Princess unveils 2015 Japan cruise program

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 21 - 2014

Demonstrating a continuing commitment to developing the Japan cruise market, Carnival Corporation & plc has announced the 2015 Japan cruise program for Princess Cruises which features Diamond Princess returning for the line’s third season, and introduces new cruises as short as three nights to appeal for those local travelers seeking a quick getaway.

Beginning next April, the Japanese-built Diamond Princess will once again offer an exciting season sailing from the two home ports of Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe. During the four-month summer season the ship will offer 20 departures on a mix of itineraries visiting more than 20 destinations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Russia. The mix of itineraries is designed to have broad appeal, with cruises as short as three nights and up to 17 nights for guests seeking a more in-depth experience in Japan.

“We are very pleased to bring Diamond Princess back to Japan again next summer, this time with a broader variety of itineraries and cruise lengths offering guests a diverse choice of experiences and destinations,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “In addition to offering local consumers a shorter cruise experience, our longer sailings will offer an enriching and convenient way to explore many of Japan’s most fascinating port cities.”

Swartz added that Sun Princess will not be returning to Japan next summer as it will instead be deployed to Australia where it has long been a popular ship based in the region. “Moving Sun Princess to Australia in 2015 doesn’t diminish our enthusiasm for the Japan cruise market. As demand for cruising grows further in Japan, we will review the opportunity to add additional capacity in the future.”

Diamond Princess will begin the 2015 season on April 29 in Yokohama with an eight-night Golden Week itinerary and a nine-night Taiwan & Korea sailing. The ship will then position to Kobe for a series of three cruises of Princess’ popular eight-night Ryukyu Islands & Taiwan voyages that include calls to Okinawa, Hualien, Kaohsiung and Taipei (Keelung). New for 2015 from Kobe is a 10-night Hokkaido cruise that includes appealing northern destinations of Aomori, Hakodate, Otaru and Abashiri.

Diamond Princess will return to Yokohama to spend the balance of the summer sailing north to the island of Hokkaido or around Japan, visiting culturally rich destinations such as Maizuru (for Kyoto), Nagasaki and Aomori. A special feature of the Hokkaido voyages is the late evening departure from Hakodate, which is famous for the nighttime view from the top of Mt. Hakodate, as well as the morning fish market.

Also new for the 2015 season, which runs through mid-September, are three-, four-, five- and seven-night itineraries designed to appeal to those with limited vacation time. Throughout the summer Diamond Princess will sail on a four-night Korea Getaway roundtrip from Kobe, plus a five-night Korea & Japan Getaway roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama) and a five-night Korea & Japan Getaway that positions between the two homeports. In August, the ship will sail on a week-long itinerary roundtrip from Yokohama which can be segmented into a three-night Korea Getaway disembarking in Hakata, or a four-night Korea & Japan itinerary embarking in Hakata.

The experience onboard Diamond Princess in Japan will substantially be the same as that offered by Princess Cruises around the world, providing an impressive array of dining and entertainment options in addition to the line’s signature innovations such as its popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat. However as done during the first two Japan seasons, some changes and enhancements will be made to appeal to the local market. The just-completed refurbishment of Diamond Princess added Izumi Japanese bath – the largest of its kind at sea – as well as a Kai Sushi restaurant.

Dining room menus will offer international Princess cuisine, while additional offerings will cater to Japanese tastes, and a la carte sushi bar will be opened. Other amenities such as the spa treatments will also be tailored to Japanese preferences, and onboard collateral items and stateroom information will be translated into Japanese.

An extensive array of shore excursions will be available to complement the itineraries including opportunities to visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Diamond Princess was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan – the first of two Princess ships built in Japan.

The 2015 Japan cruise program opens for sale April 30.

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

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Shanghai surprise: Royal Caribbean to base Quantum of the Seas in China

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 16 - 2014

Royal Caribbean International today announced that its newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, will make its home port in Shanghai (Baoshan), China, bringing the company’s most innovative ship to the world’s fastest-growing cruise market. The ship will reposition to China in May 2015, following her inaugural winter season sailing out of New York Harbor to the Caribbean. In China, Quantum of the Seas will join Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas in Asia, increasing the company’s capacity in the region by 66 percent.

low_1365787367_Quantum-NorthStar4-keynote“Consumers in China have grown to expect the best the world has to offer, and Quantum of the Seas meets that standard like no other ship,” said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are ready to accelerate the growth of this vital market with a ship that will capture the imagination of travelers looking for a one-of-a-kind vacation experience.”
“Every trend we are seeing in China tells us we can achieve real long-term competitive advantage and appealing returns on our investments in this fast-growing market by accelerating our presence there,” Goldstein said. “We will have to be nimble, but the ability to move fast is one of our strengths.”

Goldstein said the company was able to make the move because its new-ship pipeline will keep the New York region supplied with top-rate ships as well.
“We are very mindful of the importance of New York, which is why we are bringing Liberty of the Seas and then Anthem of the Seas to this market.”

Quantum of the Seas will debut in November 2014, and will spend its inaugural season sailing from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J., before repositioning to China in May 2015. Beginning late June 2015, the ship will sail three- to eight-night itineraries year-round from Shanghai to Japan and Korea. Liberty of the Seas will then arrive to Cape Liberty to sail to Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Canada and New England for the 2015 summer and autumn seasons. The Freedom-class ship will be the company’s newest and largest ship to offer cruises to Bermuda from the New York-metropolitan area.  Finally, Quantum of the Seas’ sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, which launches in April 2015, will complete her inaugural Europe season from London (Southampton), U.K., before arriving to Cape Liberty in November 2015 to continue Quantum-class cruising to the Bahamas and Caribbean for the winter 2015-16 season.

“These incredible ships will meet the sophisticated expectations of consumers in Shanghai, New York and London. Our mantra for the new Quantum class of ships is ‘this changes everything’ – and upping our game in these key markets achieves just that,” said Dominic Paul, Vice President, International, Royal Caribbean International. “Our distinctive style of high quality innovative cruises has become known to travelers around the world and we will continue to deploy our most technologically advanced ships where the demand is, with the expectation of winning new converts to cruising.”

The groundbreaking Quantum-class ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, will debut a new set of first-at-sea onboard experiences, such as Ripcord by iFLY, a heart-pounding skydiving experience; North Star, a thrilling adventure that transports guests more than 300 feet in the air on a breathtaking journey; cutting-edge transformative venues including SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever.  Guests also will enjoy the new Quantum-class “Dynamic Dining,” a completely new culinary experience that offers a landscape of 18 restaurant concepts as vast and varied as dining in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, including specialty restaurants created with partner-chefs Jamie Oliver, Devin Alexander and Michael Schwartz.

The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms. More information on Quantum class is available at http://www.RoyalCaribbean.com/QuantumoftheSeas.

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Passengers can explore new destinations and take advantage of special savings with Princess Cruises “World of Savings” promotion offering up to $1,200 off per stateroom, now through April 30. The sale also includes a special reduced deposit of only $100 per person.

More than 200 cruises are featured in the promotion, including exotic itineraries to Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Tahiti and the South Pacific and beautiful vacation destinations in the Caribbean, Canada and New England, Hawaii, Mexico and the Panama Canal.

Princess Cruises Sun Princess in Panama Canal courtesy of  Princess for use by ExpertCruiser.comIn addition to special fares, passengers can save up to $700 per person on airfare for select Tahiti voyages and up to $400 per person on select Asia voyages.

Examples of World of Savings cruise deals include:

  • Caribbean cruise — 7 days: $499 interior (was $599); $799 balcony (was $949)
  • California Coastal cruise — 7 days: $599 interior (was $749); $899 balcony (was $1,099)
  • Canada & New England cruise — 7 days: $799 interior (was $899); $1,099 balcony (was $1,399)
  • Tahiti cruise — 10 days: $1,599 interior (was $1,809); $2,299 balcony (was $2,509)
  • Grand Asia cruise— 17 days: $1,787 interior (was $2,589); $2,787 balcony (was $3,789)

Additional information about the World of Savings cruise sale can be found at princess.com/sale.

Information about other cruise deals and promotions can be found at princess.com/topcruisedeals.

All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy. The World the Savings sale runs through 11:59 p.m. PDT on April 30, 2014 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

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

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Windstar Cruises puts exotic destinations on sale

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

Windstar Cruises is celebrating spring with an Exotic Destinations Sale in April that features up to 66% savings on new voyages to Asia, Arabia, and Tahiti. Guests who book a cruise by Friday, April 25, 2014, will enjoy this year’s lowest fares on Windstar’s newest itineraries departing May 2014 through February 2015. Voyages start at $2,199 per person.

All voyages in the Exotic Destinations Sale will feature Windstar’s new Private Events, 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.

windstartahiti2

Guests who dream of sailing Asia or Arabia’s coastlines and exploring the exotic beauty, history and cultures of these regions will love Treasures of Southeast Asia and Wonders of Arabia. For those looking to enjoy the pristine beaches and magical underwater wonderlands of Polynesia, Dreams of Tahiti is the perfect fit. No matter which voyage they choose, guests sailing on board 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 Exotic Destinations Sale, contact a travel professional, visit the website or call Windstar Cruises at 800-258-7245.

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Windstar Cruises announces voyages to Southeast Asia & Arabia

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 22 - 2013

Windstar Cruises, a leader in yacht style cruising, today announced the line’s debut in Southeast Asia & Arabia on its new 212-passenger power yacht, Star Pride. The new voyages open for sale today and feature five unique itineraries exclusive to the all suite yacht, highlighting small ship ports throughout Asia, Arabia, and India. The inaugural Southeast Asia & Arabia season will begin on October 30, 2014. Voyages start at $3,999 per person.

“Small ship cruising is an incredible way to explore this part of the world. There are tremendous experiences to be had from the ancient cliff city of Petra to the colorful Ho Chi Minh City,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “This is our first journey beyond Europe, South Pacific and the Caribbean, and we are delighted to announce Star Pride’s Southeast Asia & Arabia deployment.”

Star Pride’s 2015 Asia voyages include:

Wonders of Arabia
Follow the legends of Lawrence of Arabia, Cleopatra, and Moses across the dunes to the Nile and Mount Sinai on this 18-day voyage from Athens, Greece to Dubai, UAE. Ports of call include Suez Canal, Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh, Luxor, Egypt; Aqaba, Jordan; and Salalah and Khasab, Oman. The voyage showcases the Red Sea, the Nile, and the rose-colored ruins of Petra.

Pearls of the Indian Ocean
Sail through some of the Andaman Sea’s most breathtaking islands and bays and explore the colonial Old Towns, ancient cave temples, and melting pot cities on this 15-day voyage from Dubai, UAE to Singapore. Star Pride visits Mumbai, Mangalore, Cochin, India; Phuket, Thailand; and Penang, Malaysia. This itinerary highlights everything from India’s colorful cities to the tranquil beauty of Thailand’s beaches.

Singapore & the Malay Peninsula
Discover Malaysia and Thailand’s most spectacular gems on this 10-day round trip voyage from Singapore. This voyage visits Penang, Langkawi, Pulau Pangkor, Kuala Lumpur, and Malacca, Malaysia; as well as Phuket, and Ko Yao Noi, Thailand. Guests can enjoy long days in port and blissfully beautiful destinations.

Treasures of Southeast Asia
Cruise in private yacht style on this 14-day voyage from the haute couture of Singapore’s legendary Orchard Road to French-flavored Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon) and the monuments of Hanoi. The voyage starts in Singapore and visits Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, Da Nang, Hanoi (Haiphong), and Halong Bay, Vietnam before ending in Hong Kong. UNESCO World Heritage Sites are everywhere on this voyage: the ancient trading city of Hoi An, My Son Sanctuary, Hue, and Halong Bay.

Vietnam Unveiled
Vietnam combines beauty and culture in one perfect experience on Windstar’s 10-day voyage from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Hong Kong. Ports of call include Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, Da Nang, Hanoi (Haiphong), and Halong Bay. Guests can visit Imperial Hue, ancient Hoi An, breathtaking Halong Bay, and amazing Ho Chi Minh City.

On each of these new voyages guests will experience the secluded coves and hidden harbors offered by small ship cruising, as well as the local culture brought to life on board in Windstar’s unique style. Local entertainment, authentic cuisine, intimate and personal shore excursions are all a part of the in-depth enrichment experience offered at Windstar Cruises.

Launching in May of 2014, the 9,975-ton Star Pride is the first of three new power yachts to join Windstar’s fleet. With a guest capacity of 212, the all suite yacht will undergo several upgrades and changes in design and décor to align with Windstar’s casual contemporary style. Star Pride will showcase many signature Windstar experiences, including the line’s famous Sail Away party, yacht deck barbecue gala, and Open Bridge policy.

For more information about these new itineraries, hotel and land packages, and to book, contact a travel professional, call Windstar at 800-258-7245 or visit www.WindstarCruises.com.

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A former astronaut, a renowned investigative journalist, an accomplished film and television actor, an award-winning photojournalist, and an award-winning designer and TV host are set to enlighten Silversea guests on upcoming voyages this fall.

Silversea Cruises enrichment

They will be joining an expansive array of esteemed authors, historians, diplomats, political analysts and other cultural experts participating in the luxury line’s popular Silver Perspectives® enrichment program. Featured on all sailings, the program offers Silversea guests the chance to attend fascinating lectures on a range of topics, usually followed by lively question and answer sessions.

Following are the fall voyages and their just-announced guest lecturers:

Silver Spirit – October 15 – Voyage 5332 (Athens to Venice)
MARK BRUNETZ: Known by viewers internationally as the Emmy Award-winning designer and clutter expert on Style Network’s Clean House, he is most recognized for his unique, client-driven approach in the world of high-end luxury design.

Silver Spirit – October 24 – Voyage 5333 (Venice to Rome)
DAVID BURNETT: Award-winning photojournalist with more than four decades of work covering the news, the people, and the visual tempo of our age.

Silver Whisper – November 29 – Voyage 4332 (Barbados to Fort Lauderdale)
JUSTIN SHENKAROW: Star of television and film, his 17-year career includes work on such hit television shows as Home Improvement, Who’s the Boss, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Picket Fences, and the critically acclaimed Eerie, Indiana.

Silver Wind – December 3 – Voyage 2336 (Las Palmas to Cape Town)
ROGER COOK: Award-winning investigative journalist who launched and hosted the ground-breaking ITV series The Cook Report, the most popular current affairs program on British television during its entire long run.

Silver Spirit – December 5 – Voyage 5337 (Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale)
THOMAS JONES, Ph.D.: This scientist, author, pilot, and former NASA astronaut holds a doctorate in planetary sciences, and in more than eleven years with NASA, flew on four space shuttle missions to Earth orbit.

“Enrichment is a fundamental component of every Silversea voyage, and we’re delighted to add these special experts to our roster of distinguished guest lecturers this fall,” said Ellen Bettridge, Silversea’s president of the Americas.

For a complete list of upcoming guest lecturers, including their photos, biographies and voyage dates, go to http://www.silversea.com/life-onboard/enrichment/guest-lecturers/.

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