Windstar launches 12 days of savings – save up to 78 percent!

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

Windstar Cruises is counting down the holidays with the year’s most spectacular deals. From now until December 23rd, guests can save up to 78% on select voyages in Europe, Tahiti, Caribbean, and Asia, in addition to a bonus gift on the featured voyage of the day. Guests can sail for as low as $1,499 per person.

Today’s deal spotlights Classic Italy & the Dalmatian Coast, an eight-day voyage from Venice to Rome that stops at some of the most beautiful places on the Dalmatian coast, including Dubrovnik, Croatia; Capri, Italy; and Kotor, Montenegro.

No matter which voyage they choose, in 2015 all guests will experience Windstar’s new Private Events, a spectacular onshore event created exclusively for them. These complimentary events are crafted to give guests an in depth local experience on each cruise. Some examples include Messina: Tastes of Sicily, an interactive experience that samples wines and olives oils from the locally produced Vinicola Benanti; and Bora Bora, Dinner on Your Private Motu, a traditional Tahitian feast complete with fire dancers.

To learn more about the featured voyages and celebrate the 12 Days of Windstar, contact a travel professional, visit the website or call Windstar Cruises at 800.258.7245.

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Windstar offers ‘Best of the Tropics’ sale

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On November - 24 - 2014

Starting today, Windstar Cruises is giving thanks with a Best of the Tropics Sale that features up to 73% savings on voyages to Caribbean, Tahiti, and Asia. Guests who book a cruise by December 12, 2014, will enjoy this year’s lowest fares on Windstar’s exotic itineraries departing December 2014 through September 2015. Voyages start at $1,449 per person.

All voyages in the Best of the Tropics Sale will feature Windstar’s new Private Events, a spectacular onshore experience created exclusively for Windstar guests. These complimentary events are crafted to give guests an in depth local experience on each cruise. Some examples include Hoi An: Dreams of Floating Lanterns, an interactive experience that showcases lion dances, lantern-making, and traditional Vietnamese music; and Bora Bora, Dinner on Your Private Motu, a traditional Tahitian feast complete with fire dancers.

For those looking to enjoy the pristine beaches, secluded coves, and trade winds of the Caribbean, Jewels of the Windward Islands is the perfect fit. Guests who dream of sailing Asia’s coastlines and exploring the exotic beauty, history, and cultures of these regions will love Southeast Asia Unveiled. No matter which voyage they choose, guests sailing with Windstar Cruises will always enjoy pampering without pretense, extraordinary destinations, and casual elegance on board what feels like their own private yacht.

To learn more about the featured voyages and take advantage of Windstar’s Best of the Tropics Sale, contact a travel professional, visit the website or call Windstar Cruises at 800-216-3453.

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Construction begins on Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On July - 15 - 2014

Construction began this morning on Seven Seas Explorer at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. The crisp pop of a cork being freed from a Krug Grande Cuvée magnum initiated a laser, which cut the ceremonial first piece of steel for the new ship. Incorporating a bottle of the world’s finest champagne to start the building process is symbolic of the high level of sophistication and design being developed for Seven Seas Explorer, which is scheduled to debut in summer 2016.

The ceremonial first piece of steel cut this morning will serve as the foundation for an opulent, one-of-a-kind owner’s suite unlike any other at sea. The suite, resplendent with exquisite stonework and luscious fabrics, will serve as a hallmark for the superior level of elegance found throughout the ship. When it debuts, Seven Seas Explorer will establish a new benchmark for style and service and perfectly complement the all-inclusive luxury experience currently enjoyed by guests sailing with Regent Seven Seas Cruises.  During the ceremony, Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Gabriele Cocco, senior executive vice president of merchant ships for Fincantieri, began a countdown that culminated with Maison Krug Italy’s master sommelier, Michela Cimatoribus, releasing the cork from a magnum of Krug Grande Cuvée. As the cork soared and the champagne flowed, confetti cascaded down and the laser cut the first piece of steel for the 750-passenger ship.

“We’re one step closer to fulfilling our dream of building the most luxurious ship in the world and giving our guests another exciting option to explore inspired global destinations with our special brand of all-inclusive luxury,” noted Kamlani. “Seven Seas Explorer will surpass the current standard in luxury cruising, offering a new level of grandeur throughout the ship from its lavish suites to its elegant public spaces and gourmet restaurants.”
“We are extremely excited to welcome a new partner in Regent Seven Seas Cruises and to start construction of this brilliant new ship,” commented Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. “As a global leader in cruise ship construction, we’ve built some of the finest ships at sea. Building the most luxurious ship ever built is quite a challenge, but with our craftsmanship and experience building luxury ships we feel that Seven Seas Explorer will become the definition of excellence.”

At 54,000 gross-registered tons and carrying only 750 guests, Seven Seas Explorer will boast the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in the cruise industry and further strengthen Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ widely recognized position as the most inclusive luxury cruise line. Seven Seas Explorer will join the rest of the award-winning Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet in the summer of 2016.  Regent Seven Seas Cruises will begin taking reservations for the maiden voyage and inaugural season for Seven Seas Explorer in early 2015. For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises or to receive a brochure, guests can visit www.RSSC.com, call 1-844-4REGENT (1-844-473-4368) or contact a professional travel agent.

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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.

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Windstar Cruises offers 4th of July sale – savings up to 76% off!

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On June - 30 - 2014

Windstar Cruises, a leader in small ship cruising, is celebrating the Fourth of July with exceptional savings on select sailings. Guests can book the yachting vacation of their dreams for as low as $1,776 per person, a savings of up to 76% off, on select voyages until July 11, 2014.

Take advantage of these savings and cruise in Windstar Style, the perfect pairing of comfort and luxury. Experience the glamorous ports of the French Riviera on Glitter & Glam of the Riviera. Relax on the beautiful beaches of the French Polynesia islands on Dreams of Tahiti.

Windstar Cruises Wind Surf sails in the Caribbean used by ExpertCruiser courtesy of Windstar CruisesAdditionally, select Asia voyages include a $1,000 airfare credit per person.  From Singapore and the Malay Peninsula to Hong Kong and Vietnam, Windstar explores the best of Asia. All Asia voyages include Windstar’s new Private Events, a complimentary on shore experience that is crafted to give guests an in depth and authentic taste of the local culture.

Every Windstar voyage promises an intimate, yacht style experience, including pampering without pretense, smaller ports of call, and unique private events on shore.

To learn more about the featured voyages and take advantage of Windstar’s Fourth of July Sale, contact a travel professional, visit the website or call Windstar Cruises at 800-258-7245.

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

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Holland America Line sending two ships to P&O Cruises in Australia

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On May - 20 - 2014

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise company, today announced plans to significantly expand its market leadership in Australia, one of the fastest growing markets in the cruise industry.

With Australian cruise passenger numbers having increased 130 percent in the past five years and projections of 800,000 cruise passengers in 2013 growing to one million by 2016, P&O Cruises (Australia), one of Carnival Corporation’s 10 brands, will add two ships to its fleet in 2015. With a total of five ships, P&O Cruises will establish Australia’s largest year-round fleet and be well-positioned to continue meeting Australians’ surging demand for cruise vacations.

The expansion leverages Carnival Corporation’s industry-leading scale and underscores its strategy of increased collaboration among its 10 brands, as the two ships will be transferred from the company’s Holland America Line brand to become part of the P&O Cruises fleet. In the meantime, Holland America Line is building its latest and largest ship, to be delivered in February 2016. The new Pinnacle Class ship will be 99,500 tons and carry 2,660 passengers. This new ship will replace the capacity of the two vessels moving to P&O Cruises in Australia.

“Australians know a good thing when they discover it, and that speaks to why taking a cruise has become the most popular vacation experience in the Australian tourism industry,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “By any measure, Australia is one of the top performing cruise markets in the world, with an eye-popping average annual passenger growth rate of 20 percent over the past decade.”

Holland America Ship Sydney courtesy of Carnival Corp Australia for use by ExpertCruiser.com

Added Donald: “We are already firmly entrenched as the market leader, and with today’s move we are poised to continue our leadership. At the same time, our ability to work among our brands to make strategic deployment decisions is a great example of our focus on leveraging our scale and increased collaboration. This is an exciting development on many levels.”

Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise operator in Australia and the only cruise company to have ships based full-time in Australian waters. Over the past 10 years Carnival Corporation has grown rapidly with its local fleet increasing from two full-time ships, both with P&O Cruises, to six full-time ships from three of the company’s brands — three P&O Cruises ships, two Princess Cruises ships and one Carnival Cruise Lines ship. In 2015, with P&O Cruises adding its two ships and the return of Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess full-time, that number will increase to nine.

The company’s ships sail from five Australian cities as well as Auckland in New Zealand. During the past summer cruise season in Australia, the company had a record 20 ships from across seven of its brands sailing in Australian waters.

“The announcement is an emphatic statement of confidence in Australia, one of the most vibrant cruise markets in the world,” said Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia. “Today’s news also underscores how P&O Cruises — which pioneered cruising in the country more than 80 years ago – has been the driving force in making cruising one of the most popular vacation experiences in Australia. We have a great understanding of what Australians are looking for in a vacation, and with cruising more popular than ever among Australians, this is the perfect time to meet demand with increased capacity.”

Today’s announcement follows recent news that Carnival Corporation in 2015 will be the first global cruise company with four ships based in China, also considered one of the world’s fastest-growing cruise markets. Together, the company’s moves highlight its strategy to strengthen its leadership position through the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Australia, and positions the company well to realize the potential market growth.

The two ships being added to P&O Cruises, currently sailing as ms Ryndam and ms Statendam in the Holland America Line fleet, are mid-range in size, similar to the three existing P&O ships in Australia — the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl. The ships will be completely refurbished to offer a new level of comfort and style and will include onboard features tailored for Australian and New Zealand passengers. Full details will be announced in coming months.

Having a five-ship fleet will give P&O Cruises greater flexibility in its increased offering of short-break cruises, traditional cruises to the South Pacific and cruises to new destinations such as Papua New Guinea and Asia.

The ships will join the P&O Cruises fleet in November 2015 and itineraries are being developed for the expanded fleet.

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