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Princess Cruises names their newest ship – Regal Princess

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On August - 28 - 2012

Princess Cruises today marked the beginning of construction of the second of its new generation of ships with the official keel laying ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. At the same time the line announced that the ship’s name will be Regal Princess.

RegalPrincess_KeelLaying_SMThe vessel, a sister ship to Royal Princess, will debut in Spring 2014. The company and shipyard officials started the countdown to the ship’s launch today as the keel – the bottommost part of the ship – was ceremoniously lowered into position in the building dock.

“Just as Royal Princess was named after one of our iconic early vessels, Regal Princess also takes a name from our past that we think is well suited for this spectacular ship,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises. “Today’s keel laying is an exciting event as it marks a key milestone in our newbuilding program.”
Following a traditional blessing by a priest, the ship’s keel – which weighs approximately 500 tons – was moved into position by a huge crane onto the keel blocks. The computer-guided maneuver took only minutes, belying the more than 2 million man hours that will ultimately go into building the vessel. The 3,600-passenger, 141,000-ton ship will remain in the building dock until its float-out next summer.

Regal Princess will offer many of the same special features as Royal Princess, which debuts in June 2013. Among these are a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; the new Princess Live! television studio; a pastry shop; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms. More information and video previews of Royal Princess are available at www.princess.com/royalprincess.
Additional details including schedules and itineraries for Regal Princess will be announced next year.

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

Cunard Line announces extraordinary Adventures Event Sale up to 45 percent off

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On August - 14 - 2012

On 16 August, Cunard Line launches their five-day Extraordinary Adventures Event Sale, featuring exotic World Voyage Segments in Asia, Australia and the Middle East on both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. The sale also includes Transatlantic Crossings and a Panama Canal transit.

The special sale offers significant savings of up to 45 percent off Early Booking Fares in addition to On Board Credit of up to $300 per stateroom, plus a Reduced Deposit on select 2013 voyages.

Extraordinary Adventure Event voyages aboard Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria included in the offer are:

Queen Mary 2
• 18-day Egypt & Middle East –10 January: Fares from $2,695
• 12-day India & Malaysia – 28 January: Fares from $1,895
• 18-day China & Australia – 17 February: Fares from $2,795
• 7-day Transatlantic Crossing – 3 January: Fares from $995

Queen Victoria
• 20-day South Pacific – 3 February: Fares from $2,795
• 23-day China & Australia – 17 February: Fares from $3,195
• 12-day India & Malaysia – 27 March: Fares from $1,795
• 16-day South Africa & Canary Islands – 10 April: Fares from $2,595
• 8-day Transatlantic Crossing – 10 January: Fares from $895
• 16-day Panama Canal – 18 January: Fares from $2,295

All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Offer is for new bookings only. The sale runs through 20 August.

Guests sailing a luxury cruise vacation aboard Cunard Line delight in the experience of the voyage itself, not just the destination. By day, guests enjoy voluminous libraries, world class spas, white-gloved afternoon tea service and engaging award-winning Insights guest enrichment programmes; and by night are entertained by Royal Nights themed balls, West End-style productions and Veuve Clicquot champagne cocktails.

For more information about Queen Mary 2 or Queen Victoria, or to book a voyage, consult your travel agent, call Cunard toll-free 1-800-728-6273 or go to www.cunard.com.

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

Silversea’s Silver Cloud in London

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On July - 31 - 2012

On Thursday, after a 16-day voyage from Copenhagen to London, Silversea Cruises’ ultra-luxury Silver Cloud proudly sailed under London’s Tower Bridge where the 2012 Olympic Rings are prominently displayed. SilverCloudLondonOlympicsLgThe ship is tied up alongside the HMS Belfast. Silver Cloud departs this evening for a 9-day sold out voyage from London to Reykjavik, Iceland.

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

Coffee talk with John Heald

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On June - 25 - 2012

This morning on Carnival Breeze I sat down with John Heald, Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director, Brand Ambassador, and Blogger extraordinaire to discuss a variety of topics. Find out what John likes best about the Carnival Breeze, what the new Carnival Cruise Lines is all about, new cruise line safety measures, his future as a cruise director with the company, and what he really thinks of the French and Cruise Critic. His answers will make you laugh and just might surprise you. There are also some new exciting news items in this interview that you won’t read about anywhere else.

www.expertcruiser.com: What do you think about all the Fun Ship 2.0 improvements?

John Heald: I love it.  I think Guy’s Burger is the best thing to hit the Lido Deck since we had the Playboy charter in 1998. It’s a yabba-dabba-doo moment. You want to slide down your own pet dinosaur and grab that lump of meat like they do.  I honestly absolutely love it. I’ve never understood those burger snobs and steak snobs and I never thought I’d be one of those.  I am now because I compare every burger to Guy’s. It’s a very, very good burger.  I think having the two new themed bars on Lido Deck are great and the crew that work there take great pride and ownership in those new areas. Thrill Theater is fantastic. Bonsai Sushi has been a huge success.  I didn’t think it would be as popular as it is. While I know a good burger when I eat it sushi is a big mystery to me. I don’t understand the whole raw fish thing, but it’s been a big hit onboard. The greatest bargain onboard is La Cucina del Capitano for $12 all that food you get, it’s fantastic.

So yeah, I think 2.0 is a great addition. But what I really love about it it’s not just about the new ships but is going on the older ships.  It’s going on the Ecstasy next month, then the Conquest and then the Glory.  The reinvestment in the fleet is very important. There are some cruise lines that market their newer ships only. We’ve always done well in not saying it’s all about one ship or two ships.

www.expertcruiser.com: What do you think about the new décor on Breeze?

John Heald: Even with all the big Fun Ship 2.0 changes the heartbeat of Carnival is still there even though the walls are different color and calmer. The décor for me makes the ship feel 30,000 tons lighter. It’s the same size as the Magic and the Dream, but it feels lighter and crisper. It’s resort.  My favorite parts of the ship are the guest corridors and the colors of the cabins. I just love them there’s just something inviting coming back to the cabin.

This reminds me a lot of AIDA ships as the architects that have done Breeze have been doing those ships for years. Amazing ships. Best cruise ships most people will never sail on.

www.expertcruiser.com: The beards are branding everything on the ship. Are they going to brand John Heald?

John Heald: They’re going to work in partnership with JC Penney or Big Bubbas clothing store.  I am not sure which one (laughs).  No, they aren’t going to brand John Heald.  The branding thing has really changed us. It’s very simple. Guy Fieri is mass market.

You look at some of the other type of things that we are doing with RedFrog Pub. It’s worked fantastic. We have this beer you’ve seen called ‘Thirsty Frog Red’. I’ll give you a little exclusive ‘thingy’ that I haven’t told anyone else. We are giving serious consideration as of this week to bottling and selling ‘Thirsty Frog Red’. We are working with our friends with AIDA because they have a microbrewery onboard.

That’s our own brand. The other known ships have Starbucks and Johnny Rockets and some of them are very good.  I hear on NCL for example they have Blue Man Group and I hear they are fantastic. But we are doing our own thing. We’ve come a long way. As Gerry said we’ve only just begun. Breeze is the first ship with the beards signature all over it. Even Magic by the time Gerry, Mark, Reuben, and the other people came in those ships were already designed, done and dusted when they came in. This is the first ship which is 100 percent the new generation of Carnival.

www.expertcruiser.com: It’s been a tough year for the cruise industry after the Concordia disaster.  What’s changed?

John Heald: It’s been a bad year. The market is picking up again now. Concordia is still on everyone’s mind.  Sadly I’ve had a lot of people ask me are we going to see the Concordia. There is that morbid tourism.  It (Concordia accident) suddenly gave us all a kick in the pants.

The crew on this ship gets off in a completely different way than the passengers. They use a MES (Marine Escape System) system. There are six of them in the back of the ship on Deck 4 they are chutes rather than those round life rafts that you won’t see onboard here anymore. We launch these long sock-like chutes much like those on an airplane that the crew slides down into an inflatable life raft at the bottom. The crew gets off much quicker and in a much more organized way. So its bang, bang, bang you’re off. The ferry’s and freighters have them. Three hundred of the crew are in the life boats with the passengers and the majority of the crew use the MES system.  I wonder if the days of lifeboats are numbered and whether the guests will use the MES system.

I learned something in the Splendor fire you have to kill the guests with information. Even with that ALPHA TEAM incident from the other day you have to give them information.

www.expertcruiser.com: Your blog is a huge success what’s the future of the blog?

John Heald: As I’ve made pretty clear in the blog I wrote the other day and after a long conversation with Gerry this will be my last new ship launch.  I am not going to do anymore new ships.  I can’t do a new ship and do this brand ambassador stuff at the same time anymore. It’s too much. One of it suffers and that’s not fair on either.  I don’t want the guests to suffer and I don’t want the blog to suffer either. So, at some point in the months ahead they are going to have to decide which one they want me to do. Also, I’ve been at sea for 26-years so there’s a time now where I don’t want to do the long contracts anymore. I want to do shorter ones maybe a month at sea and work from home for a little bit.

www.expertcruiser.com: There’s Batman and Robin; Laurel and Hardy; Abbott and Costello. What’s with you and Calvin are you guys the new dynamic duo?

John Heald: What’s with me and Calvin. Well, I’ve never shared a Morning Show with anybody. Calvin is probably one of the most naturally funny men I’ve ever met.  It’s hard for you to put this in words without them (readers) seeing it. There is a chemistry and I get to be the straight man (pardon the pun). He’s become a bit of an icon.  He’s a great joy to work with and the Morning Shows have taken on a bit of a life of their own. We’re going to continue our duo and he’ll travel with me next year if I do time on the ships next year.

www.expertcruiser.com: Okay John, we’re going to do some word association.  Answer with just one word.

www.expertcruiser.com: Gerry Cahill

John Heald: RedFrog Pub


John Heald: Divorce

www.expertcruiser.com: The French

John Heald: Bastards

www.expertcruiser.com: Rumpy Pumpy

John Heald: In the past

www.expertcruiser.com: Cruise Critic

John Heald: I refer you to my answer I gave for The French (“Bastards”)

Thank you John Heald!

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

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For five days only, beginning April 19, Princess Cruises is offering special cruise deals to destinations around the world, including cruises to Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Hawaii, South America, Asia, and Australia & New Zealand. With the World of Savings sale, passengers can take advantage of savings up to $2,000 per stateroom, plus up to $100 onboard credit.

These select September 2012 to January 2013 sailings feature the best of Princess’ worldwide cruise destinations, offering the opportunity to sail to exciting ports of call such as Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Rome; to explore the natural wonders of Alaska; or to enjoy the idyllic islands of Hawaii or the Caribbean.
In addition to fare savings, passengers booking interior or oceanview staterooms can receive an onboard credit of $25 (cruises up to 9 days) to $50 (cruises 10 days or longer), and in balcony staterooms or above can get credits of $50 (cruises up to 9 days) or $100 (for sailings 10 days or longer). All onboard credits are offered per stateroom.
Examples of cruise deals include:

• Alaska – 7 days : $999 balcony (was $1,649); $549 interior (was $874)

• Caribbean – 7 days: $849 balcony (was $949); $549 interior (was $599)

• Europe – 12 days: $1,599 balcony (was $2,790); $999 interior (was $1,790)

• South America – 13 days: $2,099 balcony (was $2,395); $1,199 interior (was $1,495)

• Australia & New Zealand – 14 days: $2,199 balcony (was $2,995); $1,299 interior (was $2,095)

• Hawaii – 14 days: $1,999 balcony (was $2,345); $1,299 interior (was $1,445)

• Panama Canal – 14 days: $1,799 balcony (was $2,299); $1,099 interior (was $1,599)

• Asia – 16 days: $2,499 balcony (was $3,195); $1,499 interior (was $1,995)

All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy. The World of Savings event begins at 12:01 a.m. PDT on April 19 through 11:59 p.m. PDT on April 23, 2012 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Reservations made during the sale require a non-refundable deposit.
Additional sale information is available at http://www.princess.com/sale

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

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

MSC Divina Completes Sea Trials

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 17 - 2012

MSC Divina successfully completed her initial sea trials yesterday, returning to the Louis Joubert dock after 3 days on the open seas off the coast of Brittany, France.
The ship performed to the full satisfaction of the MSC Cruises team. The rigorous trials involved around 360 people and more than 60 separate tests, covering everything from speed and manageability to sound levels and vibration.

mscdivinaFurther testing will be performed continuously up until the next big event in MSC Divina’s busy schedule: the flag changing ceremony on May 19 in Saint-Nazaire.

A maiden cruise to Marseille will then bring the new ship to her grand christening on May 26. The spectacular evening of entertainment and celebration will be dedicated to the Mediterranean and the passion of its people, and will again see Italian screen legend Sophia Loren cutting the ribbon as the godmother of the MSC Cruises fleet.

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

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