflecting an existing option for one additional Seaside generation ship — would be delivered by 2021.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, gallery, new ships, News